Charge to Experience

sagada-teachermiatravelsOne of the things that really make me bother as a blogger is the experience called the “inexpressible insights”.

These insights are hard to put into writing as I am now engaging myself with this kind of experience.  I remember Jodie Foster’s 1997 movie entitled The Contact as Doctor Ellie Arroway when she tried to explain to the panel and to Michael Kitz about her alien-stuff experience and she simply said these words;

“I can’t. I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my wish.”

It’s the same thing I am feeling right now.  I had a wonderful experience, but I can’t put it into words which I wish I could.  The only thing that I could say is “I…had an experience…I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it…”  This kind of experience really comes in an unexpected moment.  Hence, I realized no words can ever explain an experience that’s hard to prove or put into our own language or mindset.  Maybe, people may judge this thing as a “scarcity-of-word-syndrome” or “experience-pondered-by-silence”.  I don’t know.  But, the only thing that for me is the surest answer is “I had an experience.”

Thus, as I reflect on this, I realized that there are experiences in life that are left unexplained and only charge to experience per se.  It’s not foolishness, but it is just part of my uniqueness as a human.  As an analogy; when we look up to sky and try to look on the stars we cannot but be amazed on its wonder.  We are being awe-inspired by its magnificence and we cannot but experience it and be delight on its wonder.

Afterwards, it’s hard to explain in an exact way what we experienced about the stars, and the only thing that we could say is “the stars are wonderful.”

Indeed, it’s good to be human.  Some experiences that we experienced here on earth are not bound for explanation but charge to experience.  It’s normal not to explain what we experienced rightly, but it’s abnormal to explain what we experienced on an exact and surest way.  Everything what we experienced here on earth are not calculated, and beyond the parameters of space and time.  So, every experience is meant for cherishing and not for explaining because it lasts.

I am lucky that I am experiencing this kind of opportunity.  It is just trying to show me that I am unique and my experiences are beyond my imaginations and calculations just like yours.

On Unconditional Love and Mother’s Love

strength-of-a-mothers-loveTry as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.”

-Victor Hugo

Love is what makes the human heart alive and active.

But, when love is unconditionally felt and given, this is one of the best parts in experiencing love as the essence of life.  This is what the gospel for this Sunday wants to express into our minds and hearts.

Jesus showed to us the real essence of love by saying; No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend (John 15:13).  This is what love is all about, i.e. giving up everything for your beloved without any cost.  Why?  Let us revisit again the gospel for today; Jesus assures us when we give up everything for love, His joy may be in us and our joy may be complete (John 15:11).  Thus, only in giving up for the sake of love we may be able to feel and experience complete joy which greater than the smiles on our faces.

What makes love unconditional?  Unconditional love is greater than the hugs that we long for, the kiss that we hope for, and the Valentine’s Day that we wait for.  What makes love is unconditional is in its expressions, and not in expectations.   The best example of unconditional love as an expression is the mother’s love.  The love of a mother begins in the womb and ends in tomb.  It means, the love of a mother encompasses everything.  For a mother, it doesn’t matter how many sacrifices she has to offer for her children; what matters most for her is she love and will love them unconditionally.  Just like what my mother did to us when we were still young.

She’s inexpressive, but we feel her love when she acts it out.  From that I realized that even words are insufficient in order to express the love of a mother to her children, so she expresses it through actions.  If I will compare the love of my mother for us, the best image that is popping-up unto my mind is the image of the swan covering its children in order to protect them from danger and that the children may feel the warmth of their mother swan’s embrace.  For me, this is a powerful image of unconditional love.  Through the persona of a mother, the unconditional love of God for all of us is certifiable.  For a mother, laying down her life for her children is difficult and challenging, but fulfilling.  That’s what makes a mother’s love best.

Love really drives us to do impossible things.  Hence, love is powerful.  But, it will be more powerful when it is shared unconditionally.  And, this is what I learned from my mother.  Even though people whom I loved do not understand the way I loved them it doesn’t matter for me.  What matters most for me is I loved them unconditionally.  It’s risky but fulfilling.  I admit, I received hurts and rejections a lot of times when I do my very best to love unconditionally.  I did not give up.  Instead, I embrace those things and still moved on because I believe this is what love is all about.  Indeed, Victor Hugo is right in saying; you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.  Hence, loving is really untiring when it is freely given and shared unconditionally.

