When was the last time you had fun?
That has got to be a couple of weeks ago when I climbed Mt Kinabalu. Although terribly exhausted, I was deeply consoled by the view along the climb and at the peak. It was remarkably awesome to be in the midst of something so beautiful!
Name an occasion you felt embarrassed/humiliated.
While leading prayers at an interment recently, instead of saying the name of the deceased person I said his son’s name, who stood right beside me. Needless to say, I wanted to crawl into the niche myself and hide because I was so embarrassed. Instead, I apologised profusely.
Name an occasion/incident when you felt God was far away.
There were times in my Jesuit life when I questioned my own vocation and when I suffered interiorly because I wanted to give up being a Jesuit. Not only did I not know what God wanted me to do, I did not know what I wanted to do. The ambivalence was both painful, and a moment of profound grace.
What do you like best about being a Religious/consecrated person?
As a Jesuit, what I have liked the most is the formation, both spiritual and intellectual, that I have been privileged to experience. This has allowed me to enter into the depths of my being and the world, and to unveil the God who is already present there.
What are the usual distractions during your prayer time? What do you do about them?
Often I am not even aware of the distractions that come to my mind. They range from the banal to important matters that tug at my heart, things that make me sad or fill me with despair or worry. When I am distracted, I pray about those distractions.
Pope Francis calls for a Church for the poor, by the poor. How do you live that within your vocation?
I find that it is challenging to live vows of poverty in Singapore. It was easier to live simply when I was elsewhere, when I had direct contact with the materially poor. Here, I try to learn to live simply amidst affluence. I try to be more generous with what I have and who I am to those who need me.
What do you like doing most when with your biological family?
I truly enjoy just being with my siblings. It does not matter what we are doing or where we are. Conversations will be meaningful. Laughter will ensue.
What do you normally do to relax?
I love running in the Botanic Gardens or at MacRitchie Reservoir, or sitting down at the piano playing some music. Nothing relaxes me more than this… Oh yes, I enjoy having some German wheat beer with my Jesuit brothers and close friends.
Favourite book or author?
Being and Time by Martin Heidegger. It is a book I re-read every year. It reminds me of the contingency of our human knowing, our blindness in trying to see reality. It is also a book that speaks about how we become truly human by caring for one another.
Nasi lemak or phad khrapao
[a Thai dish].
Malaysian Fr Mark Aloysius
Society of Jesus