big mistake, the captain’s “major, major” wrong decision

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath , for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. says the Lord. On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 

Do not be overcome by evil, OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.” Romans 12:17-21

we are still in shock as news on the bloody hostage taking in Manila continues since it happened two days ago.  the police officer Rolando Mendoza, who appealed his case not in court, but in front of the world, definitely had his voice heard.  but at what cost? and did it achieve his purpose?

“rolando mendoza was a good man”;  that was what his family, his colleagues in the police force, neighbors and friends who knew him personally say.  what made him do such violent acts which do not conform to the qualities of a “good man” is still in question. 

his demand to get his “life” back which he equated with the retirement benefits that he ought to receive was a sad cry for help.

nobody is in a position to judge him.  but in my own point of view, there is more to life than retirement benefits.  bad things happen even to good people.  even if you strictly do everything the right way, sometimes some things happen beyond our control which cloud our judgement and force us to do things against the moral values within which our characters are built.  this is because our lives are connected with one another.  whatever happens with one, affects another human being’s life.  the rage that the hostage taking incident sparked is a sound proof that all of us are intertwined regardless if we knew each other or not. 

rolando and the hostages didn’t know each other.  but when their paths crossed,  the journey would never be the same again.  it is sad that lives were taken in a futile attempt to win a personal battle.  if only rolando trusted more in the power of the Lord, rather than the word of the ombudsman or the promise of a negotiator, he wouldn’t have conceived that plan in the first place. 

what we do is not necesarily who we are.  we, as human beings made in the likeness of God, are basically good.  but somewhere along the paths we take in our lives, we come across dangerous potholes and humps, and interact with different types of people along the way.  they either make our journey is easy, but sometimes cause us troubles and hardships.  but if we stay in God’s grace, his everlasting love and light would guide us until we reach our destination.

as we go along our way, let us not depart from who we really are.  we are God’s children.  we are brothers and sisters, regardless of color, race or religion.  if we care for our brothers and sisters, we would never feel  threathened, even if everything will be taken away from us.  we will always be taken care of.  if we just believe in God’s promise.

it is written in Matthew 6:25-26  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  Is not life more than food? Or the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?”

if only rolando remembered this, he should not have made that big wrong decision.  he would not have made that big mistake.  and he could have prevented all the others from making their own.

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the tale of two friends

And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? – – `My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.  For the Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.’

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather healed.”  Hebrews 12: 5-7, 11-13

i remember this story about two very close friends.  in fact, they were too close that they already treated each other as family.  one day, the other friend left and worked away from the other.  before he left, he asked his friend to take care of his mother while he was away.  he also entrusted his business and savings to him not wanting to bother his mother with finances.  on top of that, he also sent part of his earnings monthly.  his main concern was for his mother to be well taken care of.

two years after, the friend who went away came back.  only to find out that the friend he left behind betrayed his trust;  his money gone, the business went bankrupt and his mother neglected.  when he confronted his friend, this friend who betrayed him simply said he needed the money, but never asked for forgiveness nor did he show any remorse nor shame for what he had done.  he was even proud to say that he can pay him back anytime.  that was the last time they saw each other.

after some time, the friend had to leave his mother again.  but this time he made sure that he trusted the right people to care for her.  not long after, the friend who betrayed him was caught stealing from his place of work.  he was forced to resign without any benefits from his thirty years of service, or else the company would file charges against him.  he left the company empty-handed.  because of his lavish lifestyle which his salary alone could not sustain, he was also neck deep in debt with personal loans from other people which he could no longer pay.  his childred stopped going to school.  his house foreclosed by the bank.  and because he was already getting older, he started to get sick. 

it was time for vacation again for his friend.  during one of his routine visits to his doctor, he saw the friend who betrayed him in the hospital corridor, seeking treatment for his heart ailment in the charity section; pale, thin and weak.  but this then sickly friend was still hardened with pride.  he said he was supposed to pay back what he owed, but he got sick.  and yet, not a single sorry was uttered.  his friend who had long forgotten what he had done, simply said, “you know, my friend,  all our sins each have their own punishments.  maybe this is yours.”  and the friend who betrayed him, still proud and enrelenting answered back “you know what you said really hurts me.”  and the friend who betrayed him walked away, never looked back, not realizing the hurt he had caused the other.  now this friend who betrayed the other, has nothing.  no money, no family, no friend. 

when bad things happen to us, we associate it to God’s punishment for our past wrongdoings.  because i see God as a loving and gentle God, i refused to see him in this perspective especially when i was younger.  but when i grew older, i believe i also grew a bit wiser.

