Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hurting All Over and Loving It

I woke up and felt the pain, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.   I wanted nothing more than to stay in bed, as I suffered an almost sleepless night due to the summer heat and the adrenaline rush from last night's dance practice.  But work beckoned and I had to prop my head and lift my body by sheer willpower, to rise above the pain.  That's why Alaxan was invented, to dull the pain - something I knew I was good at.  So I took the pills and went to work.

Since last week, I had returned to dancing with the Lingkod QT's to prepare for our Easter Celebration this coming Lord's Day.  We hadn't danced in a year because our dance guru Karreen had to deal with an ACL tear and an ankle injury.  So we were all excited to go back to our group workout and fellowship sessions through the power of dance.  That we were doing it to the tune of Kirk Franklin's "Looking for You" made our jumps higher and our spins smoother (or so we wished).  His praise songs were just so danceable and we didn't have to worry about improper lyrics.

I knew that my body would be shell-shocked from all the twists and turns that Len, Jayson, and Karreen made us do, but I still went on with it.  As I complained today of aches and pains, Karreen asked me, "But ain't it worth it?"  Well, it was!

Some pains are so worth it that people don't mind going through them  - like in the case of a mother who stays up all night taking care of her newborn baby (or so I heard), or an artist who endures many sleepless nights creating his masterpiece, or a lover who waits with a mixture of intense longing and sheer excitement for the return of his beloved.  

As I walked every excruciating step in the office today and soothed my poor muscles with Lander Crystal Ice Analgesic Gel tonight, I did not have regrets.  I had fun practicing.  I knew I was going to have fun on Saturday, and I once more experienced one of the best forms of workout there was.

If only we could do this every week.  Come on, QT's, we've been planning to do this regularly for years.  Then there would be no more pain.  Only dance, and music, and toned bodies. 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Now is the Time to Rejoice

The Easter Vigil was held  across many parishes and transparochial communities last night.  I attended the one held at the Ateneo together with the Ligaya ng Panginoon community, partners-in-mission, affiliate communities, and guests.  We filled the entire High School Covered Courts.  

Even young children were amazed at the light that came from one burning fire into each of our little candles.  The rising of Christ was announced with the burst of our first hallelujahs, followed by songs of glory and praise.   We were no longer silent and blind, we had to shout out to the Lord.  With tambourines and bells, we snuffed out our candles and broke into a joyous dance.  Fr Herb Schneider, SJ, encouraged us to sing our praises because "now is the time to rejoice".  

Why so downcast oh my soul?  Christ has conquered sin and death.  I remembered.  So I tried rejoicing.  I clapped.  I lifted my hands in song.  I danced.  I greeted brothers and sisters.  The light of Christ had come and I was no longer in the dark.  

Christ is risen!  Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Today is Good Friday.

Isaiah 53:4-7

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.

Don't cry, I told myself.  I was inside a packed church and listening to this prophecy from Isaiah that referred to Jesus, and I could not help my tears.  People can see you.  Get a hold of yourself.  But the voice did not work.  I reflected on the Seven Last Words and was already overwhelmed by Jesus' love for me.  Then moving on to the Veneration of the Cross, I could not contain it anymore.  I stopped caring what people thought.  Jesus was all that mattered.

By his stripes we were healed.  I could not take it.  I was not worthy.  How could I stand there and pretend to be His follower?  I was a hypocrite.  That my sins drove the nails to His cross was all I could think of.

Fr Brian Steele, mgl gave the most powerful homily of his that I had ever heard.  He challenged us to say we did not give a damn that Jesus died for us.  He challenged us to say it three times, and told a story of a man who choked the third time he said it loudly in front of the cross.  Jesus died on the cross and I will give my life for Him,  that's what Fr Brian encouraged us to say.  And he ended his homily with the words:

"Today is Good Friday."

I was trembling after this.  I made no effort anymore of hiding that I was crying.  I kept saying sorry to Jesus and asking Him if He still loved me.  I wanted to ask Him, or to ask someone, but everyone seemed busy.  I stayed on my pew after the service and wrote on my journal.  

