Dec 22, 2005

The light of Christ

Was reading some news at Catholic Online when I got to this one Christmas lights are reminder that Christ is world's light, pontiff says. I found that the most interesting part is the photo of the Pope...

Isn't he CUTE? *giggled*

Dec 20, 2005

Forget not...

...the meanings behind each Christmas items and Santa Claus. Do you know where is the origin of the Christmas fir tree? How about the candles? The star we put on top of the Christmas tree? The candy cane, the angels, the bells, the wreaths? Yes, ever little item that we always use to decorate the Christmas tree has its own meaning, including Santa. Surely, the early Christians did not put those things there without a purpose!

I did not know, and did not bother to find out why those items exist. I just thought that, perhaps they are the creations of the commercial world, so why should I pay attention to those unimportant decorations? But I know that I was wrong when I stumbled upon this nice site, The Real Meaning of Christmas -- Teach the Children.

I strongly encourage teenagers, youths and parents to visit this site. And reveal the true meaning of this important event to everyone you know!

May God bless us all as we journey from Advent into Christmas.

Dec 18, 2005

Advent candles

The 4th Sunday of Advent is here. The last week of Advent before we welcome Christmas. The last Advent candle is lighted.

I have been wondering why there are 2 colours for the candles - 3 violets and 1 pink. (Silly me, I should have search for it weeks ago! Shouldn't have waited till today!) But thank God, I found a site explaining the meaning of the different colours. Click here for the detailed explanation of Advent wreath and candles.

For those of you who are like myself, here are the explanations:

Violet candles, symbolizing penance and preparatory sacrifices made at this
time, are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent. The rose
candle is lit on the third Sunday ('Gaudete Sunday', when the priest also wears
rose vestments at Mass), a day of rejoicing because the faithful have arrived at
the midpoint of Advent and anticipate Christmas.

God bless and have a great week ahead! ;)

Too early to sing?

As usual on every Sunday morning, I found my way to my favourite pew -- the choir's seat. I knelt down, thanked the Heavenly Father for the opportunity to attend this gathering of His people, then scanned through the song list and got the pages bookmarked, and got ready for the Entrance Hymn.

At 7.30am sharp, the priest signaled from the main door to the Commentator sitting right next to me, to start the introduction. The Entrance hymn was announced, the Choirmaster banged on the piano, the choir sang as the congregation followed. As always, I was busy making sure I
got the alto part correct so I did not notice anything. At the Lord Have Mercy, I just realised that something was wrong with the new projector and the choirmaster's son was doing his best to fix the problem. While I was singing Lord Have Mercy, my eyes fell upon the congregation. To my
surprise, they seemed so lost without the projector, but worse still, their mouths were CLOSED.

I wondered, was the choir singing so badly that the congregation could not follow, or they totally cannot do without the projector? We have been singing the Lord Have Mercy tune every Mass, so no matter what happened the congregation should know the lyrics (which is only the repetition of 'Lord have mercy' and 'Christ have mercy'). Even without the piano (or guitar or any musical instruments as accompaniment), the Mass tunes should not be a problem at all. But too bad, it is a problem in the local churches -- congregations do not sing.

As God's children, we are not supposed to be afraid when it comes to singing during Mass, or any time for the Lord's glory. Even if we are not familiar with the hymns, we still should try and sing along. There is nothing to fear. God's spirit in us will guide us, as long as we are willing to open our mouth and sing with our hearts. So said St.Augustine, 'Singing is praying twice'.

Perhaps some will complain that they do not have a good voice. Well, do you think everyone who is singing in the choir has good voice? No, not really. One good choir does not depend on the individual voices, or else it should not be called a choir. Instead it is the many individuals who
sing in one voice that makes the choir. So, not having a good voice is not a good excuse.

When we sing, we are not singing for ourselves, nor are we singing for the other brothers and sisters; we are singing exclusively for GOD. God and God ONLY. So do not bother at how you are going to sound. The only thing that matters to Him is that we sing with a sincere heart.

If you call yourself a child of God, then don't hesitate to sing His songs. You will find it easy to master the songs. ;)

Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands all you people, and shout to God with joy!

Dec 13, 2005

Invitation from Jesus

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is acelebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated.

During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago.

At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.

Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts.

But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited.

The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, theyclosed the door in my face .. and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close theirdoors to me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.

They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time.

To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" as if the party were in his honor!

At midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know no-one hugged me.

Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one?

I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.

I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life.

I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you.

Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements..

Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book.

Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don't answer the invite, will be left outside. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.

See you soon. I Love you!

- Jesus

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How do you feel after reading this letter from the Lord? Please.. do not left Jesus out this Christmas. Remember, Jesus is the centre of Christmas. It's Him and Him alone. This is already the Third Week of Advent, get yourself ready for His coming this year if you haven't done so.

God bless!

Dec 12, 2005

Advent preparation

Finally, I made it to the confessional this morning. Waited for 1 1/2hours for my turn. Gosh the wait was torturing. I wished I could confess my sins right then. There were even people who cut the cue. I wasn't happy, but I knew that I was willing to wait no matter how long it would take me.

I couldn't help but shedding tears when I was confessing my sins. I felt really awful. Really, really awful to have hurt and disappointed the One whom I love so much. I've seen people coming out from the cubicle with red watery eyes, but I've never expected myself to be emotional during Confession. I wonder if my parents saw me wiping off my tears or not. I felt kind of embarrased.

Anyhow, it is wonderful to receive Reconciliation, my burden of sin has been totally lifted up! I'm freeeeee!!!! And I'm all ready to welcome the birth of Jesus... into my heart!!

For all of you who have experienced God's mercy, shall we send Him our greatest gratitude? "Thank You, Lord" by Don Moen... (if you don't know how to sing, just say it out loud!) =)

I come before you today
And there's just one thing that I want to say
Thank you lord, Thank you lord
For all you've given to me
For all the blessings that I cannot see
Thank you lord, Thank you lord

With a grateful heart
With a song of praise
With an outstretch arm
I will bless your name
Thank you lord
I just wanna thank you lord
Thank you lord I just wanna thank you lord
Thank you lord

For all you've done in my life
You took my darkness and gave me your light
Thank you lord, Thank you lord
You took my sin and my shame
You took my sickness and healed all my pain
Thank you lord, Thank you lord

Dec 11, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia

I didn't know that this movie has somewhat caused a little disputes, until I read the post by Mark.

Before I watched this movie, Protestant friends told me that it is a Christian movie and the lion, Aslan, represented Christ. When I heard that it reflected Christianity, I was really excited about it and went to the cinema yesterday for it. I really enjoyed the show! I loved the scene where Aslan gave up his life, out of love for Edmund, to the witch and his resurrection. It reminded me of Jesus' sufferings, His sacrifices and His innocent and shameful death, all out of love for mankind.

