Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Prayer: Lord, teach me

photo by Easter Okalani

A prayer...

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted,  in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.

Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may make me patient, not irritable. That it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing.

May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow traveler in our journey toward Eternal Life.

As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee.

May my life be lived in the life of God, filled with his wisdom and strength for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.

(Edited version, Author Unknown)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Song: I Will Follow Him with Andre Rieug

There is something very unique about this music. If you look deeper -- it probably shouldn't take long for you to notice it -- there are many performers and viewers to make this music an absolute success in many levels. First, the conductor is naturally good; second, music itself catches the ear, making it respond to a need to continue listening; third, the presence of people tell us that sometimes for music to reach a good level of success, it takes many people creating it and setting it out there for countless number of people to enjoy. The last one is the one I like the most. The more people, the merrier it can be. The more people come together to produce a creative collaborative piece, the better it is for the community to grow. I am sure many of them had to make sacrifices to get to the point but, truly, it is something that was communally created and it brought joy to so many -- including me.

Have the pleasure of being a part of this music, even with just the use of sense of hearing.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Keeping it Pauline: Dr. Matthews and Blessed Giaccardo

A humble doctor and dedicated to his profession, Jeff Matthews, M.D., is also a man of God. What inspires me is that he acknowledges his need for God. You might think that a man of his education and intelligence would not reach out to God, or even think of Him when he can really just depend on himself and the expertise he has built over the years. Yet, he chooses to make God guide him in his decision making, to trust God who is bigger and powerful than he is.

Have you heard of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo? You'd be amazed at what God had done through Blessed Giaccardo, as Dr. Jeff Mathews searched for a way to help another doctor save the life of a dying man. Prayer works! God is beyond any hope that we can have in our hearts!

I invite you to read the story about how life is restored in God through his Saints in Heaven and those saints who are here on earth. God, through our intercessions to the Saints (including Blesseds!) in Heaven, equips us in our ministry---for the building of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).

Enjoy reading this article!: Friends in High Places.

You may read more articles relating to Pauline way of life at Association of Pauline Cooperators.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ginger Flowers!

I come home and there they are! White and yellow gingers, with their pretty white petals and yellow orange centers, and antennas. I pick them and smell their fragrance. It's enough to make one smile, for one can almost smell the fragrance of its creator.

Beauty and vibrancy
Meaning and truth

Causing me to come
To the bosom of my Love

In safe embrace
With deepest joy

With much tenderness
I utter praise

I sing to you
I rest in you

Oh, those gingers!
They are only flowers

Yet they make me think 
Of the One I love most!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Poem: About Alzheimer's

Thank you to the author, whoever you are!

Hello There! 

It's a pleasure to be here. My silence is merely a sign that I'm more active in the ordinariness of life. I would have liked to leave you a note or two, but rest was all that I could embrace at the end of the day.

Somehow, though life presents a distant touch of this poem, it reminds me to be compassionate to whomever I meet in the journey. Christ calls us to be compassionate. Christ calls ME to be compassionate. 

I hope to be more genuinely understanding -- compassionate, yes! -- to those who exhibit signs of forgetfulness, a feeling of being lost, alone, or depressed. I hope to be a channel of love for them. Join me in this endeavor. 

See you in the ways love of Christ and neighbor are exercised!

Your friend in Christ

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Movie Date with My Husband

Gently do I warn you that this post presents different levels. If it pleases you, choose the one that inspires you.

I have known my husband for thirty-eight years; the first ten of those were spent in getting to know each other, being friends, and developing a deeper friendship that led to being best of friends. This past Sunday we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. Part of our social life when he was in post graduate and I in graduate years was watching movies and having dinner on a Saturday. Now that our children are older, my husband and I are finding ourselves engaged in activities we enjoyed doing before marriage.

We had a great time! The second movie we watched was McFarland, USA. It left us an overall good feeling, a sense of awareness of realities outside our environment, and a calling to continue doing good beyond common boundaries. We were glad to have watched it last!

Dates are a treasure to my relationship with my husband. Special moments such as watching a good movie and having a meal in a restaurant are a time of enjoyment of God's gift of the moment. Because our wedding anniversary always falls on Lent, our celebration of it goes readily into my space of contemplation. I think about our marriage, our children, and about our life as a whole.

One thing I have learned in life is establishing a paradigm or model that helps me to see things through the lens of faith and teachings of our Church. Oftentimes, the paradigms I create revolve around my vocation as wife and mother. For instance, there is this simple lateral paradigm of priorities: God-Husband-children. God first. My husband next. Then my children. I also recognize our Church teaching that my husband and I are the main teachers of our children (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223). Having understood that, I choose paradigms that help to solidify my role as mother and teacher. How do I do that? How is it done?

