Friday, 30 December 2011

Your Gift

If my voice has the ability to reach into hearts 
and bring You into them,
then what a pity it is that I cannot sit with my hearers
and listen to this voice that You have given
so as to encounter You as they do.
Yet, how can I bring them the gift of You
if You had not first given Yourself to me;
to know, to love, to serve and to sing of?  

Your gifts, they humble my existence, 
and make real my nothingness and servitude.
Let their praises reach Your ears and 
render unto Your Holy Name all the glory 
that You alone deserve.

Friday 30 December 2011
11.05pm

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

My Blessings, My Results

Source
Joan and Dave were two Catholics who met each other in college. In every activity that had any connection at all with their faith, they would be found there, participating and joyfully giving of their time and energy. They received joy and peace as a result of centring their lives on God, these amidst their own share of struggles and pain that most who are transiting into adulthood will experience. Joan and Dave fell in love with each other and some years after graduation, they decided to get married.

And so they did. So deep and intense was their love for each other. And so was their excitement at the new life they were going to create for themselves; a new chapter, a new beginning, a whole new world of experiences of being family, of being parent in due time, and of being the master and mistress of the household. It was a pure, white canvas of a future waiting for them to dash colours on, and they sure felt the huge responsibility of assuming the new roles they each had to play in their new family unit. In their hearts, they yearned and conditioned their mindsets to do all they could to make this blank canvas into a great masterpiece of art, without a single blemish. Joan and Dave ultimately took upon themselves the role of a "creator" - a creator of their future.

Being creators, each with their own unique artistic flares, Joan and Dave started to run into trouble with each other over how things were being run at home. Soon enough, a baby was added to the family and at that point of beholding their new creation, they beheld too a visible newness that they were going to shape from a "nothing" into a "someone". Their whole heart and mind took on a new focus, and henceforth, all they did and planned were for the sake of their child, in whatever capacity they had.

This sounds like a fairytale story of loving and responsible parents selflessly caring and providing for their child. The development of this story, the unfolding of Joan and Dave's lives are not known. But there seems to be a missing component in this whole fairytale equation, which leads us to wonder if there would really be a happily-ever-after. One question - Where is God? In Joan and Dave's lives, God was shifted to the background when they took on "creatorship".

God has allowed us to share with Him in His creation. But most often we forget that we are not the creator but co-creators. We get carried away easily by superficial emotions and if our relationship with God is shallow and ungrounded in substantial depth, we will fail to recognise that there can be no new beginnings, no future, no hope whatsoever if God does not bless our endeavours and allow us any of these. We will lose our humility and cloud our sense of truth about ourselves and what we can and cannot do. We will lose touch with who we truly are, trying so hard in futile attempts to be the "god" of our lives that we can never be. Can we decide when we are born and when we die? If we cannot, then our lives are surely not for us to control.

But if we remain connected with God with Him being always the centre of our lives, the reason and purpose for all our thoughts, words and deeds, then married or unmarried, young or old, healthy or ill, busy or idle, we will always be cooperators of His Will, advocates of His love, peace and forgiveness within the family. Living day to day becomes alive rather than a mechanical repetition of the daily routines and the running after secular dreams that promise a hidden emptiness. Then, everything we have and experience becomes blessings to appreciate and praise God for rather than an unrealistic boost of our own egos as "good creators", appeasing our own insecurities. As the proverb says "as proud as a peacock", yet, can the peacock be proud of anything if not for God who gave it its beautiful feathers?

With God, we can then be patient with things that do not go our way, trusting always in the love and providence of God, who becomes the Healer of the family in moments of hurt, the Peace in moments of turmoil, the Strength in moments of weakness, the Mediator in moments of arguments, the Guide and Mentor for the young. God is given His rightful position in the family - the Head, the Source, the Provider, the Anchor. Only then can we truly create in and for our families all things beautiful because it is God Himself who is creating all these through and in us.

How aware are you of the distinction between what is created by God and by you in your life?
What are the blessings received from God that you have considered as your result?

28 December 2011, Wednesday
12.05am

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Prayer - Thy Graces for the Journey

Purify me, Lord
Cleanse me 
Sanctify me
Test me in Your fire
But leave me Your graces, my loving Jesus
To always remain humble, obedient and faithful
In complete surrendering 
As You make perfect Your Will in me
Amen

source

20 December 2011 Tuesday
10.53pm

Monday, 19 December 2011

Disposition in Vocation

"Yes, I have."
"Yes, I will."
With beaming smiles, the couple gives these replies to three questions asked by the priest during the declaration of consent at their wedding Mass. Thereafter, they make their vow to each other.

Source
This "yes" that a couple professes to each other marks the beginning of their lifelong commitment of love and fidelity, of being true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, a complete dedication of oneself to one's spouse, to love and honour him/her all the days of one's life.

As soon as the priest pronounces the couple as man and wife, the period of courtship officially comes to an end. Here begins the lifelong test of just how serious and real the couple was when they made their vows to their lifelong vocation, which has packaged with it a lifelong implication that perhaps, they knew as factual knowledge at the back of their heads, but never could have understood what they truly and wholly entail until they have to choose at every moment, day after day, to fight against all sorts of temptations just so that they uphold those words in the vow they made within those few seconds.

Don't you wonder at times if the wedding couple, as they make their vows to each other, really know what they are in for? The truth is there is no way they could have previously known what making that vow would wholly demand of them because it is the first hands-on experience after all.

When we are unable to predict the future, when we are uncertain of the challenges the future may present to us, the only thing we can control is our disposition in the here and now. Am I self-centred or am I always thinking and acting in the best interest of my marriage? How many miles am I going to walk with him/her? What is my response to suffering - fight or flight? What outlets do I choose when I need to release stress built up because of my spouse and family? Have I decided to seek pleasure in my daily living or discipline, self-denial and wholesomeness?

For us Catholics, we have an excellent model to teach us about our dispositions. She is none other than Mary, the mother of Jesus. She too made a vow to a lifelong vocation when she said "yes" to God's Divine Will to bring Jesus into this world through her. God became her spouse, to whom she would be totally faithful and dedicated for the rest of her life.

At that point in time, she, like a couple making their vow, probably did not know the full extent to which her "yes" would demand of her. Sure she knew of the possibility of being stoned to death for being found pregnant out of wedlock. She knew she was in for turmoil having to break the news to Joseph and her own parents. Perhaps, too, she could foresee the embarrassment and rejection from her neighbours. But she sure did not know that a King would be born beside the cattle, that King Herod would come hunting for her son, that she would become a refugee in a foreign land, and surely, she did not ever think that her son would eventually suffer such cruelty and die a public criminal - all these when God promised that her son will be the Saviour of the world. How does this promise align, by any human logical explanation, with reality? How could Mary, with all these "unfortunate" events unfolding, still believe that the promise made to her would be fulfilled?

Source
The faithfulness of Mary in her "yes" to God right to the very end falls back on her disposition. Her life is modelled in holiness, of a complete surrendering to God's Will, to anything and everything He will place before her. In her uncertainties of her future, she does not subscribe to an "ala carte" pick of what she will tolerate and what she will not. Rather, she opened her heart wholly to God, accepting everything that comes in obedience to her Father's Will, and trusting always, even in the most trying moments, in His love and providence. Living entirely on the graces of God, she journeyed, one step at a time, towards the perfection of God's Will in her life, and thereby, becoming the gateway to our salvation in her Son, Jesus.

As we celebrate Christmas this weekend, let us discharge our hearts of the encumbering fa├žade of the glamour of lights, the excitement of gifts, and not forgetting, the vast selection of food that covers our tabletops... so that we can have some silence to delight in Mary's steadfastness to God's Will in her vocation as spouse of God, mother of God, mother of our human race. That from her, we too may learn to dispose ourselves to accept and live out God's Will in our own vocation as Christ's disciples in our families, workplaces and even in public with strangers. With our focus readjusted, our purpose refined and our strength renewed, this Christmas will find us in deeper joy and peace, just as He meant it to be.

19 December 2011, Monday
10.55pm

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Prayer - It has always been You



It is You, Lord, 
as it has always been,
who fill me with every grace and blessing
to become, gradually but most certainly,
what You desire for me to become.
Help me to always keep my mind and heart opened to You
so as to cooperate with Your Spirit's working
in and through me.
Amen.

Inspired on 13 December 2011, Tuesday

Malfunctioned Lift

Many years ago, I was living in a HDB flat. Among several similar incidences, there was one in particular. I remember waiting for the lift for a considerable time, only to hear the bell ringing continuously. Someone was trapped in the lift!

No matter how she tried to pull the door open from the inside of the lift, the door refused to budge. From the outside, there was also nothing anyone who came to assist could do to get the door to open. The poor victim was simply stuck, banging on the door, crying out for help. She was all alone; afraid and threatened. What if the lift started to drop, free-fall? Were the people outside really trying to get her out? Were they going to call for the servicemen for her? Or were they going to give up and walk away, leaving her behind, stuck?

A thick and stubborn door separated the victim from everyone and everything else on the outside. The air was suffocating without ventilation, and the level of carbon dioxide in the air was increasing, especially with her heavy breathing from her anxiety and fears. She knew that if help did not come soon, she was going to die of suffocation. There was only one thing she could do - cry for help by persistently pressing on the alarm button and then hope for someone to come to her rescue.

Source
Have you ever been trapped in a malfunctioned lift before? Perhaps, like me, you are very thankful that you never had such a frightening experience. Yet, were there other incidents whereby you felt as if you were like this victim, trapped in a lift?

At times, our life experiences leave us with so much pain and trauma that we build a thick wall around our hearts and lives, like a lift door that shuts us out from everyone and everything else outside. When our wounds are left unhealed, when our injuries are brushed aside and left untreated, our brokenness left unloved. It is not uncommon to find within our lives, instances whereby we overreacted in a situation that does not really seem that severe after all. And if we were to dig deeper at why we had overreacted, we may come to discover an open wound and our unnecessarily drastic reaction was a result of a slamming of that lift door, a natural defence mechanism that kicked in to protect us from revisiting that same painful wound.

This lift door, slammed, keeps us disconnected, and like the victim, it prevents us from getting out to reach those on the outside and prevents others from ever getting in to the depths of our hearts. Until the repairman comes to the rescue and forces open the door.

Yet, not everyone trapped in the lift of our daily experiences really want to call for help and get out; they are comfortable in the lift, making it their new home. Without any furniture inside, they make up their own imaginary ones and convince themselves that this is home, that everything is alright, under control, normal. And they get along this way... everyday... in an illusion, falsehood.

Source
Then, there are many who do not know how to get help; they do not realise there is an alarm button to press. They know they are trapped, stuck, helpless and afraid. They bang, they kick, they scream, they pray for help, they frantically fish out their mobiles, only to escalate their anxiety when they realised that there is no signal, no reception in the lift. With all their might, they try to force open the door until they grow exhausted and waves the white flag in a great despair. All these when the alarm button sits quietly upon the control board, waiting to be pressed.

Yet again, many more do not even arrive at the awareness that there is a need to press the alarm button. They do not even realise that they are in a lift, that the lift door has been shut, jammed and they have been trapped. In their daily experiences, they go on living life without using their eyes and ears. They do not recognise their brokenness, nor do they recognise their need for healing and reconciliation. Every day passes by so quickly, there's hardly any time or energy left to pause and consider the state of one's well being.

There is yet another category of people who will press the button and will continue to press it without pausing. They are in such deep desperation that a minute passed without help received is like another decade in living hell. They are so consumed by fear and insecurities that they forgot that it takes time for help to come. A repairman needs time to travel to the required location. They try an entire combination of methods, from knocking to kicking to sounding the bell to trying to force open the door themselves. They feel that they are alone, fear that no help will come. Calmness is not within their means.

Whichever the category we belong to, regardless of how we got ourselves trapped in the lift to begin with - some lifts get jammed because of people who refuse to wait for the next lift and insist on overcrowding the lift , some friends were stuck in a lift before because they decided to jump up and down inside it, some are stuck simply because the lift malfunctioned - we need the repairman to get us out.

Source
Our negative life experiences, regardless of its blame resting upon others, our own selves or simply a consequent of a natural occurrence beyond our control, require God's healing grace. Without Him who dismantles the hardened walls of our hearts, there is no way we can get out to meet the world, no way anyone can come near us, and ultimately, no way that God can enter into our hearts and unlock the peace, hope and joy that He desires to give to us. We cannot heal ourselves, nor can we force down the wall by our own strength. We are finite creatures with limited capacities. But we sure can push the alarm button and call for Divine Intervention. And when we do, will our loving Father not extend to us His helping hand in His own time and ways?

