While fixing my things in the drawer, I was captivated by the song of James Ingram Just Once. As I am listening to it, I was struck by one of the lines of that song which goes like this; I did my best, but I guess my best wasn’t good enough. It’s the same thing when we speak about, aspire, and work for conversion in our lives. Conversion is a gradual process that needs special attention and consideration in our day to day struggle. It cannot be forced nor dictated; it simply flows in the right moment and in our ordinary experiences in life. It’s God’s initiative, and we just decide whether we allow it to penetrate into our lives or not. So, we cannot simply say into ourselves that we attain conversion because of our own effort; our effort should always be in line with God’s invitation that we must change and reform our lives according to His teachings and ways of life.
We cannot deny the fact that we really do our best to reform our lives according to God’s teachings and ways of life. But, humans as we are, we cannot also deny the fact that the best that we exerted in order to change is sometimes not good enough. I, myself could testify this; I really do my very best to change all my bad habits and weaknesses by following Jesus’ teachings and ways of life as a model. As for my part, I cannot deny the reality that sometimes I fail not because of the fact that fighting my bad habits and weaknesses is an endless battle. From this I learned a lesson that there will be always another challenges and battles in very victory that we gain in battling our bad habits and weaknesses in life. So, conversion cannot be achieved and insisted with just a matter of second or minute, it’s a process that must always be considered every day until we reach the sixth feet below the ground. Conversion is really tasking, yet fulfilling.
All of us have some weaknesses that we would like to change or reform into strength as we really do our best to change or reform it. But, sometimes we fail simply because our best is not enough. Don’t give up! Stand up! Continue the fight! Don’t be afraid if we lose the fight; always remember that the more we lose in facing our bad habits and weaknesses in life bravely and courageously, the more we come to acknowledge hope as our guiding light to achieve victory and inner peace. Conversion seems too tough; we just have to go on and always welcome it into our hearts. It doesn’t matter whether we lose or not, what matters most is that we know that we need it because we admit into ourselves that we are weak and fragile and we need God as our strength and savior.
Decisions in life are full of consequences. When we say our “yes” to a certain decision, we need to mean it. But, there’s an undeniable fact that we need to consider in our life. As we decide or follow a certain decision in life, sometimes we complain because we expect that what we have decided or followed has less worries, sacrifices, and sufferings. We see to it that once we decide or follow a certain decisions in life there should be an avenue for us to run away from pain and suffering. Today’s readings and the gospel for this Sunday actually exhort us to respond joyfully to every decision and invitation that God is giving and presenting to us despite the demands and sufferings that we will encounter along the way and regardless of the cost. Actually, the readings and the gospel for today do not highlight suffering in itself; rather it gives us an example on how to remain faithful as Christ’s disciples of this generation despite the fact that suffering is inevitable. In the gospel, Jesus shows to us the other side of what it means to be His disciple: “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” At first, I find it demanding and burdensome relating it to my situation right now as a religious brother who is aspiring to become a priest someday. Prophet Jeremiah is right in saying these words, “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”. It’s not so easy to be a disciple of Christ. It takes a lot of patience, endurance, and fidelity in order that I may be able to commit myself with the Lord’s invitation every day. To be honest, I always fail in really doing my best to be committed with the Lord because I admit that I am also too human capable of committing failures and shortcomings. But, I never give up. Even though that fidelity to His call is also a test on how I may be able to withstand sufferings and persecutions, I still believe that there’s joy in it. The only consolation that I gain despite the fact that discipleship is a demanding job is He himself. This is what I noticed as I let myself be duped by God’s invitation; the more I patiently endure the cost of discipleship in the midst of trials, challenges, difficulties, pains, and sufferings, the more I see the transformation within my life and the more I feel the immensity of joy within my heart. Yes, now I realize that St. Paul is correct in saying this as we strive faithfully to our calling or decisions whatever that calling or decisions may be: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect”.
