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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My journey of faith through the RCIA process in St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan

Laurence L. Dumling

A conversation with a good friend, a faithful Buddhist, who has shared so much of the Buddhist teachings left my lips tightened, with jaws opened. I was bedazzled how he has enlightened me about Buddhism in a totally new perspectives yet it struck me hard when he asked me a question, “If Jesus is the Son of God, or if there ever is a God - why then there is suffering? Why then there is evil in this world?” – there and then, I was tongue tied. During my university years, I sometimes go to churches (of other denominations). When asked which church I go to back at home - I answered, “Catholic Church.” Some of them then began to bombard me with the flaws and misguided teachings of the Catholic Church. There and then, again, I was tongue tied. Knowing some Christian friends, regardless of their denominations, and seeing how they act, speak and live - which in my personal opinion, not so in the way how Christians would be, but of the common imperfection nature of being human beings. Seeing them being so, I am not an exception either.

This spiritual awareness has kept me restless regardless how many games of badminton I have played to distract myself from it - still, by the end of the day, it kept on banging hard on my head. I enjoy and survive life - a fulfilling yet NOT a meaningful life. There’s something missing - big piece of puzzle - my faith.

The RCIA process is the start of my comprehensive journey of faith resumed. Through Youth Alpha, I was encouraged. In RCIA, I was enlightened. The lessons conducted in a thoroughly organised yet simple; in-depth yet prodigious way was most enriching. I found it spectacularly thought provoking understanding the symbolism and meanings of every detail in which the Lord has shown us. Being a literature lover myself, it was tantalizing and inspiring of the real meaning and reason of the Trinity of God, Son of Man as the Lamb of God - and one that has bedazzled me is the Catholic perspective in understanding passion and love. Passion is not merely devotedness to yearning, but more of the zeal in suffering. Love is not merely affection, but more of charity in giving. Understanding this in this point of view, strengthened my curiosity in my faith even more - how much God has loved us that He was willing to give His only Son to live and suffer like us and even died for our salvation. Why is it being called Good Friday when that day was actually our Lord’s Last Supper? Why is it that Easter is the central point of our faith? This year - I have come to an understanding of what passion and love truly means.
I am thankful to God for my mother who has ceaselessly reminded me to pray and read the Bible, despite not being a church-goer herself. I believe, through her, God has been keeping an eye on me and calling me to get in touch with Him. I have never quite believed in prayers; not until I realised my attitude of being so is because of my own ignorance to God’s answers. Reflecting them back - how simplistic I am to God’s simple miracles. I have learnt to always have my pen and book whenever and wherever I am. I don’t want to miss any of such profound miracles anymore.
It has never crossed my narrow mind that I will be confirmed in the Catholic church, having a Godmother (million thanks to Bu Suzanna Corduva), to attend the RCIA process, knowing and exchanging sharings on God’s words and experiences. It has been a privilege to be called to be a reader and above all- at last to envy no more for I myself partake the Holy Eucharist. Having this church community, with ever so engaging and positive animators and fellow Catholics ~ indeed God is present in our midst.

Being a Christian is never a smooth sailing, bumpy-free journey. Yes, I have expected more challenges and roadblocks trailing behind and ahead of me. Instead of playing more badminton games to distract myself from it, I am now ready in winning in each one of them. Even though I might not always win, deep inside I know that I didn't lose the game despite being in a deep-six defeat. For through such defeat, I have learnt to practice in living the very image that God Himself has made me, serve with love God Himself has shown and win in humility that God has portrayed Himself to be. The more I listen and read about Christianity, the deeper my praise and honour is to God for his awesomeness. The more I observed others’ attitudes, the greater my faith reminding me not to judge, but to learn and grow. The more I hear of people’s judgments towards Catholic faith, the stronger I will be the way God has exemplified Himself. With God’s passion and love, my faith restored, my mind, eyes and tongue have now been “ephphatha”. Having such supportive and loving community of faith is the platform I need to always be strong and to flourish in my faith. The Cross leads, vertically, from us to God, and, horizontally, from me and you. Together, in this journey of faith - let us make our love to God the stronghold of our faith, the mirror of our deeds.

Thank you. 

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