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.
Where’s Love in our world today? As we can see our world today is suffering from violence and persecution. As what is happening now at Iraq it does not only breaks my heart, but it also gave an impression that the onslaught of violence around the globe is now becoming a worst scenario. Now, it is already possible for a human person to treat his/her neighbors like pigs. Even innocent people like children are now becoming victims of unthinkable violence driven by inhuman ideologies and principles. Is too much violence a solution for the betterment of a nation? Is persecution a profound mean and a justifiable end in order for a society to attain tolerance and stability?
The commandment “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” coming from the Divine, seemingly losing its essence and ardor now. I think every religion around the world has this commandment although explained in different ways, but why there is too much violence and persecution that occurs in every religion? Why religion despises and persecutes other religions? Why religions sometimes allow herself to be driven by unjust political propagandas? The violence and persecution of Christian minorities and other religious minorities in Iraq is one of the many examples of too much hatred and anger reigning in the world. As I update myself about the situation in Iraq by browsing the newspaper, surfing the internet, and watching the late news, I cannot by cry and be sad about this worse situation of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering from hunger, thirst, and intense persecution in Iraq. It’s unthinkable to see Muslim extremist and fundamentalist persecuting the other minorities by means of beheading their innocent children, raping and killing women especially their mothers and daughters, and hanging to death all the men especially the fathers. Yes, according to the Quran they are infidels, but is it just to treat them like pigs? Is it lawful for the eyes of Allah to massacre them all? Why kill in the name of religion? I can’t imagine what’s happening in our world today. It seems that the wolves are getting numerous than the lambs. In order to attain prosperity, to be a furious wolf to your fellow brother or sister is being favored than the law of love. Where’s love now? What’s wrong in our world today? Is this the will of the Divine?
Despite these unacceptable and unthinkable events that are happening in our world today, I believe there’s still hope. I believe the sun that brings peace and new beginning will rise soon in Iraq which is torn with too much violence, bloodshed, and persecution. I believe the Good will still remain victor in spite of the many evils that is happening in the world especially in Iraq. One day I am very sure that the Law of Love will still stand despite the many evils that are trying to pull her down. After all these evils that is happening in our world today, what will still stay and remain is The Law of Love that will spread hope to those who are restless and hopeless and heal the world from too much violence, bloodshed, and persecution.