Thursday, 19 June 2014

5 Things I've Learnt from Couples - & How it Matters to Cloisters too

As a discerner to religious life, I once thought long ago that marriage was an exclusively separate vocation apart from religious life, & for this reason I had never bothered to read up section on the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catechism. After all, "why would I read a map that would lead me off to another pathway?!" as for example, if I were to head to Rome for a vacation, why would I pull out a directory for Berlin?

But with the recent wave of wedding celebrations around the circle of personal friends (alongside with a year of expertise in observing couples), I was set to reframe my perspective - & eventually my formed presumptions were proved wrong:

1) Love: A Tale of Time



It takes time for love to be sown & grown. It takes time for one to know another in order to be a couple, before one decides to propose & ultimately before one sets off the wedding bells. Patience is key here, likewise & thus, for all those aspiring into the cloisters & priesthood there lies long road of discernment & formation for them to undertake .. each love story of every bride of Christ begins with intimate prayer, a heart-to-heart conversation with God.

Note that while one may not exactly have a call to the religious life,  this applies to all our relationships with Christ.

2) Bride & Groom






Just as a woman becomes the bride to a man who will be her beloved groom, so are nuns who are brides to a Divine Bridegroom - (& on a guy's side) - priests & brothers who are spouses to the beloved divine Bride of Our Lord - the Church, by whom they are sanctified.

3) An Absolute Sacrifice
























On a vocational viewpoint, when it comes to the word 'sacrifice', it often pertains to priests & nuns who give off their entire lives to the Church, but that actually doesn't just apply to the ones behind the cloisters or wear under the hood. In the vows of Matrimony, husbands are to be wholly dedicated to their wives and vice verse just as from the example of Christ loving the Church. St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians affirms this oblation of spouses:



"Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands." 
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband."



~ Ephesians 5: 21-26, 28-33



4) The Kids




The angelic St. Therese once said, "to be Your spouse, O Jesus, is to be a mother to souls" with their celibate lives nuns, priests & brothers obviously do not have kids to parent but they all play a crucial role as shepherds & shepherdesses to souls  who under their charge & hence forth contribute to salvation of others towards leading them to Christ accordingly to the different charisms of their Orders. 

5) Love Perpetual 




















Through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony & on the side of religious life, the full profession of vows - one enters into the eternal covenant of love - a love that lasts day after day, a sweet romance that endures "till "death do they part.


At the end of the day, the vocation of marriage & the cloisters do share lot in common inside than they look to be on the outside. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Clicks-for-Causes: Top 3 Websites for Lent

Ever wondering how you could contribute more for this Lent? Want to extend a further helping hand to society but can't physically reach out? You can do so in the comfort of your own home by dedicating your online clicks - yes, the clicks that you use to browse away on every website - to charity through 3 top websites that truly make a difference.

Here are the recommendations:







GreaterGood.com  hosts a family of 10 click-to-donate sites, such as The Hunger Site, Autism Site, Animal Site & including the newly-established The Alzheimer's Site.




Care2.com is a community-powered website that has a cocktail of everything from petitions to intriguing articles carrying handy tips on food & advice for a healthier life. Sign up as a member & you can earn Butterfly Credits which can be redeemed for real gifts that will leave a lasting impact to the world.



freerice.com can be said as a remarkable time-killer, or as a serious study aid. Either way, play away while you take part in the combat against world hunger. For every question you score, World Food Programme (WFP) donates 10 grains of rice to needy countries.

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What's more, you can even set a personal goal to aim as you journey throughout this sacred season of Lent.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

"Father, Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do": On Forgiveness



We are now into the sacred season of Lent. The season of sacrifice, penance & prayer, repentance, renewal, & conversion of hearts. It is a time when we reflect upon our sins & turn back to God, mend broken relations with our loved ones & do a spring-cleaning of our lives.

- & in the midst of this spring-cleaning, I recalled an incident which took place a month back. In the process of sweeping up one issue a dear friend had against another friend, the latter spoke words which painfully cut  through a depth of emotions, denouncing a friendship which seemed never to have existed.

I am typically a person who holds no absolute grudges against anyone, but this was a real test. This friend was a long-time companion whom I had great trust in, but at the same time my trust eventually led to my downfall as well, and subsequently resulted in a frantic pursuit for pardon ... now, it was hardly believable that the one who granted pardon to this sinner had left a trail of betrayal.

.. but is 'betrayal' even the word to use? I couldn't fit any label to such event .. in the mind's eyes I saw it as moment of perfidy, but also serving as a painful lesson to my long-time old sin of mentally placing people upon pedestals. It was indeed a depressing blow - and somewhat, in a notorious perspective - felt like a stab in the back.

.. but more was to come. Earlier memories of rejection soon surfaced, old wounds painfully reopened .. weeks passed, & it was no sooner I found myself plagued in a wild sea of running thoughts that drove me into a corner.

"good Jesus, when will there ever be an end to this hatred?!" I locked myself up in my room & resolved to reading Scripture. I then chanced upon a scene from the Passion. Hung on cross was a desolate Jesus, who was viciously nailed after a excruciating journey toward Calvary. His open wounds bled on, His agonized body sagged, & pain was increased a thousandfold, adding on to the damage done by scourging & falls along the way of Sorrows. yet in midst of this unbearable torment, Christ still dared to say from the cross, "Father, forgive them .. for they know not what they have done ..." (Luke 23:34)

As I chewed my way into God's word over while meticulously repeating each line, I then realized that I gradually became able to forgive. God's grace worked upon my soul, and ultimately I was able to cry out, "Father, forgive them!" a great wave of peace then entered my heart.

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do ..."

Friday, 31 January 2014

A Galloping New Year!


Faithwalks wishes all a blessed & vibrant Year of the Horse ahead! :)

"May the Lord bless you and take care of you.
May the Lord be kind and gracious to you.
May the Lord look on you with favor 
and give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26

新年快乐!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Happy Holidays



"I am profoundly humbled by the extreme poverty of Your birth. l cannot understand how the author of the law of and the source of light and life be deprived of even the bare comfort of a modest inn at the beginning of His earthly existence.

What is the central message of your birth, which we celebrate every year? Why a forsaken cave for a birthplace? Why should the social outcast be the first to w
elcome you?What sort of nursery could there be with animals around?

Are you not saying, Lord, that the only way to really know you is to be poor in spirit, to be simple in life, and to be humble in disposition? If you are without any trace of selfishness at all, how can we be proud?

In keeping with the stature of your divinity, you could have been born in a palace with all available nursing facilities and all the comforts and amenities royalty is entitled to. Your birth could have been announced with pomp and pageantry- That would have been universally expected. But that was not the reason you came For. Your mission was to find as many hearts to dwell in.

That mission continues. In spite of my failures, Lord, You touched me with Your grace to open my heart to You.

Let me cherish the the meaning of your humble birth in my heart. And empower me to share the joy of this discovery with those who want to know you more." 


~ Extracted from "From a Grateful Heart" © Pauline Books & Media 2013


Faithwalks would like to wish all readers a blessed Christmas and a grace-filled New Year!