WE HAVE the practice in our family and our community to have a regular prayer meeting. This is the practice of the BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community).

Daily prayer is something that can help you to go on with your life.

The Carmelite Saint Teresa of Lisieux once said: “One word or a pleasing smile is often enough to raise up a saddened and wounded soul”.

Teresa was a Saint. To be a saint doesn’t mean that we must work differently but that we work for God what we usually do for ourselves. The people need each other when they are in difficulties and it is good that they love somebody who will stand beside them and pray together with them. Then you can discover in each other something of the Eternal and we can be a light for others.

We really become human when we pray together. We may be like God has intended us to be, in all freedom. When we realize that ourselves, then we can see the Image of God in the other. Through praying together the border of heaven and earth disappears and we are connected with the basis of our existence and we become part of a world-wide community.

For the Carmelites contemplative life is living with a space for love which streams in and between people, the so-called open space, which is stated in the Carmelite Rule.

Titus Brandsma, who is a Carmelite and a contemplative, lived in the Netherlands during the Second World. He was tasked by the Dutch Bishops to visit the different press bureaus in Holland and to tell them that they should not make public the Nazi propaganda of Adolf Hitler. For that he was put in a prison in Holland.

In his prison cell, he wrote the following poem:

“Leave me here

freely alone,

in cell where never sunlight shone,

should no one ever speak to me;

the golden silence makes me free!”

After his imprisonment, he was deported by the German soldiers to the Concentration Camp of Dachau where he died in the gas-chambers.

Brandsma is not yet a saint but soon he may be declared one. He should be declared a Saint because of the heroic life he lived.

Let us pray also for a fruitful third GRP-NDF peace talks which will be held on January 18 to 23, in Rome, Italy.

May the Holy Spirit guide all those involved as they discern ways to end the decades-old armed conflict in our country. We pray that the positive atmosphere, present in the first two rounds of talks, will continue and that both panels will put the interests of the people, especially the most vulnerable, at the center of the discussions.

Our prayer goes with the hope that the negotiations on the second substantive agenda on social and economic reforms, which aim to address the roots of the armed conflict, redound to a peaceful future where all the basic requirements for all Filipinos to live an abundant life, as the Lord promised, are fulfilled. We pray with our Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and our Ecumenical Bishops who are part of the government peace panel in Rome.

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