Friday, August 31, 2012

Can you name the five kinds of miracles?

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Do you know the seven marks of every authentic miracle?

Padre Pio

Are you aware that a miracle's best friend is rigorousscientific investigation?


Can you name the five kinds of miracles?

St. Bernadette

About few things have more false claims been made than miracles -- claims by skeptics and believers alike, few of whom know what the Church actually says about miracles.

The result?

A popular culture whose muddled concepts of miracles deny us any sense of the character and meaning in those events that the Church deems miraculous.

Modern man -- believers and unbelievers alike -- is often blind to compelling evidence that miracles still occur regularly, even in our day.

Now comes the remedy: Understanding Miracles, the book that gives you the most comprehensive, careful, and thoughtful discussion of miracles available today.

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This amazing book was delivered into our warehouse this morning, and is waiting to be shipped to you right away.

These 350-plus information-packed pages introduce you to authoritative Church teachings about miracles while exploring hundreds of particular miracles from Old Testament times to today.

As you read Understanding Miracles, your eyes will be opened as you finally discover what the Church really teaches about miracles and how much sense those teachings make.

From Understanding Miracles, you'll learn (among many other things):

* What a miracle is (There's a 90% chance your current understanding is wrong);

* What the Church teaches infallibly about miracles;

* The particular miracles we are required to accept; and those we are free to doubt;

* The five kinds of miracles (and why it makes a difference);

* The seven marks of every authentic miracle (can you name even two?);

* The Eucharist: it's a mystery but not strictly-speaking a miracle. Do you know why?

* The strict criteria by which the Church evaluates supernatural events;

* And countless other topics to deepen your knowledge and understanding of miracles, and draw you closer to the Author of them all.

Understanding Miracles boasts scores of photographs, countless scholarly references, and a huge bibliography for those yearning to know more.

This book includes a serious review of each and every major miracle in the Bible, with an explanation of the character and importance of each. And there are shorter discussions of hundreds of lesser miracles, too.

Alongside its reverent accounts of authenticated miracles, there are tales of con-men and crazy folks, false mystics and fake visionaries. These episodes are evaluated by the author with such remarkable evenhandedness that this book has credibility greater than that of almost any other book on this topic.

Understanding Miracles will surprise and intrigue souls who are skeptical of miracles -- and it will liberate true believers from foolish (and sometimes harmful) popular notions about miracles.

If you have the least truth interest in the about miracles, this is the book for you!

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by Zsolt Aradi
384 pgs pbk $19.95 

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The debt sentence

JUST what does the statement “Crime does not pay” mean?
“Crime doesn’t pay” is focused on the risk involved in “crime.” If you involve yourself in criminal activity, there is an inherent risk in getting caught. The higher the payout of the crime, the higher the risk of getting caught. Consequently, the higher the sentence.
Therefore if you get caught “crime doesn’t pay.” Simply put, lawbreakers do not benefit from their actions, and they always suffer the consequences later. In fact, most of the criminals get caught at the time they are nearing their golden years. The ironical thing is that due to the degree of the crime they committed, they are given life imprisonment (reclusion perpetua) or even worse, the maximum penalty which is the death sentence. Examples of heinous crimes that are punishable by death are illegal drugs trafficking, and murder,
What if the crime of a person is non payment of his debt? Is there a punishment? Sad to say there is none as of now. There is no one who has been imprisoned for not paying his debt. There are stories of people getting killed over unpaid debt. There is truth to the adage, “Debt is death to those who mismanage it.” Once I overheard one statement that goes like this, “Debt sounds like death. It might be the cause of your death.” Actually, the Bible has this to say:
Psalm 37:21 “T he wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives.”
If there is a death sentence for heinous crime against a fellow human being, there is also an equivalent penalty for no payment of debt to the creditor. It is the debt sentence.  The most accurate description of a penalty of being a debtor is found in Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”
This makes sense. Years ago, a friend in need approached me and borrowed money. When it was time to pay, he was always nowhere to be found. He mysteriously disappeared. Then I realized I had power over him. He was afraid to see me face to face. Even if he is not physically my slave, mentally, he has become a slave not to me but to money. His fear of facing me has become his punishment. Worse, he just destroyed in just a short period of time the credibility he has built over the years.  The consequence of his action exceeds the value of the money he owed.
One of the most common personal finance crimes is to use the credit card and pay the minimum amount due. Credit card is a good financial tool. Used properly, it can be your slave. Abused properly, it can be your biggest problem. It is highly possible that majority does not know how credit cards can work against them. Innocence of the law excuses no one. The same holds true for personal finance.
Let us say the debt is P10,000. The minimum amount payable is P500 and interest pegged at 3.5 percent per month on the balance. Without considering other fees, it will take 33 months and P16,400 to pay off the original debt. Including the other hidden fees will result to a lifetime payment (like life imprisonment) and a never-ending accumulation of debt due to it’s compounding effect.
Most of the time, when people borrow money, they have a bad habit of using their home as collateral. According to Proverbs 22:26-27 “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you”.
This verse makes perfect sense. I had a friend who loans out money in exchange for real estate property as collateral. Often times, the borrower would default on his payment. Then later, the borrower will be ejected  after the court judged in favor of the lender. The borrower has no choice but give up his property and look for house for rent. Instead of saving more money, he will be renting his shelter for the rest of his life, which is also equivalent to life imprisonment.
The penalty for committing a crime depends on its degree. The higher the degree, the bigger the punishment. However, all of the penalties translate to one thing: loss of freedom. With debt, one also loses his financial freedom. He will always be running after money to pay his debtors. He will, apparently be the perpetual slave of money and also of his debtors. If innocence of the law excuses no one, then the only solution to avoid the debt sentence is not to be financially innocent . If crime does not pay, then it pays to invest in financial education!

Edmund Lao is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the RFP program Batch 29 on October 13 to December 8. For more details, please or visit

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today's Gospel Reading - Sunday, August 26, 2012 with Reflection

1ST READING - Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17, 18

P S A L M - Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
R: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
1 [2] I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 2 [3] Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad. (R) 15 [16] The Lord has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. 16 [17] The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. (R) 17 [18] When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. 18 [19] The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. (R) 19 [20] Many are the troubles of the just one, but out of them all the Lord delivers him; 20 [21] He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken. (R)

2nd READING - Ephesians 5:21-32 (or Ephesians 5:2, 25-32)

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.
John 6:60-69
60 Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” 61 Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? 62 What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 66 As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 67 Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”



Compared to the standard happy ending of fairy tales, that of our Gospel episode today surely isn’t one. But this one is specifically on the part of Jesus’ disciples only, as distinguished from the Twelve Apostles. In fact, there’s the saving grace with Peter’s solemn declaration of loyalty and commitment to Jesus on behalf of the Twelve.

Jesus wouldn’t really care much if dissent and defection were indeed to occur among His disciples. His is not a dictatorship, after all. What He clearly does is simply give His teachings and challenges, and then to poke us time and again by asking us a question or two. That much, and that alone. The ball is in our hands — with the answer that we will give or the stand we will take. There are no two ways about it. It’s an either-or situation. Will it be that of the disillusioned and cynical disciples? Or that of the determined and confident Peter?

According to some Gospel commentators, Peter’s declaration of loyalty here is the equivalent (in the Gospel of John) of his profession in Matthew 16:16. But reading further in the Gospel, we know that eventually Peter would also deny his Master (John 18:15-18, 25-27). Does that make him like those who fell out in their following of Jesus?

Perhaps not. In fact, it is an entirely different case. No solemn pronouncements of loyalty and fidelity (think of religious professions, for example) are ever intended to be instant guarantees anyway. At least Simon Peter was truthful and honest, and eventually remorseful and repentant when he failed.

And so in our case, the proverbial happy ending really depends on God — and on nobody else but us, of course. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: How confident are you that your relationship with God has a happy ending?

Lord God, help me to be always faithful to You. May this faithfulness lead to my eventual union with You in heaven.