I totally agree with Andrew Greeley, that Jesus can never be compared to the lion Aslan in the film. But why not think of it this way: This film is a reminder for us (who have watched it) to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ this Christmas. He could have chose to come as He deserved, but no, instead He chose a humble birth into this sinful world; the only purpose, is to take our place at the altar of sacrifice.

It is never wrong to imagine, but our imaginations must be able to help us grow more in love with God.

Streets of Gold

It was only four days to Christmas and Pedro was doing last minute shopping in the crowded store, buying presents for people who mostly did not need them. Bored and tired, he pushed his loaded shopping trolley into the queue for the check-out counter, ready for a long wait.

In front of him were two small children, a boy of about six and a younger girl. Wearing ragged clothes and torn shoes they looked pale and hungry. The boy clutched a few dollar notes in his hand, while the girl carried a beautiful pair of gold-coloured slippers.

On finally reaching the check-out desk, the girl carefully placed the precious slippers on the counter, while the sales girl clicked the cash register and said, "That will be $8.50 please." The boy counted the crumpled dollar notes and searched deep into his pockets, but came up with a total of only $5.20. Sadly he said, "Sorry, I guess we will have to put them back."

At this the girl began to sob softly. "But Jesus would have loved these shoes," she cried. Putting his arm around her the boy whispered gently, "Don't cry! We'll find some more money and come back, maybe tomorrow." Quickly Pedro leaned over them and handed $5 to the cashier; after all it was Christmas! Suddenly a pair of small arms came around his leg and a little voice said, "Thank you mister. Mummy will be so happy."

Turning to the little one, Pedro asked, "What did you mean when you said Jesus would love the shoes?"

The boy answered, "Our mummy is very sick and going to heaven. Daddy says she might go before Christmas, to be with Jesus."

The little girl added solemnly, "And my Sunday School teacher says the streets of heaven are paved with gold, just like these shoes. Won't mummy look beautiful as she walks to meet Jesus?"

The teacher had obviously read Rev 21:21. Tears came to Pedro's eyes as he looked into the girl's innocent face and said, "Yes, I'm sure she will."

Set in the midst of mad consumer spending, this simple story says much about the true spirit of Christmas, which is not about expensive presents and sumptuous dinners. It is about the love in our hearts which leads us to share with others, as Jesus came to share himself with us. It is about simplicity and generosity, loving and goodness, caring and sharing.

It is not enough at Christmas to gaze in reverence and awe at the baby in the manger. We need to look beyond the romantic setting, the lights, decorations, colours and scenery, ans ask ourselves what was God trying to tell us in coming among us in such poverty and simplicity - a stable, a manger, animals and shepherds!

Indeed, the manger at Bethlehem contradicts all our fixed ideas about importance, success, protocol and power. If we could really understand what God is saying and if we lived by the Christmas spirit, in our values, priorities and relationships, what a difference it would make our personal lives, our families, our communities and our Church?

Christmas would not be just another glitzy festival, but a truly life-changing and enriching spiritual experience, enabling us to recognise Emmanuel, 'God with us' -- in the ordinary, the unexpected, the familiar. To see Him in the joys and sorrows of daily living and serve Him in the people who accompany us as we journey together towards the "streets of gold".

- Bro. Columba Gleeson

(Bro Columba is a De La Sale Brother who worked in schools in Sarawak from 1958-1987. From 1988-1997, he was the editor of Today's Catholic and was also involved in faith formation and catechetical programmes in the Archdiocese. He now works with the Brothers in Belfast, Northern Ireland.)

Am waiting...

...eagerly for my turn to be one of the members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS)!! Dearest Lord, when will my turn come?

Making A Commitment to the Carmelite Way of Life

KUCHING:- On the Solemnity of Christ the King (20 Nov) four members of the OCDS in Kuching made their 1st Promise in the presence of the OCDS General Delegate from Rome, Fr.Aloysius Deeney, in a simple ceremony during the Sunday Mass at the Carmelite Chapel.

The four members - Adeline Ann, Alice Chew, Juliana Lim and Stephen Tai - had undergone a period of formation, which confirmed them in the certitude that God is calling them to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world in union with Mary, Mother of God, and under Her protection, as Secular members of Carmel.

The four promised their Superiors of the Order of the Teresian Carmel to tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience, and of the Beatitudes, for three years.

Meanwhile, on 19 Nov the General Delegate administered the Rite of Admission for one member, Jane Maken, to Formation in the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.

In this period of formation, she will descern her calling to be a Secular Carmelite. During the Rite of Admission she received the scapular as the habit of the Order of Carmel.

The General Delegate also talked to the whole community on Part III of the OCDS Constitution - Witness to the experience of God. This calls for a relationship with God through prayer by love, detachment and humility. He further encouraged all members to strive to grow as Carmelite Catholics with 'determined determination' as advised by St.Teresa of Avila in the Way of Perfect.

- Taken from Today's Catholic, Vol.17 No.9

Dec 2, 2005

Our Lady's Message from Medjugorje

This is for those who are devoted to Our Lady but do not know about Her messages that she will send every month on the 25th. Please heed Our Lady's call to prayers, especially during this time of Advent.

Message of November 25, 2005
"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes life for you. Little children, at this time, in a special way, I pray before God to give you the gift of faith. Only in faith will you discover the joy of the gift of life that God has given you. Your heart will be joyful thinking of eternity. I am with you and love you with a tender love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Man of Little Faith

I've just came back from a long and painful field trip. It was the toughest one for me. We had to walk for 4 hours to reach the village we were heading to, climbing up a lot of hills, which slowed me down. I have to admit that I'm getting older and my health is failing me. I almost lost my life if the Lord had not travelled with me. Blaming myself during the trip, I asked myself why I have to go through what I've been through. Yes, I started to lose hope and even faith. I wanted to give up.

But this particular song gave me a wake up call. The rough journey during the field trip represents the journey of life everyone has to go through. Life is not a bed of roses, but even if it is, roses have thorns and so is life. There is always ups and downs that we have to encounter.

Along life's road
There will be sunshine and rain
Roses and thorns, laughter and pain
And 'cross the miles
You will face mountains so steep
Deserts so long and valleys so deep
Sometimes the Journey's gentle
Sometimes the cold winds blow
But I want you to remember
I want you to know

You will never walk alone
As long as you have faith
Jesus will be right beside you all the way
You may feel you're far from home
But home is where He is
And he'll be there down every road
You will never walk alone

The path will wind
And you will find wonders and fears
Labors of love and a few falling tears
Across the years
There will be some twists and turns
Mistakes to make and lessons to learn
Sometimes the journey's gentle
Sometimes the cold winds blow
But I want you to remember where ever you may go

Jesus knows your joy, Jesus knows your need

He will go the distance with you faithfully

I know I'll be facing lots of difficulties in my thesis, and it has already started. Whether or not I can complete my work by the end of April, it all depends on my faith on the Lord. I'm praying that I will not think of giving up no matter what happened, 'cos I know that Jesus will be there all the time. Amen.

