Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Of You

I wrote this poem sometime ago for someone very special whom I met in God's Gift of Borrowed Time... We've journeyed together -- laughed together; cried together; explored thoughts of the heart and mind together; prayed together; meditated and reflected God's Words and God's Will together...
When we thought our time was over, then we realized, our time HAS JUST BEGAN...  

The Gift of You

I didn't know you are coming
In a moment of God's timing
Surely not of my own's planning
Little did I know it was my heart's yearning

Yes the Beloved knows us best
Even the right moment we should meet
A meeting of two souls, of two hearts
Nurtured by Love, prepared in time

Truly I've learned a lot from you
A world out there I can only see through you
A dance and motion I can only do with you
Songs and music I can only sing and play with you

I claim you as my gift
A precious one indeed
And with grateful heart
I would like to keep

Not a stumbling block
Not a distraction
But a presence, an inspiration
A soul like mine whose heart beats the love of God

Thank you my Lady,
You are my Gift
Through you I understood
The mystical love of Christ our Beloved

A love that is free
A love that is intense
It need not have a body
To trap its immensity

With you I will celebrate Love
With you I will breathe Love
With you I will live Love
With you I will be Love

Not wanting, not expecting
Nothing more than celebrating
True love, pure love, intense love
And just be love for Love Himself

The Gift of You I will cherish
As Jesus cherishes us both
Cuddled by His love
Kept in His Heart for eternity

I think my time now is approaching
To enter into a deep silence
I can hear the song we used to sing being played
While I write this poem for you

If I haven't say it yet,
Let me say it once again
I thank Jesus, our Beloved
For the gift of YOU

Remember me just like when we first met
You know where you will find me
"There" hidden a soul in constant vigil
Before The One Fasten on the Cross

----For Love---

"My lady, we shall meet again. Right now, the GIFT we received we shall GIVE it as a GIFT"
----For God who is Love--- 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Borrowed Time

   I have just completed my degree course in college when our family was confronted with a painful experience that none of us - my mom, my sister and I had known before -  the sudden death of a member of our family - my father.

Life is precious yet so short. It took me a while to accept the reality, the truth that was right before my eyes - my father, my friend, my model... he's gone. I was the first born and the only son; I knew right there in that hospital emergency room that I needed to be strong for my mother and my sister. I thanked God for the gift of a mother. In the midst of pain and grief, my mom's deep faith had helped us, my sister and I to live the following days and months with peace and serenity though it wasn't easy. My mom had a way to hide her own sorrow - for our sake she made sure to be emotionally strong. Her unwavering  trust in God were like the invisible arms that embraced us as we traveled that unfamiliar 'road'. Dad is in the hands of Love himself.

I was blessed to find myself working in New York City right after my college days. I was in one of the buildings in Manhattan when the September 2001 World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists. The building where I worked was not near the site of the attack, however the impact was enough to shake the depth of sadness out of me as I saw the many lives that were lost. It opened a wound that was slowly healing from the experience I had from my father's death. I became more aware of the vulnerability of human life and often reflected: " Life, how short you can be...here now...gone tomorrow. God help me use this gift wisely."


"Make us know the shortness of our life, 
that we may gain the wisdom of heart" (Psalm 90:12)


   World Youth Day Toronto July 23-28, 2002
   "Build a civilization based on love for the third millennium, by making Christ the cornerstones of your lives." These were the words of Pope John Paul II at the World Youth Day held in Toronto that year. His message was clear - "use your gift of life in building a future worth living". His presence was so powerful! His love for the church and the young was so evident that not one of us left the city of Toronto without taking-in those challenging words of the late heroic vicar of Christ. We were burning with zeal to be the "Lumiere du Monde et Sel de la Terre" ( Light of the World and Salt of the Earth). Though the Pope's body was wasting away and frail, his passion for life, love and service was so alive! Enough to stir in us the desire to take heed, listen and act!

     These words .... "civilization based on love... make Christ the cornerstone of your lives... Lumiere du Monde" - they were like wake up calls to a sleeping soul...  my soul.

      After the WYD, I came back to New York a different person. There was something restless within me though I was trying to ignore it. The Holy Father's words were like an echo that kept coming back over and over again in my memory in next days and weeks that followed.

The time has come...

      God is love. He chooses each one of us to be His witness in the world. However there are some who are chosen for a special tasks- to work in His 'vineyard' yet He never insist His rightful place in our lives. He gives us freedom to respond or ignore this call. The choice is always ours.

       Flashback: During my junior high school and college days I have always been involved with volunteering works; summer services to the community. I was always happy coming home with stories to share- how I made myself useful by doing community services. In the Bronx- soup kitchen; nursing homes - visit to the elderly. In college, there were evenings where we went to a nearby nursing home to serve supper to the elderly residents.

 "An encounter with Love"

Borrowed times are God's life surprises; gifts presented in different "packages" waiting for us to unwrap one-by-one as they come. These gifts always come at the right time --God's Time,  when we are ready to receive it.