St. Joseph Calasanz, pray for us.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Learn to pray like a saint!

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Where did you learn to pray?

At your mother's knee?

Child praying with mother.

From the nun who taught your religion class?

Nun teaching class.

You've matured, but have your prayers? Or do you simply pray, year after year, as you were taught as a child?

If your prayers are difficult or boring, your problem may not be failure of will (you do try to pray well). It may be a lack of knowledge about how mature souls pray.

Most of us have been praying so long that we pray automatically without really thinking about it.

The good news is that such problems are easily overcome!

In his classic book, The Art of Prayer, Romano Guardini offers practical ways you can improve your prayers today and grow closer to God.

(book cover) 

In these remarkable pages, you will learn...

* How to pray well even when your heart is empty.

* How to determine the prayer schedule that's right for you.

* The five words that gave St. Francis of Assisi an entire night of contemplation.

* Why all Christians should pray to the saints -- and with them, too!

* Why spontaneous prayer can be less genuine than formal prayers.

* Why your posture during prayer makes a difference.

* Practical hints to make your family prayers even better.

"The Art of Praying is an inspiring prayer guide for us all! Highly recommended."
Scott Hahn

"This book by a true man of prayer has helped me pray better."
Rev. George Rutler

"Long Ago, Guardini helped teach me to pray. I rely on his thought."
Rev. Benedict Groeschel

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by Romano Guardini
192 pgs pbk $15.95 

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This beautifully-produced leatherette book gives you Thirty steps to holiness -- in just ten minutes a day!

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Designed as a thirty-day program to lead you to greater love for God, these brief reflections give you guidance on how to get started on a more serious commitment to Christ, and how to deal with common challenges and obstacles that confront you along the way.

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Once you have given yourself to Jesus in the ways this wise retreat master directs, he shows you how to turn to Jesus for direction, as well as how to rest in Him, to abandon yourself to His will, and to share your joys and sorrows with Him.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23 - Today is the feast of Saint Rose of Lima

SAINT ROSE OF LIMA Virgin(1586-1617)

This lovely flower of sanctity, the first canonized Saint of the New World, was born at Lima in 1586. She was christened Isabel, but the beauty of her infant face earned for her the title of Rose, which she ever after bore.

As a child, while still in the cradle, her silence under a painful surgical operation proved the thirst for suffering already consuming her heart. At an early age she took service to support her impoverished parents, and worked for them day and night. In spite of hardships and austerities her beauty ripened with increasing age, and she was much and openly admired. From fear of vanity she cut off her hair, blistered her face with pepper and her hands with lime.

For further security she enrolled herself in the Third Order of St. Dominic, took St. Catherine of Siena as her model, and redoubled her penance. Her cell was a garden hut, her couch a box of broken tiles. Under her habit Rose wore a hair-shirt studded with iron nails, while, concealed by her veil, a silver crown armed with ninety points encircled her head. More than once, when she shuddered at the prospect of a night of torture, a voice said, "My cross was yet more painful."

The Blessed Sacrament seemed almost her only food. Her love for it was intense. When the Dutch fleet prepared to attack the town, Rose took her place before the tabernacle, and wept that she was not worthy to die in its defence. All her sufferings were offered for the conversion of sinners, and the thought of the multitudes in hell was ever before her soul.

She died in 1617, at the age of thirty-one.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22 - Today, we celebrate the QUEENSHIP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter "Ad Caeli Reginam. (On the Queenship of Mary)

"Mary is called "Mother of the Lord"; from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature."[42] Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary's royal office." (AD CAELI REGINAM)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Today's Gospel Reading - Sunday, August 19, 2012 with Reflection

1ST READING - Proverbs 9:1-6  

P S A L M - Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
1 [2] I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 2 [3] Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad. (R) 3 [4] Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol his name. 4 [5] I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (R) 5 [6] Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. 6 [7] When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. (R)

2ND READING - Ephesians 5:15-20

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
John 6:51-58
51 Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” 52 The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”



The Jews were horrified by the words of Jesus. It sounded as if Jesus is encouraging cannibalism. For the Jews, blood was the seat of life and it was sacred. To drink blood, therefore, was blasphemy for them. But pagans would have understood. They were used to offering animals in their temples. Some of the flesh were burned; some were given to the priests, and the rest to those who had offered it. They would then eat it in the temple precinct. Since the flesh had been offered to a god, they believed that the god had entered it. Eating this sacrificed meat would mean to become filled with their god.

