Saturday, June 30, 2012


"Because the life of the flesh is in the blood : and I have given it to you that you may make atonement with it upon the altar of your souls, and the blood may be an expiation for the soul."  Leviticus 17:11

The Life is in the Blood

We can barely fathom the immensity of the disaster that occured when Adam and Eve sinned against their very Maker.  In a world of beauty, order and blessing - which God pronounced good - the sin of Adam and Eve introduced into the world the ugliest defilement of all - they slapped the very good God in the face with hands that God Himself had made and given them!

What could atone for this unspeakable horror?  Only the most perfect, infinitely holy act of love for God.  Only God could atone for this sin against God, but a God who became flesh.  The Second Person of the Trinity, the Word by whom all things were made, had to take on the nature of things made, in order to, as both man and God, atone for the sins of man against God.

Oh precious Blood of Jesus!  When you poured every last drop, you atoned for our sins.  You gave up your life, in order to save us who are bound for death.  What unspeakable love! 

Is it any wonder that, as in the picture above, the angels gather every drop of this Precious Blood?  It is His gift for the life of the world.

Let us remember at our next Communion : I am receiving all of Christ Himself, Body, Blood, soul and divinity.  His Precious Blood is coming into me; saving me, washing me clean, sharing with me His holiness.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


The Church grants an indulgence of 300 days when the faithful pray this prayer in honor of SS Peter and Paul :

"Defend, O Lord, Thy people : and as they put their trust in the patronage of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, keep them ever by Thy protection.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

"Protege, Domine, populum tuum : et Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli patrocinio confidentem perpetua defensione conserva.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum.  Amen."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This Friday's feast, that of SS Peter and Paul, is a Solemnity in the Church calendar, with its own Vigil, and is a Holy Day of Obligation for the universal Church, though it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation in this Archdiocese nor in the entire U.S.

Still, it is a feast of great importance.  Notice that it is not a feast of Saint Peter alone, nor of Saint Paul alone, nor of the two of them that just happens to be the same day.  It is their partnership that is the essence of this feast, because that partnership was sealed with the blood of both their martyrdoms in the same city - Rome - for the same reason - Christ.  Thus, in the holy card above, they float over the heart and center of the Christian religion, Rome.  The Queen City of the Faith is sprinkled with the blood of the Princes of the Apostles.

So from all antiquity, the Church, especially Rome, always celebrated SS Peter and Paul together.  Even when one of these two saints is the focus, such as the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Saint Paul is commemorated in the traditional Mass.  Or on the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Saint Peter is commemorated.  They are the Twin Apostles, as it were, the Church rarely separating them in her liturgical practice.  In most of our bodily activities, we work with pairs; pairs of eyes, ears, hands, lungs, feet.  And the Church began her work, as it were, with these Twin Apostles.

In many churches in Europe, the statues of SS Peter and Paul are very prominent.  They often occupy a place of honor in churches.  Sometimes one of them will be on the left of the sanctuary, the other on the right, acting as if they were sentry guards of the holy sanctuary.  Whenever I see them, I say to myself that these images are asking us who enter this church, "Do we have the same faith that these two Apostles preached and died for?"  One, holy, catholic and APOSTOLIC.

Here on Guam, devotion to Saint Peter (San Pedro) is not absent, as there were enough men named Pedro to keep that devotion going on island.  But the dual devotion to both saints is less known.  It's a pity, since it would strengthen our unique Catholic identity if, by promoting their veneration, we could constantly ask the other churches if they are founded on Peter the Rock, and if they believe the same things Saint Paul taught; all of them, and not just pick and choose from his teachings.  It would help modern-day Catholics, who are often tempted to seek what is new and different to "improve" their experience of church,  to ask themselves, does my Catholic faith today echo what has been taught for 2,000 years, since the days of Saints Peter and Paul?

