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Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’


A close friend sent me this early this morning. She knows I always love the month of May. It is the month of Mama Mary.  What a lovely way to start the month reading a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, an English poet and a Jesuit priest.

According to Poetry Foundation,  “Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the three or four greatest poets of the Victorian era. He is regarded by different readers as the greatest Victorian poet of religion, of nature, or of melancholy. However, because his style was so radically different from that of his contemporaries, his best poems were not accepted for publication during his lifetime, and his achievement was not fully recognized until after World War I”.

The May Magnificat

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why :
       Her feasts follow reason,
       Dated due to season—
Candlemas, Lady Day ;
But the Lady Month, May,
       Why fasten that upon her,
       With a feasting in her honour ?
Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her ?
       Is it opportunist
       And flowers finds soonest ?
Ask of her, the mighty mother :
Her reply puts this other
       Question : What is Spring?—
       Growth in every thing—
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together ;
       Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
       Throstle above her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within ;
       And bird and blossom swell
       In sod or sheath or shell.
All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathizing
       With that world of good
       Nature’s motherhood.
Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
       How she did in her stored
       Magnify the Lord.
Well but there was more than this :
Spring’s universal bliss
       Much, had much to say
       To offering Mary May.
When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
       And thicket and thorp are merry
       With silver-surfèd cherry
And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
       And magic cuckoocall
       Caps, clears, and clinches all—
This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
       To remember and exultation
       In God who was her salvation.

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“You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart; in fact on certain occasions you should speak to Him only with your heart… One searches for God in books. One finds Him in meditation.”

Happy Feast Day St. Padre Pio, one of my favorite saints.

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Richard

I meant to blog about this a few days ago but it was a busy weekend for me. And it is not because of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, I didn’t watch it but saw the blow-by-blow account of each round on one website complete with pictures. I just listened to the radio while the fight was going on.  Funny how a few minutes after the fight, everyone was an instant critic. My news feed on FB was full of it. There were instant memes calling the former “the running man” and “best man in hugging”.  They called it the fight of the century but many were disappointed about its outcome and since I know  next to nothing about boxing except for occasional late telecasts of Pacquiao’s  previous fights, let’s leave the analyzing to the experts and the conjectures to those unsatisfied boxing fans who felt that it was not really the fight of the century after all.

There are people I’ve yet to meet who are waiting for my path to intersect with theirs, so they can complete their own journeys.

Put that way, I am looking forward to meet those people who will complete my journey too. How lovely it would be if in the near future, you would meet more people who would make the remaining days of your life something that you would cherish and remember with fondness. They might be future friends you’ve to meet yet,  family members that you haven’t seen for decades, or strangers who  would put a smile on your face  and make you realize your self-worth, that you are quite lovable after all  and you are worthy of being a friend.

Some years ago, (back in the mid 90’s, I think) a close friend who is a nun suggested that I read James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy. It’s a new age philosophy about how to make connections of events happening in your life.  One of my priest friends even asked me why I have those books in my shelf. He also saw some titles like Embraced By The Light and Soulmates, Karma and Reincarnation. Those were the days when I was fascinated by those subjects. Going back to Redfield’s book, I remembered what he said that everything happens for a reason.  He said and I quote:

“I don’t think that anything happens by coincidence… No one is here by accident… Everyone who crosses our path has a message for us. Otherwise they would have taken another path, or left earlier or later. The fact that these people are here means that they are here for some reason”…”  

It may not mean the same thing as what Richard Paul Evans shared but I get the gist of what both authors were trying to say. What if I didn’t have this blog then I would not have met all these wonderful people whom I interact with everyday through their writings.

What’s your take on this? I’d love to hear from you.

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tbr list for 2013

2012  – a lazy year of reading for me, I guess I could count on my fingers the books I have read this year but then I call it the busiest year that I accumulated more books on my shelf than I care to admit. There are still unopened books that I bought more than a year ago with the thought of replacing the ones we have lost a few years back.  A good friend who came home last October gifted me with thirteen books, some of which she brought home with her and the rest via UPS. She says that she  bought more books for me, newly published ones  that are on my wish list.

I love going to bookstores,  I love the scent of the pages of a new book.  National Bookstore, Bestsellers or the ever reliable Booksale, they are my favorite jaunts every time I have enough time to browse. Hopefully by 2013, I could read all of  these, my reading list is getting longer and here are some titles that I would make a priority of.

