Friday, May 15, 2009

Characteristics of Dialogue

The fiasco or the success of dialogue will depend on how we cooperate to make it succeed. We should give it the test of love, if love is what conquers in the end.

But what singular characteristics of love can be applied here? In 1 Cor. 13:4 love is described as humble, patient and forgiving. So without judging one another, let us share and contribute whatever good ideas we may have. We should be willing to take humiliations if only to achieve peace. After all, how can we pay for all the loss of lives in the needless conflicts and armed encounters? Even one single life is precious enough. We keep telling that to speeding, negligent drivers, who show little respect for passers-bys’ lives. A dialogue has also to put on the atmosphere of patience, since patience is truly a part of love. Then, put aside all biases and prejudices as Jesus made that a consistent rule: “Judge not and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get” (Mt. 7:1-2).

Basically that’s what St. Paul is aiming at when he discusses that there are 3 virtues that last, but the greatest of them all is love (1 Cor. 13:13).

“If I could speak all the tongues of men and of angels, but were given no love, I would only be sounding brass or clanging cymbals. If I had prophecy, knowing secret things with all kinds of knowledge, and faith great enough to remove mountains, but had no love, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I had to the poor, and even gave up my own body, but only to receive praise and not through love, it would be of no value to me. Love is patient, kind, without envy. It is not boastful or arrogant. It is not ill-mannered nor does it seek its own interest. Love withstands anger and forgets offenses. It does not take delight in wrong, but rejoices with the truth. Love excuses everything, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love will never end. Prophecies may cease, tongues be silent and knowledge disappear. For knowledge grasps the truth imperfectly and prophecy as well. And when what is perfect comes, everything imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I grew up, I gave up childish ways. Likewise, at present, we see dimly as in a faulty mirror, but then we shall see face to face. Now, we know in part, but then I will know Him as He knows me. Now we have faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 1-13).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Massacre of the Innocents

(History repeats itself)

Read the book of Exodus, chapter 1:1-22. Read the Bible New Testament in chapter 2:13-18 of St. Mathew’s gospel. You will observe in these chapters that the killing of innocent babies was being done by the powerful men because of fears that a growing population of subjects would threaten their power. Remember history, why these murders were committed for the purposes of letting the powerful continue in power.

So if the funds for population control come mostly from the big and powerful nations, it’s because they fear the incursion of the developing nations whose people, when properly educated, can stand and face whatever challenges there might be in our modern world. “All things are possible for anyone who has faith” (Mt. 9:23). Like our Legend from Mindanao , Manny Pacquiao, toppling the big names of boxing. Education and training are the equalizers that prove all men are created equal and have the potential for greatness. Many students of poor nations aim to graduate from a collegiate professional education so when they go to the richer countries, they are able to surpass the young people in those places since they’re just content with high school education and are able to find work at such stage of their educational status.

So many sophisticated ways in our modern day for killing babies in the womb thru contraceptives and abortifacients are just a repetition of history. God sees all the secret deeds of man and will repay each one as his or her works deserve (cf. Ps.. 62:12).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Man, a Complicating Animal

I had mentioned this quote from R. Townsend, author of the book: "Up the Organization." Actually, to be accurate, his complete text under the alphabetical heading -- "Too much vs. too little" runs like this: Too little is almost always better than too much. With respect to money he said this: "A tight budget brings out the creative instincts in man. Give him unlimited funds and he won't come up with the best way to a result. Man is a complicating animal. He only simplifies under pressure." With lots of money comes the temptation of unnecessary expenses or temptation to sinful ways.

I guess there is a good point in the expression of the saints that "there are blessings in poverty." Hard times are not just a challenge and a stepping stone to success but they tend to make us creative in achieving noteworthy solutions. As the usual saying goes: "where there's a will, there's a way." Jesus would assure us through faith-- "All things are possible for one who believes" (Mk. 9:23). Let's not worry about the hard times because it can produce a better solution. That is, by the way, the life of Jesus and the saints. Carrying the cross is the way to heavenly bliss. With trials in life we may turn out, what
is important, more humble, true and sincere.

Simplicity of a Child

In his book "Up the Organization" Mr. R. Townsend describes man as a "complicating animal." That man tends to complicate, especially under pressure. Yet we know that truth is a simple truth not a complicated one. That is why we have to call to mind the advice of Jesus: "I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 18:3).

Our world is complicated because of insincerity, hidden agenda and ambitions, people pretending to be what they are not. Let's go back to the simple truth. When Jesus criticized the Pharisees for their hypocrisy He emphasized the principle of humility: "Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted" (Mt. 23:12). Even Shakespeare in Hamlet (act 1, sc.3) cites: "To thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." This must be an important principle since Jesus talks about it seriously when He says, "I tell you solemnly unless we become as a little child we shall never enter the kingdom of heaven."

So from today, begin by being true to God, to yourself and your neighbor. Say what you mean and mean what you say. St. Teresa, an avidly truthful person had this maxim: "Never affirm anything unless you are sure it is true."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Empty Tomb

Among the arguments or proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus is the empty tomb where He had been buried. Of course, after His Resurrection many people had seen Him since He still stayed on earth for about 40 days (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-8). Some would make that popular saying: “to see is to believe.” No dead bones can be found because He is truly risen from the dead!

But the story does not end there. The empty tomb tells us something more: the victory of truth and love over untruth and hatred. Jesus only told the truth and lived a life of love. And St. Paul describes love in 1 Cor. 13:4 – “love is humble, patient, forgiving and truthful.” That was the life of Jesus. Example speaks louder than words. Everything is passing, powerful people come and go. But the humble man from Nazareth lives in perpetual memory at the right hand of God, in our hearts, yes, the Son of God, our Savior, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! (cf. Phil. 2:6-11).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pacquiao’s Glory

What made that so glittering a win – the Hatton vs. Pacquiao bout and so many others? Well none is almighty but God alone. Sooner or later a player must grow older and give way to possible defeat.

