Simbang Gabi Chronicle #3: ROLE-REFLECTING

ImageDearest Friends:

Peace and greetings to all!

For our third Simbang Gabi Chronicle last December 18, my interest focused on the homily of our chaplain. His homily caught my attention because of its relevance today among our multi-tasking buddies. Perhaps, it’s a good thing that in this Advent season, part of our preparation for the celebration of the Birth of our Lord would be to slow down and reflect what has been through our life in this year 2012 as it draws its conclusion. On this reflection, we draw St. Joseph as our model of “role-reflecting” in his silent and listening heart.

I couldn’t agree more when our chaplain said that most of us tend to do “rushed decision-makings”. I take it simply as reckless decision-makings. Just this: why do road accidents occur more frequently than we know it? Why do regrets come after someone posted his own nasty picture either in Facebook or Twitter that gained infamous remarks? Why do some research papers get rejected before getting recommended for publication? Why do some organizations keep on splitting up? Why do some peer relationships ended up bitter, regretful and hateful? And why do some persons of great ambition who almost reached their goal missed it and fell hard? Yes, it’s about recklessness – and sometimes, its consequences are irrevocable.

Think about our world today. Think about how we think. Think about how we act. More often than not, we are preoccupied with many things we thought we could get done in our way. But life is not all that. That is why people who consider themselves “multi-taskers” get stressed early on yet they have less in life. They could get things done in a short span of time, but if you would ask them whether they got the meaning of how they did it, I doubt enough that they would give you a meaningful answer. You’ll be surprised – they would just be dumbfounded. And if they keep on stressing themselves no matter what it takes, they just snap and fall, making reckless decisions in an instant and then regret the consequences. Admit it: we can’t own the world, and it’s time to stop the thought to control everything.

St. Joseph is an example to all of us. Aside from his simplicity, it is his “role-reflective” attitude which made him also great. He could have been overcome by the law and expose Mary to the public about her condition. But he took time – and in that taking time, he was revealed of his “role” or his “calling” which made him prepare well to receive Jesus. We can do that too. We just need to respect time, and discern well. It’s not on the quantity of finished works that we become great. Rather, it is on the quality that we put on our work that counts our greatness. And that quality is best accompanied with slowing down, taking time, and discernment. Our faith in the Lord requires that too. God respects our growth, so too we are expected to respect the process of our growth.

“Now, what are the things in life that are in need of us slowing down and taking time? In our discernment, what can therefore be our role in this life?”

From Silence to Listening: A Retreat With the Youth

ImageTwo months ago, the Rogate Youth had their retreat in the Seminary of which I was one of the facilitators. For this retreat, only few managed to come for this opportunity, while I remembered inviting many of them to come for such an encounter. Now, I am beginning to learn and understand a lot from them!

For about half-a-day encounter of silence and reflection, we facilitators encouraged and invited them to be immersed into silence and reflection. We invited them to recall all their past experiences (in general) and to look these experiences into what brought them now. We gave them two small pieces of paper to write on which they will be offering to the Lord for our Taize Prayers and Meditation.


But what astounded me most was during the moment of sharing of reflections. It was right that I prepared myself to be attentive to what they will be saying in front of the group. During the sharing, I admired how they were able to process their reflections because they do have realizations which we facilitators did not expect at first. Personally, I felt their sincerity when they shared their experiences from their heart. I really felt that through silence, they were able to search deeper into the meaning of their lives. They were eager to seek the meaning of their lives, and hopefully they will find it.Perhaps, it is the right moment for us to invite the youth to appreciate the beauty of silence that goes with listening.


IMG_2181Months from now, the World Youth Day 2013 will be celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Glad that many will come. But for those who cannot, we can still celebrate it when we, persons involved in the Church, invite the youth around us to come and celebrate youthfulness in creative ways – proposing opportunities for silence and moments to listen within oneself – which they will find difference and meaning from what they are ordinarily used to and oriented to.For today, some of the youth are afraid to seek what is inside of them which is why they search the “seemingly happy” outside of them and get contented with the noises around them. What turns out would be more catastrophic because when they forget who they are as individuals, they lose the sense of meaning of life, and when they do so, they get lost and lose their self-identity.

I invite you, my fellow youth, to celebrate WYD 2013 in silence and listening within! Let us all feel the presence of God of Love who waits us in silence, inviting us to listen to Him because we are His children and He is our Father and loves us dearly! When we experience Him, let us proclaim the joy we felt when we are able to listen with Him!