Midweek Fellowship – July 12, 2017
Bishop Ariel Cornelio P. Santos
You are witnesses! Our mission as a Church is to know God and to make Him known. In the words of Jesus, doing this is eternal life. In Matthew 11:16-19; 25-30, Jesus connects knowing God and having life in Him to be taking His yoke. No one knows the Father except the Son, and whoever wills to reveal Him to the Father. He connects this to taking His yoke and having eternal life.
Jesus doesn’t want us to go around carrying heavy burdens, which is why He invites us, “Come to Me!” His will for us is rest for our souls – a time of refreshing for us. Jesus also said that it is well pleasing to the Father to reveal Himself, but He reveals Himself to those who are humble enough, like infants, to take His yoke, to open His hearts to Him and to be teachable.
Jesus said, “My yoke is easy.” The Greek work for ‘easy’ is well-fitting. We still have work, but if it is well-fit for us, we are made for it. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We have been created in Christ Jesus for good works. We fit together with Jesus. We are to be yoked together with Him, and this makes us fit for good works. When we are yoked with Him, we are in Him, we are a new creation, therefore, we can do all things and nothing is impossible. Jesus is inviting us to work with Him, and to be able to work with Him, but we are to be well-fit because this will be our full potential.
When King Saul gave David an armor, it was so big that even if he had them, he couldn’t use it because it was not fit for him. This is what Jesus is saying to us. If we are forcing ourselves to use a yoke that is not easy, not well-fit, we are wasting our energy, thus, making us weary and tired.
When I was in Grade Five, the rubber shoes that I used for my P. E. that my father could afford to buy for me caused callouses on my feet because it was not fit. In the sport that I was involved in, I was not able to give my all, I couldn’t use my skill well, and I couldn’t enjoy what I was doing because my shoes hampered my movements. I used this illustration to show us that God wants us to enjoy life. God provides all things for us not to be enslaved to them, but to enjoy life. This is His will for us. God sent His Son for us to have abundant life. God is not a kill-joy God. God’s yoke fits best for us, so don’t resist it.
Choose the right fit for us, which is Jesus’ yoke, so that we will be at our full potential and we will enjoy the life that God wills for us. Choose life – not the detriments, not the threats or the burdens. We don’t have to stress over things. We don’t have to carry things with the wrong yoke. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy.” It is well-fitting and it fits our full potential because we are created for good works. We don’t go around stressed and weary because we destroy our witness that God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.
We are challenged to demonstrate that God’s will for us works. God’s ways work, and that His yoke is indeed easy and His burden is light. People don’t have to go around sweaty and stressed and having problems with their relationships, with their health, with their spiritual life. Remember, we are “witnesses of these things” because His will for us is to enjoy life.
Testimony of Sis. Lani Miguel:
I have been born-again for 29 years and I have been in our Church for 27 years. I have many experiences to share, but I really didn’t know what particular topic to share. I told this to my husband, Dcn. Jun, and he simply said to share my experience when I gave birth to our son, John. You may see me as a strong person, but I think that time was the deepest, darkest moment in my life and in my family.
The reason why there is a big age gap between my two older sons and my youngest son is because I had trauma about giving birth. I experienced much difficulty during my nine months of pregnancy. I was working, and because of this situation, I was told by my boss that I may get terminated from my job if I get pregnant again.
Seemingly feeling that two sons in the family are not enough, Dcn. Jun and I agreed and prayed to to have a third child, and was looking forward to a daughter. After less than seven years, I got pregnant. I went to my boss to tell him of my condition and he said, “Are you serious? Do you really want to go through this process?” I replied, “Boss, trust me. We prayed for this, and I believe that God will carry us through.”
True enough, during the pregnancy for our third child, I was spared from any difficulty. I was overjoyed with this fact, plus, I was claiming that it was a girl. However, on my seventh month, I already felt that we were having a boy again. I just said, “It is okay, Lord. At least I did not experience any difficulty in my pregnancy.”
It was also during this time of my pregnancy that there was an offer for a partnership in the company that I was working for. I was going to manage the company, and that my boss was going to be the silent partner. I was so excited about this, and so thrilled about this deal that I noticed that I forgot to pray. My boss told me that he was going back to United Kingdom first, and he will discuss the partnership with me when he comes back – just in time when I have used up my two-months maternity leave.
