PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, September 23, 2011

 

Creation was made for man but I don't own it

Nice insight today from HJMN

Friday September 23, 2011

The Sacredness of God's Handiwork

How do we live in creation? Do we relate to it as a place full of "things" we can use for whatever need we want to fulfill and whatever goal we wish to accomplish? Or do we see creation first of all as a sacramental reality, a sacred space where God reveals to us the immense beauty of the Divine?

As long as we only use creation, we cannot recognise its sacredness because we are approaching it as if we are its owners. But when we relate to all that surrounds us as created by the same God who created us and as the place where God appears to us and calls us to worship and adoration, then we are able to recognise the sacred quality of all God's handiwork.

 

Creation was made for man but I don't own it

Nice insight today from HJMN

Friday September 23, 2011

The Sacredness of God's Handiwork

How do we live in creation? Do we relate to it as a place full of "things" we can use for whatever need we want to fulfill and whatever goal we wish to accomplish? Or do we see creation first of all as a sacramental reality, a sacred space where God reveals to us the immense beauty of the Divine?

As long as we only use creation, we cannot recognise its sacredness because we are approaching it as if we are its owners. But when we relate to all that surrounds us as created by the same God who created us and as the place where God appears to us and calls us to worship and adoration, then we are able to recognise the sacred quality of all God's handiwork.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

 

Rich and poor

I like a Church document's phrasing on the Church's teaching re rich and (not vs) poor:

"That no one is so rich as to have nothing to receive, nor anyone so poor as to have nothing to give."

 

I need my playground back

Rough draft

At this point in my life, I can see plainly how I have deprived myself of play. When I was a child, I thought play was everything. Now as a mature man, I sense a need for me to go back to that time when play was the essence of my being. Play may no longer be everything to me now, but it still is necessary. I didn’t know that before until I got sick of working and working with no play.

Life should be fun and relaxing, at least after all the toiling. From time to time, I need to take to the swing, the see-saw, the slide, and the monkey bars of my childhood.

God himself set aside the seventh day for rest and recreation, re-setting and re-creation. Why should we mere creatures be any different?

 

The fervid quest for truth

Rough draft

Ah, truth! What is truth? Can anyone lay claim to it?

Zeal for truth could mean being fired up by the Holy Spirit.

What is my truth? Is it being kindled by that fire? Why am I so obsessed with truths and untruths? What I am trying to prove?

For so long, these questions have been haunting my mind as I go on a quest to uncover the ugly politicking of truth in so many areas of life.

Have I been lied to, that is why I am so driven? Yes! I was lied to by the Marcos regime. I was brainwashed by almost everyone around me that I became a rabid Marcos loyalist – at least in my limited capacity as a gradeschooler and high schooler. I can’t blame them, though. They themselves must have thought to be true what they were thinking to be gospel-truth.

But I was shamed when other people confronted me with other truths, truths that were so hard to rebut because they were obviously true. I was traumatized by what I considered to be a big embarrassment, a major slap by the universe, more so because of the arrogant insistence that I alone was right.

I was doused by the cold water of realizing I was not so smart, after all. I thought it was so humiliating because if I was not so smart, which is the last thread of pride I held on to, then I would be no good, I would be nothing.

But I realize it’s okay not to be so smart. A lot of people who style themselves as the savior of the world in terms of intellect, who derive their meaning from an intelligence that is not even theirs to begin with, can be equally laughably wrong as I was. I am glad I can easily forgive them as well, for I can easily see myself in them and in their folly. Just like I was, they will never see how disastrous it all is until it is too late. Maybe they are so proud and arrogant like me, and they need that major bashing to wake them up from delusion. Maybe that’s how they should be in their own journey to discovering the real truth – unless they vowed utter devotion to willful lies.

Monday, September 19, 2011

 

Which voice are we listening to?

Alfie: "To whose voice are we listening? 'The sheep knows the voice of the shepherd.'”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

 

The Lord's message yesterday

He wants you. No one can take your place.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

 

Fwd: A Real Friend

A Real Friend


A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.