Nov 28, 2005

The Wind of Change

Will I be able to resist changes in the future? Can I keep my vow of virginity after 20, 30 or 40 years? Will I still love the Lord as much as now? Human change through time, so goes the saying.

I remembered the conversation I had with a friend many years ago...

Me: "I thought you said you want to be a priest!"
Friend: "Yeah, but it was then. Now not anymore."
Me: "Why?"
Friend: "Human changes."

Nothing's gonna change my love for you
You ought to know by now how much I love you...

So goes the song I used to like and sometimes I even sang it for the Lord. Today I ask myself, will I still love Him tomorrow? What if I give up following Him one day? What if He's no longer the most important someone in times to come?

I'm always in the environment that is conducive to changes. The friends I usually hang out with are Protestants and non-Christians. My housemates are lapsed Catholics who always make fun of me for my being serious about my Faith. It must have been the protection and strength of God that have kept me strong and unmovable for 3 long years!

No one knows about tomorrow except the Lord. Perhaps if we pray, He will always keep us under His loving care, and never will He hand us over to the devil, unless we chose to.

Nov 23, 2005

Feast of St. Cecilia - 22 Nov

I didn't know much about St. Cecilia except that she's the patron saint of singers and musicians. We always pray for her intercession during choir practice, but never have I tried to find out why or who she is and was. It so happened this morning that I read her profile (in Lectio Divina) out of boredom while waiting for my friend.

The first thing about her that struck me: She vowed her virginity to God. Something I also did, a personal vow. Now I clearly know that what I did was right, and I shall stay that way till I breathe my last, either being a nun or a discalced nun, or as a celibate.

The second thing that struck me: "While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse." (read more here) That ensures me of the importance of music and hymns and songs - not for self-gratification, but for the love and glory of God. For whatever songs, be it pop or contemporary christian music, which we offer up for Him, it is always the heart that matters most to Him. Just as what Matt Redman wrote in his song 'Heart of Worship':

I'll bring you more than a song
for a song in itself
is not what You have required
You searched much deeper within
through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart...
Remember, then, every time you sing to the Lord... SING WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SING.

Nov 20, 2005

Practise not...

...the dictatorship of relativism! It will certainly ruin your life. Maybe not this life, but the life to come when Christ comes for the second time.

Think about this: Whose thoughts matter most? We human's, or God's? If you only follow God's laws that MAKE SENSE TO YOU, then you shouldn't call yourself 'Christian', for you are not practising what is required of you as a child of God. Have the scriptures ever mentioned which laws of God are to be followed and which are not? Grab the book 'The Wounded Spirit' by Frank E. Peretti, and read about The Parable of the Playground (Chapter 6). The parable stresses the importance to include God and His laws in our everyday lives.

I challenge myself everyday to go against the ways of the World. Perhaps that is why friends (who claim themselves as Christians) always laugh at me and say that I am still immature. I was even considered embarrasing when I danced in joy and praised the Lord publicly. Sad, isn't it? For them, watching pornography is ok; sex before marriage is ok too as long as they love each other; it is perfectly ok to miss any Mass; using God's name in vain (yes, even till that extent!); continue wearing inappropriate attire to church even though notices have been made by the Archbishop; money is everything etc.

Don't you think we christians should be thankful to God that we have laws to guide us so that we would not go astray? Yes, it is not easy to resist the ways of the World, but with God's grace, it is possible.

Remind yourself with 'WWJD' (What Would Jesus Do) in your everyday life decision making. Go against the worldly values, trust me, you will have the feeling of contentment and peace despite being hurt. Look through Jesus' eyes, and you will be able to see things differently.

For those of you who have been in the dark and practising what YOU think is right, it is time to see things God's way.

God bless!

Nov 17, 2005

Welcome me back?

Yeps, I'm finally back after a two-week study leave. Can't wait to blog again! I'll start blogging next week. I still have some lab work to do this week, and of course, my friends and I will be having a little party celebrating our 'independance day'. Hahaha.

I want to thank all those who have been keeping me in their prayers. I believe it must be those prayers offered up by you (and my friends) that I received strength and guidance from the Lord! Thank you all once again!

Alrights, God bless you in all your undertakings and till we meet again next week!

p/s: Did I miss anything about the Catholic world when I'm away?

Nov 9, 2005

On Leave

I'll be away from the blogging world for two weeks (this and next week) starting today. Just want to concentrate on my exams. Well, I still accept prayers! Hehe.

God bless!

Nov 4, 2005

Dictatorship of Relativism

I first heard of this phrase during the One Way Youth E.R (Easter Rally) last Easter. The speaker, Jude Antoine, warned us not to follow the flow of this World, instead, we should live the slogan 'One Way, Jesus' as we proclaim that there is only one way to Salvation.
Today, I met someone from UK in a Catholic chatroom who claimed that he is a devout Catholic (yea I know I should be doing revision instead!=P). The proof? He wears the Rosary all the time. I was pretty impressed at first, but as we continued chatting and I mentioned about the Church's teachings.. there, I found out that he didn't know what it really means to be a 'devout' Catholic.
And then, I realized that Pope Benedict was right when he spoke of the dictatorship of relativism that affects many Catholics today(I didn't quite believe that at first).
'Sex before marriage is wrong.' I said.
'I don't agree... besides it's not a crime.' he said.
'As a Catholic, you should follow the church's teachings.'
'...I do what I believe is right.'
I couldn't believe those words came from a Catholic. I really wonder how many catholics of the same kind are out there? Why do they claim to be devout catholics but then never practice what they claimed to be?

*Sigh* This is just so sad, isn't it?

Nov 3, 2005

News of Persecution Not True!

Thanks to Moneybags, our doubt of the news of a persecution of Pastor Ferdie can be now cleared (read my post on Prayer Needed). Perhaps the messages were sent by Pastor Ferdie's friends out of despair. I have included the whole story here:

Denial of reports of threat to East Timor Protestant pastor

A story that has been circulating that Rev Ferdinando Flores will soon be executed in retribution for converting East Timorese Catholics to his own Christian denomination, are false, according to the Rome-based AsiaNews agency.

AsiaNews reports that the story, that included calls for prayers, was spread by hundreds of mobile text messages and e-mails in the United States, the Philippines, the UK, and even in Italy.

The message asked people to pray for Pastor Flores who was going to be executed by being beaten to death in East Timor.

In the English town of Leicester 300 Christians gathered in a vigil prayer for the unfortunate pastor who was waiting to die.

AsiaNews says that Flores' own web page says, the "information you have received [about the imminent execution] is not correct."

For some months the pastor had been preaching in the area and had "converted" and re-baptised ten Catholics. This led some local catechists to protest against his proselytising. At one point, the whole village came out and surrounded the clergyman's house where they engaged in an animated discussion over his methods of evangelisation.

According to Rev Flores, the tensions caused his colleague to have a nervous breakdown.

After the publicity his case received as a result of the many and e-mails, one of his colleagues said that "Ferdie experienced quite a bit of persecution recently instigated by the Roman Catholic Church . . . but there has not been any physical harm done".

