“REPENT”

The Sinner's Prayer | Luke 18:13 | 18.12.2019
Luke 18:13 | 18.12.2019

In the last few days of 2019, I kept hearing the word “repent” but the message was still vague. The word flashed in everywhere – in my dreams, in my prayers and on the readings. I thought it was for me “alone” for I am a great sinner.

This thing got me chill and gave me uncomfortable spirit so it led me to a priest for confession. But it didn’t stop there. The feeling continuously disturbed me so I asked, “What else do you want me to do, Lord?” and there was no answer or maybe I was not in the good state of perceiving His messages. One day, I decided to put it in writing but there was no single word to describe my feelings. My self-consciousness with fear, doubt and unworthiness started to attack me and so I can barely move and couldn’t think properly.  I tried sketching it, but it only showed how de-motivated I was.

Morning of 18th December, I just asked God to give me focus especially at work and praise God, all went well the whole day. When I reached home, I decided to re-do the sketch as an offering and thanksgiving. Still, no other words except for “repent” came out so I didn’t post it, rather I shared it to selected friends and requested for their interpretation. Their attention was caught by the broken chain which literally means “freedom” and others said “peace in the spirit of God”. Instead of making myself better, I delved too deeply to my conscience, committed more mistakes and gone back to the priest or to anyone who could console or give me comfort.

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

March 21, 2020 | Gospel Reading | Luke 18: 9-14

Today’s gospel, 21st March, 2020 reminds me of all these. Finally, I found the right verse related to it – “Oh God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” – Luke 18:13

One of the reasons of my self-disturbance is the continued resistance to follow and share His messages. And so I pray, “Please, forgive me Lord, for I have committed sin against the Holy Spirit. The reluctance of my heart and not heeding to Your will is stronger because of the fear of being judged negatively. My faith is always being put to test; torn between the love for God and the love I have for my family and friends. It’s hard. But, I trust you more this time. Please guide and protect me by your grace and mercy. Grant me also the courage to forgive myself and the people who caused me pain. Amen.”

So, what is the message?  Dear family and friends, “Repent.”

One single word is enough. It’s all we ever needed especially in these trying times. Inside our rooms, alone with God, pray with a contrite heart asking for His forgiveness. Setting aside our self-righteousness and self-proclaimed holiness, accept that we have sinned from the biggest to the smallest thing we did including the not being good steward of his precious gifts to us. We have used and abused every blessing we have received – our family, friends, the Mother Nature, time, free will, etc. Our own plans and aspirations are louder than the will and desires of God for us. We overruled our heart with our love for evil and the worldly things. We somehow, contributed to the negative noise around us by spreading hate, anger, bashing, and setting bad role model to the young ones. We are being called to go back to our Creator and to the source of everything before it’s too late for you and to the people around you. Surrender all to God. When we again, commit the same mistake, don’t hesitate to go back to the most compassionate God. Jesus already showed us how to live a life full of humility.

Why the message came in December, 2019? All of us are aware what is happening from the beginning of 2020. Day by day, it becomes clearer; it is not only for me but for all of us. Repentance is a gift. Remember, those who are not willing do not get repentance (2 Peter 3:9). A priest on his reflection also said, “If we do not have the humility to acknowledge our sins and tell all to God, there will be no forgiveness.”

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

– 2 Peter 3:9

Friends, it’s very difficult. It takes a lot of courage and humility to accept that we are sinners or we are wrong. “Sorry” is like a present for God or for someone we truly love but it is fully covered with pride, self righteousness, self validation and selfish desires. Repentance also requires us to give up which is not from him and through him and for him. This world has so much to offer that we cannot even concentrate in our own prayer time. A total distraction to the connection we should have with our Heavenly Father. A deeper relationship with Jesus through repentance and faith gives us more light, peace of mind and heart, and a free will guided by the Holy Spirit.  

By the way, someone asked me, “Why you draw a lady with a chain?”

The sinner's Prayer | Liveloud Concert in UAE | 2019
Liveloud Concert in UAE | 2019 | Photo Credit to Sis Trixia Agbayani – Andrada

That was me. I felt like being chained, a prisoner by someone’s opinion about me. Everything I do is being used against me. I am afraid of their judgments and cursing words. I felt like I am not good enough. My past is hunting me. The world is choking me with evil desires. All of this is making me sick and more sinful. So, every time I close my eyes and lift up my hands to God, Jesus is breaking that chain.

Before striving to make everything whole again, remember, peace and healing will start from the single hole within us. Repent.

READ MORE GOSPEL REFLECTIONS:

A Deeper Touch of Taal Volcano

 
God's promise and affirmation
God’s promise and affirmation

The news about Taal Volcano eruption in the Philippines led me to reflect more and while browsing my gallery, I was reminded of three things – “Treasure every moment”, “Opportunity is priceless but limited – grab it” and on top of everything “God loves us so much”. Both time and opportunity are God’s gifts that should not be taken for granted. Unlike the first two, the love of God has no end, it’s eternal, no expiration and you can always go back to Him.