  • Breakfast At Tiffany’s  -Truman Capote …  Just read it a month back and found some videos on YouTube about this much talked about book for decades. Would love to re-read it  sometime  next year and re-acquaint myself with the quirky Holiday Golightly.
  • The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde… a thick volume of Wilde’s writings.
  • Alone  – Rod McKuen…  I love Rod McKuen, I love his thoughts and Alone is the kind of book that you want to absorb and  gives you that feeling that you can be a poet too, in simple words, that is.
  • The Poems and Prayers of Helen Steiner Rice …Who would not be mesmerized  by the words of this poet? Anyway, the poems and prayers of Helen Steiner Rice were a bright beacon to my college years. And I remember some of her beautiful quotes written in scented pens on my notebook. She was considered as  the “unofficial poet laureate of hope and optimism.” I finally have my copy, a new edition.
  • Everyday Grace –  Marianne Williamson … This is my first book of Williamson and I am really looking forward to read it this coming year.
  • Thoughts in Solitude – Thomas Merton … I’ve long been wanting to have a copy of any Thomas Merton’s books, this is it.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neal Hurston …  Another gift from the same friend who gave me thirteen books this year. It’s included in the 1000 list of books you have to read before you die. Zadie Smith who introduced the book has this to say, “Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the very greatest American novels of the twentieth century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought; but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more. Well, what more can I say but just enjoy it.
  • A Wild Sheep Chase – Haruki Murakami …Who would not love Murakami?
  • Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, Lord John – three  hard-bound books by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve always loved how Diana writes historical novels.
  • Irish Linen Andrew Greeley…  Greeley is a Catholic priest writer. I love his other books, I wonder if this one is worth-reading too.
  • Coming Home – Rosamunde Pilcher … She’s one of my favorite authors so I always look for her books every time I visit Booksale.  A year ago, I wrote about her, you can find it here.
  • World Without End  – Ken Follett … a sequel to one of my favorite books, The Pillars of the Earth. It’s a birthday gift from my daughter.
  • A Change of Altitude, All He Ever Wanted …two books by Anita Shreve, another author that I love.
  • More Glimpses of Heaven – Trudy Harris
  • Human Traces – Sebastian Faulks …It’ actually my first book of Faulks so I am excited to read it.
  • Critical – Robin Cook … I collect Cook’s books, they are all wonderful read about the medical field. Cook is a doctor.
  • Exile – Richard North Patterson… had this for years but it is so thick so I keep postponing to get it off the shelf.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving… Really looking forward to reading this one. It has excellent reviews.
  • Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems…   Ah, my prized possession this year and it is the first time I ever had a copy of  a Mary Oliver book.

As if these are not enough, Odette (the same friend who gifted me with the thirteen books, three of which are all Richard Paul Evan’s latest) sent me this new year greeting with pictures of another two books that she bought for me, A Thousand Mornings which was just released last October and which inspired  me to make this blog of the same title and the new book of Richard Paul Evans entitled A Winter Dream. Aren’t I lucky?

happy new year by odette

I promised myself I would read more in 2013.

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The last time I attended a Lenten Recollection at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish was two years ago. It’s always nice to get in touch with people you only know by face every Sunday but you don’t even know their names. And the good thing  is, there is a little personal touch once you get to know them even just through their name tags. There is a feeling of anticipation on what the topic  would be. There is a feeling of joy listening to the hymns being played while waiting for the recollection to begin. It may only be a short four hours of reflection, it may not be enough but the most important thing is, you get in touch with yourself once more. Our recollection master was Br. Ruben Lobo from Don Dosco.

“Let the Holy Spirit enter my heart O Lord to have this Lenten Recollection a meaningful one for me.”  And the big question is, “Why am I here?”  At sometime in our life we need to take time out from the daily chores of living because  we need time to nurture our spiritual growth, to look at life, to discern, to get in touch with what is happening within. And the more fitting time to do this is when we observe the forty days of Lent. We go back and reflect on how  God truly loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16.”

When we fast, prepare, give and pray, we feel the meaning of Lent in our lives all the more.  Br. Ruben compared it to the four seasons   when you see nothing but snow in the dead of winter but there is always something to look forward to when spring comes – new growth,  a beginning. And he was able to bring forth his message through the Parable of the Prodigal Son. I told a seatmate while we were sharing  how you could learn so much from this biblical passage from the point of view of the prodigal son, the father and the older brother. He even asked, which are you among the three?  Did you ever experience being the prodigal one?  There were so many points to ponder that we just can’t help but reminisce on how our lives were,  the past years.  I always love the sharing portion since I get to see myself in another person’s perspective.  Sometimes we think that we are perfect, that we are always worthy of praise  but we don’t see the other side  of the mirror where other people see us.

We did a ritual of letting go of all the hurts in our lives. It was one of the highlights of the recollection and it was also in preparation for the coming Kumpisalang Bayan ( Sacrament of Reconciliation) which will be held on Wednesday, March 21. We wrote on a dark piece of paper what we want to confess and let it burn, we were given a candle each  to use. How touching and what a meaningful Lenten recollection. Thank you Lord for this blessing!

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