• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018 17:21

Living life to the fullest - a reflection

Fr Anthony Le Duc SVD 150By Fr Anthony Le Duc SVD

Have you ever asked yourself: What is the likelihood of me being born into this world? What is the chance of having someone with my appearance and personality on earth? Is there a mathematical calculation that would provide a specific answer to this question?

Believe it or not, some people have tried to give an answer to this question. One of these is Dr Ali Binazir who made the calculation based on the chance of two people meeting and falling in love and choosing one another as their life partner from all the possible lovers. But that’s not all; the amazing probability that a particular egg would join with a particular sperm in order to form you was also taken into consideration. Binazir also took into account a whole host of other factors related to family ancestry and the final number that came out to show the probability of us being born is essentially zero. If you really want to know how close to zero it is, the exact number is 1 in 10—followed by 2,685,000 zeroes!

Life to the full 450One may choose to accept or dispute such a scientific calculation. However, from the standpoint of a person of religious faith such as Buddhism, being born as a human, especially changing from the previous state of life as an animal, a hungry ghost, or a hell-being is by no means easy. To transmigrate to the human realm from the realm of animal, hungry ghost or hell by birth is extremely rare. The Balapandita Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya illustrates the point with a story. Suppose there is a wooden cattle-yoke floating somewhere on the vast ocean of the world, being buffeted by winds and tossed by the waves. In the meantime, there is a blind turtle swimming somewhere in the depths of the ocean. This blind turtle surfaces only once in a hundred years, and when it does, it manages to put its head through the hole of the yoke - right on the first try. The sutta says that the probability of the blind turtle poking its head through the yoke is greater than that of someone being born as a human being. 

The reason it is so extraordinarily difficult for someone to be reborn as a human being, according to Buddhism, is that in the other states of life, one cannot practice the dhamma or perform good actions in order to accrue the necessary merit that allows for a human birth. This teaching also implies that if one is already born as a human being, as long as one strives to be moral and do good works, one can be reborn as a human being in the next life.

Whether it is science or religion, the point is that human life is valuable. The fact that we are born into this world at all is nothing less than miraculous. As Christians, we should not have any trouble believing this to be true. We believe that we have all been created by God, who knew of our existence in this world from eternity. God knows us not as a nameless face in the sea of humanity, but by name. St Augustine said that “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us”. 

If we recognise the great value of life - both ours as well as well others - then we know that the best thing to do is to live our life in such a way that befits its value and integrity. In this realisation, there is no room for self-destructive actions both physically and spiritually. There is no place for despair and social media status updates that lament and complain about trivial things in life that are not as we would like. There is no possibility of laziness and wasting of time and energy on activities that are detrimental to personal well-being. 

As Christians, we are called to live fulfilled lives in Christ who declared that he came to the world so that we may have life to the fullest (Jn 10:10). It is when we live our life in this way that we truly give praise to God as the author of life. As St. Irenaeus declared, “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” Indeed, from all eternity, God already had a vision of our life in the world. Despite all the odds - literally and figuratively - we have been born into this world in our very appearance, personality and state of life. In our Christian life, unlike Buddhism, we have only one shot at being human. There is just one life to live, one chance to fulfill the vision that God laid out for each of us from eternity. It is up to us to strive for wholesomeness and well-being, glorifying God with our life, and being reunited with God after our death.

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