Creative Thinking Yes, But Creative Catholicism?
MANILA: It is the 1st of October 2015, about 5 early in the morning. A cloud bursts, the rains fall, after a dry week, and I just know today is My Amazing Day of Grace. I thank God for it. Creativity is a gift I should keep on giving.
In the image, I have just taken a selfie, a reflection off my Lenovo G470 touchscreen i7 laptop at the top of my computer desktop, a mirror of myself (to work, I'm using a 22-inch external ViewSonic monitor, just below this setup). That's Frank A Hilario with his Lumix FZ100 camera taking stock of himself early this morning, the laptop screen switched off by software being a mirror. In the background you can read the mirror view of DEFEND LIFE, a poster of the Knights of Columbus during that Walk for Life in San Pablo City on 16 March 2013 with the motto "We Choose Life" (I am a KofC of Laguna). Yes, I am against abortion and other forms of chemical or physical obstruction to pregnancy. Yes, I have 13 children with 1 wife.
In the past 3 weeks I had been admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, COPD and osteoporosis, and then released. Never mind the details, but upon my request I got out of the hospital on my birthday, 17 September 2015, under house arrest – the medication had to continue.
Early today, I find a new zest for life. I've always been an early bird who wakes up the worms, but this morning is different. And yes, I never had myself shot with tousled hair, until now. I'm inside my 2.5m by 5m personal room at the front of our apartment; the white you see in the background is that of a new EasyCare big pillow, all foam; I put it on my Executive Chair, and I can sit on it all day writing in front of this PC. My wife Ampy bought it at SM City yesterday,
P299, machine washable. If I have to sit writing all day on my ass, this is the one I'm putting it on.
Today also is the Feast Day of my favorite saint, "St Therese of Lisieux," or "St Therese of the Little Flower," or "St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face." She is known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" or simply "The Little Flower."
Therese was shy but she had "a will of steel" (Catholic Online, catholic.org). She wanted to enter the Carmelite Convent when she was still young, and the Superior refused. So, the shy girl went to the bishop. When the bishop said No, too, she went to the Pope! It was Pope Leo XIII who gave his permission (Catholic News Agency, catholicnewsagency.com). She entered convent life at the age of 15 and died at the age of 24; she had TB (American Catholic, catholic.org).
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love" (Catholic Online).
So why am I telling her story in my own? Because her little acts of love are background models for my writing, as in an act of kindness for someone I don't like, a smile for someone I'd rather not see but will not avoid, and a hug to the one who hurt me.
In her autobiography, History Of A Soul, she wrote:
After my death, I shall let fall from heaven a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth.
She died 30 September 1897, or 118 years ago. In those intervening years, I don't remember reading about any shower of roses falling from heaven unto the earth. No miracle. That's not the shower she meant. What she meant by "roses" were "little acts of love dedicated to the Child Jesus done on real people living on earth." Those are her roses, her little flowers. She meant she was going to inspire millions of people to do little acts out of big love.
"She had shown them the way of perfection in the small things [we can do] every day" (ewtn.com). With such a simple and yet profound idea, she was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997, the youngest (Navhind Times, navhindtimes.in). Pope Pius X called her "the greatest saint of modern times" and I don't doubt that at all.
Hence my slogan for my blog, A Magazine Called Love: "Inspired by St Therese's little acts, big love" (blogspot.com). In that single blog, I have published, as of 05 June 2015, 2020 long essays, meaning, an average of 1,000 words each, of different topics, but they all can be classified under 3 of my advocacies:
Creative Thinking. In that one-stop blog, I keep teaching, free of charge, how anyone can do any Creative Thinking leading to Creative Writing and not fall victim to Writer's Block. That goes for fiction and non-fiction.
Creative Agriculture. Also in that blog, with news and views from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and from my own experiences, I describe and advocate new & improved technologies within a new kind of agriculture, which now I call "The New Organic" (06 June 2015, blogspot.com). Crazy as it may seem, I launched all by myself The New Organic Revolution the day before. I'm just repeating my own history here; I was the one who single-handedly introduced the idea of organic agriculture within the intellectual circle of the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA) in the mid-1960s, which UPCA loudly rejected. I brought the exact same idea to the Xavier University College of Agriculture (XUCA) in 1968 and the seed grew in the fertile mind of Nicanor "Nicky" Perlas, who elevated it to the art of biodynamic agriculture and much later won the Right Livelihood Award in 2003. I have since simplified my concept; The New Organic calls for the simple act of building a living topsoil, with bacteria, bugs, worms crawling in and out of organic wastes, weeds and crop refuse. The most fertile soil in the world, the most productive, the least worrisome of pests and diseases.
Creative Catholicism. Also in that blog, I have resurrected the Roman Catholic campaign I began during the elections of 2010, when I espoused the non-separation of Church and State (06 May 2010, blogspot.com). If Bill Gates has his Creative Capitalism, I have my Creative Catholicism – it multiplies virtues within the Church and within the State. The Catholic Church in the Philippines must find a new zest for life especially in the coming presidential elections – the Catholic Vote has yet to manifest itself and sway more of the electorate one way or the other by way of virtues. St Therese's Way is the Way of Creativity.
Virtues, what happens to love? You cannot multiply love if you cannot multiply virtues.