Monday, 27 June 2011


Being Day 5 of Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Scripture:‘Come to me, all you who labour and are over-burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Mt.11.28 ).

Meditation: A burden shared is a burden lightened. Jesus opens his arms to welcome all those who are exhausted by the pace of life, or wearied by the weight of their responsibilities, or tortured by an abiding feeling of inadequacy. He reaches out in friendship to those who are discouraged by the failures of the past or worried about the uncertainties of the future. And he offers the consolation of his companionship to those who labour under a heavy burden of illness, or endure the hidden pain of loneliness, or suffer the cruel humiliation of rejection .

Prayer: Stay with me, Jesus, when I stumble in the darkness. Stay with me when I find it hard to keep going. Hold me when I am tempted to lose heart .

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You 


From The Jesuit Singapore Website
Being Day 4 of Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Scripture:‘Peace I leave you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give’ (Jn.14:27 ).

Meditation: The peace of Christ can never be imposed from without nor can it ever be sustained by force. It is not just an absence of enmity nor is it a mere cessation of hostility. It is not just a flower that blossoms in prosperity. It is a deep-rooted plant that survives in times of hardship.

The peace of Christ is a gift of God, given to those who seek it, and strengthened by those who share it. It is the blessing of a good conscience that brings happiness to the individual. It is the union of minds and hearts that gives life to any community .

Prayer: Lord, still my restless heart and let me be an instrument of your peace. May the peace of Christ unite us all and reign in all the troubled quarters of our world .

27 June 2011, Monday

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Loneliness - Turn to God

From The Jesuit Singapore Website
Being Day 3 of Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Scripture:‘Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find’ (Lk.11:9).

Meditation: The greatest pain in any relationship is the pain of loveless silence. If our feelings are not acknowledged, if our needs are not recognised, if our voice is not heard, if our opinions are not regarded as important, we are in danger of being condemned to a life of loneliness and of being left feeling worthless. Jesus urges us to talk to him in prayer and he commits himself to listen. He cares for us; he hears our cries for help; and, sooner or later, he always responds in the best way for us. All we need is the patience to wait .

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being there for me. I know that you listen. I know that you understand. Calm my fearful heart and let me know that you are close. Even a word will do. Or a touch of your hand. Or a glimpse of your face. Just some little sign of your presence. 

26 June 2011, Sunday

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Prayer to St. Pio

Prayer to St. Pio

O God,
You gave Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Capuchin priest,
the great privilege of participating in a unique way
in the passion of Your Son.

Grant me through his intercession the grace of…,
which I ardently desire; 

And above all, 
grant me the grace of living in conformity
with the death of Jesus,
to arrive at the glory of the resurrection. Amen.

picture taken from photograph in wardrobe 

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Life that is Not Mine

If the Lord asks of us all our wealth and assets, if He asks us to sell everything we possess and then follow Him just as He told the rich young man, what would our response be? Would we, in the first place, take Him and His word seriously enough to believe He really is asking this of us? Would we, after a clear confirmation of His message, obediently and trustingly do as we were told? Can we really part with our comfort, luxuries, wealth and financial stability? What excuses would we use to justify our reluctance?

If the Lord asks of us our passion, our hobbies, the very things we love so dearly in our lives, even our dear ones, would we surrender them all to Him like Abraham surrendered His beloved son, Isaac, with no questions asked, no negotiation initiated and without any hesitation or resistance?

If the Lord asks of us to renounce every bit of the lifestyle we have worked hard to establish and enjoy, like how He "messed up" Saul's life through and through, to live in the direct opposite of how we have grown accustomed to and take as our very own definition of who we are as an individual entity, would we leave behind our precious life to live the new life the Lord asks us to?

If the Lord asks, who are we to say "no" since all that we are, all that we have and will ever have, comes from the one and only Source, which is this same Lord Himself? Are not our bare lives His gift to us, just as every breath that sustains us from one second to the next, our passions, wealth, emotions, our faculties of thinking and speech, our families, our clothes, our possessions, our gifts and talents, our skills and knowledge, our faith and vocation? If He asks, can we say "no" to the One who first gave all these to us out of no merit of ours but solely because He loves us even before He made the earth? Can we, who have no control over our lives since it was not ours to begin with, deny Him anything He asks; He who alone decides the time of our coming and going, He who alone knows what satisfies our longing for a fulfilling life since it was He who first determined our unique purposes long before we came to the awareness of who we are?

Even if we had everything removed from us and we are reduced to an absolute nothing, is not this nothingness the reality of who we are and what we are, had we for a moment not survived and relied on God's infinite Mercy, Love and Providence? Yet, He raised us much higher, beyond our reality, to give us the identity of being a child of the Most High God, promising that whatever we lose on earth for His Name's sake is a worthy exchange for the ultimate gift of eternal life and perfect union with our God. What, then, would we keep and hold on to and what would we let go of? Would you not let go entirely of your life if it were to win you the guaranteed prize of unending joy? It will be a continuous experience of great struggles but let us, determinedly, lovingly, willingly and in hope... tread along on the path less travelled.

