I grew up in a family of free thinkers and as a result, spent very little time in my developing years considering spirituality, be it my own or others’. I was first brought to church by my fiancé, who is a cradle Catholic. I initially found Mass a confusing experience, as everyone else seemed to know what to do and what to say. Eventually, Mass became a familiar and even enjoyable experience, while the faith itself remained a mystery. I had many questions about the Church’s history, its structure, the core tenets of its faith, and the Church’s stance on a variety of social issues like abortion, birth control and the death penalty. At the same time, I was slowly being enfolded into my fiancé’s deeply spiritual family, whose Catholic faith is weaved into their family fabric. While it may not be obvious at first glance, upon a closer look, you realize that their Catholic faith forms the cornerstone of their familial love. From them, I received answers to questions I didn’t know I had. In their house, I experienced the warmth of Christian hospitality, the grace of Christian charity and forgiveness, and the love of life-giving and sacrificial parents.
As I reflected on the religion and my willingness to be baptised in it, I realized any decision I made would have some influence on my relationship with my fiancé. These two relationships – my relationship with God and my relationship with my fiancé – were and still are closely intertwined. My fiancé first brought me to church, and in doing so, encouraged the development of my spirituality. My decision to be baptised in the faith has in turn caused our relationship to develop in ways which we could not foresee, because carved into our relationship now is a space for God. How exactly that will change our relationship, we are still discovering. What I have found is that our shared Catholic faith has taught us loving ways to communicate our feelings and resolve our differences in opinion, by empowering us with a common vocabulary and a common set of values.
As I journeyed together, my faith was deepened by listening to their testimonies.
The past one and a half years in RCIA have been intense, emotional and exciting. My understanding of the faith first grew through the Word, by learning to read the Bible, interpreting it, and understanding it. However, as I journeyed together with the facilitators and fellow participants, my faith was deepened by listening to their testimonies. Upon reflection, I now understand why the facilitators often say that our sharing as participants energizes their faith. Journeying with others truly is a privilege – in being accorded an insight into someone else’s experience of God, you in turn receive discernment about your own faith. Sharing teaches us to recognize God’s grace in our lives, however small it may be.
I am excited to be embarking on a life-long journey with God. I did not find Him by looking in the obvious places, but when I was willing to listen, He called out to me in the breeze (1 Kings 19:9-13).