Perhaps it is a habit I started during my stay in Sevilla, Spain. There were very few mosques for me to sit and be quiet. So I opted for Catholic churches instead. They grew in me.
There is something about Catholic churches that I cannot really pinpoint. I love sitting in (most) Catholic churches for a quiet dialogue, or simply for quietude. I love lighting the candles in the churches. Whenever I go places, I make an effort to stop by its local worship places, be it mosques, temples, or, yes, Catholic churches.
That was also the case when I went to Singapore recently. I think we have a thing going on—St. Andrew’s Cathedral and I. Mind you, St. Andrew is a patron saint in Scotland, and also happens to be one of my favourite beautiful towns there.
The first time I visited St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore, was back in 2008. I was looking for a simple, small chapel to sit in. Instead, I found this great, beautiful St. Andrew’s Cathedral. God was—and still is—too generous. I have never missed a visit to the Cathedral ever since, whenever I am in town.
The thought of visiting actually crossed my mind when I arrived in Singapore a couple of weeks ago. I brushed it off, thinking I would not have the time for it. Then it happened (again). I was taking the MRT. I stopped at a station to change line. I took another train. The right line, the wrong direction. I was supposed to go the other way.
Damn, wrong direction. Or so I thought. That is, before I looked up and saw what the next stop was. “City Hall,” it said, with its light blinking. That was just the MRT station next to the Cathedral. I smiled. It was about a different thing altogether. Right, if You insist. I looked at my watch. I had just enough time for a short visit before my next appointment.
So there I was. Sitting at the front row of a rather empty cathedral. The lady in the next row was deep within herself. Very few tourists passed by. Perfect quietude. I spent the next 20 minutes sitting, before it was time to go. It was just the 20 minutes I needed. It felt important.
I thanked the Cathedral for its persistent hospitality and continued my journey. This time to the direction that I was supposed to go in the first place.
The recent trip to KL and Singapore was valuable and interesting in so many ways. Various coincidences occurred. Ones that tell the tales of trials, generosities, hopes, kindness, warmth, companionship, flow, presence, truthfulness, gratitude, and God’s grace every step of the way.
That invitation to follow the flow and occasionally stop for quietude and presence. Precious.
Photo was taken from Wikipedia.