Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

My Photo
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Open the eyes of my heart...

Yesterday, the feast of the Dominican Pope Pius V, one of my best friends was ordained a Deacon in Cleator Moor, a most beautiful part of Cumbria. There, surrounded by hills and craggy dales and as Philip undertook his sacred ministry, I recalled the psalm: "I lift up my eyes to the mountains: from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1) Indeed, may the Lord come to his assistance as he begins his diaconate and serves God's holy Church.

Speaking of the eyes... returning to England after a year in the Philippines and some time back home in Singapore and Malaysia has been enlightening; my eyes have been opened, as it were. Often when we are so immersed in a place or situation it is difficult to see the plain reality. Some time away is needed. It is similar when one writes an essay or a letter; it is often best to come back to it later and re-read it with a fresh perspective. A reflection by Kahlil Gibran which really struck me as a teenager said that friends are like the hilIs, distance from them makes us appreciate their beauty better, just as one appreciates the splendour of the hills better from afar. In other words, absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Perhaps that too is true of all things: some distance and time away helps us to return to them with fresh appreciation and perspectives. And so it is with my return to England and yesterday's Mass of Ordination was a good opportunity to meet up again with many people whom I have not seen for almost 2 years! Talking to them, I could see myself how my viewpoints and perspectives on life and faith had been changed by my time in Dagat-dagatan. I thank the Lord for that.

As we journeyed to the Ordination yesterday and looked up at the thick overcast sky, I realised why people in Britain envied the sunny tropics I had left behind. I'd never felt this desire to see the sun before! However I am loving the cool weather! It was lovely to see the moors stretch out as far as the eye can see and I saw how green and fresh the hills are from all the gentle English rain. How different from the dry, dusty and over-crowded streets of Manila!

Rummaging through my boxes and possessions here in Skipton has also been a new experience. I have been rediscovering books, CDs and items I had forgotten I had... and there are also things I am still looking for (such as the 1st volume of my Latin breviary!!). If I was asked two years ago if I had too many CDs, I would probably have said 'No' and proceeded to defend the reason I have 1000+ CDs.

Now, I look at the vast array of music, an almost bewildering amount and I am aware that I have too much. After all, there is so much I have not even missed in my time in Manila - what need have I of them all? The same can be said of some of my books; many I read and love and would want to have on hand as a resource but some are simply not missed. Every time I move from place to place and find myself packing boxes and boxes, I realise: I have simply too much stuff!

Lately, I have come to a realization that what I should spend my money on is not more stuff but on the truly precious things in life - people. I should spend money on that train fare to visit a friend in Beverley or to attend another friend's ordination in Durham. I should buy that lunch with an old school mate in Leeds or a phone call to my family. These will last and when my friends are absent from my life, they shall be missed; my CDs and books, generally, are not.

Even now, I feel the Lord is preparing my heart for a life of poverty. May he continue to change my heart and conform it to his!


Post a Comment

<< Home