Social Concerns / Commentary

MANNY vs LGBT: On Why We Should Think

j writes

Lately, the newspapers had been plagued by commentaries from students to showbiz personalities and even political aspirants about the statement uttered by boxing icon and political candidate Manny Pacquiao on homosexuals as worse than animals. His courageous statement drew ire from the LGBT community.  The Ladlad partylist aired their sentiments by calling the public to withdraw their support for him.

I noticed that people were reacting differently, from name calling to despisement to judgment. We love to judge.  It is our second nature. But the problem is not that we judge out rightly, rather we judge vaguely.

The story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 comes to my mind.  In this compelling gospel story, the Pharisees full of self-righteousness brought the woman caught in adultery into the public square of the temple where Jesus was teaching and was made to stand in full view of everybody (I could just imagine how she was dragged and pulled in shame.)She was accused of being caught in adultery! She is to be stoned to death as the law of Moses prescribed. Jesus, unfussed, bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger.  The Pharisees kept on prodding Jesus.  So Jesus replied “if there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the Pharisees left.

The heart of the story was at the end when Jesus said “woman, has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you, go, and don’t sin any more.” If we look intently into our heart, we will see ourselves fitting in the shoes of the Pharisees.  The irony is that we also see all those fingers pointing at us, ready to stone us to death.  In other words, as many as we see fingers pointing at us, as many times we point to others as well, ready to stone them to death.  We all have sinned.  We accused others.  We have been accused. We have been wronged.  We have wronged others.  And the vicious cycle goes on and on.  It creates nothing but only wounded persons. But, if we humbly surrender our heart to the Lord we would hear Jesus telling us “has no one condemned you? Neither will I condemn you, go  and don’t sin any more.”

Proving who is right and who is not, who is sinful and righteous, does nothing to help the person to walk in the light of Christ.  We have to understand that there is no line that separates the righteous from the wicked.  Each one of us is equally sinful and equally good for we all are made according to the image and likeness of God.  The sun shines on both the good and the wicked. Our struggle to respond to the call to holiness and wholeness is a communal effort.  Our collective effort to uproot a secularized mentality must stem from within. Our battle is not amongst us but the evil that prowls around.

Instead of subjecting one another to a demeaning behavior, let us rise above these arguments and address our supplications to God who sees, hears and knows the misery of his children.   The presence of evil cannot be fought by human effort alone, it must be accompanied by authentic prayer, fasting and penance.   This is what the season of lent is teaching us to look within ourselves: to repent and be converted; to die from the old self and put on the new self with Christ; to leave the darkness of our sins and walk in the light of Christ; to be freed from the slavery of the flesh to be a free child of God.  May we come to realize that we are the body of Christ.  We are many and different yet each one belongs to the body of Christ, we are as St Paul says “a single unit.” If one part of the body is erring, the whole body is affected. If a part of the body is in pain, all parts are hurt with it.

 

 

 

Image: captain’s blog –  ww.chadestes.com — googleimages)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Religion, Spirituality

Is There More To Life Than This?

lent
Copyright (C) Darrell Young

In life, we all go through experiences that marked deeply in our hearts as if it was just a day or a week ago. There are events, too, that we deemed it didn’t happen to us or that we hope to erase it as soon as it comes to the fore.  In all these, we have to accept that it is either a consequence of an action done by us or apparently inflicted by others.   In each of these episodes, we underwent into a process of “passage.” This passage is the bridge that opens in us grace and revelation.  A passage that brought the peace we longed for or a discovery that leads to healing.  It may also be a passage of conversion, of forgiveness or acceptance of the painful realities that have happened in life’s past triggered by a present situation which needs sincere openness and humility.  Or a passage that simply invites us to let go.

The passage that Jesus will have to go through is similar to what we experienced in life, though, not parallel in gravity and willingness.  No one in the world lived life unmoved, untouched by life’s complexities.  Even Jesus has to enter into the complexities of human nature, the irreconcilable fickleness of the human heart yet grounds himself in the heart of his mission – “to do the Father’s Will”  and his identity – “the Beloved Son of the Father.”  Jesus’ passage as spoken to him by Elijah and Moses will be an occasion of grace and revelation. It is in this “passage” of which was spoken that salvation and forgiveness of sins will be brought forth.  This is the passage that bridges man back to God, the passage that made love tangible and visible; a passage which makes God-with-us to God-within-us.  The process will be tough and rough; it may demand too much from him but in the end, it’s a freedom he would do it over and over again because he knew it will be GRACE and he will never be broken in the process.

Easier said than done, though. But it is in this light that the gospel speaks to us.  Every passage that we go through is always GRACE.  And always, never failing, a REVELATION we have not known, or have feared to enter into.  It is only by submitting ourselves to the painful yet liberating process of life’s passages that we can deepen our faith and trust in God.  It is only in the reality of who we are- perfectly imperfect – that God can come and overshadow us with his GRACE and reveal to us WHO HE IS-  a father who delights in his beloved children.

Our life is filled with challenges. Some of these are tough and they break us.  Yet, there are those that bring bliss and have become sources of strength and inspiration to move on.   Our daily ordinary life’s experiences are not separate entities that have happened to us; rather these are pieces from God’s beautiful design for each one of us.  Embracing each moment of our life is living according to God’s will.  Our passage experiences become meaningful when we put them in the hands of God and allow them to be transfigured by his grace.  Jesus’ transfiguration is an affirmation to us that God is always with us if only we have the eyes to see His presence in our life.  He journeyed with us and walks ahead of us.   Thus, let us be keen to recognize God’ comings, or the passages that we are in, for these are just disguises of grace- God’s indwelling presence.

