Friday, December 23, 2011

This Christmas...

My prayer is for the victims of typhoon Sendong, for practical, spiritual, and emotional support;
My wish is for a deeper spiritual life, one that involves sitting still in the middle of a green meadow, listening to the distant brook and feeling the gentle breeze on my face;
and My gifts are an open mind and a believing heart, that Jesus may come and save me, so I can help others more.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Gadget Girl
The Obiter Master ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Update on "The Waiting Room"

In a previous post, I wrote about doing something towards expanding my territory and not being anxious about it.Well I forgot to write about the rejection when I got it, probably because my heart was not really in it in the first place. THAT's why I was so detached.

So yes, the plan did not pan out. At least not now. At least not that way.Whether I will get it someday is another matter.

A lot of changes are happening to the people around me. Friends are getting new jobs, dates, husbands, degrees, and careers. I am happy for all of them. A lot of them are leaving. I am staying behind for a reason.

And the reason is, I don't know what I want. Maybe I do, but I don't know how to get it. But then again, maybe I do know how to get it, but I am just too damned scared and lazy to do it.

So the person and the reason I am waiting for, after all, is within me.

I hope God would speak to me on the matter. And I hope to re-learn how to listen. And how to write again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Waiting Room

I'm the girl with the waiting issues, as I have been blogging about since 2003. Of late, however, it seems like I have finally learned an ounce of patience.

I have a particular prayer request and I do not feel impatient towards God at all. Okay, at least not yet. I am willing to wait for this one.

I did my part. I aimed for the stars, and they are my kind of stars. God will know where to find me after this: at the waiting room, smiling.

If it doesn't work, then it's back to the drawing boards for me. At least I tried.

I hope I don't change my mind about this tomorrow.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Just a Question

I want to say Yes to God. But what is the question?

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Quote from James Joyce

I know it's been a while. To say that I have been busy is an understatement.

Anyway, something blog-worthy is my amazement at this paragraph from a chapter of great book I am reading, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.

It was strange too that he found an arid pleasure in following up to the end the rigid lines of the doctrines of the church and penetrating into obscure silences only to hear and feel the more deeply his own condemnation. The sentence of saint James which says that he who offends against one commandment becomes guilty of all, had seemed to him first a swollen phrase until he had begun to grope in the darkness of his own state. From the evil seed of lust all other deadly sins had sprung forth: pride in himself and contempt of others, covetousness In using money for the purchase of unlawful pleasures, envy of those whose vices he could not reach to and calumnious murmuring against the pious, gluttonous enjoyment of food, the dull glowering anger amid which he brooded upon his longing, the swamp of spiritual and bodily sloth in which his whole being had sunk.

These words seem to come from deep within the writer; indeed, this book is based on his real life experiences. I stared at the paragraph and read it again and again. Such truth. Such a magnificent way of stating the truth.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Walking with Jesus This Holy Week

It is Palm Sunday, a day we remember Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Of course we all know that by the middle of the week, the people would change their minds about him and would want him to be hanged. But that is getting ahead of the story.

Palm Sunday also ushers in Holy Week. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "holy" as:

1 : exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
2 : divine
3 : devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
4 a : having a divine quality
b : venerated as or as if sacred

The priest, after hearing my confession, said that my invitation is to walk with Jesus in his passion and death in this week, which by definition is to be devoted entirely to Him anyway. I consider it as not asking too much of my time; for one week, out of the more than fifty-two (52) weeks in a year, devoted to prayer, silence, veneration, recollection, meditation, and even solitude. The priest said I might want to ask the Lord, "How do You want me to walk with you?"

I asked Jesus during the anticipated Palm Sunday mass yesterday. Then after that, I saw an answer. I was reminded of my personal cross. I will hoist it above my shoulders and carry it, like my Lord did. I will take up my cross, even embrace it, to follow Jesus.

I could go to the mall, the beach, the pool, the hotel, the resort, on 51 other weeks this year. In fact, I already did some of that. It is time for God, and God alone.

Our parish has this schedule for Holy Week. I invite you to check your parishes as well, and take part in this week, so that we will all feel Easter on Sunday.

