Bloom Where You Are Re-planted

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them…” 1 Corinthians 7:17

I just celebrated my 48th birthday a few weeks back. As part of my annual sentimental “look-back” at what have been, I realized that there is one constant that dominates the story of my life- and that is MOVING.

Before I finished my studies, I lived at 5 different houses and went to 8 different schools. from the time i got married until now, I lived at 9 houses and worked in a commercial establishment, a government agency, a bank, 2 schools and a hospital. That does not include where I live and work now.

Sometimes I wonder what my life could have been if there wasn’t too much action. How stress-free it could have been if i work at the same office table until i retire. And how comforting to live in just one house until my last breath. But who really knows?

So S also wondered how it could have been if I was stuck in only one corner of the same office and worked consistently on the same assignment everyday. by now I would have probably mastered the grooves and accomplish all without batting my short lashes, but how bored to death I would be now.

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I also wondered how many places I would not have the privilege to visit if it was my destiny to normally age within the four corners of the same house i was born to. How I would have missed the rapid beating of my heart whenever i experience the rising of the sun and its setting from different perspectives, the changing of the seasons under a different view of the sky, the genuine tastes and sounds of various societies.

And yes, I wondered how many people I would not have met… and known… and loved, if I was just bounded by the walls of my immediate family. I would not have known people from other nations who are as diverse in our culture and tradition, yet so similar in our humanity.

Moving is actually a joyful adventure for me rather than a futile exercise; like a flowering plant that is constantly being pulled from where it has grown its roots and re-planted to a new and strange spot. It may be a new pot or a beautiful garden. It doesn’t matter where, only its purpose is to bloom.

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I believe I am God’s little flower. And I am repeatedly being uprooted and re-planted to serve my purpose. I am in the here and now because God planned this from the beginning.

When it is time for that little flower in me to move again, I will no longer wonder. because all I need to do is bloom.

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All The Sweet Moves

“For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 1 Peter 2:15

Holy Monday, and here in Bahrain it’s business as usual.  I’m unable to go to Sacred Heart church all by myself,  yet thanks to technology, there is no lack of literature and videos that could somehow remind us of the importance of this week.  Not to mention the Holy Bible.

I’ve been distracted the past weeks.  Had recurring respiratory ailments, was busy with the tender , still concerned with Miguel’s pending leap from a career in films to a life in the kitchen, excited about Megan’s graduation, and worried about the hot weather when we come home for vacation in Pinas.

In similar situations prior, I vent all my perceived helplessness by binging on food.  They say sweets are great stress busters.  Especially chocolates.  But somehow added stress goes with the end result of having to lose the extra pounds later.  So eating just for the heck of it, is just a temporary relief.

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Now I found another sweet way to battle my way out of  the “insanity” of  it all.  Who says only the young can play candy crush?  It’s calorie free, but it’s bad for my eyes.  And it makes my back ache.  Yet for some precious MY moments when I reach home, I transform from a middle-aged, tired, sickly, corporate lady to a fresh and vibrant girl again.  All because of candy.

As I play it over and over, I learned that no matter how I try, if I am meant to stay on one level for a period of time, my jellies won’t get crushed, even if only one has to remain.

It’s not about the candies. It’s how they fall on my favor.   Because even with candy crush, someone wiser designed them so.  I just have to persevere. But not lose the enthusiasm  to play the game.

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Do you feel stuck where you are now? That you are heading nowhere despite the effort?  Do you instead get negative results after all the hard work and late hours? Do some obstacles block the plans that you so long prepared for?

We don’t have five lives.  But we have infinite chances to learn. We just have to try and try.  Even if all options seem exhausted.  We just need to wait. Try once more.  Until we got all the right moves. And everything falls into place.

life is a sentence

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25

today is supposed to be my dear friend roobee’s 45th birthday.  but we all stopped counting at 43, because she died almost two years ago after a fatal seizure.  last week my nephew Banjo, who is in his early twenties, passed on due to a lingering illness.  and just this week, my son’s former schoolmate and good friend, Kent, suddenly died in iligan because of a car accident.  he was still in his teens. 

in daddy’s case when he battled the big C,  he was given an estimated time when he was expected to die.  but nobody could really tell. he too, could have figured in an accident long before that.  then the doctors’ estimate would have been a gross mistake. and our family, unprepared and devastated. or there could have been a miracle, when the mistake would be most welcomed.

it is unbelievable when death cheats his way and no one else is looking.  it leaves everyone stunned and numb. unable to comprehend what is going on.  long after we moved on, the sadness lingers. 

at school, we were taught that “a sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete idea and includes a subject and a verb“.  in life we learn that it is. 

life is a sentence.

life is sentence whose subject is us.  and the verb, what we do with “us”.

 “a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark.”

our life begins with a loud cry.  and when it ends, only God knows.   but certainly, it will.

life usually ends with a period.  this is when life ends how and when most expects it to end – live a full life, die naturally and happily at old age.

life sometimes end with a question mark.  when someone who is young and full of dreams gets sick and die, we often ask what if and what could have been.

life, on rare occasions, end with a punctuation mark. we all get this shock and disbelief when one dies from an accident, a crime or a suicide.

in between, we may pause with a comma or a semi-colon, to give order to our compound or complex lives.

and when we finally reunite with our Creator, our sentences end with a . . .

for with the Lord is unending joy and love.

but for us who are still under construction, let us always be thankful for all the other sentences that we connect with, whether the past, present or future tense.

together and in harmony, we could create a paragraph or a novel even.  a love story that would highlight God’s glory in all our lives. and punctuate it with  : )

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.

love at first kick

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  Proverbs 11:30

yesterday morning, the world cup for me was just one sport spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.  just like the olympics or the NBA. in the philippines where basketball and boxing were like religion, it is understandable if football was not in my sports vocabulary.  but since i’m now at the mercy of the king of the house who holds the remote as if it is his sceptre, it’s amazing to discover that there’s a more exciting world of sports out there.

just recently, i was introduced to formula 1 and the likes of  hamilton, webber and alonzo.  but no matter how curvy and tricky the tracks are, i get bored by the 10th lap, unless of course a crash occurs in the following laps.  only during the last lap would my heartbeat join the race again.

as for football, bhoy and i were like followers of the world cup.  who wouldn’t be? what with shakira’s “waka waka” which has since become bea’s personal anthem.  another reason also is the Saudis’ intense passion for the sport.  it’s hard to describe, so you should see for yourselves how they celebrate whenever their national team wins in any international event.  the thing is, the farthest that we ever got was to see updates on team standings on the internet or  accidentally watch games (which we obviously didn’t get to concentrate on) when we dine out, and then again of course, sing “tsamina mina zangalewa anawa aa…”  other than that, football for me was just a vision. 

last night was unexpected.  since it was the finals, we did not want to miss out on all the fun. we also wanted to find out finally if the  octopus would turn out credible afterall.  but it was already late and since we had to get up really early for work, we just decided to let the live streaming on, regardless. a week before, since bhoy’s bosses were mostly dutch, my bet was for netherlands of course.  but earlier during the day, while i watched video clips of cooking demos on youtube, i changed my mind.  who could ignore paella, lengua estofado, menudo, afritada, embutido, callos, arroz caldo, calamares and adobo anyway.  besides, centuries of  Spanish colonization obviously have a significant influence on me.  in fact, Spanish is my 3rd language. (haha! un poco senor!)

so we watched the finals – SPAIN vs NETHERLANDS, although we don’t know anything about the game, except that the ball must go inside the net to score.   i was sleepy already when the game started.  but there was this kick that kept me awake till the end of the game, and even later from then on – a kick that made me fall in love…  and i couldn’t believe that the romance would last long after Andres Iniesta scored that one precious goal.  haha silly me!  now i even think that my hero, Iker Casillas looks a bit like justin timberlake and orlando bloom combined. 

but there’s this secret that i want to share.  last night, i was getting impatient because the ball seemed to eternally avoid the net like a plague, but i really wanted to see the final scene where the players would raise their arms with clenched fists and do that group hug thing.  i really thought that if somebody scores, the game would finally end.  and because i have only 3 hours left to sleep, i finally uttered a short prayer “please Lord, just one goal please. just one.”  and not five seconds passed, there goes the ball swak directly to the net!  i froze not knowing if it was because of the goal or the quick response to my prayer. 

“thank you Lord!”  i thought i could finally go to sleep.  but no, of course not. love has its way to make us stay awake.  (i even managed to post my overwhelming joy in my facebook account). now the waiting begins to renew my love affair with football.  afterall, world cup happens only once every four years.  but for the meantime, i’m good with no less than the one who comes only once in a lifetime…”wink”

The Helper

“I will ask the Father , and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;  that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”  John 14:16-17, 26

once a year, OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) usually take a month off from work.  most choose to go back home to relax, and rekindle relationships with family and friends.  

during this period, it is a treat to have some household help around to do chores for us.  because while we spend eight hours a day saturdays to thursdays at work in the foreign land, we also spend after-office overtime in the kitchen to cook and do the dishes, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, vacuum the carpet, pick up groceries.  the list is almost equal to the number of hours in a day.

but back in our homeland, a helper is willing and happy to do all that and more, at a comparatively lower monthly fee than what the dry cleaners and the friendly neighborhood carwash boys charge on a per job basis. 

Fely is small and petite, but there is no question that she’s a lot stronger than anybody may perceive her to be.  she’s almost like a superwoman.  besides, she maintains that cheerful disposition no matter what she does and when ever her call time is.  you see, she is not a maid who stays in the house 24-7.

Fely is our on-call helper.  and she’s always available when ever we need her.  for that, we are especially grateful to her.  not only because she does things for us.  she enables us to spend precious thirty days with our family without the hassles of usual household chores.  she makes our holidays more worthwhile, stress-free and special.  so that when we go back to our workplace, we are recharged, rejuvenated and renewed.

our souls also get tired and weary.  especially when we live against the Lord’s teachings.  when temptations come our way and we give in, our spirits experience the artificial “high” which eventually does not last long.  when troubles come our way, our souls get quite a beating that leave them bruised and battered.  and so like our physical limitations, we realize sooner that our souls need help too.  

before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised to give us a Helper to quench the thirst of our weary souls.  a Helper to guide us through the highways and byways of life to never lose sight of God’s mansion where rooms are reserved especially for us, His children.  a Helper to teach us all things, when our foolishness gets the better of us. that Helper is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. 

today is Pentecost Sunday, fifty days after the Passover, and seventh Sunday after Easter. this was the time when the Holy Spirit came down to the men in the upper room after Jesus’ ascension to heaven.  as had been promised, a strong wind filled the house and tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and they all were filled with the Holy Spirit.

since then the Holy Spirit dwells in our midst, always within reach, within us. with utmost humility, let us all acknowledge His presence and seek His guidance in every aspect of our life.  especially in times of distress and tribulations.  we can always depend on the Holy Spirit, our Helper,  to strengthen our faint and sagging spirits with His seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel (right judgement), fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety (reverence) and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).

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Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Pray: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.

V. Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created,

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of Your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

some kind of light

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” John 21:18

my daughter megan was compared by my mom with Christmas lights that blink and blink.  when she was younger, she had  a temper which she undoubtedly got from me.  fortunately she got the ‘flash’ type temper.  ’twas here, next second pfft, nada, gone. 

i wish i could control my temper like that when i was younger.  like a switch, i could have just turned it off as quickly in a flick.   and so should the spanking too.  (if that caused my behind to be this plump,  something good came out of it somehow, ha-ha.)

this is just to point out that as we grow older, the more subdued and considerate we become.  when as infants, we cry when we were hungry or wet,  no matter if it was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep.  or we smiled and giggled when we feel like it, even when there was no one around  to smile with us.  who cares?  as kids, we were carefree. no worries, no inhibitions.  walang pakialam sa mundo.  at walang kamalay-malay. we didn’t care what time of day, or night it was.  our parents took care of everything we need.

