Sunday, June 30, 2013

On God's Call

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dominican Province of England (Video)

Address of Pope Francis to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (June 6, 2013)

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

Dear priests, dear sisters, friends,

I extend a warm welcome to all of you! I affectionately greet your President, Archbishop Beniamino Stella, and I thank him for the kind words he addressed to me on your behalf, remembering the welcome visits that I have made in the past to your Casa. I also remember the friendly insistence with which Bishop Stella convinced me, now two years ago, to send to the Academy a priest of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires! Archbishop Stella knows how to knock at the door! The problem was on my end, because I did not find a priest to send, and I chose a marathoner . . . I sent him. A grateful thought goes also to his colleagues and to the Sisters and staff, who offer their generous service in your community.

Dear friends, you are preparing for a particular ministry of commitment, which will place you in the direct service of the Successor of Peter, of his charism of unity and communion, and of his solicitude for all the Churches. The work that is done in the Pontifical diplomatic service requires, like any type of priestly ministry, a great inner freedom. Live these years of your preparation with commitment, generosity, and greatness of soul, so that this freedom can really take shape in you!

But what does it mean to have this interior freedom? First of all it means being free from personal projects, being free from personal projects: from some of the concrete ways in which perhaps one day, you had thought of living your priesthood, from the possibilities of planning for the future; from the perspective of remaining for a long time in a your place of pastoral action. It means freeing yourself, in some way, even with respect to the culture and mindset from which you came, not by forgetting it, much less by denying it, but by opening yourself up, in charity, to understanding different cultures and meeting with people even from worlds very far from your own.

Above all, it means vigilance in order to be free from ambition or personal aims, which can cause so much harm to the Church, taking care to always put in the first place not your own self-fulfillment, or the recognition that you could get whether inside and outside of the ecclesial community, but the greater good of the cause of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the mission that has been entrusted to you. This freedom from ambition or personal aims, for me, is important, its important! Careerism is leprosy! Leprosy! Please, no careerism! For this reason, each of you must be willing to integrate your vision of the Church, however legitimate, every personal idea or assessment, within the horizons seen by Peter, of his particular mission at the service of communion and the unity of the flock of Christ, of his pastoral charity which embraces the whole world, and that, thanks also to the action of the Pontifical diplomatic service, wishes to make itself present especially in those places, often forgotten, where the needs of the Church and of humanity are greatest.

In a word, the ministry for which you are preparing because you are being prepared for a ministry, not a profession: it is a ministry! This ministry calls you to go out of yourself, to a detachment from self that can only be achieved through an intense spiritual journey and a serious unification of your life around the mystery of the love of God and of the inscrutable plan of His call. In the light of the faith, we are able to live the freedom from our own projects and our own will, not as a cause of frustration or emptying, but as an opening to the superabundant gift of God, that makes our priesthood fruitful. Living the ministry in service to the Successor of Peter and to the Church to which you are called may appear demanding, but it will allow you, so to say, to be and to breathe within the heart of the Church, of its catholicity. And this constitutes a special gift, because, as Pope Benedict recalled when speaking to your community, wherever there is openness to the objectivity of catholicity, there is also the principle of authentic personalization (Speech to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, 10 June 2011).

Have great care for the spiritual life, which is the source of inner freedom. Without prayer, there is no interior freedom. You can make a precious treasure of the instruments of conforming your priestly spirituality to Christ Himself, cultivating a life of prayer and making your daily work the gymnasium of your sanctification. Here I am happy to recall the figure of Blessed John XXIII, the fiftieth anniversary of whose death we celebrated a few days ago: his work in the Pontifical diplomatic service was one of the places, and not the least significant, in which his sanctity was formed. Rereading his writings, one is impressed by the care he always took in guarding his soul, in the midst of the most varied ecclesial and political occupations. Here was born his inner freedom, the joy that he conveyed outwardly, and the effectiveness of his pastoral and diplomatic action. As he said in his Journal of a Soul, "the more mature I become in years and in experience, the more I recognize that the surest means for my personal sanctification and for the greater success of my service to the Holy See, remains the vigilant effort to reduce everything principles, speeches, positions, affairs, to the greatest simplicity and calmness; in my vineyard, always to prune that which is simply useless foliage . . . and to go directly to that which is truth, justice, charity, above all charity. Any other [way] of doing things, is nothing but posturing and grasping at personal affirmation, which betrays itself and becomes cumbersome and ridiculous." (Cinisello Balsamo 2000, p. 497). He wanted to prune his vineyard: to chase out the foliage, to prune. . . And some years later, joined to the end of his work in the Pontifical diplomatic service, when he was already Patriarch of Venice, he wrote, "Now I find myself completely in the ministry of souls. Truly I have always held that for an ecclesiastic, diplomacy, so to say, should always be permeated by a pastoral spirit; otherwise, it counts for nothing, and makes a holy mission ridiculous (ibid., pp. 513-14)." But this is important! Listen well: When in the Nunciature there is a secretary or a nuncio that doesnt go along the way of sanctity, and gets involved in so many forms, in so many kinds of spiritual worldliness, he looks ridiculous, and everyone laughs at him! Please don't be ridiculous: either [be] saints or go back to the diocese and be a pastor, but don't be ridiculous in the diplomatic [service], in the diplomatic life, where there is so much danger of becoming worldly in spirituality.

I would also like to say something to the Sisters thank you for coming! Who undertake their daily service among you with a religious and Franciscan spirit. They are good Mothers who accompany you with prayer, with their simple and essential words, and above all by the example of loyalty, dedication and love. Along with them I would like to thank the lay staff who work in Casa. Their hidden, but important presence, allows you to spend your time in the Academy with serenity and commitment.

Dear priests, I hope that you will undertake the service to the Holy See with the same spirit as Blessed John XXIII. I ask you to pray for me, and I commend you to the safekeeping of the Virgin May and of Saint Anthony the Abbot, your patron. May the assurance of my prayers and of my blessing which I cordially extend to all your loved ones go with you. Thank you!

An Experience of a Family


I joined the Laity of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1986.  I attended all chapter meetings as well as recollections, retreats and conventions.  What overwhelmed me most was the celebration of the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena and the Feast of Saint Dominic where the Dominican Family gathered together in one accord to worship God.

Through recollections, retreats and conventions, I learned that one should have a strong spiritual life that acts as the impulse of apostolic activity.  To be truly apostolic, one should have constant consciousness of being in God’s presence.

Hence, as a lay Dominican, I learned to share in the prayers, penances and good works of all lay Dominicans.  Sanctification grew in me through a way of life recommended by the Church and proven effective by many men and women now counted among the saints and the blessed.

Simply said, I experienced the solidarity of one of the great universal families in the Church.


SOPHIA BAYLON, OP is a member of the Dominican laity.


OP Laity, OP Family, Solidarity, Special

16th Sunday in OT (C) - Lessons from Martha and Mary

Luke 10: 38-42
July 21, 2013

GOSPEL READING: Martha and Mary

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

REFLECTION: Lessons from Martha and Mary

To each his own,” as they say. Under normal conditions, we move to accomplish a particular task or set of goals by directing our thoughts, words and actions to what we deem important and dear to us. But there are other factors to consider, of course, like the object of our pursuit, the capacity and strength with which we are able to carry on the task and the impact it can have with others. But notwithstanding, we do the things we do because we want to matter and make a difference.

In our Gospel reading today, we have a concrete example of such. Jesus, Martha and Mary acted - on their own accord – to show how it is to pursue their object of attention and thus, be steadfast on what they deem valuable and worthwhile.

Jesus’ gesture of dropping by at his friends’ home highlights the value of visitation. He meant to pay them a visit because they are His friends. He wanted to spend time with them, talk, laugh, dine and most surely, instruct and share with them His experiences especially as He boldly proclaims the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Martha exemplifies, and yes, got lost in the pettiness of preparation. In her joy of making Jesus feel welcome and comfortable, she prepares the meal and has gone busy making an effort to make the guest feel-at-home.

Mary, for her part, draws us to an example of an eager listener. She has chosen to stay at the foot of Jesus, keeping still and carefully listening to Him, oblivious to what her sister is preparing.

With a scenario like this, we can thus be drawn to the fact that, each of them made an intent to validate each other’s presence and delight in it. The words of Jesus on Mary that she has chosen the better part is accordingly sensible, no less. But Martha, in all her sincere effort, could just as well have done what she knows best – to accept a guest and show Jesus her exceptional hospitality and brand of service.

We all want to make a difference. We all have our peculiar recourse in handling matters at hand. In some instances, we can see through our labors without many perturbances. In some cases, people may see them as utterly useless and perhaps indicative of our own petty predicaments.

Except for sin, we cannot and should not stop in doing what we do best, especially when our intent is to morally invest in some company of a dear guest, or someone who can bring us closer to the holiest of the holies. Should there be a chance to visit, either a friend or a foe (as we assume a reconciliatory mode), we do what we have to do before it is too late. Should there be a moment to prepare, we strive to do it for a noble purpose and not because we want to boast. Whoever said the words “by failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail” can serve to guide us in prior undertakings. Should we have the chance to become an eager listener – we do so and then act critically on what we have heard to transform and be transformed for the better, if not, for the best.

We are responsible for all our actions. Let us learn from the value of visiting, pettiness of preparation and eagerness to listen. Let this pericope in the Gospel of Jesus serve the purpose for which it has been proclaimed.


FR. RIC-ZEUS E. ANGOBUNG is a priest of the Diocese of Ilagan. He is a professed member of the  Dominican Clerical Fraternity of the Philippines.


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, Domfrat, Martha and Mary, Friendship, Listening

15th Sunday in OT (C) - My Good Samaritan

Luke 10: 25-37
July 14, 2013

GOSPEL READING: The Parable of the Good Samaritan

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back. ’Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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REFLECTION: My Good Samaritan

What must I do to inherit eternal life?” One basic question that must not be not only asked by a scholar of the law.  Everyone should aspire to inherit eternal life.  But unlike the scholar of the law, let us ask this question not to test the Lord, but to ask ourselves sincerely: “how can my present work be a way for me to inherit eternal life?

In the Gospel, the one asking the question is a scholar. The Lord knew he was knowledgeable.  So, He answered him with a question, “What is written in the law?  The man, in turn, answered it correctly: “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” The man wished to justify himself, thus, he raised another question, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered this with a parable to teach us who our neighbor is, and make us understand how to become a good neighbor to others.  The Samaritan in the parable gave us a concrete example on how to become a good neighbor to anyone who is in need.  He showed his love in action by taking care of the man who was robbed.

Fr. Art Dingel, OP once said that in our journey of life, we will meet along the way different kinds of neighbor:
The robbers are those people who rob us of our innocence, trust, reputation, etc. For the robbers, ‘what is yours is mine;’ therefore, I will get it.

The Priest or the Levite are those people who never bother to help others who are in need. For them, ‘what is mine is mine;’ so, I will keep it.

The Samaritan is the one who shows concern for others. For him, ‘what is mine is yours;’ therefore, I give it and share it.

These are the different kinds of love we have for our neighbors.  At times, we are like robbers who rob our neighbor of what they have, treat them with indifference, or accuse them falsely. Sometimes, we are like the Levite or the Priest in the parable. We pray and worship God but we would not move an inch to help others who are in their need. However, we are expected to love as the Samaritan did, whose love for neighbor was shown in deed. Our neighbor must become part of our lives. We should share generously to others the many gifts that we have received from God.

It was during my last semester in college when I met my “Good Samaritan”.  My brother who has been supporting my studies suddenly lost his job.  He called me up to tell me that I might not be able to continue my studies. It was a very unwelcomed news, indeed, considering the fact that there were only six units left for me to finish my course.  I felt so helpless. I thought it was the end of all my dreams.  It was then when my “Good Samaritan” came along. My companions were wondering what could had happened to me when they heard me crying inconsolably. Everybody knew me as someone who has bright disposition with a ready joke for everyone. They were worried because I kept on crying without telling them why. Sensing their authentic concern, I was compelled to tell them what my brother told me over the phone. Right then and there, my “Good Samaritan” embraced me with so much love and concern, asking me to stop crying. She assured me that everything will be all right; that she will help me with everything I need to finish my studies. Hearing those words made me break again into tears. But those were tears of joy and gratitude.

For the rest of the year till I graduated, I haven’t had to worry about my lodging, tuition fees, graduation expenses and even my graduation dress.  I felt so beautiful with that graduation dress.  When I wore it on my graduation day, I felt the love and embrace of my “Good Samaritan”. Way back then, I was not so aware of how the experienced of being loved by people influenced my views in life. It helps me become more understanding of others; more compassionate, more caring and loving. It transformed me to be a better person.  I had this realization when I have the opportunity to get involved in the different apostolates of our Institute.  When people come to me for help, I can easily empathize with them.  I can readily give time to listen and try to help them in my own little way.  My “Good Samaritan” taught me to be a “Better Samaritan”.  I suppose the ‘wounded man’ in the parable will find his way to pay back the goodness done to him by helping those who are in need of his help.

I know my little way of being a “Better Samaritan” is still too far from what I need to do to inherit eternal life. But I also believe that I have started a journey on my right foot. We must continually ask today: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (John 6:28). The answer to this question is a big challenge to all of us. Are you willing to take the challenge?

Nota Bene:  My Good Samaritans were my landladies: Consolacion “Lacion” Vergara) and Crisanta “Santa” Vergara from Lian, Batangas

Nonetheless, I know that there is SOMEONE Who controlled the situation, Who did not allow me to stop my studies. Later, He called me to the Religious Life. He is truly my “GOOD SAMARITAN” the BEST SAMARITAN for everyone JESUS CHRIST.


SR. MA. LORENZA S. SAJUL, OP is a professed religious of the Congregación de Religiosas Misioneras de Santo Domingo. She is presently the Directress of Santa Catalina Ladies Residence in Manila.


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, Dominican, OP Sisters, Love, Gratitude, Neighbor, Tears, Good Samaritan, Vocation