The music that has accompanied me non stop while blogging, instrumental in inspiring me... 

24 June 2011, Friday

The Offering of Daily Living

Once again,
I designed the game of treasure-hunt; seeking the Treasure that I thought was hidden under some rock that is way too heavy for me to shift.
But in reality,
There was no treasure-hunt.

The Treasure is laid in the open, in places I had previously hit upon... but have forgotten Its location. In fact, the Treasure is not in any particular location but rather, in everything and in every situation. Jesus lays, well-hidden, in the most mundane, the most routine, the most meaningless work we do every day. It is only when He is found, when He takes the central location of all that is done and becomes the sole purpose of every word, thought and deed, that what was mundane is now out of the ordinary, what was routine is now refreshed daily, what was meaningless is now fulfilling and nourishing. What was previously a dreadful submission to the selfish intentions of others now becomes a humble and loving offering in thanksgiving for graces and blessings received. Whatever the job, whatever the engagement, it is always an interaction between Him and I; it was never, though it may have seemed, about others and I, since they are neither the Divine Judge nor the Final Destination.

The rain does not evaporate back into the atmosphere without having watered the earth, the heat from a flame does not scatter without having warmed the air molecules surrounding it. So it is with deeds of love... It does not fade away in the hearts of its receiver without already being engraved in the Heart of the Receiver.

Let every breath, every thought, every word and deed be a progression of offerings to the One who needs no evidence to disclose the contents in a person's heart.

24 June 2011, Friday

Prayer - Blindness

From The Jesuit Singapore Website
Being Day 1 of Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Prayer: Come to me, Jesus, and let your light shine upon me. Take away the sinfulness that darkens my vision. Take away the selfishness that dulls my heart. Come to me, Jesus, and open my eyes, so that I may see you in all things, and see all things in you.

24 June 2011, Friday

Monday, 20 June 2011

Street Lamps of Our Faith

Driving on the highway at night, the only consistent physical companion in the silence is the row of street lamps lighting the way ahead. Without these little bulbs that shine at their best faithfully each night, the loneliness of the night will certainly be magnified greatly, all life engulfed in darkness. 

Indeed, a street lamp is installed at a strategic location to illuminate the road for us, its beneficiaries. No one, in his right mind, would install it under a bridge or in the middle of a jungle, where there isn't anyone in particular to benefit from the light it gives out. Because of this lamp, which shares out what it has within it - electricity transformed into light energy, we are able to see the road clearly and we can drive more safely than if we were without it and relying solely upon the high beams of our vehicles. 

All of us are like a "street lamp" and there is a light within us, be it our gifts and talents or our very own positive character traits. We have been given our unique set of gifts so that we can use them for the good of others. If we were to allow God to use us and the gifts He has given to us for His purposes, our lives will not only be meaningful personally but the goodness that flows from this conformity to His Holy Will will also affect the lives of those around us; our lives will become a beacon of light for all those we meet, illuminating the right direction for them, just like how the electricity is turned into light energy in the street lamp to benefit all those who pass by its way. God would not give us useless gifts that we do not need to use. 

A street lamp never stands alone on a street; it always finds itself in the company of many others, with which it does not compete in the level of brightness but collaborates for one common purpose. As we travel along the road, passing each lamp and noticing how our path is lit by one after another, we can glimpse at how these lamps seem to run a relay, taking over the baton of responsibility from one another of shedding its beams as we pass them by. 

As the saying goes, "No man is an island". On our own, our lives can only illuminate one small spot on the ground and create a very limited effect on anyone's life. But if we were to form a huge community of people who are selfless and possess the spirit of contribution, how much greater an effect we will make on many more lives. We are called to be in collaboration with others; we have been made unique so that with our different gifts, we may complement one another. No gift is superior than another since all are for the service of the same purpose. 

Jesus was the Beacon and the first disciples saw this Light brightly and imitated Him so that they themselves became little light bulbs shedding the light of Truth in the lives of the first Christians. Using whatever talents they had been given and coupled by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they continued the one mission of Christ - to make the Father known and to bring mankind back to its Creator. We are able to discover our faith because many have dedicated their lives to the relay of illuminating the way for all those who passed them by, till today, we ourselves have become beneficiaries too. If we do not join in to continue this relay, the "street lamps" of our faith will be fewer, more spaced out across the highway of people and the result of this is the increase in number of those who will not get a chance to witness this light, their lives never lit, their hearts never directed in the right direction. And we, who have been taught, will have to stand accountable for not shining in the way we were created to, for letting ignorant lives pass us without affecting them positively.

