Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gospel of Peace

The ancients have the saying: Ideae regunt mundum (translated: It is ideas that rule the world). Naturally erroneous and false ideas lead to wrong actions and motivations. What are the ideas that lead to the common good, especially the peace that we all long after? We know that without peace we could not educate our people or educate the young future generations, or even provide the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, not to mention the basic rights of life and liberty.

Why, for example, the teachings and the life of Jesus Christ are called "gospel of peace" or "good news of peace" (Eph. 6:15). It is because it talks about love for one's enemies (cf. Mt. 5:18-45), forgiveness, detachment from the goods of the earth. "None of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his possessions" (Lk. 14:33). "What will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?" (Mt. 16:26). The common prayer of the Our Father underscores the virtue of forgiveness. Since love is the essence of Christianity, St. Paul summarizes it as: "Love is humble, love is patient, love is forgiving. I may have the eloquence of man or angels, or have the gift of prophecy or a faith that can move mountains, give away all that I possess or even let them take my body to burn it but without love I am nothing at all and will do me no good whatever" (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-13).

Let us delve into the realm of right emotions and ideas and analyze what are those that outlast to bring us the needed peace. We can also remind people that things were made for man, not to be enslaved to things or to fight over things transitory. The gospel of peace is supposed to be shared to all peoples as well as all that is "true, good, pure, honest and noble," then will the God of peace be with us. (cf. Phil. 4:8).

Friday, October 30, 2009

What To Believe

(Character matters)

It’s a usual problem in our world today. Whom to believe? People generally seem to claim to have or tell the truth. Who in our world are we to believe in?

Now this is also connected with character. If he or she is one who usually tells the truth, says what he or she means, and means what he or she says, then there is probability of that person telling the truth, more specially if we have observed that person’s sincerity in seeking for the truth of things or events. Yea, it’s part of that person’s character.

I know St. Teresa once said that in this scheming world we do not have to believe just anybody but rather only those who put their faith into action and actually live the gospel of Jesus. That’s why Jesus criticized so much the Pharisees and lawgivers who were diligent in proclaiming God’s laws and decrees but negligent in putting them into practice. (cf. Mt. 23:1-12). Jesus criticized their greed for money and worldliness (see the whole chapter of Mt. 23).

St. Teresa had also said something which may make our words more trustworthy, if we keep them: “Never affirm anything unless you are sure it is true.” Many in our society just keep on talking as if they knew all but much of what they say is unfounded. For example, the RH bill supporters argue the tiny fetus has no human soul. Then with the world’s vacant spaces they assert our world is over-populated. Decide for yourself who is telling the truth. Is it the Church asking for respect for life or the materialist anti-lifers who think of compensation, money, pleasure, and comforts? There is no gainsaying the fact of man’s weakness in the face of temptation and from the Catholic catechism we know the source of grace to be prayer and the sacraments. St. Paul was humble enough to admit that when he said: “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Obedience Problems?

If it's part of the ten commandments that we respect authority, beginning with our parents, it is because that's for our own protection. God's word says it so: "You must obey all governing authorities. Since all government comes from God, the civil authorities were appointed by God, and so anyone who resists authority is rebelling against God's decision, and such an act is bound to be punished" (Rom. 13:1-3).

Look back in history. The rebellious angels were cast away from heaven and now they tempt man to do the same. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, violated God's command and were expelled from Paradise. It's the same tune of their temptations. That's why the battle-cry of St. Michael who fought in God's name against the rebellious angels is within his own name, which in Hebrew means "who is like unto God."

Obedience therefore shows our faithfulness to God for it is God who is the reason for our obedience. The great master in prayer and mystical theology, St. John of the Cross, a Carmelite, wrote in his Cautions against falling into the devil's snares. He says the devil usually portrays evil under the guise of good so as to tempt people. Obedience, according to St. John of the Cross, is a protection of our virtue. Thus, he advises not to go outside the line of obedience by doing whatever may seem a great success or charitable action. Even making the human defects or qualities of a superior or authority a condition for obedience is not appropriate, lest it become purely a human obedience, not an obedience to the invisible God to whom we owe all our loyalty. The devil tends to attract with the feeling of power and freedom telling us we can then be like gods. That is how he deceived Adam and Even to disobey God and thus were expelled from Paradise and lost all other privileges (cf. Gen. 3:1-24).