Friday, June 22, 2012



The Birth of Saint John the Baptist
St. Elizabeth wonders at his birth; Zechariah writes down his name

1. His birth was announced by the same angel who announced the birth of Christ.

2. He leaped in the womb of his mother.

3. He was lifted in the womb of his mother by the voice of the Virgin Mary, carrying Jesus.

4. At his birth, he loosed his father's tongue.

5. He originated baptism.

6. He proclaimed the mission of Christ.

7. He baptized Christ.

8. He was praised above all others by Christ.

9. He announced to the souls in limbo the coming of Christ.

(from Jacopo de Voragine)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


"I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour."

Death is indeed a fearsome, unknown frontier where we leave the passing comforts of this world to face our Maker and Judge, with all of our sins and failings.  No matter how good we think we may be, we know all too well we are nothing compared to the supreme holiness and goodness of God.  How can we dare face Him?  It is only the encouraging words of Jesus Himself which make it possible for us to go before God, knowing that Jesus is with us as our mediator and intercessor; our "assured refuge" as He says in this promise.

To keep this spiritual bond with Him strong, Jesus gives us one more means by way of the First Fridays of nine consecutive months.  The practice is to receive Holy Communion on these First Fridays.  "Without me, you can do nothing," Jesus said, and so we need the grace of His Body and Blood in order to save our souls.  "He who eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood shall never die."  This assumes, of course, a worthy communion in the state of grace, after confession if it was needed, and the proper dispositions of soul.

To do this for nine consecutive months implies great commitment on our part, and is evidence of a soul genuinely seeking his or her salvation.

The grace we receive from this practice is to die in the state of grace, in repentance.  It does not mean that the person will definitely receive the Last Rites; but it does mean that the dying person would have received some sacraments prior to death, whether it be confession, Holy Communion or the Last Rites.

We do not merit this great grace.  It comes from, as Jesus Himself says in this promise, "the excess of mercy" coming from His Sacred Heart.  All is grace; we claim nothing of our own.  But grace is never forced on us.  God gives us the grace to freely accept the grace offered.  It only makes sense to use this grace Jesus is offering us in First Friday devotion.  But no one can force us; not even God.  So decide today to start making this devotion!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Rico Chaco hails from the village of Agat and functions as our Master of Ceremonies at our Sung Masses, and serves on occasion at other times.

Rico has been serving as an altar boy at his home parish for many years.  He just graduated from high school as valedictorian.  He is discerning a vocation to the Capuchins.

Congratulations Rico and thank you for your service to our community.  God bless you.


"Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in my heart, and it shall never be effaced."

Just as the priest devoted to the Sacred Heart will be rewarded with pastoral success, anyone in general - priest, religious or layperson - who promotes this devotion shall have the best of all rewards; to be engraved into the very Heart of Jesus, never to be erased.  You become a permanent fixture in the Heart of Jesus.

All of us want to be included in that list of all lists, the Book of Life wherein the names of those going to heaven are recorded.  That Book is the Heart of Jesus.  We are all saved by Him, by the Sacred Blood He poured out for us, because His Heart loved us.  When we accept that salvation and return His love, our names are engraved on His Heart and are written in the Book of Life.

But true promoters of this devotion are not simply those who encourage others to love the Sacred Heart by their words alone.  We do more to turn people away from the faith when we do the opposite of our holy words.  True promoters live what they preach.  They strive for perfection, and as they do so, they do it with utmost humility, always accusing themselves of their faults and failings and always in the state of repentance, striving to be better each day with the grace of God through prayer and the sacraments.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


"I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts."

The only power a priest has is to bring Jesus to others.  Of course, in a unique and special way; as someone delegated the authority from Jesus Himself to act in His Name - sanctifying, teaching, absolving.  But this power goes nowhere unless the heart of the other opens itself to the power of the priest to sanctify, teach or absolve him or her.  Until then, a priest is powerless in the face of indifference or even hostility.

What can open a closed heart?  Only an open one.  As wide open as the Heart torn open by the stab of a spear as He hung upon the cross.  No matter how closed a human heart is, it naturally responds to love.  The more closed the heart, the more that love must prove itself. 

The priest, being human, is always tempted to give up on stubborn hearts and move on to the next.  He cannot do so, if he is to follow the Good Shepherd who leaves the safe sheep in search of the lost.  The priest must lay down his life, not just for the safe and sound sheep, but for the lost one.   Where will the priest find this supernatural love and will power to do this?  He will find it, if the priest is devoted to the Sacred Heart.  If the priest opens his heart to the One Heart that alone can truly save.

Then it will be the Sacred Heart who works through the priest, and not just the priest preaching, teaching and working with his natural abilities alone.  How often has Jesus used the less talented priest to win so many souls!  Less talented perhaps, but a priest more fully devoted to Jesus and therefore a better instrument of the Lord.  Truly, nothing depends more for the success of a priest than his total surrender to Jesus, who will work through the such a priest despite his limitations.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


"I will bless the homes in which the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

To a certain extent, the saying is true. "Out of sight, out of mind."  We are creatures with five senses.  We learn about the world through these five senses.  We soon forget, and thus value less, what we don't readily see, or hear, or touch.  For this reason, Holy Mother Church not only allows but recommends the proper use of sacred images as an aid to prayer and devotion.  These images remind us of the holy people they represent, and help us to remember, love and imitate these holy people.

It is also true that, as the saying goes, some things are "hidden right under our noses."  We see, but we do not remember.  We pass the sacred image a hundred times in a day, and not once do we raise our minds and hearts to the person represented therein.  But will we do better if there were no image at all?

Thus, we need both the image and the recollection.  We need to pray when we see the image of the Sacred Heart on our walls or on our home altars.  We need to remember whose Heart it is; what it stands for; how it suffered; how it loves; how it is a human heart like ours; how it is filled with divine love; how our hearts are meant to be filled with the same love.  Doing so will do us a lot of good.

But there is a second motive.  Jesus Himself attached a great promise to those who prayerfully keep this image exposed and honored in the home.  He promises His own blessing.

Remember, this blessing is made to those who don't just "have" an image at home, but to those who 1) expose it and to those who 2) honor it.  It should be visible and noticeable to all who live in and visit the house.  It should be honored by regular acts of prayer and devotion.

Monday, June 11, 2012


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This little girl was recently given a veil for Mass, and she has become a great promoter of its use!  She loves wearing it, even when Mass is over.

1 Corinthians 11:10 : "Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels."

"Power over her head" meant a veil of some sort.  It was a sign that the woman belonged to her husband and was thus a visible expression of modesty and propriety.

"Because of the angels."  The angels minister to God in heaven in worship and adoration.  In that heavenly worship, there is the utmost reverence and propriety.  When we worship in Mass, the angels are with us.  Therefore, in our Mass, the utmost reverence and propriety must be seen by the angels.

Little girls and unmarried women do not belong to a husband yet.  But Saint Paul teaches other reasons for wearing the veil, and states that it is a command of the Lord, a custom of the primitive churches.  It is good to start forming our women in the custom and meaning of wearing the chapel veil while they are still very young.

This little girl's enthusiasm is proof of the wisdom of that practice.


"Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection."

Momentum.  It is a word often used in sports or even in political campaigns.  The more one gains speed, the faster one gains it.  In the spiritual life, the great accelerator is divine love.

A wayward man, steeped in vices, reforms in an instant it seems, throwing away all former bad habits.  Why?  He has fallen in love, and the woman he loves, who won't have him along with his vices, is worth the change.

Those devoted to the Sacred Heart find in It a vast ocean of sacrificial love.  The poor human soul, so weak in virtue, stands in awe as it tries to fathom how could Almighty God, so pure and holy, suffer so much, love without limit, such a poor soul.  But, poor though it is, the human soul was created by God with a capacity for love and for holiness.  What it needs is the attraction, the acceleration, the momentum that grace provides.  The Sacred Heart is the source of that grace; it is the grace itself.

In the natural, speed is gained by following the law of gravity downwards.  In the supernatural, speed is gained by following the law of love upwards.  Those who rise, rise higher still, as long as love is the driving force and the goal.  In the spiritual life, Jesus is everything : He is the road, the vehicle and the destination.  We walk in the ways of love; we walk with the power of love that overcomes all difficulties; when the road ends, we have arrived at perfect love.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


"Tepid souls shall become fervent."

None of us appreciate half-measures and half-heartedness in others when it comes to things we value greatly.  We put our 100% into something, be it family life, our jobs or some cause, and we see many others dragging their feet.  How must Jesus feel when He sees the multitude of souls which are neither hot nor cold but lukewarm.  We know how He must feel, for in Revelations it is said that God will vomit them out of His mouth.  God, who loves us infinitely, and gives all of Himself to us, will not be happy with something less than all of ourselves.  Love is paid with love.

Spiritual lukewarmness is not the dry spells in feeling or fervor that good souls often experience when in prayer.  Those dry spells are often the very thing God wants us to undergo, so that we do all things for genuine love of God, not because doing the good gives us an emotional high.

Tepidity is a real attitude of indifference and carelessness; of going through the motions and moreover not being concerned that one is merely going through the motions.  It is to walk by the edge of a cliff, and not even realize it.

But the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a burning furnace ablaze with love.  Just as fire melts away the outer frozen shell first, till the inner flesh is exposed and enjoys the warmth of the fire, the love of Jesus first destroys the hardened outer shell of the tepid soul, attacking its indifference and apathy, jolting the soul out of its stupor with remembrances of eternal damnation versus the eternal joys of heaven.  It exposes the soul's longing for love, and directs that longing to the perfect love of Jesus.  Then the human heart takes on the warmth of the Sacred Heart to which it is exposed.

Friday, June 8, 2012


"Sinners shall find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy."

Have you ever been so aware of your sinfulness that you believed God could never forgive you?  Or perhaps, God will forgive, but God could never really love you as much today as He did before, because of your sin?

Especially near death, when one becomes acutely aware that they will stand before God very soon and render an account for everything they ever did while on earth, many people are tempted to despair of God's mercy.  It is truly a temptation; Satan tries to make souls move away from God, making them think that God could never really embrace them, with all of their sins.

But our subjective judgments and feelings ought to be corrected by the objective actions of God.  Actions speak louder than words, and what has God done?  Over and over, He shows mercy.  Even in the Old Testament, God showed Himself abundantly merciful and forgiving.  Time and again, God forgave Israel when it sinned against God.  He punished Israel, and when Israel suffered and came back to God, God restored Israel.

But in Jesus, God's mercy reaches its perfection in outward manifestation.  Jesus is Mercy Itself.  The whole reason why the Son of God became man and was born among us was to bring us God's free gift of mercy.  In the Gospels, Jesus forgives, forgives, forgives.  Even on the cross, He forgives.

Why does Jesus always forgive?  Because mercy is a fruit of love.  Love is the source of mercy, and His love is summed up in His Sacred Heart.  It is an infinite ocean of love we find there, to the extent that, in order to spare man the full strength of divine retribution, the Heart of Jesus took all the punishment we deserved.  The Heart of Jesus stood between us and God's wrath, taking the punishment for us.  Only an infinite ocean of love could do this.  Therefore, how can one despair of God's mercy?  Jesus did not come for the righteous, but for the worst of us.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


It was a perfect night for a procession!

No rain.  Light, gentle breeze so our candles did not all blow out quickly.

Yet cool.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


"I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings."

What guarantees success or failure in your life's projects, dreams and goals?

Perhaps that's just it.  If our goals and efforts are all ours and ours alone; if they are not asked of God, inspired by God and lead by God, what kind of "success" can that be?

Our only true "success" is the salvation of our souls.  "What profit is there to gain the whole world and lose your soul in the process?" Jesus asked in the Gospel.

