Puso

“Sawi ka ba sa pag-ibig?”

“Naranasan mo rin bang ma-in love?”

Ito ang ilan lamang na laging itinatanong sa akin bilang isang seminaristang patuloy na tumutugon sa Banal na Tawag.

Bumalik sa aking ala-ala ang mga katanungang ito dahil Valentine’s Day na naman. Napaka secular at commercialize ng pagdiriwang na ito. Punung-puno na naman ang mga restaurants, malls, at iba pa. Madami rin ang bumili ng bulalak gaya ng roses para ibigay sa kasintahan o sa minamahal. Sa mga paraang ito alam nilang maipaparamdam nila ang kanilang tunay na pagmamahal sa kanilang minamahal.

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Kasabay ng masayang pagdiriwang ng mga may kabiyak ngayon, ang realidad ay marami rin ang nangungulila dahil hanggang ngayon daw ay di pa rin nila nasusumpungan ang kanilang kabiyak. SMV – Samahan ng mga Malalamig ang Valentines.

Ngayong araw na ito, bilang isang seminarista, hinahamon ako na tignan ng mas malalim ang pangako kong kalinisan (vow of chastity) na aking isinasabuhay sa aking buhay relihiyosos.  Na maglalaan ng buhay sa Diyos, hindi mag aasawa, mamumuhay ng mag isa upang ang lahat ay makasama, hindi eklusibo sa isa.  At ang puso ay mahubog katulad ng puso ni Jesus, sa Kanyang Banal na Puso.

Kapapanuod ko lang ng pelikulang Bride for Rent, sa dulo ng pelikulang ito, ipinakita ang tunay na ganda ng bokasyon ng pag aasawa.  Kung saan ang mga mag asawa ay nagbahagi ng kanilang mga karanasan, hanggang sa pinakahuling nagbahagi ay isang ginang katabi niya ang kanyang mister na maysakit ng Alzheimer’s disease.  Sa kalagitnaan ng interview, nagtanong ang kanyang mister: “Sino ka?” sumagot naman ang ginang ng: “I love you” ay hinagkan siya ng kanyang mister. Dahil sa mga salitang I love you, nakikilala at  nagkakaruon ang mister ng seguridad sa kanyang misis kahit na wala na siyang maalala.

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Ang pagbibigay ng pagmamahal ay hindi natatapos sa araw na ito, bagkus, ito ay pang araw araw nating panata, hindi lamang sa mga taong mahal natin, iyong mga taong tanggap tayo, pati na rin sa taong napakahirap tanggapin at mahalin.

Sa araw na ito, alam kong lahat ay masaya, dahil alam kong ang Diyos ay pag-ibig. Na Siyang nagpapairal sa atin upang tayo ay patuloy na umibig. God is our Special Someone, when we have no one.

FROM AFAR

I was still a college student then when I started to become fascinated with the Sta. Cruz Church. From my long break in class, I was exploring the nearby places in FEU (the University where I graduated) when I passed by the busy area of Sta.Cruz. As I look around, my attention was then caught by this old Spanish-built church. I was captivated by its exquisite appeal. At that moment, I felt differently as I headed through the door. Inside, I appreciate the inviting silence and the solemnity of the place, making me want to pray to the Blessed Sacrament, so as everyone else around me who are seated in that church.

As I watched from afar, I’ve observed the religious congregation occurring at that time. From the distance, I was so mystified with the way they pray and chant the psalms. Never did I know that I’ll be part of their evening prayer and that all happened, on that very momentous day.

May 4, 2012 – The day when I’ve become a member of this community. The fascination, bewildering, and mystifying became clear and fully apprehended. For a year, I was given a chance to witness what is stated in our Rule of Life # 41 that states “We will make our parishes into authentic communities shaped by the Eucharist, source and center of their life. They shall be: places of proclamation and the living of the gospel, places of prayer, Eucharistic adoration and festive celebration, places of sharing and fellowship, places of freedom and human development. United among themselves, our religious engaged in parish ministry shall collaborate in a special way with committed lay people.”

For a year, I was given a chance to experience the kind of life that I will embrace in the future as a Sacramentino Religious. My everyday experiences shaped and made me understand the following realizations:

First, In the formation house, I thought I am just nobody, limited in my knowledge and talents as compared to others. But then, I was given a chance to bring out the best of my potentials through the assignments entrusted by the Superior and Parish Priest to me. I was then appointed to be a Song leader in every morning mass, Intoner in every Lauds and Vespers, giving reflections, talks, recollections and formation in front of many people, and acting assistant treasurer of the community. These assignments somehow became so very easy for me, since I was a former accounting assistant in RCBC and a teacher by profession before I entered seminary. As I fulfill my devotion, there are times when I feel so elated, as I hear words of compliments from the parishioners such as “Brother, ang ganda ng boses mo…” “nakaka inspire naman ang talk mo…” “Br. Israel, ang galing galing mo naman…”, making me want to serve more with all the innate talents that God has bestowed on me, for I know that all these gifts has to be shared with them for me to inspire and touch their lives, and to eventually lead them to live a religious kind of life. Although at some point, I was also questioning myself if I am really that gifted because I hardly believe that I have such talents!

Second, I have this mantra everyday to “Always do my best!” that drives me to face all the works ahead of me with full of enthusiasm. I am always striving to be the best in every tasks entrusted to me. For me, to be consistently the best is the most important thing, but later did I know, that I was very wrong. I grew tired of always competing with myself, of always striving to be the best, because through that, I forgot to be good…to be a good individual; to be more compassionate; and to be more patient to myself and to others. From then on, I started to look life in a different perspective – that being the best has to yield positive outcome not only to myself, but for the common good of all.

Third, I also realized that the people of Sta. Cruz Parish are dynamic and unique. They will like you if you will always please them but they will hate you when you correct them in their wrong doings. I find it hard to cope with this principle and my desire to correct them only cause me troubles and pains. As a Sacramentino religious, I am very serious with my advocacy to rectify them because I care and love them. But I failed because there are some who are really not open for constructive criticisms. Through these conflicts, I grew wiser in dealing with them and that made me realize that no two people are alike in every aspect; that everyone has to be treated differently; and that’s why God created individuality is for us to be strong when one is weak; to be the positive when the other is negative; and to be white while the other is black; so in that way, we could learn to balance everything.

And lastly, I was so blessed to be assigned in this community because the religious members did not treat me only as a seminarian, but more so, as a mature religious. They gave me a chance to journey and to grow with them; they gave me a voice to express the love of God; they gave me eyes to see the beauty of vocation; and they gave me an ear to listen attentively to the voice of God. Being assigned in Sta. Cruz community became a chance for me to be a living witness of being a Sacramentino, a very Eucharistic person by joining them in everyday Eucharist, in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and in sharing my time with them in doing religious works.

My pastoral year exposure in Sta. Cruz community will forever be treasured in my heart. Those experiences I had, whether good or bad, are all worth remembering for those helped me become as religious as I am now. Those unclear pictures then on my head;  those confusion and mystifying, and those fascination and bewildering are now all gone. I have come to understand that the life I am embracing today and my life to be in the future is more on sacrificing and devotion, and the unselfish offering of my service to God and to others.

ST. JOSEPH, ADORER (St. Peter Julian Eymard, March 19,1865)

In profound adoration he [St. Joseph] united himself to the special grace of each one of the  events in the life of Jesus.  He adored our Lord in His hidden life and in His Passion and Death; he adored in advance the Eucharistic Christ in His tabernacles: there was nothing that our Lord could hide from Saint Joseph. Aside from the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph was the first and most perfect adorer of our Lord. 


How greatly the Word Incarnate was glorified by the adoration of Mary and Joseph as they atoned for the indifference and ingratitude of His creatures! 

    Saint Joseph joined with Mary in adoration and united himself to Christ, Whose heart surged with sentiments of adoration, love and praise for the Father and of charity for men. Saint Joseph’s adoration kept pace with every stage of our Lord’s life, drawing upon the grace, the spirit, and the virtue of each mystery.  In the Incarnation he adored the self-annihilation of the Son of God; at Bethlehem, the poverty; at Nazareth, the silence, the apparent weakness, the obedience, and all the other virtues of Christ.  He knew them well and he grasped clearly the reason why Christ practiced them—for the love and glory of His Heavenly Father. 


Faith, humility, purity, and love—these were the keynotes of his adoration.  No saint ever vibrated with a more ardent faith or bowed down in deeper humility; no angel ever glistened with brighter purity; and as for his love, neither saint nor angel ever has or ever will come within range of his burning charity which expressed itself so fully in devotedness. 


Because his faith was so strong, Joseph’s mind and heart bowed in perfect adoration. Imitate his faith as you kneel before the humble Christ annihilated in the Eucharist.  Pierce the veil which covers this furnace of love and adore the hidden God.  At the same time respect the veil of love and make the immolation of your mind and heart your most beautiful homage of faith. 


