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|Posted by Denz on June 21, 2012 at 8:20 AM||comments ()|
Recommends Going Beyond Petition to Prayer of Praise, Thanks
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that it is normal and beneficial to ask for things from God in prayer, but that we must also remember to praise him and thank him for his many gifts.
The Pope said this today as he continued his series of catechesis on prayer at the general audience.
"Though in itself it is normal for us to ask for something in prayer, it should not exclusively be so. There is also reason to give thanks, and if we are attentive we see that we receive so many good things from God: He is so good to us that it is fitting, indeed necessary, to say thank you. And it should also be a prayer of praise: if our heart is open, despite all problems, we see the beauty of His creation, the goodness shown forth in His creation. Therefore, we must not only ask; we must also praise and give thanks: only in this way is our prayer complete," he said.
The Holy Father then went on to offer a commentary on the first chapter of Ephesians, in which Paul blesses God for making known "the mystery of his will."
"The hymn that opens the Letter to the Ephesians takes us by the hand and leads us towards a deeper meaning of this term [mysterion] and the reality it points to," the Pontiff said. "For believers, 'mystery' is not so much the unknown; rather, it is the merciful will of God, His loving plan, which is fully revealed in Jesus Christ."
He noted that Paul's vision "leads us to contemplate the action of the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, who chose us before the creation of the world; He thought of us and created us; the Son, who has redeemed us by his blood; and the Holy Spirit, the guarantee of our redemption and future glory."
Benedict XVI said that prayer leads us to see God's merciful plan in the Church's journey.
"St. Ireneaus once said that, in the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit accustomed himself to being in man," the Pope noted. "In prayer we must accustom ourselves to being with God. This is very important, that we learn to be with God; in this way, we see that it is beautiful to be with him, which is redemption. [...] Prayer, as a way of 'accustoming oneself' to being together with God, produces men and women animated not by egoism, by the desire to possess, by the thirst for power, but by gratuity, by the desire to love, by the thirst to serve -- animated, that is, by God; and it is only in this way that we can bring light to the darkness of the world."
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|Posted by viola on March 19, 2012 at 8:20 PM||comments ()|
(Original composition of Arvie Ortega)
It’s been a while that silence is playing
I can only hear, the sound of my breathing
And as I gaze around, I see white and gray
Always the same... day by day
But little do I notice, the colors of spring
Did I just see red, blue and green?
What is this sweet sound, as light as a whisper?
Did I just hear, a music playing?
I listened carefully, to the soft melody
The tune was familiar; it was not new to me
The heart picked up, the rhythm quickly
It started beating, like drums going crazy
I started singing, the lyrics alone
Hoping that this time, words won’t go wrong
Will the lines be different, from what I had before?
Will it have the same fate, a sad song?
|Posted by Denz on February 22, 2012 at 3:35 PM||comments ()|
February 21, 2012
WASHINGTON—Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offers “10 Things to Remember for Lent” as the Church prepares to begin the season with Ash Wednesday on February 22:
1. Remember the formula. The Church does a good job capturing certain truths with easy-to-remember lists and formulas: 10 Commandments, 7 sacraments, 3 persons in the Trinity. For Lent, the Church gives us almost a slogan—Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving—as the three things we need to work on during the season.
2. It’s a time of prayer. Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread out over 40 days. As we pray, we go on a journey, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him.
3. It’s a time to fast. With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast. And maybe that’s why it gets all the attention. “What are you giving up for Lent? Hotdogs? Beer? Jelly beans?” It’s almost a game for some of us, but fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ.
4. It’s a time to work on discipline. The 40 days of Lent are also a good, set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. “I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to be nicer to my family, friends and coworkers.”
5. It’s about dying to yourself. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that it’s about more than self-control – it’s about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent, and we join in these mysteries by suffering, dying with Christ and being resurrected in a purified form.
6. Don’t do too much. It’s tempting to make Lent some ambitious period of personal reinvention, but it’s best to keep it simple and focused. There’s a reason the Church works on these mysteries year after year. We spend our entire lives growing closer to God. Don’t try to cram it all in one Lent. That’s a recipe for failure.
7. Lent reminds us of our weakness. Of course, even when we set simple goals for ourselves during Lent, we still have trouble keeping them. When we fast, we realize we’re all just one meal away from hunger. In both cases, Lent shows us our weakness. This can be painful, but recognizing how helpless we are makes us seek God’s help with renewed urgency and sincerity.