No. Our lives, our gifts, our wealth, our intellect, our senses, our skills and even our experiences, both happy and sad... all that we have and possess are never ours to begin with for they have all been given by the one Source of Life, that is God. They are never ours and thus, they are not ours to hog on to. They were meant to be shared, to be poured out for others, and we hold the key to that door that has been keeping them locked within ourselves. Use this key, unlock the door, and actively seek ways in which we may use what God has specially given to each of us to affect one another's lives positively, bringing about the good that He intended to through us, His instruments. 

What are the gifts that you have? 
How have you been using these gifts thus far? 
How much more is there within you that you have yet to share out with others? 
What is still holding you back from being this beacon of light for others? 

The light in us must shine forth and with increasing brightness as we continue to perfect our imitation of the Light of our lives. 

Photo taken from SingaporeZIN

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Blessings in Disguise

Adapted from a discovery during my most recent retreat 
with special thanks to Fr Puspo SJ, who taught & reminded me that God truly is the Master of our lives

The Lord is the Master of my life; nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever get to me before first getting the approval of my heavenly Father. This is how my life has been, is and will always be in His mighty, loving and caring hands. This is also how everything that has happened, is happening and will ever happen, fits perfectly in God's flawless plan for me.

The struggles and "curses" I once thought I had, have, beyond my understanding and expectations, been my blessings and riches;
The blessings and "riches" I once thought I had, have, beyond my foresight, become my struggles and curses. This drastic and incomprehensible shift is the thoughtful and generous work of God Himself, when He started to shift me out from the world one year ago.

If I were to give you 1litre of icy-cold water after you had drunk your fill for the day, what value (on a scale of 0-10) would you tag to this litre of icy-cold water? Compare this value to the next. If I were to give you 1litre of icy-cold water after you had been trekking in the jungle for 8hours without water, how different a value (on the same scale of 0-10) would you tag to this icy-cold water? The same amount of water, loaded with the same amount of ice, means a world apart to the same person in two vastly different situations. In which situation would you value the icy-cold water more, and how much more? We do not need to actually trek in the jungle for 8hours or drink down 1litre of icy-cold water thereafter; we have experienced thirst and we have tasted the soothing comfort of iced water on a hot day and so, we know.

If God had not planned for me to thirst so badly for security and stability, I would never have been able to, as much as I have, comprehend and recognise the Absolute security that only God can give. I would still be groping on earth and trying to look for security from all the other sources that do not have the real capacity to provide for this need. In Him alone can I rest, safely. In Him alone can there be continued stability and consistency because He is faithful and unchanging; He cannot be better or worse according to time or moods for He is the Absolute Goodness.

If I had never been afraid, will I ever move away from being self-sufficient, proud, arrogant and independent to accept my creature-hood and to rely on my Creator in humility and obedience?

If I had never experienced the pain of rejection and of being unloved, how can I possibly know the preciousness of God's infinite love for me and acceptance of who I am?

If I had never experienced unjust treatments, I would never have known the sufferings and torments of the oppressed, rejected, poor and abandoned. I would never understand the pain Jesus suffered when He was accused, tortured and crucified as a criminal.

If not for my brokenness and sufferings, what need have I for God's saving grace?
If I had never sinned and turned back to God, what joy and peace would have slipped me by that would otherwise be experienced through His mercy and forgiveness!
If I had never condemned myself in the way I lived, would I appreciate as much the God who patiently waited, called and rescued me from the pits?

I have received because I have lacked,
I have been strengthened because I was weak,
just like He had resurrected because He first died... the God of Wisdom and Providence.

How has this same God crafted your own life formation?
How has He intended to use your trials and sufferings for His greater glory?
Are you still stuck at feeling sore about your life's down moments?
Perhaps, like mine, they were blessings in disguise, which you had left unnoticed...

19 June 2011, Sunday

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Life's Many Take-Offs

This picture was taken from the air plane when the pilot was preparing for take off. The sky was a thick layer of condensed water vapour, seemingly too heavy to hold itself up for much longer, threatening to collapse upon the earth.

Where was the blue sky? There were the mountains, the grass, the buildings but of the blue sky, there was no trace of it anywhere. Why does the weather bid me goodbye in such a dull and gloomy manner? Why, these irritating clouds that stand between me and the otherwise mesmerizing blue sky!

If that was not bad enough, the plane took off; the higher it went, the larger the clouds seemed. I do not want to go near those clouds, the very cause of my separation with the blue sky. Soon enough, the plane got lost in the clouds and everything outside was nothing but the pale white that clouded my vision entirely. There was no mountains, no grass, no buildings; only white, which seemed to demand its permanence. The turbulence took the plane in all directions as it pleased, leaving the plane helpless and handicapped. When was it going to end? Oh, how torturous was the instability, the nauseating sensation it had caused. Was I going to endure on or was I going to surrender to the paper bag tempting my weakness?

