Friday, February 24, 2012

Hotdog Love!

Last month, our parish had a planning session at an out of town retreat house.  As I had  already begun my 90-day meatless fast then, I was hoping that at least some of our meals at the venue would have non-meat options.  However, on the first day, it was all chicken, beef or pork from breakfast to dinner! 

But I didn't really complain -- after all, I am on this fast for a purpose.  I just found other ways to make sure I got food in my tummy: for breakfast, I had "butter asukal" (our nickname for bread with butter & sugar); for lunch, I had crab & corn soup with rice; for dinner, I put the sauce of the meat dish on my rice for flavor and ate the side veggies that came with it. :-)

The next morning, God had a very unexpected surprise for me!  At breakfast, I was happy to see that there was daing na bangus (salted and dried milkfish) on the buffet table.  I also saw some hotdogs and I think tocino or longganisa (I don't remember), but of course, I just skipped over those and proceeded to get myself some suka (vinegar).  I was happily eating my fish when the big surprise came -- one of my tablemates said that the hotdogs were actually made out of TUNA.

"Tuna hotdogs???" I thought incredulously.  I'd never heard of them before! (haha, I obviously don't watch much TV!)  I thought that maybe my friends heard the food servers wrong.  So I went back to the buffet table to ask them myself.  And they confirmed that indeed, it was a Tuna hotdog!

Gosh, that moment sure felt a lot like Christmas!!! :-)  I imagined it was God who personally served me those hotdogs on a silver platter (aka food tray)! I was so giddy-happy at this discovery, that I couldn't stop smiling all throughout my meal. I even had some reserved, in case lunch would turn out to be 'meaty' again (which it was).  

I think it's really so cool how God shows His love to us in many different ways -- and I totally love His AWESOME sense of humor! 

Monday, February 20, 2012


...not as in "relocated" or "changed posture or position" -- 
but rather, "stirred the emotions."

This is what Our Lady of Fatima did to us when she visited our parish a month ago.


St. James the Great was blessed to host the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima for an overnight vigil.  Upon her arrival, many parishioners welcomed her via a motorcade which went around the various Marian grottos and schools inside Ayala Alabang -- with the final destination being of course, the church.

The school where I work, The Learning Child, was asked to be one of the route markers for this motorcade.  And so days before her arrival, we prepared some big and small white flags to wave in the air when she passed by.  

When she finally came, it was a special moment for everyone.  As we waved our flags and lit some candles, the kids sang: 

"Dear Lady of Fatima, 
we come on bended knees,
To beg your intercession,
For peace and unity..." 

People who were part of the motorcade shared with us afterward, how MOVED they were at the sight of all of our students lined up on both sides of street in front of our school, welcoming Mama Mary with big smiles and white flags all around. 


After a night of vigil and prayers, where parishioners took turns with hourly slots, it was time for Our Lady to move on to her next visit.  And so we celebrated a "Farewell Mass" at 7:30 am.  The church was jam-packed with devotees of our Blessed Mother, and that was in spite of an also filled-up church in the usual 6:20 am daily morning mass! 

From the very start of the mass, I found myself MOVED to tears!  I couldn't explain why, but the tears just kept coming, quietly flowing down my cheeks.  Then I noticed how people around me were also crying!  Women AND men alike... people both young and old -- were all simply MOVED by her loving, motherly presence.  

Throughout the whole mass, I would see from the corner of my eye, someone drawing some tissue paper out of their bags; someone wiping their eyes with the back of their hand; someone dabbing their cheeks with Kleenex.  I have never seen so many people MOVED to tears at a Eucharistic celebration!

It was overwhelming!  A beautiful, good, wonderful kind of overwhelming.  

Likewise, tears were in everyone's eyes as they carried her out of the church through the center aisle.  As she passed where I was standing, I gazed up at her and felt such joy and warmth in my heart! 

* * * * *

After the mass, I recalled what was written on the sign that was placed at the foot of her image, which stood at the front of the church, near the altar.  It read:

"Please do not touch her,
She will touch you."