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Thursday, November 29, 2007
My pro-life article for Catching 153 - though I don't know if I'll make it. :) Late passing!

Some years back, I worked for a non-profit organization. When people asked where, I would say “Pro-life.” The typical response would be “Ah, talaga? Sa Insurance? (Referring to Pru Life UK).” And then I proceed to tell them where I work and what it’s all about.

I am now asked what exactly is Pro-life? Perhaps the best definition comes from a non-profit organization where I worked for and stated in prolife.org.ph, “Pro-life Philippines is a non-profit organization concerned with issues on the inherent value and dignity of human life. Pro-life Philippines functions as a national body coordinating pro-life groups, providing education and documentation of life issues, and raising the consciousness of the Filipino people on respect and responsibility for human life. It is also an advocacy and legislative lobby group that advances the principles and policies consistent with the pro-life and family cause.” Founded in 1975 by Sr. Pilar Verzosa, RGS, her advocacy on promoting a culture of life does go a long way. From building maternity homes to lobbying in the congress, to championing the cause of the Pro-life movement by a Presidential decree by then President Cory Aquino proclaiming February as Pro-life month, the Pro-life movement has truly weathered storms and victories.

Furthermore, from “Evangelium Vitae”, the Encyclical Letter on the Value and Inviolability of Human Life by His Holiness Pope John Paul II last March 25, 1995, he stated, “THE GOSPEL OF LIFE is at the heart of Jesus' message.” He highlighted the story of Cain and Abel in Chapter 1 of his Encyclical and made sense to the Church’s teaching on valuing the human life. Most striking is the question, “What have you done?” (Genesis 4:10) which seems to be asked from us today. And to which Cain answered, “"Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9) is a perverse idea of freedom, according to Pope John Paul and which is sadly the case in this day and age.

It is quite wordy, but when it comes down to one thing, the Pro-life movement is really about protecting the value and dignity of human life, from conception to natural death. To which everyone is challenged to respond. Are you ready to take on the challenge?

For more information, log on to http://prolife.org.ph/ and be ready to defend life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Christ the King reflection - for Catching 153

I have to admit something. I find it hard to think Christ as the King.

For me, brought about by our history, stories, media influence and my recent visit to Thailand where they still have their version of a king, my image of a king is someone high and mighty, lives in an extravagant and opulent abode, dressed in finery and adorned with the most sparkling gemstones you can ever find. This king is almost unreachable and someone I know in my lifetime, I will never meet.

Yet here is a King presented to us this Sunday. A King who was humbly born in a manger, dressed in simple robes, slept in other people’s homes, who walked on cobblestone roads the same as everyone else, who appreciated having children around him and someone who touched people – both literally and figuratively.

In today’s gospel, this King was hung on the cross, mocked, challenged, and was crucified. He hung on a cross and bore scars from the lashes and strikes when he was scourged. He was nailed on the cross and bore the scorching heat of the sun, and the terrible wind before the quake until his last breath.

We all know this King and relive his crucifixion and death every Holy Week. But what comes right after sings in every Christian’s heart… His resurrection. Because of His resurrection, if I may borrow Pope Benedict XVI’s words in his Easter Vigil homily last April 2006, “he broke the definitiveness of death, because in him the definitiveness of life was present.” He gave a new meaning to life and he is the living proof of the truth that life does not end in human form, but He “crosses” over from death to life so we can find eternal joy and happiness.

And no king of this world will ever compare to the gravity and love that Christ did for humankind.

A king may give glory to his people through material things, achievements and fulfillments of promises made, but Christ’s glory is like an amazing, almost blinding light that reaches even the darkest corners of the world. When defining a king, there are a lot of descriptions available. But when capitalized, “King” means God, Christ. Without the worldly images of a king, I can think of Christ as King, which makes me still and know He is God.

Closing Cycles by Paul Coelho

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot forever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

Friday, November 16, 2007
wifi @ coffee bean

wow, posting a blog using my pda in coffee bean and best of all, using wifi! :) just surprised dat i can do this without the comfort at home.

