Saturday, November 26, 2005

Paglikom ng mga Ulap

Bumalik siya sa tuktok ng gusali kung saan siya pumupunta kapag umaakyat sa Baguio. Naroon pa rin ang dalawang mababang upuan na ipinuslit nila galing sa lobby ng hotel. Bakas pa rin sa sa mga upuan ang anino ng tangke na tila hindi ginalaw ng panahon. Umuugong pa rin ang pump na nagpupuno ng tangke ng tubig—isang tunog na nakagawian na. Naroon pa rin ang nangingitim na lampshade, umiitim sa alikabok ng sadyang paglimot. Sira na ito at wala itong naidadagdag na ilaw, ngunit hindi maipaliwanag na nakapagpapaganda sa mood ng lugar. Malamig pa rin ang hangin na nagdadala ng ulap kahit na tanghaling tapat. Hinay-hinay na umaakyat ang ulap na galing sa katimugan, hanggang sa natakpan na nang tuluyan ang tanawin na nakapalibot sa tuktok ng gusali. Ganitong-ganito noong nagkita sila.

Taun-taon umaakyat siya sa Baguio para takasan ang init sa Maynila. May mga tatlong taon na rin siyang pabalik-balik sa hotel na ito. Gusto niya ang hotel na ito dahil nasa tuktok ng bundok at ‘di gaanong pinupuntahan ng mga tao. Maganda rin ang pakikitungo ng mga staff sa kanya, lalung-lalo na ang mga kalalakihang staff dahil sa kanyang makinis na pisngi. Nagdadagdag ito sa kanyang angking ganda na pilit niyang tinatago. Nagmistulang munting kaharian niya tuloy ang hotel na ito. Ngunit sa taong ito, may nanghimasok dito.

Wala namang kamangha-mangha sa taong nanghimasok. Kagaya niya, aksidenteng natuklasan ng lalake ang tuktok ng gusali. Medyo nainis nga siya na may nakatuklas pa sa lugar na ito. Ngunit sino nga naman siya na magtataboy sa kanya? Hindi naman niya pagmamay-ari itong espasyo. Hindi niya lang alam, na ang pagtango niya sa wariy pagpaalam ng lalakeng na makibahagi sa kanyang munting kaharian ay magdudulot din ng pagbabahaginan ng kanilang buhay.

Sa mga sumunod na taon, pinasok niya ang buhay ng lalake. Isa pala siyang empleyado sa isang kompanya tatlong gusali lang ang layo sa pinagtatrabahuhan niya. Dahan-dahan din niyang nakilala siya. At dahan-dahan din niyang natanggap ang pagkatao nito, pati na ang nararamdaman niya.

Sa mga taong dumaan, hindi na siya mag-isang umaakyat sa tuktok ng gusali. Taun-taon, bumabalik sila doon sa takdang araw na una silang nagkita. Sa bawat pag-akyat nila laging nababalutan ng ulap ang tuktok ng gusali, hanggang sa hindi na nila nakikita ang tanawing nakapalibot dito. Hindi naman ang tanawin ang gusto niyang tingnan, kundi ang mga mata ng kanyang minamahal. Nagmistulang kumpisalan ang dalawang upuan. Dito nila dahan-dahang ibinabahagi ang mga bagay-bagay sa isa’t-isa.

Sa bawat taon, may nalalaman silang bago tungkol sa isa. At sa taong ito, nagaganyak siyang malaman kung ano na naman kaya ang ibabahagi ng kanyang minamahal.

Ngunit, nag-iba ang mga pangyayari. Tumawag siya sa kanya para ipaalala ang kanilang pag-akyat sa susunod na buwan. Sa tatlong taon, wala siyang naranasang ganito. Nagulat siya sa tono ng pananalita ng kanyang minamahal, na para bagang nayayamot pa. Napakabilis na dumaan ang mga sumusunod na pangyayari. Ang inaasam-asam niyang katotohanan tungkol sa minamahal ay nabatid na niya bago pa man sila tumungo ng Baguio.

