Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Gloomy Tuesday Morning

Over the bustling city streets, dark cloud is covering the sky and threatening to pour down its acid rain. This will surely make people on the sideways run for shelter. Though there is a big chance of rain, there is still the absence of the comforting wind that will somehow take away the oppressive heat that we usually feel during summer. I hate this kind of weather. Rainy days make me feel so down and depressed. And so I lie down on my bed trying to think of cheerful memories but still darkness comes falling down upon me. So I reach for my cell phone and look for someone who will be able to give me some comfort in this time of ennui. Then, I see her number and call her up.

“Hi. What a crappy day, right? Will you please put a smile on my face?”

“What’s happening? Do you think I am a clown who can easily cheer you up? Tell me what’s wrong my dear.”

“It’s just the weather. You know I hate this kind of weather.”

“So, what’s in your mind?”

“Nothing really. I am having one of those “what if’s” moments. I am just wondering, what if I did not enter the convent, will I be a good partner/husband to my girlfriend/wife?”

“I think you will be. What you’ve entered in to is a serious thing. It needs your total commitment. And so far, I guess, you are doing really great. You already made that choice and so you have to stand your ground. I know it’s hard but what I can see is you are coping up pretty well. You will be a good husband just as you are working hard to become a good brother. Well then again, we will never know. I am really proud of you and always will be.”

“Thank you for that. You really are a shoulder to lean on. Well, I guess, I just have to live the life I have freely chosen. I know and I feel God is always with me in this journey. Sometimes, I can’t help not to think of these things. You know how I wished to have a family of my own before. You were part of it. And I am sorry for what happened.”

“We had our share of good times. I was hurt but now I understand. You are called for something higher and nobler. And you cannot accomplish it with me clinging on to you. Don’t worry about me, my dear. I can say I am happily married now and I am fully committing myself to my husband. I know you are happy for me too.”

“Yes, I am, my dear. Thank you again. And thank you for making me realize that I really need to be dedicated to what I professed. Commitment is hard but it is in committing ourselves that we truly become free.”

“Indeed my dear, indeed…”

 It’s just the weather…


BR. REYNOR E. MUNSAYAC, O.P. is a student-brother of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. He is studying Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

Special, Gratitude, Understanding, Faith, Short Story, Religious Life

23rd Sunday in OT (C) - Open Hands

Luke 14:25-33
September 8, 2013

GOSPEL READING: On Discipleship

Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.


When a person hears of sacrifice, one immediately thinks of pain, letting go and gaining something better. It is a painful process because it entails letting go of something which we value much. However, the pain is overwhelmed by the sweet promise of gaining something better.

It is said that the human hands are designed to hold on to things rather than to let go of them. It is manifested on the strong grip capacity of our hands especially when valuable or important things are handed on to us. This is why the task of surrendering something has always caused agonizing feeling. The task hurts deeper when aspects closer to our hearts or most valuable to us are asked to be sacrificed.

In the religious life, we experience paradoxical moments of sacrifices. We are called to a life without personal properties, but we are given all the essential things that we need for the service of others. We live a life without exclusive relationships apart from God, but we work and live closely with people from different aspects of life. We are invited to live a life of reverential obedience to our superiors, but there is a process of reasoning out and dialogue in all discussions. Thus, religious life is a life of sacrifice, which entails painful trimming of personal comforts and connections so that one may be open to a wider horizon of service and greater depths in relationship with God and others.

In our Gospel, Jesus points out to us that living a life pleasing to God always demands sacrifices. One must be willing to depart from one’s families and friends. One must outgrow one’s limitations and fears so as to grow in capabilities and faith. None can fully hold on to God if that person is still clinging to the solicitudes of this world. Thus, Jesus invites us to a life of reflection before we make great sacrifices.

In our lives, we cannot simply make decisions out of whims. When we are placed in a situation that demands immediate actions and decisions, we oftentimes have a glimpse of the outcomes and the necessary sacrifices involved. There may be unforeseen elements, which aggravate the weight of the sacrifices asked from us, but we must not lose sight of the sweet end, which we desire.