Goodbye to a place called “HOME”

10255621_1460605577518718_1640161868880774405_oIt’s hard to say goodbye to a place that you called “HOME”. Indeed, the song Leaving on the Jet plane is right on saying;

All my bags are packed I’m ready to go

I’m standin’ here outside your door

I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

One of the things that I hate most is to say goodbye. Goodbyes make me sad and nostalgic about the wonderful memories that I encounter to a place that I consider as “HOME”. Some people said, it’s really hard to say goodbye to a place that you belonged yourself with especially when memories made you feel alive and relieve from the pain of the past nightmares and grieves. It’s really so sad to wave my hand and say “goodbye” to a place that made me brand new and alive once again. But, this is life when it’s time to let go and to welcome another chapter for my life.

I will really miss Cebu so much. It’s not about the beautiful beaches, views, heritage, restaurants, historic places, and events that I will miss but the experiences and memories that I leave behind on that place called The Queen City of the South. Though I was not able to learn the language well, I was thought to value myself and my vulnerabilities as I also value the place despite the imperfection that it has. Because of this place I was challenged to consider the different aspect of my life not just only as a religious but also as a human person. On that place I realize that life is more appreciated when it is simple and serene. Hence, the simplicity and the serenity of that place helped me to myself in a bigger picture, and that’s why I consider Cebu as “Home” and my “Oasis”.

Now, I left Cebu. But, it will always be forever in my heart. I have learned a lot of things about you, and I will always cherish it. Now, I am embracing the next chapter for my life. Another journey is waiting for me and it has lots of surprises. At this moment, the only thing that I should do is to let go and start all over again. I hate this job but it’s a need for my growth and my search for life’s ultimate reasons. It’s really hard to say goodbye, but there’s good in saying goodbye. When there are goodbyes, there are another opportunities and beginnings that are waiting for me. What are those? I don’t know but I know it’s always for a better.

On Friendship and Break-ups

670px-Break-Up-with-Your-Friend-Step-02Is there breaking-up in friendship?

This question popped-up into my mind when I am experiencing the demands, hassles, and burdens of friendship nowadays.  What must be the real essence and nature of friendship, and why there’s a term in friendship called “breaking-up”?   We all know that friendship is our support system.  We need friends because it enhances and nurtures our identity as social beings.  But, when friendship gets rough, leads us to stress, and no longer serves as a support; we cannot but let go and break up to with our “friends”.

Just like in a romantic relationship, “breaking-up” is a possibility in friendship.  But, it doesn’t mean it’s over.  “Breaking-up” in friendship is different from breaking up in a romantic relationship.  It’s just a moment of accepting the fact that in friendship there’s a need for re-evaluation.  Yes it’s true that some friendship does not last forever so it ends in breaking-up dramatically.  When this occurs just continue to move on and start all over again.  I, myself, am not exempted in this kind of situation.  There were a lot of “breaking-ups” that I experienced in friendship simply because it does not anymore become healthy and sound.  But, I did not give up on reviving it and make it as more enhancing and nurturing means for my growth and maturity.  At first, I don’t understand why the reality called “breaking-up” in friendship is evident and existence.  After I experienced this several times I realized that it’s an indicator for me to ask myself how far I am doing my best to become honest, productive, sincere, and transparent in friendship without thinking, and should never be, that my friends are but just an object of my needs.

I could say friendship is the most serious kind of relationship than romantic relationship.  Just like what the most inspirational, and greatest Christmas film of all-time, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) about friendship; “No man is a failure who has friends”.  Hence, even though “breaking-up” in friendship is a reality in life; it does not guarantee us to end our capacity to enter in this kind of relationship.  It’s undeniable that it hurts, but how we will be able to gain friends if we avoid ourselves in this kind of reality.  “Breaking-up” in friendship is not a curse but an opportunity to re-think and straighten the crooked lines of this kind of relationship.  Yes, it’s not easy, but I always believe that the secret of effective relationship in friendship starts in pain; so “breaking-up” is necessary if and only if it seen in the vantage point of optimism and acceptance.