A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in their address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!

A simple friend reads this verse and forgets it.
A real friend copies it and sends it back to you.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

 

Happy endings are not the point


The Lord didn't promise happy endings or happy ever afters on earth. But of course, we can pray for one. It's a big bonus if the wish is granted, but if not, it's not the end of the world.
-----------------------

Wednesday September 14, 2011                              

Remaining Faithful

Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures.

But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain faithful at any cost.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

 

Txt msgs

Patience means awaiting God’s time without doubting God’s love. ODB

God will never, never, never let us down if we have faith and put our trust in Him. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Conscience is a voice, every calling us to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil. It sounds in our heart at the right moment. It is our most secret core and sanctuary, where we are alone with God whose voice echoes in our depths. CCC 1776

In our infidelity, God reveals his fidelity. In our feeling of shame and guilt, God shows his forgiveness. In our brokenness God manifests his with holiness.

Whether we are asking forgiveness or offering it, God is pleased. The Upper Room

It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord you are safe. Prov 29:25

Never stop praying, no matter how dark and hopeless your case may seem. Your responsibility isn’t to tell God when he must act or even how he must act. Your responsibility is simply to pray without ceasing trusting him to act according to his perfect will. Billy Graham

God is the perfect friend, the voice when you can’t speak, the strength when you are weak, the hope when you are down, the joy when you are gloomy.

When we do not love, we do not live fully. Because the dynamic of living is the same dynamic of loving. But these two are forms of dying. The one who loves dies a million deaths. The one who dies lives fully. Bp Antonio Tagle

There’s always one thing to be thankful for every morning. That is being able to open our eyes and see the beauty of being alive under God’s love.

The person who only hears the word soon forgets what he has heard. If a person does not practice that he heard, it soon fades from memory. It is just forgotten and it never becomes a part of his life. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24

Lessons from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant:

1. True love and concern cannot afford to be silent and indifferent toward people in their weaknesses. Silence and refusal to be involved is not a safe option, but will actually be held accountable for this attitude as a sin of omission.
2. Forgiveness is the greatest measure of love. Adonis Narcelles SVD
3. Whatever gifts God decides to give us despite our unworthiness are meant to be shared and passed. Pay it forward. Fr Jojo SVD

 

Birthday messages

Be strong and take courage. Do not fear or be dismayed. – private revelation on 9.8.2011

Lord, thank you for your gift of life. Let the trials that come our way lead us closer to you. For life is beautiful when lived in you with you, in you, and for you. – Ate Precy

God gives peace to those who quiet before him. ODB

God’s love never fails. It meets us where we are. WAU

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love. Henry Drummond

Often prayer requires no word at all. Love and kindness shown to another are prayer in action. Terri Mehan

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are accepted and we are loved. Victor Hugo

In prayer, God empowers us to be authentic, free, fruitful and live-giving in our Christian life.

May your journey through this world will be touched by kindness, inspired by wisdom, graced with understanding, and kept safe from all harm. Wishing you not just happiness but pure joy, not just wealth but Heaven’s treasures, not just silence but God’s peace. - Idgit

The true meaning of life is not in being comfortable all the time. It is in trusting that something good could come out of adversity. Like faith, it’s holding on things we don’t see and believing on things we don’t know yet. Let’s entrust everything to God who desires only the best for us. - Zeny

The path you walk in life is unique. No one walks the road better than yourself, for you alone rule your own destiny. So continue doing your best and stay happy. – Ate Precy

Today I pray that God will use your life to be a brilliant fire to the world, that through your words you will bless others with God’s presence, that they will clearly see Jesus through you. – Kuya Rey

You will be great in the Lord! – prophecy from Ate Odette

A year-round wish for you: 12 months of happiness, 52 weeks of fun, 265 days of success, 8760 hours of good health, 525,600 minutes of good luck, 3,153,600 seconds of blessings. Cris

Count your blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you on what the Lord has done. Gorgeous/Alma

Saturday, September 03, 2011

 

Desert monk in the city



Sometimes I wonder if I have a calling to be a monk, although I often brush aside the very idea out of fear. I’m afraid of the monastery and all the requisite holiness it implies. I know I am far from holy, for I often harbor worldly thoughts, including impure thoughts that often turn into impure desires. I struggle constantly with egocentrism, so how could I wear a monk’s habit and be self-preoccupied? I panic at the thought of silence, frightened at the mere thought of coming face to face with God to make an account of the work I have done, then seeing plainly how worthless and vainglorious everything has been. I have to have my daily dose of being needed, relevant, busy, updated, informed, and on top of the heap. I'm afraid I still need to learn fully the distinction between being and doing. I feel ashamed to come to the Lord as nothing, and yet a needy nothing. Maybe it’s because I’m not fully convinced I’m something or someone with God, doubting that my real identity, my true self, resides in Him. Good thing I’ve read an author below the caliber, literarily speaking, of the highly esteemed but largely inaccessible Thomas Merton: someone named Carlo Caretto, a monk who once enjoined the worldly to give monasticism a try even while fully immersed in the hustle and bustle of a fallen world. Henri Nouwen's account of his sojourn in an American monastery plus my readings of John Keating's books were an influence, but the Italian monk in the desert of Algeria has made me see, without too much reading effort on my part, how the secrets of the desert may also be unlocked as a source of inspiration by any urban dweller willing to be a seeker of alternative riches and accomplishments.
If I need a desert in the Philippines, I need not look far -– I need not seek Pampanga’s laharland nor Ilocos Norte’s sand dunes. I just had to content myself with this ‘godforsaken’ piece of earth I rent under the fierce Manila sun. It is a mere six by eight square meters and I can’t even claim it to be mine, especially since I’ve been increasingly unable to pay my mounting arrears for about two years now. Still, I can look at it as a blessing in a roundabout way. For one, others are a lot worse off, and I’m not sure if I could endure their lot if I exchanged places, but I am not referring to this shallow form of consolation of logic.

The opportunities of monk life come aplenty in my desert, even if I am in possession of this laptop I am now using to write. (Incidentally, a friend said the brand I am using is high-end, of which I am not aware.) The refrigerator I had invested in years ago and the washing machine I inherited from my cousin who had moved to the United States are long out of order, so I could now honestly say I qualify for the status of being poverty-stricken, way below middle class. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, I know, and that’s the point. The daily humiliation of deprivation afforded by the lack of supposed basics in modern urban living is unquantifiable, and there is certainly monastic merit in that.

These ‘privations,’ to borrow a quote oft-used by the long-suffering saints and visionaries, in the midst of a neighborhood whose occupants seem to outdo one another in material advancement force me to discover hidden merits where there seem to be nothing but curses and punishments on the surface.

These sufferings are compounded by many other lacks, giving me the right to say I am not trying to be poor, I am really poor, but the truth is I choose to be poor in the sense that I refuse to be pressured by this ultramodern society's toxic shoulds these days: flatscreen TV, videoke, air-conditioner, satin bedsheets, state of the art DVD player, and other earthly wishes they alliteratively call ‘creature comforts.’ As if being a ‘loser’ in this regard isn’t enough, I can easily turn my attention to my address, which is laden with the hardships necessary for a hermit’s existence. Traffic to and from my place can be purgatorial at certain times and days. If I don’t take to the relative comfort of those air-conditioned vans that ply the route in a limited duration, that means I have not much choice but take the very uncomfortable, because too jampacked, jeepney.

The jeepney alone is a great opportunity for sacrificial love, whenever I find myself giving up half of my seat, out of guilt and shame, to a child, a lady or any woman or an elderly who happens to be the last passenger entering. In cases like this, the poor passenger is bound to find that the only remaining space is half-empty, and as ‘fate’ would have it, the other half is to be found in the bordering space that I have occupied.
The drone of airplanes flying to and from the nearby airport is a constant source of irritation to me, too, the kind that makes one nearly go crazy each time. The cramped feeling in this third-rate 'village' built from an empty grassland in an allegedly irregular construction deal (or so I heard one engineer who claimed to have worked on it) is also unnatural – discomforts galore for the would-be urban contemplative.

I have a TV set that I can choose to dispose of, if not for its usefulness in times of typhoons, coups d' etat, and similar "acts of God" and men. I have just one cell phone, the kind that even the lowliest worker in Manila can afford. Among the last luxuries I could boast to be mine include a perfume a friend now based in the States gave me, the Stateside shirts my uncle and cousins gave, some of which are secondhand and not my size, and perhaps this laptop I have bought from a friend on a two-year installment. I still have a landline phone, but I seldom use it, if at all.

As my rented place (which I can’t even call an apartment, but one-fourth of a quadruplex of houses) is also my current workplace, where I keep irregular work hours, I can assure myself of the luxury of silence and prayer time, which are absolute necessities in monastic life. There is surely something to contemplate too, a la The Cloud of Unknowing, from the loneliness of being alone most of my waking hours but for the company of a neighborhood cat. I can easily attempt to mouth my beads nonstop for hours if I wanted to, if I couldn’t take the mentally active quiet time required by a Lectio Divina (the Ignatian practice of Biblical reflection). Those who know the pains of living alone must know how punishing the shame and loneliness of aloneness is. I can choose to revel on this particular cross or thorn, and perhaps produce more than enough suffering to ‘bribe’ God for the conversion of sinners, not the least me.


Aloneness with the Master will afford me to meditate on loneliness' difference with solitude, although strictly speaking, a local theologian has already beaten me to it, saying “Loneliness implies an inner emptiness, while solitude implies an inner fulfillment.” At any rate, I am afforded the luxury of choice in offering prayers of intercession, interceding for petitions sent in from all over, and even spreading my embrace to include the conversion of the most irritating and offensive people I encounter.

My tasks for the day will be ordered in such a way that my workaday will be exquisitely boring: wash clothes, sun-dry them, iron, go to market, cook, wash dishes, clean bathroom, wax floor. I shall have a routine that will be calculated to be as exciting as watching poured cement turn hard. The following all-important contrast should be also highlighted at every turn: I, a lover of fine things, should learn to live with making do, enduring not just the horror of silence and aloneness and the banality of the quotidian, but most especially the ugliness of lowly and homely things, possibly for the rest of my earthly existence, unless I am suddenly called to work on special assignments that require re-immersion into the outside world.

The lack of prestige of my cloistered lot, the hiddenness of it all, plus the loss of the opportunity to show off, keep up with the Joneses, ‘jockey’ for a ‘cushy’ corporate position, and play dirty political games, is made more complete by having people deemed by society as the lowest types as the only people I deal with from day to day. They are the downtrodden of the earth: garbage collectors, ambulant vendors of all kinds of ware and food, beggars, handicapped, scrap buyers (some ‘street children’ don’t pay me at all), and bills delivery men. With them, I feel no need to remind the world who I am and what I have accomplished according to my own overestimation, for I am a mere home occupier and potential coin donor to them, and they couldn’t care a whit if I happened to be a movie superstar who’s trying on the sly the low life of a cockroach for a change.
Certain beggars can even give me plenty of opportunities to practice charity in the exquisite variety that St. Therese of Liseaux, the “Little Flower,” describes in her autobiography, Story of a Soul. I am always irked at how some of them could be so rude in tapping at my window in the middle of a writeup, only to ask for a donation for the blind or some such. I wish they could be more creative by asking for help unintrusively and in advance, but I now realize that that is exactly the mode and this is exactly the time and the place I’ve been looking for as a personal desert and loving self-chastisement for this wannabe city monk. It is a perfect opportunity, I realize, to give love to and exercise the virtue of patience toward someone who can’t give it back and yet even sounds so grating at it.

