On Generosity

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Generosity begins not with what I have but with what I am inside and who I am. Generosity is measured not by what I give away but by what i keep for myself.
If I can live with small amounts and simple things, by reining in my wants and desires;
I will have more that I can share with others.

Generosity springs from poverty of spirit,
which does not mean being poor as having nothing to give
but keeping one’s needs small and simple that I may have more to give.
For no one is so poor or bereft of gifts that he has nothing to give and share.
Often the things that are really appreciated and sought by others are not material things; but act of love and caring like a smile, a touch, time spent together, company, presence, just being there.

And the more I flex my generosity muscles, the more generous I become.

Posted in Generosity, Spirituality, Stewardship | Leave a comment

And Now The End Is Near

Death by Rumi

Today id the end of the Liturgical Year. The Gospel is about the two thieves crucified alongside Christ. I posted what Jesus sag to the good Thief, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” Some of my friends reacted and commented, “But not today please. Not yet.”

I do not have a death wish but I often think of death. Lately, Anabelle have been going to wakes more than any other social commitments. Our lives used to be punctuated by weddings (ours and our friends’); then, birthdays of our children; then, their graduations; then the weddings of our children; then the birth of their children. And now, wakes of friends and family.

Life is fragile and tenuous. One misstep, one wrong turn, one reckless moment. Tha’s all it would take for it to end. When I think of that fact, I realize how fragile life indeed id. The end liturgical year always remind us of the end times: to stay awake; to be ready for the Lord’s coming; to prepare to give an account of my stewardship. For believers in Christ, death is not something to be afraid of but it is the doorway we have to go through to get to eternal life.

Our destiny lies beyond this present world; that we are in fact made to be in joy with God eternally. To be truly a Christian, then, is to commit yourself to hope in the life of the world to come. Eternal life is our inheritance, held safe for us by a loving God. This is the great promise of Jesus. Now, how awesome is that!

We all dream of a world where there would be “no more tears”, a world where people would live in peace and harmony. And that is how I would like to view death – the fulfilment of all my deepest yearnings, the ultimate answer to all my unanswered questions, the unravelling of all that I have feel deep inside me but could not express nor understand.

I do not have a death wish. And I am in fact afraid of dying, specially the pain and the uncertainty that come with it. But at the same time, I am truly excited to find out what is on the other side.

Posted in Aging, Death, Discipleship, Mystery | 2 Comments

The Sacrament Of The Here And Now

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I enjoy recalling memories of events from the past, both happy and sad,
how these have brought color into my life,
how these have helped me become the person I that I am today.
But memories are in the past and are no more.
They exist only in my mind and in my heart.
My dreams and aspirations are in the future and are not yet.
They exist only in my imagination and in my will.
The only reality I truly have and can work upon is the present, my here and now.
Life is a great gift and it exists only in the present.
Everything I am and everything I have is but the present.
Sure, I got here because of where I was in the past;
and it is from here that I will walk into my future.
Everything that happens to me happens in the here and now.
Here is the best time to be happy. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.
Now is the best time to be good. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.
I relish the present moment with deep gratitude
and make it count like it were my only moment,
making it my eternity as well.

Posted in Identity, Life, Presence | Leave a comment

A Sacred and Holy Place

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Today, I was at the Apung Mamacalulu (Merciful Lord or Lord of Mercy) in Angeles City. We were invited by the current Rector of the Shrine, Fr. Raffy dela Cruz, to experience the place like we have never done before. The Shrine is popular among its Angeleño devotees. One sure mark of a genuine, original Angeleño is knowledge of and familiarity with the Shrine. In my childhood, my family and I used to go to Sunday Mass as this Shrine.

Fr. Raffy shared with us that at the Shrine everyone in welcome. There is no judgement and no one is judged. This is specially evident on Fridays when hordes of devotees come to pay their respects to the Lord laid out in his tomb. His eyes are closed. He does not look at the devotees in judgement. He just welcomes them to his side.

And they come from all over. There are the ordinary folks and the well-heeled. The professionals and the market vendors. The pickpockets, murderers, the dregs of society, and even the working girls from Fields Avenue. They come in all their weakness, their needs, and their sinfulness, knowing they will not be judged. They come anyway because they know they are sinners; they have done wrong; they are needy; they need strength and courage to face the vicissitudes of life. And here before the entombed Christ, they seek their redemption.

Seeing the steady flow of devotees, I feel the holiness and the sanctity of the place. Not that the people coming here are already good or are saints. On the contrary, they are admittedly and self-confessed sinners. They acknowledge they are weak and inadequate. But in this place, their prayers are heard and many are answered. Lives are changed. Hopes are restored. Trust and belief in goodness comes alive. Yes, miracles happen here because there is something sacred in this place and there is someone loving and holy in residence.

There is no science here to explain what these people experience. But something or Someone holy and sacred have touched their lives for the better.

Posted in Discipleship, Life, Mystery, Presence | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Sacred and Holy Place

IMG_20191029_170831-COLLAGE

Today, I was at the Apung Mamacalulu (Merciful Lord or Lord of Mercy) in Angeles City. We were invited by the current Rector of the Shrine, Fr. Raffy dela Cruz, to experience the place like we have never done before. The Shrine is popular among its Angeleño devotees. One sure mark of a genuine, original Angeleño is knowledge of and familiarity with the Shrine. In my childhood, my family and I used to go to Sunday Mass as this Shrine.

