Monday, May 28, 2012


The blessing of any residence - in this case a condo - is a moment of grace for any family.

At Easter time, which we are still in, there is a specific blessing. 

It doesn't matter if the blessing takes place just when a family moves in, or if the family has lived there already for years.  A blessing is a blessing!

Blessings are not just for protection against evil spirits.  Many times, evil spirits have no special attraction to or connection with any particular place.  The blessing is a way of consecrating this home to the Lord, and to the Holy Family.  In having a home blessed, we are really saying that we want God to be honored in this place, by the way we live our family life.  It is a reminder that our faith is not just for church, but is also for the home.  If our faith is not lived in the home, something is missing from our going to church.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church.  Empowered by the Holy Ghost, the Apostles leave the isolation of the Upper Room and begin to do the work Jesus commanded them to do, "Go out to all the world..."

Just as the soul is the life of the body, the Holy Ghost is the life of the Church and the life of the individual member of the Church.  Without His help, we can do nothing.


Why are young men attracted to the Extraordinary Form? 

Altar Boys

Schola / Choir

It is something the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has noticed himself.  In his Letter to the Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio, he says,

"it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them."

Why?  In a word...


From what I gather from young people, they are looking for God and they know that God is Other, is mystery, is above and beyond our natural world.  God created, saved and sanctifies this natural world; He is intimately part of it; He became human flesh Himself.  But He is still Other; He is still the "mysterium tremendum," the overwhelming mystery.  We experience God immanently, but as transcendent.

And so He is to be adored.  Profoundly.  Completely.  Reverently.  Serenely.   And above all, through sacrifice.

I have a feeling that men have an affinity to worship that is theocentric, sober, contemplative.  In early biblical history, it was the father of the family, and later the sons of Aaron, who stood before God as representatives of the people, to offer Him worship and sacrifice.  And, in the end, it was the Son of God and Son of Mary who did the same in its perfection.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


“We read in the books of the Maccabees that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the universal Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, wherein the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at His altar the commendation of the dead has its place." ~~~Saint Augustine

Friday, May 18, 2012


Did anyone catch it in the Communion Antiphon in yesterday's Ascension Thursday Mass?

"Sing ye to the Lord, who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east, alleluia."

"Psallite Domino, qui ascendit super caelos caelorum ad Orientem, alleluia."

It occured to me some time ago, reflecting on the Ascension, that Christ, in a way, as He rises above and beyond them,  "turns His back" towards His Apostles and faces them no more - the very "complaint" we hear from people concerning the Extraordinary Form.  "Why does the priest turn his back to the people?"

Christ has gone ahead of us; He leads us forward and upward, to heaven.  The one who leads must be in front of us, with his back to us.  Not to cut us off, but rather to lead us on.

If someone were leading me to heaven, it is his back that I'd want to see, so that I can follow.

As someone once said, it's the back of the bus driver we want to see.  To see him face us while the bus is moving is to make us fear for our safety.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Catholics have been associating the month of May with Mary for the past few hundred years.

There's a lot more beauty in the earth this time of year, especially in parts where winter made the world gray and barren, and this beauty reminds us of Mary.

It was a Jesuit priest in a Jesuit college several hundred years ago who wanted to prevent students from frivolity and licentiousness just at the time of year when the warmth and beauty of the month tempted them to seek wanton delights. The priest had them make a vow to devote the month of May to Mary, rather than to sensual pursuits.  From there, the custom spread to other Jesuit schools all over Europe and then generally throughout the church.  The May devotions were the first to cover a whole month.  Following this example, other devotions were gradually attached to other months (e.g. June for the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

Our local customs on Guam are all due to the strong Marian devotion of the Spanish missionaries.
The true custom is for little girls to dress in white as angels, and little boys to dress as the Archangels, with the girls throwing flowers to Our Lady's statue while the adults sang the standard hymn.  This was done every day in May.

May is also the month we celebrate the Queenship of Mary (May 31; traditional Catholic calendar) and in many countries, as a secular observance, Mother's Day.


  • The Annunciation.  What a surprise for the unsuspecting virgin!  Yet what obedience to God's will.
  • Mary's Visit to her cousin Elizabeth.  What profound humility!  She just found out she was to become the mother of the Son of God, yet she runs to help her pregnant cousin.
  • The Birth of Christ.  What mystery!  He is born without harming her physical integrity.  In a cave, with animals!  Shepherds come, sent by angels!  Later, wise men from the east!
  • The Presentation in the Temple.  What disturbing words from Simeon!  The child shall be opposed!  She herself, in her heart, will be pierced with a sword.
  • The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.  What anguish!  She has lost her son!  What confusion!  She is told that He must be about His Father's business.  The young child astonishes the old teachers!
  • The Wedding at Cana.  What foreboding!  She induces Him to perform His first sign.  The door opens to His public ministry, one that will lead to His death - and her greatest suffering.
  • At the Foot of the Cross.  What misery!  For a mother to see her child so brutally mangled!  What love!  Woman, there is your son!

  • Immaculate Conception.  Mary is conceived without Original Sin from the first moment of her existence, in the womb of Saint Anne, her mother.
  • Divine Maternity.  Mary is not just Mother of Jesus; she is also Mother of God (in Greek, Theotokos).  Not that she gives Jesus His divinity, but, because He is divine from all eternity, the One she gave birth to, in time, is God Himself.
  • Perpetual Virginity.  Mary remained a virgin before giving birth, as she gave birth and forever after she gave birth to Jesus.
  • Assumption.  At the end of her earthly life, Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul.
3. RE-READ THE STORY OF APPROVED APPARITIONS (among them, though there are more than these three : )

  • Guadalupe.  Mary reveals herself as "truly your merciful mother."  She has concern and compassion on the poor and the sick.  She is the great evangelizer of Mexico and America.  She is patroness of America, and of the Pro-Life Cause.
  • Lourdes.  Mary reveals herself as "the Immaculate Conception."  She brings healing of soul and body, and calls for penance, penance, penance.
  • Fatima.  Mary's warnings become more serious.  She warns of divine punishment for the increasing evils of modern times, yet she offers us a way out : prayer, penance and reparation.

  • Make her image the centerpiece in May.  Keep a candle lit; flowers fresh.
  • Pray as a family every day before this altar.  Make a family consecration to the Immaculate Heart.  Ask Mary to bring more love into your home life.
  • Choose an exact time (usually 6PM but somewhat before or after is acceptable) to pray the Angelus together.  Always keep this time.
(Things more challenging to do!  But we reap what we sow!)

1. Upon awaking, to rise immediately from bed in a spirit of making full use of the day, beginning with prayer on one's knees at the side of the bed, in imitation of Mary's prayerful and prompt obedience to God
2. To ask Mary to help us accept something taught to us by the Church which we may find difficult to accept or to practice
3. To think of the person you have the hardest time loving, and asking Mary to give you the strongest love for that person - not mushy sentiment!  But a sincere desire for that person's genuine welfare.
4. To give way to someone else, as in : to let someone else have the last word (except in matters of faith or morals), or the seat you wanted, or to enter or exit first
5. To remain silent when corrected by someone else, but peacefully, not with quiet resentment
6. To talk to someone today about the advantages of being devoted to Mary, especially if we have a good idea we will be ridiculed for saying so
7. Visit someone sick or in need, as Mary visited Elizabeth
8. Ask someone whose judgment you respect one thing they see in you that can be improved