Category Archives: Family

The day I couldn’t make the sign of the cross

If you read my previous posts, then I don’t need to remind you again how I am as a Christian … a Roman Catholic to be specific. I am not pious in any way, but I have faith. I am not a prayerful person but I pray. I am not someone who owns a pew in the church but I do go to Sunday mass.

I would say the “most”  Catholic moments I have every day is making the sign of the cross. To me, it is a prayer that I do in all sincerity and solemnity, however hurried life is. I make the sign of the cross as I get up in the morning, I make the sign of the cross while driving, I make the sign of the cross when I pass by a church or any place of worship, I make the sign of the cross whenever I feel like I need to.

Bert Ghezzy of OSV Weekly, in one of his articles, said, “The Sign of the Cross is a profession of faith in God as he revealed himself. It serves as an abbreviated form of the Apostles’ Creed. Touching our forehead, breast, and shoulders … we declare our belief in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are announcing our faith in what God has done — the creation of all things, the redemption of humanity from sin and death, and the establishment of the Church, which offers new life to all. When we sign ourselves we are making ourselves aware of God’s presence and opening ourselves to his action in our lives.

Very well said I say … because to me, making the sign of the cross means more than a gesture….it is a means of communication.
Imagine my anguish when one day I couldn’t make the sign of the cross. I felt crippled … literally, emotionally, psychologically, and most of all, spiritually.

It started off on a Wednesday with a slight pain on my upper arm. I ignored it and told myself that I just need to rest since I’ve been tirelessly working on my laptop. Thursday, the pain started radiating through my right hand making it difficult to operate the computer mouse. I applied my trusted Amrutanjan before going to bed hoping the pain would vanish. I had an early morning meeting on Friday and so I drove off to work unmindful of the nagging pain. That fateful day, I could do no work on my laptop as my fingers were almost frozen. The pain increased every time I try and force myself to press my keyboard. Ignoring my colleague’s advice to leave the car in the office garage and take the cab, I struggled to drive back home. Switching the ignition was an ordeal, and to make matters worse, traffic congestion was at its worst. An ambulance passed by, and that is when I broke down.

One practice that I do conscientiously is to make the sign of the cross when I see an ambulance or hear its siren. As I lift my fingers to execute the gesture, I utter a silent prayer for His saving grace, that the person inside the vehicle may be spared from pain.
When I tried to lift my hand as the wailing of the siren blasted through my car window, I realized that I just couldn’t. Tears started flowing, the throbbing became unbearable, my spirit crashed. As I traversed the IT highway’s five kilometer stretch in pain, I came to the realization that I am lost not because I couldn’t use my hand, but because I couldn’t make the sign of the cross.

It’s carpal tunnel, the doctor diagnosed. My tendons were swollen and the tingling of the nerves caused by constant handling of the computer mouse has to be treated. I was advised rest for the next couple of days, which fortunately were weekends.

Two days of retrospection and the words of an old friend, who died a few years ago, kept ringing in my ears, “Why worry when you can Pray?” And as I prayed, healing began… and I could make the sign of the cross once again.

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Nuestra Senora de Candelaria

Today, more than any other days, I wish I am back home.

The 2nd of February is the feast of Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, the patroness of Silang, Cavite. A place that holds numerous memories and sentiments for me.

People close to me will tell you that I am not a religious person. I am not a prayerful person. I am not a devout catholic. I am not pious in any way. But — I have faith, and I am a believer.

Growing up, I was taught Christian values that I sincerely adhere to. Educated in institutions that stressed the basic tenets of ethics and morals, I have become the person that I am today — certainly not a saint — but someone who respects and cares for every individual, no matter who they are or what they are. I look up to saints who inspire me, and I remember them and their teachings every step of my way.
Nuestra Senora de Candelaria is one of those saints who guided me as I traversed the winding ways of life. The light from the candle in her hand has helped me conquer the fears of darkness and steer myself clear of any wrongdoing. Visiting her abode in Silang, built in 1595, located adjacent to where I studied high school, is always the highlight of my trips back home. I cannot count the number of times I wept in silence inside the church, asking for her guidance. I cannot describe the wide grin I had when I married the man of my dreams, in the very same church. And I cannot contain my happiness when I presented my daughter to her, in thanksgiving.

As a young child, Silang fiesta meant attending the mass and going around the plaza to frolic on the wide array of toys on display. I can never forget the bright red horse, made of paper-mache, my mom bought me in one of those trips. As a teenager, the fiesta meant going out with friends to the perya, a local version of a carnival. The last time I had the privilege of attending the fiesta was more than 18 years ago, and I am hoping to be there again and join the celebrations soon.

The color and festivities of the season is an added attraction to the beautiful celebration of her feast day today, but simply seeing her regal image and feeling the warmth of her blessings is more than enough reason to want to be there right at this moment.
Viva Nuestra Senora de Candelaria!