Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 06 March 2023
Why are there so many songs about rainbows And what's on the other side? Rainbows are visions But only illusions And rainbows have nothing to hide
As a child, I have always heard many stories about rainbows from grownups telling me about the “pot of gold” at its end. I have never believed their stories because even at that young age, I have found them as total lies for if it were true, there would be no more poor people on earth as rainbows appeared daily or weekly.
Besides, I doubted stories about rainbows because no matter how hard I looked at them, I could not find the primary colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet in them as taught by my teachers. All I could identify until now are the colors red and blue with the third hue of pink which is not even part of the primary colors! The only truth about rainbows I have always accepted since elementary is the fact that it is caused by sunlight hitting the rains that cast such colorful display in the skies. Most often, I just thought binobola lang kami ng teacher namin para pagbigyan kung sino man itong si Roy G. Biv na may-ari ng mga rainbow!
Later, our elementary school principal Sr. Domitilla of St. Paul College Bocaue would tell us over and over again the story of Noah and the great flood, of how God promised him never to destroy earth again with floods by giving him the sign of the rainbow.
You bet! I did not believe her totally because growing up in Bocaue, I have experienced so many floods annually that destroyed many of our belongings like photos and vinyl records not to mention the hardships – pahirap in the real sense of cleaning after each flooding.
But all these changed only for me during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was the first Sunday of the lockdown, my 55th birthday, March 22, 2020. There were no public Masses. So I decided to start on that Sunday the weekly libot or motorized procession of the Blessed Sacrament around our parish in Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan. Seeing the people kneeling on the streets was so moving but what really brought me tears was the sight of a rainbow that afternoon.
We were on our way to the last sitio of our parish when it started to rain lightly. Our volunteers asked if we should go back to the parish as the clouds indicated heavy rains were coming our way. But as I held the monstrance, I told my companions to proceed because the people were waiting for Jesus.
Lo and behold! as we turned to our last sitio, a rainbow appeared and I remembered the story of Noah and the rainbow.
That’s when I cried and started believing in rainbows as I felt that very moment God assuring me of his protection from COVID-19. True enough, until I left in February 2021 my former parish of Parokya ni San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista had the lowest rate of COVID infections in our town. Most of all, me and our volunteers never had COVID except for one as we continued with our libot of the Blessed Sacrament that soon evolved into “drive-thru” and “door-to-door” communion after our online Mass on Sundays!
So we've been told and some choose to believe it I know they're wrong, wait and see Someday we'll find it The rainbow connection The lovers, the dreamers, and me
One of the best stories I have read about rainbows is from my favorite Pope, Benedict XVI. In one of his books in the series Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict explained how the rainbow of Noah’s time had become the arms of Jesus Christ outstretched on the Cross, the fullness of God’s promise to never destroy earth, of his immense love to save us through his Son. Furthermore, he explained how the rainbow as the outstretched arms of Jesus is also the same bow of arrow referred to in the Book of Psalms signifying God’s salvation.
It is so funny that after passing the age 50 that I started believing in rainbows! And what a sight indeed for me of the rainbow like a bow of an arrow shooting in the sky assuring us of God’s love and protection, of the arms of Jesus embracing us all in his love and mercy, kindness and forgiveness.
Last Wednesday we celebrated Mass for the opening of our annual strategic planning in Our Lady of Fatima University (composed of six campuses) and Fatima University Medical Center (with two hospitals). In my homily, I shared that “lent is the time for us to start believing again” like Jonah in the first reading (Jon.3:1-10), of believing again in God, in others and in ourselves.
How I wished I have added that this is also the time to start believing again in rainbows because on our way to Katmon Nature Sanctuary and Beach Resort in Infanta, Quezon for the final day of our strategic planning, I saw again another rainbow during a stopover in a gas station in Teresa, Rizal. It was so beautiful with the arc, the bow, the arms of Jesus embracing us all symbolized by our coaster.
But the rainbows – or God – did not stop appearing there for us.
The following Saturday before we went home, I woke early to catch the sunrise at the beach that faces the Pacific Ocean. The sun was already up and I felt satisfied with all my photos and videos when it started to rain. As I ran back to our resort, another rainbow appeared, greeting me again that early morning.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it It's something that I'm supposed to be Someday we'll find it The rainbow connection The lovers, the dreamers, and me
Oh God! Praise and glory to you! I did not mind stopping in the morning rain that Saturday. It was the best morning prayer I ever had in years. Something very silent. So natural. So picturesque of God’s love, of his promise to bless us all in my new home, my new family, my new ministry – Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) and Fatima University Medical Center (FUMC).
It is here in OLFU and FUMC that God has started to unravel his other beautiful plans for me that at first I could not understand and even resisted at times. It is here I have come to embrace him more. And more tightly in ministering to students and faculty members alike, to doctors and nurses, patients and everyone especially our kind administrators.
Thank you for all your warm welcome, love and acceptance, OLFU and FUMC. And for your care beyond compare.
Glad to be with you in this very promising year assured by the rainbows. Let’s keep connected as we rise to the top!
Someday we'll find it The rainbow connection The lovers, the dreamers, and me