Monday, February 25, 2013

Faithfulness and faith


When the chips are down, and when life is hard for various reasons, it is relatively easy to lose one’s grip on faith and the fact that God has not taken a holy hiatus.  It is often when things are going well, when one’s life-boat is not shaken and rocked, that it becomes easy to be either lackadaisical or complacent with one’s faith, or worse, one’s relationship with God who makes all things possible.

Where do we get our faith strengthened when the going gets bleak?  When we believe in a God who loves and creates out of love and nothing else, it becomes necessary to go back to scriptural evidence of how God himself is faithful despite the fact that we, the people he made the various covenants with have not been faithful.


Just last week, in the first reading at Mass, we saw how God made the covenant with Abram.  It’s one of my personal favourites within the Bible.  So much is revealed about just how God loves in this treaty that mirrors many other treaties in those times.  The fact that God doesn’t want Abram to walk with him through the split carcasses of the animals meant that God was going to bear the brunt of a treaty that was dishonoured and broken.  In God’s great love and wisdom, he knew that man was not going to be faithful to the covenant, thus the slumber that he put Abram to.  But in his greater love and wisdom, God walked himself through the split carcasses and this was a prophetic action that foretold of the passion of the Son of God on Calvary. God takes upon himself the suffering that we deserve, and this is seen writ large when we gaze upon the crucified Messiah on the Cross.  

When faithfulness is borne to such an extent, and shown in such a grand display, it becomes for us a backbone and a firm foundation for our own faithfulness, especially when we are put to the test and our backs are against the wall.  But I have to admit that it is human to find our faith on wobbly ground from time to time, especially when what we have trained for, prayed so much about, and lived out in our lives is challenged and perhaps even taken away for a moment.

It may not surprise most of my readers by now that the illness that I have been struggling with in DC was more than just bronchitis and a persistent fever that would not go away.  My decision to come back to Singapore to get myself treated by local doctors has borne some ‘fruit’ in that they have discovered the cause of my illness.  I have been diagnosed with the cancer Leukemia, and I have a long haul of treatment to face.  I have always wondered what it would be like to receive such debilitating news such as a cancer prognosis, but now I need wonder no more.  While it is not pretty and exciting as news goes, there has been a certain grace that has embraced me from the moment that it was confirmed and told to me.  I don’t think I am in denial, as I am well aware of just how much pain and suffering there is to endure.  But there is no fear, no anger, no regret and most importantly, no bitterness. 

One of the things that still keeps me strong is my constant reflection on just how great God’s faithfulness is.  And because he is faithful to such a degree, and calls us to be holy as he is holy, he is also constantly calling each one of us to become like him in our ways of living.  I can say confidently that at this point of time in my life, the way to live a holy life that imitates God’s is to not let go of my faith despite this news of my illness. 

I spoke with a priest-friend over the phone last evening, and he was so upset that I had to comfort and cheer him up.  He called it a ‘death-sentence’.  I call it a “hidden blessing”.  And it is a blessing because it draws us constantly closer to God and to rely on him and his strength in all the different trials and difficulties that will come our way in the treatment that we choose when we are ill.  I believe that it is a blessing because it will allow me to truly be at one with the many other people who have had to walk this same journey too.  

Today I should begin my chemo journey, and I believe that much will be revealed to me.  Times will be tough, and there will be much to endure.  I only need to be attuned to the way that my God speaks to me through various circumstances, and hope to become an effective channel of his love and mercy to the many who need to hear the Good News – of God’s unending faithfulness.  I ask for your prayers and I too will pray for you my dear readers.  Because of the unknown element of how I will take to the therapy, I may not be able to write as regularly as I would like to.  I ask for your patience in this.  

81 comments:

  1. Father, be brave. The Lord has in his mind what he has for us. HE has drawn us nearer to HIM.

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  2. Praying for you Fr Luke. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

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  3. Father, all the best for the treatment.

    As in the Kung-fu Panda quote:- the past is History, the future is a mystery & your being here now is such a present to the many appreciative people that u have touched through your true presence.

    人生中最大的风险是过没有任何风险的生活。

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  4. Dear Fr. Luke,

    It was with much sadness that I received the news of your illness just yesterday. I wasn't completely taken by surprise though. Your bronchial infection at Christmas-time and subsequent absence at the “March for Life” rally in January (which you said you much desired to attend), kind of put me on alert that things weren’t completely rosy; but I kept it to myself.

    When I broke the news to my daughter, she was genuinely shocked. “Oh no!” she blurted out, “Why Father Luke? He's such a good priest!”

    The best explanation I could offer was that, in spite of things, God has a plan for Fr. Luke, just as He has a plan for each one of us. No matter what, we are in His gaze and that in fact, our names are engraved on the palm of His hand. Nothing escapes His attention. And so we have to trust God. In everything.

    I've often wondered how deep my own faith goes. For example, how would I react if I were to be told tomorrow that I have stage 4 cancer?
    Would I walk away, muttering, “There is no God”, or would I stay the course and remain faithful? I pray earnestly that I would have the grace to do the latter.

    I cannot imagine what it's like to be in your shoes right now, for I have never been tested so greatly. I continue to pray for you, asking God to give you strength and courage, and an unshakable faith in Him. God bless you.

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  5. Hi Father Luke, my prayers are with you. Remain strong and trust GOD to walk with you in this journey. In 2010 I was diagnosed with pituitary gland tumour. Three tumours, two removed and one still present todate (too risky to remove). It was a very tough time for me then and I know what you will be going through. Trust HIM. God Bless..

