Hi everyone! i hope that this little finds you well. may the Lord keep you!
the leaven of god @ sfx has underwent transformation as usual, and more so these months. log brings itself ever so much closer to the next stage of life, vocational priesthood marriage or lay singlehood, with sec 4s in tow like some pregnancy. there are real worries and fears present individually and in the community. there are expectations at the workplace and in family life. those who are single struggle to find a partner or enter the ministerial priesthood while those attached prepare for marriage. frantic discernment on many things that matter in life.
do not despair! cling to god and to the holy life. keep the faith and stay in hope. i urge you ever to be gentle to yourselves, to community and to the people in your life. believe in the mercy of God in these times of economic famine and drought. stay the wilful hand, word and thought as soon as emotions run high.turn to God when desires to fill the void overwhelms. recognise god’s faithfulness in your life and strive to respond in like. take up your cross and find rest in Jesus. take courage and find the joy amidst the many moments of life.
there comes the times when community seems divided, each taking to his way. there are many cares, aspirations and views. individuals prioritised different things. the ever fragile unity teeters on the edge. perhaps you feel that people can’t understand or empathise you, or maybe you just cannot connect. only the power of the Holy Spirit may bring 2 or more people together. In spite of bariers and the lacking of possibilities, let His Will be done here in log.
always remember the joy of listening of dialogue. may it be blessed with fruit in community! the demographics of log will surely change. to quote “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”. perhaps the coinage of diversity is needed to give every one a place, unity comes when dying to one’s self for the sake of community or a member. true unity cannot exist without diversity. always remember that “for this is my brother/sister i will do this for him/her” just as Christ came down and died for us.
issues with community life regarding the form and intensity and the associated state have been undercurrent and surfacing. there are matters to ponder:
- what is the role of cells?
- on session timings, celebrations and rituals
- the nature of sessions
- the changing experiences of community
- spiritual growth-direction
- discernment-communal and individual
- 1co12 and parish matters
- communications on internal and external matters
- ministry and mission
- and other stuff
the lord of harvest has sole authority on the fruit and results on everything. pray that he sends labourers to the harvest
community is a gift and only God may call and bind a community
by the way uni kids don’t feel you’re forgotten. don’t be shy to shout out if you feel that way
it’s sunday, God.
it is 2 weeks into 2016, and there’s nothing much to say. it is so easy to ask myself: what is there for me in this year.
2015 has not been without sorrow and debilitating fears, has not been without change, has not been without challenges and stagnancy. discomfort wasn’t absent. 2015 has also not been without heart-hardening heartbreaks, mind-eating heart-gnawing loneliness and silent rejection. has the violence in the heart, that wilfulness that grabs at men and at god, grown and ebbed? still stuck in hopeless and helplessness? and anger, sin and anything else.
this was in community
was it without joy, faith, hope, growth and many other good things?
does the Lord favours me? at least i would admit that He doesn’t favour me over others. much like the older prodigal son, there’s the perceived need for higher favour that stems from insecurity with what is given, or perceived right to more. enjoying God’s favour as it is, in whatever form and colour it takes, while recognizing it comes no lesser or more that it is with others.
with His favour we may enter a new year, not just another year to get by.
may the will of God be done in LoG. may there be growth, increased faithfulness to God, members and others, many joys and blessings.
I’m writing to you with a heavy heart because just a few minutes ago, I was told off yet again by my dad. In addition to the other issues I’m currently facing, it feels like I’m being dragged deeper into the forest.
This whole week (first week of school) had been a whirlwind, with everyone teachers and students alike, trying to regain momentum and prepare for the End-of-Year exams. After a long and tiring week, I sought a day out on Saturday after Science Day in school. And because he saw that I had time for my friends and not for my sick aunt, he brought up his list of “things-I-have-failed-at”.
When he was done, I was left hurt and feeling like I have been wrongly accused (because I had made plans to visit her this coming week but had not shared those plans with him) and then it made me angry that he was always jumping to conclusions and assuming things, instead of clarifying.
Amidst an array of negative thoughts and feelings, I decided to seek solace in reading and meditating on God’s word. As I was reading the reflections for today’s gospel, the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” stuck out to me. It got me thinking if God was trying to speak to me and then if there was actually some truth in what my dad was saying.
I know that there are times when I would get carried away with having my own fun and take the people closest to me for granted. I started to feel a sense of guilt wash over me as this time, I realized that the person I have been neglecting is you, my Lord and my God, who silently, patiently and ceaselessly walks by me.
I was then prompted to surrender my guilt and my sin of pride, at the foot of the cross.
As I finish this letter, I see the image of Jesus’ comforting embrace in my mind and am filled with a sense of peace and renewed hope.
Thank you and I love you, please continue to walk with me and call me back to you.
Thank you for all the blessings and guidance you have given me. As I approach the next phrase of my life, I pray for more guidance with the coming decisions that I will have to make and that you would use it for your Glory.
Today is my second day in Taiwan. But you already know that. Today I went up to the top of Taipei 101. But of course, you already know that. Today I bumbled along the narrow streets of Taipei on a bicycle, which I’m not at all confident in riding. But you already know that too. Today I got frustrated at how my friends were all sailing off into the distance while I struggled to keep my balance behind. And… Yeah you know what I’m going to type next.
