Mar 31, 2006

Our Lady's Message for 25th March

“Courage, little children! I decided to lead you on the way of holiness. Renounce sin and set out on the way of salvation, the way which my Son has chosen. Through each of your tribulations and sufferings God will find the way of joy for you. Therefore, little children, pray. We are close to you with our love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Children Of Medjugorje, Inc.

Mar 28, 2006

My 3rd Week of Lent

Not pleasant as well. I was tested on friendship last week.

My two friends - one of them is my room mate (friend A) while the other is my housemate's girlfriend (friend B), both are good friends of mine - had a fight the previous week (I wasn't around) and ended up with cold war. If I were right, the two of them are no longer friends.

I really didn't know what to do, even until today. I've promised A weeks ago to go for dinner with her, which I've been doing since last 2 weeks. Somehow I feel that B isn't very happy everytime she saw me together with A. I refuse to eat with B because her boyfriend isn't happy when I'm around, although B likes it when her friends join them for lunch/dinner. I have heard the story from both sides, and I clearly know that B has used the wrong approach, but before this 'war' I've already advised B yet she refused to listen. Seriously I really didn't know what should be done right now. Perhaps, the only way is to lift this matter up to God... It hurts me to see the both of them hating each other...

Something unexpected happened too. Our parish priest trusted me with his presentation slides with which he'll use during his speech this weekend, even though somebody else offered to help. It's weird, because since that particular incident (long story, I'll mention that some other time) I seldom talk to him anymore. Ahhh... whatever. Who knows, it might be part of God's misterious plan.

How was your Lent last week?

I'll be praying for the Parish Youth Ministry core team members this week, for all of us are battling the very same issue - we are serving God, but why do we have to live up to the expectation of others?? Also praying for those people who came into my mind this week. If you need prayers, simply let me know in the comment box.

God bless everyone on the 4th week of Lent.

Mar 27, 2006

Seeing things Mary's way

Thanks Moneybags for sharing this with me.

For those who love to pray the Stations of the Cross, I would like to recommend this site... Mary's Way of the Cross. I have experienced the normal Stations spiritually, now I would love to feel how Mary, Christ's own mother felt and to pray her prayers during her journey with her Son.

O Sorrowful Mother, accompany us as we accompany your Son to Calvary. Amen.

Photo courtesy The Work of God.

Mar 25, 2006

Journey with Jesus to the Cross

"We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You."
"Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world."

God made it possible for me to attend the weekly Lenten reflection, Mass and Stations of the Cross. Until this week, I've actually attended all the reflections and the Stations. Thank you, Lord!

I've started to like the Stations, especially when it is done together with the whole congregation in church. I felt so real... as if Jesus was visibly there but because I was at the very back of the crowd, I couldn't see Him. My heart was filled with sorrow, my eyes wet. There were two stational prayers that gagged me with tears:

"O Jesus! Falling again under the burden of our sins, and of Your sufferings for our sins, how often we grieved You by our repeated falls into sin! Oh, may we rather die than offend You again!" (7th Station)

"O Jesus! We devoutly embrace that honoured cross where You loved us even unto death. In that death we place all our confidence. Henceforth let us live only for You, let us die loving You, and in Your sacred arms." (12th Station)

I cannot understand why I can be so emotional. Is it something good, or bad? Does that indicate my love for Him has increaced tremendously? Does anyone else experienced the same situation like I did?

Ahh... whatever it is, I'm looking forward to the Station of the Cross next Friday.

I chanced upon the Online Stations of the Cross, suitable for private meditation and for those who cannot make it to the Stations in church.


I've just been accepted as a member of B-Team! Yay! :) I'm an amateur Catholic Blogger!! Come on, send in your application email and get a membership too!

Mar 19, 2006

The 17 evidence of a lack of humility

Do you have one of the below? I do... not one, but several...
  1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do.
  2. To always want to get your own way.
  3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong.
  4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it.
  5. To look down on another's point of view.
  6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent.
  7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess.
  8. To use yourself as an example in conversations.
  9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you.
  10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected.
  11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has for you.
  12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments.
  13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem.
  14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks.
  15. To seek to stand out.
  16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige.
  17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods.

