Oi tobpinai ngaavi ku id di Tuhan Otumbazaan zou do…
I was born to Roman Catholic parents and therefore was baptized at a very young age. When I was growing up, I went to church regularly with my grandmother but was often sleepy in church and didn’t quite pay attention to what was happening at the altar. I suppose at that age, I looked forward more to the mee hoon soup and going around the tamu after Mass than actually being involved in the Mass. So, yes I have been a Roman Catholic since I can remember, and I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.
After Form Five, I furthered my studies at International Islamic University Malaysia Matriculation Centre (IIUM) in KL. For that year, I was the only Christian from Sabah. Needless to say, it was an extremely challenging experience for me. It was the first time I had been away from my family and had to go through many things that seemed alien to me. I called home almost every day and cried a lot. My parents were of course at the end of their tethers as well, but it was either drop out of college and work or weather the storm. It was at this period of my life that the Lord took mercy on me. I started to seek Him. I knew He was the only one who could see me through the situation I was in. When I could, I would attend daily Mass and prayer meetings. The challenges that I faced were still there, but I also had God’s grace and mercy. I now had a personal relationship with my Saviour.
When I was younger, seeing the priest change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ was just something that I watched from afar and took for granted as part of the Mass: I was there as a spectator. When I received the Body of Christ, I didn’t feel much. To me, it was a piece of wafer that I had been told transformed into Jesus. Wanting to be a good Roman Catholic, I simply went along with it. I put it down to faith and therefore although I didn’t feel anything, it was okay as I didn’t quite know how I was supposed to feel. As my relationship with God grew, the Eucharist has become extremely important to me. When I receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, as sinful as I am, I know and believe that I am cleansed by the Blood of Christ. God’s presence is so powerful that my tears flow because I am so humbled by God’s love and grace. In my imagination, I often see Christ on the cross bleeding and suffering for us. At the foot of His cross is Mother Mary, heartbroken. Celebrating Mass is now so special to me because it is so holy. We are able to praise and worship God together with all the angels and saints. We are so blessed to have been given a glimpse of heaven whilst on earth.
Over the years, I have experienced many of God’s graces; from big things to the little things in life. A few years ago, I went to further my studies. I left KK wearing a pair of stud earrings my mum had given to me. I arrived at my destination the following morning and headed straight to register myself at the university. In the course of the day, I had gone to a few places, not giving a thought to those earrings. In the late afternoon, I suddenly realized that one of the studs had fallen off. Amazingly, the clip holding the stud was still at the back of my ear. As you can imagine, I was quite upset as those earrings were special to me. I looked for it everywhere, but to no avail. I remember going to the garden and looking up to heaven and telling God how I felt. That was on a Tuesday. On Thursday, as my husband and I were walking towards our children’s school to pick them up, a piece of paper in a clear plastic bag stuck to one of the house fences that we passed by caught my eye. On it was written, ‘Owner please collect’. Just under this instruction was taped the little stud earring. I was overjoyed. I looked up to heaven and in my imagination, I saw God with a huge smile smiling at me. And I knew in my heart, no matter how big or small our prayer is, God hears and knows our hearts’ deepest desire. God can never be outdone in generosity!
My journey as a Roman Catholic has been quite a ride. Being a sinner, I have fallen many times, more times than I could remember. However, God is so good and wonderful that especially during those times, God would always pick me up or give me a nudge to direct me back on the right path. Sometimes I have no idea where the path I am on is leading, but God’s promise always assures me that no matter what, He will see me through it. Attending healing and transformation seminars have also helped me a lot in dealing with my problems and worries in life.
So, back to the question of why I am a Roman Catholic: I am not a Roman Catholic because my parents are Roman Catholic. I am not a Roman Catholic because I was brought up a Roman Catholic. I am not a Roman Catholic because all my life I have been taught how to behave like a Roman Catholic. I am a Roman Catholic because of God’s grace. I am a Roman Catholic because God took pity on me and granted me His mercy.
I am a Roman Catholic because through the Holy Eucharist I can see and experience a Living and Loving God.