Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Foolishness of God and the Wisdom of Men

I was looking through the Twitter page of the Holy Father and although I'm not surprised, I am rather dismayed at the raw hatred and pure ignorance of the many many commenters and twits there. Some of the comments were just pure rage and others belie such lack of knowledge that I still wonder that they dare speak at all to expose the fact.

But it occurs to me, as I speak and deal with people both within and without the Church, that ignorance is not an atheist thing or merely the domain of those who hate the Catholic Church. Ignorance abounds everywhere and there's more than enough for all to share in it.

The external attacks I can fathom but it's the internal attacks I find repugnant.

Many pastors, preachers and those who occupy positions of great authority are also often wrapped in a fog of ignorance of common (okay, maybe not so common) facts and figures, especially about the faith which they are supposed to be preachers of, the faith they are supposed to hand over unstained to the next generation.
Whence comes this ignorance? What is taught in the places of formation, when basic Catholic doctrine and practice is unknown by those who are supposed to be it's guardians and teachers?

There are always those who seem too clever and cocksure in their new fangled ideas and modern opinions, who deride the traditional piety of the simple. They often embrace all sorts of ideas, no matter how outrageous, as long as it's not Tradition, not the old and honoured and venerable belief. 

What they say is often very harmful to the faith and piety of simple Churchgoers, the Sheep of Christ. And the worse thing is, there's no particular motive to cast doubts and aspersions on the elements of faith and piety except to appear smart and intellectual before the people. But wait, there's more. The worst part is, most of these doubts are unfounded or based or shoddy scholarship and archaeological nonsense that masqueraded as scholarship in the 60s and 70s and were taught to these folks in the 80s and perpetuated by those in power and authority to this day. But modern scholarship has debunked most of these myths and provided explanations that often supports the traditional beliefs. Why don't these people buck up and update their knowledge constantly as is their duty as teachers and pastors?

How I despise them. Yes, hatred is not a Christian virtue but I can see the immense spiritual harm that this attitude has caused and great anger fills my heart when I ponder the damage done and the damage that continues to be done.

I try to ascribe a Christian and good motivation to these but sometimes I just see malice.

When, O Lord, will relief come?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five guys and two fish: The Bucket of Hope

I think old age and the 'realities' of the world can tend to make the most bright eyed and optimistic of us jaded and cynical. It was with this mentality that I laughed, rather loudly, when several of my young friends, with not a lot of fishing experience and on their first joint fishing trip together, brought along a bucket. The bucket of course, they said, was for the fish. For the fish!. They actually expected to catch some fish! 

My amusement was indeed great and I spoke about young kids being naive and optimistic. I was young too, once, and optimistic with a touch of naivete. I ventured, as an experienced fisherman, to teach one chap how to fish and how to feel a bite and reel it in. To my great amazement and shock, the chap actually caught a fish. It was indeed a small measly thing and they decided to just cut the line and leave the hook in the fish's mouth as it swam in the bucket, but there it was, an actual legitimately caught fish, swimming there. There were others who were fishing there was well, aside from our young company, and most gave up after a while and none caught anything that I saw. Most were just giving the fish a buffet as oftentimes, the hooks came back minus the bait. I was still reeling from amazement from this catch when the same young chap caught ANOTHER fish. It soon joined it's companion in the bucket, swimming there obliviously, with a hook in it's mouth too.

I gained an invaluable lesson from this. The Lord had obviously deigned to teach me. I remember having loudly proclaimed that I'd jump into the sea ( a serious promise indeed for one who cannot swim) if each of the 3 fellas caught a fish. Well, only one of them caught anything and it was 2 fish, but still... The lesson I learned was that sometimes, we should shed our cynicism and just be more optimistic and trustful of Providence and the HOPE that optimism brings with it. We just need to see the world in all it's possibilities through the eyes of those who have not been so disappointed by the realities of the world as to abandon earthly hope.

Indeed, I'll always remember those 2 fish (which were fed to a stray cat, hooks and all, I was told) because they stand as the symbol of hopes fulfilled and the simple yet great joys that a realized hope brings. As the season of Advent approaches and we hope for the Second Coming of Our Lord, I am now refreshed and filled with great hopes of the boundless joy that His Coming will bring. Maranatha.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


The Word became flesh--and then through theologians it became words again. 
Karl Barth.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Duty, honour, service

Some thoughts I'd like to share. I posted this comment on a Facebook thread and I think it sums my thoughts up pretty well.

There are so many problems and they are all tied together. What do I see as the thread linking all these social issues? I think it's the hedonism and self centeredness which now permeates most of the Western and developed countries. Watching the celebrations of HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, I noticed that it was themed on duty, honour and service. 
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. - Princess Elizabeth, Speech on her 21st birthday in South Africa

Now these themes are not alien to Asian and Confucian culture and was an intrinsic part of many western nations as well. It's embodied in the ideals of the Catholic priesthood and the military services such as the Marines and the SAS. It was seen as an ideal, a good to be strived for.

Starting from the 60s and that decadent generation of addle brained drug users, culture changed and the public good, the good of others began to be eclipsed by 'what's in it for me'. JFK's memorable quote of 'ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country' seemed to be the ethos of another time. 

