Archive for the 'We aspire..' Category

9th Saturday in Ordinary Time

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From the Office of Readings

Psalm 131 (132)
The divine promise to the house of David

With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully, O my God.

O Lord, remember David

and all the many hardships he endured,
the oath he swore to the Lord
his vow to the Strong One of Jacob.

“I will not enter the house where I live
nor go to the bed where I rest.
I will give no sleep to my eyes,
to my eyelids I will give no slumber,
till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Strong One of Jacob.”

At Ephrata we heard of the ark;
we found it in the plains of Yearim.
“Let us go to the place of his dwelling;
let us go to kneel at his footstool.”

Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest,
you and the ark of your strength.
Your priests shall be clothed with holiness;
your faithful shall ring out their joy.
For the sake of David your servant
do not reject your anointed.

With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully, O my God.

and you forgave the guilt of my sin

Psalm 31 (32)

Antiphon: Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame.

Blessed is he whose sins are forgiven,
whose transgressions are hidden away.
Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silent,
my bones grew old
as I groaned all day long.
While your hand lay heavy on me,
by day and by night,
my strength was dried up as if by summer heat.
I made my sin known to you,
and I did not hide my faults.
I said “I will bear witness against myself before the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
This is why every saint will pray to you in due time,
and even in the great flood he will not be touched.
You are my refuge, you will preserve me from trouble,
you will surround me with cries of deliverance.
I will give you understanding and teach you the path you are to follow;
I will keep watch over you.
Do not be like the horse and the mule,
without understanding:
if you approach them with bit or bridle,
they will not come near.
Many are the sufferings of the wicked,
but the Lord’s mercy will protect those who trust in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you just.
Shout for joy, you upright of heart.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Antiphon: Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame.

and carry you where you do not wish to go

Friday of Seventh Week of Easter

John 21: 15 – 19
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
16 A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.”
19 (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Artist in the ambulance

Tomorrow will be the first time I step into a SCDF ambulance. This week we are posted out to various fire stations and hospital Accident and Emergency departments. On Tuesday and Wednesday I will be at Sengkang Fire Station. Thursday will be my off day. I will report to Changi General Hospital on Friday to Sunday.

I’m really not sure of what to expect. There is this feeling of excitement, yet a certain dread. Today our course commander remarked, ‘Gentlemen, in this line, we always say “No business is good business.” I somewhat think he is right. But I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience.

Damn, I hope that my skills don’t fail me when the time comes.

I’ve had Saturday duty for the past two weeks. It is very draining. I spent most of Sunday asleep at home. On 26 April I attended Solemn Vespers and Benediction at SJI International’s chapel. It is a very nice place. Modern in design, yet faithful to rubric. Vespers was according to the extraordinary rite. The priests presiding were Fr Anthony Ho and Fr Augustine Tay. Wonderful, we should have this more often! Unfortunately, there are many people who rather see all this done away.

I have been missing Legion meetings for a long time, due to circumstances beyond my control. One week I was ill; another I had to attend a wedding; and for two weeks I have weekend duty. I will miss this week’s one because of the attachment. I feel bad for letting Joycelyn do all the work. Hang in there, girl!

I hate how these little things add to my confusion over my future plans. And how do we plan for tomorrow if we are not sure what comes? This is one thing that has always vexed me: uncertainty. It’s all very easy to say, ‘Let us have faith.’, but it’s harder than one can think. I have been vexed over many things in the past weeks. For instance, recently I’ve had friends in distress, yet my consoling and advice didn’t seem to help much. The only thing I could do is pray. I was also frustrated with my attachment to certain ideas, which I am trying to get rid off. Then my old habits all come into play as well. I am increasingly afraid that my aspiration is nothing but fantasy. Maybe I’m thinking too much. I don’t know. I often drift from a state of not thinking to thinking too much.

Angels preserve us!

SISPEC Week 8 and 9

Exercise Wanderer and Grandslam ended without any major problems. I didn’t even get any extras. Thank God it did not rain, or it would have been worse for everyone. There were a few close shaves though. I almost lost some important items, in the dark. Fortunately I managed to locate them in less than five minutes. If not for my section’s support I would be in real trouble. Thanks guys.

(I have to thank St Anthony and St Jude as well.)

We had three nights’ off this week. I didn’t leave the camp during any of them. I even offered to do CDT duty for my friend who booked out for nights off. I’m not sure; maybe I have lost interest in having fun. The COS asked me why I didn’t want to book out. I replied that I was not interested.

