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Nov 22, 2007

Homesick III - Beauty and the beholder

Thank you, guys!
(Click to enlarge photo)

Ever since that particular period of time (falling in love, getting interested in guys, having crushes, etc.), I knew that I can never be pretty. I never liked make-ups, nor going after jewelry and fancy dresses. Worse still, I take after my father, which makes me look like a boy. When all my girl friends were into make-ups, I concentrated on my inner beauty. I knew this verse from teenage years:-

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. - 1 Peter 3:3-4 (TLB)

I hated the world and its definition of beauty. So no matter how others look at me or judge me, I couldn't be bothered at all. I knew that nothing is more important than to please my God. Over the years, I did have a crush or two but I successfully got over it. Well, I didn't quite like the feeling of it because when it happened, it took my sight away from God.

As I landed in Balhaf (Yemen), attention seemed to be on my colleague and I as there were no other women there. The two of us were being compared... one guy asked why my colleague, being a Caucasian, did not have the curves. Another guy who helped me with work even told me that I looked beautiful, compared to the lady who was there the last time.

Wow... I was flattered! I have never received any compliment of such before! When I was so totally down, upset, homesick, and feeling hopeless, a simple compliment "You are beautiful" touched my heart. From a compliment (which may sound lustful to some), it was transformed into a word of encouragement and affirmation. My heart sent the signal to my brain, "Look, you are beautiful in God's eyes! You complained that you have never heard Him saying it straight to you, now He did!"

I couldn't quite believe that guy when he said that, as I didn't know what his actual intention was. But whatever it was, if I, a nobody, can be beautiful in a stranger's eyes, then surely, it was God who made me beautiful and surely, I am beautiful in His eyes too. Besides being an affirmation for me, it also proved that God was there watching over me all the times, whether I was aware of it or not.

Yes, whether we are aware of it or not, whether we believe it or not, no matter how ugly we think we are, in God's eyes we are all His beautiful precious princes and princesses. If not, would He have sent His only Son to die for us?

When I was typing away to get this post completed, a friend of mine sent me a song with the title 'Beautiful'. I was really surprised... well, could it be such a coincident? So I decided to put the song here to share with everyone. Perhaps, you are in some kind of struggle to get attention from others, or you need a healing of your self-image. Whatever it is, please bear in mind -- when the whole world turn its back at you, God is always there for you; if someone says that you are ugly, don't forget that you are more precious than the Son in the eyes of the King.

"... You are precious in my sight and honoured, and I love you..." - Isaiah 43:4


God bless you!



Click the "Play" button to stream the song. For the lyrics, click here.


Links:
Homesick I - Out Of Fear
Homesick II - Home, Sweet, Home!

Oct 14, 2007

Homesick II - Home, Sweet, Home!

Finally, I'm home. I'm just so glad to be home! Friends and family were curious about my trip to Yemen, but I'm not that eager nor excited about it.

Initially, this was the kind of conversation we had:

"How's Yemen?"
"Well, not too bad."
"How's the food?"
"Hmm... okay. We had Indian food 3 meals a day. I was so sick of it after a few days."

Then as more people came along, my answers became shorter and briefer:

"How's Yemen?"
"Sucks."
"Oh, what about the food?"
"Sucks too."
"What did you do there?"
"Duh, work of course. Can't you see my tan?"

My one and only concern was to attend Mass. Having to work on Sundays and missing Mass when I was in Balhaf (Yemen) was definitely not something I enjoyed doing. Staying together with a colleague who loves to curse using Christ's name was just another torture for me. I longed for the moment I was left alone in the cabin and when my colleague was in the shower, those were the good times for me to utter short prayers. Sometimes, I cried myself to sleep.

I simply missed my parents, my best friends in the Youth group, my good online Catholic friends and those kind Carmelite nuns -- all of those who have been praying for me while I was in the foreign land. I missed home, and I missed the company of God's people.

Till this point, you might most probably say that I'm a spoilt child. Well, maybe I am. I'm spoilt by both my parents... and Father God! All these while, the Lord placed me among His people and that was why I had no worries at all. No matter where I've been, I always find Him in those people I met. This time, it was different. I walked with fear and was concerned of my own well being, spiritually and physically. I did have the opportunity to meet two or three gentlemen, but one of them turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. (I will write more on that in my future posts)

But I thank the Lord, for I experienced His presence. He was always there protecting me and keeping me from harm; in every occasion His presence was ever felt. I had a peaceful rest especially when we were on the way home; I had a two-seater (on board of the plane) all for myself and my heart told me that nobody took the seat beside me because it has been booked by the Lord. I even managed to watch Evan Almighty, had sound sleep and even woke up just in time for meals! Praise the Lord? Praise the Lord!

*Chuckled* I really don't know what else to say here besides being thankful to God that I'm home in one piece, and also thank Him for not forsaken me! Sharing with you the picture I took in Al Mukalla, the town we were in before the 3-hour drive to Balhaf.



*A sigh of relief* My heartfelt appreciation to all those who have prayed for me when I was away. Thank you, everyone! God bless...

**update**
Sharing with you the song that has been a prayer to me during my unhappy stay in Yemen. Hope it touches your heart, especially those far away from home, as it touched mine.




Links:
Homesick I - Out of fear...
Homesick III - Beauty and The Beholder

Sep 20, 2007

Homesick I - Out of fear...

Lord I am afraid, it is insecurity I feel.
I can’t help but asking myself
is this Your Will?
Or is this just one of those desires
that never hoped to be fulfilled?

Is this really an opportunity I should grab?
Am I going to learn anything?
What kind of offer it will have
or impact on my life it will make?

Look at how much I’ve forgotten.
Am I still capable?
Will I come home alive
or sent home in the cascade?

Is it okay if I mingle around
with all the men there?
To search for a glimpse of Your Presence
in those unknown human hearts?
Or should I just give up everything which
I shouldn’t have revealed from the start?

I know, Lord, the choice is mine
to decide which path to hike.
But Lord, I don’t really mind,
as long as Your hands hold mine.

Decide for me, my Lord,
for Your choice is always right.
You know my heart, my greatest desire,
is to travel with You forever.
So dear Lord, please gently take control,
Come what may, it is You whom I follow.


I was amazed by my ability to produce this simple poem-prayer when I was drowning in fear. This is the poem I’ve came up with for the very first time in my 25 years of life.

My boss wanted me to follow a Caucasian colleague to Yemen 4 months ago, to assist her in handling one environmental project, which requires both of us to scuba dive. Duration, 3 weeks to a month. I remembered that my first reaction was sudden sadness. Escaped into the washroom, I couldn’t stop my tears from falling. Without me realizing, I started to pray… “Lord, how can I live without You for a month? My soul would wither and die without the Eucharist!”

None of my friends actually understood why I felt depressed and rather choose not to go for that trip. Having to move out of the comfort zone is not something easy to do. Leaving my good friends behind for 10 days seem to me like forever. Going without the Eucharist for 2 Sundays will simply be hell for me.

Will I be able to pull through alone? No church, no other Christians, no internet, no phone signals... gosh, how can I survive? I'm totally cut off from everyone!

Last week I received a phone call from my colleague and told me that I am required to go with her to Yemen, and this time, the trip is confirmed. Well, same tragedy happened - anxiety, fear and tears. I told my good friends and asked for continuous prayers. Yes, at this point, only prayers and prayers alone can work wonders.

