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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Holy Week Reflection in Riyadh

My dear friend Ivy and I during one of our reflections after saying the rosary together shared with me an experience in one of her visit to the confessional in Manila.
She once went into confession and during the course she mentioned to the priest that she is Riyadh based and that she didn’t have much or rather there is no way to for her hear and attend a mass, religious as she is and only whenever she goes out to an open country like Bahrain can she go to church, instead of the priest giving her penance by reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary’s, she was told that being in a conservative Muslim country like Saudi Arabia where public display of religion other than Islam is forbidden and yet still keep her Catholic affinities like praying the rosary everyday is already penance in itself. She was commended and told to keep her faith.
It struck me to realize that, it is true, we can only express our faith in the confines of our homes and sometimes for the brave groups inside “esterahas” or resorts, inside compounds or in the privacy of villas and braving the raids of Mutawas any moment and end up in jail or be deported.
Yet, Filipinos who are either Catholic or Christian by faith thrive in the land where the center of Islam religion is located.
Like a desert plant despite the extreme weather and dry heat, still lives and lingers.
Which brings to another reflection as Holy Week comes. I’d like to share to you about Faith and they say faith can move mountains. It does, when we pray hard enough and put our trust in Him, letting His way lead us. Accepting all the things that happen to us, be it good or bad, and knowing that each pain and suffering have a reason and will make us a better person in the end. Believing that through perseverance and belief in oneself and faith we can achieve anything we put our mind into.

Faith: confidence, trust, reliance, assurance, conviction, belief, commitment, devotion.

Confidence that no matter what happens, God is there to guide us, forgive and give mercy. That we always have family and friends to help us get through the toughest times in our lives.

Trust that we have the power and the ability, a gift from God, to be more than we are, remember we are created in His image, so we can be the best we can be, if we trust ourselves that we can.

Reliance, that we are not alone. There is always help, ready for us and in waiting.
Assurance, that when we have faith, we will receive the eternal glory promised to us by God through Christ Jesus.

Conviction from any trials and temptations that faith can shield us from backsliding.

Belief, faith is simply belief.

Commitment that when you have faith, you have to stand by it and live it.

Devotion, which comes by praying to God every day, seeking his forgiveness and mercy, wisdom and strength and of course love.

This Holy Week here in Riyadh I’d be having a reality check, on what’s going on with my life, why things happen and why I am here. I’d be gauging my faith level and see where I am at this point in my life. If running low, then I need to rekindle it, but then God said Himself in the greatest life guide book authored by Him, the Bible:

Matthew 17:20 says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

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