I grew up Catholic with some Buddhist traditions thrown in. I would remember waking up to hear Sunday Mass and then in the afternoon going to Narra temple to do some *pai pai*. I was still a child and so *faith* was nothing more of a routine. I didn't listen to the homily, I just sat with uncles and aunts waiting excitedly as they would bring us to line up with them to receive Holy Communion. It was a different high and excitement for me back then.
As I grew up, I learned about being a Christian in my formative years. It wasn't that religion was hard pressed on us - well, yeah - we had the first Friday Mass and then the receiving of Holy Sacraments. But I didn't feel like it was forced upon me. My mom was very open minded in telling us that she'd rather we go hear Mass because we want to rather than it be a chore to do every weekend. I think it was when I was out of college - after studying abroad that I started hearing Sunday Mass regularly.
I remember, I was in my late 20's that I really started the journey of my faith. I heard Mass every Sunday - I began really listening to the messages, really listening to the readings and homilies, and I started to sift through the priests that I wanted to listen to. Let me be honest, there are some priests that say long homilies that don't make sense. It's hard enough to sit through it - more so, put your faith in them, right? But that's just me. And then I found a Church nearby that I was excited to go to every Sunday. I think it was God's way of making be go back. And I think ever since then, I enjoyed hearing Mass.
I think my journey wasn't an easy one. I took my faith for granted at times and just like the usual scenario - I had to go through something to make me go back to my faith. And it has helped me somehow. It's strange really - I mean who would have thought that the heavy feeling inside would be lightened by hearing Mass and by prayers. I was amazed and I was very thankful, very thankful. I used to laugh when people said *Let's pray for it* because I thought, what can prayers do? We just always ask and ask and we get nothing, right? But then I realized - we don't need to ask. We just need to be thankful for the blessings that we receive everyday.
The journey of my faith wasn't an easy one - I was faced with challenges here and there. Once I attended a Christian Bible study and then there was a nasty comment of *Why do these Catholics worship Mary? Who is she? Do they know what they're doing?* I mean, yes - I do respect your opinion but to feel that you are an expert? I am sorry, but that's not how it is to respect other people's faith. I was quizzed on being a Catholic. I was made to feel that my religion was wrong. It then dawned on me that there are some people who feel that their faith is beyond everyone else's - really? I never thought that there are people who are like that. I guess I was wrong!
I am very tolerant and respectful when it comes to other people's faith. I don't claim that Catholicism is the best religion ever. I respect the fact that there are a number of religion out there - who am I to say that their is lower than mine. It is NOT my place to say that nor should I even think of it that way. Who am I to declare that my faith is better than yours? Our faith is our individual journey, right? I feel that your faith should personally speak to you. It should be something that you believe in and is comfortable with. There is this one person I know that speaks highly of her faith, but then doesn't practice it. I feel bad for her and for her congregation. Then, there is another person who I feel is very spiritually is stable and I admire her for that - she has a strong belief in her faith but she doesn't look down on other religions. That, is for me the perfect example of how she wants to showcase her faith.
There are some religion that I feel are like bullies. But then again, maybe it's the followers that become bullies. I'm sure there is no religion in this world that has in their doctrines that you are better than everyone else. Hahaha! Do you think so? Well, please correct me if I am wrong. Haha!! :)
Yesterday, while listening to the homily of the priest (yesterday was my first time to see this priest and I was impressed that he held my attention). He spoke about miracles, that we most often pray and ask for miracles everyday. We do, but then personally - I have shifted my praying strategy to thanking more and asking less. I used to ask more and thank less. Ever since I learned to thank more and ask less, I felt that things have been brighter. I still ask, but then I am more thankful - I always start with *Thank you Lord, for the blessings*. I know that God has a plan for everything, that things happen in His perfect time.
I won't tell you to become a Catholic - because my faith is not perfect. But what I will tell you is to find your own faith because it will be of help. You may not realize that now, but eventually you will. My faith has kept me sane and grounded, I turn to it when I feel very low. Whenever I felt alone, disappointed, hurt, stepped on, taken advantaged of - I always pray. Praying helped me a lot. And I'm sure praying will help you too.