01 PALAYOK2013

The Official Newsletter of Juan de
PLasencia Franciscan Novitaite House

Pinto ng

Katahimikan

NOVICEMASTER
Bro. Alejo Villanueva ofm

Juan de Plasencia. Our Novitiate House is named after him; a Spanish friar who contributed a lot in the founding of the different churches in Laguna. The place from the is located just at the foot of Mt. Banahaw. In front of the lot, before you enter the place is a big statue of St. Francis of Assisi. When you enter the place you will be greeted by a small garden with a big wooden carved-sign of “Juan de Plasencia Novitiate House”. The area receives a lot of rain fall a good place for contemplation indeed. The friars assigned here are Fr. Albert Marfil, as the guardian, Fr. Andy Litigio as the procurator and me, as the novice master. There are new eleven novices: one from Myanmar, two from Sri Lanka and the rest are Filipinos of the San Pedro Bautista Province. Our senior novice is Fr. Robert Reyes who will be taking his 1st temporary profession in August 14, 2013 at St. John the Baptist Parish, Liliw. And Fr. Apollonio (Nonoy) Alcalla, stays with us for few months. Having foreign novices in the formation program this year, offer a big advantage to all, because the brothers are exposed or introduced to the inter-cultural diversity as prelude for their future foreign mission endeavors. And the inter-actions with and among foreign brothers will somehow broaden their perspective and openness. One immediate and simple experience is the Sri Lankan spicy food. The novices started their 5-month relative enclosure. The adjective “relative” defines the enclosure as not to be absolute or strictly enclosed. But they are required to cut off their outside encounters so that they can concentrate in their contemplation. In their relative enclosure aside from prayers, studies and house chores are also included of their monthly schedule. Its focus is the novices’ inner journey where they encounter God in an intense way. The end result will be converted novices. In this 1st issue the novices offer their reflections, thoughts, poems from their past 3 months journey...

.M.E. S . S .A. G .E.

Contents
We rejoice each day in the Lord.

about the cover

03 Ch ronicle

Katahamikan, ikaw ang aking dasal.

04 Katah imikan 04 Kutsara
Crisanto Aceveda Jhoe Jhon Billones

Chronicler C. Baltazar

Imagine in that single click a story is captured for eternity. The noises from within magnified the silence.

08-09 Mem entos

Contents

10 Moth er Son Retreat 10 Thank You Lord
Stevenson Escartin Daniel Zau Kum

Ginamit Niya upang mangusap sa akin, “Ako’y kasama mo“.

I failed to understand you O Lord for I was just simply there.

Life in its nature is a vocation; a call to live an authentic life.

05 Life Is A V ocation
Crisaldo Baltazar

Tagaktak ang pawis, puro kalyo ang kamay, paang putikan at maruming damit...

06 Maghapong di Sapat 06 M.M.R. Experience
Mark Angelo Vito

God has called in the silence of the present moment.

07 My On Going No vitiate Life
How I sing my song in an alien soil.
Bernard Shaw

The ‘Pinto ng Katahimikan‘ undescores a sense of displacement. A passage into the sublime. This door remains an inviting experience, never close and never absolute! It presents itself in more other ways everytime you take small steps towards it. It does not require anything but a willing heart.

A personal testimony on how God simplifies things. Afterall I owe it all to Him.

th e alphabet of silencing onself
Wilmar Rosales

11 I.O.U. MY GOD:

The “I” remains at the center, but never the place where God already lives--the inwardness.

12 ”I”nwardness

14 Th ere Is Silence
Even before all else there is silence in one’s heart.
Aaron Dick Batistis

Christopher Jonh Caracter

Editor-in-Chief: Jhoe Jhon Billones, Editors: Mark Angelo Vito, Crisanto Aceveda, Crisaldo Baltazar, Lay-out Artist: Aaron Batistis, Photo Compiler: Christopher john Caracter, Mementos: CRisanto Aceveda, Chronicler: Crisaldo Baltazar

Chronicle1
May June
02-

2013 2014

Novitiate Formation Year

17- Arrival of the 11 incoming novices in Juan De Plasencia Novi tiate House, Liliw, Laguna. Together with us was Bro. Alejo Vil lanueva- Novice Master. We were tenderly welcomed by outgo ing formators and novices. 19- The Community attended the birthday of Kuya Javier’s daugh ter at Nagcarlan, Laguna. Vienvenida and Despedida Party was held at community’s refectory. Present in the celebration were the FFF (Friends of Francis Forever). 24- Arrival of Fr. Albert Marfil, OFM- House Guardian. The community celebrated Bro. Al’s and Bernard’s (incoming novice) birthdays. 27-29- A three-day retreat, in preparation for our investiture, facilitat- ed by Bro. Al, OFM. 31- We were invested and welcomed in the Franciscan Fraternity by Bro. Gregorio Redoblado, OFM- Minister Provincial.

