1) God Loves You!
Everything starts with God's incredible love for us. He made you for this love, to be in a relationship with Himself: "I have loved you with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31:3)
All of us have felt a deep longing in our heart to love and to be loved, the desire to go deeper than material things and money can take us. That longing we experience comes from God - He put the desire within us and offered us a relationship with Himself that would satisfy our heart's longing. To make it even better, the Lord put us into a human family so we wouldn't feel alone or empty, a place where we could give and receive the Lord's love with one another.
2) We are all sinners.
This doesn't sound like good news, but it's the truth of our situation. How did it get to be this way?
In order to love, God gave us the gift of freedom. If we had been programmed or forced to love then it wouldn't really be love after all. With our free will we chose to disobey God rather than love Him. (See the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis...) This is what the Bible calls sin. Sin is the free choice to separate ourselves from God, when we decide what is right and wrong rather than following God's plan for our happiness and joy. Sin brings selfishness, pride, hatred, arrogance, lust, greed and worst of all death. These things bring sadness to our hearts and keep us from experiencing God's life within us. This is the world after sin. No matter how hard we try, there is no way that we can return to God by ourselves.
3) God Doesn't Give Up On Us!
Sin cut us off from God, but the good news is that God has not abandoned us, even though we chose to walk away from Him. God's love for us remains. God loves us so much that He sent his only Son to become one of us and to save the human race. This is Jesus, the Son of God, who shared our human nature and took on our sin so that we could share in God's life again.
It was our disobedience that brought sin into the world, and with sin, the punishment of eternal death. Jesus did two things that we could not: From within our human nature He offered an obedient "yes" to the Father that no man could offer and, in saying yes to the Father, he accepted the punishment for our sins. Filled with love for us, Jesus was willing to suffer and die for us and by his death free us from our sins so we could live with God forever.
The sacrifice Jesus made for us was offered on the cross. The full weight of our sins was placed on Jesus who suffered a violent death, revealing the awful nature of our sins. But even more, the cross reveals the amazing love God has for us. Jesus offered his life on the cross for us, that's how much He loves us. The proof that the Father accepted Jesus' sacrifice for our sins is that he was raised from the dead on the third day. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is his great victory over death. Death entered the world through sin and disobedience. Jesus brought life to the world by His holiness and obedience to the Father's will.
Jesus died so that we might live. But even after His suffering, death and resurrection, you and I are still free and we have a choice to make.
God always respects our freedom. He gave us free will, and if we choose a life apart from Him, He will allow us to do that, even in eternity. So we are left with a choice to make. What will we choose?
Or will we choose to become what we were made to be? Will we choose to accept God's love, to receive His forgiveness and healing, and to live as He made us to live, which leads to real, true happiness?
6) What's My Next Step?
We would love to help you grow, because accepting Christ is just the beginning of an amazing life-long journey. Please get in touch with someone from our parish Discipleship Team who can help you to take the next step. If you've never been baptized, or if you're Catholic but have been away from the Church, or not Catholic but want to learn more about the Church - whatever your situation, we want to help! To reach out to someone from our Discipleship Team click here.
7) You Are Not Alone!
Jesus knows that we cannot follow him by ourselves, He knows that we are weak and that we falter. So Jesus gave us the Church, which He founded, to offer us the strength, guidance, care and teaching that we need. The Scriptures make it clear that belonging to Jesus also means belonging to His Church. The Church is our family, filled with brothers and sisters who struggle just as we do, but strive to love one another as He commanded.
Please join us at Our Lady of Perpetual Help! We would love to help you grow in your relationship with Christ - just reach out to one of the members of our Discipleship Team who can help you take the next step!