Monday, October 9, 2006

Precious Blood

Today is a very memorable day because it is the first time that I was able to donate blood. I was always rejected, 5 times, as blood donor since philosophy because I was underweight then and if Im with the proper weight I have cold, running nose, cough etc. I thought before that maybe my blood is special that it is not allowed to be just given. Because every time its donation time, Im always rejected. I always say to myself that mine is a precious blood and it will be used for a very special purpose. Maybe that was not yet the time I said. Maybe I will shed my blood for a better glorification of God and his kingdom.

But today, it came. I was able to donate blood to Antonio Demetrio, a youth who from 4 years of age had a bone marrow cancer and a complication of the blood. He lives by the donated blood of another donor. 2 bags per month. He is now 16, very thin, short in stature because there was no more room for growth, the stomach is bulging because of stacks of blood… he often times vomits blood, his face has a blot of blood in the right cheek.

Well there goes my blood to that boy. He was my first recipient. I prayed hard that he would be healed from his disease, a total cure for him. I asked the Lord that my blood may serve as the medium for his healing. I have faith. I just hope it is also the will of God. If not, then the will of the Father will still be followed.

One thing I was happy about is that the bleeding ended at 3:00 P.M. as the TV started to air the 3:00 o'clock prayer. It became symbolic for me because it was the first time I gave blood and it was at the time also of the death of Christ. Somehow I associated my donation to the donation of Jesus for the salvation of the whole world, for the redemption of all. My donation was a donation for the salvation of Antonio that he may have life since they say that the blood we donate will sustain him 1 month more to live on earth. How I pray that my donation would be for the salvation of Antonio forever. I know how painful it is for him and for the family. His brother died already because of the same disease and they are just poor. I pray that the Lord will be merciful enough even just for this one single soul.

James was my companion who also donated

One thing that made me sad that day is that I saw a beggar lying, in a rugged clothes, in front of the Days Hotel. How I wish I was not a Novice and I was a postulant or anything else so that I can give him at least a small amount of money so that he can have something to eat at dinner time. but I am a novice and I don’t have money because we are not allowed to have one.

I realized that I may have the beautiful intention to help people, to help everyone but I can not help all. I am limited by space and time. This experience tells me that I am always limited and I don’t have all the powers in a click of my hand and there is what I want for others to have. It is enough that at least I have helped one concrete person. That would be something good for God already. Although of course it is still have to have the intention to help as many as I can, as the will of the Father allows.

Dearest Boss, I pray that I may continually see this realization in everyday life so that I may continually be open for your interventions and that more miracles may happen to others as you use me as an instrument. I pray also that Antonio be healed completely so that he may praise you and serve you in others too. I pray that the hearts of people may be touched so as they would give also what they have to others who are in dire need.

Thank you Lord for the life you gave me, for the blood you created within my body. I gave some of it for others today. I hope it may give life to others too just as Your Son, my Brother have done for me. May you be praised above the heavens. All powers comes from you. Though I am not a worthy Christian after all as the song goes, you continually inspire me to follow Jesus. Forgive me for my sins Lord. Amen.


Monday, October 2, 2006

Urban IX in the Making

From the start of the month, I began reading books of the saint - Padre Pio, S. Therese of Lisieux, Three Religious Rebels, St. Martin de Pores and before the end of the month, I started reading Biblical commentaries of Raymond Brown.

One of the most significant thing that come out from my readings is that I started to have the desire to be like them. I wanted to become a stigmatist. I imagined already the pain and the many hardships that it would bring me as well as the grace that it would also bring the people. But it never came. I was reminded that it is a gift that is only given by God to a few, chosen, good, worthy persons. I am not one of them so far. But somehow, I was able to insist on the celebration of the feast of Padre Pio by preparing the breviary proper for Padre Pio.

The main reason why I decided to read on St. Therese of the child Jesus because one early morning of the second week of the month, I woke up saying her name. I just came out from a dream and I brought it till I woke up. Puzzled of what it could mean, I took a book that talks about her and tried to read but I felt bored so I stopped reading it and returned it to the library after 3 days or 4. I could remember that I started with St. Therese before I entered the seminary. She inspired me. It was a coincidence even that at that same year in March, her relics were brought to the Philippines and I happen to help in the Diocese to decorate the float of the relic with the youth of the second vicariate and Ate Dehna. I recalled back that it was from her that I was inspired being a missionary since she is the patron of missions. Its nice to get back with the initial formations that I have had.

