“Together We Live” Grand Prize – P.C. Lau
God has planned everything so perfectly for my family. I was not born in a Catholic family; my father was non-Catholic and my mom was a Catholic who did not go to church regularly. When I first started primary years at a Catholic school, I had difficulty understanding the term “God”. I thought the “God” that my teachers were referring to was a fictional character who lived in the clouds with a long silver beard; I imagined Him as the older version of Superman who was kind and had all kinds of power to help others. When my mom realized the seriousness of my lack of knowledge about God, similar to what other moms would do when they found out their children were having learning difficulties, she sent me to tutor class – children catechism classes. Through the children catechism class, not only did my brother and I received the blessing and got baptized, my mom also became a helper. She then became a responsible Catholic and taught us to become good Catholics; but my father remains unbaptized.
Everything went well with my mom, brother and I. Then time flew by, and I grew up. I grew up knowing that even though my father is not a Catholic, he has never stopped supporting us in becoming better Catholics. We have our father’s full support in participating in all church events; he never complains about us spending too much time at church, and thus less time was spent with him. He just continues to support us in any way he could and keeps telling us that we are doing the right thing by serving God. My father enjoys participating in the discussions that we have on Catholic beliefs and he usually presents a different perspective for us to view on different issues. Through the discussions, he becomes quite knowledgeable in the fundamentals of Catholic beliefs, and sometimes, acts as a counsellor for us. When we get upset, my father, surprisingly, would be the first person to use Biblical references to comfort us. For example, he would say, “Jesus was nailed on the cross, your suffering today could never be compared to His; so why bother being upset?” or “God loves us so much that He sent His only son, can’t you just love your enemy a bit more by forgiving them?” Who can imagine that these words would come from a non-Catholic?
We continue to convince my father to attend catechism class. We asked him a million times providing a million different reasons to join catechism class, and not to mention our persistent prayers; but his answer would always be, “God has not called me yet.” In fact, God has called him, but the only barrier he had was to openly accept God. Before coming to Canada, my father was reluctant to go to church; he kept on complaining about the lengthy homily and ceremony. God, however, has this wonderful plan. My mom and I have been volunteering at church on Saturday since immigrating to Canada, and thus, we attend the Saturday night mass. Not wanting to leave my father home alone in the new environment, we invited him to come to church with us. He was still refusing to go to catechism class, but going to church had become part of his weekly routine. There were times when we could not attend the Saturday night mass, out of all people, he would always be the first to ask anxiously, “So what time are we going to church on Sunday?” Once, he got upset as we could not pick him up for church, and he told my mom that he felt as if something was missing. We saw that God was working on him, and he was moving closer and closer to God. Recently, my father has made progress… he has started praying! We pray before meals, and usually we pray in silence. Thanks to God and to the person who came up with the idea of printing daily prayers on placemats, we are using those placemats at our dinner table. My father stares and reads the prayer silently every time before he starts his meals, and sometimes he would even lead the prayer when we ask him to.
To come and think about it, evangelization has never been an easy process. Just using my family as an example, from having only one family member being a Catholic to having three Catholics in our family, and from saying that “God has not called me” to starting to pray voluntarily, this has been a really long journey. I trust that God has a plan for every one to bring us closer to Him in a unique way; what we shall do is to try our best in evangelizing to our closest neighbour, and open our hearts to let God in. I am staying hopeful that my father will be baptized soon, for I believe that God’s miraculous plan is in progress.