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More Than We Could Ever Ask or Imagine

December 30, 2008 Leave a comment
Trust in God that He will provide whatever is in our best interest. 
 
I’m now reading a book entitled “The Criminalization of Christianity” by Janet L. Folger.  It looks like we are indeed close to the ends times, if not already there, with all the persecution that is happening to Christians around the world.  I may be a citizen of a Third World country, but I feel more blessed than these richer nations because I happen to be in a country that still holds religious freedom sacred and protected.  On top of that sacred intuitions such as marriage, and the right to life of the unborn, are still constitutionally upheld.  For now anyway.  Let’s hope that stays that way.
 
There are certain parts in the book that talk about the Christian faith, and in particular about trusting God in “fighting the good fight” in this world – and even for other things and all things, actually.  This includes my love life – or the current lack of it. 
 
I should start reading my Bible some more. 
 
Unfortunately I’m not sure if international copyright law will allow me to quote sections of the book that speak to me now.  In case you get the chance to get hold of a copy, take a look at pages 188 (where Romans 8:32 is quoted) and 193 – 194. 
 
Suffice it to say, even in my writing now He is involved, as He has inspired me to make a note of the lessons He wants me to learn.  Essentially:
 
  • Since He didn’t spare His own Son, it’s unlikely that He’s going to hold back anything that’s going to be for my own good.
  • Trust that God is intimately involved in my life, in all our lives for that matter. 
  • The good that He wants for me is infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine. 
 
This truly is a very inspiring and uplifting message for me that I need to learn well and never forget.  No matter how bad, or even how dull, things turn out, it will ultimately work out in my best interest in the end, because God has my best interests in mind in His plans. 
 
And speaking of things we will ever need or want, ultimately the most important thing we will ever need from God is His Mercy through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Everything else we may want to ask is just secondary to that.
 
Here’s hoping that I learn to trust in God some more as He speaks to me in the events of my life. 
 
Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in You! 
 
Categories: Religion

Couples Not For Christ

December 30, 2008 Leave a comment
Unless you have God in your life, all the philosophy in the world won’t save you from your raging hormones!
 
Bo Sanchez gave a talk about purity during his Kerygma conference last November 29.  He posted a summary of his talk in his blog, which he entitled “Are You Sexually Pure?  It sure hit a nerve with a lot of people, and as of this writing it is his most popular post as far as I could tell. 
 
Suffice it to say I could not help but react and post a question on his blog:
 
Just out of sheer curiosity: Why are unmarried couples tempted to have sex anyway? I’ve never been in a relationship before so I can only guess the reasons.
 
I’m pretty sure it’s more than just having “too much idle time” on their hands. Is it because they want to explore each other’s bodies? Is it because they want to have fun and experience sexual pleasure? Is it because they want to show their love for one another?
 
Ultimately it is God’s grace that will save us from the evil of Lust… But it sure would help to get a basic understanding the “why” or the reasons for this happening.
 
I eventually answered myself (more or less) in a subsequent post by saying that “Unless you have God in your life, all the philosophy in the world won’t save you from your raging hormones!
 
 
The Curiosity with Couples
 
Between unmarried couples, perhaps the temptation is there because:
  1. There is someone available
  2. This person loves him/her
  3. Because this person loves him/her, she/he might be willing to do “it” with him/her
  4. This person might actually WANT to do “it” with him/her also. 
 
Beyond the physical attraction an unmarried couple may have for each other, I think what tempts them is the fact that there is a very strong emotional element involved, and this (I think anyway) makes the experience more inviting.  When an unmarried couple does “it,” it may actually start out as an expression of love for one another.  Ultimately this is a lie.
 
They may continue to believe that they are expressing love for each other, and perhaps even excuse the behavior with the reason that they’ll get married someday anyway.  However deep down it all just comes down to doing “it” for the pleasure it gives.
 
Here are two examples from Bo’s same blog from comment posts illustrating the lie:
 
  • A lady posted about her and her boyfriend doing “it.” Reading between the lines, I could sense that initially it may have been done out of an expression of love.  However she did narrate that she could not stop thinking about it with her boyfriend, and the only function she could do was fantasize about that, think about how they were going to do it, and then do it.  Subsequent encounters were more for selfish pleasure’s sake. 
  • Another lady posted about having three boyfriends in the past, each of them wanting to do “it” with her.  She never consented, and as a result was branded a kill joy (in so many words) and was dumped.  I think for this example it’s a case more of the guys just wanting to get pleasure using, and taking advantage of, this lady.  They did not really, truly love her.  They just wanted to use her for their own selfish pleasure. 
 
Sex is beautiful and in fact God created it Himself.  I think the reason why He’s extremely upset when people do this outside of marriage is because (1) it’s just done for selfish pleasure, and (2) for something this intimate it’s done without any real commitment to love each other at all.  This commitment can only be fully and truly expressed in marriage. 
 
