Trip of a Lifetime

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 I would like to stay longer and soak up the three world’s religion: Islāmic, Judaism, and Christianity.  I want to be with the Muslims, Jews, and Christians: and have interfaith dialogue. At the hotel in Jordan, waiting to leave for Canada, I … Continue reading

Good vs. evil: The answer is found in Easter itself

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It’s God’s gift that enables peace. The supernatural message of Easter is that Jesus overcomes death, and when people believe that and act upon it, it changes the headlines. Spiritual beliefs change how people respond to evil. The bloody cross … Continue reading

As close as you can get

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Imagine that you inherited the land below this mountain, as far as your eyes could see in the middle of the desert. Thinking of Las Vegas, this is a gold mine that could easily be transformed into a watering hole … Continue reading

Transformation of Malcom Muggeridge

Taj Mahal, India

Unknown woman at Taj Mahal, India

Malcom Muggeridge, an agnostic British journalist met and filmed Mother Teresa doing her work catering to the poorest of the poor in India.

He wrote a book “Something Beautiful for God.

“This Home for the Dying is dimly lit by small windows high up in the walls, and Ken was adamant that filming was quite impossible there. We had only one small light with us, and to get the place adequately lighted in the time at our disposal was quite impossible. It was decided that, nonetheless, Ken should have a go, but by way of insurance we took, as well, some film in an outside courtyard where some of the inmates were sitting in the sun. In the processed film, the part taken inside was bathed in a particularly beautiful soft light, whereas the part taken outside was rather dim and confused…Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying is overflowing with love, as one senses immediately on entering it. This love is luminous, like the halos artists have seen and made visible round the heads of the saints. I find it not at all surprising that the luminosity should register on a photographic film ”

Influenced by his experience with Mother Teresa, he received the Catholic faith at the age of 79 together with his wife.

What brings you here?

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One human being, one heart, one love? Our heart is bigger than having one love. But it is Love. For love is boundless.   He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts Rest assured this … Continue reading

The happiest table at home

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It is a gradual change of transition as we waited patiently with anticipation when the happiest table in our house is redecorated. The decoration then was pumpkin, Chinese lantern flowers and golden maple leaves on Thanksgiving Day. Now the table … Continue reading

Grant me the Grace to desire it.

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Litany of Humility O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus. From the desire of being loved… From the desire of being extolled … From the desire of being honored … Continue reading

An Open Wall

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  This is more than a crack on the wall, it’s one of the gates of Jerusalem called St. Stephen’s Gate or Lion’s Gate. I spent more time on the walls of the gate, soaking up the atmosphere, listening to … Continue reading

Waiting for us

This post resonates what is written in my “About” page. One cannot hurry up the waiting process. Trust in the slow process on waiting even though one is not religious. De Chardin has proven his point and Friar pointed it so well.

friarmusings

waiting1There are lots of different ways to wait. Scripture has over 162 verses that describe all sorts and manners of waiting. I suspect you are familiar with a good portion of the different kinds of waiting – after all, we all wait. In the military, the common experience was to “hurry up and wait.” We all wait. It is a common experience, and yet there are differences in waiting. There is a difference between expectant, on the edge-of-your-seat waiting; the patient “it will happen in its own good time and there is nothing I can do about it” waiting; and the waiting of dread, tedium, and despair. I think our “are we ever gonna’ get there waiting” because a flight to Europe can take 8+ hours, would fall on deaf ears for our ancestors who traveled months on boats to reach these distant shores. But things change, the world has…

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Mary Magdalene

Head of Mary Magdalene by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), charcoal on paper Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy / Alinari / Bridgeman Art Library

Head of Mary Magdalene by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

The bride speaks of her beloved:

Upon my bed at night
I sought him whom my soul loves:
I sought him not;
I called him, but he gave no answer.

So, I said to myself,
I will rise now and go about the city,
in the streets and in the squares:
I will seek him whom my soul loves.

I sought him, but found him not.
The sentinels found me,
as they went about in the city.
I asked, “Have you see him whom my soul loves?”

Scarcely had I passed them,
when I found him whom my soul loves.

Songs of Songs (3.1-4a)

Memorial day for  Mary Magdalene, a person of generous love, a holy woman, a disciple of Jesus, and an apostle of the resurrection. She was the first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection and then ordered her to “go and tell my brothers!”

Father and Son

Father and Son

“A little boy who had been to Sunday School told his father that he learned that God the Father and Son were equal.

The father said: “That is ridiculous. I am your father; you are my son. I existed a long time before you.”

“No,” said the boy, “you did not begin to be a father until I began to be a son.”

~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Happy Father’s Day To One and All.  Blessings.

Conversion: The thing that we are.

It was the year 1998, staying at a friend’s place in North Vancouver, I was in bed, waking up to the breaking of dawn. I closed my eyes, said my morning prayer, and suddenly a violent wind surrounds me. Thinking that I left the window open, the mighty wind will disturb everything in the room. I wanted to get up to close it but my body cannot move, and I fell into deep peace.

This is the detail of what happened to me written in this post.

In 2010, I found this article taken from the journal of Jacques Fesch, a young Frenchman who was sentenced to death in 1957 murdering a police officer. He had a profound experience in his prison cells that lead to his conversion to faith.

Jacques Fesch Journal

Jacques Fesch Journal

When Fesch had his conversion, I wasn’t born yet, but to see that our experience is similar is uncanny. What is it that we were both given this sanctifying grace that is available to anyone, believer or not, saint or sinners, young or old.

From a Catholic perspective, I can only relate to this experience from this verse:

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. [Acts 2:2-4]”

It is a moving experience.

The unbelievable thing about conversion is that the new person that we are become transformed that we joyfully forget the way we were before.

Look at it at this point of view of Shakespeare’s play As You Like It.  Oliver, the would-be murderer that conspires to kill his brother Orlando, undergoes a powerful conversion.  He confessed, “I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing that I am.”

I will live the present moment and fill it with love.

ucan
It is true. All prisoners, myself included, constantly wait to be let go. I decided then and there that my captivity would not be merely a time of resignation but a turning point in my life. I decided I would not wait. I would live the present moment and fill it with love. For if I wait, the things I wait for will never happen. The only thing that I can be sure of is that I am going to die.

No, I will not spend time waiting. I will live the present moment and fill it with love.

When the Communists put me in the hold of the boat, the Hai-Phong, along with 1500 other prisoners and moved us to the North, I said to myself, “Here is my cathedral, here are the people God has given me to care for, here is my mission: to ensure the presence of God among these, my despairing, miserable brothers. It is God’s will that I am here. I accept his will”.  And from that minute onwards, a new peace filled my heart and stayed with me for thirteen years.

The words of Bishop John Walsh, who had been imprisoned for 12 years in Communist China, Waiting in captivity.

Dressing up according to Lucy.

When a little girl plays dress up, she means business.  She can’t wait to grow up and will adorn herself using her Mother’s accessories including the Boa feather and hat. Doesn’t she look adorable?
lucy 1There is no way she will change her outfit with all the cajoling and threats from her Mother. Besides, she is smarter than her.
lucy 2

“God is not satisfied with appearance. God wants the garment of justice. God wants his Christians dressed in love.”-Oscar Romero  (via Claudia)
lucy 3

This causes me to tremble

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Was I there? At the crack of dawn, when everybody is still asleep, before the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem turn into a market place and become crowded with people, we were there to do the Via Dolorosa and reflect what … Continue reading

Easter based on astronomy counting backwards

religion

Religion is a strange conversation especially when an Atheist, a Sikh, a Christian and a Catholic discuss it.  I am the Catholic.

The Atheist asked me a question how do we determine Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.  How many days are there?

Well, the Sikh is a mathematician and from the top of his head he came up with the number 45 days.  The Christian joined in, pulled out a calendar, started counting the number of days and confirmed its 45 days.

And I said: “You guys got it all wrong. Its 40 days excluding Sunday.”

A recount ensued to prove that it’s correct.  Of course, I am correct since I learnt from my error last year.  I sacrificed myself for more than 40 days and I didn’t turn “holy”.

The Atheist is still not satisfied.  Being an Atheist, she questions everything.  Fair enough since I question everything myself, too.  The next question was that these days keep on changing every year.  Sometimes Ash Wednesday is early then Easter is early, as well.

This time I’m stumped for I do not know the answer.  Being a Catholic when it comes to calendar of events, I just follow the schedule.  It’s a worthy question and this is something I really don’t have the answer.  Just like a good Catholic the answer can be found through Google.

Based on my research it all depends on:

  • Spring Equinox
  • Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon of the following month
  • Ash Wednesday is counting 40 days backwards excluding Sundays

Spring was on March 21.  The first full moon the following month is on April 15. The first Sunday after the full moon is April 20 and this what we call Easter Sunday.   Back to the calendar, we all started counting backwards, excluding the Sundays and it worked. We were all filled with glee in learning new things.

The Atheist proclaimed: “Allah is good!” And I responded: “Thanks be to Google.”

This is the simplest way I can explain it to a cross cultural conversation without having to tell them about Paschal moon, Gregorian Calendar and  a conflict in the beginning between the Jewish and Christian calendar.

This is really how it is

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I was looking what to post yesterday that is more palatable to readers when it comes to spirituality for Sunday Snippet.  I am very much aware when it comes to the topic of religion, it’s hardly entertained.  Using Parabola is … Continue reading

Abandoned ancient city – Pergamum

This is part of what’s left of an ancient city of Pergamum in a modern-day Turkey.  It was also a well-known center for the arts. The theatre was originally built during the 3rd century BC, modified by the Romans. The theater has 80 rows of seats, divided into three sections, with a seating capacity of about 10,000 persons.  It has a very good acoustic sound system.  When I was at the bottom, I could literally hear what my group was talking at the top.abandoned Pergamon Theatre (1)Pergamum is one of the “seven churches of Asia” in the Bible as written by Apostle John in the Book of Revelation.

“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘I know your works, and where you dwell… where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to my name, and did not deny my faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.'” Revelation 2:12

The two trees in the picture are where the “Throne of Satan” was built before. The throne was excavated, relocated, and reconstructed in Berlin.
abandoned Pergamon Theatre (2)

Turkey is literally filed with abandoned ancient relics.  Even in the city, we found a sarcophagus used as a beautiful “settee” for these young girls.

Temptation

Assisi overlooking Porzuincula, Italy

Assisi overlooking Porzuincula

Every day the sun rises.  The light and the warmth of the sun give life to everyone and every living thing.  Not just the sun.  There’s the water, air and earth, they, too,  give freely.  They simply offer to us all that is good to sustain our well-being. There is no exception, no discrimination, and no judgement.

