Religion, Spirituality

UNPOPULAR EASTER

tomb

What is Easter?

It is when…

 a hurting  person forgives,                                                                                                                      a betrayed friend gives a second chance to the betrayer,                                                                    a spouse remains faithful and trusts his/her erring partner,                                                            a parent gets up for work even if he/she is not feeling well,                                                              a student saves his/her allowance to secretly help his/her parents                                                a person stands fro what is right amidst criticisms,                                                                            a person makes unpopular decisions despite opposition,                                                                  a person remains honest, fair and just even if others are not,                                                          a priest loves everybody even if others are not true and trustworthy,                                            a person remains hopeful even if the present is too dark and uncertain.

for me, this is what I call EASTER!

It is when a person sees beauty in any “ugly” circumstance.  It is when a person feels what is not articulated.  It is when a person loves the unlovable.  It is when a person prays even if GOD is seemingly absent

This is Easter!

by: Fr. Jack Tangan, OCD

(image: googleimages – theconfessingbaptist.com)

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Religion, Spirituality

HOLY THURSDAY: FULLY AWARE

TOPSHOTS This handout picture released b

HOLY THURSDAY, CHRISM, LAST SUPPER

 

“….Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.  He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. .. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power…”

 

It is said that, “blind obedience” is far better than “informed obedience.”  Blind obedience takes on the leap of faith as there are no ways by which one can determine the possibilities of what lies ahead.  However, informed obedience lead one to walk in faith as the possibilities of the future are laid in front of the person.

Jesus, fully aware that his hour is coming, embraced with willingness and love the Father’s will and its consequences.  He love the Father dearly and He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

As we follow Christ in his last twenty-six hours, may we spend time with him, accompanying him in his moments of distress, grief, sorrow, struggle, surrender and death.

Listen as Jesus confides to you “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

Can you spend an hour with him?

agony

 

 

 

 

(image-google search- pope francis ; agony in the garden by grace carol bomer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion, Spirituality

Wednesday Flexes

wedsn

 

Wednesday of the Holy Week

Ant. 2 of Evening Prayer (Vespers)

“He took all our sins upon himself and asked forgiveness for our offenses”

 

Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.  Try, then, to imitate God, as children of his that he loves, and follow Christ by loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.

 

Oh Lord our God, grant us the grace to open our hearts to the mystery of your sacred passion, death and resurrection as we enter into the heart of the Easter Triduum.  Change our stony hearts into a heart of flesh. Transform us into the very person of Christ your Son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle, Vocation

Joie de Vivre

wheelchair

I keep on mulling the event that happened over dinner the other night.  I cannot find the words that would capture the depth and breadth of my “heaven on earth” moment.

My present community is composed of elderly Sisters, age ranges from 70 to 99 years old.  I am just in my early adult life and still far from the way they have lived and served God.

At dinnertime, still undecided which food to take, a ninety six year old Sister joined me at the service table, aware of her health diet, I mumbled over what she took, “are vegetables good for her?” trusting she does, I left her. As she picks the fish, I doubted her judgment over the viand so I called the attention of the caregivers, after being informed that her viand is on her table I literally shouted; she is hard of hearing though, “Sister, your viand is on top of the dinner table.” Sheepishly, she replied “Oh!” with a grin on her face. Some of the Sisters noticed too and one even bellowed, “She cannot eat chicken, please!” and everyone had all their attention on her.  Thanks to the meat (pork) she eats three times a day, she is perfectly well.

I went back to my seat feeling awed and in deep joy, each one taking care and being concerned with one another. It is as if the entirety of Community Life was flashed in front of me, summed up in one word CARE.  But I can only care if I go out of myself and see my neighbor in need, not because they need it but, I want to care. I want to love.

I am a Religious.  We live in community.  We value commonality or common life, a distinctive character of Religious Life, of which it makes our life colorful indeed!  We live in common; common prayers, common mealtimes, common recreation, common rising time and lights off.  Everything is in common even the habit (dress) that we wear. All the things that we received are put in common so as no one in the community is in want.

