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Nov 25, 2017 1272 0 Cathy Boyle
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What God Means to Me

I grew up in Dublin, Ireland, in a traditional Catholic family where we all went to Holy Mass on Sundays. However, the faith was not very deep; rather, it was something we did out of routine.

When I was about twelve, my parents separated. My prayer to God was for them to get back together. After a year or two, it was clear that they would not be doing. So, I concluded that God did not care about me since He did not answer my prayer.

I still believed He existed, but I stopped believing that He was a God of love. Turning my back on Him, I attempted to create my own happiness through alcohol, boys, nights out, popularity, etc. These led me down a path that was further and further from whatever God may have planned for my life.

I was left feeling isolated, yet I continued searching for happiness in worldly things, completely unaware that they could not fulfill me.

This continued for a few years, but a big turning point came in the sixth year, after a typical night out of heavy drinking and bad decisions. I woke up the next morning realizing that I was feeling utterly lost, that I kept falling into the same bad situations. Something had to change, but I did not know how. I only knew that I was longing for something more meaningful in my life. At the time, I was in a relationship that made any real change quite difficult. He had become my focal point of happiness, yet the relationship was not based on the true meaning of love.

One day, my Dad’s uncle visited us. Devoted to the Catholic faith, he lived to lead others closer to the Lord. The Holy Spirit used him in a very powerful way.

He asked me if I would like him to say a prayer with me. I politely said yes, but was not taking it too seriously. However, I experienced such a presence of power and authority, as well as Supreme Love, gentleness and peace. It left me feeling powerless, but very contentedly so. This was the grace of God that came into my heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. In retrospect, I recognize this moment as the beginning of my journey back towards our Lord. The Holy Spirit ignited a small but powerful spark in me.

Not long after this, my Dad arrived with a book for me, “Through the Eyes of Jesus” by Alan Ames. I cannot recommend this book enough.

It tore away all the lies and misconceptions I had about a far-off God. It opened my eyes to the reality that God is love and that Jesus truly loves me beyond all understanding.

As I continued to read this book, I found tears streaming down my face, my heart burning with something unrecognizable—Jesus’ pure and unconditional love. I yearned for more of this love of God. I was hungry for His truth.

However, one huge block to this remained for me—chastity. I was still in a relationship and was torn between human “love” and this newfound pure love from God. My boyfriend could not understand this change and had no belief in God. This was heartbreaking for me. I longed to be free to love God with my entire heart, not just part of it. I wanted to live in line with His Church.

The Lord listened to my prayer. He knew how weak I was and how not being in a state of grace made it incredibly difficult to take that big step. On Saint Winefred’s feast day, my Dad was at her shrine praying for me. That very weekend my boyfriend and I broke up. Painful as this was at the time, it set me free.

By now I was ready to accept the Church’s teaching in all its fullness and change my life in whatever way necessary. In confession a wonderful priest explained to me why the Church teaches the message of chastity. He told me about a group in Dublin that met weekly and prayed for purity. My initial reaction was a definite “no.” I was willing to practice chastity but I was certain that I could do it on my own—our Lady knew better.

Several months later I was with a group in Medjugorje for the youth festival. They were normal, fun young people who loved the Lord like me. They told me that they were involved in this prayer group in Dublin called Pure in Heart, which prays for purity. Back in Dublin, I went along to hear a Pure in Heart talk and was blown away. It was a message I had thirsted to hear. I began attending the weekly prayer meeting, which was pivotal in continuing to live chastity.

Having finished my undergraduate degree, I am now blessed to be working for Pure in Heart, which teaches the truth and beauty of human sexuality. I am on the mission team that travels around the country bringing this life-giving message of true love to secondary-level students. I am passionate in sharing this message as it profoundly changed my life in so many ways. It is teaching me what love truly is, how to receive love from God and others and how to truly love in return.

I pray that one day every soul will hear this message and choose real love, not the counterfeits for which the world is trying to make us settle. Chastity has shown me that only God’s love can truly fill the void within our hearts. When we are affirmed in His love for us, we can then love others in a beautiful and ordered manner that never robs them of their dignity.

By attempting to imitate Christ’s love we begin to see God working powerfully in our lives. We see God in every human being who is made in our Creator’s image and likeness. What does God mean to me? He is my everything, the Love we all seek.

Cathy Boyle

© is on the Pure in Heart (www.PureInHeartIreland.com) mission team.

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