By Tay Kuang Teck, RCIY / Genesis (Working Adults Community)
Hi, I am Kuang Teck, a newly baptized Catholic since last December.
To be honest, I cannot quite remember what my life was like before I met Jesus. I think it is because every moment of my life seems to be an ongoing process of conversion, a new encounter with God’s grace, such that the person I am today is a completely new person. I vaguely remember being a very fearful man with low self-esteem. I worried about everything in my life. I worried about the disharmony at home – the many moments of unintentional hurt, anger and helplessness within my family. I lamented about our financial instability, the fear that we cannot make ends meet every month. I worried about the health of my loved ones, and at times morbidly speaking, the eventual death of my loved ones. I worried about the future of my brother and I, wondering when we can be mature and independent adults, when we can be financially independent. I was also deeply affected by how others viewed me and their “first impression” of me. The list goes on…
My exploration of Catholicism began with a desire to live a life filled with love. God inspired me through my numerous personal encounters with lovely Catholic friends and priests. I witnessed how these people intentionally chose to live their lives for God wholeheartedly, contrary to just being led by other desires that the world would otherwise perceive to be good. I saw how their lives mirrored the life of Jesus Christ. My desire for Love intensified each time I attended mass – the Love of Christ for His people wholly present through the Eucharist. It was in that moment that I was determined to be baptised as a Catholic.
Yet, even though I experienced the love of God in my life in a very tangible way, there was still much of my life I needed to change. As I learnt more about the teachings of the Church, I recognised more of my own sinfulness and brokenness, and I found myself struggling deeply with that. I hated how guilty and painful it felt whenever I sinned, especially during times when I missed masses. I disliked how my daily routine had to change because what used to just be a spiritual pursuit in my life was increasingly becoming life itself. I also feared telling my loved ones and friends about my newfound faith as I imagined all the interrogations, mockery, and scrutiny. Most of it all, I deeply resented the fact that I had to face the painful dilemma of choosing between being a faithful son of God and a filial son to my parents in spite of my genuine love for God and desire for baptism. Even though God revealed His love for me, I was still disappointed because it seemed that God did not help change these circumstances leading to my baptism. However, all these trials revealed to me that to love God involves a total gift of myself to Him even in my struggles because He first gave Himself completely to me!
Kuang Teck at his baptism
The very moment I offered my life to God and allowed Jesus to walk into my broken and sinful life, the change miraculously happened within me. I no longer felt helpless and alone. I no longer felt lost and unguided. I began to find strength and courage in being the catalyst for change. I started to find joy and energy in living a life wholeheartedly for my loved ones and for all His people. I became grateful for all that I was given and hopeful about the future. This sense of peace stemmed from my faith in Christ – my Lord who freely chooses to lay down His life for me in Love. It is in His sufficient grace that I freely choose to participate in His Divine Providence even in the bleakest moments of life, firmly believing without a doubt that He is always with me.
It is in encountering Jesus that all my chains were broken. Eventually, I mustered the courage to share with my parents about my decision for baptism and committed to spending the rest of my life mending any hurts my parents may have felt as a result of my baptism. And, here I am, a baptised Catholic, whilst still doing my best to be a filial son. God’s grace continues pouring out in our family. Despite being disapproving of my baptism initially, my parents witnessed the goodness of God in my life after baptism and accepted me for who I am. I am very grateful to be blessed with such loving parents, a reflection of God’s self-giving love for me. And, I continue to pray for the conversion of hearts in my family to God.
By God’s grace, living life now has become simpler than before – to live life for God and His people wholeheartedly, grounded in an ever-transforming faith in Christ, in hope of a deeper communion with Him and His people. This is the prayer of my heart. Yet as I recount all the graces in my life as a baptised Catholic, life continues to be challenging. However, I am no longer as fearful and hateful as I was before, because I no longer live alone. By God’s grace and mercy, I now live in Christ and He lives in me. And, I will continue to live every moment of life, saying “Yes” to Him and cooperating with His Divine Will, because I faithfully believe that my loving God is with me.
Life without God is indeed a lonely and painful journey void of meaning. My dear friends, will you allow Jesus to walk into your life and fill your life with love, peace and hope?