Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Come, Holy Spirit! Enkindle in us the fire of your love!

Pope Benedict's homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost is quite insightful and spiritually challenging. Would that we all could be open to the call of the Spirit in truth and in action. Come Holy Spirit, come through Mary!

In the solemn celebration of Pentecost we are invited to profess our faith in the presence and in the action of the Holy Spirit and to invoke his outpouring upon us, upon the Church and upon the whole world. Let us make our own, and with special intensity, the Church's invocation: "Veni, Sancte Spiritus! ( Come, Holy Spirit)"

It is such a simple and immediate invocation, but also extraordinarily profound, which came first of all from the heart of Christ. The Spirit, in fact, is the gift that Jesus asked and continually asks of his Father for his friends; the first and principal gift that he obtained for us through his Resurrection and Ascension in to heaven.

Today's Gospel passage, which has the Last Supper as its context, speaks to us of this prayer of Christ. The Lord Jesus said to his disciples: "If you love me, follow my commandments; and I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Paraclete who will remain with you forever" (John 14:15-16).

Here the praying heart of Jesus is revealed to us, his filial and fraternal heart. This prayer reaches its apex and its fulfillment on the cross, where Christ's invocation is one with the total gift that he makes of himself, and thus his prayer becomes, so to speak, the very seal of his self-giving for love of the Father and humanity: Invocation and donation of the Spirit meet, they interpenetrate, they become one reality. "And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Paraclete who will remain with you forever." In reality, Jesus' prayer -- that of the Last Supper and the prayer on the cross -- is a single prayer that continues even in heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. Jesus, in fact, always lives his priesthood of intercession on behalf of the people of God and humanity and so prays for all of us, asking the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles -- we listened to it in the first reading (Acts 2:1-11) -- presents the "new course" of the work that God began with Christ's resurrection, a work that involves man, history and the cosmos. The Son of God, dead and risen and returned to the Father, now breathes with untold energy the divine breath upon humanity, the Holy Spirit. And what does this new and powerful self-communication of God produce? Where there are divisions and estrangement he creates unity and understanding. The Spirit triggers a process of reunification of the divided and dispersed parts of the human family; persons, often reduced to individuals in competition or in conflict with each other, reached by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, can involve them to such an extent as to make of them a new organism, a new subject: the Church. This is the effect of God's work: unity; thus unity is the sign of recognition, the "business card" of the Church in the course of her universal history. From the very beginning, from the day of Pentecost, she speaks all languages. The universal Church precedes the particular Churches, and the latter must always conform to the former according to a criterion of unity and universality. The Church never remains a prisoner within political, racial and cultural confines; she cannot be confused with states not with federations of states, because her unity is of a different type and aspires to transcend every human frontier.

From this, dear brothers, there derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: When a person or a community, limits itself to its own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign that it has distanced itself from the Holy Spirit. The path of Christians and of the particular Churches must always confront itself with the path of the one and catholic Church, and harmonize with it. This does not mean that the unity created by the Holy Spirit is a kind of homogenization. On the contrary, that is rather the model of Babel, that is, the imposition of a culture of unity that we could call "technological." The Bible, in fact, tells us (cf. Genesis 11:1-9) that in Babel everyone spoke the same language. At Pentecost, however, the Apostles speak different languages in such a way that everyone understands the message in his own tongue. The unity of the Spirit is manifested in the plurality of understanding. The Church is one and multiple by her nature, destined as she is to live among all nations, all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts. She responds to her vocation to be a sign and instrument of unity of the human race (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1) only if she remains free from every state and every particular culture. Always and in every place the Church must truly be catholic and universal, the house of all in which each one can find a place...

...A Father of the Church, Origen, in one of his homilies on Jeremiah, reports a saying attributed to Jesus, not contained in the sacred Scriptures but perhaps authentic, which he puts thus: "Whoever is near me, is near the fire" (Homilies on Jeremiah, L. I [III]). In Christ, in fact, there is the fullness of God, who in the Bible is compared to fire. We just observed that the flame of the Holy Spirit burns but does not destroy. And nevertheless it causes a transformation, and it must for this reason consume something in man, the waste that corrupts him and hinders his relations with God and neighbor.