Yes, today’s been quite an exciting day to write about, were this an ordinary blog. But this isn’t an ordinary blog. (we both know that). Today I saw the world as how You must see it: from high above, people going about their daily lives faaaar below me, each one inconsequential and indistinguishable from the next. Yet I know that’s not how you see us.
Know know know know know. For a word that’s supposed to bear so much certainty, it sure doesn’t seem so certain to me. I know that you’ve been there today, somewhere, somehow. I know that every grace I have comes from you. I know that you care and you love me. Or, well, I think I know. But for all this knowing, I sure don’t feel it. I’m as distant to you as I was to all those tiny people below me when I was 89 floors up.
I knew as I went into today that I was going to write a blog post. I also was pretty sure that there wouldn’t be much to link to you about. But I guess, that sums up my more recent faith life. Things happen, life goes on, interesting or not, but somehow I don’t know where you are anymore.
Yet still, I cling to some tiny string; I still wonder where you are; I still write my blogposts. So there’s some hope there.
But you already knew that, didn’t you? I wish I did.
Hmm, this is ridiculous.
I have racked my brains but to no avail. I can’t really think of anything to say to you. Well, this might mean that we are such great buddies that you already know all that I have to share. I suspect, though, that we are quite estranged.
This morning, as I lumbered along to the MRT with little joy and lots of dread, I spotted a fellow community member! Usually, I would bounce up enthusiastically, full of thanksgiving for the community members you send my way. But today, I could not muster any cheerfulness to approach that logger. Whoops, missed out on your goodness and love there. I’ll try harder next time.
During lunch, I went for mass because I wanted to improve my disposition before writing this blogpost. But I got all caught up in your cryptic message. Jesus, you were characteristically blatant when you told James and John, “You do not know what you are asking.”
Clearly, where important life choices are concerned, desire is not sufficient. Prudence, self-knowledge and humility are as important huh. James and John had the desire to be close to you, but they had not the knowledge or ability to cope with the implications of being close to you. Similarly, I have the desire to do good in my life (as a lawyer, since you led me to law school). Yet, perhaps I lack the knowledge or ability to cope with the implications of being a lawyer. That would explain why I have been languishing through law school and work.
God, you didn’t warn me 5 years ago, “You do not know what you are asking.” Instead, you sent people to encourage me to read law; you set in my heart the desire to do good; you allowed me to believe in myself and in you. Now, why don’t you help me maintain that belief and confidence in myself and in you?
Anyway… dinner was wonderful. A nice quiet meal at home with family made a peaceful end to the day. Thank you, God. I even had time to read my storybook whilst returning home from a send-off at the airport. Thank you very much!
God, you should know that I’ve been feeling sorely unproductive and unfulfilled. Looking back at the past 12 months saddens me, for I realise how stagnant my soul has become. I don’t have much hope in you or in myself these days. People have more hope in me than I have in myself! Well of course I still cling to faith. I have faith that you have a Plan. I have faith that some day, I will discover your Plan. I just don’t really have great hopes in the goodness of your Plan.
With these thoughts, I’ll say, Good night God! Good night the world! Tomorrow will be a better day.
8.15 am – I miss you. I miss us. This dryness can be so suffocating even if it is interspersed with small moments of grace. I miss hearing you loud and clear. This morning was yet another one spent with the pray-as-you-go podcast but the words fell like stones on a desert plain. Plonk plonk plonk. I run through my mind as the music invites a time of reflection but ah, I don’t even remember the question. What’s up with my prayer life, Lord? I put on some Audrey Assad and as she sings “His eye is on the sparrow, I know He’s watching me”, Father I pray for the grace to be faithful to you even if this distance between us tells me otherwise.
12.30 pm – Jesus I thank you for this meal. Help me to be loving to my teacher and the people around me.
5.45 pm – I wonder if I should head for mass today. I’m lazy and after all, is there a point of going in this dryness? Has the Lord even been lazy to me? No.
6.25 pm – Fr Luke shares that today’s readings present two opposites – Heartwarming vs Heartbreaking. Two stories of hospitality and rejection. Which is life? Both, he answers. My heart tingles, his answer is all too familiar to me. Fr Luke shares that the Christian call is not to a life of success, comfort and constant consolation. God would be spoiling us if that were so. I think to myself, “Lord, I’m a kid who wants to be spoiled” Fr Luke continues that growth always entails an entering into pain, suffering and even death as God stretches our hearts to receive him and then to be more hospitable to the people searching for Him.
6.35 pm – It’s a simple message, one that you revealed parts of to me last Friday. But evidently, truth that my heart has yet to fully accept. Thank you for reminding me that in what seems like dryness, you are enlarging my heart for you. You are disciplining me not to be dependent on consolations. But Lord, I’m still a kid who wants to be spoilt so please be patient with me as I grow. I’m still gonna have my bratty moments.
8.15 pm – Mini victory in a sister’s life. Praise God!
10.30pm – Dear Jesus, thank you for your presence today. Help me surrender my expectations of consolation and how you might reveal yourself to me. Spirit, You’re a God of surprises, so open my eyes to recognise them in the new day. Amen