Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MY GREATEST FEAR AND WORST NIGHTMARE: going blind...the Lord save us from that fate......

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

GAUDE, perdolens Mater

I wasn't able to post something for yesterday's feast of the Holy Cross but I'll do so today. Just some of my choicest photos of the Cross and of course of the sorrowful Mother. I have one here which I'll show at the end. I'll be off to see the doctor today as I haven't been feeling well these days. I fear another case of walking pneumonia, but I hope to get over with this in a few days, and I'll be up and about in no time.

Vexilla regis prodeunt,
Fulget crucis mysterium,
Qua vita mortem pertulit
Et morta vitam protulit.

[Abroad the royal banners fly
And bear the gleaming Cross on high-
That Cross whereon Life suffered death
And gave us life with dying breath.]
Stabat mater dolorosa
juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her son to the last.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


What child could forget to greet his mother on her special day? As the whole Christian world celebrates the birth of Blessed Mary, the Mother of God and mine, in her honor, I'm posting the choicest images that I have of her, to the background of these words from today's liturgy:

Famulis tuis, quaesumus, Domine,
coelesti gratiae munus impertire:
ut, quibus beatae Virginis partus exstitit salutis exordium;
Nativitatis ejus votiva solemnitas,
pacis tribuat incrementum

Bestow upon Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
the gift of Thy heavenly grace:
that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation,
so the solemn feast of her Nativity
may bring us an increase of peace.

HAIL MARY, full of grace......

....the LORD is with you, blessed are you among women......and blessed is the fruit of yourwomb, JESUS...

....HOLY MARY Mother of God....
pray for us sinners, NOW...
and at the hour of our death. AMEN.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010



A Jewel of a Blog and the Papal Sacristy

Thanks to NLM (New Liturgical Movement blog) I've come across what could be a treasure trove for people who are fascinated with old (and even new) photos of traditional liturgy. It's entitled Ceremonia Y Rubrica de la Iglesia Espanola. And while I was happily perusing through its forumas I came across one article about the papal sacristy. Here are some of the photos I managed to get from it. So this is how it looks like:

Some of these chasubles are recognizable....
particularly this one, which, I believe, was used by the Holy Father during Pentecost this year.

The familiar ferula (or papal staff) used by popes since Pope Paul VI until the present one, though Ben16 has preferred to go back to using the more older ones and has even had a new one made, which is much lighter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ex tenebrae, lux!

We had an experience of the supernatural last night, around midnight, the boys and I....inexplicable, let's leave it at that, and I can't remember being so frightened in my life... it's a continued proof that in this world we call modern the diabolic could exist. But from a seemingly dark and terrifying experience light could still shine. I have my faith renewed and despite of whatever malign presence which may lurk in the shadows and make your hair stand on end, my heart grows stouter knowing that under our roof is a stronger Presence reserved in the Tabernacle, potent to drive any evil influences at work...Stay with us O Lord, for the day is almost done, and the darkness seems to engulf us...

Thursday, August 26, 2010


These are some shots of Pope Paul VI (and of Pope Pius XII) during some of the solemn papal liturgies before the Second Vatican Council. I won't call myself a traditionalist (nor do I like being identified as a "conservative" since those terms are misleading, if not biased), but I really love looking at pictures like these, wherein we could see the beauty and the grandeur of Catholic worship being offered in the seat of Catholic Christendom. There would be no doubt of how these things could inebriate the senses and make one acknowledge the transcendence of God's glory. Any "liberal" so-called would surely disagree with me, but with things and events like these, we surely get a foretaste of heaven
Pope Paul VI at the papal throne
The Pope at the High Altar of the Confession at the most solemn part of the Mass.
Pope Pius XII. Cardinal (then Monsignor and Papal Master of Ceremonies) Enrico Dante at the foreground
A good shot from above.

I would daresay that these shots with the pope in crimson vestments was taken at some canonization or beatification, though I'm not too sure...

The Holy Father before consuming the Precious Blood from the chalice holds in his hand a most curious straw-like instrument called the fistula through which he shall sip the consecrated wine. It's has long since slipped into disuse in papal liturgies.

This one was taken during the coronation Mass of Pope Paul VI. One could see the papal tiara on the left side.

Another shot during the coronation mass, during the homily part of the Mass. Popes weren't supposed to render a homily during their coronation, but i heard that this was the first time the Pope did away with that custom.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

being holy and acting as if......

