Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The True Owner

December 27, 2010 — by Cindy Hess Kasper

All things were created through Him and for Him. —Colossians 1:16

Bible in a year:

Did you hear about the church that didn’t have enough room for parking? Fortunately, it was located right next to a store that was closed on Sundays, so a church member asked the store owner if they could overflow into his parking lot. “No problem,” he said. “You can use it 51 weeks out of the year. On the 52nd week, though, it will be chained off.” The man was grateful, but asked curiously, “What happens that week?” The store owner smiled, “Nothing. I just want you to remember that it’s not your parking lot.”

It’s easy to take for granted all the material and spiritual blessings that God has given us. That’s why we need to stop and remember that Scripture says the true owner of all we possess is God: “All that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all” (1 Chron. 29:11). Even our bodies do not belong to us: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

As 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us: “God . . . gives us richly all things to enjoy.” We are so abundantly blessed with good things! Let’s never take our Father for granted, but use wisely and gratefully all that He has given us.

As we all enjoy God’s blessing,
Oh, may we not forget
Our Lord, from whom all good gifts come—
In Him our needs are met. —Fitzhugh

God gives blessing to us so we can give glory to Him.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Parallel Universes

December 21, 2010 — by Philip Yancey

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! —Luke 2:14

Every so often I catch myself wondering about the whole grand scheme of faith. I stand in an airport, for example, watching important-looking people in business suits, briefcases clutched to their sides, as they pause at an espresso bar before scurrying off to another concourse. Do any of them ever think about God? I wonder.

Christians share an odd belief in parallel universes. One universe consists of glass and steel and wool clothes and leather briefcases and the smell of freshly ground coffee. The other consists of angels and spiritual forces and somewhere-out-there places called heaven and hell. We palpably inhabit the material world; it takes faith to consider oneself a citizen of the other, invisible world.

Christmas turns the tables and hints at the struggle involved when the Lord of both worlds descends to live by the rules of the one. In Bethlehem, the two worlds came together, realigned. What Jesus went on to accomplish on planet Earth made it possible for God someday to resolve all disharmonies in both worlds. No wonder a choir of angels broke out in spontaneous song, disturbing not only a few shepherds but the entire universe (Luke 2:13-14).

Once from the realms of infinite glory,
Down to the depths of our ruin and loss,
Jesus came, seeking—O Love’s sweet story—
Came to the manger, the shame, and the cross. —Strickland

The key word of Christmas is “Immanuel”— God with us!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The pope on mile-high throne --- made of solid gold!

"All day long the Pope sits on a mile high gold throne . . . and does nothing."

It was just before John Paul II was elected, in that time when things were so loopy in the Church that we regularly heard claims like this, although not usually from CCD teachers --- claims so preposterous we could never have made them up.
That evening, I told my daughter it was false, and suggested she not challenge her teacher about it. Folks that foolish are generally not easy to convince.

In those days, clown masses were not uncommon.
Clown Mass

Yes, they were fun times! And Catholics drunk with the Spirit too easily stumbled and fell.
A young friend told me that in his Washington-area seminary Bette Midler's Divine Miss M was the favorite album of the seminarians, most of whom spent afternoons lounging in the TV room watching soap operas.

Bette Midler
Sober Catholics argued that priests formed in such seminaries could not long remain immune from the temptations of the flesh. (Recent scandals proved them right.)
Anger and disappointment blinded many even to good things happening: in late 1979 when I suggested to a middle-aged friend that the newly-elected John Paul II would turn things around, her jaw tightened, she stepped suddenly forward, put her angry face close to mine, and hissed at me, "He's a Communist!"
If you don't remember those days,
be grateful.

But I was young, a recent convert, full of energy, determination, and hope --- just the kind of fellow I thought was being sought by John Paul to help him recover what could be recovered.

I borrowed a thousand dollars and an old electric typewriter, bought a lamp and a beat-up desk, and in my tiny, dark basement set up Sophia Institute Press to bring back into print the venerable classics of our Faith which had, like so much else in our Church, been cast aside for Bette Midler and Bozo the Clown.

Stack of books
That was 27 years and
two-and-a-half million books ago:

two-and-a-half million solid Catholic
books that helped change the face of Catholicism in America. (Stacked one on another, they'd reach 28 miles higher than the Pope's solid gold throne!)
Today, Sophia Institute Press is the world's preeminent advertiser of Catholic books on the internet, bringing the perennial truths of our Catholic faith to the attention of almost
six million souls each week.
Just a few months ago, one of our publications was the #1 Catholic book at Amazon.com: The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, the book which prompted Thérèse of Lisieux's entrance into the convent.

