Last March 24, 2014, Father Armand Robleza, SDB had a meeting with His Excellency MOST REV. LEOPOLDO C. JAUCIAN, D.D., ECY Chairman and Fr. Conegundo Garganta, Executive secretary of Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY). The meeting was to introduce the CODE OF CHAMPIONS seminar and seek endorsement to youth leaders and coordinators of different dioceses nationwide. They are the stakeholders who will help re ignite the soulfulness of young adult lives and empower them to live as servant leaders in their own environments. Schedule will be set to have a first run of the COC with ECY during the coming weeks.
Fr. Armand’s spiritual talks are truly inspirational. It was in 2010 when we first invited Fr. Armand to deliver a talk in MegaLink about Servant Leadership and everyone raved about it. This was followed by the CHAMPS series and since then, we kept inviting him again and again to our organization. His concepts are simple, practical and straightforward. His charisma, sense of humor and flair for words have a powerful way of touching the very core of one’s heart and in bringing out the CHAMPION in each one of us.
Benjamin P. Castillo , President and CEO, MegaLink Inc.
It took some time to put the first words into this reflection, but what finally got me starting was when the CD played “Love never fails” (lyrics based on St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians), by Jim Brickman. Maybe the tune helped, but the lyrics are so moving, especially that part which sings: “Love never fails, never fails I promise you, my love will never fail, And I will give to you, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I give you love. “ Every time this music is played, my heart moves, because it tells of how God loves me so much, so much so that He promised, “ my love will never fail.”
One of the most beautiful and inspiring stories of our faith is that one of the Annunciation of the Lord. The Gospel of St. Luke tells us of the angel Gabriel being sent by God to “…a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph… “ And said to her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” The Scriptures tells us that the Blessed Mother Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, that the angel has to assure her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Lk. 1: 26ff). Fr. Armand aptly describes how difficult it must be for Mary, because in those days, and even up to now, how will others react when she answers that she became pregnant as “the Holy Spirit came” upon her! It must really be so difficult, and yet, Mary believed. “Full of grace” is a very meaningful statement that the angel Gabriel used, indeed it’s so deep but Fr. Armand was able to simplify it: “…means, not lacking in grace; grace here means God’s grace.” Mary’s simplicity and purity allowed God to fill her with grace. This only happens when one is open and humble to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. The early Church fathers speak of Mary’s immaculate nature. With our cooperation in God’s plan of salvation, we will all eventually be rendered immaculate (sinless), but Mary as the prototypical Christian, “received this grace early”. God granted her freedom from sin to make her a “fitting mother for His Son.“ (www.Catholic.com)
It must be difficult for Mary and Joseph to live in those times, amidst persecution and poverty, but because they were filled and possessed with love for God, they overcame those challenges. Mary’s humility and meekness made it easy for her to accept God’s will for her life. When love becomes the driver, problems and difficulties become bearable, just like parents who work very hard to put their children to school. Some even have to work abroad to do that, in order to create better opportunities for loved ones back home in the Philippines. They sacrifice time in order to ensure that their families live comfortable lives, despite working away in lonely conditions, despite continuously missing birthdays, and regular bonding time with family. Yes, when one is in love, one is inspired. It’s easier to serve; love inspires you to work harder, to put effort into your passions, to achieve your dreams. Love inspires faith, love inspires lives!
In this season of Lent, let us show our love for Jesus by sharing more of ourselves to other people in need. Aside from praying and fasting, almsgiving is also being asked of us. Let us heed the call to love others as we love ourselves. I suggest that if we haven’t done yet, we share in efforts to alleviate the lives of people affected by calamities. For example, in support of San Miguel Corporation’s efforts to help rebuild the lives of typhoon Yolanda victims, with the initiative of Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, Chaplain; all Mass collections this Lenten season in the San Miguel Chapel, are intended for the fishermen-victims of Northern Cebu. To date, collections have already allowed for several boats to be committed. A few pesos each day, put together, will go a long way in helping our least fortunate brothers and sisters rebuild their lives.
Let us share ourselves and delight in the fact that Jesus has said, “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me” (Mt. 25:40).
It showed certain truths I didn’t realize until now – a real eye-opener.
Jed Godoy, Training Officer, Planters Development Bank
This Lenten Season, Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB has series of Lenten Recollections:
Date: April 1-4, 2014 (Tuesday-Friday)
Time: 6:30 PM
Venue: San Miguel Head Office Chapel
Date: April 14-16, 2014 (Holy Monday- Holy Wednesday)
Time: 7:45 PM
Venue: Greenbelt Chapel
For interested participants, please email email@example.com.
As a brewmaster who loves his brew, I am trained to distinguish beer from other types. Beer styles more or less, can be discriminated from each other. Beer is meant for enjoyment and is in fact healthy when taken in moderation (yes, two bottles are healthier than none). We also train our consumers to chill the golden liquid (though there are dark beers too) before partaking of it, and avoid placing ice into the beer, as it waters down the taste (once it does, you lose the aromas and flavors each time it is savored). We take it seriously, as it means a threat to consistency of every bottle, can, or keg that gets out of the brewery. If one is very familiar with his favorite brew, he can easily distinguish whenever there is adulteration, or dilution with water. The consistency becomes different, and the quality changes.
One of the most difficult challenges posed in practicing our faith is consistency. We always fall into the trap of “watering” down our faith. We select what is convenient. Whenever the season reminds us to renew our faith, we are “in”, as we see others do the same. However, once the ordinary days of the year come, we are back to our “cold” selves. We then wait for Advent or the Lenten season, to be reminded again to come back into the faith. We have the tendency to be impatient because we think that it’s so difficult to be consistent.
This is the challenge for all of us in the practice of our faith — consistency. We need to be patient and to persevere. We also need to be humble. We console in the fact that, God is patient, always waiting for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to forgive us. He knows our weaknesses and is always there to welcome us back. He is always faithful and “His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 136:1).
This past week we commemorated the Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of Mary, the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church. St. Joseph was never quoted in the Holy Bible but Sacred Tradition tells us he was a picture of humility and serenity. God the Father entrusted to him the two most important persons in history, Jesus and Mary. He lived a very humble, simple lifestyle and was obedient to the Father’s will. He accepted his role in the Divine plan of salvation without doubting. He was patient, faithful and persevered throughout his life.
Let us pray for the strength to persevere, to persist, and to be faithful in the practice of our faith. As Fr. Armand has said in his book, the Code of Champions,
“You will know a champion. People find him reliable. When he says he’ll be there for you, sleep tight, he’ll be there…persistence is one of his consistent traits. 364 out of 365 days a year are ordinary days, nothing big or unusual is happening, still he never lets his guard down.”
Crafting your personal mission statement takes a few stages of inspirations from one’s life. Each experience is like a yarn that you weave, adding hues and colors as you go through your mission. Be passionate in your mission! Your enthusiasm will draw others to you. Let them be a part of the huge tapestry of life- a never ending weaving and interlocking that ultimately, will involve a bigger community forming a rich tapestry.