PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, May 26, 2006

 

The hierarchy of love


(from a talk)

Confused about love? When to love and how? And how much? The hierarchy of love is contained in joy.

1. J - love of Jesus
2. O - love of others
3. Y - you; love of self

Love God above all. Then love others as yourself. Then love yourself.

Yes, selfless love doesn't necessarily mean forsaking love of oneself. One can't give something one doesn't have.

But if we can give something at all, it's because we've been loved first.

Love is a decision, yes, but a big part of it is grace.

[Refer also to the hierachy of the virtues (faith, hope and love). While it's true "that the greatest of these is love," it's hope that we need the most at this present life. What is love if you have lost all hope? What is faith if you've given up all hope? Hope against hope. It's the most important thing to hold on to when everything else is gone.]


 

Nothingness


Without God,

I am nothing. (Gal. 6:3)

I have nothing (1Cor.4:7)

I know nothing (1Cor.8:2)

I can do nothing (John15:5)


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

God Said, No


God Said, NO

I asked God to take away my pride. God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary

I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No. I give you blessings; happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me. God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea. If you love God, share love!

THIS DAY IS YOURS. DON'T THROW IT AWAY.

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world"

(written by Claudia Minden Weisz)


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

 

There's The Rub : Paradoxes


There's The Rub : Paradoxes

First posted 01:15am (Mla time) May 24, 2006
By Conrado de Quiros
Inquirer

Editor's Note: Published on Page A14 of the May 24, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer


I GOT an interesting text message last weekend that said: “We Filipinos have managed to reach the top of Mt. Everest. When will we manage to reach the foot of Mendiola Bridge?”

Good question, one that reminded me of the insight about humankind as a whole conquering outer space but not inner space. I first caught a glimpse of this idea from a song by Cat Stevens in the early 1970s. The song was “Where Do the Children Play” and it began: “Well I think it’s fine, building jumbo planes/ Or taking a ride on a cosmic train./ Switch on summer from a slot machine./ Get what you want to if you want, ’cause you can get anything. (Refrain) I know we’ve come a long way,/ We’re changing day to day,/ But tell me, where do the children play?”

The second and third stanzas are more of the same, about it being fine building roads that go on and on and skyscrapers that rise up and up, followed by the question: But tell me, where do the children play?

(I must confess that for a while I stopped listening to Cat Stevens after reading of his apparent endorsement of Iran’s fatwa, or death sentence, on Salman Rushdie, but that turns out to be false. Stevens himself, or Yusuf Islam, as he now calls himself, adopting that name after he converted to Islam in 1979, explained later that what happened was that while delivering a lecture in a college in London in 1989, he was asked by a reporter what his thoughts were on apostates and blasphemers. He quoted Islamic texts in reply and was horrified next day to find the fellow’s newspaper screaming “Cat Says Kill Rushdie.”

(The canard has since been laid to rest, Yusuf Islam not just being accepted back by his peers but being embraced for exemplary work. In 2004, a committee of Nobel laureates gave him the Man of Peace prize. The following year, the University of Gloucestershire also gave him an honorary doctorate for contributions to education and humanitarian relief.

(Kind of helps to restore your faith in humanity. I myself couldn’t reconcile the gentle soul who sang “Morning Has Broken” with the religious fanatic who wanted a writer murdered for his beliefs.)

Much later, George Carlin would amplify on the point. He wrote: “The paradox of our time is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine but less wellness….

“We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space but not inner space.

“We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.”

There’s more, but you get the drift. It does raise a lot of questions about the things that really matter in life, or the difference between gold and glitter. This country has its own unique paradoxes, and the text message I got about us managing to reach the top of the world but not the bottom of a bridge by the Pasig River has inspired me to make my own list of them:

We object violently to the apparent falsehoods of a work of fiction, but we accept abjectly the patent lies of a real piece of work currently residing in Malacañang. We find that “The Da Vinci Code” is full of s—t, but we find that the Da Venecia Code is full of grit. (I got both from text messages as well.)

We have more bishops to help us discern truth from lie, but we have fewer bishops who can tell truth from lie. We have more religious leaders to lead the flock to the straight and narrow, but we have more (un)faithful straying into the wide and crooked. We have more religious cults to help sinners find the light of God, but we have more pious men being blinded by the glitter of gold. We have more TV stations preaching the word of God, but we have fewer people listening to the word of God.

We are the most religious country in Asia, but we are the most immoral country in Asia. We are one of the most gifted people in the world, but we are one of the most backward people in the world. We have more lawyers, but we have less law. We have more courts, but we have less justice. We have more legislators, but we have less legislation. We have more cops, but we have less peace and order. We have more anti-corruption bodies, but we have more corruption. We have more people partaking of riches abroad, but we have more people starving at home. We have more people taking care of the sick and elderly abroad, but we have fewer people taking care of the sick and elderly at home. We’ve become “globalized,” but we remain parochial. We speak English more than other Asians, but we communicate less than other Asians. We have more education, but we have less learning. We have more Ph.D.s, but we have lower IQ.

We want to “Cha-cha,” but we are paralyzed. We plan more, but we achieve less. We travel more, but we reach less. We are the longest democracy in Asia, but we are the longest autocracy in Asia. We extol the virtues of human rights, but we kill journalists and leftists. We pride ourselves on being free, but we refuse to believe that the truth shall make us free.

We have managed to reach the top of Mt. Everest. When will we reach the foot of Mendiola Bridge?


Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

Christian tragedy


"The tragedy of a Christian's destiny" is that he must make a choice between God and Satan.


 

News


The press has no religion beat, so they fail to cover a certain development worth noting. Well then, let me do the job. :p

Breaking news: The multifarious tentacles of the charismatic renewal movement (in the Philippines) have reached almost every nook and cranny of Philippine society that's impossible for you to be left untouched by this time. Well, the transparochial part of it seems to have plateaued in the last few years, and it seems to be a good time to bring the movement to the parishes. This migratory shift has been ongoing for quite sometime now, with groups hopefully not competing for sheep. Certainly for the parish priest, this is good news. He is no longer threatened by the laity, both power- and money-wise, both real and imagined; he also gets to keep his flock intact and concentrate better in ministering the sacraments, while having newfound lay partners to do the complicated and exhausting tasks of attending to the spiritual formation of the faithful.


 

Life's crosses, what are they?


What are life's crosses? A perennial question by the perennially depressed, sure.

I see life's crosses as an invitation to an embrace, not the sadomasochistic type, but the mystical one. In my estimation, anyone in his spiritual walk who has arrived this far can only see the logic of the cross this way: the cross is something that has ceased to be a symbol of suffering, but one approaching some other thing more and more, something sacrificial, the willingness to suffer out of love. This is not nirvana, either, not something decided upon in a vacuum. It is something consciously arrived at in a hopeful posure, hoping in the knowledge that all who had a cross or carried one in life, like Christ, will resurrect in the end of time.

I unduly offended a fellow traveler/pilgrim when I suggested to him this line of thinking by asking him the ff. question, while he's deep into complaining about his unending family and health troubles.

"Have you accepted your cross yet?"

"It's hard, I know," I said when he didn't answer right away.

"But," I continued, "they say it means you are favored in that God is confident enough of you that he chose you and found you worthy enough to share his cross.

"Acceptance is easy," he protested at last.

To which, I replied, "The thing about crosses is they can turn into crowns, if not now, then soon after. But we are also at liberty to complain to God if we think we aren't up to his extra challenge, if we think life is being unfair."

"I don't think so," he resisted my idea, as though it needs to be exorcised, explaining that we don't have that choice.

"What's wrong with asking for it, is my point," I answered. "He's in control, after all, but he can be pleaded with, just like a child with his or her parent. Read the psalms and all the agonizing moments of the prophets."

"No, " he insisted.

I was surprised by his almost-vehement reaction. After all, everything I said was Biblical if he's being Biblical. Just imagine if I made an easier and possibly false explanation of the cross, which is that it could also be God's punishment, or our own punishment to ourselves, something we inflict deservingly on ourselves, something we have indirectly condemned ourselves to due to our own actions. Or something brought upon us by the sins of our fathers.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 

Church and worldly wealth


The key to this seeming contradiction can be found in Judas Iscariot's misplaced rebuke of Jesus in John 12:5:


"4 Then Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said,

"5 "Why wasn't this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?"

"6 Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it.

"7 But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial.

"8 For you always have the poor with you, but you don't always have me.""


 

Christians and death


"Christians really never say goodbye."


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

His ways are not our ways


for years you pray hard for a favor
but you do not attain it
then at a snap without effort
just when you are about to lose hope
the Lord puts it on your lap

you ask for rain He gives you a storm
that will strengthen you for a coming battle
you ask for food He gives you hunger
that will cleanse you from your material ways
but when you ask for a leaf He gives you a forest

He gives more than you ask for
His ways are not your ways His time not your time
He is a mystery and you are blind to His wisdom
the way you see things is enclosed in time and space
beyond which are His limitless ways

eastwind [x1385b]

**
I will pursue you like an eagle after prey
even as you flee relentlessly from Me
I want you with Me in My home
before the sun sets and darkness falls
before your sunrise will no longer come
for you are precious to Me and My Father

eastwind [x1391]

**
I will send My justice
like soft rain from the sky
to quench the parched earth
and bring salvation to all

isaiah 45:8 [x843]

**
aanhin mo ang palasyong tinayo ng kalakal
kung gigibain naman ang iyong tahanan
aanhin mo ang hanga ng madla
kung sisirain naman ang iyong kalooban

umigib ka ng isang tabo kung uhaw
wag isang tangkeng ikaw ay lulunurin
pumitas ka ng isang saging kung gutom
wag isang kaing na mabubulok

bakit ka magbabasa sa dilim
kung malapit na ang umaga
bakit mo itatago ang ulam
kung mayroon pang kakain

unawain na ikaw at ang iba
at ang mundo ay iisa
at kailangang makipag-ugnayan
nang matamo ang kabuuan

eastwind [x1380a]

**
in behalf of sr raquel reodica RVM
cancer-healer for Jesus
healing inquiries – eastwind@edsamail.com.ph
or text ‘JESUSHEALS’ to 2355 (globe)
or text ‘mytxt(space)JESUSHEALS’ to 211 (smart)


 

Darkness and the Light

"God sometimes puts us in the dark to show us that Jesus is the light."


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

Lessons from the Pencil Maker


"The pencil maker told his pencils five important lessons.

1st, everything you do will always leave a mark. That's the legacy you wishes to leave behind when you're gone.

2nd, you can always correct your mistakes. That's your life long learning experiences. John Maxwell calls this Failing Forward.

3rd, what is important is what is inside you. That's your philosophy and your true self.

4th, in life you will undergo painful sharpenings which will make you a better pencil. Like the wisemen say, no pain no gain. What are you prepared to give up in order to go up?

5th, to be the best pencil you can you must allow yourself to be guided by the hand that holds you. Never, never think you know it all. Let the wisdom of mentorship guide you through your life journey.


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