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Posted by Imelda S in Catholicism at 20:56 | Sunday, March 11. 2012 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Years ago, the Philippines was caught in a sort of apparition mania. Reports of purported apparitions of the Blessed Mother and the Lord Jesus filled the airwaves and dailies. I remember the times when Tatay visited me in Manila with anecdotes about sightings of the Blessed Mother's reflection on top of come coconut fronds. He was among the many who spent their evenings in the purported apparition sight to see the phenomenon. Addressing this frenzy, a priest, in a homily, told the people that they did not have to search high and low for miracles because miracles happen daily at Holy Mass. He was of course referring to the Transubstantiation, the moment when the simple host and wine becomes the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. At Consecration, when the Priest says the word that Jesus Christ said at the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus Himself becomes present Body, Soul and Divinity among His people. What power has God bestowed upon His priests that the latter are able to bid Him come.
That Jesus Christ Himself is in that humble piece of wafer has great consequences. For one, no one should just simply go to the Communion rail ignorant of what he/she is receiving. For receiving that simple wafer, Catholics, in the olden days, had been called cannibals by those not disposed to it and they died for it. After all, when we go to Communion, we eat Christ Himself, right? Yet, knowing Who is being received is not enough. One who seeks to have communion should be a worthy recipient. His body should be prepared to receive the Lord, i.e., fasting for at least an hour (under the New Rules) or at least three hours (before Vatican II) before Holy Communion should have been observed. Somehow, allowing the Bread of Angels to be digested with the common burger does not seem very respectful towards Jesus Christ, doesn't it? Most importantly, the one who aspires to have communion should not be in mortal sin. Sin and the Lord Jesus just do not go together. And lest one forgets, having communion is not a right that one can demand of a priest. God, in His mercy, deigned to feed His people with His own body and blood to help them in their earthly pilgrimage. Thus, a priest, a faithful Priest, is well within his right to deny one communion when he knows that the latter is not in a state of Grace, that is, is in mortal sin. His first duty is to Jesus Christ and to make sure that the Lord Jesus is not received unworthily.
St. Paul said -
"Now this I ordain: not praising you, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it. For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you. When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord's supper. For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not ? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord." (1. Cor. 11: 17-29)
Here is a beautiful Thanksgiving Prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas:
I thank You, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed, not
I pray that this Holy Communion be not a
And I beseech Thee, that Thou would vouchsafe to bring me, a sinner, to
(Taken from the Latin-English Booklet Missal by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, March 2003)
NOTE: The pictures in this post are not mine. I found them in St. Josaphat's Parish blog page and Art in the Picture , respectively. The Last Supper was done by Fra Angelico. I could not have done in even in my wildest dreams. By posting their pictures, I have no intent to infringe on their right whatsoever. I will delete the photos once they, the parish and Art in the Picture, hopefully not Fra Angelico, tell me to. )
Posted by Imelda S in Family Life at 21:37 | Friday, March 2. 2012 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
In observance of Lent, our 6 - year old son has to make certain offerings which are divided into three categories - prayer, good works, and fasting. For fasting, he was asked to avoid candies and sweets, TV, and online games. For each day that he accomplished any of the recommended behavior, he gets to color a part of a religious image (divided into 8 major parts, each part divided into 40 little cells), the idea being that, come Easter time, that image will be fully colored.
To encourage and support him, my Betterhalf and I decided to accomplish the same exercise as he has. For this, Betterhalf photocopied the picture that our son needs to color and list down our own resolutions. Not to be left alone, our 5 year old said that he would join the activity too. Finally, our 2-year old, seeing that he was the only one without anything to color said he would join too.
Anyway, upon the prodding of the 6-year old (he did not want his younger brother enjoying online games and internet videos when he can't), the 5-year old assumed the same penances as his older brother. The 2-year old, on the other hand, said that he would refrain from his favorite meal - candy and everything sweet) and pick up his toys.
So, this post is mostly about three game-loving, sweet toothed little boys deprived of some of their favoritest things in the world.
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So, for almost two weeks now, candies and cakes and ice cream and sweet bread have not been available in our house except on Sunday. On the fourth day of Lent, a Saturday, and just earlier this afternoon, our 2-year old told his Daddy that it was time for him and his brothers to have a haircut. It puzzled us that this little one suddenly thought about haircuts. After some thought, we realized that it was not really a haircut that he wanted but the lollipop that the barber doles out to little children after cutting their hair. Our little boy misses his candy so much that he remembered the barber.
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On the other hand, our 6-year old, who is also has a great fondness for sweet gooey treats, savored every last drop of his ice cream last Sunday. He tipped his bowl over and let the last of the melted ice cream drip on to his spoon. I guess, when there is not much of something, one learns to appreciate and value it more. Though I wonder now if it was really the last bit of ice cream that he wanted or the fun of scraping the bowl and seeing it drip. After all, he was not scolded for something that would normally get him a correction.
--- 4 ---
So far, the children have been very good about the lack of candies. They do not even ask for any at all. In fact, one afternoon, I showed them a procedure for making DIY lollipops. The older two reminded me "Mommy, you can't do that now. It is Lent." The lack of computer games, however, is a much tougher issue, at least for the older two. Our 6-year old has complained more than once about Lent being so long and so hard because he cannot play as often as he did before Lent.
When weather permits, they play outside. I have many reasons to thank God for the relatively warm winter, but being able to send the kids out (without the hassle of putting them in thick winter gear) to burn up some of their energy and boredom is one that I am most thankful for.
Because I have lost a 'baby-sitter', ehem - the computer games to keep my children occupied while I do my work, I join them in their board games. So, each afternoon, after homeschool, I am holding Dominion cards on one hand, and Snakes with the other. That way, I can play simultaneously with my older children and the 2-year old. In between, I try to mind my cooking and the baby in his high chair. I suppose that, even when I leave a game in a huff because my little children skip me and do not let me have my turn (boo hoo hoo!) (I assure you that I am the adult here , the children are happy to have mommy playing with them. One night, my 5- year old quipped: "Mommy, I like not having internet games!" But please don't take him on his words though. One day, when he went to Daddy's office, he said that he would watch Youtube videos. He even brought some books and coloring books to help him pass his time. But, what do you know? Almost as soon as they arrived in school, our little boy told Daddy that he needed to watch something to be entertained while they were there. )
But even with the complaints, the children are holding their promises the best they can. They even diligently do their examination of conscience at night with our help. I am glad that my Betterhalf and I joined our sons in their Lenten exercises. Whenever they complain about the difficulty, we can tell them that all of us are having our own inconveniences. Knowing that their parents are with them make them try to be faithful to their lenten resolutions. They may not be able to color their religious picture completely (as expected, our 2-year old did not even give his picture another glance after it was given him), but they are making strides towards learning and living our faith.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Thank you for visiting. Have a blessed Lent.
Posted by Imelda S in Catholicism at 21:35 | Friday, February 24. 2012 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Lent is a season of love. Out of love, God the Father sent the Son from Heaven into the world to redeem us so that once more, Heaven, closed to us by original sin, shall once again be opened for us. “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting (Jn. 16:16)”. Out of love for the Father and for us, the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, came down to earth, became like us (except for sin), and suffered and died to pay our debts to God. By His death and resurrection, he opened the gates of Heaven for us.
-- 2 --
This season, the Church calls for penance.
Fasting. Many among us will fast – from food, from bad habits, from entertainment. Many will do mortifications that we do not usually do. Why? It is not for difficulty's sake. It is a discipline of the body, of the will and of the soul. Fasting helps us conquer our appetites and inclinations and bring our body and soul in line with God's will. “Aw! There is no need to fast. Being kind, doing a little kind deed here and there is enough.” We hear that quite often today. Well, in the first place, Jesus Himself fasted for forty days before He began His public ministry. St. John the Baptist fasted almost all of his life. The people of Nineveh fasted and gained forgiveness from God.
