My journey to faith began in a bookstore in 2019. Just killing time, I had no intention of purchasing anything, in what is I now believe to be the first intercession of the Holy Spirit, I ended up pulling off the shelf at random the book "Dominion" by British historian Tom Holland, whom to that point I had never heard of. The book is a Christian apologia with the premise that the fundamental western ethics and worldview - from view on human dignity, treatment of the poor and social welfare, concepts of justice and the idea of the secular - are inherently and inescapably Christian. This was my first serious exposure to Christianity as a serious and coherent philosophical and ethical framework, one in which I realised I shared much more in common with and owed much more to than I realised. This realisation that Christianity had objective ethical truths (even if at that point I did not accept the inherent truth in Christ's resurrection) was the first erosion of my previous misbegotten beliefs in Christianity, and opened up a respectful curiosity and an interest in the bible.


In the summer of 2020-21 the second intercession of the holy spirt would lead to the contemplative beauty of Dante's Divine Comedy. Having never been a big reader of poetry, the decision to take up "Inferno" was an odd one, but almost immediately I was hooked by the complex image Dante was weaving (even translated in English). If I now had a greater appreciation for the intellectual side of Christianity, Dante would open me up its inherent beauty. Be it the redemptive grace offered by Christ through the penitents in the Purgatorio, or the totality of God's love through Beatrice in the Paradiso; reading the Comedy revealed not a philosophical system, but a beautiful relationship of love with God. At the height of the COVID pandemic, the notion of a God that did not just love but was love itself was a comfort. I was stuck a crossroads. Could it be comforting if it wasn't true?


The truth and beauty would combine in the third and most decisive intercession of the Holy Spirit on Easter 2023. It suddenly struck me just how real it was. Overcome with emotion, the fact of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was suddenly the most real thing imaginable. It suddenly made sense that of course we as sinful man would and did crucify the innocent Christ; and that Christ who is love would come back from the dead not in vengeance but in peace for our salvation. Gradually and then suddenly, as if an explosion of light had occurred from a tiny source, I believed. The next steps now seemed obvious. After contemplation I decided to attend a mass for the first time in my life. Attending mass at St Mary's of the Immaculate Conception in Williamstown would confirm everything. The mass itself would interweave the truth and beauty that had convinced me to go. The parish community was welcoming to a self-conscious stranger. The priest, Fr Greg, was a helpful shepherd to one with a new zeal but much to learn. One of the hardest things about moving in the summer of 2024 would be leaving the parish of St Mary's behind. But St Joseph's would prove to be as equally warm and welcoming to the stranger - and despite the changes - the similarities in openness and kindness made the move much easier than it could have been, for which I am humbled and thankful.


Everyone's journey to faith is different. But at the heart I believe there must be the three elements of truth, beauty and community. In a world of increasing relativism, lacking in the sublime and increasingly isolated; successful evangelisation needs to incorporate all three if it wishes to reach people. Luckily, the church has all three in spades. Confidently arguing and demonstrating the three elements, and trusting in God will draw more people to Christ and the church.