Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Darkness & Light, Imprisoned & Free

In today's reading and Gospel, I realised a similarity of the duality of darkness and light, imprisonment and freedom. The Sadducees did not like the apostles going around telling the truth, and tried to control it by having them imprisoned. But God sent His angel to set them free, and we see them teaching early the next morning, in the light of day, in contrast to the darkness of the night in prison.

One thing for me in this retreat, is to look back at the darknesses in my life. Things which I may have been unaware of, or intentionally hidden or pushed aside. To bring to my awareness the broken areas of my life, even things that I might have intellectually justified but have truly distanced myself away from God.

The next thing after the awareness, would be to surrender all these brokeness and sins to the Lord, to set me free from the imprisonment. To acknowledge that the Lord has the power to set me free from our entrapments and that He wants to free me, and to embrace His light. As I shared previously, it is a scary experience, and I think the Gospel verse describes it very well.

"For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. - Jn 3:20"
Sometimes God has already opened the prison door, but it is we ourselves who rather stay in the dark prison. Its like how after watching 2 hours of movie in the cinema, and then coming out to the bright sunlight really hurts our eyes. The thing is that we have to trust God, that He does what is best for us, and if we have to go through that pain, to burn away all our impurities, so that we can be transformed by Him, that is where faith comes in. Faith in the good times, more so in the bad times, and to see the goodness that comes out from the bad times.

My last reflection was whether I can accept that God is setting others free from their prisons. Do I still go to those prisons to look for them, do I still see them as prisoners. So often my prejudices, my first impressions, my images of what others are, prevent me from seeing the light in them, or even worst still, I might prevent them from growing, from being set free. So abstract yet so real. If I am a butterfly, and when I see a caterpillar, and I tell it, you are just a worm, I have forgotten that I was once that "worm", but through metamorphosis, or the Christian term Metanoia, I have transformed. And I must remember what the angel of the Lord told the apostles when they were set free:
"Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life." - Acts 5:20

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Joke - Confession

Now for some light-hearted religious humour ;Þ

Penitent : "Bless me Father for I have sinned, I had dirty thoughts."
Confessor : "Did you entertain the dirty thoughts?"
Penitent : "No Father, the dirty thoughts entertained me."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Retreat - The Dark Night

Retreat has started, and it has certainly been fruitful. Especially since it is continuing along the same line as what I've been sharing in my last few posts - the doubts that I had been having. One thing that I realise I forgot to blog about was the cause of my current state. After reading the book When The Well Runs Dry, I started to question myself.

  • Which stage of my prayer life am I in?
  • Is my dryness in prayer due to slackness?
  • Or is God testing me?
  • Or is He trying to teach me that consolation is not by my own effort?
  • Must I really go through the dark night?
  • Is it the only way?
  • Do I really love God that much?
  • Do I really desire to grow closer to Him?
  • Can't I just keep drawing water from the well?
  • Like I shared previously of the period of time where I doubted God's existence, did not feel His presence in my life. It was not a feeling that I would want to go through again. And now to tell me that it is waiting for me again, and even worst this time. The first analogy that came to mind was a girl telling the boyfriend, I think we need some time apart, so that our love can deepen. It doesn't make sense. But after thinking about it, that's a bad analogy, because the dark night makes sense in terms of purifying our love and relationship with God, and deepening our faith, but that doesn't make it easier or something to be desired.

    So this retreat looks like its going to be good, because in the first talk, our retreat master covered topics like the dark night, our human concept of God and His love differing from Jesus' understanding. How we have to lose God to find God. In one example, he used the story of Nicodemus, how he could not understand what Jesus was saying about being born again of the Spirit. And then we have the example of our Mother Mary, when the angel appeared to her, telling her that she was to conceive, she replied, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?". But after that through faith in God, she believed and accepted, and through the Holy Spirit, God was made flesh.

    The reason why I say the retreat has been fruitful, is because it is almost spot on with what I'm struggling with. And the retreat master in his sharing of his own life experience, has kinda motivated me to press on, to trust that the Lord will lead me to the dark night, to purify me.
    These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name. - Jn 20:31
    Finally, the above verse struck me, the last line from Sunday's Gospel. And this is the purpose for this blog, so that when I do go through that dark night, I hope that I can look back and draw strength from it, and persevere on this lifetime journey.

