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Faith, Love, and Basketball ♥

Last Sunday was special, as every day is when spent with the people you love. ♥

From the celebration of the Holy Eucharist to watching two epic basketball games, God's message was consistent. And I heard it loud and clear. Four letters. One word. PRAY.

Let's begin with the Gospel (Luke 11:1-13):

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." 

He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. 

And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 

What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? 
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

What a beautiful affirmation! I am literally and figuratively living on a prayer. I mean I really don't know how else I could have survived without my own prayers and the prayers of the people who love and care for me. And of course, for the millionth time, everything is grace - God's grace. ♥ 

The priest at the Gateway Mall delivered a simple yet powerful homily in which he shared four principles that can be applied to faith, love, and yes, even basketball

Before anything else, let's warm up. ♥

First is perseverance or steady persistence. One should NEVER EVER GIVE UP no matter how impossible things may seem, no matter how long it takes. Remember the answers that God gives us when we pray? YES. NO. WAIT. And in all cases, we must never give up on prayer. The same applies to our relationships. Queen Minea of Encantadia told Pirena in Episode 8. "Walang mahirap sa pagmamahal." Love endures. Love perseveres. Yes, we are told to learn to let go when necessary. Even Fr. Benedict advised us to give up people who don't contribute to our betterment as a person. BUT it doesn't mean we are giving up ON them. We still continue to pray for them, to care for them, and to love them no matter how difficult it may be. Crystal clear? I hope it is. Need I explain more how it is applied to basketball? Let's simply put it this way. It ain't over until it's over. Having the lead doesn't give you a guaranteed win. In the same way, being behind even in the last quarter doesn't give you a guaranteed loss. Never ever give up. 

Second is reconciliation. You pray to be reconciled with God, with yourself, and with others. That's what Jesus taught us: forgive as we have been forgiven. It really is the key. Love means forgiveness. I remember a story that Paolo shared. A son told his father that he wants to marry. The father told the son to say "sorry." The son refused, claiming that he didn't do anything wrong, but the father insisted. Finally, the son said, "sorry." Then his father explained that marriage is not a bed of roses, conflicts would arise, and saying sorry would become inevitable. That's how it is too, with basketball. It's a physical game and fouls will be called. But whatever happens on the court should be settled amicably off the court. That's the only way for life to go on. 

Third is availability. It's not about having enough time. It's about MAKING TIME. Make yourself available for prayer. Make yourself available for the person you love. Make yourself available to rebound, to receive, and shoot the ball. Because really, it's all about being at the right place, at the right time. And being ready all the time. 

Fourth is yearning for God and yielding to God. You won't have enough motivation if you don't have enough yearning. You have to want it so hard. You have to will it. But in the end, you have to submit to God's will. He knows better. No. He knows what is best. :)

Last Sunday, I was able to hear mass and have quality discussions with Paolo while watching a live basketball game. And it wasn't just any basketball game. It was a game between Ginebra (my least favorite team) and Alaska (the team I've been loyal to since I was a kid). Alaska won in overtime. But before that, it also took an overtime for Star Hotshots to win against Globalport. Two epic games where I personally witnessed how perseverance, reconciliation, availability, yearning, and yielding were applied. 

End of regulation. Tied at 94. 

Didn't I say God is consistent? ♥ He is, and will always be. Now let's PRAY. ♥

My pogi date. And a living testimony to how gracious God is. ♥

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