If the Lord asks our obedience and humility, it is for our own good and protection. God's only begotten Son shows this in His prayer at the Gethsemane garden. Thus He prayed: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine" (Lk. 22:42). The things Jesus did out of obedience turned out to be the very essence of success and victory, in spite of apparent failure and frustration. That's why in the long history of the Church, priests and religious persons recognize that of all the promises or vows made, the vow or promise of obedience is the pre-eminent one. Those who sacrifice lives for obedience to God are cause for victory of the Church. As the writers of Church history attest: the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Telling the Truth

Is the Church telling the truth or those politicians, lured by the money behind, who want to push for the RH bill? Most of the contraceptives are abortifacient, that is, can destroy life. Maybe they just don’t know. As Jesus says: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34). But that does not mean they are excused from searching for the truth. Can they prove that what the Church teaches on the matter is a lie?

The subject of overpopulation does not mean a license to exterminate life by means of contraceptives or abortion. You are not supposed to heedlessly do an action when you doubt you may be violating a basic right such as respect for human life, since some argue there is no humanity in a small fetus. Why will it turn out a human being if the initial seed or fetus is not of human form? We better deliberate well since aborting human life is among the sins calling to God for vengeance.

It’s not worth enjoying sexual excesses with aid of contraceptives, if that may bring about the loss of eternal bliss. “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and destroy himself in the process?” (Mt. 16:26).

The Deepening Process

If our spirituality is that superficial, it means we have overlooked certain aspects. Because a thing is said to be good when it possesses the normal characteristics, bad when an element is lacking.

In this respect, it's no use pointing accusing fingers at others, which will not solve the problems. What has been lacking in the conscience education of our people, or what wrong ideas have been disseminated therein?

Maybe we just need to remind about certain principles that are found in God's unerring word. For example, the following....."Do unto others what you want others do unto you" (Mt. 7:12). God's word asks us to do our good deeds, not for show or to gain human admiration if we are to gain the reward of our Father in heaven who sees everything and knows all things (cf. Mt. 6:1-34). In this same chapter, God assures us He will provide for our needs, so long as we trust in Him firmly and seek to do His will. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and live His righteousness and all other things shall be provided for. Does He not provide for the birds, the plants, the much more for you, o people of little faith?" (cf. Mt. 6:25-34).

Yes, people have to deepen their faith and trust in God who takes care of those who trust in Him. To deepen means to make an effort of faith and trust even amidst the various trials of this transitory life. Have they ever been disappointed, who trust in God and His beloved Son Jesus Christ, Our Savior who came down to earth to be near us, His people? He had said: "I myself will shepherd My people...." (Ezk. 34:11-16).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Freedom of Religion - Freedom of Conscience

We may be right but we don’t have the right to force others. Because we could also be wrong. No one is infallible but God alone, and those authorized to speak legitimately in God’s name. Our society would be more peaceful if we do away with such prejudices and respect one another. Each one, after all, is obliged and answerable to search for what is true and good. And, if he or she is not true to himself or herself, they will answer for that on God’s judgment day. What’s wrong in a society is that some impose their way of thinking or believing with the use of violence. God’s rule and law is: Do unto others what you want others do unto you. Such is the substance of the Law and the message of the Prophets (cf. Mt. 7:12)

What is important is to have that freedom to proclaim the truth freely without compulsion. After all, the truth will prove itself. As one common expression did say – “the truth will out”.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Misunderstood Stand

Why the Church does not side with abortion and contraceptives is based on her stance for life. And isn't that the prime right of man? Besides, the contraceptive mentality is one that promotes immoral promiscuity among people, just because the normal fruit of sexual relations is being obstructed, that is, conception of new life being stifled via abortifacients such as the pills.

Well, we have to look at the clear consequences. Open your eyes: Where most people use contraceptives, divorce abound; also immorality is on the rise. Just look around, judge for yourself. In certain localities it's the gray haired or old people that increase in number.

They talk of overpopulation, poverty, etc. but these are all fallacies that people put forward for their hidden agenda and vested interest. "The love of money is the root of all evils and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds" (1 Tim. 6:10). Let's not forget that annihilating life is among the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance.