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Monday, July 25, 2011

Embracing the Leper (Within)


It took me several days to put my entry inside the box... but God never fails me...
This was inspired by a reflection I had with Corinne Rodrigues' post at Everyday Gyaan:


http://www.everydaygyaan.com/2011/07/whats-behind-your-anger.html

I was having a hard time swallowing my sister's friendship with my former tagged friend...

She adamantly insists that it makes her happy. I would have felt the same, had she not been married. The time she spends with him meant less time with her daughter.

"Self-righteous!" she shouted at me one time while my niece was having art sessions with me in my room and she was chatting with her 'friend.'

Was I being obtrusive? Making it clear to her that I didn't approve of what she was doing? Silence for me would mean I didn't care...

...mediocrity will be suicide...

As I prayed, I asked God's hand on mine... I tried talking to her but she was obstinate as ever. My mom and I decided to keep mum for months...

and I looked inside myself... embracing the leper within... accepting my own faults. Was I the elder son who refuse to see my brother's fragility? (reflecting on the Gospel of St. Luke on the Return of the Prodigal Son). Hey God, I want to reach-out...

One night, my sister came home with a stiff neck and a sore throat. Being the nurse in the family, I was tasked to do my TLC on her... and all I can say is, God works in mysterious ways. I wanted to embrace my own fragility through hers and God opened the door. This was the second time this happened...

I cannot refuse to offer her kindness... and even though we were not able to touch the sensitive issue, we talked... and she was receptive...

I felt compassion towards her... and I understood how at times, I could be like my sister in many ways... unyielding and stubborn... and I loved her even more after that...



"... in a decisive moment of illumination, Francis suddenly perceived in this leper the embodiment of God’s beauty, a human being to be loved and cared for tenderly. By embracing the leper, the Saint learned to embrace all people just as Jesus did."





Saturday, July 23, 2011

Affairs of the Heart


For the longest time, a friend had been pushing the screws to make me go out more and cease my wishful thinking. 


 He said the period of bereavement is over and it's time to taste real joy. My world didn't stop revolving the moment he left.  It took me time to hear what the Lord has been telling me. The Spirit blew and invited me to fill the vacuum with something else...


It was October last year when I started working as a journal staff and I promised God that I'll spend my free days with the street children but it didn't push through til this day.




'Mama Rosie,' as we fondly call her, asked me if I'd like to do Catechesis for the children every Saturdays. I said I'd gladly do it.


I usually spend my Saturdays cleaning the house, sleeping, catching up with blog posts or taking care of my nieces when they are around. Sam and I used to talk on this day...


Then I thought, what a huge space God created for Saturday afternoons so He gave me something else to do...


I went with my mom on their meeting last Sunday and we had our plans realized today






My mom has always been supportive of me. She even bought me a book,


which was actually intended for the religious (I realized that part later on).


Once a missionary...always a missionary.


Fr. Pedregosa, OP (the author) used to visit my grandmother as a part of his apostolate as a young seminarian. 
He wrote three constant demands for mission to be real:
availability
itinerancy and
the courage to die... (p.86-86)


What else could move me but love?
I have no excuse.


So to that dearest friend who encouraged me deeply to break free from the shell that encloses me... 
I am forever grateful to you.

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I'd like to share the posts that inspired me this morning to continue this search for love's meaning...


THANK YOU!


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breaking Bread

...Oftentimes, it really makes me wonder why is it easier to be kind and compassionate towards other people rather than with my own family and kin...

when problems arise, I ask a friend's shoulder to cry on... instead of my mom's...

Sometimes my sister just needs a listening ear but  I give her sermons instead
(She told me, if I were a man, I could have passed as a priest)...

What makes our relationship complex? Is it the blood that ties us? Is it the familiarity?

I'd look at our home, where we once shared meals together... now it's empty... we move about our own busy worlds without really interacting...

 The Lord invited me to focus on what is there... what is present...

and I saw the bread... 

