Sunday, May 8, 2016

Reflections on Motherhood

“ It_takes someone really brave to be a mother, someone strong to raise a child and someone special to love someone more than herself. "  
Ritu Ghatourey

What defines a mother?

A mother is defined in so many terms. They are endless.

Being a mother does not end in just physically giving birth to a child but everything that follows after that.

It is a lifetime journey of experiencing the joys and pains of rearing and parenting.

It is a lifelong discovery of effective and ineffective parenting strategies.

Being a mother challenges us to delve deeper into our own intellectual, emotional and spiritual capacities to rationalize with our actions, decisions and principles.

It is a gift that needs constant reinforcement through prayer so we can fully realize our role and can surpass life’s setbacks.

What makes motherhood unparalleled?

A mother has the most powerful role of influencing the character of her child and instilling values which will help them grow to be upright and responsible human beings.

The love of a mother is unsurpassable. No one can replace it. Children will keep their memories of it in their hearts. It will serve as the cornerstone of building their lives and achieving their dreams.

Changing lifestyles and beliefs in this contemporary period require tremendous efforts from mothers. According to Fr. James Farfaglia (2012) effects of divorce, separation, single parenthood, mothers forced to work out of necessity, death of a family member, grandmothers raising grandchildren, prodigal children and prodigal grandchildren, are realities that cause deep suffering. 

May the blessing of the Divine
Be an especially bright benediction
Upon mothers everywhere
On your blessed day -
On Mother's Day!



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Notes of a Pilgrim's Pilgrimage (#1)


    In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are all invited to dispose of ourselves to conversion. This is not just a personal and a social venture but it especially calls for spiritual transformation. So apart from living out significant christian practices of mercy, doing a pilgrimage represents what our lives on earth is - pilgrims traveling on this earthly road. 

    I have not gone on a pilgrimage to foreign lands before. However, I have gone on local Visita Iglesia to churches wherever I am during the Lenten season.
    But this time, when I heard that the Archdiocese of Manila was issuing so-called 'passports' to pilgrims in observance of the 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy, I set out to find where I can procure one. I was then told that it can be obtained from any of the designated 'jubilee churches'- The Manila Cathedral; National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati City; Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Mandaluyong City; Santuario de Santo Cristo in San Juan City; and Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Pasay City. I got mine from the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Maysilo Circle, Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. At that very moment, my first pilgrimage started. It was my first time to be here and what captured my attention as I entered the church was the huge picture of the Divine Mercy right at the middle. A lay brother was there to assist us through the prayers and walk us through the different activities.

A beautiful element in this shrine is that, it  keeps a relic of St. Faustina encased in glass and mounted on the wall for everyone to venerate. 

   As I reflect on my visit to the shrine, I came to realize why this was chosen as one of the 'jubilee churches' for pilgrims. Having been declared as the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the mission of St. Faustina as it relates to God's immeasurable mercy and His saving grace for us poor sinners are worth contemplating. We are reminded of God's merciful love and His never-ending attempt to call us back to Him. 

   In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

   We are entreated to strive for christian perfection and look upon the life of Jesus as a model and inspiration for our journey. As God bestows His mercy on us despite our imperfections and sinfulness, we must also take up our tasks to practice love, mercy and compassion towards our neighbors. The absence of these valuable ingredients of living have caused humanity to suffer so much.   

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Timeless: Love and Shakespeare

The course of true love never did run smooth

(A midsummer Night’s Dream,1.2)

What makes love a powerful force?  Once cupid has shot his arrow through our hearts, our world suddenly becomes heavenly…joyful…wonderful…so long as love keeps its throne in us, everything is just superb! Because_

When Love speaks, the voice of all the gods  
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
(Love's Labour's Lost, 4.3)

However, too much love takes away our sanity. We become blinded by our feelings and reason takes on the background. We fight for love, we die for love, we change for love, we become unreasonable for love. Does it make sense at all? Love and reason have never found friendship in each other.

To be wise and love, Exceeds man’s might

(Troilus and Cressida,3.2)

So much sacrifice has been made. And through it all, others can still say, “tis better to have loved than never to have loved at all.”

This is the very ecstacy of love:

Whose violent property fore does itself,
And leads the will to desperate undertakings,
As oft as any passion under heaven,
That does afflict our natures.
(Hamlet, 2.1)

      It is true that love greatly influences our being. The timelessness of love has captured the human heart and soul since time immemorial. It cannot be explained and there is no limit to love.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have,for both are infinite.

(Romeo and Juliet, 2.2)

          There is fulfillment in loving and that’s the very reason why we love. Notice that when you love, you no longer see the negative qualities of the other, you begin to accept everything. You cannot stop loving the person you love for some reason and for all you care it no longer matters if you do not get anything in return. And that’s the miracle of love.

A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind.
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound.

(Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3)

For more readings on Shakespeare's works:

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