This effect of the divine fire, however, frightens us, we are afraid of being "burned," we prefer to stay just as we are. This is because our life is often formed according to the logic of having, of possessing and not the logic of self-giving. Many people believe in God and admire the person of Jesus Christ, but when they are asked to lose something of themselves, then they retreat, they are afraid of the demands of faith. There is the fear of giving up something nice to which we are attached; the fear that following Christ deprives us of freedom, of certain experiences, of a part of ourselves. On one hand, we want to be with Jesus, follow him closely, and, on the other hand, we are afraid of the consequences that this brings with it.

Dear brothers and sisters, we always need to hear the Lord Jesus tell us what he often repeated to his friends: "Be not afraid." Like Simon Peter and the others we must allow his presence and his grace to transform our heart, which is always subject to human weakness. We must know how to recognize that losing something, indeed, losing ourselves for the true God, the God of love and of life, is in reality gaining ourselves, finding ourselves more fully. Whoever entrusts himself to Jesus already experiences in this life peace and joy of heart, which the world cannot give, and it cannot even take it away once God has given it to us.

The above article are little snippets taken from Pope Benedict XVIs' homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost

The full homily can be found here


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We just experienced the Feast of Pentecost. I used the word experience because since Pentecost is also known as the birthday of the Church I believe some of us are also experiencing a minor rebirth in our own living situations (turning new a new chapter in life); some through enrollment in this Poly and some through graduation and some through other events that escape my mind at the moment. Through these significant changes and experiences in our lives (however minor it may be) we must always look to the second helper the promised Paraclete that Christ has sent to us for guidance, strength and continuous renewal. Renewal to? our thoughts for one, our behaviors, our way of living life, our daily practices, our approach towards each other, and most importantly our earnestness in making Christ the center of our lives because and only because we love him and nothing else.

The above 'cut-up' of the our dear Pontiffs' Homily explains to us (in brief detail here) how exactly we can do this and if you are attentive you will find it marginally familiar with what Fr. Alex was trying to explain to us today remember? the four steps of getting closer to God?

Step 1: Abide with the rules, e.g. ten commandments.

Step 2: Letting go of Wealth

Step 3: Letting go of Inordinate Attachments with your Family

Step 4: Letting go of Self

(thanks to Ranson for correcting my earlier mistake :D)

If you are lazy to read the article I bid you at least just go through those that I highlighted in red, if you are zealous (now I'm speaking to the leaders) click the link above!

With that I leave you dudes and dudettes in the merciful unconditional love of the Father, the fraternal unconditional love of Christ and the guiding unconditional love of the Holy Spirit.

(Loving and Missing you guys.)

Ad Jesum Per Mariam.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Saint Song

Whoever in the SP Catholic Students' Society, can do the same, I'll get him/her something!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Veni Creator Spiritus

Veni Creator Spiritus used to be sung at every Confirmation, Ordination and Pentecost, pre-conciliar.

In Life, there's Subjective Beauty and Objective Beauty. An example of Subjective Beauty: You see a girl in SP. You may think she's hot with 8/10 Rating, your friend on the other hand gave her a 1/10 Rating.

Since this Sunday we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, ENJOY AND BE IMMERSED!

This is what we call Objective Beauty ! =D

Tip: Listen to this with your earpieces, Maximum Volume.


P.S. You don't need to know Latin to appreciate Gregorian Chants, the Sacred Chants of the Church. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let the Spirit Guide You, Pope Tells Youth

Let the Spirit Guide You, Pope Tells Youth

VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today noted the Novena of Pentecost that began last Friday, and encouraged young people to be docile to the Holy Spirit's work.The Pope made this recommendation today at the traditional conclusion of the general audience, in his greeting to youth, the sick and newlyweds."I invite you, dear young people, to be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, given to believers in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation," he said. The Pontiff noted the Spirit's role in comforting those who suffer, inviting the sick "to receive the Consoling Spirit, so that he will assist you in difficulties and help you to transform suffering into a pleasing offering for the good of your brothers."Finally, he wished for newlyweds "that the life of your family is always nourished by the fire of the Spirit, who is the Love itself of God."

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, Who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Catholic Campus Ministry

My dear Brothers and Sisters of the SP Catholic Students' Society !

Praised be the risen and ascended Lord!

Yesterday, I came across a document on Catholic Campus Ministry. An excellent good read and a must-read especially if you're a leader in the SP Catholics Students' Society. It's an 11-Page long document so I'll just highlight some points that I thought was interesting.

Campus ministry (and each campus minister) must, as much as possible, radiate Jesus Christ in word and sacrament in everything that it does. This is what Pope John Paul II called for in Veritatis Splendor when he spoke of the sequela Christi—the following of Christ—in all things. This is the central teaching of one of the finest theologians of the last century, Hans Urs von Balthasar (made a Cardinal by John Paul II), when he wrote, “For this reason, lest everything in the Church become superficial and insipid, the true, undiminished program for the Church today must read; the greatest possible radiance in the world by virtue of the closest possible following of Christ.” By radiating Christ in all things, campus ministry will give witness to the beauty, truth, goodness, and unity possible in, with, and through Christ and His Church. It will allow the students to flourish in their journey to full adult membership in the Church.

On Adult Faith Formation

During the college years, most people make an adult decision about their faith life. Studies have
shown that if Catholics practice the faith during their college years, they will almost always
remain an active member of the Church. Conversely, all too many of the fallen-away Catholics
began their rebellion during their college years. This is why there must be many programs and
opportunities on our campuses for adult faith formation. Bible studies, prayer groups, small
group experiences, classes, reading groups, question and answer sessions, individual counseling
and spiritual direction, Catholic societies, and professional groups are just some of the ministries
that will be needed. Hopefully, campus ministry is supported by a vibrant academic community
which is dedicated to helping students integrate faith and life. Of course, an excellent
and faithful theology department is essential to this task. One very central moment in adult
faith formation is the Sunday liturgy where the homily should be a model of solid, practical,
enlightening proclamation of the beauty and grandeur of the gospel.

On Vocation Discernment
(Most interesting part of the document, I thought! :o )

The idea of vocation should be an essential unifying theme for campus ministry.

As a young campus minister, Fr. Wojtyla taught his students to view life vocationally. Weigel reports that
“he once told Danuta Rybicka, whether one lived in a convent, in marriage, or as a single person
in the world, ‘You have to live for a concrete purpose.’” Not only did Fr. Wojtyla counsel this in personal encounters, but as Supreme Pontiff he made this concept the focal point of his first letter to the youth of the world before the very first World Youth Day. In this letter he used the story of the Rich Young Man’s encounter with Jesus in the gospel (Mk 10:17-22, Mt 19:16-22, Lk 18:18-23):
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and
asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered
him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the
commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not
steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and
your mother.’” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed
from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking
in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have
treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he
went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mk. 10:17-22)
This well-known story was used by John Paul II to illustrate some central teachings of the Second Vatican Council on vocation.

The story is filled with pathos. Obviously, the rich young man is drawn to Jesus. He sees something in him that touches him and makes him believe that perhaps Jesus can answer his questions. He is willing to abandon his social status by running after this poor homeless, rabbi and kneeling in front of him. He asks Jesus a great question, “What must I do to inherit everlasting life?” How like the young to have such wonderful questions!

Jesus tells him that he already knows the answer: keep the commandments. As John Paul II points out, what Jesus has said to the young man is that he is called, as we all are, to be holy— to be a saint. This is what the Second Vatican Council called “the universal call to holiness.” All are called to sanctity. Campus ministry must help instill in young people a genuine “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Mt 5:6).

But the story does not end there. The young man has been trying to live the commandments, to live a holy life, but he knows there is something more. “What more must I do?” Jesus, looking at him with love, tells him he must sell everything, give it to the poor, and then come and follow him. This young man was called to be a radical disciple, like the apostles were, following Jesus wherever he went.

Not everyone is called to such a witness to Jesus. But this man was. This was this young man’s particular vocation, his unique calling. He refuses and thus “goes away sad.” Campus ministry must help students have an authentic encounter with the Lord. They should help and guide students as they struggle to live lives of holiness. They should provide the time and space convenient for student’s schedules to frequent the sacraments (especially mass and confession). Campus ministry should challenge students to ask what it is that God is calling them to do and be. Abiding joy comes from following Jesus by doing the will of the Father. Campus ministers should help students discern their particular call so that no one will “go away sad” because they missed or refused God’s invitation to greatness.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Feast of the Ascension

Feast of the Ascension. A Key that Unlocks the Meaning of Life

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.' (St. Augustine)

CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - Throughout most of the Catholic Church we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord this Thursday. Sadly, the Feast seems to have lost its depth and meaning in the experience of too many Catholics and other Christians. Does the Ascension affect our lives in the here and now? Is it a commemoration of an event which occurred 2000 years ago? Or, could it be the key that helps unlock the very meaning of our lives and the plan of God for the entire created order?

The great western Bishop Augustine proclaimed these words on the Feast: "Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies."

When we went down into the Font of Baptism we were incorporated into Jesus Christ, made members of His Body, the Church. Therefore, as Augustine also wrote, "Where the Head is, there is the Body, where I am, there is my Church, we too are one; the Church is in me and I in her and we two are your Beloved and your Lover." In other words, we have ascended with the Lord! He is the Head and we are members of His Body. We cannot be separated. Augustine, reflecting the clear teaching of the early Church Fathers reminds us that the Head and the Body are the "One Christ." So, this is our Feast as well!

Pope St Leo the Great reflected on the joy the disciples experienced on that glorious day in these words: " (T)hat blessed company had a great and inexpressible cause for joy when it saw man's nature rising above the dignity of the whole heavenly creation, above the ranks of angels, above the exalted status of archangels. Now would there be any limit to its upward course until humanity was admitted to a seat at the right hand of the eternal father, to be enthroned at last in the glory of him to whose nature it was wedded in the Person of the Son."

Both of these Saints remind us why we should rejoice on this Feast of the Ascension. The Ascension does not mark the end of Jesus' relationship with the Church but the beginning of a new way of His relating to the world, in and through the Church. This way includes every one of us who bear His name. You see, we have also ascended with the Lord. When viewed with the eyes of Resurrection faith the Ascension is capable of transforming the way we view ourselves and live our daily lives. We are joined to Him and He to us!

Jesus Christ bridged heaven and earth. Through His Incarnation, His Saving Life, Death and Resurrection, we have been set free from the consequences of sin, including the sting of death. (See, 1 Cor. 15:55) We are being created anew in Him daily as we freely cooperate with His grace. One of the Catechism's definitions of grace is "a participation in Divine Life". (See, CCC #1997) It calls to mind the wonderful words of the Apostle Peter in his second letter. He reminded the early Christians that they were "participants in the Divine Nature". (2 Peter 1:4) So are we!

This Divine Life is mediated to us through the Word and the Sacraments - in the Church. We are incorporated into the Trinitarian communion of love, beginning now. The Church is not some "thing", the Church is Some-One, the Risen Christ truly present in the world which was created through Him and is being re-created in Him. The Church is the new Israel sent into the world to continue His redemptive mission until He comes again. Then He will complete the work of Redemption. The Church, as the fathers were fond of saying, is the new world, and the world in the course of transfiguration. The Christian vocation is about learning to live this new relationship in Christ together, with the Father, through the Holy Spirit and for the sake of a world that still awaits its full redemption.

The Ascension of the Lord is not a final act in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Nor is it some kind of "intermission" to be concluded upon Christ's Bodily return - which will most certainly occur. Rather, it is about a new way of being,living in Christ in the here and now. The Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians in Galatia: "No longer do I live but Christ lives in me and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God." (Galatians 2:19, 20) That is how we are invited to live, now.

Jesus said "Abide in me as I in you" (John 15:4). These are not mere sentiments of piety but meant to become reality, now. Christians can live differently - now - because we live "in" Jesus Christ. We can love differently - now - because we love "in" Jesus Christ. We can "be" differently

now - because, as St. Paul wrote to the Colossians, "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God". (Coll. 3:3) Our lives are "hidden in Christ"- now.

On this Feast of the Ascension we should ask ourselves this question, "How are we doing?" The Feast presents us with an invitation to assess the relationship between our profession of faith and its manifestation in our daily lives. St. Paul encouraged the Christians in Corinth in his second letter to take such an examination: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless, of course, you fail the test. I hope you will discover that we have not failed"

Philosophers and Theologians speak of "ontology" as the essence of being, what makes something what it is. There is an "ontological" meaning to this Feast of the Ascension. We have ascended with Him and are called to live on earth the very realities of heaven, beginning now. This Feast also gives us insight into the Feast of Pentecost which we will soon celebrate. The "breath" of God, His Spirit, has been breathed into this Church - and thus into each one of us - in order to capacitate us to live this way and engage in His ongoing work of redemption.

That work will not be complete until the One who ascended returns and hands the re-created cosmos back to the Father. That is "the plan", the "mystery" now revealed in Jesus Christ. That is what I meant as I began this reflection when I asked whether the Ascension is the key that helps unlock the very meaning of our lives and the plan of God for the entire created order?

Let me conclude with these words of the great Apostle and mystic Paul who reflects on this plan:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.

"In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.... In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Happy Feast!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Mission as Youths in this society and happy labour day


"Lastly, it is to you, young men and women of the world, that the Council wishes to address its final message. For it is you who are to receive the torch from the hands of your elders and to live in the world at the period of the most gigantic transformations ever realized in its history. It is you who receiving the best of the example of the teaching of your parents and your teachers, are to form the society of tomorrow. You will either save yourselves or you will perish with it.

For four years the Church has been working to rejuvenate her image in order to respond the better to the design of her Founder, the great Living One, the Christ who is eternally young. At the term of this imposing re-examination of life, she now turns to you. It is for you, youth, especially for you that the Church now comes through her Council to enkindle your light, the light which illuminates the future, your future.

The Church is anxious that this society that you are going to build up should respect the dignity, the liberty, and the rights of individuals. These individuals are you. The Church is particularly anxious that this society should allow free expansion to her treasure ever ancient and ever new, namely faith, and that your souls may be able to bask freely in its helpful light. She has confidence that you will find such strength and such joy that you will not be tempted, as were some of your elders, to yield to the seductions of egoistic or hedonistic philosophies or to those of despair and annihilation, and that in the face of atheism, a phenomenon of lassitude and old age, you will know how to affirm your faith in life and what gives meaning to it, that is to say, the certitude of the existence of a just and good God.

It is in the name of this God and of His Son, Jesus, that we exhort you to open your hearts to the dimensions of the world, to heed the appeal of your brothers, to place your youthful energies at their service. Fight against all egoism. Refuse to give free course to the instincts of violence and hatred which beget wars and all their train of miseries. Be generous, pure, respectful, and sincere, and build in enthusiasm a better world than your elders had.

The Church looks to you with confidence and with love. Rich with a long past ever living in her, and marching on toward human perfection in time and the ultimate destinies of history and of life, the Church is the real youth of the world. She possesses what constitutes the strength and the charm of youth, that is to say, the ability to rejoice with what is beginning, to give oneself unreservedly, to renew oneself and to set out again for new conquests. Look upon the Church and you will find in her the face of Christ, the genuine, humble, and wise Hero, the Prophet of truth and love, the Companion and Friend of youth. It is in the name of Christ that we salute you, that we exhort and bless you" (7 December 1965).

Document Here

"And you, beloved children, whose lot it is to promote learning under the magisterium of the Church, continue as you are doing to love and tend the noble poet whom We do not hesitate to call the most eloquent singer of the Christian idea. The more profit you draw from study of him the higher will be your culture, irradiated by the splendours of truth, and the stronger and more spontaneous your devotion to the Catholic Faith." (In Praeclara Summorum; Pope Benedict XV)

Dear Beloved Brothers and Sweet Sisters,

I pray you use the messages by our dear leaders above as a supplement to nurture the thought and spirituality of our society. May we grow and exceed the expectations that our superiors and leaders have for us not because it pleases them but because it is right, fitting and good to do so. May you be blessed and may this society continue to grow greater in God while always serving each other with love.

Since today is the first of May, I wish you all to have a blessed feast day as you commemorate your roles as labourers in this world and remember to cherish on this day all the fruits of your labours that you have earned through divine grace. Let St.Joseph the worker lead you on and inspire you, through his life, to become better labourers in the vast vineyard of Christ.

And If you have time I earnestly bid you to read this: Laborem exercens

May the Lord bless you, keep you and shower you with His unending Love and abundant Joys.

St. Joseph pray for us and inspire us,

Ad Jesum per Mariam