For pagans who became Christians, the words of Jesus would not have been scandalous; they would have understood what Jesus meant.

But, like the Jews, some Christians today have difficulty taking to heart the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They say it is only a symbol of
Christ. But no, never did Jesus hint that the Eucharistic bread would be a symbol. Never did He say, “Eat that bread which is a symbol of me!” No, He could not have made it clearer when He said in today’s Gospel passage, The bread I shall give is my flesh.” And during the Last Supper, “Take this and eat it: this is my body.”

Jesus desired to be totally united with His disciples, with us, in the most intimate way. He wanted to become part of us so that we would become part of Him, so that we would be filled with His divinity.

There is a saying, “We become what we eat.” If kids eat only junk food, they will not grow up healthy. If one eats only meat, he will have to consult the doctor soon. A healthy person is a person who eats healthy food and observes a well-balanced diet.

May the Eucharist never become a ritual or a custom but a source of a healthy spiritual life, a union with our Lord and Savior who fills us with His divinity and so prepares us for eternal life. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you prepare yourself well before receiving holy communion? Are you aware that you become a living tabernacle when you receive Him?
Lord, thank You for the greatest gift You could give us: Yourself in the Holy Eucharist. Help me to receive You always consciously and so be filled with Your divinity.

St. John Eudes, priest, pray for us.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16 - Today, we also celebrate the feast of SAINT ROCH aka SAN ROQUE

Born at Montpellier towards 1295; died 1327.

His father was governor of that city. At his birth St. Roch is said to have been found miraculously marked on the breast with a red cross.
Deprived of his parents when about twenty years old, he distributed his fortune among the poor, handed over to his uncle the government of Montpellier, and in the disguise of a mendicant pilgrim, set out for Italy, but stopped at Aquapendente, which was stricken by the plague, and devoted himself to the plague-stricken, curing them with the sign of the cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighbouring cities and then Rome. Everywhere the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power. He visited Mantua, Modena, Parma, and other cities with the same results.

At Piacenza, he himself was stricken with the plague. He withdrew to a hut in the neighbouring forest, where his wants were supplied by a gentleman named Gothard, who by a miracle learned the place of his retreat.

After his recovery Roch returned to France. Arriving at Montpellier and refusing to disclose his identity, he was taken for a spy in the disguise of a pilgrim, and cast into prison by order of the governor, — his own uncle, some writers say, — where five years later he died. The miraculous cross on his breast as well as a document found in his possession now served for his identification. He was accordingly given a public funeral, and numerous miracles attested his sanctity.

In 1414, during the Council of Constance, the plague having broken out in that city, the Fathers of the Council ordered public prayers and processions in honour of the saint, and immediately the plague ceased. His relics, according to Wadding, were carried furtively to Venice in 1485, where they are still venerated. It is commonly held that he belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis; but it cannot be proved. Wadding leaves it an open question.

Urban VIII approved the ecclesiastical office to be recited on his feast (16 August). Paul III instituted a confraternity, under the invocation of the saint, to have charge of the church and hospital erected during the pontificate of Alexander VI. The confraternity increased so rapidly that Paul IV raised it to an archconfraternity, with powers to aggregate similar confraternities of St. Roch. It was given a cardinal-protector, and a prelate of high rank was to be its immediate superior (see Reg. et Const. Societatis S. Rochi). Various favours have been bestowed on it by Pius IV (C. Regimini, 7 March, 1561), by Gregory XIII (C. dated 5 January, 1577), by Gregory XIV (C. Paternar. pont., 7 March, 1591), and by other pontiffs. It still flourishes.

Source: Catholic Encyclopedia