My Spiritual Journey Begins in Taizé: Silence

When I joined my organization back in 2002, I was invited to attend a pre-departure briefing even though I was working in Cambodia for over four years prior. So I went to France and stayed there for almost 3 months because of the holidays and the list of training I needed to attend.

I’ve been wanting to go to France when I was introduced to the meditative practices of Taize. That was during the preparation for the celebration of World Youth Day in 1995 in the Philippines. I was a young delegate from my parish and my diocese sent out to go around and tell the youth about the WYD celebration and how to prepare for it.

Taize prayers were sung over and over until the self is quiet and the only thing you hear is the song in your head and the beating of your heart. That was the first time I experience to be one with my soul and from then on I said to myself I will go and visit where it all began.

So when I finally found myself in France the first place I decided to visit was Taize and relive all the glory days of the World Youth Day experience I had when I was young. It is an ecumenical community where young people from all over the world gather and experience the presence of God through the other young people, through singing and sharing of stories and their dreams. I wanted very much to be part of that.

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Funny though when I arrived in my hostel in Lyon, not many French youths I met knew about Taize. Luckily the receptionist was from Romania, and he knew about Taize back in his home country. He was working in the hostel as part of his spring job and was happy to show me on the map how to get there.

But during the briefing at the HQ, I met one colleague – Nestor from Benin who had been there and knew some people in France that can help me go there. I was happy to make his acquaintances and over time we became good friends and we kept in touch until now.

(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
My good friend Nestor, the one responsible for me to meet Gerard and visit Taize in 2005. We remain friends until now. (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)

He introduced me to his French dad – Gerard (the one that accommodates him when he’s in France) and he became my French dad too. Every time to return to France I go out of my way to visit him in Verze and we have picnics and return to Taize for prayers. Every Christmas too when I can I send him dried mangoes from home.

(Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
Approaching the big house – Chez Gerard (Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
Chez Gerard (42)
Our trusted Beattle (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)

Gerad was the one who brought me to Taize in his old Bettle. Passing through the backroad from his small village, through vineyards until we reach the hi-way leading to the community. It was a short scenic ride all the time and because it’s close we can always stay until late and experience the prayerful silence of Taize.

(Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
My French dad – Gerard under one of the old trees in the Taize compound. (Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
Follow the signs … on the way to Taize
2005 Taize (7)
Entering the Taize community compound. The bells are sounded every prayer time. (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (13)
Young people come from everywhere and commune with God anywhere in the community (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (8)
The belfry of the church inside the community (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
The valley around the community (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (16)
The prayer area inside the big tent (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (17)
The candles that light the whole place … it gives a warm glow that put one pilgrim into prayerful trance together with the Taize prayers sung over and over (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
The ICON of Jesus on the cross (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)

That was my first pilgrimage in France.

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Listen to Taize Prayers here and experience the peace I experience whenever I listen to them.

In the Lord, I’ll be ever thankful

Holy Spirit come to us

Nada te Turbe (Let Nothing Trouble You)

When I Tried to Get To Know Myself

This write up about me appeared in my other blog. It was an introduction to who I am. In fact it was a self-promotion.

A summary of who I think I am and how I think others perceived of me when I tried to describe me to myself. It happened one weekend at the time I am taking my break from the last long term missions in 2014.

It was never validated. My friends, those I can count with my fingers and toes, are far apart and those I encounter during my sojourn never stay that long to tell me who they think I am. But I am pretty sure all of them have met the me I described below at the time we were together.

SAM_4775
My afternoon shadows while waiting for the sunset at the French side of the Pyrenees

I am considered to be good-natured, one who enjoys getting along with others. My friends consider me helpful and generous, and considerate. Striving to be friendly in social situations and empathetic in interpersonal ones. Because of my tendency see good in people, others generally like me.

When in conflict, I prefer to use effective tactics. Because sometimes it is better to preserve the friendly situation than the actual winning.

I also tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy but doesn’t get surprised when the unkind nature of others becomes evident. We’re human after all.

I tend to be more responsive to other’s needs than my own, so not to be overwhelmed I try to balance others needs with my own from time to time.

I am the type of person that likes to ask questions and equally interested in others inner feelings.

I have an appreciation for the arts, as an evening listing to music, going to the museum, movies or talking about poetry intrigues me. I have a wide variety of interests, driven by the fact that I incline to try new activities, visit new places, and try new foods. I may even appear to be unconventional to some! This also makes me appreciate diversity, as discussing others’ religious or political views rarely threaten my own.

Sometimes I like to be involved in large group activities and get energized by a crowd, and other times I would prefer a quiet evening alone. I have my own personal threshold for sociability, and the time I spend alone makes me feel more ready to conquer the world.

I am generally comfortable around others and good at adapting to social situations. I can find myself being contemplative one day, or in the mood to be more adventurous the next. Some situations call for watching before taking action, and others call for being more outspoken. I don’t mind being a leader, but I don’t seek the position. When part of a couple, it’s important for me to balance time spent alone with time spent together.

I am considered a person of character. My actions follow my conscience and are rarely impulsive (except in shopping). When working on something, I tend to be careful and deliberate. In fact, I work best with a schedule and due dates, I can be reliable that way.

At times, I have to watch myself, or I may become a perfectionist. I enjoy being organized, a trait that helps me to reach the goals I set for myself.

My friend consider me to be highly dependable. I am focused when there is a task at hand because it allows me to consider others before making decisions or taking action. Although sometimes situation requires me taking calculated risks.

I navigate the waters of my emotional lives, and some days I feel in control while other days they get the best me. This is most likely dependent on the situation, as I know how to make a good day last and I have learned how to tolerate my negative ones.

I don’t like feeling angry, so I try to be tolerant and learn to accept moderate frustrations. Friends would consider me to be stable and content. In general, I consider myself well-adjusted to the ups and downs of life.

And lastly, I consider myself to be religious, and my faith is essential to me. My relationship with Christ and His Church is paramount in my life, as a source of healing and strength for me. My faith is important part of my life, my relationships, and my journey.

Happy Easter

Before anything else, I like to greet everyone Happy Easter!

In the Catholic faith, this is one of the traditions we celebrate like Christmas, as this is the time when Jesus with his short life was able to give us God’s promise of redemption from all my sins.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:!6

Well, it can be redemptions of your sins or our sins it doesn’t matter as long as you believe that God fulfilled his promise to give us new slate to start over. but then again if you don’t believe in God, that’s up to you, but pretty sure you believe in second chances or an opportunity to start over and for me this is it.

I do this every year, I look back and see how I could be a better person and try hard to outrank how I assessed myself and achieve the happy life I like to live. I made mistakes in the past, now I have time to correct them and try harder not to repeat the same mistakes.

Believe me, when I say I am like everybody else, I am human, prone to make mistakes (reminds you of a song eh?) and to succumb to temptation (making it sound like I have superhuman powers, I have to stop watching Marvel movies!).

In fact, this year started not so right for me. I have to cut my contract short because I have to return to my family to be taken care of. I don’t know when I can go back to work now that I have to start over.

What is important to me now is to keep myself current and be motivated enough to keep me out of bed, psyching myself even though it’s hard not knowing for certain what the future holds. But like I said, we all deserve second chances, I deserve a second chance and this Easter Sunday, I intend to take advantage of that and renew my life.

This blog may be my way out, at least as a catharsis for now but who knows. Social media has been an outlet, I think I’ve used it more than I should but still I want to keep sharing a little bit of me!