POSTED JANUARY 5, 2014 FOR BACKGROUND OF BCBP BEGINNINGS IN CAGAYAN DE ORO
The Private Lives of BCBP Cagayanon Charismatics
(Talk given Nov 30, 2013 BCBP Joint Breakfast, VIP Hotel)
Eduardo S .Canlas
“Tuguti ko O Diyos nga Maila ta Ka ug Masabtan ta Ka
Kay unsa man ang naka una?
Ang Maila ta Ka? O ang Masabtan ta Ka?
Kinsa man ang naka una?
Ug kinsa man ang makatawag Kanimo kung dili kadtong naka ila Kanimo?
Kay ang wala kabalu, basin motawag sila sa Diyos nga dili tinood?
Pero Ikaw Diyos, mahimo man namo ikaw tawgun
Sa among pag ampo arun maila ka namo
This prayer by St. Augustine speaks to me very much of the longings of our BCBP members especially in their private prayer lives.
Before we joined the BCBP, or probably up unto the point when some friend or acquaintance brought us to our very first BCBP breakfast, we were very much cast in the mold of St. Augustine yearning: “How can we call or pray to a God we hardly know?”
But to say that God can be found in all things is it also to say that God can found in BCBP and its way of life?
I dare say Yes to that provided there is prayer life, service and mission work, fellowship and friendship, worship and diligent study of scriptures.
All these i found in the BCBP when i first joined it. Not that i missed out on all these in My education at Xavier U but in the BCBP I was given, nay, gifted a chance to live it out more fully.
As the first BCBP head in Cagayan i was given the chance to feel God’s nurturing care for those who serve him.
We started out few in numbers. Today many in our first batch are lead servants in spreading BCBP in the US.
In one sense BCBP is one experience, one organization through which we catch a glimpse of God’s caring love for us or experience him having a glimpse of us.p
Today as I speak of the early beginnings of BCBP Cagayan Chapter, I speak mainly about our longings as it were, especially when in our private prayer meetings.
Whenever I am in Cagayan I usually attend the Action Group prayer meetings held in the residence of Emil and Lulu Bolongaita, whose son happened to fall in love with my daughter.
And in that Action Group Meeting last month I realized that this is where our BCBP hearts mingle with otherBCBP hearts in a commingling orchestrated by, and guided by the Holy Spirit.
If we are in a sense “fanatical” in a good way about our BCBP prayer groupings, it is here precisely where the quiet ferocity and faithfulness and feeling-good types of feelings, or the revealing of profound family or personal pains and anguish are allowed, in a spirit of trust and generosity, full blossom.
Like the disciples on the road to the village of Emmaus right after Our Lord was crucified in Jerusalem, we in the BCBP, weighed down with our problems and pains, could suddenly come to an awareness that the Lord of the Universe, Jesus, has all along been walking with us.
For “when he was at table with them, he took bread and gave thanks…then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”
Our journeys in the BCBP in a sense is like that Emmaus journey. We encounter the Lord when the Holy Spirit reveals himself to us in ways unmistakeable, and in ways profound and unambiguos. In short, in ways that hits the mark not in an intellectual fashion but straight on towards our inner core.
Many have wondered why members of our prayers groupings literally rise in revolt when requested to redistribute themselves to other groupings that may need their leadership or talents.
The reason is quite obvious: that our closeness to each other is something we treasure deeply, so that we are often afraid to lose that closeness.
But if we are true evangelizers, we must be ready to leave those close to us, families, brothers, sisters included, to be missionaries or be group action leaders to others.
During that Cagayan de Oro AGM the reading, Luke 12 : 49 was one that talked not about Peace but about Division.
“I have come to bring Fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled.
But I have a Baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until completed.
Do you think I come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division
From now on, there will be 5 in one family divided against each other: 3 against 2 and 2 against 3.
They will be divided, father against son and son against father. daughter against mother and daughter against mother-in-law and mother in law against daughter in law.”
