Corpus Christi Sunday: The Bread of Life

 

New Challenges. The transition from university to work life is not an easy one, as I often meet with challenges and obstacles. These have left me finding new ways in working round these challenges, but the amount of time and expectations needed to be fulfilled often left me truly tired at the end of the week. Rather, I just need to endure till the contract is up before deciding on more future plans, maybe even vacation plans.

The gospel begins by saying,Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6:51-58).”

When I was younger and still in catechism class, I had a difficult time comprehending the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. Growing up, I begin to look at it containing the visage of Jesus where we are constantly reminded that in all our triumphs and tribulations, He is the only one Who can give us true salvation, the promise of eternal life.

So this begins my earnestness to find life everyday in Jesus, to trust Him in times of uncertainty and worries, and to count on Him so as not to falter in times of great stress. Jesus promises us the gift of eternal life by staying faithful and holding onto the cross. We will reap our rewards on the last day.

To describe the true joy and experience of the Holy Eucharist, there is a story about Blessed Imelda Lambertini of Bologna. God called her to the religious life at the age of nine years old and she entered the Dominican convent at such a young age.

That spring, on the Vigil of the Ascension, Imelda once again pleaded for the Eucharist, but the officiating priest refused her. Imelda would not take “no” for an answer this time, so she fervently asked Jesus for the grace to receive him.

After Mass, when nearly everyone had left the chapel, Imelda continued to pray. The sacristan noticed a growing bright light above Imelda’s head, and within the glow, a eucharistic host appeared.

The chaplain ran forward with a paten, and Imelda finally received the body of Christ. With a rapturous smile on her face and her hands upraised, Imelda instantly died on her knees. Those who tell the story say her heart broke from the greatness of Jesus’ love.

Her body never decomposed, and visitors can pray before the little patroness of First Communion at the Church of San Sigismondo in Bologna.”

Today is also Fathers’ Day, and we honour and remember our fathers and father figures, and for the sacrifices that they have made. Being a parent or a father figure is difficult as there are so many responsibilities that need shouldering. I think we do not thank our fathers and father figures enough.

This brings to mind the Lee family dispute; it is important to honour the father’s last wishes and this dispute can be settled amicably and peacefully as a house is but a physical structure. A house can be mended if exposed to wear and tear, but broken hearts might not be so easy to mend. There are many other ways to remember the past contributions of Singapore’s leaders and surely fighting over a house is not one of them.

Say a short prayer if your family is going through difficult times, as family ties are more important at the end of the day.

May we continue to pray for each other, that we may experience the love of Jesus and treasure our family by being grateful for them. Let us continue loving one another as Jesus has commanded us.

Father Day’s Prayer 

Dear Lord,
So much attention has been given to mothers that often fathers are forgotten. We are not able to cry as mothers do when things become difficult. Yet we often cry quietly within, worrying about so many things. We have to keep the family safe, provide for the family, save enough for our children’s education and worry that they will grow up wrong.

Yet we face the dilemma of being too hard that we may hurt our children or too soft that we may spoil them. All too often we face a conflicted guilt of spending too much time in our work to provide for the family and then feel bad that we have so little time for our wives and children. We have wanted many times to say sorry for this, but do not even know where to begin.

But through it all, we fathers thank You, for the many joys that come with being fathers. The joys of realizing how we can love our children unconditionally, seeing them growing up at every stage of their lives, and most of all, whenever they turn out right.

Please Lord, help us fathers to be always wise and fair in our dealings, to have patience and unconditional love. In all that we do and be, help us to build a family that empowers our wives to be happy, our children to turn out right and to be God-fearing. Finally, help us fathers to remember that we are called fathers after You, who is Father of us all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Credits to Fr Joachim (Church of the Transfiguration)

Happy Father’s Day and God Bless!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Holy Trinity Sunday: Branded by the Trinity

 

The sign of the cross. Many Catholics do this gesture with reverence, while others make the sign due to habitual instinct. However, do we really know the meaning behind the sign of the cross? Comprehending the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is a mystery- 3 entities, 1 body and the simple illustration would be if one says that he is a husband or a parent, then he must have children, or a spouse. Therefore, this illustrates the profound meaningfulness of the Trinity that every aspect of it fits together seamlessly.

But the Trinity symbolizes something easily overlooked or taken for granted due to its perceived simplicity. This symbol is love, and we are called to be in the communion of love with Jesus and the people around us. This communion of love can be described as “The love between the Father, and the Son, and the breath that they share between them is that Holy Spirit.” The quote is by a friar during his sermon and it so aptly describes the call to love and to serve with love.

The gospel begins by saying, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:16-18).”

So much truth is being said in the gospel, because sometimes, I feel that the world has so much of the bad, that I wonder where the good had gone to? For good men will not perish and Jesus has come to save the world, and not condemn it. It is through sinful actions and temptations that corrupts or stalls God’s plan in saving humanity.

Through our baptism and confirmation, we have been branded by the Trinity and through the sign of the cross, we convey this love of God to others and glorify His name. This action serves as a reminder to live life that is deeply rooted in God’s love and we can complete the work of God in our lives that he has sent us out to do.

I was going about my usual day when I saw the news report that the father  otter of a family of otters at Singapore had passed on and poisoning was suspected. I was saddened by its passing, and decided that since we are called to love society and more so creation.

The otters living in Singapore only re-emerged after a few years of absence due to the government’s and nature groups’ efforts in cleaning the waterways. However, the reason why I asked if there is still love in society is because there have been reports of unidentified individuals who have been covering the otters’ homes deliberately. It is through such acts of cruelty that has jeopardized the existence of these beautiful creatures.

Many times, I have pondered, when these people carry out these actions, do they have a conscience or is their whole devoid of the slightest compassion? Illegal fishing is also another issue that have been putting these otters at risk. Hooks from these activities get caught in these creatures which cause injuries and could even lead to death. If only people spare a thought, the world would indeed be a better place.

There is so much to learn from animals such as the otters on love. Even though the father otter was sick and unwell, he still watched over the mother otters and the pups, never once leaving their side. So you see, love is truly being there for each other till the end. Now, I pray for the safety of the mother otter and the pups as she will need to care for her family on her own. Sometimes the absence of a father puts great stress on the mother and her family and this is like the parallel of human relationships. Now there are only the Marina Bay Sands and Bishan Park otter families, but they do move around.

I appeal to society if you have the slightest conscience and humanity to spare a thought for these animals. If you do not like them for whatever reason- just leave them alone. Your selfish actions does not do anyone good. Before you do anything, do think of the consequences and have more compassion because it will do the world alot more good. Right now, the world needs more good than anything else, and this is true always.

It makes me sad and sometimes angry that even such basic values have to be spoken time and time again especially towards the care for creation. Truly, society has so much to learn about love and co-existence, that even if it is just me speaking up, I will continue to do so. It takes more to create goodness and to make people understand the message that I am trying to bring across. The reality is that society seems to not be able to treasure the good things that are given to them.

Just think of the recent bicycle sharing incidents.

May society come to experience God’s love and also always remember to carry out actions with love and reminding people around them to do the same. Forgiveness and compassion will continue to be instilled in society so that more good can come out in tailoring effective policy and mindset shifts and changes.

God Bless! and remember to always choose love and when we are tempted to do otherwise, always look to the Trinity for direction and guidance!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Pentecost Sunday

 

Birth. Today marks the birth of the Church where the disciples were touched by the Holy Spirit. Birthdays are a time of great joy and celebration, and we too are called to embrace the gifts of the Spirit and to be in touch with  living. This allows us to be led, filled and anointed  by the Spirit in many ways that only we are aware of.

The gospel begins by saying, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained (John 20:19-23).”

The Upper Room was where it all began and where the disciples were renewed with the Spirit and affirmed of their faith. The disciples were led by Jesus and they remained faithful, though at times, they still had their own fears and doubts. Jesus knew that the disciples were not perfect, but their intentions and heart were in the right place of goodness and good works.

In their most uncertain hour, Jesus came to them to put their restless hearts at peace and to give them the mission of the Church which is to be of service to the rest of the world. Before the disciples set out, Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit, a part of the Trinity , the Third Person, through our baptism and confirmation.

The Holy Spirit does come from God, and all goodness does flow through him, therefore when we discern whether the promptings are from the Spirit, we would know if our intentions and work do not contravene the teachings of the Church. Also, acts of the Holy Spirit will bear us fruits that will last, meaning that the goodness of the Spirit continues and multiplies. It is not a one-off action.

The Holy Spirit has always played a huge role in my life, but at times, it can be difficult to discern between the Spirit’s promptings and those of our own will. In most cases, it is the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. This is where prayer and continuous discernment come into action, where we are called to look and re-look if the Spirit is really calling us into action.

In essence, akin to that of a relationship, we too need to acknowledge the presence of the Spirit and pray to receive His gifts  which are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. Then, we can use these gifts to direct others unto the path of righteousness and courage to fight for what is right for the common benefit towards society.

Next week, I begin a new chapter after university life which is working life filled with new challenges, tasks and expectations. I have to be prepared to face all of them to the best of my ability and trust that Jesus will provide as I surrender everything (pain, imperfections and tiredness) to his will.

May the Spirit continue to guide each of us to continue the discipleship of great service and compassion to mankind in times of uncertainty and trials. We pray that our actions will bear lasting fruits and create greater impacts within the fabric of society. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love! God Bless!

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore

In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

 

World Communications Sunday: Fear Not, For I Am With You

 

Media & Communication. We turn to read the news daily, keeping up with the latest trends and array of information that comes in almost by the minute. That is alot of information to sieve out, but media has always been the best focal point to communicate to a large audience.

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and Indonesia, many people have taken to social media in a call of solidarity and strength to provide for those affected by these uncalled for attacks on the innocent. The media is such a powerful tool and if used properly could do so much good for others which is something that news outlets should strive towards.

The gospel reading begins by saying,Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,because the words you gave to me I have given to them,  and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them.

I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you (John 17:1-11A).”

This year’s theme of the 51st World Communications Sunday is,”Fear not, for I am with you: Communicating hope and trust in our time.”It is aligned to the gospel reading which I thought made the message that Jesus was trying to tell his disciples more relevant and true in this day and age. It showed the humility of Jesus in its most direct form where he keeps his followers in prayer.

Praying is an important aspect of the Catholic faith and it is playing a much more significant role now. I learnt to rely more on prayer because it keeps me grounded and I am always thinking of ways that I can be grateful to the God the Father and those around me. It helps me get through the day and that I know that Jesus will walk with me through it all. It is not so much of the length of the prayer but the heart in one’s prayer- it should be honest, sincere and humble. Keeping each other in prayer also helps to foster a culture of encounter with God.

Communication involves not only speaking of love and kindness, it involves listening. Last year’s 50th World Communications Sunday message, Pope Francis said, “Listening is never easy. Many times, it is easier to play deaf. Listening means paying attention, wanting to understand, to value, to respect and to ponder what the other person says. Christians ought to be a constant encouragement to communion, and even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil, they should never try to rupture relationships and communication.”

Pope Francis also speaks about the power of God in communication. He said,“If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power.” Every person has their own story to tell and if we listen closely, we can help them tell a better story or bring out the goodness present in them.

People have come up to me and asked me,”You have no fear in voicing your opinions, why? Aren’t you afraid?” My reply to them is if we fear, there will be no change in society. The human’s voice helps bring forth change. Many voices will create dialogue and then our opinions will be heard in changing society’s perceptions for the better.

