Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Pope's message to young Dutch Catholics

This message was delivered by the Pope last November 27 in the Netherlands. It is beautiful, simple and direct. (Via the Zenit News Agency)

"True Happiness Is Much Deeper: We Find It Only in Jesus"

Dear young Friends,

I would like to send my cordial greetings to you all, gathered in Nieuwegein for the First National Day of Young Catholics of the Netherlands. I greet Cardinal Adrianus Simonis, archbishop of Utrecht and president of the Bishops' Conference, and all the Dutch bishops, expressing deep appreciation for the organization of this propitious initiative. I would then like to thank the Werkgroep Katholieke Jongeren for its work in these years and the priests and lay people involved in the pastoral care of youth, who are following you in your reflection.

With this message, dear young people, I wish to make myself spiritually present among you and to assure you that I accompany you in prayer. I know that a great many of you took part in the world meeting at Cologne and it therefore gives me great joy that you now want to continue the experience that began with World Youth Day, involving others of your age who did not have the grace to take part in it. Holding today's meeting at the invitation of your bishops is a very beautiful sign for Dutch society: It means that you are not afraid to say that you are Christians and want to witness to it openly.

In fact, the deepest reason for your gathering together is to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ. This is how it was for those who took part in the recent World Youth Day, whose theme was: "We have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2). In the footsteps of the Magi, impelled by the yearning to seek the truth, young people from every corner of the earth met in Cologne to seek and worship God made Man, and then, transformed by their encounter with him and illumined by his presence, they returned to their country, like the Magi, "by another route" (Matthew 2:12). So it was that you returned to Holland, eager to communicate to one and all your rich experience, and today you want to share it with your peers.

Dear friends, Jesus is your true friend and Lord; enter into a relationship of true friendship with him! He is expecting you and in him alone will you find happiness.

How easy it is to be content with the superficial pleasures that daily life offers us; how easy it is to live only for oneself, apparently enjoying life! But sooner or later we realize that this is not true happiness, because true happiness is much deeper: We find it only in Jesus.

As I said in Cologne, "The happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy, has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth" (Address at the Poller Rheinwiesen Wharf, Aug. 18, 2005; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, Aug. 24, p. 4).

I therefore invite you every day to seek the Lord, who wants nothing more than for you to be truly happy. Foster an intense and constant relationship with him in prayer and, when possible, find suitable moments in your day to be alone in his company. If you do not know how to pray, ask him to teach you, and ask your heavenly Mother to pray with you and for you.

The recitation of the rosary can help you learn the art of prayer with Mary's simplicity and depth. It is important that you make participation in the Eucharist, in which Jesus gives himself for us, the heart of your life. He who died for the sins of all desires to enter into communion with each one of you and is knocking at the doors of your hearts to give you his grace.

Go to the encounter with him in the Blessed Eucharist, go to adore him in the churches, kneeling before the tabernacle: Jesus will fill you with his love and will reveal to you the thoughts of his Heart. If you listen to him, you will feel ever more deeply the joy of belonging to his Mystical Body, the Church, which is the family of his disciples held close by the bond of unity and love.

You will also learn, as the Apostle Paul says, to let yourselves be reconciled with God (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20). Especially in the sacrament of reconciliation, Jesus waits for you to forgive you your sins and reconcile you with his love through the ministry of the priest. By confessing your sins humbly and truthfully, you will receive the pardon of God himself through the words of his minister.

What a great opportunity the Lord has given us with this sacrament to renew ourselves from within and to progress in our Christian life! I recommend that you make good use of it all the time!

Dear friends, as I said to you above, if you follow Jesus, you will never feel lonely because you are part of the Church, which is a great family in which you can grow in true friendship with so many brothers and sisters in the faith scattered in every part of the world. Jesus needs you to "renew" contemporary society.

Take care to grow in the knowledge of the faith in order to be its authentic witnesses. Dedicate yourselves to understanding Catholic doctrine ever better: Even if at times in looking at it with the eyes of the world it may seem a difficult message to accept, in it is the answer that satisfies your basic questions.

Trust your pastors and guides, bishops and priests; become actively involved in the parishes, movements, associations and ecclesial communities to experience together the joy of being followers of Christ, who proclaims and gives truth and love. And truly impelled by his truth and love, you will be able, together with other young people who are seeking the true meaning of life, to build a better future for all.

