The Season of Creation is celebrated annually from 1 Sep – 4 Oct. Pope Francis invites us to join in the Season of Creation with Christians from all over the world to repair and restore our relationships with creation and each other.
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With gratitude and in remembrance of my mum on this Mother’s Day, the one thing that I treasure most is the complete freedom she gave me to live my life! This is the highest form of love that my mum has given me. Thanks be to God.
When I came across this verse, I was prompted to explore St. Faustina’s Prayer for Adoration in order to know more of what I should do when I look at the Blessed Sacrament during the Adoration It is timely to be reminded to learn, to unlearn and to relearn. – MC
Today, 22 April 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
As I celebrate this day, I recall the day I met Lyon last year who later introduced me to his boss from Gardens with Purpose (GWP), Joanne Ng, the top Organic Gardening Trainer and Organic Lifestyle Consultant in Singapore.
With no knowledge of organic gardening, I enrolled for the 2.5 hrs Workshop on Homegrown Organic Vegetables conducted by GWP in Clare’s Enrichment Corner, Yishun. After some months of growing my own organic vegetables like Chye Sim, Chinese cabbage, Lettuce, Kow Pek Chye, etc I decided to embark on growing more organic vegetables for self sufficiency, healthier lifestyle as well as to go more green to care for our common home, our earth. This prompted me to enrol for their full day Workshop which is Skills Future Credit claimable at a later date.
Lyon and Joanne were wonderfully helpful in so many ways. They helped to set up a vegetable wall outside my 3-room HDB flat as well as outside Clare’s Enrichment Corner, Yishun. They constantly gave me advice as I experimented with other variety of vegetables like Malabar Spinach, Kailan, Brazilian Spinach, Lady Fingers, KangKong, etc. I am now growing Long Beans, Tomatoes and hope to see the fruits of my labour. I am grateful to them. Now I get to eat my own homegrown organic vegetables most of the time.
I hope that more people will start growing their own organic vegetables. Living in flats should not deter us from growing our own homegrown organic vegetables. We see the vulnerability of Singapore through this Covid-19. We must try to lessen our dependence on imports at least for our own basic consumption. If everyone grows his/her own vegetables, the impact will greatly reduce our excessive dependence on overseas growers. My house plants are living proofs that we can grow our own vegetables if we choose to.
One of the best way to achieve our government’s target of 30/30 is for every household to grow his/her own vegetables at home. Even a small portion multiplied by the many households who choose to grow will add up to a great number. This is how we can help ourselves and our country. Also, we can get to experience the joy of growing our own vegetables!
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps 118
and be glad? Because Jesus the Son of
God, has overcome death and is risen. He
has shown me that in our lives, we will suffer, we will die. But suffering and dying is a means to an end
– a transformed life, a new life in Christ.
When I exclaim
Alleluia, I am saying Alleluia, Praise the Lord to my life, to where I am
heading, to what I believe in, to what I hope for. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know….He holds the future and life is worth the living just
because He lives.” As I hummed this
song, praising and thanking God, Alleluia, even in this moment of sorrow and
hardship that Brother COVID-19 is causing; physical suffering and economic
difficulties, and not knowing when it will end, I tell myself that I must
remain rooted in my faith, hold on to our Lord Jesus Christ and truly believe
in joyful hope of the Resurrection and live the Easter blessing in my
on, remembering that my life has incorporated a pattern of suffering, dying and
rising. This is not the first time that
I suffer, die to myself and rise up by the grace of God. Today, I seek, “What newness is the Lord’s will for me in
look for the things that are in heaven…Let your thoughts be on heavenly
things, not on the things of the earth….” Col 3.1-2
O Lord, open
my heart to see what, where and how I am to reorient my life? Oh, put into
practice what you learnt. Palm
Sunday? Tears for peace. Maundy Thursday? An example of loving service. Good Friday?
