The Soul of Prayer

Benedict XVI recently gave a new series of teaching on the subject of prayer. I found out his teaching articles from Oka’s blog.

Prayer is one subject that I have known for some times,but still struggling to practice it as part of my life. We won’t pray unless we understand how important prayer is. Until we are really convinced that praying is very important.

I find praying is becoming more important in my life especially when I am reflecting and contemplating on my life. I have many questions that are not answer yet such as:

  • What is the meaning, the aim of my life?
  • Which is the road to true happiness?
  • Why do we suffer and what purpose does it serve?
  • Whence do we come, and where are we going? Continue reading: The Soul of Prayer
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A Deeper look of Palm Sunday – Scripture Perspective

An article as published in Tomorrow newspaper by St Mary of the Angels, bukit batok, Singapore.

We are quite familiar with the Feast of Palm Sunday. We would go to get a palm leaf at the church, get it blessed and put it at our crucifix at home for one year. Maybe we are not quite familiar the history behind this feast. Why would Jesus ride a colt? What the crowd where shouting? Let us together take a deeper look from the scripture perspective on the feast of Palm Sunday.

The celebration of Palm Sunday, commemorates the entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem. It was recorded in the four gospels (Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19: 28-39, John 12: 12-18). His entrance to Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9. Zechariah prophesied to Israel that their King would be coming triumphantly to them riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey instead of war horse. The colt signifies the humility of the King. The third king of Israel, Solomon also rode a mule when he was anointed as king (1 King 1: 38-40). A humble King is coming to us; He is coming as one of us. Perhaps this will help us to embrace Him better, to allow us to get closer to Him.

The crowd responded to Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem by taking palm leaf and shouting “Hosanna!, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” This is a direct quotation from Psalm 118:25-26. The word Hosanna is a Hebrew word which means save us. Psalm 118 is part of the Hallel, a Jewish prayer for praise and thanksgiving. It consists of Psalm 113 to 118. We may not be able to appreciate this psalm as our Jewish brothers and sisters do. Perhaps because we don’t have a deep longing for a Messiah as they do. Most of us no longer know about slavery, maybe because we don’t have a known history of slavery in our family. But maybe we are in a spiritual slavery; maybe we are being enslaved by pride, lust, greed, sloth, hatred, or sin. When we realize that we are enslaved, we will have desire to be free, we will long for a messiah or savior.

The Israelites were completely free from slavery when they were a strong nation led by King David. We would be completely free from the slavery of sin if we allow our life to be led by King Jesus. Allowing Jesus to reign in our kingdom is not an easy task but at least we can try to do the first step, to realize that we are in a slavery of sin and we have this desire to be free. Let us take a palm leaf and embrace Jesus’ entrance to our life, our Jerusalem, and shout to him “Save us!”.

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Sacrament of Reconcilliation – Crossing Back the Line

Crossing the line

Last Thursday, I went to the penitential service at st Mary of the angels. It is a communal Sacrament of Reconciliation which is usually held a week before the Holy Week. It is an invitation from the Church to all its family member to confess their sin as a preparation for Easter. The different as compared to the usual confession is that at the penitential service the parishioner come together and pray together before they will go individually to confess their sins to the priest. So we can see the church full of people to confess their sins.

We confess our sins, of course because we committed sin before. We may have different understanding regarding sin. Perhaps it is about breaking God’s Law, or Church Law. Perhaps its about hurting other people. But let us take a look at the definition of Sin given by the Church. Its taken from the catechism paragraph 1849-1851

II. THE DEFINITION OF SIN

1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”121

1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”122 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125

1851 It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate’s cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas’ betrayal – so bitter to Jesus, Peter’s denial and the disciples’ flight. However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world,126 the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.

We may think committing sin is when we crossed the line. Well in reality I believe the line is drawn for my own sake. I must thank the Church for drawing the lines for me. Even though some people would think that the Church is just trying to control the people, in contrary I feel the Church is trying to prevent us from inflicting wound toward myself and other people. When I crossed the line it means I chose darkness over light. I chose Not-Love over Love. I chose immediate selfish gratification over eternal life. I chose FEAR over Courage and truth.

Penitential service give me a consolation, that I am not alone. Together with my other brothers and sisters in the church we pray together, and confess our sin to receive the forgiveness of our sin. I am very grateful for the blessing during the service, as I confessed my sin, God showed His love and forgiveness through His priest. God invited me to love Him more by repenting from my sins. So its not merely about doing right or wrong but about loving or less/not loving. Loving someone can be difficult.

