Saturday, September 19, 2015

an FB on FB 2

Lucas switched the chat off and prepared for his meet-up.

He arrived at the gym early. He needed to put in some cardio before meeting up. And may be a side trip to the steam room "to open up his pores."

Still sweating from that treadmill run, Lucas stripped to his undies and wrapped the towel around him. He checked his body in the mirror. He can't get rid of those love handles, much as he tried. He lowered the towel to show a bit more of his torso. He took a short shower and stepped into the steam room. Empty. Which is fine. His pores needed cleansing anyway.

He sat on a second level and just relaxed his body. The steam temperature was just right. He closed his eyes and tried to practice some breathing technique, some mindfulness. But that was interrupted when the door opened and young twink (again!) walked in, also in a towel-wrap.

He sat opposite Lucas and tried to look like he was concentrating on the steam. But Lucas caught casually looking his way. Then he realized that with his legs spread open, young twink could actually see his groin. The thought excited him. He decided to play coy but allowed twink to get a glimpse of his cock.

He didn't stare at twink and just continued closing his eyes or doing some stretches, seemingly unmindful that his cock and balls were so visible to twink. He could see how twink is totally absorbed in trying to get a better view. He totally liked the feeling of being watched.

He tried to will an erection. That would have been a great show for twink. But none happened. It was just getting too hot. He had to cut his show short. Twink looked disappointed as he got up and left the steam room.

He checked the time. It was 10 minutes after the appointed meeting time. He hurriedly dressed up, got his stuff and went to the members common area. He immediately saw his newest FB 'friend', Jav, sitting on a chair, checking on his phone. He looked up, saw Lucas and broke into a big smile.

He approached Jav and threw his bag on one of the vacant chairs.

At the very least, Jav is no poser. His pics on FB were totally truthful. And yes, he was quite a twink. He wondered if he had enough strength in him to give him a massage.

"Hey, Lucas. I'm Jav."

"Hello Jav."

"So are you going to get up and go somewhere?" Jav mockingly asked, smiling.

"Uhmm No. Not all." He liked what he saw. Jav was cute, had a nice smile. And he looked honest and real.

"So do we go to your place now?"

"Sure. Hang on. I'll just get my drink." He ordered a fruit shake to go.

They both have cars so Lucas had to follow him to his condo. He was putting himself in the mood by playing his 'sex' playlist.

He parked on the street across the entrance. He waited for Jav at the lobby. It was one of the better-run older condos in Makati. The kid must be from an old rich family to afford something like this.

When they got to the unit, Jav quickly showed him to his bedroom. "I'll bring in some water."

Very thoughtful, he thought sarcastically as he stepped inside the bedroom. Not too big, as one would expect from condos, but it had its own toilet and bath. No wonder this guy brings tricks home, he thought.

Soon, Jav was back with a jug of water and two glasses, which he put on his study desk.

"Do you like to take a bath first?"

"No. Not really. Got to the gym ahead of you and was able to shower up."

"Ok. Well, if you want to start..."

"Jav, I am expecting a good massage. You made me expect."

Jav laughed a bit. "Of course. And I will deliver. Wait a sec." He went inside the bathroom and grabbed a towel. He got out, already in his boxers and a white tank top. 'He even looks the part', Lucas said to himself.

"Please feel comfortable." as he handed him the towel.

Lucas got up and started to undress. He knew Jav was watching him intently but he didn't mind. He already put on a show for someone else earlier. He removed his shirt and pants, and was down to his undies.

"Do I?" he asked Jav.

"Whatever makes you feel comfortable."

Lucas first sat on the bed and waited for instruction. Jav made him lie on his belly on the bed. He proceeded by massaging his back. "Tell me if the pressure is too much or too little."

"Uhmm well you can increase it a bit. I prefer hard."


The strokes felt like the result of some training, Lucas thought. He seemed to be doing the right moves. Though he was certainly not conscious of the time nor the 'symmetry', forgetting to do some strokes on one side or the other. But as he massaged his back, he actually started to relax and enjoy it.

"I might doze off" he murmured.

"No problem." as Jav continued his pressure.

Soon, Jav's hands were already at his hip area, and massaging the top of his underwear.

"I'll remove this so we don't get oil on it." he whispered to Lucas.

Lucas actually dozed off and was awakened by the whisper and the weight of Jay's hips on his ass.


Jav sprayed some alcohol on his palms before proceeding to remove Lucas underwear. He was quite methodical about, and didn't seem to care that Lucas' nice ass was now totally bare. He applied oil again and started to massage his butt. Lucas was awake now, trying to sense if Jav was starting to 'make the moves'. At first, there seemed to be a deliberate attempt not to get too near the hole.

Then he felt a finger or two straying into the asshole, almost furtively. Lucas started to feel aroused. His cock, in an awkward position as he had his weight on it, struggled to become erect. He tried to adjust by raising his hips.

Meanwhile, Jav moved to his left thigh. And as he stroked the length from the back of the knee to the butt area, Lucas felt his fingers touching his balls. At first it was his fingertips. But soon enough, fingers were gently gracing his testicles, and his cock was now in full erection.

He sensed that Jav was already concentrating on the area. He then felt Jav's hand totally slide under his thigh and grope his cock. That excited him. It seemed that Jav got really aroused to as he asked Lucas to turn-over.

He got into the position and was now lying on his back. He kept his eyes closed, wanting to just feel what Jav was going to do next.

A wet mouth was now slowly engulfing his straining dick. He could feel the tongue flicking about around his cockhead. Lucas wanted to tell him to continue the massage but the sucking was just too good. He finally opened his eyes and saw Lucas totally enjoying giving him head. He was so into it, he had his eyes closed as he blew, and sucked and licked. Soon Jav straightened up and stood by the bed. He took off his tank top and shorts to reveal a hard cock pointing almost straight up.

He grabbed rubber and lube and got back to the bed. Expertly, he placed the rubber on Lucas cock and secured. He looked at him and smiled as he also applied lube on the cock. He gave it a few strokes before getting into the position.

He guided Lucas' cock into his lubricated asshole very slowly. Lucas could see Jav's butt slowly descend on the erect dick, even as Jay looked like he was wincing from the pain. Finally he had all inside. Lucas tried to thrust his hips upward but Jav pushed it back.

"Slowly, please"

Lucas let him set the pace. He raised his butt and lowered it again. Slowly at first. Then eventually, as the hole relaxed, Lucas started to pump. Jav still had his eyes closed, but was eventually letting Lucas to pump him.

Lucas was getting really into it, getting wilder. He sat up and embraced Jav. They kissed long. Their tongues were darting inside and out of their mouths. The heat inside them was rising to the surface.Lucas bit Jay's lip as he still continued pumping from the sitting position.

He then told Jav to lie on the bed this time. This was his favorite position. He lifted Jav's left leg and guided his cock into the asshole. He pounded and pounded on the ass. He reached over and kissed Jav, who still had his eyes closed, but was now furiously jerking his own cock. He bit him on the neck as he continue the motion, getting more and more urgent.

They were both sweating now, despite the a/c on. He made Jav lie on his side, as Lucas entered him from behind, still lifting his other leg up for better access. The momentum was building up.

"ahh ahh I'm getting there." murmured Jav.

He turned him around and made him lie on his back again. This time, he raised both Jays' feet, pushed a pillow underneath then proceeded to fuck him harder.

"Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh shit." Jav started to shoot his load on his chest, even up to his neck the cum hit. Then Lucas just let go and drove his cock deep into that ass as he released wave after wave of jism into him. It was one amazing orgasm that took all his energy.

He slumped on top of Jav, and left his cock inside. As it softened, Jay's asshole slowly ejected it out. He felt so drained as he felt Jav's arms embrace him.

