Guest post by Elijah Simmons.
God has nothing but love and mercy for those that turn away from him. My name is Elijah Simmons and I turned away from God. I have received nothing but knowledge and love from my parents concerning God, but I always reserved part of myself from God. I romanticized evil and made it into something it is not. I clung to sin thinking: “If I give my whole heart to God, I’ll miss out.”
I finally got to a point where I was forced to decide between God and my sin. I chose sin. I abandoned my birthright as first born of twelve and took on the mantle of rebel. I entered into sin and out of it subjugated myself to a fallen angel. I allowed it to control me and from that was filled with a dark power. My heart was hard as stone. Nothing could move me.
One day I received a phone call from my father. My nine month pregnant mom was in the hospital. Her son, Peter, my youngest brother, was dead and she was in danger of death. I got off the phone and was filled with nothing but rage. In my anger I cursed God in ways that I dare not say. In that moment the demon fed me more power than ever.
Later that day I met with my Dad to go to the hospital and drive my Mom’s car back for them. The whole way there my dad showed me nothing but love pleading with me to lay aside my sin and come back to my family. My heart was so hard that not even the death of my infant brother and the critical condition of my mother could move me. When we got back to my parent’s house he asked me to stay with my siblings for the night. I reluctantly agreed.
The next morning my dad arrived home exhausted, both emotionally and physically. We began to talk. He looked at me and said: “Son, this is not you. Please let me see if there’s something else. I think you’re under the oppression of an evil spirit.” I don’t know why, maybe it was the love that my dad showed me despite my betrayals, maybe it was the night I spent with my brothers and sisters who looked at me with eyes that said “Why?”, but I said yes to him. He made the sign of the cross over me, and immediately the spirit manifested. I have never been so afraid in my life. I looked at my father and groaned: “Dad, help me.” Over the next hour, my dad and I prayed for the deliverance of my soul. We strived and strived, and finally in a moment of desperation I cried out to heaven: “God help me!” In that moment I finally surrendered everything to God. The demon’s power was lifted.
I have never cried and laughed so much as I did for the rest of that day. My heart was broken for the way I had betrayed God, but I just felt him saying all day: “I love you.” That night something even more amazing happened. My father and I were talking later that night about Peter’s death and how it related to my deliverance. He said that Peter’s death was a sacrifice that brought my eternal life. As he was saying that, I felt the truth of it. I said, “Well I know what my first born son’s name will be.” He looked at me and said, “Lijah I’m not so sure you will have children.” Let me clarify. Never in my life have I ever felt a call to the priesthood. I always thought that I’d get married and have kids. However, on three separate occasions there have been priests who have spoken a vocation over me. All three were holy God-fearing priests. I began to talk with my dad about these experiences. As I was talking about the last of these encounters, I felt the power of God rest on my head like oil. I immediately told my dad and he said, “Ask God if you have a vocation.” As soon as he said that the oil rushed down over my face, down my neck, and rested on my shoulders. I raised my head and hands to heaven and asked the Lord if I had a vocation to the priesthood. As soon as these words came out of my mouth the oil rushed over my whole body. Unable to control myself I fell on the sidewalk, head and knees on the ground.
I know that God saved me; I know that he has tarried with me waiting for me to give myself completely to him. I finally have and am now ready and more than willing to seek out a priestly vocation. To become In persona Christi.