It was at my first Youth 2000 retreat during the summer of 2007 that I came to know the love of God
Hi everybody! My name is Eoin Casey and I’m from Laois. I’m 21 and the oldest of two. I’m blessed to have grown up in a loving Catholic family and I continue to thank God for my wonderful parents and brother.
When growing up as a young lad I was close to God, as my parents taught me my prayers and brought me to Mass every weekend. I can say I knew God, but not as my closest friend but simply someone that I pray to.
As I grew up and started my teenage years I have to say that I drifted slightly from God. Whenever we prayed together as a family I’d always join in and we went to Mass every weekend, but I think looking back on it I would say I was a “going through the motions Catholic.” I didn’t really have a true loving relationship with God but never blocked Him out at the same time. It was a little bit like having insurance, I prayed to the Lord, but even more so when times were tough and that was the extent of my relationship with Him really.
It was at my first Youth 2000 retreat during the summer of 2007 that I came to know the love of God. I owe so much thanks to my uncle first, who encouraged me to go to the retreat, as I was a bit reluctant to go. I can honestly pin point the night I came to realise how much God loved me. It was Saturday night of the retreat, which started with a great talk on reconciliation. After that I went to confession and just opened my heart to Jesus and let Him heal me. Then each person came up around the alter to be blessed with the Blessed Sacrament. As Jesus was there in front of me, truly present, I came to realize how much He loved me, as I heard Jesus in the silence of my heart tell me that he loved me. I was so overwhelmed with love and joy I stayed up for the night with Jesus. I continue to thank God for that night when He entered into my heart.
My life has now changed. Jesus is now the biggest part of my life and we have a great friendship and love. However, I’m not going to pretend my life is like a bunch of roses all the time. Yes, I have my struggles, but I know I have a loving merciful friend to help me. Having Jesus as a friend is fantastic, as you can share all your ups and downs with Him and He loves you just the way you are, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else.
I invite you then to open your heart to Christ, invite Him in and give Him your yes. Because when you do this you fill that empty space that was missing in your heart. Come along to a Youth 2000 retreat and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Words cannot begin to explain the fantastic work Youth 2000 do in bringing young people to the heart of the Church.
God Bless you.