Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Christ’s Arms and Alms

One of the things we should do on Lent is almsgiving. Together with prayer and penance, the Church asks us to give alms to our less fortunate brothers.

So why almsgiving in Lent?

Lent is about the commemorating the Passion of Jesus. And the Passion of Christ is not just about pain and suffering, it is about love. Christ loves us so much that He is willing to pay for our sins and die for us. His passion is His total gift of Himself to us. So you can say that Lent is commemoration God’s love for each and one of us through Christ.

"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)

If God gave, so should we.

Giving alms is not a “get-out-of-purgatory” or “get-out-of-hell” card. It is not something you do mechanically, because love is not something you do mechanically.

Giving alms is something we do because we love God and our neighbor. When we give something to the least of our brethren, we do it to Christ Himself.

And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:40)

When we give alms to the poor, it must NOT come from pity, but from a loving heart.

"The poor do not need our sympathy and our pity. The poor need our love and compassion" - Mother Teresa

Pity looks down on the poor, love lifts them up. Giving alms is not just giving money or whatever, it is about giving our very self to our brothers and sisters. That is the reason that the Church suggest that what you save in your fasting you give to the poor. In doing so, what should be yours (your meal -which you worked for), is given away. You give not from your excess, but from your own need.

"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." – Mother Teresa

This lent, we must be Christ's arms...reaching out in love.

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why All the Sacrifice?

In a convenient and pleasure obsessed culture, sacrifice is not a popular word. Sometimes, people who make sacrifices are looked down on, pitied. The convenient and pleasure junkies see sacrifices as something unnatural, restricting, and even as a psychological problem. When a mother sacrifices her career to take care of her children, they see a woman robbed of her dreams and chained to her children. It is such a sad way of looking at LOVE.

Love without sacrifice is empty. I don’t know if you can call it love at all.

Lent is a time of sacrifice. Why? Because it is the season where we not only remember, but enter into the Sacrifice of God Himself.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

Typically we make sacrifices for two reasons. First, to give up what is not good for us. Second, to sacrifice the good for something better.

A smoker sacrifices his cigarette to save his health. A mother sacrifices her career to raise her children. Or a young man sacrifices all his personal ambitions to answer God’s call to priesthood.

During Lent, we are asked to give up some things or actions. Why? For the health of our soul. The first thing we should give up is sin. Sin makes you miserable, sin kills! Sin is a cancer that you should not hold on to.

We are also asked during Lent to give up some of our attachments, like our favorite food, thing to do, etc… Giving up these little things helps us to practice self-control. In this culture where everybody is “doing their thing” regardless of their consequences, self-control is a gem. Self-control goes a long way if you want a happy life. A person who has no self-control will be controlled by the objects of his affection.

These little “giving ups” also leads us to detachment. And detachment is very important if you really want to love.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25

The more we are detached to objects, the more we can attach ourselves to God. The more we are detached to objects, the more we can share them to our neighbor.

Real love always put other’s first. It put God first, our neighbor second, and us last. Love always looks outward, not inward. It is not obsessed in pleasing itself, but giving itself to others.

All our sacrifices during lent, big or small, is there to lead us closer to God and our neighbor. They are not empty actions one does for the sake of doing it.

If your sacrifices are not leading you to love God and your neighbor more, then you are just wasting your time and punishing yourself.

Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From Porn Sites to Christ’s Light

I grew up in a Catholic family and attended 3 Catholic schools, unfortunately I was a certified “lukewarm Catholic” when I hit my 20’s. It was in my 20’s that my immoral life went to another level. I was addicted to porn and was practicing pre-marital sex. I also accompanied my former boss, who was married, go out to strip clubs and “spas.” I was working as a web designer then for an online gambling company, and do porn websites on the sides.

My life then was all about me. I sought all the pleasure the fallen world could give. I lived in mortal sin, and I was not repentant about it. (Thank God, I did not die back then.)

But God did not quit on me. With God’s mercy and grace, and with the prayers of my uncle, I had a conversion experience before my 26th birthday. It was 3 events that led me back to Christ and His Catholic Church.

The first event was when I first read Chicken Soup for the Soul #2. I remembered crying as I read the stories about people who gave themselves to others on that book. For the first time in my life, I realized that life is not about selfishness, it was about self-giving, it is about love. And I also realized that my selfish ways of life was wrong and I have to change.