The story, blown out of proportion by the chain of SMS and e-mails, seems to be just a local matter, so much so that the Superior of the Jesuits in Dili, which is just a few dozens kilometres from the village, told AsiaNews he never heard about it until now.

How Nerdy Are You?

I chanced upon this great blog and had a great laugh myself! Well, I love this one particularly: You know you're a Catholic Nerd when you stop and compare ashes with friends after Mass. (I believe the author meant during Ash Wednesday Mass) Exactly. That is what I do every year! Am I proud of myself to be a completely (well, almost!) NERD CATHOLIC! Hahaha. =P

Do you need a laugh? Or someone told you that you're an 'abnormal' person? It's ok, we (the blog authors and me) truly understand! Just drop by The Catholic Nerd Blog and you'll know that we are all in the same Boat of God! Or perhaps, you're much more nerdy than the rest of us are? Find out if you're as nerd, more or less!

God bless! ;)

Nov 2, 2005

Why Pray for the Holy Souls?

Perhaps, there are some Catholics out there who do not know the importance of praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Here are some explanations and excerps from the book 'Read Me or Rue Me: How to Avoid Purgatory' by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan O.P.

We are bound to pray for the Holy Souls.
We are always bound to love and help each other but the greater the need of our neighbour the more stringent and the more urgent this obligation is. It is not a favour that we may do or leave undone, it is our duty, we must help each other... Now who can be more urgent in need of our charity than the souls in Purgatory? What hunger, or thirst, or dire sufferings on this Earth can compare to their dreadful torments?...

God wishes us to help them.
In any event they are God's dearest friends. He longs to help them. He desires most earnestly to have them in Heaven. They can never again offend Him and they are destined to be with Him for all Eternity. True, God's justice demands expiation of their sins, but by an amazing dispensation of His Providence He places in our hands the means of assisting them. He gives us His power to relieve and even release them. Nothing pleases Him more than when we help them. He is as grateful to us asif we helped Himself.

Our Lady wants us to help them.
Never did a Mother of this Earth love so tenderly a dying child, never did she strive so earnestly to soothe its pains, as Mary seeks to console Her suffering children in Purgatory, to have them with Her in Heaven. We give Her unbounded joy each time we take a soul out of Purgatory.

The Holy Souls will repay us a thousand times over.
But what shall we say of the feelings of the Holy Souls themselves? It would be utterly impossible to describe their unbounded gratitude to those who help them! Filled with an immense desire to repay the favours done them they pray for their benefactors with a fervour so great, so intense, so constant that God can refuse them nothing. St.Catherine of Bologna says: "I received many and very great favours from the Saints but still greater favours from the Holy Souls."

When they are finally released from their pains and enjoy the beatitude of Heaven, far from forgetting their friends on earth, their gratitude knows no bounds. Prostrate before the Throne of God they never cease to pray for those who helped them. By their prayers they shield their friends from the dangers and protect them from the evils that threaten them.
They will never cease these prayers until they see their benefactors safely in Heaven and will be for ever their dearest, sincerest and best friends.

The Holy Souls will lessen our Purgatory.
Another great grace that they obtain for their helpers is a short and easy Purgatory, or possibly its complete remission!

For the prayers, please pay A Catholic Life, Catholic Youth Networking a visit!

Nov 1, 2005

November: Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

I hope this post is not too late. Adding to the information provided by A Catholic Life, here's an excerp from a book I found on Purgatory, an account given by Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich when she was brought by Our Lady to visit Purgatory:

I was in Purgatory tonight. It was as if I were being led into an abyss, where I saw a large hall. It is touching to see the Poor Souls so quiet and sad. Yet their faces reveal that they have joy in their hearts, because of their recollection of God's loving mercy. On a glorious throne, I saw the Blessed Virgin, more beautiful than I had ever beheld Her. She said, "I entreat you to instruct people to pray for the suffering Souls in Purgatory, for they certainly will pray much for us out of gratitude. Prayer for these holy souls is very pleasing to God because it enables them to see Him sooner..."

(From the Revelation of Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich)

Oct 30, 2005

Prayer Needed!

I don't how how true this message is, but I got it just this morning about a persecution of a Christian missionary in East Timor, whose name is *Pastor Ferdie Flores, saying that he will be killed today through beating.

True or not, let's just send our prayers to the Father for this missionary...

*Edited: Not Peter, that's a Pastor.

Oct 29, 2005

Different Crosses

'Why do Catholic Churches have Crucifix instead of an empty Cross?' - A question frequently asked by local non-Catholics and non-Christians.

When I was still spiritually immature, I hate to have this question being thrown at me. I would avoid it whenever and wherever I could. Now, it's totally different. As I grew up in God's fantastic love, I understood why Catholics use Crucifixes instead of an empty Cross.

For Protestants, an empty cross means the Resurrection of Christ. It's a proof that Jesus is alive today. Yes, we Catholics certainly agree and believe that He is risen. But is this what Christianity is all about? A risen Christ? Of course not. Catholics believe in something more powerful - the very reason behind Christ's Resurrection.

Why did Jesus come to this lowly Earth in the first place? Why did Jesus choose to die in the first place? And why did Jesus choose to die ON A CROSS - such a shameful death - in the first place? There is no other reason than His LOVE for us.

Everytime I gaze at the Crucifix, it reassures me again and again, that God loves me. His love has gone to the extend of dying a shameful death on the Cross...just for ME!

There is only ONE message behind Christ's death and resurrection:"For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son..." John 3:16

As you lift up your heads and set your eyes upon the Crucifix, don't forget to give Him thanks and simply whisper 'I love you too' from your heart.

Oct 28, 2005

Let me say something...

This post is especially for a great lady, whose name is Juliana.

I happen to read the reflection for Mission Sunday, so I know I have to tell you this. You have to know the truth. Please continue reading till the end, ok?

When I first saw you and listened as you were reading in front, I was really amazed at how well you read. Everytime it was your turn as a Reader, I enjoyed listening to you and even hoped that one day I could become as good as you. For me, you were simply the best.

Everytime I saw you in church, I could not stop myself from staring at you (I know it's rude to stare!) and smiling to myself. I did not know why, but I just felt happy to have you around.
Finally, I had the chance to serve as a Reader as well. I had only one wish then, that was to ask for your comments on how I should improve my reading. But I did not have many chances to do so.

I guess you must have noticed me staring at you. So I was warned by someone not to look at you for you thought that I disliked you. It hurt me so deeply knowing that you have been thinking like this all these while.

Then came the greatest trial I have ever encountered - being one of the church political victims. When decisions were made by the 'elders of the church' to eliminate the few of us using irrelevent excuses, you defended us but ended up being victim like us. Did you know that what you did was a spirit-lifter when I was totally drowned by sorrow? You know, if I were not a Catholic, I would have approached those so-called 'elders of the church', slapped them and cursed them with F***. Did you know that you were my heroine? I wished I could thank you when I met you in church, but I was afraid as I remembered my friend's warning. So here it is.... THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE.

