Here I am once again in my sacred space - in my "hermitage" up in the mountain of Busay. I came up here a week ago. I actually arrived in Cebu on March 8, but I had to go first to Marigondon to interview the parish priest, the parish BEC coordinators and some BEC leaders for the case study on the BECs in the parish.
As usual, I am here for four weeks - spending time in solitude, silence, prayer, reflect, reading and writing. I am doing a lot of running and walking on the mountain trails around here. For the first two weeks, I will be fasting during the day and have a light dinner (just salad). Then, on the third week - Holy Week - I will have an absolute fast (no food - only water and a cleansing liquid drink) from Palm to Easter Vigil.. Then back to one meal a day on Easter week.
I've been especially praying for the cardinals gathered in Rome for the papal conclave to choose the successor of Benedict XVI. I was glad to hear that they elected Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who took the name Pope Francis. Now, I am praying for him as he begins his ministry of shepherding the universal Church.
Staying here for a month each year has become part of the rhythm of my life - a habit which I have been doing since becoming a priest 31 years ago. I intend to continue doing this for the rest of my life. I've spend longer periods here before - 3 months in 1989, 5 months in 2005 and 3 months in 2010. Perhaps, I will have another longer period during my next sabbatical in 2016. When I reach 75 years old, this is where I will spend my retirement.This is such a beautiful place. I love it here.