Friday, 24 July 2020

Podcast

I was far too busy drinking wine with my Mum in beautiful gardens tonight to write a blog post but my existing blog posts will soon be available on my Podcast as well as the YouTube channel.


In this month we commemorate the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is by His blood that I was saved from my sins, and we all are. 
"The precious blood of Christ" is the name of the painting on the back of my prayer table twelve months of the year and is the backdrop of my logo because it describes the precious physical manifestation of God's mercy, and His power over evil in the Passion.

May Jesus cover you with his blood, one drop of which is more powerful than all mankind united.


Friday, 10 July 2020

My Lord in Plaster

I am uploading this Blog in Audio/Visual to this Youtube channel soon-

Ciara Cant Dance

There will be other content available on YouTube later which will not be available here.

I am linking a few seemingly unrelated things this week.

In my last Post I explained that I would be doing a number of Blog posts around Narcissism, and how we use the myth of Echo and Narcissus allegorically to describe human behaviour.

I read a great book by Jon Ronson in 2013 called “The Psychopath Test” I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it-

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson is available to buy on Amazon

This was one of the instigators for me becoming interested in this kind of forensic psychology, whereas I was otherwise reading more about therapies and theories which were for helping with depression and more ordinary mental health problems.

By February 2014 I was in Melbourne, Australia, and wasn’t able to leave the accommodation where I was staying for health reasons. So I had a lot of time to read and write, but could only read via the internet.

I had realised God exists about a month earlier and was reading the Bible online, Psychological journal articles, free books and websites; usually written by psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

I was also developing a more intense interest in reading about the seven deadly sins, and read things like extracts from Dante’s Divine Comedy for the first time. This in turn often led to blogs and Christian websites, though I don’t remember taking what the Christians had to say too seriously.

Less often I ended up on Blogs and similar sites written by mentally ill people and victims of abuse. These in turn led to poems by victims, which I found often spoke about Narcissism, because lots of abuse victims describe their abusers as Narcissists.

Although it was during this period that I became interested in Narcissism I was also reading around other areas of Psychology. I was interested in the genesis of mental health problems and so also often ended up reading about child development.

I filled notebooks with poetry at this time! I can remember much of what I read because of how it inspired my thought processes and ended up in these poems, most of which I still have.



Recently, during protests by people passionate for justice, statues of certain figures have been defaced and destroyed; usually because the protesters feel that the person represented is not worthy of being honoured.         

I am not commenting on these events from any kind of moralistic or political perspective, but it reminded me of a poem I wrote in February 2014.

The poem is about idealising people. It sprang from my analysis of my relationship and attitude to my own Father, from my personal introspection I interpreted a general theory and extrapolated, applying it to other people and situations.

As is usually the case with me, there is a manifold amalgamation of inspiration to each poem. In this one I could cite the TV show 'Frasier', the Studio Ghible film 'Spirited Away', the journal articles and websites I was reading about child development, crumbling statues, and then personal reflections from my own life and the subsequent extrapolations.

As I wrote it, I imagined looking up at an extreme angle to a crumbling statue which is outside, it is looking a little worse for wear. So, it was difficult for me not to make the link with current events of querying the worthiness of figures from the past who were once honoured and are now being denigrated.


My Lord in Plaster

Ideals,

Like idols, vain and built long ago,

Disintegrating slowly.

Had I an idol of my own?

Measurements.

Soon I would see they don’t match up.

My face would betray me!

There is worthiness in stature.

My growing pains

Spirited away, weathered,

And such as life provides.

All the illusions of fate flatten.

Degrading-

A chip in the nose,

A shit on the shoulder,

Suddenly my flesh is less fragile.

You could crush me

But you too were a man.

 

The poem is not entirely about one relationship or person. My interpretation of human behaviour and the conclusion that it is common for people to idealise a person, especially a parent figure, and then to denigrate them when their flaws become apparent, before accepting them as they are in their humanity is not my own idea but it was the first time I thought to apply it to myself. My subsequent introspection and imagined visualisation inspired the poem. 

May more delicate readers please accept my apologies for the bad swears, this was written in the pre-Christian Ciara, whose own family dubbed her a "hamster-handed fishwife". It would hurt the poem if I changed it, and I don’t feel the need to.

So how does the poem relate to Narcissism? It doesn’t directly, I wrote the poem around the time I started reading about Narcissism.

Though I will explain more clearly in the Youtube Video how I think this idealising/denigration theory and Narcissism are linked and it will become more clear when I explain my interpretation of Narcissism. 
It is too much to go into now- but my first clue is that in the myth, poor, vain Narcissus is captivated by his own reflection in the water!

May God bless us and help us to be kind and merciful. Especially when we see the things in ourselves and others which make us less qualified for a place on a plinth.


Friday, 26 June 2020

The Good, the Bad and the Pathologically Narcissistic

When I was trying to understand the world through psychological theories I came across certain teachings which spoke about Narcissism.

Narcissism and Narcissist are common terms which people use to describe evil traits/attitudes and selfish people. I don’t like their use because I believe the way they are most commonly used implicitly denies the truth of Christianity.

I was quite interested in Narcissism from a psychological and artistic perspective for a while before I became a Christian and in some respects I still am. There are many great poems and pictures around the myth of Narcissus, and the story Echo and Narcissus itself is a good read.

I like to use the story in relation to vanity and identity too. The way I use this allegory, and probably many others do, fits into and builds on the truths of the Christian faith so does not deny the truth.
I think people who do not believe in God can never have a realistic understanding of evil, and that is in part what leads to a lot of disorder in the world.


My own understanding of Narcissism from a psychological perspective is not the same as that which I have come across personally when reading about psychology.

When Christians especially speak about Narcissism as though it is an incurable personality fault, I tend to say that the Tragedy of Narcissus, or Echo and Narcissus, is a Greek myth.

It reminds me of the Bible verse 2 Timothy, chapter 4, verses 3-4:
“The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths.”

I chose this translation from my CTS travel Bible because it says instead of listening to the truth.
The fact that Narcissus is a myth is important because it is that little fictional story which is the origin of the label, and the connotations it has.  

In my experience Christians often take on the modern ideas of Narcissism to such an extent that it replaces the Christian understanding of selfishness- that which involves the reality of sin and our fallen nature, or inclination to do self-destructive things for vain reasons.

So, although I don’t think about this much now it is still an interesting topic, even when looked at through a Christological lens. I have spent so much time on it in the past I could probably do a thesis or book if I had the credentials, but I don’t; however I also can’t do one blog post and do the topic justice either, so I am going to do a few posts on Narcissism and Christianity.

I will be sharing some art, poetry and referencing things like Modernism and the seven deadly sins in order to reflect on this topic of selfishness, or Narcissism; during that time I will look at my own pre-Christian understanding of Narcissism relative to my understanding now, and reflect on that as well as I can in relation to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

It is possible this topic would put me at odds with most people who have inculcated a lot of the psychological mumbojumbo which is so popular. Even many Christians will not like what I have to say, but I hope I am able to make my point clearly enough that people will see where I am coming from and how and why I feel the term has been misappropriated by a Godless world.

A wrong label and understanding of people prevents real solutions to evil; therefore I believe because the current, common use of the term Narcissism is used in place of Christian truths we are prevented from real solutions to evil, which can be better understood and therefore addressed with a Christian perspective.

Watch your own face this space.

May God bless you and take each of us from pitiful puddles of self-love to the living water of Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Step into my heart, leave your cares behind.

Of all the Catholic posts I’ve posted, this is surely the most Catholic.

I am writing this late and fairly quickly again, so I hope I am succinct and clear.

I’m touching on some important aspects of my spiritual life which I could go on about so… I am mortifying my desire to go on too much to share some things which give a lot of value to my life of faith.

(Catholic virtue level one attained through mortification)

Today many start a Novena prayer to the Sacred heart of Jesus, I will be starting mine tomorrow.

A Novena is a prayer or set of prayers, traditionally prayed over nine days though length of time can vary; prayers used for Novenas can be said any time, once, or every day, I do several perpetual Novenas.

Often Novenas are prayed to Saints in preparation for their feast day. At the moment, for example, I am praying an extra Novena prayer each evening to St. Anthony of Padua in preparation for his feast this Saturday.