A month after my maternity leave, I did not notice that my physical being was taking its toll on me. I thought I was a superwoman, however, I experienced sleepless nights for at least three months. I would cry for no reason at all. I won’t carry John and I have neglected my other two sons. I felt that my end was near that every day was a struggle to the point that I always wanted to see my husband and my children around me.
My boss was still in the UK, and I would go to the office, but I did not perform my job. I was physically present, but I was absent minded. I was not myself; I would cry. People had noticed my behavior, but no one had the guts to inform my boss of my condition. Not until there was a bombing train incident in London and my boss asked me to issue a check for a client of ours. He wanted it to be ready for our client, but I did not do anything.
Our client came and he asked for the money. He panicked because he needed the money to go back to the UK. Our client called up my boss and said, “Alan, I need cash, but I can’t get it from your office.” My boss said, “Why?” Our client said, “Your VP is indisposed.” My boss called me up and asked what was happening. I still wasn’t responding properly. I did not defend myself, and I just said, “Okay, you can terminate me.”
I was in this condition for seven months and my boss came from UK and asked what was happening to me. I was noncommittal. At home, I would cry. I would argue with my husband, and I would not give my children the attention they needed.
Until finally, my boss came to me and said, “I know what is happening. You are undergoing postpartum depression.” I was not familiar with this condition because I know that Christians do not experience this. I asked my boss what it was, and he said for me to search what it means.
I did research on it, and all the more I cried because there were cases where people who suffered from this condition committed suicide. A friend of mine told me, “Why did you research on it?” I responded that I was told to do so, and then I started to have crying fits. I was dragged to my boss’ office, and he told me that from that point in time, I will be holding my office there. I went to office, but I wasn’t doing anything. My boss, then, told me, “What you are experiencing is not unusual, but you have to take care of your body. You have to think of the things that you usually did, but are not doing anymore.” I said, “I can’t take it anymore. I am resigning.” He said, “No, you are just overwhelmed. It is just hormones.”
I shouted back at him, but then, he told me to inhale and to exhale and said, “Child, remember Jesus. Simon of Cyrene carried His cross when He fell. We are the Simons of your life, but see that Simon did not carry His cross to Golgotha. Child, embrace your cross. It is the sweetest cross. You have to conquer this cross because God has a bigger plan for you; but first, you have to embrace and to carry your cross.” I was already a committed Christian then, but when he was speaking to me, I felt that my boss was more of a Christian than me. He told me that he was going to give me one month off and told me to return to my first love and do whatever I want to do.
During that one month leave, I involved myself in praying. In addition to this, my husband and I committed ourselves to hear Mass and take the Eucharist every morning and I would not eat anything for lunch. However, I was not satisfied, so Dcn. Jun and I agreed that we will take the Eucharist three times a day. The truth is that you cannot live without food, but you can be stronger if you take the Eucharist.
I learned from my officemates that the reason my boss was so knowledgeable about my postpartum depression, talking it out with me, was because he had a relative who underwent the same situation. During the time that I had my crying fits in his office, it was the time a relative of my boss committed suicide. This motivated him to see to it that I would not experience the same fate. If he was not able to do something about his relative’s postpartum depression because of distance, he will see to it that I would be able to overcome and conquer my own depression.
This struggle of mine lasted for one and a half years, and of course, my husband suffered too because he had to do all the things that I did not do. I had to make some changes in my life. First, I changed my eating lifestyle. I avoided fastfood for the reason that if our body is tired, we can’t feed it with trash. Second, I exercised. Third, I told myself that I would like a simple job, so I told my boss that I won’t accept the partnership. My boss told me, “If you will not accept the partnership, I will close the company,” and he did close the company.
I was jobless, but in the goodness of God, my former company had a client who was very fond of me. He created a position for me, which I am currently holding and enjoying because the job was was patterned to my skills and my competency.
It is almost eight years, and truth is, God has a greater plan because Dcn. Jun and I are now enjoying our ministry in Taguig. I did not know that when I was in my depression that God would give us a greater responsibility, but I chose to embrace my cross. I did not choose to take anti-depressant pills like I was advised before because I had decided to choose the way of the Lord. Every morning, I make it a point to wake up at four o’clock in the morning. The time that we spend with the Lord will be our vitamins and our strength when we go out in the battlefield, which is the world. Don’t forget to pray, to meditate, and to take the Eucharist every time we have the opportunity because this strengthens us in our daily walk in life.