I admit, with my whole body, that I have had lost faith and understanding in everything that was around me.
I'm a born and raised a "devout" Catholic. I put devout in quotations because for most of my life I never felt as if I truly was giving my life to God. On my father's side I have a very strict traditional Roman Catholic family. Traditional enough that they still went to mass that was said in latin whenever possible. My mother's side, however, are more non-practicing Catholics. They went to church every sunday and most holy days of obligation, but none of them really lived a life that reflects the image of God, if you know what I mean. (side note: I think my cousin converted to atheism and is now a lesbian) It's as if I was a mix of both. Many reasons of my lack of true faith is because I always felt pressured into Catholicism from my Grandmother. She made me pray the rosary and read the bible everyday at 3 o'clock. As a child, I just wanted to go outside and play, or watch pokemon at 3 o'clock to be quite honest. As I entered 5th grade I became an Altar girl. At first it was great, I got to part-take in the mass helping the priest. As time wore-on, it became more of a chore or hassle. Don't get me wrong being an altar person helped me actually pay attention to the readings in mass, I just couldn't bring myself to staying once I graduated.
I've been going to a Catholic school all my life, and before you start thinking of nuns with yard sticks and daily masses, you're wrong. (except the mass part, in 5th grade I voluntarily chose to go to daily mass, and every friday we would have mass) In fourth grade we had mini elections and I was elected a religious representative, which I never really understood because I don't remember what I ever did, and I'm pretty sure I only won because my father was a lector. Going through my 8th grade year I never expected that I would be chosen most spiritual in my class (which I was) . I was flattered. I've never told anyone this, I didn't feel as I deserved it. I knew there were more deserving people of this, but I was chosen and it's not like I could turn it down. I had to give a speech at the mass on the day of graduation, I said that even though our journey there had ended we still had confirmation to look forward to.
the hardest year for me was Freshman Year. I felt like I was losing everything. my friends, my mind and motivation, my entire life, and most importantly I was losing faith. I felt so alone in the world. I didn't go to my parish for my first year confirmation. I was miserable there. Every person in that class was forced there and many didn't pay attention. They influenced me in having this apathy for church and being a Catholic. I promised myself I would not go back there for second year. I knew I wanted to regain my faith, and I would not get that kind of support there. So I signed up for my parish and had been anxious and excited to find that faith I had been longing for. From that first meeting I knew I was in the right place, finally.
My first life changing moment was at the retreat back in January. Everything that happened, from the sessions to confessions, from mass to adoration, it made me feel like I wasn't alone anymore. I realized my fears and prayed so hard that he wouldn't leave me. The feeling of warmth started to fade though. I tried with praying the rosary and reading the bible, and at times it would work, I would feel close. Other times I felt I was lost and alone again. Youth day in LA humbled me. So many people of the same faith, so many people like me.
I was convinced that everything would fade into nothing again and again, until Stubenville West. During those three days I realized that I needed to work harder for my faith. I gave myself To Jesus Christ on that Saturday night. I knew that in order for me to truly have the faith I longed for, to never feel that lonely paranoia feeling, to finally move on with life, I needed to commit myself fully to make sure the feelings wouldn't fade.
It's worked. My life is so much better now than where I was a year ago.I'm no longer lonely. I cry tears of joy knowing that I can finally live.