Then, just like that, Sr. Nilda approached me and asked me how I was.  Then she asked me how was my heart.  I was taken aback.  How did she know?  My eyes showed how I was feeling perhaps.  I allowed her comforting words to envelop me.  She reminded me that Jesus loved me and that I had only to trust Him.  She encouraged me to listen to my inner heart and to seek silence, and continue to pursue it.  She offered their house and private chapel for me to find refuge at.  She said she was just a phone call away if I needed to pour out my heart about my inner struggles.  I thanked her profusely for her generosity and she thanked God for leading her to approach me.

I am still a long way from healing but today I am emboldened to claim that I am already healed. For today is Good Friday.  

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Doubt in the Midst of Waiting

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?  (John 13:12)

Do I realize what Jesus has done for me?  I am not sure if I ever will.  My mind cannot comprehend it.  My eyes cannot see it.  My heart cannot believe it.

I attended a Bible class last year where the book of Romans was dissected by Fr Steve Tynan, our parish priest, and where he explained the significance of Christ's sacrifice, of our sanctification and redemption.  The revelation was too much that I finished the course still in awe of what Jesus had done.  If I were asked to explain it now, I doubt if I could.

There it is. There lies the problem:  doubt.

I never thought it would happen to me.  I thought I was immune to it - doubt, fear, backsliding, hardening of heart against the Lord - but in the past few months, I have been guilty of all these, and more.  It started with a drying up of prayer time, which seemed at first to be just that, a drying up of the well.  It was something even the saints went through in their journey with the Lord. I thought in due time the water would come gushing.  If only I had  waited a little longer.

But inch by inch, I let my impatience take over me.  From sunrise to sundown, I declared my war on waiting.  I drummed my fingers whenever I was stuck in traffic, and caught an accident as a result.  I could have listened to Christian music or prayed the rosary, but no, I resorted to inane text messages.  I was impatient at home, and impatient at work.  I was impatient with myself, and underneath it all, impatient with God.

I did not plan to rebel against God, whom I professed to follow all the days of my life.  It just happened.  I let my guard down.  My foot slipped.  I ignored all the warnings.  I shut out the voices of reason.  I even felt entitled to "a little break".  

This Holy Week, I learned the difference of being "on a break", and having a "breakup".  I realized that I did not want to break up with Jesus.  I merely wanted to be on a break from the routine I had lost myself into for the past several years.  My confessor and spiritual director said it was okay, that I should be patient in times of transition in my prayer life.  

And what a transition I was in!  Prayer took on a new form.  What used to work did not work anymore.  The people I ran to for help suddenly became busy.  Service became harder and harder because I doubted God's love for me.  I needed a very long, restful break.

It could not have been rest as I was doing it on my own.  I had cut down on activities but still felt restless.  So I went to two celebrations of the Lord's Supper today, just like last year - first in the parish, and then with Ligaya.  I did not want to choose between them so I attended both.  

I needed to hear God.  I needed to hear Him again.  I realized, however, that none of the emotions I used to associate with Holy Thursday were coming.  During meditation, I wasn't Peter in the Gospel anymore, having that important conversation with Jesus, but just a spectator, who did not want her feet to be washed by Jesus, and who was hoping not to be asked to wash other people's feet.  

But what was I so afraid of?  This was Jesus who was inviting me to love, just as He was inviting me to serve.  How could I forget what He had done for me?  Just looking at the earthly miracles, I got my job because last year, during the same Holy Thursday service, Lou Sitaca asked me to try CD Asia, after years of conversations about the company and inviting me to be a part of it.  I was also asked to serve as Lingkod QC BWM by God during Holy Thursday. In fact, this was the start of my fiscal year.  I had  experienced many other miracles and received many healing words on Holy Thursdays.

