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Sep 01, 2020 333 0 Brian Welsh
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Who Is Your Superstar?

Be fascinated by the life of Brian Welsh as he shares the journey of meeting the superstar and how radically his life changed.

Leap like a Deer

When I was very young, I heard the book of Isaiah being read, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Immediately, I put up my hand and called out, “Send me”.

I grew up in the country, loving football and fishing. I had a really good Catholic upbringing. After receiving Holy Communion one morning, I felt this fire burning in my heart. As soon as I got home from Mass, I started to leap like a deer, joyfully racing down the hill. An overwhelming sense of God’s Peace and Joy overflowed into a song, “God is burning in my heart. He and I are one.”

As I got older, I lost that innocent sense of God’s presence as I succumbed to temptations. When I was altar serving, it was my responsibility to bring the collection money back to the presbytery, I would say, “A little bit for God and a little bit for Brian”, then pocket some to buy ice cream. As I got older, that habit of stealing strengthened so if anything was left lying around, I had no qualms about taking it when no-one was looking.

Rifle in Hand

My father tried to keep me on the straight and narrow, but I started to rebel against his authority. I felt filled with anger. That spilled over into the way I played football as I became violent and vengeful. After I got knocked out in a tackle, I vowed vengeance against that player. A year passed before I played him again, but I hadn’t forgotten. When he ran the ball my way, I drove my knee into his jaw during the tackle. His jaw shattered, so he had to leave the field and never played football again.

My growing anger disturbed those around me, but when someone expressed their concern, “Brian, you have so much violence in your life, what are you going to do about it?” I snapped back furiously, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” One night I felt such resentment towards my father that I loaded my rifle, planning to shoot him. But as I turned to leave the room, I was transfixed by an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As I gazed into His eyes, I felt the madness lift and I hastily unloaded the rifle.

When my close friend, Andrew died of cancer, it really shocked me. Towards the end, he had asked me, “Who is God?” but I didn’t have any answers because I had forgotten the love that God had for us and lost my personal relationship with Him.

Perhaps a move to the big city would make things better, but instead I spiralled into depression and swiftly lost my job. The emptiness inside was swallowing me up, so I made plans to end it all. Before I could do anything, a friend called around and I spent the night confiding in him about this longing for something more. Nothing could fill that void – no relationship, no experience, nothing that money could buy. It was just a vast pain. I told him, “You could pour all the oceans of the world into my heart and it would still be empty.” For a while, I distracted myself by travelling around Australia, committing petty thefts to support myself, but I still felt empty and aimless.

Baffled by Lucia

Finally I turned to God with a prayer – “God I really need your help.” As I cast my eyes back down, I saw a Catholic bookshop. When I entered, I dared to pray again, “God, if there’s a book in this shop that You want me to read – Show me. Brushing past a bookstand, one book tumbled off, so I picked it up and put it back. Next time I passed, it fell off again so I replaced it. When it fell in front of me for the third time, I finally thought, “Perhaps God wants me to read this book.” Turning it over, I tried to make sense of the title – “Fatima in Lucia’s own words”. I was baffled – “What is Fatima and who is Lucia?“

When I took the book home, I read it over and over again. Suddenly, I recalled every detail of everything I had ever done wrong. Filled with sorrow for my sins, I knelt on the floor and cried out to God for His mercy, begging for His forgiveness. I went to Confession with a great list of sins. As soon as the priest said the words of absolution, I felt God’s merciful love flowing into me, banishing the darkness.

There was something more that I needed, but instead of looking for it in the Catholic Church, I went to a Pentecostal church with a friend. During the sermon on God’s love, I heard John 3:16 with fresh ears “God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That scripture really struck my heart, so when he called people who wanted prayer to come forward, I felt an inner voice urging me up.

When the pastor asked me what I wanted, I didn’t know what to ask for, except God’s love. He asked me if I’d met Jesus, urging me to open my heart to His love and mercy by saying, “Jesus come into my heart. Be my Lord and Saviour.” Because I’d already repented and been to Confession, my heart was ready. So, when I closed my eyes, held onto his hands and prayed with all my heart, the Holy Spirit fell upon me, filling the empty, aching void within me with God’s merciful love.

Finding My Home

I reconciled with my father and dealt with the unresolved issues between us. Now that I’m a father myself, I have a better understanding of some of the issues we battled with. Before he died of cancer, we shared a lot of happy memories and wept together about our misunderstandings. His greatest legacy is his love for the poor, who could always count on his kindness and generosity. After he died, I had a dream where I saw him filled with light, complete with his favorite hat.