Tagaytay Picnic Grove - Taal Volcano, Philippines
View from Tagaytay Picnic Grove. Taal VoIcano, one of the famous and active volcanoes in the Philippines was behind me.

We had a week-long vacation in the Philippines to attend a special friend’s wedding in Ilocos (January 7-9, 2020) and decided to have a short catch up with our families before going back to UAE. Unfortunately, my mother was not able to make it due to some heroic reasons.  We stayed in Tagaytay for almost two days – January 10 -11, 2020. We felt so blessed to witness how marvelous God is. He created everything so beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Everybody had fun. We were astonished by the places and views in Tagaytay Picnic Grove. Taal VoIcano, one of the famous and active volcanoes in the Philippines was behind me (above photo). At first, I was kinda hesitant to take these pictures. Though I was with my BFF and her family, I cannot deny the fact that I am missing my own family and wishing that they were with me. But, time and opportunity should not be wasted, so we all just savor the moment. We were unable to visit places as planned because of light to heavy rain, foggy and freezing temperature. We tasted, not all, but great foods in Balay Dako – one of the famous and old restaurants in the area. We stayed over the night at Casa Miguelitos. More food trips and bonding moments – swimming at the pool, singing, laughter, relaxation with whole body massage, etc.

On the second day, before we took our flight back to Middle East, we headed to Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig City and spent 3 to 4 hours roaming around the beautiful architectural designs inspired by Grand Canal in the classical city of Venice, Italy.

Few shots from Tagaytay and Venice Grand Canal in Taguig – Philippines

January 10-11, 2020

January 12 (Sunday), one day after we left the place and while we were on our way to Dubai and Zayra’s family to Bicol, people of Tagaytay, Batangas and the surrounded areas of TAAL VOLCANO were experiencing fear of possible hazardous eruption and more earth tremor. And to date, January 14, 2020 we can see already lot of photos, videos and news all over the social media and around the globe about the status of the violent and explosive volcanic eruption. People evacuated from their places as their houses were already covered with ashes – a dreadful moment for those who were affected by the eruption which includes plants and animals. Buildings, houses and other infrastructures are currently being rocked with consecutive earthquakes adding to more damages. We have no idea what will happen next. It could stop or get worst.

It sadden me to see places where once green (covered with trees), blue sky and water (Taal Lake) and colorful houses turned to GREY and humongous clouds of ashes.  We can see dead plants and animals all over the place. Happy faces turned to fear and tears. Some of our friends who were traveling also were stranded at the airport or stayed elsewhere due to flight cancellations and delays caused by the hazardous emission and heavy ash falls. According to the news, airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column pose hazards to aircraft which is more dangerous for travelers. (To know more, Article 1 and Article 2 )

Grab images from the internet – scenario during and after Taal Volcano eruption

My mother texted me this morning and praised God for we (me, Zayra and her fambam) did not experienced any of these and we have reached all our destinations safe and sound with no harassment and less hustle-and-bustle. Indeed, we were saved. Thanks be to God. He even allowed us to see His beautiful creation before this horrible moment happen. On the other hand, our hearts melt for the victims and we continue to pray for protection, guidance, providence and healing not only for the loving people of the Philippines but all over the world. These are the things that we have no control at all but prayers can do a lot of miracles for God is more powerful and in Him everything is possible. One thing I am sure of, it is neither a punishment nor a hint to end of this world. But a reminder that GOD is our ultimate stronghold – A Living Rock. He is our fortress and great help. It is the right time to go back to His loving arms and trust His ways. 

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:20

In all of these, I am more than proud to give my triumphant salute to all Filipinos who are great and mighty; the most resilient people of the world. Humanity is alive in our heart, mind and soul.  Always positive and smiling while praying and helping together. Big thanks as well to those who extended their arms and generous enough (in any form) to help ease the burden of the victims.  Let’s stand firm with an even stronger faith on God’s promises and His unfailing love. As one family with one God, we will overcome and win every battle, challenges and tests of life.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

God bless everyone.

Personal Reflection By Circe Gernale Sola | January 14, 2020

 

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“The Fruit of Sacrifices” – A simple activity to know how committed are you in achieving your goals and purpose in life.

Activity No. 2: For individual

Do you have goals that you wanted to achieve in your life? Do you have targets or deadlines in order to accomplish a particular task? Can you identify how productive your days? Mobile applications are the easiest and fastest ways. Digital calendars can easily pinned your schedules for a month or even a year. But, we can be more creative in monitoring our everyday activities.

