I toyed with the idea of becoming a Catholic writer two months back. Long story short, I was miraculously healed from a debilitating illness. Prior to my illness, I was a Sunday Catholic who received the sacraments but did not allow God into every area of my life. I led a sheltered and healthy life and never knew hardship or pain.
The illness and its protracted healing process took a toll on me physically and psychologically. At its worst, the pain reverberated throughout my body and I was reliant on narcotics and antibiotics to feel marginally better. I went without showers, suffered sleepless nights and worst of all; feared that I would never be able to walk upright again. I cried aloud to my husband many a time, lamenting that I simply could not muster the strength to go on…
In desperation, I turned to God in prayer and sought Our Lady’s intercession. The saving grace was that this suffering led to a spiritual awakening. Meditating on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary gave me strength to carry my cross. Christ sweat blood was scourged, stripped, crowned with thorns, had a reed pierced through His hand, carried His heavy cross alone while bleeding to death, and was finally crucified. He suffered all this pain and humiliation, out of love for you and for me.
As a cradle Catholic, I managed to keep up appearances and many were fooled into thinking that I was a good and holy Church-going girl. In prayer, however, I came undone before my Lord and my God. I realized the folly of my ways and vowed to live life in a fully life-giving way should I ever regain a clean bill of health!
Something stirred in me as I prayed about a decision that I had to make. After much indecision, I finally found the courage to let go of something which had not been life-giving for the past 5.5 years. An endeavor that I had doggedly pursued despite all the signs screaming in my face that it had overstayed its welcome. Recurring sickness. Depressive spells. And yet I held on, despite my loved ones persuading me to give it up. It almost cost me a relationship with a loved one. Pride reared its ugly head, fueled by raw wounds and egged on by the devil. The longer I convinced myself to hang on because of the fear of failure, the harder it was to part ways from it. After all; I had invested blood, sweat, and tears into it. After some crying spells and a heartfelt discussion with my husband, I knew that it was time.
And so I closed one chapter of my life. But what next?
I prayed with greater intensity and one night, God spoke to me through the luminous mystery of the Rosary. I have led a sinful life yet somehow, I am always gently guided back to God’s loving arms. I once committed a sin that I was so deeply ashamed of. I was sitting alone with a tear-streaked face when a complete stranger approached me to pray the rosary with me!
God has undoubtedly been loving and merciful to me. I was consumed with gratitude and had a burning desire to proclaim the Kingdom: to ‘preach as you go, saying, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand… you received without pay, give without pay’ (Matthew 10:7–8). And just like that, I received my answer. I loved God and I loved writing, so it made sense to marry the two and become, a Catholic writer :).
My discernment process since then has been a mixed bag of consolations and desolation. My days are spent caring for my newborn while my nights are spent in prayer and reflection. For research, I read voraciously and journal furiously. There are moments of inspiration and enthusiasm, and yet at other times, fear and self-doubt creep in. I pray for the courage to choose Love and to give myself another chance, to begin again. 🙂
‘When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’
(1 Corinthians 13:11–13)