Our former spiritual director, Fr. Filemon I. dela Cruz Jr., O.P. (fondly called "Fr. Deng"), was assigned to Surabaya, Indonesia last year. In this brief sharing, originally posted on March 15, he speaks about the power of God's love as experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation... and he speaks to us from the other side of the confession box.
We concluded tonight our scheduled Lenten confession at our Parish Church, Gereja Redemptor Mundi. For three (3) evenings we administered the Sacrament of Reconciliation and heard confessions of the penitents for 3.5 hours on the average each time.
Tiring, admittedly yes! But always, it is an experience of grace not only for the penitent but for the confessor as well. This is my experience from the time I was a young priest and remains to be true till now, after 25 years. I hope this is true for all confessors.
On February 14, 2018, the Holy Father led the celebration of the Ash Wednesday at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome, the worldwide headquarters of the Dominican Order. This tradition dates back to the fourth century. The following is the full text of his homily.
The season of Lent is a favourable time to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life and to receive the ever new, joyful and hope-filled proclamation of the Lord’s Passover. The Church in her maternal wisdom invites us to pay special attention to anything that could dampen or even corrode our believing heart. We are subject to numerous temptations. Each of us knows the difficulties we have to face. And it is sad to note that, when faced with the ever-varying circumstances of our daily lives, there are voices raised that take advantage of pain and uncertainty; the only thing they aim to do is sow distrust. If the fruit of faith is charity – as Mother Teresa often used to say – then the fruit of distrust is apathy and resignation. Distrust, apathy and resignation: these are demons that deaden and paralyze the soul of a believing people.
Communication is part of God’s plan for us and an essential way to experience fellowship. Made in the image and likeness of our Creator, we are able to express and share all that is true, good, and beautiful. We are able to describe our own experiences and the world around us, and thus to create historical memory and the understanding of events. But when we yield to our own pride and selfishness, we can also distort the way we use our ability to communicate. This can be seen from the earliest times, in the biblical stories of Cain and Abel and the Tower of Babel (cf. Gen 4:4-16; 11:1-9). The capacity to twist the truth is symptomatic of our condition, both as individuals and communities. On the other hand, when we are faithful to God’s plan, communication becomes an effective expression of our responsible search for truth and our pursuit of goodness.
(Photo by Eric Paul Guanlao / RCAM Office of Communications)
Here is the full text of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle's homily during the midnight Mass in honor of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, held at the Quirino Grandstand on January 9, 2018.
Mga minamahal na kapatid sa Panginoong Hesukristo. Una po sa lahat, magpasalamat tayo sa Diyos, Siya po ang nagtipon sa atin itong mga mga nakaraang araw pa, hanggang ngayon, hanggang mamaya.
Upang bilang isang sambayanan, tayo ay kanyang mapanibago ng kanyang salita, nang kanyang espiritu ng kanyang presensiya. Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa Panginoon sa magandang panahon. Nagpapasalamat din po tayo sa lakas ng katawan, tibay ng loob na pinagkaloob sa atin.
My dear Brothers and Sisters in the Archdiocese of Manila,
All over the world, Christmas greetings express a wish that the person or community may experience joy on Christmas: Have a Merry Christmas! A Happy Christmas to you! Maligayang Pasko! Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Joy is at the heart of the Christmas event.
The angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary of Nazareth was, “Rejoice, favored one!” (Luke 1:28). Responding to Elizabeth’s profuse praise of her, Mary said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:47). The angel that visited the shepherds declared, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord” (Luke 20-11). The Magi “were overjoyed at seeing the star and on entering the house they saw the Child with Mary his Mother” (Matthew 2:10-11). The first Christmas was an explosion of extraordinary joy in the world because in a simple, quiet but real way, the Savior has come - as one of us, a brother among us. He came not to destroy us to but to make us whole. Jesus’ pure goodness and genuine kindness bring joy to those who need God’s healing.