“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus promised that He would never abandon His people; He promised that He would remain until the end of time. Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago, yet He is still present and active in the lives of His people. He is with them. However, recognizing God’s presence in our world today takes a ‘trained eye’ and an act of faith. Jesus can most readily be recognized through the witness of Christian people, people who acknowledge and testify to the power and presence of God in their lives. The ‘Encounter with Christ’ stories help to highlight how God is working in the lives of the people in the parish of St. Magdalen’s Church. These stories are meant to help those who read them to more easily recognize God’s presence in their own lives. God wants to be known by you and to work in your life—invite Him to do so.

Renewal in the Confessional

03-13-2016Encountering ChristJan Coey

I was raised Catholic, so attending Mass was just something we did every week throughout my childhood. However, as I got older and made decisions for myself, I often struggled to find a real purpose for my faith. I drifted farther and farther away from any kind of relationship with God. I justified myself, thinking, 'If I actually heard the voice of God, like Abraham, Noah or Moses, surely I would listen too! It was easier to forget what I knew about the Ten Commandments than to face how desperately I needed the Sacrament of Penance.

After several years, I found my way back to church. Although, it was more meaningful to me than it had ever been, I was still separated from a real relationship with God. Finally, after years of wallowing in my sin, my oldest daughter was preparing for her First Communion and First Penance. How could I ask her to do something I had been unable to do myself? My husband was not Catholic at the time, so raising our children in the faith was on my shoulders, along with the burden of 25+ years of personal sin. I attended Penance with my daughter on her special night and it turned out to be my special night as well! To this day, I have never had such a feeling of peace and joy! I not only understood, but also felt God's love for me! If He could love and forgive me, how could I not love and forgive myself? Every time I receive the Sacrament of Penance, I am renewed in His love for me. He is always waiting with open arms to love and forgive. It is a mercy for which I am eternally grateful!