One cold rainy night, the stillness of a peaceful home was unexpectedly shattered by a loud bang in the door that was kicked open by a very drunk man. Reek with alcohol, he went in and started to harass his wife and two sons who could do nothing except to stare at him in fear. Deep inside them they wordlessly asked – “Why are you doing this to us?”
I use to be like that until I was persuaded to join a religious seminar by a friend 13 years ago. It was called Christian Life Program (CLP), a series of lectures initiated by the Couples for Christ Community to help couples become closer to God. After three months of teaching we become members and from it our lives took a different course. We are transformed.
But it did not happen immediately. It was a gradual process that I experienced within the limits of a totally different culture that is difficult to embrace at first. I have to adopt their practices that require us to be present during weekly household meetings, to attend regularly their teachings, to obey the leadership and care of those tasked to shepherd us and to adhere to the spirit of brotherhood which foster closeness among the members. But progressively I overcome them by doing the following steps that leads to my transformation:
1. Desire to change. Most of those who are successful in attaining renewal have this in them. They seriously crave and yearn to become new individuals. They want to paint a different color into their life and this motivates them to labor willingly despite the obstacles.
Several weeks following the CLP, after a deep reflection this situation took place in my life. I realized my mistakes and decided to correct them. At that instant I long to rebuild my shattered image as a father and a husband. This aspiration becomes the driving force that pushed me to struggle, to move forward in order to become a new person. With this desire I grow keen to do anything for the price of becoming a better family man.
2. Praying persistently. I am a frequent user of this stuff since I am convinced that God’s promises will always come to pass. When Christ said: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you,” I can attest to that for I am a recipient of so many wonderful blessings. Nothing compares to the reliability of God’s love as well as the steadfastness of His mercy.
3. Serving in God’s vineyard. In Couples for Christ there are several ways a member can help. He can assist in evangelizing, he can become a praying warrior or he may opt to join the music ministry. He could also serve as shepherd to assist new couples attain spiritual maturity or might work for the poor through our Gawad Kalinga ministry.
There are several options but unless a person is truly renewed he cannot do it well. For how can somebody become a good shepherd when he himself has vices? How can he sing songs to God when from his lips vile words come out? How will he pray when he himself don’t attend mass and do not have a regular prayer time? How can someone work with the poor when he cannot leave his comfort zone? A servant must cleanse himself first before going out to serve in God’s Kingdom.
God works in various ways and the three I have just mentioned was His special style of reforming me. It gives me the freedom from my dark past and had kept my family intact. It makes our home peaceful again, as well as warm even in cold rainy nights.