In just a few hours, 2012 will make its entrance. We’ve just had a preview of our media noche with a taste of patatim in kwapao and my Dad is bringing out with his collection of kwitis. The radio is blaring with music from RJ FM 100.3 while our neighbors are trying out the firecrackers they bought from Bulacan. So how has 2011 been? Here is my rundown, in reverse order…
Christmas this year almost never came for the families affected by Sendong. To date, almost two thousand have been reported dead due to the typhoon; many more are missing. I recently came upon an Iglesya ni Cristo interpretation of the event based on the opening verses of Isaiah 24. It is claimed that evils happen because of sin, that is the infidelity of people to the covenant with God. Boh! How about those who are not in covenant with the God of Israel? Do Moslems suffer from the effects of a typhoon like “Sendong” because of sin? Even the Lord will reject such a theology (see Luke 13:1-5)! But the deaths and damages to property caused by the typhoon are to be seen within the mystery of evil. Evil happens — that is part of our existence. Nature has been rebelling against man since the time Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge (read “experience”) of good and evil. Our primordial parents chose to “know” not only good but also evil in their desire to be equal to God in wisdom. Evil is ugly; we don’t enjoy hearing about the misfortunes of others. But it is there. And it is there as a call, even a summons, to conversion and the realization that “I” am not the center of the universe. Christmas can be a season for contemplating the God who emptied himself and became a babe helpless, born poor, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. “Ah, quanto ti costo l’avermi amato.”
November should have been the month when the Dallas Mavericks defend their NBA title. But the NBA labor negotiations delayed the opening. Another disappointment was the Pacquiao-Marquez fight which Pacquiao won but unconvincingly.
Meanwhile, another semester began at CSA-Binan and I reported for another go at Theo 106, 104 and Italian. Students from last semester responded well with their Sunday assignments, so I gave them more of it this time. The “Sunday assignment” is my way of incorporating participation in the liturgy with theology. Students are asked to make a report of the Sunday masses they attend following a definite format that “forces” them to pay attention to the readings and the priest’s homily.
A communication from the Provincial offices reminded us of the Order’s Renewal Program. The first module is on “Prayer”.
“Saturation” is the only way to describe the dwindling numbers of participants to our PREX program. “Saturation” was first used to describe the diminishing numbers of employment opportunities abroad for Filipino nurses. When a program like the Parish Renewal Experience has been held continually for more than ten to fifteen years in one place, then chances are it becomes difficult to invite more participants in that place. Right now, we need a new program that will supplement PREX, and so I began looking for the drafts of a PREX 201 program that I began to work on in 2005 but did not continue. With the presence of the BEC Advanced Team, the time for PREX 201 has arrived.
The saddest day of the year was October 12. Mom passed away; she was just 72. We brought her to Heaven’s Gate on October 20 after a mass that friars from Laguna, Guadalupe and Quezon City concelebrated. Deaths bring family members together. The funeral was attended by members of our family coming not only from parts of Luzon but also from Australia and the States. Just a few days after mom’s death, another family member passed away in the States.
There were a lot of deaths during this month. The Philippine Church was saddened this month by the murder of one of its priests, Fr. Fausto Tentorio, an Italian missionary who has been actively campaigning against mining. In the world of entertainment, a family member of the Revilla clan, Ramgen Revilla, was also murdered.
But life must go on. Towards the end of the month, I gave the Pastor’s Night lecture on “Conscience and the Natural Law”. Apart from this the BEC Advanced Team came up with an activity that involved social questions in our parish.
I reactivated Mixed Innuendos, my WordPress blog, after I discovered that there were problems in accessing Biblista.NET using a PLDT connection. The situation would prove temporary since towards the end of September, Biblista.NET became accessible again.
AgustinongPinoy turned 12. But a few weeks before that, I rediscovered the WayBack Machine and its snapshots of old AgustinongPinoy and its related sites. I found out that the Friar’s Journal (Tripod) and the Bible Journal (Angelfire) are still accessible. In the coming months I would make use of The Bible Journal for relevant links in Your Daily Inspiration. For August 27, Pastor’s Night was on Augustine’s Sermo Domini in Monte.
