The magazine With Bible gives us a picture of life in an old Catholic family going back ten generations. The priest writer recounts growing up in a Catholic village. Up until the II Vatican Council marriages were always among Catholics so all his relatives were Catholic. Until the day he went to Elementary School he thought the whole world was made up of Catholics. In his class the only other Catholic was his cousin from his village. This was a bombshell to him, he had been deceived, using today's words it was a cultural shock.
that time on he was embarrassed to be known as a Catholic. He would
very surreptitiously make a small sign of the cross on his forehead before eating, and persecution had ended hundreds of years ago.
One day his father went with a married Buddhist monk friend to a temple bringing him along,
where he saw that the hands of the Buddha were bigger than the hands of
Jesus, which caused some consternation, and he ate without any problem the
He envied the Buddhist children who did
not have to do anything on Sundays. Mass was one of his biggest
difficulties. He would with friends steal and eat the melons in the farms. He dreamed of time on Sundays to go catching frogs, and
lamented being born into a family of Catholics. He was dreaming of the
day he would be able to skip Mass.
The day came one summer, he skipped Mass, and with a friend went prancing around the
mountains and streams and came back for lunch. When he arrived the family was eating lunch and they all stared at him. There was
no place at the table and his bowl was missing. His grandfather asked
did he come to eat? There was no sympathy for him and he went outside
under the eaves of the house wiping his tears. He hated everybody: God, Jesus, his
grandmother, the Blessed Mother-- from
that day on he became a tepid Catholic.
He dreamed of
getting rid of his Catholicism. In the family they would have the
morning prayers: for him it was the continuance of a bad dream; evening
prayers a lullaby. The holy pictures on the wall would be glaring
at him, he was afraid of Jesus' family. After evening prayers there was
the rosary and even at times the office for the dead.
was not all, everyday three times you would hear the bell of the mission
station calling him to pray the Angelus. Every evening he would have a
string rosary on which to pray, he would not get beyond the first decade. His
grandmother told him if he fell asleep his guardian angel would finish
it for him. He says his guardian angel was was busy saying his
rosaries. His family home was a monastery and he was a lonely tepid
As the years passed he ended up in the
seminary. How in the world he ended up in the seminary he doesn't know.
When he finished his studies he went into the military. During that time
he was at camp there was no opportunity to go to Mass, which he liked. He
refused an appointment to work as a religious assistant figuring he
would be doing that for the rest of his life. He was living the life of
a tepid and was enjoying it. As long as God allowed him to do what
he wanted all was well, and he feels this is common among the tepid.
Even after he became a priest he felt that
his tepidity continued. The joy at ordination quickly left and he
did not feel God's love. It was not easy to talk about God's love. When he was saying the breviary it was like the morning and evening prayers
he knew as a child. He was curious about the things of the world.
He felt he received little from God. He tried
to forget the emptiness by filling it up with all kinds of works,
not only by possessing material things but also knowledge, and working
excessively with great pride: using God to grant what he wanted.
This all came to an end when after a year as an
assistant priest he was sent overseas to study. During this time he
found it difficult to breathe, and they did not know the origin of the problem; he was faced with a serious operation.
Death became a possibility and he began to see everything
differently. He was looking for forgiveness. He wanted forgiveness
and wanted to love. It was at this time that he received the
peace that he had never experienced before in his life. All the joys
and sorrows of his life, his tears, regrets and worries were all
washed away. Everything had changed. He had met God.
The article finishes with his gratitude for his gift of faith.
It was packaged in a box that he opened when he faced death. God's love
for him he saw with new eyes, and he wants to make this love known to others.