 

 

 

Second Sunday of Lent Reflection (Luke 9:28-36)

 

 

 

 

Politics / Commentary

For Freedom or for Fear?

 

biometric

For Freedom or Fear?

Election campaign has started weeks ago.  Posters, leaflets, brochures, banners, tarpaulins, tv commercial and radio ad, newsprint ads and all kinds of campaign materials and strategies are up. Of course, the event organizers from different parties have lined-up their political assemblies in the different localities to present and explain their platforms and promises. Undeniably, the following months prior to the election day are the most rigorous moments for them as this will (help) determine their chances of winning for the most coveted seat(s) in the country.

Statistically, the surveys have shown the fluctuating rates of each candidate especially in the presidential bid.  Though, one must note, that, if the election was done on the date the survey was conducted, we have a new president.  On the other hand, what is alarming is the “fluctuating rate” which signifies the erratic decision of the voters, which make  us  think: what are the underlying motivations of the voters? What made the voter change his/her mind from one candidate to another in a 1 or 2 weeks’ time? What drives the voter to vote? Is the choosing of candidates based from freedom or fear? How many of us are truly free or are living in the shadow of fear during this period?

Our country’s political lifestyle has its own culture.  The upper class may not agree but it’s definitely real down there in the grassroots. Vote-buying have many faces, it’s not only limited to monetary issues.  Vote-buying can also be vote-bullying where people are being threatened. It can also be “utang na loob” as the value has been given or rendered.  Vote-buying can also be likened to the “padreno” system or a biased electorate from the family’s political dynasty image. Or worst of all, vote-buying can be a one-law-rule in the family, or when people tend to forget the past and just live in the present, sadly, it can be vote-buying too.  The inability to stand for what change demands is another form.  There can be more to this as this is not a taboo.

Faced with such challenges, how do we keep the worth of May 9? How do we hand the value of suffrage to the generation that will come after us? 80 days from now we will be either in one of the public schools or malls proudly claiming our right for suffrage. Nevertheless, these days may also be our chance to look within us and assert our right to freedom. A freedom stained not by any corrupt culture we are in, rather, a freedom that mirrors to our leaders on how they should govern a country, whose electorate has voted them in utmost freedom, not tainted with fear.

Even as the world, or the Philippines has entered into the 21st century, our suffrage remains inviolate and indispensable, a mark of a genuine election day.  There can be no real transformation in our government unless we begin from within. Unless our suffrage is freed from the culture we are in, we live in shadows. Keep in mind others have risked their lives to keep your vote safe.

 

 

(www.aktualno24 — googleimages)

 

 

 

Lifestyle

FEB.14: TRUE VALUE

heart

We just had an ostentatious celebration of valentines, flowers, chocolates and gifts crowd our table.  Restaurants, refreshment areas and malls were flooded with couples, lovers, friends and family enjoying each other’s company. What a beauty to behold!

I celebrated mine with the ladies searching for life’s direction. We had sharing of vocation stories, human and faith experiences, simple yet profound joy as we get to know more about the other and had great selfie & groupfie.

It was Kairos! God’s perfect time, we went beyond the customary fête of valentines.  Instead of greeting each other we affirmed one another’s faith; rather than the celebratory norm we went into group-solitude for individual assessment of where our life had been and will be as we begin anew after this valentine’s day. We end up relishing at table served for us by the community of St. Paul Pasig Sisters- their presence showed what real valentines was: community endeavor.  The sumptuous home-cooked meal and hand-made (Sr. Marie, from Vietnam) chocolate balls made me think of how this occasion should be celebrated: AT HOME, where everyone shares oneself.

Though miles away from my father, I still had a great talk with him over the phone.  He shared how he spent with my nieces at the beach in my grandfather’s home town, playing and scouring the low-tide sea for shrimps which we did back in my childhood years.  What a valentine! it is valuing time and making profound memories with the persons that matter most in our lives over the fancy glitz in the malls.

As I looked back into my valentine’s day, it was just the ordinary day made it extraordinary through the eyes of love, nothing fancy and no loud-wild-upbeat music to dance to, not a single high-priced food bill either!

After all, everyday is valentine’s day if only we have the eyes to see and the faith to believe that we have been loved all this time by a Great Lover.  If only we have realized this profound truth in our life we would not seek love other than His, whose love was perfected on the cross.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t end in human love alone.

 

 

(image-google search images)

 

 

Spirituality

JESUS, SATAN & ME

Little boy choosing between a cupcake and apple
A little boy choosing between a cupcake and apple…looks like the cupcake is the winner.

(First Sunday Reflection: Lk. 4:1-13; Cycle C, Year 2)

 In one of my Ignatian retreats, the facilitator handed me a guide on which the theme was devoted solely on to The Two Banners: The Banner of Christ and the Banner of Satan.  This exercise led me into self-introspection as I go through the process of recollecting the year that had passed.  What were my choices, my decisions was I standing under the banner of Christ or of the other.

Today’s gospel reading brings us back to the reality of the presence of Satan, in our world, in our life and even in the life of Jesus Christ.  The modern man seems to be skeptic on the reality of evil in our life; it seems though, that Satan has become an icon, you can see all over from    t-shirts to caps, tattoos to signboards, images to arts, word-expressions to music, and one can name more.  The loathing of merely his “icons” becomes fondness, the young perceives it as cool or groovy, and thus its harmful presence turns out to be harmless.  The gospel may give the impression as well, because Satan was even offering Jesus, the goods that our human nature would eagerly say “Yes!” at any cost. Hunger must be addressed with abundance. Vulnerability can be turned into power and doubt which is just a couple away from discovery.

In any case, still, the devil ¹“is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” and it causes not only harm to our self but damage to our true identity as a child of God and in our relationship with God, and it is for this reason that we must ¹“resist him, solid in your faith.”  Ultimately, our concern is not how to defeat Satan and all his enticements rather the aim is to make choices and decisions which affirm our truest identity and where it leads us to God.

Our temptations and sins are basically pointers to us, it tells us who are we and what we are not.  It is in these occasions where our fundamental option in life is challenged, strengthened and deepened as it matures with the choices and decisions we make in life.

There is only one option – God, but there are two banners erected.

What banner in life do you stand by?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – 1 Peter 5:8 – New American Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Yes is Also No: The Power of Choice-Tamara McCleary – google images)

 

 

 

 

Religion, Spirituality

Day to day Guide: 8-days Ignatian Retreat

 

Day 8    Resurrecting with and Placing our Hopes in the Resurrected Christ

DAY82

Theme: The Resurrection

Grace:My Lord Jesus, I beg for the grace of overwhelming joy and rejoicing, knowing well that through your resurrection you have conquered sin, evil and death itself and that in God’s own time—all shall be well.

Scriptural Readings:

  • Salubong
  • Jn 20: 1-10/ Jn 20: 11-18 (Mary Magdalene)
  • Lk 24: 13-35 (Emmaus Story)
  • Jn 21:1-19 (“Do you love me more than these?”)
  • 1 Peter: 3-9 (Hope in the Resurrected Christ)
  • Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis on Consecrated Life

Points for Prayer and Reflection:

  • Do a contemplation on the Easter story on Mary Magdalene (Imagine the tomb area and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene, beholding the place, Mary Magdalene, the angels, Jesus there)
  • What do you see, hear, touch, feel, taste?
  • Spend time going into the details of this part of our Lord’s resurrection and slowly, in the end, focus on him and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • Do a contemplation on the Easter Story taking the Emmaus story. (Imagine Emmaus and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene, beholding the place and the disciples there with Jesus.)
  • What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
  • Spend time going into the details of this part of our Lord’s resurrection and slowly, in the end, focus on him and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • Right now, in what areas in your life do you find yourself continually complaining and despairing?
  • Why these areas in particular?
  • What do you think you need to do to shift, from doubt to faith, discouragement to hope, desolation to consolation?
  • Do a contemplation/meditation on the appearance of the Resurrected Christ at the Sea of Tiberias. Enter the Gospel scene prayerfully.
  • What do you see, hear, touch, feel, taste?
  • Spend time going into the details of this part of our Lord’s resurrection and slowly, in the end, focus on him and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • “Love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than in words.” ((St. Ignatius)
  • “Do you love me?” was the question of Jesus to Peter.
  • How have you manifested lately your love for God in terms of concrete deeds?
  • Meditate on “Hope in the Resurrected Christ” (1 Peter: 3-9)
  • Right now, is there anything you feel worth celebrating in your life?
  • Name and clarify them.
  • When ready, take time to just celebrate these and rejoice with the risen Lord.
  • Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis on Consecrated Life
  • 1. “Where there are religious, there is joy”. We are called to know and show that God is able to fill our hearts to the brim with happiness; that we need not seek our happiness elsewhere; that the authentic fraternity found in our communities increases our joy; and that our total self-giving in service to the Church, to families and young people, to the elderly and the poor, brings us life-long personal fulfilment.
  • Are we joyful, content, fulfilled?
  • “None of us should be dour, discontented and dissatisfied, for “a gloomy disciple is a disciple of gloom.”
  • 2. “I am counting on you “to wake up the world”, since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy”…
  • “This is the priority that is needed right now: “to be prophets who witness to how Jesus lived on this earth… a religious must never abandon prophecy.”
  • “Prophets know God and they know the men and women who are their brothers and sisters. They are able to discern and denounce the evil of sin and injustice. Because they are free, they are beholden to no one but God, and they have no interest other than God. Prophets tend to be on the side of the poor and the powerless, for they know that God himself is on their side.”
  • Am I a prophet in this present world?

 

  • 3. Men and women religious, like all other consecrated persons, have been called, as I mentioned, “experts in communion”.
  • “to make the Church the home and the school of communion.”
  • Communion is lived first and foremost within the respective communities of each Institute. To this end, I would ask you to think about my frequent comments about criticism, gossip, envy, jealousy, hostility as ways of acting which have no place in our houses.
  • How is my community?
  • 4. “I also expect from you what I have asked all the members of the Church: to come out of yourselves and go forth to the existential peripheries. “Go into all the world”; these were the last words which Jesus spoke to his followers and which he continues to address to us”.
  • 5. I expect that each form of consecrated life will question what it is that God and people today are asking of them.
  • Dialogue with the Lord on all these points above.
  • Thank Him for sharing his gifts of presence to you and to the world, as seen in and through the Easter Story.
  • Thank Him for choosing to trust you, despite you many doubts and failures.
  • Thank Him for bestowing to you his Most Holy Spirit—the spirit of truth and life.
  • Thank Him for you to the religious life, for taking a risk in you.

