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.

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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

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Waiting is precious

It is said that patience is a virtue and I have to admit, I have very little of it! Since my trip to London I have been waiting to hear from the Dominicans about my interviews for admission to the Order. There will be more waiting to come even after the interviews are complete as I wait for the Prior Provincial to make his decision. Often, this experience of waiting is an agony for me. Indeed, the First Sorrowful Mystery and its key-phrase: "Not my will but yours be done, Lord" becomes very vivid to me in a period of waiting.

A wise priest told me yesterday that "waiting is precious" and I pondered on this for a day. Indeed, waiting cultivates patience, as a farmer waits for his crops, or an expectant mother awaits the birth of her child. But more than that, I think the reason why I find waiting so difficult is because it engenders and requires humility. When we await something, especially a decision, we become essentially helpless. There is nothing one can do to expedite the process and one does not even know how long one must wait. One simply waits.

The people of the Philippines had much to teach me about patience. I noted, while I was there, the humour and stoicism and patience with which they bore with uncertainty, difficulty and hardship. Almost everyone I met waited patiently for things to happen, for things to be done. I remember how we waited over 2 months for our ADSL connection to be installed but here in England, waiting 2 weeks seems rather too long!

And indeed, the readings at Mass this morning really hit home as Ben Sira wrote: "My son, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes. Cling to him and do not leave him, so that you may be honoured at the end of your days. Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient." (Ecclesiasticus 2:1-4)

And again, the response to the psalm: "Commit your life to the Lord, trust him and he will act." (Ps 36:5)

It is a real grace when the readings given by the Church cuts to the heart so truly in one's own life. As one who aspires to serve the Lord and who has committed my life to the Lord, I feel that those words of Scripture speak eloquently to my situation. In particular, I note the injunction to be patient (and humble) in the face of uncertainty, to steadfastly trust in the Lord and most importantly, to accept whatever happens as his will. As if by clarification, the Gospel today has our Lord hold out the child as a model of humility. I believe that the image is one of powerless-ness and vulnerability, something I saw especially among the countless poor children in the fishports of Manila, who are shown above.

I pray that these words from the 'Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach' are inscribed into my heart as I try to wait patiently for the Lord's will to be manifest and in all things, I commit myself into his hands through Mary Immaculate. With Christ, I say: "Father, not what I want but what you want." (Matt 26:39b).


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