This week, the community and I made it a point to attend Nox Gaudii as it was a nice way to end the week in reflecting and praising God as well. It was inspiring to see many young people praising God openly and being grateful that their lives were being touched by him in one way or another. There were alot of testimonials from young people to working adults who shared the challenges that they go through in living out their Christian lives and identity amidst the demands of the secular world.
The praise and worship team led through a series of songs and reflective questions in reminding us of the promise of Jesus that he always is there for us. The energy was just amazing and I could hear everyone singing along to the songs and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the young people.
It is a challenge to live out our faith in the secular world as common men might not understand our practices as Catholics such as praying before meals and making the sign of the cross. However, we should carry out our practice and not hide our identity for fear of judgment or ridicule as due respect should be given to any religion.
I have come to know that common men would ask me and be curious about my Catholic practices but they are understanding as after explaining to them, they would just accept it as part of my identity. Throughout the day in school, I am also called to be more Christ like in my interaction with peers and friends on a daily basis. It is to live in the way that Jesus has called us to be that guides my behaviour and choice of words. It is never to put down but to have just words of encouragement and respect for a person.
The theme “Living for More” resonates and left me with a deep impression as it is inspiring to live life for Jesus, and that material wealth should not be the first priority. It was inspiring and edifying to know that working adults and parents shared their struggles of living out the faith, and Jesus still guided them through interaction with other fellow Catholics or their families. I noted that Jesus does not send one person alone to face the world but many others so that we can help each other through the journey of life. This gives us the chance to create communities in our work and schools of Catholics who are willing to spread the word of God , share the good news and pray together.
I know that after university, I would have to enter the working life. It is a scary thought as it requires me to grow my spirituality in an office environment where they are politics and job responsibility. It is a thought to pray about but until I enter the workforce, it is more important to grow the community and to live for more, that is, to live for Jesus.
A speaker of the night, a working adult introduced to the young people a book that has helped her in maintaining her spirituality in the office. The book is titled “The Way“, by Opus Dei founder, Jose Marie Escriva. There are 46 chapters that covers a specific topic and in the last chapter of Perseverance, it says, “Foster and preserve that noblest of ideals just born within you. Consider how many flowers blossom in the spring and how few are those that grow into fruit.” Also, Persevere and you will ‘rise’. Remember what a spiritual writer has said: your poor soul is like a bird whose wings are caked with mud. Suns of heaven are needed and personal efforts, small and constant, to shake off those inclinations, those vain fancies, that depression: that mud clinging to your wings. And you will see yourself free. If you persevere, you will ‘rise’.
It shows that through simple words and writing, it can communicate so much to a person and I will continue to persevere as there is always clearer skies after the storm. I went home feeling a great sense of gratitude and joy in knowing that the cross will be something that I can cling on to avoid being washed away by the storms of life.
I would like to end this post with a praise and worship song by Matt Redman titled, “Never Once” which gives me strength to carry the cross and keep walking with Jesus. Praise God and God Bless!
“Set your mind on things above where Christ is,not on the things on earth” (Col 3:1-4)
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong