Keeping It New

This is a sermonette (a mini sermon 🙂 ) on purity that I wrote and delivered last 23 January 2007, the second day of the novena in honor of Saint John Bosco whose feast we will be cebrating on 31 January. I’ll be posting the audio soon… 🙂
I had an experience once when I was just an innocent 8-year-old boy that I will never forget. It was my mother who reminded me of this experience. Before, I was questioning myself, of all the people in the world why me? Why did I have to experience such a thing at a very fragile age? Why did I have to experience such shame – such embarrassment that up to now projects a chilly and vivid picture in my mind? Why did they have to do that to me?

It happened at school in the middle of the school year. It was lunch break. I was happy walking with my friends along the corridor. Suddenly, I felt nature calling. So, I excused myself from the group and ran to the nearest restroom. When I entered the room, it was dark, I jumped to reach the switch and half-running-and-sliding I went inside a cubicle and pee, “Ahhh! What a relief!”

That’s what I thought – relief. Then, a group of students, only some of them I know, who were playing with the faucets just before the door; saw me and stopped what they were doing. Their eyes moved from my head to down below my body. My heart began to thump harder and harder as one of them began walking toward me and stooping down as if reaching for something from me. I wanted to run-away and shout but I felt as helpless as a melting ice. My perspiration flowed like a river gushing to the sea. I just closed my eyes. Then, I felt his hands against my – shoes.

“Wooooow bago!” was the only thing he exclaimed. After which his other friends began stepping on my shoes, one by one, “Bago ah!” “Ayos bago…” “uy pabinyag…”

For the rest of the day I felt bad. I felt that there was something wrong in me. I felt so different.

When I arrived home I met my mama and she noticed my gloom, and so, she asked,

“Bakit ka malungkot, anak?”

“Bininyagan po sa school yung shoes ko, bago daw po kasi mama…”

Smiling she replied,

“Ayaw mo ba nun, anak, kahit na luma na yung sapatos mo mukhang bago pa din? Inaalagaan mo kasi…”

Yes, I wouldn’t want any scratch or dirt on my shoes, perhaps I’ve been taking good care of it.

But later that evening, I awoke in the middle of my sleep. I was surprised when I saw that the lights were still on and my mama was not on my bedside. So, I rose from the bed and looked for my mama.

I walked towards the living room and there I saw her, with my shoes. It was only then that I knew the reason why my shoes looked and felt new – not just because I was careful in using it – but because every night mama would painstakingly wax and buff my shoes.

Recalling that event in my life, I feel so good, I feel truly blessed.

Purity is the Regina Virtutum, the Queen of Virtues. So much depends on purity and when it is the issue of concern there is no matter not to be considered as grave. We should spend time to wax it, to shine it and to care for it. Just like in Don Bosco’s dream about the “Precious Handkerchief“:

He saw his boys on a valley, each holding a white handkerchief in their hands with the inscription Regina Virtutum. They were instructed not to unfold their handkerchiefs when the wind blows, and if they would be shocked by the wind, they should face away from it at once – that they may protect it from the wind which is temptation.

The wind of temptation would certainly gush forth on our white handkerchiefs of purity and it’ll be up to us to hide it, turn away from the wind – secure it from the destructive wind, or wave it up high and submit it to the pangs temptation.

But alone we could not but fail. Time would come that we will lose the eagerness to take care of it, and sometimes be ashamed of its luster, its beauty – its newness. For the world seems to have a negative eye on things that are good, true and poor for it can’t sell goodness, truthfulness and purity side by side with consumerism, post-modernism, prostitution, violence, corruption et coetera. And for this reason we feel alienated, we feel different, and we feel bad for we think that this purity, this goodness that is innate in us is something odd and therefore bad. The noise that the world produces kills the silence in our hearts.

No matter how careful we can be a scratch or dirt may land on our shoes. And it’ll be darn hard to remove it. It’ll take time and much effort to wax and buff it back to its newness. But we have our help; we have our very own Mama to assist us in keeping it new.

By ourselves we can’t keep purity for we’ll be constantly tested and tried by the winds of temptations that will forever be there and the sharp edges and dirt that would certainly come our way. Don Bosco suggests to us something that we could do, which he himself did, that we could be victorious over temptations and preserve the newness of our purity and that is to entrust ourselves to Mary, to have recourse to prayer and to have a constant spiritual guide.

Mama Mary, together with prayers, confession, communion and spiritual guidance, would always be ready to painstakingly wax and buff our shoes – to keep it new.

Have you waxed and buffed your shoes lately?

Saint John Bosco, pray for us!


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