As we learn how to communicate better and learn to be vulnerable while helping others, we turn to the patron saint of communications, St Gabriel the Archangel. May this Archangel pray for us and for the victims of the terrorist attacks, that he will bring them messages of truth, hope and courage in such great times of distress; and that the authority figures of these countries will band together to increase security and provide safe zones for their citizens to move about without fear or prejudice. Pray for us!

I would like to close this post with a song titled,”Alleluia!, Love is Alive” which speaks volumes of God’s love for us and the hope for us to communicate this love to each other, and to keep hope alive everyday. Do skip to the 5:35 mark to hear the full song performed live. For “Jesus said, I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.” God Bless!

“People of God, see the morning is new; Rise from your sleeping and run to the tomb. Come and see! Come and see! He is alive!

 A grave that is empty, a promise fulfilled. God who was with us is here with us still. He is here! He is here! He is alive! Alleluia! Love is alive; Conquered the grave and defeated the night.
 
Alleluia! Love is alive! The Son has arisen for all. Your people sing alleluia! People of God, let your fear fall away. Your chains have been broken; abandon your shame. Lift your hearts! Lift your hearts! He is alive! Here now is mercy embracing your soul; Here the fulfillment that once was foretold. It is true! It is true! He is alive!
 
People of God now rejoicing in Christ, Carry your joy to the darkness of night. Tell the world! Tell the world! He is alive! Hear the good news of this glorious day, every heart singing as heaven proclaims: He is Lord! He is Lord! He is alive!”
 
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Ascension Thursday: Always Alive in Jesus!

 

Autumn breeze. The depiction of autumn holds certain fragility when the leaves wither and die. Though it might be the best season for that holiday or evening stroll through the park, to see the different colored faded leaves scattered on the ground, it tells of a deeper meaning. This past week we saw the passing of Roger Moore, but more so, news broke of the sudden passing of Chris Cornell and Autumn Snyder and though I do not know them, their stories are very much relatable in terms of juggling their personal struggles and creative contributions.

One was a multi-talented musician, the other was a writer. During my childhood, I did not get the chance to learn a musical instrument, but later I discovered the special gift of writing. It was nothing out of the ordinary but I am amazed that a 20 year old teenager like Autumn Snyder had created a Write-A-Thon that will benefit so many people. Autumn is the daughter of Zack Snyder who is a prominent comic book film writer and director.

There was this paragraph in an article that resonated with me,“The thought of his daughter’s writing prompts Zack to recall another memory. Autumn had a quote that she included in everything she wrote. (“Every. Single. Thing,” chuckles Zack.) It’s from author Chuck Palahniuk: “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

In the same vein as her father, she organized a fundraiser where she wrote a short novel to benefit homeless pregnant women and their children in California. She said,“Writing is very important to me. It is my way of speaking. I have been doing it for many years quietly, but now have decided to use my passion for writing to help raise money for the Elizabeth House in Pasadena, California.” I am sure that they knew how they use their gifts but it only took a few minutes for life to change tragically, and it shows that many suffer in silence and do not get the help that they need. The difference lies in reaching out to people and taking an interest in their well-being to let them know that they matter in their good and bad moments. All they might need is appreciation that their work is not done in vain.

The gospel reading begins by saying,The eleven disciples went to Galilee,to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20).”

We might feel that one day means that it will be bad times ahead for us indefinitely, but it is not the case, it does get better. I had times of immense doubt in my faith and times when I felt a surge of faith and hope. For all that I am grateful , and this is because Jesus promised that no matter what happens, he will be with us till the end- that is his word. What are we then afraid of? Would it be that we are not convinced in our belief that Jesus is there with us?

Jesus gives us the mission to go forth to spread the Good News to others, to help one another,  love one another and  be with one another. The disciples did that and we continue this Christian mission of going forth because we said “Yes” to Jesus. Yes, we made the choice.