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. (Mt. 23:27-28)

The Gospel reading for today seems to introduce us into the most unlikely of settings: the theater, particularly, the theater as it was familiar to the Greeks and to the Romans. We knew that when Jesus uttered these reproaches against the Scribes and Pharisees he was referring to their hypocrisy in their dealings with other people within their society, in their perception and practice of the stipulations of the Jewish law, and ultimately, the way they saw themselves before God. They stood as if they were blameless before God and men because of their punctiliousness in following the prescriptions of the Law, and they acted as IF they were blameless. The passage above does not leave us in suspense about what Our Lord would like to say when he compared these men to whitewashed tombs, which give the appearance of respectability and dignity, while actually holding all the filth and decay one would always expect to find within a tomb.
Hypocrisy and hypocrite are words which were first used within the ambit of the stage and the theater. The Greek hypokritos meant nothing more than the actor himself, someone whose work implied that he impersonated someone other than himself, one who concealed his true personality behind another that is not properly his. On hindsight I daresay that showbiz and the theater needs to invest so much on illusion and deceit in order to be good and worthwhile: it's all about acting out. The hypocrite is one who merely acts out something which he is not, in order that others may believe him to be as such that he would like them to believe. It veritably means to live a lie, nothing more. In order to do this, one would have to close himself to the truth about himself. Perhaps, if we were to peek into the heart of our Lord, and knowing his will to save all men, we would understand and see the source of his irritation and anger towards the Pharisees: their closure to the truth makes them impermeable to the saving dew of repentance and of his saving grace. In deciding to live out a lie, they have blinded themselves to the truth about themselves and to the Truth which God had sent to save them, the Truth who is God himself.

On the other hand there is another term from the theater which elucidates the exact opposite of the attitude of the Pharisees. The ancients used to employ masks in their theatrical productions in order to depict the personages to whom they were giving life to. Usually they may be made of wax. Taking off the masks would reveal the true identity of the actor, and thus end the illusion which until then he had been doing. Sincerity comes from this milieu. Sine Cera means to be without masks of wax with which to deceive. To be sincere is to be at the opposite end of being hypocritical. Only in this attitude and sincerity could one take stock of what he needs to change, something which would inevitably lead one to ask the help of God's grace. It is one condition needed for an authentic conversion, and for the conversion to be authentic.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AUFER A NOBIS, DOMINE, iniquitates nostras, ut ad sancta sanctorum puris mereamus mentibus introire, per Christum Dominum nostrum!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not in emotions....

I think I just got up at the wrong side of the bed (which is impossible because my bed is pushed to the side of the wall) because ever since I got up up things just started to get wrong. My head was aching, my phone was fooling around, there's something wrong with my car, and I have to work in something very late. It's one of those days in which you're tempted to dash a phone to the ground that doesn't seem to cooperate when you wish to make a call, or crash your car into the hedge out of sheer frustration.

It's a good thing I was able to calm myself down and got a grip on the situation. I turned to the psalms in today's Liturgy of the Hours and that soothed me a bit. I think I should do that often. The psalms contain expressions and prayers rising from the human heart tinged with different kinds of emotions. some are made out in frustration and pessimism (e.g. Ps 90 or 42), others are done in a seething rage, some in sadness and dejection, others in penitence and sorrow of one's sins (the famous Miserere or Psalm 51). Some are made in jubilation and rejoicing.

Our formators once advised us to pray with the psalms and I think it would not be a bad idea to pray some on your own as well, especially when you feel whatever is it that you feel. Not only will it provide you with a vent for your feelings, it would afford you with an encounter with God as well, and save your life and sanity, as well as that of others.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Itch

