Monday, August 29, 2005

3 youths I met this weekend

Looks like every time there's an ordination, my weekend is going to be quite packed. Like the last one with the tridentine mass and bro tony's visit, and the Kenny's one, will be in the middle of the Sec 2 Camp. This weekend was also packed from sat morning all the way to sun nite. I think i'll still keep my title as it is, although now I'll add in more than just about the youths.

Sat morning started out with a visit to the Servants of the Lord house in Seletar hills. Brother Andrew invited us to drop by to have a look, and for me it was a time to find out more about what they are doing. The have 3 houses in singapore, one which provides daycare for old folks, another for abused women, and another for abused men. Shall not write too much about it, you can check it out in the website, and if you are interested to find out or help out in their ministry, you can contact them, or tell me, and I can arrange for you. But I came out in wonder of God's spirit working in the lives of people offering their lives in His service.

Then in the afternoon, I went to St Ignatius Church to help with a recollection for the post-confirmation group. And of all things, I was asked to do a testimony on the challenges of a disciple of God and how I deal with it. I must say that it wasn't easy... I rather do a teaching session then a testimony. And as I started writing my testimony, it started out out almost like a teaching session. I started listing the points that I wanted to get across, examples, scripture references. I could have given a 20 min talk, but then I only had 5 mins. I also realised that it was more a teaching than a testimony.

So I spent much time summarising it, trying to make it more a sharing of my life than teaching. But one thing I know about myself, is that I find it hard to prepare a talk by writing exactly what I want to say. Like the last time when I gave a testimony for vocation sunday. I don't like to just read what I write, although I try to write as if I was speaking naturally. But something I realised on sat, was that the writing down of my thoughts even though I don't use it when I speak, helps me to reflect, to identify my points and the flow, and forces me to go through the delivery. So its necessary, and I shouldn't get so uptight about it.

Anyway yup that's something I discovered about myself, but I also met 2 youths there which surprised me. Cos we had this praying session, where the youths were supposed to re-commit themselves to God as His disciples. The first guy I went to to pray with, after I asked him if he would like me to pray with him, immediately starts off his pray, asking God, for guidance, strength, etc.... I was like, wow... this guy is serious about being a disciple, his humilty in his prayer and self surrender.

So ok, the first guy was those quiet kind, so maybe quite prayful already so maybe the prayer was usual for him. Then I went to the next guy, this one altar server, quite "action" kind. I thought maybe tough nut, so I asked him if I can pray with him and asked him what he wants to pray for. He tells me, and when he finishes, he turns to me and asks me what I want to pray for, which totally caught me off guard. This supposed to be me praying for him, and here he is wanting to pray for me. So we ended up praying for each other. Both showed me signs of discipleship, one in his humilty the other in his generousity.

After that it was to Val's place for her 21st birthday party. A time just to relax, played a bit of card mahjong, not as fun as the real thing.

Sunday I woke up late. Excuse : Tired out from saturday's non-stop activity. Reach mass just at the Gospel. Then after that was the session with the sec 2 class. At the same time, the sec 3s were having their get together after confirmation. That caught my attention when I heard some voices saying "If anyone would like to join us ..." So I went over to see who was recruiting. And a few of the newly confirmed were standing in front of the class and suggesting starting a new group.

But the one youth who struck me this weekend was Mel's sister, I was asking her what they planning to do, and she said, "you guys set age limit, we can't join you", so I told her, "why you want to join us, we so much older, than like those people in NUS share about the struggles in uni, you all won't understand. Even I feel out of place" Her reply utterly shocked me. "We don't talk about school, we talk about God then all the same mah."

So that's it 3 youths, all surprising me with their words all in this weekend. Much for me to reflect on.

And to sum up my weekend, I went for the sacerdotal ordination of then Deacon Christopher Lee. A bit overdose, 4 in such a short space of time. But if these last 2 have given me stuff to think off, I look forward to next weekend. Who knows what else is in store.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Revelation - Looking Back

This post was supposed to have been posted last week after the tues sharing. But I guess its quite fitting for today also.

Last week's sharing was from Eph 1:15-23. For me, the verse that struck me was

"that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that with the eyes of your hearts enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you"
Because as in previous post, I was reflecting on God's revelation to me. And as stated in this passage, He reveals Himself slowly bit by bit as we come to know Him. Also I was reading this book "Joshua" (not the one in the old testament) which I hope to blog about in more detail in future. In it there's a story of a doctor, that can't believe that a boy he certified dead, came back to life, and he thinks its a miracle. But then Joshua comes and says he doesn't believe in miracles.
"A little thing like that stands out in your mind because you miss the much greater mysteries that take place continually every day. What happened the other day surprises you because it was unexpected. Look in the mirror when you go to your room tonight and you will see an evolution of wonders far more exciting than the healing of a broken bone and the revival of the spark of life. The whole course of each day is filled with endless wonder, which we take for granted because it all flows so smoothly as the ordinary course of life. But each tiny event, and each moment of time, is a miracle of creation."
All this brings to mind a quote by St Augustine on the miracle of Christ changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana.
We take for granted the slow miracle whereby water in the irrigation of a vineyard becomes wine. It is only when Christ turns water into wine, in a quick motion, as it were, that we stand amazed.
St. Augustine
And thus that's my reflection the past week, as I look back at the past year of my journey which I first questioned why I had to wait, and I am amazed at the small things that I've taken for granted, but on hindsight have helped me to grow, and to realise "the hope to which He has called me".

