Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday 2019: A Peaceful Journey

The holy week gives us time for contemplation about our faith in God. It renews our faith in Jesus Christ through his passion, death, and resurrection. In commemoration of his painful sacrifices and journey to Calvary, we have walked through our own path and be with Him.

This year's Holy week gives a new level of enlightenment. Just a few miles away from Manila is a pilgrimage city that is visited by millions of Christians most especially during the Holy Week. The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or known as Antipolo Cathedral offers tranquility for devotees as they pray and renew their vows.

Holy Week 2019: Our Journey to Calvary is our own version of Christ's passion. We carry our own cross towards our own Calvary that is experienced perhaps in our lifetime on earth. Our sufferings give us hope and strengthen our faith that things are not in our control, but only God who is the source of our power and the giver of life.

Easter Sunday gives new hope for Christians and humanity as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It is a celebration for every family knowing that Christ is truly alive and with us always on our life's journey.

Easter Sunday is a moment of joy that we share among family members and friends. We see the joy glittering in the eyes. We hear the holiness in someone's voice. We feel compassion in someone's action.

We are now truly living and we continue to follow the path that gives us pure bliss and enlightenment through God's loving mercy and glory forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holy Week 2019: Our Personal Journey to Calvary

Calvary is a hilly place associated with the crucifixion and death of Jesus; a place we always remember to be the most painful event in His life. Its relevance in today's time goes beyond our catechism about his passion and death, but also our personal journey as we experience to carry our own cross our own journey to Calvary.

On this year's Holy Week celebration, we commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ our Lord. This is the time for personal reflection and devotion about the significance of Christ's suffering for humanity that is not exclusive to a particular faith, culture, and social status, but referring to Christ's love for all human beings.

We may be suffering endlessly in our life even after death, but it is through pains and sorrows that we learn to grow spiritually and become a stronger follower of Jesus and servants of God. If we can remember the stories of several saints that we venerate, they may have been the most sinful man who lived on earth, however, God transformed them to be his living disciple until their last breath.

Just like us ordinary human beings, we strive hard to become holy, but sins are inevitable on us. We commit sins with our thoughts, words, and actions no matter how prayerful we are, yet we still follow Christ and do not abandon our faith. It is the church that is our refuge in times of difficulties; we kneel to pray, we ask for forgiveness, and repent for our sins even we continue to commit sins to various degrees.

We carry not just our own cross, but we have multiple crosses along the way. We carry the cross for our family, country, and for the whole of humanity. From our own cross, we are now connected and interrelated. We have sinned personally, so does our families, our country, and humanity.

These crosses are the hardest and the most painful to carry. Every day we struggle for something; from our thoughts and intentions and to our decisions and actions. Our daily suffering is a reminder that as we live on earth, we are bound to suffer just like Jesus and He taught us that through pains and struggles, we can be saved through His examples; for me, that's how Jesus saved us from our sins through His unconditional love.

We have our personal journey of suffering and we have our very own Calvary in our hearts and mind. When we become a prisoner of our negativity, we also become a prisoner of our faith.

In my hometown in Jamindan, a Parish was built by the people as they carry their cross. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Linambasan, Jamindan, Capiz is a place for people who would call for the Divine Mother to help us ease the pain and comfort us in our difficulties as we carry our cross.

At these times, we even go beyond our personal cross as we help each other carry the cross of the community of the faithful so that we may be able to walk straight on the path and carry a lighter load we could bear. When we can bear the little discomfort as we carry our cross, we can help lighten up the heaviness of our society created by our negativity. We can then go beyond our share of the country by being the responsible and faithful citizens that our family and small community have produced.

Holy Week 2019 is to reflect beyond our personal desires for holiness. We may be a sinner, but we can grow spiritually becoming a better member of our family and our community, and our beloved country. The Calvary in our time is not a final destination of suffering, but we always carry it and bear with it until our final moment and judgment.

© 2019 Del Cusay

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lent 2019: God's Amazing Grace

The 40-day Lenten season may be a long spiritual journey among the faithful. This is quite a long time of sacrifice and to give up on things that are insignificant with our faith. Though this is a yearly commemoration of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection, still we haven't forgotten its meaning and we keep on following Christ for His teachings on living a Christian way.

On this Lenten season, our sacrifices would mean receiving a Divine grace. It is when we feel hopeless and defeated that God is on a rescue. When we are lost, tired, and sick, God comforts us with His loving arms. We feel His presence and that grace means so much that is His amazing grace.

No matter how undeserving we are of God's blessings, still we receive them and we accept them. That kind of saving grace is God's love to us; His love for humanity.

As we celebrate Holy week 2019, we will be going through our personal struggles that signify our limitations; that we are one with Christ's suffering. We will also be offering our prayers and petitions for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. 

We may have different prayers and petitions, but the most common thing we ask for is our safety and security in times of crisis and at all times, to be spared from natural calamities, to achieve peace of mind, and to experience soulful renewal.

God's grace is truly amazing. We will forever be grateful for this Divine gift. A gift that uplifts our souls. A gift that makes us whole.

An amazing Lenten Journey 2019.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lent 2019: The Spiritual Works of Mercy in Our Time

In celebration of the Lenten season, I have shared about the 'Acts of Mercy' which Jesus Christ taught us by example during his time as a living son of God on earth.

