“It is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight. It is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too. It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle where often it is hard to be sure who belongs to which side because appearances are endlessly deceptive. Yet for all its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily ever after, and where in the long run everybody good and evil alike, becomes known by his true name… That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is true, that it only happened once upon a time, but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still.” -Frederick Buechner
A man got off the train. No hands and no feet. An amputee. I have both my hands and arms, both my feet and my legs. As I walk remembering vividly how he looks like and how he looks helpless when indeed he isn’t, I look at my own hands and feet. I’m the one who is helpless.
It’s crazy to think that the last time I wrote here was over five months ago. A lot has definitely changed and yet, I am left still wondering.
Since 2015 made its entrance into our lives, I had been contemplating about things that have happened in my life and what it all meant. I was left with a hanging thought about the mystery of these “things” that have occurred and constantly is making its mark. I realized then that we will never get to know everything at one time and even when we think we will, it is inevitable that we never will. However, it is not that we will never know, it’s just that it has been kept as a mystery by Our Father. Something He tells us often… That we must just trust Him and the plans that He has for us. It doesn’t make any sense as I write this or if it’s coming out right. It’s what I am feeling at the moment. That everything is meant to be a mystery and that we have to wait patiently even if it is irritating or disturbing.
It’s funny that I mention disturbing. At the Friday Mass, our Parochial Vicar mentioned that God constantly disturbs us. Sometimes we can feel that God is annoying us however, He is merely disturbing us. Disturbing us in the sense that He wants us to set time for Him. That we must stop at some point in our life and just pay attention to Him for once instead of the daily musings of life or the countless distractions that surround us. I was trying to understand what disturbing meant. As I write this, I have likened this disturbance to our restless hearts. As Saint Augustine beautifully puts it, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” God constantly disturbs us for us to realize that we are made for Him and that the restlessness and busyness of this world is but a fleeting moment in which, at the end of the day, we must turn to back to Him and give Him all our cares. You can put yourself in the shoes of the Apostles and how often times they felt consumed by the world. Peter was caught up in earthly thoughts and how Jesus, who would fulfill God’s plan by the ultimate sacrifice of His life, Peter thought it impossible and that Jesus cannot die. It was a fleeting moment because Peter was in the right now and not looking at what lies ahead – the Salvation of Jesus, dying on the Cross for our sins.
A lot of us live for the right now and not so much for the plans God has for us. It’s not that we must get ahead of ourselves but rather, when we think of our future, it is by placing it all in God’s hands. It’s natural for us humans to have the tendency to fantasize or imagine our futures yet it can be dangerous if we don’t let God do His thing. Everything has a purpose and everything in our life happens for a reason. The things we feel, the things we do, the things we say, and things we think about are there for a reason. Whatever angle you look at it, there is a reason behind it. God dreams His dreams in us! BUT! Going back to our futures and how God must do His thing, each one of us, God has already made a special plan. FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US! Sometimes He diverts us into one direction in order for us to realize certain things and sometimes He decides to give us immense trials and tribulations. But in the end, it is for a reason. When He disturbs us and our hearts, He’s asking to turn back to Him and listen to Him. That’s the mystery of it all. Our futures may be shaped by the things we do in this moment yet, it shouldn’t define who we are as people.
God allows us to seek Him and to pray to Him, to let us share our dreams with Him. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Mt 7:7-8) Alongside this, in the recent visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines where he had a meeting with families, he mentioned St. Joseph and the sleeping statue he has where he places prayers and petitions underneath the head of St. Joseph so that he can dream about it and pray about it. He emphasized the need to dream and to love. It all goes side by side with one another. “When you lose the capacity to dream, you lose the capacity to love.” How I took this was that, if we stop dreaming, and just getting through each day with monotony, then we would be like robots not feeling anything. Our futures, our thoughts of the future, our hopes and dreams shape how we love and will love until the end. If we stop dreaming for others and not just ourselves, then what is there? When we dream and pray, we ask, seek, and find amazing things that God has for us. That mystery in everything, in every person, God tends to surprise you when you are caught off guard. It can be confusing because we can experience so many things today, and then it can make a complete 180 degree turn to something else. We tend have a roller coaster of emotions and experiences that, at some point we just scream and say, can I just get out of this right now? I can’t take it anymore! It is then that maybe, we’ve stopped dreaming, praying, listening, and trusting in God’s plan. Asking is easy, but waiting patiently is another.
