The Gift of Forgiveness

Friday, August 18, 2017

"To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine"

This is one of life's greatest paradoxes.

It's a known fact that with our imperfect human nature, we are inclined to commit mistakes, sometimes even at the expense of others. Yet in spite of our own misgivings, we find it the hardest to forgive those who wronged us. 

Let's face it. It is not easy to forgive someone who offended us. I, for one have come across some pains and struggles in forgiving people, who not only hurt me but also did not admit their wrongdoing. Man! The hardest part was to forgive someone without the person asking for my forgiveness. 

For years, I had kept the grudge in my heart. I had allowed this person to affect me still even long after he walked out of my life. Imagine, what a waste of my time?! 

Thankfully, I finally woke up one morning with a resolve to liberate myself from the chain of unforgiveness and resentments. I had let go of the pains and the person who caused them. And wow! I had never felt so light and free in my life. I realized that forgiveness did me more than what it could ever do to the other person. My forgiveness was meant to liberate ME. It was a gift I owed to give myself long time ago. I needed the Father's mercy and He healed me through my forgiveness. As I have been accorded mercy, who am I to not forgive those who wronged me?

With forgiveness came healing, and with healing came peace in my heart.

Do yourself a favor today. Free your life from the poison of unforgiveness.

"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Matthew 6: 14 - 15

Inspired by the gospel from Matthew 18: 21 - 19:1

My Lady of Grace

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mary is a young lady who is betrothed to Joseph. One day, an angel suddenly appeared and announced that she will conceive of a child who is to become the savior of mankind. Amidst her momentary confusion, she gracefully accepted the news and the angel left her. 

Just like that. She entrusted her life to God's will. 

This is my attempt to simplify the story of the Annunciation. Of course, this is not the exact account. But what if this happened in the modern setting? What if this happened to me? I mean I certainly know that I am unworthy to even be compared to Mama Mary but I have always wondered what could she have felt when someone told her that she will conceive a child, through the Holy Spirit, who is to be the Lord and Savior of the world. Honestly, I think I would have panicked then fainted right at the moment the angel Gabriel appeared. Yay. That is why I am clearly not worthy to even imagine myself in Her place.

Not only that. In the olden times, if a woman was found pregnant but not with the man with whom she was betrothed, she could likely be condemned and stoned to death. So Mary had to go through all those troubles too.

Then there was this time when she had to journey to miles away with her heavy pregnant belly. She labored and gave birth to baby Jesus in a humble manger. 

Years after she raised her son to be a virtuous man, it was time that she encouraged Him to perform His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. It was when Jesus listened to the plea of His mother even though at first He felt it was not yet His time. But she is His mother after all.

And not to forget, after having to go through all the hardships, joys and pains of bringing Jesus into the world, she found herself at the foot of the cross of her beloved son. I could only imagine Mama Mary bearing twice the pain and agony of her son, Jesus. She gracefully accepted everything.

Where could she have gotten all the grace to fulfill Her important mission here on earth?

I am no expert nor an authority about the life of Mama Mary yet I am deeply drawn to Her after having known about her perfect faith. With Her extraordinary faith journey, she has captured my heart. And I honor Her as my Lady who is Full of Grace!

Inspired by the celebration of the Feast of The Assumption of Mama Mary

Twice an Alien

Monday, August 14, 2017

That's right - I was twice an alien.

I lived in 2 different countries over the last 9 years. Thankfully, both countries have been welcoming and gracious to me. 

It's almost the same feeling I got the first time I set foot in a foreign land for the 2 times that I migrated. That feeling of excitement and anxieties. 

I can vividly recall the time I arrived in Singapore, I had a mix of emotions - I was overwhelmed with happiness and sadness at the same time. It was my first time ever to leave home in the Philippines and away from my mom. Oh, the struggle of homesickness was painful! Thanks to the bunch of wonderful people who helped me throughout my journey. 

I loved Singapore. It opened doors for me to a myriad of possibilities - travel opportunities to neighboring countries, connections with people from all walks of life, name it! In fact, it ushered me to my way to my equally beautiful adoptive home - Canada!

Canada feels like home to me. I could live here for the next 10 years or so. I was blessed to have visited different countries over the years and I could say that albeit it is considered as one of the coldest places in the world, no where else feels like the warmth of home to me than in Canada.

As of this time of writing, I am still waiting for my boss' direction on where He wants me to settle or go next but I am pretty much happy and content with where I am now. Yet knowing how mysterious and funny His ways are, I would not be surprised if He leads me to yet another amazing place.

I do not mind being an alien for how many times because I know God takes me to the most awesome adventures in my life! He leads and I follow. My mission is to grow beautifully in wherever He plants me. And for this I am grateful. 

So, where to next, my Lord? :)

Inspired by the First Reading from Deuteronomy 10:12-22

The Little Secret to Happiness

Sunday, August 13, 2017

This is Bob. I first met him in November, 2015. Back then, I felt so empty like I was dragging myself through life. I lost my sense of purpose. All I could notice was what was lacking in my life. 

Then in one event, I heard about the Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica. Immediately, I knew in my heart that I had to be there. Feeling the inexplicable strong calling, I went there not knowing anyone, no idea about how crazy Kingston could be except through the persistent warning of my sister's Jamaican friends. I was clueless of what was waiting for me there. In my mind, I will be there to help. 

MOP centers mainly shelter poor men, women and children who are mostly physically handicapped or those who are not able to support themselves.

One day, I was going from crib to crib to greet the kids when I heard a voice saying "Hi". It was sweet-sounding and audible enough for me to turn around and look to its direction. It was from a cute boy extending his left arm to reach for me. I went near him and touched his face. He then locked my hand in between his cheek and shoulder. He was so adorable. 

By the time a brother had called me to help dress up another child, I tried to pull my hand from Bob but he would not allow me to leave. So I went nearer to him and realized the little kid had no legs. For a moment there, I got glued in my place. I cannot just leave him. I decided to carry him with me while I help the other kids. It was truly a joy to see his smiles reaching the sky! With my little time with him, I could feel his gratefulness overflowing.

Bob opened my eyes to the many little blessings that I had neglected. The child was genuinely happier than me with what little he had. I was blessed with completely functioning body parts and senses. I have a roof over my head, a job that pays, I have a family who loves and supports me. While many residents there like Bob were abandoned by their own families because of their physical deformities, I, on the other hand, was not grateful enough for all that was given to me. Each of the residents there taught me the secret to true happiness, and that is to be Grateful. Gratefulness unlocks all the blessings in our life.

Indeed, I took away more than what I could ever give to the mission. I went there thinking I would bring some assistance, it turned out I was the one needing their help. I needed them to teach me about True Happiness. 

I am going back there this end of August to see little Bob again and the many beautiful residents in MOP centers in the hope that my 2 dear friends and I could help in our own little way bring smiles to them and some relief. You may also journey with us as we aim to raise funds to bring school supplies to kids and whatever they may need in the centers. Please see link: Mission of Love in Jamaica 2017. May God bless you richly for your generosity. 

Inspired by the 1st Reading from Deuteronomy 6: 4 -13

The Making of God's Masterpiece

Friday, August 11, 2017

Don't you feel like you are constantly being put to an endurance test? 

For most part of our life, we go through painful sharpening. Perhaps, one may easily ask out of tiredness, "when is this ever gonna end? How much more do I need to endure?" I, too, do not have the answer. However, I do understand that this is necessary so I could turn into the most beautiful version of myself. Just like how a plant is nurtured and cultivated to become a sturdy tree - it needs to undergo regular pruning.

Whenever I experience a hard blow in my life, I trust that God is painstakingly chiseling away my rough ugly edges. I am being made into a masterpiece of exceeding beauty!

Inspired by the Gospel from Matthew 16: 24 -28

Walking in Faith

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FAITH. Big word. It is believing in something that I could not foresee nor comprehend. To put it simply, Faith is an invitation to trust in something beyond what my five senses can validate.

Many times in life, I am confronted with tests of my faith. There are days when I could not vision anything nor sense any help coming my way as if I was left on my own to walk in the water. During those times, I would panic and mostly rely on my limited capacity to deal with the situation until I feel like I am drowning helplessly.

And because I am too busy in trying to balance things in my life, I could not even look ahead and see the loving arms extended in front of me. Jesus is inviting me to walk in the water - to fully trust Him as I walk towards Him in Faith. My fears blind me from recognizing Jesus and experiencing the peace that comes from trusting that He will never leave me to drown in my own tribulations. He is constantly asking me to let go of my fears, take each step in faith and be held by Him as He leads me to His best place for me.

"Lord, I pray that I may always have the faith to walk in whichever path You may lead me to. Help me to recognize You everywhere I go. Amen."

Inspired by the Gospel from Matthew 14: 22 - 36

My Life Equation

Monday, August 7, 2017

Math is one of my favorite subjects growing up. I remember back in high school, I'd spent my summer time answering my workbooks. By the time the classes started, I would have nothing to do because I had already finished my home work 2 months before. 

There are even times when I would torment my brain on some mental calculations by multiplying two-digit by two-digit numbers within 1 minute. Uhm. I know this could be easy for some like 'duh'  (insert Sheldon rolling his eyeballs here) or maybe, I am just a plain weirdo! LOL. And so my love for math and proclivity to engage in solving problems (including those of other people!) had brought me to my current profession - a boring accountant! 

