Dec 29, 2006

Christmas caroling... after so long

A great group of youths, which made caroling a lot more fun. (I'm not in the pic, 'coz I was the photographer!)

It has been ages since the last time I joined the Chinese Choir for Christmas caroling. Those nights of fellowship and carol-singing were really fun. The best part was... FOOD! *LOL* Of course not. That was the 2nd best. The best was none other than being able to meet people who became my friends today. And the greatest memory I've had was the time we wished the house owner "Happy Birthday" or "Happy New Year" (in Mandarin) instead of "Merry Christmas." Still today, whenever I talk to my Chinese group of church friends regarding caroling, we would never fail to have a good laugh as we recall those unforgettable moments.

This year, to tell the truth, I didn't really want to join the Youth caroling. But I joined anyway to help my friends since they lacked manpower. Somehow, I fell sick a few days before the caroling started and so I was 'spared' from my task. I was supposed to be keeping an eye on the younger youths, but instead, I became the one being watched over since I was still recuperating and weak from intestinal infection. Perhaps, it was the time given me by God to mix around with the younger youths, which I did and got to know some of them. Didn't know them well, but at least they felt comfortable talking and joking with me.

Well, I guess I must be young-looking. Those youths actually believed that I'm still in college! Looking (and feeling) young is a good thing, isn't it? It's absolutely a gift from Him! Some adolescents who are the fellow members of English Morning Choir, once declared that I was "the bridge between the Young and the Old." I still have no idea why they call me as such.

Could it be that I am called to work with the youths? To bring them closer God and be there to listen and to understand them? Only God knows.

I enjoyed this year's caroling, although not as much as during the time with the Chinese group. I'm glad to know that God has a place in the hearts of most of these youngsters. And I thank Him for that.

Hoping all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Dec 23, 2006

Blessed Christmas!

I haven't been able to get online for the past 1 week. It is really horrible, especially for a heavy user of internet like me. Luckily my dialup is still working fine, though with much trouble and an extremely slow speed. Looks like I'll have to stop blogging for a while until my connection is back.

Meanwhile, I thank all those who still come back for updates. This is going to be a short post, 'coz I can't stay online for too long.

Last but not least, my sincere Christmas wishes for all who read this post. Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. Till we meet again next year, keeping you all in my prayers. I also ask for your prayers for me and my family too. Thank you!

Nov 28, 2006

Caroling - How proper?

Christmas is just a month away. Yes, I’m excited. Who is not? For those who love Christ dearly, Christmas is an important season to look forward to. And for me, I’m looking forward to it as well – the grand celebration of my Saviour’s birth.

Caroling practice is in full blast in our parish now and more youths have joined in. I’m glad, because for the first few practices there were only 5 or 6 youths who came but their number have exceeded 15 last night. That is something to be thankful for.

This is usually the time when I enjoyed most, but not so this time.

Not that I’m getting older or growing less fond of caroling. I very much prefer the real Christmas carols which announce the birth of the Saviour, not the secular carols. But for the youth caroling which I’m helping out, they are singing mostly secular songs… “I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus”, “Jingle Bells”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” etc. The worst part of all is that even though we held our practices in the church just in front of the Sanctuary, the youths were not behaving. They misused the choir’s microphones to make weird sound effects for the secular songs we were practicing, causing much unwanted noise.

I’m very unhappy with the situation. The church is God’s dwelling place, where He is present in the form of Bread kept in the Tabernacle. Yet, people ignored this and instead of making joyful streams of praises and to worship His name, they sang stupid secular songs with the banging of electric guitars and tambourines, as if Santa Claus is the reason for the season, transforming the church into a… nothing but a structure where one can scream, shout, play, and jam as loud as one likes.

I couldn’t sing last night. Especially the secular carols. I gazed into the eyes of Jesus on the Crucifix and heard my heart breaking. And I knew that it is very improper to hold caroling practice like this one in the church. It was a total disrespect to the Lord.

Is it just me, or what I’ve felt is actually right? I’m still thinking if I should ask the conductor to shift the practice to one of the empty rooms instead of in the church. I guess if they continue making so much unnecessary noise and yet refuse to practice in another room, I might have to quit.

Oh Lord, have mercy on us!

Nov 26, 2006

Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje

Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray. Little children, when you pray you are close to God and He gives you the desire for eternity. This is a time when you can speak more about God and do more for God. Therefore, little children, do not resist but permit Him to lead you, to change you and to enter into your life. Do not forget that you are travellers on the way toward eternity. Therefore, little children, permit God to lead you as a shepherd leads his flock. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Again, Our Lady reminds us to pray. Pray, pray, pray. To pray unceasingly so that we are always connected to God. Each one of us will experience spiritual dryness; when we feel like God is a million miles away and our spiritual lives start going downhill... then it is time for us to reflect on God's love again, surrender everything into His hands and ask Him to renew us.

I'm feeling spiritually dry this week, most probably resulted from my tight schedule - work, choir and caroling. I've started to feel kind of exhausted. Life has been so busy that I failed to slow down to enjoy every moment and to really care for everyone I met. I'm planning for a day or two away from home so that I may 'recharge' my Spirit in the Lord. I really need that before I stray further away from my Beloved.

Have a blessed weekend everyone! Do remember me in your prayers, as I remember you. Thank you and God bless.

Nov 23, 2006

My Vocation Story - The First Obstacle

My mother made the very first protest against my interest in joining the Carmelite cloister. A very big one indeed.

I went to the Carmelite Monastery two Saturdays ago together with my parents. I’ve promised one of the sisters to help them with photocopying of some books. We have the usual and casual talk; I told her of some happenings in my life, asked them to pray for my cousin for her forth-coming public exam etc. Suddenly, they requested to speak to my parents.

I was happy, of course, that they were willing to 'meet my parents. So after I got my parents to talk to one of them, I went off to the Chapel to say hello to the Lord. But I went back after 5 minutes to see how my parents were doing. I was eager to find out what they were talking about, because I knew that just before I walked off 5 minutes ago, the sister was talking about me. The sister was talking to my Mom. Dad whispered to me when he saw me reappeared, "Your mom is feeling very uncomfortable."

My parents then made an excuse to leave while I continued talking to her. She invited my parents to meet the whole community. As I am an aspirant, according to her, my family is given the privilege to meet the whole community of Carmelite nuns. I was excited, of course! I’m an aspirant!!! Wow!! However, my Mom refused their invitation. It shocked me, because all the while I thought that she’s dying to meet the Carmelite sisters.

"It’s ok, dear." said Mother Conceptual. "She’s just not ready. We don’t want to scare them." After thanking her for everything, my parents and I left for home.

After two days, my mom suddenly raised this topic. She blamed the Carmelite sisters for 'brain-washing' me and putting in me the desire of joining them. She even warned me that I should never visit them anymore. I got a shock of a lifetime. Is there something wrong with my mom? Why is she putting all the blame on the nuns because of me thinking about my vocation seriously?

"The nuns' fault? Mom, this is ridiculous!" I lost my patience, which I was not supposed to. She continued with her own theory. I started with my own reasoning.

"Sorry Mom. I can’t listen to whatever you’ve said. You don’t make any sense!" I ended our argument. That very instance, Mom started a cold war with me.

We did not talk to each other for 4 days. I tried to break the ice, but mom ignored me. These 4 days were really a torture. I lost my concentration during work; I lost my appetite, and even my will to go on. When I was on my way to the office one morning, I ran the red light and almost collided head-on with an on coming car. Normally, situation like this would freak me out. But that morning, I was just so calm, as if I I’ve lost all my senses. Fortunately, the both of us stopped our cars just in time. I simply raised my hand as a sign of apology without even looking at the driver, and quickly drove away. When I replayed the scene that night, my whole being was immersed in fear. Gosh, I could have killed the both of us! How very dangerous I have been!

