The Madness in Hate

hate“Too much hate will really make us very mad”.  As I update my awareness about what’s happening around the world through news, I cannot but be on remorse.  There’s too much hate and animosity now that surrounds around the corner of the globe.  Today, the main issue is not anymore stability and competence; rather it is all about ‘colonial hate’.  Because of hate, violence is now the coat of arms of every ‘colonizers’ of the world whose purpose is to be on the world’s pedestal.  Aside from this, the outcry for peace, love, human dignity, and justice are not anymore the raison d’être of those who are struggling for power and thrones, rather they choose to be in fury and to settle things using the ‘iron fist of atrocity’ impeding the human rights and the freedom of the innocent to live in peace and harmony. Is this already a manifestation that we are now living in a civilization of madness which starts everything from hate?

It’s all because of hate that the world is struggling for serenity.  The madness in hate is now becoming a trend for those who seek for immediate stability and independence.  But wait, is the quest for stability and independence attainable by the madness of hate?  It’s impossible!  Let’s take a look on what’s happening around us; could we say that stability and independence is attainable by means of guns, beheadings, lootings, brutalities, exploitations, and terminations?  Are we still able to be at peace and steady seeing those things?  These things are unthinkable and unreasonable if we try to connect these from the perspective of serenity; but these are now considered as common grounds for attaining stability and independence.

Where’s the love?  Due to many mayhems and outrages that is happening around us because of the madness in hate; it seems that love and hope are becoming an abstract goal of every nation around the world.  Many faced their deaths instantly because of the madness in hate that is now becoming an incurable disease in every society.  Many people are now questioning the worth of God in their lives and asking this burning question as an uproar for their sorrows and grief; “Why God we suffer?  Why you allow these to happen on us?  Why they hate us?”  Seeing these realities, I cannot but be pessimistic about this insight that pooped-up unto my mind; ‘The world is a better place for us to live’.

The Blame Game (Philippine Edition)

blameToday, our society is scorching in its own lapses called ‘blame’.  It’s really annoying and embarrassing that the rules of the tongue of those who are ‘in power’ and ‘in pursuit of fame’ are all blames and denunciations.  It is now somehow becoming a system of thought for those who want to hide the Truth and to reverse it as something to be ignored.  Why blame and not to tell the real Truth?  Indeed, Truth is a shame for the righteous and for the powerful, so they engage themselves to the vicious cycle called ‘The Blame Game’ for the sake of power and fame.  Unfortunately, who suffers the consequences?  It’s not them, but us; the society.  In this emerging scenario, it’s hard to reconcile that today we are being carried by the bandwagon of fools in our society which annihilates our perception and hope for enlightenment and truth.

Now, everything is being blamed.  When there are unfortunate events; when there’s a blitzkrieg of stupidity and foolishness in the authority and society; and when there are accusations and malversation, denunciations or simply ‘blames’ enter the picture through pointing fingers.  The point finger takes now an important role in our society.  It’s silly, but that’s now the fad of every ruler who overtakes the throne of democracy.  Hence, democracy depends on its power of finger pointing overrule our society.  Truth lies on the persuasion of the point finger to predict and figure out who tells a lie and who is the enemy of the state.  It’s unbelievable and unacceptable, but that’s the reality on how our society is being controlled and governed now by our leaders who popularized the new system of governance called “The Blame Game’ and sad to say, our society became its specimen ad experimentum.

Now, we suffer but the problem is we still close our eyes on the reality that we are becoming victims of ‘The Blame Game’.  When we will wake up on the reality that we are being fooled around by so many denunciations and blames?  When will be the right time that we will stand up on our feet and say; ‘the game is over; and we need to move on and oust the fools?’  I hope one day it will happen and realized.

In the Midsts of Criticisms

capture21One of the things that we hate most in life is to be criticized.  So, in#struggles order for us not to be criticized, we avoid opportunities and responsibilities that are hassle-free and easy going.  I myself would like to prefer these things as I do my very best to live in happiness and peace.  Criticisms are just a hindrance for me to see better perspectives, and this is what I believe.  But, it will not be always the case as I venture this kind of life full of possibilities and opportunities.  I cannot but accept the fact that criticisms will always be my significant other in the story of my life.

Why there’s a need for us sometimes on the hot seat in the midst of criticisms?  As I reflect upon this reality, this is what I found out; it is hard for us to attain authenticity without criticisms.  They balance expectations and anticipate transformation.  They are not made in order for us to be grouchy and embarrassed; rather they are made and allowed by God to be our reference in pursuing conversion and transfiguration.  In the history of mankind, no one ever became great without the pangs of criticisms.  Even great figures in the history have experienced the blows of criticisms which they consider it as the teacher or the wise sage.  So, we should not be afraid in facing and handling criticisms in our lives.

As I continue to move on in my daily struggle, criticisms enlighten me to build firm perspectives that soon will be a useful means for my perseverance.  Hence, my life will never be in harmony unless I consider criticisms in life as the canon and the standard of my existence.  In every midst of criticisms there’s wisdom.  Life cannot be what it ought to be unless it is being scrutinized and sanitized by criticisms which builds a firm foundation towards a better life.

Repentance: The Remedy over Temptation

repentanceIn yesterday’s gospel, we witnessed how Jesus overcomes the pangs of temptation and drove by the Spirit out into the desert.  Afterwards, He went to Galilee and proclaims the Kingdom of God by inviting the people and His followers to repent and believe with it.  It is such an awe to notice in the gospel how Jesus overcome the enticement of Satan and proclaimed to the people the wonderful truths of the Kingdom of God.  How about us who are easily tempted and distracted by the devil looking upon our nature as fragile and limited?

As I reflect upon the gospel yesterday, Jesus gives us a secret in order for us to overcome the temptation of Satan and emerge as victorious, i.e. Repentance.  Yes, our story is different from that of Jesus because we are always falling into temptation.  But, the gospel is inviting us to repent because it is only on this way that we may be able to reject the schemes of Satan and be belonging to the Kingdom of God.  Yes, we recognize that we are not strong in the midst of trials, so we easily give in to temptation.  But, Jesus is reminding us that it is not the end of everything.  We can only repent unless we humble ourselves and admit that we have done something wrong.  Repentance presumes admission of our sin and guilt, and this is what it means to commemorate the sanctity of Lent.  In order to prepare ourselves on our Lenten journey, let us consider into our lives that we won’t be able to believe with firmness that God is merciful and forgiving unless we repent and accept into our lives that we cannot live and be at peace without the presence of God.

There’s Charity in Fasting

fastingIsaiah 58:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Yesterday, this passage from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah caught my attention.  It gave me enlightenment on seeing fasting in another perspective.  It means to say, when we practice seriously there’s something that it emphasize especially on our concern towards our neighbors.  Fasting does not only emphasize discipline and self-control, rather it also emphasizes charity and our capacity to reach out.  If there’s no reaching out and charity in our practice of fasting, for sure, it will always fall into “showing off” and dieting.  Our Lenten journey especially fasting is not only all about mere rituals and asceticism for the sake of self-glorification.  Rather, it is all about asceticism and mere rituals for the sake of proclaiming the year acceptable to the Lord through bringing glad tidings to the needy and marginalized.  Indeed, Fasting is a reminder for all of us that we cannot reach out ourselves and our hearts unless we sacrifice something.  So, in fasting, love is not all about “this is mine”, but it is all about “I am willing to sacrifice my comfort zone and give it as a gift for my needy brothers and sisters”.

The Significance behind our being Insignificant

downloadYesterday was the Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the Lenten Season.  The giving of ashes signifies our mourning or contrition for our sins that connect us to the very idea of what penance is all about.  However, this observance that was held yesterday should be accompanied with inner conversion, by metanoia or change of heart.  Hence, the beginning of the Lenten Season this year invites us with these penetrating words of the Prophet Joel; “Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13)

As I reflected upon the significance of Ash Wednesday for the beginning of the Lenten Season yesterday, my eyes were captivated by the image of the ash.  In our day to day living, ash is something ordinary and insignificant.  It is the actuality or the final effect of a something that is put into fire or burned.  When something turned into ash, it has no use or value anymore, or better we just throw it away or dissolved by the water.  On the contrary, I noticed yesterday the significance of its insignificance.  When it was placed on my forehead in a form of a cross, it reminds me about my insignificance in front of God.  “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return”-these were the words that the priest said while he places the ashes on my forehead.  These words were concrete manifestations that I am nothing in front of God who is rich in kindness and abundant in mercy, yet significant as his child whom He truly loves.  Henceforth, there is significance behind our being insignificant.

Just like the ash which is just ordinary and insignificant on our eyes, we are being challenged to have this kind of outlook into our lives in this season of Lent who are being succumbed by pride, prejudices, and self-centeredness by humbling ourselves in front of God, conversion, and repentance.  Just like Walter Buns said; “Some people think that having ash on your (our) forehead is ridiculous.  But I am (We) neither ashamed nor afraid because the ashes remind me (us) that I will have to pass away someday and reunite with my creator.”       

Be Happy with our Limitations, Shortcomings, and Imperfections :)

interview-question-shortcomingWe cry foul every time we fall short or commit mistakes.  There’s a tendency for us to be discouraged whenever we experience and encounter it, and we also realize that through those things we became less human.  It’s really hard to accept the fact that we are limited and we are prone to brokenness and woundedness.  What is the purpose of being limited in certain aspects of our lives?  Why is it hard to accept the TRUTH that we are born with certain limitations, imperfections, and shortcomings in life?

What is the purpose of being limited?  If we were all created omniscient and omnipotent, will we be able to appreciate harmony our nothingness, and our unworthiness in front of the Divine?  Will we be able also to recognize that we cannot but depend on His will which is the best?  Our purpose of being limited in front of the Divine is to be aware of the importance of life that is connected to Him.  We lack something, so we need Him and we cannot pretend and hide the truth that we are incompletely and imperfectly composed, disposed, and organized as a person because it always reveal no matter how we ignore these realities.  To be imperfect and limited is not a curse, rather it’s a blessing.  Even our imperfections, shortcomings, and limitations are necessary to the universal perfection which the Divine established.  So, we must be happy with our imperfections, shortcomings, and limitations because in these realities are God’s way of assuring us of His love.

Why is it hard to accept the TRUTH that we are born with certain limitations, imperfections, and shortcomings in life?  Simply because, we don’t like it and we feel that we are living in a curse or in a wrath that destroys the real identity within us.  It should not be the emerging mentality into our minds when we encounter certain shortcomings, imperfections, and limitations in life.  When these things arise, we should not let our smile fade into our faces.  Life must go on even though we are in the realm of our own ‘shadows’.  Life is infinite and full of possibilities; so we must not be discouraged in facing our own ‘shadows’.  Our imperfections, shortcomings, and limitations are not a hindrance for us to achieve change.  Instead, they serve as means to reach the highest peak of our identity as persons.

“If you wish, you can make me clean.”

leperThe gospel for this Sunday indicated to me what it means to be humble in front of God who is compassionate and merciful.  And, at the same time, the gospel teaches me the lesson of courage, faith, and sacrifice that gives hope and newness of life.  As I reflected upon the gospel for today, it challenges me somehow to imitate what the leper had shown to Jesus which made Jesus moved with pity.  Humility, Courage, Faith, and Sacrifice-four important virtues that is very significant into my life as I really tried to do my best to be always near in Jesus’ heart.  But, the question is; do I really put these four important virtues in practice?  Do I value them and consider them as exquisite?

This is always my alibi when I encounter important lessons and learnings into my life; it’s easy to say than to do.  But, as I encounter the boldness of the leper in front of Jesus on the gospel, I was challenged to do the same.  If I really want to be ‘healed’ and to attain newness in life, I must not be afraid to humble myself in front of Him, to be courageous in showing to Him that I need him, to have faith in Him that He will never abandon me if I believe in Him, and to sacrifice my pride for the sake of change and transformation.  Hence, the invitation of the gospel for me today is to turn always to Him in time of trouble ready to humble myself, courageous in facing Him with love, faithful to His promise that He is the fulfillment, and ready to sacrifice something even my wants and desires in life.  By doing these, being filled with the joy of salvation is a possibility.  From the start, God never failed us to grant His compassion and mercy from us if we will only believe in His profound assurance; I do will it.  Be made clean.

The Search for Love

medium_5652405755Here inside the Redemptorist Church, Fuente Osmeña, Cebu City, I spend my Valentine’s Day in silence and reflection while waiting for my Confessor’s availability for confession.  While reflecting, something passed unto my mind, i.e. the question about love that pertains to my life.  My sanity asked me; Alex, what makes love “LOVE”?  What is it for you?  Why are you still seeking and searching for its real nature and identity until now?  When my sanity asked me those questions, I cannot but answer it in silence because I cannot totally give an exact answer for those questions that are somehow intriguing into my life.  But, what I can only attest with the reality called love are the experiences which serve as fruits of my continuous search for its reasons.

Love is the most powerful aspect which greatly affects our entire selves and even our ideals and principles in life.  Without it, we cannot determine that our life is a fruit of love.  In my continuous search for its reason, I realized that we will never feel it unless if it is selflessly accepted by us and shared to others.  Hence, love is selfless.  It is not selfish.  Its definition does not depend on our own standards, but on its own standard.  It has no boundaries; it is for everybody and not just for the few.  As I reflect on its immensity into my life, the more I become attune with it, the more I realize that I am too far with one of its standards, i.e. selflessness.  Until now, I cannot give an exact definition of love for my life because I cannot still abandon my comfort zones as I loved, i.e. to seek for a cost as a consolation for loving with dedication and sacrifice.  Until now, I am restless in searching and seeking for its ultimate reasons and answer for this question; why do I still need to love even though there’s pain and restlessness inside my heart?

Sa pagninilay ko, sumagi sa aking isipan; mahirap talagang tugunan ng aking diwa’t isipan ang tunay na kahulugan ng pag-ibig kung hindi naman ako marunong magparaya.  Kaya, sa buhay ko at sa patuloy kong paghahanap sa tunay nitong kahulugan, hindi maiwasan masaktan ang puso kong sugatan.  Yes, it’s really difficult to love and to find its real definition if I will not learn to let go.  Why let go?  Because, there’s true love in letting go.  It’s better to suffer the pain of letting go than pushing your heart in its limit to love something improper and temporary painstakingly.  Love is not really all by myself.  It’s incomprehensible and immense yet only a selfless heart could fully understand what it is.  What makes me say this thing; it’s because of blindness which until now unfolds into my existence.  I am blind, and so until now I am still searching and seeking for love’s ultimate reason.  This blindness is the reason why I can’t let go and move on.  I can’t love selflessly because I am blind and cold inside.  This is who I am as I see myself in the vantage point of love.  I know it’s a truth that makes me bleed inside, but I am hopeful that by accepting this fact, I will be relieved.

In this Valentine’s Day, I prayed to God that He may grant me the strength to let go, to move on, and to love selflessly.  I pray also that He may help me to surpass all the trials, stumbling blocks, and difficulties that hinder me to love honestly, sincerely, and faithfully.  This is the only way and means that I know so far because I believe He is love that can never be surpassed by other loves.  And, by the way, as I reflect upon the greatness of love into my life, this is what I found out; Valentines is not all about the color red, roses, chocolates, romances, and teddy bears; it’s all about the willingness to be moved by the power of love especially to sacrifice and to be committed for the sake of love, and to love until it hurts and hurts no more.

How can we heal a Broken Heart?

broken-heartWhy is there such a term called ‘broken heart’ when we fall short on our capacity to love?  Actually, I don’t know exactly why it is named in this kind of term.  I only know that the anguish we felt after falling short with our capacity to love is called ‘broken heart’ because we experience it and we cannot name exactly the pain that we felt inside.  Simply put, words cannot truly define what it is.  For me, it doesn’t matter if that experience is named or coined with that term.  My only hesitation about that factual experience is this; how can we heal a broken heart?  There are cure for wounds; there are also medicine for variety of diseases that brings wellness, but for a broken heart, what is the better remedy for it?

To be broken hearted is really a miserable experience.  You will really feel that your heart is being torned apart.  You’re even crying without any reason at all.  You’re stunned and in despair of something that is hard to understand and explain.  And, this kind of feeling does not last; it always haunts you whenever the embarrassing moments of the past popped-up into your mind in certain instances or circumstances.  Why this kind of experience is an inevitable and a prevalent reality in our life as a person who has the capacity to love?  Why does love has a demarcation line called ‘broken heartedness’ that which obstruct, distract, and even destruct the sincerity of our hearts who persevere to be authentic in loving?  I don’t know if it is the force of nature that allows this reality to exists, but I am pretty sure that it has wisdom behind it.  We cannot totally grasp the demands and standards of love unless we sometimes let our hearts to be broken.

How can we heal a broken heart?  There’s no prescribe medicine for this malignant disability except ACCEPTANCE, LETTING GO, and MOVING ON.  These three formulas for starting a new journey to love are still the best remedy for a torned heart up to now.  At first, it’s hard to apply these formulas for they demand attention, sacrifice, and a certain attitude of optimism.  But, as we abide ourselves with it, it’s easy to say deep within our hearts; “Life must go on.”  To be broken hearted is a never-ending story, but it is part of the many consequences if we do our best to love sincerely, truthfully, and faithfully.  Yes, we cry because it’s hard to accept the pain of being a broken hearted individual.  But, it is not yet the end of the world in persevering and being persistent in loving sincerely, truthfully, and faithfully.  All we need to do is to follow the three basic formula in starting to love all over again, i.e. ACCPETANCE, LETTING GO, and MOVING ON.  ACCEPT the fact that we fall short sometimes in loving.  LET GO when it is not getting okay anymore especially when you keep on striving and persevering in loving which if we look on the bigger picture nothing happens.  Lastly, MOVE ON and forget with humility the love and affection that you rendered if it is just wasted for nothing.