Jan 29, 2009

Short visits & prayers to the Blessed Sacrament



St. John Bosco (1888) did not make his boys do long prayers. Instead he encouraged short visits to the Blessed Sacrament & ejaculatory prayers (one liners).
With regards to the quick visits, Fr. Jimmy Hernandez from the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. shared this to me. A construction worker would use his lunch breaks to visit a nearby church. It took him half an hour to get there, so all that he can do is knell and pray, "Lord, this is Jose. I just dropped by to say hello." Then he'd hurry back to the site.

One day he had an accident and was hospitalized. When his friends stopped over, they found him laughing. He said the Lord stopped by saying, "Jose, this is the Lord. I just dropped by to say hello."

While most churches are closed when there’s no service precluding a chance visit, we can at least say an ejaculatory prayer like “O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise & all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.” as we drive by.

Jan 25, 2009

Being Jesus the husband & daddy

This morning, I read about 6 young women & their quest to serve God  in

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/01/21/DI2009012102496.html

Back in 1993, Albert Herbert  lists more than 20 visionaries & stigmatists in the book “The Visionaries –USA- Today”.  And you have probably seen the video “Marian Apparitions of the 20th Century” that documents our Lady’s “recent” apparitions in Zeitun, Medugorje, Kibeho, Garabandal & Akita.  Then there’s the 200+ who were canonized by the late John Paul II.  If you check out:  http://www.usccb.org/pope/canon.htm  , you’ll see quite a diverse population. 

I ‘ve heard of a family whose teenage daughter would go into a prayerful trance neither eating, sleeping nor doing anything else for hours, even days.  The family is keeping it quiet & understandably so.  And I’ve met people whom I or others consider saintly:  a pastor - Fr. McGreedy, a novice master - Fr. Cogliandro, a CEO of Fiat & a Carmelite nun.  There’s an aura, a refreshing joy, a deep & constant serenity about them.  It must be the transforming union with God referred to in spiritual theology.

What’s cool about it is that everyone is meant to be filled with God – maybe in that way or another.  When I sought how, Fr. Cogliandro, shared with me what the Lord told a perturbed Salesian sister in a vision.  “Live the present moment with love” was the Lord’s counsel to her.  And since I tend to pick up on the weird stuff (like St. Francis stripping), he suggested that I be “extraordinarily ordinary.”   It does not mean to be mediocre but rather, to be holy in an unnoticeable way by fulfilling my duties with great diligence.

I think this still holds true even now.  If I can be so united with Jesus, then that will be the best thing that I can be & do for my wife & kids as is written in John 17:19 “And for them I make myself holy, so that they may be made truly holy. “

May the Queen of all saints pray for the graces that we need to be saints today.

Jan 24, 2009

Watching the watchers - vigilance in youth orginazations

 Last Tuesday, I attended a mandatory seminar entitled “Protecting God’s Children” because I am going to participate in my parish’s CCD program.  There were tapes about pedophiles revealing their trade secrets. It alerted me on the need for vigilance even in church organized activities & groups.

Actually our vigilance begins at conception & through the more important formative periods: the first six weeks, six months & six years.  The first six weeks in when the brain develops so, the mother needs to get the right nutrition.  Six months after delivery is when the child gets impressions about the world – whether it’s harsh or inviting.  That message is communicated through touch (and maybe some Barney episodes).  The first six years is when the foundation is laid for social-development, those 8 stages presented by Eric Erikson,

After that period is when this seminar becomes relevant as we entrust our kids to the catechists, teachers coaches & even priests & religious.  Sad to say that molesters came from that trusted group.  There’s more material at www.virtus.org 

And we know from TV reports, how molesters befriend kids in the internet chat rooms.  My 9 year-old already chats with other players of Roblox & Adventure Quest.  So, one can monitor this by putting the PC in a public spot & with software that records the chat in the file that you can read later.  I googled “software monitoring chat tools” & found a lot of them.

May St. Michael the Archangel assist us in our watch.