when we matured as teenagers, tougher rules were implemented.  parents stared at the clocks longer. tick-tock, tick-tock.  “time to do this, time to do that”.   “you’re late again”.   darn! these were played on and on like broken records.  that’s the reason we couldn’t wait until college graduation was over.  when finally, we would be able to find decent jobs and meet financial bliss minus parental restrictions.  aaaahhh sweet freedom!  haha! or so we thought…

we don’t realize it until later that as we went about to build careers and eventually settle down and raise kids of our own, that we were never  free afterall.  when we signed employment contracts, we were bound.  when we get married, we tied the knot.  and the marriage contract didn’t even have an expiration date.  and the power over our own life would remain a dream, because our sense of responsibility decides when to turn on and off our self-indulgence.  we will forever be prisoners of time, jobs and loved ones.  or on a grander scale, prisoners of our own organization, company or advocacies.  

by prisoner here meant to be involuntarily restrained.  as adult human beings, it is an instinct to belong.  and to belong means that one exists no longer for himself alone, but for someone else or something that he puts higher importance to, at times even more than himself. this requires sacrifice and self-denial especially when one’s desires and comforts are set aside for the well-being of another.   

when we stretch out our hands to be tied down or when we allow ourselves to be taken and girded to be carried to where we would not want to go, we are perceived to be prisoners by human standards. but when we conform to a higher spiritual order, the restraints become the most profound symbol of freedom.  chains are made of love instead of steel.  and the prison walls of  warm embrace, instead of concrete.  when we are finally freed from the bondage of our own selfishness, we finally taste freedom of the sweetest kind.

Jesus stretched out his hands to be crucified.  He allowed himself to be girded by others and carried away to where we would not want to go, to Golgotha where His body and blood were sacrificed so that we may be all be free from the bondage of sin.  it was not about weakness.  but obedience.  and love.

the fate of St. Peter was predicted to be like that of his Savior, only upside down.  though he “blinked” 3 times, when he denied Jesus, he freed himself from the anguish and shame by accepting his designated task on earth.  to be the rock upon which the Church would be built.  to be the shepherd of Jesus’ flock after His Ascension.

wouldn’t it brighter, if instead of blinking lights, we would rather be spotlights?…ever radiant and focused where the hand of God sets us upon.

things are not always what they seem

“When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat.  They were frightened but he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’

Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  John 6:19-21

things are not always what they seem. 

when a husband prefers fishing on weekends, he hates to be with his family.  truth is, he just needs quiet time and a stress-reducing activity after a week of rush assignments and impossible deadlines.

when the house is in turmoil, used dishes are in the sink and the baskets are overflowing with laundry, the wife is just plain lazy.   truth is, she is too ill to get out of bed.

when a daughter forgets to text or call back, she doesn’t love her dad and mom anymore.  truth is, she is practically in a rush to get the subjects she needs to enrol for summer classes.

when a son spends more time with the computer than with people, he is anti-social.  truth is, he is just plain bored or just wanted to reach out to family and friends and stay in touch.

when we get old, it is the end.  truth is, it is the time when wisdom comes of age and the fullness of life blossoms.

when your dream house is almost within your reach and still lose it, you are such a LOSER.  truth is, you don’t really need it.

when there’s no cash in the bank, then all else is lost.  truth is, God provides us with what we need. 

when all plans don’t push through, you’re such a failure.  truth is, God has better ideas.

when you are all alone, no one really cares. truth is, God is always with us.

truth is, things are not always what they seem.

i don’t know if it was a serious case of pre-menopausal syndrome, but i’d been through a hell of a week.  i thought this, i thought that.  i feared this, i feared that. i worried about this, i worried about that.  what a waste of precious time!

the past week really started great.  we were able to watch the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration live on tv.  the message was TRUST and PEACE. and bhoy and i felt so blessed to be able to take part in spirit with this special mass commemorating the golden jubilee of the National Shrine for the Divine Mercy* and the life of  St. Maria Faustina of Kowalska. 