8. Be patient with yourself. When we’re confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. “What a bad person I am!” But that’s the wrong lesson. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love.
9. Reach out in charity. As we experience weakness and suffering during Lent, we should be renewed in our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering or otherwise in need. The third part of the Lenten formula is almsgiving. It’s about more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collection plate; it’s about reaching out to others and helping them without question as a way of sharing the experience of God’s unconditional love.
10. Learn to love like Christ. Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ, who suffered and poured himself out unconditionally on cross for all of us. Lent is a journey through the desert to the foot of the cross on Good Friday, as we seek him out, ask his help, join in his suffering, and learn to love like him.
|Posted by viola on February 15, 2012 at 8:15 AM||comments ()|
(Original Composition of ARVIE ORTEGA)
I can still feel the breeze, touching my face
As I travel the world, going place to place
Not knowing where, or when this journey ends
It might take a while, might involve a lot of risks
But I'm not quitting, 'till finally in your embrace
Longing for the time, when we finally meet
Are you just the same, wandering on earth
Or someone out there, who patiently waits
Come out, and send me a trace
Will definitely follow, whatever it takes
Wherever you are, how far it may be
I don't care how long, I don't have to worry
Whoever you are, I know that you'll be
There on the other side, waiting for me
Waiting for the dream, become reality
I may not know where, or what's your name
But I promise you babe, I'll find my way
Hang on tight, till I finally get there
I know I'm gonna find you, I'm certain I will
Before you know it, we'll be together
I have no idea, what your face is like
But I know when I see you, to tell won't be hard
Time will freeze a moment, heartbeat will rise up
And when it happens, it is you no doubt
Then never again, we'll be apart!
|Posted by Jay Autor on September 6, 2011 at 11:25 PM||comments ()|
A humbling message from Bo Sanchez (http://bosanchez.ph/do-you-envy/)
Do You Envy? Remember the story of Cain and Abel?
That’s a story of envy. And it’s the story of the entire human race. It’s a story that is replayed over and over again in families, in organizations, in churches, in offices, in schools…
Cain and Abel were brothers. Cain and Abel offered a sacrifice to God and Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s was not. Result? Cain envied Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:6-8)
The spirit of Cain is the spirit of envy—and it continues today.
Today, we want to cast out the spirit of Cain from our lives.
Problem: We Don’t Know We’re Envious
Many envious people don’t know they’re envious.
In fact, right now, you might be tempted not to read, saying, “Nah, not my issue.”
Actually, envy is as common as the common cold. But it’s as deadly as cancer. It’s like a mental cancer that destroys your life, your relationships, and your happiness.
I repeat. Often, we don’t know we’re envious.
Let me give you two examples.
I know of a young woman who fights with her sister all the time. She doesn’t know it, but everyone around her knows she’s envious.
I know of a prayer group leader who is always talking about the mistakes of another prayer group leader. He’s not aware of his envy. But all his friends know. He actually envies this other leader because his prayer group is much larger than his.
Oh yes, envy is alive and well in Church.
In fact, I’ve seen religious groups split and fight each other simply because one leader was envious of another leader.
But here’s the thing: the leader doesn’t think he’s envious. He thinks he’s correcting the other leader’s pride. He thinks he’s mandated by God Himself to correct this other leader and save the group from total destruction.
But ironically, the very thing that will destroy his group is his own envy. An envy he doesn’t know he has.
Envy is one of the most destructive things on planet earth.
Let me say it again. Envy kills.
The Two Phases Of Envy
Envy is a green monster that doesn’t begin monstrous.
This monster begins tiny.
I believe there are two phases in the growth of Envy.
Meron Ka, Bakit Wala Ako?
(Why don’t I have what you have?)
When I was in Grade School, I remember one of my classmates. His name was Ariel.
I remember him so well because he had everything I didn’t have.
For example, his grades were always excellent.
One day, our teacher distributed our report cards in class. When she gave Ariel’s report card to him, she announced, “All of Ariel’s grades are above 90.”
When she gave my report card to me, one my classmates shouted, “All of Bo’s grades are below 75.” (Actually, that was a lie. All my grades were below 78. Hmph!)
Ariel was also an incredible athlete. You name it—basketball, baseball, football, running—he was the star player.
One day, Ariel saw us playing marbles. He joined the game and beat all of us, bringing home all our marbles.
The next day, he saw a bunch of girls seated playing jackstone. Ariel joined them and beat all of them as well. (He made exhibition tricks with the jackstone that will astound Houdini.)