Obviously, my mother's objection to my vocation has impacted me a lot. Far worse than I’ve ever imagined and expected. For those 4 days, it felt as if I was completely separated from the One I truly love, as if my soul had withered. It felt as though I was given 2 choices – 1. Give up my vocation to please my mother, or 2. Give up my mother (and family) to live a life I am called to live. A very tough decision but I’m certain, that if I was to be given these 2 choices, I wouldn’t hesitate to leave everything for His Kingdom. I could have just left home and went straight to the cloister the very moment my mother voiced her objection. However, when I look at my small family – my parents are retired, my brother is still in college and I’m the only source of income, I believe that this is not the time for me to give up everything behind yet. My heart told me that God is still preparing me for the future; only He knows what the future is like.

Finally, I took the initiative and with the help of my father, my mom and I started to communicate once again. Gosh, it was a great relieve for me! Everything went back to normal. My love for Christ has gone another level higher, realizing how much I needed Him right by my side. I’m trying my best not to mention Carmelite as not to trigger my mom’s anger. I was upset with her for her objection, but at the same time I thanked the Lord that, if it was not because of this test I would not have known how much I really love Him.

I believe that this is not the end. There would be more to come along the way. I need to stay closely connected to the Lord through prayers so that I can stand firm no matter what. Regarding my parents, I pray that I can understand how they really feel and I offer them up to the Lord. Somehow, I came to understand how Mother Catherine Thomas (the author of My Beloved: the Story of a Carmelite Nun) has felt when her mother did not approve of her joining the Carmelite cloister.

For those who are discerning, be assured of my prayers. Also, I sincerely request for your prayers for my family and I, and all who are discerning a religious life.

Nov 20, 2006

Church crisis?

Not just the Diocese of Orange. Somehow, somewhere around every corner of the world, a similar phenomenon may be present, whether we're aware of it or not.

Substitute the "Diocese of Orange" to your own diocese/parish. Is there anything fishy going on?

What am I thankful for this year? All you good Catholic parishioners who see my abuses and abominations in the Holy Trinity Parish and do absolutely nothing!

This is extremely scary for me. Apathy.

Nov 14, 2006

Something off-topic

Finally, I've successfully applied for broadband internet, which has taken about a few weeks. Thank God for that and I hope I can utilise this for His Glory alone. And hopefully too, that I can blog a little more often.

I've been travelling a lot these days, I keep going back to Bintulu, a small town approximately 45 minutes of flight from Kuching (where I live). For the moment, there is a pulp mill project going on so I have to go to the project site quite regularly. I'm not any important person; I'm just the assistance project coordinator. So far my job is just being the 'tour guide' of our sub-consultants or experts who work for us.

Here is how a longhouse looks like. I took this photo during my first trip to the project site (which is about 60 km away from the main town). It was my first experience communicating with the local people and being to one. During my second trip, I actually had a chance to dine with them.

These are how the local indigenous people look like. These are now modern longhouses. They have pour-flash toilets, electricity (generator-powered), engine boats, gas stoves etc, even handphones. Besides, they are nice and friendly too.

The traffic analyst, her 2 technicians and I (and my Caucasian colleague who took this photo) were heading back to the jetty after site visit. Do you know which one is me? Hehehe.

There you go. This beautiful British lady is my colleague. She's a Marine Biologist and her expertise is in fish fauna. She's been in Kuching for more than 6 years, and she knows her way around town better than I do!! So if you are planning for a holiday vacation in Kuching (Borneo, Sarawak), you can give her a call, provided she's not on travelling and is free. One sad thing, though, she's a lapsed Christian. That guy in blue suit was our fisherman and boatman then.

Tell me. Have you ever seen a prawn that big? The King Prawn. We caught 2 or 3 of these prawns, and later we had a good lunch over fresly cooked prawns. Yummy!

I noticed that my colleague was really facinated by the baby girl. That's why I took a photo of her with the local women. These women are really good at handicrafts, especially those having to do with weaving. They are beautiful people...

After 4 days of working hard, all of us took a group photo for remembrance. When I went back to the longhouse (the house of Thomas, first from the right) this morning, they people there actually called me Thomas' foster-daughter. Hahaha.

All in all, all the 3 trips have been real fun. I mean, fun in gaining some experiences and doing things for the first time. I thank God for all the nice people I've met... and also that I'm always in good hands.

God bless!

Nov 4, 2006

Holiness... is not easy

To be holy it is not necessary to accomplish extraordinary acts nor possess exceptional gifts. It is simply necessary to serve Jesus, to listen to him ant do follow him without losing courage when faced with difficulties.

~ Pope Benedict XVI's homily on the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, 2006

At another time, I heard a similar saying:

Holiness means to do little and ordinary things with great love.

Don't you agree?

At times, I have big dreams. I dreamt of being rich; when there is no financial worry, I can do so many things -- helping those with financial problems, driving friends who are living so far away from church and with transport problems, to be there immediately when friends needed someone by their side, to ease the pain of people who are suffering from illnesses by buying them medicine or health suppliments, to travel all around the world and involve in missionary work... I wanted to make the world a better place to live in, and the list goes on and on...

But, no. These are no "holiness". I realized that I can't even do little things with love! I complained when my parents asked me to do some housework for them - washing the dishes, do the laundry, mop the floor, prepare dinner etc. And with non-Catholic friends, sometimes I took them for granted - being rude, not understanding, refused to listen but talked too much, being unsincere etc. Really, sometimes I just feel that I am a total hypocrite!

So, what is the use of desiring to accomplish great things when I can't even do small things well? No point, isn't it?

The first step to holiness is to do little things with great love.

Sounds easy, eh? *grin* It's not easy for me, though. I'm still trying my best to put love into EVERYTHING I do... but I tend to lose sight of God and when that happens, my human nature surfaced. I, a sinner, certainly cannot offer any good advice for anyone who are searching for ways to holiness. One thing, however, this poor heart of mine has been telling me is that:

  • Live each day as if it is our last.
  • Recite the prayers (esp. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be) slowly and reflect on each word you're saying. Mean what you say and say only what you mean.
  • DO NOT lose sight of the Lord, because without Him we cannot do anything.
  • Give thanks and praise to the Lord for EVERYTHING we have received.
  • Be humble, as our Servant King is humble.
Or, here is a website that's all about Holiness.

Let us together follow the example of the Saints and live our lives for the glory of God alone!

God bless.

Oct 27, 2006

Beautiful saying...

This is just amazingly beautiful... don't you agree?

There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. ~ Pope Benedict XVI

How sad it is for those people who complained that the Gospel is too difficult to understand and they make all kinds of excuses to make everything else more important than reading God's Words.

Oct 26, 2006

Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje

Message of October 25, 2006

Dear children! Today the Lord permitted me to tell you again that you live in a time of grace. You are not conscious, little children, that God is giving you a great opportunity to convert and to live in peace and love. You are so blind and attached to earthly things and think of earthly life. God sent me to lead you toward eternal life. I, little children, am not tired, although I see that your hearts are heavy and tired for everything that is a grace and a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Children of Medjugorge, Inc.

Oct 24, 2006

I am never alone!

You, LORD, will not forsake Your people, nor abandon Your very own. If the LORD were not my help, I would long have been silent in the grave. When I say, "My feet is slipping," Your love, LORD, holds me up...
- Psalm 94
I just came back from a field survey in Bintulu, a not-so-big town which is about 45 minutes of flight from Kuching. When I was on the plane on my way back home, I reflected on the days I had there. I was alone... my supervisor was supposed to go with me but due to some unknown reasons, he sent me off alone to this foreign town. Well, I wasn't really alone though. I flew there with a colleague and another 3 professionals; I felt lonely because I didn't know them as well as I've known my supervisor.

