Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On the Road to Spiritual Recovery

          A warning: This is not some scholarly post wherein I write my sentences as carefully as I would tiptoe for food at night. I'd like to release these flurry of thoughts that are being suppressed in my head lest it explodes.

God is amazing.

          As in I can seriously tell that now, with all certainty. Though in the past, I said it word for word and not really internalizing deeply the gravity of that statement. After the second Bible Study session, I have learned my purpose in life.

What is my (your) purpose in life?

          It is often too intimidating a question. I wrote intimidating not because it is difficult to answer but rather it is a question to ponder about in which the answer is not readily available, hence anxiety ensues. During that bible study, I was at a loss for words. I wanted to answer the question immediately and knowing me, I'd answer - graduate, find a decent job, help out my family and relatives and hopefully migrate to US. But I felt, that time it was not the right answer to give. So, I kept quiet and I decided to say that, 'No, I don't know the answer.' But I learned, like really learned my purpose in life is just three major things:

1. Connect to God.
2. Connect to others.
3. Connect others to God.

          While I was hearing that, I immediately thought of the transitive property of equality wherein, if a = b and b = c therefore a = c. But that's just beside the point. At first, I could not discern the meaning of those three and how could I apply it to my life. I was thinking, connecting to God means removing my bad habits and regularly going to mass. It would also mean I have to talk to Him at least every night and read the Bible. I cringe slightly at that kind of lifestyle. I mean, I am a lover of books but I don't like to read the Bible. I stay away - thinking that the words cannot be understood and the context would be too hard to decipher. I usually just do the sign of the cross before sleeping and proceeding on reading fanfictions at night. Connecting others mean reconciliation with my enemies/ex-friends. And there I really was frightened. I kept telling myself I was not ready to forgive them, or reconcile with them for that matter. I felt the buried bitterness - I mean man, I just understood how deep something was if it was buried - resurface and I just couldn't let it all go in one swoop. I mean, I take delight in talking about them with my friends and to think of giving it up, wow it was as hard as deciding which to eat first: A box of Ferrero Rocher or the huge bar Cadbury chocolate. And if those two already made me cringe at the near impossibility, the third one just made me sigh in defeat. I told myself, oh God I couldn't possibly do that. Or more accurately, oh God, I don't know how to do that. In short, I was hard for me to decipher that - especially if it was really my purpose in life. I was so lost in defeat that I just decided to hear out the facilitator regarding other matter.

          It wasn't until he said the very words - Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3). I was enlightened at that. 'Oo nga noh? I don't have to do everything alone. Ayan si God, o, hinihintay lang ako.' I suddenly became lively at that. And somehow, those three things did  not seem that impossible until five minutes ago. The facilitator also told us to pray for ourselves. To help us remove the Pride that has rooted itself in our hearts. Actually, I was reading the bible last night and I came across this verse in the Gospel of Mark which says, 'and Jesus said, whatever comes into the person from the outside will not make him unclean. If he ate bad food, it will just be digested and expelled soon after. But what makes a person unclean is what comes out from within him. Because it is from within his human heart, that evil thoughts come - greed, stealing, murder etc. All these things make him unclean.' So after the bible study, I kept in mind those three things and decided to just completely surrender to Him. I told God bahala ka na sa buhay ko. Let your will be done. Please remove the pride from my heart and help me cultivate a humble heart. Afterwards, these series of events happened to me:

1. Talking to God anytime, anywhere
2. Reading the bible
3. Not opposed to the thought of the Holy Mass
4. Stronger Faith
5. Keep temptations at bay (and not succumbing)

          I was really amazed at how I turned out to be. I am totally guilty of mocking and scorning those people before who proclaim the Word of God and I really think, 'ang corny naman niyan. I don't need to do that to be connected to God. Blah blah blah.' But I realized, it was not right. They were simply very blessed and they are sharing their experiences. The things I couldn't do before - declining temptations, reading the bible, talking to God - are now easily done as if it was a part of my routine. It's amazing to think that all it takes is real complete surrender to Him. Then the teachings of my high school CLVE teacher were coming back to me in bits and pieces and whatever I am applying in my life now, he had said before. I was just too lost in my own self-righteousness and pride to think, this is what it really means to surrender completely. Even the thought of reverting back to my old habits seemed like a far-fetch thought now. I feel at peace within myself. Although I can't say I'm well-versed in the Bible already, I am working my way into it. In retrospect, I was able to accomplish the two things that define my purpose in life.

What about the last one?

          Just this Monday night, I was thinking about how to connect others to God. As I've said, those three things didn't seem impossible, considering I was able to accomplish the two. Then we three kids were asked to fold the pile of clothes on the sofa. After which, our conversation drifted to the movie Prometheus. Having learned about the diabolical meaning of it after reading some reviews, I was surprised at how my brother was praising the concept of the movie. I knew it was brilliant and I praised the movie in the past but it seemed so wrong at that time. And then he proceeded on telling me he does not care about the religious references and other religion-related concepts that could sour the movie. And I was aghast. To cut the story short, I was able to share to my brothers how that movie was a mock-allusion of The Creation and even pointed out obvious references to the events. And I felt a surge of relief at that time, for I was able to share to them a snippet of my spiritual 180 degree turn and I hope that they, too, will be inspired. It was really amazing what Faith can make us do. Good deeds are products of one's Faith to the Lord. Because when you surrender you life to Him, your life's purpose will always root back for Him. Whatever you do, think and say, it is all for Him. Did God teach us to do bad things for Him? No, definitely we'll do good deeds. And that is saying something. Because God's sole commandment is to love Him and love others as we love ourselves - as God loves us.

          So, there. God is truly amazing. And He gives us the things we pray for in good time. And I've never been this glad to return to Him. It was like the story of the Mustard seed. A farmer was sowing the seeds. Some went on the dry ground, some went on the good soil. Some others went to the thorny bushes and some were taken by the raven swooping by. At first, I was like the mustard seeds that were on the dry ground. There was no soil for them to plant their roots, and in turn they die. Though I hear and rejoice upon hearing the Word of God, I don't last long. I revert back to my previous self. But I am hoping to be the mustard seed being regrown in the good soil.

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