There’s Hope

“…but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  – Isaiah 40:31

My work contract ends on March 31.  My bosses are working hard to keep me.  However, visa issues have kept them from making any promises if I’d stay or leave. 

If I’d manage to stay, I would survive a second redundancy case.  Being kicked out is nothing new.  Working in the Middle East as an expat is an uncertainty these days. In fact, it has been, the past couple of years.  My husband was actually one of the first casualties.

It’s sad considering we’re still way above our heads in debt.  And with my husband still unemployed, I should have worried myself to death, or to debt, for that matter.  To even imagine the prospect of being jobless as well, would have made me cringe.

But even I am surprised how the grace of God has given me the absolute trust that my husband and I are not alone in this plight.  I know that He sees what we are going through, and He will not leave us alone, helpless and hopeless.  

I don’t know what’s in it for me by the end of this month.  But God knows.  Because he had already written it long before I was even born.  He planned it for He is the architect of my life.

Surely His plans are not to harm me, but to prosper me.  Exactly how, only He knows.  And if only for that, I should not be afraid.  Because if I depend on what I know, there’s nothing but despair.

But in God, I lean on because only He knows what my purpose is.  Through Jesus Christ, who is the Way, I shall find it.

The Colors of My Christmas

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21-23 

In a few days, we shall celebrate Christmas. Again. Being Christians, it is as essential as breathing.

I just realized it will be my 50th Christmas. I can remember vaguely, how each year was celebrated. But I’ll never forget how Christmas felt like.

When I was a child, it was all fun. Christmas tree and lanterns, Santa Claus and gifts, apples and grapes. Those were what Christmas was about. As I close my eyes, I see red, green and gold.


Then as I grew up and learned about the Nativity story.  The Belen, the Simbang Gabi and the Gloria became part of the list. So blue was added to represent Mama Mary.

When I got older and had a family of my own, the Holy Family: Joseph, Mary and Jesus became the goal. Christmas should be family.

In 2009, 4 days before Christmas, Daddy passed away. It was a season for families to be together. Hence, his funeral was held a day after, so we could be together at Christmas for the last time. The color I see was purple.

Now at 50, I know now what Christmas is all about- Jesus. Not the one in the Belen. Not in traditions. Definitely not in things. But Jesus in our hearts and mind. Absolutely. 

This year, all that I am used to celebrate Christmas with were taken away. What is expected of me, myself included, is to sulk and despair.

But no. There is a only certain calm and peace knowing that this is God’s will for me. All I can see is white. Pure and simple. JESUS is the reason for this season.


My prayer for you is to not be blinded by the world. Because the world has its way to keep you from seeing the true picture of Christmas.

My heart rejoices for the colors that Christmas brings into my life. May you also find Jesus in the kaleidoscope of your celebrations.

He isn’t far. He is right there in your heart, waiting for you to unwrap His gift of love, hope and peace.

Sink or Swim?

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

I have never learned how to swim. I have tried, many times. I usually end up being rescued. It’s embarrassing how my kids learned how to swim and I cannot. But it really doesn’t matter now. I’m already old. And we don’t have a swimming pool to begin with. So I never have to worry about drowning.

Then I discovered there’s such a thing as dry-drowning. It is when the lungs are unable to extract oxygen for a variety of reasons. Meaning even if you’re out of the water, there are instances when you may drown.

So I found out there are many causes of drowning. As many as there are people who are drowning and don’t even realize they are. Like when one drowns in debt or happiness or responsibilities of ecstasy.

There is another kind which we all suffer from at some point in our lives-the spiritual drowning. It’s when sin takes the better of us, it pulls us down to our own self-destruction. We feel the world spinning around us like we were sucked in by a devastating twister. We feel like sinking to an abyss of certain doom.

Through all these, we have a life-saver in Jesus. All we have to do is call out His Holy Name. Jesus is our lifeline. Only He can save us.

But we sometimes fail to call on Him. Instead, we rely on ourselves so that our pride just pulls us deeper. Sometimes we call on Him to save us. But we don’t hear his voice because we choose to listen to the sounds of the world. And we fail to acknowledge the lifeline in Him that He constantly pitches our way. And sometimes, Jesus already had us in His arms but we are too drained and weak to see.

