Sunday, September 16, 2012

G.K. Chesterton on Democracy

This is the first principle of democracy: that the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately. And the second principle is merely this: that the political instinct or desire is one of these things which they hold in common. Falling in love is more poetical than dropping into poetry. The democratic contention is that government (helping to rule the tribe) is a thing like falling in love, and not a thing like dropping into poetry. It is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly. I am not here arguing the truth of any of these conceptions; I know that some moderns are asking to have their wives chosen by scientists, and they may soon be asking, for all I know, to have their noses blown by nurses. I merely say that mankind does recognize these universal human functions, and that democracy classes government among them. In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves--the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state. This is democracy; and in this I have always believed.

But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. Those who urge against tradition that men in the past were ignorant may go and urge it at the Carlton Club, along with the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones, like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross.

From Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Cannot be a Good Catholic and be Pro-SIN

What do you call a basketball player who dislikes dribbling? When he gets the ball, he just carries it and runs toward the hoop and shoot it, a good basketball player? I think not!

What do you call a citizen who disagrees with the concept of private property that he steals from other people, a good citizen? I think not!

What do you call a Catholic who supports and promote abortion, contraception and the liberal immoral homosexual lifestyle, a good Catholic? I think not!

Sadly, many Catholics believe they can go disobey Catholic teaching on Faith and Morals and at the same time be “good Catholics.” It does not really make sense, But somehow it does to them.

A good basketball player is the one who plays by the rules. A good citizen is the one who conforms to the law of the land. A good Catholic is the one who submit themselves to Teaching and the Magisterium of the Church. 

If you start breaking the rules, you stop being “good”. It is that simple. Yet somehow, many don't get it!

When the Church reminds her children to follow the rules or accept the consequences (all our actions have consequences… that is called the Law of Cause and Effect), the Church is accused of living in the “Dark Ages”. If the referee calls a foul when there is a foul, is the referee “living in the Dark Ages?” Or if a judge puts a thief in jail, is he “living in the Dark Ages?” It is the person who broke the rules is the one who placed himself in that situation, not the referee, not the judge and not the Church.

Once we enter in any kind of sports, country, organization or institution, we bind ourselves to their rules. If you decide to live in the Philippines and be a Filipino, you have bound yourself to the laws of the country. If you decided to be a basketball player, you have bound yourself to the rules of basketball.  If you have decided to be or remain a Catholic, you have bound yourself to Teachings of the Catholic Church. Common sense? Yes?

One does not shove his twisted logic into the Church so he can justify his sins. He cannot make the wrong, right and the right, wrong, for his convenience.  The Church will never bow down to his twisted logic. The Catholic Church was not founded to please sinners but to save them.  And the Church’s Truth can never be changed by anyone, for its Author is God… Truth Himself.

So you cannot be a good Catholic and be Pro-SIN.

Common sense will tell you that it is simple as that.

Get it?

I hope so.


Notes from the Catechism:

Homosexuality
2357: Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2396: Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.

Contraception
2370: Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil.

2399: The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

Abortion

2270: Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

2271: Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.

Additional Notes:
Canon 915: Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who OBSTINATELY PERSIST in MANIFEST GRAVE SIN, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CONTRACEPTION: FATAL TO THE FAITH by Fr. John Hardon

This must seem like a strange title, "Contraception: Fatal to the faith." What does the title mean? Does it mean that to believe in contraception is contrary to the faith? Or does it mean that-Christian believers may not practice contraception? Or does it mean that those who practice contraception are in danger of losing their faith?

Please be more clear on just what we mean when we say, "contraception, fatal to the faith?"

What do we mean by the title and what is the thesis of this presentation? We mean that professed Catholics who practice contraception either give up the practice of contraception or they give up their Catholic faith.

Needless to say, this is a startling statement that many would violently disagree with. They will point out the widespread practice of contraception among many--some would say the majority of professed Catholics in a country like the United States. They will quote from numerous professedly Catholic moral theologians openly defending contraception. They will give you the pronouncements of whole conferences of bishops who claim that contraception is really a matter of conscience. Those who sincerely believe that contraception is morally permissible may not be told they are doing wrong; they may not be debarred from receiving Holy Communion; in fact, they need not even have to confess the practice of contraception when they go to confession.

We return to where we began, to make clear what we are saying. We affirm in this conference that the deliberate practice of contraception between husband and wife is objectively a mortal sin. Those who persist in its practice are acting contrary to the explicit teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. They may protest that they are Catholic. They may profess to be Catholics. But their conduct belies their profession.

Someone may object that we are living in a contraceptive society. Moreover, the silence of so many bishops and the overt teaching of so many nominally Catholic moralists defending contraception forbids our saying that contraception and the Catholic faith are incompatible.

In the light of all the foregoing, let me address myself to the following topics which collectively prove the underlying thesis of this lecture.

      + The Catholic Church teaches infallible doctrine, both in faith and morals.
      + This infallible teaching is done by the Church's extraordinary and by her ordinary universal authority or magisterium.
      + The grave sinfulness of contraception is taught infallibly by the Church's ordinary universal teaching authority.
      + Therefore, those who defend contraception forfeit their claim tobeing professed Catholics.
      + Consequently, those who persist in their defense of contraception, deprive themselves of the divine graces which are reserved to bona fide members of the Roman Catholic Church.



THE CHURCH TEACHES INFALLIBLY ON FAITH AND MORALS

There is some value in explaining that the Church's infallibility covers not only doctrines that are to be believed, like Christ's divinity or His Real Presence in the Eucharist. No, the Church also, and with emphasis, also teaches infallibly what the followers of Christ are to do.

In His final commission to the Apostles, Jesus told them to teach all nations, "to observe all that I have commanded you."

To mention just one infallible teaching in the moral order: the permanence of the marriage bond. Emphatically, the Church's irreversible doctrines include truths that we are obliged to believe. But they also include precepts that we are universally bound to obey.

This deserves to be emphasized. Why? Because there are nominally Catholic writers who are claiming that the Church's gift of infallibility extends only to her teaching of the faith. It does not, so the claim goes, include grave moral obligations like the prohibition of adultery, sodomy or contraception. That is not true.