Sunday, November 11, 2007
defending blessed mother teresa

i've always been fond of mother teresa. i love her works, her words, and how much she has loved God. a lot of the events of my life has been somewhat linked to her, and i've always been grateful for her intercession. for me, those little events in my life has been a path for big things.

recently, i've been watching videos of my favorite "saint", and i've encountered some very inspirational videos, as well as, to my surprise, hate videos of her as well.

this has led me to this post.
i am not a mother teresa expert, but my respect for this blessed person runs deep. i may be biased because i am a catholic and because i hold her in high esteem. but i will always choose (and try) to believe and see the good in every people. she has mentioned that you can't please everybody, and that you can't love the whole word. she was big on small things, on great love put into actions, however insignificant the world may think of them. for one person to give her life entirely to God, to follow Him and forgetting oneself, for always talking about love (and not being selective to whoever she gives it to, for going against the tide and standing up for her principles in life, is a life worth living and looking up to.

in her own words:
The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.

It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
reflection in bangkok :)

November 2, 2007 bangkok, waiting at the bus for the other passengers to alight so we can go to our Ayutthaya (Ancient Capital) trip

this past few days has been full of revelation, discovery and affirmation. Erika sort of "coached" me during our flight to bangkok. She he

lped me discover what I really want in life and in a way, how to achieve them. One thing I am sure of, my passion is really towards flowers and education. After my rat race, I would really want to have my own business to look after and earn substantially so I can provide for my mom and for me to have time to really do the things I want. through coaching, i've at last mapped out my workplan in life which I pray god will bless and provide. I’ve also learned not be afraid of starting my own business. All this time, I’m quite happy being an employee. But after our session, I realize I’m not afraid anymore, and all the more that my passion and hunger to get out of the rat race is strengthening.

Another thing that she made me realize is the value of VALUES learned during

my life journey. Whenever I feel sad, irritated, frustrated, I should always look back on the VALUES which will help me on my journey. There are no mistakes in life, just lessons to be learned. J

On another note, I feel so blessed that god made a way for erika and me to rediscover the warmth of friendship, the challenges of being business partners. I’m forever grateful for you, dear. you’ve been one of God’s instruments to me.

it all happened on this plane!!!

Monday, November 05, 2007
tales of cambodia

i've always been interested in history. though i'm not good in memorizing, in remembering most of the details, when the topic of interest shifts to history, i'm all ears. i've always wanted to see old places - old houses (not exactly live in them though), relics and the lot. i'm forever fascinated with the places where Christ has walked on (jerusalem), the mystery of greece, the stonehedge, angkor wat, old buddhist temples and our very own vigan. whenever i travel - more than the experience of shopping and living the culture of the place, i look forward to the history aspect of my travel. i actually went to thailand this past few days (and that's another story) and enjoyed my ayutthaya trip so much. but i digress. what has history got to do with the title of my post? it's ANGKOR WAT.

this year, my boss has planned to go to angkor wat. a few weeks ago, i visited a friend's multiply site and stumbled upon his entry and pictures of the angkor wat. a few days ago, my sister announced she will be going to ANGKOR WAT! and so when she came back it was really a day full of stories of angkor wat and cambodia.

angkor wat is really beautiful, and i really really would be planning a trip there soon. hopefully i'll save up til next year to go. but more than the breathtaking pictures and the beautiful tales and discoveries of angkor wat, my heart tugged at the history of cambodia during pol pot's regime. my sister went on the tell the history of what happened in phnom penh, the s-21 (tuol sleng center) which was a former school turned into a confession and

torture camp. she told of tales on how people were tortured (taking out fingernails, slicing off nipples, electric shocks and babies being thrown on trees to save on bullets a few of them), on how "education" was deceived for people to send their sons and daughters to this camp and for no apparent reason, millions of cambodians was tortured and killed during pol pot's regime of four years (1975-1979). after hearing the shocking tales of torture, i couldn't keep my mind off pol pot and the history there so i searched the net and stumbled upon stories that my human mind and heart cannot really swallow. those images formed from my reading the stories painted a very horrific and unhuman picture and i am sure that what my mind can conceive is even far worse than what actually happened. my heart goes for them at this moment. no matter how hard and how sad our country's state seem to be in, i feel that cambodia, at this moment, even needs more attention and more prayers from people who can. i cannot believe that such inhumane acts actually happened in the late '70s. this was actually a wake-up call for me. no wonder angelina jolie (after tomb raider) became so passionate about land mines and working with the refugees there. cambodia has changed its impression on me. no longer is it a just a location in the map, a country where i could visit angkor wat... but cambodia has arrested my heart and will be included in my prayers from now on...