God calls us to make sacrifices because He wanted us to make space for the best things He has in store for us. He puts us in a tight situation so that we would only hold on to the bare necessities and let go of the needless preoccupations that we have. Our sacrifices are not only for the sake of personal improvement, but also for the benefit of others who needs us.


BR. JUNEL C. PEDROSO, O.P. is a student-brother of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. He is studying Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Friars, Sacrifice, Letting go, Detachment, Religious Life, Surrender

Panalangin at Pahayag ng Kanyang Kabunyian Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Arsobispo ng Maynila, para sa Million People March, 26 Agosto 2013

Panalangin at Pahayag ng Kanyang Kabunyian Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Arsobispo ng Maynila, para sa Million People 
March, 26 Agosto 2013


Mapagmahal na Dios salamat po sa inyong kabutihan sa amin. Salamat sa mga dakilang Pilipino at aming ginigiliw na bayan. Patawarin din po ninyo kami sa aming pagkakasala, pagmamalabis at maraming pagkukulang. Samahan po ninyo ang aming pagtitipon sa araw na Ito. Lumambot nawa ang mga pusong nagmamatigas. Mabuksan nawa ang mga matang nabubulagan. Magwika nawa ng katotohanan ang dilang nauutal. Maging payak nawa ang nalulong sa karanyaan. Makipagkapwa tao nawa ang nahuhumaling sa sarili. Marinig nawa namin ang hikbi ng mahihirap. Maglingkod nawa kami nang walang hinahanap na kapalit. Maging marangal nawa kami sa lahat ng aming iisipin at gagawin. Maghari nawa ang iyong katarungan sa Ngalan ni Jesukristo at lakas ng Espiritu Santo. Amen.


Mabiyayang Araw ng mga Bayani sa inyong lahat! Tayo na pong magbayanihan, ibig sabihin sama-sama at sabay-sabay tayong maging Bayani.

Inaanyayahan ko po ang lahat na tingnan, dinggin at mahalin ang mga dukha at naghihirap bilang mga kapwa at kapatid. Ating damahin ang tibok na puso ng ating bayan. Pakinggan ang tinig ng Diyos. 

Sa ating pagkatao, pamilya at barkada,

sa ating palengke, bangketa at bangko, 

sa ating paaralan, tanggapan at kalakalan, 

sa ating tv, radio at sine,

sa ating texts, Internet at web,

sa ating persinto, kampo at korte,

sa ating sambahan, moske at simbahan,

sa ating kongreso, senado at ehekutibo, 

sa ating ilog, dagat at himpapawid,

sa ating kabundukan, kaparangan at kapatagan, 

sa ano mang bahagi at bansa ng mundo - 

patunayan natin na MARANGAL Ang PILIPINO. 

MARANGAL dahil may takot sa Diyos, paggalang sa buhay, pagpapahalaga sa kapwa tao, pagmamalasakit sa bayan at pagaaruga sa kalikasan. 

Ang MARANGAL na sarili Ang siyang MAMAYANI.

Mga sistema at patakaran dapat daan ng Kabayanihan!

+Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle
26 Agosto 2013

22nd Sunday in OT (C) - On Humility

Luke 14:1, 7-14
September 1, 2013

GOSPEL READING: Conduct of Invited Guests and Hosts

On a Sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


The teaching in the Gospel would be more than a practical advice for every gathering.   It is more than that; Jesus is trying to give us an advice.   Jesus’ teaching is a direction for living in His kingdom.  The wedding feast can be likened to God’s Kingdom.  The feast is an apt image of joy and happiness, which God prepares for those who respond to Jesus’ invitation.    The invitation is indiscriminate and gratuitous.  Everyone is called to enter the Kingdom.  The wealthy and worthy people had no special or exclusive claim in the Kingdom.  The guest list also included the marginalized sector of the society...the poor, the blind, the lame; the outcasts, who cannot return the favor of inviting back the host or repay debt to the person who invited them.

The Lord provides a message to all of us who have a tendency to become so locked into the social status-seeking syndrome of our day that our friends do. Most of the time, we are too taken up with the scrambling for the first places in all our undertakings and assume God’s role of determining who will be first and last at the messianic banquet. We are too busy making friends and influencing people to realize that God’s banquet invitation includes the poor. We forget our needy neighbors. The “outcasts” are seldom part of the guest list as they cannot promote our climb to the social ladder.

In a self-serving culture, with its me-first mentality, wishing to be the last is not a popular concept.   Some may aim for the most prominent position, even prominence in the Church.  Everybody wants to be first, to lead, no one wants to be a servant... Even Christians want  to be servant leader and not just plain servants....What an irony! But to be like Jesus, is to be a servant.... That is what HE called Himself...and what He is teaching us... the virtue of Humility.

What is Humility? 

Humility is the characteristic and distinctive virtue of our Lord Jesus.  The virtue He loved above all others and recommends in His discourses.  The virtue that He supported by His own example, which inspired His friends to practice and recompense in His saints.

What a great part, HUMILITY plays in the life of Jesus.  It animates His acts, and all His mysteries are its manifestations. Humility held Him concealed nine (9) months in Mary’s womb.  Humility placed Him to be born in a stable in swaddling clothes. Humility directs the words and actions of His public life. So humble was He, that He washed the feet of His apostles.  It was the same virtue that put Him on the cross.   

_*/ This is the virtue derived from temperance and it enables us to restrain the inordinate desire for our own excellence giving us a true evaluation of our smallness and misery before God.   Humility’s proper function is to moderate the desire for our own greatness, and all moderation belongs to the virtue of temperance.
_*/ Humility is a fundamental virtue in spiritual life, because it removes the obstacles to the reception of grace.  Scripture expressly states that God resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble.   (James 4:6).
_*/ Various classification of the degree of humility have been prepared by saints and spiritual writers, but they all agree on the basic element.  A familiarity with the degree of humility is of great help in examining oneself in regard to the principal internal and external manifestations of this virtue.  St. Bernard simplifies the degree of humility as follows:
1)    Sufficient humility   to subject oneself to superior and not to prefer oneself to one’s equal.
2)    Abundant humility – to subject oneself to one’s equal and not to prefer oneself to one’s inferior.
3)    Super abundant humility – to subject oneself to one’s inferiors.

_*/ The 3 degrees of humility described by St. Ignatius Loyola are not restricted to the virtue of humility but refer to the self-abnegation required in the Christian life as follows:

1)     Necessary humility   (the humility necessary for salvation) namely, that in all things, we obey the law of God and never do anything that would involve the commission of a mortal sin;

2)    Perfect humility   that is we would not care to have riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short life, so long as we can serve God so faithfully that we would not commit a deliberate venial sin for the entire world.

3)    The most perfect humility – that is, in imitation of Christ, we prefer to be poor with Christ, to suffer opprobrium with Christ and to be considered a poor with Christ, rather than to be wealthy or honored or considered wise by the world.

(_*/  excerpt from Spiritual Theology J. Aumann, O.P.)

“Humility does not come upwards by downwards.  It does not mean that the lesser one respectfully acknowledge the greater, BUT that the greater, reverently bends to the lower one”.   (Romano Guardini)

As we follow God’s teachings on humility, one will increasingly know that God is very much alive in our life.    Our activities will begin to reflect our actions.  Our inner life will speak of humility.  Thus, our relationship with others will become more satisfying....To God be the Glory!!!!

With the Lord’s invitation, let us all come to the feast and partake the food He has prepared for us at the Table of Plenty.

Come to the feast of heaven and earth
Come to the table of plenty
God will provide for all that we need
Here at the table of plenty
O come and sit at my table –
where saints and sinners are friend
I wait to welcome the lost and lonely
to share the cup of my love
O come and eat without money
come to drink without price
my feast of gladness will feed your spirit
with faithfulness  of life
my bread will ever sustain you
through sorrow and woe
my wine will flow like a  sea of gladness
to flood the depth of your soul.

 Dan Schuffe


SR. MARY FAITH OF THE DIVINE MERCY, O.P. is a first year novice of the Contemplative Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Adoration in Queen of Angels Monastery in Bocaue, Bulacan.


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Nuns, Humility, Service