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

Monday, July 18, 2005

Return to the Philippines et al.

By this time tomorrow, I shall be in Manila, the Philippines! It's been almost three months since I left and I am looking forward to my return visit. The purpose of the trip is to renew friendships and say final good-byes to people. Once I enter the Novitiate and the Order, I don't know when I will be able to visit the good people of San Lorenzo Ruiz parish in Dagat-dagatan again... I am also looking forward to meeting Daniel Jeffries, the Dominican Volunteer who has taken my place there and also to celebrating the feast of our Holy Father, St Dominic with so many young and happy Dominicans friars and sisters and laity.

I set off early tomorrow morning (5am) to catch my budget flight to the Philippines and I expect to be met at the airport by Fr Allan Lopez, OP, whose birthday is today! And... to keep me occupied on the plane journey, I think I shall finish reading, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Yes, I was one of many who went to buy the book on Saturday morning, although not at the break of dawn. It's been a fun read so far and that's just how I like to view it - an entertaining book that's light and easy to read, not to be taken too seriously, taking me back to my own childhood reading about boarding schools and adventures ala Enid Blyton.

Just a final thought: asceticism. This past weekend, I saw at least two Buddhist monks swathed in saffron robes and discalced begging for alms with a large wooden begging bowl. It made me think of the mendicant and itinerant roots of the Dominicans. These monks clearly looked like beggars to me... their bowl, their shaved head and walking barefoot on a filthy and pot-holed road. They were a real witness to poverty, mendicancy, reliance on Providence and the charity of others. I guess few would look at the Dominicans today and classify them as such. Beggars for Truth, it has been said, but certainly not begging for bread and lodging... I wonder, have we lost something in terms of a witness to true poverty? Perhaps my time in Manila will bring me fresh insight into this issue.

These humble Buddhist monks gave me, a Christian, pause for thought; their sign value challenged me to think about my way of life. I pray that Christian religious would likewise point to Christ and give others pause for thought and challenge them with the Gospel.

I commend my time in the Philippines to Our Lady of La Naval, patroness of the Philippine islands (shown on the right here).

The photo above of fishermen on the Navotas river was taken in the parish which I shall visit in Dagat-dagatan.


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