    When The Well Runs Dry

    This was supposed to be with the next post, but it became too long, so decided to seperate it.

    when the well runs dryI recently finished the book When The Well Runs Dry by Thomas Green. It is the follow up of the previous Thomas Green book I posted about - Opening to God. This book is about prayer beyond the beginning. In that post I quoted his example of the father and the baby, and how it is frustrating to crawl again after being carried. Well this book goes on to provide a "map" to what can be expected as a pray-er's prayer life grows.

    The first part of the book uses an example from St Teresa of Avila's writings, about us being the gardener watering the garden. The water we use symbolises the joy of our prayer, and the flowers are the virtues in our lives. In the beginning, we draw water from the well with a simple rope and bucket. This is us in the beginning of our prayer life, where prayer is a tiring process and we don't get much water/joy for our efforts. Then as we progress, we are given a pump, which means less effort on our part and more water. The 3rd and 4th stages are water from a stream, and rain. Basically, as we grow in our prayer life and relationship with God. The effort and "labour" on our side decreases, and the joys and consolations increases.

    All this is wonderful, and a wonderful motivation for me to continue in my prayer life, knowing that it will be easier and more fruitful as develop my "spiritual muscles". But as the title of the book hints, it does not end there. Thomas Green, calls that stage, moving from Knowing God, to Loving God. The next stage is to move towards Truly Loving God. And this is the part that provided me with much food for thought, leading to much doubt.

    In the next stage, the joys we get from prayer are interspersed with times of dryness or desolation. And as we go on, the periods of dryness will get longer, until it becomes the norm. He uses the example of human courtship to parallel this process, we have the initial period, where we Discover more about each other, then the Loving and spending more time together, and then after committing to each other in marriage, comes the Truly Loving, through good times and bad, sickness and health... and living life together, no longer about the thrills and excitement, but just really two becoming one.

    Thus this next stage is where our love is purified. The reason why this is necessary is that, our human minds and intellect cannot fully comprehend the love of God, and because of that we limit God and His love in our lives. And it will challenge us to lose our concepts of God and we would doubt His presence by our side. This is the dark night of the senses and soul that St John of the Cross talks about.

    This will definitely be a trying time, and he uses very illustrative examples of the potter and the clay, and that of the small child who does not understand the necessity of the pain of surgery to save his life. And it is only when we truly embrace that dark night, and trust in God that our whole being can be transformed.

    Lastly, he uses the example of floating to differentiate the different approaches to prayer that we take. While we are so used to being active in our prayer, judging our progress by our own efforts, as a swimmer, we still try to control the direction and the destination. But what we are called to do, is to float, and allow the Lord to guide and bring us to the destination that he chooses. To do nothing gracefully, totally surrendering our will to Him.

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    I Also Don't Believe

    The readings of saturday and sunday keep bringing to mind the theme of unbelief. In Saturday's reading we see the priests, scribes, leaders who despite being amazed at Peter and John, and having no answer for the miracle performed on the crippled man, could not believe in the testimony of Peter and John. Saturday's Gospel strikes even harder, because this time, it is the eleven disciples who do not believe. First when Mary Magdalene said that the Lord was alive and she had seen him. Then the testimony of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. And we see in Sunday's Gospel, Thomas, in the event which would make him forever associated with "Doubting".

    I questioned myself, why am I caught up with the disbelief instead of focusing on the more positive aspects of the resurrection, the wonder of God's power in the healing of the crippled, or the peace and commission given by Jesus to the disciples. And I found the answer in my reflection on thursdays Gospel.

    "Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your heart?" Lk 24:38
    Looking at my previous post put link here, I suddenly realise that there is a pattern. There is a questioning of my faith, my growth, or even my lack of questioning in my life now. Initiated by God, through inspiration by His Word. And I thank Him for that. Even this awareness of myself, I have to be grateful for his soft prompting and Spirit working in me.

