Posts Tagged ‘Reflections’

Reflection on ‘PAIN’

June 6, 2009

I have watched the movie “G.I. Jane” (1997) more than twice.  I caught it either on HBO or Star Movies.  

In that movie, Command Master Chief John James Urgayle (played by Viggo Mortensen) teases his wards of US Navy SEALS into quitting as he inflict pain.  To which he said:

“Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain?….It lets you know you’re not dead yet!”

But what about the pain that we feel when we lose a loved one?  The pain of being heart-broken? 

I continue with the Reflections of Fr. Arboleda.  Here he argues that pain is part of life.  It is a reminder to us of God’s presence and life without pain, isn’t life at all.

Read on…..

PAIN

 

Pain is one of those things that remind us always that all men are equal.  The young and the old suffer pain. The rich and the poor are visited by it.  The great and the humble are not spared by pain.  The great can rationalize over it but the humble knows how to bear it.  Indeed, there is no human being who is a stranger to pain.

 

There are those who suffer pain in their bodies.  There are those who suffer pain in their hearts.  And there are those who suffer it in their minds.  Pain is one experience that shouts to our ears how human, how vulnerable and mortal, and how much in need we are of others.  Pain, strangely, is one of those that mark our humanity.  It is one of those things that make people ever so lovable.

 

I surely do not wish that anyone should suffer pain of any kind.  Much less would I want to inflict it with malice on anybody.  But when it comes, both as sign of our humanity and as a signal warning us of our illusions, pain has to be welcomed.

 

Down to brass tacks, pain is a very demanding but generous customer.  When it comes, it does not leave us alone.  It claims for our attention and taxes our very person.  But if all the time it was there, we were patient, attentive and generous, it purifies us and makes us better persons.  Any person who knows how to suffer pain emerges from the suffering purified, even-tempered and a thousand times more compassionate.

 

There are times and moments when we have to savor loneliness and listen to what thoughts it brings to our mind, for such thoughts usually come from our innermost selves.  We sometimes reject them because they reveal the truth to us or are painful to face.  Moments of loneliness can be turned to moments of solitude with ourselves and with God.  We all need these moments for we cannot go on forever escaping from our own selves.

 

Many young men and women do not fine themselves because they hardly allow themselves a moment to be positively and creatively lonely.

 

It is sad that in spite of the advances of medicine, pain still belongs to our human vocabulary.  What is worse is that we have built the illusion that our world must become painless.

 

If we are wiling to embrace life for what it is, we should be willing to welcome pain, too, for life without pain isn’t life at all.  Pain is very much a part of life.  And God has not taken away pain in order that we may not forget Him and the Kingdom He promised us.  In fact, the greatest illusion a man can ever have is to believe that in this life, he can be perfectly happy.

 

Life on earth is but the beginning of life and pain is but a passage towards the fullness of life, which will come only when we are delivered of this life where we are imprisoned in matter, limited in our movements and bound in time and place.

 

Even as we live, we are being delivered unto life.  Just as there is pain when a woman gives birth to a child, so there will be pain even as this earth delivers us unto true life.  Pain is part of our deliverance.  If we welcome pain we shall be delivered unto life, God’s life.

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Reflection on ‘Joy’

May 8, 2009

Joy.  The burst of enlightenment.  The feeling you experience when someone, something makes the sun shine on your day.  I continue on sharing here the reflections of Fr. Arboleda in St Paul Publications “Prayers for Busy People”.

Here, Fr. Arboleda speaks that ‘Joy’ is God’s gift of life.  You wouldn’t feel that burst of enlightenment without God making you experience life.  Let us feel loved by our Creator, whenever we feel “joy”.  Read on…..

JOY

 

Joy is one of the most elusive of all human experiences.  You can’t catch it when you want it and you lose it even when you are already touching it with your fingertips.  But when you give up chasing it, it alights on your head, like a butterfly, and changes the world for you; the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the drab colorful and the workday special.  And you are taken aback, always in surprise, because joy comes when you least expect it.

