Thursday, 30 September 2010

Fish in the Ocean

The ocean, though separated by regions, forms one single ocean, and in it is the home for such an uncountable number of marine life. If we were this fish in this picture, would we not feel so small in this seemingly unlimited body of water we can never ever completely explore? Would we not feel so insecure being constantly on guard about the preys that might suddenly sneak up on us and catch us unaware? Water is our home. If we were to swim to the Pacific, water is what would be constantly surrounding us. If we were to swim to the Arctic, water is surrounding us. No matter which part in this 70% of Earth we are in, water is always around us and there is no way we can swim to a spot that is void of water.

With the same concept of this fish in the ocean, always and forever surrounded by water (so long as it lives and dies in the ocean, never leaving it), we can understand our relationship with God. He is always surrounding us and all of His creation. He and His creation cannot be separated; forming a relationship that cannot be severed. How may a gift be independent of its giver, a child of its mother, or a piece of paper be disconnected and without relationship with its tree? Since the presence of the Creator is in the Creation, so we, like this fish, are constantly surrounded by the holy presence of God. Where can we run from Him? We can only ignore Him and try to convince ourselves He is not surrounding us as best as this fish tries to deny it is surrounded by water. 

Psalm 139 Verse 7-12
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (in Hebrew, means the place where those that had died were believed to be congregated), you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night", 
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

There is nowhere we can run from God. We have to recognise this and acknowledge His presence. God is not a concept vastly distant and a subject for the Theologians. He is real and concrete. We do not need to look far and wide in the search for visible evidences of His presence. If we acknowledge Him as God and want always to dwell in His presence, we need  to just think of ourselves as this little fish in the magnificent ocean and God as the "water" that surrounds us completely and continuously.

Story of the fish from Fr. Ponnudurai,S.J. during retreat
30 September 2010

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

3 Realities 6 Relationships & the Bible

The three realities:
1. God
2. Man 
3. Creation

The six relationships:
God created all of creation out of love for us. His purpose for creation is to serve mankind by providing mankind with all that we need to survive e.g. food, medicine, clothing, etc.
God created mankind in His image and likeness, also out of love. From once a thought and idea in His mind, He decided to create each one of us and breathe life into us.
Creation, in providing for man all that man needs, fulfils God's purpose for it and in this fulfilment, it is in union with God its Creator.
Creation serves mankind in the provision of all things for mankind's survival. This relationship fulfils God's purpose for it and thus, brings about relationship 3. Creation is God's love for us; in that God knows our every need (not want) and provides for these needs free of charge (until man made money). He gives to us all that is good and needed. 
Because mankind depends on creation for all that we need, it is our duty and responsibility to take good care of creation, failing which, we will only suffer the consequences e.g. global warming, diseases, etc. All of God's creation is to be respected and taken care of.
God first loved us and so created us in order that we may come to know Him and His infinite love for us. We cannot possibly do that if we only existed as a thought and idea in God's mind (without Him transferring that thought into a creation of us). When we fulfil the purpose He has set out for us, when we come to know Him, love Him and walk in His ways, we create this relationship #6 and be in union with Him. Failing to do so, we distant ourselves from God in a rejection of Him in our lives. When we fulfil His will for us, we, in turn, receive fulfilment in our lives.


The bible that consists of the accounts and stories various authors wrote, inspired by God through the Holy Spirit, is a tool and gift God has given to us. It shows us the way to live our lives by God's commandments depicted in His direct instructions (as in the 10 commandments, etc) and in parables and other stories. It gives us the direction to take in life, the values we need to adopt as our own, and above all, helps us to come to know God better and experience Him more deeply even though we do not live in the same time as Him. There is no way we can ever know our Creator if He had not revealed Himself to anyone which then eliminates all possibility of oral traditions and thereafter written traditions. There would, inevitably, be no bible to record the non-existent spiritual experiences and certainly, 2000 years after His death, we would never have come to read about Him, let alone know Him and love Him. 