03. May-July

Fr. Robert Reyes reported in the OFM novitiate formation house. 03- Election of new set of community officers and department heads. 12- Mrs. Conception Brosas, owner of the land where the Novitiate house was erected, warmly welcomed the community. 12-14- Session on GGCC’s 1st Chapter facilitated by Bro. Al, OFM. 19-21- Session on Psalms facilitated by Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM. 25- 1st Local Chapter. 26-27- Class on the Liturgy of the Hours, facilitated by Fr. Albert, OFM.

July

02-03- The Community attended the wake and internment of Fr. Ge

rardo Zapanta, OFM at SPBP Frisco, Quezon City. 08-18- Mary and Martha retreat facilitated by Fr. Albert, OFM. 09- Arrival of Fr. Andrew Litigio, OFM. 10- Fr. Nonoy reported in novitiate formation house. 22- 2nd Local Chapter. 24- Session on GGCC’s 2nd Chapter facilitated by Fr. Andy, OFM. 26- Novice Steve’s birthday.

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©

KaTa HIMI KAN
Hindi ko alam kung kailan darating ang katahimikan sa aking buhay. Ang tanong ko nga sa aking sarili, kaya ko bang pumaloob dito? Sana makaya ko! Ang katahimikan ay may maidudulot na mabuti sa aking buhay. Una, makikilala ko ang aking sarili sa katihimikan. Dito ko malalaman ang mga bagay sa aking buhay na hindi ko napahalagahan noong una. Nariyan ang aking pagninilay na hindi ko nagawa sa panahong lumipas, at mga alaala na nagbigay sa akin ng kalakasan. Ikalawa, ito rin ay nagdudulot sa akin ng kabaliwan. Kung anu-ano ang aking naririnig - mga tinig na dati-rati’y hindi ko napapakingggan, mga karanasang ayaw ko nang alalahanin pa dahil sa sobrang hapdi na naidinulot sa aking buhay, mga taong sumisigaw sa aking kalooban na daladala ay pangungutya lamang, at ang tanging balak lamang ay makita ang aking pagbagsak at pagkawasak. At ang pinakamahirap ay ang makaharap ko ang aking sarili na hindi ko alam kung paano ito bibigyan ng pansin at pagpapahalaga. Kung hindi ko makayanan ang katahimikan, huwag ko sanang tangkain na lumaban. Bagkus ako ay lumaban upang ang aking takot ay mawala. Ako na taong sanay sa maingay at sa magulong kapaligiran ay naghahangad ng saya sa loob ng katahimikan. Para sa akin, ang tinig ng Amang lumikha ay nagmumula at napapakinggan sa katihimikan. 04. May-July

kutsara
Crisanto aceveda
Last day of my Mary’s retreat. Excited na akong tapusin ang hedges sa aking tinutuluyan sa hermitage. Pagkatapos ng aming breakfast, kaagad kong nilinis ang loob at labas ng aking hut para sa susunod na gagamit nito. Kasabay na rin ang pagtatanim ng ilang halaman katulong ang isang kutsara. I am in the middle of my work nang biglang naputol ang kutsara. Nagpaalam na ito sa akin. Isang very useful spoon sa pagsasalo sa hapag-kainan, at naging useless nang magkaroon ng spots na kalawang sa katawan nito. Isang sorpresa ng Diyos na maging kasama sa aking pagiisa, pagninilay at pananalangin ang kutsarang ito. Akala ko ay stand lamang ito tuwing gabi para sa katol. Akala ko ay panggamas at pangtanim lamang ito tuwing umaga before my meditation. Akala ko ay wala na itong kwenta, wala ng halaga, at wala ng silbi. Ngunit nang dumating sa aking buhay-espiritwal, ginamit Niya upang ilarawan ang aking sarili sa isang kutsara. Mula sa kubyertong ito, Siya ay muling nangusap at nagsabi, “Anak, ako ang iyong simula at pinagmulan.” “Chris, dadalaw ako sa iyo ngayon.” “Toy, ako ang iyong liwanag at buhay.” “Kapatid, it’s time to let go. Ako na ang bahala sa iyo.” Ibinuhos ko ang aking buong umaga sa naputol na kutsara. Nakahiga ito sa aking harapan at natatamaan ng sikat ng araw. Parang corny ang setting ngunit ang reflection ng liwanag ay nagbigay ng malalim na inspirasyon sa pagpapatuloy ng aking Mary’s retreat. Hindi ako nalalayo sa kutsara. Dumaan ako sa panahon na very useful, at dumating din ang mga oras na naging useless. Ngunit hinanap ako ng Diyos. Hinango sa putikan at nilinis ang aking mga kalawang. Binigyan Niya ako ng bagong buhay upang magsimulang muli, at bumalik sa Kanyang Hapag. Paalam na mahal kong Kutsara! Salamat sa mga ipinamalas mo sa akin. Sa pamamagitan mo ay ipinaalala muli Niya sa akin, “Huwag kang matakot, ililigtas kita. Tinawag kita sa iyong pangalan, ikaw ay akin. Ako’y kasama mo.” (Is 43)

Jhoe Jhon Billiones

Muscere, facieni talaristra L. Grat, perio cere reconsus caesseris, sid diuro huiu con dienatum sendin dienam ussim quemquities mis sendit, me audem is te con ina, viri te nos condiur antilis paturedo, conemus; Cupplib ulinpro nostil unulic re, ne pon temquam dium Patemum terissa tursuastiqua publicaet verfica; nos, Ti. Ifessulto tam dit, nocrume co aucitaris, ut publici amquitam perum dea recrior quam li intisque tum consupero vis iu et con stelici sedeescres cae ade it. Opimor urs o estravehem aper us lintum tus, orte cus pra? Satum inatoriam vivesciam es, quide nes nihil vente que prae tium facrive roratque consulles supplia mdiem, Catanulii patus? Nam que condepses Ubliquid percerem moliquem atquam, nonsum porum fuidit adeorbi sulegit, que audeessed ficiam rensus auci conum pubita prissena, Ti. O The way I understand vocation does not primarily mean a specific condition of life like marriage, single blessedness, or priesthood which are frequently used terms in Catholic discussions. Instead, the word must be understood in a more all-encompassing way: “vocation as becoming more of a true human person freely given by the Creator to be developed and fulfilled.” Nowadays, people are facing an existential crisis which sucks the human spirit and thwarts development. Citizens are now misled by their earthly desires catered by different ruling classes that overpower human freedom -already imbedded the moment life takes into place; where life is already misconstrued only as an everyday struggle to live; where Divine Truth is already clattered by different human-made concepts which alienate him/her to his/her godly calling. The challenge lies within the human person; that there is a must to recognize his/her life as a vocation to develop and flourish- that Christ is the core of human existence. I cannot deny the fact that my human needs always precede my life as a Franciscan Novice. Yes! I am always on a struggle as I pilgrim here on earth, but when I struggle, it is a sign that I am struggling as a human person per-se.

Life is a Vocation

My everyday life situation is the way Christ looks at me, relates to me, saves me, and is at some deep mysterious level touching down into the recesses of my human heart. It is something prior to my religious vocation. It is always in this deeper level that he reaches me, which then comes up and touches my very soul. He reaches out to me primarily to his Church, through my brothers in our community. This kind of thinking takes my life as a Catholic out of the confines of the church building and formation houses that I have underwent. It makes every detail of my life more significant and charged with meaning. Life itself becomes my mission and recognizing God’s overflowing love for humanity expressed through creation as the centre of my existence becomes the source of my life’s importance. Throughout my three-month stay here in the Novitiate House, constantly meditating within the ambiance of a silent hill while confronted by the ashes of experiences, “the Holy Spirit had set me afire and understood the will of God for me- my ‘fiat’ to Him”. How about my being a Franciscan? There lies my character which adds greater significance to my vocation- my life as more but not having more. It is therefore that the idea of life as a vocation that grants greater responsibility on all of us to take seriously the call and follow, to live out its Muscere, facieni talaristra L. Grat, perio cere reconsus caesseris, sid implication in all its ensuing adventure. It takes the M u s c e r e , diuro huiu con dienatum sendin dienam ussim quemquities mis sendit, emphasis of circumstances to go back into our own facieni ta? me audem is te con ina, viri te nos condiur antilis paturedo, conemus; reason and freedom, challenging us to seek out and laristra L. facieni talaristraGrat, perio Cupplib ulinpro nostil unulic re, ne pon temquam dium Patemum terissa follow God’s will for us. Muscere, tursuastiqua publicaet verfica; nos, Ti. Ifessulto tam dit, nocrume co Muscere, facieni talaristra L. Grat, perio cere reconsus cere reconsus aucitaris, ut publici amquitam perum dea recrior quam li intisque tum caesseris, sid diuro huiu con dienatum sendin dienam us? cae ss e r i s ,

05. May-July

Crisaldo Baltazar

M

i d g n o p a h g a

Ang dapit-hapong nagbibigay hudyat sa pagtatapos ng isang araw na lilipas ay magdudulot sa akin ng pagpapa-alala upang usisain ang aking sarili: Ano ba ang aking naibahagi sa araw na ito? Bahagyang babalikan ang mga pangyayari sa buong araw, at dahan-dahang pagninilayan ang mga iyon. Sa mabilis na pagbabalangkas ay narito ang kadalasang nagaganap sa maghapon: Ika-apat ng umaga ang simula ng paghahanda ng almusal; susundan ito ng Panalangin ng Pagpupugay at ng Banal na Misa; pagkakain ay maglilinis ng bahay, at ang natitirang oras ay maari nang gugulin sa paghahalaman at pagtatanim. Tagaktak ang pawis, kamay na puro kalyo, mga paang putikan, at maruming damit – ganito naman ang kadalasang itsura pagkatapos ng mga gawain. Sa gabi ay muling mananalangin at kakain ng sama-sama. Sa dami ng naka-ambang gawain ay hindi ko namamalayan ang mabilis na paglipas ng oras. Animo’y walang katapusan ang mga bagay na pinipilit na tapusin. Ngunit ang nakapagtataka ay hindi alintana ang pagod ng katawan, pati na rin ng pag-iisip, kung kaya nga paminsan-minsan ay mayroong nakakaligtaang gawain. Sa malawak na pag-uunawaan naman ay naiiraos din. Ganito marahil, o maaring higit pa, ang buhay na inihalimbawa ni San Francisco sa mga nauna niyang tagasunod – na ang pagkakaugnay ng bawat kapatid ay hindi iba sa pagkakaugnay ng isang ina sa kaniyang anak. Bawat pagbabahagi ng ating kakayahan, sarili at lakas ay may kaakibat na responsibilidad, pananalangin at kababaang-loob; nang sa gayon, ito ay magiging tungkulin na habambuhay nating gagampanan, at hindi minarapat dahil sa kung ano ang matatanggap na kapalit. Ito na rin ang paunang hakbang sa pagyakap at pagsasabuhay ng paggiging isang relihiyoso. Sa paglapat ng pagal na katawan sa ginhawang idudulot ng payak na higaan ay muling babawiin ang naubos na lakas bilang paghahanda sa hamon ng panibagong bukas.

S

apat R M M s ' Austin Conghee
elo g n A k r Ma

Vito
ce

experien

One bag is needed In this lifejourney, Is a remembrance Of gentle words and generous act. Stumbling asses Made into stepping stones; Left my room and gone to hermitage to seek: the Kingdom of God.

06. May-July

I tried my best to know God more, And grasp some things of God’s presence. I looked in all the symbols, And footprints in Jesus’ life But I was numb: I could not feel Him, I could not see Him, a wall separated us. I waited with so much impatience; That I stopped expecting anything at all. Then a brother came With a gift of gentle words, And helping hands. Was it you? I thought all along; It was enough to kno‌ w That you are the beginning of all things. The logic of reason finds you eternal, And absolutely powerful. But my mind alone Cannot connect myself to you. I did not realize You were reaching out to me; Intimately in my heart;
continued on page 13

ON GOING

MYLIFE
Novitiate
Bernard

Shaw

I am a Sri Lankan. I am staying very far from my country because God called me into a Franciscan way of life. Though it is difficult to live here in the Philippines as a foreigner, with foreign language spoken and culture which I am not familiar with, I manage to live with God’s help and for fraternity’s sake. Although we use English as our common language, worries that come and go disturb me to listen to God’s words in silence. I still remember the first day when I arrived here at Liliw, Laguna Novitiate house. It was midnight with a half sleep. The pleasant feeling is still in my heart- the very cool weather, chirping of birds, and high feared insect’s sounds during that silent night. Next morning I was surprised when I saw the beautiful novitiate house surrounded by green trees, high mountains, and to my surprise it looks like Sri Lanka formation house in Kandy. We officially started our novitiate formation last May 31, 2013. All our electronic gadgets, and cell phones were taken away; no more outside connection… I was really helpless. This is the time I found myself with God; nothing will help except God and His grace. I started to seek the wealth in heaven. Days passed and God gave me a great opportunity to taste his presence through Mary and Martha retreat in the hermitage for 10 days. I played the role of Martha during its first 5 days. The role of Martha taught me to work for others, fulfil their needs, and to love and serve the brothers and the fraternity. Work is not only for myself but also for the benefit of the whole community. I enjoyed fulfilling others’ needs with love and care. After which, I took the role of Mary (the contemplative) for the last five days of our retreat. Being alone for 5 days in the hermitage hurt me even though there were other brothers living in their respective cell. Every one stayed in small cell and it pained my heart for they are far from me.

