I can’t believe it was Jesus all along

I can’t believe it was Jesus all along
Rohan Healy

We are reminded daily of the many social ills that the internet, and social media in particular, perpetuate. The increased sense of social isolation, despite early promises to bring people closer together, the negative effects on self-worth as we are constantly bombarded with exaggerated examples of others success, the ever-present temptation to get lost in an infinite number of rabbit holes offering short term gratification, scrolling endlessly through comments or engaging directly in arguments online or cyber bullying. I could go on. A world glued to the phone, heads down, stooped in reverence to an electronic deity that feeds us superficial satisfaction. But like Herod swooning lasciviously over Salome, when the dance ends and we find out what is being asked of us in return, we are devastated by the answer.

The pitfalls are real, the dangers are documented. But all tools can be used for both good and ill. Medicine can heal or harm, weapons can kill or feed families, and social media, in the right hands, and used with prudence and temperance, can be a great force for good in the world.


When I experienced a life changing encounter with God the Father and Christ a year ago, I was left ecstatic; saved, redeemed, forgiven. I cried until I couldn’t, then I cried some more. Then I laughed, I distinctly remember thinking to myself “I can’t believe it was actually Jesus all along”. I stepped foot into a created world for the first time and experienced grace; internal changes to my habits, weaknesses, behaviours and thoughts that defied explanation, and without any willpower on my part. I had received divine revelation and there was no going back.

I found myself nodding along as their words resonated with my experience”

So, what now? I was distinctly concerned about bringing this up with people in my life, afraid I’d be judged, maybe the validity of my experience wouldn’t be taken seriously. I knew that I could never deny Christ, I knew this was a one-way ticket, however I knew myself! I knew previous to this experience that, while I had a general respect for those who were strong in their faith, I was as cynical as they come, I had a litany of ‘actual’ reasons why people ‘found’ God and not one of them was the truth; that in fact the risen Christ is at work in the world and a relationship with him is not only possible but vital.

Then, I went online. I knew instinctively that to explain my experience in a way that is coherent, patient and can stand up to scrutiny I would have to develop my formation and apologetics. I began watching long form YouTube content. Primarily talks, podcasts and debates. Christian apologists like Frank Turek and William Lane Craig appealed to me with their intellectual, logical and philosophical approach and I found myself nodding along as their words resonated with my experience. I had at this time purchased three Bibles, the NIV, Douay Rheims (I love this Bible so much!) and – don’t laugh – the Action Bible, a graphic novel depiction of the Old and New Testament that I found useful to get up to speed and flesh out the stories! But that wasn’t enough, I wanted more ways to experience the Bible, so I went searching on YouTube and found Fr Mike Schmitz’ Bible in a Year Podcast. I’d put on an episode each day while eating my meals. I had to understand how it all ties together!


This led the YouTube algorithm to begin suggesting more Catholic content, and the real turning point was Pints with Aquinas and Matt Fradd. Wow! A veritable wellspring of endless Catholic podcast content delving into every facet of the faith imaginable. This led to Dr Taylor Marshall, a polarising figure and a little click-baity, but his knowledge is vast, and I found him fun as well as informative. Then Aquinas 101 and Fr Gregory Pine. Finally! My eyes were opened to the vastly deep and complex world of Dominican Theology. The intellectual tradition of the order was like a salve, pouring over me, stimulating both my heart and mind, making sense of the mysteries of the Faith and of life.

I began attending Mass, and at the Easter Vigil on March 30, I was baptised and confirmed”

By this point I was determined to get baptised in the Catholic tradition. I was also watching Irish YouTube blogger Robert Nugent (Decrevi), and when I opened to my family and asked my father for advice on how to seek baptism, he suggested sending Robert a message. I did. He responded within minutes with the email of a Dominican Priest, Fr Conor McDonough OP. Once again, I rushed to YouTube where I watched a podcast he did with Benburb priory about Faith, science, his work with the excellent ‘Treasure Ireland’ Youtube series and more.

I emailed him and once again the response was prompt and kind and warm. I fell to my knees again and wept at this point, as it hit home that I was about to enter the body of Christ.

From this point, under the guidance of Fr Conor, and the Fathers and Brothers at St Saviours’ Church in Dublin, I was formed through one-on-one meetings, recommended readings and their excellent Catechism course, where I met other Catholics, young and old, eager to explore their Faith more deeply, I began attending Mass, and at the Easter Vigil on March 30, I was baptised and confirmed.

So few words feel like a total disservice to the love, care and patience that was shown to me by all at St Saviours’ Church. Their empathy, intelligence, humour, sense of wonder and enquiry cannot be overstated. One day I’ll put the full account of my conversion to paper, for myself if no one else, with the hopes of doing the entire story justice, even if only a little more.


To this day I enjoy regular content by the like of Bishop Robert Barron and the Treasure Ireland and Sunday Sermons of the Irish Dominicans, as well as many more. There is an endless wealth of content on Church history, the early Church Fathers, the Saints and, of course, the story of Christ, all freely available on YouTube. And in, what feels miraculous to me, the past 6 months I have met in person both Matt Fradd and Fr Gregory Pine at their talks in Dublin and had the opportunity to thank them both in person for the impact they had on my life.

I remain a deeply flawed person, conversion is life long and I pray daily for the love and forgiveness of God. I start my day praying Lauds from the Universalis app, and I end it with a candle lit prayer at my prayer space. I’m as guilty as anyone for misusing the internet and falling prey to its temptations, but I hope that with a little discipline and intention the internet, and social media can be an incredibly powerful tool forming and strengthening our faith. And in my story, it was a vital part of my journey to baptism and beyond.