by Jolene Abelarde
I was baptised in a Protestant church before joining RCIY. I used to think of myself as a “trying-Christian”. I tried my best to be a good Christian, but whenever I was faced with difficult questions about my belief in God, I never tried to seek out the answers. I also believed that my perception of God and my faith must be right. I reasoned this as I had already received the grace of God at my baptism and because I loved Him; even if I was far from God and His church. If you repeat my own reasoning back to me now, I can clearly see how my thinking then was flawed. However, at the time, I truly believed that because I loved Him, my beliefs and thinking was right. For instance, I used to think that God’s love was only reserved for Christians and for those who are good. However, I know now that God’s love is not only for Christians, or those who are good, but His love is for all – especially those far away from him.
My journey in RCIY has shown me that all of us are called to come home to the Father. My prompting from God to discover more about the Catholic Church started with intrigue when my friend posted an Instagram story about how the TV show “Supernatural” reflects Catholic teachings. It struck me then that I knew so little about a faith I had been taught to abhor. The depth of Catholic theology struck me, and that sense of intrigue stayed with me. A couple of years later, a friend invited me for mass. After the mass, Father Jude invited me to sign up for OYP RCIY, and at that moment, it was an easy yes.
From attending a couple of RCIY sessions, I learnt about our human nature from a biblical perspective and about the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. I learnt that as human beings, we were made with both body and soul, and how the Sacraments, like Baptism, the Eucharist and even Marriage, reflects our two natures – the spiritual and the physical. I was struck by the fact that God, in His infinite wisdom and love, catered to our need for a physical and tangible sign for what is an invisible grace in the Sacraments. I began to understand more profoundly how God who loved us, would not have left us with no physical steward, or no physical home in this journey on earth. For me, the gifts of the Sacraments reflect God’s perfect love for me in spite of my own imperfections, designed specifically to cater to my humanity. These gifts of the Sacraments helped to bridge my two natures (the physical and the spiritual) so that I may love God more fully and know him more intimately. Now every time I partake in the Sacraments, I am reminded that God knows me in all ways and always offers me many opportunities to receive His love.
So, even after my RCIY journey has ended, I know that I am still called to come home again and again through the Sacraments of the Church, like the celebration of and participation in the Mass, the reverence and importance of the Eucharist, the joy and beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and so much more that God has gifted the Church. I think of the Sacraments as the many opened doors that God offers to me, His daughter, to come back home into His embrace no matter how far I have strayed. I am reminded about the Parable of the Prodigal Son, where the Father not only waited for His younger son to choose to come home, embracing him when he did, but how He went out to fetch the elder son too. Dear friends, God is always waiting for us to come home. Will you choose to come home today?
Do you desire to come home today? Come and SEE!