Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Voice Within

It's a common sight in the trains- people, mostly youngsters and young professionals, with all sorts of gadgets strung around their necks, iphones, MP4, headsets etc. It can indeed be worthwhile to listen to music while travelling for an hour or two, especially after a long day at work or in school. We busy ourselves by listening to all sorts of sounds, music and voices.

After Jesus was baptized by John, he heard a voice from heaven, "You are my son; in you I am well pleased." The Lucan text says Jesus was at prayer when the heavens were open, when the Holy Spirit hovered upon him as a dove, when the Father's voice was heard. So, it is in prayer that we can hear what can be the sweetest music to our ears, "You are my child; in you I am well-pleased."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Engrafting to Life

As 2010 begins, we all wish that this New Year will usher in blessings of peace and prosperity to the world, especially to the poorer countries. For the Philippines, 2010 is another critical year because of the May elections. We pray that our people will really be prepared for this democratic exercise, so that the country's chance to begin anew will not be squandered. May we truly experience being engrafted into the life of God as we begin 2010.

Happy New Year!



And you, High eternal Trinity

Acted as if you were drunk with love,

Infatuated with your creature.

When you see that this tree could bear no fruit

But the fruit of death,

Because it was cut off from you who were life,

You came to its rescue

With the same love with which you had created it;

You engrafted your divinity into the dead tree

Of our humanity.

O sweet tender grafting!

You, sweetness itself, stooped to join yourself

With our bitterness.

You, splendor, joined yourself with darkness;

You, wisdom, with foolishness;

You, life, with death;

You, the infinite, with us, who are finite.

What drove you to this

To give back life to this creature of yours

That had insulted you?

Only love, as I have said,

And so, by this engrafting, death is destroyed.

-Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Welcoming God's Visitation

When we pray the rosary, we simply say, "the second joyful mystery is the visitation." We usually think only of Mary and Elizabeth. But they are not the only characters in this event. The babies they are carrying are also involved in the story: Jesus and John. The simple act of Mary visiting her cousin has brought joy not only to Elizabeth, but also to the infant in her womb, John, who left for joy when his mother heard Mary's greetings. Such is the joy brought by someone who carries Jesus... it is felt not only by one person, but even of those around (in Elizabeth's case, within) them.

On this season of giving and exchanging gifts, may we give and bring to people the greatest gift of all: Jesus Himself, and then we shall see more people, ourselves included experiencing the joy of Christmas.

A Blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Through you, we touch God...

Pope Benedict on the Immaculate Conception:

"This privilege given to Mary, which sets her apart from our common condition, does not distance her from us, but on the contrary, it brings her closer. While sin divides, separating us from one another, Mary's purity makes her infinitely close to our hearts, attentive to each of us and desirous of our true good. You see it here in Lourdes, as in all Marian shrines; immense crowds come thronging to Mary's feet to entrust to her their most intimate thoughts, their most heartfelt wishes. That which many, either because of embarrassment or modesty, do not confide to their nearest and dearest, they confide to her who is all pure, to her Immaculate Heart: with simplicity, without frills, in truth. Before Mary, by virtue of her very purity, man does not hesitate to reveal his weakness, to express his questions and his doubts, to formulate his most secret hopes and desires. The Virgin Mary's maternal love disarms all pride; it renders man capable of seeing himself as he is, and it inspires in him the desire to be converted so as to give glory to God. Thus, Mary shows us the right way to come to the Lord. She teaches us to approach him in truth and simplicity. Thanks to her, we discover that the Christian faith is not a burden: it is like a wing which enables us to fly higher, so as to take refuge in God's embrace."

Happy Feastday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stand Erect and Look Up!

Isn't it a strange instruction: while all the catastrophic disaster are happening, the sun and moon falling, the earth shaking, perhaps with buildings crumbling, something like what happens in the film 2012, one is to stand erect and look up to the sky. The important details, however, should not be missed: the Son of Man coming in great power, bringing liberation to his people, to those who believe in him.

Amidst the turmoils in the world today, perhaps not (as yet) in the scale of cataclysms and catastophes, we are told by Christ to stand firm and raise our eyes to him, who is our hope and our strength. So that no matter what happens around us: volcanoes erupting, rivers overflowing, global warming, we do not lose faith because our eyes are fixed on the Lord.

We are reminded of Peter who started sinking when we paid attention, not to the Lord who was calling him, but to the waves surrounding him. May we begin this Advent season, this new liturgical year with an affirmation of our trust in the Lord, as we say in the psalm response; To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reexamining our Loyalties

It's interesting to note how the arrival of Pacquiao, the "King of the Ring" comes right before the Catholic Church celebrates the solemnity of Christ the King. The picture is a study of contrasts between someone who is acclaimed king after defeating a line-up of world renowned boxers and a King who renounces worldly force and power and pointing to a Kingdom not of this world.

While the fans and followers of Pacquiao shower him with praises and adulation and getting ahead of each other to get a glimpse or a photo of their idol, Christ has no one to come to his rescue to defend him from the plots to kill him. He is left alone, to defend himself, and the only tool he has is the 'truth'; the only witness He has is the Father, whom He could only trust in utmost surrender and faith.

This solemnity invites us to reexamine our loyalties and to what extent we concretely express this by the way we spend our time, our money, our energy. Let this day be an opportunity to express our allegiance to Christ the King... of the universe, of our life.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What is at The End?

This Sunday's readings speak of the "end of the world." Maybe we can safely say that we might not live long enough to witness the "end of the world," if we are to believe what science tells us: that the evolution of the universe is only at the 11:00 AM moment, which means that it has not even reached half its course. What we are sure of is the "end of OUR, MY world," and that is when I die, when my physical-biological existence comes to an end. It is as scary as listening to the scenarios described by the Gospel.

We can draw consolation and strength, however, from Karl Rahner's words: Accept the moment. See to it that you do what one can call, without any folderol, your duty. All the same, be ready again and again to realize once more, that the ineffable mystery we call God not only lives and reigns, but had the unlikely idea to approach you personally in love; turn your eyes to Jesus, the crucified one; come what may, you will be able to accept your life from Him when all is said and done. .. You go on as long as daylight lasts. In the end, you leave with empty hands, that I know; and it is well. At that moment, you look at the Crucified one and go. What comes is the everlasting mystery of God (Karl Rahner in Dialogue, pp. 275).