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Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent Recollection for the Jail Guards and for our Inmates bothers and sisters (Surigao City Jail - December 04 and 05, 2009)

Advent Recollection

The word “Advent” is originally derived from the Latin word adventus which when literally translated to English means “arrival” or “coming into a place”. In the liturgical year, Advent is the season that precedes Christmas and is a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s birth.

Purple – the primary sanctuary color of Advent.

1. penitence

2. fasting

3. royalty

- suffering (Lent season)

This point to an important connection between Jesus’ birth and death. The nativity, the Incarnation, cannot be separated from the crucifixion. Originally Advent was a time of penitence and fasting, much as the Season of Lent and so shared the color of Lent.

The Spirit of Advent

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. It is that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation.

Advent, we might say, is the season to prepare for that time when Christ will make all his greatest promises come true.

ADBIYENTO … paghihintay, pagbabalik-loob, kapayapaan

This season of the liturgical cycle is meant to prepare us for a very real event that still lays ahead — the Second Coming of Christ in glory. All things will be restored to perfect harmony, right will be triumphant, goodness rewarded, evil conquered forever, and we will live eternally in resurrected bodies

Application (for sharing)

1. In this season of Advent, what area of your life needs empowerment by the Holy Spirit of God?

2. Are you willing to offer or sacrifice yourself for the sake of God?


The Purpose of Confession

That reconciling of man to God is the purpose of Confession. When we sin, we deprive ourselves of God’s grace. And by doing so, we make it even easier to sin some more. The only way out of this downward cycle is to acknowledge our sins, to repent of them, and to ask God’s forgiveness. Then, in the Sacrament of Confession, grace can be restored to our souls, and we can once again resist sin.

What Is Required?

Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily:

1. Must be contrite - or, in other words, sorry for his sins.

2. Must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.

3. Must be willing to do penance and make amends for his sins.

Manifestation of an Advent Season

If our hope is only in our circumstances, as we define them to be good or as we want them to be to make us happy, we will always be disappointed. That is why we hope, not in circumstances, but in God. He has continually, over the span of four thousand years, revealed himself to be a God of newness, of possibility, of redemption, the recovery or transformation of possibility from endings that goes beyond what we can think or even imagine (Eph 3:2). The best example of that is the crucifixion itself, followed by the resurrection. That shadow of the cross falls even over the manger.

This time of year we contemplate that hope embodied, enfleshed, incarnated, in a newborn baby, the perfect example of newness, potential, and possibility. During Advent, we groan and long for that newness with the hope, the expectation, indeed the faith, that God will once again be faithful to see our circumstances, to hear our cries, to know our longings for a better world and a whole life (Ex 3:7). And we hope that as he first came as an infant, so he will come again as King!

Our experiences tell us that those who have suffered and still hope understand far more about God and about life than those who have not. Maybe that is what hope is about: a way to live, not just to survive, but to live authentically amidst all the problems of life with a Faith that continues to see possibility when there is no present evidence of it, just because God is God. That is also the wonder of Advent.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

“BITTER SWEET: Hearing God’s Sweet Call through Bitter Situations”

“Hide me now under your wings, cover me within your mighty hands, when the ocean rise and thunder roar, I will soar with you above the storm. Father you are King over the floods, I will be still and know you are God.”

These are the few lines of the song entitled STILL which we – Sir Jun Corpuz, Sir Edward, Stacey, Ma’am Sherryl and I repeatedly sung for nth time while we were aboard M/B Princess of Socorro on July 28, 2009 around 1:00 PM heading for Loreto, Province of Dinagat Islands for an instant but vital mission: to assist in the preparation for the blessing of StarJED Loreto Branch.

As a first time visitor of Dinagat Islands, I felt mix-emotions as our departure time drew near. I was excited, yet there was fear in my heart – fear of bid waves since that day was a very windy day. But the excitement and anticipation prevail. And so we all went.

As the Princess of Socorro left Pantalan II of Surigao City, we gathered ourselves together, formed a circle and offered a prayer, asking God to protect us and give us a smooth-smiling trip. A few minutes after, the boat started to harshly sway and tremble as the huge waves bumped into the motor lance. As we crossed the Panumbuyon Strait (between Surigao and San Jose), 3 gigantic waves simultaneously hit the boat, the sea water started to come into the boat through the windows and the doors.