I had been running a good race, and then lost my way out of stubbornness and impatience.  I do hope that there is a chance for me to go back to being in-love with God alone, and of being Jesus' faithful servant, and of living in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Like a runner, I look forward every year to  Holy Thursday as it starts the Easter Triduum, and with it, Easter - the finish line.  This Lent is coming to a glorious end whether I feel it or not.  A spark of hope is rising within me tonight.  

Let me then go back to a life of waiting for the fulfillment of that Hope that I had almost forgotten. And that hope, that reward, is not of this world.  It is simply and clearly to see God face to face, and to worship Him forever.

To think I almost lost forever, for the passing fancies of today.  I will not think about what might have been.

I will just keep waiting. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

MCLE in New Jersey!

CD Asia, the organizers of the successful MCLE in LV, are proud to announce an even more exciting MCLE in New Jersey! This is open to all US- and Canada- based Filipino lawyers who want to retain their good standing in the Philippine Bar. Professors from the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University will be giving the lectures.

MCLE in New Jersey will be held from October 2 to 5, 2008 at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center at 6821 Black Horse, Atlantic City West, EHT, NJ 08334. For inquiries, please visit or email amgoce@mclepro.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Prohibited Posters

I have two quotes from the MMDA Gallery:

1.  Common  Poster AreaChairman Bayani Fernando of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) measures off the 200 meter-length from the tarpaulin posted on a Comelec-designated common poster area (CPA) in every barangay in the metropolis where candidates are only allowed to plaster their campaign posters and other election paraphernalia. The Comelec has deputized the MMDA to tear down all misplaced election paraphernalia posted outside the authorized CPA, document them as evidence against errant candidates who face disqualification from running in the May 14 elections for violation of the Fair Elections Act and arrest persons caught in “flagrante delicto.”

2.  Bawal Ito. MMDA workers on board a manlifter truck (insert) inscribe "Bawal Ito" red paint on a giant hamburger billboard on Katipunan Ave., near Miriam College Q.C. which, the MMDA says, violates government regulations prohibiting installation of outdoor signs that were put up over or across and along public thoroughfares, whether it be a national or secodary road. The MMDA later tore down this billboard because of the imminent danger it poses to the lives of pedestrians and motorists.

I do not know who declared EDSA as a poster area.  The presidential elections are a good two years away.  Yet, we could see huge posters of MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando all over EDSA, obviously a campaign pitch, with a no-nonsense "Men-In-Black" look.

Sir, bawal po iyan.  That was an ill-advised move on your part.  Please remove those posters as they are an eyesore and are clearly inappropriate.  Metro Manila, especially EDSA, the longest, most famous road in the country, is not yours.  You are only governing it on behalf of the people.  Using your position to advance your political ambitions, no matter how popular the practice is in this country, remains to be outrightly and blatantly wrong.  

Please remove those posters before somebody spray paints them with the words "Bawal Ito".  If that happens, you didn't read about it first on this blog.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tricks and Tips

I think I might have a future as Gadget Girl. Too bad she's not one of the choices of Superheroes on Facebook, because I just made her up.

Ever since I could remember, I've always loved gadgets. I've used a Texas Instruments electronic diary, a Palm m100, a Palm IIIxe, then rested from PDAs when I became a full-time volunteer mission worker from 2005-2007 (read: no budget to update my Palm).

My first cellphone was an Alcatel in 1998, when Globe texting was Unlimited by default, and I was the first few in our class to discover the pleasures of SMS. When I first touched a Nokia 6150, however, I was hooked to Nokia. I upgraded to a second-hand 6210, then bought My Precious 6600.  Last year, God answered my prayer when Globe gave me an E65 (a verry smartphone), and Smart gave our office a 6300. Nowadays, I sync both phones with my computer - calendar, contacts, photos, and videos. I could spend hours doing just that.

