Aug 22, 2011

Amazed and amused

As a Catholic, if this photo and video below fail to bring a smile on your face, I don't know what else would.

Pope Benedict XVI "plays" the piano cake during lunch with 12 young people on 19 August, World Youth Day Madrid11
I was simply speechless. No words could ever describe how amused I was (in fact, I still am!) when I watched the Holy Father pretending to play the chocolate cake piano.

Not just amused. I'm amazed at the same time! Amazed that His Holiness, as a Pope, the Successor of Peter, would unreservedly made himself available and open to the 12 young people present with him. Amazed that he could, with this little action, amuse the 12 youngsters.

I know that the Holy Father is an accomplished pianist, but I've never expected him to do such a thing... perhaps a bit silly to some, but to me it is a message from him: "Yes, I am the Pope, your shepherd here on earth. But I'm also your spiritual father and I'm concerned about you. I'm here for you. Please do not feel awkward. Make yourself comfortable with me. I love you."

That must have been the reason the twelve of them shared that it was just like a family dinner. Their conversation with the Pope wasn't planned beforehand. Just like family members at the dinner table. It was not so much about the food. It was the fellowship that counts.

Beautiful, isn't it?

I'm glad that the 12 volunteers enjoyed themselves with the Pope. And for me, I feel so touched when I saw the photo (above) and video (below).

Love you, Holy Father! Hopefully I would also have the privilege to have a meal with you someday. :)

Video of the luncheon:

Aug 12, 2011

A birthday party I missed

The best birthday gift
August. A very busy month for me. Even on my birthday which was 9 days ago, I wished that no one would remember it. I even rejoiced when I found out that it falls on a weekday this year, so that there would be no celebrations, no wishes, no presents, and definitely no chance for pranks.

Why? Because this year, I have planned to spend time with my First Love. I know He would be throwing me a special party - the Eucharistic celebration. The perfect party, the best Gift... and the perfect way to give thanks to Him who gave me life and who have journeyed with me everyday for 29 years.

Most unfortunately, I didn't make it to that party. It could have been a grand one - my birthday and the feast day of St John Vianney, the patron saint for priests.

It was a rare occasion when a friend of mine on MSN started to ask me about Christ and Salvation History. I was totally engrossed in explaining to her Christ's love for the world. An opportunity to evangelize! When I finally checked the clock, it was 15 minutes before Daily Mass at the closest parish from my office (also the one I've planned to go to) would begin. Usually it only takes me less than 15 minutes to reach that parish. But that day, the traffic was exceptionally heavy and it took me more than half an hour to reach the church. By then it was too late. The Mass would end in less than 15 minutes.

Even if I would have decided to join the Mass then, it is incomplete as I have already missed the Liturgy of the Word, even though I would still be in time to receive Holy Communion. **

I was really sad. I really didn't know who to blame. Should I blame myself, for not telling my friend that we would continue the conversation some other time? Or should I blame God, who put me in such a difficult position? Have I done the right thing, for making the choice to continue the discussion with my friend? Is that considered a sacrifice? But then again, how much did that conversation benefit my friend? I have completely no answer for these questions.

As disappointed and perplexed as I've been, I chose to trust in the Lord, to stand on His promises. For St Paul says, "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose..." (Romans 8:28). Perhaps, He has His secret agenda which is yet to be made known to me?

Anyway, there's another special occasion for me to look forward to -- Confirmation anniversary on 23 August. Dear Lord, may it be your will that I could attend a Mass this day, to renew my commitment and my "yes".

**From Dei Verbum: "A person should not approach the table of the Bread of the Lord without having first been at the table of His Word." This is not so much of a rule (that if anyone is late for Mass, then he/she commits a sin), but it is to stress that every part of the Mass, beginning with the Introductory Rites until the Concluding Rite (the final blessing), is equally important. Although the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the climax in the Mass, one should not come in only to receive the Holy Communion or/and leave right after that before the Final Blessing. As one complete Mass consists of 4 parts, i.e. the Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Concluding Rite, therefore it is very important that we are punctual and prepare ourselves well for Mass.