Let me give you an example. In order to have a more committed and meaningful celebration of Lent this year, I have decided to take the “46-Day Challenge”. Forty six days (including Sundays) without eating meat and drinking soda. Plus the daily battle against other form of temptations and addictions such as:

  • Spending not more than 15 minutes on social media (for continuous browsing and reading posts) except messenger for urgent messages.
  • Avoiding bad words and bad thoughts
  • Don’t scream, don’t lie, don’t kill time
  • And other worldly temptations

Unlike the previous years, I have added a simple activity that will measure the depth of my personal commitment with Jesus and the desire to be with Him on this special days. I chose the one that is closer to my heart – painting.

Activity proper and its lessons:

  1. Think of anything that will represent the number of days (40, 46 or any days you preferred). These are the days you discerned to offer for Him or anything that you would like to accomplish given a certain period of time (e.g. cards, small balls in a bowl, candies, charting, etc.). In my case, I painted 46 Grapes on each day and mark the fruit as good or bad.
  2. Good Fruits (Violet Color) – represent a victorious days. I was not tempted neither to eat nor to commit any grievous acts that will make my Lord sad.
  3. Bad Fruits (Brown Color) – I lose the battle. Sad! I fell on the devil’s trap and let him rule the day. Totally felt bad and guilt crippled all over my body and soul. In short, I failed.
  4. Bread and Wine – representing the body and blood of Christ.

In one of those instances, I was weak and Satan had the chance to use me to tempt a friend. We were both abstaining from eating meat and I was totally aware of that. With higher conviction that everything will be okay and nothing will happen just for one day, I encouraged her to eat meat with me that totally broke our promises and commitment to God.

Afterwards, I prayed to God to forgive me. On the next day, we saw each other again and got the chance to personally ask for forgiveness.

Conclusion: In this simple activity, you can easily check and identify your level of commitment not only because it was lent, but for everything. It is also applicable for any specific activity you would want to track (if not possible for all days). Ultimately, identify your reason behind the decision to sacrifice. You can easily check which area you need to improve, you need to avoid or stop and then work for it in order to achieve your goal – the fruit.

For example, you want to buy a book and your objective is to finish reading it within a month after purchasing it. But, it’s not included in your budget. So you would start saving money and avoid things that does not support your goal. You can have a “jar”, and you can put every single penny you saved. You can also charge yourself for every single day wasted. By this, you can save and at the same time you are motivated.

Above all, let me remind you that every single day or activity is an opportunity to give GOD an offering being our Creator and the source of everything. But, don’t just focus on the reason why we do such things. May we all have the ability to recognize “God’s ultimate purpose”for our daily existence. So, in everything and all the time, commit to be with Jesus and give Him all the glory.

Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3 ).

As for the fruit of our sacrifices, believe that God knows what is best for us. He knows our desires, our dreams, plans, aspirations, etc. Colossians 3:23-24 is an affirmation for this. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

 

Practical Lessons for all days…

Friends, these activities remind us that life is not easy as preparing the cross and painting or eating the grapes. May we all take the lessons from it and be ready because every single day is a battle.

  • Always start your day with a prayer. You need to get up and pray no matter how bad your physical, mental or emotional condition each morning. How much more if you will wake up feeling so blessed and satisfied with your life. A grateful heart and humble spirit that seeks God’s presence will always bring us a victorious day.
  • You have to remain calm, focus and think positively in the midst of a terrible situation.  Never give Satan the chance to use you for his bad ways. Once we lose our mind and cannot control our emotions, it’s an opportunity for him to enter and ruin your day and someone else’s day.
  • Be humble and honest all the time. Acknowledging your weaknesses, shortcomings and sinfulness will not make you unworthy to be called God’s son or daughter. It’s a manifestation of your greater desires to be with Him.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2

  • Do everything out of love. Give your heart not only for the one you love but for all including your difficult boss, the strange taxi or bus driver, your arrogant friend, a rude stranger… as in ALL. It can also means to love the things that you do – your work, your passion, your talents, your gifts and appreciate other’s works as well. Jesus did not choose whom to save. He died for all of us to help and redeem us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

  • Cheer up and find joy in everything that you do.  Your smile is the immediate relieve from stress, it’s the best weapon against your bad day. Cheerful mode gives you light and blocks negative vibes. When you are joyful, you give yourself and others the impressions that everything will be alright, direct you to solutions for every problem, and positive thoughts to worry no more.

Jesus Rises from the Dead. – Luke 24 or Mark 16

  • Pray before bed time.  Always return the glory to God. He walks and works with you the whole day. He is the fountain of Love, the same love that you freely shared. He gifted you with wisdom, talents and with everything that you have. Now, rest. God will watch you and send angels to guard you while you are asleep and then wake you up the next day.

