Category Archives: Inspirations
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)
I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3)
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31)
For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27)
In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)
For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28)
I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44)
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.
(1 John 4:16)
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1)
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1)
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11)
For I am the perfect father. (Matthew 5:48)
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17)
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33)
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18)
And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40)
For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.
And I want to show you great and marvellous things. (Jeremiah 33.3)
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13)
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.
For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4)
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26)
He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrew 1:3)
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10)
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23)
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39)
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15)
My question is…Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13)
I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)
Love, Your Dad, Almighty God
A very good afternoon to our chairman, honourable judges, teachers and my fellow friends. Allow me to share with you this afternoon with my speech entitled ‘Turning my complaints into positive’.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I dislike getting up early in the morning to go to school. It is not that I hate school. I dislike having a drag myself out of bed when it is still dark outside and when my eyes refuse to open. If only school would not have to get up early, I would not have to wait my turn to use the bathroom. However the moment I hit the morning air on my way to school, my whole outlook changes. Ah, the cool air is refreshing. School is wonderful with all my friends and surroundings.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As I said before, school is wonderful. However its wonderfulness is often reduced by the hardworking teachers who load me with homework. So when I reach home in the afternoon I have to slog for hours before I get through all the homework. Who can blame me for not doing them well? As the saying goes “all works and no play make Jack a dull boy”, the teachers should consider that I have other more enjoyable things to do. Life should not revolve around homework only.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Come weekends, it is lovely to sleep late without worrying about getting to school on time. The joy of lying in bed listening to the activities of living things going about their business is particular pleasant. I just close my eyes and do nothing. Sooner or later my mother would make me get up. It is time for the weekly house-cleaning. I would have to wash the front porch and do other chores. I wonder why I repeat the same chores every week. How much difference will a little neglect make? Precious little, I suppose. Nevertheless, kids do not have power and we have to listen to the grown-ups. So, much as I dislike these weekly chores, I have to do them.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There are other distasteful things that I would share with you, but I want to make a choice to stop all my complaints at this moment. This is because I want to be happy and I believe that you and I are designed for happiness. Well then, can we be happy? Absolutely. We will be happy if we see happiness as a choice and a state in life. It is a choice because we choose our thoughts. The way we think and look at life determines the way we feel. When we remember something wonderful, we are happy. When we think of something terrible, we become sad. We have both, positive and negative experiences in our lives. What we look at gets bigger and bigger in our minds. It is a state and not a passing emotion. A happy person is more than just having happy feelings. It is unrealistic to say that we are a happy person only when we are on an emotional high. Happy people live happy ways such as there are lots of smiles, optimistic, willing to help, just to name a few. Normally, others are glad to be around them.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Life comes with unpleasant experiences for everyone but a happy person will always find a way back to happiness. We have all that we need today to be happy. We do not need to wait until we are the best. Happiness is truly an inside job. It depends on what you look at, what you believe in and your lifestyle. What will you choose? Thank you.
(taken from the book, 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus)
1. Deep Personal Love for Jesus Christ
Here it will be to ask for an intimate knowledge of our Lord, who has become human for me, that I may love him more and follow him more closely.
2. Contemplative in Action
I shall not fail to recall that grace which he had in all circumstances, while at work or in conversation, of feeling the presence of God and of fasting spiritual things, of being contemplative even in the midst of action; he used to interpret this as seeking God in all things.
3. An Apostolic Body in the church
Finally we decided in the affirmative; namely that… we should not break this divinely constituted oneness and fellowship, but rather strengthen and consolidate it ever more, forming ourselves into one body.
4. In Solidarity with those most in need
And what they should especially seek to accomplish for God’s greater glory is to preach, hear confessions, lecture, instruct children, give good example, visit the poor in the hospitals, exhort the neighbour according to the amount of talent which each is conscious of possessing, so as to move as many as possible to prayer and devotion.
