Wednesday, October 28, 2015
St. Jude, My Reversion Intercessor
There are some of you who've been reading this blog for almost 8 years now (crazy!) so you may sort of know the story, but not in its entirety. I don't think I've ever written it out completely so... here we go.
I unofficially left the Church shortly after my confirmation at age 13 even though Mass attendance had been sporadic since I was about 11 years old. Yes, I was confirmed early. That itself will get its own blog post on St. Cecilia's feast day since it's also the anniversary of my confirmation. For now, let's just say that I spent the entirety of my teens away from the Church. As I explained in my post about why I remain Catholic (originally posted June 5, 2015), I was "Catholic" without practicing the faith or attending Mass. But I didn't know that I still held onto Catholic values until much later. In that time, I just knew that I was "Catholic" because I had gone through the whole baptism-first communion-confirmation process.
During that time... oh boy. I was going down the wrong path. I listened to terrible advice from people who meant well but really ingrained some terrible habits in me. My teen years (well, 13 through 19) are what I refer to as my "lost years." While I managed to avoid teenage rebellion (seriously, ask my mom) and barely survived my teens in one piece (avoided partying, drinking, drugs, and every other act of teenage debauchery you can think of; didn't even break curfew), there was a lot of damage done, interiorly. I was still going down the wrong path when I entered college but something happened between 19 and 21 that completely changed me.
First, at 19 and 20 was when I began to, basically, mature. It was a slow process (am I done yet? lol) but I began to see that there was more to life than going to concerts three times a week, more than the drama that some people live for, more than what my life was all about. I had received an offer to fully enter the entertainment business at 20 and I declined it. I've always been a people pleaser but 20 was when I began to stick up for myself and to pull myself away from the wrong crowd... and they didn't like that.
The mental and emotional abuse I received from my so-called friends was so bad that I ended up getting sick. I was an abnormally healthy child/teenager so it scared everyone. The doctors couldn't figure out what was going on with me (this was before they began attributing my symptoms to anxiety disorder). At one point (in the summer of 2006; shortly after I turned 21), I ended up in the E.R. three times in 5 days. As originally posted: October 28, 2010: "... I was so sick that things like 'she won't make it' and 'she has little time' were thrown around."
I began to pray for the first time since my teens. Mom was a fan of St. Jude's so I began to pray and ask for his intercession. Because I wasn't properly taught how to pray, I bargained. "Help me get healthier and I'll stay in L.A. for college. I'll go to a Catholic college." (side note: I was England-bound in those days; Bath Spa University was where I would've ended if I hadn't gotten sick and if my dad's cancer hadn't returned.) I somehow began to get healthier within the following two weeks or so, the so-called friends began disappearing, and so I kept my promises.
Having my prayers answered, my curiosity was piqued. What was Catholicism all about? I mean, really? Why were these prayers answered and not my last prayer? The faith of my childhood was so foreign to me at that point. I had wanted to be a nun when I was about 5-7 years old and I loved attending my catechism classes for my first communion but my confirmation was actually what made me step away from the Church. (Again, I'll share this story in a couple of weeks.) My inner academic nerd began researching and eventually it all just clicked for me. I basically renounced all my bad habits (some of which were just... horrifying) and made a personal vow to get rid of them as I learned more about the Faith. That eventually led to a complete 180.
Friends who knew me prior to my reversion can attest to the fact that I'm not the same person I was at 19/20. I mean, my core personality is still the same -- still goofy/silly, a bit reserved (bordering on shy in some situations), sensitive, I still love writing, and I still love helping people. That has never changed. But the little things that they were used to... gone. I'm so grateful to St. Jude for his intercession because it was through that answered prayer that I reverted back to Catholicism.
One more thing... are you wondering how this St. Jude statue got chipped? Here's the shortened version of the story (originally posted: December 27, 2007):
"This story takes place in mid-January 1994. I was about 8 years old at the time and I'd never experienced a real big earthquake before... I felt my dad picking me up from my bed, very abruptly, and I opened my eyes to see (and feel) everything shaking violently. Things were falling off the walls, glasses and china was breaking everywhere, if you've ever experienced an earthquake, you know what I'm talking about. Since this earthquake was a really big one, the lights went out almost immediately after the intense aftershocks started...
I don't remember too many details about what happened during the shaking except that the statue of St. Jude fell as soon as we (my parents and I) reached the doorway and were safe from anything falling on us... I was talking to my mom about... the St. Jude statue in my room. I very faintly remember (or think I remember) St. Jude's statue falling as soon as we got under the doorway and my mom confirmed it. Apparently, while all other things were falling around us there are three things that didn't fall: the statue of Santo Niño, the statue of St. Jude and the big framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was up on my bedroom wall. Now, the earthquake was a 6.7 on the richter scale, it was pretty intense. Windows shattered just by the shaking, yet the picture did not fall or get hurt in any way...
My mom says they (saints and Our Lady) were all looking out for us... We haven't experienced an earthquake that intense since, thank God, but every time we have experienced smaller earthquake (and/or aftershocks from nearby earthquakes) my mom grabs the St. Jude statues without even thinking about it. My dad grabs the statue of Our Lady and my mom grabs St. Jude... if I don't get to him before she does."
While my dad is no longer with us, we definitely still grab this St. Jude statue (chipped and all) when there's an earthquake / aftershock.
And, for the record, future husband -- I fully intend on giving our first born son the middle name of Jude after St. Jude. You have been warned. :-P
There you go -- the story of my reversion and of why this St. Jude statue (we've been given two more since) is chipped. :D
I hope y'all have a great rest of day and remember that St. Jude is a powerful intercessor that you should definitely not be afraid of reaching out to in difficult cases. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D