Missionary of the Family: Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Random Thoughts: Voices From Yesterday and Today
by Peachy Maramba

Last January 22 I wrote an article on a truly outstanding and remarkable Saint. This diminutive nun known and loved all over the world as Mother Teresa though small in stature was “big in savvy”. She made it her hallmark to always perform the humblest services to the poorest of the poor. But so inspiring was her insightful message on the family that she also became known as a MISSIONARY of the FAMILY par excellence. Calling herself a tiny pencil in God’s hand she allowed Him to write a bold love letter to the people of the twentieth century. So without changing a word allow me to let Mother Teresa herself to speak to you in her own words.

A Letter of Love
“I am exactly this in the hands of God: a small pencil. It is God, Himself, who writes in His own way a letter of love to the world, by means of my work.”

The Family as a Domestic Church
Love begins at home. “The future of humanity passes through the family.”

Need for Real Family Life
Today in the world we have many homes all around and wherever I go I find this endless restlessness, disturbance, unhappiness . . . due to the lack of real family life, that loving thoughtfulness for each other, that tenderness for each other in our own homes, in our own communities. We have no time. Everybody seems to be in such a hurry.

Love the Children
We are talking of love of the child, which is where love and peace must begin. These are the things that break peace.

Our children depend on us for everything – their health, their nutrition, their security, their coming to know and love of God. For all of this they look to us with trust, hope and expectation. But after father and mother are so busy they have not time for their children, or perhaps they are not even married or have given up on their marriage.

So the children go to the streets and get involved in drugs and other things.
Let us make that one point – that no child will be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, or killed and thrown away. And so give love until it hurts.
Accept your children, love them, be happy to be with your children, give your time to them.

Pray Together
We must be contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we must bring that presence of God into your family for the family that prays together, stays together.

Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow through family prayer. Teach us to see Jesus as a member of our families especially in their distressing disguises.

Pray that we may be able to spread the love and compassion of Christ throughout the world. But let us begin in our own homes first and then with our neighbor. We try to pray our work by doing it with Jesus, by doing it for Jesus and by doing it to Jesus.

In their own simple way people pray; and the fruit of their prayers is the tenderness for each other.

So pray for us that we may not spoil God’s work. And you and I must share together in the work, and unite together at His feet offer our love and our service to serve Him and to love Him.

Love one Another
Jesus insisted that we love one another as He loves each one of us. Jesus gave His life to love us and He tells us that we also have to give whatever it takes to do good to one another. And in the Gospel, Jesus says very clearly: Love as I have loved you.”

Jesus died on the cross because that is what it took for Him to do good to us – to save us from our selfishness in sin.

He gave up everything to do the Father’s will – to show us that we too must be willing to give up everything to do God’s will – to love one another as
He loves each of us.

Tuberculosis and cancer are not the great diseases. A much greater disease is to be unwanted, unloved.

Today there is much suffering in the world and it is all due to being unloved and unwanted unkept… people having no time. And this is what we who belong to Christ, we Christians must penetrate and remove because God wants it of us, because God loves us all. And we must love them as He loves us; there is no greater love than this.”

It is so easy to love people that are far away. It is so easy to smile at people outside. It is so easy to take care of the people that you really don’t know well.

It is so difficult to be thoughtful, kind, loving and to smile at your own in the house day after day especially when we are tired, in a bad temper or bad mood. We all have our turn to see Christ coming to us in a distressing disguise.

We all thirst for the love of others
Do we really love one another? Are we holy in our own homes? Are we holy with each other in our communities?

Be Holy
Jesus said, “Be holy as My Father is holy, love as I have loved you. Holiness is not a luxury for a few chosen ones. Holiness is a simple duty for you and for me. And what is holiness? It is not something extraordinary, not something unusual, not something only for the few with intellectual powers who can reason and discuss, and read wonderful books.

Holiness is a simple duty for everyone of us; the acceptance of God’s will with a smile at all times, anywhere and anytime, to be able to accept whatever
He gives and to be able to give up whatever He takes.

Let us help each other by becoming holy. Only holiness – that deep personal love for Christ – can make us do things for them, with them and to them.

Know God
But we cannot serve and love Him unless we know Him. We must know
Him through prayer (and direct contact with the poor.) And that knowledge will lead us to love Him and love to serve Him.

Who is Jesus for you? It is all I am and have. It is my love, my life, the bread of my life.”

We have been created in His image
We must “put on Christ” as Scripture tells us. And so we have been created to love as He loves us.

What We Can Do
We must free ourselves to be filled by God. Even God cannot fill what is full. If we fill ourselves with self-love, pride, desires only for this world and its pleasures, then we will have no taste for things spiritual, the things of God which are for eternal happiness.

God will never forget us and there is something you and I can always do.
We can keep the joy of loving Jesus in our hearts and share that joy with all that we come in contact with.

Smile
What should be done to bring peace and joy into the world? “Smile at each other.” Let the husband smile at the wife, the wife at the husband.

Help us, O loving Father to take whatever You give, and give whatever
You take with a big smile. Let us always meet each other with a smile for the smile is the beginning of love.

“Always smile at the members of your families. Share mutually your time in the family. Smile to one another.”

Do Good to Others
God gives us peace of heart which comes from loving – from doing good to others.

It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.

“We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.”

Doing something small, very small, may in fact be our love of God in action.

Love begins at home and then it spreads out.

Be the Good News
On the last day Christ is going to judge us on our love for Him … on the understanding love we showed in our own homes, in our own communities.
So begin our love right in your own homes first and be that GOOD NEWS to your own people first.

As published in the February 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Let the Children Come to Me

by Yenyen Chan

My husband Rocky and I are parents to young children. As Catholic parents, we want them to experience the richness, joy and love of our Faith. To do this, we are constantly finding ways on how to show it to them. In the process, we have rediscovered our faith through the eyes of a child — with awe, wonder and excitement.

Our children love storytelling. The story of the Nativity or David & Goliath has never been as thrilling as when I read it with my children. They wanted to know what the road to Bethlehem was like. They wanted to know how fearsome Goliath was. I thought I knew these stories but when the children started asking questions, I had to find out more.

Our children are playful. They like to build and play with their dolls. Instead of making our home altar a hands-off area, we have found dolls of Mary and the Saints for them to play with (but still handle reverently). They know they could leave flower offerings or their artwork on the altar. The home altar is also their hands-on, up close cue for the Liturgical Seasons.

Before our children came along, the parish was where my husband and I grew our faith through the Sacraments and service. When the children came,
I initially felt that I didn’t need to bring them to the parish or should not bring them lest they get in the way.

But didn’t Jesus say, “Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them…”? Yes, I will now have a kid forgetting to whisper during Mass. Yes, another kid will pull on my hand right about Consecration to ask for a snack. But, bringing them to the parish has given them a chance to serve (Disaster Relief Operations), to pray with friends (Magnifikids), to be part ofthe Sacraments and to observe their parents and others practicing the Faith. Rocky and I take our responsibility to pass on the Catholic faith to our children seriously. We are blessed that the parish is finding more and more ways to include the youth. Parents and children, young and old need one another to nurture, strengthen and enliven each other’s faith.

Rocky and I take our responsibility to pass on the Catholic faith to our
children seriously. We are blessed that the parish is finding more and more ways to include the youth. Parents and children, young and old need one another to nurture, strengthen and enliven each other’s faith.

As published in the February 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Faith and Family Inseparable

by Letty Jacinto-Lopez

In my teens, I heard Sunday Mass, twice. My mother observed a fixed timetable that could not be altered, and so did my father. To follow their respective Sunday schedule, they heard mass separately, with me as the constant companion. Our family kept a reverent devotion to the Sacred Heart in addition to father’s regular trek to Malate Church where he got down on his knees and prayed to the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. Father, relieved, consoled and recharged always said, “Our Lady will make it right.” And she did. In little ways, different, indistinct and muted, we built our faith.

There was a caveat, however.

Faith didn’t exempt or shield any member of the family from dealing with life’s challenges. The road was fraught with temptation and confusion, sometimes saddled with pain so intense that the heart literally broke into pieces and the mind, blown to smithereens. Just when we seemed to have reached the end of the rope, Faith “kicks” in. It was the boost, that shot in the arm, that made us hold fast to the iron rod. For every problem, there’s a solution. You only need to put your trust in the Spirit which leads you to do good, as you break through a maze of shadows and come out into the light, peaceful light.

At the Iglesia de Juan Bosco, Costa Rica, I was taken by the sight of a father who gathered his wife and children into a group hug, and with heads bowed, gave thanks. It was how they honored love, strengthening the revered bond among family.

When the pilgrim relics of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin made their maiden visit to the Philippines, it drew attention to a peculiar love story. Here was an ordinary family strengthened by faith amidst trials, insecurities, and tragedies. The best tribute came from St. Thérèse herself, “The good God gave me a father and mother worthy of Heaven than of earth.” Her family was her steadfast inspiration to seek and serve God.

I imagine Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, struggling through their own set of frailty and anxiety. Without their unbending Faith in a loving and merciful God Almighty, where would we be today? Like the Holy Family, may we trust in God to lead us every step of the way.

Loving Father, whenever we wander in strange paths and lose our way, guide us back to You. In Your mercy and kindness, bring us home, Amen.

As published in the February 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

A Little Church in our Home

by Lianne Tiu

Our home can be a little domestic church. Weird? Does it mean we fill our home with statues of Saints or dress up like monks or nuns? Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that we make our home a domestic church when our family life is centered on Christ and the love of husband and wife mirrors Christ’s love for His bride, the Church.

It begins with a man and a woman getting married in Church, begetting children, and educating them in the Catholic faith. Their role as educators is extremely important that it is almost impossible to have a substitute.

The couple creates a home where love for God and others reigns, and where virtues can be taught. They raise their children not only to potty train them, or to protect them from danger, or to learn right from wrong, but most of all, to recognize that the real purpose in life is to work their way to Heaven. This is their number one priority in raising children.

Dinnertime is not just about filling the stomachs but a time to grow together as a family, sharing experiences and creating traditions.

