Dermot Nash

Dermot Nash – The Slave of Mary to Servant of Christ

Believe me when I tell you this, the man who listens to my words, and puts his trust in Him who sent me, enjoys eternal life; he does not meet with rejection, he has passed over already from death to life” Jn. 5v24.

In May 1935, in the city of Dublin, I was born into an ardent Roman Catholic family. I was baptised and brought up in the Roman Catholic Church, my education, both secular and religious, being controlled by members of a teaching known as “The Christian Brothers”.

As a young child I was taught about God, heaven, sin and hell. So vividly did these “Christian Brothers” describe to me the pain and anguish of hell, that I feared death, lest I should find myself cut off from God forever. I determined within myself to make every effort to attain eternal life, and I was taught that the Roman Catholic Church was the one true church outside of which there was no salvation, I looked to the sacraments of the Church as my only hope.

As I grew older I increased my devotions to various saints, praying especially to Mary. The more I increased my religious observance the more aware I became of my sin and my own inadequacy to please God. I was learning by experience what God had said in His Word, “The Israelites aimed at a disposition which should justify them and never reached it. Why was this? Because they hoped to derive their justification from observances, not from faith” Rom 9:31,32

In August 1952 I joined a movement of Catholic Action named The Legion of Mary. This is an organisation, which is dedicated to spread the devotion to Mary, believing that by doing so it will expand the boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church and help it’s members to save their souls. The motto of the movement could be described in the following words,” In Mary, through Mary, by Mary and for Mary”. Every member of the Legion of Mary must develop a complete dependency on Mary for everything and do everything for her glory.

In September 1954 I applied to a religious order for admittance to its noviciate in order that I might study for the Roman Catholic priesthood and become a monk. I felt quite certain that if I dedicated my life to God as a monk I would be sure to find peace with God in this life, and thereby be more acceptable to Him. Not having studied Latin at school I was refused admittance to their noviciate and was sent to their seminary to learn Latinand continue my secular education.

Life in the seminary was monastic in style. It was a strict life. We rose early in the morning for prayers, had meals in silence and took our turn in reading during mealtimes. Silence was observed all over the seminary and stern penances were given to anyone who broke the silence.

I enjoyed this life greatly at first but as months went by I realized that although my circumstances had altered I had not. Sin still had dominion over my life; the long hours of prayer and study and secluded life did not bring me any closer to God. I left in seminary in January 1956 and returned to Dublin.

One evening in 1956 while as a member of The Legion of Mary I was picketing an open-air gospel meeting. I challenged one of the young lady preachers to discuss their claims that Roman Catholicism was not Christian. I procured a duay bible and a book on Roman Catholic Doctrine and we met in a coffee house in Dublin. She explained to me how she had been brought up as a nominal protestant in the Church of Ireland but had come into a living experience of the Grace of God by faith in Jesus at a Gospel meeting in the City of Dublin YMCA. As she testified to me I was conscious that she had a spiritual experience similar to that for which my soul was longing. We discussed many of the Scriptures and this started me on a study of the New Testament.

On April 19th 1957 in my own bedroom, I opened the scriptures at John 10 v27; 28 and prayer to our Heavenly Father asking him to forgive me my sins and to give me the life that Jesus spoke about in His Word. A great peace filled my soul as I poured out my heart before God and cried to Him for mercy, the guilt burden and consciousness of my sin just vanished away and for the first time I knew what it was to find the Presence of God.

Extracts from the tesitimony of Dermot Nash (by permission)

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