Every Christian faith walk takes you on a journey; journeys where you are asked to take Jesus’s nail-scarred hand and trust Him to lead you. Jesus leads you to the very heart of our loving Heavenly Father.
I was born and baptized into the Catholic faith. As a cradle Catholic my faith was nourished thru a praying grandma’s good example and the instruction of the nuns in Catholic school. I can still remember the nuns saying, “Who made you? God made you. Why did God make you? God made you to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and to be happy with Him one day in heaven.”
I grew to know and love my Catholic Faith. I longed to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. What a glorious day it was, when I, dressed all in white as a bride, walked to the altar singing, “Jesus, Jesus, come to me.” God knew it was truly my heart’s desire, and He answered that prayer. As I received Jesus “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity” for the first time, the truth of our faith was written on my soul. Jesus revealed Himself to me. I gave my life to Him and He began to lead me. I went to daily mass, frequented the sacrament of reconciliation, sang to Jesus, and prayed about everything.
High School found me in a public school where it was not in vogue to be a committed Catholic. In order to be popular, I went undercover, but my faith suffered greatly. My family went to Mass on Sunday, and I continued to pray before I went to bed. However, I had no support from other Catholics, no opportunity for daily Eucharist, and I did not grow in the Faith.
The day I graduated from high school, my family moved back to the South. I tried a college in Georgia and one in Florida, and both were a culture shock; drugs, drinking and sex were rampant, and I was appalled. I knew it would be impossible for me to grow close to Jesus in this environment. I moved to Florida, to fulfill my dream to be a stewardess with a friend. We were soon flying the friendly skies as Flight Attendants for Air Florida. Again my faith suffered, Jesus was no longer first in my life. The unfortunate part, I was not even aware of it!
At age 19 I met and fell in love with the man of my dreams, Patrick, who was studying to be a physician at University of Miami. During this season of my life, God tried to get my attention through a dream. In the dream I was stirring some cookie dough in a bowl. As I gazed into the bowl, Jesus appeared, saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” Since this was not an ordinary experience for me, I sought advice, but did not get clear direction, so I dismissed it. Pat and I married, on May 1, 1974. After a one-month honeymoon, and graduation, we moved to Gainesville, Florida for Pat’s residency.
We soon had a little boy, a little girl and lived in suburbia. In a worldly sense, we had made it. I was so happy that I went back to Church. During my four-year lapse in practicing my faith, the Charismatic renewal had evolved. I went to a prayer meeting where a gal read the same scripture from my dream. I knew I was home. It was on that day that I gave my heart back to Jesus. I promised Him that I did not care who knew I was a Catholic, I would live for Him.
When Pat decided to go into practice, I prayed we would go to where Pat, then a pagan, would find Jesus. After a year in Vernal, Utah Pat gave his heart to Jesus too. Together we made the decision to move back to the South to be close to family and to join Alleluia, a Charismatic Community in Augusta, Georgia. God blessed us with many children, friendships, teachings and great graces. God trained us up, nourished us, and established us. In Alleluia people were trying to live radically for Jesus. Then God called Pat to become a Deacon. We both embraced full-time ministry and agreed to pour our lives into building the Church.
I believe God has called me to pass the faith down to the next generation and to help young mothers find the joy in their vocation as wife and mother. I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak about Jesus on TV, radio, mom’s clubs, churches and thru the books and bible studies I have written.
You never know where God will take you. I have journeyed to mountaintops of great joy, into valleys of tears and sadness, and thru deserts of loneliness, waiting until God parts the Red Sea. I have learned that it is in the crucible of suffering that you get to know God for yourself. He alone will teach you how to walk on the water, if you keep your eyes on Him. When you begin to sink, he will send a lifeboat in the form of other committed followers. No one can walk the journey alone.
I wake up every morning to pray and seek the face of Jesus, and to take a strong hold of his nail scarred hand. I ask Him, “How I can serve you today?” I try to attend Mass daily, and confession frequently; that is where the grace is. I know I need Him. In him alone, I place my trust. I want Him to be my everything!
Ellen Mongan is a Catholic writer, speaker and the host of WOW Radio Podcasts. She is married to Deacon Patrick Mongan, M.D., and they have seven children, one baby in heaven, and thirteen grandchildren.