Faith that is Not Tested, is Not Faith At All

While the downpour of rain was heavy all day long last Saturday, I was able to grab my chance of clinging into my academic obligations. I did not fail, somehow, to comply with my to-do-list. Perhaps the weather was really gloomy and not everything inside our house had fallen in its proper place, I still tried to manage my schedule and my mood. That’s right; to manage myself and the actions I would take has always been necessary for a harmonious living- well, at least from my viewpoint.

Some readings I was trying to study that day is about the orientation towards being… something is about existentialism provided that the writer itself has this perspective saying Not that we believe that God does not exist, but we think that the problem of his existence is not the issue, and the other literary piece has been talking about this creatively ambiguous but witty format of what the persona aims to express; but justifiably, I got the gist of the articles I have read. Anyway, it’s all about how we’re to interpret the given symbolic entities which meanings invariably depend to our intellectual capacity and background. It’s up to me, actually, upon whose way of thinking I am made-up to affirm or deny, right?

We all know that in Philosophy, two major groups of people pave its path through the broadness and deepness of discussions- Christians and Atheists. I surely belong to the first one. I just can’t imagine how I was able to deal with the articles wherein atheistic viewpoints are technically considered. Each time I had to support my own ideology and never falter to what I have believed for more than a decade. I told myself that open-mindedness is not a bad thing at all. Essentially, it’s quite a brilliant means to transcend into reality without having to seem too arrogant, ignorant, conceited, and rude. Having an open mind to things doesn’t mean inability to decide for one’s self but maturity to cultivate the values that can eventually lead us to excellence and a better understanding of the world.

Last Friday night, when I am alone in our house and the storm was on its rage, I recorded my voice. This recording lasts exactly up to one minute as it plays. It is supposed to be an alarm which will of course motivate me to get up. Considering its inventive script and a bit proficient tone that speak in straight English, I honestly regarded this habit as some sort of fun. I’d have to adjust the volume to minimum so as not to frantically disturb others; though it’s fine if they’re interested in it.

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(Photo of me in Paoay Church, Ilocos Norte during our historical tour;

but Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral is where I constantly go every Sunday)

Today is Sunday, the start of the week, when I’ve written this. I truly deem that waking up early contributes to man’s productivity and success. So it’s a deal for me to start a day or even a week right enough to make me feel so guilty if ever I do not keep hold of consistency. I am persistent about my dreams, and this blog of mine can attest to that.

Going to church becomes the fundamental system running throughout my character. I’m not the person whom anyone can convince not to go out for mass attendance, especially since when I have started my routine here in the City of Pines. It is a breath of fresh air, a lift of soul, a beat of heart, and clarity of mind- for me as a being. Tell-me-you-can’t-go-but-don’t-tell-me-I-can’t type of attitude is what I got.

Before I could stand under a shed to wait for PUJs, I passed through rustling winds and flooded streets; but still, I could feel the banality of what I am doing. Excitement is expected of me as I fulfill what I want, what I need. There’s this vehicle that stopped in front of me. An old man got off. He is familiar; I always see him on his way to church. He’s passionate about it and I can thoroughly confirm the verity of his faith. Perhaps he’s not too normal (I guess he’s ill due to age-related sickness) and I just can’t say what it is that bothers him. I just know he needs someone to accompany him whenever, wherever, because there’s no safe place nowadays.

Just like at that moment, he didn’t have an umbrella and the rain was pouring hard. It’s cold and I could see he’s tensed. Magsaysay PUJs passed but I am taking the Bonifacio route. So the man was. It’s as if he’s in a hurry not to get late for the mass (though it repeats hourly, in different languages). He’s about to get in a PUJ but its signboard said Magsaysay. God knows how I wanted to offer my umbrella to that man but there’s a bit of force that insisted not. But, when this driver saw the people waiting, he immediately changed his route. So an old couple, I, and the old devoted man, were able to take the ride. I felt an ease that we’re finally on our way to church.

Traffic was not too heavy maybe because it’s still early and the weather wasn’t too good. The PUJ stopped in front of the Cathedral and the vehicle was suddenly more than a half empty. As I crossed the road, I saw this familiar old man taking his steps towards the church. This time, I couldn’t let go of the chance that I might help him. I offered my umbrella and we both took some meters. All of a sudden, I remembered my grandfather. Is he doing fine in our home? Does he feel sick? Does anybody take good care of him? Does he miss me the way I do? Can he still endure and wait for me to get back? Tears watered my eyes but I couldn’t let it fall. For the first few times in months, I heard again the word “apo” (grandchild), with a different high impact melody in my ears. The old man was shivering and a strike of blame landed on me for not doing it so earlier. His age marked those slow footsteps and a notion of helplessness and uncertainty from the environment where he belongs; but I could perceive his hopefulness and it fueled me to keep going.

I thought, I just thought, I am very faithful and this is so exceptional about me. But no, I’m somewhat wrong. There are a lot more people like this man that is full of love for his devotion to God and passion for life. He might be alone at a sight, but inside he’s so full of faith that he couldn’t even think that nobody is there for him. His power of belief makes him stand, walk, and offer himself everyday that until now, he’s able to live. At that very moment of his tight grip (signaling a pinch of gratefulness that someone is confirmed to be there for him even at the slightest point of time), I felt so empowered.

Kindness is contagious. It comes from this man, not from me. I am merely one of the many noble instruments to make people be reminded that The Holy still exists and will always persevere because God doesn’t really leave. God is always here. God is always with us.

A lot of times go by that our faith is being tested without actually the recognition; it just happens. This story of mine for today is just one among the myriad instances that the power of love, hope, faith, and existence itself is realized. Each day can be a miracle, that we all breathe, that we’re all residents of Earth. We discover ourselves in every drop of a second and we explore our lives further not through our own but through our fellowmen.

As for me, I get inspired by you. Criticisms, adversity, loneliness, doubts, and emptiness get clearer every time. I am determined to face such struggles and fight for myself, fight for you, men of amazing faith; because you let me believe that I am not alone in this battle, that we can actually hold on to our beliefs, that we can actually carry on through our passion, that I naturally acquire this spark of love for humanity and that these testimonies trigger me to live. God is with us all the time at all places, in any condition. Impossible can be possible because we believe. God is whom we believe, that’s why we actually can.

Stronger, is how I call. Faith that is not tested, is not faith at all.

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