But then I just read this from the Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional on looking back. And so it's also a reminder, that as good as it is to look back at one's life, to see the milestones, we can't be caught up with sentimentalism and be stuck there. We have to also look forward to the future and also in the present, and try to be more aware of what God is revealing to us today.
But if we go back to try and recreate the past and hold onto it as long as possible, this is not productive. We never will be able to go back to an earlier time. Plows don’t plow backwards. They only dig ahead into open fields. So do God’s purposes for us.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Never put Christ in the center of your plan of action

Shocking title for this post. And I must say I'm amazed at this revelation.
To put you at ease, its not that I've decided to move away from Christ, on contrary its got very much to do with my discernment. The words in the title are just a part of a longer quote, so go figure what can you add to make it right.

It all started out at a small meeting with an old friend, updating on whats happening in our lives. So this guy is my age, and active in church. So comes the question of plans for the future, and whether he is discerning his vocation.

Anyway to cut a long story short, he's basically putting off discerning till a later time when he is more prepared. So the question of "Where is Christ in all this?" was put to him, and he answered with "In everything I do, I put Christ first, I pray before I do anything." Wah super model answer, stamp, chop, and send straight to sainthood.

And I don't find anything nothing wrong with the statement above, and its really the most basic that we should try. In fact I just realised that maybe I should say a short prayer so that my posts would be inspired.....ok done. ;Þ

But as we were talking on the topic of discernment and vocation, I realised that the statement was not the best approach. As I've learnt in Thomas Green's book "Weeds among the Wheat" on discerment, one of the fundamental things of discernment is "desire to do God's will". And as I was thinking of the statement my friend made, somehow felt that the 'I' came first, before Christ. As in I decide what I want to do, and I ask Christ to come and bless my work.

And just at that moment it dawned on me, that discernment was the other way round, to put the Christ before the I. So instead of "putting Christ into my work", it should be "putting myself into Christ's work". But of course I didn't say it out to my friend, as it might sound quite judgemental, especially as I don't really know him that well.

Then as I was sending another friend home, I shared with him what came to me during the discussion. And he asks me where I heard that from, cos he's heard that before from Fr Edmund Chong. And he shows me the message he keeps in his phone. So like I said, its a revelation for me, and I praise God for it. I shall end of this post with Fr Chong's quote as it's much nicer than mine ;Þ

"In all that you do,
never put Christ in the centre
of your plan of action.
Instead, put yourself in the centre
of Christ's plan of action.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Eventful Weekend - Part 2


Bro. Tony Clark was in town, on a stopover during transit, on the way back from Rome to Melbourne. Bro. Tony is a Marist brother, and he was attached to our chaplaincy to look after the Australian Catholics in the uni. But that didn't stop us from getting to know him, and for him to do sessions for us.

Bro Tony Clark, Adrian and Me

Anyway, it was really nice meeting up with him, he's a really holy guy, very approachable, somehow know that he plays some part in my own call, but can't place a finger on it. It could be the chats I had with him, or working with him on the camp and sessions. But I think most probably its the way he is, and the way he carries out his own ministry that is quite inspiring.

So yup was a good pick up from the "solemn" mood of friday. We went to Sim Lim to get a mp3 player for him. Tried my Jedi mind tricks on the sales girl, to get her to lower the price. Almost managed to get through her weak mind, but then she called her boss, who's got a stronger mind. But still quite a good bargain. And then spent the rest of the time, chatting and updating each other on our lives.


In the morning, Youth Vineyard did the confirmation prep session, and must say they were quite good. The p&w, was good, especially for justin and amanda who i've never seen lead before. And they were quite creative in their activity and skit.

Then in the evening, went for the ordinations of Damien De Wind and Valerian Cheong. Was really grand, the choir was really good, although some of the servers wore the surplice which brought back to mind friday. And the server with the thurible was so enthusiastic in swinging, that it burst into flames, just after the consecration. This uncle standing next to me, was wondering why I was laughing to myself during the Eucharistic prayer.

Met Jimmy and Irene there, and also Sean and Lucy. So nice to see people filled with joy and holiness. Especially evident from the newly ordained priests. So you readers, gotta keep them in your prayers.

That sums up my weekend. Tomorrow's a holiday, quite packed also, so see what God has planned.

Eventful Weekend - Part 1

The last 3 days was rather interesting.


In the eveing I went to Holy Cross church, to attend my first ever (and I hope last ever)Tridentine mass. If I were only to say anything good that I felt, is that I thank God that Vatican II took place, and the mass is what it is today.
I shall just list some things to get them off my chest.
  1. The priest's vestments really make him look like emperor palpatine from starwars.