I happened to meet a former student of mine while I was at the National Bookstore just recently. I had just compiled a number of articles by Fr. Mauro Gagliardi on the Priest and the Mass and as a finishing touch to this labor amoris for my priest companions here in the seminary I bought clear plastic folders to place them in. I was already paying to the cashier when this boy came along and we had quite a conversation. He shared that he was doing quite well in his new school, had already adjusted since his transfer the other year and was quite into a lot of activities. He then told me that he had been going along with some Born Again friends and their Bible Study groups and was helping out in their social welfare activities or something. Naturally for a priest and being his former formator I advised him against going in their company, despite of the fact that he had no intention of joining their sect. These people could be very cunning and subtle, I told him, and before long they would have you eating out of their hand. This opened the door for him to ask me many questions about the Catholic faith, questions about the Bible, the cult to Mary the Mother of Jesus, the Mass, and the fullness of the faith and the truth...he had been going with them mainly because of his desire more about the Word of God in Sacred Scripture. I counseled him to dare to ask questions about his Catholic faith to people who would know the answer. He studies in a Catholic school and I'm aware of the fact that there ought to be a priest in the vicinity of their school, since it used to be the premier institution of Catholic learning for the whole province, until squabbles about money and things connected with it (I'm in the dark about a greater part of the story of that now-defunct university) forced it to close down more than a decade ago. It has recently opened again, now under a new name.

However at the back of my mind I knew that his need to learn more about the faith would largely remain unaddressed. Now outside of the seminary, such familiarity with formation in the Catholic faith, rooted in the Scripture, passed on to us by the living Tradition of the Church and her teaching office (Magisterium), celebrated in its sacred liturgy and made alive in our present social, moral and economic millieu, would be very hard to come by. However, the fact is, such education in the faith of young people need not be confined to seminaries and other religious houses of formation. It is a need being increasingly felt by young people and their guardians everywhere. I would be limiting my view within the domains of the Palo Archdiocese. It is very evident that this formation in the faith given to young people within our local Church is largely inadequate, without prejudice to the efforts of many of our religious workers, whether they be priests, religious or lay. This is a need that is largely felt and sorely needed especially among young adults in the collegiate level, who are trying to look for a rock upon which they could stand on while being perfectly secure that it IS a rock that they're standing on. This is the solidity which Catholic faith would certainly furnish the upcoming generation with a sure criteria for life. This is precisely that which is being inadequately served, if not totally missing, in the eduction of our youth. Even in so-called Catholic institutions I would dare say that such instruction is inadequate (well, at least most of them). to add to the urgency is the fact that other Christian denominations and sects are getting the upper and in forming these young people, many of whom are supposedly (or where once) Catholics.

To what kind of instruction am I referring to? With regards to Catholic institutions, this would not be just values education, nor religion classes, but the catechism of the Catholic faith, pure, unadulterated, without exempting the challenges that accepting would necessarily entail. In the non-sectarian educational institutes, a formation in solid human and Christian virtues. Well, you don't have to be Catholic to be diligent or prudent or have a strong sense of commitment.

This all boils down to the point that we need to rethink and study the way we give this kind of formation and education in our centers of learning here in the Archdiocese. And I would not be just talking about studying and rethinking it, but most of all in making it work in favor of our young people; to make it not just a sporadic thing for our youth such as summer youth camps youth encounters (which hold a privileged place in their formation), but a constant and permanent feature of their education. This has been the itch that I've been feeling ever since I began to be acquainted with students while conducting recollections and retreats in different schools, and in listening to their confessions, in answering patiently their questions and in listening to their views and concerns. I think it's high time to revive the Campus Ministry once again as a formation of the human person in the faith. Anyway, isn't this one of the reason why we said "yes" to the call of the Lord in the first place?

I bid good-bye to the boy as we were going out of the bookstore, promising him that I would be keeping him in my prayers, as usual. And through him, I would be praying for his companions, and for theirs in turn, that very soon we would be able to address this screaming need among our young people.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A LOVE STORY, MORE OR LESS… a movie review

I would have to admit that the movie shown last night comes as a refreshing change after the heavy classic stuff which is the usual fare during Fridays. Aside from being relatively fresh (it was made to come out in theaters in time for Valentines Day this year), it contained some light moments conveniently placed in between lines which range from being cheesy and cliché to those which seem to contain much thought (the one at the cemetery was one of my favorites). The movie was quite ok for a Friday night, though I myself (and most of the reviews I’ve read about it would agree with me) would say that despite of its stellar cast, it lacked the luster one would expect from a movie well-stocked with those who belong to the Who’s who of Hollywood

The film reviewer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), one of the resources which I always rely on whenever I choose something new to be projected in our film showings, actually classified it as being an O, pointing it out to be morally offensive, despite of the fact that the Motion Picture Society of America had given it a PG-13 rating. The film contains implicit approval of nonmarital sexual activity and homosexual acts, partial nudity, adultery and phone-sex themes, sexual references and jokes, brief irreverent humor and a half-dozen crude and some crass terms. We may ask then the question about the point of it being shown at all here on a Friday night. I may actually confess that I took a gamble (and the risk) in letting it be projected here (but then considering the quality of most of the films that we have nowadays, it always is).

