On this Feast of St.Michael the Archangel, our thoughts are raised towards the reality of spiritual warfare. St. Teresa of Jesus has this to say:
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
On this Feast of St.Michael the Archangel, our thoughts are raised towards the reality of spiritual warfare. St. Teresa of Jesus has this to say:
Saturday, September 24, 2011
In the bookstore, I found this book published in 2007 by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, a senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. Little may he have realized it but Dr. Lutzer was proving the Popes right in their teachings against Modernism:
Friday, September 23, 2011
To be sure, the risk of losing it is not unreal. I would like to make two brief points here. The geography of Christianity has changed dramatically in recent times, and is in the process of changing further. Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss. This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon -- that bishops from all over the world are constantly telling me about -- poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse? In any event, it raises afresh the question about what has enduring validity and what can or must be changed -- the question of our fundamental faith choice.
The second challenge to worldwide Christianity of which I wish to speak is more profound and in our country more controversial: the secularized context of the world in which we Christians today have to live and bear witness to our faith. God is increasingly being driven out of our society, and the history of revelation that Scripture recounts to us seems locked into an ever more remote past. Are we to yield to the pressure of secularization, and become modern by watering down the faith? Naturally faith today has to be thought out afresh, and above all lived afresh, so that it is suited to the present day. Yet it is not by watering the faith down, but by living it today in its fullness that we achieve this. This is a key ecumenical task in which we have to help one another: developing a deeper and livelier faith. It is not strategy that saves us and saves Christianity, but faith -- thought out and lived afresh; through such faith, Christ enters this world of ours, and with him, the living God. As the martyrs of the Nazi era brought us together and prompted that great initial ecumenical opening, so today, faith that is lived from deep within amid a secularized world is the most powerful ecumenical force that brings us together, guiding us towards unity in the one Lord. And we pray to him, asking that we may learn to live the faith anew, and that in this way we may then become one.
"The tongue is a small member, but it does big things. A religious who does not keep silence will never attain holiness; that is, she will never attain holiness; that is, she will never become a saint. Let her not delude herself - unless it is the Spirit of God who is speaking through her, for then she must not keep silent. But, in order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one's soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God. Once can speak a great deal without breaking silence and, on the contrary, one can speak little and be constantly breaking silence. Oh, what irreparable damage is done by the breach of silence! We cause a lot of harm to our neighbor, but even more to our own selves.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The catechetical landscape of the Diocese of Cubao is deteriorating because in spite of the the decrease in the public school population from last year’s 163, 686 students to this year’s 159,740, there is an increase in the number of uncatechized students from last year’s 31, 623 students to this year’s 36, 389. 4, 766 more students this year are added to the increasing number of those who will not hear the teachings of Jesus for this school year. This is due to the decreasing number of catechists this year.
Every September, we celebrate the Catechetical Month. Everytime we do this, we make an appeal for volunteer catechists. Like the landowner in today’s parable, we come out time and again to look for laborers to work in the vineyard. The appeal does not change, it has been repeated year after year: “You go into the vineyard.” It has remained unchanged because the Harvest is rich but the laborers are few. The once-a-week teaching of catechism is already a bad situation because the catechetical instruction does not stand a chance against the constant bombardment our youth receive from elements that are hostile to the gospel of Jesus. This is made worse by the absence of regular parental guidance and even worse still, the lack of catechists..36, 389 might seem to you a faceless numbers. But behind the figures are real human beings who are condemned to ignorance of Jesus Christ and of his truth that sets all men free. Many young people do not seek the Lord because they do not know that He wants to be found. Many young people do not call on the Lord because they do not know that He is near. Being deprived of catechesis, many people are condemned to a linited world view that stretches no further than the here and now. They are deprived of the opportunity to raise their thoughts to the thoughts of God which is higher and wider than ours: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” And these many people do not know what they are missing. Like slaves that think that everything is fine because they do not know what being free means, many people think that they are satisfied with what the world has to offer because they do not know that they are meant for something more: they are destined to live for ever in heaven.
When we hear these words: You go into my vineyard, we always think that the Lord meant to speak to other people...but not to me. But the Lord is really addressing these words to you! If only parents took seriously their catechetical obligation towards their children, the catechetical situation would not be so bad. We see these signs around us: Aso ko, tali ko; Tapat ko, linis ko. We recognize our responsibility towards our dog and toward our environs. But why do we not recognize our responsibility towards our own children: Anak ko, turo ko! Many parents do not recognize that they are the primary catechists of their own children. Godparents do not recognize that they are the secondary catechists of their godchildren. Many are like the men who, at late afternoon, hear the Lord's reproach: "Why are you standing here idle all day? You go to my vineyard!" Late in life...you have not yet worked in the vineyard? You go to the vineyard!
Dare to respond generously to the invitation of Christ…for the Lord is never outdone in his generosity. Not only does he pay us what is just. He gives us more out of the abundance of his mercy: “Those that glorify and proclaim My great mercy, I shall protect them Myself at the hour of death as My own glory. And even if the sins of soul are as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of My Passion. When a soul praises My goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.” (Diary, 378.)
on September 19, 1846, the Blessed Virgin appeared to two shepherd children Maximin and Melanie. She appeared with profuse tears falling from her eyes because of a grave message she brought mankind:
Friday, September 16, 2011
"The Church, especially when she celebrates the divine mysteries, recognizes and manifests herself as a reality that cannot be reduced to a solely earthly and organizational aspect. It must appear clearly in these mysteries that the beating heart of the community should be recognized beyond the narrow yet necessary limits of ritualism, because the liturgy is not what man does, but what God does with his admirable and gratuitous condescendence. This primacy of God in the liturgical action was highlighted by the Servant of God Paul VI at the closing of the second period of the Vatican Council, when he announced the proclamation of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium: "In this event we observe that the correct order has been respected of the values and duties: thus we have recognized that the post of honor is reserved to God; that as first duty we are called to raise prayers to God; that the sacred Liturgy is the primary source of this divine exchange in which the life of God is communicated to us; it is the first school of our soul, it is the first gift that must be made by us to the Christian people." (Paul VI, Address for the Closing of the Second Period, December 4, 1963, AAS , 34).
"In addition to expressing the absolute priority of God, the liturgy manifests its being "God with us," since "being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." (Benedict XVI, encyclical Deus Caritas Est, 1). In this connection, God is the great educator of his people, the loving, wise, tireless guide in an through the liturgy, the action of God in the today of the Church.""From this foundational aspect, the 62nd National Liturgical Week is called to reflect on the educational dimension of the liturgical action, in as much as it is a "permanent school of formation around the Risen Lord, educational and relative place in which the faith acquires form and is transmitted" (Italian Episcopal Conference, Educare alla Vita Buona del Vangelo, n. 390). For this purpose, it is necessary to reflect ever better on the relation between catechesis and liturgy, yet rejecting all undue instrumentalization of the liturgy with "catechetical" ends. In this regard, the living Patristic tradition of the Church teaches us that the liturgical celebration itself, without losing its specificity, always has an important catechetical dimension (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 33). In fact, in as much as it is the "the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit" (ibid., 14), the liturgy can be called the permanent catechesis of the Church, the inexhaustible source of catechesis, precious catechesis in act (cf. Italian Episcopal Conference, Il Rinnovamento della catechesis, Feb. 7, 1970, 113). As an integrated experience of catechesis, celebration and life, it expresses in addition the maternal support of the Church, thus helping to develop the growth of the believer's Christian life and the maturation of his conscience.
"...Organizations in the OSCE countries responsible for notifying the public about cases of Christianophobia regularly report cases of persecution of Christians who criticize social evils, albeit that they are legally recognized. For example, clergy and lay believers who criticize homosexuality as sinful often face public ostracism or severe discrimination. Statutory guarantees of freedom of speech laid down in international law are always ignored in such cases.
"Christians in the OSCE region are consistently attacked because of their position on abortion and euthanasia. Opponents not only fail to see that behind their false justifications lie the deprivation of human life, but they also question Christians’ right to present their views and their democratic efforts to have them reflected in European legislation. It has been an encouragement and inspiration to see the recent recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe upholding the right to conscientious objection for medical workers who refuse to take part in such operations. I hope that refusal on grounds of conscientious objection will be an accepted approach in the educational and in public service spheres."