5. Partnership with Others
For that same reason too, preference ought to be shown to the aid which is given to the great nations, such as the Indies, or to important cities, or to universities, which are generally attended by numerous persons who by being aided themselves can become labourers for the help of others.
6. Called to Learned Ministry
After the pilgrim realized that it was not God’s will that he remain in Jerusalem, he continually pondered within himself what he ought to do. At last he inclined more to study for some time so he would be able to help souls, and he decided to go to Barcelona.
7. Men Sent, Always Available for new Missions
If they were not given permission to remain in Jerusalem, they would return to Rome and present themselves to the vicar of Christ, so that he could make use of them wherever he thought it would be to the greater glory of God and the service of souls.
8. Ever Searching for the Magis
Those who wish to give greater proof of their love, and to distinguish themselves in whatever concerns the service of the Eternal King and the Lord of all, will not only offer themselves entirely for the work but make offerings of greater value and of more importance.
Our way of proceeding is a way of challenge. But this way of proceeding is the reason why every son of the Society will always act and react in a consistently Jesuit and Ignatian way, even in the most unforeseen circumstances.
May we ever love more faithfully this way of Christ modelled for us by Saint Ignatius. For this we pray in a prayer of Father Pedro Arrupe:
‘Lord, meditating on our way of proceeding,’ I have discovered that the ideal of our way of acting is your way of acting.
Give me that sensus Christi that I may feel with your feelings, with the sentiments of your heart, which basically are love for your Father and love for all men and women.
Teach me how to be compassionate to the suffering, to the poor, the blind, lame and the lepers.
Teach us your way so that it becomes our way today, so that we may come closer the great ideal of Saint Ignatius: to be companions of Jesus, collaborators in the work of redemption.
p.s: Today 27 Sept, Pope Francis will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus with vespers at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.
Originally posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Disclaimer: All my own opinions. Read at your own risk!
Discernment is like the start of “A Tale of Two Cities” -> ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.’ It’s the BEST cos the world seems so lovely.. God loved us first, so our hearts have the capacity to love others. But it’s the WORST cos you’re suddenly confronted with a whole new world of change, of seeing how far you will go for Your Beloved. Wisdom given by God shows me the Way, but the foolishness and pride from myself keeps me from the Way.
I don’t think i will ever stop discerning God’s Will in my life. Everyday, every single minute is filled with choices. Some are easier than others (99 year old, bed-bound 10 years, Alzheimer’s with pneumonia. Intubate? Erm, NO) and some are slightly more complicated (What should i have for dinner? Ramly oblong chicken burger or nasi goreng kerabu seafood?! I like both! How?!) The day i stop discerning, is the day my pride and arrogance has won…
But i digress. The discernment I’m referring to is discernment for state of life. Many many many learned scholars have written many many many books on Discernment. Unfortunately, i haven’t read many books on this. I figured, the only one who can discern God’s Will for my state of life is myself, with God’s grace of course. I’ve noticed that He’ll drop hints and tips on and off on which direction He wants me to go.
So here’s what I’ve garnered, in a nutshell:
1. There is NO such thing as coincidence, no matter how much people around you will try and convince you that it exists.
If you are discerning, then you know that everything happens for a reason and for God’s purpose (hikmah, as my friends would say). But if that is the premise, then there is no room for the existence of this animal called ‘coincidence’… We might perceive it as coincidence, but in God’s eyes, He’s got something more up His sleeve!
2. Pride is a deadly sin.
Which i am guilty of fairly often… Being young and feisty, thoughts of morbidity and mortality lie far way from my mind. I assume that my family, friends, colleagues, patients need me, and how could they possibly do without me?! It’s fine if I’m alive and well. But who’s to say i don’t walk out the door and get hit by some crazed mat rempit? If i die, that’s a good thing. If i don’t die and am left paralysed from the nose down, then who will be caring for WHOM now…? So note to self: I am not God. Presumably if my GPS (God Positioning System) tells me to turn right/left cos there’s an obstacle or ravine ahead, then i can either follow instructions or choose to ignore my GPS on AOR (at own risk) basis.