but as the week progressed, and the real world sucked me right back in,  i ran round and round again to look  for my happy old self from other people, places and things.  i looked for me in me.  but neither did i find me there.  i kept telling bhoy that i feel sad, and i didn’t even know why or where it all came from.  by midweek, i gave up and just let everything be. 

there was one constant though, that i failed to see because i was extremely obsessed with my self-inflicted ordeal.  and that constant is GOD.  and i failed to absorb the message of the Divine Mercy.  TO TRUST IN JESUS, THE KING OF MERCY.

like the apostles, i was frightened too.  but when i see Jesus and let him into my boat, i am sure i will find what i was looking for.  and realize that what i was looking for was always there afterall. 

to borrow the words of St. Teresa of Avila “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough.”

as another week begins, my simple life goes on as it did before.  there’s really nothing to look for afterall.  everything that i need, God provides.  people to love, things to do and blessings to share.  even trials to make me strong.  what more can i ask for?   GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH.

* for more details about the devotion to the Divine Mercy, please go to http://thedivinemercy.org

the carrying of the Cross

“Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”  John 19:16-17

most people have moles.  some have only a few, others have too many.  a mole is a pigment or spot  which occurs when cells grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin.  sometimes it is  considered a birthmark.

in Filipino culture, the position of some moles in one’s body has corresponding meanings.  a mole on the nape means one has an extraordinary appeal to the opposite sex.  so that if you are a female, expect that you’ll have lots and lots of male admirers.  a mole at the back means one is lazy; and if on the foot means one is likely to wander.

one famous saying is that if  someone has a mole on his shoulder, he is “pasang-krus  (translated in english as “cross-bearer”).  this means one will live a life of everlasting suffering and hardship.  imagine the horror of a mother when she sees for the first time, that the infant she bore has that mole exactly where it was not supposed to be.

but come to think of it, all of us has a Cross to carry, with or without that dreaded mole.  the Lord never promised that our journey on earth will be a party.  there will always be obstacles along the way.  yet if we walk together with Christ and focus on our destiny, no burden is too heavy that we cannot bear it.

the agony in the garden

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.  On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strenthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22: 39-44

agony is defined as intense feeling of suffering;  acute mental or physical pain; extreme pain or anguish; torment; distress.  Jesus was in agony when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, because he knew what would take place to save us from eternal damnation.  he offered his life as the Father willed it for our salvation. 

now there are supporting characters in this the greatest story ever told, who played very crucial roles.  Judas Iscariot and Peter.  Judas betrayed Jesus.  Peter denied Jesus three times.  both felt deep remorse, shame and sadness after they realized what they had done.  Judas found a way out.  he hanged hmself to a tree shortly  after that infamous kiss of betrayal.  Peter also tried to find a way out too.  he ran to the tomb where Jesus was buried.  Judas became desperate.  Peter was hopeful.

we can never emphatize with Jesus’ agony in the garden.  mere mortals, in my perception, would never be able to endure what Jesus had to.  but all of us can be a Judas or a Peter.  we all commit sins and feel intense agony over what we had done, or did not do. 

but then again, like Judas, we can ignore the relevance of the Cross and live in agony for the rest of our lives, feel sorry and wallow in the throes of desperation. if we do, then Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross would be all in vain.

Jesus died because of our sins.  we already know that. yet we still commit sins over and over again.  but if we truly believe in his promise of redemption and what the Cross stand for, we should run to Him like Peter did.  because when we are truly sorry and sincere, his mercy and forgiveness is sufficient and infinite.

as Jesus prayed in the garden, let us put ourselves beside him in union with his suffering, so that His profound agony would have a deeper meaning in our lives. 

today is Holy Monday.  let us medidate on the agony of Jesus Christ  in Gethsemane.

 *inspired by  “Peter and Judas: A Lesson of Hope and Humility”

 http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/story.php?id=35983

by Jennifer Hartline, a grateful Catholic, an Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online on topics of Catholic faith, family, Life and politics.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.