In Between Two Good Places
My father was a Muslim, I was raised a Catholic, and now I am about to marry a Born Again Christian.
To say that God has a sense of humour is an understatement.
I know nothing about Islam save for what we’ve studied in elementary history. I grew up reciting the rosary every afternoon with my grandmother, hearing and singing in mass every Sunday, and queuing up to the priest to make mano. I’ve attended services in PBCC and Victory Fort because those are the churches my fiancé goes to.
Being used to having a life-sized crucifix of the Lord Jesus to see and pray and cling to, I look to the front of the Born Again services and almost always ask, “Lord, where are You here?” Then the singing starts, then the praying, then the message.. and at the end I find my heart is touched and my eyes slightly wet, overwhelmed by the love and forgiveness God has made me feel, equipped with scripture-based practical teachings that will aid in my quest to live a God-pleasing existence.
Similarly, attending Catholic mass with the whole family complete is one of the blessings I always look forward to, especially during the part where we are all given peace anew and asked to share it. Being with fellow believers, holding hands with them and singing the Our Father, reminds me that we are all one and the same; no matter where we come from - we are all His children, and we all share one great and glorious Father God. I’ve always thought that the connected lines Catholics make during that part, chained and unbroken, can lead us directly to Him.
And the kneeling. Oh, I love kneeling before the Lord and offering everything up to Him after receiving the Holy Communion.
My mother and some members of our Catholic bible study group are afraid that I might convert. I have felt no pressure from my fiancé nor his family to do so. I feel more pressure writing this blog now as I know it will most probably draw a lot of opinions, haha. The subject of religion has always been controversial.
I find peace in the music of Islam. I’ve been a member of the church choir since I was six. And last night, in addition to my staple bossa nova tunes, I’ve been asked to sing two praise and worship songs at the culmination of Ikthus-Bacolod’s More Than Enough Women’s Conference.
I suppose I am stuck in between, but what a marvellous between it is! While some may pick and compare, and even criticize, I find that now I have two ways of reaching and communing with the Lord.
Or perhaps it is the other way around: the Lord reaches for me in two different sets of beliefs, all with the single, encompassing purpose of drawing me closer to Him, reminding me over and over that He loves me, that He died for me, that I am saved.
In remaining a Catholic, I am honouring my mother. In attending Born Again services, I am honouring my husband-to-be. In both ways, I believe I am honouring God.
Back when I was enrolled in UP, I remember being really excited about our Kasaysayan 2 classes because we were studying the different religions of the world. There are so many!! I remember being in a state of wonder: Wow! Man’s insatiable need for a God to cling to and love and worship was never more apparent. Or that God, in His innumerable mysterious ways, reaches out to humanity in different forms.
I am still new in the Born Again faith, perhaps a bit old in Catholicism. There are still so many things about both religions that I do not know. I love reading the Bible, yet I cannot wait to finish the Old Testament, hehe! I’m on Ezekiel now and it’s amazing how our God is a God of precision and exactness, too! Hindi pwede sa Kanya yung pwede na. I still don’t fully understand many of the parables - sometimes I feel like there are so many possible interpretations to them, so many layers to peel off, or maybe there is just one.
There are some of you who are probably like me, happily or unhappily, stuck in between. Some of you may even be confused about which religion to embrace. Some may even be wrestling with the idea of an Almighty. But I believe that God has us all in His heart, and in His own perfect time, He will call us and show us His way. With the gentlest tugs on our arms, or with a kick on our shins, He will nudge us towards the most peaceful and amicable life choices.
But as most of my Catholic and Born Again elders would say - it’s not about religion. What’s of utmost importance is having an intimate and personal relationship with Him.
May God bless and enlighten us all as we continue to journey in this life, with Him. <3 :)