The movie, with the classification given by the Film and Broadcasting Office of the USCCB, merely projects a reality taking place in a society such as ours. Not only does it present how many relationships go about nowadays, on what kind of relationships they are, but it also presents the mentality and perception upon which these relationships operate. From the onset of the film, as the story begins to unravel and the various characters begin to interact with each other (by the way, one of the things I liked best about the film was the way how the viewer was gradually made to see the interconnection of all the characters in it), one would get the easy impression that love really is based upon what you feel at the moment. Love is all about what you feel, it’s mushy and soft as the flowers and chocolates which take center stage every time Valentine’s Day comes along. And as the flowers and chocolates last merely a day or two, so do these relationships last. Here, love is mainly shown as a spur-of-the-moment thing, something that runs along mushy clichés (as in “When I was a kid, most of the advice that my dad gave me was crap. But there's one thing that he said that was pure genius... he said, if you're ever with a girl that's too good for you, marry her.”….), something that’s volatile, and lacking something that, where it really there, it would have made it truly lasting: a real sense of commitment.

With its presentation of various “relationship paradigm” (as in, two pairs of high school sweethearts, two men in a homosexual relationship, a couple ready to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, etc), one could almost hear that slogan which many people tend to say ad nauseam without ever considering the implications of what they say: Love knows no boundaries. For one thing, that’s what certain people say when they defend homosexual unions. Yes, we know that love cannot be contained in itself due to its very nature, but then, love need to run according to its own coordinates; one doesn’t just love in any way that he wants to, and yet this seems to be precisely the thing which the movie seems to throw off, even when it seems to smile approvingly at the thought marital fidelity, portrayed by the Edgar and Estelle, the elderly couple. It seems to laugh at the fidelity expected in a loving relationship.

Furthermore, it is very evident that it detaches the practice of sexuality from the very context from which it must spring, which is precisely the committed love between man and woman expressed and protected in marriage. The decision of the characters played by the two Taylors (Lautner and Swift) to save it up for marriage, something to which the other high school couple (Grace and Alex) would follow suit later on, would seem to be laudable at first, but then their reasons for waiting until marriage would be for more superficial reasons, and not the fact that true love really waits. Sex is evidently trivialized and easily mistaken for love itself, and is not seen as its expression. One clear indicator of this is the DJ speaking at the close of the movie about the three words that all of us would like to hear at the close of the day. One would expect that they would be “I Love you” only to hear the DJ drone on saying “Let’s get naked”. The shock makes for a few surprised laughs but leaves one with a bitter aftertaste.

There are some rays of light though. The mother’s love presented in the story of the army captain played by Julia Roberts who braves a fourteen-hour flight just to spend the night with her son is heartwarming, and everybody could just wish for someone as cool, patient and thoughtful as a friend like Alfonso (Ashton Kutcher’s Latino friend in the movie).

One might say that it’s a love story, more or less, as the movies tagline would proclaim. But if one were to consider it a story about love, it would be less and lesser.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


THEY MAY NOT BE PERFECT, they may have their own defects, face their own demons, and learn from their mistakes. Nature and grace have made them to be what they are at present, and what I am as a father I have learned it partly from them. One is my father by birth, the other is mine by grace and ordination. They are vastly different in personality and temperament, but equally do I love them both. My prayers are for them especially on this day, and with this I heartily greet them: HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Raymond Diocres

With just the click of the cursor (everyone knows how fast things are these days), I finally found something about the elusive Raymond Diocres. He was mentioned in my other entry concerning the artwork of Daniel Mitsui. His blog page tells the story, and I may add that its a legend (which was said to have moved St. Bruno to enter into the eremitical life) which contains in itself a warning.

Raymond Diocres, a professor at the Sorbonne, and a man with a universal reputation for learning and apparent virtue, died in Paris. Three days later, his coffin, beautifully adorned with the symbols of his profession, was brought into the cathedral with solemnity, accompanied by his fellow professors, by a large group of students and many priests.

