Today, Colette shares with us practices that have brought her comfort, an older book that was quite modern, and overcoming panic in the pandemic. Make sure to check out her YouTube channel. It’s lovely!
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I believe I had a very peaceful and loving childhood; I was fortunate enough to be brought up by a caring family and strong support system. Growing up was filled with many adventures; I loved to be creative and try out new things, whether this was a new sport, game, project – there was always lots to be doing. Mostly, I simply enjoyed being young and carefree.
Inspiring biblical passage at the moment: One of my favourite bible passages as of late has been Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven,” as I find joy and comfort in the ever-changing seasons. Whenever I see something pretty in nature, it’s a reminder to me that God created beauty for us to admire in the simple, everyday things.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: My main spiritual growth focus is to remind myself each day to live as God wants me to live, whether that’s in the way I treat others, the way I carry out my prayers, when I read the Bible, and so on. I aim to carry out ever action with the thought of Jesus and many saints in my head – e.g. is this how they would act? Is this what they would say? Is this what they would do?
“My main spiritual growth focus is to remind myself each day to live as God wants me to live, whether that’s in the way I treat others, the way I carry out my prayers, when I read the Bible, and so on.”
Profession: I am a writer, journalist, and occasional blogger. I do the odd bit of YouTube on the side and like to carry out many creative projects when possible.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? The Simple Life of an Anxious Catholic
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? Despite having grown up with religion, I never really fully encountered God until later in my teens. At the beginning of my younger days I drew away a little from religion, as none of my friends were really interested and I felt like a bit of an outcast. However, around the age of 18-19, I began to meet others who had a deep love of God and Catholicism, which gave me the strength and motivation to discover more. Eventually, I began to develop my prayer life, concentrate more in mass, discover the power of the sacraments, and really focus on what I could do to better my faith.
How would you describe Jesus? I believe that Jesus is many things, a lot of which would be almost impossible for me to describe. As part man, part divinity on earth, he came to show us an example of everything we are striving for and striving to be, He is an example of heaven on earth; giving strength to all humanity. He showed us that although we are sometimes weak, there is always time to start again and follow Him. He gave up His life to show how much He loves us and wants us not to sin. He is the ultimate source of comfort and joy; and we can find examples of Him on earth, whenever we see something pure and beautiful. And as He once described Himself, He is the way, the truth, and the life.
“He gave up His life to show how much He loves us and wants us not to sin. He is the ultimate source of comfort and joy”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? As my relationship with Jesus grows, it simply makes me a better person, through having more patience, more understanding, more humility, and so on. When I find myself lacking grace and closeness to Him (which happens to us all sometimes), I feel more lost, confused, and anxious. Encouraging ourselves to be close to Jesus when we can, can help us in ways we may not always notice.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? During the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, my anxiety developed more dramatically than ever before, and I wasn’t sure if I would ever overcome it. Through a mixture of family support, expert advice, and lots of prayers, I have managed to overcome this dark period. Although it hasn’t fully disappeared and it is a cross I may always have to carry, I am reminded of Jesus suffering while being crucified, and my faith in Him gives me hope to be strong.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? The support of family and friends through faith, an active prayer life, attending mass and receiving the sacraments, especially confession, reading scripture, and being mindful of what I consume on a daily basis. For instance, I regularly try to be wary of anything that is not good for the soul, such as negative or provocative images online; social media, television etc. I try to stick to watching things that bring me true joy and inspiration (things that bring me closer to God).
“I try to stick to watching things that bring me true joy and inspiration (things that bring me closer to God).”
Just read / currently reading (and what has it taught you?): After reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, a book from the 1930s, I realised that it is very modern for its time. One of the main lessons this book has taught me is that if we live in a world without rules, consequences, or personal obligations, it can lead to chaos.
Top three essentials: My family, my partner, and the Bible. Or I would place my partner alongside my family and add a game of Animal Crossing in there…
How did God speak to you recently? While I was saying Stations of the Cross as part of Holy Week, I was comforted by God through each station, as He eased my anxieties and fears.
Hobby: I love to play the piano, read books of a variety of genres, journaling and writing, filming and creating YouTube videos, painting (although I’m not the greatest at it), and baking seasonal treats.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
My first tip would be to set a time and place each day for prayers / reading scripture, as this helps keep me in more of a routine.
Say prayers every morning and ever night, even if it’s just one, and ask God to help you make the right decisions throughout the day. Then thank God every night for the day you’ve experienced.
Attend mass every week and the sacrament of confession each month or when possible.
Favourite person in scripture? This is a tough one, but at the moment I would have to say Saint Joseph, as he’s an amazing example for us all to live by; a hard worker, patient, caring, and faithful.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? Perhaps, that God only wants the best for His people. That He is the one that heals us from all our troubles, faults, and wrongdoings – while remembering that we have a responsibility to do our part and help both ourselves and others become closer to God.
“That He is the one that heals us from all our troubles, faults, and wrongdoings – while remembering that we have a responsibility to do our part and help both ourselves and others become closer to God.”
How do you engage with your community? Obviously this has been a little difficult to do on a face-to-face basis as of late, so really I try to engage with others through my writing (such as informative blog posts), by joining in with useful (faith-based) talks online and listening to others’ points of view, and simply by chatting with others.
Favourite holiday? One of my favourite holidays has been visiting Croatia; a beautiful and calming location with lots to do and see.
A goal you have? My main goal at the moment is to grow in faith, whether this is my knowledge about the faith itself, or exploring areas I haven’t paid as much attention to yet. Another goal would be to perhaps start a family and pass on my knowledge and experience of faith and Catholicism.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: A simple, yet fun tradition my family and I partake in, is going walks together on special occasions, such as Christmas Eve, Easter etc. This is a great way to celebrate the holy traditions while going out into nature.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Can I please reunite with my loved ones?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The importance of protecting life on earth, at all stages.
What does your morning routine consist of? Stretching, brushing my teeth, making breakfast while drinking multiple cups of coffee, saying some morning prayers, and getting started with some work or creative projects.
What is on your nightstand? My radio, a lamp, my book of choice, a decorative bottle with a fake flower inside, and my Bible.
Define Christianity in a sentence: A community uniting together to celebrate God and His glory, by aiming to live through His ways.
For more Colette Clare:
YouTube: Colette Clare
Until next time, keep witnessing!