New

A new journey began. It will be a different world. More challenging but rewarding. As I look into the new horizon, hope breams eternal.

I know this is Your will Lord, not mine. But, I surrender to Your Holy plan.

New

“The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want…” – Ps 23

In one of the Jesuit’s reflection that inspires me, they shared that discerning God’s will for me does not depend on the skills I have learnt, much less on the level of my knowledge, but above all on the quality of my heart’s listening.

A listening heart knows how to be sensitive to God’s presence. It is built on a basic trust in God’s faithfulness and to his willingness to communicate himself: it is indeed possible to seek and find what is God’s project for me.

As I listen to God, I discover that I need to listen more to myself, even though I might have started with the idea that I need to listen less to myself. It is God who created me and sowed the seeds of desire in my heart, so I do have to learn how to listen to and understand my deepest desires, my dreams, my strong points, as well as my mistakes and disappointments.

Just as I cannot love others unless I love myself, so also I cannot really trust God without trusting myself and what God is doing in me: God’s will is myself!

I do this not in narcissistic self-admiration, where everything is centred on my needs, but in a spirit of deep freedom, the freedom to serve and to love others even when it means carrying the cross and turning the other cheek.

Like all successful communication, this requires time and patient effort, perhaps with the guidance of someone more experienced with whom I share my quest. This can only happen in the context of a stable prayer life, that includes the daily examen of conscience.

As life becomes more complex, and as we become more allergic to rules, discernment will assume a much bigger role in our lives and in that of our communities, including that of the big community, the Church. We are blessed that many who preceded us, including Ignatius of Loyola, have left us many helpful indications on how to discern our decisions.

As I continue my journey, I will continuously yield to His plans for me.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Mt 7: 7-12

Awe

Last year’s Lenten Season were spent at Pampanga for my radiation therapy. Back then, there were so many uncertainties, worries and fear but I held on to God’s promise of healing.

Lent this year was a testimony of God’s relentless love. I’ve done things, I thought I never could.

My heart overflows with thanksgiving. God is indeed awesome!

Awe

So when you approach your God today, come with humility, a profound sense of wonder, and a sober fear of displeasing him. For He is awesome in power and a fierce and relentless warrior on behalf of his people. Whatever your needs are, you have not exhausted his strength and power. Whatever your concerns, you have not run his emotional well dry. Whatever your situation, his hand is not too short to save, provide, lead, and fight for you. Whatever the depth of your offenses against him, he is not prevented from forgiving, releasing, and drawing near the truly repentant person. Nothing is too hard for him!

I would like to share this reflection on Matthew 14:22-36 by Santa Rita Abbey:

During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once he spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.

Awe is a word that has been batted around so much these past years that it has lost a lot of its meaning. How many times have you heard or even used “awesome” in the simplest of circumstances?

And yet, maybe it isn’t so far from the truth, once you get down to the source of awe.

This Gospel passage speaks of awe at the presence and action of God in people’s lives. The disciples are scared out of their wits by what they think is a ghost. It appears to be Jesus, so Peter, at once terrified and irresistibly drawn, challenges the “ghost” to prove that it is really his Master, that he is really who he says he is. And Jesus responds simply, “Come” to Peter’s question of authenticity. You just have to love Peter in his humanness and his relationship with Jesus!

So Peter jumps out of the boat and starts walking. Then it hits him: “I’m walking on WATER.” Jesus is no longer the focus and motive of his action and everything unravels. The wind pushes him around as the waves try to knock him off balance.

He has the very human reaction of fear and yells, “Lord, save me!” Jesus takes his hand and they get into the boat. Then the wind dies down. Can you imagine the awe that filled those men? He IS all he says he is. Our master and deepest friend is the son of GOD!

Try to wrap your mind around that. You can’t.

It is only accessible by faith and the Spirit.

I think Jesus’ words to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” were not a slam for being human, but an acknowledgement that Peter was on the right track, and a life-lesson about what it means to have faith in Jesus and live from it.

The awe that they all felt opened them to see the very wellspring of awe: the presence of God in all that exists and his tremendous power exercised as love and goodness.

And this Presence can and will ask us to stretch our faith, love and trust in a God who fills everything and everyone by walking into circumstances where we must let ourselves grow and be stretched into discipleship as his friends and lovers.

We don’t have to wait for dramatic moments to arise to experience awe.

Every day holds many moments that can lead us to the same place. So, are they really “small” if they are filled with the enormity of God? Sunrise, sunset. A smile. A fawn with its mother.

An invitation to leave behind our selfishness to serve another in honest love.

I could go on and on, and I’m sure you can come up with a long list yourself.

The point is that we live in a world of nothing but awe and we can, like Peter, take the challenge to step out in faith in the Son of God who loves us and has given his life for us, and walk on the water of awe.

As Scripture says, “Truly you are an awesome God.” In the best and deepest sense of the word!

When have you been impressed, perhaps even overwhelmed, by the awesomeness of God?

Let us pray:

Help me to keep your awesomeness in mind even as I draw near to you. When I receive your fatherly embrace, may I realize just how amazing it is to have such a relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. When I come before you in worship, may I come with reverence even as I come with childlike openness.

All praise be to you, mighty, holy, awesome God!

Amen.

Relax

There comes a time in life where we have to decide what we believe about ourselves. Don’t let someone else’s opinion become your truth.

Most of the time you just got to give yourself a pep talk.

Before you want the world to believe in you, make sure you have started believing in yourself.

There were times I doubted myself but God’s relentless love was bigger than my fears.

Relax

God cannot bless who you pretend to be. You’re more beautiful than you think you are.

Bo Sanchez’s book “You’re Weird” reminded me not to be nasty with myself.