Among other long-standing concerns under my urban desert right now that are a potential breeding ground for higher-order virtues are the following: a leaking roof, with the number of leaks increasing every two to three years; the state of dilapidation of the front, window panes and screens; and a room left unrepaired after it was severely attacked by termites. These little things are like little curses at me, as though someone was angry at or opposed to my stay in this little corner. There’s also the problem of difficult neighbors: Someone is too noisy at and oppressive to her own kids. A nearby couple ignores me when I meet them on the street. One particular family is giving almost-regular trouble, with their melodramatic shouting matches at night sometimes, waking me up needlessly. A dog owner has this irritating habit of leaving his two toy dogs on the street, exposing passers-by like me to the threat of dog bites and rabies, which said owner routinely dismisses when confronted gently (“No, they don’t bite at all,” he calmly says, to be fair to him.)

Finally, I have health problems too that I can choose to routinely submit to God and struggle to view with gratitude as my own body’s signal that something is amiss in the unseen connection between my mind, body, and soul/spirit. These little illnesses are an effective way of reminding me that I am not a citizen of this world, that the life I am arrogantly trying to take control of using hard science ultimately belongs to God and should be submitted to whatever purpose He deems best at the moment.

As I busy myself with the drudgery of the unsung, I can hope to learn to embrace my monastic city life enough as to wholeheartedly say, “I love it here – what more can I ask for?”

Thursday, September 01, 2011

 

Txt msgs

God never goes to the lazy when he needs someone for his service. When he wants a worker he goes to those who are already at work. When he wants a great servant he calls a busy person. Let us imitate St Martha in her faithful and loving service to Jesus and to others.

God will never, never, never let us down if we have faith and put our trust in Him. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Conscience is a voice, every calling us to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil. It sounds in our heart at the right moment. It is our most secret core and sanctuary, where we are alone with God whose voice echoes in our depths. CCC 1776

In our infidelity, God reveals his fidelity. In our feeling of shame and guilt, God shows his forgiveness. In our brokenness God manifests his with holiness.

Whether we are asking forgiveness or offering it, God is pleased. The Upper Room

It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord you are safe. Prov 29:25

Never stop praying, no matter how dark and hopeless your case may seem. Your responsibility isn’t to tell God when he must act or even how he must act. Your responsibility is simply to pray without ceasing trusting him to act according to his perfect will. Billy Graham

God is the perfect friend, the voice when you can’t speak, the strength when you are weak, the hope when you are down, the joy when you are gloomy.

When we do not love, we do not live fully. Because the dynamic of living is the same dynamic of loving. But these two are forms of dying. The one who loves dies a million deaths. The one who dies lives fully. Bp Antonio Tagle

There’s always one thing to be thankful for every morning. That is being able to open our eyes and see the beauty of being alive under God’s love.

The person who only hears the word soon forgets what he has heard. If a person does not practice that he heard, it soon fades from memory. It is just forgotten and it never becomes a part of his life. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:23-24

Lessons from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant:

1. True love and concern cannot afford to be silent and indifferent toward people in their weaknesses. Silence and refusal to be involved is not a safe option, but will actually be held accountable for this attitude as a sin of omission.
2. Forgiveness is the greatest measure of love. Adonis Narcelles SVD
3. Whatever gifts God decides to give us despite our unworthiness are meant to be shared and passed. Pay it forward. Fr Jojo SVD


“Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.”

Everyone quests for joy. When we find peace and satisfaction, there is joy. When we find ourselves in harmony and in communion with other people, there is joy. When we enter into possession of God, who has known and loved us, there is joy. Pope Paul VI. (Compare with Pascal’s assertion that even those who commit suicide do it because of joy or lack thereof.-rso)

Noting dries faster than tears. Life can never promise to be always happy, but life gets better after you accept the things you can’t change.

Nothing is hard if the heart has love. Nothing is impossible when the heart understands. Nothing is heavy when God is in your heart.

