Holy Saturday

sThis year, for the first time almost 30 years, I observed the Lent season. The Spirit made it clear in my heart what to abstain from: blogging. I love blogging and it feels good to be back! It was also healthy to abstain from blogging for the 40+ days of Lent. As I return to the blogging world and this virtual community called ubfriends, I would like to share my thoughts on why I observed Lent and what I experienced.

In Stillness We Wait

Holy Saturday is often overlooked. It is a day of stillness, of silence, of sadness mixed with joyful expectation and hope. What would happen, now that Jesus has died yesterday? That thought must have sunk into the hearts and minds of all Jesus’ followers that first Holy Saturday. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so in silence we wait.

James Hanvey, the Lo Schiavo Chair in Catholic Social Thought at the University of San Francisco, writes: “Holy Saturday is his time. It is the time when we learn to trust his sacrifice of love which death can neither subjugate nor comprehend. In Holy Saturday we begin to see that it is he who has made death his instrument; not to terrorise us into submission, but to call us more intimately to his side. In the purifying darkness of Holy Saturday we discover the Sabbath of our waiting. We come to the end of our way and the beginning of his. It is only Christ who can carry us over into Easter morning, and so it is with all the Holy Saturdays of our life.”

Reasons why I observed Lent in 2014

1. To renew my identity as a Roman Catholic

I am Catholic. My roots are deeply Catholic in my family. It was rather naiive of me to abandon such good roots in my college days. So my Lenten journey was first of all my attempt to “be Catholic”. I observed the traditional Catholic Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, but in an non-traditional manner. As time goes on I will pursue other means of dusting off my Catholic faith and actions.

2. To accept my own challenge

A few years ago, I issued a challenge to all ubf leaders. I called it My challenge. I asked any ubf person to abstain from ubf activities for 30 days and see what would happen. I asked “Could you live one month with no UBF activity?” I decided to take my own medicine and live over 40 days during Lent without ubfriends activity. I found it amazingly healthy and helpful to do such a thing.

What I experienced during Lent in 2014

1. It is possible for me to be a priest

One of the surprises was to talk with Anthony Gittins, author of Reading the Clouds: Mission Spirituality for New Times at an ACT3 cohort class in Chicago. I asked him if it is possible for a married man to enter the priesthood. He said yes, it is entirely possible to do so. I have no plans to do this, but this news melted away the last barrier for me to “come home” to the Catholic Church.

2. I have moved on from ubf but will remain in conversation

I expected that not blogging about ubf would be difficult. But I found it to be easy–too easy in fact. I found that I could easily walk away from ubf and cut ubf people out of my life forever. What was difficult was not interacting with all of you– my virtual friends here in this community, including all you silent readers :) I realized more than ever that I need to keep blogging about ubf and my family’s experiences there. I received some anonymous feedback during Lent, from a Korean woman missionary and a Korean man missionary currently working in two different ubf chapters. One told me that they are glad “I keep ubf honest”. The other thanked me for my new book and told me they remember me only with grace and good thoughts. For their sake and the sake of all ubf members, I will continue my blogging and my book writing. Even though it is easy for me to just forget about all things ubf, I will remain in the conversation.

3. I wrote and published a book!

One of my joys is to write. So instead of blogging, I pulled together my thoughts and notes from the past three years and published a book. I found that it feels really good to be a published author! My book is called “Rest Unleashed: The Raven Narratives“.

In this book I tell my life story for the first time from my authentic self perspective. It was so liberating! I realized that one reason I become so obsessively devoted to ubf is that I was doing penance for my father’s untimely death due to ALS. I had prayed “10 thousand times prayers” (to use ubf language) and still my father died. So I blamed myself, and threw myself into ubf activities to try and make up for my failure. Writing “Rest Unleashed” helped me to not only see the absurdity of this, but to be free from such thought patterns. I dedicated my first book to my father in his memory.

My second book is entitled: “Goodness Found: The Butterfly Narratives” and will focus on the patterns and principles that helped me undo the ubf ideology and connect with goodness.

You can read more about each book on my other blog site:

Rest Unleashed: The Raven Narratives

Goodness Found: The Butterfly Narratives

So I’m glad to be back and look forward to catching up on all the articles and comments from the past 40+ days!

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