Just when I began to accept that the white was here to stay, the plane suddenly emerged from the clouds, stabilised, maintaining its speed and altitude. Life in the plane resumed its normality and the seat belt sign was switched off. When I looked out of the window, voila! The deep blue sky greeted me. I could see the blue, at last! Oh, what a breath-taking view it was! I looked down on the clouds and then sat back to marvel at the beauty beyond them.

Life presents us with many such episodes of "taking off". If we were to read back on the account of the aeroplane taking off but this time, replacing the clouds with our difficulties, sufferings, pain, sadness, worries, fears, and replacing the blue sky with happiness, joy, peace, GOD, I would like to think that it will shed some light on the truth of our life experiences.

No one can escape from difficult situations and certainly, no one has the power like that in a strong wind, which can shift the clouds away and clear the sky. If the clouds are there, the plane goes through it. If the turbulence knocks the plane around, the plane rides on it. We can only fasten our seat belts and ride along. Can the clouds be so thick that the plane cannot ascend high enough to get pass it and meet the blue sky? Can the turbulence knock the plane right down, smashing it back onto the earth? So it is in our difficulties, our trying moments. When we see nothing but ourselves being engulfed in problems and negative feelings, put on the protection and security of our faithful and loving God, and then ride on with the plane, knowing that the blue sky will soon emerge. Putting on God as our shield does not necessarily make the problems go away but we will have the certainty that we are not alone; Someone is riding the turbulence by our side, Someone is also seeing the same white clouds and feeling all gloomy with us. The fearfulness of the ride will be disarmed and put well in perspective by a calm assurance. Let us put our trust in God now and always, hand our lives into His hands without hesitation, and then, rely on Him for everything we need for the journey. God's peace to all.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Creation's Vocation

The Lord keeps me occupied with His inspirations during an otherwise boring transition through the air...

God created the clouds in the sky...
but He commanded that they are not to simply float around, towering high above the ground, for that would make them useless.
God meant for the clouds to empty themselves out so that the earth can be watered and life thrives because of this emptying.

God created the fish in the ocean...
What good can a fish be if it were just to hide in between the rocks at the seabed from birth to death?
God meant for the fish to commend its life to another so that the earth can continue its existence and life thrives because of its sacrifice.

God created the flowers...
But can they go beyond adding another colour to the largely green garden?
God meant for the flowers to give us rest, to feed the insects and most of all, by dying to itself completely, it gives way to new life in its fruits that nourishes and life thrives because its life was fully surrendered.

God created stones and rocks...
But these are as good as a car with an empty fuel tank if they were just for the sake of taking up another space on our planet.
God meant for the stones and rocks to stand strong in an unwavering focus of guarding our families within its walls of formation.
God meant for these, so easily deemed as worthless and unattractive, to teach us the stability and firmness we so lack in our fickleness and distractions. Life is well-grounded because these stones and rocks have dedicated themselves to the vocation of leading by example.

What, then, did God create me for?
What does He mean for me to do, to be?
What, then, did God create you for?
And what does He asks of you?

Written onboard
14 June 2011, Tuesday
1.40pm (Thai)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Sand on the Beach - Perspectives

Looking at East Coast beach from the ground as I normally would gives me a sense that there is so much sand on it and it is a long stretch I cannot finish walking from one end to the other in a short time. The area under my feet when I stand on the sand makes up less than 1% of the entire beach surface. Yet, from the airplane, flying over the beach, the stretch of sand appears only to be one thin strip of brown, sandwiched between the green grass and the green seawater.

It is interesting that the same thing can look so vastly different from different perspectives and angles. The beach that was so infinite now seems so small and finite once I changed from a finite perspective to a more infinite one. This is perhaps how God is as He views things not from our perspectives but from His infinite perspective. Our problems and pains seem so overwhelming from our limited perspective and we can see no solution at all. But... How far, really, can we stretch our sight? These same problems and pains are nothing to God. As it is impossible for our hands to collect all the sand on the beach, from above, the thin strip of brown seems almost possible to be picked up with the thumb and index finger as if to pick up a biscuit stick to eat.

We need to shift ourselves to where He is, to remember His greatness and infiniteness, to know that nothing is ever too big for Him, nothing is impossible to Him. And if we cannot comprehend His perspective, since our minds and hearts do not have that infinite capacity to do so, we could learn to let go of our finiteness to trust more in His infinite wisdom and providence, always lovingly poured out to us.

Written on the plane 31 May 2011
Edited on 5 June 2011