Tag Archives: Fiction

Opinion

By The Daily Fracas staff

We are alarmed at the sponsoring of Citizens Bill 2406, the latest anomalous proposal filed by Filipinos For Justice, mandating so-called ‘Kyrie Yoga’ in all classes until K12.

Look at the statistics, they say. Look how well-behaved the kids are, they argue. And who’s to deny health and happiness to our youth in this depressingly famished world?

Sto. CristoIf such a program is to continue, let’s not get it in our heads that such ‘discipline’ is what we need to attain true happiness, like it was some religion of its own. But that’s exactly what they’ve been claiming.

On the surface, the lower recidivism rate makes it look like compassion is at an all-time high, but this is a deceiving figure, much like incarceration of criminals goes down at a bombing site.

The enemy is playing the long game. But contrary to what it wants you to think, what’s most important is not to bring down numbers, but to change hearts.

The ultimate meaning to life is not going to be found in these spirits, whom our lowly enemy whispers in our ears to be facets of some godhead.

We are told that all we need in life is to be ‘good,’ leaving aside that all that is good comes from God, not these god wannabes. To deny a distinction between Creator and created is the beginning of enslavement to the worldly, and it becomes progressively easier to keep us complacent in our ‘enlightened’ ways. After all, knowing what we know, we will game the system, getting what we want, convinced this is the same as eternal happiness.

But when the dark comes around, as it inevitably does, Whom do we turn to, when all this time we’ve denied any need of Him?

There is no salvation outside of Him, dear readers. He’s not just one of many cultural ideals, categorizable and negligible in the abundance of alternative spiritualities. But we’re made to suppose that in the new age to come, there’s no room for faith, with the repayment of our karmic debt laid out in such neat, agreeable terms.

To those without faith, this all sounds unnecessarily, insanely rigid. ‘Dogmatic,’ I believe, is the criticism. But if you think us insane, just see how nuts we are and try this out:
Pray. One word. One name.

Jesus.

You may think you’ve said enough of the name for a lifetime. Or you may think you could never say it with any affection whatsoever. Or you may already welcome the challenge of saying it, convinced it is further proof of how contact with your ‘higher self’ in some random form or another, will suffice to attain truth, goodness, and eternal life in God. Regardless of what you assume, say His most holy name, again, and again. Furthermore, do what He tells you. And He will tell you. And at some point, you’ll maybe want to read more about what’s going on. When that happens, write us; we could give you some Bible verses and prayers to start with.

God bless you all.

-30-

Sin no more

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
from a concerned citizen and brother in Christ
Aug. 12, 2024

I first noticed the shortage when I went to my neighborhood parish for confession, and finding none of the priests available. So I went to the next closest parish: nobody there too. And the next. And the next. That’s when I realized that the heinous acts I’d read in the news, were not the whole story, barely a fraction of it even. Someone was out for blood.

sin no moreIt will be yet some time before the dearth is eased, as a newer batch responds to the calling. It is my hope that eventually, the number of priests will suffice each barangay in a couple of years’ time. Cherishing the priesthood ever more, more young men, and perhaps a few widowers here and there, will see the beauty of possible martyrdom, in service of the Lord.

But for now, we’re down to 10, no, nine Catholic priests, for our intervillage community totaling over 250,000. I am assured that reinforcements are coming, but timeframes are still indefinite. It is also unfortunate that cyberconfessions have not been decided on yet by the Pope, even as we enter this fifth year of what was once dubbed ‘the new normal.’

It has never been more difficult, yet never has it been more necessary, to have priests to whom we could ask for penance. What a quandary the Lord places us in, as though He himself is denying us His salvation. Is this His punishment for our sins? Or have we heaped this upon ourselves, in the pursuit of pleasure contrary to His word and to distancing protocols? Is there any difference, knowing how God weaves His will through creation?

Interlude: The mind of a casual sinner
I’ve got this sin-forgiveness thing figured out, allowing for long periods of dabbling in sin as part of the management of my life, where I could strategically tell the Lord later on that I’m sorry and I want to follow Him after all. I accept the logic of avoiding corrupt sin, but the key is to do little enough to still be repentant about it. If I’m still repentant, then I can’t be that bad, right? Unless I get killed or debilitated prior to a last confession.
No wonder the clergy, these supposed paragons of virtue, could turn so rotten. That one could get so habituated to words of prayer and the lingo of the Gospel, that they no longer have to actually act morally, and no one will know the difference! Well, except God, but by then, He’s no longer an issue.

