Archive for September, 2009

I read this article from a friend of mine, whose life have changed and touched by God’s only hands and people. SN is a young man I met back about 12years ago in college in the US. He is not only smart, but very active fella and a guy who always give a helping hand to his friends. He was once a little brother of mine.

We’ve been apart for some years, and occasionally sent messages. Until last month we met again, in different country and different atmosphere. I was touched by his decision to learn further about God and to serve His people..SN is now attending a seminary school in Portland, Oregon, USA. In this era, where many people seem to not care about each other, where money and status stand in the highest priority, there is still God’s love and His voice we can’t ever avoided.

I thought “No matter how far you go, how hard you study and work, when He wants you, He must have you, because you are so precious in His eyes, and you will do great to serve Him and His people on earth.”

God talks through anyone…in different special ways..
He might come and speak to you in your dream, He might touch you through your children, He graciously might send His angels to protect us from harms…
Let’s think how He touches you.. and when you realize, how great our God is, He always wants us to be on His hands, ..feel the secure.. the love.. the warmth.. we just have to open our hearts, only for Him.

After 7 years in this ‘city of angels’, it is the time for me to outreach a new experience. My life in Indonesia had virtually childhood, when I did not know much about my life and things around me, when the role of parents were still dominated. God’s plan was never expected. I finally given the opportunity to study in the US. This is where I went into the second era of my life where I learned to socialize and organize, to have good friends with love and grief, and to live independently.

When I finally moved to LA for work, this is where my third period of life began. The most significant in this era is not the experience of my career, although I also learned a lot from there, but how I begin to have a close relationship with God.

The life changing is not like most of the “conversion story” we often hear, no voice of God calling in dreams, not also because the results of a wound healing session or anointing of the Holy Spirit, or unlike Saul, who fell and blinded in the light of Christ’s and made him changed into a different person in one night.

If anyone asks how my life has changed, I can not tell with a single event because it is a series of events which, if standing alone may not seem like a big deal. My experience might be more like Peter, who drawned while trying to walk on the water, prohibiting Jesus to live his cross, to deny Jesus 3 times. In the end, after a long process full of ups and downs and that Peter became the disciple who really believed in Him.

One major factor that affects my life to be closer to God is this Indonesian Catholic Youth Organization in LA. It starts from a simple invitation by my coworkers, Iw*, to join the Rosary Care Group (RCG) at Fi’s* at the Diamond Bar. Then continue again to join Seraphim choir while I was impressed with the choir at St. Denis in Diamond Bar.

One more event left quite a lasting impression is when I joined the retreat with the Indonesian Catholic Youth Organization LA in Riverside, in 2003. Through sessions brought by RA, I felt compelled to learn more about my faith and do more for the Church. The journey from childhood until my life in LA, I’ve never realized that there are more to learn of being catholics other than just going to church every week.

Slowly I began to be more active. From the choir at St. Denis then  I was invited to join the combined choir at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. Initially only impressed with the closing of the Mass~which was festive and multicultural, I finally joined some classes and learned a lot about church history, liturgy, and Catholic faith. The more I learn, the more I realized that there are still many things I do not know. My interests arouse, so I forced myself to learn from books.

Back to the Indonesian Catholic Youth Organization, Mr* and Gr*were looking for someone to continue ministering in Seraphim after 5 years, and no one was up to take the job, I and Aud* then volunteered to be music ministry coordinator of the Indonesian Catholic Youth Organization. In addition to short experience in St. Denis, I have never joined a church choir or vocal classes professionally. The only experience was my organ lesson in Indonesia which was not much. My only desire was this deep inspiration from liturgical songs and how to sing at St. Denis and RE Congress, plus inspiration from my energetic friend named Uc* when he led the choir.

At RCG Salvation, who was already split from RCG Hallelujah, Kevin, a God’s servant, was planning to retire for more focus to his career. Again I bring myself to accept their trust to serve RCG, assisted by Ginting. When An*, Hal*, Don*, and other friends are planning to hold an Indonesian Catholic Youth Nite play the first time, I was also interested to try. This was unusual because I remember clearly my first play on stage in Kindergarten was really embarrassing. I just stood sucking my thumb while my friends danced around me. However, as I played in the Indonesian Catholic Youth Nite, the shame was gone, instead I felt excited to be on the stage and use all my abilities.

The desire for more learning more about faith of the Church and the liturgy, and serve many more people of the Lord, made me start thinking about the call as a priest. This can not be separated from the role of Frater (now Father) BW who was never tired of promoting religious vocation. Eventually I began to participate some  discernment retreats, to see several orders and diocesan seminaries, and met regularly with a spiritual advisor. I did not dare to share story of this discernment at my organization, because of previous experiences I see, that when someone wants to be a priest, he often be ridiculed. It seems also to be a pressure for the person.

I believe a valuable and memorable experience that I gain for the Indonesian Catholic Youth also felt by other members, and it is not impossible that they might have this call to be priests or nuns. It was not easy as we live in a society which prioritizes money and status above all else. Often people get married was not primarily because of love but sadly for status and family pressures.

I often heard some Catholics who do not want to deal with the Indonesian Catholic Youth Organization, especially since the style is too “charismatic”. Well, at the first time I was not used to and  not comfortable with this, but then I learned to open my heart. Each person can feel close to God in different ways, who are we to tell whether it is right and wrong?

Even though I do not have the experience which often identified as charismatic, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, or healing, however, since the first retreat in Riverside I believe that the Holy Spirit was poured out and work in my life. His work did not happen in a single night or a week, but in subtle and slowly my life changed.

