Thomas Merton Once Prayed

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. 
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. 
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” 

― Thomas Merton

Image

Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Charity

Faith, Hope, and Charity are the three supernatural virtues.

They are called “supernatural” or “theological” because they have their foundation in God, and are directly related to God, and are the way by which us men can reach God directly. As bestowed by God, theses are genuine powers that a person can develop and consolidate with the grace of God so as to obtain “the abundant life.”

An Act of Faith

Faith is the power by which we assent to God, acknowledge His truth, and commit ourselves personally to Him.

“O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three Divine Person, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; I believe that Thy Divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.”

An Act of Hope

Hope is the power by which we firmly and constantly long for what we were placed on the earth to do: to praise God and serve Him; and for our true happiness, which is finding our fulfillment in God; and for our final home in God.

“O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.”

An Act of Charity (Love)

Charity is the power by which we, who have been loved first by God, can give ourselves to God so as to be united with Him and can accept our neighbour for God’s sake as unconditionally and sincerely as we accept ourselves.

“O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.”

tumblr_m5o484rkN51ruyq85o1_500 (1)

Photo credit: harmonyandblissjewelry

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven,
did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples,
deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me
that He may perfect in my soul the work of Your grace and Your love.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world
and aspire only after the things that are eternal;
the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth;
the Spirit of Counsel, that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven;
the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You
and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation;
the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints;
the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable;
the Spirit of Fear, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples
and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.”

tumblr_mgjoilH0su1qehgvqo1_500
Photo credit: shalala-love

Talking to God

Praying is the most important deed for us to get closer to God. Praying is us communicating with God. It’s us sending our earthly thoughts to heaven above.

Sometimes, some people say, “but I am not sure of what to say.” Nevertheless, praying is not about the words you say or how you say it. God already knows what we what’s bothering us, what we want, and what we need. Some people say, “but all I have are worries and complains.” Nonetheless, say it out and offer them up still. You see, God is and will always be bigger than all our doubts and fears.

Prayer is not so much about what you’re praying for. He’s God. He can do anything He wills. It’s a matter of putting our trust in him. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Prayer doesn’t change God. It changes the person who prays.” The thing is, when we decide to pray, we recognise that He is God and we are merely His children. When we pray, we are professing our faith in the most honest and true sense of the word. We are admitting that He IS God. That we believe that He can handle anything. That whatever we need is beyond our human capacity and He is the only one who can fulfill things. Putting our hands in prayer is akin to bowing our heads to our God, lifting up our human inadequacies, and letting go and letting God. Remember when people say, “Ask and thou shall receive.” Yes, God will provide what we ask but first, we need to ask.

That said, praying also calls for meditation. Imagine having a friend confide to you about their problem yet refusing to listen to the advice you’d have to say. Same thing goes for God. When we ask our Father to take care of things, we need to allow His Holy Spirit to guide us through our thoughts, words, and actions. Sometimes, we keep on praying but complain that He isn’t answering our prayers. But, did we ever stop and think that maybe it is us who aren’t listening? Perhaps, it is already out there but we are just not looking.  Henceforth, after pouring ourselves to Him and asking for His help, we need to sit down and listen. Listen to His words of love, affirmation and encouragement. Listen to the lessons He want us to learn, the path He wants us to take, or a new plan He wants us to follow. Listen to His words of wisdom and enlightenment. Because when we ask for something, He’d surely have blessings to provide as well. Perhaps it is not what we asked for or not when we asked for it, but it’s His blessing still, with a purpose bigger than ours. The question is, are our hearts and minds truly willing to achieve them?

tumblr_mgl3csh1MI1s3qt28o1_500

How Alycia met God at the salon.

Meeting God does not have to be explicit nor grand. In fact, He is with us everyday everywhere all the time. We can meet Him anytime anywhere, even during our daily experiences, if we open your heart and mind to that wonderful possibility.

Today, I’d like to share how my friend, Alycia, met God at the salon.

All the words from here on, will be according to how Aly told the story on her facebook photo album. Enjoy! 🙂

599199_10152612308250641_734041988_n

This was inspired by our friend, Christine, who said that she offered up her seminar as a prayer.
It made me think of how I could offer my hairdressing experience as a prayer.

529883_10152612314930641_1475957189_n

I, Alycia, have been thinking of doing something to my hair for a long time.
I knew the change would be good, but I never got the courage to do it.

544640_10152612315130641_717125591_n

Thankfully, I had friends who encouraged me to make the change.
Some friends said, “Go for it.”
One friend even said, “But you’re someone who will never do it.”
Though some of them had not intended to encourage me,
the things they said gave me the courage to make the change.

