I come from a traditional Taiwanese family. My grandparents believed in folklore religion. They were very pious, worshiping daily for various deities, including gods, spirits, ancestors, etc. – all who might possess powers.
Grandpa and Grandma could not correctly name their religion, however. Like any other person, they thought it was Buddhism, but it was not — I figured it was a mix of Buddhism and Taoism. The whole extended families worshipped with them on the most important days of the year.
I, too, worshipped along. I admired my grandparents’ devoutness. Nevertheless, something in my mind demanded an answer — Who was the highest or the most powerful deity among the many?
I began my quest in year 1999. I dived into Taoism and though I found the god – Actually, gods, I found three, and again, not a single highest or the most powerful one. I converted to Taoism behind my then-fiancée’s back, who is a born Catholic, and this almost cost my future marriage.
I devoted myself in Taoism for two years and told my wife not to interfere in my religious life, and I would not interfere in hers. For some particular reason, after the fervent phase, I concluded it was not what I was looking for but lingered for three more years.
I remember clearly that night in 2004. I was sleeping in the room and having a movie-like dream: I was walking in the desert with my wife and her siblings. Scorched and exhausted, we found a cave and went in for a rest. That was a deep cave with tunnels leading further down. My wife and her siblings settled in the exterior space while I decided to explore the cave.
I felt my way in one of the tunnels in the dark and before long reached the end. Strangely, I was able to see and saw a picture on the wall. It was a man’s profile portrait. I looked at him, and, all of a sudden, he turned his head to face me. Now I could see there was light coming from his back. I was more than awestruck. I asked (I either voiced it, or I only thought of the question in my head), “Are you the one who I think you are?” — These words were put into my mouth (or my thought); I could not have possibly scripted the line beforehand. — He answered, “Yes, I AM the one who you think I am.” I knew immediately He was Jesus, the Lord. I said, “I am Your disciple now.” He then handed me a sword, and I accepted it.
Taking the sword along with me, I felt my way out of the tunnel to the outer space where my wife and her siblings were resting. I announced to them, “I am a Christian now.”
Then I woke up in real life. I told my wife about the dream and announced (again), “I am a Christian.” My wife was in disbelief and testingly asked, “Did you watch too much TV?” She was asking very carefully and having her fingers crossed. I was more than certain and affirmed her. She in turn made a phone call the next day to her pastor who was a Franciscan friar.
Father Germano Cozzolino was knowledgeable in the Bible and in Catholicism, contemplative, humble, obedient, and kind. He was the best catechist a catechumen could ever have; he was himself a great model for me. Moreover, he gave me one-on-one weekly lessons before and after my baptism (my wife tagged along in these lessons).
I was baptized on Easter vigil in 2005 with our four year-old daughter (I had insisted that she should make her own decision when she grew up). My baptismal name is Paolo-Pasquale — Paolo because I had been a strong opposer and Jesus gave me a sword, and Pasquale because I passed over my old self and baptized on Easter vigil.
I am a reborn person being a Catholic. Looking back, I feel so blessed. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).” Now I have found whom I had been looking for, and He has always answered me.
San Jose, California
The above is an honorable mention winner in the California Catholic Daily writing contest, Late have I loved Thee.
The remaining winners will be published Thurs. – Fri. this week.
Bible Club president bought a Catechism of the Catholic Church
Cardinal Ratzinger described the philosophical world of my childhood
Kicked out of Servite for drugs
A remarkable story. This story ought to be published in a religious magazine. It could also be made into an inspiring religious film. Very inspirational.
These St. Christopher types of stories do happen in real life as similar things have happened in mine and others I know. That is why I believe there really was a St. Christopher way back in early Christianity. People on the search for the True God and the True religion eventually find Him.
By the way, there is a Buddhist saying that I find true too. It is this: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have found that very true in my life also.
Thank you for sharing your profound story. Praise to Jesus Christ.