12 May, Wednesday – Something has to die for something to live

May 12 – Memorial for Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs; Memorial for St. Pancras, Martyr

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus (d. 98) were soldiers in the imperial Roman army, and members of the Praetorian Guard. They were converts to Christianity and baptized by St. Peter the Apostle. They were exiled for their faith, suffered with St. Flavia Domitilla, and were martyred together by beheading.

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St. Pancras (c. 290) was a 14-year-old orphan brought to Rome by his uncle St. Dionysius. He was a convert to Christianity, and was martyred with St. Nereus, St. Achilleus, and St. Domitilla for publicly proclaiming his faith.

Pope St. Vitalian sent his relics from the cemetery of Calepodius in Rome to the British Isles as part of the evangelization of England, so they would have the relics of the Church at large, and to install in altars in new churches. St. Augustine of Canterbury dedicated the first church in England to St. Pancras, and subsequent churches throughout England are similarly named after him.

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Acts 17:15,22-18:1
Jn 16:12-15

“I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.”

I have often pondered on this. If I had the gift of precognition – how would I have led my life?

We cannot control many events in our lives – for example we don’t get to choose our parents, our siblings, our relatives. However, there are certain events that were fully up to our own choices, like the path we took after graduation, our choice of life partners, whether one chooses a life of debauchery and merrymaking, or one of responsibility.

When I reflect on my own life – 2 events stood out for me.

  1. Marriage – I got married at 25. A year later, the marriage fell apart and we divorced civilly some 5 years later. I was living abroad at the time.
  2. Business – I had a real passion for church vestments and paraments. What started out as passion and love for liturgical vestments lead to a small business, which eventually led to a fallout and breakdown of a relationship.

If I had known the outcome of these life choices, would I have gone down each path? The quick answer will have be ‘no’. Who would want to endure the hurt and pain of betrayal, and the inconvenience of the legal implications of ending relationships? However, now that quite a few years have passed and as I look back, each of these incidences have brought about some rather beautiful outcomes. Something has to die for something to live. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

There is only so much humans can learn at one time — Jesus, so merciful and loving knows this. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus gives his disciples his farewell speech, knowing that His time draws near when He has to leave them. Jesus declares that He does not have enough time to say all that He would like to his followers. Moreover, they would not have the ability to hear it. Jesus, however, promises them the Advocate, who will reveal to them all things which is to come, at the right time.

It is impossible to understand and take in, over a short period of time, all that Jesus has to teach us. As our journey through life continues, the Holy Spirit gradually unfolds God’s message so that it speaks to us at appropriate times in our lives. Our capacity to take in what God has to reveal to us is expandable — when we become more open, the Spirit of Truth will reveal more, and guide us into all the truth. Jesus wants to draw us into the life of God. He knows how anxious we can be, both to let go of the past and to trust what the future will bring. Can we speak to him about our anxieties?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Jesus, you are truly magnificent. For by the gift of the Advocate, you have never left us. We pray for open hearts and minds to let the Holy Spirit lead us to the truth about God, about You, and our own lives.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for understanding how weak and vulnerable we are. Thank you Lord, for sending us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us as we muddle our way through this life.

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