Imitation of Christ: My First Owned Book….from Fr. Robert O. Sullivan, OMI

Imitation of Christ: My First Owned Book

…from Fr. Robert O. Sullivan, O.M.I.

By Apolinario Villalobos

I got the paperback, “Imitation of Christ” when I was in first year high school, as a prize for besting other contestants during the extemporaneous writing in English competition as part of our school’s Foundation Day celebration. It was donated by the school’s Director during the time, an Irish Oblate priest, Fr. Robert O. Sullivan. Unfortunately, its only part that I was able to read was the dedication which said: “Apolinario, be like Christ in any way you can”…with the rest of the pages, I failed to read.

My reading interest during the time was limited to the National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Hardy Boys series, Philippine Free Press, and occasional encyclopedia about history and geology. As a first year student, I felt I was not prepared to immerse myself into something which I was afraid I might fail to comprehend. I carefully kept and brought the book with me anywhere as far as Tablas in Romblon when I was first assigned there by PAL, as a precious property, until I finally gave it to a childhood buddy, Teddy Lapuz, who was suffering from a failed kidney transplant, and which eventually caused his death later on.

I did not regret giving my book to a dear friend who chose to die alone, or rather in the company of Christ, as he would always tell me when he was still alive. His statement gave me the idea to give him my precious book. I just hope that he was able to read it and blessed by its message. If indeed, he did, what I have missed, has become his spiritual gain.

Despite my missing the content of the book, I love to presume that when imitating Christ’s acts, one should be spontaneous, so that no compulsion is felt. The acts should emanate from the heart. The consciousness about the acts of Christ should form the strong foundation of a person to support his subsequent actions. To do the acts of kindness should not be forced on someone. The act may be inspired by others, or by an experience, if not as an innate desire. And most importantly, to be Christ -like is to be universal in all acts of kindness that knows no barrier. Easier said than done? Not really, because one need not start with something big to do it. All that such act needs is something within the means of a willing and sincere benefactor that can be shared with others – discreetly and unconsciously.

Many people are actually imitating Christ without their knowing it. Ordinary cigarette and candy vendors who give direction to lost pedestrians, are among them. Even the street sweepers, who do their job sincerely, knowing that they get paid out of the hard-earned people’s money. The street is full of modern-day Christs, people who do not think twice before sharing a few coins with a child driven by the pang hunger to beg, a student who helps a fallen old woman, and many others.

I may not have read the book given to me by Fr. Sullivan, but the cover and title are deeply impressed in my mind, reminding me that one need not be rich to be able to share blessings. I realized today, that to be Christ-like is the moving spirit behind the school where I learned the rudiments of Christianity, although, named after His mother…the Notre Dame of Tacurong College, a humble school with a big mission, and which tries to reach out to all, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Fearless Predictions for a Comfortable Life

Fearless Predictions for a Comfortable Life

By Apolinario Villalobos

I know that I will be exposing myself to ridicule with the ideas that I will share in this dissertation, as viewers will perceive me as a trying hard Nostradamus. But I don’t mind because I espouse freedom of expression. I am emboldened with the questions such as, was not TV used to be called “idiot box” before it was finally accepted? …and was not the cellular phone just a crazy idea, far from being realized because there was no connecting cable involved?

When I was young, during which the only cordless communication gadget that I knew was the walkie-talkie radio units, I was already imagining about phones not connected with cords and wires. I had my first glimpse of a phone from the pages of the National Geographic when I was in high school. Later, I saw pictures of phones installed in cars. Later, the pager came, and finally, the cellular phones that are being manufactured today with different shapes. There was a time when I imagined a typewriter that could store typed words; small flashlights and radios that can fit pockets; pencils that double as ballpoint pens.

Today, I do not tire of imagining things to come as a result of never-ending quest of man for things that will satisfy his whims and comfort. Although there is a popular view is that, newly-invented gadgets are nothing but ridiculous contraptions until their use have become widely accepted.

