Thursday, December 06, 2012
But it occurs to me, as I speak and deal with people both within and without the Church, that ignorance is not an atheist thing or merely the domain of those who hate the Catholic Church. Ignorance abounds everywhere and there's more than enough for all to share in it.
The external attacks I can fathom but it's the internal attacks I find repugnant.
Many pastors, preachers and those who occupy positions of great authority are also often wrapped in a fog of ignorance of common (okay, maybe not so common) facts and figures, especially about the faith which they are supposed to be preachers of, the faith they are supposed to hand over unstained to the next generation.
Whence comes this ignorance? What is taught in the places of formation, when basic Catholic doctrine and practice is unknown by those who are supposed to be it's guardians and teachers?
There are always those who seem too clever and cocksure in their new fangled ideas and modern opinions, who deride the traditional piety of the simple. They often embrace all sorts of ideas, no matter how outrageous, as long as it's not Tradition, not the old and honoured and venerable belief.
What they say is often very harmful to the faith and piety of simple Churchgoers, the Sheep of Christ. And the worse thing is, there's no particular motive to cast doubts and aspersions on the elements of faith and piety except to appear smart and intellectual before the people. But wait, there's more. The worst part is, most of these doubts are unfounded or based or shoddy scholarship and archaeological nonsense that masqueraded as scholarship in the 60s and 70s and were taught to these folks in the 80s and perpetuated by those in power and authority to this day. But modern scholarship has debunked most of these myths and provided explanations that often supports the traditional beliefs. Why don't these people buck up and update their knowledge constantly as is their duty as teachers and pastors?
How I despise them. Yes, hatred is not a Christian virtue but I can see the immense spiritual harm that this attitude has caused and great anger fills my heart when I ponder the damage done and the damage that continues to be done.
I try to ascribe a Christian and good motivation to these but sometimes I just see malice.
When, O Lord, will relief come?
Friday, November 30, 2012
I think old age and the 'realities' of the world can tend to make the most bright eyed and optimistic of us jaded and cynical. It was with this mentality that I laughed, rather loudly, when several of my young friends, with not a lot of fishing experience and on their first joint fishing trip together, brought along a bucket. The bucket of course, they said, was for the fish. For the fish!. They actually expected to catch some fish!
My amusement was indeed great and I spoke about young kids being naive and optimistic. I was young too, once, and optimistic with a touch of naivete. I ventured, as an experienced fisherman, to teach one chap how to fish and how to feel a bite and reel it in. To my great amazement and shock, the chap actually caught a fish. It was indeed a small measly thing and they decided to just cut the line and leave the hook in the fish's mouth as it swam in the bucket, but there it was, an actual legitimately caught fish, swimming there. There were others who were fishing there was well, aside from our young company, and most gave up after a while and none caught anything that I saw. Most were just giving the fish a buffet as oftentimes, the hooks came back minus the bait. I was still reeling from amazement from this catch when the same young chap caught ANOTHER fish. It soon joined it's companion in the bucket, swimming there obliviously, with a hook in it's mouth too.
I gained an invaluable lesson from this. The Lord had obviously deigned to teach me. I remember having loudly proclaimed that I'd jump into the sea ( a serious promise indeed for one who cannot swim) if each of the 3 fellas caught a fish. Well, only one of them caught anything and it was 2 fish, but still... The lesson I learned was that sometimes, we should shed our cynicism and just be more optimistic and trustful of Providence and the HOPE that optimism brings with it. We just need to see the world in all it's possibilities through the eyes of those who have not been so disappointed by the realities of the world as to abandon earthly hope.
Indeed, I'll always remember those 2 fish (which were fed to a stray cat, hooks and all, I was told) because they stand as the symbol of hopes fulfilled and the simple yet great joys that a realized hope brings. As the season of Advent approaches and we hope for the Second Coming of Our Lord, I am now refreshed and filled with great hopes of the boundless joy that His Coming will bring. Maranatha.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
There are so many problems and they are all tied together. What do I see as the thread linking all these social issues? I think it's the hedonism and self centeredness which now permeates most of the Western and developed countries. Watching the celebrations of HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, I noticed that it was themed on duty, honour and service.
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. - Princess Elizabeth, Speech on her 21st birthday in South Africa
Now these themes are not alien to Asian and Confucian culture and was an intrinsic part of many western nations as well. It's embodied in the ideals of the Catholic priesthood and the military services such as the Marines and the SAS. It was seen as an ideal, a good to be strived for.
Starting from the 60s and that decadent generation of addle brained drug users, culture changed and the public good, the good of others began to be eclipsed by 'what's in it for me'. JFK's memorable quote of 'ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country' seemed to be the ethos of another time.
Let's look at the impact of this hedonism. First of all, many many developed countries are committing IMHO, cultural suicide. The low birth rates stem from the seeking of self pleasure, a contraceptive mentality and also a desire not to be tied down by children so that one can enjoy one's own resources and spend it on one's own pleasure alone. The contraceptive mentality is one where pleasure has not responsibility. In our own day, abortion is now used as a form of contraception and of social engineering. It's the poor, the black babies and the Hispanics that are most aborted in the US. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood was a eugenicist and her legacy remains to this day.The leaky rubber abortions are the result of the myth of the full proof effectiveness of barrier contraceptives.No one wants to take responsibility for their actions.
The result? Migrants from Africa and the Middle East will populate these desolate and declining lands. Singapore, on our doorstep, has seen an influx of immigrants from the Mainland because of the stupid one child policy. And now, efforts to undo it's effects are not very effective because of the hedonistic culture there.
It's the same with euthanasia. How long before those elderly and sick are gently encouraged to euthanize themselves or are declared by their doctors, starved of resources, as candidates for euthanasia? Abortion is now used to cull humanity of various genetic diseases such as Down's Syndrome or even such things as a cleft palate. We want designer babies. Sigh.
It's the logical conclusion of a materialist view of the universe where humans are nothing special, just slightly more evolved animals. No biggie.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I remember just observing the most moving of Rites, such as the Washing of the Feet and kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament as the procession made its way to the Altar of Repose, the procession and unveiling of the Holy Cross during Good Fri, the blessing of the Easter Fire and the Paschal Candle, the baptisms of the elect etc. Now, it's a nervous attempt to ensure that everything flows well.
A conductor can't really enjoy music. And a proof reader finds it hard to enjoy a good read. There's always the technical side of a certain piece of music that a conductor hears that distracts him, likewise the proof reader casts a critical eye on the use of words, seeing ways of improving the text. I guess it's the same for MC's. The liturgy becomes more of something to get right than a transcendent act to immerse oneself in.
Sigh. I wish I could go back to those simple days. Anyone feel the same way?
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
It was certainly a solemn celebration, with the Gloria making a welcome comeback, to the ringing of bells. 12 men were chosen for the washing of the feet as the photos above depict. Our himility was MC and assisting the priest.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
At it's heart, I think, is the summary that if there really is only One God, as we profess in the Creed each Sunday, then there can be no other gods or deities or what have you. I am saddened to see that this simple piece of logic is very unpopular in the local Church. Such is the dictatorship of relativism.
The letter than began it: http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/True-God-versus-Fake-God-11074-11-1.html
True God versus Fake GodPublished on: March 17, 2012 at 13:25 PMDear Editor,
Religious Educators in the Catholic Church especially in Seremban, must be more sensitive that Malaysia is a melting pot of race, religion and creed, hence the theme 1Malaysia.
The problem with the religious education system in the Catholic church today is that people who run the system do not see the world as a boundary-less place where religion is a personal choice and sometimes shared in different ways, especially in a multi-cultural society with more and more mixed marriages.
Unfortunately, not many couples are as ‘lucky’ as these educators, where both parents are Catholics.
These educators must know that in many circumstances, a lot of give and take happens in the household when one partner is a Catholic and the other is not.
It’s time we accept that there is a need for us to ensure the right people are interacting and imparting our children with the right norms and beliefs of our religion. No religion in this world is partial to any other and God is for all. Worship is in many forms manifested by each belief’s practices. Little knowledge can be dangerous and we seem to have these shallow “teachers” guiding some very impressionable minds.
Voluntary services by unqualified people should not be encouraged because they need to learn that there are many situations out there where the Catholic partner sometimes struggles to bring the children up as Catholics.
Making general statements that Jesus is the only true God in the world for a 9 year old child whose father is not a Catholic can be detrimental to the family dynamics.
There are better ways to make these children understand that there are many religions in the world and because we are Catholics, we accept without question the fact that Jesus is God, but there are many other beliefs and it is wrong to label other people’s faith as fake.
My parents taught me to respect every single religion in the world. There are many members in my family who entered into mixed marriages and we have never had a problem with accepting how the other worshipped God.
My deepest wish is for the Catholic Church to have qualified people teaching our children about the faith.