    Suddenly I recall the last time I went through this process, of doubt, and then of his being by side. On the night of 10 Aug 2002, while in KL, when I was in my "I don't believe that God exists" state. The irritating nagging of my Youthworks friends. Not allowing me to sleep until I talk and express it out. I still thank God for being there for me that night, acting thru them sacrificing their sleep. Thanks guys, really see God acting in you all that night. Of course that is viewed retrospectively, but definitely a big part of my salvation history. Love you all.

    Anyway, just reflecting and typing our that last paragraph, has given me strength to carry on. Of course I also draw strength from the scriptures, where if the disciples who also doubted that much, and yet were the same ones who performed that miracle for the cripple, I trust that the Lord is still by my side, and that he will bring me through this, with an increase in my faith.

    Talking about doubt and the scriptures, another topic would be the latest buzz around: The Gospel of Judas. It's not that big a thing here in the seminary, maybe because our foundation is so strong here that it is not shaking our faith ;Þ, or more likely it is because we don't have cable here, so did not watch the National Geographic documentary. What we can gather is from the newspapers, and from our scripture professor, but of cos he gives us the Catholic point of view. But what I really want to know is what the people out there are thinking, doubting, questioning on this topic. So if there are any questions that you have or your friends are asking, drop me a comment or email. Also if you know how I can watch the documentary please tell me. Thanks.
    P.S. This post and the next few are going to be post-dated, mostly my reflections or things that struck me during the retreat. Hopefully I have time to do them. Now that retreat is over, means that back to studying...Greek and Latin await...

    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    RSS Feeds

    Kenneth posted about RSS before, but I recently discovered how it is making my life easier.

    Firstly, with RSS, I have been able to keep updated with the different blogs. But I was only able to do this once a week, because we have no internet access in our rooms, and unlike some of the other brothers with laptop, mine is a desktop, so can't just bring it to the internet room to logon. So I check my feed updates during the off days when I go back home. This is a bit troublesome, and also means I read slightly out of date stuff.

    But recently, I found out about bloglines from Kenneth, and its just amazing. An online RSS reader, where I can just put in all my feeds, and check it daily like my email. Warning, if you are planning to use it, some knowledge of what feeds are would be useful. The site does help make it easier to add feeds from popular blogsites like blogspot and easyjournal. But for other sites, you need to know the feed URL to add. Or the easiest way is if the blog you are interested in has a link, clicking on it will automatically add it to your bloglines list of feeds. My feed links are at the bottom right.

    And my last great discovery, is this website : It provides feeds to so many comics. I can now get my daily dose of laughter from my favourite comics.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Acknowledging God's Presence

    One common theme struck me in today's two readings, Acts 4:1-12 and Jn 21:1-14, the Acknowledging of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter testified to Christ's in the miraculous healing of the cripple, and John said "It is the Lord" during the miraculous catch of fish.

    This caused me to reflect on my own awareness of the Lord in my life. I identify with the disciples in today's readings and even in the rest of the readings this week. There is always the recognition of the Lord at miraculous events. Mary Magdala at the tomb, the breaking of bread at Emmaus, the appearance in the upper room. And yes in certain events in my life, especially when I need the Lord's help, like finishing an assignment or leading in a session, which is a miracle to me, I seek the Lord's help, and I realise His presence. But in my daily life, I am not that aware of His presence.

    At the beginning of the term, I blogged about the examen that we do at night. At that time, there was that conscious effort and struggle, to be aware of the presence of the Lord in my life. But as time went on, I have slackened. And thus today is a real wake up call, to strive once more to be aware of His presence in my life. In here, where there are so many fixed times of prayer, it can be so mechanical and routine, that it is easy to take for granted and just go through the motions.

    Then today at Salvation History class, we also covered the physical reminder of God's Covenant, circumcision. Abraham and all his descendants were to be circumcised as a sign of their covenant with God. A physical mark, reminder of God's promise and of their response to God. Well that is no longer necessary, but it got me thinking of a tangible reminder for me of my covenant with God, to help me remember His presence in my life. For me, it is my rosary ring, which I bought at Holy Spirit Church on palm sunday to replace the one I lost in IHM last year. And when I looked at my hand, it wasn't there. I had left it at the sink when I washed up this morning. And of all days for it to happen it had to be today. Maybe because I already had a reminder at mass, so I didn't need it to remind me today.

