Your daily shot of hope & fun!

Onward

Time flies fast.

It’s now getting clearer.

This was never about me in the first place.

My biggest ‘why’ was slowly unfolding.

I know where I want to go.

I met a lot of passionate, dedicated and committed educators.

They are my source of inspiration and hope.

It was challenging but God sent me angels to guide me and to be with me on this journey.

He was there for me from the start, who am I to doubt His plans?

Onward, move forward!

He knows better than I.

Onward

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ~Kahlil Gibran

TeacherPh shared these amazing tips to all newbie in the public education sector.

1. SMILE
When you start your day wearing this, you’re probably not going to lose. This attracts a lot of positivity and is known to calm those types of co-teachers who do not seem to see anything positive in anyone! Smile and the world will smile back!

2. GREET EVERYONE
Congratulations! You’re hired! You are now a professional teacher, a shaper of the majority of the Philippine population. Thousands of ideas and plans might be playing inside your mind now and you might be expecting the perfect first day of your public service. But uh oh! Before you expect anything, why don’t you stop and consider our top 10 advices for the first timers in the public school. We want to give you the most realistic tips and ideas about the world that you have just entered!

3. DON’T BE OVERWHELMED BY WORK
Yes, you want everything to go on very well and you do not like the good impression of your co-teachers to change that is why you keep yourself busy working even when you are at home already. You almost think about work for 24 hours and that can be draining. Remember that you will be able to do a lot of paper work while giving your best on teaching in the first few months, but then you will find yourself feeling tired and drained already. So be gentle to yourself and make sure you maintain a good balance between working, socializing, relaxing, and resting. The more balance you feel about these 4 activities, the more you feel positive at work.

4. EXPECT TO HEAR SOME GOSSIP BUT DON’T INVOLVE YOURSELF
Ooops! This is very common! Do not trust anyone yet. It might seem nice that some of your co-teachers let you hear the gossip they are talking about and they might want you to be a part of their group but think twice! Often, gossip becomes the reason why some teachers transfer from one school to another. Never ever involve yourself in such thing because you are PROFESSIONAL. Besides, a good person or a good friend is not someone who speak foul of others.

5. PREPARE YOUR SPEECH
Just in case your head teacher or superior introduces you to everyone! A well-thought self-introduction can give a good impression to your colleagues but “WAG MASYADONG GALINGAN” because teachers might think otherwise. Just be natural.

6. PREPARE YOUR LESSON PLAN
Do we need to memorize this? We have been trained from college to our first work experience that we have to prepare this very precious paper. You will be surprised when your superior asks you to submit your lesson plan to her on the first day of school!

7. ASK THE DATES AND CREATE A TIME TABLE
So this is it! Plan, plan, plan! Organize and list down the important things you need to accomplish as you will be overwhelmed by work once the first periodical test approaches. Being a public school teacher means having loads of paperwork so if you do not want to be stressed, make sure you follow a well-planned time table. You have to begin asking your superior to provide you a school calendar so you can mark dates and plan ahead your future activities.

8. FIND OUT A WAY TO HAVE A BUDGET FOR 3-6 MONTHS
You’ve already heard it from your friends who got hired ahead of you. You will not receive your salary a month right after getting hired. Expect a 3-6 months delay on your wage. Ayos! Bayad utang lang!

9. WEAR A COMFORTABLE SHOES
You won’t be able to sit down most of the time as you need to attend to a big number of students in each of your class. Sitting down in the class for a first time teacher is a no no!

10. PRAY
Of course, it’s always him who has a complete control of everything. You will need him not just throughout your teaching journey but throughout your life’s journey. You have the biggest responsibility in our nation now so you need the greatest ally. You are a teacher. YOU WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE and to do it successfully, you’ll need his help — THE ONE WHO SHAPED THE WHOLE WORLD PERFECTLY.

God is Love

This is so powerful that I need to share this to all young Filipinos especially to my students. We choose to love but be firm in the faith.

God is love

Photo credits to the owner.

Fatherly Message to the Youth and Children of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan

My dear children of God in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan:

Through social media, you have been sadly exposed to the cursing, threats and shaming by the President of our country. Choose to love him nevertheless, but stay in the truth of our faith. Be firm in faith.

He must have received so much rejection and hurts in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now. If he had been loved much, he would be giving so much of that love too. He could be a victim of his scarred past and his wounded background. Pray for him with compassion. We pray for his healing and for God’s forgiveness on him but we must rebuke his errors about our Christian faith. He is a person in authority and some of you might get confused when you hear him. To pray for him is not enough. We must serve you the truth as we pray for him.