Dear friends, I am close to you with my prayers. May you generously accept the call of the Lord, who holds up to you great ideals that can make your lives beautiful and full of joy. You can be certain of it: Only by responding positively to his appeal, however demanding it may seem to you, is it possible to find happiness and peace of heart.

May the Virgin Mary accompany you on this journey of Christian commitment, and may she help you in all your good resolutions.

With these sentiments, I cordially impart a special apostolic blessing to all of you who are gathered in Nieuwegein, as well as to those who accompany you with love and wisdom on your path of human and spiritual growth.

From the Vatican, Nov. 21, 2005

[Translation of the Dutch distributed by the Holy See]

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Theology of Kneeling

I just read this interesting article on the significance and necessity of kneeling in prayer by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Now, of course, our Pope Benedict XVI :) ). It is taken from his book Spirit of the Liturgy.

A Christmas message

Merry Christmas everyone! =) I just want to share with you this Christmas message from Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio. May we all have a blessed Christmas day. May the true meaning of Christmas enter our minds and hearts and inspire us to live like Christ in everything that we do every day of our lives.

The Meaning of Christmas
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

In the days of Caesar Augustus, an era of peace was established in the Mediterranean world after centuries of strife. But this peace was forged by the proud ambition of emperors and the edge of their armies’ swords.

Upon this stage appears a baby acclaimed as king by eastern dignitaries. Neither Caesar nor Herod will brook any rivals. So brutal hordes are sent to slay Him at birth, though He himself comes unarmed. The thugs are thwarted, but only for a season. For the royal child is laid in a manger, and the wood of the manger foreshadows the wood of the cross.

Caesar and Herod were bound to misunderstand Him. They climbed their way to the top, stepping on all who stood in their way. He emptied himself and plunged to the bottom, from the glory of heaven to the squalor of a stable. Pharaohs and Caesars strained towards immortality. Yet He who was Immortal by nature embraced mortality. The great ones of the world took every opportunity to exalt themselves. In the very act of being born, He humbled himself.

You would think that He would have chosen Rome or Athens as the place of his appearance. But He selects an obscure desert town in a dusty provincial outpost. Even in this humble spot, not even a seedy inn would make room for Him. So they had recourse to a cave, welcomed only by the animals. Isaiah said it well: “an ox knows its owner, and an ass its master’s manger; but Israel does not know, my people has not understood” (Is 1:2).

Everything was in fulfillment of Scripture. He was born in Bethlehem, a town whose name means “house of bread.” His crib was a manger, a feeding trough. But they did not understand that He was the Bread of Life. He was wrapped, like Solomon, in swaddling clothes (Wis 7:4-5), but they did not recognized him as the new King and embodiment of divine wisdom.

The only people who recognized Him were shepherds, the humblest in society, and Magi, the wisest. But most Israelites, like us, were neither very humble nor very wise, so they missed it. They especially missed this–that one of the birthday gifts was incense, used in the worship of gods. He was not only king, wise man, messiah, and savior–he was God incarnate.

How could Jews have believed this? God is infinite, invulnerable, omnipotent. What is more vulnerable, fragile, and helpless than an infant? Can the Eternal be born in time? Can the Divine Word be a child at the breast, incapable of speech? Can a mere teenage girl be the Mother of God?

It was just as hard for the pagans to believe it. For their philosophers had taught that God is spirit and the body is a prison. Salvation means liberation from the confines of the physical body. So the idea that a divine Savior would embrace human flesh just did not compute.

Love sometimes does strange things. It takes great risks and goes to extreme lengths that many would call foolish. On that first Christmas day, God’s foolishness was wiser than men, and his weakness was stronger than men. It took them all by surprise.

But this, of course, was part of God’s strategy. The element of surprise is critical in warfare. And Christmas was an act of warfare. In fact it was D-Day, the day of deliverance. The preparation had taken centuries, but now it was time for the Conqueror to land on enemy occupied territory. He came in humility, and would finish the conquest thirty years later by the greatest act of humility the world had ever seen.

“Peace on Earth, Good will towards men.” True peace can never be forged by steel, but only by love. It is the humble babe in the manger, not Caesar in his chariot, who is the real prince of peace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My baby's got a blog!

I'm very much delighted because my Pangga has just started blogging: Free Spirit.