 

 

(with Fr. florge, sj –facilitator)

image: pastormattblog.com—googleimages)

Religion, Spirituality

Day to day Guide:8-days Ignatian Retreat

Day 7 SUFFERING AND DYING WITH CHRIST

day 72

THEME: Person of Christ, Loving and Obedient unto Death

Grace:My Lord Jesus, I beg for the grace of intense sorrow, with you in sorrow, anguish, with you in anguish, and even tears and deep grief, knowing well the deep affliction you endure for me.

Scriptural readings:

  1. Mt 26: 36-56 (Agony in the Garden)
  2. Lk 22: 39-62 (Agony in the Garden)
  3. Lk 22: 63- 71; Lk 23: 1-25 (Before the Sanhedrin and Pilate)
  4. Mt 26: 57-75; Mt 27: 1-31 (Before the Sanhedrin and Pilate)
  5. Way of the Cross
  6. Jn 19: 17-37 (Crucifixion and Death)
  7. Lk 23:44-56 (Death and Burial)

Points for Prayer and Reflection:

  • Do a contemplation on the Lord’s Agony in the Garden (Imagine the Garden and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene beholding the place and the people there.) What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
  • Spend time going into the details of the Lord’s Agony in the garden and slowly, in the end, focus on the Lord and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • Enter the heart of our Lord and allow this intense sorrow and distress invade and dominate your heart.
  • The main prayer of the Lord in the garden: “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me; yet not my will but your will be done.”
  • Do a contemplation on the Lord’s Trial. (Imagine the Sanhedrin, and Pilate’s praetorium and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene, beholding the place and the people there.)
  • What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Touch?
  • Spend time going into the details of our Lord’s trial and slowly, in the end focus on him and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • Do a station on the cross. Meditate and reflect on all the stations. Try to enter into the mood and feelings of our Lord as he goes through all those stations. What do you see, hear, feel, touch, taste, smell?
  • Which station of the cross speaks a lot to your heart?
  • Do a contemplation on our Lord’s Crucifixion, Death, and Burial. (Imagine, Golgotha or Calvary and the burial place and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene, beholding the place and the people there.
  • What do you see? Hear? Smell? Touch? Taste?
  • Spend time going into the details of our Lord’s crucifixion, death, and burial and slowly, in the end, focus on him and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • The Gospel of John tells us that “near the cross of Jesus there stood his mother (Mary)”
  • Enter the immaculate heart of Mary and just feel much her deep sorrow of pain and agony.
  • Take time to comfort her and even weep with her.
  • As Christians we believe that there can be no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.
  • What have been your own “Good Fridays”?
  • Examine yourself right now, what needs to “die” in you so that Christ and his love may all the more come alive in you?
  • Dialogue with the Lord on all these points above.
  • Thank him for his willingness to empty himself and die on the cross for your sake and for the sake of the world.

 

INSIGHT:

GOD ENTERS OUR CHAOS BECAUSE OF LOVE

 

(with Fr. florge, sj–facilitator)

(suffering with Christ–evangelicaloutpost.com — googleimage)

Religion, Uncategorized

Temptation and Lent

desert

The term Ashen Triduum was coined by the founder of the Anawim community, Fr. Francis, he wrote Ashen Triduum is “a time after gathering of Ash Wednesday to come aside and withdraw for three days, to interpret how we are going to  proceed for the journey ahead.  The focus of these three days is essentially that of a retreat, a time to be alone with oneself before God, to be silent from within, and to take time for prayer and serious reflection.”  It is in this view that I would like us to draw attention to the Thursday, Friday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday.  The glamorous celebration of Ash Wednesday has an impact in us, it enkindles in us the desire to be reconciled with God, to enflesh sincerely the piety coupled with it and the charity demanded from us.  It is but fitting then, to withdraw awhile and intently look at ourselves from the perspective of our relationship with God so that we will be equipped in our long journey of 40 days in the desert of lent.  This journey will not be easy, it is gruesome, for we, too, will die eventually, as with our Jesus, to our very self.

 

We will find in our very selves deliberate, strong resistances to live out the spirit we have in the onset of lent, as a matter of fact, gradually we deviate and make excuses from it. As we “withdraw awhile” let us reflect a verse from the gospel for the First Sunday of Lent, from St. Luke 4:1-13, to help us be on-guard, like a soldier always ready for battle for our enemy is ready “…to await another opportunity.” (Lk. 4:13) The Lord Jesus having spent 40 days in the desert was tempted by the devil, failing, will come back at an opportune time to entice the Lord.

 

Reflecting on this verse, it led me to the temptations  of Jesus, which will really happen to each one of us in this journey of 40 days, it dawned on me these events in the life of Jesus where the devil was most present- “the another opportunity”.  How are we helped to face our spiritual and physical battle as we tread the path to holiness and wholeness?

 

  1. Jesus in the desert – The devil comes in and through the desert of our life; he comes when no one is around. When you feel alone, insecure, incomplete, down, feeling of emptiness and hopelessness and wanting. Jesus was alone in the desert. He was in want (he was hungry, Lk. 4:3).  The devil uses the situation we are in to subtly allure us in the guise of our false needs, wants and should haves.  It is also in these circumstances of life that our egoistic self comes in, manipulated by the enemy, that we begin to question or even despise God because of, either his seeming absence or apathy in our life.

The gift of wisdom will guide us to see what is of God and what will separate us from Him.

  1. Persecution during his ministry – It is true that in all the endeavors we have especially during this season, it all begun with good intentions. But as the wandering unfolds even the noblest intention will be put to the test, as Jesus was during his public ministry.  The devil uses even the temple officials- the sanhedrins, priests and Pharisees to detest the good deeds He has done.