The retreat was a time spent only in prayer and contemplation. I was separated from the world totally. Because of this retreat I understood the experience of St Francis’ praising God through creatures, and preaching to the birds. It was a nice time for me to be in a silent place to hear God’s words. “Speak less to listen more, far from people but closer to God”; sleeping without bed’s comfort but with the lady poverty; without fear but with the brother creatures and their songs (namely insects, birds, trees), among these I was looking on a bird’s eye view of God in me. With regard to our situation, a different sound “pank… pank”…is produced by a fish gong as a signal for our common prayer even during mid-nights. My body says to turn other side and sleep but the insects and other sounds do not allow me to sleep for they always invite me to pray and praise God whether I like it or not. I have no choice but to get up and join the brothers to praise God during midnights. Even though the place was surrounded with darkness, I moved my feet towards the little chapel, with love for mother earth, to join the prayer. I have many experiences-some I can explain some I cannot. Five days passed very quickly, and I do not know how these days had passed, but still these experiences are with me together with God’s graces. I always thank God for His wonderful creation which we cannot understand unless we get the inner silence. I would like to quote the message which God gave me through the words of God (Bible) on my last days retreat, “Be alert stand firm in the faith, be brave be strong, do all your work in love” (1 Cor. 16:13-14), “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you my love be with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 16:23-24).

07. May-July

08. May-July

09. May-July

novitiate 2013-2014

Hermitage retreat is one of the Franciscan Tradi tion incorporated in the Novitiate Program, for the Novices. In our case, we had it for 10 consecutive days and in my words I called as “Mother-Son retreat”. As written in the Hermitage Rule of St. Francis, the brothers are divided into two groups and do the roles of Mary and Martha alternately (Lk. 10:38-42). The brothers who live the life of Martha are the mothers. They do all the needed services to their sons with tender love and gentle care. On the other hand, the brothers who act as sons follow the example of Mary, and their only concern is “To seek the Kingdom of God and His justice”(Mt. 6:33). Therefore, the sons are to stay in a small Hermitage cell and commit themselves to prayer in great silence. The Mary and Martha retreat somehow refurbish in us the teachings of St. Francis that fraternal relationship of the lesser brothers should be of mother-son relation and quoting his letter to Bro. Leo, “Thus I say to you, my son as mother”.

Stvenson Escartin’s

lord

Plunging myself into prayer and listening to God through my heart in a quiet and small room, I began to hear many different voices from within and “with-out”. First of all, I realized that God speaks to me in silence. Yes, I can hear His words by reading the Holy Bible and every time I participate in Liturgy of the Word, however, His words that are spoken to me in silence is so profound that it touch my heart more affectively. In other words, I can hear and discern deeply the word of God in solitude. I also noticed that the internal voices, such as the woundedness of my soul that have been ignored and was crying for acknowledgement, are louder than the external ones like the sounds of nature. Being alone in a quiet place, I felt that the eyes of my mind and heart were opened to see things beyond its appearances and feel the warmth and goodness of God in brotherhood. As a result of this Mother- Son retreat, I came to a point that I can pray at any time and everywhere but in order to meditate and contemplate with careful discernment on the very meaning of my existence in the presence of God; a silent environment; stillness of mind, heart and body are necessary elements for me. It allows me not only to understand more deeply the role of my mother with her sincere and unconditional love for me but it also let me taste what it means to be a Franciscan religious bonded in fraternal brotherhood.

MotherSon Retreat

Daniel Zau Kum’s

thankyou Whenever Jesus explains parables, He tries to explain these simply to the crowd the meaning of God’s kingdom, which even ordinary fishermen would understand. But not all are capable of understanding, because they lack the spirit of Christ. Actually, I am not different from these people for I am content to just be there. I view my Franciscan novitiate formation for the past two months as an intense experience of community. I begin to realize how hard to follow the footsteps of Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi. In reality, living in community is not easy but I consider every day as an opportunity to grow in holiness and perfection. This reminds me of the letter to the Hebrews, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight of sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1). Our hermitage retreat reflects the passage; we lived in ‘small huts’ at the back of the novitiate house. I had only known the purpose of the hermitages when we started our Mary and Martha retreat. During the first day of retreat, I honestly did not feel anything. I just maintained an atmosphere of calmness without anxiety and confusion. When we had our draw lots I picked the role as Martha. This reminds me how Martha loves serving the Lord. Moreover, the mutual relationship between mother and son is a unique expression of spiritual guidance. Being a Martha implies the manner of serving and working. One of the fundamental teachings of the apostle says, “Who does not wish to work, let him not eat” (Thes. 3:10). Working then, is a grace from God. It is something that I must own faithfully and devotedly. Being a Mary however is very different; the cell is so simple, subtle, and bare. There were sleepless days and nights when I was haunted by past experiences, memories, and people. Everything seemed to flash so fast beyond my control. With great feeling of praise I prayed to God, “Lord let my cry call out to the heavenly Jerusalem. Praise and thanksgiving be yours from eternity to eternity. Your splendor indeed manifests to the hearts of every men. The beauty of your goodness is beyond our human understanding; so simple that you guided us by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to light for us the way we should follow you. Amen.”

