Friday, September 26, 2014

NANAY'S MIRACLE: A Story at the Camarin

My Besamanto last October 03, 2013.
The encounter I had at the Camarin is similar
to this one.
This is an overdue post, because I was supposed to post this in occasion of Mama Mary's Birthday last September 08. But tough times and heavy responsibilities came in which made this pending post get postponed for so many times.

But then, I realized that if ever I write this at the end of the month, it would not be late at all, since it has a big connection to La Naval, whose patronage I have sought and whose care I felt for four years now, and how, in one of the most trying moments of my life yet, she manifested her presence.

As you may have known, I had taken the Licensure Examination for Teachers last year. From the start to the end, Our Lady stayed by my side, especially on those days when I felt so alone, that I can't make it.

Our scheduled date of the Exam was Sept. 29, 2013, Sunday. After weeks of rigorous review, I decided to give my brain a little rest in preparation for the exam. Of course, that included a last-minute visit to Our Lady's shrine in Quezon City.

September 28, 2013. I attended Mass at Sto. Domingo for the Feast of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions. The Image of the Santo Rosario is already kept at the "Camarin" (a room for the venerated images) in faithful preparation for the La Naval festivities. Saddened, I just believed that what's more important is her maternal presence, whether her physical image is there or not.

After a few minutes of meditation, I saw some friar-friends entering inside the Camarin. I had second thoughts on what to do, but my faith (and some of my kakulitan) led me to ask one of the Friars a very special request: to have my Rosary touched to Our Lady's Manto.

He hesitated at first, but then, he took my Rosary, entered the Camarin, and touched it to Our Lady. Meanwhile, the Camarero (caretaker) of the Image opened the door of the Camarin so widely, that I was able to see Our Lady. As this was taking place, I prayed one Ave and entrusted to her, in a quick span of time, my fate as I take the Licensure Exams.

No words can explain this experience: to see Our Lady (even if it's within a brief distance), and to have my rosary touched to her hands. After that brief moment, I started to feel a maternal embrace enveloping my whole person, and I felt the strength to take the challenge.

The next day, with the Rosary clasped in my hand, I took the test. I remember the tears I shed as the test was on-going, and the cry which came from the depths of my nothingness: Mi Madre! Mi Reina! Mi Gran SeƱora! It's intensity took me emotionally that it even led me to tears, but thank God and Our Lady, I was able to persevere and pass the exam!

A few days after the Oath-taking, at the start
of 2014, I offered to Our Lady my oath
as a Professional Teacher. (01-01-2014)
In thanksgiving to Nanay, on the day of my oath-taking (December 23, 2013), I attended Mass at Santo Domingo, and offered a token of thanksgiving to her. Small as it might seem, it came from my heart, as a very special way of thanking her for her guidance and wisdom as I went through one of the challenging, yet promising moments in my life.

This Sunday will mark a year after the Camarin experience. After challenges which went my way after the LET, my love and devotion for Nanay remains. She had let me pass through these tough challenges, and yet she stays by my side. Despite my weakness, her love perseveres. 

What lies next? I don't know. Perhaps I would be more blessed with another encounter very soon. Until then, I just pray that this year's La Naval festivities would be more memorable for me and for all devotees.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SNATCHING... and what happened afterwards.
(Ave Maria! Online Community - Third Anniversary Message)

Sept. 12, 2014

It was September 12, 2011 (three years ago, technically), at exactly 9:00 PM, when Ave Maria! officially went online. Back then, I had no idea if this would click. Kumbaga nga, try-try lang ito. Pag umubra, salamat! Kung hindi, eh di salamat rin!

Who were we before? We were simply a group of people coming from different backgrounds and literally "snatched" for the purpose of starting this big idea of spreading Mary's love to all. Among us, there is a former admin from another fanpage (which I snatched), and an active FB trivia boy (which he snatched), there is a lady layout artist (which joined our snatching group because no one snatched her), and another boy who is young yet bold in sharing his views (we snatched him altogether.)

Oh yes. We are snatchers.

But while we started this game snatching ourselves, I look back on three years past and see that it is not OUR snatching game at all. In the first place, Our Lady snatched us from whoever we were before, and turned us into a team, a group, a community. And everyday, for the past three years, we snatched more than we could, by our quality posts and features, by our news and prayers. We are snatched from our former selves and brought to a living, celebrating and praying community where we draw ourselves closer to Jesus, through Mary.

Who are we now? Mico, the former admin from another fanpage is now a Freshman college student (He is now the Moderator). Joshua, the trivia boy became the overseer of all AM programs (He is now the Head Admin).Solejaena, the lady layout artist is now working for DOST (She still stays as our head Layout artist), and Ivan, the young boy yet bold in his views, was called by the Lord in 2012.

We will continue snatching netizens as long as Divine Will allows us, for we continue running this page, "not for the likes, but for the souls." We continually ask Our Lady, she who snatched us all from who we were - sinners - to always bring us closer to her Son, today and in the years to come.