Learning from our Defeats

soccer-quote-every-defeat-is-a-victory-credit-jikatu“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”

― Ralph EllisonInvisible Man

 “We did our best, unfortunately we lost the game”

This is what I told myself when we were defeated by our opponent in last Monday and Tuesday’s soccer match finals between our team Humilitas and our opponent Temperantia.  It was really a tough match.  The first half of the game held last Monday was really incredible and rough and so with the second half of the game held last Tuesday.    All of us did our best in order to reach the sweetness of the Championship trophy.  Unfortunately, we were defeated.  The final score was 3-2 in favor of our opponent.  Actually, we feel so pity on ourselves that we created so many diligent attempts in order to get some goals, but that day was really an unlucky day for us.  At first, we feel the remorse of being defeated in the game after doing our very best to secure the championship, afterwards the feeling of remorse immediately dissolved and just told ourselves it’s just part of the game; there are losers and winners.  But, losing in a game is not the end of everything and a reason to quit.  It’s just a means for us to improve more, to move forward, and to set sail once more toward our desired goals.

From this experience, I learned something valuable into my life.  I learned that being defeated does not mean I should stop moving on; it’s just an opportunity to see the brighter side of struggling for success and accomplishment.  I remember one of the insights of George E. Woodberry which talks about the positive side of defeat; “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”  Hence, God allows defeat in order for us to realize that we cannot reach and attain success through an easy-going and tolerant attitude.  It always takes a lot of our perseverance, effort, and persistence.  Actually, many people became famous, popular, and successful in the world not because they are really best, but because they accept the fact that defeat is a necessary means in order for them to reach the seemingly unreachable dreams into their lives.  In life, it’s not on the winnings that we may be able to find out our fulfilled selves, it’s always on how we deal the various defeats that we encounter in life.  Being a loser of our soccer match finals that was held last Monday and Tuesday is not a guarantee that I am such a failure.  First and foremost, it does not bother me at all.  The important thing is we did our best and we brought a good match for our opponents.

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Forgive from your Heart

ForgiveHeart-Jessica_KeyForgiveness is the language of love.

We cannot love ourselves and others unless we forgive first.  In this season of Lent, forgiveness is one of the invitations for us in order to attain conversion or change of heart.  How often must we forgive?  When we speak of forgiveness, this is one of the questions that we usually ask ourselves as we deal with it.

It is the same question Peter asked to Jesus when he asked him about the value of forgiveness and its significance over retaliation.  Jesus answered him; “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Mt. 18:21-22).  What does this answer of Jesus to the question of Peter mean for us?  In forgiving ourselves and others it must always be constant.  Forgiveness is not a product of sweet-coated words, honeyed thoughts, and burst of emotions; it is always a matter of the heart.

Indeed, Joel Osteen is right in saying these words about forgiveness; We have to remember, when we forgive we’re not doing it just for the other person, we’re doing it for our own good. When we hold on to unforgiveness and we live with grudges in our hearts, all we’re doing is building walls of separation.

We cannot deny the fact that it’s really hard to be constant in forgiving ourselves and others.  As I put myself in this situation, it’s unavoidable to hold on to unforgiveness and live with grudges in our hearts especially when the pain of rejections, embarrassments, disappointments, and regrets still remain.  But, if I will not forgive from my heart, it’s hard to move on with life.  Hence, hate will always be haunting us in our daily struggles, but forgiveness will always remain victorious.

Forgiveness sets us free and teaches us the lesson of letting go.  We cannot be at peace with ourselves and others unless we let ourselves to be influenced by the power of forgiveness.  If God forgives with mercy and compassion just like what the king did to his servant who owed him a huge amount of debt in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, how about us?  Whether, how big or small our sins to Him He is still forgiving and loving God.

 

Grace-filled Melancholy

11034265_561657117270674_4454580561784345379_nIt is finished.

Here I am at the airport waiting for my flight going back to Cebu.  As I am now writing this entry for my blog today, there are a lot of thoughts and insights that preoccupy my mind.  Maybe, I was just so gloomy about our batch alumni homecoming that happened yesterday.  Actually, my mind feels this ‘hangover’ and I cannot but say these words unto my psyche; “It finished so fast.  Really, time is so short for saying your ‘hi’s’ and ‘hello’s’ to those people whom you missed for ten years.

Aside from the inspirational Mass, tiring basketball games, evening motorcade, good food, and overflowing beers and wines; one thing that I will really cherish during the batch alumni homecoming yesterday was the good company of friends.  To be honest (my dear classmates), there were a lot of changes that happened to us from the past ten years but the friendship we had  never changed rather it lasted.

Actually, I decided to stay even though it’s already past 2:00 in the morning because I missed you all so much. Though I still have a lot of things to do in preparation for my flight going back to Cebu I chose to be with you because I know this kind of opportunity comes once in a blue moon only.  Indeed, everything has changed, but memories will remain and stay the same.

While writing this here at the airport, I cannot hold back my tears not because of sadness, but because of joy and nostalgia.  I am so blessed and so proud that, despite the hardships and demands of following the will of God with my life, there you are my friends, my batchmates, and acquaintances ready to lend your helping hand for me to go on with the battle and move forward as a comrade of Christ.

With this, I am so thankful to all of you and felt so lucky to belong to such batch.  I am so happy that you are also proud of me as I continue persevering in the kind of path where few only are chosen. Surely, it will be a tough climb but as long as I have Christ in me and these supportive batchmates, I know I can make it through.

Listening to my batchmates’ words of encouragement and advanced congratulatory remarks alongside hugs and handshakes, I felt relieved from so many doubts and anxieties that crossed my mind.  I really miss these things as I now go back to my normal hectic schedules and unfinished responsibilities which include same daily routines.

Now that I am going back to Cebu, I would like thank you my dear batchmates for a very successful reunion yesterday.  It was really an unforgettable experience on my part.  Even though time really is not enough for me to approach and talk to all of you, I will not forget everyone in my prayers and sacrifices. I will forever be grateful for having you.  You are the reason why I am here in this kind of life. Your kindness and support mean a lot for me as I pursue the path to priesthood.

All I am asking from you is to continue to pray for me and support me as I am now on my crucial stages of my formation.  Don’t worry your help and prayers will be assured, reciprocated, and returned by God.  I hope you will never get tired of helping me because it’s all for you and that’s the purpose why I am still moving forward to this kind of vocation.

Homecoming

11023129_10204620760051656_587515606_nWhile waiting for my flight going to Manila, I feel so excited and a little bit so nervous to attend our batch alumni homecoming which will be held on Saturday at Rogationist College in Silang, Cavite.  After tem years I will be able to see now my batch mates with successful careers, stable jobs, and kids.  While writing this write-up for my blog, I can’t really get through in managing my thoughts and insights about our homecoming because the feeling of incitement to see them and talk to them overwhelms me.  For me, it’s really nice and perhaps significant to attend those vents which just happen occasionally in my life.  As I sit comfortably here at the boarding area and try to organize my thoughts, I can’t but be nostalgic about my past high school life experiences.  After ten years, the burning question that is now bothering me as I try to recall my past high school life experiences is this; how far have I been going through in accepting and abiding the fact that life is a never-ending process of embracing change and a never-ending pilgrimage towards happiness?

My ten years of keep pushing through has been really a long journey.  As I try to recall it, there were moments that I succeed, I cried, I failed, and I fell in love.  Those things helped me to become who I am now.  Henceforth, Soren Kierkegaard, one of my favorite theistic-existentialist philosopher is right in saying this as I try to reminisce my past ten years of journey and including also my past high school life experiences; Life can only be understood backward; but it must be live forwards.  Attending our batch alumni homecoming is not just only for me a celebration of our 10th year anniversary, but an opportunity to understand my life backwards so as to make it a means for me to lived it forwards.  I can’t wait for tomorrow’s event.  I can’t also wait to see the changes that my batch mates have been going through as they also struggle for the best like me.  Hence, life moves in mysterious ways.  It really has a lot of surprises despite the fact that it is also sometimes demanding.

However, though everything changes in life, memories remain the same.  Memories is something that warms us up inside according to Haruki Murakami, and we can never let go of it because it helps us grow as a person even though it also sometimes tears us apart.  Even though it’s impossible to bring back all the memories of my the years’ pilgrimage in life; I am proud to say from the bottom of my heart that I have learned something from it and it made me embrace changes and newness in my life.

Now, the gate has opened and the plane is ready for flight going to Manila.  The feeling of excitement engulfs me more as I prepare myself for the travel.  Today is Friday; tomorrow will be a very special day for my life.  Many things bother my mind like what will I wear for the occasion; what kind of impression that I will show to them; what stories will I share to them…etc…etc.  From all those preoccupations that are kept on bothering my mind now, there’s only one thing I would like to unfold to them, i.e. the new and true ME, nothing more; nothing less.

On Battling our Weaknesses

Weakness_StrengthWhen I always encounter the word ‘weak’, I cannot but be affected on it.   It simply reminds me that I am a person who is limited and capable of committing mistakes.  But, as I kept on accepting the fact that together with my strengths I have also weaknesses into my life, sometimes I asked myself; why is it hard to reconcile into our lives that our weaknesses could also be an occurring issue?  Why is it hard to escape in this reality?

It’s really hard to settle the fact that we are limited on certain aspects in life.  It’s also undeniable that we sometimes fall on our weaknesses when the struggles for authenticity and perfection become so tough and demanding.  Henceforth, we cannot but cry and grieve when several of our weaknesses haunt us and full us down.  After the tears and sorrows, we easily give up and be complacent with ourselves by saying these words; “I cannot move on because I am weak.  I am tired and hopeless in improving myself because nothing happens.  So, it’s better for me to give in to my weaknesses and just consider it as a normal thing.”  Having this kind of perspective is not a healthy disposition.  This unhealthy disposition will fall us into a negative attitude called mediocrity.  Mediocrity is one of the enemies of optimism.  It destroys our capacity to see the good things in us despite the fact that we have shortcomings and weaknesses in life.  To be honest, when my weaknesses strike me and thump me below the belt, I cannot but escape the reality of acceptance and be mediocre about it.  Later, I realized that the more I become mediocre about my weaknesses the more I become pessimistic about myself.  And that’s what makes me more vulnerable and prone to distrusting myself.

Yes, we are born with certain weaknesses into our lives.  But, our weaknesses are not an indicator for us to give up and improve ourselves.  There are still rooms for improvements and changes in our lives; all we need to do is to find those rooms through optimism and self-introspection.  This may take a lot of our perseverance and courage, but it assures something good and pleasing later on.  I myself could say, that this kind of challenge beneficial into my life.  Only through accepting this kind of challenge I would realize that recognizing my weaknesses is an important factor for strengthening my faith and trust.  Indeed, St. Paul is correct in saying that there’s strength in every weaknesses that we have.  The invitation of St. Paul for me and for all of us is not to be afraid to boast our own weaknesses and to consider it as our boost to move on and persevere in our daily struggles.  Every day, we engage ourselves in an endless battle of conquering our weaknesses.  The only necessary thing as we face this reality is this; DON’T GIVE UP.  Only in not giving up we realize that our weaknesses will lead us into something we aspire for, i.e. eternal bliss that gives LOVE to our restless hearts.

Let not our hearts be restless when our weaknesses strike us back.  Let it be; Accept it; Stay humble, and for sure it will lead us to something good, pleasing, and perfect.

The Light from the Cross

The-Transfiguration-of-Jesus-Mount-TaborIn yesterday’s gospel, we witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus which anticipates the description of His resurrection from His passion and death.  As I reflect upon the significance of His transfiguration and connecting it to Lent, the words light and cross popped-up into my mind.  Why light and cross?  As I let the words on the gospel speaks unto my awareness, transfiguration as light can never be depicted as a ‘transient sign’ of Jesus’ victory over death if there’s no cross.  The cross of Christ may consider as the horror of His death, but later, His death will be taking place by LOVE which is the concrete manifestation and the reason why He accept the cross.  This is beautifully represented by His transfiguration that conveys a message of hope and salvation.  However, transfiguration can never be a sign of hope and salvation unless there’s sacrifice which is the only path to lasting glory.

What does the transfiguration of Jesus would like to say to us?  In the midst of all turbulent moments in our life we should not forget that the transfiguration of Jesus is our means in order for us to continue believing, hoping, trusting, and loving because Jesus whom vividly transfigured in the eyes of Peter, James, and John and later will experienced passion and death is more powerful than all the sufferings, pains, grief, and persecutions that we encounter into our lives.  Indeed, Paul in his letter to the Roman’s expressed this wonderfully through these words; “If God is for us, who can be against us?” So, the invitation of the gospel yesterday for all of us is this; we must not be terrified when we experience grief, confusion, pain, and sufferings.  These are only means for us to realize that we must climb our own mountain of transfiguration which will lead us to our lasting glory and to become close to God.