Monday June 6th: All God’s  Will.
June 6, 2022
Tuesday June 7th: Salt and light: Faith in action
June 7, 2022

Finding God again

Photo by Italo Melo:

By Daniel Young

Faith is a subject that we can all relate to. Some of us see faith as a state of always being perfectly in line with God’s teaching, others feel that faith is a deep trusting in God’s plan for us as we go through the ups and downs of life. Those ups and downs can often lead us away from a life lived fully anchored in our faith beliefs.

As Catholics, we are called to live life Christ-like, but as humans we tend to have a hard time fully embodying that teaching. However, a part of that teaching is the recognition that despite the ups and downs of life God is always a part of our life.

Marlon Jones, a thirty-three-year-old Electrical and Instrumentation construction supervisor is just one example of how remaining connected with God’s teaching has many different aspects.

As a child growing up in Siparia, Marlon experienced a connection to his faith through his mother, a single parent who, raising four children, never let them stray too far away from their Catholic roots. His mother would always pray at home and include her children in her prayer time, always reciting novenas and teaching her children how to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Marlon, the third child in the group, observed his eldest sister getting confirmed in the faith, an experience that impacted him even at a young age and it was something he looked forward to. In adolescence, Marlon knew that this was the path for him as well….up until he moved from Siparia to Penal.

The move brought a change in Marlon and his family’s life that was unavoidable. The change of environment was the main factor. Moving from a neighbourhood that was just a stone’s throw away from La Divina Pastora, a local church and shrine to The Divine Shepherdess where many miracles have been reported including healing and other supernatural occurrences. Most Trinidadians are aware of the interfaith significance of and reverence present for this church.

In Penal, Marlon and his family would attend Mass sporadically. This did not shift his mother’s anchoring in her faith as she would always recite her novenas and led a prayerful life throughout. For Marlon however, the changes in environment and life in general would take precedence as he began stepping away from his regular routines of Churchgoing.

Adolescence is challenging for most people. Our bodies go through changes, and our minds change, without our control. In these times, it is important to have supportive

people around who strive to understand us. Single-parent homes make these times much more difficult when it comes to our development as a person. We need both parents in our lives to help us to navigate our life path.

Additionally, our development can sometimes be affected when the presence of the parent of our own gender is non-existent. Men require the presence of their fathers, and women also require the presence of their mothers to give a holistic perspective of life.

This period of adolescence in Marlon’s life brought many questions and figuring himself out became predominant in his life in general, and the Church was not a priority for him. He noticed himself becoming more introspective.

Marlon’s introspective nature came to the fore as he began working for his uncle in metal fabrication at the age of 18. At this age, most people are more concerned with passing their exams than making a living, but Marlon felt as though he needed to provide for himself and his family. It was a combination of the feeling that the Church no longer provided anything for his spirit, and the responsibilities (both actual and implied) of his new job that nudged Marlon to a self-realisation.


Something was missing

He began recognising that it wasn’t just the Church that he attended or even the priest that was officiating at Mass but a deep connection to God’s teaching within. A personal relationship with God was what Marlon put his attention on for some time and he maintained that view throughout his 20s.

Marlon had a child in his mid-20s and started a family with his now wife. At this point in his life, he had everything going for him: a successful career, a young family, and a sense of happiness. Even though these things had been a part of his life, he began feeling a sense of envy towards other people in his family. He felt as though there was something not right in his life. His conscience had been bothering him, at this time his prayerfulness had also waned.

After not feeling connected as he had earlier in his life, he went to the one person he knew would not falter – his mother. Throughout his journey and up to this point, Marlon had always felt a sense of guilt in knowing he was not doing as much as he could to remain anchored in his faith. He went to his mother for advice, and she gave him a novena to recite.

She began inviting him to St Dominic’s Church in Penal, and he accepted, not out of a feeling of responsibility towards his mother, or even to make an impression with the other members of his family but because deep within himself he felt a lack of something, something he wanted to rekindle for himself. When he went to the Church it was so full, he could not sit in a pew but had to stand. He “could not even see the pastor” he says.

This was during Lent, a time where the messages of Christ have a certain significance to them. Marlon not only listened to the priest’s message but felt his words move him and he became inspired to put the teachings into ardent practice.

He recalls expressing to his wife just how uplifted he felt at the time. His wife, who had been brought up in a Baptist home and who herself did not experience much of a prayerfulness growing up, was inspired by Marlon’s experiences, and felt that the best way to not only support her husband but help her own spirit was to go with him to Mass.

At this time Marlon remembered that he had not been confirmed in the Catholic faith, although he was baptised and did communion. He decided to do the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) to deepen his connection to his faith.

His supportive wife also went through the process of getting confirmed in the Catholic faith alongside her husband. He recalls the immense joy he experienced while simply observing his wife on the night of her confirmation. His children are now also baptised in the Christian faith.

Marlon’s journey has not been straightforward, but it remains a good example of how we are guided in our faith and what it means to mature spiritually in the eyes of the Lord and as a human. It was Marlon’s faith that brought about those feelings of guilt that guided him to seek more.