TWO FORMS OF INFALLIBLE TEACHING

What are the two ways in which the Church teaches infallibly? She does so whenever the Pope solemnly defines a dogma of the faith, as when in 1950 Pope Pius XII declared that Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

But the Church also teaches infallibly whenever her bishops, united with the Pope, proclaim that something is to be accepted by all the faithful. Thus abortion was condemned as murder by the Catholic hierarchy, under the Pope, already in the first century of the Christian era--and ever since.

It is therefore infallibly true that abortion is a crime of willful homicide. So, too, the grave sinfulness of homosexuality is infallible Catholic teaching.

INFALLIBLY TRUE THAT CONTRACEPTION IS A MORTAL SIN

We return to where we began, to the subject of contraception. It is infallible Catholic doctrine that contraception is a mortal sin? Yes!

How do we know? We know this from the twenty centuries of the atholic Church's teaching. Already in the first century, those who rofessed the Catholic Faith did not practice either contraception or bortion, which were commonly linked together.

The people of the pagan Roman Empire into which they were born niversally practiced
      + Abortion
      + Contraception
      + Infanticide
      + Cohabitation of one man with either several legal wives, or with a plurality of concubines

In contrast with this moral promiscuity, Christians practiced onogamy, one man with one woman; they did not use drugs to prevent conception; they did not kill the newborn children whom they did not want to live; they did not practice sodomy or prostitution; and for the Christian, adultery and fornication were grave sins that might require several years of penitential expiation.

What do we call the Church's unbroken tradition in forbidding contraception? We call it her ordinary universal magisterium or teaching authority. This has always been considered a proof of infallibility, or from another perspective, irreversibility.

What do these two terms mean?

      + Infallibility means that God protects the Church from error in her         2000 years of teaching that contraception is a grave sin against God.
      + Irreversibility means that this teaching will never be reversed.         Contraception will remain a grave sin until the end of time.

TO DEFEND CONTRACEPTION FORFEITS THE CATHOLIC FAITH

As Christianity expanded, the inevitable happened. Once professed Christians lapsed into their former paganism.

We read in the first three centuries about the thousands of Christians who chose to be thrown to the lions, or beheaded, or crucified--rather than conform to the pagan immorality that was so prevalent in the culture in which they lived.

It is possible to misunderstand the Age of Martyrs of the first three centuries of the Christian era. We are liable to associate professing the Christian faith by refusing to drop a grain of incense before a statue of one of the pagan gods. No, the issue was much deeper and more serious. To be a Christian meant to refuse to conform to the pagan morality of those who did not believe in Christ. To be a Christian meant to reject the pagan immorality of the contemporary world--at the heart of which was the practice of contraception.


THE SITUATION IN THE MODERN WORLD

contraception as a general practice is a recent innovation in the western nominally Christian world.

Its rise is partly explained by the medical discovery of drugs which either prevent conception, or which destroy the unborn child in its mother's womb.

But the rise of contraception is mainly the result of a widespread propaganda by women like Margaret Sanger and the powerful forces of population control.

What have been the consequences of this return to prechristian paganism which is now "the law of the land" in once Christian nations like the United States? The consequences are inevitable.

The once solitary defender of the sanctity of marital relations is now on trial for the profession of its Catholic faith.

In 1968, when Pope Paul VI published <Humanae Vitae>, the episcopal conferences of one country after another met in solemn session to pass judgment on the teachings of the Vicar of Christ.

Bishops in what we call the "Third World Countries" stood firmly behind the Pope's teaching. But the bishops of so-called developed countries, like the United States, or Canada, or France, or Germany, or Austria, or Scandinavia issued long documents that, to put it mildly,compromised the teachings of the Vicar of Christ.

What followed was as inevitable as night follows day. Once firmly believing Catholics became confused, or bewildered, or simply uncertain about the grave moral evil of contraception.

The spectacle of broken families, broken homes, divorce and annulments, abortion and the mania of homosexuality--all of this has its roots in the acceptance of contraception on a wide scale in what only two generations ago was a professed Catholic population.

CONTRACEPTION FATAL TO THE FAITH

We come back to where we started--by claiming that contraception is fatal to the Catholic Faith.

By divine ordinance, those who call themselves Catholic must subscribe to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church of which the Bishop of Rome is the visible head.

This Catholic Church now stands alone in the world as the one universal authority which condemns contraception as contrary to the will of God.

Within the Catholic ranks has arisen an army of dissidents who speak and write in defense of contraception. The sex-preoccupied Andrew Greeley of Chicago recently devoted a whole chapter of a book entitled, "That damned encyclical," referring to <Humanae Vitae>. This priest remains in good standing in ecclesiastical circles.

When the present Holy Father made his first pilgrimage as Pope to the United States, he pleaded in Chicago with the American bishops to do something over the scandal of so many Catholics on Sundays going to Holy Communion and so few going to confession.
 
All the evidence indicates that the core issue at stake is contraception. If contraception is not a grave sin, well then what is? And why go to confession if I am still in God's friendship although practicing contraception.

What is the new conclusion? That the single, principal cause for the breakdown of the Catholic faith in materially overdeveloped countries like ours has been contraception.

St. James tells us that faith with out good works is dead. What good is it to give verbal profession of the Catholic faith, and then behave like a pagan in marital morality?

RECOMMENDATIONS

The single most crucial need to stem this hemorrhage from the Catholic faith is for the Church's leaders to stand behind the Vicar of Christ in proclaiming the Church's two millennia of teaching that no marital act can be separated from its God-given purpose to conceive and procreate a child.

I make bold to say that the Catholic Church, the real Roman Catholic Church, will survive only where its bishops are courageous enough to proclaim what the followers of Christ have believed since apostolic times. But the bishops are frail human beings. They need, Lord how they need the backing and support of the faithful under their care. So I would like to close with a prayer:

"Lord Jesus, you ordained your Apostles as Bishops at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday night. We beg You to give our bishops the wisdom to see that contraception is fatal to Catholic Christians. Above all, give them the courage of Thomas a Becket and John Fisher, to stand firm against the demonic pressure to destroy the human family by contraception. Amen."


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Friday, August 10, 2012

Marriage, essentially

A philosophical reflection on what's wrong with the concept of same-sex marriage.




By: Richard Fitzgibbons

I have been an active debater on blogs in which the topic of same-sex “marriage” is discussed and contested. Recently I received a comment that might benefit from a reply that is sent far and wide, beyond the one blog. The issue raised is common and the answer clarifies in a philosophical sense why same-sex “marriage” should never be defended. Good-hearted people with no philosophical training are being taken in by the rhetoric that homosexuals have a “right” to marriage. The intent of this essay is to show unambiguously that not only is this untrue but also the granting of that supposed right will logically lead to harm to children and to social chaos.

Here is the comment from the advocate for same-sex “marriage”:

“I’d like to see you be more precise in your language. You use words like essence, purpose, and endpoint as if they meant the same thing. The purpose of marriage is to create a new, separate family that ends loneliness and provides a helpmate. Most of these new families produce children, but marriage doesn’t exist solely to create children.”

Now to my open letter to all who have an interest in the subject of same-sex “marriage”.

The essence of something tells us what it is. A children's ball for play has an essence because of the substance of which it is made, its shape, and its intended purpose. A ball like this is made of a substance that allows it to be bounced. It is round. And the intent of making the ball is play. The ball has an endpoint or purpose, that of enjoyment, play or fun. So, essence (what a thing is) differs from, but is connected to, its purpose or its function. If a person says that a square block of wood is a ball (what it is or it's essence) this just will not do because a square block of wood cannot achieve the purpose for a child that a true ball can. To give a child a square block of wood and then to tell that child it is a ball and to create the expectation that the child should now play with it in a way that he or she does with a true ball is to invite confusion. If we persisted in insisting that the wooden square was a round ball, this will bring frustration and unhappiness to the child.

Now to our discussion of same-sex “marriage”. The essence of marriage (what it is) has always and without exception been this: man and woman in a loving, committed relationship. The endpoint or purpose of marriage has always and without exception been this: mutual loving support of each other and -- and -- the creation and support of children. Just as a particular children's play-ball can have defects in structure, so too can any given marriage. These defects for particular play-balls or marriages do not change the fact of what the ball or the marriage are in their essence. If a particular man and woman choose not to have children, they are not availing themselves of the full purpose of marriage. The parent who puts the ball on a shelf and refuses to let the child play with the ball is not fulfilling for the child the full purpose of the ball. In either of these particular cases, the essence of marriage and the essence of the play-ball are not altered by particular uses or purposes that are idiosyncratic to these particular circumstances. The particular does not alter the universal essence of a thing.

You are asking society to change the essence of marriage, what it is at its core.

So what? you may be asking.

This. As you change the essence of marriage, you invariably change its purpose because essence and purpose are closely connected. You inevitably remove from the purpose of marriage this: the creation and support of children. Note carefully that you have done precisely that in your comment.

You then are left only with this as the purpose of marriage: mutual loving support of those entering into marriage.

How does the new purpose (it is new because part of the traditional purpose of marriage is deliberately eliminated) affect the essence of marriage (what it is at its core)?

Here is the punchline, so please read very carefully: If the purpose of marriage is only mutual loving support, it follows clearly and unambiguously that the essence of marriage can and must include polygamy, polyandry, and man-boy "love". Why? Because each of these social structures fits within the definition of your purpose for marriage with no contradictions whatsoever. By defining the purpose of marriage as you have, you have changed its essence and allowed for some very strange social structures, such as man-boy "love", of which you probably do not approve, but must logically accept.

What if you then say that you will alter the essence again and restrict the mutual love to only two adult people? You cannot do that logically.

Let us first discuss the issue of “two” and then turn to the issue of “adults”. Once you have reduced the purpose of marriage to the mutual loving support of those entering into marriage, "two" becomes what philosophers call an "accident" of a thing, something not necessary to the essence. It is like insisting that a ball always be red. Redness is an accident of the ball, not part of its essence because a blue or yellow ball still retains all of the essence of what a ball is. Similarly, 19 men and 5 women who come together willingly in mutual loving support completely fulfill your made-up essence and your made-up endpoint: what a marriage is and its purpose.

Now let us turn to the issue of “adults”. If you claim that any adults (man-man or woman-woman) have a right to marriage -- and you must accept any combination of adults by your own definition of marriage as we have seen in the above paragraph -- there is nothing to stop society from extending that “right” to consenting adolescents and children. After all, what right does anyone have to block the “wants” of children and adolescents who choose as their “right”, the “right to marry”? It is arbitrary to block their wants-as-rights if the wants of two men or two women or 19 men and 5 women are not blocked by society. You would be depriving them, based on your own words, of creating “a new, separate family that ends loneliness and provides a helpmate.” A 10-year-old fits this definition of your own making.

You might then say this: Well, the limitation of two persons must be arbitrary for heterosexual marriage also. No, it is not. Recall a vital purpose of marriage: to create and nurture children. Notwithstanding the methods of today’s reproductive technology, ultimately only one man and one woman can create a child. Research shows that the child is nurtured best with the mother and the father. The union of two is part of the essence of true marriage.

You might then say this: Well, the idea of only adults must be arbitrary for heterosexual marriages, too. No, it is not. Recall a vital purpose of marriage: to nurture the children. Only adults can do that because part of the essence of “adult” is maturity -- greater maturity than children or adolescents have. Please recall that if particular adults lack maturity, this defect does not take away from the universal meaning of the word “adult”. Only one man and one woman can both create and nurture children in a reliable way. “Adults and adults alone” is part of the essence of true marriage.

Whoever was confused about the “rights” of two men to marry or two women to marry, I ask: Are you still confused? If you are not, then what is the logical next step to protecting the essence of marriage and the clear purpose of nurturing and protecting children in that context? As you can see, and this is the logic of it, not my opinion only of it, the alternative is to invite social chaos. The alternative is a failure to protect children, as marriage has traditionally had as one of it’s purposes.

Richard Fitzgibbons is the director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in West Conshohocken, PA. He has practiced psychiatry for 34 years with a specialty in the treatment of excessive anger. He co-authored Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, 2000, for American Psychological Association Books.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

When Our Emotions Run Dry Towards God

Have you ever experienced wanting to love God more but you feel so empty that it seems you have nothing to give? Or you want to walk with Him but somehow you don’t have the strength to do so?

For some there comes a time that you feel no more emotions towards God. And your will power has failed you.

And all that remains is emptiness.

…dryness.

There comes a time in our life that our relationship with God is less like taking a ride with Him, but pushing a car that ran out of gas. You stop feeling the exhilaration of the ride and just feel the weight of the car as you push it… up hill.

And yet we know that we have to move forward. Towards Christ.

To stop is to quit on God. To leave Him hanging.