I am using these four elements as an analogy to how I can understand a scripture verse and apply it on my daily life.

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

I suppose I have to look at this more on a personal level.

First, I am not perfect therefore who am I to judge?  Second, maybe it would help me to put myself in the other person’s shoe.  How would I feel if I am the one being judge?  And finally, I think judging is a sign of weakness on my part.  And to put it in a facetious way, I can only imagine how ugly-looking I am should I have a “log” in my eye.

This verse reminded me about another verse “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”  Again, I can imagine that there will be a lot of blind and toothless people running around the world.

Seriously, I need to hold back or bite my tongue no matter how tempting it is to be righteous.  This verse does not say anything about goodness or love but I believe this is the heart of it all.  It isn`t  easy to be as generous as the sun, water, air and earth but who says being a follower of Jesus would be easy?

Jerusalem: Filmed for IMAX and Giant Screen Theaters

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Jerusalem: Video Clip

If you have the time, please view the  breathtaking scenes on Jerusalem today. Don’t take too long, though, for it might be taken off any time soon because of copyright.

After a year of research and preparation, the giant screen film JERUSALEM advanced into production with an unprecedented aerial shoot throughout Israel and the West Bank.

The film will take the audiences on a spectacular tour of the Holy Land and the city once believed to be the centre of the world.

A 7-minute preview of a new IMAX film on Jerusalem. The aerial views are breathtaking and in HD Quality.

The Lucky One – Black Mother

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Someone told me to read the lives of the saints to help me in times of dark night of the soul.  Not just the saints but as well as people who had the courage to come back.  These are ordinary people who managed to crawl out of their darkness with the help of others and divine intervention.

She was born in Sudan in 1869, kidnapped by Arab slave trades at age seven, sold and resold, suffered much trauma, abuse and brutality during her captivity that caused her to forget her own name. She was named Bakhita, meaning “the lucky one”. Life as a slave terrified her.

St. Josephine Bakhita

Click on the photo to view a brief story in video.

Forgiveness: 
“If I were to meet the slave merchants who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands. If what happened to me had never taken place, how could I have become a Christian and a religious?”

Eventually, in 1883 an Italian consul bought her, treated her kindly in his household, took her to Italy and was given as present to a wife of friend.  When the new owner left for Africa to attend to business matters,  she gave the  Canossian Sisters of Venice  custody of Bakhita. Here she found out that she is a free person and remained with the Sisters, became a nun and known as the “Black Mother.”

Bakhita, what a life story she had at a tender age.  How does one get over the abuse she received as a child?  With the help of others that cared about her and discovered that she has a new Master, her God, she recovered.

During the millennium year 2000, Pope Paul II canonized Josephine Bakhita.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Josephine Bakhita
UCatholic: February 8 Saint of the day
Depressed and Catholic: Bakhita, hope for those abused in childhood

Conversion: Existential Point

st. paul conversion

I am always fascinated what other people’s belief system and doubly fascinated when they turned 360 degrees and changed their belief system.  What gives?

Reading some extraordinary stories of conversion mostly in Christian’s perspective, they are saying the experience moves them that they acted in obedience toward a reality which paves the way and does not originate from them.

To become a “new creature” is a wonderful thing during this conversion process and that they joyfully forget the way they were before.  It is a tremendous grace to receive such a gift to be transformed even from a living a life of despicable act.

“I was in bed, eyes open, really suffering for the first time in my life… It was then that a cry burst from my breast, an appeal for help.  My God!  … and instantly, like a violent wind which passes over without anyone knowing where it comes from, the spirit of the Lord seized me by the throat.  I had an impression of infinite power and kindness and, from that moment onward, I believed with an unshakeable conviction that has never left me.”  This was written in a prison cell by Jacques Fescha French man who received death penalty for killing a police officer in 1957.

With a tinge of envy, I suppose I want to experience this without having to commit a capital crime.

Currently, I know of a person that gave up prestige, a good paying job and driving a sports car by serving the poor, the marginalized, the homeless, the addicts and prostitutes all for the glory of her God.  I don’t know her story, and it does not matter.  She is a vision of happiness.

The Three Godfathers

Today is the twelfth and last day of Christmas.  It is also known as Epiphany.

The central figures of the Epiphany story are the three wise men that are also known as the three kings.  I don’t think they are really kings, but they are ordinary men that saw a star with great faith.  These men were willing and able to see that the star is a great sign to follow even though they don’t know what it means.  It led them to a trip of their lifetime to meet the Holy Family: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.

The story of the three kings also leads into the story of another man: Herod.  Herod was the evil king that was so blinded by his self-importance and power to control.  He even killed his own family.  Being a mad king, he ordered the slaughter of innocent children because of the birth of Jesus.

The story of the three wise men is something that the movie industry retold in the film The Three Godfathers, western American style. One of the major characters was by John Wayne.

How did they become The Three Godfathers?

It was Christmas time, and the three wise men were up to no good thus no peace on earth but out to rob a bank.  The robbers went on a run and found a woman giving birth.  The woman died giving birth, but before she died, she asked the three men to be the child’s godfathers.  She made them promise to take the child back to New Jerusalem.

The godfathers, although macho, as they were, are but far from being wise.  However, they fulfilled their promise and put their own freedom on the line to take care of the baby.

This movie is brilliant in some ways in comparison to the Christian story.  The western style Three Wise Men story has it all: the heroes to protect the innocent, gunfight and the barren scenery of tumbleweeds bouncing over.

The story of Epiphany challenges me to continue searching the divine in the ordinary and recognize the God of small things in daily existence.

 

The Seeker: I’ll never find another you.

Singing is a form of prayer.  This is another song that I sing since childhood.  It is not a traditional hymn but it draws me nearer to the Lord.  I know there is a Promised Land. Sunrise at Mt. Beatitudes  Holy Land 2011
There’s a new world somewhere
They call The Promised Land
And I’ll be there some day
If you will hold my hand
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I’ll never find another you 
There is always someone
For each of us they say
And you’ll be my someone
For ever and a day
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I’ll never find another you 
It’s a long, long journey
So stay by my side
When I walk through the storm
You’ll be my guide
Be my guide 
If they gave me a fortune
My pleasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you
But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you
Another you
Another you
 
“I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:15
 
Related Links:
 

Child’s Lesson

The world misses the lesson because it confuses littleness with weakness, child-likeness with childishness, and humility with an inferiority complex. 
lady and sheen
 It forgets that great moral strength may be hidden in physical weakness, as Omnipotence was wrapped in swaddling bands; and that great Wisdom may be found in simple faith as the Eternal Mind was found in the form of a Babe. There is strength – strength before which the angels trembled, strength before which the stars prostrated, and strength before which the very throne of Herod shook in fear.
 “When you got what you wanted, were you happy? Do you remember when you were a child, how ardently you looked forward to Christmas? How happy you thought you would be, with your fill of cakes, your hands glutted with toys, and your eyes dancing with the lights on the tree! Christmas came, and after you had eaten your fill, blown out the last Christmas candle, and played till your toys no longer amused, you climbed into your bed and said, in your own little heart of hearts, that somehow or other it did not quite come up to your expectations. And have you not lived that experience over a thousand times since?”  ~Fulton Sheen (You)
 
 
 
Source :  Christmas: Our Lady and Sheen

A Pilgrim’s wish

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Song: Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)It is difficult to express the absolute bliss that I felt during this unique spiritual adventure.  As I literally followed the footsteps of Jesus, the journey … Continue reading

A Child is Born

christmas 2013

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government
shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Star of Bethlehem: A Pilgrim Story

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The Holy Land is not so holy when the Israelis occupy the land of the Palestine’s, the Muslims building mosque on top of the Christian church and the Christians are now a minority.  There is always trouble yet I went … Continue reading

A Leap of Faith

Dec 22, 2013, Sunday.  Today, we will light up the fourth candle and it represents Love.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
With Love, Prayers and Blessings to you and yours.  Pax Tecum ~ Seeker.

Christmas isn’t just another holiday.

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What Christmas means to me says it all on this song.

Christmas isn’t just another holiday.  The word Christmas derived from the name  Jesus Christ.  Christmas is the time when we celebrate His birth.  I’ll stand up in the crowd and proud to say Merry Christmas.

Start with yes

You Must Start With Yes ~ Richard Rohr’s meditation

By teaching “Do not judge”, the great teachers are saying that you cannot start seeing or understanding anything if you start with “no.” You have to start with a “yes” of basic acceptance, which means not too quickly labeling, analyzing, or categorizing things as in or out, good or bad, up or down. You have to leave the field open, a fie…ld in which God and grace can move. Ego leads with “no” whereas soul leads with “yes.”

poppies on the field

The ego seems to strengthen itself by constriction, by being against things; and it feels loss or fear when it opens up. “No” always comes easier than “yes,” and a deep, conscious “yes” is the work of freedom and grace. So the soul lives by expansion instead of constriction. Spiritual teachers want you to live by positive action, an open field, and studied understanding, and not by resistance, knee-jerk reactions, or defensiveness, and so they always say something like “Do not judge,” as judging is merely a control mechanism.

Words and thoughts are invariably dualistic, but pure experience is always non-dualistic. You cannot really experience reality with the judgmental mind, because you are dividing the moment before you give yourself to it. The judgmental mind prevents you from being present to the full moment by trying to “divide and conquer.” Instead, you end up dividing yourself and being conquered.

Source:  Richard Rohr’s meditation adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics

Each Day is a Blessing ~ Minute Meditations

We are called to love God and one another. That is our primary vocation.
Morning Glory

Morning Glory

The reason we rise in the morning and the purpose of our life on earth is to learn how to receive God’s love and then share it. God’s gift of life to you each morning is a sign that He has a mission for you that day.
 
 
— from Tweet Inspiration

If

z ifanylittlewordofmine (2)

If any little word of mine
May make a life the brighter;
If any little song of mine
May make a heart the lighter,
God help me speak the little word,
And take my bit of singing
And drop it in some lonely vale,
To set the echoes ringing.

If any little love of mine
May make a life the sweeter;
If any little care of mine
May make a friend’s the fleeter;
If any lift of mine may ease
The burden of another,
God give me love, and care, and strength,
To help my toiling brother.

Composers: 

Talitha Koum

z talitha kuom

Little Girl, Rise! Talitha Koum is a Spiritual House of Healing for women in conflict with Society who are recovering from alcohol and drug addictions.

