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Friday, January 6, 2012

First Things First

The first thing that I do as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, while still in bed, is to smile briefly at a picture hung on the wall on my wife's bedside on my left. Then I say a little prayer of thanks---that I'm alive and well. I saved or salvaged this picture of Sto. Nino de Praga or Jesus of Prague (It's a part of an original calendar year 2009, which I bought at a bookstore in Vigan City, Philippines while on a two week's vacation there with two of my siblings, Edna and Zaldy, in November 2008. My round trip ticket was gifted to me or paid for by my brother Zaldy and his wife Necie. Again, thank you, bro. and sis. for your generosity.).

No, I didn't discard this picture of Sto. Nino de Praga, with a crown and in a garb likened to a well-dressed Bishop or Cardinal or a Pope that commands authority. The calendar pages were gone, except this picture. Yes, I kept it because it has something to do with my religious belief, my faith in Jesus, my brother and Savior. The picture reminds me of how we were once a baby-child, innocent and pure, adorable and lovely. To me, this picture is worth-keeping and displaying in our bedroom. I like it. It's beautiful and inspiring, to me.

Well, don't feel bad for me but I tell you this: I have another (religious) picture hung on the wall on my bedside, right side, that is when you're lying down in bed. It's a picture of Jesus as The Good Shepherd. I also smile at and ponder on it when I turn to my right side. The picture shows Jesus, in a pensive mood, carrying a sheep and a cane while another sheep is beside him and looking up to him. The sheep that Jesus was carrying was looking down at the sheep beside him. Yes, the two sheep were staring at each other. Is there a meaning or symbolism we deduce or infer from this scenario? (I leave it up to you for interpretation. Connect it to us, human beings. In our family, what do we have---children, with the exception of some or few who don't have. What do we do? How's our relationship with our children? How do we treat them? How do they treat us?) On the background, in the picture, are an herd of sheep in a ranch or pastoral field. Beautiful and idyllic the view was!

Now, let me continue with my blogging. It may seem unconventional or uncool to you, folks, when I say that most of the time every morning I pray the rosary while using the restroom in our (master's) bedroom. That's true. I'm not kidding, really. In 15 minutes, I'm done with my rosary. That is, even with some sound distraction especially when our alarm-clock-radio is on. (It's usually set at 6:00 o'clock AM, on NPR-affiliate radio station in Norfolk, WHRV on 89.5 FM, and continues broadcasting up to 8:00 o'clock AM. Then it automatically turns off.) I know, it may seem so odd, really, where and when I pray. But, that's me. I take time to pray when using the restroom in the morning. I don't know about you but I find it cool and comforting praying and hanging around in the restroom. And if I'm done praying, I still hang in there for a while sitting on the toilet bowl, after flushing out, reading something , a book or an article from a local newspaper or magazine like National Geographic. Call it a habit or a routine for me but it may be. What are restrooms for, anyway?

Alright, I don't know about you but this is my take on praying. It's a personal thing, you know. I pray or meditate wherever I am and whenever I feel like it. There is not absolutely a law in the Constitution or in the Holy Bible specifically designating when and where  to pray or talk to our God the Almighty. Plus, there are no such thing as mandated rules or guidelines on how to pray. In her book No Greater Love (1997), Mother Teresa wrote, "prayer is in all things, in all gestures." To her, "praying to Him is loving Him." A whole chapter in her book is devoted to prayer. In my case, as much as possible, I pray everyday wherever I am, and that I go to my member-church on Sundays to be in communion with other brothers and sisters in faith. I try to participate actively in the church offering, singing and praying, listening to our pastor/priest's homily or sermon, and praising and thanking God. And speaking of singing, I tend to believe what I've learned that singing is twice praying because of the efforts you put forth in it. I'm aware that not all of us can sing or are good singers. But we can always try, can't we? Even if we're off-key, we just try to sing with the assembly. I know of two active parishioners in our parish church who do that. You see, they have the audacity and will power to share of themselves to God. On the other hand, if I'm too sickly to go to church, I just pray/meditate in our bedroom and ask forgiveness from our Almighty God. And if a missal book is available, I read it and reflect on the Scripture's passage. I tell you, it makes my day, despite of all what's going on around the world.  

Well, that's first things first for me now. I pray (mentally) as soon as I'm awake in the morning. I've got nothing to lose. Instead, I feel good and blessed. I live now, the present moment, you know. What about you, folks, out there? Any interesting routine you have that makes your day complete?

Thank you. And may you have a wonderful weekend!

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