Oh nope. That wasn't what I was worried about. The thing that worried me the most (it occupied my mind ever since I got to know that I had to go to Bintulu without my supervisor) was that I would have to drive all the five of us to the site... using a 4-WD. Something which I've never done before! I know how to drive, but I've never anticipated a 4WD or any car bigger than the normal, standard-sized cars. Furthermore, I would be driving in a town which is totally foreign to me.

Let's keep the long story short and get straight to the point.

Even though I felt alone, I wasn't totally alone. God sent nice people to be with me. My Caucasian colleague, the traffic expert and two technicians assisting her, the geologist, and my dear aunt. Through them, I felt the strong presence of God... everything was well organised and I felt that I was well taken care of.

I really don't know how to explain this or to put it into words, but I do know that He has never left my side no matter where I am and was, no matter how alone I seemed to be at that moment. It was just AMAZING... when I looked back, He was there in every situation. Perhaps that was why I didn't face much trouble at all.

When I got into the plane all by myself (because all the rest have gone back the day before), it was peace and joy that I experienced. I knew I wasn't alone after all.

It is more than enough to know that He travels by my side! And truly, as St. Paul says, God will not give us more than we can handle [1 Cor 10:13].

I give You thanks, O Lord, for these people You've sent. And Father, thank You for always being there. Through Jesus' name, AMEN.

Sep 27, 2006

Are you happy?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Am I happy? Happy with my life? Sometimes, my answer is yes; sometimes, no. As I look back, I realized that it wasn't wealth or material possession, nor is it accademic qualifications, that made me happy. There were times when I told the Lord, "Lord, I need more money, more of this and more of that." But when I've got all that I've requested for, I would desire and ask for even more! No... anything worldly has failed to satisfy my soul and my every desire, let alone giving me happiness.

Happiness is not determined by external circumstances, but by internal circumstances. How true it is! Personally, I found happiness
in making sacrifices for family and friends. I love helping out in church even though my contribution is considered small and unnoticed. I like giving compliments to people I meet, if this little act can bring a smile on their faces. I willingly give a hand, even though I know that my help is not appreciated, only God sees it all! I like to utter "I love you" to God at any moments I feel like to, because I clearly know that He loves me even more... every second of everyday.

What about you? Are you happy?

Thoughts inspired by the story below...

What are you waiting for?

Most people are waiting for something -- something "special" that will make their life great, so they can be happy.

Ask yourself: have others had this, and are they all happy? No, they're not, and it won't give you lasting happiness, either.

Happiness is not determined by external circumstances, but by internal circumstances.

Everyone chooses how happy they are by what they choose to think about.

Your attitude is determined by your perspective, which is determined by what you think about -- your focus. You choose your focus, so ultimately, you are the one who chooses whether to be happy, or not.

Perspective is what the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) are about. Seeing a bigger picture than just this one small moment of time. (The Beatitudes are where Jesus explained how some are blessed, or happy -- even in difficult situations.)

(The word we translate as "happy" in the New Testament is usually translated as "blessed.")

You won't get happiness by chasing what the world has to offer. It has already been tried and found wanting.

And, you will never be happy as long as you are self-centered. A focus on self is guaranteed to prevent happiness.

Right after Jesus performed the menial task of washing his disciple's feet -- akin to cleaning toilets today -- He told

JOHN 13:15,17 ICB
15 I did this as an example for you. So you should do as I have done for you. 17 If you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.

You will be happy if you help others. If you take your focus off yourself. That's what Jesus taught.

Sep 24, 2006

Humble pie... snack for spiritual health

Since I'm a newbie at the company I'm working with right now, I tried my very best to be polite and nice to all my colleagues, in contrast to how I usually interact with my good friends (that doesn't mean that I treat my friends rudely; my friends and I know each other so well that our response to each other is so "natural" and spontaneous... hope you get what I mean). Because I know that as a fresh graduate and to "steal" skills from the experts and to be accepted by them, I have no choice but to humble myself.

I thought I was humble enough, that's why my colleagues treated me well and were willing to help me. Therefore when the daily reflection mentioned about being humble, it didn't come to my mind that I'm not that humble after all.

I went to another town the other day to do a field survey on the project site. My job was to bring the geologist to the site and explain to him what the whole project was about and what was required. I met this geologist for the first time, and he was such a gentleman despite his knowledge and experience. I was impressed, both by his knowledge and his humbleness.

After everything was done, we drove up to the District Office as we needed the population data surrounding the project area. [My supervisor wasn't there, so I had to do everything by myself.] Again, I tried to be friendly to the District officer as I passed him the letter of request my supervisor has prepared for me. To my dismay, the District officer refused to give me what I requested and worse still, he was really rude. I was mad and dissatisfied.

I kept asking myself...
This guy is a Chinese, and yet he was so rude to a fellow Chinese, how could he?
What's wrong with this guy? Is this how he always treat others?
Should I just file a lawsuit against him? I'm not happy with his service.

The more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

Damn... who did he think he is to humiliate me?!

Wait a minute... did I just feel humiliated?

There is no other better proof than this that can clearly show the absence of humbleness in me. If I was humble enough, would I still feel humiliated? Certainly not. I was so upset that I told everyone about it.

...we conplain when we experience something unheavenly here on earth. ... We cry, "God, I'm tired of this trial! When are You going to make it end?" (That's what the Israelites said in the desert.) "God, You obviously don't understand how bad this problem is for me. Can't you see I'm suffering here? Oh God, when are you going to make that person change so that I can enjoy my life better?"

...Complaining to others is an indication that we don't mind spreading our distrust. Complaints mean we've forgotten that God is already blessing us. Did Jesus ever complain? He got upset sometimes, but he never complained, not even when they beat him and nailed him to the cross. Instead, he prayed for his persecutors: "Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they're doing." ...

~ by Terry Modica, Good News Ministry

I realized that humbleness is not just needed for my work, but in my daily encounter with everyone God sent, including my family members and my closest friends. Why should I let pride take control of me? What good can I do with pride leading the way? What good would I get out of self-gratification? Is there anything about me which I can boast about? Surely, NO! Deep down in my heart, I clearly know that I'm not a professional nor am I a great person; I have not made any significant contribution to the world; I'm a nobody in this world!

If Jesus the Almighty God and King of the whole universe, willingly came DOWN from Heaven to become a servant, how much more should I, a nobody, humble myself and follow the footsteps of my Master!! For St. Paul says, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Cor 1:31)

Father, please teach me to be meek and humble like You. I want to learn Your ways!

Inspired by Daily Reflection of 14 September, the feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

I'd like to ask for forgiveness from everyone for the many occasions when I've been rude, unfriendly and proud, whether in words or in action.

Sep 22, 2006

God's love always goes to...

... the unlovable. Like me.

He gave me a good education and found me a good company to work in... although I don't deserve it.

He gave me friends who really care; He opened my heart and my eyes to feel and see like He does... although I don't deserve it.

He always makes sure that I'm in good hands... although I don't deserve it.

He loves me so, even though I don't deserve His love. So many times, I crowned Him with the Crown of Thorns, I sent Him back to the Cross again; I clearly know that I'm very disappointing - I'm not as smart as the rest of my friends are, I'm weak and vulnerable inside although I look rather strong outside, I'm skill-less, not even good looking, I can't find any good quality in myself... in fact, I'm a good-for-nothing fellow.

But He loves me still. What is my worth? In reality, I'm worthless. In God's eyes, I'm worth dying for. The more I learnt of my unworthiness, the more I found God's untiring and unconditional love for me. Just by gazing at the Crucifix is enough to bring me to tears.

Father God, what have I done that I deserve all Your love? Please allow me to prove my love for You as You have proven Yours for me, as long as I live...

Sep 12, 2006

Gereja Katolik St Ann: Parishioner is Newly-Professed Carmelite

I have been invited by the Carmelite Sisters to the profession of solemn vows of two sisters, but sadly, I couldn't make it as I was on a vacation with my family.

