June 24, 2022

Serra Club Vocations Essay

Encounter with Christ in adoration confirms faith for teenager

(Editor’s note: The Indianapolis Serra Club’s annual John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest ordinarily awards prizes each spring to winning essayists in grades 7-12 in the archdiocese. This week, we continue with the winning entry in the ninth grade. Please note this year there were no entries from the 11th grade.)

By Josephine Wolfe (Special to The Criterion)

Josephine WolfeGrowing up in a Catholic family, others often assume you are in love with God. But that is not always true. In fact, many people do not actually nurture a relationship with God.

For me, I always knew God was real and did what my parents asked of me, but I seldom felt God’s presence. Sometimes, it made me question my faith. What if God is not real? What if we are living a lie?

As I tried to find these answers, it pushed me into a deeper hole. With all the confusion, I decided not to worry about it, but that led to a heavy void in my heart.

I tried to fill that emptiness with instant pleasure. However, it was only temporary happiness. Would this feeling ever go away? Could Jesus really be present to me in the Eucharist?

I continued to feel the ache in my heart. Searching for the pure happiness that I truly desired, I was lonely. Until one day, I was told about the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) which was in Indianapolis. I decided to go, more because it would be a great time with my friends.

When the first day of NCYC arrived, we participated in various events. I was going through the motions, having fun with my friends but not really feeling God’s presence. The usual thoughts flooded my mind. Here’s one more thing I try to do to make myself closer to God.

Little did I know that one evening would change my life completely.

On the last evening of the conference, God was calling me to open my heart and give everything to him: my thoughts, my worries, my everything. I began by going to the sacrament of reconciliation in order to have a fresh start, a clean slate.

An immense weight was lifted off my shoulders; I was ready to give my heart to God. My friends and I then rushed to an adoration chapel at the conference. I sat and simply stared at Jesus in the monstrance, begging God to let me in, pleading that he would enter my heart.

I knelt down, opened my hands, and reached out to him. Only seeing darkness with my eyes softly closed, I begged, “Lord, I need you.” Out of nowhere, Wham! Tears gushing down my cheeks, his merciful love entered my heart; I was drowning in his love and forgiveness. My heart was being put back together piece by piece.

Time spent before the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at NCYC gave direction to my life. My personal encounter with Jesus filled me with God’s mercy. The Holy Spirit grabbed me and took me to true peace where nothing else mattered. It was only God and me as I rested in his presence, feeling his warmth racing through my veins.

Experiencing his true presence changed me. How I see life now is through a completely different lens. My doubts, fears and questions were answered. Adoration changed my life forever.

(Josephine and her parents, Jeremy and Amy Wolfe, are members of All Saints Parish in Dearborn County. She recently completed the ninth grade at the Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg and is the ninth-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2022 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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