Now, all of this is at risk . . .
. . . but not because of Bette Midler and Bozo the Clown: long ago, John Paul II banished them to the wings.
Today our Faith must compete with other things that distract us from the salvation Christ won for us by His death: Mythbusters, YouTube, Facebook, American Idol, Xbox, Netflix, Twitter, Ipods, Ipads, and more.
The same Sophia Institute Press I established to compete with Bozo and Bette now has to face off with billion-dollar entertainment goliaths manned by brilliant engineers and clever marketers.
And yet we're only six ordinary souls who do everything it takes to discover, design, create, and market our Catholic books; to receive orders by email, snail mail, phone, and fax; pack the books, maintain the computers, pay the bills, change the lightbulbs, clean the toilet, and sweep the floors.
It takes its toll, mentally, physically, and financially. And our wretched economy is not making anything easier: already this year, two other Catholic presses have shut their doors. I'm exhausted and my staff is stressed, worried about what the future will bring.
Pile of bills

We managed to pay the rent for this month, but our printer refuses to print any more of our books until we pay $30,000 in invoices that are due; and we're fending off other vendors.
To conserve cash for water, electricity, phones, and next month's rent, I've placed on hold the printing of the following new books, almost all of which are typeset and ready to send to the printer.
Bones of St Peter (cover) God Will Provide (cover)
How to Read the Bible (cover) Viper (cover)
Most Belioved Woman (cover) Good Galilean (cover)
Without your help, these books will never reach the hands of Catholics hungry to know more about our Faith in this difficult world.
Will you join us in
this important apostolic work?
Will you make a tax-deductible contribution of $50 to our work today so that I can keep our current books in print and send off to the printer the ones shown above?
It only takes a minute.
This link takes you to our website's paypal donation page.
If you can't afford $50,
can you send $25?
Or even $10?
Please help.
Even if only by buying a book or two, for yourself or to give to friends and relatives who could benefit from them.
Finally, whether you can contribute or not, please pray for me, for my faithful staff, and for our Church. For my part, and regardless of whether we receive the help we need, I will continue to remember you in my prayers.
John Barger, Publisher
John Barger, Publisher
Sophia Institute Press

Box 5284, Manchester, NH
03108 USA 1-603-641-9344

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Selfless Love

November 11, 2010 — by Mart De Haan

Our Daily Bread Radio 
For the work of Christ [Epaphroditus] came close to death, not regarding his life. —Philippians 2:30
Bible in a year: Jeremiah 50; Hebrews 8
On December 4, 2007, a 19-year- old soldier serving in Iraq saw a grenade being thrown from a rooftop. Manning the machine gun in the turret of his Humvee, he tried to deflect the explosive—but it fell inside his vehicle. He had time to jump to safety. Instead, he threw his body over the grenade in a stunningly selfless act that saved the lives of four fellow soldiers.

This almost unexplainable act of self-sacrifice may help us understand why the Bible tells us that there is a kind of love that is more honorable than having great knowledge or faith (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

This kind of love can be hard to find—leading the apostle Paul to lament that more people care for themselves than for the interests of Christ (Phil. 2:20-21). That’s why he was so grateful for Epaphroditus, a co-worker who “came close to death, not regarding his life” in order to serve others (v.30).

If we think we could never put our own life on the line for others, Epaphroditus shows us the first step with his selfless example. Such love is neither normal nor common, and it doesn’t come from us. It comes from the Spirit of God, who can give us the desire and ability to feel for others some of the inexpressible affection God has for us.

To give up yourself for others
Seems like such a tough thing to do;
But that’s how you can know for sure
That God’s love is working through you. —Branon

