Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chiara in our Family Life

(This was our tribute to Chiara on her 1st Death Anniversary)

Eden; Good afternoon everyone! I am Eden.
Edna: And I am Edna
Eden: We were married in 2001 and gifted with three (3) beautiful sons, ages: 7, 5, and 3. We live in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. I work in the Local Government as Secretary to the Municipal Council.

Edna: The movement is a gift of God to me personally, to our growing family, and to all our life’s endeavor. At first, I was not attracted to the movement and we had a lot of struggle as Eden was already ahead of me in giving himself to the movement and I did not understand why he kept on attending the movement’s activities here in Davao, even though I sometimes showed and told him of my opposition.

Eden: Yes, those were difficult moments for me because I have already learned to love the movement’s charism, the members who are my spiritual family and the activities we did when I was still here in Davao. Embracing Jesus on the cross in that situation, I would sometimes give in to my wife’s opposition just to be in unity with her.

Edna: Seeing my husband’s struggle while giving in to my opposition made me realize that I was not loving and allowing him to be himself at all. I tried to die to my preference - that he stay at home often – and I joined him in attending the movement’s activities, like the annual summer retreat called Mariapolis. There with him, I saw – the beauty, goodness and truth in the Focolare.

Eden: Edna’s heroic act of unity with me marked the beginning of our journey together as husband and wife with Jesus in our Midst. In fact, we named our three sons JIM short for Jesus in the midst. Jesus in the Midst with her made me strong in going against the current of our political system which is shadowed with the culture of death: corruption, injustice, hatred, disunity, etc. As a secretary of the Municipal Council, I became involved in the mining operation due to the participation of the Local Government in the Memorandum of Agreement with the permitee and the operator who happened to be our distant relative. Thus, by association, his adversaries became hostile to me even to the point of sending me death threats through cell phone.

Edna: At first, Eden tried to hide the situation from me, but accidentally I opened his cell phone and became aware of it. I felt so anxious since our two children were going to school and I am working, as a High School teacher, 20 kilometers away from home. Together, we embraced with much love and unity the suffering Jesus in that emotional and psychological turmoil. The loving support of the sisters of Eden gave us peace and security while we were in our respective works.

Eden: By the grace of God, with the support of our immediate family and the prayers of the community, we were able to calmly surmount the fear and entrusted everything to the mercy of God. Thanks, I am still alive!

Edna: The world of politics, as Eden said, really requires solid foundation and faith to be able to stand firm in doing the right thing. During election day of 2007, I witnessed Eden’s zeal to keep the process of election clean when he confronted people who were grossly violating the rules.

Eden: I felt hurt because the claw and pang of the law was used against me and sued in court for advocating the law to be obeyed. Thanks to the unity, courage and much love by my wife during that moment, I was encouraged to face the accusation. The focolare community was all out behind me during those difficult moments. From time to time, I received words of encouragement and acts of concern for the resolution of my case. Those moments of trials enabled me to enter into the agony of our Lord, and found Jesus Forsaken on the cross who suffered much more than I do, as my inspiration to love even more including those who caused our suffering.

Edna: The word of life and the daily password to live the present moment with love were very useful instruments to be faithful in doing the will of God. I remembered one time, when I arrived in school, one of my fellow teachers, with loud voice, was unstoppably and angrily airing her clamor against another teacher. The word of life immediately flashed in my mind and I silently prayed, “God what is your will at this moment?” After listening to her, I came closer and lovingly touched her back to ease the pain that she was going through until she calmed down.

Eden: Chiara is really a mother to us who equipped and fed us with all practical and spiritual food for our soul.

Edna: Chiara taught us to live the culture of sharing and so we tried to live simply in order to be able to set aside some amount or things for those who are in need in our family, neighborhood, and cell of environment.

Eden; As Volunteers of God, we are trained to live the different aspects of this life that consequently produce a balanced way of living. With mutual love and readiness to die one for the other, we saw to it that we have time in sharing our souls. We also invite others to share with us the life of unity through the word of life and the new city, the magazine of the Focolare. We do our daily family prayer, meditation and attend mass and sanctify all our activities by offering them to Jesus. We give time for rest and recreation. We keep our surroundings orderly and clean and as educators it was natural for us to study; and we keep in touch with the focolare center through the modern way of communication, and much more.

Edna: Jesus in the others and even in strangers made us open our house for the neighborhood and students who need a place while taking their lunch. We share with them the God-given free and abundant potable water. When new neighbors were constructing their house, we offer them electrical connection. This is our joy.

Eden: Life in the movement is truly a journey, exciting, joyful, difficult, risky. There are guides though. But, we need to be focused on the road. When we sometimes detour, Chiara would say, ‘start all over again’, meaning go back to the right way. Love again with the love of the Lord, the crucified and Risen One.

Edna: Had it not been for Chiara, we would not have found so much meaning in our family life. This is her legacy. Thank you, mother Chiara. We thank you for bringing us forth to birth. We will always be a family for you.

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