Hello, hello!!!! It's been, what, almost a year since I last wrote something on this blog, and boy, how time flies!! A year in tech world is like a lifetime (iPad, iPhone 4, rise of FB & Twitter & Netflix). I haven't quite lost interest in the world yet, but most of the interesting links I found go to Facebook now after Yahoo! announced del.icio.us' early demise. And along with dwindling attention span - it's down to 140 characters thanks to a previously mobile startup called Twitter - I find writing anything more than a couple of soundbites, a tad too tedious.
Anyway, it's good to be able to write a good length piece once in a blue moon. And today is such a day.
Our late beloved pope, John Paul II, was officially beatified this morning. Although in the eyes of many he's already a saint, the church does what is in her purview - trust but verify - and declare it official after a process of investigation. Papa BXVI did dispense with the 5 year waiting period, but did not decide to declare his predecessor Santo subito ('immediately') without due process. We're in the age of reason after all, or post-rational, as some'd prefer to say..
If you haven't caught the fever of enthusiasm and joy yet, read on as I'd like to share a bit of my conversion that I believe I have JP 'the great' to thank for. (Have I got any of my old readers left? No? Doesn't matter, I only hope to cheer on a random soul searching for anecdotes about lives touched by JPII)
It started back in 2004, when I just left a serious relationship, and found myself searching for "what's more" in life. I found Choice program - which markets itself precisely to capture this audience. It was good though it wasn't what I was meant for. Got involved running the program, and the community was truly like my second family back in Singapore. That's where I first encountered Theology of the Body, a teaching about love & sexuality made popular by JPII. It was like, who's this brilliant, charismatic, pastoral, and truly paternal figure?? Before this encounter he was only a remote leader figure in the Catholic Church living far away in Rome, and for whom we pray each day even if only out of common piety (or so as not to lead us astray!! How presumptuous I must've sounded...). From then on I began to read his biographies, his works, his encyclicals (yes, even those...), eager to know where'd this guy get all that wisdom, charisma, and above all, the peace & joy that could only come from knowing you're doing exactly what God has made you to do. From one thing to another, I found myself reading tons of blogs (St Blogs, in the words of a wise Catholic blogger), learning stuffs about Catholic doctrine that I never knew existed.
When he passed away in 2005, the whole world's interest in him was renewed. Then I came across a blog post about volunteering for the World Youth Day in Cologne, the first one without JPII. I didn't know what the WYD was, but I signed up and haven't look back since. From there on, one thing leads to another, one encounter after another, one session after another, and two years after his death, I found myself signing a blank cheque of my life to God. (Those of you who know me in real life know what I'm referring to).
So, here I am four years later, in a place I never dreamt of visiting, doing things I'd never dream of doing if not for the yes JPII has inspired me to do. (It's kind of hastily written - but I just had to write something you see...)
Meanwhile life goes on. I still make mobile apps in my spare time (look out for WYD companion app coming soon for your iPhones!!), I am still struggling to keep awake in those Gethsemani moments in my life, I'm still struggling against the old man in me, and I still carry the hope that at the end of it all, our lives are not the sum of our successes and failings, but the sum of God the father's love for us.