Monsignor Philip Heng, SJ


In the last two parts of our journey in “Living a More Discerning Life” series, we reflected on discovering the deeper meaning of our daily living and our lack of “self-awareness” that can prevent us from living a more meaningful, peaceful and joyful life.

In this third part, it would be valuable that we reflect on the “ultimate destination of our life.” A greater clarity of this would give us a better sense of the direction, purpose and quality of our daily living.

What do most parents dream of for their children? Many, if not all, hope that they become “successful” in their lives. To achieve this, they perhaps hope that their children will study well, score good grades, have a good job, live comfortably, and better still become rich and famous. Parents know that such dreams do not come on a platter. Thus, parents make much sacrifices for their children.

A week ago, one parent told me, “I am not rich, but I spent about $5,000 a month on my son’s tuition fees”. When I asked, “Why so much?” She said, “Well, he took tuition for every subject. And, in the end he scored straight As for all of them!”

It is certainly very noble of parents to make such big sacrifices for their children, and have such ambitious dreams for them. However, in this reflection on our lives, a more basic question is, “What sacrifices have we made to help our children live more meaningful and happier lives?” Is this aspiration more important and a better reflection of our love than
the straight As we hope they achieve?

It is obvious to many of us that academic achievements, a good job, material things and wealth will not provide true happiness. This is apparent from the high suicide and depression rates, even among those who are rich and famous.

Perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on what God, our creator and Father, aspires for each of us, his children?

God wants us to experience true happiness by living a meaningful life using the talents and many blessings that He has bestowed on us.

This leads us to an even more important question that everyone of us needs to reflect on. This question is, “What is my ultimate destination in life?” We all know in our heart of hearts that ultimately, we all want to live a happy and fulfilling life while on earth and die a peaceful and happy death that opens the door to the infinite and everlasting happiness of God forever in heaven.

For this we need to face the reality that we would one day have to die, and as such let us ponder and interiorise this Truth of the Good News of heaven that Jesus has won for us and is giving as a gift to us. In being more conscious of such Truths, we will draw strength from Jesus in times of our pains, trials and challenges. We will also be more inspired to become more like Jesus in the way we live: more forgiving, compassionate, selfless, and generous with our time, talents and treasures.

Our sincerity to become more like Jesus’ disciples through all the sacrifices we made in the challenges we faced ... have actually been the path of “holiness” of Jesus ...

However, some of us may understandably say that we have not been living our lives as fully, in the ways that Jesus has taught and shown us. While there may be much truth in this, let us ponder on: “In the worries, woes and waywardness of our life . . . was Jesus not always present to us? Also, when “all was well” for us, was it not because it was God’s Light and Love that gave us the consolations we experienced?

So, let us be more fully conscious of our need to be renewed in our faith and believe even more deeply, that the ultimate purpose of our earth’s journey is to praise, revere and serve God, and reach our final destination where our true “Home” is. Let us also allow this Truth to permeate our hearts and give us the wisdom to persevere in our faith lovingly, amidst the challenges we face daily. 

Msgr Heng is Rector of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

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