Archive for August, 2012

REFLECTION IN THE GARDEN: A seed must die before a plant can grow…

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

“A seed must die before a plant can grow.” 1 Corinthians 15:36  I’ve pondered over this scripture verse for a while now and  I believe I’m finally beginning to grasp its application in our lives.

I’ve often wondered why Jesus didn’t refer to floral bulbs.  Perhaps they weren’t popular 2012 years ago and a majority of  His audience understood seeds better than bulbs.  Or…perhaps Jesus was way ahead of us all and He knew that many in today’s world, who aren’t avid gardeners, wouldn’t recognize a plant bulb, let alone know what to do with one.

You do know what to do if you were asked to grow plants from a packet of seeds, don’t you?  A majority, if not all, would say that the seeds need to be buried in soil and then watered sufficiently for several days before sprouts eventually work their way up from the ground.  Often times, three to four days need to pass before the seeds germinate (pop out of their “shell”), if not longer.

So what does planting seeds have to do with us?  In truth, a lot!  I’ve attended 3 funerals over the last 3 months, and the latest was that of my late mother.  It was the homily at the first funeral which opened my understanding to the “valuable effect” of  the death of a loved one.  “Valuable?!?” some may scoff?  YES, valuable…

As we struggle and grieve over the passing of a loved one, God comforts us with His promise…“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.  “What?!?  A future and a hope?!?  He let my loved one die and you say He’s giving me a future and a hope?!?”…some of you may scream.  In this instance, I believe the answer is YES, for YOUR eternal future.

Mom’s earthly remains have now been lowered to the ground for 12 days.  Believe me, no one is waiting for her to “pop up” from her burial ground, but if you  “look” with your spiritual eyes at what has been happening to those who have been impacted by Mom’s passing, you will see sprouts of new life springing forth from the lives of many.

As memories of Mom continue to be shared among family and friends, many have begun to reflect on their own lives and the comments shared have began to unveil little miracles.  Fr. Soria spoke of readiness at Uncle Simeon’s funeral Mass…“Readiness comes in two parts.” Fr. Soria continued.  “One for him (the deceased) and the other for us.  Our readiness is dependent on whether we are ready for a new beginning.  Unless a grain of wheat dies, it fails to bear much fruit.  Our Lord takes our pain from the loss in our hearts and He uses it for our growth.  The grain of wheat is here in the casket and it is sure to grow fruit in our hearts.  When someone passes, there are always moments we remember.  As we are in contemplation…, there is silence…”

“Our readiness is dependent on whether we are ready for a new beginning.”  What did Fr. Soria mean?  Perhaps as we attend the funeral of another, our own mortality comes to surface.  As we ponder, perhaps we become more in tune and we finally hear Jesus knocking on our door…

A friend wrote…”When I was younger, things like this didn’t make sense or was too far away. Now though, it helps me understand how we deal with our on coming mortality.”

As I shared with a friend how Mom had passed from old age, she in turn shared about her grandmother’s passing.  Her grandma had often mentioned that if  older folks would only remember to gently set themselves down when they aren’t feeling well, they would have less chances of hurting themselves.  She then mentioned that one morning, she had sensed the need to visit her grandma and with her mother in tow, they had to break into her Grandma’s home where they had found her lying peacefully, for eternity, on the bathroom floor with a smile on her face.

“A smile on his face…”  That was what the Priest had said about my dear friend, the late Robert Uy.  Bob had suffered from one ailment after another over the past years and he eventually succumbed to cancer.  We will never fully understand why God led him through this painful path, but when his time came, I believe Bob had seen Jesus coming for him with open arms and hence the smile on his face.  Thank You Lord!

I believe how we pass from planet Earth into eternity is dependent on our readiness.  I pray that as we encounter “seeds” that have died and will die, as we continue our journey of life, we will prepare ourselves for our turn. May He find us ready when our time comes.