There is, however, one important equation in life that I have tried to master. It's one that I have to learn all through my life and not just from within the confines of my academe ===>

Add people who make you Love your Life
Subtract those who fill you with negativity
Multiply the ones whose lives you touch
Divide those who are deserving of you 
from those who are not 

Inspired by the Gospel from Matthew 14: 13 -21 

The Beaconing Light

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Lighthouses aren't there to draw attention to themselves, they are just there to shine." (Quoted)

I have always been awed by the power of light to illuminate its surrounding - the majestic sunrise, the glorious sunset, colorful fireworks display, bright lighthouses, radiant super moon or a person who is gifted with a special light from within himself that brings hope and joy to others. It's like I am drawn to it like a moth is drawn to a fire. 

My fascination to light just points me to my inclination to seek for the Infinite, something greater than myself, that which has the power to illuminate every area of my life. 

With my human limitations, I sometimes lose sight of God's Love for me especially when I walk through dimly lit paths. I admit, I a need light to guide me - an affirmation that He is with me all throughout my journey. I find comfort knowing that His light is sufficient to shine through my darkest days.

 "The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27: 1

Inspired by the Gospel from Matthew 17: 1-9 "Transfiguration"

Port Hope

Yesterday was one of the lovely summer days of my 2017. 

I went to Port Hope. The place where I needed to be.

With the intermittent interruptions by the torrential rains these past few days, I could hardly get the summer feels in Ontario.

Today was a special day. It was a bit windy but hey, nothing can stop us from chasing the heat.

It took us 1.5 hours to get to this southern part of Ontario. And indeed, Port hope was worth the long hour drive. 

Here are some snapshots of our adventures today:

Visit the Primitive Designs Factory for some interesting finds. The kids will surely like taking photos with Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee here.

The downtown reminded me of Old Quebec. Just lovely.

Never miss this quaint coffee shop which is famous for their crazy cookie! Their interior reminds me of France.

After enjoying the beautiful sights today, I knew that I was meant to be in this place at the perfect time. Port Hope, as the name suggests, has its ineffable charm that breathed hope in me. It made my heart happily look forward to the days to come. 

At some point, I got lost in my own reflection while quietly appreciating the simplicity of life in the charming little town. I was reminded of 3 things:

  • Surrender - To Fully Let Go of the need to know what lies ahead;
  •  Trust - Trusting that God is constantly looking after my best interest; and
  • Enjoy - To never forget to Live my Life Passionately

And so I await with joyful anticipation to whatever surprises that God will send my way! :)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11


Saturday, August 5, 2017

I remember growing up being bullied by my siblings. I would wake up in the morning with all of them making fun at my face, joking about my nose. This somehow affected my self esteem. I always thought that I was the ugly duckling in the family. Well, thankfully, I grew up to be a lovely swan. Wink. At least, that's what I'd like to believe. Maybe this was the reason why I endeavored to excel in my academics so I could prove that I am best at something else. LOL.

I have had my fair share of rejections in life. Trust me when I say this. Oh dear, don't get me started with this one. But I guess the most painful kind is that coming from your family who you thought would be your first line of defense - the one who will fight for you. Though mine was a subtle kind of rejection in the form of bullying (LOL), I could imagine how it must have felt being doubted by the people you thought know you best.

Albeit our relationship is not perfect, I am just grateful now that through the years, my family has really become my source of  strength and support. Even though I live far from them for most of the recent years, I could always feel the love and encouragement from my home. This gets me through everything.

And for this, I thank God for the gift of my family.

Inspired by the Gospel from Matthew 13: 54-58

The Dash

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Have you ever pondered on how you want to spend that little dash in between the 2 significant dates in your life?

I once wrote a good friend a eulogy on his birthday. Funny that I never thought someone else would also be interested to know what people have to say about him on his funeral, supposedly. But yes, I have always wondered what my life here on earth meant for the people I crossed paths with. 

To make a difference in the lives of others, this, to me is my utmost calling. Knowing that I am able to help someone in my own little way is like a music to my ears. It just inspires me all the more to reach out to people to offer what little hope I can share even when I am uncertain of some things in my life; to give selfless love amidst my own longing for the same. 

We all have a calling in this lifetime. Whatever role we are into, whichever hats we may wear, day in and day out, there is always an avenue for us to make an impact on other people. It is really up to us on how we make the most of our lifetime here on earth.

"Lord, teach us how short our life is
that we may become wise..."

Inspired by the Gospel of Matthew 13: 47 -53

The Inexplicable Radiance

Have you ever seen something so radiantly beautiful that you cannot help but gaze in awe of it?

