Thursday, July 31, 2014

Think about....

Your most powerful testimony is how you treat others after the church service is over.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


By: Bobby Quitain

God can use the worst in us to bring out the best in every situation.

God used Moses, a murderer, to bring life to a dying race.

God used Jonah, a stubborn prophet, to bring a whole town to obedience.

God used Gideon, an insecure leader, to bring security to His people.

God used David, a man who succumbed to the desires of his flesh, to lead a nation to follow the desires of God's Spirit.

God used Peter, an impulsive and weak disciple, to establish a stable and strong church.

God used Paul, a judgmental Pharisee, to bring God's mercy to all the world.

When they turned to Him, He turned them around.

From curses to blessings. From garbage to gold. From nuisance to significance.

If God used them, what makes you think God can't use you?

Let God use you today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


By Fr. Shay Cullen
Candle-in-the-darkThe good news is that hundreds, if not thousands of children will be protected from abuse and molestation by some of the 660 British subjects arrested for accessing unlawful images of children on the internet by a coordinated police action throughout the United Kingdom a few weeks ago. Many more suspects have been identified as accessing these horrific images of children being abused and could be arrested soon. The depressing news is that many of the images are of very young Filipino children and some could have been made by a British subject or her male associates.
The discovery of 5 children between the ages of 5 and 7 years old and a 6 month old baby in the house of a British born woman in Subic, Philippines has shocked readers. Some of the children bear signs of having been sexually abused and tell horrifying experiences. A boy, 7 years old, tells of being sexually molested and being photographed naked by a male visitor to the house where he was confined. A six year old girl was found tied to a chair in a filthy room strewn with empty liquor bottles.
The suspect, now in the custody of the Philippine police, is a female British subject from Scotland, Lilian May Thomson Zimmer, 65, with a US passport. The images of these abused children are likely to be shared with paedophiles in the UK and elsewhere. Perhaps some of the 660 suspects arrested a few weeks ago around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have viewed them already.
Zimmer is charged with direct assault on persons in authority, serious illegal detention and child cruelty. More charges may follow. The children were rescued after a month-long campaign by the Preda Foundation to persuade the authorities to save the children. Finally, the children are now safe in a government child care home and recovering from their ordeal and talking about it.
There is a growing number of arrests in the Philippines of suspects making illegal images of children and using children for live cyber sex shows beamed over the internet whose customers are from the UK and other countries. They satisfy their depraved desires and earn huge sums of money. They get away with it because of lax law enforcement, bribery, and the non-compliance of the Internet Service Providers(ISPs) with the law.
The 2009 law, Republic Act No. 9775, states that filters and blocking software must be installed on the servers of the ISPs but it has not been done, that is five years of non-compliance and blazon flouting of the law.
The telecommunication corporations and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) are in some kind of collaboration; that must be investigated by President Aquino. The NTC regulators have perhaps been embraced, captured, and who knows, even money may have changed hands. If so, it is a criminal conspiracy to subvert the law.
This law, if implemented by the specially created Senate and House Committee headed by the respective Chairs of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family relations and the House of Representatives Committee on Justice would give at least 85% protection and thousands of children could be saved. But the committee has failed to act, and has failed the Filipino children; a worse crime perhaps than the politicians who are accused and jailed for allegedly stealing billions of pesos from the people.
Republic Act 9775, under Section 9, says: “The duties of Internet Service Providers (ISP) are to monitor the content passing through their servers, notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISPs shall install available technology, program or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered”. (complete law on
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is supposed to oversee the implementation of the law. The law says that the ISP failing to implement and comply with the law should pay a fine and have its license to operate revoked for non-compliance. But the law is clearly ignored, flouted and disobeyed. It is a grave injustice to the Filipino people and children worldwide.
It is a stark reminder just how the rich corporations can manipulate the government commission and officials so they can continue to earn huge profits from the transmission of these illegal images of children to be sexually assaulted, raped and abused. They claim they are innocent and not responsible for the images passing through their servers. But the law says they must prevent the transmission. What greater evil is there for such images to circulate among child abusers instigating them to commit abuse?
This evil trade and the complicity of government agencies and corporations in not stopping it is a gross violation of children’s rights and an insult to the Filipino people. Such neglect and dereliction of duty that allows the images of thousands of children being sexually abused broadcast around the world to pedophiles is a crime in itself.
Clearly, President Aquino, the anti-corruption President, does not know this is happening but for him to act now would be a great service to the children and will inspire the nation. We can all help by writing to the President at Malacañang Palace, Manila, Philippines. Lighting a candle in the darkness will enlighten the minds and hearts of those that live there. [ ;]
(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Perils of Technology

by Father John McCloskey

A confession... I am writing this column on my MacBook Air computer with my iPhone at my side. And I regularly enlist the help of a cellphone App to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. And after all, I live in the heart of Silicon Valley and have lectured to 300 actual and would-be Techies and Masters of the Universe.
In addition, the Church has actually pronounced itself in favor of modern technology, inasmuch as it enables people to communicate directly throughout the world, in directly personal ways (e-mail, texting, Twitter, Skype, etc.) as well as in more formal or purely informational forms of group collaboration and instruction. Through this assortment of techniques for "distance learning" of all kinds, the hope is that technology can help different countries and races to understand one another better and thus contribute to world peace and prosperity.
And technology, properly utilized, helps the Church evangelize globally by using the means of communication to preach the Good News to all. Just think about St. John Paul II and his use of the media, and Mother Angelica and her founding of EWTN, with its worldwide audience and dozens of Catholic radio stations throughout the United States. Now we have the charismatic Pope Francis energizing the largest Twitter account in the Universe.
I just went on vacation with some very close friends and was troubled by their inability to go almost anywhere, inside or outside, without their smartphones. I believe this could be called an addiction, and as Catholics striving for holiness we should only be "addicted" to the one thing needful: God alone.
A few years, ago while I was resting from my pastoral duties, I picked up a paperback novel (not pulp fiction!) by the most popular and best-selling Catholic author in America. His name is Dean Koontz – you have probably head of him – but you are not likely to know that he is also a great defender of life.
Midway through the novel, I was stunned to come across this passage:
New technology – like the computer – freed men and women from all kinds of drudgery, saved them vast amounts of time... And yet the time saved did not seem to mean additional leisure or greater opportunities for meditation and reflection. Instead, with each new wave of technology, the pace of life increased; there was more to do, more choices to make, more things to experience, and people eagerly seized upon those experiences and filled the hours that had only moments ago become empty. Each year life seemed to be flitting past with far greater speed than the year before, as if God had cranked up the control knob on the flow of time. But that wasn't right, either, because to many people, even the concept of God seemed dated in an age in which the universe was being forced to let go of its mysteries on a daily basis. Science, technology, and change were the only gods now, the new Trinity; and while they were not consciously cruel and judgmental, as some of the old gods had been, they were too coldly indifferent to offer any comfort to the sick, the lonely, and the lost.
I might add to Koontz's masterly description of the dangers of technology the practices of euthanasia, abortion, and pornography – all spilling out from the so-called developed countries in a floodtide of sin and death.
Well then, how do we combat an addition to technology?
Some suggestions:
1. Time. On average, how much time you spend online and watching television? (I shudder at the thought that you might play video games.)
2. How much time daily do you spend with your family? Is it more or less than the time you spend online?
3. Do you spend more online or on entertainment on a given day than you do on Mass or spiritual reading, such as reading the life of Christ so you can imitate him better in your friendships, family, and work life?
4. How much time do you spend on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy? Or do you spend more time on YouTube?
5. What is better for you and your family? Each member of the family online or a joint excursion to a shrine of Our Lady with another family or two and an ice cream treat afterwards?
6. How about once in a while having an evening when the family stays at home and each family member reads a book for an hour or so?
7. Serious Catholics should make a retreat every year to grow in their relationship with the Lord. Well, why not make it a silent retreat? That's right, no talking and no cellphone or computer usage.
Try any of these simple suggestions, or other like them: then you will start to see how addicted you may be to technology.
First appeared on The Catholic Thing in July, 2014.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

"History is a set of lies agreed upon,"
said Napoleon.

More lies have been aimed at destroying the good
name and holy work of our Roman Catholic Church
than at any other institution in the world.

History books ignore the Church's
contribution to art, architecture,
music, philosophy, and science.

Students today never
learn that the Church fed the hungry,
served the sick, and educated boy and girl alike.

But it's really worse than that, isn't it?
The Church's role in history
isn't simply ignored —
it is maligned.

Now — finally — a book that tells
the truth about Western Civilization!

Many books have been written about
the history of the Catholic Church.

But few history books have been
written from a Catholic perspective.

Here veteran historian Diane Moczar takes
you on a fast-paced ride through the development
of Christian civilization from its emergence within the
Roman Empire to its medieval springtime.

Indeed, within 500 years of
Nero's persecutions, Christian civilization permeated
every aspect of European culture. Both kings and commoners
paid allegiance to the Catholic Church!

A master storyteller with an entertaining and evocative style,
Dr. Moczar introduces you to the celebrated intellectuals
and mystics, the magnificent artists and writers,
and the greatest heroes and villains
who forever changed the West.

You'll also explore the dreadful heresies and sinful
practices — both inside the Church and out —
that developed cracks that would become
great fissures, leading to the bitter autumn
that followed this most glorious age.

Most of all, these pages will increase your love of God
— who is the source of all truth —
through a deeper understanding
of Catholic history.

And this book will renew your confidence
that no matter how many Neros are sent her way
by Satan, the Church will not be defeated but will endure
until the end of time.

The Church Ascending:
How Saints and Sinners Brought About the Triumph of Christianity in the West

Dr. Diane Moczar
$18.95 - 192 pages

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Here’s an unabashedly Catholic history that documents scores of sustained and unprecedented assaults on our Catholic Faith these past five centuries and delineates our Church’s brave response to each one.

For five hundred years, from Luther to Marx, through Darwin, Hitler, and Rousseau, wave after wave of cynical anti-Catholic men and movements have wrought havoc even worse than that of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, leaving our once noble Christendom a ruined city, devastated politically and spiritually, morally and intellectually.

They’ve ripped the heart from our culture’s chest: the Catholic Faith that once gave life and strength to her body. They’ve wounded even the Church herself.

Celebrated Catholic historian Diane Moczar counters here with an unflinching sketch of these five woeful centuries with sound reasons for hope. For, as she demonstrates, even after five hundred years of sustained persecution, our Church has not merely survived but continues in many places to flourish.

Almost two thousand years ago, Tertullian noted that the “blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” a truth borne out these past five hundred years.

Time after time, as Moczar shows, persecution has not snuffed out the Faith but has brought forth great saints whose holy deeds and brave examples frustrated their persecutors by communicating to the besieged Church a vigor greater than that of her persecutors.

These pages will renew your confidence that the Church is indeed Christ acting in the world and that no matter how strong or ruthless or vicious her opponents, she will not be vanquished but will endure to the end of time.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We Are A Work in Progress

Fr. Ed Broom, OMV 

Workshops for teachers, spring training for Baseball players, ongoing courses for professionals, coaching, reviewing, updating, cutting away the dead branches and debris—life demands constant labor to improve, upgrade and perfect. Even more important must be the constant labor at ongoing formation for followers of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All of us are a work in progress (W.O.P.) an incomplete project, a task that can always be improved.

It is not uncommon for me to meet adults who received a poor catechetical formation at their First Communion, and ever since that day they have had no other spiritual formation until they decided to get married. Upon which they must comply to do a six hour formation class to prepare them for the Sacrament of Marriage, to prepare them to be faithful and loving spouses, to prepare them to be the best of parents. Obviously the church encourages a more complete formation program for its children.

Therefore, here are some practical and concrete steps that we can take to implement an ongoing program of “Permanent Formation”.

1. Spiritual Readings. Good books should be your best friends. They are always available, ready to be opened and read, and when put down they do not get angry, and if not visited for a long period of time they do not become resentful. With the consultation and advice of a good Spiritual Director, formulate a good spiritual reading list. Fr. Thomas Dubay stated that busy people only have time to read the best of books. St Teresa of Avila would not admit women into the Carmelite order who could not read; the reason being, the saint knew how much wonderful and inspiring and educational material could be acquired by good reading! Establish your own library of good catholic books!

2. Spiritual Direction. St. John of the Cross put it bluntly: “He who has himself as a directee has a dummy as a follower.” It is like the blind leading the blind. We all have blind spots that we cannot see, but to others they glare like the noonday sun. Spiritual direction serves to help us to encounter God in our lives, to arrive at self-knowledge, to detect our major spiritual roadblocks, and finally to seek out and find God’s will in our lives. St. Teresa of Avila would have never carried through with the reform of the Carmelites without spiritual direction. St. Faustina Kowalska would have failed miserably to make known the treasures of Divine Mercy without the able assistance of Blessed Michael Sopocko. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque never would have found acceptance of the famous apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, had it not been for the timely appearance on the scene of the Jesuit, St. Claude de la Colombiere. Divine light often radiates through the human prism of the Spiritual Director!

3. Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. God raised up St. Ignatius to rescue a world in spiritual decline and spiritual battle. He wrote thousands of letters and anointed with gems of practical counsel and wisdom. The Holy Spirit inspired him to compose the Rules for Spiritual Discernment, the spiritual masterpiece that has proved to be a precious jewel in spirituality to help us to discern the motions or movements of the good spirit and open our hearts to receive and follow them. At the same time, the rules teach us to detect the “Bad vibes” of the enemy so as to reject them quickly, vigorously and constantly so as to arrive at victory and receive one day the crown of glory. Finally, God inspired St. Ignatius to compose the Spiritual Exercises. By doing the Spiritual Exercises and living out this divinely inspired program of spirituality one ascends from a mediocre, confused, apathetic spiritual life, to a vibrant, growing, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ the King, a life-long pursuit of sanctity of life and an authentic witness to the world of holiness.

4. Sharing the Faith. Personal faith is not lost by sharing it with others. On the contrary, by sharing your faith with others it results in a mutual, double process of enrichment. The one who listens is enlightened and inspired by the spiritual treasure shared and you who give are enriched for giving. Pray for and look for opportunities to share your faith with others. Nobody can give what he does not have! The more spiritual treasures we have, then the more we can give to others.

5. Electronic Media. We live in a world with rapid progress, especially in the realm of the Mass media and the electronic media. The mass media, like any other tool can be used for evil or for good. As for us, we will use it as a means for our own sanctification! When using the internet, find good good Catholic websites—know them, save them and log in to them; this can be a great source of permanent formation! Youtube sermons and other videos—a short spiritual message, maybe only a minute or two—can enlighten us with an insight to console us and shed light on our path the whole day. Podcasts! These can be listened to at home, while cooking or cleaning, on the road on the way to work or in the quiet of one’s room before retiring for the night! Blogs! Tap in to short but “meaty” spiritual topics, which might be on prayer, some virtue you need to practice, some heresy that must be understood and resisted, or some Marian reflection to lift up your mind and heart to “The Mystical Rose” who always points to Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Her last words recorded were “Do whatever He tells you!”

In conclusion, we are on a spiritual journey to heaven. Ongoing Spiritual formation must be taken seriously. Many distractions can detour us from the purpose of our life, which is to praise God, reverence God, serve God and to save our soul for all eternity!

Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was and He responded: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with your entire mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10: 27). Final prayer to pursue ongoing formation:

Lord, help me to take seriously my permanent spiritual formation so that I may be a worthy instrument in your hands to save many souls for time and all eternity! Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for me!

By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Maria Goretti's greatest witness is forgiveness, priest observes

Body of Saint Maria Goretti in the basilica of Nottuno, Italy. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.
Body of Saint Maria Goretti in the basilica of Nottuno, Italy. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.
.- Following St. Maria Goretti’s feast day, the rector of the basilica where her body resides stated that her willingness to forgive is her most prominent testimony, and that her virtue is an example for family life.

Maria’s greatest witness is forgiveness, Fr. Giovanni Alberti told CNA July 7.

"Many people come saying I left to forgive, with the example of Maria Goretti. These people that are leaving, go with a great lesson from the child Saint,” Fr. Alberti said.

Fr. Alberti has been rector of the Basilica of the Mother of Grace and of Saint Maria Goretti in Nottuno, Italy for the past six years. He said the assignment is “a great responsibility and a call to live with great simplicity.”

The saint’s July 6 feast day included a large procession the night before beginning at the basilica and lasting six miles to the house where she lived for four years prior to her death. Some 4,000 people attended the procession to celebrate the life of the saint.

Born in the city of Corinaldo, Italy in 1890, St. Maria Goretti was the eldest of six children. She was killed at the age of 11 while resisting a rape, and is considered a martyr for chastity.

Coming from a poor family, Maria assisted her mother in housework and in caring for her five younger siblings following her father’s death.

In 1902 a neighboring farmhand, Alessandro Serenelli, who had made previous inappropriate comments and sexual advances toward her, attempted to rape Maria in her house. When she resisted, Alessandro stabbed her 14 times.

After being found bleeding to death, she was rushed to the hospital in Nettuno, where she forgave Alessandro, saying: “Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him…and I want him to be with me in paradise.”

While in prison several years later, Alessandro converted after having a dream in which Maria handed him 14 white flowers that burst into flame. The flowers represented the 14 wounds he had inflicted upon her; the flames symbolized forgiveness. After being released from prison he became a Capuchin tertiary and attended Maria’s beatification alongside her mother.

Speaking of Maria’s continuous example today, Fr. Alberti explained that those who come to the basilica in Nettuno receive a great lesson in forgiveness because “today we have many conflicts, also social.”

“We have situations of rupture in the family, in marriage. So this element of forgiveness, this teaching of Jesus is coming out, we say, decisively to change the rapport of the people, also of the family.”

“To know that there is a saint who forgave the one that killed her, is becoming an important resource in forgiveness, more than the other aspects,” he noted, describing how there “is not just one aspect” of her holiness, but many.

“There is also that of the dignity of women, the respect of women, of a sexuality that is healthy and balanced. Then there is faith in God, there is prayer, there is her devotion to Mary, her devotion to the Eucharist, and there is forgiveness, and her testimony of eternal life.

Fr. Alberti said Maria's desire to have her killer with her in paradise was remarkable for several reasons.

“It’s a testimony of a life after life. For a child of 11 this is enormous. These are very great things.”

During her life, Maria often could not go to church or school because her family lived far away from any parish. Still, Fr. Alberti said, “she had a school in her family,” because hers was “a family marked and full of virtue, full of, we say, resources.”

“She was truly the child of a family…The family is also fundamental and irreplaceable, in this aspect.”

Margherita, a 68-year-old volunteer who assists the community overseeing the basilica, told CNA July 7 that “Marietta” is “very dear” to her because she was born in Nettuno and has known the saint all her life.

“I knew Marietta since I was a little girl,” she said. “The name of Marietta was always present.”

Recalling an accident she had on a horse when she was three years old, Margherita recounted how when she went to the hospital to get stitches on her face, the doctor said that it was a miracle she wasn’t injured worse, because if the horse had been more aggressive she would have died.

“So in the family everyone used to say oh this is a miracle of Saint Maria Goretti, she was protecting Margherita,” she observed.

“I used to go around and tell everyone that I received a miracle from Saint Maria Goretti."

“So as you can see she is very dear to me, and I do whatever I do for her, in her name, with great joy.”

Margherita also revealed that the Nettuno diocese is planning to bring Maria Goretti’s body to the United States and Canada for a month-long tour in 2015.

“We are organizing with someone from the States,” she said. “Already Cardinal Dolan from New York knows about it,” and “he’s very enthusiastic.”

Margherita said the plan is for the tour to go to nine dioceses, including New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Toronto. The body will also go to New Jersey, where some relatives of Maria Goretti reside.

The dates of the tour are still being discussed, but tentative dates could be Jan. 25 – March 1, 2015, due to the low tourism traffic in Nettuno during that time.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The wheat and the weeds

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A, July 20, 2014
Wis 12:13, 16-19 / Ps 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16 /  Rom 8:26-27 / Matt 13:24-43
AFTER the parable of the sower this week we have a related parable – the wheat and the weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30). The young weed has a similar appearance to the wheat. One danger in pulling out the weed is that you might actually pull out the wheat instead. In this simple parable are many applications.
Don’t be too quick to judge
When presented with the proposal of another, don’t be too quick to condemn or think negatively of it. We should not judge so quickly. Sometimes we are quite harsh especially in judging ourselves. It is quite easy to judge yourself very fast without first listening to all the evidence from the defense. Instead we pronounce ourselves “Guilty!” without a proper trial. Often here in the Philippines the judicial process is infamous for being so long at times. So how come we are so quick to judge ourselves and thus others too? The value of respect is important especially self-respect. The root of this term means to relook at yourself again. When we see what appear to be weeds we need to go back and look again. We may discover that in fact it is a young wheat plant which if given care and attention can produce a rich harvest.
To be aware of our weak points
In modern psychology the terms consistency and inconsistency are used to describe the coherence and integrity of a person. Consistency is when all the parts are generally working together for the function of the whole and inconsistency will be when for example I have a goal (to pass an exam) but I do not put the means in place (I am lazy in my studies). In some ways we all have areas of inconsistency and we have to try to minimize their deleterious effects. If we say we will do something or pursue it, then by all means we should attempt to fulfill that good resolution. What things are still outstanding in your life? What resolution do you still need to put into practice? Seeing as we all struggle in these areas we can be grateful that God has provided us with a Helper, the Holy Spirit. St Paul reassures us that, “the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness” (Romans 8: 26-27). Yesterday I was talking to several young men who said they unsettled in their work and were not sure why. They felt more peace to know that it can also be a manifestation of the Spirit, who expresses in “inexpressible groaning” our desires to God.
If a weed is obvious get rid of it
While it is true that at times we have to take care to distinguish the wheat from the weeds it is also true that at times the weed is so obvious! One Easter I was in Australia visiting the family of some missionaries. They have a farm in the outback and were showing me around. In one moment, the dad, a farmer, slammed on the brakes of the pick-up truck, jumped out and in one flash took a swipe at a big weed bush in the middle of his crop. Before I had even got out of the truck, he had uprooted the offending herb, thrown it into the back of the truck and was climbing back in again. Wow, so agile! We need that same agility when we clearly recognize our sinfulness or wrongdoing.
All our tendencies to sin such as selfishness, greed, lying, lust, jealousy, anger, impatience and the like are the weeds that need to be dealt with in our own lives.
God is patient with us
God is the master of might but thankfully does not treat us as our transgressions deserve. As one commentator notes, “What are we going to do with the weeds in our lives? Some must be pulled up, which means a lot of death to self as we learn to say ‘no’ to the temptations in our lives. But some weaknesses cannot be pulled up even as we pray to have them taken away. We may pray to be patient, but situations arise and we find ourselves very impatient. God allows some weaknesses to remain. He knows what he is doing. If he removed all our weaknesses, we probably would not remember how much we need him” (Anawim Community reflections). God is patient with us and this reveals his mighty love for us. But it is also true that he is just and the time for harvesting will eventually come.
Let us pray and work hard! We need to maximize the yield of wheat in our lives. We need to minimize the weeds and do all we can to remove them. How lucky we are that we don’t need to wait until harvest to remove those irksome weeds—we can go to the sacrament of reconciliation even now. Amen.

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, July 20, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
13 There is not any god besides you who have the care of all, that you need to show you have not unjustly condemned. 16 For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. 17 For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity. 18 But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you. 19 And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.
P S A L M - Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
R: Lord, you are good and forgiving.
You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading. (R) All the nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, and glorify your name. 10 For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds; you alone are God.(R) 15 You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity. 16 Turn toward me, and have pity on me; give your strength to your servant. (R)
2nd Reading - Romans 8:26-27
26 Brothers and sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. 27 And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
Matthew 13:24-43
24 Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. 26When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.27 The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’ 31 He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” 33 He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” 34 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, 35 to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.” 36 Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, 38 the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


If we had the Parable of the Sower last week in our Gospel, we have this time another “agricultural” parable: that of the Weeds and the Wheat.

       Most probably, according to Scripture commentators, Jesus proposed this parable in answer to accusations and objections on the part of the Jewish authorities to His affirmative behavior in dealing with sinners, to His words of inclusive love such as, “Your Father in heaven causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike” (Matthew 5:45). Even His closest circle of followers (the Twelve Apostles) was “a strange assortment of human misery,” as the Jesuit priest-author John Powell once put it.

       God wants all to be saved: good and bad, saint and sinner alike, with equal graces for both. If that is the case, who are we now to limit God’s all-embracing salvific love? Who are we to refuse accepting the weeds of life, and restrict ourselves to only the wheat?

       In the face of good and evil, we need an extra dose of patience — something which we must pray hard for these days. Our prayer should not be like that of the famous joke: “Dear God, I pray for patience. And I want it right now!” That’s not the kind of prayer which our Second Reading today talks about, the prayer inspired by the Spirit.

       Patience makes us endure the evils of this world— not only with dumb resignation, but with a song of joy. It is patience coupled with faith which makes us affirm that through and in spite of it all, it is still right and just to give God thanks and praise. We do this most especially in our Sunday Eucharistic celebration.

       May we all be motivated by God’s patient and all-embracing love in everything we do, as we strive to accept, love and uphold our society, where the Kingdom of God germinates — with both the weeds and wheat. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: How patient are you with yourself and with others?
Grant me Your kind of patience, Lord, to endure my own weaknesses and that of others until our innate goodness comes out.

St. Apollinaris, pray for us.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


By: Bobby Quitain

When I was a little boy, my father used to brag about me to his friends. What about? Aside from my good looks, he also brags about one other thing: my good looks. (Pagbigyan niyo na ako.)

Ok, ok. There is one other thing: my basketball future. He told them that one day I will become a great basketball player. It didn't matter if during that time I was like a lanky, tooth-deficient 4 foot 3 grade schooler who couldn't even heave a basketball towards the hoop. When asked why he was so confident that I'd make it to big time basketball, his answer would always be, "Anak ko yata yan! (Of course, coz he's my child".

And because of that, I learned to dream big for myself. Not because I was tall, or skilled or amazingly attractive (well, not so "amazingly"), but because of my father who believed in what I could become.

But I never made it to my dreams. After the summer of 1992, I walked away from the UP Gym... away from basketball... away from my dreams... forever.

I looked at my built --- too skinny.
I looked at my height --- too short.
I looked at my skills --- too limited.

There lies the problem: the fact that I looked at myself more than my Dad. When I forgot about him who believed in Me, I forgot to believe in myself.

In a similar way, my friend, you ought to believe in yourself because your heavenly Dad believes in you. Never ever forget that.

He knows you can conquer that sin.
He knows you can overcome that weakness.
He knows you can love more.
He knows you can serve better.
He knows you can wait longer.
He knows you can rise higher.


Not because of what you can do but simply because of who you are: child of an amazingly limitless and boundless God.

In the Bible, God says: "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:18)

So check your dream book today and dream again.

And never forget that SOMEONE up there is rooting for you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Your Vocation is Not About You

Benjamin Mann 

It is quite traditional and correct to speak of “discerning a vocation” – particularly to consecrated life or the priesthood, though also in regard to marriage, careers, and other major commitments. In modern Western culture, however, the idea of vocational discernment has become problematic, producing unnecessary indecision and anxiety.

The problem is not with the traditional concepts and language, but with us and our mindset. Shaped by the modern sensibility of intense self-consciousness, and by the consumer culture’s obsession with options and the “pursuit of happiness,” we think too much about ourselves and our preferences. Often, we are looking for the wrong things in a vocation. And we approach the discernment of our calling in a correspondingly wrong way.

This is true across the board: with regard to choices like marriage and work, just as for consecrated religious vocations and the priesthood. In all these areas, we invest the idea of a vocation with expectations our forebears did not have. We think that discernment consists in figuring out whether those expectations will be met. Then we become frustrated when no option seems to fit the bill.

Our expectations are wrong. Consciously or not, we sometimes expect a vocation to solve all of our problems, answer all of our questions, and satisfy all of our desires. But these are not the purposes of a vocation. Discernment, likewise, does not consist in finding the choice that will meet those expectations.

Your vocation will not live up to these unrealistic hopes. Nothing in this world will answer all your questions, solve all your problems, or satisfy all your desires. These are impossible, immature ambitions, and the spiritual life consists largely in realizing that they are impossible and immature.

The purpose of life is the unitive devotional service of God, which includes the love of our neighbor (in whom God dwells). This is the real purpose of any vocation. Some forms of life, such as monasticism, are ordered directly to this end; other states of life are oriented toward it indirectly. But these are only different versions of the one human vocation: to love and serve God, and become one with him in Christ.

A vocation – any vocation – is a school of charity and a means of crucifixion. Your vocation is the means by which your self-serving ego will die in order to be resurrected as the servant and lover of God. This is all that we can expect; but this is everything – the meaning of life, all there really is.

My vocation is where I will learn to let go of my questions, carry the cross of my problems, and be mysteriously fulfilled even when I am not happy. We have some choice as to how we will undergo that process; we do not – so long as we abide in the grace of God – get to choose whether we will undergo it.

