I consider it a privilege to be able to share my journey to Catholicism or as Scott Hahn would have it, my road to Rome.
I was born into a staunch Hindu family, going to temples every Friday and on other special occasions. In my younger days, going to temple was just going to a playfield and also a place to get “delicacies”. In my earlier days, however, i developed a potentially dangerous habit of lying and stealing. This grew into a full-blown uncontrollable habit when i was just 12! It was only until i realized how much pain and hurt I brought to my mum, that I started feeling bad about it and so I turned to religion, hoping to change.
I started taking religious knowledge classes, studying Hinduism into depth, reading easier versions of the Bagavath Gita and also stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana. The more I studied into Hinduism and its origins and history, the more I realized that Hinduism had changed so greatly from its origins.
Today’s Hinduism is nothing like what it was. Hinduism was monotheistic! My mum who was quite well-versed in Hindu studies confirmed this new-found knowledge with me. Dejected, I started looking at Buddhism. I joined this temple and became a member, after going through a brief initiation rite. We had lessons twice a month and were given lots of reference material. However, Buddhism couldn’t really help as Buddha was not God or could not explain my existence fully.
There had to be a God out there who created me. Who was He?
All this while i was more of anti-Christian mainly for 2 reasons. (1) I hated it when they preached “as if only they knew what was right” and when they attempted to disprove other religion through “their bible” (2) My family was quite against Christianity also. Somewhere along this time an elder brother of mine became a Christian with City Harvest Church. I was nevertheless more disgruntled with Christians, having “deluded my brother”. It was good timing that I received my first bible, a Giddeons Bible that they were giving freely at my MRT station. I started reading the Bible everyday, simply to prove to my Christian friends ((most of whom have not read the bible cover to cover)) that Christianity and the bible was so contradictory.
At this time i started to become kind of an atheist. Most of my religious friends started abandoning their religions and listening to my new scientific theory on the origins of life. This was while i was in Secondary 3!! Somehow, a neighbour introduced me to his “master”, a master of an illegal (I’m pretty sure of that)) Taoist cult. They had me believe that I was among the highest few levels of spiritual being types!??? I was supposed to be some angel of light!!?? Well I was young and naive…. I grew tired of this nonsense after some time and just led my life an atheist.
In mid-97, i happened to be around when my best friend in SRJC started to preach to this other friend of mine. ((He had already tried and failed on me…)) Suddenly in an instance, something overcame me, and all that I had been reading from the Gideons bible cover to cover, suddenly fell into place and started making sense. Words fail me when I try to describe the feeling. It was like suddenly waking up from a coma.. It was like elementary maths…. It just made sense that the God of the Bible had to be true. From that day, i became a Christian at an Assembly of God church. I was also very active in cell groups and was a cell leader with Singapore Youth for Christ for a while.
Christian life tagged along with many other problems. I must thank God that i had finally managed to discard my perpetual stealing and lying. How it was done, I can only say that Jesus did more…. However, there were many other temptation problems (( being Christian and knowing that what you were doing was something God did not like was a whole lot more depressing)) I had some major problems in my church and so I shifted to a Baptist church.
Surprisingly, my mum and my other siblings who were so against my becoming Christian but somehow, through their own walks became Christian. Till today, i still am amazed at how they became Christians judging from how sad they were at my confession that I was Christian. Now my dad is the only non-Christian in the house.
By now, I had come out of the army, and enrolled into Computer Engineering in NTU ((where i am currently enrolled)). I started my NTU life with NTU Campus Crusade for Christ (NTUCCC) where i spent almost all my effort and time in. I was due to become the next student leader for NTUCCC. Around this time, however my taste for Church History and Church Doctrine became so strong that i spent hours into Biblical Study and consulted many theologians which NTUCCC could put me through. I chanced upon Summan Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas. Even that was not enough. I started looking into Dead Sea Scrolls, reading the Bible through and through with commentaries such as the Wycliff’s commentaries.
