If you've visited this blog at least once, you must have glimpsed my books on the right. You haven't? Please look again and would you scroll down?
Fourteen of them are part of the “Oh, Mateo!” series. These are individual books with Mateo as the hero—a smart eight-year old boy from the province of Pangasinan—who figures in one episode after another.
Every year since the beginning of the millennium, a book or two would be launched by Hiyas (an imprint of OMF Literature) at the Manila International Book Fair. This year, Hiyas has decided to end the series with book No. 14 (the 15th book, actually, if you include the stand-alone “The Magic of Apo Mayor”).
After I had finished writing the last book, “A Flood of Kindness,” and said good-bye to Mateo, Hiyas asked me to look into writing a devotional for the same age range (8-12) with Mateo (still!) as the hero.
This suggestion made my heart go like the wind, more specifically like a jet plane—approximately 804.672 kilometers/hour. I did not look into it, I wrote is faster than any of my other books. What would have taken me eight months took seven and a half!
Every book in the “Oh, Mateo!” series is packed with activities. Something is always happening—a conflict being revealed and solved.
So what is the devotional like? Well, Mateo is Mateo. He'd still figure in as many adventures as possible, with one difference: each story invites the reader to reflect on the message or value, which is hinged on a Bible verse. Each story also comes with a short prayer to tie it all together.
It therefore can't have any title other than, “Quiet Time with Mateo.” It is a counterpoint to all the books in the series.
What exactly is “quiet time?” In the Christian context, this means listening to the voice of God by reading the Bible or devotion, and talking to Him through prayer. In the Bible, Jesus did this many times, sometimes slipping away all night or in the early morning from the crowd and his disciples, to spend time with His Father.
This time between man and God was described by Martin Luther through his own conversation with his barber:
Barber: How do you pray?
Luther: A good barber must have his thoughts, mind and eyes concentrated upon the razor and the beard and not forget where he is in his stroke and shave. If he keeps talking or thinking of something else, he is likely to cut a man's mouth or nose—or even his throat.
Luther meant that in prayer, our heart and mind must be exclusively and completely on God.
“Quiet Time with Mateo” (illustrations by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero) has 52 devotions—one for each week of the year. It is my hope that every reader finds time to go to his favorite nook for his quiet time once a week.
The launching of “Quiet Time with Mateo” will coincide with the launching of “A Flood of Kindness” at the 33rd Manila International Book Fair, SMX-MOA from Sept. 12-16. Storytelling and book signing will be on September 14, OMFLit booth, Aisle K.
As with every book that I write, I give thanks to the Father of heavenly grace for the guidance and the path on which to walk.