Archive for June, 2007

Office of Readings for Saturday 30 June 2007

The reading was an exposition by St Gregory of Nyssa on the Beatitudes. Part of the passage struck me.

“So if, by love and right living, you wash off the filth that has become stuck to your heart, the divine beauty will shine forth in you. Think of iron, which at one moment is dark and tarnished and the next, once the rust has been scraped off, shines and glistens brightly in the sun. It is the same with the inner core of man, which the Lord calls the heart. It has been in damp and foul places and is covered in patches of rust; but once the rust has been scraped off, it will recover itself and once more resemble its archetype. And so it will be good, since what resembles the good must be good itself.”

I also read an additional reading usually from My Daily Bread, which is a classic. It was written by Fr. Anthony J. Paone S.J and printed by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in 1954. Each day I read one chapter of the book. I was reading Chapter 28 where it stated:

“(Paragraph 3) 3. As iron, cast into the fire loses its rust and becomes bright with the flame, so too a man who turns his whole heart to Me, is purified of all sluggishness and changed into a new man.”

Hmm, that’s something to think about.

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Work work

I found a new job on 19 June, Tuesday. I’m selling computers at a shop in Funan.

Initially it was quite all right, with some sales on the weekday. But I was really discouraged when I did not get any sale last Friday. We were having a large sale over the weekend, and there were other part time salespeople too. I did get one sale on Saturday and four on Sunday.

And today, I did not get any. Bleah.

The basic pay is not much. Obviously the commission helps greatly. Sigh, my sales volume not very good.

Deus vult…. Well, better luck tomorrow. Off day is on Saturday, yay!

Office of Readings for Thursday 21 June 2007

Today we celebrate the Memorial of St Aloysius Gonzaga. St Aloysius Gonzaga was born on 9 March 1568 in Lombardy. His father wanted him to become a soldier, but he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice when he was eighteen.

He cared for plague victims during the outbreak in 1591. He caught the disease and died on 21 June 1591, in Rome. His relics are entombed under the altar of Saint Ignatius Church in Rome.

St Aloysius is the patron saint for teenagers and youth. Let us imitate his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and be innocent like him.

The below letter is in today’s Office of Readings. It was written by the Saint before he shortly before he died.

A letter from St Aloysius Gonzaga to his mother
God’s mercies shall be my song for ever

May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honoured lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad, then, dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in his grace and his love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose him.

The divine goodness, most honoured lady, is a fathomless and shoreless ocean, and I confess that when I plunge my mind into thought of this it is carried away by the immensity and feels quite lost and bewildered there. In return for my short and feeble labours, God is calling me to eternal rest; his voice from heaven invites me to the infinite bliss I have sought so languidly, and promises me this reward for the tears I have so seldom shed.

Take care above all things, most honoured lady, not to insult God’s boundless loving kindness; you would certainly do this if you mourned as dead one living face to face with God, one whose prayers can bring you in your troubles more powerful aid than they ever could on earth. And our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our Saviour; there we shall praise him with heart and soul, sing of his mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. When he takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have.

I write all this with the one desire that you and all my family may consider my departure a joy and favour and that you especially may speed with a mother’s blessing my passage across the waters till I reach the shore to which all hopes belong. I write the more willingly because I have no clearer way of expressing the love and respect I owe you as your son.

http://www.universalis.com/800/i-readings.htm

O God, the distributer of heavenly gifts, Who in the angelic youth Aloysius didst unite a wonderful innocence of life with an equally wonderful penance, grant, through his merits and prayers, that we, who have not followed him in innocence, may imitate him in penance. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Office of Readings for Friday 8 June 2007

Reading: Job 40:1 – 42:6

The Lord turned to Job, and he said:
Is Shaddai’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer?

Job replied to the Lord:
My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?
I had better lay my finger on my lips.
I have spoken once… I will not speak again;
more than once… I will add nothing.

The Lord gave Job his answer from the heart of the tempest. He said:
Brace yourself like a fighter,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
Do you really want to reverse my judgement,
and put me in the wrong to put yourself in the right?
Has your arm the strength of God’s,
can your voice thunder as loud?
If so, assume your dignity, your state,
robe yourself in majesty and splendour.
Let the spate of your anger flow free;
humiliate the haughty at a glance!
Cast one look at the proud and bring them low,
strike down the wicked where they stand.
Bury the lot of them in the ground,
shut them, silent-faced, in the dungeon.
I myself will be the first to acknowledge
that your own right hand can assure your triumph.

