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!)

Sep 1, 2005

Something fishy...?!

Yes, didn't you smell fish? You know, it's the fishy smell on your hands after you deal with fish. Didn't you smell.... ME?

I have that smell all over me - my shirt, my pants (not undergarment, mind you!), my hair and especially my hands... gosh when will the smell go away?! In real fact I don't SMELL that much, it's just too much contact with fish so everything smells like fish to me. I wonder if I've used to the smell, the shape of the fish and the word 'fish' itself lately. I tend to look for a fish for lunch and dinner for these few days! (Nooo... I'm addicted to fissshhhh~~~!)

I've just finished the job today. Yep, all the 15 samples with over a thousand fishes for just 3 days (Yay! I'm on my way to be a fish expert! =P ). My hands are 'preserved' by formalin, and the skin has started peeling. Everytime I wash my hands... nay you don't want to know, am afraid that you might not be able to eat later. ( =P haha it's not so serious! But the formalin really has an effect on my skin and somehow it is painful when I get in contact with water.)

Ok, no more fish. It's time to go home and take a good bath. (I'm now in the computer lab. Geeee... those sitting beside me are all leaving, guess I should be smelling really bad...)

God bless everyone. ^_^