“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”
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.
My parents raised me in the Catholic faith, providing me with a Catholic education; but apart from Sunday Mass we did not focus much on faith. Despite this, I always had a desire to know and love the Lord. I can remember reading St. Therese's "Story of a Soul", and becoming aware that God was always with me. In high school, I remember having an assignment to read about Moses in the Old Testament, (where God delivered the Israelites from slavery), and thinking that if this story were really true, God must have deeply loved His people.
In college, however, my faith was shaken. I experienced a major trauma and instead of acknowledging the evil that had been done to me, I ignored it and slowly fell into a deep depression. The depression culminated when I graduated from college and took a marketing job in Spain. While in Spain I found myself in a no-win situation at work and pride prevented me from coming home. I was without work, in a foreign country and I did not know where to turn. I went to the US Consulate seeking employment and ran into a priest who directed me to the local Catholic Church. I ended up living and working there with a group of religious sisters who revealed the face of Christ to me. Eventually, I made my way back to the United States and sought to piece my life together. I got married and was blessed with two beautiful children. But amidst this joy I continued to struggle with overcoming the evil I had experienced. Looking back now I can see that God was faithful. He continually provided people to help me rise from the ground and recognize how good and gentle He is. I got involved in our parish and felt particularly drawn to praying the rosary—a devotion I sometimes lead. I still have my share of struggles but the Lord continues to remind me that He is by my side and that He never has, nor will He ever - leave me, no matter what trials I face.
—Anne HercekBACK TO LIST