“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the valley of a meaningless and empty life.”
At one point, a theological sight was imposed to me so starkly. It was the sight of poverty and the capacity for inner freedom. At a sports complex after my routine morning enjoyment of the space, I approached at least 7 kids who slept on the open playground under a light bulb (to stay away from mosquitoes) and bare cardboards for their fragile backs. The open space became a necessity for them more than a luxury. A short conversation revealed their personal travails of being left by their parents some of whom died already. Kids who could barely eat thrice a day. They may not be conscious of it but their “street life” is one of total abandon to the power of life (theologically we call it grace) that’s going to feed them “one manna at a time,” that’s going to sustain them “one light bulb every sleep.” Everyday is an exodus experience for these kids, and therefore, a dialogic encounter with that “feeding power” we name God. Who are the oases in the street deserts of our time?
Watching the GMA program Wish Ko Lang is always a touching experience. One time, it featured its search for good Samaritans and truth indeed could spring forth from the most unexpected band of people like the historical Samaritans. A crippled man asked for someone who could buy his mother’s medicine on his behalf. Hours passed and people passed, including an evangelical minister, before a simple cigarette vendor abandoned temporarily his goods, walked to the pharmacy and came back with full honesty after given a P500 bill. What a “graced encounter” between this humble vendor and the cripple!
At the adoration chapel, two tired young bodies marred by street dirts entered the holy sanctuary and could only play with the pillows and stare with innocence at the embossed immaculate angels on the wall. Two pairs of holed slippers waited at the door of the chapel, ready for that night’s journey, hopefully with a “divine fire” to guide them. Will it take them 40 years before they could reach their promised land?
Lord Jesus, open to us Your Word in the world. Strengthen our faith that you are alive in our midst, disturbing us, showing us the way of inner freedom and determination, challenging us to live with total abandon to the ever-faithful presence of grace. Mama Mary, the humble enthroned one, teach us the way of simplicity of heart and spirit.