Since young, I knew God has always been in my life. But I always failed to recognize his works and presence; instead I took everything for granted. Sometimes, I would naively ask myself, "Why do I need God?" I was happy with my smooth-sailing life and had everything I needed and wanted. But soon, my life fell apart and I questioned myself on the meaning of life. I went through a series of setbacks and realized only God can fill up the void in my heart.
During those periods of distress, I cried at nights. I felt, mysteriously, that God heard my cries and he saw the shattered pieces of my heart. For unexplained reasons, I found myself crying to God for help and for his salvation. That was the first time I prayed the longest prayer without speaking a word. I knew he was right there, hugging me, comforting my soul and nursing my broken heart. He saw right through me.
Call it God’s mysterious works or his perfect timing, my non-Catholic friend, God’s timely messenger, invited me to ‘visit’ his church in January last year. There, I fixed my eyes on the crucifix and miraculously found peace. I knew I wanted to depend on him only.
At that time, I hadn’t heard of the RCIA, until a good friend spoke about it. Incidentally, it was mentioned in the Church of the Holy Spirit’s bulletin that very weekend.
I had found it very difficult to attend the Thursday sessions and Breaking of the Word sessions on Sundays. I work London-hour shifts (4.00pm-2.00am) daily so it is near impossible to attend RCIA. But somehow with God’s grace, I managed most of the evenings, with great understanding from my boss! And because my biological clock is tuned to London hours, I usually only wake up after 12.00pm! To get up early on Sundays was a huge struggle! But I’ve gone through every week with the strength he gave me...
This RCIA journey is a lifetime experience which I will always keep close to my heart. Some think it is a ‘crash-course’ to learn more about the Catholic faith, but I say it is indeed a life-transforming experience. I wasn’t convinced by how our lives can be transformed within such a short period of time, as vouched by many newly baptized. But now, I can say with full conviction that it has happened, and is still happening.
There are many incidences when I felt God on the journey but what touched me most was the Lenten retreat. I brought a very heavy burden there and finally lifted it up to God. I realize I was the one who didn’t want to come out of that "tomb" (like Lazarus) though God has already gotten people to remove the stone from the opening.
It is only recently that I learnt to value simpler things in life and yearn only for God’s love. Forgiveness was not something I could give readily in the past. But learning how Christ has forgiven my sins, I learn to love and forgive.
I reflected on my past, carefully ‘scrutinizing’ my life each week and realized how much time I have wasted leading an ungodly life. This spiritual journey gently jolted me to live a more Christ-like life. It kept me strong in faith and reminded me weekly to faithfully be his loving and humble servant.
Now, I lead my life knowing that I have nothing to fear.I’ve learnt to cast my anxieties on him, from work politics to family problems, and to know he is always with me no matter how taxing or exasperating each period is. As one of my sponsors said, "The Lord will not lead us to where his grace cannot keep us".
I hope that my faith will remain strong after becoming a Catholic. I want to make a conscious effort to live a Christian life for others to see and feel God’s love for themselves. Like Father said, "We are told not to only proclaim our faith but to live it out in our lives."
The summary of my faith journey may not be a good testimony to convince anybody of God’s great love for us and his hopes in everyone to accept him into our hearts, but with my life I offer up to him this Easter, I hope you will too.
Ho Chu Yun, 24,
Church of the Holy Spirit