A STORY was told of a poor soul being asked by St. Peter before he could be judged. Peter asked him if he had enjoyed his life on earth. There, he started to narrate all the sufferings and miseries he had endured on earth. He suffered from poverty to malnutrition. After hearing his story, St. Peter asked him, “if God would allow you to go back and live your life again, what life would you choose?” The poor soul replied, “if God allows me to live again, I will still live the same life that I lived. I know that God is there to always lift me in times of sufferings and miseries.” St. Peter shed a tear.
I turned half a century and one last November 9, 2020. That day was a day of celebration of life, friends,(real and virtual) and graces. Birth anniversaries become very significant when an individual steps into 40th, 45th, 50th and so on at intervals of 5 years. The first 10 anniversaries of a child are often celebrated with joy and parties. However, in most cases after the 10th year, celebrations would halt. For the young ladies, a big party (debut) is looked forward to as the next big thing. For us boys, our 50th is celebrated with thanksgiving. The next big party will be our entry to the new citizenship--senior.
Last November 9, I received one of the greatest gifts from our university president, Fray Don Besana, OAR. We had a small gathering and he offered to celebrate the eucharist with us. It was then the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Church of the Pope as Bishop of Rome. I felt that blessings and graces from God are over-pouring to me and my family knowing of the many people that continue to pray for us. My gratitude to all who greeted me on that special day. Your thoughtfulness has sustained me through the years. Indeed, having lived half a century has its ups and downs. But in all the ups of my life, I know that these are blessings from God and all the downs of my life are reminders that God is always there. All we need is to call on Him.
This year, our family is also celebrating the 12th death anniversary of our mother, Carmen Infante Legaspi. She was a little altruistic. She came from a religious family where three of her sisters and two cousins are nuns. Mom was also a member of the Legion of Mary and the Mother Butler’s Mission Guild. I could still vividly recall the night when my late brother, Bill, went to see me and broke the news that mom was not well and he recommended that she be given the last rites. It was providential that when I got out of the office, I met Fr. Prior, Fray Emeterio Bunao, OAR and I told him of the situation. He immediately sent Fray Excel Saycon, OAR to administer the sacrament. My mom silently passed away that evening.
Today, we are in a situation of uncertainty. We never know what will happen in the next few minutes. We are facing natural and man-made calamities from here and there. It seems that we are being punished for the wrongs that we have done. However, with prayer and faith in God, we will all overcome these crises.
What bothers me most are the things that this “new normal” is bringing in. Instead of having close-knit families at home. It seems that boredom and too much familiarity has brought higher walls among families. Electronic gadgets have replaced human relationships at home. Keyboards and monitors have replaced our social growth and interactions. Worst, we now spend more not on food but on the “load” for the online classes.
Who benefits from this pandemic? It is the capitalists and the owners of telecommunication companies. We are often told that we have to adapt to this. This is the new normal. Let me close this with a quote from Bishop Buzon, SD, DD. He said, “There is no new normal. What is normal for us, Christians is to put into practice the teachings of our Master.”