Saturday, December 25, 2010

MY SPIRITUAL CHRISTMAS ALPHABET

C - is for Christ Jesus who was born in Bethlehem.

H - is for the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  Let our families imitate them.

R - is for the Redemption of sinners, the reason of the birth of the infant King.

I - is for Isaiah, the prophet who foretold the birth of Jesus from a virgin.

cc photo by A. Strakey on flickr
S - is for the Star that guides the Three Wise Men to Jesus from afar.

T - is for the Twenty-fifth of December, Christendom's most unforgettable date in the calendar.

M - is for Myrrh, frankincense and gold, the Magi's gift to the redeemer.

A - is for the Angel, God's most faithful messenger.

S - is for the Shepherds, the first recipients of the angel's good tidings from heaven.

Let us try to think of heaven not only during Christmas, but every now and then.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  
                                  
                                                 - John 3:16


- Mary June D.





                                                             





Saturday, December 11, 2010

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

cc photo by Wonderlane on flickr
On the dawn of December 9, 1531, while on his way to church to attend a holy mass, Juan Diego - a poor Indian - saw a beautiful Lady on top of Tepeyac hill. The Lady told him of her desire that a church be built in her honor.

Juan Diego immediately reported to Bishop Zummaraga the Lady's message, but the bishop didn't believe him.  On his way home, he saw again Our Lady at Tepeyac Hill, and he begged her to entrust the task instead to an important and noble person so that the bishop will believe her message, but the Lady told Juan Diego to tell the bishop that it was she, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God who sent him.  

Juan Diego went again to the bishop.  This time, the bishop asked him for a tangible sign.  Juan Diego told the Lady of the bishop's request for a tangible sign.  The Lady told him to come back the following day at the hill to get the sign the bishop was requesting for.  

On December 12, 1531, the Lady instructed Juan Diego to go to the top of the hill, pick the flowers that he could find, and give them to the bishop. When he arrived at the hill, he was stunned to see Castillan roses, for it was winter and the place was very dry.  He gathered the roses and wrapped them in his cloak now popularly known as tilma.  He immediately went to the bishop and as he unfolded his tilma to show the bishop the flowers, an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was imprinted on it.  The next day, the bishop went with Juan Diego at the hill to see the apparition site. The Virgin Mary's image on the cloak is now known as the Our Lady of Guadalupe.

cc photo by Joaquin Martinez Rosado on flickr
Presenty, Juan Diego's tilma to which the image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted, is enshrined at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City near Tepeyac Hill.  Juan Diego was canonized by Pope John Paul II - who described him as a model of humility - on July 31, 2002.


The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is so miraculous that both the image and the tilma became subjects of different scientific examinations and investigations.


The feast of the Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated every 12th of December.



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

THE STORY OF THE DOGMA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

On the 5th and 12th centuries, St. Augustine and St. Bernard, respectively, pointed out a contradiction:  "How could Jesus be the savior of a human creature who had been exempt from sin from the moment of conception?"  This issue sparked debates among theologians for centuries, until theologian Duns Scutos argued that the Virgin Mary is favored with an "anticipated redemption," but still this argument didn't settle the issue. 
                                                                                                                                                                                     
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

cc photo by Tetraktys on Wikimedia Commons

On November 27, 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the second time to St. Catherine Laboure.  She was standing on a globe.  Her arms were outstretched downwards.  An oval frame formed around her on which were written the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."  Then Mary instructed Catherine to have a medal struck after this model. Countless extraordinary blessings were attributed to the medal after its propagation in 1832 that in 1834, people began calling it the miraculous medal. 


Immaculate Conception

cc photo by MyBiggestFan on flickr

Largely because of the widespread use of Mary's miraculous medal, and the countless debates on the issue of Mary "as conceived without sin," on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX solemnly declared Mary's Immaculate Conception as a dogma in his encyclical Ineffabilis Deus.  


Our Lady of Lourdes
Altar of the Our Lady of Lourdes at the
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines

Then, four years later, on the sixteenth apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette on 25 March 1858, in Lourdes, France. Bernadette asked her who she was.  She answered "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION."  


Oh Mary Immaculate, pray for us!


_________________________________________________________
References:
- Discover Lourdes, ©MSM, 1994-2002. ISBN 2-909998-22-3, p. 27
- The Miraculous Medal Apostolate Affiliation Booklet, pp. 2-4
     
     


Saturday, November 27, 2010

PRIESTS NEED PRAYERS

cc photo by yanivba on flickr
We often hear news from all over the world of priests who got involved in different controversies and scandals, and sad to say that some of them were proven guilty. But whether they were truly guilty or not, they really had brought negative effects and some serious damages on the Catholic church.

Whenever there's some bad news about priests, the people's usual reaction is to criticize them, judge them and mock them.  Some Catholics even hate priests.  I understand these people, and I can't blame them for hating priests who are unfaithful to their vows.  How would you indeed trust priests who don't practice what they preach?  How would you respect priests whose conducts are more like wolves in sheep's clothing?  Hating them is unavoidable.  BUT, the question is, what good can we get from hating guilty priests? Why don't we pray for them.  If some of us find it hard to forgive them - which is not an easy thing to do - then why don't we at least pray for them.  Hatred will never heal anybody but prayers always heal.

We always pray for our loved ones and friends, but who pray for the priests? They need prayers.  Even if they pray every single day, they still need our prayers.  Let's pray for our priests, not next year, not next month, not next week, not tomorrow, but now.  Why now?  Because the devils - the enemies of the Catholic church don't have holidays, they don't rest.  So let's pray for our priests.


- Mary June D.