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  6. God bless you Father. Will be praying for you. Right now though, the disposition you carry is a testament to the faith and trust you have in God, and it is usually by the cross that His glory and love is manifest.

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  7. Hi Fr Luke, I'm a silent reader of your blog. You've inspired me so much through your writing. I will pray for you.
    -A-

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  8. Dear Father Luke, I'll be praying for you.I know He will give you the faith, strength and courage to get through this difficult period!

    God Bless,
    Karen

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  9. Thank you Fr Luke for being such an inspirational priest. Thank you for bringing us closer to Jesus through your faithfulness and "hidden blessing". You are already healed! I thank God for the gift of you and your beautiful voice and even beautiful heart :) Be strong. We are all with you in prayers :D

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  10. Fr Fong, stay strong in our Lord. My husband was diagnosed with Nasal Cancer stage 3 three days before 2011 Christmas. It was a tough journey as our eldest son Is physically disabled with Muscular Dystrophy and we have another two young kids. We placed all our trust in God and rely on Him totally because human strength does not exists. My hubby is in remission since he completed his treatment last May. Indeed the journey was heart wrenching but we learned so much from it and now are reaching out to many cancer patients. Stay positive father and know that you are in the good hands of Jesus who is our divine healer. Nothing escapes Him. We will be praying for you. God bless you with a good recovery.

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  11. hi Fr. Luke,

    know that Emmanuel Charismatic Prayer Group (St. Anthony) started lifting you up in prayer during our session last week, and we will continue doing so. The power of prayer and faith can surpass anything and everything. I will continue lifting you up in prayer daily too at Holy Mass. God bless you.


    your fellow Josephian,

    Raymund Francis
    Emmanuel CPG, Church of St. Anthony

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  12. Dear Fr Luke

    May the Lord give you strength and perserverance in this next stage of your life...may we all draw strength and a stronger level of faith from your experience to fully trust in the Lord and in his infinite mercy.

    Your fellow Josephian

    Sebastian Anthony
    Catechist, Church of the Risen Christ

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  13. Father, we will remember you in our prayers.

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  14. Dear Fr Luke,

    May our Lord and Mother Mary keep you safe under their care always. Remember the 'Footprints in the sand'. Get well soon, Fr. Be strong.

    God bless you,
    Elizabeth

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  15. hello Fr Luke my daughter and I earnestly await the day you will be celebrating mass again, and I am sure many many lost sheep are hoping to see you soon. You are in our prayers and thoughts, please dont abandon us. We are all shattered.....irene - parishioner OLSS

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  16. Dear Father Luke,

    I believe that you will emerge from this journey stronger than ever, and with, no doubt, many insights and lessons to share.

    Stay positive and know that you are in all your many parishioners'hearts and prayers.


    We need all the shepherds we can on earth. God Bless.

    One of your flock@ IHM


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  17. My dear Fr Luke, how mentally n spiritually strong you have been despite the fact that God has called upon you to share in the suffering and passion of His Son....your faith has not wavered even in your adversity. It would, in fact, seem that it has grown much stronger!
    Please be assured that our prayers are with you, Fr. I am confident that God will give you the strength to endure the journey He has laid forth before you.
    May God bless n strengthen you Fr. and may your recovery be a speedy one!

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  18. Dear Father Luke,

    I was brought to this page by a friend and my thoughts are with you.. I will be 22 years old this year. I was diagnosed with Leukaemia two years ago in July 2011 after persistent fevers and subsequent bouts of pneumonias landed me in the ICU of NUH. I went through 5 bone marrow aspirations, 8 lumbar punctures and 4 cycles of chemotherapy before ending the year with a stem-cell transplant. I shudder to remember those days of suffering that I endured and of my seemingly non-existent God whom I thought, or was indoctrinated from childhood catechism classes to believe, loved me.

    I remember countless periods, alone in my ward, that I had entertained various thoughts, always oscillating between visceral anger and hatred towards God and breaking into paroxysmal pleas for His mercy. 'Tis true when they say the empty mind is the workplace of the Devil.

    It was a tremendous period of tribulation and there came points, on several occasions, where I was pushed right to the precipice of my faith. It was a lonely sojourn for me as friends and family can only seek to empathise, but they can never participate in your suffering. Such observations reminded me of the Passion of Christ, of how Jesus had prayed and begged in the Garden with such intensity, sweating beads of blood while his closest companions slept.

    I still wonder why God had allowed this to pass in my life. Was I an unlucky chosen pawn, like Job, for the Devil to try prove a point. Or was there something that I should have drawn from this experience that will empower me to better achieve His will in the future. I do not know.

    All I know is that I saw His love in the pained expressions and tears of my parents and family. That in the sacrifice I was made to be, I had shaken the faith of those closest to me. I had become something of a wake-up call, a knell to the ephemeral nature of this life and for once, I believe attending mass had a renascent meaning to them!

    I thank God that I am now in remission and have been given a chance to further my university education in Australia right now.

    Father Luke, I share my humble story with you that it may hopefully give you strength as you experience your own walk through Calvary. For ultimately, although you show great tenacity in your writing, you are but a man; embodying all of the vulnerabilities that define a Man. In the end, I choose to believe that God has a good purpose in allowing things to be as they are. Even if that isn't the case, a diamond cannot be formed without painful years of immense pressure and heat.

