S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rejoice! Rejoice!

The Third Sunday of Advent is called "Gaudete" Sunday, or Rejoice Sunday. If we notice the color of the liturgical vestments for this Sunday's Mass, we can see that instead of purple or violet, the Presider and the deacon use rose or pink (The pope in the photo dons the rose vestments). We also notice that the third candle in our advent wreath (colored pink or rose) is also lit today. Why then do we change the liturgical color and why do we call this Sunday "Gaudete?"
We are reminded by the Church to truly rejoice for the season of Advent is indeed a joyful season. The real reason for this joy is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Prophet for the chosen people: "Rejoice O Israel, for unto you shall come Emmanuel." Indeed we rejoice for God has come among us! As the Gospel passage for today's liturgy points out, rejoicing is possible for the multitude has been admonished to be generous, the tax collectors have been reformed not to exact additional charges from the people, soldiers have been encouraged to be gentle and content; in short, the Good News has been preached! Salvation is at hand.
Indeed, let us rejoice! Let us rejoice in the truth that the Messiah is coming, and let our fervent prayer be: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness & Protector of the Family and of the Unborn

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Archdiocese of Cebu. Let us pray then to Our Lady, that she may always protect each and every family and each and every unborn child. And so with the Universal Church we pray:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, who blessed Mexico and all the Americas by your appearance to Juan Diego, intercede for the holy Church, protect the pope, and help everyone who invokes you in their necessities.

O mystical rose, hear our prayers and our petitions, especially for the particular one we are praying for at this moment (mention your request).

Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance.


*This prayer and many others can be found in: "Catholic Prayers & Devotions"

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Salvation is at Hand!

The Church today presents to us the figure of St. John the Baptist. The Baptist is a key figure in the season of advent being the precursor of the coming of the Messiah. And the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent presents him baptizing people in the river Jordan. He preaches and with the preaching comes the baptism of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The Baptist reminds the people that they need to reform their lives for the Messiah has come! The Messiah has pitched His tent among us, right in our very midst! SALVATION IS AT HAND!
We are invited today and throughout the season of advent to repent and be sorry for our faults for indeed, our salvation is at hand!
Let us pray then that we may have the deeper appreciation of our Baptism, and that indeed we may live out the graces of the Sacrament. Amen.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Immaculate Conception

Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated by then Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1854 through the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, defining formally the Dogma. Hence, the Immaculate Conception is an accepted belief in the Roman Catholic Church, brought about by faith. But we may ask, "What is the relevance of the Dogma in our lives now?" Perhaps a part of Ineffabilis Deus may help us understand. Pope Pius IX posits that:

"Our soul overflows with joy and our tongue with exultation. We give, and we shall continue to give, the humblest and deepest thanks to Jesus Christ, our Lord, because through his singular grace he has granted to us, unworthy though we be, to decree and offer this honor and glory and praise to his most holy Mother. All our hope do we repose in the most Blessed Virgin-in the all fair and immaculate one who has crushed the poisonous head of the most cruel serpent and brought salvation to the world: in her who is the glory of the prophets and apostles, the honor of the martyrs, the crown and joy of all the saints; in her who is the safest refuge and the most trustworthy helper of all who are in danger; in her who, with her only-begotten Son, is the most powerful Mediatrix and Conciliatrix in the whole world; in her who is the most excellent glory, ornament, and impregnable stronghold of the holy Church; in her who has destroyed all heresies and snatched the faithful people and nations from all kinds of direst calamities; in her do we hope who has delivered us from so many threatening dangers. We have, therefore, a very certain hope and complete confidence that the most Blessed Virgin will ensure by her most powerful patronage that all difficulties be removed and all errors dissipated, so that our Holy Mother the Catholic Church may flourish daily more and more throughout all the nations and countries, and may reign "from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth," and may enjoy genuine peace, tranquility and liberty. We are firm in our confidence that she will obtain pardon for the sinner, health for the sick, strength of heart for the weak, consolation for the afflicted, help for those in danger; that she will remove spiritual blindness from all who are in error, so that they may return to the path of truth and justice, and that here may be one flock and one shepherd.

Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard."

We pray then that we may follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that we may strive to be holy as she struggled to be holy all her days. Amen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Prayer for the Victims of Typhoon Reming

The Holy Father's Message and Prayer for the victims of Typhoon Reming:

From the VATICAN CITY, last Dec. 1, 2006, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, sent a telegram of condolence, in the Pope’s name, to Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, for a typhoon that hit our country on November 30, causing numerous victims.

The telegram of condolence is as follows:

"Deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life resulting from the recent typhoon in the eastern Philippines, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assures all affected of his closeness in prayer. The Holy Father commends the deceased to the loving mercy of Almighty God, and upon their grieving families and all those injured he invokes divine strength and comfort. His Holiness likewise prays for the rescue workers and all involved in providing practical assistance to the victims of this disaster, encouraging them to persevere in their efforts to bring relief and support.”

- from www.rcam.org (the webpage of the Roman Catholic Archdioces of Manila, Philippines)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy New Liturgical Year!

With the season of Advent, the Universal Church begins another year in her liturgical life. So, Happy New Year to everyone! (at least, in the liturgical sense!)
Advent is a season of waiting. It is very apt that we begin our liturgical calendar with advent, for me a sincerity to Jesus' words in the Gospel "Watch and pray." The first part of Advent (from the 1st Sunday of Advent up to December 16), the Church reminds all of us in the liturgy to be ever ready to meet Christ our Lord in the parousia. We are being exhorted to make our hearts ready for the coming of Christ in the end of times. The second part is the more festive one (from December 17 up to December 24), the Church refreshes our memories of the first Christmas morn, when heaven and earth literally met, the moment when God and Man was united in a very physical sense.
So let us make the most out of this holy season. Our advent wreath symbolizes our preparation -- the three violet candles symbolize sorrow for not being whole-hearted in our efforts to prepare for the Lord's coming, yet the single pink candle symbolizes our joy, the joy in the fact that Jesus is indeed coming. We pray then that this holy season of Advent may make our hearts ready to face our Lord in His daily "comings" to our lives, and that we may be worthy to celebrate the memory of His birth. Amen.