To top it all, he was also handsome. He had a fans club of girls following him. At that time, I didn’t know how that felt. (Now I know. J)
As a kid, I asked God many times, “Lord, why did you make Ariel so gifted? And why did you make me so ungifted?”
It was a question I asked for a long time.
It wasn’t like I had zero gifts. I knew I had at least one gift: I knew how to draw well.
One day, our homeroom teacher raffled off our names in class. We picked one classmate and made him a greeting card on the spot.
I smiled. I knew I was a pretty good illustrator. So making a greeting card was a cinch.
I remember drawing Superman in my greeting card.
Finally, when our teacher told us to give our cards to each other, guess who came to me? Ariel. He picked my name. And he handed me his greeting card. When I saw it, my jaw dropped.
His card was so beautiful, you’d think Hallmark did it. Ariel was ten times better than me in drawing.
To this day, I still remember his card. It had a professionally drawn luxury ship. It said, “I like blue ships, I like red ships, but most of all, I like friendship. Ariel.”
Before that day, I wondered if I was the most ungifted person in the entire world. That day, I stopped wondering. I knew without a shadow of a doubt.
I was it.
I remember asking God, “Lord, why do you love Ariel so much? Why don’t you love me?”
That’s what Envy is.
It makes you focus on the blessings of the other person.
In Phase 1 of Envy, we ask, Meron ka, bakit wala ako? (Why don’t I have what you have?)
In Phase 1 of Envy, we don’t want to kill anyone. I didn’t want to harm Ariel.
But Phase 1 Envy ends up killing the envier himself.
Envy “Kills” The Envier
I repeat. Envy is mental cancer.
It’s like a tumor that keeps growing until it kills you.
Another analogy: Envy is a lethal, slow-acting poison.
It doesn’t kill you right away. But over time, it kills.
The Bible is so graphic when it describes what envy does to you. It says, envy rots the bones (Proverbs 14:30).
Many psychotherapists say that almost all mental diseases will have envy in its core.
Why does envy kill the envier?
Because envy, once nurtured, always comes with shame.
And shame always kills the spirit.
I should know. I was filled with the spirit of shame for decades. Even to this day, though I’m already free, I still feel the scars left by shame in my heart.
You feel ashamed of yourself because you don’t have what others have. Shame shouts in your ear, “There’s something wrong with you!”
Shame will make you do crazy things, just to get accepted.
Let me tell you about Carla.
Carla was a manager in a bank. And she became friends with some of her rich clients, all successful businesswomen.
Everytime they met, she’d see her friends carry Prada and Louis Vuiton bags.
But all of these were beyond her small paycheck. She felt envious. To keep up with her friends’ lifestyle, she used her 3 credit cards. Before she knew it, she was buried in a huge mountain of debts.
But if we keep on nurturing Envy, it graduates to Phase 2.
And Phase 2 Envy is even more dangerous.
Wala Ako, Dapat Wala Ka Rin!
(If I don’t have any, you shouldn’t have any too)
This is when envy becomes cruel and destructive not only to yourself, but to others. Envy will now kill two people—the envier and the one being envied.
My analogy: Envy is like a cannibal. But an insane cannibal. He eats others and eats parts of himself as well.
Emily and Pam were both sales agents. But after two years, Pam got promoted as sales manager. Emily was happy for her best friend. Or at least, she pretended to be happy. They even had a little party together to celebrate Pam’s promotion.
But as the weeks went by, problems came up. Pam couldn’t believe Emily’s transformation. From being her best friend, Emily became her worst enemy. Emily would criticize Pam in front of others. Emily would gossip about her and tell all kinds of lies about her.
What was Emily’s problem? Phase 2 Envy.
Phase 2 Envy is Cain’s Envy. (Genesis 3:2-8)
Cain used a rock and bashed it on his brother’s head.
We don’t use physical rocks but we use something as deadly—the rocks of our words.
We may not desire his physical death. But we conspire for some kind of death. What kind? Social death. We want the person we envy to be humiliated. To lose face.
How Do You Know If You Have Envy?
You won’t know if you have envy by asking, “Am I envious?” Because we’re usually blind to our own envy.
Here are three questions to ask to know if you have Phase 2 Envy.
Is There Anyone I Don’t Like?
Sometimes, we don’t like someone because he offended us or hurt us.
But sometimes, we don’t know why we don’t like someone. We can’t explain it.
