Monday, November 30, 2009

Erosion of Vocations

In the diagnostic of loss of vocations to priestly or religious life, we must realize how the temptations of the world, the devil and the flesh (or inner pride) work. As in the natural elements mostly the erosion takes time and is unnoticed. That's part of the strategy of the devil, to come in unnoticed. He always paints evil under the guise of good to deceive people.

That's why, even in the matter of obedience which is the foundation of religious life, as St. John of the Cross puts it, one must be cautious always to do things within the bounds of obedience. And since obedience ultimately is directed to God, one's obedience must be irrespective of the human characteristics of the authority in the compliance of orders. Otherwise it becomes a purely human obedience, not an obedience of faith to the invisible God, the very source of merit and victory.

In that feeling of freedom and pride of disobedience, you are just doing harm to yourself. Once you find yourself reaching a point of no return after those little infidelities, you realize the truth of the prophet Samuel's reproof to King Saul who was rejected by God for not following instructions, rather he took what was precious in the war booty under the pretense of reserving them for temple offerings. The prophet's words: "Is the pleasure of Yahweh in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of Yahweh? Yes, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22).

Even the little acts of dishonesty in finances can cause erosion in a vocation since the little is always interconnected to the whole, as a part to the whole. Such as for example dishonesty in handling money that is not yours or not paying rightful debts. Jesus' own words attest to this. "And so I tell you: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?" (Lk. 16:4-12). Wealth is external to man, the spiritual gifts are an intimate possession of man.

To end, let's not forget history: the fall of Lucifer and his angels from heaven now become Satan and his tempting devils, the fall of our first parents Adam and Eve, and the many who lost their vocation and even became leaders of deviating movements. Let's pray for them and thank God for His gracces on His faithful and humble people who continue to follow His ways of love and forgiveness.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Legislators' Campaign

As the elections are approaching, we know this is the time future candidates are positioning and campaigning to prove to the people they are worthy candidates. Several happen to be legislators. Of course we expect them to be truthful in their proposed and projected platforms. Not make lying promises just for the sake of winning the elections. God knows all secrets.

Naturally the crucial issue is whether one is pro or against life, specifically in the case of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, at present hotly debated on. That's the ticklish subject at hand, which we should study deeper. They argue that the Church is not right in opposing contraceptives and abortion. The Church's conviction has consistently stood versus contraceptive devices and abortion, arguing that the act of love between the sexes has always to be open to the transmission of new life and is legitimate only within the marriage bond.

If the Church is wrong, let the opponents of the Church prove that the right to life is not being violated here in the present controversial bill. . Whether actual or potential life be involved, we know the aim of the contraceptive devices is to cut down on new births. That's tantamount to being against life. It's sad to observe some aspiring legislators seem so arrogant in their stand for the RH Bill as if they were so sure of their stand and just ignore the Church's position.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two Aspects, Two Realities

(Christ the King)

We celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. In the gospel episode of the day, Jn. 18:33-37, we see the different aspects of fear and strength, cowardice and bravery, justice and injustice. Pilate, the powerful Roman governor of Judea , knew of Jesus’ innocence but he feared the leaders of the Jews and was so concerned of his position before the emperor. So afraid of the pressure of the Jews who were asking for Jesus’ death by crucifixion, he gave in to the unjust condemnation of Jesus. The verdict of history came. After Jesus rose three days after He died, He now is Christ the King.

The way of Pontius Pilate and those who follow his ways of injustice are remembered in ignominy and shame, but the ways of Jesus and His followers are put on the pedestal of glory. The kingship of Jesus is one of love, mercy, humility, forgiveness, and triumph but the ways of those who condemned Jesus and their followers end in disappointment since God has made Jesus, King of kings andLord of lords. His kingdom is a kingdom of justice, peace, mercy, love and forgiveness. The truth and reality Jesus promises is eternal life. He had said: “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:38). This world is passing but an eternal kingdom awaits those who follow theway of the cross of Jesus Christ. “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul in the process?” (Mt. 16:26).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jewish Ingenuity

There is some truth to the fact the Jewish race somehow wields control over the money in the world. In New York Jews administer the biggest banks.

It’s not surprising. Such wisdom came from our ancestors coming from Abraham. More specifically, the Patriarch Joseph who in his younger years was termed Joseph the dreamer, advised the Egyptians during the great famine in the world. That advice is read in Gen. 41:35 that of all the harvest at the time of plenty they should save a fifth part in preparation for the famine and drought to come. Thus that saving habit saved the Israelites, the Egyptians and the rest of the world at that time who came to Egypt to buy grain and food to live. We too can learn that saving habit amid the temptations to go on a shopping spree heedless of future needs.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Inverted Values

Values of things and realities are there. But there’s something wrong when they are inverted. That’s when priorities become misplaced.

For example, when you put money above the common good of people or humanity you will reap lots of problems in catastrophe or disaster due to environmental devastation, etc. That will cause more anguish in people’s lives. God shows us the right sense of values when in His Son Jesus Christ He said: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice and all other things shall be given you as well. Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own” (Mt. 6:33-34).

One business analyst, Robert Townsend, had known by experience that very point when he adverts in his popular book Up the Organization: “Money, like prestige, if sought directly, is almost never gained. It must come as a byproduct of a worthwhile objective or result which is sought and achieved for its own sake.” We reap the dire results of values inverted in the sufferings of our people. We must correct such mistake before it’s too late. We may be lured by the money attraction that has ever been the illusion behind corruption. In all sectors of high or low social standings, as we all can see, there’s ever that danger of values inverted. One blatant example, lots of money involved in the sale and production of abortifacient pills and the making of pornography but in the process the basic right to life, the life of the unborn is violated, and the resulting sexual license brings about the weakening or the break-up of family

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RH Bill Supporters?

Legislators supporting or sponsoring the RH bill might not know the deep implications. It’s not pro-life in the sense that parts of its components favor contraceptives and abortion. Surely that would not be pro-life. Consider too that most contraceptives are abortifacient, i.e. will tend to terminate the life of the fetus. Just open your eyes and see what’s clearly happening in nations or societies where contraceptives are rampant. It’s an ageing population where mostly could be seen the elderly going around. That’s the fact and you don’t argue against facts.

That’s the reason why the Magisterium or teaching office of the Catholic Church has stood for life and the sexual act in a legitimate marriage must always be open to transmit new life or new births to society by its very nature. Therefore, we ought not support those legislators trying to kill new life and the very future of our nation. People are our main assets.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blessed are the Pure of Heart (Mt. 5:8)

Amid the temptations of our world today, the worldliness, the pornographic propaganda in the internet, film and other media sources, we know of so many dangers to purity of heart, to the preservation of pristine virginity. In all these, God calls us to conversion, to a higher dimension of the world we see around us. Yes, God is offering us His insistent call to conversion, as we look to the eminentlives of the Saints that, by God’s grace, a fruit of prayer, God’s word, and the Sacraments, rose from the mire of sin and worldliness to the pedestal of true love and justice. Look to the example of the repentant St. Peter, the first pope, St. Mary Magdalene to whom the Risen Lord made His first appearances, a St. Augustine whose deep theological and philosophical insights have pervaded through centuries.

Purity of heart means a new supernatural dimension to life, based on God’s word. That’s the basis because “man lives by the words that come from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). That conversion and higher dimension regarding sexual relationships is clearly defined by the Catholic Church, as expressed in an address by John Paul II to the bishops of the United States of America :

“With the frankness of the Gospel, the compassion of Pastors and with the charity of Christ, you have dealt with the question of the indissolubility of marriage, correctly stating: ‘The Covenant between a man and a woman united in Christian marriage is as indissoluble and irrevocable as is the love of God for his people and the love of Christ for his Church.’

Exalting the beauty of marriage, you have rightly taken a position against both the theory of contraception and contraceptive practice, as did the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. I myself, today, with the same conviction as Paul VI, ratify the teaching of that encyclical issued by my Predecessor ‘in virtue of the mandate confided us by Christ.’

Describing the sexual union between husband and wife as a special expression of their covenant of love, you have correctly said: ‘The sexual relationship is a human and moral good only within the sphere of marriage: outside marriage it is immoral.’

As men who speak with words of truth and the power of God’ (2 Cor. 6,7), as authentic teachers of the law of God and as compassionate pastors, you have correctly said: ‘Homosexual practice (which is to be distinguished from homosexual orientation) is morally deceitful.

