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Heartprints

The story is told about a family that was so engrossed with details as their father lay dying in his hospital bed. When the family members asked him whether he wanted to be buried or cremated, the old man told them in exasperation to make the decision themselves: “Bahala na kayo, mga anak. Just surprise me na lang, okay?”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt 5: 17-37), Jesus told his disciples to go beyond the details of the law and toward the spirit of the law. When we become too legalistic, we may end up calculating, controlling, judgmental and impersonal. May we not live according to the letter of the law but according to the spirit of the law. God’s love is far broader, far deeper, far wider, so let us not limit God’s love according to our laws and traditions.

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Belated Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Hearts Day! A beautiful reminder for all of us that we have a heart, and that matters of the heart still do matter in our materialistic and pragmatic world. The bottom line is that true happiness and fulfillment happen in and depend on relationships and not so much on material achievements. I wish us all more peace in our hearts, in our families, in our relationships, in our country, and in the world.

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On Valentine’s Day, how many of us saw or even noticed the beautiful moon that was shining brightly in the sky? It was free and it was there for all of us to see. I guess some of us had more “important” things in our minds. Please keep in mind that what you belittle or scorn now may someday be your greatest regret.

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I had many sick calls, but my sick call last Feb. 6 for Joyce Canta is something I cannot forget. I was crying as I blessed this 13-year-old girl as she lay dying of cancer. So young, so talented, so hopeful to live. She had suffered so much. I asked her to offer her sufferings for me, for us who need salvation and redemption, and through it all, she tried to smile and to console. All too often we magnify our sufferings, and we forget that there are other people who have bigger sufferings.

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The other night, I woke up shivering in the cold. I had forgotten to turn on the timer in the air-conditioner. It was an insignificant or maybe a small incident, but it reminded me about my Mama who always checked and covered us her children with blankets every night to make sure that we were all right. Yes, we always remember moments of kindness, tenderness and love. May we all have and make more such moments.

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I went back to our house where Mama spent the last years of her life. Sitting on her bed, I remembered so many beautiful moments our family had with her. Her room is almost bare.  She did not have much, because her life was a constant giving and letting go. Please remember that we carry nothing with us when we leave this world. Please learn to unload now while you still can. Do not pass on to your children the difficult task of disposing of whatever clutter you leave behind. Yes, better to leave behind your heartprints to those who come after you.

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Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD, celebrated yesterday his golden jubilee as a priest together with his classmate, Fr. Leny Mercado, SVD. Born in 1935 in San Miguel, Leyte, and ordained in Rome in 1964, this church historian has been a professor for 30 years at Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City. This seminary has produced generations of SVD missionaries, diocesan religious priests, and bishops! Father Antolin was our formator and rector who always inspired us with his fidelity and commitment, not to mention his wit and personal care for confreres! Mabuhay ka, Father Antolin, a brilliant confrere with a heart!

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Our deep gratitude to former justice Florida Ruth Romero, who wrote a letter to the editor about “the legend of the unsullied collector”—our late father Guillermo Orbos, who served in the Bureau of Customs with honesty and integrity for 23 years (Letters, 2/11/14). Beyond our father, we honor all public servants who are committed to selfless, dedicated, humble and sincere service, and to many Filipinos who believe that good governance is still possible in our present day and time. Mabuhay po kayo!

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Valentine’s Day is about love, especially in our families. Sharing with you this family prayer: “Oh, Lord, bless our family with openness to real communication, with sharing in all our joys and sorrows, with freedom to let each other grow, with understanding for the gifts each has to give, and with love, no matter what, no matter when. Amen.”

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The “Salve Regina” (Hail, Holy Queen) is a beautiful song that always touches my heart.  But I never sang it with more feeling than when I visited an ex-seminarian in prison and sang it with him in his prison cell. May we never forget that we have a Mother who loves us unconditionally, and who always cheers us on.

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Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “How to Deal with Depression” on Feb. 22 at Janssen Hall of Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Sr. Blvd., Quezon City, 9 a.m.-12 noon. For inquiries, call 3732262 or 9982545 or 09174167849.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind me that footprints may disappear, but heartprints remain. Amen.

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TAGS: Bantay Matanda, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Gospel, Matthew, Moments, opinion, Religion, Salve Regina, Valentine's Day
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