FOC 2015 Testimony: Francisca

I never involved myself in church activities after Confirmation as I just didn’t see the need for a community. (…) What I experienced from CSS FOC totally changed my mindset about community… It made me aware of the fact that this faith journey can’t be done as a sole traveller.

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Above: Fran at FOC 2015 with her friends (second from right!)


I come from a staunch Catholic family and we always prioritised faith in every aspect of our lives. We would pray over absolutely anything and that always made me feel so safe, so comforted. Over the years however, our busy lives took over and sometimes I would forget to pray at important times (e.g. morning, before meals end of the day etc.). Despite this, my family still remains very connected to the church and to our faith. On a personal level, I never involved myself in church activities after Confirmation as I just didn’t see the need for a community. I didn’t understand why you would need people around you to help you in your faith. Why need people when I can praise God by myself right? So when I signed up for CSS FOC, I didn’t really expect much and was just hoping to make friends to ease my entrance to a new unfamiliar environment that is NUS. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t know anyone and I’d be a sad loner. So yes, like anyone, I was happy to hear that I had a few friends already going for the camp because that just meant forging friendships would be easier.

What I experienced from CSS FOC totally changed my mindset about community. It was such an enriching experience and it made me realise just how important the people around you are. It made me aware of the fact that this faith journey can’t be done as a sole traveller. I learnt so many new things about myself, surprisingly, by listening to other people. It made entering this strange University environment so much easier because I knew I wasn’t alone! Of course, I did make new friends. But that’s merely a bonus. CSS FOC really got me more rooted in my faith and allowed me to connect with God on a deeper level. It changed my pre-uni aimlessness so much to one filled with hope and promise. So if you feel the same way as I did (“omg I’m so not holy enough”/”omg life is so pointless but never mind I’ll just go to make friends”) Don’t fret! You’ll find yourself through the people around you and of course, the Man up there too 😊😊😊  Come for FOC if you want to find yourself!!


Francisca was our freshie at our FOC 2015, currently majoring in Linguistics. We are more than grateful she took the leap of faith to come join us and to bring so much joy over the past year. We hope that FOC 2016 too will be that opportunity to meet you where you are at your faith journey and to provide you the means of guidance for your journey ahead at NUS and university. And of course, you are most welcome to join us whether you are Year 1, 2, 3 or 4!

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 nuscss@gmail.com !

Thanks for your sharing Franc!
Hope to see YOU there!

FOC 2015 Testimony: Cordelia

God had blessed me with a bunch of beautiful… group members and facilitators- and within each of them, shone the light of Christ that gradually chased away the bitter darkness I had previously been entrenched in… He loved me through the actions of the people around me– their kind words; their heartfelt thanks; their honest sharing; their warm hugs… His presence was always felt, in one form or another, especially midst the silence of reflection. New journeys aren’t so hard when you’ve got good companions. You’ve got God, you’ve got us- you’ll never walk alone.

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Above: Cordelia at FOC 2015!


A year ago I entered NUS with a heavy heart. For most, it marked an exciting new chapter in their lives. They had chosen NUS, and in return, NUS had chosen them. But things were slightly different on my end.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt blessed and was thankful for my place in NUS. However, I couldn’t quite rid the nagging disappointment that came after foregoing university offers from abroad. It was the lack of adequate financial support that stole those opportunities way from me, leaving me feeling very sore. The years spent under Singapore’s meritocratic education system had instilled in me a very clear message- that if you worked hard enough, good grades would be the golden ticket for the train ride to your desired academic destination.

But there are times when the ticket for the ride only partially covers your journey. It sends you to the gates, and drops you off there. You’d have to pay an entry fee if you’d like to proceed inside. After which this fee is revised, and an annual payment is expected if you’d like to stay. In reality, grades merely unleash the offers. They grant you admission, but they don’t fund you. With overseas undergraduate scholarships being numbered, the competition for them remain extremely intense. Typically, the probability of snagging one is almost next to nothing.

Applications. Credentials. Recommendation letters. Referrals. Emails. Preparation. Panels. Questions. Interviews. Trepidation. Second interviews. Hope. Silence. Anxiety. Rejection. Dread.
All hopes of furthering my post-tertiary education overseas went down the drain.

Needless to say, I was not on the best terms with God at that time. I found it very difficult to accept that I had worked so hard for nothing. I was doing the unthinkable- watching myself reject the very same admission offers I had been praying to receive in the mail months earlier. Was this some kind of cruel joke? Whatever happened to, ‘if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it’?

