22 August, Saturday — Teach me!

Aug 22 – Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Whoever, therefore, reverences the Queen of heaven and earth – and let no one consider himself exempt from this tribute of a grateful and loving soul – let him invoke the most effective of Queens, the Mediatrix of Peace; let him respect and preserve peace, which is not wickedness unpunished, nor freedom without restraint; but a well-ordered harmony under the rule of the will of God; to its safeguarding and growth, the gentle urgings and commands of the Virgin Mary impel us.

Pope Pius XII 

Ez:43:1-7
Mt 23:1-12

…since you have one master, and you are all brothers…Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.” 

During my parents’ time, teachers were equally respectable to doctors and lawyers. Yet, the idea of being a teacher never occurred to me until after I graduated from university. I wanted a job in writing very badly, but I also knew that without any experience, my chances were close to none. So I did the next best thing — which was to apply for a role to teach in primary school as an alternative and I got it! However, soon after, an opportunity to work as a writer came and so I ditched the former. Twenty five years later, who knew that I’d come full circle to revisit this particular role that God has intended for me. As the life of a journalist became less attractive and stimulating, but more challenging and exhausting, I decided it was time to switch out; however, the last thing I’d expected to find myself doing was to teach at a polytechnic! As I reflected on one of my interview questions on why I wanted to teach, I discovered how God has indeed been planning and preparing me for this vocation all these years.

I love writing and I wrote for a living. God blessed me with all those good years. A few years ago, I was somehow led to join the Ministry of Catechesis, even though I had dodged that call for many years. Despite my fear and unwillingness to teach, I eventually joined the ministry as a catechist for the secondary levels, as I had also wanted to journey with my older daughter who was preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. During those four years, as much as it was frustrating to teach teenagers, I also felt compassion for the many who were hurt and broken. It was also during that time that I started to catechise other people who wanted to know more about the Catholic faith – in particular, my father’s Muslim caregiver who now wants to be a baptised Catholic.   

How did I get here? I have Jesus, the ultimate role model teacher to thank. Over the years, he has been teaching me how to be a good disciple of Christ – one who is slower to anger, more obedient to the will of God and above all, more loving towards others – even those who persecute us. In all my ‘virtual’ lessons with Jesus, I would often imagine what he would say or do in every difficult or unpleasant situation. When you put Jesus in the mix, it is very difficult to go wrong or be the bad guy. Jesus doesn’t swear, complain, scold, raise his voice nor lose his cool (even under great duress).

Brothers and sisters, it is not easy emulating Jesus; but with a bar set so high, how can we not be a much better version of ourselves?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, teach us to be obedient, humble, kind, patient, loving, gentle and compassionate like Jesus.  

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for walking with us every day, for always listening to all that troubles our hearts and for embracing us for who we are.

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