Misa de Gallo & Christmas Preparation

Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Christmas is a universal holiday and for us Catholics it has a special meaning — that of love, which is also a universal truth. I would just like to share a message I heard from the sixth day of the nine-day novena mass we in our country observe, not strictly mind you, but a practice we have that somehow give us that inspiration as we “prepare” for Christmas.

I attended the sixth day of the “Simbang Gabi” novena mass (Dawn Mass, Misa de Gallo) last night with my family this was the message from last night’s gospel.

In my language, the following was imparted: Have we prepared ourselves for the coming of Jesus?

As explained by the priest last night, he used the following:

H – Handa (in English, it’s translated as prepare) How have I prepared myself for Christ’s birthday/coming? It is not only in the idea of being upright in the observance of Catholic rites but it refers especially for being upright in activities of daily living, e.g. Do I observe my work hours conscientiously? When I give something away or do something good to others, do I expect anything in return? It’s what in my heart that matters most — so, have I rid myself of grudges, of hate or revenge and only have forgiveness and acceptance of others as they are that I have in my heart?

A – Aminin (in English, it means to admit) Have I gone to the sacrament of reconciliation and HUMBLY admitted my faults, my sins and asked for the Lord’s forgiveness?

N – n.b. N-sayo, no contest please ( it’s actually ensayo and in English it means, to practice) Have I made my renewal an activity of daily living? Have I made it my way of life?

D – Dalhin ang Balita ng Panginoon sa iba (in English, it means to spread the Word of God) Have I been spreading God’s Word to the people I come in contact with everyday? Have I been God’s instrument of love for other people? Have I been acting in accordance to God’s will?

A – Atin ang kaligtasan ( In English, it means Salvation is Ours) As a Catholic, have I been God’s instrument in making others realize that they are saved because of Jesus?

This is the message imparted by the priest in the sixth day of the Misa de Gallo. It was a message waking us all up that Christmas is more than putting up the tree, buying gifts for family, relatives, office mates, friends, godchildren and even the friendly neighborhood garbage collector and street sweeper; having the proper menu for Christmas day, and making sure that everything in the house is in order for guests. It’s actually no longer the Baby Jesus’s birthday that we’re celebrating but more than that, we’re PREPARING for Christ the King’s second coming. I’m no naysayer but then thinking about His second coming means I’m finally going home!!! Here’s wishing everyone MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Office Attires and Training

I’m into my ninth day of training today. What has changed in the workplace since I was last in it a lifetime ago? Oh, believe me when I say a lot!!!

First off, the dress code is nothing like I knew it was 15 years ago. Back then, there is a strict observance of a dress code. An office attire was totally different from a party dress. With some companies, an office attire is usually a company uniform where there’s a “laundry day” which is usually a Friday and people can wear casual clothes. Then, what is meant by casual clothes would still not include jeans, tees and party clothes. Office workers are still expected to dress smart. Why? Because they represent the company they work for and RESPECTABLE attire is a must!

Fast forward to today. I’m attending my nine days of training in an office at one of the skyscrapers in the Makati Business District wearing jeans and smart blouses, mind you, blouses and not tees, each day. On a Friday, I wasn’t wearing footwear that is meant for office wear — Birkenstocks are not office shoe gear, right? But that was acceptable. Really? Yes, seriously, it was allowed. Anyway, my co-trainee (we were only three then one was asked to re-train, so now, we’re down to two), wore the same comfortable outfit as I did as it was acceptable. Mind you both of them are much, much younger than I consider them the samples of how the office workers dress up nowadays. My female co-trainee was dressed up to the nines when I first met her, and still is until today. When I say this, what I mean is that it seemed then, to me (this is just me) that she was going to attend a gala opening somewhere — fully made-up face, 5-inch heels and an attire that calls for a limousine service. My male co-trainee, however, is much more conservative. He is attired in the way I used to remember how males in the office should be dressed. The term they use now for that is “smart casual”. Okay, I find that a little confusing because before, what is really called for to wear at work is dressing smart. Casual get up is what you wear when you go sightseeing.

Anyway, this is all just me. There is a totally different world out there now compared to what I knew how it was 15 years ago as I worked in the same business district that same time. I did not expound on the training experience here, however, as I was more concerned about the people who were with me in the training. Anyway, the training is as informative especially for what it would be applied to — an online ESL for Japanese students. And, may I say, so far so good!!!! Watashi to issyoni eigo wo benkyou shimashou gambarishou!!!