    This is not a death sentence nor an insurmountable obstacle. It is a challenge to validate and live your faith. It is a call-to-arms to persevere and endure in good works through your trials as St James counsels us.

    My prayers are with you, Father.

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    1. Hi Joshua Ling, your story is such an inspiration and i am moved to ask you if you could please share it on our facebook page : Catholic Prayers.Faith, Hope, Love. It is a page for every one who needs a prayer, for whatever the reason. Thank you, joseph ow yong.

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    2. Hi Joseph, thank you. My apologies for the late response as I have been rather busy lately.. I have no objections whatsoever of you sharing my story on your facebook page.

      Cheers:)

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  19. One in prayer with youFebruary 25, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Thank you, Fr Luke, for remaining that good and faithful servant of God. Even as you battle with your illness, you are using your blog to point us towards Jesus Christ and helping us see the "gift" behind life's tribulation.

    I remembered in one Lent years ago, you gave a talk to us, IHM parishioners, about how Jesus prepared for his passion in the Garden of Gethsemane. It left me with a very deep impression on how one should walk the long road of suffering. May this image of Jesus praying, “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” be with you as you begin your own journey of faithfulness and courage.

    The other thing you mentioned at that talk was your daily holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament – which was Jesus’ request to his apostles at the Garden. You said this hour of contemplation gave you peace and strength as a priest.

    This journey of yours is often lonely but be assured that you are NOT alone. I, my family and many others, are united with you in prayer. And above it all, I am sure Jesus is holding your hand on this, and coming into your garden.

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  20. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:35, 37-39

    Jesus is with you.

    Wui

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  21. Dear Fr Luke,

    You visited me when I went thru chemo nearly 6 yrs ago. I was very touched and felt as though Jesus (thru you) had visited me.

    Unknown to me, Jesus actually prepared me for my cancer. During one evening, 8 yrs ago, I was in the canteen and someone approached me to be a RCIA sponsor, I felt as though Jesus was calling me to be a sponsor. During the RCIA retreats, I received 2 Bible verses - 1) I formed you in the palm of my hands, I will never forget you. 2) Trust in me, for I'm with you always. I didn't think much about the Bible verses. After 2 enriching years of helping out at RCIA, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. During my chemo, the 2 Bible verses just kept coming to my mind, like God assuring me that He's with me and I know He's always with me.

    You are right to say that cancer is a hidden blessing. I felt that way too. I have grown closer to God, when I pray from my heart, I can actually 'hear' Him. I am preparing to meet God daily and looking forward to return to my eternal home. I have prepared my husband and grown-up children. I have learnt to let go of a lot of things and trust in God. I am a happier person.

    All of us are praying for you. We love you. :)

    Caroline

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  22. Dear Fr Luke,

    i've have not much to say except that i will always keep you and all the sick and the marginalised in my prayers.

    In prayer with Jesus, Mary and Joseph!


    JMJ

    G

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  23. Dear Fr Luke,

    You are such an inspirational priest. Be assured that you are not and will not be alone as you battle with your illness. We'll keep you in our prayers. Be strong.

    Cassandra

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  24. Hi Father Luke,

    I've been a silent reader of your blog, but I'd just like to say that your posts have constantly been a source of edification and encouragement for me, and that God has really spoken to me through them. I'll be praying for you, and may He bless you with the grace to undergo this trial with faith and patience.

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  25. Dear Fr Luke

    Blessed are the afflicted for they shall bear the glory of Christ. A friend said God gives the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. You are not alone in your trials, we will be praying with you. As you have always said to us, God Love You.

    A Prayer for the Journey (Thoughts in Solitude, Thomas Merton)
    "MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

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  26. Dear Fr Luke,

    I am also a silent reader of your blog but today I must write. In some of your blogs, God is talking to me through you. You are so inspirational in your sermons as well as your blogs. So like you to be so upfront to tell us of your illness. Though we can't journey with you physically, rest assurred we will be with you in prayers and thoughts. You always ends your semon with "God Loves You", yes He does.
    Your follower, Grace from OLPS.

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  27. Dear Fr Luke

    Please be assured of mine and many many others daily prayers for your recovery.

    "My soul will boast the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice...I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:2-4

    Blessed Mother please intercede for your son,Fr Luke

    Thelma

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  28. Dear Fr Luke

    I was taken to your page through Facebook. My thoughts & prayers are with you as you commence your chemotherapy treatment. Even though I am not a cancer patient nor survivor, I can exactly relate to you as I have been diagnosed with a not-so-common medical illness: Fibromyalgia.

    It all happened only 5 years ago on one fateful day. No doctors could find out what was wrong with me. My legs swelled one after another. The pain was immense and I was practically limping around anywhere I go. All the blood & imaging tests came back normal. We were all baffled.

    I thought I had recuperated within 1-2 months as the swelling on my legs have stopped. But a couple months down the road, my right hand started to swell and soon after, my left hand.

    I was then referred to a Rheumatologist. Thinking that it could be Connective Tissue Disease, e.g. Lupus, the specialist ran another round of blood tests. Strange to say, the blood tests still came out normal. I was really desperate by then. I could only do a simple thing: pray. I prayed, "Dear Lord, I surrender my life to you and I trust in your hands to carry me. Please Lord, grant the doctor the healing power and wisdom to treat me.”

    Finally, the Rheumatologist managed to diagnose my condition: Fibromyalgia. When my doctor told me this, I was puzzled, yet upset; puzzled as in "what is Fibromyalgia?" and upset as to "Why is this happening to me?"

    I was going through my RCIA during this period and I started to doubt God. I kept asking God, "What is it that you want of Your Daughter?", "Are You trying to tell me that I'm not worthy for you?", "Are You trying to tell me something?" I confessed that I nearly gave up on God and wanted to quit RCIA then.

    Since then, I started to read up on Fibromyalgia. Sad to say, there is no cure for Fibromyalgia and it's a life-long illness. Medications can only be used to treat the pain & prevent another relapse.

    Frustratingly. I have not only to tackle the physiological challenges with my body, but I also need to gain understanding on my illness from other people, especially my parents. Quarrels, disagreements and heated exchanges have always been the centre scene whenever the topic of my health comes up. My parents failed to understand and accept me and my illness. As such, I never had the support from my family.

    With God's grace, I was baptised as a Catholic in 2009. While praying one day, I said to God, “If it’s your will, allow me not to let my illness hinder my life and let You walk with me each step I take. I cannot fully determine my life; but I believe that in Your time, You will guide me to where I will be.” Instead of feeling upset, angry or frustrated, I began to turn that energy to God and prayer and leaving my health into the hands of God.

    The journey was and has been rough & tough for me. The trials & tribulations that I have and I am going through (especially in career & health) is akin to an extended version of the Passion of Christ. The symptoms, side effects of the illness & medications and the relapses that I sometimes are not even aware, I have to bear & struggle through admist my daily life.

    You know, Fr Luke, many people have been asking me how do I get along in life amidst all the above. I can only reply them, "Prayer, trust & believe in Jesus". Sometimes, I really feel like giving up. But I know that once I reach out my hand, His hand will be there to grab mine.

    Fr Luke, hang in there. I hope by sharing my story with you, you will have the strength & courage to move on. I truly believe that God has a plan/purpose for the things that happen. It's not the end, but only the beginning. The beginning to show our perseverance and true faith in Him, to hold His hand and walk with Him. The feeliing of holding His hands and walking beside Him like a little child is not everyone can experience; only His beloved ones; and you are one of them.

    You are in my prayers, Father.

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    1. Dear Fr Luke we are with you through God's immense love.We pray that our Mother of Perpetual Succour will intercede for your healing.He is in our midst in every event of our lives.Through your guidance I have faced many trials without fear.And I thank God for you and your family.Love you.God Bless.

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  30. Fr Luke,
    Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! These were the same cries i made over and over again three years ago when my wife was battling with her terminal cancer and the suffering was too much to bear. You were there to comfort us and prayed with us and reminded us of God's larger purpose and the meaning of redemptive suffering. During those last days, it was not easy to keep the faith if i had not your shoulder to cry on and your strength to hold onto and the love and prayers of the Catholic community at IHM. I will always remember the deep gratitude i felt, touched by you and Fr Joe, that turned my unbelief to a deeper belief that Christ IS the Faith, He IS the Way, the Truth and the Life. I believe you will pull through this dark night and come out stronger in faith for the experience to better shepherd your flock for many many more years to come. My prayers are with you for a complete healing in the name of Jesus Christ and that the dark side shall not prevail.

    Your friend in Christ,
    Richard Contardo Goh

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  31. As u embark on this journey of being infirm, may God always be your comfort n companion, firmly leading you, constantly making u aware of His faithfulness and your belovedness. We r praying for u! We love u! God love u!

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  32. Dear Fr. Luke

    We unite our prayers with yours - for the Glory of God to be manifested in your life and to be an inspiration to all of us, Father. The 24-hour Intercessory Prayer group in Divine Retreat Centre, India is praying for you. God Bless you, Father.

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  33. Dear Fr Luke

    You have been inspiring us all with your blog , helping us to seek our Lord more faithfully and I thank you. As you begin your journey of medical treatments with so many elements of unknowns , please know that my friends and I are lifting you up in prayer each day. God loves you Fr Luke. Trust in Him.

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  34. May your journey on earth here serve as a reminder of Christ suffering for us. Thank you for being vulnerable. It is especially meaningful to us in this season of Lent. I do not know what are God's plan for you and I. But I am sure that eventually when you and I are eventually called home to the Lord, we will be like what Isaiah says in Isaiah 55:9-11. The Chemo is going to be very tough, especially at night when your body will be tested to the limits of its tolerance of pain. Will keep you in prayer especially. Love you always. - Yr Brother in Christ

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  35. 您将受到天主给您最大的考验!加油啊,亲爱的神父!我们爱您!尽管您将会自己忍受所有的痛楚,夜里将会疼痛万分,您将会与主同在。 

    耶 和 华 说 , 我 的 意 念 , 非 同 你 们 的 意 念 , 我 的 道 路 , 非 同 你 们 的 道 路 。
    天 怎 样 高 过 地 , 照 样 我 的 道 路 , 高 过 你 们 的 道 路 , 我 的 意 念 , 高 过 你 们 的 意 念 。雨 雪 从 天 而 降 , 并 不 返 回 , 却 滋 润 地 土 , 使 地 上 发 芽 结 实 , 使 撒 种 的 有 种 , 使 要 吃 的 有 粮 。我 口 所 出 的 话 , 也 必 如 此 , 决 不 徒 然 返 回 , 却 要 成 就 我 所 喜 悦 的 , 在 我 发 他 去 成 就 的 事 上 ( 发 他 去 成 就 或 作 所 命 定 ) 必 然 亨 通 。你 们 必 欢 欢 喜 喜 而 出 来 , 平 平 安 安 蒙 引 导 。 大 山 小 山 必 在 你 们 面 前 发 声 歌 唱 。 田 野 的 树 木 也 都 拍 掌 。松 树 长 出 代 替 荆 棘 。 番 石 榴 长 出 代 替 蒺 藜 。 这 要 为 耶 和 华 留 名 , 作 为 永 远 的 证 据 , 不 能 剪 除 。
    以 赛 亚 书 55:9-11

    看到其他人都祝您早日康复,我觉得天主的意念非同我们的意念。我反而会祝您决不徒然返回,却要成就天主所喜 悦的,在他发您去成就的事上必然亨通!

    我们爱您!

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  36. When my mother was dying of cancer, the doctor told us, "cancer patients are blessed and loved by God because He carries them and they hold on to Him for strength and courage". Your love for the Lord and your faithfulness is your healing strength. I have always admired you for the depth of your love for the Lord. He see all...He will carry you through this painful process of deeper faith. Stay positive, Trust in the Lord, take care & get well soon.

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  37. Dear Father Fong
    I know you only from afar and from your writing. Yet I know the Lord will touch you and all of us in a special way in moments of trial and tribulation. So special and personalised that you will know it when it comes to you. In this season of Lent, all of us have crosses to carry and I was moved to tears when I read your commentary here about your extra heavy cross you are carrying now. In the last week ordination mass of the Co-adjudator Fr William Goh, Archbishop Chia said that we are all one body in Christ, when one part hurts , the whole body hurts as well. We are always in solidarity with you in spirit always

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  38. Dear Fr Luke
    I had breast cancer 18 years ago. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer which is so rare and I have never smoked in my life. Last year I was struck with a lethal form of brain cancer...brainstem glioma. To be struck with cancer 3 times in my life is really devastating esp when they are all primary tumours and not spread from the previous tumours. Of course I wondered why my crosses never end. I draw consolation from Mother Teresa who said that God chooses those He loves to share in His Passion.

    Surgery was not an option as the tumour, being located at the brainstem,can cause me to go into a coma or I could be paralysed or die at the operating table. Brain tumours do not respond to chemotherapy and the only option was daily radiation for 6 weeks. This treatment can prolong my life for a few months.

    The love that I experienced from my fellow Catholics, priests, nuns, family and friends was tremendous. Even strangers who heard of my plight would visit me and pray for my healing. I could feel Jesus Himself journeying with me through this difficult time in my life. Every passage and psalm that I read seems to be written for me....God reassuring me that He who can take care of the sparrows will surely take care of me.

    Yes, God did heal me and my brain tumour has miraculously disappeared.My doctor has no explanation except to congratulate me for having received "divine intervention". God is so real and He loves us all so much.

    Fr Luke, thank you for giving me the Anointing For The Sick last August when you came back to celebrate Mass during your home leave.We are all praying for you and I know the Lord will heal His good and faithful servant.

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  39. Dear Fr Luke,
    Thank you for the beautiful reflection on Faithfulness and Faith.
    Be assured that my prayers are with you as your walk this journey of Faith with Our Lord.
    Will also pray for the medical team looking after you.

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  40. Dear Fr Fong,

    I can't think of any better words to console you or to encourage you but to present you a verse from the book of Job.
    "....If we take happiness from God's hand, must we not take sorrow too?" Job 2:10

    I hope you find strength and encouragement from this biblical character, Job, who remained faithful to God despite all his trials and sufferings he had experienced.

    Courage!

    God bless.

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  41. Dear Fr Luke ,

    Entrust your cares to the Lord, He will support you ( Ps 54 ) keeping you in prayers.

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  42. Dear Father Luke,

    Your reflection has been most uplifting and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts and experience as you face your sufferings. Know that you are in our prayers. May you continue to receive comfort and strength from your strong faith in God. I pray that you will see the face of Jesus during moments of suffering, hopelessness and pain.

    God bless,
    Esther De Cruz
    Parishioner, CDM

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  43. Dear Fr Luke,
    You've been an inspiration to me and many pple. Miss you at our LC.
    Continue to stay strong.. Our LC will be praying for you... God bless you always! :)

    Love,
    Ashlyn Ping Ping (LC 342)

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  44. Hello Fr Luke

    Will again miss seeing you from my balcony pounding the streets of Yishun towards Sembawang canal early mornings. But I am quite sure you will put on your jogging shoes again and go - same strides or slower doesn't matter. This time you need not give me 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary & 1 Glory Be. I will say them for you for without any prompting for your speedy recovery.

    George

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  45. Luke, your old school mate here. I was shocked and sad when I heard your news. But here you are man, uplifting and inspirational. God bless you and your parents.

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  46. Dear Fr Luke,
    Being newly baptised then, I didn't know who is Fr. Luke. With God's grace, I attended an event and your spiritual message was so impactful that I felt as if I have known you for a long time. I am unable to accept this truth. But I know for sure that God is watching over you. Hold on to the Word for comfort and strength. I know for sure that you will emerge victorious at the end because God still has alot of work for you to do.
    We will keep you in prayers...God Bless Fr.

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  47. Father, thank you for giving your life to serve us as our priest.

    Your courage & faith in God showed us that the Holy Spirit is with you.

    God will turn your test into His testimony.

    For you already know that, the Will of God will not lead you to where the Grace of God cannot keep you.

    Together with your family, we pray that you will get well soon because we love you & also because we need you.

    God bless+ you, Father. Take care & rest well.

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  48. Do watch this clip of God in action, working a miracle in Singapore
    4th stage bone cancer healed!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8KApDn4pm0

    NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!

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  49. Dear Father Luke,

    It was with much sadness when I heard bout your illness on Sat, i was shell-shocked.

    Your sessions and homilies were so inspiring to all, there alwayz was a beautiful message in your homilies...

    I juz love the way u end your homily with " God Love You" with a sweet grin.

    Im still in a daze about hearing the news, everytime I think of it, my eyes wells up n my throat gets choked...

    May U Draw Strength From Our Almighty & Merciful Father, to redeem you from your illness and your ordeal...

    Let Our Divine Physician Help U To Restore Strength To Your Body And Joy To Your Spirit Coz No Healing Is Too Hard For Our Dear Lord...

    We Will Keep U In Our Prayers For Your Speedy Recovery.... God Bless U Father...

    Love,

    RCIA Core Team Of OLSS

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  50. Dearest Father Luke
    You are indeed our source of Hope and Faithfulness.
    I will pray for your speediest recovery, and for your strength and trust.
    My prayers are always with you, Father Luke.
    Live strong in Faith and in Will.
    For we all know You a very wonderful son of Christ!
    For that You are in good hands.

    Love
    Derek

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  51. Dear Father Luke,

    Best wishes from us during your treatment. We will pray for you.

    Love,

    Tony, Naoko, Anthnony and Hana
    Bangkok

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  52. Dear Fr Luke

    I have heard your name being mentioned during a few prayer sessions, but had no idea how sick you were. Cancer is a terrible disease…..but it can also truly be a blessing if you embrace it in the right spirit, as you are clearly trying to, in these present moments of darkness.

    I have had cancer 3 times, and am now in stage IV. Yet, despite the bleak outlook, I look normal and feel fabulous. I saw my oncologist today (it has been 4 months since my last chemotherapy treatment). He tells me I can go another month without chemo….Praise the Lord!

    Cancer is my cross, and yet it is a beautiful blessing. Cancer has taught me about empathy in abundance. It has drawn me closer to God, much closer than I could ever have hoped, dreamed or imagined before I had the dreadful disease. God's cross for me has taught me how to truly appreciate all the blessings I have in life…and I indeed have many. It has also shown me, on reflection, how he has always been there for me throughout my life, even though I am a sinner. I am learning to surrender to God's will…...and his will is clearly brighter than mine given my continued chemo holiday!

    Cancer has opened the doors to sadness, doubt and despair…..but Jesus has always found a way to pull me out of the darkness into the light. And now I am able to better appreciate faith, peace, hope and love in an inspired light.

    Be strong always, and the Lord will help you to conquer this disease.

    I will pray for you Fr Luke.

    Sincerely,
    Chris Minjoot
    (Parishioner at St. Ignatius Church)

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  53. Dear Fr Luke,

    Thank you for all the inspirational homilies which you've shared. You will be in my prayers. May God bless you always.

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  54. Father Luke

    You are indeed our source of Hope and Faithfulness.
    I am praying for your speediest recovery, and for your strength and trust.
    Be strong for your treatment.

    I have suffered kidney failure last year. THE LORD has drawn me nearer to HIM.

    Karen from OLSS

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  55. Dear Fr Luke

    I may not have said it openly to you, but you have always been a source of inspiration to me in the few years that you were with us at IHM. My family has benefited from your homilies and like what one reader said, enjoyed your signature "God Loves You" ending at the end of every homily. Also miss how you would bless us with Holy Water using your gigantic Chinese painting brush.

    Must admit I was shocked to see you along the hospital corridor the other day. I knew then that something was not right for you to be there, but I didn't want to probe and when I finally heard news about your illness, I was both shocked and saddened at the same time. I just want you to know that you are in our prayers. Be strong, as you have always been.

    We love you, Fr Luke. Praying that your treatment will go smoothly for you.


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  56. Dear Fr Luke

    I have always held you in high regard ever since I came to know of you at OLSS. Your homilies are always so inspiring and thought-provoking. I take delight in reading the posts in your blogs and in many ways my faith has grown and strengthened as a result. I still miss your presence in church very much.

    Despite your illness, you have remained strong, brave and ever more faithful to God.

    My prayers and thoughts will be with you each day. Our Blessed Mother Mary will also pray and intercede for your speedy recovery. So dear Father, just keep strong and persevere.

    May God continue to bless you abundantly with His healing powers, great love and mercy.

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  57. Dear Fr Luke,
    It is with great grief to hear about your illness. It is a great loss to many who miss your presence and service. I wish your suffering would be lessened and you will have a speedy recovery. Thank you for your sharing. It's truly inspiring. You will be in my prayers. God bless!

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  58. Along with your former schoolmates at DHS, I am praying for you with thanksgiving for your witness.

