Vocation Sunday: When the Kid said ,”Teacher…”

 

Changes. Yesterday I attended mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit and was surprised with the changes that I see around the parish such as the environment, parking rules, bulletin (nice to see a comic section)… Change is inevitable and though sometimes, it could be a alarming time of needed adjustment and processing, it is part and parcel of life.

We would need to take up our crosses to go, just like a traveler who is constantly packing bags in exploring the different cities, we too need to move along with the change and hopefully something good will come out of it. Even the different campus communities have come under one leadership and new things are constantly being implemented. Life is not a constant, but it is constantly changing based on people and situations.“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

The gospel reading for this Sunday says,Jesus said:”Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep”

“The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he has driven out all his own,he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.”

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate.Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:1-10).”

The image of the good shepherd is always vivid in my mind as it shows Jesus to be the shepherd who always welcomes us into the sheepfold. Jesus always invites us to listen to His voice which is the one true voice in guiding us back into the fold when we go astray.

On this vocation Sunday, Jesus declares that He is the gate towards the path of truth, righteousness and hope. He will lead us (the sheep) away from danger to bring us to greener pastures and cool streams to rest and be restored. However, we too must lead others around us into the gate so that they will rediscover the meaning and purpose of their life. Discernment of personal vocation is paramount, but we too should guide others as mini shepherd guides in the right direction, which is towards life everlasting.

Though my vocation journey has been met with many obstacles, I am hoping to try and continue discerning after my exams, perhaps its time to get a spiritual director? After all, I have been putting this thought off for quite some time and I would like to explore this option soon.

I would like to share my latest experience as a youth mentor at a community centre and this is how it went. Uno Uno! shouts of delight rang out through the centre as the kids were engaged in playing a card game as a group and they were trying to win the game. Another mentor and I waited patiently for the other kids to come into the centre, while being entertained by their antics.They seemed more relaxed than usual even though it was supposed to be exam week. Normally the kids would seek our help  with their homework or questions relating to any subjects they had difficulties in.

Ping! The glass door swung open and a kid walked in, and he was familiar as I had coached him the previous week. As he went to take a drink from the dispenser, the staff asked him if he had any homework and he replied with a smile, “Yes I have”.

My friend agreed to teach him in taking turns as the kid opened his school bag to retrieve his homework. I left my friend to coach him while I turned my attention back to the game. A few seconds had passed when my friend came back to me and said,”The kid wants you to teach him.”

I was surprised and amused but gladly obliged as he was a familiar face. He said, “Teacher, you do, you teach me la, all these so difficult.” I reassuringly told him,”I can guide you, but I cannot be with you during exams.” Sitting down with him required lots of patience and encouragement as with a short attention span, motivation was the key to get him to complete his homework.

As I flipped through his homework, it reminded me of my struggles back in the primary school and the syllabus was even harder for children nowadays. I was very happy when he could do the multiplication tables as a mini test to build his confidence in remembering those tables by hard.

Soon he got his homework done in no time and I am glad that the kid  reminded me that perhaps this was also part of my vocation which is to teach? Though I am anxious for the kid, his small improvements are rewarding enough for me to know that even though I am not a certified teacher, I did try to be there for him, when he had no one. Perhaps, only time will tell where Jesus is calling me on this vocation journey.

Dear readers, I invite you to observe a little more and see where God is calling you. Meanwhile, there are different resources such as Vocare, vocations talks or retreats with the different religious orders in Singapore such as the Diocesan Priesthood and their email address is diocesanvocations@catholic.org.sg. Do continue to be courageous and trust in the Lord in your discernment journey!

God Bless as we pray for one another in this time of exams for good health and clarity of mind and for those who have been called to be part of the different religious orders, those who are discerning and those who have not taken the first step yet . . . Jesus loves you. Amen.

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Emmaus Conversations With Jesus

 

Deep thoughts. I am grateful that in preparation for my final examinations, my current struggle is almost over, and that is, before a new one soon begins. After all, life is filled with many inevitable sufferings, some worse than the previous ones. But the centre of it all is Jesus Who is with us, even when we think that He isn’t. I know that by trusting and having the faith to move forward with Him, He will show me another way even when I feel that there is none.

The gospel reading opens  with “That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”

He asked them,”What are you discussing as you walk along?”They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,”Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”They said to him,”The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.”

But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:13-35).”