I don't really know these sisters well, but I've met them three times. The last time I met them, they can still remember my name! Wow! The joy of giving oneself completely to God for the sake of His Kingdom... how wonderful it is!

Dear sisters, I will visit all of you again as soon as I have some free time. Love you all dearly.

Click here for the news:
Gereja Katolik St Ann: Parishioner is Newly-Professed Carmelite

Sep 10, 2006

My Prayer

This heart of mine is Yours... my Jesus, so take this heart of mine, fill it with Your love and then order me to do whatever You wish. - St. Padre Pio

I sincerely repeat this simple prayer of love after St. Padre Pio, that another week ahead will be another blessed journey with Him, He whom my heart desperately longs for.

This heart of mine is Yours... my Jesus, so take this heart of mine, fill it with Your love and then order me to do whatever You wish.

May this simple prayer be your prayer too. God bless!

Inspired by Moneybag's Inspirational Wisdom for Today.

A little update

Looks like I haven't been updating this blog for a while. I really miss blogging... miss the time I used to sit in front of the computer for hours to read and type, with a glass of beverage and the Bible by my side. Ever since I started work, I need to turn in earlier than usual (I used to stay up until 3-4 a.m.!). If I don't, my Dad would be nagging away and we would eventually end up in a quarrel, which I really hate. (I'm working in an environmental consultancy company - click here to visit the company's website.)

Life has started to become more challenging as I attended CHOICE* Weekend and became part of the CHOICE family. I've been challenged to put my faith into practice. So far I've been slow to anger, tried my best not to raise my voice when talking to my parents, tried to help my Mom with housework as much as possible, practiced saying 'thank you' for everything they do for me etc. I've also forgiven those who have hurt me - I'm amazed at what Sacrament of Reconciliation can do! I also felt much better after all the tears during my confession to the priest I trusted.

I have a bigger circle of friends now. At work, in church and in CHOICE. Another part of my life adventure has begun.

I want to thank those who are constantly stopping by all these while to check on this blog. I'll try to blog more. I hope everyone is doing fine during my absence. God bless!

*CHOICE is an outreach programme for single adults, presenting in a positive way the consequences of belonging in relationships. The Weekend programme experience has helped many singles rediscover their sense of belonging with their family, friends and God, with some even discovering their purpose and mission in life. CHOICE Malaysia belongs to a bigger family - CHOICE Asia, which consists of Asian countries that organises CHOICE Weekends. These countries include Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. CHOICE Asia meets once in two years to share and exchange ideas.

Aug 31, 2006

I get emotional... for Him

I get emotional when I kneel before the Tabernacle. I miss Him so much, and I wish that He would appear right before my eyes so that I can run into His embrace.

I get emotional when it comes to singing. Any kind of songs or hymns can remind me of my need of Him.

I get emotional when friends are discussing vocations. I've always dreamt of the moment I would take my vow... the vow of everlasting love for Him and Him alone.

I got emotional when a friend said he wanted to marry me. I got so angry and asked him to shut up. I felt so painful inside when I imagined myself living my life for somebody else and not Him.

No. I can no longer tolerate His absence in my life. Who can satisfy my every need and desire but He alone?

Have you ever felt this way? That the more you tried to disappoint and hurt Him, the more abundantly He would bless you. And the more He blesses you, the more guilty you would feel. When His love started to overflow in you, you realised that He is all you've ever wanted and needed. And gradually you began to see everything differently, because you see things through His eyes. Finally, He became the most important part of your life.

I am experiencing that right now. And I don't want that feeling to fade away. I want it to stay that way... to be occupied by Him spiritually, mentally and physically.

Fill me with Your fire, Lord, and change me deep within so that in everything I do, I'll do it for Your glory. Lord, guide me with the help of Your Spirit, and take away desires and things that keep me from You. Lord, please let me prove my love for You.

Aug 26, 2006

Prayer to Pope John Paul the Great

Pope John Paull II is the person who have inspired me the most, and even though he is with Daddy God in Heaven today, he's still an inspiration to me. Oh how much I miss him!

Sharing with you the prayer I personally love...

Prayer for asking graces through the intercession of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.

Adapted from Gallery of Lovers of Saints

Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje

Message of August 25, 2006

“Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray. Only in prayer will you be near to me and my Son and you will see how short this life is. In your heart a desire for Heaven will be born. Joy will begin to rule in your heart and prayer will begin to flow like a river. In your words there will only be thanksgiving to God for having created you and the desire for holiness will become a reality for you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Children of Medjugorje, Inc.

Aug 23, 2006

Confirmation Anniversary

8 years ago, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was so beautiful that I can hardly forget about it. Today, I'm just so glad that I said "yes" to God, and I'll be saying "yes" to Him throughout another year in everything I'm going to do.

I didn't have any special celebration. It just happened that my good friends from university called me up and we went out for a 'reunion' dinner at KFC. I sure had a good dinner with lots of laughter and fun-filled moments.

Besides, I'm working right now as an Environmental Executive. Just started work on Monday 21st August. It's not an easy job... I write EIA reports and Terms Of Reference (TOR), going to project site to collect samples, and even meeting clients. Right now I'm helping out with the writing of TOR for one project. I'm praying for God's wisdom, strength and blessings so that I can finish the current project in time. Please say a prayer for me too! You can read the post about this job of mine HERE.

Photo courtesy Dayspring.

Catholic Carnival is Up!

Catholic Carnival for this week is up and can be found at Catholic Blog Carnival: Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis in To Jesus Through Mary. There are 15 interesting posts worth a read.

I've also submitted a post with the title Love, Mercy and Justice. Just a simple post about the lesson I learned for the past few weeks.

Enjoy reading and reflecting! God bless.

Aug 19, 2006

Love, mercy and justice

During the Fan Into Flame seminar, one of the speakers started his speach by asking us this question: Between God's love and God's mercy, which is the greatest? What do you think? How can we measure God's love and mercy? Both of them are just as great! But on a personal note, I believe that love comes first, mercy second.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour. (John 3:16-17)

The first sentence tells us that God loves us. And [the second sentence] because of His great love for us, He sent His Son so that instead of condemning us, He came to save us - this is mercy. Love is the greatest thing on earth. Love is God Himself! And where there is love, there is mercy also.

"Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him [Peter], "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22)

How I wished I have read the reflection for Thursday Gospel reading (Matt 18:21-19:1) earlier so that I would not have given in to anger and unforgiveness. Two weeks ago, I kept on thinking that, since it wasn't my fault (or my parents' fault) why should I (they) leave all the serving ministries? The person who has caused all these 'disaster' should be the one leaving. The person who has caused all kind of 'chaos' should be the one apologising. Getting angry with that person is the right thing to do.

Until I got a wake-up call from God-sent people and read the Gospel reading and reflection for Thursday.

[...] Jesus made it clear that there is no reckonable limit to forgiveness, and he drove the lesson home with a parable about two very different kinds of debts. [...] No offence our neighbour can do to us can compare with our debt to God! We have been forgiven a debt which is beyond all paying; to ransom our debt of sin God gave up his only begotten Son. If God has forgiven each of us our debt, which was very great, we, too must forgive others the debt they owe us.

[...] James says that judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy (James 2:13). Mercy is truly a gift and it is offered in such a way that justice is not negated. Mercy 'seasons' justice as salt seasons meat and gives it flavour. Mercy follows justice and perfects it. To pardon the unrepentant is not mercy but licence. C.S. Lewis, a contemporary Christian author wrote: "Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety."

If we want mercy shown to us we must be ready to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is not my style. Thinking about revenge is just torturing my heart and soul. When I told a very good friend through MSN that I've decided to let go of my grudge and resentment towards that person, she immediately said to me, "This is the che-che (sister, translated from mandarin) I know, a good person with a big heart." Wow, what an affirmation!! It felt like an affirmation from the Father, "This is my beloved."

For me, this is a good lesson learnt. My next mission is to work together with Christ; I shall be the love- and mercy-sower, Jesus will be the garderner. And I will patiently wait for the 'fruits' to grow as God showers His blessings on His people.

Inspired by Thursday Gospel reflection in Lectio Divina, a community project of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) Malaysia.

Aug 18, 2006

Mind my own life

I realized that my last post (which I have deleted) will not just bring me lots of trouble, even the friends whom I love so much may be affected as well because of me. No, I don't want that to happen. I don't want to involve those who are innocent. Therefore, by not making that post public is the only way to protect those I love.

The story of Jesus and the prostitude has been in my mind ever since the day I sat down and did some reflections. Jesus said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) I knew that all along, that is why I didn't get to be the first one to "throw that stone." Today, I have more realizations and know that I should mind my own business.

1. God has His own PURPOSE for each of us, whether we are good or bad. In the same way, chances of meeting different types of people are given to me for a good reason. One of the many reasons (which my immature mind identified) is that God wants to open my eyes and let me learn from the mistakes of others, and also to apply other people's good points into my own life. Perhaps He is like a potter's hands shaping my life so that I become the person I am supposed to be. So, condemning a person is not my job.

2. The Bible says, "Do not give what is holy to dogs - they will only turn and attack you. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs - they will only trample them underfoot." (Mark 7:6). I happen to spot this verse when I was flipping the pages to look for the encounter of Jesus with the prostitute (John 8). I know that there's no use getting angry, nor is it going to help if I take revenge. Therefore, why should I worry about those who couldn't care less about others? Why should I get angry with them? Will I get anything out of it? NO. Instead, it is such a waste of time and energy, besides causing me to have a shorter lifespan. Haha.

3. Who am I to teach others a lesson? Who am I to tell them that they need to change? Who am I to threaten them? I don't have the RIGHT and AUTHORITY to do all that, because God is the Ultimate Jugde and not me. The Bible says, "Do not jugde others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others..." (Matt 7:1). That verse has really scared me out of my chair! Well, why should I be afraid that they repeat their mistakes again and again? It's their choice anyway. All of us will have to give an account for our deeds at the end of our lives. We are all judged individually. I'm not the generous kind who would accompany them to hell! No way!!

4. Liking involves feeling, loving involves willing. I cannot distinguish the differences between 'like' and 'love' until years ago. When I say that I like someone, it is not necessary that I love him/her. In the same way, when I hate someone, it doesn't mean that I don't love him/her. Even though I can hate someone with all my heart and soul, I would still willingly help that person when he/she comes to me for help. Why? Because I LOVE God and whatever He says I'll do.

Okay, since it is no more my business and there's nothing I can do to change the situation, my real job is to PRAY. To pray for conversion of hearts. To pray for forgiveness. To pray for perseverence, courage and wisdom. To pray for God's protection and guidance. And to put all hope and trust in the Lord our God, who never fails to keep His promise. I also ask for prayers of this blog's readers, that God will protect me and those around me from the snares of the evil one.

[I've recovered from my anger and unwillingness to forgive. Looks like everything will return to normal again. Thank you for your prayers and advice. Father, I ask for Your forgiveness for bringing You so much pain. Have mercy on me, Lord!]

Aug 12, 2006

Don't give anger a chance!

Don't you think this is kinda scary? We've never realised that being angry is really scary.

Anger. It's such a familiar word to me. Bad temper. That's one of my characteristics many friends of mine can easily identify.

I have been trying real hard to keep my temper under control, but sometimes, it disrupts when I'm unnecessarily provoked. I don't like getting angry at all. When my patience has reached its limit, I can become violent. But I thank God that so far, I haven't hurt anybody yet. Nor do I wish to hurt anyone in the future.

I landed on this post by Moneybags: "On Anger" By St. John Vianney. It is terrifying to know that we actually give authority to the Devil to take control of us when we let anger manisfest itself in us. The damage anger can do are unpredictable. And so, before we burst into anger, it is wise if we can think of the hurt we will inflict on the others, as well as on God whom we love so much.

"On Anger" By St. John Vianney is a good article to read up if you have a bad temper like I do. By God's grace, I'm sure I'll be able to control my temper better. Lord God, take control of me and my temper so that I'd not hurt you and myself in return.

Photo courtesy of Indymedia Italy.

I'm a fool

I have been angry with someone from church who hurt my father a week ago. She has done the same thing to many others and drove them away from our church many years back. I thought she has changed, but looks like I was wrong.

So I wasn't happy for the whole week. I felt like giving her a punch in the face, to teach her a lesson she will never forget for the rest of her life. Since no one has done that before, let me be the first. I told the Lord. It took me a long time to forgive her (I was her victim too), now she has caused my hatred for her to grow again.

I even blamed the Lord for letting this happen. Why Lord? Why my father and not me? Let me bear all these hurt for my father because I have been through it once. And that would most probably be a good chance for me to teach her a lesson (for if I'm provoked, I can be very violent). I prayed.

I seem to get an answer in my heart... "My Child, I knew you would do that. That's why I didn't allow it." I wasn't satisfied, of course. For that week, I forgot my Morning Prayers and Night Prayers. All that's on my mind when I opened my eyes in the morning and before I sleep at night is that woman and what she did. It was a terrible week.

Until last night, changes started happening. I went for choir practice, and as usual we have praise & worship first. But when we were singing the hymn "You Are My All In All", my eyes got foggy.

You are my strength when I am weak,
You are the treasure that I seek,
You are my all in all;
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up I'd be a fool,
You are my all in all...

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame,
Rising again I bless your name,
You are my all in all;
When I fall down You picked me up,
When I am dry You fill my cup,
You are my all in all...

Tears flowed.

Oh, how could I be such a fool? Why did I let matters like this to trouble me? How could I give up the greatest Treasure which I own? Why did I allow myself to believe in the lies of the evil one? Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Right now, I offer up all the anxiety, anger, confusion, and unwillingness to forgive to my Lord. Only by letting go and letting God can I overcome this problem and many problems to come in the future.

God bless.

Aug 11, 2006

My convocation

Hooray! I had my graduation ceremony on the 6th August (oops, yes I know I should have posted these photos earlier. But something came up so they have to wait). How did I feel? Joy to the extreme. Hehe. And thankful too, that I finally come to an end of the campus life. I know that I didn't really excel in studies, but I also know that God has His own plan for me. And besides, I didn't do too badly at all... 'cos I qualified for convocation! Lord, I knew that since You brought me to it, You'll bring me through it. And You did! Thank you Lord!

See those flowers? I didn't expect anybody to buy me flowers or gifts, but a junior came with these and it was indeed a pleasant surprise! It was my first time to receive flowers from someone.

Here are some of my good friends who have journeyed with me through thick and thin. Not all the time, but we've enjoyed moments together. The memory of these three years shall I carefully keep in the treasure box of my heart. :) Too bad I couldn't get the whole gang in, since everybody was busy with photo taking. For those who are not in the photo and those who are, I love you all! And thank you for the friendship I enjoyed and cherished. May God bless your future and everything you do. Ohh... and CONGRATULATIONS... to ALL OF US!!! ;)

Aug 4, 2006

Thanksgiving... on my birthdday

Gees... I'm kind of hungry when I see this cake.

I am celebrating my 24th birthday today.

Goodness, age is really catching up. At about 11:40 p.m. on 3rd August, I was surfing the internet and looking for some Catholic news that might attract me. An SMS came, but I took no notice of it. After 10 minutes, I checked the message and it was a pleasant surprise! A friend sent me a birthday greeting. Seriously, I forgot that I have lived for 24 years when the clock strikes 12:00 midnight.

See, I can be that forgetful sometimes. I almost forgotten my own birthday!

