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Monday, August 27, 2012

Snakes and Ladders

  *Listen to my blogpost*
Voice Recorder >>

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My heart's not for two
What makes me look at you?

I tried the other way...
but my decisions I keep at bay...





"Lord make me pure...
...but not yet."

Have you ever found yourself going back to zero when you're just two steps away from the finish line? It happens in Snakes and Ladders... Just when I thought the game will be over soon, I cascade back and have to run the path again...

and life... One day, the Lord leads me to taste heavenly joys and delights. I feel high! I see everything through rose-colored glasses. And then the next day, I slip back into my old self and I shrivel like a wilted flower in God's garden. I lose the spiritual fruits I have gathered. My soul is disturbed.

I have tried running away ~ I thought, 'could it be what I read? see? hear? taste and smell? touch?' ~ But the more I flee, the more it doubles its force to destroy the peace I have already built inside of me...

I have not fled so far,
but cooled it down... 

I have ceased running
and started walking... 

The Lord caught up with me and 
I resolved to change...

I felt His mercy upon me... 
(2 Cor. 12,9 NASB)
everything else faded away... 

and
 here I go again... 
at the beginning

right from where I started.

"Go on, O lord, and act: stir us up and call us back; inflame us and draw us to Thee; 
stir us up and grow sweet to us;
let us now love Thee;
let us run to Thee..."



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Updates:
I was reading Catholic Exchange today and realized that it's St. Monica's feast. The Church celebrates her son, St. Augustine, tomorrow, 28 August. 

Synced with the Spirit today...
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29 August 2012: While reflecting on Rimly's comment, I was reminded of the Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila ~ for further reading, here's the reference: INTERIOR CASTLE
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28 September 2012

I ask You: "How many times will You pick me up,
When I keep on letting You down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"

And you answer: "My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

~ Grace Lyrics by Laura Story ~


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Seeds

I just wrapped up my classes with my Satur-dates when my dad asked if I was alright. I confessed that I wasn’t (my head felt very heavy and my knee joints were aching) and would be heading back to bed before dinnertime. My mom came to me and whispered, “You’re wasting time with those kids…” I looked at her intently and shook my head…


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I remember when I was younger, we didn’t have Vision Boards nor blogs, although our teachers would tell us to write what we would like to be five or ten years from now. We didn’t have Catechism class, neither was I very active in our parish. My mom enrolled us all in Catholic schools. Our grandmother would tell us Biblical stories ~ what I remember best was Samson & Delilah and David & Goliath ~ and sometimes, we’d embroil the stories with giants and dwarves and fairies. I could say that most of what I learned about God, I heard from my sister and saw on tv. I vividly recall the ‘Superbook’ and ‘The Flying House’ series.  Most of the videos we watched in school were edifying and so were the tv programs. They use to dish out Lenten and Christmas specials ~ life of Jesus and stories of saints which my nieces and most kids don’t get to watch now…

I read the Bible occasionally but had not the heart to study it until we had our lesson on metaphors.

But by not feeding that desire, I forgot about God almost immediately until I was twelve… it was a turning point for me… and it didn’t happen in just one occasion. There were many… and from those conversions, I began to realize how infinite God’s mercy is for us.



When I was in College, I had a friend who became Jesus for me. She always invited me out to Bible study groups and to read about Bo Sanchez.

Those were seeds that introduced me to lead a missionary life…
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I opened my mail today and received Bo Sanchez’ Soulfood newsletter and it was God’s reply to my prayer…

It might seem that I am ‘wasting my time and money’ but I am investing on these children.

I believe that it IS God’s work ~ "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, Who makes things grow." ~ I Cor. 3, 7 NIV

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Promise


My guardian angel...

I remember I met her when she was already two years old. I was so excited to see her after living in North Africa for sometime.

I came back for good when she was four. She literally stayed with me when I was sick for several months...

She was only six when she led me to teach catechism to her playmates two years ago. It eventually became a dream come true in our street last year.

I do believe God speaks to us through the little ones.

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Last week's rain gave us 'bonding time'. Classes were suspended for a week, so we took out our board games from The Catholic Toolbox (click to view)



Bible Reviews 
(click to view)

Since she lives with me, she gets to play the games first. We used Bible Reviews for the younger children in our Catechism class and for the older ones, the Sacraments (in preparation for those who will be receiving their First Communion on December). 

Who is this?
I realized that most of them were not familiar with the Bible stories.

I asked Belle which story this Bible character belongs to...

Belle: Tita (Aunt), please give me a clue...it's at the tip of my tongue :P

Me: Okay, his name starts with letter J.


Belle: I knew it! Is it Jipeto? (Geppeto)...


Me: Since when did Pinocchio's father join the Biblical scene?


Belle: Since the whale swallowed him up?




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The Bible Reviews reminded me of Jesus' journey with the two broken-hearted souls He accompanied along the road to Emmaus.

It was a long walk from beginning of time ~ through the Old Testament we call SALVATION History to the New Testament which culminated in the Paschal Mystery...

A story retold ~ commemorated and remembered...
    ....and encountered EVERY single day in our lives...

~ the story of Salvation ~ and God's covenant ...

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After familiarizing herself with the stories, we prayed for the flood victims we've watched earlier on the television.

Last Friday, the sun shed its splendid rays and for several days after that, we were again enveloped with cloudy skies but...


I believe in God's love...

and

His promise...



to each one of us...