We can’t get out of the car and leave Jesus there because it does not feel good anymore.
When our well runs dry, God asks us to go beyond ourselves. He asks us to go beyond our current faith, current hope and current love.

How do you know you really have faith in God?

When you have no more reason or evidence to trust Him but still chose to do so.

How do you know you really have hope in God?

When you have lived in the darkness for so long yet you choose to believe that dawn will come.

How do you know you really love God?

When everything falls apart and you still choose to worship Him.

Most of our faith, hope and love for God is mixed with selfishness to different degrees. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we shall realize that the quality of our relationship with God is somehow dependent on how much we get out Him.

Some decide to a “person of faith” because they think that faith will help them get what they want. Their faith is not really much having a relationship with God, rather it is a way of using faith to get to God to benefit themselves.

Others love God because they expect God to love them back by giving them what they want. As long as God give them what they want, they shall continue to profess their love for God, to Him and to others.

Some people do the “Works of the Lord” because they are searching for meaning in life. That is not bad, but it could be better. You do the “work” out of love.

Emotional dryness can help us purify our faith, hope and love. Not only to God but to others as well. Dryness can help strengthen our wills. It is in our will that choices are made. We might always be in control of our emotions, but we are always in control of our decisions.  And we always have to choose God even if our emotions say otherwise.

Even thought faith, hope and love is supernatural gift from God, it is also a choice on our part. The gift can be accepted and cultivated, or rejected and thrown away.

So what do we do when dryness comes?

We “choose” do what we “know” we should do.

If we don’t feel like pray, pray. If we don’t feel like serving others, serve. If we don’t feel like going to Mass, go.

Once we have overcome our own sluggish emotions and selfishness, we shall be free to love.

Even in the desert, life can be found.

"We should be grateful to the Lord our God, for putting us to the test, as he did our forefathers. Recall how he dealt with Abraham, and how he tried Isaac, and all that happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia while he was tending the flocks of Laban, his mother’s brother. Not for vengeance did the Lord put them in the crucible to try their hearts, nor has he done so with us. It is by way of admonition that he chastises those who are close to him".
Judith 8:25-27

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Famine of Truth


One of the things people are confused these days is truth. Many think that truth is something that man makes, and not accept. And he has made a lot of so-called “truths” out there that the common man is confused what to believe in.

But truth is not made in the hands of man, but in the heart of God. God reveals Truth, man is only to accept or reject it.

Because of our ignorance of the truth and most of all our apathy towards it, we have made our society unstable and shaky.

Truth is the building block of everything. All scientists, engineers, architects or any kind of builders must submit themselves to the truth of math and science. Imagine an airplane engineer who rejects the Law of Gravity. Just think of the planes he will build. Would you ride that plane? If an architect has rejected the laws of math and physics, would his building stand or fall? Would you like this architect to build your house?

It is no wonder our society is in chaos and falling apart. There is no Truth to hold it together.

So why is there a famine of truth?

Because we have rejected God, who is Truth, and His Church, the voice of His Truth.

Because God’s Truth is demanding, man has searched for other sources of truth. Truths that are pleasing and convenient to himself. Even if they are not true. And so man has wandered to seek “his” truths, the truths he likes. And the more he wanders off away from God’s truth, the more he loses THE Truth within himself. He is now filled with different so-called truths that contradict themselves. He is now neither pleased nor convenient but miserable.

When he rejected God’s Truth, he unknowingly had thrown joy out of the window. For real joy abides in Truth. No Truth, no joy. You can never be really happy until you know the truth about yourself. And that truth is that you are made for God. You are made to be holy. You are made for self-giving love. Apart from His Truth, there is only poverty.


Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD,
when I will send famine upon the land:
Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water,
but for hearing the word of the LORD.
Then shall they wander from sea to sea
and rove from the north to the east
In search of the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
-Amos 8: 11-12

If you feel like you are in a famine, desperate and joyless, maybe because you have deprived yourself of the Word of God… the food of our being.
The Word is waiting for you to come to Him.

Jesus, the Word made flesh.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How Do You Take God’s Love: With Attitude or Gratitude?


Taking something away can be an act of love.

Really?

Imagine a child who likes to eat chocolates before going to sleep. His mother, knowing that those chocolates will ruin his teeth, will take them away. It was an act of love on the part of the mother. But how would the child react to it?

First, the most common, would be he will get angry. The child might think that his mother is being wicked because she is taking away the source of his pleasure. Or he might think that his mother is a dictator who wants to impose her rules on everyone.  Or he might think that he is being punished by something he did before.

Second, a rarity, would be that the child would be grateful. He sees and understands the action of his mother. He understands that his mother has to take away what pleases him for a greater good… saving his teeth.

Most of us only think that God loves us when things are going our way or when we get what we want. As long as everything is pleasing to us, we feel loved by God.

But God’s love goes beyond what is pleasing to us. God’s love goes beyond our selfishness.

God’s love wants the best for us, even if we don’t want it for ourselves.  God want to save our life in this lifetime and most especially in the next. He will take away want needs to be taken away to save us. Like a mother taking away a chocolate to save her child’s teeth. Or a doctor cutting away a cancerous foot to save the whole leg.

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” – Matthew 18: 8-9

God is love. He does not just act loving, He is love Himself. Nothing comes out of God except love. So everything He wills or permits come from His love.

Our pains and suffering were permitted by God’s love for reasons only we shall know when we are with Him in heaven.

God continually heals us from our fallen nature, from our sins. And sometimes, part of the healing process is something being taken away. To heal the alcoholic, one must take away the source of his disordered pleasure and addiction, the alcohol. The alcoholic cannot completely recover until he is to sacrifice his alcohol.

Maybe God is taking something from us right now to bring us to a better place, or to make us a better person, or to save our souls.

God will not take something away from you just for the heck of it. He loves you too much to mess with you.

So in abundance or desolation, let us be grateful.

For we are eternally loved by God. And that will never change.

So let your attitude be of gratitude.

