18 May – Memorial for St. John I, Pope and Martyr
John (d. 526) was a priest in Rome, and became the 53rd pope in 523. Italy’s ruler then, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian. For a while he left the Catholics alone, but in later life he became suspicious of everyone, imagining conspiracies and attempts to seize his throne. He tried to involve Pope John in his political machinations. John led a delegation to Constantinople to negotiate with Emperor Justin I; he was the first pope to travel to Constantinople, and while there crowned Justin. The mission was successful, but Theodoric though John and Justin I had plotted against him. While returning to Rome, John was kidnapped and imprisoned by Theodoric’s soldiers. He died of thirst and starvation while in custody in Ravenna, Italy.
-Patron Saint Index
Here is the answer for those of you who talk like this: ‘Today or tomorrow, we are off to this or that town; we are going to spend a year there, trading, and make some money.’
You never know what will happen tomorrow: you are no more than a mist that is here for a little while and then disappears. The most you should ever say is: ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we shall still be alive to do this or that.’ But how proud and sure of yourselves you are now! Pride of this kind is always wicked. Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and doesn’t do it commits a sin.
John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.’
You never know what will happen tomorrow.
I have been training for my spiritual walk in September when I will embark on my Camino in Spain. Recently, an ex-colleague reminded me to moderate my training so as not to injure myself before I even start my actual walk. He shared that he regretted pushing himself on his own Camino by covering nearly 500km in a short span of 15 days, turning his walk into a physical task instead of a spiritual one.
That reminder was reinforced by a book I have just started on entitled ‘Walk In A Relaxed Manner’. The author, a layperson, did the full distance in 37 days and because she was mindful of her limitations (she was 60 when she did it), she ended up benefiting from what the Lord communicated to her each day while on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
At work, I always make sure that we have a plan for what lies ahead from events to key projects. All my working life, I have been conditioned to anticipate and plan for best, worst and not-that-bad scenarios. It has stood me well thus far and I always remind my staff never to approach anything, however trivial it may seem, without a plan of attack.
One of the chapters in the book is simply titled ‘Let Go’. In preparing my deputies for my absence in September, I have come to the realization that they themselves need to let go of their own negative perceptions of each other, and to just get the job done. I found myself catching my tongue on occasions where I have been privy to their disagreements, reminding myself that I too behaved like them in my idealistic, younger days. Lately, I have learnt to walk away so that they discover for themselves their own lessons rather than hearing it from me.
Brothers and sisters, only God knows what lies ahead for each and every one of us. As I continue my preparation for my journey ahead, I know and trust that what lies ahead on whichever road I end up taking will eventually lead back to Him. Truly, we do not need to worry about what will happen tomorrow as long as in our hearts, we are prepared to meet Him should he call.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer – Heavenly Father, you alone know what’s in store for each of us on this earth. We ask that you continue to watch over us as we live out your divine plan.
Thanksgiving – Thank you, Father, for your gift of a brand new day each time we wake from our slumber.