The bible is God's gift to us to help us discover God's plan and will for us so that we may know what purpose to fulfil. It is the very aid to help us create relationship #6, without which, we will be without God in the greatest abyss of emptiness and despair. This, perhaps, is God's intention of creating the bible, to be passed on from one generation to the next, that we who are gifted with the opportunity to read it may choose to follow in His ways and teachings and be, in our own lives, filled. If we read the bible with the attitude that this bible is God's channel of communicating to us, we will certainly open our hearts more fully to its Truths and search more deeply and actively the message God is trying to communicate to us. The only result of this is that we grow more connected to God and His ways in His love. When God reveals more and more of Himself to us, and we come to experience this all loving and eternal God personally and intimately, we would naturally say "yes" to reciprocating His love by loving Him in return faithfully and willingly. 

Many thanks to Fr. Ponnudurai,S.J. for teaching me about the 3 realities and 6 relationships during my retreat
Reflection on the bible and its purpose inspired by the Holy Spirit during RCIA group sharing
29 September 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

Trusting the Almighty and Ever-loving God

In today's 1st reading in the book of Wisdom, we see Job being tested in his faith and love for God. Job attributed all that he had, even his clothes, to God and takes all these as God's blessings and gifts. Although relatively successful with a decently comfortable life, he did not give credits for his achievements to himself nor the successes to his power. Instead, he attributed everything to the mercy, graciousness and generosity of God. It was undoubtedly an act of faith and of humility. Whatever Job once had, he did not grow overly attached to them that he was not willing to let them go and surrender them to God. 

If we were able to adopt this attitude of Job, how much less miserable we would be! Money, health, reputation, image, love ones, friends, job, intelligence, voice, faculty of speech, memory, relationships of all sorts and even the Holy Spirit and spiritual consolation are all God's gifts to us. These gifts are His alone, only on loan to us in our lives to aid us in fulfilling what He set us out to fulfil. Since these gifts belong to Him, then He has the right to take them back when He thinks it is time to. And while feeling upset if any of these are recalled back to Him, it is an invitation for us to let it go humbly and with sheer gratitude that we were once given those gifts so that we may come to know God's infinite and merciful love manifested in His blessings and gifts to us. We pray that if God wills it, that those gifts He will once again gift to us in His time. 

Who are we to decide for God the time He has to give us His gifts? We may have experienced friends and family asking us what we want for our upcoming birthdays. Thinking through the many desires in our hearts, we may even give them a list of things they can buy for our birthdays. We may get a few things from our wish list but that may not even happen since the final decision of what present to get still lies in the giver. At the party, can I, like an ignorant child, go around to my guests and ask them one by one what they had gotten for me or tell them that they could give me my presents already? Can we ask God to give us His gifts in the time we want? Certainly, it is not within our authority to do so. Hence, that leaves us with our approach to awaiting God's gifts - prayer, trust, patience and simply, wait.  We have to patiently wait for His gifts and not be desperate or anxious when we have asked for our "gifts" but have not received them. 

Trust in God's plan, always be open and ready to accept whatever His plan presents to us, go with His plan like water flowing around rocks in a cascading river. Why should anything affect us so much that our emotions overwhelm our entire beings? If all is in God's mighty and loving hands, trust that He sees us, the dangers before us and knows our every need. He will provide every grace we need to overcome any and every obstacle and turmoil. He is not anxious like we are. He can calm an angry sea!! Peace originates from Him. If we trust in God, God will give us the peace of knowing we are very well taken care of, in good and mighty hands. 

Is there a pair of hands that is mightier? 
Is there a pair of hands more loving? 
Is there a power more powerful?
Is there an intelligence more superior? 
If this pair of hands of our God is not the hands we entrust our entire selves and lives to, who then can we rely on and entrust ourselves to? Who can be more reliable? 

The story of Job may just be fiction. However, the message taught to us is real and concrete - to follow Job in responding to God's call to always trust in Him and to always be grateful for what He has gifted us with, things that are so often taken for granted. We are called to deny the possession of our "possessions", attributing all to God, giving unto Him all that is His. Having heard or read this reading, what do we do in order for God's message in this bible passage to take root in our hearts? 