Nice kaayo imu blog Ga! =) I hope you will go beyond your first post, hehehe.. =) I love you! =)

Pero I'm sad because she's leaving for Davao tonight to come home to her parents.... :( I'll miss her dearly. Pero sige lang baby, dali ra nang 10 days... =) I wish I could come with you. You know how much I would want to be with you, especially on Christmas day. =) And you know how much I love and miss Davao... =) Pwede isulod lang ko nimu sa imu bag? Hehe... I love you... =)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

C S. Lewis quote

I really like this quote by C. S. Lewis:

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

From the C S. Lewis Institute.

On a related note, I found this interesting review of the upcoming film Narnia from Decentfilms.com ("A site of film appreciation, information, and criticism informed by Christian faith.

Thomas Merton's Prayer of Abandonment

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld's Prayer of Abandonment

I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.


Have you heard of this amazing new (?) artist named Matisyahu?

His music is a fusion of rap and reggae, and his message is spiritual (He's Jewish). This particular song of his, I've been listening to for the nth time already. It's explosive, and the lyrics is especially beautiful:

King Without A Crown *

You're all that I have and you're all that I need
Each and every day I pray to get to know you please
I want to be close to you, yes I'm so hungry
You're like water for my soul when it gets thirsty
Without you there's no me
You're the air that I breathe
Sometimes the world is dark and I just can't see
With these, demons surround all around to bring me down to negativity
But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
I'll stand on my own two feet
Won't be brought down on one knee
Fight with all of my might and get these demons to flee
Hashem's rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
Out of darkness comes light, twilight unto the heights
Crown Heights burnin' up all through the twilight
Said, thank you to my God, now I finally got it right
And I'll fight with all of my heart, and all a' my soul, and all a' my might

What's this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my God all these songs of love and healing
Want Mashiach now so it's time we start revealing

Me no want no sinsemilla.
That would only bring me down
Burn away my brain no way my brain is to compound
Elevated my soul you're a flying my sound
Like the sun of a sun ray burning up through a cloud
Torah food for my brain let it rain till I drown
Let the blessings come down

Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
You're a slave to yourself and you don't even know
You want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
If you're trying to stay high then you're bound to stay low
You want God but you can't deflate your ego
If you're already there then there's nowhere to go
If you're cup's already full then its bound to overflow
If you're drowning in the water's and you can't stay afloat
Ask Hashem for mercy and he'll throw you a rope
You're looking for help from God you say he couldn't be found
Looking up to the sky and searchin' beneath the ground
Like a King without his Crown
Yes, I wanna get down
A King without his Crown
Yes, you keep fallin' down
You really want to live but can't get rid of your frown
Tried to reach unto the heights and wound bound down on the ground
Given up your pride and the you heard a sound
Out of night comes day and out of day comes light
Nullified to the One like sunlight in a ray,
Makin' room for his love and a fire gone blaze


Reelin' him in
Where ya been
Where ya been
Where ya been for so long
It's hard to stay strong been livin' in galus (exile) for 2000 years strong
Where ya been for so long
Been livin in this exile for too long

* To listen to King Without A Crown and to some of his other songs, visit this website: Live Music Archive

Visit also the official website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Update on moi

I have many pictures to post but our memory card reader (in case you're not familiar with the thing, it's a hardware used for transfering pictures from the digicam to the PC) is not functioning... About two weeks ago my friend Alvin and I went to the Archbishop's Palace because he wanted to show me his painting. He's an artist. He showed me his painting on Blessed Pedro Calungsud's martyrdom. It was a graphic portrait of Blessed Calungsud's death. The painting was huge, and very beautiful. I wish I could show it here someday.

I took photos too of the beautiful Blessed Pedro Calungsud Memorial Chapel...

Before going there we went to the San Carlos Theology Seminary because I wanted to inquire on the seminary's MA Theology program for laymen. Nagplano man gud ko nga magstudy ug theology. Pero inig human na lang sa nursing... :)

Alvin once commented to me nga buotan kuno kaayo ko nga pagkatawo. He's a drinker (pero dili pud siguro maingun nga palahubog siya, hilig lang jud siya muinum...hehe), and he invited me once for a round of Red Horse. Unfortunately, I don't drink. Ingun siya nga kana kunong mga buotan mao na silay sayo panguhaun ni Lord. Hehehe. I told my Pangga about it and she wasn't amused at all... =)

It's our preliminary exam on STS tomorrow. I still have to study tonight. I've been sleeping for only 4 hours on the average the past two days, so I've been a bit groggy the whole day today. And I still have to stay up late tonight to do some reading...

