Category Archives: Spiritual

Who will be the next Pope?

Last night, the husband is wishing I would agree to have cable TV installed in the house. The reason: He wants to watch the upcoming Vatican conclave in March. I think I will give in despite my uncanny ability to live sans TV because me too, is excited to see Cardinal and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle (fondly known as Bishop Chito to former/present Imus-Cavite folks like us) – participate in the election of the 112th Pope.

Going for Bishop Chito

A lot of Catholic Filipinos are rooting for him to be Pope. Others are skeptical, though. My take is that it is really a long-shot-way-from-the-back-door-route for Bishop Chito to reach the Papacy. As he said he is just a “newbie” cardinal, and has been Archbishop of Manila for only over a year. Although not to discount the fact that he is indeed capable of the role. He is young, vibrant, has the ideal balance between the progressive and conservative Catholic paradigms, and is really – very humble. When he got appointed as Manila Archbishop, even the Church’s critics never doubted his capacity to listen and to stay humble. Add to that is his notable level of intelligence. In the Ateneo, he is known to be the only contender to Dr. Jose Rizal’s grades. Even in his completed studies abroad, the minimum award he received was that of a magna cum laude. Despite his achievements, Bishop Chito is ever humble. Ever lacking the desire for entitlements garnered for high office, he would ride a jeep around Imus and mingle with anyone.

Upon becoming the highest head of Church in the country, he is the first to reiterate that one has to go back to the poor communities because the Church is for the poor. That is something refreshing when most Filipinos think the Catholic Church is all ceremonies with no genuine heart to listen and be one with the underprivileged. I remember him saying during the epic debate and people-bashing era of the RH bill that if we do not have love for one another, then we can just go on hurting our brothers more. He called for kindness and respect regardless of one’s position on the issue. That statement was truly a reflection of his personality. If there is one priest who would say that, it would really be him. On the other hand, I think he is also too “mabait” to a fault because I never heard him reprimand bishops and priests who use their homilies to name-drop and bash certain politicians. But he was firm in putting into jail/investigation those erring priests who were charged of sexual abuse. Not covering up for them – ever.

Pressure is on us

If ever Cardinal Tagle becomes Pope, oh it will be tremendous pressure for the country! For sure our lawmakers will not just think twice but a hundred times before they push for a controversial bill (i.e. divorce bill), minding the greater power the Church has attained.

For the PH society in general, I think we would have a lot of eyes watching us deal with our own societal evils – ever questioning the faith of our countrymen. Pressure ito!

And I really think the Catholic Church in the Philippines will face more challenges and criticisms more than ever. It can be a purifying experience, though.

It will be given to us if God wills it.

My husband thinks the next Pope is a Filipino. I told him insiders and Pope Benedict XVI’s closest aids think otherwise – it’ll come from Latin America or Africa where the Catholic faith is the strongest and most prevalent. Their cardinals might win the conclave’s favor because of their experience and the sheer number of their faithful flock.

However, we cannot discount the seemingly surprising notice of our country in terms of church affairs in recent times. One is the rise of Bishop Chito as Archbishop of Manila; his confirmation from the Vatican as cardinal; and of course the sainthood of Pedro Calungsod. The trend seems to point us in the direction of the Papacy – assuming much! Hehehe! I still think it’s a long, long, long stone throw’s away.

At the end of it all, I believe the ultimate decision is out of our hands – not even with the conclave of bishops in Rome. They can only reach a certain point to do so much. Only God’s will shall prevail in the end. And whoever becomes the next Pope, I’m sure the Catholic world will rejoice no less.

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Happy and Content at 28

Quiet. Simple. Low-key. These are 3 words to describe my 28th year of birthday celebration on earth. How time flies, soon July will be over and there’s no going back to being 27. I’m old. But here’s my little secret – I always feel like I’m 23…. FOREVER 23!

I love that I was able to celebrate my 28th year as exactly as how I wanted it to be. Chill lang. I stayed at home with my family, read a book, baked in the kitchen, slept over the weekend, and was able to get some perspectives centered. It’s such a welcome retreat after weeks of working, traveling, and moving into a new apartment – for the 6th time in 3 years! My ISP providers are becoming ever more curious why I keep on changing my billing address.

Anyway, here are some shots of my relaxing birthday weekend. I have never been this domesticated :)

Family Time – sharing my baked goodies!

It’s supposed to be Red Velvet Cupcakes but I think I overdid the cocoa, so it kinda turned out to be dark-scarlet-red-but-real-yummy-cupcakes! I must say my choco-cream cheese frosting is improving, don’t you think? :)

Oh my mother did some baking too – baked macaroni. And they bought me the Ultimate Chocolate Cake from Red Ribbon. It was heavenly!

