Friday, July 22, 2011

On Faith and St. Mary Magdalene

Today, I honour one of the very first saints who I turned to for help when I was struggling with my faith. When I decided to take the next step and renew my commitment to our Lord, St. Mary Magdalene was there for me, even when I kept on stumbling and falling down. She helped me to get up time and time again, and continues to do so up to this very day.

I always thought that once I surrendered my life to God, that I would have some kind of force field that would shield me from the evil one and that everything would be smooth sailing from thereon. However, over the past several months, I realised that this was not the case - far from it actually. As I continue to learn and walk in faith, I cannot express how much of a consolation it is to have a 'heavenly family' of angels and saints who care for each and every one of us in the world and who pray for us each day.

St. Mary Magdalene has inspired me, consoled me, prayed for me, lifted me up, smiled at me, and served as my model. Her life is a testimony that sin can indeed be overcome through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the depth of her love for Jesus is something that we can all look up to, hoping and praying for the grace to one day have that same kind of love.

I have to admit that I never really believed in praying to saints before. I believed in the existence of angels and saints, but felt that with what little time we all have to pray, that it was just better to go straight to God. But hard as it is to understand, it is equally difficult to explain. My patron(ess) saints have helped me in so many ways, I do not know where my faith would be today without them - Perhaps I would have already been lost forever what with all the obstacles and spiritual harassments/warfare that were thrown at me when I first renewed.

St. Mary Magdalene has touched my heart so profoundly - I can't explain it, I just feel it. If not for anything else, she has instilled in me a desire to love Jesus in the same way that she did.

Thank you Lord for giving us your servant, St. Mary Magdalene.’

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seeking God's Will

After wrapping up my Masters degree here in Australia, I decided to take a well-deserved vacation. I was having the time of my life, tending to the needs of my family and availing of every possible opportunity to serve God. During this time, I was fortunate to have been instituted as an Acolyte and be appointed as a Cooperator for Opus Dei. Although I know now how stressful and tiring being a full-time father is, I have to say that I was contented.

For almost 6 months I endeavoured to be the best father and husband possible, placing myself at the disposal of my wife and 3 children. I was (and still am) able to hear mass almost everyday, and have ample time to spend in prayer. While on 'vacation',  I constantly prayed to God and tried my best to discern what He wanted of me. I did  something, which I never thought I would ever do - I offered my life to Him in service.

But as my discernment stage came to an end, it seemed like God was pointing me elsewhere. Hence, on the birthday of my eldest daughter (May 5), I started my job search.

Looking for a job can be one of the most humbling experiences anyone can ever go through. After submitting in excess of 100 applications to date, I have already received a countless number of rejection letters. However, I was fortunate enough to be given 3 face-to-face interviews and 3 phone interviews thus far. I have also been shortlisted twice into the top 3 candidates.

But regardless of whatever progress is made, it doesn't seem to make it any easier. I particularly felt a bit dejected yesterday, upon hearing that I missed the final cut for one of my applications.

I know that in my 'limited' vision, I can only see what is in front of me. And naturally, whatever I see is what I want.  I came so close, but I guess this was not yet the job for me.
Once again, God granted me consolation today at mass. He reminded me today that He has a plan for me, and to just trust in Him. I know that it is going to be hard, but I will just continue to remain faithful to our Lord. He knows what is best for me, and I will submit myself to His will.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ghosts of the Past

This day exactly 3 weeks ago, I was angry. Ghosts of the past came back to haunt me with a vengeance. Being more spiritually aware, I knew that this was the work of the evil one. But that did not stop me from feeling bitter, resentful, and even hatred. What happened in the next few days was totally unexpected. I turned to God and asked for the intercession of Mama Mary. But I just kept on falling further and deeper into an abyss. My entire spiritual foundation came crumbling down, and I was ready to abandon my faith.

During this time everything seemed surreal - I knew that what I was doing was simply allowing myself to succumb to the snares of the devil. But at the same time, the anger and hatred overcame me that I did not even seem to care. I felt abandoned by God because through it all - I was praying but nothing was happening. I felt that this was the time that some sort of miracle would happen and I would experience divine intervention that would wash away all of the negative feelings. But my heart and spirit were still angry.

