The Wonder of the Universe

Everything in the universe is in constant movement from the smallest quark to the biggest black hole. The movements may sometime seem random and chaotic.
But there is a certain beat, a patent rhythm, almost a song or a melody that goes with the movement.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called it the hymn of the universe.
And somehow there is interconnectedness in all the movements
so that the cries of a baby aborning sets off the birth of a new star.
or fetus aborted triggers the death throes of an exploding supernova.
And all of this beauty and awesomeness simply goes on forever.

Nature has always been most prodigal in providing us with such abundant resources.
We have enough for everyone’s needs but not for every man’s greed.
That is why there are shortages, poverty and famine everywhere.
It takes more resources to feed and clothe one man looking out for himself
rather than two persons caring and sharing with each other.
There is more joy and happiness in people living and loving together
rather than in individuals looking out just for themselves.

There is a song in nature waiting to be sung.
There is a way to nature that needs to be done.
The beauty and goodness in nature are for men to see and do.
Like, we are made to love, not to hate.
It is in our nature to seek to become better.
There is nothing more heart-warming as when one person changes for the better.
Things do not always work out for the good.
But there is a certain grace at work that moves a person towards goodness.
Sometimes, the circumstances may be heroic and dramatic;
like a catastrophe, a major disaster or a monumental crisis in one’s life.
Oftentimes, all it takes to bring about the change
is but a word, a touch, a simple encounter with another person.
Every moment is yet another present for me to become better, to change, to be converted.
I pray to be open and sensitive to these stirrings of the grace in my life.

Posted in Change, Nature, Presence, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

The greatest fear, and perhaps the most common one, of many people today is FOMO.
“Fear Of Missing Out.”
It used to be men feared wars, hunger, pestilence.
While many were afraid of contracting Covid19, the fear nothing like their fear of FOMO.
In fact, lately more and more have been protesting against the restrictions brought about bb Covid19.

Just take a look at what people are posting in social media.
All those postings about people’s latest travels.
They just have to see that latest dream destination.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on that.
Have you noticed all those posts about food?
People just have to try that fancy restaurant.
You wouldn’t want to be left out when your friends talk about it, do you?
And all those adventures and activities.
People just have to let the world know that they are in on the latest as well.
The fear of being left behind and missing out.
Sometimes, I feel it is not what people really want.
But, yes, it is the fear of missing out.

Fear is not really negative.
The Good Book says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning is wisdom.”
What fear will bring me wisdom and even joy?
How can fear of missing out make me a better person?

May the fear of missing out on being good inspire us to walk that extra mile.
May the fear of missing out on forgiveness encourage us to turn the other cheek.
May the fear of missing out on love prompt us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked,
console those in tears, to heal the afflicted, to welcome the stranger.

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The Good, The Beautiful, The True

Random notes arbitrarily patched together would result in cacophony
But put together mindfully and soulfully, they produce a sweet melody
It may simply be an emotional love song that tugs at the heartstrings
Or a polyphonic symphony that enables the spirit to take wings

A beautiful painting that inspires is composed of many pixels
When seen merely as such, the canvas may seem like schnitzels
Simply step back to give some distance and some perspective
The beautiful picture comes out to become alive and active

I have always loved words and I enjoy playing with them
But the wonder begins when I express my thoughts with them
I can even tell stories, write a poem, or make visible my deepest thoughts
Sometimes, I even try to make sense on my life and connect the dots.

As notes make up a song and pixels a picture, moments create my life
I then have words to express my feelings about life’s joys and strife
I have a song, a picture, and a story to tell what I’ve been through
Hopefully, I should have learned what is good, beautiful and true

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Only Trust Will Enable to Move Forward and Soar

There is so much fake news in media, specially social media, these days; one can really feel, sense, smell the poisoned atmosphere. There are outright lies that are peddled as truths. Or some bit of factual information is cast with malicious slant. Words are misquoted or taken out of context. Pictures are photoshopped and edited.

Fake news can be as pernicious as the pandemic. As it is now, all the fake news we read and hear is causing deep divisions among us. It is sad to watch friendships being broken or families being separated or organizations breaking up because of all the lies being peddled and spread around. When the dust of this political exercise shall have settled, we still need our friends and families and communities to get on with our lives. How can we then move one when we are sundering all the ties that bind us together.

Notice how in the process of destroying the ties that bind us together, we are also casting aside all the principles and values that ennoble us and draw out the greatness in us. Like, trust, love, kindness, goodness. Yes, friendship, family, compassion, and the sense of community. These are the wings that enable us to fly. But, we are destroying them so wantonly. It is like a communal death wish.

