Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quite a Chill For Me

Medyo malamig na ang panahon because of the snow sa Sierra Nevada. I´d been here for three weeks now. And the temperature kept on droping. The lowest so far is 2º celsius. It´s been a week too that i´d been attending class at Centro de Lenguas Modernas of the University of Granada with lots of classmates from the US and United Kingdom. My diction and pronunciation has changed too because of them, becuase i had to adopt with their fast tounge and got to speak the right english pronunciation this time.

Up to this moment i still could not believe that i am half the globe away from my beloved country. Everytime i check on the net for emails or YM messages, its always 3 pm in the Philippines or almost midnight.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Esta es mi nueva comunidad en España. Estoy en Granada. From left to right Gabri (Sevilla), Félix (Guinea Ecuatorial), Martín (Sevilla), Ildefonso (Tenerife), Yo (Albay), Alejandro (Gran Canaria), Victor (Isabela)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

GOING UP NORTH... and 360 Degree Trip

I don't know but it seems to be a privilege to travel to the North of the Philippines. That make me someone who had traveled the whole main land Luzon island.

It was never planned. It was just an all of a sudden plan that came like a puff when i went to the vocation office. Perhaps it was in accordance with the will of God. Lo and behold i had a good experience, a new perception of missionary life, and a one of a kind package, perhaps a pabaon before i leave for Spain.

I stayed

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Surprise Visit

I was surprised in the afternoon when 6 Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) Junior sisters came looking for me. They were my Batchmates during teh Postulancy in Tagaytay. I was surprised because why look for me or of all, they remembered my name. I realized it's because of the video i once took. I interviewed Jasmine (now Sr. Jasmine is suppose) for the movie about vocation that i was doing at that time. But this movie was never completed beacuse i have to undergo novitiate in ormoc. I was happy, she remembered as well as the other 5 who were left from the 19 i think or i forgot now how many were they during that time. I felt touched and happy for their visit despite the fact that i was from a deep sleep at almost 5 in the afternoon.

Well today too was a busy day, Vic and I had our first tutorial class in Spanish with Fr. Ferrero in the retreat house. It was nice riding the bicycle then - no fare needed. Unfortunately it rained in the afternoon. The tutorial ended with a movie Barrendero from Mexico.. it ended at around 2 in the afternoon. That was also the time we ate lunch. My schedule for the day was cut short - actually postponing the Dialogue with Fr Bords the following day. Well, today was a day wherein i spent quality time with an old Claretian, still eager to help others and to live more fully. I saw a witnessing priest - witnessing that Ideal Claretian in Mind. Fr. Ferrero is still full of fire. I said quality time because we really gave all the attention to him and i perhaps learned something. Aside from learning that SOY is permanent and ESTOY is changeable, i also learned to be carefree, to not so wory so much about work. Life is life. It has to be enjoyed every moment wether on a stupid occasion or a good one. Likewise, i found a different amazement with the old, that some kind of a respect. I remember my grandparents who took care of me. i remember my other grandparents (parents of my Dad) whose death anniversary is fast approaching. I remember how loving they were. How i apprciate Fr. Ferrero's love to the congregation and for us young claretians. I hope i will continue burning with love when i get old.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Sassy Girl

I guess it was a bad timing last Saturday that i was able to watch this old Korean Movie entitled "My Sassy Girl." I would say that I fell in love again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why John?

Last night i was asked by my rector when we met at the stairs "Why do you use John before your name." I halted, and thought for a while. I did not answer immediately and later responded "just read my journals."

I guess its time to recall back why I began using that name, or let say the name John Luis. I browsed into my journals this afternoon and found out the exact day and year I started using the name. I'd been using the name since 1999 as the journals would say but i'd been fond of it and claimed it as mine on May 15, 2003.

In 1999, during the Holy Week, since i was the Youth Coordinator, i was chosen to play the role of John the Beloved in order to complete the 12 disciples. For two years i was asked to join the 12 chosen individuals in the parish to play the role of apostles during the washing of the feet, procession, easter celebrations, etc. I liked the name and the role that i played. I felt like I'm the beloved disciple. Reasons are all over the journal of 1999 and 2000.

When i was in first year Philosophy, we were asked to make a period log, journal etc. I wrote everything that i could remember. In one of my notes, i wrote my patron saints and the reasons why i chose them. I actually defined there why I chose to have the name JOHN PETER MARIE LUIS. The name John came from that Parish experience. The name Peter came from the first Pope. He is one of my patron saints, partner with John.They both represent the Old and New Church for me. It was always been my dream to at least see a Pope in personal but i guess im always deprived of that experience, and it might never come in my life. The name Marie comes from Mary the Mother of God and of St. Therese of Lisieux. She became my favorite when i was given by my SD (Fr. Raleigh) the book of st. Therese as something to read. He asked me to read that book as far as i can remember when i told him that i thought of becoming a priest, i mean reconsidering becoming a priest. I had been inspired by the Focolare at that time.