Read about my lovely friend and constant companion, St. Anthony here-

https://www.stanthony.org/who-st-anthony/

People who pray Novenas usually begin nine days before the feast and end on the vigil (night before) the feast, but I did not know that when I started praying them so I time mine to end on the feast day itself rather than the vigil.

(Catholic virtue level two attained through recitation of Novena prayers)

The most common “Sacred Heart Novena” prayer which was famously prayed by St. Padre Pio and many will have started today I pray each morning.

We are praying a Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in preparation for the feast of the Sacred heart of Jesus which this year will be on Friday 19th June.

The words are available via this link-

https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/novena-prayer-to-the-sacred-heart-311

As I already pray this prayer for the same intention each morning, I will be using a different prayer for the next nine days because I want to specially honour the heart of Jesus and be mindful of the approaching feast.

Before I pray Padre Pio’s perpetual Novena to the Sacred heart in my morning prayer routine, I consecrate myself to the hearts of Jesus and Mary every morning. This consecration is my first mindful renewal of my vocation as a follower of Jesus Christ and a reminder of who I rely on for faithfulness to that calling.

(Catholic virtue level three attained through consecration to the hearts of Jesus and Mary)

It’s all weird Catholic stuff if you don’t do it, even if you’re a Christian. Even if you’re a Catholic.

Yet this is a meaningful part of my faith, because my experience has shown these practices and devotion has real power to change a person’s spiritual life and relationship with God.

My devotion to the Sacred heart was something which God started certainly when I visited St. Mary MacKillop in North Sydney in 2017.

The only Australian Saint, and she is another good friend of mine. The first Saint I deliberately went on pilgrimage to see… on the metro, between sushi and coffee. But a pilgrimage, nonetheless.

Gift commission done with Fiona Galt for Sisters of Mary, Morning Star.


In a booklet I bought in the gift shop I read these words:

“Jesus love makes suffering sweet;

Jesus love makes the world a desert.

When storms rage,

When persecutions or dangers threaten,

I quietly creep into the deep abyss of the Sacred Heart and, securely sheltered there, my soul is in peace, though my body is tossed upon the stormy waves of a cold and selfish world.”

 

I was shocked to hear that the Saint crept into the heart of Jesus, as though it is an actual place.

This ignited a desire in me to understand something I had no experience of. Her words had the ring of truth, even though I couldn’t quite grasp them.

Soon after I started praying a Sacred heart consecration prayer each morning which was printed on a bookmark I bought from the St. Mary MacKillop gift shop.

I didn’t deliberately choose this consecration and hadn’t thought about what the word consecration meant, or the implication. I just liked the prayer, picture and quote on the bookmark and was captivated by the idea that the heart of Jesus is a haven.

By September 2017 I decided I wanted to consecrate myself to the Immaculate heart of Mary, whose feast falls the day after the Sacred Heart.

A friend gave me St. Louis De Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary” and told me about what the consecration is. I was also reading about Fatima because it was the year of the Centenary so did the “first five Saturdays” in preparation, finishing with particular prayers and completing the consecration to Mary in May 2018.

The book info-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/True-Devotion-Mary-Preparation-Consecration/dp/1783790040/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&qid=1591821351&refinements=p_27%3ALouis+de+Montfort&s=books&sr=1-2

The “first five Saturdays” info-

http://www.themostholyrosary.com/appendix2.htm

So, I fell into my consecration to the Sacred Heart and then probably over-prepared for my consecration to the Immaculate heart of Mary.

These consecrations are linked and are in a sense the same intention of my heart, to give myself completely to God and live in His divine will. I have come to know and love what these devotions mean in a deeper way through prayer, contemplation and art.

The art of the Sacred heart of Jesus can look quite sentimental and dated but it stirs something in me now which I find irresistible. I am drawn to the pictures and statues of the heart of Jesus and feel connected to God through these works of art.

I am looking forward to the double feast and I am happy to celebrate the fact that Jesus has let me into his heart as I try in my small way to honour our loving God.

Sacred heart statue at St. Joseph's Church, Weymouth, where I worshipped 2018-2019.


It is a mysterious thing but I feel that the heart of Jesus is my home.

In the world I am still a bit of a restless, lost person but it doesn’t matter and it won’t ever matter if that never changes. There is a peace I have and a sense of belonging I experience just by looking at Jesus and his exposed, bleeding, burning heart.

