My Conversion Experience

13 March 15
Dear God,

Somehow I only meet You in my journal at these retreats.

Lord, tonight I surrender to You my false self, my bitterness, my anger and my temptations. Today I am not who I want to be. I am frustrated at where I am, who I am, and that I cannot go beyond myself. I can’t make the transformation. I just know that there is something more in this life for me but it seems unattainable. Why this gap exists I do not know. How to close the distance I do not know. I know that I’m tired and I have lost hope. I wish to be renewed. Jesus, please place in me a new heart, a new spirit; a new life. I am not satisfied with my current life and I want to be made new. But I guess that’s only possible if I lay my old life down.

As I step into grace tonight I ask selfishly of that which I do not deserve: I ask for your love Lord. Conquer me, break me wide open, make me bare and naked where I cannot run and hide anymore. Take my hand and hold me. Strip me of my defenses and leave me weak and wanting of you. Reduce me to a child again Lord and let me cling to you. This is what I want from you Lord. And I ask for the grace to surrender all that holds me back. Show me your everlasting mercies. Fill my cup Lord, fill my jar.

14 March 15,

Dear God,

I lost my identity as your son. I lost my identity as a boyfriend and a partner and I gave in to the lies and deceit of the devil. So Lord Jesus, today I claim the healing and the forgiveness You have granted me through Your grace. By your wounds I have been restored to wholeness in You. Today, Jesus, I claim my identity that you have given me:

I am a Man of God who will serve You. I believe in chastity and purity. I believe in honesty. I will give myself fully to others. I will always put you first in my relationship. I will entrust the struggles of my relationship to You and You only. I may not understand, but You do, Lord. I will support and care for her because You loved me, Lord. I will bring truth and light into this my relationship, no matter how tough, Lord. This relationship is meant for You Lord. It will complete us and not alienate us.

15 March 15,

Dear God,
You show me again Your faithfulness. You have restored me to fullness with you. Your goodness and kind heart did pursue me! I remember when the Blessed Sacrament was restored to the altar, that I was reminded of You, the Suffering and Crucified Christ, who has already endured all my trials and experienced my desolations. I found comfort in seeing you suffering for me and I am glad that I am healed by your stripes. Thank you for releasing me from the bondage of a false identity.
Jesus, I also pray for a gift of counsel and the ability to journey with others. I want to serve You in Your kingdom by tending your flock. Bless me Lord that I may serve you.
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him – 1 Corinthians 2:9

(These are unedited from my journal during my time at Treasure (a young adult retreat) and reveal the story of my life over the past month where I had become angry and bitter. I can only say that God has reached down the depths of my darkness and brought me back into His light and restored my identity. I am a fragile, earthen clay pot, but yet I hold an immense treasure within me: my Lord Jesus Christ.)

A Constant Pursuit

In the morning, he greets me with a cheery message. It brightens up my day (quite literally) and sets the tone for the rest of it. I return with a quick word of thanks and would tell him what I had on for the day ahead. I share with him my excitement, my dread and complain a little but somehow bearing a lot of hope because in the end, I know he would understand.

The morning gets a little rushed sometimes and I talk to him while I walk (faster than I jog) to work. It is a beautiful moment to feel the world rushing by but his love steadying my being. Other days, the mornings are silent and I just… work, those days I never remember.

At work, I hear from him but it is a rather surface level conversation we have. I think about him when I read some catholic stuff on the internet or on wednesdays I meet him at lunchtime mass. It is almost like a formality but there are little bits of emotion that leave me genuinely happy. There used to be these regular dates when I met him at 6.30pm just for some time together, I miss those days.

More often than not, we go out with another friend and it is funny how he does not talk much but his presence just makes me come alive, especially when he is standing in the center.  At 11, we end up in ado and have an intimate chat there. Like how yesterday I was really burdened but the mere act of honestly talking to him lifted all that and I went back as happy as can be. No big gifts that impress, just his love that makes the troubles of this world seem so small.

❤ Jes

Mk9:30-37 [25th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

23rd September, 2012 Readings: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Me first! Me first! Me first! I’m the number one kid kiasu!”

Rather random, this line came to me as I was thinking about what to share on this week’s readings. This line is from a primary school musical about a girl who wanted everything first, and has somehow stayed with me through the years (lol I blame the catchy tune). I wouldn’t count myself as kiasu, but reflecting on my past few weeks, I think I was living out the ‘me first!’ attitude to life.

This Sunday, Jesus speaks to us about selfishness and pride, as He continues to challenge us to live out an authentic Christian life. For the past two months, I’ve been swamped with commitments – Sojourn, time for friends and family, a lot of meetups, and of course, the new job. Add to that – a couple of tense episodes with people. It was easy to slip into selfishness. Unconsciously, my thoughts revolved around how much time I’ve sacrificed for things, how my commitments mattered more, how alone I felt in my crazy schedule. In conflict, I was insistent on my views being ‘the right ones’, and even as I tried to compromise and give in for the sake of making peace, I did so rather grudgingly. In some sense, I think I’ve been answering the question the disciples were arguing about (Who’s the greatest?) with a resounding ‘ME’.

Selfishness can come in many forms – it could be in refusing to help a colleague out so that we can get ahead at work; not helping your mum out with a simple chore because the things you have to do are more important; or refusing to budge in an argument because our opinions matter more. Whatever the form, the root of selfishness is a preoccupation with self. In the Second Reading, St James reminds us that jealousy and selfish ambitions lead to disorder and conflict, and instead tells us about living out God’s wisdom to bear the fruits of peace, mercy and gentleness. In the Gospel, Jesus provides this wisdom; this cure to selfishness – to be the last of all and servant of all – humility and selflessness. He invites you and I to put aside our preoccupation with self, and to put on His mind and heart instead. In the lyrics of the hymn ‘Prayer of St Francis Xavier’, Jesus reminds us to seek to console than to be consoled, to understand than to be understood, and to love with all our souls than to be loved. He challenges us to think of our neighbour, rather than of ourselves.

If we have experienced and are convicted of God’s love for us, this love moves us and changes us from within. At the heart of it, our faith is always lived out in relation to another and God calls us to be life-giving in our relationships and for our lives to be a reflection of His love. How are we to give life to another if all we think about first is ourselves? How are we able to serve another or live out Christian values of understanding, care and love? How are we able to give generously of our time and presence to build up another person?

So as Jesus challenges me to be more generous in giving of myself and to consider the other in all things, perhaps He’s extending the same invitation to you 🙂 I pray that we all may be more life-giving in our relationships!

❤ Jess