How to wait

What are you waiting for? A more meaningful life? A better job? A physical healing? The completion of a project? A problem to go away? The conversion of a relative?

 

Mary

Most people are obliged to wait for one thing or another. In the gospel you will find many blessed individuals having to bear their share of waiting. Mary is a prime example. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced:

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”… And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:30–31, 38, RSV)

With her assent, Mary opened herself to much waiting throughout her existence. The carrying of Jesus in her womb for nine months was only the beginning.

 

Jesus

When Jesus was twelve years old, Joseph and Mary discovered that their son was missing on their return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After a three-day search, they found him in the temple, asking the learned men questions and answering theirs, astounding them with his intelligence.

His mother complained, and he gave his answer:

“My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” He replied, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:48–49, NJB)

Jesus yearned to start doing his Father’s work; he wanted to get on with the vocation he felt he had; his family could hardly hold him back. Yet, even with his advanced intelligence and understanding, he consented to wait. And for two decades he studied and worked in Nazareth, quietly growing up, and patiently getting ready for his future task.

 

The Apostles

The apostles waited too, though not for quite as long. Soon after his resurrection, Jesus commanded them to proclaim to all nations repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. But first, he said:

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49, NIV)

They were to await the descent of the Holy Spirit. Not until Pentecost, several days later, were they to begin their mission. It was then that they burst forth in an explosion of power given from on high.

 

How to Wait

Whatever we are waiting for, we should make the most of the intervening time.

How? Let us gain some skills in this matter from the apostles, from Jesus, and from his mother.

 

Learn from the Apostles

After being told to remain in the city until the Holy Spirit came upon them, the apostles

“returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Lk 24:52–53, NIV)

They stayed together. They benefited from each other’s company and support. They missed Jesus, but, in a group, they were able to cope. They did not go about carrying sad faces and forlorn hearts. They waited with joy; they praised God; they prayed in the temple.

When we have to wait, let us do the same: staying in community with holy friends. Let us help each other, and be joyful. Since worrying and fretting do not make things any better, let us try praising God together.

Let us reserve time for prayer, especially at church in the presence of Our Eucharistic Lord, adoring him, listening to him and following his guidance. He may be priming and grooming us for an assignment that only we can be trained to perform.

 

Learn from Jesus

How did Jesus live before taking up his public ministry?

“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them… And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Lk 2:51, 52, RSV)

Jesus placed himself under the authority of his father and mother. He lived in obedience. He remained hidden. It was not till about age thirty that he worked his first miracle at a wedding in Cana.

We, too, should be obedient to God our Father, and to Mary our mother: by keeping God’s commands recorded in the Bible, and by living the messages that Our Lady passed on through her many apparitions on earth over the centuries.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom.” Many of us, as we become older, hardly become any wiser. Day after day we make the same complaints. Week after week we shed the same tears. Month after month we hold on to our hatreds and conflicts, and deal with problems through the same futile routine. We moan and groan but seldom learn from our experiences.

Jesus, on the other hand, grew in wisdom. And not only that, he also increased “in favor with God and man.” He became more and more what his Father wanted him to be; he got along better and better with his fellow human beings.

Let us seriously examine how we can improve our way of life, and how we can enrich our relationship with God and with neighbour. If we are to mature like Jesus, we should read from the gospels every day, listening to what He says, and doing all that He tells us.

 

Learn from Mary

What did Mary do after being informed that she would conceive and bear a son?

“Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth… Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.” (Lk 1:39–40, 56, NJB)

Instead of staying cooped up in the house, moping around, and worrying about her concerns and problems, Mary went immediately to visit her saintly cousin. She went outside, she travelled. She helped in the preparations for the birth of John the Baptist.

In the same manner, while awaiting the arrival of a future event, we should not become totally isolated. Call on good people and friends. Visit them, and invite them to visit you. Go outdoors into the fresh air and open skies. And do not just sit in your room hoping for things to happen; start something yourself. Join your parish prayer group. Cultivate holy friendships. Volunteer some of your time and resources for anyone who may be in need. Do not be miserly with your money.

Read the first chapter of the Gospel according to Luke and you will discover the special favour Elizabeth and Zechariah enjoyed in the sight of God. One can easily surmise that Mary went to see them also for the purpose of seeking their guidance. We, too, ought sometimes to ask for direction and advice from a wise priest or nun, either in person or from good books or articles they may have written.

Judging also from the Spirit-filled nature of the meeting between Elizabeth and Mary (see Lk 1:39–55), we can speculate that they spent some of their time together in spiritual conversation and prayer. We, too, should daily devote time to praying and to pondering the things of God.

 

The Hour of Deliverance

Before Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph had to return to Bethlehem to be counted in the Roman census.

“And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son.” (Lk 2:6–7, RSV)

Just as the term of Mary’s confinement came to completion, so will ours. The length of our waiting may be indefinite, but it is certainly not infinite. We may have to wait nine months, or two decades, or a few days, but there will be an end to it all. There will finally be a moment of deliverance, of fulfillment. Then will our hearts overflow with such gratitude and peace.

Do not be impatient. Do not be cast down. Our day will come. It will come soon enough. Like the apostles, let us wait cheerfully and joyfully in prayer, supporting one another, and praising God for his far-sighted providence. Like Jesus, let us wait in obedience, improving ourselves spiritually and in other ways, growing in wisdom and in our relationship with God and with our neighbours. Like Mary, let us wait in doing good, making use of our time for the benefit of others, and getting ourselves refreshed and ready for what is to come.

Someday, like Mary, we too will give birth to Jesus – bringing Christ to those whom God has all along been preparing us to reach out to and lead back to himself.

 

2018/9/14-16 MCC Retreat: 樂在祈禱中

Theme: 樂在祈禱中
Spiritual Director: Fr. Francis Ching
Date: Sept 14-16, 2018

(audios in Cantonese)

To download audios: Click the title below, and click “Save as…”

Homilies
Sept 15, 2018

Sept 16, 2018

Talks
Sept 14, 2018

Sept 15, 2018
PART I

PART II

PART III

PART IV – Adoration & Healing

Sept 16, 2018
PART I

PART II

NOTES:
Vocabulary of Praise

Kitty Kit Tsing Chan (June B 2018)

2015年我第一次到墨主哥耶朝聖,那年一齊參與的家人有母親,弟妹和弟婦共6人,兩個弟弟至少有20年沒上教堂,當時他們的參與我是很緊張的, 怕他們不厭煩,整天扳起臉,問梁神父意見,神父的答案祈禱交付,不用煩,是聖母的邀請,一切不是問題;感恩過程沒有我擔心的情況出現,回港後弟婦對信仰的熱忱也令弟弟慢慢轉變,也時常出現在教堂內,還跟我參與善會;在那次朝聖中,我也懇求聖母 ,如可以也邀請我兩個囝囝到墨主哥耶與祂親近,因我感受他們兩人像牛像馬,每天營營役役地工作,把自己當全能,天天都說累,主日要上班就自然不上教堂,就算到教堂都不停看手機,心不在焉,不懂用心祈禱,不懂把面對的問題交付,祈求天父帶領;當我回港後,我嘗試和細囝Leo提議他參與朝聖,他的答案是無錢無時間,他任職服務行業,不能請太長的假期,雖然他沒答應,我還是替他先報名,他會不會或能不能去,就袛有祈禱,祈求聖母俯聽!直到2018 年6月26日出發,我更相信聖母媽媽一直為我代禱,她很清楚一個做媽媽的心情和期盼;在我第二次朝聖中感受的恩寵更令我心中激動,事緣就是有一天,團友Ben 問誰可協助分擔在彌撒中輔祭職務,Leo毫不猶疑說他可以,因他在10歲離港前是在聖德肋撒堂當輔祭的,但我卻問他,你能嗎?你超過20多年沒上過祭台了。我的懷疑態度,當時就被眾多的主內兄弟姊妹說我不對,Leo對輔祭工作的熱誠,對用餐的自動幫忙,對上落聖母山、十字架山需幫忙的協助,那裡需要協助的他都自動自覺地出現的,那次朝聖過程中,就像一個天使穿插其中,看在眼裡我記起多次神父常提到,聖母對每事都默存心中,反覆思量的這兩句話語;Leo 是我的兒子,我總覺他多方面沒做好自己,他人的事卻做很多,太沒分寸 ,但在其他人的眼中,他是這樣優秀的;雖然這次朝聖團沒有令Leo改變什麼,但卻改變了我對他的看法,少了挑剔,多了包容;因我不時提醒自己要學習聖母,對上主的依賴,把一切都交付給天主;只有我能學到,有了改變,身邊的人就會看我對上主的的交付,對上主依賴,繼而分享到真正的平安。

