A happy and blessed Easter to all of you!! I shall recount my experiences during the past weeks.
Holy Wednesday, 4 April 2007
I finally found a job at an insurance company as a temp, thanks to Uncle James’ recommendation. I’m supposed to do data entry, except that I don’t have access to a computer. In the meantime, they let me sort out files and copy figures manually. I work nine hours a day and the pay is little. Well, beats lazing at home and not drawing any income. The only thing that sucks is that there is so little work for me to do. I cannot do my work too quickly, or else I will have nothing to do, and I may be mistaken for a slacker. Yet, I cannot take too long, or the end result will be the same. Argh, so this is office life.
Well the people at the office are pretty nice, for now.
I went to Constantine’s church at night to take a look at their Holy Week celebrations. He is Eastern Orthodox. In the Eastern churches, Wednesday of the Holy Week is called Great and Holy Wednesday. That night they had Extreme Unction. The service lasted for about an hour, standing throughout. And they had like six or seven epistle readings, and the same number of gospels. There was also the singing of several prokeimena (singular Prokeimenon, Greek Προκειμενον). That is similar to the responsory we recite during the Office.
Yes, they are quite hardcore, even in my own book. But it was an eye-opener. I didn’t go up for the Unction. I’m not allowed to, by our law or their law. An interesting experience, nonetheless.
Maundy Thursday, 5 April 2007
I went to work as usual but I left early at three pm. The Seminary invited us aspirants to attend their liturgy. Joshua and I went down at four thirty. Argh, I took the bus in but stopped at the wrong stop twice. But never mind that. There were 7 of us attending the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with some seminarians and the Carmelite nuns. The nuns are temporarily staying at Punggol until their monastery is rebuilt by the end of the year. It was the first time I’ve actually met Carmelite nuns. I think it will be my last time. You won’t get to see them once they go back to their monastery.
After Mass, we had a procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Chapel of Repose. We had a slow march from the seminary chapel to the other end of the campus. We sang Pange Lingua Gloriosi, in English obviously.
Sing my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world’s redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.
We had dinner in the refectory with the seminarians.
Good Friday, 6 April 2007
Oh joy. I didn’t have to go to work today. But I had to get up early to go out with Joshua. We were going to Marine Parade in his parents’ car. He was supposed to get his hair cut but being wishy washy he decided not to. Uncle James went for it anyway. So we took a bus down to Town, where we roamed the streets. We headed to Funan, as he wanted to get a rubber casing for his iPod.
Once again we made our way down to Punggol. We took a cab in, since we missed the bus and were running late. Today there were only three of us aspirants.
Mass of the Pre-sanctified was at three pm. It ended at four pm and we had two hours to kill until Stations of the Cross at six thirty pm.
I have a beef with the liturgy. Argh, why didn’t they sing the Improperia!? How can we have a Good Friday liturgy without the Reproaches?!
We relaxed in the students’ lounge with some of the seminarians. It was good to talk to them again, after so long. Brother Terence and Jovita were enlightening, as always. I learnt a few things that day. Firsty, dating can be considered as part of the discernment process. Yet, one should not go with the mindset of ‘Ok, I will use this for testing purposes.’ It will be a sucky feeling.
Secondly, the Devil comes in the guise of an angel of light. I think Jovita told us this one. I found the actual quote.
The fourth: It is proper to the evil Angel, who forms himself under the appearance of an angel of light, to enter with the devout soul and go out with himself: that is to say, to bring good and holy thoughts, conformable to such just soul, and then little by little he aims at coming out drawing the soul to his covert deceits and perverse intentions.
RULES FOR THE SAME EFFECT WITH GREATER DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS, Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatian Spirituality, I should look into that one day. But it makes so much sense now. Now I know why I’ve been so confused these few years.
We had the Stations of the Cross, with the nuns and the seminarians. We took turns to carry a crucifix from one Station to another, and to read off the booklet. Dinner was in the refectory. I had porridge with achar, salted eggs and ikan bilis.
(Oh, Eastern fasting is stricter than ours. While we merely abstain from meat, they abstain from milk and eggs too. Gee.)
Holy Saturday, 7 April 2007
I went for Legion meeting in the morning, followed by this talk on the Theology of the Body by the Apostolate for Catholic Truth. It was very interesting. I shall write about this soon.
I went back to the Seminary in the evening for their Easter Vigil. It was celebrated by Monsignor Fr Eugene Vaz. It was really short! We only had three out of seven Old Testament readings, and there were no baptisms. It started at eight and I reached home at ten, right on the dot.
That was the fastest Easter Vigil I have ever attended in my whole life!
Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007
I attended Curia in the afternoon. We had a meeting for the recruitment camp after that.
I had dinner with Moses and girlfriend, his friend and girlfriend, and Anselm. It was extremely, extremely awkward.
Moses: Sorry to put you up with us couples.
Me: It’s fine. Jesus is the light of the world. I’m just the lamp post of this world.
So much for that. We had a lot of crabs, and a lot of dirty jokes from the boys. Still, I was bored as hell. I focused more on eating than on talking to anyone.
Every trip to Marina South for the past three years has been angsty and painful. I won’t be going back there for a long time.
Easter Thursday, 12 April 2007
I attended a talk on Christian Friendship by Professor Donna Orsuto from the Pontifical Gregorian University. She is also Director of the Lay Centre in Rome. It was held at Cana Catholic Centre at Waterloo Street. I went for the talk with Joshua. It was quite interesting. It spoke of the concept that friendship also involves God, the third party. We had a discussion in small groups on this topic.
