This week, as we prepare for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, we remember, as Pope Francis says, that “Each man and woman has a personal encounter with the Lord. A true and actual encounter that can radically change one’s life. The secret lies not only in being aware of it, but also in never forgetting it, so as to preserve its freshness and beauty.”
By: Brendan Gotta, Staff Spotlight
As a child, I always tried to do what my parents told me. I trusted them blindly, if only because they never gave me a reason not to. This included the practice of attending daily Mass as a family. It was not always easy to do, and became even more difficult as I grew older and I started playing sports. I always knew there was something there, a reason why my parents did everything they could to give me the opportunity to go, but it didn’t really make sense to me at the time. I was going because I knew I should, not because I understood why I was going. This all changed my senior year of high school.
I had an encounter with the Lord. I went from knowing in my head that receiving Jesus in Holy Communion was a good thing, to knowing it in my heart.
It was the spring semester, and I was taking classes part-time at the local Catholic university. At that point, part of my routine was going to Mass, but on that particular day, God decided to mess with that routine, and spoke to my heart during the Consecration:
“Brendan, for too long you’ve been in search of Me, but have found nothing. You’ve read about Me, learned about Me, spoke about Me, but never have you really known Me. I am right here, in front of you, in this little piece of bread, My Body. For years now, you’ve known to come to me in this meal, but now I want you to fully recognize just how special a gift this really is, that if you were to die today, you would be far better off than the richest person in the world, simply because you have Me.”
For the first time, I was not just going to Mass because it was a habit, or because I thought I should, but because Jesus was calling me to draw closer to Him, and I knew that the best way to do that for me, was in the Breaking of the Bread. But with that new found understanding, I knew I had to make it a part of who I am.
Now that I’ve shared my story, I want to challenge you; I want you to look at what has become habitual or routine in your life. Just because your job is tedious, does not mean that there is not great joy to be found in the work. Just because you’ve been married for decades does not mean there is nothing new to learn about your spouse. Just because you’ve been a faithful Catholic your whole life does not mean you are done growing in your relationship with Christ. The list could go on and on.
Sometimes you feel stuck in that day-to-day routine, the daily grind, and it seems like that is where you will stay. I’m here to tell you this is not the case, and sometimes all it takes is one encounter, one moment of openness to the Lord, and from there, He will change your life.
Brendan Gotta serves the Diocese as the Young Adult Coordinator in the Office for Family Life.
Follow the Catholic Diocese of Arlington on our platforms: