15 May, Monday — Providing a Sanctuary

Monday of the 6th Week of Easter

Acts 16:11-15
Jn 15:28-16:4

Come and stay with us

Since we were kids, my parents regularly entertained at home and there was never a shortage of friends, colleagues, even bosses who would share meals in our home. Naturally, my siblings and I got used to having to share bathrooms, sometimes even giving up our bedrooms so that guests could stay the night. I am blessed to have had such generous, open-hearted parents and I fully understood and appreciated the gratitude these guests must have felt when we were about to leave Dubai for home as we made our transition back to Singapore more than a decade ago.

I had to hand over my apartment and we needed a place to stay for two nights prior to our departure. Without hesitation, a good friend who lived within the same apartment complex offered us a room. Mind you, he was married with two young children, but the couple would not hear of us spending unnecessary money to go stay in a hotel. I never thought much about it until I was going through some old blogs. The memories of those carefree days and the friends we made for life came flooding back.

Each week, we welcome all sorts to the Catholic Spirituality Centre (CSC) on Fridays for Friday Growth. And each week, the worship leader asks at the start of P&W, “Who is here for the first time?” Inevitably, a few hands will shoot up and we all break out in applause. Priests who are invited to give talks at the centre, often comment on how we are ever eager to open our arms to welcome fellow worshippers. For me, no one is a stranger because everyone who comes is seeking God. Like the woman who opened her heart to Paul, we open our hearts to those who are in need. It may not be about putting a roof over someone’s head but more about providing a sanctuary where our brothers and sisters can come and listen to God’s Word; and to enjoy the company of many who have had their own personal encounters with the Lord.

That feeling of safety and security is something that I have felt before. When I was filled with doubt, worry, even fear; my American friend offered it to me through a simple gesture. A gesture that we will never forget and, hopefully, will be able to return someday.

Brothers and sisters, surely then, if the Lord were to offer us sanctuary, we should jump at the chance. We will soon be welcoming retreatants to CSC for the next Conversion Experience Retreat (CER#68) after a 3-year hiatus. From the balloting exercise held in mid April, I know that many of our brothers and sisters are in search of God. I also know that those who come will definitely find a sanctuary for five days.

(Todays OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Lord, we pray that you continue to shower us with your love and mercy, providing us with a sanctuary so that we can worship and glorify you each day.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the friends who have sheltered us in one way or another during our difficult periods.

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