Angelus Then and Now

As we grow older, we realize that there are memories of our past that come to mind by a smell and sometimes by a sound. They remain with us and just grow fonder--even now, more than 3o years since that time in high school in the mid 70's when I sat quietly on my desk beside the window overlooking the tennis court. I recall Alcala sitting in front of me and Besas behind me.

Now, at my work, when I hear the bell from the old city hall at exactly 12 noon, I take a pause to say my silent Angelus. Then I could hear once more that familiar din of more than a hundred teenagers silenced by the prayer leader, "The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary ..." As they responed in unison, "And she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit."

By then, my stomach would be churning, having had skipped merienda. Merienda in high school was for me a luxury. I didn't know it was essential for a growing teenager. I didn't have much choice though since I couldn't afford with my weekly allowance. So my thoughts were not on the prayer. "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord." But on what comes after. "Be it done to me according to your word".

I would attempt to focus my attention to the here and now by listening to the prayer leader, "And the Word was made flesh", and watching the row of kalamansi swaying to the wind and the empty tennis court farther away. "And dwelt among us." It was a beautiful day.

I would notice the grass just outside the window and the coconut trees beyond the perimeter of the parade ground. "Pray for us Most Holy Mother of God." I would hope lunch was not vegetable because I didn't like vegetables. "That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ." But it was all right. When I was that hungry, I could eat anything. "Let us pray." Perhaps I could ask for mantika nga gipirituahan and salt from Nang Rupe. These goes well with rice. "Pour forth we beseech you, O Lord..." I would look forward to siesta after lunch and the few agonizing hours in the classroom, after which would be my personal time to roam the fields, watch the horizon from the roof garden, do crazy stuff, run and run like what teenagers like to do, until it gets dark and the day comes to a close. "...Amen."

As I mentally say the sign of the Cross, I get transported back to my office where I am working and I thank God for the time I spent in IHMS. (nox arcamo)