*This GPS is more reliable than my Garmin, which likes to take me on the longest and most expensive route possible to get to my destination…*
3. Take it one step at a time
As Sr Anne fsp (a very wise person) would say “God gives us JUST enough grace for the day”. Basically, God will give you X amount of grace/day. Therefore, by the time you reach Obstacle A, you’d have enough accumulated grace to overcome said obstacle. You can speculate what might be ahead, but don’t be overly stressed about it. It’s like the lamp analogy – Life is like walking on a dark path with a lamp (and that ‘GPS’ in your heart) to guide your steps. With the lamp, you can see just one or two steps ahead, but that’s about it. The oil that keeps your lamp burning is prayer, all the good deeds you do, all the virtues you accumulate, and most importantly, God’s grace.
4. Be careful about picking the logical choice
Let’s face it.. This whole vocation thing is just NOT logical. I mean, if you look with the eyes of human logic, none of this makes sense! God falling in love with me? Leaving everything behind to follow a Divine Spouse that no one can physically see? But if you feel with your heart, everything makes perfect sense…
So practical applications! Just need to answer two questions:
A) How much do i love God (and, this being a relationship, how much does He love me..) and am i willing to give up all that i’m comfortable with right now, for Him?
– This one, only you and God can answer it. Generally, your heart knows what it wants, but your brain just has to catch up.
B) Which congregation/order?
– I credit this answer to my dear friend, Dr Anita Gonzalez.. She says “Choose the one you feel most at home with.” I interpreted this as – Let’s say you decide on Order X. If you happen to meet a Sr Grumpy (or, more likely, a whole bunch of Sr Grumpys) would you still stay with Order X? Cos entering an order is essentially like marrying a 100 husbands (this quote, i credit to my mother, Dr Gertrude).
If you can tolerate all their funny habits (no pun intended), and still love them for whom they are despite being Sr Bad Mood and Sr Perpetua(lly) PMS, then this is your home… Don’t choose based on logic, i.e. I’m a doctor, i should apply for FMM/FMDM/LSP/medically-related orders. Follow what your heart tells you (does NOT apply if you’re marrying a normal guy btw. That one, follow your head.) and choose that one, no matter how illogical it may seem to you!
5. Do a Gedankenexperiment (Google it…)
– This one is credited to Sr Shirley Chong, fsp. Well, she didn’t say this exactly, but i expanded on what she did. She used to lie down on her bed and see if she could imagine herself as a nun.
– What i did was lie down and imagine:
Scenario 1 – What my plan is for my life, i.e. transfer to a Klinik Kesihatan, then resign, then be a GP + charitable works + travel and see the world from time to time. Perfect! But…. had this tiny niggling feeling of uneasiness. Couldn’t quite figure out why. It looks like a great plan, don’t you think? Future certain, all systems GO!
Secnario 2 – With great reluctance and much scepticism, i acknowledge that PERHAPS, just MAYBE, remotely possible that my path is to enter the religious life. Pathway ahead is seriously unknown. Chances of practising as a doctor is not in my hands. How does THAT feel? Again with much reluctance, i have to admit that i felt peace and a deep joy within my heart, although my brain said “Heart, are you crazy?!”
– So try it out! It just might work for you… It worked for Einstein!
His greatest trick is to make you think he doesn’t exist. Remember that other forces are at work here. Whenever something happens (good, bad, or neutral), just kind of step back and evaluate the situation. Look with your heart, then look with your brain. Both can contribute! Heart is attune to God. Brain is better at recognising the devil.
1.The crux of it all is that if your will is in line with the Holy Spirit within you, then you will feel at ease and at peace. The easiest way is to keep praying – “God, if this is not what You want for me, then please oh please take this desire away from me, cos it’s really stressing me out!” Things will happen.