I looked at the existence of another kind of hunger which we most oftentimes overlook by the abundance of the food we eat but never get to share...

that inner hunger present in each one of us
 ...a listening ear...
       ....understanding
             ...patience...

a giver and a receiver...

So I look forward to the breaking of the bread once more... 
and sharing life...


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We are fed and we are nourished
By the strength of those who care...



-We Are Companions On the Journey by Carey Landry-





Saturday, July 16, 2011

Poe-A-Tree Hop: A Dirge To An Old Flame

The past few weeks Roy Durham has been animating us with Poe-A-Tree Hop:


"Well here we are going again just hopping all over the world.  As you may know the last hop we were looking at the rainbows. Saw some mighty pretty ones two.  But to have a rainbow you need a little rain. So this time, get you a box of Kleenex or a supply of crying towels cause were going to have a down pour of tears causing poem and tear jerking story for you to read. As you dry your eyes please leave a sympathy note in the comments. There a list of blogs that is participating in this hop below the poem and or story.  Have fun and cry your eyes out you will feel better. It's good for you, Mikey like it."      


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I was listening to music yesterday to probe my heart. There was one melody that particularly struck me.



 As I listened, it brought back a lot of memories and I found myself in tears in a matter of seconds...

It touched my soul deeply... and yes, I remember...




 I can never perfect the art
              of forgetting.
Always, your little thoughts will
 spill out, occasionally a picture
 of your smile slips by my mind
           
                 so how can i not
                          remember?

       -amado ona tandoc iii-

Last night's tears were very powerful. A creative tension rose from within me. It enabled me to put some pieces of the puzzle together...                  Were all these years of entering the labyrinth merely an introduction for this final phase?


..."there are more lessons in life than mistakes..."

I believe that. Even years of living outside my family's circle to explore the world helped me to understand that. I had to unlearn many things so I could interact with others. Each mistake I made left impressionable marks in my life but the most crucial ones were the ones that scarred me for life. They scarred me for life but they gave me inner strength. Last night, I was struggling so hard to fight off the tears that were welling inside me... but I couldn't...

..."remember then forgive..."

I've attended almost all healing programs and a cliche forgive and forget does not exist. I spoke endlessly of inner child problems. It's so easy to say forgive, Jesus did... it took me almost 15 years to face the person who hurt me and finally forgive. I've struggled for children's rights and women's rights for ten years thinking all the while I was doing the people a favor. I was just projecting my pain and frustrations in a society I blamed for its inadequacy to protect the voiceless and the helpless. I walked back home and faced my shadows. I returned to the world purified of my intentions, not anymore bringing my baggage of hatred, but the love I felt from a God who forgives and gives TIME to forgive.

..."can I command somebody to love me?"...

My world closed in and revolved around my love ... "I can't live without you," I thought... I'd put off sleep inorder to talk to you. I LOVE YOU... and it was awful. I love you so much.

"and after expending all my energies on you, I had to let go?" 

God spoke of inner freedom--- a disposition of giving up everything when one is in need.
 It took months of regular acts of letting the person go. 
I still love him but in a transformed way--- 
I wanted him to be happy, even if 
that doesn't include me...

---------------------------------------------

I light a candle for you...
and cry different tears when I remember...

you promised  forever...


I didn't know it had an expiration date....




I LOVE YOU...

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Make a hop to another puddle of tears with the other participating blogs:


Bonnie Parker Gayadeen http://bongoisme.blogspot.com/
Sarah Jane Klemis http://almostthere.biz/


                         

                




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Journey: When God Says Pause

Lying on my sick bed gave me more time to receive the aftershocks of the earthquakes in my life. Everything (the tensions and pressures of the month) came out of my body in the form of infection. 

I laughingly accepted my seven-year-old niece's joke that I will be quiet for a while because my sore throat gave me the locked jaw effect.

In all honesty, it's the greatest charity I could offer everyone...
                                        to be silent for awhile... 


