Through Heaven’s Eyes

Today, June 30, 2010, marks the inauguration of the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines, President Noynoy Aquino. This will mark new governance for us from a new administration. Today also, we commemorate the first martyrs of Rome whose blood became the seed of Christianity. Their martyrdom held promise and is now realized in our Faith today. Now what else happened on the past June 30’s before?
§  350 – Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, is defeated and killed by troops of the usurper Magnentius, in Rome).
§  1805 – The U.S. Congress organizes the Michigan Territory.
§  1905 – Albert Einstein publishes the article “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, in which he introduces special relativity.
§  1934 – The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals in Germany, takes place.
§  1953 – The first Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.
§  1968 – Credo of the People of God by Pope Paul VI.
§  1971 – The crew of the Soviet Soyuz 11 spacecraft are killed when their air supply escapes through a faulty valve.
§  1997 – The United Kingdom transfers sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China.
And today, the following were born:
§  1974 – Fr. Anthony Wilbert Dianon
§  1975 – Ralf Schumacher, German F1 race car driver
§  1984 – Fantasia Barrino, American singer
§  1985 – Michael Phelps, American swimmer
In a more personal note, June 30 marks the following:
·         63rd day since the First year Brothers’ First Profession
·         65th day since the Second year Brother’s Renewal of Profession or  430th day of their Profession as Salesians
·         But most importantly, this day marks the day when I gave my first sermonette in Canlubang.
Forgive me if I am fond of dates and history tonight. Fr. Nesty’s anniversary seems to have taken its toll on me. I believe however that it is common for us, I mean for everyone and not just the Religious, to be fond of dates and to find connections in the seemingly disparate dots of life, and see through the disparity to form a pattern that was previously hidden.
What appeared to be stars sprinkled across the night sky we have come to form and label constellations. In the same way, we look at our experiences, we look at days and nights, and we find connections, we find constellations, because it is our nature to find meaning in our life.
One of my favorite Bible-based animation movies is Prince of Egypt. Aside from the story on Moses which I have heard a thousand times already, and a beautifully arranged music that captures the magic of the Middle East, I am fond of the line that Jethro delivered for Moses: “Look at your life through heaven’s eyes.”
A single thread in a tapestry with its color brightly shine
You will never see its purpose in the pattern of the grand design
And the stone which sits on the very top of a mountain’s mighty face
Doesn’t think it’s more important from the stones that form the base
So how can you see what your life is worth or where your value lies
You can never see through the eyes of men
You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes
I have been privileged to meet senior Salesians like Fr. Felix Glowicki and Fr. Edgardo Espiritu, two of the many who lived their lives in the Salesian Congregation. At their deaths, I was asked to compile their data and videos for the eulogy. The striking thing is, both saw through their lives a beautiful pattern, which at their youth was yet unclear, slowly becoming clearer and clearer through the years, and manifesting its grand design at the sunset of life. Both were left awestruck and thankful at the turns and twists their life took.
Don Bosco had a similar experience of seeing through his whole life not just an ordinary story of a man who lived and die, but a story of faithfulness and grace. Only at the sunset of his life did he see the full realization of his dream at nine. He couldn’t be more thankful than by shedding tears that sprang forth from the depths of his heart as he was celebrating mass during the blessing of the Sacred Heart Basilica. It was a different set of tears from what he shed when in the dream at nine he could not understand anything of he saw. He was thankful for being chosen as the golden thread that ran through the tapestry of the Salesian Congregation.
We share a similar story with our founder and many of the holy Salesians who have gone ahead. We share a story of a life shared with a faithful God. We are young, and so are our formators, and at this point we may not be able to see through the cloud that covers mystery of our own lives, but we believe and we believe with certainty that through this course is a promising beautiful story that we live every day.
I for one still could not believe that I am already a Salesian, that I am now living in Canlubang away from Cebu, that I am now taking up the challenge of Philosophy, and that I am leading a radical life a far cry from what I originally planned as a child. However I believe that this is part of a wonderful plan for me. There is something around the bend, but that something is not the end, and that it is the journey that counts.
Brothers, Don Bosco lived his life through the background of the dream at nine. I am sure, too, that each one of us lives our lives with a background of a dream that Jesus and Mary had planted in each of us. It is our own sacred story that runs through the tapestry of daily life. What is this sacred story, a dream, that Jesus had shared with us and triggered us to join the Salesian Congregation?  The challenge for us is to incarnate that dream like Don Bosco did, to believe in that dream which triggered the blazing fire of Salesian zeal. How often do we revisit this dream of ours? We may not understand it yet but in due time the story will unfold, and like Don Bosco, we will be thankful we have been chosen to live this life. Until that time, we must see our lives through heaven’s eyes.


This sermonette was given on June 30, 2010 during the monthly commemoration of St. John Bosco before the Post Novitiate Community


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