Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Miracle!

I needed more light before I could understand how God works in my life. I've shared several faith stories in my blog, but 'conversion' is a process I have to undergo each day... every moment of my life...

The Road to Freedom

I remember talking about my 'soft addictions...' ~ my little cravings, want of attention...they were minute but noticeable just the same because once they accumulate they become a hunger ~ disordinate and insatiable esurience that corrupted my soul and my being.

My confessor counseled that I 'choose' my thoughts... It has to be deliberate and freely made... and I followed this 'difficult' road because my natural tendencies were always in the way. 

"I don't have the strength to stay away from you..."
-Edward Cullen, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight

That was a close excuse from taking control of myself. But that exact same time, the Lord gave me a person I could journey with through this...

Often I have said to people,
"I will pray for you," 
but how often did I really enter into the full reality of what that means

-Henri Nouwen

The Journey

I didn't exactly know what I would do. I wrestled with the Lord, "The blind cannot lead another blind...(Mt.15, 13)" My friend was struggling from his own addictions. I wanted to give up at one point because he was pulling me down. But God always made me felt that His grace was sufficient. 

For a year and a half, every time the chalice was raised in the Eucharist, I offered God my friend's soul and asked Him to guide my friend's ways. 

I really bring my friends and the many I pray for into my innermost being and 
feel their pains,
their struggles,
their cries in my own soul,
then I leave myself,
so to speak,
and become them,
then I have compassion.
-Henri Nouwen

We didn't see each other for two weeks before Easter, but when he came back he told me  he had been reading. I saw a glimpse of God somewhere because my friend never reads. His  social networking decreased ... our frequent talks lessened and last night he had a revelation.

He had been crying, he said, and for two nights he couldn't sleep. He was reflecting on what he read. It was about God and the Last day... he wept like a child, he told me, because God did not expose his sins to others but instead made him see it on his own. He felt sorrow for displeasing God and wanted to change his ways.

And he wept for himself because he knew that his inner struggle is not over... this was just the beginning...

God answered my prayers! 

"Oh," he added, "I've been praying for you too... that you may be released from your walls of imprisonment... I thought of you, and wanted your soul saved." 

I broke into tears... God answered his...

Compassion lies at the heart of our prayer for our fellow human beings.
When I pray for the world,I become the world;
when I pray for the endless needs of the millions,my soul expands and wants to embrace them all and bring them into the presence of God.
But in the midst of that experience I realize that compassion is not mine but God's gift to me.
I cannot embrace the world, but God can.
I cannot pray,but God can pray in me.
When God became as we are,that is,when God allowed all of us to enter into the intimacy of the divine life,it became possible for us to share in God's infinite compassion.

In praying for others I lose myself and become the other,
only to be found by the divine love which holds the whole of humanity in a compassionate embrace.
(Genesee Diary)

To Pray is to Become
 by Henri Nouwen,In My Own Words:compiled by Robert Durback, Chapter 3:Response (Ligouri,Missouri:Ligouri Publications,2001),54.

What was it that I prayed for?
That we may both encounter and experience God in a more personal way.

-Reflections with my Muslim friend, 19 April 2013-

Related readings/reflections:

I think the miracle is the 'turning point,' the realization of God's merciful love, hesed... It is God's grace that sustains us from going back to our former life...
Let us pray then and continuously desire for what is good, holy and pure.

To my dear friend, know that even if our interactions have not been as regular as before, I continuously offer you to the Lord... be patient with yourself... SOAR HIGH!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Icon of Friendship

I received waves of gladness from friends who saw me online since last week. 
Ben tornata!

Icon of Friendship
Apart from the endless celebrations we had last March, 
my sister's visit...
my niece's graduation...
The priest tells of the Icon of Friendship

...the most memorable, perhaps was the half day retreat
my mom and I had at the De Meester's...

I haven't prepared myself much during Lent and the few hours I spent listening and reflecting with the priest were all I had left. 

Come Good Friday, I slept less and awoke early for self-examination before confession. My confessor spoke the same words that struck me a week before during the retreat...

What gets most affected when 'something' occurs?

And I spoke spontaneously of 'relationships.'

As I told friends earlier, I was not hiding but recreating myself (Recreating the Soul). I have lost patients in the ward but never a friend, through a choice made disparately. 

I, admittedly, distanced myself from 'online' friends for a year. 

'When we lose a loved one,' wrote Sulekha Rawat, 'we go quietly mad...' 
I believe that.

Two years of offering to God's Divine Mercy and I slowly gave myself away to acceptance and forgiveness...

The priest said, "Don't get stuck in the mud...
It has made me taste Psalm 40, 2 in a more meaningful way...

And by this, I mean, I repeat it to myself more often,

'He (the Lord) lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a FIRM place to stand.'

~ Ps. 40, 2 NIV ~

And so, I am breathing fresh air again...
opening myself up to Life...

because you, 
my friend, 
my soul sister,
 are finally FREE!