I started reading inspirational books, and staying away from Catholic literatures. I was still attached to my sins and I don’t want to be confronted about them. I knew if I started reading Catholic literature, I could not plead ignorance anymore, I knew how hard it is to be a real Catholic. And I did not want that.

The second event was when I bought a book about Mother Teresa’s life. I thought it was harmless enough. But I was wrong. I also cried as I read that book. After reading that book, I knew that I wanted to serve the poor for the rest of my life. And I also realized that I would need Jesus if I wanted to do that. Mother Teresa was straight forward in saying that it was Jesus who gave her strength to do what she did, and I wanted that strength for myself.

So that is when I started to go back to the Catholic Church. I knew in my heart that I will find Jesus in His Church, which is also His Body. So I started watching EWTN on cable and reading a lot of Catholic books. It was the first time I really got Catechize. It was the first time I understood what it means to be a real Catholic. I also started going to Mass more often.

The last event was when I was in an evening Mass in St Francis Church in Mandaluyong. I believe it was after I received communion and I was kneeling at the back that I had this clear and profound realization, that God created me, therefore He owns me. And the logical thing for me to do was give Him back my life. And so I did… in tears.

God gave me a lot of opportunity to make amends/reparation for the selfishness and sins I have committed and spread.

After that, for 4 years I was a volunteer of the Missionaries of Charity. I helped around the orphanage, teach Catechism to poor kids, and helped give medicines to the poor.

As for the sins I spread on the web, God led me to start my own blog website, www.inspirationalblogs.com. There I write about Jesus and Catholic spirituality. Every now and then, I get emails from depressed people who found the writings uplifting. It gets around 5,000 hits a month and have total hits of 73,000 since I started it last 2009. I also started last year http://www.youtube.com/catholicanimated, where I post Pro-life, Catechism and inspirational animations. It is now on 11,000 views.

My friends and I also have started a feeding program for malnourished public school students in Tanay, Rizal. We are on our second school year and feeding 70 kids. And every Christmas we give 200 malnourished kids and their family a Christmas party, groceries and toys (which started with 12 grocery bags given to 12 families 5 years ago.)

St. Paul says, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). No matter how far we have fallen to sin, God’s mercy can reach us. No matter how far deep we are in the darkness, Jesus can bring us back to the Light. Jesus can bring us back to Life.

I lived a miserable and empty life before I met Jesus. I did it “my way,” and my way sucks!

Lent is a time of Grace, a time of conversion, and at the end of it is the opportunity for a new life, a resurrection. All you need to have this new life is to ask, seek and knock on Jesus, and He will give it to you. He will give Himself to you. And when you have Jesus you have everything.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

By Daxx Bondoc
(An article for my former Parish newsletter)

Friday, February 17, 2012

On Tribulations -St. Rose of Lima

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: "Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven." When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: "Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul."

-- St. Rose of Lima

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is Life Living in You?

Life for some is just a series of daily routines. For others, it is seeking one thrill to the next. And there are those who just want to have fun in life like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, if you live life like them, you will find yourself drained in the end. Weariness and the fading of your intoxicating emotions will soon over take you. You will either give up out of fatigue, or seek another emotional high like an addict (and the vicious cycle continues.) And it all leads to one place, emptiness.

Like St. Peter we can all say “We worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing.” (Luke 5:5)

As much as we want to liven up our lives, our efforts will always be short-lived, for even we are short-lived. Everything is passing in this world, including us. So every attempt to create our own happiness, our own life, apart from God, will always end in vain.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1

So how do we live? I mean really live?

For any creature to live, it needs LIFE. Otherwise it is just a zombie, walking around aimlessly as life passes by.

Natural life is temporal and soon dies. So we need a life that is beyond natural, we need supernatural life. Supernatural life is always dynamic, it never tires nor bores. Most importantly it never gets empty.

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

So where do we find this supernatural life? The life that lives…

We shall not find it “where”, but with “Whom.”


Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

Only Jesus can liven up our lives. Only He can give us supernatural joy and peace, and ultimate meaning for our existence. For Jesus Himself is Peace, Joy and Life. To have Jesus live in us is to have all of them.

Only Jesus can lift our natural life to supernatural, our temporal life to eternal. Anything else will fall short. Anything else will pass away.

If Jesus dwells in us, we have the same dynamic power that created the universe living in us. Just imagine that!

You have not known what life is until you have known Jesus.

So don’t waste it.

Come to Him.

Written by Daxx Bondoc