I am writing this to defend you from the gross errors that you have been hearing. If I keep quiet you might be misled. God gave you to us, your priests in Lingayen Dagupan, as our children. It is our duty to teach you. Some of you might ignore me or even rebuke me; but that will not stop me from teaching those among you who sincerely ask for guidance. I cannot stop serving you the truth.

You have heard the President attack our Christian beliefs. The story of creation is being taunted repeatedly. You have been hearing him curse God. God has been called insulting names–words we always told you not to say or even write. You are even being challenged to leave this Church of your birth, the Church of your grandparents.

Here are some questions and the right answers from the YouCat (Young Catechism of the Catholic Church) and I encourage you to read it.

Why did God create us?

God created us out of love. God is love. God is mercy. Never forget or doubt that.

What is religion?

Religion is man’s natural longing for God. God has placed in our hearts a certain kind of restlessness that can only be cured if we rest in God.

What do we mean when we say “God created the world”?

It does not mean that God himself by His direct action created the world all at once, completed in six days, as if the Book of Genesis were an eye witness account. This error is called “creationism”. (YouCat 41)

Creationism naively interprets biblical data literally. This a wrong interpretation of the teaching “God created the world”.

The creation account is not a scientific model to explain how the world began. When we say God created the world, we mean God willed the world. It means the world is not a product of chance.

Each of us is a result of a thought of God, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. (Pope Benedict XVI).

Does God want us to suffer and die?

God does not want us to suffer and die. Listen to what the saints say.

We have lost paradise but have received heaven; the gain is greater than the loss (Saint John Chrysostom).

Human weakness cannot upset the plans of God. A divine master builder can work even with falling stones (Cardinal Michael Von Faulhaber).

O God, to turn away from you is to fall. To turn to you is to stand up. To remain in you is to have sure support (Saint Augustine)

Is that not beautiful and wise of God to do? Only a beautiful and wise God can turn sin into a great blessing. The devil is opposed to this kind of love. The devil cannot understand or refuses to accept what is so clear. The devil is blinded by pride so he cannot love like God.

What is original sin?

Although sin implies guilt for which one is responsible, original sin is not like that.

Pope Benedict XVI explained it this way. Human beings were born with a drop of poisonous thinking of “not trusting God”. Human beings look at God as a “rival” who curtails our freedom. Human beings harbor a “suspicion against God”. Human beings think that we can be fully human if God is cast aside. Human beings trust deceit rather than truth. Because of this tendency, human beings sink to emptiness and death. That is what original sin is. Jesus came to lift us out of that emptiness and death.

What does “Church” mean?

The Church is all of us called forth by God. The Church is not just bishops and priests, deacons and nuns. The Church is people, the people called by God together. God wants to redeem us, not individually, but together. The Church continues what Jesus started.

Is the Church a sinful institution?

Viewed from outside, the Church is only a historical institution perhaps with historical achievements but also faults. In its history, the Church had made mistakes and even crimes—a Church of sinners indeed.

But that view is quite shallow and incomplete.

Christ is so involved with us sinners that he never abandons his Church even if the Church betrays him every day.

The Church is an embroidery of sin and grace. In the Church, sinful humanity and holy godliness are one. The holiness of God never leaves the Church.

Is it time to stop believing in God?

Said Pope Benedict XVI, “When God disappears, men and women do not become greater. They lose their dignity and splendor and eventually end up abused and used”.

This is what our present national situation is showing us. When we cast God aside and curse his name, killing becomes easier. Stealing is normalized. Vulgarity becomes funny. Adultery is applauded. All because we want God to disappear in our lives.

What is the second Commandment?

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

What does the second Commandment require?

It is a terrible offense to blaspheme God, to curse using God’s name. Places, things, names and people who have been touched by God are “holy”. Sensitivity to what is holy is called “reverence”.

“Reverence is the pole on which the world turns,” said Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe. We lose reverence for the sacred and we ruin the world.

What duties do citizens have toward the State?

A Christian must love his homeland. We must defend our nation in time of need, serve the institutions, pay taxes, vote and even run for office if needed. Every Christian has a right to offer constructive criticism of the State and its organs. The State is there for the people, not the individual for the State (YouCat 376)

When must we refuse to obey the State?

If a State should establish laws and procedures that are racist, sexist or destructive of human life, a Christian is obliged in conscience to refuse to obey, to refrain from participation and offer resistance. (YouCat 377).

Admonition

My dear children in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan, please pray the rosary, go to confession and receive Holy Communion frequently. We are in a spiritual warfare against error and sin. Shield yourselves from error and guide your fellow youth in godliness. Read more about the faith. Study the true teaching of the Church.

Harbor no grudge but be critical and discerning. Be respectful of your parents and those in authority and choose good manners all the time even if you hear and see the opposite. Do not bash back at those who bash you in social media. Fill social media with kindness and truth. Take courage but be loving all the time. Be firm in the faith. Bawal ang duwag pero huwag makipag-away. Conquer evil with good (Romans 12:21)

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, June 25, 2018 Memorial of Santo Domingo Henares, a missionary who served in Pangasinan and died a martyr in Vietnam.

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Father

We always start our class with a prayer.

Today was special.

My student reminded me about the importance of praying the “Our Father”, which was the main highlight of the Gospel today.

It is called “The Lord’s Prayer” in that Jesus Himself gave it to us as a way of teaching us to pray. In this prayer, we find seven petitions to God. Within those seven petitions we will find every human longing and every expression of faith found within the Scriptures. Everything we need to know about life and prayer is contained in the wonderful prayer.

Father

We all have an innate desire to know our fathers and be loved by them. While earthly dads will fall short at times, we have a perfect heavenly Father who wants us to know Him and loves us immensely. He has gone to great lengths to be with us, and longs to spend quality time with His children.

Jesus Himself gave us this prayer as the model of all prayer. It is good that we repeat the words of the Lord’s Prayer regularly in vocal prayer. This is also done in the various sacraments and liturgical worship. However, saying this prayer is not enough. The goal is to internalize each and every aspect of this prayer so that it becomes a model of our personal petition to God and an entrustment of our entire life to Him.

The Foundation of Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer begins not with a petition; rather, it begins with us acknowledging our identity as children of the Father. This is a key foundation for the Lord’s Prayer to be prayed properly. It also reveals the foundational approach we must take in all prayer and in the entire Christian life. The opening statement preceding the seven petitions is as follows: “Our Father who art in Heaven.” Let’s take a look at what is contained in this opening statement of the Lord’s Prayer.

Filial Boldness: At Mass, the priest invites the people to pray the Lord’s Prayer by saying, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say…” This “daring” on our part comes from the foundational understanding that God is our Father. Each Christian is to see the Father as my Father. We must see ourselves as God’s children and approach Him with the confidence of a child. A child with a loving parent is not afraid of that parent. Rather, children have the greatest trust that their parents love them no matter what. Even when they sin, children know they are still loved. This must be our fundamental starting point for all prayer. We must start with an understanding that God loves us no matter what. With this understanding of God we will have all the confidence we need to call on Him.

Abba: Calling God “Father” or, more specifically, “Abba” means we cry out to God in the most personal and intimate of ways. “Abba” is a term of endearment for the Father. This shows that God is not just the Almighty or the All-Powerful. God is so much more. God is my loving Father and I am the Father’s beloved son or daughter.

“Our” Father: To call God “our” Father expresses an entirely new relationship as a result of the New Covenant that was established in the blood of Christ Jesus. This new relationship is one in which we are now God’s people and He is our God. It’s an exchange of persons and, therefore, deeply personal. This new relationship is nothing other than a gift from God to which we have no right. We have no right to be able to call God our Father. It’s a grace and a gift.

This grace also reveals our profound unity to Jesus as the Son of God. We can only call God “Father” in so far as we are one with Jesus. His humanity unites us to Him and we now share in a deep bond with Him.

Calling God “our” Father also reveals the union we share with one another. All who call God their Father in this intimate way are brothers and sisters in Christ. We, therefore, are not only deeply connected together; we also are enabled to worship God together. In this case, individualism is left behind in exchange for fraternal unity. We are members of this one divine family as a glorious gift of God.

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

Up

There was no way but up.

It was a tough ride for the past years.

Time to bounce back, to regain strength, to love and to serve more.

I know it was diffucult to start again from the bottom of the pit but I was humbled by the experience.

Up

The heart of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST) are the students or learners. A new door opened for me. A lot of discoveries and many meangful memories!

I learned a lot and I met new people.

I’ve just started.

