Prayer to enter God’s rest

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Friday, Week-I, Year -I in Ordinary Time, 15 January 2021
Hebrews 4:1-5, 11  >><)))*> >><)))*> + <*(((><< <*(((><<  Mark 2:1-12
Photo by author, sunrise at the Lake of Galilee in Israel, 2017.

Let us be on guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed… Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:1, 11

Thank you, dear God this Friday with Your words reminding us of “entering Your rest”, Your Sabbath!

But what is Your “rest”, God our Father?

More than a particular day of the week, it is first of all Your very presence like in paradise that our first parents have lost due to their pride and disobedience to You.

May we heed and learn from the reflections of the author of the Letter to the Hebrews of how Your chosen people, the Israelites, disobeyed you, dear God, while in the wilderness that prevented them from entering Your rest in the Promised Land of Israel, spending 40 years wandering in the desert.

Sadly, all these continue to happen in our own time when we are supposed to be disciples of Your Son Jesus Christ.

Help us O God to resist the temptations and strive hard to see you, feel you, and experience you.

Help us to be like those men carrying the paralytic who sought ways and means to see Jesus Christ, our only true hope and inspiration and consolation in times like these. It is in Jesus Christ’s coming that we are able to enter Your rest freely and truly, dear God, to experience Your love and mercy, kindness and compassion we have all taken for granted.

But, more than a place and a day, Your rest, O Lord, is heaven, Your very presence, that very moment when Jesus healed and forgave the sins of the paralytic, astounding everyone, glorifying You, saying, “We have never seen anything like this” (Mk.2:12).

Let us “rest” in You, dear God by returning to You, of being renewed in You with Your whole creation in Jesus. Amen.

Photo by author, sunset somewhere in Pampanga, 13 January 2021.

“Magpa-hinga sa Diyos”

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Ika-22 ng Enero 2019


“Goodbye bakasyon, hello baon!”

Nakakatawang sinulat ng aking sacristan
Sa kanyang Facebook matapos ang Bagong Taon
Na tila baga pinaglulubag kanyang kalooban
Sa bakasyong papatapos na noon.
Maraming tao ngayon kapag bakasyon
Batid lamang ay puro selebrasyon
Na hindi nauunawaan diwa ng okasyon
Kaya di maglaon lumilipas lamang ito ng gayon.
lawiswistakip silim
Itong salita na bakasyon ay ating hiniram
Sa wikang Inggles na vacation na ang ugat ay Latin
Na ang ibig sabihi’y walang laman o kaya’y sairin
Upang ma-vacate o mabakante kalooban natin.
Kaya naman ang salin nito sa sariling wika natin
Ay mas malalim at nakahiling sa loobin ng Diyos natin
Noong matapos Niyang likhain lahat sa daigdig natin
Namahinga Siya at tinakda Niyang itong tawagin Sabbath.
Kaya nga kung tutuusin itong pamamahinga
Ay hindi lamang pagtigil sa maraming tungkulin at gawain
Kungdi upang sairin itong kalooban natin
At punuing muli ng hininga ng Diyos na Siyang buhay natin.
Mula nang ang tao ay palayasin sa Paraiso
Dahil sa pagkakasala ng mga ninuno natin
Sariling paningin ay pumangit din kaya’t sa Diyos
Ay nagtago matapos kagatin bawal na bunga sa hardin.
Kaya nga yaring araw ng pamamahinga ay biyaya para sa atin
Dahil kapag ito ay ating ipinangingilin nagbabalik tayo sa Eden
Diyos ay nakakapiling at muling nakakamukha natin
Dahil Espiritung pumupuspos sa atin ay Kanyang hininga rin.
Huwag sana nating limutin di lamang kahalagahan
Kungdi pati kahulugan nitong bakasyon na tayo ay hingahan ng Diyos
Upang mapuno ng Kanyang buhay na siyang gagabay
Sa ating paglalakbay hanggang sa Kanya ay humimlay habangbuhay.
raffysampaloc cove1
*Unang larawan ay kuha ng makata sa Assumption Sabbath sa Baguio; ang ikalawa ay kuha ni G. Raffy Tima ng GMA-7News sa Sampaloc Cove, Subic, Zambales.

