Hmmm, this is a toughie.  I've been graced in that I was born a Catholic and was baptized at a very young age.  My parents brought us to church every week, rain or shine and it was always a way of life.  Does that mean that church is ordinary, or (((gasp))) routine?  Well, it got that way for a while.  Rather than focusing on Jesus and what He was teaching, I focused on routine, ordinary, only "going through the motions".  I was never away from the church, however, I was there thick and thin.  I just didn't understand the significance of what I was doing.

Perhaps it is lucky that my parents could not afford parochial schooling.  I therefore went to school amongst a multitude of different cultures, religions, even languages.  In doing this, I made friends of every race, creed and religions.  I sometimes went to Sunday services with friends who did not practice the Catholic faith.  We would have a good time but still, I would always go back to the Catholic Church.  I didn't know why.  Perhaps God was sending me a message of which I was not even aware!  This is right for me.  As with all, my life has its ups and downs.  I'm blessed with the gift of music and I am a pianist.  I was lucky in that I was able to work actually as a church organist on Sundays while I went to college.  But even though I attended church twice on Sundays, I was in the midst of turmoil.  I questioned our beliefs.  I didn't get into the mass because I didn't WANT to get into the mass.  I showed up, I played my music and I went home. Life was drab.  UNTIL - there came a time when I needed Jesus.  And in His loving way, he welcomed me with open arms.  I was extremely hurt by a man; this continues to haunt me to this day.  I didn't know what to do so I prayed.  And although that hurt is still there and probably always will be, it is now a matter of interpretation.  I know that by experiencing this hurt, I will never turn away from Jesus again!

The question arises - "why I choose the Catholic Road to Jesus".  I ask a question also, Why could I NOT choose the Catholic Road to Jesus"?  It's what I know, it's how I live.  From attending daily mass, that special feeling, the indescribable one.  As an extremely hyper person, childlike with a short attention span, it is a miracle that I am able to sit for mass every day.  Yet, I do.  And there are times during the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, that I actually feel, for lack of a better word, sedated but comfortable, just enjoying Jesus as he is exposed, almost feeling his gentleness often with the feeling that he has me by the hand or I am curled at his feet with my head rested on his lap and he is petting my hair. He has called me "a little lamb"; I have heard it.

Aw - The Jubilee Year, a very special one, one I shant forget.  I've been so blessed in this year of the Jubilee.  I must back up a bit here. The entrance into The Jubilee Year didn't feel any different than any other New Year celebration and I didn't really understand what it was all about. It was mentioned, of course, during mass but I still didn't feel the significance.  There came a time during lent when I was unhappy but really had no reason to be so.  I am happily married; the marriage is strong. I have two lovely and very healthy children who bring us joy and pleasure.
If this was the case, why was I so unhappy?

I don't know what it was that made me pick up the phone and call a priest.  Actually, I do know.  It was the spirit, of course.  I really don't remember what was said but I do remember the priest inviting me to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I have always been afraid of confession and have memories of my first confession.  For as long as I can remember, I've been claustrophobic.  I don't go in phone booths or elevators and forget about airplane bathrooms!  Since going to confession requires getting into a small booth, well, there is no way, I just can't.  As I protested, I was told that I could do it "face to face".  What, tell my deepest darkest secrets to someone in person?  Even if that person is a representative (for lack of a better word) for Christ?  I can't remain anonymous?  But there it is.  I must learn to trust.  Again, the spirit guided me and I made arrangements.  The day I came back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is very memorable to me for many reasons, one being I had one of the absolute worst headaches I have ever suffered.  On a scale of 1 - 10, the pain was a 9, complete with photophobia, sonophobia and nausea.  I had almost canceled but like a dentist appointment, this is something that I have to do and postponing it is not going to make it any easier.  So I went. I walked around the church grounds for a few minutes before going in to see the priest just thinking to myself that there was almost anything that I would rather be doing than this.  My head was pounding and I was afraid of vomiting.  The anxiety had me so shaken that this is what it was doing. I don't remember but I wouldn't doubt that I was actually shaking when it was time for me to see the priest!  He welcomed me warmly though which put me at ease.  When I mentioned the terrible headache I had, he invited me to participate in the sacrament of anointing of the sick as he knew that these headaches were a regular part of my life.  They were almost a chronic medical condition rather than an annoyance from time to time.  They were ruling me.  As the priest guided me through both sacraments (and I think we did the sacrament of reconciliation first), the prayers he used were so gentle, so loving, so beautiful and it made me think of the Jesus of infinite love and kindness rather than the being who is going to hurl me into hell for being "bad".  Yes, I could feel it, again that special feeling when I know I'm being touched (and later when recollecting this, I feel that Jesus was indeed holding me in the palm of his hand).  This is the Jesus who is waiting with outstretched arms, ready to forgive and guide me, his little lamb, back into the flock.  We talked about indulgences and their meaning, especially in this jubilee year and a pilgrimage parish.  I was taught how to obtain a plenary indulgence and the meaning of such indulgence.  As we finished, I sat there, wanting to have that weight lifted off yet someone in the back of my mind wasn't allowing it to be lifted.  I sat silently for a moment with my eyes closed and here again, the love of Christ will overcome anything which prevents his message from being heard by one who is ready to hear it and yes, I could feel that weight leaving and the spirit ascending.  And then I burst into tears.  Tears of relief, tears of joy, the tears of lightness after being in the dark of so dreadfully long!  And finally, the priest guided me into the church itself where I could be alone with Jesus to thank him for this wonderful gift which I had just received.  I went home and started my work but then felt the irresistible urge to take a shower, so I could be totally clean on the outside as well as in.  A few days later, I caught a cold and I was happy.  I felt as if everything evil, everything dark, dreary and sinful was leaving my body and I was going to be totally purified.

I lay awake feverish, coughing and gasping for breath one night but was not frightened.  The illness turned into an asthmatic bronchitis/pneumonia and as sick as I was, I was at peace.  My life has not been the same since. The season of lent is one of repentance and to know that I was able to be a part of this is awesome.  The glorious resurrection of Jesus and the celebration of Easter has just that much more meaning when one has a clean heart! And although there are indeed times that the doubts and darkness try to creep back in, I cling to the moment of lightness and ask Jesus to help with this.  The Jubilee Year has been a year of miracles and revelation and a year of rebirth.  My soul is thirsting, my soul is thirsting for You Oh Lord, My God!!!

By Michaele L.  LePage
For my loving husband, Yvan

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