29th Sunday in OT- B, October 17, 2021

THE ART OF LIVING IN CONTENTMENT

In today’s gospel (Mark 10:35-45), the disciples of Jesus, James and John, were not content with what they were. They said to Jesus, “See to it that we sit, one at your right and the other at your left, when you come into your glory.” Oddly, for the apostles James and John, contentment meant sitting on the right and the on the left of Jesus. Contentment was a position near the throne of political power. So, what is Christian Contentment? How do you live a life of contentment?

WHAT CONTENTMENT IS NOT

is not something that comes naturally.

is not about possessions or circumstances.

is not being stoic, numb to suffering.

is not necessarily liking our present circumstances.

is not being complacent, settling for things that are less than they should be.

WHAT CONTENTMENT IS

1. Contentment  is a learned state. So often we pursue so many things in this world that cause unnecessary discontentment in our lives. We must learn to be content. This will not happen immediately.

 2. Contentment is an attitude. It is not obtaining something from outside us that will bring us contentment; rather it is a removal of something within us. Namely, the removal  of a false and negative way of thinking.

Contentment is an attitude of defeating negativism. St. Paul is more direct in his letter to the Philippians,  “Think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, worthy of praise.” (Phil 4:8). Contentment, hence, is a way of seeing things.

  For, indeed, DISCONTENTMENT

blinds us to others’ true needs. We do not see what they don’t have.

blinds us to our own blessings. We do  not see what we already have.

And discontentment blinds us to the great riches of being united to Jesus Christ and his inheritance which is to be received by all those who love him.

3.   Contentment is knowing you have ALL you need for your  circumstances because Christ gives sufficient strength to handle what you face. (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6; 2 Corinthians 9:8) .

4.  Contentment comes through the resources that God provides through union with Christ (Phil. 4:13), through prayer (Phil. 4:6-7), through thought control (Phil. 4:8), through a supportive fellowship (Phil. 4:10,14).  Contentment is, therefore, found  in the Grace and Providence of God. That is, if we truly realize the value of grace in our lives, then we find contentment. If we truly realize that God is in charge, that He is the provider, the Good Shepherd and the Sower, then we find contentment.

5.   Contentment is found  in the Promises of God, namely,

that there is a place in Heaven he is preparing for us. This world is not all there is.

that He will never leave us or forsake us, we never have to face a battle alone.

that He will provide for our needs. We are never without the resources we need.

that He will guide us into the truth. When we need guidance we know that God will lead the way.

♥ that He will do in our life exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

that He will protect, defend, guide, strengthen everyone who is willing to follow Him.

In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. (Phil 4: 12-13)

THE ABC’S OF LIVING IN CONTENTMENT

A. Affirm. Affirm your Blessings and Thank God in Prayer.

B. Believe. Believe in Jesus Christ and His Promises.  Let His Loving Promises Lift you up!

C. Carpe diem. Seize the Day! Seize the Moment! Live the Present Moment with God! Enjoy every bit of blessing that God gives you, in good times and bad times!

D. Discard. Discard your Emotional Cancers, that is, the  4 Big C’s of  in your heart, namely, 

√your COMPARING,

√ your COMPLAINING,

√ your CRITICIZING attitude,

√and your COMPETING behavior.

E. Embrace. Embrace Abundance Mentality. Have a  KAYA-NATIN-‘TO-LORD mindset.

 

ST. TERESA’S BOOKMARK

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing dismay you.

All things are passing:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things.

The one who has God

lacks nothing

God alone suffices.

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.

And the greatest gift we all already have,

is the Gift of God’s Love through Jesus, His Son and our Savior .♥

28th Sunday OT-B- October 10, 2021

THE DISCIPLE’S HEALTH

Definitions

Disciple. “Disciple” and “Discipline” are words formed from the Latin, “dicere”, that is, to learn. Obviously, true discipleship is marked by discipline.

Discipline is doing what you really don’t want to do, so that you can do what you really want to do. Discipline is paying the price in the little things, so that you can buy the bigger thing. Discipline is being faithful to the little things in order to be given far greater things. It is detaching from small things to prepare for attachment to greater things that matter the most.

Health. Health is the state of being sound in body or mind. Health is from the Old English word hal, meaning ”whole”. Interestingly, the word “holy” is also rooted in the same Old English word haul. Thus, health and holiness, in reality, refer to wholeness

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus stresses the importance of keeping ourselves healthy, that is, free from any form of enslavement. Jesus also emphasizes God’s generosity toward those who make Him their highest value. Because God, the Most Holy, is the key to a disciple’s wholeness or holiness.  The gospel narrates a man who wanted to follow Jesus but who went away sad for “he had many possessions”. Notice how Jesus “looked at him with love”. Why? Because, like many of us, this man was in need of healing, in need of wholeness. More than just observing the commandments, he needed to put God first in his life so he may be restored to health.

Three Areas of a Disciple’s Health

  1. A Disciplined Head. 

  • Keeping your mind active and regularly taking on mental challenges will help you develop the kind of disciplined thinking that will help you with life’s endeavors. 
  • Don’t stop reading. Don’t stop learning.
  • Have your personal bible. You may already have a personal cell phone but not a personal bible.
  • Read the Bible. Start with a few verses every day. Then dedicate time, say, 5 minutes during pryaer time to read and reflect on the word of God.
  • It is good enough if you have your own bible diary where the readings for the day’s mass are printed.
  • Read our lecturettes.
  • Be interested in the new words you encounter in your readings or conversations. Having a handy dictionary in Filipino and English is highly recommended.
  • Keep on discovering and re-discovering your faith  through the right sources.  Should you start to have doubts about certain doctrines of the Catholic church, please question first your scholarship. Doubt first about whether you know fully well what is being taught. Do your faith homework.
  • Beware. Do not just swallow the words of tele-evangelists who attack the Catholic faith with the Bible alone principle.
  • Desire to share what you know. Keep on teaching. Don’t ever say that you are too old, too busy or lacking in intelligence to learn new things or re-learn new ways of relating, speaking and thinking. Holiness is only possible through contact with the Holy One through prayer.
  • Prayer is the language of a Disciplined mind, a disciple’s mind. Give importance and time to your daily prayer with the same or even greater time and importance than you give in meals, chatting with friends, exercising your body or recreating.
  • St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans (12:2): “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
  • Wholeness can be achieved with a balanced prioritiy of values in your mind.

