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Saturday, November 5, 2016

I'll Remember

It is only after loved ones have left us that we see what was best in them and understand their lives in a new way.
Their absence is the source of another mode of presence because it is in the time of absence that presence becomes real and, being condensed, reaches its true reality.
~Jean-Francois Baudoz, Breaks, Chapter 1, With Christ: the Gospel under the guidance of Saint Benedict. (Minnesota, USA: Liturgical Press, Saint John's Abbey), pp. 2-3.~

We have lost several lives in the mission areas where I was assigned ~ in school, at the hospital, in our neighborhood ~ most of them through terminal illnesses, some by accidents, still others because they have reached old age. And yet, in whatever age we might have lost them, since we cannot predict the time and hour when they will depart, we always assert that " life is (very) short." 

I was struck by the Sunday homily a week ago which spoke mainly of "remembering" ~ commemorating our lost loved ones. He said it's not the beautiful flowers that we bring nor the number of candles that we burn that marks the 2nd of November ~ the essence of visiting their tomb is "to remember how they have affected our lives (in whatever manner)." That person we lost is irreplaceable ~ unrepeatable. And that "uniqueness" is brought forth by the love we have shared with him/her.

I am extending my reflection to those I have lost not only through death but through separation ~ remembering how my life has changed profoundly because of the people I have encountered along my journey. 

I remember how I held on to security and how changes brought fear. But the priest said we need to look at the whole picture... the story in its completeness. 

And we could only understand the meaning of our suffering ... of breaks, separations, loss, death and the different passages and seasons of our lives after undergoing them (that includes the choices that we make ~ our mistakes and weaknesses)...

I'll remember... and I am very grateful... there is LIFE after death.


I'll Remember sung by Madonna
*no copyright infringement intended

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Il Perdono

I devoured His words but have not fully understood "forgiveness" til now...


























I have kept the Feast of St. Mary of the Angels [2 August] in my heart and held it in high regard among the Franciscan celebrations. It is also well known as the Pardon of Assisi or the Porziuncola Indulgence

Inside the walls, I remember role playing San Francesco... in the end, I sent the audience off with these words, "Voglio mandarvi tutti in Paradiso."

I want to send you all in Paradise! ~ but how I struggled each and everyday to bless people when I am offended...fazed...aggrieved...deceived...disgraced...

All I ever wanted to do was throw away memories but the Lord kept them intact.


I felt mercy's full weight when I was forgiven by a person close to my heart whom I have displeased. My confessor reprimanded me heavily but also told me to be patient and wait. After a week of silence, this person spoke to me. I felt that compassionate embrace of the Father  [cf. Lk 15:20] ~ I was ready for whatever he might say [my shield of pride], but instead he spoke to me with words of love. He did not judge me [he destroyed my shield and I was humbled].

And my time came to concretize this mercy given me when a person owed me money. I tried to bargain half way to get the debt back but it left both of us sleepless: that person had no source of money.

How true what the Pope said in his visit to Porziuncola,
The problem, unfortunately, comes whenever we have to deal with a brother or sister who has even slightly offended us. The reaction described in the parable describes it perfectly:"He seized him by the throat and said, 'Pay what you owe!'" (Mt.18.28). Here we encounter all the drama of our human relationships. When we are indebted to others, we expect mercy; but [when] others are indebted to us, we demand justice!
Given the circumstances, I stayed several hours with the Lord, and peace came. I knew what I had to do.

It was a liberating experience ~ the very same way I felt when I threw the camera in Kyoto... I need not get even nor hurt the person back. I need not call him names. He is in the Lord's hand.

So while my twinheart and I pray, I mention all their names and the Lord takes them one by one in His hands...enveloping them with the same kind of mercy He gives each one of us.




"Gaze...attentively on mercy so that 
we may become a more effective sign of the Father's action in our loves."
~Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus #3**


Supplement readings:
*Meditation of Pope Francis on his visit to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels on the Occasion of the 8th centenary of the Pardon of Assisi [4 August 2016] [Text] [Video]

**Misericordiae Vultus ~ Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy [Text]

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Grateful...blessed... deeply loved



No Fear in Love
written by Steffany Gretzinger and Nate Ward
2014 Bethel Music
*no copyright infringement intended*

I woke up to the last 39th year of my life with a greater resignation of what lies ahead ~ single blessedness, work, a new community and  long term treatment to prevent the recurrence of cysts...

When I share this with friends, they immediately respond with a quick "solution" in mind [often unsolicited]. And it is often followed by a smart remark on being "outside the walls." 

While well-meaning friends wished to "save" me by suggesting a partner, I gave a different response this time.

While the "silence" quieted a few, it also sparked some memories of my former life. Was my choice [to continue living in chastity] made out of "spite" to prove all of them wrong? 


 I  put my feet on the ground and allow the Lord to lift me up...


And yet the deeper question is not whether I should or should not marry but rather, in choosing to live this life, does my heart expand more to love and accomodate others?

I choose to live in joy... a joy that may not be readily visible to others... but a joy that can be shared in various creative ways... 
through the presence of those who are eager to receive it.

"Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will."
~Ps. 40: 8a, 9a~


*Supplement reading: 
 Celibacy for the Common Good by Wesley Hill
Embracing the Gift of Singleness  by Mel Ignacio Tempongko

*I thank my twin heart, God's greatest gift in this life ~ who mirrors Christ's  love to me.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Love's Power Over Death



"You have no power over me!"

~Sarah, quote from the movie Labyrinth (1986)~


-----



While reflecting on the Adoration Vigil for Holy Thursday night my twin heart sent me, I was brought back to that powerful scene between Jesus and Satan in the garden of Gethsemane




The Lord accepted everything that the Father has laid out for Him. 

How different it is for us once trials besiege us. Our eyes are immediately blinded by the 'deceiver' and we choose the easier road ~ flight... fleeting desires... comfort... security... self preservation.

This season, the Lord invites us to fix our gaze on the cross and contemplate not on what He has given up but what God has given us back...


~ Unfathomable Love, Eternity with the Father...
Infinite Mercy, Hope,
Life given for others.
-----
There was a time when social networking came next to breathing and praying. But at one point after taking in (fiends disguised as) 'friends,' salt lost its taste ~ their masks and lies were exposed and I retreated ~ hitting delete.

The Lord won the battle for me. He made me see that experience as a lesson in humility rather than defeat. He filtered what was real from what was not. His momentary silence felt like death but He has restored me back to life. 

I am forever grateful for Your love!




-----

The deceiver has no power over me

"[for] Love is more powerful than death."

~Song of Songs 8:6~



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