Today is the feast day of the Our Lady of the Rosary. Tomorrow will be my exams in wills and succession. And I think it is fitting to reflect on these two things: rosary and succession/inheritance.
Back in the seminary we would always start the day with this: Benedicamus Domino. Prayers. However, I learned the basic catholic prayers even before I started going to school because I grew up in a home were faith is given importance. My grandmother taught me how to pray the rosary at an early age. She would tag me along whenever she attended the mass at barangay chapel every Saturday. I could still vividly remember those days when we were brought by my grandma to the church to hear mass on Saturdays. I could still remember wearing my new clothes on my birthday and other big celebrations like Christmas.
It was grandma who would lead the rosary. It was my grandma who will call and remind us her apos to pray the holy rosary. It was her who will always call the attentions of her naughty apos or woke us up when we fell asleep. Her enthusiasm to pray was inspiring and she was consistent. It was my grandma who was the team leader, my mother the assistant leader and us as the grumbling-sleeping members. Even at the bigger community in our barangay, my grandma would lead group of senior citizens so much so that during the culmination of her thirty one days of novena and devotion to Mary during May there would be many cantors, visitors and neighbors at home. I loved it. I loved the meriendas.
I could also remember how she would pray twice as hard when one of her apos would get sick. How she would pray novenas in honor of saints I did not know at that time. How she would pray all the mysteries of the holy rosary and its litanies in one night. And it was effective. It was miraculous. Until one time, my younger and baby sister got terribly sick. As always, she prayed. We prayed. I prayed seriously, sincerely. At the end of the rosary, I could still remember her daring and bold words asking the mercy and healing of Christ and the intercession of her beloved Mother Mary. It was not a plea anymore for life. It was an exchange, a bargain of her life in favor of the life of my younger baby sister. Her words were sincere when she said Ginoo, indi man pagkuhaa akon apo. Ako na lang ang kuhaa. Shortly after, my sister recovered from her illness. Shortly thereafter my beloved Lola Berta got sick and after some time joined her creator.
There was one experience as regards praying the Rosary that I cannot forget when I was in elementary. At that time, there was still that image of the Our Lady of Fatima being brought by devotees to different houses. And the image would stay for a night in the home of a particular family. The image was scheduled to stay overnight at home. During that time, I had a terrible fever and I felt unpleasantly cold that I was barred to go out and play. Mother asked me to lead the rosary so that according to her I will get well and be able to play again with the other children every afternoon. My head felt lighter after the prayer. I was wearing a sweater when I prayed but I had to remove it because I was already sweating. I did not know what happened. But I was assured that I can play the next day.
I continue to cherish her memories of my grandmother. Her legacy I will continue to remember. Her trust, her piety, her sincerity I will continue to be grateful of. Her life was an instrument that I may know and have faith in God. She was my lola, whose love to God and Mary is my precious inheritance. And it was at this very same home where I inherited my religious belief.
I use the term inheritance not in the strict legal signification but rather loosely to be under the category of “obligation” and purely personal in character. Under Article 776 of the NCC, inheritance is defined as ALL THE PROPERTIES, RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF A PERSON WHICH ARE NOT EXTINGUISHED BY HIS DEATH. And I bear with me the obligation to deepen and nourish that which I inherited.
It was at this very home where I learned to fear God. It was at this very home where I first encounter the love of God manifested by the love of my parents to each other and to us, their children. It is at home where I learned my first catechism. It is at home where I saw and learned many Christian values of respect, love, trust, piety, honesty and sincerity. It is at home where my journey of faith to God all started. It is at home where I first encountered Mary and her rosary, valuable inheritance I have.