Friday, June 16, 2017

Love Letter for her common home!


 August 15, 2017
Dear Marawi,
            ‘Maayong Good Morning!’ This is the phrase I used to say every time I encountered you. It was the word of the late Bishop Bienvenido Tudtud who was your passionate lover and who eventually became the instrument of your peaceful land some 30 years ago during a fight between your own Muslim and Christian children.
            So how are you now? You are once again experiencing a great depression, a war between your own sons and daughters but this time of the same affiliation. They are fighting for you, not knowing that both of them own you.
            I feel very sad, and I cry everytime I hear bad news about you and whenever I see the things that are happening to you, especially since those times I stayed with you are still so vivid in my memories.
            In spite of all the bruises that have been manifested in your dirty and bloody streets because of the continuous killings, you are still a home to me. You are still that beautiful place to live in considering the wonderful scenic view you have everytime I look at the colorful fabric ‘banderitas’ hanging and the names of every person who was affirmed and appreciated by their loved ones and friends in the tarpaulin everywhere. They are expressions of your children’s joy in their culture.Your cool climate has made you the ‘Tagaytay of the South’, and beautiful Lake Lanao has given life to everyone. The call to prayer that sounds from the Mosques five times a day reminds me to pray at all times. And above all, I value the welcoming attitude of your Muslim sons and daughters which unfortunately has been soiled by people who really do not know who a real Muslim is.
            Others may think that you are dying and that your story seems hopeless. But I believe you are Judith, the beautiful and valiant warrior, whose mission was to cut the head of Holofernes. You are the mother of these people who will fight for you so that they may possess once again the beauty of life you have to offer.
            Just like Sarah, you have been hurt many times because some people were unworthy of you. Indeed, you are infinitely beautiful and lovable, and different groups are fighting over you in order to possess you. But do not be afraid; Tobias will come in to save you against these corrupted souls.
            The first time I heard the bad news about you last May 23, I saw myself grieving and my heart was full of sadness and anger. I felt sad because of the devastation that happened to you and anger because they do not know how to love someone as precious as you.
            I do not have the right to speak about what love really is, but what I am sure of is that you have taught me how to love - to love without counting the cost and to love without ceasing. It was you who led me to where I really belong. You were not so selfish as to let me stay and to serve you alone but you knew that there was someone else who was waiting for me and who had greater need of my love and care. Thank you for letting me go and for preparing me for my new life because you love me so much. You are the image that my Father Founder, Francisco Palau, was talking about – a wounded soul who has a lot of stories to tell … stories of hope and love.
On this feast day of the Assumption of our Lady, your petitions are also assumed into heaven because she, the perfect type of the Church, will never leave you. Remember, if we are called to die, it is then that we will live again, and that life is so beautiful that you will never compare it to others.
I am very excited to spend my vacation with you, if God allows it, and to be your friend who will lift you once again as you have lifted me up when I felt hopeless in life. Oh, if I could only embrace you and tell you how grateful I am and how in love I am with you! I hope they will see the real beauty in you. Rest assured that I and my whole family, too, will always pray for you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           With love and care,
                                                                         Sr. Avon Grace, CM

“You know- O Church- that I live,
 I live because of you and for you.”
-       Blessed Francisco Palau,OCD

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