Good works. Don't we do good things for the one we love? Sometimes, they entail sacrifices on our part but we do not know it because the sacrifices are not seen as difficulties but acts of love. Consider a suitor trying to win his love's affection. How far would he travel just to see the one he loves. He does not think the trouble of traveling as sacrifice or hardship. Instead, he sees the beloved waiting at the end of the trip.
One more word about good works – they fill the space left empty by fasting. With fasting, we remove something from our life. The resulting space should now be filled by something worthwhile lest something worse than that which was removed takes its place. For example, when one gives up mindless web surfing during Lent, that freed time should be used for something useful such as spending more time with family members.
Prayer. Communication is key to all loving relationships. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. Many saints have considered a sigh, or a look directed at Heaven as prayer. There are those too who considered work (honorable work) as prayer. There are many, many ways to pray. I suppose the key is keeping God in one's thoughts and heart constantly and doing everything with consideration of what God's love desires for us.
Because I need a seventh entry to make this post a 7 Quick Takes Post, let me close with this quote from St. PAul of the Cross -
'"The true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth." (John iv. 23.) Note these words well, because they contain all the elements of prayer; its perfection consists not in the joys and sensible delights which it may produce, but in the spirit- that is, in a true, pure, and simple nakedness and poverty of spirit, detached from all sensible consolation, so that the spirit reposes, purely and simply, in the infinite Spirit of God. Our Lord adds: "and in truth " - that is to say, we must have a full consciousness of our nothingness, so as not to rob God of one iota of His glory.'
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Have a blessed Lent.
Posted by Imelda S in Catholicism at 21:40 | Friday, February 10. 2012 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
To celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I dedicate these posts about several Marian Apparitions. I wonder, how would it be like to be a visionary? a victim soul? What I know is that most of the visionaries experienced immediate conversion, and if they were already faithful to begin with, their faith got deeper. Also, in most cases, they went through a life of penance. Having seen a slice of heaven, everything in this world was as though nothing compared to the glories of heaven. Therefore, the penances they offered and suffered for many were 'insignificant' compared to the triumphs that awaited a soul in grace in heaven.
The sources of the information in this post are linked to the titles.
OUR LADY OF BANNEAUX/THE VIRGIN OF THE POOR
"This stream is reserved for me, Good evening."
"Push your hands into the water."
"I am the Virgin of the poor. "
"This spring is reserved for all the nations - to relieve the sick."
"I shall pray for you. Au Revoir."
"Believe in me, I will believe in you. Pray much. Au Revoir."
"My dear child, pray much. Au Revoir."
"I am the Mother of the Saviour, Mother of God, Pray much. Adieu."
Mary indicated that she was the Immaculate Virgin when questioned, and told the children to return on 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
When asked by Fernande if she wanted a chapel built, she replied, "Yes," before disappearing. Mary again asked for a chapel.
"My last apparition will take place soon."
"Pray, pray very much."
"Goodbye." (to Gilberte Degeimbre)
"I will convert sinners. Goodbye." (to Gilberte Voisin)
"Goodbye." (to Albert Voisin)
"I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always, Goodbye." (to Andree Degeimbre)
Mary appeared later and spoke to Fernande Voisin asking her if she loved her Son and herself; when Fernande replied that she did, the response was: "Then sacrifice yourself for me." "Goodbye."
On September 19, 1846, the Blessed Mother appeared to two young herders, Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud in the mountains in the Parish of La Salette. The Blessed Mother told the children that if the people did not repent, she would be compelled to let go of her Son's hand which was just about ready to deal punishment on the world for the loss of piety and blasphemy. The Blessed Mother underscored the people's failure to observe the holiness of Sundays and for their blasphemy.