2. A Disciplined Heart.

  • You have two choices when it comes to your emotions. You can master them or be mastered by them. It is unfortunate to see people enslaved by their emotions into their old age.  You should not let your feelings prevent you from doing what you should do,  nor drive you to do things you should not.
  • Remember, being too emotional makes you a number one candidate for the devil’s deception.
  • Be proactive. Be responsible for your own feelings. Don’t allow the weaknesses of others become your weaknesses too.  You have enough of your own weaknesses. Don’t add more, unnecessarily.
  • You don’t feel guilty for feeling hungry when your stomach is really empty. So, don’t feel guilty for being angry at something or someone that provokes anger. Remember, that feelings do not have morality in themselves. Morality is in what and how you respond to your emotions. so, don’t be scrupulous.
  • That is not healthy; that is not holy.
  • Also, don’t control your emotions. It’s useless doing that. Rather, control your reactions to your emotions. That is discipline.

3. Disciplined Hands.

Sharpening your mind and controlling your reactions to your emotions are important, but discipleship does not stop there! The rich young man went away sad on account of it.

Action is what separates the winners from the losers. Your actions always reflect the degree of discipline and discipleship you possess.

The final command of Jesus to a real disciple is to “give to the poor”! Remember, the measure of discipleship is to love without measure.

Epilogue: Your Spiritual Check-up

The author of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us: “No creature is concealed from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must render an account.” (Heb 4: 13)

The weaknesses of our heads, hearts and hands, like the rich young man, may have caused us to go away from God with sadness. But Jesus continues to look at each of us with love, awaiting our restoration to health, to wholeness, to spiritual healing and holiness. When was you last general spiritual check-up. When was your last Confession? You say that priests are also human beings and are sinners, and therefore, you should only confess directly to God. Think again.

✠Jesus had himself baptized by John, a mere human being. Indeed, a recognition that God uses human beings to prove our humility in front of the loving Father.

✠To prove the urgency of humble service, Jesus washed the feet of his apostles.

✠To affirm humanity’s need for humility as a pre-requisite of healing and forgiveness, Jesus allowed the woman to wash and anoint His feet.

✠Even priests go to confessions. Remember, the door to all spiritual well-being is the door of humility. Please be mindful of the spiritual health of your soul. It’s the only one you’ve got.

God bless you!♥

27th Sunday in OT – B October 3, 2021

BRIDGES: KEEPING, BURNING & BUILDING

To pass through the bridge of commitment, a mature Christian should be ready to burn some “bridges” whose very existence only allure us to self-destruction. What are these bridges worth burning down? Mahatma Gandhi mentioned some, like the bridges of politics without principle; of pleasure without conscience, of wealth without work, of knowledge without character, of business without morality, of science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice. These bridges, since the beginning of time, have destroyed individuals, families, nations and the world. If we do not burn these “bridges” we shall all be tempted to cross through them, in good times and in bad. But Jesus hints at the most important bridge to burn. The bridge of love without commitment.

Relationships 101: Bridges to Keep

The Bridge of Prayer to God. The Russians have a saying: “Before going to war, pray once. Before going to sea, pray twice. And before going to get married, pray three times.” This is basic to all relationships: relationship with God. The first Bridge we need to keep is our direct personal connection with God. All important relationships, like Marital relationship, only find their meaning and life in this primary relationship with God.

♥ The Authority of God in Marriage. This means that neither the man nor the woman is the authority here. It is God who is head of the home. Is God the head of your home? Does God rule your relationships? The gospel today emphasizes the importance and authority of God in the marital relationship. “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mark 10:9)

Please, don’t run away from those who give you strength.  Don’t ever cut bridges that connect you to Godly values and principles. These Bridges are definitely worth keeping.

Relationships 102: Bridges to Burn

This second section is relationships 102. This means that in this section, we would like to offer something beyond the basics of relationships. Here, we will discuss Burning Bridges of Abusive Relationships.

Part 1. Steps to Burning Abusive Bridges

If you are in an abusive relationship, here are some steps you can take to free yourself from victimhood.

1. Get professional counseling support, with or without your partner.

2. Start setting limits by firmly letting him know what kind of behavior you will not accept from him.

3. Call his attention immediately every time he is being abusive towards you.

4. Stay in the present, calling his attention only to what he has just done and asking him to stop it immediately.

5. Ask for the changes that you want in the relationship. But before you do, be sure that you will have the determination and the means to leave the relationship and the situation if he is not to change.

6. Be aware that you can leave any abusive situation, even when you are married in Church. Please consult with your pastor in person in the soonest possible time. You are a free person and should have control over your own life.

The above steps may be very difficult to do because:

♥ You may feel you are betraying him.

♥ You may feel that he treats you this way because of your own shortcomings.

♥ Other people may not believe you and refuse to help you.

♥ You yourself may be in denial, unable to accept the fact that you are being abused.

Part 2. Preventing Abusive Relationships

  • How to spot the potential abuser and victim:

Are you a potential victim?

  • Do you have low self-esteem?
    • Do you believe in traditional, stereotypical, man-as-the-head of-the-house roles?
    • Do you easily accept responsibility for starting arguments?
    • Do you believe that jealousy is proof of love?

Is your boyfriend a potential abuser?

  • Does he discourage you from talking with/confiding in your family/friends?
  • Does he always insist on going everywhere with you?
  • Do you have to tell him your schedule for the day, the people you will be with, and why you will be with them? Does he have problems with your success?
  • Does he react negatively to people in positions of authority?
  • Does he believe that the man should be the unquestioned head of the house?
  • Does he belittle you or your accomplishments?
  • Does he blame you if things turn out badly?
  • Does he negate or belittle your opinions?
  • Does he call you names?
  • Does he lose control when he is angry?
  • Does he become violent when he does not get his way or when he drinks?
  • Does he come from an abusive home or a dysfunctional family?