This doesn’t automatically mean you have envy. But it means you’ve got to ask the second question.
What Does He Have That I Don’t Have—
But Want To Have?
If the other person has something you don’t have but you want to have, then it’s probably envy.
When a woman envies another woman because she’s sexier, thinner, and more beautiful, she’ll start poking holes on her life or his character.
“Yes, she’s sexy, but she’s unhappy with her marriage.” Or, “Yes, she’s physically beautiful, but I think she’s very self-centered.”
When it gives you pleasure to criticize the other person, then you can almost be sure you’ve got Phase 2 Envy.
Will I Be Secretly Delighted If He Falls?
You know you’ve got Phase 2 Envy if you secretly delight to hear the falls, faults, fumbles, and failures of the other person. We find delicious satisfaction in knowing he’s getting his just rewards for being “too proud”.
We even spread the “sad” news around. If we’re religious, we justify spreading it around by first saying, “Let’s pray for Sue. The one you see driving a brand new Mercedes? Yes, that’s her. I heard that her marriage is falling apart…”
Going To The Root Of All Envy
Envy is only a symptom.
The root of all Envy is Emptiness.
Envy isn’t about the other person. Envy is always about a deep dissatisfaction with yourself.
Here’s the point: A person who is happy with himself—and profoundly satisfied with himself—cannot envy others. It’s impossible.
Where does the feeling of emptiness and insecurity come from? It comes from fear. Specifically, the fear of worthlessness.
And friend, there is only one thing that can fill your emptiness and heal your fear of worthlessness: God’s Love.
Two Powerful Steps To Get Rid Of Envy
Last week, I said that the antidote to impatience is trust in God’s Love.
Today, I’d like to announce to you that the antidote to envy is gratitude for God’s Love.
You show gratitude in two ways. And I believe these are the only two ways to get rid of Envy.
Celebrate Your Abundance
Many years ago, Dad gave me his second hand car.
It was a wonderful car. It was a 12-year old Mitsubishi Galant, but even if it was old, I still loved it.
I loved the smooth ride. I loved the cool aircon. I loved the cassette player. (This was really a long time ago.) I loved its powerful engine.
Even if it was ancient, it never gave me any problems on the road.
I remember sitting on the driver’s seat, patting it on the dashboard, and uttering, “Thank you Lord for my wonderful car.”
I was so grateful to God.
But one morning, my friend came to the house with his a brand new Nissan. He was a salesman and his company gave him the car. He said, “Bo, I’d like you to be the first person to ride my car.”
We took it for a spin.
Man, the ride was fantastic. You’d think there were no bumps on the road. And I almost froze inside—the aircon was really strong. And the stereo sounds were superb, it was like Gary V was in the car with us, singing his songs live.
And most importantly, it had that new car smell.
That day, when I went back to my old car, I had a problem.
All of a sudden, it wasn’t so wonderful anymore.
I could feel the bumps on the road that I didn’t feel before. I now could hear squeaking sounds that I didn’t hear before.
And the smell—it had that old car smell! (I could smell Tinapa!)
Instantly, my gratitude was gone.
But when I noticed the lack of gratitude within me, I stopped the car, closed my eyes, placed my hand on my dashboard, and started thanking God for what I had.
I began to recount the blessings of having a car.
Slowly, feelings of gratitude returned.
From my experience, when you’re grateful, you’re satisfied with what you have. And when you’re satisfied with what you have, envy will have a hard time finding a foothold in your heart.
When you’re grateful for God’s blessings in your life, slowly, you’ll be grateful for God’s blessings in the lives of others too.
I also did something else: I started thanking God for my friend’s brand new car. I prayed that his job be blessed even more.
And that brings us to Step Two.
Celebrate Their Abundance
Be genuinely happy for other people’s successes.
Share in their joy. Share in their victory.
In fact, I don’t want you just to be happy when it happens.
I encourage you to pray that it happens.
Pray that your officemates get the promotion, your single friends get married, your siblings get good breaks.
When you do this, something magical will happen to your life. Because there’s a Law in the universe that states that what you give, you’ll receive in abundance. (Luke 6:38)
Here’s what I believe: If you envy the blessings that other people receive, you’re driving away those blessings from your life. But if you’re genuinely grateful for the blessings other people receive, you’ll attract those exact same blessings into your life more easily.
Once you experience this genuine happiness for others, that’s the day you know that you’re free from envy.