I stayed with the Pentecostals until they told me not to worship Mary. “I don’t worship Mary. I pray the Rosary.” Although I loved this church, I loved My Heavenly Mother more, so I prayed, “Lord where do you want me?” When I related the saga in Confession, I was told about a Catholic charismatic group nearby. I felt at home there because they loved Mary, they loved the charismatic graces, they loved the traditions of the church and they loved the Eucharist.

My life continued to radically change. I asked the Lord, “What do you want from my life?” I felt a call to become a missionary and was sent to Papua New Guinea. It was great living among the people and seeing so many people being touched by the Holy Spirit.

A priest told me that I was an evangelist. I didn’t know what he meant. So, we stepped out onto the street and he challenged me to go and tell a young man about Jesus. So, I went across and shared the love of Jesus with him. Then he pointed to the pub. “Go in there and share the love of Jesus with the first person you meet.” So, I did just that. “What you did is being an evangelist,” Father said, “Simply sharing the love and mercy of Jesus.” So, for the last 32 years I’ve been going out onto the streets: sitting with junkies; walking into brothels; finding the people who don’t know the love of Jesus and feel so empty and lonely, even suicidal. The people out there need to know Jesus. Even some Catholics who go to church don’t know the love of Jesus.

Do You Love Him?

When I talk to people caught up in homosexuality, their very first question is, “I’m a lesbian, how can God love me? or I’m a transvestite how can God love me?” I tell them, “God loves you the same way He loves me. He doesn’t want to know your sexual identity, He wants to know if you have a heart that loves Him.” The Son of God came to redeem thee people from their sins. He triumphed over my sin by giving me mercy. I experienced the fire of his love and now I’m called to take that love to the world.

As I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament one day, I received an image of Jesus stepping out of the tabernacle, radiant with light. As He approached me, I could feel the fire of His love in my heart. Pointing to His heart, He said, “Take my love to the world.” I promised Him that I would, even if I was the only one, because He came for me. Even if it’s only for one person, it’s worth it. For many years, I went by myself, feeling the presence of God, but more people are joining me, speaking many different languages.

When we’re sharing the Word of God, many people say, “Good on you for being out here,” but some people react very negatively with swearing or demands to stop speaking. My response to that is simply, “God loves you.” We do have a right – a God-given right – to proclaim the truth, not to impose but to propose a new way of living in the mercy of Jesus Christ. Our team has been fortified by the Sacraments, the Word of God and prayer to take his healing power and mercy out to the people who need it so desperately. I usually give out Bibles, Rosaries, pamphlets and holy cards. During this pandemic, I put them in sealed packets and invite people to take them. I’ve set up my ute like a mini-chapel, with an image of the Divine Mercy, as a platform for my evangelization. I drive to a car park, or somewhere like that and talk to the people going by.

Who’s Your Star?

The workplace is also a setting where I evangelize. If people are open to it, I give them a Bible or pray with them. Sometimes people’s lives are falling apart or they’ve just gone through a separation, or breakdown of friendship. If they share this with me, I share the love of Jesus with them, because His friendship is a lasting friendship. As a gardener, I try to make their garden so beautiful that they can feel the presence of God in the tranquillity of their homes.

No matter what addiction you are afflicted with – alcohol, drugs, sex, nicotine, social media, screen … turn to Jesus, take up the power of the Rosary and meditation on the Gospel. One day He’ll say to you, you don’t need it and you’ll be free.

Make sure that you are following the right star. Film stars, sporting stars, TV stars and social media stars are all vying for our attention. Are you being guided by the right star? The true star leads us to Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour, the healer of the human heart and the uniter of all nations. The Morning Star, Mary led me to Him. I was living in darkness, despair and hopelessness until she led me to experience the mighty love of God.

Now, I live my life for Him – in the family, in my workplace, in my social life. Wherever I go, I live my life in His presence, carrying His light into the world to dispel the darkness. My wife and children reflect His light back to me, healing and strengthening me. We live for Him and rejoice in sharing the very best thing we have – our love for Jesus.

Brian Welsh

© is a Catholic street evangelist in Australia, who has shared the love of Jesus all over the world. He is happily married to Leanne and they are blessed with two beautiful children. This article is largely based on the Shalom World TV program Jesus My Savior https://shalomworld.org/ episode/brian-welsh.

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