For over 25 years, I was so focused on my career achievements and the attainment of the 4Cs that I lost my spiritual life and became a Sunday Catholic.
I had regular headaches that turned into migraines, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol level which required medication. My neurologist advised me to change my lifestyle. That was when I became aware that my faith needed a renewal.
Contemplating the Word of God
As I sought to regain my spiritual life, I met with a Spiritual Director. At my first meeting, I received a message through studying Matthew 5:4, “Happy the gentle, they shall have the earth for their heritage”. Another powerful message came to me through contemplating the story of Martha and Mary.
Like Martha, I felt I was working so hard, struggling to do everything, and complaining that others were doing less. Unknowingly I had built up a lot of frustration, resentment and anger; carrying negative energy which affected the people around me.
In reflection of Luke 10:42 where Jesus said, “there is need of only one thing, which Mary has chosen the better part, and not to be taken away from her”, I came to appreciate that what was truly important was being in the presence of Christ.
Living a Contemplative Life
Along with learning deeply what God wants to tell me through the Word, He planted the seed of contemplation when Christian meditation was introduced to me. Through the weekly sessions, the foundation of my spiritual life became nourished, which provided a good ground for spiritual growth and the budding of contemplative fruits.
I also began to do contemplative walking. As I went through the park connectors, I turned my attention to the details I see along the trails. With the daily meditation and contemplative walking, I gradually got healthier.
I became attuned to God’s presence in the silence, as well as in the sight, fragrance and sounds of nature. The sound of lapping waves by the seaside and the soft breeze in the parks provided an awakening to gentleness, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The beauty of creation inspired me to ponder that God is truly everywhere.
Walking is My Prayer
I had a great experience walking the Camino from a town in north Portugal to Santiago in Spain some years back. I had planned to go again in 2020, but due to the travel ban during the current pandemic, I have been inspired to make a local 100km walking pilgrimage instead.
This gave me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and do a 20km walk each day to visit a few churches once a week. With each pilgrimage, I visited 15 churches, but only as pit stops since the premises were closed to visitors.
Growing Spiritually Day by Day
My spiritual growth is an on-going process, as I grow in awareness and give my full attention to the present, in the tasks I do every moment, and being happy in carrying out simple things every day.
I live my faith in being a light to people around me. During my service as an Extraordinary Communion Minister, I developed a great interest in visiting the aged and sick to give them Holy Communion at their homes. There, I find opportunities to share with them the peace and presence of God in stillness.
My prayer for the Catholic Church’s 200th anniversary
My prayer and hope for the Church is to allow every Catholic to experience a contemplative dimension in their prayers so as to find meaning in silence, stillness and solitude. I pray that all of us practise simplicity, humility, obedience with a deeper awareness of the present and to totally connect with God.