the moon and venus: a wink and a smile

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:2-4

Filipinos catch a glimpse of Venus sitting on top of a crescent moon. Photo by Voltaire Domingo, NPPA

Filipinos catch a glimpse of Venus sitting on top of a crescent moon. Photo by Voltaire Domingo, NPPA at http://meme.yahoo.com/yphnewsroom/p/u79W4xP/

photo from http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=5909898&id=270180707533

Psalm 111:2-4

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
       they are pondered by all who delight in them.

 3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
       and his righteousness endures forever.

 4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
       the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”

Advertisements

Novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

 

  • 5/14/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
  • On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul.

    WASHINGTON,DC  (Catholic Online) – Catholic Online is pleased to offer the novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The novena officially begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday the 6th week of Easter and continues until Pentecost Sunday.

    The prayers for each day are printed below.  Please join us in praying this powerful prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and all God’s people, that we might be strengthened to carry on the work of the New Evangelization.

    Come Holy Spirit, and enkindle in us the fire of your love!

    A novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest form of all novenas. It was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

    ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

    PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You  and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

    *****

    FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

    The Holy Spirit

    Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin- Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

    Prayer

    Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

    The Gift of Fear

    The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

    Prayer

    Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)

    Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

    The Gift of Piety

    The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

    The Gift of Fortitude

    By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

    The Gift of Knowledge

    The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.

    The Gift of Understanding

    Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

    The Gift of Counsel

    The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

    The Gift of Wisdom

    Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

    Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

    The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

    The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

    Prayer

    Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts
    – – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    the carrying of the Cross

    “Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”  John 19:16-17

    most people have moles.  some have only a few, others have too many.  a mole is a pigment or spot  which occurs when cells grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin.  sometimes it is  considered a birthmark.

    in Filipino culture, the position of some moles in one’s body has corresponding meanings.  a mole on the nape means one has an extraordinary appeal to the opposite sex.  so that if you are a female, expect that you’ll have lots and lots of male admirers.  a mole at the back means one is lazy; and if on the foot means one is likely to wander.

    one famous saying is that if  someone has a mole on his shoulder, he is “pasang-krus  (translated in english as “cross-bearer”).  this means one will live a life of everlasting suffering and hardship.  imagine the horror of a mother when she sees for the first time, that the infant she bore has that mole exactly where it was not supposed to be.

    but come to think of it, all of us has a Cross to carry, with or without that dreaded mole.  the Lord never promised that our journey on earth will be a party.  there will always be obstacles along the way.  yet if we walk together with Christ and focus on our destiny, no burden is too heavy that we cannot bear it.

    Why is this Week Called Holy?

     
    Why is this Week Called Holy?
    Take This Cup
    By Deacon Keith Fournier
    3/26/2010

    repost from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

    We all experience “Gethsemanes” in our own lives; times of difficulty, deep sorrow, loss, distress, fear and anguish.

    It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become “holy” as He is holy. We are invited to embrace the way of surrendered love.

    It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become

    CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) – “Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”

    (And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.) When he rose from prayer -and returned to his disciples- he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” (Luke 22: 39-42)

    This Sunday we enter into Holy Week. Christians will gather in sanctuaries throughout the world and wave Palm branches in imitation of those who lined the streets at Jesus´ triumphal entry. We will follow the path of His struggle, the way of His rejection and we will be invited to climb the mountain of His great saving act of unmerited selfless Divine love.

    During this week we are invited to enter into His pattern of surrendered love; to walk this way with Jesus, who, in His Sacred humanity, teaches us the path to our own transformation. The agony in that garden called Gethsemane shows us a very human Jesus.

    Yes, He was Divine and, because of that, He alone could do for us what we could not do for ourselves, restoring through His passion and death the broken relationship between God and the people whom He fashioned for love and communion. With His outstretched arms, He bridged the gap between heaven and earth. In His triumph over death he defeated the last enemy and began the new creation.

    In His Sacred humanity this man Jesus shows each of us how to live differently. We are invited to greet and embrace even that which we do not want as the very means of transformation. We have been given the grace to accept difficulties, which, when embraced in love, can actually become a path to our redemption.

    The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 14:15)

    The Christian tradition insists that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us and around us. This is the mystery of suffering in the Christian life.
     
    Saint Jose Maria Escriva once wrote “The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we can conquer eternity.”

    How do we treat those circumstances that cause us to struggle? How do we deal with what we find unpleasant? Do we practice an “adult” form of avoidance and run, acting as if it will all just go away like when children cover their eyes? Or do we believe that even unpleasant things and “difficult” people can actually be gifts from the hands of a loving God who invites us to walk in the way of His Son?

    How do we deal with unresolved conflicts or troubling relationships? Do we work toward resolution, making “love our aim” (1 Cor. 14:7), or do we avoid them, thinking they will just go away if we “pretend” they don´t exist?

    Now is the time, during this week we call “Holy”, to join the revolution of which this great saint writes. After all, why do we call this week “Holy”? I suggest two among many reasons.

    First, the story of this week is the story of an all Holy God who showed the depth of His love through the complete emptying of Himself, in and through the Passion of His Son. Second, it is holy because we are invited into that life and way of holiness that Jesus demonstrated during all of the events that we will soon commemorate.

    In the Old Testament the word often translated as “holy” literally meant- to be set aside, consecrated, for God. In Jesus Christ it now means even more. We who are baptized into Him are invited to live our lives now, in Him. To love as He loves; to pray as He prays, to walk as He walks, to suffer as He suffers; to confront evil the way He does.

    All of us inevitably experience “Gethsemanes” in our own lives, times of difficulty, deep sorrow, loss, distress, fear and anguish. Friends may have betrayed us, or those whom we love may have rejected us. Maybe things about our lives are being exposed, brought into the light, and it is “uncomfortable”.

    It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become “holy” as He is holy. We are invited to embrace the way of surrendered love.

    “Take this cup”. It is a very human request. What is the cup we are being asked to drink? Let us decide today to make the choice and drink, saying as we do “not my will but yours be done” When we live and love this way, the very people and circumstances that once seemed to be so difficult can become the path to freedom and we learn to walk the way of forgiving love with Him as His redemptive mission continues through time. 
     – – –
    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC

    an answered prayer

    “And He took them up in His arms, put His hand upon them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16

    yesterday, my son’s geometry teacher called me on my mobile and asked me to take a cab to school and take him to the hospital.  i tried my best to calm down, as i thought about how to possibly heed the call.  bhoy was still miles away from a meeting in jubail, and there was nobody in our office to drive me to the school.

    even if there was, a woman is forbidden here to ride in a car with a man other than her husband.  and to take a cab is very risky and equally dangerous, and would probably create more trouble.  so i really had no option but to wait anxiously for bhoy to finally get hold of miguel, and do whatever was necessary.  it was hard enough to learn that my son was in an emergency situation.  but it was harder to be just pinned down on my seat and not be able to do anything for him.

    as i waited in agony, i opened the page on which i saved the prayer card of St. Josemaria Escriva (thanks zita!) and just prayed for his intercession.  i remembered that when situations get out of hand, i just let go and let God.  yes i got really worried as i heard the concerned voice of my son’s teacher, but as i began to pray, a deep sense of calm took over.  then i knew that miguel was going to be alright.  less than an hour later, bhoy called and said they were already in the parking lot waiting for me.  not to go the hospital, but home.  miguel was already well and good.

    they say God never says “no” to our prayers.  He just responds in varying, but always positive ways.  i believe so too.  He either answers  “YES” right away, or sometimes He will say “MAYBE SOME OTHER TIME“.  on other circumstances, He will tell us “I HAVE A BETTER IDEA”.

    when daddy was recently diagnosed with the big PC, we began to pray so hard for him.  even begged God to make him well again.  although we know that a miracle would be necessary, we still continue to pray.  and it is amazing how, when we pray deeply enough, we lose ourselves to the divine presence of the Lord.  so powerful yet so tender that nothing else would ever come close to us.  only His loving assurance that everything will be taken care of.  and that everything will be alright.

    it is also noteworthy how “unanswered prayer” and “an answered prayer” sound almost exactly the same. the difference lies on the strength of our faith in the absolute and divine power of God, and our constant communion with Him in every aspect of our daily lives.

    we usually pray in the morning as we start our day.  before and after meals.  at night, before we go to sleep.  during sunday mass or novena days.  but to be in prayer doesn’t really need a schedule.  nor does it require an appointment with God.  anytime is prayer time. if we only learn to place our lives in God’s ever holy presence, then there’s always time and space for prayer. 

    our prayers for daddy will go on.  and on. and on. no matter what. for we know deep in our hearts, the Lord already gave His answer… long before we even prayed for it.

    (you may get the prayer card of  St. Josemaria Escriva at www.opusdei.org)

    “Becoming Prayer” by Deacon K. Fournier

    Reflection: Becoming Prayer

    By Deacon Keith Fournier
    8/22/2009

    Catholic Online

    Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom of communion.

    CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) – “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thess. 5:16-19)

    St. Paul wrote these words to the early Christians in Greece. They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, and real struggles, beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith in a hostile culture.

    He instructed them to “Pray without ceasing”. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did. The older I get, the simpler life gets. That does not mean it is “easy”. I speak of spiritual simplicity, the kind of attitude which gets right to the root of what really matters. I believe that Paul meant what he said to the Christians at Thessalonica and that his words are important to those who bear the name Christian today.We need to pray.

    Prayer is an ongoing dialogue of intimate communion with God. God fashioned men and women as the crown of His creation, creating us in “His Image”, for this loving, relational conversation of life with Him. At the heart of understanding what it means to be “in His Image” is to understand the immense gift of human freedom and what has happened to our capacity to choose. Love is never coerced.

    Our relationship with God was broken, separated and wounded through the first sin, the sin of origins or “original sin”. That sin, like all sin since, is at root a misuse of freedom infected by pride and self sufficiency. Our ability to exercise our freedom rightly, to live His Image by directing our capacity for free choice always toward the good, was impeded through the fall. Freedom was fractured.

    The “Good News” is that through Jesus Christ, the way has been opened for an even fuller communion with God, one that is restored through His Incarnation, Saving life, Death and Resurrection. In Jesus Christ we are being re-created, re-fashioned and redeemed. He comes to live in all who make a place for Him within the center of their lives. This “making a place” is the essence of Christian prayer. It is not about doing, but about being.

    The Lord wants us to freely choose to respond to His continual invitations to love. We will only find our fulfillment as human persons by entering into that kind of relationship. This is the meaning and purpose of life itself. As we grow in faith through our participation in the life of grace, lived out in the Church, our capacity to respond to His loving invitation grows as well, through prayer.

    Prayer is about falling in love with God. Isaac of Ninevah was an early eighth century monk, Bishop and theologian. For centuries he was mostly revered in the Eastern Christian Church for his writings on prayer. In the last century the beauty of his insights on prayer are being embraced once again by both lungs, East and West, of the Church. He wrote these words in one of his many treatises on Prayer:

    “When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he is eating or drinking or sleeping or whatever else he is doing, even in deepest sleep, the fragrance of prayer rises without effort in hid heart. Prayer never again deserts him. At every moment of his life, even when it appears to stop, it is secretly at work in him continuously, one of the Fathers, the bearers of Christ, says that prayer is the silence of the pure. For their thoughts are divine motions. The movements of the heart and the intellect that have been purified are the voices full of sweetness with which such people never cease to sing in secret to the hidden God.”

    The Christian revelation answers the existential questions that plague every human heart and trouble every generation. Through His Incarnation, Saving Life, Death, and Resurrection, Jesus opens full communion with God for all men and women. He leads us out of the emptiness and despair that is the rotted fruit of narcissism, nihilism and materialism. When we enter into the dialogue of prayer, we can experience a progressive, dynamic and intimate relationship with God and He transforms us from within. We, as Isaac said, can “become prayer” as we empty ourselves in order to be filled with Him.

    Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom of communion. In that classroom we learn the truth about who we are – and who we are becoming – in Jesus. Through prayer we receive new glasses through which we see the true landscape of life. Through prayer darkness is dispelled and the path of progress is illuminated. Through prayer we begin to understand why this communion seems so elusive at times; as we struggle with our own disordered appetites, and live in a manner at odds with the beauty and order of the creation within which we dwell only to find a new beginning whenever we confess our sin and return to our first love. Prayer opens us up to Revelation, expands our capacity to comprehend truth and equips us to change.

    Through prayer we are drawn by Love into a deepening relationship with Jesus whose loving embrace on the hill of Golgotha bridged heaven with earth; His relationship with His Father is opened now to us; the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead begins to give us new life as we are converted, transfigured and made new. Through prayer, heavenly wisdom is planted in the field of our hearts and we experience a deepening communion with the Trinitarian God. We become, in the words of the Apostle Peter “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) That participation will only be fully complete when we are with Him in the fullness of His embrace, in Resurrected Bodies in a New Heaven and a New earth, but it begins now, in the grace of this present moment.

    The beloved disciple John became prayer. He writes in the letter he penned in his later years: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness” (1John 3:1-4)

    As we “become prayer” our daily life becomes the field of choice and we are capacitated to choose the “more excellent way” of love of which the great Apostle Paul wrote. (1 Cor. 13) Pondering the implications of the exercise of our human freedom becomes a regular part of our life, as we learn to “examine our conscience”, repent of our sin and become joyful penitents. Prayer provides the environment for such recollection as it exposes the darkness and helps us surrender it to the light of Love, the Living God dwelling within us.

    “Becoming prayer” is possible for all Christians, no matter their state in life or vocation, because God holds nothing back from those whom He loves. This relationship of communion is initiated by Him. Our part is to respond. That response should flow from a heart that beats in surrendered love, in the process of being freed from the entanglements that weigh us down. The God who is Love hungers for the communion of sons and daughters – and we hunger for communion with Him – because He made us this way. Nothing else will satisfy. The early Church Father Origen once wrote: “Every spiritual being is, by nature, a temple of God, created to receive into itself the glory of God.”

    We were made in the “image” of God and are now being recreated into His likeness in Jesus Christ. As we “become prayer’, that likeness begins to emerge. We give ourselves fully to the One who gave Himself to us and cry out with Jesus Christ “Abba Father.” No longer alienated, we participate in the inner life of God who now dwells within us. We also dwell in Him through His Spirit. This dwelling is prayer. It is not about doing or getting but about being, becoming, receiving, giving, and loving.

    We will live the way we love and we will love the way we pray.
    A wonderful spiritual writer of our own time, Henri Nouwen, understood the intimacy of prayer and the call to live in God. He wrote these words in his work entitled Lifesigns:

    “Jesus, in whom the fullness of God dwells, has become our home by making his home in us he allows us to make our home in him. By entering into the intimacy of our innermost self he offers us the opportunity to enter into his own intimacy with God. By choosing us as his preferred dwelling place, he invites us to choose him as our preferred dwelling place. This is the mystery of the incarnation. Here we come to see what discipline in the spiritual life means. It means a gradual process of coming home to where we belong and listening there to the voice which desires our attention. Home is the place where that first love dwells and speaks gently to us. Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.”

    Let us learn to “become prayer”.

    – – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    manny pacquiao vs. zoladex

    “now the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.”  Romans 15:13  

     there’s no turning back now. daddy is finally in the forefront of the battlefield called cancer.  he is in the first line of painful attacks which began to radiate to his back now; all the way to those who care for him.  because when we realize that he is in pain, we can almost feel his suffering too.   perhaps not in physical terms.  nonetheless, it is way too consuming.  it slowly eats away whatever courage we have gathered. 

     they say cancer is a painful disease.  i know that it is. but how painful can it possibly be? i guess even those who are afflicted cannot exactly equate with words.  daddy is already old and weak.  the doctors said it is no longer advisable for him to undergo surgery.  so we’re left with lesser options, yet relatively effective as well. 

     in this corner, is Manny Pacquiao. 

     so how did he got into the middle of this fierce battle that is my dad’s?  first of, there’s no longer any need to explain who manny pacquiao is, what with his 7  boxing titles and millions of dollars not to mention his new diamond studded belt.  likewise, we’ve already heard how every time manny pacquiao had major fights abroad, the Philippines experience zero crime rate.  and how ironic that during his fights, the nation unites as one solid pinoy country. YOU KNOW 🙂 (that’s manny’s famous line)

     

    Pacquiao-with-WBC-Diamond-Belt-300x226
    Manny Pacquiao

    yesterday was no exception. every filipino in every corner of the archipelago and the world as well, was glued to the tv, internet or radio, if not that fortunate enough to sit on the ringside, to witness every punch thrown and received by pacman.  daddy was that filipino.  he never missed any pacman bout on tv, and i can say he is really a fan.  but yesterday was special.  aside from the usual peace that a pacquiao fight brings, manny brought into our family something more precious than money can buy.  as daddy watched manny’s fight, daddy forgot he has a fight of his own.  mommy said, it was as if his pain was gone.  i recall the times past when he would watch with such eagerness and excitement.  i can just imagine how manny brought my daddy back to his old self;  when he was young and well, even if for just 12 rounds.  and for that, i salute you manny.

    in the other corner is Zoladex.   

     “zoladex relieves some symptoms of  advanced prostate cancer in men and advanced breast cancer in premenopausal women.  it reduces the levels of testosterone in men and estrogen in women.  the hormones mentioned are said to encourage the growth of certain cancers. ” – from www.healthsquare.com

     

    zoladex
    zoladex

    The following adverse events were reported in greater than 1%, but less than 5% of patients treated with ZOLADEX 10.8 mg implant every 12 weeks. Some of these are commonly reported in elderly patients. 

     WHOLE BODY – Abdominal pain, Back pain, Flu syndrome, Headache, Sepsis, Aggravation reaction

    CARDIOVASCULAR – Angina pectoris, Cerebral ischemia, Cerebrovascular accident, Heart failure, Pulmonary embolus, Varicose veinsDIGESTIVE – Diarrhea, HematemesisENDOCRINE – Diabetes mellitus HEMATOLOGIC – AnemiaMETABOLIC – Peripheral edemaNERVOUS SYSTEM – Dizziness, Paresthesia, Urinary retentionRESPIRATORY – Cough increased, Dyspnea, Pneumonia SKIN – Herpes simplex, PruritusUROGENITAL – Bladder neoplasm, Breast pain, Hematuria, Impotence, Urinary frequency, Urinary incontinence, Urinary tract disorder, Urinary tract infection, Urination impaired. ” – from www.rxlist.com

    today, daddy will have his first zoladex implant.  based on the side effects noted, we fear that the worse is yet to come.  in fact,  the adverse events mentioned seem far more terrifying than the disease itself.  but if it’s any consolation it is said that “symptoms may actually get worse during the first few weeks of therapy. however, as hormone levels subside, the patient should begin to feel an improvement” – from www.healthsquare.com

    whatever the outcome of daddy’s treatment, in three months he is scheduled for another implant.  we’re not sure also, if manny pacquiao will decide to fight anew in three months. but one thing is certain, zoladex and pacman brings hope to daddy.  momentary hope that lasts maybe for 12 rounds or three months.

    but then again there is a hope that springs eternal.  and that hope is our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour… our Healer.  He is my daddy’s doctor. 

    invisible wall

    “And He called the people to Him again and said to them ,”Hear me, all of you and understand:  there is nothing outside a man which by going into Him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him…  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”  Mark 4:14-15, 21-23

    stone-walls-avila

    there was this one gathering that we were invited to.  the notice was kind of impromptu so to speak.  it was already past my bedtime, but still we have to go,  if only because we have to drop our son off so he could spend time with his friends.  despite the other parents’ persistence over my mobile phone and bhoy’s subtle hints for me to get down from the car for a moment and say hi at least, i declined because i felt sick.  though as i look back, i am not sure now if it was for real or just imagined.  that was not the first time.  i have already excused myself on similar occasions many times before.  though at first, i thought i was able to get away with it.  but as i start to run out of excuses, i also began to question my motives.  maybe i’ve already pushed myself way deep into the abyss of extreme fear.  but what am i really scared of?

    there were chapters in my life  when interactions with other people caused me so much pain.  intimate or otherwise, intentional or not, the memory would come and go, and would still hurt me as much.  subconsciously, as an instinct to defend myself from the probability of its recurrence, i built an invisible wall around me.  this wall provides a sense of security to know that nobody can no longer come in and hurt me again, unless i allow it.  so that if it happens again, it will be my entire fault because I let my guard down and let them sneak into my protected sanctuary and inflict pain on me… again. OUCH!

     sometimes it feels unfair to decline any invitation of friendship from new acquaintances, because that was when the hurting usually starts.  it is like cancer that slowly and silently ravages one single organ, and if it is no longer satisfied, moves to another, then another, until it spreads out to the whole system.  at that stage, no medications are effective enough to cure it.  and sadly, painkillers are just a moment’s comfort because they can no longer stop the pain entirely.  and that is worse than the disease itself.

     the wall that I built around me is selective.  my naive and vulnerable nature turns it into a sponge that absorbs any makahiyadisplay of kindness and gentleness.  and in an instant, it can turn into a “makahiya” which folds inward when touched or shaken.  it is an acquired instinct to over-protect myself now.  not only from predators lurking in the darker avenues, but warily from unfamiliar creatures which  disguise otherwise.

     call it instinct.  but sometimes it already seems like i’m just being paranoid.  and i really feel guilty after those excuses, because i know deep inside it is not fair.  especially to all who genuinely cares about me.  therefore i commit a grave injustice far greater than those who have hurt me.  not only am i depriving myself the warmth of human bonding, i also prevent others to get to know and understand me better.  instead, like a turtle who hides its head in its shell, i retreat into the innermost recesses of my solitude, because it is there that i feel safest.  or so i thought.

    but truly, only God breaks down walls and opens new doors for natural order of things to find its course.  praise God for the power of His word.  for by His grace He made me realize that the madness that comes from without can do me no worse, than what i can do to myself.  and since i have no control of what’s to come,  i’ll be forever comforted by the reality that He will always protect me.

    gods_embrace

    harsh realities of life.  even our Lord Jesus Christ, in all His power and glory, was not spared because He loves us so much.  pain and suffering are part of what makes us better persons.  and they don’t even come close to what our Lord was made to endure.  He offered his life totally and unconditionally, and we partake in His suffering by enduring our own.  and maybe too, if i offered my own, by sharing my self to others regardless of any suffering that it might bring,  His suffering would not have been in vain. 

    i just pray that one day soon, in the name of Christ Jesus, i would be able to put into action what the Lord had just made me realize.  and my invisible wall would finally disappear, together with the foundation of pain from which it was built upon.

    CORAZON AQUINO and the yellow ribbons

    “The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.”  Psalms 64:10

    tita cory President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino passed away this morning after her hard-fought battle with colon cancer.  much have already been said about her.  being the icon of  Philippine democracy  & People Power, as Ninoy’s wife, as Kris’ mom.  i could go on forever. 

    the nation mourns not only the loss of an ex-president; but also its mother.

    Tita Cory left a lasting legacy in Philippine history.  from  my perspective though, i see her as Ninoy’s strength and her Corychildren’s light during their darkest hours.   and when called for, she went beyond the needs of her family to fulfill a duty to a whole nation which, since then have become part of her extended family.  and up to her last breath, her faith in God was so strong that it radiated to the entire nation, regardless of political affiliation or religion.

    thus was Tita Cory’s legacy in me.  she taught by her example that nothing is unbearable when we carry it with the cross of Christ in heart and mind.  although she was born rich and priveleged, she suffered more than her fair share.  but she accepted her fate with grace.  she embraced God’s will with loving trust.  she endured her sufferings with silence. 

    Cory_Aquino

    her faith in God lives on, long after she has gone.  it’s the one great lesson for each of us, that in whatever state we are, happy or sad, healthy or sick, persecuted or praised, rich or poor;  WE MUST PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.  for wherever our destiny takes us, only one thing is certain; the Lord is with us during the entire journey.  the same way He is now with Tita Cory on her way home… 

    where angels welcome her with yellow ribbons praising her for a job well done and a life well-lived.

    lopez-black-cherubs

      

    it began as a flicker

    “You are the light of the world…your light must shine before man so that they may see the goodness in your acts and give praise to your Heavenly Father.”  Matthew 5:14-16

    when I was kid, my mom had that habit to pick out what she’d seen as my really bad traits and to smack them right into angry-womanmy face like a tennis ball.  it hurt really, really bad.  other than that, she also made it a point to find someone to compare me to.  and that someone, in her eyes, would always be better. that hurt even more.  but i always thought it might just be her way to shake out from me what could have been my best.  maybe she was forced to do that out of  love.  and for my own good.  if her intentions were just that, maybe she got what she wanted because somehow i made some remarkable achievements in school.  even though she never really showed she was proud of me at all, i think she really was. 

    as i ventured into the real world, the manifestations of my emotional bruises caused by those constant ‘put downs’ became more evident.  i grew timid and self-conscious. i  felt comfortable only with those very close to me. to sum it all, my self-esteem was low, low, low.   indeed, those factors hampered the natural course of my growth as a person.  instead, i tried to stay in my cocoon, and restrained myself from growing my wings and fly. 

    butterfly

    but time has a way of transforming me.  it gave me the opportunity to meet people who somehow served as mirrors from whom i saw myself in a different light.  it took  me to places where i felt needed and useful.  it allowed me to gather valuable  experiences which became seeds of my self-worth that started to grow and bloom.  most of all, time slowly but surely became witness to the grand plan that my Maker destined for me to fulfill.

    yellow-2lips1

    now that i am older,  i have come to realize that my birth was never an accident.  and for whatever reason i am here where i am now, the Lord meant it to be.  the same can be said for all.  we are all of great value, no matter what our circumstances in life.  unless we give ourselves that DEFINITION which is true to how the Lord perceive us, only then shall we find our life’s  MEANING.  on hindsight, it’s not for me to judge what my mom did.  whether it was good or bad.  but it did gave my metamorphosis a deeper meaning in more vivd colors at that.

    pinktulips1

    it is never too late to find our own star within us.  and it is never too hard either.  we just need to  focus our eyes on the Lord, and our own individual light would start to shine.  so that others may also see the beauty that He bestowed on each of us.

    sunlight