February 23, 2013

"The hand of God was there..."

Article first published February 26, 2012 as EDSA Revolution: An Unspoiled Mystery on Lariza Website.

The mystery of EDSA Revolution remains unspoiled, not completely unfolded.

More than two decades have passed, the mystery of EDSA has not been fully unfolded. Analysts from various socio-political persuasions attempted to explain the event. Some had to come up with new concepts as EDSA Revolution departed from any of the standard categories.

While new testimonies from living participants came out every year, they just shed light to understand the pattern of events and contributing factors. But the mystery still remains. EDSA bloodless Revolution defied logic.

For how can one explains this phenomenon: “When guns and tanks of a dictator melted before the flowers held out by priests and nuns, by millionaires’ sons and squatters’ daughters, by ordinary men and women and by young and old alike; when… a new day was ushered in by ordinary Filipino common tao who rose to heroic heights that won the admiration of the whole world…” The quoted description was that of Jorge Lorredo, Jr. in his article Four Days that changed History published in Bulletin Today, as cited by Douglas J. Elwood in his book, Philippine Revolution 1986.

The hand of God was there…” was the explanation of the late Dr. Quintin Doromal, former PCCG commissioner & president of Siliman University. Quoted by his friend Douglas Elwood in the aforementioned book, Doromal was a witness to the event, having joined his old friend Fidel V. Ramos at Camp Crame and stayed there with him throughout those critical anxious hours. A noted Ilonggo leader, Dr. Doromal is a son of a Distinguished Centralian, Atty. Rosario Salas-Doromal.

Indeed, God acts through people, as surely as he speaks through people, and that he uses the sometimes complex interconnection of human forces to serve his larger purposes….”

February 9, 2013

Faith conversation on scribbles of ambivalence

My  post  on  scribbles of ambivalence has elicited faith conversations in social media.  I shared the link  on my Facebook timeline with the following comment: "Thereafter, I had that sort of mystical experience- an inner peace, a sense of security and confidence that when I resumed reading the bible, I got struck by Revelation 3:20 in its literal sense."

Many liked  it while others  made comments.  An intriguing one came from a friend  and partner in development and volunteerism endeavors who is now based in the United States .  Below is our faith conversation.

Arlyn: “ Yes mystical experiences can never be questioned and I always take it with  ambivalence.”

Me: Thanks for your  comment which has  triggered more thoughts on ambivalence. It made me recall more of my faith journey in 1975. After the flashing effect of the literal interpretation of Revelation 3:20 on my psyche, which was sustained/fertilized by the insights from books on miracles by Pentecostal writers, I started to “walk by faith.

Whereas before, I needed assistance to get out of bed, with the new found faith, I tried to walk out of the room after prayers of faith. And I succeeded. However, just when I thought it was a miracle and moved further and faster, I got exhausted and forced to lie  down on bed for some days. But I got thrilled with the new faith experience and continued the "walk with faith."

Until one afternoon, after much prayers and certainty, I decided to take a leap of faith outside our house carrying a wooden chair going to the river bank some hundred meters away from home to meditate and watch the sunset.(Of course, to the amazement or protest of my mother whose love and concern for me overcame all her ambivalence). Although exhausted, my faith had been strengthened by another success. Unfortunately, the weather appeared to be uncooperative. Dark clouds gradually enveloped the bright sky as if the forces of darkness wanted to mar the beauty of faith journey. Caught on ambivalent situation, I took it as test of faith.

Instead of retreating, I prayed to God to vanish the darkness. But the clouds appeared to be less threatened by prayers. I prayed more assuring God I won’t surrender my faith. The more the weather was agitated and shower started to fall. Undaunted, I held my ground with ambivalence, as raindrops keep falling over the leaves of banana and trees covering me .

And in the last ditch attempt to save my faltering faith, I closed my eyes and told God, “ I won’t leave this place. I know you hears and answers prayer and won’t fail me. Even it rains heavily, you will cover me with your grace.” As the sound of raindrops got louder, my meditation got deeper. And would you believe, Arlyn, despite heavy pouring of rain, not a single drop ever reached my head, as if somebody was shielding me. Amazed, I slowly opened my eyes. Guess what did I see?

Arlyn: What did you see?

Me: Dare to guess or your share your imagination?If you were in my place, what would you expect to see? Something that would strengthen your faith. Something that would convince you that, indeed, God hears and answers prayer.

Arlyn: You looked up and you saw big umbrella over your head...ah... it was your wife holding big umbrella up to protect  you from rain...

Me:  I was not married yet in 1975.

Arlyn: Then let's change wife to Mom .

 Me: This confirms my perception that you are a prophet.  Yes, I was so engrossed in prayer that I did not notice my mother holding the umbrella. Seems funny but at that time, it did not matter much to me whether my mother or an angel was shielding me from rain. What was important for me was the fact that God answered my prayer, that my faith had stood the test of time and circumstances. I went home together with my mother with a happy and grateful heart believing it was a miracle. My faith was strengthened. That experience, including the literal interpretation of a particular scripture had contributed to my healing.

I cannot help but smile as I recall and reflect on that experience.God could have been amused with my child like faith and alerted my mother, knowing the impact on my heart condition at that time had my prayer not answered. I wish to recapture some elements of that past faith experiences to guide me in my journey.

Arlyn: You really made me smile Rev. Lariza. But thanks for sharing. Child like faith is sometimes funny as we look back but we know in the heart of our hearts that this faith has guided our journey like the "pillar of fire" during the night and "pillar of clouds" during the day.