PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

 

SET MY PEOPLE FREE!!!


If I were God…


If I were God, I would be howling like a wolf in the night. I would be coming down in thunder-and-lighting! And I shall holler to all the infidels: SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


From corruption, from graft, from oppressive price hikes, from unfair taxes, SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


From violence, from obscenities, from mindlessness, from lies, SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


From unemployment, from debt, from slave wages, from unfair working conditions, SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


From diseases that cannot be cured because there’s not enough money, from hunger, from greed, SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


From ignorance, from backwardness, from harmful superstitions, SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


From all forms of totalitarianism, from lack of choice because of poverty, SET MY PEOPLE FREE!


Thank God I’m not God.



Thursday, August 26, 2004

 

Discern the loving hand of God in everything


(G. asked me to write him a personal letter he’d read in his upcoming retreat. This is what I gave him.)

Dear G.,

I’ve known you for quite a long time now since you joined our little band of hip and happy fruits in the Lord’s vineyard.

As an elder brother in Christ, I’m afraid I have nothing new to tell you. I’m certain your good parents have already told you everything. I don’t want to add anything except to repeat that our God is a loving God and He meets us where we are in our respective walks of faith.

I‘m sure He is there with you, meeting you as a grownup kid at the threshold of youth and “young adulthood.” As someone a few months older than you are (hehe), I’ve never expected that there still are a lot of things I do not know about God. I realize I can never exhaust my knowledge of Him; He is as mysterious as He is fascinating. He continues to reveal Himself little by little, in doses that I can take. He is kind of a slow God that way. Maybe He knows I cannot swallow everything about Him in one go so He kind of gives it to me at my own pace. It’s like traveling on foot.

By revealing Himself that way, He reveals myself to me as well. The more I get to learn about God, the more I get to learn about myself, about being human, about the way I should relate to my fellow human beings. God is like a mirror that way.

It’s been my honor and privilege that I could help you a little in this journey through our little happy band. I would have done the job entrusted to me if all of you in the band could little by little get to know the Lord in bigger and bigger ways. I would have fulfilled my duty as a servant if I shall have helped reveal to you His many wonders and joys even in all the challenges of life.

I guess that’s how we should approach God – to see His loving finger behind everything – joy, sorrow, success, failure, pain, accomplishment, frustration, play, work, wealth, lack, friends, enemies, favors granted, prayers “unanswered”, sickness, health, consolation, affliction, virtue, even weakness. In everything, God is there; we only have to exert a little bit harder to discover Him. I hope that in a little way, God has been traveling slowly, on foot, with you, God has been a mirror to you -- through me.

Here’s to an exciting, surprise-filled journey with Him! I hope this letter has left you an open mind and a heart that receives Him with joyful longing. Thank you for your time especially in our “jammings.” It’s my joy, honor and privilege to have met you and the rest of the Happy Froots! May God continue to bless you in your studies and in everything. “May He grant you your heart’s desire.”



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

 

God and work


Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 2 Thess. 3:10

“Now wait a minute, Paul,” you can imagine the Thessalonians saying. “We’re in love with Jesus and want to live for him! And he’s coming back any day. How can you say we should waste our time working? We’d rather pray instead. Anyway, wasn’t work just a curse God put on us to punish us for sin?”

Actually, work is much more than a nuisance when we have to “squander” time we could be spending on something more fun. In fact, the book of Genesis says our work imitates the creative work of God himself: As the only part of God’s creation made in his image and likeness, we were give the privilege of subduing the earth and having dominion over it (Genesis 1:28).

As we work hard, we imitate not only our heavenly Father but also Jesus, who spent the better part of his life as a carpenter. As Pope John Paul II wrote in an early encyclical: “Sweat and toil… give the Christian and everyone who is called to follow Christ the possibility of sharing lovingly in the work that Christ came to do… By enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the son of God” Laborem Exercens, 27). Our work, whether it is manual labor or intellectual toil, has been sanctified by God (transforming the curse from Adam and Eve’s fall into something good - X-P’s commentary). That means that we unite ourselves to the Lord, we have the awesome privilege of sharing in his work in the world.

As Christians, we are all called to make this world the best it can be – a clear image of the kingdom of God! No wonder St. Paul challenged the Thessalonians. In their “super-spiritual” thinking, they really missed the point! God wanted them – and us – to see things the way he does. We can have pride in our work, knowing the dignity our labor has before God. We are co-creators with him, and as we work to improve this world, we can bring the kingdom of God into our midst!

***

“Father, thank you for giving me so high and wonderful a calling! To be able to share your creative work through my day-t-day tasks seems too good to be true. I am continually amazed that you can accomplish your plans through me!”

www.wordamongus.orgAug. 2004







Thursday, August 19, 2004

 

Inherited sin, inherited punishment?

Not always, says Ezekiel 18:1-4. Better yet, read John 9.


 

The parable of the day laborer


Heard this at Mass yesterday on the above-mentioned parable:

This parable is not about social justice but God's mercy. It is not about LABOR but about FAVOR.

This is all about God's generosity.

We don't strive to follow God and be good because we are expecting a reward, i.e., heaven, the eternal reward. To understand why, we must first believe that we are creatures and God is our Creator.