God is the source of life; He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:15

The “Cross”

The Cross - Lenten Activity

Activity 1 – GROUP / HOUSEHOLD

Materials:

The Holy Cross - Lenten Activity
  1. A5 size of the wooden board, cork board or Styrofoam board
  2. Nails (smallest size)
  3. Hammer (if using wooden board)
  4. Strings / Thread (any color will do)
  5. Others: Scissor, Ruler, Pencil/Marker

Activity Proper:

  1. Start the activity with a prayer.
  2. Prepare the Styrofoam Board. We used Styrofoam instead of wooden or cork board, it symbolizes our human nature – weak, soft and brittle.
  3. Create a pattern for the CROSS at the center of the board – We have used 40 nails, representing the 40 days suffering of Jesus, fasting in the desert and tempted by devil. In addition to that, 10 extra nails were used for the heart shape inside the cross symbolizing the love of God for us.
  4. Connect the nails using the strings. – Black and red colors of the string/thread were used to make the cross more prominent on the colored board. Black symbolizes the darker side of the world, temptations, negative thoughts and things used by the devil while red symbolizes LOVE.
  5. Repeat step no. 4 until the cross and heart shape becomes more visible.
  6. Once completed, share the experience, lessons and realizations on the activity and offer it to Jesus.
  7. End your activity with a prayer.

Note: Before asking your members to do the activity, make sure you, as the leader, already created your cross.

Activity lessons:

  1. Faith does not make things easy, but believing that with God everything is possible. – Luke 1:37
  2. Members were asked to say a short prayer on each nail, focus and think of Jesus while making the cross. Reminding us that in everything we do, we can always seek His guidance.
  3. Leader will supervise the member while they are busy making their cross and observe properly.
  • Focus and attention to details – Leader will also serve as a distraction to test their focus. Leader will do a different thing or will simply interrupt the members. Remember, Jesus was tempted by the devil on His 40-day journey in the desert. Well, that doesn’t mean that the leader is bad, but to be more realistic for the activity.
  • Test of Patience – Nails will easily pull off from the Styrofoam, thread without enough control can be tangled and be out of direction causing the entire cross to be ruined. So, you have no choice, but to start from the beginning. You need to make it on a normal speed. It’s not a competition, anyway.
  • Invite a peaceful and calm spirit. Are the members irritated, distracted or calm while creating their crosses?
  • Resourcefulness and Helping Hands – There are limited materials. Intentionally, not all of them will have equal materials. Members will learn to use the available materials while patiently waiting for others to finish the materials they specifically require. One member can offer help in order for other members to figure out how to get it done.

Practical Lessons for all days…

Friends, these activities remind us that life is not easy as preparing the cross and painting or eating the grapes. May we all take the lessons from it and be ready because every single day is a battle.

  • Always start your day with a prayer. You need to get up and pray no matter how bad your physical, mental or emotional condition each morning. How much more if you will wake up feeling so blessed and satisfied with your life. A grateful heart and humble spirit that seeks God’s presence will always bring us a victorious day.
  • You have to remain calm, focus and think positively in the midst of a terrible situation.  Never give Satan the chance to use you for his bad ways. Once we lose our mind and cannot control our emotions, it’s an opportunity for him to enter and ruin your day and someone else’s day.
  • Be humble and honest all the time. Acknowledging your weaknesses, shortcomings and sinfulness will not make you unworthy to be called God’s son or daughter. It’s a manifestation of your greater desires to be with Him.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2

  • Do everything out of love. Give your heart not only for the one you love but for all including your difficult boss, the strange taxi or bus driver, your arrogant friend, a rude stranger… as in ALL. It can also means to love the things that you do – your work, your passion, your talents, your gifts and appreciate other’s works as well. Jesus did not choose whom to save. He died for all of us to help and redeem us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

  • Cheer up and find joy in everything that you do.  Your smile is the immediate relieve from stress, it’s the best weapon against your bad day. Cheerful mode gives you light and blocks negative vibes. When you are joyful, you give yourself and others the impressions that everything will be alright, direct you to solutions for every problem, and positive thoughts to worry no more.

Jesus Rises from the Dead. – Luke 24 or Mark 16

  • Pray before bed time.  Always return the glory to God. He walks and works with you the whole day. He is the fountain of Love, the same love that you freely shared. He gifted you with wisdom, talents and with everything that you have. Now, rest. God will watch you and send angels to guard you while you are asleep and then wake you up the next day.

God is the source of life; He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:15

Celebrate with the Cross

 

Activities and Reflections

  1. Activity 1 (Group/Household) – “The CROSS”
  2. Activity 2 (Individual) “The Fruit of Sacrifices”

Lent is the time for Christians especially Catholics to solemnly celebrate with the Holy Cross. It is by the death and resurrection of Jesus that we were redeemed from all our sins and granted us eternal life.

