On Fire

Yes, even the Church is at war.

It was my first time to witness an electricity brownout while the Mass was ongoing which started right in the middle of the readings. Of course, everyone was anxious. As for me, my heart skipped a beat and silently prayed for the current to come back for the Gospel. There it goes. Lectors had to doubly increase their voice…I could also see our parish priest wiping his forehead. He seemed to be in deep thought, but, still, confident that what was gone would come back. My mother closed her eyes while praying. And I, I was doing the same thing.
When the moment came for Gospel reading, a servant brought a battery-operated speaker. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Whoa. To much of our surprise, the electricity came back in full force when our priest would be reading the Gospel. So I whispered to Mom, “It’s so amazing! Bumalik n’ong Gospel reading.” My mind says, “The Lord is so powerful. He can work miracles. If this was the devil’s work, God can show to His people that He never loses His battles.” 

During the Homily, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Socrates Villegas’ Message was, instead, read to us. It’s about the Church’s standing to the restoration of Death Penalty.

“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” is no longer at hand, it says. When Jesus came to this world, He had overpowered this brutal punishment of early church leaders. Not because He violated Moses’ law, but He has given life to God’s immense love. For even Moses is subject to Jesus. Jesus took all our iniquities, He was nailed on the cross, and He gave us eternal life. As Christians, we are among those people who value the sanctity of life. We don’t need capital punishment to avenge ourselves from our brothers and sisters who had wronged us, no matter how grave it was. For they, too, are our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is better to have them change, instead of killing them and forcefully erasing their existence into this world, like an oblivion.

The restoration of the Death Penalty in the Philippines is contrary to the avowed duty of the State to comply with a treaty obligation. Philippines is one of the signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which prohibits the imposition of capital punishment because it recognizes life as a basic human right. Hence, in Section 19, Art III of the Constitution, it stresses that the Constitution, already completely, abolished death penalty from the statute books.

Last Ash Wednesday, the lower house has approved the bill restoring death penalty on the third reading. The lawmakers’ voice was softened by fear of the unknown, particularly the iron-clad hand of a not-so-mighty-ruler.

One senator who “claims to be a Christian” was skillfully-sidestepping the Bible by saying that since capital punishment was in the Bible, it’s rightful to impose it. Wow! It’s as if New Testament never existed at all. He has based his argument on a wrong premise. Just because a thing existed in the Bible, are we justified to bring it back? All crimes also existed in the Bible but the point is, these were written to warn the next generation. He should have read the Bible by NOT cutting down verses, but read it as a whole. Seriously, man, I regret voting for you. WALA KANG SARILING DESISYON. You had disappointed your fellow Christians for going with the flow. You are not a Christian at all because you submit not to Jesus, but to a human authority. Tsk, tsk…

The letter concluded with (if I can remember it right) a statement of continuing Church’s battle with death penalty. Until I got home, I couldn’t wait to encourage and awaken other Christian-Catholics to be aware and fight for life. I hope this post would somehow help.

It is not, yet, too late to stand up for life. The bill will, still, be reviewed and amended by the upper house, the Senate. And so long as Jesus’ life lives in us, we will continue praying and urging our lawmakers to be in line with God.
Thank you for reading!

💌,
SAM

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A Humble Confidence

Do you have that inner passion to try something new? Come on. Ask for God’s guidance. He will give it!

Dahil naniniwala ako na ang lahat ng bagay ay natututunan. At lahat ng bagay ay nagmula sa Panginoon, walang bagay ang hindi ko kayang gawin.” 😊


Here’s my second attempt to pencil-sketch a portrait. Truth be told, I thought sketching was not for me. As a child and until I reach the age of maturity, sketching has never crossed my mind. For I had conclusive presumption that this a NATURAL-BORN SKILL. Artists seem to stroke, effortlessly, and maybe, I couldn’t do it.

Summer 2016 🎸. I asked God to teach me guitar. After a boon if giving me one, I learned the basics. So I can now play and sing songs. Honestly, I made a promise that I would dare not try guitar because as they say, “Masakit sa kamay ang gitara. Nakaka-kalyo (Playing guitar is painful to the hand. You can grow calluses).” But I dismissed these comments and tried.

Early 2017 🎨. I became interested with watercolor painting. When I started mixing colors and applied them on the canvas, I just couldn’t stop to taste the goodness of the Lord!

The thing is, all the impossible things I once believed I could not do, I can now. And all these things came from Him. 🙂 It’s just a balance between confidence and humility. As Peter Chin wrote, “I CAN BE CONFIDENT BECAUSE GOD HAS QUALIFIED ME, BUT I REMAIN HUMBLE BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THE WORK FOR HE’S QUALIFIED ME IS NOT MY OWN. IT’S HIS!”