After a few moments, he pulled himself out and laid beside Jay. He was still panting.

"Do you want to take a shower?"

"Yeah.. in a while."

"Ok, rest here while I take a bath first."

Jav stood up and handed him a box of tissues. He pulled one out and wrapped it around his rubbered cock. He carefully removed the condom and used more tissues to wrap it.

When he felt more rested, he heard the shower still on as Jav took a bath. He looked around and saw that it was actually quite a nice bedroom, nicely decorated. The kid's got taste, he thought to himself.

Jav entered the bedroom still toweling his hair.

"You are so hot and horny." he said as he laughed.

"That goes for you, too."

"You can take any towel on the stand. They're all clean."

Lucas got up, still butt naked as he walked to the shower. He threw the used rubber in the trash bin inside the toilet. He showered off quite quickly and got back to the bedroom.

"That was great, Jav. You are quite a fuck. But your massage is bitin."

Jav laughed hard. "Sorry, I didn't finish it. Got too uhmm excited."

Lucas laughed, too. "I ain't sorry. It's been a while since I've had a good fuck."

"We can do it again."

"Fuck buddies?"

"Yeah, why not? Partner won't mind. FB is fuck buddy for us."

"Great. But I still demand a massage every time."

"Hahaha Ok. I'll try to do better."

"Just kidding. Anyway, I gotta go. Keep in touch. On FB."


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Thursday, September 17, 2015

an FB on FB 1

Lucas first met him on social media, a seemingly random "add friend" notification. He checked the profile pic. Hmm. Not bad at all. Cute twink actually. He had nice pair of doe eyes, and a set of dimples. Have they met? He didn't think he looked familiar at all. He checked out more of the photos. Yes, definitely a twink. Not that he's into twinks. But good looks in the face department trumps body type. And something about twinks make them so... bottom-able. LOL

He is no power top. His definition of sex doesn't include anal penetration. Maybe it's a throwback to a time when fellatio was the ultimate sexual activity among men. Yeah, he's big about sucking. He loves receiving and giving head. He gets turned on seeing someone burying his face into his crotch. Better yet, some handsome face slowly licking his cockhead and engulfing his boner, inch by inch. Head trip.

Of course he loves giving head, too. He enjoys seeing a juicy cock staring at him, teasing him with that piss slit. He loves the feeling of taking a big one in, all the way. He has mastered the art without gagging, of actually feeling the tip of the head bang against his tonsils. He delights in hearing grunts and gasps of pleasure as he devours with abandon. Though sometimes he can get carried away and hurt with his teeth.

The few times he has tried anal, he quickly realized his preference for the top role. He remembered his first time to top. He was lying on his back as his partner then was giving him head. He suddenly got up, got lube and poured it on his straining dick. Slowly, his partner sat on his engorged cock. He could see him wince at the pain. But soon he had it all inside. It felt warm and.. snug. When his partner started going up and down on his dick, he started to feel the difference between a fuck and a suck. His whole cock was engaged. Each square inch was feeling the rubbing of skin and against wet, hot soft rectal tissue.

He noticed how his pelvis seemed to automatically thrust upward, without him even trying. So he asked his partner to lie down on his back and he tried to the missionary now. He raised his partner's butt with some pillows so he could angle his cock better. He held one of his legs high with one hand, and with the other, guided his cock into the asshole. The ability to control his thrusting was amazing. He was even able to kiss his partner wildly as he pushed his hips deeper and deeper into his fuckhole.

That was an amazing experience. But it didn't happen too often. His partner was so conscious of being 'clean', so he goes through the motions of douching. But because there was much effort to it, that didn't become part of the routine. It was saved for special occasions.

More so with casual one-night-stands. He chanced on one hot hook-up that turned awful because hot guy didn't prepare. Ugh. The stench. Even with a condom on, he couldn't get the smell out of his mind. Thankfully, he still managed to consummate. But that also meant that anal penetration was not going to be a regular thing. Meeting a guy ready and clean was assumed to be a rarity.

