For the Wind will Always Blow Where it Wills

wind-dandelion

“If it is God’s will, He will bring you there no matter what.” I held on to this as 2016 began. I came out of a room in the Seminaryo with much hope despite the uncertainty. My Spiritual Director gave me a hug and reminded me to “shine for God, Lee-an.” “Remember that the lamp should not be hidden. Its purpose is to shine. So shine, Lee-an. The light is inside you. Shine!”

Two months ago, I was checking the schedule for the last semester I had in Don Bosco Center of Studies. Finally, I thought, this would be the last card I will be signing and the last enrollment I will ever do. As I copied my schedule, my eyes drifted to the schedules beside the postings for the Saturday Master in Religious Studies group. For a moment, I stopped what I was doing and found myself wondering what it would feel if I sat down in the classes in the other department. I smiled, shook my head and muttered, “impossible.” Because even if it tickled my curiosity, I thought that studying with a bunch of seminarians on weekdays seemed out of this world. I had an amazing job then at Poveda and I was happy where I was. Surely, it was just a fleeting “what if” running in my head, right? I can let go of the thought of imagining myself taking Pastoral Communications, Johannine Writings, Pneumatology, Spiritual Theology, Ethics, etc., right? It doesn’t make sense to quit my job, take another path and subject myself to another round of sailing into the uncertain seas, right? Little did I know that those questions actually took root in my heart and that God was probably smiling at how I was belittling how grace can actually work in the seemingly absurd and craziest of situations.

I passed my pink enrollment card to Ms. Gina, beamed as she said, “Matatapos ka na,” and walked away. As I was nearing the staircase, I walked back to the schedule board and checked it out again. I entertained the thought that crossed my mind as I scanned the schedules of those taking Theology: “But, what if?”

“But Father, I am happy where I am. I am having the time of my life! It’s just that, the images of those schedules bother me from time to time. I want to switch my mind off.”

Fr. Mike smiled. “I understand that you are happy but Lee-an, but as if you never learned what God has been teaching you all along.”

“I do not understand.”

“Isn’t there any hint of longing in between those bouts of joy?”

I paused for a while and closed my eyes. As how it was each time I was with my Spiritual Director, some images of the past came flitted into memory and there I felt it – I knew I desired something more even if I was deliriously happy where I was. And then a familiar question, “What if?”

“Imagine you are on your deathbed and the regrets of the past come crashing down on you. If God brings up this “what if,” would you be happy you did not even try?”

It was Holy Week of 2016. I went on an alay-lakad with friends and proceeded to attend the Holy Week Retreat with the Cenacle Sisters. For four days, I was made to reflect on the Gospel wherein Nicodemus spoke to Jesus in secret. I struggled with my “what ifs,” and tried so hard to reason out with God. “I am not brave enough to do something this crazy, Lord.” 

It was a beautiful Saturday night at the Cenacle. I was almost at the end of my retreat and I still didn’t have the guts to say yes to what was glaringly clear before me. I prayed for grace, for a word of assurance, for courage.

“Then we were invited to remember Abraham, our Father in Faith because he put all his trust in God. As somebody puts it very well, trust is the jump we make when we cannot understand anymore. So often in our lives, we don’t under-stand what is happening in us and around us but we are invited to trust. And then, in His own way, God “sees,” God “pro-vides,” and the lamb that suddenly appears –in the bush, in our lives–is the sign of God’s fidelity, the assurance of His presence.”

What is the blessing of darkness? That we become helpless and empty, unable to understand, and yet allowing God to work silently in us, to invite us to hope and trust in Him, simply because Jesus is risen, and His new life is within us, even if it is so hidden most of the time. The spark of the Divine is in us: the fire of his love in our hearts, the light of his wisdom in our minds, even if so dim.

-Fr. Robert Champoux, SJ

The next day, I sat down on my last session with the sister who helped me discern.

“You look very happy! So what was God’s message?”