It doesn’t feel like Lent. I haven’t done much to change my ways. I haven’t fasted or abstained either. Maybe I had a bad start, using the Chinese New Year as an excuse. I never bothered with Friday abstinence ever since I entered the Army. But this is not the way. Since I have some free time now, I started praying the Office and the Rosary again last week. Lent is still here for two weeks. Surely I can do something.

On Saturday my section was having some perverse conversations, and I inevitably got dragged in. I took the opportunity to explain why pornography is sinful. Expectedly, I was laughed at by everyone. They said that I was abnormal, gay and mad. Terrible! I was not angry; rather I was sad. I had pity for all of them.

It looks like the conversion of the world will be an uphill task. But it is a mission that must be performed. I’m sure we can do it one soul at a time. Now, who wants to join in?

I’m still not able to clear my IPPT, and I only have a week left. Sigh. A part of me doesn’t want to fail the course; the other really does not care anymore. I’ve resumed reading My Daily Bread again. What I like about this book is that it always stresses that we should only be concerned with doing God’s will, and no other. God will still love me the same, even if I am a failure from SISPEC. Or have I displeased Him by not trying hard enough in my military training? If I fail now, will I fail again when I move to greater things?

Whatever the outcome, fiat voluntas tua!

Anno MMVIII: 2007 After Action Review

Oh yes, it has been an interesting year. Here are some of the events.

July – Graduation

September – Enlistment into National Service

I managed to achieve some of my personal goals this year, but failed at some.

Goals 2007

  1. Ensure survival of Legion – success! but with mixed results..
  2. Continued Discernment – success!
  3. Survive in NS – success!
  4. Get rid of repeating sins – failed!

1. Ensure survival of Legion

It is fortunate that we managed to get more members in 2007. Better yet, they are at a good age, around 13 to 14. I hope the trend will continue this year. The bonds between the members are also quite strong, especially during the camp.

The thing is, I don’t want people to come for the wrong reasons. The Legion is not a social club, it is a ministry. To reinforce this, we must start enforcing discipline and order from now on. We have to act on it ourselves as well in order to set the standard.

The two main things I have planned this year is to revive the praesidium at Nativity. The adult praesidium and the parish priest are quite supportive. I hope we do not disappoint. Alas, my schedule is making it very difficult to fit in with the other members, but with God’s help I am sure we can come up with a plan. The second thing is the proposed young adults praesidium. It will be under the jurisdiction of the senior curia. Our aim is to retain the matured youths in the senior Legion in order to fulfill the purpose of the youth Legion, that is, to groom members for the work of the senior Legion.

2. Continued Discernment

I have continued my discernment under the guidance of Fr Gerard. That settles one of my goals, which was to find a Spiritual Director. I should resolve to see him more often.

I haven’t visited the local diocesan seminary in a long time. I think the last time was Good Friday? I can’t really remember. Neither did I attend any of their recollections or retreats this year.

I have reflected on other vocations other than the priesthood. I have great esteem for Marriage. My own parents are proof that it is such a great thing, that demands untiring sacrifice. Still, I am not interested in pursuing relationships. People tell me that I ought to date in order to discern better, but then I feel that it is futile. I’ve gone on dates, but I come back feeling empty. I don’t know, it seems like a day within His courts is better than days elsewhere.

My experiences at work and in the army has also convinced me the importance of the lay apostle. With so many opportunities to reach out, the laity have really no excuse. There are so many people in need of Christ, of some hope in their lives. Who will pick up a man who has fallen into the gutter by accident? It is the passer-by, the average joe, the man in the street. I will continue my work with the Legion to further understand the lay vocation better.

There are so many questions to consider. Should I apply for the seminary after I finish my army? Should I finish my studies first? And should I work after that? What do I work as? When do I stop? Maybe I should just forgo my studies and go apply for a job.

So many questions, but in God’s time there will be clear answers.

3. Survive in NS

Thank God I did not get maimed or crippled, yet. I didn’t get into much serious trouble, despite some close calls. I hope it stays that way, because I have already served one extra on a Sunday. No more! No more!

The Army has made me physically fitter than I was in school. Still, I miss the standard often. I struggle with my Standing Broad Jump. I cannot clear the Standard Obstacle Course. It makes me wonder if I’m cut out for soldiering. Should I push myself more or take it easy? There are so many ways to justify either course of action.

But I remember praying the night before I enlisted, that I hope to be a good soldier to defend the ruling party people of this country.
4. Get rid of repeating sins

Where my physical health is pretty all right, my spiritual health is failing. Every week it’s the same sins being confessed all over again. I have not tried hard enough.

But I have a whole year to keep working at it. I shall!

Office of Readings for Tuesday 28 August 2007

Today is the Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo.

Reading from The Confessions of Saint Augustine

O Eternal Truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.


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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