Counting our Blessings

It was the day after Christmas when Maria Fe and her 8-year old daughter, Martina Dominique approached me after my 6 AM mass. She is the wife of Mario Reburiano, a former seminary aspirant and now the President of its Alumni Organization. She wanted me to bless her beautiful girl. I thought it was her birthday. “No, Father. Bless her for the gift of another life!”
On Christmas eve, Martina was in the kitchen to wipe her hands in preparation for Noche Buena few minutes before midnight. Suddenly a stray bullet pierced through their roof hitting the plastic crown she was wearing. The bullet was deflected by it and slightly grazed through her head leaving a small lump that caused her pain. The impact threw her backwards and she cried out “Mom I’m hit!” At first Maria Fe could not understand what happened to her as she clasped her head with both hands. When the Yaya saw the 9 millimeter slug lying on the floor, it was then that Maria Fe felt a deep angst rising within her. She felt a mixture of fear and anger which subsided when the incident was not really fatal. “It’s really a miracle, Father.” She attributes the miracle to Mama Mary and St. Dominic Savio, Martina’s patron saint.

Indeed, it was a blessing of a new life!

As the year 2009 ends, it’s a moment to be grateful. It’s a time to look back at the year that was and count our blessings. Whatever is our circumstance in life, we always have a choice. We can choose to see the good side or the bad side. We can choose to see the bright side or the dark side.

It is faith that allows us to see the good and the bright side of life. Only a person of faith can truly say: thank you Lord! The story of Job is a classic example. Though he was tried and tested in a most life-threatening way at the end of it all he could still exclaim: “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Blest be the name of the Lord!”

Think about how rich we are, not just materially. Our riches does not consist only of tangible things. As the “Little Prince” in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book would say: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Our treasure also consists of a lot of intangible stuffs. Let us count our blessings as the year ends.

Life is a gift. This is the very first blessing of which all the others flow. Manny Pacquiao recently celebrated his birthday at General Santos City. He was thankful for his gift of life as he shared his blessings to 1,500 guests. During his speech, he revealed the secret of his success. According to him, when he was not yet a champion and he was starting his career he had a talk with God. And God promised him “strength and power.” True or not, these are the kinds of stuff legends are made of. The gift of life is the fount of all success.

Our family is priceless. Among our greatest treasure, our family should be the most brilliant diamond. Our family is like that goose that lays golden eggs. To keep it coming, we need to take care to the goose, nurture it and nourish it. Failing to do so will ultimately bring the goose to death. So too with our family. We need to build it, sustain it and form it. Despite its imperfections, we still love our family and are proud to belong to it.

Health is wealth. Some people actually lose their health to make money and when they have much money they lose it again to gain back their health. It’s crazy! All we need is to put balance in our life. Each in its proper importance whether its work, home, friends and leisure.

Faith gives life a better perspective. Life becomes absurd if seen only in its horizontal plane. Its daily grind and drudgery would be devoid of meaning unless seen from the vertical perspective. From the eyes of faith, our life becomes meaningful with its sense of mission and challenge. Keeping the faith brings in the daily energizer, enthusiasm and excitement. A new day is a new adventure to keep this world a better place than yesterday.

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