“The Mountain Jonquil”

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(I first saw the mountain jonquil described in the book “Francis, the Journey and the Dream” by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM. Fr. Bodo wrote that St. Francis was once gazing at the breathtaking panorama of Assisi and the valley of Spoleto when he looked down and saw a tiny mountain jonquil. St. Francis all at once forgot the majesty of the mountains and the valleys and concentrated on the tiny flower which looked so delicate and trembling in the mountain wind, with its life so brief and vulnerable, but glorifying God by simply being what it was. Then I thought, “I am like the tiny mountain jonquil. Frail, delicate, with life that could be snuffed out in an instant. I cannot claim to be more than what I am. Maybe, knowing and accepting yourself deep down is the basic relationship of a creature to its Creator.” This tiny mountain jonquil inspired me to write this prose.

“The Mountain Jonquil”
(by Teresita Carigma Palos)

The mountain jonquil
Celebrating the dance of life aloft,
Bestowing kisses on the sky.
Resplendent is the tapestry surrounding it,
Of varying forms and hues.
Whilst that tiny flower,
ever so tiny, so simple,
almost unnoticeable
in the midst of more conspicuous beauties.
There it stands proud and vain,
Glorifying the awesome majesty of its Maker,
Witnessing to His nonpareil creativity.
With gaze probing beyond the infinite horizon.
Its minute stature
Effervescent with sunshine and laughter,
Mindless of its trembling and delicate existence.
Preoccupied in just simply being,
And by so being, fulfilling its destiny.

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AWIT PARA KAY SAN ANDRES APOSTOL

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AWIT PARA KAY SAN ANDRES APOSTOL

O San Andres, mahal naming patron
Nang unang marinig kay Juan Bautistang guro,
“Tingnan ninyo, Kordero ng Diyos.”
Tamis ng pagsuyo sa piling ng Panginoon.

O San Andres, ang unang apostol
Akayin mo kami kay Kristo ng ‘yong puso.
Sa ‘yong gabay, aming masumpungan
Tirahan ni Hesus, Mesiyas ng ating buhay.

Chorus:
O San Andres, aming patron
Pinili ng Kordero ng Diyos.
Dakilang Apostol, Martir ni Kristo.
Ituro mo sa ‘min tahanan ng Diyos.

(Repeat Chorus)

Ituro mo sa ‘min tahanan ng Diyos…..

(Words and Music by Teresita Carigma Palos)

(November 30, Feast Day of St. Andrew, the Apostle)

“Happy Feast Day, St. John Calabria (October 8)”

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Io sono Calabrese!!!!

I know very little yet about St. John Calabria. From this day on, he is my friend, if he will have me. He was the founder of the congregation of the Poor Servants of the Divine Providence. For him, to trust in the Divine Providence is to trust in God as Father. In his own words, “To prove to the world that Divine Providence exists, that God is not a stranger, but that He is a Father, He thinks of us, on condition that we think of Him and do our part which is that of seeking first and foremost the Kingdom of God and His justice.” (Cf. Mt. 6, 25-34).

We are all brethren with God as our One Father!

The Conversion of St. Augustine in the Garden

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The Conversion of St. Augustine in the Garden

As St. Augustine was distraught and his heart and soul, wrenched, at the conflict between his concupiscence and worldliness and the call of Christ, and the story about the conversion of his fellow rhetoricians and professors in the university, Victorinus, Simplicianus, Nebridius, and Pontecianus, and touched by the calling of St. Anthony, and the Letters of St. Paul, he ran to the garden, beat his breast and cried to God. He said, “You thrust me before my own eyes…. The day had now come when I stood naked to myself.” Through this struggle of heart and soul, he heard the voice of a child from a nearby house: “Pick up and read, pick up and read.”

St. Augustine picked up St. Paul’s epistles and read the first verse that he opened up to: “Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:13-14). St. Augustine told his friend, Alypius, of his experience. Alypius took the epistle and read the next words: “Receive one who is weak in the faith.” Alypius applied these words to himself and decided to join his friend, St. Augustine, in his resolution to convert to Christianity.

Christian friends will never go to heaven alone. They will bring along with them their friends as company!
(August 27 is St. Monica’s Feast Day. August 28 is St. Augustine’s Feast Day.)

Interior Castle

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Interior Castle

St. Paul says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19).

I was reading the “Interior Castle” of St. Teresa of Avila for the second time when her imagery of our soul as a beautiful castle made of precious diamond where God lives struck me for the first time as vivid and picturesque. Our soul is so precious to God, in a way we can never understand. Then it just struck me how majestic and grandiose God is and it is He Who actually dwells in my soul, created in the image and likeness of Himself. Suddenly, all through my thick layers of human flaws and imperfections, I felt the Spirit of God within the deepest part of me. I felt humbled that such a great God is in me.

Then the imagery of St. Teresa’s silkworm wrapped in its cocoon that has emerged into a beautiful butterfly struck me even more. The worm is myself, very human, very weak. Like the silkworm, I have to use all my human faculties and skills within my power to spin the silk for my cocoon, and God will do His part of transforming such ugly worm into a beautiful butterfly.

Or to use another imagery of St. Teresa, I am just a wax in the Hand of God. For Him to leave His imprint on me, I will just have to let Him stamp His seal on the wax. All I have to do is be pliant.

Suddenly, I thought of the many times when I harshly condemned myself for all my faults and failings. I said to God, “Lord, I don’t want to condemn myself anymore. You know how very weak, very human, very sensual I am. But whatever human part I have, I offer to you completely. I am the human part. You are the Divine part of me. I will do what is within my power as human. I will observe the precepts, teachings and laws of Mother Church. And I leave to You whatever work You want to accomplish in me.”

Then, I felt a kind of peace in me like I never felt before. All my anxieties about pleasing God were dispelled. I only have to cooperate with God. The main action will all depend on Him. Suddenly, things looked relatively simpler than I perceived them before. I will go to Mass as frequently as possible, do my spiritual readings, go to confession regularly, practice charity to my neighbors, and do my work conscientiously. Even my prayer took on a simpler light: pray for priests, for the conversion of the world, and for the salvation of souls. When I entrusted the major work to God, taking on only what really pertains to me as mere human, I felt a ton of burden lifted from me. For the greater part of my life, it was like I was too worried how God would accomplish my salvation, feeling all too burdened by it. The moment I entrusted it all to God, I felt free and light, with a gentle joy and peace in my heart.

God in my soul as His Castle! Keep this Castle pure and worthy of You, Lord. Truly, the Kingdom of God is within us! (cf. Lk 17:21) The King of the Universe dwells in our soul!

Postscript

After several days, I was made to understand that even the human actions that I do are not mine alone. Perhaps, to make me realize that even my efforts at saying my prayers depend on God’s grace, I seemed to have lost one time the sense of devotion and tenderness that I usually had. Truly, everything is grace, both the human and the divine. Even my human nature is a mystery which I cannot arrogate unto myself. Both pertain to God alone! Glory to God forever!

“My Daily Dose of Vitamins”

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I used to dream of becoming a saint one day. In fact, I keep a quasi library full of books about my favorite saints and various books about our faith and the Church. I love and admire all the saints, especially my favorite ones.

Little by little, though, I have come to the bitter truth that, maybe, I can only be a big fan of my favorite saints, admiring them from afar, but never to be like one of them. I saw myself as a terrible far cry from my beloved saints that for a time, I stopped going to daily Holy Mass, convinced that I was not worthy. My mind had never been in such darkness and confusion since I stopped going to daily Mass. I was living every day of my life without a sense of direction and purpose. But I always felt moved to hear the Wednesday Mass with the Novena to our Mother of Perpetual Help. It was like there was a force moving me to hear Mass on a Wednesday. Every novena, I prayed to our Mother of Perpetual Help for all spiritual and material graces that I and my family needed. And it always amazed me how solicitous and magnanimous our Mother of Perpetual Help was in providing all our necessities. Every time I heard the said Wednesday Mass, it gave me a feeling of comfort and peace that I thought the Enemy must be succeeding in preventing me from going to daily Mass by giving me all sorts of apprehensions and doubts. All those times that I was not going to daily Mass, my heart and mind were like plunged in darkness. I had no clear idea of God. I just knew that I was and would always be completely dependent on Him. That one Wednesday Mass felt so good, it dispelled all my grief and doubts about being loved by God.

The Holy Mass is the One Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the Atoning Victim to the Father for the sins of humanity which we celebrate over and over in memorial of that One Sacrifice. Jesus is the active and prime Doer, Who bestows on us every spiritual and material benefit that we need. And I am like a sick patient in need of God’s healing. The Holy Mass is truly my efficacious and potent vitamin which I need to take daily. It gives me strength of mind and spirit and fills me with all hope in the love and mercy of God for a terrible sinner like me. Whatever we are, no matter how grievous our sins are, God’s timing and action in our souls, when and as He sees fitting, will never be amiss. Like the song goes, “I will be still, know You are God.”