Jump Start 2013

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How would you like to start your 2013?

There’s much to expect in 2013. And for me, I’d hope for the better. Basically, I’m a visionary – and I always look forward for what is best. I’d desire to seek what is nobler, higher and better. As I was writing this post, I already had in mind lots of endeavors to seek and to find meaning in them. I’m keen to find meaning in these endeavors. I’d find love in them!

In this Year 2013, I am inviting Jesus to journey with me again. At present, I am pursuing priestly and religious vocations in the Congregation of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus. My heart’s desire is to apply for the Novitiate – and I felt good about it. I find myself in it. I embrace it as my own. I love it. But of course, I need lots of prayers and support.

But every “jump start” starts with simple things we can enjoy in life!

>   How about a “smile” for 20 people you meet everyday?

>   How about saying “I am good!” at the start of your day?

>   How about a hug for someone whom you forgot to hug last year?

>   How about saying “Thank you, Jesus!” for every day you wake up?

>   How about blowing bubbles for 10 minutes and jump like a kid?

Kinda cool, huh! Simple things are meant to be enjoyed!

We’d want to start our year right, but God wants us to enjoy simple things in life. And it’s free.

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Simbang Gabi Chronicle #5: SERVANTHOOD

ImageDearest Friends:

Blessings of joy and peace to all!

Today, December 20, we are invited to reflect on the narrative of Mama Mary’s Annunciation in the Gospel reading. In particular, we are called to respond to our vocation like Mary’s trusting heart: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Hence, the reality of “servanthood” in a highly-technological world needs to be  reaffirmed and rediscovered during this Christmas season, and in the Year of Faith. Young as she was when her vocation was made known to her, she now serves as the example of the youth today – eager and excited to search for meaning in life.

To reaffirm and rediscover servanthood takes witnesses of service. But given a world permeated by technological developments, there is a need to have a renewed understanding of service. Today, our notion of service as equated with slavery gains a lot of resentment, irritability and indignance. If we are to understand service  with witnessing, I would personally look into it as a sense of legacy. Perhaps, we admire people because they inculcate a legacy which in turn encourages others to dream and have their own legacy to live. First of all, there is legacy because there is something worth fighting for and worth living.

Mary’s servanthood is characterized by her welcome of the Child Jesus in her life. She herself was immersed into the mystery of God’s presence in humanity – and she became a participant to it. Her legacy then was to bring God’s salvation to all when she answered, with a pondering heart, her generous “yes” to the Lord’s call. As evident in the Scriptures, Mary at first did not understand why she was the one chosen and why she, a virgin, have to bear God’s Son. This is the beauty of our faith – and makes us affirm it according to the Spirit dwelling in us. We just have to be open to Him and trust Him.

Perhaps, a good preparation for Christmas season is to open ourselves to the Lord. All of us are in the pursuit of what is meaningful in life. In my experience, I entered the seminary because I desire to have meaning in my life. This desire to pursue religious and priestly vocation would not have been possible if not with the help of the Spirit of God. Yes, it is God’s initiative to call me and lead me to a mission. But it is also His desire to let me see the meaning of my response to His call. I would always ask for it in my prayers to remind me that I have a legacy to live and to hand on to the future generations. Young as I am, I could really feel it. Now, Mary becomes an example to me. I wish I can be like her. I wish I can bring God’s love to people around me, just like how Mary proclaimed her joy to Elizabeth, to the shepherds, and to the Magi.

“When we desire to serve others, what is the legacy we want them to live?”

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!