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Archive for April 19th, 2011


We’re almost in the middle of celebrating Semana Santa. Today is Holy Tuesday and some parishes have started the Pabasa. Pabasa is a unique Filipino tradition of singing and chanting the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It differs in many provinces throughout the archipelago because they use the native dialects to read it. It is meant for people to meditate and reflect on the word of God.

Alongside reading the Holy Scriptures, I started  with the book The Dance of Life (A Spiritual Journey with Henri Nouwen). Nouwen was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books about spirituality. Although I have encountered some of his books when I was in college, this is actually the first time I was able to buy two of them. The other one is The Only Necessary Thing (Living A Prayerful Life). Michael Ford edited the book , he  even went to Nouwen’s birthplace in Nijkerk, Netherlands. I am simply amazed by the spiritual nuggets of wisdom culled from Nouwen’s different books. It’s like reading an open diary of someone whose thoughts are simply inspiring. How do they call it in Tagalog, it’s ” tagos sa buto.” Here are some excerpts from the book which I want to share with you.

Each day holds a surprise. But only  if we expect it can we see, hear or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or joy. It will open a new place on our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.  (Bread for the Journey)

And here’s what he has to say on moving into the unknown,  veering away from a safe and familiar place and reaching out, taking us someplace where we would rather not go.

It takes courage  to move away from the safe place into the unknown, even when we know that the safe place offers false safety and the unknown promise us a saving intimacy with God. We realize quite well that giving up the familiar and reaching out with open arms towards him who transcends all our mental grasping and clinging makes us very vulnerable. 

His book is not meant to be read in just one go,  you need to savor it and make it a daily reflection. I was particularly  touched by this prayer which is so apt for reflection this  Holy Tuesday.  It’s from his book, A Cry for Mercy.

THE DIVINE TOUCH

O Lord Jesus, you who came to us to show the compassionate love of your Father, make your people know this love with their hearts, minds and souls.

So often we feel lonely, unloved and lost in this valley of tears. We desire to feel affection , tenderness, care and compassion, but suffer from inner darkness, emptiness and numbness.

I pray tonight: come, Lord Jesus, come. Do not just come to our understanding, but enter our hearts – our passions, emotions, and feelings – and reveal your presence to us in our inmost being.

As long as you remain absent from that intimate core of our experience, we will keep clinging to people, things, or events to find some warmth, some sense of belonging.

Only when you really come, really touch us, set us ablaze with your love, only then will we become free and let go of all false forms of belonging.

Without that inner warmth, all our ascetical attempts remain trivial, and we might even get entangled in the complex network of our own good intentions.

O Lord, I pray that your children may come to feel your presence and be immersed in your deep, warm, affective love. and to me, O Lord, your stumbling friend, show your mercy, Amen!

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