Copy of hcc reflection #5 theo94

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  • 1. Herald C. Cruz January 9, 2007 Reflection #5 SP 94.1 - Family Spirituality Practicum As the book comes to a close now it all makes sense to me on how one can live life both at the center and at the edge, though the perfect balance between the two is almost impossible to achieve. Even in my tradition I hardly see pastors effectively living life both at the center and at the edge. It is either they are doing well in the ministry and the family is falling apart, or the family is doing well while the ministry is in a total mess. There were even instances that some of our ministers have been ineffective in both. As a pastor of our denomination who has a small role to play in strengthening the families within our organization, I have the responsibility of heralding the good news that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Life at center and life at the edge can be both lived with a great degree of success provided there is clear understanding of what true spirituality is all about. As continue to reflect on the following pages of the book, these word’s caught my attention, “The family within the parish least often ministered to is the family of the minister himself.” Growing in a family where both of my parents are busy ministers, their ministry involvements would often take them away from home for days and even weeks and we their children would often be left to ourselves. If the family would go on a trip it was often in the context of doing ministry work seldom just for the family. There were even a number of instances wherein halfway into our family outing which was very seldom, my dad would just get out of the vehicle would commute back to our house giving the us the message that family time is not that significant. Having experienced this early on in my life, I thought to believe that family should always come last. The family can always sacrifice for the sake of the ministry and never the other way around. Though I know that my parents loved us the best way they knew how, they
  • 2. were probably taught directly or indirectly that love for God is best expressed in the context of doing church work. I have even heard one of our old pastors teaching the children of the ministers is one MK’s (Minister’s Kids) Convention saying that their parents does not belong to the church but to church and when that statement was said, most of the MK’s started booing. We have this myth that if you take care of the God’s church, God will take care of your family. I grew up having this worldview. When I started having a family of my own, I would often feel guilty when I spend a lot of time at home with my family and not with church people and church activities. I would often sacrifice time with my family for the sake of “others” who needs me. I was so busy taking care of others while neglecting my very own. I took me a long time with the help of CEFAM to begin to understand that as a pastor my first church is my family and by serving them I am also serving God and the last chapter’s of this book gave me principles on how to strike a balance between the two. I believe that I can within our organization I have as that of a Pentecostal, that celebrates events and the “overwhelming” presence of God, I am not learning the other side of this continuum, where we can experience the presence of God even in the most mundane and seemingly boring and unexciting routines of life. This type of spirituality is totally alien to me because I was trained and exposed to something different, and anything that is not spectacular does not constitute the presence of God. One of the catholic books that I have always enjoyed is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Though he was assigned to something irrelevant, the task of preparing food
  • 3. in the kitchen for 15 years, yet, he was able to recognize the presence of God in his menial tasks and celebrate it. I am beginning to reassess the kind of life that I am living. Often, I will try to get away from my routines and try to look for exciting avenues to do ministry. I ask myself now if I am doing this simply for my own gratification and my own selfish ambition, or, am I really doing it for God? Everything that I do should be an act of worship, and should also be an opportunity to enjoy the very presence of God. With this paradigm shift, I can be very happy and content with whatever I am involved in. This Thursday, we will be ministering to a group of street children and their families. Food will be provided and gifts will be given, and it will be an exciting event, in fact, the local government is supporting this endeavor, and I know God will be there. But how about just going there on a regular day and just spending time with these people, feeling their pain and their struggles, isn’t the presence of God just as real then? I believe there is no difference, God is present everywhere, in every event, in every circumstance, I just have to recognize it. In my family, the tasks that I do for my children such as bringing them to school, helping to review them for their quizzes and exams, and just trying to spend quality time with them can at times be very tedious and tiresome. But with this paradigm shift, my small family can be my own cathedral of praise where every act and every deed done in love can be an expression of the mystical presence of God. In chapter 8, where Boyer speaks of worshipping within the home, I felt the desire to bring our family devotions to a deeper level such as using symbols that epitomize life. To date, our family altar is too wordy where I speak the most. I think it can be more meaningful by using significant symbols and even using repetitious prayers which for the longest time I have been “allergic” to, given my background.
  • 4. I am now enjoying routines and repetitions. With the right heart and attitude, it can be very meaningful and even more meaningful each time you do it. My wife and I have been sharing with each other on how we can make our family time more significant. And I feel that we are extra blessed because we are enrolled together in the same subject and we are able to reflect together on our readings and how we can apply it to our daily lives, especially, our own family. In the last Sunday of this year, I am invited to speak on the topic of “Experiencing the Presence of God in the Extraordinary”. Yes, I will tackle that, but I also plan to share with them how to experience God in the ordinary. Routines do not have to change, worship services do not have to be supernatural, but as long as God is there, and He is recognized, it is experiencing the extraordinary in the ordinariness of daily life. I need to challenge people not to look for signs and wonders in the big events of life, but it is already there in the daily life, one just has to discover it.