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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Powershot Gone

Repost: written by Divina Joy Ayungo on Monday, 28 February 2011 at 16:52 ·

Photo courtesy of Canon


It was 6:00 in the evening. I was in the taxi heading home. The traffic was heavier than usual because it was Panagbenga. I took out my camera. I was pleased to view all my shots from the street parade to the floats. I liked the floats the most. It was amazing how they did it. It is amazing how they put the flowers together to form one theme. At a glance you cannot recognize that they are flowers but they are. I liked how they arranged the red roses to form a very huge strawberry, and the orchids and the trees, how they put them all together to form a forest-like scene, etcetera, and etcetera. I was going to show them to my mother and brother who were at home at that time. I was excited.

At last, I reached the taxi’s turning point. I went out of the taxi. While walking home I was still thinking of the beautiful shots I had. Then a little boy was shouting “Wala na!” Wala na!” It was like he was shouting at me. But I didn’t know the child so I just went on. Then I put my hands in the camera bag which I just held in my shoulders. The camera is gone. The smile on my lips is gone.

I got home frustrated. My mother and my brother would comfort me. I asked the Lord how could this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? I lay at the sofa. I just wanted to sleep and forget all about it.

As I lay in the sofa, I remember what my Cousin Melanie said when I lost my cell phone when I was still in College. "It is just God's reminder for us to be more careful next time". Perhaps it is. And also that God is teaching me the virtue of detachment from material things. Perhaps I was so fixated at my camera, I have put so much value in it than what is more important-that is enjoying my mother's company and my friends.

So I just charged it to experience, as my mother would always say.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Is There a God?

Recently, I encountered a blog post where the blogger tried to give a proof that God does not exist, hence, I thought of coming up with this post.

Have you ever got to the point where you questioned whether God exists or not? I can relate with you if you have because I have. After reading my past posts, one might conclude that I have always been “religious” or a “Spiritual Person” as some of my readers commented. The fact is this: there was a point in my life where I doubted.

Before I continue, I want to ask how many of you believed in Santa, wholeheartedly, as a child – with all the reindeers and North Pole thing and stuff like that?

I asked because I sincerely believed in him when I was younger. I received gifts from him in my socks every Christmas. I have waited every Christmas Eve for him and watched the moon for a sign that he passed. When I turned eleven, I was disappointed to learn that “Santa” was my parents.

"I have waited every Christmas Eve for him and watched the moon for a sign that he passed."
Someone even told me that I was too old to believe in Santa and laughed at me. Since then, I considered everything like the Santa episode as childish. Even without intending it, even the stories I learned as a child, mostly bible stories, I also treated as childish. Yes, it was a careless and hasty generalization.

I got to the point that I considered believing in the existence of Heaven and Hell as childish. I even thought that they do not exist. I almost fell to the pit called atheism. I almost believed that when I die, I will cease to exist. Those days were dark for me. My life had no meaning and direction. I was very confused.

I lost the Supernatural outlook I had when I was a child. I believe every child has that Supernatural Outlook. No wonder Jesus had a special mention of children in the bible (C.f. Lk 18:15 -17; Mt. 19:13-15; Mk 10:13-16). It’s because when we grow older, we usually lose it, especially at these times where fantasies are appealing and scams are widely spread; it is hard to tell which one is telling the truth.

But like anyone who has gone through that state, I had a pivotal point in my life. One evening when I was a graduating student in college, I attended a testimonial dinner with the new CPA’s from Saint Louis University, the school where I studied. Almost every one of them mentioned prayer as one of the factors why they passed the board exams. One even said that she offered a short prayer for every item in the exams. That incident led me to ask "really?" So when it was my turn to take the board exams, I followed their advice. During my review, I went to mass, said a prayer before I sleep, and really surrendered myself to God. While taking the exams, I kept saying a little prayer in my mind. I’m glad I took the advice of that new CPA in the testimonial dinner. If I didn’t, I might have failed. I credit my passing of the board exam to God, because honestly, I did not feel like I’m the most deserving. It’s true that I studied up to 16 hours a day that time but I still felt like it was not enough.