He did, however, remember that one hot encounter in a hotel gym wet floor. It started as a typical jack-off inside the wet sauna. But since there were hardly anybody in the shower stalls early afternoon, they got to continue in the shower. Dude was very lean, a twink with shaved head. But really cute. While in the shower, dude couldn't help himself. He soaped his cock and just let him fuck there, bareback. Lucas, was quite alarmed about this risky behavior but what the heck could he do? He already had his cock inside him. And again, his hips did the 'talking' and the thrusting automatically.

He was looking at the pic of this new social media friend. He wondered why he was getting all these thoughts of fucking suddenly. He didn't even know if the guy is a bottom. Anyway, he added him up. Shortly after, he got a PM.

"Hey. Thanks for adding me."

"No problem, dude. Have we met before?"

"Ah. Not really. But I see you at the gym. And when I saw you here on FB, I took a chance."

"Ah. Which branch?"


"Uh Ok. I'm not always there. Home branch is Greenhills."

"I noticed that. I don't always see you."

"So what's up?"

"Nothing much. Passing the time away here at home. Will gym later. You?"

"Finishing some stuff I brought home from work. And checking out FB while I'm at it."

"Cool. Multi-tasking."

"Yeah. Don't we all?"

"True. I'm looking at this TV show."

"Uh Ok. I'm checking out some of your pics. You've been traveling a lot."

"Stalking my FB, eh? Hahaha"

"Guilty as charged. Sorry."

"No apologies needed. I checked you out, too."

"haha I hope I didn't disappoint."

"I approved the request, didn't I? Besides, I'm open to meeting new friends."

"Oh. Friends-zone. LOL"

"Whoa. What did you have in mind?"

"Just kidding."

"No, seriously. I like that being up front. Straightforward."

"You're hot. Have been crushing on you at the gym."

"Bola. You flatter me."

"Let's hangout some time."

"Uhmm. I'm not the hanging out type. Got my friends for that. Besides, I might be going for a massage later."

"Massage, I can do that."


"Yeah. I actually studied that for a while."

"You are pulling my leg so you can have your hand on my leg. Joke"

"No. I kid not. Online course. Because partner wanted it then."


"Yeah. Open one, if that's what you're really asking."


"I can give you a massage."

"I will not refuse that."

"Cool. Let's do it."

"You got a place?"

"Yeah. Share it with my sister but I got my own room."

"And you're fine doing it there."

"Sure. I bring tricks home."

"Ok. That's cool. But I'll be straightforward. If I'm not into you, no hard feelings ok? We just shake hands and I'll say something like I've got to go."

"Ok. Of course. I understand."

"Works both ways, too."

"Nah. I've seen you. I know what I want. So when?"

"Told you I was going to go for a massage later, right?"

"Yeah, right. Later then, at the gym in Makati"

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

FantaCC 1

Trying this new format out
Bear with me.
No editing yet.
Need to learn that.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Endings 2

Fabcasting is dead. There. I said it. But the Fabcasters and the Peanut Gallery, that's another matter. :-)

It has been dying a slow death, really. Podcasting, the Fabcasters' way has lived its life, full if I may say.

Lobster Tony and I were 'inducted' into the group belatedly, after the original Troikasters (Miggs, Gibbs and Mcvie) invited us to join them for a podcast on Long Distance Relationships. AJ joined after and the group was formed. That was 8 years ago.

We have covered much ground since that time, a lot of it relevant to us and to the evolving gay scene. We started inviting guests to the podcast, guests who shared their views and even personal experience on the topics. Some of them became regulars. Thus was born the Peanut Gallery.

