It Only Takes a Spark

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Several years back, there was all this excitement over the discovery of the Higgs boson. Scientists have never seen it but have believed it existed ever since it was postulated. This one tiny almost invisible particle holds the key to understanding the vast and almost infinite universe. It is key to understanding how the universe originated from one tiny spark that became the big bang.

I love stories from my childhood where the hero picks up small inconsequential things along his quest, like a pebble, a string, or perhaps a stick, and how these would prove to be of great consequence later.

I love it how the Master Storyteller has woven and continues to weave Salvation History through the lives of small and inconsequential people. He loves calling the least, the last and the lost to confound the mighty in their self-righteousness.

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A Pause To Say ‘Thank You’

P1460941 Whenever I read the news these days and I can sense a lot of fear, anxiety and divisions. Never in man’s history have there been so much affluence
and material comforts in the lives of people
and yet there has never been so much loneliness,
misery, uncertainty, wanting and longing.

Yet, there is so much to be thankful about, so many reasons to rejoice and celebrate.
We only need to look deeper and at the right places.
That is why I love anniversaries, monthniversaries and even weekniversaries.
They remind us of the joyful moments we have had in the past.
I love rituals and practices, like movie nights or regular weekend hikes,
for they are occasions to celebrate the beauty and simple pleasures in life.
I love quiet moments either alone with myself
or in the loving company of my family and friends.
These moments make me realize how great an experience it is to be alive.
I love the dawning of every new day: fresh, hopeful and full of promise.
And when the day is over, I love to mull over it as I lull myself to sleep:
new memories, precious moments stored away, in gratitude and quiet joy.

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!

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The Price of Discipleship

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I often often feel apprehensive when I try to give and be generous.
What if nothing is left for me and I end being the one in need?
What if my present is not wanted nor appreciated?
What if I am only being taken for a ride or being taken advantage of?

It takes learning and practice to become generous.
I need to learn the karmic law: give and it will be given to you.
I must practice what St. Francis prayed for: that it is in giving that we receive.
And above all I must believe that whatever good I do will bear fruit a hundredfold.

The cost of discipleship is very stiff.
“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
Nothing less than unconditional love, limitless giving.
Just as I am often apprehensive about giving, the first disciples were too.
I guess Peter blurted it out for all subsequent disciples:
“Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Jesus’ answer was simply:
“Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.”
Frankly, quite enough for me.

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Reaching Out To The Transcendent

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We live today in a highly secular society driven by science and technology.
But even in the midst of so much agnosticism,
I can still sense a certain human need for the transcendent, the sublime, the ineffable.
a hunger and thirst that cannot be quenched by any physical food or drink.
I can see this hunger and thirst in the movies of today.
They are mostly fictional and fantasies; some with human actors, others in animation,
with highly sophisticated computer-generated images.
For the most part, these are but modern renditions of the morality plays of old.
I guess every generation has to express this spiritual longing,
and come to its own answers.
I guess I am not unique in my disquiet,
seeking answers to deep questions that keep arising in my head and my heart.
Yes, these are spirit moments.

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One Chance Encounter

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We worked together one summer at a Summer Leadership Camp for Youth Leaders from the local depressed areas some fifty years ago. It was a two-month program. I had a great time. But did not think much about it later. I went on and lived my life.

Last weekend, I saw Janet again. And all the memories of that summer simply came back flooding my mind and stirring up all sorts of emotions. Initially I could not remember here name. I had to ask one of the other sisters. And when I finally approached her and said, “Janet, do you remember me?” She looked up and I could see in her face an instant recognition and joy at seeing me again.

“I don’t remember your name, right now. But I know your face and I know we did some good work together.” she replied. After a brief, reacquaintance we were back to where we were fifty years ago. Memories I thought I have lost came back. Events which I have forgotten came back as if they happened only yesterday. How she slipped a note under our door when Ping and I were still up late into the night, telling us to sleep already as we still had work to do the next day. That Summer Youth Camp where we tried to form future leaders. The camp bonfires. Those Tondo youth. And the songs that keep ear-worming me now: Mr. Dieingly Sad”, “Raindrops keep falling on my head”

And all of that was part of my life. Forever etched. Indelible. Recallable at the whiff of scent, a flash of a familiar face, at the sound of a familiar tune. I thought they were just two months. But I now realize they are still a big part of me. I am a better person because of that one summer where my lifelong friendship with Ping really came to bloom. Janet was just there but very much part of the scene.

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How Can One Not Believe?

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It takes the light of the sun eight minutes to reach us on earth. We are looking at some galaxies and stars whose light left some 15 billions years ago and we are seeing them only now. Imagine the magnitude of their energy to persist for such a long period. Imagine somebody leaving a message in that persistent energy that says ‘I was here, and there, and everywhere.’

The laws of physics say that everything eventually breaks down and disappears. And yet out of the dust, the dirt, the detritus and the decay something new, something better and something more beautiful always emerges: the galaxies from the big bang, planets from exploding stars, primordial living things from volcanic eruptions, creation as we know it from some cataclysmic weather changes.

And yet many are ready to believe that all of this is some chance event. It is not a question of evidence. It is a question of the heart. 

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Failing Senses and Heavenly Scents

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I am increasingly becoming hard of hearing
Many sounds and conversations I do not hear
Am I being attuned to heavenly sounds
Because the end is drawing near?

My eyesight seems to be fading too
I have to squint to get things into view
Could it be I am being prepared
To behold sights that are heavenly and new?

I used to have a shard sense of smell
Every kind of whiff I can sense and tell
Why can I hardly catch the scents around me?
Would somebody please just tell me?

I loved the joys of the sense of touch
Oh I love to hold things in my hands so much
Now, why are my feelings getting dull?
I guess it’s time to stop for a while.
Could it be it’s about time for me to go
For my present moment to be my eternal now?

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