Starr Peardon has since retired and a new star takes over.  Meet Kimmie Jensen, the new Mother of Talitha Koum.  Kimmie and I met at the church and heard her story.

This is part of her story.

I have struggled with addiction since the age of 6.  For many years my family and the people I love became victims to my drug addiction.  Although I am not able to change the past, the regrets that I have around the people I love and society as a whole, I am making positive changes in my life so that I can be someone my children will be proud of and a positive influence in the community and society at large.

While in prison, Talitha Koum was available to me.  I had heard of this house that will take women who are falling through the cracks when no one else would. I was willing to do what I had to, to change my life.  I made a call and took the direction given to me over the phone by Starr.  I called her for about 2 months straight and on the day I was to appear in court to get out on bail, she was there to support me.  I arrived at Talitha Koum in January 2007 from Surrey Pre-trial and my journey began.

I came into the house broken spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.  I had lost any kind of beliefs or values I had.  I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t trust anyone, especially myself. I didn’t believe that I deserved to have a good life because of the damage I had done through the years.  I simply existed, not living life.  I didn’t think that the walls I had put up would ever come down.  I recognize that the walls were shame, guilt, anger, fear, low self-esteem, abandonment, judgment and control. I had no clue what the walls were; I just knew that I was a mistake.

I can remember the first time I walked through the doors of Talitha Koum; I felt peace wash over me and something I had never felt before.  And for the first time in my life I thought everything would be OK.  I know that what I had felt was the love of Starr and of all the people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself (that is God’s love).

Even the dog and cat at Talitha Koum showed me unconditional love.

Although I am not a religious person, I do go to Church to learn discipline and obedience to God.  I have a belief that religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell, and spirituality is for people who have been there (Hell) and I don’t want to go back!  The opportunity to search out various Churches, I  have since found a church community who holds the same beliefs of the Beatitude’s spiritual principles.

I am blessed to be a part of something so amazing.  I wouldn’t have taken the risk had it not been for the program at Talitha Koum.  I have received so many gifts in my recovery and I have God, Talitha Koum and the program of Beatitudes to thank for this, for the women God has brought into my life and never giving up on me.  Even when I went astray God accepted me back by placing people in my path to help me and teach me forgiveness and love.

I have the honor and the opportunity to continue the vision that Starr has started.  To freely give back what was given to me, love, compassion, empathy, structure and a new way of life.  To be given this privilege to believe in a woman until she can believe in herself.  To see life come back in these women and reunite them with family and their children is the most ultimate fulfillment.  To walk this journey with them and truly understand where they came from is a gift for us all.  Every time I share my experience, strength and hope with another woman, God’s presence and healing.

I believe in Talitha Koum and all that it stands for.  I believe what the founder Starr Peardon has begun and vision she sees.

Related links:

The Enemy

leaves

The monks of a neighboring monastery asked the Master’s help in a quarrel that had arisen among them. They had heard the Master say he had a technique that was guaranteed to bring love and harmony to any group.

On this occasion he revealed it: “Any time you are with anyone or think of anyone you must say to yourself: I am dying and this person too is dying, attempting the while to experience the truth of the words you are saying. If every one of you agrees to practice this, bitterness will die out, harmony will arise.”

Having said that, he was gone.  ~~ Anthony de Mello, S.J

MORSEL: I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend. ~~ Lincoln (1809-1865)

BONUS: We have met the enemy, and it is us. ~~Pogo (Walt Kelly, Earth Day, 1971)

What it’s all about

Two minutes will explain what Advent is all about.  Watch and enjoy.

 
“Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.”
―     Thomas Merton
 
 
Source: Busted Halo

Joyful Mystery

Announcing that a new baby coming is filled with excitement.  We cannot wait for the baby to come.  Wait we must, with joyful anticipation for the birth of a new child.  Same thing with birthdays, we can’t seem to wait to celebrate someone else’s birthday.  Wait we must, with gladness. 
It’s a waiting game. 
I don’t mind waiting.  For most of my life, I wait.  Life consists mostly of waiting.  The question is what do I do while I wait?  The in-between-times. how do I respond to this?  
This photo is one of the many depictions of the Annunciation displayed in Bethlehem contributed by the Philippines.  It’s an image of pure simplicity. 
Bethlehem  Annunciation
 
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Meditating on this photo with Mary in mind, she gladly accepted what was unacceptable.  She said YES to conceive.  What a courageous act.  She waited with great understanding, anticipation and longing to fulfill her calling. 
As I reflected on this, my breathing slows down absorbing the joyful mystery.  A one-minute-meditation, my mind and heart became pregnant with desire to be more intimate with Jesus Christ. 
 

I believe ~ a different perspective

Halloween was not even over yet, the Christmas stockings are now on sale.  Just a minute, wait until we bury back the dead, the ghosts to return to ghost town and bring out the ghost of Christmas past on Christmas day, not on October 31st.

Recently, a group of little green people accosted me insisting that Santa Claus is already in town.  Yah? Really?  And where he could be, I asked.  They responded in chorus line: Richmond Mall!  Hah, there you are, it’s all about going to the mall to entice me in spending money that I don’t have.  They even bribed me with candy canes and a button that says “I believe.”  No thanks, I still have yet to finish all the Halloween candies.

green people

Passing by Metro Town Mall, look who’s there?  Santa Claus.  There’s no need for me to go to Richmond since Santa’s doppelganger is right here up my alley.

Seriously!  Before Christmas starts, this whole idea will wear out thin.  Come to think about it, the twelve day of Christmas does not start until December 25 and it ends on January 6.  And real gift giving is on the first Sunday of the following year when the Three Kings arrive to bring the gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Hearing Celine Dion sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” and Michael Buble’s rendition of “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” while I shop at Safeway makes me want to scream “Will somebody please turn off this music!”  I can’t concentrate what to buy for dinner on a rainy day and to come home in an apartment without fire-place.

I must admit Vancouver features many areas where one can go to be in the groove for Christmas.  The famous lights in St. Paul’s Hospital, the Christmas train at Stanley Park, the German Market at Queen Elizabeth, the dancing fountain at Van Dusen garden and the many homes that are fully decorated with Christmas lights.

christmas market

And what do I really believe and celebrate during Christmas season?  My answer is one word:  Advent

What is Advent?

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin Adventus, which means “coming.” It is a time for quiet reflection, prayer and conversion in anticipation of the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The readings and the liturgies during Advent prepare us for the birth of Jesus, but they also prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. The season offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert as we await his Second Coming. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It ends at sundown on Christmas Eve. Since Christmas falls on different days of the week, Advent can range in duration from 22 days when Christmas falls on a Monday to 28 days when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. Unlike the secular year, which marks the passage of time, the liturgical year celebrates the sacred mysteries of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The year begins during Advent in anticipation of the coming of Jesus with reflections on the Hebrew prophecies and the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah.

Jesus beloved son

Christmas is not a holiday.  Please don’t greet me with Happy Holidays.  Christmas is merry.  I will joyfully greet you Merry Christmas.  I’m sure I’m not alone to wish you a Merry Christmas and won’t the last.

Merry Christmas.

Walking in the light

Gallery

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep! A new day is dawning for all those who weep. The people in darkness have seen a great light. The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.   Let us build the … Continue reading

Better than Perfect

Way better!

Not that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving in October the Canadian Way, I am celebrating the American and the Jewish tradition as well.

HAPPY MENURKEY DAY !!!!

Holy One of Blessing, may all the different peoples, cultures, traditions and lifestyles that constitute America work together to share what we have with those in need. – Rabbi Laura Geller

We celebrate this day as a nation of people who have been blessed more than any other people on the face of the earth and at any time. We acknowledge you as the giver of the good we so easily take for granted. Forgive us as we are a forgetful people. Grant us on thisThanksgiving Day, the time to reflect on all the ways you have blessed each of us who has gathered. Increase our understanding of your ways, defeat us when we use our blessings for selfish gain, and remind us to love one another. ~ Christian Blessings

Coming from the Philippines, we do not have such thing as Thanksgiving Day for we give thanks every moment and every day.

It has been over 70,000 years since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapped and today is the gravy for the celebration.  Don’t know when the next time it will happen again and I will make sure I will live it up, today!

See, I told you it will be a Perfect Day.

Photo Credit:  Jews embrace the merging of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Day

Welcome

The Master set out on a journey with one of his disciples.  At the outskirts of the village they ran into the governor, who, mistakenly thinking they had come to welcome him to the village, said, “You really didn’t have to go to all this trouble to welcome me.”

“You are mistaken, your highness,” said the disciple.  “We’re on a journey, but had we known you were coming we would have gone to even greater pains to welcome you.”

The Master did not say a word.  Toward evening he said, “Did you have to tell him that we had not come to welcome him?  Did you see how foolish he felt?”

“But had we not told him the truth, would we not have been guilty of deceiving him?”

“We would not have deceived him at all,” said the Master.  “He would have deceived himself.”

Anthony de Mello, SJ

 z crows

MORSEL: Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them. ~~Thomas Merton

Expression of Apology and Hope

When we forgive, we have to let go of our own feelings, our own ego, our own offended identity, and find our identity at a completely different level—the divine level. I even wonder if it is possible to know God at all—outside of the mystery of forgiveness.  ~ Mystery of Forgiveness
Source: CNS photo by Art Babych

Source: CNS photo by Art Babych

The Archdiocese of Vancouver, Archbishop Miller addressed former residential school students on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event.  He acknowledged the role the Church played in “implementing the Canadian government’s policy which involved forcibly separating children from their parents.”

THE APOLOGY

Distinguished members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Venerable Elders, Survivors of the Indian Residential Schools, First Nations Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Speaking on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, I am here with you today to acknowledge the role we played in implementing the Canadian government’s policy which involved forcibly separating children from their parents and families and placing them in Indian Residential Schools.  through generations, this deeply flawed policy has led to unbearable pain and suffering.

At the five residential schools which existed within the boundaries of the Archdiocese, we were entrusted with safeguarding the children and young people under our care. However, we failed to live up to the trust placed in us. Over the century of their existence, tragic incidents of cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse took place at these schools. We hold in high esteem those survivors who have had the courage to tell the truth about their harrowing experiences….

Read the full letter here

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Reflection: What is my calling

There is so much drama in the world.

We use dramatic language to make a point!  Even the Good News if taken out of context is not so good at all such as “We are worthless slaves…”

Slaves?  How can I be a slave.  I am God’s child, blessed and gifted.  Given with a life to do good in this world, a responsibility, to be of service, to spread the Good News and to be accountable.  How can I use these gifts I received.  I am not the only who has these gifts.  Each and every one of us have these.  And that brought me to a question; What is my calling?

