Chasing mangroves in Palawan: Why we have to conserve and protect mangrove forests.

I began falling in love with mangroves when I visited the mangrove forests being protected in the island of Culion, Palawan. It was holy week and we were at the end of the Good Friday procession which culminated at the Jesuit Retreat House chapel on a hill. Overlooking Culion’s coasts, I could see the patch of green trees from the chapel. I guess I was looking for a refreshing view after a long Via Crucis. Since then, I started to research on mangroves.


A study on the Mesoamerican reef, for example, showed that there are as many as 25 times more fish of some species on reefs close to mangrove areas than in areas where mangroves have been cut down. This makes mangrove forests vitally important to coral reefs and commercial fisheries as well.

Puerto Princesa


Why do I advocate for the protection of mangrove forests?


  1. Mangrove forests protect the land from the sea.

With rising sea levels due to climate change, mangroves function as a buffer zone, a natural shield against ecological disasters (eg. erosion) and storm surges (eg. Yolanda), therefore protecting the shoreline and coastal areas and those living there (eg. fishing communities).

Puerto Princesa


  1. Mangrove forests are very important for estuarine and marine life.

It is the breeding ground and nursery for a variety of marine animals such as fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. When I explore mangroves, I check on fish, shrimps and crabs, the main sources of income for shoreline communities like fishing villages. It has been proven that those with a large population of mangroves also have a large population of fishes and an increase in marine diversity.


Puerto Princesa


  1. Many of us do not know that mangroves are also good for timber, fuel and fodder.

Mangroves are used to build houses, furniture, or even electrical posts. And because of the density of the wood, they are also excellent as firewood. In some countries where pastures are nearly scarce, mangroves are used to feed cattle.

Puerto Princesa


  1. The barks of many species of mangroves produce tannin.

Many fishermen use bark extracts to make their fishing nets durable. In one of my skin diving experiences, snorkelers and divers who use the flower of the mangroves to clean goggles fascinated me.

Puerto Princesa


  1. Like many trees and plants, mangroves help purify the air and water.

Mangroves absorb pollutants and heavy metals in the water and in the air. Thus, you can be assured that you are breathing fresh air if you are in a mangrove forest.

Puerto Princesa



Puerto Princesa

What can we do?


  • Plant mangroves.

Know what species of mangroves in the area. Those are the types of mangrove trees that you should plant. The introduction of a new specie will affect the ecosystem. Remember that mangrove forests have many species of mangrove trees and plants. For example, some areas have nipa palms; some do not.

Puerto Princesa


  • Organize groups to protect it.

I would highly encourage church groups to participate in government efforts as part of their living out Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.

Puerto Princesa


  • Be vigilant.

Report to authorities destruction of these forests. Some local governments have mangrove and reef conservation efforts and programs. It is good to participate in their efforts to protect these crucial ecosystems.

Puerto Princesa


  • Create appreciation and awareness.

Since we are all on social media, we might want to post photos and articles about mangroves and reef conservation efforts, such as clean up drives, mangrove planting, etc. At the very least, post photos of mangroves when you find yourself in an island or in a place with mangrove forests. Photos of these forests posted on Instagram or Facebook make people appreciate its beauty and its importance.

Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa



The Islands of Gigantes Live Up To Its Name

It was a trip devoid of a single regret.

I heard about the group of islands across the town of Estancia in Iloilo from Bok Pioquid, a faculty member of the Ateneo High School’s Christian Service Involvement Program. He and his wife would go on a “couple” backpacking tour every now and then. Until today, their unwavering passion is exploring the Philippines. They have gone to many places, and they travel on the cheap — and this is what I love about their stories. You can go on an adventure without breaking the bank.

I told Bok about Fr. Ruben Orbeta SJ’s invitation for me to help out at Sta. Maria Parish in Iloilo City for the Holy Week. I would fly in on Palm Sunday and fly out on Easter Sunday. My work was to give a recollection talk for an hour each day of the Triduum and hear confessions on Good Friday. So I had three days free: Holy Monday to Wednesday. Bok suggested the Gigantes trip because I was already there. He gave me the number of Ms. Rolin Barba (0929-3949708) of Paon Beach Club Inc,*** and off I went.

GigantesJboySJ I took the Ceres Bus to Estancia from the Jaro Terminal on a very humid Monday. It took around 2 hours to the town. From Panian Crossing, I took a tricycle to Paon. GigantesJboySJ

I woke up early the next morning for the boat ride to Gigantes Islands. It was a 2-hour trip to the islands. I learned that Gigantes did not belong to the Municipality of Estancia, but the town of Carles. So if you prefer to take off from Carles, it would be an hour to the islands.

Rey Ambito, our guide,** said that the group of islands was named after an ancient skeleton, discovered in one of the isles. The height of the human bones was taller than many natives, hence, a higante, a giant. I also heard you could go caving if you preferred that adventure, but the caves were in Gigantes del Norte. Unfortunately, I explored only Gigantes del Sur where many islands with white sand beaches were, and whose views were “Instagramable” and picturesque.

Below are great reasons why you should visit the islands. Believe me, I was in awe all the time I was there! It was indeed a gigantic experience!

  1. Cabugao Gamay Island

From a vantage point is the iconic view of the whole island. The famous photos of Gigantes are taken from here (see featured photo above). Below is the eastern side of the island. The sun was rising when I took this photo.



    1. Bantigue Island’s white sand bar.

It is a long island, but the tip of the island is perfect for a photo shoot. From a certain point, you have many islands as your backdrop. But do take a dip. The water is pure and perfect as you can see.




    1. Antonia Island’s beach.

This is the usual stop-over for lunch. Fishermen would sell scallops and wasay-wasay shellfish. You can’t imagine how cheap the scallops are: Php 1.00/per piece. When I was there, Rey and I feasted on a hundred pieces with spiced native vinegar and lots of rice. Rolin made sure that I would bring more than enough cooked rice, water and vinegar. I was so grateful for her thoughtfulness.



GigantesJboySJ GigantesJboySJ


    1. Cabugao Dako Island’s rock formation.

The rock formation is like the backdrop from the movie, “The Lord of the Rings.” Simply, the rocks are surreal. Let the photos speak for the islands.