It’s the way to happiness: Contemplate the Trinity

It is time to shout to the world that the Trinity is first and foremost joy and happiness. And contemplating the Trinity can overcome the great unhappiness of the world.
God is happy! St. Augustine says that God is happy and makes people happy. Happiness is part of the very mystery of his being. Being the highest good, he is also the highest and infinite happiness. St. Francis of Assisi exclaims, “You are joy; You are … joy” in his “Praises of God.”
God is happiness for the very same reason that the Trinity is happy: because he is love. Happiness, in fact, is to love and be loved. God, from all eternity, loves his Son with an infinite love, and the Son returns that love with an equally infinite love. The Father finds “all his pleasure,” that is, his happiness, in him. Since God is happy, he does everything that he does with joy: he creates with joy (see Job 38:7), he saves with joy, and he even suffers with joy.
The Holy Spirit, pouring the love of God into hearts (see Romans 5:5), at the same time pours into them the happiness of God that is inseparable from this love. Because of that, one of the first fruits that is produced in our souls is joy (see Galatians 5:22). The happiness of God is like an overflowing river “whose streams make glad the city of God” (Psalm 46:4), i.e., the church.
We all want to be happy. Just hearing the word “happiness,” people perk up, so to speak, and look to see if, by chance, you are able to offer something for their thirst. This is the one thing that unites all people, without exception, whether they are good or evil. No one, in fact, would be evil if he or she did not hope to be happy through that evil thing.
We carry the desire to be happy engraved on our hearts, because God has created us in “his image and likeness,” and since he is perfect happiness, he made us for happiness too.
But then, we ask ourselves, why are so few people truly happy? And even those who are, why are they happy for such a short time? It is not difficult to discover where the error lies. Scripture tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8); people have believed they can reverse the statement and say, “love is God”! Revelation tells us that God is happiness; again people invert the order and say, “Happiness is God”!
But what happens when we do this? Human beings do not know happiness that is pure, absolute, eternal, and transcendent, just as they do not know absolute love. They know fragments of happiness, which are often reduced to temporary intoxications of the senses, joys that are like fragile glass that always risks being shattered into fragments from one moment to another. In this way people deify the experience of joy and make it an idol.
This explains why whoever seeks God always finds joy, while the person who seeks joy does not always find God, but often finds only broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Augustine says, “you have made us and drawn us to yourself.” It is the whole Trinity that has made us; the Trinity is the Creator-God of Christians. We have been made for the Trinity, and our hearts will be restless until they rest in it.
Written by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a well-known Franciscan Capuchin preacher and writer. This is adapted from his book, Contemplating the Trinity, a series of meditations given to the papal household of John Paul II. Click here to read an excerpt.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Do It Anyway" - Mother Teresa

 “a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta.”

"Do It Anyway"

People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Way of Seeing Everything: A Gift from God

By Peter Kreeft

This way of looking at things, as gifts and signs rather than simply as things in themselves, is not our usual way of seeing. Try this new way for just one hour and see the difference it makes. See the sunrise not as mindless, mechanical necessity bit as God’s smile. See a wave not just as tons of cold salt and water crashing down on the shore but as God’s playful action. See even death as not just a biological necessity but as God’s tucking us in our bedtime so that we can rise to new life in the morning

This is not a trick we play on ourselves or a fantasy. This is what the world really is. It is just as true to say that every snowflake is a gift of God as it is true to say that every cent is a father’s inheritance is a gift to his children. It is just true to say that every leaf on every tree is a work of art made by the Divine Artist with the intention that we see it, know it, love it, and rejoice in it, as it is true to say that every word in a lover’s letter to his beloved is meant to be seen, known, loved, and enjoyed. This is not fantasy. What is fantasy is the horrible habit the modern world has gotten itself into, the habit of thinking that what the world really is is only atoms and chance, only what the senses and science reveal and everything else is mere subjective fancy.

(Excerpt from “The God Who Loves You”)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Eucharist: Heaven Kisses Earth



What the Church and the Saints say about the Eucharist

Music by Matt Maher, "The End and the Beginning"

Created by Daxx Bondoc

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is God Just Your Spare Tire?

Do you treat God like a spare tire? Do you only remember and bring Him out when you get flat on your face or hit flat broke?

Sadly, most of us are guilty of it.

Maybe the world has no direction and is lost because we put the One Person Who should be in the driver’s seat locked up at the back of the trunk. And the blind have taken over and causing havoc all over the place. The world is full of blind drivers pretending to know where they are going and taking other blind people along the ride. No wonder the world is messed up.

The last thing you want to be driving your life is a blind sinner (that is us by the way).  Our sins and selfishness are like cataracts in our eyes. Sinners are short-sighted, the length of their vision is only as far as themselves. It is hard to know where you are going when you only see yourself all the time.

I guess that is why God permits us to get flat… on our face or broke.  When you are speeding yourself towards a cliff, a flat tire is a life saver. Maybe God permits crisis to save your life from falling into eternal damnation.

We sinners have a tendency to focus on getting what we want that we don’t see anything else other than the object of our desire. We don’t see the dangers along the way and most of all the dangers after gaining it. You have been running towards the top obsessively that you did not see that there are no more steps under your feet. You crash down and find yourself broken.

God sometimes sends obstacles along the way to stop us on our deadly track. He stops us so we can take a breath and think which way we are going. Are we going our way, or are we going The Way. The Way that is Jesus.
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." – CS Lewis
God knows that there is only “One Way” for us to have “The Life”. That Way and Life is Himself. He alone can drive us towards Himself. He alone can give joy to our lives, in this one and on the next.
"Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen
God is not your spare tire, He is the car that will carry you to Eternal Bliss. He is also the Driver to get you there. But He is also the Way and the map (Jesus’ life is our guide to salvation). We are all just willing passengers. We follow whatever He tells us.

God is not our spare tire, nor do we want to be spared of Him.

He alone knows where each and one of us is going.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Write Your Love On My Heart (Matt Maher)




"Write Your Love On My Heart"

I'm waiting for a miracle
I'm waiting for a star to fall
I'm bankrupt and worn out
I need to know You're here now

When I've got nothing left to say
And I don't know how to pray
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
When I struggle just to feel
And I wonder if You're real
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Take this condemnation
And all of my frustration
Lift me out of the mud
Come and fill an empty cup

When I've got nothing left to say
And I don't know how to pray
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
When I struggle just to feel
And I wonder if You're real
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Cause Your love opens eyes to see
Your love breaks through walls that surround me
Your love cries out from the deep to save me

When I've got nothing left to say
And I don't know how to pray
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
When I struggle just to feel
And I wonder if You're real
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Quotes: Peter Kreeft

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quotes: Bishop Fulton Sheen

Unless You are Born Again in Water and Spirit…

You seldom hear Catholics use the word “born again”. Maybe because the word “born again” is often linked to Protestants. But “born again” or “being born again” is a Catholic word.

Why?

Because Jesus it came from Jesus.
“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5

And Jesus is the founder of the Catholic Church.

All of us Catholics became “born again” Christians when we received the Sacrament of Baptism. In Baptism, the sons and daughters of Adam dies, and are born again in water and Spirit as the sons and daughters of the God the Father. Baptism radically changes us. “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. (1272 of the Catechism)”

Of Water and Spirit

At the dawn of creation, water with the Spirit was the Father’s instrument of creation. 
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Gen 1:2
The Church has seen in Noah's ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it "a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.

The waters of the great flood
you made a sign of the waters of Baptism,
that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness. (1219 of CCC)

But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism.

You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh,
bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea,
to be an image of the people set free in Baptism. (1221 of CCC)

Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham's descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.  (1222 of CCC)

Salvation is a Free Gift

Catholics believes that Salvation and the incorporation to the Family of God is a “free gift” and cannot be earned. That is the reason, Catholics baptize infants. Since we can never earn salvation, why delay it?

We baptized Catholics must constantly remind ourselves of who we are. We are a new creation. We are children of the Father. Our very being was “marked” by God. And that “indelible mark” says we belong to Him.
But like any gift, salvation can be rejected. We can ignore the “mark” that is in us. We can be children who abandon their Father.

So if you are a baptized Catholic Christian, act like one.
If someone asks you (a Catholic) if you are a “born again Christian”, say, “Yes! We Catholics are the original born again Christians.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

If You are Looking for a Savior, All You Have to Do is Turnaround

Most of us suffer some kind of addiction, some substance, some emotional, and others psychological. You might not be addicted to drugs, but you might be addicted in another person’s arms. You might not be addicted to people, but you might be addicted to their praise. And you might not be addicted to pleasing people, but you might be addicted in pleasing yourself and getting what you want. Even Christians have the tendency go get addicted to the work of the Lord and not the “Lord of the Work”.

We humans always have the tendency to elevate a lot of things above God. We turn our backs at Him and walk towards what is less, thinking less would bring us more joy. A faulty logic we often buy.

When we turn our back to God, we turn our back to the Light. And what lies before us then is a dark shadow.  A shadow of the real life.

Repentance means a sincere turning away, in both the mind and heart, from self to God.

In a biblical context, repentance is recognizing that our sin is offensive to God. Repentance can be shallow, such as the remorse we feel because of fear of punishment (like Cain) or it can be deep, such as realizing how much our sins cost Jesus Christ and how his saving grace washes us clean (like the conversion of Paul).

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." was Jesus’ first sermon. In order to receive God’s grace and salvation, we must first realize that we are in need of it. Before God can lift us up, we must first realize we have fallen. Before the Healer can heal us, we must first admit we are sick. Before the Savior can set us free, we must first see that we are captives (to sin).

Repentance is not just a onetime event. Repentance is a daily action. For everyday, we have a tendency to put other things before God, which directly goes against the Commandment Jesus gave, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”

If you feel that all you see is darkness before you. Or your life is just a shadow of what it can really be. Maybe you are going in the wrong direction… away from the light… away from the life.

If your addictions are not bringing you joy in life…

Maybe you need to turn around.


“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." Acts 3:19



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What You Freely Receive, Freely Give

One way to see how deep our relationship to God is the fruits of our lives. Only a healthy plant can produce good fruits. Only a soul filled with love and grace can be fruitful.

Our relationship with God must not get stagnant in a “Give Me” state. Even though God told us to pray for our daily bread, He also commands us to proclaim the Gospel for the salvation of souls, in short, we are all called to mission.

We cannot get stuck as receivers in our relationship with God. We cannot get stuck doing whatever we are doing for God so we can feel good, that tends to be more of a self-service than actual service, self-love than self-giving love.

Real love goes out and give. After it receives, it gives it away. Real love does not accumulate but disseminate.

So ask yourself a question. Is your relationship with God is based on making yourself feel good? Or is it out of concern for others and the desire to love of God?

Is your relationship with God just lip service?
“If we cannot love the person whom we see, who can we love God, whom we cannot see?” – Mother Teresa

If are truly love God, we want to share in His mission. It is a compulsion that comes from a heart that is in love.
“Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” -  1 Corinthians 9:16

The Father asks us to pray, but He also commands us to work in the vineyard. Both are required to have a full relationship with God. And you don’t have to go far away to be missionaries. You can work on your own vineyard, your family. You can pray and offer sacrifices for those people who has no one to pray for them. You can use the internet to evangelize, that is not that hard. You can preach the Gospel in your own little way. Going to mission only means going out of yourself, your self-absorption, your own ego, to serve others.

If we have truly experienced God’s love, then we want to share it. It is that simple.
"The term 'laity' is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World." (#897 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prayer: It’s Not About Changing God’s Mind, But Ours


Praying to God is not like going to the ATM machine. Punch in the right numbers and “Caching!” Cash out!

Asking things from God in “Jesus Name” do not make what you are asking for magically appears. If you think that just dropping the Name Jesus you will get what you want, regardless if it is good for you or not, you are not praying, you are wishing on a genie. The Name of Jesus is not a magic spell you can use because you cannot use God.

If your daily prayers are filled with self affirmations how great you are to the point you are even telling God who great you are, that is not a prayer… that is a monologue.

Prayer is a conversation between 2 persons in a relationship. A relationship between the Almighty and the creature. The one Who knows more do the talking and the one who knows less do the listening. The One Who knows better lead and the other follows. A child does not tell his Father what to do. The child obeys his Father.

Prayer can be summarize in this simple sentence, “Not my will, but Your (God’s) will be done.”

And what is that “will?”

Love God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself.

Our prayer must come from an unselfish heart. Our petitions must be first for others and even those for ourselves must give glory to God. Why do we pray for daily bread? So we can be alive and give glory to God. Our prayer should always boomerang back to God.


WHAT IS PRAYER?
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy
"Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."
But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart?
He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer,
Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer.
"Man is a beggar before God."
(#2558-255 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Pruning of Pride

Today, society views pride as a virtue and not as what it really is… sin. Pride has become a sign of a person’s confidence and not of a soul’s weakness.

