Wednesday, November 16, 2022

A Faithful Follower of God

 By Reina Mosqueda 
Columban Lay Missionary in Taiwan

 

When I was young, my family was not religious or active in the parish. My father had a different belief and hated the Catholic faith, especially the priests. My Mom just agreed with my father to avoid conflicts with him. My eight siblings and I were all baptized in the Catholic Church but, as a family, we did not go to church like other Catholic families in our neighborhood. Growing up, I did not have an idea of who Jesus was because we did not talk about it at home. But there is one member in the family who was so brave and courageous in expressing his faith and love in God - my brother Levy.

My brother Levy is the third brother among my six older brothers. Growing up, he was very much aware of the poor financial condition of our family. At a young age, oftentimes after school, he used to go to the farm which is almost two hours walk from our house to get some wood or vegetables to sell and give money to my parents. Until now he is very kind, helpful, hardworking, and responsible.

He was a teenager when he started to get interested in knowing God by going to mass every  Sunday. He liked listening to the homilies of the parish priest and the songs of the choir. He found fulfillment in what he did. He did not feel disappointed even though he was aware that our family was in poverty. The physical hard work he did on the farm became light and full of satisfaction because he knew that God was with him. Even if he was sick, he would go to the farm and work. He did not feel discouraged because he found joy in everything he did. His desire to know God became stronger and stronger every day like his will to follow Him. When he decided to follow God, he did many things to know Him well. He tuned in to the Catholic radio station as a member of the Bible study group, bought spiritual books, joined a charismatic community, and became a catechist in the parish. Through these activities and the formation he received in the church, he developed a deep relationship with God. He saw God as his strength and great provider. He believed that following Him and His teachings would make him inherit His kingdom which is his ultimate goal as a Christian.

However, my father was not happy that my brother Levy was an active member of the church: my father scolded him every time he got drunk. Whenever our father arrived home drunk, even if it was in the middle of the night, he would get a bible and fight with him. Even so, my brother did not fight back and did not hold grudges against our father. Instead, he forgave and prayed for him. His relationship with God shaped his Christian values and character.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

From the early age this Biblical passage became my brother’s great reminder of God’s love for him. His faith led him toward the right path. He desired to become a monk or a religious someday. When he started to search for the true plan of God for him, he was amazed at how God accompanied him throughout his search. He believed that the graces of courage and determination he had during those times of searching for the call of God for him were the manifestations of God’s faithfulness to him. Nevertheless, God had a different plan for my brother Levy. He got an opportunity to study in a Catechetical Center for two years for free on the condition that he would teach in the parish school. And after some years of working in the school as a Religion teacher, he found his future wife in the parish who was also a catechist at that time. When he got married, he studied a four-year course in college majoring in Mathematics. At present, my brother is a public-school elementary teacher. He did not become a monk or a religious but he continues to serve God in his parish together with his own family.

 The fulfilment and deep joy I witnessed in my brother were the reasons why I also desired to follow God. He inspired me to put my faith and trust in God’s divine providence and to learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus so I can also share His great love for His people. I also became a student catechist in high school and took up a course majoring in Religious Education. My brother Levy is one of the significant people in my journey of faith for whom I will always be grateful. God is truly faithful and generous to His people. He gave me my brother Levy who led me to know and love Him. I hope that like my brother, I may lead other people to know God’s great love for them with deep joy and a heart that is fulfilled.

Levy with wife Malou and their son

 

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