The Good Shepherd and My Vocation Story

jesus-the-good-shepherdI am the good shepherd…I will lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15)

These are the words that caught my attention as I reflect on the gospel yesterday.  Seeing the connection of these words into my life, I cannot but refer it in my vocation story since it was also the celebration of the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations yesterday.  As I do my very best to connect the words that made me reflect yesterday into my state as a religious soon to be priest; allow me to share to you my vocation story.

When I was a high school student, I don’t have any interest on priesthood.  My dream was to become a Chemical Engineer and get off my parents from poverty.  It’s normal and common to dream big like this especially when you came from a poor and underprivileged family.  So, during my high school days I study hard and really did my very best to pursue my dreams and not lose my focus.  In order to be self-motivated, I always say to my self during those times that I should never give up in achieving my dreams and goals in life which will serve as a means for my family to have a better life.  But, everything has changed when God suddenly intervened as I am chasing my own plans, goals, and dreams in life simply because He has a better plans, goals, and dreams for me.

I entered in the seminary out of curiosity.  At first, I don’t have any intention to pursue this kind of life because I just want to try it and find out the mystery behind the walls of the seminary.  But then, the mystery that I am searching for inside the seminary is the same mystery that made me like the seminary and continues the journey that I have started.  Now, I just have two years left before I become a full-fledge priest.  As time passes by, and as I continue this journey I realized that God calls me to pursue his dreams, i.e. to make me an instrument of love, hope, and empowerment for the people.  He made used my dreams to see his dreams in a bigger picture.  He used my miserable situation to be a wounded-healer for those who are also miserable and underprivileged like me.  As I ponder these things, I cannot but say these words; “It’s a tough and challenging call, but providential.”

Revisiting my vocation story I asked myself; “Why He called me in this kind of life despite the fact that I am a sinner and I am not worthy?  Why He chooses me among those who are the best, the most intelligent, the most pious, etc.?”  Simply because, He trusts me and He used my vulnerabilities for establishing a message that His call and love is not just for the righteous but for all.  Hence, He is a good shepherd; a shepherd that is ready to lay down his life for all of us.  It’s the same thing that the Lord is challenging us to do, i.e. to be a good shepherd for others especially for those who called by God for priestly and religious vocation.  God pastured me as His sheep in my seminary formation; now, he challenges me to do the same, i.e. to pasture the people who longs for love, hope, and empowerment.  It’s really a challenging task, but with the help of God nothing is impossible.  Henceforth, the message of the good shepherd is not just only for us who follow His path, but for each and every one of us.  To be like Him is a universal call that all of us must consider because we have the responsibility and the duty for our brothers and sisters who are longing for love, hope, and empowerment.  Let us also include on our prayers that Lord of the Harvest may always send good and holy laborers in the Church.  Also, include me in your prayers that I may be a good and holy laborer of God in his vast Harvest.

Dear Friend

broken-friendship-quote1I dedicate this write-up for those who abandoned by their friends and for those who continue to love and consider them as friends even though they’re already rejected and neglected by them.

 Dear Friend,

            In friendship, I believe in this philosophy which states; a friend is someone capable of perfecting my imperfections, fulfilling me, revealing to me who I am because you are my friend, because you love me, because you are my personal good and I am also your personal good, and because you make me conscious of loving and arouses within me a sense of wonder and admiration.  Hence, you are so important to me because you make my joy and my being complete.   This is how I consider you not just as a friend but a person who has capacities and uniqueness.  I trust you, I believe in you, and I respect you because you also did these to me.  Because of you everything has changed into my life.  You free me from my sorrows and sadness.  You help me to appreciate my uniqueness and also my weaknesses.  Indeed, you’re such a good friend to me and you’re always saying to me whenever we talk; when you feel down and troubled and you need a person to talk and to be your crying shoulder, just call out my name and I’ll be listening to you and I’ll be at your side as your crying shoulder.

Suddenly, as time goes by, I cannot but be amazed and surprised that these things will be just a part of happy memories inside my mind.  What happened?  Why things have changed in our friendship?  I thought everything will be okay and fine, but why there’s an abrupt amendment on our friendship?  Why you suddenly left me behind without any reason at all?  Have I hurt you that’s why you left me alone in my loneliness?  I cannot feel you anymore.  I cannot understand why all of a sudden you break my heart and confuse my mind into uncertainties.  Before, everything is overwhelming and wonderful when we are together as friends sharing our own insights about love and relationship; but now out of the blue you faded away without any manifestations.  This is a sad reality that unrecognizable and unacceptable.  I cannot but cry and ask the heavens why these things are happening to me?  Did I commit something wrong to you, my friend?

In this experience I realized that the most painful and hurting experience in the life of the person is to be left behind by a friend without any reason at all.  It’s more horrible than a break-up, and more horrifying and despairing than a simple rejection.  It’s like a slap on my innocence when you reject me and you left me suffering on my own grief and anxieties.  Why? This is the only question that my mind and my heart cried out when you now avoid me and consider me as nobody.

Even if you treat me as nobody or as an insignificant person I will still consider you and love you as a friend.  You’re still significant into my life.  Yes, I am in pain now, but I will never regret that you became an important part in my growth and in my existence.  You’ll always be in my heart no matter how excruciating the loneliness and sadness that you have given me.  You’ll always be a friend to me; capable  of perfecting my imperfections, fulfilling me, revealing to me who I am, my personal good, and a person who makes me conscious of loving and rouses within me a sense of wonder and admiration.  Though how many times you forget me and reject me as you friend, in my heart, I will always consider you as my friend; a special and unique friend to me.

Sincerely Yours,

 An Insignificant Friend of yours.

Like Facing a Blank Wall

empty-roomIn the past months until now I am experiencing the crisis that is very common, but an excruciating experience for all of us, i.e. Spiritual Dryness.

In my prayer it seems that God is not present and it’s like that I am facing a blank wall whenever I communicate to him.  I have a hard time now to recognize God and his presence in my life because it seems that he is hiding from these dark nights that I am encountering right now.  I feel so lonely and sad without any reason at all why I am lonely and sad.  I feel so down and troubled inside and the graces coming from the Lord, which for me a source of my strength and courage seem so ordinary and secondary.  I don’t understand why these things are happening to me.

I am doing my very best to love God and to be close to Him, but nothing happens and I can’t find any consolation coming from him when I strive to love him wholeheartedly and sincerely.  Where’s God in my life?  This is my question into myself as I struggle to find him in the dark and in the blank walls.  I feel so alone and cold as I am suffering this kind of grief which I don’t like really to experience and happen into my life.

As I reflect on the gospel today my attention was caught by these words; “Why are you troubled?  And why do questions arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me and see…” (Luke 24:38-39).  As I let these words speaks into my awareness, I cannot but feel emotional and suddenly asked these questions; how am I may able to look at your hands and feet if I cannot feel your presence?  How am I may able to touch you and see in the midst of darkness and confusions that surrounds my faith in you?  The only thing that I responded on his words coming from the gospel for today is trust.  Despite the fact that I am suffering from this kind of despair inside my heart, I am still blest that he understands and forgives me as a friend.

  I inflicted Him so many scars because of my sins and weaknesses, yet He treats me as a friend.  From the past days I am longing for someone who will be my crying shoulder in my deep sadness and loneliness.  Unfortunately, I cannot reach them because they are unreachable and busy in their own worlds.  I really feel so alone and minding at my own crisis.

The only thing that that I do is just to surrender everything to God who is like now a blank wall to me.  It’s painful, but I need to trust Him still even though he is unperceivable for me now.

Instead to enjoy the summer breeze that really makes feel someone fine, I’m battling at my own loneliness and sadness.  “Do not be afraid…Trust”; these are the words that God challenges me as I reflect the gospel for today.  In spite of the trials and difficulties that I am experiencing right now and the pain that I am trying my best to endure, I still trust the Lord and believe on Him no matter how agonizing the pain inflicting inside me.

It’s tiring and I cannot anymore endure it.  The only thing that passed to my mind on how I may be able to face this reality is to surrender and trust.  Something ordinary for me, yet I know it will help me as of now.  I believe I may be able to conquer these things.  Maybe, it’s not yet the right time to see the light amidst the darkness and the struggles that I face.