Tag Archives: Easter

"Let's Party!"

Yesterday at Easter Sunday mass, the priest said something very nice during the Homily:

Easter is God’s way to telling us with a smile, “Let’s party!”

I agree, don’t you think? :)

* * *

There’s something about this year’s Lent that is a bit different from last year. Okay, make it a lot different. Last year, I ended Lent and the Holy Week feeling a lot regretful, and even remorseful because of all the things that I did and didn’t do. Last year, I felt like a Peter. I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t accept it because I felt like all the things I worked for, all the things I planned didn’t happen and it annoyed me. I really did end the Holy Week more uncomfortable and humble, but I still had a hard time connecting with God because I was resisting. And I realized then that when I resist, boy I do resist.

So this year, I didn’t exactly promise to be better. I remember promising as Lent started that I will be more open this year. I will try, and I know I will fail, but I will keep on trying. It was the first time I fasted from something that I really love (which was really harder than it was!), and this was also the first time that I told myself to keep an open mind. I was a bit nervous for the Holy Week, because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, and truth be told, I asked God to not make me cry. Hah, like that would happen.

Anyway. My Triduum was quiet. Wednesday night, my mom and brother and I watched The Book of Eli, then Thursday was the usual mass, followed by a night of silence because cable went out. Friday was spent in Bisita Iglesia, and followed by the Veneration of the Cross and Communion, which was the point of resistance for me last year. This year, I really prayed for an open heart, and found myself opening up to the experience. I realized that it may not be convenient, it may be hot inside the church…but as they say, the best time to be uncomfortable is during Holy Week. And it was definitely uncomfortable, but I was able to somehow relive Christ’s passion (less the gory images, of course) and realize yet again how much Jesus loved us, loved me.

Until now, my heart is having the difficulty trying to fathom all of this. How could one man save us from our sins? How could the death of one man do so much? But I guess that’s the mystery of it, that it’s really something that my puny heart and mind cannot and will not ever understand, at least until I get to His Kingdom. He’s not asking me to understand, anyway, He’s just asking me to believe. Sometimes I admit that it may be easy to just not believe because I honestly don’t think my mind can comprehend it fully…but going down the path of non-belief feels like a dark and dreary and lonely path that I would never ever go down that. I’d rather sell my timeshare and give up everything else than decide not to believe in God’s love and mercy.

One of the things I realized over the weekend one of the reasons (or effects?) on why I’m struggling so much right now. I wanted clarity. I feel so unsettled because although I know that God is always there, I had a hard time believing that He actually was. I have so many plans, so many dreams that I am always afraid of them not being fulfilled. I have so many questions that I don’t know how to answer or what the answer is, and in that fear, I just chose to stop asking. The reason why I wanted to keep on going back my college time is that it’s my mountain top. It’s the time when I knew I was so connected with God that never a day goes by without me knowing something about Him, without me hearing something from Him. Right now, all I can hear is static, and I know it’s not because He’s not speaking — it’s because I’m not listening.

I’m not sure if I’m explaining it correctly. What I learned in the past three days is that if I want to get some kind of clarity, I’ve got to connect. And for me to connect, well I’ve got to pray. I’ve complained and struggled about my prayer time, but I admit to never really doing anything about it…until now. I can’t remember if I blogged about fighting for my heart and all, but I’ve got to recognize that if I wanted to be connected to God, and to know His will and to hear His word…well, I’ve got to fight for it. I’ve got to assurance that it is a won battle, but it doesn’t mean I have to stop fighting. I need to fight for my relationship with God, I need to fight for my prayer time, because I’m pretty sure that He is fighting for it, too.

So by God’s grace, I’m trying again — this time, it’s for real. I will try, and I will fail, but I will keep on trying. I’ve missed Him for too long, and this Lent has reminded me that Jesus died because He couldn’t bear the thought of me not being with Him in Heaven…and I can’t let that go to waste. He loved me this much, and I can’t just ignore that. I can’t.

* * *

To celebrate Easter Sunday, my family and I headed to Bonifacio High Street at my request to check out Church Simplified‘s Walkway. Suffice to say that it was a great idea, and I’m glad we went through it even if it was really hot. I have a lot of pictures that I have to upload, and if you missed the Walkway, make sure you go there next year if they have it again because it’s definitely a new way to experience the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. :)

This part at the last station spoke to me a lot, and I hope I never forget this:

Never let familiarity breed contempt

* * *

One last before I head home! I rekindled my love for one of my favorite Holy Week songs over the weekend: I See Love by Third Day, Steven Curtis Chapman and Mercy Me.