Jan 21, 2009

Mental prayer - drab at first but awesome later

Last night, I managed to get a half-way decent mental prayer – or meditation.  I went to my blog site & clicked on the Mass Readings.  I just listened to them because it was too drab to read.

 Because I’m the priest of my domestic church, I need to get a jump start of spiritual juice every day.  Otherwise, I’ll slide into selfishness, vice & sin and end up yelling at the kids & resenting my wife.

 So, I struggle to make something out of this exercise.  After listening to the word & nothing’s flowing, I resort to techniques. 

 The first technique, called Ignatian, works when one is in a thinking mode.  One mulls over the reading & what the Lord might be saying.  Then one responds first with words, then with actions.

 The other way, called Sulpician, lends itself to feelings.  One tries to feel what the Lord is feeling & uses this in conversing with the Lord & then doing something about it.

 Then I intercede for my wife & kids.  That’s what priests do – become a go-between God & man.

 It does not have to take a long time,  The Salesians do 30 minutes, the Dominicans an hour & the Carmelites, 2 hours.  Maybe we can start with 5 minutes & bring it up to 15 minutes.

 It works for me so I thought I’d share.

Jan 20, 2009

A place to hear God better

While surfing the net, I read blogs about people discerning their religious or priestly calling. I always respond with encouragement; what do they have to lose – time, money, opportunities? As you can see, the seminary experience is still a vibrant part of my life even as I joyfully embrace being a husband & a father.

I entered the seminary after high-school though I wanted to enter earlier. For me, living & working for God alone is the best way to spend one’s life. In view of eternity, every career pales in comparison.

But after the first year, I felt uneasy. I confided this to my spiritual director who encouraged me to persevere. This happened every year & I was assured that doubts are normal. By the end of my 9th year of temporary vows, I had to decide to do them for good or not make them at all – at least not then.

Though I have been faithful to my vows, I do not have the “moral certainty” that I can be celibate for life. A priest suggested to make the vows regardless and just get laicized if needed. But I did not want to make promises that I am not sure of keeping. So, I bailed. It was hard starting over. I complained to God saying that I’ve given Him the best years of my life & now I cannot find a soul mate. After 12 years, I met her. I have marriage vows now & I know I can keep those. And those temporary religious vows that I made & kept gave me the best of both worlds. I speak highly of religious life & the priesthood to my children in case God wants to call them later.

So, if anyone wants to consider the seminary, know that it comes from the word meaning seed. The seed of God’s call needs a protective environment lest the evil one eat it like a bird or the cares of the world strangle it like weeds. The seminary is place to take care of this call, to hear it clearly & understand it. Sometimes, the call is temporary or is different. But if one goes there with a sincere desire to follow God, then everything will work out even if one will have to leave it to follow God.

Jan 18, 2009

Spreading the wealth in the name of Christ:


The late Pope John Paul II met exclusively with the
religious working at this island

During my practical training, I was assigned in an island of sugar cane plantations where the land owners traveled Europe every year while the workers lived in something like a large dog house. Back then, some priests applied Liberation theology – an unholy union of Marxist’s dialectical materialism & Roman Catholic theology. They organized the workers & were out to dismantle unjust social structures. They read the newspaper in place of the Gospel because it was the sign of the times. Whenever there were a concelebration where different religious orders participated, our priests were the only one’s wearing vestments. After the ceremony, then would pique our curiosity with comments like, “Poor father, he seems not to know what is going on in the mountains during the night.” But we do know. Lay leaders are picked up by the military and end up buried in a field. But we chose to stay the course of evangelization, catechesis, sacramentilization & education. A few priests & seminarians became so enamoured with helping the poor that they took up arms just like the book of the Judges and the movie “Romero” and “San Salvador”. The late Pope John Paul II had a special meeting with the religious working in this island. There he charted the direction of the Church along the long established social teachings. 

I think that liberation theologians could have come up with a better way to help the indigent without piggy-backing on an atheistic ideology if they read the God's Word instead of the newpaper, celebrated Mass with reverence, adored the Blessed Sacrament & respected their bishops.  Afterall,. killing off one's rich siblings to distribute their wealth is still forbidden by God. (Cfr the 5th & 7th from the. Decalogue.)