The couple provides a holy atmosphere in the home: praying the rosary, reading the Bible, using holy water; thus making prayers second nature to them. They make sure that the children’s education in schools is in conformity to the Church’s teachings.

Within the home, children learn their Faith from their parents’ words and examples. They also learn it from the day-to-day happenings such as managing sibling rivalry and adolescent angst, as they try to help one another grow in holiness. By building a little church in the home, the Catholic family (even though with a single parent or with children raised by grandparents) can become an excellent model to others in an unbelieving world. St. Mother Teresa said, “The best and surest way to learn the love of Jesus is through the family.”

Reference: Encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” by St. Pope John Paul II, Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Every House Can Be Transformed Into a Small Church” by Benedict XVI’s address at a general audience on Feb. 7, 2007; “What Catholics Need to Know about Making their Homes a Domestic Church” by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

As published in the February 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Responding to the call of the Least, the Last, and the Lost

by Cristina L. Teehankee, St. Francis Friendship Home Livelihood & Spirituality Center

The St. Francis Friendship Home is more than just a place in West Rembo, Makati City. The Friendship Home built in September 10, 1990 by Santuario de San Antonio Parish Foundation was envisioned to be a place where people from all walks of life can become friends in the Lord. From 1997 to February 2011, the Friendship Home served as the venue of a Learning Center for Special Children, a Job Placement Office and a Thrift Shop. On September 9, 2011, the St. Francis Friendship Home was re-launched to be a Livelihood and Spirituality Center catering to the residents surrounding West Rembo providing better opportunities for the least, the last and the lost, to earn an income and a living.

The Secular Franciscans of our Parish administer the St. Francis Friendship Home Livelihood and Spirituality Center under the guidance of our Social Services Ministry Chairperson, Mrs. Marrot Moreno of the Parish Foundation. We fund, care, teach, sustain, and give opportunities to the Mothers and families who come … teach them how to fish … allow them to earn extra income from their livelihood endeavors. The Secular Franciscans who have answered God’s call are happy to fulfill its mission of having a community with no barriers between people at the St. Francis Friendship Home Livelihood and Spirituality Center.

The Mothers who come daily to the Friendship Home have now become our friends. Together, we have built relationships that allow us to understand the feeling of community. Weekly, we study God’s Word … the Mothers pour their hearts out with their hurts, their pains, their heartaches, their failures and losses of life. They come with their small children who have made the Friendship Home their playground. They are happy that there is something more to their life. The Secular Franciscans give encouragement … listen … empathize, guide, counsel … Together we pray … weep … hold each other’s hands … and sometimes just sit and gather … sharing the presence of our love in Jesus.

As published in the February 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Living With Social Stigma

An Interview with Antonia Rayos
by Barbie Lu Young

What do Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Rock Hudson and Charlie Sheen have in common? They have all been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

living-1

In July 2016, Ryan Legaspi, 27 years old and an employee of Rizal Medical Center, started experiencing recurring fever, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and sores of the mouth. He thought that it was just a simple case of tuberculosis or at worse, meningitis. After several blood tests, he was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). According to his adoptive mother, Antonia Rayos, her only son did not immediately disclose his condition because he did not want to worry her and because of the stigma associated with the disease.

Antonia Rayos is a breast cancer survivor herself. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2005; in fact, Rizal Medical Center’s social services department rendered assistance to her. In 2015, Antonia’s husband, who was working in Mindanao, passed away from colon cancer. Antonia makes a living from selling fish and meat at their local market. From her husband’s salary and from her own hard work and persistence, she was able to put Ryan through college, albeit it was only a 2-year course. In her words, she said that Ryan is a very obedient and helpful son who would help her by selling barbecue after class.

In September of 2016, Ryan finally opened up to his mom that he had AIDS. Mother and son had an emotional encounter, with a promise that they will go through this affliction together. Antonia sought help from all possible channels, government and otherwise, that she could think of. Ryan is now deaf and blind, but on the bright side, he is currently taking a tablet that can hopefully reverse the situation. This tablet that Ryan has to take, twice a day, costs P860 each. Since they cannot afford the medicine, there are days that he has to do without.

In the Health Care Ministry, we believe that we can deliver the love of God to the least and the lost. We cannot be judgmental and discriminate. The Health Care Ministry has apportioned some of its funds to help with the cost of the medication, and has provided spiritual support and direction to the caregiver, Antonia.

living-2

Even as the disease slowly ravages Ryan’s body, it has not dampened his dreams of a future ahead. From his faith in Jesus, the Divine Physician, and from his mother’s overflowing love, he can feel that there is still hope that they will overcome this temporary setback and that he will be able to live a normal life again. Mother and son have expressed their wish of giving back to society, who has helped them in this journey, in whatever means they can.

Like the paralytic who was lowered from an opening on the roof by his four friends and whom Jesus cured because of their faith, Ryan’s faith will see him through. Like the cured paralytic who picked up his mat and went home, Ryan will also pick up his mat, the instrument of his healing through faith, and bring this mat to others.

As published in the February 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.