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Jun 21, 2012

Where the journey started


(Photo courtesy of http://jporquerino.wordpress.com)
Most people would ask me this question when they learned that I was only baptised at the age of 14, “You are not born Catholic?” My “yes” would make them ask another question, “Then why such late baptism?” There’s a story behind it, of course.

My Dad is a born Catholic, while my Mom is a convert because of their marriage. When my brother and I were born, my parents decided that we should choose our own belief. So when both of us were in early primary school, my parents sent us to ‘Sunday Classes’ – Anglican’s, Methodist’s and Buddhist’s and Tao’s – one after another, in hope that we would find where we belong.

Unfortunately, none of the classes worked for me. I remembered that all I did was just cutting, pasting, colouring, drawing, learning origami and reading some texts. All the classes were boring and I learnt nothing. In the end, I refused to go to any more classes. When I was around 11-12 years old, my parents decided to send my brother and I to Catholic Catechism class. The nearest parish to where I live was Holy Trinity Church. At first, I joined the class in Chinese but having some difficulty understanding the religious terms and saying the prayers, I requested to try the class in English instead. And that was where my journey of knowing God actually began.

I remember that I was a diligent child. I did my homework and revision, learned the prayers and some basic teachings of the Church by heart, I was always the one to score the highest marks for quizzes. At the age of 12, I even taught a classmate in school how to pray the Rosary. I tried not to miss any classes because I wanted to learn even more. During those days (not sure if it’s still the same today), children preparing for Baptism had to attend Catechism class for two years before being baptised. And since I was six months behind when I first joined the class, I had to wait for two and a half years. Finally, at the age of 14, I received the Sacrament of Baptism and First Holy Communion.

I used to blame my parents for not getting me baptised when I was a baby. It was in their marriage vow, that they would “bring them [children] up according to the law of Christ and His Church.” I told them that they have broken their vow! I was angry with my parents each time I thought about it.

But as years gone by, I started to see the whole situation differently. If I were baptised an infant 30 years ago, would I still be who I am today? Would I still love the word of God this much? Would I have discovered God’s love for me and strive to be faithful to that love? Would I be able to know my Faith enough to defend the Church?

Instead of saying I chose God, I think it was God who chose me. He was the One who set me apart and gave me the opportunity to know Him. He has His own plan, in His own time. And His plans are always perfect.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Our God is the One who always makes the first move: the Creator who came down to the world He created to become one of us; the Shepherd who searched for the lost sheep; the Father who ran to embrace the prodigal son; the King who sacrificed His Beloved to make us His beloved.

I thank the Lord for His love for me and allowing me to respond to this love.
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