Friday, May 31, 2013

What life all boils down to

One can either set his sights on the enticements that life has to offer and stay on that level, or live remembering the whole point of being given time on earth.

During times when serenity is temporarily lost amid the distractions, just get back on track and carry on.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good intentions

It seems the past month has had the Pope getting more coverage on media, thanks to news outfits such as Vatican News Service, Catholic News Agency and other such media organizations that make it their business to transmit to the world not just news about Pope Francis but, more importantly, his message. I'm not even sure if my settings on Facebook have put me on these news sites' accounts' list, but daily I come across news and features about the Pope and his homilies. Christ's Vicar on Earth is all over Facebook! That's post-millennial evangelization!

Now, since I'm taking a long break from Facebook, I've been scouting around looking for websites I should subscribe to so that I keep receiving these invaluable materials that will continue to nourish my life of faith. In the process I came across the Pope's prayer intention for the month of June. How wonderful it is to be one with him and the Christian world in prayer. Here it is:

The Pope's general prayer intention for June is: “That a culture of dialogue, listening, and mutual respect may prevail among peoples.”

I got that from the Vatican News website, a place I'll be frequenting from now on.

Oh, and another most encouraging piece of news that came out recently is the worldwide simultaneous hour of Adoration, which happens on Sunday, June 2. It's a first in the history of the Catholic Church, and I'm looking forward to taking part in it! More details here

* Photo of Pope Francis from Catholic News Agency

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reminders to self

And in times when that seems excessively difficult, watch this:


If that still doesn't inspire a shift to the proper perspective, try a little music that calms the soul. After all, someone did say that classical music can bring one closer to God, presumably because it inspires contemplation. How can one contemplate life's essentials and not arrive at the Author of Life?

If it happens to be a bad day, and being a dark cloud seems more appealing, just look at this:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beyond the mirror

My mother and I cast our votes for the mid-term elections days ago. She was done ahead of me, and when I walked over to where she was conversing with an amiable-looking elderly couple, she mentioned that the gentleman knew my dad. I'm always delighted when I meet old friends and colleagues of my parents, especially those who knew them from childhood and have funny stories to share.

"You look like your father," the gentleman quietly remarked, smiling.

Hearing this always gives me a kind of reassurance that I don't really understand. I'm already aware that I resemble my father. Still, hearing other people say it -- especially after he died -- strikes a special chord in me each time.

There was even a time in which someone -- who it was and what the circumstances were escape me now -- told me, "You really are your father's daughter." The sentiment was not one of disappointment but something definitely positive, and so how can one not be pleased by such an observation? Is affirmation the accurate word? It's somewhat like that expression about the nail that sealed the coffin shut, only the opposite sentiment. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, to anyone who feels the same way about being told she is so much like her mom or dad -- and her response is one of delight -- this would probably make perfect sense.

Pleasing though it is to be told of such a reassuring comparison, I can think of something that can send one soaring to new heights. Merely thinking about it already gives me the heebeejeebees (in a good way).

I hope in some way, though it seems an impossibility, I could experience being told, "You really are your Father's daughter," referring not to an earthly father but to the heavenly one. I wonder how that would feel!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Of grateful hearts and long-time allies

On May 13 -- that's less than two weeks from the time I'm writing this -- Filipinos will troop to the poll centers to elect their national and local leaders. That things have become more heated than I expected is an understatement. But today there is reason to be elated, for an invitation to set aside differences and to unite as a truly pro-life force has been extended. Now would anyone with authentically life-affirming aspirations for the nation and its people brush aside such a unifying invitation? It is much like a neon sign that flashes "hope".

Atty. Marwil Llasos, a senatorial candidate running under the Ang Kapatiran Party, expressed his call for unity days after accepting an endorsement by the White Vote Movement (WVM). In the message he wrote on his blog, it was apparent that a servant's heart and a general docility were at work, thereby his expressing gratitude for the endorsement and extending the invitation for all working for the cause of life to "put aside for the moment whatever little differences we have and focus instead on the remaining days of the campaign."