Heaven is not a reward; the value of heaven is diminished with its being merely a reward. Heaven is a gift.

Everything is a gift. Everything is grace. Even our desire to thank God is a gift.

All we have to do is to be grateful, although accepting God in our lives means a lot of hard work.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

 

Text messages to chase the blues away, and then some


I've been through a depression lately and I've been bombarded with the ff. text messages from friends. Delete the text message that belongs to the bunch the least.


1. Never regret the choices you've made. Always be satisfied with what you have right now. Life isn't perfect. It's a blend of joy and sorrow. It's just a matter of how to deal with it.


2. When you deal with mean and hurtful people, just think of them as sandpaper. They may rub and scratch you painfully, but eventually, you end up smoother and polished.


3. God doesn't always tell you how He's working out His plans, but in His time and in His way, He'll clearly let you know His working out His best for you.


4. Shoe repair sign: I WILL HEEL YOU. I WILL SAVE YOUR SOLE. I WILL EVEN DYE FOR YOU! Just want to make you smile and SHOE away your blues. Have a shoeshiny day.


5. The truest measure of a man lies not in what he achieves for himself, but in the good things he does for others. Fulfillment does not only mean achieving our greatest hopes and dreams. It is also knowing that we have made the lives of others worth living.


5. Forget the things that made you sad and remember those that made you glad. Forget the troubles that passed your way and remember the blessings that come each day.


6. No matter how softly we pray, God listens and understands. He knows the hopes and fears we keep in our hearts, for when we trust his love, miracles happen.


7. When we lose hope, blackness settles like a shroud, days are bleak and gray, expectations die, and we die with them. We have nowhere to look except up.


8. A breath of prayer in the morning means a day of power and blessings. A soul shall never be helpless with God's infinite grace.


9. Whenever you're down, always remember: you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think, because you have Jesus to back you up.


10. God sometimes pushes us out of our comfortable lives to teach us to trust Him. WE may fall a little, but He doesn't let us touch the ground.


11. In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. Wisdom to live by. Send DAILY JOY to 2929 now!


***


Messages like those above I expect from members of my support group. What would really, really touch me, though, are the unexpected how-are-you's and i-thought-about-you's from people I've lost touch with, like W., my classmate in kindergarten and elementary school, and Ms. D., my high-school 'homeroom' adviser. For some reason, I got their cell number kept in my cell phone memory. For some reason, they suddenly thought of me at the exact moment I needed to be reassured of some kind of connection.


I don't question whether there is indeed a God, but these little miracles show me that God is indeed mysteriously good even when you're in the middle of some dire straits.


Monday, August 09, 2004

 

eastwind proems batch 131


one day with You is better
than a thousand without You
PSALM 83

**
better a morsel under one's own roof
than a feast among strangers
SIRACH 29:22

**
I order the lame to walk
as easy as I forgive vile sin
EASTWIND

**
intelligence wins wars
wisdom avoids wars
intelligence maximizes profit
wisdom shares profit
intelligence wants victory
wisdom wants peace
EASTWIND


 

eastwind proems batch 132 -6


these are written
that you may believe
that Jesus is the Messiah
the Son of God
and through your belief
you may have life in His name

john 20:31

**
we are going nowhere too fast
we are communicating to all everywhere
but we have no message
we are regressing in our progress

balance digital with analog
keyboard with blue skies
victories with sharing
fear of hurt with risk of loving

we lose because
we want so much to win
we have done nothing
in our desire to do everything

eastwind

**
for our sake
the Father made Him to be sin
Who did not know sin

2 corinthians 5:21

**
your Light has given me the wisdom
not of poets but of peasants
in whose hearts You reside

eastwind


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

 

Did you know?


(Forwarded mail from Ana. Edited version. My answer to some of the questions is "I'm not sure." or "I don't think I agree.")


Did you know that when you envy someone, it's because you really like that person?

Did you know that those who appear to be very strong in heart, are real weaklings and most succeptible?

Did you know that those who spend their time protecting others are the ones that really need some one to protect them?

Did you know that the three most difficult things to say are: I love you, Sorry and Help me? That the people who say these are the ones who actually need them or really feel them, and are the ones you really need to treasure, because they have said them?

Did you know that people who occupy themselves by keeping others company or helping others are the ones that actually need your company and help?

Did you know that those who dress in red have more confidence in themselves?
Did you know that those who dress in yellow are those that enjoy their beauty?
Did you know that those who dress in black, are those who want to be unnoticed and need your help and understanding?

Did you know that when you help someone, the help is returned two-fold?

Did you know that those who need more of you are those who do not mention it to you?

Did you know that it's easier to say what you feel in writing than saying it to someone in the face? But did you know that it has more value when you say it in the face?

Did you know that what is most difficult for you to say or do is much more valuable than anything that is valuable that you can buy with money?

Did you know that if you ask for something in faith, your wishes are granted?
Did you know that you can make your dreams come true, like falling in love, becoming rich, staying healthy, if you ask for it by faith, and if you really knew, you'd be surprised by what [prayer] could do?

But don't believe everything I tell you, until you try it yourself...



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