He Never Felt So Loved
Jesse Romero tells a story. He tells several stories about the Real Presence. One is simple, but poignant.
Romero was a cop in Los Angeles. One day, he spotted a 16-year-old boy “tagging” a building. He is spray painting gang markings on it. Romero arrests him and is taking him to the police station. The boy is in the back seat pleading for some leniency. He is out on probation. An arrest means he will probably be locked up for a year.
Romero decides to introduce him to his “best friend.” He takes the boy to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. As they enter, the boy has an actual look of fear on him. The candles, the stained glass, the statues, the darkened atmosphere all combine to instill a sense of foreboding. The boy is out of his element and in someplace uncommon to him. Romero takes him to the altar. They have perpetual adoration in this church, and Jesus is exposed in the monstrance day and night.
As he points to the Eucharist, Romero asks the boy if he knows who that is. The boy answers, “Jesus.” Romero asks if the boy knows about Him. He answers that his grandmother would talk about Him. Romero tells him that this is his “best friend.”
After being there some short while, the boy tells Romero that he has “never felt so loved.”
They leave and the boy’s life is not the same. He does not stay in the gang. He grows up, becomes a successful businessman, gets married, has two children. He is living a life for which we were meant.
Should we take him at his word? Had he “never felt so loved?” It is, of course, a curious thing to say, that one feels love, kneeling before a simple piece of bread. More likely, he just imagined it, coaxed himself into thinking it. Those who have never experienced anything like this will certainly say so. Others, who have felt the peace, the warmth, the acceptance from being in His Presence, will think otherwise.
This Lent, we too can feel loved. We can place ourselves in His Presence and let Him reach out to us. All we have to do is let Him. All we have to do quiet our minds and let Him.
(This story comes from an account given by Jesse Romero on a CD entitled Life-Changing Stories of the Eucharist, published by Lighthouse Catholic media.)