And so, I entered NUS thankful, but bitter. I intended to slip under the radar, speeding through the four years focused on my work, unseen. This wouldn’t be very hard to do. The sheer size of the faculty that I had been admitted into would easily allow me to remain almost invisible midst a sea of students. But God wouldn’t have any of that; he simply refused to allow his child to waste four years of her life like that. He was insistent in trying to make me feel welcome in this new environment, hoping that I’d come to accept and make the best out of my university years.

Trust me, I tried to hide, but it didn’t work. He reached out to me through calls from OYP inviting me for Kickstart, and incessant Facebook invites to university Catholic student groups. He beckoned me through announcements for camp sign-ups after mass, through print advertisements that popped up in the Catholic News out of nowhere, and through emails. His final attempt, was in the form of WhatsApp messaging, when He came to me through friends who asked me if I had heard of CSS, of the camps, and would I be attending?

It’s tiring playing hide and seek with God. Mainly because he always finds you. So I gave in.
‘Yes,’ I told them, ‘I would be attending.’

I threw myself face first into CSS’ Freshman Orientation Camp not knowing what to expect. Yes, there were familiar faces from my IJ days (thank God), but I didn’t know anyone personally in my immediate camp group on the first day. It took a while to warm up, but when we did, I truly started to feel very welcome and comfortable in camp. I threw away all my doubts about camp by the end of the first day. God had blessed me with a bunch of beautiful (albeit weird, punny, wacky, loud) group members and facilitators- and within each of them, shone the light of Christ that gradually chased away the bitter darkness I had previously been entrenched in.

I hadn’t attended a Catholic camp as a participant since my confirmation back in 2011. And in the years that followed, I had been instead, planning and facilitating camps with the catechetical ministry. As rewarding as that was, there were times where I missed fully participating and connecting with God in camps. As such, in many ways FOC was not only God’s plan in trying to welcome me into a new family in school. But it also was a much needed spiritual retreat, giving me an opportunity to truly reflect, to let go of whatever disappointment and insecurities holding me down, and to finally trust in God to lead me again. Let go, let God.

God really spoke to me during the course of those days. He was there during group’s sharing over lunch, the praise and worship sessions, during the sacred time of mass. He loved me through the actions of the people around me- their kind words; their heartfelt thanks; their honest sharing; their warm hugs. He blessed us with thought-provoking sessions, good food, fun times cleaning up the kitchen, impromptu karaoke sessions in the middle of Palawan beach. His presence was always felt, in one form or another, especially midst the silence of reflection.

This is going to sound pretty cliché, but I do believe (although it probably transcends logical sense) that the future is in God’s hands, and that He’s always got a plan us.

It’s a year after I had to reject my offer to NYU. I won’t lie, there are days when this bothers me a little. Yet, those thoughts are always pushed aside by the reminders of the numerous other blessings I’ve received through the year. God made transitioning into university life a whole lot easier for me when he brought me into this community. I’ve met beautiful souls (both during FOC and during weekly cell-group sessions) to whom I’m very grateful for, and felt a sense of camaraderie I’ve grown to cherish.

New journeys aren’t so hard when you’ve got good companions. You’ve got God, you’ve got us- you’ll never walk alone.


Cordelia is a Year 1 (going on Year 2) Arts and Social Sciences student, who participated in CSS FOC 2015! We’re truly grateful to her for her heartfelt sharing :))) Regardless of the emotions you harbour in your heart, be they joy or perhaps resentment, disappointment, or even grief, we hope that FOC 2016 will be a blessed time that allows for both fun and also for you to (re)connect with our Lord.

If her sharing has resonated with you, and you feel a stirring to give FOC a chance, please do sign up for this camp 🙂 See you in June!

FOC 2015 Testimony: Gabriel

For me, every little helping hand, every act of love, was a way to build the kingdom of God in our own tiny way. (…) Even more heartening was the forging of bonds from the oldest of seniors to the youngest of freshies.

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Above: Gabriel (4th from left, front row) together with the rest of the CSS FOC 2015 Committee 🙂


Heading the previous FOC was both enriching and fruitful. But more than that, it was a humbling experience, an opportunity for God to take control. Planning and running an FOC is never easy, it easily being the largest endeavour undertaken by the CSS community in the academic year. Nevertheless, the bigger the endeavour, the greater the opportunity for God to work. For me, every little helping hand, every act of love, was a way to build the kingdom of God in our own tiny way. The way everyone came together for this single cause made it flawless in itself. Even more heartening was the forging of bonds from the oldest of seniors to the youngest of freshies. And that makes me proud to be a part of this Spirit-filled community.


