May isa na naman po akong reader na nagshare ng kanyang testimony with God and his Church.
Pero bago yan eto muna ang una niyang message:
Dear Kuya Berto,
HAHAHA! This is it! Ito yung out of urge lang isulat. Three pages.
Anyway, alam kong hindi mo alam na ikaw ang unang online friend ko. But the Lord is good and He has a great plan kaya sa napakalaking percentage ng junk sa internet, nakita ko ang blog mo.
Mag-wordpress na lang kaya ako? Pag may oras na talaga ako, hindi yung left-over, at may matinong internet, saka ako magsusulat. Nagsusulat din ako sa newsletter namin sa community tapos may sinusulat din ako somewhere sa internet.
Sayo na ang copyright nito.
Yun kasing una niyang isinulat e Filipino ang wikang ginamit. Tatlong pahina ang inabot. E mukhang mas madali siyang mag-express ng kanyang sarili sa English kaya pinakiusap kong ulitin niya (ang totoo, siya yung nakiusap na kung pwede daw bang English na lang, hehe). Kaya yung mababasa ninyo sa ibaba ay pangalawa na sa kanyang isinulat.
Eto na po ang testimony ni Alaine….
Good day! I am Alaine, 20, a senior college student. Unfortunately, I don’t belong to the thousands of graduating students this summer. It is hard but it’s what God has planned for me. I love to write and I dream to write my own book.
We are ten in my family-my parents, my two sisters, three brothers, one brother-in-law and a nephew. My father worked abroad as a seafarer so we were reared without him by our side. Our whole clan is Catholic except for my father’s older brother who serves as a pastor in a Christian church and his family. My mother taught me to pray and I can remember asking God to let my ill-tempered sister enter heaven.
As a little child, I used to attend the Mass with my mother and my siblings until I was in grade school. I go to the children’s Mass with my brothers but I was alone most of the time. I do not skip Sunday Masses even if I go later than the second part of the sacrament since I need the priest’s signature in my card for attendance. I was maintaining my Best in Catechesis title in our class and my mother required us to go. We do not go together except for special occasions. Anyway, she was supportive in my first confession, first communion and confirmation.
I used to hear the adults saying that Jesus is dead every Good Friday until Easter Sunday. I was gullible and during those three days, I pray to the Father and to Mother Mary to guide the world while Jesus is dead.
My father lost his job abroad since the company he worked for was broke. We struggled financially. I do not felt the crisis that much because I was little but thankfully, we survived. That was a test of faith for our family. We were really blessed when my parents accepted their friends’ invitation to join a charismatic organization. That drew us closer to God. My brothers served as knights of the altar while my sister joined the parish youth ministry. Though I didn’t join any group in our church, I was able to actively participate in our parish’s events. My mother became even more understanding and gentler. My father, on the other hand, turned to be more cheerful than in the photographs where I usually saw him. I appreciated the value of my family even more.
I didn’t have any questions about my faith nor my religion when I was in primary grade school. I have two friends from the Church of Christ in school. Our innocence viewed that sign of the cross, the saints and the figures, as well as they were forbidden to eat dinuguan and batchoy , were their only difference from the Catholics. But when I was in sixth grade, my classmate, Marianne and I started exchanging views on our religion. She said that goes to a Baptist church during Sundays but her mother plans to convert to Dating Daan. One day, I brought our family bible in school and she showed me the passage in the Book of Exodus that God forbids worshiping idols, which I thought that our Church does. I was naïve so I believed we were guilty.
I became even more aware of other non-Catholic Christian sects. One summer, my brother and I stayed at my uncle’s house in the city. I was surprised that my uncle goes to a church different from where her wife and daughter go. During Sundays, we go to my aunt’s church. She’s a Jesus is Lord member. It was my first time in a non-Catholic church so I was amazed by how they worship the Lord during their service. My aunt dropped us to the Sunday school where other kids were. We were fed since a kid was celebrating his birthday. Of course, I enjoyed. Food has always been my simple joy. We received a biscuit and a tiny cup of juice for the communion, which is completely different to the bread we receive during a Catholic mass.
I went to our provincial science high for my secondary education; I was so pleased and self-centered then. I met new classmates except for my old friend. During the weekdays, I was always consumed since we spent the whole day at school while others spend only half. Add the two hours for the trip from home to school and back. I was always so exhausted that I slept until afternoon during weekends. My studies kept me too busy to pray and go to the church every Sunday.
During the first Friday of the month, a Eucharistic celebration was regularly held in the school, everyone, regardless of religion, was required to go. A year after, a counterpart service for non-Catholic Christians, which they called First Friday for Christ (FFFC), was pursued. I was faithfully attending the mass but falling asleep or chatting was my distraction. We were grateful, anyway that the afternoon classes were cancelled. The months passed and my Catholic batch mates were choosing to attend in the FFFC. I can’t blame them, they said it wasn’t boring and fun. That’s when they started asking us and we started wondering. What is signing of the cross for? The figures?The purgatory? Why do you pray to Mary? Why do you confess to priests? They started mocking that the mass is boring and scripted, that Catholics don’t pray but recite prayers and so on and forth… During meeting of parents and teachers, my mother was asked to lead a prayer. A classmate asked me why did my mother prayed differently because she thought that we only recite memorized prayers. And she realized that it has nothing to do with religion.
Some of my Catholic classmates who were more eager to explain and defend Catholicism than I was started attending the FFFC. Some of them have converted from Catholicism and even disobeyed their parents. They declared new a birthday since they were born again. I was sad but my doubt about my religion is still disturbing me.
