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.

 

Salamanca

One of the things I am most thankful for during this trip is the daily mass with Fr. Jan, he is our spiritual director during this trip. He said during his homily today that Jesus always challenges us to look beyond the physical and towards the spiritual. He challenged us to open our faith and to live it like it’s your name. “Show it to the world and do not be afraid.” I can honestly say that it is one of my weakness… showing my faith and living it beyond closed doors… but I am working on it.

As we left behind Fatima (for now), we drove to Salamanca to see this beautiful city (I might even consider going to school here). It holds one of the oldest universities and the architecture is just amazing! I cannot help but feel in awe of this creation! God truly works through amazing people!

I do feel a bit tired, we lost an hour again, so I am 8h off my body clock now. A pilgrimage is not a vacation at all. You learn a lot about the city and also increases your faith through the journey.

Thank You for showing Your magnificence through these amazing art and architecture.

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.

#BestLentEver – Day 28. Rope.

I’m the rope, the tug of war between Jesus and the world. Most of the time I fall on the side where the world would always pull me closer and closer, but Jesus just won’t let go.

I really beat myself up when I think about how I do well at work and try to be an efficient and better employee, but when Jesus calls me to Him, I remember and then forget easily! Why? I hate it so much. It’s so easy for me to forget about God, but pleasing my boss and the people I work with- I work so hard for.

Okay… I’m not a bad. And I mean it when I say I’m serious with my faith. However, as I just said multiple times before, I am just a very distracted person. I know what I need to work on. I just need more of You, Lord. Help me desire more of You.

PFM. PFW.

#BestLentEver – Day 14. Decisions.

“Where do you want to eat?”

…is one of the questions that I always have a hard time deciding. There are just so many options out there that I just can’t miss out on. And when I do finally decide on where to eat, it is mostly based on what I feel.

I feel like telling you that you are useless. You are useless. (I wanted to tell one of my colleagues at work today. Forgive me Father.) Of course, I did not tell him. I called him out subtly, but I did not tell him how I felt. Why? Because it’s wrong to hurt other people.

Most of the time we focus on our feelings so much that we base our decisions on what we feel. We forget that decisions should be based on the answer to the question, “what will make me a better person?” Or if it’s a long term, more difficult decision, “what is the next loving thing to do?”

No. We do not ask those questions, because most of us are impulsive beings. We’re not perfect. We don’t always make the right decisions, but being able to make the right decisions comes with practice of the mind and heart. Mind, by knowing God and heart, by loving God.

Help me to know and love You more.

Pray for me. Pray for the world.