Gabriel, who’s a final-year Architecture student, was Camp Head of CSS FOC 2015 (last year’s FOC) and we truly appreciate his heartfelt sharing! We hope this testimony has offered a glimpse into what the FOC experience may be like for those who are thinking of helping out, in one way or another, but who haven’t signed up yet. As Gab puts it so well, every act of love – no matter how small we think it may be – is a way to build the kingdom of God. (Go click on that link, what are you waiting for ;))

We also hope this has captured a taste of the CSS spirit for those who are thinking of joining us for this camp 🙂 All the preparations of the camp committee are for naught if you don’t join – we’re looking forward to having you so don’t hesitate any longer, click on the hyperlink to sign up! See you in June 🙂

FOC 2015 Testimony: Bridget

The amazing thing was that I could really feel God’s presence in them. (…) I guess you can sum it up by saying I found God in my university life! That’s pretty awesome isn’t it ^^ It was nice because previously my life in church and school never overlapped.

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Above: Bridget having a news-worthy experience at FOC 2015 ^^


Hi friends, here is my short reflection about my experience of FOC and CSS as a whole. 🙂

My name is Bridget, I’m a Chemistry major and I’m graduating this year. Unlike most people, I joined FOC when I was going on to my 4th year of education. Strange right? Hahaha. It was out of the norm but I guess it was all part of God’s plan for me. I knew about the existence of CSS when I was year 1. I went to the welcome tea for Science and never went back again. I thought CSS was meant for Catholics who were not active in their churches and since I was active in my church, I decided to join other CCAs instead.

Things were going pretty smooth. I enjoyed school, going for my CCA, working part-time and going to church. It was during Year 3 Sem 2 that I started experiencing a struggle in my personal life. It was that point in time where I found myself not knowing about God enough. I thought I knew, but apparently not much. And so during my summer vacation, I decided to attend retreats. To be honest, I didn’t know about the existence of FOC because I’ve never attended one. I wasn’t close to anyone from CSS. It was only when I attended my church retreat in June that I heard about it from a senior of mine. Then the next struggle was whether to go. A part of me was curious. This was my last chance of getting to know CSS before graduating. Yet, another part of me was afraid because I didn’t know anyone. And I’m not going there as a freshie. I was already going on to Year 4!! Who joins orientation camps in Year 4??? Lol. (I signed up as a senior instead. Less weird. Hahaha) It was also a year of my daunting FYP. I was afraid that I would not be able to manage my time. I prayed a lot about it. And I felt like God was calling me to go for the camp despite my fears.

On the first day of camp, I went there with the mentality of orientation mode. It’s strange because I haven’t been to orientation camps in 3 years. I still remember the awkward moment when people approached me thinking I’m a freshie. And when I told them that I’m actually going year 4…. Lol. It’s quite funny. (I srsly think I’m able to pull it off) Got that super a lot of times but anywayyyyy, that’s not the point. The point is, I found myself being able to fit in pretty quickly because the people are really niceee. Really grateful to my group mates and the people from CSS who were all so friendly and welcoming 🙂 The amazing thing was that I could really feel God’s presence in them. Something I’ve never felt amongst my university friends who were mostly non-Catholics. Conversations could drift from school to God and back to school. Though it may seem nothing, but it was something refreshing for me. I felt that God was trying to heal me by placing me in the presence of these brothers and sisters. I was immensely grateful.

My last year of education in NUS was of course very different after the camp. I finally said my prayers before meals in school. I went for lunchtime Masses (a few times) when I didn’t know of their existence before. I went for Friday Masses and attended retreats in between school semesters. I guess you can sum it up by saying I found God in my university life! That’s pretty awesome isn’t it ^^ It was nice because previously my life in church and school never overlapped.

So juniors, if you are still considering whether to go for the camp, don’t hesitate any further!!! You never know what surprises God has already installed for you. Will pray for you! ^^ Hahaha. All the best for your exciting university life!! Yes, it’s going to be excitinggg! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Thank you Bridget for your sharing!!! We hope this testimony has blessed and encouraged NUS seniors, regardless of whether you are active in parish or not, who may want to join FOC but are feeling out of place in the community here. Most importantly, all glory and praise to God for shining His light to others through our CSS community 🙂

CSS Freshman Orientation Camp 2016!

Hi all!!

This shout-out goes out to all incoming university freshmen, but also NUS students who would like to be part of or more active in the Catholic community here  🙂

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Feeling lost? Needing direction(s) in your life…?
Come and join us for the journey of your lifetime!!!A Disciple’s Guide to HiKing – a time of fun and bonding where you’ll be equipped with the faith community and spiritual preparation needed to walk with our King, Jesus, throughout this season of university life and beyond 🙂

When? 27 – 30 June
Where? Church of the Holy Cross
How much? $80/student

What else? Check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nuscssfoc!
Questions, suggestions, feedback? Email us at cssfoc2016@gmail.com 🙂

Registration is now open at http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016! Make sure to bring a friend or two along (but if you’ve none, don’t worry, we’re ultra friendly ;)) And see you in June! 🙂

Do take a look at the video below for a sneak preview of the awesome people you’ll be journeying with in the next few years 🙂

 

Testimony: Zhi Ler


CSS is my first Catholic community. When I was introduced to it, I was not yet a baptised Catholic. I had not even started my RCIA journey. It was in the army when a friend invited me to come for the CSS’s freshmen orientation camp (FOC). He assumed I was a Catholic, when in fact I was only just exploring and discovering more about the faith. Initially I had my reservations about joining a community. I thought that journeying alone would be less burdensome and perhaps more “convenient”. But despite that I still went for FOC and I am really glad I did. CSS has become a big part of my university life. More importantly, the fellowship and support I so freely receive from this community has helped me grow tremendously.

 

In the hustle of school, the weekly cell groups are a time of peace. They are a time and space for me to meet friends who share the same faith as me, and who went through the same struggles as me. Friends whom I know will hear me out, and be there for me. And even though I am so new to the faith, I was given plenty of opportunities to serve, whether it is for retreats or in mass or for charity. This community has again and again given me chances to serve, and I am deeply grateful for them. I cherish them because I see them as a way I can give back to the community that journeyed so far with me. In fact, although my inexperience often led to mistakes, and yet these are always readily forgiven and still I will be given so much support and encouragement to continue trying, which was very reaffirming for me.

 

In the chaos and busyness of school life, it is also so easy to be selfish, or to be too proud of our own achievements or to be too caught up with what we want to do. There are so many ways for one to stray away from Christ and lose sight of the Kingdom, particularly when one is always occupied with – and reminded of the importance of – scoring well for the kingdoms of this world. In every semester I had at one point or another drifted away from Jesus. But if Jesus is my anchor, then CSS has been the rope that constantly ties me to this anchor. The camaraderie and vigilance of this community held me on so I could not drift far away and always it gave me the strength and help to come back.

 

Along my journey and growth as a Catholic, I learnt plentifully from the lives of my brothers and sisters in this community. Through their actions, and through their sharings, they so vividly and beautifully witnessed for God – his marvels, his goodness, and his love. As a catechumen, and eventually a newly baptised, these are things I found I could not receive anywhere else. When there is a community one may rely on, a community of fellow followers of Christ who will keep a lookout for you, who are genuinely concern for you and who are ready to love you for who you are, one finds comfort and strength.Through the kindness and love the CSS brothers and sisters showed me, I am constantly reminded of how God loves me. I also know that help and support is never far away.

 

We may be the people of the book, but we also people of the living church. Our faith is not simply the sum of what had been written in a holy book, it is also the sum of our lives as a community of followers of Christ the saviour. In a community our faith is lived out, and I’ve found CSS to be such a community. A community that encourages one another, that supports one another, that is there for one another through good times and bad. We are a community in NUS, but we are also the church in NUS. And CSS really helped me experienced being a part of the Church. I see my time in CSS as a huge blessing and I am really grateful that God had not just called me to his Church, but also given me such a wonderful community to grow in.

By Yeo Zhi Ler, A Catholic Young Adult from NUS CSS currently who was recently baptised and currently on exchange at Denmark

Thank you for sharing so generously Zhi Ler. Click on the tab/category “Testimony” below to read more testimonies by other fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

School of Christian Leadership 2016

Hello! Blessed Palm Sunday to you.

If you are a Catholic University student studying in Singapore or is Singaporean, this might interest you.
Office for young people has opened sign ups for 2016 School of Christian Leadership (SOCL) retreat!

sheepSOCL is for YOU who wishes to explore “discipleship, service and ministry” as a Christian Leader.

It is a good nine days of learning, sharing, praying, reflecting, ministering and discovering what it means to be a servant leader. “Participants will benefit from a common faith and learning experience in a community setting with fellow students across the universities.”