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Yesterday, I visited the seminary I studied in and I decided to say a prayer in the big chapel. The seminarians were just about to pray the Midday Prayer for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I observed one thing which disturbed me...the seminarians did not kneel at any point of the prayer. They sat through the hymn (we said it standing) and the psalms and reading. They stood for the collect and then, for the Angelus (In our time, we knelt during the Angelus during weekdays and stood for it during Sundays.) Afterwards, at the end of the prayer, some simply left while the others sat for some silent prayer. I did not see anyone kneel.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
It is only fitting that the Blessed Mother should be found standing beneath the Cross of our Lord. After all, she has been his most intimate associate in the work of salvation. It was for this moment that she became Mother. The Incarnation, which took place in her womb, was for the purpose of giving the Son of God a human nature that is capable of both suffering and death. The Body of the Lord, which hung upon the cross, was taken from the womb of Mary. The Blood that became the price of our redemption, Jesus received from his own Mother. From the very first instant of his Incarnation, Jesus our Lord has closely associated his Blessed Mother to Himself in the work of Redemption.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we celebrate the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum four years ago. I started celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite everyday when the Motu Propio was promulgated. The Prologue of Archbishop Fulton Sheen to his work "Calvary and the Mass" is worth our consideration on this blessed day:
THERE are certain things in life which are too beautiful to be forgotten, such as the love of a mother. Hence we treasure her picture. The love of soldiers who sacrificed themselves for their
country is likewise too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we revere their memory on Memorial Day. But the greatest blessing which ever came to this earth was the visitation of the Son of God in the form and habit of man. His life, above all lives, is too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we treasure the divinity of His words
actions. Unfortunately this is all some souls remember, namely His Words and His Deeds; important as these are, they are not the greatest characteristic of the Divine Saviour.
The most sublime act in the history of Christ was His Death
the life of Christ. He Himself told us that He came "to give his life as redemption for many"; that no one could take away His Life; but He would lay it down of Himself.
If then Death was the supreme moment for which Christ lived, it was therefore the one thing
The memorial was instituted the night before He died, at what has since been called "The Last Supper." Taking bread into His Hands, He said: "This is my body, which shall be delivered for you," i.e., delivered unto death. Then over the chalice of wine, He said, "This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins." Thus in an unbloody symbol of the parting of the Blood from the Body, by the separate consecration of Bread and Wine, did Christ pledge Himself to death in the sight of God and men, and represent His death which was to come the next afternoon at three. He was offering Himself as a Victim to be immolated, and that men might never forget that "greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friends," He gave the divine command to the Church: "Do
this for a commemoration of me."
The following day that which He had prefigured and foreshadowed, He realized in its completeness, as He was crucified between two thieves and His Blood drained from His Body for the redemption of the world.
The Church which Christ founded has not only preserved the Word He spoke, and the wonders He wrought; it has also taken Him seriously when He said: "Do this for a commemoration of me." And that action whereby we re-enact His Death on the Cross is
Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the altar,
center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us
from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life.
What is important at this point is that we take the proper mental attitude toward the Mass, and remember this important fact, that the Sacrifice of the Cross is not something which happened
nineteen hundred years ago. It is still happening. It is not something past like the signing of the Declaration of Independence; it is an abiding drama on which the curtain has not yet rung down. Let it not be believed that it happened a long time ago, and therefore no more concerns us than anything else in the past.
To express further the universality of the Redemption, the cross was erected at the crossroads of civilization, at a central point between the three great cultures of Jerusalem, Rome, and Athens, in whose names He was crucified. The cross was thus placarded before the eyes of men, to arrest the careless, to appeal to the
thoughtless, to arouse the worldly. It was the one inescapable fact that the cultures and civilizations of His day could not resist. It is also the one inescapable fact of our day which we cannot resist.
The figures at the Cross were symbols of all who crucify. We were there in our representatives. What we are doing now to the Mystical Christ, they were doing in our names to the historical Christ. If we are envious of the good, we were there in the Scribes and Pharisees. If we are fearful of losing some temporal advantage by embracing Divine Truth and Love, we were there in Pilate. If we trust in material forces and seek to conquer through the world instead of through the spirit, we were there in Herod. And so the story goes on for the typical sins of the world. They all blind us to the fact that He is God. There was therefore a kind of inevitability about the Crucifixion. Men who were free to sin were also free to crucify.
As long as there is sin in the world the Crucifixion is a reality. As the poet has put it:
"I saw the son of man go by,
Crowned with a crown of thorns.
'Was it not finished Lord,' said I,
'And all the anguish borne?'
