Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Life Out of The Spirit

Its been a while since my last posting.
Last week for me was a real Life Out of The Spirit experience.
And it was only when I went for the Life In The Spirit Seminar (LISS) that I realised it.

Firstly Uncle Francis and Aunty Catherine our sacristians went to melbourne for their daughter's graduation. So I helped to cover their duty for the evening mass. This meant i couldn't spend my 1 hour with the Lord before mass. And coupled with that every nite I had LISS, sharing, open house meeting, parish council meeting, ppc meeting. Couldn't go for to ador in the nights either. Actually it was more of a didn't want to, after late meetings, just want to go home and sleep.

And to top it off, things like the problems with the catechist, and the direction for MSC didn't help much either.

The end result was that I didn't pray much except for the morning and evening prayer. Totally stopped reading the PDL, in fact stopped reading pretty much everything.

And then something happened which hasn't happened in quite a long time. impatience and frustration reared its ugly head. Things were said and done which I'm not proud of.

Then monday's LISS was the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and I left that night with the whole feeling of struggling. And at first I thought that it was because of the way that Charlie Goh and our charismatics did it, and their whole focus on the gift of tongues... But on reflection, I think its also because I have not fully prepared my self for it. Not doing the reflections, and not praying, didn't put me in any position to be receptive to the Holy Spirit into my life.

Well, I can't say that the Holy Spirit is not in my life, and that He has not given me gifts. But I guess, I have to start doing my ministry and exercising my gifts then I will find out what they are.

And so today's PDL chapter which I finally got around reading was on how I am shaped to serve God. And linking it with last saturday's recollection, the theme "Generosity" is a real challenge that I have to live up to. Probably my next posting will be on that.

Oh yah, the one thing that I've learnt from this whole saga is "Discipline". I can't blame the whole thing on being busy. Like Fr William Goh said, everything can be sacrificed to do God's work....except Prayer. And in my prep for the confimation camp, I've come to realise the link between discipline and being a disciple.

Monday, August 16, 2004


I woke up one day last week to the song Angels by Jessica Simpson, cos I use my radio as an alarm clock.

And through it all
He offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call
He won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

When I'm feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I'll always be blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
He breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

This is of course a cover version of Robbie Williams' Angels. But I guess the thing when she sang it, the "she" became a "he". And in the blur state of just being awakened, the words of the chorus just made me think of Jesus. "He offers me protection A lot of love and affection", "He won't forsake me".And just changing the word "angels" to Jesus, this could be a Christian song ;-Þ

This is as much inspiration as I've gotten over the last few days.... My personal prayer life, short of the morning and evening prayers, has been quite bad. But I know I can't use work and time as an excuse.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Stewards of the Mysteries of God

Tues Nite Sharing
Tonite's passage was from 1Cor 4:1-21

The first two verses struck me immediately. The word "Steward" keeps appearing.

Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
(1Cor 4:1-2)
Sunday's Gospel also mentions the "Steward"
And the Lord replied, "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
(Luk 12:42-44)
The role of the "Steward" is one who is trusted by the master and put in charge to manage his property. This is futher illustrated in the parable of the talents Mat 25:14-30. Where the 3 stewards were given charge of property by the master.

Celine told me this story which really illustrates the amount of trust our Lord has in us in spreading His Word and building His Kingdom.

When Jesus ascended up to heaven, the angels threw a big party to welcome Him back.

One angel approached Jesus and asked Him, "Lord, now that you have conquered death, what are you going to do next?"

Jesus replied, "Nothing. My disciples are going to spread My Word and bring the people back to My Father."

At this the angel was shocked. "But Lord, that's a bunch of fishermen and a tax collector. One has betrayed you, and another denied you. What if they fail? What is your backup plan?"

To this Jesus said, "I have no other plan."

And this is what has been entrusted to us. The last 2 verses in Matthew tells us what we are supposed to do.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
(Matt 28:19-20)
Now for the scary part. In the second part of sunday's Gospel, it says if the Master comes back and finds the Steward doing his job, he will be rewarded. But "That servant who knew his master's will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master's will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly." The same thing applies for the parable of the talents

This brings to my mind a few questions
1) Is Jesus really my Master, Lord of my life and my Saviour?
2) Do I know my Master's will, and what is expected of me?
3) Am I choosing to follow His will?

