When nothingness is fullness: creating a space for God

The Lord Is My Chef Simbang Gabi Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Fourth Week of Advent, Day 4 of Christmas Novena, 19 December 2022
Judges 13:2-7, 24-25     ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>    Luke 1:5-25

As we get closer to Christmas Day, there is this post going around social media that I think is worth sharing this blessed season of getting together like parties and reunions especially after two years of lockdown and isolation in this pandemic.

I totally agree with this list and in fact, still thinking of adding some more to finally end our penchant for insulting others.

A very classic case of being “mema”memasabi lang without thinking and caring for the well-being of other people as well as without realizing how stupid they are whenever they say these “eight things we should stop saying at family reunions for good.”

Notice how most of these are addressed to women.

First to single ladies in the family or circle of friends with the very common query “Kailan ka mag-aasawa/magpapakasal?” to the downright insensitive, “Ang tanda mo na. Bakit single ka pa rin hanggang ngayon?”.

Here we find the wrong notion of everyone that getting married is the most important thing in this life, no matter what!

It is a very rude and senseless comment to any woman, especially a family member or relative. Most guilty of this are moms and aunts.

Can a woman just get married with any man?

Of course, she has to be choosy, she has to think very, very hard about it because marriage is a lifelong commitment.

Married life is a call from God, not a cajole from relatives and crowd. Please, shut up and stop making these comments.

Next on the list are still women which shows how some of our family members and relatives -ironically also women – would not really stop in their insulting spree.

They wrongly believe that relatives and friends have no privacy at all!

Next to single ladies, the married women are the favorite target of these insensitive relatives and colleagues with their question, “Kailan mo balak magka-anak?”

Whoa! For me this is a mortal sin. Something we should not let pass our lips because we will never know how difficult and trying it must be to some couples in working and praying for a child.

Life is a gift from God and only him can truly bless every couple with a baby. It is not magic or power given to humans.

Every couple wants to have a child, a baby, but, of course, like marriage, they have to prepare for it. They need to plan. And save and work to ensure their kids would get good education and comfortable life.

It is a struggle among many couples. Again, shut up and just pray for them to have their own “little bundle of joy”.

Now, we come to the third thing we must stop saying at all.

It is a comment directed to us who comprise more than half of the world population. Imagine if all of us fat people would unite, people would never dare speak these words….

Many times I just keep silent at people who say this.

If ever you tell them you have lost 20 or 30 kilos, the more they will insult you with “pumayat ka pa niyan?”.

See what I mean. They are the worst kind of insensitive people on earth without any knowledge at all about biology and medicine, imbeciles with little brains, asking “malakas ka bang kumain?” Of course! Would you get fat by just deep breathing?

It is the fourth day of our Christmas novena and why do I tell you these, or entertain you with these?

Our readings today show us how two great prophets were conceived and born in miraculous manner. In the first reading we have the story of the conception of Samson in the Old Testament. His mother was barren. Perhaps, she was also a subject of many insults and jokes, of nasty talks and insensitive comments like what most women experience today.

Then we have the story of the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah, himself already old unable to make a baby while his wife Elizabeth was barren. Despite their stature in the society with a pedigree equal to many of the gentry, they never have a child who would continue their lineage.

But here we find God finally answering their prayers in the midst of their nothingness.

Here are couples who have been praying all their lives for a child when God finally answered them.

Sadly, Zechariah doubted it that he was silenced by the angel, indicating the need for us to be silent always, to be empty to let God fill us with his work and grace.

Many times in life, nothingness is actually fullness.

See when a guy texts a lady, saying “hi” just because or “wala lang” or “nothing”.

But, that is something! When we tell people “wala lang”, it is “meron.”

The same in life. In fact, we have to be empty in order to be filled up by God. Zechariah was silenced while Elizabeth on her own decided to “quarantine” herself by going into “seclusion for five months, saying, ‘So has the Lord done for me at a time when has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others'” (Lk.1:24-25).

Many times in life we get impatient. We doubt and sometimes easily give up.

Like St. Joseph yesterday, we just have to accept that we have to set aside our own plans to follow God’s better plans for us. We have to accept everyone because Christ comes in everyone. We have to accept in order to understand life better.

I know it is easier said than done, especially for all single ladies, childless couples and fat people like me praying to God, asking what is most dearest to us like the vocation in life or the right man, a baby, and a good health; God hears and answers all prayers.

Just be patient. In our emptiness and nothingness, God comes. Just be sure to have that space for God always, unlike Zechariah who doubted the power of God.

Sometimes, we hurry God to answer our prayers especially when the insults and comments from others become unbearable. That is fine. God listens and understands it so well. That is why today, we pray for those with urgent prayers before God:

God our loving Father,
we praise and thank you in sending
us Jesus Christ your Son,
our Lord and Savior,
the one whom you raised from 
the root of Jesse;
come now, do not delay any longer!
Come and deliver us, O Lord,
remember your promise to us,
and keep us open always like
Elizabeth to find you still in our
barrenness and nothingness;
help us create and preserve
that sacred space for you within
us always so that even in life's
emptiness, we are fulfilled in you.
Amen.

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