Happy Easter!

Easter is the most important event to those who believe in Christ, much more important than Christmas. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven is proof that He is the son of God. If Jesus did not rise up on the 3rd day then He is human like us. You could imagine what will be the effect if they found a tomb of a jesus with a body in it.

How is your lent journey on the 2nd time during the pandemic? We hope this would be the last, but some say this will be the new normal. Whatever it is, we have to adapt, we have to move on, we have to rise. In case you were able to find an idea or a direction during this Lent, don’t let them die with the pandemic, it is time to execute your ideas.

Serendipity – A Holy Saturday Reflection

Holy Saturday for me is the most boring day in Lent. After going to the emotion-filled final hours of Jesus and His crucifixion. After going though different celebrations and activities we stop and wait. You cannot consecrate the Host because Jesus is dead. We are in a bubble, just waiting for His resurrection. Feels familiar? We have been doing it for more than a year. It seems that we are in an over extended Holy Saturday. After thinking that we will only be in lockdown for one year, we are now over and still far ahead. Are we half way till the end of the Pandemic? When will I get get vaccinated, I am in Priority Eligible C? Much worse the number of people testing positive is increasing, will I get Covid first before getting the vaccine?

While waiting for the pandemic to end, what will I do? Do I bum it out? Do I think of a new racket? If I have one, how do I sustain it? Or, do I wait for a Serendipity…

What does Serendipity mean? I first heard the word when I was part of the Yuppeace Faith Community based in Don Bosco-Makati which was born from the volunteers of World Youth Day 1995. We call a Serendipity session, the sharing of a group of four individuals from Bible Passages. Googling, Serendipity simply means finding something good without looking for it. But I like most the definition below :

How can we even think of something good happening when we are in a lockdown. Do we wait and pause our lives for two years? While waiting, it will be good to also dream of a serendipity.

The Great Reset – A Good Friday Reflection

God is Pesky, He has been waking me up for several weeks during our common early morning time to write an article. I tried but somewhere in between, work got in the way. It was a busy month at work, finally I got to make time yesterday to write ECQ Part 2 – A Holy Thursday Reflections (http://smepinoy.com/ecq-part-2/). Although I included Holy Thursday in the title, I do not know what to write today so it was supposed to be a one time thing. God is Pesky, I am now writing an article for a Good Friday Reflection.

Sad news greeted us this morning due to the passing of a High School then College Batchmate due to Covid. I am not doing a tally of those who got Covid and those who died from Covid, but it is already a part of our chats in my different Social Media groups. There are even more who are collateral damages of Covid, such as my mother. People who did not get the medical attention they needed because of the Pandemic.

What is the God’s message this holy week to you? During this holy week, we will be letting go one of the 2 units we are using. I confess, I am an Anonymous Hoarder. I have a lot of things in storage that I hope to find useful in the future, broken things I hope to repair or old memorabilia to show my children. I have kept things which are now 30 to 50 years old, some still in boxes, which my kid broke in 5 minutes. Downsizing this holy week has forced me to finally accept God’s message, its time for a great reset. Although I have been clearing a lot of things since my mother died, it was more automatic and a chore. I was able to sell a few of my things online but most of them were shared to those who will have better use for it than sitting in a plastic box in my makeshift warehouse. God’s message for me this Holy Friday…acknowledge that 2021 is a year for my Great Reset.

While I was searching for a video to add to this article, I was surprised that there have been a lot of discussion on a global Great Reset. I would not want to touch on that, but I would like to share a video that may help you reflect this Good Friday. Just incase you also need to reset your life.

ECQ Part 2 – A Holy Thursday Reflection

After a year, we are back in ECQ. When I wrote my Business Insights article, Happy Lockversary! (http://smepinoy.com/happy-lockversary/) at least one person in my circle of friends are getting Covid. Now at ECQ 2, there are at least 3 and growing fast. I read different reasons from different sides, but for me no one reason is the cause of the problem. As I always hear at the beginning of my favorite show from my favorite channel…

Are we already in a disaster? If you have not seen it as such, it means you need to prepare more. Hospitals are already overwhelmed and even our President has recognized this. No need to sugar coat it, expect bleak months ahead.

In the different Social Media groups I belong to, there are cries for help for family or friends. Most are looking for hospitals that can accommodate their sick. I could just imagine if my mother had her bad fall at this time, we could not have given her the hospital care, wake and burial she got. But with so many sad stories and pleas you hear, I feel guilty to even think we were spared from what thousands are experiencing now.