Unti-unting nabalot ng makapal na ulap ang kagandahan ng tanawin na nasa likod nito. Ang kagandahang pilit na tinatakpan sa paglikom ng mga ulap. Ang kagandahang nakaligtaan niya, dahil lamang sa mapalinlang na maputing ulap.

Bumalik siya sa Baguio at sa tuktok ng gusali hindi para itayo muli ang kanyang kaharian kundi tuluyan nang isara ang mga pintuan nito. Hindi na niya maitatayo pa ang kahariang ito. Nagsimula ang lahat sa pagkalabo ng mga tanawin; natapos din ito sa pagpalibot ng mga ulap.


ni Neo Saicon, SJ
June 19, 2005


* This was my first attempt to write a lovestory in Filipino. This is almost like a synopsis of a real short story or a novel. Send me feedback guys!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My Photo Blog

Hey Guys! I might not have told you that I have a Photoblog. Try to visit it at picinspirations.blogspot.com or try clicking it on the side links named, PicInspirations: A Photo Blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Renovation of Vows

Tomorrow, I will renovate my vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. As my vows are perpetual, I do not renew them. I renovate them. It is more of a devotion for us who are not professed members of the Society of Jesus. This tradition of renovating our vows comes all the way from St. Ignatius' time. When he instructs those who do not have final vows, but have first perpetual vows to renovate the vows, not to renew, but to remind them of the promise they have made and so that they will draw more fruit as they live the vows. Tomorrow, as I renovate my vows, I especially beg for the intercession of Mary, mother of the Society, to continue to pray for me and my batch. There is still a long way to go, and we need all the help we could get. And I believe, that our Mother's intercession will not fail us. I honor Mary for continually preserving me in my faith and in my vows, even if I sometimes forget about it. Mary, mother of the Society, pray for us.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Great Price

Paderewski, Ignace Jan, He was a Polish pianist, who began playing the piano at age 3. He composed his first opera at age 7. He is noted for being the pianist who practiced daily. His friends admired his dedication to his chosen profession, but were also worried because he might overwork his hand. Thereby, his career would be affected.

One day, someone asked Paderewski, “Why do you practice everyday?”

Paderewski replied,

“If I skip practice for a day, I notice it.

If I skip practice for two days, my colleagues notice it.

If I skip practice for three days, everybody notices it.”

Today’s reading my sisters and brothers, makes the same point about following Jesus. We have found the great price, who is Jesus. Following him demands total, daily commitment.

Our vocation, whether we be called to the religious life or married life, demands total and daily commitment. Being a family man demands all of your time. Being with your wife or being with your kids, is a daily effort to nurture the relationship with them. For us religious, constancy in prayer, being open to the formation and diligence in our apostolate demands constant, daily effort from us to nurture the relationship with Christ. We are all called, whether we are in the state of religious life or married life, to nurture our relationship with our Lord, daily.

Yes, we may have found the pearl of great price. We have followed its light, we have left our family and friends. But there are times when we ask ourselves, where is God? I have made such a great leap of faith and yet I do not see anything new. I believe the challenge for us, is constancy and a daily commitment to hear and follow Christ.

Our Founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, may not have said or preached about constancy in prayer life. But, truly he lived that out. He knew that following his newly found master would require total and daily commitment. He knew that a relationship like this should be nurtured, daily. That is why, for many, and if not all Jesuits, professed or novices, the twice a day examen of consciousness is very important. We try to see where God moves us, where God leads us. It then becomes our daily nurturing of the relationship; the pearl of great price that we have found.

Being the last sharer, I know you have heard much of our founder. I do not wish to overload you with too many details about him. Lest anyone here wants to join us. But to summarize: He was a man who had almost everything in his time. He had a name, known to many principalities and royalties. He had wealth, from his family’s estate. He had skills needed as a courtier of his time. Perhaps he lived a very prominent life after all. However, he left everything. The name, the fame, the fortune, and yes, the women. Everything for his pearl of great price, his newly found master.