  • Holy Monday = Recollection after the 6 p.m. mass
  • Holy Wednesday = Kumpisalang Bayan (Went to confession already to avoid the queues.)
  • Holy Thursday = Chrism Mass, 7 am at the Cathedral (I want to attend for the first time.)
  • = Commemoration of the Institution of the Eucharist and Washing of the Feet
  • = Start of Easter Triduum
  • = Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Good Friday = Veneration of the Holy Cross
  • = Procession
  • Holy Saturday = Easter Vigil
  • Easter Sunday = Salubong Mass (I will serve at this mass, my earliest assignment ever.)
  • = Easter Sunday masses

How about you, how will you walk with Jesus this Holy Week?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Girl on the Last Row

When I sing songs about standing before God's throne, or entering His courts, or being in His presence, I see myself running late for a time of heavenly worship and proceeding to the very last row. In fact, when I am viewing this image I often see that I am crawling to my place in the huge hall and wishing God would not notice me. Kind of like the daughter who got in way past her curfew, tiptoeing through the living room and hoping to get to the stairs unnoticed.

As if that were possible. God not noticing me, that is. But that is a recurring image. Usually I would be carrying heavy stuff - musical instruments, song sheets, journals, bibles, notepads, pens, fans, and every other load for the whole congregation - and I would see myself trying to avoid making a noise or inviting attention to myself. Good thing that this always takes place in heaven, where the others with me would be fixing their eyes on Jesus and His majesty, and not being disturbed, really, by my lateness. Or my extra luggage.

Last Sunday, I modified the image. Well, it was probably a daydream by then, because while we were singing during mass, I saw myself playing the guitar, again in the Worship Hall in Heaven, but from the very back. It was a glaring image of my feeling of unworthiness. In my limited imagination, I could only see the Catholic saints surrounding the Throne, followed by the good people - the missionaries, the priests, the nuns, the teachers, the mothers, and the fathers. In that hierarchy, the humble, selfless, and generous people would be on the next circle, and so on and so forth. I would be grateful just to be in the same room as those souls. But I would be playing music, faintly, from my inconspicuous spot. It is a daydream because I play the piano and not the guitar, although I own two of the latter.

The image, or the vision, depending on who sees it, has stayed with me for several days now. Me, wanting to be close to God, but thinking I do not deserve to be in His presence. And the growing answer within me is that God is not like that. Or heaven would not be exactly like that.

God would know where I am at any point in time, so it would be useless, really, to try to enter the Hall unnoticed. Like what I do some Sundays when I am not serving for mass and I get delayed by some trivial thing.

God is inviting me to sit close to Him. Or wherever I am in the room, I would feel His presence and His love, which is no less than the love He has for the saints and the angels. In fact He is said to rejoice at every sinner who turns away from their evil ways. So it is possible that I would bring joy to my Heavenly Father just by trying to be with Him even with all my baggage and distractions.

A long time ago, I thought I would be in Row 1 in heaven. Regular confession and daily communion. Service that cost blood, sweat, and tears. Lengthy prayer time. Spiritual books and music, alone. Spiritual friends all around me.

But I have stumbled and continue to do so. Christian life has become more meaningful when I acknowledged my weaknesses and imperfections. Right now I see myself, the times when I think I would be able to enter Heaven at all, on the very Last Row. But it should not matter. It does not matter.

Because God sees me and is with me even when I am on the Last Row.

"And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Lk 13:30, ESV)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Creating Space for Lent and Easter

I attended a seminar on the Easter Triduum given by a liturgist today, and was utterly fascinated. If only all the people could hear, understand, and appreciate why the Mother of All Vigils is done that way. (If only I would stop being a fence-sitter, and start doing something about it.)

I enjoyed the seminar as much as much as I did the weekly Scripture Study with our parish priest that I used to be able to attend, before my classes were scheduled on the same night. I soaked up all the historical and traditional background, the relevant teachings of the Church, the writings of the early Church fathers, the theological significance, and the practical application. Even the bloopers that were caused by overzealousness, or overeagerness, by some people, were interesting. I liked the way the speaker, Dean Marc Martin, gave the cultural and social context to many of the Lenten observances, and taught us how to focus on the essential matters alone.

It was great just to sit and listen together with my fellow lectors and commentators, as well as the lay ministers. I prayed for a more meaningful Lent and a joyous Easter, and to be the kind of servant who would create space for these two beautiful seasons.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Day Before I Went Home

I must admit that I still have post-holiday hangover. So once in a while I will blog about my trip to attempt to document that which I was not able to process immediately.