I don't think I will have a birthday cake this year. But the best birthday memory that I had was two years ago when I stayed with my campus mates in a rented house. They prepared a grand celebration for me, with chocolate fudge cake (yummy, I loved it!) and birthday song in 3 languages. Haha. I thank the Lord for them.

My birthday wish? I sincerely hope that I will become a better person - a better friend, a better daughter to my parents, and a better Bride to our Lord.

O God, I thank you for giving me another year of life.

I thank you for all the people who have remembered me today, and who have sent me cards, and letters, and good wishes, and presents.

I thank you for everything which I have been abled by you to do and to be in the past year.

I thank you for all the experiences of the past year;
for times of success which will always be happy memories;
for times of failure which reminded me of my own weakness and of my need of you;
for times of joy when the sun was shining;
for times of sorrow which drove me to you.

Forgive me
for the hours I have wasted;
for the chances I failed to take;
for the opportunities I missed in the past year.

Forgive me that I have not made of life all that I might have made of it and could have made of it; and help me in the days which lie ahead to make this the best year yet, and in it to bring happiness to my loved ones, and credit and joy to you.

Mary, Mother of God and my mother, please pray for me.
This I ask in Jesus' name. AMEN.

Jul 31, 2006

One Book Meme

I've not been using my brain for a while (two months, I guess) since my "liberation" from the university (Yess! I graduated!). This is the chance for me to think hard and try to remember the books I've read so far. Okay, let's see what I've got.

Tagged by Moneybags.

  1. One book that changed your life:
  2. I've read lots of books, English and Chinese alike. All those books contributed in changing my life, in one way or another. But the book that made the first impact in my life is A Sister's Joys and Sorrows by Sr. Thomasetta, published in 1961. My thought of considering religous life was first sparked by this book.

  3. One book that you've read more than once:
  4. Chronicles of the Christ: God Came Near by Max Lucado. Love it. One of the first books that brought me closer to God.

  5. One book you'd want on a desert island:
  6. The Word of God, The Bible. I'll need that to live and it acts as a reminder to me that I will never be alone.

  7. One book that made you laugh:
  8. Does the comic book count? Hehe. If not, then it goes to A Sister's Joys and Sorrows. Young Sr. Thomasetta was a Chinese nun who knew no English when she first entered the Convent. She translated some English words into Mandarin, which sounded similar but turned out to be totally different in meaning. And yes, those are really funny.

  9. One book that made you cry:
  10. As far as I remember, it was You Can Be Healed by Willy Nakar. Really touching.

  11. One book that you wish had been written:
  12. None for the time being.

  13. One book that you wish had never been written:
  14. Playboy Magazine. Hope that counts.

  15. One book you're currently reading:
  16. Journey of Faith by Willy Nakar.

  17. One book you've been meaning to read:
  18. Karol Wojtyla: The Thought of the Man Who Became Pope John Paul II by Rocco Buttiglione.

I tag anyone who's been reading extensively. God bless.

Jul 28, 2006

July message from Medjugorje

Message from Our Lady of medjugorje on the 25th July:

Dear Children!

At this time, do not only think of rest for your body but, little children, seek time also for the soul. In silence may the Holy Spirit speak to you and permit Him to convert and change you. I am with you and before God I intercede for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

My dear Lord, so many things happened in my life in such a short time. Please help me to handle them. All those events have driven me into confusion. Lord, please take control, for You are the Master of my life. Our Lady, Mother of our Lord Jesus and our mother, pray and intercede for me as you've promised. Through Jesus' name. Amen.

Jul 21, 2006

Rituals can be lies

That was the main theme for Monday's first reading (Isa 1:10-17).

During the Evening of Prayer last Wednesday, I noticed how people said the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

They were fast, as if it was a must to finish the prayer in an instance. No full-stops, no commas; with one breath they can finish Our Father. I was only half way through the Hail Mary and they have already finished the whole prayer. Wow. This is really 'impressive'.

The questions I asked: Were they really praying? Did they mean what they say? Or they got so used to the prayers that they become nothing but automatic words? Were they performing what Prophet Isaiah mentioned as empty rituals?

I realized that sometimes, I pray like that too. I slurr the words, my mind is empty, and I don't even understand what I am talking about. Lord, have mercy on me!

Praying means communicating with God our Father. Or in other words, we are having a conversation with God during prayer. I personally don't like it when friends are not sincere during a conversation. Likewise, I know that God would not be happy if I pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be just for the sake of praying.

As I write this, I am challenging myself (and readers) to always say what I mean and mean what I say when I pray. Prayers said with a sincere heart, besides bringing glory to God and pleasing Him, we will be blessed with joy, peace and strength.

That is the beauty of prayers (worship & praises to God) when they are said with sincerity and love.

Jul 13, 2006

Love affair

How many people out there actually know that our relationship with God involves an intimate loving relationship, the kind of relationship that is between a husband and a wife, a man and a woman?

A divine romance is happening right here on earth today, between the Creator and His beloved creation.

The greatest love story ever told -- God loves us even more than He loves His only Son. He loves us to the extend of giving up His only Son for us sinners (John 3:16). Through the prophet Hosea, the Lord revealed His love for us His people in this poem of love.

I have friends who are single and desperate. They said they marvel at how I am able to enjoy my single life, and better still, I am considering religious life. Some even told me that I'm foolish for not giving a chance to guys. Well, tell me then, my friends. How can I love another when my heart has been so totally taken by God? I want to let the whole world know that I belong solely to Jesus, the Prince of my heart and soul. And nothing can and will come between this love of ours.

Here's a piece of good news I would like to share with all those who are single and desperately looking. Stop looking for those who cannot give you total satisfaction. Give the Perfect Lover a chance, try Him. He would never let you down. When you accept Him to be your Lover, you will find yourself bursting with joy everyday. That is what I'm experiencing right now. I found myself giggling when my thoughts are filled with Him. I wanted to scream when I hear His Words of love for me. I know that I am alive because of His love; I am made for Him. I feel that I'm the happiest person in this whole wide world! Even though things don't come easy at times, my heart knows that He will never ever leave me. He has become my everything.

Remember the vow the bride and bridegroom will have to make during wedding? God has actually taken the initiative to take the vow for everyone, now it's our turn to live our lives as His spouse. Add this to your personal prayer and really mean what you say, and see how your lives will be transformed:

"I promise to be true to You in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. I will love You and honour You all the days of my life."

For all of you who have made up your mind to make a commitment in this divine romance, all the very best to you. ;)

Inspired by reading on Monday 10th July '06 and A Penitent Blogger.

Jul 9, 2006


Malaysia-Philippines Gathering at the Bread of Life centre. We exchanged thoughts, sharings, and gratitude, etc. Everyone's attentive to what each other was sharing.

Yummy yummy... it's Pizza time! Everyone had pizza for lunch! Thanks to Uncle Paul and Bread of Life community!

Posing with the guitarist.

Me posing with the other 3 Elim members. They are young, single and hot. Anyone interested??? Yes? Ask God for their contact numbers, I'm not their manager. LOL.

Kiddo and Dondon. Kiddo, errm... well, you said you don't get why everyone calls you crazy, right? See, here's the proof. Haha.

Posing with two other very pretty girls from Elim (3rd and 5th from the left).

Shopping for souvenirs. Some of us followed them, including me (well, obviously. I took this photo). I wasn't helping at all, actually I was just curious of what stuffs they would be buying. In other words, I was just being 'kepo' (= nosy).

Jul 8, 2006

Fan Into Flame

The Conference
That was the theme of the conference/seminar that lasted for 3 days. It took me a while to decide whether I should go or not, whether it worthed my money or not. I went after much consideration, expecting nothing. For me, it was probably another seminar that was similar to the others which I've attended.

On the first day after the first session, one of the uncles in the Morning choir said to me that that would be another wake-up call for all of us. My heart didn't agree with him... I felt that this one would be more than just a wake-up call. And I was right.

I witnessed the speakers burned with zeal as they conveyed God's messages to us participants. Not only that. At first sight, I saw joy on their faces... and I knew right then how much their love for God was. So I told God in my heart, "Lord, make me like them."

The message was actually simple -- God loves us. He loves us as an individual, as who we really are, as who we are made to be. He loves us not because of the things we've offered Him; He loves us just like a mother loves her own child. There is no condition to this love of His. But to experience His love and receive the Spirit He's promised during His Ascension, we need to be open and willing to receive from Him.

During the ministering, I fell in love with Him once again, deeper in love this time! And I renewed my promises I've made -- to live a life of chastity and to put Him above everything else. He also planted something into my heart -- God-fearing spirit.

The Concerts
The climax, was of course the 2 concerts. Honestly, worship concerts like these are not new to me and to the youths here in Kuching, but the scene that left me in awe was this: those in their 40's, 50's and even 60's were among youths who were in the "fire zone"! They were also jumping, lifting their hands as all of us youths are doing, and they jumped even higher and longer than we did! Wow! Amazing, eh? My jaws dropped as I saw them dancing for the Lord! So I told myself: "If they can dance and jump like mad as if nobody's business, I certainly can do better than them!!"

After the whole thing (conference and concerts) were over, I find myself unable to walk. Hmm... when was the last time I went jogging?!?!

The pain in my tighs... so what? Most importantly, God has set my heart on flame!!

Coming Soon!
Some of our Youths were invited to a special session with Elim. I'm really thankful to God that I was given this opportunity to take photos with them as remembrance. I've even made some friends! Chances like this don't come easy. Understanding this, I've learned to capture and treasure every moment.

I hope I will be able to upload those photos soon. Not much, but it is for these great people whom I met.

God bless everyone!

Back soon...

I've been sick with running nose and respiratory inflammation. Am taking some rest, and much better now. I'll be posting soon. Sincere thanks to those who are concerned.

God bless!

Photo courtesy Windsor-Essex

Jun 28, 2006

Away for seminar


I just came back from the Seminar a few hours ago. The theme for the seminar is Fan Into Flame, with charismatic revival as the main topic. It was a shock because I've never seen another international catholic worship group that is really on fire for God... they are as good as those from Hillsong Australia! The speakers (from ELIM) told us what worship is all about and how one should worship; what it is to be spiritually revived, and what will happen when revival strikes.

The message from these speakers were so strong that all of us could feel the Spirit at work even when they were sharing (and not ministering). I was also personally touched by the Spirit during the worship session. I somehow was transformed to have a greater fear of the Lord.

Well, not yet... the best is yet to come. According to them, this was just a foretaste of God's glory. They showed us a video of their past seminars. All I can say is... AWESOME! We saw hundreds slained in the Spirit as the Elder of ELIM community, Bro. Willy lifted his hands to pray over the crowds. It was just AMAZING!

If you ask me what I am expecting in the next session, which is tomorrow, my answer is still the same: I don't know. Perhaps, after this first session, I will be expecting the unexpected from God. I will also try to take some photos tomorrow, if possible.

Please remember me in your prayers. Thank you!

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I will be away from blogging for 3 days, starting tomorrow.

I'm attending a seminar (28-30th June) by the ELIM group and GenRev from the Philippines for the whole day. I paid RM75 (equivalent to USD21) for the whole seminar, another half is sponsored by the choir fund (where the actual amount is RM150 or USD42 per person). I anticipated the seminar, but I don't know what to expect. Well, let's see what surprises God has in store for me for that 3 days.

For some pictures of GenRev concert (which we will be having too on the night of 29th & 30th June), pay a visit to my fellow church friend's post at Celt's Cryptic Sphere.

Keep me in my prayers! Thank you!

Changing religion

Another piece of news, similar but not the same with what happened in Pakistan. This time, it is happening in Malaysia. I heard about it in Sunday Mass, but I couldn't find the article or any report on it. As I reached home today and checked my mails, I received this in my mailbox. Thank you, Jude!

So here's the news, from Zenit:

Malaysian Woman Not Allowed to Abandon Islam
Prayer Campaign Launched in Her Favor

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, JUNE 26, 2006 ( Christian Churches in Malaysia have launched a prayer campaign to support a woman whose conversion to Christianity is prohibited by law.

Lina Joy converted to Christianity in 1998, and applied to the National Registration Department to officially change her religion from Muslim to Christian, reported AsiaNews.

She was refused then, and subsequently in a court of appeal, because as an ethnic Malay she is legally Muslim, and prohibited from changing religions.

AsiaNews reported that two legal systems coexist in Malaysia: one based on Islam and the other on the constitution.

The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Islamic law prohibits conversion to any other religion.

Religious issues involving Malays, including conversions to other religions, fall under the jurisdiction of Islamic courts and not under the country's general laws.

AsiaNews also reports that if Lina Joy is not recognized as a Christian, she can only marry a Muslim in a Muslim ceremony, and will be subject to Islamic family and inheritance laws.

Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing of Melaka-Johor, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, asked Christians to support Lina Joy with prayers, reported AsiaNews.

The prelate asked the faithful to call on God to support Lina Joy, whatever the judges' verdict might be, and grant the judges the wisdom they need to pass judgment in the case, and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi the strength to "uphold the constitution."

It is expected that the federal court will decide this week if the law can or cannot recognize her conversion.
I humbly ask your prayers for Lina Joy. Thank you!

Jun 26, 2006

Our Lady's Message on 25th June

Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje:

“Dear children! With great joy in my heart I thank you for all the prayers that, in these days, you offered for my intentions. Know, little children, that you will not regret it, neither you nor your children. God will reward you with great graces and you will earn eternal life. I am near you and thank all those who, through these years, have accepted my messages, have poured them into their life and decided for holiness and peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Children Of Medjugorje, Inc.

Woman persecuted for leaving Islam

News reported by Compas Direct.

Happened in Pakistan just recently. It is really sad to know that persecution of Christians are still happening all over the world from time to time.

I had one encounter with a Muslim the other day when I was chatting in a Catholic chatroom in Yahoo. This guy popped up a question: Does anyone know how many Muslims have been persecuted by Christians over the centuries? And I responded by turning his question around: Do you know that how many Christians are persecuted by Muslims over the centuries up to today? He was rather mad with my respond. I believe that I didn't say anything wrong. That's a fact, and what happened to this woman who converted to Catholic proves it all.

The other thing that really saddens me is this:

The Christian couple stayed with the nuns for eight months but was eventually forced to flee after one of the sisters treated them badly and informed the Muslim community that Shafi was a convert.
Oh dear... that sister's action was so un-Catholic! She has indirectly betrayed Christ!!

Let us remember the couple in our prayers, may the Lord keep them safe under His care. Mary, our Beloved Mother, you and St. Joseph flee from Herod to protect little Baby Jesus, please pray and watch over this couple, Shafi and Paul and their two children, so that they can continue to evangelize and bear witness to the Father. St. Joseph, foster father to our Lord, pray for us. Amen.

via Kenny

Prayer Request

As I clicked the "Publish Post" button to submit my most recent post on homosexual march in Paris on 25 June, I received an SMS from my best pal. He told me that he would be meeting his 'boyfriend' today, and that he would be having a two-week 'honeymoon' with him.

I lost my sense of direction that very moment. I had no idea how I should convince him that what he felt for the other guy is not true 'love', which he's been searching for. Worse still, he is not a Christian. Using the Bible and the teachings of the Church to prove that what he's doing is wrong will never work.

As a Catholic, I disapprove homosexuality and homosexual acts; yet my best buddy turned out to be a homosexual. It hurts me so to see him going the wrong way, and all I can do is sit here and keep worrying and do nothing.

I humbly ask for a short prayer from all of you who are reading this post for this friend of mine. Please pray that he would not go any further in their relationship. And let us also join our prayers for homosexuality in our world today.

