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Jul 16, 2021 356 Rebecca Bradley,
Encounter

Awesome Wonder

When I was about 15, my Dad passed away and I was in a desperate situation. One night while I was praying, I yearned for God because I needed His help. And He answered me. I saw Him in a vision. At first, I was shocked because I had never had any experience of that sort. Jesus answered my prayer by showing Himself with His hands opened wide, a crown of thorns on His head, and His heart glowing. He did not say or do anything, but I was deeply touched by His presence. This was the first time I felt extremely close to Jesus.

As I look back, I realize that aspects of what I saw in the vision symbolized aspects of my life. The crown of thorns symbolized the pain I was going through at that time, and Jesus’ glowing heart communicated His great love for me. Every time I remember the vision, the image of Jesus’ wide-open arms reminds me that everything is going to be alright because He is always with me.

Growing up in a Catholic family made it easy for me to practice my faith. Regular Mass attendance was part of our routine. But when I moved to South Africa to teach English, I lived in a rural area where Sunday Mass was not available. This made me aware of how grateful I should be for every opportunity to be in the presence of the Eucharist and to receive Holy Communion.

When I went to Albania to teach English, I was fortunate to stay in a convent where adoration before the Blessed Sacrament was part of our daily routine. That experience helped form my love for adoration and deepened my love for the Holy Eucharist. During that time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament I opened my heart to Him and shared everything I was feeling.

People ask me how I can be so sure that Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament. I believe without a doubt because I can feel Him. His presence—His warmth and love—surround my whole being. Adoration is crucial in my life because it gives me the opportunity to listen to what God wants me to do. The more I listen to Him, the better I am able to discern God’s purpose in my life.

While I was at university, I had a wonderful experience going to World Youth Day at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Four million of us celebrated adoration on the beach. The waves rolled in on one side, the sun shone upon us and when the Blessed Sacrament was raised, I was overwhelmed. The glory of Jesus, His invisible presence, was profound. As I knelt, with bowed head, surrounded by millions, I felt my burdens lifted and I was drawn closer to Him than ever before.

Over the years, my relationship with Jesus has deepened and the Holy Eucharist has become central in my life. Even through the trials of my life, I have known Jesus is there for me. Whether at Mass or in Adoration, or in my own private prayer, I am always struck by His awesome, wonderful presence.

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Rebecca Bradley

Rebecca Bradley Article is based on the testimony of Rebecca Bradley for the Shalom World program “Adore”. To watch the episode visit: shalomworld.org/show/adore

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