One early morning, 2 days after dreaming of St. Therese, I dreamt about being named URBAN, elevated to the seat of Peter. There was the ceremony, the mighter, the staff, the Vatican, the cardinals, the people, etc. I did not understand what it meant although I am used to dream about being in the Vatican, or with the cardinals or meeting the pope or seeing the popes with different faces, being a cardinal… but this one… why Urban. Why did it came out to be my name. I remember, the reason why attached the name John to my name and I am fond now to call myself John Luis is because one night also I dreamt that the Lord Jesus came and talked with me and he called me John. John the beloved was then my patron saint as I declared it in my journal in first year philosophy together with Peter as co patron so I also often use John Peter Marie Louis to name some of my paper works or writings. Marie came from Mary the mother of Jesus because of her frequent visits and manifestations on dreams and because of our family's devotion to the Our Lady of Sorrows where I personally carved, made a 7 foot image of the Sorrowful Mother. Now another name came out. This time given by people…URBAN. Why Urban? I ask myself, I read the encyclopedia and there it was that there were eight Urban popes that had ruled the church. Some were bad and some were notable ones. One reflection I got is that maybe I am exhibiting bad traits or bad attitudes and I have to be aware of it. Second maybe It is an affirmation to some good attitudes that I have already. Third is that maybe this was just brought about by my obsessions on wanting to carry on the life of the proclaimed saints. I may be desiring to be holy indeed and to be sanctified for the greater glory of God. Fourth, if ever this maybe a prophecy, a premonition of what I might become, I believe it is too impossible to happen because it seems too ambitious and to good to be true. Besides I want to become a missionary. But if ever it comes true… then I would go for a missionary way of leading the whole church. What ever that dream meant, though there are so many cases already all throughout my life that I dreamt like this and this is the first time with a name, I decided that from now on the name URBAN IX will be a special name for me, a significant one that I may use in the near futire. Who knows that may be the name of the next pope after Benedict XVI or much later.

By the last week of the month, I decided that I shall take down notes every morning every detail that I can remember on my dreams every early morning or at night as much as I can recall so that I may see patterns or messages specially on reapeated dreams, appearances of people, names, repetition of procession of Holy Week carozas specially the Nazareno and the Dolorosa.

Another thing that I saw this month is that despite my desire to do the same prayer devotions, penance, etc that the saints do, I felt afraid because of the consequences of it specially that which the devil can do. I am already experiencing a part of it. Some nights or early mornings, I can always feel that somebody is in the room watching over me, a scary figure, a feeling that makes all my hair stand. A feeling that a ghost or a spirit is lingering around and whispering bad casts. There are two things that can make the devil away. One is to say prayers - Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and sometimes the Creed over and over and say IN the Name of Jesus leave me alone! And the other thing is to succumb into doing something bad just to satisfy the desire of the devil and to never look forward to come again because he knows that I am bad. This coming of the bad spirit only happens when I am fully inspired with the works of God or when I just came from a heartwhelming prayer experience or I was inspired by a saint and desired to do the same that he did when he was alive. And also in times that I pray a lot for people's salvation or for healing of somebody. It seems that there's a force that is trying to contradict it or to stop it or to block it. I don’t know. From this, I realized that I am still weak in faith and still weak in many aspects because I am still afraid. But I also have decided that by October, as long as my novice master would allow me to pray at midnight, to have some mystic activities on my own, to have solitude and others things that can make me more holy or sanctified, I sahll do it. but if not, then I shall make use of what I can do and at the same time be obedient to what the superior says and what the community demands. But I would like that the community would not ever notice any of my extraordinary activities and my desire to serve God more fully.

This month, there were two main events that had happened. One is the coming of the General Superior and the second is the GODSTRUCK youth gathering that I suggested to the community to hold. The gathering was significant to me because I finally saw that I really have changed course in leadership. Finally I have implemented in myself the DELEGATION-EMPOWERMENT style of Leadership. The other thing that I realized is that I am more of the Formation than just mere activities or mere programs without purpose, objective and a flavor of formation. In the formation, it must carry the message of Christ, the Love of God for us and make sure that I am only a porter, a vehicle for God for him to be able to transform people. I offered that Godstruck to God. I was very happy that Fr. Dodong agreed and consecrated the youth to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Mass. I hope the priests, the missionaries would also find the importance of forming the youth and their would-be-role in the church of the future.

