God’s immeasurable love and mercy for humanity is made manifest in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ. Even dying on the cross, “… Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do’” (Luke 23:34).
But Christ also wants to share his love with us now, in unique personal relationships. We are called to seek a personal encounter with Jesus Christ every day. Pope Francis exclaims, “No one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” (Joy of the Gospel).
Help others to know they are not alone! Please share your witness stories with me: Joyofknowing@gmail.com.
Here are two witness stories from individuals who know God gave them the words they needed, when they needed him most.
Comforting words naturally flowed out … unbidden.
Stanley Jaskiewicz said his personal experience with God “remains as clear in my mind as if it had occurred yesterday.”
His son was diagnosed with autism 18 years ago, when he was just a toddler. One night shortly after his diagnosis, his son lay awake, very sick with an infection.
Jaskiewicz lay next to his son, hoping to calm him, but he was thinking about the autism diagnosis and what it would mean for both his son’s future and for the rest of the family. He worried, as a father would, about the challenges they would face and whether he would be able to care properly for his son. He felt a growing despair.
Jaskiewicz knows for sure that God intervened. Without planning to speak, he opened his mouth and “comforting words naturally flowed out … unbidden,” he said.
“Peter,” Jaskiewicz told his son, “Daddy loves you just the way you are, and Mommy loves you just the way you are, and your sister loves you just the way you are. And God, who made you, loves you just the way you are. If you’re good enough for Jesus, how can you not be good enough for me?”
He was stunned by the obvious wisdom of his own words. He knew they were from God and were meant to comfort him as well as his son.
Jaskiewicz found peace that night, learning from our eternal Father. “The best gift I can give to my son, like any child, diagnosis or not, (is) unconditional love,” he said.
Peter is now 21 years old, an Eagle Scout and successful college student. Jaskiewicz is an attorney, working in Philadelphia. He and his wife are very active members of Corpus Christi Parish in Lansdale.
Jaskiewicz also became active in autism advocacy and has written essays for his LinkedIn page and for the book “Autism: Heartfelt Thoughts from Fathers” by Judy Lynne (HighView Publications Autism E, 2007), a passage from which is used here.
After reading “Let’s share our joy of knowing God” June 14 in CatholicPhilly.com, Jaskiewicz “connected the dots” and, gratefully, decided to make advocacy his priority by sharing his family’s story.
‘It wasn’t me. It was the Holy Spirit!’
My second witness spoke at conferences on a regular basis. But one time, he was asked to speak on a very controversial topic. He had sound support for his position but it was not readily accepted.
Because of unplanned events, he was unable to prepare his talk until the night before, and even then was unable to find the right words.
The next day, he gathered some thoughts but knew the only way he would succeed is through prayer. He prayed very hard. Entering the auditorium and walking up to the podium, he remembered saying, “Holy Spirit, please speak through me.”
As he began to speak, he realized he became comfortable in his surroundings rather quickly. He spoke from his heart, and the support for his views was delivered with impeccable timing, sometimes using words he wasn’t sure he had chosen. Several minutes into his talk, he noticed that he had everyone’s attention.
Later as he reflected, he said, “You could hear a pin drop!”
After the conference audience members asked if he had written a book and if they could have his conference notes. He had to get back to them with his notes, since much of what he said was not written down. Now when he speaks of that conference he readily exclaims, “It wasn’t me. It was the Holy Spirit!”
Special thanks to both of our contributors and all those who sent in their special moments with God!
Please share this article and last month’s “shell story.”
We are all called to share our witness of Christ’s love in our lives. Help others find hope in the joy of knowing God.
Send your moments with God or witness story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal information will not be published without your approval.
Cathy Peacock holds an M.A. in theology, is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Wayne.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: