Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Broken Resolutions? That's Okay.

There was a little girl named Nina who just came from her first ever retreat. During the retreat, she was filled with the Holy Spirit that she made a firm resolve not to fight with her younger brother Luis ever again. As she rode in the bus while going home, she even took out her little notebook to review all the wonderful things she experienced in the retreat and to review her only resolution. Finally, she arrived at their house. She rang the doorbell and voila! Luis was the one who opened the gate. She smiled at her younger brother. Her younger brother smiled back and remarked “Andito na si holy holy!” (Here comes holy holy!) Nina’s smile was still on her face but one of her eyebrows raised. Then she swung her bag toward her younger brother almost hitting his head. Luckily Luis was a fast runner.

Was there an event in your life similar to Nina and Luis’s story? Have you ever made a firm resolve then after a few days (or even hours) you break it?

You resolve not to eat fried chicken but after a week you found yourself in Mcdonald’s.

You resolve to exercise everyday but after a few days, you’re too lazy to do it.

The list can go on and on. But don’t worry; you are not the only person.

Last January 1, I took out a planner which I bought last New Year of 2011. I opened it and decided to write my 2012 New Year’s Resolution there because there are a lot of empty pages I can write on. On the first page was my 2011 New year’s resolution, which I almost forgot I wrote until I saw it again. On the number 1 list was “to be orderly”. (Now you know why I bought the planner in the first place.) I smiled when I read that because I wasn’t so orderly in 2011. Worse, my new year’s resolutions in 2011 are similar to those I was planning to write for 2012.
As I looked back at the year 2011, I was reminded of the many resolutions which I made and the disappointments I had when I did not seem to have the capacity to fulfill them. Then one friend told me that your failures are not important. What matters is that you start all over again, even if what you do is to start again and again.

Persistence. To start again and again. Your persistence will eventually pay off. In fact, there are many stories of success of great people because of their persistence.

Colonel Sanders, for example, faced 1008 rejections before he was able to sell his secret recipe, which is now known as the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

Sylvester Stallone experienced hunger and poverty, even had to sell his dog before he reached his dream of becoming an actor.

It took years for Albert Einstein to formulate his theories before he came up with the formula E=MC2.

The level of our resolutions might not be like that of Colonel Sanders or Albert Einstein or Sylvester Stallone. But if we can start small, we can grow big. If you resolved not to eat fried chicken because of your health, but today you were not able to discipline yourself enough, then start again tomorrow. Renew your resolutions again and again until fried chicken does not appeal to you anymore. Then you can step up to a more ambitious resolution.

Recently, I watched the finale of the Biggest Loser Season 7. While they were replaying the videos of one of the finalists, I recall her saying “I’m determined to change my life.” I’m amazed by her determination. She faced many challenges but was successful in the end in losing weight.

Be like her in her determination. Be persistent. Work Hard. And maybe, someday, your story of persistence will echo all over the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

World Youth Day Saga Part 3: The Eternal City

Rome, the Capital city of Italy, is truly an eternal city. It was my dream city and going there was a dream-come-true for me. I'm glad we included it in our itinerary.

We went to the eternal city just after the World Youth Day in Madrid. The highlight, of course, of our pilgrimage to Rome is going to Vatican. In Vatican, we were awed by the gigantic St. Peter's Basilica. (When I got back to the Philippines, honestly, I thought all our Churches were small, including the Cathedral in Baguio and the Mini Basilica in Quiapo.)

There was a long queue of visitors and we had to line up and wait. But it was worth the wait. Inside, there were many Chapels and we heard Mass (in Italian this time) in St. Joseph's Chapel. We also saw the Pieta there and we went down to recite the creed in the tomb of St. Peter and the past Popes (the tomb of St. Peter is buried underground) It is a tradition of the Catholics to recite the Creed when we take a pilgrimage to the Vatican. I believe that it is a good tradition because it gives honor to the first Pope who is St. Peter and it reminds us of what we believe in.

We went around the place taking photos. Later on I left my group for a while to meet my Aunt. Yes, I met my Aunt who resides in Rome. It was a wonderful opportunity for me. She tagged her cousin along, who is also my Aunt in the second degree. For thirty minutes, we talked, laughed, took photos of each other and really had a wonderful time together. Oh, thirty minutes was such short a time to be with my beloved Aunt. How I wished I could spend more time with her but I had to be with my group or else, they will leave me and my VISA would expire. On the second thought, I think I should have had stayed with her. What a regret. But I promised her I will go back sooner or later.

With Aunt Vicky and Aunt Elie
Of course, when you go to Rome, you should not miss trying their gelato.  Their gelato is really good, especially if the weather is hot.

While we were in Rome, my friend (my rosary buddy) and I were reciting our Rosaries when we came by a gelato store. It was so hot that it was tempting to go inside. Our other friends opted to go inside to buy gelato for themselves but we opted not to because we were trying to finish our Rosaries. But as we prayed, we saw our friends enjoying their gelato. I was envious and I kept on thinking about gelato. I thought, after our Rosary, I should buy myself one too. I look at my Rosary buddy and I knew she was thinking of the same thing. Then I looked at the gelato again. I was going to ask her " Gusto mo? Tara!" (You want gelato? Let's go.)  But she paused. She swallowed. And said, "We offer our sacrifice of not eating gelato for the souls in Purgatory." 

I laughed. Whaaaaaaaat? Are you offering my own sacrifice also? Why did you not say "I"? Does it have to be We? Does it mean I don't get to have my gelato? Well, that was only in my mind, of course. (And I do not regret that she included my little “sacrifice”) But that moment, my friend taught me of the meaning of sacrifice. It was only a little sacrifice - not eating something we really wanted to eat. But she turned it into something Supernatural. I admire her. Even if I did not get what I wanted, (she didn't get what she wanted too), I feel happy. 
The Italian Gelato

I had wonderful time in the Eternal city of Rome. We stayed there for two days then we went to Milan for  our take off. From there, we bode goodbye to Europe. "Til we meet again."

The World Youth Day is so meaningful to me that I had to share my experience with you. It is indescribable. I'm still trying to live World Youth Day every day. But it is not easy, really. But it's okay. Nothing is really easy in this world, isn't it?

Oh, before I forget, it is my Rosary Buddy’s birthday today! Happy Birthday Mimay! I’m Happy I met you!

P.S.2. Read previous post related to World Youth Day

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