Saturday, March 14, 2015

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The burnt sunset of Sienna.
Fly little bird. Fly!

This book taught me a lot about praying, contemplating, and living ala Jesuits style. ��
If you are the kind of reader that allows their book to influence them, this one is tough. How Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) defined Humility was way beyond my imagination. One of the toughest was (totally) surrendering your pride thru self-accusation. He also draws inspiration through the words of st. Doroteus of Gaza. It was good, but really challenging. #popefrancis #book

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

277: On my birthday and on Ignatian Spirituality

My good friend Monique is the first person to give me a cake. YAY.
I've turned 26 today! It's amazing to be 26, although at one second I realized I am 4 years away from reaching my 30th. There was some sort of an alarm when that thought crossed my mind. I hope by that time I have a wider experience in terms of life, career, and spirituality. There are many things that I am grateful for, but what I am ultimately grateful for is how my faith turned my life around. The drastic change with my relationship with God had made me feel at peace. There are still uncertainties with the future (of course) but I actually don't feel threatened, nor afraid for what the future awaits for me. What had helped me build my relationship is this book written by Fr. James Martin - The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything:

I accidentally saw this book in the religious section in a bookstore. What caught my attention is its title. I thought why not try to be inspired living life according to the teachings of St. Ignatius, besides he is the founder of Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and it's the religious order of Pope Francis?

There were so many revelations when I finished the book. The things that I learned in the book resonates so much with me that I want to carry the messages all through out my life, that's why in the picture you can see that I had written a lot of references.

What I love about the book is that it was written simply, and the examples that Fr. James Martin made it easy for me to relate to. The book taught me about the different approach of praying, how to see God in everything I do, handling relationship with others, being detach from things that does not lead me to God, and basically almost everything. This book helped me improve my relationship with God that led me to be at peace.

If you are wondering what's Ignatian spirituality, it's hard to lay out because it's huge, but here's how Fr. James Martin said about (Ignatian spirituality):
So if anyone asks you to define Ignatian spirituality in a few words, you could say that it is: Finding God in all things Becoming a contemplative in action Looking at the world in an incarnational way Seeking freedom and detachment.
 I definitely would recommend this if you want to be in relationship with God ala Jesuits style.  I am actually excited reading further. I really want to be closer to God as much as I can. :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God." - Pope Francis

The beautiful Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. First time to visit this yesterday after the concert.
I was lucky enough to witness a wedding, and I was able to pray to Mother Mary before they closed the door of the church.
I hope to see Her closer soon, and I look forward in attending the mass too.
Watercolor students for the day. I am glad that I gave this one a shot. I enjoyed and learned so much.
Thanks to Liz of Project Vanity for teaching us, and Tin Tin for inviting me to join.
My simple pleasures: random toys and figures. Hoarding more curiosities and tinkeries in the future.
Follow me on instagram.

276: Abstaining from Facebook

This lent one of the things that I vowed to abstain from is accessing Facebook. To say, I'm one of those people who's consumed of knowing what's happening from the people I know, to knowing the current events. Facebook made things easy for me to know the latest news.

When I decided to abstain from Facebook I actually feared that I may end up breaking it, because Facebook became a habit. However, I was glad that during Ash Wednesday the priest who was conducting the homily said "God had given everything for you, because He loves you. Can you give up something little for Him?". It was right then and there that I told myself that I will be staying away from Facebook.

12 days after, there are few things that I realized:
  1. Being unable to know the current updates from the people I know helps me from comparing my life to their life.
  2. I am no longer the source of a gossip. With my lack of knowledge of what's happening to people's lives, I usually find myself ending up listening to people tell story of other people. 
  3. I can focus on improving myself.
  4. I actually have more time than I imagine.
  5. Being away from Facebook and being constantly updated of news updates, people's rants, and reading of people's lives helps me achieve peace of mind.
When the lenten season ends, I know I will be back from Facebook. But what I am sure of is that I will end up lessening my activity there because the good things that I have learned from staying away from FB made me realized how much I won my life back.

This also reminds me that when we sacrifice something for Jesus, we get something much better. On my part, God gave me time.

Monday, February 23, 2015

275: How Do We Help?

Image From:
A week ago, a man got into the bus that I was riding on my way to the office and spoke out loud in the middle saying that he needs help to pay for his badly injured leg due to an accident. To prove that he wasn't lying, he showed his wound, and the smell of a festering wound surrounded the enclosed bus. You cannot imagine how a festering wound smells like.
Learn how to cry for the Poor
While he solicit coins, Pope Francis' message in UST echoed in my mind. Here is the man who needs help, how can I help?
[...] There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor. But if Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have greeted a couple of people, given them something, and walked on. But it was only when he was able to cry that he understood something of our lives. [..]
I may be rushing on my way to the office, but here is my opportunity to practice my being a better Christian by reaching out, but one cannot help but wonder: how can someone who's a middle class worker, who's in the rush to reach to her office, who currently has no influence, no power, no position can help?

But besides, the helping, you cannot imagine how bad I feel for the guy. You can feel how much he was unwanted in the bus because of his wounds. I didn't want to add more injury to the guy, instead of wincing on the smell, or showing grossed out by evading his outstretched hand, I stretched my hand and handed him some money. The only consolation I can offer at such limited time was my sincerity, so I looked at him straight in the eye, smiled, and nodded.

It was the only thing I can do at the moment. I hope it was suffice, but a week after, I am still disturbed that it felt like I fell on the category of those people who just gives money on those who asked. I seriously hope I have done something else that would have told the guy that there is still some people out there who are not indifferent on his sufferings.

If I can go back at the moment, I would have reached out, grabbed his hand and say 'I will pray for you'. It may be some of the last thing that he needed, but a sympathy from a stranger might at least a balm on his soul. I wish I have done this, but I am glad that this came to me, I'll do this when I get an opportunity in the future, and I hope that in spite of my limitations to help, I may have done something.
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