  2. Doesn't help in that imagery when he speaks like he's from another planet.

  3. I know which choir to get to sing at my funeral to give it a solemn mood. (They stretched the 'o' syllable in one word so long that it took two breaths to get over it)

  4. On second thought, I hope my funeral would be a celebration of me going to heaven, not mourning the lost of my soul to hell.

  5. The setting of the mass, seemed like the priest was celebrating it privately, and we were just spectators.

  6. Not only because its in latin, but because most of the mass is said silently by him, with minimal responses by the congregation.

  7. The priest either speaks latin really fast(which defeats the purpose of the mass being solemn and sacred), or he skips some of the parts in the book.

  8. I think he just speaks latin fast, because when he gave us communion, he supposed to say "Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen." But he sounded like Harry Potter speaking parseltongue, cos he managed to say the whole thing in 1 second.

  9. I really couldn't see the grandeur that this mass suppose to bring. Maybe because the choir wasn't used to the style of singing, maybe because the congregation didn't know when to stand/kneel/sit, maybe because I treated it as part of the Vatican Art Museum package : Something old, to remember our history.
Well looks like too much on that one event, will write about the other 2 days in the next post.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Stocktake : Cluttered

Just did a stocktake of my life. And must say, doesn't look too good.
And it took a manifestation of my old dark side to realise how far i've gone.
Yesterday I went to do holy hour, after a really long time, so long that I can't even remember how long its been since I last went. Then I thought about the other stuff that I've slackened in.

  • Not gone for holy hour.
  • Not done my nightly reflections of the next day's readings.
  • Can't even remembered the last time I read my books.
  • Not even read the bible.
And I wasn't even aware of it all. Maybe because I was still going for daily mass, doing my DO, that's why I thought everything is still ok.

But things just happened, and cluttered up my time. The various sagas that has been happening, the meetings, the suppers, divine mercy triduum, blogging... Really need to stop, and take a look at whats going on. Yesterday and today, were my first free nights in a long while. And the next 3 days are going to busy again. Even this post, I sat down at my comp wanting to type it, but got distracted by emails, chats, other blogs...

Ok enough about the clutter in my life. I give myself 5 mins to be sorry for my sorry state, and then move on. Now an update of my life. I'm moving to a new tuition centre in the Marine Parade Town Council building. Sound like really far right, but its right in Serangoon Central. Yah trust our govt to put Serangoon under Marine Parade GRC. Click on the map to see the election boundaries.
Election Boundaries

Anyway, there's a cheap bubble tea shop there, and so close to home. So yah quite happy. Also I've been listening to some podcasts by this cool dutch priest while at work. For those who don't know, podcasts are mp3 files that can be downloaded into your ipod or mp3 player, and you can listen to it wherever you go. Podcasts can also be subscribed to, so that you get updated with the latests ones.

So this priests does his own "talkshow" on various topics, like on the Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, his infatuation with Star Wars. And he also has stuff like Catholic Trivia, and sound-seeing tours of the vatican, Amsterdam. I'm listening to his past shows, and reached the time when Pope John Paul II passed away, and he actually was in Vatican at that time. So would be interesting to hear what was happening there.

Catholic InsiderYou can find his site at
or subscribe to the feed at

Now to find if there will be any podcasts from World Youth Day. ;Þ

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Tues night's sharing was taken from Mt 20:1-28 : The Labourers in the Vineyard.

My first thought was, yah its natural what... You work longer, you supposed to get more rewards. Where is the justice in paying all the same? Of cos I will complain. So what message was Jesus really trying to get across.

I looked at the few verses before this chapter and found this. Firstly, this parable was only addressed to the twelve. And secondly I think its really linked to Mt 19:27-30. Because there, the disciples were asking Jesus, what they would get, from leaving everything and following Him. And Jesus said that they will "sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel". They must have been quite happy about themselves, and that's how it led to James and John asking for the left and right seats.

Thats why Jesus follows that with this parable, and I feel He was trying to tell them, don't get so big-headed, and proud, just becos you were the first to follow me. All who follow me will get the same reward. Equality is the word that comes to mind. And we can't understand it from the worldly point of view of rewards. Where those who do more get more. Here the reward Jesus is talking about is eternal life, the fullnessof joy that we will have in heaven with Him. He already promises the full, complete joy. The disciples hoped to be "more full" than the rest. Br Michael Broughton used a scriptural example to explain this at the last Lumen Gentium. He said imagine the cup, and its filled to the full and overflowing, you can't add anymore to it.

And I think that Jesus was trying to address another worldly thinking that we have. That of the teacher and the disciple. Humanly, the teacher would not teach the disciple everything that he knows, for fear that the disciple will one day overtake the teacher. Like my father will teach his students only 9 of his 10 secret 'P' strategies. But Jesus is telling us, especially in His Great Commission : "Go make disciples... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." He's saying raise up equals, what's there to fear that they overtake you in holiness. Teach them all you know about me. If everyone kept a small part of the message to themselves as they passed it on, what little we would have now.

Actually have one more part here about teaching, but gotta go off...maybe blog it tonite.