a time to reflect

I’ve recently been reflecting on my spiritual progress this Lenten season and I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost my way in the busyness of life. Thankfully, I’ve been employed to work at Catholic schools so throughout this week I was able to witness Holy Week presentations performed by students from Kindergarten to Year 6. As amateur as they were, they were also very heartwarming and always brought a tear (or ten) to my eyes. It was a little hard to keep myself composed because they only went for 10-15 minutes and I had to go straight back to ‘strict relief teacher mode’ as soon as it finished.

But anyway, there was one key message that resonated throughout all the presentations –

love.

In your almsgiving, have you loved? Have you given without reservations? Have you given without keeping some for your own desires? Have you given only because you were aware that others were watching?
In your prayer, have you loved? Have you only prayed for yourself and not others? Have you prayed for what you want and not what I want for you? Have you given thanks in your prayer?
In your fasting, have you loved? Have you abandoned a loved one for the sake of your fast? Have you fasted only for your own benefit? Have you fasted but have also moaned and complained?
For almsgiving, prayer and fasting is all good and well, but if it is done without love then it is done without Me.

romans-5-8
True Love

 

His, – M.

 

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a time for a Good Friday

I’ve been a Catholic my whole life. I was born and raised with the faith and values of a Catholic for as long as I can remember. I consider myself pretty lucky for that. And still, I learn something new about this faith almost every day. A new lesson, a new theological teaching, a new reality, a new revelation. This faith is definitely a learning experience.

But there are a few concrete, unshakeable things I’ve always known and believed. Like the one true Immaculate Conception of our one and only Lord Jesus Christ through our Blessed Virgin Mary. And 33 years later, He epitomises the one true and ultimate definition of love through His sacrifice. Finally, through His resurrection into Heaven, where He joins with our One True God, our lives are renewed, giving us eternal hope. This is all true, right?

But two nights ago, at the Easter Vigil Mass, I was more or less proven wrong. During the priest’s homily, he reminded us that “in every Good Friday in our lives, there will always be an Easter.” At first I thought, how can this be when there is only one Good Friday? But I realised he was talking about all those times in our lives when we’ve been betrayed, let down, left alone, felt helpless, blamed for something we didn’t do, lost someone, betrayed our loved ones, sinned, let others down and so on. He was talking about all those times we’ve experienced how Jesus felt when Judas betrayed Him, when Peter denied Him 3 times, when He fell while carrying the cross, and during His last moments of humanity, when He cries out to His father, “Why have you forsaken me?”. He was talking about the shame Judas and Peter felt, the sorrow Mama Mary felt, and the emptiness the apostles must have felt when their leader had died.

But, despite all this, what came/comes after Good Friday is a beautiful renewal of hope in our lives – Easter. This is one of the reasons why we celebrate Easter every year. To remind us that, through our faith in our one true God, death could not hold Him, nor could it hold us.

“But God raised him up, releasing him from the thrones of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says of him: ‘I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’.” Acts 2:24-28

In this time of feast and celebration, please join me in praying for those who have not been fortunate enough to celebrate with us –  the poor, sick, lost, forgotten and those who have passed. Especially, beloved father and grandfather, Xavier Pereira who has left us in this world and joined our Father in His Eternal Kingdom. May His soul rest in eternal peace.

A blessed Easter to you all! x M.