I'm not as adventurous with digital cameras, mainly because they're expensive and I don't take great pictures anyway (Anyone who has viewed my photos in this blog could attest to that). My family got a cheap one a few years ago at SM Department Store, and then my sister sent me a keychain-sized digicam that I was only able to use once. Then, the same sister gave me her old Kodak EasyShare camera, and a couple of years ago my Ninang from the US (yes, once a godmother, always a godmother), gave me an Olympus digicam, which I still use up to this day. It doesn't work well at night, but outdoors and during daytime, it gives me bright and sunny pictures.

I started my love affair with the personal computer in high school, when our family had an XT computer, the one with the green monitor and 5 1/4 floppy disks. I used to share it with my five siblings, all of whom had reports and papers to make. In Fourth Year, I was not the star computer programmer, but I was the resident class program troubleshooter. I could not design my own program but I could check other people's work and make them run. I was called the "Whiz Kid" after that geeky TV show that I loved to watch, but I felt the title was undeserved.

Since 1987, therefore, I've had to share a computer with my family. Even when our monitor and printer became colored. Especially when the Internet and e-mailing was introduced in our household.  I only enjoyed my own computer when I started working.  Still, the computers belonged to the office, and not to me.  I've tried all sorts of laptops and desktops, all running on Windows.

Until January 2008, when I bought my first MacBook.  It was like Ella had gone Home.  It was white, it was cute, it was animated, it was user-friendly, and it was mine.  With Bluetooth and wireless connectivity, I could stay in my room for hours on end and not feel bored.  I even bought those expensive white cleaning sponges and actually used them.  My mother was shocked because I was not usually so careful with my possessions.  But who wants a dirty white Mac?

And so on weekends when my younger nephew Miko would borrow my Mac, with his cute pleading eyes, I would lend it so he could watch Star Wars and Michael Jackson on YouTube.  His mom would be so kind to remind him to keep his hands clean.  I became the Aunt With the Cleaning Sponge, using it after the boys left on Sunday night so all fingerprints and other marks would all magically disappear.

I don't even bring my Mac to the office - it might get dirty or something.  I open it every morning to the Mass readings and reflections on Word Among Us.  I talk to my sister in Sydney on iChat.  I keep all my songs on iTunes.  I save all my pictures on iPhotos.  I sync my phone with iCal and Address Book.  I am in love with my Mac.  The best thing is, I got it at a huge discount.  I was too busy to blog about this new thing in my life, and now it's a 2-month old thing.  Still, the excitement and the connection is there.  It is a major blessing, for I've wanted my own computer since the 80's!

There was one thing that bothered me about the Mac, though.  Too lazy (again) to read the user's manual, I didn't know where the "right click" was for the touch pad, as there was just one long bar below the touch pad.  When I wanted to "right-click" or download something, I didn't know how to go about it, until I checked "Mac Tricks and Tips" last night and learned how to activate the clicking on my touch pad.  I was then able to save the poster for the Tribute to Fr. Honti concert that I featured two blog posts ago.

Last Friday, I gave my first training on Legal Research using Lex Libris to around  70 lawyers.  I included some Tricks and Tips that wasn't found in the User's Manual of Lex Libris, and the lawyers and CD Asia employees all oohed and aahed.  I realized then that passions should be shared, as they would benefit others.  I've been using Lex Libris since 1997 and have accumulated my own shortcuts in using the software, copying and editing to Word.  Little did I know that I would one day be giving product demonstrations and users' training for CD Asia, and having some fun along the way.

So yes, I will be honest about it - I love gadgets.  I just might be a geek, after all.  You can call me Gadget Girl (TM).

Now Showing: Papuri sa Diyos

This was the finale from last night's concert, "Dakilang Pag-Ibig". I was too lazy to leave my seat and I tried to catch the UP Filipiniana dancers but they were flying everywhere. You could just listen to the music. I have to admit, some versions sung by other choirs in the past have not given this song justice.

This is how "Papuri sa Diyos" should be sung. Majestic. With a full choir. And people dancing as a form of body worship.

It felt like Easter already.

“DAKILANG PAG-IBIG ALAY KAY FR. HONTI” featured performances by Pansol Choir, Canto Cinco, Tinig Barangka, Himig Heswita, Barangka Choir, TaƱong Choir, Bukas Palad, Hangad, Hontiveros Family, Musica Chiesa, and the UP Filipiniana Dance Group.

I'd like to thank especially Sr Susay Valdez for her inspiring solo, and Fr. Jboy for his inspired direction of the concert.

I've never met Fr. Honti but I grew up with his music. May more men and women follow his footsteps in creating Original Pilipino Liturgical Music.

Now Playing: Hesus na Aking Kapatid

I caught the second night of "Dakilang Pag-ibig:  A Tribute to Fr. Honti" at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University, presented by the Jesuit Music Ministry and Jesuit Communications. I was happy to see Bukas Palad, Sr. Susay Valdez, rc, Oggie Benipayo, Himig Heswita, and other JMM artists singing the songs written by the Father of Philippine Liturgical Music, Fr. Eddie Hontiveros, SJ.

The hosts were Bishop Chito Tagle, DD, STD and Rizza Hontiveros-Baraquiel. Too bad Sr. Bubbles Bandojo, rc and Hangad were not there tonight, so they just had an instrumental version of "Ang Puso Ko'y Nagpupuri". The concert was directed by Fr. Jboy Gonzales, SJ.

One of the most touching songs by Fr. Honti is "Hesus Na Aking Kapatid". In the "Far Greater Love" album, Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ re-arranged the song to include a female counterpoint. It made the song even better for me.

For this Holy Week, I will be listening to and playing Fr. Honti's songs. They are in Tagalog, which makes them more powerful and beautiful.

Hesus Na Aking Kapatid

Lyrics and Music: Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, SJ
Arrangement: Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ
Sung by Veepee Pinpin and Maan Villanueva
Far Greater Love Album

Hesus na aking kapatid
sa lupa nami'y bumalik
Iyong mukha'y ibang-iba
hindi kita nakikilala

*Tulutan mo aking mata,
mamulat sa katotohanan
Ikaw Poon makikilala sa
taong mapagkumbaba

Hesus na aking kapatid
putikin man ang Iyong sapin
Punit-punit ang Iyong damit
Nawa Ika'y mapasa-akin*

Hesus na aking kapatid
Sa bukid ka nagtatanim,
o sa palengke rin naman
Ikaw ay naghahanap-buhay

Tulutan mo aking mata,
mamulat sa katotohanan
Ikaw Poon makikilala
Ikaw Poon makikilala
Ikaw Poon makikilala
sa taong mapagkumbaba

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Minor Jolt

Now I know why I was led to reflect on St Teresa of Avila's prayer this morning.  I wondered what the day would bring, and lifted it up to God who saw everything.  All I could think of was the convention we were participating in and how many copies of The Bench Companion we could sell to members of the National Prosecutors League of the Philippines.  

Nada te turbe.  Let nothing disturb you.  Solo Dios basta.  God alone suffices.  I used to sing this on my knees with tears streaming down my face during morning prayers at the Lingkod national conferences I attended.  It was a timely reminder today of what I used to profess.

I figured in a minor accident this afternoon.  I felt so rotten afterwards because it was my fault.  Due to carelessness in the middle of EDSA traffic, I hit a white CRV in front of me.  My dream car.  How ironic.  (Aside:  So this is how I pursue my dreams, by hitting them.  No wonder.  End of aside.)  Its immaculate whiteness rubbed off on the hood of my car.  

The driver, a woman about my age, was nice enough not to shout at me or tell me how stupid I was.  She just asked for my contact information and told me she would get in touch.

There were a thousand regrets in my head while driving back to the office.  Those who've been in a car accident would know the feeling of dread to be behind the wheel again.  But my car's name is not Kit and I'm not the Knight Rider, so I could not let my car do the driving for me.  I had to get back on my feet and face my fear.

Traffic was worse after work and I felt paranoid, like all the cars around me were too close.  I kept praying, Please Lord, not on the same day.  And while I'm praying about it, may I never be in a car accident ever again.

Tonight I will recite again the prayer I posted this morning.  Why is it that I only remember to pray hard when I'm hit hard?

Nada te turbe

I think I posted this prayer here before.  I read it again from the reflection from the Word Among Us and take it with me today.

original Spanish text by St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) 

Nada te turbe, 
nada te espante, 
todo se pasa; 
Dios no se muda. 
La paciencia 
todo lo alcanza; 
Quien a Dios tiene, 
nada le falta; 
Solo Dios basta. 

Let nothing trouble you. 
Let nothing frighten you. 
All is fleeting. 
God alone is unchanging. 
Patience obtains everything. 
The one who possesses God lacks nothing. 
God alone suffices.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Charivari at UP Law

(With my friends Gay, Tess, and LSG Prez Lobit, who could sing like a pro.)

Last February 28, 2008, I attended an event at my alma mater, the University of the Philippines College of Law, entitled "Malcolm IDOLaw: Sing You in Court (UP Law's First Ever Concert)".

It was a lot of fun to see my professors dress up to sing, dance, and read (poetry) on stage, with the current students of UP law.  During my time, we sang, danced, and read poetry about our law professors.  What has happened to the world?  They're all friends now.  Probably the Law Student Government (LSG) is doing a great job.

CD Asia was there to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.  I wondered if the students did any studying during the week leading to that concert.  They claimed that they were able to pull it off in the middle of exams.  Back in the day when I walked the corridors of Malcolm Hall, I could not even survive exam week in one piece.  

There was even an inter-batch choral competition, and after watching too much American Idol, I was frustrated that I couldn't be a judge.  My opinions didn't count.  But my choices won.  Hooray, sophomores.  It did show that you had the most time on your hands.  (Again, flashback to 1996, I was active in the LSG during my sophomore year as well.  And only during that year.)

I was thrilled by the performance of the founding members of the UP Law Charivari, the resident choir of the College.  I sang with the Charivari in my senior year.  It turns out that the original members were gifted singers aside from brilliant law students who topped the bar, graduated cum laude, etc.  Well, at least I could sing.  Haha.  

The word "charivari" is familiar to every freshman law student as it comes up in the Revised Penal Code as one of those unusual but memorable crimes we had to study.  Classified under "Alarms and Scandals", there's a penalty for "any person who shall instigate or take an active part in any charivari or other disorderly meeting offensive to another or prejudicial to public tranquility.

Webster's Dictionary defines it as:  (Char*ri 'va *ri) Noun. French. A mock serenade of dissonant noise done with kettles and tin horns meant to annoy. Generally when an older person married a very young person. 

There was discordant noise alright during Malcolm IDOLaw night, but it all came from the audience who could not get enough of the professors' entertaining performances.
The videos of the event are all over YouTube.  Catch them before they are flagged or banned, especially one famous professor's dance number "Dontcha", which had all the Deans of yesteryear whispering and paying attention.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Pleasure of a Business Trip

Last week, I went to Cebu and then to Davao for branch visits. I traveled with a sister from Lingkod who happens to be my colleague at CD Asia. We were like missionaries in that we had to try to whip our branches into shape - Edith in terms of Admin and Finance, and me in terms of Marketing and Sales. We did our best, and let God do the rest.

First, we met with our Cebu team. Then I attended a debate between UP Law and Ateneo law at University of San Carlos, where Lex Libris Student Edition was a sponsor.

Yes that's me, proudly holding one of the products I wish I had when I was in law school, for all law students to see. During the debate, Ateneo won, and they're the ones who will compete internationally. CD Asia was so proud to have been part of this first ever project of USC for Jessup.

Since Lingkod had a branch wherever CD Asia was, the brothers and sisters from Lingkod-Cebu invited Edith and I to attend a birthday celebration at the Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa. James, the Branch Leader of Cebu, treated us to a genuine Cebuano dinner - meaning lechon was served. Then we sang videoke until dawn. I was happy to garner the highest score for the night - 95, and we didn't set it on the Amateur level. The Lingkod Cebu brothers and sisters were a delight to be with. It was like attending a standup comedy concert. We got home late but it was a fellowship well worth our time.

Next, Edith and I flew to Davao, where we were welcomed by the Lingkod leaders with fellowships left and right. They made sure we found pleasure amidst our business trip. They even took us to a quick breakfast over at Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort, dinner at Gardenia restaurant (beside a lake), coffee at Bigby's, and a stroll at the People's Park, where we had fun with the swing.

We didn't expect to be blessed so much for that trip. Thanks to Lingkod-Cebu especially James, Darwin, Eji, Corleone, and Ernie, and to Lingkod-Davao and HTC especially Michelle, Dennis, Arnold, Glen and Nelda.

That was some business with pleasure. Till our next (CD Asia and Lingkod) branch visit!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Coming Home

When I was a little girl I loved to play with my younger sister in our backyard. We would dance the hula hoop, make cakes from mud, catch tadpoles (ewww! I know...), build bonfires (not allowed today), and do many other things our mother would probably not have approved of had she known what we were up to. She would look at us from the kitchen window and call out our names when it's time for dinner. We'd giggle and wash up and try to be at our best behavior at the dining table, with our secrets left in the garden, only to be rediscovered the next day.

Recently I've felt like that little girl again before my heavenly Father. I asked Him permission to "step outside", play a bit, and discover new secrets that the great world out there had to offer. Out of His love, and knowing I had to learn my lessons well, He allowed me to play outside the box I had built over the years in my spiritual journey.

I could feel Him watching me, guiding me, and telling me gently when I've crossed some lines. I could see dangerous forests and beguiling creatures for what they were after initially appearing to be attractive and interesting. I've got some cuts and bruises from my explorations, but nothing major. Yet.

A couple of weeks ago I went to confession. I talked to an unfamiliar priest in the U.P. parish and poured out the sins I had accumulated since my last good confession. After listening to my litany of woes, he simply said that I was still in transition and that I had to be patient, for God Himself was patient with me.

That's it? I thought to myself. No long sermons? The penance he gave me was not what I expected, as I came that night feeling like the lost sheep from Scriptures. Maybe the priest was being too kind. However, when I returned to my seat to pray, I felt God's love washing me clean. I felt the grace of forgiveness, of welcoming, and of starting over. I was being too hard on myself, when all God wanted, like my mother by sundown, was for me to come home.

I wish I could say I didn't sin after that anymore, but I still did. I still do. But just as I clean up after every playtime under the sun, I will keep on repenting from my sins, confessing them, and amending my life. I fail more often than not, but His grace is enough for me.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano

I woke up a friend of mine because I needed waking up. He gave me these words, which Wikipedia describes as follows:

Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) is a famous Latin quotation, often translated as "A sound mind in a sound body." It is derived from Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal (10.356). In context, the phrase is part of the author’s answer to the question of what people should desire in life:

It is to be prayed that the mind be sound in a sound body.
Ask for a brave soul that lacks the fear of death,
which places the length of life last among nature’s blessings,
which is able to bear whatever kind of sufferings,
does not know anger, lusts for nothing and believes
the hardships and savage labors of Hercules better than
the satisfactions, feasts, and feather bed of an Eastern king.
I will reveal what you are able to give yourself;
For certain, the one footpath of a tranquil life lies through virtue.

orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
fortem posce animum mortis terrore carentem,
qui spatium uitae extremum inter munera ponat
naturae, qui ferre queat quoscumque labores,
nesciat irasci, cupiat nihil et potiores
Herculis aerumnas credat saeuosque labores
et uenere et cenis et pluma Sardanapalli.
monstro quod ipse tibi possis dare; semita certe
tranquillae per uirtutem patet unica uitae.

Now if only I could follow this advice.  Easier read, and written, than done.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Another Pattern

"It's in the breaking of the heart that the heart grows stronger."

It's a quote but I don't remember who said it.  

I probably did.