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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category


We are all on the alert. Every time there is a storm signal here in Metro Manila, I feel so insecure. There was a time when I used to appreciate the rain when it gently pours and makes the green countryside even greener and fresher. Our experience with typhoon Ondoy almost five years ago changed all that.  Glenda is the seventh storm signal this year. Most of the provinces in Luzon are affected by this latest weather disturbance, we are under storm signal number 2. I am praying it won’t bring so much rain that would cause flash flood in Metro Manila.

There is this quote that I’ve often read and pondered about  for a long time now and it was even made into a lot of internet meme. It’s from Vivian Green (sorry, I don’t know  much about her except through this quote)  and it says:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Yesterday, I celebrated my 5th year in remission.  It’s really one good reason to celebrate and to offer it in thanksgiving . I thank God for all the blessings and graces. As I’ve always said in my previous blog posts, this blog exists because I wanted to share my journey as a cancer patient/survivor. The first two years of this blog were almost about my everyday experiences going to and from the hospital, weekly lab tests and the pain and anguish of having to undergo chemotherapy every three weeks. Miracles do happen in our everyday life and it is always a blessing to wake up each morning seeing the sun and the day’s unfolding. We are richly blessed by the love and care of family and friends, just sometimes, we forget to appreciate what we have and take everything for granted. I am always of the thought that life is one lovely journey despite the odds and the pain it brings us now and then. I am looking forward to a new day despite the storm.  I love this beautiful quote from the late Maya Angelou.

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Happy New Month. I’d like to bring back the days when blogging  was such a joy because every day, there is something you can share even such a simple prayer like this.

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It’s been a while. I know, I know, I was beaten by the lazy bug, a perfect excuse being not able to visit WordPress for a while. I really miss blogging. For the past seven or six years, I’ve shared my thoughts and reflections  online, from Friendster to Multiply to WordPress. Some friends are urging me to open an account at Pinterest, what for, I am happy with blogging at WordPress. I feel that even if I am sharing myself with the world in this medium, I can still maintain my privacy and the growing friends that I have here respect each other’s thoughts and ramblings. We may differ in a lot of things but we have the same quest for self-fulfillment and happiness. Blogging is like  a favorite chocolate brand that you seek now and then.

We’ve heard of the adage, into each life some rain must fall and we always interpret it as problems we need to overcome. When we think of it positively, we could say, those drops of rain that sometimes drown us  could be a series of blessing that we should be grateful for. The sun always shines after the rain, right? There are moments though when one feels the weight of the world on one’s shoulder and you feel helpless and afraid.  I remember, sometimes too vividly, the hurts and the pains of the past but I’d rather not dwell on that feeling for long. I let myself cry when I am alone, I let myself reminisce about the happy times but that is all there is to it, reminiscing and letting the tears flow silently for a while. I met a friend the other day and we had quite a long chat about life.  I told her about my struggles with my health almost five years ago, the pain of chemotherapy, the  worrisome kidney bypass a year later  and everything that came after that. She said I am so strong to have endured all of it and I answered back that I have to be for the sake of my kids and for my health.  It’s hard to let go I know but that is how life is. We cling to our faith and pray that we will be strong enough to face and carry our own crosses  in life. Sometimes though, we are in a hurry making a life that we forget to live.

It is my son’s 30th birthday today, something more to be thankful for – celebrating the gift of life and the gift of motherhood. I think this is one of those rare times that he spent his birthday away from home enjoying  the falls of Majayjay. I am getting old. Having grown-up children allows you to comfort yourself with the pleasant memories of their childhood, cherished thoughts of their growing up years, their own pain of chasing their dreams, finding their own niche under the sun and building their own treasures of good memories.

This afternoon, I heard my grandson over the phone  said “hi Nonna” and that was enough. I smiled, thinking happy thoughts about my family.

 

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Spent the early part of the day going to the wake of a friend’s dad. He died at the age of 87  last Tuesday. When someone leaves us in this world, we  talk of the happy memories, the good times that we remember of our deceased relative. We always talk of  the times that we remember the most in our hearts, we talk of the caring ways, the love and care, the gentle touch of a loving dad to his kids and the great love he showed our own mother.

I remembered  Dad vividly in my mind while I was praying for Paul’s father. Letting go is not that easy. We always think we are prepared for any eventualities that may happen but when it is a close member of our family, we cannot just ignore the deep pain we feel, the sense of loss we experience.  Even if we say that we have accepted everything even before we lose a loved one, there is that tight knot of pain that surrounds our hearts.  Tere, another common friend who was with me at the wake intently listened to us exchange thoughts and ideas about death. I told Paul that he could still laugh, joke around with us because he can still see his father right in front but after the burial when everyone has left and it’s only the family facing each other, you feel empty, there is that deep void that no one can fill.  Your thoughts would slowly unlock all the lovely things you hold dear when your father was still alive. Acceptance is one thing but what is important is allowing yourself to grieve  so you would heal the pain of emptiness within.

