“Little Wounded You, Arise!”

Deeper still, in each wounded child, is the child God destined for life eternal. He/she is hidden within us and when we allow Jesus to heal us, this little child will one day run free from the wounds that stop him/her from gaining wings to fly.


Four years ago, while I was still part of Poveda, I was sent by the school to attend a training called, “Healing the Eight Stages of Life.” For four days, I learned a lot of things about myself and about how we can approach people who may not be aware of the “wounded child within.” In a way, it was an affirmation and a breakthrough for me. An affirmation that the path to a deeper relationship with God needs an integration of our lights and shadows and a breakthrough because I realized that healing the inner child does not happen in one go. Healing may be something we all have to face for as long as we are alive.

A while ago, as I sat in Mass and listened to the proclamation of the Gospel, the words that struck me were the ones Jesus enunciated to bring back to life the dead daughter of Jairus:

He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.

The lines brought me to tears and as I looked at the back of the church, I saw the light of the confessional lit in red and yellow.

There will be times when certain events of our lives may trigger to bring out that little wounded child within us. You see, as one grows up, traumatic and very painful experiences wound us to a great extent. Often times, these wounds are hidden only to manifest themselves later when similar instances happen to us. We ought to be aware since these wounds can potentially break us apart and even wound others as well.

In the spiritual sense, these pyschological wounding can lead us to our tendencies to sin. This is why the challenge to a holy and moral life is that of self-mastery. Through God’s grace, we become aware of these wounds we have and we bring it constantly to the healing light of Christ. When the child “comes out” and does a “tantrum,” we need to know how to tame the little child.

Back in 2012, the major breakthrough for me was undergoing counselling sessions with a really good psychologist who specializes in psychospiritual healing. He led me to see the dark parts of me and from what incidences in my childhood trigger the letting loose of the wounded child within me. Right after that very painful but necessary process of unmasking, I was led to my first ever Spiritual Director who navigated me into a deeper life of faith. (It is his birthday today!)

As I entered the confessional a while ago and silently prayed to the Holy Spirit for whatever was that I felt needed healing, sudden flashes of images came to mind. I realized that for some days now, I was not completely aware… the little Lee-an was out on the loose.

“Talitha koum.”

“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.”

And just like that, the Father took His child by the hand, wiped her tears and let her walk freely again.

Today’s Gospel is an invitation to healing. Often times, we may not be aware of our need to be healed but what will drive us to ask of it from the Lord is faith. It was faith that made the hemorrhaging woman seek Jesus out and touch His cloak. It was also faith that led Jairus to find Jesus and beg Him to cure his daughter. We will never grow deeper into the spiritual life if we will not open our hearts to an encounter with Christ. Yes, it may be painful and very uncomfortable to dig deeper and see the parts of us we are afraid to expose and face but to grow in holiness and whole-ness, there is no other way. If we truly want to follow Jesus and live holy lives, we need Jesus to touch us, hold us by the hand, heal us, make us rise from our slumber and walk again.

“Do not be afraid. Just have faith.” Jesus’ words to Jairus are also His words to all of us who may not be aware of the little wounded child within. Jesus came to give us life and restore us to a newness that will bring us much joy. Fear of pain, fear of facing our wounds and shadows will be the hindrance for us to finally having the peace and joy that accompanied the saints who have given their all to the Lord. To surrender should not be partial; we surrender everything – lights and shadows alike. This surrendering and healing can only be a product of grace. This grace we can receive when we frequent two sacraments that bring healing: reconciliation (confession) and the Eucharist.

“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”

Deeper still, in each wounded child, is the child God destined for life eternal. He/she is hidden within us and when we allow Jesus to heal us, this little child will one day run free from the wounds that stop him/her from gaining wings to fly.

Set yourself free. Rise. And as you get to know yourself and love your scars, see how this rising can set the world on fire.

The Cost of Following Christ

The cost of following Jesus is painful but the assurance of peace and joy is there despite all that. Well actually…even remove that sense of “peace and joy!” Because really… the most important thing is that we gain Christ.