I remember one particular instance when I was busy rushing to finish my work, this beautiful sunset just caught my attention. I had to stop whatever I was doing and just stare at it for the longest time. It was so stunning that it left me with a sense of inexplicable peace and joy. 

This lovely sunset reminds me of a dear sister who decided to give herself entirely to Jesus by pursuing a religious life. I saw a photo of her wearing brown dress as a novice. She looked so beautiful to me.  She has this distinctive aura that draws me to her. Seeing her happy convinced me that she has truly found "the one whom her soul loves". It is almost the same glow that I notice in couples on their wedding day.

I believe there is this radiance that we exude whenever we have God's Love, Joy and Peace in our heart. And often we cannot contain them to ourselves - we just have to give and share it to the people around us. It is like being the light that illuminates the world - the one to ignite souls. 

This reminds me of my favorite prayer from Mother Teresa of Culcutta:

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.

And as I walk through life, I pray that I may see Christ's light in every person I meet and that I may also be the light of Christ to others.

Inspired by the first reading from Exodus 34: 29 -35

God's Best is yet to come!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I remember my mom would always tell me this with conviction and my heart would leap in joyful anticipation:

"God's BEST is yet to come!

Not just anyone's best but God's Best.

Earlier today, I went to mass for my much needed daily spiritual boost. I remembered praying for God to lead me and fill me with His presence.

I then went to the bookstore to get myself a new journal starting this August.

And guess what I first laid my eyes on?

Wow! God's answer came on the dot! What a timely affirmation!

I admit that when times get tough and none of my plans are going well, I tend to easily feel disheartened. I am weak that way, I know. I always forget that I have a limited view of things. I could not see the whole picture right away. And  I will have only understood it better on the hindsight like an 'aha' moment. Then I find myself declaring, "I would not have wanted it in any other way Lord, but your way!"

You know when we feel like we know exactly what we want and we think that that's the best for us? Uhm.. It is not always true for me. In fact, that's when I am often mistaken and had to be redirected.

All that to say, I have come to a point when I would look back on where I used to be before and find myself amazed at the wonders that God has done for me. Where I am now used to be just what I prayed for before and even way better. Thank God for His works in me! He just knows best!

My life is not perfect and I may be far from where I should be but I trust that God is leading me to where He wills me to be. In His Perfect Time.

So whenever things seem out of my reach or grasp, I just close my eyes and claim in my heart that God's Best is yet to Come! Amen! :)

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—

1 Corinthians 2:9

---My Faithful One--- A Blog to Remember

My heart was pounding as I knelt at the church praying for the grace to say the right words and feel the right emotions. Thank God I made it through and had received the answer that I have been praying for all this time. Grateful that I have come across that path at some point in my life. I know God has His reasons for everything. I am ever so thankful to everyone who passes by my life and leaves a mark in my person. I could only offer my prayer hugs for now...

Coming from an answered prayer the day before, I prayed in silence for another one. I anxiously waited for the doctor to arrive. 2 weeks prior to that appointment, we agreed that if my test results were good, I will not hear from her. Early that week, I got a call from the nurse asking me to see the doctor as soon as I could. I had been feeling sharp pains every now and then and I knew something was wrong.. 

The doctor sat down and looked at my lab results. Her eyes were fixed on the monitor as if she was reading something seriously - that's what it seemed to me. Finally, after what felt like eternity, she took a deep breath and said as calmly as she could, "OK, Kristine.." I was all ears to what she explained to me. According to her diagnosis, I got a condition that is NOT life-threatening but could be life changing for me... She offered me a permanent cure but it was not an option for me now... not yet... "Oh dear God, No." I cried buckets of tears that night. It is all that my heart is yearning for. I just can't...

I spent the next few days silently taking 'it' all in. One after another. Praying that I may see the light at the end of all these. God answered me right away. He knew I would be needing people to help me through. He sent wingless angels to remind me of His Love and Faithfulness towards me. 

The night I got my first answer, a sister in my community whom I have not spoken to for years, had called to pray over me. Her prayer affirmed to me that God truly hears what only my heart could contain. Every word she uttered just felt like it was my own. And everyday after that, there is always a kind soul reminding me of the same thing which I believe in my heart to be true:


It is for this reason that I am writing this blog here so that years from today, I will revisit this post and look back at a point in my life when things seemed impossible and my faithful God healed me and brought forth great things into my life. 

For every door that closes on me, God will open the floodgates of heaven to pour His blessings upon me. 

For every pain I endure, God will bear it with me. 

For every desire I keep in my heart, God will satisfy it exceedingly. All in His most perfect time.

Not because I am faithful but because He is Faithful! 

"I have loved you with an everlasting love and so I still maintain my faithful love for you." 
Jeremiah 31:3

And so I will be still knowing that my God is Faithful...