This life-changing book offers the solution: to give yourself permission to be you and to embrace your past, your pains, your personality, and your purpose.

I am God’s masterpiece.

Michaelangelo said that when he makes a marble statue, his role is to simply “liberate” the masterpiece that is trapped inside the stone.

We are like the marble, God is the sculptor, and He is creating a masterpiece out of us.

Bro. Bo said like a sculptor that gazes upon a block of marble. God sees your beauty, glory and wonder trapped inside you. God’s role is to liberate the masterpiece in you!

Some of the powerful lessons Bro. Bo shared in the book that empowered me everyday: when you help others, you should never forget to help yourself. Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The goose is you. The golden egg is your service. Take care of you so that you can continue to serve.

When you help others, do it with a team. Don’t try to do everything by yourself or you’ll burn out. Give yourself the gift of limits and you’ll be able to give a bigger gift to the world.

On his final note Bro. Bo said:

Give yourself permission to be you.

Accept yourself the way Gof accepts you, care for yourself the way He cares for you, and delight in yourself the way He delights in you.

Relax in His love.

#BelievingInYourself

Directions

One of the big messages from the SFC 25th anniversary “Relentless” international conference was shared by Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ during his homily. “God is not only present in our joys but also in our pains and sorrows.”

I was reminded that the experience of being in the desert is necessary for our spiritual life for it is the place and the time to encounter Christ. Difficult and desolate it may seem, but it is the matter of restoration and discovering ourselves.

Through these desert moments, we will come to realize that we have a God who is relentlessly pursuing us and who is always finding ways to guide us and lead us.

My healing journey was one of my desert moments in life.

It was painful but God’s relentless love pulled me through every day.

Directions

“Be grateful for the past. Be joyful in the present. Be hopeful for the future.” Together with Bro Cris Serdenia, a fellow servant leader and Bro. Noli Manuel, SFC International Coordinator

Moreover, Bro. Noli Manuel, SFC International Coordinator bared the directions of the community for the next 25 years.

He said, “We’ve always been asking ourselves how much more can we give. I think we should now ask, how much we’re willing to lose.”

A more inclusive and a loving but not compromising community will be the main thrust in the future.

Aside from accompanying young and unmarried singles, SFC will also embrace and evangelize: young widow and widower, young single parents, young people with same sex attraction (SSA); and young divorce, annulled and separated singles.

The announcement came as a surprise to many but God is not asking us to be ready. He is expecting us to be obedient.

The journey will never be easy in the coming years but we are hopeful for the future that lies ahead of us because God’s love is relentless!

#GodisRELENTLESS
#SFCat25
#iamSFC
#SFCicon2018

Empowering

Powerful messages of hope, spirit-filled talks and empowering presence of servant leaders who chose to serve God with a grateful heart – made the “Relentless” 25th SFC International Conference (ICON) one of the most inspired Catholic events of young adults and professionals from all over the world.

My first ICON empowered me to live more with a rekindled heart for God.

My meaningful relationships through the years with my brothers and sisters in the community will be for a lifetime.

Special shout to Bro. Rommel Orpiada, a fellow Chapter Head and a Mission Volunteer for making my first ICON experience possible. Thank you so much for being God’s instrument of blessing.

I joined the International Mission delegates from the Middle East and also met SFC members fron Sabah, Malaysia and also provincial representatives from Leyte, Davao and Zamboanga Del Norte.

During the sessions, we prayed for each other and meditated on God’s word.

Empowering

Catholic beliefs and doctrines have their roots in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ who founded the Catholic Church nearly 2,000 years ago shared during our workshop about the foundation of our faith at National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Makati City.

Empowering 2

In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Dear Lord, see me through these hard times. In these troubling times, I am filled with unspeakable fears. I reach out my hand to you now, And ask you to walk besides me. I cannot carry all my burdens, But I know you can, and will. Please walk beside me. Please guide me. Please help me hold on strong, Through the trials and storms. Help me hold on to my faith, In even the darkest hour. Stay with me Lord, And show me Your way. In your love and Holy Spirit I abide. Amen. A night of prayer and meditation during the conference.

#GodisRELENTLESS
#SFCat25
#iamSFC

ICON

More than 7000 SFC members all over the world trooped to Globe Circuit Makati and celebrated the CFC – Singles for Christ (SFC)’s 25th anniversary “Relentless” international conference.

Thank you Lord! I witnessed this historic event right before my eyes.

More than the big stage, bright lights and spectacular video/audio features – I was inspired by the community’s effort to look back to its history and trailblaze to another 25 years full of optimism and clinging on God’s faithfulness.

Icon

SFC Fearless Team beaming with hope.

A heart that overflows with God’s love- felt and shared by everyone through the years.

Here are some important event snippets that pierced my hearts from SFC Global official facebook page.

Icon 2018

During the opening mass, SFC members were reminded that controlling what comes in our mouth is as important as what comes out from it. We are encouraged to consider fasting of what goes out of our mouth and to remember the following: To fast from foul language, to keep judgment from spilling out of our mouths, to try to control verbal negatives, and to let the world know about Jesus. By fasting, we give God space in our lives.

SFC Icon 2018

If we are to remember things our journey as Singles for Christ, remember the following things: First, remember that God loves you. Second, remember Jesus Christ. Third, remember repentance. Fourth, remember the power of the Holy Spirit that is made available for all of us. Lastly, remember that God has sent us tools (community, prayer, sacraments).

SFC Icon 2018 1

Recognized as the “Most Honest Tricycle Driver” in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Manuel Loma is a member of Singles for Christ in 1997. He shares how he has continued to do good things in his own field while living out the Christian life that he learned in SFC. He continues to help people, being honest with them, especially to his passengers in his daily living without any cost.