2. I have heard that this lovey dovey feeling doesn’t last forever. One day, there will be a Dark Night of the Soul (dig out your St John of the Cross from the shelves). Hopefully, i’ll be ready for it and will mature, not regress.. So walk by faith, not by feeling. My heart will bring me closer to God, but my brain will sustain my vocation too.
3. If you’ve thought and pondered and discerned that this is the life for you, then STOP stressing on whether you’ve made the right decision! Done is done… Stop waffling!
Suggested Reading (if you only have time for one book)
-Story of a Soul by St Therese of Lisieux
Just my opinion, but i suspect your reaction to her writing will pretty much be a hint on which direction God is tugging your heart towards!
Please guide me and all the other confused folks. I only want to do Your Will, for i know when You are happy, i will be at peace too. Help me to persevere through this path You have chosen for me, and may i one day be the person You want me to be. I know if my vocation is love (as St Therese said so eloquently), then everything else will fall into place, for me and all those around me.
This entry is taken with permission. Thank you Melanie!
The highlighted part in my previous entry (as below) triggered me into something beyond my comprehension. Would you like to know what was that something? The term life-long learning brought me into another quite related phrase: Eternal life. It was like a sudden thought at that time and it triggered me to have a very strong desire for becoming a religious priest.
I suggested to her that pupils could self-study and read English story books independently during that time. She said that reading story books was not a good idea and raised her tone, saying that I have failed my Year 6 pupils up until this moment. She wanted me to focus more on UPSR format questions which I felt was not the best solution, since my pupils don’t have strong grammar and lack vocabulary. The ironic thing was that she agreed that my idea was indeed good for the pupils’ long term andlife-long learning. That’s what I believe! To prepare pupils for life-long learning, not just prepare for the UPSR.
Through the phrase, ‘Eternal life’, there are two specific verses that captivated me which can be found in the bible; John 3:16 and Matthew 19:16-22
In John 3:16 Jesus says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whomsoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Meanwhile in Matthew 19:16-22, it is about The Rich and the Kingdom of God (New International Version)
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honour your father and mother,’and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
What kind of treasure do you store up for yourself in this life and in view of eternal life? Life on this earth is not eternal. He who believes in Christ and is sorrowful for their sins is capable of having not only eternal life in Heaven, but also Christ in them, and they in Him while they are here on earth. The world in which I have grown up is a world so full of grades, scores, and statistics that, consciously or unconsciously, I always try to take my measure against all the others. Much sadness and gladness in my life flows directly from my comparing, and most, if not all, of this comparing is useless and a terrible waste of time and energy. Our God, who is both Father and Mother to us, does not compare. Never. I believe if we were to put Jesus first in my life, everything else will be in place. As long as we belong to this world, we will remain subject to its competitive ways and expect to be rewarded for all the good we do. (gain recognition) But when we belong to God, who loves us without conditions, we can live as does. The great conversion called for by Jesus is to move from belonging to the world to belonging to God. In silence, I would like to ask myself deeply two questions in the process of my discernment: ‘Would you say yes to My love invitation after your 5 years contract? What are the things that bothering me to say yes to Jesus?
p.s: It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly or crazy. I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred. (Inspired by The Return of the Prodigal Son written by Henri J.M. Nouwen)
Today is the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this entry to Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
Dear St Ignatius, ask God to help me pray with sincere faith this prayer you used to pray:
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, also my understanding and all my will. Everything I have and possess You have given me with love. All the gifts You have given me I gratefully return to You. Do with them, Lord, whatever You will. Give me only Your love and Your grace. This is enough for me, and nothing more will I ask. Amen.”
A treasure buried in a field, a pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of heaven (of God) as a great treasure or as a pearl of great price, we will not have to be told to renounce what we have to obtain it. The kingdom of God will be so attractive that we will joyfully give up everything just to get it.
