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给家长的情书 – 信德篇

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致亲爱的家长及将成为家长的你··

请记得你是你孩子的父母,因此你不仅要在孩子成长的过程中全责教育他们一切世俗的事, 更重要的是信仰的课题。很多时候你必须用双倍努力及牺牲时间和你的孩子一起分享圣言。 当我们和孩子一起分享圣言时就是最好的机会让孩子看到我们如何爱天主好让孩子效法我们。

为了可以解开你日后会面对的痛苦和烦恼,请容许我先给你一些启示, 让你能够采取适当的措施和预防来避免它们发生在你的身上, 毕竟预防胜于治疗。

每过一段时间, 我都会进行基信团家庭拜访和到其他场合里。当我拜访一些家庭时, 发现年长夫妇或单亲家长有时会被独自留在家中。我会问他们的孩子去了哪里? 往往他们会骄傲的告诉我他们孩子的成就及拥有高尚的地位或收入,他们的孩子住在国外、外地或住在不同的高尚住宅区。

我问他们孩子有回来探望他们吗? 他们回答说有些孩子会一个月回来探望一次, 有些有长假才回来, 有些一年一次,有些不常回来等等; 最常听到的借口是孩子们生活非常忙碌,没有任何空闲时间做其他事(福建语, “Boh Eng” 或忙碌,没有闲暇时间)。 有些年长夫妇会向我抱怨他们的孩子不再学习自己的信仰,或没有到教堂参加弥撒,或更可悲的是已经遗弃了自己的信仰及信从别的信仰尤其是通过婚姻。

我微笑地对他们说你们曾经供给或强迫孩子进行一些自己认为需要或可能需要的活动以便能让孩子将来的生活变得更好(如补习、运动、音乐), 你们的孩子为了精通这些活动花了很多的时间。可是,你和你的孩子用了多少时间去分享圣言认识天主及参与主日弥撒呢?他们常常说他们没有时间和家人一起祈祷或一起分享圣言或参与教会一切活动。 补习班、钢琴、游泳、舞蹈班及其他世俗的活动往往比任何事更重要, 有些家长很怕输(Kiasu), 他们甚至能够把2至3岁很年幼的孩子送去上语文课程、音乐课程或一些脑开发课程,他们希望他们的孩子能够比别人更快学习,超越别的孩子, 因此,关乎信仰的活动就被弃在一旁了。

“一起祈祷的家庭会聚在一起”我告诉他们这个想法很简单。你们都知道孩子不可能用5分钟的时间去精通那些活动,他们需要用很长的时间。如果你只用区区5分钟(或更少) 和你的孩子分享圣言, 你认为可以帮助你和你的孩子认识天主和祂的旨意吗?(例如: 家长对孩子的责任、孩子对家长的责任、对别人的态度及了解违反天主旨意和责任的结果)。 当然不能!俗语说熟能生巧,不只是世俗的…

Do You Know Where You're Going To?

Do we realise what is happening when we sin and refuse or neglect to seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of reconciliation? Consider this... when we sin, it seems as if we are forming a chain of filth and venom around us. As we go along in life, the chain would increase in size, weight and length: a result of as we sin, as we neglect to do what we are supposed to do, as we show indifference towards others, as we fail to do what is right, as we allow laziness and "don't care" or "tidak apa" attitude to fester, and much more.
Soon, the chain begins to suffocate us, wrap our soul with "God-repellant" properties, make us numb towards fear of God, causes us to be drunk in our senses which then makes us unable to differentiate what is right and wrong. Then we may find ourselves imprisoned in sin, seemingly difficult to free ourselves as we may be too ashamed or obstinate or not bothered to seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of reconciliation.
Of course…

Love Letter to Parents - Matters of Faith

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Dear parents and parents to be...

Remember that you are parents to your kids, and that you are fully responsible for bringing up your kids not only in wordly matters, but especially also in spiritual matters. There are times you need to double your efforts and make sacrifices to be with your children to share the Word of God. Spending time on the Word of God with your kids is among the many opportunities you have to show your love of God, and your kids to follow your example.

To spare you the anguish and agony of what may come to pass one day, allow me to enlighten you on something which should be addressed early, so that you can take the necessary steps and precautions to rectify it before it happens to you, since prevention is better than cure.

Every once in a while, I visit families in BECs and during other occasions. When I visit some families, elderly couples or single parents are sometimes left alone at home by themselves. I enquire them where are their children? The first thing …

Self-Denial: Sure or Not

I find it interesting and amusing to observe how some go about practising some form of self-denial, especially when it comes to Fridays, or even the season of Lent. Some seem to think that self-denial merely means that one must abstain from eating meat on Fridays, and they feel very good about themselves for doing so. Some think that self-denial means they must make themselves miserable in different ways, and make all sorts of sacrifices, as if doing such things would appease God. But are these what self-denial is all about? Do we practice self-denial just for the sake of doing it? Are we really practising self-denial, or we actually "gluttons for punishment"?

Now before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am against self-denial, no I am not. What I am getting at is when we begin to treat self-denial as a form of outward show, or "sandiwara" or "wayang" (Malay words meaning "putting on an act" or "putting on a show"), where we do it …

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Over the years, I have observed how children play and interact. I noticed that, in quite a number of cases, children seem to find it so much easier to forgive and move on. For example, I recall some children playing a game. All of a sudden, a quarrel happens and some children walk off in a huff saying, "Hummph! Don't want to friend you!" The funny thing is, after a short while, these children come back together again to play, as if the quarrel or incident that had just happened, had not occured in the first place, or that it was nothing or not a big deal.

What happens when adults get into a quarrel or even a fight? Are adults able to forgive and move on just like how children do? Quite likely I observe adults finding it tough or even impossible to forgive and move on. Why is this so? It is precisely because some of us have developed a big ego or swelled-up pride as we grew, and together with prejudice and possibly a "kiasu"or "don't want to lose"a…

Judge Not A Book By Its Cover

I sometimes wonder whether some people are aware of the double standards they practice, especially when they deal with different kinds of people. For example, when they are in the presence of a dignitary or some important person, they behave so pleasantly and sweetly. But when they come across a person who appears to be unkempt, or poor, or dressed in a simple manner, how would they behave? Some may look at such persons with suspicion, or have a haughty attitude, or even behave in a rude and demeaning manner towards the other.

For example, if you see a person who appears to be unkempt or dressed in a simple manner entering the church, would you make it a point to greet the person, or even offer some assistance? Or would you think that such a person has no place inside the church, or even think that such a person is is up to no good? Likewise, if you are a salesperson selling branded goods, and you see such a person browsing through such goods, would you offer your services, come what m…

Be a "Common" Carer

I believe most of us know how to take care of our personal belongings. Surely we would not want to abuse or excessively use our stuff, to the point that it breaks down, becomes damaged or less usable, or even to the point of it becoming so severely impaired that it can no longer be used.

However, I wonder how much care do we take towards items or facilities which are for common use. Do we ensure that we do our part to keep the facility or item clean and in working condition? Or have some of us become so self-centered or not the least bit bothered, couldn't care less about others and using such items or facilities as we please, and should there be a problem with such items or facilities, have we become so indifferent and leave the item or facility in a deplorable state?
One example of how some of us have become disgustingly indifferent towards common items or facilities are the toilets. I marvel at how some could be so inconsiderate in throwing excessive amounts of tissue, sanitary p…