And so my plea to you my brothers and sisters, is to stop your sinful ways! You don’t know if you’ll make it to a priest on time, and you don’t want to die with a mortal sin unconfessed.

Well, what about the tinier sins, the little peeks? Knowing they’re merely venial, remedied through purgatory, shall we then be more inclined to do them? By no means! Think about it. That would make a mockery of the Sacrament. Systematizing your sinning so as to get the best chance for forgiveness prior to death, He knows what you’re up to! It won’t be long before your complacency will become a sin against the Holy Spirit, if it isn’t so already.

Sin no more. How trite this may have sounded once. The scary thing is, this is what the killer Nini Gurado himself attempted to realize: a repentant people, masses who are saved if only they are confident in God’s love and forgiveness. The greater the temptation to stray, the more violently we must yet fling ourselves at the Lord. You may feel that you’re going about your struggles all alone, without Christ to call, but know that this feeling of aloneness is precisely the temptation. He is there with you.

Yet Gurado himself wasn’t true to his vision. He committed his evil. He had hoped that by relocating next to a confessor right across the street from him, he’d be able to make a final reconciliation when the time came, no problem. How was he to know that Father Maximo, hard of sight and hearing, would never notice the speeding truck as he walked over to Gurado’s doorstep? And so our serial killer remains unabsolved.

Now that he’s been arrested, we are put in a dilemma. Should we give him what he seeks, this absolution from massacres? Should we yet let him get that last confession, prior to his execution? I think not. Not when a confessor’s scarce ears are better put to use elsewhere.

May God have mercy on us all.

END

The man above

“So this is the rock.” It was the guide’s duty to say so, as if the tourists who had made their way from their respective corners of the world needed to be told.

today is today's newsIt came to this, thought Hyor, whose unusual height, among other things, made him stand out in the group, where he was second in line. His previous assignment before going undercover as an Earth-being was to simply observe this sentient species of a mediocre star cluster, to perhaps make sense of their linguistic traditions, which seemed to center on one very specific document, telling of one man in particular who had died some 2,000 Earth-years prior, with portents confirming the manner in which this event occurred. That would explain, to his superiors, why he was lurking by the scene of the murder.

The peculiar thing, he had noted during his orbiting days, was that these people had no technology to reconstruct the events of this ‘Bible,’ yet nonetheless strove to live by it. Not to say that many if not most of the inhabitants didn’t turn away from its message, having dismissed the tales as the superstition of ancestors, or perhaps only being vaguely aware of such traditions from an odd neighbor or the help.

Yet there remained the few faithful. And Hyor could not understand how they could be so certain they were right. It all happened as stated in the Book, though no sufficiently sense-reliant means of recording the celebrated life, death, and resurrection was available to these people. He saw the phenomena for himself, though could not just yet come to the conclusion that the man was God.

God. It’s not like his home planet didn’t have its share of crazies who made this claim. No, none of them could be God, except in some metaphorical sense where everyone was God, some concept of immense practicality that gave purpose to existence. Back when literal worship was a big thing, there was Glong, a being from 34,000 revolutions ago, venerated by the majority of his people, until it was determined by documentarians long before Hyor’s time that when this supposed messiah was pulverized, he remained powder.

Judging by the means of execution, this Jesus went through much greater suffering than an instantaneous laser zap would cause. And his death was supposedly for the salvation of all people. Not just his Jewish nation. All people on Earth.

And beyond?

“No, it couldn’t be,” was how Hyor had brushed off the thought as soon as it came. But it would come again, and again, and nothing he did in his lonely ship could suppress its persistence.

Is this Jesus the God?” was how the question formed in his head, betraying his hesitation in acknowledging the divinity of this creature of dust, born of those who might be visually mistaken for other Earth creatures that lived in trees or cages.

Resurrection technology, still rather new, is the only explanation, the man above reasoned to himself. But who did the resurrecting? That would assume an as-yet undetected galactic race sprinkling magic dust across the heavens so as to leave his race stumped. But wasn’t that a matter of blind faith as well?

God Himself. It would be stupid to believe, he thought. Yet, who? Why?

And so 10 Earth-months passed in this questioning manner, daring him leap upon leap, until he found himself in front of where it all went down.

Was it too much to ask, he said to what he now referred to quite simply as God, for a sign upon touching this artifact on which Christ breathed his last? That is, last until he breathed again.