As part of my desire to have a deeper relationship with God and His Son Jesus, I am making my own personal “Lenten and Reflection Activities” each year. For certain number of days, I need to offer something special for Him. I would normally deactivate my social media accounts, if I cannot fast fully at least abstain from doing or eating something and offer more prayers and reflection letters for Him. Since social media became impossible to cut for some valid reasons this time, I prayed to God to give me other ways in order to connect with Him and celebrate with Jesus.

Well, this is one of my favorite seasons. Growing in a family who loves to participate in the activities during lent; where my mother and grandmother would normally do their fasting starting Ash Wednesday. If not, they avoid from eating meat or sacrificing any activities as a form of offering.  I can remember them, including my father encouraging us to participate in other activities like hearing masses, attending Holy Week processions and other Filipino traditions like Penitensia (penitents), Senaculo, Siete Palabras, Visita Iglesia and many more.

When I was searching for any activities for one of my household meetings, I came across with inspiring and challenging activities that can be related to celebration of Lent. Please note, these activities are not my original ideas but I will share to you how God answered me for my one simple request.

The following activities made my 2019 Lenten Season extra special.

  1. Activity 1 (Group/Household) – “The CROSS”
  2. Activity 2 (Individual) “The Fruit of Sacrifices”
 

Practical Lessons for all days…

Friends, these activities remind us that life is not easy as preparing the cross and painting or eating the grapes. May we all take the lessons from it and be ready because every single day is a battle.

  • Always start your day with a prayer. You need to get up and pray no matter how bad your physical, mental or emotional condition each morning. How much more if you will wake up feeling so blessed and satisfied with your life. A grateful heart and humble spirit that seeks God’s presence will always bring us a victorious day.
  • You have to remain calm, focus and think positively in the midst of a terrible situation.  Never give Satan the chance to use you for his bad ways. Once we lose our mind and cannot control our emotions, it’s an opportunity for him to enter and ruin your day and someone else’s day.
  • Be humble and honest all the time. Acknowledging your weaknesses, shortcomings and sinfulness will not make you unworthy to be called God’s son or daughter. It’s a manifestation of your greater desires to be with Him.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2

  • Do everything out of love. Give your heart not only for the one you love but for all including your difficult boss, the strange taxi or bus driver, your arrogant friend, a rude stranger… as in ALL. It can also means to love the things that you do – your work, your passion, your talents, your gifts and appreciate other’s works as well. Jesus did not choose whom to save. He died for all of us to help and redeem us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

  • Cheer up and find joy in everything that you do.  Your smile is the immediate relieve from stress, it’s the best weapon against your bad day. Cheerful mode gives you light and blocks negative vibes. When you are joyful, you give yourself and others the impressions that everything will be alright, direct you to solutions for every problem, and positive thoughts to worry no more.

Jesus Rises from the Dead. – Luke 24 or Mark 16

  • Pray before bed time.  Always return the glory to God. He walks and works with you the whole day. He is the fountain of Love, the same love that you freely shared. He gifted you with wisdom, talents and with everything that you have. Now, rest. God will watch you and send angels to guard you while you are asleep and then wake you up the next day.

God is the source of life; He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:15

 

Thorns Turn Into Blessings

I was so guilty for an offense that made my Lord sad. Reason: I got mad. I retaliated to the world because of its betrayal. I was humiliated. I was disrespected. I started to dislike the feeling, doubted myself and eventually hate the person.

Though hating them never last. It will go for an hour or two and then surrender. I normally bowed down with a “sorry” and praying that the person will forgive me, setting aside who started it or who really was at fault. But still, the guilt tripping was killing my conscience. Just like Paul (2 Corinthians 12), I can feel the “thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” I felt so burden and so I asked for help and requested someone to pray for me.

It’s amazing how the Lord comforted me with His forgiveness through His words and angels surrounding me. I do not belong to this world. I am His and His commandment I should follow. Jesus taught us to love one another as He loves us (John 15:12). Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Hate, grudges, pain and other works of evil separate us from those we truly love and to those who really hunger for love. They (our persecutors) deserve, all the more to be loved.

What will I do if the world will continue to test me? I do not know, but Jesus will always have an answer. I would think of what Jesus will do if ever He is actually at the very same situation. Would He lock the door and hate the world? Would He shout, curse the person and ignore him forever? Would He allow a casual kind of love – loving someone when it only necessary or when it benefit us? Most probably not. His Love is the purest and has a saving power. 

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

There are thorns (our weaknesses e.g. pain, doubt, anxiety, depression, etc.) that actually turn into blessings. Jesus was wearing a crown of thorns for people to degrade him more, laugh at him, mock his name and cause him more pain. See! He conquered the world. May we all die for ourselves like Jesus and live each day with a burning desire to love more our families, friends and bring more people back to Him.

_ Circe Gernale Sola _

I Am Home

  • Title of the Song: Common, Simple, Beautiful by Jennifer Chung

I remember telling mom that I’d make her proud one day. She would smile and knew exactly all the right things to say. Man, I miss her and can’t wait ’til I get back to the Bay… Back to the common, simple, beautiful way.”

