Sunday, March 22, 2009

Led Astray Unwittingly

In this world truly we have to follow Jesus' advice. "Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves" (Mt. 10:16).

There have been many ideologies that came and have now mostly passed away. Well I just heard that it's still there partly covering its face. I mean those ideologies that in the past, with their high sounding words and analysis of situation, were able to convince people even to the point of using arms of violence. We just have to be careful. "The devil is a murderer and the father of lies" (Jn. 8:44).

It's good to remember some important sayings of the saints since they could lead us back to the right track. Two Carmelite saints, for example, St. Teresa and St. Edith Stein.

St. Teresa is quoted to have said this statement 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. Edith Stein 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). What about the grandiloquent ideologies of our day, fomenting hostilities and judgmental attitudes? God's word, the standard of justice and right living, asks of us only love, forgiveness, peace and unity (2 Tim. 3:16-17). With all the destruction resulting from past worldly ideologies, even for the loss of many vocations unwittingly led astray, when will we ever learn?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Work Well, Rest Well

A famous psychologist Dr. Alexander Cannon spoke about this in 1935. I might as well quote his original words, as follows:

"Work well and rest well--these are the secrets of success: and you cannot do either unless you have attained to the inner peace which faith in God alone can induce. When you work you should do what you have to do with all your heart and with all your soul. Do not slacken because you do not like your job. Visualize the sort of job you want to satisfy your ideal, but at the same time work all the harder at your present one. This will set the laws of life in motion and you will assuredly get the job you like."

"Before you fall asleep at night (begin this very night to control your sleeping state), let every muscle of your body go flabby. Think of all these muscles as huge factories, employing millions of cell-men, and actually tell them to knock off their laborers and take a rest."

Some religious orders as the Benedictine nuns of Tutzing who are working in Mati told me that the leaves of the Pandan plant (an aromatic for rice) do help to induce deep sleep; a Carmelite brother told me also that the Propolis of bees does help in inducing sleep. A J.P. II foundation in Manila assures me that prayer makes for peaceful sleep.

As Dr. A. Cannon adds: "Think of the job you desire to attain to: the love you wish to gain: the rank you wish to hold: the duty you wish to undertake. Then, still fully relaxed and breathing deeply, you will fall asleep with this picture held firmly in your mind. In the morning you will awaken in a happy frame of mind: ready to work well, and in absolute certainty that the day will arrive when your dreams will come true. Your certainty will be based upon truth -- for, indeed your dreams must come true."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fundamental Options

Amid the crevices and complexities of this earthly life, with all the push and pulls of the allurements and temptations, deep in your heart you must have that craving for the truth. This might sustain you, amid the pitfalls of your mistakes, human as we are.

Most probably, the great St. Paul and St. Augustine showed such a sincere quest in their hearts as they sought for an answer to the mystery of salvation. We know of the background of their lives, as St. Paul at first fiercely persecuted the Church, and St. Augustine had a wayward youth history. Hence, what the Lord had said, is something true and basic, infallibly, since God's word can't lie nor be mistaken. "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened for you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him" (Mt. 7:7). Of course, behind all that must be the sincerity of the heart seeking for the truth.

Evidently, that explains, with the help of God's merciful grace that is given to the truthful hearts, the conversion of those great personalities of our faith, as a St. Paul, a St. Augustine and all the Saints, for that matter.

The Jewish convert to Catholicism (a Carmelite), martyr and co-patroness of Europe and a protagonist of genuine feminism, had most truly said: "He who seeks the truth, seeks God, whether he is aware of it or not" (St. Edith Stein). She was canonized to sainthood by the great Pope John Paul II, on the 11th of October of 1998, close tro the opening of the world's 3rd millennium. She too wisely remarked: "Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth" (St. Edith Stein).

Surely one observes in our world false loves and false teachings, tending to deceive people. Many movements came under the guise of love but exploited the people.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Obedient Speaks Victory

In the Book of Proverbs it is written thus: "the false witness will meet his doom, but the speech of the obedient will always be heard" (Prov. 21:28). The Latin version (vir obediens loquetur victoriam) literally translates "the obedient person shall speak of victory."

The reason, I believe, is as the root or etymology of the word obedience comes from the Latin ob and audire which means "listening to". It follows that an obedient person learns more of the truth inasmuch as he or she employs time to listen. So it is said of the Blessed Mother upon hearing the words of the angel or of Jesus, or seeing various events happening, "Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Lk. 2:17).

That's how important obedience is, that leads to victory. It is founded in a humility that ever searches and lives the truth. That is why, before you learn to command, you must first learn to listen and obey. Empty yourself of yourself so God's Spirit of love and truth may fill you and bring forth victory.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

St. Edith Stein's Formula

St. Edith Stein was a Jewish girl who studied philosophy and became converted to the Catholic religion after reading works of St. Teresa. She entered the Carmelite Order, and became a martyr for the Catholic faith. She too is declared co-patroness of Europe, by Pope John Paul II.
Of her many writings she made this significant statement which obviously gives us an important glimpse of the truth. "Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth" (St. Edith Stein). True indeed, so many theories and doctrines put forward in our world that only brought chaos, death and wars, only prove her right, because God is both the God of truth and love. "If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function.

So the body grows until it has built itself up in love" (Eph. 4:15). Jesus, God Almighty, had mentioned the two aspects: "Love one another as I have loved you" (Jn. 13:34) and "the truth shall set you free" (Jn. 8:32).

The systems, the teachings, the reformers that were not based on love, where have they all gone? Look around and see for yourself. Only the love and truth of Jesus Christ and His saints fly high and mighty. "Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away" (Mt. 24:35).

Lest we forget the meaning of love, it's far from the pride, vanity, and powerful ambitions of the world because its Pauline definition is: "Love is humble, patient and forgiving" (1 Cor. 13:7). It will be good to listen to the voice of the Church. Christ left her to us as "the pillar and bulwark of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). It will be unwise not to listen to her voice.

God's Protection

People who believe and trust in Jesus Christ do indeed enjoy God's protection because Jesus is God, the second Person of the very One Triune God. He was condemned by the Jews and crucified for saying so (cf. Mt. 26:63-66; Jn. 10:33; Jn. 5:18; Jn. 19:7). But Jesus rose 3 days after dying on the Cross. That was the everlasting proof of His divinity.

So people can recall the words of Psalm 91:14, as if referring to Jesus as God's own Son, the very Second Person of the One Triune God. "I rescue all who cling to me, I protect whoever knows my name, I answer everyone who invokes me, I am with them when they are in trouble; I bring them safety and honour. I give them life, long and full, and show them how I can save" (Ps. 91: 14-16). "Know that I am with you always until the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20).