OYP RCIY’21: Come And See

Written by Jonathan Ambrose Chong Fu Shan, 24

I was baptised in a Protestant church as a child and spent a large part of my formative years in church and mission school. But growing up, I was more concerned about achieving what the world counted as happiness through the means of worldly ambition and pleasures. My ambition was justified, I rationalised, because it could serve the greater glory of God. Yet this was disingenuous because the things of God rarely occupied my thoughts. 

I sought to substitute other things in place of God. I prioritised my own idols fashioned after desires that were not ordered towards God who is the source of all good and without whom we cannot move towards that which is good. Yet this detour to find the sweetness of worldly happiness is not without bitterness, for perhaps God mercifully chastises His children or, at least, allows them to taste bitterness so to draw them to seek that heavenly good in which there is no bitterness. But this realisation did not come readily —  I had seen God as a vindictive judge for whom there is no sufficient satisfaction for my sins, holding me against an onerous moral code that I could not fulfil. 

Despite this, God never left me (as St Augustine wrote, “For Your omnipotence is not far from us, even when we are far from You”). As I wallowed about in darkness, God planted and nurtured the seeds of faith to bear fruit in due time, although unknown to me at that time. One of which was a stirring in my heart that deepened my desire to find out more about the Catholic faith — the seeds for which were planted as early back in childhood, and a deeper love for the Eucharist and the Mass. It was then in God’s perfect time that God-fearing Catholic men and women witnessed the Catholic faith to me in university, where I also met Fr Jude who invited me for RCIY.

Through RCIY, I was able to understand, more profoundly, what it means to be a child of God — that I am one who is loved by the One who is Love. It gave me an opportunity to wrestle with my deepest hopes and fears, to surrender them to the loving God who seeks not to condemn and punish, but to save me from my brokenness, in spite of myself, and in whom I find my truest identity and for whom there is no substitute. Catholic dogma, which was well explained in this program, provided the intellectual basis upon which I could enter into, and participate in, the salvific work of God to which all the Saints testify. The community of believers, through the many sharing sessions in this program, nourished and supported one another throughout this journey and gave me an opportunity to participate in the life of the Body of Christ, which, in a beautiful way prepared us for the Sacraments of Initiation.

I thank God for the work He has done in my life and I trust that He who started this good work will accomplish it in His time. Dear friend, if there is a stirring in your heart today, the enduring invitation of Jesus — “Come and see” (Jn 1:39) — is extended to you. Will you accept his invitation?

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