You know how children sometimes get the general idea of something, but don’t really get the application of it? Like they know that pets need food, but don’t understand that you can’t feed fish ten times a day. Until recently, this is kind of what my faith was like.
When I was 12 years old, I attended my first retreat event. I had been raised Catholic, and I thought I was a pretty good Christian, but that day, I experienced a whole new way to approach my faith: a personal relationship with Christ. That evening, during Adoration, there was a time for people who had never committed themselves to Jesus to do so. I stood up that night to commit my life to Jesus. However, as a 12 year old, I did not fully understand what it meant and so I had a very child-like view on my new life.
For the next 7 years, I based my faith on this decision I made as a child. I attended many retreats, always recommitting my life to Christ, but never making a true adult commitment. I had knowledge of my faith and the need for prayer, but I was unable to put it into practice because I had not fully realized how necessary and important that relationship is.
For a few weeks leading up to the CCO Fall Retreat in Bruno this past September, things in conversation and prayer would make me think about that commitment I had made, and I began to have doubts if I had ever totally given my life to God. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I had not, and I recognized my need to do so at the upcoming Fall Retreat.
Saturday evening of the retreat, the founder of CCO, Andre Regnier, spoke on choices and choosing Christ as the centre of our lives. My heart started racing as he spoke about what was going to happen at Adoration that night. There would be a time for those who had never given their lives to Christ to make that decision. This was going to be a very public commitment to God, and that’s when I got scared. I thought that many people assumed that I had already made this commitment. I could not humble myself before all of my friends and admit that I had never given my life to Jesus.
During Adoration, as soon as Andre invited people to make their first-time commitment, my heart began beating as fast as possible. I was so nervous of what people would think when I stood up. My heart was yearning to get up and walk to the altar, but I was very set against it. But after the first person went up to the altar, I could not fight God any more. I stood up, walked to the back, wrote my surrender and commitment to Jesus on a piece of paper, and walked towards the altar. During that walk, as I gazed on the Eucharist, I was filled with a great sense of purpose. I knelt down before Jesus, placed my paper in the basket, and said a prayer. As soon as I returned to my seat, I broke down and just wept for joy that I finally been able to make an adult commitment to Christ and that now He was at the centre of my of life.
Now that Jesus is the centre of my life and I realize the importance of this relationship, I have a great desire to share this with other people and to invite them to have a personal relationship with Jesus too. A consistent prayer life is still a struggle for me, but I am certain that because of my relationship with Christ, He will give me the desire and ability to grow in prayer. I find great joy in my new relationship and discussing my faith with others because I am convicted that everyone should have this relationship too. Tonight, I invite you to choose Christ as the centre of your life, whether you have done it before, or this will be your first time, because there is nothing that will bring us greater happiness.