Bible Seminar 2017

The ballerinas were a wonderful surprise in the Bible Seminar which I attended this month in July 2017. It was no wonder that Sr Sandra Seow, the Director of the Biblical Apostolate, shared of her childhood desire to want to dance. Seeing the ballerinas so gracefully dance with such adeptness does make one wish to join them. Praise the Lord!

What touched me more was the song written by Sr Monika for the occasion. The song title is “You are Word of God’. When she first sang it, I found tears rolling down my cheeks and this went on till the  entire song was  sung so well by the nun herself. I managed to speak to her and to share with her how much consolation I had experienced with her song. And who would have thought that I would once more cry tears of consolation and joy in the Lord when she sang it again at the end of the whole session? Truly dear Lord, you surprise me!

Trust. Hope. Light. Peace.

Glittering words, like stars above.

Do not fear. You are Mine. Remain in Me.

Healing words, spoken in love.

Written in ink, but carved in our hearts

Embracing and calming, reminding us that

Turn your ears to Your Word

Speak to  us, Word of Life

That we may know  how to speak to the weary

Turn our ears to You, Lord

Teach or tongues, Lord of Life

Give Your word, revive them, today!

The first seminar was in 2015 when we were given a scripture on a slip of paper. I experienced the same thing, that is, shedding tears and experiencing deeply the love of God. To be full of tears is a sure sign for me as I could never have made myself cry.  I suffer from dry eyes. I read the passage and could not stop my tears from falling. Later on during the break, I took the paper out again to read and again the tears came. Amazingly so!

What was the passage? It is on the love of God for me in a special way.. . . . .Beautifully so! He has carved my name on the palm of his hand! Should there  be another Bible Seminar, you can be sure I will be there with the Verbum Dei nuns to experience the love of God through His Word. Praise the good Lord Jesus Christ!

C O T Transfiguration

 It was with deep confidence that I  decided to make a week-long retreat and  take it as my annual one. I have no doubt that my friend Anita also had a good retreat. And I can confidently say that for most people. It is not the first time that I made a retreat with the Divine Retreat Centre in Kerala, India.  My very first one was way back in 1997 when about 80 of us went with a priest and a deacon. It was truly an eye-opening experience for all of us. If you have to make it to Kerala, India, then to miss the world’s largest retreat centre for the Catholic Church is really to miss something truly precious.

In the new and beautifully decorated Church of the Transfiguration (Parish Priest Fr Joachim Chang, gifted and artistic ) are the three anointed priests who served with deep conviction and powerfully preached to us the Word of God.

Please look at the poster which  gives the names and photos of the three special priests. 

Suffering is a vocation

Suffering is a vocation and all of us will be called to it. . . I certainly agree with Gladys and her friends Brendan and Carol Pereira! The stories come from the two of her friends, Brendan and Carol.

Truly one can say that suffering is a vocation. . .

The danger of death 

The death of loved ones

Loneliness

The lack of children

Dryness of faith

The difficulty of seeing the wicked prosper 

The consequence of wrong choices

 At some stage of our life, we will taste suffering.

But as Monsignor Ambrose Vaz said at a funeral I (Brendan) attended in Singapore on Friday, while we can’t avoid suffering,  we can choose to avoid misery.‎‎

He‎ recalled that Nicholas Jayaram was visited by suffering, especially in the later years of his life when illness seemed to be a permanent companion. Yet, the 85-year-old soldiered on, happy to be alive to enjoy his family with whatever time he had left.‎

Nicholas Jayaram chose not to be miserable when his body was giving way.‎‎

I am blessed because I know quite a number of people like this man.

 I know Karen. I can’t remember when she was diagnosed with cancer and I have lost count of the tests and scans she has been subjected to. I just know that she has endured far too much pain and suffering in the last few years but she counts her blessings. She thinks of the Passion of Christ and puts her life in perspective. 

I know ‎an Irishman called Felix Donohue. He is skin and bones these days, a shadow of a man who had such a commanding presence in school. A good day these days is spent in a normal ward and a bad day in the high dependency unit. But don’t expect any moaning from him. If anything, the wicked humour is too alive. When a former classmate introduced his teenage son to Bro Felix, the Irishman looked at him and quipped: ‘Are you sure he is your son?’

 My former school principal knows that he is not in good shape but ‎when you have had 86 years, every day is a blessing.

I know Jaclay. Two years ago, the airline lost his bag just before we started a nine-day walking pilgrimage in Spain. He completed the 220km trek in Crocs and borrowed clothes. And he was the most joyful person on the pilgrimage. People gravitate to him because he is a half glass full kind of person. ‎

‎Nicholas, Karen, Bro Felix, Jaclay have all experienced difficulties, storms and suffering in their lives but their reaction to adversity has been measured. 

‎How come?

I guess they were given the grace of God to understand that nothing changes for a Christian. 

The God who is with us when things are going well is the same God who is with us after the tests results have come back or a loved one has passed on.

‎The Jesus who slept while the boat full of apostles rocked in the storm was the same Jesus who calmed the seas. In both situations, He had their back.

In both situations, He was their peace.

The people who choose not to be miserable even during the worst of times remind me that the essence of faith is truly believing that GOD IS WITH US.

God bless!

 

St Pio, Capuchin priest

 

ST PIO, great Capuchin priest

Known to have directed countless souls to our Lord

Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation

ST PIO, wonderful Sufferer for Christ

Known to have been tested and tried

Doubted and suspected of being a fraud

Perseverance was given you

ST PIO, loved by so many

Thanks be to God for the grace to suffer

Indeed this is the way of the true follower of Christ

The genuine Disciple of our Saviour

ST PIO, loved by those who love our Lord Jesus, and I choose to be counted, how can I ever say THANKS for showing us the way to the Heart of our Master and Teacher ?