This, it seems to me, is the attitude we should bring to discernment. I am not choosing between makes and models in a store, looking for the perfect fit or the best value. One is faced, rather, with the question: How I should lose my life, in order to save it? (Luke 9:24)


Of all the wrong expectations that we bring to vocational discernment, perhaps the most pernicious is the expectation that “everything will finally make sense.” We imagine that our true calling, when we find it, will bring a kind of total coherence and resolution to our fragmentary, broken, unresolved lives.

Modern life – with its combination of extreme intensity and instability – promotes both the inner fragmentation of the psyche, and the intense self-focus that makes such fragmentation especially painful. Naturally, we want the pieces to be put back together, the loose ends tied up. But we cannot expect this in the course of our present, earthly lives.

To be sure, a true vocation will have a certain coherence about it: one will understand his task, his direction, in a new way. He will have a degree of clarity, at least regarding which route he is to take on the pilgrimage toward his ultimate destination.

But it is a trap – and perhaps a very common one – to think that my vocation will sort out and join together all the scattered puzzle-pieces of my life, healing all the inner disintegration and painful incoherence of my past, present, and future. Your vocation will not cause life to make sense in that way.

Discernment is not about finding the hidden, magic key that will unlock your life and solve the riddle of your being. When you figure out what you ought to do with your life, and begin to do it, you will be just as much a mystery to yourself as you are now. Your daily confusions, recurring frustrations, and deep puzzlements will remain. Life, even life illumined by faith, will be an enigma – at least as much as before.

This is how things must be for us on earth. Things will be different only in the world to come: where we will see clearly what we now see only “through a glass, darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12), where my secret and eternal name – which I do not even know yet – will be given to me (Rev. 2:17). Your vocation is not the answer to the question of your being; it is only a part of God’s pledge that the answer will be given in the end.

Nor will your vocation heal the deep sense of incompleteness and longing that you feel. This is critical to realize. Many people fail in their vocation – perhaps especially in the vocation of marriage – because they expect their life’s calling to satisfy, or at least take away, the impossible and inexpressible longing that lies within them: that strange mix of awe and desire and sadness before the mystery of existence.

But your vocation, whatever it may be, cannot do that either. That longing is ours as long as we are in this world. We must bear it, and let it become a “vacancy for God.”

All of this – the sadness and perplexity of life – will accompany you in your vocation. It will exist, with no contradiction, alongside the joy and truth of the Gospel. It is what we must suffer until we are fully united with God in eternity.

But that union must begin here and now, if it is to occur at all. Your vocation, in the end, is simply the means by which you will allow it to occur.


“There’s no escaping yourself,” conventional wisdom says. That is perhaps half-true, at least in the order of nature. But it is not true in the order of grace. There, God provides an escape, or something better than an escape: a transcendence that preserves all our natural gifts, while taking our focus off of ourselves. We remain ourselves; but our focus simply rests on the Lord – “everywhere present and filling all things.”

Then we have escaped: we no longer look at ourselves, anxiously or pridefully or in any other way, beyond the bare and necessary minimum. We simply look upon Christ, and on our neighbor with whom he identifies himself. (Paradoxically, it is only then – when we have almost completely forgotten ourselves – that we see ourselves rightly, and know who we really are.)

But that is the only escape there is. You cannot take a shortcut simply by getting married, or becoming a missionary, or changing careers, or joining a monastery. Such choices must be made, and such responsibilities embraced; but they will not, in themselves, provide any escape from ourselves. These external situations are only necessary means, the circumstances in which our liberation becomes possible.

You will enter into a new state of life, your chosen and God-given vocation; and yet, because you have not been radically renewed, you will experience it as largely familiar once the novelty has worn off.

Someday this will not be the case: you will be changed, if you persevere. But this change in you will not occur through the mere changing of circumstances. They will reshape you – God will reshape you, through them – over the course of years.

Slowly, you will be freed from the trap of selfishness in which you were born. In the school of your vocation, Christ will teach you to forget your wants, and even your needs, for the sake of the charity that “seeks not its own” (1 Cor. 13:5).

No matter what calling you embrace, your vocation must be your means of letting Jesus into your life completely, learning to love God more than yourself.

This does not mean fixating on a sentimental idea, or worshiping an enthroned mental abstraction. It means living in the fullness of Reality: recognizing and loving the Lord who is absolutely transcendent yet totally present, the Son of God who “plays in ten thousand places, / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his / To the Father through the features of men’s faces” (G.M. Hopkins).

That one of these faces should be your own, and that the light of your eyes should be the light of Christ living within you: this is the goal of your vocation, whatever it may be.

But you will not reach that goal by ordinary human means: not by the calculation, strategy, and careful hedging of bets that seem – but only seem – to make the world go around.

The central question in discernment is: How shall I die with Christ, to rise with him? How will I lose my life to find it? What will bring me to the point where I can say, with St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”?