Hundreds attended the funeral service; innumerable candles were lit and prayers were offered for him by those who had admired the great knowledge and virtues of the illustrious deceased. But when the choir came to the passage in the Office of the Dead: What are my faults and my sins? My misdeeds and my sins make known to me! which Holy Job asks in Scripture, suddenly the corpse, which was lying exposed on its bier, moved before their eyes, sat up, and cried out in accents of desperation which matched the despair in his eyes: By the judgement of God, I have been accused, judged and condemned.

Having said this, he fell back, never to move again. Thus the world- renowned professor had hidden vice under the appearance of virtue. But God, who scrutinizes hearts, knew his sins and punished him for them.

off to Cebu

I'll be off to Cebu for few days to attend the ordination of a friend. The new-priest-to-be (Rev. Jan Limchua) is a native of Cebu and I've known him for quite a time now, ever since I was a theology seminarian in Navarra. His friendship has never failed me, that's why I really think that despite the effort attending this happiest day of his life is the least that I can do. Congratz Father Jan!!!!!


I've just come back from one of my jaunts through the Internet and I came upon this really cool blog named The Lion and the Cardinal. It's by an artist named Daniel Mitsui who's currently based in Chicago.

Daniel Mitsui is a freelance illustrator who specializes in detailed ink drawings on paper or parchment. He is especially influenced by mediaeval religious art, and also enjoys biological illustration and bookplate design. Many of his drawings can be seen on his website:

Daniel accepts large and small commissions, including custom religious pictures, bookplates, Mass cards, baptismal or confirmation gifts, bulletin covers, Christmas cards, wedding invitations, stationary, coats of arms and illuminated texts. He may be contacted at danmitsui [at] hotmail [dot] com.

He lives with his wife and son in Chicago.

Here are some samples of his work. Cool!!!

The Te Deum with bells
The funeral of Raymond Diocres...I don't know who he is, I'll have to research about it later...

here's a Crucifixion scene, with the characters well-identified



THIS IS MY BABY, a Toyota Corolla 1997...wait, it seems that I've seen this car in a picture before...saaan ba kaya yun....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In what way is Jesus a priest?

IN this solemn vespers of the Feast of Corpus Christi, I have decided to post this homily by the Holy Father which he preached during the Mass on Thursday, the traditional (and original) time when this feast is usually celebrated. As is the custom, he celebrated it in the plaza in front of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Here it is:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The priesthood of the New Testament is closely bound to the Eucharist. Because of this, today, on the solemnity of Corpus Domini and almost at the end of the Year for Priests, we are invited to meditate on the relationship between the Eucharist and the priesthood of Christ. Oriented in this direction also are the first reading and the responsorial psalm, which present the figure of Melchizedek.

The brief passage from the Book of Genesis (cf. 14:18-20) states that Melchizedek, king of Salem, was "priest of God Most High," and because of this "offered bread and wine" and "blessed Abram," returning from a victory in battle; Abram himself gave him a tenth of everything. The Psalm, in turn, contains in the last verse a solemn expression, an oath of God himself, who declares to the King Messiah: "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (Psalm 110:4); thus the Messiah is not only proclaimed king, but also priest.

From this passage the author of the Letter to the Hebrews takes the cue for his ample and articulated exposition. And we re-echoed it in the refrain: "You are a priest for ever, Lord Christ": virtually a profession of faith, which acquires a particular meaning in today's feast. It is the joy of the community, the joy of the whole Church that, contemplating and adoring the Most Blessed Sacrament, recognizes in it the real and permanent presence of Jesus as High and Eternal Priest.

The second reading and the Gospel, instead, draw attention to the Eucharistic mystery. The First Letter to the Corinthians (cf. 11:23-26) treats the fundamental passage in which St. Paul recalls to that community the meaning and value of the "Lord's Supper," which the Apostle had transmitted and taught, but which risked being lost. The Gospel is the account of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, according to St. Luke: a sign attested by all the Evangelists, which announces beforehand the gift that Christ will make of himself, to give humanity eternal life.

Both of these texts highlight Christ's prayer, in the act of breaking the bread. Of course there is a clear difference between the two moments: When he multiplies the loaves and fishes for the crowd, Jesus thanks the heavenly Father for his Providence, confident that he will not have food lacking for all those people. In the Last Supper, instead, Jesus transforms the bread and wine into his own Body and Blood, so that the disciples can nourish themselves from him and live in profound and real communion with him.

The first thing that one must remember is that Jesus was not a priest according to the Jewish tradition. His was not a priestly family. He did not belong to the lineage of Aaron, but rather to that of Judah; hence, legally, he was precluded from the way of the priesthood. The person and activity of Jesus of Nazareth were not placed in the line of the ancient priests, but rather in that of the prophets.

And in this line, Jesus distanced himself from a ritual conception of religion, criticizing the approach that valued human precepts linked to ritual purity rather than the observance of God's Commandments, that is, love of God and of one's neighbor, which, as the Gospel says, "is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33). Even inside the Temple of Jerusalem, sacred place par excellence, Jesus carries out an exquisitely prophetic gesture, when he chases the moneychangers and animal vendors, all things that served for the offering of traditional sacrifices. Hence, Jesus was not recognized as a priestly Messiah, but as prophetic and royal. Also his death, which we Christians rightly call "sacrifice," had nothing of the ancient sacrifices; rather, it was completely the opposite: the execution of a death penalty by crucifixion, the most infamous, which took place outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Now, in what sense is Jesus a priest? The Eucharist itself says it. We can begin from those simple words that describe Melchizedek: he "offered bread and wine" (Genesis 14:18). It is what Jesus did in the Last Supper: He offered bread and wine, and in that gesture he summarized all of himself and all of his mission. In that act, in the prayer that preceded it and in the words that accompanied it, is all the sense of the mystery of Christ, as it is expressed in the Letter to the Hebrews in a decisive passage, which it is necessary to quote. "In the days of his flesh," wrote the author referring to Jesus, "Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek" (5:8-10).

In this text, which clearly alludes to the spiritual agony of Gethsemane, Christ's passion is presented as a prayer and an offering. Jesus faces his "hour," which leads him to death on a cross, immersed in a profound prayer, which consists in the union of his own will with that of the Father. This twofold and unique will is a will of love. Lived in this prayer, the tragic trial that Jesus faces is transformed into offering, into living sacrifice.

The Letter to the Hebrews says that Jesus "was heard." In what sense? In the sense that God the Father delivered him from death and resurrected him. He was heard precisely because of his full abandonment to the will of the Father: God's plan of love was able to be fulfilled perfectly in Jesus, who, having obeyed to the extreme point of death on the cross, became "cause of salvation" for all those who obey him. He became, that is, High Priest for having taken on himself all the sin of the world, as "Lamb of God." It is the Father who confers this priesthood on him at the very moment in which Jesus goes through the passage from his death and resurrection. It is not a priesthood according to the order of the Mosaic Law (cf. Leviticus 8-9), but "according to the order of Melchizedek," according to a prophetic order, depending only on his singular relationship with God.

Let us return to the expression of the Letter to the Hebrews that says: "Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered." Christ's priesthood entails suffering. Jesus really suffered, and he did so for us. He was the Son and had no need to learn obedience to God, but we do, we had and always have need. Because of this, the Son assumed our humanity and for us let himself be "educated" in the crucible of suffering, he let himself be transformed by it, as the grain of corn which to bear fruit must die in the earth.

Through this process Jesus was "made perfect," in Greek "teleiotheis." We must reflect on this term because it is very significant. It indicates the fulfillment of a journey, that is, precisely the journey of education and transformation of the Son of God through suffering, through the painful Passion. And thanks to this transformation Jesus Christ became "High Priest" and can save all those who entrust themselves to him.

The term "teleiotheis," translated correctly as "made perfect," belongs to a verbal root that, in the Greek version of the Pentateuch, namely the first five books of the Bible, is always used to indicate the consecration of the ancient priests. This discovery is quite precious, because it tells us that the Passion was for Jesus as a priestly consecration. He was not a priest according to the Law, but he became so essentially in his Passion, Death and Resurrection: He offered himself in expiation and the Father, exalting him above every creature, constituted him universal Mediator of salvation.

We return, in our meditation, to the Eucharist, which in a while will be the center of our liturgical assembly and of the subsequent solemn procession. In it Jesus anticipated his sacrifice, not a ritual sacrifice but a personal one. In the Last Supper he acted moved by that "Eternal Spirit" with which he will offer himself later on the Cross (cf. Hebrews 9:14). Giving thanks and with a blessing, Jesus transformed the bread and wine. It is divine love that transforms: the love with which Jesus accepts in advance to give himself completely for us. This love is none other than the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, which consecrates the bread and wine and changes their substance into the Body and the Blood of the Lord, rendering present in the Sacrament the same sacrifice that is made later in a bloody manner on the cross.

We can conclude that Christ was a true and effective priest because he was full of the power of the Holy Spirit, he was the culmination of all the fullness of the love of God "on the night he was betrayed," precisely in the "hour of darkness" (cf. Luke 22:53). It is this divine power, the same that brought about the Incarnation of the Word, which transformed the extreme violence and the extreme injustice [of his death] into a supreme act of love and justice.

This is the work of the priesthood of Christ, which the Church has inherited and continues to perpetuate, in the twofold form of ordinary priesthood of the baptized and that of the ordained ministers, to transform the world with the love of God. All, priests and faithful, are nourished by the same Eucharist, all of us prostrate ourselves to adore it, because present in it is our Teacher and Lord, present is the real Body of Jesus, Victim and Priest, salvation of the world. Come, let us exult with hymns of joy. Come, let us adore! Amen.

A Blessed Feast of Corpus Christi to everyone!!!!!

200 posts

i came upon a blog which had for one of its objectives that of coming up with 500 posts before it finally ended. The creator of the blog vowed to end it upon his 500th post (which he did). I'm not saying anything, but wouldn't it be fun to see this blog through to its 200th post? And then we'll hopefully go through 200 more....


YOU'VE GOT THE WHOLE DAY PLANNED PUNCTILIOUSLY: breakfast after morning prayers, a bit of freshening up, morning work amidst the papers or pastoral appointments, lunch, a brief respite, a session at the gym, an afternoon Mass or two, prayers, hanging out with friends, dinner and then rest. You were prepared to make your way through the day ahead when you suddenly become conscious of that weight seemingly resting upon your chest, a feeling aggravated by each breath you take. With each frustrated gasp for air you begin to feel a swept into a maelstrom of emotions, ranging from anger to frustration and near-panic. Then you finally concede to that damning realization: you're having an asthma episode...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Me, a Priest? Why not?

That’s what people usually say whenever introductions are exchanged, especially if I’ve got nothing on which may actually advertise the fact that I’m one of the 490, 000 or so men who’ve sworn themselves to a special commitment that knows no termination date. Whether I’d be sweating it out in the gym (in proper attire) or hanging out in public places such as Robinson’s Place in Tacloban (in attire which is other than clerical), that’s what people would actually blurt out when they learn that the youngish guy in front of them is a priest: “aw padi ka ngay-an?”(so you’re a priest?).

This was the reaction of a lady whose passing acquaintance I had this morning when I was working out. I wouldn’t blame them, though. In this Year of the Priest our pastors, starting from the Holy Father himself, has taken the blessed occasion to remind us that we actually make ourselves known not only through what we do for souls, but also in the habit that we wear. I would confess that many have been the instances that I haven’t taken this admonition to heart (mea maxima culpa).

But then, with each reaction such as the one above, expressed in different ways, but translatable in the same idea of apparent disbelief and shock (?) that a man, much less a young one full of energy and drive, hopes and dreams, would actually close the door to many profitable and comfortable options in life for just one, the seemingly prominent feature of which is an inexistent love life (I’m not kidding, but it seems to be the most frequent rejoinder concerning the priesthood: “ ‘di ka daw hini makakaasawa”(you can’t get married now with that), added by them whispering among themselves: “ sus kasayang…(what a waste)”, and I’m not referring to myself…), I would always reply, though privately, to myself, “ why not?”

A man may be young, talented, full of vibe and energy and bursting with life and promise; he may be handsome and popular, talented and have a way with people; intelligent and understanding, with the makings of a good leader….people may offer him prospects in life to consider…why not become a doctor, why not an engineer, or a businessman? Why not settle down and have a family after having established oneself in life, and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor?

But then, why not become a priest?

I may not be writing much sense, but then what I’m simply trying to express in this article which has already cost me three quarters of an hour writing and more than forty lines would narrow down to this simple question: why not?