In 1635, the Blessed Mother appeared to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres in Quito, Ecuador. During these apparitions, the Blessed Mother underscored the importance of monasteries and convents saying that 'in them can be found the remedy for all physical and moral evils...”; the importance of the Sacrament of Penance - “x x x it is the only sure means of salvation after one had lost his baptismal innocence.” She lamented how people, especially the ministers of Jesus Christ, have come to regard the Sacrament with indifference and ignore this precious and valuable treasure. The Blessed Mother prophesied that in the 19th and 20th century, the devil would rule almost completely because of the Masonic Sect, helped by unfaithful religious who in the guise of virtue and unspirited zeal would mislead people; the faithful would esteem Extreme Unction less and less and thus many would die without its consolations and graces; the Sacrament of Matrimony would be attacked and profaned in the fullest sense of the word; there will be a decrease in vocations as the effects of secular education increased; the Sacrament of Holy Orders would be oppressed, ridiculed, and despised; many of the priest would be corrupted thereby scandalizing the Christians and non-Christians alike; there would be unbridled luxury that would conquer innumerable souls; innocence among children could hardly be found, nor modesty in women. Her other prophecies included the Proclamation of the Dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility, respectively (both of which were fulfilled hundreds of years later); the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the assassination of a truly Catholic President, Gabriel Garcia Moreno. Click here for more.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Thank you all for dropping by. Have a blessed day.
Posted by Imelda S in Catholicism at 14:08 | Friday, February 3. 2012 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Lawyers. We would not find it surprising to hear the words of the Gospel changed to say - "It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a lawyer to enter heaven". After all, that goes well with the many jokes, mostly disparaging, there are about lawyers. Lawyering and Goodness just seem to be diametrically opposed to each other. But these saints have proven that lawyers do go to heaven, and that God has a great use for that lawyerly skill and intellect. So, my lawyer friends, take heart. All is not lost for us. ;-)
Just let me add that this topic is so close to my heart. Once upon a long time ago, before I met my husband and married him, I was a lawyer. Many of my friends I hold dear are in the legal profession. :-)
The legend of St. Theophilus the Lawyer was closely interwoven with that of St. Dorothy's.
St. Germain, Bishop of Auxerre
Ten years later, when the Church in Britain was being plagued by the Pelagian heresy, the Church asked the Pope to send someone to help it fight the attacks. Who would the Pope send to debate with the heretics and set straight people's thinking? Bishop Germain, the eloquent lawyer. (Source: The Young People's Book of SAINTS, by Hugh Ross Williamson, @ Sophia Institute Press)
St. Ivo of Kermartin
He had a degree in Canon Law and Civil Law. When he returned to his native Brittany after his education, he was appointed by the Archdeacon as diocesan official, i.e., judge of the cases that came before the ecclesiastical court. "In this capacity, he protected the orphans, defended the poor and administered justice with impartiality and kindness that gained for him the goodwill even of the losing side.” Later, his own diocese appointed him as official to the Bishop of Treguier. His championship of the poor won for him the name of “Poor Man's Advocate”. He was not only a just judge but, outside of the court that he presided in, he advocated for the helpless before other courts, often paying for their expenses and visiting them in prison. He did not accept bribes or presents and he made the people compromise, if possible, so that they would avoid costly litigation and unnecessary lawsuits. Later he was ordained priest and soon thereafter, he resigned his legal office to focus on parish work where he continued to be known for his charitable work. (Please click here for the source.)
St. Catherine of Alexandria
It was dangerous to debate with her, for one would surely lose his head. Literally!
She was not a lawyer but I included her in this selection because of her great skill at debating which is, in a way, a very lawyerly skill. St. Catherine was a pagan princess who was converted to Christianity during her teens. She was renowned for her intelligence and, as mentioned earlier, debating skills. This skill she used to advocate one great cause - the Christian faith.
"As a young adult, she visited her contemporary, the Roman Emperor Maxentius, and attempted to convince him of the moral error in persecuting Christians for not worshipping idols. The emperor arranged for a plethora of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her, hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments, but Catherine won the debate and succeeded in converting all of them to Christianity, for which the philosophers and orators were executed by an enraged Maxentius. Catherine was then scourged and put in prison, during which time over two hundred people came to see her, including Maxentius' wife the empress, all of whom converted to Christianity and were thereforemartyred.  Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage to her, at which point in time the Saint declared that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity. The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on the spiked breaking wheel, an instrument of torture. The wheel was miraculously destroyed, however, in answer to St. Catherine's prayer, and so Maxentius had to settle for beheading her."(Please click here for the source.)
