Harry Potter is my son!

“The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.”  Exodus 34:20

SPECIALIS REVELIO! This is a spell which causes an object to show its hidden secrets or magical properties. One of many in the Harry Potter series. Maybe, the very spell which causes HP followers to yearn for more.

When the first film was shown in movie theaters years ago, my children were then 9 and 6 – old enough to understand the story despite the accent, but young enough to be bedazzled with its awesome special effects.  From then on, our household increased by three – Megan, Miguel plus Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.  My kids loved their new-found siblings, and in Hogwarts, they would meet new friends with whom they would grow up with in time.

My kids indeed have grown now.  So did Harry, Hermione and Ron.  It is amazing to note the physical transformation.  But it is more noteworthy how their bond grew stronger through the years.

10 years, 7 books and 8 movies after, JK Rowling did a great job to steer our kids’ imagination towards a love affair with books.  Such that national bookstore was like a candy store to them.  The significant influence is written all over our children’s chosen career path.  Megan is a prolific writer with a passion for creative production layouts.  Miguel, on the other hand, dreams of becoming a filmmaker.  Thus, Harry Potter casts his spell .

We knew someday our kids would go and follow their own calling.  But Harry Potter had to go too, and we are sad that it all ends now.

On the contrary we are blessed, that in our time, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, their masters, friends and villains, came to life. Our household had been stupefied by their presence, and like a son, Harry Potter would live on in our hearts.

Thanks to GOD who is ever greater than magic and the creator of JK Rowling, Harry Potter would triumph over all evils for ages to come.  EXPECTO PATRONUM!

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UPCAT and other admission tests

“Because He himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”  Hebrews 2:18

as graduating students this school year, Miguel and his batchmates have prepared really hard for college admission tests months ahead.  for UPCAT, he attended Brain Train review classes instead of enjoying his summer vacation.  for the test, together with other families, we travelled four hours to Riyadh and stayed overnight to prep the kids for the early morning schedule the following day at the embassy inside the Diplomatic Quarters.  the same for USTET and Mapua exam, just minus the travel time and overnight stay, but equals the stress, and excitement – or anxiety, depending on the level of preparedness for each student.  and the months of waiting for the results were just as heart-pounding as the exams themselves.

The Oblation

sadly, Miguel did not pass the UPCAT.  it’s human to feel so. but he did Mapua and we’re happy about that.  now we’re still waiting for USTET results.

when Miguel goes back to the Philippines after graduation, i can just guess how many more college admission tests he will take, and which university he will eventually enrol in.  at the end of the day, it’s really up to the Lord. our absolute trust is in Him.  His will be done…

it is understandable for the children, and for us parents, to be excited and hopeful about exam results.  although the outcome will not define their future, it is a crossroad where our children would inevitably have to decide on; to which direction they would take.

as parents, we too are given tests on and on.  some are easy, some are agonizing. some we pass.  but there are those that we fail miserably.  and when we do, it looks like we reach the end of the road and all we want to do is stop.   wouldn’t it be a shame to give our children that example?  that instead of us being their guide when they reach that crossroad, we, ourselves, drift away in our own road to perdition. 

Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became man.  and because he became man, He was subjected to tests.  like we are. no exemptions.  and He passed each test, to show us that we can too.

so next time we are given one, don’t hesitate to take it.  because if we pass, then we move on straight away. but if we fail, we will be given our second chance, and review where we went wrong.  both ways, we learn our lessons and become better persons. if we remain steadfast and constantly strive to be the best that we can for God, then we would surely pass the HAT – heaven admission test. 

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.