Along this line, I imagine the day when a slim duplicating machine will become an integral part of laptops. A few stack of copying paper, brought along in the laptop bag, can be fed to it one at a time. Bulky? No!…because the design I imagine shall revolve around the principles of slimness and lightness. On the other hand, the prototype of a laptop that can be rolled and which I have been imagining for many years has already come out in the internet.

I also imagine, a set of 3 ball pen-sized contraptions that beam laser images of computer keyboard on a table, screen on the wall, with the third serving as modem that stores beamed images and texts, and with the contraptions operating on a very compact battery.

Other innovations that I am imagining are:

  • Cellphones, laptops, i-pads, and other gadgets that run on motion-charged batteries (this concept is already used in automatic writswatches, but not yet on big gadgets)
  • “Perpetual” vibrating cellphone restpad/charger for units with motion-charged battery; the restpad/charger shall also be self-charging from its motion, with the initial charge from few minutes of shakes given to it
  • Cellphone units that can convert received verbally transmitted messages into text, as well as, vocalize received text messages for the benefit of the deaf and blind
  • Cellphone units that automatically prevent electrical transmission of chargers when batteries are already full to prevent overcharging
  • Batteries for laptop and cellphone that can last for one week despite regular daily use
  • Cellphones that can be unfolded four times into a mini-pad
  • Intelligent cars installed with application readers, to enable them to read applications, for instance, on geographical make up of a town, city, province, and direction to tourist destinations, so that a tourist can just go to a car rental agency, choose an application depending on the number of destination wanted, and let the car do the rest – without even being driven; the intelligent cars shall also read applications on reminders about the fuel status of the car, spare parts that need to be replaced, etc.
  • Cars that can reverse magnetic attraction to a certain level, so that they can be driven over flooded surface
  • Airport cars that are remote- controlled so that after bringing clients to destinations, they can be electronically guided back to the airport garage
  • Wheelchairs that can float and be driven, with battery powered by motion
  • Edible food container as replacement for styros
  • A chemical that can disinfect and convert human waste into an odorless consistency free from germs, and can be molded into hardy boards and roofing sheets that can be used for low-cost housing
  • A chemical that can convert waste from the kitchen into liquid fertilizer
  • Hybrids of fruits such as seedless jackfruit and durian with smooth skin, kiwi fruit with edible skin, seedless avocado with edible skin, round banana with edible skin, seedless mango with edible skin, grapes that can grow into the size of pomelo
  • Hybrids of vegetables such as seedless gourds, seedless tomato, seedless cucumber, seedless squash, elongated cabbage that can grow like vine
  • Hybrids of flowers such as roses that can bear flowers as big as cabbage and can last for at least one year, and when cut, for at least three months
  • A glowing paint with pigments that can illuminate walls and ceilings, with the degree of illumination depending on the color of the paint, to drastically reduce, if not eliminate the use of light bulbs in some areas of the house or building
  • Gadgets that can capture electricity from a source at least fifty kilometers away so that electric cables shall no longer be necessary to transport the power to the homes and other structures; the principle to be used here will be similar to the one used in the cordless mouse of computers and cordless chargers of cellphones
  • A gadget that can be plugged into a socket and can send power to an equipment such as copying machine, refrigerator, TV, radio, and music station, while another gadget shall be attached to the equipment to receive the power; this way the clutter of cables and wires is eliminated and the equipment can be moved anywhere in the house or building but within the range of the relaying and receiving gadgets
  • Umbrellas with extra thin extension that can be unrolled into a tarp and can accommodate 4 more people
  • CCTV cameras that are programmed to detect harmful actions of captured images so that an alert can be received by the monitor and which shall send out a signal; this way the CCTV can maximize its use even if the monitor is not watched 24/7

The modern world thrives on some crazy ideas and I would like to contribute some of my own. I am asking the indulgence of viewers in this effort. This is better than thinking of ways on how to evade a CCTV while robbing a bank, kill someone with a deadly look, break eardrums with horrid songs, or concoct herbal preparations that can induce conception of quadruplets or quintuplets.