I told sister that I may not know what may be ahead of me but I am sure that God wants me to take a crazy leap of faith. I may still have so many questions but when has God really failed me in my life? He had always been faithful even if I wasn’t. He had always provided even if I did not ask. And if He loves me this much, who am to say no when He asks me to jump?

“What passage in John’s Gospel struck you the most?”

Fighting my tears I read:

The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?”Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?

-John 3:8-10

He came to Poveda an hour earlier from his scheduled Mass. I was excited to talk to him again as I admired him greatly for his humility and passion. The phone rang in the office and I was told by the President to meet the mass presider in her office. I ran, opened the door and found his familiar smile greeting me as I entered.

“Kamusta na?” He said.

I proceeded on telling him what happened during my retreat and how I finally decided to resign from Poveda.

“You did tell me two years ago that I will leave two years later.”

He chuckled and asked me what my plans were. I replied that I still wasn’t sure yet but I have several options I was currently entertaining. Probably sensing there was more to what I was saying, he pointed out:

“But is that what you truly desire? What do you really want?”

I mentioned to him how I desired to teach Theology and how I’d like to make people understand that it is not simply an intellectual exercise. Theologizing should lead us to a deeper relationship with the One who we are getting to know more and more.

He looked at me intently for a minute and he said the words that confirmed what God really wanted me to do:

“Go take Theology. Take it with the brothers. I will support you. Don’t worry about the tuition. The Church needs people who will do just as you desire.”

“Are you joking?” I clarified.

He laughed and slapped my arm.

“Mukha ba akong nag-jojoke, Lee-an?”

I hugged the good priest after his mass and at that moment I knew that as he wrapped his fatherly arms around me, that was God embracing me and reminding me to take courage.

“This is just the beginning,” the good priest said.

Today, I write this on the last day of 2016. I am now taking Theology with the brothers on…weekdays. How I was able to sustain myself this year was not how I imagined it to be. I lived day by day not knowing what will happen and only hope became my reason to continue the crazy, uncertain journey.

I battled with my questions, I went through the pain of His silence and I almost lost hope.

Do I regret letting go of Poveda? In a way yes. It was painful for me to let go of my students and the family to whose spirituality I attribute much of who I am today. Then again, there are greater desires that I had to pursue and greater dreams that I needed to risk for. God was calling me to something more I know not what up to this very day.

2016 became a learning year for me. I felt the joy of Mary of Bethany as she sat with Jesus and listened to His every word. It was a pause that was needed; an out-of-this-world leap of faith that many questioned. Even I, at the later part of 2016 questioned the Lord again why I had to take the road less traveled when I could be an ordinary 8 to 5 office worker, doing the usual stuff ordinary 29-year-olds were doing.

But as my Spiritual Director said during our session this December, “God called you for something else and even if you may not be the ordinary 8 to 5 Millenial, admit it that you are happier and content doing this extraordinary call. You wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, right? You might be happier than the rest of them are.”

“So shine, Lee-an! There are unlimited possibilities that await those who say yes to His will. Take the lamp out from hiding. Go and let His face shine in you that the rest of the world may see.”

2016 was a year of painful uncertainty but it taught me greatly that when I put my hope in God who is the only certainty, I have nothing to fear. The Wind will always blow where It wills.

So 2017, let’s shine for the Lord. Bring it on. 

Advertisements

Finding Nazareth: Letting Go, Moving On, Finding Home

holy-family-2

It was 2011. Clutching a letter I will never send to the person who broke my heart, I approached the life-sized Belen in the chapel of the nuns of the Servants of Saint Joseph. Feeling weak in the knees, I knelt and clutched the letter to my chest. “It is so hard to let go,” I whispered. I bowed my head, trying to fight the tears. But in the stillness of that night on the 29th of December, in the solitude of the provincial house of the sisters who took me in, I wept like I never did in my life.

I felt like a wreck after a four-year relationship. Fresh from World Youth Day – Madrid, what I was half-dreading came true: he left me for someone else. I remember telling the Lord during the Vigil night with the Pope: “If there is anything hindering me from totally being Yours, take it away. I only want to do Your will.” Having an inkling of what God might demand, I added: “But not this. Not us.”