Such thinking is more than countercultural; it goes beyond our natural inclinations. But this is the perspective of the Gospel, the self-emptying attitude of Christ that should also be in us. And it is the only mindset by which we can revive three vocations – marriage, consecrated life, and the priesthood – that are currently in trouble.

image: alexey anashkin /

By Benjamin Mann

Benjamin Mann is a Byzantine Catholic, former journalist, and incurable philosopher. He is preparing to enter monastic life at Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

10 Arrows to Launch Us to Heaven

We offer you ten short counsels to help you in your daily battle to arrive at spiritual maturity and eventually in the loving embrace of your Heavenly Father. Prayerfully meditate upon these ten fiery arrows that if used well, launched at the proper time and place can serve to raise you up on high.
1. Heaven! I was brought into this world by the loving hands of God to end up forever in the loving Heart of God for all eternity. Every day I should spend at least a few moments reflecting on who God is, why He created me and how to draw closer to my eternal destiny: heaven!
2. Refuges in the storms of life. In the spiritual life there are moments of calm, but also many storms. Jesus frequently reminded St. Faustina to prepare for battles. In the midst of the storms and battles of life, we must find some secure places to seek refuge. There are two: the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May our constant prayer be:  “Jesus I trust in you; sweet Heart of Mary be my salvation.”
3. Kryptonite to Your Life.  Be constantly vigilant in your spiritual life.  The devil is out on the prowl, seeking to attack and kill.  St. Peter says that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour; resist him solid in the faith.” Do you know your kryptonite, your major weak point? Ask the Holy Spirit as well as your Confessor or spiritual director to point it out to you!  Ignorance of our weak point enhances the work of the devil!
4. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. This is the excellent advice of the Apostle Saint James.  Pope Francis reminds us time and time again to avoid all forms of gossip and sins of the tongue which can kill. Read and meditate on Saint James chapter three—one of the best chapters in the Bible highlighting the damage that a loose tongue can cause!
5. Charity begins at home.  It can be very easy at times to manifest patience, kindness and even exquisite charity to strangers or work companions or associates.  However, once at home, we can be transformed into devils!  Never forget: charity begins at home with the members of the family.  Every day try to do an act of kindness to some family member.
6. Mercy in one of three ways.  Jesus insisted in the Diary of St. Faustina in living out charity, encouraging us to carry out at least one act of mercy every day.   Jesus outlines three ways that charity can be manifested: 1) Words of kindness; 2) deeds of kindness; 3) Prayer for somebody. Why not start today to be a messenger of God’s love and mercy?
7. Never Give Up. The Bible reminds us that even the just man falls seven times a day.  We were born sinners, are sinners and will die as sinners. Despite our human fragility and weakness we should never give up or lose hope, but rather upon falling, humbly admit our fall, repent and start again. Remember the consoling words of the Psalm:  “God is slow to anger but rich in kindness.”    We tend to be quick to anger and slow to forgiveness.  God is the opposite.  As soon as we repent and turn our hearts to God, our merciful God forgives in a heartbeat, a blink of the eye, a split second. How great our God is!   We can either be like play dough that falls and remains glued to the ground; or we can be like a super-ball that hits the ground and bounces even higher.  What are you like: super ball or play dough? It is your choice!
8.  Permanent Formation. Get into the habit of good spiritual reading. The human mind is like a field, better yet, a garden!  A field or garden that is never cultivated will eventually be filled with weeds which eventually choke out the plants and flowers.  The habit of a solid, methodical and constant spiritual reading nourishes the mind with holy and noble thoughts, which in turn leads to noble affections of the heart and finally culminates in noble actions that we can call virtues! This in turn will set us on the highway to holiness and the final result will be eternal beatitude in heaven.  There is a saying, “You are what you eat.” There is truth to this!  But even more we can say we are what we think!  Jesus said that we should love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength!
9. Live in the presence of God. Brother Lawrence insisted in his masterpiece “Live in the Presence of God” that holiness could be achieved by living out this one concept—being aware of and living constantly in the presence of God.  Before carrying out a questionable action, why not ask God if this would be pleasing to Him?  St Teresa of Avila, woman Doctor of the Church, asserts that one of the primary reasons why we give in to sin is because we become oblivious to or simply forget the presence of God! St. Paul, in his discourse to the Athenians, quotes a Greek poet: “In Him we live and move and have our being.”  God is never far from us, but we often distance ourselves from Him.
10. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.  Recently there has been a growing interest and trust in Mary under this somewhat surprising title: “Our Lady undoer of knots”.   Our life can prove to be a complicated, messy, dirty, bumpy, valley of tears! We may find ourselves in economic, social, psychological, or moral situations—that are so complicated and knotted up—that it might seem literally impossible to find a solution!  Why not turn to Mary?    The first Miracle that Jesus accomplished was in the context of a very knotty and uncertain occasion—a wedding couple must have miscalculated the number of guests—but they unfortunately ran out of wine. Our Lady gently turned to Jesus saying: “There is no more wine… then do whatever He tells you!”   Jesus heard His Mother’s request and untied the wedding knot!  He turned water into wine and the best of wine!   Today why not give Mary your knots so that she can undo them and give you freedom, the freedom of the sons and daughters of God!
Fr. Ed Broom


Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary. He blogs regularly atFr. Broom's Blog.