How do we find ourselves when we feel lost?

Our challenge is that “feeling lost” is somewhat relative or hard to pinpoint. To ease this feeling, we have to learn to talk with ourselves (sounds crazy!) as well as dialogue with others (not easy!). It is an iterative and not straightforward.

In a sense, when we do these things, we place our faith on the “spirit” that both enables and transcends our relationships with ourselves and others. That hopefully, the habits we build and the structures we are in may coalesce into a path or a guiding light — illuminating the darkness of feeling lost.

And in those flashes, we hopefully could claim that the kingdom of heaven is really at hand.


Matthew 10:1-7. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 187: JULY 6, 2022]

Witnessing “meraki” – soul in one’s work

It is grading period this week, and this is the time when my colleagues and I rant about heartbreak stories of students not passing requirements on time or in a way that satisfies quality standards.

But there are also times when students transcend being students – they become peers who can co-create knowledge with their insights and “soul” put into their integrative projects. It is doubly rewarding when these mentees are former students who have demonstrated growth through the years of their stay.

If you may pardon my pun, it is in witnessing these “meraki-lous” moments when sacrifices are worth it – responding to late night consultations or painstakingly provoking student groups to aspire being authentic exemplars.

Indeed, “the laborers are few”. But in a sense, a few “meraki-lous laborers” amid a sea of those merely going through the motions is more than enough to uplift the soul of a professor.


Matthew 9:32-38. “… But the laborers are few.”

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 186: JULY 5, 2022]

How does faith save us?

Aside from the supernatural, how does faith save us?

I can only speak from personal context. And in a way, faith allows me to be “sane”; for without it, everything can feel meaningless and pointless.

Some may define faith as believing without evidence, but for me, faith has actually encouraged me to look for evidences and recognize their limits. Faith can force a truly reflective person to be humble, because we realize how powerless we could be in a pessimistic sense. But in a more hopeful perspective, it can encourage us to “help it be”, to notice structures and cultures that may be predisposed to benevolence, and be a spark to help things happen.

Filipinos are very familiar with “bahala na!” The best form of “bahala na” is not when we surrender without action nor agency; it is when we exhaust our reason and agency then let the Higher Power take over.

After all, the most powerful prayer is that which we act upon, because in that moment, we allow ourselves to become embodiments of love and flourishing.

And it is in loving that we save ourselves and others.


Matthew 9:18-26. “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 185: JULY 4, 2022]

Towards “enmissioning”

It is relatively easy to imagine, to envision a desired future or state of ourselves, our organization, or even society. We have an idea of “what could be”.

However, it is harder to “enmission”, to put to life and action how our strengths and talents can serve others. To dedicate ourselves to “what ought to be” and perform good actions for goodness’ sake.

It requires a sober understanding of our past tendencies and weaknesses and a realistic yet optimistic view of our limitless potential. It is a balance of humility and hope; unafraid to act but mindful (and heartful) of the relevant context.

I always ask my students, “What are your strengths? What is your key skill?” And oftentimes, they struggle to answer concretely. They talk about passion, but passion is ultimately fickle.

Enmissioning requires a person to understand one’s talents and a certain “goodness” that one yearns to manifest. And that journey is iterative. I dabbled frustratingly in social entrepreneurship, nonprofit work, e-commerce, consumer goods, market research, and consultancy anchored on my skill to write, insight, and learn. These numerous past experiments led me to the academe, and so far, I feel that my mission is to be here. I feel that my writing and insighting skills are always challenged while also being an enabler for others to flourish.

In an uncertain context, overemphasizing long-term visions might not be practical anymore – to envision. It might be more worthwhile to “enmission”, that is, to constantly reflect on one’s strengths and purpose and find spaces where one can translate potential into action.

Maybe, teaching students to “enmission” is the next step for management education that is truly humanistic and sustainability-oriented.


Luke 10:1-12, 17-20. The mission and the return of the seventy-two

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 184: JULY 3, 2022]

To fast is to slow down and be self-aware

Such a nice play of words: to fast means to slow down. Pay attention. Be more self-aware.

Are the sensations we feel really hunger, or is it just thirst?

Is the craving a need or a want?

Is it nourishment or indulgence?

Maybe fasting reminds us that to flourish means to pause, reflect, and be more self-aware. There are times when stopping is faster than an illusion of movement if the goal is integral human development.


Matthew 9:14-17. Fasting

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 183: JULY 2, 2022]

Towards a more reasonable kind of mercy

Practically, the problem with letting mercy be the default is that non-repentant wrongdoers may abuse the kindness of the merciful. However, we can draw inspiration from how mercy is always presented with justice; as if they are two sides of the same coin. The rational mind is to justice as the emotional heart is to mercy.

What I like about how Jesus manifests mercy is that it is done to enliven the benevolent spirit underlying traditions and norms, which unfortunately may have been more oppressive and discriminatory rather than emancipating and liberating. The Pharisees and the hypocrites settle on technicalities and traditions that disable tax collectors (which are defaultly seen in a negative light) from becoming better persons.

In a way, mercy in this context corrects the injustices stemming from misinterpretations or misapplications of traditions. Moreover, mercy in this context actually enables justice and fairness, in a way that provides opportunities for the truly repentant (but burdened with negative reputations) to turn over a new leaf.

Thus, the challenge for us is not merely to view mercy through the lens of emotional pity. There is potential to synthesize both the rational and emotional in imbibing a more reasonable kind of mercy that enables flourishing.

Justice and mercy are indeed two sides of the same coin, in the same way that our mind and heart are two sides of our person.


Matthew 9:9-13. I desire mercy

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 182: JULY 1, 2022]

How do we forgive ourselves?

Oftentimes, our worst critic is ourselves. And in our bid to be better, we sometimes notice all the little wrongs and sins that we commit regardless of how others perceive us.

I’d like to relate my reflection to the topic of self-realization, which was discussed in the critical realism online study space held awhile ago. What stood out to me is the definition of a “transcendentally real self”, which is a mixture of ego, embodied personality, and an unlimited transcendentally real being. (I know, it’s hard to understand!)

In a way, we are able to objectively define our “self” based on our past and consistent behaviors, thoughts, and tendencies. But at the same time, our sense of self cannot be reduced to these patterns and personality. Just as a caterpillar can be a butterfly and a seed can be a gigantic tree, we have the infinite (uncountable) potential to evolve and prosper.

There is a kind of peace in accepting our tendencies to do wrong; to acknowledge that we may tend to be impatient, irritable, or judgemental. This kind of self-awareness allows us to choose how we desire to grow and flourish.

For the religious, only God can grant full forgiveness for the truly repenting person. But practically for us, to authentically repent and forgive ourselves is simultaneous (I think). And what makes it easier is the knowledge that there are countless ways we can repent and do our penance.

And hopefully, we don’t repeat the same mistakes in a relatively similar context. When that happens, we’re just fooling ourselves.


Matthew 9:1-8. Your sins are forgiven

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 181: JUNE 30, 2022]

Foundations need not be perfect, but predisposed to excellence

The mortal enemy of the overthinker and a perfectionist is not starting at all. In a way, the choice of Jesus to build His Church with St. Peter as the rock can provide insights on how we should view excellence and perfection.

Overthinking perfection can paralyze a person. But the wisdom we need is to determine when a certain work or action is sufficient to be called good or even high quality, as well as designing work or action or a system in a way that it could be corrected.

The comforting thing about excellence is that it is not about getting it right right away. Excellence is a journey. And as I begin to grade my students’ works, I reflect again on the meaning of “4.0” or being excellent and exemplary.

Hopefully the learning activities in my courses have become opportunities for me and my students to reflect and rethink and experiment. So that when I give 4.0, it does not suppose to mean “I think you’re perfect already”, but rather, “you’ve demonstrated excellence through iteratively correcting your work, and hence, I’m confident you can do it again outside the course”.

Ever since my birthday, I have been more fixated with what “becoming” means. It is uncomfortable to think that no human state is permanent, therefore, there’s no such thing as “perfection”. But there are infinite opportunities to self-correct, to experiment, to try again.

Isn’t that more romantic and more attainable to think about? The infinite opportunities to be a better version. The infinite opportunities for rebirth.


Matthew 16:13-19. Upon this rock I will build my Church

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 180: JUNE 29, 2022]

A droplet of faith

It is natural to be afraid if it is rooted in being self-aware of our weaknesses and limitations. In the greater scheme of things, there are so many forces outside of our control, and that the unknown can feel very paralyzing to even try comprehending.

Thus, in a sense, even a droplet of faith can make us feel sane, or even “wiser”, because we arrive at a better understanding of ourselves, the world, and a glimpse of the spiritual.

When a leap feels too much, there is solace that a droplet of faith may be enough. And we, together with the angels and saints and God, will have a good laugh, like how we look back to the mistakes we did when we were young.


Matthew 8:23-27. O you of little faith

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 179: JUNE 28, 2022]

Complying with versus following the leader

If we define spirituality in terms of acknowledging the meaning and purpose that transcend us, then our practice of spirituality is in essence a sharing of ourselves with others. Self-with-others.

Thus, to follow a leader out of fear is merely compliance, and is not fully authentic.

But to follow a leader because we are inspired is not merely compliance. Rather, it points to a sense of meaning, purpose, and spirituality, where we realize that our mission is not selfish but self-with-others.

In this way, a full and authentic performance of “followership” is as meaningful as “leadership”. To follow does not mean to be a slave to a dictator nor a fanatic to a cultic god. Rather, it is an exercise of our personal responsibility towards flourishing – that we commit to supporting a role model who spiritually inspires us.


Matthew 8:18-22. Follow me

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 178: JUNE 27, 2022]