Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Going home

For me, times to go home have always been times of anxiety and tension. Mostly because of the perception that I have LOTS of work to do and that things would grind to a halt and the sky will fall if I were not there.... etc.

Too often my trip home is not accompanied with joy. Weighted with sense of inflated self-importance, most likely. Too often also, it became an occasion of sin because of impatience, and again, sense of self-importance. Tomorrow I am going home, albeit unexpectedly, and my little resolution is to enjoy as much as He allows, time together with my family.

Before this little post turns into a public confession without absolution, let me stop here and wish you a happy weekend (and also, Feast of Christ the King!) in advance :)

PS: Friends, you know who you are, sorry for the erstwhile silence. Keeping you in my prayers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not a monologue nor imaginary!

Whenever I'm tempted to think that my prayers may have been just monologues, God deigned to remind me that He's there; He sees me & He hears me!

Towards the end of this liturgical year, I realize so many graces have been received.. So here's just a note to remind myself to give thanks & to pray for the courage to carry out the resolutions.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vitam Impendere Vero

To risk one's life for the Truth.

(To reduce the risk of giving wrong expectations, I must put a disclaimer here that this post, however lofty its title may be, has been in my draft for the last one month, struggling to take form, and I must finally post it because any tribute to Truth, however insignificant, should not be suppressed)

It's been awhile since I last heard of this phrase; this phrase I last saw in one of Madeleine L'Engle's children's books. Truth: What is truth? Pontius Pilatus famously asked this question to He who is Truth himself. The search for truth, for me, is nothing less than a full time enterprise that is demands both time and energy. (Well, if not physically then at least mentally!) It is little wonder that St Jane Francis de Chantal said, "Hell is full of the talented but Heaven of the energetic."

From the Church's teachings, we are taught that Jesus is Truth Himself; He proclaims himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. When restlessness stirs in my heart, I know it is a restlessness for Truth and quoting St Augustine, our hearts will remain "restless until they find rest in God." The term "nostalgia for Heaven" aptly, although incompletely, described the way I view this longing for Truth; incomplete because nostalgia is normally used to fondly look back at things in the past that we cannot return to, but otherwise accurate because we do indeed come from the Father who art in Heaven and fortunately for us, we harbor a valid hope that we will return to where our true patria.

Our dear Pope Benedict XVI said, echoing countless mystics before him, in his Angelus address on All Saints' Day this year: "Human existence, however, by its very nature, is directed toward something greater, which transcends it. The yearning in human beings for the fullness of justice, truth and happiness is irrepressible." (Emphasis mine)

What is Truth to you?
There is an Absolute Truth that I believe in, which by its definition means it must be true for everyone and in any condition. What differs is what Truth meant in different people's lives. Natural law necessarily means for those who live according to it, are not contradicting Truth. Yet often I feel it is not enough to face the Truth that says we are created because "God loved us first"! Again, quoting il Papa: "How is it possible to remain indifferent before so great a mystery?" he asked. "How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?" There is a shining quality in Truth that must attract, and I can do nothing but be attracted. This condition creates a hunger and demands a solid response to satisfy that hunger.

For me, this restlessness has begun last year, especially after the death of our beloved Pope John Paul the Great (who could forget his echoing of Jesus not to be "satisfied with mediocrity" and to "put out into the deep"?), intensified gradually this year and sometimes drove me to the edge of impatience because I couldn't figure out what will concretely satisfy this restlessness. What would you have me do, Lord?

Living with restlessness, anyone but masochists out there would tell you, is a torturous journey. For it is against myself to let my life proceed as before, when the restlessness suggests I might look elsewhere. The path was a dark one, just like St John of the Cross wrote, for I could not see whether this is the path that will lead to the Truth. It is dark also because it didn't give one's soul a tinge of consolation nor illumination. It is a path in which I grope along in the hope that there is an end, and increasingly I realize that it is not a path where a Deus Ex Machina lifts one out of the darkness...

Before anyone thinks I might have been driven to despair, let's give thanks for the excellent witness of the Church triumphant. Who better to tell us about dark nights of the soul, about the hunger for Truth, than the saints, whose faithfulness we just celebrated in All Saints' Feast? In his homily for All Saints', Pope BXVI said (referring to the saints' way to heaven), "it is above all necessary to listen to Jesus and then to follow him and not lose heart in the face of difficulties."

Ahh.. "the little things" in life again! It is not intuitive to speak of "the little things" when one starts with "vitam impendere vero", all ready to stake one's life in the quest for truth.. only to be told that this "dying" really consists of denying ourselves everyday, in doing our little things well, in our little pinprick mortifications, in surrendering our will in every action and doing His will instead..

Well, this is the end of this rambling, meandering post. The end of this post hasn't necessarily meant this lesson has sunk its teeth within me; it will take awhile for this stubborn one to internalize it. Pray that we may share the saints'
"will to incarnate the Gospel in [our] existence through the impulse of the Holy Spirit."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Feast of All Saints

Found this hymn For All the Saints (by an Anglican bishop, no less) online:

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Here's a wallpaper to grace your desktop to commemorate All Saints!
Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Dei, orate pro nobis.