Fr. Raffy shared with us that at the Shrine everyone in welcome. There is no judgement and no one is judged. This is specially evident on Fridays when hordes of devotees come to pay their respects to the Lord laid out in his tomb. His eyes are closed. He does not look at the devotees in judgement. He just welcomes them to his side.

And they come from all over. There are the ordinary folks and the well-heeled. The professionals and the market vendors. The pickpockets, murderers, the dregs of society, and even the working girls from Fields Avenue. They come in all their weakness, their needs, and their sinfulness, knowing they will not be judged. They come anyway because they know they are sinners; they have done wrong; they are needy; they need strength and courage to face the vicissitudes of life. And here before the entombed Christ, they seek their redemption.

Seeing the steady flow of devotees, I feel the holiness and the sanctity of the place. Not that the people coming here are already good or are saints. On the contrary, they are admittedly and self-confessed sinners. They acknowledge they are weak and inadequate. But in this place, their prayers are heard and many are answered. Lives are changed. Hopes are restored. Trust and belief in goodness comes alive. Yes, miracles happen here because there is something sacred in this place and there is someone loving and holy in residence.

There is no science here to explain what these people experience. But something or Someone holy and sacred have touched their lives for the better.

Posted in Discipleship, Encounter, Mystery, Presence | Tagged

Conversion is God’s Continuing Creation

P1000920Before creation, there was nothing but the void and darkness, which are but the absence of matter and the absence of light. Then God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light, the Big Bang. And from that Big Bang came all the matter that exists today.

Since then, everything in the universe is in constant motion, from the smallest quark to the biggest black hole. For some, the motion may seem random and chaotic. For others, including myself, there is a certain beat, a rhythm, almost a song or a melody that goes with the motion. It sounds like the whole of creation is singing a hymn of the universe. And somehow there is interconnectedness in all the movements and the motion; so that the cries of a baby aborning or aborted triggers the birth of a young star or the death throes of a dying supernova. And all of this beauty and goodness will go just on forever, for matter once created is never destroyed.

Nature has been most spectacular in her awesomeness. Just watching the dawn or the sunrise, or hearing anew-born baby cry, or witnessing the power of a typhoon or a volcano, would leave anyone enthralled and enchanted. Nature is prodigal in providing us with such abundant resources. We have everything we need.

And yet 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 enough goodness and beauty in nature to teach us. And yet, we often choose their exact opposite. We choose to dwell in the void and in the darkness.

When God said, “Let there be light.” I imagine it as God calling goodness out of the void and beauty out of the darkness. While we are part of that goodness and beauty, we also often succumb to chaos and the darkness. There is nothing more heart-warming as when one person changes for the better. It is God’s grace at work when a person experiences change and conversion to a new life. Sometimes, the circumstances are 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 and conversion is but a word, a touch, a simple encounter with another person. It is God’s continuing work of creation.

Every moment I am given is yet another present from God for me to become better, to change and be converted, to affirm the goodness and beauty there is in the universe and in me. I pray to be open and sensitive to these stirrings of the Spirit in my life.

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

The Speed and the Noise

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Speed and noise seem to be the defining elements of people’s lives today.

When people want something, they often want it now, as in right now.
So we have instant versions of practically everything. No waiting.
Instant coffee. Instant noodles. Instant photos. Instant replay.
Yet it took billions of years to prepare the earth
before it could become a hospitable place for human to live and thrive in.
It takes years for a seed to grow and bear fruits.
It takes nine months for a mother to be blessed with the gift of a new life.
Nature never does things instantly and yet things do get done eventually.

People today also cannot stand silence and being by themselves.
In practically every home, there is often at least one TV set or radio or a component system playing continuously even if no one is really watching or listening.
just to give the semblance or feeling of being with someone else.
It seems to me that people are afraid that in the silence
they would hear just their inner voice.

Prayer is about slowing down and being silent.
Prayer is putting aside for the moment all the wants and desires that drive me daily. Prayer is stilling all the noise outside to listen to the voice within me.
In prayer, I encounter who I truly am and Him who is my source.
In prayers, I come to know the person that I am,
the people who are important and have touched my life,
the gifts that have been given me and the Gift-giver
whose kindness, mercy and generosity knows no bounds.

Prayers is giving voice to my deepest yearnings.
The words with which I pray give form and flesh to my deepest feelings and emotions. When I give words to my joys, sufferings, inspirations and anxieties,
I get to truly own them. And in owning them, I can transform them.
In the process, I become transformed myself.
Through prayers and the words I utter in prayer,
I share in God’s continuing act of creation.
In times primeval, he said: “Let there be light.” and there was light.
To the blind man, Jesus said: “Receive your sight.” and the blind man saw the light.
In prayer, I say with faith: “Lord, that I may see.”
He stays with me and helps me see:
sometimes dimly, sometimes brightly.

This is the reason why I pray.
Daily.
Nay, constantly.

Posted in Discipleship, Life, Presence, Source | Tagged | Leave a comment