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.

a boy named CJ

“And He said:’I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself  like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’  And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”   Matthew 18:3-5

once in a while, i stumble upon stories of real people that deeply touch my heart.  even after the stories end.  this morning, i met a beautiful child named CJ.

his father, benette, who works abroad and was about to celebrate his birthday, called home and talked to his son, CJ.  he asked his father to look for his gift when he comes home for vacation in his ‘aparador‘. father and son also talked about plans to celebrate his sister Camille’s birthday and CJ’s becoming an altar boy, and eventually a priest someday.  the conversation was really sweet and touching, as detailed by benette in his facebook account.

that same night, tragedy struck. CJ was ran over and back by a ten-wheeler truck.  half of his frail body was crushed. he was with two of his cousins, Melai whose right arm was seriously injured and Melvin who was pushed by CJ to save him.  this happened three years ago.

it’s really hard to lose someone we love.  but to lose him unexpectedly and in a really gruesome way is even harder.  i recently lost dear loved ones recently too – my daddy, my childhood friend and best friend roobee, my aunts: tita fortune, tita estela and auntie bebeng, dearest friends boeing and eugene.  though really painful until now, i draw strength from the sweet memories they left behind.

but now, the parents of this little angel are still grieving, not only for the loss of their precious son.  but also for the elusive justice that they seek.  indeed as Catholics, we are taught to forgive.  but what is there to forgive, when the sinner does not repent? and where is peace, when there is no justice? 

i write this by God’s grace, so that readers may join hands in prayer to find justice for CJ and his family… to hope that this tragedy would never happen again to any family… and that  a boy named CJ would finally rest in peace.

Opinion: Be Courageous Prophets! Restore the Family as the Foundation of Society

REPOST

From:  Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • By Jennifer Hartline
  • 6/28/2010
  • Start at home, but do not stay there. Be courageous prophets.

    As our culture sinks deeper into a moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.  What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.” Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.” 

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

     WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Catholic Online) – “A society built on a family scale is the best guarantee against drifting off course into individualism or collectivism, because within the family the person is always at the center of attention as an end and never as a means… Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.”  (paragraph 213, 214, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church)

    Perhaps you saw these stories this week:  A school board in Provincetown, MA approved a condom distribution policy where any student in the district can ask for condoms from the nurse, and be given an educational demonstration on how to use them properly.  There is no minimum age requirement or age limit.  1st graders are welcome to ask for condoms and be taught how to use them.  The policy also states that “the school district will not honor requests from parents that students not be allowed to receive condoms.”  That’s right.  Parents cannot object or exercise their rightful authority over their own minor children – even 1st graders.
     
    In Iowa, the high school kids in Shenandoah got instruction on graphic sexual acts from a Planned Parenthood representative during their state-mandated sex-ed class.  Students were shown how to do female exams, and with the aid of a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ, shown how to use a condom.

    The teens were also treated to a demonstration of the sex act in various different positions using stuffed animals, as well as photographs that some parents called “pornographic.”    When many parents – who, of course, had not been informed of the content of this sex-ed class – complained, the principal was reportedly “mortified” and apologized.  The superintendent said, “It’s a political hot potato.  It’s a religious hot potato.  It’s a parental hot potato.  It’s all these things that cause a crack in the system between society, parents, and schools, and we’re still required to do it.”

    In Texas, a 14 year-old girl has been arrested after giving birth in a friend’s apartment and then smothering her infant son with the amniotic sac.  She then put the child in a plastic bag and asked a neighbor to help get rid of the body, and the neighbor told police he put the baby in a large trash bin at the apartment complex.  They also threw away the linens, clothing and the bed.  The 14 year-old’s younger sister was the only one who knew of the pregnancy.  She also witnessed the birth – and death –  and told a school counselor what happened.  The police officer said, “Everybody’s parents work, they were unaware of what was going on.”

    The baby – that little person who was suffocated and then treated as garbage – is lost now to all but God, for by the time police learned of the death, the trash had been collected and taken to a landfill that they said was too big to search.

    No grave; no dignified resting place; just a mucky, rotting landfill.  And anyway, who really cares?  So what?  It’s not like he was a human being.

    We are in a moral and cultural freefall.  These three infuriating and somber stories are all symptomatic of the collapse of the family unit in our society.  In my own lifetime I have witnessed this collapse accelerate at an alarming rate.  But I don’t recall hearing alarm bells while I was growing up.  The adults I encountered were mostly indifferent, unaware, or otherwise enthusiastically indulging in the amoral home-wrecking they were inflicting on us.

    Clanging the alarm bell now seems a lot like crying out, “Iceburg!” after the Titanic already plowed into the thing.  We are sinking fast, and looking anywhere other than to God and His Church for rescue is a waste of time and life.  Just rearranging deck chairs…

    Allow me to be direct:  Divorce, remarriage, single parenting by design or default, shacking-up, abortion, babies manufactured and destroyed at will, the demand for same-sex “marriage” rights and parenting rights, and a culture that worships sex – all these things combined make for one very deadly potion that America’s been guzzling for decades.

    Being drunk and sick, we began abdicating our parental responsibilities and allowed public authorities to have more and more influence, more and more control, and now they simply run roughshod right over parents, particularly when it comes to sexual “education” and anti-God, politically-correct indoctrination.

    The icing on this disastrous cake has been too many years of far too many wishy-washy, weak-willed, confused, apathetic Catholics who are utterly ignorant of their faith and so put up little to no resistance against the destruction of the most vital component of our society:  the family.

    What is the cure for an aggressive public authority that usurps the authority of parents?  A community of strong, cohesive families who meet their moral, spiritual, educational and material obligations to their children.

    What is the cure for the life-hating era we live in, where girls barely past the onset of menstruation are having sex, becoming pregnant, and killing their own children?  The answer again, is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The cure is not government programs or entitlements or more mandates or restrictions.  The only cure is to return to an attitude of reverence for the foundation of our society:  the family, “born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman.”  (Paragraph 211, CSDC)

    As our culture sinks deeper into this moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.

    What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.”

    “The Christian family is called therefore to be a sign of unity for the world and in this way to exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the Kingdom and the peace of Christ, towards which the whole world is journeying.”  (paragraph 220, CSDC) “Christian families have then, in virtue of the sacrament received, a particular mission that makes them witnesses and proclaimers of the Gospel of life.  This is a commitment which in society takes on the value of true and courageous prophecy.”  (paragraph 231, CSDC)

    No – timid, milquetoast Catholicism will not get the job done.  Our time is crying out for heroes of the faith to show themselves in every walk of life, in every nook and cranny of the public square, in every community.  For too long we have bought the lie that our faith must remain at home in private – no longer.  There can be no separation of faith and living!

    Be courageous prophets.  Our mission is to rescue and firmly reestablish the family according to God’s plan and design.  Start at home, but do not stay there.  Be courageous prophets.
    ————-
    Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
    – – –
    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!

    Weep, Rachel! Baby Boy Aborted Alive and Left to Die

    This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15

  • By Jennifer Hartline
  • 4/30/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
  • The manner of this child’s death is horrifying beyond belief, but it’s not the location of his death that makes it a homicide!  He was the very same 22 week-old infant hours earlier when he was kicking and growing inside his mother’s womb!  He was the very same human being the moment he died as the moment before he was aborted.  That he died slowly, nearly two days after the abortion, only means he was clumsily murdered.

    A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping: Rachel Weeping for Her Children Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more. (Jeremiah 31:15)

    A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping: Rachel Weeping for Her Children Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more. (Jeremiah 31:15)

    WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) –  I would have taken him in a heartbeat and loved him.  You probably would have as well.  I know there are countless couples out there who would have given anything for the gift of him.  I know when you read about what happened to him, you will be as angry as I am at this moment.  Then you will, hopefully, weep as I am at this moment.  He deserves every tear we can shed and then some.

    The story of this horrible evil deserves righteous anger.  It is entirely appropriate to scream and wail.  There doesn’t seem to be nearly enough wailing – that may be what is beginning to bother me most.  I am enraged by the overriding hush.

    The UK Telegraph reported April 28 that in the town of Rossano, Italy, a 22 week-old baby boy was  aborted alive, wrapped in a sheet with his umbilical cord still attached and left alone to die.  20 hours later, he was discovered by a priest who went to pray beside his body and noticed that the baby was moving and breathing.  Doctors then had the baby taken to a neighboring hospital to be cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit, where he ultimately died, nearly two days after being ripped from his mother’s womb and discarded like trash.

    His mother decided to end his life because prenatal scans suggested he was disabled.  Suggested.  Possibly disabled; declared unworthy to live.  He was murdered by heartless animals wearing lab coats, who have medical degrees hung in frames on their office walls.  He was handed over to death by the one who was entrusted by God with his care, and he was killed and thrown away by those who take an oath to “first do no harm.”

