A Time to Move Forward

Advent-candles

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…”

 It’s really tiring to wait.  It really challenges time and tests patience especially when waiting affected greatly my other urgencies and main concerns.  Actually, we cannot but affirm the fact that waiting is an essential part of our daily experiences.  Life is an unfinished business.  It demands always something more and something yet to come.  So, it really takes to wait in order to live life in the fullest.

The gospel for today’s first Sunday of Advent gives me an assurance that waiting is beneficial and at the same time providential, unless I may not get tired of waiting.  Waiting is a time for moving forward, and this is what it means to prepare myself daily.  Waiting, however, has to be vigilant, disciplined, and generous.  Vigilance, discipline, and generosity are the three things that I should really consider and the invitation of the gospel for me today.  Indeed, waiting entails an effort of change starting from my way of thinking and doing always in accordance with God’s perspective.  I realized, it is in waiting that I may be grow in love.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…” This statement really calls my attention.  It really summonses me to have a proper attitude in welcoming the Lord to work into my life.  But, how I may be able to do it?  By considering waiting not a tiring and tasking thing, but a means for receiving the Lord wholeheartedly, it assures that I may be able really to feel the presence of the Lord moving into my life.

Indeed, it’s really tiring to wait, but it’s really significant to wait because in waiting there’s hope.

May the Lord strengthen me, protect me from all anxiety, and make me holy as I wait in joyful hope for his coming every day and at the end of time.

Lord, Please Let Me See

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Last Monday, I shared my insight about The Blind Beggar on the Gospel of Luke in front of my co-brothers.  Fortunately, The Blind Beggar on the Gospel of Luke is one of my favorite stories in the Bible that really moves me and makes me inspired and a little bit emotional.  Here’s what I shared to them;

“Lord, Please let me see.”

What it means to be blind?  If we will consult Medical Science, blindness is a disability and an impediment to the sight.  However, if we will consult a blind person, do we think what she/he will be saying jives on what the Medical Science describes? Absolutely not.  As a matter of fact, blind person’s description about blindness would be more appealing than what Medical Science describes because he/she experienced it.  I remember Hellen Keller.  Her blindness was one of her struggles in order to appreciate life’s blessings.  She really endured it with great pain and suffering.  Being impaired with blindness did not stop her to persevere, to appreciate her life courageously, and to move on.  She still continued her journey with steadfastness hoping to “see” the light of her life in spite of her darkness that discourages her to embrace happiness and joy in the midst of tensions and grief.

Having read Hellen Keller’s story gives me an idea what’s within the experience of the blind beggar in the gospel; rejection, angst, hopelessness, pain, suffering, depression, anxiety, remorse, and discouragement.  But, in spite of all these “evils”, he moved on and hearing the name of Jesus, without hesitation he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me”!  Although being rebuked by the people along the street, he shouted courageously all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me”!  What made the bind beggar not afraid of shouting the name of Jesus as Son of David despite the oppositions?  In the midst of tribulations and blindness, the blind beggar still identifies and recognizes Jesus’ role as Messiah; the one who will bring salvation to all humility, and the one who will bring recovery of sight to the blind like him.  Pondering this, his firm faith amidst his unpleasant situation gives me some realizations; (1) His firm faith leads him to recognize Jesus as the one and only “prime mover” of life, (2) His firm faith made him realize that Jesus is the only hope, and (3) His firm faith brought him into a new perspective and a new beginning which led Him to follow it and consider it as guide for his life.  What an irony! Considering blindness as a curse and shame became a blessing of disguise for the blind beggar by just saying “Lord, please let me see” as the expression of his firm faith.  Indeed, it was such a great blessing and relief on his part receiving the response of Jesus, “Receive your sight, your faith has save you.”

How about us who enjoy much the light?  How about us who are more fortunate than the blind beggar?  Do we still recognize Jesus in the light?  Do we consider Jesus as the light of our lives?  Out of darkness, the blind beggar saw the light and recognizes Jesus because of his firm faith, but as we look upon ourselves, why there’s still a difficulty for us to recognize Jesus as we enjoy the light?  These are some of the burning questions that boggled my mind as I pondered the richness of the gospel for today.  But, my reflection is this; one of the most difficult parts to face in our lives is our own blindness.  Yes indeed, we cannot deny the fact that we have our own blindness that is hard to get rid-off.  Our blindness is causes us to be pessimistic in life, to be grouchy individuals, self-centred, depreciative of other’s uniqueness, selfish, suspicious of others’ mistakes, and guess what, to be number one complainers of life’s discomforts and inconveniences.  But, amidst of all these things, there’s hope.  The blind beggar’s providential experience with Jesus gives us an assurance that experiencing the love and mercy of Jesus in spite of our own blindness is possible through firm faith.  Through firm faith we are loved by Jesus though we have our own blindness.  Through firm faith we are humbled in front of Him who is our source of reliance, our fortress, and our strength.  In the midst of our own blindness, let us never forget to perceive the goodness of Jesus, our source of hope, mercy, and love.  Let us open our own blindness to Him by saying, “Lord, please let me see”, and for sure He will say, “Receive you sight, for your faith has save you” with great love and mercy.

In conclusion, let us pray in solidarity to all the victims of violence around the world especially in Paris.  May the light and love of Jesus shines above against the emerging blindness that rules the world due to false ideologies and heartless principles which suggest such a propaganda called doom.

 

Spiritual Journey-A Joyous Homecoming through Love

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Reading the Epilogue part of Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon’s Urgings of the Heart, both emphasized one of the most important aspects in our lives, our Spiritual Journey. It is a joyous homecoming through love which grants us the capacity to embrace the realities of our existence as human beings-a necessary part for considering the process of becoming unique and whole in life. From this, we could determine that spiritual and psychological growth is really a never-ending series of change and struggles; a mixture of progression and regressions. Indeed, to consider our spiritual journey as a joyous homecoming through love, we cannot but understand first that there’s no straight path or journey to wholeness and holiness. It’s a zigzag journey with setbacks and frustrations, of little triumphs and some learning experiences along the way. Yet, the sense of the search for wholeness and uniqueness according to the two authors becomes substantial and important when there’s a peaceful self-acceptance on our part deepen through humility and sincere recognition that God is also struggling with us as we indulge ourselves with a never-ending process of renewal.

Spiritual journey as a joyous homecoming through love is like being in harmony with Christ’s paschal mystery: His death and resurrection. This may consider as an inescapable condition of our growth, but it grants an assurance that God is close with us, in union with us, and journeying with us through the person of Christ. Christ knows that we struggle for renewal and He too also experience what we struggling upon. But, what made Christ victorious in his spiritual humility which the two authors emphasized as self-acceptance and God-sustaining love that moves us from anxiety to grateful acceptance of ourselves as creatures: fragile yet loved. Hence, humility, if we make it as our means for embracing renewal, will bring us to the immensity of God’s love that grants us the capacity to embrace our being and our shadows and the capacity to let go all flawless images that affects us to see our spiritual journey as a joyous homecoming through love.

However, we will never realize that our renewal lies on how we consider self-acceptance without trusting in the forgiving love of God. Henceforth, self-acceptance begins when we learn how to forgive ourselves despite the many flaws and shortcomings we have. We cannot be delighted with our “I-am” experience without fully enjoying the unconditional acceptance of God in spite of our imperfections. So, it is very important for us to consider that self-acceptance is the capacity to accept even the unacceptable in our lives. How we may be able to realize this? By valuing the every experiences that we encounter on our lives.

Thus, Holistic Spirituality cannot be really achieved unless we immerse ourselves with our flaws and imperfections. It also needs self-appropriation, i.e. the capacity of having and holding of our self, and the handing over of our self to God and others in and through love. This demands a daily practice and intense effort on our part. Yet, we learn how to love ourselves which its fulfillment lies when we are able to love God and our neighbor wholeheartedly. Hence, Love, by its very nature, extends itself if and only if we integrate it on our day to day experiences with ourselves and with others.

In the final analysis, we are still truly guided by the Lord in considering our spiritual journey as a joyous homecoming through love. The good news is God allows trial-and-error, and so, we should be afraid because for Him our whole effort consists in trying, the rest is His business. Therefore, the urging of the human heart to wholeness is a never-ending process of renewal as St. Augustine puts it: “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts will remain restless until they rest in you.” Hence, what makes our spiritual journey as a joyous homecoming through love is the assurance that we will never be alone on our journey because God is also journeying with us and accompanying us.

On Love’s Compatibility

Brown and White Bread Hearts

We cannot deny the fact that we are in search of what is compatible and suited for us. We believe that there’s one thing necessary for our existence so we are always searching for something right for our life. When we speak about of love, it’s the same thing. The definition and description of love itself is not enough unless we experience it and we involve ourselves to it. Love is indeed a verb because love itself cannot be defined unless we put into action despite its demands and challenges. But, why is it hard to find the necessary for our lives when we speak of love? Why is love considered as the most crucial and decisive form of a search for compatibility? People say when you find out what is compatible and suited for your life it will serve as a guide for you to achieve real happiness. So, we cannot feel the restlessness of a search for fulfillment in our own lives. We crave for something that will make us say, “at last I finally found someone who will make me really happy for the rest of my life.” But, is this the measure of being satisfied in life? For me, yes it is! When we finally found the one for our lives is already a joy. Despite all the pains and struggles it may bring along the way it doesn’t matter because it brings perfect happiness and joy.

Going back to love; in general, love is a beautiful verb. What makes it a beautiful verb? Though love may describe as a general verb at first glance, what makes it beautiful is when you find it as the one thing necessary for your life. It has many and different expressions, but what matters most in love is when you find the best expression among its many and different expressions which fits for your life. Though it has many and different expressions, it’s the same love at all which leads us to cherish the uniqueness of our existence. Searching the love that is compatible for our lives is not just for the sake of pursuit itself; it gives us an understanding and awareness that we are restless pilgrims who always seek for the ultimate reason of our lives and of our capacity to love. Sounds complicated, right? But this is who we are. We are always searching for an ultimate reason. Thanks for the experiences that we encounter everyday which boils down into one summit, i.e. love. Love is what drives us to continue with our pilgrimage here on earth. Without love, it’s hard to hope for what is really compatible and suited for us and it’s also hard to put our trust and faith to it that we may be able to say; “at last I finally found the resting place for my restless heart.” Saying this is like finding the pearl of great price for our lives which gives the motivation to let go everything for its sake. But, do you know what’s fit for you? Remember this, where your treasure is, there your heart will be.     

A Spooky kind of Love

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Are you afraid of the dark? Have you encountered some horrific experience that made you not sleep well and even eat well? Actually, only a few of us experience some unexplained thrillers that really give us goosebumps. In order to feel the intensity of the Halloween, some chose to celebrate it with a ‘horrific’ atmosphere or wear creepy costumes for ‘Trick or Treat’. Others just chose to be contended at home with popcorns on their side for a horror-movie marathon like The Walking Dead downloaded in some Torrent sites after a tiring and perspiring visit on their love one’s eternal resting place. Sounds unusual isn’t it? But this is what some people want in order to unwind their selves after endless demands at work and in academic battlefields (Whoa strange! How could you really unwind yourself if you’re having a goosebumps?).

We cannot deny the fact that when we speak about October 31, November 1, or November 2 it’s all about Halloween, horror movies, and visiting the cemeteries. We must also not forget that from these dates that I mentioned (especially November 1) we honor the heroic virtues and examples of the Saints in heaven. Actually, honoring them is more sensible than the undead who are the co-creators and co-initiators of the Halloween mentality. Too much horror kills. Anyway, what I would like to emphasize is not all about the question of what must be really celebrated with dignity, All Saints Day or Halloween; but the spookiest thing that Halloween cannot be overruled, i.e. the ‘horror of love’. What does this thing means?

Have you experienced being ‘friend zoned’ and ‘seen zoned’ by the one you love the most? Have you experienced unexpected break-ups after long years of relationship with someone that you really love and care? After all the sacrifices and efforts that you exerted, have you experienced being rejected by the person you love? These questions are all about the ‘horror of love’ or in a simpler understanding, a spooky kind of love. This is the most terrible and horrendous experience in life which its impact is greater than watching Insidious chapters 1, 2, 3, Japanese horror films, zombie movies like The Walking Dead or The Evil Dead. Experiencing this spooky kind of love is like letting your heart and brain be eaten by the zombies in Plants versus Zombies, is really appalling, bone-shaking, and embarrassing. Just like seeing a ghost or a monster; it will not let you sleep at night, it will make your day the worst day of your life, it will destroy your focus and attention, and it will lose your appetite. Sounds creepy isn’t it, but that’s the reality of experiencing the setbacks of love-relationships. This is one of the ‘dreadful’ mysteries in love-relationship that really creates jitters in our mind and goosebumps in our heart. Pathetic, awful, and discouraging; but there’s wisdom behind it that will really give us the key to a sound love-relationship. Just have a little patience and faith, and it will follow.