24 October, Monday — Emerging into His light

Oct 24 – Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807–1870) was a weaver and a seminary student with Blessed Francis Coll. He was ordained on 13 June 1835, and became a missionary in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. He directed retreats and founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). He became Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba on 20 May 1850 and founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate.

Following his work in the Caribbean, Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered him back to Spain, where he became confessor to Queen Isabella II and was exiled with her. He had the gift of prophecy and miracles, and was reported to have preached 10,000 sermons and published 200 works. He spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  • Patron Saint Index

Eph 4:32—5:8
Lk 13:10-17

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light.

I recently completed a module on the fundamentals of coaching and during the course, someone asked our trainer (who used to be a counsellor) what the difference was between being a counsellor and being a coach. The response helped me understand better how I could help people with my eventual certification (I passed the module and am hoping to go for certification after completing a few more). The basic tenet behind coaching is that everyone has the innate ability to find the solution within him/herself. This is different from counselling or mentoring, where the client (the person being counselled or mentored) is at a loss and needs input from a trained person.

During the practice sessions over the three-day course, we got to try out the various coaching techniques among each other (there were 26 of us). Indeed, more than a few were more inclined to offer advice/solutions to their ‘coachees’ (the ones being coached). We had been pre-empted that while we were being coached, we should not role-play and should offer real situations/challenges for the budding coaches to work with. I reflected later on with my better half, who herself is studying for a counselling degree, on what I found enlightening during the course.

I shared that as members of ministry cell groups, we had learnt how to listen while others were speaking and to remain silent. This is something that I found extremely beneficial during my course because many other participants were finding it tough to stay silent (it was pretty obvious on Zoom). Good intentions aside, it is important in coaching to allow every coachee the chance to slowly navigate his/her way around to a viable solution which he/she should eventually arrive at.

Brothers and sisters, isn’t that what God kind of does with us? Our all-knowing, all-loving Father allows us to make our life choices, even though He has His plans for us. And each time we celebrate or fall, He is there for us and with us. He speaks to us through others, sends people our way, brings us to different crossroads in our journeys…and makes us explore our innermost selves each time we decide to go for a Sacrament of Reconciliation or sit before His presence at mass or in the adoration room. He is our ultimate coach in life, empowering us to make decisions, enabling us to rejoice or suffer the consequences, then embracing us in our joys and in our grief.

Why is he such a benevolent, caring, nurturing God to all of us? Is it because we truly are made in His likeness, and that innately, the light that shines within us, however faint or small, is His light, His spirit which dwells in us. A spirit not born of fear or anger, but a spirit that is meant to light the paths of others? As children of light, I believe we are to share that light with all those who live in darkness. How can we go about spreading His love and rekindling the faith in others around us who have lost hope?  

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, the world needs more enlightenment, to illuminate the paths of those who have been heading down darkened roads. Help us to see your love and your light in others, so that we may band together and spread your message of hope to those who need it most in our communities.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, gracious and loving Father, for your daily gifts and for sending messengers of hope our way each and every day.

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