*It is not without purpose that God strengthens (if we just beg him) our human weakness (during persecutions) with his gift of fortitude.”

  1. Agony in the Garden – When we are decisive and earnest in our loving and following of God, the devil rages desperately. He coils in anger and would deceive us through our weaknesses, limitations, sinfulness, unworthiness, the devil inflicts sorrow and fear in our heart as with the case of Jesus in the agony of the garden (Mk. 14:34) so that we would be overwhelmed and withdrew from our genuine resolution.

 It is to this that we beg for the gift of counsel, which *sharpens our judgement.  By its aid we perceive and choose the course of action that will be most conducive to God’s honor and our own spiritual good.

  1. Scourging at the pillar – Oftentimes, our desire for spiritual renewal and conversion will strip us of the very thing we are attached to, our self. Jesus when scourged, they  tried to strip his dignity -“twisted some thorns into a crown, mocked and slapped his face” (Jn. 19:3)  but failed to do so.  Our faithfulness to our intentions lie not in the “manageable events” that we go through rather in the sagacity of the glory and victory that will be revealed in time.

The gift of understanding will help us perceive the process into which we are into, thus, we beg the Lord to graciously grant us the gift.

  1. Stations of the Cross – In our 40-day sojourn, there will be different aspects of our life that will be asked of us to give up. It may be our need to always defend ourselves or to give up our comfort zones so as to be able to avail oneself to the need of others.  In moments where we come face to face with our own self, let us remember that the Lord must have been tempted all the way to Golgotha, always chided, but the Lord Jesus in his great love for us, continued on.  The devil is the father of all lies, he never was, is and will be concerned of us.

Another gift is the fear of Lord which will be of use during this warfare against the devil’s malicious temptation in our faith.  It is this gift that we hone our trust , love and reverence to God. 

  1. Crucifixion – The presence of the devil must have been so tangible at this point in the experience of Jesus. It must have been so intertwined with how he felt and what he is experiencing, yet, he never gave up, on the account that “Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands…” (Jn. 13:3)   he knew what was his mission.  Our piety during this season must be sincere and true, free from flair, free from frivolousness and hypocrisy.  For the devil will not depart from us and will use our strengths as well as our weaknesses, to his own advantage and our failure.

Seek knowledge not from oneself but the knowledge that comes from God.

      7. “My God, my God why have you abandoned         me?”- Faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest of these, is love. Love is not faithfulness but steadfastness in the midst of darkness, trusting that even “darkness is light itself.”

The practice of the virtue of piety will anchor us in our relationship with God, even in the pit darkness.

 

 

*The Faith Explained [Third Edition]     by Leo J. Trese

 

(en.wikipedia.org2000 × 1333Search by image

The Camel Thorn Tree (Acacia erioloba) in the Namib Desert is nearly leafless in dry periods. — googleimages)

 

Religion, Spirituality

Day to day Guide:8-days Ignatian Retreat

Day 6 JOURNEYING WITH CHRIST

DAY62

THEME: Person of Christ: God’s Love and Suffering

Grace: My Lord Jesus, I beg for a deep, interior knowledge of your person, your Gospel values and especially your way of loving, so that I can all the more fall in love with you, follow you and learn to love as you love.

Scriptural readings:

  1. Mt 21: 1-17; Lk 19: 28-48; Mk 11:1-9 (Entry into Jerusalem) — the only and true way to save us
  2. Mt 26: 27-30 ( Passover preparation; Institution of the Eucharist) — the saving grace of Peter was his great love for Christ
  3. Lk 22: 7-20 (Passover preparation; Institution of the Eucharist) — at Christmas Jesus becomes – GOD-WITH-US; at Last Supper Jesus becomes -GOD IN US
  4. Jn 13: 1-31 (Washing of the feet)

 

Points for Prayer and Reflection:

  • Do a contemplation on the entry of our Lord in Jerusalem. (Imagine the holy city, and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene, beholding the place and the people there) What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
  • What qualities and values of our Lord touch you, as you behold him entering the city of Jerusalem?
  • After clarifying these qualities and values of our Lord (meek spirited? Detached? Focused? Strong-willed?) Take time to beg for these very same Christic qualities and values.
  • Do a contemplation on the Lord’s Last Supper. (Imagine the Cenacle and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene beholding the place and the disciples there.) ) What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
  • Spend sometime going into the details of the Lord’s Last Supper and slowly in the end focus on him and gaze slowly and lovingly at his face.
  • Enter into the sacred heart of our Lord!
  • Do a contemplation on the Washing of the Feet. (Imagine the cenacle and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene beholding the place and the people there) What do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
  • At this time, Jesus keeps talking about love…enter into the heart of Jesus…
  • Then enter into your heart…what is your deepest desire?
  • Let your heart dialogue with the Sacred Heart of Jesus on all these points above.
  • Thank him for his love.

 

 

(with Fr.Florge, sj)

 

(www.thewalkwithchrist.org –googleimages)

Religion, Uncategorized

ASH WEDNESDAY ESSENTIALS

 

ash

Ash Wednesday ushers us to the season of Lent which concludes at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Today, we received the ashes in the form of the cross (+) on our forehead which reminds us that we are dust and to dust we shall return.  However, there is more to the ashes which is only a sign of something deeper, mysterious yet fathomable reality of our Catholic faith.

