BLESSED BE GOD forever. For responding ever so faithfully to even my most unspoken prayer.
Before our UCC monthly zoom meeting, my mood was melancholy although I mustered enough energy to be on a par with the enthusiasm of the newly installed board. I had to be on my toes because, of the seven members, three were retained and four were newly elected. I was certain the three already performing assets will absolutely be only energized by the adrenaline of the incoming others. Vice-Chair Thess, for one, ably complements the reinstated Chair Sheila. Like the former VC Kuya Jun (whom she took over from) never left, only got younger. I liked her when she cut into our guest speaker with relevant, if cynical, questions. After the meeting, she even pm’d me to reinforce her suggestion to topically label my minutes so that it will be easy to pinpoint parts that needed correction and, therefore, quicken the discussion. Her point was well taken and straight away found its way into my latest minutes.
As if that innovation were not enough, she observed the difficulty CEO Jojie was having with her unstable internet connection (like in the past, when she would disappear and reappear choppy and unintelligible it was a good thing Staff Assistant Ate Des was always on hand to cohost). When Ate Thess learned that Ate Jojie was using a broadband and an old PLDT landline, she advised her to drop the former and upgrade the latter. Still selfless, Ate Jojie referred to Sec Ham’s parallel problem with efficiency caused by his old-model ipad whose limited storage capacity constrained his productivity. Her recommendation was to purchase a new laptop for her so she may turn over her unit to him. Easily, the board allocated fund for this through a Board Resolution that will be issued for the purpose.
I thought that was the fastest answered prayer ever and my praise-and-thanksgiving euphoria carried over to the BEC which I caught just before facilitator UtoLiza wrapped up the sharing. And allowed my late entry to offer my share. I eagerly jumped in with my chosen sentence, “Where would You have me go?” and excitedly shed my melancholia before them. As saintly as she cannot help be, UtoL appreciated the love permeating the assembly and quoted Christ’s Eucharistic miracle of love as though Jesus was speaking to us.
At vespers that night, I begged the Holy Family forgiveness for my little faith and, because doubtless they would understand, pledged to not repeat the offense. I beseeched St. Joseph for additional comfort for my callousness in sometimes complaining about the weight of my cross. I realized – nay, felt – a huge relief; heard in my heart his acquiescent ear!
My Friday, therefore, was a solemn revisiting of Fr. Mike Gaitley’s “33 Days to Morning Glory.” I had to borrow the book from Ate Myla in order to resume (and finish) his first retreat, “33 Days to Merciful Love,” which required completion of the other one. Guilt rode over me because I was way overdue for consecration although hopeful God will offer a makeup as my remission. Therefore, I pored over the chapters on Montfort, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, and St. John Paul II to move forward.
To say I completed the consecration is not correct. But Fr. Mike has a reassuring way of commiserating on behalf of errant consecrants (as myself) to keep them from retreating in remorse. Much like my catechist friend Tek’s removing uncertainty in a faithful’s perception of neglect in their faith pilgrimage. Friday concluded with me prepared for the next day’s devotion to our Lady.
I opened the fb link to AMQAH early. It was already almost 9 am but the Little Crown hasn’t started yet. I called Sis Ana Marie to ask what might be causing the holdup but she said Mary’s little office has finished and Mass was about to start. Startled, I exited the link and tried to find another, found it, clicked it quickly, and caught the final strains of Fr. Fed’s penitential prayer before the first reading. When there was an opportunity, I opened Montfort’s TD and prayed the Little Crown and sat back for Pads’ homily. Which enjoined us to give our all to God without ruing lack or want because God gave and keeps giving His all and more constantly even now.
Which made me recall that concecration is a continuous, continuing change. No time for fear, sadness, or worry. Once a person is set aside for holiness, there is no stopping the circumstances following the process or the person runs the risk of falling from grace, going astray, and wasting the blessing bestowed on him.
Indeed, having undergone the preparation of consecrating to Jesus Christ, Incarnate Wisdom, through the hands of Mary, His mother, thrice (the third time to St. Joseph, her blessed and just spouse Joseph, is simply cause for me to drink from a saucer. I had no excuse to stop and entertain the distracting sorcerers of delay. I’m blessed to have influences who dissuade deterrents and distractions. And boost my determination to pursue the pilgrimage. These Marian motivators and their Montfortian missionary counterparts fan the fervor of my determination. To this day, this pair (whether physically or platonically) continues to inspire me to reach the heights of holiness. God does not rest by blessing me with additional angels to keep me grounded and get rid of earthly rubbish until, like them, I become light and winged to fly the firmament of faith. Such that I’ve come to anticipate the announcement of anything remotely suggesting pilgrimage, whether in the form of an excursion or the repeat of the sessions. Totus Tuus is the pilgrim’s motto, a direct echo of the Legion of Mary’s Acies, which I am an advocate of and devoted to. Like doing whatever my Mother tells me. As obedient as her Son was to her. As the Legionary’s promise, that “I am all yours, my dear Mother, and all that I have is yours.”
Therefore, my faith needs to increase if I understand that, as the Father is perfect, I have to be in His image and likeness. My daily, little crosses will never even approximate the humongous burden Christ carried to set me and the rest of humanity free from sin’s slavery. Instead of respond to the devil’s enticements of a life of hassle-free ease, pleasure, and disregard for things holy, I should take stock of the graces God keeps surrounding me with. I will close my eyes to vice, ignore irritants, say no to the call of the wild; open my heart to the hard to love, indifferent to integrity and, especially, Indian givers and forgivers. While I count the blessings of friends, I will pray that I do not forget that I chose which family to receive from my Father, and prepare for the time when I meet Him and present the reparations I’ve done to merit being forgiven. There is nothing as perfect as heaven. In Him alone will my imperfections be fine-tuned to deserve the forgiveness that does not second think. As I meditate each day the best way to make myself worthy of St. Joseph’s intercession for my not necessarily happy, but perfectly peaceful, passing.