• "Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love—difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul's miseries, her burdens, her needs - everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness - Everything is a grace because everything is God's gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events—to the heart that loves, all is well."
  • - St. Therese of Lisieux

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My Grandmother's Greatest Ambition

This post has been a draft for almost two weeks now. My grandmother is still in the ICU as of this writing. She has suffered a massive stroke about a month ago, a few days before her 94th birthday. So today, I have decided to publish this post - without much editing because it is too painful to read again. 

I remember Christmas 1988, I was twelve. I got a slam book, something every tween had that time, but had no friends who would write on it. Not that I had no friends, but it was Christmas vacation and so I was stuck with two younger brothers, who had no interest in sharing about what love is; and with family and relatives.

My mama told me that I could ask my uncles, aunts and other cousins to write on my slam book at our annual family reunion. And so I did. I also asked my lola Remy (grandma) to write. Her answer to the question, "What is your greatest ambition?", anchored me more to the Catholic faith. I just did not know it that time.

I remember lola's room in Paranaque, it had its own bathroom which I thought was pretty cool. The curtains were heavy and it was dark even during the day when the curtains were shut. Lola had a round table with an intricately patterned, yellow-gold table cloth. There, were her images of the saints, Mother Mary and other relics and mementos of her trip to the Holy Land. I remember standing in front of that altar, looking. I remember the plastic bottle with Holy water in the form of Our Lady of Lourdes. I remember Lola Remy's rosary with a relic of a saint on the crucifix (I completely forgot whose) maybe because I did not know what 'relic' meant. She told me only someone with the purest of heart can see whats inside. She asked me if I could see it. And, I was so happy that I could. I only realized later on that everybody could probably see it. I will always be grateful for that moment. My Lola Remy showed me how exactly Jesus saw me.

I remember my parents commend me, jokingly, because that's how they would do it, that they noticed that I was being very polite and kind. My Papa said it must be because of the book Lola Remy gave me. And it was true! I did not want to admit it but I really wanted to follow all the lessons in The Little Children's Bible.

Lola gave me several books. In all of them she wrote a note on the front page. I remember one book she gave me about the Ten Commandments, she wrote 'Dear Weena, Always be a good girl. Love, Lola Remy.' 

I remember going to mass with her. She and Lolo would remain in the pew long after the mass was finished. I did not understand this practice at that time and I must confess, I thought was silly. Now I realize that during those times, there were no adoration chapels yet, and Lola stayed to pray and adore Jesus in the Eucharist.

I always thought of what Lola Remy wrote on my slam book. As a child, I took it literally and thought, 'that would be a difficult thing to do.' I probably forgot about it during my teenage and college years. But when I joined CFC Singles for Christ, I began to have hope that IT may be possible! Now that I am married and raising a boy, I have come to realize that every Catholic should have the same ambition. I try my best nowadays but fail again and again. I run to Jesus for forgiveness through confession and resolve to try better.

I remember asking Lola if she wanted a 15 decade rosary. I remember looking for blue beads so I can craft her a rosary. I remember making that rosary, and giving it to her. I remember how she took it out of the pouch, looked at the cross and the beads lovingly, and then carefully cupping the rosary with both her hands. I remember feeling joy in my heart. I remember seeing it hung on the post of her bed last year when I came to visit her at their home. 

I remember arriving at Lola Remy's house but without them home. Mama always explained that she was still at Anihan Technical School, run by her Catholic community, Opus Dei. I know she has helped a lot of women transform their lives. My memory is failing me, but I know she did lectures too. Her example also fueled my desire to teach.

I remember asking my mother if Lola Remy's answer to the question on my slam book was true. Mama told me that it was. As I look into her life again, I realize that all the memories I have of her point me to Jesus. Her greatest ambition is now also mine. I don't know if many know this, but I'm sure those close to her see it through her actions. Her greatest ambition - 'To become a saint.'

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Divine Aspirations

I learned about Divine Aspirations at a time when I was being 'fire-tested' by God. It was my heart's desire to be able to trust in the Lord, and all his plans completely. Admittedly, I can be demanding and overbearing at times and twice as terrible when things do not go my way. And I often hurt the ones I love the most. Also, I worry a lot, and so I have learned to say "Jesus, I trust in you." every time I do.
Jesus, I trust in you for ipad

According to http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/g/Aspiration.htm,
"An aspiration is a short prayer meant to be memorized and repeated throughout the day. Sometimes called an ejaculation, these prayers are meant to help us continually turn our thoughts toward God."
Now, I have learned to say more Divine Aspirations like "From all sin, deliver me, O Lord!" especially when I know I am about to sin!
From all sin... for Iphone

This inspired me to make these little prayers into Ipad and Iphone wall papers. Whenever I unlock my ipad or iphone, I see the Aspiration I am trying to memorize.

Proverbs 13:25. I also tried my favorite verses.
And I am now sharing them with you! Check out the Divine Aspirations page on the blog.

As Bishop Camillo Ballin, M.C.C.J said in his book, OREMUS, "It is good to memorize these aspirations so that in times of stress, words that can focus your attention back to the holy come easily."

You can choose and download here.

I do hope they will also help you become a step closer to holiness!

Setting Divine Aspirations as wallpaper for your lock screen:
Make sure you download the Aspiration of your choice and add the Jpeg file to your 'Photos'

1. Go to Settings, then wallpaper.
2. Click 'Choose a New Wallpaper
3. Pick the wallpaper from your 'All Photos' folder
4. Pinch or adjust to fit
5. Click Set Lock Screen

And you're done!

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