*Sigh* Please do not let the Evil One break the special bond that bind us all together. Just want to let you know that I will always admire and respect you for who you are, no matter how you think of me.

I pray that God may shower you with His great blessings always. Thank you for stopping by.

Oct 26, 2005

Remains A Question

I didn't get to visit the Carmelite sisters last weekend, but managed to talk to a good friend from the Emmaus Community (a special prayer group who meet up twice a week for prayers and reflections).

'Are you sure?' she asked. 'I think you better think it over again.'

'I've been thinking for a few weeks. I just want to ask the sisters for more information.' I said.

'How do you know it's from Him?'

'I don't know. I'm looking for an answer too. It couldn't be a coincidence, right?'

'So how do you feel about it?'

'Joy and peace, it's like a dream coming true.'

'Ok,' she hesitated. 'Why not you give Catherine a call and ask her about it first?' She gave me her number. (I don't know what is Catherine's relationship with the sisters, but I know she's like their secretary, helping to take care of the sisters' matters.)

I did. I was told that the local Carmelite community does not accept students like me. They want total commitment from members to attend all the classes and meetings. I am most certainly welcomed to join them once I've graduated.

Well, a little disappoiting for me. Perhaps, God wants to prepare me before letting me join the Carmelite order. Or perhaps, I'm a little spiritually immature? Or maybe... Ahh, whatever! My whole life is in His hands, so why should I worry? As long as He let me love Him with all my heart and soul!

So, what now? What else! Concentrate on my studies, do well with flying colours (God willing), and graduate after 6 more months! And then? Hmm... I hope to go for Masters... but I think I'll let Him decide what He wants for me.

[p.s. I want to thank those of you who have been praying for me. God bless all of you!]

Oct 25, 2005


'Unfortunately', I was memed by A Catholic Life. Hehe... =P

Here are the rules for this meme:
1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

This is just amazing... I found my 23rd post to be on the 23 Aug. My own confession that reminds me to always live as a faithful Catholic:

I received Confirmation 7 years ago, at Blessed Sacrament Church.

I hereby tag:
1. CK
2. Su Yin
3. Danny
4. Jason
5. Toby

Also anyone else who want to give it a try. Enjoy! ;)


I don't know. I just don't know how to call this conflict my friend and I are having. Misunderstanding? Conflict?

I wasn't in a good mood that day. I was harsh to almost everyone I met - my close classmates, my roommate and my housemates and my other friends. I kept quiet whenever and wherever possible. I barely smiled.

I raised my voice when talking to my roommate and my good friends. Thinking back, I feel really sorry for them. Despite avoiding me, they took the effort (and risk!) to talk to me. It was a real comfort to know that they care. Perhaps it is much better to have one or two Christian friends than to have a whole bunch of non-Christian friends who claim to know you well.

But this friend of mine was different. She knew that I was in a bad mood. After I told her that I might not be able to finish all my assignments in time, she asked me why. To me it was such a foolish question at that moment. Why? What do you mean why? Cannot finish means cannot finish, what other reasons do I need to have? I told her that. I didn't get to see her facial expression when she left my room, and since then never talked or even looked at me until today.

If I should apologise, I think my apology should go to Sarah, Su Yin, Bee Khim and Ah Mau. I have no idea why she sulked. I admit that I was a little impatient when I was talking to her, it was much better compared to the last time (we had another conflict a few months ago) I said something purposely to hurt her.

I didn't know that she was angry with me until I asked her to try something I cooked last Thursday. At first I thought she was just kidding, but only found out later on that she refused to talk to me. She used to claim that she knew me better than any of my friends do, clear enough it proved her wrong. So, this is what you call 'understanding'?, huh?

I've approached her once, and I wouldn't do it the second time. Nope, I'm not angry with her, why should I be? It's who she is and I've accepted her 3 years ago. I guess the best thing to do now is to wait till her anger has subsided. Who knows she might want to talk to me again. Even if she doesn't, what can I do? Force her, beg her? No, that's unnecessary. She started the war and so she has to end it. The choice is hers. I'm hoping she doesn't choose to end this friendship.

She's in my prayers.

Oct 23, 2005

Closing of the Eucharist Year

At 9am sharp this morning, the Archdiocese of Kuching celebrated the Mass for the closing of the Year of the Eucharist at the Amphitheatre. People started filling the empty open-air theatre at 8am. As I was part of the choir, I had the chance to sit inside a canopy on the stage, but unable to have a good view of the altar because I was sitting at the back row.

It was a miracle. God always has things planned well ahead, isn't he? It was raining pretty heavily at 7am, but it stopped 1/2 hour before the Mass begin! Sunny and hot? Not at all! The Lord sent us cloud covers that blocked out the hot sun, and a gentle breeze throughout the Mass! The Mass ended with procession back to the St. Joseph Cathedral.

I've never been to such a Mass with throngs of people, and with over 20 priests and 2 Archbishops celebrating the Mass together. It was a good experience. Is World Youth Day Mass something like this too? The Archbishop reminded us that the Eucharist represents Love. We shouldn't stop loving because the Year has come to an end. Instead, we should continue to let the Body and Blood of Christ nourish us and live in His love. So the saying goes, "Receive what you are, and become what you receive." (St. Augustine)

I managed to get some snapshots throughout the Mass when we were outdoor. Not much, but enough as remembrance. Ok, no more talking, picture time!

The congregation that were coming in quickly. Took the photo from the choir stage, that was where the Altar and the plastic chairs were for the priests (white) and altar servers (brown).

The flower girls, they sprinkled little flowers and leaves on the ground during the procession. Owh, we also have the flower boys! Not in the pic, though. Aren't they cute? Hehe.

Procession back to St.Joseph Cathedral. I didn't know how far we walked from Amphitheatre to the Cathedral because I was busy looking at my song sheet.

The Thanksgiving Dance. Took place right after Thanksgiving hymns. Sarawak Catholics are made up of the many different races - the Chinese, the Indians and the indeginous people/groups. The dancers were dressed up according to the ethnic groups. This kind of dance is very common for important Masses eg. Gawai Thanksgiving Mass, Christmas, Easter (in that Cathedral and some Kampungs [villages] only).

The St. Joseph Cathedral. Taken from the Choir section. After Mass, everyone was rushing out to get their cars. They didn't want to block others. Usually the priests will be meeting and greeting the parishioners outside the church. I wanted to show you the most handsome priest I've ever met here, but too bad I couldn't get his pic! And our choir conductor (not in the pic, I still haven't got much 'paparrazi skills') too.. gosh he's so CUTE!!! Hehehe...

Oct 22, 2005

Travelling Through A Storm

What a week.

Three assignments to hand in. Only managed to finish each of them the night before they were dued. It wasn't last minute, just didn't manage to finish them earlier.

Presentation. Something I really HATE. What else? of course I screwed it up by reading the notes and not speaking fluently. Only started preparing 3 hours before the presentation.

My 'twin' friend started a 'cold war' with me for being a little rude with her. Among all my friends she knew me better and the longest , yet she doesn't know that I'm always cold when I'm in a bad mood? Crap. Do I have to apologise again? I think she should apologise! Crap.

Couldn't stand all the pressure. I broke down and cried. How I wished I had a shoulder to cry on.
It was such a hard week. No, it was a terrible and horrible week.

[The soundtrack of "Jewel in the Palace" plays in my mp3, reminding me of how the girl overcame all the hardships.]

But it's over now. At least for the time being. *Sighs of relief* One more assignment to be submitted two weeks from now. Well, same problem again. I cannot find much information. SIX hours on the net but the info I found isn't enough still. Am looking for how French celebrate Easter and Assumption of Our Lady. How I wish I have friends from France.

Sometimes I hope I don't have to go through all these. But I'm thankful that I always have a safe landing. Thank You, Lord.

Oct 16, 2005

An Answer?

I've been giving this into thinking, so I didn't blog on this immediately.

A few days before I posted 'Desperate', I was flipping through a book called 'The Catholic Religion'. An old book published in 1987 (I was only 5 years old!) in Australia. It was on my dad's reading table. Out of boredom, I picked the book up and started flipping it just for the sake of flipping.

Then one word struck me. Secular Institutes. SECULAR. I've seen that word before, but where? I wondered and read the description under that title.

Some men and women dedicate their lives completely to God without becoming Priests or Nuns or Brothers... through vows or promises to practise celibacy and poverty... some do not wear any special religious dress; they usually continue to live in their own homes; they share in a special way in the life of the Church by their regular christian service of others.

I suddenly remembered one small segment behind the daily reflection booklet (Lectio Divina) I have, it goes like this:

For the Discalced Carmelites Order and the Church in Malaysia
Jesus needs help in looking after His sheep and He is calling you
not to work for Him but to work with Him as:-
  1. A Carmelite or Diocesan Priest
  2. A Carmelite nun
  3. A Secular Carmelite (Membership is open to single, married,
    widow and Diocesan Priest)

SECULAR CARMELITE. Some funny feelings in my heart. Is God calling me? Or did I just read that by accident?

It has been bothering me for the whole week. I have always longed for the moment I can take the vow of everlasting love for God. Has He heard me? Is this His response to my heart's cry?
I pray that it is His answer. I will meet the local Carmelite sisters for more information during the study week (two weeks from now).

Please remember me in your prayers. Merci beaucoup!
Read more about Secular Carmelite here.

Oct 13, 2005

The Expression of God's Love...

The expression of God's love
is the innocence of man
an extension of His soul...
God's "footprint in the sand."

The things we do for others
add purpose to our lives
as we represent our Savior,
we become the "feet" of Christ.

The light that shines within us
is God's Spirit from above...
the "heartbeat" of His Kingdom
the expression of God's love.
Dwell in His love always...


A friend talked to her fiance over the phone. I could see the joy in her eyes.

Was watching a Korean drama. The lovers ran into each other's arms after a long separation.

A picture of the same Korean drama. The guy tenderly held the hands of the girl he loved.

My housemate and his girlfriend. They joked and laughed with and at each other.

A TV show. The guy gazed into the girl's eyes with love.

How I wish I have someone whom I can run to. Someone whose shoulders I can lean on. Someone whose hands I can trust mine to. Someone who would look into my eyes and whisper the three special words into my ears. Someone PHYSICALLY present by my side.

It would be really really nice if Jesus is still walking on Earth today. Those scenes reminded me of Him.

How I wish I could talk to Him over the phone.
How I wish I could run into His arms.
How I wish I could hold His hands, and never letting go.
How I wish I could gaze into His eyes and fall in love with Him again and again.
How I wish I could hear Him say 'I love you',
And how I wish I could see Him with my human eyes!

Does He know that I'm desperate for Him spiritually and physically?

Oct 12, 2005


The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Extreme
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

No no no no... I don't wanna go to Purgatory!!! I want to go HOME!!!! *sniff sniff*

Oct 8, 2005

Startling Truth!

I was skimming through the book 'Heaven Is So Real' just a few minutes ago and saw this frightening truth that causes me to tremble in fear. If what the author has recorded in the book are real, then all non-Christians are in deep trouble. These were the words the Lord told Choo Thomas when He brought her to visit hell...

"The reason I am showing this to you, My daughter, is so that you will fully
understand that no matter how good people are, they will go to hell if they do
not accept Me." - Heaven Is So Real, pg.52

The Lord also added that He wanted 'believers everywhere to preach the gospel.'

If this is true, there is no excuse for us Christians not to preach the gospel, unless we want our loved ones to suffer in hell. And that would also mean one thing: only those who believe and accept Him as God and Saviour can be saved.

Do something. We might not have much time.

Oct 3, 2005

The Choral Concert

That's the concert I've been talking about in one of my previous posts. Honestly, I'm a little regreted for taking part in the concert. If I knew this was a money-making concert to promote IMH (no... you don't wanna know what that is), I wouldn't have 'contributed' my voice and time, yet what did I gain? Fame? Praise? Wealth? Free meals? Nope, NOTHING! Did I feel excited or nervous during the concert (since I miss so many practices and only went for one rehearsal)? NOT AT ALL!!!! It was nothing to me, even though I wasn't really familiar with one or two of the songs and I could't really remember the lyrics. Why? Maybe I found out that the concert was for generating more money.

LUCKILY I didn't feel so BAD or else I might have demonstrated (well, I would if I wanted to). Another realisation after I started fuming with anger: Hey, 5 great love songs for God have just been registered in the library of my brain! If not because of this concert, will I ever have a chance to learn these songs/hymns? Exactly, it's a NO! So... THANKs AND PRAISEs BE TO GOD for the great opportunity given me to be exposed to more hymns!!!!

I shall not be talking the concert because my friend and fellow choir member has blogged perfectly on this event, so why not pay her blog a visit? I shall be showing you some photos I took before and during the concert. Sorry to say that I don't have any photos of the choir singing. Well, there wasn't enough time to find a trusted person to hand over my camera to. Ok, here are the photos. Remember to drop by my friend's blog and read the detailed description of the event.

First of all, introducing you to... Mr. Reginard and Mdm. Venus from Philippines... our vocal trainer. The two of them have done a great job. Thank God we have such talents in the Catholic church!

The stage... before everyone else (performers and audiences) arrived, I had the opportunity to snap a pic of the stage and imagined myself standing up there.

The full name of the event

Mdm. Pricilla from the Philippines. When I met her for the first time during the rehearsal, I thought to myself, 'What on earth is this ah mah (old grandmother) doing here? Is she the relative of someone here?' But then I found out that she's the soloist for 'Laudate Dominum' and when I heard her voice... OH GOSH... *with dropped jaw* was unthinkably NICE! [One
lesson for me to learn - don't judge others by their appearance!]

