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.

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!

Prayer for the Family

Photo courtesy of Inspire Me Inc.