I began my day today just like how I have been routinely going through the first thirty minutes since last year – ruminating about what state of life I had at the moment, including all the responsibilities I had, the mission I was pursuing, the duties that needed to be accomplished. Such exercise might prove weird for some but it has been helping me see if I was still doing God’s will or it was just a product of pride. I would go through each one and ask the Lord if it was still a go. For a year, it was usually a peaceful waking; a “yes” to each area. But a month ago, there was this sudden desolation and suddenly, I would lie down in bed longer than usual.

I was picked up by my cousin and our first stop today was to visit the wake of my missionary friends’ 2-month old son, Isidro. It was a heartbreaking stop and I realized how we can never really know when our time is up. We may never really be certain when God will call us back home. I had my usual “whys” as I stared at the little boy’s lifeless body in a bed of flowers. Each why was met by this silence that was both comforting and disturbing at the same time. I left my questions hanging for God to answer later on. He may do so, He may not. But I left them there, anyway – mingled with the suppressed tears. I took a last look at Isidro’s parents, Kuya Cocoi and Ate Gay and walked away.

We were kind of late for our symposium in Everest International School. A former classmate, Ms. Amelie, invited us to attend “Sexuality, Gender and Education” given by Fr. Joseph Tham. As I entered, I was surprised to see familiar faces with us: the teachers and pastoral team of Don Bosco Technical College – Mandaluyong to whom I gave a workshop recently on new methods of teaching the faith. They were right behind us and the teachers who I encountered became my group mates too.

Fr. Tham gave us the basics of what we believe as a Church with regards to sexuality and gender identity. He ended with a documentary entitled, “The Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” which featured the life experiences of three people who found their way back to Jesus after acting out their same sex attractions. There as the film rolled, I found myself crying. I realized that God was speaking to me in the experiences of conversion I was listening to and that the unquenchable desire for God and Heaven is, indeed, present in every human heart. Since I began teaching and doing missionary work for Live Life, that “unquenchable desire” has always been part of the narrative in all the engagements I was asked to give. It spoke to me again this morning because… that desire has been so alive and burning within for the past year.

We ended the session with a mass and I was grinning at some parts, looking at the crucifix, because two Salesians concelebrated the mass. One was a classmate in Theology. There were funny moments between me and the Lord during the Liturgy. Funny, because, I realized how I never expected “Don Bosco” to be present with me that day but he was. It was really funny, I couldn’t help but smile at times (hoping no one saw the silly expressions!).

Oh but it was that homily from a Legionaries of Christ priest that brought me to tears and the sudden revelation of the ruminations I had that morning and the whys I asked God earlier in the wake. Father began his homily with a curious question about getting hurt when we love. I smiled. I think I knew that too well. And then he reminded everyone of today’s feast – ahhh…it was Sts. Peter and Paul’s Feast Day. To those who know me well, they would know why I would be very emotional at the mention of St. Peter and St. Paul and maybe God did use these moments of the day to remind me of the cost of the “yes” I had been renewing each day.

What made St. Peter and Paul endure to the very end? It was the constant recollection and basking in the mercy and love of Christ. They were both terrible sinners yet chosen to do great things for God and somehow, I found myself in the same position too. When they followed Jesus, what was the cost of it? We all know they treaded a very dark and painful road; it was not a bed of roses for them both. But from that experience of being pardoned and loved and embraced thoroughly by the Lord, it made them single-minded for the mission. There may be points of weaknesses but they both ended just the same way their Master did – in a pool of blood, in persecution, in death. Tragic it may seem but that was what was expected of following Jesus – it was to love without counting the cost and to love until the end. St. Paul would say, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Both their lives ended in Calvary and yet God raised them up to glory. They both found the fulfilment of their “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.”

Why did God take Isidro away? Why did He allow His faithful servants to suffer? Why do we hurt so much when we love unconditionally despite being betrayed by our friends and yet we love them still anyway? Why do we love when reason may tell us it’s crazy and yet we love until the end? Why this road of suffering as the cost of following Christ? Why should we forgive when we have been repeatedly stabbed in the back and in front by people we have considered family for the past ten years? Why should we put “our dreams” on hold for the greatest dream of the “Everlasting Hills”? Why should we go to Calvary? Why the cross?

Father said, “Sts. Peter and Paul looked at Jesus. It was Him. It is He.”