A bigger purpose was slowly unravelling right before my eyes.

Thank you God for surprising me everyday.

I cling on Your unfailing love.

Let Your will be done.

I can’t do this alone. You are my rock and my shield.

Protect me everyday and use me according to Your holy plan.

I surrender everything to You.

Be my guide.

Let Your heart be seen in me.

May I bring more people closer to You.

In Jesus name, amen.

Empty

Life is short, let us not make it shorter.

My travel to Iloilo reminded me on what really matters in life.

Love and support from friends and family, a lot of food, great laughter and tons of fun memories to remember.

Emptiness

“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this”. – Don Quixote, de la Mancha

When the news broke that a successful businesswoman committed suicide due to depression, I felt numb.

You may have all the money and fame in this world but emptiness creeps in everyday.

A ‘big’ battle not seen by everyone.

Are you thinking, “I feel empty and alone?” Remember that other people are going through the similar emotions that you are struggling with right now.

Here are some tips from BetterHelp.com to keep you on the right track:

How To Set Life Goals That Establish Meaning

An important part of getting your life moving again and finding meaning is setting goals. A lot of the time we flounder and feel lost because we haven’t set goals for what is important to us. Without a plan, we could do nothing. Here are some steps that will move you toward finding your own meaningful goals and accomplishing them.

Feel Your Feelings

Many people who are suffering from emptiness are trying to avoid or disconnect from their feelings. They started feeling nothing because they reached a point at one time where their emotions became overwhelming and caused them anxiety. The first thing you will need to do after acknowledging your emptiness is to start reconnecting with your emotions; allow yourself to feel again. Your feelings may come out inappropriately at first, such as sadness being expressed through anger, and that’s okay. No feelings are wrong or bad, as long as you continue making an effort to recognize them and grow.

Start thinking about how you might feel about your life if it did not feel empty; it’s not a trick. Logically look at your life, since you cannot emotionally respond to it. Do you have an excellent job? Have you spent enough time with your family or friends? Did something happen that you want to forget about? It’s time to look at the various aspects of your life and whether they are related to positive or negative feelings.

Do The Things You Used To Enjoy

Right now, you may not feel like doing your usual hobbies or rituals but do them anyway. This is a part of taking care of yourself. Pay attention to how you feel when you are doing these things. You may be able to connect with some of the joy or peace you used to feel, or you may find that it is time to replace this activity with something else. Either way, doing things that are just for you establish the self-love you need to escape emptiness and find meaning.

Don’t Avoid People

You may not be ready to actively plan a time to hang out with friends or family. But if you get invited somewhere, go ahead and accept the invitation. Isolation will make your emptiness more. Your existing support system cannot support you if you alienate them. If you find yourself spending a majority of your time at home, go somewhere where other people gather. You don’t have to interact with anyone. Just put yourself amongst the crowd, whether that means going out to see a movie or making a trip to the coffee shop.

Make Lists

Start writing down potential goals and divide them into four categories: health, relationships, career, and personal growth. You can write down as many goals as you like. You aren’t going to focus on all of these at once. Some of them may be removed from the list later, but for now, you need to come up with ideas, so don’t be afraid to write down anything that comes to mind.

Once you have several goals under each category, divide those goals into short-term and long-term objectives. Some of the goals will be able to be completed within a few days or weeks; those are short-term goals. Other goals are larger achievements that may take a year or more to accomplish.

Ideally, your short-term goals are moving you closer toward the big long-term goals you have set. For instance, if one of your long-term goals is to become a personal trainer, a short-term goal may be to be able to complete twenty push-ups or to memorize the names of all the major muscles in the human body.

At the top of these lists, write down a simple one-sentence statement about where these goals are taking you. It is the reason why you are working toward them. The goals themselves are steps, but this statement of purpose is the real motivator behind them.

Prioritize

You can only complete so much at once, and having too many goals can overwhelm you to the point that you revert to an old habit of doing nothing about your feeling of emptiness. Now that you have a list of some short-term and long-term goals for the most important aspects of your life choose the top three from each category that is the most important to you right now. Looking at your statement of purpose can help you in narrowing down the top priorities.

Once you have these new shorter lists, you can rank each of the three sets of goals by order of importance. The top-most important goal in each list is your “gold” goal, the next is your “silver” goal, and the third is your “bronze” goal. You can work towards your gold goals pretty much every day, taking small steps toward these meaningful priorities in your life. When you have extra time, you can work towards your silver and bronze goals.

