Thursday, August 28, 2008

“Are you a Catholic priest?”

“Perdone, ¿Usted es un sacerdote católico, verdad? ¿Habla español?” (Excuse me, you are a Catholic priest, right?” “Do you speak Spanish?)

I was on my knees before the Blessed Sacrament inside the Adoration Chapel of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral when a Spanish-speaking fellow approached me with these questions.
Taken aback, I answered positively to both querries as I noticed that the one asking was also wearing a black clergyman like me.

“¿Usted me puede confesar?” (Will you hear my confession?) he went on, leaving me no time to respond. In one of the benches of the cathedral, on the left side of the tomb of St. James, the Apostle, I absolved a brother-priest whose name I never had time to ask.

After the absolution, he thanked me gratefully and went to the chapel of the Blessed Virgin while I went back to the Adoration Chapel.

* * *

Perhaps, the experience is so common in such a place of pilgrimage like Santiago de Compostela – one of the three great pilgrimage sites in the whole Christendom, the others are Rome and Holy Land – but to me, it was a very significant one as it struck me profoundly.

Certainly, it was not the first time that I was approached by a brother priest for confession. During monthly and annual retreats of the clergy, we hear each other’s confession. And we normally choose the priest whom we are familiar with.

But being asked by an unknown brother priest for confession after being identified by the clergyman that I wear is quite significant. At that moment, I could appreciate better my vocation.

The experience has filled my heart with so much gratitude to our Lord for letting me participate in His priestly ministry. It has made me reflect more on my identity as a priest.

* * *

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus made His disciples reflect more on His identity when He asked them: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter, almost without reflecting on the answer, replied: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

A priest could understand more his identity when he could find a definitive answer to the perennial question that Christ poses him: “Who do you say that I am?”

“Who is Jesus Christ for me?” Is he just another wise man in history that has touched a million lives? A national hero whose cause is worth dying for? An ideal thinker whose revolutionary doctrines, I believe, could change the world?

* * *

Wise man He definitely is! And He has touched not just a million lives, but millions of lives in the course of human history. But He is not just another historical figure added to thousands that we can find in history books.

St. Josemaria Escriva, in The Way, once wrote: “Christ is not just a figure in the past. He is not just a memory lost in history. He is alive! ‘Iesus Christus heri et hodie: ipse et in saecula’ – St. Paul said. Jesus Christ is yesterday, today and forever!” (n. 584).

Today, there is a need to be more conscious of this truth: that Jesus Christ is a person who is alive and always present in our midst and that we can – and should – approach Him anytime we want in the same way we approach a father, a brother or a friend, with whom we confide our worries and concerns.

Jesus is not just another Mahatma Gandhi or another Ninoy Aquino whose ideals are ‘worth dying for’ but whose persons we can never experience anymore.

* * *

In the Holy Eucharist, we experience the living presence of Christ: first, the Liturgy of the Word; second, in the Bread and Wine that later become His Body and Blood; third, in the presence of the priest, who presides in the celebration “in nomine Christi capitis” (in the name of Christ, the Head).

And here is where the challenge for all priests lies: in identifying himself with Christ, in trying to maintain the presence of Christ in him, in the Eucharistic celebration and outside of it. And the challenge is great!

In the Adoration Chapel of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, I was identified as a priest by the clergyman that I wear. How I wish and pray that all priests would be identified with Christ, not only by outside manifestations, but also by their (our) interior life.

“So that whenever people see you, they will say ‘This man has read the life of Christ’.” (St. Josemaria). “And they will see your good works and give praise to your heavenly Father.” (Jesus Christ) (Cfr. Mt 5:13-16)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Discover the 90/10 Principle

It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations). What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.

We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened. What happens next will be determined by how you react. You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.
Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home.

When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter. Why? …. Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?
The answer is "D".
You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "Its ok honey, you just need to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having. Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different. Why? Because of how you REACTED. You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you!

React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc. How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive? Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it. You are told you lost your job.
> Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take outpour frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse. Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle. The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!! Enjoy….

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Are you a carrot, an egg or coffee?

You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the co ffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her
daughter, she asked, 'Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter
smiled as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same
adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in
strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coff ee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situ ation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008












Monday, May 19, 2008

Three Things in Life

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back

1. Time
2. Words

Three things in life that can destroy a person

1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose

1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable

1. Love
2. Family & Friends
3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain

1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person

1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work

Three things that are truly constant -

Father - Son - Holy Spirit

I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today,
to guide you and protect you, as you go along your way.
God's love is always with you,
God's promises are true.
And when you give God all your cares,

you know God will see you through.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thank you, friends, for your time!