“Forgive them.” Holy
Saturday? Courageous wait in
silence. Easter Sunday? New life to the full.
Let me show
you how to live the Beatitudes beyond the mind.
This is what the Kingdom of God is about?
God, love yourself, love your neighbour, love creation. Live a life of simplicity, a life of prayer
and a life of penance. Be instruments of
justice, messengers of peace and reconciliation, bearers of hope and joy and
light. Journey with others to live in
freedom and be transformed by the one rule of love.
“Do not be
afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see
me there.” Mt. 28.10. Galilee was where
Jesus spent much of his time on people, walking long distances to teach,
proclaim the good news of the kingdom and heal people. Jesus was very attentive to the needs of
others? Mt. 4.23-25.
died due to Brother COVID-19. Many are
suffering? So, where are you, God? Where is the Risen Lord in today’s world?
Ah, now I
see. The Risen Lord in the selfless
saving acts of humanity, especially those in the frontline personnels fighting
to save the lives of people and scientists rushing to find a vaccine. The powerful love of God in the hearts of men
and women everywhere. People are
becoming more attentive to the needs, fears and anxieties of others. People are praying in solidarity with one
another and caring for one another through various forms of assistance. Eg. Someone in Vietnam is offering free rice
to the needy, a landlord in USA waiving his tenant’s rental for April, a
company in Singapore offering free reusable cloth handmade mask to every
resident and hand sanitizer to every household.
countries are implementing lockdown measures, issuing stay-home notice or
quarantine now. People are living with
the disruptions in their lives, taking up the pain and suffering in their
stride, coping with the new normal of having Brother COVID19, adjusting to new
ways of living and doing things, etc. I
view these as living examples of Easter hope in the midst of the darkness
around. This, to me, is the meaning of
living the Risen Lord in their lives.
Just as He
is present in the living, I realise He is also a victim of Brother
COVID-19. I am speechless. “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s
love? Does it mean he no longer loves us
if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or
in danger, or threatened with death? (As
the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being
slaughtered like sheep.) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is
ours through Christ, who loved us. And I
am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor
demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even
the powers of hell can separate us from the love of God that is revealed in
Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8.35-39 Thank you, Lord!
never leave us. In His will is our
peace. Go, I must! To tell others of the good news that Jesus
Christ is risen from the dead! And
because of this, eternal life is ours for sure!
Praise the Lord.
So, I pray. Abba Father, I praise you, I thank you and I glorify you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday for the first time. Also, thanks to the Circuit Breaker measures to stay home to curb the spread of Brother COVID 19 that I can put my reflections in writing. Thank you Lord, for loving us so deeply, living in us and through us. Help us to go forth to share the good news of our Lord Jesus with others. And may we live in the Easter blessing always and be a beacon of hope, joy and light to those around us. We ask through Christ, our Lord. Amen
“Bless what there is, for being.” Whatever it be, bless it because it exists; you need no other reason.” – Br. David Steindl-Rast
“I will tell you yet again that you must never curse your children, your animals, your work, or the weather because in cursing all these things, you are cursing what Almighty God does by His holy will.” – St. John Vianney
Sharing my My reflection:
In the context of COVID-19, since we are to bless it and cannot curse it, I am called to humble before God, the Creator of the universe who is all good, supreme good and practice hope to “Trust in the future and our power to endure and persist, to live fully into the goodness that awaits.” – Alexander Levering Kern.
Upon further reflection on this day, Good Friday, 10/4/2020 I recall the experience of St. Francis’ which he wrote in his Testament 1, “The Lord granted me, Brother Francis, to begin to do penance in this way: While I was in sin, it seemed very bitter to me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I had mercy upon them. And when I left them that which seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of soul and body; and afterward I lingered a little and left the world.”
What was the sweetness that Francis was talking about, I wonder?
