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, May 31, 2008

My Grace is Enough for You

It has been three years since I and nine of my batch mates in the Society of Jesus professed perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as Jesuits. And since the time of our profession, the grace and love of God abound all the more in my life.

It is true that religious life is no joke. It might appear comfortable and secure, but mind you, if this life is not for you, you will never be happy in it or you will never be fit in it (this is perhaps the reason why people leave religious life). In my past three years of vowed life, I continue to experience being stretched to the point that it is no longer "stretchable;" I continue to experience being tried and tested; I continue to experience being challenged and invited to greater love. But in all these challenges, trials, and testings, I can say with much conviction that the grace of God abounds all the more!

As I continue living my Jesuit Vowed life (now as a Jesuit regent in Zamboanga), I continue to hold on to this God of Love whose fidelity never wavers and whose constant presence never fades. I fervently pray that I, together with all the vowed religious in the Church, will persevere and will remain faithful to the very end. Amen.


To my beloved profession-mates -- Andy, Ernald, Eric, Chrysostom, Bros, Erik John, Joel, and Neo: May God's grace abound all the more in our daily living out of our Vows.

To Brother Gabriel, may God continue to show you His unswerving fidelity and presence.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sunday Reflections: Fostering Relationships

On Sunday we will celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi -- the Body and Blood of Jesus. We remember in a special way the Sacrament of Love -- the Holy Eucharist, Jesus' very Body and Blood offered and poured out for our salvation.

All of us have relationships -- friends, colleagues, loved ones, special someones, etc... And we know by experience that for a relationship to bloom and grow, we have to foster it, we need to "feed it," as it were. For some, this fostering takes the form of bonding -- spending moments together; for others it would be "sweet nothings" -- chocolates, care notes, other stuff, etc... But whatever form it may take, all of us do our best to nourish relationships.

The same is true with Jesus. He loves us so much and he wants to be a part of our lives. Jesus' simple yet powerful way of "bonding" with us, of giving us "sweet stuff" is through the Holy Eucharist: He gives us His very Body and Blood to nourish us and to make us feel how deep His Love for us is.

As we celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday then, let us foster and deepen our relationship with Jesus. May our not-so-good attitude to the Liturgy be changed and our devotion to the Eucharist strengthened. May our prayers and Holy Communion be truly ways of deepening our relationship with Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blessed Trinity: A Community of Love

Today is Trinity Sunday. There are many theological explanations about the Blessed Trinity and most of us will find it difficult to digest all of them. But what does the Trinity really mean, for us as persons and as Christians?

For me, the simplest explanation perhaps is that the Trinity is a Community of Love. The relations between the Father, Son, and Spirit is in knowing and in loving. The Trinity then becomes the perfect model of a community -- that based and rooted in genuine love and concern for each other.

As we celebrate the Liturgy, it might be helpful if we ask ourselves whether we have been faithful in following the example of the Trinity. Have we been communities of love and unity, or are we, as individuals, causes of dissent and disagreement.

Let us ask the Blessed Trinity then to make us living models and bearers: Persons, then ultimately, communities grounded and centered in Love. Amen.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Pentecost Reflections: "Come Holy Spirit"

We experience a lot of catastrophes in our lives, both natural and man-caused: El Niño, La Niña, floods, typhoons, food shortage, war, etc... and many times in our lives we are discouraged and we just want to lurk in the corner in sheer hopelessness thinking that we can do nothing. But tomorrow's Solemnity of Pentecost, the remembering of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the Blessed Mother should, as followers of Christ, change the picture for us. The Holy Spirit is not only with the apostles and the Blessed Mother, precisely, the Holy Spirit is in us!

Dear friends, in the Gospel Jesus told His disciples: "Receive the Holy Spirit." This spurred them on to share the story of Jesus to the ends of the earth, fearless and zealous even amidst persecution and martyrdom. As we celebrate Pentecost, let us ask the Spirit to fortify our hearts and make us courageous in facing whatever concerns that come our way -- food shortage, corruption, problems, etc... -- with new eyes, with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. And as we are fortified and renewed by and in the Spirit, may we fortify and renew our world. Amen.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Easter Reflections: Ascension Sunday

Tomorrow is Ascension Sunday. We celebrate with great solemnity the Lord Jesus' ascension into heaven. After several weeks of reflecting and praying over the Lord's 'ministry of consolation' to His disciples who were grieved by His death, we remember Jesus ascent into glory.

Perhaps it is helpful if we look at this Solemnity in the light of hope. Jesus ascended into heaven not so much to leave us but to empower us. Remember His words that when the time comes for him to go, "the Paraclete will come to us to help us," and that "He will always be with us until the end of time." Ascension I think is a milestone for all of us as Christians. It is Jesus' constant and living invitation for us to continue His mission: Jesus is no longer here physically to heal, console, forgive, and love... ergo, as friends and followers of Jesus, the Solemnity of the Ascension is the reminder for us to "heal, console, forgive, and love" all men and women in the name of Jesus.

Let us pray then that we become faithful to this mission entrusted to us and that by doing our "mission," we make Jesus Christ more present and alive in our midst. Amen.