Saying goodbye is not without its tears.  You experience all kinds of difficult emotions that sometimes you think  the sadness would never let up.  They say that there is really no wrong or right way to grieve. It may take a year or two or you feel the loss the rest of your life. We are not only talking about death here but of other circumstances when  our emotions are deeply affected. And then we ask ourselves, “is there a normal timetable for grief?” I don’t think so because it is a personal thing. Some of us may cope well because we make ourselves busy, it lightens the burden when we share it with close relatives and friends. Ignoring what you feel would just make you miserable. Real healing takes place when we face our fears. It’s normal to cry, but it does not mean that you don’t feel the loss when you don’t.

Time heals. It is  a slow dance of remembrance and unlocking  of precious memories you hold in your heart. Then you will smile at the thought that you have those precious memories to keep you warm.

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It was another experience that I will never forget. Jut like the first time that I viewed an exhibit on John Paul II celebrating his feast day almost three years ago, I was given another opportunity to see one, Totus Tuus Tour on the same venue last April 24, 2014.It was held at the activity area of Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City. Totus Tuus  was the apostolic motto of Pope John Paul II.  It is a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours” and expressed his personal consecration to Mary. I am always awed and inspired  every time I have the opportunity to do this. This time, when I saw some of the first class relics displayed there, I cried. The way he touched people, the way he inspired the youth when he was alive  and now, he is a saint. What a lovely journey!

Just like his beatification three years ago, he will be canonized on a Divine Mercy Sunday together with another beloved pope, Pope John XXIII. Unlike the later who is not known much to our generation, Pope John Paul II is so much-loved by the youth of today.  I treasure the only memento I had of his beatification, a rosary given to me by Fr. Louie, a student priest friend in Rome when JP II was beatified. I took some pictures of the exhibit but I am limiting a few here because I have a separate album posted at my FB timeline.

Some of the relics displayed at the exhibit. ©Dreams and Escapes

Some of the relics displayed at the exhibit.
©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

The reliquary where Saint Paul II first class relics are displayed. ©Dreams and Escapes

The reliquary where Saint Paul II first class relics are displayed.
©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

©Dreams and Escapes

I love this Zucchetto. I could just imagine JP II wearing this on his head. ©Dreams and Escapes

I love this Zucchetto. I could just imagine JP II wearing this on his head.
©Dreams and Escapes

A first class relic - a piece of cloth imbued with JP II's blood. ©Dreams and Escapes

A first class relic – a piece of cloth imbued with JP II’s blood.
©Dreams and Escapes

Another first class relic - strands of hair of JP II. ©Dreams and Escapes

Another first class relic – strands of hair of JP II.
©Dreams and Escapes

The rosary in the picture reminds me of the gift my priest son gave me several years ago which came from the Vatican. The beads are the same and the crucifix is quite similar too. ©Dreams and Escapes

The rosary in the picture reminds me of the gift my priest son gave me several years ago which came from the Vatican. The beads are the same and the crucifix is quite similar too.
©Dreams and Escapes

The Papal chair was the same thing JP II used during his visit to the Philippines in 1981. ©Dreams and Escapes

The Papal chair was the same thing JP II used during his visit to the Philippines in 1981.
©Dreams and Escapes

Totus Tuus Tour

The office of the Vice Postulation for the cause for canonization of Bl. Ivan Merz is blessed to have in their custody various relics of St. John Paul II. From first to second class relics, major to minor kinds, these are offered for the veneration of the faithful. All are authenticated and recognized by the Church Pastors,most especially by the Archbishop of Krakow – the former secretary of Pope John Paul II.

On the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s canonization (April 27, 2014, in the Vatican), the Office of the Vice Postulator of Blessed Ivan Merz has organized the Public Exposition and Veneration of his Relics. From his blood stain and hair strands to his papal zucchetto and part of his cassock (soutane), and other important relics and memorabilia, the faithful will have access in praying before these sacred remains to deepen their love and devotion to our newest Saint.

It was a lovely journey, seeing all these and praying for family and friends.

 

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“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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It is one of those times when you smile at the thought of knowing that you could always find that elusive happiness when you feel so much alone. You embrace the silence of your thoughts and see the beauty of  the world around you.  I always love the sound of a waterfall, that soothing sound that calms the soul.

Happiness doesn’t always have to depend on other people. Happiness is within your reach when you know that being alone does not always equate to being lonely and that you need to be alone sometimes to know your self better, to feel that even if you are just a dot and a mere speck in the universe, you belong. So hold on to your dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. Who knows, one day you’ll find that your dreams are just at an arm’s reach, palpable and full of excitement.

 

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We were supposed to make our yearly Visita Iglesia early today but Josef has to do an overtime work till the wee hours so we postponed it for tomorrow and attended the Last Supper mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish near our place. It was a two-hour solemn and meaningful celebration of the mass.  It was followed by a short dramatization on how Jesus chose His twelve apostles and the actual commemoration of the last supper. Each apostle was introduced by a short biography culled from the Gospel. For the last four years or so, the Parish distributes crates and baskets of  pandesal after the mass. We brought home plenty, good enough for a light breakfast tomorrow since Good Friday is fasting and abstinence.

