My journey back to the Holy Mother Church.
In 2005, at the age of 22, studying philosophy at the National University of Colombia, I was an atheist, both by choice and conviction, and had been so for a few years. I was very liberal, and involved in a rather complicated relationship.
My life on April of that year looked grey and gloomy, and I fought to finish my studies and to find a reason to live.
Driven by the urgent need to escape my reality, my friends, my family, my environment, and—most importantly—myself, I looked for a way to leave the country. It was thus that in August of that year I arrived on French soil as “fille-au père”.
The first few days spent in Paris passed by wonderfully. However, when I arrived in Marseille, the city in which I would work and study, once again my heart became enveloped in shadows and darkness. Between the time I dedicated to my studies, work, and relaxation, the days passed by, and I began to miss my family, my friends, the comforts of home and, in general, my Colombian homeland.
Little by little the loneliness was destroying me and plunging me back into depression, which I tried to offset with food and entertainment. One day as I walked to the port, trying to kill a little bit of free time, I passed by a Catholic church. I was taken aback by seeing that there were people in the church, I decided to go inside in order to feel accompanied. From that day on, I began to go to the church frequently. I would enter, sit down, and look at the people, and being with them made me feel good.
Several days passed by on the same pace, and I would have continued with this routine were it not for an unexpected event. One afternoon, I entered the church through the side door, as I normally did. I was crossing the central aisle to go to the opposite side when I sensed someone gazing at me from the altar. Immediately I turned towards my observer, yet to my surprise there was no one physically there—there was just a white circle, perched on a golden stand. For me, at that time, the Eucharist meant nothing.
The sensation of being observed didn’t go away; I tried to move around the church, and I hid behind a pillar in order to avoid this uncomfortable gaze. Nevertheless, the sensation remained. Finally, I decided to turn and confront the one who watched me. It was in this precise moment that, without realizing it, I fell down on my knees. I received the certainty that not only did God exist, but that he also resided there, in that small piece of bread. I cried like a little girl that has been lost for a long time, and has just found her mother once again. I couldn’t hold back my tears, and I didn’t understand what had happened to me. I stayed there for a long time—I don’t know how long it was—down on my knees, crying.
That was the beginning of my path back towards home—towards the house of the Father. In spite of this extraordinary grace, however, my conversion was not immediate. My rationalism tried by every means possible to prevent me from giving in to belief, but in the end God won the war, by winning each of the battles over the passing of the years.
The Catholic faith has been an adventure in my life—a difficult and risky adventure e—which has given meaning to my existence. It has enabled me to know myself more, and to know what happiness really is.