My experience as a Christian began as a child when I was baptised. At age seven I received instructions in my faith as a Roman Catholic in order to receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and Communion.
We continued to attend Mass as a family whilst I was growing up, mainly to worship and praise as part of the Catholic Community where I lived but also because my mother had a very deep faith and relationship with Christ which she wanted us children to have as well. My father and my siblings did have faith but I really found everything so much more interesting than they seemed to.
For some reason the words of the scripture readings made sense, the beauty of a God that became man and born into lowly poverty in a stable or cave whilst on the run from the authorities who were trying to kill him seemed to make profound sense to me. I also remember meditating on the words and sentiment of the Lord’s Prayer during the Mass one time and reflecting that it was a “perfect prayer, utterly complete”. I was seven years old.
After I left school and went into full-time work, I suffered a lot of untreated and undiscovered mental health issues (depression, anxiety, neuroses and phobias). Also, I was abused and mentally, verbally and physically bullied and I became disillusioned with life, so I turned to alcohol and drugs and away from my Christian upbringing and left that all behind.
After years of chaos and misery and consequences, I was touched by grace. My partner said she wanted to take our two children to Mass, in order to get to know our local priest so that we could have our sons baptised. I agreed to come along. I am glad I did.
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