But we must call upon the right "repairman". It will be most futile and quite ridiculously irrelevant to call upon a doctor or a car mechanic to repair a lift and get us out. Just as many people try to cure their brokenness by distracting their hearts and minds with superficial activities that give them an imitation kind of happiness and excitement, they will never get the "real thing", the real cure, the real and complete healing, that only God can give.

As we advance towards Christmas, we may like to ponder about the state of our hearts...
Are they trapped in a lift in any way?
What got it to be trapped?
Are we going to call for help? How? Who?
Will we dare to take that leap of faith to allow God to work in us so as to prepare our hearts more fully to receive Him anew this Christmas?

14 December 2011, Wednesday
12.11am

Monday, 12 December 2011

Making His Path Straight

Source


We have begun the third week of Advent - a time of preparation, leading up to the great festive celebration of Christ's birth.

Mark, in Chapter 1, verse 3, wrote, "A voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight."

Why was John the Baptist proclaiming this message to the people? It sounds quite abstract at a glance. What does it mean to prepare a way for the Lord? Who is to prepare this way? What way? What paths? Straight?

2000 years after Jesus came to be born, so as to bring us home to our Father in the way of love and justice that He gave us an example of, we, now become the birth places of this same Jesus. Our hearts are His dwelling places. Only if we open the door to our hearts and allow Him to enter. And only if there is any space left in that cluttered hearts and lives of ours for His dwelling. And this is, precisely, what John was speaking about. It is our hearts, our lives... into these, God wills to enter and become significantly present. Into our hearts, Jesus wills to be born anew, so that with Him in our hearts, our lives may be transformed, our priorities may be reshuffled because Jesus's presence and influence purifies our hearts, our intentions, our wills and desires, and we may come to experience the joy and peace of our own transformation into better Christians, more fully alive and living in God's ways.

But just as we may be hopeful that God lets us taste the sweetness of His peace and joy, we have to first ask ourselves if there is any room for Baby Jesus. Is there room in our hearts for Him? Or are our hearts too clogged with bitterness, self-centeredness, unforgiveness? Have we, because of years of hurt and suffering, built a wall around our hearts, preventing anyone from coming close and at the same time, also preventing God to enter with His healing grace? And why would we save any space or make room for Him if He meant insignificantly to us to begin with?

Prepare a way for the Lord. Make straight His paths.
Prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.
Make the path for Him to enter into our hearts and lives straight; without bends or obstacles, humps or road-blocks.

What in our lives and hearts need to be scraped out so as to make a way for Jesus to enter into our hearts again this Christmas?

As the parishes begin their penitential services, we can better prepare for Christmas, to clear the clutter in our hearts, and thereby preparing a place in our hearts for Jesus's birth, by first examining our conscience and making a sincere and thorough confession. Have you blocked out a slot for one of the many penitential services held till next week?

12 December 2011, Monday
12.13pm

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Capturing His Consolation

Being away for a week or so, upon returning to Singapore, I realised that the one thing I miss the most is going to church daily. It sets the platform for a deeper realisation of what about church-going draws my heart to it and perhaps, Who, I find in church, at Mass, that lures my heart to Himself.

If you were going to be away from home, what will you miss the most?

I took thousands of photographs to capture moments, memories, sceneries...
Yet, I cannot capture in a photograph the moment of God's consolation, freely given by the Spirit who blows where It wills, when It wills, and rests upon who It wills. Its memory and experience lives in the heart of the blessed, in the storage space that never crashes and never is eroded - that silent interior space where one enters into a union with the Giver of the same consolation, to await the next moment of consolation as food for the journey towards the one final and everlasting consolation of unending union and dwelling with the Maker of our bodies and souls, and far beyond ourselves, the Maker of the entire universe, both discovered and yet to be discovered.

Into this silent space, let us go now... to meet the God who awaits us.
Into the Blessed Sacrament, let us go... to meet the hidden God who invites us to His love.
Into the confessional, let us go... to meet the God who welcomes us back into His embrace by the love and mercy that He has already fixed upon His cross with His body and blood.

10 December 2011, Saturday
10.41am

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Alone in Thy Hands

Alone I came,
Alone I will go,
Alone I will dwell to experience life's flavours.


Only in Thy hands, Lord,
I am secured;
They hold me always in Your sight.

Written in the sky, above the clouds
28 November 2011, Monday
11.04am

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Responsible Living

Have you ever yearned for something so much that you were almost suffocated by the conflict between desire and deprivation?

For those of us who practice fasting, or perhaps the abstinence from meat on Fridays, you can probably relate well to this conflict. I have always found the normally unattractive meat dishes unusually tempting and appetizing on Fridays. When I was coughing badly some time back, I had to refrain from eating my favourite deep fried food and from drinking anything that would aggravate my condition. Cold food and beverages were removed from my diet for almost 2 months, and this was extremely painful especially in the hot weather of Singapore.

While Friday passes and Saturday comes again and I resume my meat diet, while my cough eventually was cured and I was again drinking my cold drinks, what is it like to be deprived of a desire for an entire lifetime? And perhaps, not because a flu bug struck, not because I chose to be deprived... but because someone else was morally irresponsible and had dragged me and my entire life down into the dungeon, in which the light never shines, nor is there an opening for my escape? Because of this someone, my life is unlike that of most others, my life never sees the light of hope, my life seems cursed without a cure because someone else decided to think only of himself/herself.

All over our world, countless children are suffering from HIV. Some of them are born with it because their mothers were already carrying the virus during pregnancy. Others, while taking care of their parents with HIV, contracted it by accident. Whichever the case, it leaves them with much resentment because while other children at their ages are playing, attending school, growing up, falling in love, marrying and starting their own families in due time, these with HIV are living in constant uncertainty of when the virus in them is going to act up and turn their bodies upside down. They fall ill so easily because their immune system is weak. A flu bug can send them so badly infected that they end up almost dying, or dead, in hospitals. They carry with them the deeply rooted tension and need for answers to why their parents had given this virus to them, why they cannot be healthy like other children, why is life unfair towards them, why were they even born when all there is in life is suffering. They yearn for a childhood, for a family, for love, for a life that they see in others but know in their hearts they will never ever have. And it is not even their fault.