So how are you holding on? This holy week we do not need to be reminded to avoid beaches, you are forced to stay home. You do not need to look for inspiration to reflect, you are forced to quiet down. During this Holy Thursday, just surrender to the silence. When ready take time to reflect and pray. Reflect on what is happening all around us and include some prayer time for our country which needs a lot of healing…

How will you spend Christmas 2020?

Happy New Year! In case you do not know yet, Advent is the start of the Liturgical Calendar. Here is a video to know more about Advent:

It is already cold outside, do you feel the Christmas Spirit? Have you done your Christmas shopping? Are you already preparing for the parties and reunions? Oops you cannot do that. How do you plan to celebrate Christmas 2020?

Since September my kids have been asking me everyday, how many days till Christmas? 109 days, 96 days, and the count goes on, but deep in my heart I am sad that I cannot give them the Christmas they enjoyed in the past. Although I am already warning them that Christmas this year will be different, I am still hoping we can make them happy this coming Christmas. My daughter, in her online class today told her teacher she is sad because she would not be able to visit her family in Laguna. They also want to go out again and see the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights.

But does it mean, we just have to surrender that 2020 maybe your worst Christmas ever or can we celebrate a different kind of Christmas? Maybe this year, I will try to teach my children a different kind of Christmas, as the video below suggests:

Let 2020 be a year of real waiting and reflecting, letting go of all our baggage in our homes and in our minds. A year to reflect what is really important in our hearts. A year that we start doing what we really want to do in our life. Have a blessed Advent.

My Plan or God’s Plan?

I would like to apologize for the one month silence of “SMEpinoy Business Insights”, we left out just beginning to discuss the 7P’s of Marketing. But a lot has happened the past month both Negative and Positive that all my previous plans were put on hold.

I had everything planned, including the follow up articles, but God has other plans. I am not alone in asking this question, early March we had the Covid lockdown and just this month Typhoon Rolly, Quinta and Ulysses battered Luzon. A lot of plans are erased or needs to be adjusted. What do we do when we are overwhelmed with problems? I would like to share what I have learned through the years:

1st step is to not struggle and fight, our stubbornness will make us decide to continue with our plans. We have to realize that we are now in one of the crossroads of life where we may need to drop or adjust our plans.

2nd step is to let go and let God, just drop everything and let God take the steering wheel. This is a time to step back and look at what is happening inside and outside. Sounds familiar, that is how you do strategic planning. It is time to self assess and adjust, much like the Agile methodology.

3rd step is do not forget to pray, for atheists you can drop step 3. For theists, our desolation makes it easier for us to be closer to God. I had my closest relationship with God during times of desolation.

The 4th and final step is to slowly restart, by taking baby steps. Revisit your old plans but do not start yet. Starting immediately is not God’s way. Assess your self, you will know it is time when things are clearer. Thread slowly as new opportunities will come your way. If you are going the right direction, things will fall into place. Just be careful on the source of this opportunities, how would you know if it is the right one? I was taught this 3 tests to determine if something is God’s will:

  • Time Test : as mentioned earlier, God’s way is not fast. If an opportunity came that requires a quick decision or action then it failed the Time Test.
  • Goodness Test : anything that comes from God is good, including its fruits. Anything that is bad or will bear fruit that is bad fails the Goodness Test.
  • Humility Test : things that comes from God will make us Humble. If the gift will give us pride or become boastful then it will fail the Humility Test.

It is not God’s Will if even 1 of the 3 tests fail. So, where does God want me to adjust? I am still in step 4 but so far this article is one of my new directions. To sometimes touch on spirituality and God in my articles. I am doing this as a mission to help MSMEs but I have failed to mention God or share my spirituality in my articles. Another change is to relax and smell the flowers more, pray more and exercise more.

Divine Inspiration

This is a continuation of http://smepinoy.com/my-plan-or-gods-plan/.

When I was doing my vocation discernment, one of the seminaries I did my search in was the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary (HASS) in Guadalupe. We stayed there for one night and the next day we were interviewed. The priest asked me just one question, how did you sleep? I even excitedly told him I slept soundly. Interview over, he said I am through and I may go home.