I was at this point quite saddened by the disharmony between all the denominations of the Protestant Churches. The Bible-Presbyterian were so outright against the Pentecostals and the Charismatic, to the extent of calling them Devil Inspired. At this time, I also got acquainted with 2 Mormon elders and spent a few months studying and debating their faith with them. There were also some 7th-day Adventist leaders that I got acquainted with. Debating with them, helped me study the bible more earnestly. I think my school work suffered… ;)
At the beginning of November 2001, I decided to write my on discourses on topics in the bible. I decided that one day i would study all the denominational doctrines and attempt to unite the churches together. I started my first discourse on “Fire”. Why Fire? Because it occurred so many times in the Bible. God always showed himself as Fire.
Slowly I “discovered a new theory” on what happens after we die. I “discovered” how God has prepared a cleansing process for us. I called this the cleansing process and started telling those people around me who accepted the theory quite happily. I told this to a Catholic friend of mine.
His answer shocked me. The Catholic Church had known this for close to 2000 years. They called it purgatory!! This couldn’t be….
I started to steal visits to Catholic Masses. They weren’t sacrilegious as most protestants would have it. I started checking up other “anti-Catholic” issues with nothing more that my concordance, bible dictionary, bible encyclopedia and my bible. Slowly, issue by issue, ((infant baptism, priests, the Pope, traditions, Mary, Saints)) all cleared up. It was all biblical.
At this point of time I decided that the Catholics were correct. But what difference would it make. I was Christian and that’s all mattered. I decided that I did not need to be a Catholic. I was still going to unify the churches one day… Such wishful thinking.. ;)
I started to accompany my friend to his Catholic Church very often. I joined the NTUCSA. I went to St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary on Fridays and on Saturdays. Okay, the Catholics could worship like us Charismatic Christians too… Plus point to Catholic Church in my heart. I was still not going to become a Catholic. What would i tell my Campus Crusade friends who were already getting a bit uncomfortable with my support for the Catholic Church.
One day, at a mass in SFX, i suddenly grew very hungry for the Eucharist. I knew i had to get it. I finally understood the Eucharist. Never before had I longed for Christ so intimately before. My Catholic friend ((now my godparent)) fell off his chair when I told him that I wanted to be baptised a Catholic as I wanted the Eucharist badly.
I then talked to Father Clifford at St Mary’s. It was his usual custom to cross-examine and try to put obstacles in my way. But i made it clear to him that I wanted to Eucharist so bad I could not wait. It was already December and RCIA had gone on for half a year… and I had not attended a single lesson.. At long last, he relented and I cannot explain once again the joy that flooded my heart. I was going to partake the Lord’s Supper as He initiated it.
I told my NTUCCC people who immediately grew “concerned about my decision” They took me to see their best theologians to persuade me out of my decision. But none could argue the points put forward. Father Clifford had given me his own copy of Catechism which helped me greatly. I had also managed to procure a copy of Vatican II. My girlfriend is a Methodist and threatened to break up with me if I got baptised. I did not relent, and we are still very much together now even after my baptism. She got her church elders to talk to me. I was deeply grieved at how little knowledge they had on Catholicism and how much bias had overcome reason. Of even the most educated theologians in Protestantism, not one had a correct idea of Catholicism. Why, they did not even know what Martin Luther’s cause was!
I was put out of my leadership roles in NTUCCC, even discipling which I wanted to do very much. Some of the people in NTUCCC started to have nothing to do with me. Sad, but true. Some of my Christian friends were starting to pray that I do not lose my salvation and ever so often a debate here and there. Thank God, my mum and siblings overcame their initial shock and gave their blessings for my baptism.
Well, NTUCSA was there for me… welcoming me, a brother into their arms. I got baptised this Easter at St Mary of the Angels. And finally, I have had my communion with God and his Church. I can only look back and see how God has blessed me with His own truth. It was true when Paul said that, if a man desired to know the truth, God would send His angel to even the remotest places.
Source: Accessed on 25.01.10, from the Link:http://www.burningbush.sg/testimony/testimony_kumar.htm