I still held the letter close to my chest. My counselor made it clear the day before why I was with the nuns that night. I had to do the second to the last “letting go letter” and leave it in front of the tabernacle. It was a necessary step in my road to healing. I had to let go. I had to let it go.

I looked at the image of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, my eyes blurred by tears. “I was not expecting it would be this painful. I did not ask for pain. Why?” It was around ten in the evening and just like His reply to every “Why,” I was met by something I dreaded. I was met by silence.

“Come to us in Nazareth,” she said after I told her my story. “We just live a tricycle away from the hospital. Come spend a night with us.”

I was still a nurse back in 2011. That week, I was assigned to take care of an elderly nun from a congregation called Servias de San Jose. I recall entering the room filled with nuns who smiled at me warmly as I introduced myself. They noticed the cross I was wearing as asked if I was Catholic. I nodded and told them I just came from World Youth Day. I found myself going back to stay in that room longer after my shift. They made me share my story and I also listened to theirs.

That week, too, my counselor told me that it was time for me to do the second to the last activity: I had to pour out my feelings in a letter to the person who caused me pain. “You have forgiven three persons who have hurt you the most from way back. Before you get to forgive the last person, you must let go of this one.” The last person I had to forgive was me. I would never get to forgiving myself until I let go of my resentment with the others. And so on that 29th of December, I found myself in front of the gates of the nuns who I met in the hospital.

“Welcome to Nazareth,” one sister said.

“Nazareth…Nazareth.” The word “Nazareth” was chanted beautifully during lauds and vespers. It struck a familiar yet still mysterious chord in my heart that day. I knew the Lord was telling me something. But just like how God beautifully writes the stories of our lives, I wouldn’t know what it meant until I finally opened my hands and said: “I’m letting go of the hurt, Lord. I forgive the person. I am finally letting go.”

My counselor looked at me in the eye and leaned forward when I told him why I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive. With a fatherly tone, he said: “Forgiveness is not a two-way street, my dear. You call that reconciliation. Would God grant us that? Praise the Lord if that will happen! But you see, forgiveness is really something you give without expecting anything in return. Forgiveness is really not to affirm the other that what he did doesn’t matter anymore. Forgiveness is something you do for you. It means that you are letting go of the hate so that light can finally shine through the cracks of your heart. Only then can you be free. Only then can you be at peace.”

I couldn’t still leave the letter in the manger before me. I wasn’t still very brave enough to do so. With a heavy heart, I turned my back and walked towards my room. “Let me do it tomorrow, Lord. Grant me the grace to just let it go.” I remember putting the letter in my Bible that night and just like any other night unknown to the world at rest, I cried myself to sleep.

“Happy Feast Day!” I was greeted by the nuns that morning. It was the congregation’s Feast Day – The Feast of the Holy Family. “You coming here is no coincidence,” the vocation directress told me.

I joined the entire province for lunch and I sat beside a very kind sister. She asked me how my stay was and I thanked her for welcoming me. I told her that staying there with them was a grace from the Lord since I prayed specifically for a place where I can do my counseling activity.

“Did God tell you a particular message while you were staying here?” I thought about it for a moment and I remembered the word that constantly made an impression on me from the very beginning. “There is one, sister. I still do not know though what it means. I only keep hearing the word, Nazareth.” I was sure I saw her eyes twinkle as I mentioned the word. She gave me a warm smile, held my hand and explained:

“You know, Lee-an, Nazareth is where Jesus spent His growing years in. There in that place He stayed with Joseph and Mary. Lee-an, Nazareth is the home of the Holy Family. Nazareth means home.” 

Sister squeezed my hand and looked at me with a gaze that made me tear up.

“Nazareth means you are home, Lee-an. From whatever tiresome journey you’ve gone through, Nazareth tells you: Welcome home. Welcome home, Lee-an.”

I ran to the room where I stayed to get hold of my Bible. I was home! How foolish of me to not let go when God has welcomed me in His home? I opened my Bible to get the letter.

It was gone.

“Well, maybe God did what you couldn’t. He took it away without you knowing. And you know what? That is how He loves you. Maybe He wants to tell you now that you should carry on. He’s got you covered. You only have to be still. When you are home in His arms, you only have to be still. Be still now, my child. Hush that questioning heart and just relish the feeling of being home.”

I left Servias that day with a peace that I knew came from the God who welcomed me home. Did the pain leave with the letting go? No. And it was there as I walked, waving goodbye to the kind sisters, that I realized how forgiveness can give us peace. That kind of peace that sits comfortably with pain and embraces it for peace does not mean the absence of pain. Peace is knowing that you have God within. Peace is being home with the God who loves us.

A week later from the day I left Servias, I received a text from the same nun who journeyed with me. The letter was still nowhere to be found. I remember rushing to the Adoration Chapel nearby filled with joy that God did something extraordinary to remind me how much He loved me dearly. I remember, too, that it was on that day that I began praying for the person who I loved and yet hurt me. Finally, after God affirming me that He wants me to move on, I did.

I gazed at Him and at that moment I knew…I was free.

Five years from that day, I finally found the courage to write this story. Looking back, I do not actually regret having gone through that moment of pruning. Yes, it is painful to subject your heart to the healing process but remember that a plant only bears much fruit when some parts of it gets cut away and pruned. It is only when you allow God to purify you that you will experience incomparable joy and I’m glad I made the decision to let Him have His way in me.

Five years from that day, I am still home. I have found Nazareth and if there is one thing I should not let go of, it’s just that. In God’s arms I am home. Finally finding home, finally finding joy, I am never letting go.

Lord, Please Make Me a Saint

holiness

So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
-Matthew 5:48

In time for All Saints’ Day, let’s talk about what holiness really is.

Once I had someone tell me: “Oh I thought you were holy. What a disappointment.” I heard this a few times in my lifetime whenever I find myself in disagreement with people I know or when I’d fail in being charitable to others. I would encounter the similar line too when people would hear news about someone involved in the Church and priests would often be the easy target. You would hear them say: “He makes me want to leave the Church.”

Ah, perfection. This is where we often get stuck: we think that holiness is ultimately equated with the dictionary-defined perfection. Google’s number one meaning actually says that it is”the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” Other terms that come to mind are: unblemished, pristine, pure. Encapsulated in one word, “sinless.”

In the Bible verse mentioned above, the demand of holiness is indeed, “to be perfect as God is.” But what others miss out when they narrow down what holiness is to this particular passage are the verses that precede it. Verse 48 is simply part of Jesus’ discourse about loving one’s enemies. In fact when you look at the entire 5th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus was teaching His disciples about pursuing the things that we don’t normally do. He was teaching something contradictory to what our impulse can drive us into. Loving your enemies? Whoever does that? Rejoice when people hate you? How can joy even be a fruit of persecution?

Bottomline is, if holiness is being flawless then I think we should rethink the roster of Saints that are being venerated by the Church. Maybe, when we look at holiness we should not see it from the point of not being able to “miss the mark.” Rather, we should look at holiness as one’s relentless pursuit of the extraordinary. And this pursuit of the extraordinary is actually a very ordinary thing for all of us. One word, four letters: LOVE. To be holy is to relentlessly pursue to LOVE so that LIKE GOD “who is love,” (1 Jn 4:8) we can be LIKE LOVE HIMSELF. 

THE CALL TO BE (PERFECT) CHARITABLE

Consider this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 826:

Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it “governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification.”

If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT’S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE – IT’S ETERNAL!

What does this mean for all of us? Simple: no one is exempt from being holy because all of us are capable of being charitable. ALL OF US ARE CAPABLE OF LOVING. Sometimes, we just turn off the charitable switch in us when anger, pride, fear get the best of us; when an external threat to our integrity as persons slaps us in the face.

All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.
-Lumen Gentium (Vatican II), 40

Holiness, therefore, is not something reserved for the few; it is actually a call for each and everyone of us. If we are capable of loving another, why limit the love to certain persons? Holiness tells us: love your enemies as well. Love even those who you do not know. In other words: love everyone.