I guess the point of this all, this mystery around us, the wonder and awe of what is around us is just God’s way of saying that we must sit tightly, patiently, and listen because He might be saying something to us or showing us something. Maybe a friend or loved one is telling us something that we have to hear or maybe we are telling our friend or loved one something they have to hear – something that maybe God wants them to hear. Are we really willing to listen? Often times, no. In this overcommunicated world, we have stopped listening. God has different ways of trying enter our hearts, His dwelling place. But are we willing to trust Him and let Him in? Are we willing to trust Him and the plans He has for us? It’s a scary thought right? It has to happen though.
At the end of this, something I myself am taking away from this reflection, this entry, is how the mystery of it all is placing our trust in the One. We get ahead of ourselves when we pray. Sometimes we expect so many things when God is trying to tell us, expect the unexpected. St. Joseph, the Most Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Foster-Father of Jesus did the same. Everything that happened to Him was unexpected yet God made sure that He gave him strength and perseverance. Sometimes we have to ask when we are disturbed and just let Him talk to us. God has so many things in store for us and at the same time, He lets us continue our daily life with the many crosses and trials we have to carry yet, He says it’s worth it. You are worth it. I am worth it. I love you and just trust Me that you will overcome it because He already has for you.
Now, matter what we’re going through, the mystery of it all is, just to expect the unexpected. Completely put your trust in God that He can do all things because He strengthens us. We may fall but that doesn’t mean we can’t get back up again.
Timing is something that none of us can seem to get quite right with relationships. We meet the person of our dreams the month before they leave to go study abroad. We form an incredibly close friendship with an attractive person who is already taken. One relationship ends because our partner isn’t ready to get serious and another ends because they’re getting serious too soon.
“It would be perfect,” We moan to our friends, “If only this were five years from now/eight years sooner/some indistinct time in the future where all our problems would take care of themselves.” Timing seems to be the invariable third party in all of our relationships. And yet we never stop to consider why we let timing play such a drastic role in our lives.
Timing is a bitch, yes. But it’s only a bitch if we let it be. Here’s a simple truth…
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Today is All Saint’s Day and it’s been a while since I’ve really written something here. No words can explain how life has exactly been since I’ve been back home from my own Missionary Year. I’ve definitely had my fair share of ups and downs, whirlwind of emotions from love, joy, happiness, and even hurt. The most hurt I’ve experienced since I lost my father 5 years ago on November 16. I guess it’s what made me decide to get back on here and write the words I can’t really say out loud. Some people may not understand, some people may be confused, some others will just have something to say whatever it may be. However, my writing leads me back to the roots of the months that lead to my Missionary Year and the life our Dear Father has allowed me to live. I keep forgetting the gaze of His eyes and that there is no other being except Him that I can run to who will love and accept me for who I am and for all the wrong I have done.
It has made me remember the lives of the Saints who had to carry their crosses and trials just as Christ bore our sins on the Cross all the way to Calvary. The Saints chose to live in the way that Christ lived, to lead a second life that was set apart from this world. They lived in the world, but not of the world – something we can really only strive to achieve. I have tried my best to lead that kind of life that would be set apart from the reality of this world and just really live in God’s love and mercy. My humanness however gets ahead of me and it takes over in a whole different perspective. The hurt and the pain of the human heart and all the experiences one has to go through suddenly blows up in your face and not knowing what to do. Then days like these suddenly come up and then you wonder how persevering the Saints were. In a world full of many temptations, confusion, hurt, and suffering, they still managed to get through the day, wake up the next day, take in another day of this world, then do it over and over again till they can finally share in the Glory of the Resurrection, the Glory of the Kingdom.