I thank you for your kindness and your prayers! God bless.

Lord, have mercy on my friend and show him Your tremendous love. Let Your Will be done, my Lord. Mary, our Mother, please guide your children who have gone astray!

What the Church says about homosexuality and a short reflection by Alan.

Jun 25, 2006

Homosexuals strike again

BBC News reported on the annual gay pride march in Paris today.

Marchers called for greater equality, the legalisation of same sex civil marriages and the right for homosexual couples to adopt children.

No matter how many marches as such will be carried out, and no matter how many people turned up to support the gay pride, the Church will never approve same sex marriages.

These are what Pope Ben XVI said regarding homosexuality and gay marriage:

Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder...

-- Letter to the Bishops, 1986, quoted in National Catholic Reporter

Above all, we must have great respect for these people who also suffer and who want to find their own way of correct living. On the other hand, to create a legal form of a kind of homosexual marriage, in reality, does not help these people.

-- Interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, 2004


Jun 23, 2006

A Boring Religion

I strongly believe that I'm not a Catholic by coincidence. I first came to know Christ not because I wanted to, it was because He first revealed Himself to me. In the same way, He revealed Himself to each and every Catholic christian out there. Therefore, the fact that we are Catholics this very moment is for a reason.

I heard many Catholics, younger and older ones as well, complaining that being a true Catholic makes life boring. Or let me put it another way. Mass is boring; the homily is boring; the Eucharist... well, it makes no sense; the Bible... what proof is there that it is really the Word of God; the teachings of the Church are boring and un-cool; following the teachings takes away our freedom to do anything we want etc. (Anything else to be added to the list?). And so, in a nut shell, Catholicism is a really boring religion.

Is that really true? How sure are you that it is true? Have you ever been seriously and faithfully observing the Church teachings? Have you ever reflected on a homily after Mass? If not, then please don't complain or say that the Catholic faith is boring, because you've missed all the goodies many faithful Catholics have found in the close relationship with Christ.

Living a life faithful to the Church and her teachings is not an easy job. It's very challenging. Much more challenging that you could ever imagine. It's not easy when everyone says "it's ok" but you say "it's not"; it's not easy to swim against the current when everybody else swim with it.

I think that the only reason behind this excuse is that people RUN AWAY from the challenges they are facing, because these challenges will cause them to be different and eventually, they will be excluded from their group of friends or society.

Long time ago when I first started to know God, yes it was boring for me too. But today, after going through so many ups and downs with Him by my side, I truly realized that our God is not a boring God, and in fact He's a very humorous and enjoyable Friend to be with.

Like Fr. Marcial's message to the youths, let us "be proud to be a Christian and to behave like one." It's time to take up the challenge.

Inspired by Life on The Rock.

Jun 21, 2006

Catholic Carnival is up!

This week's Catholic Carnival is up. Visit Catholic Carnival - Corpus Christi Edition for a good read!

Chastity and adultery

Some of my non-christian and Christian friends like to ask me the question about chastity.

I told them that keeping oneself chaste is important but not easy. However, if one really desires to live a life of chastity, it is not impossible for God willingly guides if only one asks.

To be honest, I too, have experienced difficulties in keeping myself chaste. In the past, I had a wrong concept about purity and chastity. I cannot deny that I've watched porn before, out of pure curiosity. And I thought that as long as I don't desire for it, it would be alright. But this is so wrong! Do you know that even the singles commit adultery? We sin even if we only fantasize about having an affair.

...this is also true for those who are single, for their Spouse is God. Any Christian who is not in a valid, committed marriage has God as their Spouse. Therefore, living as if married without being married is adultery against God.
That also means... I (and you) have committed an adultery against God too by watching porn, be it out of curiosity, for fun or any other reasons.

That's why Jesus is actually addressing everyone, single and married, when he spoke in Matthew 5:27-32.

Our eyes caused us to sin if we watch movies with lust-producing scenes, for example, when these scenes imbed themselves in our mind and affect our thinking. We must 'tear out and throw away' whatever endangers purity and holy thoughts.

Perhaps, there is only one way to make sure we live a life that pleases God, that is to always keep our eyes on Jesus and fill our thoughts with Him. Not an easy task, is it?

Inspired by Terry A. Modica

Jun 16, 2006

Being too 'salty'

Many many years ago when I just got to know the Catholic Faith better, I tried to talk a rather-close Catholic friend from mixing with a group of 'bad' students. When 'talking' worked no wonders, I used another tactic to keep her away from them: cold war. I refused to talk to her, partly due to jealousy (because she spent more time with them than with me), while another reason was to stop her from being one of them.

Little did I know that I've made a big mistake.

After a week or so, she openly declared that she belonged to the group and that I had no right to tell her what to do. She even threw me these words: "Is this what a Christian should be? To judge others and labelling them as 'bad'? They are human and they need friends too. If you're reluctant to be friends with them, then I'll be their friends." Words that cut deeply into my heart and my soul. Since then, she started to follow them in almost everything -- being underdressed, smoking, drinking, flirting with guys, showing disrespect to teachers and other students, and worst of all, she attended Mass less frequently.

This, perhaps, is my greatest regret in my whole life. Only after a few years did I realize that my approach was so wrong, even though I did have a good intention. Every time I saw her father in church, I felt so guilty... I could not forgive myself for doing what I've did - I caused my friend to go astray.

Today, after so many years since the last time I talked to her and her father, I met her parents while having a family dinner at a stall. They greeted us and even sat together with us at one table. I'm so glad that my friend is working in Brunei now, and that she's still single (I thought she might have gotten herself pregnant by her boyfriend, which happened to some other friends of mine). I thank the Lord for His constant watch over her and His blessings on her and her family. It's a relief and a joy to know that she's doing well.

The Gospel reading on Tuesday (Matt 5:13-16) mentioned about the role of Christians as salts of this world. We are not supposed to lose our 'saltiness', nor can we be too 'salty'. Terry A. Modica said it well.

As Christians, we have been made flavorful, that is to say, we have within us the fullness of the life of God's Holy Spirit. The useful Christian is one who evangelizes by adding the seasoning of Christ's love to another person's life. But beware of trying too hard! What happens when food is over-salted? It tastes horrible. No matter how good our intentions might be, if we come on too strong, we do more harm than good.

The lesson I've learnt from this mistake which I've made: never act without God. Since we call ourselves Christians and admit that God is our Father, we should also ask for His opinion and advice regarding the decisions we made, so that whatever we do, we do it for Him and under His divine guidance.

If the Lord would give me a chance to meet her again, I shall apologise to her for the hurt I've inflicted years back.

Inspired by: Tuesday reflection by Terry A. Modica.

Jun 11, 2006

The Mighty Hands

The Hands that made the world
and gave the sun and moon their light
are the tiny Hands of a baby born
one cold December night

The Hands that stilled the wind
and tamed the fury of the sea
are the calloused Hands of a carpenter
who lived in poverty

The Hands that held the power
to break the binding chains of sin
are the gentle Hands that washed the feet
of tired and dusty men

The Hands that cleansed the leper,
healed the sick and raised the dead
are the praying Hands of one who cried,
"Not My will, but Thine instead"

The Hands that shaped the universe
and flung the stars in space
are the nail-pierced Hands of a dying man
who suffered in our place

The Hands of our Creator,
Lord and King of Heaven above,
are the Savior's Hands forever reaching out
to us with love!"
~B. J. Hoff

...and also the Hands of my Redeemer dearest, who healed my illness and my pain!

I apologize to the faithful readers of my humble and nothing-special blog for not updating it for two weeks. I was sick with respiratory inflammation but I thank the Lord for the speedy recovery He granted me. I was 80% healed in just 3 days (praise the Lord!), but took a few more days off to rest and also to entertain some visiting relatives from another town. Please join me in thanking the Lord for His mercy and love He has shown upon me.

Thank you and God bless!