Llasos also said that he did not actively seek the WVM endorsement "simply because I do not really actively seek the endorsement of any group. I respect the freedom of the discernment process of each group."

"Contrary to the inaccurate and confusing reports," he added, "I am not declining the WVM [endorsement]. I owe it to my supporters and to the causes that I espouse to accept the endorsement of WVM with a grateful heart."

Read his entire message here

While the lawyer demonstrated hints of statesmanship and a quiet docility even before his candidacy sees fruition, others who have spent years in the political arena are also busy making the rounds of the campaign trail. Among them is former Congresswoman Mitos Magsaysay, who had been Zambales Representative for several terms and was quite involved in formulating legislative measures and working with the rest of the pro-life solons for
legislation promoting respect for life, family, and women's welfare, among other vital issues.

Notwithstanding her participation in several public debates on the controversial Reproductive Health bill, she made sure she empowered school- and community-based audiences by speaking to them about the folly of the measure. I was fortunate to attend several of such speaking engagements, in which part of her message was often the fact that the citizens are stakeholders in the matter and have every right to influence the direction of legislation. "May karapatan kayong makialam," was among the reminders she would tell the people.

Personally, I am reassured by the presence of Mitos Magsaysay in the legislature because while many other government officials (current and aspiring) claim to be pro-women, it is in her that I find an authentic concern for women. She is one of the authors of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) -- signed into law in 2009 -- and has repeatedly called on government to do what must be done for the measure to be implemented. Further, she acknowledges the shortcomings of the government when it comes to implementation of laws.

Here's an excerpt from an article about one of the senatorial candidate's talks given in 2011:
Marami pong nagbubuntis sa distrito ko pero hindi ko sila kailangang bigyan ng contraceptives. They undergo tests, are examined by doctors just to make sure that theirs will be safe pregnancies,” she related, adding that vitamins and other nutritional supplements are provided to pregnant women by her office for free; smooth transactions at the hospital come delivery time are also ensured via PhilHealth cards also provided to the women by the solon’s office.

The congresswoman from Zambales likewise mentioned procuring necessary medical equipment for the health centers in her district as part of the program.

“That’s where good governance comes into play…kasi kapag hindi mo inilaan sa tamang programa ang pondo mo, kahit na ano pang batas ang gagawin natin sa Kongreso, hindi din po ‘yan magiging successful. Wala silang magagawa sa implementation,” the solon said.

Read the whole thing here

Another ally that has for years been in the crusade to keep pro-life legislation alive is Buhay Party list, that which has seen solons such as Rene Velarde, Michael Velarde, Carissa Coscolluela, Hans Christian Seneres and Irwin Tieng representing it. It was organized in 1999 by then-Manila mayor Lito Atienza -- himself one of the partylist's nominees for this term -- and Mel Robles, after which the two sought out El Shaddai servant leader Mike Velarde and requested him to lead the Buhay party list advocacy.

I only recently learned of the party list's record in the elections through the years since 2001, when it first won two seats in the House of Representatives: in the 2001 elections it ranked 12th; in 2004 it ranked 4th; in 2007 it was the number 1 party list! In the 2010 elections it placed 3rd. 

Through the years Buhay has been making sure that anti-life legislation is kept at bay, and the sanctity of human life is upheld, the rights of individuals are respected, that care for the elderly, the sick and disabled are given due attention so that laws are responsive to their needs, too. "Maka-Diyos, maka-tao, maka-kalikasan, maka-bansa," it says on the brochure I have which details the party list's principles and programs of government. 

What bills/laws have the party list filed and passed in the past Congresses? Find out here

When it's people and groups like these working together to uphold a culture of life by way of legislation and governance, I see words like "hope," "success" and "thank God" flashing in neon signs. There is definitely hope for our nation, no matter how long and arduous the path will be!

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