Sacred Encounter Spiritual Center
|Posted on January 28, 2021 at 11:55 PM||comments (1397)|
“Change the way you see things, and the things you see will change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Let me begin with a Japanese folktale, known as: “The House with 1000 Mirrors.”
Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often." In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."
This simple story profoundly illustrates that our emotions determine our perspective, which in turn influences our worldview. Indeed, perspective is everything and since the year 2020 was such a challenging year that marked us with an emotional scar, it would be good to heed the wisdom of our ancestors as we forge ahead into the new year.
Our modern celebration of New Year’s Day in January, stems from an ancient custom, the feast of the Roman god Janus, who is usually depicted with two faces: one face looked back into the past, and the other peered forward to the future; also known as the god of doors, choices, beginnings and endings. Over the centuries, historic texts have recorded a large number of rituals invented during Wintertime, on the darkest of days, to turn the new year into a prosperous one. In the rituals, they put the past behind and welcomed the new year with hopeful anticipation. They chanted and danced to the stars, prayed to their gods, and lit ceremonial fires, which sent sparks and embers into the sky, to warm the night and to bring forth light. Explosions were added, by means of roasted hollow bamboo, to scare away the demons and to turn misfortune into good fortune. These rituals grew and developed into annual festivities because these festivals worked over, and over, and over again! Indeed, the sun returned, the days lengthened, the crops grew again, and the people thrived. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus stated: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
So, let us face this New Year 2021, just like our ancestors did: full of hope, optimism and creativity, and be the change you wish to see in the world. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!
|Posted on January 3, 2016 at 10:55 PM||comments (1120)|
A blessed New Year to you all!
Do you believe in apparitions? How about mystical experiences? What I am about to share with you pertains to both: an apparition and a mystical experience.
January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is interesting that on this day, at Carlsbad beach, I saw an apparition when I was taking pictures of the sunset, this sacred image suddenly appeared right before my eyes -- the image of a reclining crowned Madonna with haloed child Jesus sitting on her lap: http://www.motherleia.com/gallery. Then, in the evening, as I was studying the photos I took, I noticed that the image of the Madonna and child Jesus changed into a kneeling Angel tenderly watching child Jesus: http://www.motherleia.com/gallery). The following morning, when I was thanking and praising God for the visions I saw, a message came to me that I must share them with all of you and to tell you to never doubt that God is REAL!
It makes me sad to even think that some of you doubt God's presence and take God for granted or do not believe in God at all. When I see visions of God, I never ask for proofs; I simply have a relationship with God -- God is and has been real to me. I never take God for granted, I talk to God about everything and ask for God's guidance on everything! God is in my mind/heart as soon as I awake, until I go to bed at night. I praise God with my every breath--in my inhalation and exhalation, consciously and subconsciously. At New Year's day Mass and during adoration, I sighed and just mentioned briefly that I missed my visions and dreams of God and my guardian angel (as if missing seeing a real good friend); then, before nightfall and unexpectedly, I saw these beautiful sacred visions.
My dear ones, don't ask for proofs or visions; just believe! After all, there are different gifts coming from the same Spirit of God (read 1 Corinthians 12). You may not have the gift of visions but without a doubt, you will have God's Peace, Joy and Love, no matter what life throws at you. Just remember to praise and thank God in ALL circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19). Trust with all your heart that: "All shall be well and all will be well and all manner of things shall be well" -- Julian of Norwich said this during the dark ages. Some of you know what I have gone through and I have gone through a lot--I can even say that I have been through hell! But I never doubted that God has been with me through it all; I have always felt God's Peace. I never doubted that God has a plan for me: "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says God, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11). Remember, the classic sign of God's presence is Peace! So, if you have Peace, you have God. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to talk, please do not hesitate to contact me.
May your 2016 be full of God's Peace, Love and Joy!
|Posted on April 9, 2015 at 1:10 AM||comments (1721)|
A blessed and happy Easter to you all! I pray and hope that your Lenten journey has been transformative. This is really what Easter is all about: New Life and New Beginnings! Lent has given us the opportunity to reflect on our lifestyle, our relationships to God, others, and self, and a chance to forgive, to ask for forgiveness, and be forgiven.–forgiveness not only from others, but more importantly, from oneself. The reason why many people are not able to forgive others is because they have not forgiven and cannot forgive themselves–you cannot give what you do not have. You will not be able to really forgive, if you haven’t totally forgiven yourself.
Therefore, Easter is a celebration of our New Life with God, others and self. Easter gives us the space to renew ourselves and live out our transformed life from our Lenten journey. We have been resurrected with Christ. Christ brought us out from darkness to light; from death to life. We are a new creation ! We are given the grace and courage to have new ways of relating, which is more forgiving and compassionate; new ways of seeing and thinking, which is less judgemental and opinionated; and new ways of speaking, which is more caring and loving.
The very thing that holds us back from walking in this new path and acting out of our new self is FEAR. We are afraid to step out of our old ways of thinking, speaking and relating. We are afraid of what others might say or think. We are afraid of getting hurt again; we are afraid we don’t know how to act differently; we are afraid of the unknown! Indeed, we ought to be afraid, because like a child, we actually do not know where we are going without the guidance and nurturance of our parents/guardians, in this case, our God. Therefore, we need God to hold our hand and show us the way; hence, Jesus says: “Do not fear. Only believe…” (Lk 8:50; Mk 5:36) and in Proverb 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Relying only on ourselves without God, is like driving in an unknown path without a map or GPS, getting lost in the process. So many people instead of establishing a relationship with God, establish their relationship with drugs, alcohol, sex and unhealthy relationships–all of which, just perpetuate their empty selves and losing their very self.
We all want to be independent and reject what seemed to have hurt us–in most cases, religion, has something to do with this painful experience. Therefore, the tendency is to reject everything that has to do with God and anything that resembles religiosity; albeit we continue to seek something to fill our empty life and search for meaning–in reality, we seek the truth about God.
All through the ages, we, human beings, have been seekers of “truth” in our search for meaning in life. We so desire to articulate our faith and to express the deep urgings from within, which we call “conscience.” Hence, we have resorted to Philosophy and listened to great minds such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aguinas, Bonaventure, Augustine, etc. We struggle to see the connection between knowledge and understanding, the dialogue between science and the world, and to have a vision of life that’s not split from human sciences. And yet, despite (or because) of that, we find ourselves in the midst of pluralism, secularism, and globalization of religions and religious beliefs. These efforts and results only speak of the ambiguity of human persons and the fact that “God’s ways are not our ways,” and “God’s knowledge are too lofty for us to understand.” Also, I am reminded of the tower of Babel — the more we seek to “reach God’s mind” the more we get confused. God’s gifts of faith and conscience are indeed precious. In fact, all of God’s gifts are precious, which include Philosophy, and other human sciences.
Yes, whether we admit it or not, we seek to understand and to know God. Deep inside, we actually have an unquenchable thirst to strengthen our faith and to deepen our love for God. Our seeking is not for ourselves alone but for others, as well — we have a need to share our faith and love of God with others, in a language that will not sound “religious” or in a way that people won’t frown upon. We seek that we may see the face of God in the daily ordinariness of our lives. We subconsciously seek God in Scriptures, in churches, in community and in family–and debate or argue on things that we are actually struggling with. We have so convinced ourselves that “they are wrong” and “I am right.” In reality, with our defenses down, we just seek faith that informs our reasons.
Dialogue is very important if we have to reconcile the tensions between pluralism and Truth. And yet, what is “Truth”? Each religious group can make a claim that they have the “Truth.” I would say that we all have pieces of the truth, like pieces of the puzzle. When we dialogue, we are able to put the pieces of “truth” or pieces of the puzzle together and see the “big picture” or the whole truth. When we dialogue with an open mind and heart, we begin to understand our differences, appreciate our diversities, and accept other’s uniqueness. We realize that we cannot put God in a box because indeed God is much greater than we think or can even imagine. When we dialogue, we open ourselves up and let God be God.
When we give ourselves permission to have a relationship with God, we get to know God intimately and are able to journey with God without fear Our experience of God is no longer influenced by others–it doesn’t matter anymore what other’s say. We know in our heart of hearts who God is…and therefore, able to celebrate our new beginnings, our new and transformed life! HAVE A JOY-FILLED EASTER SEASON!
One with you in the Risen Christ,
|Posted on April 8, 2015 at 3:40 AM||comments (825)|
Life has taught me that my every encounter is sacred. My life's journey, or should I say, my life with God, has been trivial and yet profound, ordinary and yet amazing. My life is actually no different from those who were called by Jesus to follow him, to be his disciples and apostles. Come to think of it, I, too, was called by God to be a disciple, and later on to be an apostle; just like Paul, Barnabas, and a woman apostle, Junias (Romans 16), who were later on called to be apostles.
I cannot ignore the gentle whispers of the Spirit within me, telling me that my encounter with the Divine is worth sharing and my life's story is indeed a gospel that needs proclaiming.
So, I dare say, my Sacred Encounter is actually, the holy gospel according to Mother Leia.