I have been drowning for a while now that I became the pathetic and frail victim of my own folly. Only Jesus can save me now from myself, my lack of faith and my sins. He is my Savior. He is my life-guard. He hears my cry for help and will rescue me.

After Haiyan, so what now?

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:1-4

Long before Haiyan, clothes, shoes and bags that were unused for at least 6 months were collected and stored in boxes supposed to be sent to the GMA Foundation in Manila. But numerous typhoons and earthquakes had occurred, still the boxes remain open and unsent.

Excuses? Each box isn’t full. There’s no time to make any effort to fill them up, much less time to have them sent. Besides, there was no sense of urgency nor any need to send them sooner for we could see that there were enough donors to provide whatever the needs were for a certain calamity at any given time.

Toink!

I have seen it during the tsunami in Indonesia, typhoon Katrina in the US, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with Ondoy, Pepeng and Pablo back home in the Philippines, but to see how an overwhelming number of lives can be taken in an instant at such scale, which no military intelligence or government spying could have prevented, makes devastation and tragedy real.  Not just words, photos and videos from the media. It is REAL. And it is shocking.

I realized that my heartache and grief stood for nothing because all I did was just sit and watch and sigh. I feel sorry for myself as much as I did for the victims because I did nothing. And I passed on those chances to help, be kind and generous. I’m alive yet what on earth am I living for if I would remain passive and useless.

Haiyan is the most powerful typhoon on recorded history.  Indeed, it didn’t just wipe out communities in Tacloban and other  towns in Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Aklan and other nearby island provinces. For a while, it also reduced the dignity of a people in favor of survival, which is a basic human instinct.

But Haiyan also moved the world.  Suddenly, we are all united as human beings towards a common goal- to help those in desperate need. Indeed this  super typhoon, not only brought about the worst damage, but also the best in terms of human spirit of brotherhood.

The open boxes will soon be closed and head to where they were intended. They won’t remain where they are any longer.  With fervent prayers for comfort, strength and hope, they will reach their destination, and their purpose will be served.

Those boxes represent the beginning  of an entirely new perspective on who I should have been all along.  Who we should strive to become- purposeful, useful, meaningful.

We’re 8 hours of flight away from where the world is focused on today.  From afar, I just pray that each one would think about what Haiyan brought forth.  Near or far, this typhoon changed us. If we still don’t get it, then everyday, it would keep trying to.  And I hope that it would not take a typhoon or any calamity  more devastating than Haiyan for us to finally get it.  Filipino or not, Haiyan sends its  message to one and all.

From now on, let us pray without ceasing.

Let us pray for healing, as a nation; as an individual, body and soul.

Let us pray for wisdom, to comprehend the profound message of recent events.

Let us pray for souls of  those who perished, and those they left behind who die over and over with anguish  knowing they lost everything, and not knowing how to start from nothing.

Let us pray that our lives would  be  “relief goods” to others and not “body bags” that are dead within.

Let us pray that instead of looking out on what other’s are doing (or not), let us look at ourselves.  WHAT ARE WE DOING?  We don’t know what others are going through, let us not judge. or we’ll be judged with the same measure. If you think or feel, that others are not doing enough, let our God be the judge to that.

Let us pray that instead of adding more negativity  to what has already happened, let us find  a way to  be a beacon to  one another to lead each other towards the light.  Not back to the eye of the typhoon, lest we revert to our doom  over and over again.

Let us fulfil God’s will in  our lives.  There is a reason why we are still alive and spared from the tragedy that is Haiyan.  Let us unite in faith, humility, perseverance, kindness, understanding,  empathy, generosity… and put an end to finger-pointing, blame game, doubts, sarcasm, insults, apathy,  selfishness, grandstanding, greed.

At the end of the day,  it is between me and my God…between you and your God.

Keep the Filipino spirit burning…PHILIPPINES, we can do  this!

Azkalius Patronum!

“For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways.  With their hands they shall support you, lest  you strike your foot against a stone.  You shall tread upon the asp and the viper, trample the lion and the dragon. 

Whoever clings to me I will deliver, whoever knows my name I will set on high.  All who call on me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor.

With length of days I will satisfy them and show them my saving power.”  Psalm 91:11-16

The Harry Potter fever and Azkal frenzy still linger in the air.  Though Harry had already found his patronus which is a stag, the Azkals are still in search of theirs, a dog from which they got their name.  I hope they find it just in time to ensure that 4 goals they so badly need tonight in their match against Al-Azraq.

A patronus is an animal protector created by a spell to defend against dark creatures or dementors.  we often forget that we too have our own “patronus“.  These are spiritual beings depicted as messengers of God called angels.  a guardian angel is assigned to protect and guide a specific group or person. But do we really need angels when God is always here and now? Of course, we could talk to God directly about our concerns. But do you hear Him answer back?

If we just look deeper with our hearts, instead of our eyes, we can feel our angels at work. At times of triumph, when we are too high with our self-indulgence and pride, it would never cross our mind that somehow, we made it because our guardian angels lent their wings in order for us to soar up high.  And when we fall from grace, who would have thought the angels were ready to catch us and break the fall.
Were your appointments cancelled because something suddenly came up? I bet they often do.  Not part of the plan. So you opt for plan B or C, if you have.  Happened to me, not once, not twice but zillions of times.  When I was younger, I do get furious.  And instantly.  But not anymore.
Those glitches in my planner made me realize that God is trying to reach me, but couldn’t.  Because I’m either out of the coverage area or I’m not yet in service.  So He sends his angels to get His message across.  Even if it means messing up with my time.  And my self-centered plans.  Now I no longer get frustrated.
Because delays, postponements and cancellations now have a different meaning.  It spells the difference between a better option and complete disaster; between a brighter idea and a so-so presentation;  between winning and losing.
football.philippinenewsdaily.com
Azkalius Patronum! I hope the Azkals win against Kuwait.  But if they don’t, listen.  God sends His message.
As for me, God pm’s me through St. Uriel – the guardian angel assigned to me because I was born on a Wednesday.

The Beatitudes – Our Program for Holiness

repost from Catholic Online 

The Beatitudes of the Gospel turn worldly values upside down. The world pursues happiness in wealth, power, fame and disordered sexual pursuits; whereas the Gospel demands of us values that are essentially different. The Beatitudes challenge us to choose: to live Christianity or to live by the standards of this world. The choice to live the Gospel changes our entire life and confronts every aspect of our human existence.

 The Sermon on the Mount presents the way to holiness and happiness
The Sermon on the Mount presents the way to holiness and happiness

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) – At an important point in the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi, a missionary gave him a book that contained the four Gospels.  This of course, was the Indian leader’s first exposure to Christianity.  He read the Gospels with great interest, and was convinced that the principles taught by Jesus could resolve all of the political, social and economic problems of his country.

Gandhi had to travel throughout Western Europe in order to muster support for an independent India.  Traveling through Christian countries, he was dismayed only to conclude that the Gospels are wonderful indeed, but he did not see anyone living their teaching.  For this reason, Gandhi never converted to Christianity.

We are all called to be saints.  Today’s Gospel passage reminds us of the program and lays out the path.

The Beatitudes contain the essence of the Christian way of life.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices.  It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else.  It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement – however beneficial it may be – such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love” (CCC # 1723).

The Beatitudes of the Gospel turn all worldly values upside down.  The world pursues happiness in wealth, power, fame and disordered sexual pursuits; whereas the Gospel calls us to embrace and live values that are essentially different, in order to transform this world, and reveal the kingdom.

The Beatitudes challenge us to choose: to live Christianity or to live by the standards of the world.  Do you want to give in to the demands of a worldly way of life, or have you decided to live true and authentic Christianity?  The choice to live the Gospel changes our entire life.  It tells us how we are to act, how we are to dress, how we are to speak and how we are to interact with people.  The choice to live the Gospel confronts every aspect of our entire existence.

