Thoughts on "The Confessions of St. Augustine"

The "Confessions of St. Augustine" has been called “the greatest spiritual autobiography of all time.” In it St. Augustine reveals with candor and humility details of his life of sin and vice and his intellectual errors, his search for the truth about God and his conversion to Him and the Catholic Church, and then his trust in and praise of God Whom he has finally found. In the last four books, Augustine presents a method of finding God and the happy life and caps it with an exegesis of the first chapter of Genesis where he expounds on the nature of God and His creation. Augustine presents his life story and his philosophical and theological musings in the form of meditations and prayer addr

A Mindset of Wanting to Go to the House of the Father

Recently, I had the privilege of giving the homily at the funeral Mass for a fellow deacon. Here are excerpts from it: "Pope Benedict XVI in one of his Lenten messages said: 'The greatest work of charity is evangelization because its purpose is to lead other people to Christ and bring them into a personal relationship with Him.' Christ came precisely to bring us back home to the Father. You alone know the specific ways Deacon Rick helped lead you to a closer relationship with Christ, our Lord. And so we come to celebrate his life at this Mass and more importantly, to pray to God to grant him him his eternal reward. While his beloved wife Rachel, and daughter, Marie, especially feel the mos

And This, Too, Shall Pass

The roller coaster of bitter freezing cold and slight warming over the past eight weeks or so in our area has finally taken its toll on me. First, it was my daughter who got the flu. We took her to the doctor. Then when my wife felt similar symptoms, my daughter took care of us, making sure we took our Robitussin DM and medicines, and cooked soup for us. When my wife did not improve I took her to Urgent Care and she was diagnosed to have bronchitis. Someone in the household must be up and about to take care of her. But contrary to my hope and self-confidence of strength, I just fell down, and hard. (A younger man could have stood strong.) My wife made a doctor's appointment for me. Now i

What's in your wallet? . . . What's in your pocket?

I remember seeing a TV commercial of a bank promoting an improved version of their credit card. The commercial began and ended with the catch words: "What's in your wallet?' I also remember a very good friend of mine who worked with me in a company a long time ago. His back pocket bulged with his wallet (almost 2 inches thick) because it contained not only cash and credit cards and his driver's license but lots of receipts which he would use to liquidate official company expenses. We would tease him that his wallet looked like an "aparador" (a cabinet). What do we also keep in our wallet? As for me I keep photos of members of my family. This is a sign of my love for them. We keep only impo

"Let me go to the Father's house"

My family and I did not have to go to Rome to see a pope. He came to us two times in the Philippines: in February 1981 for the canonization of the first Filipino saint, Lorenzo Ruiz, and at the World Youth Day at the Luneta in January 1995 where more than 4 million people gathered to see him. We saw him at close range near our house after he had visited Radio Veritas in Fairview in 1981. He was standing on the boarding steps of a Metro Manila bus smiling and waiving at the people excitedly cheering him along his route. We followed him at the University of Santo Tomas for the canonization of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. We saw him even at a closer range when his pope mobile arrived at the Luneta to ce

‘Little joy-givers, big joys'

There are joys in life that money cannot buy. One of these are little children who, by their own joy, innocence, laughter, their little loving ways, and by their mere presence, give us adults much joy, much much joy. I know mothers and fathers, grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts can relate to this. These joy-givers are little, but the joy they give is big. No wonder our dear Lord told his disciples: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Mt 19:14) We are all children of God. This we know, and is often said to and by us. Jesus called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I t

Big Things Come in Small Packages (Pt. 2)

A mobile phone can easily fit in a man's pants pocket or a woman's small purse. Almost everyone has a cellphone and they can be seen using it everywhere: in shopping malls, in offices, at the dinner table, restaurant, in airports, and everywhere you see many people. They are glued to their cellphones. You can even see priests holding a cellphone in church or places of worship (like in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican) although most probably they are praying the Liturgy of the Hours on their gadgets, instead of using the Breviary which priests held in their hands, and identified them as priests before Vatican II and the advent of cellphones. Mobile phones are a handy means of communication

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Whenever I see children cantors lead the Responsorial Psalm at the 12:00 noon fourth Sunday Mass, someone from the choir gets a stool or low bench and places it behind the ambo for the children to stand on. These little children lead the singing of the psalm like angels, and the congregation always shows appreciation. A religious sister I hold in high esteem also needs to stand on a stool behind the ambo, otherwise only her head would be seen. Sister E often prefaces her talks by making the congregation laugh at her expense by pointing to the obvious fact. But Sister E has the admiration of all the people of the parish. When she gave a talk last Friday at the church after a long absence, she

I Have Two Mothers in Heaven

I have two mothers in heaven. They were both given by God to me. The first is Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus. Because Jesus is both God and Man, and she gave birth to Him, she is rightfully called Mother of God. Jesus gave her to me (and to us all) as our mother, when He was suffering in agony on the cross: "Behold your mother!" Jesus loves His mother more than any one of us can. When I love Mary, it means I love her Son. She always points us to her Divine Son. The other mother Jesus gave me is my mom, who carried me in her womb for nine months and brought me into this world and watched over me through the years. She loved me and sacrificed a lot for me. I'm sure Jesus loves my mom a