Vanitas vanitatum

My younger sister graduated from high school this past June. She won several awards. She was recognized for her outstanding volunteer engagement, for the highest grade in one of her courses, and a ‘catholic’ award. I was so proud of my little sister.

grad (2)(The typical awkward photo: my sister Joan’s graduation, June 2013)

This milestone in my sister’s life was so incredible to partake in, to share in her joy and hard work was priceless. All this hype, however, reminded me of a my own high school graduation. When I graduated from St. Pius X high school, I, too, received some incredible awards and generous scholarships. The coolest award I received was the Shepherd’s of Good Hope Award, which only one person in the whole city received. Though I am not the type to brag, I will in this post in order to shed light onto the absurdity I discovered in my achievements.

In my last few months of high school, I worked quite closely with one of the guidance teachers (whom I will name Mr. Gray) for scholarships and awards. He would tell me whether I received an award, would let me know when and how to proceed with the interviews for the awards, etc. He became a mentor, and for the first time, staff, other than those who taught me, began to recognize me. He was encouraging and supportive. On my graduation day, all the teachers, staff and students at the school congratulated me and I felt so important; I felt like I was on top of the world. My friends were proud, my family were proud. I was proud.

My first semester of university, I returned to my high school. As I walked into the main office, I was filled with pride and anticipation to be recognized. To my great dismay, not a single soul fed my ego. I was upset, and hurt that Mr. Gray didn’t recognize me.

Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanias.

I learned how my ego goes up the roof when too much attention was paid to my physical “achievements”. It’s not bad in itself to be congratulated for hard work, but I allowed it to enrapture me to the point I became selfish and thought myself to be the best, unbeatable even! This, in turn, became a springboard for my pride. It was a very subtle trap, but I am grateful the Lord revealed this to me, despite the pain it caused me.¬† May we always be vigilant in every situation, mundane or extravagant, so as to either avoid or overcome the temptation to become God.

Deliver us, oh Lord, of our pride.

Teach us humility.

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The Mundane Snowflake

It’s winter and its cold. Though I do not enjoy -40 degrees Celsius¬† weather, I do enjoy walking outside when it’s snowing. Not just any snowy weather, but the big flakes and mild weather.¬† The tickle you feel of having snow fall on your nose or your eyelashes is precious. I was reminded of a reflection from 2011 on a flight to Paris.

I had a window seat. At one point in the journey, I noticed there was frost on the window. I don’t think I had ever paid such close attention to frost before. I saw, on the window, a network of varying intricate designs of snowflakes. No two snowflakes were the same. Each was unique, authentic, and beautiful. It was beautiful because of its simplicity and delicacy. I began to wonder: is it not the same Lord, who made the universe, who made man and woman, who also made snowflakes? I pondered the temporality of snowflakes. They last, but a minute. The minute you touch one, it melts. Or the second it falls to the ground, it becomes part of the snow which everyone steps on. A snowflake becomes merely ‘snow.’ It seems rather foolish that God would design such a temporal creature so intricately and complicated, only to be destroyed by a second.

Snowflakes

I am a creature so intricately designed, and complicated (in terms of bodily functions at least). I, too, will be no more at one point in time, just as a snowflake. This awareness leaves me in awe of the God of heaven and earth. How he intended to create that one snowflake different from any other one which ever existed, even though it may not spend that much time on earth! How he intentionally created me, different from any other who have existed! How he decided that I may get to spend a little more time than a snowflake, here on earth!

What a great and noble God.

BLOG RECOMMENDATION # 1: triathletewithacollar

BLOG RECOMMENDATION # 1: triathletewithacollar

This is a blog I happened upon a few days ago. I read a lot of the articles and each one of them is simple and authentic. I enjoyed the intriguing new perspectives he took for certain issues. The author of this blog is a young seminarian, Jeremy. Through my limited communication with him, I have learned he is a genuine young man who has a most fervent love for the Lord. I hope you are touched with what he has to say. He will be praying for you, so pray for him and his discernment as well.

SALT and LIGHT: Are we too preoccupied with the new evangelization?

This is a wonderful, thought provoking interview with Marcel Dion, co-founder of Magnificat Ministries (http://www.magnificatministries.ca/). He raises some critical points worth hearing regarding the New Evangelization and what it truly means.

I believe he speaks Truth. Though some may think it to be too strong of an opinion, I think it’s true wisdom, rather than opinion, revealed to them by the Lord.