CCN PHOTO | DEBORAH GYAPONG
Marek Doroshenko illustrates what happens when we try to fill 'self' with the attractions of the world and find they never fill us up.
God longs for us to be with him and when we mess up, he longs for us to return to him, Marek Doroshenko told the Journey to the Father conference in St. Raphael's, Ont.
"We need to see how loveable we are from God's eyes," Doroshenko said.
A teacher with a theology degree from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Doroshenko used audio-visual clips and entertaining demonstrations of risky experiments to hold the attention of high school students at the July 19-21 conference.
He recalled a pet cat he had when he was 10 years old. The cat used to wander in the woods behind his home. Doroshenko trained it to come to him by providing treats. The cat had a bell around its neck to alert birds. Doroshenko could not sleep unless the cat was safely inside.
One winter night the cat did not come home. The next day, he was in the woods trudging through the snow trying to find it. Then, he saw the cat off in the distance and heard the bell. The cat was running in another direction, but he eventually came to Doroshenko with a mouse in its mouth.
"I was so thankful he came back," he said. "I did not scold him."
Likewise, God is not angry with us when we fall away from him, Doroshenko stressed.
The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means turning away from God's forgiveness and denying the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us back to God, he said.
Satan wants us to see ourselves differently, he said. "Satan can't change the fact you are created in the image and likeness of God, but he can distort our thinking about how we see ourselves."
After Satan convinces us that something is wrong with us, he then convinces us we have to do something about it, he said. We have to achieve something, get something to fill up the self.
Using a beaker labeled "self" half-filled with nail polish remover Doroshenko kept filling it with Styrofoam packing peanuts that disintegrated in the liquid as he rattled off the kinds of things people do to try to fulfill themselves, but never finding it enough - they strive for a bigger job, more money and more things.
Satan is trying to get us to fill up our "self" but pursuing these things will never allow us to feel full, or if they do temporarily, the happiness is as flimsy as an empty cardboard box, he said.
He warned against hating ourselves because of the sin in our lives. It's a mistake to identify with the sin in our lives, he said. God loves us regardless of the sin but wants to heal us.
Doroshenko listed many great failures from the Bible who went on to do great things for God, from Moses, to David, to Matthew the tax collector and Peter, who denied Christ three times.
"What matters is not what we do, but what God does in us," he said.
He urged the audience to be filled with the Holy Spirit through developing an active prayer life. He blew up a balloon, then turned on a lighter and asked the audience what would happen if he put the flame to the balloon.
He applied the flame and the balloon popped. He took another balloon and filled it with water to represent the Holy Spirit. When he applied the flame, the balloon remained intact.
don't do this at home
Warning the students not to try the experiment at home, he put a light bulb into the microwave. When he turned it on, the bulb exploded. He put another light bulb into a mug labeled "trust" and surrounded it with water to represent the Holy Spirit.
When he turned the power on, the light bulb glowed with warm flame. With the Holy Spirit in our lives, stress and pressure that would otherwise make us explode makes us glow to be a benefit to others, he said.