*FAITH, *MARRIAGE, Down Memory Lane, Relationships

MIKAtolika: What’s in a Name?

Let me start by saying that this blog (which I started a little over a decade ago) isn’t new when it comes to “change.” It has experienced several theme changes, rebranding, etc. in the past years. But what makes this “new” different from past changes is that personally, I also experienced a major change in my life.

A new chapter. A transition. A change in life season — I GOT MARRIED! 😉

Photo by Creative Juices Photography

And with it comes a mix of different preferences and priorities compared to when I was still single — including the topics I want to write about. A few months into my engagement, I already thought about the word play for the topic closest to my heart: my (Roman) Catholic faith.
[I’m particular with the “Roman” part because the Catholic Church has other members who belong to other “rites.” The Philippines, though, predominantly practices the “Roman rite” that’s why we’re called “Roman Catholics” — but there are also Byzantine Catholics, Greek Catholics, Maronite Catholics, etc. who are all in communion with Rome — and that’s for another blog post altogether!]

Anyway, I prayed about it and true enough, I was able to incorporate my nickname into it with the help of the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

“Mika” is my nickname and “Katolika” is the Filipino term (I’m from the Philippines!) for “Catholic” —

Hence, MIKAtolika! ❤

YOUR NAME IS PART OF YOUR ANOINTING

I’m maintaining this blog so I can learn more and go deeper when it comes to my own faith. I don’t claim to be an expert nor a perfect person because just like YOU, I’m an unworthy and perfectly imperfect person who is loved by a perfect God! I’m a work in progress. What I do know is I’m a cradle Catholic who used to have weak faith — “weak” in the sense that I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus back then. It was only a few years back when I was “re-converted” to the true essence of my Catholic faith (thanks to my different Catholic charismatic communities — more about them in another post, too!), and I will be honest with you, it has been a daily (spiritual) battle ever since.

Even as of this writing.

But I’m always grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy that empower me every. single. day. Part of that is His daily reminders of what my life’s mission really is, which is already present in my given names.

In one of the Jesuit-inspired silent retreats I attended, there was one passage we were required to read and I’m convinced that God revealed to me who I am through my name because my fellow retreatants read the same passage but received different messages. The passage I’m talking about is entitled “Recover the Stars” by Fr. Jojo Magadia, SJ.

There’s a line in that passage that talked about the “tiller of the soil.” Fr. Magadia wrote that tillers of the soil learn to wait on nature, which teaches them that her cycles cannot be hurried, that she ripens the harvest in her own good time, if she decides to ripen it at all. The tiller still tills the soil, nevertheless, but with “great patience and great placidity,” willing “to watch the grinding mills of God.” They have this almost “blind belief” that in the end, nature, “lush, inscrutable, irresistible—shall work her will in the end,” guided by a God who ceaselessly labors in creation.

Tillers of the soil also labor tirelessly, who plant and water and weed, but in the end can only wait on God who alone can bring new life from the earth and make it bear fruit.

Since that retreat was Jesuit-inspired, I was also made aware of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spiritual exercises and prayers, such as the Suscipe. I’ve always known that my first name, “Mikhaela,” is the female counterpart of the Archangel Michael’s name, which means “who is like God. On the other hand, I researched my second name, “Georgette,” before and I’ve always known it means “farmer. But when I Googled it again on the same day I read the passage, I was blown away to read its other meaning: “tiller of the soil. When I found that Google search, I couldn’t help but receive God’s meaning for my life through my two combined names, “Mikhaela Georgette.” I realized that I’m a “farmer” or “tiller of the soil” “who is like God” (as in holy or made in His image). Add to that the season I was in then, and having complete trust or surrender to God (the meaning of Suscipe) made perfect sense to me.

It’s like the nature in the passage means God in my life, the cycles as my seasons (pruning, waiting, etc.)—and I’m a tiller who surrenders all to Him!

Except surrendering to God isn’t easy. You and I know that.

And surrendering to God? That’s a whole new and wide topic to write about.

Well, I’m starting with THIS. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!


Do you know your name’s meaning?
What’s your reaction to God’s call for your life through your name?

P.S.: “Mika” means “beautiful fragrance”
when used on its own. Mine’s just a nickname,
but it’s still wonderful to know the meaning behind it.

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*FAITH, Down Memory Lane, Gathered Thoughts, Marked on the Calendar, Mi Familia y Mi Amigos

Papal Visit 2015: How It Felt, Feels, and Will Forever Feel

Pope Francis finally arrived in the Philippines and as a Filipino Catholic, I can’t help but be in awe of everything. After all, the last Papal Visit in my country happened 20 years ago with John Paul II as Pope (now Saint John Paul the Great). I was only five years old back then, and I can’t even remember the exact details of that event. All I know was that my family and I tried to catch a glimpse of him at Taft Avenue in Manila. And we did (though from our vantage point, the Pope’s head was comparable to the size of a dot. Hehe!).

Fast forward to today, I suddenly found myself being one of my parish’s volunteers to act as a “human shield” when the Pope makes his way from the airport to his home at the Apostolic Nunciature — again, located in Taft Avenue.

At first, I was actually nervous about being a human shield. We were required to pass complete volunteer forms with pictures for background checking (not that I have anything to hide, but I realized security’s very strict that those with “records” weren’t allowed to volunteer anymore). The weekend before the Pope’s arrival date, we even had a briefing given by the archdiocese and the police. Of course it was all about what to expect, where we’re going to be assigned, and the things NOT to bring (which include umbrellas and opaque bags/backpacks), etc. Having said that, I was nervous because you know, I’m naturally an overthinker! Hahaha! So given the security measures being taken, thoughts of stampedes and whatnot entered my mind.

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one :) (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one 🙂 (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

But of course, my longing to see the Pope in the flesh was stronger than any of those doubts. 🙂 Our call time on January 15 (Thursday) was around 2PM, but we saw the Pope around 7PM. Yes, we waited for a little over five hours only to wave at the Pope for a second (literally!). But you know what? IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!

I FINALLY SAW THE POPE IN PERSON! And just a few inches away at that! I was so speechless, I wasn’t even able to say Viva Il Papa... naging woohoo nalang! :)) And to top it all off, kudos to the crowd for being well behaved. When the Pope made its way to where we were, it’s like everyone was glued to where they were standing and all they could do was shout their welcoming cheers. 😀

our parish's volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

our parish’s volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

worth the wait :)

worth the wait 🙂

That’s just the FIRST DAY. As of this writing, the Pope is still in my country spreading his message of “mercy and compassion” to ALL people — rich or poor, Filipino or not, Catholic or otherwise.

I know that for some, they’ve been lucky enough to go to the Vatican and see the Pope closer (case in point: my two older sisters!). But even they agree with me that nothing compares to seeing the Pope in our home country, where we can all feel the power and unity of the Filipino faith. It really is both a blessing and a privilege.

As you can see, I wasn’t able to take any pictures or videos of the Pope while he was in front of me. How could I? I was a “human shield” and my hands and arms were looped around the arms and hands of the people to my left and right. Hashtags #hawakkamay at #kapitbisig. Haha. All I’m left with now is that awe-inspiring memory, which I know can’t be “deleted” easily.

So yeah, I was in awe. I am still in awe. And I know that I’ll forever be in awe of this historic religious event in my country.

And despite the number of people criticizing the Catholic faith, I’ll strive to continue to defend (and strengthen) my faith and promote what it means to “be like Jesus every day.” Sure, we’re all humans. No person’s perfect. So whatever our religions are, let’s just strive to learn from our mistakes and be better every single day. Aside from that, give LOVE (and not just on Chistmas day! Hehe!). But if you can’t give love, at least give RESPECT. I respect my brothers and sisters from other religions. So please, also respect me when I say that I AM PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC.

For I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. 😉

How about you? What can you say about the Papal Visit 2015?
Sound off in the comments section below!

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