I was inactive in Church till the age of 40, when God’s call echoed in the emptiness of my life.
Growing up as a cradle Catholic, the idea of having a personal relationship with God seemed impossible. To me, God is almighty and distant in the universe. Breaking his commandments means going to hell. God is only found in catechism, in books and through intellectual knowledge arguing his existence.
Faith, for me, was a private matter – not something to be shared. I did not see the need to experience the God’s love through the people around me; my faith was just between my God and me. Evangelisation, to me, belonged to priests and well-qualified people.
All the while, I was leading a smooth-sailing life and had a nice, young and trouble-free family. I was earning sufficient money from my work, but it slowly became a routine chore. What seemed like depressive behaviour then, is now clearly seen as being unfulfilled. Deep down, I knew there must be more to life than this. That was when God called, and by His grace I managed a small, weak “yes”, never suspecting how much my life would be fulfilled.
God is always calling us back to Him. Tony was struck by the phrase “Landings, Welcoming Returning Catholics” on a notice board in San Francisco, while on a holiday.
I made a deal with God. I was to give him two years of active service in RCIA as a thanksgiving for the good life He had given me. However at the end of two years instead of leaving, I became the coordinator of RCIA in my parish. I realised that I was looking for fulfilment, and I found it through serving God and my fellow men.
As RCIA sponsors, we went through an exercise to identify the attributes of a good Catholic and we were asked ‘how were we as RCIA sponsors going to “make this good Catholic”’? As we discussed, there was not a mention about knowledge or teaching. To form a good Catholic was by example; living and experiencing God through our actions. That day I started the journey of internalising from the head to the heart.
This journey continued from RCIA to Landings, where I encountered the soothing balm of God’s love. I was able to see and feel God present in the lives of those around me. Through the years, like-minded people have come into my life and we share a common passion for this mission. This community helped me to grow in my life and my relationship with God. My focus in life have changed, and my secular desires have melted. I am able to recognise the presence of God and I am grateful for Him in the little events of my daily life. I have simpler needs and live life through a different perspective now. For me now, my job is a means to provide for my family and I; while Church work is the true meaning of my life.
I have been very privileged to witness first-hand the transformation of lives through their encounter with Christ. This has also helped me in my ongoing conversion experience, helping me to believe and journey on.