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Arsenio C Jesena

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by Arsenio C Jesena   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Posted: Tuesday, August 02, 2011

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My story is the only one I have. The only one God has given

by Arsenio C Jesena

My dear Nyssa,

Ti, kapoy ka na? Dali na lang ni matapos --
your Tatay Juni’s story.

My story is the only one I have. The only one God has given
me. I yearned and I still yearn for a better story. But this is the
package of epiphanies and revelations given to me. I do not excel,
nor stand out in applause or glory or success. I stand out only in
drabness and mediocrity and confusion and weakness and sin.

No one is really, really proud of me. Except maybe Nanay my
mother and Lola my grandmother who, from where they are now
-- a better place than the earth -- see me, and appreciate me, and
understand me, and accept me, and cherish me. And love me.

They, and perhaps some others, who really care for me,, know
the song in my heart, the song that is me, and they sing it to me, and
they sing it in love . As someone once wrote, “My friend knows the
song in my heart. And sings it to me. When I forget.”

Yesterday, in my prayer, I complained to God -- ‘’Why did You
give me this unique personality, and when I live and act according
to this personality, I am slammed by your so-called Defenders and
by your Inquisitors!”

“And yet I am also grateful for your giving me the unique
opportunity of being me. Otherwise my life would have been alien,
unfaithful, inauthentic, untrue .”

“And thank you, Lord, for both the rain and the sunshine, for
my compasssion and my empathy, for my anger and nobility and
heroism when others are oppressed, for my loneliness and
incompleteness as a human being, for all my brothers and my
sisters, for the poor all around me who are doing their very best to
be good, and to be your worthy children.”

“Thank you for the painful death of my Mother, leaving my
family battered, lost, alone. Yes, thank you for the death of my
Mother -- that unspeakable, shattering experience. Which opened
to us, deprived orphans, the world of eternity and faith, of
transcendent values, of truth, of despising the selsh and the
merely human and all earthly dung.”

“Thank you, Lord, for my vocation to the Priesthood and to the
Society of Jesus, which I do not deserve.

“Thank you for the entire experience of the Sacadas of
Sugarland. Of people who are poor – like YOU.”

It was very lonely out there, daily fighting the battles of Christ,
for Christ.

And He, Jesus Christ, -- often seemed very absent. Where were
You, my God? Where was Jesus Christ? It is very difficult to be left
all alone in the battlefield, against all evil and sin.

But you know what, dear Nyssa? When I was a Sacada -- a
wetback, a migrant cane cutter, sweating daily in the Negros
haciendas, I felt really at Home. As though I belonged there. And
was accepted there.

Yes, I really did feel at Home there in the cane fields with the
poor peasants, eating -- because we had nothing else to assuage
our hunger -- eating field lizards (bayawak) and rat meat (ilaga)
and snakes (man-og).

Those were exciting and heady days. We were in the midst of a
campaign, a hopeless, noble crusade. There were very many of us,
of different ideologies and persuasions and faiths. We were living
and fighting for and together with People -- for a cause greater than
ourselves. And we saw our struggle as a sacrifice that was worth our
sweat, our blood, our very lives. We did not always triumph. But
at least we tried.

In all this struggle to do the work of God, I should have prayed
more … and surrended more completely. And let the Holy Spirit
strengthen me and guide me and dictate everything -- absolutely
everything, so that I might do, not my own will, but the will of

But now the day is almost ended, and the sun has begun to set.

The drama is over. It is time to say goodbye. And find our
cave. And know our God.

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