I go back to my question, is there a God? Yes, definitely. My experience is enough proof for me. You might ask me, “But Divine, that’s your experience. My experience tells me that there is no God.” Well, every person has a different story of how he encountered or will encounter God. Yours will be different from mine. But I won’t argue with scientific proofs and the like. I will leave you instead a phrase that my mother repeatedly told me when I was in doubt. “Where reason ends, faith begins.”

Praying for you,

Divine

P.S. By the way, I was shocked recently when I learned that Santa was real! He is Saint Nicholas de Bari! Well, he might not have a long white beard and reindeers and does not live in the North Pole but, hey, he lived! (I don’t know how his image evolved to the present Santa). The tradition of gift giving during Christmas came from him. Isn’t that amazing?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Three Reasons Why You Should Have a Mentor

Photo courtesy of Minna of M1nna.s Photostream


For a long long time, I have dwelt in the bottomless pit worthlessness. And the only way I got out of there was when someone have put a trampoline somewhere in the middle that caused me to bounce back and see the light. I have written a part of it in my post Moving Forward.

After reading my post Moving Forward, my dear friend Val sent me a personal message. I want to quote a part of it. 

“Your experience is really something so precious. Suddenly, the world is a world of possibility again.  With God's hand holding yours, you can do anything. You can achieve all your dreams.  Everything you want. He will show you how. Continue to bask in His Light, oh child of God!”

She is right. When I rediscovered that, yes, I am a daughter of God, I gained back my confidence. Suddenly, I knew He will always be at my side and guide me every step of the way. Suddenly, I have direction. I never felt alone.

Even after regaining that confidence, there were times when this feeble child of Him turned away. But He was always at the door waiting for me to go back. When I realized that I can’t do well alone and went back to Him, He just smiled and welcomed me.

This has been my experience. It can be yours too.

As I have said in my previous post, I have met friends along the way who helped me gain back my confidence. Some of those friends also became my mentor. And this I encourage a dreamer must have. That trampoline which God has put in the middle of the pit where I was were my mentors.

The first mentor that I had introduced me to the World Youth Day delegation, which I joined last August 2011. The World Youth Day played a great role in confirming that I can do many things and that my dreams are achievable.

One of the perks of joining the World Youth Day is having a “life coach”. I think this is unique to our delegation. Each of us was given a life coach who dealt with us personally.

The life coach was someone whom we could trust, someone who does not tell everyone what you told her and someone who keeps your discussions confidential. The life coach is someone who listens to you – your fears, your problems, your joys, your sorrows, your disappointments; and someone who does not laugh at your mistakes but helps you grow personally. She gives suggestions but does not force you to carry them out. She leaves the execution all up to you.

This was important to me. Just having someone who “wastes” her time on me was a treasure. It gives me the impression that I am a valuable person, not a good-for-nothing person. This helped me gain my confidence back and the rest was history.

And so, I give you my list of why you too should have a good mentor.

1. Even Pope Benedict and all the Popes before him had a mentor or a Spiritual Director.

2. Most Saints became Saints because of good mentoring. Some famous saints who were mentored are Saint Josemaria Escriva and Saint Augustine.

3. You will grow personally and you will gain a friend. My mentors are also my friends.

This is not an exhaustive list so maybe you can add.


Always Praying for you,

Divine

P.S. If you find it hard to find good mentors, go to your ultimate mentor - who is God.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Remember Ice

Photo courtesy of Sister Rose of "glistening on the grass"

"Old people think about death. But for young people like you, you don't think about death. You think about life," said Father Cenzon in our monthly recollection one Saturday. I think it's true. I can say that I'm having the time of my life now. But what if one of your peers suddenly died? Will you not think about death?

Ice had been fighting Lupus since she was 11. At the age of 28, she joined hands with the Almighty.

I've known her  for only more than a year but for the short time that I have known her, I have already admired her strength and her cheerfulness.

She's supposed to be joining us in the World Youth Day last year but just a few weeks before the World Youth Day, she had brain surgery so the doctor did not allow her.

The preparation for the World Youth Day was intense. In fact, we had to prepare for more than a year, attend the monthly meetings and team building and other activities. If she was not in the hospital or if she was not sick, she would attend. And I have never heard her complain about her sickness.