Some see a prisoner, alone before his judge
With no one to defend him
Some see a victim, beaten and abused
With all the world against him
Some see a martyr, carrying his cross
For what he believes
Some see a hero who set his people free…

But I see love, I see love
Light of heaven breaking through
Well I see grace, I see God’s face
Shining pure and perfect love
When I see you

With your last breath, I see love
Through your death, I see love
I see peace in the eyes of the king
I see hope in your suffering (I see love)
I see a calm in the center of the storm
I see a Saviour…

Some see Him walking from an empty grave.

Happy Easter everyone. ♥

The A-Word


Okay, I’ve been silent for three days, and I never thought it would be this hard. I mean, lat year was definitely harder, but this year there were so many things that I wanted to write, so many things I wanted to say via Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr, but because of my fast from the Internet, I couldn’t.

But let me just say it again, because Easter is such a joyful occasion:


I’ll post a longer post tomorrow because I should go to bed because I’m on day shift tomorrow. But let me just say: I think this has been one of the most meaningful Holy Weeks I’ve ever had. :) And I’m glad.

Thank You, Jesus. :)

Second Chances

ResurrectionI was never the one who went away to vacations during Holy Week. Ever since I could remember, I was always at home. Our families had specific Holy Week traditions: mass on Holy Thursday, Bisita Iglesia ((Doing stations of the cross by visiting 14 churches)) during Good Friday followed by lunch, then we stay at home for the next days until we go to Easter Sunday mass.

Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve made Good Friday afternoon a time to pray on my own. I usually stay in my room, read, and then wait for 3:00 pm. Once the time comes, I open up my Bible, pray and reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice. I usually end up crying when I try to comprehend how much it all meant and cost. Suffice to say, after a very inspiring Palm Sunday mass, I found myself praying for a meaningful and different Holy Week this year. Other than the idea of a long vacation from work, I was also looking forward to a serious Good Friday prayer time.

It’s amazing how easy I forget the things I pray for, especially when they’re not prayers of intention. :)

I didn’t exactly forget my prayer last week actually. But I held on and was anxious to follow the schedule I set for myself last Friday: Bisita Iglesia, then lunch and my 3:00 pm prayer time. I had my readings ready, my Holy Week playlist ready, my journal and a couple of hankies (because I know I was going to be crying) and even an idea of a text message to send to friends after it. It was my personal time with God to praise and thank Him for giving Jesus to us, and there was nothing else I wanted to do more than that.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Holy, even.

But of course, God had other plans.
Continue reading Second Chances


This week has got to be the most book-filled week. I think I finished four books this week, and not all of them were short. Wow. Talk about enthusiastic reading.

But that is what happens to me when I take away one thing that has become more or less an essential to me every night and day – my computer and the Internet (okay, so they’re two things). And although I have successfully avoided them last year (I don’t know how I did that, really), this year proved to be a bit more difficult. Not only in this particular fast, but also in the other fast. Let’s see how I fared this Lent:

  • The first fast I told myself I’d be doing this year was the 40 days of prayer and fasting…which I failed miserably. Last year I did the seven days of prayer and fasting, which I was kind of successful in doing. This year was just…hard. Every Friday of the fast, I’d end up eating too much. I didn’t even mentally prepare for the fast. And come Holy Week, I had it in my mind to really fast…but then the Holy Week started with my birthday! Ack.
  • The next, which was what I mentioned earlier, was the no computer and Internet fast. I almost made it…but not without me going online for an hour each on Thursday and Friday, and finally breaking the fast yesterday. How about that for conviction. :( I bet even taking away my laptop wouldn’t help; I probably would’ve just stolen some online time from my dad’s or from some laptop rental out there. :(
  • And to top it all off, I didn’t get to confess this Lent. :(

So conviction and fasting wise, I had a pretty crummy Lent. I did manage to stay away from meat every Friday…but it doesn’t feel like it’s a worthy offering, you know?

I’m sorry Lord.

I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself with that, but I just feel like I took away some of the gifts that I planned to give to someone special. Or that I broke a promise to someone and although he says it’s okay, I can’t help but feel guilty.

Or like Peter, who promised that he would never turn his back on Jesus, but denied Him not once, but three times, a few hours later. How’s that for conviction.

There’s one book I’ve always loved reading and going back to especially during Holy Week: Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Called Him the Savior. Here’s the particular part that always makes my eyes fill with tears:

Look in Mark, chapter 16. Read the first five verses about the women’s surprise when they find the stone moved to the side. Then feast on that beautiful phrase spoken by the angel, “He is not here, he is risen,” but don’t pause for too long. Go a bit further…the verse reads like this: … “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.”

…If I might paraphrase the words, “Don’t stay here, go tell the disciples,” a pause, then a smile, “and especially Peter, that he is going before you to Galilee.”