I do what I have to do and to seek out the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

This is not Disney talk or Pollyanna attitude.  I am called to be of service to do good for whatever that good would be.  I don’t know.  Being simple-minded, I can only focus on the god of small things.  Starting small eventually leads to bigger things.  If not, I will gather all these little things and make them big.

Give me a sign.  What sign, there are so many signs in front of me.

Give me a sign

The hungry street people, feed them.  Children being abused, take a stand against injustice.  The marginalized, spend time with them.  These are visible signs and I am blessed with eyes to see and feel their needs.  What do I with what I see?  My sight moves me beyond compassion to nurture and share the gift what I receive from my Maker.

“I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you” ~ 2 Timothy 1:6

 
 
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Leave of Absence

Leaving work mid-morning, my commitment was at 11 a.m.  It’s close by to work, walking distance but I haven’t been to this place.  Plenty of time to walk the inside streets, enjoy the beauty of the autumn day and the rain stopped.

This is the west side of Vancouver, a beautiful neighbourhood that takes pride of their surroundings.  The environment is warm and welcoming.  Homes are old, mostly heritage, painted houses in living colours and well-kept.  Luscious garden, recycled items, ornamental trees and chair to sit around.

There’s nobody around and understandably so, it was work week and the children were at school.  I found myself alone in sweet serenity to commune with nature.

I reached my destination.

Heritage Building

St. Augustine Church.  This is the first time for me to visit the church.  As mentioned in my previous post, Candle in Spain,  I say the same prayer when I visit a church the first time hoping my wishes will be granted.  I did not because I was there for my friend to attend a Mass of Christian Burial of her mother.

Related Link: Candle in Spain

Candle in Spain: November Peace Challenge

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Spain is filled with churches and we tried to stopped by in most of them, time permitting.  When I enter a new church, they say make a wish and your wish will be granted.  I have three wishes and I pray it all … Continue reading

Glimpse of Santiago de Compostela

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

Entering the narrow pathways considered as a street in Santiago de Compostela, we could see the steeple of the cathedral.  The pilgrims’ steps quickened as they are getting excited to reach their destination. In front of the towering old steeple, dating as … Continue reading

A Revelation

WYA Revolution is a project started by a young man named Jon Jorgenson It is a new project that seeks to remind everyone, young and old, that you are loved. No matter who you are, or what you’ve done – you are loved!

Life is an adventure, and it can be a difficult adventure from time to time. Everyone goes through moments (or long periods) where they feel as though the whole deck is stacked against them. We can feel defeated, unloved, unlovable, renounced, and/or forgotten. But, these are the moments that God loves us the most.

Jon Jorgenson speaks to this in his new videos for the Anima Series. There is one for women, and another for men. They are both really powerful, so I encourage you to watch them both.

 
 

To play the video for men, please click on The Love Revolution,

Ascending the Mountain

Gallery

This gallery contains 4 photos.

For most walkers or hikers, going up the mountain is far easier than going down .  When it comes to descending, it is really hard on the knees and toes especially when the mountain is too rocky and paved with … Continue reading

Open your Heart

Open the doors of your heart.

Give special attention, love and prayers to all those who come to the door of your home and workplace.

Let this simple gift of self be a witness to the love of Christ among us.

The Best Part

There are so many parishes around where I live.  I go where ever the wind blows me.

The one closest to me is St. Frances de Sale I go should I feel like walking.  Down the hills is St. Therese but I’ve never went because walking uphill is just a challenge for this old body.  Our Lady of Mercy I visit should I wish to see my family.

Since I prefer the easiest route, I hop on a Sky train and attend a mass at St. Mary’s Church.  Here I love listening to Fr. Pierre, a Frenchie.  Somehow French man has a sing-song way of speaking English and his sense of humour is effective when he speaks his sermon.  It is much easier to shallow his teaching when he lifts the congregation up rather than talking down to us.  That is what I call effective communication.

Should I feel the need to drop by at a church on a way home, I go to the Cathedral.  Here I meet all kinds of people including the pan handlers, the addicts, the alcoholics, the mentally ill or anyone who wants refuge from an inhospitable weather.  Most of the priest here are on the higher echelon.  Their sermons are okay. For as long as I get my dosage of Spiritual healing and thanksgiving, that is what I am after.

When I really missed being with the elders, I go to the Indian Reserve and attend a mass at St. Paul’s.

First Nations Aboriginals

First Nations Aboriginals

As I mentioned before, the whole world is my church.  So far, I haven’t met anyone who understands this mentality until recently I read an article from UCAN News.

Faith revolutionizes our lives…

I would like to tell you what my expectations are regarding this World Youth Day. I would like us to make noise, I would like those inside the Dioceses to go out into the open; I want the Church to be in the streets; I want us to defend ourselves against all that is worldliness, comfort, being closed and turned within – Parishes, colleges and institutions must get out otherwise they risk becoming NGOs, and the Church is not a Non-Governmental Organization….

These are the words of Pope Francis.  Finally, a man who understands me.

The World is my Church, this is the best part.

Related Links:

Better than Bacon

Who doesn’t like Bacon?  Can’t say I don’t.  I happen to like bacon and the smell of bacon wafting through the atmosphere.  Imagine me hovering on mid-air following the scent of the bacon.  It’s so enticing.  Ah ….

Bacon is one of the most common discussions at work.  We could talk about bacon all day long except for other belief system that doesn’t eat meat at all.  However, they are intoxicated by the smell of bacon.  Yet, their faith keeps them from eating this sinful delicacy.  They have such deep abiding faith.

Would you care to join me and eat bacon?

When I invite someone, I try all kinds of tricks to join me or join us.  But I suppose dangling bacon is not as good as dangling a carrot.

I am actually talking about Catholics bloggers.  There are many of us: some are really dedicated, some are lapsed.  And there are non-Catholics that are just faithful to their religion.  It really does not matter to me.  Catholic means Universal.  I embrace you all.

For the sake of this post, I am supposed to link two sites that are catholic bloggers.  Let me introduce:

Claudia.  I like her sense of humour and I can relate to her.
“Whoever suffers from mental illness ‘always’ bears God’s image and likeness in himself, as does every human being.” excerpt from statement by Blessed Pope John Paul II at International Conference for Health Care Workers, on Illnesses of the Human Mind, November 30, 1997.

Not The Sword But The Pen.  She wants to join the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows (Beaverton, Oregon).  I happen to follow the footsteps of St. Francis.

Friar Musings.  The title is exactly what it says.  He is a Franciscan Friar.  Again, he is another St. Francis in the making.   This link speaks about mindfulness and I quote:

The weather and its coming and goings make us vigilant. What else in life causes you to be vigilant, attentive, watchful, observant, alert? Is it the literal thief in the night?  Maybe at best I have been attentive – you know… lock the doors and windows, install an motion-sensing flood lights outside, regular things.  Did I stay up all night on watch?  No.  Didn’t install ADT or other home protection systems, either. Maybe a better word for all this is that I was “mindful.”  I was mindful of the possibility of a thief in the night, but it was all just integrated into my life.

I did ask the first two but not Father.  They are good in what they do already to let their faith shine in the whole blogging world.

As for Better Than Bacon, this is what it’s all about: click on Man Alive.

 
Related Links:
 
 

A Baha’i Prayer

A Baha’i Prayer
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in thy judgement, and guarded in thy speech.
Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light to the feet of the erring.
Be a breath of life to the body of humankind,
a dew to the soil of the human heart and
fruit upon the tree of humility.
 
Baha'i Garden in Israel Pilgrimage 2010

Baha’i Garden in Israel Pilgrimage 2010

  Prayer for peace

May Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through his power and inspiration, may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.

Pacem in Terris

At Sacred Space today can I allow the Word of God to stir up the authentic desires and longings of my heart? The men and women of the whole world long for peace.

 
Related Articles:

A Hindu Prayer

A Hindu Prayer
 Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti (Peace), Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty,
may there be peace in celestial regions.
May there be peace on earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome,
and may trees and plants bring peace to all.
May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
May thy peace itself bestow peace on all,
and may that peace come to me also. 
Photo: AP/Niranjan Shrestha

Photo: AP/Niranjan Shrestha

 Prayer for peace on Earth

Everyone who has joined the ranks of Christ must be a glowing point of light in the world, a nucleus of love, a leaven of the whole mass. He will be so in proportion to his degree of spiritual union with God.

Pacem in Terris

Prayer of an 11 year old Indian boy

Prayer of an 11 year old Indian boy on hearing of Sino-Indian border fighting: Lord, make this world last as long as possible. 
 prayer of a boy

 Prayer for peace on Earth

Blessed John XXIII was a man unafraid of the future. Moved by his trust in Providence, even in what seemed like a permanent situation of conflict, he did not hesitate to summon the leaders of his time to a new vision of the world.

Let us all resolve to have this same outlook: trust in the merciful and compassionate God who calls us to brotherhood, and confidence in the men and women of our time because, like those of every other time, they bear the image of God in their souls. (John Paul II).

As we long for peace we remember our brothers and sisters of all faiths – and none – who share our longings.

 
Related Articles:

Buddha says “Life is suffering.”

Photo by: Daehyun Kim Source: New York Times

Photo by: Daehyun Kim
Source: New York Times

Buddha says “Life is suffering.”  
Every time someone says this quote, I add: “Get with the program!” 
Yes, I agree.  What I do with suffering is either use it or lose it. 
Useful suffering teaches me something; it makes me wiser and cut away any useless limbs so that I may bear fruit, so to speak.  It makes me a better person, a better sister, a better friend and then some.  
Useless suffering is negative and depressing.  I cannot make sense of it.  When I try to analyze the situation, it causes analysis paralysis.  My spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well-being deteriorates.  I feel it’s a dead-end street and sometimes death is a good way out.  It is devastating. 
I have my fair share of suffering.  Family and friends help tremendously with their outpouring love to help me recover.  Behind this love is the deep faith we have that help me redeemed myself.  It is called Redemptive suffering. 
“Redemption accomplished through love remains always open to all love expressed through human suffering.”  Since my faith is based on the theology of Jesus, I offer my suffering to Him and I am privilege that He allows me to unite my suffering.  This is the greatest way for me in order to rise above the existential angst and cesspool of the soul. 
I can offer the grief, depression, limitation, frustration, pain and sorrow that I experience without suffering.  The uselessness of suffering becomes powerless.  Of course, I have fear.  I am never useless no matter what condition I am in.  And I can say the same to you, you are never useless.  In fact, other people can learn from us; we may be doing more good for humanity.  I know.  Being in the company of women at Talitha Kuom, I learned humility, love, perseverance, trust, compassion and patience. 
To keep up with my answer “get with the program”, I take a look at the area of my life and make sure that none of it is useless and wasted.
 