Corporal Works of Mercy in Our Time is about showing compassion to those who may be suffering physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in these modern times and how we can help them live a dignified life and feeling the love, care, and support of fellow brothers in Christ. 

Corporal Works of Mercy is more on the physiological needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but there are other Acts of Mercy that we called to practice and that is the Spiritual Works of Mercy; to purify our soul and uplift our spirit.

To instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful 

As Christian, we are being called to reach out to others to draw them closer to Jesus Christ. During our younger years, we used to attend a catechism study in our Parish. That was our first step in knowing and practicing the faith which was passed on to us by our parents and even our great grandparents as they have known the Christ before us.

In our society today, we may see a lot of street children, orphan and out-of-school youth who may not receive proper guidance and are the most vulnerable to exploitation and dangers. They may still be innocent and don't practice their spirituality since they may be abandoned and neglected by their elders. This may lead to doubts about their faith and the absence of Christ in their hearts.

At some point in our lives, we may have doubts about our faith when a painful event happens to us. Why me my Lord? This conflict in our spirituality may result in a deeper understanding and relationship with God as we strive to know deeply the mystery of his love and mercy.

Even Mother Teresa of Kolkata experienced a dark night of the soul when she expresses her doubts about her faith, however in the end she conquered this kind of spiritual conflict and continued her ways of serving and loving the poor who were abandoned and uncared. She left a legacy for us to overcome our doubts and remain to be faithful to Christ by letting people experience Divine love.

To Admonish the sinner

To give warning or reprimand someone for sinful acts may be a hard thing to do since we are all sinners and at some point have committed a sin and may be vulnerable to committing future sins in our lifetime. In short, who are we to judge?

But as Christian, we are called to protect our brothers and sisters who may be are lost and against the direction of Divine light. Yes, we are all sinner but that doesn't mean we can't lead others to correct their ways when they are fallen in the dark.

In today's time, we see children who are victims of peer pressure, lack good parenting and curiosity which makes them vulnerable to sin. They ended up showing bad behavior, a rebellious attitude, and being indifferent. This may be quite different from the previous generations when kids show the highest respect to the elders and are afraid to commit wrongful doings that are against family values. Parents just wanted to protect their children so that they will grow to have the right values and become a contributor in the society. Parents want their children to take the right path and to rescue them whenever they are at the crossroads of what is right and wrong.

To bear wrongs patiently and forgive offenses willingly

There may be times when we become impatient towards the wrongdoing of others and as human nature, it seems that taking revenge or hatred would justify our actions in return.

We may have been a victim of circumstances where our patience is being put to test; either we accept it or we fight for it. For instance, someone may have cut us in line. We may just let it happen and understand the person for whatever reasons he may have or we could confront and verbally reprimand and embarrass him. There are times we commit the same mistake without us knowing it, but others acted patiently on us without any harsh words received from them.

Also, we may encounter road rage and both sides seem to be aggressive just to prove his right. It may happen that when someone offended us our reaction would be to hurt that person even more just to get even and to protect our ego. This happens many times on the road causing public scandal and physical injuries.

Patience is indeed a virtue that we have to cultivate and practice and forgiveness is something more significant for our peace of mind and purity of the heart. It may be very difficult to forgive those who have wronged us, but we have to remember that as human beings we may have consciously or unconsciously hurt other people resulting in their emotional and mental suffering.

It is said that 'forgive and be forgiven and this is timeless wisdom that is relevant even in our time. We can forgive people, but how could we be forgiven by people whom we have wronged? I have learned that one of the steps in meditation is the forgiveness ritual on which we have to visualize that we are already forgiven by that someone. This two-way process of forgiving someone and asking for forgiveness gives lightness to our hearts and freedom from worries and fears.

To comfort the afflicted

There may be moments when we are put to test through suffering and pains. We ask God, why me? Yet, we are not alone in these trials since Jesus even asked, Father why have you forsaken me?

We may have been victims of circumstances like natural calamities and death of loved ones and heartaches resulting in loneliness, grief, and apathy. We may be experiencing setbacks and discomfort to fully understand and be compassionate with the sufferings of other people. We go through the same path and we feel their pains and sorrows.

In difficult times one way of giving comfort to those who are suffering is to walk with them to find their inner peace, thinking of their fate and offering a prayer. Then when they regain strength, they will be able to live a peaceful life and comfort other people who are wounded within and lost.

To pray for the living and the dead

Oftentimes our religious leaders would ask us to pray for them and even Pope Francis did it several times when the church has been exposed to scandals and issues that would test his leadership and faith.

There are also times when we offer our prayer to someone to ease his suffering or for whatever intentions they would want to receive. It is said that whatever you ask, it will be given to you. This may be a universal law and it doesn't fail to give us whatever we ask for through prayer.

Prayer beyond personal intentions requires humility and compassion when it is directed to others who are going through tough times. It is even a greater service
when we also pray for those who have passed away before us. Our dearly departed needs our prayer for them to be cleansed before entering their final resting place in heaven. We remember them in November on the celebration of all souls day and our prayers are what they need for their salvation.

On this Lenten season, we reflect on the teachings of Jesus Christ for us to have a deeper understanding and relationship with Him and to receive his glory. Through Acts of Mercy, we develop Christ-consciousness that will serve as our guide towards Divinely-inspired living today and beyond life on earth in eternity.

© 2019 Del Cusay