The boat stopped for a while from where we were, it was the M/B Seahorse bound for San Jose, it was tossed by 7 huge waves, and the way I looked at it, it seemed as if it was going to capsize. FEAR filled my entire being at that time… the turbulent seas seemed to have consumed all my remaining composure. Then tears started to roll down my cheeks. I felt so small while looking at the huge and turbulent seas around. Then the song STILL has brought me back to my senses. As my other companions were singing the song, it seemed to me that God was so near. I suddenly felt peace deep within. Then I became calm. I started to join them as they continue to sing songs of praise. After 5 hours, we reached our destinations safe and sound. Our mission was successfully accomplished. We were able to marvel God’s wondrous creations in the towns of Loreto, Tubajon, Libjo, San Jose and Dinagat. It was a nice trip. A meaningful one. It was not a walk in the park through but there’s one thing I’ve realized, had I not joined the group to Loreto, I could have missed half of my life. As I look back, I can’t help but really thank God for that one-in-a-million adventure in Dinagat Islands.

Now I finally know that when God send us to a certain mission, He always equip us with the necessary things we would need along the way. As for our Dinagat Adventure, God equipped my travel with wonderful people – my 4 other companions and my Loreto-Tubajon and San Jose STARJED Family plus Ma’am Nene Elago our dear BoD Member.

In closing, let me share this meaningful realization with you: “In life’s journey is just like crossing the ocean. Sometimes we encounter big waves, sometimes small. But in order for us to complete the trip, there is no better way but to ride on the waves. And there’s no other way to ride on the waves of life than to let them in and then overcome them.” May we always find time to hear God’s sweet call through the bitter situations that we face each day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Existence and Experience

Everything that transpires in our existence has its own purpose. And God, the Lord of history, assures when to make His mighty works best fulfilled. Moreover, He has the full control to where our lives should be heading to.

My vocation to become religious missionary someday brings me here in the Starjed as HuFED Program Officer after a two-year exposure at St. Paul University Surigao as faculty in Grade School Department deepened my self-knowledge and enjoys the grace of community living with compensation. Discerning the signs of the time convinces me that I am so far on the right track.
Perhaps, the most conspicuous yet mysterious among those signs that exhort me to this side of the planet is the “Word of God.” The dictionary defines the word “word” as “a speech sound or combination of sounds which has come to signify and communicate a particular idea or thought and which functions as the smallest meaningful unit of a language when used in isolation.” No wonder, we the employees of God’s company the Starjed centralizes the Holy Bible in our spiritual program like our faith sharing; OPM and BEC, because we believe that God communicates to us through her.
I begin the next chapter of my journey by becoming open to God’s graces first so that I become deserving to be call as one of God’s children. For me, being employed here in God’s Company is a great defy like what the gospel says, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This maxim might be the prologue of my own respective book of life that, after browsing, tasting and swallowing it up, clarifies the direction and gives meaning to my future reading that I am humbly hoping that I may arrive one day to my final epilogue which is – GOD.
To become God’s steward and for being a positive influence is a conce
ssion but demands sincere and deep love to the Divine Mercy. I have to befit myself as God’s chosen one who will never trade-off the conviction to the word made flesh in exchange of ephemeral, material things in this world.
Like Peter, who had given the undertaking by Jesus to hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven. I myself also have a great responsibility in life to not fail moving forward and facing the dreaded future with courage and complete
trust to His Divine Providence. This challenges me to really find Him in the midst of other people who will come in contact with me in order to share my light to them in my future mission.
I am hopeful to continue living up the gospel values embedded in me by my parents and from my seminary formation and because of this company I will live in His presence together with the flock entrusted to me. Life is a great recorder of experiences; it might be glorious, sorrow and joy. I may be somebody else if not of my particular experiences. In order for me to experience my life in its fullest sense, to become more mature and grow as a unique individual, there is a need for me to have a certain goal to follow – GOD.