Pavithra, a Brahmin Hindu who is converting to Catholicism: “Without Christ we are nothing ”

"Naturally drawn towards Christianity" following a spiritual journey that has culminated in the decision to " follow Christ because without him we are nothing".

Apr 02, 2014

MUMBAI: "Naturally drawn towards Christianity" following a spiritual journey that has culminated in the decision to " follow Christ because without him we are nothing". These are the words of Pavithra Subramaniyan Iyer, 25, as she describes for AsiaNews how she matured her decision to convert to Catholicism. Born into an educated and influential Hindu family of Brahmin caste, the girl is an only child and works as an accountant. Her father was a banker and her mother a university professor in economics. Below we publish Pavithra's story.

I would have never imagined how events would change me over the course of one year, since I told my parents that I would like to embrace the Catholic Faith. There were no objections, and both my parents will be present and share my joy at my Baptism at Easter Vigil .

At that time, I was also on a sort of personal spiritual quest and had read about different forms of spiritual experiences including those of the Christian faith. I understood God to be a sort of father figure. I did not know that Jesus Christ was His son, miraculously conceived and born from a virgin. But I knew that Jesus rose from the dead after he had been crucified.

My Mother was educated in a convent school and believed in Jesus Christ, and knew all about his life and ministry. She would take me to church and to the novena service of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, Mahim, and I got this habit of going to church from my mother as she had a belief in Jesus Christ. Almost every year, we used to celebrate the Lord's Birthday- where I received gifts and new clothes and we had a festive lunch at home and at Easter, our home was filled with colourful Easter eggs. There was a sense of peace that I used to feel when I entered the Church.

I had no idea that there was a plan that he had made for me. There was a image that he had already created of me in Him. He sent me angels to take care of me and guide me on a path. All things fell into place automatically and I was drawn towards the Lord.

I met this Christian boy who became my best friend and now fiance, who supported me in every walk of life may it be sad or happy. He was and is my support-system. Eventually we decided to take our relationship a step further than friendship. My fiance's Mom explained to me the importance of Christ in their lives. 'Without him we are nothing. Everything that we have achieved is through him and the reason we are living is him.' Her faith is really strong which lead me to follow her faith.

I took a decision to follow him. In no time I approached the Diocesan Pastoral Centre and met 'Father Terrence'. He gave me some time to think about my decision and explained the consequences of my decision. I somehow thought this would do me good, something from within me made me take this decision although I did face some sort of turmoil just as Moses or Jonah did.

Gods works are so marvellous. He handed me over to a set of Angels - my animators - 'Zita, Fatima , Patricia and Rose' who nurtured me along with the other candidates. They imbibed the seed of faith in me which I will carry forward throughout my life and even after that. They are teaching me about the Lord in such a way that I yearn to learn more and more about him.

I wasn't really aware what type of class it would be, what they are going to teach and so on. I had too many questions in my head. I still remember it was raining heavily the first day I entered and found some more of them like me wanting to enter the faith. Honestly, they made me feel so comfortable. We have discussions, question and answer sessions, we pray together. Now that we are reaching towards the end of my classes I am feeling so hurt; I wish it was a class which never ended. I enjoy learning about the lord with my animators and other classmates. I can't imagine not going to my classes every Thursday. It has become a part of my life.

From the beginning until my first retreat, I came to know Jesus as 'God' first then 'Son of God' ,' A Messiah' to being 'A Saviour of the world', who died for us in order to free us from sins. Such a huge sacrifice for such sinful people like us who think mostly of worldly pleasures. I realized that whatever the situation be in life we must face it and move forward. We must take up our own cross then God will automatically be with us.

Now let me introduce you to my sponsor and Godparent 'Auxelia and Tony Gonsalves' I am very lucky that the Lord has given me such loving, caring sponsor and Godparent who have stood by me throughout this new journey of my life. They introduced me to my parish, they sit with me and pray, explain to me my doubts. They helped me to build a connection with Jesus and make him my friend who is always available to listen and understand.

Whether other people have the time or not, He is there to guide, protect, be with you always, at every moment. Through this journey from knowing Jesus to having my Rite of Acceptance in my Parish and my Rite of Election - my life changed - I started reading the bible, attending mass, learning prayers, reading about the faith. Most importantly the effects -I started inculcating 'the Beatitudes' in my life ; I started seeing Christ in other people, it has changed the way I look at life, I am aware that my behavior has an effect and that I should not forget that I am embracing Christ and his teachings. I have to set an example for others by the way how I conduct myself. I passed my CA exams, got a job in 15 days of getting the degree and regained back my self-confidence which seemed lost.

When My Rite of Acceptance and Election was conducted I felt that I am very lucky to come into faith at this point as I feel privileged that the Parish Priests, relatives, parents, parishioners all are a part of my journey. Special Intercessory prayers were said for me. I was welcomed into the community with such warmth. Not only that I felt privileged to get Bishop's blessing. The Mass that was celebrated on that day can never be forgotten.

Now I have just gone through my first scrutiny - Yes I am proudly saying that I am God's Chosen One (there is a purpose for which he has chosen me)to whom he is giving the living water.

I am proceeding towards the day when I will be initiated into the faith, will receive the holy spirit which will guide and protect me throughout life and most importantly eagerly awaiting to receive the body and blood of Christ; the day when Christ will start living in me (as expressed by Paul) and through this strength I can spread this good news to the world.--AsiaNews

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