Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mother Teresa's 'Dark Night'.

Just in time for the anniversary of her birth, the news services were reporting the story of the publication of a book of letters written by Mother Teresa. According to the reports, this book will show that she was plagued by doubts and possibly a loss of faith throughout most of her life.
The reasoning behind the secular media publishing these reports now are obvious, of course.They'll look for any excuse to cast doubt in God's existence and even better....in their view....if they can discredit a holy person and the Catholic church all in one fell swope. Some even supposed that this new information could put her canonization in jeopardy.
When an email was sent to me regarding the book, I realized right away that Mother Teresa had been under-going what is known in spiritual circles as "the dark night of the soul". Further reading of comments from Church leaders confirmed what I had thought.
Using the "logic" of those inclined to believe "The Da Vinci Code", one would think the Catholic Church would have suppressed the letters, but it was Father Brian Kolodiejchuk -the head of those pushing for her sainthood- that insisted on saving the letters and publishing them.
The book is due to be released in September. At present, Time Magazine has exclusive rights to excerpts.Their online article can be found here.
A good understanding of the Catholic Church's view can be found in this article from Zenit.

Monday, May 07, 2007

My prayer life....cont.

The month of May has brought about a small change in regards to my prayer life.Saturday,being the first Saturday of the month,we went to the regular Fatima prayer and we prayed the Rosary at home Sunday...the first time in over a month.Maybe things are turning around.With my new work schedule and the possibility that my wife will start a new job may make it more difficult to pray the Rosary together daily, but I'm sure we can pray it as a family on the weekends.
Still,planning my meditation times around my infant son remains a challenge.Even though my new schedule has changed how and when we can do the Rosary and meditation, I'm able to attend Mass every Sunday and can receive the Eucharist and for that, I'm grateful.

Monday, April 30, 2007

My prayer life.

April has not been a good month for me in terms of keeping up my prayer life.While we were in Philippines,it was easy enough doing my morning meditation;I'm an early riser,so the house was always quiet enough.The afternoon meditation was different.There were always people roaming about....the T.V.,radio.There was far too much noise and I couldn't bring myself to ask someone to be quiet in their own home.I was the visitor.We did even worse in keeping up the Rosary.That was most surprising to me since we were in a Catholic home.It should have been easy to find time before bed for that,but we did not say the Rosary once while we were in Dumaguete.
We haven't done better here at home since our return.My work schedule has changed and so has my sleep pattern.The difficulty lies in not being able to get a 1 1/2 year old child to be quiet at the right times.
Now that my work schedule has changed, we no longer pray the Rosary before going to bed at night.Every day I think this will be the day we get back to doing it properly.So far,it hasn't.Maybe putting this down will be the push that I need.
I hope so.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Thanks to God and His servant, Saint Jude Thaddeus, the passport arrived in time and we left for Dumaguete as planned.It will be difficult for me to write in three blogs while I'm here so I will only write in sorryalltheclevernamesaretakenfor the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Saint Jude Thaddaeus

There's been some many delays and contradictory stories concerning my son's passport that I felt a need to appeal to the patron saint of lost causes.St. Jude Thaddeus is known as the patron saint of desperate causes. He is believed to be able to intervene in such cases and create miraculous solutions. Novenas (prayer services) are often dedicated and/or directed to St. Jude.The following is a popular prayer to St. Jude:

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ
be adored, glorified, loved,
and preserved throughout the world,
now and forever.
Sacred Heart of Jesus,pray for us.
St. Jude, helper of the helpless,
pray for us.
St. Jude, worker of miracles,
pray for us.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Seven Sorrows Devotion


The Seven Sorrows Devotion

The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the
souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Mary's
and meditating on her tears and dolors. The devotion
was passed on by St. Bridget.


1. I will grant peace to their families.
2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.
3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany
them in their work.
4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does
not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the
sanctification of their souls.
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they
will see the face of their Mother.
7. I have obtained (This Grace) from my divine Son, that those
who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will
be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness
since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will
be their eternal consolation and joy.