Probably feeling the need to find purpose in life, the disciples set out on the road to Emmaus, in need of clarity and peace of mind. At this moment while talking among themselves, they encountered Jesus as a stranger. This is so because they did not recognize Him. Sometimes, our discouragement and failures get the better of us and we are unable to see the hope that Jesus carries in search for us who are lost and weary as we stumble through the night.

Jesus also spoke to the disciples in making them understand that He needed to die on the cross so as to redeem us from sin. He made people realise the gravity of sin and that through the resurrection, we are to hold on to the hope that we can be saved. Without Jesus, we become lost and empty, but we must know that He is always near by our side.

The disciples asked Jesus to stay with them for the night as daylight was almost over and it was only at the breaking of bread, that the disciples had the sudden realization and familiarity that this stranger was indeed Jesus. Are we able to see Jesus in our lives? It could be from our family, friends, religious and even strangers. For Jesus asks us to open our hearts and minds, and then we will see Him.

Then, the disciples are shown the breaking of bread with a deeper significance in our lives. When the priest celebrates mass, do we acknowledge that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that He is the only one who is our Saviour, protector and friend?

Amidst the priest transfers to the parishes, we too pray that each transfer is not a matter of personal comfort as change is inevitable. However, the question is: can we give the newly transferred priest in each parish, our fullest support and encouragement?

Yes, they might be new or have their own way, but we too must guide them and take time to know them. They too are anxious and probably might be overwhelmed in a new environment. Do we give them the chance to serve us as we welcome them just like how the disciples rejoice when they saw Jesus? Priests are not perfect and neither are we. By supporting each other, they would be more settled down and have the renewed passion to know everyone better each day if we give them a chance, a listening ear and our hospitality.

We continue to pray for our communities and the newly transferred priests in the diocese that they may continue to be of service to their new parish and that their parishioners give them the support that they need to allay their fears and worries. Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us.Amen!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Divine Mercy Sunday: Blessed Those Who Have Not Seen But Still Believe!

 

Strength. These past days have been tumultuous as I try and get myself up to track in completing most of my school assignments. It gets more tiring in the final run up to exams as it is evident in all the tired and subdued faces in class. I pray for the courage and strength to finish all that I have to do. I hand my worries over to Jesus and let him to do the rest. It always seems impossible until it is done.

The gospel reading says,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.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail-marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked,and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side,and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name”(John 20:19-31).”

I am sure the disciples felt a sense of abandonment and fear as their Master, Jesus was not with them. They were uncertain in their faith and might have even doubted that Jesus would return as He had promised. Their hearts were full of doubts and fear that they locked themselves in. Sometimes, I do want to lock myself in and believe that no one cares or understands me. However, when I observe my surroundings, I realise that there are others who are frustrated and are on the verge of giving up.

But Jesus still came to be with His disciples and said, “Peace Be with You.” The words uttered by Jesus are reassuring and convey a deeper meaning of His love and mercy for His disciples even though they were unsure of things happening around them, such as comprehending,”What was the meaning of all these?”Rather than reprimanding them, Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit for them to know that He is with them through it all.

Every Friday, I make my way down to an after-care community centre where my university friends and I would coach at-risk and disadvantaged children in ensuring that they either complete their homework or assessment papers. It brought back many memories for these children, some pleasant and unpleasant, of when I struggled in subjects such as Maths and Science in the primary school.

Though their attention span might be short, I had to keep encouraging them to believe in themselves as with guidance, they are willing to learn and complete their work. Last week, I met this kid who asked me for help in maths and I could see both confusion and joy in his eyes.

Confusion because he kept telling me that he could not do maths, let along spell the numbers out. I knew that he needed some patience and teaching which after a few times, he knew how to go about them. Joy was when after completing his assessment, he ran quickly to the staff of the centre and later went to join his friends to play. After that, he came up, interacted with me and I knew that he was relieved that he had completed his work.

Social work is not exactly a high paying job and few enter into the sector as it is quite demanding with long working hours. Sometimes the work leaves a person emotionally and physically drained. The reward is to know that you have made someone’s life better and put a smile on the face- that is a simple but yet sometimes hard motivation.

Lord, I pray that you give those who work in the social sector, a heart of mercy, forgiveness and courage to be hope and light to those around them.

I believe that they need someone to show them that they can do it and it takes time to get to know them better. I think the imagery of Jesus being a patient and understanding teacher really spoke to me this week as He believed men were still capable of good work even though they were not perfect, just like His disciples.

May we continue to believe in the risen Lord and bring peace everywhere for Jesus is full of compassion, mercy and love. As we say, “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”Amen.

