I have been not updating the blog recently due to a lack of time and school. Therefore, I will be doing a gratitude post for August instead in summarizing all my experiences- the good and bad ones. Also, I would describe August as a bittersweet month due to everything that has happened. Please bear with me.
I made me through another semester but my results took a slight dip. It was a huge blow to me as I knew that it was one step backwards. I still continued to trust in Jesus that in all of this, there is a plan for me.I have already taken the conscious step to extend my semester. It is scary that even though deep down grades are not everything, there is a nagging feeling that they still matter and I cannot seem to shake the feeling off.
The sad reality is that there is an increasing influx of graduates entering into the workplace which only adds to the pressure of performing well. Now, I only aspire to do my best and leave the rest to God as I yearn to be free from constant worries.
Christianity in Asia Exhibition:
This was one of the highlights where I visited the exhibition which just ended recently. It ran from 27 May to 11 September 2016 at the Asian Civilization museum . It was a wonderful experience to see the relics, paintings and furnishings that were of Christian origin. The synopsis of the exhibition was,“As Christianity spread across Asia, new works of art were created and used to tell Christian stories, decorate churches, and motivate new believers.This exhibition displays art inspired by Christianity,from devotional images and sumptuous furnishings and costumes, to entirely non-religious objects that were influenced by Christian imagery.”
It cemented my faith more strongly as there was mention of St Francis Xavier from the Society of Jesus whose members are known as Jesuits. In 1552, St Francis Xavier also passed through the Straits of Singapore before heading to China. The aspect that fascinated me the most were the artistic and cultural elements present in the many countries that can be seen in the art forms around the exhibition.
I learn alot from spending time at the exhibition and looking at the write-ups while admiring the exhibits. It was quiet also so I could reflect on the beauty of these exhibitions while reflecting on the message that the artist was trying to portray in their artwork.
It was a bittersweet moment for me as after praying to Mother Mary in asking for her guidance. In reflecting, I made the decision to not run in the leadership role in the campus community. I have decided to give others a chance to be leaders. The month of August was my last time of service before I become a member still called to service. However, I told myself that I will be taking breaks here and there from the community to find time for myself and to focus on other aspects of my life.
Seeing the other members grow into leaders is also fulfilling on my part as I had never expected to be so involved with a campus ministry. I thank God for this experience because after confirmation, I was just a regular Catholic who was finding more time to grow closer to Jesus and to find spiritual nourishment throughout the week and not only in Church. I have made many friends also through being part of the community and helping them through their problems, and also they were trying to help me. It is nice to know that you have people to count on!
Diocesan Vocation Retreat:
I felt that this was also one of the highlights of the month of August as it was an unplanned decision for me to attend the retreat which ran from 19 to 21 August 2016. The reason was that I just was beginning my short term break and I was considering whether I should sacrifice my already very short holiday to go for the retreat. Also since one of my community members was going, I took the opportunity and said Yes.
It was one of the best retreats that I had attended because everyone including the participants, seminary brothers and priests were very open and supportive in speaking to us and answering our burning questions about vocations.
There are so many vocations to choose from such as marriage, priesthood and religious life. Vocation is a discernment journey and it is an aspect that I am still actively discerning. I hope to be able to choose the one that God is calling me to and be happy with the decision. I also should probably get down to go for more adoration and perhaps find a spiritual father in due time.
I am quite jealous but I should not be of being on holiday as now even on holidays, I am still doing either CCA work or doing some form of work. I will need to better manage this aspect. I realise that being on holidays is a privilege as there are more demanding occupations such as those in the healthcare and logistics industry that might not even enjoy a holiday due to their job scope.
I just have to endure for another half a year before graduation, praying that nothing goes wrong. After graduation, before finding a job, I will take a break and that will be without any form of work, maybe just recreational writing.
May we also keep in mind our Pope Francis’ intentions for the Month of August which is “That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world. That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty and love of neighbor”.
Therefore, even though August was my most demanding and busy month, I still made it and the best thing was that I found time for God. If I open wide the doors to Christ, he will help and guide me throughout this journey, both in good and bad times. Amen.
“Look, I am standing at the door knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him”-Revelation 3:20.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong