April 08, 2012

Easter's Here

Happy Easter to everyone!

Just came from a spiritually challenging retreat at our farm in ZDS. 'Twas a good time to re-kindle old ties once again with our relatives who are helping us in our farm.

Went around and ate a lot during the day and listened to my parents, uncles and aunts share stories of the hey-days during the night. I even held a film showing of the Ten Commandments as it is Lent and of course, they requested Tagalog films. Well, there was much discussion on religion and religiosity in view of the culture of the people in the bukids. Also, i learned a little bit more and was able to glean some kind of understanding about my parents which made me appreciate them more. Love you both!

Again, let me share this link to a fave song of mine during this season of lent.

April 03, 2012

A Matter of Choice

The following is lifted from a favorite book of mine, God Came Near by Max Lucado. This book takes us on a journey back to the time when Jesus came down to earth and became man. There are stories about Christ growing up, His ministry and His death. To me, these stories are very meaningful and hence it is but apt to share a passage here during this season of Lent.

From the chapter 'Out of the Carpentry Shop'

..."In Nazareth he was known only as Jesus, the son of Joseph. You can be sure he was respected in the community. He was good with his hands. He had many friends. He was a favorite among the children. He could tell a good joke and had a habit of filling the air with contagious laughter...

...I wonder if he wanted to stay. ..

...I wonder because I know he had already read the last chapter. He knew that the feet that would step out of the safe shadow of the carpentry shop would not rest until they'd been pierced and placed on a Roman cross.

You see, he didn't have to go. He had a choice. He could have stayed. He could have kept his mouth shut. He could have ignored the call or at least postponed it.

...He could have come back as a man in another era when society wasn't so volatile...

...He could have come back when crosses were out of style.

But his heart wouldn't let him. If there was hesitation on the part of his humanity, it was overcome by the compassion of his divinity. His divinity heard the voices. His divinity heard the hopeless cries of the poor, the bitter accusations of the abandoned, the dangling despair of those who are trying to save themselves.

And his divinity saw the faces. Some wrinkled. Some weeping. Some hidden behind veils. ...He saw them all.

And you can be sure of one thing. Among the voices that found their way into that carpentry shop in Nazareth was your voice. ...

And not only did he hear you, he saw you. He saw your face aglow the hour you first knew him. He saw your face in shame the hour you first fell. ..And it was enough to kill him.

He left because of you.

He laid his security down with his hammer. He hung tranquility on the peg with his nail apron. He closed the window shutters on the sunshine of his youth and locked the door on the comfort and ease of anonymity.

Since he could bear your sins more easily than he could bear the thought of your hopelessness, he chose to leave."


It is truly amazing how Christ chose to live his life here on earth. Even though He was God, he chose to enter the world on a stable floor littered with sheep manure. He chose to grow up in a little town with roughened and calloused hands of a carpenter. He chose to mingle with fisherfolks, tax collectors and prostitutes. He chose the cross.

He chose humility. He chose simplicity. He chose poverty. He chose difficulty. He chose death.

And all because of you and me.

I choose Jesus. I choose His mercy. I choose His saving grace.

I know I've written sometime before somewhere on this blog about how everything is a matter of choice. From the moment we wake up in the morning, it is a choice if we should arise or just stay in bed. It is a choice if we should eat breakfast or skip a meal. It is a choice whether to keep a hurried pace or meander slowly through the day. Heck, it's even a choice what time to set the alarm so that we will not be late for work or school or whatever day's activity it is.

What course to take up in college (or whether to go college even) is a choice. What field of work to pursue is a choice. What dress to wear, what food to eat, what time to eat, where to eat, etc... is your choice.

Well, not everything goes to plan though as we do not always get what we want or what we choose. What can we do if the first company we choose to apply for work chooses not to hire us? What if the person paying for your education cannot support you anymore? What about if the person you choose to love chooses not to return that love, what then, huh? Well, again the answer is: It's a matter of choice. You can choose to just stop or choose to try to find a way to continue.

Not everything is in black and white. There are grey areas, too. There will always be unexpected surprises along the way. Things will not always be easy. There will be bumps on the road. There will be intermittent rains and storms every now and then. There will be brownouts. There will be headaches and heartaches. Yes, things do not always turn out the way we want them to. But these actually make life more colorful. Ultimately, it depends on how you react to these situations, what decision you choose thereafter.

So if you are at the crossroads or an important turning point in your life, I pray that you choose wisely on which road to take or what decision to make. If you are hurting or maybe sick, may you choose hope. If you are lonely or depressed, may you choose companionship and laughter. If you are lost and in the dark, may you choose the light. If you are in dispute and feeling anger, may you choose peace.

John 13: The Lamb gets Ready for the Slaughter

Lifted this from today's Gospel reading:

"Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later."

Peter said to him, "Master, why can't I follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you."

Jesus answered,"Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, Amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times."

April 01, 2012

Let Us Clean Up Our Act

Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of the commemoration of the Lord's passion and death.

Mom and I attended a retreat yesterday. Truly, it is healthy to spend time to cleanse our soul. A recollection is a tool to help in cleaning up our lives. As Father Illh mentioned yesterday, just like when we clean our home, we should also regularly clean our lives and try to keep it clean and orderly and smelling good for the Lord. But some of us fail to clean regularly and so the house gets messy and smelling foul. When a visitor comes, we try to quickly clean the surroundings but this becomes a superficial cleaning only. We hide the dirty laundry in the cabinet, we sweep up the floor and remove all unsightly things but dump everything in the backroom or backyard hoping that the visitor will not go inside the messy rooms and prevent them from wandering into the backyard. Because other people will definitely talk behind our back if they discover how messy and dirty our home is. However, Jesus the visitor does not behave like others do. When He comes into our home, He will help us clean up. He comes not for the healthy and the rich and the privileged. He came to the world for the sick, the hungry, the helpless, the poor, the sinner.

Father Illh asked all the participants to use the concept of the Johari window in reflecting over our lives. And then there was sharing and a mini-group discussion afterwards.

I remember a passage I read before from one of my fave author, Max Lucado.

"God is a God of perfect grace.
Grace forgets.
He who is perfect cannot hold grudges.
So do yourself a favor.
Purge your cellar.
Exorcise your basement.
Take the Roman nails of Calvary and board up the door.
Remember... He forgot."

What better time to start cleaning up our act than now? let me end by sharing this song with you all.

No Hurry

Really just wanna take some quiet time off to savor the day. The morning started peacefully, and I enjoined my mom to watch Red Cliff (one of my fave movies). But she dozed off mid-way through the watch. :-)

Let me quote here one post I read this morning.

"Slow me down, Lord, amid the confusion of my day.
Ease the rushing of my steps by the hushing of my heart.
Draw me in as I cast anchor to repair and restore.
Help me to remember that happiness is not a pursuit
toward an end, a place to finally arrive.
It comes as I spend a few moments a day
reflecting on the things that make my soul thrive."
-Jan Coleman