Forgiveness and Maturity

It is not a secret that despite the fact that we need to keep a childlike heart, it is entirely necessary that we push ourselves toward full maturity. As human beings, it is a must that we learn to grow - and become the people who we should be.

However, it is a given fact that the pursuit to totally understanding everything takes a lot of time. Sometimes, it takes even a whole lifetime; and when we realize it, it's too late. That is why it is a great blessing that I've finally proven myself that I am now on my way to there.

What transpired earlier today brought me into a deep realization. After being repeatedly cursed and blamed for something we didn't do by a 25-year-old drunkard 'engineer', I know it's human nature to feel very furious. But surprise, I actually felt disappointment and pity.

Only now did I realize how ironic some people can be. Certainly, a college degree doesn't assure someone's maturity. Sometimes (along with money), it actually contributes to the formation of a figurative hydrocephalus which would basically ruin everything else. Clearly, education is not always a panacea. What happened to us this morning is definitely a proof that maturity is not really learnt from school. It depends on how well you were raised and is entirely dependent on the kind of community you grew in.

I tried to settle things with the 'psychologist/teacher' who is the elder sister of the 'engineer'. I sent her a message asking if we could meet to talk things through but my invitation was turned down. She remarked that I should actually settle things within myself first and apply the teachings I learned from serving the church. She told me that there are things that I do which I thought were right, but were actually wrong. 

No offense meant here. But I really think that for a psychologist, she's pretty ironic. I wonder why she didn't realize that the reason why I reached out is because I'm actually applying the things I've learned in church. I told him I've forgiven her and her family already, and I honestly mean it. I have apologized for my mistakes and faults, and never waited for her to return the favor. 

I'm not blogging about the incident to boast. It's just that I feel proud and quite better that I know I'm on my way to spiritual and emotional maturity; and I hope that the few people who would take time to read this would realize how important those two things are for a person. Even if you're not a Catholic, this still applies.

There are really a lot of things which happen that could lead us to feeling angered and frustrated. Sometimes, towards others; most times, towards our own selves. But we would reach one point in our lives when we would feel mandated by a strong urge to just settle things and ask for people's forgiveness. It would take time - definitely take time - to be forgiven and to forgive.

But I tell you, it's gonna be worth it.

At the moment, I feel so at peace. Even though my efforts had gone futile and my parents are going to take action on the matter, the important thing now is that I have extended my desire to patch things up. So what if it has gone one-way? So what if they didn't understand? 

What matters now is that I have proven myself that I am on my way to maturity. With that, I'm authentically happy.

Of Coloring Books and the People Today

A few days ago, I was strolling around the mall looking for nice gifts to give my godchildren for Christmas when I saw a Harry Potter coloring book at Precious Pages. Instantly, I bought it - along with a 16-piece Crayola set - and knew that it would be the best and most meaningful gift I could give someone.

And of course, I've known already to whom I wanna give that set. 

So that night, I met up with my friend and gave him the coloring book. I decided to surprise him because I want to see his real reactions; and when he opened it, I knew instantly that my thoughts were right.

He didn't appreciate it. 

I'm not hurt or anything. I've expected that. For a while, I've wondered how stupid of me to hope that a 22-year-old professional would appreciate the very childish present. But then, he said 'thank you' and that was fine with me. 

Nonetheless, I sent him a message that night to explain why I did that. I told him that I want to see him go back to being a child because it's too tiring to try to understand why some people always have to be matured and upright. Apparently, he got my point and replied. He said he was really tongue-tied when he opened it up because he no longer knows what to do with a coloring book. He called me thoughtful and generous too. 

I think that's enough to compensate. 

Honestly, it was an impulsive decision that was triggered by the fact that all these efforts to prove that I'm all grown-up now are exhausting me. Seeing people require themselves to be always like that is as tiring. You see, life needs not to be taken seriously but some people just won't accept that. They constantly tell themselves that they're enjoying (and they know how) but in the end, they still can't... Why? Because they're afraid of going back to being a child. And that's like forbidding oneself to breathe. It's not right. 

What people should understand is that every once in a while, we all have to go back to who we were when were toddlers or teenagers. Every once in a while, we have to let go of all the pressures adulthood is dumping on us. 

The coloring set had much more meaning in it, actually. You see, it conveys the message that it's fine to live in simplicity. If you give that to a kid, you'll get to see how their eyes sparkle with interest and appreciation. Their smiles would be authentic because to them, the coloring set is already an extravagant gift. That's what we all should learn to go back to - the days when we we still think that coloring books and a 16-piece Crayola set were the best things life has to offer. 

