Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas isn't about giving and receiving gifts. It's not about wearing new clothes. It's not about the lights and expensive decorations. It's not about the delicious food and wines.

It's about Jesus.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Memories

When I was a child, I was excited not for Christmas but for the gifts I were to receive on the 25th. I remember the toys and the children's books, the new clothes and the fun we had. I remember the Christmas cassette tapes which we played over and over until the player no longer operated. I remember the scent of newly printed money(and I bet you also love sniffing at those bills!) and the thrill of unwrapping the gifts. I love sniffing at the gift wrappers too.

I remember the travels our family had made during the season of Christmas for the past years. I remember having terrible rashes at my feet during one of those trips. If I scratch them, it would hurt and if I don't, it would itch (imagine my dilemma!). I also remember going to my father's office. We would play with Microsoft PowerPoint. We made silly presentations and even printed some. That was in the late nineties, and the technology wasn't as sophisticated as now. That office had the noisy laser printers then.

Now we seldom travel during Christmas. We're just staying home, celebrating Christmas as a family. I don't receive a lot of gifts since I've grown up (no, I'm not asking for presents!). I no longer receive the toys and the children's books which I used to long for. My Christmas has become simpler, and I pray it would be as simple as the manger where Jesus was laid.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Prayer For Today (And Probably For 2011)

Psalm 143: 1-11
Lord, listen to my prayer;
turn your ear to my appeal.

You are faithful, you are just; give answer.
Do not call your servant to judgment
for no one is just in your sight.
The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;

he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails;
My heart is numb within me.
I remember the days that are past:

I ponder all your works.
I muse on what your hand has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for you.
Lord, make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face
lest I become like those in the grave.
In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.
Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
for you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
in ways that are level and smooth.
For your name’s sake, Lord, save my life;
in your justice save my soul from distress.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hurrah for the Crown!

I made for the first time a Knot Franciscan Crown Rosary. I made it for two hours.

My hands are painful and tired right now, and the Rosary is very imperfect but I am happy that I am able to finish this one.You see, I have some unfinished rosaries because the cord is too short, or because I'm too lazy to continue.

I haven't tried using twine cords; I've been using cord ribbons since April. My twine cords haven't arrived yet. I am waiting for them before the year ends.

Now I have to learn how to pray it.

My previous post about my first Knot Rosary

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Crucifixion

This song may not be appropriate for Advent, but Danielle Rose speaks about the love of our Blessed Mother to her Son. Simply touching.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Break, Nuns and Blessings

Tomorrow will be the start of my Christmas break, yet I do not know if I will be able to finish the assigned school jobs. Oh.

Solemn Profession of a Handmaid of the Precious Blood
Another News from the Handmaids

The Handmaids of the Precious Blood, who are very close to my heart, were founded by Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald in 1947. Their community is 'dedicated to Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration for the sanctification of priests and the needs of the whole world'. Their web address describes their vocation: Nuns for Priests. Please visit their website for more information.

It's beautiful to know that there are people who pray for our beloved priests, and it would be really great if you would join them in their apostolate. For more information about their "external apostolate", click here.

Going back to my Christmas break, I came up with a To-do list:

  1. Watch the Into Great Silence again (without sleeping!). I'm going to arm myself with tons of coffee!
  2. Continue reading The Ancrene Riwle, and finish the other books I currently read so that I can proceed to The Interior Castle. The poor book has been in my shelf for many weeks.
  3. Travel to a far place (not kidding!)
  4. Spend more time at the Phatmass Chat. I was in a hurry this morning and I left the chat too soon. How it breaks my heart (yikes!)
  5. Rest!
As for My Christmas Wish, the Good Lord has been providing for my spiritual needs and I am so grateful. Although I do not have a "formal" spiritual director, the Blue Hermit is journeying with me. He's my spiritual grandfather, father and brother. I just want to thank him here for his love and support. Without him, my soul could have fled somewhere! Brother Dismas is God's gift to me. O Brother, I just can't thank you enough!

So now I am asking you to help Br. Dismas continue his ministry to the people in Gambia. Please click here for more details. You may also buy his "Rustic Rosaries" (for my friends here in the Philippines, I could show you a sample.)

Tomorrow will be another day. Common sense tells us so. :)

May God bless you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prayers Please

Please pray for Mother Mary Francesca O.SS.R. The link is here. The same link will give you the blog site of the Australian Redemptoristine nuns. They give updates on Mother's health.

God bless you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception!

Still I am used to write the Spanish "Concepcion."

The priest this morning Mass reminded us of Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette.

I had a book about St. Bernadette before, and I would always stare at her picture (like the one above). She looks like she's praying to the Blessed Mother. How blessed are her eyes! I'm praying and hoping that I'll have the chance to go to Lourdes. If anyone of you is willing to bring me to Lourdes, please don't hesitate to contact me :p!

Going back to Our Lady, I'll be making my Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary on December 12, feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I almost had 5 attempts of making the preparation but I found it very hard. I would put in my calendar, then I won't be able to do it, or, like the first time, I won't finish the preparation.

But the Lord gave me the strength last month and I am so happy that I'll be finishing the preparation and make the consecration on Sunday! Please join me in prayer. God bless you!

Me and my old stretcher.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Christmas Wishlist

1. A silent retreat, preferably for eight days.
2. A spiritual director - URGENT!
3. A religious community.

..and these are a few of my favorite things! When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Rest

Sundays are my rest days. Although I still do my school works on this day, I could still find time for me to sit back, relax and 'reorganize' myself. I could read the books I love (and need) to read, and I could sleep more. Sundays are the best!

This morning I "chatted"  my Phatmass phamily. It was my first time to chat with them since I seem to be the only phatmasser who live on the eastern section of the globe, and that means I am a hermit when I go to the chat room. Now I got the "Phatmass" fever, and it's true: Phatmass is addicting. Beware!

This evening, I started reading The Ancren Riwle. This is the only "free" internet copy I found in Google books. Now I wonder why other Internet copies of The Ancren Riwle are not available for full viewing. So far, I am enjoying the literature.

Now it's night and I have to sleep now. This week will be a busy one.

God bless you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Afternoon with the Little Brothers

If I were in this picture, I would be that man at left!
I spent the afternoon with the Little Brothers of Jesus yesterday. It was the 94th death anniversary of Blessed Charles de Foucauld.

I wasn't able to be with the Brothers at the Mass, but anyway, I joined them in their Evening Prayers + Adoration. It was so wonderful. It was my first time to pray with them actually.

Although I could hear the neighbors talk and feel the cats walk nearby, I wasn't really distracted by them. We prayed the Evening Prayers (or Vespers) in Filipino, and it was so inspiring. I appreciated my native tongue more. I realized that it is really beautiful to pray the Hours with a community. I was able to focus well on the Psalms when we were reciting them together. I felt so united with them. I felt we are one in prayer.

Brother Patricio, LBJ brought me to the village's greenhouse and to the Brothers' farm. My, FarmVille became so real! I was so amused to see the greenhouses, the gentle sprinklers for the seedlings (Brother told me that those sprinklers send out smoke-like water, probably just like a cloud, so the seedlings won't get hurt), and the irrigation system (I don't know if that's how we should call it). I became so interested in farming. Brother Patring harvested some peanuts too. He took the whole plant out of the soil, and that was so amazing! There were other crops, like tomatoes and corn. I cannot remember the names of other vegetables, but there were plenty of them. 

Farming is a very contemplative work and I understand now why monks prefer this work. The farm is so conducive to prayer. Also, I learned that farming requires not just bodily strength, but also knowledge about the work. Farming isn't just about planting. It is a real science. Br. Patring would point a crop and say it is sick. Well, yes, the leaves of the cucumber plant has big spots on them. When he was harvesting the peanuts, I noticed that the leaves were somehow dry. Brother said it's a sign that the peanuts are ready to be harvested. I also noticed that the distance between plants are the same... and I realized mathematics would follow me even at the farm!

At supper we didn't eat any luxurious food. Rather, we had dried fish and beef soup, of course with rice, at the table. Their simplicity and poverty just hit me. The house, the environment, the chapel, their work... everything is just so simple. I was so ashamed of myself. I was living so comfortably and taking my life so granted- complaining about the food I eat, complaining about little discomforts. I realized that when we live simply, we'll be able to appreciate life more. We'll appreciate Jesus more as we learn to surrender to Him everything. We'll appreciate Jesus more because He is Life, because we have nothing but Him. Simplicity of life detaches us from the world.

My heart was filled with gratitude as I went home.