Finally, school year is almost over


When was the last time I posted something here in WordPress?

Sometimes, I am more active in Facebook and Instagram. And when I say active, it doesn’t necessarily mean I post a lot. I usually just hang around and read. Possibly because I ain’t got time for contemplation. Speaking of contemplation, I will facilitate a recollection for the school’s Science Department teachers tomorrow somewhere in Pigcawayan. But that’s tomorrow so I don’t know yet what exactly would happen.

Last Saturday, I facilitated a recollection with a group sharing portion about Jesus raising up Lazarus from the dead (which was the Gospel last Sunday). Each one had to share. As the facilitator, I too had told some stories too. Together with the school canteen staff in the midst of the cool breeze from the sea, I teared up a bit when I disclosed how I missed my family.

And a random guy, who was not part of the group, suddenly caught me off guard when he sat in our cottage and boldly declared that, “There must be a reason why your family is living apart.” But instead of becoming defensive, I responded calmly that there’s actually no problem at allbetween us family members. Made it simpler when I said that instead of discussing there’s really no bad blood between us siblings or parents and it’s just my sister’s family having financial difficulty so she had to work in a foreign country. When he responded out of the blue, I sensed that the sharing mood changed a bit from being serious into uneasy. Maybe the random guy sensed it too so maybe that’s why he left afterwards. Sometimes, when a person shares a story, like the random guy I too tend to over analyze when all I need to do is to sit, listen, and read between the spoken words. That’s why when someone shares a problem with sensitive issue, I tend to ask how she or he feels and to help her/him think for herself/himself. From that experience, I see the wisdom why a facilitator of recollection must not mix their schedule with recreation. And somehow, I had practiced open vulnerability. Maybe non-Filipinos would have difused that question by replying, “It’s none of your business.” But I too am a Filipino who says hello by asking “Where are you going?” when I really have no intention of knowing the destination.

And since this coming Sunday in the start of the Holy Week, us Filipino Marist Brothers would spend a week in contemplation with Br. Michael Green, FMS as our facilitator/speaker. I don’t know him that much. I only know that he’s Australian. Actually, I prefer a silent retreat. But that’s another story.

Oh yeah, that reminds me to prepare a morning prayer and a Marian prayer for Maundy Thursday. Also, my renewal of vows is up next April 15. Just two days before my birthday.

I’ll share next time my toxic experiences during these past three months of teaching this schoolyear.

How A Song Reminded Me of My Restlessness: An Untold Story

Writing this on a Good Friday night, there’s an untold story I would like to share.

Celebrating Holy Week every year, especially during the Triduum, evokes a distinct yet different feeling in me. I only started to have this consciousness of the solemnity of the Holy Week when, believe it or not, I was not practicing my Catholic faith during my late teenage years.

It was 2009 when I was preparing to travel to work in a fast food chain. That afternoon, I was listening to a Sixpence None The Richer album in my Motorola phone. I was struck by a not so famous but beautiful track called Brighten My Heart. I still remember the lyrics without the help of search engine. It goes like this:

My heart is as dark as a soil sodden in winter rain.
My soul is as heavy as the beet freshly dug from the bog.
My thoughts are like willow branches caught floating in autumn wind.
My body is as tense as a cat as it stalks it’s prey.

Let me open my heart to you (2x)
Let me open my heart to you, O Jesus,
It’s what I long to do.

The song is as beautiful as the timing. I looked at the clock; it’s 3:03 PM. The date? It’s a Good Friday.

The song expressed the longing inside me as if it was composed as the theme song of my life. I cannot express the feeling I had that time. It’s as if there is something stirring within me. I was looking for a word to describe how I felt that time. The feeling is like listening to kundiman (a Filipino folk song). It evoked a strong longing for I was restless. And seven years past, I can say that it was pangungulila (nostalgia).

That time, I was not yet into journaling so the fact that I am able to recall these events as lucid testifies that I was deeply moved.

As a deer longs for running stream, so my soul longs for You (Psalm 42:1).

What is faith?

As I learned from my previous classes in MAPAC through Sir Francis Castro, it’s interesting to note that life after death was not in the “theology” of the early Jewish tradition. Before, when Jews die, they believe that that was it. The end. No more life after death. Somewhere along the way, they developed this idea of life after death. Notice that in the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament), only in the second book of Maccabees will you find the word “resurrection”, the rising of the dead, of those who have fallen “asleep” (2 Maccabees 12:43-45). That was in the context of a family who was forced to eat “swine’s flesh” (2 Maccabees 7). For them, to eat pork is to abandon the faith of their forefathers, surrendering to false gods and idols. So when they die as witnesses to their Jewish faith, shall they die in vain? No. These family died with the hope that, through Lord God’s compassion, they will rise from the dead.

Reading Maccabees is teaching me of faith. It is not about certainty. It is groping in the dark. By believing, I surrender to whatever will happen. And through this darkness, God will be walking side by side with me.