Tag Archives: Mary

Being There

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” John 19:26

One word made the difference — there.

The other disciples were not present.

The crowd was also absent.

This disciple was not.

He was there. He chose to expose himself. He let himself to be identified.

If he walked with Jesus’ mother, people must be talking about on how much he was close to the one nailed on the cross. If he stayed beside Mary all the time when her son was being tortured, the authorities must be on him with some suspicious looks. If he stood under Jesus’ feet on the cross, the people wishing Jesus’ death must have given him some serious stares.

The absentee disciples must have had real and true concerns regarding his safety. Or how about his brother, James? The one with John who requested to sit beside the Christ when he comes to his kingdom. He is nowhere near his brother during this time.

What we know clearly is this — the disciple whom Jesus loved, defied all these. He may have no recourse if and when they would come after him yet he knows this was the best time to follow his Lord. He may have not listened to the other disciples warnings, yet he listened to the Lord’s teachings to be faithful until the end.

You can be like John.

Expose yourself as Jesus’ follower. Let yourself be identified as his friend, as his disciple.

Walk with him even when it’s not popular. Be there for Jesus when nobody else is. Stand under him when everybody are over him.

You can make a difference in this life.

Just be there.

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Billie

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. Luke 1:48

She was a topnotch educator. She taught high school girls and she took them as they are yet brought them to their full potentials. Her approach to spending time with her students outside the four corners of the classroom seems to have bear fruits during those times. In verity, most of her high school students became her friends. She also handled values education for college students. Her students came to clinch the fact they are loved by God whatever they have done or whoever they are or wherever they came from.

She developed a scholarship program at one university which has benefited numerous current professionals inside and outside the Philippines. More than giving them academics, she formulated a skills education program or tutorial sessions, mostly things they would not learn in engineering, accountancy or computer science classes, for the scholars to work on every time they had vacation. She pushed for the scholars to give back to the school by assigning them to assist during enrollments and to the community by providing hours for social work. Benefactors living in the province or outside the country have maintained friendships with her even after she was transferred to another position.

She coordinated a national inter-university catholic movement for college students in Pampanga. The movement started in the university where she worked; however, it flourished to having branches in all four major college institutions in the province under her watch. She helped train young people to reach young people. She served with no reservations. With no compensation for this volunteer work, she even brings out of her own pocket to fund the activities. Out this movement, at least in Pampanga, born were two priests, and a herd of men and women, who have embraced life in Christ for their whole lives as long as they live.

She has a heart for her land. When Fr. Ed Panlilio declared his candidacy in 2007, she quickly offered what she can do for the campaign. She co-hosted the grand Miting de Avance in May of 2007. She was glued at the counting of the ballots in one turning moments of the elections. I saw her heart being poured in what she believed is right for the province.

When we moved abroad, she had to be a full-time wife and mother. I am on an employment-based visa thus she cannot work legally. Besides, having two small daughters required her to be a stay at home mom. She had only minor experience in household chores since we had her late mother plus a kind helper living with us when we were in the Philippines. I know this was not her usual territory. Cooking was an issue. House cleaning is a major concern. Preparing the girls for school is another. Doing the laundry and ironing clothes were part of the job description. Being the one who will sleep last at night and first to stand up in the morning was a struggle. She is on-call for our daughters’ school activities and other events.

After three years, she has defied the odds of being at home. Nowadays, her Bulalo is most wanted when there is a Filipino gathering. Her Tinola is my favorite. Her Filipino spaghetti is her daughters’ request. Her Maja Blanca and Ube porridge are the best. She learned how to prepare Bibingka and Leche flan as coached by her friends. She maintains our home in a more recognizable way. A beloved mother, our daughters have known her personally and closely more than when we were in the Philippines. She has also trained our daughters to help out in doing work at the kitchen or at the laundry room. Most of all, she continues to inculcate values to our daughters the way she have done before to other young people.

When things go out of the way we imagined, she clings to the anchor of faith to hold on to me. She keeps on reminding me on what God has done and what God is doing. She points not to herself but to the One who is able.

Her role might have been reduced in a sense yet she knew her part can’t be compensated for being a full-time wife and mom. She did not allow her self-esteem to roll into the ground. She did not see her value diminished. She did not rate her worth as naught. She does these things out of love for us not because she loves doing the household tasks. More than doing things with her hands, she does things from her heart.

