Friday, September 21, 2012

Glad I was at your Simala

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. 
It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.
Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. 
We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. 
 ~ Hebrews 11:1~3

I am a pure Catholic. I have faith. I pray. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in Virgin Mary. So, sometimes, I do some pilgrimage to shrines and other holy places. My faith has made me who I am. I am stronger, I am confident, I am an optimist, I am a believer, I am renewed, I am loved!

I was hoping I'd visit the Holy Land someday; but of course, that would be a different story.This time, I will be featuring The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist or also known here in Cebu as "Birhen sa Simala". Situated south of Cebu,  the monastery is located in Marian Hills, Lindogon, Simala, Sibonga Cebu. It can be reached for about 1.5 to 2 hours (including traffic) by bus.

This was actually my second time in Simala, on Her birthday, September 8 with my family. Pilgrims and devotees lined up barefooted to kiss the Holy Image. Glass shelves have been filled with offerings whether nameplates; board examination items like pens, erasers, calculators; yearbook pictures; uniforms;letters as a remembrance of a granted prayer. The air was filled with burning colored candles; the sweet smell of flowers filling the monastery lingered in my memory. Devotees uttering their thanksgiving echod down the hallway; and I did my own, my mother did her own, my brother too, my sister-in-law and my friend,Jocelyn. I was able to capture some pictures among the massive crowd, so I thought of sharing it with you. 

How to get there : By taking a bus at Cebu South Terminal (about 1.5~2hrs) and a tricycle to the site (about 10~15minutes)
Devotees on barefoot rest after a tiring line-queuing 
 (oh yes, that's my brother standing and me in pink socks  
Colored candles lining up as if they were saying : Keep the faith! 
Amazing painted ceilings; you'd actually smile when you look at it 
Altar of the Miraculous Virgin Mary  
Mass has been done here
Replica of the Well of Nazareth
Improved landscape at the left side of the monastery
The float was decorated with white flowers for the day's procession
The monastery has been into a lot of improvements; this is located at the left side of the monastery
One of the best happiness in life is experiencing a granted prayer. I have been a living witness of God's goodness. Though not all requests are answered but always, He knows what's best for you - He will give you better than what you're expecting.

During my first visit, I was told to dress properly. Like other shrines, dress code is implemented here : one should not wear tube-like top,sleeveless shirts or blouses, mini-skirt (of course), shorts, fitting pants and other informal attire. After all, we're here to pray, not to promote some fashion statement.  I was able to gather the monastery's mass schedule. So if you are planning for a visit, might as well attend a holy mass here with the following schedules: 

Sunday – 12:00 noon & 3:30 pm
Monday– 12:00 noon
Tuesday – 12:00 noon
Wednesday – 12:00 noon
Thursday – 12:00 noon
Friday – 12:00 noon
Saturday – 10:30 am

Sunday – 12:00 noon & 3:30 pm
13th of the month – 10:30 am & 3:30 pm

People would usually light a candle upon getting there. You might notice that multi-colored candles are being used. Different colors represent different intentions or meanings. You can also write down your requested prayers on a paper and this will be prayed by the monks.  

Orange: Reconciliation 
Pink: Thanksgiving/Happiness/Joy 
Black: Souls
Brown: Vocation 

Gray: Deliverance
Cream: Conversion/Faith

Gold: Healing
Green: Prosperity/Success 

Blue: Perseverance
Violet: Achievement 

Red: Love 
Yellow: Peace 
White: Purity 

I felt my spirit being lifted whenever I set foot on places like this, may it be psychological or not, maybe because my mind and spirit focused on me being there. I cannot fully explain everything how thankful I am every time I pray. So overwhelmed by the amazing graces we've been receiving and things are getting better everyday. Thru the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you are confident that She's always there for you. God loves us all. He walks with us every day. He carries us whenever we are tired of walking. He gives us comfort every time we are not so okay. He listens to our every complaints. He pats us on the back whenever we did something good. He is happy every time we are happy. Though sometimes we tend to question Him, but we just have to understand that everything happens for a reason. He had better plans. His plans are always better. He teaches us to be patient. He teaches us to be humble. He teaches us to be good to others. He teaches us to forgive, to pray and to act according to His will. He talks to us every single second of the day, all we have to do is seek His voice and listen ^^. Sometimes, in my prayers I'd cry, not out of "not-being-okay" but of thankfulness. When I try to look at what I have been through, I can always see Him, always with me, all through out. I am pretty confident that my future is always a good one to look forward to, the best is yet to come. No one can separate me from myLord. ^^ Always, keep the faith! ^^ 

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