Sunday, November 16, 2008

heartbeats: rear view mirrors

Not knowing how to drive and having only a minimal knowledge on the rules of driving I never got to know the importance of rear view mirrors until an incident three years ago. I once rode a car driven by a friend which has no rear view mirrors on it. We were happily driving and talking when all of a sudden just as we were about to overtake a loud thump jolted the car leading my friend to scamper for the brake pedal. We were bumped by another car which smashed a door all because my driver friend did not see what was coming up from behind him when he was about to overtake. 

heartbeats: making mistakes

As a young priest I make a lot of mistakes. In my desire to give instant solutions to the problems of people who come to me, sometimes I would give the wrong advice and bite my lips afterwards after giving some considerable thought on the problem. Sometimes I would react so haphazardly sending the wrong messages and hurt a lot of people. There were even times when my judgments err on important issues presenting me with no chance to redeem myself. During those times I would sulk and despair for days. I would worry and get so irritated leading me to create more and even greater mistakes. 

heartbeats: teachers

Believe it or not (this is for unbelieving students) I have wonderful experiences with my teachers. Throughout the twenty one years I stayed in school I met a lot of them who made lasting impressions on me and made an impact in my life. By now I could not really recall their names, only those scant memories of their faces and the wonderful lessons they taught me.

heartbeats: an appointed time for everything

The month of June is a month dedicated to the environment. This is intended to promote awareness of the perilous situation of our environment today, its effect in our lives and what we can do to improve it. Reflecting on these environmental issues, I came upon a beautiful passage in the bible which to my mind could help us develop an attitude of concern and respect for the resources entrusted to our care. This will include, as we shall see later, not just our environment, but also our bodies, our work, and even the woman’s cycle which is at the heart of responsible parenthood or the natural family planning method (NFP). The passage that I am referring to is taken from the book of Ecclesiates (3. 1-8) which begins by saying: “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. . . . a time to plant and a time to uproot the plant . . . a time to embrace and a time to be far away from embraces . . . a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

heartbeats: the sign of the cross

We may not be so aware of it or so conscious of what it means when we’re doing it. We flex our hands hurriedly from corner to corner in a gesture we have been so familiar with since childhood -- the sign of the cross. It has become so ordinary, so casual and so haphazardly done so that through the years it gets smaller and smaller by force of habit instead of encompassing the whole body which it did the first time we learned it when we were small. We begin and end our prayers with it. We rise and sleep doing it. It precedes the most important activities in our lives and our most simple mundane concerns -- taking a test, studying, before eating or making important decisions or just simply shooting a ball. It accompanies all kinds of emotions such as anxiety, fear, excitement or a mere feeling of relief. And it is done by almost everybody, from the most impious criminal to the most rigid religious fanatic, from the businessman whose decision could either mean millions or bust to a simple jeepney driver.

heartbeats: co-creators

Comic strips can tie your hands. Whenever I read one I feel like I could do something to right the wrongful situation, but could not. Its the same when I watch TV. I would fret around, complaining out loud how stupid the characters are when it could have been done that way or this way. And somebody will always remind me behind my back saying, “anhon mo kay amo ina ang sugo sang direktor.” That would shake me back into reality. I was just watching a story coming out from the idiot box.

Friday, September 12, 2008

heartbeats: saved from the fire, saved by our Lord

Last Friday, I experienced first hand what salvation history is all about and why we come to celebrate it every Sunday or everytime we gather for the Eucharist.

A week before, the chapel coordinator of Brgy. Benedicto approached me with what I thought then was an unusual request. She asked me if I could preside in a thanksgiving mass to be offered by their barangay because they were spared from what could have been a big fire which could have eaten up many homes, four years ago. I was surprised. I would have understood it if the fire happened a week ago or a month before. But four long years ago? This is indeed a one of a kind request. Curious, I asked her to give me the exact details why they have reached such decision.

heartbeats: remembering the legionaries

Whenever we gather to celebrate anniversaries, jubilees and reunions we gather to remember and retell a story -- a story which happened years ago. However, these stories which we remember and retell in these gatherings are not just unimpressive stories picked out from the daily humdrum of life which does not merit any introspection. Rather we remember and retell stories and experiences which have significance for us, for they touch the quality of our lives and made on them lasting impressions that we carry through life. It could just be any silent, ordinary experience which people who have been unaffected by it could dismiss as trivial. However, for one who has been touched by it, molded by it, it becomes a story worth retelling --and celebrating.

heartbeats: ob portu

Ob portu is a Latin word which describes a ship waiting in the middle of the sea for the flood tide so that it could properly dock in the harbor. This was usually done centuries back when the facilities provided by modern harbors today which permits a ship to dock anytime time was only a dream conceived in the drawing boards of some “engineering freaks” of the middle ages. While a ship is in ob portu the captain and his crew were always watchfully waiting for the proper time when the flood tides arise so that they could proceed to the harbor in safety. They have to be always ready for this eventuality for if they missed it, they have to wait for another moment when another flood tide comes in. A sailor who has been out from sea for so long would never missed this chance and he would be watching and waiting for the right moment.

cl anniversary . . . some afterthought

I want to reveal some of the things I did for Candle Light . . . some of the things that happened which I wanted to write about but for one reason or the other I never did. And so here are some of them.

I think I am the only priest in Iloilo who stood on a mountain of garbage, alone and with arthritis, right there in Brgy. Calahunan as I did an article on the garbage problems of Iloilo. I climbed my way to the top, struggling, with all the “what have you” beneath my feet, with flies darting to and fro like World War II flying Aces and buzzing Zeros, all the while undecided whether to breathe or not to breathe because of too much muscle and joint exertion and the terrible, unimaginable smell. But after awhile I got used to these and managed to take a few photographs for the issue along the way. When I reached the top I wanted to shout, “I made it, I made it” and plant the Vatican flag right where I was standing. And to think that the climbers of Mt. Everest thought they deserve better and grander accolades for planting the Philippine flag on its peak. Try climbing the city’s refuse, for though I never got an award climbing it, every time I pass that site I would always smile and congratulate myself for what I achieved.