It has been an unusual week for me... getting sick is already a part of my routine... but keeping quiet isn't. I allowed the presence of the people around me to transform me and my ambience...

acquiescing to what is asked of me at this moment...
-------------------------------------------

I've never met 18-year old Aster nor my 40-year old cousin Malou but both are terribly sick and needed prayers.

Aster was afflicted by Pott's disease and was diagnosed as such only at the beginning of this year. They say that it's very very painful to have tuberculosis of the bones. I lost a friend that way when we were twelve and that changed the way I looked at life and people. I became more caring and compassionate to everybody. It isn't easy to lose somebody at a very young age.

My cousin Malou is bed-ridden since she was one. She fell down from the stairs and that accident immobilized her for the rest of her life. I cry for this angel struggling for dear life. My brother and I have the same views regarding life... to use all our means to prolong it... but there are certain things that hinder us from doing that. What if her own family has given up on her ( sadly because half of the reason is financial)? I can be nobody's judge... but I cry for her... and for her family too.

The Beatitudes says blessed are they... It is illogical for the people who love them. Unreasonable to those who work to prolong life and alleviate sufferings but there is a meaning to all of this.

CREDO IN TE Gesu'... nel tuo amore... CREDO che Tu ci ami...
(I believe in You Jesus...in Your love...I believe You love us)


I held them close to my heart and embraced them

and in silence I felt God's heartbeat...


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Poe-A-Tree Blog Hop: A Dash of Colors!

Poe-A-Rainbow Badge by Roy Durham

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Life was a marsh gray and drab yellow 

sun 
ensconced by ash
obscured my sight
muted silver rays
trickled faintly in
my world 
summoning
 an early mourn





Then suddenly you arrived...
Majestic...
Resplendent...
Radiant...

 an explosion of full colors!

splashing its way through
my locked chamber
you opened
with

pink...

a dash of blue and yellow...
 tints of purple and
bright red...

washing away every
streak of sadness
my way


I'm consumed by Your LOVE!



"You've changed my mourning into dancing;
you took off my sackcloth
and clothed me with
GLADNESS!" 
-Ps. 30,12

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Here is the list of bloggers who are participating in this hop...


My gratitude to Roy Durham, the brain behind this Poe-A-Tree Blog Hop.




Friday, July 8, 2011

The Happy Priests


After my first two years in North Africa, I was sent to my country to have my Ignatian retreat with the Good Shepherds... 
I was a bit surprised that we were in the company of about twenty priests from various dioceses. A friend told me they were there for "reform" and "therapy"... and I felt kind of blessed that I was there at that time... We journeyed for thirty days in silence and prayer since we were strictly forbidden to talk... but there were times, when I'd find myself with them and one priest even gave me a book by Henri Nouwen...

There was one moment when we became a little lax with our silence since we attended a play by the Trumpets, "A Happy Prince" in another seminary ground and we were reprimanded like little children.

A day before I ended my retreat, a middle-aged priest celebrated his 25 years of ordination... While others hugged and shook his hands to congratulate him after the mass, I did something that surprised not only him, but the other priests as well... 
I kissed his hands... 

I told him it is God who is faithful all those 25 years... 
 it is Jesus incarnated in his hands everyday when he celebrates the Eucharist...
I took my inspiration from St.Francis who loved Jesus well... 





 See, day after day He humbles Himself, as when He came down from His royal throne. (Wis. 18, 15) into the Virgin's womb. 
Day by day He comes to us personally in this lowly form. 
Daily He comes down from the bosom of His Father on the altar into the hands of the priest."  

That one month experience with them, made me understand priests as persons journeying towards holiness... wounded, fragmented, lost but found... It was there that I found out how God writes straight in crooked lines...
 when we allow ourselves to be under Christ's gaze of love...

________________________

* I wrote this as issues on priests regarding PCS0 continue to surge:

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2011/07/07/church-official-seeks-abolition-pcso-pagcor-165615

 

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