See the example of the Saints, the recent of which our generation got to know of is Mother Teresa. Well she had the choice to be comfortable doing mission for the Sisters of Loreto. She could even choose not to pursue the religious life at all and spare herself the heartache of being able to give herself totally for the poorest of the poor. But she didn’t! She chose to pursue the extraordinary. She chose not to exempt anyone from the fount of love she held within her heart. She chose to burn with love for God and do His will that God’s love may reach the least, the last and the lost. She chose charity. She chose perfection. She chose holiness. She chose the often difficult but joyful path to sainthood.

NOT SUPERHUMAN

Now, were the Saints superhuman? Does it mean that  Sainthood is synonymous to being sinless?

“Christ, ‘holy, innocent, and undefiled,’ knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners. In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time. Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ’s salvation but still on the way to holiness:

The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

-Catechism of the Catholic Church, 827

When Jesus said “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” He did not mean that we should “not be human.” What He did mean by it is that we should avoid sin and live lives of love. The path to sainthood is a path that extends “until the end of time.” While we are alive and struggling to love at all cost, there will be moments of weakness. There will be moments when you will be tempted and there will be moments when you will fall. AND THAT IS PART OF BEING HUMAN. (That doesn’t mean that we should get stuck with that, though.) We have been caught up with the “Do Nots” of our faith that we forgot how to rely on GRACE. Without God’s grace, we will continue falling, we will continue failing. Without God’s grace, we will find it hard to repent and get up back again. The Saints were persons who relied on nothing but God’s love and grace. That was their secret of abandoning their lives for the sake of the call.

One prayer that I learned to pray daily was St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Suscipe which is the prayer of total surrender. The last two lines of the prayer goes: “Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

It is even more romantic in my native tongue: Dagling tatalima ako, ipagkaloob Mo lang ang pag-ibig Mo. At lahat ay tatalikdan ko.

To put it simply, to be a saint is not to be superhuman. Saint Ireneaus said, “The glory of God is MAN FULLY ALIVE.” To be a saint is to be FULLY ALIVE: fully human CONSTANTLY STRUGGLING FOR THE DIVINE. Very human, very weak and yet made strong by God’s grace – that grace we have received during our baptism.

LIVING IN GRACE

Oscar Wilde said:

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

We’ve heard this attributed, too, to a lot of famous people: “A saint is a sinner who never stopped trying.” And both of them are true! Like I said, holiness is not about being spotless, it is about trying and trying and trying and trying… to live a life of GRACE. To love our enemies may seem impossible at first and very much appalling to someone who never knew Christ but to us Christians, this can be done through grace! GRACE enables us to love even if it hurts. Grace enables us to rejoice when all things seem amiss. Grace enables us to forgive even if the other person isn’t even remorseful after doing us wrong. Grace enables us to live the Divine life. Grace enables us to make this earth our piece of Heaven. It makes us saints. It tells us that “impossible is nothing.”

Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2021

This grace is available to us abundantly. The problem is that in order to bask in God’s free-gift of grace is that we need to choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit that fills us with it. Grace is God’s loving initiative to make us SAINTS, we just need to say, “Lord, yes, please make me a saint.” (cf. CCC, 2022)

EXTRAORDINARILY WELL

So does this mean just like the saints, we should do big things in order to be holy?

Whenever I speak to kids about sainthood and I would open the floor for them to cite what makes one a saint, I would always find them mentioning that one has to do something extraordinary to change the world. I will usually grin and flash the image of a 16-year old boy whose recognition of sanctity was simply because he did his duties extraordinarily well: Saint Dominic Savio. Saint Dominic became a saint simply because he fulfilled his roles with so much love and offered all his good works for God’s glory! He was a son, and he was a good one. He was a friend, and he was a loyal one. He was a student, and he was an excellent one. He did all things with love! 

Now Dominic got this from another saint who formed him well: Saint John Bosco. When one day Don Bosco found out that Dominic made severe penances because he wanted to be holy, the kind and saintly teacher reminded the young saint: “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well.” That he said, was the path to sainthood. Young Dominic took that to heart. He died at 16 and became a saint just because he chose the extraordinary way – love.