482440_10152612315625641_1924988986_n

This is May, my hairdresser.
I’ve never seen her before.
And even though she’s the hairdresser, which means she knows her stuff,
I found it difficult to trust her.
I was scared that I would walk out of the salon with a silly-looking hairstyle.

421500_10152612316350641_1830036662_n

May went on to cut my hair and added some highlights to my fringe.
She told me she would continue cutting my hair after the dye had set.
But I grew worried.
It was a work in process, and it looked terrible when incomplete.

62482_10152612312325641_2076648955_n

May set the timer for the dye to set, and walked away,
giving me some time alone.
During that period, I had some silence to reflect and think.

529766_10152612312805641_1097892527_n

When the timer beeped,
May returned and brought me to the sink to get my hair washed.
It felt refreshing.

11329_10152612317120641_1326333524_n

After the washing, we went back to the seat,
and when she finished drying my hair, the cutting continued.
I began to see that things were looking brighter,
and it gave me hope.

421566_10152612317610641_1084651878_n

When she was done, I looked in the mirror and
the change was much better than I had expected.
I never thought that I would make this change, but I did.
Happy with my new look, I quickly found my friends to show it to them and they shared my joy. 

I made this change, thanks to my friends and May.

313835_10152612314050641_1474463568_n

Well, I’d have to tell you the story from the beginning again.

As I sat in the chair in the salon wondering how I could offer my hairdressing experience as a prayer,
I realised how it reflected my journey to be a better person.

529883_10152612314930641_1475957189_n

I know I’m a person of many sinful ways, and I really want to be a better person.
But sometimes, there’s some inertia.
I don’t have the courage or will to make the change,
even though I know it’d be good.

544640_10152612315130641_717125591_n

Along the way, friends encourage me.
Some friends patiently urged me to continue trying, even if I fail at times.
Some may use “tough love”.
But I am encouraged, nonetheless, to make the change,
and I saw that the change would be good.

482440_10152612315625641_1924988986_n

I realised that God was my hairdresser in life.
He knew better than I do about my paths, my future, which road is the best for me.
But sometimes I don’t trust Him, because it means giving up the stirring wheel in my life.
I was scared to do certain things, like giving up my pride and selfishness.

421500_10152612316350641_1830036662_n

On the road to being a better person, I have to remove things in my life.
This is the most painful part for me.
For example, once, my friends told me off, and it really hurt.
But the change was incomplete.
It was difficult to see the end- how I would be a much better person,
and that my friendships with my friends would improve.

62482_10152612312325641_2076648955_n

Sometimes, God gives me time to reflect, to get over the hurts and pains in my life.
He’s always nearby, like May was in the salon,
but He knew I needed time alone to give me the opportunity to grow.

529766_10152612312805641_1097892527_n

During the process, I often cried.
It was part of the healing.
Even though it was painful at times, these tears helped me heal.
It was refreshing, in a way.

11329_10152612317120641_1326333524_n

Over time, the hurts and pains diminished.
God would continue with the final touches, slight adjustments and tweaks to make me who He created me to be.
Things began to look hopeful, and I saw that it was good.

421566_10152612317610641_1084651878_n

It takes a long time to overcome each sin,
and I’m still struggling with my sins today.
But I know, that I am a much better person than I was years ago.
I can see the change in myself, and so can my friends,
and they share my joy.


I am a new person today, because of my friends, and more importantly, because of God. (:

You too. God bless.

It was a long day of fun-filled adventures today! Little India food tripping, board games  shopping, board games playing (duh?!) and bridge, and visiting the magical world of Incanto! 🙂

However, at the end of the day, I was super exhausted that I was just begging for a chance to sit on my way home. Unfortunately,  as everyone rushes home, the train was super crowded so I had to stand. Hence, I stood in the middle of the carriage, between the rows of seats, in anticipation of someone alighting soon.

Fortunately, a few stops later, a couple in front of me alighted. However, instead of sitting down, I offered it to a 55-year old lady who was carrying a couple of bags. She sheepishly sat and continued to offer me the other seat. I said, “It’s okay. Seems like other people are more tired than me anyway.” Within a split second, other people simply took the seat.

