November 5, 2021

The ‘amazing gift’ of the Eucharist helps a mother find peace

(Editor’s note: The Criterion invited our readers to share the special moments in their lives—or the one thing—that has brought them closer to God. Here are some of their stories.)

By John Shaughnessy

Jenny AnneeJenny Annee had the feeling that something was missing in her life.

Even though she had “a loving husband and two children at the time,” she found herself wondering why she “just wasn’t feeling right.”

In the midst of that unsettling feeling, she received a life-changing invitation.

The invitation was to attend a Christ Renews His Parish weekend at her home parish, Christ the King in Indianapolis.

“Hearing the witnesses of others and their zeal and love for the Eucharist made me realize I might’ve just been going through the motions at Mass, with a bit of unconscious indifference to what I was experiencing,” she recalls. “In hearing how others went to Mass more than once a week, I started wondering why they would be drawn to that.”

That retreat—and that wondering—would begin the start of what she calls “my real relationship with Jesus Christ.”

That bond grew gradually through the years as she gave birth to three more children.

“As my older ones began serving weekday Masses, we had many opportunities to attend more than one Mass a week,” she notes. “I began to realize how close I felt to God each and every time I received his precious body and precious blood. The peace of being in Mass was a peace I yearned for, and I knew it was due to his gift of the Eucharist.”

She would need the peace and power of that gift during one of the hardest and darkest times of her life.

 “About 15 years ago, my mother died suddenly. The sadness and depression of missing her were so much for me to bear. Within the first year after her passing, I decided to start going to daily Mass even when my kids weren’t serving. My youngest was 4 years old, so I took him with me each time while the others were in school.

“Receiving the Eucharist as often as possible was life-giving, healing and something that truly helped in the grief I was experiencing. I started to realize that when I received the Eucharist, I was close to God and therefore close to my mother who was now with him. Over time, I was able to cope with her passing because of the ability to be close to Jesus in the Eucharist.”

Her appreciation of the Eucharist—and the impact it has on her life—also increased during the months when churches were closed during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I remember crying and thinking, ‘Please do not take the Lord away from me.’

“Those months without the ability to receive the Eucharist were hard, but I took the opportunity to memorize the spiritual communion prayer, so I made a point to say it every day. Fast forward to the first day we were able to attend Mass at an outdoor service at Christ the King. I remember crying and thinking, ‘You were never away from me, and I am grateful now more than ever for the gift of the Eucharist.’ ”

Years have passed since Annee felt there was something missing in her life. Now, she regards the Eucharist as “a true and amazing gift of our Catholic faith,” a gift that deepens her relationships with God and all the people in her life.

“Each time I’m able to receive the Eucharist, the knowledge that Christ is truly present fills me with a peace and gratitude I feel at no other time. Praise God for the gift of our Catholic faith and the ability to be as close to him as we can in the holy Eucharist.” †

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