It can be so sudden . . .

It happens often enough, coming without a warning

Sometimes there are signs but one may choose to ignore them

DEATH is an interesting subject no one can really ignore

Lately in preparing for a talk on a part of the Creed

I have been meditating frequently on the topic:

Forgiveness of sin, Death and Life everlasting

For me death is always not far from my mind

Funerals I do attend so often

What a blessing the Lord has given!

DEATH will usher in a change of life

Not change that is to be feared

A wonderful welcome it ought to be

The saints have  realised this

Only death gives one the chance

to meet our Lord and to behold Him face to face

Praise Him!

One thing have I lately been pondering

We have an immortal soul

Forever will it live on

So great too must our need be

to live in a pleasing manner

 with Heaven as our final end 

 Imagine if you will and  if you can

Making evil choices so as to  end up in Hell

and there suffer for all eternity?

I understand better now

St Teresa of Avila pondered on  Forever and Ever

 Praise the Lord

I too have had  the grace to meditate . . .

Thank our Lord Jesus, Saviour divine

Only You can direct our paths

 Let us follow You faithfully all the days of our life!

 

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Awaiting the Saviour of the world

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A meditation I do each day is on the birth of our Saviour

And there is no end to the inspiration that comes each day

There is the Word from John’s Gospel

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us

And to all who believe in Him He gave power to become children of God

For God loved the world so much that He sent us His only begotten Son

And all who believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life

And we see and we learn that God took on sin to save us

To redeem us and to give us life everlasting

And what thanks can I render my Lord?

The best is to give Him my life to do as He will

For strictly speaking, I am no longer my own

Christ has paid the price with His precious Blood

Bled for me to wash away my sins

To save me from eternal damnation

To show me how deep is His love for me

And what thanks can I render to You dearest Lord?

Take and receive my whole will, my memory, my liberty and my understanding

All that I am and all that I have come from You

I give them over to You and ask only for Your grace and Your love to sustain me

Be praised my dearest Lord Jesus!

Merton the Artist

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I was told to be silent. I was told to simply LOOK at Him. To look at the One I love. To gaze upon the One whom I try hard to follow daily with the cross entrusted to me.

Then I found a book in the library and saw that these are wonderful drawings all skilfully drawn by Fr. Thomas Merton, the Trappist  monk who died in Bangkok some years ago. A friend had recently given me his Seven Storey Mountain and as I  read a little at a time, I thank God for this man of God. With openness, he shared his life, giving me a clearer understanding of what his life was like. Of course, I will never understand, not like the way others who knew him in his life time would. But it is quite sufficient for me to know that he loved the Lord. He prayed sincerely, calling a spade a spade. He did not try to say nice prayers but he prayed with  honesty. He was truly a saint in the making. I know not the rest of the story and I am not his judge. God is, and so may the Lord grant him eternal rest. Praise the Lord!

Making this discovery that he was an artistic person was thrilling for me. And as I gazed upon the Lord, as advised by my good Sister in Christ, St. Teresa of Jesus, I realised that it is so important to be true to the personality traits the Lord has endowed each of us. To go against our personality and temperament seems foolish. It would be an uphill task, would it not? So, we plod on, using the many gifts our Lord has given us to seek Him and to follow Him joyfully.

Praise God! A happy All Saints’ Day to one and all!

Rest in peace

P1120981t P1120982r P1120983r P1120984r P1120985r P1120986r P1120987r P1120988r P1120989r P1120990rP1120991r P1120992r P1120993r P1120994r P1120995rP1130006r P1130007rP1120998rP1120999rP1130002rP1130003rP1130004rP1130006rP1130007rP1130008rP1130009rP1130010rP1130010rP1130011r P1130012r P1130013r P1130014r P1130015r P1130016r P1130017r P1130018r P1130019r P1130020rP1130021r P1130022r P1130023r P1130024r P1130025r P1130026r P1130027r P1130028r P1130029rP1130030r P1130031r P1130032r P1130033r P1130034r P1130035r P1130038r P1130039r P1130043r P1130044rIn everything there is a season. A time to be born and a time to die. And it is true. We know not the day or the hour. We are on the journey and we are called to be ever vigilant for we will be summoned home, sometimes with the grace to prepare as the nun in these photos did. She was an Ursuline nun, aged 85 and the only Catholic in the family. Yet, she was sent off in a grand manner, with the attendance of the Bishop of Chiangmai, ten priests and religious with lay people, Catholics and non Catholics too. I do believe that that funeral mass would draw the grace of God for the conversion of those open enough to receive. I recall how a young boy was so touched by the way a funeral mass was conducted that he gave his life as a priest in later years. Praise the Lord!

