If you've visited this blog at least once, you must have glanced at my books on the right. You haven't? Please look closely 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 (MIBF). This year, Hiyas has decided to end the series with book No. 14 (it's 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 a jet plane—approximately 804.672 kilometers/hour. I did not just 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 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's still as adventurous as ever, but with a 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.
The title, therefore, can't be anything but, “Quiet Time with Mateo,” a counterpoint to all 15 books.
What exactly is “quiet time?” In the Christian context, it is listening to the voice of God by reading the Bible or devotion, and talking to Him through prayer. Jesus did this frequently, sometimes slipping away all night or at dawn from the crowd and his disciples, to spend time with His Father.
This quiet time between man and God was described by Martin Luther through a 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 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.
The launching of this Mateo devotional coincides with the launching of “A Flood of Kindness” at the 33rd MIBF, 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.