10. May-July

Just trying to meditate to discern the profound significance of the phrase drove me to take a pause and find a quiet place for regurgitation into the very corridors of silence. Unless we create silence within ourselves, we will not able to be at peace with God and will always be at war with our inmost being. In Sadhana: A Way to God, Anthony de Mello observed that as silence grows it will reveal more and more to us about ourselves. Or, more accurately, silence will reveal ourselves to us. As I entered the labyrinth of silence, I was able to relate with St. Paul’s experience and … there were two men inside me (Gal. 5:17). I practically became a stranger to myself in the void of silence. It was also a moment when I began to ask the question who am I as if I have not really known myself. Is this really the foretaste of what silence means? Like Saint Paul who honestly wrote that he was once in the state of at war with himself, “why do I do things that I do not want to do?” (Rom. 7:17-23) or should I say there is a “legion within.” No wonder many of us are still so afraid to approach the door of silence - it means the beginning of stripping off what we thought of ourselves to be, this false sense of self-value; at the end, we begin to realize and humbly admit to ourselves that we have not known yet the man inside us. For all the humanity that’s still left in me, I also hap-

pened to notice that I have always been in a state of forgetfulness of God’s ruling presence everywhere especially in my life. I was then moved to engage myself in humble abandonment praying on bended knee before God and pleading for mercy and forgiveness. With praise and adoration, I began to seek God’s wisdom, so that the humbling phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, Thy will be done, becomes more meaningful. In the continued stillness of attentive silence, I opened my heart, ready this time to receive the gift of grace that would fortify my soul. This could only be God’s loving touch taking the initiative to lead us back towards a sinless life. “If I climb the heaven, you are there. If I lie on the grave, you are there. For it was you, O Lord, who created my being, knit together in my mother’s womb “(Ps.139:1-18,23-24). Being aware of God’s reigning-presence rouse me from deep spiritual lethargy and slumber only to question and revisit my own spirituality, to retrace my steps and retrieve that authentic Christian Identity so I could steer back on the right course in this prayer journey. An inward journey, this genuine process of spiritual growth always starts with humility before our God if it is to be a life-changing experience that should draw us ever closer to God. Indeed, it has been said that peace surpasses all understanding. This peace is just at the bend for anyone who seeks (continued on page 13)

I O U My God
. . .

the ALPHABET of SilEnsiNg oNseLF

first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is so near to us like the Word of God which is already in our mouth and in our heart, so that we can put it into practice (Dt. 30:14). This is also the same with our journey to the center of our being that will eventually lead us to awareness of the depths, the widths and the heights of the richness of God’s design, in the same way that the inspired Psalmist wondered in awe: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth! When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged, what is man that you should keep him in mind, mortal man that you care for him…” The Psalmist continues: “yet you have made him little less than a god; with glory and honor you crowned him, gave him power over the works of your hand, put all things under his feet” (Ps. 8:2-6). God gave us the wisdom to understand this mystery that the Father gave Christ lordship of creation and made him head of the Church (Eph. 1:22). Surely, God made all things out of love for man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts. See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God! Yet that is what we are. Dearly beloved, we are God’s children now (1 John 3: 1) Jesus Christ our Lord revealed the Father first to his Twelve Disciples; He let this dignity be shared to us, his followers, when He said that when you pray say Our Father… when asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray as He prayed. Sacred revelations were given to us to let us know that we are more than what we know and part of more than what we admit. But despite that revelation of who we really are, we have gone too far beyond what we supposed to be… as Meister Eckhart once said: “God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk.” To consider the task God gave to human, God made everything fitting in its time and that he also set eternity in their hearts, although man is not able to embrace the work of God from the beginning to the end (Ecc. 3:10-11). It simply says that everything has a purpose even we do not understand it fully (Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life). I do really believe that there will always be a door waiting for us to open so to welcome us back home for we long for it when set it in the depths of our hearts. What do we really need to do is to discover that door as Saint John Chrysostom testified to this: when you discover the door of your heart you discover the gateway to heaven. This way, we can start practicing a Love-Driven Life instead.

