Pueblo amante de Maria

CCC 1674 Someone who goes on a pilgrimage “prays with his feet” and experiences with all his senses that his entire life is one long journey to God.

“Pumunta ka sa prusisyon ko ha…Pumunta ka sa prusisyon ko…”

I can vividly recall what awoke me one Saturday morning of April 20, 2013. It was the image of Our Lady of Fatima asking me to go to her procession. Her bright shining light as she appeared in front of me made my eyes opened even if I was still sleepy. I don’t know why she is asking me to go to her procession. I immediately asked my mother also Mary as her name ‘Maria’ if there is a procession that day in our parish. But then she said she don’t know if there is any.

The experience is new to me; as I don’t have a strong devotion to Mama Mary. In my prayer times either I address directly to God or to Jesus but forgetting to ask for her intercession.

I don’t know then why Mama Mary appeared to me that day. The only appointment that I have that day is the recollection with our chaplain for the pilgrimage Fr. John Cabrido to spiritually prepare us for the Holy Land Pilgrimage in a few days. Honestly, I am so tired to go out and attend- so with Mama Mary’s request I attended that recollection that afternoon.

I thought I forgot that encounter already…

Just then, on our first day of our History of the Church tour at Ilocos; our professor Fr. Nesty Impelido mentioned that it was Mama Mary who invited us for this pilgrimage right in front of the facade of St. Augustine Church of Bantay, Ilocos Sur:

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(many thanks to Farl for this perfect picture of St. Augustine Church of Bantay, Ilocos Sur at http://www.flickr.com/photos/colloidfarl/29833135/)

We were able to visit the people who loved Mama Mary in churches of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad, Virgen La Milagrosa, Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Manaoag in Pangasinan. “Pueblo amante de Maria”—in the original Spanish of Mr. Emeterio Barcelon’s and Fr. Norberto Carceller’s hymn for the International Eucharistic Congress in Manila (1937)—speak of Filipinos as “a people in love with Mary ” a key dimension of our ‘Philippine Catholic presence’ is the devotion to our Blessed Mother. This we witnessed as the people are all keen preparing for the birthday of Mama Mary on that week of September 08.

It all made sense to me now…

Never had I imagined being able to have a pilgrimage both in the Holy Land of Jerusalem and in our Ilocos, Philippines within the same year- 2013. It was the procession that Mama Mary is inviting me to experience…

But as we all know in the procession one cannot experience smooth roads all the time. There are times when it’s a bit bumpy, muddy or sometimes rough that you have to carefully walk and be watchful…

A particular spot where I experienced God’s presence was after I read a prayer to Sto. Cristo Milagroso in Sinait, Ilocos Sur that says:

crying before the Lord

“May I make the path of Your life the pattern of my life as I faithfully carry out my tasks and the mission You entrusted to me. May I accept sufferings, difficulties and trials that come as I journey with You in my everyday life. May I also rise with You to experience new fervour, new hope, and new life, LORD. If it be for Your greater glory and my welfare, O Sto. Cristo Milagroso, Bless me, Bless my family, Amen.”

I literally cried the whole time after reading it and even during the whole duration of the Holy Mass that followed. It was what I felt my recognition of my whole body and soul of offering to God including the humility to accept sufferings in this journey of life while being faithful to the task He entrusted to me.

The films we’ve watched during the trip ‘The Mission’ (1986), ‘A Man for All Seasons’ (1966), and ‘The Messenger: Story of Joan of Arc’ (1999) all captured that essence. Faithfulness to Him may at times also have to involve one’s own life. Standing up against to some of your friends, colleagues, or even your own family as you know that you are ‘called’ for that particular vocation may it be as a missionary, a public servant or at times during a war.

I could not have experienced all these without the hunger for knowledge that God planted in my heart; knowledge not only for me but meant to be shared. Let me share with you the Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas before Study also shared to us by our professor Fr. Jun Lingad (also a Marian) in our studies:

O MARY

Mother of fair love and fear, of knowledge and holy hope,

through your pious intercession, very many, who otherwise were

lacking in ability nevertheless made wonderful strides in knowledge and piety.

I choose you as the guide and patroness of my studies.

Through the mercy of your motherly love and especially through that Eternal Wisdom

who willed to assume our flesh from you and illumine you with heavenly light above all the saints,

I humbly implore that you obtain for me the grace of the Holy Spirit by your intercession.

Thus I will be able to pursue with all intelligence, to retain in memory, and to express with eloquence,

those things which are useful for me and for others but especially for the Holy Church

and the honor of the Name of your Son, for the divine glory and my eternal salvation. Amen.

this prayer humbling me…as I study not just to learn more about Jesus…but to journey with Him moreand through the help of our Blessed Mother =)

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