Home is where the heart is. It is true. You can adjust. You can program your mind, heart and body and convince yourself, “This is home away from home.” But…

Wherever you go and no matter how far you could be, there’s no other place like home – with your family, with your close friends, with your dogs and cats, with the trees and beautiful flowers, fresh air and green mountains… So, no matter what happened… stay home.

Stay Home – Go back to the common, simple, beautiful ways.

A Letter To My Mother

Thank you Father God for the Gift of today.

Allow me to honor a person who made a great impact and molded me for who I am today.

Ma, I thank you for carrying me, for taking care of me, for supporting me and for loving me not only for nine months but for 28 years now and counting.

*You are my first evangelizer. I remember the days when I long for a company, a friend, a playmate; every time I was left alone at home… sad and longing.  You will call me while holding a Bible or a magazine and started reading (mostly religious articles).  You will start telling me about this guy whose name is Jesus.

*You are my first Teacher. You don’t want me to just simply read and write. You always asked me to read it loud so you can hear me and check my pronunciation, my diction including my emotions while reading.  Ever since, I wanted to copy your handwriting – neat, clear and bold. So, every time I made a mistake, I needed to rewrite even the whole thing.  You taught me also how to draw, to express myself in writing and guided me to do any type of art.

*You are my prayer warrior.  You taught me not to rely on my own strength.  So every time I have contests at school, examinations, having hard times in dealing the tests of life… I will come to you or call you to pray over me and request you to pray for me and for all of us.

*You are my adviser.  Most of the times, I am confused for so many things in life.  I have doubts and fears.  I lost my confidence and courage. Your words, but most of the times your actions are my sources of strengths and wisdom. 

*You are the TRUE mirror of Humility.  You taught me to do great things with great love and compassion.  It is okay to get angry, sadden by many negative things, shout (if must) but to never allow these things to rule me and my day. I have to fully accept defeat, surrender and fight again. If I am the one at fault, I need to say SORRY and humbly ask for forgiveness.  If I was hurt, I need to forgive (even they were not sorry).  This is exactly your words, “Once you’ve done your part, enough. It doesn’t mean you choose to give up, but you prefer to fight in prayer.”

You are not perfect, but your imperfection is making you a GREAT person.  You have nothing to boast in terms of material things that others normally used to criticize you but you are very rich and wealthy in love and kindness. You are physically weak but you are very strong in spirit. You are giving your heart; you are giving your all.

I am more than proud that you are my mother.

I love you, Ma. God bless you always.

Jesus Loves Me, and it’s all that matter.

The gospel and the article I just read are seemingly an affirmation to my prayer on the 13th of March.

The Gospel reminds us to DO GOOD. “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”Luke 6:36-3836 Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. 38 Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Jesus, whom I referred to as my imaginary Kuya when I was little, loves me so much and it’s all that matter. So…
I will STOP longing for the love, care and attention from the people who never dare to give even a bit of it.I will STOP looking for their presence. Though, I can see them but I cannot feel them.I will STOP questioning my worth. For God, I am worthy and it’s unquestionable.I will STOP believing the lies of their thoughts and words. It does not define me.

But, just like what my mother told me, I will continue to be loving, kind and DO good all the time. I will praise and thank God for the many blessings. I will not stop praying that God will give miracles and bring all of us together in His loving arms. I will not stop giving, forgiving and asking for forgiveness for I, too am not perfect. Above all, I will not stop telling them what is right “even if it leads me to further misery.” They will hate me, cast stones of bad words and then ignore me.

Giving judgment is okay if you based on the TRUTH.You become judgmental if you believe on the lies of your thoughts, you listen to the sound of the negative force dictating you to be sad, angry and do wrong against the other person, based your OPINION on what you see and hear and not confirming the truth. You are not condemning someone if you’re just giving “a more positive prescription for a happy and fulfilled life.” You’re condemning them by your cursing words… that they may have a miserable life, even worst than you.

Article Written by Chito Dimanaran

What will you feel when you’ve been bad but still you’re receiving blessings? You’re blessed for someone is praying for you to have it, doing good for you and loving you despite of how unloving you are. Not because you deserve it, but because THEY CHOOSE TO BE GOOD.


– Circe Sola 💚💚💚

First Love Blues

“First Love Blues” – Dedicated to a father who is now in heaven.
You’re the first man in my life.
Beside you is a comfort and bliss.
To you I run fast, confide and hide
With you I am safe and at peace. 

When ego attack, we fight,
Yet, in the quietness of heart, I...
I found that... "I love you!"
Common man, I really do.
  
You are the king,
I am your princess.
You are the hero,
I am the sidekick.
You are the big brat boss,
Serving you is love, not a lost.
  
Yes!  You are my first love.
And now… my first heartbreak.
My beloved father, why?
Behind walls, hear my cries.
  
Words of love from you I thirst,
So you labored for a cup to drink.
Here I stand, staring at a name,
Full of memories and unrealized dreams.
  
In prayers, I am reaching out to you.
You’ll be forever loved, forever missed,
And in forever, which is in heaven,
I know… we will see each other again.
  

DEPRESSED CANDLE

Depressed Candle - a real fight against depression and mental illness
Depressed Candle by Circe Sola
 

We are reading lots of articles, posts, different forms of awareness about depression and mental illness.  Praise God for all the people who opened up, shared and gave inspiration.  They are “depressed candles” that have shared light to others.  

More people came out and admitted that they too, are really suffering from depression; they are loud and very vocal about it.  Funny part is, they don’t really understand if others are expressing or showing symptoms for the same thing. WHY? It is like, “Oh, common! Are they depressed, tired, pressured? It’s nothing compared to what I have experienced.” Of all the people, you should be the one consoling your friend or family members, right?

A lesson from a CANDLE.

We are all like candles. We have been created for a purpose. To give light and shine bright for others but of course, you will lose your own life. And to depressed people, it will have two different perspective depending on how they give meaning to their candles.

1. Depressed Candle No. 1 – The Dying Candle

Depressed people somehow thinks negatively. That is why mostly ended up SUICIDAL. They want to always sacrifice their life, their happiness, their freedom for you to FEEL OKAY and not to feel bad about their existence. They are living in remorse and pity… pity for no other than, their own self. They question their self worth as you question them with their value as a human. You always asked for what they can give. With that, they isolate themselves for the reason that they are incapable of providing what the people, (esp. the one they truly cared and loved the most) are asking for. They are busy looking for the missing pieces,shortcomings and loopholes. They think that what they are doing is always NOT ENOUGH.

Dying candle, having no hope at all… will appear to be fan of blowing other candles out. They will let their candle burning, shut off others, alone in darkness, allow themselves to be emptied and die. It is not being a hero nor to show off brightness. Remember, it makes the life of the candle short, so does their presence and let others live longer.

Note: It’s basically between you and others – worldly in nature.

2. Depressed Candle No. 2 – Candle of LOVE

These are those rare people who are depressed, mentally disturbed and emotionally burdened yet fighting really hard in spirit. Both physical and psychological aspects are on its breaking point. Unlike the Dying Candle with no hope at all, the Candle of Love will find the littlest way to successfully overcome depression. It’s not easy. It’s where the real battle occurs – between you and your soul. And, it’s a never ending fight. 

They get up and dressed every day. They smile and laugh more often. They will run to you when you needed them, and give more even on their nothingness. They are available when no one is there for them. Why? They don’t want others to experience what they are going through.   They are lighting their candles not for themselves but more for others. They are ready to die only to give light especially to those who are lost. One candle can light a thousand more candles – serving as an inspiration and at some point, opening more room for communication.

Still, they might lose the battle and die, but they have won and lived with a purpose.  It’s winning souls that matters.

Note: It’s between you and your spirit – heaven’s ideal.

What normally caused or triggered mental illness?
It is how the people TREAT each other.

Sad truth! When people starts showing these SIGNS and expressed hopelessness, instead of reaching out, people will start to judge and compare to theirs. They misunderstand. They retaliate and rebuke.
No love. No care. No compassion. No communication. No forgiveness. No kindness. More on blaming, harassing, judging, complaining and cursing.
For them, depressed people are like crazy idiots who just simply wants attention. They simply ignore them. They don’t want to add or be burdened by someone else.

Well, it is not like that. The negative impression will give a higher tendency for the subject to hide their feelings, their deep pain, their longing, their problem and their reality.

The wife of the late Linkin Park lead singer Chester Charles Bennington once said, “Someone who needs help doesn’t always ‘look depressed’ or suicidal.” This is true – they appear to be strong and happy. Above all, depressed people will understand you UNTIL THEY CAN’T BEAR ANYMORE their own issues. So, please try to consider that others might be on the same place as yours.

For those who are continuously judging people and pulling them down, for the reason that they are yeah.. also depressed… it’s time to choose your candle.

“Choose your battles.”

We all have battles and we are all fighting in different ways. Yes, ALL… and no exemptions – young and old, rich and poor, normal and with disabilities, having enough and with deficiencies. The difference lies on the choices that we make.  Think about it and know who you really fighting  with. Sometimes, it’s not the other person nor the situation that make us feel depressed. It is just within your mind and heart. It is always with “OR” – understand the situation/person OR rebuke and retaliate; forgive OR take revenge, surrender OR let your ego be higher than ever; love OR hate; accept and respect them OR judge them. 

It is YOU AGAINST YOU.