When you achieve a goal, move the others up in priority and add a new goal to the short list. The new goal doesn’t necessarily have to start at bronze level; it’s okay if you change your mind about what is most important at the current moment. Make sure you stick with any goals that have made it to your priority list. The worst thing you can do with goals is to get into a habit of dropping them when they get difficult.

Whenever your emptiness starts to rise and makes you feel like what you’re doing isn’t worthwhile, take out your list of goals. These are your reminders that your life does have a purpose and you do have a sense of direction. If you’re finding it difficult to take steps toward your goals, or you feel stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Jaro

I attended the 5am, Hiligaynon Mass at Jaro Cathedral (the beautiful venue of the Beup couple’s wedding) last Sunday, June 2 for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

I would like to thank my Visayan lineage for helping me understand the local dialect.

The priest gave a powerful message about the importance of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in worshipping and receiving God’s grace.

Jaro Cathedral

The Jaro Cathedral is the first and only cathedral in Panay built in 1864. Patriot and orator, Graciano Lopez Jaena was here in December 20, 1856. A high point in the history of the cathedral was the visit of Blessed Pope John Paul II, who conducted a mass on February 21, 1981. He set a crown upon the Lady of the Candles, and declared it the Patroness of the Western Visayas.

As a sacrament, it is that Jesus himself acting through the Eucharist, and supplies all the graces we derive from it.

It is a celebration of this sacrifice. It is the active participation of all that come together in the place of worship. We do not come to Mass simply to receive something passively or to watch a show; we come as participants embracing the grace Christ pours out for us shed by his own blood on the cross.

The Holy Mass is about God’s love for us.

He is the God who loved the world so much he became one of us—and then loved us so much that he stays with us in this small white host during communion, this slender shadow of who he really is.

He is not here for the rich and the powerful, the mighty and the famous.

He is here for the small and defenseless, the overlooked and forgotten. He is here for all who are broken, all who feel defeated, all who need healing and hope.

He appears so small.

But in that smallness is greatness beyond measure.

Because only a great God like ours could become bread to feed our souls and nourish our hearts and give us the grace to go on.

Mark Segador from Panay Island blog shared that one of Iloilo City’s cherished icons was the the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, which was also the center of faith in the region for centuries. Now restored and preserved, this architectural beauty defined the landscape of Metro Iloilo with its unique triangular facade, and its campanile located across the street. The church’s Romanesque revival-inspired design is seen in its intricate design and the red-roofed dome.

A distinct feature of the church is the all-male santos on its columns – an answer to Molo Church’s feminist theme. Though the church is the home of the Our Lady of Candles, it is dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Because of its importance to Iloilo’s religious and cultural heritage, the Jaro Cathedral was proclaimed by the National Historical Institute as a historical landmark in 1976. The cathedral was named as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Señora De La Candelaria) for being the center of Marian devotion in the Visayas.

The present cathedral was inaugurated on 1874 during the annual celebration of the Feast of the Candelaria. It is the first cathedral in the island of Panay.

Housed inside the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral complex is the stone image of Our Lady of Candles. The origin of the image itself had been said to be miraculous. Folk stories say that the image found in the shores of Iloilo River by a fisherman was about only a foot tall. It was so heavy that nobody can carry it; only when the people decided to bring the image to Jaro Church was one person able to successfully lift it.

Strange happenings surround the image and many believe that the Señora is miraculous.
In the olden days, people say that she has a habit of disappearing early in the morning and was spotted as a beautiful lady with long flowing hair bathing her son in a well found in the middle of the plaza. At the same time, a mist would cover her niche in the cathedral.

Another well known story is that before the Pacific War, the Señora’s place in the cathedral was engulfed in total darkness for days. When it dissipated, the image had miraculously grown larger.

Today, the image is already about 5 feet tall (almost larger than its previous niche) and many believe that it’s still growing. If faith can move mountains, can it make statues grow?

On February 1981, Pope John Paul II personally canonically crowned the image of Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria – the only Marian image in the country bestowed with such honor by the Holy Father.

Held every 2nd day of February, the Fiesta de la Candelaria (Feast of Our Lady of Candles) is one of Iloilo’s most important religious events.

It is celebrated with blessings of candles, Masses, processions, and other less holy events such as feasts, grand balls in which a festival queen, usually a beauty from a prominent Jaroleño family is crowned, and grand cockfights attended by aficionados from all over the country.