Will go and think about these questions. then will write the answers in another posting.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Light and Joy

This is a backdated post... been wanting to post it since fri, but just had too many meetings with the confirmation camp, church opening and the PPC Prep session.

So anyway, the words Light and Joy both kept coming back to me on thursday and fri.

On Thursday, I went for a talk, and the speaker mentioned that we are called to be "light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." (Matt 5:14) A sign of contradiction in living out the Gospel in our daily lives.

And then Fri was the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The 2nd reading (2 Pt 1:16-19) mentions "a lamp shining in a dark place" and the Gospel Reading (Luk 9:28-36) says that "While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white."

Looking at the meaning of the word "transfiguration"

a. A marked change in form or appearance; a metamorphosis.
b. A change that glorifies or exalts.
Then there is the verse from 2 Cor 3:18, which says
"All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit."
And thus that is what we are all called to do, to allow ourselves to be transformed into the likeness of God. And this is where Joy comes in.

Jude and I followed Fr Brian to the wake of our parishioner who passed away from cancer. And I guess the thing that touched us most was our conversation with the lady's husband. He told us how his wife even though was suffering from cancer, but she was always cheerful. And those who attended the daily morning mass remembered the joy and peace that she seemed to radiate.

This also brought to mind the story Sr Theresa told us that even though she doesn't wear the habit, people she doesn't know would ask her if she was a nun.

And the ultimate story about us radiating Christ's presence in our life would of course be that of our dear Mother Mary. When she visited Elizabeth, even John the Baptist inside her womb was able to sense the presence of God in Our Lady.

And that I guess is my personal challenge. Is Christ really present in my life. Do I feel the joy that He is my Lord and Saviour. And how am I changing or transforming myself to really reflect Christ in my life, such that others will know.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Doers of the Word

I was thinking the whole day trying to think up of a nice title for this post.
And Mel Tan chose the passage Jam 1:12-27 for the tues nite sharing, which I guess is really appropriate.

After last night's Life in the Spirit Seminar (LISS) talk by Fr William Goh. It has got me thinking about my previous posting on devotion. Because Fr William Goh mentioned that the one who has all the intellect but no heart can't compare with the one with simple faith but who leads a life of Christ. And it got me thinking if I was too judgemental, and spiritually proud. But after tonight's sharing, it has reassured me that I'm on the right track, although I'm not there yet.

It might be ok for the older generation to be devotional, and most do live simple lives following Christ. But for us younger ones, living in this present society, we really have to be people of action, a sign of contradiction to the ways of the world.

"But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does."
(Jam 1:25)
Devotion has got to lead to action. The current culture of Catholics focus so much on devotion, mass, sacraments but forgets the second part of putting Christ's teaching into practice.

The gospels all talk abt action - "Go make disciples", "feed my lambs", "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, welcome the stranger". Even the first book after the gospels is called the Acts of the Apostles. But of cos our service has to be together with prayer. The gospels also tell us that just as Jesus performed many miracles, His ministry was always strengthened by his prayer. He was always either climbing mountains or sailing in the boat to pray. Similarly we have to base our ministry on prayer. Thus every time we go for the eucharist, as much as it is a community celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, we also get our spiritual nourishment there, to strengthen us on our mission outside of the church. That is why at the end of mass the priest ends of with "Go in the peace of Christ to love and serve the Lord and to love and serve one another" And like Fr Erasto's talk, just as Christ broke His Body, and gave to his Disciples and us, we being the Body of Christ, also have to break ourselves and give to others.
I just end off with a quote from the Holy Father, which came so nicely in my email today.
“It is unacceptable, being contrary to the Gospel, to attempt to restrict religion to the strictly private realm, paradoxically forgetting the essentially public and social dimension of the human person. Go out, then, into the streets, live your faith with joy, bring to others the salvation of Christ which must find its way into families, schools, culture and political life.”
(John Paul II)