You can measure your love for God
by showing your love for others.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Secret of the Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Secret of the Poor Souls in Purgatory
An interview with Maria Simma of Austria
Maria Simma (1915-2004)
Today, very little is taught in regular catechism classes about Purgatory, about the suffering that the Poor Souls experience in order to be completely purified to be able to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet Purgatory does exist, and the sufferings that the Poor Souls experience there are very real.
Since 1940 (she was then aged 25), a privileged soul, named Maria Simma, has had regular visits from the souls in Purgatory to explain their sufferings and to ask for prayers and Masses to be released from Purgatory. Her local Bishop and parish priest told her she could make known these visitations as long as there were no theological errors.
One day, Sister Emmanuel Maillard, a French nun known for her apostolate in favor of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje, came across Maria Simma's book, called The Souls in Purgatory told Me... and read it with great interest: “This book struck me so much because it related very recent testimonies, and also explained very well the Church's doctrine on the subject... Straight away, I wrote to the editor who told me that Maria Simma is still alive. Quickly, I contacted her, and she agreed to meet me to answer my questions, which were many!”
This interview took place in 1997 at Maria's house in Sonntag, a very lovely village in the Vorarlberg Mountains in Austria. The following are excerpts from this interview of Sister Emmanuel of Medjugorje with Maria Simma, taken from a booklet entitled: The Amazing Secret of the Souls in Purgatory, published by Queenship Publishing Co., P.O. Box 220, Goleta, CA 93116, USA (Phone 800-647-9882 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-647-9882      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Fax: 805-967-5843):
(Note: Maria Simma died on March 16, 2004, in Sonntag, at the age of 89.)
Sr. Emmanuel with Maria Simma
Maria, can you tell us how you were visited for the first time by a soul in Purgatory?
Yes, it was in 1940. One night, around 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, I heard someone coming into my bedroom... I saw a complete stranger. He walked back and forth slowly. I said to him severely: "How did you get in here? Go away!" But he continued to walk impatiently around the bedroom as if he hadn't heard. So I asked him again: "What are you doing?" But as he still didn't answer, I jumped out of bed and tried to grab him, but I grasped only air. There was nothing there. So I went back to bed, but again I heard him pacing back and forth.
I wondered how I could see this man, but I couldn't grab him. I rose again to hold onto him and to stop him from walking around; again, I grasped only emptiness. Puzzled, I went back to bed. He didn't come back, but I couldn't get back to sleep. The next day, after Mass, I went to see my spiritual director and told him everything. He told me that if this should happen again, I shouldn't ask, "Who are you?" but "What do you want from me?"
The following night, the man returned. I asked him: "What do you want from me?" He replied: "Have three Masses celebrated for me, and I will be delivered."
So I understood that it was a soul in Purgatory. My spiritual director confirmed this. He also advised me never to turn away the poor souls, but to accept with generosity whatever they asked of me.
And afterwards, the visits continued?
Yes. For several years, there were only three or four souls, above all in November. Afterwards, there were more.
What do these souls ask of you?
In most cases, they ask to have Masses celebrated and that one be present at these Masses. They ask to have the Rosary said and also that one make the Stations of the Cross.
Maria, do the souls in Purgatory have, nevertheless, joy and hope in the midst of their suffering?
Yes. No soul would want to come back from Purgatory to the earth. They have knowledge which is infinitely beyond ours. They just could not decide to return to the darkness of the earth.
Here we see the difference from the suffering that we know on earth. In Purgatory, even if the pain of the soul is just terrible, there is the certitude of living forever with God. It's an unshakeable certitude. The joy is greater than the pain. There is nothing on earth which could make them want to live here again, where one is never sure of anything.
Maria, can you tell us now if it is God who sends a soul into Purgatory, or if the soul itself decides to go there?
It is the soul itself which wants to go to Purgatory, in order to be pure before going to Heaven.
Maria, at the moment of death, does one see God in full light or in an obscure manner?
In a manner still obscure, but, all the same, in such brightness that this is enough to cause great longing.
Maria, can you tell us what the role of Our Lady is with the souls in Purgatory?
She comes often to console them and to tell them they have done many good things. She encourages them.
Are there any days in particular on which She delivers them?
Above all, Christmas Day, All Saints Day, Good Friday, the Feast of the Assumption, and the Ascension of Jesus.
Charity covers a multitude of sins
Maria, why does one go to Purgatory? What are the sins which most lead to Purgatory?
Sins against charity, against the love of one's neighbor, hardness of heart, hostility, slandering, calumny — all these things.
Here, Maria gives us an example which really struck her which I would like to share with you. She had been asked to find out if a woman and a man were in Purgatory. To the great astonishment of those who had asked, the woman was already in Heaven and the man was in Purgatory. In fact, this woman had died while undergoing an abortion, whereas the man often went to church and apparently led a worthy, devout life.
So Maria searched for more information, thinking she'd been mistaken — but no, it was true. They had died at practically the same moment, but the woman had experienced deep repentance, and was very humble, whereas the man criticized everyone; he was always complaining and saying bad things about others. This is why his Purgatory lasted so long. And Maria concluded: "We mustn't judge on appearances."
Other sins against charity are all our rejections of certain people we do not like, our refusals to make peace, our refusals to forgive, and all the bitterness we store inside.
Maria also illustrated this point with another example which gave us food for thought. It's the story of a woman she knew very well. This lady died and was in Purgatory, in the most terrible Purgatory, with the most atrocious sufferings. And when she came to see Maria, she explained why.
