Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Dilli and His Flaming Rival

taken on 25 June 2012
Looking at the candle gel brings to mind the importance of humility in a person. 

There was once a candle named Dilli. He was old and was soon running out. Placed in a corner of a shelf, he was kept out of sight and forgotten. There, he waited patiently in the hope of being fully utilised some day. But in the meantime, all he could do was to accept the emptiness of its glass once filled with gel wax. 

The owner of the room bought a similar candle. This new, young chap was full of himself, and indeed, his glass was complete with gel wax. He was all ready to burn bright and show the brilliance of its burning wick. Arrogantly, he gave a conceited glare at Dilli in the corner and conveyed how mighty and superior he was over Dilli. 

One night, the owner lit the new candle and placed him at his bedside. The draft from the air conditioner blew down upon him from above and put out the flame at once. The owner lowered the fan speed of the air conditioner and lit the candle again. But the flame was soon snuffed out. Frustrated at how easily the candle flame is extinguished, the owner condemned this new candle as useless, and took Dilli from his corner to replace the new. Dilli's wick was by then well tucked near the bottom of its glass. The owner lit Dilli and because Dilli was almost empty and the towering side of the glass provided him good shelter, his flame burned steadily, unaffected by the draft from the air conditioner. The owner was well-pleased with Dilli and kept the fire burning till Dilli was completed exhausted. 

Hopefully, this story of Dilli and his arrogant rival can give us a glimpse at an important attitude we can learn today. 

When we humbly acknowledge our deficiencies, we may then begin to be unhurt by the criticisms of others about ourselves
When we accept the reality of our emptiness, we may then begin to wholesomely desire to live to the fullest so that our lives may count, regardless of our limitations.
When we live with the awareness of our limitations, we may then begin to perceive the presence of God's hand working in our lives, blessing and loving us at every moment.

It is only when we are emptied of ourselves to God that we may begin to rely more wholly on the protection and providence of God. Just like Dilli depending on the side of its glass to shield it from the wind. 

When we have witnessed and pondered in our hearts the faithfulness and love of God in our lives, we can, coupled with prayer, increase our faith in Him. Then we can rely on God more. Then we may begin to love what is humanly impossible to love. Then we may become better instruments of God. And in all these, find the fulfilment because now, our lives count, not in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of this same God whose first love resonates more audibly within the walls of our hearts. It all seem to begin from humility... 

26 June 2012, Tuesday

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Celebrating Two of Thirty Years of Mystery

Two short years
Two extremely long years

He surpassed all possible expectations
He who never fails to spring a delightful surprise
Why do I still get stunned by His surprises?

Marvel after marvel
Insight after insight
Strength after strength
Growth after growth
Pardon after pardon

By His grace...

Rising and falling
Falling then rising

He alone is the explanation to the mystery of myself
He alone is the Provider of the journey's demands

He leaves me dumbfounded at His unending
Fire-fighting ideas
and most of all, Love

Today, I stand in great awe of the wonders of my Lord
I stand in great admiration of His goodness
With heartfelt gratitude of His completely unfathomable Love
Dumbfounded before all He has done in me and through me
As I continue to sink deeper into this unexplainable mystery my mysterious God has made me to be.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Which Candle Stand are You?

I lit 3 candles tonight and left them by the window. A strong wind blew in from outside. I went away. When I got back, only 2 were burning bright. The other was extinguished, most probably because of the strong wind since its wax has not been used up. But they were all placed next to one another. Why did 2 continue to burn while the other did not? 

The 2 that remained lit were on the candle stand that has a glass casing surrounding them. The one that was extinguished did not. Nothing was there to shield it from the wind and it could not fight against it. One blow and it is snuffed out. 

How often do we find this depicted also the nature of our life experiences? That glass casing is likened to God's graces and saving help. We surround ourselves by God, the glass casing, by relying on Him for everything we need, and we are protected, shielded, safe. Friar Mike would always begin his blessing of religious objects with, "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Our help, truly, is in the name of the Lord and what miracles can occur in our lives when we place all our trust in Him, even when what lies ahead is nothing but a complicated network of paths clouded in so thick a mist that we are left feeling helpless and clueless. 