The glory there was that he acknowledges God by word, prayer and example. He trains hard and fights well and intelligently. Filipinos tended to look for a hero in him, after all, in the Olympics and many international sports Filipinos do not usually reach the golden harvests at the top of the ladder. Maybe for lack of practice or less motivation because of their many other needs in life.

Pacquiao fights clean and honest and makes faith in God part of his life. There’s much to emulate in him. We thank God he has helped raise the hopes of the Filipinos who are struggling hard for their livelihood. We can learn from his trust in God. “All things are possible with God” (Mt. 19:26). He also shows great devotion to the Virgin Mother Mary and the holy rosary.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fallacy of the Anti-lifers

(population control groups)

They argue that a tiny fetus is not a human being comprised of rights. If so, why does it grow into a human being? Or they say, there’re just too many mouths to feed. Is that a reason for the selfish act of murdering the innocent unborn? Just for greed of money “root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10).

I saw a tee shirt with the words: educate to elevate. St. John Baptist de la Salle had said that “education is the equalizer.” That means, it makes people strong, prepared and brave enough to meet life’s challenges and difficulties, capable of improving any situation. The pro-life groups look at children as heads that can be taught to think, hearts to love and hands to work. What’s happening now to the dwindling populations, the result of abortion and contraceptives? They become astray missiles about to self-destruct. People are the main agents and assets of civilizations. Come to think of it: one of those million lives snuffed out could have been a hero we needed, like those we idolize.

The Church consistently teaches that every act of love between a man and a woman must be open to the transmission of new life. Such love, if it be true must not be selfish but open to give life since whatever is true and good tends to multiply itself generously as trees that offer abundant and delicious fruit for man’s satisfaction. That’s not the end. Worst of all, the murder of the innocent unborn is among the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance: willful murder (including abortion), the sin of Sodom , oppression of the poor, defrauding laborers of their wages. Man cannot escape the wrath of God. He knows our most secret thoughts and acts. A just and merciful Lord, He expects us to repent and change, before it’s too late. “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10).

We may fear the words of Jesus at judgment day: “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me,” and they will go to eternal fire and punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life” (Mt. 25:45).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Suppose It Were True

(for all men and women of good will)

1. That God exists.
2. That there are saints in heaven.
3. That Jesus is the “Messiah,” the Hebrew word for the Greek “Christ,” which means
the Anointed Savior.
4. That there is Hell, as seen by St. Faustina, and recorded in paragraph 741 in the
book of St. Faustina titled “Divine Mercy in My Soul.”
5. That God rewards and punishes everyone according to his or her behavior (Mt.
6. That the small human fetus is in reality a human person.
7. That willful murder, including abortion, is a sin calling to heaven for vengeance.
8. That most of those who are in Hell did not believe there is a hell (cf. paragraph 741
in the book of St. Faustina).
9. That life is passing, as evidenced by what we see with our own eyes – here and
there people dying, in hospitals, from accidents, cardiac attacks and other ailments,
people getting killed by murder or homicide, etc.
10. That Jesus is the merciful but just Judge at the Last Judgment (Mt. 25:31).
11. That of the 4 last things – Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven, you will eventually
end either in Heaven or Hell, depending on your behavior in life.
12. That you need the grace of God to achieve salvation.
13. That the means of grace are prayer and the sacraments and are the key to eternal

If all the above is true, as Christians believe, surely you will humble yourself and seek God’s forgiveness and true conversion of heart before it’s too late. The prophets make us seek salvation in Jesus – the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6). “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays; you will leap like calves going out to pasture. You will trample on the wicked, who will be like ashes under your feet on the day I am preparing, says Yahweh Sabaoth” (Mal. 3:20). “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4).

Jesus, our Life, is the living Word (Jn. 1:14). After washing the disciples’ feet, He told them: “I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (Jn. 13:15). Jesus is therefore compared to the sun that enlightens us. “To give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins; this by the tender mercy of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk. 1:78).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Karapatan or Rights Issues

We better evaluate which is the way of the Lord. To suffer, to shout in the streets for trampled rights. What is a right, by the way? One common concept is that it is something one may properly claim as due. There might be different nuances or angles to the word. One thing sure, because of religious backgrounds, it could mean some expected conduct or behavior towards our neighbor based on the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught universal love towards all men and women, even inclusive of enemies. Contrariwise the devil teaches hatred and revenge and anger (cf. Eph. 4:26-27; Jn. 8:44). "Love never wrongs the neighbor, hence love is the fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:10).

To speak more concretely, since we call Jesus the "Lamb of God," what mode of action depicts the likeness of Jesus? In paragraph 1701 of the book of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, she refers to Jesus' advice to her: "I asked the Lord today that He might deign to teach me about the interior life, because of myself I can neither understand nor conceive anything perfectly. The Lord answered me: I was your Teacher, I am and I will be, strive to make your heart like unto My humble and gentle Heart. Never claim your rights.. Bear with great calm and patience everything that befalls you. Do not defend yourself when you are put to shame, though innocent. Let others triumph. Do not stop being good when you notice that your goodness is being abused. I Myself will speak up for you when it is necessary. Be grateful for the smallest of My graces, because your gratitude compels Me to grant you new graces ....."

Come to think of it, why did the Lord at judgment day equate the virtuous with the gentle sheep at His right and the condemned, with the noisy goats at His left? "Jesus, lamb of God, guide us in your righteous ways, Amen."