Kitty Kit Tsing Chan
June B 2018

Maria Chee Lee (June B 2018)

「用心祈禱,在祈禱中把自己完全交託給耶穌。」
是我在這次默主哥耶朝聖之旅最大的得著。

從來沒有像今次出門時的輕鬆和平靜,多謝默主哥耶中心提供的備忘手冊和33天準備奉獻之旅,就把這十天時間全部奉獻,空虛自己,跟隨聖母媽媽一起,完全信賴祂,感覚像兩歲小孩子出門一樣,十分安心呀!

果然,剛踏入旅館, 隊長Lucia 便派發名牌,聖母媽媽給我的第一個訉息,便是在每天祈禱中,毌忘天主賜予一切旳恩惠感恩和讚頌祂的仁慈,提醒我不要做個忘恩負義的人!

我本是「電器盲」,本來稍微掛心一些的事,如挿蘇開關,電話傳訉問題,同房姊妺一一幫我解決了.真好! 多倫多小組,Margaret 姊妺是笫四次前來,提示我要注意的事,不計其數。例如甚麼時候要帶跪墊和摺椅,吃餐和周囲環境。像大姐姐關懷備至,我還有什么掛心呢!

解決了起居飲食問題,接著是甚麼呢?在我還沒有想到時,小組的姊妹己提我填入辦妥修和聖事的時間。當晩,天氣稍涼,下毛毛雨,在告解亭外等候Fr Leung ,雨點灑在臉上,省察痛悔已罪,Father 語重心長, 赧我罪過,解我心結,皈依天主。感謝Father!

接下來的日子,便是依照導遊小姐和領隊安排,在這個寧靜的小山窩, 聖母揀選的聖地,過著無憂無慮的生活。除了上聖母顯現山和聖十字架上外,每天早餐後,便到小聖堂參與由Father 主持中文彌撒,聆聽天主聖言。下午四時三十分晚餐後,便與萬人以上,來自不同國家和族裔的教友一同誦唸玫瑰經,參與黃昏彌撒聖祭,主內共融合一,十分陶醉!每當下午六時四十分鈡聲敲響,心情十分激動,感到聖母媽媽親身臨在。

最難忘是在晚上十時的朝拜聖體,伴隨著優美的歌聲和短禱,享受與主親蜜的情誼,在聖神內,與基督一起談心事,這個奇妙的交往,很珍惜這段寧靜時刻。在默主哥耶,我做到了!多謝聖母媽媽!

這十天的奇妙旅程,心神沒有想到世俗的事,一心只想像小孩子倚偎在聖母懷抱中。此刻想到天主經首幾句﹕「願你的國來臨,願你的旨意奉行在人間,如同在天上」。在這十天默主哥耶朝聖之旅中,善牧Father 就像在世的耶穌,身體力行,循循善誘,盡責的領隊們如同宗徒,我們就像一班心、身靈有病得以治癒的婦女。大家一同生活,一同祈禱,同心合意,就像活在天堂裏相親愛呀!