I like the description of Purgatory, where people are purified in preparation for Heaven after death, as immortal souls being burned up in the heart of Jesus. His heart is on fire; burning away all the evil, so that in the embers the glowing, glorified body and soul of the believer is ready to shake off the dirt of the world and enter the divine life for good.

This journey into the divine can start to happen now. If we seek to make the heart of Jesus our haven, or safe place, then we are already having the dross of sin purified from our souls in preparation for Heaven.

(Catholic virtue level *incalculable* attained through consecration to the hearts of Jesus and Mary)

Here is some more information about devotion to the heart of Jesus, followed by yet another Catholic prayer treasure, the Litany to the Sacred heart.

https://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/litany-of-the-sacred-heart.html

Hoping you find your true home in Heaven through the pierced heart of Our Blessed Lord.


Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Gratitude and love

The tenth commandment is:

"You shall not covet... anything that is your neighbour's... you shall not desire your neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbour's."

In Matthew's Gospel, chapter six, Jesus says:

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

A quick reflection for my final post on the ten commandments.

This guidance from God helps us appreciate others and treat them with respect by loving them and behaving fairly when people have possessions we want for ourselves.

So it is OK to want something someone else has but not if it makes us sad, resentful or in any other way unkind towards others, nor if it leads us to try to get the thing we want dishonestly. Like by stealing, swindling or lying etc. 

I think sometimes it's OK to want something we don't have. If it spurs us on to be better or do better, or in some good way to seek to get the object of our desire,  as long as it is a reasonable and good thing for us to obtain.

When faced with feelings of irritation or when looking down on people for having things I think the best way to approach it is to recognise their goodness.
This takes Christianity to do well. I don't see how anyone can hold a view that all of humanity is good in themselves with the evil in the world perpetrated by the human race.

If we see people as made in God's image and with the potential for good through divine power then it makes sense that humanity is good.
If we see ourselves as sinners who can be forgiven by a loving, kind God we realise we aren't better than others, and as we have been forgiven it is fair that we forgive others too.
So with this forgiving, Christian ideal to strive for we can see that even the most apparently reprehensible person can be prayed for. 

We are loving people often who have a great deal, and maybe unjustly, when so many have so little. But we must love them if we are to be like Jesus, and recognise that they are as entitled to the goods they have which they have received through just means.
People who obtain goods through unjust means might make us angry and they are even more in need of our prayers. Not being entitled to their goods, they will suffer for their unjust gain more than those who suffer loss in this life. 

If we feel we do not have what we deserve then the answer in the long run might be some struggle against injustice but right now it is to persevere in gratitude. Acceptance of our present situation and giving thanks for what we have and don't have is liberating and beautiful.

I started praying prayers of thanksgiving as a New Age person to try and cultivate a more positive attitude.
I believed in a pantheistic creator God who didn't really hear my prayers so they were more like positive affirmations spoken in meditation. 

I highly recommend getting to know the good God who loves to hear our prayers of thanks to Him because He is our loving Daddy. 
Like all good Fathers He gives us good things and sometimes says: no, you can't have that. 
It is most annoying and certainly does me the world of good.

I will keep asking myself what my most treasured possessions and desires are to see if my heart is where it ought to be. If my heart is in the right place then I don't think I need to worry about what I don't have, or what others have.

Hoping that counting your blessings and seeing loss as gain will help you to have peaceful hearts when the other got what you want.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The heart wants what it wants

I didn't have time to write a post today so I'm just doing a quick reflection on the ninth commandment from my phone.

"You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's servant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbour's."

In the Catholic Church we separate the commandments differently to Protestants. The ninth and tenth commandments both deals with covetousness, or wanting. 

The ninth commandment deals especially with our desires for one another. This leads into our desire for sex, when our want is another person.

Jesus says: 
"Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has ready committed adultery with her in his heart."

As a dedicated sarcastic cynic for most of my life using the word 'heart' to describe my innermost desire and the core of me in a sincere way was not easy, but it became necessary.

Desire as a want can be shallow and animalistic when it is for something like foos. Often for me this will be a cup of tea. This is the lifeblood of England and a desire shared by my fellow countrymen.

