The Question that Matters

Also known as: Because I need this reminder until further notice

When I started staying in the dorm back in college, I experienced what my college friends and I called “liberating moments”. I was an achiever back in high school, so getting good grades were pretty easy, but in college it became ten times harder so I became one of your average Janes as far as grades are concerned. I managed to keep my head above water during my first two years. Sure, I had two failing marks, but they were because the subjects were just so difficult. Then I started dorming and I noticed that I seemed to care less about my studies and more about org stuff and fun times.

Then I saw my midterm grade for Biology, a minor subject — it was a failing mark. And it shook me out of my liberating moment. So, in an effort to get serious, I decided to hang some signs at the dorm that said: I LOVE BIO. Then on my laptop, I switched the wallpaper from something cutesy to a black, plain one that states: MAG-ARAL KA. ((Translation: YOU SHOULD STUDY. Or better yet, STUDY NOW.))

I think it worked, because I passed Bio. The next term I switched to another wallpaper, this time it said,I’m too blessed to be stressed, because I had too many activities ongoing for me then.

So, after that long introduction, I realize that I should do something like that now so I would remember the One question that I really need to answer now:

Do you trust Me?

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It counts for love

Also known as: Saying goodbye to my favorite month with love

Look, March is almost over. I meant to blog more, but life just got in the way so I’m back only now after posting about my birthday.

Yesterday I finished rereading one of my favorite books, May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly. I remember loving this solely because it was a book about Catholicism and it made my appreciate my faith more. The last time I read this was 2009, and I admit to being a little bit shaky with my faith back then. I’ve moved past from that part of my life, and I’d like to believe that I am better now. Reading the book this time around was different, because I think I got it a bit better now than then.

It’s also these times I believe that God sends affirmations to me about some things I am determined to live out. At the very end of the book, I ran across some passages about love that totally supported why I chose LOVE as my word for 2012.

May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly

The aspect of the cross that stops me short is that, throughout his passion and death, Christ was himself. He never tried to be anything else, never tried to please anyone, never tried to run away, never wavered from the truth; he only occupied himself completely and authentically with his own calling. He just loved, no matter what the outcome; just loved because that is what he was created to do. The miracle of the cross is that God loves anyway, no matter what the result, no matter our choice, no matter the flighty vacillations of the sometimes fickle human heart — loving one minute, resenting the next, indifferent or self-involved in still the next. Instead, he flings the door to his very sacred heart wide, wide, and invites all to enter and make themselves at home…

Christ’s suffering counts for something the most important things, the essential things. It counts for grace and for mercy. It counts for authenticity and for resurrection from our ruination and into who we truly are: children of light. It counts for being genuine and honest. It counts for love.

As my faith grows up within me, more and more the prayer I once clung to, “God remove my pain,” becomes “If I must experience this suffering, then please let it count for something. Just don’t let it go to waste.” When I can open my heart and love anyway, no matter the outcome, no matter the choices of people around me, no matter the risk involved, I become more powerful in heaven’s kingdom than any army, any fear, any cruelty or any rejection. Instead, those things are swallowed up whole and lost in grace and mercy. I find that when they are awash in love, they’re not such bitter pills after all.

I want to love anyway, to love because that’s what I was created to do. And I can trust that God will never let any potential resulting suffering go to waste if I’m doing that. It will always count, and that’s a promise. Even when I don’t know it; even when I can’t feel it. And that gives me courage, courage to love again, to love anyway.

I don’t understand the cross. I don’t believe understanding it is the point, or even necessarily a very worthy or interesting goal. But I think accepting it is — accepting that we were created to love no matter the outcome. The cross is God’s promise to love us, no matter what. And deep in my spirit where the most essential parts of me are anchored, there is a knowing, growing and resonant and burning with an eternal ache that tells me: the cross counts. It matters. It counts for grace and mercy. It counts for love.

– May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly (pp. 269-270)

The cross counts for love. What a beautiful way to put things in perspective. I will never understand it, but even so, what I can do is to love anyway no matter what the outcome and trust that that is enough.

March is ending, but we’ve got a month full of new possibilities ahead of us. :)

Great God

Also known as: My first SFC ICON experience

So they say.

It was during a sort-of impromptu meet-up with my Europe friends that it all happened. We were talking about possible missions for 2012 when we started talking about the upcoming SFC International Conference (ICON). It was about two weeks to the conference but I have long accepted that I wouldn’t be going. For one thing, I couldn’t take a leave from work. Another, I already had an event lined up for that week.

So we were talking about mission trips, right? Then they told me, “You have to be at the ICON if you want to go on a mission.”

“For real?” I asked, worried.

“Yes! You can’t go to a mission trip if you don’t go there!”

Truth be told, I didn’t really believe it. However, they were all very insistent (and I mean everyone at the table, even the ones who were still in YFC). Even if I can’t file a leave they said I can fly in on Saturday. Whatever argument I give, they have something to say back.

And I really, really wanted to go to a mission trip. Especially if it’s in Europe for this year. So if I want that, I have to go to the ICON, right?

So I finally said yes. Within a few hours, I got to register at the last minute (thanks to my two chapter heads present at the meet-up) and in less than 48 hours, I had my flight booked. At first, I didn’t even know if I would be able to afford it, especially since this was sort of an impulse trip. But like what my friend Dodge said, if the impulse was Spirit led, God will take care of it.

And take care of it He did. If you must know, I found cheap airfare and I actually spent a lot less than what I expected in the entire trip.

But let’s not get ahead.

So there. Before that week ended, it was sure: I will be attending my first SFC International Conference this year.

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