Monday, May 18, 2015

The Start of Forever

Do you believe in Forever? For us, the statement Walang Forever (There is no Forever) is true, especially in one's love life. We often use the term when we court someone we love: "I want you to be with me forever." "You are my forever." But then, this "forever" ends up to having a time limit: one week, one month, some years. People nowadays set a time limit to something which is supposed to surpass time and space.

When we use the term forever, it means we commit or show our love to someone or something for the rest of our lives, even until death, sometimes after death. You offer the greatest proof of love and admiration: your life.

Where everything started: La Naval 2010
Since my devotion to Our Lady started five years ago, I entrusted my life to Nanay, with all my activities and plans, achievements and pains, placed at the foot of her Altar. She saw me fall down quite a number of times, and stand up after each fall to move on and forward. All the significant events in my life since then, from my graduation in college to my first job, from my first teaching stint to my passing as a Professional Teacher, I had obtained through her powerful intercession. 

Along the way, I also came to know Saint Dominic and his band of brothers, known as the Dominicans. I became friends with some of them, and through them I became acquainted with the Order's way of life, focused on prayer and study. 

Five years of miracles, and numerous encounters of friendship and brotherhood, inspired me to stand up and take the journey myself as a Dominican. I don't know what lies ahead, but after some time of reflection, I decided to go on and see for myself what God has in store.

I entered the Our Lady of La Naval Lay Dominican Fraternity in 2013, but instead of having my Vestition after a year, it took me two years to finish my Postulancy. I can't find time to immerse in study because of my preparation for the Licensure Examinations that year. I was almost at the brink of giving up, because of my lack of attendance and other factors. But then, I thought that I should go on. Our Lady did not give up on me, so why should I turn away from her?

I continued my Postulancy in 2014, undergoing the formation I received a year before. Challenges came and went, but Our Lady did not leave me especially in some of the trying moments in my life that year. She proved to me that everything is alright, as long as I follow her ways. It was hard, but God's grace is far better than anything people throw at me.

Finally, after a brief examination, I and my fellow postulants received the nod of the Chapter to receive the Scapular of Saint Dominic and enter the Novitiate - the next step of formation. At that time, I planned to give up if ever I do not pass the exam and to continue my devotion as before, but Nanay has other things in mind. 

We received our Scapulars from Rev. Fr. Giuseppe Pietro Arsciwals, OP,
Prior of the Convent and Spiritual Director of Our Lady of La Naval Lay
Dominican Fraternity. and Sir Eugene delos Santos, OP, President of the Fraternity.
We formally received our Scapular yesterday at Santo Domingo, inside the church where I first encountered her love and protection five years ago. It was like a point of destiny, entrusting our lives to her under the example of Saint Dominic. Wearing the Scapular, we felt a special bond of care and protection, the same thing I felt when I started my devotion to Nanay. Our spirits were overflowing with joy, knowing that we already belong to a family of preachers, and that we are already placed under the guidance of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, the same Lady whom I have entrusted my life five years ago.

It is the start of a journey. After a brief time discovering her and experiencing her love in many ways and miracles, it is my turn. What I did is not a show-off; but it is, for me, the best way to give back to Mary for the many blessings I received through her intercession. The journey would never be smooth; I know it is a rough road, but I always believe that after a typhoon is a sunny day. Nothing is impossible for someone who trusts in the Lord's providence.

Do you believe in Forever? I do. As long as you believe that God has a best plan for you, and as long as you trust in his grace, there would certainly be a forever. Love lasts forever, if you place it in the right hands. It is, simply, the start of forever, as we shall always dedicate ourselves to Mary and to her Son, Jesus, without any reservation, for the rest of our lives.