Glenn Ho (far left) with some members of the Catholic Students’ Apostolate at their annual retreat in 2018.
Photo: Glenn Ho
Salt of the Earth
Having left the Church for two years, Glenn Ho felt a surprising stirring in his heart to re-ignite his relationship with Jesus when he joined the Catholic Students’ Apostolate (CSA) in Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Growing up in a Protestant church in my teenage years, I grappled a lot with some of its beliefs and largely struggled to fit in with the people and culture. By the grace of God, I was led back to the faith by a close friend. I joined the Rite of Christian Initiation of Youth (RCIY) programme and was baptised as a Catholic in 2012.
However, the journey since then has not been as smooth sailing as I had imagined. After baptism, I lost my faith again. Thankfully, God rescued me once more through various faithful Catholics and led me to where I am today.
In 2018, after coming back from an overseas university exchange programme, a friend asked me to join him for a retreat organised by NTU’s Catholic Student Apostolate (CSA). One of the senior retreat leaders introduced himself to me and asked: “So Glenn, how has your faith been?”
I was taken by surprise. I had not expected such a direct question, especially from someone whom I had just met for the first time. Honestly, I had no answer. In retrospect, this was the question that was a wake-up call from God that got me questioning many things in my life.
Not knowing how to respond, I simply said, “I just can’t seem to hear God.” He then sought to find out why I could not hear Him: “Are you actively seeking a relationship with God? Do you pray regularly? How often do you sin?”
At that point, I was amazed by his sincerity and directness. It was something I never expected from the Catholic Church and had never experienced in my Protestant faith. I guess that was my “God encounter” in a sense. It came through someone who could point out my weaknesses in a non-judgemental way so that my eyes could be opened to see the truth of God.
From that experience, I knew that I wanted to discover more about the faith, and the more I journeyed, the more I fell in love with the faith, which eventually led to my baptism.
Thriving in Faith
Having been baptised into the Catholic faith for almost eight years now, I am truly appreciative of our Church’s rich and immense history and tradition. What I take pride most about being Catholic is that, despite having undergone so many scandals, we remain as the One Universal Church that Jesus Christ Himself founded.
I am eternally grateful for the graces I have received since my baptism. In the midst of these eight years, even after coming to know the Lord, I went through a dark season in life and suffered from depression. Many times, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was immensely difficult, so much so that I thought of leaving the Church at one point. Yet God was merciful and gracious to me, loving me unconditionally and working patiently through one of my closest friends to bring me out of my depression.
Today, I still struggle to follow what Jesus taught: to be the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). It is a challenge to not conform to the lies of the world, something I have particularly experienced in my workplace.
There is a temptation to embrace this “herd mentality” and to follow whatever most of the world says is okay. However, as a Catholic, I do not think I should think this way; instead, I should strive to live in a radical way against the norm.
In my life, I recognise that living this way will be a constant battle. Thus, I am reminded of the need for prayer in my daily life, to regularly ask for the strength and courage to be different, and to do all things for His greater glory.
Supporting the Mission
Doing things for His glory means giving of ourselves in service of His Church, in whatever way possible. As part of the laity who makes up most of the Catholic population, I believe that it is important to give back and support the Church. Just as I was brought to the faith by people who journeyed with me, God has called me to bring the faith to others. I do this through being an RCIA sponsor and also bringing people to and journeying with them in my faith community. I believe that we lay people need to recognise the importance of supporting the Church for her to become more alive in Christ.
The mission of the Church to pass on the faith is of utmost importance, which is why I believe that this mission needs to be funded. More importantly, I believe that the Church needs people who desire to spread the Good News. For me, that is part of giving back, to share with others this grace that I have received. After all, if the Lord has blessed me, why would I not want to pass it on to someone else?