Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Luke 21: 12-19

Daily Gospel | November 23, 2011

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 21:12-19. 
Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives. 

When I do something, I always ask myself, "What is my reason?" Most of the time, the answer is just because I want it. I want to be rich, famous, powerful, and, most of the time, I don't know.

But I think it is very important to find a reason more than worldly dreams or aspirations such as wealth and prestige but something ideal such as faith, hope, and love.

It is better to be persecuted for fighting for something that you believe in rather than living a mediocre life where you don't know what your are really living for.

The gospel talks about the faithfuls who are willing to give up everything because of their faith. They don't care if they will be persecuted, imprisoned, or even be killed as long as they can spread the word of the Lord. But with perseverance and faith, the Lord promises wisdom and life; a life without death.

Today a lot of people such as presidents of countries, activists, priests, teachers, social entrepreneurs still encounter persecution, repudiation, and death because they fight for something.

But I think, regardless on what you do, one should always have that reason so life can be meaningful. A short meaningful life is better than a long mediocre one. One does not need to be "somebody" in order to have a meaningful life. One just needs to do what one loves to do.

And Christs just told as to love. To what extent? "Love just I have loved you!" A love that does not ask for something in return. A humble and pure love. A love that is willing to give up everything including his family, friends, and life just because of love. A love that will endure forever.

Hence, I think, one should always ask oneself, "What do I love? Where can I love? and How can I love?"

One should no longer ask "Why should I love?" because one loves because one loves. Nothing more. Nothing less.

To God be the Glory!

Monday, September 6, 2010


In our business class we have this two terms that can dictate one's business life: Vision and Mission. Vision asks the question "What do we want to become?" while Mission asks the question "What is our business?"

In relation with one's life, I believe one should have one's own vision and mission. Vision stating one's dreams and aspirations while mission stating one's being. Combining the two, I think the they answer the fundamental question "What is one's reason of being?"

It's been more than a year and I'm still lost. Lost and floating in all the possibilities life can offer me. In Levinas' term, I am still in Il y a. Il y a is the state of anonymity where one has no identity. Hence, he is still not existing to be.

I believe it is alright to be in this state for a while but being there for a long time is dangerous. Why? Because Il y a or "nothingness" for me is very comforting. One is not entailed to do something -- to be. In Freudian terms, i believe, this is the state of limbo.

More than a year had passed, and I am still in this state of nothingness. I want to be! I want to exist. And by existing I should start defining myself and my dreams.

My God shattered my being a year ago. Now, I am praying that he guides me to build it again according to His will and not mine. Whether my life is weaved to be in politics, priesthood, NGO work, philosophy, business, psychology, leadership, and/or in the justice system, I entrust it to Him.

Thank you Lord for the continuous shattering and molding!

Though my vision is still vague, I believe my mission is already resolved and that is to Love and be His instrument!

Ecce Eco Mitte Me| Call Me and I'll Serve!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tomorrow and Today

People often say: I'll be better tomorrow, tomorrow I will change, tomorrow is another day, tomorrow, tomorrow, and so on... But is tomorrow really tomorrow? Or tomorrow will always be tomorrow?

I said to myself that tomorrow I will be the person I was a month ago: responsible; studious; athletic; leader; someone who cooks his own food; in short, my ideal self. The problem is that I have been saying this to myself for a month already. The results, as expected, were failures.

Hence a new question arises: what is the difference between tomorrow and yesterdays' aspirations in  being my ideal self again? It think the difference is not the dream to be ideal but the series of actions I do in order to attain my aspirations.

For the past few weeks, I just "hoped" to be better tomorrow. Hope in this context means just dreaming. But since Thursday, this "hoped" became a real hope. It is no longer a statement stating "tomorrow I will be..." but "today, at this moment, I am going to..." And I believe that is real hope. Hope is not statement, it is an act. An act which aims towards your hope. Hope is never static. On the contrary it is dynamic; continuously moving towards a goal.

Tomorrow, I will be an athlete again. Last week I was planning to quit the taekwondo varsity team rationalizing the benefits it will give me if I do quit such as time, energy, etc. But I questioned myself, "Will it be really beneficial for me to quit my art? My martial art?"

I arrived to a decision that I will continue. I will continue not because of its benefits but because I want to continue. Period. But then again, I asked myself, "Can I really be the person I was a month ago?"

Can I wake up again every four in the morning to prepare my breakfast, snack, and lunch for school; leave home by 5:15am and train by 6 to 8 am? Study till 11pm and wake up again by 4vam? Can I still do that?

I said to myself, "Of course, I can do that! I once did it!"

Looking back, yesterday I run around the village to check if my injured knee can already cope up with the stress taekwondo will give. Moreover, I cooked and ate a delicious dinner: unagi, brown rice, and grapefruit juice. Then, this morning I woke up by 7am to go to my law school review class. After that, I studied, went to church, went to the grocery, prepared this week's food, and cooked dinner. I also finished preparing tomorrow's school clothes, taekwondo gi, and toiletries. Based on these acts, I think I can be myself again tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I will be my self again.

But can I really do it? Can I wake up later by 4 am in the morning?

Yes I can! Because my hope is not just a mere hope but hope with action. Through this experience, I may say that tomorrow can't be done without acting today. Because if you will not act today, tomorrow will always be tomorrow.

God did not create the world in just a day. He needed seven days. Same with me, I can't become another person tomorrow by an instant. It needs gradual changes of today.

