I was reminded that the call to prayer is a universal one, not just meant only for “holy people”. I learnt that God can take the little that we have, our very broken selves, and use them to bless others. I learnt not to dwell in my inadequacies but to offer them up to God for him to direct according to His will.
Above: Brian at Foc 2015, first from left in the front row!
I come from a family where initiative and helpfulness are highly appreciated. I’ve served in many church camps, always trying to step up where I’m needed and doing my best to make myself useful. And the more experience I gained, the more compelled I felt to continue serving, to share with others the wealth of blessings I had received from serving God and his people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make myself sound like a saint, but I am trying to help you understand that I am someone who loves to move, to do, to help. This is a part of me, one that I brought into CSS FOC.
Having served at so many camps, I found it hard to hard to be a participant again, not to look out for other people but to just keep myself open to receiving; to stop doing and simply be. All through the camp, my mind was constantly in “service team mode”, ever on the lookout for potential pitfalls– things that could cause problems that would spill over to the rest of camp. So many times, I saw situations that left me thinking: “No, there is a better way of doing this. I need to rectify this” and then subsequently catching myself and reminding myself that I was not there to “fight fires” but to receive.
I experienced the peak of this desire to do something meaningful, to spend my time constructively during the session where we had Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I know in my head that it is Jesus who is present before me in the Blessed Sacrament, but even now, at times, as it was then during the camp, my heart struggled to believe that my Lord and Savior could be contained in a small wafer. So, wanting to spend my time more constructively, I decided to take the time in that Adoration session praying for my group (including the facils).
Coming from the parish of St Ignatius, I recognised that prayer during a camp such as this is very important, and we actually have an Intercessory committee every camp set aside specially for this purpose. Even so, maybe it was the fear of boredom (huh, spend whole day praying?), perhaps the feeling of inadequacy (I’m not as holy as all these other people praying), but I always shied away from joining in these sessions. On that day, however, I chose to break away from my comfort zone and try it.
When I went forward to the prayer team, I was pleasantly surprised to see the familiar face of a family friend. I told him and his partner of my unusual request–to ask for prayers not only for myself, but for the rest of my group. Though a little thrown off, they quickly adapted to this different request and we settled into little structure, where for each group mate, I would state my petition for them, then we would intercede in the Spirit, followed by a Hail Mary. At the end of praying for about ten people, I expected to be extremely drained, but surprisingly, I felt rather at peace.
This experience was eye-opening for me. I was reminded that the call to prayer is a universal one, not just meant only for “holy people”. I learnt that God can take the little that we have, our very broken selves, and use them to bless others. I learnt not to dwell in my inadequacies but to offer them up to God for him to direct according to His will. As the chorus of the Corrine May song, Crooked Lines, goes:
God writes straight with crooked lines
He takes the mess we make in life
He turns our groaning into perfect rhyme
Hidden by the veil of time,
The Wisdom of His love’s design
God writes straight with crooked lines
So I may never be able to word eloquent and inspiring prayers, nor be able to share prophetic visions with people whom I am praying for, but I now realise that that should not stop me from praying for them anyway. For as I stumble, I believe that my feeble attempts to grow God and to bring others to him do please Him. And so, regardless of where you are at in your faith journey, do consider coming down for the CSS FOC and let God reveal to you what you need to know at this stage of life. Open your mind and heart and allow God to work and you may be surprised at what He has in store for you!
Brian is a freshie (going on Year 2) studying Chemistry. We thank him for sharing so openly; indeed as a community we keep each other uplifted in prayer! We hope that those who are more active in parish will still consider coming for this FOC 🙂 Just ten more days until registration closes, so do hurry!
NUS Catholic Students’ Society Freshmen Orientation Camp (FOC) 2016: A Disciple’s Guide to HiKing registration is now OPEN: http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016
When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS Utown)
If you have any queries email firstname.lastname@example.org!