Since Covid -19 and as I have been isolated at home due to my health, I have used this time to draw closer to God. I work from home as part of the administrative team of a inner-city daycare. I have taught at Concordia University as a part time faculty, and have more university degrees than I am willing to attest to. I am not bragging here, but to set the stage for my growth in Christ Jesus. God works in mysterious ways in my/our life and uses every situation to draw me/us closer to Him – I am no exception.
I grew up in an Evangelical Christian family (Chinese Alliance Church in Toronto, and baptized as an Anglican when both my husband and I became “Born Again Christians”). At the age of 42 I was baptized with my adopted son when he was 8 months – I have been together with my husband now for over 35 years. We also have a daughter also adopted as an infant. St. Stephen’s like many Anglican Churches in Montreal has closed. We have since been going to different Evangelical Churches, some of which recalls my early Alliance tradition of long sermons. Due to the Covid-19, we watch online live streams.
However, within my heart stirs an empty hole. A yearning for greater depth into my journey with Jesus. It’s like a floodgate of passion for our Lord Jesus and journey in faith. Our goals seem easy – find a church family. Together we visited many Protestant churches, but none seem to stir the feeling of home like St. Stephen’s. This was especially hard on my son who loved the social and ethnic diversity of a downtown church – we live in the suburbs. With Covid-19, we watched many different live streams. After viewing a few different Evangelical denominations, my daughter decided on Churchome, while my son was not interested in participating in any.
from the innocence of faith…to the Prodigal daughter
I know the Hand of God has always walked with me in my journey – from the day I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was 8 years old, the Holy Spirit has guided me in my walk with God. At the age of 16, I recall telling my dad in an authoritative tone that I was not going to go to church anymore. I continued to justify the whys with the need to find the Truth out there and not in the Bible. My dad was an elder and an active community member who not only help establish the first Chinese Alliance Church in Toronto, but he and Mr. Wong advocated for the inclusion of Chinese and ethnic books in public libraries. They also pushed for Chinese elderly in need of social services to be served in their native language. So imagine how disheartened he must have felt when his daughter walked away. With love in his heart, he let me go – and from that moment – I went out into the world to seek – Truth. I read everything I could and that was easy for me as I worked part time at a local library (from Plato to Sartre, to Camus and all the Classics). I particularly loved “The Age of Reason” by Sartre, This book became my Bible. I am in control of my destiny – not God!
In university, along with partying and drinking (coughs – my unilluminating past is thanks to the GRACE of God – forgiven), and getting involved in the “artsy” and “punker” scene, I loved seeking knowledge. Theoretical constructs – from Structuralism to all its “post” and “isms” became my way of looking at the world.
God never abandons a lost soul
In my 30s, while studying into the night I had an esoteric epiphany – this revelation that the knowledge I sought was beyond my human comprehension. I remember the feeling of great humbleness as I fell upon my knees in prayer to Jesus, asking Him for forgiveness, and telling Him I will follow him. I remember telephoning my dad to tell him I was sorry. It was a very emotional telephone call. We were both crying. He told me, he was happy and never judged me, and that he loved me unconditionally.
I know through my own father and his unconditional love for me, I was able to comprehend the saving Grace of God. If my earthly father can love me unconditionally, then the love of God is boundless.
From that moment when I was a child and asked Jesus into my heart, God has never left me…and although I pushed him into the background of my life, He was always there…His Hands gently guiding me back like a serendipitous thread weaving in and out of my life.
The Road Less Travelled – Past/Present
There are mysterious I cannot explain except that for the past many months, there has been a dissatisfaction and emptiness as I read the scriptures and pray, as I listen to Dispensationalist sermons, and in my walk with Jesus. I find His Hands guiding me into a territory I once distained – Catholicism – REALLY? Catholicism was expounded in me since childhood as a religion of cult and idol worship. All I can say is my ignorance beget prejudice.
One day, I watched a live stream of the Holy Mass. My first reaction was – “Hey, that is a reading from the Old Testament – Psalm.” Or, “Oh, that’s a reading from the Gospel!”. When I listened to the Eucharist, it was like taking communion in a Protestant Church, but on a daily basis. I watched again the next morning. I was so enamored with the Holy Mass, I started to research “Catholicism”, and what it means. I felt a flame ignited in my soul. I wanted to take part of the Eucharist daily. The depth of my heart was overwhelmed with passion for God Almighty. I am thankful to draw nearer to Jesus each day. I am thankful for the breath of the Holy Spirit.
For the first time I understood the role of the Virgin Mary and the meanings behind the Rosary. I was misinformed and ignorant. The Passions in the Rosary is all about Jesus – His birth, His challenges, His death and sacrifice for – me/us. Prayer the Rosary is asking Holy Mary to intercede on my/our behalf. In the past I could never get my kids to join me in a family prayer, but with the Rosary, they come when I ask them with no grumbling or teenage attitude. There is an inner joy and peace when we say the Rosary – as one family under God.
Today each morning, sometimes during the day, and in the evening – I Pray the Rosary with thanksgiving and mindfulness. Yes, to my surprise the Holy Spirit has guided me to draw closer to Him. Yes, and to my surprise – Catholicism. It draws me into a deeper relationship with God’s family. It is also an understanding of the importance of Christian roots and its foundations.
I have this image in my mind – Catholicism is the trunk of a tree, while all those different Christian denominations are the branches that spread outwards. At the base and roots – the Disciples and the Early Church. This is Christianity.
The journey HOME!
Thanks be to God!