By Theresa M. Lynn, M.T.S., or “Terri” (2006), BIO link, see LinkedIn. (Pic from 2016)
I remember as a child seeing our Lord in the Monstrance for the first time. It was at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Independence, Missouri, in the Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri, St. Joseph. It was my second parish. Our families first, was Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Raytown, Missouri. There I remember the Priest facing front and it was there at only the age of three I remember seeing the outline of an angel between the spaces of the words in the Missal.
We soon relocated to Independence, Missouri and started attending St. Mark’s. It was there that I made my First Holy Communion, and it was there, for the first time that Monstrance was impressed upon me, but I would not recall it until decades later. This experience came to be by my mother telling us we were going to go to Church to pray. I am not sure how old I was or what day of the week it was. I just remember that it was an out-of-the-ordinary time to go to Church and then when we got there, I don’t remember anything except seeing the Monstrance on the altar. I don’t remember what I know now to be a Benediction service, or even seeing a Priest. I only remember the image of the Monstrance on the altar. It would be many years later before I would see the Monstrance, again, to remind me of the day my mother took us to pray.
My Catholic youth was spiritual as it could be for what I was taught. Even when I was a little girl, I loved the Mass. I did not attend Catholic schools. I graduated from Truman High School, but my mother taught me that the Catholic Church was the True Church and that it had been the only Christian religion for 1,500 years. Along the way, my parents taught me all the standard Catholic prayers and along the way I knew I had a Guardian Angel watching over me. The common artwork that you see of the boy and girl crossing the bridge with the Guardian Angel watching over them, was probably one of the key sources of my security and faith as a child.
I reflect to when I was a candidate for Confirmation and was taught that I was going to be a “Soldier of Christ”. Today, I do not see that title in the catechism materials I use to teach 8th grade religious education in preparation for their Confirmation, but I am making sure they know the title, because maybe since it meant something to me, it will mean something to them.
I liked science fiction when I was growing up and apocalyptic stories about the end of the world. My mother had a little blue book about the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima that I would read. The story fascinated me, because in it Our Lady told the children at Fatima about the future and how they should pray and sacrifice for the conversion of Russia or there could be an apocalyptic event. Those who prayed and sacrificed would be part of what would be the “Blue Army”. However, I read that every country had to have a few thousand faithful praying for this cause. I wandered, at that time, how we could get people in every country to be in Blue Army so Russia would be converted. I wanted to be in the Blue Army but at a young age, wasn’t sure how to go about it and it seemed like a big responsibility.
When I was 15, I bought the book, The Late Great Planet Earth at the mall, because it sounded like it was based on events surrounding the end of the world. Little did I know that it was fiction, (i.e., “the Rapture”) about what in the author’s opinion would happen to Christians and non-Christians before Christ returns. All I know is that by reading it, I came to understand in my heart more deeply that Christ loved me and what he did for me. I fell deeply in love with Him. However, it also made me scared for my own salvation. Not knowing that there wasn’t any such thing as “the Rapture”, I did not want to be “left behind”. From understanding, intellectually, and through the eyes of faith that the Church was the True Church founded by Christ, upon Peter, the “Rock” (Mt. 16:18), the Holy Spirit did give me the wisdom to know that when I got to the part in the book about the anti-Christ being the Pope, that it wasn’t true. So, I threw the book away. However, I still did not know that the Rapture was a false doctrine, and so for the next 15 years of my life I worried about being ready in case Jesus came back again. I cannot say that this “worrying” was at all beneficial to my soul, because it took my intellect and will off prayer and onto looking for signs of an anti-Christ, etc. I wasn’t obsessed about it, but it was a distraction.
Although the book instilled the fear of something that isn’t true; the Rapture, the love that came into my heart for Jesus because of the book (awareness of what He had done for us) made me long to be with him in Heaven. But that seemed so long off since I had to die first. I did not know about Adoration. I did not know that Jesus exposed in the Monstrance was the source or way for me to be with Jesus here on earth. I knew he was with me when I received him at Holy Communion and as my mother had taught me, that I get graces from Communion, but I did not know that I could go and spend time alone with Him before I died and went to heaven in what is known as an “Adoration chapel”. Because, that day my mother took us to Church to worship the Lord in the Monstrance on that out-of-the-ordinary-Church-day, I did not know that it was the Lord sitting on the altar. Because I did not know, is one reason I did not know how to love Him the way he deserves to be loved.
So, many years later, when at the age of 43 a boyfriend sponsored me for a Cursillo weekend, my life has not been the same since. Because it was at Cursillo on October 9, 2003, that I found out about Adoration and what the Monstrance was. It was at 2:30 in the morning on October 10, 2003, that I found out about God’s “ocean of mercy” as I went down to the special Adoration chapel that had constructed and prayed and was prayed over by the women there that has volunteered to keep the Lord company during the weekend. I couldn’t sleep that night, even though I had taken some allergy medicine. The girls keeping watch, Jennifer, and Anna, told me Christ had called me down there. They prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet in song from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. It was beautiful. I had never heard the chaplet before that weekend. In the chapel, I found out that night, because of Adoration, that I did not have to die to be with the Lord, that he is here on earth in the Monstrance waiting for me. And so, the joy I never had for life and thought I could only have in death, came to be. I received lots of Graces that night that were manifested immediately to me a mystical way and others that continually work to carry me through my Christian life.
That same night, I had taken my statue of St. Terese, “the Little Flower”, down with me to the chapel, that I had brought with me to the Cursillo weekend. I had received it on my First Communion. Anna told me the next day that after I had left the chapel, they had seen the face of St. Terese in the Blessed Host. So, I ran down to the chapel to see if I could see her too. But, of course, it doesn’t work that way. They told me one of the other girls had also seen St. Padre Pio in the Host in the Monstrance. Turns out this other Cursillista’s mother had been praying to St. Padre Pio for her all weekend and at the same time her mother had touched the Relic at home, St. Padre Pio’s face was seen in the Body of Christ.
For me, understanding now that Christ is here present on earth, and I can go visit him at any time has brought great joy. Christ has been all I need. My One True Love. He has never let me down like most of the men in my life. He leads me beside still waters and restoreth my soul. He comforts me. He is my King, and his Kingdom is not only in Heaven, but through the Sacraments, also, truly and substantially present here on earth. So, we must get the word out to all people that Christ is present here on earth, now. They don’t need to be afraid of not being ready to die or dying or that living a Eucharistic centered life is too hard, because He is Mercy, and his love makes it easy. He loves us and wants our company and Adoration. It begins with conversion. My story is not unique. Conversion to His Sacred Heart will give all single people the love they are looking for. It is what I will do for God because I love Him, and it that will show Him I love him, and give Him the glory He deserves. And, then he will truly know me as His child when I come into His Kingdom.
Singles of the Eucharist came to mind while in Adoration just before Lent, 2005. It just popped into my head. I only thought a group of singles would make the most sense. The domain name was available, so that was the first step to launching the Apostolate was to create a website. Charity calls us to let our neighbor know that Christ’s Kingdom is here, now, and that Christ has much to give us if we participate in it.
Please pray for this Apostolate. Please pray that singles will turn from worldly desires to one of communion with Christ and Adoration before Him. The Church needs to win more hearts for the kingdom and the single lay Faithful are just the ones to do it.
Peace in Christ,
Terri M. Lynn, M.T.S.