「耶穌走遍各城各村講道,宣傳天主國的喜訉,同他在一起的有那十二宗徒,還有幾個曾附過悪魔戓或患病而得治好的婦女。」 (路8:1-2)

Maria Chee Lee
June B 2018

Lise Ng (June B 2018)

各位主內的兄弟姊妹,
你們好!我是Lise 伍雲姿,剛參加完2018 默主哥耶朝聖B團,應Pat Young的邀請,分享一下今次朝聖的得着和經驗。
朋友去年參加了由加拿大默主哥耶朝聖中心主辦的朝聖團,回來後傳給我一些有關聖母媽媽顯現時的訊息,還有”默主哥耶訊息”的中文譯本電子書,看完後開始很嚮往這個地方。剛好有朋友也很想去,便一齊報名,但參加者眾多,要2019才有位,後來有人退出,我和朋友方可補上。非常感恩可以參加到今次朝聖,想必是聖母媽媽願意給我一個再教育的機會。
起程前,曾擔心整整十天在同一地方,做差不多同一樣的事情,會不會悶到發慌?結果我是嫌時間不夠用,希望能多待幾天呢!
我之前都去過其他地方朝聖,但總沒有在默主哥耶的感覺。為何默主哥耶這樣吸引?除了風景美麗,這裏宗教氣氛濃厚,民風純樸,連小朋友都恭敬虔誠,有一晚見到一個坐在BB車上的小朋友,只有兩三歲大,由爸爸推著,手中也拿着唸珠,一起頌唸著玫瑰經,那個畫面,至今難忘,置身這裏,真有如人間天堂。
在人性方面,體驗到團友的無私,互助互愛,犧牲共融的精神,這特別在登聖母顯現山及十字架山時彰顯無遺,願主及聖母媽媽賜福這些天使般的團友繼續有能力去無私助人。出色的領隊Ben和Lucia, 盡責的組長們,皆使行程流暢及充滿愉悅。
在神修方面,慶幸有如慈父般的梁神父帶領,及資深導遊Marijana的妥善安排及講解,確是大開眼界,獲益良多。每晚的戲肉就在晚飯後,五時四十五分就乘車往St. James Church, 六時開始唸玫瑰經,不同國家的神父用本國語言領唸,大家就用自己的語言續唸,很感受到天主教的公教性。每晚六時四十分,是聖母媽媽的顯現時間,大家暫停頌唸,約一, 兩分鐘後再繼續,完成後用克羅地亞語唱聖母德敘禱文,非常悅耳動聽,不其然也隨著默主哥耶黃昏祈禱手冊一起詠唱,七時開始克羅地亞語彌撒,其間有英語翻譯。逢星期二,四,六彌撒後有一小時明恭聖體,從前朝拜聖體無什感覺,但在黙主哥耶美麗的天空下,加上Melinda 美妙的小提琴及歌聲,令我既陶醉,又感動,感受到天主的臨在及無比的大愛,在星期五朝拜十字架時也有這樣的觸動。其他活動如探訪戒毒所,保護婦女中心,及Jakov(神視者), Patrick 及Melinda的分享,還有Sister Emmanuel講解守齋的力量等等,都使我重新反省自己在信,望,愛三德方面,皆需要日新又新。
很感恩今次行程安排到兩次與神視者一起在聖母顯現現埸參與聖母媽媽顯現的美妙時刻。
最後要提提的是每位團員名牌內都有一個聖母媽媽給我們獨一無二的訊息,而我的是 “In this time of grace, let the cross be for you a sign-post of love and unity through which true peace comes.“ 這不正是我最需要的內心平安嗎?感謝聖母媽媽給我的禮物,我會緊記並實行。
回港後,我開始嘗試逢星期三,五守齋,希望繼續努力,以五粒石仔為目標,向天國進發。也會將這些寶貴經驗與家人及朋友分享,使更多人知道聖母媽媽的訊息。
和平之后,為我等祈!
主佑!

Lise Ng
June B 2018