Related Articles:

A Jain Prayer

A Jain Prayer

Lead me from death to Life, from falsehood to Truth.
Lead me from despair to Hope, from fear to Trust.
Lead me from hate to Love, from war to Peace.
Let Peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
– Satish Kumar

 

Source: Sacred Space

Source: Sacred Space

Prayer for peace on Earth

Pope John Paul II reflected on Blessed John XXIII’s Four Pillars of Peace:

» Truth will build peace if every individual sincerely acknowledges not only his rights, but also his own duties towards others.

» Justice will build peace if in practice everyone respects the rights of others and actually fulfils his duties towards them.

» Love will build peace if people feel the needs of others as their own and share what they have with others.

» Freedom will build peace and make it thrive if, in the choice of the means to that end, people act according to reason and assume responsibility for their own actions.

Related Articles:

A Jewish Prayer

A Jewish Prayer 
Cause us, O Father, to lie down in peace, and rise again to enjoy life. Spread over us the covering of your peace, guide us with your good counsel and save us for the sake of your name. Be a shield about us, turning away every enemy, disease, violence, hunger and sorrow. Shelter us in the shadow of your wings, for you are a God who guards and protects us, a ruler of mercy and compassion…. Blessed are you, Lord, who spreads the shelter of peace over us, over His people Israel, and over all the world.
Source:  Sacred Space

Source: Sacred Space

 Prayer for peace on Earth 
Pacem in Terris (1963) spoke to everyone about their belonging to the one human family and it shone a light on the shared aspiration of people everywhere to live in security, justice and hope for the future. Forty years later we are more obviously than ever the children of one global family. 
Today let me open my heart to the deep aspirations of those people who seem furthest away from me. As we Christians long for peace we remember our brothers and sisters of other faiths who share our longings.
 
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A Muslim Prayer

O God! O our Master! You are eternal life and everlasting peace by your essence and attributes. The everlasting peace is from You and it returns to You. O our Sustainer! Grant us the life of true peace and usher us into the abode of peace. O Glorious and Bounteous One! You are blessed and sublime. 
Source:  Sacred Space

Source: Sacred Space

Prayer for peace on Earth 
Forty years ago Pope John reminded the world of the Four Pillars of Peace. They are the basis of right order in our world. It is an order that is founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom. 
As we join together at Sacred Space, we might express our hope for our world, that we may re-establish the divine order in our own hearts and in our world. Still, we remember that the Lord speaks to each person according to their own situation and needs. 
Our brothers and sisters of many faiths – and none – share our longing for peace.
 
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Where do you belong?

Where do you belong? 
 
The organizer of a church seminar asked me this question.  It was very important for her that I answer the question correctly.  What she means by that was which Church am I registered?
 
For one thing, in my mind, the World is my Church.  I am  not registered to any Catholic Churches; therefore, I belong to all. 
 
That didn’t fly very well with her.
 
Oh, no.  You must register to a church because when you die, you need a church for your Christian burial service.
 
How do I reply to that?  Facetiously.
 
For one thing, when I am dead, what do I know where I will be.  The second thing, it is really up to my family who will decide which church they will have a funeral mass.
 
Silence and end of conversation in a car filled with other people.
 
In terms of what activities I join or minister, I can say the same thing.  I go where the spirit moves me.
 
Let me tell you a story.
 
After church, I have nothing better to do but wandered around the church basement.  In the basement, the toilet facility is huge, library and the kitchen.
 
Pssst….  I heard someone called me.  A voice coming from the kitchen.
 
What are you doing?  She asked.
Nothing.  I responded.
Want to help us? She asked.
Sure.  I responded with no hesitation.
 
This is what I call answering to the Spirit.  No hesitation.
 
I was assigned to prepare a fruit platter.
 
While we were busy working away in the kitchen, we told stories to one another, plenty of jokes to go around and so much laughter.  On top of that, we can sample the  food.
 
In the middle of having fun, a fellow parishioner saw me and he was surprised to see me helping out.
 
He is a very active man in Knights of Columbus and he said: “Sis, will you come and help us in food preparation during the Knights events?”
 
Sure, as long as I become an honorary Knight.  I want to wear the cape, hat and raise the sword.  I answered jokingly.
 
He turned around and left.
 
Men, they have no sense of humour.
 
The number one ministry I support is Talitha Koum Society mainly because I was there when it all started from the beginning.  Most of my donations go to the house to help women live a better life.
 
Back to any activities, in my mind, work is very pleasant when I do service filled by the Spirit.  And I do it for my God.
 
Related Articles:
 

Sacred Space

Every time I move to a new residence or work place, I make sure that I create a sacred space.  
A sacred space is an altar that will remind me what is important in my life. 
Since I spend at least 7 hours a day at work, the station that I use is my sacred space and I have an altar on it.  It consisted of an Icon of three Angels and Madonna and child, statue of Virgin Mary, Divine Mercy, dry roses and water from Lourdes.  
Sacred Space
 Looking at the Holy objects give me an assurance that all will be well even during the busyness at work.  Knowing that what I do begins and ends with God gives me a sense of clear conscience.  It is important that I do a good job that is reflective of my faith. 
As for a sacred time of prayer, I have this on the wall of my station. 
Prayer for Peace
 
 
 Related Link:   Sunday Snippet

And they are off…

And they are off. 
 My two nieces are off to Brazil to attend World Youth Day. 
The girls are so good in informing the whole family with their activities in Facebook to keep us calm. 
The first message was:  “We have arrived, so where’s or luggage!” 
Oh dear Lord, is this a sign of what is yet to come?  We are such a worry wart here in Canada.  In the meantime while they are waiting for their luggages that took forever to find, the girls have flooded the Facebook with pictures.  
The second message was: “We are accosted by weird people”  
I took a look at the picture and replied back: “Don’t worry, he has no brain.  The man behind him has no courage anyway and the lady behind them doesn’t have a dog whose bark could kill.”  
The Wizard of Oz
 Good times, good times.  Still no luggage.  I wonder where they got those clothes? 
Well, if they are not worried; why should we. 
Eventually, the luggages came and the first thing they put was their bathing suit. 
Off to the beach.
Hands down
They are enjoying life and tomorrow, June 23, World Youth Day will officially start and ends on June 28.  Now that will be serious business and let’s see what messages we will receive.
 
Related Link: World Youth Day

It’s a good day to die.

It was a sunny day yesterday and hot by the time it was 1o a.m.  I walked to church in this extreme weather and I thought it’s a good day to die. 
Walking to church takes me 30 minutes but with the heat, it took longer.  I felt so sluggish and the heat slows me down. 
I can’t remember the last time I was at this church.   As I recall, it was a funeral.  Here I am again, going to attend to another funeral. 
Sigh, another dearly departed.  
At my age, I am starting to resign, no, accept is a better word; accept the fact that one by one, in my inner circle, death is just around the corner. 
It’s a good day to die, I vocalized it this time with my family. My family is used to the morbid way I speak. 
Then I struck a conversation about being buried.  This is the first time I am going to an Italian and Filipino funeral.  So far so good, it’s very civilized. 
Niece #2 mentioned that she had been to a Portuguese funeral and there are so much drama. 
Well, there won’t be any drama in my funeral, for sure.  I want a party!  This body will be cremated.  Said I. 
Niece #1’s  face lit up and asked me: Can I keep some ashes and put you beside the astray while I smoke.   We are both smoker and we had so many good conversations over a cup of tea and a smoke. Or can I sprinkle your ashes in my garden since you love gardening, she added. 
Sure why not but you have to ask permission, I said. 
Her Mom interjected in our conversation that it is unacceptable in the Catholic tradition to keep some ashes for memorabilia or spread it around.  It must be buried in the cemetery.  
So much for that brilliant idea. 
In the cemetery, our dearly departed was buried in a Mausoleum.  Her site is on the fourth level. 
When the service was finished, I roamed around checking out the rows and high-rise cemetery to get an idea how the cremated ones are kept. 
This is what I found and how I want it to be when they bury me. 
Of course, the writings will be in English with a couple of additions:  a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

I’ll Never Find Another You

Singing is a form of prayer.  

As I mentioned on this post, A Song, A Book, My Name, I grew up singing The Pilgrim Song.  This is another song that I sing since childhood.  It is not a traditional hymn but it draws me nearer to the Lord.  I know there is a Promised Land.

There’s a new world somewhere
They call The Promised Land
And I’ll be there some day
If you will hold my hand
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I’ll never find another you

There is always someone
For each of us they say
And you’ll be my someone
For ever and a day
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I’ll never find another you

It’s a long, long journey
So stay by my side
When I walk through the storm
You’ll be my guide
Be my guide

If they gave me a fortune
My pleasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you

But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you
Another you
Another you

YouTube:  Click to listen to the song by The Seekers 
“I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:15 
Related Links:

Did you enjoy your last hour?

There is this one Jesuit priest that I followed for an annual retreat.  The places he offered the retreat was as close as Portland and as far as Ireland.  It’s not so much about him why I followed his retreat; it was the teaching of a Jesuit, the humour and the awareness of living the faith.  It was very realistic. 
My dearly departed friend, Jancis, was the one who introduced me to Awareness.  She’s not even Catholic.  Somehow, I discovered that there is a priest who actually runs the program on Awareness. 
Jim Dolan.  He studied under the tutelage of the writer Anthony de Mello, Awareness. 
Awareness by Anthony deMello

Awareness by Anthony de Mello

In short,  I went to attend his week-long retreat and became hooked.  From then on, I joined the annual spiritual discernment.  Much to my surprise, the retreat was mostly for Nuns, Brothers and Priests.  I was the only one “out-of-order”.  I belong as far as I am concerned even though I am not part of the religious institution whether they like it or not. 
I encouraged my friend and the “YaYa Sisterhood” to attend his retreat in Ireland.  It was victory for me when I can persuade a person let alone my sisters!  Jancis and I went one year; YaYa Sisterhood went. all four of them, on another  year.  As much as I love my sisters, I beat a different drum from them.  Needless to say, I did not join their travels. 
The favourite meditation that I treasure the most is “did I enjoy my last hour?”  
This statement is actually an examination of conscience at the end of the day before I go to sleep.  It is a discernment of moral values and ethics.  Anybody can do it.  Try it.  If you do not believe in God, then leave God behind.  Just think about it, mediate on the question. 
Did you enjoy your last hour?
 

Now I Know

How well do we really know a person even though we live with them for most of our lives?  Do you?  Well, I don’t, I must admit. 
Mother and I lived together for a long time yet I hardly know her.  We may live in the same roof but that doesn’t mean we share our thoughts.  Mother is excellent in giving us our autonomy.  It is very important to her that we are our own person. 
Here’s another question.  Do you know where you draw your strength from?  Strength could mean your physical, mental or spiritual being.  I’m sure that there are so many ways where you can gather your strength from. 
As for my Mother, this is a piece of her story.  To read, the story, please click on the image. 

 
Related links:

Give Me A Word

Desert Wisdom

Desert Wisdom

 
The Master insisted that what he taught was nothing, what he did was nothing.  His disciples gradually discovered that Wisdom comes to those who learn nothing, unlearn everything. That transformation is the consequence not of something done but of something dropped.  ~ Anthony de Mello, SJ 
MORSEL:   In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.  In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.  ~ Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching 
BONUS:   God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by a process of subtraction.   ~ Meister Eckhart

Feed me, please…

I am lost and really famished.  
Where am I?  I don’t see a soul on the street and the heat is sweltering.  My mouth is so dry.  I know there is a community centre somewhere but which way is it?  North? South? East? West?  My sense of direction is out of kilter because all I can think is food.  Stomach is giving me the signs and symptoms of emptiness.    
Feeling weaker by the minute, finally I found a path that looks familiar.  Trout Lake and the centre are just around the bend.  I picked up my pace and made a bee line to the centre.  The centre is CLOSED! 
Now what?  One more place to check out is the food stand by the lake and this is my last hope. 
Praying and hoping that the food stand is open, I headed toward the lake.  In an open field, behind the centre, a gentle breeze blew and a whiff of barbeques cooking is in the air penetrated my nose.  Food!  Excitedly, I followed my nose and I could see a big group having a picnic. 
As I approached closer, the group is within the confines of a rope encircling the picnic.  A table manned with two people is at the entrance, a good way to make sure that there are no gate crashers or intruders.  I will be crashing and I am an intruder because I intended to ask for food and pay for it.  Surely they will feed me because I have money to pay for and besides they seem to be a church congregation because of the hymns they sang.  Surely they will feed me for the Church is familiar with Jesus’ teaching ~ Feed my sheep. 
When I approached these guards, I told them my predicament and show them I have money to pay for the food. Feed me, please.
One of the guards said, of course I may eat only when I can say the Lord’s Prayer.  Delighted, I sang and danced the Lord’s Prayer from what I learnt at the Ashram.  Then the guards welcomed me in, introduced me to a few people, and feed me for free. 
Here I found myself at the other end of the stick and as I ate my fill, I was thinking of the intruded at the ashram. 
Related Article:

Absence of Light

A while back ago, I posted in Daily Prompt Does Evil Exists?   I wrote this and left it hanging without the whole story attached to it.  
The story is written in a magazine I picked up during one of my wanderings and I kept the article. It was published in a magazine that supports the expansion of the network of light ~ EAGLEyeONE – author unknown. 
The story is one of our “email favorites” and it has a thought provoking message no matter what you believe.  When it comes to what we believe, bear in mind that the word God should be replaced by whatever higher power or interpretation you believe in. 
  The university professor challenged his students and this question.  “Did God create everything that exists?” 
  A student bravely replies. “Yes.  He did!” 
  “God created everything?” the professor asked. 
  “Yes sir.”  The student replied. 
  The professor answered.  “If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, then God is evil.” 
  The student became quiet before such an answer. 
  The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth. 
  Another student raised his hand and said, “Can I ask you a question, professor?”  “Of course,” replied the professor. 
  The student stood up and asked, “Professor. does cold exist?” 
  “What kind of questions is this?  Of course it exists.  Have you never been cold?” 
  The students snickered at the young man’s questions.  The young man replied, “In fact sir, cold does not exist.” 
  “According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality, the absence of heat.  Everybody and every object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.  Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature.  Cold does not exist.  We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have too little heat.” 
  The student continued, “Professor, does darkness exists?  The professor responded, “Of course it does.” 
  The student replied, “Once again you are wrong, Sir, darkness does not exist either.  Darkness is in reality the absence of light.  Light we can study, but not darkness.  In fact, we can use Newton’s prism to break the white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each colour.  You cannot measure darkness.  A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it.  How can you know how dark a certain space is?  You measure the amount of light present.  Isn’t this correct?  Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.” 
  Finally the young man asked the professor, “Sir does evil exist?” 
  Now uncertain, the professor responded, “Of course as I have already said.  We see it every day.  It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man.  It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world.  These manifestations are nothing else but evil.” 
  To this, the student replied. “Evil does not exist, Sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself.  Evil is simply the absence of God.  It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God.  God did not create evil.  Evil is not like faith, or love, that exist just as does light and heat.  Evil is the result of what happens when man does comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.” 
  The professor sat down. 
                     The young man’s name ~ ~~ ~ Albert Einstein 
Now, I have been contemplating about my experience in Ashram with regards to the Divine Light in relation to this article.  The question to me is “Where is God in that situation?”
 

A for Ashram

Yashodhra Ashram set in the beautiful mountains of southeastern British Columbia, sounds so inviting to spend while I was in between times. It’s a place for all ages and backgrounds who want to further ones self-development.

Its main purpose is to stimulate open intellectual and spiritual enquiry, supporting the potential of transformation in each person.

I decided to sign up for a two-week stay in working Yoga and paid my way to do work in the ashram. The cost was minimal and I can join a course offered when I was off duty.

Working yoga was basically about mindfulness.  Doing the same thing over and over and paying attention to what I did.  For example: one of the duties was to sweep the floor.  I swept all day long until my mind got carried away from the swinging of the broom from left to right; right to left; back and forth, forth and back.  It was meditative.  Oh, cleaning the bathroom was an experience and a half. What came about was instead of cleaning the bathroom; I was cleaning my internal thoughts.  The weeding in the compound, peeling potatoes, burning trash, these can take me out of myself.  Pretty Zen or what?

Hatha Yoga was also offered.  The poses for Hatha Yoga took getting used to because it required meditation; active imagination for me. The contortion involved was not a problem for this body was younger then.  The favorite pose I did was the Archer where I imagined the arrow released boomerang and struck my heart.  The image came to mind was when a lance pierced Jesus Christ.

Whatever I learnt, I translated it to my Catholic upbringing.

At the end of the property by the cliff side, a Temple of Divine Light overlooks the Kootenay Lake.  The Temple is a place for those who want to find the Light in their own religion or practice such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islāmic, Judaism, Taoism and a lot more.  I learnt how to sing a Jewish song, Hindu song and danced the Lord’s Prayer.  They have service called sat sang which I was having a hard time grasping due to words used are not related to Gospel written in the Bible.

Across the lake is the famous Ainsworth Hot Springs and I could easily escape the ashram should I need to take a hot bath.  There are no bathtubs in the ashram since it’s not really a 5-star hotel.  There must be at least five of us in the “chalet” and my quarter is up in the attic that I froze my extremities. 

I lasted one week.  Why?  Here’s an interesting story.

One early morning, I saw a man by the main hall.  He was hippie looking, long dark hair and beard.  We waved at each other and thought he is a new comer.  I was on my way to the temple in search for this divine light. I met one of the workers that was frantically running and I asked him what the commotion was all about? “Intruder alert”, he shouted.  Oh dear, I followed him because I don’t want to meet a bogey man by myself.

The next thing I knew, they were escorting the hippie looking man out of the property.  When he was out of the property, I took the courage to speak to him.  He said he went to the dining area, asked if he could have something to eat and he has money to pay for the meal.  He was denied and asked to leave.  It was very upsetting for him because he thought that this is a Jesus place where he will be welcomed.  I felt sorry for him and beyond disbelief.  The man looked harmless to me; he is clean-looking and did not emit any odor.  With this nose, I can smell FOUL

Intuitively, I know I do not belong to this place.  I took that as a sign to say adieu.  Pack my stuff, went to the office to file my resignation letter and they may keep the balance as severance pay. Then I hitch hiked out of that galaxy.

Did I find the light?  I did.  The intruder showed me the way and the light.  Another temple, another time.

Words…

Words, I used to believe in words….

Apr 7, 2013 wordsRelated articles

We are Easter People

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This year will be extra special in celebrating Easter.  Not only that we are celebrating the real sense of Jesus’ resurrection; we, my family that is, will be celebrating our Mother’s 13th year of her death anniversary.  And it falls on Easter!

Being a Catholic, we are Easter People.  We celebrate death filled with hope that we will be resurrected and finally be where we are supposed to be; with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; and with all the Saints and choirs of Angels.

Sister #5 asked me to write something about Mother.  As much as I want to, Sister #2 mentioned that she wants to write about her journey and Mother.  With that thought in mind, I declined because I don’t want to steal my sister’s thunder.

Instead, I compiled some pictures and memorabilia that I can find for the family to look at.  This is a good place for safekeeping for now because my notes are all over the place and I tend to throw or give away pictures.  Maybe, just maybe, I will gradually write something about this.

My readers, I wish you ALL a Blessed Easter and here are some of the ways of the Easter People.  If you are not a Catholic, replace the last item according to your belief system.

  •        Cling to the people who love you
  •        Remember who you are
  •        Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop
  •        Bring joy to the world
  •        Breathe in the Holy Spirit

 

Related Article:

Stations of Life ~ As I See It

Viewer discretion is advised.  Graphic Contents.