The Catholic Church has always and continues to teach that pride is one of the “seven capital sins.” Pride is the mother of all sin. It is the sin of sins. It was Lucifer’s pride that said to God, “Non serviam” (I will not serve). It was the pride of Adam and Eve of wanting to be gods themselves that (original) sin came to this world. Pride is hell’s favorite sin, for it was the pride of the fallen angels that created it.

In His love for us, the Father prunes our pride. For pride is a block to His grace. And the more we block His  grace, the less we become alive. Sooner or later, our soul will dry up.

A healthy plant is watered plant. A healthy soul is a soul filled with grace.

So the Father permits trials, crisis and pain to prune our pride. When our arrogant self-reliance is broken and we find ourselves eating dirt, we come to realize how weak we really are, and in desperate need of God’s help. Until we are helpless, we shall not cry out for help. Until we are brought down to our knees, we shall not bend them.

It is when we hit rock bottom that we open ourselves to the heavens. Out of the depths we cry for help. And in that place of humility, grace flows. When we stop relying on ourselves and solely on God, His power is made manifest in us.

“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9


And we shall be fruitful.

“Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Jn 15:1-2


(#2094 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
One can sin against God's love in various ways:
- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is Faith More Than Believing?

Having faith in God does not just believe that He exists. The demons and Satan himself knows God exist, and we can’t actually call them faithful to God.

Having faith in God not just mean believing in Him and His words, but realizing them. Making them real! It has no use in believing in God and setting Him aside in your life like everything else. There is no use hearing His words if we do not listen to it. Having faith in God is to accept that HE IS GOD! That means He owns you and you have to submit yourself to Him.

Having faith is to rearrange one’s life in accordance to God and His designs. Faith does not only happen in our intellect, but in our very being. To have faith is to obey!

Why is Abraham called the "father of all who believe"? Because he obeyed God even though God was asking something improbable.  At the ripe age of 99, God asked Abraham to move out of the city into the desert and make him the “father of all nations.” At pass 100 years old, God promised that we would bear a son. And Abraham believed.

The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment of faith. Why? Because God asked something impossible of her, virgin birth. And she believed and said “Fiat” (Be done to me according to your word).

Faith calls us to submit. Faith calls us to obey.  That is what real faith is.

If your faith is just something that happens in your head or in your mouth, chances are, it is not real.

For faith to be real, it has to be seen in our lives and our being. It cannot be “put under a basket”.

To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment. (#144 Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Search is Over: Love is Here!

The desire for joy, peace and love is deep within the human heart. Most of us have sought it. And most of us are left frustrated.

Many think that joy can be found in the ungodly. And so we try all the ungodly stuffs thinking it would make us happy. We commit one sin to the next hopping the next one would bring us happiness. In our search for joy, we have left ourselves miserable.

Many of us also believe that the world can give us peace. We presume that material wealth will automatically bring peace in our lives. We think that temporal security is the key to peace. But our effort in accumulating and preserving material wealth has only made us more anxious and fearful (of losing them.)

And our search of love, we have jumped from one wrong person to the next. Our desire for perfect and lasting love has only caused us to be heartbroken, again and again. We have sought the perfect in frail and weak creatures.

We have sought the divine in the human and in the world.

And we are disappointed.

Real lasting joy, peace and love can only be found in its Author.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  John 15:11

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

They can only be found in Him who is joy, peace and love Himself… Jesus.

"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator."
(#27 Catechism of the Catholic Church)




Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Rise Up" - Matt Maher



"Rise Up"

When you see the road ahead
That you've been down before
When you're halfway to nowhere
And you can't pay the toll

You're hanging onto mercy
Withered on the vine
With your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds
And your heart on the line

Open up your eyes…

You've got to rise up, rise up
When this life has got you down
You've got to look up, look up
When you search and nothing's found
My eyes have seen the glory of the love that's here and now
It's coming down
So rise up now.

When you're told that day is over
Long after the sun goes down
And your mind it keeps on racing
At the dreams that don't come 'round

When you don't know how to surrender
Cause your whole life's been a fight
When the dark holds you and you can't break through
Cause you haven't seen the light.

Open up your eyes…

You've got to rise up, rise up
When this life has got you down
You've got to look up, look up
When you search and nothing's found
My eyes have seen the glory of the love that's here and now
It's coming down
So rise up now.
Yeah rise up now,
Oh rise up now.

And all the lambs roar like lions
And all the prisoners breaking their chains
And all the poor find their treasure
Cause heaven is coming this way.
[x2]

Rise up, rise up
When this life has got you down
You've got to look up, look up
When you search and nothing's found
My eyes have seen the glory of the love that's here and now
It's coming down
So rise up now.
Yeah rise up now,
Oh rise up now.




Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What is the Life of Man?

Almost all of us search for what life is all about. What is its meaning? What is my meaning? Sadly, most of us define it by our own terms, or worst, by what the media and society dictate to us.

Man made definitions of the meaning of life will always be faulty. Why? Because man did not create himself. We are not the designer of our lives. We did not come to existence because we decided to, Someone else decided we should exist. Only that Someone can reveal to us what life is all about.

That Someone is “The” One. God.

Only in God can we find what life is all about because He is Life itself.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” – John 14:6
To find meaning outside God is to live a life prone to error and pain. Our human efforts will always fall short for we do not know who we really are. We do not know our fulfillment. And most of all, we cannot reach the fulfillment of our humanity by our own effort (that is why the New Age movement is a heresy.) Only God’s grace can do that.

Only God through Jesus can we truly live. Only in Jesus can we find life’s meaning. For Jesus is God’s revelation made flesh. In Jesus, God did not only reveal Himself to us, but revealed ourselves to us.

And what did Jesus revealed?

We were created to know and love God. And we cannot find life’s meaning outside of it.
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.(#1 of Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Let Your Beauty Shine

We live in times were everything can be artificial. And thanks to Adobe Photoshop, even beauty can now be reproduced artificially.

Since have somewhat got addicted to everything artificial, human beauty has also fallen to artificiality. Beauty is now what we see in the Media. Beauty that is been fabricated by the almighty Photoshop. Natural beauty, specially, the beauty from within is now being set aside on the shelf like an old picture.

Everybody wants to be beautiful. But we have pursued it outside the nature, our human nature. So our artificial beauty is also superficial beauty.