A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture....Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,"

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

5. You mean the world to someone.

6. If not for you, someone may not be living.

7. You are special and unique.

8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time, sooner or later, you will get it or something better.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

13 . Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy .

14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Funny Quotes for the lighter side in us!

Funny quotes on t-shirt give the gift of smiles to passersby and laughter to friends and loved ones.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.
-- Albert Einstein

As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take the course he will. He will be sure to repent. -- Socrates

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
-- Oscar Wilde

My advice to you is to get married. If you find a good wife, you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher. --- Socrates

To cease smoking is the easiest thing. I ought to know. I've done it a thousand times. -- Mark Twain

Youth is a malady of which one becomes cured a little every day.
-- Benito Mussolini

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we
didn't. -- Erica Jong

A rich man's joke is always funny. -- Proverb

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


A man was sick and tired of going to work every day while his wife stayed
home. He wanted her to see what he went through so he prayed:

'Dear Lord: I go to work every day and put in 8 hours while my wife merely
stays at home. I want her to know what I go through, so please allow her
body to switch with mine for a day. Amen.'

God, in his infinite wisdom, granted the man's wish..

The next morning, sure enough, the man awoke as a woman.

He arose, cooked breakfast for his mate,

Awakened the kids,

Set out their school clothes,

Fed them breakfast,

Packed their lunches,

Drove them to school,

Came home and Picked up the dry cleaning,

Took it to the cleaners and

Stopped at the bank to make a deposit,

Went grocery shopping, then drove home to put away the groceries, Paid the
bills and balanced the check book.

He cleaned the cat's litter box and bathed the dog.

Then it was already 1P.M. And he hurried to make the beds,

Do the laundry, vacuum, dust, and sweep and

Mop the kitchen floor.

Ran to the school to pick up the kids and

Got into an argument with them on the way home.

Set out milk and cookies and

Got the kids organized to do their homework,

Then set up the ironing board and

Watched TV while he did the ironing.

At 4:30 he began peeling potatoes and

Washing vegetables for salad,

Breaded the pork chops and

Snapped fresh beans for supper.

After supper, he cleaned the kitchen,

Ran the dishwasher, Folded laundry,

Bathed the kids, and put them to bed

At 9 P.M. He was exhausted and, though his daily chores weren't finished,

He went to bed where he was expected to make love, which he managed to get
through without complaint.

The next morning, he awoke and immediately knelt by the bed and said:

-'Lord, I don't know what I was thinking. I was so wrong to envy my Wife's'
being able to stay home all day. Please, oh! Oh! Please, let us Trade

The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, replied:

'My son, I feel you have learned your lesson and I will be happy to change
things back to the way they were. You'll just have to wait nine months
though. You got pregnant last night.' ---------------------

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Leaving Their Best Friends Behind

A man and his dog were walking along a road.
The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble.
At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then, with his dog, turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there" The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump."
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.
The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked. "This is Heaven," was the answer.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"
"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."

Moral of the Story...
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word.
Maybe this could explain:
"When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do -- you forward jokes.
When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.
When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how, you forward jokes."
And to let you know, that, you are still remembered, you are still important,
you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke from me.
So my friend, next time if you get a joke, don't think that I have sent you just a joke,
but that I have thought of you today and wanted to send you a smile.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Double Adventure: Zipline at Camp Sabros & Trek to Tudaya Falls

April 27, 2008

I did not expect it would push through. But after planning it with my two nieces and friends, plus in coordination with a generous family in Kapatagan -- the Osorio family -- we hopped in to an hour ride going to Digos on a Metro bus one hot Saturday afternoon.

Upon arrival, we didn't know where to take the van going to Kapatagan. Thanks to generous people around, we were told to take a tricycle ride going to the old terminal where later we discovered that the father of the Osorio family who owns one van, was already waiting for us. It was raining then.Another hour of waiting for the van to be filled up seemed an eternity. But we managed to keep the spirit alive with some jokes and humorous stories inside the van. The camera did a lot of work.