1. The prophecy of Simeon: "And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed" (Luke II: 34-35).

Meditation: How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son. Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.

2. The flight into Egypt: "And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod" (Matt. II: 13-14).

Meditation: Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry! But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.

3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple: "And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him" (Luke II: 43-45).

Meditation: How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing. Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins, and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.

4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross: "And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him" (Luke XXIII: 27).

Meditation: Come, O ye sinners, come and see if ye can endure so sad a sight. This Mother, so tender and loving, meets her beloved Son, meets Him amid an impious rabble, who drag Him to a cruel death, wounded, torn by stripes, crowned with thorns, streaming with blood, bearing His heavy cross. Ah, consider, my soul, the grief of the blessed Virgin thus beholding her Son! Who would not weep at seeing this Mother's grief? But who has been the cause of such woe? I, it is I, who with my sins have so cruelly wounded the heart of my sorrowing Mother! And yet I am not moved; I am as a stone, when my heart should break because of my ingratitude.

5. The Crucifixion: "They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, He saith to His Mother: Woman: behold thy son. After that he saith to the disciple: Behold thy Mother" (John XIX: l8, 25-27).

Meditation: Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Saviour's form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was like to have left the body and joined itself to that of Jesus.

6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross: "Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen" (Mark XV: 43-46).

Meditation: Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalen and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear her sorrow.

7. The burial of Jesus: "Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand" (John XIX: 41-42).

Meditation: Consider the sighs which burst from Mary's sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Novena of Rosaries

While I believe that the continued practice of contemplative prayer along with regularly receiving the Eucharist will fill your soul and your awareness with the Holy Spirit, I believe I may have sinned in assuming that, because of this increased presence, I would receive everything I wanted.Everything that I have is a gift from God but it is He who determines which gifts I receive.As a penance I will be doing a novena of rosaries. I already pray the rosary with my wife every evening, but for the next nine mornings, after my first meditation, I will pray the complete 20 Mysteries each day as well.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dominique's Way of the Cross photos

I was visiting one of my favorite blogs today.... villageidiotsavant written by a Filipino named Dominique Cimafranca.His most recent entry was about his visit to San Juan Bautista Church south of Metro Manila.He posted a link to photos he took of gigantic reliefs of the Stations of the Cross on the church grounds.I was so impressed by the photos that I sent the link to a number of my friends.I've put the link here.... Dominique's Way of the Cross photos.
I wanted to include one of his photos here, but, I couldn't download it so, I put in this painting of the crowning with thorns by Hieronymus Bosch

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sunday Mass

It may seem an odd subject for a Meditation blog, but this entry will be about my work schedule.For more than eleven years, the company I work for has tried to maintain a 24/7 work schedule using alternating 12 hour shifts to do this with as little overtime pay as possible.As a result, there's been 4 shifts...A,B,C and D and we've had to work an odd rotating schedule.So, for eleven years I've had to work every other weekend with alternating weekends off.For about two years we've been having to take extra days off due to slow business but these off days were either on Monday or Friday.I didn't want to work Sundays and miss Mass and it seemed crazy to me that with our short-time schedule that we've have to work on that day.Now, after praying for it regularly,our schedule has been changed starting April 2nd.I'll be working Monday thru Friday and I can finally attend Sunday Mass every week.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Catholic Home Study Service

Lent is a time for spiritual renewal.This week, the first week in Lent,our parish has had the privilege of hearing a series of talks given by the Director of Catholic Home Study Service, Fr.Oscar Lukefafr;C.M..According to their website,Catholic Home Study Service (CHSS), is sponsored by the Vincentian community and the Missouri Knights of Columbus and has been offering free courses on the Catholic Faith for more than sixty years. There are currently seven courses available with an eighth to be added soon.These free courses are available not only in the United States but a number of other countries as well.I would recommend these books to any Catholic wishing to have a better understanding of the Church's teachings.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stations of the Cross

