By Rebecca Tan, NTU Catholic Students Apostolate
Hello brothers and sisters in Christ, I am Rebecca. I am in Year 3, studying Music and English in NIE. I am born into a catholic family and baptised as a baby. I grew up attending catechism class and after my confirmation, was somewhat active in my parish’s youth community. Although I was not far from church, my relationship with God was like a low maintenance friendship. There were moments of encounter but before long, His presence in my life would fade out again. I was a lukewarm catholic, saying “yes” to Him only when it was comfortable for me to do so. My testimony begins on 14th December 2019.
It was my oldest brother’s wedding. A joyous occasion filled with pure and authentic love. Their wedding speech was peculiar by secular standards, with my brother talking about how they kept their relationship chaste and pure with boundaries. Weirdness aside, I thought to myself, “Wow, these are two disciples living so radically in Christ.”. A twinge of envy and guilt struck me. Envy because I longed to be close to God too, and guilt because I knew why I was far from Him but was not doing enough to change it. With this disposition, I entered CUR2019 hoping for a life-changing encounter with Him.
Rebecca (second from the right), with her CUR group
On the second day of CUR, there was a time of sacred silence. As I knelt down in front of the Blessed Sacrament, He revealed the roots of my sins that had caused me to be so far from Him. Tears started pouring down my cheeks as I finally understood the gravity of my sins. I saw myself weeping at His feet, just as the woman did in Luke 7. As I left the room, a kind sister offered me a hug and a listening ear. She also offered to pray for me, and it was then that God revealed the first of many images that I was to receive over the course of the retreat.
The first image was that of a pair of hands holding so tightly onto a rope that it was cutting into them, making them bleed. He wanted me to let go of the things that were hurting my soul. The lies that I was telling myself. He saw my pain and apologised for it, though the fault was not His. I remember crying with such anguish that I had never felt before. I needed healing. In the next opportunity for prayer ministry, I asked God to heal and save me. He responded to my prayer with a few more images. Another image was of a single flower in a vase that had very little water. The flower wanted to bloom but it instead it was dying. Above it was watering can, waiting for the flower’s permission to pour the life-giving water it needed. God was gently waiting for me to let Him into my heart. The last image from that time was rainbow mosaic. The broken pieces of my life were part of a masterpiece that I could not yet see.
Comforted by these messages, I sought reconciliation with God. He gave me the courage to confess my sins and consoled me with the tears of my confessor. I felt like I had come home after a long and tiring journey. I was filled with joy, knowing that God had removed all the stains of my past. I was free to live as His child.
This encounter with Him was only the beginning. I was challenged to begin my journey towards Him. This journey would only be finished when I meet Him in heaven. It would require commitment and dying to myself. The opportunity to die to myself came quickly enough when I had to break the news to my then boyfriend that I could not go on a trip with his family which I had already paid for. I knew in my heart that my newly restored relationship with God was worth more than the cost of the plane ticket.
The spiritual high from the retreat eventually faded and I once again found myself having a hard time saying no to myself and to the world. I struggled with chastity and keeping my relationship pure. Thankfully, God carries me when I am too weak to walk on my own. He has walked with me through difficult decisions and sent His beloved children for me to journey with
God continues to present opportunities to strengthen my relationship with Him. All I need to do is say yes to Him. Most recently, saying yes to Fiat90 and CAW have brought about so many blessings. In Matthew 6:33, “Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”.” Brothers and sisters, God invites us to seek Him first, will you say yes to Him?