Monday, October 29, 2012

Deeper reminder of realities

As we trudge on in this passing journey of life let us not forget realities.  After all, we do not want to waste our lives in wasteful or useless pursuits.  Like in traffic jams we do not wish to be stuck up or blocked somehow but ever desire to reach the true goals and end of our journey.  The guiding light we need is God’s word or the wisdom of sincere people, like our loved ones who truly love us.  We have to avoid the deception of false illusions that are like bubbles in the air that only fizzle and disappear, and so are like empty dreams.  God’s Word is like the everlasting light that guides us.

“With sweat on your brow shall you eat your bread, until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it.  For dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19).  The world, if enslaved to earthly riches, may be endangered by the perils of violent clashes and encounters which only lead to further loss of lives.  We must feed the world with maturer considerations that can help human beings control their wild emotions.  “He who meditates in the Law of the Lord day and night shall bear fruit in due time as a tree that is planted beside the water streams” (Ps. 1:2-3).  “Teach us to count how few days we have and so gain wisdom of heart” (Ps. 90:12).  Awareness of human weakness leads to wisdom, which is fear of God. (cf. Prov. 1:7+).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Signs (Mk. 16:16-20)

It is true and we do believe in freedom of religion (cf. Jn. 6:64-71).  The attitude of Jesus did not force others to follow or believe in Him but they did so on their own accord.  At the same time Jesus implied that we have to seek and search for what is true and right.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to 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…If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Mt. 7:7-11).

The signs and miracles narrated in the Catholic Church history or the lives of the Catholic Saints are all highly documented or recorded for those interested, especially the unbelieving.  You just follow the principle that Jesus states above in Mt. 7:7: “everyone who seeks always finds,” that is, if you sincerely seek for the truth, since God’s word can’t tell a lie.

Of course, part of the signs of the times is the steady number of Catholics inspite of negative hostilities both from inside or outside.  “These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; 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.  And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mk. 16:17-20).

Think about it.  Look for the signs!  After all, it is everyone’s right and privilege to seek for what is true, good and right.  Knowing how temporary and fleeting this life is, we desire to reach the kingdom of heavenly bliss where God waits for His faithful servants (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9).  “The things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9; Is. 64:3; Jer. 3:16).  So, think about it.  Look for the signs!

Friday, October 5, 2012

St. Therese of Lisieux

Such an exciting event when people gather for the Holy Mass and other festivities honoring the Oct. 1 feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  Many too eagerly expect the visit of her relics to the Philippines around the earlier part of year 2013, in various parts of the Phillipine Islands.  Such a humble and simple life of barely 24 years (1873-1897)!

Yet the depth of her life, teachings and writings has catapulted her to titles totally unexpected by her in such short and childlike life.  Her teachings, however, on the way of spiritual childhood have touched a chord in an important aspect of our Lord’s indispensable message of humility, which He repeats in the 3 synoptic gospels (Mt., Mk., Lk.).  Well no wonder the Lord repeats it several times because it is so important for happiness and perfection in our quest for the spiritual life.  “I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Lk. 18:17; Mt. 18:2; Mk. 10:15). 

If St. Therese of Lisieux has become such a popular modern saint because of her miracles and teachings and the additional spiritual titles of Mystic, Discalced Carmelite, Patroness of Mission, and Doctor of the Church, titles usually given to much older saints, we can just wonder and admire her veritable qualities and keep in mind always the truth of the Lord’s own words: “Anyone who humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; Lk. 18:14).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mary’s Intercession

Catholics deeply value Mary’s intercession in our spiritual life and in matters connected with our eternal salvation.  Perhaps this is one matter easily misunderstood by non-Catholics, why this recourse to Mary, the Mother of God.  Her being the mother of Jesus Christ who is of divine nature, is reason enough.  Before Jesus died He gave her to us as our mother (see Jn. 19:26-27).

We can be convinced by the evidence of her help and intercession.  If the fact of her intercession is a meaningless matter how come, from a recent Vatican report of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the present statistical number of Catholics worldwide is one billion and 181 million out of a world population of 6 billion and 698 million inhabitants?  We thank God for such number, in spite of attacks from non-Catholics or other religions, plus many pressing modern-day problems, the bride of Christ goes on humbly radiant and triumphant because that was the promise of Jesus to Peter, the first Pope.  “Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man!  Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.  So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.  And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:18-20).

Certainly whatever the situation of the Catholic Church today, we have to follow the spirit of the Founder who never looked down on others but always with love, humility, respect, and compassion.  Jesus gave importance to humility as when He often said: “Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt. 23:12).  Whatever the number of Catholics today, we should not boast for it but only say as St. Paul once said: “I am the least of the apostles…but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless” (1 Cor. 15:10).