Spending these past few months are the most humbling moments I ever had in my life. It reminds me that I am just a simple pilgrim travelling and searching here on earth. These moments of being all by myself gave me almost all the spectrum of feelings I felt with myself. Sometimes I pity myself; I got angry with myself with the choices I made; I felt sorry for how life events turned out for myself; and, I felt proud for what I have done these past few years particularly for all the graces and opportunities I got in joining the Marist Brothers.
I am sorry for sometimes disregarding and being indifferent to people I have met along the way especially to my family and friends. You know well that I always say sorry to you guys. If I have hurt you in ways I am not aware of, patawad po (I’m sorry).
Though people hurt me, stabbed me in the back, maligned me, called me names, used me in any manner, treated me indifferently, or though some of them keep hurting me, I forgave them all and will forgive them anyway. They might have almost broke me down but all of them made me stronger, tougher, and wiser. So thanks to you all.
It has been 29 years of existence for me and I am still keeping on dreaming. I don’t know what I really want exactly for myself to be quite honest and I am okay with that. But one thing I am sure of that no one can take away from me is hope. But yeah, hope is a good thing to paraphrase Andy Dufresne of Shawhank Redemption, my all-time favorite film.
I know myself well that I sometimes miss the point of how it is to live as a brother and I forget sometimes to do things with love. Love is also synonymous charity. Speaking of it, it reminds me that I might be speaking in tongues and be great in many things but without love, I am nothing. I know without it, I am nothing. Let it be for the sake of love and let it be with great love that I will be able to do great things.
If I feel proud, let it be not because of myself but because of all the great things God has done for me in my life. Let it be for God’s grace that people will call me blessed.
When I was fourteen, I remember falling in love.
I felt so alive that time, I was so in love with the God of the Bible.
I don’t know what happened to me after that… I just lost that love.
Wandering with no direction, just drifting.
Took me years to revert back to the faith;
I even joined the Marist Brothers.
It was like Saul’s encounter Jesus on his way to Damascus;
Have to see again with eyes anew what the Bible is all about.
Again, reading it once more, loving it book by book;
Now I fell in love again.
Once more, I get lost within the world of the Book;
There I find who I really am in losing myself.
Now I know I just got lost;
I never really lost that love.
It was there all along carved in my heart.
Though I am not a Jesuit or well versed in Ignatian Spirituality, I practice the examen. I learned about it when I entered Marist novitiate. We call it as the review of the day. Done every evening, we spend at least 15 minutes to think about the graces we received throughout the day. We thank about the people we encountered, the events that had transpired, new learnings, and other things worth recalling. After the end of our examen, sometimes we recite the confiteor where we pray about our shortcomings, what we have done and have failed to do. In active school ministry, five to ten minutes of the review is already a luxury.
This evening, I was late in our prayers because I talked to one student and I supervised the students in cleaning our classroom. Wednesday evening is dedicated to a Marian prayer. We prayed thr rosary. During the pause after the Salve, I brought to my prayer the one student I scolded because she had incurred nineteen absences, most of them unexcused and spent just cutting classes. I prayed and I hoped that my scolding was an expression of an honest anger because I care for this student.
After our evening community prayer, I picked up a guitar I borrowed and I remembered the “storm” last Monday even while plucking and strumming fledgingly. Actually, I dreamnt of Agnus sitting inside a chapel and I sat beside Agnus. Afterwards, I read again the “storm” conversation that talked about me in a public post somewhere in social media and I viewed it in a different perspective; detached and unaffected. I actually didn’t exert effort. It just “flowed”. As one Sri Lankan Brother told me last year, the better word is equanimity. I imagined talking to Agnus privately; listening to each other. Not trying to convince or win over Agnus but to understand and be compassionate with this person. How does it feel to spread hatred against others? How lonely it is to live a life full of hate in one’s heart?
I somehow get now what Bishop Barron was talking about in one of his podcast episode in Word On Fire. The true test of love for others really is to love our enemies. To love them as the “other” and not just an extension of oneself.
To have an idea what is an examen, you may download the Daily Examen application in Google Play.