Easter Friday, 13 April 2007
I went for Mass and Rosary crusade at St Joseph’s Church, Queen Street. It was the 13th day of the month, but I didn’t realise that there was a crusade until the end of the Mass. Well it was nice, very prim and proper. The priest was quite pleased to see lots of young people.
They gave out the roses from Mary’s statue after the crusade, first offering it to the young people. I was queuing up, but aunties were pushing me out of my way. Bah, whatever works. I took a pink one home.
Easter Saturday, 14 April 2007
I attended the Theology of the Body talk once more.
We had recruitment at Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace. It was terrible. We didn’t get any names at all. Better luck tomorrow.
Low Sunday, 15 April 2007
I was supposed to get up early to attend the Chinese Mass at Queen of Peace but then I decided to go back to sleep. Well recruitment at Queen of Peace was decent today. We had three people who were interested. Alleluia.
I had nothing to do until Vespers, so I attended the monthly Beautiful Sunday Esplanade concert by Mus’Art Wind Orchestra. Wow, the conductor was a lady. Quite impressive. It was an all right performance I guess. But I did hear a few mistakes here and there.
Mass was at St Peter and Paul’s. We had Vespers by the Schola Cantorum Sancti Gregori Magni. It was very good to attend their vespers after missing it for so many months. This time it was held in a main church, with incense and all. Marvellous! But it was weird having exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during Vespers, especially since we were all seated. It was good in any case. I managed to make acquaintance with Jeremy; one of the traddies I always see at vespers, and Jenson; who is s seminarian with the Fraternity of St Peter. I was in good company that night.
We had dinner at a Szechuan restaurant recommended by Edward. It was the first time I tried the Ma La Huo Guo. Good grief, it was a killer. Price was all right, about seventeen dollars, but the hot and spicy oil… It practically killed my tongue. But it’s quite cool. You cook your meat in the hot oil as it’s faster compared to the chicken soup. I had a small spoonful of the Ma La oil. It was unbearable. We had like, pitchers and pitchers of ice water. It was funny to see Edward make the orders in his Beijing accent. I think the PRC shop operators must have been amused.
Talking to Jenson was good. He gave me a lot of advice. He asked me to find a good Spiritual Director. ‘If you have to choose between an intelligent and a holy one, choose the intelligent one.’ He says an holy SD may have too high of a spirituality that you can ever hope to achieve, and this may discourage you. He also spoke about finding a good seminary with good liturgy, and good formation. Make sure they don’t teach weird stuff. The liturgy is especially important because in your busy life as a seminarian, it will be the only place to find solace and rest. If the liturgy is messed up, so will you be.
This does not bode well. Not good at all.
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
As a result from eating too much hot pot and possibly undercooked meat, I had bad shit today. Bleah.
Work was work. What interesting things happened today? Ah, the air conditioning failed. Everybody in the office was complaining.
Norman and Ernest came by to accompany me for lunch. Thanks guys.
I went to see Father Gerard. He was very helpful. Looks like I’ll be paying more visits to him from now on. He mentioned many useful things for aspirants. Let me list some of them out.
- Make sure your spiritual life in order
- Keeps journals daily
There were too many too list. Maybe I’ll save them for next time.
Ooh, he had a nice chasuble hanging on the rack. I asked him where he got it from. He said he got the middle portion from Rome, and had it sewn to large pieces of cloth at a wedding shop in Arab Street. Haha, a wedding shop of all places. Argh, I should have taken a picture of it.
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
I did overtime today, an extra hour than usual. I was asked to stay behind to finish someone else’s unfinished work. Argh, shit jobs.
But then I remembered what Father Gerard said yesterday. ‘Perform your works with love, even if they are the most menial.’ He related the example of St Faustina, who was the doorkeeper, cleaner and gardener of the convent. Yet Our Lord decided to reveal the mystery of Divine Mercy to her.
Very well, I shall try to do my work well even though it is menial and boring.
Saturday, 21 April 2007
I went for meeting as usual, the Theology of the Body talk as usual, recruitment as usual, but at a different place this time! Today we went to St Anne’s. It was terrible. We didn’t start on time, and the crowd wasn’t very enthusiastic. The boys were especially rowdy. Who am I kidding, this is Hougang after all, home of ah bengs. Before I am accused of being elitist, let me tell you now that I have lived in Hougang for a few years. And I have gangster blood, but that’s for another time. In any case we distributed the consent forms and brochures.
That was all for the day. I had a bad headache so I went home.
Third Sunday of Easter, 22 April 2007
I was supposed to go for adult Curia, but decided to skip it since the rest were not going. I went to church in the morning to see Aunty Cecilia. It was about the Confirmation camp in June. Joshua and I are supposed to help out. My NS letter has not arrived, so I’m not sure if I can commit or not. It was a good meeting anyway.
Hell, I was on the way to town when I was told that they weren’t going. I ended up spending my day in two libraries in town. It’s been such a long time since I’ve read good books. Maybe I will blog about them if I feel like it.
Attended Mass at St Josephs’ and went home.
Eastertide is going very well. Apart from the lack of money, at least I’m a little clearer about how to continue my discernment. The talks I’ve attended are also very useful, for the knowledge they give.
I shall put in my labour of love for my daily work and for the upcoming recruitment camp.
Hmm, I should start training up for NS. But I come home drained everyday. Sigh.
Pay day pay day! Come quick!