After fifteen years, I am beginning to get the nerve of the life I embraced (experience will tell you so!) Community Life is the most challenging part in the life of a Religious and it goes with the Vows as well (poverty, chastity and obedience.) I am living with 55 Elderly Sisters. We are all gifted with different, unique characters and behavioral patterns, endowed with formed habits and values, virtues and historical backgrounds coupled with joys and pains, and of course some with unresolved issues.  Yet, we exist, we live and we flourish because we CARE.  Our Community Life is lived in CARE following the example of Jesus as the Good Samaritan to his neighbor whom he CARED.

Maybe, just maybe, if we take time to CARE for one another seriously-in our local community, family members specially the estranged, hurting, who feels unwelcomed, the pessimists, the indifferent and aloof, if only we take time to enter into their world we would realize how wounded WE ARE and how WE CONTINUE to wound the other.  We project what we have and we loathe what we see.  If only we have fully grasped the totality of our life, we would come to terms with the reality that we all live in one BIG COMMUNITY, living a common life.

It is a journey onwards with a neighbor towards the eternal community with the Father in heaven.

 

 

Religion, Spirituality

Photo Musing

holy week

Browsing my social network  newsfeed, a sister of mine in the congregation posted this photo in her account.  I got so struck! Wow, three days from now, we will enter into the threshold of the mystery of our Catholic Faith! Time flies so fast.

I have so much in my mind with this photo but, unable to write! Nevertheless, let me share a thought that prods as I mused on this photo:

  • Can we individually reclaim the true essence of Holy Week in a self-serving and preserving world? Can we? Can you? Can I?

You might have something in your mind, after all readers are great sources of reflections and insights.

A blessed Holy Week ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle, Vocation

La Vie Est Belle

 

Twelve years since its foundation in Taytay, Rizal on 2004, the SPC Vigil House has gone beyond its conception.  From a simple house for the aged and retired SPC Religious Sisters to becoming one of the most “sought” after model structures in reference to “house for aged religious”.  Different religious communities and lay organizations have visited and surveyed its building structure, maintenance and operation.  Undeniably, the SPC Vigil House has become a beacon of care and love for aging religious who have served their respective congregations with much dedication and fidelity.

Considered as a haven for the Sisters in their old age, the Vigil House, as fondly called, has become a sanctuary for lay people who would come to join the Sisters in their prayers, Holy Mass, Eucharistic Exposition, liturgical rituals, devotions and novenas or those who frequent the place for solitude and prayer. True to its charism of Charity, their very presence impels people to seek God deeply.  Suffice it to say, the SPC Vigil House is the bush burning but not consumed in the heart of a city which awakens the inner longing of each soul drawn to deepen their faith and relationship with God.

Weakness and aging have not hindered the Sisters from ministering to the needs of their brethren. Aware of their limitations, they become more genuine and practical in their ministerial approach.  Where active members of the Congregation are concerned with “working in the world but not becoming of the world”, non-working members are preoccupied with spiritual affairs.  They have recognized that authentic presence and witness is the greatest and most challenging ministry, but, the most trustworthy and fulfilling means of conveying the message. True enough, it is only in weakness and suffering that one can truly be a beacon of hope, love and faith in a society where vulnerability is nothing but futility.  It is one’s experience of senescence that enables the ability to practise the true meaning of poverty, chastity and obedience, faith and hope, precisely the very things that they share to the people who come to the SPC Vigil House to be invigorated in their faith life.

“La vie est belle.”  Life is beautiful knowing that these Sisters who are in their prime have mirrored how life should be lived and what life is all about.  It is not about the degree attained or the school attended.  It is more than the position one’s held or the ministry you worked in.  It is not even intelligence or practicality that gauges the success or the building that you built or the number of communities which you were assigned. Rather, life is beautiful for these Sisters because of the relationship that deepens through the years of falling and rising. The flickering sparks of courage and trust amidst life’s challenges made them realize that being put together brings out hope and surrender.  “La vie est belle!” When deformities become reality and sickness becomes inevitable comrades, God becomes an intimate companion.

If the book of life of the SPC Congregation be destroyed, lost or burned, all they need is to look to these Sisters whose life is a “living book of life.”  The life of these Sisters embodies the spirit of the Congregation.

 

Spirituality

Moses In Our Midst

Holding-Hands

The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses IMPLORED the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’”

So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

(Exodus 32:7-14)

The first reading today got a better hold of me.  It did not only make me realize how powerful intercessions are but how weak God is when a sincere and humble man prays on behalf of his brethren.

Today’s reading is all about INTERCEDING FOR OTHERS.  We are called to live as one community.  The illness of one is an ache to all, the pain of another person in my community is my pain as well.  The hopes and aspirations of my neighbor is my hopes and aspirations for him/her as well.  My dreams are the dreams of my community for me too.

We all are one.  We are all bonded by one  prayer.  The intercessory prayers make us aware of the neighbor within us and around us.  The neighbor becomes not only the person we know (in the circles of our family, friends, workplace, etc) but those specially we haven’t met and known like  the continuing war in Arab countries – our neighbors are the victims of war and violence, and even the perpetrators- those who are sick, depressed, lonely, lost and the needy and many more ( you can add your lists!) Basically, it’s all about IMPLORING (interceding) for others for their benefits.

Which brings me to my own personal experience of a dear Ading (friend) who never fails to keep me always in prayers, always interceding. The Moses in my midst. We have such a beautiful relationship. Each interceding for one another not only in moments of joy but moreso during pains, confusions and even “sacred spaces”- the kind when you don’t want to share and just keep quite ’til hurt can’t hurt you anymore.

Can you name the Moses(es) in your midst?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirituality

BATHING BENEFITS AT LENT

running water

BATHING BENEFITS AT LENT

 “… in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.” Ps. 51

As I read the Responsorial Psalm for Saturday (March 5) I was struck by this passage.  Immediately the image of running water flashed into my mind.  I was transported to a state where I was bathing. I could feel the warmth of the water rushing all over me, leaving me refreshed and cleansed. I am new again.

Looking back on my Lenten journey as I prepare myself for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery which will commence two weeks from now, I appreciate how this holy season of Lent brings us new life in Christ. Outwardly, Lent has been compared to a journey in the deserts, whose aridity is seen as a time for repentance and an opportunity for purification and conversion.  Looking deeper, we will discover that this holy season carries a well that never runs dry, an oasis of water to cleanse us and make us new person in and for Christ.

Running water such a beautiful image of God washing me as I continue my forty days sojourn in the desert of Lent.  My struggle to be faithful to observe my Lenten practices and sacrifices (which includes my constant failure), allows me to enter the process of cleansing.  It is not our faithfulness in fulfilling our Lenten practices and sacrifices that cleanse us but what happens inside us that makes us clean.  This process which is primarily a tug-of-war inside us a return to rejection with indifference or kindness, to serve or just to stay in my comfort zone, to keep loving instead or becoming bitter, to choose joy instead of hate, is the running water that wipes out our offenses, that thoroughly washes us from guilt and cleanses us from our sins.  God sees the heart, the deeper longing of the human heart.  God delights in the small steps that we take.

As we immerse ourselves deeply in the heart of this holy season, we cannot but thank God for His generous mercy pouring forth into us particularly during this Lent, which coincide with the celebration of the Year of Mercy.

Lent is the running water that cleanses each one of us from the layers of guilt and sin we all have and mercy is God’s blanket that wraps us, wiping, and removing every guilt and sins we have.  This season is holy indeed!

Enjoy the rest of the weeks in our Lenten bath before Easter!

 

 

(image- googleimages search)