Saturday, March 12, 2005


St Francis Xavier's
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
Lord prepare me
To be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy
Tried and true

With thanksgiving,
I'll be a living
For you

I will never forget the time we sang this song on the very first day of d'NA on 1 December 2004. It never fails to encourage me and remind me of what I'm meant to be.

The word 'sanctuary' appears umpteen times in Leviticus, and again another timely message to keep me through NS. Indeed I've been discovering countless gems in this oft-feared, almost never-read book of the Old Testament.

Indeed, Sivin, do consider the paraphrase!

Last Tuesday, Joshua (Johnson, not the son of Nun!) and I attended Mass at St Francis Xavier's Church; it was my first time at a Roman Catholic Mass.

Mass started proper at 7 p.m., but we arrived an hour early (the website indicated 6 p.m.!) so we had ample time for meditation before pre-Mass intercession at 6.30 p.m.

In one of the intercessory prayers, the congregation was to respond, "Lord Jesus, may your death bring us to life." This reminded me of the Evanescence song Bring Me To Life, which is probably the most powerful salvation anthem I've heard lately.

Perhaps the most obvious element in the air of Mass is the solemnity of the proceedings. Congregants came in noiselessly; some made the sign of the cross with the 'holy water' at the entrances and genuflected in the aisle before taking their seats.

Two altar boys helped the priest with everything from preparing the Bible at the pulpit, to assisting during the Communion. One of them lit the candles flanking the altar table in such a priestly manner (again, reminded me of Exodus/Leviticus -- the parts about the lampstand).

At such a young age, they are already being groomed in the area of service unto God. They take their work very seriously, and carry themselves with such discipline and grace. Very much like Jedi apprentices, who more often than not begin young.

Indeed, with all the solemnity, silence and kneeling (of which there was plenty throughout Mass), I can only arrive at one word to describe what I experienced: reverence.

Forget floodlighted auditoriums, over-exuberant ushers, pre-service banter in the pews and concert-type worship; this brought me closer to the mystery of God than almost anything else in my life, the only exception being d'NA.

Perhaps I will be able to attend a Catholic church during my NS stint. Soo Tian and I managed to find Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches in Segamat (nearest town to my camp, apparently).

Well then, less than 40 hours till the start of NS. I can only rely on the pillar of cloud and fire to lead while I'm there, and as David says, to go with an open heart and mind. In other words, an open 'Nous'... is this part of what we were prepared for?


Anonymous said...

Yes, reverence, indeed. I hope to go to an Anglican church some time this month. :)


Anonymous said...

Yes, reverence, indeed. I hope to go to an Anglican church some time this month. :)


silentsoliloquy said...

I'll never forget my own experience at the Anglican church... though it'll be cool to go for a mass one day. Nevertheless, 'tis remains interesting to me how people take something good and cause it to lose all meaning. Snatches of Frank McCourt's thoughts in Angela's Ashes and 'Tis continue to make me wonder... about what is found in tradition.