I hope you are well and at peace,
Recently I did a talk in Ireland and whilst I was speaking
I really felt called to challenge the people to put God first
in their lives and afterwards as I was reflecting on what had
been said I received the following email which the girl who
sent it asked that I might share with others.
She said "Around ten years ago I attended my first ever
retreat. You were one of the main speakers. I was 24 then
and never, ever in my life before had I heard the
Truth spoken with such conviction and courage than I did
the day I heard it from you that weekend. It was like Jesus
himself was speaking not you!!! After your talk, although I
was somewhat a shy person back then I wanted to speak
to you. At the lunch time (even though I was a wee bit
scared of you) I sat myself in the seat right beside yours
at the dinner table and began to ask you lots of questions.
In mid sentence you stopped me and asked me a question
I shall never forget, nor the look on your face when you
asked me: " Do you live your life for Jesus Christ?". I
couldn't believe the brass neck of you at the time and I think
I was a little embarrassed as I muttered something like
"eee yes of course i do..." rather defensively. Enroute to my
room that evening my heart was challenged like never before.
I was thinking to myself how dare he be so rude. I don't think I
like him any more. He's judging me because I'm wearing nice
clothes and make-up etc. shortly after this thought, I heard a
very still inner voice saying "well do you?" I knew, up until that
point that I didn't because I was afraid, but then I said to myself,
I want to let the yes that I told him become true, I really do want
to live my entire life for Jesus Christ and nobody else. I believe
without a shadow of a doubt that The person of Jesus Christ
became real to me during that weekend in a moment of grace
through encountering you. That was it. I met Him and my life
has never ever been the same,and it never will it be the same!
To give a person Jesus is to give them EVERYTHING!! You
told me my Saviour's name and that He existed and that he
loved me and that he wanted to share his life with me !!! This
was worth more than gold!!! His love is so powerful that I had
a permanent smile on my face for a whole year after that. No
doubt people knew I was happy because I could not hide it
even if I wanted to - I had truly fallen deeply deeply in Love with
Jesus. The truth you spoke turned into Joy for me and it was
completely transparent!" When I read this email I knew that
God was showing me that it is always our responsibility to
speak the truth in love.
Several years ago We were running a retreat in London and
all the way through the weekend I couldn't help but feel there
was something missing from the message which was being
proclaimed, it was nice but nothing more than that. Then during
the final talk of the retreat the Priest said if you want to know
what Jesus wants, the answer is simple, he wants everything!
He gives us himself completely and he wants us to give him
everything in return, it is only then that we truly experience the
joy which is his plan for us. It was than that I realised that what
was mussing was feeling challenged by the talks. God's message
to us can sometimes be challenging but it always sets us free to
know his love and friendship in a deeper way.
I have just returned from Italy where I spoke in many schools,
and Parishes. It was a grace filled time and I was very
impressed by the priests and sisters that I met there who had
a deep love for God which shone through. Also Augusto who
was my translator who organised the trip was a great
witness to me of faith and service.
Over the next few weeks I will be speaking to many thousands
of young people in secondary schools across England and
Scotland, please pray for them that they might experience
God's love and plan for them.
I remember one time I was struggling with my own brokenness
and wondering what Jesus was going to do with me, because even
though I was trying sometimes I would say things I wished I hadn't
and I was feeling a bit down that I couldn't be a better person.
That day I went to Mass and the Priest got up and said there are
some people in this Church who when we stand before
Jesus will feel ashamed and like total failures, then Jesus will
say to us "look behind you" and there will thousands of souls
who are there because of what we have done with our lives.
Sometimes when we serve God we may not feel popular but
we live to hear those words "come in good and faithful servant".
I will never forget a sermon I heard from Fr John Armitage who
said unless we are willing to be converted every single day we
are spiritually dead. A wise friend of mine once asked me what
is the most important thing we can do with our lives? I replied
that he was much older and wiser than me what did he think it is?
He said "To bring as many souls as possible to God, starting with
our own." It was the best advice I ever received.
You are very much in my heart and prayers.
God bless you in his deep love