Let God Come Close to You

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 18 January 2019

            People have been telling me to get a tablet or at least upgrade my iPhone so I can continue with my blogs when I go on vacation just like this past week; but, I am not yet that techie to be able to blog away from my study table.  Besides, I feel it is going against the very idea of a vacation when we are supposed to “vacate” or empty ourselves of the ordinary things and routines we always have.  Vacation is the first and most essential kind of “Marie Kondo-ing” or decluttering of self of so many things we have accumulated that have disfigured us.  A vacation is not merely taking a break from the usual stuff and routines in life but to rest and recreate so we find our true selves again.  In the bible we find a more beautiful term for vacation called “sabbatical” from the word “Sabbath” or day of rest.  Genesis 2:2 tells us that after creating everything, God rested on the seventh day that later God made it His third commandment, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day” (Ex. 20:8).

            Vacation is always a gift of God not only for the resources to rest and recreate but most of all, it is a grace to rediscover our true selves by discovering Him again.  God rested on the seventh day because He had completed His work; but we people and all creation have to rest so we can all continue to work in God.  Every vacation as a Sabbath is a celebration of life, of being children of God because the more we turn away from Him, the more we get lost in life.  The more we turn away from God, the more we lose our true identity and self as His beloved children.  See how when Adam and Eve sinned:  they hid from God because they found themselves naked whereas before, they felt no shame because they felt and found everything good.  They have been alienated from their very selves the very instant they turned away from God.  Hence, every vacation in the spirit of Sabbath is a return to Eden or paradise!

              An author whose name I could no longer recall said that “a sabbatical is when I stop playing God, when I go back to the original image of God.”   In our Filipino language, vacation and Sabbath have a more beautiful translation called pahinga.  It is from the root word “hinga” or“breathe” which is a verb and becomes “hininga” or breath when taken as a noun.  To rest which is “magpahinga” literally means “to be breathed on.”  Therefore, to rest as in vacation is to empty ourselves so that we can be filled again with the breath of God or to be breathed on by God!  In this sense, in every vacation, we are also re-created by God who fills us with His Spirit.  And there lies the true beauty of every vacation when we feel so alive, when all of a sudden everything and everyone looks so nice and lovely as we realize how blessed we are, how fortunate not only to have gone and visited wonderful places and destinations but most of all in having found our rootedness in God – that we are so loved by this personal God who relates with us truly as a Father.  When we experience a lovely sunrise or sunset, when we are captivated by nature’s wonders, when we suddenly realize we are alive and existing that no matter how little we may be in this vast universe, we are assured deep within that we are loved and cared for by Somebody bigger and powerful.  When we stand in total darkness of the night to see the stars above or be awed by the Aurora Borealis, we realize that even if we are just a speck of dust in this vast universe, we are so special because everything was created for us to see and experience and enjoy!  It is an awesome feeling that we exist, that we are alive and most of all, we are far better, more lovely and beautiful than anything because we are the only ones created by God in His own image and likeness.

            And there lies the joy of coming home from every vacation as we are eager to go back to share not only the wonderful sights and sounds we have experienced but deep within us – unconsciously – we want to show our newfound self, our refreshed self to others.  We yearn to go home after a vacation not because we have nowhere else to go but because we now have a clear direction in this journey of life.  Every year we look forward to our vacation, to venture out there somewhere for our Sabbath and let God come closer to us so that we can always come home to ourselves, to our family and friends, and eventually to Him in all eternity.  Amen.

Photos by the author:  above is sunset at the Assumption Sabbath Place in Baguio City, below is the lobby of the retreat house.