Closer to my heart than tea would be my desire to paint and go to galleries. Lots of people love art but it's a passion I have which others don't and I have cultivated through habit and love through my life.
In a way this then became a part of me because it is so much a part of my life that it then constitutes a part of my own self, my identity.
Yet I could suddenly stop painting and visiting galleries, go off art completely and take up rugby or gardening instead. 
The art is just a thing but it has changed me. I look at things differently because of it, I respond and think differently because of my creativity and love of light, colour and subjects which I like to see in art.

The most important things we desire which come very close to our heart is other people.
In a similar way people change us, and we can look and act differently depending on how and who we spend time with and keep close to us.

I have found one way I was inclined to break this commandment is when I desired not a person, but something about a person.
Someone might have a quality I admired and I would seek them out because of it.

Sometimes a piece of art will be brilliant because of the originality of the composition or exquisite execution or use of colour etc. As an artist I look at some artworks and think "wow! That is so cool, I wish I could do that" or "I wish I had thought of that"
I'm not being covetous, but admiring the skills of another person. 

My love for this subject is ordered enough to appreciate the other without the desire to possess it all for myself.

This is an attitude I can see in my relationships too sometimes.
Depending on my desire, I seek out particular people sometimes because they will help me fulfil what I want.
So if I want to go to an exhibition at a gallery I call an art loving friend. If I want a laugh I call a funny raconteur. Etc.
I admire the persons qualities, whether I have them myself or not.

Close to our hearts are also our identities. Looking back, when I was younger I think I struggled with this sin of covetousness when I saw in people what I wanted to see in myself.

If I saw others had traits or habits I didn't have but wanted I might admire them in a way, but it could make me sad, not happy, because I wanted that part of them for myself.

This sadness doesn't come from love of the other person, even with an acknowledgement of their goodness, it comes from a disorder in our self-love.

This kind of pain impacts how we see ourselves and our relationship with others.

It is a kind of self rejection as well as lack of apprecitation for the other person.

When we just want someone for sex that is the shallow desire similar to desiring food-or tea. The closer we get to the heart, the deeper the desire is and the more it hurts when it is disordered. 

If we seek love with people when we cannot have the relationship we want with them it causes mutual pain.

In friendship, but especially in romantic relationships, we are seeking people like us but who will also take us beyond ourselves;  that's why it can be desirable and good to be with people who have good traits or habits we need.

This love can be genuine and embrace the others goodness even when we see we don't have it, like what I said about art, or it can be jealous and possessive. Wanting the other but resenting the other persons goodness, feeling bad about ourselves. 

It's midnight. I better stop in case I turn into a pumpkin and some hungry witch wants a piece.

Enjoy your passions and keep the people in your life closest to your heart even when what we want makes true love complicated and painful.

God bless you, you are precious to God.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Living a lie


I’m moving house this week so have rushed this post a bit, but I trust in my haste I have not sworn falsely.

The eighth commandment, as found in the old testament of the Bible-

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, this teaching is relative and deepened by the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter five:

“It was said to the men of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.”

This commandment helps us to respect others by being honest about them and not saying things about them which are not true. In a deeper way it helps us to live in the truth and respect the truth in every way in our lives.

When I was twenty-one I started to try in earnest to live the most honest life I could, and this desire and effort on my part meant looking at myself honestly, including all the parts of me that were false. At twenty-one that was a lot, even physically when I looked in the mirror at the bleach blonde hair and little dress I felt like a complete fraud. 

I could say I was living a lie, in a sense, but it’s not so much that I didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t trying to be something I was not, but I felt incapable of living a good life in accordance with my true self and had become a slave to bad habits and negative lies I believed about life and humanity.

I had been quite introspective as a teenager and had some inherent sense of who I was, but felt restless. Time that wasn’t filled with activity had to be devoted to seeking or smoking drugs. I even consciously acknowledged that I had to get out of my own head so I didn’t have to face what was inside it.

Thank God He used what was to follow to give me the opportunity to change.

I’d say one thing which was fundamental to change was realising that truth is more certain than I thought; I would have thought truth was more open to interpretation than it reasonably can be in reality.

Realising that truth can be certain means that we can discover it, and this inevitably means we also see ourselves in a more realistic light. Which is sometimes difficult or painful, but also leads to a more authentic, honest life.

