The Essence of Faith: Love

The Essence of Faith: Love

By Apolinario Villalobos

A viewer of my blogs for a long time, and who I met personally upon his request, asked me if I was a “minister” because of my shares about God, religion, faith, etc. I told him that my heart was open to any religion, but not a minister. He was surprised and before he could ever mention something that would trigger a never ending discussion on religion, I just asked him to believe in God…period. However, to help him understand how it could be possible, I told him to appreciate what the ministers of the different religions were doing, as long as they preach nothing else but love of God and others. Also, to just open his mind to all that they preach, and absorb in his heart what he thought he could practice with sincerity, still, based on love.

I told the guy that, the essence of Faith is love. It is only by acting out this essence that we can show our Faith. If we believe that God exists, then, we can act out what He wants us to do…love others. I added that sacrifice is sacrificing for others – literally. These could be sharing our money, food, clothing, etc. with others; giving up of our seat to an elderly, a person with disability, a pregnant woman; giving up of our place in a queue. And, since I am not bound to become a saint, I told him that I do not do sacrifices that can hurt me, most especially, fasting because I might develop ulcer, and if I have emaciated myself, how can I serve others? We have to be mentally and physically fit so that we can be strong enough to “carry” others, I added.

I found out that the guy who asked to meet me confided that he and his wife were planning to go on separate ways and thought of seeking my advice. He must have thought that I was an authority on this matter. They have four children. While he was 37 years old, his wife was 33. When I asked if it is okay for me to meet his wife, he acceded. He asked if we could meet again the next Saturday during which he would bring me to his home for lunch.

The following Saturday, the guy picked me at the restaurant as agreed and brought me to their home in Bel-Air, Makati. I was introduced to the wife who was strikingly pretty, but only their two kids were around. Over coffee after lunch, I opened up the subject of separation, as I expected the wife to have already known the reason of my coming. Emotions were controlled during our talk. I found out that no human third party was involved. The culprit was the conversion of the wife to a Christian sect! The husband remained a staunch Catholic. The decision to split came from the wife who obviously became a fanatic practitioner of her new-found faith.

I asked the wife if her pastor knew about her plan of breaking up with her husband, and she answered in the negative. She admitted that her decision came about as dictated by her “feeling” and conscience as a new Christian. When I asked, if they and their children go to Mass regularly before the wife became a new Christian, both looked at each other first before answering in the negative. Hearing that, I told them that they have no problem, as they can go their own way according to their faith, and let the children choose who among them (parents) to accompany during the day of worship. Most importantly, they should not impose on each other what one believes based on the earthly teachings that they learn. Both remained silent for a long time.

I told the couple that they should not make their respective faith as reason in breaking their family up. Turning to the wife, I told her that I am sure, her Christian pastor will not agree to her decision of separating from her husband. I told her that she is worshipping the same God as her husband as a Catholic. There could be “innovations” on the part of the new Christian sects, I told her, but they have the same faith. I told them that it is senseless for them to break up a home after having four children just because she became a new Christian.

Before I left them, I told the story of a couple who decided to split due to the involvement of a third party, but which I was able to prevent. I told them that they should be thankful that this kind of a “third party” interference did not happen to their marital relationship, for it could have been worse.

The episode happened in the middle of 2014, I think, during the month of May. Two weeks after I had a heart to heart talk with the couple, I received a call from the husband who invited me to join his family for lunch at a restaurant in Greenbelt, Makati on a Sunday. At the restaurant, I found out that they attended the Mass that morning – this time, the whole family, with the couple’s four children. They told me that they decided not to break up anymore, and that their family would attend both Catholic and Christian worships, as there was no conflict in schedule, anyway. On that day, very obvious was the presence of love in the way they touched and talked to each other. Praise the Lord!

Ang Kapalit ng Pagtitiyaga, Pagsisikap, at Talino…tungkol ito kay Mel San Jose

Ang Kapalit ng Pagtitiyaga, Pagsisikap, at Talino

…tungkol ito kay Mel San Jose

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Si Mel ay OJT (on-the-job-trainee) ng opisina namin noong ako ay sa PAL pa. Saklaw ng mga gawain niya ang mga trabaho ng isang secretary at clerk, kaya nagta-type siya ng mga memo namin, nagpa-file, sumasagot ng telepono at pati pagbili ng ulam sa canteen kung kailangan. Two-year secretarial ang kursong tinapos niya sa isang hindi kilalang vocational school. Ang tanging naipagmalaki niya noon ay ang bilis ng kanyang mga daliri sa pagtipa ng mga teklado ng makinilya…na akala namin ay hanggang doon lamang.

