Bro. Mike Ve­larde

Re­li­gious Leader

Esquire (Philippines) - - GROOMING -

I LOOK AT EACH EX­PE­RI­ENCE. I’m al­ways in a state of prayer.

EV­ERY MO­MENT, you are aware that God is there so you make your­self feel his se­cu­rity, his pres­ence. Kasi ang mundo,

mag­ulo na, hindi ba? There are so many dis­trac­tions and at­trac­tions. Hindi na­man [ sila] masama, pero some­times be­cause of them, karami­han [ sa atin] wala nang [ kiniki­lalang] diyos, eh. Kani-kaniya na lang kaya mag­ulo ang paligid. THERE WERE TIMES WHEN YOU THINK, “TA­LAGA

BANG MAY DIYOS?” Kung may malak­ing prob­lema, it seems that ev­ery­thing is go­ing nowhere or some­times you’re left

alone or hindi lang sa iyo, pero nakikita mo rin sa ibang tao na tila walang nangya­yari.

Some­times I ask that pero ganoon lang ta­laga iyan.

I AL­WAYS CRY. I cry most of the time when I feel the good­ness of God.

THE QUES­TION MANY ARE ASK­ING [ IS]: “HOW DO YOU FEEL IN FRONT OF THE CROWD?” Nor­mal lang. I just de­liver the mes­sage as if I’m talk­ing to one per­son. So that one per­son is lis­ten­ing among the crowd or the

en­tire crowd lis­tens care­fully, na parang kami lang. It’s an in­ti­mate con­ver­sa­tion

that the per­son you are talk­ing to nai­intindi­han. Kahit iy­ong mga nasa telebisyon. In

fact, kahit iy­ong mga ibang nagkukuwento sa akin, nasa telebisyon lang, nanonood. Sabi nila, “How is it that iy­ong topic parang ako iyon? At iy­ong ki­nakausap mo, parang ako iyon? At saka iy­ong mga tanong ko in my mind, sinasagot mo rin? How is that?” Be­cause at that mo­ment, I am not my­self. I am just a ve­hi­cle of the Holy Spirit who came to those per­sons na

nan­gan­gailan­gan.

IY­ONG MGA PUMUPURING IYON, PAK­ING­GAN

MO NA LANG. And then mag- in­gat ka rin, tit­ig­nan mo iy­ong nag­pupuri at ano ang dahi­lan kung bakit nag­pupuri. Kasi iyan, pupuri iyan ka­pag may­roong nakukuha. Don’t be car­ried [away] by [ praises], just

say thank you. Pero don’t get car­ried away by those na ma­g­a­n­dang man­alita. Kasi, ang at­ti­tude ko dito ay gan­ito: iy­ong kaibi­gan mo ngayon, bukas maaar­ing ka­away mo na iyon. YOU LIS­TEN TO CRIT­I­CISM THEN ASK YOUR­SELF, IS IT TRUE? If it is true, thank them be­cause may nagsasabi sa iyo. You have time to

re­form. Kung hindi na­man to­too, paninira lang, so what? Prob­lema na nila iyon.

MAY NAGSABI NGA NOON, A CAR­DI­NAL, “Mike Ve­larde is a good son of the Church but he has no sub­stance.” May mga tao, nag- re­act. Ako na­man, hindi. Sabi ko na­man, tama na­man iyon kasi wala na­man akong pinag

ar­alan sa re­li­gion at sa Bi­b­liya. What I’m try­ing to tell peo­ple is what I’m ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, iy­ong kabu­ti­han ng Diyos. What God is do­ing to me and to other peo­ple for me. But sabi ko, one thing I can tell the Car­di­nal is [that] I have faith. And the Bible de­scribes faith as “the sub­stance of things hoped for.”

SINASABI SA AKIN NG MI­SIS KO at sa mga anak namin: “Magsi­pag kayo sapagkat wala kay­ong ma­manahin sa tatay nyo. Iy­ong [ bulsa] niya parang bu­tas na buslo iyan. Pa­pa­sok ang pera sa kanan, labas sa kaliwa. Kaya walang nai­ipon iyan.” MAY NAG­TANONG SA AKIN, “TO­TOO BANG MAY

AF­TER­LIFE SAKA MAY LAN­GIT AT IMPIY­ERNO?” Sabi ko, walang maka­pagsasabi niyan kung to­too. Pero ang to­too, ma­ma­matay tay­ong la­hat. Where will you [walk]? May isang

athe­ist, noong malapit nang ma­matay, nag-isip, “To­too kaya? Anong mangya­yari sa akin kung manini­wala ako? Kung to­too, mabibigla ako. Kung hindi na­man to­too, no

prob­lem.” Pero ang sabi niya, “If it is true, I might as well be­lieve it be­fore I die. To pre­pare my­self for what will come.”

SABI NI SAN AGUSTIN, “Faith is be­liev­ing the things we do not see, and the re­ward of faith is see­ing what we be­lieve.”

NAG- PREACH AKO MIN­SAN SA MGA TAO, sabi ko, “Huwag kay­ong matatakot sapagkat wala na­mang nakakaalam. Even Je­sus does not know when that last day will be.”

MAY NAG­TANONG, “KAILAN BA TA­LAGA

MATATAPOS ANG MUNDO?” Sabi ko, “Close your eyes and stop breath­ing. That is the end of your world.”

IN PRI­VATE, I DRESS PLAINLY. Pero sa stage, color­ful ako be­cause of the crowd. Malayo na sila, eh. Wala kang makikita sa

stage ex­cept iy­ong damit na gu­ma­galaw so you get their at­ten­tion. Color has life.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A DREAM? Buhay na buhay ang nakikita mo sa panaginip mo. Pero iy­ong katawan mo, nai­i­wan sa hi­gaan.

And then pag­gis­ing mo, vivid na vivid ang nakikita mo. So there’s life be­yond this planet.

SABI NI SAN PABLO, “To God who is able to do more than all we ask or imag­ine.” In other words, higit pa sa at­ing hi­hin­gin at iisipin, makakarat­ing sa iyo.

THERE ARE SOME TES­TI­MONIES FROM THE

BOOK, PROOF OF HEAVEN EBEN ALEXAN

BY

DER. HE WAS AN ATHE­IST. He was a neu­rol­o­gist… So ang nang­yari dito, the neu­rol­o­gist was co­matose for seven days. As a per­son in co­matose, the brain has al­ready stopped func­tion­ing. So bakit dur­ing the seven days, he trav­eled? He saw places, moun­tains, and rivers. He met his sis­ter, na hindi niya naki­lala dati. To test God, may prayer re­quests

siyang dalawa— to know his bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents ( be­cause he was adopted), and to meet God. And th­ese two things hap­pened at that mo­ment.

MY OWN VI­SION ABOUT HEAVEN? I have more or less a no­tion [ from what] au­thor Eben Alexan­der was [ telling us]. He saw those places, the moun­tains, the rivers. The Bible says, I knew heaven and I knew Earth will be cre­ated.

SIG­URO ANG GUSTO KONG BA­LIKAN, iy­ong mga lu­gar noong ako’y bata pa sa Catan

du­anes. Tahimik ang buhay noon. Doon ako naliligo sa mga crys­tal clear na ilog. Ngayon wala na iyan. Pol­luted na. I be

lieve makikita natin iyon.

There were times when you think, “Ta­laga bang may Diyos?”

Pho­to­graph by JL Javier

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