I have had quite a few of these 'gifts':

  • my father's death - I realized as I "opened this package" that no matter how much we love this world, there will be a time when we have to let go of it. It is not up to us to know when and where will He call us back home, it is up to Him. So, if life is this short, and I have no say when will this gift needs to be returned to the Giver, then it does matter a lot how will I "unwrap" it;

  •  the event that caused several casualties at 9/11 attacks:  unexpected loss of lives... things happened for a reason; we may not know it now but God knows and He is in control.                 

                  "...this night thy soul shall be required of thee,
     then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:20)

  • the message at WYD 2002 Toronto; ".. build a civilization base on love..."

  • the summer service experiences I had that gave me a sense of how love can make a difference to the world and to the one who become an instrument of Love.

The Gift you received give it as a Gift

         Yes, I heard the "call".
          I hesitated. I did try to ignore the 'voice' I heard. I remember saying, " Not me Lord, I know what I want, I can see where my career is heading, I'm happy with my life."

          But the voice within me was more powerful.

          The message was clear,- everything we have is a gift  on "borrowed time." Life is the most precious... That I should make use of it wisely and not waste any moment, for today will be yesterday in no time if I missed the opportunity to live it - worthily; fully.

          The interior restlessness was becoming stronger as days and weeks passed by. I was looking for an answer -I was searching / thirsting but at the same time unsure if I want to know the answer!

"How do you say that you love God whom you do not see, if you don't love your neighbors whom you see." 
(1Jn 4:20-21)

        The God of love is calling me.   I just knew it!    Don't ask me how?    I just know.

The self-offering with structured prayer, community and ministry to the poor, it was to this life that He was drawing  my attention! I 'entertained' the idea and said,  "Well, I can be a missionary for a year or two... but no Lord, not life with vows as religious- I can love and serve you as a lay person."

"Spring follows after Winter" 

         The more that I tried to ignore the 'voice', the more I can't stay away from it.  It was one autumn afternoon of 2002 when finally God  came and "settled' my predicament.  I was with friends at Mount Vernon ,VA for the weekend enjoying the scenic road and nature walk when the majesty and wonder of nature before me - the autumn leaves, the changing colors of the foliage suddenly hit me like a clear flash of lightning! Being immerse with nature can bring a soul to contemplation of the Divine! It dawned on me that He is God and I am not! He made me realized through the majestic panorama of His creations that I should not fear! He'll take care of my concern. All I was able to say was, "O God what  an awesome God You are!  If you can create such beauty that changes from one season to another, always leading to a hope of a new life, You must know what you are doing! I don't know why you want me but I should trust You!

         God's call never insists, he whispers, then lovingly and patiently He waited for the soul to respond at its own pace, in his own time...His time.

I surrendered my life to Love. " You have called Lord, here I am."

 Autumn of  2002, I turned my back to the world I knew and entered a new world yet to be discovered (by me) an 'unknown' world to many. A life fully given to the service of the Gospel as missionary religious brother.  Why the Gift Blog

Life is a series of Borrowed Times
              Living this life for many years now, I have slowly understood as I looked back of the past on how God has prepared me even before I knew it. He unraveled His plan in stages of my life...His time, a series of encounters when I deemed ready and able to understand the wisdom behind every visitation.  My world seems unknown to many because it takes one to enter into its door, a door that leads to a "narrow road" as it may seem, but in reality it's the door that leads to a world full of love, for at the center of it is Love Himself.

              I turned my back from the known world of a promising professional career
              I fixed my eyes to journeying in the world of life fully given
              A life whose sole purpose and desire is to be a witness of Jesus,"as a servant"
              A life full of love, life, peace and joy... in the service of the Poor of Christ.

Life is beautiful and precious gift from God yet so short.
It is given to us for a purpose.
That is, to honor the Giver of life
Make full use of this gift for purpose it was intended to
So that your joy will be complete.

              The God of love is not hidden.
              He is right 'there' waiting.
              His rightful place is our heart
              Let not the world prevents us
             from hearing His Heart beating in us.

              A Heart that beats love
              A Heart that sees love in all things
              A love that knows no boundary
              For He is Love himself
My friend,
the people we cherish and love,
the blessings we received,
the life we have,
they are all gifts from God given on borrowed times.
We unwrap each gift as we journey through this land.
I hope that you too will see the wisdom of God at every gift you received.
And when it's your turn to unwrap the gift, I pray that you would take the cue.

Follow  His leading
that you may experience the true joy of living.

Borrowed times are God's precious moments with us, an encounter with Love Himself.
Take heed, listen, learn and follow the wisdom of this visitation
and experience the fullness of life in love, peace and joy.

A life in union with Him.
Be a gift! 