This was the response of St. Ignatius of Loyola to God who attracted him and won him over as he was recuperating from a broken leg. He abandoned his earthly ambitions and single-mindedly sought God. He later said that should the Society of Jesus ( which he founded and was dearer to him than life itself) be disbanded, he would need only a few moments of prayer to regain his composure. That was because what mattered to him was the will or rule of God.
When God is your all-sufficient all, you will gladly let go of anything.
Saint Genesius serves as quite an interesting model for those involved in performance art of any kind. During a play in which he performed before the fourth-century Roman Emporor Diocletian, he acted out a mockery of the sacrament of baptism. During the course of the play, he underwent a conversion and desired actual baptism. Diocletian, known for killing Christians, was infuriated, and demanded that Saint Genesius be brought before him. After Genesius refused to deny his Christianity, he was beheaded for the faith.
The most famous legacy of Saint Genesius is perhaps his shrine in the theatre district of Manhattan, New York, at the Church of Saint Malachy, also known as the ‘Actor’s Chapel.’ Also, the Fraternity of Saint Genesius was founded in 2007 to assist actors in their pursuit of the Church’s call to the New Evangelization.
Saint Bernadine of Siena
The most lamentable thing about the life of Saint Bernadine is that it was lived in the fifteenth century, five hundred years prior to the digital age. He was a dynamic Italian preacher with the Friars Minor, who called for cultural reform, particularly in the areas of gossip and vanity. As we well know, gossip and vanity are connected. Our impulse to stain the images of others is often an attempt to make ourselves look superior. Who better to be the patron of advertisers?
Saint Bernadine was known for hosting ‘bonfires of the vanities,’ which allowed people to cast into the fire those things which served as obstacles to their relationships with God, a practice that still holds some modicum of appeal to those of us who feel conflicted by our relationship with the media. If the idealism so often common to advertising appeals to our vanity, then Saint Bernadine can serve as a powerful example and helper in the court of heaven.
Blessed Fra Angelico
Michelangelo is, at least officially speaking, not on the path to sainthood. Someone who is, however, is a Dominican who took the name of Fra Giovanna and who spent the early part of his life in fifteenth-century Italy illuminating manuscripts. His skill was quickly recognized, and he moved on to paint frescoes, altarpieces, and other magnificent works that remain with us today.
In recognition of the holiness and unique talent of the man who came to be known as Fra Angelico, Blessed Pope John Paul II gave him the honour of beatification in 1982, and the distinction of being the patron of artists in 1984. Fra Angelico serves as a model to all those who have artistic gifts in this digital age, to use them to the glory of God and not to the Glory of self.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel
It seems almost elementary that the archangel who announced messianic prophecies to Daniel and Zachariah and announced the conception of the Messiah himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary would be the patron saint of broadcasters of all kinds. Gabriel was charged with proclaiming the message of Christ to the people of God, and his patronage of broadcasters is a reminder to those of us who also have the ability to publicly proclaim things to make sure that what we are proclaiming is in line with the truth.
Muslims believe that Gabriel was the one who delivered the Qur’an directly to Muhammad, the book which serves as the words that inform Islam. We as Christians know, however, that Gabriel’s real role has always been to deliver the message that the Son of God, the Word or Logos of the Father, which is a person of the Trinity, is among us and must be taken notice of. We who are involved in the production or consumption of broadcast material can use the example of Saint Gabriel the Archangel to remind us of the distinction between mere words and the Word.
Saint Francis de Sales
When it comes to presenting Church teaching in the midst of cultural distortions, the life and ministry of Saint Francis de Sales is unparalleled. As bishop of Geneva in the years directly following the massive influence of the protestant reformer John Calvin, he certainly had his work cut out for him. This ‘gentleman saint,’ as he has often been referred to, took advantage of his platform not to deride or belittle his opponents, but to present the truth in a spirit of love and joyfulness. This popular quote is attributed to Saint Francis: ‘You can catch more flies with spoonful of honey than with a barrelful of vinegar.’