Part 3. How To Avoid Getting Into A Verbally-Abusive relationship:

questions to ask yourself before you commit to a relationship

♥ Does he have a sense of joy in life?

♥ Do you enjoy his ideas and do you feel a rapport with him?

♥ Do you feel a real connection, laughing together and catching meanings in the same way?

♥ Is there a best-friend quality in your relationship?

♥ Do you feel relaxed with him? 

♥ Can you be yourself without being criticized by him?

♥ Does he share his interests with you and express an interest in yours?

♥ Does he speak openly and honestly about himself?

♥ Is he warm and understanding towards you? 

♥ Can he make jokes without making you uncomfortable, without sounding bitter, intimidating, or critical of others?

♥ Does he listen from the heart, like you do, too to him? That is, does he ever consider your point when you are right and affirms you honestly? Does he openly admit it when he is wrong?

♥ If you are looking at marriage, do you sense his willingness to burn the bridges of past attitudes, past lifestyles and ideas that only threaten the noble ideals of marriage, true Christian Catholic faith and morals?

Remember, it is better to call off a marriage by mistake than to enter into it by mistake.

Thus, before crossing the bridge of commitment  discern with Christ which bridges to keep and which ones need to be burned.

EPILOGUE

The many storms we are going through  as a Filipino nation, the many trials and difficulties we still may face in the near future, the loss of property, of loved ones, the loss of the cherished possessions we have worked for, these communal experience of  suffering and pain, invite each one of us to ever be ready to burn our many unnecessary bridges of self-centeredness, of indifference, of materialism and  of  lack of commitment. Only then can we ourselves become true Bridges of Love.

26th Sunday in OT-B- September 26, 2021

SUSTAINABILITY & CHRISTIAN T. A. C. T.

Nm 11:25-29; Ps 19; Jas 5:1-6;  Mk 9:38-43.45.47-48

Tact – acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending. We already talked about Christian correction.

Connected with it is the virtue of Christian Tact.  Farmer’s Almanac gives a description of tact as “rubbing out another’s mistake instead of rubbing it in”. In a funny way, someone said that tact is the ability to tell a man he has an open mind when he has a hole in his head! In today’s Gospel (Mk 9:38-43.45.47-48) Jesus taught his disciples to be broad-minded and generous, responsible and wise in their choices, for no good will be left unrewarded, no evil will be left unpunished. The Gospel pericope thus gives us a teaching on tact, Christian tact. And this virtue has four marks.

FOUR MARKS OF CHRISTIAN TACT

Tolerance

Tolerance of those with whom we may disagree. Tolerance is the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

   “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”(Mk 9:39)

¨ Each one has a right to his/ her own thoughts. Respect this right. Truth is bigger than anyone’s grasp of it.

¨ Tolerance is not a lazy acceptance of anything; is not a feeling that there can’t be assurance anywhere.

¨ Tolerance is reverence for all the possibilities of truth.

¨ It is charity greater than faith and hope. Intolerance is a sign of arrogance and ignorance: believing that there is no truth beyond the truth one sees.

¨ Any doctrine or belief must finally be judged by the kind of people it produces. Life proves doctrine or belief. No man can entirely condemn beliefs that make a man good. However, tolerance is not relativism: a theory that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.

Acceptance

Acceptance of those who do good. “For whoever is not against us is for us.” Acceptance here deals with positive welcome of  persons due the simple reason that they are persons and thus are God’s “children” .

¨ Be accepting of those who do God’s work. Doing good to them will not go unnoticed, unknown and unrewarded by God. Of course those we disagree with may have unacceptable positions, ideas or views. Let that be!

¨Agree to disagree agreeably. But these disagreements do not excuse you to be rude and not be accepting of their person. Remember, acceptance of all persons unconditionally is the least measure of God’s commandment to “love as you love yourself.”

¨Each one has a right to speak his/ her own thoughts. Freedom of speech is a basic democratic right. Personhood is defined by “sounding through.” But there are limits: doctrines that destroy morality and remove the foundations of civilized and Christian society must be combated without acceptance. Voltaire once said, “I hate what you say, but I would die for your right to say it.”

¨We may hate a man’s beliefs, but we must never hate the man. We may wish to eliminate what he teaches, especially those which destroy absolute visions and values, but we must never wish to eliminate him.

Compassion

Compassion on those in need  – deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. ”Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”

¨The blessings we receive in this life are not meant for our selfish enjoyment, but to enable us to do good to those in need.

¨Failure to do so, as St. James reminds us in the second reading (Jas 5:1-6), is the sign of a hardened heart which will be judged very severely by God.

¨A reminder regarding being rewarded in this life for the compassion we show to those in need is in order though. In this life, in the temporal order of things, a bit of sacrifice may be demanded of us.

Tenacity

Christian tenacity is the quality of tending to hold persistently to Christian teaching and moral principles.

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. And if your foot  causes you to sin, cut it off.”

¨What comes to mind here is St. Paul’s metaphor of the Church as a body. It would be good to examine our relationships in general, and even our church relationships in particular.

¨Should there be relationships that oppress us, that leads us away from becoming a better person and a better Christian, or that causes us to “mortally” sin against God, the Gospel prescription is to tactfully sever from these relationships. Why tenacity? Because when you hold on dearly to your Christian teachings and moral principles, that is, to your faith and morals, you’d be demanded to let go of your hold on or “be cut off from” the mundane concerns that  only serve to lead you away from God.  

Tenacity to Christian Principles is the foundation of Christian Sustainability. Without these faith principles, we are only as good as a pagan diplomat.♥

25th Sunday OT-B-September 19, 2021 Creation Season

HUMILITY BREEDING & HUMBLY CARING FOR THE EARTH

Wis 2:12.17-20; Ps 54; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37

It All Begins With Humility

             “Many people ask me who my mentors are. One thing in common that they all have is humility. They, knowing that we’re all in the same boat; everyone has challenges; everyone has different gifts; and we’re in this together.

              I have learned that if I ever become a person who feels like I’m better than someone else, is when I start putting barriers up, when I stop becoming less transparent, when I’m not as compassionate, when I’m not as loving and giving.

              You know, more than the goal that I achieve or the success that I have, is who I affect along the way. And to love and impart encouragement to people around me – that always begins with humility.

              To care for someone means you’re not thinking about yourself, you’re thinking about them. The greatest thing to start with when you’re planning for success is to be humble!” – Nick Vujicic

Just what is humility? What does it mean to be humble? Does it mean to put ourselves down? Does it mean to think little of ourselves? Does it mean to deny our true worth, or to belittle it?

Not at all! Humility is something far more profound and far more beautiful than that.

Humility isn’t thinking little of ourselves. It’s not thinking of ourselves at all.

In its most profound and most beautiful sense humility means to be like Jesus, who said, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Matthew 11:29

It means to be like Jesus, who said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45

Humility means to live as Jesus lived—not for ourselves, but for others. It means to use our talents as Jesus used his—not for ourselves and our own glory, but for others and their needs.

Let me illustrate with an example: Charlie Brown

Charles Schulz made the Peanuts character Charlie Brown a household word. Few people know, however, that Charlie Brown is based on a real person. The real Charlie Brown worked with Schulz in the Bureau of Engraving in Minneapolis.

Eventually both men quit the Bureau. Schulz became a cartoonist. Charlie Brown became a counsellor for convicted juvenile delinquents, often housing them in his own home. Charlie died of cancer in December 1983. After his death a coworker wrote:

“Charlie was my boss for three years at the Detention Centre…. After the kids were in bed, we passed the remaining hours of the evening shift in long conversations.

“Charlie was a devout Roman Catholic…. He saw his own life . .. as the doing of daily works of charity in imitation of Christ and the saints.”[1]

              The coworker went on to say that often the doorbell and the phone at the Detention Centre rang late at night. It was usually some boy asking, “Is Charlie Brown there?”

              The coworker also said that during his stay at the Detention Centre not one young man who lived with Charlie ever returned to prison. And this was one of the reasons why Charlie was frequently asked to give workshops for professions and to lecture on penology and social work at the University of Minnesota.

              Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz remained close friends to the end. Schulz occasionally offered Charlie a share in the profits from some Charlie Brown spin-off, like T-shirts or toys. But Charlie never accepted a dollar. Nor did Charlie ever volunteer to anyone that he was the real Charlie Brown.

              And so to this day, many of the kids who rang the doorbell of the Detention Centre late at night, asking “Is Charlie Brown there?” had no idea whom they were asking for.

              That story is a living example of what Jesus means when he says, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”

              It is a living example of what Jesus means when he says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.”

It is a living example of the power and the beauty of the virtue of humility when lived out courageously in a truly Christian life.

              It is a living example of Jesus’ teaching on humble service of the lost, the last and the least, like serving a little child.

Our Earth-saving Mission Reminds us of Humble Service

In Amazonia, researchers have discovered 2,000 year old yet extremely fertile earth. It takes hundreds of years to create the thin fertile layer of earth that sustains us all. Now, this is all at stake. Hidden away in the life beneath our feet is the last chance for our climate. We need to understand the life inside if we are to rescue life outside.

Humus generation is becoming a race against time. Will we grasp humus generation as our climate’s last chance? “And it has been demonstrated that it is really is possible for over 10-15 years to raise carbon levels significantly.” (Dr. Klaus-Kurt Hulsbergen. Technical Univ. of Munich)

“And the entire excess will be outside and our climate problem will be solved.” (Dr. August Raggam, Ecologist)

“Negotiations are going on for the post-2012 period. It would be great if soil management, grassland and cropland management was included.” (David Neil Bird, Researcher)

EPILOGUE: POPE FRANCIS’ LAUDATO SI LETTER

Pope Francis has written a letter addressed to every person on this planet,  asking us all to protect our common home… The Earth.
In the letter he says: “The earth is God’s gift to us,
full of beauty and wonder. And it belongs to everyone.”
But what we see today is that our common home has never been so hurt and mistreated.
We have developed at a greater speed than we could have ever imagined and have treated the earth like it has an unlimited supply of resources.
We have taken more than our fair share from most people on the planet, as well as future generations.
We have cut down the earth’s natural forests, polluted the earth’s waters, its land and its air.
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
We are using more and more polluting fossil fuels which is contributing to climate change.
Climate change one of the biggest challenges we face today. Climate change will affect us all, but it will be the poorest communities who will suffer the most.
And despite these problems, we are not slowing down on how much we consume and throw away; leaving a trail of waste and destruction.
We cannot continue like this.
We can change, and we can make a new start.
The whole human family needs to work together to care for our planet earth so that we sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
So let’s put love for the world and love for our neighbours, into action, by living together in harmony, and caring for nature.
Can you take simple everyday eco-actions to care for the earth, like turning off lights, reducing water waste and recycling?
And will you live more simply, reducing the amount of things we buy and throw away, so that we don’t take more than our fair share?
The world can’t wait! So let’s make that start today.
Play your part to protect our common home.
Laudato Si’ – A letter from Pope Francis on Care for our Common Home


[1]   Larry Rasmussen, “The Real Charlie Brown”, The Christian Century (March 21-28, 1984).

24th Sunday OT-B September 12, 2021

CREATION TIME: SUSTAINABILITY & IDENTITY IN CHRIST

I.  KATOLIKONG PINOY IDENTITY

When Jesus asked Peter, “But who do you say I am?” (cf. Mk 8:27-35) Jesus expected Peter to be above average in his knowledge of Him, i.e., in his determination, faith and in love.

Mas Determinado. More determined.

Just be an ordinary Catholic with extraordinary determination.

Be more determined not to quit and learn to deny oneself some privileges and rights.

“A man is a hero not because he is braver than anyone else, but because he is brave for ten minutes longer.” –R.W. Emerson

Mas Nananalig. More faith.

“The person with extra faith in God, others and oneself will certainly rise above the crowd.”-J.C. Maxwell

Taking up one’s cross is not for those with average faith. A person with average faith thinks not as God does, but as human beings do (Mk 8:33).

Having an above-average faith, you are not only empowered to take up your cross, you will also be light to the path of those who stumble, encouragement to those who faint, relief for those who are heavily laden. Kung ganito ka na, angat ka na sa iba!

Mas Umiibig. More Loving.

Do ordinary things with extraordinary love! St. Francis Xavier said, “Be great in little things.”

This is the final and beginning step to this cycle of excellence: after denying oneself, taking up one’s cross, we follow Christ. Doing so, we grow more in determination, faith and love, and the cycle continues unto perfection.

II. SUSTAINABILITY  CHALLENGE:

SIMPLE LIFESTYLE

Sustainability is recognizing  who we are by recognizing who our master is: Lord, our Life. It is recognizing that what we have does not bring us life.

As His Stewards, nothing really belongs to us by right. We have been set free to live a radical lifestyle.

The Challenge we all face in this age of ecological crisis is to have a commitment to live a simple lifestyle. The next section tells us why a simple lifestyle is preferred now.

 III. SUSTAINABILITY ISSUE:

CO2, OUR LIFESTYLE AND THE EARTH

Carbon is fount in all living things. It is also found in sediments, rocks, the ocean and the air we breathe.

Carbon is exchanged between the oceans, solid earth, biosphere and atmosphere through various natural processes.

The largest exchanges occur between the biosphere and the atmosphere through photosynthesis and decomposition.

Living plants grow by absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. When plants die, bacteria decompose them and return carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

For thousands of years, the processes that added and subtracted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere were in balance.

Since the industrial revolution, however, human society has become increasingly dependent upon machines that release carbon into the atmosphere.

Fossil fuel such as coal, gasoline, oil and natural gas contain high concentrations of carbon that hade been stored in the solid earth for hundreds of millions of years.

When we burn fossil fuel for heat, transportation and electricity, large quantities of carbon that would otherwise remain stored in the solid earth are released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide.

The dependence of human society on fossil fuels leads to a build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

IV.  SUSTAINABILITY ISSUE SOLUTION:

Humus would be a powerful means of carbon storage. Why don’t we talk about the fact that: “The ground stores around twice as much carbon as the entire amounts in the atmosphere.”  (Florian Amlinger, Ecologist)

HUMUS GENERATION

Humus: The Forgotten Climate Aid

The world’s climate does have a chance and it’s right under our feet and yet we’re still destroying it.

In the past, natural processes simply always converts excess CO2 into biomass. Today, that no longer works. Why?

We’re heading for a global catastrophe. What forces stand in the way of the right measures? Agricultural machinery has an enormous influence on soil organisms. Have we followed the wrong path only to incur ever higher costs? “The solution is acutally to be found in a new ecological form of agriculture that creates humus.” (Dr. August Raggam, Ecologist) Could it be that until now we have failed to notice the most important factor for climate: organisms in the soil? What secrets are known to the pre-Columbian farmers? Does this soil actually contain the key to solving world-wide problems?

In Amazonia, researchers have discovered 2,000 year old yet extremely fertile earth. It takes hundreds of years to create the thin fertile layer of earth that sustains us all. Now, this is all at stake. Hidden away in the life beneath our feet is the last chance for our climate. We need to understand the life inside if we are to rescue life outside.

Humus generation is becoming a race against time. Will we grasp humus generation as our climate’s last chance? “And it has been demonstrated that it is really is possible for over 10-15 years to raise carbon levels significantly.” (Dr. Klaus-Kurt Hulsbergen. Technical Univ. of Munich)

“And the entire excess will be outside and our climate problem will be solved.” (Dr. August Raggam, Ecologist)

“Negotiations are going on for the post-2012 period. It would be great if soil management, grassland and cropland management was included.” (David Neil Bird, Researcher)

EPILOGUE: SUSTAINABILITY KEY:

HUMAN IDENTITY AND HUMILITY

Human: “man” related to humus “earth,” on notion of “earthly beings,” as opposed to the gods (cf. Heb. adam “man,” from adamah “ground”).

The key to saving the Earth is our Identity. The key to our Identity is our humanity.  The key to human and divine sustainability is HUMILITY.

Humus Generation is not enough to save the world. Generating a more humane simple lifestyle based on our Identify as God’s Children and Stewards of this Earth is the first step. Humus generation should be a reminder that we are the first humus into whom God breathed His own Spirit of Life and Love. This Identity is the Key to Sustainability.

God Bless You!

23rd Sunday OT B Sept 5, 2021

CREATION TIME: SUSTAINABILITY AND RESTORATION

Restoring the Earth & God’s Handprints

I. RESTORING THE EARTH:

LISTENING TO GOD THROUGH HUMANITY

Sins against Mother Earth

We live on a magnificent planet that provides us with air, water, food and energy.

All that is needed for life to flourish. Yet, vast areas of the planet’s land surface are being deforested or degraded.

Meanwhile, we struggle to reduce our impact on the climate. With the man made  erosion, pollution, and the diminishment of natural resources  by most unnatural means,  we are slowly waking up to the reality of the injustice we  have been doing to the world. We are reaping what we have sown. The garden we were given to live  in as a people, we have failed to tend.  The solemn commitment we made as  a species to steward the fruits of the  earth, we have failed to honor.

Earth Listens: We Reap what we Sow

And yes, the earth listens. She has been listening all her life till she has nothing more to give. Yet, we continue to take her for granted, even while she is  being plundered right in front  of our eyes. And now, many people are in desperate need of food,  water and decent productive livelihoods.

Our Foolish Solution: Depopulation?

But instead of correcting our ways, who do we now blame?  The population? We are poor because the earth cannot sustain us anymore, and because we are so many. Now, instead of re-education, we tend to resort to self-elimination. Instead of choosing restoration, we tend to opt for further destruction, in the hope that our errors may be hidden in the rubbles.

The consequences of our uneducated choices only bring us more devastation. Wendell Berry, a farmer, claims that  “our destruction of nature is not just  bad stewardship, or stupid economics,  or a betrayal of family responsibility;  it is the most horrid blasphemy.”

Restoration of Human Dignity is Restoration of the Earth

√ 1st Reading. Restoration is the theme of the first reading from Isaiah 35, where the promise of restoration  includes the promise of human redemption and healing  that encompasses the whole of  the natural world restored to its original colours.

√ Letter of James. The way to this restoration is hinted by James in the second reading. We need to work for genuine solutions  to the environmental crisis out of love  for the poor. And these solutions do not include any evil depopulation programs. The call to love our  neighbour, indeed, has an environmental dimension.

√ Gospel of Healing Deafness. One key to the way of restoration  is found in the gospel where we hear of Jesus restoring hearing  and speech, by leaving his handprints as it were, on the ears of a deaf man.

√ The key is listening. Yes, the earth listens and cries out in pain through the many people who suffer from the greed of those who call themselves wise. Yes, indeed, the earth listens. But do we listen?

Let us first ask God to touch our hearts and leave his handprints there. Only then can we restore and retrieve the lost beauty of this earth.

II. RESTORING OUR LISTENING SKILLS

OBSTACLES TO LISTENING (Being DEAF / BINGI)

√ Dapat-mentality (Biases)

Many times misunderstandings arise from the different views of what each considers as truth, what is proper, more important, and what “must” be: “Yung dapat.” Letting go of our biases before we enter into dialogue is the first step to Empathic listening.

√ Ego-frame of mind (“I”-biography)

Empathic listening entails listening to another‘s life story or biography not our own. Often, a parent would  say to a son/ daughter: “Pinag-daanan ko rin yan ah. Makinig ka na lang sa akin. I don’t want you to go through what I’ve gone through!” Well-meaning words but not a good welcome to start the listening process! Let go of the “I” and be absorbed by what the “You” has to share.

√ Asar-ka-talaga feeling (Negative feelings)

It’s obviously difficult to listen when you are irritated, angry, or simply in a bad mood. Give your-self  some time. Pa-hupain ang negative feelings. Don’t deny them. Admit them, then let go. In dialogue, they might come back; so, check on them.

Final-na-‘to attitude (Generalizations & Indifference)

Never use threats even if you are in authority. Subtle forms come in generalizations like:“Lagi kang ganyan..”, “You always…”,“You never…”Judgments like these only start the other thinking of a way to defend oneself. Better still, shut up, listen first, then be understood, without judgments. Leave room for imperfections! Avoid when you can ultimatums like “last time na ‘to ha!” Threats and generalizations are subtle forms of indifference: kawalan ng paki-alam sa kabutihan (innate goodness) at kahinaan (weakness) ng iba. Even if you are a parent or a spouse who truly knows the “other”, you still have a “blind” spot. The “other” definitely has a “mystery” spot only God and the “other” know so well. Respect this sacred space if you want to listen.

Don’t even be concerned about listening to the earth when you cannot even listen  to the most important earth-dweller: Human Beings.

Remember, where a human person is, there God is, also. Because human beings are but the environment of God here on earth.

III. RESTORING GOD’S HANDPRINTS

Who are You?

√ Let us check Freddy Footprints’ Garden.  Freddy works with his feet. Feet are clumsy. The flowers are trodden…the trees are bare and the branches are broken. The air is dirty and the pond is full of rubbish.

Now let us check Harry Handprints’ Garden. Seeds had been sown, trees planted…oxygen pumped in for water.

We know about reducing our negative carbon footprint. Do you know the power you hold in your positive handprint?

Sow some seeds, plant a tree, turn a patio into a flower bed…better still, get involved in an eco-restoration project…or start your own!

Give the earth a chance! And watch her grow!  Freddy Footprint or Harry Handprint: WHO ARE YOU? Your clue is this:  Remember, it is your task to restore God’s handprint in His Creation, in your heart and in the world you live in. God bless you!

22nd Sunday Year B – August 29, 2021

Dt 4:1-2.6-8; Ps 15; Jas 1:17- 18.21-22.27; Mk 7:1-8.14-15.21-23

CREATED FOR TRUE WORSHIP

PART 1: CONTACT POINT: WORSHIP

              What is Worship?  Video Clip gives us what worship is to some people. Ikaw, what is Worship for you? Sample responses: “Worship is  breathing  …a lifestyle …anything we do that says to God: You are God!” Here’s a sentence completion test:

Worship for me is….

When I worship, I …

God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in Spirit and Truth – Jn 4:24

Worship [from Middle English worshipe, worthiness, honor, homage] paid to God, to Jesus Christ, to His saints, to the beings or even to the objects which have a special relation to God.

There are several DEGREES of HOMAGE:

Latria if homage is addressed directly to God, it is superior, absolute, supreme worship, or worship of adoration, or, according to the consecrated theological term, a worship of latria. This sovereign worship is due to God alone; addressed to a creature it would become idolatry.

Dulia When homage is addressed only indirectly to God, that is, when its object is the veneration of martyrs, of angels, or of saints, it is a subordinate worship dependent on the first, and relative, in so far as it honours the creatures of God for their peculiar relations with Him; it is designated by theologians as the worship of dulia, a term denoting servitude, and implying, when used to signify our worship of distinguished servants of God, that their service to Him is their title to our veneration (cf. Chollet, loc. cit., col. 2407, and Bouquillon, Tractatus de virtute religionis, I, Bruges, 1880, 22 sq.).

Hyperdulia As the Blessed Virgin has a separate and absolutely super eminent rank among the saints, the honor paid to her is called hyperdulia (for the meaning and history of these terms see Suicer, Thesaurus ecclesiasticus, 1728).

¨ And then there is SIMPLE HONOR which must be given to all those in honorable positions  as the Pope, the Vicar of Christ (His Holiness), the dignitaries in the Church (Eminences),  the dignitaries in the civil order as kings, governors, judges, police and the like (Excellency, Honorable, etc.)

¨ ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE HONORS.  When honor is given directly to the person involved, the honor is called absolute.  When it is directed to an image of the person it is called relative honor. To demonstrate this: What is the difference between a Crucifix and the Holy Eucharist?  Answer: On the Crucifix we see Jesus, but he is not there.  In the Eucharist we do not see Jesus, but He is there.  In short, Christ is present relatively on the wood of the crucifix, and in the Eucharist He is present absolutely.  Thus, to images we give relative honor, and to the persons we give absolute honor.

¨A point in order: We give relative adoration (latria) to the images of God.  We give relative super veneration (hyperdulia) to images of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We give relative veneration (dulia) to the images of the angels and Saints (other than the Blessed Virgin Mary). 

PART 2: CONNECTED: WORSHIP AND MISSION

Religion that is pure and undefiled before [our] God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. Jas 1:27

Worship when it’s connected to mission. Clearly, worship without Mission does not make sense.

St. James (Jas 1:17- 18.21-22.27) gives us a threefold approach to pure worship.

¨ First and most important is to help the helpless.

Caring for the hurting and hungry, the helpless in the world is pure worship. Mother Teresa, aiding the poorest of-the poor, modeled this category.

We extend our hands in worship when we reach out to the profoundly retarded, the acutely depressed, those burned out or drowned out by drugs and alcohol.

Contact your local Church for  programs for these and many other needy people. As part of the Church we support and share in this special worship.

¨ The second way to worship is to care for widows in their distress.

Widows are not as helpless as orphans, and they’re not all in distress — but many are and need our help. Many widows and widowers need encouragement, advice, and temporary financial assistance.

They need transportation to the store, doctor or to church. Widows have not only lost a spouse; they have lost youthful strength, clear eyesight, hearing, sharpness of mind and mobility of body. They might survive on their own but our out­stretched hands can bring them many beautiful blessings. In doing so, we worship God.

¨ Thirdly, we are to walk through life carefully so that we do not become entangled in the evils of the world

Here a warning is in order: Don’t become so concerned about keeping yourself unspotted by the world that you forget about the orphans and the widows. Whoever and wherever we are, there’s opportunity to put the worship of good works into effect in our own neighborhood.

We should never minimize the profound value of formal worship at church and private prayers at home. But according to St. James, our prayers will get a hearing before God only after we have tried to help the orphans and widows in their distress.

PART 3:  DIALOGUE: WORSHIP AND RELATIONSHIPS

This a Greek short film made in 2007. Father and son are sitting on a bench. Suddenly a sparrow lands across them.

It is very tempting to love Liturgical Worship and forget the Object of our Worship: God. In fact, if God can be taken for granted, how much more can rituals blind us to our neighbours and their needs!

If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 Jn 4:20

Worship is not just reading from the good book! True Worship is not just the Liturgy of the Word! True worship is reading, listening to, and living the Word of God! Worship challenges us to live His Word and apply it in our Relationships. If our Worship does not make us better Christians, does not improve our Interpersonal Relationships, then our Worship, perhaps, does not make sense!

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 ♥

21st Sunday OT-B – August 22, 2021

COMMITMENTS

Jos 24:1-2.15- 17.18; Ps 34; Eph 5:21-32; Jn 6:60-69

You don’t have to understand all the implications of your decision when you choose to follow Jesus. You simply need to respond to his invitation, to make a commitment to follow Christ. Your commitments shape your life more than anything else. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. Tell me what you’re committed to and I’ll tell you what you’ll be in twenty years. We become whatever we’re committed to.

– Rick Warren

KASASIGATAN

Kung titignan po ninyo sa Tagalog-English dictionary o sa Google translate, ang Filipino daw ng Commitment ay pangako. Hmm hindi ako masaya sa ganyang translation kasi there are those who make promises pero wala namang commitment, ‘di ba? Ang nakikitang matingkad na elemento ng commitment ay ang kamalayan (consciousness), sarili (self), ang sigasig (passion) at katapatan (faithfulness).  Kaya gumawa na lang ako ng Filipinong salita para sa commitment: “ka” for kamalayan, “sa” for sarili, “sig” for sigasig and “tan” ang hulapi for katapatan. Ang salita ay kasasigatan for commitment.  To commit oneself sa Filipino ay ikasasigat ang sarili. Ang state of commitment ay kasasigatan.

There are many issues about commitment we can cover but let us just focus on three: The Commitment to Affirm, to Forgive and Love in Anonymity. The heart of today’s readings speaks of committing oneself to serve the Lord (1st reading Jos 24:1-2.15- 17.18), to love as Christ loves ( 2nd reading Eph 5:21-32) and to be an unshakeable witness of Christ, who has the words of eternal life (Gospel Jn 6:60-69).

COMMITMENT means:

Giving all that you have, not more than you have. Being committed does not mean giving what you don’t have. Love as you can, not as you can’t. Commitment requires that you give 100% – not more, certainly not less.

Working with determination, not waiting on destiny. Committed people don’t rely on luck, fate or destiny for their success. They know that trying times are no time to quit trying!

Quitting when the job is done, not when you’re tired. When wrestling a gorilla, you don’t quit when you are tired-you quit when the gorilla is tired! If you want your mission work to succeed, among all other things, you have to keep pushing beyond what you think you can do. It’s not the first but the last step in the relay race, the last shot in the basketball game, the last mile in the cycle race into the finish line that makes the difference, for that is where the game is won.

Remembering that true success is first measured by faithfulness even in anonymity.

THE COMMITMENT TO AFFIRM

We probably are not used to it. I am not very used to it myself. Conversing with people, with friends, with colleagues – sometimes, I realize it after the quick chat. No affirmations ever transpired. That’s okay, I think. Normal. But what is exactly the “norm” or the “rule”? Hmmm Being a person – the norm is to “sound (sonare) through (per) ” – to express, to communicate (to cum +uno, be one with). Kailangan bang maging bolero? (Do you have to be a flatterer?) Of course not. You just have to be fully alive! An affirming person doesn’t even have to open his/ her mouth to affirm. Just being around one, other people get strengthened by their presence! I was so affirmed the moment I touched and kissed the hand of Mother Teresa of Calcutta years ago when she visited us in the Seminary! Such an affirming presence! When I kiss the children and give them a bear hug after every mass, I hope to be an affirming presence too. Affirmation is lived and learned; not necessarily spoken. A smile. An embrace. A pat on the shoulder. A touch of the hand. When kids ask your hand to bless them, that is an opportunity to affirm! You can at least utter, “May God bless you!” Even the deaf affirm by signing “Thank You!” That is the Christian norm I suppose. Where is its source? The Eucharist! Jesus! Who needs to hear you say “I LOVE YOU” today?