We recorded from cafes and other public venues. But eventually, we chose private residences to control for noise. I hosted quite a few Fabcasts in my condo, then in my house when I transferred. Some have been recorded in the different condos McVie has stayed in, and in Miggs' place. Hosting a Fabcast was actually a breeze. It was usually after dinner, and all we needed was some snacks, maybe dessert and that social lubricant called alcohol.

Fabcasting was actually a wish fulfilled for me. Years and years back, I read about the 'salons' of London in the 1900's, places where groups of people, men usually, would have spirited discussions about a range of topics, from politics to philosophy to science. Such discourses honed many skills including debate, critical thought and public speaking. I longed to belong to such a group, to engage people or even to just listen to varied opinions on topics that resonated with me. Then with the invite to join that podcast, I became part of one. I was fortunate to be in the company of intelligent, inquisitive maybe even intrusive minds where nothing was sacred.

Episodes that stand out in my memory:

The first, of course, on long distance relationships, where I was so candid about being unfaithful to a partner far away. And that was my first-ever podcast. I was still getting to know McVie, Gibbs and Tony yet I was baring my relationship soul. That transpired in a little coffee shop along Panay Ave.

I don't recall fabcast titles anymore. But I remember one where we had quite a heated discussion over the possibility of having a relationship with a former sex worker. It was amazing that some of us held such strong opinions. If my memory serves me right, we were in an old house that was being rented by one of us (Miggs?).

For relevance, that discussion over May-December affairs also stands out. Most of us were involved with younger partners. And they were there to talk about their points-of-view.

I wanted to cheat by backreading my posts. But I have to be honest and these are those I still recall (core memories? LOL #insideout)

Funny, too, how some of our guests made us swoon. Hahaha. True. #kilig over more than a few, actually. Because they are attractive. They were also honest and real as we grilled them. That made them even hotter. LOL No, I will not mention them. Not even those that made an impact on me. hahaha

Then there were the parties! That little circle of the Peanut Gallery expanded. Soon, we were hosting parties to allow everyone to meet (and mate) everyone LOL. Hosting those events didn't come easy or cheap. But we were motivated anyway, especially the single ones. hahaha. There were always stories that followed each party. Stories of drunken orgies. (Joke.) Stories of drunkeness, of hookups, of throwing up. We still recall with laughter all those. And even if you attended just one or two, we will try our very best to recall you and any story related to you.

Soon enough, the Fabcasts became less and less frequent. On the surface, there were the usual reasons - other priorities like work, new relationships, etc. But we also found ourselves not having topics to cover anymore. In a moment of introspection, we felt that our latter fabcasts were more self-involved ("navel-gazing" exercises).

We look around and see that we have covered much ground, talked about many topics that we end up repeating them. Though some of them remain relevant, we didn't have anything new to add to the matter. Even 'hot topics' like same-sex marriage have been taken up.

Of course there are other things happening, issues other than those related to the "gay agenda". But there seems to be no impetus to record that. Yes, we can talk about the upcoming elections but we quickly lose the interest to sustain it as a conversation. Ultimately, Fabcasting revolved around the issues relevant to us gays. That was what we liked discussing for others to hear.

But we are only as good as the novel POV we can bring into a topic. Nobody likes a broken record; and not one that ultimately will just lead to more 'navel-gazing.'

Podcasting ala Fabcasters and the Peanut Gallery has served its purpose, at least for us within that tiny circle. It has allowed me to fulfill a wish, to meet wonderful new people, to engage and become more aware. From the feedback we have gotten, the Fabcasts did affect quite a few people out there, hopefully more positively than negatively.

So Fabcasting also ends, after 8 years or so. Paraphrasing "Wicked"... I can't say that Fabcasting has changed me for the better. But it changed me for good.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Endings 1

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today I served as lector for the last time at the parish. I turned in my resignation two weeks ago, to take effect on August 31, 2015. I mentioned that I would honor my August commitments. This 11am Mass was the last of those commitments.

