Contemplation is the highest expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant Source.
– Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. (New York: New Directions Books, 1961) p. 1
..the true contemplative is not the one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect or anticipate the word that will transform his darkness into light. …
He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God. – Thomas Merton
I think God’s dream for us is to be flawless as this camellia. If only we’ll allow him to have a free hand on us … which can happen when the heart is still.
I found this in one of my auntie’s collections of notes and books about leadership. It’ from a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the Children’s home in Calcutta.”
A N Y W A Y
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered,
LOVE THEM ANYWAY
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
DO GOOD ANYWAY
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow
DO GOOD ANYWAY
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,
HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,
GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY.
And my auntie Tess did just that.
This is the best time to walk around University of the Philippines Diliman Campus – the time between the final exams of the students and the Holy Week. I was greeted by these serenity last Saturday.
Acacia trees manning the road
I love trees. Trees are always serene and calming. They make me stop thinking. They make me go back to my default mode.
- Between the lagoon and the administration building
It's obvious who can endure the summer heat
Yes, it’s time to prepare oneself for the Holy Week.
The love story between Yahweh and the Jewish people were almost all in the context of the Jewish people on the move. “God never wanted us to stay in one place; otherwise He would have created us to grow roots” says a travel guide to Jerusalem.
We are pilgrims here on earth; don’t fall in love with the place. That’s what the church teaches or at least something like it. God indeed must have created us to be always in motion; never to stay where we are; never to stay the way we are. While we are still on this earth, we are not supposed to “arrive”. We are not supposed to get stuck at our misery or the joy of being called to a vocation.
I think God calling us to this life is like the experience of some of the believers called by Jesus to become His disciple. Like the believers we responded with great enthusiasm, with great pride at being chosen and for being invited to come and learn more from Jesus. This is a call to FAITH. But this is just the first stage of our relationship with God.
Some of the disciples became Jesus’ friend, savoring everything that Jesus reveals to them about the love of the Father. I thought what joy could be greater than to be Jesus’s friend. This is an invitation to intimacy with God. But this is not the end of our journey. We wish of course this is it.
Our life of prayer’s ultimate aim is to transform our relationship with Jesus from FRIENDSHIP to LOVE to SERVICE. The fruit of prayer should not just be the love that is of “love till it hurts” type but the love that is of “not just the fruit but the tree as well” type, the type that offers oneself to God totally, no more, no less, in total trust.