God’s Call to Spiritual Freedom

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God’s Call to Spiritual Freedom

December 28, 2018. Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents and I reflect on the baby boys who were cruelly murdered by the paranoid King Herod.

And as I read today’s Gospel, I see how Joseph’s obedience to the message from an angel saved the infant Jesus from being killed. Despite all the difficulties, Joseph protected the Holy Family by fleeing to Egypt.

As I reflect on the events, I see a paradox. I recall how God – through Moses – delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, most especially with the dramatic Red Sea phenomenon how the waters divided in order for the Israelites to cross and how the Egyptian soldiers were swallowed by the sea.

The paradox I see: Joseph bringing back the Holy Family to Egypt. The angel’s message he received in his dream was to rise, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt and stay there for an indefinite period of time. And Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.

If I were Joseph, it could have been unthinkable for me to receive the angel’s message with the instructions to flee to Egypt, a place associated with slavery.

But all I can see in Joseph was his complete obedience to God from the time he accepted Mary to be his wife despite her being already pregnant. I recall how he wanted to leave Mary but changed his mind when he receivedthe message of the angel in his dream. I can only surmise this: Joseph trusts that to be with God is the greatest freedom, no matter where he goes.

God calls us out of the personal “Egypt” we tend to create for ourselves. And in order to follow Him into freedom, we must be completely honest with ourselves and with God. But as we pursue our path leading us to our spiritual freedom, we meet “Herod” along the way. Herod is an awful person. Yet there is something awful in us when we choose to do things we are not supposed to be doing — actions and behavior that make our life miserable and eventually become the source of our self-inflicted pains. Herod killed the innocents. And we kill our own innocence, as well as the innocence of others, by our pride, selfishness, envy, and sins of the flesh. Like Herod., we sometimes act as if we are “great”; we make ourselves kings and behave like little arrogant and rude gods.

But we only need to be like Joseph — how he obeys and trusts God — in order that we can “get out of our own created Egypt” and hear and respond to God’s call to spiritual freedom.

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Silence is what Christmas is really all about

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Silence is what Christmas is really all about

I celebrated Christmas Day yesterday very quietly and meaningfully felt the stillness within me. These moments of stillness were moments of perfect food, feeding some place inside of me that only silence could nourish.

I exprienced the sweetness of silence filling my body and fulfilling a part of my soul that was longing for God’s birth in my heart, the birth of simple peace and profound joy in my heart.

During those moments of stillness, I could feel a kind of silence that washed and cleansed my thoughts and feelings, guiding me to a place inside of inner silence deep within me. I felt my entire being was sheltered to something beyond words and feelings. It was indeed a very beautiful experience to give silence all of my awareness. I experienced the joy of no thought, simply be, and receive what comes out of the stillness.

In these moments of stillness during Christmas Eve, when I freed myself from any thoughts and reflections, I gave myself the gift of embracing the newborn Baby Jesus in the silence of my heart.

Silence reminded me of being more and doing less, to embrace this quiet moments in prayerful silence instead of making myself busy sending & replying Christmas greetings. I was quiet on Christmas Eve and allowed my awareness to fall into the brilliant unknown of the night. Silence has a presence and is a gift for everyone. Sharing silence with those who remembered me this Christmas is sharing the true gift of the season. The gift of silence is what Christmas is really all about.

For the past few days, I received Christmas greetings here in FB and through Messenger. On the eve of Christmas and during the Christmas Day Mass I attended, I offered a Christmas Prayer in silence for all of you . Thank you for the gift of understanding when I failed to reply to your greeting or did not notice your call because my mobile phones were keptsilent mode. THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF PRAYERFUL SILENCE.

Today – a day after Christmas Day, I am sharing with you the joy of God’s embrace and I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas!

May God grant the fulfillment of the longings of your heart. May the Infant Jesus born on Christmas Day always fill your heart with His love and your mind with His wisdom that His love and mercy will radiate to others through you. May His countenance shine upon you and give you peace.

You are kept in my prayers every day. Godspeed and may you have a truly bountiful and grace-laden 2019 and onward!

2019: A Brief Note to Myself (2 January 2019)

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2019:  A Brief Note to Myself  (2 January 2019)

In a month’s time, I shall be one year less than the senior age and I’d like to make this brief note to myself.

Happiness is found through the development of self, not in chasing material things. Stress, heart ache, and difficult circumstances are a part of life and the only thing that will keep me happy is a strong mind, which can only be built through lifestyle changes.

I must become consciously aware that my life, above all else, is being shaped by my choices… and not making a choice is making a choice. I must take responsibility for this.

Unconscious choices result in unconscious creation and the illusion of chaos. But conscious choices, on the other hand, will begin to result in conscious creation.

This is not to say that circumstances or the environment I am born into are completely powerless, because that is delusional talk. How I respond to circumstances though, is ultimately what will determine them.

I am the one who choose how I respond to life, no one else. It might be difficult, it might be hard, but I am the one who choose how I respond to the difficulties of life.

And by choosing to fight through my pain, by choosing to find a way to overcome my obstacles, I am teaching myself to get better at dealing with it and this is where strength and character truly come from.

Rebelliousness and Forgiveness

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When we desire to live an orderly and righteous life, we live a life guided by norms and rules. When we aspire to be a relevant and functional member of an organization, we uphold the integrity of our work by keeping close to our hearts quality procedures that raise our level of significance and fulfillment.