St. Ignatius undoubtedly found the pearl of great price, sold what he had in the world and bought it. But, he did not just stop there. When he acquired it, he did not just leave it at some place and hid it. He tried to protect it, to take care of it, to nurture it, daily.

Let us ask ourselves then, how do we nurture our relationship with God, who is our pearl of great price? Whether we be lay o religious, I believe we have a common answer. Daily Prayer. No other way could we nurture such a relationship, but through prayer. Daily prayer. It may come in different forms, for us Jesuits, the daily meditation and examination of conscience, for lay, we have the formula prayers, or scriptural prayers or simple conversations with God, could be our prayer. No matter what kind of prayer we use, as long as it is daily.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Have we been constant in nurturing on relationship with the pearl of great price?
  2. Where do we tend to hold back in our following Jesus?

To end my sharing, let me then rephrase what Paderewski said,

“If we hold back on our daily prayer for a day, we notice it.

If we hold back for 2 days, friends notice it.

If we hold back for 3 days, all notice it. “

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.

**This is my first ever homily that I made as a novice of the Society of Jesus. I did not edit it so that you will see the difference between this and the succeeding shared homilies.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Who do you contemplate?


Grace is something that is from within. It is treasured and implanted there ever since God created us in His very own image and likeness. Our consolation-graces are something that is from within. By and through prayer, it surfaces. It affects us. It moves us. By enabling it to surface, to affect, and to move us – simply by relishing and savoring those graces – we allow ourselves to become more of who we are. We allow that Christic-self to penetrate our whole being. Thus, in the long run, we experience genuine conversion – a conversion not of change but of becoming more of the One whom we contemplate, Christ.

Who do you contemplate?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Passion: Photography


31 October 2005


I have always been captivated with the camera. How it captures a single piece of human drama and preserving it for the future. It captures an event that will never happen again. The lenses beckon me to take part in its undertaking. I have marveled at how photographers just click their shutters praying they took the shot well. While I, on the other hand, is inhibited by the one exposure I will waste. I have loved photography ever since, but it never seemed to be on my priority list. I get captivated by shots taken by a point-and-shoot camera, but never dared to buy my own one. Films are so expensive that I don't buy them unless it's part of a project's budget.

And so when beautiful scenes unfold before my eyes, I just wonder how they'd look like on a photo paper, on my wall, and for a second, I try to be the lense of the camera. Trying to get it exactly as I see it. Storing it in my brain and hopefully trying to recreate it. I have always wanted to just click away without thinking how much it's gonna cost nor think about how will I get a new film.

Then, digital cameras came into being. At first, I too enjoyed the convenience and instantness of the camera. How one can see immediately what one just took. The easy storing and the cheapness of it. You don't have to develop them. You can take enormous pictures. You just have to download them when you have no more spaces. But something tells me otherwise.

The thrill of the SLR's never seems to be replicated by a digital camera. You know the feeling when you just click on the scene and hope you got it right? When you have to wait till the roll is done and run to the developer, trying to see it everything is good? That even the one day wait seems to make you on your toes? This is what I feel when I take a picture. Which a digital camera will never do. I have worked with digital cameras and I like them too. But call me old fashion, I still prefer the SLR. Even if it's slow, even if it is expensive. Even if it does make you jittery. I like it.

Photography is an art and a skill. An art that artists value most since not everybody can have what the artist have. It is looking at something from a different perspective. Reflecting on it. Contemplating upon the subject. Loving it and finally, storing it on his film. A skill which real photographers engrave in themselves. A skill at looking things differently. Technique wise, there are shots the SLR's take that is not replicated by a digital camera. And it takes a great deal of skill and reflection to get that shot.

Where will this photography go? In the long term, I am looking at a calendar with my best pictures on it. But for now, I am just enjoying the thrill.