I came to know Jesus at a very young age. In my early years, I lived with my parents at Mar Thoma Road, just down the road from the old Church of St. Michael. I remember my mother taking me to visit the church one day during one of our evening walks. As she hastily dipped my fingers into the font and ‘crossed’ me with Holy Water, the young me peeked into the church. For the first time in my life, I saw Jesus on the large cross hanging over the sanctuary. I knew, even at that young age, that He was a good man.
Years later, I became a Catholic after receiving the Sacrament of Baptism as a young adult. However, it wasn’t long before my Catholic faith took a backseat and I was drawn instead to the ways of the world. From university to my first job and well into adulthood, I had my sights set on my career, gaining independence, making my own money and enjoying what I thought were the finer things in life. My social calendar was always full as I wined and dined with like-minded friends.
With career progression and success came a higher disposable income. My wardrobe swelled with designer handbags, clothes and shoes. After all, I reasoned, I had worked hard for this success and so deserved to be ‘pampered’. I thought that filling my life with these things would make me happy and satisfy that hunger and void that I felt so deep within me. But at the end of the day, when the thrill of acquiring the latest ‘it’ bag was over, that same emptiness remained. Something was missing in my life – and I searched for it in all the wrong places.
My faith in God had dwindled to just the obligatory Eucharistic Celebration on Sundays. My prayer life was non-existent. The idea of being in a church community didn’t once cross my mind since I already had my social community. I knew – but was too proud to admit it – that the one missing spark in my life was Jesus. But after living a life so centered on the world, I was too ashamed to face Him. I had walked so far down the road and had already missed the signposts that were placed in my life to guide me back to Him. Why would He want a relationship with me, a wretched sinner, who picked the world over Him?
In 2010, I lost my mother to cancer. A year later, I was retrenched from my job. Shortly after, I suffered a fall and sustained a serious injury on my left foot. I fell into despair. Three crosses – one after another – and I wasn’t able to carry them. My so-called social friends quickly fell off the radar as I saw my old life slowly being stripped away. Other than a few true friends and my family, I was left with the only constant I knew had never changed and will never change and that was Jesus.
It was during this time that I attended a healing Eucharistic Celebration and heard the song ‘Hosea – Come Back To Me.’
‘Long have I waited for your coming home to me
And deeply living our new life’.
These words spoke to my heart and I wept. The healing and my homecoming had already begun.
In the months that followed, I would have a deep life changing encounter with Jesus at the Conversion Experience Retreat (CER). I realized that the need I had for recognition and acceptance came from a wounded childhood. My need for love and attention led me to equate my worthiness to how the world saw me. For years, I had hidden behind a mask and chased after recognition and validation in all the wrong places.
This time, I no longer needed to hide. I finally understood that nothing else matters anymore because in God’s eyes, I am His child, beautifully and wonderfully made.
My CER experience fueled my desire for a deeper relationship with Jesus but I didn’t know how to get started or even knew how to pray. Still, the right mentors and books would somehow show up at the right time. Eventually, I swapped Vogue magazine and trashy tabloids for something far more life giving – the Bible.
Then for weeks, uncannily, I would come across this scripture verse multiple times :
‘Could you not watch one hour with Me?’ (Mark 14:34).
I knew that it was time to surrender and follow that voice, so I said yes.
It has been five years since that turnaround in my faith journey and I have never looked back. Like gold that is tested in fire, the Lord has shaped me in a way I have never dreamed possible. I could never have done this on my own. It was His grace that saved and changed me.
The ‘yes’ to spend an hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament– my Holy Hour – remains the highlight of my day every single day. I pray, He listens. I listen, He speaks to me through the Word. The daily Eucharist feeds and sustains me, while the Sacrament of Reconciliation replenishes my soul and heals my brokenness.
These days, I no longer need to pursue the ways of the world, because my life is now anchored in Christ. Like the prodigal child (Luke 15:24), I am now clothed in a stronger faith and trust in Him, and celebrating each day a new life found in Jesus Christ.
Lord, it has been an amazing journey back into your Heart. Thank you for opening that path that leads me back to You and for showing me what real joy and love is. I ask only for this grace – to know You more intimately, to love You more intensely, and to follow You more closely all the days of my life. Amen.
Father, I have come home.
‘I have been crucified in Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me’.
Written by Cheryl Sim