The trio. I was greatly attracted by the boy with the tuxedo. That was my first time seeing a real tuxedo. And wasn't he smart in that tux? =) His voice was... WOW... (you know what I mean, don't you?)

Last but not least, that's the choir. This was taken right after the concert when Mrs. Geraldine Law-Lee came up to the stage to congratulate everyone for the great singing.

The Choral Concert was on 1st October, 8p.m. Malaysian time.

Oct 2, 2005



What did you read?

God is no where?


God is now here!

Just a beautiful way to say - LIFE IS HOW YOU SEE IT!

Always think positive... God bless!

Sep 25, 2005

Food for Thought

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.

My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received." I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world. Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.

The angel then said to me, "This is the Packagingand Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."

I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.
Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. he seemed embarrassed. "How is it that there's no work going on here?" I asked.

"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people received the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.
"Simple," the angel answered. "Just say, 'Thank you, Lord."
"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.

"If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness... you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.

"If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death... you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world.

"If your parents are still alive and still married... you are very rare.

"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you are unique to all those in doubt and despair."

[Taken from Lectio Divina October '05 issue]

See... we have more than one reason why we should always be thankful. What are you waiting for? Let us send our acknowlegdments to God NOW and get the angel at the Acknowledgment Section busy (don't give him a chance to be lazy!!)! ;)

Sep 23, 2005

Bravo, Koreans!

Seriously and honestly, I have no idea whatsoever about Koreans - their culture, their beliefs, their lifestyle, their history etc. until I was stuck with the Korean drama 'The Legendary Doctor Hur Jun' and 'Jewel in the Palace'. At first, my impression of Koreans was that they have no difference with the Japanese. I know some of the history and language of the Japanese, so I couldn't bother doing some readings on the Koreans since they are the same (Koreans = Japanese). When I was first watching the Korean drama, I found their traditional costumes to be very weird and funny [my sincere appology to the Koreans!]. Gradually but surely, my perception about Koreans changed as I got addicted with 'The Legendary Doctor Hur Jun'.

Out of intense curiosity, I searched the internet for Korean Catholics. I only knew that Naju is the area with Catholics in Korea. Thanks God, I found one great website about the history of the Catholic in Korea. I am more than happy to read about it! I also read of how they (the martyrs) were persecuted because they refused to deny Christ. Today, the Catholics in Korea are actually growing despite the conflict between Church and the local culture.

It is just amazing to know that Koreans are among the martyrs of the Church. What amazed me the most is that Korea is one of the country in the Asia region with christian martyrs canonized (in 1984 by Pope JP II).

My next mission: To get to know more about Korea and visit the churches in Korea one day. ;)

God bless everyone.
p/s: For more information on Korean martyrs, click the link above.

Sep 18, 2005

Which Saint are You?


You are Joan of Arc! You don't really want to hurt
anyone, but if they attack your friends or your
country and no-one else will stand up to fight
them, you head into the battle. Beware though,
conviction tends to get you killed.

Which Saint Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Chanced upon this when I was at Father Ethan's blog, found it interesting so I took the quiz too. For me, Joan of Arc represents courage and violence, or no mercy. Perhaps I am a pretty violent person too (when I got really angry), that's why I 'resemble' her...

Sep 17, 2005

A student's eye of view

I've a post in my Friendster blog about rape cases that happened really frequently nowadays. Feel free to visit and comment.

Thank you!

Sep 11, 2005

Why we should forgive

I have misunderstood today's Gospel all these years. I thought that in order to receive God's forgiveness, we have to forgive others first. But today, the priest reminded us that this is not true. The truth is that because we have first been forgiven by God, so we should forgive others too.

I found William Blake's words to be very true too, "It's easier to forgive an enemy than a friend." I have that experience before. A friend whom I have trusted for 5 long years stabbed my back and it took me 5 years to totally forgive him. I loved and trusted him so much so that I couldn't accept the fact that he betrayed me. I knew I have forgiven him when I did not feel the hurt in my heart anymore. The Lord healed my wounds and helped me to forgive during a youth healing session.

I still find it difficult to forgive. I am still learning how to let go of the hurt and resentment caused by both friends and people I dislike. Worse still, these are the people I meet in church every Sunday. But I continue to pray for them, hoping that they would realise the wrong they have done.

I want to forgive like Marie and Tara's parents. Father, teach me to forgive.

Sunday Reflection: No forgiveness, no future

On 21 July, Irish teenager Tara Whelan, killed in a terrorist bomb attack while on holiday in Turkey, was buried in her home village in the presence of thousands of mourners. Tara was described as 'a most honest, loving, caring and beautiful person." At the funeral Mass her parents publicly forgave her killers and offered a special prayer for them.

Some weeks earlier Marie Fatayi-Williams, a Nigerian woman whose 26-year-old son (the hope and pride of her life) died in the London terrorist bombings, prayed aloud at his funeral service in Westminster Cathedral, "Lord, take Anthony as a sacrificial lamb for peace to reign in our world." As she forgave his murderers, her impassioned plea for peace over BBC television touched viewers worldwide.
Such acts of heroic forgiveness by ordinary people in the face of great personal tragedy stand in stark contrast to the hatred and revenge which motivate the terrorists. Without any way excusing their horrible crimes, it requires greatness of heart and God-like generosity to forgive the evil-doers.
Forgiveness has been described as godly. The Son of God became flesh, lived among us and gave His life to gain forgiveness for our sins. As He lay dying on the cross He prayed for his killers, "Father forgive them". And during His life He repeatedly stressed the importance of forgiving. The Parables of The Unforgiving Servent and the Prodigal Son, as well as the incidences such as the adulterous woman and the sinful woman in Simon's house, all underline the primary need in our lives for mercy and forgiveness rather than condemnation and revenge. In fact He leaves us with no choice; we must forgive, not just once but 77 times if need be.
How true indeed are the words of the poet, William Blake, "It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend". Because of our smallness of mind and heart we find it difficult to forgive an angry word, an unfriendly stare, a small insult or loss of face, especially from someone close to us! We are too proud to make the first move towards reconciliation but allow hatred and bitterness, like an unseen cancer, to continue to eat away and destroy our peace of mind and our relationships.
Jesus warns that in such a state we are unworthy to worship God:"Leave your gift there in front of the altar, go make peace with your brother/sister and then come back and offer your gift to God". Only then will it be acceptable.
Perhaps Jesus' greatest act of forgiveness was not praying for His enemies on the cross but forgiving His closest friends and followers who had deserted Him in His hour of greatest need. He had begged, "Stay here and keep watch with me" but they "all left him and ran away"(Matt 26). Yet when He appeared to them after the Resurrection, in their state of guilt and confusion, there was no repromand, no "How could you...?" Instead there was only a gentle greeting, "Fear not; it is I... Peace be with you" (Matt 28).
This is what He continues to ask from each of us; to forgive and let go of past hurts. Not easy, in our human pride and self-righteousness, but the only way forward, for 'without forgiveness there is no future' (Archbishop Desmond Tutu).

