Chris writes a response poem-prayer to Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings.
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings
A pure heart
That we may see Thee,
A humble heart
That we may hear Thee
A heart of Love
That we may serve Thee,
A heart of faith
That we may live Thee,
Whom I do not know
But Whose I am.
Whom I do not comprehend
But Who hast dedicated to me
To my fate.
Christopher Chok, Imprints
A still soul
That we may touch You,
A contrite soul
That we may feel You,
A soul of Peace
That we may see You,
A soul of Truth
That we may know You,
Whom I long to know
And Whose I’m loved.
Whom I search all day and night
Yet Who has loved me into being
To this world.
Some time back, I was at this program teaching us about the Holy Spirit. One of the program sessions was about the ‘Spirit of conviction’, the Spirit that empowers us to be free. As I was watching the video, the song “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is” by Hillsong came into my head and I realized how apt it was for this paeticular session. If you doubt me, just look at the chorus:
Continue reading “P&W Reflection: “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is””
Chris shares his reflection on a book by St Francis de Sales.
Recently as I was tidying up my Evernote database, I chanced upon the following excerpt from St Francis de Sales’ Roses Among Thorns – a very thought-provoking book that I completed numerous months ago:
Do not allow yourself to become angry or let yourself be surprised to see that your soul still has all the imperfections that you habitually confess. Even though you must reject and even detest them in order to amend your life, you must not oppose them with anger, but instead with courage and tranquility, so that you will be able to make a solid and secure resolution to correct them. (…) When we censure our neighbour or complain about him — something we should do rarely — we never bring it to an end, but are always beginning again and endlessly repeating our complaints and grievances, which is a sign of a nettlesome heart that has not yet regained its health. (16)
Embedded within the above excerpt are two striking issues worthy of exploration and further discussion. Firstly, Sales affirms a poignant reality of spiritual maturity i.e. that the further we traverse on this journey towards oneness and unity with Christ, the more aware we become of our soul’s “imperfections”. Indeed, I have been privy to the recurring emotions of anger and frustration whenever my imperfections, weaknesses and failings get surfaced. I often ask myself “Oh gosh, there you go again. Haven’t we been through this before? Why are you imbibing in these habitual, self-gratifying sins again, sins that serve no greater purpose and goodness than selfish pleasure? Don’t you know better? Didn’t you just go for confession and made a commitment to repent?”
Continue reading “St. Francis De Sales’ Roses Among Thorns”
Greg refelcts on the beautiful Easter prayer, the Exsultet.
“Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!”
Each time I hear this being sung at the beginning of every Easter vigil Mass, my heart and soul simply feel so uplifted, ready to exalt in the Resurrection of Christ together with His Church! The Exsultet holds such deep meaning, both in its verses and in the beautiful symbolism it uses. A century-old prayer that has been almost unaltered since the Middle Ages, the practice probably dates to even before that.
Continue reading “The Excellent Exsultet”
Chris writes a letter to St. Teresa of Avila — a Saint whom he considers very very intimidating.
“Let nothing disturb thee; let nothing dismay thee:
All things pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God finds he lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” – St. Teresa of Avila
Dear St. Teresa of Avila,
I hope this letter finds you well. I have a quick confession to make: I find you incredibly intimidating.
Your writings are always so fiercely passionate and incredibly firery; they have pierced the depths of my soul, over and over again. Paradoxically, however, my trepidation towards you does not stem from fear but more from awe. I am awed that a living, breathing individual like yourself was able to reach such immense depths of union with Christ whilst on this earth. I am awed by how you remained steadfast and convicted to our Faith despite the numerous trials and tribulations that you experienced both from the world and from our very own Church.
Though I find you very intimidating, I must also add that your writings and ideas have aided me enormously and have drawn me closer to God. Indeed, you have been a very effective instrument of His will, and a very clear signpost pointing towards God to so many people. Some of my friends even consider you as their closest spiritual companion, and I know a couple of them who have entered Carmel, so moved by your life and intimacy with Jesus Christ.
Continue reading “Letter to St. Teresa of Avila”
Chris writes a letter to Pope John XXIII — a Saint whom he finds very jolly and jovial (with a very important lesson to teach!)
“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII
Dear Pope John XXIII,
Congratulations on your recent canonisation four years ago! I hope that all’s well with you in Heaven and that you’re enjoying yourself immensely with the communion of saints as well as the perpetuation adoration of our Lord, God and master, Jesus Christ.
I must be honest: I write to you today not because I have loads to share with you nor do I have any particular prayer intention that require your assistance. Pope John XXIII you must forgive me: I hardly know you and only just read about you the other day whilst completing the book The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Saint John of the Cross Reflections by Friar Marc Foley, OCD. That being said, after chancing upon one of your quotes and reflecting on it deeper in prayer, I must say that I felt a stirring in my heart to get to know you better. I will share your quote momentarily but before that, I just want to say that I’m moved by how light-hearted you seem to be. Reading up on you has allowed me to get a better sense of who you are. Yet, most – if not all – of the quotes that I’ve read about you seem to paint you as an exceptionally jovial and joyful person. Pope John XXIII, your personality speaks to the depth of my heart simply because you don’t take yourself too seriously; you seem to exude a distinctive childlike aura that I find deeply alluring – one that painfully reminds me just how “adult” I’ve grown to become.
Continue reading “Letter to Pope John XXIII”
Chris shares about the importance of carving out time to reconnect, recalibrate and recenter one’s life in God’s love.
Lately, I’m noticing an invitation to actively create space and make myself available for God in my life. The availability that I actively consent to, the willingness to sit with my inner restlessness and resist the constant (and inordinate) desire to do something (for God, for the church, for ministry-related activities etc. in a knee-jerk and sporadic manner), better allows me to cooperate with God’s divine grace and trust in His perfect timing. Continue reading “Creating Space for God”