Let's look at the impact of this hedonism. First of all, many many developed countries are committing IMHO, cultural suicide. The low birth rates stem from the seeking of self pleasure, a contraceptive mentality and also a desire not to be tied down by children so that one can enjoy one's own resources and spend it on one's own pleasure alone. The contraceptive mentality is one where pleasure has not responsibility. In our own day, abortion is now used as a form of contraception and of social engineering. It's the poor, the black babies and the Hispanics that are most aborted in the US. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood was a eugenicist and her legacy remains to this day.The leaky rubber abortions are the result of the myth of the full proof effectiveness of barrier contraceptives.No one wants to take responsibility for their actions. 

The result? Migrants from Africa and the Middle East will populate these desolate and declining lands. Singapore, on our doorstep, has seen an influx of immigrants from the Mainland because of the stupid one child policy. And now, efforts to undo it's effects are not very effective because of the hedonistic culture there.

It's the same with euthanasia. How long before those elderly and sick are gently encouraged to euthanize themselves or are declared by their doctors, starved of resources, as candidates for euthanasia? Abortion is now used to cull humanity of various genetic diseases such as Down's Syndrome or even such things as a cleft palate. We want designer babies. Sigh.

What of morality, in this new culture of 'me first'. We don't let people do as they wish because people are inherently stupid. Look at our country. We voted the BN to power for 50 plus years and so did the Sarawakians and Sabahans. 

Abortion is a great evil. An evil that denies the fundamental right to life from which all other rights flow. But, it's an evil manifestation, a symptom of a greater disease that mars all humanity, that of hedonism. 

John said these words "I don't know why some people don't want their baby. Perhaps it's not because of financial problem. Let's say, they really don't want any baby, they could just give to adoption. But 'the bond' between mother and father and the child still exist, perhaps they don't want that. What for the mother doesn't want a baby and hates pregnancy? Let's think, do people have sex just because they want a baby, a heir? Of course not right? Sometimes, accident might happen. So, let's they make their decision and problem solved."

If those words are not the epitome of hedonism and self centeredness, then I don't know what is. Read them closely. Let the words sink in. The sad part is that most of our society thinks that way. It's a step from there to children euthanizing their parents, governments euthanizing their patients in hospitals, babies in orphanages. Think about it, look at the logical flow of the argument. Why should tax payers support those patients, the mentally challenged, the mentally ill, the old, the sick? It's a drain on our limited financial resources. Why should we pay for the 'mistakes' of others? Let's make a decision. Problem solved. They won't be missed.

It's the logical conclusion of a materialist view of the universe where humans are nothing special, just slightly more evolved animals. No biggie.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Such is the nature of service, not do to what you want to do, but to do the things that need to be done.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Participant and spectator in the cosmic liturgy

As MC in my parish where I was running around madly and was almost obsessively attentive to ensure that nothing went wrong and also director of the Latin choir which sang for the Palm Sunday, Good Fri and Easter Sunday morning Masses and services, I feel not only drained but also rather empty and unfulfilled. I remember the blissful time when I was a mere attendee at the Holy Week celebrations. Just being there, in the moment, allowed me to be much more prayerful during each of the celebrations, with my attention focussed completely in the unfolding liturgical action. It also allowed me to do some things which are dear to my heart, such as kneeling throughout the Canon and for Holy Communion, which my current role disqualifies me from doing as it breaks the unity of posture of the liturgical ministers. Other pious gestures such as removing my shoes for the Veneration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday also have to be cast aside as in the role of MC, I am accompanying the priest and this cannot be done. Even my own private prayer time during the Mass seems to have been lost.

I remember just observing the most moving of Rites, such as the Washing of the Feet and kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament as the procession made its way to the Altar of Repose, the procession and unveiling of the Holy Cross during Good Fri, the blessing of the Easter Fire and the Paschal Candle, the baptisms of the elect etc. Now, it's a nervous attempt to ensure that everything flows well.

A conductor can't really enjoy music. And a proof reader finds it hard to enjoy a good read. There's always the technical side of a certain piece of music that a conductor hears that distracts him, likewise the proof reader casts a critical eye on the use of words, seeing ways of improving the text. I guess it's the same for MC's. The liturgy becomes more of something to get right than a transcendent act to immerse oneself in.

Sigh. I wish I could go back to those simple days. Anyone feel the same way?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sights from Maundy Thursday

Since I lost my camera several years back, which prevented me from taking photos and thus demotivating me from writing, this blog has been rather stagnant. However, some photos were taken from the recent Maundy Thursday celebration and I thought I'd post them here.

It was certainly a solemn celebration, with the Gloria making a welcome comeback, to the ringing of bells. 12 men were chosen for the washing of the feet as the photos above depict. Our himility was MC and assisting the priest.

After Mass, the people processed into the Hall where an altar of repose was constructed to enable the people to keep vigil with the Lord on the night before He suffered and died.

A good number of people turned up which was a very encouraging sign. There were many visitors as well who performed the traditional 'visita iglesia' and the crowd filled almost all the seats for the final reposition of the Blessed Sacrament at midnight.