THE PATH OF GREAT JOY

And doesn’t love hurt? Isn’t giving off of oneself ,painful? Indeed, it is. But isn’t the path of the Christian the path of the cross? Isn’t the path of the Christian the same one that His Master took?

The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2015

But even if the road to sainthood entails a lot from us, even if it seems demanding, there is no other way to joy than to follow Christ. There is no road to holiness except through the cross. There is no other path to great joy than “loving until it hurts, until it hurts no more.” (Mother Teresa)

We are assured that when we surrender our life to God and when we desire Heaven so great to “love until it hurts no more,” we will find the joy and contentment that our hearts have been so longing for.

BEGIN NOW

Leon Bloy said something beautiful about what can be our biggest failure in life: “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.”

Why? Because inherent in each of us is the desire to be happy. Ask anyone and deep down to the core, everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants Heaven. This ultimate happiness can only be found when we become one with God. When we finally come face to face with “the one our soul loves.” And what path assures us of that? Yes, the way to holiness.

But that joy is not the only effect of treading the path to holiness. Saint Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!” In a world that yearns for true and lasting happiness amid the indifferences, poverty and war, imagine if you choose to be a saint. Imagine if a lot of us will choose to be saints!

So why delay happiness when you can begin now? Why delay “setting the world on fire” when God can use you now? As we celebrate All Saints’ Day, may all of us aspire for greatness. May all of us desire nothing less than holiness. May all of us pine for no One else but God alone. May we all set the world on fire.

At this very moment, say: “Lord, please make me a saint.”

Scarred and Beautiful

broken

I realized that our painful past experiences have created in our hearts scars that, more often than not, will remain with us for as long as we live. Some of these scars come from wounds that have hurt us to a great extent that it continue to haunt us even if they have already been touched by God’s healing grace. Some of these scars, on the other hand, may looked healed on the surface but within the wounds are still very fresh. Whatever state we are in, one thing is for sure: we don’t have perfect hearts. We have patched up, stitched up, bandaged hearts covered with scars.

Continue reading

When God Pursues You

run

When was the very first time you fell in love?

They say that first love never dies. Much has been written about it in so many literary forms from Shakespeare to Neruda. But I guess nothing beats the first love story that lingers in one’s own memory. Those moments when the lover pursues the beloved, the fear of opening up one’s self and being vulnerable, the stolen glances, the hesitation to say yes and finally that instance of bravery when you respond with wild abandon. “Yes! I love you.”

Continue reading

I Beg to Fall in Love with You

fallinlove

I wish I had the right words at the moment to describe what I feel but my friendship with words betrays the bliss of having fallen madly in love with the One who has loved me first. How I wish I could chronicle all the events from the very moment I wake, from that instance when I draw in breath and suddenly become conscious that I am alive once again to experience His love up until the time when my face hits the pillow and I close my eyes with a smile on my face. But for now, let this suffice. Let the cry of my heart be encapsulated in this song.

I ask for one thing.

Continue reading

How Leche Flan Taught Me A Valuable Lesson on Waiting

lecheflan

It was the second day of my silent retreat. I just spent the entire morning walking around the garden of Notre Dame De Vie and it was time for lunch.

As I approached my table, I saw the dishes all spread out and noticed a small plate which almost made me scream: LECHE FLAN!!!!

Whenever there are potluck parties and I see that delicious, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth dessert on the table, I forget all the rest that are served. Dessert will always come first when there is Leche Flan (Creme Caramel). When I’m not too lazy making it and whenever the craving was intense, I would skip the last step of refrigerating the containers and scoop my spoon into that wobbly, caramel goodness. My usual recipe would yield 4-6 containers. In one sitting, I could eat two. 😛

And so going back to that surprising moment, I was so tempted to eat and lick the plate clean when a previous memory came to my head: “Lee-an, dessert is coming. You just have to wait for the right time.”

Continue reading