“Today maybe?” barked the Earth-man behind Hyor, smelling of intoxicants, more than most pilgrims did in this holiest of lands. Hyor wondered what the man would say if he revealed the true color of the whites of his eyes. That would shut the — what’s the word they have for it? — prick up, he thought.

But it was his turn. It was now or never. Or some future not guaranteed. He crouched down, crawling the remaining distance to the rock, and touched it.

Nothing, he thought. He felt nothing. He left the site wondering what it could mean, and settled for supposing that this was precisely the temptation to disbelieve, of not feeling the presence he so longed for. The sleep of Gethsemane, not a mile from where he was.

It’s a test, he told himself. And the minutes after crawling up from the hill turned into hours, and then days.

“I’ll never really know, will I?” Hyor asked, looking up one night. But as he asked it, he could have sworn he heard something at the most primitive, human frequencies.

“You will.”


Next:
Hyor returns home for a short visit, trying to convince his girlfriend Mient to take the pilgrimage soon, but she could only express shock at his confession of undying love for some earthly man. Will Hyor stay by Mient’s side, waiting for her to accept Christ as he eventually learned to do, or will he get with the next woman that comes along?

END

Mirror for sinful souls

mirror for sinful soulsFather, I would like your advice on something. I’m not quite sure what my faith tells me to do.

What is it, my Son? Let us sit by the shade of the tree. I put that concrete bench there myself, two decades ago now. The railing support came after, when it was evident the grandmothers were making us the money. Ah there! Go on, Son.

You see, I’ve just recently converted to your religion. I mean, Catholic… the thing. Anyway, so I started praying while looking at my mirror… It seemed to talk to me.

What do you mean by talking to you?

Maybe not literally at first, but I seemed to get ideas all of a sudden, like my reflection was a light bulb on top of my head, and I’d continue praying in front.

Are you worried that the reflection might do something to you? It’s just light, and Jesus is light. John 1. But you said it actually spoke? Once? Twice?

Everyday for the past six months. At least once a day.

How… frequent.

Yeah, I’m pretty prone to food poisoning, especially Christmastime…

Okay, so where were we? The mirror. Yes. Well, you shouldn’t let it bother you really. You can just say a prayer, trust in Jesus to keep you safe. That, is that a medallion you have on?

Yeah at first I wore it to look cool, but…

Yeah, yeah, hold it as you pray in front of the mirror. Are you right-handed or left-handed?

Right-handed.

Use your left hand then, to hold the Mama Mary scapulace. It keeps you more focused not to use your habitual hand.

Didn’t know you were so neurologically minded, Father.

Well, more psychos around, you know. Except they’re not really psychos. They’re what happens when we don’t look out for one another.

Right, I agree totally. So I’m just going to go now, reach for the Blessed Mother I’m wearing… Sounds doable.

Put your mind to it. Read some scripture first.

Got it! Bye now!

And another thing… Oh zounds, he can’t hear me anymore.

LATER

Father, it’s me, Lambert.

Are you new here?

No it’s me, with the, the mirror problem?

… Yeah, yeah, I remember, the mirror, how is it, the talking reflection right?

Yeah, well he doesn’t really talk.

… Your reflection doesn’t pray when you pray?

He brings in two naked women into the bathroom and proceeds to screw them. I mean, fornicate? Never met them before. I don’t look, but peripherally…

Do you hold the blessed images as it happens?

Yes.

But what are you praying? You are praying, right?

I guess I was. I forget. The nudity’s distracting.

Well next time, have a prepared prayer. Read it if you have to, using your dominant hand to turn the pages. Or you might have one of those e-Bible devices…

My phone.

Good enough.

You don’t seem too perturbed. Is this usual fare for you, parishioners with visions?

Hallucinations. I don’t confuse the ever-present Spirit, and His communion of saints, with the demonic substitutes that science tries to sell us. You’re having hallucinations, too wrapped up in your Neil Degrasso or whatever faddy science guy…

So I should… what?

Pray more. Mean it. You’re a child of God, you could always talk to Him, if You really want. He has many servants, Saint Teresa, Saint Francis, they’re all listening…

Okay, I hope they show up, or something.

EVEN LATER

Well? The hallucinations gone yet?

Now it’s the saints who show up. But only in the mirror. I ask Saint Maximilian Kolbe to meet me somewhere else, a church even, a bathroom mirror of a church even, and he still won’t show up.

I may have made a mistake, treating myself like a therapist rather than a priest. I will go to your house.

BY THE BATHROOM MIRROR

Thank You, my Lord and my God, for being here with us as we witness what goes on in the mirror… Oh there.

So it’s not just me. Good to know.

They’re telling me I’ve been of little faith. Perhaps.

I could hear them perfectly too! That’s pretty flattering, Father, that I’m the more faithful one between us…

We all make mistakes. Don’t knock others about it.

Yeah, you’re of so little faith, putting them to the test like that just now.

So it is so. Thank you, my dear saints, for being here, you know how this is not my usual experience. I’ve had fortuitous encounters in the past thanks to the lot of you but this, in front of you, is a special treat. It is an honor, I’ve learned to love you all, as you know, and I’d just like to shake each one’s hand if I may?

I’m just going to grab a bite in the kitchen, you’ll be okay? Father?… Oh well, I guess he’ll manage…

… And that’s why I made that vow at 14, but time dulls even the most solemn vows, so seeing you all like this, I’m rejuvenated… Oh, I’ve been a faithless fool for too long…

END


NOTE:
I first did the ‘weird thing happening in a mirror’ plot in my story ‘Motivational mirror’ found in my 2016 collection ‘Be kind to puns.’ Back then, my main inspiration was Julian Jaynes’ theories of consciousness.
Poor Jaynes. In his trying to adhere to some scientific ideal, he never quite opened his heart to the living presence of Christ, reducing the Gospel to neurological phenomena. I was stuck in a similar framework not four years ago, and I could say it’s no way to live.

The better man

In six months. They were to be wed in six months. And he was the best man.

When they first met, Jared didn’t think Allie would be his type. Who in their right mind would have their hair dyed silver? It was like spotting one of the New Mutants.

Luis didn’t deserve her, but had the looks. Was that such a judgment against her, of being superficial? No, he understood her. He wouldn’t be in this situation if he didn’t find her so alluring.

church viennaIt wasn’t just the hair. It was the adorable mouth when laughing, the literary references she’d use, and how they never sounded cliché. And the fact that she saved herself. “That means something,” he thought, even as not too long ago, he’d often entertain ill-chosen company. It was only when he knew more about her that he thought, “Oh. I get it now. Not just monogamy, but celibacy. Virginity. Mother Mary.”

Who would have thought that dog Luis would pause long enough to prove himself worthy of her? Admittedly, Jared was a little proud of his best friend, even as he watched his hopes spilling out like a broken ant farm.

He was the sounding board for Luis’ planned speech to Allie, which got better, the more they rehearsed. And Jared began to suspect that his heart would be content just with her being in his life at all.

But he could only entertain giving her up for five minutes, before throwing off his airs in frustration. “Why not me? I’m the best husband she could ever have!” he shouted once, drinking alone. Only the neighbors heard, and they lacked the necessary context to care.

So his opinion swayed, of whether to just let them be and for him to let go, or to hold on to the dream until the second she said “Yes” in front of the altar.

… Or, he thought, a second after?

______

Six months later

The first time Jared saw Allie’s hair in its natural dark color, was as she stepped out of the limo, ready to walk down the aisle. That threw him off, and he had to tell himself to stay the course.

The procession went on. Words were exchanged. And his stomach tightened at “… till death do you part?” He watched her lips, as she said, “Yes, I do…”

Which he immediately followed with “… not.”

They all looked at her, not at him. For once in his life, his ventriloquism came in handy.

“I do.”

“Not.”

“I do.”

“Not.”

“I do period!”

“Not take this man.”

“Excuse me, Father Rodel.” Allie then turned to the groom, almost screaming, “I do take you Luis!”

“… to be the best man instead.” The voice was much deeper than intended.

They looked at the best man himself. Surrendering at last, Jared asked the couple, “Friends?”

THE END

Abiding in

Father Rodel didn’t particularly like to be lumped in with the eunuchs in Matthew 19:12, but what Jesus said of them outweighed any embarrassment from such an association.

miraculousmedalbackI’m a homosexual. This is the first time I’m talking about this with you my congregation. My friends and family have known for a year — or more — and they’ve been so supportive of me.

I’m a man, and I’m attracted to men. Why? I asked myself, when I discovered this at 13. The only thing keeping me from experimenting was the fear of being heard. So I was silent. People teased, but I said nothing.

The few opportunities that came by from the opposite sex, I just smiled politely. Some tried to ‘cure’ me. I wanted to be cured, for a time.

There was this one time in high school when this girl, she cried all of a sudden when talking to me, and then our mutual friend told me later, “Couldn’t you tell? She likes you!”