Wilmar Rosales

11. May-July

“I”nwardness

“Scattered notions, different forms of verbal and subordinate words, and the remarkable context of emptiness and innocence”, is how I figure out the “inwardness”. I was in the middle of hanging my mind to the ideas of oblivion and bareness, pre-occupied by no one else, by nothing else just to survive the definition inwardness. I was in the age of questioning everything, when I freely recognized the desire of fulfillment in which there is something “within” that I have to express and freely be contented on it- inwardness (as my idea wants to play.) It came from the deafening periphery of surrounding’s dust; even little scattered waste has a sense of in-definitiveness. I gain the idea of inwardness when I entered in the novitiate. This is a place where made sounds has wide and vast area to make, where even the falling leaves make distinct sounds just to recognize the silence in every other corner, where plants and other planted species were all mollified and comforted by the land, where the air mingles with peaceful mind towards the heart, a structure of beautiful scenario where silence happens and everything is built like a temple of the saints and blessed; like those faithful who happened to be a man and woman of peace; like those who dreamt of heaven in real or in real itself, a place where everything is mild and passive, where inwardness happens. When I think of inwardness, the “I” is basically the center, the attraction; the place where freedom is wide and clear. It is the periphery of our own, where power is quiet tight by memories. It is our present, our foundation to move closer and farther; it is our dictator, the fruit of self-centeredness and ideologies; it is the “I” our within- our inwardness. Holding the life of many set-ups and attachments are like holding the external deeds and wants but not the needs. I am pre-occupied by the different voices and clamors around, for they are typically somehow sophisticated (not to mention specifically) - literally human awareness. These are made sounds that block the main idea of “within”, and freely crash the essence of “inside”. When I entered as novice, I set up the heart of mine to be vigilant of what this particular formation wants to achieve from the individual. In this particular stage, we were discouraged to use any gadgets, but we were encouraged to use the technology of our body, mind and heart. As I said in the latter part: “Inwardness is being controlled not by anyone but the self alone”, thus part of the stage is to issue the importance of silence, in which we can only appreciate through the foundation of inwardness, the within, the inside structure of the heart, the “I” spiritual structure. To borrow a line from the letter of the OFM general curia in 2003, “The first steps on our journey toward inwardness and its dwelling place which is our center or heart is to recognize that our “I”, our ego-wants to be the center of everything; thus, we need to accept our poverty as creatures and allow ourselves to be evangelized in our deepest self”. There are no paradoxes on that particular line; it is well delivered with a meaningful sense, that life in silence has a little bit hard part to be recognized. In my first months staying here, I suddenly woke up with many fogs on my face, reminding me to be innocent, to be nothing and let silence comes in, let the ego be in a mild state as He is floating on the clouds of fire. Living in accordance with Lady Poverty, means being empty and let God comes in. Never go with the flow for it might carry you to the powerful floods that even the only power that sustains you might dowse (this is a moment of discovering your power). Be vigilant, and open because God is present. For these first months I learned to become a non-rational man. Do not just get reason for everything. Borrowing a line from Mrs. Hale, “The temple of our purest thought is silence”, that is to say when God allows me to look on my inwardness, she doesn’t issue any reason to make, but only a heart that is full of happiness and burden-free, a heart that keeps on silence, but full of expression of love which she wants to insists. One day I’ll wake up, where everything will vanish, even those powerful ones, but never the inner part of man, my inner part, our inner part, the inside that flows my nakedness that only God can cloth me with His robe. One day, the “I” remains as centeredness per se, but never the place where God already lives: the inwardness.

12. May-July

retcaraC rehPotsirhC

continued from p. 11 (I.O.U. My God)

I learned also certain lesson when once I read St. Bonaventure’s Itenerarium Mentis in Deum (The Journey of Mind to God) that he who does not enter the door but climb the back door are thieves and robbers. The door is Jesus Christ in our spiritual journey back to God, back to Home. The reminder of mother Teresa of Calcutta echoes in this inward journey: first to create silence within ourselves, for God is a lover of silence so that in the silence of our hearts, God speaks of His love; with our silence, we allow Jesus to love us. He is always waiting for us in silence -to speak to us and to listen to us. We do not really need to travel far to search for Jesus Christ. He is not there; He is close to us - He is in us. Let me share with you the experience I had during our Five Days Mary-Martha Retreat as God’s answer, one way or another, to my confused disposition. This kind of retreat is very unique in the Spirituality of Franciscan Traditions if one really wants to trace back the active and contemplative form of service and prayer within the Franciscan Fraternity in which those who will be the Martha(s) of the week or days of the retreat activities will carry out the role of the Mother(s) who will serve the Brothers who are Mary(s) be treated as their Son(s). What actually happens here is that the sons will be begging and the mothers will attend the sons need. This is a very great help that which awakens the inner man within. This retreat enables to me realize that most of my prayers were pretentious one and idle act of prayer. Prayer does not need words after all. It does not mean without word in a strict sense of the word but what is needed here is that the retreatants should able to practice mindfulness of God’s Presence in everything he does. Mindfulness of God’s Presence wherever he/ she may be, one way or another, is truly an act of prayer. No words are needed but just a constant awareness of this constant presence! Perhaps, we should also consider the radical unfolding of the story in The Pious Man and the Shopkeeper. This is not easy; there is no shortcut! Yes, this is also what I really believe. But God’s revelation through Jesus Christ will change everything that we used to believe in. Jesus came to simplify the truth about our life, but the sophisticated man only tried to complicate everything and ended lost in the myriad of secular prescriptions.