Registration fee: $100. You may register at www.oyp.org.sg/SOCL2016

This is OYP’s SOCL facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/960023147422351/

If you have any queries: contact Juliana Aloysius at juliana.oyp@catholic.org.sg

God Bless!

6 Things You Didn’t See: The Year of Mercy Logo Explained

This article is from Catholic Link.org and is available here.

Garrett Johnson 

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As the Year of Mercy is now underway, I would suggest taking a moment to reflect on the official logo. While our own artistic sensibilities may vary, it’s always important to ask: God, how might You be speaking to me through this? Is there something here that I am not seeing or understanding?

Today, I am going to try to explain some of the particularities of the Year of Mercy logo, designed by the artist Fr. Marko Rupnik. I hope that they might aid you in going deeper into the meaning of God’s mercy in your life and accompany others in doing the same.

1. The Overall Style: Symbolic

The image evidently does not pretend to be a literal depiction of Jesus (the volume, angles and such are all stylized, rather than realistic). The style is profoundly symbolic, poetic, metaphorical… This is a conscious choice of the artist, Fr. Rupnik. Whenever you are trying to say something very deep and very beautiful, precise scientific language isn’t up to snuff. You need poetry. The same thing applies here: a more symbolic approach allows the artist to transmit realities that go way beyond what any realistic representation could ever hope to capture.

Its symbolic nature also implies a bit more work on our part.  Its meaning is not necessarily so clear at a first glance (as so often occurs in our daily lives and in our relationship with God). Instead, it requires patience and bit of interior reflection. Understanding the author’s intention is key. Why were certain shapes, forms, and colors used? Let’s take a look.


2. The Almond Shape

The scene is depicted with a particular artistic device called a mandorla (“almond nut” in Italian). It is the oval shape formed by the overlap of two circles as they approach each other. It serves as something of a parenthesis within an icon. What is being set inside the parenthesis is an event which somehow transcends what most of us consider as normal. In this case, this abnormal event is Christ’s Incarnation. The almond shape, then, represents the union of two circles, that is the two natures of Christ: divine and human.

The almond tree is also the first plant to flower each year in Greece, sometimes as early as mid-January, and as such is a symbol of new life and fertility. Ancient Greek myths also link almonds, and the almond shape, with new life.  Yet, preceding all these in time and succeeding them in importance is the story of Aaron’s rod, which blossomed forth not only flowers, but almonds (Numbers 17:8).


3. The Colors

Red represents blood, life and, above all, God.

Blue represents man, the only creature that knows how to look to the sky (heavens).

White has a variety of meanings. It is the color of the Holy Spirit because it reflects the life of the Trinity. In this case, Rupnik explains that Christ is white because it is Christ’s soul, the Spirit of Christ, that descends into hell, while his body is resting. The color white, then, represents the light that saves, the eternal life of the Son.

The clothing of Adam (the man carried by Jesus, further explained below): it was a green color (humanity) that has, however, been turned golden (divinity), representing the fact that Adam (and each one of us) is participating in a process of divinization, i.e., becoming like God through Jesus Christ.

4. Bands of Blue

The variously shaded bands of blue, increasingly darker as one moves inward, is also a recurring theme in these icons. It reflects what is called the Apophatic Way of reflecting on God. To put a complicated idea simply, this means that it is often easier to describe God – the Ineffable, the Infinite, Being, itself – by means of describing what He is NOT. God is so far beyond our limited ability to grasp, not that we don’t try, and not that we can’t know SOME things, but that, the deeper we go, we might do better by talking about what He is not, since what He IS, is so utterly awesome and ineffable. Like looking at the son, this mystery is to bright to be seen.

This is why the mandorla surrounding Christ usually shows concentric bands of shading which get darker toward the center, rather than lighter. We must pass through stages of what seem like increasing mystery and unknowing, in order to encounter Jesus Christ. As holiness increases, there is no way to depict its brightness, except by darkness. The black-like color is used then to represent that overpoweringly bright light of Jesus! The light of the world no longer has any meaning outside of Christ because He is the only true light. Where does his light shine? In the heart of humanity.

Though in one sense impenetrable, this light nevertheless calls us ever inward in reflection. In this particular image, the depth of the darker shade suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all. At the center of the darkest color, where Jesus’ feet are positioned, is the great mystery of the Incarnation – that, in the person of Jesus, humanity and divinity are joined: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).

