Praise God! Tomorrow is the anniversary of my Baptism. This evening the elects in the Church had their third scrutiny, and the priest invited us to pray for them. Wow! If they only knew what our Lord is about to do for them on Easter Vigil night, they would want to praise Him all the days of their life. Just to think of this glorious gift of being a member of the body of Christ is enough to lift one up. Just to be able to embrace the faith – oh wow!
Baptism – such a glorious gift, a gift no words can really describe. When I consider what my own Baptism, the Sacrament of Initiation, has done to me and for me, I rejoice and thank God. I thank God for all those who have journeyed with me, and I thank God too for those who came along and made life more challenging for me so I could learn to imitate the Lord. Yes, it was not at all easy. It is a little better now but the struggles will always be there, sinful as we generally are. Thank God for the body of Christ. . . yes, we are on the way, companions on the journey.
I think of many of the lessons I have learnt these past eighteen years and I thank God for having been there for me. Thrown into the deep end of the sea, with the many problems of life, I certainly had to put in much effort to stay afloat. It was not at all easy. No, not at all. In fact, I have to admit that it came to a point when I almost wanted to abandon ship. I found it extremely difficult and I had not come to know that there was such a person as a Spiritual Director who could help me along the journey of faith. My initial faith was weak as I was ignorant of the Word of God. I had not come to taste the sweetness of God’s Word, to dwell and meditate on the Word and to learn to exercise the teachings of God in my life. Yes, it was not an easy journey. I had also not come to realise that it is only by God’s grace that I can do anything at all. Yes, apart from Him, we can do nothing.
Fortunately, there was a priest who gave me a passage from scripture to meditate upon. It was during that time when I was facing so many problems in the ministry I had joined. How was I, an infant in the faith, to know that spiritual life was not a party? Thank God for being there for me. I was given a passage from the Gospel of St Luke, Chapter 9.
” As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” (To him) Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The grace was given me to persevere and I am grateful that I did. I had really come to a point when I wanted, like the Israelites perhaps, to go back to the leeks, pomegranates, onions and meat . . . the temptation was there. But the Word of God says: “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
I realised later that the key reason was that I was unable to face the challenge of carrying my cross. I wanted to throw it down and walk away. Thank God I did not. No one had warned me that the initial fun of joining the Church would not remain for one has need to grow. One cannot remain an infant, drinking only milk. There has to be growth and that can come with facing the difficulties head on.
Another priest took me under his wing, so to speak, and guided me. He opened my eyes to the reality of counting not on my own efforts but on the grace of God. He showed me how one could really be very joyful in the Lord if one counted on Him and sought His grace. So I learnt. . . . . yes, I am still learning. The lessons have been many. They continue. . .Praise God!
I thank God, as I look back now, that my many encounters in the faith journey have proven to be real lessons in the art of living and loving. Yes, nothing really happened by chance. The journey continues and I am still walking on, deeper now in faith, stronger now, armed with the armour of God and the trust that I am never alone. Empowered by the Spirit, nourished by the Word and the Bread of Life, I continue to march forwards with my head held high. . . not alone, never alone. To all my companions on the way, thank you!
I wish the elects about to embrace the Catholic faith a good journey ahead. Know that the Church will be with you, praying for you and guiding you on. Yes, we are never alone, and that is a wonderful thought, is it not? Jesus, You will be with us till the end of time.
I believe the whole heavenly court is watching over us…urging us on the right way. Praise God!