"He turned on me His awful eyes;
'Hast Thou not understood?
So every soul is a Calvary
And every sin a rood.'"
We were there then during that Crucifixion. The drama was already completed as far as the vision of Christ was concerned, but it had not yet been unfolded to all men and all places and all times. If a motion picture reel, for example, were conscious of itself, it would know the drama from beginning to end, but the spectators in the theater would not know it until they had seen it unrolled upon the screen. In like manner, our Lord on the Cross saw in His eternal mind, the
whole drama of history, the story of each individual soul, and how later on it would react to His Crucifixion; but though He saw all, we could not know how we would react to the Cross until we were unrolled upon the screen of time. We were not conscious of being present there on Calvary that day, but He was conscious of our presence. Today we know the role we played in the theater of Calvary, by the way we live and act now in the theater of the twentieth century.
That is why Calvary is actual; why the Cross is the crisis
our souls. There is no escaping the Cross not even by denying it as the Pharisees did; not even by selling Christ as Judas did; not even by crucifying Him as the executioners did. We all see it, either to embrace it in salvation, or to fly from it into misery.
But how is it made visible? Where shall we find Calvary perpetuated? We shall find Calvary renewed, re-enacted, re-
too on the Cross there are seven divine notes, which the dying Christ rang down the centuries, all of which combine to form the beautiful harmony of the world's redemption.
Each word is a part of the Mass. The First Word, "Forgive," is the Confiteor; the Second Word, "This Day in Paradise," is the Offertory; the Third Word, "Behold Thy Mother," is the Sanctus;
the Fourth Word, "Why hast Thou abandoned Me," is the Consecration; the Fifth Word, "I thirst," is the Communion; the Sixth Word, "It is finished," is the Ite, Missa Est; the Seventh
Word, "Father, into Thy Hands," is the Last Gospel.
Picture then the High Priest Christ leaving the sacristy of heaven for the altar of Calvary. He has already put on the vestment of our human nature, the maniple of our suffering, the stole of priesthood, the chasuble of the Cross. Calvary is his cathedral; the rock of Calvary is the altar stone; the sun turning to red is the sanctuary lamp; Mary and John are the living side altars; the Host is His Body; the wine is His Blood. He is upright as Priest, yet He is prostrate as Victim. His Mass is about to begin.
Sherman, Texas, Sep 9, 2011 / 04:14 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Ramona Trevino has a compelling story to tell about her exodus from the nation's largest abortion provider. But in her first public appearance, she chose to emphasize what God accomplished through a vigil outside the clinic she used to manage.
“My message is to glorify God, and to glorify what wonderful things all of you are doing and continue to do. I'm so excited, and honored, to hopefully be a part of that,” she told 40 Days for Life participants at a recent event outside the defunct Planned Parenthood facility in Sherman, Texas.
“People like me everywhere are waiting for a miracle. And that is indeed what happened … Three months later, this place is out of business.”
Trevino, its former manager, had already taken a “leap of faith” on May 6, “leaving behind my job … half of my family's income.” It meant “having to worry about how we were going to survive, and pay the mortgage, and put food on the table.”
She told the assembled members of 40 Days for Life that there had been “a tugging in my heart, on and off, during the three years that I was managing. And it was a tugging that it shames me to say, I did ignore.”
Although Trevino's clinic did not perform abortions, she “still had a hand in the referrals. I still had to give out the number, I still had to give out the information on the locations … where they could get an abortion.”
“That's a truth I finally had to face. And that was a truth that would be brought to light due to the wonderful 40 Days for Life vigil that was held out here.”
In an interview with CNA, Trevino gave more details of her story, explaining how she tried to reconcile her Catholic faith with her work at Planned Parenthood. She also described the dramatic change of heart that coincided with the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
“I was raised Catholic, but I didn't really have a lot of formation in my faith as a kid,” said Trevino. “When I was a little girl … I felt like I was being called to the religious life.” But she “didn't have the formation, as a young child, to elaborate on that calling.”
Instead of becoming a nun, Trevino became pregnant in high school. She left school, and was in a non-Catholic marriage for eight years.
Two years after her subsequent marriage within the Church, Trevino learned about a part-time position at Planned Parenthood from a coworker at her former government job. She had gone through more extensive Catholic formation to prepare for marriage, but still lacked a proper understanding of issues surrounding sexuality and human life.