27 September 2010

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Mary, at the foot of the cross, watching her Son hang lifeless, her sorrow like a sword piercing through her Immaculate Heart. She felt the loss of her Son, her only Son. She was all alone. Did she like what she was experiencing? I cannot think of anyone who would in her situation. My whole being must have been badly shaken. Everything she once knew, had, believed in, hoped in, etc must have all been threatened, blurred and lost in that moment of great sorrow and pain. Yet, Mary stood at the foot of the cross and chose to be ever faithful to the Will of the Father. She might not have understood all that had happened or accept the reason for all that was happening, and she probably did not know what life would be without her Son from then on; she must have had tons of uncertainty on top of the sorrow to cope with. Yet, Mary stood at the foot of the cross, surrendering her pain and sorrow to God, accepting all that she was experiencing and still keeping her faith in God as firm and immovable as the mountains. She put herself entirely into the hands of the Father, whom she trusts would take good care of her. She was steadfast in her trust in the love and faithfulness of God. And she accepted all her sufferings with hope, trust and obedience. 

As disciples of God, there are many times we try to build up a close and intimate relationship with God but experiences in life will overwhelm and throw us off track and affect our relationship with God drastically. There are times of emotional turmoil that destroy the spiritual consolation we once enjoyed. But, like Mary, we are invited to place our complete trust in God consistently and faithfully, to always stand at the foot of the cross of Jesus and remain there whether or not we feel close to Him or as if we've "lost" Him. And even though the "feeling" of closeness, peace and joy are not experienced in prayer, we still must continue to pray and trust that by the perfect and infinite love of God, He will certainly faithfully be with us every step of the way (whether or not we feel it), loving us and listening to our every need and prayer. He will never abandon us. That is His promise to us if we always abide in Him. Hence, let us, no matter what the experience, stand steadfast at the foot of the cross, set our eyes firmly on Him and pray for His blessings and graces to walk in His way of goodness and love. 

26 September 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Prayer - Stay with Me, Lord

(Prayer after Holy Communion)

Stay with me, Lord, for without Your presence I forget You; You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, for without Your strength I fail; You know how weak I am.
Stay with me, Lord, for without You my fervour fails; You are my life.
Stay with me, Lord, for without You I am in darkness; You are my light.
Stay with me, Lord, and show me Your Will.
Stay with me, Lord, and let me hear Your voice.
Stay with me, Lord, that I may follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, that I may love you more.
Stay with me, Lord, that I may stay with You. If You would have me to be faithful, stay with me, Lord.

Stay with me, Jesus, for though my soul is pour, it desires to be an abode of love for You, a place of consolation.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late, the day is ending, life is passing; death, judgement and eternity are coming soon. Now I  must muster all my forces so that I do not faint on the road. I have great need of You on this journey. It is getting late and death is approaching. Darkness, temptations, dryness, crosses and troubles beset me, and Oh, how much I need You, my good Jesus, in this night of exile.

Stay with me, Jesus, because this night of life is so full of dangers and I have need of You. Grant that, like Your disciples, I may recognize You in the breaking of bread. Grant that the Eucharistic union may be the light which casts out the darkness, the force to sustain me and the one means to sanctify my soul.

Stay with me, Jesus, because when death arrives, if I cannot be really with You in Holy Communion, then I shall wish to remain united with You at least through grace and love. 

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask You for divine consolation because I do not deserve it, but I beg You with all my strength for the gift of Your most holy presence.

Stay with me, Lord, You alone I seek; Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, for I love You. You alone I love. Let me seek no other reward but the increase of that love, that my love may be real and firm and practical. I ask no more than to love You with all my heart on earth and to follow You with all-perfected love for all eternity. Amen.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

If we were in a 1.6km race, how would we run this race, what thoughts will go through our minds, how would we be feeling and what would we do to finish this long race and come in a winner? Putting ourselves into the scenario, we would imagine our anxiety at the starting line, awaiting for the gun to set us off; we might have fears and doubts at some point or another looking at the other racers around us who might be already ahead of us; we might have feelings of tiredness as we finish round after round and our legs start to hurt badly; we might trip over our shoes and fall, scraping our knees against the track, sending shocks of pain to our brains; we might hear the cheering of the spectators and feel excited, the list goes on. All these are the interruptions and distractions (some are burdens) that make us lose our focus on the final destination at the end of this race. 

And so it is with our spiritual journey with our final destination being eternal salvation in God. Through this race of life, there are many more distractions and interruptions that are implanted into our lives to pull us away from focusing on this final destination. Life's many ups - pleasuring the senses at the spa or massage parlour, travelling around the world, and life's many downs - loss of a love one, etc. There is only one sure way of reaching the finish line of the race and emerging victorious - keeping our minds always and only focused on the finish line and with one foot ahead of the other as quickly as our minds can coordinate, we race right to the finish line, keeping aside all the emotional distractions.The only one sure way of reaching our final destination with God is to keep our focus completely and consistently on God Himself, letting nothing at all break this concentration we fix on Him, and we, step by step, move closer to God while keeping aside all the burdens of life, entrusting all to Him and surrendering ourselves to the loving, mighty and responsible hands of Jesus, we place all our trust in Him who will direct and watch over us always.

21 September 2010

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Prepare the Way for the Lord

John 1:26-27
John answered them, "I baptise with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal."

John the Baptist came into this world for one clear purpose - to make a way for the Lord Jesus. He came to tell man of the coming of the Messiah, to foretell this Jesus in the hope of preparing people to accept the coming of Christ. Perhaps, he came to prepare the hearts of the people to receive this Jesus and believe in this Jesus so that God will give these people the power to become His children (Jn 1:12-13).

John, who was specially chosen for this mission, fulfilled God's will for him in complete obedience, selflessness and love. He did not say that this mission is too challenging and tedious and hence, choose to disobey and do something else with his life. He gave up everything in his life so as to be God's instrument and messenger, a decision founded on a deep, faithful and humble love for God.

How obedient and selfless are we in laying down our lives' dreams, aspirations and earthly pleasures to fulfil God's will for us, to answer to His call to holiness and love? Like John, God calls us to prepare the way for Him too, not for Him to physically come down to earth again but to prepare a way into the hearts of people so that He may enter into these hearts and make a home in them. The way to prepare a way into these hearts is to show, by example, the creation of this "way". I must first create a way for others to enter into my own heart; to extend my love, care, acceptance, respect, etc towards them. When they have seen and experienced being invited into the heart of another, they will know how to, in turn, create an opening for Jesus to enter:

It is by experiencing my love that they come to know the love of Jesus;
It is by experiencing my acceptance that they will come to know God's acceptance;
It is by experiencing my forgiveness that they will come to know God's forgiveness;
It is by experiencing my acts of charity and kindness that they come to know God's blessings and generosity;
It is by experiencing my commitment to them that they come to know God's faithfulness;
It is by experiencing my laying down of my personal needs for the sake of their needs that they come to know God's gift of Himself to all man.

My loving Father, 
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon me to bless me with courage and love to be Your faithful, selfless and loving messenger, to, by being an example myself, prepare many hearts to receive Jesus as the Lord of their lives. Bless the work that I do and use it for Your kingdom-building. And in all that I do, I do them out of my constant decision to love You ever more fully. Amen.

16 September 2010

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

God and the Stars

Sitting by the window in the bus, looking up at the clouds in the sky... Have we ever been in this situation before, be it in a car, cab, bus and the like? Or in the night, as we travel in a train or car and we look up at the stars or moon and realise that the stars and moon do not seem to be moving? But when we shift our gaze to the trees "flying" pass us, we come to realise even more that we are actually moving at such high speed. And the funny thing is, perhaps we will also realise that for majority of the time, we will not be looking up at the sky and taking any notice of what is up there. Instead, we will focus our attention on what is in our more immediate surroundings. 

Our lives are like the trees as we travel. They pass us by so quickly that we have no time for anything else. Indeed, in the past few days, I realised that it is in the "hurry of things" that people sin - lose patience, lose temper, snap at others, have "no time" to care about other things, have "no time" to pray, love or even to inject any meaning in the many things we engage in; and so, we do things for the sake of doing them, to get it done and over with, etc. The work we do becomes meaningless and fruitless because they weren't done out of love.

God is like the stars in the sky that do not move. No matter how far or fast we travel through life, God remains in the same place; He only appears to have shifted His position because we have shifted ours. How often do we look up in the sky? How often do we see Jesus in others, in the marginalised, the suffering, the rejected, the unloved, the abandoned? How often do we remember and be aware of the presence of Jesus in our hearts and lives? How often do we remember Him in our decision making and allow Him to influence our choices, our lives?

When I looked up at the clouds this morning, all the trees and surroundings became oblivious and I become caught in the beauty and magnificence of God's creation of the sky, clouds, etc that I so often take for granted. When we look up at Jesus, everything of this earth will fade away into the background. We will be so caught in the beauty and magnificence of God's love for us; His unconditional, sacrificial, willing and merciful love for us, we so often take for granted. And like how a little child would gaze upon the stars and wish he could take a spaceship and travel to those stars to find out what they really are, how they shine so bright, etc, we will also wish we could finally meet Jesus, to know Him completely, love Him completely and serve Him completely. Let us set our eyes on Jesus and let all earthly things (that will pass us by like the trees) fade away out of sight, in hopeful expectation and zest to walk towards Jesus day by day till we reach that complete knowledge and love for Him. Let us choose to open our hearts now to allow God's Spirit to move and transform us.

15 September 2010

Monday, 13 September 2010

My Loving Jesus

The Lord is my comfort and strength;
He holds me in my weakest moments,
Assures me of His love and presence.

He gifts me with saints to take as my example,
To be companions on this journey.

He watches me as He teaches me
To ensure I'm n'vr too far from His light.
The Lord is my shepherd, my refuge.

When all else may fail around me, 
His love shines bright upon me;
A hope to always rest upon.

The Lord is the pillar of my life,
Apart from Him I cannot stand strong.
He is my vine I cling upon,
My source of life and nourishment;
Cut off from Him I wither and die.

This Jesus of mine, I hold in my heart, 
Wherever I go,
Whatever the case,
He is my very reason to smile and give thanks.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Prayer - Faithfulness, A Gift

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the birds that continue to sing despite man cutting down their homes,

Thank you for the dog that continues to wag its tail at the sight of man despite man giving it attention as and when man likes,

Thank you for the teachers who continue hoping in their students despite these students' refusal to change,

Thank you for the trees that continue to replenish man's oxygen supply despite man mercilessly cutting down their family when man finds them a hindrance to development,

Thank you for the ground that continues to sprout out new life despite man poisoning it with chemicals,

Thank you for the chickens that continue to give man food despite man misusing them as machines,

Thank you for the sun that continues to shine despite man complaining it is shining too strongly,

Thank you for our parents who continue to love and sacrifice themselves for us despite us always causing them hurts and worries,

Thank you for the priests, religious and church volunteers who continue to dedicate their lives to serve us despite us always judging, criticising and putting down the work they do,

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me unconditionally and sacrificially despite my continued sinfulness and ungratefulness.

Thank you for the gift of faithfulness in all these things and countless more towards me despite my unfaithfulness and undeserving. Teach me to love and respect all your creation. And may their faithfulness in carrying out your purpose for them in this world teach me too to be always faithful and obedient to your Holy Will for me. 


Saturday, 11 September 2010

The One Sided Door Knob

In the next few blog entries, I will attempt to share my humble insights that God inspired me with through His Holy Spirit during my 3 days retreat at the Ignatian Spirituality Centre. Today, I shall share about a passage from the bible - Revelation 3:20

The picture above shows Jesus knocking on a door. If we observe more closely, we will notice that this door does not have a door knob. And it is a very appropriate picture to illustrate this same Jesus knocking on the doors to our hearts. This door cannot be opened from the outside. It can only be opened from the inside. We are the ones controlling the activities inside our hearts by taking control of this door knob. Jesus cannot open this door. He can only continue knocking. We, on the inside, however, can choose to open or keep it shut. What will be our response? To open or not to open? 

If we keep this door shut, then it is purely our fault that God's graces cannot enter into our hearts and we will always find our spiritual life stagnant or perhaps even non-existent. If we are wise to know what is truly good for ourselves, we will certainly open this door. Each time this door slams on itself again, we will again make the effort to open it again to the Lord. And Jesus has given us His word that if we open the door to Him, He will come in. God will make a home in us if we abide in His love. 

I hear at times people (including myself) saying that mass is boring, the priest's homily is boring, music is terrible, the choir cannot sing, so hard to pray, the kid in front of me kept making noise to distract me, etc. I rely on the priest celebrating mass to convince me that it is the right environment for me to pray. Unfortunately, I'm not always convinced. But searching deeper, the priest celebrating mass is like Jesus knocking on the door. I have a choice in the way I respond and nobody can be responsible for this choice I have to make. If I decide to love God and decide to be ever and always open to Him, anywhere, any time and any situation is an opportunity for prayer, more so during holy mass. I must, we must, first make a deliberate choice to open our hearts to God so that the Holy Spirit can enter and do with us what God wills of us. With an open heart, we need to pray and ask for God to grant His graces,  to send His Holy Spirit upon us to move our hearts towards a deeper, more faithful and more active love for God. 

Reading the bible, spiritual books or blog entries and the like can inspire us but being inspired does not necessary lead to any change within us. Inspirations are like sparks. If it is not fan into a flame, it will just die out instantly. We must want to, desire for and take action upon what we read, pray that God's word will take seed in our hearts and germinate into a new plant in our hearts so that our lives may see real changes that are lasting and life-giving.

11 September 2010

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Answer is Love

Love is the answer and remedy to many things, of which, are hurt and gossip. When hurt by another, love. It is against what the world is used to but it is God's way. If person A hurts person B, person B hurts back in revenge, would the cycle of hatred and revenge really and ever end? If this is the way we relate to everyone in life, this world will never know peace or happiness. 

A lady shared at RCIA about her indifferent neighbour of 6 months. They never greeted nor waved nor reciprocated any act of greeting or kindness. It was as if everyone was invisible and non-existent. Without a doubt, this lady and her family feel rejected and hurt. She asked for opinions on what to do in this situation. The answer is love. What does Jesus do to our hearts of stone? He keeps knocking relentlessly at the doors of our hearts, always waiting for us to open the door to our hearts to Him so that He can enter and change our lives. Sadly, not everyone eventually opens this door. Yet, it is not one moment that He stops knocking and calling out to us. Happy are those who open up, no matter how late it is. And being Christ-like, it demands of us, too, to relentlessly knock at the hearts of those who are shut, who shut us out, who are hostile and nasty towards us. Out of an unconditional love like that of Christ, this lady is called to continue her acts of kindness towards her unkind neighbour, and pray that their hearts will one day be melt down and will accept the kindness extended to them. They must be really miserable and unhappy people, perhaps, longing for sincerity and love. In this way, they must be "hungry" in some ways too. Love is the remedy to fill these empty hearts. Love till it hurts. 

When faced with the temptation to gossip and tarnish someone's reputation, love. A boy in class was provoked by his classmates who insulted his parents and entire family and he punched these classmates in anger. Indeed, if anyone were to hurl vulgarities and insults about our love ones, especially our parents, we will certainly take it personally and would defend them actively. These we would do because we love them. So, in the same way, if we find it in our hearts to love our neighbour, we would not want their reputations to be tarnished or be insulted in any way in disrespect. Where and when there is love, there is no room for destructive gossips. 

Do we have a love for God that is steadfast, faithful and constant to empower us to love those who are most difficult to love? Do we love enough to protect the dignity of a fellow son or daughter of God? 

06 September 2010

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Being Available 24-7

Being Christ's disciple, we must always be available to others. No matter how busy we are, what mood we're in, where we are rushing to, what thoughts are in our minds or what biases and judgements we may have formulated, always be available and ready to help, listen, attend, give attention to the other's experiences, feelings, thoughts and needs. 

God never turns us away even when we are deep in sin. What right or excuse can we possibly create to turn anyone away? Jesus never turned a child away. When we welcome people in God's name and in love for God, we welcome Jesus straight into our hearts. It is saying and making the stand, "Yes, Jesus, I want you. Come into my heart."

