24 November, Thursday — Remember to Sing

Nov 24 – Memorial for St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest, martyr, and companions, Martyrs of Vietnam

Between the arrival of the first Portuguese missionary in 1533, through the Dominicans and then the Jesuit missions of the 17th century, the politically inspired persecutions of the 19th century, and the Communist-led terrors of the 20th, there have been many thousands of Catholics and other Christians murdered for their faith in Vietnam. Some were priests, nuns, or religious brothers. Some were lay people, some were foreign missionaries, but most were native Vietnamese killed by their own government and people.

Record keeping being what it was, and because the government did not care to keep track of the people it murdered, we have no information on the vast bulk of the victims. In 1988, Pope John Paul II recognized over a hundred of them, including some whose Causes we do have, and in commemoration of those we do not. They are collectively known as the Martyrs of Vietnam.

St. Andrew Dung Lac (1785-1839) was a Vietnamese priest who worked in the missions with the priests of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris (MEP). He was imprisoned and repeatedly tortured in the persecutions of Minh-Meng. He died with St. Peter Thi, beheaded in Hanoi for the offense of being a priest. He was canonized on 19 Jun 1988 by Pope John Paul II. He is one of the Martyrs of Vietnam.

  • Patron Saint Index

Apo 18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9
Lk 21:20-28

Serve the Lord with gladness, come before him, singing for joy.

Recently, I started living with a family who has a live-in helper. I needed help with something, so I went around looking for her. I heard her first before I saw her. She was ironing clothes and she was singing while doing it. I found that scene simply beautiful. You see, I hate ironing, but when I saw her singing while she was ironing, it somehow made the task of ironing look enjoyable. (I saw this scene just a few days before I wrote this reflection. So I claim that God had orchestrated that to inspire me for this reflection.)

Getting back to the topic. Reflecting on life and the million things we have to do, it’s so easy to lose our joy for things, and to forget that what we do contributes to the building of the Kingdom of God. Many of us would fall into the situations where we do tasks just to get over them. I also fall into that trap. And when I do, the task becomes lifeless.

However, today’s reading invites us to always ‘serve the Lord with gladness’. We know how difficult doing this can always be, but here’s where God marvellously gives us ways and graces to accomplish the tasks He sets for us. He gifted us with music and singing! Without music and songs, this world would be such a dull place. Music is therapeutic and it helps uplift our spirits. It helps us be glad more often.

The scene from a few days ago keeps coming back to me. So let’s imagine a time before the fall, when Adam and Eve were working diligently in the garden. Let’s imagine a hot, sunny day where Adam was working, maybe gathering food so he can bring it to where he lives with Eve. And then, God is walking around the garden. God hears Adam humming, singing. I imagine that probably puts a smile on God’s face. And then, as God walks around the clearing, he sees Adam diligently picking up fruits while he sings. I’m sure God’s heart would have melted at such a sight! God would have probably thought, ‘This is the reason why I created man. To see him enjoy the goodness around him.’ He would have been so happy seeing Adam enjoying himself while doing his task.

Not only is singing good for us, it also makes God happy. Today, as we go about our work, and especially the work that we dread, let us remember to perhaps hum a little tune, or even to sing. God is watching us so let’s take the opportunity to put a smile on His face.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: For this time of prayer, I’d like to invite you to sing a song of praise to the Lord. It doesn’t matter what song it is, maybe it’s something you’ve heard in Mass. Maybe it’s a love song that could easily be about God. Just sing 😊 and let us know in the comments below what you sang. I was humming ‘How Beautiful’ by Sr Bubbles Bandojo.

Thanksgiving: Thank you God, for the gift of music.

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