Now, look at the person surrounding you. You have no idea what they are going through. Most probably they, too have no idea about your struggles. But there is one common thing you can do for each other. Remove the OR and stick on the positive side and act on it – that’s where the spirit leads.

Be the CANDLE OF LOVE and live with your purpose.

Know more:

Family of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington Starts Mental Health Movement

Robin Williams and the link between comedy and depression

Read more A Living Rock’s Blogs and Posts

FIND YOURSELF.

 

Look at yourself!
You are lost and sometimes stuck in a state of life you never wanted to be.
You started to hate the very situation you are in.  You wanted to scream but no one can hear you. You put much effort for them to find you but no one can see you.  And then… you hid yourself in depression, frustration and disappointments.  You’re crying in the middle of the night… heavily but no sound.

Sometimes you find yourselfin the middle of nowhere;and sometimes in themiddle of nowhere,YOU FIND YOURSELF.

Again, look at yourself!

Don’t you know that you were put there for a reason. Get lost or continue to live. It’s all your choice.

Learn to take a step, move and decide for yourself.
Learn to draw strength from within.  You’ll get tired and sick. Well… take rest but never give up, never stop, never quit.
Get up, fight and find yourself.
God is there… always there to guide you.
You cannot see. You cannot hear.
But you can feel. He is there… always.

 

Dream BIG and live a SIMPLE life

I am a fan of Bro. Bo Sanchez​ . As long as I have time to read his writings and watch his videos, I would really love to. It’s one thing that will complete your day. But this totally amazed me. My interpretation is quiet far from his message here, but oh friends, he was once a dreamer.

Now that I came to know that we have (almost) similar hobby – collecting cars.  Well, mine is far cheaper than his, but the thought is clear.  IT’S OKAY TO DREAM BIG AND AIM HIGH.  When you are dreaming, everything is yours.” For sure Bro. Bo doesn’t have all these cars in real life… actual. They remain as a collection. And the best thing is, the simplest and priceless is his most favorite. It’s his secret to becoming a millionaire and to helping more and more people who are really in need.

I will not stop dreaming.  Maybe, I will collect more cars. But I have to make sure, they will remain as a collection, too.

Dream big and live a simple life.

– Circe Sola​

Hey you! Yes, YOU!

In you, yes YOU! I am confident. I am at peace. Because in you, yes YOU! I found a true and honest FRIEND.

You are wonderful.
You are beautiful.
You are gifted.
You are strong and courageous.
You are truly amazing.

You have no idea how grateful I am.
How blessed and honored to be part of you.
Your kindness and sincerity touches my heart.
Your presence awakens my soul and mind.

I appreciate every single thing you did.
You willingly sacrificed your time and day to help.
You always lend your ear and open your eyes.
To listen and see the truth behind my cries.

I am not loud at expressing my feelings.
I don’t know if you’ll ever notice.
I’m embracing every memory with you.
A treasure to keep that will last for sure.

In you, yes YOU!
I am confident. I am at peace.
Because In you, yes YOU!
I found a true and honest FRIEND.

Gamu-gamong Ligaw

Minsan sa bukid may isang gamu-gamong naligaw,
Nakawala sa mga kasamang sa tuwa’y sumasayaw
Mag-isang nanlumo, sa kalungkuta’y humihiyaw,
Pangamba’t takot sa dibdib ang syang nangibabaw.

Nabuhay sa poot sa akalang siya’y napag isahan
Nagalit sa mundo at ang Poon ay kinasuklaman
Di inalintana na sa harap niya’y mga bagong kaibigan
Nagngitngit sa galit, at ang lahat ay siya ng kalaban.

Sa pagsapit ng dilim itong si gamu-gamong suwail
Nalugmok sa sulok at sa isang lampara’y natigil
Hanggang sa nasinagan nitong ilaw na bagong sindi
At sa wari siya’y isang haring nagdiwang buong gabi

Itong si gamu-gamo’y nagwala ng biglang mairita
Sa pag abang ng karamihan sa bagong umaga
Mundo nya’y muling nahinto at sa gilid ay nagkubli
Nagkimkim ng poot na kahit kanino’y di masabi.

Mga magandang loob sa kanya’y di pinansin
Nang mata’y mabulag ng kadilimang inangkin
Tainga’y nabingi ng ingay ng sariling guni-guni
Mga dating kasama nakayuko, nanlumo sa may isang tabi.

 

Anu pa ang iyong aasahan sa isang nilalang
Na walang ibang alam kundi ang lahat ay parusahan
Sa mga kasalanang isa lamang maling paratang
O gawa-gawa na lamang ng siya ay paglingkuran

Ikaw na ang maghusga sa kung ano ang dapat
Sa gaya ni gamu-gamong di marunong magpatawad
Dibdib ay napupuno ng galit, pait, poot at hinanakit
Sa kanyang paligid siya minsan ay isang ng pasakit.