There is only one God and salvation comes through ChristPublished on: March 30, 2012 at 17:11 PMDear Editor,
I read with great sadness the letter titled True God versus Fake God.The Holy Father’s address on the Dictatorship of Relativism immediately came to mind, because the writer sees religion not as revealed, objective truth, but merely ‘a personal choice’. It saddens me that the writer was not properly formed in her faith since simple truths such as the Church’s teaching of Christ as the sole Saviour of mankind and the fact that for Christians, Jesus Christ is indeed the ‘only True God’ can be construed as being ‘detrimental to the family dynamics’. Somehow, it escapes many Catholics that if there is indeed only One God, as we profess in the Creed each Sunday, then there can be no others.The wisdom of the Church in discouraging mixed marriages is once again shown when the writer speaks of the absence of absolute truth in such marriages, where each parent is free to believe in their own fairy tale as long as it makes them feel good and family peace is preserved.The struggles of the Catholic partner in mixed marriages to ‘bring the children up as Catholics’ as they promised in their marriage vows (together with fidelity to their spouse to the moment of death) really should serve as an eye opener to those who are serious about their faith and who are considering a mixed marriage.
I am sad, that in this same relativistic world, where black can be white and white can be black simultaneously, where there can be only One God and yet other deities too, poor catechists who try to impart the Catholic faith are labelled as ‘insensitive’.
In our time, to teach the Catholic faith on the Church’s own understanding is ‘wrong’ because people’s feelings can get hurt. That makes me weep. If the 9-year-old child can understand that Jesus is God, the way, the truth and the life, then all other deities and ways must be false shows the intelligence of children who are the great hope of the Church and the future. It also speaks volumes about the failure of catechesis in our local Church that such simple truths cannot be grasped by adults, but are now considered insensitive and should be discarded.
The courageous catechists who continue to teach the faith should be applauded and encouraged for their thankless task. In God’s time, it is my fondest hope that these children will rekindle the spark of faith in their parents and the wider Catholic Church in Malaysia.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
On the morning of April 2nd, 2005, I awoke to the news of Pope John Paul II's passing.In my room, in front of the television, I had kept watch, with the crowd in St. Peter's until the wee hours of the morn, until sleep finally took me. When I woke up, it was all over. He was gone. In those moments of grief with the TV showing the crowds making their way into the square, praying the rosary and clapping for their Pope, I sat down at my computer and penned this . I would like to share this with you as we commemorate the 2nd anniversary of his death.Early on Sunday morning, humanity awoke to a world that was a little colder and a little darker as a shining beacon of light and warmth was no more. For those who have monitored his health, the death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II should not have come as a surprise. Yet, many were shocked for we secretly hoped that this man, who survived an assassination, a broken femur, dislocated shoulder, neural disease, removal of a tumour and parts of his digestive tract and numerous hospitalizations would once again triumph over his current health ailments and once again greet us as he has always done, with a word or a gesture from the window of his Apostolic Apartments. Yet, in the recesses of our our hearts, we knew that this was not to be. The LORD would not test his servant beyond his endurance.
Hundreds of millions the world over mourned his passing. Many among the multitudes were young people. This has never ceased to amaze. In a world that glorifies youth and beauty, physical perfection and vitality, indifference to the truth and a 'whatever is fine with you is fine with me' attitude, stands this man. He was old and ailing, in declining health and unable to move, his words slurred and difficult to understand, a man clearly in pain.
In our culture, he should be hidden away, out of sight in an old folks home, left to die alone lest he should be seen and jar us out of our fantasy of youth and beauty. Yet, millions of the young people knew he loved them. He truly did. Not just paying lip service, but truly loving them with the love of Christ. And we loved him too. He loved us enough to tell us the truth, the whole truth even though he knew that it was hard for us to understand and accept it for it requires of us a radical conversion, a change of lifestyle to truly conform to Christ. Yet, he told us nonetheless and showed by his shining example how to live out this truth in our lives.
In the Church there are many bishops, priests, nuns and catechists who are watering down the Faith to make it more 'hip' and more acceptable, fearing to proclaim it in its fullness with many not knowing it themselves, and then wondering why so many do not believe, tinkling with the liturgy to 'update' it, and then wondering where the reverence for God has gone, never speaking of vocations, living out the fullness of their vocations or inviting the young to live a life of total commitment in imitation of Christ and wondering at the falling number of priests and religious.
