Showing posts from March, 2020

'Something beautiful is going to happen'

Something beautiful is going to happen, the priest said at mass yesterday. And like Peter, he added, you will say, 'It is good that we are here.'

The priest then told everyone: Hang on; these are sad times, but something beautiful is going to happen. 

I wanted to cry. And I may have a little. 

I didn't know that the readings during Lent are designed to lead one to conversion in preparation for Easter. I don't know what I thought of how the readings are organized for the year. I probably never thought of it at all. 

But reading after reading, since Ash Wednesday mass, and now I think I feel a hand reaching out for mine.


Truth be told, I am not yet at the point where I go to mass and say, "It is good that I am here." Sometimes I still feel doubt and boredom and even annoyance. These days, I've also felt some resistance.

But I did say I'll do my best to observe Lent, so I still went to mass and still prayed for things. And then, not knowing what else to say, I just said to God, "Help me; I'm sorry."

A couple of weeks more to go. I'm hanging on. I'd like to believe that something beautiful is going to happen at the end of this.

"It is coming your way"

I was cleaning up my phone when I found a PDF file I didn't recognize. The file name was its_all_right.pdf, and since I need some affirmation today, I opened it and found this poem I don't remember searching for, much less downloading. 

I'm imagining it's a message from Future Me to Present Me. Thank you, Future Me!


It's All Right
By William Stafford

Someone you trusted has treated you bad.
Someone has used you to vent their ill temper.
Did you expect anything different?
Your work--better than some others'--has languished,
neglected. Or a job you tried was too hard,
and you failed. Maybe weather or bad luck
spoiled what you did. That grudge, held against you
for years after you patched up, has flared,
and you've lost a friend for a time. Things
at home aren't so good; on the job your spirits
have sunk. But just when the worst bears down
you find a pretty bubble in your soup at noon,
and outside at work a bird says, "Hi!"
Slowly the sun creeps along the floor;
it is coming your way. It touches your shoe.

'Now is a very acceptable time'

"Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." - 2 Corinthians 6:2b

This verse is supposed to precede today's Gospel, which is about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you. 

My favorite apostle Paul wrote the letters to the Corinthians. He was also one of the best examples of Jesus loving his enemies.

Paul wasn't one of the original 12 apostles. In fact, he hadn't heard of Jesus before his death. He persecuted the early Christians, leading them to imprisonment and death by execution. 

And yet Jesus showed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus and changed his heart.

Paul went on to become one of the most important figures in the years following Jesus' death, writing 13 of the 27 books of The New Testament. To this day, his writings inspire a multitude of believers.


I discovered Paul through his letters. I was a young student at a Catholic school weighed down by the guilt of the Old Testament, and I was struck by how poetic the language of the Letters to the Corinthians was and how filled with love these books of the Bible were.


I always say I'm not a good Catholic. And I'm not, even in this Lenten journey. 

Yesterday, I had meat on a Friday. I was sorry, but I still ate the meat because there was nothing else. 

I could have fasted, I know. I'm sorry.

I have also done terrible things that I think God won't forgive me for. Sometimes, I'm not even sorry.

But now I think of Paul and the grace he received when he was most unworthy. When nobody would dare think he deserved an ounce of it.

He had a change of heart, and that turned into a lasting legacy that transformed the very thing he had wanted to kill then had come to love.

What a redemption arc.


I want a changed heart. Can it be now?

'What a waste of a life'

"Nakakapanghinayang lang. Isa lang ang buhay natin. Tapos kapag nabuhay ka parang apologetic ka pa, na nahihiya ka sa sarili mo, hindi mo mailabas ang pagkatao mo. Parang what a waste of life." 

It's a pity. We have only one life to live. And you live it apologetic, ashamed of yourself, not able to show your true self. It's like, what a waste of a life.

This was said by actor Ian Veneracion about his daughter who came out to him at 16.

I was having breakfast at work when I caught Ian and his daughter on TV. I was about to listen to an audio book or something, but then Ian came on, and because I have always admired the guy, I watched their interview instead. 

I didn't hear most of what they said, but the above statement stayed with me. I'm straight (and consider myself an LGBT ally), but I'm also very familiar with the feeling of shame in being your true self. 

But what parts of me am I ashamed of? Perhaps now is a good time to reflect on that, since I am on Stop, Look, and Listen mode. 

Off the top of my head, I can think of some qualities I've tried to control or even hide ever since I was a child: I lack social graces, I'm too needy, I'm awkward, I'm bad with numbers, I'm fat, I have bad skin, I sometimes struggle to find the right words, I overthink things, I have self-esteem issues, I'm not always the bigger person ... 

But listing this down makes my shame feel so petty (especially when put in context with LGBT issues). 

Then again, maybe all this shame is exactly that: petty.

Petty, in the face of this one life we are given to live.


I thought it took only courage to show yourself to the world. I still think it does, and yet I don't think I ever felt brave showing up. I'm realizing now that I've always shown up as my best self when propelled by happiness. 

Happy over petty. Happy over petty. 

Choose to be happy.

First Sunday

I made it to the last Sunday mass at the church in our village, and like Ash Wednesday, my attending the service was equal parts pain and comfort. I couldn't wait to get away, but I was among the last to leave because I stayed to pray.

I met a woman over the weekend who once shared the story of her being broken so she could be someone new, and I wondered if that is what is happening to me, although in a smaller scale. 

There is nothing huge happening in my life; there is just this dark cloud hovering that on some days become too heavy. I ought to let it just rain. Maybe that will make it go away. Maybe that is what I am preparing for--or praying about--this necessary rain.

Today, the priest said we should Stop, Look, and Listen. I thought it corny, until I remembered that a friend I talked to about my Lenten journey suggested as much. More than the abstinence, more than the fasting and sacrifice, he said, it may help to just be still and observe God's presence in my life.

Today, too, a line from a song that was sung during the mass stayed with me: give me a new heart. 

I want a new heart, God. I'm willing to wait until Easter.