Another one and a half hour and I shall be leaving to the airport. Guess this is the first time for me to fly out of the country at this hour. Today is my 4th day in Kuala Lumpur, and I've been so homesick. Of course, nothing is better than home! And all these while, I strongly believe that it was the prayers of my family and friends that have kept me alive and sane here. And I really thank the Lord for these wonderful people... I will be missing everyone...

I sincerely ask you all for prayers for me too. I shall be back home in two weeks time. Thank you all.



Links:
Homesick II - Home, Sweet, Home!
Homesick III - Beauty and The Beholder

Sep 9, 2007

Praying together, staying together

A family that prays together, stays together. A phrase that is well known to most Catholics.

I am certainly not the right person to talk about how a family that prays together can stay together, as my family doesn't have the habit of praying together. However, I would like to share on what I have experienced when a group of people come together to pray.

I have a group of Catholic friends online whom I met through Skype. Every night at 8pm (Malaysian/Manila/Perth time) when I am around, we always pray the Rosary together, with or without the presence of a priest (a priest in Italy initiated the online Rosary prayer group). I joined the group one year ago, and a few of us who have constantly showed up almost every night have become close friends. After each Rosary session, we usually spend time together to share, or sometimes we have leisure talks - about our countries, our jobs, our families, social issues and even our Faith; sometimes, non-Catholics would question us on our Faith and Teachings of the Church and when that happens, all of us would stand up to defend our belief. I really thank the Lord for meeting us together, even though we have not met each other in person (some of us have webcam, though) we are all united in prayer.

Now, after I've been confirmed by my employee as the company's permanent staff, travelling became more often. I would be away not for a day or two, but the whole week. When I'm outstation, there is problem for me getting online as connection is not always available. It is during these times that I miss my online friends the most. I miss praying together with them.

That is what I found to be not right. Supposedly, I should miss my family members when I'm away, but that is not the case. Those people whom I think of the most are those who prayed together with me.

From this, a conclusion can be drawn -- whenever people gather to pray, God will be there in their midst and His very presence caused everyone to be spiritually bonded to each other through the love for God and His love for them. In other words, people are united through and in prayers. Another instance, if I've got a choice I'd choose to attend Mass in the parish church I always go to over the past 12 years, even though I don't know all the parishioners there. In the same way, even though I've never met my online friends in person, I got attached to them because of prayer. And so is family that prays together.

Indeed, a family that prays together, stays together.

Be sure to teach the families to pray all together - father, mother and children. For the family that prays together stays together, and if they stay together they will love one another as Jesus loves each one of them... - Mother Teresa of Calcutta


My parents were not frequent Mass goers when I was much younger until I was baptized and confirmed. Therefore, praying together has never happened then. We did manage to pray together once in a while many years ago, but it didn't last too long before it finally stopped. To get my brother to pray with us has always been a difficult task since then. To make matter worse, after that particular unpleasant event that had befallen my dad in our parish, my parents tried to avoid going back there and they became 'travelling' Catholics who go to different parishes every week. It's even more difficult for me to get everyone together to pray now.

Dearest parents out there, I sincerely ask you to please teach your children how to pray at a very young age and make family prayer a habit. Introducing our loving Heavenly Father to the children is the best insurance policy in the whole wide world which you can buy for them.

As for me and my family, I also ask for your kind prayers, that my family would come together once again to pray and may we be united in prayers. Thank you!


Links:
Prayer for the Family


Photo courtesy of Inspire Me Inc.

Aug 26, 2007

Our Lady's Message from Medjugorje

The Message of 25th August, 2007:


"Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion. May your life, little children, be a reflection of God's goodness and not of hatred and unfaithfulness. Pray, little children, that prayer may become life for you. In this way, in your life you will discover the peace and joy which God gives to those who have an open heart to His love. And you who are far from God's mercy, convert so that God may not become deaf to your prayers and that it may not be too late for you. Therefore, in this time of grace, convert and put God in the first place in your life. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Source: Children of Medjugorge

Encountering Spiritual Dryness

I'm finally able to pick up blogging again after a period of spiritual dryness. Thank you, Lord!

For the past a month or two, that dry feeling has caused me to stop taking part in the Youth Ministry and any activities to do with church. My job wasn't that enjoyable anymore... I saw more hardships and overcoming them became my priority. God was still there, I knew He was, but He kept quiet... so quiet that I couldn't get connected to Him.

So many times when I prayed, I told the Lord: "Father, please say something. I miss you."

Complete silence.

That was why I decided to stop blogging temporarily. When there is no divine inspiration, I have totally no idea of what to write. I started to do lots of reading on the teachings of the Church and looked up for the explanations and/or criticisms by the Protestant Christians I met online as well as a colleague of mine. I had a hard time explaining to them the Truth that has been revealed to the Catholic Church through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Well, apparently, I'm not a spontaneous person when it comes to explaining the Faith.

The more I heard about these criticisms, the more I saw the beauty and richness of the Traditions and Teachings of the Catholic Church. And the more I read the various articles ranging from Our Lady to the End of the World, I realized how very much God loves the world -- besides sending His one and only begotten Son to die for us (which is the clearest proof of His tremendous love and mercy), He still continuously reaches down to the World through the Sacraments, the saints, the various devotional prayers and novenas, and last but not least, Our Blessed Lady.

I wonder... how many Catholics out there who are actually aware that, all these are God's continuous effort to draw His children back and closer to Himself? There were so many whom I've met, both young and old, who doubted the validity of the Church's teachings, and even said that they are not needed. How sad.

Right now, I'm still slowly 'recovering'. Blogging might still be a bit slow, but I hope I'll pick up the original pace soon. During these 'dormant' period, a few topics that I've decided to brush off before kept coming back to me -- family praying together, the importance of child upbringing the catholic way, the teaching on purgatory and on God's forgiveness (the local youths had a wrong idea on these), and on the Judgement Day / the End of the World / Christ's Second Coming.

If you happen to drop by this page and read this post, please say a simple prayer for me. I thank you for your generosity and you will be in my prayers too. I also want to thank those who keep coming back to this blog for updates. Thanks all...

Aug 9, 2007

Changes in progress

If you've noticed, I'm trying to do some up-keeping of my blog. I'm still searching for the right template so do give me some times to get everything up...

I haven't been updating my blog for a while, due to my busy schedule. I've just fallen sick lately too, so I very much appreciate your prayers.

Thanks for keep coming back for more thoughts of mine!

God bless!

Jul 22, 2007

Women Ordination

A fellow member in VaticanFriends*, Mathias, wrote this wonderful and simple article on the ordination of women. I recommend those who have difficulty understanding this topic to have a read. Two thumbs up, Mathias! And thank you for allowing me to share this with others.

Jesus has appointed 12 jewish men as apostles. These men represent symbolically the 12 tribes of Israel - the "new covenant in the blood of Christ" is therefore not a contradiction to the old covenant but its completion and perfection. When Saint Paul writes to the Romans that "grace and vocation that are granted by God are irrevocable", this implies a "character indelebilis": also in apostasy a baptised remains baptised, a confirmed remains confirmed, and a priest remains priest - in the same way a jew remains a jew and has therefore the continuous calling to lead the heathens to God (that is to say to their king Christ).

This calling is not stopped when jews do not acknowledge Christ as their messiah - every jew will always be called to acclaim Christ as their king in order to be able to live their vocation.