For the Sunday mass on the Baptism of the Lord, I went to Our Lady of Dolours in Chatswood. It was right after Christmas Day, also known as Boxing Day in those parts. The streets were very quiet. On the way home, my father and I were the only people on the bus!

Many Asians go to mass here. There's even a Filipino mass once a month where Pinoy food is served afterwards. The parishioners do it potluck and they bring their individual specialties. I skipped this one as I didn't actually miss Pinoy food while I was away.

I returned to this Church the week after, during the Feast of the Epiphany. As if to close the book on my holiday, to prepare me for Ordinary Time.

I had mixed feelings that day. I was very, very grateful for how the six weeks had turned out. At the same time I was very sad as I was leaving and going back to the real world, my real life, and all my responsibilities. Most of all, I was going to miss my parents, my niece, my Ate, and my brother-in-law.

I talked to God, thanking Him profusely, asking Him to take care of my family. I also recognized how blessed I was, that it was time of spring again. And then I asked Him to show me what He wanted me to bring home - what attitudes, goals, hopes, and experiences should stand out. Of course everything I had seen and done would forever stay with me - it was, after all, a life-changing trip inside and out - but they were all mixed inside my head. I needed clarity as I started a new year and a new life.

I was very much aware of how the seasons had changed while I was in Oz. I arrived just before Advent started, and it was still springtime in Sydney. The neighborhood I lived in, Lane Cove, was covered in Jacaranda lilac. It was so beautiful. It was also, more importantly, the First Sunday of Advent. I finished Advent, attended Christmas, all the way to the Feast of the Three Kings.

My mother removed the Christmas decor the day that I left for home. My family back home and officemates were so sweet as to wait for me before removing their belens, Christmas trees, and other decorations. I was touched.

I got a warm welcome everywhere I went. I thus did not feel so sad. A bit disorientated, yes (I used to say "disoriented"), but not really out of place.

I am now living in two worlds, at home in both. Just like the movie Inception, however, I had to wake up from my beautiful dream and to start living again. I will be back to dream land soon, and perhaps one day my reality will involve just one world. Just one life. Someday.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Awesome Oz

Our God is an awesome God. I asked for very little for my trip - just a chance to meet old friends, make new friends, celebrate with family, visit Hunter Valley, watch U2, and rest. I know, that sounds grand already, doesn't it?

I got so much more.

My niece is the loveliest niece on earth. I know all doting aunts say that, so sue me. But she is! I miss waking up to her smile and watching her dance in her playpen and carrying all 10 kilos of her. I am grateful that she is a healthy, happy baby.

I got to see the doctor of my dreams. Please see previous post for more on that. I'm on the road to health myself and, consequently, happiness.

I went on several dates. I'm not talking about sticky date pudding, which was hands down the best dessert I had during that trip, but I got to meet real men of different nationalities, all university graduates, and a few of them I did find interesting.

I went to beautiful beaches. I visited several churches, some for the first time. I slept over old friends' houses. I met a wonderful family who shared their story with me.

I attended many parties, the most fabulous of which was hosted by my sister and my brother-in-law. I stayed in a hotel with the most amazing view of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

I was able to spend a mighty long time with my family, whom I've missed the past year due to our distance from one another. That was really awesome. Although we weren't complete, technology brought us closer to the rest.

I got to be there when Sydney was at the height of Oprah Fever. I made several trips to the grocery store, which all my friends know is my favorite chore. Next to doing the laundry of course, which I got to perform. Several times!!! Then I was able to conquer my sister's kitchen with a few dishes that were instant hits. I even attended my high school reunion online, at a batchmate's house, via live feed.

The ending was fitting - I watched the amazing fireworks display on New Year's Eve along with 1.5 million people who gathered at the Sydney Harbour. I learned that there were more people in Sydney Harbour that night than in New York City's Times Square. As the sky lit up in vibrant colors shooting from barges, buildings, and that famous bridge, I could not help but thank God for the grand ending to my holiday.

All in all, my vacation was not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, it was awesome!!! I am grateful to God, my family, and my friends for making this possible. I am trying to snap out of the vacation mode. The Church has started Ordinary Time after the Baptism of the Lord. Having spent Advent and Christmas in a special way, I am aware of the change in season.

Just like I prayed, I have been changed by this trip. I will write more about it in the future. I have created a slideshow of my favorite shots and will include a link here sometime.

Meanwhile, I am crawling back to reality as a changed woman. As to how, I will find the inspiration to write about it sometime soon.