By Leonard Low, Living Ark (Working Adults Community)
My name is Leonard and I come from a Catholic family of 5. Having been through 10 years of Catholic education and Catechism classes, faith was a big part of my life in my teens. I also participated actively in parish youth ministry back then. But as I grew older, personal and career aspirations became my priorities. It was my dream to become a pilot. Whilst I believed in God and His love for me, my desire for personal success outweighed my desire for God. I remembered telling God to just let me go for a while to chase this dream of mine and I would come back to Him after I had succeeded. My ambition became the sole focus of my life and my identity was placed in my job which I believed made me who I am. and although I would still attend Sunday mass, God became less and less meaningful to me over the years and I never really got back to Him. With a well-paying job and the freedom to do whatever I wanted, I got caught up by the winds of the world and began living a life of self-indulgence. I chased relationships and material pleasures and I thought life was good.
After a few years, however, a feeling of emptiness began to gnaw inside of me. No matter what I did or chased, I could not erase this feeling within me. At the back of my mind, I knew I had a gap in me that only God could fill. I always knew that there was something more to be had in my relationship with God. Although I tried to be more intentional in recovering my faith, I did not fully trust that God could fill this emptiness. I failed to turn decisively back to Him and continued living an unfulfilled secular life.
Everything changed in 2017 when I was invited by my sister to attend the Treasure retreat at OYP. I felt unworthy to be there because I had run so far away from God and felt ashamed to be in His presence. I did not have much expectations and I just hoped to reconcile my relationship with God and go back to being a committed Sunday Catholic again. But our God is a God of abundant graces and he gifted me more than what I had come for. When I went for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I expected the standard fast in fast out confession procedure. Instead, it became the turning point in my faith where God spoke to my heart through the priest. The Lord assured me that not only was I forgiven, but that I was and always have been His son and had every right to claim my place in His Kingdom. During the retreat, the Lord also revealed to me the meaning of my life and what I was meant to do. I was made for the Lord, to serve and to worship Him. It was only through Him that I can find true joy and peace for my restless spirit.
After my re-conversion, I depended greatly on the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist to ground my faith, clinging onto Jesus, and desiring to achieve real freedom in Him. However, at times I could not help but look back at the seemingly good times before, doubting if what the Lord had in store for me was indeed better. Still, even in my doubt and unworthiness, God calls me for more. He stirred my heart to desire more of Him and more for His Kingdom. I had joined a young adults community and after a year, was called to step up to my first Christian leadership role as a Cell Group Leader.
With this responsibility, I strived to cultivate a more prayerful inner life and engage myself in more spiritual learning. I continued to entrust my life to the Lord to guide my paths ahead. At another retreat, I decided to forego my plans for a 6-month study program overseas because I felt God’s calling to stay in Singapore and continue building His Kingdom here and contribute more to my community. He constantly reminds me that His call requires a 100% commitment. Today, I am also part of a team which guides and serves CAYA, a community of NSFs and young men who seek to cultivate a relationship in God amongst brothers.
God has transformed my heart to be more aligned with His, desiring not personal success or glory, but glory for His Church. Through my service for His Church, I have come to understand what fullness of life is truly about. A life in Christ is a life lived for others and not a self-seeking, self-serving life.
The Lord’s mercy is real and good. I have been blessed to be called out of darkness, transformed, and given new life through His mercy. I hope that you can be open to trust Jesus with your life and let Him amaze you with the wonders He can work, just as He has done for me.