Last year, at the beginning of Advent, I received a letter. The letter was inviting myself and the youth of the parish to “A Christmas feast to commemorate Christmas.” Fijian people are always ready and willing to attend a feast, and I also read the invitation letter with delight.
For You have mercy upon all, O Lord,
and hate nothing that You have made.
Remember how frail our nature is,
and that You are our Father and our God.
Don’t be angry with us forever,
and stop Your tender mercies in displeasure.
For it is not for our just works
that we present our prayers before You,
but for the multitude of Your tender mercies.
Lord, You have created me
for goodness, love, compassion and peace.
Help me to make good use of the gifts
You have given me to make a difference
where I am at this moment of my life.
You put up with my moods, Lord,
when it all gets too much,
and others don’t seem to understand,
when I’m lifeless as sand, not at peace,
not at rest, lacking in zest, without any go,
because something’s not right,
though what I don’t quite know.
This time of pandemic is indeed long.
And the statistics are grim.
Days of social distancing have turned to weeks.
And weeks of near isolation, have become
Like the athletes running the Boston marathon
who named a part of their route ‘heartbreak hill,’
I am struggling and I observe some around me
by the preaching of St. Francis Xavier
you brought many nations to Yourself.
Give his zeal for the faith to all who believe in You,
that Your Church may rejoice in continued growth
throughout the world.
May this prayer fill us with the same love
that inspired Francis Xavier to work
for the salvation of all.
Lord, I have become distracted
by the things of this world.
Guide my steps and lead me
safely back home to you.
Help me to respond to the needs of others
so that I may continue to serve Your will.
The dawn has broken through
The fears and snares of darkness
Are shattered, scattered, put to rout
Hold your head up high, oh man,
And taste the sweetness of morn.
The providence of God gives earth its seasons.
The equinox sun sets glory over the equator
radiates tempering flowers south and colors north
inspiring poets and musicians to celebrate.
I first arrived in the Philippines in December 2007 and have been assigned in Mandanao ever since. I am currently engaged in a resettlement project for the victims and survivors of typhoon Sendong (Tropical Storm Washi) that caused catastrophic damage in late 2011, based in the Mother of Divine Mercy Village in the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro.