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, February 24, 2007

First Sunday of Lent

In today's Liturgy, we hear once more the Account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness (or desert for that matter) as narrated to us Luke. The desert seems to be a place of "dissonance" of sorts. On the one hand, it is traditionally regarded as the place where one encounters God (being a place of silence and solitude), but on the other hand, as presented to us by the Gospel, a place of temptation, a place of barrenness. I would like to reflect that it is in this light that the Church would want to remind us about this holy season of Lent.

Lent is a time of going back to God, going back to the Source. We are being invited and drawn by this holy season to once again experience God in the silence of our hearts. To reminisce our personal "God experiences" in the solitude of our being. To once again be connected, and to appreciate that great gift of connection to the Divine, The Supreme Being.

Secondly, as our attention is centered on God, the Ever Greater One, we are challenged by Lent to renounce our very selves -- the hedonistic and self-seeking aspects of our selves. That as we search for God, we are likewise invited to turn away from our selves and from our sins so that God can find an acceptable and pleasing dwelling place in our hearts. Let us beg then for these graces.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Start of the Lenten Season

Ash Wednesday ushers in a new liturgical season in the prayer life of the Church which is Lent. Lent is a holy season where all Christians prepare to commemorate the redemptive act of Jesus which reached its peak in the cross. As we begin the season of Lent, it may be helpful for us to reflect upon the significance of the imposition of ashes on our forehead, of Ash Wednesday, and of the whole lenten season.

The ashes on our foreheads manifest our humility to accept that we are nothing: We come from dust and to dust we shall return. An insight that without God, we are nothing. Our existence is contingent; we share in God's existence. Perhaps this sums up the invitation of the Lenten season to all of us. To constantly acknowledge that without God we are nothing. We need God in our lives.

Lent then invites us to stop awhile, reflect, pray, and ultimately go back to God. As we struggle to reach God, we "fall" in His love, we rest secure in His presence. We pray then that the whole lenten season for us be an experience of going back to God, and ultimately, rest secure in His fervent love which He perfectly expressed in the cross.

May we all have a Blessed and Grace-filled Lenten Season!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Presentation of the Lord

02 February is the Feast of the Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord. For a possible reflection point or a prayer matter, I propose that we meditate on the Canticle of blessed Simeon, taken from the Gospel of Luke and is read in the Liturgy for today. Simeon's Canticle is a very rich and meaningful prayer. This Canticle is used in the Compline or the Night Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. Below is the lyrics of the Canticle with music by Jesuit priest Manoling Francisco. If you wish to listen to this song, kindly go to www.rjorbetasj.multiply.com

Ref: Lord, let Your servant go in peace
For Your Word has been fulfilled.

I. A Child shall be born to the Virgin,
And His Name shall be called, "Emmanuel." (Ref)

II. My own eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared for all men. (Ref)

III. A Light shall reveal to the nations
And the glory of Your people, Israel. (Ref)

The Feast of the Presentation is also a day of remembering for all Religious people -- priests, brothers, and nuns. Let us also remember all our religious, the Jesuits included, in our prayers that they may truly be faithful to God and to His Church.

God bless you.