There was a time, about six years ago, when my life seemed to be running quite smoothly. My three sons were past the time-consuming toddler years and had yet to fully enter the emotionally-demanding teenage years. I had obtained a teaching position that provided enough of an income to ease the financial burden of my husband's downsized career and yet didn't overtax my physical and emotional well-being. All in all, things were quite good. During that time, I became a regular at the Eucharistic Adoration at our church. Once a month I easily found the time to spend an hour or two in the presence of our Lord. I looked forward to the precious time and embraced the opportunity to pray for my brothers- and sisters-in-Christ and for the Holy Souls of Purgatory.
Unfortunately, though, that time began to evaporate as I got into the years of raising my teenage boys and an increasingly demanding teaching position as fewer and fewer people were required to do more and more. When I missed the first Eucharistic Adoration, in what had become quite a lengthy run, I felt guilty. I vowed to make it up the next month and did. Soon, however, the guilt of missing and making up Eucharistic Adorations became a burden and I abandoned the commitment altogether. I began to forget the peace I acquired after just a few moments in His Presence. I began to see that valuable time as something that could be spent at the grocery store or catching up on laundry. All too easily, my mind tricked my heart into believing that the sacred time spent with Him was better spent elsewhere. Absurd, I know.
Then, the other week, I began going through the books on my bookshelves. Like so many people, I've accumulated hundreds of titles over the years, all read and all loved; from fiction to non-fiction, from popular authors to unknowns. One book jumped out at me: Praying in the Presence of Our Lord for the Holy Souls by Susan Tassone. It had been my beloved companion during my days of Eucharistic Adoration. Pulling it off the shelf, I was flooded with memories of peace and love that I found in the tranquility of time with Him. I immediately felt the love I had for others when I prayed in His presence. Those times hadn't been better spent doing laundry or vacuuming. I had allowed myself to be tricked into believing I could better serve Him in my household chores. I had missed precious time because, like Peter, I took my eyes off of Him for a moment and lost my footing. A few years have gone by and I cannot recapture them. But I know that He has stayed by my side as I tended to my family and took care of my home. Now, with my oldest in college and my career as a teacher coming to an end, I see that He is inviting me back. He missed me as much as I missed Him.