A number of years ago I was invited to give a retreat to a group of lay people in New York City.  A seminarian graciously accompanied me in order to help with the practical details.  Prior to the evening retreat, we had a number of appointments, and so that meant that we would have lunch in New York.  The seminarian really enjoyed Asian cuisine, so I accommodated his palate by inviting him to lunch at a Korean restaurant.

As we went to our table, we were met by a Korean woman who graciously attended us with delicate courtesy. Having had many years of experience at my father’s restaurant, I was able to notice that her kindness, manners and spirit of service were far from ordinary. 

Towards the end of the meal, another Korean woman finished waiting on our table.  When we were ready, I asked her for the check.  She then proceeded to tell me that there would be no charge for the lunch because the first waitress took care of the bill.  I was very surprised and I asked her why she had decided to pay for our meal.  “She is Christian,” was the unanticipated answer from the waitress.

“She is Christian,” meant that all the other waitresses were not Christian, and that all though encountering a free meal in the middle of downtown New York City surprised me, they were not surprised at all.  They knew that this woman was different.  Because of her Christianity, she was different.

The four beatitudes in Luke’s Gospel sum up the eight beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel.  The shorter version in Luke’s Gospel is followed by four curses that underscore what happens to those who choose to live by the values of the world. 

Let us for brevity sake, consider the four beatitudes in Luke’s Gospel.

“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”  No matter how much or how little we possess, we are all called to recognize that everything we have comes from God.  God is our Father and he will provide all of our needs.  Creatures are simply stepping stones on the journey towards eternal life.  This beatitude calls us to be totally detached from the things of this world and to seek our true happiness in God alone.  However, at the same time, this beatitude also calls us to use our gifts, talents, resources and the things of this world to help all those who are in need and to create a better life for everyone.

“Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.”  Most of us have never suffered from severe hunger or thirst.  Most of us, despite the challenges of life, have never gone without a meal or never went without water.  The hunger that Jesus refers to concerns the hunger for the transcendent.  Secularism and materialism have deadened this natural desire for God.  The desire for God is insatiable in this life and can only be satisfied completely in eternity.

“Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.”  The Christian experience begins with the acknowledgment of our sinful condition.  “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5: 8).  Repentance allows us to experience true joy.  The humble person acknowledges sin, converts and becomes the loving recipient of God’s mercy.  No one can truly repent without true sorrow for sin.

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”  Jesus knew that the life of the true Christian on earth would not be an easy one.  The authentic Christian lives a life totally in contrast to those who live by the standards of the world.  For the Christian, conflict will always be a normal way of life.  It is amazing what millions of our brothers and sisters have suffered throughout the history of Christianity for their Lord and God. 

In conclusion, the Beatitudes do not contain all of the teachings of the Gospel.  However, they do contain the most essential aspects of Christian behavior that we need to live in order to reach Christian perfection.  The Beatitudes of Jesus present to us an entirely new way of living our lives.  Granted, this new way of life is challenging and difficult, nevertheless, he alone offers to us all of the spiritual means that we need in order to live them with conviction in our daily lives.

We are all called to be saints.  We are all called to be heroes.  Now, more than ever, the Church needs new saints and new heroes.

by Father James Farfaglia, the Happy Priest, the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas and a member of the Board of Directors of Human Life International. 

You can visit him on the web at www.donotbediscouraged.comThere you can find his books, homilies, articles and blog posts.

happy feet

“And how can men preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”  Romans 10:15

my birth month is almost over.  as i contemplate on all the blessings the Lord showers me with day by day, the Bible passage above, prompted me to stare at my own two feet.  they are relatively small and dainty, which definitely don’t match my short and fat limbs, nor my chubby yet huggable torso.  but they apparently do the work.  and as i ponder on the value of these feet which i always look down to, i’m amazed how far they already have taken me; from baby steps to short walks to school and church, to long walks to the park, malls, work, airports even.

these same feet which i took for granted, enables me to attend birthday parties, weddings, funeral processions; join campings, hikings, engage in sports or simply climb flights of stairs.  who knows what else my feet can do for me? run for my life maybe.