Obviously there’s more to being pure than just resisting the temptation of this specific example. 
 
So…  Are you sexually pure?  Bo’s question is a question we should all be asking ourselves.  Let us all ask for God’s grace to be careful not to fall into this particular evil. 
 
Categories: Religion

The Third Joyful Mystery

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment
From reflections in praying the Rosary one can see the love that God has for all of us.  Case in point was the fact that He allowed His Son to be born into our world like one of us. 
 
A priest once said that we should not romanticize Christmas.  Jesus was born in the worst of circumstances: In a dirty and smelly manger.  The circumstances of the first Christmas were literally a very sad and sorry one, from a very human perspective. 
 
Yes, in human terms it is true that he was born in such terrible conditions.  Who would want to be born in a stinky animal house anyway?  However does this mean that we should re-classify the Joyful Mystery of His birth as one of a Sorrowful Mystery? 
 
I don’t think so. 
 
Why then do we still rejoice? 
 
Well, I think He could have chosen better circumstances for His birth.  He is God after all.  He could have chosen to be born in luxurious surroundings fit for a king.  Or at the very least, He could have chosen more conventional logistics at the time.  He however consciously decided to make it happen this way if only to show us how low He was willing to go out of love for His wretched creatures.  I also think He chose to be born in the lowest of places, perhaps, if also to emphasize the value of humility and that He came to serve and not to be served.
 
In fact I think that if it were not for the circumstances, this could even be classified as a Glorious Mystery.  Think about it: The promise of a Savior has finally been fulfilled! 
 
It is for this expression of His love that we have reason to rejoice at His birth. 
 
Years later in His ministry, He preached that His Father in heaven loves us all, and He showed this by healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, but more important of all – forgiving sins! 
 
Every sin, no matter how venial it may be, is a failure to love and is at the end of the day still an offense against God who is Love and Mercy itself.  To offend Someone like Him is still a terrible crime indeed, for even in human terms it would not be conscionable to offend the Creator of the universe.  This is why Jesus died for us – to make the payment of our sin on our behalf, for only God can give satisfaction to God.
 
He gave His life for us with His bitter Passion on the Cross as payment for all our sins.  Because of His work on that day He earned for us the right to the Kingdom with the forgiveness of our sins.  When that happened on that day, His work was finally completed.  We call that day Good.  We call it Good Friday because on that day He expressed His ultimate love for us all.
 
Love that is true is love that hurts. 
 
If you don’t believe that, then you haven’t looked at the Cross long enough.
 
Merry Christmas to one and all!  May God bless us all in the new year ahead. 
 
Categories: Religion

Divine Mercy Questions

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m an avid reader of the articles posted in the Divine Mercy website.  Dr. Robert Stackpole, author and scholar of Jesus’ Divine Mercy, has a regular Question and Answer column.  Last year I sent him four questions, and I’ve gotten answers to my questions posted in the site. 

Below are the articles that have spawned from my inquiries.  May these enlighten you as much as these have for me.

"Which is He: A God of Wrath or of Mercy?" (February 14, 2007)
"What Does Trust in The Divine Mercy Really Mean?" (March 21, 2007)
"If God is So Merciful, Why is There a Purgatory?" (July 11, 2007)
"Where Can We Find God’s Mercy?" (October 10, 2007)

Categories: Religion

Microsoft links to revist

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Breaking My Heart

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment
The words of my favorite song for this year come to my mind now.  I couldn’t help but recall it, and how much the words resonate in my life.  Below is my transcription of the lyrics of my favorite song by The Californias.  (A copy of this song can be downloaded at CNET’s Download.com.)
 
 
Breaking My Heart
The Californias
 
All alone ago
I’m wondering down this winding road
With memories of you
They’re beautiful but fading few
It would have been so nice
If we had stayed together
 
Dreams they say come true
If you really want them to
But I don’t think they do
In all I do is dream of you
And then I look around
You’re nowhere to be found
 
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
 
All alone ago
I wonder if you’ll ever know
How much you meant to me
I wonder why you didn’t see
How good it could have been
With you and I together
 
It’s like they always say
So close and yet so far away
But thoughts of you remain
Nothing really takes your place
I still remember you
There’s nothing I can do
 
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
You’re still breaking my – 
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
 
Forever is a long, long time
To wish that you could still be mine
Each day breaks my heart
You’re so far apart from you
 
All alone ago
I’m wondering down this winding road
With memories of you
They’re beautiful but fading few
It would have been so nice
If we had stayed together
 
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
You’re still breaking my –
You’ll be breaking my heart forever!
 