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Living with Mystery and Paradox

Since God is essentially unknowable,
we often associate mystery and paradoxes with the Divine.
And since life itself came from God, life indeed is also full of mystery and paradoxes.
Life is so precious and beautiful we would want to keep and preserve it forever.
We do not want it to dissipate or disappear.
But the truth and paradox is that we get to keep life by giving it away.
The more I try to hold and keep it, the more we tend to lose it.
The more I give it away in love and service, the fuller and richer it becomes.

And so it is in nature, specially when she wants to show us God.
A rainbow is always a sight to behold.
Try to keep and save it by getting to its ‘end’ and it is not there.
A rose is a thing of beauty, a joy to cherish and keep.
Try to understand and reproduce its beauty by dissecting it, you have with nothing
but the pulse beat of a quark.
The sum total of the moments in life that I give away in love and service
will define the beauty and joy that there is in my life.

Life indeed is a deep paradox, a maelstrom of contradictions.
The good coexists side by side with the evil.
Joys come along with pain and tears are never far from our smiles and laughter.
And all around, life does not at all seem fair:
“I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given;
but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”

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Sensing the Unknowable

Isn’t it a thrilling thought that I am made in the image and likeness of God?
Even more thrilling is the fact that I am unique
and that there will never be another one quite like me.
Every human is but a spark of the Divine Infinite.
Imagine how many of us mortals, including species we do not know about,
would be needed to fully express the greatness and goodness of God the Infinite.
That is why I have God-moments and my life is filled with God-stories.
There are times and places where I am more acutely aware of this Divine Presence.
I need to pause, to be silent and in solitude
to resonate with this divine who not only created me
but is also drawing me ever closer to him.
He who made me out of stardust is bringing me back to the stars where I came from.
He who created me in his image and likeness is drawing me towards unity with his trinity of love.
Yes, deep within me, I know He is.

Knowing and sensing God does not mean I fully know or even understand Him.
But to be alive and knowing I am a spark of my Creator is enough for me.
But finite mind can never fully comprehend the Infinite.
The source of my knowing is himself the Unknowable.
But to be alive and to be conscious of this fact,
to realize that I can think and have choices,
to be aware that I can change because of my choices,
to discern that some choices are better than others,
to decide to be more like my Source and Creator
even as I am also aware that I can never rise up to his Being
that is enough for me
to be filled with a deep joy and forever gratitude
to strive for that goodness, beauty, love and nobility
I know must be part of God’s being.
Through his being, I am becoming.

Posted in Encounter, Mystery, Presence, Spirituality, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How Does God Look Like

Note: Yesterday, I shared my thoughts about God in my life. How I feel his presence in the beauty of nature, in the unfolding of history, and in the twists and turns of my own life. It reminded of a letter I wrote Isabel, one of my granddaughters, some eight years ago. I am sharing that letter here today.

Dear Isabel,

You asked me, “For you, how does God look like?” That is some question from your CL Teacher. And it really got me thinking hard. Let me share with you some of the thoughts that came up to my mind.

As you know, your Lola Bilog and I love to go hiking. And I have told many other people, friends, and family, that we always encounter God when we hike the trails – be it on the mountains, along the sea, beside a creek, or through a forest.

I would stand on a mountain overlooking the sea and I am awed by the beauty before me. I would see the blue horizon stretching out endlessly and it simply goes on and on. I see God in all that endless beauty.

I would walk an open field, full of wild flower blooms in early spring. I can smell their sweet scent and I say a prayer to God, “Thank you God for making the world for me. For all of us. I promise to help take good care of it.” He is right there in that field.

Sometimes, Lola Bilog and I would take walks in the evening and we would see all the stars, the moon and the planets, specially on cloudless nights. And we see God’s hand still at work making more and newer stars and planets.

When I was your age, I also often tried to imagine, “How does God look like?”

When I was young like you, one of my joys was cuddling up in my mother’s warm embrace. In that cozy embrace, I would imagine that was how God must look like.

Or, when crossing the streets or walking in crowded and strange places, I would seek out my father’s hand, hold on to it and I would feel all so safe and secure. I am no longer afraid. I imagined that must be how God looked like.

Or, in school, I had a favorite teacher and she taught us how to become better persons. She told a lot of stories and we learned a lot from her. She was very patient, caring, always wanting to do her best for us. That is how God also looked like to me then.

Today, as I am already a Lolo, I would often see people caring for and sharing what they have with other people. They would do good for people who are neither friends nor relatives. That is God doing His work through them. I imagine they look a lot like God.

I would see God at work among peacemakers, parents raising good kids, children being friends to one another, people feeding the hungry or giving shelter to the homeless or welcoming the stranger or visiting the sick and those in prison.