In this meeting I realized that the Holy Spirit was upon us as a group,
That the lesson in the reading, though not clear or obvious, became transparent and understandable as each member revealed his or her past, experiences that were long kept safe and sealed in each heart, and it was only when these were laid bare before all the others, in a manner of speaking exposing hearts that were hurting, that our hearts were then slowly healed in the process.
The Holy Spirit was at work again, “renewing the face of the earth…” not in a terrible earthquake or in a tsunami, but in a gentle, soothing balm to heal and to make holy the hurting heart of the father, the mother, the sons and daughters: meaning all of us and I mean all of us, for who among us, be a he or a she is not a father, a mother, a son, daughter etc? Whole and holy, as in healing the brokenness which we all felt.
And who among us is not somehow broken and hurt?
And who amongst our families do not ever experience division, brokenness, bitterness or conflicts?
Altho I had some insight of this in that Cagayan prayer meeting 2013, it was in another prayer meeting in Cebu, in that very first BCBP meeting that my wife and I attended in 1991, that I first caught a glimpse of the inner life of the BCBP, which later on became the “seed” for the first ever BCBP in Mindanao.
In public we are businessmen, professionals etc.
But in private we are profoundly more than these.
And it is in private that must do our study of scripture and our readings of inspirational material and continuos private prayer before we can begin to discharge our functions as “BCBP the evangelizers”
” Lord Jesus we enthrone you. We proclaim you are king. Standing here in the midst of us. We raise you up with our praise.”
One of the very first talks given to us to initiates us to the BCBP is one titled ” Who is Jesus.”
As a boy growing up in the province of Pangasinan in the early 1950’s I began what might be called a quiet, private, personal relationship with God, the One we call The Lord.
I distinctly remember asking God, in my heart;
“Lord, can I see your world?”
You can say that at this point in my life I definitely began a distinct relationship with the Lord, which continues to this day.
Incidentally, let me intimate to you that indeed I was able in my life and in my career to “see” and explore ” God’s world.”
God answered my prayer as a little boy.
And I was able to “see the world” Not because, I may add further, not because I had the means to travel and see God’s world, but because God himself provided through various ways like scholarships, official travels and the like, the means by which I could see His world.
It was only much later that I finally had the means with which I could travel again and see more of this world to my heart’s content, but then again, like in all and in every body’s life, the boy who asked permission from God to see His world, had finally grown old and must now content himself with life’s sunsets and with life’s limits, aching bones included.
“Lord Jesus we enthrone you,” is one annointed song that came home to heart for me in my first BCBP seminar.
Earlier, in another time and place, an elderly man in Cotabato once asked my Jesuit classmate friend Fr. Arsenio Jesena, Jr. (+) this question:
“Fr. Jun, do you know God.? You probably do because you are a priest. But me, I am just an ordinary man. I have never studied theology or philosophy like the learned priests and nuns.
“I have not even,” he continued, “I have not even made the Life in the Spirit Seminar” like the fortunate charismatics in my town.
“I am just an ordinary man, proud of my children, concerned about my grandchildren and worried about myself because until now, (I am 77 years old, ) until now, “I do not know God.”
“Father Jun, please help me.”
He goes on ” But tell me Fr. Juny, do they really, really know God? Is it really, really God they know?”
“Or, are they just parroting what they heard from other parrots?”
I really do not know how I could refute this man’s questions on the philosophical level, but in my experience with the BCBP I have seen so many men and women turn away from sin and do their acts of repentance and then receive in their hearts the peace and the tranquility that scripture promises would be given to those who turn their backs on sin and return to the paths of righteousness, a path promoted by BCBP and their members.
This I know I know from personal experience and knowledge.
Maybe the real question we should ask ourselves is not “Do I really know God,?” begging the same question St. Augustine asked, “which comes first, Lord, should I know you first before I can love you?” but instead to boldly step up with courage and in faith, and tell The Lord, “Lord, I can reach out to you, if I only pray to you.”