Sunday, February 13, 2011

early risers get free congee

Yesterday, some friends and I went downtown to do our first attempt at feeding the homeless. I brought a big pot of congee or "lugaw" and another friend brought the cups and spoons. Two in the group acted as documenters with a videocam and a still camera.

We started outside the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and walked around 3 blocks back to the same church, feeding all the street people we could. The congee was of course, not enough...but the experience was something to learn from. As Reggie said, we need a bigger pot. Probably, he's gonna buy something to fit a whole calf in..that would be great. I told him though that for now, and always, we shouldn't be after the numbers, but the quality of our actions. Are we not just feeding hungry stomachs, but also hungry hearts? That's the question worth answering.

A problem worth addressing is LONELINESS, not just poverty, disease, or addiction... Everything that afflicts mankind stems from this. Rampant sexually deviant acts, drug and alcohol addiction, crime, theft, hunger, prostitution...all these stems from the fact that we are all trying to fill up something that's empty in us.

And this can only be filled by one thing - LOVE. Compassion.Charity. All that our Lord sought to teach us and imbibe in us. And this for me is the ultimate goal for this project.

I didn't start this, God did. He kept pestering me to do something concrete to show him how much I love him. And this is it. I am loving him, we are loving him, in our neighbor - the poorest of the poor. And we've only just begun.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

an urgent message

Yesterday, in our cenacle at the Shrine of Mary Coredemptrix, which is where the Third Order meets, the former director of the tertiaries, Fr. Giancarlo (or is it John Carlo, idk), gave a very strong message for the Tertiaries who renewed their vows in the Mass following the talk. He said that one of the co-founders who is now in Cebu, Fr. Gabriel Pelletieri, told him that vocation to the consecrated life is very much needed in these dangerous times.

The Church is under attack by the forces of modernism, communism, and freemasonry FROM WITHIN. Whereas before, the persecution came from external enemies, in this most dangerous time, the enemies the Church has to contend with are the termites eating up the wood of our spiritual edifice, the wolves in sheep's clothing who are bishops and cardinals indoctrinated by the abovementioned diseases.

These are the bishops and cardinals (and even priests) who disobey the Pope, disregard the sacredness of our liturgy, and undermine the dogmas of our faith with their teachings and examples. There are bishops who promote the RH Bill. Priests in the U.S. and even in the Philippines alter the liturgy by making "clown masses"or "barbie doll masses" and what-not. These are sacrileges committed against the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and the Life of God present in the unborn.

It is a good sign that the former Card. Ratzinger who is now Pope Benedict XVI has slowly steered the Church back to the glorious tradition it had before, when it was something respected and revered. Knowing that he is one of the proponents of the Second Vatican Council which brought forth these diseases in the Church, this change is something welcomed by those members who have sensed a growing decline in the faith as evidenced in the apostasy of its members, the rampant disobedience and scandalous lives of its ministers, and the loss of vocations and even of those who are already consecrated. There is a shortage of priests, religious,and lay who adhere closely to the Church.

The natural world itself is undergoing a rapid decline, a result of our sinfulness and wilfull disobedience to the Gospel. The Lord is punishing us for our crimes against nature, against the innocent, and against the Church. It is now time to repent, to reform and to renew our faith in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Disasters of all kinds have become daily fare in the news and people still don't know what to do.

The answer is this: Become a Catholic or go back to the Church, lead holy lives according to the Gospel, consecrate yourself and your loved ones to the Immaculate, and accept suffering as a means to Heaven. Only God can save us through Mary.

"In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.."

"One day, with the Rosary and the Scapular, I will save the world."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

work is prayer, work is love

I have been reflecting on the value of loving your job. There are times of course when I feel bored and want to be somewhere else, the mall perhaps, or in my room, under the warm blanket..especially now that rain pours everyday and the wind is cold. Or go curl up in a couch and read a good book. But Jesus reminds me that my job is my mission field. It is where I can bear his light and shine it for all people to see.

Recently we've been encountering a lot of problems in the townhomes we've constructed last year. Leaking roofs, clogged downspouts, and bad plumbing gone berserk! Not to mention complaining homeowners who have to bear with a cessation in water supply, workers going in and out of their homes, etc, etc.

Sometimes, the thought of quitting the job comes into my mind. "God, I wish I can be out there, doing mission work with the poor, without thought for what to do next, what to say to irate homeowners, etc." But in the end, the voice of Jesus whispers(but really, he whispers loudly), "I placed you in the right job, you are there for a reason, that is your road to sanctity. Be patient, be kind, be tolerant. When you feel on the verge of giving up, offer it up to me, your cross, a sacrifice of love. I will strengthen you, equip you for the challenges, and sustain you when things go rough. When you are on the brink of anger, breathe me, and I will make a peaceful man of you. When you are afraid of the consequences, I will give you confidence in your decisions, and intuition enough to know what is right. When you are sad and tired of all the mental and physical stress, I will comfort you and give you rest. Cast all your cares upon me, you cannot outdo my generosity and my providence."

And when Jesus becomes silent, waiting for my reply, I breathe out and say, "Yes Lord, I know you can do it for me. You are far greater, more powerful, stronger and wiser. I cast my care on your shoulders. Come, let us begin to walk again." And it is always as if Jesus is my Simon of Cyrene, and we walk towards the Cross together, lightening each other's load.

Work is prayer, and work is love in action.

Monday, January 3, 2011

new year's resolutions

Happy New Year!

It is the tradition of most people to make new year's resolutions. I am not exempted from this. But do we mean it? Most of the time, by the end of the year we find we have not fulfilled our resolutions. Maybe it's a lack of will on our part, or maybe other more important (or more tempting) things cropped up and we lost our drive for that resolution.

I have made a list of resolutions myself. I am praying to God that I be able to fulfill them all in the year. Hopefully, the grace will be given to me to continue doing the good things I am doing and to eliminate the bad things that are hampering my growth.

Another great thing I have started this Christmas season is to join the Archdiocesan Renewal Catholic Services(ARCS), a missionary group of lay people who go to parishes (especially in the rural areas) and establish a Dawn Rosary group. Very Marian! I went on my first mission last December 30 and I had a blast!

The journey to Argao was wrought with anxieties as a part of my mudguard had to be fixed, I also feared that I was driving with a flat tire. But my companions Bro. John and Bro. Edgar assured me that Our Lady will keep us safe and that it's the Devil who is making all these anxieties happen. We prayed the Rosary (four decades) on the way and I asked for Mama Mary's protection on our journey.

And true enough, we reached the destination without any mishap. We had a hearty breakfast at Sr. Tuting's home. She served us tinolang isda and guso (fish and seaweed salad). Yum! Then we went on our way to the mountain barangay that we had to go to.  They were celebrating their anniversary for the Dawn Rosarians and we were invited. I had to leave the car below the rougher and hillier part of the way and we went to the chapel by way of motorcycles.

I was asked to give a testimony about my experience of the Lord and we had Mass. After the Mass we had a hearty lunch and then Bro. John gave his talk, followed by Bro. Edgar and his entertaining ice breakers, then we ended everything with Sr. Tuting's talk.

The good thing that struck me was how very simple the people were. Of course, you would expect this from a rural barangay, but there was a quality about it that impressed me. I sensed the presence of Christ. Truly, he is present in the poor and simple. And they are indeed blessed.

While waiting for a motorcycle while my companions went ahead of me, a couple invited me into their house so I can sit while waiting. The husband talked to me and asked me questions and stuff and it felt so good to just talk without any inhibitions.  Usually, when you're in the city, you should be wary of strangers. Talking to them might make you the victim of robbery or some other illegal activity. It was freeing to let go of qualms for awhile. And you feel that you can trust these people, even if you've never met them before. They make you feel at home and peaceful. God is with them. They asked a passing rider, their friend, to take me up to the chapel as he was on his way there too. And he let me ride FREE of charge! What a blessing!

We headed home safely after a light snack at Sr. Tuting's. And the day ended with a sigh of thanks that God has given me an opportunity to help the missions and to meet very good people. I love the poor, and I am convinced more and more that the poor are God's representatives here on earth.

"Whatever you do to the least of these, my brothers, you do it to me." --Jesus Christ

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The “Prayer of Abandonment”
by Blessed Charles de Foucauld

I abandon myself into Your hands,
Do with me what you will
Whatever you may do,
I thank you.
I am ready for all,
I accept all.
Let only Your Will be done in me,
and in all your creatures,
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul
I offer it to you,
With all the love of my heart,
For I love you,
And so need to love you,
To give myself,
To surrender myself into your hands
Without reserve,
And with boundless confidence,
For You are my Father.

dreams and visions

I remember my childhood and how it was so easy to fall into dreams. Dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Perhaps, it was easier then because I was still young. My dreams remained just dreams. The task and the challenge is when you are older and you have to DO something to make those dreams a reality.

And even then, when you make your mind up about pursuing those dreams, you find that Life is not going to make it easy for you. People, circumstances, your own attitudes and emotions, play the obstacle to your goals. How sad! And from there, it's either of two things: you pursue your goal and get around or over the obstacles come what may or you confine yourself to lethargy and the laziness that most often creeps into the mind and the heart of those whose dreams have been thwarted.

See, the problem lies not in the external things, it's what is in you that counts. We start out zealously enthusiastic, ready to conquer the world with our dreams and visions! But when the days pass by and things become routine, we find that our spirit becomes dull and we feel bound to a world that is at once dreary and ordinary.

And yet, this is the lot of man. And we must, at all counts, become successes. No matter that you work at a fastfood chain, cleaning up after satisfied bellies, or that you sit in an office all day, crunching numbers in your computer. The important thing is, we must do what we do in a way that only saints can. With LOVE!

 Love must surround us, must flow through our hands, our eyes, our bodies as we work. Only with love can work become sublime, and a lot less ordinary. And when we work with love, we pray unceasingly. Because anything that is done with love is a song of praise to God who made our bodies for work and leisure at the same time.

I tried this experiment before. Whenever I feel low and bored with my work, I tell myself that this is an opportunity to work with love. I take a deep breath, smile and offer what I do to God. And things that once were so irritating and complex seemed easier and simpler to handle. Patience comes and settles in. I try to shift my eyes and in looking at the people I work with, instead of seeing ordinary men, I see the face of Christ masked in the poverty of the human form. They seem to change in front of me. Whereas they sometimes become disagreeable to me, they change! They smile more often in my presence, strike up a casual conversation, laugh with me..and what seemed to me to be a drab and ordinary existence becomes a sublime experience of the goodness that is in each of us. And the casual conversation, the occasions of laughter among co-workers become for me an opportunity to become like Christ, a brother to all. And I give them the opportunity to become like Christ for me too, for then I see that they are my brothers.

Dreams and visions of what the future holds are fine. But the courage to make the most of what you are, where you are, and what you are doing in the present is more important. Becoming a saint does not necessarily mean leaving your life for an ascetic existence, praying to God in a cave where you see only the city below, and the sky above you..eating a poor diet of herbs and game, sleeping alone in wild surroundings. No. Not always. Ordinary circumstances and an ordinary life is also a field where saints are harvested. And maybe what we need is not a change of vocation, but an enthusiasm for our vocation.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the desire to be poor

I have this desire to be poor. To be poor in the name of Christ. How wonderful it would be not to worry about tomorrow, but to love each moment of the day because God gave it. I believe that the poor of this world do not know the great gift they are given. If only they would feel content.

When you are rich you run the risk of feeling one very subtle disease -- insecurity. And when you are insecure, you fail to become what you were meant to become. I wish I was poor. Not poor in the accidental way, or because I was born in a poor family. I want to be poor voluntarily. To imitate our Lord who was poor, simple, humble.

 I want to cultivate this poverty of spirit that sometimes goes away, when the lure of the world, and the glitter of wealth catches the eye. But I want it forged in the heart of Christ. So when I am beset by the trials of life, I might in joy say, "Here I have found my place and lot in the world, to be despised, humbled, and weakened. That I may know my true place in the world as one who owns nothing, controls nothing. And that I can give everything because I possess all that my God possesses."