Cathy Peacock

Pope Francis asks us to seek, or at least be open to, a personal encounter with Jesus Christ every day. What does that mean to you personally?

I believe God longs to reveal himself, and particularly his immeasurable love and mercy, to everyone on earth. He longs to have a personal relationship and guide each one of us throughout our journey here. But he won’t force us to seek him. He has given us the great gift of free will.

The stories I share in this column describe individuals’ personal experience of God’s love. Openness to the personal experience of his love and belief in his divine intervention are both predicated on very important presumptions of faith: God loves us as we are and meets us where we are.

We are not expected to be perfect before we approach God in prayer, seeking a personal relationship with him. Rather, he wants us to seek his presence, love and guidance in the midst of our very own brokenness.

If we come to him in true humility, revealing all of our flaws and weaknesses, it is only then that the veil can be lifted and God’s love can penetrate our heart.

“God longs to shower us with signs of his love and affection!” St. Teresa of Avila uses these exact words in her depiction of the spiritual journey of the human soul in her tremendous literary work, “The Interior Castle.”

The soul is tormented with many earthly distractions preventing us from seeing who we are: most beloved children of the Most High God! Material distractions are only part of what prevents us from experiencing the joy of knowing Christ every day.

In a fallen world where judgment and accusation reign over love and mercy, it is understandable that many people cannot imagine a God who “is” love, and who is waiting, longing for us to turn to him, so that he can share his love, heal our wounds and guide us in our earthly journey so that we can become all that we are created to be.

I am using this month’s column to urge all of you to share the truths that are stated here. We all need to open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to the many ways God might be trying to speak to us. He loves us all and we are all good enough to experience a joy-filled, loving personal relationship with him.

In working to gather stories of faith to share, I’ve spoken with many good, faith-based people who don’t know that God longs for us to turn to Him so he can share his love and guide us in our journey, here. They may believe God is more eminent than immanent.

I spent much of my earlier life in this mindset. Prior to my own faith experiences in my thirties, I was a cradle Catholic, but only knew God from a distance and was unsure of his love. I feared a judgmental God growing up.

If asked, I would have responded, “Why would God ever want to reveal himself to me?”

After dear friends and witnesses shared their personal faith stories with me (specifically telling of Christ’s love) and helped me to see how Christ was moving in my life, my eyes were opened and I was permanently changed. I did seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I brought all my brokenness in prayer and asked for his help. I was amazed at how quickly he acted on my behalf! I continued to recognize his loving acts in my life and became filled with wonder and awe. What a blessed time in my life. I am still amazed by his kindness and loving acts.

Sharing our faith stories can open a person’s heart to the wonder of God’s mighty love and lead that person to a new relationship with God.

Please share your faith experience and help others draw closer to God.

Send your faith stories now to joyofknowing@gmail.com. You do not need to write out your complete story. Please just send a brief summary and I will contact you about the details. I’ll print as many stories as I can.

Whether you have a life-transforming witness story, an “aha” moment of God’s divine providence, one personal experience of Christ’s love, or several examples of how Jesus Christ communicates with you every day, please send a few sentences about your faith story to joyofknowing@gmail.com. Thank you so much!

Please share this article and previous faith stories on social media, below. Lead others to the joy of knowing God!

Let’s share our joy of knowing God
When they needed the right words, Holy Spirit delivered
When God speaks to our heart, we are forever changed

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Cathy Peacock holds an M.A. in theology, is a certified public accountant and a member of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Wayne.