When I was young, my dad used to bring me to Bras Basah complex where there were old shops selling tons of comic books. It was a time when there were no smart phones or internet. I was introduced to comic books and it taught me to always fight for what is right. In the comics, the hero would always be tasked with the mission to defeat the villains and drive them away from wreaking havoc on the lives of the innocent. Sometimes, the hero cannot do it alone, so he or she calls for backup- a team of heroes to join their cause.

At times, we cannot fight or overcome our trials alone, and those close to us may not understand what we are going through or shrug our struggles off, because they do not know what to do. I do not blame them, they might even be fearful to try to intervene, in case it makes the situation worse. However, Jesus is always there when others are not there, and He is just a prayer away and He listens to our cries.

Leading a life in Jesus and being alive in Him shows our passion to trust Him always, that even when we lose, we win. Losing a grade, a job interview, a career is not the end because you – as a person – are so much more valuable because of your special personality and talents. No matter how ordinary you think they might be, in God’s eyes, it is extraordinary because we are using these gifts to reach out to so many people who will be inspired to be the change that they want to see in the world!

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us when we feel like giving up, throwing in the towel and just feeling so worn out to the point that we question:  is there meaning in life? What is the point of believing? Give us the assurance that all hope is not lost as there is a rainbow at the end of the storm, things do get better eventually and most importantly, our work is counted and we mean so much more than our achievements or social status. Amen!

I would like to end this post with a song titled,”One More Light” by Linkin Park that speaks of the need to care for others and show them love each day because like the autumn breeze, life does come and go in times of tragedy. Take time to love, and always hold each other close for we can be a light to each other. I care, always.

“Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The reminders, pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need, oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
Well I do”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Downtime with Jesus: Spiritual Rehabilitation

 

Conversion in Samaria. The first reading where Phillip goes into the town of Samaria to proclaim the Good News of the gospel shows the need for spiritual conversion of hearts and minds of the world today. For there are many people who live their lives being tormented by addictions and sin, but they do try and we need to pray for society that the people may experience the same joy- which is the Good News that Jesus saves and will continue saving so many lives. He even gives them the gift of courage and guidance which is through the Holy Spirit.

The gospel reading begins by saying, “Jesus said to his disciples:”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,because it neither sees nor knows him.

But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him(John 14:15-21).”

Keeping the commandments of Jesus can be difficult, sometimes even challenging our own ideologies. But the Father’s will is always most  important. He is love and joy. When we are lost and alone, prayer in such times of great need is answered by Jesus and He sends down the Holy Spirit to guide us in comfort and show us the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Holy Spirit is an important aspect of the Trinity and often goes unnoticed because we fail to see the works of the Spirit in our lives. This could be due to us wearing the narrow lens of secularism which puts us at risk of being blinded and ignorant of the guidance of the Spirit moving within our lives.

I used to feel that I could accomplish everything without the grace of God and I was so wrong. It left me without gratitude and acknowledgement of Jesus in my life which not only caused my faith to take a dive but I was so focused on me that I could not deal with failures. I took failures as a destruction of self and this affected my outlook towards life. It was only after allowing Jesus to re-enter my life through spiritual retreats that I found Him patiently waiting for me to come back to Him.

Another beautiful aspect of the Holy Spirit would be assurance. The Spirit not only did hover around the disciples’ heads like tongues of fire but He continues to be very much present in our hearts. He resides within us through our Baptism and Confirmation so that we are both renewed and confirmed in the abundant love that Jesus loves us no matter what we have done in the past or present. He assures us that yes, we are sinners, but we are called to repent and make amends by experiencing peace and love that the world cannot give us.

Jesus promises us that He will not leave us orphans and He will come to us. Are we able to recognize moments in our lives where Jesus approaches us? For me, He has always approached me in times when I felt like giving up on studies. I have always told Jesus that I am always trying as I may not be the brightest or the straight “A”s scorer, but I do try and He always tell me that my best is enough for Him and that grades are not a measurement of the  love He has for His children. It is a statement of simple and humble love that is so hard to come by these days, yet Jesus keeps telling us that He will love us and reveal Himself to us.

