My New and Improved Life……
I was born and raised as a catholic or that is what I tell people when they question my faith. However, until August, my catholic life was very dull as I had never paid attention during mass and would only go to church on Sundays. I did this so that I could socialize with my friends. Then one day my Parents urged me to go to a three day retreat. I was at first very upset with them registering me for this. I tried to make excuses but decided to go so they would not use this against me in the future. They were very happy as they told me “this [was] going to be a life changing experience”just like what they had told me for the previous retreats to which I was forced to go. It is not that I hated going to retreats, but the fact that I have to see people break down in tears and while being in the corner feeling like crap as I felt no feelings towards God and all the sins I committed.
As the retreat was about to begin, the priest told us “if [we] are not satisfied by the end of this retreat [he] will tell our parents to never force [us] to ever go to another retreat in [our] life”. Then the retreat began as they were teaching us action songs. I thought it was very stupid as I tried to be the center of attention by making fun of the lyrics and the actions to it, not realizing that I broke the third commandment, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”. The first day of the retreat came to an end, and I still did not feel any “life changing experience” as I thought to myself whether my life would have been better if I was not a Catholic.
The second day came as the retreat team started discussing about the types of sins we commit in our daily lives. I said to myself, “Are they serious?” when I heard things like “listening to particular songs” and “downloading music that you do not purchase is a sin”. Then, it was time for a talk from one of the guys named Danny from the retreat group. He started talking about how
he supposedly “had a calling from the Holy Spirit” and sacrificed his position as Chief Executive Officer to go preach to kids in Singapore. I was like, “Are you serious? Who would be dumb enough to sacrifice their highly paid job to go preach, where you get no benefit”? Then the second day ended and I was still not developing any faith and started to question myself as to if there really was a Jesus, who died on the cross for us?
The third and final day of the retreat came and as we entered the church for the first time my thoughts and concentration were only on Jesus and nothing else. It felt very awkward as the adoration began. I never thought that an adoration could change me as I somewhat started to feel the presence of God. All of a sudden I felt like all the sins I committed slowly leaving me as I shut my eyes tighter, the cleanser my body became. Then suddenly a tear went down my eye; just as I was about to wipe it with my hands, something in me refused and I had no control over my actions. I started crying and thanking God for still loving me even when I never loved him back. I experienced a flashback of my life during that adoration as I was shocked to see times when I only called God when I was struggling, but not thanking him for the happiness in my life. Then slowly I began to understand who I am, my duty as God’s child in this world, and what my belief is and why I believe it. I started to understand the true meaning of life with the belief, “I believe in God, who believes in me”.
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