I would end this post with a hymn “We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight” as this encompasses the meaning of the gospel and that Jesus is always with us, forever. God Bless and Jesus loves you!

“We walk by faith and not by sight;
with gracious words draw near,
O Christ, who spoke as none e’er spoke:
“My peace be with you here.”

We may not touch your hands and side,
nor follow where you trod;
but in your promise we rejoice,
and cry, “My Lord and God!”

Help then, O Lord, our unbelief;
and may our faith abound
to call on you when you are near
and seek where you are found.

And when our life of faith is done,
in realms of clearer light
may we behold you as you are,
with full and endless sight.”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Easter Sunday: Being Made New In The Resurrection

New Life, New Hope. That is the meaning of Easter isn’t it? This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. With so many things going on, I feel that I am still inside the tomb and feeling my way in the darkness. I hope to get my momentum back soon as these two weeks are crucial to close the chapter of my semester. Let me be free from the chains of the semester as it has been 3 long years. I cling to the cross for the last lap of the semester, Jesus I need you!

The gospel reading opens by saying,On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,”They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead (John 20:1-9).”

During Easter Vigil, many churches saw the baptism of those that have journeyed through the RCIA programme. Truly, it was a joyous celebration, but the aftermath is more important and that is the continuation of walking the faith journey with Jesus. Even for me, in times of great tribulation and stress, I may not be able to recognize Jesus but let the influence  of the evil one lead me to the wrong path. I have been feeling a sense of sadness and moodiness over the week as I struggle to make meaningful contributions to my group assignments which are due the following two weeks.

I pray that I will be like Mary Magdala who first recognized the significance of the resurrection of Jesus and the disciples who followed thereafter. Do we believe that Jesus is resurrected in our lives? He gives us new hope in triumphing over death and the snares of sin and even hell itself. For He did not lie with the dead but rose victorious so that He can redeem the world from darkness.

Today, I am in search of this new hope and in the resurrection of Jesus and I desire that I can see the light and walk out from the tomb. I should pray for more small pockets of time where I can find God in the things that I do (vocation discernment) and to trust that he will do the rest. For nothing is impossible without Jesus!

As we celebrate the joyous resurrection of Jesus, may we continue to pray for the prayer intentions of our Pope Francis for the month of April. That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.”

“And for our daily prayer in keeping our Pope and all religious in prayers. Merciful Father, you have brought us to the light of a new day. Keep us safe from every sinful inclination. Grant me the grace to do what is pleasing in your sight through all my thoughts, words and deeds. I offer you this day for the intention of Pope Francis and all religious.”Amen.

I end this post with a hymn,”Jesus Christ is Risen Today“to celebrate the triumphal return of Jesus that we too who have faith and believe will walk closer with Him to our eternal reward. May Jesus prepare a room for us in His heavenly kingdom.

Have a blessed and holy Easter, dear readers, and do keep each other in prayer!
“Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
our salvation have procured. Alleluia!
Now above the sky he’s King, Alleluia!
where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
praise eternal as God’s love. Alleluia!
Praise our God, ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Good Friday: WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?)

Stamina. I am grateful that the weekend is one day longer for me due to Good Friday. However, I am losing momentum in terms of getting work done and I know that I need to turn this around to get back on track. I just need to get past these two weeks and with constant prayers, I do believe that I can.

The gospel reading tells us the passion of the Lord’s suffering and pain as the crowd condemned him to death. Even though Jesus must have felt a deep sense of betrayal and anguish, he still went through them all without complaint nor hatred. While going through the Lord’s passion, I ask myself this question, “What Would Jesus Do?” It is a simple yet thought provoking question as despite the unfortunate and hopeless situation, Jesus still accepted his fate and never once tried to get out from it. That is the definition of humility and sacrifice which is so hard to emulate because if it were me, I would have fought against the people, but Jesus did not.

Now, the Lord’s passion is not just an ancient story but the scenarios are happening in real time today. “This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me? (John 18:1-19-42).” In situations where we see injustice or unfair treatment, we would always wish woe to those involved; however, Jesus teaches us to not resort to violence but to exercise the grace of forgiveness and acceptance.

“Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm (John 18:1-19-42).” This message is relatable even today as at times, we do not want to associate ourselves with religion or even with Jesus. These are times where we feel faraway from the Church and Jesus because of our sins and unworthiness. We are so caught up in the pursuit of success or appraisal that we lose sight of Jesus.

Jesus invites us to come back to Him and the cross that depicts the crucifixion of Jesus with His arms outstretched speaks volumes of not only sacrifice but a welcome to those who feel lost or defeated back to the fold.

So Pilate said to him,”Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?”Jesus answered him,”You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,  “If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar (John 18:1-19-42).” These are some of the words that we utter to Jesus in our prayers to try to arm twist him into giving us what we want. But have we thought of the things that Jesus wants of us? Or do we give in to the whims and fancies of the world?

“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple,”Behold, your mother.”And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (John 18:1-19-42).” Have we been aware of the needs of others around us? Jesus invites us to open our hearts and to take those who feel unwanted by society into our lives and to be there for others. Being there for others is so important as your physical presence could matter alot to people.

I invite my dear readers to go back and take a closer look at the gospel to look at the things that speak out to us and take some time to reflect on these passages. The outstretched arms of Jesus is not a mere sign of defeat but a sign of welcome where he invites those who have strayed far to come back. Jesus saves and His passion is the ultimate sign of His love for us sinners. Jesus continues to save us today.

I love to watch films and during this Holy Week, there are a few shows other than The Passion of Christ that we could view. These films are Killing Jesus and Fireproof that depicts acts of mercy. Even more so, it shows that our Catholic faith is still very much alive and relevant in the world today.

May we continue to pray and reflect on the things that have happened in our lives during Holy Week and be grateful for the good that has happened and pray for the things that did not turn out the way we would like. For no matter what happens, Jesus loves us very much and as we ask “What would Jesus do?”, we ask ourselves,”What can we do for Jesus?” Amen.

To end off this post, may we continue to ponder on the Lord’s passion as we await His resurrection to bring this darkened world out of darkness through this hymn, “Were You There?.”

For we will rise again with Jesus for the snares of the grave is only temporary. Eternal life awaits!

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

 

Goodbye to Wearing Military Green (Ver 2)

 

Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor. In peace or war. In living or dying. F… f… from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me… or death take me. —– Peregrin Took, Lord of the Rings.

This quote, written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings, really meant a lot to me during my two years of service to my nation. Today, 13 April 2017, I was finally released from service upon completing mandatory National Military Service, together with the other sons of Singapore, who were born and raised in our country.

Singapore is widely known to be an island paradise, called a “tax haven” for foreigners who are wealthy enough to live in a country that has low crime rates and where no natural disaster has ever struck (yet). While many other local residents might not like what our government is doing, try to look at the good things Singapore offers: it is “clean and green”, it is a multi-racial nation of mostly Chinese, Malays and Indians which in turn makes our country into a food paradise of different exotic foods from the different local cultures. Most important of all, it is safe. With low crime rates and a long arm of the local law enforcement & an effective Civil Defence Force to protect Singapore internally and a strong military force to defend Singapore and make our sovereignty widely known to the rest of this World.

By Law, all fit and able males at the age of 18 are to serve the nation, in the Singapore Police Force, the Singapore Civil Defense Force and finally the Singapore Armed Forces. I was proud to be a member of the SAF.

I enlisted on 16th April in 2015 and I was released from service today on the 13th April, 2017. Two years of Service might seem short. But to me, two years seemed much more like years, and I am even more surprised that it is finally done. I do not have to worry about not going to work and having Military Police come to my door-step and arrest me for desertion. I am so used to reporting to base everyday, that now it is time to re-adjust back to merge in with society again.

With the blessing of God, I finally returned back to Church to be more worthy to the Lord to earn his blessing in a more respectable manner, one that I’ve been lacking these two years.

I quote another scene from the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and Sam finally destroyed the One Ring; Frodo could not believe that the Ring was finally gone, and the task that had set them off from the Shire was finally done. I have the same feeling now. The task that set me off from home, to the island of Pulau Tekong and then continuing my service of the Nation till this date when I have finally completed this service to the nation. Like Frodo’s journey to destroy the ring, my journey for National Service was full of ordeals too, but by the grace of God, I could overcome.

The plan to go ahead lies ahead of me. I  am to adjust back to a normal society living environment, pursue my Diploma in Biomedical Sciences and start to go regularly for weekly mass which I have not been going these past two years.

National Service is gone.

It’s done.

It is over now.

It is finally over now, for the time being.

Whether I serve the Church, my parents, a Company or my country, I serve my God in the Highest Heaven, who is my beginning and the end, my destiny; for without him, I am nothing.