And so I went with it for a bit. Everyone thought I’d be interested in her because they didn’t think I had a chance with anyone else, I suppose.

But soon enough she gave up. She could sense my peace of mind around her. I wasn’t going to trouble myself to make her feel better. At least, not as a boyfriend. And that’s how we became BFFs. Hey Ali. She’s joined by her husband George and their three wonderful children, say hi!

It took me a long time, 10 years, until at last I could understand, a part of it anyway.

Without my struggle, I would have succumbed far too quickly to the flesh, with women. I was thus kept pure, in both mind and body. And I wanted to serve the Lord with my body, not please myself. So that kept me celibate, even when some suggested I look for a boyfriend. No, it’s not for me, I said to that group of friends, and I could feel the ostracism. I belonged nowhere.

While others used college as a springboard to worldly things, I became yet more resolved to consult God in every single decision. And to ask His forgiveness whenever I fell short. And I would fall short, not a few times, before finding myself on my current path.

I’ve been led away from true temptation, you might conclude. That could be. But don’t judge this on account of my being a priest. Or by my sexual orientation. But by my being the best brother and father I could be to each one of you.

What I thought for that first decade was a curse, turned out to be my soul’s salvation. I chose the weaker path, the priesthood, weaker only in the sense that I was relinquishing my choice of earthly blessings.

Not to say the clergy is in its best shape today. But don’t let our imperfections keep you from the Lord. Never sin: it’s all known in eternity. But more importantly, purity will bring God’s love to you, and you’ll walk the narrow road, and through the narrow door, by His side.

I wish you all the best, of a life full and well-lived, pleasing in the eyes of God. And I hope to be worthy of your trust, whatever confidence you place in me.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.

THE END


Father Rodel appears once more in a cameo role in tomorrow’s story, available on May 29, PDT.

Len’s eyes

len's eyes picHe said only one thing those last days: that she, the woman called Len, had the lone copy of his last and just-finished poem, and that she had all the publishing rights to it, including to not exercise the right at all, by keeping it all to herself, or burning it.

They couldn’t find another copy elsewhere, and had to face the fact that all they had was his last post:
It’s with Len.

Len didn’t notice those first few days. More messages in the inbox, more tags, but she wouldn’t check those right away, least of all read them thoroughly, immersed as she was in her dissertation. Her classmates looked at her funny, but didn’t broach the subject.

Why her? was everyone’s question. When did it start? When did they last see each other, if they ever did?

When she finally took a look at ‘Len’s eyes,’ she understood why she felt so exposed in public. Everyone was looking at her eyes, literally.

When she learned who was causing all the fuss, she had the time to feel a twinge of sadness, at his premature death at 29. The cancer killed him basically instantly, give or take a couple of months.

She had almost forgotten his admission of love. He had convinced her to see him for coffee, two years back. What was the pretext? Something about a sale going on, with a casual “What’s been going on with you?” invitation. She would have said no but figured, “I like Café Bleu. It will get him off my back.”

How was she to know it was a final meeting, when she’d always hoped that each meeting was the last one?

“In this time we’ve known each other,” he told her, “I’ve learned what it means to love as Christ loves. As our Father loves.”

“He’s going to propose,” she thought in dread, only to realize he was done. No ring in his pocket. The declaration of love, with none guaranteed back, was enough to sustain him.

You made a chaste man out of me, began the epic poem’s second verse. It’s like he knew she’d be challenged by this. She wouldn’t only be sharing this poet’s last opus — possibly too sentimental for the critics to consider it his greatest — she was also publicizing his long-standing devotion to her, of seven years. She didn’t want the attention.

So she resorted to a compromise. Smattering her social media with excerpts here and there. And people reacted. Her followers quadrupled within three months.

But Len saved the obviously Len-specific verses for herself. She wondered if her preference to keep these was itself a testament to her grown affection for him, that she wouldn’t share this most precious gift of his, to the world.

Avoiding the gazes, she’d wear sunglasses outdoors, even as the rainy season began in spurts. And she kept wearing them as the years passed, half the time quite appropriately.

She took an interest in the Bible about five years after, and took to thinking in bliss of how, in her old age, upon her passing, she would finally release the whole poem, all 2,233 lines of it, for the world to see. She read Matthew 22:23-33 knowing that the love he would have for her in Heaven was even greater than any he had known on Earth all those Rosaries ago. Any love she had known, for that matter.

How strange, Len realized, to finally love this man when he’s gone.

THE END