She had had a female friend. Between them rose a great enmity, caused by herself. She had maintained this enmity for years and years, even though her friend had many times asked for peace, for reconciliation. But each time, she refused. When she fell gravely ill, she continued to close her heart, to refuse the reconciliation offered by her friend, right up to her deathbed.
Maria, please tell us: who are those who have the greatest chance of going straight to Heaven?
Those who have a good heart towards everyone. Love covers a multitude of sins.
What are the means which we can take on earth to avoid Purgatory and go straight to Heaven?
We must do a great deal for the souls in Purgatory, for they help us in their turn. We must have much humility. This is the greatest weapon against evil, against the Evil One. Humility drives evil away.
The Holy Mass
Maria, can you now tell us what are the most effective means to help deliver the souls in Purgatory?
The most efficient means is the Mass.
Why the Mass?
Because it is Christ who offers Himself out of love for us. It is the offering of Christ Himself to God, the most beautiful offering. The priest is God's representative, but it is God Himself who offers Himself and sacrifices Himself for us. The efficacy of the Mass for the deceased is even greater for those who attached great value to the Mass during their lives. If they attended Mass and prayed with all their hearts, if they went to Mass on weekdays — according to their time available — they drew great profit from Masses celebrated for them. Here, too, one harvests what one has sown.
 A soul in Purgatory sees very clearly on the day of his funeral if we really pray for him, or if we have simply made an act of presence to show we were there. The poor souls say that tears are no good for them: only prayer! Often they complain that people go to a funeral without addressing a single prayer to God, while shedding many tears; this is useless!
Earthly sufferings
There is another means, very powerful, to help the poor souls: the offering of our sufferings, our penances, such as fasting, renunciations, etc., — and of course, involuntary suffering, like illness or mourning.
Maria, you have been invited many times to suffer for the poor souls, in order to deliver them. Can you tell us what you have experienced and undergone during these times?
The first time, a soul asked me if I wouldn't mind suffering for three hours in my body for her, and that afterwards I could resume working. I said to myself: "If it will all be over after three hours, I could accept it." During those three hours, I had the impression that it lasted three days, it was so painful. But at the end, I looked at my watch, and I saw that it had only lasted three hours. The soul told me that by accepting that suffering with love for three hours, I had saved her twenty years of Purgatory!
Yes, but why did you suffer for only three hours to avoid twenty years of Purgatory? What did your sufferings have that was worth more?
It is because suffering on earth does not have the same value. On earth, when we suffer, we can grow in love, we can gain merits, which is not the case with the sufferings in Purgatory. In Purgatory, the sufferings serve only to purify us from sin. On earth, we have all the graces. We have the freedom to choose.
All of this is so encouraging because it gives an extraordinary meaning to our sufferings. The suffering which is offered, voluntary or involuntary, even the smallest sacrifices we can make, suffering or sickness, mourning, disappointments... if we live them with patience, if we welcome them in humility, these sufferings can have an unheard-of power to help souls.
The best thing to do, Maria tells us, is to unite our sufferings to those of Jesus, by placing them in the hands of Mary. She is the one who knows best how to use them, since often we ourselves do not know the most urgent needs around us. All this, of course, Mary will give back to us at the hour of our death. You see, these sufferings offered will be our most precious treasures in the other world. We must remind each other of this and encourage each other when we suffer.
Let me add something important: the souls in Purgatory can no longer do anything for themselves; they are totally helpless. If the living do not pray for them; they are totally abandoned. Therefore, it is very important to realize the immense power, the incredible power that each one of us has in our hands to relieve these souls who suffer.
We wouldn't think twice about helping a child who has fallen in front of us from a tree, and who had broken his bones. Of course, we would do everything for him! So, in the same way, we should take great care of these souls who expect everything from us, attentive to the slightest offering, hopeful for the least of our prayers, to relieve them from their pain. And it might be the finest way to practice charity.
Maria, why can one no longer gain merits in Purgatory, when one can on earth?
Because at the moment of death, the time to earn merits is over. For as long as we are living on earth, we can repair the evil we have done. The souls in Purgatory envy us of this opportunity. Even the angels are jealous of us, for we have the possibility of growing for as long as we are on earth.
But often, the suffering in our lives leads us to rebellion, and we have great difficulty in accepting and living it. How can we live suffering so that it bears fruit?
Sufferings are the greatest proof of the love of God, and if we offer them well, they can win many souls.
But how can we welcome suffering as a gift, and not as a punishment (as we often do), as a chastisement?
We must give everything to Our Lady. She is the one who knows best who needs such and such an offering in order to be saved.
We should not always consider sufferings as a punishment. It can be accepted as expiation not only for ourselves, but above all for others. Christ was innocence itself, and He suffered the most for the expiation of our sins. Only in Heaven will we know all that we have obtained by suffering with patience in union with the sufferings of Christ.
Maria, do the souls in Purgatory rebel when faced with their suffering?
No! They want to purify themselves; they understand that it is necessary.
What is the role of contrition or repentance at the moment of death?
Contrition is very important. The sins are forgiven, in any case, but there remains the consequences of sins. If one wishes to receive a full indulgence at the moment of death — that means going straight to Heaven — the soul has to be free from all attachment.
