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Happy Easter


Alleluia, the Lord is risen.

Today is Easter Sunday.  We say in  Tagalog, “Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay”. It is not even about Easter eggs and bunnies ( the celebration has been too commercialized because of those).  It is about our Lord Jesus Christ rising from the dead. He paid for our sins by dying on the cross.   It only goes to show that the resurrection is a triumph,  life is more powerful than death.  Here’s to new life, new hope and new beginning for all of us.

We attended Easter Sunday mass early today. The church was full, we sat on plastic stools. Today is also the renewal of our baptismal promises. Whereas before   our godparents  uttered those words for us, today, we said the same words. We reject Satan and the lure of evil in  our lives. We believe in God, the father Almighty, we believe in  the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church. We believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

Easter Sunday is celebrated solemnly in every Catholic  Church. The Paschal candle is blessed and lit  throughout the Paschal season  and that is during Easter and on special occasions like baptisms.

Whereas before we abstained from eating meat every Friday during the Lenten season,  one could start again if one wants too.

Happy and blessed Easter to all. Have a nice week ahead.

Friendship And Blessings


Out of the blue, a friend who arrived home from San Antonio about a month ago called me up and said she is coming over for a chat.  Of course,I was elated.  Who wouldn’t be? The last time we saw each other was sometime in October 2014. she said her package has arrived and she brought all these gifts for the family. She even gave some cash to Mommy when she found out that Mom is having her birthday on Wednesday.

Two hours of updating on each other’s lives although we always chat on  Messenger in between.  She brought with her a dozen pocketbooks, baking chocolates, Spam, Skittles and M & M for Nate, a box of Pringles and two hardbound copies of two of my favorite authors Mary Oliver and Richard Paul Evans. Upstream is Mary Oliver’s latest book while The Mistletoe Secret was published last November.  To own such copies, priceless. This is my third book  of Mary Oliver, the first two are books of poems while this one are essays she wrote.  I’ve collected several books  of Richard Evans.  His latest will be out in the market in May.

Celebrating friendship – the smiles, the laughter, the serious talk about life itself, the many, many things that make friendship beautiful. This is the only time that she is free because she has come home for good and has many things to do.  Who says online friends are not real?  We used to be online friends at the Catholic site on Facebook where I am one of the admins. it started with just a few chats in  a group which my priest friend, our chief administrator created. We saw each other several times in the past. Every time she comes home, we make it a point to see each other. This is one of those blessed days to renew friendship. Just so happy.

Oh, Oh


Can’t  really pass this up. Late this morning I received a message from WordPress with the familiar logo which is an upward spike. Gosh, I have to take a look at my stats right there and then. Yesterday it was close enough to 300 views then as of the moment, I have 250 on my dashboard.

Your blog, DREAMS AND ESCAPES, appears to be getting more traffic than usual! 34 hourly views – 8 hourly views on average
A spike in your stats

Most of the viewers  are from the Philippines. They probably took note of the churches we have visited before during our annual  Visita Iglesia.  It’s been two years now since we did our fourteen stations prayers and readings at our Parish in town.  Before we did the eastern loop of the Laguna towns, the province of Rizal, some churches in Quezon City and Marikina  City.  Tradition is that we should visit at least 7 churches in one day and do two stations of the cross in one church.  Tonight there is an early celebration of Easter Vigil with Psalm  readings and probably baptism of Catholic converts too.

Oh well, I am just glad for the upward spike on my stats.

It’s Good Friday


We are still observing Easter Triduum which began last evening and will end on the evening of Easter  Sunday. It is the summit of the Liturgical Year. Yesterday, Mom  and I attended the  Last Supper mass  at 5pm. Josef had work so he was not able to attend it with us. this morning though  we were early at the church for the fourteen stations of the cross, prayed the rosary afterwards then took a look at the Lenten procession going on.  The procession is a yearly ritual of our town every good Friday. It depicts the 15 mysteries of the  Holy Rosary.  Looking forward to Easter Sunday which we locally call Pasko ng Pagkabuhay. This afternoon, there will be reflections on the Seven Last  Words on local television. I always watch it which starts at exactly 1pm until 3pm. That’s the only regular program we get to watch during Good Friday. Most programs on this day are a repeat of previous ones. Even shopping malls are closed and some open at 12pm  on Black Saturday. It is really a quiet celebration of the Holy Week.

I get updated again with my reading some inspirational books. Those books that I get to read during Lent particularly during Holy Week.  It’s comforting to learn more about Jesus’ sufferings to redeem us from our sins. We are blessed that we have this yearly Lenten celebration to deepen our faith and say thanks for all the blessings we had throughout the year. Those times that we erred and sinned in the process, those times that we let injustices done to our friends and neighbors, those times that we just didn’t care at all – those are the times that we get to remember today and we repent. Our Lord has taken all the beatings  until he died on Good Friday to resurrect on the third day which we look forward to on Easter Sunday.

Have a blessed Paschal Triduum.