But when standards and quality procedures get lost from our sight, we get engrossed with so many activities that divert us from what we ought to be doing. We become active but not productive. We become unaware of the internal and external issues that affect the organization. Thus, we fail to address the risks that may affect the organization. This results to major, as well as minor non-conformities, that need immediate correction and corrective action.

How we respond to these non-conformities will reveal something in us. When accept them outright and commit to correct them, we manifest our deep concern to make our organization a better workplace where we are nurtured to become truly effective and relevant.

But when we seek explanations to justify our shortcomings, we turn back from standards and quality procedures. We insist on our own way of doing things. We become critical against what we failed to observe. Emotion prevail over reason. The tendency to be rebellious is strong.

Rebelliousness is simply disregarding what we are expected to observe and follow not only in the workplace but even in our own private lives. Rebelliousness is ignoring, if not defying, those norms and standards. Rebelliousness is looking for somebody or something to blame for what should not have happened. When we fail to curb our rebelliousness, we find ourselves in more complicated situations that cause us serious predicaments. We become helpless victims of our own neglect and suffer from our own self-inflicted pains. We find ourselves trapped in miserable situations.

In order to set ourselves free, we only need a reasonable amount of humility and the courage to forgive ourselves and others. But we cannot forgive on our strength, alone. It is beyond our natural abilities to let go of the offenses that have wounded us so deeply. What makes it possible is the great outpouring of divine mercy into our hearts. God’s forgiveness has the effect of transforming us more and more into His likeness. As we ourselves are forgiven, we receive the grace to do likewise. We can be like God in dealing with our own selves and much more so with others. When we refuse to forgive, we close our hearts to God’s grace and forgiveness.

What We Consume, Consumes Us Afterward

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What We Consume, Consumes Us Afterward

Whatever we consume will consume us afterward. When we consume so much self-entitlement, we shall afterward be consumed by greed and corruption. When we consume anger, we shall after be consumed by hatred and violence.

On the other hand, when we consume generosity and care, we shall afterward be consumed by love, mercy, and compassion. When we consume righteousness and fairness, we shall afterward be consumed by truth and justice.

In the event we are being consumed by what we consumed, we will be trapped in such situation and it becomes our way of life. We find no problem when we are being consumed by desirable traits – like love, mercy, compassion, truth and justice. We live a life of significance and fulfillment.

But when we are being consumed by undesirable traits – like greed, corruption, hatred, and violence – we find ourselves trapped in worst and miserable situations in our lives. We need God to set us free from this kind of trap.

We may not be able to reconstruct our dark past but the future can be promising when we consume repentance and humility and we shall afterward be consumed by forgiveness and reconciliation. We only have to consume huge amount of time praying and meditating and we shall afterward be consumed by our quiet moments with God.

Innocence in the Eyes of a Child

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Innocence in the Eyes of a Child

Have you ever looked…really looked….. into the eyes of a child? What do you see?

I remember one  time I was attending a Sunday Mass and there was a young child with her mother at the pew in front of me. While her mother was facing the altar, this child was facing to me …. just staring at me with a casual smile. Just staring.  I smiled and opened my iPhone for the scriptural readings, but noticed, the child was still staring.

I had been going through some issues related to work at the time and was feeling so disappointed, but then I  felt this comforting feeling when I looked into the eyes  of that child. I thought to myself, – Look at the innocence. Look at the lack of fear this child is displaying while she looks at someone she knows nothing about – Then it hit me. Could it be as if the Lord were saying,

“Slow down, and look at the simple beauty of what I give you in life”.  The necessary things you need in life, the beauty of my creation —the unconditional love in this child’s eyes with a smile for someone she does not know.”

I do believe God speaks to us in sometimes subtle ways. Messages from Him come in all kinds and sizes of packages. Sometimes we get so caught up in our life’s issues. We dwell on the bad issues for so long, we don’t think to just “look, into the eyes of a child”. I don’t know about you, but there’s something wonderfully incomprehensible about the innocence of children. They take the stress out of our daily hectic lifestyles and somehow are able to bring us back down to simplicity…… in their innocence, there’s a message, from them maybe unintentionally and maybe intentionally from God.

Jesus stressed the importance of these children and their significance in all of our lives;

“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the  kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 9:14)

I believe, that through the innocence of children, there is truly something we can learn. Something children do all the time without even thinking about it.  Something Jesus stressed throughout His ministry;

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

So, the next time life’s issues put me down, when I think things just can’t get any worse, when I feel all hope is lost………. I take the message I believe I was given that day. I take a good long look……………….. into the eyes of a child.

Then remember, as the Psalmist put it;

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

(Psalm 46:10)

Fulfilling My Prophetic Mission

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For almost a decade now, I have always captured my thoughts during my quiet moments with God, blogged and post them here. It’s my creative way of sharing them with others. I know many read them, though just a few “like” them But it doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t even matter to me if something happens. The most important thing for me is I have dignified my thoughts and aspirations, I have fulfilled my “prophetic mission”.

As ever, I never hesitate to stand and express my thoughts no matter how unpopular they may be if I believe they are worth sharing. Otherwise, I hold myself accountable for the consequences of not speaking out what others should hear.

Some time in the past, I came across withh this quote from Albert Einstein: “Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice, I can help in the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.”