Conversely, the three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death into the light of his love and forgiveness


5. The Man on Jesus’ Shoulders

The logo also shows Jesus carrying a man on his shoulders. Fr. Rupnik says that this is Jesus as the Good Shepherd, carrying Adam on his shoulders. When Jesus finds his lost sheep, “he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:5-6) Others have offered another parable as a means to reflect on the logo – the parable of the Good Samaritan. There was a certain man who is robbed, beaten, and left in a ditch. The first two travelers see the man and cross the road to avoid him. But the Samaritan stops to help the victim. Jesus asks the listener: “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)


6. The One, Unique Gaze

One of the most striking features of the image is the fact that Jesus and the man (over his shoulders) are sharing one eye (this has absolutely nothing to do with the “third eye” theory). Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.

Fr. Rupnik explains that God gazes upon man in such a way that allows man to understand him; God communicates himself in such a way that man is then able to see. Only in the gaze of the Father can we truly understand and come to terms with who we are, with our identity: sons and daughters of God the Father!

Meanwhile, through Christ’s divine humanity, what man sees, God also sees and what man begins to see as God sees. Christ is never far! All that we see, all that we live, our joys and our sorrows… He is there, accompanying us, seeing with us. He reassures us that he knows what we are going through. Through this he also continues to invite us to greater conversion and to change how we see others: that we begin to look upon our neighbors with His same eyes of mercy.

This is worth some more thought. Christ sees with our eyes so that we might be able to see with His. He lives our life, feels with our senses, and sees with our eyes that each of us might discover in Christ the true calling of our own humanity. At the same time, we are called to say, with Saint Paul, “And I live, now not I; but Christ lives in me.” That is, we are called to look upon reality with the same gaze of Christ. In every situation of our lives we are called to discover, listen and fulfill the will of the Father, especially with those who are most needy.

The Closeness of Jesus and Adam

As a final thought, I found Fr. Rupnik’s explanation of the closeness of Adam’s face to Jesus’s quite interesting. When Christ expired on the cross, man grabbed this breath and we began to breathe once more. Thus, as Adam received the breath of life at the moment of creation, in our baptism, we now receive the new breath of life, that of the Spirit of Christ, with which we can begin to live a new life in Christ.

Questions for Personal Reflection:

What does God want to say in my life this Jubilee Year? How can I open myself up more to his mercy?

Do I see with the same gaze of Christ? What keeps me from looking upon others and myself with the mercy of Christ?

Sources used for this post:  Video interview with Fr. Rupnik (in Italian), Reflections fromFriar Musings., The Mandorla in IconsWithin a Mandorla, The official description of the logo.

 

 

Testimony: Brandon

Love your neighbour as you love yourself

I recently returned travelling from a semester abroad in France. While it was at times somewhat lonely being away from loved ones, family and friends in a vastly different culture and society; in situations such as these, one can often see God’s grace more easily and I was very fortunate to a have several meaningful experiences which truly did guide my own concurrent spiritual journey.

A poignant moment which I would like to share occurred during the onset of the cold winter season. One frigid morning, as I rushed for my university classes admidst the morning crowd, I passed by a young Roma girl (a marginalised European minority group) begging by the public tramway. Sadly, such sights are very much common in Europe unlike Singapore.

In this instance, I was in a great hurry, and I just went past on my own business. Immediately after and during the day, although I felt some degree of consideration, I tried rationalizing it by telling myself, “I had no obligation to do anything for the girl”. Later that morning however, an old French lady performed an incredibly kind act towards me as she treated me to a free croissant as I struggled to reach the bakery before it closed for midday.

I was very touched by her deed, and as I returned home during the evening, I was surprised to encounter the same girl who was still by the corner of the street. This time around however, I went and got her a large, warm meal from a nearby restaurant. Having received an unexpected act of kindness, I made the decision to pass it along towards others in my life.

One of the most important and powerful values which Jesus emphasises in the parable of the Good Samaritan is to love your neighbour as yourself, and this is certainly true. During this Christmas season and in the upcoming new year, may we all each act as good samaritans towards those we know and unknown people. Like ripples in a lake, initiating and sharing acts of good no matter how small can create a larger effect for many people.


Brandon is a Catholic youth who just returned from a Student Exchange Program in France. Thank you for blessing us with your testimony!

NUS CSS wishes everyone a blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones!

“To give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins; this by the tender mercy of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace”. – Luke 1:67-79.
May Christ continue to be your guiding light during and beyond this Christmas. God Bless!

merry christmas