time

The Slow Work of God

This blog is still alive. Hi.

I have some drafts waiting to be finished and posted, but as always, I find myself a bit unsure if I should share them. Like they’re still quite unfinished and the thoughts were all over the place.

(That, and I’m also working hard with releasing a new short story, and revising my next book. :) )

I’ve been restless lately, though. It could be I’m just having a bit of difficulty being grateful for what I have because it’s far easier to complain or resist. Sometimes I wake up with a lot of anxiety for my day and then I go through it wishing it’s over so I can go back to what I want to do.

But the Lord says, be patient. Be patient because He’s working. Be patient because He’s faithful. I admit that I’m not the most patient person in the world and sometimes waiting is painful (and boring) but right now it’s what He’s asking, and I’m trying my best to do just that.

So we’re talking about patience, and I ran into this today while reading Fr. James Martin, SJ’s The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything over breakfast. I needed to read this over and over, so I thought I’d share it on the blog, too – in case you need it, too. (Emphasis is mine, btw)

That, and I wanted to say that this blog is still alive. :)

Patient Trust
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ excerpted from Hearts on Fire

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

(source)

* Featured image by Monoar Rahman from Stocksnap.io

hello30

Thirty

I turned 30 yesterday.

To be honest, it didn’t seem that much of a big deal now that I got there, not unlike how I was freaking out back when I turned 29. Maybe it was the anticipation of it that made me freak out, which proved that sometimes we really do over think things when it’s not so scary after all.

But it still felt a little bit surreal now that I’m officially in another decade of my life. I’m trying to remember if I had saved any blog post ten years ago, in 2006, when I turned 20. I was still in college, then, and if I remember correctly, I was in school, to do a project and to attend a YFC event. I remember that I wanted to be surprised, then, because I have never experienced a birthday surprise. I think I got pretty disappointed after, because I didn’t get what I wanted, and then that night, it felt like God was teaching me a very important lesson on humility.

It’s kind of hard to believe that those things happened ten years ago. That’s such a short time in the existence of the universe, but a long one in a lifetime of a person. In the past ten years, I have…

Graduated from college. Got my first job. Joined SFC. Switched jobs, twice. Disappeared from SFC, and went back. Joined a book club. Head the NaNoWriMo group. Organized conferences. Attended conferences. Lost a phone. Killed my phone with saltwater. Attended n weddings. Attended n christenings. Survived a major flood. Earned lots of money. Spent lots of money. Traveled to Davao, Subic, Camarines Sur, Quezon. Bohol, Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Prinsesa, Cebu, Coron, El Nido, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Camarines Norte, Pangasinan, Pampanga, La Union, Baguio, Zambales, Aklan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain,  Switzerland, Austria, France, Guam, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia. Saw two Popes. Slept outside with more than a million people. Danced in the rain. Consumed lots of sweets and alcohol. Baked my heart out. Gained weight, lost weight, gained it again. Trekked to a volcano. Shared onstage at a CFC event. Taught kids how to read. Wrote several stories. Published a book. Became a sister-in-law. Became an aunt. Lost touch with friends. Made awesome new friends. Said yes. Said no. Fell in like. Got disenchanted. Fell in love. Got my heart broken. Forgave. Forgiven. Learned that I am loved all along.

I wonder what the next ten years will bring?

* * *

 

I like that my birthday comes so close to the New Year, so it feels as if I had another chance of a new year after whatever mess-ups or whatever I missed in the first two months and 16 days of the year. So I take the time to pray more and to listen harder, in case I haven’t been listening enough before.

And He never fails to tell me something, too. Last year, it was all about being a source of life. I can’t really tell if I was able to do that, save for some moments when I was the sane one during times of distress at work. The other year, it was a full life that runs over. The year before that, was about “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” (This was super fitting, by the way.)

I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant,to be God to you and to your descendants after you. (Genesis 17:7-8)

The word faithfulness echoed all throughout my prayer time yesterday morning. The assurance of it made me smile – it was as if God was already setting the tone of my 30th year, reminding me that just as He has been faithful in my 20’s, He’s definitely going to be faithful in my 30’s, too.

And all I needed to do was to let Him love me.

Pretty mind blowing when I think about it.

