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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’


Yes, 2020 is a leap year.

A leap year is a year in which an extra day is added to the Gregorian calendar, which is used by most of the world. While an ordinary year has 365 days, a leap year has 366 days. … A leap year comes once every four years. Because of this, a leap year can always be evenly divided by four.

Today we also celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is nothing like attending an early morning mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Light with our good friend Fr. Aly Barcinal presiding. And there is nothing like starting the year right with thanksgiving and prayers.

I am going back to sleep. I just want to post my very first blog this year. Last night was like a war zone in our place. I love the pyrotechnics though. Those makers certainly improve their craft every year. When it stays in the air for more than a minute, when you see different colors and designs in the night sky, it is really a lovely sight to behold. Some of my neighbors took videos on their cellphones. Compared to last year (2019), the display was short lived. And the firecrackers I think only took thirty minutes when 12 am was about to strike.

Again, a Blessed and Happy New Year to all my friends here on WordPress.  New hope, new dreams, new beginnings.

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Dear Lord, for all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, amen!

It’s the last few hours of 2019  and we will be welcoming another year in our midst. We may look at the fading leaves of 2019 as something we will always remember or something we may want to forget. No matter how it has been for all of us, it has taught us lessons in life. We may choose to ignore them  and start all over again.

I could now hear the occasional boom and bang of firecrackers.  Though there are only allowed firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, some people are bold enough to use those classified as illegal. Every year, there is an increase of patients being brought to nearby hospitals because of firecracker accidents.  Our dog Noki is scared of fireworks. He cowers in fear when  they light the sky and noise is too loud. Josef gave him a bath last night so he could stay under the dining table  before new year comes. He usually stays at our garage or at the dirty kitchen, a guard dog.  This is Oreo’s second year with us and I am quite surprised that he is not afraid of the noise, he just barks.

All is set for 2020. Forget the New Year’s resolutions. Several years ago, I used to make a list but come February, they are usually ignored. I haven’t made any resolution  the past several years.  All I ask first and foremost is good health for the whole family, peace of mind, enlivened Faith, and being able to face everything that life brings – with courage. Happiness comes naturally when you have all these.

Let’s walk through 2020 with optimism, smiles on our faces  and hope for better and blessed days ahead.  See you all next year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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This photo is for my friend Elizabeth who is curious about my rosary collection. I took a photo of them early this morning. I forgot to include the other two in my bags which I use when I go to mass.

I made the rose quartz rosary for myself and the St. Therese beads made of Hematite crystals. The two wooden ones are from my two priest friends, one from Rome and one from Jerusalem. The rose rosary is a gift from a friend, she gifted it to me when we had the grotto blessed nine years ago. The orange rose rosary is from Siena, another friend gave it to me. The two white pearls are from the Vatican, one was given by Fr. Lovell. The bracelet and ring rosaries were given by another friend who lives in Rome.  Lately a nun friend gave me another rosary from Jerusalem.

Before Nissa got married eight years ago, the three of us including Josef made rosaries as gifts for friends then Nissa made lots using Swarovski crystals as souvenirs for her secondary sponsors during her wedding. She even made the cord using different beads, she is so good at it. When one of her friends got married, she made a crystal jade cord for her and a matching necklace made of the same material. When her in-laws had their 50th wedding anniversary, she also made one.

Josef is fond of making bigger beads sometimes using wood, those you could display as accent on your bedroom wall.  Those were the days when the three of us were into crafting. We still have lots of materials left here but I got lazy to do more. I always get distracted finding new books to read. One of these days, I’ll make some to give to visiting friends.

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I hear the church bells ringing

Another day of anticipating

And waiting….

Getting closer to the day

When Christmas is

here.

 

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Last night was the start of our yearly Simbang Gabi or Dawn mass.  Back in the days, it used to be called Rooster Mass because  4am or 5am were usually when the rooster in your neighborhood crows.  Simbang Gabi is a beautiful nine-day novena masses in Thanksgiving for all the blessing one received in the year. It’s traditional for us Filipino Catholics. I think it is only in the Philippines where you could find this. Times has changed, nowadays these Simbang Gabi are celebrated early, usually the night before the next day to give way for those who want to attend the novena after office.  They are also brought to some malls where they are celebrated at noon and most offices also hold these masses during lunch break.

I was overjoyed seeing the Pope opening the Simbang Gabi tradition. The mass readings were read in Tagalog  but there was a translator in English. Even the songs were sung in Tagalog  by the Filipino community. I’d like to think we are special because they have adapted one of the lovely traditions in our Catholic life.

Although our country is now in the brink of…..how do you put it….the ship is sinking fast because of these non-performing powers that be in our government, I still have high hopes that this will end eventually and we will rise up again. It may just take one brave soul to start it, right now though, we are at the mercy of one man who holds everything from the Supreme Court to the Legislative Branch to our National Police down to the barangay level. I need not elaborate, perhaps you also read them online.

I digress.

We were talking about Simbang Gabi, right? There are many churches now and several congregations too that televise the celebration of the nine-day novena masses. They end the day before Christmas day.

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It’s the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe today. When Nissa had her surgical operation last September, Obet’s boss gave this cloak (tilma) to Nissa and she brought it to the hospital. We had it placed on top of her bed when she was at the operating room. There was this lovely prayer pamphlet which she also gave with a very inspiring message to Nissa.

I found this lovely analysis of the tilma at the Catholic site of Our Lady of Guadalupe and I love it. The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph that was read and interpreted quickly by the Aztec Indians.

  • THE LADY STOOD IN FRONT OF THE SUN: She was greater than their dreaded sun-god “Huitzilopochtli”.
  • HER FOOT RESTED ON THE CRESCENT MOON: She had clearly vanquished their foremost deity, the feather serpent “Quetzalcoatl.”
  • THE STARS STREWN ACROSS THE MANTLE: She was greater than the stars of heaven that they worshipped.  She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head. She appeared on December 12, 1531 for the stars that she wore are the constellation of stars that appeared in the sky that day!
  • THE BLUE-GREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE: She was a Queen for she wears the color of royalty.
  • THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK: Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son.
  • THE BLACK BELT: She was with child for she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
  • THE FOUR-PETAL FLOWER OVER THE WOMB: She was the “Mother of God.” The flower was a special symbol of life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.
  • HER HANDS ARE JOINED IN PRAYER: She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
  • THE DESIGN ON HER ROSE COLORED GARMENT: She is the “Queen of the Earth” for she is wearing a map of Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.
And then there’s what Modern Science has to say about the tilma:
  • The image, to this date, cannot be explained by science.
  • The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years!  The tilma or cloak of Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!
  • There is no under sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the image.
  • Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.
  • The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown property of the surface and substance of which it is made.
  • According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a modern day photograph.  (Produced 300 years before the invention of photography.)
  • The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or camera.
  • Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is believed to be the  images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan Gonzales-the interpreter and others.
  • The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in the normal eye, which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.
  • The stars on Our Lady’s Mantle coincide with the constellation in the sky on December 12, 1531. All who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!

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Nate: “Mommy, how many days left before I can hug you? I miss you and want to hug you na.”

Then he starts crying.

And I start crying.

 Nissa: “I miss you more than you’ll ever know, anak. Mommy’s doing this for you so we just need to soldier on. I love you so much!”

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P.S.

I am also wondering how long it would take before Nate could hug Nissa. For three straight days when she underwent radioactive iodine therapy, Nate was not able to see her.

Nissa said it would take two weeks for Nate to be able to hug her, just to play safe.

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