 

Joy can come from many sources.  And most of where it comes from are ordinary and simple.  Joy can come from a smile, a kind word, the sunrise after a nightlong rain, a flower that blooms from a plant you’ve cared for, a long-lost friend met in a busy thoroughfare, a good meal, a moment of recognition.  Sometimes it also comes from silence.  But joy comes, it does come.

 

The only condition – and this is the most difficult to arrange – is that you yourself must be ready to welcome joy.  You must never lose your sense of wonderment and awe, your capacity for surprise and playfulness.  Joy does not come to those who have turned stiff not to those who have remained but superficial.  Joy comes when we are most childlike.

 

Joy comes to everyone: but it can fill us only by the amount of space we give it in our hearts.  Strangely, our hearts have been created by God not just with the capacity for joy; God has put in them also the longing and the yearning for joy.  Yes, the human heart is ever longing to be filled with joy.

 

The joke, however, is that when we focus our attention on the absence of joy in our hearts and if we spend our energies to fill that absence, we never will be truly joyful.  On the contrary, our awareness of the absence of joy even intensifies.  The least joyful persons are really those who spend a great deal of time and energy seeking joy.  They drive themselves chasing joy but joy is always a step ahead of them, so near and yet so far.

 

Joy is, first of all, a gift of life itself.  There is harmony in life.  Such harmony made earthly paradise what it was.  It is harmony of things, of all living beings where each has a place under the sun.

 

To anyone who seeks to restore such harmony to life, life pays joy in exchange.  It is enough to remember great persons and many others like them who may not be as famous, who have given or are giving their lives in order that social justice be established, exploitation stopped, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, the sick cured.  Doubtless, these people never lived easy lives; but one could easily see in their eyes the sparkle of inner joy.

 

Joy is a gift of God.  There are many things in life that cannot be appeased by things material.  There are many things in the human heart that, humanly speaking, cannot be erased.  Can a man who has betrayed his friend or wife be ever at peace?  Can a sinner be ever joyful as long as he lives in guilt?

 

Joy is God’s gift because joy is what comes when our guilt is taken away.  And only God can forgive our sins and can take away our guilt.

Reflection on “LIFE”

July 18, 2008

I came across this Reflection by Fr. Andres R. Arboleda, SSP, published in “Presence, Prayers for Busy People”  (St. Paul Publications, Makati copyright 1991).   I find it very meaningful especially to a person searching for the real meaning of life.  Read on.

Life is indeed, so short. And, oddly enough it is much shorter for those whose lives they find meaningful while it is too long for those whose lives they find meaningless.

Couldn’t it be that life is what meaning we put into it?

Now and then, I also ask what meaning has my life really. Often, I feel like I know but at other times, my thinking looks like a useless mental exercise. Life is just so vast, so full of mysteries that before I can put meaning to my life, part of it is gone and the meaning I try putting on it is already partly exhausted.

Life, so it seems, is like dry sand slipping through my fingers. When I try to hold on to it very tightly, as if squeezing it, it slips away faster. But when I try to cast it away, it sticks on my hands. Sometimes, I think, to appreciate life best, one has neither to hold on to it tightly nor to let it go so carelessly. The sand in the hourglass is life. It is better to let it flow freely, although not carelessly.

How we take life is often dictated by what priorities we have. And life, being so vast, offers everything which can be a priority to us. A student ever so eager to get out of poverty would say, “Life will be meaningless if I don’t finish my studies.” A terribly-in-love woman would say, “Should I lose him now, my life will be meaningless to me.” And an alcoholic, trembling with the urge to drink, would be ready to give anything he has, even his dignity, for a bottle of liquor. Then, there is this young ambitious businessman who desperately wants to make his first million before reaching forty. He easily forgets he has a wife, children and friends. Only the first million seems to matter.

But now, what are the things that last which could have real meaning in one’s life? St. Paul has spoken so eloquently about them:

If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecyand, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away … Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:1-3. 8-13)