Dec 27, 2008

Protecting God's Children

I've decided to teach CCD again.  To do that I have to have a criminal record check by the FBI, setup an account in & attend a presentation on protecting God's children.  It is reassuring as I plan to send my children into Catholic schools later.

I am sensitive to this because I was almost sexually abused by a priest when I was a boy. Back then, I was in a club of aspirants (to the priesthood).  We had interviews with the director.  When my turn came, I was stopped by a couple of members;  one claimed to be molested sexually by the priest.  So, I missed the interview & dropped out of the club.

It was the 70s & the old-school approach to virtues is passe.  Purity & chastity was put into perspective like "the sins of the flesh are not as bad as the sins of the spirit".  And theologically speaking, "Charity is the most important virtue."  Because of that many church leaders let their guard down, slid into sins of the flesh & victimized God's children.

Hopefully, the appreciation for chastity, purity and modesty will grow.  And the best way is to not lose one's purity at all.  St. John Bosco spoke about a dream where his boys were going up a mountain - some on foot, others on carriages. Those on wheels never fell into impurity.  And so it is easier for them to avoid temptations. Those hiking already “fell off the horse” and lost their innocence. They have to struggle to stay pure by avoiding the occassion of sin & fighting the urge. Then there is a group rushing downhill. Those have lost their purity & continue to fall into graver sins.  So one needs to avoid malicious companions & not look at sexy shows & websites.  One needs to keep oneself busy & avoid idleness.  One needs to have a devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary & read about the saints & how they protected their chastity.

Dec 24, 2008

Infant for sale

Sadly, but it happens. There was an ad in the web. Those folks must be in dire straits. I hope I never get into a situation like that. But even if I do, I don't think I can ever sell my children.

Yet, God did not sell His Son; He gave Him up freely. And for what? To pay for our wrongdoing. That's a very unprofitable transaction. Here we are wallowing in selfishness and utter disregard for God and He gives His Holy and Loving Son just to give us another shot at eternal life later and to a more meaningful & transcendent existence right now. It is what God does.

Dec 20, 2008

Heart speaks to the heart

     St. John Bosco counsels his educators, "Love what the youth loves and they will love what you love."  No one cares about what you know until they know that you care.  
     The picture shows a few of my students from a school where I had a tough class.  I had time to "waste" of them e.g. during the candy drive, I took groups to the metro station where we sold so much that we won 2nd place.  I told them that I don't believe any kid is bad & I meant it.   They responded with trust & openness.
     These days, I have my own kids.  Lately, I got a couple of weekends when I did not have to work so I reconnected with my 9 year old by spending an afternoon in Dave & Busters.  We were like comrade in arms as we shot aliens & dinosaurs.  I relaxed his diet by treating him to a malt.  Sure enough, his one word answers became more ellaborate.  He opened up like he was talking to his friend.  When we returned home, he told his siblings to look forward for a one-on-one time with me.  Today, I played Old Maid, Dora Bingo & Trip to Candy land with my 5 year old daughter.  She relished every minute of it.
     There is a cost to all this.  If I spent all the time at work, I'd make more & be somebody.  But if that will send my daughters to the dancing pole of a go-go bar & my sons to juvi to get my attentiion, then I rather spend my time with them.  They're the reason I work.

Dec 7, 2008

The "just" war vs. "jihad"

     There are certain conditions that justifies Christians to take up arms. WWII is a clear struggle with evil.   
     But Christians do not engage in "jihad" with non-believers ( - not in my lifetime at least).
     On the contrary, I've heard a rumor that during the ethnic cleansing at Kosovo, the late Pope John Paul II sent armaments to help the Moslems - not the "Christians".

Turning the Other Cheek

     Turning the other cheek is not the acquiencense of the weak & cowardly, but the non-violent resistance of the patient & the brave. Gandhi used this to free India from Britain. (They may be Hindus but Gandhi got the idea from the Gospel.)  It took down Communism at Gadansk. It is the soul of the civil rights movement in the US.  And the inspiration of many "People Power" movements all around the world.

Fraternal Correction

One tells the offender what's wrong. If that does not work, one brings a group like an "intervention". Finally, one uses tough love & shuns the unrepentant one.

Dec 6, 2008

Cross on devil's cape

Back when I was a novice, I was cleaning the study hall when my Novice Master pointed to the lopsided crucifix at the center of the hall. "That's how much he means to you." he said as he walked out in disgust.
Yesterday, we went to an amusement park and almost had a perfect family day. It was ruined by a stage show "Disco Inferno" where the demons had huge crosses on their capes. I wanted to walk out but my wife wanted to finish the show, after all the demons already took off the capes. This morning I am writing to everyone who can stop or change this.
Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, obeyed the Heavenly Father to the point to dying on a cross as a restitution for our disobedience. Because of that, we all can become children of God once again and inherit eternal life. And even if you were the only person around, Jesus would become a man to carry & die on that cross. He is your personal Savior. That is how the cross has become a symbol of God's great love - that He would give up His only Son to pay for our sins.

Priest in a brothel

I know a priest to went to a whore house & met someone. But it isn't what it appears to be. What happened was the parents of the girl saw him earlier and told him how their daughter ran away & and got into debt. To pay that off, she ended up a prostitute.
The priest dressed like a civilian & paid for the services of this woman. While in the room with her, he sat quietly until the woman spoke, "It's almost time, won't you do anything?" He answered, "I already paid for your body, but what I want is your soul."
In moral theology, one considers the action together with the intention and circumstances. Here the act is going to a brothel. The intent - to help the runaway. That is why the Lord Jesus commanded us not to condemn others.

A Latino construction worker

A priest friend, Fr. Jimmy Hernandez, told me about a Latino construction worker who would use his lunch break to visit a nearby church. It took him 30 minutes 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 fell from a scaffolding and was hospitalized. When his friends visited him, he was laughing. He said the Lord stopped by saying, "Jose, this is the Lord. I just dropped by to say hello."

To fly, one needs to be light & unattached

While his fellow birds were set on finding fish to eat, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was obssessed with flight. All he did was fly, trying to go higher each time. He lost weight and kept it off. He wasted no time in anything else. Because of this, he soared into heights that no seagull has ever reached and then some.
During these lean times, many will do without or with less. This divestiture is a chance to become less destracted and dissipated with stuff and think about flying for a change; flying to the Provider not for His gifts but for Himself. And when you find God, then it is like finding a buried treasure worth more than anything.

No thanks to God on Turkey Day

These days there are posters in the buses that read, "Why believe in a god when you can be good for goodness sake?" Released just before Thanksgiving, these are meant to start the practice of taking God out of the holiday and promoting atheism.
First of all, one does not need to believe to know that there is God; one simply needs to think. (Cfr. philosophical proofs )
Then, there are supernatural events e.g. the solar phenomenon at Fatima that has been reported even by non-believers. And recently, the apparitions in Zeitun, Egypt. This is recorded in utube: .
More often, there are witnesses, accounts & deeds of believers. The women who consecrated themselves as they follow the Late Blessed Teresa of Calcutta were not converted by sermons but by the life of a person who loves God.
(Picture: To deny God's existence is to masquerade as God. )

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