Yet, in Rome, despite the infidelity of the many priests and bishops, stands this man who 'holds and teaches the Faith that comes down to us from the Apostles' in its entirety. Yes, even the hard parts about sexuality, morality and the salvation that is in Christ alone that Holy Mother Church has ever proclaimed. In a world of relativism, he speaks of objective Truth and the inherent dignity of man, derived from being made in God's image and likeness, apart from his wealth and status, his health, beauty or the quality of his life, from the moment of conception to natural death.
In a rapidly changing world where the only constant is change, he plants his Faith in that immovable Rock of Salvation, Jesus the Christ, Son of God and God the Son who is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He assures us that in God's Kingdom, even if the whole world rejects the Truth, it would still be true. Our elders may never grasp this perhaps because for them, he is just a Pope, one among the many who have steered the Barque of Peter. But for us young people, he is the Pope, the only one we have ever known. And more than that, he is OUR Pope, who loves us and we respond to that love by loving him. He is our Father and Teacher and above all, a dear friend. By his life and teaching, he has taught us how to live, by his suffering, he has taught us how to carry our cross and walk in the footsteps of our Saviour, Christ Jesus and by his death, he has taught us how to surrender ourselves to the Will of our God and how to die.
So, in our grief, we mourn his passing. We mourn not for him who is in bliss and for whose homecoming the heavens rejoice but for ourselves because of whom we have lost. We feel the pain and loss of the Apostles when their Lord and Teacher died. But just as He rose again, we too believe that Pope John Paul II will rise again to be with us in the company of the martyrs and angels and all the holy men and women of God when the Lord Jesus comes again on the Last Day. We thank the LORD for freeing this man, who had to much to say and so much Truth to proclaim, but could not speak, so many places to go to spread the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ but could not move, so much to do, yet had not the strength, for freeing this man from the prison that his body had become so his Spirit could soar.
We thank the LORD our God for giving us the gift of this man, for his life and for his teaching, for his joy and his faith but most of all, for his love, in which we see a glimmer, darkly, as through a glass, of the pure and true Love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Pope John Paul II has always asked us to be not afraid. He has now gone forth unafraid into the presence of the Lord whom he faithfully served. He has always exhorted us to open wide the doors to Christ. May the Lord Jesus Christ now throw wide open the Gates of Heaven for his good and faithful servant. Throughout his life, Pope John Paul II has sought to follow the Lord Jesus and imitate him. May the Lord Jesus show him His face and let His Countenance shine on Him and speak to him the words that all of us hope to hear, "Come good and faithful servant, to the reward that has been prepared for you before the foundation of the world".
Farewell, dear Father. May the Angels lead you into Paradise. May the Martyrs receive you at your coming and take you to Jerusalem, the Heavenly City. May the Choirs of the Angels receive you, and may you, with the once poor Lazarus, have rest everlasting.
Of course, it did not end there. The Sacred College of Cardinals went on to elect Pope John Paul's good friend and collaborator, the man he called from Bavaria to serve him as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for so many years. I can't help but think the the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II would be greatly pleased by this, that his friend has been elected to succeed him and carry on the work of shepherding Christ's people. I am always reminded of this image, of the Cross being passed on to Cardinal Ratzinger, as one Pope to another. In all our trials and worries about the Church, we have to remember that it is Christ's Church and it is He who guides it through the tempests of time until if finally comes to rest in the harbour of eternity.
I hope you have enjoyed these thought of mine and do please share your on thoughts with me as we commemorate this great man who for many years served as our Father on earth, through whom we get a glimpse of the Eternal Father in Heaven from Whom all Fatherhood springs.
O Blessed Trinity,
We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is
the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints.
In his day, the Servant of God, His Holiness Pope John Paul II was not above browsing the pages on this humble blog, although your scribe's request to have a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, attached to a visit exceeding one minute was forwarded to the Apostolic Penitentiary and lost in the paperwork. So, Your Holiness, Pope Benedict, if you're reading this, how about it, eh?
For Don Stanislaw's memories of that day, see here.
Blessed Pope John Paul II holds a special place in my heart and in the hearts of millions around the world who took great inspiration from him and looked to him as an example of personal holiness and sanctity. On this anniversary of JPII crossing the threshold of hope, I'm re-posting 2 posts whose images have brought back so many dear memories for me.
I love our German Shepherd Pope Benedict and long may he reign. His stewardship of the Church has brought about many many many many positive changes. At every Mass, with the new translations, with pro multis, etc I give thanks to almighty God for this Pope. It's with great hope that I look forward to the continuing development of this pontificate and its legacy (Summorum, Anglicanorum et al) which will continue to resound in the Church for generations, but, JPII will always be the image that comes to my mind when someone says 'Pope'.
The following is a repost from a few years ago. I hope the images will bring back some memories for you too.
Today, Zenit published an excerpt of Don Stanislaw Dziwisz's book, A Life with Karol.
Now the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Dziwisz was secretary to Pope Pope John Paul II for over 40 years. This excerpt touches on the moments surrounding the death of the Pope. Reading that brought back memories for me as well. I still remember vividly what I was doing when I heard the news.
For your readers out there, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news of Pope John Paul's passing? Any memories that you would like to share?
If you do, go ahead and leave a comment.
Perhaps these photos from my collection will refresh your memories of this great man who was so faithful to prayer, and the events and ceremonies surrounding his death.
At the Death of John Paul II
"A Life With Karol" is the title of the volume, written by journalist Gian Franco Svidercoschi, former deputy director of L'Osservatore Romano.
The volume was recently released in Italy and will be published by Doubleday for the English-speaking world. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 35.
* * *
It was 9:37 p.m. We realized that the Holy Father had stopped breathing; however, just in that moment we saw in the monitor that his great heart, after having beaten for some instants, had stopped. Dr. Buzzonetti bent over him and, raising his gaze slightly, mused: "He has passed to the House of the Lord." Someone stopped the hands of the clock at that hour.
We, as if deciding all together, began to sing the Te Deum, not the Requiem, because it wasn't mourning, but the Te Deum, in thanksgiving to the Lord for the gift he had given us, the gift of the person of the Holy Father, of Karol Wojtyla.
We wept. How could one not weep![Andrew: Weep? I was bawling like a baby. I expected it, but still, when the moment came...
Looking at him lying there, lifeless, who was once so alive. Yes, I wept too. Like Father Neuhaus, the only thing that came to my mind was gratitude, and all that I could say through my tears were 'Thank you, Holy Father, thank you.']
They were, at once, tears of sorrow and joy. Then all the lights of the house were turned on. Darkness came over me, within me. I knew that it had happened, but it was as if, afterwards, I refused to accept it, or I refused to understand it. I placed myself in the Lord's hands, but as soon as I thought by heart was at peace, the darkness returned.
Until the moment of farewell arrived.
There were all those people, all the important people who had come from afar. But, above all, there were his people, his young people. There was a great light in St. Peter's Square, and then the light also returned within me.
The homily over, Cardinal Ratzinger made that reference to the window, and said that he was surely there, seeing us, blessing us.
I also turned around, I could not but turn around, but I didn't look up there. At the end, when we reached the doors of the basilica, those who carried the coffin turned it slowly, as though enabling him to have one last look at the square, his final farewell to men, to the world.
Also his last farewell to me? No, not to me. At that moment, I wasn't thinking of myself. I lived that moment along with many others, and we were all shaken, distressed, but for me it was something I shall never be able to forget. Meanwhile, the cortege was entering the basilica; they were to take the coffin to the tomb.
Then, precisely at that moment, I began to think: I have accompanied him for almost 40 years, first 12 in Krakow, then 27 in Rome. I was always with him, by his side. Now, at the moment of death, he walked alone. And this fact, my not being able to accompany him, pained me much.
Yes, all this is true, but he has not left us. We feel his presence, and also so many graces obtained through him.[Translation by ZENIT. Published with permission of Rizzoli International Publishers]
Though Pope John Paul has gone to his reward, I was still devastated. The Church had just lost Her earthly shepherd.
But God did not abandon his people and in due time, came the news of great joy.
And this man, Pope John Paul's faithful collaborator for so many years, came to impart his blessing from the great Loggia of St. Peter's.
He, who had stood so many times at the side of his friend, had now taken his seat as Successor to St. Peter, the Apostle and Vicar of Christ on Earth.I rejoiced, and the world rejoiced too.
Although with the current state of the Church, even if one is tempted just to shrug and entrust everything to Providence, we must always remember that the Holy Spirit is always at work within Her, guiding Her way. We remember the promise of Christ, Her Head, that come what may, be they liberals, communists, fundamentalist Muslims or the Blair government, the Gates of Hades shall NOT prevail. In that promise, I take comfort.
As for His Holiness, the Servant of God Pope John Paul the Great, I remember him not only as he was in death.
But as he was in life. I will let his example and teachings continue to inspire me in my journey of faith and I will walk along the narrow path with his words ringing in my ears, come what may, 'Be not afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ!'.
PS: I'm really really jealous of this kid. What I wouldn't give to be in his shoes. =)