 

The Things People Do


Oh my gosh. this is crazy. I saw the video of a flight passenger of a United Airlines plane being  dragged down his seat and forcibly being taken out of the plane. United Airlines said they were overbooked that is why they have to  lessen the number of passengers in that particular flight. He didn’t want to because he is a  doctor and some passengers were  waiting for him in his destination. Of course, the netizens were  downright angry about what happened.  Even the other passengers were shouting at the security force of the airline. Human dignity is clearly missing here. Gosh, the humiliation of being forcibly  taken out of the airplane even if he has fully paid his air fare.  What are the rules when it comes to overbooking? Shouldn’t it be voluntary on the part of the passengers? Why should the airline overbook in the first place? What kind of customer service do they have? Latest report said that the video has become viral and the stocks of United Airlines went down today.  Is offloading allowed in other airline flights too?  So far, here in our country according to some aviation officials interviewed earlier, that hasn’t happened yet and they don’t want something similar to happen. They ask volunteer passengers if they could transfer their flight on another one and give some compensation in the process.

Remember that virtual pet back in the 90’s called Tamagotchi? The original design is being reintroduced in the market by Bandai. Back when it was still new in the market, I bought two for Josef and me although it was a little expensive. I used to bring it at the office and checked on it regularly to feed and do all the things one has to do with a real pet. I had a good few months playing that digital toy.

photo credit to Bandai

The kids of the nineties have grown up. and Tamagotchi was replaced by other virtual toys in the market. I wonder if it would be as popular as it was back then. I remember a priest friend who  asked me before what good it would bring to play with one. I just said for relaxation.  Oh, I guess I would still buy one when it comes in the market.

It’s Holy Wednesday and some Christians call it Spy Wednesday. It was this time when Judas betrayed Jesus with thirty pieces of silver. There is a procession here in our parish this afternoon. Have a blessed week.


Today is Holy Monday and everything seems so quiet. Even our dog Noki, just slept in the corner of our kitchen.  Our three kittens though keep exploring around the place, mostly at the garden and some of the time inside the  house. It’s a good thing they never venture to the living room to scratch our sala set.  I am always on  the lookout, they might discover it soon and then bam,   goes our upholstered furniture.

I  reviewed my earlier posts, back in 2011 and 2012 when I was so active participating in the weekly photo challenge where WordPress usually give a word that would define the photos you want to upload. Those same shots somehow filled up my free space  in record time.  Back in those  days too, they usually give some feedback on one’s latest post. I wonder why the last few years, it is no longer done.  I rather liked it that way. Seemed like they also read those earlier blog posts to  make even a one-word comment.  It  was quite rewarding that they used to do that.

It’s mom’s 88th birthday come April 20. I wonder if my brother would fetch her before the day. At times, she is beginning to be forgetful and her right ear has gone deaf. She has never adjusted to a hearing aid many years ago. She said that she kept hearing so many sounds that she could not understand.   I wonder how she could still laugh and shouts when she watches her favorite programs on TV. She only watches one channel. I am not much into TV watching so sometimes she likes the sound quiet and low.  When I go out I usually write where I am going so she would not complain.  We could not talk much the way we used to because she could understand everything. Either you gesture with actions or make your voice a little louder for her to hear. She plays solitaire every day, a card game she is so fond of.

We talk of getting old.  That’s where we will all go someday. I think there is a  big difference between getting old and growing older. When you get old, you just add a number to your name but when you grow old, you acquire wisdom with age.  Life deals us circumstances beyond our control but as we grow older, we become wiser too. Experience always teaches us something. Either we learn a lesson or it falls on the wayside.

What was your Monday like?

 

 

 

Palm Sunday


I have previously blogged about our Lenten celebrations in so many posts before. Today, Palm Sunday, is the start of the celebration of Holy Week. It ends on Saturday, April 15 then Easter starts with Easter Sunday next week.

We attended an anticipated mass last night.  The palms we brought were blessed thrice. Most of the time we attend such masses the night before during Palm Sunday. There usually is a Palm Sunday procession in the morning. Palm fronds  are blessed. It signifies the triumphal entry of our Lord  into Jerusalem.  Holy Week is a solemn celebration for us Catholics. We remember Christ’s passion and  death for our sins.

Thank You Lord for these silent moments.

Quiet days in contemplation, quiet days of  reading  inspirational books I have collected through the years. I love the works of Thomas Merton, a Catholic writer, theologian and a mystic. He was also a  poet and a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani.  Back in college, I encountered  his works particularly his book, The Seven Storey Mountain. It’s a timeless spiritual book that influences  probably millions of  Catholic readers worldwide. My favorite though is a thin copy of  Thoughts in Solitude  given by a friend a few years ago. I always read it now and then.  I have some favorite quotes from the book:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

“Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.”

Henri Nouwen’s books come next.  He was a Dutch Catholic priest, writer and Theologian. I have three of his books which I also read when I am inspired. I bought them a while back at St. Paul’s.  I am quoting this lovely prayer for Lent which he wrote in A Cry for Mercy.

“How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death? Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen”

How lovely it is to encounter such gifted writers. How lovely it is to read their  inspirational works again.