We are all broken somehow. Recognizing our brokenness is essential to our journey, so that we can allow the grace of God to work through us, to transform us. Part of our role is to read and study---to make room for growth. In our search of knowledge we understand better. Understanding leads to creating of stronger foundation. When one has a strong foundation, one will not be easily shaken (cf. Matthew 7:24-27).

Here is a paradigm that I use for my children's curriculum. The more I use it, the more I see that this paradigm can be used for almost anything, e.g., watching a good movie, being engaged in a project, working with others, etc. Called Observation-Comprehension-Synthesis, it can be used in our Lenten journey, reading of Scripture, this Holy Week through Easter Triduum, and Easter Sunday---then beyond.

Observation: Key word: senses. In observation, we use the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. As we know, these are functions of the body through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and hands---portals of our body---that make us aware of what is around us and what is happening. This includes color, texture, movements, living beings, etc. All that the body takes in through the body parts go into our hearts and minds.

Comprehension: Key word: understanding. In comprehension, we use the different aspects of the activity, movie, or book. These aspects are: persons or characters, images used, plot, events that took place. These so-called aspects are used to understand each segment, chapter, different phases of a project, etc. This is when we begin to understand that the story or event is about friendship, adventure, struggles, or love.

Synthesis: Key word: judgement. In synthesis, we gather all information and bring them to a pool where we can see the bigger picture. Here is where we can make sense of the whole story or experience; then we put them into words according to our enriched understanding of it. So here is where we relate the story or experience with others, adding what we have learned.

The entire process, when used frequently, will help to build a better foundation.

Two things: First, with this paradigm---Observation-Comprehension-Synthesis---I am able to appreciate my husband in my life more. I watch him and all he does: the many ways he cares for me (Observation) and understand that his love for me grows (Comprehension). Seeing the whole picture, I see both of us growing in love for one another by doing more things with and for one another (Synthesis). Second, the movie McFarland, USA parades realities of manual labor, struggles in the field, and brokenness in relationships (Observation to Comprehension). We take all these in and we understand what people do to either get by or to keep the family together; and, what can be done to raise awareness of the dignity of the person (Synthesis).

Try this paradigm if you will. This Holy Week presents to us wonders of Jesus' struggles in the final stage of his ministry on earth. Listen. Listen to the stories carefully. Observe. Comprehend. Synthesize. (Newly added: Read entering into the mystery of the Easter Triduum by Pope Francis.) The process, believe me, will keep anyone from just drifting into the waves that life throws to our direction; in fact, it will bring more meaning to the gift of life that was wonderfully crafted by God for us (Psalm 139:14). Someone said that life is too short. I say, live each moment to the full (St. Irenaeus).

By Easter Almuena, MPT
Copyright © 2015 Easter Almuena

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How's your 1st Week of Lent?

How well are you doing on your Lenten journey this 1st Week of Lent? This is not an interrogation of any sort, but merely a gentle prodding that in our struggles we need to be more focused. The beauty of being in the cyberspace is that wherever we all are, we are able to commune and support one another---in the infinite presence of God.

Check out this video for reassessment perhaps. It may serve as a catharsis in the sense that when we face the darkness that lurks within us we turn to God and then find which areas of our life we ask him for most needed grace. There is no need to fret. In God is peace and grace available for all. One way of approaching God this Lent is to be a child needing assurance of his forgiveness and love at the time we are weakest. That's what he is there for. There is also no need to wait for the penance service scheduled before the Holy Week. To avail of the Sacrament of Penance this week might serve very valuable for the journey ahead.

Let us journey on with the hope that each step of our Lenten walk is necessary in giving glory to God, as this video tells us. Imago Dei. God's image. As Jesus lived his life giving glory to God, each of us being an image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27;  CCC #1701-1704cf. CCC #2231), of Jesus Christ, we are called to do the same. Jesus did not bail out in his 40 days of Lent. Let us be in imitation of that "god-image" and "likeness," calling upon him day and night to show us what darkness to toss and how. Yes, in one Spirit, as St. Paul urges us to do: Let us run the race! (Philippians 3:18) Doing so is an act of childlike obedience that gives glory to God.

Easy for me to say! That is true. In my life, the 1st Week of Lent is the hardest to go through. Let us then pray for one another; for, in our communion and prayer, God's grace abounds.