Allow God to Surprise You This Christmas


Members of the Order of Malta Philippines attended a spiritual formation session and Christmas gathering last December 14, 2017 at Ayala Alabang. The get together was graciously hosted by Don Eric and Doña Virginia Nicolas at their residence in Ayala Alabang.

During the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Msgr. Esteban “Bong” Lo, Magistral Chaplain Ad Honorem of the Order of Malta Philippines asked the members to reflect on what it takes to have a perfect celebration this season.

“To have an amazing Christmas, we have to let God surprise us. Remember, the birth of Jesus was never suspected by anybody. No one ever thought that God Himself will become man. That was the great surprise of the first Christmas,” said Msgr. Lo.

He then connected his reflection point to the feast day of St. John of the Cross.

“The cross, which is also the sign of our Order, is the surprising sign of God’s love for humanity. Through the cross, we are also challenged not to suffer but to sacrifice. When our suffering is offered in love for our neighbor’s sake then it becomes a sacrifice,” Msgr. Lo counseled.

The members were then challenged to do more for the sick and the poor next year when Msgr. Lo shared how he met someone who was connected with the Order of Malta in Costa Rica. The Magistral Chaplain learned that the Order of Malta runs seven clinics despite the poverty of the members in the said country.

“Let us then allow Him to use you and me to surprise others. Being a member of the Order is a great blessing, but also a great challenge and call to go beyond ourselves,” added Msgr. Lo.

This message was echoed by Dr. Leo Lazatin, President of the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta in his letter to the members.

“In 2018, we face a most formidable and demanding but exciting year for Our Lord with the hosting of the Asia Pacific Summer Camp for the Youth in June and the Asia Pacific Conference in November. Let us all pray for our Lord’s guidance and (…) our resolve to roll up our sleeves and work,” wrote Dr. Lazatin in his email that was read by Msgr. Lo to the members.

Before the fellowship dinner, Ms. Cecille Piñones, Executive Director of the Order of Malta Philippines gave a year-end report to the members and a bird’s eye view of the planned activities for the coming year.

The spiritual formation sessions of the members of the Order of Malta Philippines dates back to 1948 during the establishment of the Order in the country. A more intensive and regular spiritual formation started in 2007 upon the advice of Magistral Chaplains Msgr. Lo and Fr. Genaro Diwa. Through the activity, the Knights and Dames are expected to appreciate their membership in the Order as a means of sanctification and spiritual revitalization.

The next spiritual activity of the Order is the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit set on January 6 at the Order of Malta Compound in F. Hidalgo St., Manila.

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

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