On Thursday, October 14, international student Klara '22 gave the following Church Assembly talk centered around the growth of her faith:
I grew up in a family where the Catholic faith and Church were central. We prayed often, went to Mass regularly, and received all our sacraments. Whenever someone received a sacrament, my family threw a big celebration.
I remember receiving my First Holy Communion. After the Mass, every cousin, grandparent, godparent and friend came over to celebrate. They showered me with compliments, especially about my dress. But when they started on the sacrament, I got uncomfortable. They spoke a language I couldn’t understand. Their questions confused me. They spoke of out-of-body experiences, the honor we should feel when singing hymns. I knew I received God; I understood what the sacrament meant and how it changed me. I did not think the experience was out-of-body. I did not feel God pass through me. And no, I did not feel honored to sing the hymns.
And though I enjoyed the party, part of me did not understand why there was such a flashy party. I could not see how the humble, simple and kind Jesus could be a part of this outlandish celebration.
Looking back, the way certain Catholics acted repelled me. I could not agree with their extravagant actions, their complicated words and their set-in-stone opinions. The formalities, the debates over what is right and wrong, and the comparisons to other religions made me nervous or even scared. I was always worried that I was not a “true Catholic” because I wasn’t as excited and loud and vocal about my faith as other people.
I realize, now, that my faith was just different from theirs.
Here at the Abbey, my faith has grown. Now, I’m comfortable in my faith. I love listening to Schola. I attend a Catholic school because I want to; I want to mature in my spiritual life, I want to learn and pay attention to how morals work. I find joy in attending Masses.
I find my faith being much stronger when I pray alone. I like the silence, the absence of people around me. Even though I am an extrovert, I need the absence of stimuli to focus on prayer. My prayers are not a performance, I do not have to worry about what people think about me. It is a conversation between me and God, and that relationship is unique to me. I know that I do not have to compare myself to others to feel loved by God, I stand alone before Him, and that makes me feel more confident in where I am headed or where my faith is.
As I’ve traveled between continents, I see that no matter where you are, a congregation always has its most vocal leaders, their singers and their quiet ones. No matter the language, the culture, or the age group, you can always find all parts.
So, if you don’t mind, I would like to invite you to pray the “Our Father'' with me. It was the first prayer I learned; I use it almost every single day. It is a simple prayer that almost every Christian knows, and I hope it can mean as much to you as it does for me. I will pray in Hungarian, and you can follow along in either Hungarian, English, or in your own first language.
“Miatyánk, aki a mennyekben vagy,
Szenteltessék meg a Te neved,
Jöjjön el a te országod,
Legyen meg a Te akaratod,
Amint a mennyben, úgy a földön is.
Mindennapi kenyerünket add meg nekünk ma,
És bocsásd meg vétkeinket,
Miképpen mi is megbocsátunk az ellenünk vétkezőknek,
És ne végy minket kísértésbe,
De szabadíts meg a gonosztól.”