In her lowliness, God has looked upon his handmaid and she is blessed. And we are all blessed.

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Mary Did You Ask?

She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7b

Did you ask, “Is this God’s Son or just my son?”

An angel told you the fruit inside your womb is of the Most High. He will take on the throne of David. He will rule and his kingdom will never end. Yet, here you are giving birth in a manger. No clean room or house is available, God allowed you to labor in a dark and cold stable. The Son of the Most High in a lowly place. The King in a servant’s abode. His never ending kingdom starts in a place where no princes have reside.

Did you ask, “Is this God’s plan or just another event bound happen?”

You heard from the angel you are favored. No accommodation was given to you when Joseph knocked on doors. No approbation as you traveled from one town to another. The only compliment you got is from four legged creatures. You took their place in that stable. No room at the inn. Labor in a manger. Favored?

No verse indicates you questioned God’s plan. No tradition telling us you pouted about what happened. You believed. You held God’s promise. You were undivided. You had one heart for God and his plan.

May we be like you. Undivided in faith. One heart for God. No questions asked.

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Magnify

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” Luke 1:46-47

To magnify is to enlarge a small object. To magnify is to cause something little appear bigger. This is what we do when we look at the planets or other hanging stuff in the universe. When you look at them, they seems small for they are far. If magnified, we see them nearer and larger. Our jaws drop as we see Saturn’s rings. We look in awe with Jupiter’s moons. How about staring at the reddish Mars. Or follow Armstrong’s footsteps on our moon. Seems small since far yet when magnified we gasped at their beauty and majesty.

Mary is familiar with this. Her soul magnified the Lord. She followed God all her life. Her body made God near. She was instrumental in getting Jesus from heaven to earth. Before she bore Jesus, His people needed a Savior from their sins. Before she had Jesus at the stable, God was insignificant and small among His people, His people have drifted away from Him. God chose Mary to magnify His presence on earth. Ask Jesus to turn water into wine. Bring Jesus to walk with His people. Get Jesus at a family’s dinner table. Give Jesus to die for their sins. God seems to be small because His people were far but through Mary, God was magnified and we gasped at His love and mercy.

Will you magnify God in your life? Make Him larger. Make Him near.

  • In your home, by your love for your family
  • In your workplace, by your words and actions
  • With your friends, be with them in their times of need
  • With your neighbors, pray for them even if they ignore you
  • With your community, when honeymoon relationships are over
  • With your church, do the unwanted service with a wanting heart

If God may seem to be small and far wherever you are right now, may His grace give you the conviction. Magnify Him.

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Dreaming Big and Dreaming Right

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25

He may have his dreams. Start a family with Mary. Love and take care of his wife. Build their home with their would be children.  With his trade of carpentry he would build their own furniture and home.  Every chair to be seated on, every table to be shared, every bed where to rest he might have some ideas what to do. However, Mary was found to be pregnant even before they live together. And this may have shattered Joseph’s dreams as he was planning to break the engagement quietly. Yet God has His dream for Joseph and His dream for him is big – be the earthly father of the Savior of the world.  This dream big and is not even comparable to any dream which Joseph might have thought of.  This dream is not only big, it is also the right dream. And as he awoke, Joseph did follow God’s big dream.

Dreaming big is a catch phrase among motivational speakers and spiritual preachers nowadays.  Go to YouTube and watch the motivational speaker shouting the exact phrase. Browse the website of a popular preacher and read through his outline on dreaming big. Deep inside us, we want to dream big. As they say in Filipino, “Libre ang mangarap” (“It is free to dream”).  And when you dream you do not dream small, you dream big. Brace yourselves with this – God dreams big for us.

His dreams for us are not only big but the right dreams for us and His kingdom. His dreams for us are not only for our good, His dreams for us are for our best!  Settling only for our dreams will hinder us to see His plans for us. Being satisfied with what we can achieve will prevent us in experiencing His larger than life dreams in our lives.  Limiting our plans within our boundaries will surely give us a good distance to travel however God’s dreams for us will get us pass  beyond that. Dream big and dream right, my friends.

Find rest and peace in God.  Sleep in God’s presence. Dream big for God.  Dream right for God. And when it time to wake up, go and do what God dreams for us.

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