Facing an impossibility gives us the opportunity to trust God. Our Daily Bread

We make our own fortune and we call it fate. And what better excuse than to call it our destiny. But at the end of the day, it has always been our choice.

We live on earth full of trials, but by the grace of God, we remain standing like trees. Even if the leaves are falling, still there are new leaves of hope waiting. When we feel being poisoned by stress, pain, pressure, and failures, the best antidote is to pray. You have never tested God’s resources until you have attempted the impossible.

God has no cell phone but he is Smart and He owns the Globe and Sun. you can call him even if you don’t have any load. But remember just Talk, no Text. Don’t forget to call him – it’s free.

God measures a person with the burdens he puts on him. So when you feel your load is heavier than others’, be happy. For God sees you stronger than the rest.

Heavy rains are like challenges in life. Never ask God for a lighter rain. Just pray for a better umbrella.

God’s word is a life preserver that keeps the soul from sinking in a sea of trouble. ODB



When God saw my resistance and hardheartedness, the more he becomes gentle to me. He has amazingly shown his gentleness in relating, in caring, and in loving me. He said, Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10), the faithful God (2Sm7:28) who loved you with an everlasting love (Is 43:4). Thank you God for your gentle loving presence, touching my inmost being. Your touch heals even the most vulnerable, fragile, weakest points of my life. Amen. Fr. Jojo SVD

There are some people who are unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you are kind, they may accuse you of selfish motive. Be kind anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Be good anyway. For in the end, it is between you and God. It was never you and them anyway. Wall of Shishu, a children’s home in Calcutta

What shall be give back to the Lord for all that he has done to us? He is content merely to be loved in return for those gifts. St Basil

Life is too short to be unhappy. Laugh when you can. Apologize when you should. Let go of what you can’t change. Love deeply and forgive quickly. Take chances; smile when you are sad. Love with what you got and stay faithful with what you have. People change and things go wrong but always remember: With God’s grace life is beautiful.

Sympathy is love tenderly feeling. Enthusiasm is love burning. Hope is love expecting. Patience is love waiting. Faithfulness is love sticking fast. Humility is love taking the true pledge. Prayer is love keeping trust. Holiness is love in action. – Compassion is love diving deep?-rso

Leave all your worries with Him, because he cares for you. 1 Pt 5:7

When God gives no for an answer, keep in mind that there’s much greater yes behind it. His no is not a rejection but a redirection.

The greatest technique for bringing peace into your life is to remind yourself to always pick being kind when you have a choice of being right or being kind. Wayne Dyer

Sometimes God seems to push us to our limits and tests us beyond our endurance because he has greater faith in us than we have in ourselves.

We cannot grow unless we are willing to change. And we will not change unless we change something we do every day. John Maxwell

When I lie down, I go to sleep in peace. You alone O Lord keep me perfectly safe. Ps 4:8

Dear Lord help me to live this day quietly and easily, without worry or fear. To lean upon your strength and love and trust fully and restfully. To wait for the unfolding of your love patiently and serenely. To meet others in love peacefully and joyously. And to face tomorrow confidently and courageously. Vicente Romero

Prayer is a sin killer, sick healer, power giver, victory gainer and blessing promoter. So pray, pray, pray.

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. St Augustine

Don’t let riches – or the pursuit of riches – derail your pursuit of Jesus. ODB

God is a refuge, a shelter, a safe harbor to which you can flee when life becomes a raging storm. Harold Sala

Lord God, let me judge each day not by the harvest I reap but by the seeds I plant so you will judge my life not by the days I have lived but by the good deeds I have done.

Prayer is the voice of faith, trusting that God knows and cares. ODB

Life continues whatever happens. All we need is to be positive and be brace with all the challenges we encounter. Faith in God is still the best armor.

******************I used to think that God’s gifts are on shelves one above another, and the older we get, the taller we grow the easier we can reach them. But now I found out that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath another where the best gifts are found in the deepest and the lower we stoop the more we get. It is the good deeds we do, the kind words we speak, the love we give and the humility we show that help us stoop down to find our real treasures.