You know how much I love children. I love their innocence and their inquisitiveness. I enjoy trying to answer all the questions they have. I am thrilled by their excitement because almost everything I tell them or show them is a new experience. When I am with children, I know they are God’s gifts to us.

Wow, does God have different faces? I don’t think so. But God is so great and infinite that our image of what He looks like cannot be captured by just one picture or likeness. He is all of what we can imagine Him to be: goodness, kindness, joy, laughter, love. and a whole lot more. Where there is beauty and goodness and truth and love, I see the face of God.

One day, we will see God face to face. I am excited by that thought. I am dying for the day that that would happen to me. But for now, these are snippets of how God looks like to me.


Lolo Verne

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Reflections on a Ridge

The past two years have been difficult to say the least.
The world as we know it has vanished and we now live in a different world.
During such times, usually once-in-a-millenium occurrence,
it is easy for people to get unhinged, disoriented, lost.
We lose our moorings and start questioning our long-held beliefs and paradigms.
The most basic question is: where is God?
Why did he abandon us?
Does he even exist?

I have been unhinged myself. Disoriented. Lost.
But I never questioned God’s existence through it all.
In fact, my belief in him even became deeper.

I always stand in awe before the grandeur and beauty of nature.
A clear night with the skies lighted by a billion stars.
Or a crescent moon in a heavenly dance with the planets.
Or the panorama of a verdant valley or majestic mountain ranges.
Or the blue sea meeting up with an even bluer sky in the distant horizon.
Or white clouds putting up a show with ever changing shapes and shades.
I always end up whispering a prayer of thanks to whomever created it all.

I love history, with all the twists and turns, the tragedies and the triumphs,
the laughter and the tears, the joys and all the pain.
It is an unfolding that somehow always have a happy ending,
where truth, beauty, goodness, and love eventually win. Always.
There will be tragic episodes, even endings.
But even in such situations, one sees human perfectibility
and the nobility of men.
Too consistent to be pure chance or coincidence.
Someone is writing the script.

Then, there is little inconsequential me.
My presence nor my absence would hardly make a difference.
No compelling reason why I should even be around.
And yet, here I am.
And because I am here, a whole lot of things are possible.
And if I weren’t, none of these possibilities would exist.
I often wonder why I am here at all.
The Lord of Creation, the Lord of History,
he has called me forth from nothingness to being.
How can I even entertain the thought he is not?

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Reflections at Dusk

We have indeed seen a lot of changes in recent times,
buffeted as we have been by a stormy darkness.
While saddened by all the death and disease around us,
I am not despondent.

I do not look at the past with nostalgia,
longing for the good old days.
I’d rather look at the future with hope for a new future,
like a new world about to be born.

Indeed, if I may share some of what I am getting a glimpse of:

We can live with a lot less of what we have been used to.
Our past was a lot of wanton excesses and waste,
driven by greed and an unmitigated quest for leisure.
In the process, we have despoiled our planet.

Our deeper reality is the spirit, the soul.
We have been so addicted to materialism.
There is a Spirit blowing over all creation,
That goes deeper and beyond our physical reality.
We do not fully understand it
But we feel his presence.
There is something out there and deep within us too.

Our problems are global and so are their solutions.
The Pandemic. Climate Change. Hunger. Poverty. Social Justice.
We must begin thinking as a species
and acting as one humanity.
Take our mandate to take good care of Earth,
our only home.
Even heaven is here and now.
Not in the stars.
Nor in the future.

Posted in Environment, Life, Nature, Presence | Leave a comment

The Couple-Tree

Monuments to everlasting love

We all dream of a world where there would be “no more tears”,
a world where people would live in peace and harmony,
specially these days of the pandemic.

And yet we see glimpses of such heaven around us
even in the face of all the disease and death we experience these days.
Nature has been renewed: fields are greener, skies are bluer,
and blooms are more exuberant and colorful.
We have seen the best in humans:
the courage and dedication of health workers,
the kindness and generosity of strangers to the needy,
the forbearance and fortitude of the poor and struggling.
People have gotten deeper in touch with their innermost being:
spirits renewed in the midst of sadness,
bonds strengthened in the face of adversity,
nobility of soul in spite of the losses and pain.

Yes, there is still a lot of pain and sufferings.
There is still a lot of greed, selfishness and pride in myself, in the world.
Could these pain and sufferings be signposts on our way to a new earth?

I pray:
” O Lord Jesus, you often speak about having to suffer.
May I have the courage to bear patiently the crosses that life sends me.
May I believe that unavoidable suffering, patiently and lovingly endured,
brings good to the world, as your death did.”

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