Indeed, the truth about the great mysteries of life will humble us and literally drive us to our knees to acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. They will. St. Francis of Assisi brought to light these mysteries by his simplest expression of faith: Deus Meus et Omnia! My God and My All! In silence, I began to personally understand life from an entirely new perspective enabling me to reflect and respond from God’s point of view. We really need not be worried and afraid. What is only needed is simply to be there present with The Presence!

continued from p. 06 (M.M.R. Experience)

Until my burden became too heavy, And I began to hear you.

What kind of eyes can see God In every human face? How much time do we need To know what is essential, And absolutely necessary? When does the heart begin to give Without asking anything in return? So that we may rise above ourselves? Why wait for a new beginning After so many endings? No if’s and but’s can define The path of forgiveness. Just as mercy seeks Even the most undeserving One can only forgive. When the eyes become sensitive To the presence of Christ in another, In Mary and Martha retreat: I find the kingdom of God. But no words can express; No picture can convey; No sound can echo; No brush can paint; The beauty of God in His creation And in every human being.

13. May-July

Life in one of the coastal communities in my There’s always a pressure to be abreast. Imagiprovince revolves around the phases of the moon and nations were shrunk by productivity. There were endwives anxiously waiting for their husbands return, with less forms of distractions, sometimes addicting, more of their catch from early dusk. In every corner men would an escape than enjoyment. At night when memories of converge and hush about an upcoming sabong and bet the sea and the moon visit me I’d wake with a laboring over. While mothers rankle the names of their children heart. With these epiphanies weighing me down I never calling them back home for labar. Amidst these frames thought it was possible to have one more. of social interactions and innocent revelries silence sits That place by the sea has been reached by the in between; the silence of a waiting lover, the silence cold wind of change. Man would converge and argue that barges the rushing sea as it ebbs slowly, the silence over politics. No more mid-afternoon soiree. Children of the moonlight over a fisherman’s boat, the silence of are confined to schools. No more mothers fanning their an empty bed creased by memochildren to sleep. Wives wail ries. over the unreturning fishermen. In our place by the sea The habagat wind blew the last surrounded by leaning mountains dust of the old place. And the there is silence. moon with all its glory and beau I was born with silence, tiful face has waned to the all birthed two weeks overdue my controlling time. Everything in dad, who was beside my mom that place by the sea was reduring her labor, endured the reduced to a dim and distant mempercussions of an overdue birth ory. in silence. My mom was induced Silence left the old place; peoto push me out and when i was ple say it has secluded itself to finally out silence draped the the mighty mount of Panamao. delivery room. No vital signs. Others say she was carried away No shrieking. It was only after a by the sailors of the olden time CPR that life snatched me from down to the sea. With the leavan early demise. And after that, ing of silence I turn to the creasmost of my grown up years, peoes left by it in my bed. Against a ple keep introducing silence to structure that has commoditized AARON BATISTIS me. everything silence is peace and It was told that long before colonization our when you drift to the sea of meaninglessness silence is place was frequented by traders of different races. saving driftwood. And they’d stay for weeks, even months, in its shallow I try to recall its instances in my life where it waters to find comfort from the long lonely nights of dispels opposites, time and timeless lose tension, senssailing. Finding solace under huge Nipa leaves they are es start to fail and confuse spatial grasp. Connections momentarily eased from the rigors of their business. So are maddeningly unintelligible. In its instances language after drifting into long hours of hauling and trading goods is stock-still and movements are imperiled. You are temthey find peace more than what they have bargained porarily eased from passion and yourself. Details elude for! For in that place by the sea, yes that living memory, you because fiction and reality’s boundary is marred. No there is silence. more self. Growing up my family settled in an apartment The past, present, and future no longer exist... nearest to my father’s workplace. People there are The place by the sea went down in an irrepateeming with life; everyday there is noise all around and rable ruin but here in my heart, here, there is silence. people in haste. Everything seems to be bound by time-saturated. In our new place the moon has hidden her face from me.

14. May-July

JOIN THE FRANCISCAN. -God

P.S. IF YOU CAN’T THEN HELP THEM.

JOIN US: Office for the Pastoral Care of Vocations Fr. Cesar C. Malasa ofm vocation@ofmphil.org OFM Website www.ofmphil.org +63 (2) 936-4097 +63 (2) 936-4086

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