Here's an official commentary & judgment on Liberation theology:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19840806_theology-liberation_en.html

Jan 16, 2009

On homosexual tendencies

Last week, a man smashed a bottle on a gay persons head at a bar in Georgetown.  Recently, I heard kids tease each other as "you homo".  Perhaps, it will help to articulate the Church's teaching on the matter so that we can teach our children by word and example how the Lord Jesus would treat these people.

In fact, Jesus might have enlisted the assistance of a homosexual for his last supper. In Mark 14: 13, Jesus asked his followers to meet & follow "...a man carrying a jar of water..." Back then, women carried the jars of water, so this guy might have been gay or an Essene monk. 

Regardless, the Church today teaches that homosexuals "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity." Here's the official text from the Vatican:http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

For clarity, I am not a proponent of same sex marriage nor do I tacitly condone sinful unions nor support anyones right for a same sex union.   And I am straight.

Jan 11, 2009

Freedom of Choice Act is Anything But

With the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, FOCA, looming like a deadly storm in the horizon, people are bracing for the worst. I have written my senators urging them to oppose it.
And with my grandpa, uncle & brother having served to safeguard freedom, I think we have earned the right to ask, "If doctors, nurses & others will be forced by FOCA to perform or assist in abortions, what happened to their freedom?"
The choice left will be to work in the US & violate their conscience or elsewhere & keep their soul. The bishops have already chosen to close the Catholic hospitals rather than to turn them into abortion mills.

Jan 10, 2009

Flew in by mistake


This little bird flew in the house by mistake.  My son picked it up and gently laid it outside to fly.  If only it can be that way with the fetuses that somehow flew in the womb by mistake.  I guess we can still reach out gently to help the mother and save the child.

From here, I can only point out web sites of people who are happy to adopt that "little birdie".

http://adoptionnetwork.com/

Sweet lemonade


It was what I did when I was in between jobs that seemed to matter most. Back then, I took my late dad for his cataract surgery. We got his new car together and went shopping at CostCo. But that changed when I started working again as I spent 10 hours a day in the office & 2 on the road and then some over the weekends. I stopped visiting him. When he came to visit, I asked what he needed & worked on it quickly. He once asked me if I wanted to browse at Radio Shack, I told him, "Not really." That was the last time he ever asked. From then on, his visits became less until they stopped.
I called him one weekend while I was at work to impress him with my diligence. The next day, he stopped by. I asked him to sleep over. In the morning I fixed him some coffee and he took it as though he was accepting my reparation. As I was about to leave for work and he for his place, he lost his keys and seem bewildered. When my wife found the keys, I asked her to hide them. That night I got my brothers together and had dad brought to the hospital the next day. He died the day after.
I now drive his Corolla that we bought together to remind myself that I did take care of him when I had time. I feel that I could have done more, but it’s too late.

Jan 5, 2009

Holiday business

During the holidays, I had to attend to work. So, my wife hauled the kids to my in laws out of state for a week. I thought I could get a lot done in the house. But I was wrong. When I got home, I felt debilitated. I watched TV, drank & slept. In the old school, I might have been guilty of sloth & maybe gluttony – a capital vice & deadly sin. In the new school however, I really have nothing major to confess. I fulfilled my responsibilities. So the developments in moral theology made it more reasonable by taking into account the findings in behavioral & social sciences. And the burden of Lord usually is – reasonable.

Jan 2, 2009

Nothing too wicked, never too late

I’ve heard of a priest who made the boys call the devil during their annual retreat. These seniors were cocky, so the retreat master dared them to call satan. The tough guys went in a room alone and had to call satan trice. They came out frightened because they felt the presence of evil. From then on, they took the spiritual exercises more seriously.
However, if one is a big time wrong doer, then one also calls the devil not by word but by deeds.  And if that ever grows old, then know that one can always call on Jesus.  He came for the lost like that black goat over there. =======>

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