Among the graces which Jesus gave to His foster-father—and He flooded him with the graces attached to every one of His mysteries—is that special to an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament.  That is the one we must ask of St. Joseph.  Have confidence, strong confidence in him.  Take him as the patron and the model of your life of adoration. 


From close union with this holy adorer I shall learn to adore our Lord and to live in intimacy with Him.  I shall then be the Joseph of the Eucharist as he was the Joseph of Nazareth.

 (St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist, Founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament)

Si Hesus ang Dakilang Guro (pagpapalalim sa Marcos 1:21-28)

Bilang isang dating guro sa 3rd at 4thyr high school, madalas ay nabibigla ako kapag may mga lumalapit na mga batang nagpapasalamat sa mga bagay na naituro ko sa kanila. Minsan ay naiisip ko na lang na baka binobola lang ako ng mga batang ito. Ngunit kasabay ng pagkatuwa kong ito, ako ay natakot sa aking sarili dahil talagang yumayabang ako sa mga papuri’t pasasalamat nanatatanggap ko mula sa kanila. Ngunit hindi alam ng mga batang ito na ang biyayang makapagturo at makapagsalita sa harapan ng klase nila ay isang regalo mula sa Diyos. Siya ang tagapagbigay ng mga biyayang ito, ako’y isang instrumento lamang.
Tayo ngayon ay nasa ikaapat na Linggo sa kanraniwang panahon, litaw na litaw sa mga narinig nating mga pagbasa ang temang: Panoo nga ba maging isang Propeta?
Sa unang pagbasa na hango mula sa aklat ng Deuteronomio, narinig nating ipinahayag ni Moises sa mga tao na siya ang propetang pinili ng Diyos upangmapakinggan, sapagkat may darating pang mas dakilang propeta sa kanya.
Ano nga ba ang Propeta? Ang propeta ay isang taong pinili ng Diyos upang magdala ng Kanyang mensahe sa mga tao. Siya ang tagapagsalita ng Diyos. Isang kinatawang binigyan ng kapangyarihan. Sa mga salitang ito mababatid natin na mahalaga ang papel ng propeta. Sabi nga ni Mosises: “Siya ang inyong pakinggan.”
Sa Ebanghelyong ating narinig, ay natunghayan natin ang Propetang may kapangyarihan. Si Hesus, ang dakilang Propeta. Nuong nakaraang Linggong Ebanghelyo, si Hesus ay nagsimula sa Kanyang Gawain bilang Propeta ay nagpahayag na: “Sumapit na ang panahon, magbagumbuhay at maniwala sa Magandang Balita, lumapit na ang Kaharian ng Diyos.”
Ngunit ang Propetang si Hesus ay kakaiba sa lahat ng naging mga propeta. Siya ang pinakadakilang Propeta. Kapag Siya ay nagtuturo, ang Kanyang salita ang Kanyang ipinapahayag, dahil Siya ay Diyos, mismong sa bibig ng Diyos. Hindi katulad ng mga Eskriba at iba pang tagapagturo, dahil kapag sila’y nangangaral, ito ay hindi orihinal na salita o kaisipang sa kanila mismo nanggagaling. Kanila lamang itong binabasa mula sa Banal na Kasulatan, naiba ang may akda. Kapag si Hesus ang nagturo, hindi niya kailangang ipaliwanag ang Salitang Diyos. Dahil Siya mismo ang Salita ng Diyos. Siya mismo ang Diyos na nagtuturo at nagsasalita sa Kanya mismong Kapangyarihan.
Sa pagtuturo ni Hesus, ay ang Kanyang pananalita ay nauuwi sa pagsasagawa. Ang Kanyang mga Salita ay buhay. Sa Kanyang pagsasagawa ng mga kahangahangang mga bagay: ang pagpapagaling sa mga maysakit, pagbibigay buhay sa mga patay, at pagpapalayas ng demonyo sa mga katawang sinasapian nito. Sa ikalawang bahagi ng Ebanghelyo, narinig natin na pati ang demonyo ay nakilala ang Kanyang kapangyarihan at nasabi pang: “Alam ko kung sino Ka, ang Banal na Diyos!”
Ako ay wala na sa apat na sulok na silid aralan, ako ay tinawag ng Diyos na lumabas sa silid na ito upang pumasok sa mas malawak an silid aralan upang hindi malilimitahan sa apat na sulok ng silid aralang ito, bagkos mag makapag turo pa sa mas nakakarami sa mas malawak na silid aralng ng tunay na buhay. Ngunit kahit na anong pilit ko nuong gawin ang lahat ng aking makakaya sa pagtuturo sa harapan ng mga bata ay hindi ko mapapantayan at matularan ang Kanyang kapangyarihan sa pagtuturo. Ngunit naniniwala akong sa pagkakaruon natin ng malalim na ugnayan kay Hesus, maari nating masundan ang Kanyang daan at maari ding mamutawi sa ating mgasalita at gawa ang kapangyarihan ng Kanyang pagtuturo.
Nuong tayo ay bininyagan natanggap natin ang tatlong misyon ni Kristo: ang pagiging pari, hari at propeta. Ang pagiging propeta ay isang malaking hamon sa atin ngayon. Paano nga ba maging propeta? Maari tayong maging propeta sa pamamagitan ng Biblia, ngayong ating ipinagdiriwang ang Pambansang Linggo ng Biblia. Ang Biblia ay ating basahin, aralin, isabuhay at ibahagi ang mga aral na ito, sa ating sarili, pamilya at pamayanan.
Sa pagpapatuloy nawa ng ating pagdiriwang, atin nawang makita si Hesus sa Kanyang Banal na Eukaristiya – sa Kanyang kaningningan – ang kanyang kapangyarihang nagpapagaling, kapangyarihang nagpapalaya at kapangyarihang nagbibigay buhay. Amen.

What is love?

A curing hand of a doctor, a mother sitting next to her ailing child, a seminarian who left his career and family for his vocation, a teacher who patiently teaching his students, a hand tapping a shoulder of a discouraging friend, in the beauty of the nature, and in the silence of a perfect sunset at the manila bay.We have remembered and experienced these in some structures and recognize of that love which flows from them.

The creation of God to human (as being) is the supreme expression of His love for us.God created us in His own representation and likeness.God is love; therefore we as His creatures are love.God is unable of doing something that is not an appearance of love.God’s love is simply flourishing it oozes out of all his creation.Before God created us He loved us.This is the love completed by the necessary goodness, truth, beauty and perfection of the Holy Spirit, through the Father and through the Son.God wants us to recognize that the noblest thing He has ever made is humankind, and its absolute and wonderful example is the sacred soul of Jesus. From the ideal being, love became real being by God’s goodness through His Son who prepared to go for us – became Man.Lived with us until He offered His life for us for the sake of love.Jesus love for us was so strong that he chose to suffer quite purposely and with strong desire, continuing what He did with the humbleness and long-suffering. This love was so irresistible infinite, that if needs be He would died more than once for us – beyond human capability to calculate.We remember His love.

For many times I am thinking why I am existing. The answer is very simple – God loves me.He created us, for we are His joy and delight.This is a call for celebration in our everyday lives.He is the provider of that gift of love and our calling is to respond to that calling- to reciprocate. The first thing to love God is by knowing Him.You can genuinely understand and accept the person if you know Him.

As St. Anthony of Padua says: “ You should love yourself as created by God who love you first…love your life with the same life with the same love which God loves you, and the hate yourself for having hated what God loved in you and did for you…”

Before we can love God and others we have to love ourselves as God made us.If we do not love ourselves then we are denying the principle of creation.There is a saying that we cannot offer to others, what we do not have.If we love ourselves, it is very easy for us to spread out that love.God gave us an act of love and we must believe that we have the potential to share that same love.But comparing to the love of God and human has a big difference.Love of human being is finite, limited and unconditional. We love because others giving us that favor.Unlike God it is infinite, limitless and unconditional.

Unconditional love by definition has no boundaries.In this way, if unconditional love exists at all, then it has to be also possible whether the giver is supernatural being or a mere mortal.With unconditional love it is either possible or impossible.There is no in between.To put this into perspective, if higher power can infuse a person with unconditional love then wouldn’t the implication be this individual could then use the experience to spread the feeling? To do otherwise, would make the gift useless.Therefore, if the belief is that God or some other form of higher being provides unconditional love, it only makes logical sense that humans can both give and experience this form of love.The only way it wouldn’t be possible is that if all love, even that of newborn infants was also believe that we have the capacity to love ourselves as Jesus’ Sacred Heart.

Love is not just a logical being; it is an ideal and became a real being.As God’s creatures, we are patterned in His image and likeness.Unlike to other living things, God gave us the dignity, freedom, feelings and rational.In every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus challenges us – “Do this in memory of me…” not the ritual alone but remembering the way Jesus loved others perfectly.“We remember how You loved us to Your death. And still we celebrate for You are with us here.And we believe that we will see You when You come in Your glory, Lord. We remember, we celebrate, we believe…

Love God, our neighbors, and ourselves are the only things we can take when we leave this earthly life.At the end – we shall be remembered and judged on how we love…