As Catholics, we have a tendency to refrain from sharing about our personalrelationship with God. However, this is something we feel needs to change! Webelieve sharing our faith with others and being witnesses to how God has workedin our lives, can only help to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ!
In order to help facilitate this sharing, we will be featuring conversion stories and personal testimonies about how God has impacted the lives of our parishioners.
For those of you who may not know me, I am Matt Henry. I am a “cradle Catholic”. I have two loving and supportive parents and am one of five children. I have four sisters. I attended both parochial and public schools. I participated in C.E. and youth group.
In my youth, I remember my confirmation and Steubenville conference being powerful encounters with God.
As connected as I was to God and my faith then, I drifted away from God as I experienced college and early adulthood. I attended mass when it was convenient. I stopped receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation.
I first looked for fulfillment in romantic relationships. I had negative experiences in those relationships. Bad ones turned to worse. With each failure my trust in God and others diminished. Eventually I gave up on relationships all together. My circle of trusted friends shrank and I had an increasing sense of loneliness and depression. Something was missing.
Next, I turned to my work. I joined committees, became the president of the state’s choir teacher organization, and commonly spent 14 to 16 hours a day at work. Because I am both a high school teacher and a music minister, I worked 7 days a week. Even as I experienced “success” in my work, my money, the titles, accolades and awards did not make me happy. The people I worked for often let me down. I still had a sense of emptiness and now I had lots of stress. Something was missing…
God was not invited to be in my relationships or work (even at church). My plans were more important than his. I saw God as more of a historical figure than a person present and interested in me. Even though I had neglected my relationship with God, he was still there. Working behind the scenes to offer me opportunities to get back on track. But I had to listen.
If I prayed, I prayed TO God. I told him what I want and need. When I learned to listen…to be quiet and simply recognize the presence of God, to ask him what he wanted or needed from me, something amazing began to happen. It is amazing how God speaks to us throughout our day. God was thumping me on the back of the head saying “Are you done yet? Do you want to keep moping or do you want to live the life I have in mind for you? Let me help you. Here’s an opportunity…and another…and another.”
Father Chad is passionate about adult catechesis. When the Christ Life series began, I volunteered as a favor to him, providing music. I did not plan to get anything from the series, but when I arrived in the first week I felt called to sit at a table and participate in the group. My heart and my mouth were unlocked as I was finally participating in the parish community. We ate together, joked together, shared our trials and triumphs together and my sense of God in my life and in my church was elevated…So this I why we are supposed to go to church? Not just for the word and the Eucharist, but for each other. This is a gift God gives us! Wow.
Within that series I felt called again to go to confession. It had been nearly a decade since my last. It was amazing (and long)….with each sin I confessed Father celebrated…yes, cheered for me… God’s graces flowed and I felt forgiveness and love in a way I had long forgotten. God can forgive anything. No one is beyond God’s saving grace. I anticipated many rosaries for penance, but instead father told me to focus on building my relationship with the Holy Spirit and to invite God to be a part of all of my relationships moving forward. Let me tell you, it works.
We are made for relationship with God and God needs to be present in all of our relationships. When we embrace this, life gets easier and a whole lot better. I may not have found Mrs. Right yet, but I have found my soul mate…my God who loves me better and more completely than anyone else could. For that, I am blessed!
May God bless you!BACK TO LIST