This week I have been letting myself experience some downtime in reflecting about what is to come. Though there are still many uncertainties, bringing them to light in the presence of Jesus and the reassurance of hope and love by the Father is enough for me to start living each day in trust and patience that all will be revealed in His time.

Now, I just need to continue the process of spiritual rehabilitation by taking time to discover the presence of Jesus in our lives and just be there with Him. For where our hearts will be, Jesus will always be there with us, for there is hope of better tomorrows.

May we continue to keep each other in prayer as that is the first step to be in communion with Jesus and to have a conversation with Him. This will strengthen our faith and deepen our relationship with the Father who has come to save us. God Bless and Jesus loves you!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

As I Lay Broken at Mary’s Feet

 

The finish line. It took awhile for me to write this post because I just seem lost after all my examinations and school assignment. After all the struggles and prayers, I have completed university life and a new chapter is opening soon, which is me joining the workforce, though for starters, I will be starting on my home-ground which is school. (I think 3 years of studies is sufficient for me at this point). I am just putting my trust in faith and that the Spirit will continue to guide me in all that I set out to do and achieve.

This week’s gospel reading begins by saying,”Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”Philip said to him,”Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,or else, believe because of the works themselves.Amen, amen, I say to you,whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,and will do greater ones than these,because I am going to the Father (John 14:1-12).”

Growing up, whenever I felt a need to escape from all the pressures of the world, I would play with Lego, and those bright coloured bricks offered me the brightest moments of my childhood. It was where I could build things, basically anything. But the best part of creating anything is the stories that I make up in giving purpose to these Lego bricks and figurines.

One of the best parts would be to build a Lego house because the figurines would need somewhere to rest and not only sleep in their space vehicles. A house plays a huge role in our lives as it offers us shelter, solace and a place to lay our heads. Similarly, Jesus has promised that he has gone to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house. It is with great joy and anticipation to be united with Jesus in the Father’s house where there will be no more running, suffering or pain.

But for now, the work is not done yet as our earthly journey continues and for me, I think that Jesus has called everyone to build houses in the form of support and strength for people around us, and that is, to shelter the less fortunate, the homeless and all things of God’s creation that needs it, including animals if possible.

Playing with Lego bricks has its drawbacks such as when you accidentally drop the piece that you spent days making and when the problem is to re-assemble them back again- it takes up more time, and especially if there is no instruction manual, I can never fix the same design back again.

I feel broken this past week because of the impending high stakes of responsibility of kickstarting my career and not be overly reliant on my parents. It just seemed like an empty void being cast over me, like a shadow that will not go away. I am like these thoughts “What now?” and “Where do I go from here?” But I know like what the humble Lego brick has taught me, and sometimes better designs do come out of the absence of instruction manuals. You could say that  it is where creativity and imagination collide to make a wonderful creation.

In my brokenness and weakness, I turn to our dearest Mother Mary because last week was the celebration of the Novena to our Lady of Fatima. She is the mother who will comfort and console all her children in times of sorrow, sufferings and hopelessness.

“Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with sincere love of this devotion.  

By meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in your Rosary, may we gather the fruits contained therein and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, the Peace of Christ for the world, and this favor that I so earnestly seek of you in this novena….(here mention your request)

I ask this of you, for the greater glory of God, for your own honor and for the good of all people. Amen

Say the
Our Father,
Hail Mary
Glory Be (three times each)”

Dearest Jesus and Mother Mary, please continue to guide us your sons and daughters who, though imperfect and sinful, do try and make amends by seeking forgiveness and in our dire situations, give us courage and strength coupled with the clarity of mind to make the right choices. Continue to bless us with good health and mind and in good and bad days, guide us to never lose the way for us to stay true to the Way,the Truth and the Life. Mother Mary, intercede for us, and St Joseph, pray for us! God Bless!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong