My household was sort of practicing catholic, I say sort of because my dad was atheist and my mom was catholic. My mom was very faithful but she didn’t understand in depth what it meant to be a catholic, so I was raised to go to Mass on Sundays and received my sacraments like most Catholics do, but this had no real impact on my life, it was just something I did.
When I was around nine years old my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis(MS), this affected greatly our lives, we visited many doctors, tried many treatments but nothing could help her recover, she would continually and slowly worsen, this had a great impact in my life because she needed help with everything, after a few years of fighting the disease things had gotten really difficult for her and we were losing hope for the future since she couldn’t leave the house anymore.
My mom would always do all she could to go to Mass on Sundays and one day the parish priest approached her about a layperson through whom many people had received healing. Of course she wanted to invite him home and so he came to pray for her. Under the skeptical eye of my dad, she received miraculous healing, recovering everything she had lost, including the capacity of having more children(I got two little sisters, 14 years younger than me). This on its own was more than enough but it was not all the Lord had for us. Through her healing our family was converted, having been there to help her and now seeing her recovered we were given an amazing gift of faith.
This is where my journey with Christ began, sadly due to my disinterest in the church as a child I could barely recite a couple of prayers. All I knew was that God had healed my mom but I didn’t know how to grow in this relationship, I had no idea how to let God fill my life. Like most people my age I started looking for happiness in popularity, pleasure and money. I would pray to God only to ask him for worldly things. I was pretty good at being desired and admired by others, believing this was what gave me worth, and so I used those around me to fill myself with praise and pleasure. The craziest part is that I was going to mass every Sunday, I would read and serve at mass regularly but never really lived it in a personal way. The Lord had different plans for me and so he slapped me in the face, slowly but surely these masks of who I was and what gave me worth starting to fall as I got injured, I stopped playing soccer, gained weight, was cheated on by my girlfriend and was lied to by my friends. Feeling as if I had no worth I was faced with a big question, were these things what gave me worth? If this is not who I am, then who am I?
I was blessed that not long after this I was invited to a CCO event where I met many other practicing young Catholics that knew so much more than me about their relationship with God, they weren’t just following by faith but they understood what it meant to be a Catholic, a son of God, how He wanted us to be fulfilled by a relationship with Him and how to strengthen that relationship. Experiencing this relationship with God helped me to start healing my wounds and uncover the lies in my heart about what gave me worth. Feeling His love helped me understand that I was not loving those around me, I realized that instead of being angry at them, I needed to ask for forgiveness because of how I had used them in the past for my own selfish gain. Since then I’ve continued to nourish this relationship with God, learning how to share my faith and allowing His love to overflow into all my relationships.
This year the Lord has called me to be part of CCO as a full-time missionary at Brock University and I can’t wait to see the amazing things the Lord has in store for the future. It’s a privilege to work with our university students to journey with them, love them and challenge them to become leaders for the renewal of the world.