Prioritize the Spirit #8
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to focus on what is positive in life right now, rather than pine and whine for what is missing. I need to tame my fluctuating moods and intense feelings. I better be involved with the interests of others to avoid the cul-de-sac of self-condemnation. I have so much creativity to share. Yet, I will appreciate the ordinariness of the day ahead of me.
Today, I will be forgiving and choose the path of growth and renewal. I WILL LET GO OF THE PAST.
As a resolution for myself, I have to find somebody who will journey with me, who will check-up on me, follow me up as i grow and develop in becoming a champion. Thank you so much Fr. Armand for this seminar.
Fr. Eric Ho, FNYO Chaplain
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to honor my feelings. Success has become so compelling that I cannot get off the high-speed train of frenetic action. I cannot constantly live for the expectations of others, and forget who I really am, and how I really feel. I need to apply the brakes. What will it profit me if everyone applauds me, yet there is this nagging feeling that it could all be a show, a theatre of make-believe characters who dance gracefully with my song? Nothing could be more effective than self-introspection. I need to touch my own soul.
Today, I will savor the different nuances of my life, and value others for who they are. I WILL SET A FINE EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS TO EMULATE.
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to realize that to be loved, I don’t have to be Miss Congeniality always or be the impeccable Super Gentleman ever. Nothing beats being my true self. Why do I compel myself to be nice and caring always? Or is it my way of avoiding rejection? I will allow others to be nice to me for a start. People do not expect me to accommodate to them every time; why should I? Or is it my unconscious way of writing my check for a payback tomorrow.
Today, I will balance showing goodwill to others with a genuine appreciation of myself. I WILL NURTURE MYSELF AND OTHERS.
During moments of reflection, the question of why certain things happen often comes to mind. When we hear bad things happen to good people, we often wonder, “Why is it like that?” This question comes with the corollary, “Why, is it that bad people seem to be having their way?” People become frustrated when these questions aren’t answered satisfactorily. They become hopeless and resigned to fate. Out of frustration, they sometimes even say the extreme, “That it would be better to be bad rather than to be good”.
Joy. Life in the Lord shouldn’t be like that. While some seemingly bad things occur, there are reasons why those events happened. Maybe there are some issues that need to be settled, some lessons that need to be learned. Despite the difficulties, the champion tries to make sense of what’s happening, knowing that the Master Conductor is in control. The music remains a symphony waiting to be heard and appreciated. Will till you hear the finale!
In this Sunday’s reading, the Apostle Paul tells us to,
“Rejoice always, Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5: 16-18).
The champ remains joyful, because he believes that life is meant to be a happy experience. Being joyful doesn’t mean the absence of pain. He knows that to stay the course, he chooses to remain faithful. He knows that despite the incompleteness, “life blooms over and over again”.
Prayer. One of the most important lessons that my beloved Mommy Charing has given us is the importance of prayer. She has always stressed the importance of attending Mass, especially on Sundays and other Holy Days. She and my late Dad made it a point to hear daily Masses, even travelling to other places to attend special feast days of the Church. We were strictly not allowed to be absent from family Sunday Mass, since the time we started going to Church with them. It was a rule which we cannot change, and which we also try to bring into our respective families. Our home visits-cum-vacation would always end the day with the recitation of the Holy Rosary and these always conjures memories of constant communication with our God. Prayer ensures that our connectedness to God is maintained and nurtured, despite the threats of the enemy’s efforts to cut off this vital source of power.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord…” (Is. 61: 1-2).
Gaudete Sunday is a counterpart to the Laetare Sunday (during Lent) and provides a similar break about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character, and signifies the nearness of the Lord’s coming.
The spirit of the Liturgy all throughout Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the feast of Christmas as well as for the second coming of Christ, and the penitential exercises suitable to that spirit are thus suspended, as were, for a while in order to symbolize that joy and gladness in the promised Redemption. Symbolically, rose-colored vestments may be worn instead of violet, which is otherwise prescribed for every day in the season of Advent. Despite the otherwise somber readings of the season of Advent, which has as a secondary theme theneed for penitence, the readings on the third Sunday emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming.
Gratitude. In this eager anticipation we have talked in the previous reflections, we are again reminded to be always grateful. To be thankful in all circumstances, even in sorrow and even in pain. The champion knows that this is part of creative development, of eternal preparation. He expects no less than cleansing and forming, trusting the Lord knows best for him.
As I write these thoughts, the Church prepares for the first of the nine-day Novena Masses heralding the final preparation of the Christ Child’s coming. It always sends shivers up the spine as it also floods childhood memories of Christmas carols and loved ones, of home-made lanterns and the baby crib, of gifts and cool mornings, of chocolate and suman excellently prepared by my beloved Lola Andang. Yes, we continue to make memories and in so doing, we ensure we bring in the right messages to the young and the learning, that in all things be thankful to the Lord.
Gaudete! Rejoice in the Lord always!
Do you look forward to the welcoming presence of God during our quiet time? We are often guilty of not having time to talk to God in our busy, cluttered life. Commit a rendezvous with God at the start of the day to renew your spirits for the day’s struggle. Pray on purpose. It allows ourselves to be aligned to our purpose.
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to appreciate that there are many ways to being right. When I judge people wrong, it is then that they may just be different from me in many ways. So, I will readily forgive myself and others. Free time and relaxation could really help. Rigid rules and inner strictness may delineate the parameters of living, but they are not exactly life-giving. Just maybe, I need to loosen up.
Today, I will answer life’s call to be wise and discerning. I will live for a higher purpose.
Christmas is just a few days away. As promised, we will be posting, and sending you by email, the daily reflections of the COMPASSION NOVENA. This one is only a test post. Well, it could also be the introduction to a deeper appreciation of our daily posts come December 16 to 24.
By the way, the post for December 16 shall be up in the evening of December 15, and so on for the other days.
Undeniably, the best gift we could give is the self. Daily, let us allow the God of Compassion to lead us to humbly assess some aspect of ourselves which hinder our reaching out to others. Many a times, we think that giving is about material or tangible goodies. Not so.
Some people say that our greatest hunger is to be loved. I beg to disagree. Our greatest and most persistent hunger is TO LOVE. The tragedy really happens when we have reached that point of giving in our lives… and there is no one to love? Pathetic.
Christmas reminds us of Gods own happiness in sharing with us his only treasure, his only Son. Christmas is sharing away something that we really identify with, and which hurts to give away. Yet, Christmas is a proclamation of momentous joy as the angels sang to the Shepherds on the blessed night. Sharing is the only way to real joy. And if joy were to last, the sharing must hurt. It is only then can we identify with the pains of others. Compassion is it!
Waiting for Christmas with you,
Father A, sdb
I was overwhelmed with the seminar. As a youth and church minster, I gained insights and discovered myself as a leader and made a personal assessment if I produce impact with my people and with the organization. There are lot of things I need to improve about myself and for the organization I belong. Thank you Fr. Armand for the opportunity and the learning that I will forever be grateful. I know I have something to share to my community.
Abigail Clara Siscar, Diocese of Malolos