December 6, 2015

The Warmth On Her Face

During Lent of 1990, Kathleen Ellertson was battling breast cancer. She had already had a modified radical mastectomy and had undergone two rounds of “big guns” chemotherapy.

One brisk morning, she decided to go to Mass. Upon arriving at the church, however, she discovered that there was no Mass. Instead, she found people in silent prayer. A monstrance had been placed on the altar with a consecrated Host inside. This would be Kathleen’s first Eucharistic adoration.

She took a pew about midway to the altar and prepared to kneel down and pray. As she did so, she felt a warmth wash over her face. Her first reaction was, “Whoa, guess it was colder outside than I thought.”

As she bowed her head, the warmth moved to the top of her head. She could feel this distinctly because she had no hair on her head. This surprised her and she looked up. Again, the warmth washed over her face.

Questioning her senses, she determined to experiment. She turned to the right, and she felt the warmth on the left side of her face. She turned to the left, and she felt it on the other side. Then, she realized that it was coming from the Eucharist itself. Whichever part of her was facing the Eucharist would feel the warmth. She dropped to her knees and prayed with her “entire heart.”

Although it seemed but a few minutes, an hour passed and the Blessed Sacrament was being removed. She felt saddened and wanted Him to stay. The longing was tangible. Her heart “ached” as they took Him away.

Never again did she experience His presence as she did at that first eucharistic adoration. Now, many years later, when she goes to Mass, she has to remind herself of that one instance, to help maintain her faith in His Real Presence. She calls that day a “defining moment” in her life, one that changed how she looked at the world and at God. She knows that He is truly there, for His people, each time Mass is celebrated.

Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 107-108.


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