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Posts Tagged ‘Closer to God’


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.

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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.

 

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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.

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For the past several years, we spent Holy Thursday in several churches for our annual  Visita Iglesia. It is always a joy to discover new sites and churches to visit. One of my favorite destinations is the eastern loop comprising Rizal towns and some towns in Laguna.

Rizal is  a picturesque province with so many other nice views, scenery and tourist attractions to visit. Laguna has preserved its old churches which go as far back as  1800. The plains of Mabitac town are so green you would think it is not summer in the area.

Discovering new places, spending time in prayers, what a joy! The vivid green of the countryside is an attraction in itself. I’d like to go back here and visit these places again.

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This morning I received another copy of the cute Irish Blessings book that I lost back in 2009 from the same friend who gave me the first one.  He sent it via a courier.

And these are just some of them, wishes and prayers that bring a smile when I read them.

May the good saints protect you

And bless you today

And may trouble ignore you

Each step of the way.

May your troubles be less

And your blessings be more

And nothing but happiness

Come through your door.

With the first light of sun –

Bless you

When the long day is done –

Bless you

In your smiles and your tears –

Bless you

Through each day of your years –

Bless you.

 Blessings to each one of you who read this.

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A few years ago, I blogged about a book given by a friend on Irish Blessings.  I am just so sad it was destroyed by typhoon Ondoy back in September 2009. It was on my night table and I was not able to save it. In fact a lot of books I have liked and read were all destroyed. I wonder if I will be able to replace them with the same copies I had before. Slowly though, I am buying books but mostly fiction now.

St. Patrick’s Day is almost at hand. What better way to celebrate and recall all those lovely words on that miniature book I had before.  St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every 17th of March  in observance of the death of St. Patrick.  It has become a cultural and religious celebration in Ireland.

I used to wonder how a shamrock plant looks like not knowing that it was in my garden for a number of years. It comes in green or purple color and have tiny white flowers to boot.

There are about 500 varieties of Shamrock but I only have two of them in my garden, the green ones and purple.  They are bulb plants and mostly grown in pots.In most Irish poems Shamrock is often mentioned.

You go green on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe in my early life I was an Irish because I love those things that partly symbolize Irish culture.  I love Irish poems and sayings. They are so simple to understand.  here are some of my favorites.

“Grant me a sense of humor, Lord, the saving grace to see a joke, To win some happiness from life, And pass it on to other folks.”

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

Aren’t they lovely? What’s your  favorite  Irish quote?

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Getting married will always be a happy occasion. I didn’t know of any instance where  some people were sad about it. Unless of course, and maybe if it is a shotgun wedding so to speak. Or maybe someone who was involved before with one of the couple has an axe to grind.

Last Tuesday,  my two kids  and son-in-law went on vacation leave to attend a wedding.  Nissa and Obet just waited for Nate for his class to finish then they proceeded to our place so we could all attend my niece’s wedding. It was held at Jardin de Miramar in Antipolo City. It was a lovely celebration,  a coming  together of two people very much in love with each other.

So what’s  it with getting married?  It is a wonderful occasion, right?  When we are sure that the guy or woman is really the one for us,  marriage will always be in the offing. We will never know though whether it will last a life time or you get  separated in the middle of it.   Married life is always a work in progress no matter how long you’ve been together, no matter how compatible you think you must be.    Mom and dad had a wonderful married life for fifty five years until Dad got sick of end stage renal disease and passed on one December day in 2007. I didn’t see them raise their voices to each other throughout their married life. I didn’t see them quarrel in front of us.

Is there really such a thing as “marriage made in heaven”? How do we know it will last? Why do we cry during a wedding ceremony? I know most of us cry because we are glad and happy for the couple. They are tears of joy.  We are touched by the joyful celebration. We wish  them with joyous hope that their wedding vows would be for keeps.

Weddings, anyone?

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