By Delaney Rayner
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I navigated my spiritual director through the isolation I had felt over the past few months. “I just want to come home,” I spoke with grief.
I believe that in every Christian’s life, there comes a point of accepting the faith as their own - truly receiving Jesus into their heart. I was raised Catholic, going to Mass and religious ed. class every Sunday, but my conversion, the moment I decided to give my life to Christ, came when I was a young teenager on a mission trip.
For so long, I considered this trip filled with house restoration, community, and prayer the experience that changed my life. Afterwards, I decided to pursue Jesus myself, instead of being forced to by my parents.
I was finally choosing Him. I was initiating my faith.
I began going to Mass out of choice, not obligation. I prayed to get closer to the Lord, instead of to avoid guilt for not doing so. I started to read my Bible, research Church teaching, and involve myself in parish events. Only recently did I consider that my pursuit of Him wasn’t because of me, but because of Him. I was finally responding to His loving call after all the years.
Jesus tells us that “many are invited, but few are chosen,” (MT 22:14). I thought I had first pursued the Lord, but it was really Jesus who had given me the invitation. Every movement I make towards Him isn’t an initiation, it's a response. Our worship is the only natural response to a Love like the crucifix. Jesus has always made the first move - when He died on the cross, when He created me, when He converted my heart back to Him as a teenager.
I thought I first chose Him, but He is the one that inspired my faith. He invites me to love and know Him because He already loves and knows me. Every good thought, every good deed is initiated by God. Any good that comes from me is inspired by Him, regardless of whether I am humble enough to recognize that.
Without God’s initiation of a relationship with me, I would be lost.
So I thank Him for choosing me, loving me, knowing me, and creating me with purpose. He truly calls me by my name. He beckons me to know Him deeper.
While I sat in that pew with my spiritual director feeling abandoned and exhausted, I knew that Jesus had invited me, but I longed to be chosen. He had been inviting me from the beginning.
“How can I come back?” I implored.
I was reminded Jesus, my King, my Lover, my Peace, truly invites me into His heart, my home. The only thing I need to do to be one of the chosen is to reply to His invitation with a wholehearted “yes.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Delaney Rayner is a Texas native and currently a student at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is studying Communication Arts and Theology with the hope of fulfilling God’s call for her through media and ministry. Delaney can be found crafting and nailing Pinterest DIYs, belting Taylor Swift’s “folklore” in her car, or praying the rosary in her travel hammock. Whatever she finds beautiful, she photographs - mostly her friends and sunsets. Delaney is told that she is a little too passionate about fonts and St. Pope JPII, but she doesn’t believe in the concept of being “too passionate” about anything that brings joy! She strives for an authentically-lived Resurrected life. Find her on Instagram here.