So that’s what I’m going to try to remember in this thirtieth year of existence, my fourth decade in this world and all that. I have this tendency to forget, I know, but I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to keep on praying, so I may keep remembering God’s goodness in my life, and in the life of the people around me. :)

Remember His wonders which He has done,
His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth. (Psalm 105:5)

Cheers to 30! :)

jesuit

Blessed are the poor in spirit

The Sermon on the Mount is one of those Gospels that I tend to gloss over, because of familiarity and because let’s admit it – it’s kind of hard to understand. It sounds very nice, as well as very difficult, because some things there are not the things you’d want for yourself. Poor, mourning, persecuted. I mean, really.

It’s been a bit of a struggle at work lately, not because work is too hard or I have too many things to do. It’s just these questions of what happens next, the resistance of doing some things you were asked to do, and really, the general uncertainty if what you’re doing for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is even worth it. I can already imagine my dad telling me, “Everyday is a Friday!”, which he started quoting to me back when I was super stressed in my previous role. Maybe it’s a millennial thing to keep on asking.

Yesterday, out of desperation and an attempt to keep my life in order after what felt like a terribly unproductive day, I heard God tell me: Consecrate your day to me, my daughter. I’m not a stranger to consecration, but I neglected to think of that: consecrating your day to Jesus. More so, consecrating your day to Jesus, through Mary.

So I prayed yesterday, and told Jesus I’ll consecrate the day to Him. And yesterday was a way better day for me, and I went home feeling happier and productive that I was able to do a lot of things. Nothing like checking off items from your to-do list, right?

I prayed the same prayer today, but at the back of my mind, I was a little doubtful. I mean, just because I consecrated the day to God doesn’t mean everything will be fine and dandy, right? I could have another terrible unproductive day.

Over breakfast, I was reading Fr. James Martin, SJ’s The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and I was already at the chapter about poverty. Lately, I’ve been thinking that sometimes you pause and read certain parts of a book at a certain time because you’re meant to read it at that time. (Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic had that effect on me, that’s why I haven’t finished reading it yet). As I was reading, I had this feeling that there was something in the next pages that was going to speak to me.

And they brought me back to the Sermon on the Mount. At least the part of it.

Poverty of spirit means accepting that we are powerless to change certain aspects of out lives. “We are all members of a species that is not sufficient unto itself,” [Metz] writes. “We are all creatures plagued by unending doubts and restless, unsatisfied hearts.”

Well what do you know. As I read the next pages, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me: Pay attention. And I did. I forgot that I was eating as I read the next pages, and reread them again, I can’t help but laugh, and maybe tear up a little bit at the affirmation that I was heard, and that I wasn’t really as lost as I thought I was.

Poverty of spirit does not take away joy in life. Quite the contrary. It is the gateway to joy, because it enables us to surrender to ultimate reliance on God, which leads to freedom. “Paradoxically, then, we are truly rich,” writes Fleming, “with an identity that only God can give and no one can take from us.

Reliance on God may sound like a recipe for laziness, as if you needed to do nothing on hour own. But the reality is the opposite. It is a practical stance that reminds you that you can’t do everything. Many things are not within your power to change. Some things, outside of hour control, need to be left to God. Spiritual poverty frees you from the despair that comes when you believe that you can rely only on your own efforts.

Maybe consecrating your day to Jesus through Mary isn’t about having great days. Maybe it’s just about learning how to be poor in spirit, so you can learn how to rely on God more and be free from despair.

And I could really use more of that.

* * *

Somewhat unrelated:

I meant to blog more the past few weeks, and I had drafts of posts here for Valentine’s Day and Leap Day and thoughts on turning 30 (7 days!!!), but a lot of it remain drafts because I can’t seem to find the words or the point. It’s quite possible that I’m over thinking things, so yeah. But in case the few of you who are still reading this is still reading, I’m still here! (I also opened my author site, so yay.)

On that note, I do plan to write something on my birthday. I’m thinking of what to write that day, to make it a little different, and to make this personal blogging thing a little exciting again. I found that ever since my life has calmed down, it’s like the words stopped coming, too, and I kind of don’t want that. Words are friends.

Maybe you (one of the few readers of this blog, heh!) can help? Is there any specific thing/topic/answer to a question that you want to read here? I’m far from a life expert, but I figured there must be some things I know that could help someone out there now that I’m almost 30. :D