Mona Bawagan-2021-622x350

Mona Bawagan

Campus Missionary Intern

University of Victoria

I was blessed to be born into a loving Catholic family that consistently attended Sunday mass and was active in a Catholic Family Ministry. Aside from preschool, my entire elementary and high school career was funneled through the Catholic school system. Although I knew much about Jesus and the teachings of the Catholic Church, I was not certain that my faith was something worth hanging onto in university.

In the first semester of my first year, I was convinced that I could live a life without Jesus. I stopped going to confession and didn’t receive the Eucharist for months. Little did I know that there was a God-sized hole consuming my heart. I felt numb, completely desensitized from my sinfulness. Even though my friends and family were not aware of my interior turmoil, I believed that I was unworthy of their love, too.

I experienced a very healing moment at a CCO Fall Retreat. It became increasingly clear to me that unworthiness was a huge wound in my side that was being fed by my own vices. This wound caused me to doubt Jesus’ ability and desire to forgive me of the sins I committed. It made me ask the question, “Could Jesus really love me?” often. I sat on the floor of the chapel, sobbing as I hugged my legs close to my chest when suddenly, I felt arms hook under my knees and behind my back. It was Jesus taking me into His arms and holding me like a lost lamb. My shepherd, Jesus, is fully present in the Eucharist and loving me in this very moment! Having that real encounter with Christ changed me. I even went to confession for the first time in months. I never felt so free!

Now when I go to mass, I remind myself of my identity as His beloved daughter. After communion, I imagine opening the door of my heart to Jesus. I invite him into the chaos and joy and, without fail, he fills my heart with peace beyond all understanding.

As a Campus Missionary Intern, it is my greatest joy accompanying students in their relationship with Christ and to missionary conversion.

They say that the more time you spend with someone, the more you acquire their mannerisms and begin to act and sound just like them. A personal relationship with Jesus is no different – if anything, it is intensified to a heavenly degree. There is nothing I desire more than to invite others to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit inspires me to have serious, intentional conversations. I accompanied one woman during a Spring Retreat who openly shared with me the vice that she had been struggling with and had felt oppressed by. Through our conversations, she came to see the devil for the small deceiver that he is and God as the most merciful Father. I am blessed to journey with and intercede for her through the spiritual battle to freedom.

Because of CCO, I see the renewal of the world as a very achievable goal within my lifetime and I want to be at the frontlines of it.

ONGOING PRAYER REQUESTS

For the health of my family, friends, and parish priest.

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