    Anyway, that's my challenge today, this week, and hopefully next week during the retreat, to be aware of the Lord's presence in my life. I know I will slacken, but hopefully I will keep getting reminders, to start again, and strive on.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006


    I like the comic B.C. Every once in a while especially on Easter and Christmas it has some Christian message to it. Saw this one for this Easter. Enjoy.


    Think this is my shortest post ;Þ

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Holy Week

    This Holy Week has been good, not the best, but still one of the best. This year, we had the Easter Triduum celebrations in the seminary itself. So the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Passion and the Easter Vigil was all done inside with the seminary community.

    It has been a very different experience, I think because of the change of state and environment. It all began with the Chrism mass in the morning at CTK. As one priest remarked, our first official "public" mass (not counting the Serra Club initiation mass). Walking in procession, sitting behind the priests as they stood up to renew their vows, on one hand enjoying the novelty of it, on the other, wondering when that novelty wears off, if it will just become routine.

    Then in the evening we had the Mass of the Lord's Supper, and we rang the big bells outside during the Gloria. The neighbours must be wondering what the commotion was all about, considering that those bells have not been rung in such a long time. They sound like those bells in the villages when there is a fire. Then I had my feet washed, and I guess that was the start of my reflection of being a disciple.

    After the mass, we had the procession of the Eucharist out to the Grotto outside the Chapel, and adoration until midnight. It was a wonderful experience, so different from in church. Sitting there, feeling the wind, hearing the lizards and cricket chirping away. The darkness only broken by the flickering of the candles. (It looks so bright in the photo only because of the long exposures) Really, felt like being in the garden with Jesus. And of cos the disciple experience wouldn't be complete with out the falling asleep in the garden ;Þ


    Then at midnight, the Eucharist was brought from the the Grotto and kept. This time it was just accompanied by single lamp-bearer. So contrasting with the grand procession we had from the mass to the garden with the incense, and everybody singing. Which in itself was so symbolic, how Jesus went from the last supper to the garden with all his disciples, singing. But when he was arrested, he was left alone.

    Cimg3975During that time, while I was taking photos, I saw the moon in the sky surrounded by clouds, and so took a photo of it. It was so eerie, when on Good Friday, I was watching the Passion of the Christ, at the beginning in the garden of Gethsamane, they showed the moon shining through the clouds, much like what I saw that night.

    For Good Friday, we had stations of the cross, inside the chapel, as it was raining as it always does on Good Friday every year. I also watched the Passion of the Christ, before we celebrated the Lord's Passion at 3pm. That really helped me reflect even further. Seeing the expressions on the faces of Peter, Judas, John and Mary. The actions of Veronica, Simon and the repentant thief. My "Crucify Him" at the Passion Gospel, the same as that shouted by the chief priests.

    Life of ChristAnother thing that helped was reading was Archbishop Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ. The chapter "The Seven Words from the Cross" gave me much to reflect on. Enough to have a separate blog post by itself.

    But I guess the biggest realization for me, is to treasure this experience. It's not every year that we will be celebrating the Triduum in the seminary, which means there will not always be such a personal, cosy celebration. And also the amount of time spent in prayer. More so life after the seminary. After I watched the Passion of the Christ, which I have for the last 3 years, I couldn't help but wonder whether that will be possible for a priest. The many services, preparing sermons, the whole liturgical preparations. A reminder not to get so caught up with activity and routine, forgetting the essential stuff which makes Holy Week, truly holy and glorious.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Emptied, Cleaned and Prepared

    Say to the master of the house, "The Teacher says, 'Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'" Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.
    This morning as I was reading and reflecting on the long gospel passage of Palm Sunday, this line struck me. It reminded me of an image that came to my mind once during praying over at one of the camps. This image of our heart being the upper room with the disciples gathered there. And so in that room, we had the rash Peter who denied, the Thomas who doubted, the Judas who betrayed, the rest who ran away.

    So as this image came to my mind, I somehow felt the Lord asking me "where is my guest room this holy week? Is it prepared?". And as I looked at my lent, I won't say it's the best, but quite acceptable, and felt confident enough to say, "Yes, the room is ready.

