I have a good memory.
Good enough a memory that I can remember not only events early in life, but could vividly picture ambient surroundings, in such times as when white Rosal flowers floated under our bamboo and nipa house in Lingayen in the 1940’s when the Agno river breached the dike behind our house in Burgos St. where our neighbors, the Sison and Escano families, the Castillos, the Crisostomos, The Ramoses and the de Guzmans lived.
Much later in Mindanao ( early 50’s) I too can still “see” the night when we first arrived in Davao City, when our Maritima boat “Samar,” berthed in the Uyanguren port, after the week long trip from Manila via Jolo, rounding the turbulent Sarangani bay and then up north to the tranquil Gulf of Davao, where sits a city known for durian, for logging, for the honky-tonks in the Agdao and Boulevard streets, and for the truncated Jitneys imported from Manila, or assembled by shops like what the Arrietas had in Sta. Ana where we lived.
I remember the major streets in Davao were but a few: Uyanguren, Monteverde, Boulevard, Claveria, San Pedro, Thomas Claudio and the highways that led north to Sasa and Tagum and Butuan, and that which went south to Kidapawan, Toril, Digos, Makilala, Kidapawan, Sarangani, Dadiangas or Gen San, and Cotabato.
Memories are of course important for us so as not to get lost when we retrace our lives’ artifacts, especially when we try to imagine rebuilding something on our properties, the ground on which our feet once trod and our lives spent; properties which had served us well, and must now belong to the disposition of our heirs.
There is a prayer attributed to St Ignatius which goes something like this, ” Lord, take my memory, all that I am…” and this prayer, especially that part which has to do with one’s own memories, is not immediately comprehensible nor apparent until one imagines one reaching that point in one’s life when memories alone, and memories especially, will not be of any assistance, as the journey crosses that line into eternity.
When God alone becomes the “Navigator,” and any “memory,” one may have, be it of science or a system of thought or anything metaphysical even, will prove to be of no avail in the eternity part of this our journey.
So that, after today’s mass, as we finished our prayers ( with my morning prayer group that gathers for the rosary, the Divine Mercy prayers, etc) I believe I received the grace to let go my memories of properties in Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin, a set of my own “personal attachments,” upon which, the expenditure of thought-energy and memory seems to have little worth for me, considering the number of days left to my life.
At this point I was able to pray, “Lord, I let go my constant thoughts and thinkings,” of these things, and I offer these “thoughts,” to You, so you can do with it, as You will. Please, I give You these dreams and aspirations that I still have, and replace them with Yours.”
The miraculous part of this little morning prayer of mine today was that, after lunch, when I checked my mail box, I found a book that I ordered a week before, titled ” Into your Hands, Father,” by Wilfrid Stinissen.
In back of this book is a phrase worth repeating here:
In the spiritual life we need a central idea: something so basic and comprehensive
that it encompasses everything else.
According to the acclaimed spiritual writer, Carmelite Father Wilfred Stinissen, surrender to God, abandonment to the One who loves us completely, is that central reality.
Father Stinissen distinguishes Three degrees or stages of Abandonment:
1. First Stage consists of accepting and assenting to God’s will as it manifests itself in all circumstances of life.
2. Second Stage is actively doing is actively doing God’s will at every moment of our lives.
3. In the Third Stage, abandonment is so complete that we have become a tool in God’s hands.
At this Stage, it is no longer we who do God’s will but God who accomplishes his will through us.
This inspiring work will help all spiritual seekers to understand the reality and power of the immense love that God has for each of us, and to contemplate the heart of God, which is love and mercy.
Note: Am grateful to Mark Huddy of the Columbus Diocese for bringing this book to my attention.
Abangan the next post: “Abandonment to Divine Providence,” a spiritual classic by French Jesuit Jean-Pierre de Caussade
Very well written, Ed, as usual. Thanks for sharing this.
P.S. Am now back in the States.
Welcome home, Mike
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