Gigantes Gigantes



    1. Tangke Island’s Lagoon.

The boats will dock at a certain opening between towering rocks. These high-rise rocks protect a beautiful sanctuary of a white sand lagoon where you can swim. But be sure to be there before 2 PM: the water begins to drain during low tide.




    1. Cheap seafood.

In Punot Restaurant and Grill in Estancia, I ordered a bowl of Imbao (shellfish) Sinigang (sour soup) and grilled squid. I loved imbao; the flavor just bursted in my mouth. I thought the servings were just enough for me. I was surprised that the servings were good for four. Each order was just Php 100.00. (Shout out to Engr. Carlito Centeno for my dinners!)



  1. Estancia’s Dried Fish.

The town of Estancia is famous for its dried fishes. I tell you, your trip will never be complete without a sampling of their dried fish especially for breakfast. Paon serves them.





You might wonder why I write about these trips. Going out from my usual work in school enriches me. The world is far greater and bigger than Ateneo. And this is what I like to do: go and explore the richness of the very home God has given me.

When you get to see how beautiful this world is, this home of ours, then you will do everything to protect it. You will become a real steward of creation, just as God has appointed us to become. This is the premise of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si. The encyclical’s dream is for every single human person to be at home in the very planet we live in.

In a few months, I will bring my students to Iloilo. Last November 2015, I explored Iloilo accompanied by Bok and some parents. We saw what this province could offer us: a pilgrimage of churches, a food trip, an ecological adventure and a cultural experience.

We hope that our students will truly love our country because they have seen how beautiful the Philippines is. We also have a greater hope: that they would be angry enough to act when unscrupulous people would dare corrupt its beauty.

Just like falling in love, you will always protect that which matters to you — or whom you deeply care about.



Some notes:

*We call these visits to Jesuit schools, “Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimages” instead of the usual “field trips” because there is a spiritual angle to the tour. We do an “ecological examen” and end our day with a mass. And as part of Ignatian prayer, we ask God the specific grace to “Find Him In All Things” — in creation, in the people we encounter, in the experience. This program is part of the Jesuit Youth Ministry of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.

It also includes an interaction with students from the place where we visit. This August 2016, the Iloilo Pilgrimage will include an interaction between students, parents and faculty of Ateneo de Iloilo to share our common experiences of being in a Jesuit school. In other words, the program is always in partnership with other Jesuit schools, and one of our goals is the appreciation of our common Ignatian spirituality.


** To the left of this photo is Rey Ambito, waiter and tour guide of Paon Beach Club. He accompanied me on the boat to the islands. I highly recommend him because he is both knowledgeable and trustworthy. You can call or text him at 0930-5859104. If you can’t reach him, Rolin can help you find your guides.


*** Call Paon Beach Club Inc. at (033) 397-0444 or 0929-394-9708. And oh, you can also enjoy this sunset from Estancia.


Why letting go is hard and what you can do

This is a transcript of the video below.

Bakit mahirap maglet go? Para sa mabungang buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Tinanong ng isang mayamang binatilyo ang Panginoon, “Ano ang dapat kong gawin upang matamo ang buhay na walang hanggan?” Wika ni Hesus, “Ipagbili mo ang iyong pag-aari at sumunod ka sa akin.” Nguni’t ipinagdamdam niya ito dahil marami siyang pag-aari.

Mark 10: 17 and 21

Ang ating ari-arian ay hindi lang materyal. Ito rin ang nakamtang parte ng ating pagkakakilanlan tulad ng ating mga propesyon, narating na estado sa buhay at mga ugnayang buong puso nating binuo’t pinalago. Nakakatakot nga naman ang anumang pagbabago. Iiwanan mo ang komportable at nakasanayan. Mas lalong mahirap kung mababa ang tingin mo sa sarili, kung hindi ka naniniwala na kaya mong abutin ang iyong pangarap gamit lamang ang iyong tiyaga at galing. Higit sa lahat, mas lalong mahirap dahil proseso ito sa buhay na nangangailangan ng oras.

Masdan natin ang ating mga sinasabi. Totoo bang nangyayari ito, hindi ako makapaniwala? Naging mabuting tao naman ako, binigay ko naman ang lahat, bakit ako pa ang iniwanan? Pagkatapos, lalabas ang galit mo sa sarili, sa ibang tao, sa pangyayari at sa mundo. Lilitaw ang mga “what ifs?” Paano kung mali ako? Wala na talaga akong magagawa at ipapasa-Diyos ko na ito. Higit sa lahat, darating ang oras na matatanggap mo rin ang mga pangyayari. Posible ang maglet-go. Nothing is impossible with God.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos bigyan mo kami ng lakas na pakawalan na namin ang hindi tama sa maka-Kristiyanong pamumuhay. Amen.

Why letting go is hard. For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of “Coffee and Prayer.” Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

A rich young man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). Jesus said, “Sell what you have; and come, follow me.” But at that saying, his countenance fell because he had great possessions.

Mark 10:17 and 21

Our possessions are not just material. Many of them have been part of our identity, such as our profession, our status, and the relationships we built and nurtured. Change is scary. You must leave behind what is comfortable. It is harder if you have low self-esteem, if you can’t believe that you can achieve your dream with your grit and talent. Letting go is hardest because it is a process.

Observe what we say in each stage. “Is this happening? I can’t believe it.” “I have been a good person; I gave everything, but why was I left behind?” And then, you become angry at yourself, others, circumstance, and the world. The “what ifs” then come: “What if I’m wrong?” “I feel lost and helpless; I will just offer it to God.” But finally, we will come to a point of acceptance and the creation of a new reality. It is possible to let go. Nothing is impossible with God.

Let us pray: O Lord, grant us strength that we may free ourselves from those that are not in conformity with Christian living. Amen.

Teachers, are you tired?

This is a transcript of the video below.

Happy teacher’s month po sa lahat ng mga bayaning mga guro natin! Kaya, alagaan ang ating mga guro. Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Nakakapagod sa mga guro, estudyante’t magulang ang epekto ng pandemiya. At marami sa ating mga guro ay tunay na mga bayani: mataas ang hangaring ibigay ang lahat matuto lamang ang kanilang mga mag-aaral.

Nguni’t may hangganan ang isang mala-superhero na puso. Natatandaan na nagpapahinga din ang Panginoon pagkatapos niyang magturo.

Luke 8:23

Bilang guro, tandaan na mahalagang gawing simple ang lahat. Maaaring gusto nating ibuhos ang lahat lahat, nguni’t dahil sa mga limitasyong dala ng pandemiya, kailangang ituro lamang ang sapat na kaalaman. Less is more, simple is better. Focus on the learning objectives.

Hindi lahat ng apps, kailangan. Choose the educational technology that will support you. Walang makakatalo sa tulungan ng kapwa guro sa paggawa ng learning plans, pagbabahagi ng iba’t ibang teaching resources. Sa bayanihan, gumagaan ang ating mga pasanin.

Huwag kalimutan na may hangganan ang iyong pagtatrabaho. You are not on-call, even though you are working from home. Set your boundaries. Maging halimbawa ng tamang pag-aalaga sa sarili. Maaaring maka-apekto sa ating mga tinuturuan ang ating kalagayang emosyonal.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, basbasan ang ating mga guro ng iyong biyaya, nang ang iyong tinuro sa amin ay maitanim sa puso’t isipan ng aming mag-aaral. Amen.

Happy teacher’s month to all our heroic teachers. Let’s take good care of them. For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of Coffee and Prayer.

Teachers, students and parents are exhausted as the result of the pandemic. Many of our teachers are heroes: they desire to give their best for the sake of their students.

However, there are limitations to their superhero hearts. We remember that even the Lord Jesus slept at the helm of the boat after teaching.

Luke 8:23

It is important for us teachers to keep everything simple. We may want to give more than what is asked of us, but with the restrictions of the pandemic, we need to teach what is enough. Less is more, simple is better. Focus on the learning objectives.

We don’t need to learn all apps. Choose the educational technology that will support us. Nothing beats collaboration between teachers in creating the lesson plans and sharing of teaching resources. In helping each other, the burden of online teaching is taken off our backs.

Do not forget that there are work boundaries. We are not on-call, though we are working from home. Set our boundaries. Be an exemplar of self-care. Our emotional state can affect our students.

Let us pray. O Lord, bless us, teachers with the graces we need so that we will be able to impart on our students what you taught us. Amen.

Magkaisa sa iisang layunin; mapanlikha sa pamamaraan

This is a transcript of the video below.

Magkaisa sa iisang layunin; mapanlikha sa pamamaraan. Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Habang umiinit na ang usaping eleksiyon, kakalat nang mas matindi ang mga fake news at dahil diyan, ang pagkakaiba ng opinyon natin ay mas lalong iigting depende sa algorithm ng ating Facebook, Youtube at Twitter account. Wika ni Hesus:

“Ang hindi natin kalaban ay kasama natin.”

Mark 9:40

Maaari tayong magkaroon ng iba’t ibang pananaw, nguni’t kung iisa ang ating layuning mapabuti ang ating bansa, hindi tayo magkalaban kundi magkakampi. Iba’t iba ang paraan tungo sa Diyos.

Sulat ni Miguel de Cervantes, “Many are the roads by which God carries his own to heaven.” Maaaring magkaiba tayo sa paraan, ngunit nagkakasundo tayo, halimbawa, sa halaga ng buhay na ibinigay ng Diyos.  Nagkakasundo tayo na hindi tayo sasang-ayon sa tahasang pagpatay sa walang kalaban-laban, sa pangungurakot at pagsasamantala ng pondo na inilaan para sa mga biktima ng Covid. Marami pa sana tayong buhay na nailigtas kung nagamit ito nang maayos.

Magkakampi sana tayo sa iisang layuning protektahan ang buhay. Hindi natin lalaitin ang iba’t ibang pamamaraan ng pagtulong sa pandemiya tulad ng shuttle services para sa frontliners, swab tests mobiles, o teleconsultations upang matulungan ang apektado ng pandemiya. Magparehistro upang mabago natin ang ating bansa.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, magkaisa nawa kami sa pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng tao, at piliin ang kandidatong may tunay na pagmamahal sa mamamayan. Amen.

One goal; various creative ways. For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of “Coffee and Prayer”. Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

As the race towards the elections intensifies, the spread of fake news escalates. Thus the differences in opinion will widen depending on the algorithm of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. Jesus said,

“He who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40).

Mark 9:40

It’s possible that we differ in perspectives, but if we have one goal for the good of our country, then, we are not enemies but allies. There are different ways to God.

Miguel de Cervantes wrote, “Many are the roads by which God carries his own to heaven.” We may disagree in the ways we do things, but we can agree, for example, in the foundational value of our God-given life. We can be allies in protesting murders of the defenseless, the corruption and unscrupulous use of funds meant for Covid victims. We could have saved lives if the funds were used for its purpose. 

If we are one in the protection of human lives, we will not criticize various initiatives that helps those infected in the pandemic such as shuttle services for front liners, swab test mobile units, and teleconsultations. So, register to vote so that we can change towards what is good for our country.

Let us pray. Lord, may we be one in choosing life; may we choose the candidates who authentically loves us. Amen.

On Mark 9,32: Don’t be afraid to ask

This is a transcription of the video below.

Huwag matakot magtanong. Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Ano ang iyong paboritong punctuation mark? Period, comma, exclamation point, o question mark? Ako: walang iba kundi ang question mark. Nang ibinahagi ng Panginoong Hesus sa kanyang mga disipulos na ipagkakanulo siya sa kamay ng mga taong papatay sa kanya, at pagkatapos, mabubuhay sa pangatlong araw, sulat ni San Marcos,

“Hindi nila ito naunawaan, at natakot namang magtanong sa Kaniya.”

Mark 9:32

Ngunit, mahalaga ang magtanong. Nauunawaan ko na mahirap magtanong dahil ayaw nating magmukhang tanga, o baka may mga mauungkat na hindi maganda. Subali’t, upang maliwanagan, kailangang linawin ang hindi maintindihan sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanong. May kasabihan,

“Civilization is wrought by the question mark.”

Umuusad ang agham dahil marami pang kailangang unawain. Umuunlad ang teknolohiya dahil patuloy ang tanong: “Paano ba natin gawing madali ang ating buhay?” May katuturan ang Theology, dahil marami pa tayong tanong ukol sa Diyos.

Kaya huwag matakot magtanong. Upang magkaroon ng inspirasyon sa ating mga ginagawa, ayon kay Simon Sinek, “Start with Why?” Kailangan ding tanggapin na hindi lahat ng tanong may sagot tulad ng “Bakit namatay nang maaga ang tatay ko?” Minsan, ang sagot ay isa pang tanong. At meron ding hindi mo inaasahan, tulad ng negative result sa isang science experiment.

Kung ikaw ay isang alagad, ano ang itatanong mo kay Kristo?

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, liwanagan mo ang aming puso’t isipan upang ang aming gawain ay ayon sa tamang paguunawa sa Iyong turo. Amen.

Don’t be afraid to ask. For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of Coffee and Prayer.

What is your favorite punctuation mark? Is it a period, a comma, an exclamation point, or a question mark? Mine is the question mark. When Jesus predicted his death and resurrection on the third day, Mark, wrote, “but they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask Him.” (Mark 9:32)

But it is important to ask a question. I understand that it is difficult to ask because we do not want to appear stupid, or we are afraid to open a bag of worms. However, to understand, we need to be clarified with things we cannot comprehend. There is a quote that says,

“Civilization is wrought by the question mark.”

Science progresses because there are still mysteries to be solved. Technology advances because we continually ask, “How can we make our lives easier?” Theology has meaning because we have questions about God.

Thus, do not be afraid to ask. To be inspired in the things that we do, Simon Sinek, wrote, “Start with Why?” But we must accept that not all questions have answers, like “Why did my dad die early?” Sometimes the question leads to more questions. And some answers are unexpected like the negative result of a science experiment.

If you were one of the disciples, what would you ask Jesus?

Let us pray. Lord, enlighten our minds and hearts so all of thoughts and actions are all according to the right understanding of your will. Amen.

Care for Healthcare Workers

This is a transcription of the video below.

Alagaan ang isinasalang ang buhay para sa atin. Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Ang delta variant ng Corona virus ay laganap na sa buong Pilipinas. Ang tanging nasa gitna ng pagsasagupa nito ay ang ating mga health care workers at frontliners. Araw-araw nilang sinasalang ang kanilang buhay para sa mga nagkakasakit at nagaagaw-buhay. Hinaharap din nila ang posibilidad na mahawa at mamatay din. Hindi madali ito para sa kanila.

Isang mahalagang bokasyon at paglilingkod ang kanilang trabaho. Kaya sang-ayon ako sa hinihingi nilang sahod at pamamahinga.

Hindi lang ito ukol sa hanap-buhay kundi para sa kalakasang kinakailangan sa pakikibaka. Hindi sila pwedeng manghina sa katawan at kalooban.

Wika ng Panginoon Hesus:

“Ang sinumang ibig sumunod sa akin ay itakwil ang sarili, pasanin ang kanyang krus, at sumunod sa akin.”

Mark 8:34

Hindi ba’t ang pagsasalang ng sarili sa ospital alang-alang sa atin ay isang pagtatakwil at pagpapasan ng kanilang krus at ng krus ng ibang apektado ng Corona virus? Kaya mahalagang magpabakuna bilang tulong na rin sa ating mga frontliners. Ipagdasal natin sila araw-araw kasama ang paalala ng health protocols, ang tamang pag-iwas sa sakit.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, nagmamakaawa kami sa iyo. Iligtas mo kami sa panganib. Amen.

Care for those who give their lives for us. For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of Coffee and Prayer. Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

The delta variant of the Corona virus has spread throughout the Philippines. At the center of this pandemic are various health care workers and frontliners. Every day, they give their lives for those who are sick and at the brink of dying. They also face the possibility of transmission and thus of dying from the virus. This is not easy for them.

Their work is a very important service and vocation. That is why I agree in their bid for an increase in salary and a time for rest.

These pleas are not just about work, but they are necessary in the work. They cannot be physically and emotional weak.

The Lord Jesus said,

“Whoever wishes to follow me, must first deny himself, take up his cross and follow him.”

Mark 8:34

Isn’t it proof that healthcare workers and frontliners have given their lives for others? They also have carried their crosses and those of others affected by the Corona virus. Therefore, it is important to be vaccinated to also help our frontliners. Let us pray for them daily and constantly reminding ourselves to keep health protocols, the right way to avoid infection.

Let us pray: O Lord, we beg you to save us from danger. Amen.

How to listen

This is a transcript of the video below.

Paano makinig? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Nang inilapit sa Panginoong Hesus ang isang pipi at bingi,

“Inilayo Niya ito sa karamihan, ipinasok ang kanyang daliri sa tainga at tumingala siya sa langit. Wika Niya, ‘Eph’phatha’ na ang ibig sabihin ay ‘Mabuksan.’ At nabuksan ang kanyang tainga at siya’y nakapagsalita.”

Mark 7:33-35

Ang pagkabingi ay hindi lang sa mga may kapansanan sa tainga. May mga bagay na hindi natin pinapakinggan. Ang payo ng ating mga magulang. Ang tinuturo ng mga gurong hindi natin paborito. Ang negative feedback ukol sa ating mga nagawang pagkakamali. Madalas nagbibingi-bingihan tayo sa mga bagay na masakit o nanghahamon sa ating pinaniniwalaan. Nguni’t ang susi upang matamo ang kapayapaan ay ang pakikinig.

Upang pakinggan, kailangan nating maging mahusay na tagapakinig.

Huwag muna tayong magsalita. Ituon ang buo nating pag-iisip sa nagsasalita. Kung may hindi natin naintindihan, magtanong. Pagkatapos, ibuod ang sinasabi gamit ang kanilang salita. Nakakatulong din ang pagtango o pagpansin sa kanilang nararamdaman. Kusang nabubuksan ang ating puso’t pag-iisip kapag taos-puso tayong interesado sa taong pinapakinggan.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, buksan ang aming mga tainga sa lahat ng tao, upang sila ay mapahalagahan. Amen.

Learn how to listen. For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of “Coffee and Prayer.” Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

They brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment.

“And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears… and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, ‘Eph’phatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened… and he spoke plainly.”

Mark 7:33-35

Deafness does not refer only to the hearing-impaired. It may refer to us who refuse to lend an ear to the advice of our parents; the lessons from a teacher you don’t like; or the negative feedback about the wrong you have done. We often do not pay attention to those that hurt or challenge our beliefs. However, the key to peace is listening.

For us to be listened to, we must be a good listener.

Do not speak first. Focus on being interested on the person. Give your full attention. If you don’t understand, ask questions. Then summarize or paraphrase what they said using their own words. Show you’re listening with a nod or an affirmative sound. Validate their emotions. Our hearts and minds usually open when people are genuinely interested in us.

Let us pray: O Lord, keep our ears open to everyone to show them that they’re worth our attention. Amen.

How to peacefully bid the past goodbye

This is a transcript of the video below:

Paano mamaalam nang matiwasay? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Natalo si Manny Pacquiao sa laban niya kay Yordenis Ugas ng Cuba. Kailangan na ba niyang mamaalam sa kanyang career? Marami ang namighati sa pagyao ng kanilang mahal sa buhay lalong-lalo na sa Covid, ihihinto na ba natin ang buhay? Marami ding naghiwalay dahil sa iba’t ibang dahilan, paano na nga ba iwanan ang nakalipas? Hindi madali ang pamamaalam. Masakit sa damdamin. Mahirap tanggapin sa isip. Nakakapanibago dahil may nawala sa buhay.

Upang makaahon sa nakaraan, kailangan hilumin ang sugat sa pamamagitan ng pagdarasal.

Kailangang kilalanin muna ang malalim na sugat. Isulat at pangalanan ang karanasan ng iniwanan. Bigyan ito ng panahon dahil haharapin natin ang katotohanan sa ating sarili; masakit ang totoo. Maglaan ng oras para sa pagninilay. Habang nananatili tayo sa bahay, bigyan ng panahon ang magbalik-tanaw, mamangha, makinig sa pinakarurok ng ating puso. Bagaman masakit, bibigyan natin ng lubos na pansin ang ating mga sugat. Huwag pigilin ang luha, galit, at sisi. Bigyan ng oras ang pagluluksa. Ibuhos sa Diyos ang lahat nang nararamdaman.

Nakakatulong ang ritwal ng pamamaalam. Linisin at baguhin ang ayos ng kuwarto. Sunugin ang anumang makakaalala sa kanya. Baguhin ang ritmo ng buhay. Magpaganda at iba pa. Pagkatapos nito, i-aangkop natin muli ang ating buhay ayon sa ating bagong sitwasyon. Madalas, dito natin nakikita ang kahulugan ng karanasan ng katapusan sa panibagong buhay.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, hilumin nawa ninyo ang aming mga sugat upang mamuhay kaming matiwasay sa piling Mo. Amen.

How to peacefully bid your past goodbye? For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of Coffee and Prayer. Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

Manny Pacquiao just lost against Cuban boxer, Yordenis Ugas. Should he quit? Many are distraught from the death of their loved ones from Covid, should they stop living? Many have separated for various reasons, how do they bid their past goodbye? Goodbyes are harrowing because they are hurting, tough to accept, and disorienting.

To be free from the past, we need to pray for healing.

We must acknowledge and identify our deepest wounds. Write and name each experience. Give time to face squarely the truth of ourselves. Truth is painful. Give time to reflect. While we are at home, set aside time to look back, wonder, and listen carefully to the deepest longings of our hearts. Though painful, we will give our full attention to our wounds. Do not prevent yourself from crying, anger, or resentment. Pour out everything to God.

Ritualizing your endings help. Clean and rearrange your room. Burn anything that would remind you of them. Change the rhythm of your life. Beautify. And then, adapt your life to the new situation. It is often at this stage that we find meaning in our endings vis-a-vis your new life.

Let us pray: Lord, heal our wounds so that we will be able to live in peace. Amen.

Why Catholics Do Not Have Food Restrictions

This is a transcript of the video below.

Bakit walang pinagbabawal na pagkain? Para sa mabungang buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Pork barbecue? Pwede. Dinuguan? Pwede. Shellfish at rabbit? Pwede. Nagtataka ka ba kung bakit walang pinagbabawal na pagkain kung ikaw ay Katoliko? Maraming nasasaad sa bibliya ukol sa mga pinagbabawal na pagkain, nguni’t lahat ng iyan ay isinantabi dahil sa sinabi ng Panginoon:

“Hindi ba ninyo natatalastas na ang lahat nang pumapasok sa tao na galing sa labas ay hindi nakarurumi sa kanya? Kaya ipinahayag Niya na lahat ng pagkain ay malinis.”

Mark 7:18-19

Dahil sa paniniwala natin na si Hesukristo ay Diyos, maaari niyang baguhin ang anumang naituro na bago pa siya dumating sa mundo.

Nguni’t idinagdag ng Panginoong Hesukristo,

“Sapagkat mula sa kaibuturan ng puso ng mga tao lumalabas ang masasamang pag-iisip: mga pagnanakaw, pagpatay sa kapwa, mga kasakiman atpb. Ang lahat ng mga bagay na iyan ay nangagaling sa loob at sila ang nakarurumi sa tao.”

Mark 7:21-23

Dahil dito maaaninag natin ang puso ng tao sa kanyang mga ginagawa. Ano ang nasa puso ng isang taong sumusuporta sa pagpatay lalung lalo na sa mga walang sala, ang nagpapalaganap at gumagamit ng panlilinlang o fake news upang manatili sa pwesto, ang paglimas ng kaban ng bayan lalung lalo na sa Department of Health?

Sa kabilang banda, hinihimok tayo ng Panginoon na tingnan nang malapitan ang ating puso. Mas mahalaga ang respeto at pagmamahal sa kapwang may ibang relihiyon. At kung imbitado sila sa ating mga salu-salo, mas mabuting alalahanin ang ihahain natin na pagkain. Dito sa Ateneo de Davao, hindi na kami naghahain ng putaheng may baboy kapag fiesta o Pasko: upang hindi maasiwa ang mga kapatid naming Muslim. Mas mabuting maramdaman nila na bukas ang ating puso para sa lahat ng tao.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, tulungan niyo po kaming linisin ang aming puso sa pamamagitan ng iyong walang maliw na awa at habag. Amen.

Why don’t we have food restrictions? For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of Coffee and Prayer. Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

Pork barbecue? You can! Blood stew? Yes, you can! Shellfish and rabbit? Of course, you can! Have you ever wondered why Catholics do not have food restrictions? There are many passages in the bible about forbidden food. However, all those laws have been nullified by what Jesus said,

“Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him… (Thus, he declared all foods clean).”

Mark 7: 18-19.

Because Jesus is God, He can change anything that has been taught before He came.