I have probably been a member of the Word Ministry (that is what we call our group of lectors and commentators) for more than twenty years. I can’t even remember how old I was when I joined. I vaguely recall that my sister, Ate No. 4, was the first to join the Ministry, then I followed. This was probably in the late 80’s. We were part of the ‘youngblood’ that they were infusing into this apostolate. Till that time, the organization counted Blue Ladies and senior citizens as the majority of the membership. I used Blue Ladies loosely to refer to those matronly older women who go to Church everyday without fail, all coiffed and coutured. c3 would now refer to them as “Titas of Manila”. But back then, they would be Imelda Marcos’ Blue Ladies.

They are also very traditional and conservative, holdovers from a time when the Mass was still said with the priest facing the tabernacle, with his back to the congregation. They went to church with their lace belo (veils) and perfumed rosaries, blessed by Pope Paul VI. Retired or ever-homekeepers, they turned to serving the parish to make the most of idle time.

My sister and I joined the ministry surrounded by these ladies, and a few senior gentlemen. They welcomed having these young’ uns join them as they knew slowly but surely, their membership was dropping simply due to death by old age.

Eventually, more of people our age joined the organization and we grew. As it happens in organizations with two distinct groups of very different persuasions, namely the old ones, ready to defend the old order, and young ones, eager to make a difference and challenge the status quo, a power struggle evolved. I was one of the noisier ones then, and eventually, I butt heads with the president, that elderly woman who could have been a stern, strict high school principal in her demeanor. There was no major confrontation between us, just seething contempt. I abruptly resigned as I couldn’t accept her leadership. This was somewhere in the mid-90’s. That also neatly coincided with my relationship with then-boyfriend becoming open. And we indulged in the pleasures of casual sex in its myriad permutations and combinations.

That president soon resigned, although some would whisper ‘ousted’. I felt a yearning to go back so I re-applied. I was welcomed with open arms, by an organization now a lot younger and more dynamic. It was their desire to put me at the helm of the ministry. I accepted the path they laid out for me. And in about a year or two, I became president. If my memory serves me right, in my personal life, I also transitioned from that open relationship to a new one that was defined as exclusive. I found that alignment pleasing.

I enjoyed being a lector, much more than being a commentator. I honed my craft of proclamation. I practiced dutifully and made sure that I researched on the correct pronunciation of Bible names and terminologies. I would come 15 minutes early to rehearse. I felt I am able to proclaim His Word with justice. Not a few parishioners have come up to me to congratulate my style. Yes, it fed my ego.

My regular schedule would include all Fridays of the month for the 7am Masses, and two alternating Sundays for the 11am service. Admittedly though, that 7am service could be a drag, limiting my night-out options on a Thursday night. The Ministry meets every first Sunday of the month, supposedly for an hour-long meeting. But it would drag on usually for 1 1/2 hours. Again I admit that attending the meeting could be a chore at times.

I am sure everyone suspected that I am gay. I had remained single and unattached the entire time. But it was some sort of undiscussed topic, at least whenever I was around. Nobody dared to ask me anyway. So despite the Vatican's vocal pronouncements of its stand on homosexuality and homosexual acts, I felt that our own parish did not outwardly advocate condemnation. Some would call it 'tolerance' or just plain avoidance, but being quiet about the entire issue cut me some slack to continue serving and still be comfortable being gay, and being in relationships with men.

That detente continued for years and years. I felt I was serving a purpose in the parish by being a member. Beyond just being a 'good' lector, I also steered the organization into being more active, and structured. We engaged in reach-out activities, fund-raising events, apostolates that brought members closer.

But the world as we knew it continued to change, even more rapidly. Many issues Catholics have been grappling with were now being discussed - the reproductive bill, first and foremost. Our parish had to be more vocal of its own position, particularly during homilies. Though I was totally in support of the reproductive bill, I did not feel any cognitive dissonance with my service. Perhaps because I wasn't intending to 'reproduce'. hehe

Then came that SCOTUS decision in June. That issue is so central to me and my identity. I was so euphoric. Though it opened some nasty debates all over, I remained oblivious. I was happy that more and more countries were recognizing the right of same-sex couples to be married.

