Monday, August 22, 2016

Setting the direction

Life follows the direction of the Creator, whose divine law in nature [natural law] governs everything, from the lowest to the highest member of creation, from the smallest dot to man, and the angels.  The intelligent beings—man and the angels—have been endowed with Godly powers to enable them to seek the Good, particularly union with God, the lasting Good, in their inner spirits or conscience.

God speaks to us human beings through our conscience.  The man/woman who listens to his/her conscience is deemed a person of character, whatever be their personality type.  They have integrated values and principles into their character.  Thus, these leaders set the direction for others to follow.  Being responsible, he/she knows what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and why to do it. From within, the leader consults and sees with the Maker’s vision.

The Book of Proverbs, chapter 16 contains many pertinent reminders:  “Man’s heart makes plans but it is Yahweh who answers.  Although people are satisfied with all of their deeds Yahweh considers the motives.  Entrust all you do to Yahweh and your plans will be realized.  Yahweh made everything for a purpose, even the evildoer for the day of punishment…  When Yahweh is pleased with a man’s conduct, he reconciles even his enemies with him.  Better to have little but be just than to have a great income without honesty.  Man’s heart seeks the right way but it is Yahweh who makes his footsteps sure.” (Prov. 16:1-4, 7-9). The Greek dictum states: “Know yourself, control yourself, give yourself.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Be on guard

JESUS constantly warned his followers to be guard, for “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves” (Mt. 10:16).  The guidance of the Holy Spirit as the main agent of evangelization assures us to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus and live a life of prayer and contemplation.  The search for truth in the apostolic journey will indeed open our hearts to recognize our sinfulness and to cooperate with the grace of conversion and rekindled evangelization.
It’s good to remember some important sayings of the saints since they could lead us back to the right track, like two Carmelite saints, for example, Sts. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) and Teresa Benedict of the Cross.  St. Teresa is quoted to have said in her writings: “Much wrongdoing would be avoided if we realized our business is to be on guard, not against men but against displeasing the Lord.”  St. Teresa Benedict, the former Jewish agnostic philosopher converted to Christianity by contemplating on the cross in a Carmelite chapel, is quoted also as saying this: “Do not accept anything as love if it lacks truth, and do not accept anything as truth if it lacks love.”

The Bible, God’s unmistakable word, teaches: “Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbor; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments” (Rom. 13:10).  God’s word, the standard of justice and right living, asks of us only love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, and unity (2 Tim. 3:10-17).  St. John Paul II challenges the modern apostle with these three phrases in the work of evangelization: use “new methods, new expressions, and new fervor.”  In the end, the Church follows the way of the Savior through the Cross of discipleship amidst the lure of secularization. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Conquest in mercy

How is God’s love and mercy and justice being lived in our world today?  Perhaps some false misconceptions regarding human dignity and social analysis have injected deceptive mistaken ideas that suffocate one’s being a true disciple of mercy  that sees with the eyes of Jesus the needs of those crying for dignity and tolerance, while craving for healing and deliverance in their wounded brokenness. 

This is the cry for authentic love and justice.  It would be erroneous for example to incite hatred for one another as well as murder to become the viable solution of injustices.  You cannot right a wrong with another wrong.  As the Bible says: ‘You can only conquer evil with good’ (Romans 12:21).  There  is no other way but the way of Jesus Christ which is: love, forgiveness, action, work, and justice.  Justice means keeping the law.  And Jesus says: “Do unto others what you want others do unto you.  This is the substance and meaning of the entire law and the message of all the prophets” (Mt. 7:12).

May our conscience have clear direction for each person to respond positively with God’s mercy and compassion  to those in need and whose spirits are broken by different forms of suffering,  injustice and a culture of greed and violence.

Muddling ideas

The famous quote of William Shakespeare: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ – continues  to muddle the modern mind.  So in our muddled situation today what confuses are the wrong, misleading, contradictory ideas.  For as the ancients say: ‘It is ideas that rule the world.’  They say that even reading too many things may leave the searching mind confused.  Right ideas enlighten and guide while wrong ideas dim the sky of truth.

This is what is happening to us now.  We are so confused by the false prophets (teachers) who themselves don’t know what they are talking about.  Just high-sounding words without concrete nor clear reference to what is reality.  Why don’t they rather speak in Visayan or the native tongue or vernacular?  As always the devil uses this kind of muddled unclear ways, being as he is the prince of darkness and father of lies (Jn. 8:44; Lk. 22:53; Rom. 12:12).  A blind man leading another will both fall into the pit. (Mt. 15:14). 

The simple solution is to follow Jesus.  As St. John XXIII answered when confronted by a hundred critics, he said: “My simple principle is to put my life in line with and do what Jesus did, and not to do what He did not.”  Remember Jesus was poor, humble, brave, patient, forgiving, long-suffering.  The modern critics are proud, angry, hateful, condemning, deceitful, ambitious, revengeful; or just an opposite.  ‘To be or not to be’ – for the Christian will be resolved by declaring:  ‘I am a true disciple of Jesus; I am a child of the Most High, All-loving, All-Merciful God.’ The right actions will then follow and bring peace in the quest for true freedom. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Impulsive attraction

SPEAKING  on the Theology of the Body, St. Pope John Paul II revealed that by means of the body, man and woman are uniquely endowed by the Creator with the particular capacity of expressing love as chosen by eternal love.  “Whoever accepts the ethos of Matthew 5:27-28 must know that he is also called to full and mature spontaneity of the relations that spring from the perennial attraction of masculinity and femininity.  This spontaneity is the gradual fruit of the discernment of the impulses of one’s own heart.”  Christ’s words demand that in this sphere, which seems to belong exclusively to the body and to the senses, that is, to exterior man, he should succeed in being an interior man, a true master of his own deep impulses. “ He should draw from all those impulses what is fitting for purity of heart, building with conscience and consistency that personal sense of the nuptial meaning of the body, which opens the interior space of the freedom of the gift.” (General Audience, 12.11.1980)

Scriptures tell us “the two will become one flesh” Gen. 2:24) with regard to the joining of man and woman in marriage.  On the other hand, Jesus construed that “Some are born incapable of marriage. Some have been made that way by others.  But there are some who have given up the possibility of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  Let the one who can accept it, accept it” (Mt. 19:12).  This pronouncement gives no reason to assert the inferiority of marriage, nor the superiority of virginity or celibacy.  Christ proposed the ideal of continence only for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  This implies a value and beauty that goes beyond the purely physical dimension of sexuality.