Whoa… Whoa… Ohhh…
Categories: Music

Bryan’s and Karen’s Wedding

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment
I rolled into the [company] project on September 1, 2004.  One of the first people I met on the team was Bryan, who was relatively new with the DBA team.  It was just recently his birthday and one of his wishes was to have someone to love in his life.  On September 27 three new hires joined the project, and one of them was Karen.  I don’t know if it was love at first sight.  In any case they were getting a long very well.  Pretty soon they were officially a couple – December 23, 2004, if I recall right.  They made a wonderful couple.  On April 26, 2007 Karen left the company.  Four days later Bryan followed suit.  They remained together in the new life they started in Singapore. 
 
 
Their Wedding
 
Fast-forward our story to December 27.  A few months prior to this they announced their engagement and wedding to all their family and friends.  Karen asked me if I could be the Commentator during the ceremonies, and it was with great honor that I accepted this task. 
 
So, here I was along EDSA driving to the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati City.  I left the house before 9:00 a.m. so that I could be there before 10:00 a.m.  The ceremonies were not scheduled to begin until 10:30 a.m. but their wedding coordinator wanted everyone who was playing a key role to be there early.  I was nervous on my way to the church, but I couldn’t exactly explain why so.  As I was approaching the intersection of the Ayala Avenue extension and Metropolitan Avenue I found my answer: I wasn’t sure of how to go to the Church anymore.  Nervousness escalated into sheer panic. 
 
I just love flashbacks, eh? Open-mouthed  Last November 23, I actually did a practice run for supposedly all of the Churches that I would be going to for the weddings I’m invited.  I started off by finding my way to the Santuario De San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park for the December 7 wedding of Chris and Maika, the latter being my officemate.  That was the easy part.  My next step would be to find my way to the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart for the wedding of Bryan and Karen.  I somehow managed to find it thanks to some makeshift signs that pointed me to it.  But getting out of the place, I was in a panic because I got lost.  Somehow I managed to get way off course and I ended up somewhere along Yakal street.  I called up Tita Angie and Tito Rey who lived nearby for assistance; Tito Rey was going to come to me but I told him that I would try to ask around first.  Eventually I found directions from a gas station attendant who told me that I was along Malugay street, and all I had to do was go straight to go back to Ayala.  That I did, and that was the end of my troubles, for now anyway.  I went to Greenbelt and bought a map of Makati, out of sheer exasperation at my own road incompetence.  I was also supposed to practice run going to the December 28 wedding of Ryan and Sheryl in the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Intramuros, Manila, but I no longer continued.  On a side-note, I was able to attend the December 7 wedding, but not the December 28 wedding due to conflicting and changing schedules.  I would have loved to see Sheryl wed, who was one of my best staff when I was with the [company] project. 
 
Going back…  You’d think by now I would know better, but despite prior experience and a map of Makati, I still managed to get lost.  I overshot the intersection of Ayala Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue and illegally backtracked my way to it.  The sign that led me before the Church was no longer there.  Then I got lost again and overshot Sacred Heart street.  I couldn’t reach Tito Rey now; fortunately I came across a gas station that was very near Kamagong street.  The attendant gave me directions and I eventually found my way again. 
 
God bless all the gas station attendants who’ve saved my life! 
 
Okay – so I finally got there.  That was a huge relief.  However my peace and calm did not last long.  I started to feel nervous again, and in a frantic search for the reason for my panic, I realized that I felt unsure about my performance later on as the Commentator.  Even if Karen gave me a copy of the program several weeks back and I actually practiced it, since this was my first time to do such a task it was still left me unhinged. 
 
Funny because the only role I was playing that day was that of the Commentator – and yet I was so nervous.  If ever I get married someday…  I can just imagine how “animated” I would be. 
 
It was also like a reunion of the old [company] project because most of those that have left the company and those that remained were there.  Pio was back from Singapore and served as Bryan’s Best Man.  Julieth was one of the three new hires aside from Karen who joined [company] (the other was Laura, who couldn’t make it due to conflicting appointments); she continues to be Karen’s best friend and kumare and thus served as her Maid of Honor.  Other people from Singapore flew in also for this event.  Anson, Tin, Rache, Joesil and Julius were also there. 
 
A few other people did not attend the event – only because they were also getting married that same day.  They were Rico and Luizelle.  Half the people who were attending Bryan’s and Karen’s wedding had to leave early to attend to Rico’s and Luizelle’s wedding in the afternoon. 
 
The wedding eventually started, but it started late at 10:45 a.m. because some time was spent cleaning up the Church after the wedding that just preceded the one I was attending.  I did my best not to screw this up – this was the most special day for two of my best friends, and the last thing I wanted was to spoil it for them. 
 
I was told that my part went well, for the most part anyway. Out of nervousness I announced that the marriage rites would now proceed after the Gospel was read – the priest corrected me that he would give the Homily first.  Whoops.  The Homily was very good.  The priest admonished them to always love and forgive one another so that their marriage will last.  Good thing he reminded me about that part of the Mass. Open-mouthed  At one point in the ceremonies after Communion I tripped over my kneeler and that caused some loud commotion.  Otherwise, I think I delivered as best as I could. 
 