As a consequence, there is a constancy between Israel and the Church (the people of God from Israel and the peoples) in the sense that the church is the completion and perfection of Israel (with the specialty that Israel is the heart of the church, the priestly people which has put forth the Messiah, while the heathens collect around this heart (pilgrimate to Zion).

Since Israel as ecclesial structure has declined the Messiah, we are confronted to a dilemma because God has promised us this way of salvation to Abraham, and because God who is the ever faithful one will without doubt keep this vow.

Because I am deviating a bit from the topic at this point, I will summarize a bit: Israel became realised in Mary, the daughter of Zion (a real symbol). At this point I would have to show the representation of Israel as woman in the old testament and the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel, as well as the description of the Church/Mary in the apocalypse of John as being crowned with 12 stars in order to demonstrate the realisation and perfection of Israel in the Church. But at this point is shall be enough to simply postulate this here.

The 12 Apostles represent the 12 tribes of Israel (the 12 stars of the Madonna in the apocalypse). This close constancy in the sense of perfection and completion is in contrast to the protestant view of the creation of something radically new (in the sense of an anti-principle, compare the principle of justice by deed at the jews in contrast to the principle of justice by faith of Luther). Given this close constancy of old and new covenant, the answer to the question why Jesus has appointed MEN is: because the priesthood of Israel was a single-sex male priesthood.

The next question which we pose now is: "Why did Israel have a single-sex male priesthood"? The answer to this question appears to be obvious: "because Israel was a chauvinistic, patriachial society that was oppressing women!". The next question that follows is: "What kind of societies were the surrounding peoples (the Assyrians, the Egypts, the Kanaans etc.)?". You will get 100 points for the answer "chauvinistic, patriarchal societies that were oppressing women".

But why on earth did these other peoples have a FEMALE priesthood? This is evident: the religious life would not have been possible without these priests. As a consequence the prize question is: what was the difference between Israel and the heathens that both "women oppressing monsters" had such a different understanding of pristly office?

At this point one must add, that the heathens had a polytheistic heaven full of different gods that included gods with a lived sexuality while the Israelites had a asexual monotheism. At the heathen peoples, the consequence of the sexualised heaven was a sexualisation of the religious cult and of liturgy, which is always accused heavily in the Old Testament as one of the greatest evils of the surrounding peoples (next to human sacrifices) and which is therefore rejected.

To put it in a nutshell, one can say that Israel had a single-sex priesthood because their image of God was an asexual one and because the cult was always free of sexuality - which demands as last consequence naturally also celibacy. Celibacy was already founded in the Old Testament in the form of cultic pureness: the priest in charge was not allowed to sleep with his wife in the same bed during the times he was enacting his priestly functions. This foundation was only in fragments and did not yet arrive at a state of completeness, just the same as the law of Israel without Christ did not yet arrive at a state of completeness.

Israel was always aware (and this was vital in order to differentiate itself from the surrounding heathen peoples) that one cannot change the cult (which is the rite) without changing at the same time also the image one has of God and His relation to the people. As a consequence, one may not change anything substantial and anything having identifying character in the rite. It is not a coincidence that - at that time - Cardinal Ratzinger saw a direct link between the reform of liturty (the turning around of the altar) and the call for women ordination which was based in a shifted focus on human beings (anthroposcentration).

One would have to add in this context also the role of the church as emancipator of the woman and as the one who laid the basis for the idea of sexual equality (for instance, in its laws on marriage the church was the first institution to have the same law for men and women). Also, one would have to work out here that neither the church nor Israel had a fundamental problem with having women leadership: Israel had a Queen and the irish double-monasteries were under the rule of an abbess which kept her own auxiliary bishops for consecrations. But this would go beyond the topic of this essay and it would take more time than I've been allotted to here. But it is important here to see that the fundamental reservation of consecrations for men is not primarily based on the patriarchal structure of the time (which is true for the under-representation of women in offices that have no theological reservation), but that this is due to a theological differentiation from idolatry.

Other interesting links:

Literature to the constance between Israel and the Church:
Dieter Böhler SJ, Maria die Tochter Zion – die Bedeutung der Mutter Jesu in der Hl. Schrift, GuL 78/6 (2005) 401-412.
Joseph Ratzinger, Die Tochter Zion. Betrachtungen über den Marienglauben der Kirche. Einsiedeln 1977.
Werner Löser SJ, Maria, der Tochter Zion, in: A. Raffelt (Hg.), Weg und Weite (FS K. Lehmann). Freiburg-Basel-Wien 2001, 535-547.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Hans Urs von Balthasar, Maria Kirche im Ursprung, Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, Freiburg, 2005.
Hans Urs von Balthasar, Maria für heute, Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, Freiburg 1997.

Literature to the constancy related to priesthood and sacrifice in the old and new covenant:
Dieter Böhler SJ, El sacrificio de Israel, el sacrificio de Cristo y el sacrificio de la Iglesia, Diálogos universitarios 3, León (México) 2004.

Footnotes:
[1] Compare. Mt 5,17: “denkt nicht ich bin gekommen, um das Gesetz und die Propheten aufzuheben. Ich bin nicht gekommen um aufzuheben, sondern um zu erfuellen”.

[2] Röm 11,29.

[3] Compare Denzinger 1609.

[4] Mi 4,1-3.

[5] Compare Dieter Böhler SJ, Maria die Tochter Zion – Die Bedeutung der Mutter Jesu nach der Hl. Schrift.
I have listened to his speeches and base my arguments also on private conversations with this author.

[6] Dtn 23,18f.

[7] Among others Lev 20,1-5.

[8] Compare Denzinger 185.

[9] This source will be handed in later on.

~ By: Mathias, Germany





*VaticanFriends.com is a global Catholic internet community. It provides free chat, messaging, profiles, forum, galleries. It is a network for Catholics loyal to the Pope and to all teachings as defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Contact:

Dr. Philipp Wilhelm
Rigistr. 7, 6410 Goldau, Suisse
Email: Philipp.Wilhelm[at]VaticanFriends.com

Jul 15, 2007

World Youth Day 2008 Theme Song

For those who are very much interested in World Youth Day 2008, which will be held in Sydney, Australia, here are some little updates.

The theme song for WYD 2008 has been produced. You can see the video clip below, or/and download it here for both English and international version. For my Malaysian friends, guess what, this song "Receive the Power" is written by Gary Pinto together with Guy Sebastian!



Also, click here to read the Message of the Holy Father for the preparation of World Youth Day 2008. If you are going to this wonderful event, it is a must read!

I hope to see you, my readers and my blogging friends in Sydney for World Youth Day. Let me know if you're confirmed going, probably we can arrange for some kind of meet up. What say you?

God bless!

Jul 3, 2007

Help Needed!

*UPDATED*
I shall keep this at the top of my other posts until August or after we've received enough information of how to go about this. Please scroll down to read new posts. Thank you!


Calling the attention of contemporary christian music lovers, choirmasters / choirmistress, choir members, and anybody who simply sings or performs for the church! (You still can read this post even if you're not those mentioned above! *chuckled*)

We the Youth Ministry of Blessed Sacrament Parish of the Kuching Archdiocese need a little help to obtain approval and permission of copyright for the reproduction of some contemporary christian praise and worship songs (listed below).

To keep the long story short, here are some details of the purpose for reproducing the songs:
  • For what? Fund-raising.

  • What are we going to use the money for? To build extra classrooms as there have been limited spaces to accommodate the children who come to Blessed Sacrament Parish for Catechism class.

  • What exactly are we going to do? The youths will produce a recording of a compilation of songs (listed below), the album / CD will be sold locally and the money of the sales will go to the building of classes.

  • Okay. Then what kind of help do we need? We've been trying to contact the producers and the recording/publishing companies but are in vain. We did send emails to some of the companies, but they either never replied us or asked us to contact another office without giving us the person-in-charge, the email and business addresses and the phone numbers. So if anyone of you know who exactly we can get hold of for this matter, please kindly let us know, and don't forget to leave us their Names, E-mail address, contact numbers, and/or Mailing addresses.

  • We accept feedbacks, suggestions and advice of how to go about with this, which you can send directly to Stella S., our youth leader at stellvic05[at]gmail[dot]com or you can leave your messages in the combox below.

Listed here are the songs we will be reproducing (the links will bring you to the lyrics/streaming):
  1. You Are My King (Amazing Love)
    Words & Music by Billy James Foote; Administered by EMI Christian Music Publishing

  2. Be Still My Soul
    Words & Music by Kim Noblitt, Integrity's Hosanna Music

  3. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Song

  4. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
    Music & Words by Martin Smith; Administered by EMI Christian Music Group

  5. When I Look Into Your Holiness
    Words & Music by Wayne & Cathy Perrin; Administered by Integrity Music

  6. Only By Grace
    Integrity's Hosanna Music

  7. Power of Your Love
    Words & Music by Geoff Bullock; Administered by Maranatha Music

  8. Still
    Words & Music by Reuben Morgan

  9. Think About His Love
    Words & Music by Walt Harrah; Administered by Integrity Music

  10. We Remember

  11. Kau Yang Terindah
    (Produced in Indonesia)

Please if you do know something, someone who knows how to go about this and has actually done this before (applying for copyright permission), kindly let me and my friend, Stella know. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for any kind of help you would render.

Invitation for Malaysian Catholics!

... and of course, for all non-Catholics who are interested, you are also welcome!

I received this invitation from the Seremban Carmelite Sisters in my mailbox. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be present as I live very very far away from Seremban.

If you're living or staying somewhere in or near Seremban, do pay them a visit and join the Carmelite Sisters in the Eucharistic celebration for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The time and venue are shown in the invitation card above.

I will be joining the Carmelite Sisters in Kuching for the Feast. Anybody from Kuching, feel free to keep in touch with me if you're interested to know more.

God bless you all for your kind support.

Jul 1, 2007

Our Lady's Message from Medjugorje


The Message of June 25, 2007 (The 26th Anniversary of the Apparitions!)

"Dear children! Also today, with great joy in my heart, I call you to conversion. Little children, do not forget that you are all important in this great plan, which God leads through Medjugorje. God desires to convert the entire world and to call it to salvation and to the way towards Himself, who is the beginning and the end of every being. In a special way, little children, from the depth of my heart, I call you all to open yourselves to this great grace that God gives you through my presence here. I desire to thank each of you for the sacrifices and prayers. I am with you and I bless you all. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Source: Children of Medjugorje


My thoughts:
This particular message of Our Lady seems to correspond with the request for prayers for the conversion of Germany. I was confused initially. Why Fatima, Medjugorje, and now Marpingen? What differences are there between the 3 places? Fr. Dominique explained that the common message of this 3 places of apparitions is a call to conversion of hearts and repentance. That is why we should all pray with one accord for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

All for the Triumph of The Immaculate Heart of Mary...

... and Glory to God in the Highest Heaven!!

As mentioned in the previous post, I will be telling you a little bit about Marpingen, Germany, the place where Our Lady appeared.

I have to admit that I've never heard of this place of apparitions before, as I'm more familiar with Fatima and Medjugorje, until I met a priest online and I spoke to him and even saw him on webcam in Skype. To make the long story short, he asked us to help him spread this message/letter of his, which is a request for prayer. Here's what he has to say:



><><>< ><><><
Apostolat Im dienst der Göttl. Barmherzigkeit

Nalbacher str.135
D- 66763 Dillingen Saarland - Tel+Fax: +49683178207


I am Father Dominique and I collaborate with The Movement Apostolate of the Divine Mercy in Saarland, Germany.

I would like to inform you that on the 16th of August 2007, a great day of prayers will take place in Marpingen*, Germany for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in this nation and in the whole world. This intention and subsequent triumph is in light of Our Lady of Fatima, who said, "...at the end, my Immaculate heart will triumph!" Pope Benedict XVI said this prophecy is the great message of Hope, given at Fatima**.

I would like you to spread this message to your local Catholic communities or associations, etc. so that more people around the world will pray for this intention on this special day.

The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has already been conceived, but it must grow and the key to open the door of this triumph, will consist of being united in prayer around the world, especially praying the Holy Rosary meditated with love in our hearts, and offering Communions of reparation.

It is very important because as you may know many countries of Europe and the world have become very far from God, over the years they have liberalised many immoral issues, e.g., abortion, gay marriages, euthanasia, atheism etc, which are directed against the Law of God, and they are in the process of spreading them throughout the world.

"...my Immaculate Heart will triumph”. What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world..."***


This International day of prayer will give the power to Our Lady to make a turn towards the good and allow Our Lady (star of the new evangelisation) to continue the process of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart in this nation and the whole world. I inform you also that many people around Germany already offer the 13th of every month for this intention. This is done by offering their work, sufferings, and joys of this day, with all the prayers for this purpose. On that very day we also make a special Rosary for this intention. On that occasion we recommend that you invite many people to your homes. The lists of people involved in this initiative are put at the feet of the Altar of Our Lady during the monthly celebration of the Holy Mass.

God bless you, and I thank in anticipation all those who will join this initiative of prayer. In this way we will become missionaries for the native country of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and help him save this nation so much loved by him.

May the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary protect and bless you all, now and forever!



Father Dominique
Apostolate of the Divine Mercy

(You can also write me at the above address)


*Marpingen has been recognized as an official place of prayer by the Church of Germany in December 2005. …some traditionally Christian areas which are in need of re-evangelization…Redemptoris Missio 32. …Among the forms of sharing, first place goes to spiritual cooperation through prayer, sacrifice… idem 78 The association of the Divine Mercy in Saarland together with me has received a written authorisation from the local Bishop (a letter addressed in my name) to organize the monthly day of prayer in Marpingen.
**Commentary of the Pope on the book of Cardinal Bertone on the memories of Sister Lucia of Fatima.
***Congregation for the doctrine of Faith: "the message of Fatima" (last part of the document.)


><><>< ><><><
If you've got any queries or is interested, feel free to write to Fr. Dominique at the address above. Or you may also write to me, and I will forward it to Father. I can be reached at aud_shark [at] hotmail [dot] com. Or you can leave a message for me in the combox and Chatbox on the Sidebar.

I thank you on Fr. Dominique's behalf for reading this and praying for the Lord's intentions.

Here are some websites on Marpingen which you can read up on:

1. Fr. Gerhard Writes: Marpingen.
2. Marpingen: Our Lady's Messages.
3. Marpingen (in German).


Note: The apparitions in Marpingen has not been approved by Vatican.


*UPDATED*
A copy of Letter and recommended prayers (in 3 languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese) are available here. Click here to select and download.

Jun 30, 2007

Beauty of the Creator

... a glimpse of His Glory.


I believe most people must have seen this natural phenomenon, the 22 degree sun halo, which is quite common in the temperate regions. But over here in Malaysia, one can only witness such a beautiful halo formation if that person is lucky enough. I had never seen this phenomenon with my own eyes till this day, but I've read it in the newspapers before and if I'm not mistaken, this is the 2nd time the halo appeared in Kuching.

My colleagues and I had the opportunity to see this great sight and capture a lot of photos on the 22 June 07. The whole office was actually in a chaos... thank God our boss wasn't around then, else he must be furious if he saw us leaving our work just to watch the halo!

A Fengshui master commented in the newspapers the next day, that this halo was a bad omen of more bad weather and a bad economy in Kuching. Oh well, that's what people who believe in Fengshui and those who always look for bad signs would say.

For me, it meant something else. Something like an assurance. Hey, how could a beautiful, unusual natural happenings like this be bad? I stopped my work like everybody else, and stared into the blue sky to watch the halo. It was just... amazing! Suddenly I felt a surge of tremendous fear of the Lord... I saw a tiny glimpse of His Glory!

I saw and felt the Glory of the Great Creator in His beautiful Creation!

I was supposed to give a short sharing on the apparitions of Our Lady in Marpingen*, Germany to a few of my Catholic colleagues 1 hour from the sighting of the sun halo. You know, I never liked sharing or even chairing a meeting; talking in front of so many people really freaks me out! And so I was actually getting very nervous until I saw the beautiful sun halo. It was just like an assurance from the Lord and Our Lady... that they would be with me as I talk about the apparitions.

I was nervous still. Plus fear. But much assured that I would be doing all right. A wonderful experience, indeed.

Have you ever tried to imagine how God's glory looks like? I only know that His Glory is way too much for our human eyes to behold. Perhaps, that sun halo (and many other natural phenomena, rainbows, the bright sun being partially covered by the clouds creating rays of lights from the clouds, etc.) is a reflection of His wonderful Glory.

Photo source: Edwin Lay

*Please refer my next post for more information on Our Lady's Apparitions in Marpingen, or you can visit the website.

Jun 17, 2007

Priests - We Need Them

Whether we realise it or not, priests play an important role in our lives as Catholics. Theirs is a ministry of total service to God's people, as they follow the footsteps of Christ, the great High Priest.

"The priesthood is an irreplaceable treasure in the Church. This is so, not because of administrative, culture or educational needs, but because it is essentially united to the sacramental ministry of Christ, the High Priest. The ordained Priest, acts in persona Christi capitis, that is: in the person of Christ who is the Head, when he celebrates the Eucharist and the other Sacraments of salvation. [...] So also the responsibility of teaching the gospel, guiding the faithful and counseling the distressed."

- Adapted from the speech of Bishop Nicola de Angelis at the Chrism Mass

Fr. Marcial Maciel summarized the importance of priests in our world today.

Most of us who have priests as our friends, worked with them before, or even those who only had opportunities speaking to them or having encountered them in one way or another, would agree that priests are influential not just in our spiritual lives, but in every aspect of our lives.

Many friends have shared with me how priests have touched their hearts; how their (priests) encouragements, prayers and even their little gestures of love have helped them increase their faith and kept them going in the midst of great hardships.

"Pope John Paul II is always my hero, and he's here in my heart forever." - A youth of my parish told me. Amazing how John Paul II could touch the hearts of young people (like me!) without having to meet us personally! I personally have met a lot of interesting priests and each of them is so different, but they are all so loving and caring! Some of them are even good looking! (Oh gosh, Lord have mercy!! But they look good because Christ shines through them!!) And I thank the Lord for working through these wonderful priests to make a difference in people's lives.

If priests have 'power' to build, so can they misuse their authority (given to them by Christ during Ordination) to destroy. And to be honest, I have also met this kind of priests.

"You are a stumbling block in this parish!"
How do you feel if a priest would point a finger at you with these words?

"They left this parish on their own free will. It has nothing to do with me or others!"
If a major misunderstanding broke out in your parish, and people (who have been faithfully serving the parish for years) started leaving one by one but the parish priest didn't even care to settle it in a way it ought to be settled, rather he made this statement and caused more faithful getting hurt... what would you do?

It hurts me when I heard these from a priest! And it hurts me double when he broke the heart of God's people!!

"I'm not going to step into this parish again. Yes, I know I'm serving the Lord but why do I have to put up with those who purely want to condemn? I can no longer grow spiritually here!"

"I don't know if I should ever trust him again, after so many things that happened here."

"He drove me out, so why should I go back?"

Imagine these happenings being witnessed/encountered by a Catholic who is still not mature enough to deal with matters like this. He/She might end up leaving the Church or becoming Protestant or worse still, turning away from God. The bottom line is, priests need a lot of prayers and support from us. I love all the priests I’ve met, no matter what personality each of them has. I have a special respect and love for them; it is the kind of love and respect that I don’t understand and I don’t know how to explain. In them, I saw and experienced a glimpse of His presence – something which I’m constantly searching for.

The following are taken from Our Lord’s revelations to Mutter Vogel (pg. 29, Mutter Vogel’s Worldwide Love, St. Grignion Publishing House, Altoting, South Germany):

"One should NEVER attack a priest, even when he's in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I'll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn't live after My example!" (29.6.1929)

"Oh pray much for My priests, that they'll love purity above all, that they'll celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of Mass with pure hands and hearts. Certainly the Holy Sacrifice is one and the same even when it’s celebrated by an unworthy priest, but the graces called down upon the people is not the same!" (28.2.1938)

I urge you, friends, to constantly remember your priests in your daily prayers.

For further reading, I recommend these:
  • Pope Reminds Faithful to Pray for Priests
  • The Value of Prayer and Sacrifice for Priests
  • Praying for Priests
  • A Prayer for Priests


  • <>< <><>
    This post is meant to be posted for World Day of Prayer for Priests.
    Please pardon me for the imperfect use of English as it is my 2nd language. Thank you.

    Celebrating a Father's love...


    To my greatest Abba, Heavenly Father God -- You're the ultimate Father of all mankind, and You've shown Yourself the most loving Person I've ever known in my whole life, and I thank You for so many graces and blessings and guidance which You've shown me. I love You, Father!

    To my Dad who have brought me up in the best way he could -- thank you so much, Daddy, for teaching me all the life's most precious lessons; and for so patiently bearing with me despite my disobedience and rebelliousness. I will remember you in my prayers today, and everyday, that the good Lord will bless you abundantly for all you've done for me, my brother and this family. I love you, Daddy!

    And to all the fathers in the world, Happy Fathers' Day!

    Jun 8, 2007

    Feast of the Sacred Heart

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

    The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on 15th June this year. Read what it is all about here.

    The 9 days Novena to the Sacred Heart has started on 6th June. Besides these devotions and this prayer, I have also found a day-to-day novena prayer here. The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so I recommend daily devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Also not forgetting that on the same day, 15th June, is the World Day of Prayer for Priests. Please pray for our priests! They need God's blessings, guidance, strength and grace to go through difficult moments as they serve God's people.

    *Updated*

    Some of the prayers I mentioned above are said for special intentions. So I searched up the Internet and found this one, a prayer of preparation for the Feast of Sacred Heart:

    O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore Thee, I love Thee and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer Thee this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Thy will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in Thee and for Thee. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Thy blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Within Thy Heart I place my every care. In every need let me come to Thee with humble trust saying, Heart of Jesus help me.

