Saturday, November 20, 2010

In Praise of Gaudi

“In this place, Gaudi desired to unify that inspiration which came to him from the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy. In this way he brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy. He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God, but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this way, he brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ. In this he accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty. Antoni Gaudà did this not with words but with stones, lines, planes, and points. Indeed, beauty is one of mankind’s greatest needs; it is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth. Beauty also reveals God because, like him, a work of beauty is pure gratuity; it calls us to freedom and draws us away from selfishness. Excerpt from the homily of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI quoted from

Reflection on the Solemnity of Christ the King

In the Novus Ordo calendar, today is the Solemnity of Christ the King.  I want to offer today a few of my personal reflections on the significance of this solemnity.  

I really regret that I was not able to keep up with the recent important events in various papal activities due to the demands of my work.  But one thing that impressed me was the recently concluded papal visit to Spain and the dedication of the Sagrada Familia.  A huge temple designed by Gaudi.  An impressive monument, not only from the point of architecture but from the perspective of its great teaching significance. It is one huge cathedral and an effective visual aid in teaching the faith.

I would opine that the greatness of this cathedral is also in effect a rebuke to the present rulers of Spain.  Especially that on the social issues its parliament and government has enacted laws that contradicts the principles of life.  The sinister force of secularism seem to encroach on this old bastion of Catholicism.  This should not serve as bewilderment for all of us.  For indeed no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws  them near.  For us who believe this is something for us to rejoice.  Not because we could expel demons or heal the sick but because the Father has given us His Kingdom.   

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Souls Day Reflection

Tonight is the eve of All Souls Day.  A copious downpour of rain somehow dampen the event.  But I took the time also to visit the remains of my grandparents Miguel and Maria.  November 1 is a national holiday in the Philippines, but I decided to report to work voluntarily because there seems to be plenty of work to be done which on normal days I could not accomplish.  As a form of sharing let me offer you some of my thoughts and reflection about All Souls Day.  I have also taken some snap shots of my little visit to the cemetery near the Church.  It has been customary in some Catholic Churches to have the cemetery near the Church this is because of the belief in the resurrection.  A year ago we decided to have the remains of our grandparents be moved from the local public cemetery to the Church cemetery.  

I know that some of our protestant friends criticized us for this practice of praying for the dead.  This is perhaps because they do not understand why we Catholics and the ancient church prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed.  Actually this belief is founded on our faith as declared in the Nicene Creed that we recite every Sunday Mass.  We believe in the communion of the saints, which means that since all of us baptized Christians belong to one mystical body of Christ we are bounded together by that bond of love that binds the Trinity.  That whether we live or die all of us are united intimately to Christ and to one another.  In our catechism we were taught that the church has three manifestations: (1) Militant, this includes all the living members since while we are here on earth we battle we with the self, the world and the devil and we need to make the final perseverance; (2) Suffering, these are the baptized members who died in the grace of God and are saved yet because of the temporal punishment due to sin are still deprived of the total vision of God.  They are in the prison of purgatorial fires.  They have this agony of longing to be with God but are denied of the vision because they have to satisfy the justice of God.  They need our prayers because since they are in prison they cannot help themselves; and (3) triumphant these are the members who are now in heaven and are enjoying the vision of God.  Occasionally the church declares canonically some as saints but there are countless unrecognized saints.  On November 1 we celebrate the feast of All Saints and we implore their prayers for us.  On November 2 we celebrate All Souls day, here we are reminded to pray for the dead and those who are in purgatory.  Our prayers and good works and the masses offered for them will bring them relief and a step closer to the object of their longing - God.  

Here is a link that will explain what Purgatory is.  

 This evening I took the time visit this grotto near the church where the cemetery is.  This is a popular shrine judging from the number of people coming here and the number of candles flickering.

This is the cemetery where the remains of my grandparents are interred.  I owe to my grandparents  my Catholic Faith.  As a child I love to hear my grandfather tell stories about the saints and about the stories in the Bible.  My grandfather was a very devout man.  He was a member of the Adoracion Nucturna Filipina, a pious association of the faithful devoted to the worhsip and vigil of Christ in the Eucharist.  Even when he was in his 80's he would unabashedly carry the flag and banner of the association even in public.  My grandmother too was a devotee of the Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph.  She was diligent teacher who taught me about my catechism.  She saw to it that we go to church every Sunday.  The Church has been very much a part of me because of the training they gave me.    

The outdoor altar of Christ the King.

Our Parish Church