Let us discover more of the talents and skills we can learn!

💌,
SAM

Why Not?

You dream of becoming an astronaut? 👩🏻‍🚀Go, because WHY NOT? You want to be a lawyer? 👨‍⚖️Go, because WHY NOT? You want to be a public servant? 👮🏻Go, because WHY NOT?
Let us not be defined by how people see us. After all, their vision and opinion would not matter when we go around flying with zero gravity, defend a thousand people with ease, and serve our hometown 24/7. Nothing we do is ever useless for the Lord! (1 Corinthians 15:58).


Ilford HP5 / Why Not

💌,
SAM

Sammy, r u OK?

Processed with VSCO with e8 preset
I have come across into a point where specters are sometimes mistaken as lifelong, one-dimensional chunk of myself. No matter how hard you fight for them, way of life also has this course to befriend you, then, betray you, afterwards.

It’s not even hard to tell…

As the clock ticks, so my heart beats. This journey I am going on through ain’t easy. Scholarly is not the word for it. I’d prefer, “solid” or “unyielding”. Most of us might feel the same about it but we differ from the way how we see ourselves on it.

When I first stepped on to that sturdy ground – the place where I thought I would put my dreams together – I felt no anxiety. My whole system was still caught up to my previous Alma Mater…where I felt flying up like I was in cloud 9. The new school is no different, I gasped.

Days went by so fast. I tried to build a piece of me there, yet, what counts was just temporary. Like I have permanently constructed myself to the other school. I used to tell my sister comparisons that she hated though she couldn’t directly tell. 

Now, I am a sophomore. Killing days and nights reading, reviewing, coping…I was not born with a silver spoon so I worked during daytime. Most hours, if not all, I spent catching up to read lessons for the night. And some, I spent them with a few friends for chitchats and snacks. I, still, have a life to live, eh?

Absurd, it is, to say all struggles we’ve been through. Tough on its face. The same with the presumption of validity of a certain instrument, when it is valid on its face, you are no longer compelled to go beyond what lies on it, defines how people see us. We were supposed to be tough, even if we are crying inside.

Our training could be so harsh. I remember the time when I sat on my chair at school without reading much and I got picked by our professor, “Is there a valid delegation of power by the legislature in taxation?” And I answered bland, too honest about what I know until she let me define taxation. Thankful, I was. There were also instances where I couldn’t answer the questions thrown by this acclaimed and reserved judge, until I got the momentum to answer his questions using logic. Professors differ according to the nature of work they have.

But I have grown accustomed to them. Recitations became a normal routine for me and, little by little, the lessons I thought were hard, were made clear to me.

Case digests. As much as I like writing, the number of cases being assigned to us were growing numerous that I only get the chance to write them in-between my classes while teaching. While some of my classmates let other people do the writing for them, I let myself do it for my benefit, later. Bar examination would require you to write on your own.

Oh, I forgot to mention about social events! We have this testimonial dinner & acquaintance party held, annually. The new bar passers deliver their testimonies about their lives as a student, how they survived the review, and even the present time that they were already full-fledged lawyers. I would oftentimes be moved that every person has a story to tell. And maybe one day, I would get to tell mine, too, standing at the podium…my professors all listening and my family teary-eyed.

By thinking all of that, I can hardly tell how long it is to continue fighting and soaring. I asked myself, “Am I really cut for this?” due to increasing life’s difficulties, especially financial problems. They say a student of this profession must read 6-8hrs. a day when in fact only half of our class can live up to that standard-slash-preparation-for-the-bar. Even I myself would be glad to read 6hrs. straight in a day.

There were still, or only, two years left for me. Another six months to review, then, I am ready for the battle of the lions. Some notions of giving up would just be normal, I thought. For an aspiration not hard is an aspiration not worth fighting for. I might put myself into this uncomfortable situation, it’s okay. This is where I am cut for. Law. And as long as God is fighting for me, I would, too. Besides, whatever I reap now, I will sow it…soon.

💌,

SAM

Farther

More phenomena float in the ocean of suburban existence; more feuds pirouette at the galaxy of contemplation; and more unearthing revelations beyond the core of truth. How far will you go?

We all are impelled by different forces to conjure up ourselves. Generally, every person’s speech comprises of the usual words he hears or the tedious thoughts he encumbers every time. In some instances, one could possibly say what he wants to hear from someone or the least liked thing from the latter. What about you? What motivates you? This is more than a psychology-related write-up because I am not a psychologist. I am Samantha C. De Guzman.