The marking of ashes in our forehead is a centuries-old tradition which the Church uphold until now because of its indispensable truths.  We believe that as our fathers of faith has done so to earn the just mercy of God by putting on sackcloth and ashes on their head, we, too, will earn the mercy of God by submitting ourselves to the process of purification. The Ash Wednesday is marked by a day of prayer, fasting, abstinence, and alms-giving.  Usually on this occasion, we abstain from eating meat and fast from one full meal with two lesser meals during the day, Fr.Joseph Classen puts it clearly that fasting is “simply not eating nearly much as you normally would during the course of the day and not consuming anything (except water) in-between those meals. You should leave the table still a bit hungry.”

Over and above, fasting and abstinence should be coupled with the awareness of the reality of what to fast and what to abstain in our life not just during Ash Wednesday, Fridays of lent and Good Friday.

I have listed out some of the sacred scripture that can, in any way, help us comprehend the deeper meaning of a centuries-old tradition of fasting and abstinence as we live out our duty and obligation as followers of Christ Jesus:

St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 13:11-14, which says “… it is now the hour for you to awake from sleep… the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light . . . let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,…”  Prod us to see life beyond the peripheries of our self-centered views.  St. Paul urges us to ruminate every moment of life as the “hour to wake from sleep” and “throw off the works of darkness” within us and “put on the armor of light”.  An examined life will always shed light which inevitably leads to gradual conversion and renewal of one’s fundamental life option. Paul in the same letter continues to identify the manners in which we have to fast and abstain from in order to be able to live honorably as in the “daylight”, “not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus and make no provision for the desire of the flesh.”

A good scripture to take note as well is that of the letter of St. James 1:19-25, which underlines the necessity for the virtue of self-control and self-discipline as we go through life with its flaws, limitations, curves and edges.  It says “know this, my dear brother: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…therefore, put away all filth and evil excess.” St. James reminds us that, in our dealing with others we must fast from our quick-tempered manners and habits and fast from self-introspection; abstain from our pride, self-righteousness and self-entitlement attitude so as to see things clearly as Jesus sees it, knows it and understands it.

Ephesians 4:29-31 brings us closer to the heart of fasting and abstinence.  St. Paul boldly warned the faithful in Ephesians that to have a new life in Christ we must “guard against foul talk, all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.”  Our act of fasting and abstinence must be imbued with the sincere desire for repentance, otherwise it will just be tainted with hypocrisy.

True fasting and abstinence will lead us to grow in our spiritual life.  This sincere self-denial and self-sacrifice will create a space within us; thus, will inevitably lead one to desire for God.  It is this very moment that true encounter between God and the *pray-er will happen, that God can enter into the life of the person.  “It is through the (empty) heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eyes.” As we discover the essentials in our relationship with God, we come to a deeper appreciation to our moral obligation to our brothers and sisters, consequently, alms-giving becomes an act done out of love in, through and for God to neighbors.

 

Dear Lord, grant us the grace to be deeply sincere in our desire to amend our life as we enter into the season of lent.  Amen

 

 

 

*pray-er  – the late fr. Thomas green, sj would call the person who is praying as pray-er (anglicanpastor.com – priest reflection-google images)

 

Religion, Spirituality

Day to day Guide:8-days Ignatian Retreat

Day 5 Contemplating Christ looking at us

Luis_de_Morales_-_Pietà2

Theme: Person of Christ: Ministry of Healing and Reconciling

Grace:

My Lord Jesus, I beg for a deep, interior knowledge of your person, your Gospel values and especially your way of loving, so that I can all the more fall in love with you, follow you and learn to love as you love.

Scriptural readings:

Mk 10: 46-52 (Bartimaeus) – the virtue of perseverance

Jn 4: 4-42 (Samaritan Woman) – God meets us where we are and uses our situation into grace

Jn 8: 1-11 (Adulterous Woman) – the mercy of God

Mt 8: 5-13 (Centurion) – the faith of the centurion which brings life our sense of nothingness

Lk 19- 1-10 (Zacchaeus) – the true wealth

Mt 26:14-25 (Betrayal of Judas)

 

Points for Prayer and Reflection:

  • Do a contemplation on our Lord’s ministry of healing and reconciling.
  • Imagine Galilee ( or Jericho, or Samaria, or Capernaum, depending on the Gospel passage taken) and enter prayerfully into the Gospel scene, beholding the place, the disciples and the person(s) being healed.
  • What do you see? Hear? Smell? Touch? Taste?
  • Spend time going into the details of the healing and reconciling story, and slowly, in the end, focus on the Lord and gaze lovingly at his face.
  • What qualities and values of our Lord touch you, as you behold him healing and reconciling people?
  • After clarifying these qualities and values of our Lord (gentleness, compassionate heart, kind-heartedness, non-judgmental attitude) take time to beg for these very same Christic qualities and values.
  • God is God, healer-reconciler!
  • When were those times in your life when you felt God played the role of “Healer-Reconciler”? What did he heal/reconcile in you?
  • Examine yourself.
  • Right now, what aspects of your life need to be healed and/or reconciled?
  • When ready, come before the Lord and present these aspects for healing and reconciliation. Take time to just feel his healing and reconciling grace.
  • Dialogue with the Lord on all the points above.
  • Thank him for all his work of healing and reconciling in this broken world of ours and in your life.

