This year, we are going to do something new at the end of every school mass. Each Wednesday, we will invite someone to come up and share with us about his or her faith journey, tell us something about why St. Patrick is important to them, or tell us why the Catholic faith is important to them. While you’re listening to these messages, I want you to think about YOUR message. What would YOU say if someone asked you to talk about why St. Patrick is important to you? What would YOU say if someone asked you why your faith is important to you?
Today, I want to share with you a little bit about my own faith journey. I grew up in a family where church was everything. My grandpa was a deacon and sang in the choir along with my grandma and her sisters. I remember sitting in the pews being so proud...probably a little too prideful that my grandparents were such "important" people. As I grew up, our lives revolved around the church. We went to Sunday school on Sunday mornings, church at noon, then came back for church on Sunday night. We had church on Wednesday evenings, too, and guess what...we never ever missed. Many of our social events revolved around the church and looking back, some of my favorite memories took place at church. Church was everything.
So you might think….man, Ms. Monaghan must have been a really good kid. Saintly even! Unfortunately, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Although I loved church and I loved God, I was kind of a mischievous kid who often found herself in a little trouble. I remember one time my best friend’s mom said she didn’t want her daughter to sit next to me, because I was a bad influence. She said, “Kaci, if you would just sit still, maybe you’d hear God talking to you.”
That stuck with me. I used to listen so hard, but I never heard God say anything. For years, I thought there must be something wrong with me, because God didn’t say anything to me. One time, I asked my mom about it.
When I got a little older, and I started testing the boundaries of my parents rules, often times I would do something that I knew better than doing. Even though in the back of my head I knew it was a bad choice...I still did it. Over the years, this little voice in the back of my head...you know it...the one that tells you not to do something because you know you’re going to get in trouble...that one. It kept telling me to choose the right path...and sometimes I did.
When I had kids, that voice was louder than ever. It was there, reminding me how to take care of them, how to be a good mom, how to make sure they were safe and loved. There were times I would be so overwhelmed with these 4 toddlers and that voice would remind me that everything was going to be okay. One day I was talking to my mom about it.
Woah...what??? That wasn’t God’s voice. That was MY voice. That was the little voice I’ve always had telling me NOT to make the bad choice I was getting ready to make. Me reminding myself of something that I already knew, but probably wouldn't listen to anyway. Right??
“No,” I said, “I mean, I just sit an I think it in my head. You’re a good mom, you’re a good mom….until I start believing it.”
She laughed and said, “And who do you think tells you that you’re a good mom over and over again in your head?”
Then it hit me...was THAT the voice of God I’ve been trying to hear? For all these years, every time I would know better than to do something, it was actually GOD talking to me??? When i would worry about something and in my head try to talk myself out of it...was that actually GOD telling me that everything was going to be okay?
It was then that I learned that the voice of God isn’t some magical booming loud voice. He doesn’t shout in your ears, “Hey, you! It’s me, God!” No. God’s voice is that voice inside of you that reminds you of right and wrong. It’s the voice that warns you when there is danger ahead, the voice that reminds you that you can do anything you set your mind to. It’s the voice who comforts you when you’re sad, who eases your fears when you’re afraid. You know the one. The one you've been thinking was just your own?
I learned that lesson when I was forty something years old. Today, I’m sharing that story with you, so that you don't have to go your entire life wondering when God is going to start talking to you. Today, I want you to know, that you don’t have to wait for God to talk to you, he already has. No more waiting for you! Now, you just have listen and believe!