MY CHILDHOOD FAITH
Growing up in an Indian Catholic family I was used to attending Daily Mass, family prayer, retreats and Bible Conventions but I used to dread all these as they seemed so boring and meaningless to me. I always believed there was a God because I found it impossible to say that everything came from nothing, as many people do. But I never really knew much about my faith and that I was called to love God and live for him. Why? Well I thought he was only for older people and he wouldn’t want anything to do with a kid like me. But He has proved me wrong, and He really does care about me and not just me but you also!
SCHOOL OF EVANGELISATION
Two years ago, I was living as a lukewarm Catholic when I heard about a five day retreat called the School of Evangelisation that was being held for teenagers. So, along with many of my friends, I decided to go and packed my bags. I had no idea that this was all part of God’s plan to change my life along with the sixty nine other teenagers, who also attended. I was excited to be going because I thought that it was going to be some sort of camp, where we would sit round the fire singing Jesus songs and eating marshmallows! But something far greater awaited me.
ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
During the retreat, many teenagers were having extraordinary encounters with Jesus, and a new joy, love and peace filled their hearts. I too met him during those days. Now I feel blessed to call Jesus my first and greatest love. Through the preaching, the Holy Mass, Praise and Worship and times of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament I fell head over heels in love with Jesus. I came to understand a deep truth; that Jesus is not some imaginary friend that Christians have to cope with their daily problems, He is truly alive and He is living now. Yes now in 2015! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
JESUS IS ALIVE
I began to wonder if Jesus is alive, why doesn’t everyone in our churches know the fullness of this truth. If Jesus is alive why are so many Christians lukewarm? This wasn’t the case with the early Church when Christians were unimaginably persecuted and killed in many different ways. Christians, who were blamed for burning down the city of Rome by Emperor Nero, were made a public spectacle. They were imprisoned, persecuted, tortured and fed to the lions. No one was spared. While the spectators laughed at them, they never stopped worshipping God throughout their suffering because they knew that God had promised them eternal life. This explained the great joy that radiated from them. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
A NEW PURPOSE
I gave my life to Jesus and like a little baby, I cried for not having known this love earlier. I used to be ashamed in school for being known as a Christian who went to church but Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Anyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge them before my Father and anyone who denies me before others, I will also deny them before my Father.” When I discovered the truth that God sent His only Son for a sinner like me, I was overwhelmed. Jesus died for me and I used to be ashamed to even talk about him. He wasn’t ashamed when he accepted death on the cross for me. Since returning to school there hasn’t been a day without kids making fun of me because of my love of Jesus, but as Paul says, “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) So I try to take each of these tiny persecutions and offer them as little gifts to Jesus. I love Jesus greatly, and my life now has a new purpose and reason. I wish that all my brothers and sisters could know this love. St. Joseph Escriva said “Don’t you long to shout to those people around you, Leave those worldly things and come with us in search of love.”
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Written by Jeril John