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Heaven On Earth Experience at Our Lady of Banneux ♥

I went to heaven last weekend. There I was welcomed by Our Lady of Banneux. :)

Our Lady of Banneux ♥
I never planned to be in that BCOP Weekend. As mentioned in my previous posts, the only place I wanted to be in during that time was Iloilo. But God had better plans, as usual. :)

You guessed it right, He did not surprise me with a ticket to Iloilo but He allowed me to experience heaven on earth in San Mateo, Rizal. ♥

The activity started with a trip to the "old land" where most of the "home partners" used to live. During the walk, Tito Eric, shared with us how they struggled to survive the wrath of Ondoy.

The "old land": Under the bridge of Banaba, San Mateo
Tito Eric: OLB Community Leader
Then the long journey to the "promised land" began. While traveling the long and winding road to Silangan, San Mateo, I could only imagine what would meet us there. I had my expectations already, but I was still open to God's surprises. Though I wasn't at all excited to be there, I chose to believe that God has a message.

When we arrived, I was stunned by the beauty of the Our Lady of Banneux (both the image and the community itself).

Wedding at Cana ♥

Mountaintop experience ♥
God spoke to me powerfully during Ate Karen Mangulab's talk when she shared her own story of poverty and reliance on God's providence. Her words really struck me: "Nakatanggap ako ng tulong dati. Sino ako para hindi tumulong ngayon?" And I had this strong conviction: Pwede akong mapagod magmahal pero hindi ako titigil, dahil ang Panginoon hindi napagod mahalin ako at kailanman, hindi Siya titigil mahalin ako.

I seriously need to be reminded of that. Lately I am being tempted to just stop loving. It has already become too tiring for me. I even came to the point of telling God, "I cannot do this anymore." Loving has already costed  me too much that I feel I could no longer afford it. 

But attending the BCOP Weekend humbled me and made me see how proud I have become. Fr. Benedict would always tell me, kayabangang isiping ikaw lang ang nagmamahal at ikaw lang nagbibigay. Mayabang na kung mayabang pero ganun talaga ang pakiramdam ko lately. Then God showed me how false that belief is. 

That weekend, instead of me blessing the people of Our Lady of Banneux, it was I who received so much love from God through them. And because of them, once again I realized how blessed I am. Tito Nicole said, "Count your blessings, think of the things you have, and you'll realize how rich you are. But if you focus on what you don't have, then you'll end up being the most miserable, poorest person in the world."

According to a song, "in heaven, love comes first." By love, I mean the genuine kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. Here's some good news: if you haven't experienced that kind of love yet, go to Our Lady of Banneux and you'll taste, see, feel, and breathe that love. :) I got to experience that and I felt so rich afterwards. :)

When asked why we are doing what we are doing or why we are in the place where we are, we in community often answer, "because we were called by the Lord" or "because we were chosen by the Lord" or "because we love the Lord." Here's my answer: I went to Our Lady of Banneux not because I love God but because God loves me so much that He wants me to experience simplicity, service, sacrifice, and ultimately, heaven there. ♥

Isn't it amazing? Amazing! ♥
Isn't it surprising? Surprising! ♥

Home away from home. Family away from family. :)

Our Lady of Banneux in San Mateo, Rizal is an ANCOP community. ANCOP, which stands for Answering the Cry of the Poor is a program founded by Couples for Christ (CFC) for the purpose of consolidating efforts in building the church of the poor. Click here to know more about the program and the many ways to help. :)

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