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]

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Graces of Christmas

Tomorrow is the last Sunday of Advent. Our preparation for the commemoration of our Lord's Birth has reached its peak. But perhaps it would be helpful if we include in our reflections two persons very vital to the realizing of our Lord's Birth -- Mary and Joseph.
We have heard in the Gospels that our Lady accepted the challenge of God for her, to be the Mother of Jesus. In this Liturgy's Gospel, we also heard of Joseph's docility to the Will of God, to be the foster father and the protector of the Holy Family.
So, as we celebrate Christmas, it would be nicer if we think of Joseph's and Mary's docility to the Will of God and to their selfless offering of their persons for the filfillment of God's promise and will. Maybe we can ask for this grace this Christmas: that we truly be open to God's will in our lives, and that we may have the heart and the will to follow it. Who knows, graces might just flow out from our docility and openness, as it once did with Mary and Joseph. Amen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Season of Rejoicing

This Sunday will be the Third Sunday of Advent and it 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 reign of God has come among us --
the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.; in short, 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. Amen.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Renewed Creation

As we continue with our Advent discipline, bearing in mind the richness that this season brings, we focus on the First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (Ch.11, v.1-10). I believe that this is the perfect scene of the moment we have all been waiting for -- the moment when all of creation will be renewed by the second coming of the Lord Jesus.

Our world today is loaded with anger, animosity and apathy. We see all around us wars and famines, deaths and sickness and what have you that truly hamper the human spirit from hoping. Advent is a season of hopeful waiting, but what is there to hope for?

The prophet Isaiah perfectly articulated the moment that will come, the moment that we all have been hoping for. As the Prophet prophesied,

"Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD."

Advent indeed gives us all the reason there is to hope for. To truly hope for the Lord's coming. And as we prepare for that, let our refrain be: "Come, Lord Jesus... and renew all of creation! AMEN.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Season of Hopeful Waiting

We begin another Liturgical Year with the celebration of the First Sunday of Advent. Advent simply, in layman's term, ushers the most-awaited season of Christmas. But more meaningfully, Advent poses for us a blessed season of waiting.

To wait for something or for someone is a disposition of hope, of sheer trust. And I think we celebrate it right, to begin the new liturgical year in this disposition. Jesus in the Gospels asks His disciples to hold fast and to wait for the final hour. We can say then that a Christian's life is a prolonged celebration of Advent, of hopeful waiting to be reunited to God, our Source, our End.

Like this monk (in the picture) who patiently 'waits' for the Lord's coming to him in prayer and contemplation, may we, too, truly and joyfully wait for the coming of the Savior, our One and True Joy.