“I think there was still a lot about my faith that I didn't know – that I didn't get,” she recalled.
Trevino, who says she was “always pro-life,” also lacked an understanding of Planned Parenthood's leading role in the abortion industry. She associated the organization mostly with contraception, which she regarded as wrong for Catholics, but not for others.
“It didn't take me long before I became uncomfortable working there,” she remembered. “It was probably within the first three or four months. The thing that struck me hard was when I had to do my first referral for an abortion.”
“We provided pregnancy tests. So a lot of women would come in to confirm pregnancy, and if they were pregnant sometimes they would want an abortion. And we would have to counsel them on the information, the referrals, how far along they were, and that type of thing.”
“I remember the very first time I had to do that. I went into my office, I closed the door, and I cried. I guess it was something that I didn't think I was actually going to have to do. I was naïve, and I was too focused on the opportunity of being a manager.”
The referrals came relatively infrequently in the small Texas town, and other staff sometimes handled them. When they did occur, Trevino found ways to soothe her conscience.
“I would say prayers for them, and I would justify my actions all the time. I'd come home a wreck, and ask my husband 'Am I guilty?' And I would talk myself out of it, to justify it: 'Really, I'm not making the decision for her; when she walks out the door or gets off the phone, it's up to her what she does. I really am not responsible for what she chooses.''”
“I would constantly try to feed myself lies,” she said. “Eventually it got to me. I wasn't standing up for those babies. I wasn't trying to save their lives … Over time, I couldn't deny it to myself anymore.”
Trevino also became disillusioned with policies she said were geared toward “pushing things on people” for financial gain. “It's about making money. You didn't get the sense that they really, truly cared about these women they way they say they did.”
But the clinic manager's decision to leave Planned Parenthood and its practices behind, is mysterious even to her.
“I can't explain it on a human level. To me, it's all divine.”
The point when she says “everything began to change” was December 2010. She tuned in to her local Catholic radio station for the first time, and heard a show on women's post-abortion experiences. Almost every caller spoke of having an abortion through Planned Parenthood. She also learned about “the workings of contraception,” and its ability to cause an abortion.
“I began to tune in every day,” she said. She learned about Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood employee who chronicled her pro-life conversion in the bestselling book “UnPlanned.”
One night, coming back from the clinic, “I was listening to Catholic radio … I remember a woman saying: 'One day, when we die and we meet our maker, he's going to ask: “What did you do to prevent and stop abortion?”’ Right there, it was like a dagger in my heart.”
She began praying the Rosary during Lent, and said that on the third day, “the blinders just completely came off my eyes.” She dropped her excuses about working at a non-abortion-facility, and “understood why working for Planned Parenthood was wrong.”
“Shortly after, the first 40 Days for Life vigil was held outside the clinic. I got the courage to go out and talk to them, and ask for their prayers.” Trevino says she felt the strength God gave her through the prayers of the pro-life volunteers.
And it's possible that another intercessor, whom the Church celebrated just after Easter, may have been offering his prayers as she neared her decision.
“It was on Divine Mercy Sunday, the day that Blessed Pope John Paul II was beatified … At that time, I said I was probably going to leave Planned Parenthood in June. But I remember, on Divine Mercy Sunday … I just couldn't control my tears. Because at that moment I just felt God calling me.”
“I just took that leap of faith, and trusted God, and said: 'I'm out. I'm done.'”
Trevino, who hopes to pursue a pro-life ministry in the future, will give a keynote speech in Dallas on Sept. 27 as 40 Days for Life begins its fall campaign.