In addition, Jesus said,

“For from within, out of the heart of a person, come evil thoughts, theft, murder, coveting, deceit… All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Mark 7: 21-23

We therefore can catch a glimpse of the heart of a person from the things that he does. What do you think about the heart of a person who supports extrajudicial killings, the spread of disinformation or fake news to remain in power, and the Commission on Audit’s flagging of the Department of Health’s billions of unutilized funds for the pandemic response.

On the other hand, the Lord challenges us to scrutinize our hearts. Respect for another person’s religion is important. Thus, if we invite them to our celebrations, we can plan our menu considering their food restrictions. Here in Ateneo de Davao University, we do not serve pork during our fiesta and Christmas celebrations so that our Muslim brothers and sisters will not feel alienated. It is better for them to experience that our hearts are open for everyone.

Let us pray. Lord, clean our hearts with your everlasting mercy. Amen.

How to communicate effectively

This is a transcript of the video below.

Ilang beses naulit na hindi ka nila lubusang naintindihan. Paano mo ba ipababatid ang gusto mong sabihin? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Maraming nasirang pagkakaibigan dahil sa hindi pagkakaunawaan. Maraming napikon din dahil hindi wasto ang pagkagawa ng dapat gawin. At maraming nagkatampuhan dahil lamang sa maling pag-aakala. Ayon kay San Marcos, ilang beses nagsabi ang Panginoon sa kanyang mga alagad na hindi pa rin naliliwanagan sa kahulugan ng kanyang mga turo at himala, lalo na ang pagpaparami ng tinapay. Wika ni Hesus,

“Bakit pinaguusapan ninyo na wala kayong tinapay? Hindi pa ba kayo nakakaunawa at nakababatid? May mga mata kayo at di kayo nakakakita? May mga tainga at di kayo nakaririnig?”

Mark 8, 17-18

Paano ba ma-gets ng tagapakinig ang gusto nating sabihin? Unang-una, gawing simple ang mensahe. The key to effective communication is simplicity. Wika ni Napoleon Bonaparte, “Linawin, linawin, at linawin.” Isipin ang iyong tagapakinig. Mas mabuti kung kilala mo sila para maayon sa kanila ang iyong sinasabi. Be audience oriented. Naniniwala ang tao kapag ang tagapagsalita ay naniniwala din sa kanila.

Mahalagang ipakita ang totoo. Bago natin buksan ang ating bibig, mahalaga ang ating credibilidad. Panindigan ang iyong sinasabi, at sabihin ito na may matibay na pananalig. Wika ni Ferdinand Foch:

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human person on fire.”

Ferdinand Foch

Higit sa lahat, himukin silang kumilos. Para saan ang ating mensahe kung hindi rin ito nakakabigay ng inspirasyon at lakas upang may gawing pagkilos.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, basbasan po ninyo ang aming mga labi upang maibahagi namin nang malinaw ang iyong Salita. Amen.

How many times have you been misunderstood? How do we communicate effectively? For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of “Coffee and Prayer.” Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

Friendships were severed because of misunderstandings. Work outputs were mediocre because instructions were unclear. Many fell out of their relationship because of a misinterpretation of what was said. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus complained about his disciples’ incomprehension of his teachings and his miracles, especially the multiplication of the loaves. He said,

“Why are you discussing that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Having eyes, do you not see; having ears do you not hear?”

Mark 8: 17-18

How can our listeners understand what we want to convey? First, simplify your message. The key to effective communication is simplicity. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Be clear, be clear, be clear.” Know your audience so that your message can be appropriated to them. Be audience oriented. People believe in what you say if you likewise believe in them.

Be authentic. Before we open our mouths, remember that credibility is important. Speak with passion and a strong conviction. Ferdinand Foch said,

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human person on fire.”

Ferdinand Foch

Furthermore, motivate them to action. Our messages are useless unless they inspire and strengthen people to act. Let us pray: “Lord, bless our lips so that we may clearly communicate your words to others. Amen.”

How do we become competent?

This is a transcript of the video below.

Paano maging kasinggaling ng iba? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Kakatapos lamang ng Olympics sa Japan at natamo natin ang pinakamaraming medalya sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Meron tayong ginto galing kay Hidilyn Diaz, pilak ang pinagkaloob nina Nesthy Petecio at Carlo Paalam, at tanso naman ang ibinigay ni Eumir Marcial. Kasama ang iba pang magagaling na atleta ng ating bansa, pinakita nila sa atin ang maaari nating marating upang maabot ang pinakamatayog na pangarap. Nguni’t ang daan tungo sa pangarap na ito ay hindi madali at punung-puno ng kabiguan. Sa halip na maging balakid ang kawalang-suportang galing sa gobyerno, at ang hirap ng pag-ensayo dala ng pandemiya, naging hamon ang sitwasyon sa kanilang buhay.

Unang una, mag-ensayo araw-araw. Hindi nila pinagpapaliban sa ibang araw ang dapat nilang gawin, kahit ano pa ang kanilang nararamdaman, ano pa man ang sitwasyon, o gaano kahirap ang hamon ng kompetisyon.

Laging isipin kung paano maging mas mahusay. Hindi sila tumitigil sa naabot na nilang tagumpay, patuloy nilang pinag-aaralan, pinagpapalago, at pinagbubutihan ang kanilang talento at kahusayan. Hindi nila kinakalimutan ang dahilan at para kanino ang kanilang ginagawa.

Tapusin ang anumang sinimulan. Ang kahusayan ay isang desisyon; hindi ito nagaganap nang isang iglap o dahil minana sa magulang. Wika ni Willa Foster:

“Quality is never an accident; it is always a result of high intentionality, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.”

Willa Foster

Tuparin ang gawain higit pa sa inaasahan. Ito ang magis: gawing mas mahusay ang lahat ng bagay.

Higit sa lahat, magbigay ng inspirasyon sa iba. Ipinakita nila ang kanilang pananampalataya, pasasalamat at paghahandog ng tagumpay sa Diyos. Hindi lang sila magaling, nagiging halimbawa sila sa iba. 

Manalangin tayo:

O Diyos, bigyan mo kami ng lakas ng loob upang maging mahusay kaming iyong tagapaglingkod. Amen.

How do we become competent? For a fruitful life, join me for another episode of “Coffee and Prayer.”

