Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mary Mediatrix of All Grace

We hear of the Lipa, Batangas apparitions at a Carmelite Monastery when Our Lady described herself as the Mediatrix of all grace. That was in 1984. With Jesus and under Jesus she holds an intercessory role to help us, poor and sinful mortals, reach our final destination and goal, the heavenly kingdom with God our Father, and His beloved Son Our Lord Jesus Christ. This title as Mediatrix is not contradictory but rather correlative to her many other approved titles which you find in her litany, for example, Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Mother of divine grace, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Mother of our Creator, Health of the sick, Help of Christians, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen of all saints… The early Fathers of the church, throughout their writings, saw in Mary the new Eve, which was mentioned in the Book of Genesis (3:15), and who was to be closely united in the work of Redemption with the new Adam, Christ, and as the first Eve was in truth the cause of the spiritual death for all humanity, so Mary is the cause of the supernatural life for the human race.

In May 3-7, 2005 a good number of Cardinals, Bishops, and prominent theologians gathered in Fatima, Portugal to attend the Symposium on Mary as Unique Cooperator in the Redemption. The Symposium was sponsored and directed by Cardinal Telephore Toppo, Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.S.S.R., Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, P.S.S., Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada. The topics included Mary’s role as Mediatrix, co-redemptrix and advocate.

Certainly, it is not contrary to God’s plan that a creature, close to the Lord in holiness of life, would be instrumental in man’s salvation. That was also clearly stated by the late Pope John II in his book: Crossing the Threshold of Hope (page 221). “On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ wil conquer through her, because He wants the Church’c victories now and in the future to be linked to her”. In fact the implication of the very last instruction of Jesus before His heavenly Ascension is that everyone of us (as one body of Christ, cf. 1Cor. 12) under guidance of the Church do our utmost in proclaiming and living the message of Jesus Christ. And if the principle is true-contra factum non valet argumentum (translate: You don’t argue against facts), as He had promised He will provide signs and wonders to accompany the work of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. You can only go over and invistigate the history of the Catholic Church and the many recognized saints of Christianity to see how the Lord gives His signs and miracles. “And he said to them, Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of toungues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick who will recover.’ (Mk. 16:16-20).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Infiltration, Positive and Negative?

Many times, in the realm of ideas, we talk of infiltration when we mean getting influenced or carried away by a set or type of ideas that may have effect in our type of behavior. Hence an ancient Latin saying runs like this: “Ideae regunt mundum” (translated: It is ideas that rule the world). I heard that quoted before by the late Archbishop Alberto Piamonte, of Jaro, Iloilo . Even the word ideology refers to ideas of an individual, group or culture. If infiltration in the dictionary generally refers to a substance or liquid gradually permeating into another, the same may apply to ideas of an individual, group or culture contaminating various groups or people, whether individual or taken together in classes or groups. To discern the veracity or falsity of the ideas, we must follow what God’s word tells us: You know the false prophets or teachers by their fruit as you would a sound or rotten tree by the good or bad fruit they produce (cf. Mt. 7:15). The Lord gives us a stern warning about deceptive teachers or prophets who come as if they were gentle sheep but only generate violence, confusion and division. Consider the many bloody conflicts or wars in the world that originated from false reformers. They pretended to be what they are not, that is why Jesus asks us to unmask their hypocrisy by looking at their fruits. So also does Christ’s Church evaluate their lives, whether they are humble or proud, truthful or liars, obedient or disobedient to legitimate authority in the Church or civil government. Ultimately, whether they follow Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life (cf. Jn. 8:12, Jn. 14:6), who at the Gethsemane garden prayed in this wise to His Heavenly Father: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine” (Lk. 22:42).

In the overt phenomenon of the diverse losses of holy vocations or heresies in the past and present time, it is but imperative that we evaluate our own spiritual situation. Are we sincerely seeking for the ‘truth that sets us free’ (Jn. 8:32)? That calls for much seriousness and truth in the heart. The prophet Jeremiah is so reassuring as he communicates God’s instruction to each of us—“When you seek me you shall find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Shakespeare in his play Hamlet was expressing an essential truth to counter any deep-seated hypocrisy in oneself: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man (Hamlet Act i, sc. 3).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Matter of Truth

(Everyone’s constant quest)

The Church’s stand on abortion and contraception, as well as on other important issues, is not just arbitrary but a matter of truth. It is not for uses to cover immorality, infidelities or sexual permissiveness. And the quest for the truth is obligatory for each and everyone of us. Church proof and credibility relies on objective truth and reality. Hence, the miracles accompanying the Church’s divine mission and her prominent saints, God’s servants, are always open to accurate investigation and documentation. These extraordinary marvels serve as God’s favorable signs of approval on Church fundamental teachings.

Who is afraid of the truth, if you are on the side of truth and right? But the person who is on the side of evil wants to cover his evil deeds that they may not be exposed to the light. “Everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God” (Jn. 3:20).

So the Church pro-life stand is based on our desire to fulfill God’s intent of providing praiseworthy citizens of earth and future citizens of our future homeland and goal – the kingdom of heaven. “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen. 1:28). In the enduring quest for truth one thing is important – sincerity. Jesus who never lies already assured us: “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. 7:8). “You will find me, yea, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Holy Trinity

(the Central Christian Mystery)

One God in Three Persons, is a central mystery of the Christian faith. It is a statement that defines God’s supreme perfection. There is no contradiction here since we do not say one God vis-à-vis 3 Gods, but One God in 3 Persons. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 3 Persons in One God, one divine nature. A shamrock flower is one flower with 3 petals, a triangle is a polygon that has 3 sides.

This is a statement regarding the very nature of our Supreme God. One recent saint, Saint Padre Pío was expressing: “Faith is not to be argued over, either you accept with your eyes closed, admitting the inadequacy of the human mind to understand its mysteries, or you reject it. There is no middle way. The choice is up to you.” (book, Padre Pío, the stigmatist, written by Fr. Charles Mortimer Carty). Even the great St. Augustine , who wrote volumes on this very mystery, stood in awe before this awesome nature of God’s perfection – One God in Three Persons.

When Jesus, God’s Son, made the statement: “The Father and I are one” (Jn. 10:29), the Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God’ (Jn. 10:31). The claims to godhead by Jesus was clearest when he answered in the affirmative the decisive question by the high priest Caiaphas: “I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God” (Mt. 26:63). Jesus rose from the dead, 3 days after His Crucifixion. Saint Madre Maravillas de Jesus, OCD, a Spanish Carmelite, famed for her miracles, has this to say: El hacer milagros es como el ultimo esfuerzo del Señor y de su Madre para abrir los ojos a las criaturas y fortalecer la fe (translate: The working of miracles is like a final attempt by Our Lord and His Mother to open the eyes of creatures and to strengthen the faith.).