THE COMMITMENT TO FORGIVE

I drive an automatic vehicle. Even if I first learned to drive a stick-shift from a driving school, I totally forgot how to drive a stick-shift vehicle. I’d be uncomfortable with it na. Ganun din tayo siguro when it comes to forgiving others.

Our automatic response is not to think about forgiveness at all. Kung darating man doon, medyo later na sa kwento, pag medyo rock-bottom na ang relationship and we can’t handle the reactions anymore, kaya we turn to God. hmmm Normal? Again, not so. The rule is to forgive always, immediately and with joy. Mahirap? Sinabi mo. Siguro kaya tayo nahihirapan kasi hindi natin na re-realize how much God loves and forgives us. Siguro lang naman. Kasi some people still have difficulty forgiving others kahit pinatawad na siya ni Lord sa marami niyang kasalanan. Stubborn? Maybe. One thing is sure, forgiving takes a lot of practice. We are not born with it. Even as we talk about it now, maya-maya, mayroon na namang opportunity to forgive then we shift to automatic mode of lashing back at the person and, worst, kinda getting even, accompanying it even with the “sanest” excuses we can find: like “e papaano siya matututo?” “dapat lang sa kaniya yun, hindi naman ako nagkasala e, siya.” Looking at my high school graduation picture, I had chosen this wonderful quotation for publication in our annual book: “A spoonful of honey catches more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” hmmm Rings true for always! Gusto mo palang matuto siya? Be the honey of forgiveness. Di ka sanay? You feel like a sissy? Think about it, baka di tayo talaga normal after all.

♥ Let us pray that God may continue to touch hearts to avail of God’s mercy through the sacrament of confession and that priests may be truly approachable and available to dispense of this great grace of Divine Mercy.

THE COMMITMENT TO LOVE

The true test of commitment to love is to love in even in anonymity. Hindi naman pwedeng palaging anonymous yan. Exceptional cases sometimes demand that we remain committed even when no one is looking but God and your angels. Tama rin naman si Rick Warren, we become whatever we’re committed to. You are committed only to work and earning a living? You become functional. You are only committed to mundane activities like building buildings and edifices, kahit ba simbahan pa yan, then you become a stonewall marker. hehehe lapida ba kaya.

Or your commitment is to the Person of God. Then, you become a fully human and fully alive human person! That’s our Omega!

May we be more committed to the Person of Love than just to the idea or concept of love. That we may not end up being epitaphs of greatness through our projects and activities alone, but real human sacraments of a Loving Embracing God. That we may genuinely be committed to love even in anonymity.

♥ Let us pray that all Catholics may be Affirming Presences to others. Syempre, kasama sa prayers na ito, let us also beg the Lord to grant us Full Responsibility for our Words. Let everything we say be reflective of the affirming love of God for us. Hindi ridiculously impossible yun! Just think Teresa of Calcutta or John Paul II!

O paano ba? Kape muna tayo!

Some New Words introduced:

Rehabitation – a prayerful desire to come home to God to be renewed and re-created into a being fully human and live, at peace with one’s own humanity. It is coming home to one’s vision and purpose in life.

Inxsology (in-excess-ology)- the study of God’s excesses and abundance. It looks at Creation under different scientific disciplines:Primatology, Ichthyology, Ornithology,Entomology, Botany and Astronomy.

Pharisitism– is the hypocritical observance of the letter of religious or moral law without regard for the spirit (religious but not spiritual); it is a manipulative behavior that is usually evident in pseudo-“religious” people to compensate for varying degrees of non-acceptance by others.

Eleiosarium– a garden of mercies; may be a flower garden or any garden where one goes to pray for the mercy of God, or where one goes to pray to forgive others; a prayer garden.

Kasasigatan -“ka” for “kamalayan” (consciousness), “sa” for “sarili” (self), “sig” for “sigasig” (passion) and “tan”, the last syllable of “katapatan” (fidelity). Kasasigatan is the Filipino word for commitment.

Solemnity of the Assumption Aug 15, 2021

Assumption

♥ Belief that Mary has been taken up and is now in heaven with   both her body and her soul has been part of the teaching of the Catholic Church since the earliest centuries of Christianity.

♥ By the end of the Middle Ages, belief in Mary’s Assumption into heaven was well established theologically and part of the devotional expressions of the people.

♥ The word Assumption comes from  the Latin verb assumere, meaning  “to take to oneself.” Our Lord Jesus Christ took Mary  home to himself where he is. In the light of a long history of Christian belief since patristic times, in 1950, Pope Pius XII defined Mary’s Assumption into Heaven as a dogma[1] of Roman Catholicism. “The Immaculate Mother of God,  the ever Virgin Mary, having completed  the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.” 

♥ Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B.V.M., I, viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous.[2]

Mother of Life: Guide And Protector Of Life

♥ While the human remains and final resting places of key figures like St Peter or St Paul would become shrines and centres of pilgrimage,  in the case of the Blessed Mother of Jesus –  the most honoured figure of all besides  Our Lord Himself – there is no known final  resting place, no relics to venerate.

♥ But for many Catholics, the most telling verification of the Assumption can be found, not so much in learned theological treatises or definitive doctrinal statements, however necessary these are, but per medium of Mary’s many apparitions which the Church has declared worthy of belief, like Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, and others. [3]

♥ These appearances of Our Lady in a glorified body themselves have lent strong, if indirect, support to the reality of the Assumption. Let us examine, for instance, one of Mary’s apparitions as our Lady of Guadalupe.


[1] Dogma (Gr. dogma from dokein) is a truth appertaining to faith or morals, revealed by God, transmitted from the Apostles in the Scriptures or by tradition, and proposed by the Church for the acceptance of the faithful. It might be described briefly as a revealed truth defined by the Church. Retrieved July 21, 2007 from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05089a.htm

[2] Retrieved July 22, 2007 from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm

[3] Retrieved August 2, 2007 from http://secaucusimmaculateconception.com/sacraments-2/messages