Early this morning,  I was able to clean up my  almost three thousand messages at my Yahoo account, some of which I haven’t read in years. Imagine finding yourself reading a birthday greeting that you have missed the last two years. I just have to adjust the setting of my WordPress notifications so I won’t be opening and deleting so many messages on my Yahoo mail. I left the personal e-mails sent by friends and relatives. It is sometimes so engrossing to re-read letters and greetings from close friends.

These are quiet days for me – no TV, no radio, just  visits  at WordPress to update my blog, a few inspirational read and a visit at Facebook to update our Catholic online page. We will be celebrating our fourth year doing apostolate at FB tomorrow.  I wrote a short article on my journey there  and how it changed my life for the better.

Have a blessed Holy Thursday to all!

Photo credit goes to my co-admin at AFCC, Paul Cardenas. Thanks Paul :)

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Woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:30am. Son has to leave the house at 5:00am so for three days each week, it’s a struggle to open my eyes and try to ignore the alarms from my two cellphones on my night table.  This morning, I felt as though I haven’t slept  for over six hours so I went back to bed and woke up at 7:30am. So much for dreaming of catching at least 3 more hours of rest.

Our two dogs are at the door waiting for breakfast and my plants are waiting  for that much-needed morning shower.  It is definitely summer here and it’s hot. The previous week has been  a busy one  so far  and it’s now Holy Monday. Holy  Week began yesterday with the blessing  of the palms. I was at the church early because yesterday, one of our new junior admins  at our Catholic page visited me. Ninia and I had a good laugh exchanging news and some tidbits of her life in Hongkong away from her family.  Sharing with friends is such a joy, never mind that  sometimes, the topic was serious  and painful enough and the tears fall, unheeded. Doing an online apostolate is definitely fulfilling. As  you journey through, you also grow in faith and yes,  in your own little way, you get to inspire others. We will be celebrating our fourth year of being online this coming Friday.  When I think  of the times when we were just making our presence felt with a little more than a thousand members, I am grateful that so many people from all walks of life found our page. We now have almost 66,000 members who visit the page each day and share our posts.

I would love to go back to St. Padre Pio Chapel  this Holy Week, they have several things lined up for the celebration. My only problem is I am afraid to mingle with a big crowd because I have to wear face mask  and I can’t stay under the heat of the sun for long. We are planning to have Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday maybe in some churches in Manila if we have the time.

This is the facade of Saint Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.  It's vvisited by thousands of Padre Pio devotees from all walks of life.

This is the facade of Saint Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC. It’s visited by thousands of Padre Pio devotees from all walks of life.

The prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi.

The prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi.

I am always touched watching the flickering candles at the chapel. The symbolism of having pure light, penetrating darkness and illuminating one's path is  so uplifting.

I am always touched watching the flickering candles at the chapel. The symbolism of having pure light, penetrating darkness and illuminating one’s path is so uplifting.

Some people say that the facade of the chapel is an exact replica of the  Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. Last week I watched a feature on Mang Ramon Rodriguez, founder and president of  the Philippine Center for St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Inc.  He is a devotee of Saint Padre Pio and was cured of partial blindness years ago . It’s the reason why he put up a small chapel which is now a house of prayer visited by thousands of pilgrims all year-long.

Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, containing Padre Pio's tomb and cell.  (Photo credit: sacreddestinations.com)

Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, containing Padre Pio’s tomb and cell. (Photo credit: sacred-destinations.com)

Have a blessed Holy Week!

 

 

 

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Rosaries left by Padre Pio devotees at St. Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.

Rosaries left by Padre Pio devotees at St. Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.

They speak of love and faith -

A love that endures

A faith that sustains

They speak of a loving God

whose open arms

welcome everyone.

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Yesterday, my son,  her girlfriend Jovy  and I visited Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, Quezon City. This is Jovy’s first time to visit the place so we toured her around the gardens after spending some time inside the chapel and at the prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi. I always feel blessed and energized every time I visit this lovely place. Never mind that I am still dragging my left foot while walking. I haven’t been here for a year and I really missed the place. One thing that I enjoy  and always look forward to  is writing prayer petitions. It was a wondrous communion with God. Despite the  knee pain, I found it easier to kneel and the flow of words kept coming. Mere thanksgiving is not enough, asking for more blessings  seems a little selfish but that is what I did – praying for the family and for my health.

I took lots of pictures  which I will use for my online apostolate.  One thing  that I found so amazing and so beautiful  are the pictures of a dove perched at the statue of an angel in a corner of the garden. It seemed as if it was saying “welcome” to us.  Don’t laugh but I said “hello” and it just turned its head the other way, maybe acknowledging our presence there in the heat of the morning sun. Doves have long been depicted as symbols of  love, peace and as messengers.  White doves are often used during weddings too.

When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that that there is a dove gray color like this.

When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that there is a dove-gray color like this.

 

Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, "Isn't she lovely?" while looking at the angel figure behind.

Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, “Isn’t she lovely?” while looking at the angel figure behind.

 

Will post more pictures of Padre Pio chapel in my next blog. Just could not get enough.

 

 

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