The condition of a person’s heart reveals much of the condition of his soul. A fixed heart is in tune with the Lord – trusting, devoted, serving, and hopeful. What is your heart condition? Warren Wiersbe

Kindness is an inner desire that makes us do good things to others even if we don’t get anything in return. It’s done with sincerity and done from the heart. You become worthy not for who you are, not even for what you have done, but of what others have become because of you.

When we cry, God shares our tears and our pain. The Upper Room

Ang pananampalataya ay ang ating pagsukong personal sa Diyos. Kaakibat nito ang pagtalima ng ating isipan at kalooban sa pahayag ng Diyos hinggil sa kanyang sarili sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga gawa at wika. – Katekismo ng Iglesia Katolika, 176

Having less means greater simplicity, which produces peace of mind and happiness. Harold Sala

When trials overwhelm our souls and tempt us to despair, we need to reach out to the Lord and trust His tender care. Sper

God has made life so good that even if we don’t exactly get what we want, we will soon realize that what he has given us is actually the best for us.

In a world where we do not always experience being touched and hugged with love the way we need to be, it is nice to know that there is a God who touches us and embraces us always with his unconditional love for he knows we all need love and esteem. Fr Jojo

A positive attitude can turn a normal day into a great day. Keep in mind these little sayings and you’ll be happier:

You are too anointed to be disappointed.
You are to blessed to be stressed.
Losers watch things happen; winners make things happen.

The more helpless I am, Lord, the more I throw myself on your faithful love. Indeed, you are faithful. You keep and fulfill your promise. You are true to your word. Teach me to be faithful. Help me to trust in your alone. And let me remember that all my hope is in you O Lord.

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less and less. G.K. Chesterton

Trials are not the reasons to give up, but a challenge to improve ourselves. Difficulties are not an excuse to back out, but an inspiration to move forward.

Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. Martin Luther

Christ asks you for nothing – come just as you are. Come sinful, come guilty, come give Him your heart.

We must love our nothingness, and think only of the ALL which is infinitely loveable. St Therese of the Child Jesus

Everything in this world can be an inspiration. Never let go of it. Every moment that passes is precious and irreplaceable. Savor it. Every person you meet is a gift. Value his presence. Everything that happens in life has a purpose. Enjoy life to the fullest.

When you feel down think about what God has done in your life in the past and the good He promises He will do in your future. Trust him!

Happiness is a very subjective factor in one’s life. Being happy doesn’t depend on achieving what you want but rather making the best out of what is given.

Remind me each morning of your constant love, for I put my trust in you. Ps 143:8


 

The Miracle Prayer

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The Miracle Prayer

Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am.
I am sorry for my sins.
Please forgive me.
In your name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me.
I give you my entire self.
I invite you into my life.
Jesus, I accept you as my Lord and Savior.
Heal me.
Change me.
Strengthen me.
(Close your eyes and allow God to speak to you. Listen and you will be surprised of the miracles in your heart.)

Amen.

 

Bouncing back from the pits

An article in the paper caught my attention last Sunday in the Philippine Daily Inquirer because it focuses on the industry I work in, the business process outsourcing industry also known as BPO. I felt glad that someone would pay attention to the subject, knowing how rarely media take it up. Little did I know it would also get me distressed and disheartened.

Authored by an academic, Regina Hechanova, the article reveals the findings from an Ateneo de Manila University study on the BPO sector, which I’ve long held to be true because they are realities –- appalling ones -- I breathe in and out every single day.

What are these truths? That the employer-employee relationship in the BPO industry is often purely transactional. That there is zero loyalty from the employee because the employee doesn’t feel he has a stake in the business. He feels he is there only to be used and to use. The employee sees no reason to be loyal because there is no future in the business; there are no pensions and long-term benefit plans for employees. It is an industry that is beset with too much uncertainty in the first place, owing to the globalized nature of the business.