This is something which a Catholic young man should make himself aware of as well, to consider that priesthood is also an option in life which might as well be his. This, however, is something which is not totally dependent on his own will and energy to fulfill. The priesthood is not the fruit of a mere personal decision, but rather, first and foremost, something which springs from the fatherly love of God and His will to save all men. It comes from the personal call of Christ that has been received and has taken fruit in a disciple’s heart. It is something which is confirmed and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and in the right time, something which becomes a channel of grace and salvation for many.

A priest? Why not? Nowadays we see the Catholic priesthood much reviled, a lot of mud thrown at it, for the crimes committed by a handful of men who had been unfaithful to it in the first place. I know that I’m not immaculate and perfect, nor do I pretend to be; I may be the lowly servant of the Almighty Word, but I don’t pretend to know all things. Our own human weakness and the specter of the evil that we may do once we forsake the goodness and grace of God hangs over our every step. The reality that I am weak, that I am a worm and no man as the Psalmist would say (cf. Ps 22:6), forms part of the reality of the priesthood and as such my weakness and sinfulness ought not to be an obstacle in considering the priesthood as an option, as a real call. People are afraid of commitments nowadays, partly because they are afraid to face the reality of their own weakness, of the fact that they are less than perfect, and that even they themselves can make mistakes. People are afraid of the darkness that always comes, sooner or later, in any relationship and commitment. The priesthood has its own share of these, and each priest has his own story of woe to tell. But for the priest, far from keeping him from answering the call, this ought to galvanize him to cling all the more to this Love which has never failed him and never will.

Why not become a priest? One is just too talented and good-looking, the perfect catch mothers would want for their daughters. One just knows too much, is able to do much in the world and for the world, to be confined to the life of a simple minister of God. But then, one has to consider that when God grants good things in life, he grants them so that they may be truly enriching and fruitful when they get to be shared to others in the most unselfish manner. Answering the call to the priesthood means listening to and understanding what the Apostle Peter had said to the early Christians, words which resound even until today, when he told them to put their gifts in the service of one another. Of course it is precisely important that the aspirant to the Holy Priesthood take stock of what he has received from the Lord who knows how to work through the goodness of man in order to bring all men to salvation, that is why that time of preparation which is the seminary is also a time for human formation, so that all of ones human gifts may be perfected for the glory of the God who calls and for the service of men. Being talented, being a recipient of God-given gifts isn’t exactly a hindrance to answering the priestly call…on the contrary, it’s even a big plus!

Why not the priesthood? Why the priesthood? I was once asked by a group of students to whom I have preached a retreat the reason why I became a priest. I could’ve given them a lot of answers, tons of them, but then I told them that only one has the true reason why I was ever called to the priesthood, which in the first instance isn’t even mine but that of Christ, and that one is God. Yes, only He knows the reason. St. John Mary Vianney once said that if one were to discover the reason for this call, one would die of love. Perhaps the Cure of Ars has said it well for the rest of us. But then, from our side, perhaps this may also serve as reason enough for this crazy calling called the priesthood, and these words are not my own, but those of someone who was really in love with our Lord: John the Beloved Apostle. The reason? Simply this: God is Love (1 Jn 4:16). The priesthood, being a priest today, means entering into God’s project of love, both for the one who answers it, and the community who benefits from it, which is the Church.

And so, to end, once again the question: a priest? Why not?

Why not you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


"The priest must make himself available to the Lord in the fullness of his being and consequently find himself totally available to men and women. I think celibacy is a fundamental expression of this totality and already, for this reason, an important reference in this world because it only has meaning if we truly believe in eternal life and if we believe that God involves us and that we can be for Him."
Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with the clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, Aug. 6, 2008

WE HAVE JUST STARTED the month which catholic tradition associates with the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I was reminded of this as I looked at the Ordo for the Mass celebrations I would be having this week and I took note of the monthly intention for June: "For the reign of the Sacred Heart and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart in our country and in the World".

With the issues at hand in our society and country, pwede ba nating bilis-bilisan yung prayer natin para dito?

I chanced upon this splendid and beautiful image of Our Lord showing his SAcred Heart. He certainly looks dashing and handsome here, and powerful yet gentle I might add.

Monday, May 31, 2010

the golden beads of summer....

Time passes swiftly and before we know it, summer is over for most of us in this part of the world. I'm just counting the days before the halls of the seminary get to be filled up again and my days get even fuller. Watching the days go by is like letting the final golden bead of summer pass through your fingers. You wish you could hold them longer, but you really have to let them pass as they should....