The lady, then told me and my friend, “Next time you want to buy health supplements, come to my shop at Novena Gardens.” She fumbled around for some brochures and continued to explain to us what she sells. In the middle of a crowded train on long tiring weekday, I bet people were judging us and wondering why two young people are talking so loudly with an auntie. Nonetheless, I continued talking to her, engaging her in the conversation. I asked for her name (Ruth) and she asked me mine. I even asked whether she’s in the shop everyday so that I can bring my mom to “see-see.” It was heart-warming to see her excitedly talking about the products she sells as though it was the beginning of her day and I was her first customer. (Remember, we are still in the middle of the train at 1030pm).

Eventually, she told me, “I don’t offer this to everyone but since you have such a good heart and you let me sit, when you come and visit, I give you 15% discount, ok? Actually now got discount but if next time you come, I give you my member discount and points.” In addition, she shared to me how she like selling the health products (because she used it previously too) . She said, “now, that I’m 55 (that’s how I got her age), I want to help young people especially good-hearted ones like you to take care before it’s too late. Before your body pain here there, must take care, ok?”

Isn’t that just so touching?  It didn’t take too much effort for me to offer a seat, neither did it take her too much effort to offer a discount. Yet, the act of charity was exhibited there and then, between two strangers, in the fullest sense of the word.

Then, when we finally reached my destination, I told her, “I have to go now but see you okay? You take care. (big smile)” And, she said, “You too. God bless! (even bigger smile)” <—goosebumps moment right there!!!

Then, as I walk out the train doors, a huge wave of relief and happiness filled me.

Learning from the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10), I have been asking Him to “expand my territory.” In other words, I was asking him to send me someone who needs my help every now and then so that I can spread His love and glorify His name.

And, as I walk away, I knew that was my prayer being granted. That was Him blessing me with a “territory.” And, looking back, He has been giving me someone to help (or touch their lives) in the simplest smallest ways, every single day this week.

Today, as that woman told me “God bless,” I knew that it was God himself  blessing me at that point in time. Amen. (:

tumblr_mhydluPb661qdaq7jo1_500

Photo Credits: cleanheartsyou

A Prayer for Employment

God, our Father, 

I turn to you seeking your divine help and guidance as I look for suitable employment.

I need your wisdom to guide my footsteps along the right path, and to lead me to find the proper things to say and do in this quest.

I wish to use the gifts and talents you have given me, but I need the opportunity to do so with gainful employment.

Do not abandon me, dear Father, in this search, but rather grant me this favor I seek so that I may return to you with praise and thanksgiving for your gracious assistance.

Grant this through Christ, our Lord. 

Amen

jhkPhoto credits: The Post and Courier

 

Mother Teresa’s Humility List

tumblr_m78d713iDE1r7coyro1_500

1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult task.

where were you?

I was there. I remember. I was quietly sitting on the newly varnished brown pews of this all-too-familiar church. I remembered mumbling, “thanks be to God.” There is no awkward silence here. With only one man speaking in front of a massive congregation, the silence is very calm and serene. –in today’s gospel– almost like a lullaby. –from the book of- Everything here is done in a well-rehearsed routine to glorify the Lord. –talks to us about repentance– Okay. I shall pay attention and not fall asleep today. –we go for confession-Oooh I like that girl’s dress. That guy is not bad. – we ask for forgiveness– My attention shifts to those low v-neck tops on well-endowed ladies, –to cleanse ourselves– those short skirts parading some girls’ long limbs,   yet, humans are fallible- those men glancing at their eye-catching neighbour. – all of us are sinners -It was interesting to look at how people stare blankly to the altar. -each and everyone of us– While looking at those familiar faces, there’s a sense of comfort in me –no matter how convoluted– It is amazing how a church is called a community. You mean, I’m supposedly connected to those -or self-serving– strangers I’ve never talked to before?. –your sin was– You mean, I share something –because He loves us– with these people other than me faithfully –He saved us– observing them weekly? –He gave his life for all of us – My gaze shifts to the windows. –the worst punishment– The sun was barely shining onto the colour-tinted glass. –crucified on the cross-  It will probably rain today. –For God so loved the world- Hmmmm… Can I go for a swim today? Maybe I’ll go for a run, instead.-He gave– Damn. I was supposed to go cycling with David. -His only begotten son– But, it’s such a nice day to sleep in.. Hmm. What movie can I watch? –Jesus sacrificed Himself– I’ll probably rush my school work next week instead. –He never leaves us- Oh no. I have presentation due tomorrow. Why do I have so much things to do? Oh God. Can I just have a break please? I’m so tired from all the things I need to complete. I feel like there’s so much burden on my shoulder. Dear Lord, can you please help me? Then, out of nowhere, the priest concluded, “God is always with you. The question is, are you with God?” OH MAN!!! What did the priest say for homily?…..