When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I did after getting the confirmation from the doctor was to walk across the street to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. I walked in and saw the image of our Lady on the left near the entrance and walked up to her and prayed a prayer of thanks while touching my stomach that I knew now had life within. I don’t remember my exact words, but I do remember that I offered up my unborn to our Lady.
About thirteen years and nine months later, I look back on that day and I know that Our Lady heard and answered my prayers, for she, in her mysterious ways, has looked after my child as if he was her own. I don’t know where his calling is and at his young age, he probably doesn’t either. But for the past year and a half he has felt a call to serve beside our Lord and our Lady by being an altar server, dedicating his free time to assisting the priests during mass and attending the many activities called upon him.
His dedication is such that during the novena masses of our dear Lady of Lourdes, he attended all the nine days of novena prayers, masses and torch processions, spending at least 3 hours each night and on some nights where they had rehearsals, even five hours. And on the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, he missed his classes and chose to serve during the fiesta. He served in two masses including the high mass at noon and attended the lengthy evening procession which ended with a ceremonial welcoming back of the statue of Our Lady back to the church.
|With his fellow Altar Servers before the start of the procession|
Those days when he chose to serve at church were actually critical days for his school work. He had projects to finish, mastery activities, mastery tests and achievement tests to complete. All this so he can be cleared in his subjects and maybe receive a recognition, in which he was on the preliminary list of graduating Grade 6 learners. But because he chose instead to use his time to serve in the church, I felt that the recognition was in jeopardy. And so feeling the pressure myself of wanting my son to be cleared, I scolded him and said that his decisions could’ve cost him his recognition in school. He felt the pressure and even cried. I consoled him and tried to be more easy, helping him out by assisting him finish his projects.
Feeling guilty at giving my son a sermon because of his service at church, I was reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. When Jesus visited their home, Martha was so engrossed in her work, while Mary chose instead to sit next to our Lord and be with Him. Martha scolded Mary for not helping her out, but Jesus reminded Martha that Mary had chosen the better and no one can take that from her. I was truly humbled with this message that just came not from any daily readings but came maybe as a message from our own dear Mother. Yes, Benjo, her son, has chosen the better and I should not take that from him.
As faithful as our dear Mother is, I was surprised that despite the many subjects that Benjo still needed to be cleared, he got it all done by the following Tuesday after the feast day (or just three school days) - another reminder that when you put God first, he will put all other things, including school work, in order.
In a couple of days, we will celebrate 13 years of your life, Benjo. Happy birthday my dear son! Your Dad and I are so proud of you. No, you’re not perfect and can be very pilyo at times, but no matter what, know that we will always love you. Whatever life brings your way, we lift it all up to God and to our dear Mother, who continues to be by your side.
|Oh how you've grown! Happy birthday anak!|