CHRIST CENTERED CONVERSATIONS

 

Beowulf – “Heroes Under Heaven”

“Alone in the history of the "epic," Beowulf takes place in the "real," tangible, recognizable world. Not in Heaven, Albion, or Middle Earth. That, in fact, is part of the point of Beowulf. Its author(s) want us to see its setting and characters and situations as real, as actually happening. And yet the magic is there - in Grendel, in Beowulf himself - in the capacity to find a redeeming reply to a superhuman evil, a transcendent answer to the void.” – Stephen R. Donaldsen, E

The Story of Santa Claus

I think every Christmas, apart from the Holy Family, another dominant figure plays an important role in the festivities, particularly that of popular culture: Santa Claus. Most of us already know that this popular red-faced and jolly character was inspired by the figure of St Nicholas, a bishop in the city of Myra. Aside from stories of his compassion and generosity (with said stories becoming the basis of the generous and compassionate nature of good old Santa Claus), many o

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

Did Curiosity Kill the Catholic?

Greg muses how being curious can enhance and supplement our Faith. Don’t you love how children always question the things around them? “Mummy, why is the sky blue?” “Daddy, why is 1+1 equals to 2?” “Mummy, where did I come from?” As we grow up, we learn more and more things. Eventually, we begin to stop questioning every piece of information that comes our way. During one of my random thought moments (I have plenty of those, although a majority of the thoughts probably aren’t

Why do I … believe in God?

Greg weighs in on the difficult existential question, “Why do I believe in God?” Now, this topic has been discussed, debated, pondered and meditated upon ever since the beginning of humanity – whether you believe we were created in 7 days or evolved slowly over billions of years – an issue which splits even Catholics into 2 camps, not unlike Moses splitting the Red Sea. There are so many answers and ideas about this very topic by everyone scientists to saints, philosophers to

Why Learning Complements Our Faith

Garrett muses on how the faithful should not fear learning, but learn to employ it. “For although correct conduct may be better than knowledge, nevertheless knowledge precedes conduct.” – Charlemagne, De Litteris Colendis This is a quote from a letter written by the Emperor Charlemagne, who ruled over much of Europe for much of the 8th century, to Baugulf of Frida, the abbot of a monastic community. A towering figure who came to the support of the popes, Charlemagne was also

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

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

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,

Turbulence

Chris draws some parallels between spiritual growth and his (negative) encounters with turbulence. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so

The Legends of the Saints: A Reflection

Garrett shares more about the role of saints in his faith journey. One of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received in my life is a father who loved telling stories. It started with comics. He would tell me the origin stories of various superheroes from Spider-Man to Green Lantern, as I’d listen with rapt attention. But eventually, he started telling me stories of the Saints as well. There was, for example, St. Maximillian Kolbe, who so heroically gave his life for a fellow in