Finally, our drooping spirit was revived upon contemplating the verdant and lush vegetation, plus the scenic spots going up the hills of Kapatagan. Most of us wonder where the name came. We can hardly see "patag" around.An hour ascend and that brought us to a total of three hours of travel to the much desired place of the second longest zipline in the Philippines (according to the research of our "not-so-excited" companion). But we had to settle in the house of our friend, Bong, because the day was over. Most of us suffered from "itchy feet" and wanted to trek the dark paths going to the parish church where we paid an unexpected visit to the parish priest.

The drizzle had stopped, replaced by strong downfall. (In Visayan: "Mohunong ra nang taligsik kung mag-ulan.") But thank God we were already enjoying the native chicken soup courtesy of Bong's mother. The viand that night was of three kinds -- chicken soup, fried chicken & chicken adobo. Yet the majority never paid much attention to it. After all, not all had taken lunch (like Aries, Jason and Junel). Another bonding session over bottles of RH (just to warm our bodies), plus some acoustics (from our lead guitar, Aries) and smoke sticks, and soon we were driven by lethargy into deep sleep, taking refuge in thick blankets amidst the freezing cold of the night. (Well, this next photo does not picture what I mean...)We had to wake up early for the 6:30 am mass since it was Sunday, a day of obligation. During the 6:30 am mass, I was tasked to give the homily. Two of my friends came in the middle of it. Well, perhaps due to the cold weather...

After the mass, we were entertained by the great sight before us: the majestic Mt. Apo. Then, after contemplating the beauty of the enchanted mountain, seen from the terrace of the parish residence, we proceeded to what excited every nerve left unfrozen in us.

Breakfast was quick, we didn't know why. Was it because of the "batikulon" that one of us dreaded most to eat? But the ride on a 4-wheel drive multicab was not that quick. We got stranded in the middle of the muddy and sloppy road, that most of us preferred to walk rather than to dive into the mud! (This photo was taken two seconds after Jason's dive...)After the fall, what should be done? Be sad? Lament about it all your life? After one unintentional mistake, what to do? Forever lamenting something you don't even intend? Of course not! Get up and DANCE TO THE MUSIC, yeah! That's what they're doing...joining Bro in dancing with life. For after all, life must go the zipline...
Uncle Father and nieces, BonBon and ChaCha...enjoying each other's company. What an opportunity for bonding!
You think we're in Baguio? We're on the way up there...we opted going there on foot coz the 4WD got stranded somewhere down there...
You can't notice the tiredness, only the excitement. And the camera can't wait.
Well, we enjoyed taking photos along the way, anyway. Then, suddenly there appeared before us the signboard that says "Welcome to Camp Sabros".

After paying the tickets, we waited patiently for our turn. We've learned that "patience is indeed a virtue". I guess, a few minutes ride on a 380m zipline or the 400m one is worth the two-hour wait! Don't you think so? Well, let our photos tell you the rest of the story.

The Adventure continues . . .

Tudaya Falls Adventure

SOMEONE FALLS AT TUDAYA FALLS. It was Junel who said: "to go to Tudaya falls is to die". Exaggerated, I know. But for the first timers in steep descent and ascent, it could be true...metaphorically speaking. For literally, one may just suffer from sudden falls...just like Aries, who in this photo just got up from the Fall.But we have to be thankful to Aries. Because of him, we were able to learn the lesson in mountain trekking: you have to take it seriously, especially the slopes and the slippery. Well, Bong seemed to be used to it (though it was his first time to come to Tudaya falls). Jason was just observing as Cha-Cha danced her "cha-cha" way down all the way.
That's my boy! Not even how many falls could dampen his energetic spirit. He stood up and proudly faced the camera with a renewed smile. Don't touch me, BonBon said, reminding Aries of his soiled hands, courtesy of the Fall. Well, everybody had fun, and that's what is important.
I don't know why. But every time the group passed by some boulders of rocks, we felt the urge to take photos. I know it sounds strange but we didn't have time to decipher how it sounds. The flash of the camera seemed to banish the lethargy and to bring us back our draining energy.
Everybody smiled and screamed for joy as suddenly the falls appeared before us. It has successfully kept us in suspense as we only heard the noise it produces. Now, it's there, said Bro and Junel. But for BonBon and Aries, the camera is more important.