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  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  60. Dear Folks who have posted here,

    May I very humbly invite you to also share your words of encouragement and inspiration on the fb page : "Catholic Prayers. Faith.Hope. Love" It was setup by me after I heard about Fr Luke's and then Fr Erbin's medical conditions. But it's for everyone. I feel very unworthy a servant, the least in terms of spirituality and even less in knowledge and also unsure of how things will develop in setting up the page. But it is a page to allow us all to share and ask for prayers, an invitation to take part and re-join and increase in faith. I am humbled, yet encouraged, and now know it was the right thing to do given the willingness of my friends to invite their friends to join as well. I was just chatting with Fr Luke when I remarked that i was confident that he would get well and continue God's work. Fr Luke replied saying he was STILL working, even while being sick. And that struck me to mean that God is using his sickness to heal his flock. And He does it 24 hrs, round the clock, using Fr. Luke. So Fr Luke, God has chosen a most suitable person in you to be priest, to feed His Lambs, as you had sung so aptly in your song. This message rings so true and comes together so beautifully in what I have seen in the last few weeks. Wow. Fr Luke, your wish for "all (your) friends to truly begin to love the God of our lives and also be given the grace to see him at work powerfully in all that surrounds us. And (to see) that He is not a God who delights in any display of suffering, evil, disease and ..." is a wish that is beginning to come true. Thank you.

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  61. ‘’........there has been a certain grace that has embraced me from the moment that it was confirmed and told to me. I don’t think I am in denial, as I am well aware of just how much pain and suffering there is to endure. But there is no fear, no anger, no regret and most importantly, no bitterness. ‘’

    Strangely enough, these words echo my own - when like you -I walked in “Shadowland’’ No wonder he says that ‘my grace is sufficient for you.....’


    One of the ‘benefits’ of such confinement/bed-rest is that I had the time to get more acquainted with a ‘ very old friend’ ( may have been yours too in the Seminary ?) . You may want to re-read – Book 3 Chap 30 of The Imitation of Christ –especially uplifting is the opening line, “I am the Lord who give strength on the day of distress”(Nah 1:7)

    God bless you, Fr
    tessa

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  62. Dear Fr Luke

    I'm 13 and i also have leukemia. But i was never really angry at God or blamed Him( except when i was on medication that causes violent mood swings-be prepared!!) because i'm pretty sure He knows what to do with my life. And..... this is my cross i am to carry i guess. So i am honored to have this. i am already halfway through treatment already. so stay strong and carry your cross that God has chose with your head held high!! if i can do it you can do it too!!! jia you!!!! all the best

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  63. Dearest Fr Luke

    It is always painful to hear news like this and even more so when it's someone close to you. I feel inadequate to offer you words of comfort and encouragement especially after reading the brilliant narratives of giants like Joshua Ling and Chris Minjoot. How can one not be strengthened after reading their stories?

    What I can offer you is a story of a similar situation I am going through and how God has fit into the picture. Just like your famous homily TAKEAWAYS, I have learnt some valuable LESSONS too from my personal journey. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer 3.5 months ago. The fact that she was still breast feeding and we have 2 young kids, added to the shock. From hoping it would be an innocuous lump to being told it's probable an early stage cancer, the news just kept getting progressively worse. Expecting the worse, I kept giving God more chances to 'rectify' things, after all, we were good Catholics who even occasionally went for daily mass. How could this be? As we awaited the results of the biopsy and surgery and the battery of tests, my family, her family and myself were nervous wrecks. It was a terrible time. However amidst all the turmoil, the one person who was cool, calm and collected was my wife. She went about business as usual and even slept like a baby. LESSON 1. GOD'S STRENGTH NOT OURS. My wife told me God just gave her the strength and courage to accept whatever that may come. A week before her diagnosis she was led to watch a YouTube video (Don’t cry for me Sudan) about a Catholic priest who developed cancer. She held on to the lessons of that video tightly. I could not understand all this but I was happy that it was helping her. LESSON 2. PRAYERS. Soon a multitude of people were praying for her, she especially felt confident because the MC Nuns were praying for her. She has a special affiliation for them. Yes, things got dramatically better. From a very aggressive and late stage cancer it became a highly curable and manageable cancer. LESSON 3. SOMETHING GOOD WILL COME OUT OF THIS. Somewhere along the treatment process I had this distinct thought that came to me “Something good will come out of this”. Of course I was quick to rebut it by saying what good can cancer bring apart from pain, suffering, inconvenience, turmoil and possibly an early death. But now 3.5 months down the road not one but MANY good things have emerged. My young niece who had left the church last year after the sudden death of her husband, decided to make her peace with God in order to pray for my wife as she was very fond of her. That, for our whole family was a big miracle. She would have not made her peace with God if not for my wife's cancer. My wife said, that act alone, of my niece making her peace with God made it worthwhile to have cancer. But most importantly for my wife and I, God became alive in our lives again. LESSON 4. CANCER IS A BLESSING. My hands shudder a bit when I type these words. Those are my wife's words, not mine. She said that cancer is the best thing that has happened to her. She said, look at what has happened around us. It has woken not only us but our families and friends from our spiritual slumber. We look at things so differently now. Somehow all the agitation, anger, impatience, envy and many negative feelings have lost its potency. The urge to smell the roses and appreciate life has returned. The children suddenly seem more wonderful than ever and the people around us and the man on the streets’ struggle is easier to spot now. There are so many more things to tell but it would take up too much blog space. Also, I need to leave that space for YOUR story Father, as I am confident you would have an even more extraordinary story to tell us as you go through you own Calvary. As I watch this space, I will surely pray as hard as I can for you. God bless you Father!

    Love, mike

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  64. Hi, Fr. Luke,

    I am praying for you also with all your DHS classmates. I was saddened to hear your news. Your post is very inspiring (as are many of your readers' comments about their experiences), and I am thankful to God that he has given you great faith and is supplying you with the graces that will carry you through this.

    "Have pity on my Lord, for I am weak;
    heal me, LORD, for my bones are shuddering.
    My soul too is shuddering greatly -
    and you, LORD, how long...?
    ... The LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
    The LORD has heard my plea;
    the LORD will receive my prayer." (Psalm 6:3-4,9b-10)

    God bless you. With prayers,
    Genevieve

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  65. Fr Fong, I was very moved and touched when I read your reflections sent to me by my son Francis. Your acceptance of your acceptance is an act of faith that all of us can aspire to. It's a tough call and you have made it. Not unlike Pope Benedict, you have faced your Calvary with the grace that only God can give. You will be in our prayers always. Bernard Chen

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  66. Dear Fr Luke,

    We, a family of 4, with 2 boys aged 9 and 12, have been dedicating the rosary every night especially for you since we heard news. Trust in the Lord!

    Singaporeans living in the Land of DownUnder.

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  67. Hi Padre

    I was in a state of shock for a few days, hearing about this "hidden blessing" upon you. I was in disbelief and unhappy. Upset as I was, I know it is all part of His plan. Tis a strange plan, but I am sure there is beauty and love in it. After all, a very wise man once told me - "Love isn't like Hallmark greeting cards. It isn't all pretty with sweet words..."

    I know no matter how much pain and suffering that you are experiencing, you can still muster a smile... Go, father, go! Hang in there! We need you.

    Your sheep will be patient. We'll be patiently bleating here and waiting for you to get well. All of us will be journeying with you. It isn't the same, yes, I know, but somehow, we're at the back, all around you - praying for you.

    Bibik Assam

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  68. Dear Fr Luke, you are in our thoughts and prayers. May Jesus our Master be always with you as you share in his cross and may he lead you to a peace of mind and heart which only he can give. Praying for your healing and recovery.
    Sr Wendy Ooi, fsp and Sisters,
    Daughters of Saint Paul Singapore.

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  69. Dear Father Luke,

    When I heard about you last week from our Block Rosary Group, my heart goes out to you! Please be strong, don't give up we will certainly be keeping you in our daily prayers. God is always with you every moment of your time! We await your speedy recovery.

    Take care and god bless. Jia you, father Luke!!

    Dot & John

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  70. Take good care Father Luke. Much love to you.

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  71. Father Luke, Joesph and Agnes love you very much! We used to go OLPS to for mass. You are kind of direct, no nonsense but so passionate about our Lord and faith. It makes our heart smile.

    You already have God's graces to be strong and accepting to what God wills you. We will pray for you constantly and ceaselessly. May Lord's mercy and love give you the comfort and strength in all that you go through. Mama Mary, pray for our dear Father Luke. Amen.

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  72. Lean on Him.
    Trust simply.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    God loves you.

    Ex-parishioner of St Anne's (2002-2009)

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  73. Dearest Fr Luke,

    It was not surprising to hear you call your illness a "hidden blessing". "Holy darkness, blessed night". I can't agree with you more despite the aching in my heart. Thank you for comforting us with your unwavering faith. My family will pray for you and your family daily. Together with many many more in the Catholic Community, we shall storm Heaven to ask for your healing. Because of faith, we believe in miracles.

    May God give you strength and draw you ever closer to Him.

    "God's riches will fill your soul".

    God loves you,

    Helen (widow of Aloysius)

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  74. Father Luke,
    Take heart,you have to be strong to be well again. I will pray hard for you.I understand exactly how you feel because of my most recent life experience. I was devastated when my wife was disgnosed with cancer leukemia on 23 Feb, the same week as you. I went about searching for answers. This is the toughest test of faith for her, for me and for my family. My wife has started her chemo and we are journeying through this very difficult period of our lives. We have to be strong to overcome this, and with the Lord's grace, we will pick ourselves up again.
    Love, God bless, parishioner of IHM.

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  75. Dear Fr Luke,
    Though it may seemed easy to say, but nevertheless, stay strong and be at peace with God since he has personally touched you.
    I learnt a lot from you (while you were at St Anne's) and you will always be remembered for your intuitiveness, faith in God and even sense of humour.
    I really love your passion in what you do and I do feel that God is with you as you delivered your sermons and blog reflections.
    So hang on tight, hold on to Mother Mary's hand and she will lead you through.
    God bless you!
    Theresa (formerly attended St Anne's but now at Nativity)

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  76. Dear Father Luke,
    Thank you for your guidance all these years. I used to look forward to your sermons when I was a 7-year-old kid at OLPS.
    Even though my efforts are small, I pray for your speeedy recovery. Never lose hope! :D

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  77. Dear Father Luke
    I thank you for writing this reflection and I will give a copy to my girlfriend who is suffering from breast cancer and also tribulations in the family. My family will be praying for you every evening that our Almighty God embraces you with His Merciful love and abundant Graces. Our love to you. Andrew, Katherine & Geraldine

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  78. Dear Fr. Luke
    I am Fr. Augustine from Myanmar. We were together in Rome for a few months in Collegio San Paolo. I learned from Jenny that you are not feeling well. I am sorry to hear that. I assure you of my constant prayers. God is with you!

    Prayers
    Augustine

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