“Why does God exist? What does he have to offer? Why should I listen to him?”
These were the questions I constantly asked my self during high school.
I was baptized as a catholic but that quickly became irrelevant as I went to a public high school where faith was not loved nor hated. My school was just completely indifferent about the whole thing. Faith didn’t exist there, almost like a black hole that consumed faith. During that time, God felt very distant and I felt he left me. I no longer saw any reason for me to listen to him and his rules and boundaries that he set for my life. Soon I felt the consequences of doing so. Without him there was a void in my heart, a piece was missing. And with this missing piece i went on a restless search constantly trying to find what filled it, which sadly included things like alcohol, porn, impure relationships, gossip, clothes, money, and popularity. Every time I thought I found a new piece and tried to make the pieces come together, it never fit and I was always left wanting more. Little did I know this void, the missing piece, could only be filled with God’s love.
In senior year, my search for happiness would get even harder for me. I got involved in an impure relationship. I felt the burden of my sin so strongly that every time I went to church on Sunday I felt sick to my stomach. I tried to justify what I was doing as “okay” because society said it was but deep in my heart, I knew I was doing wrong. I ended up feeling trapped in darkness with no way out. I no longer knew who I was, where I was going, or what I believed in. I had hit rock bottom. But through God’s grace I came to the realization that this was no longer a life I wanted to live and I decided I would change.
I made some important decisions to get closer to God. I ended my relationship, I started to care about my future, and for others, and to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Things weren’t perfect; I was still in need of a Christian community and God still had work to do in my heart.
During the first weeks of fall semester at SFU, my prayers were answered. I came across Catholic Christian Outreach at the clubs tables. I met my first real friends of soon to be many at the table, and the first words I uttered out of my mouth were: “Hey, I want to get back into my faith, what can you guys do for me”. (Talk about the easiest evangelization ever). From there I went to their annual fall retreat where I met countless beautiful honest souls that were so on fire about their faith.I went with one of my best friends from high school and I remember asking him, “where are all the stuck up people? Jerks? Gossipers? Backstabbers? Liars? And why is everyone so darn happy?! What do they have in their life that I’m clearly missing?!”.
When adoration came Saturday night, I encountered Jesus in his very presence, in front of the altar on my knees. And taking a very dear friends advice to just give it all to Jesus. All the pain I was going through, the heaviness on my heart, the weight on my shoulders, I gave it all. And then I felt a peace I’ve never felt before in my heart. On my knees I smiled, because i knew my search was done. The pieces finally fit perfectly together.
After fall retreat I made a decision to live out my faith as a true catholic. I joined RCIA shortly after and on April 7, 2012 during the Easter vigil I received the sacrament of confirmation. I started to live a life of purity and charity. I volunteer at my church`s youth ministry, take and lead faith studies, go to cornerstone and summit, and am discerning my vocation. Looking back now, it truly amazes me the transformation God has made in my life. Although it was unfortunate that I wandered so far from God before I truly met him, I am thankful for that it allowed me to truly know all that God has done for me: how loving and merciful he is to still accept me and love for who I was at rock bottom and bring me into the light.