Yesterday is yesterday but tomorrow will always be today if we want to realize what we want to happen tomorrow. Thus, I may say that I have done it already - to be myself again.

I think tomorrow will not be about becoming myself again but it will living myself again!

Do not put off tomorrow what you can do today.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Renewal of Vows

     It's the 4th of September around 4:00 pm. I am with my friend sitting outside Starbucks Metrowalk waiting for my ordered brewed coffee. I am about to light my first stick of cigarette after a long time of abstinence. My conscience is telling me two opposite things: to light it in order to attain the high nicotine gives; the other, to remember the vows i made.
     Where is my coffee? The barista said it will just take three minutes to brew the coffee. It's been three minutes! It been three long minutes battling with my conscience. I want to light my cigarette but I can't do it not until my coffee arrives! Why? Maybe because I really don't want to smoke. I am hoping that after a sip of coffee I will be able to be satisfied; that the effect of caffeine can surpass the addiction, the high, nicotine gives.
     It's already five minutes! Where is my fucking coffee? Damn it! Why is it so hard to say no? Why is it so hard to detach yourself with worldly pleasures? Is it because of this place? Is it because I see Metrowalk as a "sin city"?
     I see Metrowalk as a sin city. I see it as it is because it is where evil is seen good. How? It is only the place I know today except of Las Vegas that offers and sees prostitution, sex, gambling, pirating, drunkenness and smoking as legal.
    First, prostitution and sex. Metrowalk have an establishment named iSpa which offers "tantric massage". A sensual massage that will end with hormonal release of the man's manliness. Here, it is seen as perfectly legal, natural, and merely a normal business transaction. There is also an establishment which sells lingerie and sex toys. 
     One may say, "How can you say that these establishments are immoral? They have permits and they are just doing business!" I say, "Yes! They do have permits and they are perfectly legal and even accepted by society. But does it follow? Does it follow that a legal act is also morally right?"
     According to Kant's categorical imperative, an act is morally good if it complies with the following criteria: first, it is universal; second, it does not make humanity as end-in-itself; and lastly, it gives others autonomy. On the sensual massage, it violates the first and second criterion. Though the masseur has her own autonomy to end or not to end the massage with the "extra service",is she really free? Given the benefit of the doubt, let say she is free and autonomous in that situation. But is the "extra service" universally good? It may be seen as good in India but is it good in the eyes of everyone? I say no! Moreover, isn't that act treated the masseur as an end-in-itself? That after the "extra service", the transaction is over? As if the masseur is just a machine used to release one's hormone.
     One may say it is not prostitution because it is legal and the masseur accepted it and they are highly compensated. But according to merriam-webster prostitution is defined as "the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money". Thus, isn't it prostitution?
     Metrowalk also has a poker casino and sells pirated DVDs, computer games and installers, and other pirated products. Here what is illegal is seen as legal. Though the poker casino is a legal casino, is it moral?
     It's already 4:08 pm. 8 minutes had passed but where is my fucking coffee?! I see crews of bar preparing tables and chair for the soon to come party where people will drink until they are drunk and smoke until they cough. And after that, God knows what will happen.
     But why should I care? Where is my coffee? I already want to smoke! A minute passed. At last, my coffee is served. I had my sip, and now the moment of truth: Will I light this cigarette or not?
     Why in the first place I should worry? This is a sin city! People don't care! I will just smoke. It is normal. Here, immorality is moral. So why should I care?
     I am smelling my cigarette stick and put it into my mouth. I am about to ask someone for a light. But something inside of me is saying that I should not. Why shouldn't I? It is just a stick. It is not like I will smoke a pack. It is just a stick.
     But then again, where does a pack of cigarette starts? Is it not from a stick? A series of thoughts comes into my consciousness: my vow to my God, my vow to my mom and dad, my vow to my people. But what is it to them? It is just a stick! My God is a forgiving and loving God. My mom and dad will never know unless I tell them. My people. What people? The pediatric cancer patients? The people in my communities? What is it to them?
     Is a stick so important that it dictates my future: life or death?
     I sip my brewed coffee. Once again, I feel the "high" caffeine offers. I am saying to myself, "Is it not enough? Do i still need to smoke? Why can't I be satisfied?"
    Then an epiphany comes into my consciousness. I am not the world! I can't live alone. I am a social being. But more than that, I believe that I am created by God in order to love and to spread His goodness. Thus, does a stick matters? I believe yes! This stick that I will light symbolizes my God, my family, and my community. Each inhale of nicotine will not kill them but it will kill me literally and my being. By being, I mean my faith, hope, and love. 
    I remember the time when I said yes to God; that my fundamental option is to say yes to good and no to evil. I remember the time when I said to my mom that I will not smoke. I remember my people who suffered, is suffering, and will suffer because of my perverted belief that the world revolves in me; that I should care only for myself and not mind other people.
     I take a sip of my coffee. Again, caffeine gives me euphoria. This is enough! I don't need to smoke anymore. I am too selfish. I am not alone in this world. I am with Others!
     I give a sign to my friend indicating we need to go home. I crushed the cigarette. It is enough!
    Lord, forgive me for closing my mind, heart, and soul. I am renewing my vow: to be of your service always! I will become stronger and not be misled by what my society tells me. Instead, I will listen to what you tell me. And from now on, all my actions will be made out of your LOVE.
     It's 4:20pm September 4 and I am renewing my vow to my God, my family, and my people.
     For Your Love and Glory!