By Toi Min Ray, RCIY Participant
Being a non-believer my entire life, the question of God’s existence never crossed my mind. In fact, I was dismissive about faith and questioned people who had to rely on their faith. This was because life had always seemed fairly easy as I continued chasing after worldly pursuits, thinking that these would bring me satisfaction. Ticking off the boxes in my “checklist”, I began to think of myself as the master at my own game. I could not see the cracks that were forming in my heart, and found myself waking up each day with a growing sense of emptiness. If I supposedly had everything I wanted, why was I even feeling this way? I continued putting up a front for the rest of the world to see, thinking that I could convince myself too if others believed I was happy. Over the years, these cracks just continued to deepen but I told myself that it was a mark of strength to be able to rely on myself. Because of this, there were many moments I caught myself feeling isolated from this world, and I was just so tired from the facade I built for myself. I thought to myself that perhaps that was really all there was to my life, and this weariness was just something I had to accept.
It wasn’t until a visit to Sagrada Família in 2019, where I had a transformative experience that would change my life even though I didn’t know it at that moment. I remember standing in the middle of the basilica, looking at the crucifix, when this overwhelming sense of peace filled me. For once, my heart was still. After this powerful experience, I just felt a prompting to share this with a dear friend of mine, even though it was very out of my character to do so. My friend opened my eyes to see that perhaps the sense of peace I felt was a personal encounter with God. It was hard for me to believe it, because God never even seemed real to me before this. As he shared more about Catholicism, I was surprised to sense a newfound stirring in my heart to discover God more despite knowing so little.
Thus, when this opportunity came up, I signed up for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Youths knowing that there was so much more to discover. In retrospect, I can now clearly see how God really knows the way to all of our hearts. He chased me despite my stubbornness and pride. He chases us relentlessly, even when we least expect it. The RCIY journey seemed daunting at first, and there were many fears in my head — Was I too far past the point of saving? Were my mistakes too much for even God to handle? Would God even want me there? All these questions were rooted in fear and shame, but they would soon start to crumble as I continued on this RCIY journey. God placed such amazing people around me, and the RCIY community provided me with such a safe space to share and learn. My brothers and sisters in RCIY have helped me see how boundless God’s love is for each and every one of us. The sessions have given me incredible insights into what it means to be a Catholic and how I can build a personal relationship with God. God’s grace is truly sufficient. I found myself looking forward to Sundays because it was a time for me to grow and learn alongside a wonderful community.
Of course, there were many bumps along this journey. I was afraid of how people in my life would respond to my conversion, especially my family. There were many times I even questioned what I was doing here. These moments of confusion and pain pointed me to prayer and scripture. These quiet moments with the Lord reminded me that I was safe as a child of God, and that His providence would be sufficient. The joy from claiming this truth continues to sustain me and I wish for you to be able to experience it for yourself as well. As a newly-baptised Catholic, I still have so much to learn but I take heart in knowing that God is there with me, and He will continue doing so. How blessed am I to be pursued by Him, and to experience His love. I hope that you will be able to open your heart to allow the Lord to seek you as well, and to live a new life in His glory. Will you follow that stirring in your heart to come and see what our Lord has in store for you?