And this is where other people’s success becomes a real inspiration. “If he can do it, I can do it too.”
Is There Such A Thing As Positive Envy?
Someone asked me, “Bo, isn’t there some type of positive envy? For example, when you see your friend’s business booming, you work hard so that your business will boom too?”
Perhaps it’s not envy but encouragement.
It’s easy to know if it’s envy or encouragement.
Do you wish him ill? Or do you wish him well?
If you wish him ill, then it’s envy. But if you wish him well (that he prospers more in his life so you’ll even be more inspired), then it’s encouragement.
Encouragement says, “If he can do it, I can do it too.”
Envy says, “Who does he think he is?”
Envy comes with anger. Encouragement comes with an abundance mindset—that there’s more than enough for everyone.
You Need To Believe In Abundance
I got this analogy from Brian Kim’s blog.
Imagine watching a movie with a very large bucket of popcorn. The bucket is so large, it’s as big as a bathtub. (Okay, slightly smaller, or you won’t fit on your seat.)
When you pick up the first kernel, it slips through your fingers and falls on the dirty floor of the movie house.
Question: Will you pick it up and eat it? I doubt it. Because there’s still a gigantic bucket of popcorn in front of you.
This is what I mean by having an abundance mindset.
When your friends get blessed, it doesn’t lessen your chance of being blessed. Because you don’t live in a limited universe. In God’s Kingdom, there is no scarcity of blessings. There is only abundance. The universe is a giant bucket of blessings that will never run out.
Envy lives in a universe of scarcity.
Love lives in a universe of abundance.
In fact, I’m praying that all of you become wealthy in every area of your life!
Be free from envy.
And truly love.
May your dreams come true,
|Posted by Jay Autor on August 27, 2011 at 11:55 PM||comments ()|
My family went out for a beach picnic with our household friends. Horseshoe Bay is one of Bermuda’s best beaches but for some reason the waves today were peculiarly so high and the rip currents were strong. For an adventurous guy like me, I went ahead and faced the waves. Suddenly my 2 year old son wanted to join me. If there’s one thing I learned about little boys, it’s that they want so much to imitate people, especially their father. So I took him to the shore, just knee deep. And every time the strong waves came, I told him to jump while carrying him out of the water. It took us several minutes before I got tired and told him we needed to rest. But he was enjoying and so confident, he kept telling me to go deeper in the water. He said he wants to go to the rocks, which was about a mile or two away from the shore.
Then, God’s message hit me. In this world, we face a lot of tribulations. When we come out victorious, we cannot help but praise ourselves deep within. And we become so confident that we can go another mile, go deeper in the ocean. Sometimes I forget that God was there all along, carrying me every time the strong currents wash ashore. Without Him, I would never even be where I am right now. I know I can go deeper, but only if I let Him carry me all the time. No amount of success in this world can we attribute only to ourselves. Yes, we have been equipped to succeed, but at the end of the day, it is through God’s grace and love that we are able to achieve it.
That’s not the only thing I learned today. I brought my wife through the strong rip currents, and she was a bit frightened because literally, it looked like a small tsunami out there. Probably because tropical storm Irene was distressing the Atlantic waters. We stood almost about waist deep into the water, when we both saw a very high wave approximately 10 feet from a far. She thought it’s going to be the end of her, as she still needs confidence in her swimming. I told her to be still, and trust me. I would do everything I can to make her safe. In a few seconds the wave was right in front of us. Nope, not 10 feet, just about 2 or 3. I remembered science when it was taught in high school, the height of a ripple decreases with increased distance (promise, I’m not a nerd).
Life’s troubles are like the strong, powerful waves facing us from a far, ready to devour us. But that is only in appearance. In reality, it cannot defeat us, his divine law simply disallows that from happening. We have a God who will not let go, and will do everything he can to save us.
I pray for those who are facing problems today. Let your faith allow you to go the distance. We have a perfect Father who will never let go. May God bless us.
|Posted by Jay Autor on May 2, 2011 at 10:59 PM||comments ()|
I would like toshare a message that I saw in a pictorial cartoon which speaks volumes of thereality of the cross that we carry today. A clever man and his fellowChristians were carrying a cross that was 7 feet long and very heavy. While ontheir way, he somehow cheated, borrowed a chain saw and cut it shorter. Stillfeeling heavy, he cut it so short that the burden was manageable – 4 feetlong. He looked fine upon nearing the finish line, while the others were almostcollapsing because of the weight of the cross. Before the finish line, therewas a land divide, exactly 7 feet long. All the others were able to use theircrosses as their personal bridges to cross over towards the finish line but his4 feet long cross was not able to bring him much further.
