Steadfast

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How far can we hope for hope?

It’s all about changing paradigms – from pessimism to optimism. Changing paradigms to hope takes a lot of courage from what’s in us: mindset and attitude. These aspects may bring dramatic change to what we are hoping for. And it’s nice that we are still able to hold on to something – something that will keep us whole, something that tells us: ‘life is full of hope’.

Mindset. Yes, what each of us think conditions what lies ahead. Freedom, as one of the most feared yet precious gifts of the Lord, comes with great responsibility. We are free to think because we can imagine a lot of things. And the more we are acquainted to the way we think, the more and more they become real. Yet, it comes with responsibility of taking up the consequences not only personal, but also communitarian. Each mindset we incorporate, we actually say in a cosmic dimension. And it affects every aspect of our lives nowadays.

Attitude. Yes, another aspect which tells about how we feel ourselves and around us. Having a good day starts with a good attitude right after we wake up in the morning. In the same manner, having a better world begins with a good attitude from each of us. Are we discouraged? Disappointed? Distraught? Tired and helpless? Better change for better attitude. Then we get the fruits of personal and communal well-being.

That is why I propose that in this Year of Faith, as one with people celebrating it, that we begin a better world through a correct mindset and healthy optimistic attitudes which can steer every community from disunity to unity for good. The Lord now invites us to become steadfast – our response is to stabilize good mind-setting and healthy optimistic values.

And this actually says that there is a loving Lord watching over us, guiding us.

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Children of Easter Morn: On Porta Fidei

Christ’s Resurrection is the triumph of our faith!

One significant to remember: Faith is because of the Risen Jesus. Hence, we are called “the children of the Easter morn”. Christ’s Resurrection recreated and renewed everything…and everyone! What took place on the third day brought life to all. His Resurrection was so powerful that all creation is renewed in meaning. Life no longer ends in death, as we are accustomed to, but in faith life brings forth life. The identity of creation no longer rests on mere generation and corruption, but unceasingly renewed in life through the Risen Christ! I think this is what the Holy Father Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei is spoken to us…Christ’s faithful.

The challenge now for us, as children of the Easter morn, is to remind the world of its original vocation to embrace and welcome the Kingdom of God, just as it was created in its original splendor and beauty. I recently talked to a Professor and mentor whom I acknowledged because of what she wrote in a journal regarding creation-centered spirituality. This was the point-of-departure I specified when I delivered a paper regarding religious education. I was actually touched by what she wrote because she reminded me in a nutshell what was essential and basic: that all creation belongs to the God and will return to God.

Oftentimes, we may have been too hostile to the world, much as we may have forgotten that the whole creation was redeemed and sanctified by the Lord too. Such hostility is marked by our neglect of the basic needs of our neighbor. We keep using our natural resources to the expense of our environment – and our neighbors, to the extent. We thought that progress is when we are able to spend and spend. We still have that mindset: to be is to have more. For this, many continue to suffer because of lukewarmness and ignorance of the plight of others. How I pray and wish that someday all of us will share in the same table-fellowship that the Lord Jesus invited us – that all will be filled and quenched!

As the Year of Faith draws near, we rejoice in individuals and communities unceasing in bringing Christ to all. We are  challenged to challenge the values we have, the mindset we have, and the ideologies we believe in. Bringing the triumphant Christ to all means true love made known and lived by all. Unless we stop grabbing and having what we can, true love cannot be known. Faith is not intended for multiplication of rubrics, but rubrics that transform us to become servants of God and neighbor. Faith is a gift to us so that God’s gifts be available to all. This is distinct for the children of Easter morn: ability to challenge ideologies in the name of the Risen Jesus.

The Year of Faith draws near… have we prepared ourselves enough?

Always Open: On Porta Fidei

The "door of faith" always opens to a life of faith lived in love of God and neighbor, a hope for a better world. It "ushers us into the life of communion with God, and offers entry into His Church".

What’s behind that door?

Today, we see lots of designs and concepts when it comes to a door. To our everyday concrete experiences, almost a quarter of our time in a day (for most of us) is spent on opening, sliding, pressing a button, accessing, pushing and pulling every door we meet. Hence, we come across various kinds of doors, and various ways of opening them. Some doors are simple: pushing or pulling. Some are accessed by keys. Some are accessed by either voice recognition or by entering passwords. Opening doors are already part of our lives.

But doors also offer these things: security, environment and surprises. Doors offer security for those who own them, in respect to the building or establishment – perhaps securing and protecting goods. Most of these are accessed by keys, and other complex methods, of course. Doors also offer a transition of environment from one to another, since doors may separate a section to another. It would be difficult to settle in an environment with clutters and mess around. Doors also offer surprises: just imagine a “birthday celebrant” who was actually surprised as he/she entered the house, seeing people cheerfully greeting him/her a “happy birthday!” Even though we are familiar with what’s behind every door, there is still half of what we know – and half of what we are to be surprised about!

Then, what about this “door of faith”? For most of us accustomed to daydream (perhaps), we may ask “What does is it look like?” In the opening lines of the Apostolic Letter “Porta Fidei”, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, leads us to a glimpse of what the “door of faith” is about: “life of communion with God and entry into his Church”. But what is interesting is that the “door of faith” is ALWAYS open for us! It is “interesting” to see a door that is ALWAYS open, and being CLOSED as such, is unheard of.

What I reflect about this is that this “door of faith” is never a “closed-door policy”. In this sense, a faith that is committed to renewal in the spirit of the Lord is ALWAYS open. Hence, that “door of faith” opens us to wide avenues of living the opportunities of renewal of faith in the Lord. Closed doors always remain in limited perspectives. Living a “sense of faith” is never static; it aims to be renewed so that the “sense” itself is harnessed and sensitive enough to read the signs of times.

Perhaps, this Apostolic Letter may be a firm response to the ideologies of our time, such as materialism and consumerism. Such ideologies are closed-door policies. These never saw the richness of man as free to live in faith. The thought that “the more I have is the more I am” or the figure “I = having” is mistaken. This thought only promises disappointment and discouragement. It fails to teach us self-acceptance. But on the other hand, being inculcated with the “sense of faith” teaches us self-acceptance because God loves us just as we are. God’s love is never a closed-door policy. It is ALWAYS open – like that “door of faith”.

Our vocation then is to respond with a “sense of renewal”. Faith is a life-journey. It is a given that we human persons commit mistakes, miss the mark, lapse often, and trip over. But to accompany a life of faith with self-acceptance makes a lot of difference. It brings us to a better “search for identity” because it is actually a “search for direction”. It actually brings us to a proposal of a paradigm of faith, at the same time, open and adventure-packed. As Pilgrim People of God, we ought not to miss this because this is exciting. In this way, faith is best appreciated when it is integrated into our everyday living. Then, it is enriched in entering the door that “ushers us into the life of communion with God and offers us entry into His Church”.

The resolution? The “door of faith” is ALWAYS open, a journey, adventure-packed. God’s love is the love that accepts us who we are. For us, it might be challenging for us because of so many biases that we have. Admittedly, it is easier to let a door always open, than a heart that is always welcoming for others. But, once we hope for a better world for us, there is no other way but to be open and loving of others as they are. That is better perceived as the true and authentic progress. Nothing beats a heart that is embracing of others: for there is only one race that God knows: the human race. A heart that is always open is a heart that welcomes God himself.

The door of faith…always open…faith lived in love of God and neighbor, a hope for a better world!