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]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Work of Christmas Begins...

Most of us think that after December 25, Christmas is over. I mean the parties and gatherings have ended, gifts have been given away or received already. And for most of us, the excitement of Christmas has gone down due to hang overs, upset stomachs, and sheer exhaustion. But is Christmas really over for 2008?

I wish to share with you a very nice literary piece from Howard Thurman. He said that Christmas isn't over... Christmas, the work of Christmas has just begun:

When the song of he ANGEL is stilled,
When the STAR in the sky is gone,
When the KINGS and princes are home,
When the SHEPHERDS are back with their flock,

The work of CHRISTMAS begins:

To FIND the lost
To HEAL the broken
To FEED the hungry
To RELEASE the prisoner
To REBUILD the nations
To BRING PEACE among brothers and sisters~
To make music in the HEART.

May we never forget that the spirit and the message of Christmas will never be over. May we have the grace to continue the work that Christmas has just begun. AMEN.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Blessed Christmas to All!

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas?!


Jesus is Better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole.

JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year

JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies

JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited

JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa

JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap

JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"

JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly

JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO! HO! HO!

JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"

JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.

Santa's little helpers make toys

JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but

JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

Santa is a myth

But Jesus is the Truth, the Way, and the Life

While Santa puts gifts under your tree

JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It's obvious there is really no comparison.

We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.

We need to put Christ back in Christmas.

Jesus is still the reason for the season.

A Blessed Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Reflections: Salvation Has Come!

I know all of us are very busy with the final preparations for our Christmas Eve dinners and gatherings. But I think it would be profitable for us to stop awhile and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas -- the true meaning for the holidays, the dinners, and the gatherings -- which is none other than the birth of our Savior. I wish to share with you a Christmas Reflection by the late Father Horacio de la Costa, the first Filipino Provincial of the Society of Jesus.

"There is no room in an Inn for Him who made room and to spare, for the Milky Way, and where God is homeless, all men are at home.

We were promised a savior, but we never dreamed God Himself would come and save us. We know that He loved us, but we never dared to think that he loved us so much as to become one of us.

But that is the way God gives. His gifts are never quite what we expect, but always something better than we hoped for. We can only dream of things too good to be true; God has a habit of giving things too true to be false. That is why our faith is a faith of the unexpected, a religion of surprise.

Now, more than ever, living in times so troubled, facing a future so uncertain, we need such faith. We need it for ourselves, and we need to give it to others."

- Fr. Horacio de la Costa, S.J.

A Blessed Christmas to All!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Advent Reflections: "Prepare the Way of the Lord"

In the Second Sunday of Advent, one figure that stands out in the Readings of the Liturgy is St. John the Baptist, the precursor of the Lord Jesus. In the Reading from the Prophet Isaiah, it is stated that a "voice cries out from the desert, prepare ye the way of the Lord." This is a foreshadowing of the future "mission" of the Baptist, to somehow convert the hearts of the people as a preparation for the coming of the Messiah. In the Gospel according to Mark, the evangelist describes the "mission" of the Baptist, that is, to be the "pointer", as it were, to Jesus Christ.

As we continue with our advent preparations, perhaps it would be helpful if we take from the readings a very salient point -- that of "pointers" to Christ. John the Baptist had always been the "pointer" to Christ; his mission was to bring the people to the Messiah, to point to them the direction of the Savior for them to follow. There are many "pointers" to God in our lives -- be they persons, things, or even events and experiences. But the question is, "Are we sensitive to the pointers and to the One they are pointing to?" We pray then that we be sensitive and keen, that indeed in this holy season, we may fix our gaze on Christ -- the One who is to come. Amen.