True beauty can only be found within our human nature. The beauty that God gave us when He created us in His Own Image. And God is beauty Himself.

So how do we find this beauty within?

We have to find the Person within, Jesus.

Only in Jesus can our true beauty shine. To shine like the Light of the World.

The more we let Jesus live in us, the more we become human. The more we are like Jesus, the more our human nature is restored to the beauty of its original creation.  Jesus is the most beautiful person in existence. It will be His beauty that will be shining through us.

To live without Jesus is to live without the Light. It is to live in darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. Darkness is also the absence of beauty. In the darkness there is only ugliness, for we were created to live in the Light of Heaven.

There is no real and lasting beauty apart from Jesus. Everything in this world passes, what is real today may be gone tomorrow.

Only the Eternal can give and preserve our beauty.

There is no beauty without Christ.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Spiritual Canticle


By St. John of the Cross

Dialogue between the soul (Bride) and Jesus (Bridegroom)

Bride
1. Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
You fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.
2. Shepherds, you who go
up through the sheepfolds to the hill,
if by chance you see
him I love most,
tell him I am sick, I suffer, and I die.

3. Seeking my Love
I will head for the mountains and for watersides,
I will not gather flowers,
nor fear wild beasts;
I will go beyond strong men and frontiers.

4. O woods and thickets,
planted by the hand of my Beloved!
O green meadow,
coated, bright, with flowers,
tell me, has he passed by you?

5. Pouring out a thousand graces,
he passed these groves in haste;
and having looked at them,
with his image alone,
clothed them in beauty.

6. Ah, who has the power to heal me?
now wholly surrender yourself!
Do not send me
any more messengers,
they cannot tell me what I must hear.

7. All who are free
tell me a thousand graceful things of you;
all wound me more
and leave me dying
of, ah, I-don't-know-what behind their stammering.

8. How do you endure
O life, not living where you live,
and being brought near death
by the arrows you receive
from that which you conceive of your Beloved?

9. Why, since you wounded
this heart, don't you heal it?
And why, since you stole it from me,
do you leave it so,
and fail to carry off what you have stolen?

10. Extinguish these miseries,
since no one else can stamp them out;
and may my eyes behold you,
because you are their light,
and I would open them to you alone.

11. Reveal your presence,
and may the vision of your beauty be my death;
for the sickness of love
is not cured
except by your very presence and image.

12. O spring like crystal!
If only, on your silvered-over faces,
you would suddenly form
the eyes I have desired,
which I bear sketched deep within my heart.

13. Withdraw them, Beloved,
I am taking flight!

Bridegroom

Return, dove,
the wounded stag
is in sight on the hill,
cooled by the breeze of your flight.

Bride

14. My Beloved, the mountains,
and lonely wooded valleys,
strange islands,
and resounding rivers,
the whistling of love-stirring breezes,

15. the tranquil night
at the time of the rising dawn,
silent music,
sounding solitude,
the supper that refreshes, and deepens love.

16. Catch us the foxes,
for our vineyard is now in flower,
while we fashion a cone of roses
intricate as the pine's;
and let no one appear on the hill.

17. Be still, deadening north wind;
south wind, come, you that waken love,
breathe through my garden,
let its fragrance flow,
and the Beloved will feed amid the flowers.

18. You girls of Judea,
while among flowers and roses
the amber spreads its perfume,
stay away, there on the outskirts:
do not so much as seek to touch our thresholds.

19. Hide yourself, my love;
turn your face toward the mountains,
and do not speak;
but look at those companions
going with her through strange islands.

Bridegroom

20. Swift-winged birds,
lions, stags, and leaping roes,
mountains, lowlands, and river banks,
waters, winds, and ardors,
watching fears of night:

21. By the pleasant lyres
and the siren's song, I conjure you
to cease your anger
and not touch the wall,
that the bride may sleep in deeper peace.

22. The bride has entered
the sweet garden of her desire,
and she rests in delight,
laying her neck
on the gentle arms of her Beloved.

23. Beneath the apple tree:
there I took you for my own,
there I offered you my hand,
and restored you,
where your mother was corrupted.

Bride

24. Our bed is in flower,
bound round with linking dens of lions,
hung with purple,
built up in peace,
and crowned with a thousand shields of gold.

25. Following your footprints
maidens run along the way;
the touch of a spark,
the spiced wine,
cause flowings in them from the balsam of God.

26. In the inner wine cellar
I drank of my Beloved, and, when I went abroad
through all this valley
I no longer knew anything,
and lost the herd that I was following.

27. There he gave me his breast;
there he taught me a sweet and living knowledge;
and I gave myself to him,
keeping nothing back;
there I promised to be his bride.

28. Now I occupy my soul
and all my energy in his service;
I no longer tend the herd,
nor have I any other work
now that my every act is love.

29. If, then, I am no longer
seen or found on the common,
you will say that I am lost;
that, stricken by love,
I lost myself, and was found.

30. With flowers and emeralds
chosen on cool mornings
we shall weave garlands
flowering in your love,
and bound with one hair of mine.

31. You considered
that one hair fluttering at my neck;
you gazed at it upon my neck
and it captivated you;
and one of my eyes wounded you.

32. When you looked at me
your eyes imprinted your grace in me;
for this you loved me ardently;
and thus my eyes deserved
to adore what they beheld in you.

33. Do not despise me;
for if, before, you found me dark,
now truly you can look at me
since you have looked
and left in me grace and beauty.

Bridegroom

34. The small white dove
has returned to the ark with an olive branch;
and now the turtledove
has found its longed-for mate
by the green river banks.

35. She lived in solitude,
and now in solitude has built her nest;
and in solitude he guides her,
he alone, who also bears
in solitude the wound of love.

Bride

36. Let us rejoice, Beloved,
and let us go forth to behold ourselves in your beauty,
to the mountain and to the hill,
to where the pure water flows,
and further, deep into the thicket.

37. And then we will go on
to the high caverns in the rock
which are so well concealed;
there we shall enter
and taste the fresh juice of the pomegranates.

38. There you will show me
what my soul has been seeking,
and then you will give me,
you, my life, will give me there
what you gave me on that other day:

39. the breathing of the air,
the song of the sweet nightingale,
the grove and its living beauty
in the serene night,
with a flame that is consuming and painless.

40. No one looked at her,
nor did Aminadab appear;
the siege was still;
and the cavalry,
at the sight of the waters, descended.