I keep sharing this as an anecdote without me knowing why, until today. When ever God wants to talk to me, he wakes me up around 5am then all His inspiration pours into me. Pours because I get a high, my heart palpitates and the inspiration just keeps coming. I feel His presence, when the high subsides I reach out to have a casual conversation with Him. I think this was the answer the priest was looking for, I only was able to connect the two today.

Today after so many years of having this early morning divine inspiration, I have linked it to how God inspired the apostles to write the Bible. So, this is how He did it. His message to me is to write another series of articles every Wednesday (Yuppeace day) about Spiritual Insights, which I am starting now. At first I complained, how can I do that? It takes me a day to write and edit my Monday article Business Insights how can I add another day in writing an article? How can I fit it into my schedule? I have no time?!? He just said to trust Him and gave me several examples, I now have several articles for the next weeks.

We always try to catch the online mass of Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB during the lockdown. His sermon this Sunday was from the Gospel about the Parable of Talents and he focused on “Malasakit” and “Tiwala”. I could not connect the Parable of Talents to “Malasakit”, and again until today I realized God gave me a talent during the pandemic and He is asking me to have “Malasakit” and I just need to just Trust Him. Writing for me is a struggle, I am not adept in the English Grammar. I have to read and re-read my article dozens of times just to spot and correct grammatical errors, but I am sure there are still some that slips. But in this Covid-19 pandemic he gave me this gift to write. I was able to start “Business Insights” and people are reading it, they tell me. I did not know I can write something and people will read it, no one has corrected any grammatical errors so far. He is now asking me to use this gift of talent to spread His word. Thus I am now writing this article every Wednesday. Lord, I surrender it all to you.

How do I know it is God talking to me? Did it pass the 3 tests? Goodness Test – definitely, I do not see how my writing about God can harm anyone. Time Test – Yes, because of my stubbornness it took a month before I understood His message and I am still in Step 4. Humility Test – writing is not my best talent, I am still ashamed someone will come to me with a list of my grammatical errors. I also still doubt how long I can write this article every Wednesday, I just surrender. In conclusion: Yes, it is God’s will.

Just to correct a wrong notion, doing a Vocation Discernment does not mean you are only discerning to be a priest, Married life and Single Blessedness are also vocations. But that is a topic for another article.

(Footnote: Today, Nov. 17, we celebrate the 7th Death Anniversary of a dear friend Bernard Macalintal (+) who is now my angel in heaven. Bernard and I did the search-in at HASS together, he was accepted and was still discerning until he decided to continue his vocation in heaven.)

Why did God allow 2020?

Why did God allow 2020? I do not mean to open a Pandora’s box or promise that after reading this article you will find the answer to this very controversial question.

I invite you to watch the video below and after, spend a few minutes to personally react before you continue reading:

Is it true that God is an absentee landlord? Is God a prankster? Did God set the rules in opposition? If this is the first time you watched this movie and may have not noticed, Al Pacino was playing the devil. Is the devil a fan of man? the last humanist?

This is what the devil wants us to believe. But unlike what we see in movies where the hero and the villain is clear, the devil wants us to forget he exists. The devil wants us to believe that it is all God while the devil does his work in incognito. I would like to remind people that the war between good and evil, God and the devil is real.

When I was looking for a video for my article, i set aside this one. It may open a can of worms, it is hard to explain and some people may question their faith. But while hearing mass today, God inspired me to use this video. I too must admit, I forgot about the devil until I watched this video. It was all God, God, God, but where is the devil? The devil exists and he is in a war with God for souls.

Watching this video may rock the faith of some who may view it but God reminded me of my own faith struggles. He reminded me when I was young that I had a phobia of death and about dying. It was so bad it was manifesting through hyperacidity, palpitations, etc. I was using my head to answer the question of God’s existence. I, like the boy St. Augustine met in the beach was trying to put the whole sea inside the hole the boy dug. My phobia was instantly cured when hearing mass in my late teenage years, God inspired me that I just need to have faith. Years of questioning God, the Bible, the Creation I just need to say amen and believe.

Pope Francis gave a similar answer when asked by a 12 year old Filipina why does God allow Children to Suffer; “Only when we too can cry about the things that you said are we able to come close to replying to that question,”. Intelligence will never be able to answer the existence of God, only when the heart has understood will the head follow.

I leave you with this reflection question, when was the last time you thought about the devil and his acts?