We crossed the line when we commit sin, but through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are invited to repent, to turn back on our sin path and come back to God. We are invited like Peter when Jesus conversed with Him beside the campfire. We are invited to walk and cross back the line and to come back to the Light.

I pray for the Holy Week, so that we may love God more and encounter Jesus in our life.

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Strength

Strength

This one is a small plant that grow at the side of the bricks wall. At first I was interested because there is this sense of resilience. Then it reminds me of this verses from Phil 4: 10-14

“Rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.
Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.”

The title for this simple picture is Strength. The small plant shows me that it receives strength from God. We may have some difficult situation in life like this small plant. It seems have no opportunity to grow, being crowded with other bigger tree and the bricks. It may experience malnutrition, but it doesn’t complain keep growing. We too I believe can be like this little plant, learn how to draw strength from God, and proclaim God’s glory.

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Finding God In Picture

Once open an URL from one of my favorite website Ignatianspirituality.com , and there is one section called Picturing God. I was inspired to capture several image where I could relate to God, or where there is this sense of God image.

Perhaps it is true that a picture could speak a thousand words. Photo taking is good to express my creativity especially when I dont have enough skill to draw. There will be several photos that I will upload occasionally. I do hope you enjoy both my writing and photo. Indeed we can find God in all things, maybe that is why we say that He is omnipresence. Not just to believe that He is everywhere but to encounter Him and Find Him.

 

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St Anthony of Padua, You Rocks!

I only knew 5 things about him:

1. His name is Anthony

2. He is Not from padua (thanks to Valent, who told me that he is from Lisbon, Portugal, but died in Padua, Italy)

3. He is canonized as Saint

4. He is a franciscan friar

5. He is a patron saint of lost item, I think this is one of the reason why he is famous.

I have never prayed to ask for his intercession before, until my mother lost something important that had made her super panic and depressed. I tried to help her, I did what I can. Then I remember when Irene pray to ask his help to find many small things that she lost. So I asked her to pray for my mother so she could find the thing.

Then I search in google, “st anthony of padua prayer” then I prayed in fron of my office desktop, to ask his help for the first time, to help my mother.

Now I have six things that I know about Him. He really intercede my prayer and help my mother to find the thing. HE ROCKS! Now he is my Hero.

Thank you St Anthony, please keep interceding and praying for me from heaven.

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On Temptation, The Imitation of Christ

After I got my kindle, I downloaded great ebooks from http://www.gutenberg.org/ especially on the writing of saints. There is one book recommended by my roommate, the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. It is a book that I was recommended by many other friends before. I almost bought it when I browse through it at the St Peter and Paul church book store. I think it is really God’s plan that is tailored so well that I didn’t really interested of this great book last time. Because, it makes more sense to me when I read it now. Last time I was not depressed like now, I didn’t ask the question on suffering, life, meaning of life, purpose of life, etc.
I would like to share one of the chapter from this book. It gives me a clue on my question about suffering, pain, and temptation.

if you are interested to read the full text you can download it here for free Continue reading: On Temptation, The Imitation of Christ

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5 Life Lessons From Stanchart Run 2010

Its my first running event, the standard chartered half marathon 2010. Actually I am not really passionate of running. I love team sport, like soccer. But after several encouragement from my friends, I decided to give it a try. Half marathon is challenging enough for me. Now I must admit it was a quite fun event. Despite the joy that I experienced after the finish line, many goody bags, complimentary Osim massage, and sharing with friends, I learned some lesson from this run.

There are 5 lessons about life that I learned from this event that I want to share it here: Continue reading: 5 Life Lessons From Stanchart Run 2010

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When Things Don’t Go The Way You Want Them To

It is the title of the session of the Emmaus prayer meeting last week. This is the first session of the teaching series entitled The Road to Emmaus – Our Journey of Faith. Alas, the prayer meeting really delivered the message. Things didn’t go the way we wanted it to be. It didn’t go well for the service team, for the speaker, for the attendees. These were what happened.

Continue reading: When Things Don’t Go The Way You Want Them To

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Finding God in Twitter

For me Twitter was another social networking service. Even though it is quite useful to get connected to many people especially great people who are working on cool stuff or spreading inspiring idea such as, Mark Hart, The Emmaus , TEDMatthew Warner, Michael Hyatt, Joel J Miller, and many others. In twitter I also can find many saints and saints to be such as St Philip Neri, Blessed John Henry Newman Fulton sheen. For me twitter was just like another social networking service. I didn’t expect to find God in twitter, or rather God spoke to me through twitter. God has a creative plan and this is the story:

A tweet For Jesus through Mother Mary

Continue reading: Finding God in Twitter

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