St Peter's Basilica, RC hq
Are you an RC? Was a question I was regularly asked when I stayed in East Malaysia for about three months sometime last year. It was peculiar to my ears. Growing up in Ipoh for the first 24 years of my life, I've hardly, if ever, been asked such a question. Even after staying in the Klang Valley for the next 12 years didn't prepare me for it.
Well, I started getting used to it. East Malaysians, as I discovered, used the term RC to mean Roman Catholic. To me, I'm just plain Malaysian cradle Catholic.
Anyway, sometime early this year, we visited a friend who recently shifted into a neighbouring residential estate.
That visit although was initially a business meeting, turned out to be a gift from God. Bernard, who is also from Ipoh (wisdom must come from the Ipoh water too - did I say I was from Ipoh earlier...hehehe), shared with Pat and I something really good which I in turn would love to share with all of you.
You see, he is now teaching Sunday School in Assumption Church, PJ. This was what he shared with a Form 3 class last year. I think he started teaching Standard 5 this year.
Bernard told his class - once you are an RC, you will always be an RC.... (see how God used the East Malaysians to drum this RC thing into my head).
I then expected him to quote some theology to support this fact... but instead he cleverly used a play of words which proved much more interesting, easier to understand and brought home a point.
He said although people have left the church they will always be RC because they are just Retired Catholics.... this definitely piqued my attention.
He went on saying that at one point of his life he was away from the Church, but God had some tricks up his sleeves to pull him home, one of which was his cousin Anne. On his way home, he was a Returning Catholic.
Of course, today he is a self-confessed Romantic Catholic, choosing to practise the spirit of the Law and not focus too much on the letter.
Love, he said, is the most important part of the faith which he is doing his best to share with the young ones. He also chooses to be a Relevant Catholic - to teach the youth in ways they can relate to, which also involves sharing of ideas from them, instead of the old school way of I talk you listen and learn.
I really can't wait for Bernard and his wife Mae to come serve in St Thomas More (STM) next year.
Recently, we met up again, and he said we can add to the list of RC. And so Pat and I started to come up with some. So here goes:
RICH Catholics - three main categories
1) Rejoicing In Christ Hallelujah Catholics - The types that can never be beaten down too hard in life cos' they know Christ is their Saviour. Even when they are materially poor, they feel rich because Christ is the centre of their lives. No show, no act - the real McCoy. Sometimes, you can't stand them, cos' they make you feel like a prune in comparison. I think I need them to strengthen my faith.
2) Materially rich Catholics. Boy, do we in STM need them so much now. We need another RM9.5 million. If you fall under this category or have connections that can help us achieve this goal, please email me.
3) Rich both ways - Spiritually and materially they belong to Christ. They tithe, donate generously when needed and is always a cheerful giver. My goal is one day to be in this category. Unfortunately, currently I'm somewhere at (-1).
Rosary Catholics - two main categories
1) They know how to recite the Rosary by-heart and I mean all the prayers from the Apostles' Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, the Fatima Prayer, Hail Holy Queen, Let Us Pray, Memorare and even the Litany that follows. They also know which day is for what Mysteries and the respective Mysteries from decade 1 to 5. Gosh! My husband is one of those. They inspire me. Only thing is sometimes, the older generation who fall under this category tend to rattle the prayers in supersonic speed leaving the rest of us lost and distracted.
2) The type who meditates on each Mystery with reverence. Knows how biblical the Rosary is. Defends it properly when countered that we are praying to Mary. The late Great Pope John Paul II is such a person. Others that come to mine are Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn and Fr Benefict J. Groeshel (He is another EWTN personality I like to listen to. I'm just beginning to read his book entitled The Rosary - Chain of Hope. Thanks Terence for loaning me the book). They have made the Rosary relevant to me.
On the side, I just needed to share this with you since this is the month of May. Many Catholics, even those who love the Lord very much, are quite lost with praying the Rosary... for example:
Another Assumption Church Sunday School teacher said she can never recite the - poor banish children of Eve prayer (Hail Holy Queen). She also shared that during a recent funeral wake (7-day prayer) in her BEC, one of the family members of the deceased kept starting with Our Father, instead of Hail Mary... and everyone was trying to say it louder than that person in order to get the prayer back on track.
During our good friend the late Ralph Curzon's 7th day prayers, his daughter very honestly shared that she really doesn't know what that perpetual, perpetual part is all about. (Leader:Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him O Lord, R: And let the Perpetual Light Shine upon him...)
Also one of her relatives, who was converted a few years ago said she quickly ran to the kitchen when she saw that it would soon be her turn to lead a decade of the Rosary.
How close to home all these sharings are to me, cos' just like them, I too, am lost if I don't have those prayers in front of my eyes. Sometimes Pat will just try to quiz me and I'll panic even more and what I know of the Hail Holy Queen, Let Us Pray and Memorare will just vanish from my memory.
Dearest Mother, help us poor banished children of Eve to be proud of the Rosary and soon learn to love praying it too.
Okay back to the RC story.... Pat added that we could become Recalcitrant (biadap) Catholics or Runaway Catholics, bottomline is we will always be RC and God will still find a way to lead us home - like Bernard, to become a Returning Catholic turned Romantic Catholic.... Ah....
P.S. I thought these Catholic advertisements were superb....check them out at: http://www.catholicscomehome.org/ look for Epic, Movie and Testimonials. Made me proud to be 100% RC.