God never treats people according to His moods. I don't think it is a situation that He has no moods but He does not let His moods affect the way He relates to us or affect the amount of love He has for us. His love is constant. To be Christ-like would demand us to be constant in our love for Him and consequently, for His people. If our love is constant, and so should the way we treat others, the tone we speak in, our readiness to be of service, our attitudes towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.

For our love, attention and the like to be constant and consistent, we have to consistently be connected to the God who is found deep at the core of our beings. In other words, we need to be in touch at all times with our inner selves. It must be continuous or else, we will still be operating according to our moods i.e. when we feel God's love in that "connectedness" and when we're not "connected". Above all, if we really love God, that love has to be consistent. What love is periodic and not consistent? What is the love that is momentary or occasional? 

05 September 2010

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Hunger and Thirst

A child (we shall call him Luke) was seated all alone in his class not because the teacher punished him to sit by himself but instead, he moved his seat away from everyone else in the class. When asked what had happened, Luke's classmates could not wait their turn to complain about Luke's vulgarities and hostility towards them. One by one (at times, more than one at a time), they spoke about how he had treated them and thus, they were very angry with him and disliked him. Luke, while listening to his classmates, grew in his anger. He breathed faster and more heavily and his eyes welled up with tears of anger. 

The teacher stood in front of the class, listening to all the complains. She did not like Luke either as he was often an angry boy who did not treat others fairly or gently. There were several instances of him punching other boys on their faces and being involved in fights in the class. His homework was also not done properly or handed in punctually. A moment of grace fell upon the teacher who, for the first time, gazed upon Luke with eyes not of the usual judgement she had but with eyes of compassion and pity. And a voice from within spoke, "This child is hungry." Immediately, she recognised the "poverty" this child is in. She went on with the lesson, keeping this incident in mind, and called Luke up at the end of the lesson to speak with him. She showed him the reasons his classmates hated him and taught him to be gracious enough to let their nasty comments pass instead of always reacting to them and thereby, starting a fight. The boy seemed to arrive at a new level of realisation when the teacher told him, "You know, I hardly see you smile." It was as though he knew it that he is seldom happy. If he were left to continue living this way, what a miserable and bitter person he would be for the rest of his life. 

Looking at Luke, it is easy to judge. He is very tanned, and though just 10 years old, is not adorable-looking like many others of his age. His lips form the shape of a rainbow and looks perpetually angry with the whole world. There really is nothing likable about Luke. But looking at him with the "eyes of God", in love for God, we will find the grace to recognise that this child, regardless of his flaws, is a a child, a son of God. He deserves to be treated with dignity and has the right to be respected, loved and cared for. This child of God is hungry and poor, not in the literal meanings we are so used to but spiritually, mentally and emotionally, he is crying out for love, acceptance and respect. He is miserable and unloved, and it's no wonder he is filled with frustration, anger and hatred. He is so poor. He has no love nor acceptance nor friends to call his own. These are things that no amount of money can buy. This is real poverty. And everyday, he walks into a class filled with people he knows are talking behind his back and disliking him. If we were to put ourselves in Luke's situation, at 10 years old, how many of us can stand tall and feel like we are of any good? Yet, this child was born in the image and likeness of God. He has learned nasty things but nonetheless, lying deep in his heart and soul is the Lord's goodness that was planted in him when he was conceived in his mother's womb. 

How many Lukes do we meet everyday in our lives? What is our response to them? Do we condemn them and judge them like everyone else does or do we allow God to influence our decisions to extend a loving and accepting hand? Do we make ourselves available for God to use us to bring peace, love and acceptance to the marginalised, the hungry and starving people in our environment? When the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ are hungry and starving, thirsting, do we offer food and drink? When they are crying out with anger, lacking in love and acceptance, do we offer the love and acceptance and peace to fill their hunger and thirst? If we see the suffering Jesus in His suffering people, can we still turn a deaf ear and feign ignorance? How do we render ourselves responsible towards the needs of others in our community? Do we have "eyes" for the needs that extend beyond our needs and our family needs?

04 September 2010