In our parish,we have Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent.Normally, my job prevents me from attending each week.My regular schedule requires me to work on alternate Fridays and I can't go the days I work.For several months, we've been off work every Friday because business has been slow.I was expecting to be able to go to church every Friday this time, but as luck would have it, now that Lent has arrived, the manager has changed the work schedule.....again. Now, he's returned it the "normal" schedule and I can only attend the Stations on alternate Fridays, as before.
If we can go to Philippines according to plan,we'll be in Dumaguete during Holy Week and we can do Via Crucis the way it should be done.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Looking back,I see my father as the strongest influence on my Catholicism.It was he who sent us to the nuns to learn the catechism.He took us to confession every Saturday and Mass every Sunday.
But,it's odd.....he never took us to midnight Mass at Christmas or Mass on Ash Wednesday.Today is Ash Wednesday and I can't imagine not going to Mass .My wife will be there with me and we will take our son.Was my father too busy with work then or did he not appreciate the significance of the day?Some many things I want to ask him but can't.
All I can do now is pray for him and for my mother.He's been dead nearly forty years....my mother, almost twenty seven years.
Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The most important thing

Commenting on my previous post on Sr. Lucia, Oberon asks,"What is the most important thing?".If I were to confine my answer to a one sentence response I would say the most important thing is developing your relationship with God.There are certainly several paths available and I'm not going to argue which one is the best for everyone but instead write about what I feel is the best way for me.
Number one is receiving the Eucharist on a regular basis.
Twice- daily Meditation and daily Rosary are important.
Attending not only Mass on Sunday but on Holy Days of Obligation is something I strive to do.
Reading is high on my list as well....not only the Bible, but writings by a wide variety of religious and philosophical writers.
"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sr. Lucia

Two years ago, in February,2005 I was reading the memoirs of Sister Lucia of Fatima.At the time, she was 97 years old.She died on Feb.13th while I was reading the first volume,.I'm not sure why it was that I was so interested in reading about Fatima or why I had ordered the two volumes But,I probably would not have noticed her passing had I not been reading her memoirs at that time.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Saint Bernadette

It was February 11,1858 when the Virgin Mary first appeared to 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous.Most of us are reasonable familiar with the story of Lourdes.Today the place where Our Lady of Lourdes appeared is a shrine and a place of pilgrimage for millions.As for the cures sought for there:

Excerpt taken from the Travel and Mission Notebook #113 by FJE
Told by in the Marian Collection (1991) by Brother Albert Pfleger
How Could an Unbeliever Persevere in His Disbelief? (I)
A group of Lutheran theologians from Eastern Germany published a proclamation in 1971 containing these lines filled with moving honesty:
“At Lourdes, Fatima and other Marian sanctuaries, impartial criticism is faced with supernatural facts, which have a close relation to the Virgin Mary, either because of the apparitions, or because of the miraculous graces obtained by her intercession. These facts defy any natural explanation. Until now, 1,200 of the cures that have taken place at Lourdes were recognized as scientifically inexplicable by medical doctors. Yet the Catholic Church has only declared miraculous 44 of them. For thirty years, 11,000 doctors, without distinction of religion or scientific opinions, had free access to the Office of Medical Observations. Therefore, a cure declared miraculous has the greatest possible guarantee.”

As for the photo......This is an actual photo of St.Bernadette as she appears today. Her body is on display in a chapel in Nevers, France.Most of us are unaware that her body was exhumed from the grave thirty yeras after she was buried and found to be incorrupt.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Prayer,Meditation and Multitasking

Faith,belief and a trust in God is a central part of my life.Meditation and prayer are daily activities and I like to spend time regularly reading something of a religious of philosophic nature.The Catholic church in this small southern town doesn't have daily morning masses....otherwise I'd adjust my schedule for that. But I do not live the life of a recluse....I have work to do and a family that I love very much.I use the word "multitasking" when writing about my daily activities but I'm not so sure that is the correct word. I try to get a lot done, but not all at the same time.I'm not happy with my present job and financial situation, so I'm busy all through the day on other projects.I'm forever looking for ways to improve the Dumaguete website and perhaps make a dollar or two with it.One blog cannot deal with all the interests I have so I have three......all requiring my attention on a regular basis.Now, I decided that the time has come for me to take another look at the novel that I set aside.One more job to do in an already busy day.I find myself asking for God's help putting this all together.Without this time spent with the Holy Spirit in meditation I would probably waste away into nothing.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thoughts on Lent

Ash Wednesday will be on February 21st this year.It is approaching very fast.....almost taking me by surprise.I realise,now,that I like Lent more than Advent.Some see Lent as a time of sacrifice because we must "give up" some little something during that time. I see it more as a renewal.I like the time of added prayers and meditation;perhaps increasing the time spend doing the Rosary and going to Mass more often.I enjoy the Christmas season,of course, but it has become too commercialised and often the "enjoyment" around us is forced.No one has figured out a way to make the Easter season as commercial as Christmas.The "Easter Bunny" doesn't have the same commercial success as "Santa".I guess,too, this due to the fact that the time preceding Easter is spent "sacrificing". The days immediately before Easter Sunday are concentrated on the Crucifixion.....not exactly the thing money makers want to think about.Lent and Holy Week are times of silence and contemplation....two of my favorite ways to pass the time.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A few thoughts on The Bhagavad Gita

Of all the books I've read,the Bhagavad Gita has had the greatest influence on my life.I've read the book countless times.I currently have three translations.....2 others are lost.The only other book that comes close to accurately describing the indescribable is "Cloud of the Unknowing".
To some,this may seem like a strange idea coming from a Catholic.Above all, I believe the Nicene Creed.I also believe that the "Person"we refer to as The Holy Spirit reveals itself to prophets and mystics of all religious traditions,although it is understood differently in each tradition.
The human mind cannot comprehend the Holy Spirit as it truly is .Each of us interprets it within our own cultural context.
As a mystic and contemplative,I can "feel"a connection between the Christian Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-and the Gita's Trinity of the three gunas-namely, sattva,rajas and tamas.
Is it a coincidence that the symbol for the word "Om" so much resembles the numeric symbol for three?
We should keep in mind that through meditation we do not "become" God as believed by some.We are simply allowing ourselves to drop the barriers and listen to God speaking to us.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Meditation and the Chaos Theory

Earlier this week, after a pleasant series of events, I wrote a positive and upbeat piece on immigration for another of my blogs. Later, a rather bitter comment was left, along with a link to the commenter’s web page. This particular web page told about some unfortunate events in this person’s life and he could not hide his resentment. It’s not my point to tell his story but to tell of my mental reaction.
After my meditation, my mind kept going back to the idea of something called “The Chaos Theory” or “The Butterfly Effect”. The theory comes from observations made by a meteorologist who concluded that it was impossible to accurately predict the weather because the smallest degree of difference in the beginning can mean a significant difference in the final results. It’s often illustrated with the idea of a butterfly moving his wings in Brazil can ultimately cause a typhoon in Indonesia (or prevent one, for that matter).
Very little is mentioned on the effect of this theory on religious or philosophical thought. Along with the idea of  Synchronicity,  the Chaos Theory shows the inter-connectedness of everything. Everything in our life situation is the result of actions or non-action taken in the past. The good things you enjoy today could not have turned out as they have had your life been any different previously. This includes the “bad” events as well as the “good”. Had anything happened differently I would not be married to my present wife nor would our child be here. (Even if we had met and married, things had to be the way there were for the child that was conceived to be conceived).
We can never know the end result of our actions. Only God can know that. That is another reason why we should have faith and trust in God and know that His way is best for us.
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