Manifestations of the humankind also differ: beliefs are affected strongly by childhood cache of fears, intuitions, dreams, success or failure, and some other sentiments stocked through the hippocampus – the connections between neurons associated with memory. Let me take religious belief as an example. One can say that God is dead based on how he viewed a supreme being during childhood. Family plays a large role in defying a child’s intuitions as the former was his first teacher, the home his first school. Indubitably, a person could claim that God is not existing based on the cargo of millstones he has from the very beginning until this moment that no one seems to listen. Taking an atheist point of view, God is dead because no one can prove that He exists. A fallacy, isn’t it? You know a reasonable mind has a lot to prove than a shallow mind with nothing to disprove.

I taught Logic as part of every college student’s curriculum, a branch of Philosophy. And more than I could ever surmise, I enjoyed it! The struggles of teaching and learning while students learn more from you is the biggest premium than an educator could have apart from his impressive salary (Well, not for me. My salary is less than my daily needs). Applying both formal and material logic, I asked my students to distinguish between the truth and falsity of propositions, and let them prove or rebut to the class why or so. Debates were also applauded so you see great minds metamorphose into millennial personas fighting against the status quo.

Do you pick out now how vast and stupefying the human mind is? *speechless*

Let me get my idea straight now. As far as I am concern, I write when my mind flows like a river liberally sustaining the sea. When drought comes, you could not force me to dive with the ebb of typing. AM I REALLY STOPPING THE BEATING AROUND THE BUSH? SORRY. My motivation did not come from hatred or pain. It also did not originate from my own grace for it wholly came from a spirit so great that not even a human mind can probe: Holy Spirit. Honestly, it has been a while that I couldn’t get thoughts straight here. Most of my posts were solely illustrative probably waiting for another river to devour the waters of grace. So here I am now, the Spirit writing to you…

Beyond my arbitration, I surrendered to HIM, the Alpha and the Omega. Yes, I was exposed to brilliant ideas of great minds but the latter did not move my perplexity towards the Omnipotence and Omniscience of the Creator. Most, if not everything, yet, about me changed when I met HIM. All days are struggles, and  every second is a sacrifice. I gave the fight of arguing to prove that I am right; I succumbed to the undeniable fact that a human is prone to mistakes, and as far as you keep on faltering, the more you forgive others’ debt. Life with HIM is not easy, but it is worthy.

I ache to know HIM more in my life, veritably. If tears and wounds are all I have, I would take them all to HIM and use them for HIS Greater Glory! I was supposed to be a slave, but through his mighty humility, we are all made his friends through His son. Are not lords supposed to be served? But He was made known here and dwelt among us to serve us. Sweet? No. Beyond explanation.

When your motivation comes from above, things may not yet transpire, perfectly, but they will and even more than your uphill battles. In contrast, when a thing, person or idea is your anchor of inclination, things may come to pass in fast-paced…yet, in the same manner, they would elapse in a split second. Or, more frustratingly, when they did not go as planned, would cause us too much burden to bear. See? When your source of hope is above you, He can bless you and shower you compared to a fountain leveled the same with you or below you. What could possibly be the result? Chaos.

In my previous posts, I coined myself as HIS Defendant. And as long as He wants me to achieve this mission, I would serve Him and fulfill my life’s purpose in this world: to offer my life to HIM and to others. Besides, it was all I could offer and if it was your everything, wasn’t it more worthy than anything?

“To the one who had much, nothing was in excess; to the one who had little, nothing was lacking.” (2 Corinthians 8:15)

This blog is by HIM and for HIM!

So what force motivates you? Comment below. Thanks!

by: Samantha C. De Guzman

(NO PLAGIARISM)

“WORD WAR” Thursday

“Words came from ideas; from words, thoughts are formed into sentences. Sentences make a paragraph. When put together, paragraphs become a story. From a story, we make books. And books stir up philosophies. Philosophies constitute life. Life, then, is a brainchild of ideas!”

by: Samantha C. De Guzman

(NO PLAGIARISM)

FOOLISH TALK

(Quoted from the book of Sirach, chapter 27, verses 11-15. A daily dose of Good News for the renewal of our faith and for the correction of our human mistakes.)

“When devout people talk, what they say always makes sense, but foolish people are always contradicting themselves. When you find yourself with stupid people, look for some excuse to leave, but when you are with serious-minded people, stay as long as you can.

The stories that foolish people tell are offensive, and they make jokes about the worst kinds of sin. When such people curse, it is enough to make your hair stand on end, and when they start arguing among themselves, all you can do is to stop up your ears. It is painful to listen to them insult each other, and such blistering can lead to violence.”