26 May, Thursday — Wisdom and Understanding

The Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1:1-11
Eph 1:17-23
Lk 24:46-53

May He enlighten the eyes of your mind, so that you can see what hope His call holds for you.

Let me begin today’s reflection by sharing with you a story about my niece. She is an early millennial, a generational cohort stereotyped as dream followers, confident, working for passion and financial stability rather than being rich, seeking work-life balance, and they treasure experiences rather than material possessions etc, etc. On the flipside, they are self-entitled and expect employers to adapt to their needs rather than that of the organization’s.

I am not saying my niece possesses all of those traits. You see, my niece is a very fortunate girl. At home, she does not have to lift a finger to do anything. Everything is done by a helper. She does not have to make ‘practical’ career choices, but can pick meaningful, altruistic ones. Her parents provide well for her and her sibling, so with basic needs well taken care of, they have the opportunity to explore higher order needs. They get to choose their preferred life paths and follow their callings. My niece has a Masters in Art Therapy from America. So I thought she might pursue a career as a counsellor or a psychologist. So when she spoke of her desire to discern becoming a religious sister, it surprised me. My heart wondered if she was going to be able to adjust to community living and having to give up certain life comforts.

On 20 May, my niece took her solemn profession as a religious sister. I am sure it has been not been an easy journey for her and there is some way ahead; but I am so proud and happy for her. At the same time, I am ashamed of myself. I failed to see how God works in the most miraculous ways, and in ways we cannot begin to grasp or wish to comprehend. My human mind pigeon-holed my niece and God has surprised me (maybe even gently reproaching me), by showing me what He is capable of – shaping and moulding us into instruments of his love and generosity for others. You see, brothers and sisters, our lives in the end, are measured by how well we have served and loved others, according to God’s purpose. You could be a parent, a sister or brother, a petrol pump attendant, a teacher, a nurse, a lawyer, a caregiver; whatever one may be, God sees how successfully we use our vocations to benefit others.

May He enlighten the eyes of your mind, so that you can see what hope His call holds for you. Indeed, today’s second reading once again reminds me that my eye be opened to realize what hope His call has for me and you.

A few days ago, I completed a gruelling four months of assignments and exams — for one semester. I ask myself all the time why I am choosing to go back to school and torture myself at this ‘ripe old age’. The stress at times is just too much. And when I look at the journey ahead of me, it promises more assignments, more exams and more stress. And I so miss painting and even writing reflections. Again, God speaks to me in the readings. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. I am reminded today that when I said yes to this invitation, I had no idea what I was going to do with this knowledge I am gaining. I simply said ‘yes’ because I knew in my heart that the Lord had a plan for this invitation. Along the way, I lost sight of that conviction. I began to doubt myself and question the purpose.

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, I pray for a spirit of wisdom and understanding. That I may know, or at the very least, have peace in my heart, that what I am doing is what God wants of me. That it is not what my human vanity craves.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, I pray for a spirit of wisdom and understanding. That the eyes of my heart be enlightened, to be brave enough, to trust you in where you are leading me.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for the hope you promise us.

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