I was raised as a Christian by my parents (a Roman Catholic, to be exact). As a child, I followed the norms of the elder people. I believed so much in everything they said. I went to church regularly, prayed the litany by heart, honored the crucifix and other statues, and so on. There were even times when we would refuse to eat meat during holy week because people said that it is wrong to feel happy during holy weeks. Until now, I still don’t know how it’s all connected with it. Aside from that, I see people in television hurt themselves to repent. They say it is penitensya. I couldn’t really comprehend why people still need to hurt themselves to prove their covenant. But I was young, religious and innocent, I never dared to question it.
Before you start to think that I’ve converted into an anti-Christian, I want to clear it out, I have not. I still believe and I still have respect for all types of religion. A mind could think on its own and I could never deny that to anyone. We all have the right to choose what to believe in.
People engages in different kind religious practices and that’s okay with me since it’s their business, not mine. All I can do is to be civil and polite, and that does not include explaining what is right and wrong in their customary actions. Faith can be expressed in many different ways, and we all have a common God, the kind and emphatic one, so for me, that is enough. As for the atheist, I respect their belief as well.
There is a plethora of complexities in this world and what I’m about to say next is not an attack to the Roman Catholics, so please, I am not judging anyone so be nice and try to understand my point.
This morning, after being sober from last night, my dad woke me up and asked me if I could attend the Sabbath Day of the Seventh Day Adventist with them. For the past few months, they we’re religiously attending the said church and I think they really like it there. I suppose they were also thinking of converting.
Because I like observing how people worship God, I agreed to go with them.
When I walked inside the hall, it looked like a hospital chapel without any imprints and statues. There was a piano on the left side, four chairs on the stage and a podium in the middle. It felt comfortable inside because it wasn’t too crowded. The space was just enough for all of the attendees.
The service, on the other hand, had a different approach. First, there was a bible study and an open forum for those who wants to speak and share their thoughts. They even provide microphones for these people to be heard. After that, the preacher stood in the podium and started to read a bible verse which he then related to stories. Then there were also some testimonials. In between, they were singing melodious songs which I really enjoyed listening to. After which, people knelt down to pray. There were no soft foams in there so we had to kneel on the marble tiles. And it’s weird, because I also liked that part.
I can’t really remember the last time I knelt down to talk to God. Well.. I pray every night and each start of my shift in the hospital but the conversation I had with Him today was completely uplifting, like loosing some weights in my heart which I’ve been keeping for a very long time.
It was a solemn prayer in a completly peaceful environment. Though I can hear the preacher talk about things I didn’t really understand, I didn’t care because my focus was just being there and feeling the presence of the Lord. I don’t know if that’s bad because I felt like I’d rather talk to God than to listen to what he’s saying. I know it was all about good lessons but gee, I was having a moment.
Whenever I go to church (I mean the one where I really attend to), I only get to have a split second conversation with God because of the routine they do. There is a particular order which we follow and I’ve already memorized the process ever since I was a child, to all Roman Catholics, I know you know this. Most of the time, I just can’t stand it. Sometimes, I even go out without understanding anything at all. Maybe that’s why whenever I go inside, I’d anticipate for the moment when they’d let people kneel down because that’s the part where I can finally start to pray.
This became a bit of a struggle for me, so there came a time when I started doubting things. I started to think that it was a blind faith all along. That maybe Science has a point about the origin of all things. I had maybe one, or two, or millions of questions unanswered whenever I go to our church. But I kept that as a secret because I am afraid to ask anyone about it, because I was taught to not challenge the norms. So questions piled up, and the higher it got, the less rational it seemed, and then, the less I wanted to be part of it.
Then all of a sudden I’m quite sure I was half lying to myself, still keeping the values that were instilled in me. I was hoping though that one day, things will become clearer and my questions will be answered.
In the end, after attending the mass, I decided to keep my mind open. I am just as confused as everyone else but this place where we’re living is big and beautiful, and full of mysteries, and I know, He made all of these for us to believe. So I do trust Him. And I’m pretty sure the answers to my questions will come, in time.
How I wish I could just feel what I felt a while back every day so I could feel His presence with me constantly. I want it that way because I love God and I want a connection with Him forever. Some people may not understand this but it is what I feel and think. So again, please do understand me.
PS. We are maybe worshiping Him under different names and different values, but one thing is for sure: Our norms and religion do not define God. He is all Almighty and a connection with Him a lot more that any relationships in this world.