Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
During one of my morning Holy Hour with the Lord, I was presented with an image of myself curled up in the huge, comforting hands of God. He cupped me so tenderly in His hands as if to protect me from danger, and keep me safe from harm, allowing me to seek refuge in His loving hands, and be unconcerned with the storms of the world outside, at least even if for just that time of adoration with Him.
Then the image progressed where I saw myself turning into a cocoon, all wrapped up in silk, still cupped in my Father's hands. As I struggled to free myself from the silky threads, it reminded me of the unwanted struggles I faced in life, along with the frustrations, resentment, and anger that brewed within me when I felt as if I was trapped and unable to free myself from the undesired circumstances that bound me together. What I never realised till I saw this image, was that all this time while I was struggling, I was still cupped in the safe hands of God. Even while I was struggling through life and felt as if God was so far away, I was actually still in His hands, where He continues to watch over me, protect me from unnecessary danger, and only allow that level of struggle that was sufficient enough to help me grow in strength, patience, and perseverance.
As I learnt from the famous story of a man trying to cut open the cocoon in order to 'make things easier' for the butterfly to come out, the restricting cocoon and the struggle to get out of the cocoon was a way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved. Without the struggle, though the butterfly may emerge from its cocoon more easily, it would be left with a swollen body and shrivelled wings.
Back to my image, when I finally saw myself struggling out of the cocoon, and emerging with big, strong, colourful and beautiful wings, I saw God the Father, still cupping me in His hands, with a great, big and proud smile on His face. And He told me, I have created you, with the intention of giving you big and beautiful wings. And it is because you struggled, yet never gave up, that you now receive this pair of wings. It is yours. Be proud of it. Claim it. Embrace it. And now fly free into the world and let the world see my beauty through you and your pair of wings. Never doubt your true potential. Never fear what I have given you. For no butterfly can ever hide the beauty in their wings. They were meant to bring joy to the world just by simply flying freely in the world. And so were you meant to live freely and bring my joy to the world.
May you too recognise the Father's hands cradling you during your times of struggle, preparing you for the butterfly wings He intends to give you. And when you recognise the beautiful wings He has given you, don't be afraid of them. Claim them. Embrace them. And be proud of them, believing in its great potential for God to do great things through them. And fly free. Spread your wings and fly. So that with each of us spreading our own unique, God-given wings, we may collectively let the world be overwhelmed by the love of our Father through our butterfly wings.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Righteousness and Peace have embraced.
(An alternative translation substitutes “Faithfulness” with “Truth”. I have adopted it to be more apt for my sharing.)
This phrase in the psalmist’s romantic writing presents a necessary and sound amalgamation of the two major faculties of a human person: the Head and the Heart. Many theologians term the head as the Intellect and the heart as the Will in most of their works.
There is an important parellism in God’s creation. Everything comes in pairs to complement each other, eventually resulting in completion or fullness. In the Old Testament, we see the pillar of cloud in the day and the pillar of fire at night signifying the presence of God throughout the whole 24 hours. Another ideal example to expound this value of parallelism is our respiratory system. It is complete because we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. They are two extremes possessing two different substantial natures yet they always remain complementing each other. Amongst all these, man and woman are viewed as two great extremes complementing each other which is vividly manifested in the Sacrament of the church - Holy Matrimony.
As when a man meets his “significant other”, he can’t but express his love in gestures which could involve hugs and kisses. Likewise, the meeting of Mercy and Faithfulness certainly results in Righteousness (justice) and Peace. One whose merciful heart, that has been integrated with the Truth will never but live justly and righteously. The man, who has been recently elevated to blessedness, late Pope John Paul II has advocated this virtue by his own life on earth. Incontrovertibly, he was a man with a heart of gold; merciful and compassionate particularly towards woman and youth. The inauguration of the World Youth Day and promotion of moral values in emancipating woman in the society precisely by canonizing many female saints during his papacy communicate the depth of his passion for these groups. Nevertheless, he was not driven by mere emotions until he had to close an eye to the increasing contemporary evil. Many extreme feminists fought for equal rights between man and woman which effectuated in promoting pro-choice, abortion and contraception. On another extreme, the newer generation emerged in neo-philosophical tenets to view life differently from the traditional viewpoint. Pre-marital sex, atheism and agnosticism, substance abuses were all perceived as compulsory aspects of human formation process. He, John Paul II, never condoned but attacked it with the Truth the church teaches, the Truth in his head. Being a philosopher himself, he preached the gospel of Human Life and its dignity loud and clear. In no way has he ever promoted evil that sometimes arise from nowhere but within our pseudo-feelings. His heroic life on earth was the product of harmony between being a man of feelings and a man of knowledge which has now led him to a greater life in the other world. It goes without saying, that he was the image of Righteousness and Peace for whomsoever had encountered him.