Downtime – with my favorite reads.

I have finished reading it before, but since I wanted to get some perspective now that I am officially at the tail end of my 20’s, I reread God Never Blinks. I find its stories’ insights universal and relevant for whatever age you are in.

And recently, my credit card debuted in Amazon.com to download the Kindle version of the “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger“. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking some answers to their God-questions. It’s an intelligent book, not a highly religious one. If you think you’re not that spiritual, take a chance on this one – you’d be surprised that you liked it. :) I even found myself sneaking to read it during lunch breaks. It’s an easy yet a thought-provoking material.

Living only with what’s important.

As I have mentioned, I have moved yet again into a new place – the smallest apartment I ever got in all my 6 years of packing and repacking boxes. I opted for a smaller space because it’s cheaper – and easier to clean! Consequently, I had to cut down on my stuffs and REALLY look down into my truest essentials. I did giveaway some of my clothes and books to my community. I never thought I accumulated that much in my years of being a single person. I felt both relieved and excited of the thought of starting anew.

Here’s my teeny-weeny apartment with all my essentials packed in a corner. But I so love my new place! It’s very cozy and it has a small veranda just outside the back door. It’s nice to sit out there during lovely candle-lit evenings :) I am staying at the 2nd floor of the building.

With a smaller apartment and less things to deal with comes the best reward – lower maintenance and bills for me! Since I had my eyes set on something bigger, better, and more permanent – I have joined my friends’ bandwagon of cutting back on expenses to afford an investment. I love this thing going in my life now. It’s like some new-agey stuff I’m into. HAHA!

But seriously, knowing what’s most important for you has a rejuvenating effect on your soul. Less baggage to carry – literally and figuratively.

So what is it with being 28?

  • Society, family, and well-meaning friends urging you to launch the wedding planning bonanza
  • Getting judged prematurely on whether you have enough money to say you’re “stable”
  • You’re old. Period.

But for me, I can only be very thankful to God:

For that peace that comes from knowing what truly is more important, and;

The confidence that in whatever season or age I’m in – He’s mightily in control of everything as all are running according to His plan.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

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Happiness

Can I just say that I’m genuinely happy with my life right now? Yes, this is another feel good post. But I just want to share the teeming river of contentment and gratitude I feel within simply because it overwhelms me.

At this age (proud to be 28 in a few months), I am blessed to have finally come to a point when I can honestly answer the question: what makes me happy? There is a difference between being happy because of something external, versus being happy because you know why and what causes it. I feel like I have stopped the search for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because I am fully content with the sunshine and the rain around me.

Maximized Potentials

I define my happiness as the realization that yes, I am fulfilling my calling. A lot to do with this is my career. Not so much because of the monetary figures, but more on the opportunity to use what has been given to me, to do what I am good at – and (a plus factor) is the fact that I am working with good people and my closest friends – everyday.

Better Relationships

No matter how successful we get, the quality of our relationships is still the bottom line. When I think about it, rather than whining about what I cannot yet achieve in life, I should be basking in the glory of having a good family, a loyal set of friends, and by just being in the right relationship. You know at this age, it means a lot when you have finally reached the conclusion (with eyes and mind wide-open) that indeed, you are with the right person. I cannot be happier.

Developing Character

I’ve made up my mind this Lent to fast from burning my fuse. Sure, we all get angry for different triggers – but I’d like to keep my stress button hidden somewhere far, far away that I will no longer be aware it ever existed. I still do get furious especially when faced with hurtful situations, but I am vowing not to burn the whole house down because of my lack of self-restraint. I think this has done some good in my relationships with people, as well.

To finally know what makes you happy is the first step to contentment. I still have that dream of working “Down Under”, but if it doesn’t come – I’m perfectly fine with it. As long as I have that work-life balance, pleasant relationships, and that peace of mind we all long for – I’m good. I’m okay. I am happy.

But most of all, I am in complete gratitude because I have a great God.

Luke 1:46. And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

 

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To Fast or to Feast?

Lately I’ve been getting harassed by negative thoughts. Why is it so hard to love the people you don’t like? Yet so easy to be hurt by the ones that you do? I don’t want to feature anything depressing here but sometimes it helps to let it out. One thing I’ve realized though, we cannot control how people will respond to us. But we can surely choose our attitude towards them (even if we don’t feel good inside).

I came across this old Facebook post of mine which I re-posted from preacher/writer Rissa Singson-Kawpeng. The text is authored by American pastor William Arthur Ward. It strikes a chord in me, and somehow reminds me that it boils down to the choice between what will you abstain from, and what will you feast on to have that peace of mind I long for.

  • Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling in them.
  • Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
  • Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
  • Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
  • Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
  • Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
  • Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
  • Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.
  • Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
  • Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
  • Fast from pressure; Feast on unceasing prayer.
  • Fast from hostility; Feast on nonresistance.
  • Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
  • Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
  • Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on Eternal truth.
  • Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.
  • Fast from facts that depress; Feast on truths that uplift.
  • Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
  • Fast from suspicion; Feast on trust.
  • Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on sunlight of serenity.
  • Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
To be at peace with yourself and with the world is for me, the greatest achievement in life.

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Best Christmas Gift of the Year

As Christ is humanity’s best Christmas gift for all eternity, I wanted to mention a “second-best-almost-number-one” gift for this year’s Christmas season. It’s the gift of community.

I’ve been serving in the Singles For Christ community for the past 6 years already. I’m not the ideal Christian single to begin with, but this community has subjected me to be that “work in progress”. Learning to love one another despite of differences is already a manifestation of Christ’s transforming love. I wish I could say the same to my boss, hehe!

We won best chapter in South, Manila!

Anyway back to the gift, this year we won the Best Chapter Award in the South (of Manila). It may be nothing for some in terms of fame or prestige. But we truly value it because of all the hard work, sacrifices, and of course God’s faithfulness to His plan and mission for us.

The problems we had in the beginning are now non-existent as we close the year. The issues we had are now things of the past. We have more single men and women joining and serving the poor. Most especially, we are blessed to have better, and more loving relationships as brothers and sisters.

Personally, the recognition impacts me tremendously. Sure, it was a reward for all the effort but more than anything else, winning it for our group is like the brightest light in my Christmas tree. Despite my frustrations at work or in some other areas of my life, God has been so grand in delivering His promise of a fulfilled mission.

This is more than enough. God is truly more than enough for me :)

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Surrender at 27

Yes, 27 years of BEAUTIFUL existence. Happy birthday to me!

I’m entitling this post as such because I feel this is the Lord’s message to me, especially the past few weeks. It really is a good point to remember not only today but whenever I get caught up in my own worrying and faulty decision-making skills. I’m only human.

I love to dream. And to the best of my ability, I make sure they come true. But sometimes, our dreams and plans fall short of what is truly reserved for us. On that part, it becomes the most challenging to me – to accept that there is something much better, bigger than what I can ever dream of.

And to surrender to that which beyond my imagination is hard. I for instance would always say that I will certainly do my best, and would leave to God the rest. But after not getting what I want, I whine and complain without understanding that part of my decision to surrender is to accept the outcome for whatever it is. I realized after reading this week’s reflection that to surrender is to mean that:

1. You are open to God’s version of your dream. *Jeremiah 29:11

2. You let go of your own timetable and just leave it up to Him. *Ecclesiastes 3:1

I learned that if your dream consumes you to the point where you think you will never be happy unless you get what you want – that is not surrendering.

For the past weeks I felt so unsettled, and disturbed inside. It’s as if something is lacking in my life despite the numerous blessings… like I do not wish to function daily unless that thing I want is finally given to me. And that is SAD.

And real exhausting.

So today on my 27th year, I have decided to surrender more of me and more of my plans to Him. Let it be that the more years added to my life, the more shall I give my trust completely to God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” 

- Proverbs 3:5 

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Filed under Birthdays!, Career Life, Glorious Wednesdays, Quarter Life Rants, Spiritual

Lenten Melodies

Holy Week starts this coming Palm Sunday in the Philippines, and the rest of the Christian-Catholic world. People have been packing airport terminals on their way to their Lenten destinations: for retreats, vacations, or other places where one can reflect away from the hustle and bustle.

As for me, I’m looking forward to just stay at home and finally be with my family. I haven’t been coming home the past weekends due to lots of weekend commitments I had to attend to. Holy Week at home means watching the popular “7 Last Words by our Lord Jesus Christ” on tv; and listening to some reflective Christian music.

I’ve been a good audience of his musical rehearsals lately, and I’ve come to be inspired by this song – new to my ears. Huwag Kang Mangamba composed by Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J.

This is how the melody goes – as played by my favorite musikito :-)

http://k002.kiwi6.com/hotlink/quxc0m86fg

He taught me how to sing this but I’d rather not publicize my singing voice hehehe.

Huwag kang mangamba, ‘di ka nag-iisa. Sasamahan kita, saan man magpunta. Ika’y mahalaga sa ‘King mga mata…. Minamahal kita… minamahal kita

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