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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
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
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
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.
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
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