All eyes on our country! The last Miss Universe Pageant 2017, held in the Philippines last January 29 of the said year, was a worldwide buzz. It was a special event that became a “fever” among the Filipinos and advertisers. For sure this long standing pageant will be repeated.
Back in my high school days, my relatives would often tease me to join the Miss Universe Contest. They would make fun of me because of my ideal height and slim body that they would envy or desire. Up to par, this was compared only with an ordinary clan member, just among us. Not a serious thing for me. I knew it was just a joke, and I could feel that my heart wouldn’t be into it. I had my flaws… lots of them!
In late 70’s, there was a blessed call, a dedicated meeting of a simple candidate and the superior cum directress of a house in a far community away from home. This candidate was aspiring to become someone who was different and precocious. She was not joining a mesmeric pageant and certainly not seen by a cheering crowd, not even captured by the people’s eyes and cameras when she entered the portal of the formation house. It was the candidacy inside the house of the love of God. Goodness gracious! Whew, I am describing myself here as the candidate. In all modesty, I wrote this to share a true experience!
Long story short, I was the aspirant of the international, semi-contemplative congregation. One ‘general cleaning’ week-end, I was announced to be the “Miss Universe” unanimously among the group of aspirants, postulants and the sisters. I was chosen because of my height, stance, coupled with a unique Filipina beauty (Was I qualified?) and the ability to answer the questions, possessing the God-given wit to do a certain duty which must be carried out during my “reign” (Do I have the right to call it reign?). Well, that was just my way of saying, my officio, my work. Alongside with that glamorous title encompassed a greater responsibility, power, leadership and opportunity. Righto, at least the dream of my family came true.
“Miss Universe” with a veil inside the convent was a funny titular call of obedience. The task assigned to me was to remove the spider’s cobwebs. I could have the option to say yes or no, to object and to explain further my stand but in silence, I gave my word which at first there was a hesitation.
“Yes, Sr. Superior!” I said. That was my humble fiat.
My YES meant to remove the spiders’ cobwebs away from the lights, on corners, high ceilings, the doorways, long corridors and big rooms, including the chapel. Imagine the spiders’ cobwebs were all uncontrollably prolific.
After accepting my assignment, instead of a crown and sceptre, I was given the hair band and the long broom stick for thorough cleaning. In contemplation, I asked myself, “Am I Miss Universe by all means? Yea, I am “Miss Universe”, doing a creepy household chore. I already affirmed and enjoyed the title a.k.a. spiderbuster.
Psyching myself up, I was ready: standing on the chair, going down, spotting the cobwebs, closing my eyes continually. Ew, this task was fit to a formidable giant, not only in terms of height but also in toughness, dealing with the entangled world of spiders.
Do you know that spiders have multiple disguises, web and body colours and scuttling movements? They naturally do camouflages, mimicries and other movements to attract their preys and/or to protect and hide themselves from predators. Moreover, they are usually associated with Halloween. Oh yes, they are! Treat-or-trick?
For some reason, this was considered a trick to me, taking those intricate webs away. Fearsome, what an experience, eh?! Those were ghastly spectacles for me!
Spiders and their arachnid family, and their territories became my enemies. But wahoo! Utilizing my style and strategy of cleaning, spiders and dusty cobwebs were conquered and gone immediately. Alas, a week after they re-appeared in grim bunches.
In close encounters with the spiders and doing my job in contemplation, I found a sheer meaning on this. These cobwebs relatively signified sins.
SINS contextually (like cobwebs) are the network spread of the prince of darkness (the spider). They obscure our minds. They dirty us. They make us fall into the trap, and we are entangled. They destroy us. With our human weaknesses, emotional wounds and brokenness, they softly kill us.
As for my transgressions, done in full knowledge I offended my loving God and my neighbours. Very sorry for all my misdeeds, I tried to stand up. I ran back to God and went to confessions. By the power and grace of God, my sins were washed out and forgiven. Uh-huh, like “Miss Universe” a.k.a. spiderbuster on the go, cleaning up the cobwebs…Presto! They were all gone.
Not so long, the next day… another day and for so many times, I awfully made mistakes once more. They were unpleasant like cobwebs that I needed to clean up de novo. I went to confessions over and over again.
I do believe that confessions cleanse me. They beautify me. They make me shine.
With a beaming halo after a good confession, this seemingly enthroned “Miss Universe” in me, in you - smiles, waves her hands and struggles to sin no more.
So we pray and vie for the title.
Who will be the next Miss (or Mr.) Universe? Beware there are lots of cobwebs. Be sure to get rid of them first.
By Lucy Lombos