because by now, i know that everytime i sin, God calls my attention because he loves me and he wants me to change.   in subtle ways first.  but when i don’t listen, he jolts me.  like lightning in the middle of summer, i would be caught by surprise.  then, he gets my attention.  and i learn my lesson.  the hard way.

that does not mean that God is not a loving and gentle God.  He is.  it’s just that, i’m a stubborn sinner who needed something more than a push to make me understand. 

we can be the friend who trusts or the friend who betrays.  in which case, we can be forgiving like the other.  or really, really mean and proud, like the one who betrays him. 

the point is, when God does punishes us, let not foolish pride get in the way.  acknowledge that we had done something wrong.  ask for forgiveness.  resolve not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.  or else, we would end up with nothing.  no love.  no friend.  no family.  no home.  and sadly, no soul.

learn to appreciate… and keep the love alive

 

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  Hebrews 3:13

fortunate is a man who loves and is loved in return.  still a man is lucky to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.  but then again, man is most blessed to be loved… and appreciated at the same time.

young love – sweet, carefree, simple. MJ once sang: they try to tell us we’re too young… and yet, we’re not too young to know, this love would last though years may go.  old standard as it may sound, it still happens. young love blossoms in a burst of colors and such sweet scent that nothing around it matters.  not even the worms underneath, nor the bees and butterflies that hover above.  only the flower exists.  a lot like love.  and it is all that the eyes can see.

but after a while, people get easily distracted and turn out of  focus.  not only with lovers.  even parents with their kids;  grown children with their aged parents;  busy bosses with their subordinates. a friend with a friend.  we forget they exist, so we fail to express how important they are.  simply because we look past them.  therefore, we don’t appreciate.

in all instances, i realize that what is worse than the absence of love, is the absence of appreciation. 

we often hear declarations of undying love and praise during a wake or a funeral.  how much the dead will be missed. how much he was loved.  but you’ll be surprised how many of them appreciated his presence when he was still alive.  perhaps it is only after death that he is given the attention he might have yearned for all his life. only then, it is too late.

so while our hearts are still beating, let’s try to express our appreciation however we think possible.

hug…kiss…send flowers…text…call…watch movies together…spend the day off together…post something on the wall…write a poem…sing a song…drive around…watch the sunset together…cook that favorite dish…smell the roses…together.  there are zillions of ways.  but what matters is to let them know…

just say it.

for love is but a word, until we give it away.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

sing when it hurts – a lesson from the cherubim

“He put a new song in my mouth; a hymn of praise to our God.”  Psalm 40:1:3

REPOST from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Life is hard. Sometimes dark. There are times when troubles pile so high we fear we might suffocate under them. We are lonely. We are scared. We are burdened. These are wintry, cold spiritual seasons when there seems to be no light, no help, no relief, no comfort in any direction.  It’s at these times, when we are most discouraged, most weary, that the angels teach us what we must do. We must SING!

Angels are actively engaged in the unceasing praise of God. At Mass several parts of our Liturgy come from Scriptural accounts of angelic worship. The Gloria begins with words sung by the angels at Christ’s birth (Luke 2:14). The Sanctus is from Isaiah’s vision of God surrounded by angels who sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory’ (Is.6:1-3).


Some angels are called cherubim, thought to be from the root “to mount.” The Psalms describe a majestic God “mounted” upon, or riding, the exotic winged cherubim: “And He ascended upon the cherubim and He flew: and He flew upon the wings of the wind” (Ps 18:10).

This sort of ascendance imagery is also used in fifteen songs which comprise one of the most precious and beautiful portions of the Bible, the Psalms of Ascent. Sung by the children of Israel as they ascended Mount Zion in Jerusalem during liturgical feasts, their worship was an integral part of the sweaty, joyful exertion and anticipation of arriving at the summit where God awaited.

Their physical climb up the mountain was a type, model and picture of the slow upward trajectory of the Christian spiritual life here on earth. It is a glorious, sweaty enterprise that will ultimately require our very last breath, but those same Psalms of Ascent lift and accompany us, too, up the grand, grueling mountain as we sing them in the Divine Office and our hearts ascend to God in daily prayer. 
*for the complete text, go to:  http://www.catholic.org/hf/faith/story.php?id=37673 

by Sonja Corbitt, NASHVILLE, TN 8/4/2010 Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture teacher and study author, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is available to speak on the New Feminism, current events and your preferred theme. Visit her at http://www.pursuingthesummit.com for information and sample videos.

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