May 27, 2024

We ponder on these lines as we look forward to Lenten season which will start so soon on Ash Wednesday:
“Nailunod dagiti agtalek ti na indagan. Neng-neng dagiti agnamnama kadagiti mapukaw. Ma-ag dagiti haan nga mamati ti panagungar.”
In contrast, here is a Bontoc word with a rich and deep meaning, “naoney.
“Naoney nan entalek ken Apo Dios.” (Psalm 1:1)
Here are some Iloco words that may be related to each other: “nailunod, nengneng, and “ma-ag”, especially when they are applied in our spiritual life.
“Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
The word “blessed” is perfectly translated in the Bontoc word, naoney. Naoney is not “maswerte.” It is the state of being with the Divine and being blessed by the Divine for struggling to live a holy life amidst the temptations, deceptions, and cunnings of the Devil in the world.
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream; It fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.” (Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6)
The evangelist narrates, (Luke 6: 20-26) “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.”

Profound magnanimity, selfless generosity, and utmost prudence
Being blessed is living profound magnanimity, selfless generosity, and utmost prudence. Profound magnanimity is explained by Jesus in the gospel of Luke 6:27. Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Man will not reward us for these seemingly ironical gestures. They may even judge us as coward and foolish, or see our gestures as defeat. But God who is all powerful will reward us perpetually. “But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High.”
Selfless generosity is giving everyone who asks. It is giving without any condition. We simply give because somebody is in need. Selfless generosity is giving without cost and giving without expecting something in return.
Utmost prudence is not judging and not condemning our fellowmen. If it is not necessary to say it, we tailor our mouth. Utmost prudence promotes peace and it can heal broken relationship.

Walk to heal!
He walks to heal. He walks to reach out to people. He walks to walk with others. He walks with faith, hope and love. Now, he is walking without a cane. He walks miles around the town and to the different barangays and churches of Sagada, Mountain Province.
Bro. Sam Directo is a stroke survivor who was paralyzed for six months. Now, he is walking with our pastoral team to the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) of Sagada Catholic Mission.
On Feb. 20 and 22, Bro. Sam voluntarily joined our group to San Lorenzo Ruiz BEC, Tanulong, Sagada and to Our Lady of Lourdes BEC, Aguid, Sagada.
Bro. Sam delivered a very inspiring testimony that uplifted and gave hope to the people. “Healing happens when we will it, when we walk miles, and when we entrust our intention to the Lord.”
After the holy mass in Tanulong, somebody approached him for a conversation. He was also a stroke survivor but the difference is Bro. Sam walks without a cane and walks a mile. He gave inspiration to his fellow stroke survivor giving him hope to walk without a cane one day.

Please offer healing prayers for Rev. Fr. Michael Tokoyen, Bella Badecao, Rose Changlapen, Julian Chumacog, and all those infected with Covid-19 and those in anxiety and depression.
Reach me at [email protected].