Category Archives: Agápē

Seeing Francis…

Pilgrims walking from Calle Vito Cruz to Calle Quirino, Luneta and UST

I knew it’s not going to be easy to get near Pope Francis but I had to try because in 1995 I failed to see Pope John Paul II. After standing in Quirino Avenue for 5 hours (some had been camping there since Saturday and Friday) near the Papal Nuncio I did saw the successor of Peter—a fleeting glimpse that lasted a few seconds. It was like seeing a bright comet—the car he was in (a volkswagen family van) went by so pass I was not able to snap a photo. This Papal visit reminds all how deeply Catholic the country remains is amidst the increasing secularization of our society.

I don’t think the adoration we Catholics have for this man could be explained or understood by non-Catholics. How I wish everyone could share the experience and joy of being led and inspired by this man.

I cry easy and his homily in Tacloban made me tear up—I wept with those Filipinos who lost their families while Pope Francis assured them that Christ understands them for He, like them, suffered too.

His message was sincere; straight from his heart. How I wished most of us understood him in his native tongue. But I believe his message, despite requiring translation, was felt and understood by all Filipinos. The image of people weeping, while drenched in rain, with their pastor in that cold and windy day is one that would be in our heart and minds forever.

Also, that Pope Francis delivered his homily in Spanish was a bonus. I’m a student of this language; its speakers would tell you they use to “para hablar con Dios”. Hopefully one day we’ll all speak this language again.

You expect people to look for shelter when it starts raining but these folks won’t budge. I’ve never seen these many cops in my life.

I’m not a religious person; although I study and research the tradition and history of the Catholic Church in this country, I do not consider myself a good Church member. I continue to struggle following its teachings and traditions. The past few days of the Pope’s visit has inspired me to examine my Catholic faith. Francis’s words has made me look into my flaws and weaknesses—this is my takeaway from this momentous visit of the Church’s highest leader.

While waiting for the Pope to leave his official residence, I witnessed some extraordinary kindness from the people around me. I saw policemen carrying babies and looking after them so they could be nearer where the Pope’s convoy would pass. There were people helping senior citizens—some sharing candies and snacks.

But of course there were those who just went there to heckle, take selfies and complaint. There was this woman who even started shouting at the police for allowing some people (they were babysitting their babies and little children for crying out loud) to go in front. These folks missed the point of the exercise! People like these are irksome but hey, mercy and compassion right? Patience is a virtue that’s easy to have when the Pope is around 🙂

Also, it’s refreshing to read nothing but good news about the Church these past few days. Even the Damaso shouting anti-Catholics took their day-off’s (they’ll be back of course). In social media all comments are positive! Never thought I’ll see that especially when the subject posted has something to do with religion. Such is the uniting power of this popular Pope.


Popeless Days

No Catholic could have foreseen a Pope resigning.

Not even Cardinals.

“Like thunder that gives no notice” Cardinal Arinze said after Pope Benedict announced his abdication from the seat of St. Peter.

Considered the Church’s most respected contemporary theologian, this Pope must’ve planned this ahead, and there were signs that he did.

The process of electing a Pope is one that’s traditionally established. It is extraordinarily democratic. Which surprises a lot of outsiders. A solid process that has served the Church and Her people for centuries.

Not qualified to assess who’s going to get voted in but I’m praying for Chito, every good Filipino Catholic should.

Exciting time to be Catholic. There will be a new Pope celebrating Easter Mass in Vatican!

The last few months has been a transformational phase for me spiritually. I find it ironic that it is in this foreign land that I can claim to have fully accepted, with all the terms and conditions that comes with it, my being Catholic.

There’s so much time to study Church history and tradition these days. My proximity with this great Gothic church established by French missionaries (they intended to serve the small Teochew community in the area) 150 years ago also help foster this renewed enthusiasm for the Church.

Seeing new converts in this predominantly Chinese parish had a profound impact on how I interpret my faith. Just yesterday, the Priest called on a group of converts in front of the altar. There they prayed the Nicene Creed along with the rest. Some turned emotional, others smiling like they just fell in love.

In a few weeks, these people would experience the Holy Sacraments. Coming from a country where such conversions are unheard of, witnessing people joining the Church is a fascinating, powerful experience.

Sometimes when you’re relegated to the back you’re forced to be more reflective and meditative. I find comfort in silence these days. Trying to spend as much time in prayer and study. These helps me stay away from the distractions that comes with idle time.

Avoiding negative people (those that complains like the world is coming to an end) is also an important practice. My parents taught me never to align with such individuals. Leave them to wallow in their misery, not because you don’t want to help but because that’s how they chose to live.

The level of cynicism is just unbelievable these days. It’s alarming to hear especially from young people. There’s just so much to look forward to in this world – there’s nothing to be gained having a negative outlook on life. Nothing.

Ok, enough talk. Good nite.

Elvis Presley’s “Miracle of the Rosary”

He’s such a mama’s boy. I’m not surprised he adored our Virgin Mother. He understands the spiritual bond that binds a son with his mother. People close to him believes that he never recovered from the death of his Mother, Gladys.

Dolores Hart in an interview stated that while Elvis grew up in southern protestant tradition (and most probably remained one) she believes that the King of Rock has always drawn inspiration from other spiritual traditions.

Perfect Love Banishes Fear

Not a bible reader. What I hear from Mass is what little knowledge I try to digest, spiritually. Yesterday, Wednesday, I heard this read:

“There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love.”

I didn’t wrote it down there. I memorized it and looked it up, 1 John 4:18. I thought it a good idea to share.

The Priest spoke more about this but I had trouble understanding his sermon. People here have a distinct way of speaking English. While they perfectly understand each other, I find it rather difficult.

If you’re expecting me to expand more on that passage, well, I won’t do that. I’m not qualified. I just want to write it down here. If there’s anything I learned in life that really works for me is that things that I write down, I remember well.

Nice day.

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