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Peace!

The story is told about a man who called the police station, reporting that his friend had been stabbed. When asked about his location, he said he was on Eucalyptus street. When asked further to spell the name of the street, there was this long silence and then a sigh over the phone. Finally the man spoke. “I don’t know how to spell ‘Eucalyptus,’ so I dragged my wounded friend, and now we are here on Yakal street. Yes, Y-a-k-a-l.”

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Today is Pentecost Sunday. In today’s Gospel (Jn. 20, 19-23), the risen Lord gifts His troubled disciples with His peace: “Peace be with you.” He also gifts His weak disciples with the Holy Spirit: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Let us ask the Lord today to give us peace and strength as we journey on in life. Our journey will not be a drag and a burden if we journey with the Holy Spirit, come what may.

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“Come, Holy Spirit.” This is a short but very powerful prayer. In times of trouble, confusion, temptation and pain, invoke the Holy Spirit and experience freedom, light and liberation within. When we acknowledge that we need help, and in humility reach out to God, then things fall into place, doors are opened, chains are broken, and we can move on. The power of God is always there for us, but we must make the opening. Pentecost cannot happen in a heart that is closed, proud and unbending.

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Sharing with you this beautiful prayer: “Lord, I do not understand how things will work out, but I trust in You. I don’t see a way, but I know You will make a way. I have faith at this very moment that You are touching hearts, opening doors and lining up the right breaks and right opportunities. Things may look dark and bleak now, but I have faith that my dawn is coming, In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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“A broken heart is an open heart.” The disciples needed to go through brokenness before they realized their need for the Holy Spirit. From enthusiastic and proud handlers of their Master, they became humble and obedient disciples. Unless and until we realize that we are called not so much because of us as in spite of us, that we are unworthy instruments, that we are not indispensable, and that we need to rely on Someone greater than ourselves, we cannot become His true disciples.

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Someone rightly said that in the game of chess, one does not win by making forward moves all the time. One also has to learn the backward moves, and to learn to step back or aside. Also in life, we need to learn to step back or receive instructions from our “Coach” and be empowered by our God.

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In praying the “Hail Mary,” we greet the Blessed Mother, a woman “full of grace.” That is why she is blessed among women. She is full of grace! Let us ask ourselves today: What are we full of? Full of hatred? Of lies? Of sin? Of riches? Of power? Of stress and pressures? All these befall us because we are so full of ourselves! Let us follow the road of “shalom,” the road of peace, and make way for a heart that is full of the Holy Spirit!

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We need help. Why is there so much corruption and wrongdoing in our midst? It is because there are people who think only of themselves. We need to help ourselves, but not at the expense of other people.

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I remember the story about schoolchildren lined up for lunch at the school canteen. On a basket of apples was the sign: “Take only one. God is watching.” On top of a basket of chocolate cookies, a child had put a note that said: “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.”

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Through the years, I have heard friends talk about building a mausoleum for their resting place, and their plan to spend millions of pesos for this final project for themselves and their family members. Fine. It’s their money, right? But why not build a chapel or a church instead? Lydia Apuyan Tagle and her family built a beautiful chapel in San Antonio, Donsol, Sorsogon, and donated it to the Franciscans (OFM). Last June 6, the bishop of Sorsogon, Most Reverend Arturo Bastes, SVD, DD, dedicated the chapel to St. Francis of Assisi, and made it a diocesan shrine. A mausoleum will just house a few dead, but a chapel, a church, will house the Lord, and will be filled with many people long after we are dead.

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If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we live victorious, not defeated, lives. The Holy Spirit enables us to rise above our tears and fears, above our sins and weaknesses. We must learn to rely, not on ourselves, but on the Holy Spirit if we are to live beautiful and meaningful lives. Amen.

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Someone shared with me the “symptoms” that come with living a life in the Holy Spirit: “Frequent attacks of smiling, frequent episodes of appreciation, loss of interest in judging others, loss of ability to worry, tendency to act based on hope rather than on fear, ability to enjoy each moment, susceptibility to give and receive love, constant prayerfulness and praise.”

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For an eye-opener on human relationships and marital problems, you are invited to attend a Psychogenetics-Gestalt seminar retreat on June 28-29. To register, please contact Ed (09178360305) or Harry (09178410398) or log on to www.gabaysapaghihilomfoundation.org.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to live a life of peace, a life filled with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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