These children are born into this world, bearing the consequences of another's sins. But they are not the only proof to us that our thoughts, words and actions do, in actual fact, bring about adverse effects. Whenever there is a cause, there must be an effect. And every effect must have a cause. It takes a person so embedded in lies to have his perception so masked in falsehood, disconnected from the reality of life, to go about his daily living without a clue of the repercussions of his way of being.

When society (which happens to be made up of human beings) decided to advance in the name of seeking a better quality of life, it had already consented to oppress the poor. How else can people get rich if it does not rob the poor?

When society decided to advocate for peace by using violent means, it had already consented to rid peace and security out of our hearts. How else can war and terrorism cause us to feel?

When society decided on the rule of life to be that of pleasure-seeking, it had  already consented to high divorce and suicide rates. It had already consented to instil the strong essence of the SELF in each individual. How else can we obtain a pleasurable life if "I" am not in the centre of this life?

When you and I did not decide to shut the mouth in anger, hadn't we already decided to act upon this anger, and thus, hadn't we already consented to hurt the other person?

When you and I did not decide to hold back our prejudices against another, hadn't we already decided we are going to allow ourselves to gossip about him, and thus, hadn't we already consented to disfiguring that person?

Our decisions and indecisions both bring about consequences that no one can avoid or deny. If these consequences are borne by ourselves, so be it. But what if they fall upon innocent persons, which is more often than not the case, like those HIV children?

What are we doing with our God-given freedom of choice? Our responsibility towards ourselves and our fellow human beings? Must we always be the consequent bearer of another's sins before we learn to consider those others who bear ours? Must we always learn life the hard way? Must we always live with regrets?

How are you using your freedom of choice from day to day?
How responsible have you decided to be? Or have you decided not to decide so as to mask indifference with ignorance?

30 November 2011, Tuesday
12.17am

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Net of Love

Dear God,

I have made many circles in life, trying to find a safe net to fall into.

I have tried falling into many nets and have grown weary and bitter from the painful falls they have left me with when all of them failed to hold me safe; always breaking apart and indifferently watching me fall right through.

I have learned to choose my nets with great caution and yet, even these had well-concealed holes and what paralysing falls they have given me.

I have finally come to know that the one single net that will never break apart and which will always hold me safe is the net of Your faithful love.

Into Your love, into Your loving hands,
May I fall entirely and eternally, to find the security and peace that my battered and deprived heart has been so thirsting for - the one everlasting Net that I call my Sanctuary.

16 November 2011, Wednesday
5.30pm

The Mighty Hand of God

God has set His Providence before my eyes.
He has left me staring blankly, awestruck, at His generosity.
He unveiled His great power and glory, 
and has captured me in disbelief of His marvellous deeds.
He has forgiven my doubtful heart,
and has affirmed me of His fidelity to His poor children.
He has shown to me the vast contrast of my myopic ideals
against His infinite possibilities.
He has revealed just how little I know about the infinity of His love for His people. 

He has thus shut my humanness and debunked my every possible excuse
for henceforth,
never again can I say that I have not seen the greatness of my God;
never again can I withhold from Him my trust;
never again can I question and doubt His love and fidelity;
never again can I feel small and insignificant in His great plans for me;
never again can I put a limit to the results of any work done in His Name.

Praise to our God, for all eternity!

16 November 2011, Wednesday
12.27am

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

My World, THE World

What do we really mean when we say that we live in this world, this planet called Earth?

In reality, we do live in this world. But yet, many of us live in a much smaller, narrower reality that does not quite recognise - at least not on a regular basis -that we truly live on a planet called Earth. For instance, I live in an area sandwiched between Bishan and Thomson. Everyday, I travel down the road to work and back. On days, I travel westward to Church and then back. My "world" seems to be defined within the boundaries of my tiny geographical movements within a small part of this little island called Singapore, which can hardly be spotted with the naked eye on the world map. I have been to neighbouring countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and then not so neighbouring countries like Amsterdam's airport on transit, St. Petersburg and parts of Italy. But when I'm back in Singapore, my world becomes reduced to the routine north and west of the island, stretching on rare occasions to the east and south. And even though Singapore has since been recognised to be not as insignificant and unknown as just a puny red dot on the map - it ranks as one of the top in the world in income inequality - does it really mean that I truly "live in the world"?

If I were to live with my parents and sister under the same roof, would I not at some point in time think about them or consider their needs despite how inconsiderate and self-centred I may be most of the time? If I were to live on a level above my neighbour, would I not consider what an irritant I am to them when I start dribbling my basketball around the house? If I were to walk along the pavement out of my house, could I blame a bird for not aiming his poo elsewhere than on my head when he is taking his break on the tree I walk under? I probably can hurl a few remarks at him but yet, what he does and does not do are inseparable from me because he and the tree and the pavement belong to the confines of "my world", and so does my family, neighbours, friends, colleagues, and even strangers along the way.

But, the world is far larger than what my lifestyle defines it to be. And I really do not, on normal circumstances, think very much of what lies beyond "my world". This video excellently strings together all our tiny "worlds" to show us very explicitly that there is a far wider, larger reality of what "THE world", of what "This IS OUR world" looks like.


And yet, I do not really think about this world I live in, which exists in the vast exterior of "my world". Because if I did, I would be thinking about it very often, like I do to my family, my neighbours, my colleagues and friends I meet in "my world". If I did, I would have my lifestyle reflecting my care and concern as how I would be considerate towards my neighbours. If I really do live in this world, on this planet called Earth; if I am a citizen of Earth, and Earth is my home, would I still be contributing to its destruction by my lifestyle? Do I not live in a much smaller reality of "my world" when I forget or blatantly ignore how my lifestyle is disfiguring the beauty of LIFE in my "larger world"? How myopically I see my life, my world, my planet.

When God created our world, He saw that it was good. He gave us all we need for survival in His creation of the earth. In turn, we are to be masters of the creatures in the sea and on dry land. And what abusive masters we have been to the earth that continues to give and give to us till it hurts, and yet, is still giving. Just as I cannot walk under a bird and not run any risk at all of having it poo on me; just as I cannot defy nature by skydiving without my parachute and insist on landing as I wish in one unbroken piece, I cannot deny my natural existence in a larger world even though it is convenient not to admit this relationship between me and Earth that knights me with the fundamental and inescapable responsibility that every human person must live up to as masters, protectors and carers of Earth.

What are we doing to God's creation of our planet and also, of ourselves?
While Father Ignatius Bindu Hembrom plants 3000 trees a month for his world, how are we going to affect our tiny "my worlds" while keeping in mind the larger world we truly belong to?

Tuesday 8 November 2011
4.31pm

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Migrant Sunday

I had the privilege of listening to Hangad, a Filipino choir, who flew to Singapore to sing to raise funds for charity. Majority of the audience was made up of Filipinos. They were clapping and waving their hands to the beat of the songs at certain times. They cheered at the end and were so filled with warmth in their strong support for their home-grown choir.

Quick snap of Hangad on my iphone
The most touching part of the concert was the last encore song - The Power of Your Love. Sr. Susay, rc, a Cenacle sister who came to Singapore from the Philippines, came up from the audience and took the mic for her solo. From where I was sitting, I could see that she was filled with emotions. Perhaps, an intensely nostalgic sentiment. As she sang, what caught me was not her voice (though her voice mesmerised me) but that to my ears, it sounded as if in every word and note she sang, it was an offering to God; an offering from the very depths of her heart; an offering of not just her singing but an offering of her whole life as a gift of love to God in response to His love for her. In that moment, I felt her deep gratitude. Perhaps, it was a gratitude for her life, her blessings and maybe, a gratitude for the opportunity of being there at the concert, to listen to the choir she journeyed with before leaving Philippines.

It was then when I realised that listening to the choir sing so melodiously may have just been a superficial experience for me. I was enjoying the singing musically. However, for those others in the audience who have left their homeland to work in Singapore, be it as religious, domestic helpers, or others, listening to the choir meant far more than what it did to me.

I asked myself what they could have been feeling at that moment as they listened to the choir.
What would I have felt if I were them? What would you have felt if you were them?

Perhaps, I would have felt a sense of warmth, a rare sense of familiarity that would comfort and ease my loneliness and the pinning for home in a foreign land, far away from family and friends, from the place I grew up to call my home. In this foreign land of strangers, a familiar face that shares the same background, culture and language brings such intense joy and excitement. How I would long to be home again. How I would long to fly home on the next available flight. When I hear a plane fly by, I would look up with envy. Yet, could I return if I knew that back home, there awaits lives depending on me for survival, mouths relying on me to feed? A sense of burden and responsibility that weighs me down and binds my life to the reality of this foreign land, in which people are not always welcoming, warm and kind. On the contrary, these people may abuse me, deprive me of basic food and rest, treat me lesser than a human person, and pay me far too little for the work they would rather not do themselves.

Have you ever walked past a maid agency and notice the looks on the faces of those seated there, waiting to be hired, to be called upon? Is it painful and distressing to look on? Or do we give an indifferent stare since after all, we have had bad experiences with a particular domestic helper for instance? If our social structures are not made by the rich and influential to favour, precisely, the rich and influential themselves, would there be such great inequality among us?

Source
Last month, I heard about a construction company that bought all meals for its workers everyday for 6 months. It sounded like a great act of generosity. But the truth was that the owner did not pay his workers at all during those 6 months, only feeding them so that they did not starve to death. Thankfully, with the help of some locals, they managed to lodge a complain and sued the unjust owner, who then had to compensate for his very cruel act.

When God created us with different levels of physical strengths, mental capacities, talents and abilities, did He mean to stand for inequality? Or did He create for us the opportunity to be Christlike to one another, to complement one another so that all may live in justice, peace and sufficiency?

Today, we celebrate World Migrant Day. It is saddening to require such a day to be set aside to deliberately get people to pause and pay some attention to these migrants around us. Without this day, would we still remember these easily forgotten migrants we take very much for granted?

Who are the neighbours Jesus asked us to love as ourselves?
Are these migrant workers not our neighbours too?
We don't need to look very far and say that helping these people are too far-fetched a mission. Are they not within close proximity to us? Most of us have them in our own homes! If not, wait at the dustbin chute at the bottom of your flat or at the bin outside your main gate. You are sure to meet one even within your normal course of the day.
How have we, as Christ's disciples, followed Jesus' command to treat them as how we would treat ourselves, to extend a warm greeting as we would like one ourselves?
How different would it be if we were to treat them as our equals?

30 October 2011, Sunday
8.46pm

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Kidnapped - Held in Captivity

I was watching one of the last episodes of a very long Taiwanese drama series some days ago. One of the characters was kidnapped. Her hands and feet were tied very tightly with a thick rope, making it impossible for her to be free to escape. She could barely move more than an inch at a time. Needless to say, she could not feed herself, take a shower or do any basic task that a normal human person would do each day. Severely impaired. She struggled, pulled her hands in all directions in order to loosen the rope so that her hands could be free. To her, her focus was to set her hands free, which then allowed her to set her legs free and then, to find an escape route out of the hut she was held captive in. With the rope holding her hands so securely, was there any way she could ever struggle out of its grasp? 


Source


Many movies would have a similar scene and it is not uncommon to watch how the captive, in her struggle for freedom, is badly cut all over the hands and feet by the force exerted by the rope. Some even have their mouths sealed by tape or stuffed with a cloth, preventing them for shouting out for help. And there are others who are blindfolded so that they will not know where they are or who their kidnappers are. Their world darkens to a blackness, so filled with insecurities, uncertainties, fears, anxieties, and perhaps, after a certain point, helplessness. 


Can we identify ourselves with the plight of such a captive when we look at our life experiences? How often have we felt like a captive of a certain kidnapper, taking the form of a broken relationship, a loss of a loved one, a failure to meet our own expectations, a nagging pain in the back that will not go away, a stab of betrayal? In those moments of desolation, how did we try to "deal" with the experience? In our uneasiness in facing the reality of our pain, by it physical or emotional, wasn't our most immediate solution to, as quickly as we can, "get over" the pain and "move on with life", and in the midst, denying ourselves of the attention and healing our pain is crying out for? We hurry to "heal", yet never really healing completely. We hate the trials that threaten the safety of our lives and we race to push them aside. Suppression and avoidance lie to us that we have recovered. Did we not engage in a tug of war between our hands and the rope? A fight to free ourselves? And in the process, cutting our hands real deep? The more we tug and pull, the tighter the dead knot, making our release even more impossible.


Yet, "To the Jews who believed in him, Jesus said: If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32


What is this truth that Jesus promised? What is this freedom that He offered to the Jews, and which is now extended to us too? Why is it that only when we become disciples of Jesus that we will come to know the truth? What does it mean to be this disciple? 


Jesus came to dwell among Man to show us a living example of a life lived to its fullest, not by the world's standards but that which is benchmarked by God Himself. He taught us His ways, summed up in His commandment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too." Matthew 22:37-40
If we make these words our home, if we let these commandments be embedded in our hearts and be the motivation of our entire life, then very naturally will all our thoughts, words and deeds be steered towards the fulfilment of these commandments. 


To love God and thereby to make His word our home, we must first and foremost journey with Him into a deep, personal and intimate relationship. We cannot, in our human weakness, love God until we ourselves have experienced His love for us. Our love then becomes a response to His love. This entails a two-way dialogue with Him in daily prayer. And as we begin this lifelong walk with our Lord Jesus, we will begin to discover the reality of who He is, a reality that is often distorted and much less pondered upon. We have, more often than not, a very one-sided and vivid notion of who Jesus is, and who we are to Him. Our self-sufficiency and self-reliance prompt us to handle every situation on our own, by our own strength. We struggle to loosen the knot by brute force. Haven't we been cutting ourselves deeper and deeper each time? Have our lives become more whole or bruised?


But we have forgotten that no matter how much power and affluence we may accrue to ourselves, we are only creatures, created by an infinitely more powerful Creator. This is the reality of who we are. This is the reality of who God is. And thus, sets the truth of where our help, our freedom, our meaning and fulfilment, our joy and peace come from. We forgot our loving and almighty God, who awaits to be called upon by us, to help us tear out the tape from our mouths, to untie the ropes that bound and restricted us, to remove the blindfold. He is always waiting, wanting to come to our rescue, yet feeling so helpless because He knows He can only act when we allow Him to. He wants us to see again. To see His truth. To see His love and His mercy, His power and glory. To see how dearly loved and cared for we are by Him. He wants our hands to grab hold of His so that He can assure us and comfort us. He wants our feet freed, to follow Him wherever He wants to bring us. He wants our lips to sing forever in the joy of having been set free


Jesus came to set us free. So that the many things that burden our hearts may be lifted from us. So that the pain we used to feel no longer feels like a vulnerable, opened wound. So that we no longer live in the shadow of ours and others' expectations, that we can let go of the unwillingness to forgive. That every experience in our lives is seen in the light of our intimate relationship with Him. He, the certainty in all our uncertainties, the security in all our insecurities, the promise of hope in all our despair, the comfort in all our pains, the light in all our darkness, the consolation in all our anguish, the pillar of strength in all our struggles. Have we forgotten our God, our Strength? 


What does your dialogue with God sound like? Is it building a superficial or deep and intimate relationship with Him? 
Who are your kidnappers? 


26 October 2011, Wednesday
1.37am

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Living Illogically in Insanity

Take a moment to imagine what our world will be like if it were completely void of a type of love that is unconditional, sacrificial and selfless.

Pause for another moment to remove all the experiences in our lives that were the effects of such a love.
What is left behind after this removal?
How will our lives look like?
And how are we left to feel being unable to receive such love?

For me, if life is without such love, I will return home every evening after work to a cold, empty house. Perhaps, to begin with, I will probably not even have a house to go back to since I have insufficient to buy one on my own! I would have never experienced the warmth of a family that I look forward to returning to each day. Every morning, there will not be a cup of honey, a bottle of water for the day and breakfast made ready for me on the dining table. After a tiring day out, I will have to do my own laundry and find myself even more drained out. There will be no van or car to drive around and I will have to wake up much earlier, get home much later and squeeze with many other people on the public transport. There will be no air-conditioning to emit the cool air that covers me to sleep. There will be no job to pay me as well as it does because I would not have gone through the education that I did. And these are just some of the privileges I am enjoying because of the unconditional, selfless and sacrificial love of just two very significant people in my life - my parents.

Without such love, life would be like a stroke of black paint on a black sheet of paper - motionless, depressing, lifeless, meaningless.

What is your life like without such an unconditional, selfless and sacrificial love? Will it be just as desolate as mine?

The recent news of a 2 year old toddler being run over FOUR times by two vans in China, with no one bothering to stop by to help the poor, helpless and defenceless child portrays, precisely, the effects of a society that advocates that unconditional, selfless and sacrificial love is stupid, illogical and plain insanity. Consequently, this poor child who initially had a whole future ahead of her is now pronounced "brain dead" by the doctors who could not safe her, not of any fault of theirs.

Please do not watch this if you have a faint heart. 
It will be very disturbing for you.

If we take a good look at our lives and how we ourselves have benefited from being at the receiving end of such a love, we will not be able to deceive ourselves any further that such a love is stupid, illogical and plain insanity.

How then, is it stupid, illogical and plain insanity to subscribe to the values of Christ and to take these values into the secular world, taking after the example of Jesus, who with His own life, demonstrated and set the benchmark for what love really is? How then, can we reject walking in His way of love? Unless we are ready to give up and reject all of such a love that others extend to us and completely rid our lives of it. Otherwise, we are just hypocrites who receive, with open arms, what we ourselves think it is ridiculous to give to others.

The world we live in is snuffing out the Christian values that hold the key to the peace, happiness and fulfilment we are so deprived of.

Fidelity has given way to infidelity.
Love has given way to a refusal to forgive.
Peace has given way to terror and unrest.
Compassion has given way to aloofness.
Community support is replaced with individualism.
Hope has given way to despair.
Trust has given way to betrayal and suspicions.
Kindness has given way to sadistic crimes.
Empathy has given way to detachment.

How many lives have been lost because of this shift to a self-centred value-system?
How many lives have been prematurely ended?
How many relationships and hearts have been scarred as a result?
How much more brokenness are we creating for ourselves?

Can we truly say "no" to loving unconditionally, sacrificially and selflessly even though we know it all too well that such a love is not only challenging to extend but more so, it requires us to "die to ourselves" so that we may "love till it hurts and still... continue to love"? Can we truly remain indifferent without denying the reality of who we are and what we are called to do as fellow humans living and sharing this planet? Much for us to ponder on. What is our stand?

How have our lives been enriched because we have been truly loved?
Who, in our lives, have we been refusing to extend this love to? And what is our Lord nudging us to do about this refusal everyday?

18 October 2011, Tuesday
11.53pm

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Chasing His Image

Source
I saw a reflection of Him in a mirror far into the distance;
I thought He was there.
I walked ahead towards Him but the distance never shortened as much;
the reflection and I like two magnets repelling each other,
keeping always the same unbridgeable distance.
Yet, I kept running ahead, wanting more and more to reach Him in that distance.
I grew tired, I grew disheartened.
I hung my head low.

And then I lifted my head up again
and I jumped at the sight of Him who was right before me.
I shifted my gaze back into the distance and still I saw His reflection in that same mirror.
My gaze shifted back and forth
till I finally realised that all these while,
He was never in that distance but have always been in front of me.
All I ever saw was that familiar image I was insistent on chasing after in that distance.

He stands before me.
If I reached out my hands, I would touch Him.
If I called out to Him, He would hear me.
If I took just a step forward, I would bridge the entire distance between.

After chasing my mental image of Him in that distance,
after seeing now how close He actually is,
and after knowing now how to catch up with Him,
my hands are but half-raised,
my lips utters everything except the words that truly matter to Him,
my legs quiver in an apprehension to take that step.

The greatest irony...
Of chasing with my greatest might after an unreal image,
and of freezing on the spot when it is time to hold on to His hands for real.

How have we placed obstacle after obstacle between God and us?
Why is the spirit so willing but the flesh unwilling?
What really are we afraid of?

15 October 2011, Saturday
1.03pm

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Modernised Foot Binding

In China, not too far back in history, women were breaking their bones at young ages in order to bind their feet into a shape that was considered at that time as desirable and fashionable. Having tiny feet was believed to increase a woman's status and chance of marrying into a rich and prestigious family, which then opens the gateway to a more comfortable and worry-free life. 


Yet, the pain endured did not seem to reap the same benefits for those who were living in the era when Communism took over and foot binding was outlawed in 1912. As Yang Yang put it"These women were shunned by two eras. When they were young, foot binding was already forbidden, so they bound their feet in secret. When the Communist era came, production methods changed. They had to do farming work, and again they were shunned." Not only had their bounded feet become an obstacle to moving ahead with the changing economic demands, as Zhou Guizhen recounts, all her possessions were confiscated by the Communists even though she was born into a rich family and was married into great riches. The comfortable, worry-free and even prestigious life that formed the underlying motivation for this self-inflicted mutilation was, eventually, snatched away, leaving these poor women with no riches and no means to work for their living without them having to struggle hard to get around with their tiny feet.


Today, our bones are not necessarily deliberately broken (though in plastic surgery, they are) and our bodies are not painfully bounded into unusual shapes to fit in to what society defines as attractive and desirable. We do not need foot binding to place us on a high societal standing. In fact, we might even find foot binding stupid, meaningless and even demeaning to the womenfolk. We have, in our era, progressed on to more "sophisticated" ways of defining who we are. We have high-heeled shoes that raise our professionalism at the workplace, lingerie with the maximiser functions to assert our womanhood. We have various symbolic stuck-ons at the front and rear of our cars to affirm the level of our successes, a myriad of alphabets on our handbags and clothes that secures a topic for conversation and a ticket to enter the race for the most fashionable urban dweller. We have examination score sheets that foretell our future and enrichment classes to enrol our kids into to prove our love for them and our dedication as parents to their development. We have our child's straight-As as evidence of our successful parenting. 


We do not have broken bones as a result of such a lifestyle aimed at fitting in to the society we have made for ourselves. What we do have are broken hearts from disappointments, shattered egos from our failures to meet up to expectations, broken families from our dissatisfying pursuits we thought could satisfy, broken self-identities from the betrayal of who we truly are in search for our far-fetched secular ideals. We have disfigured faces beneath the thick layers of paint that masks all the cracks as a result of our brokenness. We have broken relationships from the pain caused by these very cracks of one another. We have broken lives from the meaninglessness of our mundane living, and yes, in this case, we have multiple broken bones from a hopelessness that forces us over the edge of a high-rise flat.  


Then, after we have broken all that can possibly be broken, what will happen to us when we, like those who witnessed the transition to Communism, have to face the eventual transition between health and sickness, between agility and handicap, and most of all, between life and death? When we have to transit from our indifference and enter into the inescapable presence of God standing before us on judgement day? How will we stand firm in the Light of the Eternal Truth, just as those tiny feet cannot possibly stand firm on the uneven grounds of their farmlands? When all that we had worked for and chased after, when the life we had fought hard to secure and the layers of fake gold we had adorned ourselves with begin to fall apart into the nakedness of our creature-hood before our Almighty and Living God? And when our masks have been ripped off, we will, like Adam and Eve, run into hiding in shame of our bareness. But where will we run to? Where can we run to? 


Instead, put on the cloak of our Lord for the journey, the cloak of sincerity, humility, and of openness, which are necessary for the journey less travelled but is nonetheless, the only road that brings us to God, from whom we came and to whom we are invited to return. Put on the armour of prayer that guards our hearts and grounds our faith with wisdom and strength. Follow the Way of Truth and of Life that brings joy, freedom and peace instead of the ways of the world that have proved to distort, destroy, discriminate and disintegrate. 


Let us pray for the graces of courage and wisdom, of sincerity, humility and openness to uncover and acknowledge the aspects of our lives that have been broken, to bring these brokenness to the Lord in prayer and to await in faith the healing grace already given when He emptied Himself on the cross for our sake. Let us reach out our hands to claim this grace by first following His command to seek Him with our whole heart, turning our hearts and lives away from the world and fixing them upon the Lamb, who tenderly calls us to enter into the gift of His loving presence, the King, who has slaughtered the fattened calf in the eager anticipation of our coming to rejoice with Him in His heavenly banquet. 


How have our lives been "bounded" to forcefully fit into the "shoe" of society?
How have we been broken as a result? 


13 October 2011, Thursday
11.17pm

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Humility

Humility is not quite about looking within ourselves and acknowledging that what we have is nothing to brag about. Neither is it putting ourselves down by discounting the truth about our gifts by comparing them with the "greater" gifts that others have.

Humility is the most-needed anchor that prevents the distractions of today's seductive world of pride, commercial success and self-reliance from tossing our ships beyond our control, soon to find ourselves capsized into the deep waters that cannot wait to engulf us wholly.

Real humility seems to be the inevitable consequence of an authentic relationship between God and I, between God and you; the consequence of a discovery of the truth about who we are, who we belong to; our unworthy reception of God's blessings highlighting God's infinite mercy and love freely extended to us, sinful creatures. Real humility recognises that the good which springs forth from our hearts is not solely the result of our wise and responsible usage of our God-given freedom of choice but it is more so, the handiwork of God's graces in our otherwise impure hearts. Real humility seems to acknowledge too that itself is God's blessing.

Real humility grounds us in God because it shines the light of truth in our hearts so that we may come before our Lord in sincerity and honesty. Real humility seems to, above all, embrace human nothingness and thereby, rely wholly on God's omnipotence to transform this nothingness into an instrumental significance always and only for His own greater glory.

27 September 2011, Tuesday
12mn

Friday, 23 September 2011

Where is Your Heart?

Have we ever put on our lips the words, "He doesn't deserve it"? An event took place and injustice was done. The feeling of helpless frustration towards the perpetrator, coupled with the wrenching empathy towards the poor victim, drives us into the tension that fills our hearts with a certain anger and unwillingness to extend mercy and forgiveness. And when we finally hear the perpetrator pleading for mercy after he knows he is about to pay a heavy price for his deeds, how we protest in the name of justice and refuse to "tenderise" the hardness of hearts in the firm believe that "He doesn't deserve it".

In last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus paid all the workers 1 denarius for a day's work, no matter how many hours they had each worked. If we were to put ourselves in the shoes of the workers who were the first hired into the vineyard, we will certainly feel a strong sense of injustice, perceiving that since we had done more, we should deserve to be paid more. A highly diligent child of average intelligence feels sore and jealous that he could never outdo his lazy peer of high IQ no matter how hard he studies. Isn't this comparison and calculation of the amount we put in in relation to the amount we get a very pertinent practice in our society? We have performance-related bonuses to reward people who work harder and produce greater results for the organisation. If we were to leave an organisation, our month's pay will be prorated accordingly. We judge and we attach a price tag to everything according to what it appears to deserve, like the television game show "The Price is Right". While we can price objects and the commercial work we do, can we honestly do the same for love, sacrifice, selflessness, which founds the nature of God's work in the vineyard?

Source
If we dare to put aside our prejudices and the familiar adoption of our societal norms, and dig deeper at the message that Jesus might be putting across to us, we might catch a better understanding of who God is and what is required of us at the crux of our relationship with this God. The initial suspicion that God might not be that fair after all might slowly give way to an appreciation of His flawless ways of directing our hearts to the real Truth of His Kingdom.

Here, the question "Where does our heart really lie" comes to mind. Have we wholly set our hearts on God? Or are our hearts distracted with the many externals? "What do I get in return", "How much are you paying me", "Will it make me look good", "What is the job scope like"? If today, God hires us to work in His vineyard, will our thoughts be similar to these real human concerns? If they are, then perhaps, we might have missed the point. The focus is not on the amount of work done or what we will get eventually but rather, the focus is for who it is being done.

If our hearts are set upon God wholeheartedly, our will, united with His, brings us together in the common goal of working for His greater glory in every way we can, in whatever measure it requires of us. Our hearts will rejoice with each lost sheep found, no matter how late, because our hearts share the same beat as our Lord, who desires to save all. When our hearts do not beat alongside with God's, we will forget the truth that we are mere creatures, limited, sinful and undeserving. We will begin to compare ourselves with others and see others as undeserving and ourselves as more deserving. We will feel that God is unfair, blessing another seemingly more than He blesses us, and the worst of all is when we meet at the Gates of Heaven the very people we had judged as unworthy.

Of the people whom the landowner had hired, was there even one who was truly deserving of the 1 denarius? If not for the landowner who went out in search of us, would we not be still standing by the roadside, aimlessly, hopelessly, meaninglessly? Wasn't the landowner the master of his servants, whose lives were his to decide? Were not servants meant to serve their master in their entire lifespan? Why demand for that 1 denarius or more if the work being done was what ought for us to do to begin with? If Jesus is truly the Master of our lives, can He not decide how He wants to hire us, what He wants to hire us to do? If our hearts truly take Him as our Master, will not our gratitude to Him for the gift of life and love naturally burn our hearts with the deep desire to do whatever He asks of us, regardless the reward, and independent of any other person? Isn't the indescribable joy and peace of being His trusty worker, so great a reward that nothing else matters?

Jesus paid up our wages with His own life, opening up the gates of heaven and the hope of salvation to us. He paid us even before we began work, before we chose to work or not in His vineyard. Since He has paid with His life, it is only right then that the work we do requires us to lay down our lives too.

Where is your heart?
How pure and sincere is your love for God?

23 September 2011, Friday
11.50pm

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Have You Ever Fallen In Love?

Have you ever fallen in love?
Do you know how it feels like to really be in love?

The love that defies all logic and explanation, the love that burns within the heart with an increasing desire to be forever close to that person, the love that is life itself, the love that moves you to refuse nothing to this most beloved lover of your life? The love that breaks down all pride and anger, the love that whitens the stains in your heart, the love that compels you to forego everything for this person? The love that breaks you down into tears because you long for this person so intensely when he is not around, the love that draws out of you an even greater invitation to love, more than you thought you could ever give?

Can a human person be loved with such a love so strong, so intense, so deep-rooted, so helplessly deep-rooted? Can a human person love with such a love? This love, which touches the divinity of the Infinite,
which originates from the Infinite,
and which has its end in the Infinite.

Have you ever fallen in love?
Have you really fallen in love before?

22 September 2011, Thursday
11.03pm

Searched and Found

Picture taken @ MacRitchie Reservoir from a Quiet Hideout (picture below)

I used to search for You beyond the horizon, 
thinking You are in a place far above the earth.


I used to search for You in the nature
that emits the marvel of Your creation,
thinking You have stored in it Your goodness,
which overflows onto me
as I behold its beauty before my eyes.


I used to search for You in the Eucharist,
thinking You have hidden Your form
so that I may use the eyes of faith
to see Your face.


I used to search for You in Man,
thinking You must desire to purify my heart
by my looking beyond imperfections
unto the recognition of the image of You in all.


I searched and indeed,
I found You in all these.
Yet, You led me to see too, 
the most tender and marvellous truth,
that above all, 
You are right here in my heart, 
living and labouring in me,
and loving me unchangingly
with the most incomprehensible love.



The Quiet Hideout of Consolations


22 September 2011, Thursday
Written @ 4.50pm