It is helpful to realise that truth being relative is a logical fallacy, because then the search for truth can be made more confidently. If we think there might be an infinite number of possible realities then we can never have hope of knowing what is certain. The search for truth is then as meaningless as a recreational activity because it is just theoretical speculation, rather than an actual intellectual pursuit.
If truth is relative, then it is a certain truth that truth is relative. So, that in itself means that truth cannot be relative, because it is certainly true and not debatable that truth is relative. It makes no sense.

For much of my life I believed that truth is relative and yet refused to believe anything as being true that did not rely on empirical evidence. How could anything be proved, even empirically, if truth is relative? Nothing could be proved or certainly known.

We can change things about ourselves and the world too, all things are not fixed in stone; we can have different opinions or interpretations of things, but things also are a certain way too, and there are certain truths which we can seek and know.

My search for truth started originally when I was young but got interrupted when my ignorance and loneliness led to feckless hedonism in my mid-teens.

When I stopped hiding and started searching again (at twenty-one) I tried to improve my self-knowledge through introspection but also read things around psychology, history, philosophy, religion etc.

My search for the truth and desire for self-improvement brought me to the Catholic Church and I have a close friendship with Jesus Christ because of what I am willing to suffer to live an authentic, honest life.

I am more similar to how I was aged fifteen than I was in my early twenties. I may have dipped into the Bible at times but between the ages of fifteen and twenty-three I never opened the Bible with a desire to seek the truth. In fact I probably thought I knew better because I had read it before… as though that is proof that it isn’t true.

I said in my first blog post that my search for the truth became seeking a person, Jesus. It is is because I seek Him that I can be myself.

My identity as an Atheist was a false understanding of myself because God exists. It is possible to be an Atheist intellectually if you don’t think God exists; because of the lack of faith that is authentic, but it is always an ego thing because it is certain God exists. Therefore, all Atheists are living a lie, they just believe the lie.

If we don’t know the truth, then we cannot be honest. This is why I need God to be my authentic self, because through my relationship with His son I know the truth and so can be who I truly am.
Jesus gives me courage to be disliked, without disliking myself because of what others think of me. He helps me love people who dislike or mistreat me.

He helps me to love and appreciate others who I think are better than me, and not to feel bad about myself if I feel I am not good enough.

He helps to humble me and see others as better than myself if I wrongly believe I am better than others.

He takes what is good in me and makes it better, He helps me to overcome the things in myself which are not good, which I cannot change by my own efforts.

He helps me to remain faithful to God by avoiding sin and forgiving me when I sin.

Sin is an unpopular word, it upsets people. It upsets people who don’t believe it exists more than it upsets Christians because we know God is love and forgives us for our sins through our relationship with Him and the Sacraments.

Another way we refer to sin is bondage, as in sin is like a trap. We get trapped when we sin, even if we only do it once, but when it is a habit and so much of a habit that it’s like a part of our personality it becomes even more of a trap.



Jesus says:

“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I am free through my relationship with truth, Jesus. I can now live an authentic life by following His way, and sharing in His life.

I believed the lies about myself and others for most of my life, that we are not worthy of love. That people are rubbish.

I believed the lie that God doesn’t exist or care about us. That people who believe in God need to because of emotional and intellectual immaturity, or because of strong cultural influences.

I believed the lie that sin doesn’t exist, so I couldn’t be set free from the trap and healed.

I came to know Jesus, even as an unbaptised atheist, firstly by reading the Bible.

“Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

I did not believe the words of the Bible straight away, but I returned to it. I understand much more of the Bible now because of my union with Jesus Christ in prayer and through the sacraments.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
True to His word, fourteen years after I first tried to seek understanding by reading the Bible, I did see that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

If I had been baptised as an infant, raised in the faith, received the sacraments etc. then I could have had the faith, hope and love I experience now in my authentic life with Christ, but like so many my parents didn’t have the life themselves to pass on to me.

That is why I am so grateful to God that I have failed and suffered in my life, because if I hadn’t then I would not have needed to seek the truth nor recognised my need to change for the better.

I hope my fellow truth seekers will also be set free by the life that Jesus invites us to share in.