In December of 2015, I began to attend RCIA at the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Taishan. Before, I had never really taken steps to deepen my knowledge of God. I come from a family that practices the traditional religion of Taiwan and when I was little, I thought of Jesus and of God as foreign gods. Even though I had gone to a Catholic school, called “Celso Constantini,” through middle school, I had never had any interest in Catholicism, and I wasn’t interested in going deeper into its vision of things. But then, exactly on account of our traditional religion, certain contrasts began within my family that caused me to suffer greatly. It was the first time that I thought of getting closer to Jesus. I remember one time, passing through the campus of the school, absorbed in my thoughts about the situation at home, I raised my head and saw written on a plaque: You who are weary and oppressed, come to me and I will give you rest. I was moved and filled with emotion and for a moment I thought about becoming Christian. But I didn’t have enough courage to truly follow this intuition.
After this, my life became extremely hollow. I thought that I could rely on myself and only on myself, certain that no one, whether it be another person or a god, would be able to help me. I didn’t have any faith: I had abandoned our traditional beliefs and it didn’t cross my mind to pray to Buddha or to any of the other gods to ask for help. With regards to both school and to everyday life, I was trying to carry all of the weight of my difficulties by myself.
Naturally, in this period, I had had occasion to come into contact with the Christian faith, thanks to my classmates or to the missionaries that showed up often exactly in the moment when I had most need of help. There were even a few moments in which I would have wanted to get closer to the Catholics or to the Protestants, but I was never able to make a decision, to take the first step.
At the end of 2015, I finished my Masters degree, but I was confused about the future. One day, on the way to a job interview, I began to pray to God; I said that if He helped me with the interview, then I would find the courage to go to discover more about Christ. Shortly after, I was hired for the job that I have to this day. At that point, I began to search for a church where I could have informed myself about the “procedures” for becoming Christian. Even though there are many different confessions, I chose the one that was the most familiar for me: the Catholic Church. Searching on the internet, on the list of the different parishes, I found the church of St. Francis Xavier. The information included the fact that the pastor was a foreigner. And so I decided to go to Mass there the following Sunday.
Entering the church, I was a bit confused. But the professor, Wang Zhen Xin, saw that I was not one of the regular faithful: she approached me and helped me to participate, with precision, in the Mass of that day. Then she introduced me to the pastor, An Shen Fu, Fr. Emanuele Angiola. After this, I began catechism. Following the course and listening regularly to the word of the Gospel during the Sunday Mass, I started to come closer to God and to the story of Jesus Christ.
I have many vivid memories of those days. The most profound was provoked by a verse of Genesis where it is written that the angry God, after having provoked the flood that destroyed the entirety of the earth, repented and even established a covenant with man, promising that he would have never done something similar again. According to our traditional images, the gods are severe with those who mess up and they consider it natural to punish them. In this case, however, it was God who was remorseful. For the first time I experienced the fact that God is different than how I had imagined the other divinities: He was truly merciful. After this, I discovered in the Gospel of how, episode after episode, Jesus went searching for sinners and would come near to them, hoping for their conversion and forgiving their sins. Up to the point that, in order to free men of their sins, He was nailed to the cross. This truly struck me. I had never thought of myself as a perfect person and, even when I did not yet have any concept of “sin”, I would often realize that I was doing bad things. But Jesus, the Son of God, did not hesitate to become flesh, to load upon himself so great a suffering in order to save a sinner like me: this moved me immensely as well. After this, I began to look at things in a different way and I began to search for the signs of God in my daily life in order to discover that the difficulties, in the end, are resolved with simplicity. In the past, whenever I would overcome a difficult moment in my life, I would think that it was the merit of fortune; now I see the signs that God gives me in his unceasing accompaniment. Every time that I think of this, my heart is filled with warmth and with emotion, with a sentiment of peace that before I had never known.
I thank God for not abandoning me when I – more than once – refused the hand that He offered me. He was always looking for me. For this reason, I desired to take up my cross and to follow Jesus. Even if I am still a poor sinner, I desire to devote myself to becoming a Christian who gives his response to a merciful God.