I could have not done all of those without opening my hearts to step up with God’s help. St. Francis of Assisi once said: “If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.” Hopefully, through this Indonesian Catholic Youth more people will be touched to make changes and will answer the call of their life.

So, thank you for everyone who’s life journey have met mine. It has been memorable moments and determine the path of my life today. I also want to apologize if there are mistakes I have done.. Please keep me in your prayer as I’ll keep you in mine. May God bless you always and hopefully our paths will cross again.
(Article by SN, translated by Monica Dewi, September 2009)
*names’ initials

In this blessed opportunity, given the Holy year of priest, let us pray for all our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, may God bless them and always touch their hearts with wisdom and love, so they may be called and answer to God’s calling to serve Him and His people.

And to all parents, may God’s grace come upon them, so they can always pray and support their children in God’s call.

And at his very blessing moment, let’s pray for all priests, bishops, pope, and all God’s servants as they minister to us. May God bless and guide them in their calling.

So many people are called, but few are chosen. May God gives strength and never ending blessing to those who are called, and in this opportunity, to our friend, SN.


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God gives us privilege

These days I’ve been touched with similar message which I believe is meaningful and should not be disregarded.

I had the strangest dream which I had no clue about, and few other messages I gained from a homily last Sunday which pretty much awaken me from the never-ending problematic situations around…

yes I had a dream of a wise man giving me some advises and seems like he was the only guy I trust while I see others do not care of other people’s life at all. I always go to him and ask him for guidance and certain assistance. I woke up with wonders, … I wasn’t sure who this guy was but I remember clearly of his appearance. I prayed to God and thanking for the nice dream.

The next day I still pictured my very clear dream and appearance of this guy. Then, I looked at my study desk and saw this small prayer card to our priests which has a picture of St.John Vianney. I thought, I see now, it was him on my dream few days ago. ~St.John Vianney is the patron saint of all priests.

Last Saturday evening we went to a mass at Nativity church, and his image got clearer each day moreover with a huge symbolic statue of him beside the altar. I prayed to God and thanked Him for all priests and asked God’s blessings for those who are in seminaries, that includes a friend of mine.

In the mass I was impressed by the priest’s homily. It was about our PRIVILEGE as a catholic. How God has sent His only son, Jesus to save us. He invites every single of us to His house every Sunday and listen to His words, without exception. He has sent our blessed mother Mary to pray for us to God through her only son as Jesus will never deny her prayers. He has sent all of His angels and saints to protect us against anxiety, harms, and bring us closer to our Father in heaven. He has sent His people~our family, our friends,  our priests, and so much more, so He can speak to us.

No matter how sinful we are, no matter how ignorant we are to His invitations, our Father in heaven will still open His door for us to enter His glorious house.

Are we going to miss the given privilege?

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ISAIAH 41:13

13 For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

How can I stop praising You, Lord..
How can I get away from Your miracles, Lord..
How can I quit loving You, Lord..
for all the LOVE You give to me, it is NOT possible to be far from You.
for You are my breath of life..

In these past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with restlessness, I was at a dead-end. The situation here was a tense, and only a miracle could help. Many efforts have been done, several options have been planned and chosen. No sign of accuracy which lead to a way out. The time flew too fast, and I could see only rain and cloudy sky.

Every night, before I went to bed, this short prayer was always breathed to Him
“Lord, I am weary, no more strength to fix things right. I need Your instant relief!”

and not for long…just on this beautiful day, a rainbow comes to light.. Lord has given His answer! His help never comes too late! and indeed His help is PRECISE! Just so beautiful as our family needs it!

Thank You Lord for never abandon us. We should not fear for God will help us. You are our awesome Lord!



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“The wise course would continue to seek him still shining in life, using his spiritual oil, and keep it from running out.” (EB)

Matthew 25

Parable of Ten Virgins

1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

2“Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.

3“For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,

4but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

5“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.

6“But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

7“Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.

8“The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

9“But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

10“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.

11“Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’

12“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

13“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour

Lately I’ve often felt dry in the faith..,  less grateful of what I have had, and been missing the main task God has given.
I’ve been planning so much on what I will do in the near future, however do not see that happening soon, or it might not happen at all… I ask.. and I ask.. “How to make my life more colorful, .. how to seek better opportunity.. and when will my pray be answered…”

I have disturbing noises around me.. unhappiness, unwillingness, and lack of satisfaction..

One day, I chatted with my friend, whom we used to hang out with and shared our faith stories. She mentioned that I miss my spiritual activity group I once had. That is so true! I miss hearing the gospel.. I miss listening to other people faith journey, I miss serving God with them… and so much precious moments I miss.
I want to love Him more each day as He is the only hope I can hold on to, I want to serve and praise Him more each day.. with prayers and songs..

However, how can I do that now.. things have changed.. I have no time to join any community, no time to join a choir, no time to share God’s love with others… I am running out of ways to serve the Lord…

One afternoon, I read a simple short article on the newspaper of the Catholic church, it woke me that sometimes people do not understand that family is astonishingly beautiful and great job to serve the Lord. Then I realized that I’ve been ignoring God’s voice that my family needs the full love and attention from me. My husband.. and of course my blessed children.. I am assigned to fulfill their needs, both physically~that is to stay beside them and make them feel the full comfort being close to their mother, and spiritual~that is to teach them how important God is in our life, not to forget to thank the Lord every day and night..

How great Thou Art… I felt overwhelming gratitude at being close to my family..and by serving my family I want to always use my spiritual oil only to glorify Your name..

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