I was born in a catholic family and was brought up with good moral & spiritual values. As I grew up though, I did not have much of a relationship with God. It was a relationship that I took for granted. I prayed because it was expected of me or especially when I needed help. I frequented the sacraments more out of fear rather than of love or devotion. Soon there was a time when I lost the sense of sin as I was blinded by the movies I watched, the books I read and the music I listened to. Therefore I began to question certain moral values that I was brought up with. When I look back now I know that it was only the mercy & faithfulness of God that preserved me from falling deep into sin.
By this time I had found a good job & was quite contented with life. Then I happened to meet a couple of non-catholic friends whose way of life took me completely by surprise. They seemed so much in love with God & took great care to live a Christian life. However this did not stop me from making fun of my faith & said things to them like, the best thing I like about Mass was when the priest said, “Go the Mass has ended” & the congregation responded, “Thanks be to God.” At about this time these friends were asking me to read the Bible (this was not a habit with me) and one morning as I was just about to leave for work, I suddenly had an urge to read it. Since it was morning, I thought, lets see what the Lord has to tell me today, so I flipped open an old New Testament which was in my shelf collecting dust, and I read the first line my eyes fell upon. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”(Acts 9:4). You can imagine my feelings because I immediately knew my sin. As it was becoming late I left for work & promptly forgot the whole thing. The next morning came, and as I was leaving for work I was reminded to read the Bible, so I flipped it open, and guess what, my eyes fell upon the very same verse, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And the Lord did not leave it there because it happened on the third day again.
This incident got me thinking. I wanted to know more about this God who was stirring up my life and I told Him so (I think that was the most sincere prayer, I ever made). I started reading the Bible & it became so alive that I used to spend hours reading it. The Lord led me to a couple of retreats that changed my life forever. Never before have I experienced His love so powerfully as I did in that month of May 1998.He washed me clean of my sins, removed my heart of stone and put within me a new heart of flesh and anointed me afresh with His Holy Spirit. Never again did I have a desire to go back to the books and music that I indulged in. Mass had a whole new meaning and never again seemed boring and each time I receive the Lord it’s an experience that fills me with joy. Now I think it’s a privilege to us Catholics that we can actually receive the Lord, in the form of bread, to nourish & sustain us. Nothing will take me away from the Eucharist for it is there that I have experienced joy, comfort and deliverance.
It’s true that since May 1998, I have fallen, quite hard at times but the Lord is always there faithful & kind, ready to pick me up and I’m sure that the God who began the good work within me will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ comes back again.(Phil: 1:6). Praise the Lord.
-- by Belinda