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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

then i will buy you shoes like mine

{this is a homily i gave for aclc retreat last 2004. for the next week i will be giving again the same retreat for the third time and i would just like to share this to all of you.}

19 October 2004
Memorial of St. John Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues, martyrs and companions
Tuesday, 29th Week of Ordinary Time

Perhaps for some of us here, our brothers or sisters have already their own children; we already have nieces in our family. I have a niece and her name is Camille. I’d like to share with you a story involving my niece. It is a story I cannot forget.

I think that it is common for little girls to love playing “grown-up.” Perhaps, many of you have experience this when you were still a child. They put on their mother’s shoes, slinking their moms’ handbags around their arms. They sit in front of the dresser and put on their mothers’ make-up: lipstick and powder. Girls start to do these things even when they are only three or four years old.

My niece, Camille, was no exception. She loved wearing her mother’s shoes even if they were too big for her tiny feet. She would often ask my sister, “Mommy, when will you buy me shoes like yours?” My sister would always tell her, “You eat and you sleep so that you’ll grow up and your feet will become big. Then, I will buy you shoes like mine.” She got to be so persistent about this that she’d ask my sister day in and day out: “Mommy, when will you buy me those shoes?” My sister, with admirable maternal patience would always give the standard reply: “You eat and you sleep so that you’ll grow up and your feet will become big. Then, I will buy you shoes like mine.”

I would like you to call to mind this story each time you ask: Why does God take time in answering prayers? I say this because, probably, just like my niece, our feet are too small and our petitions are too big. And God would have to say, “You eat and you sleep so that your feet will grow big. When your feet are big enough, I will grant you the shoes you are asking for.” That is why God seems to delay. Not that God is a sadist. Not that God enjoys seeing us grovel. Not that God enjoys seeing us suffer. It is not because of all these that He has not given us our shoes. No. It is simply God’s way of encouraging us to eat and sleep and take care of ourselves. As it were, to grow and grow some more in His grace so that our hearts will grow big, big, big enough for all the love that He will give us.

My friends, I am telling you this simple story because there is a certain truth about prayer. Prayer is a mystery. Perhaps for some of us here, even at this midpoint of our retreat, we are still encountering difficulties in our prayer. Perhaps, it is still hard to find that inner silence. Perhaps, we are still clouded with distractions and expectations. Perhaps even, we are just starting to find that perfect spot to encounter our God. Why some good prayers are not answered?

oday, we celebrate the memorial of St. John Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues, and companions. They were French Jesuits who missioned for the native Hubron of North America. They were martyred by the tribes who believed in a different value. The stories of these martyrs are very rich, but what struck me was the prayer of St. Brebeuf. It is said, that even as a child, St. Brebeuf prayed to God that he would like to die as a martyr, he would like to die for the faith, he would like to die for Him. And his prayer was granted many years later, many years of difficulties, many years of graces, many years of consolations and desolations. And after all of these, I guess the feet of St. Brebeuf grew perfectly to fit with the shoes he was asking for.

The Lord tells us that all prayers are answered. Knock and it will be opened, seek and you will find. But we know from experience that not all prayers are answered. Whether we like it or not, some prayers are not answered, or better still, are not answered the way we like it. This then places us in a dilemma because God promises that all prayers will be answered and then somehow we experience that even good prayers don’t seem to be answered by God.

My friends let me share with you what my friend do when that occasion of difficulty and struggle occurs. When I pray, when I sacrifice and practically cry and kneel before God and ask Him to give me grace and blessing and grant my petitions and nothing happens, I look at the cross and ask the Father, “Why did you allow Your Son to suffer this way?”

It is a mystery that the Father allowed His only Begotten Son to suffer that way. It is also a mystery why some of our prayers are not answered by God the way we expect them to be answered. There will always be mysteries in life. If you can understand why the Father allowed His Son to die on the cross perhaps you will be able to understand why some good prayers are not answered.

God wants to answer our prayers. Unfortunately, in the story of Camille, our feet are still too small for the big shoes He has in store for us.

As we continue to enter deeper into this retreat, let us continually ask the Lord to keep that spirit always alive in our hearts. “You eat and you sleep so that your feet will grow big. When your feet are big enough, I will grant you the shoes you are asking for.”

St. John Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues, and companions, pray for us.

Arthur W. Nebrao, Jr., S.J.

Monday, October 16, 2006

prayer for final exams in education

{I was assigned today in leading the prayer before the exam so I made this prayer and I think my classmates really liked it.}

Dearest Lord,
source of all knowledge and understanding
We humbly beg You for the grace of a learned heart
That we may be able to give ourselves fully in our assessments
especially for this class -- Foundations of Education
Help us Lord to recall the different Psychological Theories of Education
both the Non-experimental and the Experimental
And also appreciating the differences
between Behavioral and Cognitive Theories of Learning
Help us Lord to also bear in mind the important role of Philosophy in Education,
from the simplicity of Naturalism to the complexities of Existentialism
as well as the worth of Guidance Counseling and Values Education
But most of all Lord, we simply beg you
to help us become good teachers, right here at this very moment
so that after this final test, our desires may be like yours
which is to teach goodness and help those who are in need.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

even for a while

This is a very good song. For the past weeks, "waiting" has been a theme in my life. Waiting for what? I don't know. But you know the feeling of waiting? This is how I am feeling. And in the midst of "waiting" my God is with me.

Even for a while
Gary Valenciano

Why do hearts feel the way they do
Why does mine wanna say that I love you
Till the end of time
Till I lose my mind
Till it’s over and left so far behind

I just can’t keep it all inside
So unbelievable how much I’ve tried
Yet I call for you
I long for you
And I say the words I wish you’d want to hear
Though you’re never near

Our heats and though they beat as one
But time, the time for us will never come
So I, I just go on
And just remember those eyes
That look right through my heat
The smile that shows what’s in you
That makes me wanna cry
Coz I know
I’ll never have you even for a while

Now all is said and done it seems
I keep remembering what I would call a dream
Where you came true
For a minute or two
That was all the time it took
To make me know you had to go
[Repeat Chorus]

Cause I know
I’ll never have you…
And I know
I’ll never have you
Even for a while…

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