“You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments.”
And here I thought God’s love is unconditional. Well obviously, I thought wrong. Well, He has every right because He is God and He is wise afterall. He knows that the only way He can push us to be the best that we can be for Him and for ourselves is by giving us a set of guidelines to follow. Although He’s clearly a rules kind of guy or rather God, He is far from cruel. He works along the principle of rewards rather than punishment. And although He has set simple and practical conditions for us to remain in His love, He is not one to jump at every chance to scream, “Go to hell!” whenever we fail to follow one of His commandments. Instead, He provides us an all-day access to the confessional, “lifelines” that can last a lifetime, 24/7 prayer hotlines, and best of all, unlimited chances of winning a one way ticket to heaven. Thats how badly He wants us to always have our eyes on the prize, that’s how badly He wants us to win the prize—His amazing love.
“When he arrived and saw the manifest signs of God’s favor, he rejoiced and urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord; for he, himself, was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thus, large crowds came to know the Lord.”
I know this funny old lady who can make us laugh with her wisecracks and her silly antics. It’s a joy to be around her not only because she can send you in fits of laughter in an instant but also because having lived the faith, she can make you see the wisdom behind God’s work and action whenever you’re lost or unsure of where He is in your life. She is my life peg because I have seen and heard the Holy Spirit work through her countless times and I have witnessed how she has anchored herself and her family firmly to the Lord. And I say this with all gratefulness and humility, I wouldn’t be where I am right now spiritually if not for her gentle yet insistent prodding. The Lord in all His goodness will send us one of his guides to teach us how to walk by faith, the moment you find or recognize him/her in your life, pray for that person so he/she will continue to bring not just you but others too closer to the Lord. You are always in my prayers Anne Adizon.
Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me but afterward you will.”
When Nan died, I became really serious in my intention to end up in heaven. Nan without a doubt has already earned his place there for having been a good man during his lifetime. Bianca might have a sure spot there too with the gentle and kind way she’s living her life now. When my end comes, I want to be in heaven too like my family but with the rate things ( i.g. impatience, temper, naughtiness etc.) are going for me, it might take me forever to reach heaven. In fact I’m already having visions of myself looking up at the puzzled faces of Nan and Bianca looking down at me from heaven! Kidding aside though, Jesus has already set an example on how we should live our life so we can reach that place that God intends for us, all we have to do is try our best to follow his lead. I know, I know, easier said than done…operative word: try.:)
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”
I don’t know if it is the same for all widows, but I find the second year as the hardest. First year is for putting your life back together, second year is for new beginnings. Somehow it is as difficult as the actual death of a loved one because in this case, you can’t just pick up where you left off and continue, wether you like it or not, you have to start anew. As I am going through it myself right now, I find that though it’s hard, harder than I thought in fact, it is possible. As much as you can, you have to let go of, not the wonderful memories, but the if-onlys and the could-have-beens that are attached to them. As much as you can, you have to stop holding on to your loved one who is long gone and start clinging to God who is very much present in your life. And as much as you can, you have to pray harder than you ever did in your life for Him to work in the areas of your life that need a fresh start, and trust with all your heart that He will do what He can only do to make you be alright. There’s no easy way in letting go but if you do it with God, it becomes a lot less painful.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
Just before Bianca fell asleep, she texted to remind me to think positive and never give up. She knows how frustrated I am the past few days and how disappointed I am that things aren’t working out the way I would’ve wanted it that she felt the need to offer words of encouragement. Her faith in my capacity to turn things around and her unconditional love for me are what’s giving me the push to become a better person everyday. She really is my inspiration. I will be forever grateful to the Lord for giving her to me.
“The whole assembly shouted and blessed God, for helping those who hope in Him.”
I am blessed to be part of a community of faithfuls who never get tired of celebrating the goodness of the Lord with me. They’ve been with me through the worst and the best of times. I like that they consider my struggles and journeys as well as my little and big triumphs in faith, as their own. There is always great joy in knowing that a lot are actually celebrating with you whenever God answers your prayers or grants your petition. It all the more restores, affirms, and strengthens your trust and faith in the power of the Almighty.
“Have I not told you that, if you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
Reading how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in today’s gospel brings back the painful memory of Nan’s death and how I prayed, begged, and demanded for a miracle during the time that he was being revived in the ER. Looking back now, I think I got that miracle I prayed for. Though clearly not in the way that I would have wanted it that time but still, God granted me the miracle. The miracle of Nan’s swift and peaceful cross over from here to afterlife. Not everybody gets that chance to die painlessly and without hardship. And his death, I do believe now was for everyone’s good. Though it would appear difficult to understand at first especially when we are caught in a painful situation, it would do us well to remember all the time that God always has our best interest at heart.
“Yahweh made it known to me and so I know.”
I don’t claim to know the answers to everything, but I do claim to know what to do when faced with a difficult situation. You turn to prayers. You turn to God. And believe it or not, what does not make sense at first will suddenly become very clear. What seems vague will suddenly become glaringly obvious. God will find a way to steer you in the right direction until you come to an understanding, a decision. He will put that good desire in you heart that you cannot ignore, you will end up acting on it on impulse. To make the right decision and to take the best course of action, you simply have to trust in the wisdom and the ways of the Lord.
“Truly I say to you, the Son cannot do anything by himself, but only what he sees the Father do. And whatever he does, the son also does.”
I am a certified daddy’s girl. I love my daddy so much that without me realizing it, I chose a man for a husband someone who looked so much like him they were often mistaken as father and son. Kidding aside though, since I never really left my dad’s side even when I got married, I have acquired some of his significant habits especially the way he looked at things and the way he exercised His faith. I also noticed how Bianca has adapted Nan’s way of doing things and how she has acquired some of Nan’s good habits, positive attitude, and pleasing personality. Although my dad and Nan’s life were short lived, their strong influence on us will last forever. I guess in our prayers, we should always include all the daddies we know and pray that they will continue to be positive role models to their children. Lets ask the Lord to always make them see the importance of choosing to live a virtuous life for the sake of their children.
“It is so that the works of God maybe visible through Him.”
When I graduated from college, I knew what I wanted, to be a hotshot CEO of a bigshot company. Like any other hopefuls, I eagerly joined the corporate world two months later and prepared myself for the steep climb up the ladder. I ventured into Sales Administration, eventually joined the Sales force, then enrolled in Business school for my masters in BA. I had it all figured out. Fast forward to today, I am now living a life opposite of that dream. Somewhere along the way, I got tired of having to compete to inch my way to the top. The climb, I later realized, wasn’t as thrilling and fullfilling as I thought it would be. Maybe because I wasn’t doing it to cause change in others only on myself. The way I see it, fullfillment in work comes when we start living out the purpose of why God put us here. To make others see and know about His infinite goodness through the work that we do is our main purpose for working. Financial rewards or professional advancement are merely the fruits of working for God. Not unless we realize or actualize that, we will never find happiness in it.