The champorado experience: Is a child capable of contemplation?

What is your favorite childhood meal? Mine is a sweet porridge we call champorado. What is it made of? We cook it with rice and chocolate and if you like, put some milk and more sugar if you like your meal sweeter. My mother cooks it during our merienda in the afternoon. Mother’s champorado serves for all the family members, particularly us children. Since Philippines is a tropical country, it’s best to eat it during rainy season. In summertime, our cousins even join us inside our house and Mama makes sure that she cooks extra servings for them.

But there’s one memorable “champorado experience”. One time, Mama used wheat instead of rice in our champorado. I just came from school and it was raining that time. It was so good  was sharing it with my cousin. Even my uncle know how good it by just seeing us eating when he exclaimed “Uy, trigo.” As I recall this specific porridge, I realize that even as a child, I am already capable of contemplation. Or maybe it’s just that my mother’s cooking is enough to elicit such reaction. Yes it’s mundane but all I can share you is the emotion I felt that time. It’s not even served during important occasions but champorado makes my meal special.

Since I’m not a child anymore, I don’t eat it more often as I used to. Months ago, I was in Mindanao when I last had a champorado. I made one for myself. I used oats, put some hot water, and mix it with Milo and brown sugar. It’s still one of my favorite meal and every time I eat, I eat it mindfully, savoring every scoop. With champorado, I can bring in my inner child.

Do you have a “champorado experience” worth remembering?

Writing Prompt: Writing 101—Happy Celebration! (Assignment Ten)

Are you uncomfortable with silence?

I’m not a talker… I’m more of a listener. Recently, during a spiritual direction session, I and the spiritual director (S.D.) just sat in silence. I’m just… well… trying to anticipate a question or a response from what I just said earlier. I was expecting him to talk.

We spent 5 minutes in an uncomfortable silence without talking.

Then my director got his notebook, turned the pages, then read what he wrote about our previous session. He expected me to be the one to talk! Closing the notebook, he followed that he encourages me to pause so I can reflect carefully. 

This is not the first time that it happened to me. Before religious life, it was during courtship and dating. Now, it is during a spiritual direction.

That’s why last Tuesday, I told my S.D. that I really found the silence uncomfortable and I will tell him whenever I expect him to talk or comment when I’m finished talking. Like tennis, I serve then you hit the ball back to me. But in a spiritual direction, I need to ask whenever the “ball” is on my court because I don’t usually see it.

Have you experienced this uncomfortable silence?

An act of contrition

I have an embarrassing confession to make. Before I entered consecrated life, I was a non-practicing Catholic who does not know well about our Church and her catechism. It is a long story to tell. To put it simply, I was not well catechized. And now that I am a Marist Brother, I need to start from the basics like sacraments, liturgy, and the scriptures.

It is not that I do not know the rites; I just do not understand a lot of things on how or why we do them.

It is not that I do not know the gospel; I just realized that there is a lot of things that I need to know about the scriptures.

I need to know.

I need to understand.

These are just the steps I have to take to go to the mountain of the Lord.

Marami pa talaga akong kakaining bigas.

(It will be a long journey.)