CHRIST CENTERED CONVERSATIONS

 

Thanksgiving

Chris reflects about his Thanksgiving experience in the United States of America (USA) Before coming to the USA, Thanksgiving didn’t mean much to me. While I caught glimpses of this holiday in American sitcoms, my understanding of it remained at that: distant and apathetic. My impression of Thanksgiving was limited to stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes and sweet corn – delicious yet highly superficial. Similar to some of the holidays in Singapore, Thanksgiving was

Poem: Dining in the Desert

In this special post, the three of us come together in a collaborative effort to weave our individual searches for Jesus together into a poem. A/N: Blessed Wednesday everyone! To round off Odes to October month, Chris, Greg and I thought we would try writing a poem together. After giving it some thought, I struck upon the idea of modeling the poem after a Japanese collaborative style of poetry called “renga”. You may notice that Greg’s first three lines take the form of the f

Poem Dialogue: Dag Hammarskjold

Chris writes a response poem-prayer to Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings. Dag Hammarskjold, Markings Give us 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, Thou Whom I do not know But Whose I am. Thou Whom I do not comprehend But Who hast dedicated to me To my fate. Thou – Christopher Chok, Imprints Grant us A still soul That we may touch You, A contrite soul That we may feel Yo

Poem Dialogue: Alfred Lord Tennyson

Chris writes a response to Tennyson’s poem, “In Memoriam” Alfred Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam” Be near me when my light is low, When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick And tingle; and the heart is sick, And all the wheels of being slow. Be near me when the sensuous frame Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust; And Time, a maniac scattering dust, And Life, a Fury slinging flame. Be near me when my faith is dry, And men the flies of latter spring, That lay their eggs, and s

The Ebb and Flow of Spirituality

Chris reflects on the wisdom that he has learnt from Richard Rohr’s books and talks about the movements of one’s spiritual journey “Sooner or later, if you are on any classic ‘spiritual schedule,’ some event, person, death, idea, or relationship will enter your life that you simply cannot deal with, using your present skill set, your acquired knowledge, or your strong willpower. Spiritually speaking, you will be, you must be, led to the edge of your own private resources. At

Distance, Detachment and Inner Freedom

Chris reflects on how important it is to hold on to our identity as children of God in the midst of a world of distractions. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came’ … (Excerpt from the Gospel of the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 1:29-39) “Everybody is looking for you.

Reflections from the Genesee Diary

Chris reflects on how prayer and solitude helps us live as the unique individuals God created us to be. For the past few nights, I have been really grateful for The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery by Henri Nouwen. This book has been a lovely reflection-companion for my daily night prayer. Nouwen’s writings (from my experience, that is) have always been so hearfelt and brutually honest, and it is precisely in his disarming honesty that one experiences the vulne

September 11 Reflection – A Singaporean Viewpoint

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times” – Matthew 18:21 – 22. I can still remember that fateful day: Waking up to go to school in the wee hours of the morning, everything seemed to be abuzz. Everyone seemed to be talking about one common thing and every television set seemed to be focused on one main image

Working All Night: A Fisherman’s Lessons

Chris reflects on what Our Lord has to teach us in seemingly trying and futile times. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:4-5) In a season oft characterised by desolation, despondency and despair, Simon’s response to Jesus seems to encapsulate my current state of

What are my Nets?

Chris reflects of the images of ‘nets’ in a certain Gospel passage. One weekend, I was grateful that I had the time to attend two Masses, one on Saturday evening and one on Sunday morning in two very different parishes to hear the Word of God. This meant that I was able to witness, listen and reflect upon two homilies, both dealing with the same Gospel passage and both reiterating the main call to Discipleship. The Gospel spoke about Simon and Andrew “abandon[ing] their nets

P&W Reflection: ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong

Chris reflects on the profound message of Hillsong’s ‘Oceans’ “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my saviour.” – “Oceans” by Hillsongs A close friend once whispered to me, before a Praise and Worship session, that he vows never to sing “Oceans” by Hillsong. Perturbed by his strong sentiments, I pressed him t

P&W Reflection: ‘Lord, I Need You’

Chris reflects on the important message conveyed by Matt Maher’s song ‘Lord I Need You’. Sometimes, the most powerful songs are written in the simplest of ways, and Matt Maher’s ‘Lord I Need You’ is one such example. Unpretentious yet strikingly profound, this song encapsulates the essence of God’s unconditional love for all of us. The more I listen to it, the more I am reminded of the Prodigal Son parable in Luke 15. In the following article, allow me to share more about why

Review: St. Francis De Sales’ Roses Among Thorns

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 amen

Teaching and St. John Baptist De La Salle

Chris shares more about St. John Baptist De La Salle and why he is one of Chris’ favourite Saints. “You can perform miracles by touching the hearts of those entrusted to your care.” – [Meditations 180.3] It is often very easy for us to get lost in our work – especially when we live in a fast-pace, productivity-driven society like Singapore. Amidst the hum-drums of routine work and key performance indicators (cue the dreaded “KPI”), it is often tempting to lose ourselves in o

Letter to St. Teresa of Avila

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 p

7 Last Words — “It is Finished” (John 19:30)

Chris reflects on the very last words of Jesus, and what they mean for our Christian mission here on earth. Mission Accomplished. For the longest time in my childhood, the words “Mission Accomplished” were my two favorite words in the English Language because they always appeared with the completion of a particular level and/or scenario in a video game. Be it Super Mario Brothers, Harvest Moon or Grand Theft Auto, I enjoyed playing these games as they required the fulfillment

7 Last Words -- "Woman, behold your son ..." (John 19:26-27)

What pain and what agony Jesus must have felt when He said those words to his loved ones. What pangs of loss and anguish that Jesus must have experienced knowing that He would be (momentarily) separated from His mother and His beloved disciples. Separation: have we all not experienced this in one way or another before? Have we all not felt pain through separation, death and loss? Separation implies a dis-connection – to separate is to break away, to break apart, to be divorce

Poem: At the Margins

Chris shares with us an original poem. Here’s a little poem that came to me in prayer the other day in the Adoration Room. I hope it speaks to you in this Lenten season. God bless! (: At the Margins where the destitute gather, where the wounded suffer, where loneliness looms is where I am needed most. where the hungry ache and pangs of heartbreaks; where the lost are forsaken is where my body’s broken. where the cynics scorn and the hurt have grown forlorn; where anger, lust

The Discomforts of Waiting for Confession

Chris shares a reflection he had whilst queuing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In a few weeks’ time, parishes around Singapore will be holding the annual Lenten Reconciliation Service. This is an important time when we take-stock of our lives, recognise the areas where we have sinned and prepare ourselves for the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is a timely juncture for pause, a period for recollection and a space to redirect our inner disposi

Silenced by Truth: Zechariah’s response to Angel Gabriel

Chris compares the differing responses of Zechariah and Mary towards Angel Gabriel’s proclamation of Good News. As a child, I often wondered why Zechariah, father of John the Baptist and husband to Elizabeth – Mary’s cousin – was “unable to speak” and became “mute” after his encounter with Angel Gabriel (Luke 1:20). Correspondingly, I found it even more interesting to compare the aftermath of his response to Angel Gabriel with that of Mary. Therefore, in this Advent season, I