I’ve often wondered why priests needed a guide for saying the Mass (it escapes me now what it’s actually called; it’s not the Misalette that the laymen use) given that they’ve been celebrating it day in and day out, but from my experience I now I understand why something like that would be very important.  It really does help getting you on track on how to do things.  It is especially useful if you’re a bit nervous.  I certainly was, and even if I had the Misalette I still managed to mess up a bit, but not too much. Smile
 
It was a touching ceremony.  Karen was looking like the beautiful bride she was meant to be.  They both looked so young and so in love.  Good for them!  Their dream of finally being together for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death does them apart, has finally been fulfilled.  I am very happy for my friends. 
 
Right after the Mass the usual picture taking took place.  Fortunately for me the wedding coordinator was willing to relieve me of my misery; she took over ushering in who gets to pose in front of the camera with the couple in the Church.  People started leaving for the reception shortly afterwards. 
 
This might be the first and last time I will ever agree to be a Commentator for someone’s wedding again.  Should I serve in this role again in the future…  It better be good. 
 
 
The Reception
 
One thing I did not do during my November 23 practice run was to find out how to go to the respective hotels – and where to park.  For Chris’ and Maika’s wedding it was held in the Mandarin Oriental; I just followed one of my managers who was also invited on the way to go there, and where to park.  There was no longer any parking and so we just used the valet.  For Bryan’s and Karen’s wedding it was at the Dusit Thai hotel.  That hotel has changed names so often it seems people know it by three designations.  Now, instead of going to the trouble of parking in Park Square 1, which was just across the hotel, I decided to play safe and park in familiar territory, never mind if it was a bit far.  I found a nice slot in 6750, and from there walked my way to the hotel. 
 
When we got to the Reception Hall there were a number of people already present.  This was where we met up with Oliver.  Just like Anson, he had to leave early to attend to Rico’s and Luizelle’s wedding that afternoon.  Pio and Tin were no longer around.  Anson left before lunch began, but Oliver stayed until the end of the program.
 
Lunch started around 1:45 p.m.  It was a buffet lunch, so people lined up after getting their picture taken with the couple.  The usual wedding reception practices and traditions were carried out.  An interesting twist was the couple’s first dance.  I don’t think anyone was expecting that Bryan and Karen would boogie on the dance floor! Smile
 
 
The Garter Game
 
Like all wedding reception practices and traditions, they also had this game.  I guess to cut the story short, Karen wanted me to be paired up with [Angry] so badly that she made sure that I would be the guy putting the garter on [Angry]’s leg.  [01/02/2009 EDIT: Karen says this is not true.  I’ll just blame this on the wedding coordinator in that case.  Hehehe.]
 
You know…  Call me conservative-minded, but I had to close my eyes doing this. Embarrassed  (Torpe I think is the more operative word.)
 
Bryan was then asked to kiss Karen in five places of her body except her lips – and I was required to follow.  It was the first time I can remember kissing a lady who is not my relative.  Fortunately for everybody it was still "wholesome" — okay, make that rated PG, but still PG and not R or X.  I’ll admit that the experience was interesting… In retrospect, let me just say that it was very obvious to me that she tried to be a sport in all this, just like me, but she didn’t like the idea of it one bit. 
 
It’s the garter game.  It has always been… Well, there has always been some kiliti in this activity.
 
The garter game was the last activity.  After that the program winded down.  I believe it ended around 3:30 p.m., and I left after saying goodbye to Bryan and Karen and wishing them well in their new life together.
 
 
On Married Life
 
One of the important lessons of a marriage that I was reminded of yesterday was the fact that the newly wed couple is now a family.  The guy or gal won’t separately go home to their parents after this since they are now one indissoluble body under God. 
 
This is a huge responsibility.  It’s one thing to be responsible for your own life, but to be responsible also for the welfare of another person is something different altogether and we’re not yet talking about the responsibility that comes with welcoming and nurturing new life that God may give in a marriage. 
 
I remember when I was a child I would look up to my parents and trust them without question that they would take care of me.  I knew they would be able to manage it, and they have.  I still look up to them in the same way.  Bryan and Karen are now responsible for each other.  I pray that God will continue to be present in their lives, for it is only through Him that they will have the trust and confidence in each other in loving and living out the responsibility they have for one another. 
 
I pray that Bryan and Karen succeed in their new chapter in their life.  They love each other truly, so I know they will. Smile
 
More power to you, my friends!  The best is yet to come. 
 
May all those who are married or in a relationship remain centered and anchored to You, our God, and may they cherish this special gift that You have given to them. 
 
Categories: Personal