Love beyond words

By: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 28,2021 - 08:00 AM

Do you know why it is difficult to talk with some people? It is simply because they keep talking.

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In today’s Gospel (Mk. 9, 2-10), we hear how Jesus was transfigured before His disciples. Peter, overwhelmed by the experience, started talking to Jesus, telling Him of his thoughts, his feelings, and his plans. Then, a cloud came, and a voice said: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” Just like that, and he was silenced.

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Transfiguration happens when we talk less and listen more, when we think less and pray more. Simply, when we are mindful of the needs of people around us, and that there is a God greater than us.

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“He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.” It can happen that people who talk long and too much, perhaps, have a lot of fears, insecurities, or identity and self-worth issues deep inside.

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We all need to learn the art of listening. Before the art perhaps, what some people need to learn first is just the necessity of listening.

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Like the disciples at the Transfiguration, we all need a Mt. Tabor where we listen to, and see no one but Jesus. We all need time and space for prayer in our daily lives, to be by ourselves, to go to a deserted place, to be quiet before God, to listen to Him, and allow Him to speak to our hearts.

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St. Joseph has no spoken words written in the Bible. But he said a lot with his silence, and did a lot with his hidden obedience.

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Fr. Victor Leones, SVD, has gone home to our Lord last Feb. 26. He was a humble and an unassuming, soft-spoken person with a ready smile for everyone. He never gave the feeling that he knew better or that he was more hardworking, or holier than the rest. He didn’t say much, but he said a lot by his very person and life example. He didn’t need to say much perhaps because he was sure and secure of who he was.

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Father Victor was one of the first Filipino SVD missionaries sent to Ghana, Africa, in 1973 where he worked quietly in challenging situations for 48 years. He carried out his missionary assignment without much fanfare. Yes, they who say little love much.

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Fr. Noel Rebancos, SVD, our former Superior Delegatus, relates that he asked Father Vic during his last home vacation two years ago, if he would retire in the Philippines. His simple answer was: “No. Where God sent me, there I will die.” Mission accomplished, Father Vic!

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Todd Henry, in his book “Die Empty,” says that the richest land in the world are not the lands with oil and diamonds, but the cemeteries where many people are buried carrying with them their ideas, their goodness within, which they did not share, distribute, or carry out. Yes, life is short. Let’s give our best while we still can, and while we still have the time. 

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What are your wishes before you leave this world? Listen to the last three wishes of Alexander the Great as he was dying. His last wishes were:

“My physicians alone must carry my coffin” (to make people realize that doctors cannot save a person from death, and that people should not take their health for granted);“… the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones I have collected in my treasury” (to make people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth);

“My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin” (to make people know that he came empty-handed into this world, and empty-handed he goes out of this world).

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to love, beyond words. Amen.

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TAGS: Father Vic, Father Victor, Fr. Vic Leones, Help us to love beyond words, Jesus, less talk, love, love beyond words, Mt. Tabor, prayer, St. Joseph, Transfiguration

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