“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.

“The Almighty has Done Great Things for Me.” —Luke 1:49

06-05-2016Encountering ChristSr. Barbara

I grew up in a Catholic family and attended a school run by Franciscan sisters. These sisters instilled in me the desire to love God, through their witness. I would always see them praying their rosary or making a visit to the Church during lunch time. Their love for Jesus stirred in me the desire to love Him more deeply. The Archdiocese of New York had a custom of inviting two children from each Catholic school to wear the habit of the religious community which taught them. I was one of the children whom the sisters chose.

As I walked down the aisle of St. Patrick's Cathedral dressed up as a religious sister, I realized that it made me feel close to God and I wanted this. When I was a senior in high school I met with the superior of a community and spoke to her about entering religious life. She gave me a novena to the Infant of Prague and the Sacred Heart of Jesus to pray and instructed me to come back and speak to her after I was finished. I entered on September 8 — Our Lady's birthday. Despite becoming a sister, I still felt that I didn't really love Jesus as much as I desired. I kept trying to find a program or to read a book, or to learn a different way of praying. I always wanted more in my relationship with Jesus and so I kept searching for ways to love Him more deeply. As time went on, a friend invited me to a prayer meeting. I noticed the people there were praying from their hearts, not from a book; they were talking to Jesus as a friend. I asked how people learned to pray like this? I was then invited to be prayed over for a greater release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I noticed immediate changes in my life, specifically in prayer. Before when I read the Bible I didn't understand what I was reading, now the Scriptures were coming alive, I felt that it was Jesus talking to me, that He was guiding and directing me. Through my years of living religious life I have found that by being in the presence of the Eucharist, placing all my concerns and cares before Him has allowed me to grow in the relationship I always longed for. Through spiritual direction, my mind and heart have experienced healing. God's love has been made personal to me; "The Almighty has done great things for me (Luke 1:49).