 

insight from the listener:

  • God never left us; he stands by our side

 

(with fr.florge, sj)

 

(image from luis de morales – google images)

Religion, Spirituality

Day to Day Guide: 8-days Ignatian Retreat

DAY FOUR   Call and Discipleship

sinner yet called

THEME: My Call, Sinner yet Called

GRACE: Lord Jesus I beg for the grace of steadfastness and devotion to my God knowing well that in my life, in the end, what He truly desires are not my achievements, not my successes but my fidelity

 

  • It is in our weaknesses and limitations, when we cannot do anything anymore where we can truly live out our call to fidelity.
  • One can either curse that Lord in a situation where one is into or an opportunity of grace- where one can be faithful and truly be dedicated to Him who has called and loved him/her.
  • Be faithful to the state of life where you are in.

 

SACRED SCRIPTURE:

  1. Isaiah 49:1-6 (The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name) – God knows you. God has a plan for you, from birth He named you
  2. Matthew 16:13-19 (“Who do you say that I am?” – Peter was a prayerful person so much so that he is able to listen to the Father as he revealed to him the true identity of Jesus. The deeper question now lies to each one of us “WHO IS JESUS TO YOU?” To know God’s will we have to pray
  3. Jonah 1-4 (Jonah’s self-righteousness vs God’s compassion)

 

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION:

  1. Go back to your life-story?
  2. How did you end up responding to the call of God?
  3. What were the key events that led you to respond to your call?
  4. Who were the significant persons instrumental in fostering and clarifying your call?

 

 

Insight from the listener:

  • Whatever situation you are in, know that God chose you and loved you with an everlasting love. He seeks and desires you, even in you darkness.

 

 

 

(fr. Florge, sj facilitator)

Religion, Spirituality

6 Ways to Celebrate Lent

6 ways to celebrate Lent

blog lent 2

Days from now we shall enter into the threshold of a great mystery in the Catholic faith.  The season of lent will invite us once again to make an offering of ourselves in many ways.  All these sacrifices and offerings that we make year after year are done out of love for God. However, if it had been done so routinely it becomes so boring and outdated. If you want to experience different this year, try considering the following:

  1. Negative criticism and talks.

It is seldom we do not hear persons who never say negative criticisms or comments on another person.  Each one of us has a fair share of guilt.  However, during this season of lent, we do not give up such habit so engrained in us rather we use our weakness as strength.  Therefore, criticize but “say only words that men need to hear, words that will really help them”

  1. Gadgets and Surfing.

We all have this level of attachments to our gadgets and surfing the net.  We spend almost always our time catching up with the upbeat around us. We keep on checking our phones for messages and or the net.  Here’s my piece of advice: NO GADGETS/INTERNET-WEB BROWSING SACRIFICE.   You read it right! Take this time to use these things wisely.  Instead of a non-stop selfie and groupie with friends, why not upload something that is relevant to the season? Or maybe, reflections, insights that you have that may inspire others- who knows? Use your Iphones, Ipad, cellphones etc. as a means to evangelize your contact lists. Be an online evangelizer.

  1. Travel and Tour.

The greatest mistake that one can ever do is to give up traveling and touring during lent.  Why? Should we be forlorn during these days of lent? Take those bags and comfy walking shoes and be up for a pilgrimage. Visits the site where the Holy Father has declared as holy door and or visit any holy places within your local vicinities or abroad.  Pilgrimage is far more delightful and high-spirited than the usual travel because it’s a journey inward than outward.

  1. Stay in the streets.

Lent is no homebuddy thing. Go out into the streets and don’t be afraid to make a mess.  Party in the streets- feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty.  Give clothes to the naked, shelter the homeless ( be a generous host and adopt during this season not only during Christmas) or visit the imprisoned and be their companion or be a source of strength as you visit the sick and help ease the burden of others as you stand by them as they bury their dead.

  1. Eat.

Christ Jesus himself partied because He knew well that it is in mealtime that He is able to reach out to people, he is able to listen and see their needs. EAT. Eat with people you hate and you will discover their own beauties; eat with those whom you dislike you might be surprised they too, have a share of distasteful experiences.  Eat with those whom you erred they long to reach out to you. EAT and BE RECONCILED.

  1. Be loud.

When was the last time you were loud?  This season, be bold and be courageous, be loud-to speak and share your God and your faith experiences not only to those whom you knew but above all to those whom you consider the least among your circles. But as Jesus rightly puts it “no prophet is honored in his native place.” Be Missionaries. Be one of the appointed seventy-two!

 

 

(image from bustedhalo.com-googleimages)

Spirituality

Day to day Guide: 8-days Ignatian Retreat

 

DAY THREE    REALITY OF SIN

reality of sin2

THEME:  My Favorite Sin

GRACE: Lord Jesus I beg for the grace to understand truly the nature of sin, its woeful effects on me and on others around me, to abhor it and to seriously amend my life.

SACRED SCRIPTURE:

  1. Romans 7:14-25 (I don’t do what I want to do but I hate) – We can’t change ourselves alone, we need the grace of God and its god alone who can change us
  2. Luke 18:9-16 (Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican) – Beware of yourself righteousness. Be humble
  3. Luke 15:11-32 (Sin of Self-entitlement and Self-righteousness)
  4. James 3:1-12 (With our tongue we praise God and curse others)
  5. Luke 17:11-19 (Sin of Ingratitude)

 

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFELCTION

  1. What are your favorite sins? What are your favorite sinful patterns?
  2. How do these favorite sins and sinful pattern reflect the gravity of your fundamental option on life (your basic option and direction whether your entire life really is for God and for others or merely just for yourself)
  3. How do you hurt others and yourself?
  4. What are the root of your favorite sin and sinful patterns?
  5. What are your attachments? Do they serve you?
  6. What sinful structures in particular do you see in your community/society/family/workplace/friends?
  7. Are you part of theses sinful structures contributing directly or indirectly to its evil and corrupt ways? If yes, take time to name and define them.
  8. End by being truly contrite and beg for God’s healing mercy and trust in God’s healing and mercy.