St. Francis acknowledged his conversion experience from the grace given to him by the Lord to meet the leper whom he embraced finally. It was his moment of enlightenment; encountering the God in disguise in the leper. Hence his frequent search for God (as our heart is restless unless it rests in God – St. Augustine) led him to the leper’s colony. Francis has begun his downward mobility; from the position of a wealthy merchant’s son to being a beggar. Thus began his life for the lepers, with the lepers, as a leper loving and serving his brothers and sisters in the lepers’s colony.
This is what I see in Jesus Christ too; the Son of God who discarded his heavenly majesty and splendour and came down from heaven for humanity, living with them and as one of them (incarnation) loving and serving them. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mt. 20.28
On this Good Friday, as I contemplate the depth of the incredible sacrificial love of Jesus, the Son of God, I ponder and acknowledge with a grateful heart, “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him?” Ps 8.4 “What is man that You should exalt him, that you should set Your heart upon him.” Job 7.17.
Who are you, Lord and who am I? I am learning. Are you saying to me, “I in you, you in me, all in God, God in all. That my life is not about me but it’s about You.” Who is my life? Oh, Christ is my life. “In Him was life.” Jn.1.4. How is Christ my life? In as much as He delivers me from death. Unless Christ dies, I cannot die. “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Jn 11.25 That’s the promise of eternal life. Of course, Christ is my life in many other aspects. “Christ is the way, the truth and the life.” Jn. 14.6
“Your life is hidden with Christ in God but when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” Col 3.3-4. As Christ is hidden, so are His people, so am I! But where is Christ? We know He is in heaven, full of joy, sitting at the right hand of the Father, pleading before the throne, reigning and having fellowship with His saints every where, “For my Father’s house has many rooms.” Jn 14.2
But today, He is on the cross. “We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches of the world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” St. Clare’s method of prayer comes to mind. “Gaze upon Him, consider Him, contemplate Him as you desire to imitate Him.”
Yes, Christ is my hope. He will rise on the third day. He is the Resurrection and the Life! One day, Christ will appear and we shall be with Christ and participate in His glory. What that glory is, no mind can conceive? How and when? We do not know.
Continuing my reflection on COVID-19, I am reminded of the Canticle of Brother Sun by St. Francis in which he invites all creation to praise its Creator. “For His praise,” he said, “I wish to compose a new hymn about the Lord’s creatures, of which we make daily use, without which we cannot live, and with which the human race greatly offends its Creator.” Legend of Perugia43.
Francis saw the interrelatedness between God and creation. He saw God entering into creation. He saw the vastness of the created world. He becomes so intimate and familiar with the wonders of creation that he embraces them as “Brothers” and “Sisters” that is, members of one family. In this Canticle, he also calls for pardon and peace as well as welcoming our Sister Bodily Death from whom no living man can escape.
Just like us humans, COVID-19 is a creature of God, lovingly created into existence by God with a God-given purpose of which I may not understand at this moment. Learning from St Francis, I am called to accept the presence of Brother COVID19 in the course of my daily living, finding comfort in these words, “All shall be well…for there is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.” Julian of Norwich.
Yes, humanity has greatly offended God in creation. But God, who is love has come to save us. First to save us from ourselves, our own neediness, our fears, our anxieties, our hurts etc so that we can find rest in God. Resting in God, sitting in contemplative prayer and silence will move us to love God more and more and to love as God loves thus enabling us to bear the suffering inflicted by Brother COVID19 and forgive him for he does not know what he is doing. God always forgives! God always loves! A merciful and compassionate God is He!That’s the message from the cross for me for this Good Friday.
As I pray, “Heal us, O Lord, Heal our land. Have mercy on us. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” I now place my trust in the One who loves me unconditionally even to the point of sacrificing his life to save me and who assures me of His abiding presence, “I am with you always till the end of time.”
In gratitude, I praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.
May the Lord bless me and keep me.
My the Lord let His face shine upon me and be gracious to me.
May the Lord looks upon me kindly and give me His peace.