Nadiskubre namin ang iba pa niyang katangian nang minsang hindi siguro nakatiis ay binulungan ako kung pwede ba daw niyang “ayusin” ang mga draft na pinapa-type sa kanya. Nagulat ako. Dati kasi ang clerk namin ay hindi ginagawa ito. Bilang patunay ay pinakita niya sa akin ang isang sulat kamay na draft na dahil mabilisang ginawa ay may mga mali, kaya sabi ko ay gawin na niya.

Pabilisan ang trabaho namin sa opisina dahil madalas ang out-of-town na biyahe, o di kaya ay ang pagdalo sa mga miting. Ibinahagi ko sa mga kasama ko ang pagkukusang ito ni Mel, at upang hindi na siya pabalik-balik pa sa amin, lahat kami ay nagbigay ng kaluwagan sa kanya sa “pag-ayos” ng mga draft namin.

Malambing ang tinig ni Mel at palangiti. Maayos din siyang manamit at dahil maliit na vocational school ang pinagmulan niya, hindi na siya ni-require nito na magsuot ng prescribed OJT uniform pang-opisina. Ni minsan ay hindi rin siya nag-make up na nagpatingkad ng kulay niyang kayumanggi, makinis din ang kanyang balat, lalo na ang kanyang mukha.

Ang mga kliyente ng opisina namin ay nasanay nang makipag-usap kay Mel at panatag ang loob nilang magbilin kung wala kami. Kadalasan ay umaabot din siya ng lampas sa ala-singko sa pagtrabaho kaya ginagawan namin ng paraan kung paanong matumbasan ang kanyang overtime. Ni minsan ay hindi namin siya narinig na magreklamo kung papasukin namin siya kahit weekend. Sa pangkalahatan, pulido o malinis ang kanyang trabaho.

Nang matapos na ang OJT ni Mel, nalungkot kami lahat dahil malaking kawalan siya ng opisina. Hindi namin naipaglabang gawin siyang regular dahil nang panahon na yon ay bawal ang tumanggap ng bagong empleyado bilang paraan sa pagtipid ng kumpanya. Subalit makalipas ang halos isang taon na pagtiis namin sa ibang OJT na hindi namin nagustuhan, nagbigay na rin ng pahintulot ang kumpanyang kumuha kami ng sekretarya. Pinilit namin ang Recruitment Office na hanapin nila si Mel. Hindi kami pumayag na ibang sekretarya ang ibigay sa amin.

Buwan ang binilang ng pagtiis namin bago nahagilap si Mel at laking tuwa namin nang bumalik siya. Maluha-luha rin siya sa tuwa dahil magiging regular na siya sa PAL, kumpanyang pangarap din daw niyang pagtrabahuhan. Nang pasalamatan ko ang taga-Recruitment office na naghanap kay Mel, sinabi niya na first time daw nilang ginawa ang maghanap ng OJT para i-hire. Ang ginagawa lang daw kasi nila ay binabatay ang paghanap sa mga na-file na application papers subalit hindi naman daw nagbigay si Mel. Mabuti na lamang at may naitabi kaming OJT papers ni Mel kaya natunton ang address niya.

Mahirap ang pamilya ni Mel kaya hanggang two-year secretarial course lang ang kinaya ng mga magulang niya para sa kanya. Malaking bahagi ng kanyang suweldo ay inilaan niya sa pagtulong sa mga magulang niya nang makapasok na siya sa PAL. Sa kabila ng kahirapan ay hindi namin siya naringgan ng hinaing. Kahit hirap sa pagbiyahe dahil malayo ang tinitirhan, talo pa niya ang mga kasama kong may sasakyan dahil ala-siyete pa lamang ng umaga ay nasa opisina na siya.

Ngayon si Mel ay hindi lang isang clerk o secretary. Ang kategorya niya ay isang Executive Secretary. Marami na rin siyang napasyalang bansa at mga tourist destinations ng Pilipinas gamit ang benepisyo niyang libreng tiket sa eroplano. Dahil nakabuo na siya ng dalalampung taon sa kumpanya, kung gugustuhin niyang lumipat sa ibang kumpanya, ay mabibitbit niya ang benepisyong habang buhay na libreng tiket para sa kanya at sa kanyang pamilya.

Pinatunayan ni Mel na talagang may katumbas ang pagsisikap at pagtitiyaga, at siyempre, lalo na ang angking talino.