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Friday, March 14, 2014

Why study the Word?

Not for pride: "Never read the word so that you may appear learned and wise, but study for the mortification of your sins." (Imitation of Christ, Against Vain and Worldly Knowledge). It came to me that I can therefore study with more focus the Gospels, St. James and the other epistlles. It is rather shocking to find that I have been so remiss (mildly put) with flaws that escaped my notice entirely! A lot of mortification, but here I am and it is Lent!

Friday, March 07, 2014

The eternal character of happiness and our short-lived and vain pursuits

The Imitation of Christ says under "Man Must Not Be Immersed in Business" (paraphrased) that when one has obtained some pursuit, even one pursued with great enthusiasm, he/she would subsequently lose interest, since the affections towards the object of desire is not lasting. Perhaps it is in our nature, being finite beings, to flit from one thing to another. This is more true today than it ever was, in prosperous societies where people can afford a great many toys, games, and entertainments. But I note how frivolous it seems to jump at each new "thing"! What happens when no new thing can be found? What if the next new thing is unaffordable? The happiest seem to be those who find something with a lasting character: love, family, a home, a long and stable career. There is no flitting about this way or that. The less temporary the source or object of happiness, the greater the satisfaction, I think. That probably can't be found in a gadget or toy store! I know I have it in my family, much of whom shall simply outlive me, so that is where I should invest my pursuits. It is not a huge family, but counting extended family, my parish, and the entire people of God, that is a huge family. That I have them should fill me with contentment and gratitude!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

An excellent visit with familiy back in the Philippines

Yes it was. Even if we all caught a bug somewhere along the way (no idea if it's Australian, Chinese or Filipino). K2 (Kid#2) weathered it best with just some hoarseness (didn't stop his horsing around). K4 (you get the picture) and I ended up with high fevers, headaches and antibiotics (I'm finishing my third course now). The missus has just stopped coughing a month after we all started. We missed a few visits to places and friends as a result. Probably a third of our 25-day journey was ruined to a certain extent.

But it was a great visit. One of my older brothers came home with his family from overseas. We got together with our sisters and their families. I visited my youngest brother and his family. Cousins got together across my generation and my children's. And of course, shopping in the Philippines is always good.

But this, I think, was what I loved the most: my kids mingling with cousins their age or a few years older, and aunts, uncles, grandparents, grand-aunts, etc, who spoiled them silly. It's that sense of being part of something much bigger that makes these trips worth the cost. Human beings are social animals, we are told. More - better - than that, though, I think we're always members of a family.

Freddie Mercury sang "who wants to live forever?" in the movie, Highlander, many years ago. It's a haunting question for which the answer entirely depends, I think, in whether or not you are isolated or live within a family. Living alone forever is terrible to contemplate. Living forever with a large, boisterous, messy, always interesting and entertaining family is something I'd like to do. Luckily, I need not think of it wishfully. I already am. :-)