Raffy Cui: I Thought I Could Do Something Big

Raffy Cui from Class 12B reflects on his experience of God's forgiveness and compassion on 24 July 2015, one of the novena days of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Photo: Bok Pioquid for the Ignatian Youth Camp 2015
Raffy Cui from Class 12B reflects on his experience of God’s forgiveness and compassion on 24 July 2015, one of the novena days of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Photo: Bok Pioquid for the Ignatian Youth Camp 2015

Raffy Cui reflects on his experience of God’s mercy and compassion, vis-a-vis his personal experience with his friends and with his foster family during the immersion. Raffy is from Class 11B. He shares these experiences to different classes who will go on retreat and immersion. This is also part of the novena of grace that would lead to the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola (see poster below).

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St. Ignatius was a man who used to be very vain and full of himself. He was attached to fleeting sources of happiness. His life took a turn when he was severely injured in the Battle of Pamplona. During his period of recovery, he read two books: one about the life of Jesus and the other about the lives of saints. He was previously content with what was merely good. However, after being inspired by the stories he read, he decided that he wanted to pursue greater things in life. And he did. Just like St. Ignatius, each of us has the chance to change and to become better versions of ourselves.

Today I’d like to share two of my experiences; the first being about forgiveness and mercy while the second is about compassion.

But first, let met me ask this question, what is your own understanding of mercy and compassion?

It is important to also ask ourselves these questions: First, “Do we show mercy and compassion?” Second, “Are we compassionate to others or do we tend to judge each other hastily and without understanding?” And lastly, “Are we merciful and forgiving towards those who have hurt us or do we hold grudges?”

The thing about us people, and what makes us human, is that we are blessed with opportunities for second chances.

Last school year, my friend was having troubles in his relationship with his girlfriend. And during this time, he told his girlfriend that he was severely sick. She, not knowing what to do, turned to his close friends. She turned to us and we believed his story. We were all shocked. We were scared. We wanted to be there for him. We planned to always visit him…. The thing is… all of this was just a lie. He lied to his girlfriend to make paawa. He lied to us. He wanted attention. The truth became blurry. It was very puzzling for me. I never expected this of him. It was difficult to accept his apology. I was hurt. I was betrayed. I lost my trust in him. He was one of my best friends… But as the days, weeks and months went by; we all had to move on from it.

If you think that it ended that way, it didn’t. There still are bits and pieces left of bitterness. It takes time for wounds to heal. BUT, that’s the thing about faith. Faith can move mountains. Faith can heal relationships. I had faith in my friend. I feel that our friendship is worth much more than some lies. I believed that my friend would be able to grow from his mistakes and become better. All of us make mistakes, but we should always remember that we are not our mistakes. What matters is that we’re able to admit them and man up to face the consequences. Our friendship has been given a second chance. Now, my relationship with my friend is even better than ever. And as John Green said, “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

Earlier this month, my class had its immersion. Coming into the immersion; I thought I would be able to do something big. I thought that I would really be able to change the lives of my foster family.

I lived with Nanay Fely and her family. Her family has had its own legion of obstacles to tackle. Nay was supposed to have 3 kids but one died early on. Kuya Billy, her son, is epileptic and has seizures every 2 months. Kuya Billy’s son, Sean, had to be operated and circumcised at an early age because of frequent U.T.I.

The St. Ignatius Novena Poster design by our Jesuit Candidate, Paul Anayan.
The St. Ignatius Novena Poster design by our Jesuit Candidate, Paul Anayan.

But at that moment, the least that I could do was to have sympathy and to listen to Nay’s stories. There really isn’t much that you can do, but listen and be there for them. And as I recall, Nanay Fely told me that the real mission of this experience is not for us students to be able to do something so big during the immersion. The true mission is for us to listen to their stories, understand their lives and remember them. So that in the future, when we become doctors, lawyers or government officials, we will be able to do something to help them.

Now for those who are going to have their immersion this weekend, I want you to keep in mind that although you will help your foster families in a way or two, it will be they who will really touch your lives and help you to become better version of yourselves in the future.

Therefore, in the questions I asked earlier, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that, mercy and compassion is the act of putting yourself in another’s shoe, understanding their story, and being willing to help that person. We should learn to forgive and let go of our grudges or bitter feelings and move on. It takes a strong person to say sorry, but an even stronger person to forgive. It takes a strong person to listen to a story, but an even stronger person to remember and do something about it in the future.

Because of my experiences with my friend and with the time I spent with Nanay Fely, I am a person of mercy and compassion. So let me leave to you this question, “Are you ready to be a person of mercy and compassion and to give yourself and someone else a second chance?”

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