From the Writings of Bl. Josemaria Escriva

My 2nd Week of Lent

It wasn't a smooth week either. I faced a few setbacks that really tested my faith. And I thank the Lord for bringing me through the storms safely, and also for the blessings that I've received this week.

The worst obstacle that I stumbled upon was the last minute work for an assignment. They only told me the parts I was to handle 2 days before the due date, causing me to work under much stress. When I handed to them the final compiled work, they were not satisfied and put all the blame on me. I was furious. They were my closest classmates, and look, what were they doing all these while? We've been hanging out together for 3 long years, and still they didn't know that I don't work well last minute and under stress? Thank God my anger did not burst into unpleasant angry words. Thanks God too for my room mate who saw me putting my best into the work, and despised them for their attitude towards me.

I achieved No.13 of my 15 ways to improve my lent. I helped a friend by looking through her thesis draft that was to be handed up the next day. As she was exposed to English much later than me, she has problems in expressing herself and grammar usage. I accompanied her until 5 a.m., and was immediately unconscious when I closed my eyes.

My tongue was well-controlled this week, and I've practised patience. It was a breakthrough! Thank You, Lord! For the 3rd week of Lent, I shall add to my prayer list those whom I dislike and special prayers for my parents. If there's anything you'd like me to pray for, just add them in the comment box.

How was your second week of Lent?

God bless all those who did and did not made it through this week, and let's pray for His continuous guidance for another week of preparation ahead.

Mar 18, 2006

An Afternoon-nap-mare

It was truly a weird and terrifying dream. A supposedly short nap turned into a dream-filled sleep. It was so real, and I actually woke up with fear and a headache.

One day (I'm not sure if it was a day or at night) as I was sitting at my study table typing away on my laptop, Mom came to me and told me that she had decided to leave Kuching (why and where to, I can't remember). I was really shocked and sad, I tried all I could to persuade her to stay, but all to no avail. She said there was no reason for her to stay anymore, and leaving was the best option she's got. That very same day, Dad broke the news as he held his medical documents in his hands, that he was diagnosed to have cancer and it was the beginning of the final stage. I did not know what to do or say. I wanted to break down and cry, but because of my ego, I did not do so. Weird enough, both my parents were calm as if they had been expecting it.

Even though I did not break down and cry, tears were streaming down my cheeks. I was trying my very best not to let my parents see me shedding tears. Everything went on normally... Dad dealing with his stuffs; and Mom busy with her daily chores; I was typing away on the laptop; my brother was no where in sight. Every now and then, my Mom would walk over to me and asked me whether I was hungry or to pass me something to eat like fruits etc., like what she usually did; Dad was walking in and out of the house as usual, sometimes he would stop by and check on me. I was wiping my tears off to avoid being seen.

Out of the blue, I found myself listening to a song that talked about the joy of being together with the family. That very moment, my Mom was standing right beside me. I pointed to the laptop and told her that this song was composed by someone who missed his family. Instantly, I burst into tears...

Then I woke up in sweat, and saw my parents watching TV together on the sofa. I was relieved.

I'm still wondering what this dream might mean. Is it telling about my future? Or it may mean nothing at all. I tried a few times to imagine that my parents were no longer alive, but the thought of it brought me to tears. I could feel the loneliness, the empty and quiet house; I missed my parents' nagging, I missed the sound of their footsteps; I missed my mom's cooking; I simply missed their being around. I've been living together with my parents for 24 years now, and I don't mind looking after them in their old age alone, if my brother is unwilling. I love them more than anything else in this world (after God, of course!), and no, I will never leave them.

My Lord God, my Beloved Father in Heaven, please I beg You, to watch over my parents and shower them with abundant blessings for the time, money and love they have sacrificed for me and my brother. I want to specially keep them in my prayers for the 3rd week of Lent, and also all parents in the world. Our Lady and all the Saints, please intercede for me. Amen!

Mar 13, 2006

Please pray for us! *updated*

Latest news: Another toddler died!
KUCHING: A 14-month-old toddler in Bintulu became the latest to die of the HFM disease in Sarawak, bringing the number of fatalities to six since the outbreak, Deputy Chief Minister said yesterday. [...] All the six children who died were below five. A total of 82 children have also been admitted to hospitals for HFM, including 33 brought in as of noon yesterday. ...he said that as of noon yesterday 213 new cases had been reported, bbringing a total so far to 3,984.

The Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM) disease has reoccured right here in the state where I live. Here are some of the news excerpts from the local newspapers:

KUCHING: The deadly Enterovirus71 (EV71) virus that gripped the nation in 1997 has emerged in Sarawak this year, claiming one life so far and forcing one kindergarten here to be closed for two weeks since Wednesday... (New Straits Times, 25/02/2006)

MIRI: The State government has advised parents against holding birthday parties and other gatherings for young children during the epidemic of Hand, Foot and Mouth (HFM) Disease in the State. The relevant authority is also keeping a watchful eye on primary schools and will not hesitate to close them if there are signs of the disease spreading... (Borneo Post, 05/03/06)

SIBU: The Medical Department here require the operators of all kindergartens and nurseries in town to disinfect their premises up to two times following the order of their temporary closure last Friday. This will have to be done in a fortnight so that these premises will be totally safe for the children when they return [...] The cases in Sibu constitute more than half the total cases in Sarawak, and as in the 1997 outbreak, the majority of these cases were from urban areas where infection spread fast among children in crowded areas... (Borneo Post, 05/03/06)

SIBU: Although the HFM disease has spread mostly in crowded urban areas, villagers have been taking to hospital their children whom they suspected of having been infected. [...] There is no known cure for the disease and only supportive treatments are given for the fever, ulcers and other symptoms...
(Borneo Post, 05/03/06)

SIBU: [...] He (DAP State Party Chairman) said following the closure, parents should isolate their children, especially the infected ones. He hoped employers would not make it difficult for their workers who were mothers who should be given extra time to look after their sick children...
(Borneo Post, 05/03/06)

Please join me in prayers for the infected children and their family, and for the medical officers and those who are taking care of the sick children, and the authorities involved in controlling the spread of the disease. A sincere Thank You from us in Malaysia!

Mar 12, 2006

Give up... for God!

What about trying to put the following into practice this Lent?

Give up complaining... focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism... become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgement... think kind thoughts.
Give up worry... trust divine providence.
Give up discouragement... be full of hope.
Give up bitterness... turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred... return good for evil.
Give up negativism... be positive.
Give up anger... practice patience.
Give up pettiness... put on maturity.
Give up gloom... enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy... pray for trust.
Give up gossiping... control your tongue.
Give up sin... turn to virtue.

"All I want is to know Christ... and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life." - Philippians 3:10-11

My 1st week of Lent

The 2nd week of Lent has started today. Looking back at how I did in the first week, honestly I haven't done much. Of the 15 ways to improve my lent, I only practised... ONE - point no.3. Arrgh, what a shame.

I wonder what was wrong with my tongue lately. When things did not go as I expected, those familiar words were automatically added to my sentences. I did not realise it most of the time, only after the words were uttered. "Audrey, stop cursing!" A friend of mine would never fail yielling at me everytime she heard those words coming from me. *Sigh* Really bad, is it not?

For the 2nd week of Lent, I would like to specially practise point no.8 -- observe five minutes of silence every day. I hope not just for 5 minutes, but for the whole day. I want to learn how to control my tongue, when to talk and when not to. At these moments of silence, I want my thoughts to be occupied by God alone. And most importantly, I'm sure I lack humility.

There are so many things I wish to do to improve my christian life (not just my Lent!), but the more I planned, the less I take them into practice. I did not have enough sleep last week as I wanted to finish my thesis draft; perhaps my lack of sleep caused all the resentments in me.

How was your first week of Lent?

I pray that all those who are preparing for Easter will walk more closely with Jesus this week. God bless everyone.

Q&A About the Saints

Here are the FAQs which I've promised. If you're looking for an answer to your questions, this might be able to help.

Q63. Why pray to Saints? Is it not better to pray to God directly?

A: Not always. The same answer implies here as in the case of prayers to the Virgin Mary, who after all is the greatest of the Saints. God may wish to give certain favors through the intercession of some given Saint. In such a case, it is better to seek the intercession of that Saint as God wishes. I can decide to give you a gift myself, or to do so through a friend. In the latter case you do me greater honor by accepting it from my friend than by refusing my way of giving it to you, and insolently demanding it directly from myself in person.

Q64. I pray that you may see the futility of praying to Saints who can do nothing for you. Christ is the only Mediator.

A: By your very prayer you are attempting to mediate between God and myself on my behalf. I do not criticize the principle of praying for others. I believe in that. But I do criticize your praying for me in violation of your own principles. If the Saints cannot be mediators by praying for me, nor can you. Your prayers would be futile; they could do nothing for me; and you would be wasting your time.

Q65. When did God tell anyone to pray to human beings?

A: When the Catholic Church teaches us that prayer to the Saints is right and useful, it is God teaching us that truth through His Church. But the doctrine is clearly enough indicated in Scripture also. I have mentioned Abraham's prayer for Sodom (Gen 18:20). The Jews asked Moses to go to speak to God on their behalf. God Himself said to Eliphaz, the Themanite, "My wrath is kindled against thee... but my servant Job shall pray for you. His face I will accept that folly be not imputed to you." (Job 42:8). Earlier in that same book we read, "Call now if there will be any that will answer thee, and turn to some of the Saints." (Job 5:1). His enemies meant that Job was too wicked to be heard, but they knew that it was lawful to invoke the Saints. Long after the death of Jeremiah, Onias said of that prophet, "This is the lover of his brethren and of the people of Israel. This is he that prayeth much for the people and for all the holy city; Jeremiah, the prophet of God." (2 Mach.15:14). St. James says that "prayer of a just man availeth much." (James 5:16). If his prayer is valuable, it is worth while to ask his prayers. If you say, "Yes. That is all right whilst a man is still in this life and on earth," I ask whether you think he has less power when in Heaven with God? In Rev. 8:4, St.John says that he saw "the prayers of the Saints ascending up before God from the hand of an angel." If I can ask my own mother to pray for me whilst she is still in this life, surely I can do so when she is with God! She does not know less when she rejoices in the Vision of God; she has not less interest in me; and she is not less charitably disposed towards me then. We Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints, and are in communion with them. But for you the doctrine of the Apostles' Creed, "I believe in the Communion of Saints," must be a meaningless formula. Christ is not particularly honored by our ignoring those who loved and served Him best, and whom He loves so much.

Q66. The Lord's Prayer shows that God Himself hears our prayers.

A: Correct. And He hears the prayers we addressed to the Saints, and their prayers also on our behalf. And those prayers, added to our own, give us additional claims to be heard by God in a favorable way.

Q67. By what authority does the Catholic Church make Saints?

A: The decree of canonization does not make a Saint. It simply declares infallibly that a given person has lived such a holy life with the help of God's grace that he is a Saint. When someone like a Francis of Assisi lives such a holy life that all people are compelled to admire it, the Church is often asked to say whether such a person is worthy to be honored publicly as a Saint. The Church then carefully collects all possible information, and, after due consideration, says yes or no. If the Church says yes, the name of the person to be venerated is put into the Canon or catalogue of those who have become Saints by their heroic lives of virtue. The Church has the authority of Christ for these decisions, for He sent her with His authority to teach all nations in matters of faith and morals, and she could not tell us officially that a given person was a perfect model of Christian virtue if such a person were not.

Q68. Who has the final say as to whether a soul deserves canonization?

A: The Pope. Before he defines that a given soul is indeed a Saint, the advocates of the cause must prove that the person in question exercised all Christian virtue in a heroic degree - supreme faith, hope, and charity; perfect prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Also God's own testimony by proven miracles wrought through the person's intercession is required. The infallibility of the Church in such decisions is, as I have said, but an application of ordinary infallibility in matters of faith and morals, in so far as the Church could not err in proposing a given life as an exemplification of perfect Christian virtue.

Q69. How does the church know that those she calls Saints are in Heaven?

A: With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, she can and does know. She knows God, and knows what holiness is. She examines the life of the holy person, and says that such a life certainly could not lead a soul to Hell. The Church canonizes only those whose heroic virtue has been proved. And perfect charity before death destroys all sin, and all punishment due to sin. There is no place where such a soul could be, save in Heaven. Also miracles wrought by God in honor of such a one are His guarantee.

Adapted from Virgin and Statue Worship: Quizzes to A Street Preacher, by Fr. Chas. M. Carty & Rev. Dr. L. Rumble; TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC., P.O.Box 424, Rockford, Illinois 61105.

Mar 5, 2006

What drives your live?

I find that reading and reflecting upon the Purpose Driven Life is really a good idea, suggested by Piscotikus. Thanks for the reminder, Piscotikus!

If you have the Purpose Driven Life book and you've stopped half way through it, let's together pick it up again this Lent. However, if you've never heard of it and would like to give it a try, then grab that book and start reading! Then drop by here to share your thoughts. But please keep in mind that only those who have read the book can participate in the sharing.

Let us accompany the Lord in His journey to Resurrection. God bless.

Mar 3, 2006

Ways to improve my lent

I've read through all the 40 Ways to Improve Your Lent and realized that I couldn't practice all of them. So I've picked out some of them which I THINK I should be able (or at least I'll try my best) to 'accomplish' during this Lenten season. Sharing with you the few of them (copied and pasted directly from the original list)...

  1. Learn about your patron saint. [I still don't know who my patron saint is. Anyway, I'll be choosing a booklet about one of the many saints available on the shelf at home. The Saint whose story I picked will be my saint.]
  2. Pray for - by name - people you don’t like and for people that don’t like you. [No comment.]
  3. Start a "cuss bowl." For every unkind word you utter, put in a dollar - two dollars during Holy Week. After Easter, give the money to an English as a second language program. [I seriously need to discipline my tongue during this Lent, it's been very bad lately. Perhaps I would give the money to the Catholic Welfare Service here.]
  4. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church. [And also for some friends. Hopefully God will change their hearts. Anyone else who needs prayers please let me know.]
  5. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. [So anyone dares to admit that he/she doesn't need this?]
  6. Test your knowledge of Scripture. [I'll try to read the bible more consistantly, have been really lagged off. Is there any bible quiz online?]
  7. Attend Mass at a parish other than your own. [Got to try, can't do it if I don't have transport.]
  8. Observe five minutes of silence every day. [Oh yes... something I need seriously.]
  9. Use a Lenten theme in decorating part of a room. [Interesting, so I guess I can try that out.]
  10. Memorize a Proverb. [Memorizing is something I hate real much. So I really need to 'overcome' this...]
  11. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer. [I think most probably the TV. I need to blog, so certainly not the computer -- no games though.]
  12. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday. [I'll do it after I sat down at my comfort zone. Hey I don't want to be late for choir!!]
  13. Sacrifice your time in order to help others. [Yups, I will do it most willingly... even though exam might be right tomorrow.]
  14. Pull the rosary out of your drawer and say it. Too boring? Say the Scriptural rosary. [Am gonna find out how to say the Scriptural rosary. I need that, 'cos everytime I pray the rosary alone I would certainly fall asleep before I finish all the decades. I'm so sorry Lord!!]
  15. Develop a prayer list. [For all who need prayers, kindly drop me a mail or let me know in the comment box and message box. Why not we form a special prayer team so we can pray together and pray for each other?]
Gosh... honestly, I didn't know I've actually shortened the list of 40 items into a list of 15. Doesn't matter how long the list is, most importantly we must be able to keep our promise to God of what we will do/sacrifice during this Lent. What about you? Have you thought of what to be done?

p.s. Please pray for my safety as I'll be on a trip to a forest reserve tomorrow. Thank you!