Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Never be Discouraged

In my last post I mentioned about the wasp building its nest on my door. On the left is the picture of the nest that was built on my door on wednesday. After posting that blog, I went to scrape it off.

Then on thursday, after lunch, when I went back to my room, I saw this on my door (1st picture). The wasp was back! I took a photo at 2pm, then had to rush off for a meeting. When the meeting ended at 4.30, I came back, and found that it had built up even further (2nd picture). And it was still building, flying out to get more mud and coming back (3rd picture). Managed to get a nice picture of it. Had to go for manual labour and community games. And when I came back at 6.30. The nest was built and sealed. Which means that the wasp had laid its larva in it (4th picture).

Sad thing is that one of my brothers has this extreme dislike for God's wonderful creation, and so I had to remove the nest before the larva can develop into a full grown wasp, "and kills somebody".

So I decided to do some scientific research, and opened up the nest, and see what was inside. To my amazement, I found that the wasp had laid its larva inside, and had put in a spider for it to feed on. Then that brother sprayed my door with insecticide, and told me it said on the can that the effect guaranteed to last for 3 months.

But then on friday, the wasp returned again and started building right on the same spot of the other 2 nests and where the insecticide was supposed to be. This time the wasp crossed path with that brother with insecticide in hand, and the picture on the right is the sad end result. I'm keeping the foundation of the 3rd nest on my door in remembrance

On a brighter note ;Þ over that friday and saturday, we had 15 young men come to the seminary for the vocation recollection. Many new faces. We were quite surprised at the number, Praise the Lord. Now hopefully they continue to come, like the wasp, and hopefully there's no one there to "kill" their vocation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My dog ate my homework

Yah I know I've not posted anything in a while, but I have a reason. "My dog ate my homework". Actually mine is the more updated version of that reason. "My thumbdrive died on me".

I'm not kidding, I came back to seminary after the mid-sem break, plugged my thumbdrive into the comp, and it refuses to read. Even the LED light that shows activity does not come on. And so all my data inside is lost, including a few posts that I had written. And oh yah my greek homework which I started on at home. Now gotta re-do. Imagine if I go to class on thursday and said, sorry father, "my thumbdrive died on me".

Quite sad actually, cos I had 3 posts with reflections on the SYD Rally, Gerard's ordination to the diaconate and other stuff, which I can't remember now. So won't bother about it. No use crying over spilt milk.

Although I won't try and recall what I wrote on the SYD Rally, I would do it great injustice not to mention it. Kudos to the SYD team, for the effort and fine work that they did. All of us were quite impressed with the program and the turn-out. Must have truly been a wonderful learning and serving experience. And just looking at how it has brought the youths of the various churches together, working together for Christ, shows how the Holy Spirit works in us when we are open to him.

Talking about how the Holy Spirit works, despite the "sorrow" of the loss of my thumbdrive, there is cause for much rejoicing. As at this moment, there are 14 young men coming for the vocation recollection this weekend. One guy just signed up. Who knows if more will come.

Please pray for these young men, and also for us and the priest, that this recollection would be an intimate encounter with the Lord, and help them in their journey of discerning their vocation.

Gotta go now. Some wasp has decided to set up it's nest on my door. The mud is still moist, so going to remove it before it hardens. Might post up a picture of it in the next post, which might not be so soon, cos of the recollection, and oh yah my greek. Better get down to my homework. Don't think "my thumbdrive died" is a valid reason. ;Þ

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Today we went to Holy Trinity. A very big parish in terms of population, the biggest actually, with 13,000. Since they cover the whole pasir ris, simei and tampines area. So its a good thing that they are building the new parish in Pasir Ris. Compared to St Stephen's last week which has a population of 1,008 (So small they can be so exact with the number)

Trinity has a relatively young congregation. During the morning that we were there, we saw many children, youths, young adults, young parents. Few elderly as compared with the other parishes. Logistically I think it's quite a nightmare, they had so many classes for catechism with many sessions. But they are quite blessed too, because they have quite a few young catechist.

maintenance to missionFr Johnson was telling us about catechism, and showed us a book, From Maintenance to Mission: Evangelization and the Revitalization of the Parish.(The book looks quite interesting, reading the few sample pages on amazon.com.) He mentioned something quite interesting. Too often we baptise our kids, teach them the commandments, but we do not make them disciples. And he said, we need to be re-born, like in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3:1-8. This struck me quite a bit, and was my point of reflection the rest of the day. It reminded me of my own "re-birth", and I just felt that whole sense of gratitude for that transformation in my life, and that I should be ever thankful, and not take it for granted.

Now the problem is how do we bring about that re-birth and discipleship element into the catechism class. I know teaching catechism isn't easy, and the problem isn't just changing the catechism program. The environment the kids are brought up in, at home, and in the parish community. The mindset and knowledge of the catechists, in fact of the adults in the church. We can't give something we don't have. It's a vicious cycle, kids who are not brought up in the faith properly, will become adults who do not see the need to grow in their faith. And thru their actions, and if they become catechists - the cycle repeats itself.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Lent is here, and we are still trying to remember not to say the alleluia at the beginning of the Divine Office.

I was trying to settle my lenten sacrifices, albeit a bit late, but this year I am inspired to really benefit from the sacrifices. This theme of "It's not what you give up, but what you embrace" keeps ringing in my head. It all started with last sunday's sermon at St Stephen's church, by Fr Paul Staes, CICM. (Oh yah which reminds me, I didn't pen down any reflection on that visit)

The only part I remember about his sermon was, "Some of you will give up watching tv. But maybe instead of giving up tv, you should watch, but be selective of what you watch, and use it to increase your faith. Maybe borrow a inspiring movie, and use it to bring you closer to God." After that my mind went on thinking on that statement, and I didn't listen to the rest of his sermon.

Then at yesterday's evening prayer, the scripture reading was from Jam 4:7-8,10

So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds.
Which brought to mind Fr Ignatius' sermon some weeks back on the Gospel about the unclean spirit that was cast out and returned back with seven more. I never understood that passage, until he explained that, when we "cast out" our sinful ways, there is an void left in us, and unless we fill it with God and His love, the sin will return and even stronger. And so this passage from James really summerises the 2 dimensions I have to consider in my lenten sacrifices. How are my sacrifices helping me stand firm against the devil? and how are they helping me to draw closer to God?

And then today's mass readings.
"Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me?" - Isa 58:7
"For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, a contrite spirit; a humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn. - Psa 51:18-19
So this lent, I can fast, I can give up entertainment time, I can spend less on "comfort items", even give up my "bookouts". But what I am going to fill in those voids with. The obvious answer is God. But what practical ways can I do that.
"Lord, grant me the grace to see the world thru your eyes. Give me the strength to persevere in my lenten sacrifices, to stand firm against the devil and his temptations. Show me how to fill myself with your Love. And above all, grant me a humble and contrite heart, to draw myself ever closer to you. That after these 40 days I may celebrate you resurrection with a resounding Alle---a"