Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A GOOD SIGN?

This morning we had a mass in school and I was fortunate to have the chance to enter into conversation with the priest after the mass. I ask him about the possibility for him to say mass in Latin. Thinking that I was referring to the Novus Ordo, he readily said that he was willing to say the mass in Latin. Since I perceived that he has a grasp of Latin and being an avid Latinist. But when I made mention to him the tridentine Rite, he said that it was not the right time for his parish to enter into the Tridentine Rite because currently the Bicol vernacular mass is implementing the revised text, which is more faithful to the latin texts. According to him the people are struggling to cope with the new translation and by introducing the Tridentine Rite at the this point will create a bit of confusion for the people ( I understand his point, he was talking from a pastoral point of view, considering the welfare of the church as supreme over other matters). At least he is willing to say the Novus Ordo in Latin! But when I ask him about the possibility of him to say the tridentine Mass, he said that he is open for that and perhaps in the future. Because I was prodding him and asking him about his opinions about the rite. Currently no discussions of this has gone in the Diocese of Legazpi, as of now the bishop's chair is still vacant, since Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of our Bishop. the diocese is administered at the moment by the auxilliary bishop The Most Rev. Lucilo Quiambao. So hopefully in the future there would be interest in this form of mass. Let us pray harder. I am banking on Fr. Abe's community in Sorsogon to usher in the Extraordinary form of the Mass. I hope that fr. Abe's community will invite us to their celebration sometime this February.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

TRIDENTINE MASS IN ILOILO CITY




(Courtesey of Prodeo et Patria http://prodeoetpatria.blogspot.com/)

A solemn High Mass was celebrated in the Parish of Manudrriao, Iloilo City (spousal of the Blessed Virgin mary) on January 23, 2008. Magnificent that Diocesan priests are taking the initiative to respond positively to the Motu propio Summurom Pontificum.
The Celebrant is Msgr. Juanito Tuvilla, Deacon is Fr. Oscar Andrada, Subdeacon is Fr. Winnie Lusaria while Parish Priest Fr. Espiridion Celis is choir director.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

TRIDENTINE MASS IN BICOL SOON?

Its Nice to hear that Fr. Abe, CRS in Sorsogon City has taken the initiative of requesting his superior to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. And to top it all, the Superior did not only grant the request of Fr. Abe for a private mass but has extended the encouragement to all members of the Somascan Community. You can read Fr. Abe's blog on this site http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2008/01/request-for-trindentine-mass-part-iii.html This is remarkable. Truly a gift from God. And from this remote region of the Philippines the voice of Pope Benedict XVI is being heard. I salute the Somascan Community of Sorsogon for showing its fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff. I understand that Fr. Abe and his confrères will be exerting much effort in practicing, especially that the rubrics of the Missal of 1962 is different from that of the Novus Ordo. There are certain portions of the mass that are recited silently. For instance the Canon is recited silently. Usually at this point the microphone is turned off. There are theological explanations for this. The several genuflections and blessings will also have to be memorized. Where to put the palms and howto join the index fingers during the consecration are all parts of this elaborate rubrics. Father Abe and the rest God be with you in your endeavor. Invite us faithful to be there in your first Traditional Latin Mass.

Friday, January 25, 2008

FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE!


Note: I should have posted this reflection last Sunday but I have been so busy with work that it took some days before I can do this.

The Purpose and Relevance of Religious Processions
Sunday, January 20, 2008, is the feast of the Sto. Nino. The Sto. Nino is the Filipino version of the Infant of Prague. The icon depicts the infancy and childhood of Jesus. I was privilege to assist at Mass today, where after the mass the Mass there was a procession of the Sto. Nino. I saw the love and devotion of the faithful who joined the procession. I am also glad that the Priest who officiated the Mass joined in the procession together with the processional cross and the candles borne by the acolytes and altar boys. The priest, led the faithful in the procession. He was in front wearing the traditional cape draped over the alb and the stole. The priest was also wearing the biretta. I commend this priest for taking the lead. Alas today, many priests do not join in processions anymore and often if ever they join they would stay at the back. I do pray that our priests should show more piety in performing these exercises. Processions are also considered part of the liturgy or if we do not want to accept that idea, processions are also quasi-liturgical because they are connected to the official liturgy of the Church. Processions are also spiritual exercises. (1) First it teaches us the virtue of humility. It takes humility to walk under the elements. In processions there are no rich nor poor every one walks in order to follow the Lord. (2) Processions also is a form of exercise that reminds us that life is a journey. A journey towards God. In this journey we have to persevere, be patient and endure the hardships. (3) and third participation in a religious procession is an opportunity for us to declare our faith publicly. Jesus said, if we declare Him in public, he will also declare us in heaven before the angels. But if we deny Him, He will also deny us in the presence of His angels.

Popular Piety and Spiritual Maturity
“For we who are strong should bear the weakness of the weak”. That’s how I remember St. Paul said in the Scriptures. At a glance it could be said that the folk piety of the faithful with regards to the practice of this devotion to the Senor Santo Nino verges on hysteria and superstition. But there is another side to a coin. If these expressions resemble hysteria and superstition then how do we account for the love and devotion in the hearts of the faithful? How do we account for the children and the common folks who danced and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David” when Jesus was entering Jerusalem? These folks were not masters of theology nor were they well versed in the Scriptures. But Jesus blessed God for showing this light to the simple and to the children.
It is true that the nature of Catholic devotion is to lead us to the summit of all devotions which is the Eucharist. I remember very well how Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN, said that these popular devotions are like vitamin pills that sustains our lives and gives us strength. But the meal that truly gives us life is the Eucharist. The mark of true devotion is its ability to lead us to Christ and to point us to the Liturgy of the Church which the supreme form of the worship of God on earth.


Instead of condemning or looking at with condescension towards these practices, we who understand should help our brothers and sisters so that these practices may lead them ultimately to the summit of Christian worship which is the Eucharist.

What does the infancy of Our Lord holds for us? When we celebrate the Feast of Sto. Nino in a mature way, it helps us understand that there is power in the faith of the Child. Our minds have been clouded by pride, disobedience and obstinacy.
In a way the devotion to the Sto. Nino points us to a great mystery in the history of our Salvation. The coming of Christ, His redemptive work and propitious sacrifice, has for its aim the restoration of the innocence that was lost because of original sin. Adam and Eve the progenitor of the human race by their act of disobedience, propelled by pride and lack of faith has brought the whole human race our of the state of grace. Hence, the childlike nature of the humankind was lost. It was replaced by pride, disobedience, dislike for God and many other forms of ills. St. Paul said that it was not only us humans that suffered from this fall, but also the entire creation. For until now the whole creation groans until the manifestation of the children of God. But thanks be to God that Christ our Lord has opened the paradise for us through His Cross. This opening of paradise was made known by Christ Himself when he assured one of the thief crucified with Christ that He will be taken with Him in Paradise. Hence today as we cooperate with the move of the Holy Spirit and avail of the Sacraments of Christ through His Church, this innocence is restored. Conversion is not a one time experience but rather it is a lifetime quest. May the Mother of Our Lord help us draw closer to Christ, her Son.
(The Photo ofthe Madonna is by Fr.G. Benevenuto. Release in the public domain http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Eremo_di_butrio_-_016_-_Interno_seconda_chiesa_-_Stuatua.jpg)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

THE TYRANNY OF SECULARISM

It is sad that some professors of Sapienza University in Rome together with some students protested the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to their university, "objected to the visit by the Holy Father, whom they claimed is "hostile to science".(Zenith.org). In response the Holy See has postponed the visit and with sadness announced such postponement. Cardinal Ruini, the vicar for Rome invited the Romans to show their affection for the Holy Father by attending the midday Angelus.

Once again we witness how secularism to its extreme can show its intolerance. While championing academic freedom the secular scientists have shown their intolerance of others. I cannot imagine how scientists could behave that way.

Scinece is good as long as it serves the welfare of humanity. It is not a goal in itself but a means to something else. How I wish and pray that human beings could subject themselves to the authority of God. The pride of life could easily take us over if we do not watch and pray.

Let us constantly pray for these people that they may realize that freedom is a gift from God and that it entails tolerance and understanding for others.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING


Pray without ceasing says St. Paul.

This saying leads me to think of this famous Pauline admonition. This is significant because this year we celebrate the year of St. Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. Who never had never seen Christ physically but had seen Him with the eyes of faith. The blinding light and the voice he heard " Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Saul Said "Who are you Lord?" and the Lord said "I am Jesus of Nazareth." From then on Paul traversed land and sea. Enduring peril from the Jews, the gentiles, and the enemies of Christ. And eventually he preached the Gospel of Christ in Rome and in the end was beheaded by Nero for the sake of Christ. Thus in imitation of Christ, Paul suffered the death of martyrdom.

Hear from the man who had such experience with the Lord. - Pray without Ceasing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Summorum Pontificum: Bearing Fruits

There have been reports of traditionalist groups that have been separated from Church Communion now returning to the bosom of the Church. This was according to a Zenith Report filed by Mary Shovlain. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei have cited the fact that there were groups who have contacted the Commission seeking help in order to facilitate their full ecclesial communion with Rome. In making a clarification about the status of the Society of St. Pius X, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said; "The excommunications for the consecration done without the Pope's permission affects only those bishops who carried out the consecration, and those bishops who received episcopal ordination in this illicit form in the Church, but it does not affect the priests or the faithful. Only those bishops are excommunicated."

With the changes taking effect in the Curia and with Pope Benedict XVI's effort to reform the reform in matters of liturgy, full communion will be achieved. There is now a committee in the Vatican tasked with reviewing some of the Vatican II documents. In fact of late the Vatican has released a document explaining the nature of the Church, what it means when Vatican II says that the Church subsists in the Cathoic Church, the difference between the Church and the ecclesial communities, etc... There are also other issues that needs clarification such as Freedom of Religion or conscience and ecumenism.

In line with ecumenism, the Pope has said that it is one of his priorities. However, he said that he wants results not just mere gestures highlighting emotions etc... but he wants concrete results. Jesus wants His Churh to be united. And the See of Peter must pursue this goal. Pope Benedict expressed deep affection for the Orthodox Churches saying that they are sister churches because of apostolic succession, of the priesthood and of the sacraments.

I am not an expert on these issues, but I hope that with my little knowledge I was able to share something to you. God bless us and God bless his Church.
Cheers, God is good ll the time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"A REMARKABLE TURN AROUND"

I would like to share with you my reflections and observations in today's Papal Liturgy re: Solemn Mass of the Baptism of Our Lord in the Sistine Chapel. In his homily the Pope underscored the importance of the family. He said that the family is the bedrock of society. The Pope baptized thirteen Children. These children were the children of Vatican Employees.

One thing remarkable about today's celebration was the ad orientem position of the liturgical celebration of the eucharist. Ad Orientem is the liturgical orientation of the celebration where celebrant and faithful are turned towards the east. So today instead of celebrating from the wooden table, Pope Benedict celebrated the Eucharist using the Old Altar in the Sistine Chapel. The reason given for the use of the old altar was that the same altar was suitable for the architechtural style of the chapel. But what is remarkable about today's celebration was that the Pope for the first time since 1970 has celebrated Mass in the Ad Orientem position in contrast with the contemporary practice of Ad Populum.

Sacrosanctum Concilium never spoke of Ad Populum, however it became the norm in succeeding years after the Second Vatican Council.

While a Cardinal, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has spoken about the Direction of Liturgical Prayer in his book "The Spirit of the Liturgy". In that book Cardinal Ratzinger showed his disagreement about the current position of Liturgical Prayer(Ad populum). In speaking about the Priest facing the people, he said thus "The turning of the priest toward the people has turned the community into a self -enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself. The common turning toward the east was not "celebration toward the wall"; it did not mean that the priest "had his back to the people": the priest himself was not regarded as so important. For just as the congregation in the synagogue looked together towards Jerusalem, so in the Christian liturgy the congregation looked together "toward the Lord". As one of the fathers of Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy, J.. Jungmann, put it , it was much more a question of priest and people facing in the same direction, knowing that together they were in a procession toward the Lord. They did not close themselves into a circle; they did not gaze at one another; but as the pilgrim people of God they set off for the Oriens, for the Christ who comes to meet us." (Spirit of the Liturgy, Joseph Razinger, Ignatius Press, 2000. p. 80). This indeed is a remarkable comment from a theologian who was once peritus for the Archbishop of Munich during the Second Vatican Council.

I hope that the liturgical reform undertaken by the Pope will trickle down to our parishes so that Liturgical celebrations will become more meaningful, connected to tradition, rich in symbolism and expressive of the faith and conviction of the Church.

After the mass the Fisherman's ring loosened from the ring finger of the Holy Father, thus after several steps the Pope turned around to look for the ring. The Papal Master of Ceremonies Guido Marini had to turned back to fetch the ring.

Watching the celebration and receiving the Holy father's Blessing "via the tube" was well worth it. Thanks to the Vatican Television and EWTN for bringing these events right into our living room.

Thanks be to God.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

TAKE UP THE CROSS AND FOLLOW ME

It sometimes amazes me and put me to tears when i see year by year a display of the Filipino's devotion to the Black Nazarene. This phenomenon of devotion reminds me of the episode in the gospel that narrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The people lay down their clothes on the streets for Jesus to pass on, the disciples took palms while the children sang the chorus "Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord, Hossana in the highest!" Jesus thank the Father for revealing these marvelous things to the children and has hid them from the wise. The rich and the proud may mock and belittle the faith of the common people, but the common people has in their simple ways displayed their love and devotion to Christ as represented by the icon of the Black Nazarene.

This form of devotion is not strange. In the Old testament we saw King David dancing before the Ark of the covenant despite of his stature as King of Israel. In the New testament we saw how the people used handkerchiefs in order to be touched by the apostles, and today this practice remains as a form of devotion.

Indeed we Filipinos are fortunate for having this icon with us. Because it points us to our destiny of journeying with the Lord, bearing our cross and hoping for the promised glory and rest. Our sufferings and pains. This form of victimhood cn be join in the passion and death of Christ. Amen

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A FAITH THAT NEVER FAILS

"Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee: All things are passing; God never changeth; patient endurance attaineth to all things; who God possesseth, In nothing in wanting; Alone God sufficeth." - St. Teresa of Avila Translator; Arthur Simons (Qouted from Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours, St. Paul Edition 1976.

The faith of God never fails, hence nothing should disturb us because all the things we see are fleeting and changing. Disappointments, joys, sorrows, elation all of these are associated with our humanity and finiteness. But they that trust in the Lord shall be planted in the house of God and they shall be like the cedars of Lebanon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I WILL ASCEND UNTO THE ALTAR OF GOD

How beautiful are the feet that brings the good news says St. Paul. This year was dedicated by the Pope as the year of St. Paul. How thankful we should be to St. Paul, the zealous, persevering and humble apostle of the Lord. It is als fitting that we should take this opportunity to show our appreciation for our priests. Are we not move to pray for them and collaborate with them in their effort to spread the good news?

This thought brings my imagination to the typologies in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament about the priestly role of Christ. There is a very interesting portion in the Mass that I would like to meditate on.

After the priests and the ministers recitation of the Confiteor the priests slowly ascend the high altar, and while ascending the altar the priests recites the following:

"Aufer a nobis, quaesumus, Domine, iniquitates nostras: ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
(Take away from us our inequities, we beseech Thee, Oh Lord, that we may be worthy to enter with pure minds into the Holy of holies. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.)

A very beautful prayer. Together with the priest we enter into the Holy of holies which the only privilege group can see. The beautiful ceremonies in the Temple of Solomon is worthily portrayed in the new sacrifice of the Mass. In the mass and through the ministry of the priest we partake of that eternal sacrifice that symbolizes and stands for God's pledge of salvation. And who is this pledge? It is Christ Himself the Lord in the appearance of Bread and Wine, Real and truly present in the Eucharist.

Reiting this verse while ascending the altar expresses deep humility and reverence and deep appreciation and quiet joy in being able to see God in the Holy of Holies. How deep should our experience of the mass is. If I were to live a hundred years, I will never get tired of assisting in this one true and eternal sacrifice. For from the East and the West the gentiles shall offer the Lord a clean oblation, propitious and appeases the justice of God and brings salvation to us faithful.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

REFLECTION ON PP BENEDICT XVI HOMILY ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MANIFESTATION OF THE LORD

Today's modern technology has provided us with benefits beyond compare. Today's Liturgical celebration on the feast of the Epiphany at the Vatican is significant. The telecast has provided us with opportunity to watch and be part of the celebration. Although TV viewing of the mass will not fulfill our Sunday obligation, it however provides us with the chance to witness this beautiful celebration. This is because papal liturgical celebrations are considered important because it becomes the prototype for all liturgical celebrations in different parts of the world. The new Papal Master of Ceremonies has brought some changes although few, but it is now noticeable that Gregorian chants and traditional vestments are beginning to be common in papal celebrations. The main altar is furnished and arranged along traditional lines. The seven candles and the altar crucifix is now situated again in the middle of the high altar.

I would like to share with you my simple reflection on the homily of Pope benedict XVI. I am not sure if my recollection of some points are accurate but I believe that these were some of the important points that i have gleaned from the homily. Let me narrate my reflections point by point:

1. The Pope explained that the ephipany is the feast that celebrates the manifestation of the Lord as light of the world.

2. The homily also made mention of Balaam, hired by the enemies of Israel to curse Israel. But the Lord sent His angel and told Balaam not to curse Israel because He is blest by God and this blessing has been manifest in Christ which the Church now enjoys. That the blessing of Abraham has been given to us through Christ.

3. The Magi represent the gentiles, they searched and understood the coming of Christ. The Pope lamented the fact that though Christ is now manifested in us until now only a few recognized him.

4. The homily also made mention of how the story of Babel in the Old Testament represented confusion. But Christ came in order to remove this confusion. This is the main reason why the pope said that Epiphany is closely connected with the feast of Pentecost where the Holy Ghost descended on the Church and signifies that the Church is a multilingual body but are united as oppose to the confusion of Babel. Christ came to promote unity.

5. Salvation history demonstrates to us that God always maintains faithfully His alliance with His people. Thus when the Church reflects the light of Christ She fulfills her mission.

6. Globalization far from promoting world order has provided problems. The inequitable distribution of resources is the root of this problem. Thus moderation is important. The values of sharing is important.

During the mass some important dates were announced for this litugical year, and I have noted them down:

February 6, 2008 - Ash Wednesday / First Day of Lent
March 23, 2008 - Easter (The greatest Feast in the Litugical Calendar)
May 11, 2008 - Pentecost
May 22, 2008 - Corpus Domini
November 30, 2008 - First Sunday of Advent

To our friends. Happy feast day.
Dont foget to pray the Rosary.
Cheers!

Friday, January 4, 2008

THE LAST GOSPEL

Our friends will wonder why in the Extra Ordinary form of the Roman Rite after the dismissal of the priest or by the deacon, the celebrant proceeds to the Gospel side to read the last gospel (John 1-14). This portion of the liturgy is actually not an original part of the celebration but grew as part of tradition. In ancient times it was said that the early Christians have this devotion of reading the first chapter of the Gospel according to John. And in many parts of Europe prior to the Council of Trent, there were several variants of the Roman Liturgy depending on the custom of the locality. It was said that some Bishops would recite this last gospel by heart while processing from the altar and while removing the vestments as a form of devotional prayer after the mass. There are variant practices of this custom from place to place. But during the time of Pope St. Pius V when he reformed the Roman Rite he made the recitation of the last Gospel mandatory and part of the Ordinary of the Mass. Thus we have the custom of reading the last gospel after the dismissal. Prior to the Council of Trent there were variations in the liturgy pretty much the same way we have now. These are what we call enculturated liturgies. But the council of Trent found out that this trend was detrimental for the welfare of the Church. Especially with the spread of Protestantism and various heresies like Jansenism which posed serious threat to the belief of the Church. Various Bishoprics have their own missals and how easy it is for discrepancies and even heresy to creep inside these texts and influence the faith of the people. Believing that the Liturgy is the Church’s Law of Prayer and that the Law of Prayer becomes the Law of Belief, Pius V by authority of the Council of Trent codified the Roman Liturgy and made it mandatory in perpetuity by a papal Bull Quo Primum. An indult was given for Liturgies that has reached the age of 200 years. Those with less than 200 years of existence have to be abandoned in favor of the Tridentine Rite. The Tridentine Rite is actually not a new rite. It was the existing liturgy in Rome that was codified by Pius V. Its ultimate source is the Liturgy of St. Gregory the Great. In much the same way as the ancient Liturgies of the East had their origin from the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom and St. Basil.

THE MANIFESTATION OF LIGHT

On January 6 is indicated ass the feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord in the old Liturgical Calendar. Epiphany means “manifestation”. The glory of the Lord was manifested among the gentiles. The adoration of the magi is symbolically important, first on the grounds that the three magi who came from the east were gentiles. The gifts they bore symbolize the role that the Messiah will have. The introit for today’s Mass expresses this thought more eloquently in this manner:

“Ecce, advenit Dominator, Dominus et regnum in manu ejus , et potestas, et imperium Psalm. Deus Judicium, tuum regi da: et justitam tuum filio regis. Gloria Patri…. Ecce advenit.”
(Behold the Lord the ruler is come: and the kingdom is in His hand, and power and dominion. Ps. 71.2. Give to the King Thy judgment, O God; and to the King’s Son Thy justice, Glory be to the Father… Behold the Lord.)

The First lesson is taken from Isaiah 60:1-6. This passage from scriptures tells us the glory of Jerusalem. How Jerusalem was engulfed in darkness but of a sudden the Lord shall arise unto her and cover her with the brilliance of light. Te gentiles shall find this light from her and will obey. This light shall draw people to her and she shall be the guiding light. Here the adoration of the Magi symbolizes the gentiles’ conversion to the Lord and Christ the Lord is the light coming from Jerusalem, the mystical city of God. From this passage don’t we see the wisdom of history? Anyone familiar with the history of humanity will get a glimpse of how the faith of the Church has been a source of light unto the gentiles.

The gospel for today’s Mass is from Matthew 2:1-12. Here St. Matthew tells us that the magi diligently sought the Christ Child in order that they may render Him worship. Does this not teach us a lesson that likes the magi we should also seek the Lord with all our hearts? There is no need for us to get out of our daily routine in order to find the Lord. Our daily tasks, the people we meet daily, even our enemies, from them we can find the Lord. For s the Lord said, whatever we do to the least of our brothers we did it unto him. How often too in our daily lives we are tempted to do the things the Lord hates? Herod symbolizes Satan, the arch deceiver, full of hatred and envy. In our lies too Satan comes as a roaring Lion. That’s why St. Peter tells us to be on our Guard because the devil like a roaring lion seeks to devour anyone that comes along the way. These can be done successfully if we are diligent in our prayers.

To each and every one, Blessed Epiphany.