Maria Shamaun talks about the role Jesus and her faith play in her life. 

My name is Maria Shamaun and I am from Pakistan, from a city in Punjab called Multan. I would like to share in brief my experience of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian.

As a child, my mother would gather all three of us siblings and tell us stories about Jesus. She would encourage us to see Jesus as our friend, and from her lovingly told stories, Jesus was our friend from childhood. As for me, I began to take my faith very seriously. I have always cherished being a Catholic and I always loved to talk to Jesus in person and tell him all that went on in my mind.

How I met Christ and how he became my ‘everything’. 

My mom played a huge role in bringing Jesus into our lives from our childhood. Though my belief was quite strong, my true encounter was when I attended a Jesus Youth retreat, which helped me understand that Jesus is the true light of life. He is the answer for everyone.

How I identified Jesus as a friend.

I studied in a convent school. One day, during catechism, the sister teaching us was speaking about Jesus. She said that Jesus could be anyone to us, our brother, best friend, father – he could be whatever we wanted him to be. At that time, I was pretty lonely and didn’t have sincere friends, so I decided that Jesus would be my best friend. He would listen to me and would always be present for me. It was the cherry on top that he is my best friend who also listens to my intercessions and prayers!

How I discovered real faith and what keeps me going.

Jesus Youth brought me back to a life full of faith. It helped me understand what it means to be a Catholic and how blessed we are to be able to have and experience Jesus close to us. He walks with us, talks with us and always strengthens us to go on in life, all the while drawing us closer to himself.

How my faith helps me lead a worthy life.

Honestly, my faith has been like a rollercoaster ride. I would not say that I was very determined in it but Jesus never let me fall apart and never left my side. Whenever I was on the verge of falling away, something would always lead me back to Abba Father! 

How I overcame crises in my life.

The truth about my life began to hit me hard when I came back from my full-timership training. There were so many things I had to leave behind and had to take a new step in my life to be more faithful. The most difficult thing was to filter who was worthy of keeping and who was not; which person could harm my faith, my life, my belief. It was God’s love and grace that saved me from all visible harm.

How I feel when things go wrong or stressful. 

Though I am a JY and full-timer, I learnt that the trials and stresses of life can be managed by keeping a constant contact with God himself. By nature, I do get anxious, but I try to keep going to God first. And though there are occasions when situations overwhelm and I get panic attacks, I eventually find my way to Jesus, the ultimate Saviour.

What helps me to keep up the faith 

The most important things are all the blessings in my life. After trying so many times and failing, I finally secured the job I wanted. All those failures helped me be thankful in any situation, which brought me closer to Jesus. When I thank him for even the smallest of blessings, he never fails to listen to me for bigger things.

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