So we go to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Heart that wanted only two things : that the Father's will be done; and that souls be saved -  both things for the glory of the Father.  In His Sacred Heart, we learn to love God above all things, and our neighbor as ourselves.  He teaches us obedience, docility, meekness, humility, perseverance in trial, courage in difficulties.  When we feel like abandoning our mission in life which God has given us, we find power to carry on in the Heart that went to the cross.

Our dream, our goal in life must be God's will for us.  That is the only enterprise that can be successful.  If you are married, to be the best spouse.  A priest?  Student?  Accountant?  Widow?  To live your station in life doing the best in it, with God's glory and the salvation of souls as your highest interest. 

Therefore, if you ask God for "success" in this or that, and it doesn't come; perhaps God is teaching you : what you ask for will harm your soul.  You do not see how this can be, but one day you will see.

When we walk in His ways and follow His law, God provides for us - not everything we want - but everything we need for our salvation.  Sometimes this means the cross, but also the graces needed to carry it.  But life is not all crosses and difficulties.  Does not God lavish us with spiritual and material graces, even though we don't ask for them and have little or no control over them?  The sun, the rain, fair weather, our intelligence, our talents?  Will God not then care for, spiritually and materially, those who, through devotion to the Sacred Heart, seek to do His will and follow His ways?   And, as the promise says, not just blessings, but abundant blessings.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


"They shall find in my heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death."

Where do you run for shelter?  Where can danger not touch you?

In Old Testament times, cities of refuge were ordered by God; places where people guilty of accidental crimes or sin could not be touched, for example, by the angry owners of an animal unintentionally killed.

Just as a bird seeks an opening in a cliff when the weather is bad, the Heart of Jesus was pierced with a lance, creating an opening, where we can find spiritual refuge.  Our Lord's Heart was stabbed, pierced, broken open.  Jesus gives His all, to the last drop.  All is open, nothing is kept closed.

What pain do we have that He cannot identify with?  What enemy do we face that He hasn't already faced?

We need refuge from three things.  First, from ourselves.  We are our own worst enemies.  We doubt, our faith falters, we shift like sand.  We ought never to trust in ourselves, as we prove unreliable time and time again.  But in His Heart we find a compassionate teacher of constancy and reliability.  Thomas doubted, and was invited by Jesus to find his faith by putting his fingers in the wounds, the openings in the flesh, the proof of Christ's love for us.  What flesh was more torn apart and opened that His pierced Heart?

We need refuge from our worldly enemies; those who seek to harm us, in many ways.  Did not Christ have His enemies?  Did He not defeat them?  To His heart, then, let us flee.

We need refuge from the devil, our enemy.  The devil points to us and says, "Oh sinner!  How often you have foresaken God and obeyed me instead!  You are mine!"  But we run to the Sacred Heart, full of mercy, and say, "I am a sinner, but a repentant one!  His Heart which suffered for love of me is my refuge."

This we find not just in life, but especially at the hour of death, when we will face strong temptations to despair of God's mercy.  We will be crossing over to a world beyond our control; where we will be at the mercy of God's terrible judgment.  But His Heart bled for sinners.  In this we can find reguge as we go to meet our Maker.


The first session of our classes on the Ceremonies of Holy Mass Explained went well last night.  We covered the vestments, liturgical colors and the use of Latin.  Tonight we proceed with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.


June 4 and 5 at 7PM


Every Tuesday and Wednesday in June at 7PM


Bring a notebook, 1962 Missal and a friend!

Monday, June 4, 2012


"I will console them in all their troubles."

One immediately thinks of Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavily burdened...and I will refresh you."

This is a promise backed up by action.  Jesus spent many hours, day and night, even when He was tired, taking care of people in need, who were like "sheep without a shepherd."  He felt pity for the woman of Naim, already a widow, who lost her only child, a son.  He wept at the death of His friend Lazarus, and raised him up.  Even when He was walking to Calvary, His concern was for the weeping women of Jerusalem.  No one can deny the loving concern Jesus has for those who suffer, nor His power to bring them relief.

