I was in pain when I woke up and still in pain while writing this. I just came home from work and I really wanted to just throw myself in my bed, lie down and snuggle my pillow until my eyes are so heavy I have no choice but have another dreamland visit. But, I feel the need to share what made me literally happy today. It might be an ordinary story for most, but it was an extraordinary for me.
When I was a kid, I used to dream of becoming a nun thinking it was pretty cool to wear their dress (I still do) and be respected by many (and I still respect them, really!). I’ve never been a Catholic but being a nun was one of my childhood fantasies. I stopped hoping to be one when I realized that being a nun means not having and creating your own family. You don’t get to be married (to a certain someone) and have your own children (I’m talking about flesh and blood), although you will still be a mother to many. And of course, you don’t get to experience growing old with the person who will always choose to love you regardless. (See, at an early age, I already know I don’t have calling for singleness).
Few hours ago, I was drinking my favorite green tea with red bean while sitting beside a beautiful nun. It happened this way — I didn’t understand why everyone wanted to sit at the middle and back part of FX and people at my back were trying to get ahead of me, knowing the front seats were still unoccupied. The barker suddenly grabbed the door and opened it (which is unusual) and said, “Sister, you may seat here.” (Ann’s version) and I was like, “Hi, may I seat beside you?” and she smiled at me and let me in. I felt like, I was the bravest among others for having the guts to ask her. And ohhh, blessed as well because it’s not every day that you get to seat and talk with a nun.
I decided to pay for her fare but then the barker returned my money and said she’s riding for free. Wow, talking about respect and provision. The high light was when I started to ask her some personal questions on how she came up with a decision to enter a seminary and become a nun. She said, it wasn’t easy, there were discouragements and temptations and everything else. It’s always an everyday decision to remain a nun. She called it discernment. It’s like, you are being tested and you have a choice to make — to stay or to leave.
And would you believe she even asked me about Christian faith? And how it is different (and similar at the same time) from Catholic and other sector? And our perception of Mary and saints? I was more than happy to answer, I said, being a Christian is more than just a religion, it is a lifestyle. That your action must back up your claim. It is honoring God and making disciples. It is acknowledging that you are in need of Jesus in your life. We believe that there is three persona in one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus is 100 % man and 100 % God and he came to save us. That God revealed himself through Jesus Christ. That though we respect Mary and all the saints, it is only through Jesus that we have direct access to God because he is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through him (see John 14:6). I even acknowledged Mary because Jesus showed respect and love to her. Remember how Jesus turned water into wine during a wedding because of Mary’s request? (see John 2). And she was smiling at me and listening attentively.
I also shared Apostle Paul’s story because he is my favorite character in the bible besides Jesus and God of course, only to find out that hers is Paul too. We were like sharing a favorite bed time story. She even laughed. Imagined, she laughed. It was priceless to speak to her and share the good news (the gospel). I can go on and on of what we talked about because believe me, it was such an amazing conversation I never wanted it to end. But let me try to close this by one of the most important parts of our talk and I believe it is safe to say that she wholeheartedly agreed with me:
It is not enough that we attend Sunday mass every week. We have to read the bible and meditate on it. God already provided us His very heart. It is when we pray that we talk to God, and it is when we read the bible and ponder the word that He is talking to us. The only way that you will know if what the person is feeding you is right and in line with the word of God is when you read and study the word too.”
I know I still have a race to run and I still need to fight the good fight of faith. I cannot do it on my own. I need Jesus in my life. Truth be told, it’s the Holy Spirit that enabled me to share God’s love despite my pain. It was at that moment that an energy suddenly kicked in. We have a message of hope, let’s change the world by sharing the hope — who is Jesus Christ.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)