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 coconut nut

“Should you then seek great things for yourself?  Seek them not.  For I will bring disaster on all people, declare the LORD, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.”  Jeremiah 45:5

fely comes to our house regularly to do the laundry.  she also helps mommy with  stuff.  she runs errands, cleans and cooks too.  sometimes, she just drops by to check on mommy and if there’s anything else that she can do for her.  but at the end of  every day’s work, fely walks to her humble abode to be with her family, for whom she works very hard for.

fely, who did not take an oath, serves our family the best that she can.  with her frail and thin physique, she is able to do things which seem incredible for us to do.  she doesn’t demand to live in our house, much less sleep in the master bedroom.  her husband, who drives their family-owned pedicab for a living, follows simple barangay traffic rules and regulations.  though life is hard, they do their jobs diligently.  and i am certain that they are happy and comfortable with whatever they are blessed with –  jobs to do, family to belong, a small rented house.

fely and her husband are simple people with simple needs,  but that doesn’t mean they live without dignity. 

what is dignity then? it is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.  we don’t have to be rich, or pretty, or hold a high government position, or live in a coconut palace to have dignity.  dignity is not something that one should demand from others because it emanates from one’s innate nature of being treated with respect.  dignity comes from within and radiates spontaneously. 

for a newly elected public servant to even consider a grand residence and office for dignity, is an insult to the poor people that he promised to serve, a great percentage of which live in shanties.   we are made to think that our house is what we are.  that thinking only reduces the self-image to inferiority and helplessness. no less than President Noynoy said “Kayo ang boss ko.”  can’t a vice-president also serve his countrymen and perform his functions with dignity if he lives in a modest house in a modest neighborhood? was his predecessor less dignified? now more than ever, it is worthwhile to recall what lolo and lola once said “Mabuti pa ang kubo kung ang nakatira ay tao, kasya isang palasyo na ang nakatira ay kwago.” 

isn’t it ironic that the new president whose official residence is a palace, humbly chose to reside in a small guest house across the river, yet his vice-president asks for a palace with the famous view of the manila bay sunset to be his official residence? if this is a tumor, there’s something benign here that must be treated soonest before it turns malignant.  seriously…

we are all equal in the eyes of  God.  He placed us exactly where we are now, because he has a master plan for the natural order of things. my fervent prayer is that each of us realize what our role in that plan is, in order to fulfill the ultimate purpose of our existence.  otherwise, the tale of the coconut nut in the palace will go down in history.

the moon and venus: a wink and a smile

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:2-4

Filipinos catch a glimpse of Venus sitting on top of a crescent moon. Photo by Voltaire Domingo, NPPA

Filipinos catch a glimpse of Venus sitting on top of a crescent moon. Photo by Voltaire Domingo, NPPA at http://meme.yahoo.com/yphnewsroom/p/u79W4xP/

photo from http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=5909898&id=270180707533

Psalm 111:2-4

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
       they are pondered by all who delight in them.

 3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
       and his righteousness endures forever.

 4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
       the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”

hidden ko

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden; or under a bowl.  Instead, he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”  Luke 11:32-34

although there were other relevant issues that could affect our well-beings like the ah1n1 pandemic, the opening of the new school year or the state of the economy in general; the recent scandal involving prominet names in showbusiness and the medical profession have been hugging the headlines  for weeks now .  all i could feel is sadness and pity for the women who were obviously taken advantage of, consensual or otherwise.

flat screen

yes, much had already been said about it, yet much more have already been seen in the videos.  and yes,  some people did something wrong. their secrets were recorded, then somehow, suddenly they were discovered.  now everyone involved is reacting, each in a way different from the other.  and so too the spectators.   so what now?  whatever have we gained from all this scandal? and what have we lost?

dirty flower

come to think of it, all of us make mistakes.  some we do knowingly.  but most of them, we carefully hide in the cores of our beings.  we go to great lengths just to conceal them.  until such time that circumstances give us away, and there is no place on earth to run or hide. and sometimes…just sometimes, we voluntarily give them up, because we can no longer stand the guilt.  our conscience overwhelms us.  until there’s no other way to go but confess, be sorry and resolve never to do it again.

but if there’s one good thing that comes out of these, it is that realization that the same can happen to us and we may better be prepared for it.  it may not be in the form of a scandal, but whatever the consequences of our own misgivings and excesses, we all have to face someday… somehow.  we may as well look inwards now, and watch  our own life video play.  is it worth watching over again? or is it too shameful we can’t even stand to watch, much less  play it over again?  does it inspire? or does it evoke only depression and frustration?

i believe this scandal episode is only a part of one big story.  it is one dream of mine that someday, the lead characters in this story, who are the legislators passing laws would rather sponsor bills rewarding people for the good they have done.  i also dream that someday, instead of scandals, crimes and frivolities, the primetime news would headline only the good, the better and the best in every person and the beauty of the world we live in.  perhaps, the inspiration would spread like a pandemic.  and maybe, we would all be stricken with only love and compassion.

sharp flat screen

i also dream that someday, videos would be able to expose the real essence of a human being.  maybe then, ang “hidden ko” would just be a thing of the past.

Obama’s time, our time

“You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill can not be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead, they put  it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

oath1a week ago, the world have witnessed the unfolding of a milestone in US history.  the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, signaled a new beginning not only to its citizens, but to the whole world as well.  it was a defining moment from which his nation shall go forth with hope and determination to be able to stand again from the ruins of its past mistakes, as its people hold on to the ideals that their forefathers had planted and from which their strength shall emanate. 

it was not an instant hit for  President Obama. though relatively short, he is travelling through his own political obamajourney. but before that, he had gone through the metamorphosis of being an excellent college graduate to a distinguished lawyer and educator, to being an honorable politician, all the way to the highest position he had ever hoped and dreamed to be in.  while building his political career, he was also raising a family which would be his source of strength and inspiration when the going outside of his home gets tough.  but then again, even before that, he had journeyed through a diverse and colorful childhood brought about by his roots and circumstances.  and all the way before baby Barack was  formed in his mother’s womb, destiny would already have it, that someday, an African-American would reign as president in what most of the world consider as the land of the free. and to some, the land of milk and honey.  the rest of his legacy is now being written for future generations to remember, hopefully with pride.

we too, are Baracks, in our own unique ways.  maybe not in the same magnitude, but certainly all of us were born to 27316cc6990132242stand up and stand out.  we are here in this world for a reason and for a purpose.  whatever our own purpose is, it is never for ourselves alone. but for another. and maybe some.  and maybe more.  but never for ourselves alone.

we may lead a country or a state.  a corporation or an organization.  or we may be teachers or parents.  or pet-lovers even.  whoever we are, there is at least, one single living being that needs us.  and we are all gifted by God in various ways in order for us to provide for that need.  how we use our own God-given  gifts differentiates us from the rest.  shall we be selfish or insecure so as to keep those gifts hidden and untapped? or would we rather use those gifts to make someone’s life better? 

3478a8e732a6bce6the bottom line is, we are all here to participate in life’s wonderful cycle.  it doesn’t matter if  our own defining moments are not as grand and glamorous.   because only when we start living our lives for the good of others, shall we stand out.  only when we come out of our shells and speak, can our voices be heard.  and only when we love and care for others truly,  shall we make this world a better place to live in.  it may be Barack’s time, but it is ours too.  for we are all in this together because no matter how diverse we are as human beings, our lives are all intertwined.

 

spiritual bankruptcy

“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.”  Matthew 19:29

last week, we were bombarded with headlines about Wall Street, Lehman Brothers, AIG, stockmarkets, bankruptcy, bailouts and much more financial news that an ordinary person might find kinda hard to comprehend.  i guess it would take years of being an “insider” to paint in one’s mind an accurate picture of last week’s historic events and how it directly affected the economies of the world and indirectly, the lives of the ordinary people like us.

a dictionary definition of bankruptcy as a noun, is a state of being legally insolvent. as an adjective, going bankrupt means to be financially ruined, impoverished, destitute, depleted of resources.  in simpler terms, this is just a situation when one’s debts or needs far more outweighs the cash or properties that he has on hand; if there are still some remaining.  this is one situation a person would dread to be in.  it brings about despair, hopelessness, frustration, self-pity, fear, sadness, anger, embarrassment, humiliation and more.  it causes those feelings of drowning, of being smothered, of being thrown out from a roller coaster ride.  sometimes the bankruptcy is so great, it drives a person to go crazy, or commit suicide even.  most are able to bounce back though.  but with much help and support. most of those who did, at some point of their helplessness, had someone to bail them out and upon their own resolve, rise up and work harder to regain whatever they lost: money, self-worth, respect and dignity.  i should know, because we have been there.  we hit rock bottom.  and we were forced by circumstances to do things that we are not proud of.  now we are trying to rise up and start over again.

there is one kind of bankruptcy though, that one person should avoid of being in at all. have you ever experienced spiritual bankruptcy?  it is the state of being depleted of God’s word and the graces that flow from it. 