 It is possible in any state of life...just pay attention when you "unwrap" your gift.
Happy journeying...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wounded Heart

When I crossed this "unknown world" I used to wonder if I have made the right decision? I couldn't answer that question that time. The answer came in time, as I started my journey unto this road...Once I've asked a trusted and experienced person the question, "how do I know if my decision was right" and the reply I received was "I can't tell you... but you will". "Great!" I said, "that doesn't help me at all!".

However deep within me I knew and I had this surety that this was what I was called to do. And so I've let go of many questions I had in mind  and followed my gut feeling.  I said, "If I have only one life to live, I better spend it as it should be- wisely". Not just for my own sake but for the greater good. (By the way, those words did not come so easily!) Within me I knew then that whatever gift I have received I cannot let it be contained for my own self love and self-sufficiency. I MUST SHARE IT! Life is so precious but short to contain to oneself.

Share I did. I entered the world of the unknown. I walked on unfamiliar grounds. Sometimes "dark alleys" caused me to fall but I got up and kept going. I started to learn to let go of what I've learned based on reasons and logic. I started to walk with the eyes of faith, a grace from the Giver of Life,  a Light that glows even in dark alleys.

Things were going very well. I became so active with apostolic services to the poor. I traveled to different places helping the poor. Giving hope to the hopeless. Joy filled my heart. I said, "This is it! I knew I made the right decision." I put my heart and soul to what I was asked to do and found myself happy and filled.

Time of Visitation:

Visitation to me means, time when God comes to us in a very special way for a very special reason and we ought to be present body, mind, soul, and spirit when He comes.

I was asked to accompany a soul that was searching for truth. Seeing the person, I saw a lost sheep trying to find its way home. This soul was crossing an unfamiliar ground as well. I saw a glimpse of myself  in this person. I knew how it was to have many questions left unanswered and it was not easy not to know how to cope with life's challenges. Not to have someone to share thoughts with can be very hard. I knew "Jesus" has visited me. And so I accepted.

I realized that by being a companion, a listener to this good soul, I am sharing the gift I have - my faith and love of God. With the corporal works of mercy we are to do each day, to accompany a person requires time and forgetfulness of self. As I laid to rest each night I was at peace knowing that I held back nothing to doing what was right at the given time. That is how I discern of the sincerity of one's service - if  one spared nothing for the sake of another person or for common good with right intention and right reason then the servant can kneel before the Master and Giver of Life in peace and thanksgiving.

Gold is tested by fire:

For reason I couldn't understand even until now, the events turned against me and I was accused of misleading this soul. Never given opportunity to know the full reason and was deprived of explaining my side was enough to shake up the foundation of what I believed-in but more than this, I was put to silence and enclosure. Yes, it seemed unreal but real it was! I was confused and couldn't find an answer to the puzzle placed before me. I must accept!  I must believe that what was going on was permitted by Divine providence. I must see with the eyes of faith that since it's God's providence therefore something good will have to come out from it.... in time. The thought of St. John of the Cross being imprisoned by his fellow friars gave my spirit a sort of consolation. If it happened before, why would I be spared from it.I wasn't imprisoned physically but I felt worst than that.

My soul was troubled...

This world I called unknown; the dark alleys; situations confronted unprepared; right or wrong; why? Why not? So many questions... Yes, I traveled these "unknowns". I can't remember how long. I lost track of time... Patience, waiting, prayer.

Then, as I went through this moment of "darkness" little by little a streak of bright light made me understand that I AM THE WORK!

For the Giver to be glorified, the gift must be purified, tested by fire so that its purity merits the Giver. I can't question why things happened? I can accept it and learn from it and offer it up in full trust and confidence that GOD KNOWS WHAT HE IS ALL ABOUT!

Jesus spared nothing while on earth to bring us the good news of love, life and freedom to the point of death for love of us. What did He get in return? Betrayal...Crucifixion...

I am no difference.
The grace of acceptance, abandonment and surrender has helped my spirit to be free. God must have loved me this much to merit the test of faith.

Go and Bear Fruit:

I see the road ahead could still be narrow; dark and unknown but I see also with the eyes of faith that it will get wider to a person I would become if I let the Giver continue to fashion me in His image and likeness.

Jesus' Heart was wounded so that His mercy flows abundantly to the world.
Yes,  my heart was wounded. But it was a gift from the Wounded Healer to set me free. The deeper the wound the freer I would become for now I know  what it takes for one to follow the Giver of Life.

The question I've asked before -- if I have made the right decision? Now I know... it was the right decision! To work in God's Vineyard is worth everything we have."Remain in my love so that your joy will be full." (John15:11)

My heart did indeed needed to be wounded so that I could have the courage to open it wide. Wide enough to love without counting the cost. In doing so I can truly say with conviction that I knew now how much God has loved us in Christ. "Follow Me". So be it!

Everything was part of the past; put to rest.The wound was healed.
The scar remains that I may keep my heart open, wide enough to sow love in His Love whatever it takes.