Lesson:God knows what cross is right for us to carry. Let us carry it with all honestyknowing that it is what we need to reach the finish line.
Another man, waspraying solemnly for a very long time. He felt very good after the prayer. Partof his prayer was “protect me Oh Lord”. After his faithfulness inprayer, he stood up and walked away when a small pebble hit his head sopainfully that he shouted in pain, “Why me Lord?” “Why do Ihave to be hit by this pebble and feel this pain after a long prayer ofprotection?” When he looked back, he saw a giant version of God facingmillions of rocks and stones to cover him from it, and said “Sorry son,I’m trying to take the hit from these boulders so you get protected, butI’m afraid I might have missed a pebble or two.”
Lesson:Look at the bigger picture and be grateful. Is your pebble comparable to thosebeing hit by the huge rocks? Those who do not even have any shelter and thosewho are about to die because of hunger?
Let us thereforebe grateful at all times. Carry our cross and do not complain. God bless youtoday.
|Posted by Crystal Calibo on January 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM||comments ()|
Sirach 3:12-13. Son, take care of your father when he grows old; give him no cause for worry as long as he lives. Be sympathetic even if his mind fails him; don’t look down on him just because you are strong and healthy.
An experience in April 2007 traumatized me in such a way that I dislike looking at the elderly, for the mere site of them could move my heart to weep as memories slowly fill my mind. Memories so clear it seems like yesterday. It’s the memory of when my beloved grandfather, the one who actually brought me up since I was born, died in my arms. I resist the scene as it flashes back in my head, for it fills me with much hurt and remorse. Hurt as I lost a loved one…. So much remorse since I was not able to give him due attention during his final years as I was enjoying my youth. If only I was able to talk to him in the same way I elaborate my daily affairs with friends. If only I was able to spend more time with him like how I stay late working. If onlys… Indeed, regret is always in the end! I remember how he hungered for information about me, how he thirsted for my care, how he wished I was always there.
I participated in the Visit to the Elderly organized by Couples for Christ (CFC) Bermuda Social Ministry last December 18, 2010. Approximately 20 CFC volunteers were divided into two groups: one group in Matilda Smith Williams Seniors Residence and another in Westmeath Residential and Nursing Home. This was the second visit, the first being last March 1st 2009 with 40 volunteers. The goal was to spend an hour with the elderly, share stories with them, entertain them with Christmas songs, and feed them cookies during their afternoon teatime.
I joined the Westmeath group with 7 other volunteers. With few volunteers compared to the number of residents, the participation of each volunteer was very crucial. The afternoon started with a brief introduction, followed by the volunteer’s presentation- the Christmas Medley. After which, the volunteers shared stories with each residents while Christmas carols are sung by the music ministry. I was moved by the delight in each resident’s face. Most residents joined in the singing, clapping to produce beat to the songs. I could see how their faces brightened up upon hearing the Christmas songs. Their eyes twinkled. Maybe they remembered their younger years when they were able to spend the holidays with family and friends. Maybe we were an entertainment compared to their, perhaps boring, routine. Whatever it is, what is important is we were able to bring happiness to the elderly. We allowed God to make us instruments of joy.
The afternoon ended with a short prayer for the residents. I could see the residents were sad when we left. They yearned for more. One particular resident was requesting we record the songs. They were very appreciative of our short visit. How nice of them! As a gift, we gave them a CD so they can continue listening to Christmas songs.
Such an experience consoled me from the guilt I was feeling. It awakened my mind and I now realized that instead of wallowing myself in guilt, I could do better by reaching out to the elderly. They may not be my relatives but as we are all God’s creations, we are called to love one another. Those residents hungered for love and care. It’s a great experience to help fill it. Also, it’s an opportunity to practice the Filipino’s tradition of caring for our elderly relatives.
Back home in the Philippines, it is our tradition that the elderly stay with their children or relatives. Thus, children, grandchildren and relatives take turn in caring for the elderly. However, at this time when most Filipinos are working, whether locally or abroad, caring the elderly is usually left to the non-working family members or the “yayas”. Perhaps the call for the rest of us is to take extra efforts so our elderly feel we love them as well. Frequent calls and more visits hopefully compensate our time away from them. Hopefully, we will be more compassionate with them.