The Gospel today asks this question, “Who do you say I am?” I found myself again in the shoes of Peter. I could not do anything but cry. Because of all the whys I asked and all the whys I had in the past months, I still knew what to do: I shall still say yes to Christ. There was no other way. No other path. No other option. I think I have reached this point when I find no other options to wake up in the morning but to do what He desires me to do. Despite the hush gossips of others who do not understand. Despite the raised eyebrows. Despite the many whys that could go on an endless list unanswered.

It is still Jesus. It is only “He” who mattered. No one else, nothing else. Only Jesus.

I remembered Kuya Cocoi and Ate Gay and Isidro – that was the painful cost of following Christ. Absurd to human reason but faith supplies.

I remembered the three people in The Desire of the Everlasting Hills and the cost of following Christ meant a complete turnaround, a loss of many things but a gaining of Heaven.

I remembered my journey of the past year and how the call to die every single day is still something I am very far from gaining but I would not have it any other way.

The cost of following Jesus is painful but the assurance of peace and joy is there despite all that. Well actually…even remove that sense of “peace and joy!” Because really… the most important thing is that we gain Christ.

“For to me, to live is Christ and death is gain,” (Philippians 1:21) says St. Paul. It is a hard declaration to do but it must reach that point when we desire to lay down everything for God.

Death is gain. Pain is gain. Suffering is gain.

Just recently, I had my last session with my Spiritual Director. He gave me pointers on what I believe the Lord is teaching me now – Holy Indifference. He referred to what St. Francis of Sales wrote in his Treatise on the Love of God:

Take notice, I pray you, Theotimus, how the life of the Apostles was filled with afflictions: in the body by wounds, in the heart by anguish, according to the world by infamy and prisons, and in all these, – O God! what Indifference they had! Their sorrow is joyous, their poverty rich, their death life-giving, their dishonour honourable, that is, they are joyful for being sad, content to be poor, strengthened with life amid the dangers of death, and glorious in being made vile, because – such was the will of God. And whereas the will of God was more recognized in sufferings than in the actions of virtues, he ranks the exercise of patience first, saying: But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses: and then, towards the end, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering.

Sts. Peter and Paul had this Holy Indifference. It is a virtue very hard to attain but much to be desired. The cost of following Christ should lead us to this Holy Indifference: “Not my will but Yours be done,” as Christ said in Gethsemane. And then He walked to the cross. And then He was raised to glory.

Happy Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul!

On Waiting

In the waiting, focus more on the faithful and generous Giver instead of the one you are waiting for. Long for the Lord more than what your heart has been longing for. If we focus our longings on Him who is the only one that satisfies then our hearts will be at rest. And so when the day comes that everything is revealed, there will be much rejoicing in the surprise simply because you waited in peace.


There I stood in the bus stop, I waited. There were no Bicutan-bound buses in sight. I sighed and checked my watch. Thirty minutes had passed and I was still in the exact same spot.

People who were taking the MIA and Ayala Leveriza route rode their buses in ease. I envied them. From outside, one can see how comfortable they were. It was airconditioned, the seats looked neat and the buses still seemed new.

The seconds ticked by and there I saw one passed me by. The sign was big and red: SM BICUTAN-SUCAT. But it zoomed towards the stoplight and though I wanted to run so I can finally go home,  a horde of people rushed towards the dilapidated vehicle and pushed themselves to enter. Wouldn’t want to be caught in a stampede, I thought.

Two buses, three buses, four buses, sixty precious minutes “wasted.” I told the Lord, “Wow, hanggang EDSA, waiting pa ‘rin?” (Wow, even in EDSA, I still have to wait.) And as usual, when I open a conversation with Him just like that, He begins His “lecture” with flashbacks. There He goes again with my memories.

My desperate heart was silenced when in all the memories I “saw,” I found out how much I was loved by the Lord. I realized that in those sixty minutes that I stood in EDSA Shaw, I never even thought of praying. I was too preoccupied with getting a bus and going home that I forgot what was essential in uncertain situations. In the midst of the unknown, go to the one who knows. So I inhaled deeply, closed my eyes and prayed.

Continue reading “On Waiting”