Monday, August 3, 2015

Now I am 80, Thanks be to God!

Today on the 18th day of 6th lunar month of 2015, I am officially reached my 80th birthday. It was on this same date in 1935, exactly 80 years ago that I was born in the city of Chefoo (Yen-Tai) of Shangtung Province. Somehow, all my life I never thought of asking my Mom where was I born, in a hospital or at home. I am guessing it was probably at home, because my maternal grandmother was there with Mom. Anyway, I was born, having a journey of 80 years now since then, and I am still reasonably healthy and strong! Thanks be to God!

Along with the uncertainty between home or hospital where I was born, there was one thing quite certain -- I was not a pretty baby! I was born with two unequal sized eyes as the left eye is clearly larger than the right eye. Well, the fact that I am not good looking never bothered me, or my parents as far as I can surmise. Only when I rolled out my newborn daughter's stroller and enjoyed receiving all the praises and admirations for the pretty baby from passer-bys, do I realized that must be something my Mom never experienced. Of course I don't think that kind of thinking had ever crossed my Mom's mind. I am very certain  Mom, now in Heaven, will be very happy that her baby 80 years ago is still alive and active!

I am not one that pays much attention on birthdays. Over the years, there were about only two birthdays that stand out in my memories. One is this day in 1955, when I reached 20 and as a Junior at TaiDa, Mom and Dad decided to expand the celebration that year and told me to invited a few of my CE Department classmates to our house by the Da-twin Mountain in Peitou. I even drank some of the Taiwan's sweet Dark Plum wine. That was the one and only time in my life that I got drunk. I remember we managed went back to my Dorm I slept all day all night.

The other memorable date was this day in 1985. It was totally not pre-planned, but somehow as I was going to attend a conference in Sendai, Japan and visited my parents in Taiwan beforehand and happened to be at home on this date in 1985, my 50th birthday. Mom cooked her traditional birthday noodle soup and I enjoyed the customary first bowl being served. After the noodle lunch, Mom got out a small cake, lighted up one big red candle, with Dad sat there in our living room, Mom sang the "Happy Birthday to my son" by herself. I can still hear her singing in my mind's ear.  That was the one and only memorable day engraved in my mind forever!

Now 30 years have gone by since that day, 1995, 2005 both came and gone uneventfully like today, just like any other ordinary day, life continues, thanks be to God! Looking forward to this date in 2025 and 2035 and beyond, God willing. So again, thanks be to God!

Friday, June 19, 2015

A wonderful day for me

A wonderful day for me!

I am officially made it in the 80-something age group now! I don't think there's any significance about it, most of my family members I know are all lived far beyond that. But as the upper life span for American men was once set at somewhere around 78, I am still happy that I made it beyond it and more.

Yesterday, my official birthday, was a memorable one since Tina posted a picture of Anna and I on Facebook that garnered a number of well wishing messages from other family and friends. That was rather unusual for me as I don't generally celebrate my birthdays. But I do remember some past birthdays in my life.

I am particularly remembering 30 years ago I was in Taipei visiting my parent when I was on my way to attend a conference in Japan. It wasn't planned but one of the days happened to be my 50th birthday on the lunar calendar. My Mom brought back a small cake, lighted a small candle, with my Dad seated there, Mom sang "Happy Birthday to my son!" and I blew out the candle. It was all unplanned, may be planned by God, that was so memorable and that was only once in my life time, but an important mile stone marked the occasion of my reaching the half centenarian mark. I can still recall all the details that day!

Thirty years before that, I had the only planned birthday celebration of my life. That was when I was reaching the two decade mark in life, still a junior in TaiDa. I don't remember who started the idea of doing a celebration. But Mom did all the cooking, I invited a few of my best friends in college, we had a great banquet at our house. Mom even bought a life chicken, Dad did the butchery, something we usually only do during the lunar new year time. Memories fading, other than the late David Yen, my best friend, I no longer remember who else were there now.

Other than these two memorable occasions, I really don't remember much about how any of the other birthdays were transpired. Many times that was just another working day! Well, what's birthday? just another day!

Friday, July 18, 2014

DIES irae, dies illa

I just come across the Gregorian Chant Youtube of "DIES irae, dies illa" and the full text with English translation. Even though we are in the ordinary time of the liturgical year right now, but hearing the chant again bring back to the Lent season of 1957 or 1958 ,I am not quite  certain. That was a time I was still serving the ROTC active duty at the ROC Headquarter and stay at home. I was trying to attend daily mass during lent. Father Joseph Kung celebrated holy mass every morning, I went and served the mass. I remembered on one occassion Father Kung started singing Dies irae, dies illa. I also had the book to follow, so I started to sing the response, that surprised the Father. He turned around to tell me I did not have to do the response, he'll do them all. Even I insisted to continue, but those Latin verse were way over my head, I finally gave up so Father Kung did it all by himselfn as usually ther was no server during the week days. But for that one attempt that beautiful melody stayed with me all my life. Today for the first time I got the English translation and finally realized how beautiful the words are. The Englisg translation is just fabulous. For example these: 
O Judge of justice, hear, I pray,
for pity take my sins away
before the dreadful reckoning day.
[Iuste iudex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis,
ante diem rationis.]


You gracious face, O Lord, I seek;
deep shame and grief are on my cheek;
in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.
 [Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce Deus.]

I guess all I can say now is Deo gratias! for letting me relive this relished memory. I'm going to revisit the pages again next Lent season next year for certain.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Angelus

The Angelus:
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. 
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary…
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary…
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.