May we, members of the CFC, continue to be a blessing to others especially to our weaker brothers and sisters, like the elderly.
|Posted by cfcbermuda on August 18, 2010 at 6:35 AM||comments ()|
The daughter of Karl Marx, the founder of Communism, once confessed to a friend that she had never been brought up in any religion and had never been religious. "But," she said, "the other day I came across a beautiful prayer which I very much wish could be true." "And what was that prayer?" she was asked. Slowly the daughter of Karl Marx began repeating in German, "Our Father, who art in heaven..."
Jesus has told us that no one knows the Father, but only the Son (ch 10). The disciples discern this as they observe Jesus praying, They want to know the one who keeps their Lord so absorbed in prayer. They realize that there remains something more to their relationship with Jesus - something only Jesus can reveal to them. As they watch Jesus pray, they recognize their own vital need to pray. They cannot know Jesus completely until they pray like him - and with him.
However, no one could have expected what Jesus teaches them in response to their request. For it was unheard of in Jesus' time to address God personally as "Father" Such a thing would have been considered shocking and sacrilegious. Yet since his childhood, Jesus has been busy about his Father's affairs as he revealed in the temple. It had been promised to Zechariah that John the Baptist would turn the hearts of children to their fathers. In an extraordinary way, in Jesus' revelation, that prophecy now comes true.
Just as Jesus' whole life is focused on the Father, so too is Christian prayer. Jesus emphasizes two dynamics of prayer: Persistence and paternal care. You and I may wonder why Jesus endorses the efficacy of persistence over the exigencies of friendship. Yet, there is a divine logic to his plan. True friends accommodate even the least requests of their friends - at times in a lavish, non-discriminating, no-questions-asked kind of way. Love wants to please the beloved. Yet to pray with persistence purifies the desires of our heart. It filters out mere impulse and caprice. Persistence blesses you and me with real certainty about what we want. You and I will persist in only those things that truly matter. A lack of persistence often betrays a lackadaisical spirit about our soul's longing. It is just this sort of persistence later in Luke's gospel that returns the prodigal son to the arms of his father.
Thus you and I must ask like the blind man whose petition the disciples tried to squelch (ch 18 ). We must seek like the woman in search of her lost silver piece (ch 15). In this regard, you and I imitate Jesus himself who has come to seek out and save what was lost (ch 19). We must know, for God will treat us like the servants responding to the knock of their master when he comes. By virtue of all these efforts you and I offer the Father the chance to manifest his paternal love and care. Conversely, the lack of persistent, faithful prayer renders our knocking useless (ch 6).
It is the hallmark of the Father to be good to the wicked. Even on the natural plane, fathers cannot resist the entreaties of their children. God the Father gives us what you and I ask, not because we are good, but because God is good. Jesus today asks, "What father would give his child a snake or a scorpion?" Unfortunately, you and I hear of far worse fathers in the news. But God the Father gives his children power to tread on snakes and scorpions. In other words, to pray the way Jesus teaches us - to pray to the Father - invests us with the very authority of the Father. Thereby you and I can rise above our natural wickedness and be compassionate as the Father is. (ch 6)
In our first reading, we saw Abraham bargaining with God over how many just people it would take to save Sodom and Gomorrah. But like when children bargain with parents, they know there is a line in the sand. In this case it was ten good people.
The Father draws you and me into the fullness of love that he shares with his Son by giving us the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. Thus, when you and I pray the Our Father, we are transformed in holiness like John the Baptist, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah and Simeon at the beginning of Luke's gospel - all of whom were filled with the Holy Spirit as a fruit of their prayer. In short, as we pray the Our Father, Jesus does not simply reveal the Father to us - in the Lord's prayer, Jesus reveals you and me to ourselves.
Do you and I understand God as "our Father" merely as a metaphor or as reality? Do we pray the Lord's Prayer daily with child-like trust?