    Source


    "Let us remember that the Heart of Jesus has called us not only for our own sanctification, but also for that of other souls. He wants to be helped in the salvation of souls." - St. Padre Pio

    Jun 2, 2007

    Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje


    Message of May 25, 2007:

    "Dear children! Pray with me to the Holy Spirit for Him to lead you in the search of God's will on the way of your holiness. And you, who are far from prayer, convert and, in the silence of your heart, seek salvation for your soul and nurture it with prayer. I bless you all individually with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

    Source: Children of Medjugorje

    May 7, 2007

    Perfection

    Via Fr. Stephanos

    You Are 71% Perfectionist

    You are a true perfectionist. You are both demanding of yourself and others.
    While it's great to have goals and standards, they
    don't need to be sky high!


    As I grow over the years from a teen to a young adult, I gradually realized that I am a perfectionist, in almost every part of my daily life as well as being a Catholic. My being a perfectionist has become more obvious as I joined the working world.

    The best example of me, is that I don't mind staying in the office a little longer after office hours, even though I am not entitled to overtime claim. There were times when I even went back to the office on Saturdays just to make sure that the report I've just finished the day before was error-free. Most of the times I prefer to do some of the clerical work (sending faxes, typing letters to clients, photocopying documents, printing reports etc. which are supposed to be the job of clerical staffs) myself for fear of any mistakes or imperfections.

    And so it is with my normal daily lives. Take for instance, the toilet paper. For me, I will always make sure that toilet papers are hanged over the front and not facing the wall. Even when I saw that it was hanged the 'wrong' way, I would take it out and hang it the other way instead. Sometimes, my mom would help me fold my clothes especially during the time I was too busy with work and Youth, and somehow I ended up refolding them because I wasn't satisfied with my mom's way of folding the clothes.

    In terms of the practice of my faith, I am very particular at how simple prayers (e.g. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be) are said. I know of A LOT of local faithful who said the prayers SO fast that they can finish one Our Father with one single breath. Therefore, sometimes I prefer to pray alone so that I could concentrate on each word that I've said.

    "I hate myself for being such a perfectionist, maybe that's why God punishes me by sending me lots of problems." A friend told me one day. Well, how could this ever be possible? God will not punish someone who is trying to be perfect. Why would He, when He actually delights in those who tried? St. Matthew has the proof: "You must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48)

    Being perfect is the duty of every Christian. However, perfection should not be to the extreme when other people who work with us face the danger of being hurt because they cannot meet our high expectations. We as Christians should look up to God as our standards. We don't need sky-high goals or standards; all we need is to include God in whatever we are doing.

    We are supposed to involve God in our everyday living. Sadly, most people see it the other way round - God is only for the Church and to be kept out-of-sight in my life when there is nothing to do with religion. Probably, that is why our strive for perfection is always seem to be wrong. "In fact it is a fault," said John Clark.

    The word PERFECTION spells P-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s. - Sir Winston Leonard Churchill
    I strongly believe that Sir Winston Churchill is right UNLESS we depend on our own human strength. All of us are weak without God and therefore, we need God's grace as we travel down the road of our lives, and how much more do we need Him when it comes to perfection.

    I am a perfectionist myself, and so many times I collapsed because I wasn’t satisfied with my work, my ability and my knowledge; at these times self-pity took over me… fear crept in, I was drowned by my own thoughts of how good-for-nothing I have been, and consequently, I was overcome by depression. Besides hurting myself mentally and physically, I also hurt my parents and my closest friends as I lavished my anger and resentment on them. Since being perfect is so difficult and in the process of it we might also put others down, then why did Jesus call us to be perfect in the first place?

    I’ve been giving this question a thought for the past few weeks. If perfection is a duty, then how can we practice perfection and at the same time not hurting our loved ones, fellow workers and other brothers in sisters in Christ who work together with us?

    1. Do it out of love. What drive(s) you to working so hard? Money? Self-gratification? Or to bring Him glory? We should put down our love for money, fame and our pride, and put on God’s love. Our priority should be love – that people may have a better life; that the environment is protected despite the on-going development; that the sick may be cured and sufferings lessened; that our family can enjoy a more comfortable life – if love is the driving force of our lives, at the end of everyday we will feel satisfied because our every effort is pleasing in His eyes.

    2. God’s grace. Without God, nothing is possible. We should never forget that our jobs are given to us by Him. That is why it is important to pray first before we start our chores and anything we are going to do, to ask for His presence, His grace and His assistance as we carry them out.

    3. Give your best. We know that we are all imperfect people, and so no matter how much time or effort we might have spent on a project or on something, it might not turn out to be as perfect as we wanted it to be. Therefore the best thing is to give our very best to do what is possible for us and then leave the impossible to God. There is also no need to put a high expectation on the people who work with/under us. Why not put our expectations in God? He is perfect and only He can perfect our imperfect work, and only He and He alone can meet our expectations.

    4. Let go, let God. After we’ve given our best and when there is nothing else we can do anymore, it is time to let go – let go of the worries we’ve been having and put everything in God’s mighty hands. We just have to sit back and see what this wonderful yet humorous God of ours can do.

    5. Thanksgiving. No matter what the outcome would be, whether it is up to our expectation or not, we owe our thanks and praises to the Lord. No one knows or understands the purpose He has for us or how He would want to manifest Himself in what we do, so we should be ever thankful even if the outcome disappoints us – to thank Him for the opportunity given, lesson learned, experience gained and His love we encountered.
    Yes, it’s easier said than done. Life in itself is never easy, worse still when we are called by Christ to live a life of faith. May we give our best to be perfectly perfect as we put God as our example of perfection. Father, may You walk with us, guide and bless us as we are on our way to be as perfect as You. Amen.


    References:
    Perfectionist-Workaholic-Crisis Seeker
    The Gospel Truth - Christian Perfection

    Apr 25, 2007

    Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje



    Message of April 25, 2007:

    "Dear children! Also today I again call you to conversion. Open your hearts. This is a time of grace while I am with you, make good use of it. Say: "this is the time for my soul". I am with you and love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."


    Source: Children of Medjugorje

    Apr 3, 2007

    In loving memory...


    ...he has always been right here -- in my heart. We miss you, Holy Father! We always will.


    Watch a slide show honouring Pope John Paul II here. Read more here.

    Via Fr. Stephanos.

    Apr 1, 2007

    Cut the cord for the Lord!

    Lord, I have not reached this stage, have I?

    Time for these spiritual oases can be found by figuratively cutting the electric cord of the television and the wireless signal of the Internet to make way for reflection, prayer and medidation.
    Somehow, I've spent really too much time on the Internet. Once I get my fingers on the keyboard, it would be rather difficult for me to stop. Thus causing me to lose my prayer time. Before, when I was still without broadband internet, I used to spend less time online and more time reading books on faith-related issues and the Bible. Now, I need to cut down on my prayer time because most of my time is spent in front of the computer.

    I might not have any post at all this week, or I will just try to cut down my Internet time. I just want to spend more time with the Lord. This is the last week I've got to prepare for Easter.

    May you also prepare well for Easter - the climax of Christianity and the most important feast of the Christian liturgical year.


    Read the whole article from which the above text is quoted here.

    Mar 31, 2007

    A different approach to fasting

    Click on the image to enlarge it.


    Perhaps, this post is a little late.

    I received this in a powerpoint format a couple of weeks ago. My Catholic colleague did a little photoshop wonder and turned a presentation into a compact image.

    Everyone is encouraged to fast, but there isn't a particular prescribed time or manner of doing it (Authority for Abstinence in the New Law). There are many forms of fasting, it is not limited to abstinence from food only. Read more on fasting and abstinence here.

    Lenten season is almost over. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and Good Friday is just another week away. I still feel that my Lenten preparation isn't enough, I could have done more. Much more. Sometimes I just hate myself for not being able to break through the difficulties I face. Another one week to Good Friday, Lord, give me the strength, Your grace and faith to prepare myself well this week.

    Have a blessed Holy Week.

    Mar 26, 2007

    Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje

    Message on 25 March 2007:

    "Dear children, I desire to thank you from my heart for your Lenten renunciation. I desire to inspire you to continue to live fasting with an open heart. By fasting and renunciation, little children, you will be strong in faith. In God you will find peace through daily prayer. I am with you and I am not tired. I desire to take you all with me to Heaven, therefore, daily decide for holiness. Thank you for having responded to my call."

    Mar 23, 2007

    Curiosity kills my faith...

    ... and I really hope that it is not happening. And never will.

    I came home bringing what people call "The Cake of Our Lady the Virgin Mary", its dough in a container and a piece of paper with instructions and the history behind it. Due to that dough, I had a fight with my mom.

    The instruction sheets. Hand-written that said: "Say a prayer each time. Receive the graces."


    Method of Preparation:

    As soon as you receive the dough place it in a glass, pyrex or plastic container and cover tightly with glad-wrap or foil. Never put it in the fridge.

    DAY 1 & DAY 2 (Day 1 begins the day after you receive the dough)
    Leave the dough covered and don't touch it so that it adapts to the atmosphere.

    DAY 3 & DAY 4
    Stir the dough with a wooden spoon and cover again.

    DAY 5
    Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of plain yogurt and 2 cups of plain flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon and cover again.

    DAYS 6 TO 9
    Stir well with a wooden spoon and cover.

    DAY 10
    Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of yogurt, 2 cups of plain flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Mix well. Then divide the dough into 4 equal parts. 3 parts to be distributed amongst 3 faithful people (1/4 each). The 4th quarter is yours. Add to it 1/4 cup of sugar, 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of olive oil plus 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Mix well with a wooden spoon and pour into a buttered baking dish. Bake in a moderate oven (150) for 50 minutes.

    IMPORTANT NOTES
    ALWAYS USE A WOODEN SPOON.
    YOU CAN ONLY BAKE THIS CAKE ONCE IN A LIFETIME.
    CAKE MUST BE SHARED WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
    CAKE LASTS FOR MONTHS


    ORIGIN:
    It is also known as Pope Pius bread. The story is told that an Italian woman who was suffering all her life from illness that she could not even do her house chores. One day her daughter asked to bake her a cake. She refused more than once because she was unable to do it. The daughter insisted so much taht the mother felt she needed to bake that cake. She asked the aid of the Virgin Mary. As soon as she started to prepare the cake, the Virgin Mary appeared and she herself prepared the cake for the woman. The woman was astonished with that was happening and the Virgin Mother told her "you yourself will eat from that bread and the world as well."

    She asked her to keep 1/4 of the dough and to add to t the ingredients of the recipe to make the whole cake and distribute the other 3/4 to 3 other faithful people on condition, that they will do the same procedure to this miraculous dough.

    Unto this day, no one has refused to bake this cake, yet, because it brings blessings and prosperity in all families that receive it and prepare it accordingly. It has been said that this bread travelled from the Vatican to America, Australia and Africa and this in itself is a miracle because:-

    A -- Even though it is kept out of the fridge it never moulded.
    B -- Its odour and form gives one an idea that it has yeast even though it does not.

    [Picture caption: The dough. Despite the instruction not to disturb it, I dipped my finger in and felt its texture - gluey, slimy. Smelt like yeast - sour; probably due to the yogurt content.]

    I doubt it is true. If it is, I would have read it somewhere from the internet. Or even heard about it through some online friends, or even priests. I've been searching for it online. Nothing at all! Not even the mentioning of it! I even interviewed 2 or 3 online Catholic pals, nobody has even heard of its existence.

    It was not intended for me. An aunty from the choir gave it to me because she didn't want to 'share' it further, and also because she doesn't believe in such a thing with no proof. I brought it home all because of curiosity and that I want to find out whether this is true.

    [Picture caption: The baked cake. It really looks like normal cakes, but not in the taste, which is sour and it's not as soft.]

    Looks like I'll be the first person who refused to bake the cake.

    I sincerely ask for the help of all readers, that, you would let me know:

    1) the Truth behind this, proof;
    2) your testimony (of how it changed your lives and what kind of blessings it brought to you and your loved ones).
    If this is a fake myth, I think it's my responsibility to warn the other brothers and sisters about it. However, if they still choose to believe it, then it's perfectly their choice.

    Please help me and the parishioners who believe blindly here in Malaysia. My heartiest appreciation to all.

    Mar 11, 2007

    Lent - a time for solitude and silence

    "How's your Lent so far?" Somebody asked me.

    Silence. I couldn't really answer. I told myself on Ash Wednesday that I would waste more time in contemplation and reflection of the Word of God all throughout Lent. But look, this is already the 3rd Week of Lent, what have I done so far?

    Sigh. I can't remember what I've done, except abstaining from meat and fasting from 2 meals on Friday. That's it? Well, looks like that's it. What a shame.

    My utmost desire is still to spend time in prayer. I even planned to stay with the Franciscan sisters last year, to pray and to discern. The purpose I chose a place away from home was because I felt that I need the correct environment to concentrate on praying, avoiding any forms of distractions - the internet, the TV, the computer, my family and friends, and my favourite way of communication, the mobile phone -- any comfort of life to stay close with the Lord

    Just recently, the Carmelite sisters lend me the book Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, and as I flipped through it, this passage caught my eyes and thoughts:

    Seek for a convenient time to search your own conscience, and think often of the benefits of God. Abandon curiosity and read such matters as shall stir you to compunction of heart for your sins, rather than only to pass the time. If you will withdraw yourself from superfluous words and from unprofitable business, and from hearing rumours and idle talkes, you will find convenient time to be occupied in holy meditation.

    The most holy men and women who ever lived fled, as far as they could, the company of worldly-minded men, and chose to serve God in the secrets of their hearts. One holy man said: As often as I have been among worldly company, I have left it with less fervor of spirit than I had when I came. And this we well realize, whenever we talk long, for it is not so hard always to keep silence as it is not to exceed in words when we speak much. It is also easier to be always alone at home than to go forth into the world and not offend. Therefore, whoever intends to come to an inward fixing of his heart upon God and to have the grace of devotion must with our Saviour Christ withdraw from the world.


    Thomas highlighted the importance of practicing solitude and silence: ...whoever intends to come to an inward fixing of his heart upon God and to have the grace of devotion must with our Saviour Christ withdraw from the world.

    It's already the 3rd Week of Lent. Left with another 2 more weeks to go before the Holy Week. What have you done so far? I'm hoping that, no matter what, I would make it a point to spend a little more time with Christ everyday -- if I don't practice solitude and silence now in preparation for Easter, then when?

