23 December, Wednesday — Do not ignore your spiritual life!

Dec 23 – Memorial for St. John of Kanty, presbyter

St. John of Kanty (1390-1473) was a Polish country lad. A brilliant student at the University of Krakow, Poland, he became a priest and professor of theology at the University of Krakow, where he was falsely accused and ousted by university rivals.

At the age of 41, he was assigned as parish priest at Olkusz, Bohemia. He took his position seriously and was terrified of responsibility, but did his best. For a long time, that wasn’t enough for his parishioners, but in the end he won their hearts. After several years in his parish, he returned to Krakow and taught Scripture for the rest of his life.

John was a serious, humble man, generous to a fault with the poor, sleeping little, eating no meat and little of anything else. He was a pilgrim to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by Turks. He made four pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When warned to look after his health, he pointed out that the early desert fathers lived long lives in conditions that had nothing to recommend them but the presence of God.

At the time of his death, John was so well loved that his veneration began immediately. For years, his doctoral gown was worn by graduates receiving advanced degrees at the University of Krakow. He was declared patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737 by Pope Clement XII, 30 years before his final canonization.

  • Patron Saint Index

Mal 3:1-4, 23-24
Luke 1:57-66

“What will this child turn out to be?”

When I was in Primary 1, I remember getting a decent score for one of my final year examinations. It was decent by my standard because I had passed, but of course, my parents expected a better grade.

Sometimes, parents may succeed in forcing their children to fit a certain mould, like going into a certain school or career path that parents pre-determine for their children, instead of letting their children develop their own future. I acknowledge that societal norms and expectations, together with rising costs of living, may serve as catalysts for parents to naturally want the best for their children. But at what expense? Work and school at the expense of spiritual life is dangerous. It is sad to see that while children may be doing well in life, their spiritual development is neglected or side-lined. It may be difficult to find a common time to pray together as a family every day, but it is not as difficult for the family to say grace before and after family meals, and for each member of the family to spend a few minutes with Jesus every day, whether at home, in school or on private or public transport.

In time, whatever way children turn out to be, as long as they remain close to the vine, I believe that Jesus and Our Lady will always guide them and make sure that they do not go astray and get lost in the darkness of evil.

(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to spend more prayer and reflection time during this moment of Advent. Please heal broken, abusive and dysfunctional families, and guide these children to peace in their lives. Please also help parents to understand the significance of being spiritually well and having a prayerful life, and passing this importance to their children. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for always being with us, guiding us in life, and listening to our unspoken words during prayer. Thank you for being with us in our family. Amen.

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