In 1877, Pope Pius IX declared Saint Francis a doctor of the Church due to his voluminous and insightful writings, and in 1923, Pope Pius XI designated him as the patron of communicators, most specifically those involved in Catholic media. Saint Francis de Sales reminds us that we are not only called to proclaim the truth; we are called to proclaim it in fullness of charity.
Saint John the Apostle
It’s no surprise that the beloved disciple, the son of Zebedee, should be associated with publishing careers of all kinds. After all, in addition to writing one of the four Gospels, Saint John gave us three epistles and the book of Revelation. Outside of Saint Paul, he is, traditionally speaking, the greatest contributor to the texts of the New Testament.
Perhaps most significant in the life of Saint John is his track record of fidelity to the truth. When all the apostles, even Peter, abandoned Jesus during his passion, John remained faithful to what he had heard. He stayed with his saviour at the foot of cross, even at the risk of his own life. May all responsible for transmitting information take heed to John’s example when it comes to keeping our communications faithful to the truth.
Saint Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore, the seventh-century bishop of Seville, was given the distinction of patron of the Internet due to the fact that he wrote dictionaries, encyclopedias, and histories, cataloging information in a comprehensive and accessible fashion. For those of us who look to digital media to satiate our endless appetite for information, Saint Isidore of Seville (who was proclaimed a doctor of the Church in 1722 by Pope Innocent XIII) can assist us and lead us to that which is true and edifying in the midst of so many false and destructive Internet resources. There are even prayers that have been composed to Saint Isidore that some people keep next to their computer and pray before logging onto the Internet.
Saint Maximillian Kolbe
When it comes to detailing the life of Saint Maximillian Kolbe, it is difficult to figure out where to begin. He is known as the man who gave his life in exchange for another man’s in a World War II concentration camp, but before that, his involvement in Catholic media was prototypical of so many who desire to spread the faith through new media.
Saint Maximillian’s father ran a religious bookstore, which no doubt was formative for the young saint. This promoter of the Miraculous Medal was also a promoter of various forms of social communication. He founded his own magazine, which at its peak, had a circulation of some seven hundred fifty thousand copies per month. He also began a Catholic newspaper, and was able to base a radio station out of his monastery as early as 1938. For intrepid new-media enthusiasts, Saint Maximillian Kolbe models the leap of faith so many of us are inspired to take in service of the Gospel.
The heroism of Saint Cecelia, particularly given the youthful age at which she was martyred, struck a chord with many in the early Christian Church. After vowing celibacy, she found herself forced into an arranged marriage by her parents. Her husband, upon realizing the purity of Cecelia, agreed to baptism and celibacy himself, and took to the corporal work of mercy of burying martyrs. When he was finally martyred himself, Cecilia undertook the task of providing for his own burial. This didn’t sit well with the governing authorities, and she was arrested.
Cecilia was offered the opportunity to renounce he Christian faith by sacrificing to pagan gods, like so many heroic martyrs, she refused. As it is related to us by written tradition, she sang a hymn to Jesus while facing her martyrdom, which has led her long-standing patronage of all those involved in musical professions.
Saint Paul the Apostle
From the very beginning, if Saint Peter was the authority Christ established to govern his Church, then Saint Paul was his press secretary. Everything about the converted Pharisee, who had once made his living persecuting Christians, was focused upon transmitting clearly the message of Christ crucified and risen. No one has more of a forum in the New Testament than Saint Paul; the bulk of our scriptural understanding of Christ and his Church comes from this saint who had once helped facilitate the persecution of Christians.
Saint Paul was the greatest missionary of the first century Church. The task of the missionary is similar to the task of the public relations expert; indeed, the two vocations are far from mutually exclusive. Instead of a false form of public relations which applies a veneer to an organization’s true dealings, we should look to Saint Paul as a model of boldness, truth, and transparency when It comes to communication who we are and what we believe.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
The ‘angelic doctor,’ Saint Thomas Aquinas received a disproportionate abundance of inspiration. How is it that the same man who penned the Summa Theologiae was also graced with the ability to write stunning hymn like the Pange Lingua? Thomas mapped out the possibility of a triune God starting from the drawing board of human reason, and was able to deduce the truth of Catholicism from it in a few thousand pages. Hardly an easy task.
