Madrid and Guadalupe

I can’t get enough of this country… to the point that I have started researching how I can move here. No matter what the commotion around me everyday there seems to be a sense of peace inside of me–probably because of the blessing of all the churches I enter. They’re all beautiful… I cannot even pick a favorite because honestly I would not know which one to pick. As we went around Madrid today, one thing I started paying attention to, are the people. No matter how many tourists they have probably encountered–no matter if they know the language or not–they seem to have gotten used to it.

It’s amazing! We went on top of a mountain (I think) to visit Guadalupe where the Black Madonna resides, believed to be carved by St. Luke the Evangelist. We got to touch her relic too! (I really think I will be called Blessed Maria soon… haha) When I touched the relic, my heart skipped a bit and suddenly I felt the feeling when I pray in tongues. It’s like the Holy Spirit breathe through me. I’m not being dramatic here… we could not take photos or videos inside but the place itself is beautiful. The feeling is like a breath of fresh air after holding your breath under the water. I can’t think of better anecdotes. Must be the wine. I’m too tired. I miss home, but I also don’t. Now I am just out of it.

Lord help me find peace in my surroundings.

Avila & Toledo

We’ve been moving around so much in the past 5 days–moving from different cities and timezones–that sometimes we forget to take a breather and listen to how God is trying to reach out to us today. Being the youngest in the pack, people I am with tend to tell me things I should not even hear. I shrug it off and enjoy the trip anyway. However, I do understand where they are coming from. I love it and I hate it. I love it because everything is well prepared and done for you. I hate it because I simply don’t even have time to sit at one of the beautiful churches we visit in silence to pray. Even for just 5 min. There’s so much history in these cities… but really there’s so much of God you see in these places as well.

People, artists, architects, painters, etc. who made these are all God-inspired people. God is magnificent indeed.

Help me to focus on You alone.

 

Fátima

Had a nice 6h sleep.. all good and ready for an exciting day today! I’m the youngest in the group… like way younger (younger people should really consider joining these pilgrimages) to the point that my group treats me like I’m their child or something. They give me snacks, always tells me to stay with the group (I tend to wander off a lot), and since I’m by myself… they always invite me to sit with them. I’m practically in every photo because they invite me to also take pictures with them… not “of” them, but with them! God really is taking care of me, because that is one of my worries–being a loner in the corner.

Today, we drove around Fatima and visited the houses of the three children! It was a humbling experience… one for sure I would remember forever. I don’t know why but when I met Sr. Lucia’s niece… I felt teary-eyed and peaceful. She was so sweet! She even kissed me! I might be the next Blessed Maria… haha!

Today’s experience made me realize how blessed I am. We should always be thankful for experiences because through these experiences we are made to be better.

Thank You for helping me be a better version of myself.

Oh Lisbon!

I have been travelling for approximately 18h and counting. As I sat on the plane waiting to land in Lisbon airport, I could not help but say to myself… why is everything not going according to plan?

This is my first time to travel internationally by myself… and I’m kind of, sort of–freaking out. We had a delayed flight to Toronto so they had to reroute us to London instead. In London, I had almost missed my flight to Lisbon (got held up at security because of a yogurt I got on the plane), waited approx 1h and 30 min to get out of customs clearance in Lisbon, prayed really hard and asked for the intercession of St. Anthony, Mama Mary and St. Joseph for my luggage to appear at baggage claim. (I can handle anything but a lost baggage.) Thankfully, it was there waiting for me after an excruciating wait to get a stamp on my passport. Whew!

We got to our Fatima hotel and it’s right beside the Basilica! Oh how lovely! I fell in love with the place! As I sat and celebrated mass at the Basilica, where you can find the tomb of Jacinta and Francisco (isn’t that so cool?), I prayed and let go of all my troubles and worries and frustration. I told the Lord to help me be closer to Him during this trip no matter what happens next.

I can feel Your presence around me. Help me be more like You.

Portugal

I am going on a pilgrimage to Fatima. I am asking for your prayers. This is the first time that I will be traveling by myself (not really by myself because I am with a group of people I have not met yet). I am not a social person, used to be an anti-social, now I’m just a semi-anti-social (if that’s even a thing). I am feeling a bit worried, anxious, and excited all at the same time. Since I read the story about the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, I had since been intrigued about it. As I wait here today before I fly out, I can’t help but feel a little worried.

My flight to Toronto is delayed for another 2 hours… This means I will miss my Lisbon flight. I don’t know what to do so I’m just hoping and praying for the best. I know the Lord is with me in this trip so what could possibly go wrong right?

Here we go…

Jesus, I Trust in You

“Jesus, I Trust in You”

This has been a recurring message for me for years. I feel that no matter how deeply rooted I am in my faith, there is still a part of me that cannot fully let go and let God. I guess, it is safe to say that I am human after all. However, being human should not be an excuse to poorly imitate Jesus. No one is perfect or so the saying goes… but to be Catholic, to be Christian–our goal is not to achieve perfection, but Holiness. And what better way to achieve Holiness is to trust in the Lord! Trusting in the Lord is one of thing that all the saints have in common. They all trusted Jesus!

As we moved past Divine Mercy Sunday and the necessary survival of basic Christian journey, which is to always trust in the Lord, may we come to realize the significance of simply trusting the Lord. Why do we find it difficult to let go and let God? It is a necessary step to finding peace within yourself. When we do not trust in the Lord, we will get restless.

There had been days when I found it really difficult to get out of bed in the morning. What drives me to get out of bed? What drives me to go to work? What drives me to care? To be honest, I ask those questions not because my passion and drive comes from within my faith, no. Honestly my internal drive comes from some silly reason of “I care too much of what people think of me”. Most of the time, I find myself losing trust in the Lord because of what I think the people think about me. Do I even make sense?

I need to stop caring about what people think. I need to start letting go and letting God. I need to trust in the Lord. Trust in Him that He will always lead me in the right direction. I just hope I will be more than capable of letting go of the steering wheel.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Book Review)

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I got this book for free at one of our local parish, St. Bonaventure during the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. To be honest, I never liked reading biographies, because they simply do not interest me. I would only read biographies when I am doing a paper on that specific individual (which by the way I just really skim through). As one of the parish volunteers handed me the Mother Teresa book, I knew it will either become part of my pile on “want-to-read-books-but-don’t-have-time” bookshelf or simply the “donate-pile” books. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Mother Teresa and the work she had done. I admire her life, her ministry and her charity… I just rather prefer not to read about them, and just watch documentaries instead.

My perception changed as soon as I started reading the book, her character, her humility, and her kindness intrigued me. Father Maasburg’s preface about her caught my attention and I started reading… reading until I did not realize I could not put the book down. Her character is amusing and very interesting to read. The things she says are so genuine that the people she encounters truly sees Jesus within her.

Matthew Kelly once said, “Immerse yourself in things that make you the best version of yourself.” I can truly say that this book left me being the best version of myself, because it taught me to love, to see, and to look at others like Jesus.

Mother Teresa never made herself the center of attention. But when she was put in the spotlight by others–after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979–that was practically a perpetual state. She used the opportunity to point attention away from herself and toward Christ. (p. x)”