John Peter Marie Luis became my pen name so far. I came across with one of my drafts entitled "The Young Cardinal" and it was signed as John Peter Marie Luis. That story was never finished. It had been my signatures on all my paintings and art works. Oh, not the whole name but only John Luis.

It was in May 15, 2003 according to my journal that i had a dream a day before i had a meeting with Sr. Arvi Lopez. I dreamt that Jesus was with a young man, whose face is not so familiar to me. That man was also seated on His right side smiling. Then he called me John and told me something....(its written in my book of dreams). From that day on, i decided to finally use the name John. The name Marie is still reserved but I claimed it in March 6, 2000 according to my journal.

The name URBAN IX came out just recently when i was in the Novitiate. I remember that it was also because of a dream. Those were the days that i got amazed of the book Three Religious Rebels and the Life of Padre Pio. I was able to read all the books of saints actually in the library since i was the Librarian at that time. That night i dreamt that somebody called me Urban. Padre Pio was there and one of the Three Religious Rebels. That was a very weird dream. The following day i came across with the Encyclopedia and happend to read that Urban was a name of 8 Popes, some were good and some were bad ones. From then on I took the name Urban IX as another acronym. Since it is free to dream and we dont pay a single cent, i take pride on that name, a name that a Pope someday may chose to be his name.

I still take pride on my LUIS since it is the name of great Kings, a saint, a Martyr, great artists, and it is a reminder of my roots, of my family, of my parents, and of how i came to live in this world. Adding the other names, the challenge for me now is to strive to live by the virtues that these great saints had lived not just for my own sake, not just for the respect of their great names but for the Glory of my Boss at all times.

Friday, June 6, 2008

They Taught Me How To Love More

I was assigned to the college seminary as auxiliary formator for the Summer Program 2008 of the incoming freshmen and sophomores. I was not ready then because i was just asked to relieve the position of two of our brothers who fortunately had their 30-day retreat in Cebu. I do not know what to give them during the conference and i have the fear of not being able to become a good Big Brother to them. I was joined by one Vietnamese and by our Vocation Director who stood as our head formator.

It was a challenge to be assigned to the Sophomores as their formator-in-charge since they are expected to be good leaders and good kuyas to the new comers. Two days after i learned that i would be staying there in the college, i already thought of teaching them how to love their younger brothers and to be witnesses to the ideal Claretian Seminarian. My conferences revolved on God's way of Loving, of Christ's way of loving, of Claret's way of loving, and how is one Claretian expected to love. I don't know if the message got across the bridge.

One humbling experience is that of Thursday, a week before the last days of the summer program. I mistakenly overlooked the time and i came angry telling my sophomores to stop their practice for their Humanities class and start their Manualia. I miscalculated the time plus because i dismissed the Freshmen earlier than the time they have to finish their PSA and the weather is changed already and about to rain. And so it happened... the funniest experience i ever had. Sayang ng drama...hehehe. one courageous sophomore texted me..."its not yet time kuya..." I know i have hurt them all. I know i failed in the principles i wanted to impart to them. I know i made a mistake and i'd been not objective in my action. So in the evening i called them all for a short meting. I asked for forgiveness and said sorry to each of them.

It was a humbling experience and at the same time for me a practicum of what i wanted to teach in the Conferences - that leadership and living in this kind of life is not just a life of glory and fame, but also a life of humility and acceptance of my own and other's weaknesses. Loving is not just about caring and giving. It is also about giving-up ones pride and asking. This i think completed my talks. I know it didn't came to them as like that but at least I did it myself. These boys taught me how to love. They taught me how to accept individual attitudes and dynamics as i dialogue with them individually. They taught me how to be objective and subjective at the same time. They taught me how to be open in the formation that i got from my previous rectors/formators. They made me understand the importance of formation, the role of a formator, the role of the Holy Spirit in the formation process. And the most important of all they they were the one's who actually taught me to love them personally because God's presence, God's image is in each of them.

Thank you very much bros. I treasure you a lot. Thanks for being part of my life and for forming me. Thank you Bosing for the chance of being with them and for teaching me through them. God bless them all and those who are in many ways involved in formation ministry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greed Destroys Happiness

Smith and the head teacher were standing near the playground where the children were frolicking to their heart’s content. He asked the headmaster: “Why is it that everyone wants to be happy, but so few ever are?” The teacher looked at the playground and answered: “Those children seem to be really happy.” “Why shouldn’t they be? said Smith. “All they do is play. But what keeps the grownups from being happy like that?” “The same thing that can keeps children from being happy.” When he said that he reached into his pocket, pulled out a handful of copper coins and threw them among the playing children. Suddenly all laughter stopped. The children tumbled over one another, fought and argued. Then the teacher said to Smith: “Well, what do you think ended their happiness?” (Gods must be crazy)

My dear brothers and sisters, the readings today invites us to reflect on Greatness. Who and what makes a person great and what defines a true greatness from a worldly greatness. We always wanted to be great. We always have the desire to be somebody or to be recognized. There are as many ways to become great as there many reasons why one would wish to be great. Why? Because we think that if we become somebody or we become great we will find happiness in it or we will surely become happy. Unfortunately it is not the reality. Only those who sought for genuine greatness became truly happy in the end. Happy in the end after many trials and struggles in life to be happy.

One way to be great is to cheat. Cheating in class is one good example of wanting to be someone, in wanting to be recognized as the best student of all. Another way is to impose on others and feel like he is the boss and the only authority in the whole community. It doesn’t make one seminarian great or the best if one can command everyone to do his RT project rigidly. Another way to be great is assert all the efforts and go on his own way and walang pakialam kung sino masagasaan nya.

My dear friends it is not wrong to have the desire to be great and be somebody. What is to be checked is the means of becoming great. What is bad is the wrong motivations why one wants to be great. It is not by the act of serving and by the deeds in helping people that one makes a person great but it is the reason behind the service that makes a person great. It is the heart that makes who the person is or that which makes the work great. If the heart is greedy and wants only to be fulfilled that is why he wants to serve or help people, it is not a genuine service. If the heart desires only to fill himself in order to be happy or let say he only help/serve because he feels happy seeing those whom he had helped becomes happy or became well, it is not yet a complete or a genuine greatness. What makes a service or a work great is that when one does something for others not for his own purpose in life but for the reason that he wants to share the Love that God has made him felt. If he wanted to love because he finds God in that person.

Jesus taught his disciples that the Son of Man has to suffer...die.. and rise again. This is the way to be great. First he is doing it because of Love. He is doing god’s will out of love. He is sharing the love of the Father. He is implying to us that if one would wish to become great, one would undergo suffering (not always joy and affirmation), THAT ONE WOULD DIE from his own self. Die from his own desires in life, die from prestige and for being someone in this world for in the end that person who had suffered.. died... will rise again.. maybe not physically but his name remains forever... like Rizal, John Paul II, etc.

My dear brothers and sisters, if we want to be great, let us ask the Father to give us the grace to purify our motivations in wanting to be someone in the seminary, in the class, in the society, in our place of work, in everyday life. Let us continuously check our desires whether we do it for the sake of glorifying God or glorifying our own self.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Be Miracles

The first reading is a part of a series of statements of James in order to defend or to support his thesis that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone; that the body is dead without its spirit and faith without deeds is also dead. How? James tells us today that if we can show who we are by our own actions. If we think that we are wise, it has to be seen in our day to day living. If we say that we are good, that I am good, it should reflect from what I do and from what I act. He also posits the danger of showing off specially if ones heart is full of bitterness and very ambitious. In other words, if one’s heart is not pure, do not show off that you are great or the best because surely, it will cause a lot of trouble. It will just cause evil. It will bring you no good. Diba pag may isang taong mayabang na sumemplang sa ginawa sinasabi natin.. yan kasi.. gaba… ang yabang kasi wala naman palang binatbat. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find also evil and discord. While on the otherhand, those who are humble people, naturally humility comes from a simple and a loving heart – these are people who continue to be in relationship, continues to communicate with God, prayerful and peace keeping people… produces good works. They are impartial and sincere. Many good things comes out of them.

In the Gospel reading we have heard that a boy with a dumb and deaf spirit was brought to Jesus because when that boy was brought to the disciples, they were not able to heal that boy. The disciples wondered why they were not able to perform a miracle. My dear sisters and brothers, an ordinary true miracle is not something that alters nature, or a sign that can be seen. It is a fruit of the goodness of 1) God, 2) of a person, 3) of a group of people. Miracles happen from a person who are truly wise, who are good. Miracles flows out from these people. Jesus is an example of this kind of person. He has a pure hear, has good intentions in life, goodness flows from him that’s why, aside from being god who is the source of all goodness, he is able to perform miracles for people. The disciples were not able because they were looking for signs as we have heard in the readings last week, they are fighting over whose going to be the great, they are performing or doing things because they wanted to be somebody, to be known. The motivations are not pure. Prayer, according to Jesus is the best medicine for this. Why prayer, because in prayer you communicate with the source of all goodness. Sabi nga ni Fr. Vic kahapon, we are filled by this goodness. We become full of goodness. Prayer calms us down, it purifies us, our intentions. Prayer makes us belive in all things, hope in all things, have faith in God. Prayer gives us peace of mind, it gives us the power to heal, to make someone feel loved. It is the antonym, the opposite of cursing. A prayer from a pure good heart brings wellness and betterment.

