By Ryan Khong
I am a cradle Catholic but did not go for Mass or catechism classes often because my family did not have a practice of attending Mass weekly due to other commitments such as my studies despite being Catholics in name.
Before entering university, it was difficult to find meaning in life. Many times, I would do well in school or extracurricular activities just to be acknowledged by the people around me. However, it felt like there was no end to this perpetual chase of material and tangible things. I was engulfed in unhealthy and damaging situations where I would want more than I needed. Even if I did exceedingly well for tests, seeing some of my peers obtain scores beyond my expectation would make me feel jealous and upset. It was clear to me that the constant strive for material gain would never satisfy me , trapping me in a cycle of unhealthy competition. This also came at a cost of my friendships and relationships. I felt like it was impossible to feel compassion for others. Even during my National Service, I ridiculed people who went to church as it seemed to just be a social construct for networking. However, despite all of this, I always resonated with the fact that I was a Catholic and believed in God.
Upon entering university and having more time, I made a friend who was a Catholic in my course. She was in a Catholic community in my university and encouraged me to join the community. Hence, I decided to join my university’s Catholic community out of my want to reconnect with God and find out more about the faith. There, I attended Mass regularly and eventually joined RCIY to get confirmed. I was shocked and immensely touched by the compassion and kindness that was shown to me despite being new and hesitant. I saw God move in the lives of my friends and it immensely touched my heart. With the guidance of my friends and peers in RCIY and in school , I tried to revolve my life around God, which made me feel like I was living a more meaningful life. I was also more at peace as I really understood the meaning of Church and its mission. This was only possible through the people I met who showed me how amazing God is.
In RCIY, I really enjoyed the learning phase because the sessions were structured around topics such as Grace & Justification, Theology of the Body etc. It really facilitated the learning process as we learnt something new every week. Also, we had the opportunity to attend mass and learn more about the Eucharist which is essential to our Catholic faith! Initially, I was extremely skeptical and questioned the faith because I thought that Catholics were blindly following a God and did not really understand everything that was conveyed to them at a young and tender age; as many concepts such as Grace & Justification are complex and hard to broach. However, upon attending RCIY, I found that many of the doubts and questions that flooded my mind were answered and that really assured me that the faith that I believe in is not baseless.
For me, the turning points in RCIY that really opened me to God were the numerous sharing sessions that we have with our cell group. In the cell group, we can share our viewpoints with our cell group members whom we build very tight bonds and friendships with. There were Catholics like myself as well as non-Catholics which enabled us to have diverse sharings. However, our fixation on God and how he moves in our lives is what really brought us together. I felt that through the encouragement of my friends in cell group and knowing that certain feelings such as not being good enough for God were lies that I was telling myself, I was reminded that I am not alone in my struggle. The community that was there for me every week was something that propelled my desire to know more about this amazing God and believe in Him. After a certain point in time, it became clear to me that God was the answer to my insecurities and spreading his Word was the mission shared by all in the church.
Now, being a Catholic is very important to me and is a core of who I am. I find myself being able to stand up for Christ no matter where I am and it is not something I am shy about. I praise God for revealing himself to me at this point in my adolescent life where everything is so volatile and could shape my outlook on life. God has really transformed me to be more content with the blessings He has given me and to be able to feel more genuinely and empathetically for those around me. My life is more than just living, but for a mission of spreading the good news of God which is something that I never knew I would ever be able to do. All of this was possible only with God’s grace. I am really excited to see what God has in store for me. Are you willing to take a leap of faith and let God show you what he has in store for you too?