My friends had wanted to visit the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the day prior to our departure. But I suggested that we visit the grave of the late Fr. Iker first. We did. We also saw the graves of many other missionaries. When it was over, we crossed the road to go to the Cathedral. Immediately I recognise the signs pointing to a funeral. It was such a blessing. We not only spoke to the Bishop, a very gentle person, like most Thai people. Then we decided to join the mass. It was my first Thai funeral mass. Although I could not understand the language, I was deeply moved by the hymns that were sung. There was the pianist and the flutist adding to the solemnity of the occasion with their skilful renditions.

What impressed me too was to see the students who played the musical instruments during the procession from the convent nearby. These were students in the Catholic school run by some of the nuns, I believe. I had no chance to find out why the soldiers had the honour of carrying the coffin of Sr. Marie.  Besides that, I was impressed by most of the women present at the funeral mass. They seemed to be wearing their Sunday best although the colour was black. Smart looking and so dignified. There was reverence shown through the silence kept. Praise God!

So there is a season for everything. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to laugh and a time to weep. Whatever it is, may we always find time with our loved ones. We know not the day or the hour. Praise God!

Trust in the Lord

IMG_3762Trapeze dancers

At Seven Fountains Retreat and Spirituality Centre in the days to come, I shall certainly be taking time to make labyrinth walks as and when inspired to do so. In my heart, I have already planned to do what I did in a previous visit, and that is, to walk very early each morning when the air is fresh and there are few visitors.

The clip art above is an indication of one such walk that I had made here with Edwina about three or four years ago. The message remains relevant and it is all powerful, as such messages always are when one is open and the Holy Spirit takes control. I am always called to trust in the Lord.

Consider the two dancers on the trapeze. Consider the lack of trust in one’s partner. It would be unthinkable.

The more I reflect on this element of trust, the more I think it is silly not to trust in the One who loves me and desires all that is best for my well being. I see this as a strengthening of faith. If there is no faith, there can be no trust, and if one cannot trust, what faith is there? Our Lord is the One who will catch my hands. He is my Dance Partner and He will surely guide me well. Praise to you, Lord Jesus!

Yesterday, 5 October, was the Feast Day of St Faustina, and all of us who are familiar with the devotion to the Divine Mercy of God will surely also know that the image of the Divine Mercy carries five important words : JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU. Our Lord knows and He wants us to trust Him. Thanks and praise to God Almighty!

All things are passing

All things are passing. . . This is a wonderful saying that we associate with St Teresa of Avila whose Feast Day will be on 15 October. My last entry ‘Sigh’ was described as ‘heavy hearted’and indeed, it was. But things are different today. All things are passing. Be not afraid. . .

Gratitude fills my heart as I make an examen of this day. What can I thank God for? Plenty! But you will say: give me just one key item, and I will say: meeting up with an old friend. Just fancy that – we had not met for about 25 years, and today we were together, sharing our lives and chit chatting as if we had never separated from each other. Age separates us – we are about twenty years apart – but our recollection of good times spent and the  affection  we have for each other connects us. 

To say that this was nothing unusual is not to acknowledge that it was a rare occasion, and since I know that nothing happens by accident, I wish to thank our Lord. I gazed upon my young friend, admiring the radiance on her  face. Time is still on her side and she is beautiful, like a flower in full bloom. Her gentleness and her feminity are appealing traits too. May God be praised!

Yes, today two women allowed the hand of God to place them in each other’s paths again. Two women met. They spoke of many things under the sun. They spoke of the past, recalling moments shared. They spoke of the present. They spoke of many issues and yet, one realises that they have but covered a fraction of what they have both experienced through the years. Still, the meeting was good.

Will it be the last? No one knows. Suffice it to say, one must be grateful for blessings freely given. Thank you, O Lord, God of surprises!

Hope springs eternal

I have yet to put in photos of the many churches visited. But today, on the eleventh of August, on the Feast of St Clare, I just wish to write about goodbyes.

We say good byes in so  many ways. Here are photos of the sky taken from my seat in the plane. We are flying back after our trip. . . We have the scene at the airport, laden with our luggage, with all that somehow always weigh us down, what is material, what is temporal. . . . .

This morning, I am still thinking of the young man who died while trying to fly a plane alone. What must have been the last moments when he panicked and realised that he was no longer in control of the machine he was trying to fly in the sky? What about so many others in the hospitals and elsewhere as death seizes each one, some totally  unprepared, others slipping out quietly?

On this day, death does seem like a threat but it must not be so. It can come at any moment. That moment must be one of glory as one returns home to the Father of us all, our Creator God. I am thinking of some last things as someone sought to get a will made. Do we really have control? None. By the grace of God, every new day is a gift. . . let my reflection end here as I embark on this gift of life. Today in our community we share on the gift of our Blessed Mother Mary and the Saints. Glorious is the thought of  heaven and the heavenly hosts of angels with the whole company of saints praising God for all eternity. Yes, hope springs eternal in the  human heart. Praise God!