Originally posted 23/01/2008 11:20:52
Over the last two weeks I have been on a tour of speaking in secondary schools, parishes, and prisons around the London area and in the north. I began the tour giving my testimony in a secondary school in London speaking to more than 250 students. Before I got up to give my talk, one of the students who was only 15 years old, got up to say a few words. He said how I gave my talk to his Confirmation group a few years before, and that it had changed his life. It took real courage for him to get up before his classmates and give that witness of God’s grace in his life. It is very easy to be ruled by the peer pressure that is around us everyday, and by standing up and speaking from his heart this young man brought real grace to his classmates and his school by witnessing for God and not worrying about what other people thought of him.
During the tour God created miracle after miracle not only in the talks and meeting with students and teachers but also in the time spent travelling between the schools. One of the afternoons I was in a small town just outside Manchester and went to get fish n chips for lunch. While the man behind the counter was serving up my dinner I struck up a conversation with him and during that conversation I felt inspired to give him a copy of my book. When I gave it to him he said thanks and said he looked forward to reading it. I left with my fish and chips and knew that it was a God instance. About a week later I received an email from him and he said how he read the book and it really spoke to him about the love of God for him. I was really touched by his honesty in the email and I was thanking God that He creates the miracles in the everyday ordinary meeting that we have with others. All we should try to do is do God’s will in our lives and we will see and live his miracles everyday.
On the Friday of the tour I visited a young offenders prison in Wigan, where I spoke to the young men about the hope that Jesus holds for them, and the love that He longs for them to know. After I gave my talk, the priest who organized for me to come in and speak to the prisoners began to cry. I could see that he was touched and he said he was so thankful to see the change in them as they heard me speak. I told him that he should realize the grace that he brings to them, and continue to try to love and guide them by his witness. He smiled and shared with me this story. A few years before there was a young man who was put in prison for attacking his own father, who was hospitalised after the attack. While the young man was serving his sentence, he went into the chapel, and when he entered it, he experienced the love of God, and his heart was changed. He went from someone who was incredibly angry and aggressive, to taking the step to contact his father and ask for forgiveness. Soon after his father came to visit him and the two were able to reconcile and begin a new relationship. After leaving prison he went to live with his father and took a course at University. A short while later, he came back to the prison to share what had happened to him to the other prisoners, trying to give hope to them, and let them know that God’s love is there for them. It was truly a blessed few weeks and these are just some of the graces that God showered down upon the two-week tour.
After the tour I returned to Ireland and began a parish mission in Ballykelly, Co. Wexford. The first two nights of the mission the church was full with many of the young people from the local primary school attending and bringing their parents. Last night many people came to experience the love of God for them in the sacrament of confession. It is always my favourite night of the mission, and to see people coming back to the God who loves them after many years away, brings a joy and happiness to my heart. This week I will be going to Knock for a time of prayer and retreat, to pray for all of the upcoming work on the missions and in the schools. I will remember all of you and your intentions during my time there at Our Lady’s Shrine.
A special thank you to all of you who have emailed me to share with me your stories and prayers. May God continue to bless you and your families throughout this new-year.
May God Bless You in His Deep Love