This is the first time writing about my faith journey, my journey in RCIY. It has been a year since I took up this faith. To my RCIY neophytes, if you are reading this, let these be my personal Easter gift to you. As I look back in time not too long ago, however, to me it’s like a lifetime past and indeed because through Baptism, our old selves die with Jesus and are reborn with Jesus when he resurrected from the dead. The change has been for good. As I look back at my “terrible” life before, it was, yeah, terrible, very terrible, in the case of my attitude at least. I’m sure everyone will change, especially for the newly baptized.
To readers who have been with us for a while, you should know about the background I have since as a child to present times. But here I go again, to write about it. I will not write about my full background story, if you want to know more, please read ” Faith begins from Young “.
I attended a Christian Private Kindergarten, CGM (Christian Gospel Mission) Kindergarten as a child for Nursery, K1 & K2. In school, boy, it was so long time ago, I can’t remember much. As usual there were the normal classes, English, Chinese, Maths etc. There was also computer class where my classmates and I learned to use Microsoft Word and play educational games. Imagine this, as K1 students, we were already learning how to use a computer. Things were much simpler then. My parents bought my brother Ian and I a Children’s Bible with pictures. We didn’t bother to read the words, or at least I didn’t, but we knew how the world was created as written in the Book of Genesis and the miracles of Jesus, his death and resurrection as written in the Gospel….. All these were learned, by just simply looking at pictures.
Before we moved to Thomson, we stayed in Choa Chu Kang. Our next door neighbors were Catholic and my Auntie Jackie who married my Caucasian Uncle Bob was Catholic too, and my aunt converted as well. I think this influence and witness of the Lord’s grace was the door to our family’s faith. Other stories came from what my father and aunt told me, that as kids, their neighbors also took them to church. My father, each time he ascended the hill to the Parish of Church of St Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok, felt at peace there.
No matter how my family picked up the faith, I am most glad to be part of the Church, as a RCIY Sponsor, as a Choir member, as an ordinary faithful parishioner. It really matters not, as long as we have Christ in our hearts and pray to him regularly.
When I was young, my family went to Church of St Mary of the Angels regularly for mass, sometimes with our neighbors. We went to mass despite the fact that none of us had been baptized yet. Then one Sunday after mass, my family went to talk to a priest in the parish office. According to what my father had said, he wanted to learn how to pray and the priest recommended him to join the RCIA. If I remember, that was long before his baptism. However, at last, in Easter Vigil 2006 at the Church of St Mary of the Angels (That was the very first Easter Vigil I ever attended, I have attended a total of four Easter Vigils so far including the one that has just passed us.), the first member of my family, my father was baptized. My brother would join him a year later in Easter Vigil 2007. Back then, their faith was as bright as a million candles in the dark. Now it is so barren that I can’t even see anything except from the light emanating from my own heart. I am the only faithful one left in my family.
Now, to write about my personal encounter. I had always wanted to join my father and brother and get baptized myself but couldn’t due to, well study commitments. I wasn’t the perfect A-Grade student that I had been from Primary 1-2. I was below average, frankly speaking and needed external help, thus rendering all the time that might be used for RCIC/RCIY taken up by tuition lessons. It was until the midst of my N-Levels that I started to go a bit crazy from all the stress accumulated in me. I cried once every week and I had no idea why. I was moody and in a depressed state. Despite not being baptized, I had already identified myself as a Christian and prayed to God to lift all these sorrows up to him. It was the first time he replied to one of my prayers. I didn’t know why before but I just found the answer in the Mass today when Father Andrew said, ” Those who begin searching for their faith will better see God.” God told me to go back to Church and I did, accompanied by my father. There, I found my calling to finally get baptized, to become one of God’s flock. This time, my studies need not interfere anymore.
So if you look at the picture above ( I apologise for the poor resolution. My RCIY neophytes, go check out my FB photos for clear resolution). This picture was taken on Holy Saturday 2013, on the day when we were about to be God’s Children. In the picture: Sponsors, Two Godfathers and Elects who were about to get baptized and confirmed for some of us. I can frankly tell you this, these people are the best friends I have ever had in my 18 years of Life on this very Earth along with this year’s batch, of course. I was a latecomer, joining in around October while the rest had come in around June. But with God, one is never too late! So I thank God for the wonderful friends he has granted me! Praise God for the gift of salvation!
My batch, unlike this year’s batch, was exceptional because it was during the Year of Faith. There were more events also because our number was also bigger. Our Easter retreat was a stay-in one and we had Mac’s for supper. We did really good reflections, growing in our faith bit by bit. Back then, I thirsted for the Lord. Now my thirst is being quenched but I still long to join him in Paradise.
Inspired by my own sponsors, I rejoined as a sponsor as a beginning of my service to the Lord in ministry. Now not only am I in the RCIY but I am in the Choir as well. All for the Glory of our Lord do I wish to serve thee, my God!
Since my baptism, my life has improved for the better. No more rash, violent, angry and vulgar Ryan, I am Constantine now, a child of the Lord. And so are all of you who are baptized, my neophytes: Surely our lives will change after being reborn through the waters of baptism. Indeed I am glad to be of his flock. This is my Faith Journey but it doesn’t end here as the road to Salvation is a long and perilous one, but be not afraid for the Holy Spirit is there to guide us along the way.