I am Alexis Morris and one of the recently confirmed Catholics of this parish. First and foremost, allow me to thank everyone of you for your prayers, best wishes and kind passing smiles while I went through my RCIA journey. Thank you.
I am here to tell you my resurrection story. My testimony of God's truly unconditional love. It all begins with the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "God is dead." Nietzsche was a 19th century German philosopher who is famous for penning those three words and for challenging the idea of objective or universal truth and morality. He argued that moral structures, specifically the Christian moral structure, is at worse a farce that only holds exceptional individuals back. "Become what you are," he said.
I was introduced to this Nietzsche not long after I thought I had been introduced to Christ. I was raised in a non-denominational Christian church in northern Virginia. I was baptized at 18 years in the summer just before I started my first year in college. Winter quarter of that year, I was assigned to read many of Nietzsche's writings as a part of my required social sciences/social thought course. I was shocked by what Nietzsche had to say, but eventually I convinced myself that this was the meaning of enlightenment. To be exceptional, then I needed to throw off the cloak of guilt and moral structures. I tried to join the world. I told myself that God was a concept made up to convince ancient neighbors to be nice to one another. I tried to believe this.
Now I am sure that many of you are expecting my story to take a bitter and near tragic turn. That I will tell you about how God tried and tried me until I could only turn my eyes up to Him. He could have done that. But you must remember that God is a god of mercy, patience and understanding. Instead of raining down the proverbial fire and brimstone, He flooded my life with blessings on top of blessings such that I could not ignore Him.
For example, at the end of my first year, I applied for a prestigious position with the University. This was a position that was typically granted to graduate students not first year undergraduates. However, I not only received the position, but I was asked to renew my position for another year.
My third year of college, I applied for a grant to study a foreign language abroad. I had never been abroad before and I was not going to go without this grant. Needless to say, I went abroad.
My final example. All through college I had studied economics and public policy in preparation for a career in Washington, D.C., possibly as a congressional staffer or in a lobbying firm. My internships were in DC. My coursework was tailored towards that type of career. It was not until a month before my final quarter before graduation did I change focus. I suddenly decided that I wanted to go into private industry. I ran into recruiters from a company that was not on my radar and from a city that I had never considered living in. Two weeks before classes ended, this company sent me an email with a subject line titled "Offer details." When I opened the email and read the contents, I started shouting, "Oh my God. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
My soul literally began to cry out. I was totally shocked by my response. You must understand that I did not make the conscious decision to say those words. It was if my earthly self and my spirit had a conversation, where my earthly body said to my spirit, "Why? Why are you saying those things? I never told you to say that."
To which my spirit replied, "If I do not cry out, then the rocks will."
That day, I began to think back on all of the ways the Lord had blessed me. I was accepted and found a way to pay for my dream university. I received positions, grants, and awards that I had never anticipated. Then this.
When one good thing happens, you can call it luck. When two goods things happen, you can call it a coincidence, but when three, four, five things? Now that is a pattern and every pattern has a designer. How naïve I was to try to think that He was not there.
So, in spring of 2013, I moved to Detroit, which I never thought I’d do. I started working on staff at a manufacturing plant (again something I had never once anticipated) and I drove past this church on my way to lunch. I walked in on a Sunday
and was told that RCIA courses would start that upcoming Wednesday
. Now I stand in front of you as a full member of the Catholic Faith.
My resurrection story is one of God’s unconditional love and mercy. It is only because of Him and His persistence that I can say that I have been resurrected in the body of Christ.
Alexis N. Morris