Following Christ: discipleship (Part 3 of 4)
Following and renewing
My baby steps toward encountering God started when my Lola taught me prayers. When I went to school we had religion class and Flores de Mayo during summer breaks. Service to Church started when I became an Altar Boy then youth ministry member giving me opportunities to participate church activities such as retreats and Mass celebrations. In my adult life my some encounters with God were through the Christian Life Programs (CLP), leaders’ trainings, ministry services, outreach activities and reading the scriptures. My journey is usually shared with a friend or group of people who served as inspirations and missions.
Looking back, I realized that it took years to change my life what it used to be — where lying is an easy excuses to avoid being reprimanded, not going to Mass on Sundays will not affect my life, telling bad things about others will make me look good, I am poor and that taking someone else’s thing is a way to get even with the rich, respect is given only to those who are worthy of it in my standards.
Eventually, because of the people and circumstances, a lot of things changed as I decided to begin my journey toward conversion: I begin to be conscious about telling the truth, even if it means that I have to admit that I was wrong and it was my fault; I made it a point to go to Mass every Sunday and days of obligation; I try not to participate in non-sense conversations that damages another person — either I walk away or try to change the topic; respecting the value of hard work invested in acquiring an item; respecting and praying for people especially the elders, my parents and in-laws, leaders, people with disabilities, women, children as well as souls in purgatory.
I learned that God is giving us the affirmation and manifestation of His presence and the availability of endless blessings through the sacraments and prayers. I appreciated the value of reading God’s words through the Bible, hearing God through prayer and meditation, grace of forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, abundance of blessings for the family through the sacrament of marriage, availability to receive God through communion during Mass, sanctity of offering a child to God through baptism, availability of healing through anointing of the sick, and heavenly rewards for those who dedicated their lives via religious profession.
It is daily struggle for me to follow Christ daily, but what is comforting is that God’s grace is readily available; I just have to call upon Him. What I firmly believe now is that God’s message of salvation through mercy and compassion is meant to be shared. Given my sinfulness, unworthiness and woundedness, God called me be a witness and a testament that He is a healer. He can make my story a testimony of how forgiveness and renewal is available to those who seek for them.