|Posted by Jay Autor on February 20, 2010 at 12:09 PM||comments ()|
Allow God to Bless You
It was going to be me and my wife’s first cruise ship experience. We were looking for the least number of nights to avoid over consumption of our vacation leaves. The trip was meant to celebrate my birthday and Valentines Day. So we got this Miami-to-Bahamas cruise and got a room with a window overlooking the sea and downtown Bahamas. Before we left Bermuda, we were hesitating to bring Tony, our first born, because we felt he’s too young to travel, but at the same time we don’t want him to be left behind with our nanny for consecutive days. Luckily, we called some of our friends, and to my amazement, a lot of them were eager to look after Tony while we’re gone cruising. So our nanny had so much help. First I hesitated because I’m never used to ask big favors from so many people. But the Lord intervened and told me to accept this blessing. “Allow others to serve you,” is what He was trying to say. Rejecting our friends’ offer to help would have been false humility. It’s crazy really. I didn’t realize that God wants to serve me too. He wants me to be happy. He touches the hearts of our friends and served us through them. What an amazing Father we have. Some people say that when you’re married, your life is gone. It’s all about the children now. It’s all about responsibility. Like it’s a sad state being married. God obviously wants to prove them wrong. We have an 8 month old and we’re cruising like we’re honeymooners. I guess it’s all about putting ourselves into the right perspective and allowing others and God to serve us.
So came the start of the cruise, and for about $300 each, me and my wife were awestruck with the value that the Carnival Cruise gave us back. Three fine dining, eat all you can buffet at lunch with choose your recipe personalized on-the-spot cooking for every passenger, free comedy shows, dance shows, games, and over a couple other free stuff to enjoy with. Me and my wife are frequent travelers and I can tell you nothing like that would cost you only 300 bucks each. It can even go as low as $200 for the windowless and smaller rooms. Just the transportation cost alone, or hotel costs would never ever go below that amount. Really the economics of this whole thing is a little difficult for me, maybe because I’m really just an engineer who knows nothing about debit, credit, ROI, etc. Whatever the case is, we know God continues to bless us the same way. He gives us more than we deserve. He’s always done that over and over again. We try to be near Him, we try to say YES to his salvation, we try to abide in Him, and then fall short each time. Still, He loves us more than we deserve. His mercy is overflowing beyond human imagination. Such is our God. That’s what He reminded us when He blessed us with all the fun we had in our cruise for a relatively low cost.
So off we landed in Nassau, Bahamas. A beautiful place. We went straight to Atlantis of course, and looked for the relics of the lost City. It reminded me of Disneyland. Not as great, but it’s a huge park with several different areas to go to. I did my first long heart-pumping water slide. My wife was a little scared to do it, but me, I did it twice =). We went white-water-rafting-type rapid river rides, took some pictures of the sting rays, sharks and all other weird looking marine animals swimming on top of us who were looking through a transparent glass tube underwater. It was such a huge place and so amazing that I lost my wife. Yes, I literally did. I really didn’t expect that to happen. At first I was a little scared, impatient, and disappointed that she didn’t show up where we’ve agreed to meet after my last water ride. Of course that’s my version of the story, women always have their own version too. Anyway, using my Sherlock Holmes skills I went up to the highest tower in the area and searched for her. Immediately, I found her talking to some resort staff. I was sure she was looking for me and probably would like to page me. Can you imagine, “paging the husband of Lorelie, please approach the lost and found section.” That’s more than embarrassing. So I stretched my voice with as much finesse as possible and called her name. Surprisingly she heard me at that distance. Probably a thousand feet above the ground. I was waving and smiling. All the disappointment gone because finally, I found her. I rushed going down, ran towards her and embraced her. I realized my frustration, disappointment, whatever you call it, they were all gone. Replaced with a loving realization that finally I found her. She was teary eyed because she was scared. I had all her passport, cruise boarding pass, everything else important for her to be back in the ship. But now we’re together again. I always thought only babies get lost, well, I know better now. I was happy because, the disappointment didn’t get along the way. It reminded me of the prodigal son story, not that my wife was a prodigal wife, but that the Lord found me with excitement and happiness, and never acted like an old strict Father ready to spank me upon my return. He found me, when I strayed. He found me when I fell. He found me when I was lost. And he found me with immense love and forgiveness. So I forgave my wife too. Actually she forgave me (that’s her version of the story). At the end of the day we forgave each other when we found each other.
God is so good. He loves us and He wants to bless us, if only we allow Him to. He gave us friends to help us when we needed them. He blessed us amidst our unworthiness with such an amazing experience. All my services to the Lord in our Church were nothing compared to how He blessed me. We cannot outdo God in generosity, and he is always excited to find us every time we get lost and go back to our old ways. It may be a never ending cycle of lost-and-found, but he never gets tired and is always eager to embrace us back where we belong. So friends decide today to allow God to serve you and bless you. It will open the gates of Heaven and shower you with abundance you could never imagine. Let us allow God to find us again and be reunited in His Love. Amen.