Knowing me through faith is knowing me

I met my current Spiritual Director earlier this year in January. For some reason, I feel as though my Spiritual Director knows me very well despite knowing me for only just about a year. I think it might be because our faith makes us who we are.

From just learning about the few deepest parts of my faith, my Spiritual Director truly knows me. He knows what I need most. One statement from my mouth and he can pinpoint where exactly I am in my spiritual journey. He spots the parts that are doing well and the parts that are lacking. And he does so in the most gentle way possible.

I’m so thankful for him.

Lễ Bổn Mạng 38 Đoàn TNTT Vinh Sơn Liêm

Lễ Bổn Mạng 38 Đoàn TNTT Vinh Sơn Liêm

Although I was not part of Ban Linh Tinh, my brother was and he asked me to quickly put a flyer together for our Đoàn’s 38th Lễ Bổn Mạng. His only requirements were “Just make one and don’t spend too much time on it.” 

Since I was the person who designed the flyer last year, I was easily able to quickly design the flyer with this year’s Lễ Bổn Mạng’s theme, “Tình Yêu Nguyên Thủy / Original Love.” Like last year, I created the flyer using Canva and used a template. 

Without having any other members of Ban Thường Vụ explain what the main theme was, I automatically knew that the theme was referring to God’s love for us. 

When we think of “love,” we tend to imagine a red heart. I obviously picked out a picture of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as the background. I chose yellow to be the main color of the flyer this time because it went well with the redness of the Most Sacred Heart. 

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Original image I used for the background (Found via Google Images)

The only change I made to the text was combining the Vietnamese and English together instead of repeating them separately. I felt this condensed the message we wanted to convey. 

Compared to last year’s flyer, I definitely spent less time on this design. 

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Dream

I have had a recurring dream. It happens once in a blue moon, but whenever I have the dream, I wake up thinking back to how many years it has been since we have last seen each other. 

In this dream, I am at Santa Clara University or a place similar to it. I see my professor walking away in the distance. I want to talk to my professor, but I hesitate like I did in college. “Maybe if I walk faster, I can catch up to him,” I thought to myself and so I started walking faster. But he continues walking and is farther away from me. Finally, I gather up the courage and call out, “Professor!” He doesn’t turn around and continues walking at the same speed. “Maybe he didn’t hear me,” I figured. I call out again, but there is no change. As I see his back become smaller and smaller, I become desperate and start running and calling out to him. However, no matter how fast my legs moved and how loud I cried out, I could not catch up to him. Eventually, he disappeared into the distance. I stop running. When I looked around, all I can see is pitch black. 

This isn’t possible,” I thought. “This has to be a dream! I need to wake up!” And then I would wake up.

Work done

A few weeks ago, I was at TNTT skit practice when I saw that the church was still open and people were entering and leaving even though it was already a little bit past 8 PM. I jokingly said, “People actually go to Adoration on their own free time?” Another Huynh Trưởng looked at me and said, “Don’t you do that?” I hesitated to answer for a second because I was surprised that he knew that fact about me even though I have never explicitly told him or other TNTT people so. “At Our Lady of Peace. Not here,” I answered. There was a slight pause before he said, “You’re so admirable.” 

I laughed and asked, “How so?” because I was not completely sure if he was being serious. “You’re so spiritual,” he answered. With that, I simply laughed again. 

I was still skeptical that he actually believed that for a few days until my Spiritual Direction meeting. After telling my Spiritual Director about that conversation, he confirmed me that the work I have put into prayer is radiating from inside out. He gave me examples of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. 

At that moment, I remembered all the times I have taken the time out of my busy and sometimes hectic schedule to spend 30 minutes or longer at Our Lady of Peace Church to pray. There were plenty of times when I have thought to myself, “Why am I here? Am I just wasting my time? Is this even helping or working?” 

It seemed that my prayer was answered in a way I would have never guessed.

A night conversation

We were talking about our past. What we used to do during our college days. Our clubs and activities. When you told me what you used to do, I was surprised that you ended up in your current profession. “How did you end up becoming a ________?” I asked, laughing. You directed the question back at me, referring to my current hobby. I continued laughing. It’s amazing how different we became in just a few years.

I thought about how I came to meet you. Our mutual friends and how that connection lead to us meeting. But what initially made me interested in meeting you was one of the most strange connections, which I never imagined. However, that person is gone from both of our lives and now there is just us.

I cannot help but wonder,

“Why did God plan for us to meet? 

What is your role in my life? 

Will you leave me with hope or hurt?” 

Only time will tell.

For now, I will just enjoy your presence.

Married?

Last month, my Division Manager said he thought I was married. I was unsure of why because I look quite young. Multiple staff members in the office have asked me, “Are you an intern?” and I told them that I was the new engineer. Perhaps he thought I was older because of the amount of work experience I had on my resume. 

Later that week, while drinking milk tea, my friend pointed at my left hand and said, “No wonder why your boss thought you were married! You’re wearing a ring!” I knew exactly what he was talking about without having to look at my hand.

My rosary ring.

10 years ago

Below is an excerpt from a journal entry from Saturday, October 3, 2009.


[…] At that moment, I couldn’t take it anymore and ran off. I ran around the church because I knew that I had nowhere else to run to. […] I stopped and cried behind the Sullivan Hall. After a while, I got tired of crying and ran to where the HTs originally were. They were all gone. A truck drove off and didn’t see me. Another car drove off, too. I thought there were no more cars left and I was stuck at the church when one last car spotted me. It drove and went in front of me. 

“Hey Thao, you okay?” It was the young HT, Anh XXXXX.

“No,” I answered. 

“Wanna get in the car?” he asked.

I didn’t answer and he said, “Get in the car.” So I did since the conversation wasn’t going anywhere.

I sat in there, crying. 

“It’s okay…” he said. 

Then he called Anh XXXXX and said, “I found her.”

“What?!” 

“She ran back.”

“What?!” 

“Haha, I don’t know. She just ran back”

“… Okay.” 

I sat there, crying until I got tired of it. We started talking and such for about 15 minutes. Then, he drove me home.