Since I was too busy to pray and to attend the Sunday mass, I was spiritually weak. The demon never ceases to attack me. I was once busy on a newsletter over the weekdays and it was almost due. I was so angry with God because my file was lost. I was angry because I worked hard. A grabbed a brush and threw it to the mirror. For some minutes, I was certain that God does not exist. I was expecting my parents to at least warn me or at most slap me because I was so stubborn. When I came out of the toilet, my mother, with a tone of concern and gentleness, asked me to join them eating. How can I escape from the love of God? He never fails to remind me that I am loved. I was humbled. I was so embarrassed by how I acted.
One of Newton’s Law of Motion states that an object will remain at rest or in constant motion unless an outside force acted on it. I used this statement to tease my roommates when we caught something dropped from the table when nothing moved it. Even the Big Bang or the Plate Tectonic needed an outside force to take place. And that outside force came from the Supreme Being-God.
My question about God’s existence never haunted me again but my problem with my religion stays. It came to a point when stopped signing of the cross and accepting Christ’s body in the Communion. I was so annoyed with the singing the passion of Christ to the figures of saints during the Holy Week. I found it pointless that they sing to the sculpture, not to someone to understand Christ’s life. I was also irritated because our parish priest celebrates the mass in loud speakers, loud enough to hear it at the other side of the river. Also, people of other sect may find it impolite. Lastly, I don’t like their style that they dress their sculptures with bright-colored robes and shining sequins. Saints are saints because they were simple.
My doubt to the Church hasn’t left me. My questions remain unanswered. Our previous parish priest invited miraculous figures to visit our parish. During the visit of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in our parish, my mother and I joined the dawn profession. My mother volunteered me to carry the sculpture but since my mates and I differ in height, it was extra hard for us. It left my shoulder a wound. In addition, I was the youngest in our flock. Even if I don’t intend to carry, I felt the grace of God. I felt blessed.
Though my doubts on the Church remained, I found myself constantly praying since I was asking the Lord to let me pass the college entrance exam I took. It was very long and hard. And that university is my dream school. I left my jacket at home and unfortunately, I was assigned to a fully air-conditioned room. I was freezing in cold and I was unable to answer the exam well. I failed the Lord but He did not fail me. But He has a great purpose. I asked a friend to pass a requirement in my behalf. In return, though she didn’t ask me to because she made me a favor, I agreed to go when she invited me on a youth camp. It’s the youth ministry of same charismatic organization where my parents are affiliated.
I was a lone during the youth camp. Well, I challenged my self to make friends since it will be a social training for college. During the second day, I was bored because I already heard what they spoke about. It was a also hassle. I have to sleep on the floor with just a mat, there’s no comfort room provided were poor and I don’t like the food they prepared for us. Yes, I was very mean then. However, I succeeded in making a friend, not considering my facilitator during the camp. The three days passed. I was able to confess and summing all that I did with them, it drew me closer to the Lord. I wasn’t able to realize this during the camp but they helped me to grow more in faith and love.
With my mother’s untiring encouragement, I attended assemblies and household prayer meetings though I wasn’t really interested. I was shy and snob at the same time, I didn’t initiate conversations and when someone tried to-I just answer timidly. That was me. But the time came when I found my self laughing with them. I felt belonged. They also showed me the passion of being a Catholic. It’s been four years and today, I’m serving the Lord and His people with them. Notwithstanding the distance, the comfort, the food and even the water, not for drinking but for bathing, I go on youth camps with them to show the youth that the Lord indeed loves us.
When I entered college, I met students who were community members. We pursued to establish a campus-based. The Lord worked in us. We were invited to attend Apologetics classes initiated by the Parish Youth Council. I became a part of the apologetics committee and attended the sessions faithfully. A lot of the answers that I was searching for was answered. When a brother from our organization asked why some passages in the Bible ironically contradicts. I answered Him saying that nothing in the Bible contradicts. It’s just that our finite mind can’t understand and conceived. He was satisfied with my answers. But that wasn’t my words since I was also asking the same thing. The Holy Spirit spoke through me, I believe.
When I was writing this, I was grateful that The Lord gave me the strength and time. I can’t believe that He is working in my life and He’s not yet done. Great things are yet to come as He promised. I saw a handout of my sister who studied in a Christian university. There was a table or religions, their founders, the population, and so on and forth. And for the Catholic Church, Jesus is the founder. They even recognized this.
I also learned that Catholicism have differences in our country from the others. What makes the difference? Our art and culture. Some of our traditions may not be biblical but it’s our offering to the Lord. Noticeably, we are into figures ( Catholics of other countries are not much into) since we have the art of carving in Paete, Laguna. It’s the art of our fellow Filipinos to appreciate.
It also saddens me that my non-Catholic Christians friends refer to us as non-Christians. Take a few seconds to search for the person who first coined the term ‘Christian.’
My mother always reminds me to not lean on my own understanding. It’s a passage from the bible, I may not know the verse, chapter and book where it is written but I hope it doesn’t make me a less Christian. Being one is more than words but also actions. To my fellow Catholics who claim to be one but does not believe in the teachings of the Church, I think you’re not really one. Unless you can recite the Creed with conviction and corresponding action, you are indeed a Catholic. If you’re a pro-RH Bill, again, are you really a Catholic?
Thank you for reading this. With conviction, let us prove that we believe in the one holy catholic apostolic church. For this, may God be praised!
Maraming maraming salamat sa pagse-share mo ng iyong testimony Alaine.
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