CHRIST CENTERED CONVERSATIONS

 

A Letter to St. Francis of Assisi

Garrett writes a letter to Francis of Assisi, his patron saint. Dear Francis of Assisi, Greetings, my patron saint! I believe this letter is long overdue. We’ve already had a long and interesting correspondence across the span of 800 years (and my comparatively shorter 25 years). You’ve definitely had a very strong influence in shaping my faith when I was younger, and your example continues to inspire me in various ways. I think my first encounter with you was as a teenager r

修直道路

Greg 反思圣若翰洗者呼吁我们“修直道路”之意,从而发现自己有时误将“道路”视为“终点”。 有一个呼声喊说: “你们要在旷野中预备上主的道路, 在荒原中为我们的天主修平一条大路!”(依40:3) 将临期的福音中,我们常听见圣若翰洗者准备迎接耶稣的使命。这个使命即是依撒意亚先知所预言,且圣若翰洗者所重申的这一点: “我是在旷野里呼喊者的声音:修直上主的道路罢!” (若1:23) 将临期提醒我们要在心灵之中为上主修直道路,好为祂的圣诞做准备。教会教导我们,修直道路的方法有好多:阅读圣经,尤其反思将临期的读经;检讨良心,在心中为耶稣腾出空间;深入祈祷,加深与天主的感情,等等。我想,这些都是准备迎来将临期的好方法。对我而言,此文章实属自我告诫:重要的不是道路,而是耶稣。 在反思这段福音时,我赫然发现,自己虽总是一心想为上主修直道路,却多次弄巧反拙。何谓弄巧反拙呢?我想,简单来说,我们常徘徊于两个极端:一,因为道路不够直、不够平,而将其铲除;二,因为着重于道路的建设,而忽视了建设道路的目的。简而言之,我将精力都放在建设那条道路上,却没太专注于它是否能让主

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.

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

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

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 — “Truly, I say to you …” (Luke 23:43)

Chris reflects on the paradox of the ‘good thief’ who came to conversion by Jesus’ side on the Cross Imagine a middle-aged man who has lived a life of debauchery, decadence and waste. A man whom society would probably consider a menace, a “good-for-nothing” and an absolute failure in life. Imagine that this man whom many have given up on – possibly including himself – decides one day that he has had it, that an ultimatum is nigh. He thus commits a heinous crime: he steals som

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 4 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 4 of 4) Welcome back to our final instalment of our analysis of G.K. Chesterton’s poem, A Christmas Song for Three Guilds! As always, the previous three parts can be found on this very site, and I highly recommend at least reading Part 1 first to provide some of the context behind my anal

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 3 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 3 of 4) Welcome to Part 3 of our analysis of G.K. Chesterton’s A Christmas Song for Three Guilds! Part 1 and Part 2 can be found elsewhere on this blog. I highly recommend giving a read through to Part 1 at least as over there I went through some important principles to take note of when

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Spiritual Mentorship

Star Wars and Spiritual Mentorship? You 'betcha! Garrett expounds further. With the premiere of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, and a whole slew of movies, books, and various other media on the horizon, it seems that Star Wars is poised to seize the hearts of a new generation of fans. So why is Star Wars so popular? Father Dwight Longenecker from the blog “Standing on My Head” offers a rather convincing explanation. The reason behind Star Wars' success is that it follows the “He

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 2 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 2 of 4) If you’re coming here after reading Part 1,welcome back! If not, do be aware that this is Part 2 of four-part series where I’ll be analysing G.K. Chesterton’s A Christmas Song for Three Guilds. We’re taking it one stanza at a time, and the first part does establish some very impor

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 1 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 1 of 4) What does Advent mean to us, on a personal level? How does this brief season, where we prepare for the coming of Jesus, relate to how we live our lives for the rest of the year? Before the dawn of Advent proper, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, where we recognize the sov

Playing Herod: An Advent Reflection

Garrett plays Herod in a Nativity play and reflects about it! Last December, I went with a group of Catholic university friends on a mission trip to Cambodia, to an education centre run by the Marist brothers. I remember vividly one item on the agenda in particular: to put up a Nativity play to entertain the kids. It was at our lodging one night when the director of the play announced the roles, after discussing with the trip leader. And lo and behold, the director revealed,

Make a Holiness Check!

Tabletop RPGs and the Faith A while back I came across aReddit postby a user with the wonderful online moniker ‘Stirfriar’. Introducing himself as a Franciscan Friar, he went on to describe the many amazing experiences he and his brothers in the friary had while playing tabletop role-playing games in their leisure time. These aren’t the RPGs one might think of – videogames like Falloutor Skyrim. Rather, these are more like elaborate boardgames – though not necessarily requiri