He knows how to console the suffering, because He Himself suffers.  What did He not suffer?  Physically?  Emotionally?  The betrayal of friends, the hatred of the people He was sent to save?  He suffered not just in the past; He suffers even now in a mysterious way, though He is happiness itself.

Because He is a man of sorrows Himself, we have such a High Priest to whom we can confidently bring our own sorrows of life. 

"For we have not a high priest who can not have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all thing like as we are, without sin."  (Hebrews 4:15)  "Tempted" means also to be "tested."  Our Lord was tried and tested, and proved true.  He suffered all we do, and in a worse way, yet He never sinned.

So He can be our strength and comfort as well, and give us the grace to carry our crosses like He did, without sin.  "Learn from me....and you will find rest."  When we unite our sufferings to His, especially in Mass, our burdens become lighter.  We find rest.

But who seeks Him?  To this day, He waits for us in the Tabernacle, and not everyone comes.  Many prefer to seek comfort in the world, to their own worse end.  In this way, the ignored Heart of Jesus suffers still.  How much He longs to "gather us under his wings like a mother hen."  To give us His peace which the world cannot give.  But there He remains, available to us, but ignored by many.  Let us make up for this by paying a visit to Him in the Tabernacle as many times as possible this month.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


"I will give peace in their families."

What is the cause of our lack of peace?  Within ourselves, and between people?

Saint Paul says it is the flesh. 

In Galatians 5:20ff, he says that "enmities, contentions...wraths, quarrels, dissensions" are all works of the flesh.

The flesh is that propensity within us to seek our own limited, secondary, passing good at the expense of the higher good.  It is really the principle of sin; to define what is good for me, and to sacrifice everything else, including God and other people, so that I can obtain what I say is good for me.

So Saint James (James 4:1) rightly says that the reason why we quarrel among ourselves, and therefore lack peace, is because of a war that is inside ourselves; the battle between reason and the passions.  When reason does its job, it directs us to the higher good.  It only makes sense that we should want what more perfectly and more permanently makes us happy.  That can be none other than God.

But our reasoning powers are dull and slow to learn.  Our minds know ideas, but are not seized by them, directed by them.  Instead, our lower nature, our passions have a greater sway over us. 

Thus Jesus says that He gives peace, but not as the world gives it.  Jesus' peace is unique because only He can reconcile what is at war; our war with God, our war within ourselves and our war with others.  Jesus, being fully God and fully human, reconciles all.  In Jesus, God and man are at peace; in His Blessed Humanity which restored human nature to its original justice, the passions are subject to the rule of reason, resulting in inner peace.  In the love of Jesus who came to forgive all, brother is reconciled with brother.

Peace, then, is a fruit of justice and order; where everyone is in his/her proper place and is given what is rightfully theirs, and gives what is rightfully expected of them.  Saint Augustine said that peace is a product of the correct ordering of things.

In a world of peace, justice and order, God is God and all submit to His loving rule.  Fathers are fathers in the home, ruling with love and providing for the needs of the family.  Mothers are mothers, subject to their husbands who care for their wives, nurturing the children as only mothers can.  Children are children, obediently taking in the education parents give so that the child can one day take his or her place in society as a contributing member in his or her unique vocation.

Our constant enemy to all this is the flesh.  Pride, egotism, lack of mercy, small-mindedness, sensuality....all that points to me; all that pushes God and His rule away.

But the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a heart of human flesh, just like ours.  It feels the same emotions as we feel; yet His emotions were always appropriate and in order.  He had human passions just as we do; He thirsted, hungered; He even shuddered at the knowledge of the physical torment He would undergo!  Let this chalice pass!  Yet in this most human of fleshly hearts reigned the divine principle; God is God, and to Him we owe total obedience.  Not my will, but yours be done.  In the blessed humanity of Jesus, there was no inner war.  All was at peace; all was in harmony.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus is not a divided heart, as ours is; wanting God somewhat, but wanting our own way more.

Reflecting on all this, is it any wonder why Jesus would promise, that if someone took the Sacred Heart of Jesus as their devotion, He would give peace to their families?


This is an icon (theology in painting) believed by many to represent the Holy Trinity.  We're unsure of the iconographer, but it is believed to have been Andrei Rublev, many centuries ago.

The original depiction probably was the three angels who appeared to Abraham at the Terebinth (Oaks) of Mamre, to tell Abraham of Sarah's impending pregnancy (Gen 18:1).

But for centuries people have seen the Trinity depicted in this icon.  Theologically, we can hold on to both ideas.  Three angels visited Abraham, and angels always represent God, for, although God and His angels are completely separate beings, God's angels are His messengers and they say and do only what God commands them to say or do.  To look at an angel and hear his words is tantamount to seeing God and hearing His words.  The three angels could have been sent to represent the Three Divine Persons, relaying their message of joy intended for Abraham and Sarah.


Three persons, but one God.  So we must see indications of this unity in essence, in being  -  in this icon.

  • all 3 angels look more or less similar in over-all features : physical dimension, facial aspects, hair, halos, wings, clothing (an inner tunic and a cloak). 
  • all 3 wear a touch of blue, representing the blue heavens, the place of God
  • all three hold a staff, a sign of authority. God again!
  • all three form a kind of circle, or triangle, depending on your perspective.  Either way, all 3 make one geometric figure.

The Father (The Angel on the Left)

  • this angel (representing God the Father) holds His staff with both hands; full authority is with the Father.  That's what makes Him Father.  As Father, He is greater than the Son in terms of order and relation, but the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are equal in divinity, power, wisdom and so on.  This is why Jesus always said He obeyed His Father.
  • He is the only one of the three who is not touching the table.  The table represents creation.  God the Father never became man (the Son did); He never descended on humans (the Spirit did).  Though He is our creator and sustainer, the Father is above and beyond us.  Of all 3 persons, He is the most mysterious to us, though Christ solves that dilemma as we will see.  That is why the Church has always been cautious and reserved about making images of God the Father.
  • His blue is greatly reduced by an unusual, ethereal color in the cloak.  This points to the Father's more mysterious personality.  More of the blue is hidden, to signify the Father's more mysterious personality.
  • of the three, He appears the most independent.  He neither bows to the 2nd nor the 3rd angel.  His gaze is in their direction but somehow not strongly focused specifically on either.  This is the grandeur of the Father, who occupies first place as Father even within the Trinity.
  • behind Him is a house.  This represents the tent that Abraham built at Mamre, but let us also remember what Jesus said, "In my Father's house, there are many rooms."

The Son (The Middle Angel)

  • He wears two colors of equal amount; heavenly blue for His divinity and the reddish brown of the earth - His humanity.  A gold stripe from the shoulder on down represents His kingship.
  • He taps the table (creation) with two fingers. In Christ, God became man; He took on the nature of a creature.  But He did not lose His divinity in the process.  Two fingers, two natures : divine and human.  He "touches" the table and becomes one of us.
  • His fingers point in the direction of a cup; the chalice which represents His sacrifice.
  • Behind Him is a tree, perhaps the Oak of Mamre, but also signifying the cross.  Sin entered the world through eating the forbidden fruit of a tree in the Garden of Eden (Adam and Eve).  Salvation comes from Christ (New Adam) drinking the chalice of sacrifice while hanging on a tree (of the Cross).
  • At the Oak of Mamre, Abraham and Sarah were overjoyed upon hearing from the angels that they would have a son.  This son (Isaac) was born partly through nature and partly beyond nature, since Sarah was barren.  Jesus is the Son born partly through nature (He had a human mother) but also in a miraculous way - a virgin birth!  And Jesus is the cause of our joy.
  • He bows His head in the direction of the Father.  Christ loves and obeys His Father; He is the revelation of the Father (He who sees Me sees the Father) because Christ is the Word, the Logos of the Father.  Christ also comes from the Father - and thus is Son.  He nods towards the Father as if to say to us, "Look at me, and I will point you in the direction of My Father."

The Spirit (The Angel on the Right)

  • He wears divine blue, but is also clothed in green, the color of life.  The Holy Ghost is the life of the Church.  When the soul leaves a body, the body dies.  When the Holy Ghost came upon the Church on Pentecost, the Church came alive!  Pentecost is the birthday of the Church.
  • He touches the table with His finger.  The Holy Ghost descended on the Church.  He is the Sanctifier.
  • Behind Him is a mountain.  God appears on mountains.  Think of Moses and Mt Sinai.  Our Lord and Mt Tabor (Transfiguration).  Though disguised by blood and spittle, God is nailed to a cross on Mt Calvary.  God is the meeting place of God and man.  It is the Holy Ghost who sanctifies us, who brings us to God.  When Elijah was on a mountain, he did not perceive God in the violent earthquake, howling wind or fierce fire, but only in the gentle breeze.  This is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of love and peace.
  • He bows His head towards the two figures on the left.  This is because the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.  He is the love between the Father and the Son.  It can also be said that He points slightly more in the direction of the middle angel.  The Spirit leads us to Christ, who in turn leads us to the Father.

Notice how the scene, though forming a circle or triangle, also opens up to you, the viewer.  There is an empty space in the middle, towards the bottom.  A place where you or I may sit.

You and me - miserable, sinful creatures!  Made of flesh and blood, which dies and decays.  Burdened with the guilt of so many sins.  Yet, God made us for Him.  To know, love and serve Him, and be somewhat happy in this life and perfectly happy in the next life.

Jesus said, "Those who love Me will keep My word, and My Father will love them; and We will come to them and make Our home with them."  We are being invited to become part of God's divine family, as adopted children of the Father, through the rebirth by water and the Holy Ghost, made possible by the suffering, death and resurrection of God-made-man, Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life."

Some graces are necessary for our state of life.

The graces I need to become a better priest will differ from the graces you need to become a better spouse, or parent, or single person in the Church.

Even among priests, the necessary graces sometimes differ.  A teaching priest needs some graces that a pastor may not need as much, and vice versa.

Your specific family situation differs from many others.  You need some very specific graces for your state of life.

God's care for His children, giving them the things they need, is called Providence.

There are two kinds of divine providence.  The first is ordinary providence.  Our normal means of obtaining this is prayer and the sacraments.

But there is also extraordinary providence; special favors, special graces.  As they are more precious gems, Our Lord seeks stronger prayer, more intent supplication concerning them.  This is where Devotion to the Sacred Heart comes in. 

Just as a child who seeks a greater favor from a parent appeals to the mother or father's deepest reserves of love for the child, when we are in need of special graces for our state of life, we go to the Heart that beats with perfect love for us; the Heart that was pierced for us; the Heart that drained Itself of every drop of blood and water on the cross.

Nothing pleases God more than to be approached as the most generous, most sacrificing and most powerful God that He is.  If we treat God as stingy; as uncaring; as inattentive to our plight; we do not knock on the doors of His willing Heart.  Therefore, there is a special promise to those who beg of the Sacred Heart, the reservoir of God's infinite supply of graces.  They will obtain those graces necessary for their state of life.


Benedict XVI
Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter

Every day for the last few days I've been reading sad and depressing news about people betraying the trust of the Holy Father.  They are also letting down Christ and His Church.  So I wanted to dedicate all our prayers, and the Holy Sacrifice, for the Holy Father.  We are still in Pentecost time.  The Holy Ghost is our Comforter.  May He fill the Pope's heart with courage and consolation.  When He was installed as Pope, he asked people to pray that he may not run away when the wolves come.  The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.