    It’s time to stop tip-toeing around, sugar-coating our language for fear of sounding offensive.  What’s offensive is what was done to this child.  What’s offensive is the barbaric execution of babies in the womb in the name of “reproductive freedom.”  What’s offensive is that societies at large turn their eyes away, pretend not to notice, and justify the evil being masqueraded as a “right.”

    How I long to hear Rachel weeping!  How I long to see her wail at the top of her lungs, cover her head with ashes and mourn for her children!  “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.”  Jeremiah 31:15

    Instead, it is the anti-Rachel who presently exerts her influence and power over us.  The anti-Rachel is heard in the voice of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, Emily’s List, Catholics for Choice, Catholics United, the judges and politicians who protect abortion “rights” and yes, our President.  The anti-Rachel sits in the seat of power in our country and around the world, and weeping for our children has been eschewed; now we declare victory and “freedom” won by their calculated deaths.

    The anti-Rachel said just today that abortion must be kept safe and legal and whether or not it is rare is beside the point:

    “If those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low.  Yes, too low….Do we dare admit that increasing the number of abortions might be not only good for women’s health, but also moral and just?”  RHReality Check, “Keep Abortion Safe and Legal? Yes. Make it Rare? Not the Point.” by Aimée Thorne-Thomsen

    I would love to hear Ms. Thorne-Thomsen defend what was done to that baby boy in Italy this week, and defend it she must if she insists abortion is just and moral! 

    Where is the statement from Planned Parenthood extolling the courageous service of this doctor in providing the mother the “reproductive health services” she needed?  It should not make one iota of difference to them how this baby died.  All that matters is that his mother wanted him killed and the doctor tore him out of the womb.  As long as he ultimately died, the details are irrelevant.  After all, abortion is abortion is abortion.  What difference does it make how it’s accomplished?  So what if the insentient blob of tissue, the little parasite, the disabled fetus, the unplanned and unwanted intruder doesn’t die right away?  Whether in the womb, halfway out of the womb, or delivered and laying on an instrument table, who cares?  So what if it dies hours or days later, having been thrown in the corner with the dirty laundry?

    No, the voices of anti-Rachel cannot be sad for the death of this baby boy. Death is the necessary fruit of their labors. The most they can do is plead for the cause of better-trained doctors who are responsible and skilled enough to make sure they get the job done right on the first try. The tragedy for them here is that yet another doctor has failed to provide women the care they deserve. The manner of this child’s death is horrifying beyond belief, but it’s not the location of his death that makes it a homicide! He was the very same 22 week-old infant hours earlier when he was kicking and growing inside his mother’s womb! He was the very same human being the moment he died as the moment before he was aborted. That he died slowly, nearly two days after the abortion, only means he was clumsily murdered. I know there will be many people in many countries who will be outraged over this child’s death. They may weep and feel furiously angry. But will it matter? When the next opportunity comes to usher Rachel into the seat of power, that laws of life may be written in place of the current laws of death, will the millions remember this little boy and their anger over his murder? In our own nation, will the millions who say they recognize the humanity of the child in the womb remember this precious child and finally denounce the mythical “right” of abortion? Will they take their anger to the ballot box in defense of the sanctity of human life? Will Catholics in America finally live the undeniable truth of the faith they claim to believe? Human life is sacred and created by God. Abortion kills a child. No one has the right to kill a child. Abortion is intrinsically evil. This is what the Church teaches, yet scores of self-described Catholics either brush aside or flat-out reject this truth and carry the banner of “choice” instead. Why? Why would this child’s death have been legal, moral, just, and acceptable if only he had died immediately? How long will we choose the curse over the blessing? Why isn’t Rachel’s weeping a deafening roar? Rachel absolutely must refuse to be comforted over the brutal death of this child and every child who is killed in the name of “choice.”

    (This boy was killed in Italy, but it happens here in the U.S. more than anyone will admit, despite our Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Read more at Jill Stanek.)
    —– Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart. – – –
     
    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!

    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

    no looking back

    “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind…No more shall there be an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a  hundred years old shall be accursed.  They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”  Isaiah 65: 17, 20-21

    how ironic it was, that during Lent, “surviving Christmas” was on tv last night.  there was not much of a choice, because for weeks now, the different networks had presented almost the same set of movies, just on different time slots.

    going back to the movie…it starred Ben Affleck and Christina Applegate.  it was a comedy about a man who was willing to pay a huge amount of money to a family just to spend Christmas with him.  it was an odd story, and it got me bored after a while.  (i prefer Ben in action or drama like ‘reindeer games’ and ‘changing lanes’.)

    but somehow, the scene in which he stared sadly outside his window on Christmas morning caught my attention.    drew (ben) watched other people in their respective windows just across his  apartment.  one thing is common except for one. they celebrated Christmas together as family.  and that scene moved me to tears because it reminded me of daddy and how our following Christmases will never be the same again without him.

    as i remembered how sad it was, my mind travelled back to the time when he was still with us.  how i have been as a daughter to him.  and i wondered if i felt short of his expectations of me.  or if he was proud of what i had become.  how daddy really felt about his eldest daughter, i will never ever know.

    i realized that when my mind wanders back to the past, it evokes a certain kind of pain.  the pain which emanates from the mistakes that i made.  or maybe call them bad choices.  because only later did i realize, that in everything that i did, there were times that things didn’t really work out as planned.  even with good intentions.  and in every moment that they didn’t, it was not only me who gets disappointed and hurt.  but all those who truly love and care for me.  such as my daddy and mommy.

    funny to mention it here.  but they say it’s hard to look back when you have stiff neck.  i’d say it’s best not to look back at all.  because when i do, i see every detail of not only what was beautiful and happy, but the ugly and sad truth as well.

    i’d say it’s best to carry on.  because the past had already served its purpose.  it already strengthened a person’s character.  it already developed one’s personality.  and it already enhanced the beauty of a human being, so much so that its soul transcends to a higher level.  and a deeper meaning of one’s existence is realized.  a better self evolves.  what was once a dark past, becomes a radiant present.

    i’d say i move on. as if i have stiff neck.  by God’s grace and mercy, i move on as a better person… that is, an authentic blend of past experiences, lessons learned and memories that really matter.  be they happy or sad, painful or sweet. 

    there’s no need to look back.  my significant past becomes the essence of me…

    for one more day

    “…let the weakling say ‘I am strong!'”  Joel 3:10

    they say grief is a process.  there’s no standard measure for how long it would take.  they say you would know the value of someone or something, only when you lose it.  old cliche.  they say we can’t really tell how it’s like until we go through it.

    forty days it has been since Daddy passed on.  if i could describe how the process is like, it may be like a twister and i was sucked right into it.  there were times i would be spinning along the edges.  almost free, yet in danger of being thrown out.  there were moments too, when i find myself right in the center of it, empty and lost.  how long would it last? only God can tell.

    the trouble with grief is, there is no school where to learn and master it.  very seldom would we want to read about it.  the learning starts when the pain begins, and oftentimes no one is ever ready.

    we thought we were ready to let go of Daddy.  we had like about five months to witness how his body deteriorated from an old man to a helpless fusion of just skin and bones.  but when the time came, we realized no one in the family is prepared to ever let him go.

    he is gone now.  we thought it would end there. just to think he is now free from pain and suffering.  just to think he is now at peace at the end of his journey.  but for those he left behind, another chapter begins.

    life will never be the same again for me.  i know indeed it is measured by the years we live.  each year consists of months.  and months of days.  365 days.  yet one day can be so important, it can change the rest of our lives forever.

    that was what happened on the 21st of December.  it was part of God’s grand plan for Daddy that he has to go exactly on that day.  but until now, i cannot take it that i missed that one very important day.  just one more day, when i could have been with him as he breathe his last.  not that i would have prevented it to happen.  but for me to feel the pain of one very important day slipping at the palm of my hands, yet a day less for Daddy to endure more than he ever could.   that was part of God’s grand plan too. 

    indeed, grief is a painful process that each of us who love and care deeply would go through sometime in our lives.  one in which we would learn that life must not be measured by the days in which we live.  but by the love  we spread around. 

    for one more day,  i will try to find my way out of the twister i am in.  with hope that one day, God would heal the wounds of my broken heart.