My Lord and My God!

"My Lord and My God!" It's an entreaty, words of adoration, a cry of the heart. But first, it is a title - a name. The first time it is used in the New Testament is when Thomas - Doubting Thomas - drops to his knees before Jesus and recognizes the pierced man before him not just as his Teacher, nt just as the Christ, not just as the Son of God but as "My Lord and My God!"

Thomas is usually best known for his refusal to accept Christ's resurrection based on the testimony of all his friends and fellow disciples. He says he has to see proof - the wounds that killed Him. He has a week to ponder their testimony, and then Jesus comes, and instead of saying just "I believe it's you!" He instead becomes a vessel through which the Spirit reveals more about Jesus and becomes a source of revelation, of clarification, of insight: He cries out "My Lord and My God." No longer is Jesus just this Teacher, just their Rabbi, just the Messiah and Son of God. Thomas, by placing his fingers into the Most Holy and Glorious wounds of our God, recognizes Him as much more - a God Himself.

I had a moment like this back when I was 16, and a couple more recently.

When I was 16, my mom made me go to a youth conference. I had no desire to go, but I went anyway. On the Saturday, there was formal Adoration and a Eucharistic Procession around the whole - full - stadium. Now, I intellectually knew the doctrine of Transubstantiation, that the consecrated Host IS Jesus.  But honestly, like so many, I took it for granted. Sure, I'd tell you that is what I believed, but it was all in my head. I don't think I so much as doubted as just never thought about it.

Well, that night, the priest walked down and processed the Blessed Sacrament (Consecrated Host held and displayed in a monstrance (Translation: Jesus enthroned)) to the front of the stadium where a stage and altar had been set up. I didn't realy know what to expect or do. Sure, I'd been to our chapel, but this was different. I didn't have my journal, my devotional books, nothing. I had my rosary, so I took it out intending to pray it if we were going to be there -as the schedule said - for a couple hours.

The people providing music started playing some meditation and praise music, and I sang along and prayed as I felt led. People around me began to cry, and I was honestly a little confused. AS the priest began to process Jesus around the stadium, the crying escalated, but more strangely (to me anyway), people began to laugh - and not a mocking or jeering laugh, but a laugh that could only be described with one word: Joy. It truly was the sound of joy bursting forth and breaking free of all that kept it bound. It was the reaction of a soul in the Presence of True Joy. It was, I think, the perfect balance to the tears flooding the place.

I didn't end up praying much of that rosary, but I clutched it in my hand as I watched the golden gleam of the monstrance travel the room, getting closer to me. I admit, I cried. Sixteen was a hard year for me (who isn't that the case of though?), and I wept, letting out emotions I'd scarcely processed. But as I wept, Jesus came closer until He was right in front of me, and I ran down the stairs to kneel before Him, and I felt Him whisper "Peace I give you." And the most overwhelming wave of peace crashed into me, literally rocking me and robbing me of strength. I sat on the stadium stairs and simply basked in the Peace of our Lord.

After that and seeing the miracles worked in those around me, my heart is able to look at the piece of bread protected by glass and enthroned on gold and precious gems, and I can know in my heart of hearts that that is my Jesus. Christ came and touched me, letting me see Him, helping my head knowledge come and fill my heart with grace, peace, and truth.

After graduation from college, I spent lots of time in the Adoration Chapel sitting at the feet of my Jesus since I didn't have work, and He opened my heart to new, deeper understandings of His Grace, Presence, and love. And He always used interesting catalysts. One of them was a friend asking me to please play Mary Magdalene in a passion skit.

I was surprised, but I said "Sure." So, I started trying to get to know this saint whom I knew little about. Google told me lots of weird things, and the scriptures are rather silent, save for a few poignant passages. So, I turned to the two people who knew her best: She herself and Jesus. I asked them to teach me about her, for I did not want to portray her without understanding her. About this same time, a dear friend of mine, Emily, mentioned in passing a devotion she had to the Precious Blood. I had never even considered that as a devotion, but the more I journeyed with Mary Magdalene, the more I prayed to know and understand her, to ask her to pray with me, and the more I felt her praying with me, things changed - oh, not physically, but they changed none the less.

I began to notice the wounds on the crucifix, to find my eyes drawn to the nails in his feet and the blood trickling from them, and I began to find myself more and more at the foot of the cross, kissing His feet, weeping on them to clean them. One day, I was at Mass at the Student Center in Tyler, and I was in the front row of the little chapel. I had received communion and was simply prayed when I glanced up while Fr. Hank was wiping out the vessels. After he wiped out the chalice, the purificator was blotched with red, and I had a powerful flashback to the scene in the Passion where Mary and Mary Magdalene are wiping up the blood of Jesus.

One day, after asking Mary Magdalene to pray with me and help me understand the Mass as she did and does, I went to receive Communion. I accepted the Host, and while I had an understanding that It was the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that it was Jesus offering me His Heart, I received it as I always did and moved to the line behind the chalice. I genuflected and accepted the chalice.

But when I did, I nearly dropped it. As I looked into the golden chalice and saw the light reflecting off of the liquid inside, I knew, deep in my core, that I was holding a cup of my Savior's blood. To the deepest parts of me, I knew; more surely than I know my own name, I knew. The appearance didn't matter, the taste didn't matter. That was my Jesus' blood. What I professed to be true was suddenly so true that I was shaken, and I could barely bring the chalice to my lips. Who was I to accept the Blood of my Lord? Who was I that my Lord should come, humble Himself for me? I drank my Lord's blood and went to my pew and wept at the mercy and grace the my Jesus showed me, and I thanked Mary Magdalene for showing me how powerfully she experienced every Mass she attended and Jesus for showing me the briefest glimpse of what heaven would be like.

As Jesus nurtured that devotion, He led me to His Holy Wounds, and I felt Him draw me to them, not to place my fingers in, but to place my entirety in. He welcomed me to hide in His Side, to find refuge in His pierced feet, to find acceptance in His hands.

He taught me how to recognize Himself and how to whisper in awe, "My Lord and My God!"

Listen to the angelic voices adore our Lord with the words penned by St. Thomas Aquinas.


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