What a line. It’s as if all of heaven had watched Peter fall — and it’s as if all of heaven wanted to help him back up again. “Be sure to tell Peter that he’s not left out. Tell him that one failure doesn’t make a flop.”

pp 93-94, No Wonder They Called Him the Savior by Max Lucado

St. Peter is one of my favorite saints (together with St. Paul). His stubbornness (“No, you won’t wash my feet!”) and his short temper (he cut off an ear!) were definitely his flaws, but I can’t get over his intense devotion that made him say those words, “Even though all the others fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29) I’d like to believe that Jesus gave him a rueful smile before he foretold of his denial, to which Peter stubbornly insisted, “Though I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” (Mark 14:31)

I see myself in that moment, especially in the past Lent. As much as I’d like to be John, who stuck by Jesus’ side all through out, I think I was more of Peter, who promised such and such to Jesus, but didn’t follow through. And I knew Jesus knew that would happen to me this year, just like He knew Peter would deny him.

I’m not saying that what I failed to do in the last few weeks was excusable, that I shouldn’t do it again next time since I failed this year and still God loves me anyway. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t bother to fast or confess next time. That’s not the point. The thing is, even in my lack of faith, in my lack of willpower, God still grants me the grace and forgives me. Jesus knows that this would happen, and yet He forgives me. And although I know God appreciates that I promise to try harder next time, He’s asking me to accept the grace He is offering. Because He wants me — as in the WHOLE me — more than He wants any of my sacrifices, just as how He wanted Peter more than His promise of sticking by Him. :)

It sounds a bit absurd in some ways, I know, but what’s faith if you’re certain about everything?

As we start on this Easter season today, I leave you with a quote I got from one of the books I finished reading this weekend:

Easter cannot exist for you and for me without a deep willingness to embrace the mystery of love at its most fundamental: he who was dead now lives; I who was lost am found. I don’t ever pretend to understand that. Even that willingness is a gift…His death paid for my sin; his Resurrection opened the door for me to new life.
– p. 264, May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly

Happy Easter, everyone. :)

A Christmas Tale

A year ago, my friend Chris sent me a Christmas email with a challenge, and we had a pretty interesting conversation about it. Then I told him I’d blog about it that year, but I never did, so here’s the one year overdue entry about what we talked about.

Interestingly, when we talk about the Christmas story, it usually ends with Jesus lying down on the manger, with the shepherds visiting him and then followed by the three wise men. After that, the Christmas story is “finished”, and we hardly even talk about why He came. What’s the real reason why He was born that night, to those parents, on that place? Why the angels sang and why the shepherds came and why the three wise men came to visit and bring him gifts. Yes, sure, they did all that because Jesus is God’s son, but again, why did Jesus come down here in the first place?

The answers to those questions do not really come until the Lenten season, where the real reason of God becoming man becomes clear (supposedly). It’s nice to remember those things during Easter, yes, and I remember saying that Easter is where the juicier story really is. Because that’s where the entire salvation history is shown, where God’s forgiveness can be really seen, and His power is demonstrated in its fullness.

Then I remember my usual greeting every Christmas: may we always remember the reason for the season. Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but why? What is so special about it, besides Him being the son of God? What is the real reason, anyway?

Chris’ email challenged me to remember that the story of Christmas does not end where we always end the story during Christmas. In fact, the Christmas story is just the start. Christmas is where God’s sacrifice started, by His sending His only son to a world laden with sin, to save the people who barely acknowledge Him. Unlike other people who are born to this earth to live, Jesus was born to die. For you. For me. For us.

Christmas is the start of His journey to save us, Jesus’ journey to the Cross. This where God gave us a concrete and human sign of His love. That is where the Christmas season gets its beauty, its magic.

This Christmas, let us remember and keep in our hearts the REAL reason for the season. :)

I leave you with a song that I finally made sense of during the email exchange with my friend. :) Enjoy and have a blessed Christmas Eve. :)

Continue reading A Christmas Tale

Eggs and Bunnies on Easter

Will asked something about the relationship of eggs and bunnies on a Christian holiday, Easter, which celebrates Christ’s resurrection. I never really thought about it, really. I have to admit that I’ve participated in Easter Egg Hunts (not winning anything, though) but I’ve never had an Easter chocolate bunny (is it really that good?).

Thinking about it now…what does eggs and bunnies have in connection with Jesus’ resurrection? Did bunnies show up when he got out of the grave? Was their main course eggs? Why?!

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Anyway, I looked up some information regarding this on one of my favorite Catholic resource websites, LifeTeen.com ((If you want to learn more about the Catholic faith, visit this site! They have easy to understand articles and answers to basic questions a Catholic or a non-believer (I think) would ask.)) and found exactly what I needed. Click on the link to read Mark Hart’s very interesting analogy with all these “symbols” in Easter and Jesus’ rising from the dead. :) Enjoy and be blessed. :)

Continue reading Eggs and Bunnies on Easter