As a child, I already knew how to pray, how to read the Bible, say my novenas. I grew up in a home where prayer was a constant. Even on summer vacations away from home, in Lola Carmen’s house in Cebu, we could play under the sun all day, but come evening, before going to bed, we had to pray. Lola Carmen would teach us songs that we would sing during the Masses held in her home. We met many priests in her home, a lot of whom became very close family friends.
I once read that growth is part of the spiritual contract we make with our soul. I remember that in November 2004, I found myself saying yes to an “Introduction to Centering Prayer” seminar. I had heard about it often from my Tita Inday, she who never seemed frazzled, she who always knew the right thing to say at the right time, she who was always calm even if things around her were not. She always had a nugget of wisdom to share, one that was rooted in spirituality. She would give me handmade bookmarks that had all these beautiful quotes from names like Henri Nouwen and Fr. Thomas Keating, among others. Such simple beautiful truths, the kind that made me pause and ponder: That’s so beautiful. How’d they even know that? I found out soon enough that contemplative prayer was very much a part of their lives. At that time, all was okay in my life, and even if I had no issues I had to work through, I was very drawn to the idea of centering prayer. I wanted to go beyond the kind of prayer I was used to — one where I did most of the talking, little listening. In hindsight, maybe I just wanted a chance to grow deeper in my faith.