    Wishing you all a blessed and fruitful Lenten season.

    Mar 10, 2007

    Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje


    Message of February 25, 2007

    "Dear children! Open your heart to God's mercy in this Lenten time. The Heavenly Father desires to deliver each of you from the slavery of sin. Therefore, little children, make good use of this time and through meeting with God in confession, leave sin and decide holiness. Do this out of love for Jesus, who redeemed you with His blood, that you may be happy and in peace. Do not forget, little children: your freedom is your weakness, therefore follow my messages with seriousness. Thank you for having responded to my call."

    Feb 10, 2007

    Loneliness is a gift!

    Due to the nature of my job that requires me to travel and do things alone, I was intensively trained for the past 5 months to cope with loneliness. Today, when I looked back, I thank the Lord for the grace, strength and courage He has given me so far, which helped me through the darkest moments of loneliness. And at this very moment I can stand up and testify that -- loneliness is a gift from God.

    I used to hate being alone. Each time I was alone, I tend to desperately look for someone to accompany me, it didn't matter who that person is - a guy or a gal; I also had impure thoughts; I watched whatever programme that comes on TV just to kill time, or wasting time online by popping into all kinds of chatrooms. Most of the time I longed for someone... for his touch, his embrace, his presence that would keep me secure... I wanted to feel somebody's love.

    Today, I am no longer the same as I grow rooted in the Lord.

    When a Catholic friend complained to me, that he was lonely and he needed someone special to be there, I do understand how he must have felt. That emptiness inside that consumes the whole being... that pain, that longing that are unbearable. But they can be filled... with love not from someone else, but from the Source of Love, which is Love itself.

    While I was searching online for a photo about loneliness for another post which I was planning to write on, I found this short excerpt on The Loneliness of the Christian.

    The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.

    [...]

    It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.

    - by A. W. Tozer


    It accurately described how I felt then. And because I felt so lonely that I couldn't stand anymore, I started turning to the Lord for companionship and love. Eventually, I become so attached to Him and being alone has become something I look forward to. In fact, I treasure those moments when I just have to sit or kneel in front of a Crucifix or Christ's image and talk to Him straight... like a friend but invisible. As a result of the Conversation, I found peace in my heart, joy, and I feel that I'm so much loved... by Someone so great and who deserves all my love.

    When I travel alone, I would bring one book by a Christian writer or anything having to do with the Faith, my darling Bible and the prayer book I always use. I did not have that hungry feeling of loneliness. All I know was that my heart pounded real hard when the departures and arrivals of flights were being announced. My only fear is that I might miss the flight!

    If you can come to the realization that loneliness is not scary at all, but is instead an opportunity to have an intimate relationship with God, then you would also look forward to every moment where you can be totally alone -- then be assured that you are going after something that is more precious than silver or gold, which He and He alone can give.


    May you discover the beauty of loneliness.

    Feb 3, 2007

    My Vocation Story - The Confusions


    For the past 2 weeks, I met someone online who's desperately looking for a soul mate. After some chats with me, he concluded that I am his answered prayer. I'm a person who couldn't care less about relationships as such, and besides, I clearly know that my heart's desire is religious life.

    I was stressing on discovering my religious vocation so much that, he told me - perhaps I'm not called to religious life due to many reasons, and one of them is that God met the two of us. His words were so convincing... as if I've made a mistake by believing all these while that I'm called to become a nun; he gave me 'signs' that the two of us were meant for each other.

    I didn't know what actually happened to me that night. Upon listening to what he has said, I felt as if the whole world has tumbled down on me. My faith almost shattered. My hope in the Lord dwindled. For the past 3 days, I was in a total confusion and depression. Religious life really means something to me! I was trying my best to listen to Lord for an answer.

    Today, however, a thought suddenly struck me.

    Why did I allow myself to give in to him, and allowing the Evil One to take control of me? Making me believe that from the beginning till now, God has never intended me to offer my life for His service, and causing me so much disappointment and sadness for the past 3 days. This experience was horrible, as if I was totally cut off from God; as if He has decided to kick me out of His Kingdom; as if He has fooled with my heart.

    I looked back at the time when I received affirmation that my vocation was not marriage. All I could remember was joy, joy and joy everlasting! Compare that with what happened recently, I realized that this was just another way for the Evil One to create havoc in my life. How could it be possible that, if marriage is my vocation, I was feeling so down? Why is that the more I think about it, the more my heart longs for Him? From there, I also realized that it is not a human companion that I look for, I'm actually searching for the presence of Christ in the people I meet... I'm hoping that that person can temporarily 'represent' Christ -- to hold me in His arms, to kiss and affirm me of His love, holding my hand and walking with me, protecting me from all harm -- that sense of security, belonging and great love I have been longing for when I fell in love with Him. That is why it is impossible for me to have an intimate relationship, because all I long for is Him alone. It won't be fair for any guy whom I would be seeing, as they are not the ones I'm in love with.

    Back to my vocation. I'm even more sure now, that I'm not called to marriage. My willingness (and also many others) to reach out to others is a result of my (our) relationship with God, a relationship that no one in this whole wide world can replace.


    Please pray for me and for those who are discerning religious life or consecrated virginity. Feel free to visit Holy Vocations Blog, a blog co-authored by those who are seriously discerning priesthood and religious life; and say a prayer for all of us there. Thank you!

    Jan 28, 2007

    Message of Our Lady from Medjugorje

    Message of January 25, 2007
    “Dear children! Put Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your family and read it. In this way, you will come to know prayer with the heart and your thoughts will be on God. Do not forget that you are passing like a flower in a field, which is visible from afar but disappears in a moment. Little children, leave a sign of goodness and love wherever you pass and God will bless you with an abundance of His blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

    My Pondering
    Our Lady is reminding us again of the importance of reading Scripture. There are some people whom I know, said that: since they don't understand what most of the texts in the Bible are talking about, they chose not to read it at all. Of which, in my humble opinion, should not be the way. God's Words is my spiritual food, and my soul needs it to grow more in love and in knowledge of Him.

    Jan 16, 2007

    Contribute your opinions

    Do you have comments or opinions regarding the Catholic church? Edward Lee from To Jesus Through Mary would need your help.

    As the Blogger of To Jesus Through Mary I am requesting Catholics in the age group of 16-45 to take part in a survey about the direction of the Catholic Church. I want to come to an understanding what young people think of the Church, maybe why they don't go to mass every weekend, and such. I want to know how these individuals want to the Church to be in 20 years from now.

    For this reason I wish to dedicate a portion of my time in 2007 to reading surveys which I will create with the help of others. These surveys will be available sometime after the first of the year.

    I am asking for all Catholics, from Conservative Catholics to Liberal Catholics, to those involved in the Charismatic movement. Catholics who attend the traditional latin mass and to those who attend mass in the vernacular. All Catholics in the age range of 16-45 I request you to email me at:

    catholicsurvey (at) gmail (dot) com

    Please put in the subject "Catholic Survey" as a way to eliminate spam.

    Upon the receipt of your email, I will send you an email confiriming your request to take part in the survey and the date on which I plan to release the suvey.

    I ask if you have a blog or any way to promote this survey to please do so.

    I appreciate it your help. This is a great opportunity for us to evaluate your own positions of the Church and to learn about the Church at the same time.

    Your Brother in Christ,
    Edward Lee


    I'll be participating in the survey! Oh well, there's nothing to lose.