Maria, I would like to ask you: at the moment of death, is there a time in which the soul still has the chance to turn towards God, even after a sinful life, before entering into eternity — a time, if you like, between apparent death and real death?
Yes, yes! The Lord gives several minutes to each one in order to regret his sins and to decide: I accept, or I do not accept to go and see God. Then we see a film of our lives.
I knew a man who believed in the Church's teachings, but not in eternal life. One day, he fell gravely ill and slid into a coma. He saw himself in a room with a board on which all his deeds were written, the good and the bad. Then the board disappeared as well as the walls of the room, and it was infinitely beautiful. Then he woke up from his coma, and decided to change his life.
Maria, does the devil have permission to attack us at the moment of death?
Yes, but man also has the grace to resist him, to push him away. So, if man does not want anything to do with him, the devil can do nothing.
Maria, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a saint here on earth?
Be very humble. We must not be occupied with ourselves. Pride is evil's greatest trap.
Maria, please tell us: can one ask the Lord to do one's Purgatory on earth, in order not to have to do it after death?
Yes. I knew a priest and a young woman who were both ill with tuberculosis in the hospital. The young woman said to the priest: "Let's ask the Lord to be able to suffer on earth as much as necessary in order to go straight to Heaven." The priest replied that he himself didn't dare to ask for this. Nearby was a religious sister who had overheard the whole conversation. The young woman died first, the priest died later, and he appeared to the sister, saying: "If only I had had the same trust as the young woman, I too would have gone straight to Heaven."
Maria, are there different degrees in Purgatory?
Yes, there is a great difference of degree of moral suffering. Each soul has a unique suffering, particular to it; there are many degrees.
Maria, are the sufferings in Purgatory more painful than the most painful sufferings on earth?
Yes, but in a symbolic way. It hurts more in the soul.
Maria, you know, many people today believe in reincarnation. What do the souls tell you concerning this subject?
The souls say that God gives only one life.
But some would say that just one life is not enough to know God and to have the time to be really converted, that it isn't fair. What would you reply to them?
All people have an interior Faith (conscience); even if they do not practice, they recognize God implicitly. Someone who does not believe — that doesn't exist! Each soul has a conscience to recognize good and evil, a conscience given by God, an inner knowledge — in different degrees, of course, but each one knows how to discern good from evil. With this conscience, each soul can become blessed.
What happens to people who have committed suicide? Have you ever been visited by these people?
Up to now, I have never encountered the case of a suicide who was lost — this doesn't mean, of course, that that doesn't exist — but often, the souls tell me that the most guilty were those around them, when they were negligent or spread calumny.
At this moment, I asked Maria if the souls regretted having committed suicide. She answered yes. Often, suicide is due to illness. These souls do regret their act because, as they see things in the light of God, they understand instantly all the graces that were in store for them during the time remaining for them to live — and they do see this time which remained for them, sometimes months or years —– and they also see all the souls they could have helped by offering the rest of their lives to God. In the end, what hurts them most is to see the good that they could have done but didn't, because they shortened their lives. But when the cause is illness, the Lord takes this into account, of course.
Are there priests in Purgatory?
Yes, there are many. They didn't promote respect for the Eucharist. So Faith overall suffers. They are often in Purgatory for having neglected prayer — which has diminished their Faith. But there are also many who have gone straight to Heaven.
What would you say, then, to a priest who really wants to live according to the Heart of God?
I would advise him to pray much to the Holy Spirit — and to say his Rosary every day.
Have you been visited by souls who, on earth, practiced perversions? I am thinking, for example, about the sexual domain.
Yes, they are not lost, but they have much to suffer to be purified. For example: homosexuality. This truly comes from the Evil One.
What advice would you give, then, to all those people afflicted by homosexuality, with this tendency in them?
Pray a lot for the strength to turn away from it. They should above all pray to the Archangel Michael; he is the great fighter par excellence against the Evil One.
What are the attitudes of heart which can lead us to losing our soul for good, I mean going to Hell?
It is when the soul does not want to go towards God, when it actually says: "I do not want."
Jesus said that it was difficult for a rich person to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Have you seen such cases?
Yes! But if they do good works, works of charity, if they practice love, they can get there, just like the poor.
What do you think of the practices of spiritism? For example: calling up the spirits of the departed, Ouija-boards, etc.?
It is not good. It is always evil. It is the devil who makes the table move.
What is the difference between what you are living with the souls of the departed, and the practices of spiritism?
We are not supposed to summon up the souls — I don't try to get them to come. In spiritism, people try to call them forth.
This distinction is quite clear, and we must take it very seriously. If people were only to believe one thing I have said, I would like it to be this: those who engage in spiritism (moving tables and other practices of that kind) think that they are summoning up the souls of the dead. In reality, if there is some response to their call, it is always and without exception Satan and his angels who are answering. People who practice spiritism (diviners, witches, etc.) are doing something very dangerous for themselves and for those who come to them for advice. They are up to their necks in lies. It is forbidden, strictly forbidden, to call up the dead. As for me, I have never done so, l do not do so, and I never will do so. When something appears to me, God alone permits it. (End of interview.)
This article was published in the January-February, 2004 issue of “Michael”.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tanong at Sagot ukol sa paniniwala ng mga Katoliko

Tanong: Bakit kayo gumagawa ng larawan? Bawal iyan sa Bibliya, nakasulat sa Exodo 20:4 o, "Huwag kang gagawa para sa iyo ng larawang inanyuan".

Sagot: Kung bawal iyan sa Bibliya, hindi na sana pinaggawa din ng Diyos ang mga kerubin sa Exodo 25:18 at ang ahas na tanso sa Numeros 21:8-9 . Mga larawan din ang mga iyon eh. Kung pinaggawa ng Diyos ang mga larawang iyon, eh ibig sabihin nun eh hindi yung mga larawan mismo ang bawal. Pero nakasulat diyan sa binasa mo na bawal gumawa ng larawan. Kung tatanggapin natin iyan edi magkakakontra ang sinasabi ng Diyos sa Bibliya. Para mapatotohanan nating di sinungaling ang Diyos, tingnan natin kung anong klaseng larawan ang di niya pinapaggawa, heto sa Exodo 20:4-5:

"Huwag kang gagawa para sa iyo ng larawang inanyuan o ng kawangis man ng
anomang anyong nasa itaas sa langit, o ng nasa ibaba sa lupa, o ng nasa tubig
sa ilalim ng lupa: Huwag mong yuyukuran sila, o paglingkuran man sila."

Hindi kumpleto ang binigay mong talata. Hindi mo dinugtong yung kasunod na talata na nagsasabi na pinagbabawal ng Diyos na yukuran at paglingkuran sila. Iyon ay ang mga larawan na nagnanakaw ng paggalang at pagsama na dapat ay para sa Diyos.

Tanong: Hindi ba't ang inyong mga larawan ay nagnanakaw din ng pagsamba na para lang sa Diyos? Hayan nga't niluluhuran at niyuyukuran ninyo ang mga iyan.

Sagot: Hindi porke't niluluhuran o niyuyukuran ay sinasamba na. Mababasa sa Bibliya na may pagyukod na hindi pagsamba. May pagyukod bilang tanda ng paggalang. Mababasa ito sa Exodo 18:7

"At si Moises ay lumabas na sinalubong ang kaniyang biyanan, at kaniyang niyukuran at hinalikan."

Hindi ibig sabihin na dahil niyukuran ni Moises ang kaniyang biyenan ay Diyos na ito.Hindi. Ang pagyukod at pagluhod ay ang paraan natin ng pagpapakita ng paggalang. Gannon din sa amin. Ginagalang namin ang mga larawan ng mga banal dahil higit pa silang dapat igalang kaysa sa mga tao rito sa lupa dahil sila'y pinarangalan na ng Diyos.

Tanong: Ngunit ang pagyukod ay senyales ng pagsamba, hindi ba! May posibilidad na sinasamba ninyo ang mga larawang iyan!

Sagot: Kahit na senyales ng pagsamba ang pagyukod at pagluhod, wala kang kakayahang malaman at magdesisyon na sumasamba ang isang taong gumagawa niyon. Ang pagsamba ba ay nakikita sa labas na anyo? Hindi ba ang pagsamba ay nangyayari sa loob ng tao? Nakasulat sa Mateo 22:37

"Iibigin mo ang Panginoon mong Dios ng buong puso mo, at ng buong
kaluluwa mo, at ng buong pagiisip mo."

Iyan ang pagsamba, ito ang nagyayari sa loob ng tao. Walang outer bodily gestures ang makakapatunay na ang isang tao ay sumasamba. Kahit ang Bibliya ay umaamin na ang pagyukod ay di isang eksaktong deskripsyon ng pagsamba, nakasulat sa 2 Hari 5:18-19

""At sana ay patawarin niya ako sa gagawin ko. Kasi, pagpunta ng aking hari sa Rimon upang sumamba, isasama niya ako at kasama ring luluhod. Sana'y patawarin ako ni Yahweh sa aking pagluhod sa templo sa Rimon." Sinabi sa kanya ni Eliseo, "Humayo kang payapa." "

Si Naaman ay isang opisyales ng hari ng Assyria na obligadong yumukod at lumuhod sa templo sa Rimon ngunti siya ay di sumasamba sa paganong dios roon. Dito natin makikita na ang pagluhod at pagyukod ay mga bodily gestures na walang kinalaman sa esensyal na pagsamba, kasama na ang lahat ng mga bodily gestures tulad ng paghalik, pagpunas atbp. Kaya napakamali sa iyo kung sasabihin mong sinasamba ng isang katoliko ang isang larawan dahil lang sa nakita mo siyang nakaluhod sa paanan nito. Itigil niyo na ang panghuhusgang ganito dahil hindi iyan ang kalooban ng Panginoon na nagsasabi sa Juan 7:24

"Huwag na kayong humatol batay sa nakikita, kundi humatol kayo ayon sa nararapat."

Tanong: So paano ninyo malalaman na ang isang Katoliko ay sumasamba sa isang larawan kung di pala senyales ng pagsama ang pagluhod, pagyukod, paghalik etc?

Sagot: Kung aaminin ng debotong katoliko sa pamamagitan ng pagsasalita na ang mismong larawan ang sinasamba niya. Nakasulat kasi sa Bibliya, sa Mateo 12:34

"Kung ano ang nag-uumapaw sa puso ay siyang sinasabi ng bibig."

Ito ay patunay na sinasamba talaga ng taong iyon ang larawan. Gayunpaman, kung magtatanong ka sa maraming katoliko kung sinasamba ba nila ang mga larawan, tatanggi sila o di kaya ay magdadalawang-isip sila sa isasagot sa iyo. Tanda na rin ito na wala talaga sa isipan o consciousness nila ang pagsamba sa mga larawan, dahil kung talagang itinuturo sa mga katoliko na dapat sambahin ang larawan, madali lang mapakanta ang maraming katoliko tungkol rito.

Subukan mo, magtanong ka sa isandaang katoliko, malamang lahat o karamihan ay magsasabing "hindi nila sinasamba ang mga larawan"

Tanong: Ano pa ang maipapatunay mo na di mali ang paggamit ng larawan sa inyong relihiyon?

Sagot: Ang aming relihiyon ay mayaman sa kasaysayan at tradisyon dahil ito ang pinakauna at pinakamarami nang naranasan sa napakatagal na panahon. Kaya hindi kataka-takang umaapaw sa disenyo ang aming malalaking mga Simbahan, kasama na ang mga imahen ng mga taong di mo marahil kilala. Ang isang matanda at mnarangyang bahay ay makikilalang mas may mayamang kasaysayan kaysa sa isang bagong gawang kuwartong paupahan. Kaya may estatwa tayo ni Rizal ay dahil may totoong Rizal na nabuhay at naging magiting para sa bayan, kasama na ang lahat ng mga bayani. Sa parehong paraan, kaya kami may mga estatwa ng aming mga banal dahil totoo sila at nabuhay silang minsan at naging magigiting din para sa kaharian ng Diyos. naniniwala kamig sila ay nasa langit na't kapiling ng Diyos at nagdarasal para sa amin.

Tanong: Hindi ba't dios-diosan ang inyong mga larawan? Kasi, sa lumang panahon sa Greece at
Roma ay mga anyong tao din ang kanialng mga dios-diosan at naniniwala silang sila rin ay nasa langit na.

Sagot: Hindi mahahalintulad ang mga santo sa mga dios-diosan ng mga pagano noon. kasi ang mga dios-diosan ng mga pagano ay hindi totoo at hindi kailanman nairecord sa history na nabuhay. ito rin ang dapat na gawing batayan kung ano talaga ang isang dios-diosan at ano ang hindi. Nakasulat sa 1 Corinto 8:4

"Kaya nga, tungkol sa pagkaing inihandog sa diyus-diyosan, alam nating ang mga diyus-diyosan ay larawan ng mga bagay na di-totoo, at alam nating iisa lamang ang Diyos."

Hindi totoo ang mag dios-diosan, kaya sina Zeus, Hera, Diana at iba pa ay dapat lang tawagin na mga dios-diosan dahil sila ay mga kathang-isip lamangat gawa-gawa ng mga sinaunag tao. Sa kabilang banda, sina St Francis of Assisi, St Ignatius, St Bernadette atbp ay totong nabuhay at namatay sa mundong ito, kaya di sila kasali sa hanay ng mga dapat tawaging "dios-diosan" ayon na rin sa Bibliya.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Where Do I Start?

In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me. —Psalm 120:1
Bible in a year: Jeremiah 48-49; Hebrews 7
Several years ago, I was driving down the freeway when my car died. I pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car, and opened the hood. As I looked at the engine I thought, A lot of good this does me. I know nothing about cars. I don’t even know where to start! 

That’s how we might sometimes feel about prayer: Where do I start? That’s what the disciples wanted to know when they asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). The best place to look for instruction is in the example and teaching of Jesus. Two questions you may have are:

Where should we pray? Jesus prayed in the temple, in the wilderness (Luke 4), in quiet places (Matt. 14:22-23), in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22), and on the cross (Luke 23:34,46). He prayed alone and with others. Look at His life, follow His example, and pray wherever you are.

What should we pray? In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask that God’s name be honored and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Ask Him for your daily provisions, for forgiveness of sin, and for deliverance from temptation and evil (Luke 11:2-4).

So if you’re looking for a good place to start, follow the example of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord has shown us we can pray
Wherever we may be;
And when we say, “Your will be done,”
His work on earth we’ll see. —Sper

If Jesus needed to pray, how can we do less?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Paintings of Christ

I'm not ashamed

He is the only one that can save this country and
they want him removed from the government.

Our great nation will not stand if we delete HIM  
from all aspects of our government as the atheists

A prayer for you

Concentrate on this Sentence 'To get something you never had, you have 
to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your 
grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to 
receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence... 'The will of 
God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.' 
Something good will happen to you today; something that you have been 
waiting to hear.
 Please Do not break!  JUST 27 WORDS.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who Seeks Whom?

Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
Sabbath devotional reading
November 4, 2010
When I ask my students what sin is, I usually receive standard answers: Sin offends God. We make God angry. We make God turn away from us because He is offended (or angry or disappointed).
So I ask them, what do you do when you sin? Their answers: We have to turn back to God and confess our sins. We have to repent and make up for our sins. We have to please God that He may accept us again.
Let me shock you: All of these answers are WRONG! Unfortunately, this is still taught in religion or catechism classes. God is not like a parent or teacher or king or president who turns His back on those who offend Him and waits until the offender comes crawling before Him, begging for forgiveness.
Look at today’s Gospel! (Luke 15:1-10) Did the lost sheep return and beg the shepherd to take it back into his flock? No, it was the shepherd who searched for the lost sheep “till he found it.” 
In the story of the woman who loses a coin, does the coin miraculously materialize or lead the woman to its “hiding place”? No, the woman searches tirelessly until she finds the coin. In both stories, the shepherd and woman stand for God who goes out to search for what was lost. It is not God who turns His back on the offender; it is the sinners who turn their back on God. But He does not rest until He finds them and gently turns them around so the sinners again face God and see Him loving them in such an incredible way that the sinner cannot but break down and whisper, “Lord, I am really sorry. Please forgive me.”
Now you may ask: Are we not offending God with our sins? Again, the answer is: No. The great St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “We offend God only inasmuch as we act against our own good.” This means that we do not offend God with our sins; we offend God only when we harm ourselves or another human being, who are both created in His “image and likeness.” His love for us never changes, whatever sin we may commit. If that’s not Good News, I don’t know what could be better news.