"How sweet to my taste are Your promises..."
~ Psalm 119, 103


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My gratitude to The Catholic Toolbox who allowed me to post the images of Belle with their boardgames. They also have a FB page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Catholic-Toolbox/116071361782634). I take most of my inspiration and lessons for my Satur-dates here. Check it out :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CommUNION


It was raining when I went to celebrate Mass one Sunday afternoon. Water rose to knee high level after an hour of harsh rain, and even if the Church was just a walking distance to our house, I knew I would not be able to pass through.

As I was looking for another way, a young woman came to me and told me that she lived in our street and she saw me earlier walking to the Church. We crossed the foot bridge together and asked a tricycle driver if he could take us to Banawe. All of the drivers refused. I began to panic and prayed Oh God, I couldn't contact my parents (I was thinking perhaps my dad could fetch us but that would be next to impossible) and I didn't have money for transportation. See us through.

The young lady, as if reading my thoughts, readily lent me her cell phone and paid for me when a jeepney agreed to take us to our street. She even walked me to our house. I looked for her after a few days to thank her and to give her back her money but I never saw her after that.

This happened in 2010. Her name is Misa. 



I remembered Misa as I braved the flooded streets of Vito Cruz yesterday. 




There were no signs of vehicles that would pass to my place so I took the longer and safer route...




the train...

I had to take two more jeepney rides before I reach my place but the driver could only take us half way. The road was impassable along De Los Santos Hospital.

As we waited for rescue, I had a closer look at what was happening around me.
I saw a group of people distributing goods to the families whose houses were affected by the flood...
People were out in the street to help each other.


I noticed that people were talking to one another as if we all knew each other for a long time... I reckon that this does not happen on a sunny day when everybody is so busy to go to work in the morning and so tired to go home after work.

As I was reflecting on all these, a man approached me and told me that a jeepney was offering a ride.    He rerouted and took the road to Roces and that was a better itinerary. I thanked God for this man's creativity. But then, we had to pass Araneta and Sto. Domingo which were also flooded.

They were both passable. Although not everybody risked to cross the flood. I felt like we were on a boat ride with all the water surrounding us. It was also raining very hard.


We were like a team inside that jeepney. I felt genuine concern towards each other. Everybody was asking where he or she would take off and how each could reach his/her place safely. 

Three beautiful things crossed my mind yesterday:


It was the Feast of St. Dominic and they celebrated it well. They didn't have to invite people to come because the Church was occupied with all the evacuees in that place. 

God sent His angels... they were scattered everywhere... in the form of that young woman who accompanied me, the man who told me of the jeepney ride, the drivers who unselfishly volunteered us rides, the people who distributed goods.

and

Misa...
the Filipino term for Mass...
Communion...
Eucharist...

~ a Sacrament
~ sacrifice
~ visible presence of Christ in the form of bread and wine...
~ remembrance of God's love...

thanksgiving...

mission...


"Love one another. As I have loved you."

Jesus alive in every heart!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RH BILL: Easing Poverty?

Just a couple of months ago, my colleague confided that she adopted a family (a mother and three kids) in her home. The mother was a victim of domestic violence for many years but she sought for help when her husband started sexually abusing the children.

It was a difficult decision on my colleague's part but she welcomed the family and extended help by supporting her to raise funds so that they could go home to the province where my sister's colleague awaited them.

What was striking in the story was the entire process... My colleague disclosed that had she left the mother alone, it would've taken her forever to get her papers and solicit money because the mother knew nobody and had no means to contact the 'right' persons... and this, is not an isolated case.

On Poverty and Ignorance

My father and I once had a discussion on poverty while watching the news. He asked me, if people had money would they still steal

Here's a better question, would RH bill ever be a solution to e(r)asing poverty?

And you know the answer full well... we're speaking of appetites on both cases...

We say that the RH bill is pro-poor... and passing this out would abate population growth and increase economic strength. But take a look again... where are we patterning our lifestyles? Who are we taking on as models?

China? Europe? 

How do we look at 'children'? the 'unborn'? 'LIFE'?



Are we thinking of long term effects? 

Woe to women ~ multiplied by the choice not to offer space to life and instead opening avenues to promiscuity and higher risks of cancer and abortion.



Since when have we left the poor to speak for themselves and have a voice of their own?



Translation: VALUES EDUCATION should be taught to the youth NOT sex education

Updates:

This morning, we talked about inviting someone to write an article for us on RH Bill. One said, it shouldn't be about religion. 

I think it's not about whose religion we follow. No, it isn't about religion at all ~ it's about whose life we're deciding on....




Sunday, August 5, 2012

Inertia: An Interlude


I've been raring to share this post the past couple of weeks...those weekends we weren't at home...

While others would've culled to stay cozy inside their houses because of heavy rain, my mom won over her desire to go over to my brother's place two Saturdays ago...



We were stuck on the road for five hours together with the kids... They didn't seem to mind the time. They kept on playing, eating, laughing (and sleeping)  all the way while we, the 'big' ones, riled over the traffic.


What could ever move one to go out of that enclosed shell? Out on the road to a far away place?



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It's pretty amazing how external forces could push one to do extra-ordinary things... 
earthquakes, floods (natural calamities), sickness, accidents, death...
reunions, celebrations, love...

To go out and seek for answers...



when God calls

 only to find ourselves being redirected back to the center...

do we listen?


Would you like to join this adventure?

The hunt to find that Pearl of Great Price




Put that FIRE back into your heart...
and words!