St. Thomas More
St. Thomas More, a lawyer, was the Chancellor of King Henry VIII when the latter decided to divorce his wife so that he could marry another woman. King Henry, unable to obtain the Pope's permission to do as he wished, decided to establish himself as the head of the Church in England. He made the people take an oath of allegiance under pain of death. While many of the people in the Church saw no problem with the King's proclamation and took the required oath, St. Thomas More refused to swear allegiance to the King. To him, 'it was impossible for the whole Church in England to make its own particular laws which the rest of the Church did not agree with as it would be for the City of London to make one of its rules an Act of Parliament which should be lawful for the whole country.'
Because of his disobedience to the King, St. Thomas More was imprisoned in the Tower of London, tried, and condemned to death. Before he was executed, he made a short speech (in obedience to the King's message asking him to say little) which ended with "I die the King's faithful servant, but God's first." (Source: The Young People's Book of SAINTS, by Hugh Ross Williamson, @ Sophia Institute Press)
St. Alphonsus Liguori
St. Alphonsus Liguori became a Doctor of Laws when he was only 16 years old at a time when the general practice was to admit a person to the bar when he was at least 20 years old. His lawyer robes were so big on him that people laughed at him. But that did not last too long. By his early 20's, he had distinguished himself as on of the leading lawyers in Naples.
In 1723, there was a celebrated property dispute between the Duke of Tuscany and a nobleman from Naples. St. Alphonsus, who was known for not having lost a single case, was the counsel for one of the parties. He made a brilliant opening argument for his client. The opposing counsel decided that he would not make any arguments nor present any evidence in favor of his client at all. Why? The opposing counsel said - "Your arguments are a waste of breath. You have overlooked a document which destroys your whole case." St. Alphonsus was very familiar with the document. He read it many times before. But, he missed the point of the document and during the trial, saw for the first time that the document proved the opposite of what he thought it meant previously. St. alphonsus conceded the case. He was shamed and humiliated, but he realized that God allowed that to happen to break his pride. St. Alphonsus turned to God in prayer and sough His will. One day, while visiting the sick in the Hospital of Incurables, he found himself surrounded by a mysterious light and heard a voice in his heart saying - "Leave the world and give yourself to Me."
He became a priest when he was 30 years old. In between his pastoral works, he managed to write book after book and hymns for the honor and glory of God. (Source: The Young People's Book of SAINTS, by Hugh Ross Williamson, @ Sophia Institute Press)
St. Raymond of Penafort
St. Raymond was born to a noble family in Spain. He obtained a doctorate in Canon Laws and Civil Laws in 1216. A few years later, he entered the Dominican Order.
"Knowing Raymond's reputation in the juridical sciences, Pope Gregory IX summoned him to Rome in 1230 to help in the rearranging and codifying of canon law. Canon laws, which were previously found scattered in many publications, were to be organized into one set of documents. In particular papal decretal letters had been changing the law over the course of the previous 100 years since the publication of the Decretum of Gratian. Being pleased with Raymond's efforts, the pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in 1231, commanding that the work of Raymond alone should be considered authoritative, and should alone be used in the schools. His collection of canon law, known as the Liber extra or Decretals of Gregory IX, became a standard for almost 700 years. When Raymond completed his work, the pope appointed him Archbishop of Tarragona, but he declined the honour. Raymond followed this with the publication of a work on penitential discipline, Summa casuum, which is widely considered an authoritative work on the subject. Canon law was finally fully codified by 1917." (Please click here for the source.)
All of the pictures in this post are linked to the pages where I found them. There are certainly so much more to say about the above Saints. However, for purposes of this article, focus was made on their legal work.
Thank you for dropping by. Please feel free to leave any comments. If I do not reply in a timely manner, my apologies. Rest assured that all comments are appreciated and acknowledged sooner or later. For more Quick Takes, please visit Conversion Diary.
Have a blessed day.
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