20 September, Monday — The Things We Tend To Hide

Sep 20 – Memorial for St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions, Korean Martyrs; Memorial for Sts. Laurent Imbert, Bishop Jacques Chastan, Priest (martyrs of College General, Penang, Malaysia)

There are 103 martyrs in this group, consisting of priests, missionaries and lay people who died in the early days of the Church in Korea. Most were murdered during waves of persecutions in 1839, 1846 and 1867.

St. Andrew Kim Taegon’s father was a martyr. Andrew was baptised at age 15, then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao. He was Korea’s first native priest, and the first priest to die for the faith in Korea.

St. Laurent Imbert was a missionary to China. He taught at the College General, Penang from 1821 to 1822. He was named Vicar Apostolic of Korea on 26 April 1836. He and St. Jacques (or Jacob) were arrested for the crime of evangelisation, and then tortured and martyred.

  • Patron Saint Index

Ez 1:1-6
Lk 8:16-18

“…nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light.”

I recently watched in awe, the fantastic runs of two hitherto unknown teenage tennis players — Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez — who played against each other, in their maiden Grand Slam finals at the US Open. Apart from Raducanu, who made some news at Wimbledon earlier in the summer, no one else would have bet on two teenagers playing against each other in one of the most storied tennis tournaments, at one of the most storied venues. It just goes to show that when talent is nurtured to its fullest potential, there is no keeping it hidden from others. For me, there was no loser in this contest, but a win-win for women’s tennis in general. The future is indeed bright if these two phenoms continue on their trajectories and keep facing each other in finals.

As sons and daughters of God, each of us has been created in His image, with unique talents and gifts that are only ours. And while the we can debate on nature vs nurture till we turn blue, and whether all of us are given the same opportunities to develop those gifts, much of it depends on how supportive (or not) our parents are during our formative years. Obviously, the more supportive our parents are, the more chance we have to achieve our fullest potential. In Singapore, I can think of Joseph Schooling, our Olympic champion from 2016, who was given every opportunity to become the best in the world at his sport, because his parents fully supported him.

What about our spiritual potential then? How many times have we been blind to the opportunities that our loving Father has sent our way? So many of us don’t take the time to discern our God-given gifts and talents — we tend to either complain that God doesn’t listen to us, doesn’t care about us, is too busy fixing someone else. Or, we shy away from opportunities given, we hide behind others, we think too lowly of ourselves. Either way, brothers and sisters, we are all far from the reality. Our God, omniprescent, omniscient, cares so deeply for us that He WANTS us to flourish and to succeed. Yes, we ask ourselves, “Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?” Well, WE ARE His Chosen Ones — His precious sons and daughters. And just like any proud father, He is supporting us steadfastly, whatever paths we choose; EVEN IF we choose the wrong one.

And when we go down those rocky paths, and start questioning our ownselves, look to the light that God provides us — however small, however faint. Because as long as we desire to let our hearts shine and let our talents be known to others, God will always find a way; even if we choose not to display our God-given talents, He will find a way to let us shine. All we need to do is to listen and discern His voice.    

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask for you to flood our hearts with your promptings so that we can truly discern our talents and offer them to others in your service. 

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who guides us in our comings and goings, who shows us the paths and then leads us down them.

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