 

 

 

Insight from the listener:

 

Wash me from my guilt and cleanse from my sins. Lord, I am worthy to receive you, but by your words I shall be healed.

 

 

  • Florge, SJ (Facilitator)
Spirituality

Retreat Disposition

DAY ZERO – RETREAT ORIENTATION / DISPOSING ONESELF

day zero

RETREAT:
– we need retreat in our life especially when we talk about fidelity
– it’s a time and opportunity APPOINTED by GOD

BASIC DISPOSITIONS:
– gratitude and sense of awe
– transparency before God and oneself
– be a beggar and be humble before God
– be FAITHFUL in your DESIGNATED PRAYER TIME
– WE BECOME WHOM WE CONTEMPLATE

REFLECTION QUESTIONS / DISPOSING ONESELF:
1. what would you like to pray for?
2. before God, what would you like to tell Him or ask from Him?
3. listen to the longing in your heart and tell the Lord all about them.

Insight from the listener:

As we enter into the holy of holies, to the “…place which is holy ground” (Genesis 3:5) let us be aware of the many things we have to “remove” and bring it to the Lord. Listen! He speaks.

Spirituality

Day to Day Guide: 8-days Ignatian Retreat

Day Two  (My Sense of Uniqueness and Giftedness)

YOu are Precious

THEME: Praying Over My Personal Identity

GRACE: Lord Jesus, I beg for the grace to know, love and accept myself as i truly am, realizing that my own uniqueness and giftedness are an excellent reflection of God’s personal infinite love for me.

  • We look at our uniqueness and giftedness in our present contex

SACRED SCRIPTURES:

  1. Psalm 139 (God, you know me more than i know myself) – God knows your idiosyncrasies, hurts, mediocrity, pains, joy.  He knows everything about you.  Even when you sin He is still there. He never leaves us, no condition at all.
  2. Isaiah 50:4-7 (The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced) – In whatever situations you are in, go through with it, you will not be crushed God is with you
  3. Isaiah 49:13-16 ( I will never forget you) – It is the song of God.  It is his words not our.  It is God who never forgets; it’s us who forgets most of the time. You are in the Palm of His hand- permanent just like, the thumb mark which is uniquely yours and permanent.
  4. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (Different gifts from the same Spirit) – Each one is gifted, thus, bring it and share it to others.

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION:

  1. Examine your life.  What do you consider your greatest gifts from God? Why these gifts in particular?
  2. What do you consider as your greatest assets and strengths as a person? Why these in particular? (The things we consider great, in the eyes of God is the weakest)
  3. What do you consider as your greatest liabilities and weakness as a person? Why these in particular? (The things we consider weak, in the eyes of God is the greatest)
  4. Do you consider yourself gifted? unique?
  5. Is there anything in particular in your life now that you find difficult to accept and embrace fully? Name and clarify them.
  6. When ready, beg the Lord to grant you the grace of healing. (God makes crooked ways straight – this means that God allows crooked realities and situations to happen only to use them to humble and purify us and realize His will in our lives and eventually draws us closer to Him.
  7. Examine yourself.  What crooked ways/lines in your life that God made it straight?

 

 

-Fr. Florge, SJ (facilitator)

Spirituality

Day to day guide: 8-days Ignatian Retreat

 

DAY ONE – FACING MY GOD AND MYSELF (Christ in Us, is our Hope of Glory)

God_Adam- day 1 edit

THEME: Stop, Look and Listen to the Lord
GRACE: I beg the Lord for the grace of inner silence and stillness so that I can stop, look back prayerfully at my recent (remote) significant experiences and listen intently to what my God has been telling me.

– look at your relationship with God this past year (what are the high points or the low points?)
-try to seek Him (be aware of God’s presence; are you aware that you are nun? lay (consecrated to God by virtue of our baptism?)
– allow Him to seek you (are you really open to Him? what are the barriers? do you allow God to seek you?)
-look at your relationship with others
– look at your relationship with yourself (if you don’t know yourself, you can’t have a deeper relationship with others, moreso, with God)

SACRED SCRIPTURE:
1. Psalm 84 (How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of host!)
– Not all good things last, but we have a foretaste of goodness, of joy. Only in heaven do good things last.
2. Jeremiah 18:1-6 (Potter and clay)
– God pushes you to the limit because He knows what kind you are made of. As you go through difficulties, welcome them. You are in the Potter’s hand, that’s an assurance
3. 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (Speak Lord, for your servant is listening)
– Many times, we really don’t listen to the voice of the Lord. The Lord speaks to us thru: events, people, things around us. GOD’S VOICE IS NOT THE VOICE WE HEAR OF
4. Mark 11:1-10 (Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!)
– the sincerity and humility of the one who praises

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION:
– what have been your most recent (remote) significant experience?
– how exactly have they been affecting you? why do you consider these experiences to be “significant” in the first place?
– what feelings have been dominant in you? Go back and relish these in prayer and share with God.
– what do you hear God saying to you?
– where do you feel God is leading / inviting you
– end with thanksgiving.

insight from the listener:
GO SLOW; GO DEEP