When Fr. Vic Sadaya came for his talk on community, he handed me a letter that touched deeply my heart. The letter came from one of the college seminarians. He was Heran de Sagun. It was the first time that he wrote such dramatic but true to life revelation of what is happening to his family. Because of my connection to their family, also knowing that they had been good to me, took me as their son also, gave me a shelter whenever I do vocation campaign in Camarines Sur, and maybe because also of my love for the people of God, I decided to contact Ate Marisa Doctor and instructed her to take 2000.00 from the 5000.00 worth of money that I have kept supposed to be for Mommy's fair and trip needs when she comes for my first profession so that she can also go around Cebu or wherever she wants to go. I asked ate Marisa to just give the 2000 to him and never to ask him for any payback. He can have the money without paying for it when they finally rose up from financial crisis. I just asked her to ask him to be good to others when time comes that somebody else would be in dire need. I also wrote Heran and tried to console him and advised not to leave the seminary just because of money and family financial crisis. I blessed him in the end as well as Ate Marissa for being good too. I just pray that there will be more generous people in the world. I hope I have touched their hearts and have set an example for them to do also to other people. I just prayed that my Mom would understand what I did.

In the apostolate, I realized that the people are amazed, decided to learn more about the Gospels, the scriptures but when challenges arises, they tend to leave. When they are struck in the heart, they decide to go back to the conventional, to the customary, to traditional which is baby in faith. They are afraid to embrace the grace and the real beauty of living a Christian life. its too hard to preach then in the sense that all have no such same ears for Christ. This I consider normal but if a missionary can do something about it… it would be better that it starts with challenging the people to live a good life, a life that is based on good values - Love and fear in God and that is all. From there follows everything.

For the community, I have had the chance to serve them well by having many time to catalogue the books in the library, cover them with plastic and arrange them in proper categories etc. I am happy of their affirmations and their critiques. Their suggestions were well welcomed so far.

I offer the whole month of September to the Lord who gave me life. A thanksgiving too to my grandparents Luis and Charing who had their 1st death anniversary with the celebration of the feast of Mater Dolorosa. Likewise I offer prayers for my Lolo Jesus who celebrated his birthday on the feast of the Archangels though he's dead already as well as my Lola Erning who often times comes also in the dreams.

May the Lord be always glorified in all things. May I be sanctified and live a holy life. May I live in grace for the Lord.



URBAN IX
(John Peter Marie Luis)
Feast of the Guardian Angels
Monthly Journal - September 2006


Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Beloved

It was a non-eating apostolate day. We've come from Mumbong, joined in their Bible Sharing & paraliturgy. It was almost 12 noon already when we left the area. We arrived at the Inawasan around past 12. We stayed there for a while. The wife of Kuya Iljin bought 2 pieces of bread and a bottle of Sprite for us. Then we were given tuba to drink. Later we visited some house and stayed at the elementary school and talk with some youth. Later on Phoebe came to thank me for that which I gave last Sunday. Her mother and family were happy too. I was happy to see her and her family happy. That was enough for me. I hope the message of Christ was well taken.

We went to the house of the former barangay captain and talk with his family then by 4 PM, john and I started to walk home. I was really really hungry and tired at that time but I saw too it that I never look as such. John and I were hoping for a car to pass by and let us hitch. But unfortunately there was no car. When we were at the edge of the cemented road, I told God, Lord I am really hungry. Please send someone that will give me food. John said its hopeless because maybe Ate Lorna is not in their house. When we reached Quinto Limbo, I greeted a lady "Maayong Hapon!" with a smile and she replied " Asa mo assigned? Kamo ba tong taga barryo?" and I nod my head. And she said "Kain muna kayo. Tara sa bahay." I was startled and dumbfounded. I remember what I have just prayed for.

Is this for real? I was asking my self then. Maybe I was just hallucinating I thougth. "Naulaw kami te" I told her. Never mined she said, just come. Sowe folled her to her house. She was the wife of the layminister. She prepared plenty of rice and a can of sardines, a bihon & bought 7up. I was so grateful. During the prayer I blessed them and prayed that the Lord may double what they have just gave us and have a life of bounty. I was deeply touched. Then her neighbor came too. She wanted us to eat in their house too. She said next Sunday we shuold come to her house. I forgot to get their names. God will bless them I know.

I remember that id been telling John this morning that "the Beloved will always be the Beloved" & so everything will always be provided to the beloved. Praise be to God.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Chosen




The first item in the outline of the article simply states that Moses was somebody else before his call and there was transformation after his call.(1) One point that I would like to focus for reflection here is “his going out.” It is very symbolical because it means actually getting out the present state in life. It is going out of “his own world.” It made me ask myself, what I have discovered outside my own world after I gave up my Engineering course just for the sake of having more time to give formation programs to the youth of my Diocese. 

