Dec 9 – Memorial for St. Juan Diego, hermit, layman
John (1474-1548) was born an impoverished free man in a strongly class-conscious society. He was a farm worker, a field labourer, and a mat maker. He became a married layman with no children. Even as a pagan, he was a mystical and religious man, and became an adult convert to Christianity at around age 50, taking the name Juan Diego. He was widowed in 1529.
He was a visionary to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Guadalupe on 9 December 1531, leaving him the image known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. On 20 December 2001, a second miracle attributed to Juan Diego’s intervention was decreed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and was approved by Pope John Paul II. He was canonized on 31 July 2002.
- Patron Saint Index
“… the kingdom of heaven has been subject to violence and the violent are taking it by storm.”
It was Martin Luther King who once said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
I once chanced upon a Youtube video which greatly amused me. The video stated that in this world, there are 3 categories of people who are deemed the most dangerous types of people in the world – psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellians. When I first heard this, it brought a wry smile to my lips. Yup, I can identify a number of people who would fit that bill — some historical figures like Hitler, and some more contemporary ones like ex-Presidents and his cronies (no names mentioned – but I think you can guess pretty easily). Some of my ex-bosses would also fit nicely into one or more of those categories. And at different points in my own life, I guess I would also have exemplified some of the qualities of such individuals.
So, I got to thinking. It would seem that if there is one human trait that underscores these 3 groups of people, it would be — their self-absorption. These people, without exception, are the center of their own universes. Living in their own delusional worlds where social norms, morality and values are non-existent; or their excessive self-adulation and pridefulness, or their total insistence that there is only one agenda that matters – their own. If we took a look at the signs of the times – historically and in the modern world – it is quite easily discernible. Never has the world been more in danger and at risk of implosion than when morality, human decency, strong social values, the well-being of the community over that of the individual. Where lies have replaced truth, where hate has replaced love, where might had replaced right and where man has replaced God.
Archbishop William has spoken on numerous occasions about the danger of how secularism, materialism, relativism and individualism are eating away at the very essence of our faith, tearing apart the moral fabric of faith at its seams. So much so that it’s worked its way into the Catholic SG200 prayer. At the heart of these forces – we seem to see the same traits of self-absorption at work – delusions of true happiness found in a YOLO mindset or in excessive pridefulness/vanity or where one’s own agenda/purpose supersedes everyone and everything else. Are we living in such times? Perhaps not quite yet, but we need to seriously ask ourselves – are we well on the way down that slippery path? What is at the heart of our struggles of faith today? Man is slowly but surely replacing God as the supreme being of the Universe. At least, that’s where the psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellians are trying to lead us towards.
But perhaps the most frightening statement from the video was this – that there is a disproportionately high ratio of psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellians in the high offices of corporate, political, social and yes, religious organizations. IF this was true, then it’s pretty scary stuff. Is it not? I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, trying to be a doomsday seer. But I am saying that we need to awake from our stupor – the signs of the times are already here, now. And if we remain in our stupor, indifference and apathy – the psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellians might still have a shot at final success.
But before we lose all hope, let me throw this out to all psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellians out there – current and aspiring. Remember this — Our God is still very much alive and well. He is still in-charge. And He is still calling the shots. He is still Master of the Universe. Take heed of the prophet in Wisdom 6:1-5 — “Hear, O kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse! Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude and lord it over throngs of peoples! Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinise your counsels. Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God. Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted”.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Justus Teo)
Prayer: Father, help us. We face so many crossroads in our journey and we are often led astray by the evil one and by the evil within us. Help us when we become deluded, despondent and discouraged. Be our Good Shepherd and lead us away from anything that will lead us to perdition, and away from your saving love for us.
Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for not letting go of us for all the times we have chosen to let go of You. For never giving up on us for all the times we have long given up on ourselves and on You.