The Tokyo Olympics has just ended, and we achieved the most number of Olympic medals in Philippine History. Hidilyn Diaz won gold. Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam won silver, and Eumir Marcial got bronze. With other Philippine athletes, they showed us the possibilities to achieve our loftiest dreams. However, the road to their dreams was not easy and wrought with failures. Despite the absence of support from the government and the difficulties to practice in the pandemic, they faced their life’s challenges squarely.

First, practice every day. They never procrastinate—no matter how they feel, what kind of circumstances they face, or how difficult they expect the game to be.

Keep improving. Highly competent people continually search for ways to keep learning, growing and improving. They do that by never losing sight of their whys and for whom they do what they do.

Follow through. High level performance is a choice, an act of the will. It does not happen automatically or by inheritance. Willa Foster said:

“Quality is never an accident; it is always a result of high intentionality, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.”  

Willa foster

Accomplish more than expected. This is magis: do everything excellently.

Finally, inspire others. Our athletes showed their faith and gratitude and even offered their success to God. They are not just competent, but they are good examples to others.

Let us pray. Lord, grant us the courage to better serve you. Amen.

Why is a Discerned Vote Important?

This is a transcript of the video below:

Bakit mahalaga ang mapanuring pagboto? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Dahil papalapit na ang eleksiyon, lumalabis na ang ads, surveys at balita ukol sa pulitika at namumulitika, kahit nasa gitna ng pandemiya. Marami ang nagsasabing, “Wala namang magbabago, bakit ako buboto?” o kaya nagdadalawang-isip magparehistro. Nguni’t kung totoong mahalaga sa atin ang ating bansa at ang ating kinabukasan, kailangan nating bigyang halaga ang pagiging mapanuri sa pagboboto.

Bakit? Lantad na ang dayaan. Ginawang normal na ang dating kinamumuhian tulad ng extrajudicial killings, pagpapalaganap ng fake news, pagpapabaya sa pandemiya. Nguni’t tanungin natin ang isa’t isa: Ok lang bang magsinungaling ang ating mga niluklok na sumusweldo galing sa buwis, na ating pinagpawisan? Kaya sa halip na tanungin kung sino ang gusto mong maging pinuno, mas kilatisin muna kung ano ang ating batayan para sa pangangasiwa.

Alam nating mapupunta tayo sa kangkungan kung hindi magbabago ang ating kalagayan. Kaya kailangan nating hilingin ang katapatan at integridad sa ating mga pinuno.

May pagkakaisa ba ang kanilang sinasabi at ginagawa? Kailangang itaas ang antas ng pinagbabatayan natin para sa pagboto sa ating mga mamumuno. Samakatuwid, kung gusto mo ang pangangasiwa na may integridad, huwag magtiwala sa sinungaling. Maaari nating baguhin ang ating buhay sa pagboboto.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, liwanagan mo kami upang ihalal natin ang pinunong may labis na pagmamahal sa iyo at sa iyong bayan. Amen.

Why should we discern whom to vote? For a fruitful life, join me for another episode of Kape’t Pandasal.

As the election season draws near, we might be overwhelmed by ads, surveys and news about politics and politicians even during the pandemic. We hear people excuse themselves: “Voting is useless because nothing changes.” Some even hesitate to register in order to vote. But if we are concerned about our country and our future, we must pay attention to the election and use our votes wisely.

Why? Cheating is already being done in broad daylight. Disvalues have been normalized, like extrajudicial killings, the spread of disinformation, or the failure to manage the pandemic. But let’s ask each other: Is lying ok for politicians whose salaries come from the taxes we have worked hard for?

So the pressing question is not who is going to lead us, but more important is what are our standards for being led?

We know that we’re headed towards disaster if our situation won’t change. That is why we must demand honesty and integrity from our leaders—and rewarding their integrity with our votes. Is there a consistency between what they say and what they do? We need to raise our standards for electoral candidates. If we want leadership with integrity, then we have to stop trusting people who lie. We can change our lives by our votes.

Let us pray: Lord, enlighten us so that the people we vote for are those who love You and our country. Amen.

Fundador and Regnum Dei

Fundador or Marcha de San Ignacio is the anthem usually used by Jesuits on the feast of one of its founders, St. Ignatius of Loyola, on a day as today, 31 July.

Here’s my take on this anthem, spoken in my local language, Bikol. Ateneo de Naga University requested this, so I justaposed my reflection with AdNU’s anthem, Regnum Dei.

If there’s anything personally interesting, it is hearing myself speaking in my local language. The dialect I speak is Albayano, specifically, Camalignon. My brother, Jayson, knows Naga Bikol than I do. I am as always indebted to him. Enjoy! 

Below is a Youtube video of the song, Fundador, by the Ateneo Chamber Singers.

Here’s Ateneo de Naga University’s Regnum Dei.

What I like about St. Ignatius of Loyola

This is a social media post on Instagram and Facebook. But I’d like to post this here too under my Journal, because it is this image that inspires me.

This is my favourite image of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which I chanced upon in Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. I was in LMU in 2011. The artist, Bill McElcheran, titled it, “Ignatius Loyola Pilgrim.”

However, what struck me most is his stance at another angle: Ignatius leans forward, bravely facing the wind, while holding fast to the Spiritual Exercises. It illustrates his spirit: the courage to face challenges, to be counter-cultural to anything against God, humanity and creation, as well as, to be forward-looking.

It struck me as a rationale for being adventurous, creative, experimental and at home with life’s tensions.

But what he holds also tells me what is unchanging: the Spiritual Exericses at best anchors me in a personal, riveting and deep encounter with Jesus. It tells me what a Jesuit should be—what I should be—and that it is a personal imperative and great desire: It is what I really want to be and become but rooted in the here and now. Happy Feastday to all! Keep inspiring, St. Ignatius, my fav saint!

I always ask: What more can we do for Christ? 

How to develop a stronger resilience?

This is a transcription of the video below: Subscribe to my Youtube channel by following the link below.

Paano natin patatatagin ang mahinang kalooban? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Paliko-liko ang ating buhay. Minsan dumadaan ang mga araw nang walang nangyayari, ngunit may mga araw naman na ginugulat tayo ng trahedya na panghabambuhay ang epekto nito sa atin tulad ng kamatayan, aksidente o kaya malubhang sakit. Sa lahat ng ito, kailangan ng katatagan upang malampasan natin ang mga bagyong ito. Subalit ayon sa mga pagaaral sa sikolohiya, nakakatulong sa personal na buhay ang mga paghihirap na ito. Hindi malaya sa pagdurusa at pagkabalisa ang sinumang matatag ang kalooban.

Tulad ng pagpapalaki ng ating mga katawan, kailangang tutukan at bigyan ito ng oras.

Unang-una, mahalagang kasama natin ang kapamilya’t kaibigan na nakakaunawa, nagbibigay-halaga at nakikinig sa atin. Pinapaalala ng mga pinagkakatiwalaan natin na hindi tayo nag-iisa. Nakakatulong din ang mga gawaing espirituwal, tulad ng pagdarasal, pagbabalik-tanaw, pagsusulat ng mga nangyayari sa kasuluk-sulukan ng ating puso’t isipan. Nakakatulong balikan ang mga magagandang alaala at pinagpapasalamatan upang lumago ang pag-asa.

Tumulong sa iba upang mahanap natin ang kahulugan at layunin ng ating buhay. Minsan nakakagaan sa kalooban ang makatulong kahit kailangan din natin ng tulong. Higit sa lahat, tumatatag ang ating kalooban kung natatanggap natin ang mga pagbabago sa buhay. May mga pangarap o layunin na kailangang isantabi.

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, nawa’y patatagin at maibaling nawa namin ang aming kalooban sa mga bagay na maaari pang baguhin. Amen.

How to develop stronger resilience? For a fruitful life, join me in another episode of Coffee and Prayer. Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

Life has its twists and turns. Sometimes days are eventless, however there are times when we experience traumatic events with more lasting impact, like a sudden death of a beloved, a life-altering accident, or a serious illness. Therefore, we need to strengthen our resiliency in order to overcome life’s storms. Psychologists say that difficult experiences also involve profound personal growth.

Being resilient doesn’t mean that a person won’t experience difficulty or distress.

Like body building, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality. First it is important to connect with family and friends who empathize, understand, listen and validate our feelings. The people we trust remind us that we’re not alone. Spiritual practices help like praying, reflecting or mindful journaling. Ruminate on positive memories and gratitude for hope to flourish.

Help others to find meaning and purpose. Helping unburdens us, even if we too need help. Furthermore, we become resilient if we accept that change is a part of life. Certain goals or ideals may no longer be attainable as a result of adversity.

Let us pray: We pray, O Lord, for strength and focus on the circumstances that can still be repaired. Amen.

How can we become a prophet today?

This is a transcript (Filipino and English) of the video below. Now up on my Youtube channel.

Paano ba maging propeta sa panahon ngayon? Para sa mabungang-buhay, tayo na po’t magkape’t pandasal.

Bata pa nang tinawag ni Yahweh si Jeremias upang maging propeta sa mga Israelita bago ang pagkawasak ng Jerusalem at pagpapatapon nila sa Babylon. Nakatutok ang interes ng mga pinuno, pari, at tao sa pulitika. At dahil kailangan nilang magbigay ng buwis dahil nasasakupan sila ng Babylon, nais nilang magrebelde dito sa tulong ng mga taga-Ehipto. Sa gitna ng ganitong gulo, nakalimutan nila ang Diyos. Kaya nagbabala si Jeremias na kung ipagpapatuloy nila ang paglimot sa Diyos, isang malaking delubyo ang darating. At tama siya: naging sanhi ito ng pagkawasak ng Jerusalem at ang pagpapatapon nila sa Babylon.

Mulat na mulat ang isang propeta sa kasalukuyang mga pangyayari, nguni’t nakikita rin niya na hindi nagtatapos ang lahat sa karumaldumal. Nakikita niya na maaaring meron tayong magagawa kung makikilahok tayo sa Diyos tungo sa isang mapagmahal at maayos na komunidad. Isa na rito kung boboto tayo sa darating na eleksiyon. Wika ni Walter Brueggemann,

[Being a prophet] “means to identify with some clarity and boldness the kinds of political economic practices that contradict the purposes of God, and if they contradict God’s purpose, they will come to no good end.”

Walter Brueggemann

Nababakasan ng isang propeta ang kapahamakan kung hindi natin aalagaan ang ating kapaligiran, ang buhay at kapakanan ng lahat ng tao at hindi ang iilan lang. At dahil dito, makikita natin kay Jeremias ang tapang na kinakailangan upang masabi ito sa lahat, kahit maraming sasalungat sa kanya. Higit sa lahat, tinitiyak sa atin ng isang propeta na totoong gumagalaw ang Diyos sa gitna ng kadiliman sa buhay natin ngayon. Kaya ba natin maging propeta kahit sa social media man lang? Sana oo!

Manalangin tayo: O Diyos, bigyan mo kami ng lakas ng loob magsalita sa anumang salungat sa iyong hangarin para sa aming lahat. Amen.

How can we become today’s prophet? For a fruitful life, join me for another episode of “Coffee and Prayer.”   Kape’t Pandasal [Coffee and Prayer]

At a young age, Yahweh called Jeremiah to be a prophet to the Israelites before the Fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile. The leaders, priests and people were more interested in politics. Since they need to pay the temple tax since they were under Babylon, they were contemplating on rebelling with the Egyptians. In the middle of this chaos, they forgot Yahweh. Jeremiah warned them that if there were to continue forgetting God, a great disaster will occur. And he was right: it resulted to the Destruction of Jerusalem and their exile to Babylon.

A prophet is very much aware of the current situation, however, he also knows that it should not end in disaster. He sees that we can change it if we are to participate with God towards a loving and orderly community. We can, for example, vote in the coming elections. Walter Brueggemann said, that

[Being a prophet] “means to identify with some clarity and boldness the kinds of political economic practices that contradict the purposes of God, and if they contradict God’s purpose, they will come to no good end.”

Walter Brueggemann

The prophet can see disaster if we do not care for the environment, for the preservation of the life of all, and not just of some. Like Jeremiah, we need to take up courage to speak out to everyone, even if it will result in disagreement. Moreover, the prophet assures us that God is working in the midst of the darkness in our lives today. Can we be a prophet even in social media? I hope so!

Let us pray: O Lord, grant us the courage to speak out against anything contrary to your purposes for us all. Amen.

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