This was the answer Job gave to the Lord:
I know that you are all-powerful:
what you conceive, you can perform.
I am the man who obscured your designs
with my empty-headed words.
I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand,
on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.
Listen, I have more to say,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
I knew you then only by hearsay;
but now, having seen you with my own eyes,
I retract all I have said,
and in dust and ashes I repent.

A treatise of Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury
The Lord sees our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts

The Lord knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Without a doubt, every one of them is known to him, while we know only those which he lets us read by the grace of discernment. The spirit of man does not know all that is in man, nor all of the thoughts which he has, willingly or unwillingly. Man does not always perceive his thoughts as they really are. Having clouded vision, he does not discern them clearly with his mind’s eye.

Often under the guise of devotion a suggestion occurs to our mind – coming from our own thoughts or from another person or from the tempter – and in God’s eyes we do not deserve any reward for our virtue. For there are certain imitations of true virtues as also of vices which play tricks with the heart and bedazzle the mind’s vision. As a result, the appearance of goodness often seems to be in something which is evil, and equally the appearance of evil seems to be in something good. This is part of our wretchedness and ignorance, causing us anguish and anxiety.

It has been written: There are paths which seem to man to be right, but which in the end lead him to hell. To avoid this peril, Saint John gives us these words of advice: Test the spirits to see if they are from God. Now no one can test the spirits to see if they are from God unless God has given him discernment of spirits to enable him to investigate spiritual thoughts, inclinations and intentions with honest and true judgement. Discernment is the mother of all the virtues; everyone needs it either to guide the lives of others or to direct and reform his own life.

In the sphere of action, a right thought is one ruled by the will of God, and intentions are holy when directed single-mindedly toward him. In a word, we could see clearly through any action of ours, or into our entire lives, if we had a simple eye. A simple eye is an eye, and it is simple. This means that we see by right thinking what is to be done, and by our good intention we carry it out with simple honesty, because deceitful action is wrong. Right thinking does not permit mistakes; a good intention rules out pretence. This then is true discernment, a combination of right thinking and good intention.

Therefore, we must do all our actions in the light of discernment as if in God and in his presence.

Recruitment Camp 2007

Wednesday; day zero arrived. I did not look forward to it at all. It was also my last day at work. My manager was also leaving, but we did not know it till the day before. There was a very different atmosphere throughout the office today. In any case I attempted to finish the stack of letters on my table. It was not very fruitful.

At 1230 I rushed out of the office and made my way to the dreaded place, but not before having lunch with my father and banking in my paycheck. I knew that it was going to be long day.

Day zero was spent cleaning up the rooms, transporting the mattresses, and having last minute rehearsals. I was very afraid that things would go wrong in the next few days. With so much last minute preparation, I prayed, I prayed so much.

Day one continued with more last minute rehearsals. There wasn’t much of a mad rush. I even had the time to go to Adoration for half and hour. I wanted to go to Confession, but only managed to do so on Day two before Mass.

The first activity was registration. Christopher handled the booth. I conducted the opening activity after that. We were behind schedule by a bit, and had to cut off most of the Ice-breakers as a result. On the other hand, the games Luke and Mag used to entertain them while waiting satisfied the objective of ice-breaking. I was pleased with the result.

That was the beginning. Day one went past, day two went past, and finally day three arrived. I had little sleep on day one and even less on day two.

To sum up the camp, it went pretty all right, considering that there were many first timers in my team. There was a lot of intervention from the team of helpers, which could have been avoided if our preparation was better. I am indebted to them. Thank you dear helpers.

I must say my own handpicked team did not fare too badly. At least most of them attempted to help out one another. I was not too disappointed.

The kids had fun, and went back learning something new. But I felt unsettled and uneasy, like something had gone very, very wrong. It was unlike the other camps I’ve gone to. Usually I’ll leave satisfied, but not this time. I did not leave happy. Yes, very mixed feelings I know.

Is it me worrying too much; I do not know. Maybe I did not strive hard enough? But all this is too late. It will be my last camp in a very long time. As for all of you, please continue to work hard no matter who is your leader. Do not serve him nor her, but serve the Lord.

Afternotes:

1For the uninitiated, the terms Shi Xi, or Practical (实习); Shen Xiu, or Spiritual ( 神修);
And Kang Le, or Games (康乐) are used to categorized activities conducted during camps. These are mainly restricted to Mandarin-speaking Catholics.


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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us