Lent commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ.  In a Catholic world, meditating the Way of the Cross, the last moments on the life of Jesus Christ, is part of the tradition.  The Way of the Cross has fourteen stations.  The Passion, Mel Gibson’s movie made millions of dollars.  It’s very graphic.
Catholic means universal. One doesn’t have to be a Catholic to understand these Stations of the Cross.   These stations include all religions and belief system on Earth.  How would you as a person or organization or leader build a better world, a caring place, and a safe environment. 
In a more global view, the fourteen stations could be depicted as follows: 

The First Station: Jesus Is Condemned To Death
Kevin CarterChild&Vulture

   The Second Station:  Jesus Carries His Cross
~ Homelessness 

2.  Jesus carries His cross (2)

 The Third Station:  Jesus Falls the First Time
~ The Fall of Saigon

3.  Jesus falls the first time

  The Fourth Station:  Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
~ World Press

Samuel Aranda’s award-winning photograph of a Yemeni mother cradling her injured son

 The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
~ Doctors Without Boarders

5.  Simon helps Jesus carry His  cross

  The Sixth Station:  Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
~ Haiti Earthquake Response

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

 The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls A Second Time
~ World Trade Centre 9/11

7.  Jesus falls a second time

 The Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Holy Women
~ Desmond Tutu

8.  Jesus speaks to the holy women

 The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
~ Global Warming

9.  Jesus falls the third time

 The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
~ Israel Occupation

10.   Jesus is stripped of His garments

  The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
~ Child prostitution

11. Jesus in nailed to the cross

  The Twelfth Station:  Jesus Dies on the Cross
~ Abortion

12.  Jesus dies on the cross

  The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
~ Japan earthquake

13.  Jesus taken down from the cross

  The Fourteenth Station:  Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher
~ Lest We Forget 

14.  Jesus Is Laid in the Sepulcher
 
The world is in your hands, the future depends on you.  The choice is yours. 
Kýrie, eléison
 
Related article:

Taste of Santiago de Compostela

For the longest time, I kept an article from Walkers’ World “If You Go…” dated year 2004. 
Gate of Pardon

Gate of Pardon

That year would have been the best time to go because of the Porta Santa or Gate of Pardon opens during Holy Year  when the festival of July 25 falls on a Sunday for the pilgrims to pass through.  Going through the door, your sins would be forgiven.  With all the sins I accumulated over the years, I don’t think I would fit in that door. 
Again I missed out year 2010 and the next time it will open is year 2021.  Another 8 years to go and doing the math, I might as well give you how old I will be then.  Nah. 
One of the reasons I joined the 2012 pilgrimage was because of Santiago de Compostela. 
My best friend spoke constantly about Compostela and asked me when I am going so I can bring pictures and tell her stories.  By the time I went, she has left the earth.  Jan lived vicariously about the stories of my travels. 
I was sad going there because Jan was in my mind.  Bo-ho-ho.  Woe is me.  And I heard her say in my head “shut up and enjoy yourself.”  So I did. 
It was a long walk before we reached the plaza of the main Cathedral, it was breath-taking.  Compostela is the third most important church after Rome and Jerusalem in Christendom.  I can die now having visited all three.  
The legend says that this is the place where St. James remained and died.  The Church has not validated or agreed to this, but hey, if it helps humanity regardless of race and creed, let the sleeping dog lie. 
We attended the Pilgrim’s Mass where the giant incense burner is lit, pulled up and pushed in an upswing, just like a pendulum.  The smell of incense filling my lungs, the choir singing in the background, the soft-spoken prayers, mesmerized by the swinging of the incense burner, suddenly in my mind, there she is.  Jan is hanging on to the rope of the burner and swinging along with it. 
I was laughing, quietly, my mind is so weird.  Did I really see her? 
Finally, I signed up with Walkers’ World to do the walk at Santiago de Compostela this October and I am looking forward to my next annual pilgrimage.

Daily Affirmation

On a lighter side of life, I found this in FaceBook.  Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. 
 
One Minute Meditation
“What shall I do to love my neighbor?”
“Stop hating yourself.”
The disciple pondered those words long and seriously and came back to say, “But I love myself too much, for I am selfish and self-centered. How do I get rid of that?”
“Be friendly to yourself and your self will be contented and it will set you free to love your neighbor.”
                                                     Anthony de Mello, S.J.
 
MORSEL:
The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. And only she who listens can speak. — Dag Hammarskjold

Forgiveness in Action – March Monthly Peace

The monthly Peace Challenge for the month of  March 2013 is about Marching Towards Forgiveness. 
Forgiveness is just a not a word for me.  I can only forgive through action.  I can think about it, I can meditate about, I can wish about it; none of these would work for me.  I can only show it.  And here is a great story about forgiveness. 
As John Paul II took the hand of his would-be-assassin, he showed us that a Christian must forgive his enemies, even when they do not want forgiveness. 
One of the bullets that struck John Paul II remains in the crown of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal. 
 
By Brother Randall J. Meissen, LC
4/27/2011 JohnPaulMoments.com (johnpaulmoments.com) 
ROME, Italy (John Paul Moments) – On December 27, 1983, as John Paul II sat in a bare, whitewashed jail cell of Rome’s Rebibbia prison, he was unprepared for the question voiced by an unshaven prisoner to his side, “So why aren’t you dead?”  
Why aren’t you dead? 
Death had appeared all but certain to bystanders when three bullets fired by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca tore through the pope’s flesh on May 13, 1981, staining the pope’s white cassock with deathly scarlet. 
Ali Agca was a professional assassin, he had aimed at close range, and he had aimed well.  But somehow, the bullets missed lethal targets, one grazing the pope’s right elbow, and another deflecting off his left index finger before passing through his abdomen, a fraction of an inch from a major artery.  
By John Paul II’s assessment, “It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path,” and permitted that “the dying Pope. stopped on the threshold of death.”  The assassination attempt had taken place on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and the pope had no doubt that his survival was due to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  
In gratitude, the Pope gave one of the deadly bullets to the bishop in charge of the shrine at Fatima, Portugal.  To this day, that bullet remains in the crown of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary housed at that shrine. 
However, as John Paul II sat at the side of his would-be-assassin, Ali Agca expressed fears that this Lady of Fatima might come after him next.  The pope stated the contrary; he himself had come to forgive, not to harm.  But Ali Agca did not ask for forgiveness.  
Thus, as the pope took the hand of the gunman, he showed us that a Christian must forgive his enemies, even when they do not want forgiveness.
 
Source: Catholic.Org

Plant a Seed in My Heart (28)

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This gallery contains 1 photo.

This room is so inviting.  Not a soul, lucky me.  As I walk along the hallway, the altar is simply plain and a symbol of Christianity hangs on the wall.  Crucified Jesus Christ.  Standing in front of the altar, on my … Continue reading

Listen with our heart (29)

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This gallery contains 1 photo.

Back to Espace Bernadette.  Once we settled, Good Sister escorted us to Bernadette’s bedroom.  You know the room that I requested that I did not get.  The room is now converted into a chapel.  Subsequently, we followed the footsteps of Bernadette … Continue reading

Silent Retreat – Mandala

What:           Create a Mandala
Where:         Convent of the Cenacle Sisters
When:           May 27, 1995
Who:             Age 19 and over
Why:             Reflect on your Mandala 
Prerequisites: Silent and prayerful heart 
Provided:
  •        Guided prayer and meditation
  •        Round piece of board
  •        Old magazines
  •        Scissors
  •        Glue
 Procedure:
  •        Start with prayer
  •        Listen with your heart
  •        Use active imagination
  •        Quiet your mind for 10 minutes
  •        Collect magazines
  •        Quietly cut up any pictures from the magazine
  •        Glue the pictures on the round piece of board
  •        Remain quiet when you are finished
  •        End with a prayer
Wheel of Life: Mandala (Man and His Symbols: Carl Jung) 
Wheel of Life

Wheel of Life

“For an idea to take root,
Turn good intention into purposeful action
Only then will the idea grow and take on a life of its own” 

This is in response to Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge: Image vs Text

Never Nevers Land (33)

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On the road again; our destination Espace Bernadette in Nevers, France.  Espace Bernadette is the place where the good priest Father Dominique sent Bernadette to protect her from the maddening crowd.  She remained here for the rest of her life. … Continue reading

Gotta have heart (34)

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The next destinations after Lourdes were Ars and Paray Le Monial.   It was a beautiful drive.  We were back to normal, no feud amongst the pilgrims and singing in the bus as if we were school children.  First stop was … Continue reading

Category: Adult Fiction (36)

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All DVDs of the Song of Bernadette were on loan at the library.  That’s interesting, most of the time they are sitting on the shelf.  It must be due to the season of Lent.  That’s good then that people are … Continue reading

The Joke Is Oink Me (37)

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Temptation was all over me.  I don’t understand at all.  Meatless Wednesday and Friday should have gone like a cinch.  But I was craving for bacon.  What an interesting two days of observing abstinence.  I hardly eat meat but somehow … Continue reading

Friday Meditation (38)

The Master held that no words were bad if they were used in an right context. When he was told that one of his disciples was given to swearing, he remarked, “Profanity has been known to offer spiritual relief denied to prayer.” — Anthony de Mello, SJ 
MORSEL:   If you judge people, you have no time to love them.  —  Mother Teresa 
BONUS MORSEL:  Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.     — Frank Outlaw 
Desert Wisdom  Nouwen/Nomura

Desert Wisdom Nouwen/Nomura

One Love, One Heart

On the way home last night, I went to Church for Lenten blessing.  It’s just like Christmas on Ash Wednesday.  It was a crowded service.  I can only assume we came to Church to be redeemed and be forgiven for all the “sins” we have committed in our thoughts, words and deeds. 
I went to be reminded that I am a mere mortal being, impermanent on this Earth and to receive the sign on my forehead.  This sign is given by the Priest.  He dipped his thumb in an ash, made a sign of the cross on my forehead and told me “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  This line is derived from the story of how God made Adam, from a pile of dirt. Then I went home with a dirt mark while people stare at me with puzzled look.  And I just smiled. 
Meditating while walking and what came up to mind is the heart.  Is the heart the most important part of the body?  How come I have only one heart?  I have two hands, feet, eyes, lungs, ears; a pair of lungs, left and right hemisphere of the brain, etc.  It must be valentines, I brush off my thoughts. 
It’s a good thing that they came up with Valentine’s Day to distract people from the history of Valentine.  Personally, it’s my father’s death anniversary.  We will have a Celebration of Life but I won’t be able to make it due to work obligations.  I know, it’s only once a year.  Father will understand.  I do keep him in my prayers. 
My offering to you for Valentines is this heart: 
St. Francis of Assis

St. Francis of Assisi

Peace be with you.  Seeker

A Song, A Book, My Name

Funny (not funny ha-ha) asking me that question.  I just finished watching the DVD of Pilgrim’s Progress: Journey to Heaven.  It’s a modern adaptation of John Bunyan’s beloved classic tale. 
Pilgrim’s song is a song that is constantly humming in my head.  I grew up with this song and I love the lyrics.  Pilgrim Progress is a required reading at school, a literally tale written by John Bunyan when he was imprisoned.   Perpetua is my second name. 
I found the lyrics after coming from a pilgrimage at All Roads Lead Home.