I was busy during our July meeting so I skipped that. I did, however, attend the August meeting. In the minutes of that meeting, our Spiritual Director was quoted
It is not called marriage because marriage is a union between man and woman with two goals: a) procreation b) foster love between couples; Sexual union is essential - the Church condemns homosexual union but not homosexuals (condemns sin but not the sinner).

I sat there stunned. This was the first time that I have ever heard any priest from our parish vocally express this official position. It felt like he was telling this to me, to my face, telling me that my homosexual union, currently with my partner, remains an abomination.

No more silence. No more avoidance. It was finally called out.

Something snapped inside and made me realize that my time of serving the parish had ended. I could no longer just turn away and act like nothing has changed. I am gay. I am in a gay relationship, with all the man-to-man sex that came with it, yes, but also with all the love and affection.

I turned in my resignation a week after. But I promised to honor my commitments.

Last Sunday was the last of those. I proclaimed the readings of that Sunday. I proclaimed them well and with.. finality. I was nostalgic throughout, knowing that I was not going to be at that rostrum again. I knew I was still going to serve Him, but in another manner perhaps. Bittersweet it was, for a moment, but in the end, I also felt so peaceful..

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Of Rites and Rituals

I remember from long ago, how Catholics were criticized as being ritualistic. We have memorized the lines and actions of Masses and novenas in observance of the prescribed rites. Because of this 'automation' we are dismissed for lacking sincerity and mindfulness when praying and worshipping. Moreover, they look at the traditions as holdovers of Roman paganism and this was something Jesus explicitly wanted to abolish.

With that in mind, some had broken away from Catholicism and set up their own groups. They started out not prescribing any set list of prayers and actions. They preferred to be spontaneous and prayed from the heart. They would 'go with the flow' and sing and pray. That was how a lot of these break-away groups started, in the 80's and well into the 90's.

Some of them remain up to this time. However, I have observed that for a lot of these groups, they have started to institutionalize their worship services. And though most of their prayers remain spontaneous, spoken by their heads and ministers, the worship activity itself has taken on form and structure, followed regularly by the members. I look at these and think that they have evolved their own rites and rituals.

I believe that rituals, institutionalized forms and activities, naturally 'come into being' in any organization. Even the most amorphous of organizations would eventually establish some regular, structured meeting, if only to be more efficient with its use of time and resources. In the readings of Friday and Saturday, the Lord God himself was prescribing the rituals to be observed by the Jews for the year, in much detail.

I didn't think Jesus was out to abolish these. He observed the rites of the Jews. He instructed his followers to follow them but not their example (of hypocrisy). He knew the need for these. And ultimately, the Last Supper was a similar prescription - "Do this in memory of me." But He did not just say "Do this." He added " memory of me", emphasizing the need to be "mindful" of the reason for the ritual, of the spirit behind it. This, for me, is another great example of what He meant by saying "I did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it."

Our formula prayers, one of which Jesus himself taught us, direct us to focus on the best way to express ourselves to our God. These were never meant to replace personal prayer, in my opinion. These were written by inspired writers to express their loving relationship with God and with the Saints. But we find such beauty in the prose, such eloquence and relevance that we could not help but adopt these as our own, to articulate our own personal relationship.

Yet, I do agree that there is a need to 'reintroduce' mindfulness in our observances. By carefully 'minding' the words in the prayers and novenas, you would delightfully come across terms that have not been in 'general circulation'. "Lamentation" "Sorrow" "banished children of Eve" "Clement" "Begotten" "Beseech" Re-discovering these terms and trying to use them in everyday language is quite a mental exercise. "I am sorrowful." "I have such a clement boss." "I beseeched my partner to watch the Madonna concert with me. " Hihihi These always make me smile.

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