Thomas is the patron of students as well- those tasked with educating themselves before engaging in a profession. All those who aspire to careers in digital media of any kind would do well to invoke his intercession on their path to whatever communications job they intend to seek. The reflection and clarity of Saint Thomas should seve as a model to all who desire to seek the truth and transmit it.
Saint Mary of Egypt
Prior to converting to Christianity, Saint Mary of Eqypt’s reasons for going to church weren’t exactly related to reception of the sacraments. A travelling dancer and a prostitute, Mary visited a church in Jerusalem one morning in hopes of recruiting customers on their way out of Mass. When she came to the doors of the church, she found herself unable to open them. This devastated Mary, as she suddenly realized that it was not a particular church building that had locked her out, but that she herself had shut the door to Christ’s mercy of her own accord.
In penance for her life of lustful indulgence, Saint Mary of Egypt lived the remaining fifty years of her life as a hermit. For those of us who suffer from sexual temptations of any kind, augmented by the digital age, Saint Mary serves as a model of radical virtue over and against the selfish demands of a sex-centred society.
Saint Clare of Assisi
This associate of Saint Francis of Assisi helped facilitate a women’s movement that ran parallel to that of the Friars Minor; an itinerant and evangelistic mendicant order that sought to remind people of the simplicity of the Gospel.
Her patronage of television is tied to an account from her later life. Elderly and bedridden Saint Clare was bodily unable to attend Mass, but we are told that she was able to see images of the Eucharistic sacrifice on the wall of her cell, projected as though on a screen. As an intercessor in heaven, she no doubt has great concern for the challenges and privileges of communicating through the medium of television.
p.s: Sharing & extracted from the book,‘Prayer In The Digital Age’, by Matt Swaim
The following article which I would like to share is written by Education columnist, Pauline S. on the Daily Express newspaper in the land below the wind. This column of her was published on 26th of Sept which happened on my birthday. Could it be God is telling me and to reaffirm me that teaching is the highest form of charity? I hope you enjoy reading this column and get some insights from it. Sit back and reflect:
One of the most moving and truthful words I have ever read were coined by Mother Teresa. She said: “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” How true. How very true. Let me tell you that being kind, honest, helpful and caring is not an easy thing to do. For me, at school, these very traits did make me the recipient of not only some envy-driven comments but also a fair share of advice I could do without.
In one instance, I remember I was with a group of Form Six students who had come to see me in the staffroom. They had wanted to clear up some doubts about a topic I had just taught them in class. Forming a cluster around me, they cast a shadow over the tiny space I occupied. You know how tall Form Six boys can be- they literally tower over you! Anyway, after I had finished my discussion and they had left, a teacher sitting two seats away commented, “I can’t help but notice how you give your help so willingly to these students. Aren’t you exhausted by all the trouble you take on their behalf? Why don’t you offer to give them tuition instead? Just imagine how much money you can make with your experience and talent.”
He didn’t mean anything bad by it. In fact, I knew him well enough to know that he didn’t even mind the fact that when these boys came to see me in the staff-room, they often encroached on his space too. I knew that he made extra money by giving tuition after school. I didn’t resent that at all. In fact, given that his wife too was a teacher too was a teacher in a primary school and that they had four children to bring up; his need to make extra money was not only understandable but commendable. How else, but through giving tuition, can a teacher make money to support his family? I told him pleasantly, “I wish I could be like you but please remember that I live on an oil palm estate far away from town. After school, my husband expects me to be at home and be there for my own family.” It was true. My husband was an oil palm plantation manager. In every estate he was posted to, the company he worked for housed us in colonial bungalows that were usually located off the beaten track. When I got home from school, I stayed home.
