Thursday, February 28, 2013

Farewell Pope Benedict

I saw a flurry of Facebook posts from my Catholic friends that made me tremble the day Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication.

Some of my friends said that they are crying. Other expressed their disbelief. I expected the worst and almost asked them, “is the Pope dead?”

He is very much alive but the news still struck me hard. Pope Benedict XVI decided to step down of the Petrine Office. He is leaving the Papacy and thus the Church is in to a turbulent times in her history.

Pope Benedict XVI is the pope on the day when I decided to be more serious in professing my Catholic Faith. I look up to him as the father of all Catholics. A steady guide in the reforming the institutions within the Church.

I cried yesterday night as I watched the last papal audience. Something stirred in me while I listen to Pope Benedict's speech. I just noticed that tears are welling up in my eyes.

Ah, Yes! I cried. I cried for this man who I never met personally. I cried for him because I love him.

It is his last day as pope and all I can say is this: “Farewell Pope Benedict. Thank you for everything that you did for the Church!”

All I can do now is to pray for him.

It is also the time to pray for the cardinals that they may elect the man chosen by God to become the next pope.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Great Humility of Mary

Whenever the humility of the Virgin Mary is talked about, the obvious reference would be the episode of the Annunciation. In that event, an angel visited with the news that she will bore the Son of the Most High God and that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and overshadow her (Luke 1:35). Mary, which I think still had a lot of questions in her heart, answered with her “fiat”.

Mary's “fiat” is the word that shows her humility and utter dependence to God. Thus, many will call her the humblest of all of God's creatures.

One time, as I pondered the Third Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary, I was struck with a thought about the humility of our Mother. Mary, I mused, once again let the Holy Spirit overshadow her during the Pentecost.

The death of our Lord shook all of His disciples. Many hid in the upper room where Jesus took His last meal. They locked the doors in fear of their persecutors. The appearance of Jesus after His resurrection stirred hope into the hearts of His disciples but it is still not enough. They are still afraid.

The Apostles turned to Mary to seek the comfort of her faith in God. She acted as their mother in a way that Jesus told her while He is hanging on the cross. Up to the day of Pentecost, all of Jesus followers look up to the Virgin Mary.

If Mary is a lesser being then she can easily claim the role as the leader of the early Church. No one can contest her, even Peter, because she can easily say to apostles these words:

“You Peter have not been faithful up to end. You betrayed my Son three times and you fled. All of you, His apostles left him. I have been faithful to Him to the end. I stayed with Him at the foot of the cross. He gave all of you to me as your mother, higher than each and every one of you.”

Our Mother, however, is not a lesser being. She is the woman who is pure and pleasing to God. Thus, when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost she once again let the power of God overpower her. She who only desires to please God pleased Him once again because she desired His will alone. She desired Peter to be the leader of the Church together with the other Apostles.

Jesus said that those who humble themselves will be exalted in Heaven. Mary is the humblest of all thus God exalted her to the pinnacle of His creations. He assumed her to Heaven (4th Glorious Mystery) and crowned her (5th Glorious Mystery) to become the Queen of all Saints.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Let's Speak More about Chastity

In a world where sex was cheapen into a mere act of pleasure, it is surprising to see positive comments about a video talking about chastity. The video that I'm referring to is the interview made by Live Pure Movement with PBA player Chris Tiu.

This is not the only instance where Chris talked about chastity. He posted on his blog his experience when he attended the talk of Jason Evert about chastity, love and relationship. There he said that he is a believer of chastity and purity.

Pinoy celebrities like Chris Tiu are very rare. Celebrities in Philippine showbiz exchange partners faster than you can spell Mississippi. Even politicians (i.e. Chiz Escudero, Noynoy Aquino) are infected with this style of relationship.

Chris Tiu didn't mince words during his interview. In the video he said:

1. Having sex when you are not married is superficial and fleeting and will not give lasting happiness.
2. Love involves sacrificing and waiting.

These are hard words that run contrary to the message being peddled by the media.

The feedback on Chris Tiu's video is great. Many hailed him as “good role model” to the youth. Such positive feedback surprised me. I expected many comments contradicting the words of Chris Tiu. I even expected commenters saying that “chastity is medieval” or “chastity is old-fashioned”.

The positive feedback shows that many Filipinos are satiated with sex-saturated media. Many Filipinos desire a breath of fresh air, a breath of truth about sexuality and love. Many wanted to hear about chastity but only few are willing to talk about it.

I believe that all Christians: bloggers, media practitioners, and celebrities, those who can broadcast the teachings on chastity should speak more about this virtue.

It is time to speak about Chastity without fear and expect to hear from many Pinoys who are eager to listen to what we are about to say.

Unearthing my Talents

“What am I doing with my talents?”

This question confronted me again as I meditate during my prayer time this first Sunday of Lent. Was this a nudge from the Lord? I may never know the answer. But this nudge is enough for me to realize that I need to do something more.

About 7 years ago, I started two blogs. One is a personal blog. The other is a sort of socio-political blog. I thought, during those times, that I knew a lot of things. That my political commentaries are correct. The pride in my writing increased when a group of bloggers invited me to join their “collective blog”.

My years of writing for my socio-political blog continued until an incident occurred that caused me to withdraw the blog from the world. That incident is the pin that blew my huffed-up pride. I realized that I am just an arrogant and ignorant man babbling on things that I have limited knowledge of.

That's when I buried my talents and decided to limit myself on blogging about topics that are not risky. “I'm doing this”, I said, “for peace”.

I know at the onset that being a follower of Jesus Christ is not convenient. It is inconvenient to fast, to abstain, to pray the Rosary everyday, and to read the Bible. The more of these inconveniences I commit the more inconveniences I desire. All of these inconveniences points to the inconvenience of the Cross.

And now, I feel that I'm being nudged to take the inconvenience of my talents. To write about inconvenient things.
The pitiful servant digging for his talents.

I think about the pitiful servant who buried his talents so as to keep it “safe”. I am that servant and I'm digging my talents now hoping that I it is not too late to make it profitable.


Image sources:

The first image is a painting by Titian entitled "Christ Carrying the Cross" from Wikipainting.
The second image was cropped from the 1712 woodcut of the Parable of the Talents from Wikipedia.