In a meeting, I learned from a concerned parent about the predicament of her son who is uncomfortable with an atheist philosophy teacher who is employed by a renowned Catholic university run by the Christian Brothers. I am sad that Catholic universities have forgotten their mandate to educate in the Catholic faith. What is an atheist teacher doing in a Catholic university? Why is he promoting atheism in an institution that is supposed to form students in Christ? Pope Benedict has very relevant teachings about this:
Of course, Catholic schools are not the only means by which the Church seeks to instruct and to edify her people in intellectual and moral truth. As you know, all of the Church’s activities are meant to glorify God and fill his people with the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32). This saving truth, at the heart of the deposit of faith, must remain the foundation of all the Church’s endeavours, proposed to others always with respect but also without compromise. The capacity to present the truth gently but firmly is a gift to be nurtured especially among those who teach in Catholic institutes of higher education and those who are charged with the ecclesial task of educating seminarians, religious or the lay faithful, whether in theology, catechetical studies or Christian spirituality. Those who teach in the name of the Church have a particular obligation faithfully to hand on the riches of the tradition, in accordance with the Magisterium and in a way that responds to the needs of today, while students have the right to receive the fullness of the intellectual and spiritual heritage of the Church. Having received the benefits of a sound formation and dedicated to charity in truth, the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the Christian community will be better able to contribute to the growth of the Church and the advancement of Indian society. The various members of the Church will then bear witness to the love of God for all humanity as they enter into contact with the world, providing a solid Christian testimony in friendship, respect and love, and striving not to condemn the world but to offer it the gift of salvation (cf. Jn 3:17). Encourage those involved in education, whether priests, religious or laity, to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. Enable them to reach out to their neighbours that, by their word and example, they may more effectively proclaim Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6).
A significant role of witness to Jesus Christ is carried out in your country by men and women religious, who are the often unsung heroes of the Church’s vitality locally. Above and beyond their apostolic labours, however, religious and the lives they lead are a source of spiritual fruitfulness for the entire Christian community. As they open themselves to the grace of God, religious men and women inspire others to respond with trust, humility and joy to the invitation of the Lord to follow him.
In this regard, my Brother Bishops, I know that you are aware of the many factors which inhibit spiritual and vocational growth, particularly among young people. Yet we know that it is Jesus Christ alone who responds to our deepest longings, and who gives true meaning to our lives. Only in him can our hearts truly find rest. Continue, therefore, to speak to young people and to encourage them to consider seriously the consecrated or priestly life; speak with parents about their indispensible role in encouraging and supporting such vocations; and lead your people in prayer to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send many more labourers into this harvest (cf. Mt 9:38)
Monday, September 12, 2011
Ave Maria! This name was inserted (in the Angelic Salutation) not by the Angel, but by the devotion of the faithful. The blessed Evangelist Luke says significantly, "and the name of the Virgin was Mary" (Luke 1:27). This most holy, sweet, and worthy name was eminently fitting to so holy, sweet, and worthy a virgin. For Mary means bitter sea, star of the sea, the illuminated or illuminatrix. Mary is interpreted lady. Mary is a bitter sea to the demons; to men she is the star of the sea; to the angels she is illuminatrix, to all creatures she is lady...
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Lord's way is one of self-denial. What does self-denial mean? I was browsing over the pages of St. Faustina's diary and I found something worth our consideration:
Today is the 10th anniversary of that infamous 9/11 attack. We look to that dreadful day when, a decade ago, 3,000 lives perished as a result of a well-orchestrated terrorist act. The war on terror and the death of Osama Bin Laden became the retaliation of the Western world to Muslim terrorists. But as so many things have taken place in a decade, why is it that the papers continue to speak of the US facing new threat on the 10th year of 9/11?
I find it so providential that the 10rh anniversary of 9/11 should fall on that Sunday when the word of God teaches us about retaliation and mercy. The initial international response to the terrorist act was a war on terror. Undeniably, this is an act of retaliation. Call it by so many other names, justify it with so many reasons, but the war on terror will always be a retaliation against the attack that killed so many lives. But the question is: has retalliation accomplished its goal? Is it working? Is it right?
The Book of Sirac speaks in very clear terms against revenge: “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail.” Our desire for retaliation stems from the false impression that healing comes with revenge. However, even the relatives who witnessed the execution of their loved ones’ assailant would confess that the death of the criminal does not fill in the vacuum left by the crime in their lives. The word of God gives us the only legitimate option that assures healing to any damage created by injustice: that solution is forgiveness. “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then, when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord? Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, and seek pardon for his own sin? If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins?” The Lord himself brings out the necessity of forgiveness:”I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?”
Healing does not begin when you have gotten even with your enemy. Healing begins with forgiveness. “Unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart, so will my heavenly Father do to you.” Oftentimes, we still feel the pain despite getting even because we continue to nourish anger against the unjust one. But instead of harbouring that grudge against the offender, why not simply forgive and live everything to God? Remember that we have our own debts to pay to the Lord. We ourselves are in need of his mercy. If you need mercy, then be merciful because Jesus himself says: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” “Remember your last days, set emnity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin. Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbot; remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.”
