Pagkatapos ng isang “eventful” na linggo, natanto ko na tunay ngang madaling mapagod kapag bigay ka ng bigay na hindi mo naman alam saan nanggagaling ang kakayahang magbigay at magbigay. Kung kaya’t ang daling humingi ng kapalit - “what’s in it for me?” - kasi akala mo sayo nanggagaling ang kakayahang magbigay ng sarili, at sa isang masmalalim na paraan, ang kakayahang magmahal.
Ngunit tinuturuan tayo ng ating pananampalataya - at akmang akma ito dahil Pentekostes ngayon - na hindi sa atin nanggagaling ang lakas na ito: handog ito ng walang hanggang pagmamahal ng Diyos na kayang “magsalita sa iba’t ibang mga wika.”
Ang ganda nung sinabi ng pari kanina sa misa: “It is the Holy Spirit that makes familiar the presence of God.” At kapag patuloy nating isinasatao ang presensya ng Espiritu Santo sa ating buhay, makikita rin natin na ang bawat pakikipagtagpo natin sa ating kapwa ay nangyayari lamang sa konteksto ng pagmamahal na hindi nanggagaling sa atin - higit sa lahat, ang pakikipagtagpo sa ating kapwa ay isang pakikipagtagpo sa Diyos."
- Jefferson Chua, Pentecost Sunday 2013
Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits, describing an unprecedented home visit after celebrating Mass for the local people in a slum in Latin America
From the book One Jesuit’s Spiritual Journey
It is always good to be reminded that our work calls for humility above all. That is, to move not under the spotlight but stand behind it. To strive not to be the stars but the night sky that allows the stars to shine. To reach not for the heavens but serve as springboards so that others may take flight and soar.
Most of all, we are reminded that we are not really changemakers but mere instruments—facilitators, catalysts, dispensable. Change will happen without us. Change will happen for we believe it is part of God’s plan. This work is not our own but from, by and for God.
Sabi nga ni Bobby Guev, “Walang pagpupunyagi o pagmamahal ang nasasayang sapagkat lahat ay nagmumula, patungo at nagiging ganap sa Kanya.”"
- Geminn Apostol, 2013, outgoing president of ASMPH ACSIS (Advocates for Consciousness and Social Involvement Society)
(Below is an excerpt from my paper for Leadership 2 class, focusing on the person’s hunger for affirmation, in any form, and how it was shown in Les Misérables. The idea that Bishop Myriel starts the story rolling by just vindicating Valjean is old, but easily overlooked. This time, however, I put the story in the perspective of hunger for affirmation.)
…Such is the power of affirmation. (It re-creates, transforms, and opens eyes.) Its transformative power further amplifies when the subject of affirmation needs confirmation, recognition, or a positive attestation.
My drama of the change in me due to affirmations pales compared with Jean Valjean’s. Freed under parole after being imprisoned for 19 years and four attempts of escaping and resisting arrest, he was given as stipulated by law a yellow passport, which during that time, effectively labeling him an ex-convict and outcasting him. He could not find a decent work because the reputation of such passport-carriers precedes him. In the novel, Valjean shows up at the door of Bienvenu/Myriel (who he did not know to be a bishop), asking for shelter. He takes most of the bishop’s silver but was captured soon enough. Instead of being accusatory, the kind and humble bishop asserts to the authorities that he gave the silver to Valjean and even tells him that he forgot to also take the silver candlesticks. Bishop Myriel looked past Valjean’s actions and appearance, as well as his physical hunger for food and money, and saw a poor man who hungers for affirmation—affirmation that stealing a loaf of bread for her sister’s children for which he was imprisoned was loving, affirmation that he is more than an ex-convict, affirmation that he is also a human being. It is an affirmation that Valjean sorely lacks, leading him to live a life of resignation, misery, anguish, and despair because no one would accept or hire or befriend or give shelter to an ex-convict, much less when he was a prisoner.
But such is the transformative power of affirmation! The bishop’s act of generosity and self-giving is one of the story’s greatest turning points. Affirming Valjean’s humanity set and started the gears of the story of Les Miserables. Valjean was transformed by the power of affirmation; he lets go of his emotional defenses and becomes more vulnerable than ever, allowing the bishop “to touch (his) soul and to teach (him) love,” effectively leading him to realize that he hungers for love, for being a new man, for being recognized as such. With such self-awareness that “(he) had come to hate this world, this world which had always hated (him)”and of his hatred and his hunger for love, he lets go of his beliefs that he has lived for: that is, to “take an eye for an eye, to turn your heart into stone”. He sheds and lets go of identity as an ex-convict, escaping the “whirlpool of his sin…from the world of Jean Valjean”, and then symbolically tearing up his yellow passport. He becomes Mayor Madeleine, meets Fantine, adopts and rears Cosette, and saves Javert and Marius.