They say, "you'll forget the pain once you get the price". All the troubles along the way seemed insignificant as soon as we contemplate the beauty of nature: the Tudaya falls. Have you seen that look in Aries' eyes? That says it all!"Hurry up, Bro," Aries seemed to say. "I can't wait to relish it!" Let's see what we can do with this gigantic falls. One can only enjoy its peripheries.
Well, Junel seems to be enjoying it so much. He's quite playing it as if he wasn't aware of the camera. Atik na, nel. Kumita na yan!
You see, even from here you can get drenched.
Going up takes less time than going down. This was the group's sentiment. And it was quite true. Of course, the secret of staying alive and kicking is the camera flash. SMIIILE!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom: the movie


While hunting down bootleg kung-fu DVDs in a Chinatown pawnshop, Jason makes an extraordinary discovery that sends him hurtling back in time to ancient China. There, Jason is charged with a monumental task: he must free the fabled warrior the Monkey King, who has been imprisoned by the evil Jade Warlord. Jason is joined
in his quest by wise kung fu master Lu Yan and a band of misfit warriors including Silent Monk. But only by learning the true precepts of kung fu can Jason hope to succeed - and find a way to get back home.

Jesus values friendship

Have you ever wondered why Jesus would always take three of His Apostles along with Him to some important events during His public ministry?

In the Transfiguration, Matthew noted that "after six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light" (Mt 17: 1-9).

In raising the daughter of Jairus, Luke has this account: "When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother (Lk 8:51).

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew again tells us: "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James, John ) along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me" (Mt 26:36).

Among His 12 Apostles, Jesus has three circle of friends with whom He shared moments of glory (Transfiguration), of sorrow (Gethsemane) and of joy (important miracles): PETER, JAMES & JOHN.

Besides, among the three "best friends", Jesus has a special friend, whom the Evangelist John called "the Beloved Disciple" or "the disciple that Jesus loved". In fact, in John's account of the Last Supper, the Evangelist made mention of the Beloved Disciple "reclining on Jesus' bosom".

"There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking." He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" (John 13:23-25). (See photo above).

What does it tell us?

It's telling us that friendship forms an essential part in the life of Jesus. Being truly human and being like us in all things except sin, Jesus must have also enjoyed the friendship of His disciples.

"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (Jn 15:15).

It also means that in following the Lord friendship is an essential element. Discipleship is nothing else but "being friends with Jesus". And for those who are following the Lord in the priesthood, friendship also plays an important role as it is an essential element of the priestly ministry.

Making friends with co-seminarians and formators is an essential element of seminary formation, just as Jesus (The Ultimate Formator) was a friend to all His disciples and the disciples (the formandi) were friends among themselves.

Jesus also sees in friendship an opportunity to do apostolate. When He brought His circle of friends to witness some important events in His life, He was not just trying to appear "agreeable" and "likable" to them (like one who invites his newly-found barkadas out to drinks, coffee, movies, dinner, KTV, etc. so they would admire him or think bad of him by misinterpreting his gestures...).

No. Jesus was trying to teach them make them know and understand Him, His message, His way of thinking. A kind of bonding, yes it was. But with a purpose: to make them think, talk and do things the way He does -- TO HELP THEM BECOME CHRIST-LIKE, for that is what it means to be His disciple. In a sense, it was part of their formation.

Of course, at first, they often did not understand Him. They mistook Him, His words, His gestures. Only after He was raised from the dead did they understand Him well. And the CIRCLE OF FRIENDS had contributed a lot to the whole group's understanding of WHO JESUS REALLY WAS, and of what He was really trying to teach them.

We can say, it was Jesus' strategy of forming His disciples. We can also say, it was His natural way of dealing with them as their formator -- Jesus, being truly human Himself.

For one who has been given the task of forming souls, nothing is wrong, I guess, with following the style of Jesus. Of course, not in an exaggerated way.

But just a piece of advice: IF YOU WISH TO FOLLOW JESUS' STYLE, BE SURE TO HAVE FIRST, JESUS' HEART. For the heart of Jesus treasures so much the value of friendship. And only through, with and in the heart of Jesus, true friendship can flourish.

"Sacerdotes, 'consagrados en la Verdad'"

Estar inmersos en la Verdad, en Cristo, de este proceso forma parte
la oración, en la que nos ejercitamos en la amistad con Él y aprendemos a
conocerle: su forma de ser, de pensar, de actuar. Rezar es un caminar en
comunión personal con Cristo, exponiendo ante Él nuestra vida cotidiana,
nuestros logros y nuestros fracasos, nuestras fatigas y nuestras alegrías -es un
simple presentarnos a nosotros mismos ante Él. Pero para que esto no se
convierta en un autocontemplarse, es importante que aprendamos continuamente a
rezar rezando con la Iglesia.