I was ready to give up on our Lord, because I felt neither consolation nor comfort. I was feeling that perhaps during these times, we really are left to fend for ourselves. I went to confession seeking spiritual advice, but even that for the first time didn't seem to work.

Thankfully and by the Lord's grace and power, I was able to overcome what would have been a major stumbling block in my life and in the life of my family. Prayer kept me afloat. Someway, somehow I just refused to stop praying. Upon reflection, Jesus was indeed with me throughout the entire ordeal. Clearly He was there, but just not in the big miraculous "Angels coming down from heaven" sort of way that I wanted/ expected.

God is so merciful and He intervened in small and concrete ways that kept me on the right path. I have to admit that I am still a bit confused as to why He allowed this to happen. I feel as if I have been in a war and came out battle scarred. But I guess the important thing is that I survived. He honored my prayer to never let me go astray, ever again. And all I can do is to continue to walk in faith, learning to trust and to love God above all else, and fighting the good fight!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 March 2011 Prayer

Lord God, in all humility, I claim your promise that YOU will allow me to enter in and take possession of the land that YOU are giving to me. Only YOU can allow this to happen.

I dedicate my entire life to YOU - and I ask that YOU may never let me go. Grant me the grace to obey all of your commandments. May I be pleasing to YOU and remain so for the rest of my life.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Not even 24 hours after I wrote about "The Wall", God has shattered it for me. I cannot believe how fast He took away what felt like such a heavy load. One simple explanation from God, as I heard His voice when I attended the anticipated Saturday mass last week: "Satan is confounding you, because you will be my Minister." With those words, I immediately understood everything, and my entire yolk was lifted. I cannot express the happiness, exhilaration, and love that I feel for God right now. I feel as if I am going to burst!
Every single day since then, I can literally feel my heart beating for God. My prayer life is at a whole new level. I can't stop talking to God. I cannot stop thanking Him for every single thing that He has given to me. Thank you my Lord. I love you so much.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Wall

Marathon runners talk about "The Wall". I haven't experienced it as I have yet to run my first marathon. But they say it feels like an anchor weighing you down. This is the closest description I can think of in expressing how my prayer life feels right now. I have tried different things, different methods, different times, different places. Nothing seems to be working.

The thing is, I know what the problem is. And hard as it may be to admit, it has to do with my inability to give up everything for Him. Why is it that it is easy to say that God is the most important thing that matters, yet many other things still do matter?

Runners get through "The Wall" eventually either through their training or their own strength of will. But my spiritual wall can only be overcome by God's grace and mercy. I cannot do this on my own.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Gift of Life

Growing up with just one brother, I was always envious of my cousins who had big families. 4, 5, 6 children - It was something that I would never have in my own family. Years later, I asked my parents why they only had 2 children. They told me that they were controlling after my brother was born. But even when they weren't, another child just never came.

When I met my girlfriend (the person I was destined to marry), even she had 5 other siblings! Because of these circumstances, I wanted to have a big family! 6 children at the very least! Unfortunately, my wife only wanted 2 kids. What an impasse! But after much discussion with my wife, we eventually agreed on having 4. 

Our third child was born almost 7 years ago and I have to say that my wife was very good at 'delaying' the conception of our 4th child. It came to the point that it started to cause some conflict between the two of us. But after arriving in Australia 2 years ago, I slowly began to realise that perhaps it would in fact be more practical to keep things the way they were. It seemed like my wife was right after all.  God has blessed me with three wonderful, loving, and healthy children. How could I complain? Perhaps God changed my mind on the matter on the number of children I desired, much to the delight of my wife. This issue, which was at one time a very sensitive one, was now finally closed.

But apparently, God had a different plan for us. Out of His mercy and love for us, He has seen it fit to entrust us with a 4th child. How great is our God! I thank Him and praise Him for the great gift of life. But what makes this blessing even sweeter is the realisation that as I surrender my life to God, He is now taking control of it.