Perhaps this is the reason why the war on terror goes on with no end in sight. We stubbornly stick to a paradign of revenge that has accomplished nothing but further damage to the world. By doing so, we dig more graves, deeper graves for more dead. We still refuse to try forgiveness as a genuine step to healing, peace, and real security. Peace continues to be elusive because we never turn to mercy. Jesus himself said to St. Faustina: “Mankind will not have peace until it turns in trust to My mercy.” (Diary, 300).
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Eternal Love, I want all the souls You have created to come to know You. I would like to be a priest, for then I would speak without cease about Your mercy to sinful souls drowned in despair. I would like to be a missionary and carry the light of faith to savage nations in order to make You known to souls, and to be completely consumed for them and to die a martyr's death, just as You died for them and for me. O Jesus, I know only too well that I can be a priest, a missionary, a preacher, and that I can die a martyr's death by completely emptying myself and denying myself for love of You, O Jesus, and of immortal souls.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
That infamous 9-11 attack in the United States will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. How quickly time flies because it seemed just like yesterday. The issue of international security once again takes center stage. So much has happened in 10 years:the war on terror and the death of Al Quaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. So much has happened and yet, we ask: Is the world now at peace?
The Feast of the Birth of Mary is an appeal for peace. At the Opening Prayer, we petitioned the Lord: May the celebration of her birthday bring us closer to lasting peace. Many people are so much engrossed with 9-11 that they missed 9-12 which is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, a feast so closely associated with today’s feast. The Feast of Mary’s Holy Name commemorates the victory of Christian forces against the Moslems in the battle of Vienna in 1683. It was a feast that disappeared in the reform of the liturgical calendar but was restored by Blessed John Paul in the year 2000, a year before that fateful 9-11. The coincidences are too fantastic to miss. Obviously, the Lord has entrusted the work of Peace to his own Blessed Mother.
“The Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne…He shall stand fast to shepherd his flock…He shall be peace.” The work of peace was entrusted by the Lord to the Virgin Mary because she is the Mother of Him who is our Peace. The One born of her is called Wonder-counsellor, God-hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace. The One born of her is the One who broke down the walls dividing Jews and Gentiles. “He is our Peace,” so said St. Paul. Obviously, peace is achieved permanently in the rule of Christ whose kingdom lasts for ever. This is the formula that the world has never tried: Pax Christi in Regno Christi. Peace comes only when Christ rules over us. Peace comes only when Christ is formed in us. Thus, we should understand why the work of peace was entrusted to the Virgin Mary.
St. Louis Marie de Monfort wrote: “If Mary is well cultivated in our soul by fidelity to the practices of this devotion, she will bear her fruit in her own time, and her fruit is none other than Jesus Christ. How many devout souls do I see who seek Jesus Christ…and oftentimes, after they have toiled much throughout the night, they say: ‘We have toiled all night, and have taken nothing!’ (Lk. 5:5)…But by that immaculate way of Mary…we toil during the day, we toil in a holy place, we toil but little. There is no night in Mary, because there is no sin nor even the slightest shade (in her). Mary is a holy place, and the holy of holies where saints are formed and molded…Saints are molded in Mary. There is a great difference between making a figure by blows of hammer and chisel, and making a figure by throwing it into a mold. Sculptors labor much to make figures in the first manner, but to make figures in the second manner, they work little and do their work quickly. St. Augustine calls our Blessed Lady “the mold of God” – the mold fit to cast and mold gods. He who is cast in this mold is presently formed and molded in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ in him. At a slight expense and in a short time he will become God because he has been cast in the same mold which has formed a God…Those who embrace the secret of grace which I am revealing to them I may rightly compare to founders and casters who have discovered the beautiful mold of Mary, where Jesus was naturally and divinely formed; and without trusting in their own skill, but only in the goodness of the mold, they cast themselves and lose themselves in Mary, to become the faithful portraits of Jesus…But remember that we cast in a mold only what is melted and liquid, that is to say, you must destroy and melt down in yourself the old Adam to become the new one in Mary.” (True Devotion to Mary, 218-221.)
Only in such way can there be peace if we are molded into Christ who is our Peace. Therefore, let Christ be formed in us. Let us be formed in Christ. Let this be done in the mold of Mary. May our celebration of her birthday bring us closer to lasting peace.