the Bible is one important asset in our lives that we often take for granted.  It is a rich source of His love for us and its power over life’s adversities.  but often it ends up in one prominent corner of the house.  just a permanent fixture which serves as an ID of our faith collecting dust.  we sometimes forget or maybe we just don’t have the time.  to earn a living, we spend most of our days, and even nights. how about in dying then?  and in the life after? how much of our time and resources do we invest for our soul?   remember JESUS bailed us out once, we owe Him that we be worth His sacrifice.    

during these times that we are all experiencing the crunches of a preset lifestyle, and realizing that we are not up to it, it is best to make that decision that NOW to change our lives for the best.  do not be afraid.  go to that corner and pick up the Bible.  pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  and turn to that page.  go on. read.  even just one short verse.  no pressure.  no time limit.  just read.  and feel the Lord’s presence. if you really prayed sincerely, you will.

take the time each day to have these encounters with the Lord through the Bible. HE is the BOSS of our lives. we need to know what He has to say.  and if we follow Him, we shall never go wrong again. if we invest more on intangible assets, the ones that don’t crash and deplete; then spiritual bankruptcy will be no more.

a mother’s love

“The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask for something.  He said to her ‘what do  you wish?’ She answered Him, ‘Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom’.  Jesus said in reply, ‘You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’…” Matthew 20:20-22

drugs, premarital sex, early pregnancy, abortion, scandal, the list goes on. these are just some words that makes a mother, with all her strength and courage, cringe.  yes, especially in our present society, when what we often watch on tv and the movies, hear over the radio and  see on the internet mostly focus on materialistic gratification.  even most magazines and other reading stuff offer a very wide range of things that disguise as necessities for a better life.  they showcase things, not values.  no wonder that after watching the news, we are left more discouraged and frustrated even, because there is very little airtime for good news, if there is at all. 

so you can just imagine how mothers like me feel, whenever our children goes out of the door to school or to any other activity they are headed for.  scared to death that along the way, the claws of these evils of our society might catch up on them. poor little ones.  but we need to let them go for them to be able to run their own race here on earth. so we mothers, go on through our day doing our own stuff too.  but at the back of our minds we convince ourselves they are safe and sound.  but the fear is there. always there until the time that they come into that door again now safe in the comfort of our homes.  and as we lovingly look at their innocent faces as they sleep, we can just sigh with relief that they “survived” another day from the clutches of the gory reality of our present times.  and we wake up again to the same fear all over again.

now i understand better how the mother of James and John must have felt when she asked the Lord that her sons sit one at His left and the other at His right.  who would not?  by the Lord’s side is the safest place to be.  but as we contemplate on the Lord’s response to this wish, to sit by His noble side equates with such sacrifice and service.  are we willing to sacrifice as much as He did? for others, our children too for that matter? 

maybe we can’t answer that question with an absolute yes or no at this moment.  so maybe now, we might not make the same wish as the mother of James and John did. not because we don’t want to sacrifice, but we don’t want to be presumptous.  we believe that the Lord knows best.

let us put our complete trust in Him that He wants all His children in a better place.  not necessarily by His side.  somewhere even better.  how about in the sweet safety of His embrace.  that’s where we all want to see our children in our minds whenever they walk out that door.  pray and believe in your hearts that the Lord keeps them safe day and night.  because unlike mothers, He sees them through, wherever they may go.  He puts angel wings in their feet so that the evils of our society will never ever catch up on them as they run their race. just pray and trust fully in Him.

if only all the mothers would do that, then our society would be a better place to live in. and the headlines will all be good news.

Overwhelmed!

There’s always a first time! I feel so excited and anxious about doing this, you know this blogging thing. I’m not really quite knowledgeable in this field yet. but I’m excited to learn. (help!)

There are lots of reasons that motivated me to get into this.  One of them is to reach out to as many as possible, and in some way touch lives.  I have always wanted to be an angel. but I can’t grow wings so maybe I just have to make use of my gifts as a human being to be of help to others.  I’m not sure in what way, but that’s the closest I think I could get to being an angel. 

I’m a Catholic, over forty, a wife, a mother, a college degree holder, a lover of art and music, loves to cook, write, watch the news, and some tv series and lots of movies.  That’s basically me.  So if you happen to need to talk about any of these, or anything ‘alien’ to me at all, I shall be glad to hear from you.  Who knows maybe I could be of help and touch your life.  Or perhaps, be your angel on earth.