Faith grows when it’s shared, so thank you for letting me share my faith journey with you.

I’m Susanah and I’m a 52-year-old cradle Catholic. On paper, I would’ve had half a century to walk with Jesus – plenty of time and opportunity to get it right. However, that wasn’t the case for me. Although I had a Catholic upbringing and education (and for the most part, Catholic friends), I was a Sunday Catholic at best – uncommitted and lax. Someone with my upbringing and environment should have had sound faith formation. However, I had an on-off relationship with God. I went to him only when I needed Him to answer my prayers. When my prayers weren’t answered, and when things got too difficult, I chose to stay far from Him. My faith was a faith of convenience – my convenience. I would not seek God, nor do His will if it would cost me pain, frustration, discomfort, unease, or if it meant new challenges and disruptions to my life. Mine was what I term a “hear me, help me, but don’t make things difficult for me” faith. And yet, ironically, I wondered why it was so difficult to feel God’s presence in my life, and why at times I felt so much desolation.

But God’s perfect plan trumps and transcends our free will, because Jesus invites every one of us when He says “Come and have breakfast” (John 21:12). It’s one of my favourite lines in Scripture. So simple, so fundamental, so welcoming, so nourishing, so filled with hopeful possibilities. If we would only take one small step towards accepting His invitation. If we would take even the tiniest action to say yes. He already has everything prepared. We just need to turn up and enjoy the feast at His table of plenty. If we would, if I would, for once, not be lazy, indifferent, fearful or even shy.

So, when I finally did say yes to His invitation to “go and have breakfast”, albeit with some trepidation, He reached out to me at CER#59 in ways I did not expect. He reached out to me as he did with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-42), as with Zacchaeus the tax collector who climbed the sycamore tree (Luke 19:1-1), but most of all, as the forgiving father to his lost younger son in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). He met me where I did not expect Him to find me, still caught up in the vicious circle of repeated sins, curious but still unsure, and even a little defeated.

Knowing the Lord loves me so much that He did not look on my sins gave me the courage to make the most honest confession of my life at CER#59. The priest, who was the face of God to me in the confessional told me that for my squandered years, there was no penance. Instead, time with Jesus in the Adoration room became the gifts of robe, ring and fatted calf from my beloved Father. Hearing this, I felt a deep, welcoming spiritual and emotional catharsis; I felt immense gratitude and peace, I was humbled and overjoyed. I felt like how the adulterous woman must have felt when Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you.” (John 8:11) And I finally came to truly appreciate the mystery of His unfathomable Divine Mercy.

Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, I’ve come to understand that God’s love transcends my sinful nature and my limiting humanness, and, at the end of the day, God just wants to be with me – to dignify me, feed me, and enable me to claim my rightful place as His beloved child. He desires that I surrender to His infinite graces, to amass wealth in His eyes, and not count the cost.

Post CER, from being not a morning person and a Sunday Catholic, I’ve been graced to love spending time with the Lord and receiving His blessings and sanctification at daily morning Mass. Don’t ask me how I am able to wake up every day before sunrise and ready myself to serve the Lord. On my own effort, it would be impossible. But with God, everything is possible. He’s also watered my previously desert-dry prayer life with a fresh and fertile desire to listen to Him and speak to Him through personal prayer every day – praying the Rosary, the Divine Mercy and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, discerning His will for me every day through practicing the Lectio Divina, praying and meditating on Holy Scripture, and being empowered by His messages, which give me clarity and direction.

And now, whenever I think I cannot do what God wants me to do, whether it’s to love someone I find hard to love, or kick a bad habit, or to serve in a capacity that I feel inadequate for, this phrase from St. Paul always comes to mind: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9). And then I happily say yes. God has told me that He does not call the ready, He readies the called.

Surrendering to God’s will is by no means easy, but it is liberating. Surrendering to God has not kept sorrow and hardship away from my life, but it certainly has helped me find joy amidst suffering, peace amidst trouble and courage in the face of fear. I’ve had a conversion of the heart not because I’m good, but because God is good. May His name always be exalted! Jesus said, “Come and have breakfast”. So, how hungry are you?