Ice...

I still remember having fun with you when we sang and danced in our "Bel-air's Got Talent" even if we didn't have practice and we lost.

I still remember the time when we walked together in the World Youth Day Fun Run. I wish I walked longer with you.

I still remember seeing you in the hospital after one of your operations. You still had that cheerful disposition even if, I'm sure, you were in a lot of pain.

I remember you joining our monthly meeting even if you just had dialysis that same day.

I remember you smile. Who would have thought that you were in a lot of pain with your sweet smile?

You are beautiful as a butterfly. I liken your life on Earth as the process of metamorphosis. It was painful. But you were patient and strong and cheerful. Now you are free and soaring high.

Pray for us in heaven that we may be cheerful and patient and strong just like you, and that we may be wise in all our undertakings; that we may savor life as you did, remembering that every moment of our lives is important.

We miss you... Til we meet again.

“They whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.”
St. John Chrysostom

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How Taming Your Weaknesses Can Make You a Saint



Do you know your weaknesses? Do you throw your temper easily at the first sight of an unpleasant thing? Are you a number one procrastinator? Are you overly self conscious?  Is it difficult for you to be organized?

It has been hard for me to focus. For instance, I wrote a lot of drafts in the past days, but for some reasons, I was not able to post. I'm scatterbrained and practicing the virtue of order had been my struggle since the day I was born. (Okay, that's an exaggeration.)

My family and my friends know this: I always start things and never seem to finish. It's a miracle that I'm keeping up with my blog. *wink*

Later on, I learned that my personality, being a sanguine-choleric type, has something to do with it. Impulsive, Enthusiastic, Talkative (I'm still having a hard time admitting that even if almost all of my friends tell me that I'm talkative. haha), Forgetful, Frequently wrong, etc.

I learned that one of my friends has the same predicament. She, too, is overly enthusiastic. She lacks focus and is scatterbrained - like me. But her situation is worse because aside from having a sanguine-choleric type of personality, she also has ADHD. Her doctor prescribed that she drink brewed coffee to help her focus. So I drink coffee too to help me stay focused.

Okay, this post has nothing to do with coffee. I just inserted that to justify my addiction for coffee. Sorry. :D

Anyway, before I make my point, I want to ask an important question. Is our case (me and my friend) hopeless? Will we remain scatterbrained or talkative or overly enthusiastic and unrealistic for the rest of our lives? Were we born this way and stay this way forever?

My answer is no. Of course we will still lean to our natural tendencies but we can tame our weaknesses.

For example, Saint Peter was sanguine-choleric. He was impulsive, enthusiastic, protective, talkative, frequently wrong,  - yet a heroic and passionate leader of the flock. He impulsively declared that he will go to prison and die for Jesus but after a few hours, he denied that he knows Him. He impetuously jumped out of the boat to walk on the water but then he begun to sink when he looked down at the water and became afraid.

But he was amazingly transformed. His weaknesses were tamed. And he has contributed significantly to the growth of the Christian faith through his passionate leadership, openness and generosity, and love for people.

Knowing that there are Saints and famous persons (like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton) who had the same weaknesses as I have gave me hope. Who knows, someday, me and my friend will be Saints too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Ma

Dear Ma,

Today, I served as a member of the chorus in the PICC Feast afternoon session. I'm sure you do not know what that is but it's like the happiest place on Earth (according to Bro. Bo Sanchez). A little boy sang the song "Iingatan ka" and I thought of you. I was not able to give you a gift today so please consider this as my gift for you. Please watch.

video


It's the first time I did this. I always thought I had a nice voice and people tell me that too. But I only sang in the bathroom or in the house when the windows and the doors are closed, or in a chorus where my voice is blended among others so my mistakes are not apparent - because I'm afraid of ridicule. So consider this as me, stepping out of my comfort zone.

I love you Ma, and I'm not at all ashamed of that. I'm proud of you as my mother and I'm thankful for all the sacrifices you did for me and for my siblings. I am proud of your strength and fortitude amid trials. I am proud that you gave birth to me, enduring all the pain just so you can give me life.

Happy Mother's Day to you and to all mothers reading this post.

Your daughter,

Divine
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