Driving out all the way back to town, what more to give tuition, was not a savoury option for me. I could have been driven by money but I wasn’t I simply felt that I could manage with what I made every month. Furthermore, I like having balance in my life and to achieve it, I had learned how to compartmentalise my life-school time for school-related stuff and home time for home-related stuff. When I was at home, I enjoyed spending time with my daughters and having time to write. As far as my social life was concerned, I had a wonderful time accompanying my husband to his engagements in the evenings. Be that as it may, it did not stop another teacher from saying sarcastically, “Why would she want to give tuition? She’s well-off. She doesn’t need the extra money!” The truth is this. There were times, especially in our early years of marriage, that my husband and I were actually strapped for cash. His mother was dependent on him for financial support and we had really little money to call our own. (If money accumulated in our bank account, it was due to our common prudence more than anything else.) But people only choose to see what they wish to see. In the face of all that was often said of me and to me, I stayed firm in my decision to remain true to myself.
My students, for instance, were more cognisant of my character and they knew that if they needed my help, they could depend on me to provide it, either during the time I taught them in class, during recess or during my free periods. I was brought up to believe in hard work. Spiritually speaking, I also believed that teaching well and with sincerity of purpose was part of doing God’s work in Earth. And, to teach well, you cannot pick the time and the place or the person you wish to help.
When I helped a student, I did so for three reasons: 1. Because I was approached for help, 2. Because I felt it was my professional duty to help and 3. Because I could. I was educated, able and knowledgeable. Therefore, I could help. So, help I did. “Teaching,” as St. Francis of Assisi put it once, “is the highest form of charity.” I was once informed that an envious colleague had passed this comment about me behind my back. She had said, “Oh, she is kind because she wants her students to like her. She makes her students come to her in the staffroom so we can all see and know how wonderful she is. Teachers like her are too good to be true. Surely, she has ulterior motives.”
Another was more direct and scathingly told me once, “They are not even your own race and yet, you help them so much! Have you any idea how kiasu these students are? Do you think they will remember what you did for them today? Tomorrow, they will have moved forward and forgotten your help. Do you think they will be grateful?” I used to wonder, “What do such people have against those who care?” Frankly, I could have chosen to be a tad more hard-hearted, less giving and even, unforgiving. But, I made a conscious choice not to do so.
I was approaching fifty when I came across the words written by Mother Teresa. Through them, I felt as if God had spoken to me. If you ask me now, I will honestly tell you that I have forgotten the names and faces of many of the students I taught, helped and guided. I doubt whether they have forgotten me but if they have, I won’t hold it against them. All I know is this. There was a time in their life and in mine that our paths crossed and we meant something to each other. And, when they needed a kind word, an encouraging pat, a clearer explanation or a smile from me, I did not fail them.
To me, as their teacher, that is all that matters. All else, and this includes negative comments, jealousy, selfishness and the misperceptions of others- all these hold no water.
Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.
– Lord Chesterfield
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher strates. The great teacher inspires.
-William Arthur Ward
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Study as if you were going to live forever; live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
Never forget that the purpose for which a man lives is the improvement of the man himself, so that he may go out of this world having, in his great sphere or his small one, done some little good for his fellow creatures and labored a little to diminish the sin and sorrow that are in the world.
– William E. Gladstone
Teachers must be encouraged – I almost said ‘freed’, to pursue an education that strives for depth of understanding.
– Howard Gardner
We must give more attention to the interplay between the science of teaching – pedagogy – and the art of teaching… A teacher must be anchored in pedagogy and blend imagination, creativity and inspiration into the teaching learning process to ignite a passion for learning in student.
– Peyton Williams
School improvement is most surely and thoroughly achieved when teachers engage in frequent, continuous and increasingly concrete talk about teaching practices… capable of distinguishing one practice and it’s virtue from another
– Judith Warren Little