- Bro. Columba Gleeson
(A De La Salle Brother who worked in schools in Sarawak from 1958-1987. From 1988-1997, he was the editor of Today's Catholic and was also involved in faith formation and catechetical programmes in the Archdiocese. He now works with the Brothers in Belfast, Northern Ireland.)

Which route?

I have just came back from field trip to collect fish samples yesterday, which causes me to be temporarily 'paralyzed'. My body is aching all over due to the journey on foot and climbing high and low in the jungle. I missed two classes and the usual Friday choir practice.
I went to the extra choir practice this afternoon and was told that there will be a concert on 1st October. We have been practicing four difficult hymns for a month now. All the older choir members do not have the knowledge of music basics, so it is a little difficult for them to get the correct notes and timing. For the young ones, all of us are still schooling and unable to attend the practices on weekdays. So in order that everyone turns up for the practice, the conductor decided to make it compulsory to go for practice every Sunday evening. Two hours a week a practice for one month is not enough for us!
I do not have any problem with the time of practice, the problem lies in my parents. Before my 3rd year of campus life began, my parents make me promise them not to take part in any extra activities connected with youths and choir (eg. youth camp, concert etc.). I took that lightly, thinking that they might change their mind in the future. At the same time, I promised the Lord my service whenever and where ever He needs it. Now, when they heard about the forth-coming concert, they wanted me to give it up due to my exams and another field trip two days before the concert.
I really do not know what to do. Sometimes I'm tempted to just give up singing completely instead of having to make so many choices. But how can I forget the kindness God has shown me? It is out of love that I joined the choir. Every song of praise and adoration springs forth from my heart out of love. Many a times, God touches me through music. Give up music and singing? Never!! But that would mean going against my parents! To them, I should put my studies first before anything else at this moment.
Which route should I take? Should I continue practising for the concert despite my tight schedule, or just be a good daughter and listen to my parents? *sigh* Why do I always have to face dilemma of this kind - choosing between obeying my parents and listening to my own heart?

Sep 6, 2005

Just Sharing...

I've seen these three photos for many many times, but I've never saved them. Every time I see these, they never fail touching my heart...

Sep 4, 2005

What song tells about your life?

I don't know about you, but my life can be summarized using this song in particular...

Along the Road of Life

Along the road of life I have a friend divine
Who walks with me and gently leads the way
He gives me joy and makes the darkest night to shine
It is my Lord who won my heart one day (today)

I do not mind the rough and winding pathway
Or mountain steep through valley dark and cold
It is enough to know He travels by my side
Along the road that leads to streets of gold

For many years I did not know His love so true
Until I heard how on the cross He died
I trusted Him and He became my Saviour too
And since that day He's journeyed by my side

Sep 3, 2005

Fun Time in Heaven

This is just a joke..... I found it really... funny and weird, so..... here it is...


Three men: a philosopher, a mathematician and an idiot, were out riding in the car when it crashed into a tree. Before anyone knows it, the three men found themselves standing before the pearly gates of Heaven, where St Peter and the Devil were standing nearby.

"Gentlemen," the Devil started, "Due to the fact that Heaven is now overcrowded, therefore St Peter has agreed to limit the number of people entering Heaven. If anyone of you can ask me a question which I don't know or cannot answer, then you're worthy enough to go to Heaven; if not, then you'll come with me to Hell."

The philosopher then stepped up, "OK, give me the most comprehensive report on Socrates' teachings," With a snap of his finger, a stack of paper appeared next to the Devil. The philosopher read it and concluded it was correct. "Then, go to Hell!" With another snap of his finger, the philosopher disappeared.

The mathematician then asked! , "Give me the most complicated formula you can ever think of!" With a snap of his finger, another stack of paper appeared next to the Devil. The mathematician read it and reluctantly agreed it was correct. "Then, go to Hell!" With another snap of his finger, the mathematician disappeared, too.

The idiot then stepped forward and said, "Bring me a chair!" The Devil brought forward a chair. "Drill 7 holes on the seat." The Devil did just that. The idiot then sat on the chair and let out a very loud fart. Standing up, he asked, "Which hole did my fart come out from?"

The Devil inspected the seat and said, "The third hole from the right."

"Wrong," said the idiot, "it's from my asshole." And the idiot went to Heaven.

Alrights, what conclusion can you make from the story above? =)

Sep 2, 2005

Me, My Life and Fish

When I was young, my friends used to tease me about my name. I was so fed up that I hated myself for being born into the world and into this family (I can't blame my dad since...well, you'll know that later, just keep reading). But as I grow older, I found out that, perhaps, everything is God's brilliant plan - I'm 'related' to fish.

It all started with my surname. My surname is Yu. Actually, that's not my correct surname, I mean, wrong spelling. It's the fault of the person in the National Registration Department (or whatever it is called) during the processing of my dad's identity card. So, instead of Audrey Yii (which is my real surname), I became Audrey Yu. Yes, my surname's the one that caused all the 'trouble'.

In Malay language, 'Yu' is shark. In Mandarin, it means fish. (So now, any clue of how my blog url came about? *grin*) Ever since in primary school, friends would call me 'Ikan Yu' (= Shark), or 'Gold fish' (why gold, it's something to do with my middle name), or just 'fish'. Recently, my friends are pretty lazy to call me by my full name, so to them I'm 'Aud'. Slowly, my new name developed: Aud Yu = Aud Shark = Odd Shark. *Sigh*

Forget about my surname now. Let's talk about my food preference. I don't like taking meat, besides I'm a very lazy person too - unless the meat is de-boned, I would not take it. But then I just LOVE fish, especially fish fillet, even though it's not de-boned I'd still take it and I can even finish the whole fish by myself (well, of course it depends on the size of the fish)!

3 years ago when I received the offer letter from UNIMAS (the local university I'm in right now), I was totally shocked when I knew about the program they offered - Aquatic Resource Science and Management - it's all about the aquatic environment and its living things, including fish. FISH. Yes, FISH again! (Are you fed up with the word 'fish' now?)

Ok, fine, so what's so big deal about fish? I finished my first and second year of study successfully, and so here I am in the final year. The most important thing in the final year is our Final Year Project or Thesis. You should be able to guess what my project is on, it's...FISH.
Looks like I cannot be separated from fish, right? Even the symbol of Christianity is a fish (called icthyo-something, I forgot the word). Even my belief is connected with fish - one of the most important miracles of Jesus: feeding of the five thousand with 5 loaves and 2 FISHes; Jesus said He would teach us to be FISHers of men, etc.

In conclusion, obviously I'm related to fish. But I still don't understand. What does fish have to do with my Christian life and vocation? How about my future? Ok Lord, You'd better tell me Your plan or else.................... I shall pester You for the rest of Your life!!!! (Luckily there's just one Audrey Yu in the world, or else God might be having ultimate headaches!)