    Then I moved into a more meditative mood and started to look for the preaching point of view. And I realised that there are two parts. Firstly that the master of the house, must have emptied the room, cleaned it and arranged the furniture in preparation. This I related to our lenten sacrifices (emptying), the sacrament of reconciliation (cleaning) and the reflections on the themes in the readings of lent (arranging furniture). And using this as my guide is why I can say, "ok lah, quite prepared."

    But there comes the second part, despite the room being ready, Jesus still tells the two disciples to make the preparations there. There is more to the preparation than just emptying, cleaning and arranging furniture. There is the whole preparation of the meal and the setting for the celebration. I saw that as God's invitation or reminder, to use these remaining days, to fill the place, to do the necessary for a fitting celebration. I was reflecting at this holy week, compared to the previous ones, and this one seemed a bit empty at first. But I came to the conclusion that it was because of all the activities we always had during this period. Here in the seminary, things are a bit quieter, and so the challenge for me is to really make full use of the next few days, to prepare myself.

    Already as it is, I find myself looking forward to the Gloria and Alleluias. I've never felt this way before, seems quite wierd. I guess my "appetite" was whet today at Holy Spirit, when I heard the children's lit sing the Gloria, and the choir practicing Handel's Alleluia Chorus. And if seminary is anything like the parish, yah I know I'll get a bit sick of the constant Alleluias in Easter, but not really concerned about that now.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Broken Clay

    Truly God works in His own time in His own ways.

    wellrunsdryToday I was reading the book "When The Well Runs Dry" by Thomas Green, as part of my IY formation. And I had just started reading Chapter 4 - The Potter's Clay, when I heard a song playing on my comp in the background. The song is "Broken" by Kristy Starling, from one of the CDs that we were given at the Serangoon District Youth Rally.

    All I could hear from my bed was "mold me, put the fragments of my life back together again, Cause I'm broken". This got me out of the bed, and I went to the comp to turn up the volume. And surprisingly the song matched what I was reading so well.

    In the chapter I was reading, Thomas Green was using the passage from Jeremiah 18:1-6 to explain what to do in the dryness of our prayer life. "Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel." The reason why we experience dryness, is that God is teaching us to let go, to let Him take charge, to allow Him to transform us to what He intended us to be.

    But how painful the transformation will be, depends on how much we want to allow Him to mold us. If we are hard and contented with the shape we are now, it would be hard for God to transform us. But if we allow ourselves to be soft, malleable clay, then his gentle hands will transform our shape, disfigured by sin, into His design.

    It is just that we fear that change. Thomas Green also uses another example, that of a small child who has to go through surgery to save his life. He doesn't understand why his parents make him go through pain. If only he can be brought to understand the good that will come out of the pain. So often we are like that child, not understanding why the dryness, the suffering or the pain. And God is there like the parent, telling us, it’s for your own good, don't worry, trust in me.

    And that is why I found the song so meaningful. In the lyrics, was the theme of confusion, brokenness, doubt. Especially in the last 2 verses and the chorus. That is what we are called to be, broken clay in the hands of the potter. And the last line just sums up what I felt today, God calling me to do. "My will to You, I surrender. Oh, I surrender"

    "O Lord, it is so easy to say I want to be the clay in your hands, but so hard to let myself go. I know it up in the head, but so difficult to follow. I know it is a life long journey, so I ask you to grant me the strength and perseverance. Help me to be open to your loving touch that will expose the hard areas in my life, and grant me the grace to release it for you to transform."

    Kristy Starling

    Broken - Kristy Starling

    "You said I'd have no more
    than I can handle
    But everyday seems to be
    getting harder to make good
    Through You, You said that
    I could do anything, oh anything
    But sometimes, I feel like
    I can't do it at all

    I've been knocked down
    and dragged around
    And now I don't know
    which way to go
    All I need is one small sign
    to put me to where,
    Where You want me
    I'm confused so I'm calling on You

    Cause I, I'm broken
    And I'm ready for you
    to pick up the pieces
    Won't You direct me, hold me,
    accept me, and mold me
    Put the fragments of my life
    back together again
    Cause I'm broken

    Somewhat embarrassed to admit this
    But I wonder if it's the other, or if it's You
    Is it trying to tempt me, or is it You
    Who strengthens me
    I'm weak, so I'm confessing to You

    My pride has been bruised
    I suppose that's good
    My will to You, I surrender
    Oh, I surrender

    Thursday, April 06, 2006


    Just had our holy hour today, and I was one of those on duty to prepare and conduct it. It being the week before holy week, it was also our community reconciliation night. Of all kinds of session to do, this has to be my first...

    Anyway we ended with the whole chapel filled with smoke that we could hardly breathe. Funny thing is after dinner, we were watching this show called earl"My Name is Earl". And this episode was about reconciliation, Jesus and smoke. The show is about a guy who realises his life is in a mess, and decides that it is because of the bad karma accumulated because of his bad deeds. And so he makes a list of bad things that he did before that he wants to make good. Today's episode, was that he had to confess to an old friend who went to prison for something that Earl did. Another thing he had to do was to quit smoking. He was initially afraid to go and confess, cos the guy, Donny, was quite crazy, so he tried to quit smoking instead, without success. But the beautiful yet funny thing is that, when Donny went to prison, he discovered Christ, and he turned over a new leaf. And when he found out that it was Earl that caused him to go to prison, he was angry at first but then looked at the tatoo of the Crucifix on his body and asked "what would Jesus do", and then he said "I forgive you".

    The show made me reflect on certain things. Many times we find it so hard to reconcile with people we hurt, prefering to focus on things like stop smoking, stop swearing. Sometimes we need the help of others to start that reconciliation process, and sometimes we need to help others. And lastly maybe I should also get a tattoo of the Crucifix on me, so that I can always ask Him, "What would you do?"

    Nah, I think I'll just stick to a nice metal crucifix. But praise God for the recon session today. Good thing we dun believe in karma, we would never be able to atone for all the wrong that we have done in our lives.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    100th Post - Here Am I

    Here_am_I_Send_meWah finally, I reached 100. Took me 2.5 years. But anyway wanted to make it a special one. And God sent a wonderful gift to me.

    I was looking at the website I featured in my last post, I found a link to another website, with other videos. And of all things I find there, the music video of Mercy Me's "Here Am I".

    This song has a special place in my heart, as I would call it my "calling song". 2 years back around this time, Ernest introduced the band Mercy Me to me. And this particular song struck me, the lyrics caught me, and coupled with the phone call... well Here Am I today.

    Praise the Lord for this nice reminder, the timing was just fantastic.

    Mercy Me - Here Am I

    On the other side of the world
    She stands on the ocean shore
    Gazing at the heavens she wonders
    Is there something more
    Never been told the name of Jesus
    She turns and walks away
    What a shame

    Just across the street in your hometown
    Leaving from his nine to five
    Gazing down the road he wonders
    Is this all there is to life
    Never been told the name of Jesus
    He continues on his way
    What a shame

    Whom shall I send
    Who will go for me
    To the ends of the earth
    Who will rise up for the King
    Here am I send me
    Here am I send me

    Whether foreign land or neighbors
    Everyone's the same
    Searching for the answers
    That lie within your name
    I want to proclaim the love of Jesus
    In all I do and say

    How beautiful are the feet
    of those who bring good news
    Proclaiming peace and your salvation

    Nicole Nordeman - Why

    I received an email from Colin with this link to the Nicole Nordeman song "Why". With a clip from the Passion of Christ playing on one side and the lyrics on the other. I think the song is quite nice, and very meaningful as we prepare ourselves this week, to enter into the Passion of Christ.

    I won't put the video on this blog. But you can download it from this website

    Nicole Nordeman - Why

    We rode into town the other day,
    just me and my Daddy.
    He said I'd finally reached that age,
    and I could ride next to him on a horse
    that of course was not quite as wide
    We heard a crowd of people shouting
    and so we stopped to find out why
    There was that man that my dad said he loved,
    but today there was fear in his eyes

    So I said Daddy why are they screaming?
    Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
    Why is he dressed in that bright purple robe?
    I bet that crown hurts him more than he shows
    Daddy please can't you do something?
    He looks as if he's going to cry
    You said he is stronger than all of those guys
    Daddy please tell me why,
    why does everyone want him to die?