Let us pray that we too will never fail to thirst for the knowledge of Him in our lives while our hearts are forever drawn to those who are merciful and in special need of mercy. May we always treasure and appreciate the two faculties in us that distinguish us from all other creation and never cease to praise Him for sharing His life with us. Alleluia!!!!
Stay tuned for the next post by Br Nicholas Lye on 5th May 2011.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Yours is the day and yours the night,
you caused sun and light to exist,
you fixed all the boundaries of the earth,
you created summer and winter.
Do I know this?
Do I truly know who the boss in my life is?
Do I ask and rely on God in my daily living?
In the face of the contradiction between the ways of the world and Gospel values, have I lost heart?
When everything in this world shouts of threats and foolishness, where does my true loyalty lie?
Arise, God, champion your own cause,
and remember how fools blaspheme you all day long!
Do not forget the shouting of your enemies,
the ever-mounting uproar of your adversaries.
Am I aware that He is listening to our prayer this very instance? I try hard to talk to the other self, who doubts so easily at times. I have to meet him halfway at times and not to talk high up on the pedestal. I have to talk to him in terms of my limited knowledge. The other self falls so easily and the Gospel values seem at times so unreal. The other self demands for tangible answers, and craves insurance from the trials of tomorrow.
How can I make the other self see beyond this material world, and set his eyes solely on an eventual judgment?
How can I convince him that judgment will be accompanied with much grace, which flows into eternity?
His Holiness, Pope Benedict, is right. In his “Light of the World”, I know that I have much to grow in faith and knowledge to help the other self in breaking through my sound barrier of finitude.
Help us, Lord, to break this barrier and set our eyes beyond the flesh.
Stay tuned for the next post by Br Simon Anand on 3rd May 2011.
Friday, April 29, 2011
There was this crazy man who wanted to control the movement of the Sun so he could continue sleeping and not be disturbed. He thought for a long time and came up with an idea which he thought was brilliant. He said to himself, "I will go up to the mountain and tell the Sun not to rise tomorrow."
So he hurriedly climbed up to the mountain before sunset to meet the Sun. Upon arriving there, he told the sun, “You must not rise tomorrow.”
The next morning the sun rose beautifully and shone as it usually did. Upon seeing the sun, the man got angry and ran back to his home, closed all the door and windows and covered all the holes so that he can be in darkness.
Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin
to our eternal Father!
This is our Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
Jesus Christ has truly risen like the Sun in the story but do we really and truly believe that Jesus has done all this out of his love for us or are we still in our slumber….?
Stay tuned for the next post by Br Gabriel Wong on 1st May 2011.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Yesterday's reading (Jn 20:11-18) about Mary Magdalene's encounter with the Risen Lord reminded me of my experience at this year's Easter Vigil.
Before the Liturgy of the Light, everyone was gathered around the fire at the entrance of the church. I was standing with the Fr Brian and the Altar Servers, waiting for it to start. I looked around and saw a priest in his chasuble standing at the back. I didn't recognise him, and I thought it must be a visiting priest come to join in the celebration. So I went up to him and said "Father, we are about to start, would you like to join us near the fire. He gave a laugh and said "It is me lah!". Then I realised that it was Fr Bosco. He had shaven his head and beard. He looked totally different.
I have heard that Fr Bosco had done this before during Easter, but still the sight before me left me in shock. I found myself staring trying to figure out how the hair and beard could change one's appearance so drastically. I recalled the Mas Selamat posters with him in a beard and clean shaven, and it did not look so different.
Back to yesterday's reading. As I compared Mary Magdalene's experience of the Risen Lord, with my encounter with Fr Bosco's new look, I realised the similarities.
Mary was looking for the dead Jesus' body. I was also expecting a bearded Fr Bosco, the one I was used to.
Mary recognised Jesus when he called her. I also recognised Fr Bosco by his voice, when he said "it is I lah!".
Mary would probably have known that Jesus had said that he would rise on the third day. I knew that Fr Bosco had previously shaved his head for Easter, and many people did not recognise him, and yet when I saw him, it didn't cross my mind.
Looking forward to the last day when I brought before Christ, I know that this scenario will play itself out again.
Though I know that Christ will be different from what I imagine him to be, I will still be clinging on to my image of what Christ should look like, and may not recognise him. I just pray and hope that when that day comes, I will be able to recognise his voice when he says to me, "It is Me lah!."
Stay tuned for the next post by Br Joachim Robert on 29th Apr 2011.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Thank you and God Bless !