As we continue to reflect upon the readings and the gospel for today, let us pray to the Father that He may always grant us strength and inspiration as we do our best to become a faithful follower to His call regardless of the cost. Let us continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters and even other religious minorities in Iraq that they may be able to find consolation in God. For me, they are the best example on how to be an authentic disciple of Christ that in spite of persecutions and sufferings they are experiencing and enduring, they still remain steadfast in their faith and in their hope that one day everything will be okay with the help of God.
Why do some people can’t accept your sorry even if you are sincere with it and you are really doing your best to change and not going to hurt his/her feelings anymore? For me, this is the hardest part in a relationship when you want to reconcile with a person whom you love and trust most. Why hate is always greater than a sincere “Sorry?” This is what bothers me today. I am now in a great difficulty to reconcile myself with a friend whom I hurt most. Our misunderstanding began with a joke. We are fond of joking one another satirically in Facebook. I am not aware that it already came into the point that I became imprudent and my jokes already hurt her feelings too much. In order that she may not be bothered by me anymore, she unfriend me in Facebook. That gesture of unfriending me in Facebook is a big blow and slap for me; it simply says that she doesn’t want me to be her friend. I already said sorry to her many times, but it seems nothing happens. I really did hurt her much and I think it’s impossible for me to reconcile with her. I feel so sad that I hurt her feelings unintentionally. It seems I lost a friend that is very good to me. She hates me now, and I think there’s no room for me to humble myself with her anymore.
From this experience, I learned a lesson that is so important for me and also I need to take into consideration. The lesson is all about keeping a relationship in good terms and in prudence. Sometimes, I have this tendency to be vocal with a person especially when I see his/her faults. I think, this sad reality that I am experiencing right now is an eye-opener for me to be prudent on my words and actions most especially in keeping a relationship in good terms. It’s so tragic for me that my friendship with her turns into hate and despair. But I need to accept it as a lesson and as a warning. Now, I am really doing my best to reconcile with her and hoping that she may be able to forgive all my shortcomings and imprudent jokes. Now, I learned that not all jokes are pleasing and entertaining; it sometimes kills and bleeds. So, from this experience I should be cautious enough with my words and actions as how I deal with my friends at another time in order to keep my relationship with them intact and on the right track.
Have you already experienced being lonely without any reason at all? To be honest, for the past weeks I am being bothered by this phenomenon. I don’t even understand why I feel so lonely and terrified. As I reflect upon it, it seems that everything is okay and running so smoothly, but why am I so lonely? Sometimes, we really cannot understand the promptings of our hearts. There are times that it tells us something different that contradicts what we thought is okay or normal in our situation. Hence, the restlessness of our hearts is inevitable; it always longs for something beyond of what we are enjoying and catering in our actual situation.
To be lonely without any reason at all is a manifestation that we need also to accept and consider restlessness and uncertainty in our lives. These are facts of life which bother, yet grant us a significant meaning and awareness. Experiencing it would tell us that we are fragile, yet capable of being a channel of God’s love and mercy for others. Of course, nobody wants to be lonely, but we should accept the fact that sometimes our lives will be experiencing and encountering the phenomenon called “loneliness without a meaning” in an unexpected circumstances of life. Does it mean that we should avoid ourselves from experiencing that situation? Let it be an attention caller and let it flow into our disposition and in our day to day experience. It simply invites us to be open for possibility to see what’s happening in our lives. It also helps us to be aware of our heart’s promptings that reminds us of something that is pleasing to our growth and maturity. From this phenomenon, one thing that we should always remember as we engage our attention and awareness to it, i.e. don’t be afraid. Loneliness is a reality that comes into our lives in an unexpected way, but we should not be afraid with it. Let it be and put it into prayer, and you will see the wisdom behind it.
It’s not easy to be a blogger. Sometimes you really need a lot of patience in order to come up with a topic that will capture the attention of your readers. There are times that writing something for my blog is too boring because it seems that inspirations does not cooperate well into my mind, heart, and hands. Words are also seemingly losing its taste and ardor for my sense as I am doing my very best to write something for my blog painstakingly. From this experience I realized that there’s no easy way to achieve your dreams and aspirations in life. You really need to go through the process in order to reach it. Though the process may sometimes be too difficult to take, we mu still continue moving on and doing all the best that we can. This is what I am doing; even though blogging may sometimes be too boring, I really motivate myself to do it thinking of my purpose and why am I blogging, i.e. to inspire and motivate people through my personal experiences and reflections about life and love. Though I find blogging not easy and tasking, I am so thankful that some people reads it and appreciates the effort that I am exerting for it, and that’s what fades my hesitation to continue writing my reflections and that motivates my reader. As I go on into blogging, it’s really nice to go back with your humble beginnings. I even have dreams and aspirations for my blog. I too am in need of upgrading my blog site in order that my blogs may cater a lot of readers around the world, but it is not yet fully realized because I don’t have the means. In spite of this thing that hinders my enthusiasm to keep on blogging, I still go on. For me it doesn’t matter whether my blog site is highly upgraded; what is more important is that for me not to stop writing and blogging even though few people appreciate what I am doing. Blogging is my alter ego, and it will always make a harmonious music to all even though few people listens to it well.
Who is Jesus for you? Do you really know Him despite the fact that you’re travelling on a “broken road” of your life? Do you really care for Him even though your expectations are not being granted by Him? To be honest, I, too doesn’t fully understand yet the role of Jesus into my life. I, too also is still on the process of knowing Him well and His significant role with my being. As I reflect upon the gospel for this Sunday (Mt. 16:13-20), I remembered one of my dialogue with my Postulant Master nine years ago. I opened up with him that I am in love with somebody. I told him also that I am looking always on her Facebook account in order to know her well and also to befriend with her. In the middle of our conversation, my Postulant Master said; “well it’s normal for your age that you are exerting an effort to know the character and identity of a lady because you fell in love with her, but how about Jesus who falls in love with you; have you tried to know and search about His significant role into your life? Have you ever thought into your life to read the Bible and let His words of encouragement and love speaks into your life?” These questions that my Postulant Master told me nine years ago when I was still a Postulant are now coming back to me as a reminder as I reflect upon the gospel for today. Yes, I love the Lord, and because of love I followed Him, but have I ever tried to deepen my knowledge about Him by means of reading and listening to His words? Actually, I am really doing my best to know Him deeply, but sometimes I fail because of laziness, boredom, and stress. So, my knowledge about Jesus is still shallow and not yet deeply rooted and founded in His words.
Even though my knowledge about Him is still shallow and not yet deeply rooted and founded, still I am not discourage to continue doing my best knowing and searching His significant role into my life. If I always include into my prayer that I love Him with all of my heart, my soul, and my strength, I should also learn to dedicate my life searching and seeking for His great importance with my existence even though uncertainties may come along the way. May the Lord help and guide me as I will do my very best to know His So Jesus despite the fact that I sometimes fall short in trying to know Him wholeheartedly and sincerely, and also with this I may be able to encourage people that it is not our feeling of loving Him that would go first, but our choice to follow and love Him.
Is life unfair? When life seems to be not according to what think and expect sometimes we immediately complain. We want life to follow our own standards, expectations, and wants; but it should not be. A person who has this kind of mindset ends in desperation, anxiety, depression, and disappointments. Life should live according to the will of God.
But, we cannot deny the fact that we would like life to be in accordance with our plans. We also want it to be directed in our dreams and desire. Unfortunately, we are afraid that our lives will be directed with different plans, dreams, and desires because we are not ready for it and it is not according to our expectations, but, that’s life. Our life is not under our own control, and only God directs it. God has His plans, dreams, and desires for us that is greater than our own plans, dreams, and desires. We end up losers and at lost in our lives because we don’t let God controls our lives. He knows what is better for because He is the author of our lives.
Every day we are encountering a lot of decision-making in our lives. Sometimes, we thought that we decide something better for our lives, but we ended up sad, unfulfilled, and longing for something beyond what we decided. What if we ask God today if what is better for your life, and for sure you will find an answer. Let all your plans, desire, and dreams in life be scrutinized by God and for sure He will make it better and great. One thing that we should always remember is before you plan and expect something for your own sake, kneel down and ask God if where is He calling you and what is His plan for you. Then, if you will do it sincerely, for sure your life will be directed according to what God wants and prepared for you.