i remember during high school, there were these branded clogs which were in fashion called happy feet.  they were so cool, probably because they were the classy version of the local bakya.  back then, it was some sort of status symbol.  but since my parents could only afford bantex and spartan, i didn’t get the privilege to wear one. twenty-five years later, as we stroll around the mall and bhoy saw the child-like delight on my face when i saw racks and racks of happy feet, he couldn’t help but finally buy me the bakya of my youthful dreams. but then again, other than slip my feet on them, or to some other pair of sleek, thin-strapped sandals to showcase how pretty they are, i haven’t given much thought how hard my poor, little feet have served me thus far.

until now.

days before my birthday, i had to stop working and undergo total abdominal hysterectomy.  the procedure rendered me totally incapable to do just about anything.  and when finally, i’m able to walk again, that’s more or less what my ob gyn, nurses and internet researches advised me to do. just walk. from baby steps – again, i struggled to move forward without the bend and crouch and the twitch on my face .  you can just imagine how happy i was when last week, i was finally able to walk 1km along the corniche; breath in the fresh scent of the sea and bask in the early morning winter sunshine.

as my birth month ends, life goes on.  and as i walk on through the rest of my journey, i want to share the lessons of joy and hope from my humble, little feet.  at times when we may be looked down or stepped upon; at times when we slip or stumble; at times when the burden of the world weighs us down – stare at the same feet.  they never give up no matter how heavy we are literally.  they won’t really care how sad and frustrated we can become, they are always on standyby, ready to take us wherever we want to be, regardless of the danger and how rough the road ahead maybe.

they serve… and they endure.  because that’s what the happy feet are here for.  and so are we.

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.

Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

why hurry? (choosing life over death)

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8

this morning as we start our day with breakfast and news, CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported how children died from diseases which could have been prevented if their parents gave them due medical attention. but because of a literary misinterpretation of a scripture passage, the followers of this certain congregation believes that drops of olive oil and prayers were enough to heal their sick. 

a related subject also tackled how doctors would want to be spared from being prosecuted and sentenced to secondary manslaughter, if their terminally ill patients chose to overdose from the drugs they prescribed, in the premise that they did not end lives, but only the suffering.

still another HIV positive patient who suffers from hepatitis reiterates his right to die without prolonging the suffering that his illness would eventually bring about.  and this, they all believe is to die with dignity.

this reality disturbed me because i believe otherwise.  who are we to choose the exact time and date, or in which way we are to die?  even Jesus, who is the Son of God, did not.  instead He obeyed the will of the Father until the end.  He could have chosen not to be crucified.  He is God anyway.  but He did not.  did that make His death less dignified?

my daddy died of cancer.  he was in pain all throughout the ordeal.  he fought and suffered too.  but that did not make his death any less dignified.

my aunt had brain surgery.  thereafter, she depended on life support to survive.  my uncle and cousins did not stop to seek only the best medical care for her.  but she died anyway.  that did not make her death less dignified too.

one may be diagnosed with life-threatening disease and be given only a year to live by the doctors.  but a car may run over him the same day and die on the spot.  who can tell?

so please,  if you are one of those who feel hopeless and desperate because of your pain and suffering, and you wish to end it all now, or sooner, please stop and think again. 

 

please just stop and look at the Cross of Christ.  is there any pain and suffering that could ever surpass that which our Lord had to endure?  He could have passed on that chance, but it was an opportunity that the Father gave the Son to save us.  so that we, sinners, may overcome death and have eternal life.  it was an opportunity that He chose not to miss. 

whoever contemplates to die with dignity by ending life in his own terms is making a big mistake which can no longer corrected.  life is a gift from God, only He shall take it away; when He wills it and how He wills it.  and because it is a gift, we must own it to treasure and cherish.  not to throw it away.  otherwise, Jesus’ death on the Cross would be in vain.

when it’s our time to go, yes let it be with pride and honor and dignity.   no matter how and when.  and if our lives were full of love and compassion; of  faith and hope, then it would be so…  in God’s perfect time.

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.