Before I lapsed again into a depression, I caught myself first by observing how I felt after reading that article, and what I told myself. Well, I said, How true, and how sad. How did I ever get myself here? I used to have a very promising future, with seemingly unlimited possibilities? Why did I get stuck in this sector? What are my chances of jumping ship now that I’m too old for a restart, with the former possibilities seemingly exhausted? Not to look down on other jobs, but with the gifts I was given, surely there was something better for me?

I knew I was at it again –- me and my old temptations to get upset, to be worried sick -- when the top two songs playing in my mind were two Tagalog songs I largely ignored in my youth (because Tagalog songs then were considered cheap): Dito Ba (popularized by Kuh Ledesma) and Kapalaran (popularized by Rico Puno).

Dito ba/O dito ba?/Dito ba/ang dapat kong kalagyan/sa isang sulok kong hiram/sa ilalim ng araw?

Bakit ba ganyan/ang buhay ng tao? Mayrong mayaman, may api sa mundo/Kapalaran/kung hanapin/di matagpuan/At kung minsan/lumalapit/ng di mo alam.

I’ve been here before, and I always attribute such negativities to the devil or the evil in me. I had to ask myself yet again why I had to feel so down, and thankfully the answer came quite easily this time: Because I fear for myself in the future. Because I am afraid of getting old alone and penniless. Because I am scared of ever becoming dependent, a humiliating burden to somebody, even to a family member (since most likely my siblings will each have their own family). Because I am afraid of ending up a failure, accomplishing nothing despite my earlier achievements and promise showed. Because I am afraid to be looked down upon as a shame.

Apart from the usual fear of not-looking-good, however, is the sadness, which I deemed valid or not unreasonable and can only address trustfully to God: Why is this industry I found myself working in for years so loveless? How can it survive being so... utilitarian? Is that the nature of all business enterprises? I wonder. Should the world of work be a world of heartless toil in order to be productive? Should work be Adam’s punishment all over again?

But I know that the Catholic theology on work is not like that at all. There is caritas in veritate. Besides, I have ceased seeing myself as a victim of an oppressive system (for even if it were so, I still have a choice to rejoice and be at peace), but my resolve failed me this time. I saw the BPO industry as indeed being unjust to me and my fellow coworkers. And we were expected to be thankful we had a job at all.

What I did next to avoid falling as before was to sort out what I could control from what I could not. The BPO industry is certainly beyond my control so I should leave the monster at its game, hoping it won't self-destruct.

Since I don’t believe in government interference anymore unless a clear crime is committed, I also decide to quit blaming government. I tend to lay the blame on me first, but also I recognize my limitations and weaknesses.

Lastly, since God allowed everything, He must have willed it for a reason, and that reason is for my own good. Maybe I was put in a place to humble me because I was too prideful and ambitious, viewing job titles and positions as means to service my ego, my disordered needs to aggrandize myself? Maybe I, in fact, need this reversal of fortune so I won’t be too proud of myself in case things happened in my favor?

I should forgive everything, everyone, then, and I should forgive foremost myself. I should instead entrust my future to God. I’m not even sure I’ll survive the next day, so why bother worrying? (I sure pray though that I will still live for a long time more). I will always be judged negatively anyway, so why bother with what people will say?

Also, maybe certain doors have been closed because I was being told to look to other doors, as the cliché goes?

If there is someone who ought NOT to be at peace or be distressed, it is the purveyors of injustice and oppression in this world. They are friends not with God but with the “reigning prince of this world.”

I should instead choose to trust that God loves me so much just like the rest of His children whom He has bestowed with favors and graces they too didn’t deserve. I pray for that portion that I didn’t even have to work for, that portion reserved for mine alone, that best fits just for me that I don’t even have to look at what others got. I choose to trust that, to borrow a quote, “If God put me to it, He will put me through it.” ...My fighting words for a very uncertain future in a hyperviolent world that inflicts its cruelty to men in many quiet, hidden ways.

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