God bless,

Melissa – August 15, 2012

p.s. :

1) Fr. Dennis had mentioned that although Mom had died on her own on planet Earth, she was immediately greeted by so many others as our Father welcomed her Home into His heart.

2)  A letter written by Paul to the Corinthians: (1 Cor 15: 50-57)

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.


Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION: A mother’s prayer…

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Had I read it then, I probably would have missed it now.  I refer to an e-mail trail that was written on August 24, 2011 by my late mother.  The subject matter was “Re:  Hello”.  Because it had not been read, it remained highlighted in BOLD. That was how I found it.   I normally don’t overlook any e-mail sent by my mother and so I wondered why this one was missed.

Mom had been corresponding with my cousin.  She wrote… “I will relate to you my personal experience with God.  When I came home from Manila, I felt so weak.  I thought I was dying and suddenly, one day, I started singing a Christian song which I learned when I was in first grade at St. Stephen’s (Chinese) School.  I kept singing it every day unintentionally and I gradually regained my strength.

The song runs like this in English ” Jesus loves me yes I know because  it is written in the Bible.  Altho little children are weak and frail, Jesus can help them recover. Yes . Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus love me.”  Isn’t it wonderful how God can help?”

As far as I remember, Mom had never shared anything about her faith walk with us kids.  I was touched and proud of the fact that she shared her faith with others.

As I continued reading, I came across another e-mail which she penned to the same cousin several hours earlier.  She wrote, ” I agree with you.  Life is not forever.  We have to face it.  Yesterday I saw my cardiologist.   He asked how I feel.   I told him I tire easily,  no energy and poor appetite.   I have lost another 5 lbs since I saw him last May.  All he said was that my weight is gradually going down and that I should eat as much as possible.   If I feel tired, just rest.   He didn’t prescribe anything.  At my age, of 91, just let nature take its course.  The only thing I can do is to ask our Lord  that when my time comes please make it quick.”

I’ve been pondering over these two messages ever since and I’ve asked our Father why I had failed to read them until she passed.  Originally, I had wondered why Mom failed to communicate them, but in truth, she did.  The e-mail was addressed to my cousin and us 5 siblings. Mom communicated 11 months prior to her passing, but it was I who failed to read the message.

As I continue to ponder I begin to realize that it was a blessing to have read the messages after she passed. To me, it is a reassurance and a confirmation that she is now in our Father’s arms.

“…Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. ” John 6:43-48

To me, Mom knew her time was near.  She had prayed and asked God to take her quickly when her time came and He did.  The fact that she began to sing a song which she learned in Grade 1 of God’s love and the strength He gives was not by chance.  To me, God’s finger prints were all over it and He sent His Holy Spirit to remind Mom that He was with her ALWAYS.  That’s just so like our Father.

Mom didn’t disclose what other prayers she lifted, but I am sure she continued to pray for all the others that crossed her path.  As I close, I am reminded of “The Prayer” sung by Celine Dion and I believe Mom prayed similarly…

The Prayer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu3o8W5JMuU&feature=related)

I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to the place guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

I pray we’ll find your light and hold it in our hearts.
When stars go out each night, remind us where you are
Let this be our prayer when shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

We ask that life be kind
And watch us from above
We hope each soul will find
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

God bless,

Melissa – August 12, 2012

p.s. – (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Loves_Me)

“Jesus Loves Me is a Christian hymn set to words by Anna Bartlett Warner. The lyrics first appeared as a poem in the context of a novel called Say and Seal, written by Susan Warnerand published in 1860. The tune was added in 1862 by William Batchelder Bradbury who found the text of “Jesus Loves Me” in this book, in which the words were spoken as a comforting poem to a dying child. Along with his tune, Bradbury added his own chorus “Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves me…” After publication the song became one of the most popular Christian hymns in churches around the world.”

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Chorus:
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoRQ0Gm_a6w <-modern version sang by Whitney Houston