I started blogging at Your Daily Inspiration again, after a few more MBs of disk space was added to it for free. Had my first taste of mobile computing after acquiring a cheap iPad imitation called “Flytouch”. It isn’t much but is proving to be handy.
I discovered SOAP — a bible journalling method. Well, it isn’t that much of a discovery since the structure was similar to the one which an Augustinian sister showed me way back in 1984. The only difference is that with SOAP, one can actually incorporate study notes. SOAP stands for Scriptures, Observation, Application, Prayer.
I started the month with a seminar given for the Lectors-Commentators of the parish. Materials previously used for the BEC Advanced sessions became useful again. I really didn’t have to prepare much for the seminar since the modules I used were “recycled” from the materials I was giving to the BEC Advanced Team. At CSA, I was asked to teach Theo 105, 103 and Basic Italian.
A group of us friars went to Balai Isabel for a week. The purpose was to prepare for the Province’s renewal program, a program to be held in syntony with the all the friars of the Asia-Pacific region.
I found out that SM-Masinag was already operational, although still lacking one essential element: Starbucks.
I finished reading Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth I and II during the summer. It was a great read.
The recollection for the BEC Advanced Class was held during the Holy Week. The theme of recollection was “Christian Friendship and the Hour of Jesus”. The idea was mostly based on Johannine passages already studied by the group. The month ended on a high note with memories of another Easter vigil with baptisms.
It was a great month for the Lakers. Their record was almost immaculate after the All-Star Weekend. Would Kobe and Co. make a three-peat? We know of course that the Mavericks would win the NBA title this year. But it was fun watching the Lakers beat the Celtics towards the end of the month.
The rest of the world wasn’t all that great. Fukushima, Japan was hit by an intensity 9 earthquake. Myanmar also suffered from earth tremors (intensity 6). Meanwhile, three Filipinos were executed in China for the crime of drug-trafficking.
Continued the Readings on St. Augustine for the CSA-College Faculty. It was an activity begun for the second semester of SY 2010-2011.
Iya and family now citizens of Australia, came to visit us for a few weeks. Lawrence is a head taller than me now and his sister is turning out to be quite a fine lady.
My 49th Birthday. Nothing much here except for arthritis and more white strands in my beard (I actually have more white hair in my bread than on my head). See Nocturnal Intellections
Things I am Thankful For
1. It deeply saddens me that my mom passed away. But knowing how much she was suffering from the various illnesses she had due to complications brought about by diabetes, I am also in a way thankful that the Lord took her when He did. It is still difficult for me to write about her passing away, and so I stop here.
2. Our BEC Advanced Team moved forward this year. Now they have become conscious that the BEC is about changing people from within and helping them read their lives in the light of the Lord’s invitations. Right now, they are verifying in their experiences that where two or three are gathered, the Lord is there in their midst. The activity they recently held where they brought to the discussion table experiences of the social problems involving families and teenagers in our parish was an exercise in discernment. Then, I saw them as Church dialoguing with an aspect of our social experience. It was heartening to behold and enlightening.
3. The best Christmas party I attended during the month of December was the one held by our basic ecclesial communities. For the first time, I saw not only the BEC animators but also some of their cell members coming together to remember and celebrate the Word of God made flesh. Not all of the members came since some were also involved in the life of other parish organizations who were at the time also partying.
4. The BECs in our parish are animated mostly by members of the Legion Mary. They don’t tell much of their activities, and most often they work quietly in the backgrounds. But they have been doing a lot for the parish although unrecognized. While other parish organizations have become nothing more than places for socializing, the Legion of Mary continues to be the Church’s work force in the grass roots.
Things to Follow-up
The possibility of holding PREX 201 sessions has opened up. With the BEC Advanced Team ready (most of them have had experiences in holding PREX sessions), perhaps we can begin this coming year to give a more advanced version of the PREX.
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