FOOD FOR THE SOUL THIS SEASON OF LENT – Sharing Something I Discovered as I Dug Through My Treasure Chest

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Today is Tuesday of Holy Week. How’s it going for you? Great, I hope. I bet many of you are already packing for your vacation. It’s going to be a long one. I may not be with you, but I wish you have a wonderful time with family and friends and I hope you bring this tiny piece of treasure I found as I was digging through my ‘treasure chest’ this morning. This was written last year.

It’s Monday and the high has not subsided. In fact I have I have a feeling it never will. I just had the most magical Sunday ever and I’m pretty darn sure I’ll have more of it coming my way.

Yesterday was the 4th Sunday of the nine Sundays I intend to offer for my husband’s 32nd birthday in July and so rain or shine, whether or not the kids are coming with me, I had to go to church. Usually when the kids are able to come, we would sit somewhere in the middle row as little Deeboy would not be seated for long; he might disturb the priest. Yesterday though, they asked if they could stay behind and I understood because we arrived very late from Davao City the night before. Alone, I had the chance to sit on the front row where I could hear the readings and the homily in case it rained hard. As the mass started, I noticed how there was no choir and no people dressed in white to read the readings. Deep in my heart I felt sorry at how huge and empty the church looked and somehow I wished there was something I could do to help.

There was a girl who bravely sang the entrance song, the Gloria and even read the 1st Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. After she read the Acts, she looked around if there was someone who would read the Responsorial Psalms. No one. And so she read the Psalms and since it was in English, none of the churchgoers could actually memorize and say the response; she had to lead them in saying the response. She even attempted to read the 2nd Reading after that, I was afraid she’d also read the Gospel! To both our relief, the priest gestured for her to stop and acknowledged her service with a smile. With this, the priest stood from where he was seated, looked me in the eye and called me towards the podium. The church was nearly empty, he couldn’t have meant anybody else as there was no one else seated near me.

I must admit I was never raised to be religious. I learned about the church and sacraments because I had to pass Religious Science 1 in the Jesuit University where I went. Never in my 31 years of existence have I served in church or read in front, and so with trembling knees I walked towards the priest and asked which text I should read. And I started reading.

Everyone can read, no big deal. But what made this one particular Sunday magical was the realization I had as soon as I was back in my seat. I was just wishing it in my heart to be of help and like magic I was called to help. I also remember feeling this extraordinary warmth all over my body as my eyes ran through the text and my mouth spoke every word. I heard myself speaking yet I could not remember anything I read! What I knew in my heart was a different message, something that was spoken distinctly for me — I heard you. You can have what you say.

It can’t be mere coincidence that yesterday was the last day of the 5-week Challenge I recently joined online, reading all 5 Chapters of the Book of James, wherein we are told that we can ask of God and it will given to us. It can’t also be coincidence that the priest’s homily was about Jesus assuring His disciples that He wouldn’t leave them as orphans; He will always be with them even if they can no longer see Him physically. I’ve read about this several times before but only yesterday did it have a personal impact on me and I felt ashamed at being such a sour puss sometimes, whining and complaining about my problems and about how I feel so alone in carrying this burden. How heavy is my burden, really? On second thought, I think it’s way lighter than the cross He carried.

After the mass was ended, I walked out of the church with my head in the clouds. He hears me! Of course He does, silly me. He is answering my prayers. He is answering our every prayer. The only reason we can’t hear His answer is because we are expecting something else, like looking for a misplaced pink umbrella when what we actually have is a green umbrella. We can’t possibly be expecting to find what we don’t own in the first place. We have been given what we needed long before we were conceived. All that’s needed to be done is to open our hearts and our lives to receive all of them.

That afternoon, with the warm June sun gently kissing the hills before me, I drove home with tears of joy in my eyes and God’s empowering love burning in my heart. I wish I was able to share that love to you today.

That was a year ago, but after I’ve read it today I was amazed at how fast people can forget. I always thought the high would never subside, but the world certainly doesn’t run out of ways to wear us down and make us forget – the bills, the children’s tuition, year-end reports…

Love indeed takes a lot of effort to sustain. If there’s one lesson I learned from rediscovering this page of my journal, it’s this: WORK ON YOUR RELATIONSHIPS ON A DAILY BASIS. I hope that in the midst of the holiday you will pray for me so I don’t forget this and I will find favor from God., and I hope you will have a blessed week and blessed relationships – with the people around you and with God.

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