My dear brother seminarians, if you wanted to do miracles or be miracles in life, pray. Do not be too ambitious and be showy. Start not to be so boastful in ...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Id like to begin with the words a Dominican once told me when I asked whether I can join their order. He posited a question to me which I then took it as an insult so I did not pursue joining them. The statement was “Have you really heard the voice telling you that you should become a priest, tinawagan ka bas a telepono o baka naman illusion mo lang yan.” I never thought of what was at the back of his mind when he confronted me with that question. Later I realized way back when I was already a postulant, that he was just trying to discern on the call, on the invitation of God.

Discernment and recognition of the call is necessary. Then once we realize what is this call, we start to find its true meaning. What is this vocation? I am reminded of the answers of our dear seminarians there in the sigaw board at the 2nd floor of Rafael Briega Hall. Some said that vocation is …

“Callings have led people to great accomplishments.” Why does it become great? Because if the calling truly comes from god, it is for sure a call of love, a call to love (CALL OF LOVE, CALL FOR LOVE). Authentic calling proceeds from the source of LOVE who is GOD and it is felt in the assembly of God or the Church, in the chosen ones, in each individual or neighbor. Each one of us is CALLED, we are all called by name. We are called in many ways, in many walks of life. We are called by God unconditionally. Vocation is not just about priesthood… its about everything in this world. I, you are invited to take the vocation of priesthood. Our parishioners here were called to the vocation of married life. Our religious sisters are called to a life of holiness and in living out the charisms of their founder. Each of these if we carefully analyze, leads to only one reason LOVE. VOCATION is about LOVING. VOCATION IS about being Loved by God. To be an ordained is to be a mirror of the unconditional love of God. To marry is to love each other unconditionally. Vocation is the condition of every individual wherein one is loved by God, compelled to love his flock, his/her husband/wife, her community… offering one’s life for a friend. (diba for those na mga nakaranas ditto manligaw.. magsuyo ng sinisinta…I presume you know what i mean.. as well as to those who are married here and those who have children of their own.. you know how it is to truly love your blood relations.) Vocation is not just a state of good life but it is a call to suffer for the sake of loving, a call to uncertainty and giving up of many personal interests…and that’s true to all types of vocation.

Today is the feast of the apostle Mathias. He was called, elected not to be served but to serve the assembly of God. Same with us, he was chosen, they discerned about it, he was not forced, there was a process that took place. Matthias was chosen to Love, to continue the living memory of their beloved Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are challenged by the saint of the day and the readings we have just heard, to nurture our own individual vocations, our individual calling. How do we nurture it and take care of it? We only have to go back to the meaning of Vocation. Let it be imprinted in our hearts that in order for us to be true to this vocation of ours, simply follow the prescription of Christ – lay down your life for your friend. Love unconditionally.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ash Wednesday Experience

I was touched by the people in the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital on Ash Wednesday after helping Fr. Arnold, our brother priest who is also a patient of the said hospital, during his midday mass. i was touched by the desire of the people to seek God, to find holiness, to seek for healing, and most of all by their simple faith that a simple imposition of ash in their forehead, they would be renewed, healed, forgiven, blessed. People do really seek for that spiritual relationship with my Boss. Im happy for them. (aside from the fact that there were also beautiful nurses around) hehehehe.

but really, i felt like crying seeing them, feeling their grief (specially those who are suffering from pain in their broken bones). i also felt like crying out of their sense of faith. i dont know if those were authentic, but it doesn't matter. i dont need to categorize that this and this are authentic faith and this is not. i believe, my Boss is happy to see them like that too.

i was just wondering how could i be part in sterenthening their desire to be with my Boss. i dont know. actually during the mass, i felt so unworthy being there, ijust really felt so unworthy giving them communion, i felt so unworthy putting ash on their foreheads. im a sinner.

Mahirap Mawalan ng Sasakyan

Well, sometimes we find ourselves lost and it seems that there is no way out. I'm thankful every time these moments comes into my life for it is at this moments that I am able to sit and take time to reflect on what is happening in my life. It gives me a chance to be alone with my intimate Boss.