“…Both the Church’s teaching, according to its constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have stated without any hesitation that masturbation is a practice grievously and intrinsically disordered” (Declaration of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning certain questions of sexual ethics, 12-29-75, no. 9).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Evading Temptations

The devil generally tempts us through our inner pride and weak tendencies. Yet the idea of escaping from the devil's stratagems comes from Jesus' own words: "Pray not to be put to the test" (Lk. 22:40, 46). I believe that he meant that we should not be overcome by the trials of life, either from the temptations of the devil, the world and our own fleshly weakness or inner pride. The devil usually paints evil under the guise of good. You are in the midst of the world with all the fleeting allurements, trials and temptations..."In the world but not of the world" (Jn. 17:15).

A sure escape therefore is what Jesus strongly suggests: "Pray." St. Alphonsus de Liguori used to say: "Who prays is saved." So many powerful prayers there are, like the rosary of the Virgin Mary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, etc. I just want to mention the chaplet referred to by St. Faustina in her book: Diary of Divine Mercy in My Soul" (words of Jesus to her soul). "Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know my infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy." (paragraph 687). "Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior" (paragraph 1541).

While I mention vocal prayers as important, certainly this has to be accompanied by mental prayer or meditation which is a normal counterpart of standard prayer, as mind or soul and body go together. So in the book of Sirach 7:40 (or Ecclesiasticus) you read: "In everything you do, remember your end, and you will never sin." That concise English proverb carries deep meaning: "Prayer will make us leave off sinning or sinning will make us leave off prayer." In that same pragraph 1541 of St. Faustina's book on Divine Mercy, the Savior assures her of God's mercy for repentant sinners: "These souls have a right of priority to My compassionate Heart, they have first access to my mercy. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness." The Holy Bible confirms this in the 3 parables of God's mercy (the lost sheep, the lost drachma, and the prodigal son) which you read in Luke, chapter 15. God's merciful heart ever awaits you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tolerance Policy

Different religions in the world all claim to have the truth. So instead of violent confrontations or squabbles, why not let there reign harmony and tolerance. Give truth a chance to prove itself through life and word of the members. Putting force, pressure and violence tends to overshadow the truth and people’s freedom to seek for clarity.

When you put pressure you engender dissatisfaction and opposition. After all, responsible people know the importance of the quest for truth and final destiny. We all can see how short-lived is this life. It’s important then to respect the freedom of every person since we know there is truth in what Jesus said: “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). Don’t we have that familiar saying: Research will find a way?

Monday, November 9, 2009


In our day we hear of accounts of kidnappings and requests for ransom. Is this a moral way of solving human problems? You do not right a wrong with another wrong. And what about the distress and anguish of victims and their relatives?

God's law tells us: "Do unto others what you want others do unto you" (Mt. 7:12). That also includes not doing to others what we do not want done to us. We must remember that God is also one who avenges us for our evil deeds. So it is written in God's word: "Never repay evil with evil but let everyone see that you are interested only in the highest ideals. Do all you can to live at peace with everyone. Never try to get revenge; leave that, my friends, to God's anger. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine -- I will pay them back, the Lord promises. But there is more: If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, and if he is thirsty, let him drink. Thus you heap red-hot coals on his head. (cf. Deut. 32:35; Ps. 21:21-22+).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No Imposing

While fishing, we do not force the bait into the fish’s mouth. The best way to sell something is letting people know by themselves how good a product or merchandise is. They can know if they are sincere enough. As Shakespeare in Hamlet once narrated: “to thine own self be true and it will follow as day follows night you will be true to every man”(Hamlet, Act i, sc. 3.)

The same with selling religious, political and legal matters. People can find for themselves which is true, effective and salutary for the whole person, body and soul. The fact that we are supposed to search for what is right and good is tantamount to say – ignorance of the law excuses no one. Whether or not people say all religions are the same, we must be sure of our eternal destiny by not relying on just anybody’s opinion but in all justice and sincerity seek for what can bring us to our eternal destiny. With all the confusion and deception in the world we have to seek for the reality of things, that is, the truth and nothing but the truth.

Find out for yourself how true is that Person who said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Because He is the Savior of the world.