Without God, one crisis hits and we are snuffed out. Defeated. But with God, the 'where', 'how', 'when', 'what' will all be revealed in due time. What was lost becomes found again. We need not fret for He now becomes the Light that shines the path to take. He now becomes the hope that all is not lost. He now becomes the wind that blows away the mist so that we may begin to see more clearly. 

Faith does not seek to find all the answers to explain what we do not know.
Faith is from a knowing of who God is, from a personal and intimate encounter of Him, and from the recognizing of how God has not failed us all our lives even though we have failed Him repeatedly.
Faith is a gift from God. 
To have it, we must desire for it, and ask God to bless us with this gift. 
To continue to have it, we must desire for it, and ask God to increase what little faith we have so that we may trust in Him more and more. 
Faith needs time to nurture... as we unwrap our presents. Faith needs our patience. 

Question is... 
Which candle stand would you want to be? 

Saturday 16 June 2012

Friday, 15 June 2012

Prayer - Carry the Cross

Help me in my pain and sorrows to remain with You at that pillar,
To hold Your hands and hold them tight, 
That remaining with my pain finds solace in the faith that it is You I remain with in this pain You too are bearing alongside with me. 
You have asked that I take up my cross to follow You. Then, Lord, strengthen me with Your graces so that I may carry this cross and love as You love. Amen.

15 June 2012, Friday

Friday, 1 June 2012

Holy Trinity Sunday

This weekend, the Church celebrates Holy Trinity Sunday. 

When we think about God, we normally find ourselves most at home with Jesus. He's the easiest to relate to perhaps because having been born of human flesh and walked with us on earth, we have a concrete visible image of Him, no matter how inaccurate this image may be. Jesus is portrayed in many posters and statues. His features and characteristics vary from culture to culture. 

But "Holy Trinity"... What's that? Sounds so far-fetched, so abstract, quite frightening at times, so difficult to comprehend, to imagine. Artists have illustrated the classic image of the Father on one side, the Son on the other, and the Holy Spirit in the middle or above them. But more than what a painting can tell, who is the Father? In what form does the Holy Spirit exist? Dove? Fire? Water? Hard to grasp, can't put a finger on it. Perhaps, that's why Theologians will always say that God is mystery. And indeed God is! 

Karl Rahner:
"A mystery is not something undisclosed.... On the contrary, mystery is the impenetrable which is already present". 

Meaning to say, God has already been disclosed, revealed to us. However, it is beyond our limited human capacity to understand it completely. The more we grow in faith, the more we come to understand it but never fully. 

Does this mystery of God prevent us from coming close to God? No. God continues to draw us to Himself. He gives us knowledge of Himself in bite sizes, according to how much we can 'digest', according to how much our hearts are ready and willing to receive Him. God is revealed through the Son. Jesus told His disciples that if they have seen Him, they have seen the Father, that He and the Father are one. 

Jesus reflects perfectly all that the Father is - love, mercy, justice, and far more. What He stands for are what the Father stands for. Their love unites them in a bond that begets the Spirit. The Spirit flows from the Father and the Son, and is worshipped as God with the Father and the Son.  

Here's an excerpt from Br. Adrian Danker, SJ:
Andrei Rublev’s icon of the Holy Trinity: the Three Divine Persons sitting around a table; feasting and celebrating; communing together. A beautiful image of the One God. But this is also an icon; before it, we are invited to prayerfully contemplate the triune God, Father, Son and Spirit. Each acknowledging the other with the tilt of his head; this is the interior life of the triune God, of God being in relationship with one another. Yet together they turn outwards to me, inviting you and me into their gracious communion, calling us to complete the circle, to be one with them. Is this communion not the salvific promise of the Father to us in his Son and through the Spirit? and are we not to call others into it too?

The question now is not about whether or not we can fully understand the Holy Trinity, know what it's all about and how it came about. This is the impenetrable gulf between us, finite beings, and God, the infinite Being. Rather, the question is what is our response to this invitation that God, as Father, Son, and Spirit, is extending to us. This invitation to join them at table, to complete the circle, to be one with them? To be in relationship with them?

What does your response look like? 

01 June 2012, Friday