We have these Saints, the multitude of heavens to guide us through everything we experience (I mean duh, there’s a Saint for practically every intention and they are all up their cheering us on!) yet sometimes we forget to foster our relationship with them. I say this because for someone like me, one wouldn’t think that I’d still experience the things I go through each day. Some people have had to bear with my constant banter of emotions. For someone like me who is an introvert, yet can write something like for public viewing, well, its just the human in me. Every time I utter the words ‘I’m but only human,’ I hear my Mexican priest-spiritual director say congratulations because of the affirmation that I am human – we all are! The Saints were just like us! HUMAN! Then I suddenly recall in light of this fact, the frequently asked question to Catholics or even Christians in general – “why does God allow good people to suffer?” (This was something I recently reflected on and has been a constant theme whenever I give my reflections). It is because God wants us to remember that even His own Son, Jesus Christ who was innocent, FACT BEING: He is God himself, was brought down by His Father to be HUMAN. A human just like each and every one of us but this MAN who had suffer an infinite number of times more than we will ever experience in our own life times. It is through His example, having been beaten over and over for our sake, that drove the Saints to live the lives they have led that brought the holiness in their everyday. They walked with Jesus and allowed Him to lift them up when the moments got difficult. St. Ignatius himself once said, “If God sends you many suffering, it is certainly a sign that He wants to make you a great saint.” Indeed, yet some of us refute the fact that we can be saints because it seems unachievable. But as the saying goes, nothing is impossible with God.
I go back to the beginning of this post and to question why I am writing now after what seems to have been forever? For someone like me who, unfortunately can remember most events and conversations as if they had just recently happened, I have found so much suffering because of it. I have recently reflected and shared with a few friends that when I love, I love unconditionally, the kind of love that sometimes does not get returned. I never asked to be loved because God himself never asked for it. It is something He wants us to realize and feel on our own and then give it back when we are ready. I have been hurt and it hurts, and the pain is stronger because it comes at a time when we remember my own father (one of those memories I can remember vividly). I never questioned why God took him before us. I never had to question God because I knew my father gave all the love he could give and provide all the he could to give us this life. For someone who gives so much and remembers literally every moment of that love, care, and time you give, whatever form it may have been in, it hurts when others don’t realize it. Thus, as I dial this back down to the lives of the Saints and their own sufferings but at the same time, the joys they have experienced with the hope that they will one day join the Father in His Kingdom, I remember that the love was never worthless and that the memories though may hurt, are all a part of it. As Blessed Mother Teresa herself said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The hurt can actually lead us to only more love.
I guess I am merely counting down the days till the door will simply close, that the love I have given will have just been a distant memory, then maybe I can breathe. As long as the fact of God’s love is there, and that He will never leave me, I will be okay. “The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.” So when I forget and lose my way, I know that Christ will carry me. Just as the multitude of Saints constantly pray for us, we must never forget even if there are moments that hurt, they are lifting up all our pains to God.
1. The people who you thought would be there for you when it counted are not always going to be there. Sometimes because they quite literally cannot be there, other times because they just don’t want to (anymore).
2. The same will go for you – you’re not always going to (want to) be there for people who need you too.
3. Some of your friends will be more successful than you. And you will be more successful than some of your friends. And this will change over time depending on everyone’s life situation, path, and sheer dumb luck.
4. You will feel like people you’ve known for years don’t know you at all anymore (and you don’t know them either). You will also feel like people you’ve met for five minutes just “get you.” And it’ll be a strange, complex feeling you’re not quite sure how to handle all…
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1. When people talk about their partners and spouses (future and current) they usually want them to know that it’s forever, no matter what. I want you to know that I don’t care about forever. I want you for as long as I’m meant to have you. I will love you every moment I’m able to because I’ll never pretend I have forever to do so.
2. You won’t always come first, but that doesn’t mean you’re not the most important person in my life. Real love isn’t about dropping everything in pursuit of one another, it’s about wanting to pay the bills and keep food on the table and save for the future and maintain your sanity so you can be wholly yourself. You don’t deserve less than that.
3. There’s really only one thing that matters, and it’s that every day we make the conscious choice to love each other. You teach me…
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My mind tends to wander and ends up back on the thought of you more often than it should. I imagine the beat of your heart, the smell of your skin, the sound of your voice. I think about the way you laugh, the curve of your smile, all while thinking that I can’t wait to know you.
I don’t know who you are yet. I might know your name, and I might know your face, but I don’t know you. I mean, the real you. The you who will tell me your hopes and dreams. The you who will trust me enough to share with me your biggest fears and toughest failures. The you that isn’t afraid to show emotion, the you that doesn’t feel the need to wear a mask with me. The you you’ve been holding back from everyone else, the you you’ve been waiting to share…
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