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Humility and Repentance

Last January 31, our subdivision held its second-ever Chess Exhibition with Asia’s first-ever Grand Master, Eugene Torre.  I got checkmated out of the game after only a short while, but since it’s not everyday that you get to play against a Grand Master, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.  The first time we had this was five years ago.  I don’t know when the next Chess Exhibition will be held, but I’ll definitely be playing again.
 
I must admit…  I felt defeated.  I guess after playing against the computer on my Fujitsu UMPC for 14 months, on Chess Titan’s lowest settings, I’ve built-up some, suffice it to say, misplaced pride in my great ability to play the game, having won more than 2,000 out of just over 3,000 games.  I was expecting to lose against the Grand Master anyway.  Still, the experience brought a substantial amount of humility back to my senses.
 
In another story, that same night someone called during dinner asking if she could read and talk about some Bible passages.  My dad was the one who got the phone; he said we were having dinner and hung up.  Very few people want to publicly talk about Jesus these days, for whatever reason.  On that note, I admire this lady for her courage in trying to reach out and touch other people’s lives through God.  However the thing that bothers me is that these same people usually (from experience anyway, this was not the first time for me to encounter them) think that by doing so they are saving people – the implication here is that the other party is not a believer and thus needs to be saved.  I can’t help but feel that this line of thinking is just too presumptuous. 
 
There is truth in that salvation only comes from Jesus Christ.  However what’s also true is that salvation comes from Christ’s church – the Holy Catholic Church.  I know of some Evangelicals that have gone so far as to say that being a member of the Catholic Church doesn’t make one saved.  With all due respect, there are many who are not like that.  But there are also many who think that being a Catholic is a problem that needs to be solved – that people who are members need to be saved from the Church.
 
I’m a believer.  I’m also a practicing Catholic.  The practice of my religion, and not the particular Christianity not in communion with the Holy See, is truly blessed because it is richer than all the denominations combined.  Just look at the Eucharist: How many can say that they literally – as in literally, not simply just symbolically – have the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in their services?  And, what we have is also literally a celebration of the Paschal Mystery and not just some “service.”  On another note, it is too presumptuous to say that just because I’m already a believer, I’m already saved.  The Lord Himself said that many people will claim to know Him but we will not be saved, because they are not truly doing His will. 
 
This brings me to my point now: Repentance is a lifelong journey.  We will continue to need to come back to God every moment of our lives until the very last minute of our life.  We were saved at the moment of our Baptism, and we are in the process of being saved throughout our lives until the very last moment.  It’s this way because for as long as we’re alive we will continue to be sinners in need of God’s mercy and compassion.  What better place to be than in the Catholic Church where all the riches of His Kingdom are found in His sacraments, and in particular the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.  I’m not leaving the Catholic faith to join a Christian denomination that doesn’t have what the Catholic Church has.  I have a rich heritage that I’m not giving up.  Besides, it was Jesus Christ Himself who founded the Catholic Church.  All others were founded by men.
 
I instead invite all people of faith and good will to join the Catholic Church and have a share in Her treasures.
 
Losing the chess game to a Grand Master has reminded me that ultimately in the eyes of God, the Ultimate Grand Master of the Universe, I am nothing.  I have literally nothing to be proud of, nothing to truly call my own achievement, because all that I have, and all that I have achieved throughout my life, comes as an undeserved gift from Him out of His love for me.  This is a reminder to me to be humble, for at the end of the day I am still a sinner in need of God’s love and mercy.
 
May we all continually find our way back to Him throughout our lives, and to always trust in His infinite mercy no matter how insurmountable the obstacles may seem.  He will always be there for us, waiting for us to come home to Him.
 
 
Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in You!
 
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