The gift of Joy

I love you Lord!

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I was at the Pentecost Rally today in the Church of St Vincent de Paul, and I had a swell time.

As always, at a Pentecost Rally, there would be an empowerment session to pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. We would pray for a deeper walk with the Lord. More love, more power! So all the charismatic groups were present, and their leaders were all ready to intercede for those who would come to them.

I was all ready to go. Praise God! As I waited for my turn, I observed the gift of tongues being given to a lady. She prayed in tongues for the first time, much to her delight. There were, as usual, people who rested in the spirit. Praise God!

Then came my turn, and  I found myself standing before three young adults from the Indonesian Charismatic Group. The leader looked at me and…

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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!

Children Eucharistic Adoration

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The fruit of Fr. Antoine Thomas’ work is bearing fruit as more and more parishes organise monthly Eucharistic Adoration for children. While there used to be some resistance in the beginning, it is now clear that many preconceived ideas about the ability of children to keep still and to be silent have now been greatly reduced. In fact, it is always so edifying to pray with these little ones whom our Lord takes delight in. They can certainly be silent. In a typical session of about an hour, there are at least three moments of total silence and prostration  before the Blessed sacrament. Starting the children young is an advantage, certainly. 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!

The missionary spirit

Nineteen years of age, and filled with enthusiasm for service in foreign lands. A rare breed amongst the young people of today. I was thrilled to hear that a friend’s niece had spent an entire month in a remote part of Africa, experiencing the joys of serving the poor with other missionaries who are like-minded. She is also a catechist in her parish, and one can be sure that she would be able to ignite in those under her charge a deep passion for the Lord and his call for service in his vineyard. What a joy it must be for those who associate with her. Such enthusiasm is usually infectious, and what better witnessing than a life that is ready to put everything aside for Him who first loved us and who has exhorted us to bring His Good News to the ends of the earth.

Praise God! May the Lord raise up for the world more young people of this calibre.

On the other hand, it pains the heart to learn that in this world of ours, there is also a young man of nineteen whose life style is totally the opposite. He made plenty of quick money and then flew from his country to a third world country where he could live like a king. By living like a king, one could take it to mean that he would fritter his time away with activities that are more for himself. He would be concerned with ‘living it up’and he would be concerned with not having to labour daily for his three meals. Such a vast difference in this young life, and how did that happen? One might attribute it to a major difference: the young lady has Jesus in her life, and she loves him so much that she is prepared to discern if she has a vocation in the religious life. The young man lives a secular life, far from the worship of God almighty. His values are not the kingdom values of God but the values of the consumeristic and materialistic world.

Yes, as Fr Aruppe had once said, it all depends on who you are in love with. The one you love will motivate you in the direction that you are prepared to go. If you are for Christ, you will take the narrow path, the road less travelled. But if it is the world that beckons to you, you follow the bright lights and forget that all that glitters is not gold.

The choice is ours. Who are we leaning on?

Follow your heart

I have often said this to some people: Follow your heart. Hopefully the person’s heart is in place. I spent two days trying to follow my heart and finally I gave an answer that was due. I had had another invitation to a pilgrimage. It was a place I thought I wanted to go years ago. I did make an attempt to sign up once but there were not enough people and so the trip was cancelled.

The invitation this time was totally unexpected. I prayed. I thought about it. I spoke to a couple of people who had been there more than once. I prayed some more. I thought about it. I weighed the pros and the cons. I asked myself what  it was that I could possibly benefit from the trip – spiritually. What was I seeking? Is it meant for me?

It sure was a long time before I finally made up my mind. To and fro my thoughts went. Ding dong ding dong like a bell gone crazy. But it was not so difficult really. I needed only to listen to my heart, and I had the answer there. Yet, it was essential that I took time to discern and to pray. Now I am at peace. The answer has been given. I am clear. Praise God!

There was a time when I came to a conclusion. This is a beautiful world. Earth has many lovely spots. There are gorgeous scenes that would take one’s breath away. But no one can see them all. Even if one were to say that one had seen many parts of the world, still it would not be true. What about those of us who have not the means to see even a few countries? Would that mean we have been deprived?

Not at all. There is no need to see everything. It is enough to be contented with what one can see and be happy about it. A journey, after all, is just one journey in one’s lifetime. Our final destination is not  any place on earth. It is our Eternal Home. That is where we should be heading. So let it be. Let it be. Praise God!