 Pilgrim’s song

Man is lonely by birth.
Man is only a pilgrim on earth.
Born to be king, time is but a temporary thing,
only on loan while on earth.

Like the wind in the tree,
man has been rather reckless and free.
Thrown far and wide, we long to settle down beside
the stream flowing through eternity.

Like the grass on the lawn,
we will pass by the way and be gone.
A lesson to learn, we walk but once there’s no return.
Time is always moving on.

Man is longing for One,
for a song and a place in the sun,
a home up above where ev’ry day is lived in love, for
rest when the journey is done.

 

A reminder that I am pushing the Pause Button in Daily Prompt as mentioned in my post Forty Days and Forty Nights.  Until then, care take of your sweet self.

Thank you for asking Daily Prompt All About Me.
 
Pax Tecum.  Perpetua

Tell me and I will tell you mine.

A week from now, Wednesday, February 13, 2013, is the beginning of abstaining from what we like most for 40 days and 40 nights. 
When I ask the kids what they will give up, they normally choose chocolate, candy, pop, television, Facebook (right!), etc. 
On a higher scale, Patricia from Called by Joy provided this list to give us other ideas. 
Give up worry – trust Divine Providence
Give up discouragement – be full of hope
Give up bitterness – turn to forgiveness
Give up complaining – focus on gratitude
Give up pessimism – become an optimist
Give up harsh judgments – think kind thoughts
Give up hatred – return good for evil
Give up negativism – be positive
Give up anger – be more patient
Give up pettiness – become mature
Give up gloom – enjoy the beauty that is all around you
Give up jealousy – pray for trust
Give up gossiping – control your tongue
Give up sin – turn to virtue
Give up giving up – hang in there 
Let’s pretend for the sake of this prompt, more importantly,  for the sake of Daily Peace, what will you give up?  Tell me and I will you mine.
Hang in There

Hang in There

This is in response to Daily Prompt: Open ending.  Come and join us, it’s fun.

Forty Days and Forty Nights

I am preparing myself for Fat Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013.  After that, it will be 40 days and 40 nights of Lenten season in the Christian world. 
During this period, I will  focus on Pilgrim’s Progress; series of short stories of  my experience with a spiritual twist.  A period of cogitation, contemplation and vegetation; not necessarily in this order.  And of course, there will be humour.  For my God has a sense of humour.  He created me! 
Daily Prompt has to be sacrificed in order for me to pay attention to my spiritual needs. I am pressing the Pause Button.  Should these stories touch a few nerves or spark your divinity, the responsibility is yours on how to act on it. 
I will miss the daily fun and mostly I will miss the interaction with you as a community.  At any rate, there is a time for everything.  With the help of Patricia of day of grace, I feel peaceful about this decision.  This is a I calling, a prompting mentioned in my About page. 
This time is God’s time.  
With love and prayers, Perpetua aka seeker. 
 
One Minute Meditation:
The Master gave his teaching in parables and stories, which his disciples listened to with pleasure and occasional frustration, for they longed for something deeper. The Master was unmoved.  To all their objections he would say, “You have yet to understand, my dears, that the shortest distance between a human being and Truth is a story.”  Another time he said, “Do not despise the story.  A lost gold coin is found by means of a penny candle; the deepest truth is found by means of a simple story.” – Anthony de Mello, SJ 
MORSEL: 
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. – St. Augustine of Hippo
 
 
 

A Solution or A Problem

In a crisis, I ask myself, am I a solution or a problem?  If I am a problem, I remove myself.  If I am a solution, I’m in. 
For my sweet niece, Lucy, she has the best answer in her Face Book.  Too smart for a tender age, full of wisdom for a young mind.  I will follow a child. 
Posted in Lucy's Face Book

Posted in Lucy’s Face Book

 As for my faith, I will always say this prayer:
 
Lord, grant me
the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change
the courage to change the things that I can
the wisdom to know the difference
 
And I will be guided by the Holy Spirit.
This is in response to Daily Prompt: In Crisis.  Come and join us.
 
 

DP: Gimme – Traditionally Speaking

Christmas in the Philippines is one thing I miss here in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  It is the happiest and most awaited celebration. The Philippines is so rich with traditions.  The Christmas lanterns, caroling, fireworks will start in mid-December.  Noche Buena is what we call it meaning Christmas Eve. 
As a child, it’s hard to be patient; can’t wait for Christmas and it just doesn’t come fast enough. 
The focus is attending midnight mass, a birthday celebration for Baby Jesus.  After this, we go home and have a feast.  I mean the feast of traditional Filipino food.  The gather is circled around my family and anybody who does not have a family to celebrate with.  This is the real meaning of Christmas for me.
There is no Christmas tree, and we do not believe in Santa Clause.  What we believe is the Three Kings.  Three Kings arrive on the first Sunday of January.  That’s the time we received gifts in our family.  This was fun.  What we did at the eve of Three Kings, we lined up our shoes on the stairs, one pair only for each sibling.  When we woke up, run down the stairs, our shoes were filed with candies.  We really believed that Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar (names of the three Kings) came bearing gifts.  Gifts of candies not Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold.   This is how we end our Christmas.  It’s the longest Christmas celebration ever. 
Three Kings

Three Kings

 “Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? What was it?”

 Being with my family, visiting relatives and god parents to pay respect and ask for their blessings are the best gift I received.  I couldn’t ask for more.  No toys.  Sometimes, I received money but it wasn’t important for me.  What was important is we give one another our love and faith-based on the birth of Infant Jesus, Mother Mary and Joseph.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISEd by LIGHT

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Sunrise!  It’s always a delightful surprise to see the sun rises.  No two are alike.  The sunrise was taken successively with just a simple borrowed dilapidated Kodak camera from my sister.  I don’t own a camera but I received a free gift of memory card from Fuji.

The 2011 pilgrimage was memorable in a sense that I went on top of Mt. Sinai.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  In order for us to be on time before the sun rises, we have to start climbing in the dark at 1 a.m.  A local Egyptian boy guided our group.  I took the easy way up, rode a camel part way and climbed at least 1000 steps up to reach the summit.Once reaching the summit, we waited for a while.

It was dark and cold.  I could hear a lot of murmur, whisper, laughter, prayer.  Our eyes were fixated on the black horizon in order not to miss the first glimmer of light.  And then, the sun quietly made its presence known.

 With a song and a prayer in my heart, I hummed this melody to my God:
Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

DP: Forever Young – I happen to enjoy aging.

If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water? 
IF, the BIG IF, let’s play along with this idea, shall we?  
Researching the history behind the Fountain of Youth at Wikipedia , this water has a restorative power; it will restore me back to my youth days. 
Do I want to go back to my youthful days and have to go through the growing pains again? I definitely will forgo drinking the water.  Why?  I happen to enjoy aging.  It is fascinating how the skin losses its elasticity, hair color turns into an arctic white, being long in a tooth or losing a tooth or more.  Elders have so much experience in life, for they have gone through it and lived to tell tales. Listening to their stories is so enthralling. So, again, the answer is a resounding NO. 
Looking back at my youthful year of 16, I was sweet and never been kissed. Being youthful also means my mind will never mature, none the wiser, no wisdom at all.  Being young, there can be a negative connotation behind it, because I was up to no good. I must say I was still climbing trees at that age.  I remember my Mother sent someone to get me down the tree because I had suitors waiting at home. Yuk, men, I’d rather climb trees.  I reluctantly went home to face those Peter Pans. 
I’d rather grow old, have a youthful mind and remember.  It’s better to have a good memory and remember those days I thought would never end. (click to play the song). 
Faith is better than drinking the fountain of youth. And in my faith, I’d rather drink the Water of Life. 
One Minute Meditation:
“How shall I attain Eternal Life?”
 “Eternal Life is now.  Come into the present.”
 “But I am in the present now, am I not?”
 “No.”
 “Why not?”
 “Because you haven’t dropped your past.”
 “Why should I drop my past?  Not all of it is bad.”
 “The past is to be dropped not because it is bad but because it is dead.” | Anthony de Mello, SJ
 
MORSEL:   Every man is his own ancestor, and every man is his own heir. He devises his own future, and he inherits his own past. – Frederick Henry Hedge (1805-1890)

DP: Childhood Revisited – Total Recall of the day’s gone by – not goodbye.

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.  

Total Recall of the day’s gone by – not goodbye.

There’s a song in my head: “Those were the days my friend, we thought we’ve never end, we’d sing and dance forever and day.”  Plenty of playing, praising and singing. Growing up in a family of 13, I am number 10, it takes its toll.  I have nine siblings to be obeyed and be respected because they are older than me; three younger brothers to play with and dominate them.  My turn, hah!  Aside from uncles, aunties, and cousins, we are a multitude of the stars.  As God said, “Go and build me a nation,” we did.  Actually, that’s just the way life was in the Philippines.  The more the merrier and plenty of love to give, receive and share.  Not like that “Godfather” movie, you’ll end up with a horse on your bed. Yikes.

The word to describe today’s post is hypermnesia \hye-perm-NEE-zhee-uh\

Noun: abnormally vivid or complete memory or recall of the past by according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/

I know it’s better to remember good times, good times but this one particular memory brought awareness in my little brain.  My sisters love to make collages, and they post them on the wall just above the bed we all share. This is one of the pictures.

Feed the Children, please

Feed the Children, please

This image thought me so much, and I did not learn this from kindergarten school.  From this collage, I learned to love and compassion as I grow up instilling in my heart and soul that we all have to help the children for we were children once before.

The greatest teacher for me, in my background, is Jesus Christ.  Let the little children come to me.  Pax Tecum,  Seeker.

DP: Obituary of Lady Perpetua Siglos

Daily Prompt: In Loving Memory

Write your obituary. 

Our Lady Perpetua Siglos is Called by Joy.  Died happily doing what she wants to do.  Lived life to the fullest.  Rest in Peace.  Rest is boring.  In heaven, there is no rest but a continuous celebration of life with God.  We the living that are left behind are jealous of Lady’s leaving the earth.  We will miss her infectious determination.  A sister to the Yaya Sisterhood, an honorary member of the KofC for her brothers, constant gardener, lover of all beings, embraces the whole of mankind unconditionally.    Auntie Mame to her nieces, nephews and younger generations.

A pilgrim on this earth.

Come and join us at Our Lady of Mercy Parish Church.  In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the David Suzuki Foundation.  Burial at Forest Lawn Garden followed by dinner, dancing and devotion.  Come and Join us.

Lord of the Dance (song)