Over the next several Sundays, I have been sharing my personal journey back to the practice of my faith and full communion with the Catholic Church. How I lost my faith in God, and how through God’s grace and loving care I was able to repair my relationship with God our Father and experience the loving care he has for me in my life.
It was then in my darkest hour when I let go of my plans, and allowed the Lord to direct my life that the answer came. Listen to our Savior’s own agony in Matthew 26: 36-39:
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray. “ He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with Me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
Control versus Surrender.
Although I had a new life in Christ, I was still trying to live life on my own terms. Subconsciously, I thought, I am now doing what I am suppose to be doing, I am going to Church, I was participating in the Sacraments, I have repented and reformed my life. What isn’t God giving me the life that I so desperately want?
“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33
My new life in Christ was not complete until I realized the gift I had been given through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. That gift of faith was grace. The Grace of Christ is a gratuitous gift that God gives to us of his life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying grace received at Baptism.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” 2 Cor. 5:17-18
In order to accept God’s grace, I must be open and willing to accept this gift of grace. This gift cannot be understood by the human heart, it must be understood with the eyes of faith. I had to let go of my idea of what my family would look like. I started reading Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church especially its advice to infertile couples. Like Mary, I pondered these words in my heart and prayed that God would show me the way.
As I read I learned that the disciples were not perfect people either. They too had fallen short of the glory of God. Even though they had give up everything and followed Christ, they still struggled as I was struggling. A great example of this is Peter.
Here is Peter in the Gospel of John 6: 66-69:
“Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave? Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom we shall go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Yet, even Peter let Jesus down in his time of need.
“And they said to Peter, ‘You are not one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, ‘didn’t I see you in the garden with him?’ Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.” John 19: 25-27
However, on Pentecost, Peter along with the other apostles and the Virgin Mary received the Holy Spirit from then on there was no fear, only faith and the Spirit and grace of God.
And so the Holy Spirit came to me. I woke up in the middle of the night full of despair, such darkness surrounded me, and it scared me. I started repeating this simple prayer, Come Holy Spirit, come.
Soon, I felt the warm embrace of the Holy Spirit around me, and within me. I was at peace and I knew what God was calling me to do.