Another thing is that I hope that people understand that just like how we did in coloring those images back when we were young, it's okay to make a mistake and slip past the boundary line. I mean, it's fine to be messy sometimes. It's fun to break the rules and just be free. 

You see, life is already difficult so why do we need to make it more difficult, right? We need to breathe. We need to relax. And I know that coloring books would help us with that. 

Incidentally, as I was writing this blog, I remember Bo Sanchez's book: Take Delight on the Simplest Things. There, he wrote about his honeymoon gift to his wife - a few pieces of coloring books and a 64-piece Crayola set. I guess his preaching was really that influential that I have managed to do the same thing (although not as a honeymoon gift!) unconsciously. 

LATE POST: Happy Feast Day, Nuestra Señor Padre San Francisco de Asis

For many people, October 4th was an ordinary Thursday. But for us, who serve at the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Meycauayan City, it was definitely one of the most important days in our lives as Catholics. We even filed our leaves off work for this day, and some students I know had to be absent from their classes. Why? It was the feast day of our dear patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. 

I was lucky enough to be picked as the official photographer of the events. So excuse me if I don't detail the life of St. Francis here or the history of the parish. I intend to detail on this blog everything I could remember from that hectic yet definitely fulfilling celebration.

Lakbayan 2012

Basically, the celebration began on September 22 (Saturday) when the Parish Commission on Youth - together with different church and community organizations - held the Lakbayan. It is the traditional retrieval of the Cross of Toril from Bahay Pari (then Sitio Toril). This commemorates the birth of Catholicism in our town as - as history recounts - the first parish was actually established in the said place before it was transferred to its present location in Poblacion. 
As what we have been doing for ten years already, there was a motorcade to parade the cross for all the people to see. As soon as the cross reached the church, it was venerated at the altar, and a mass was held. Afterwards, a Taizé prayer led by the PCY happened at the Multi-Purpose Hall. 

D-Day: Happy Fiesta, St. Francis!

My day started early on that morning of October 4th. I got to church at around 6:30AM and the others were there already. Kuya Marvin (one of the main organizers) was already there, together with other involved personalities.

At 6:45AM, Most Reverend Bishop Emeritus Cirilo Almario, D.D. arrived at the sacristy, assisted by Luis Francis Tan. He officiated the 7AM mass, which was concelebrated by Msgr. Epitacio Castro (Parish Priest of St. Francis of Assisi Parish), Fr. Romi Sasi, and Fr. Ulysses Reyes.

Well, I really wasn't able to concentrate on this mass because I had to run to everywhere to take pictures and videos. Tina, my friend who assisted me, was late so I had to carry out two responsibilities for a time. Nonetheless, it was a good experience. She arrived in time for the liturgical readings so it was good. 

Anyway, I had to mention here that the choir for the 7AM mass was the Marian Music Ministry from St. Mary's College of Meycauayan. It is headed by Robby dela Vega, a good friend who helped much in the preparations for the feast. 

San Agustin Church and Museum

photo from Wikipedia
If there is one place in Manila that I will forever hail for the glorious history it holds, it will be the San Agustin Church. Located within the celebrated walls of Intramuros, this notable structure has been a huge part of the past that honed the Philippines into what it is now.

History Retold

Frankly speaking, the history of the church structure kind of reminds me about the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. The present San Agustin Church is actually the third one to be erected. The first was made of nipa and bamboo in 1571. The second was made of wood. Both were destroyed by fire. So in 1586, the Augustinians decided to rebuild the church – plus the monastery - using adobe stones which came from Meycauayan, Binangonan, and San Mateo (Rizal). It’s basically thrilling to know that my hometown contributed to the construction of this historic place. Though it took quite a long time to finish, it opened its doors to the religious public on January 19, 1607 under the name St. Paul of Manila.

photo from Wikipedia
Designed by Juan Macías, the church has withstood a series of strong earthquakes which hit Manila on the late 19th century. Thanks to its elliptical foundation, San Agustin Church was the only structure that remained standing in the area that time, although the left bell tower had to be removed due to severe damages. 

Basically, San Agustin Church is more than just a religious site. It has also served as a witness to the dark days of the Philippines during the war era. During the Japanese occupation, it has ironically became a concentration camp where prisoners of war (mostly residents of Intramuros) were imprisoned and were later on killed by the Japanese forces.