Outside the privileged life of Moses, there was oddity and great difference but this had changed him. I believe that these experiences in this period of his life gave him the taste of a rough life that somehow gave him the strength to be strong later in his life in the desert with the people.
In this first part it was stated God did not tell him to intervene with the affairs of the people; Moses did it by himself, assuming his own leadership. At the turn of the story, when he was called by God, he was now then “sent” by the Lord, with the call to be a leader.[1] In these two comparisons, it clearly shows that there is a big difference between endeavors made by oneself and endeavors mandated or asked by God to be done.(2)
 
It is but a clear indication of human nature – to doubt, to question, to recede responsibility. Sometimes receding to accept responsibility may show meekness and humility but actually it is the other way around. It resounds our own, my own self too at times. As Conroy have said and I quote “Personal inadequacy is not a feeling limited to Moses. We all can have it at times to.”[2] Indeed it is good to know that a leader as great as Moses been like this too. But power is made perfect in weakness. God’s power can be blocked if we try to proceed to it by our own strength. (3)

Bringing up the difficulty in mission by thinking ahead shows Moses’ creating his own difficulties, forgetting that He is with Him. Imagination of how it will be and what sort of difficulties we are to meet paralyzes us. This implies thinking of oneself “without” the trust in God’s hand. Because really indeed things would be impossible if it is only oneself who dares to do everything.(4) This statement struck me because I am used to think ahead as they say. But still forward-looking attitude is still good as long as it is looked at the point of view of God’s intermingled within things being thought of, in other words, looking at the positive outcome and not the negative ones.

In order to go on with the seemingly main theme throughout the topic, it is apt to mention that it is but right to really know that whom to depend to. Moses needed to know who the one who called Him. I have to know the God who called me too. Likewise it also implies knowing oneself so as the self will know what he is being sent to or what he/she is being asked to do, in order to response to the call, in order to accept the inadequacies in the self so as he/she would depend on the one calling. (5) We should know who has called us. We are not serving a theoretical ideal, an abstract ideology; we are in the service of a personal God.[3]

 In knowing God, it is but necessary that we put it into our minds that he cannot be categorized nor be defined in just human terms. This was evident in the article as it progress in showing how Moses have had his objections to the Lord. God cannot be categorized but can come to meet us[4]. Therefore, we should ask the grace of knowing God, and I believe that this grace can only be received if we have faith that he who gives it is real and true. “Every call is simultaneously a call to grow in service and a call to grow in prayerful knowledge of the one who is calling us”[5] and they always go together. Without the manifestation of God, the coming of the knowledge of God in us, everything would still be useless.

Moses was a man of action, a man of initiative, and one could understand that he is not a man of long speeches. I agree to that because I find resonance his same qualities. Men of action are not interested in making long speeches (long reflections maybe, yes). But I believe that this inadequacy is nothing if God is allowed to be the one to speak through one’s own mouth.(6) I think I should remind myself of that too. 

Sometimes despite the limited knowledge of our own self, even if we know we can, we make excuses because of several reasons – security, love of ones life, peace of one’s mind – therefore afraid to serve, to be asked to do something, to be sent, to move and to be moved by somebody else.(7) Therefore it just shows that it also takes time to accept calls. Moses’ story may show it as sudden and all there immediately but considering that the scriptures were written as inspiration and inspiration also comes out of it, as a reflection and reflections also comes out of it. The process of responding to our call continues over years, all the years of our life. We are continually being called, being asked to renew our response to that call. It does not happen once and for all.[6] Some have difficulties than others, others easy at the start and later crisis comes near the end. Everything happens in accordance to the individual treatment of God to us.

I’d like to end my reflection through the last part of the outline of the topic about Moses’ leadership as presented by Conroy. Id like to summarize it too by using his three areas of relationships – between God and Moses, between Moses and the people, between God and the people. Although actually, the whole point of the topic is in the seven points I have highlighted, aforementioned above.

There are three points that a Leader chosen by God may remember or be reminded of:
(1)   Faithfulness and belief in the one who called; the one who sent;
(2)   A good leader should have the humility to accept advice and to delegate responsibility, prayerful, do not always listen to their assistants when it is of legalistic point of view
(3)   Trust in the Lord and have it always in his way not one’s own self projection

I end here and quote “Our journey through life, our journey of leadership, may seem to come to an end when it is incomplete, when all things are not done…If the Lord calls a person to become a leader, it is not guaranteed that all the projects of leadership will necessarily be satisfactorily fulfilled within the lifetime of the leader, or within the office of the leader. One must be willing to let go when things are not perfectly fulfilled.”[7] We are all limited an in this limitations God fills in. Each of us compliments each other in its limitations.      


Reflection: Article II of Journeys & Servants


[1] Pg. 28
[2] Pg. 29
[3] Pg. 31
[4] Pg. 31
[5] Pg. 31
[6] Pg. 34
[7] Pg. 42-43