    Later that day the sky grew cloudy
    and daddy said I should go inside
    Somehow he knew things would get stormy,
    boy was he right
    But I could not keep from wondering
    if there was something that he had to hide
    So after he left I had to find out,
    I was not afraid of getting lost
    So I followed the crowds to a hill
    where I knew men had been killed
    And I heard a voice come from a cross:
    And it said:

    Father why are they screaming.
    Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
    Why are they casting their lots for my clothes??
    This crown of thorns
    hurts me much more than it shows,
    Father please can't you do something?
    I know that you must hear my cry
    I thought I could handle a cross of this size,
    Father remind me why,
    why does everyone want me to die.
    When will I understand why?

    My precious Son,
    I hear them screaming.
    I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming
    but soon I will clothe you in robes of my own.
    Jesus this hurts me more than you know
    But this dark hour I must do nothing.
    Though I've heard your unbearable cry
    the power in your blood destroys all the lies,
    soon you'll see past their unmerciful eyes.
    Look there below see the child
    trembling by her father's side.
    Now I can tell you why,
    she is why you must die.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Toys R' Us Kid

    Last week during our Personal Growth and Relationships class, somehow the topic of discussion moved towards maturity and growing up. You know how sometimes we remark to someone, "Why don't you grow up?", to tell him to be more matured or to act his age.

    My point in the discussion, was that in current society, we no longer know what it means to be a grown up. Come to think of it, I don't think that phrase is used anymore. Previously, a child knows he is a child, and knows that an adult behaves in a different manner. And normally we have the "coming of age", like maybe the 21st birthday, where society acknowledges us to be adults, and thus more is expected of us, in terms of responsibility, accountability and behaviour.

    But somehow, now that doesn't seem to be happening. There doesn't seem to be a transition from childhood to adulthood. Maybe it's because of the society that we live in. Because at the age of 24 some of us are still studying, which of cos is unconsciously linked to children. toysrusOr maybe we are the Toys r' Us generation, and the song "I don't wanna grow up", has assured us that we can still be "young at heart". For those who don't know the song, you are still young.

    Sad to say, this is not me criticising the world, cos I see that in me. And just now as I was doing reading an article for my methodology assignment, talking about vision. Don't know why, my thoughts went back to last week's personal growth discussion, and I started to question and reflect on my own vision of adulthood. And when I thought back to what I as a youth or teenager had in mind of what a 28 year old should be, I find my current life differs so much with my original vision.

    I still remember when youthworks first started, there was one session that Gary did, and he asked us to write down how we saw our lives in 5, 10, 15, 20 years time. I think I was 20 then, and at 25 I hoped to be married, 30 to have a stable job, 35 maybe a car to send my kids to school... Of course now my life has taken a different path, I still see myself in growing in stability in terms of my vocation.

    But yet there is still this other part of me which doesn't match my idea of an adult. Maybe cos I've been hanging around the youths too much. One thing which for me was a sign of age, was dressing, different age groups have different dress styles. But my dressing has been pretty much the same, still t-shirt and jeans. Maybe now I wear more polos than before. And I think I can understand why some of the "aunties" in church find it wierd that I still call them "aunty".

    I have grown intellectually, in understanding the workings of the world, in self knowledge. Retrospectively, I think I have grown. Maybe I see myself everyday (duh!), thus don't see the growth. Or maybe I can't see myself behaving like those older than me, forgetting that they are also growing, and thus, I should not compare myself with them, but with the younger versions of them.

    I still remember the conversation I had with Janet Ang, one of the catechism teachers. At that young age, I saw her as an adult, active in church. But only last year, when she was back in singapore for a while, she remarked that I was doing what she used to be doing. Inside me, I couldn't see it that way, cos I always had the impression of her being older. Maybe I just don't want to grow old ;Þ

    I guess it's just a wake up call, as I go further into this journey. To be more aware of myself, my growth, my age, and whether I'm acting my age.