Good Friday, Lani's Birthday, and Her Mom

"A Teaching Moment" Today I am putting my daughter Lianne's Facebook post on this blogsite. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 Good job, Lianne! "Today is Good Friday. Today we commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross. Coincidentally, today is also Lani’s 8th Birthday! When we talked about her birthday being on the same day as Good Friday, Lani says: “Why is my birthday so unlucky?” As a Mom wanting to make her child feel better, I tell her: “You share this day with Jesus who gave His life for all of us! He died on the cross to save us!” While these are just words that I came up with at the spur of the moment, this

"... because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world"

On Good Friday, the Church focuses on Christ's suffering on the cross, through which He saved the world. Through the centuries, the cross has always been the symbol of our Faith, a symbol that we reverence.  The cross is found at the top of Catholic churches and those of some other Christian denominations. The cross marks most Christian graves and is the form of some monuments to those who fought defending our country. For centuries Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, have signed themselves with the sign of the cross -- saying at the same time "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." At the Sacrament of Baptism, the minister, the parents and godparents trace the

“Do you also want to leave?”

Today is Holy Thursday. At the Mass of the Lord's Supper, we are commemorating the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the Last Supper, Jesus took bread and said: "This is My Body." Then He took a cup of wine and said: "This is My Blood." "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,k that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Hindsight Is 20/20

(A Little Reflection this Holy Week) Everyday, I see my violin in its case waiting to be picked up and played. But there are always some other pressing things to do. At this time of my life, I have decided to resume playing my violin, that I may enjoy making my own music to soothe my soul. I am past the time of taking more formal lessons from a violin teacher, so I just go back to my old violin books for the exercises and then play again my old pieces and learn new ones. I am also using YouTube to listen to professional violinists play and to watch tutorials that I find helpful. I believe that in time, I will be able to achieve my goal, though to a lesser extent. I had stopped playing the v

My Ateneo Jacket

Last Sunday after lunch with my wife in a Chinese restaurant in Springfield, Virginia we were heading to the door when someone dining with a group stood up and said, "Oh here is a guy from Ateneo." I asked, "How did you know?" and he replied, "From your Ateneo jacket." There were three Ateneans at that table and good conversation ensued about the Ateneo, when we were there, whether in grade school, high school, college, or graduate school, and what degrees we earned there, which Jesuit and lay teachers we had and which other Ateneans we knew, etc. It is amazing how something one wears can not only identify you but interest others to pause and talk to you because you have something in common,

S'il vous plait, por favor, etc.

S'il vous plait, por favor, paki, per favore, bitte These words, all or most of which may be foreign-sounding to most of us, mean "please." They are the French, Spanish, Tagalog, Italian and German, respectively, of this English word. It looks like this word that is attached to or precedes requests or even commands is built in in these languages and most probably in other languages or dialects in the world as well. This is for a reason that is universal in nature. This word, used in human interaction, is a sign of politeness and respect to the person being addressed (everybody is made in the image and likeness of God), and is also a sign of respectability of the one using it. It is one word

Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry?

"Love means never having to say you're sorry" This is the catch phrase from a popular movie "Love Story" I saw in the 1970s. It was a very entertaining and heart-warming movie which by its very title appealed especially to young people in love or were looking for the love of their lives. I do not remember the context of that catch phrase anymore. But even then I did not agree with that statement at all. From childhood I was taught that if you love someone, you have to exert effort to show that love in as many ways possible, at all times. But I was also taught that sometimes one can do something that displeases the beloved, unintentionally and sometimes even intentionally. But it is not the e

Deceptions and Lies

If we look at, read about, and listen to what is going on around us nowadays, we can see a world in chaos, of conflict. Although everybody sees and hears the same things, they have different perceptions and different opinions on how things are and should be. Which opinion is right and which is wrong? Or is there a right or wrong about anything at all? Which brings us to the question: Is adherence to the truth the guiding principle of people in society today? If not, why not? The answer to that question is obvious. Some just do not exert effort to seek the truth and so do not find it. But many others are not really in love with the truth. This is because the truth is not in accordance with t

The Winter That Won't Go Away

This winter has been the most severe since we moved to the U.S. East Coast many years ago. The temperature always hovered between freezing and just a little over freezing. There were only a couple of times the temperature rose to over 50 degrees F for a day and they were short-lived. We could not wait till the advent of spring, when we do not have to wear thick jackets outside, and to be able to rake or blow the leaves and put mulch on the plant and flower beds and around the trees. But yesterday, the first day of spring, it was still extremely cold and flurries started falling from the bleak sky. This morning I saw our cars and the driveway covered with two inches of snow and the white flak

The Throwaway Culture

I was trying to print a document on my printer when it jammed. Whatever I did -- pull out the paper, open the back to check what caused the jam --- it wouldn't work. It would be more costly to bring it to a repair shop than to throw it away and buy a new one. Even heavy appliances that are broken but are still repairable are more easily replaced than fixed with costly parts and expensive labor. We are now the throw-away society. We don't bother to fix broken things anymore. Pope Francis aptly calls this present culture a throwaway culture of this consumer society. When something stops working, we discard it, even if we could fix it. The pope decried this prevailing mentality of the world e

"BFFs"

Conversing with my ten-year-old granddaughter one day, I asked her about school and if she likes going there. She answered that she does and when I asked her why, she said she has good teachers and friendly classmates.  I asked her how many friends she has and she replied, many, but I have only one BFF.  "What is BFF?" I asked.  She replied: "Best Friend Forever." I myself had one best friend in high school, but when I moved to another place in adulthood, I had another best friend, until I moved again. I guess we develop friendships wherever we may go to settle. We all need to have friends. According to the Book of Sirach, "Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter, whoever finds one finds a tre

"Aloneness Descends in the Wings of the Night"

“Aloneness descends in the wings of the night.” This line is from a poem written by a fellow high school student dabbling in poetry. It was published in our school paper. After so many years I still remember this particular verse, which even then intrigued me. When does aloneness descend in the wings of the night? He probably means whenever we go to bed for rest at the end of the day. Our days are usually filled with many activities where we are with people: at work, at travel, at parties, in church, in our homes, etc. According to Aristotle, man is by nature a social animal. He thrives in the company of his fellow humans. He longs to be in the company of his kind. But one cannot always b

John 3:16 and Laetare Sunday

We are halfway through the season of Lent. For the past three weeks we have been trying to go about our lives in a penitential spirit by spending more time in prayer, by fasting and doing acts of self-denial, and by sharing some of our material possessions with the poor -- three ways of following Christ who endured suffering and death on the cross to save mankind. This 4th Sunday of Lent is called “Laetare Sunday” (Rejoice Sunday). The Church interrupts this serious mood, so to speak, and urges us to be in a rejoicing mood, in anticipation of Easter or Resurrection Sunday, which commemorates the glorious rising of our Lord from the dead following His passion and crucifixion. For because of

Unfinished Melodies, Unfinished Stories

It is a quiet Sunday afternoon and Mr. Dinn's young piano students are having one of those quarterly recitals in a nursing home. Mr. Dinn usually holds the recital there to hit two birds with one stone: the first, to provide some entertainment to the elderly men and women residing in that facility, and second, to teach his students the value of service by using their talents (piano music) for others. This afternoon, the students' audience consists of 12 residents all sitting in their wheelchairs around tables. A few are looking as each student played his or her pieces. Some are staring at the performer, apparently trying to absorb the music. Some have their eyes closed, or showing signs they

Words, Words, Words!

Yesterday an email led me to watch this video about a diver swimming in a sea teeming with tons and tons of plastic trash, polluting the waters and choking and destroying aquatic life in it. (There are other videos showing thick blankets of trash covering the surface of the water.) One cannot imagine the amount of non-biodegradable waste that litter the ocean thrown by unthinking people, and how much more of such rubbish will be carelessly thrown by them into a beautiful creation of God and an irreplaceable source of life and living. Words cannot express the deleterious effects brought about by such actions, knowingly or unknowingly, on all of us by the culprits, which may also include some

A Story to Tell, A Book to Write

I was looking for a book this morning, and searched for it on my book shelves and huge plastic bins. It took me some time to find it. Over the years I have accumulated hundreds of books and built a fair-sized library. My titles vary from philosophy to theology, to Church history and liturgy, to apologetics and prayer and spirituality, to classic works and autobiographies and lives of saints, and more. It is not only book stores like Barnes and Noble, and Amazon that sell books. Even at food stores like BJs and Costco there are tables and tables with piles of books of different genres and by different authors waiting to be bought and read. Have you ever thought of writing a book? It may not

A New Catholic Talks About Lent

This video about Lent, what she is giving up this holy season, is by a new Catholic, Lizzie, who found her way into the Catholic Church through extensive and intensive study and searching for the true Faith. Lizzie's testimony in all her videos is given with much joy and conviction. I recommend this video to everyone who wants to strengthen his /her faith as a Catholic. I will post more of her videos later. Praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!

LizziesAnswers -- A Discovery

I Just discovered this. It reinforces one's being a Catholic. Hopefully, it can help ex-Catholics to come back home. And help those others to explore Catholicism and its truth and decide to be part of it. There are more LissiesAnswers videos like this. They explore and elucidate on basic Catholic beliefs and practices. This one is about Lizzie's journey home to the Catholic Church. Here Lizzie talks more about what Catholics really believe, and exposes what non-Catholics tell people Catholics believe. “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” - Fulton J. Sheen