Next week is our last week before Christmas vacation. Ah, Christmas vacation... :) We may go to Leyte to visit my Lolo Pedring's resting place. He died almost 3 years ago.

Come January next year, on the first week, the folks from the DOH will be orienting us on Community Health. Then two days after that we will have our duties in the different health centers. My assignment is in Tisa Health Center. Hmmm, my very first duty!... Wish me luck! :)

To prepare myself for the duty, I plan to read on the essential lessons we've discussed in Health Care. I particularly direly need to read on Vital Signs. So my Christmas vacation will be spent partly savoring the free time I have and the fun of the Christmas season, and partly reading on the important things I need to learn in order that I may not appear unprepared when I start my duties. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Looking for drugs

I'm listening to Dashboard Confessionals while I...

am pressured because it's so late in the night
and I am yet to make
a drug summary
for our return demo on

I am browsing through
the pages
of MIMs Online
looking for certain

The music is what's keeping me calm and sedated right now... (plus the caffeine)... :)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lola's birthday

Talagsa na lang ko naga-blog kay wala na kaayo koy time mag-internet. Whole day ko wala sa balay: In the morning I dress up for an hour or so, then I travel for about 2 hours to Banilad to go to school, then I have my classes, then go to the library and study for a few hours, travel again to the uptown area to meet my baby after her work, eat, spend a short quality time together, then travel home for another 2 hours (We live that far away from the city!), find the time to be alone with myself for at least 15 minutes when I can for some "Indispensable Quiet Time" (a suggestion I got from The Examined Life), study or review my notes, pray, then sleep.... I'm very busy, and to think that I only have a very light study load this semester! Unsa na kaha next year when I proceed (hopefully) to my third year? Hahaha...

So, gamay nalang kaayo ang time for surfing the net and blogging... And grabe kaayo ko mu-waste ug time kung maka-atubang ko ug computer... Precious time flies swiftyly by whenever I am in front of our PC.

Sigh. Anyway, I'm posting a few pictures from my Lola's birthday last week... :)

We invited a few relatives over Posted by Picasa

A bouquet (Sorry, wala ko kaila unsa ni nga flower) Posted by Picasa

Up close, but a bit blurry Posted by Picasa

We've prepared a few foods, courtesy of my cousin Ate Lorianne. She's a very good cook (She's good with cross-stitching, too. She's good with many things, she's talented... :) ).

Beef and veggies Posted by Picasa

Sea food curry (Murag Thai nga dish) Posted by Picasa

Spag Posted by Picasa

Of course, dili complete ang meal kung walay fruits...

Banana, papaya, and pineapple Posted by Picasa

The pineapple up close Posted by Picasa

I have a few pictures of our school building, but I have to be somewhere in the next few minutes, so later na lang nako i-post. :)


I totally missed posting about the SEA games... It's totally uplifting, to see our athletes excel in almost all of the sports. It boosts up your sense of country, something which we certainly need in these difficult times. Kung dili lang sa controversies...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Some photos

We've recently bought a digital camera. It's a Pentax Optio s5z. It's pretty good. 5 megapixels....

I've wanted to buy a digicam for so long, so I'm happy we finally got one. :)

This is what it looks like:

 Posted by Picasa

It's pretty light, with a wide LCD.

Here are some sample pictures I took:

Our little Christmas tree  Posted by Picasa

From another angle. Posted by Picasa

Our parol Posted by Picasa

Series light Posted by Picasa

Our belen Posted by Picasa

Baby Jesus Posted by Picasa

I woke up early yesterday to review for an exam. When dawn broke I went up to our balcony and took some pictures of our surroundings. This camera works wonders! (You can click on the images for a larger, better view).

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A Tambis. The light that falls on the leaves is the sun's natural light just as it was emerging from the horizon. Posted by Picasa

A lamp post Posted by Picasa

Our balcony Posted by Picasa

I really love the quality of this photo. The orange sky in the background is so vivid. The silhouette of the tree is so beautiful. The details are captured almost perfectly. Posted by Picasa

Same with this one... Posted by Picasa

I like this photo the best! Posted by Picasa

The camera is pretty amazing... Expect to see more photos like these in the future. I think I'll change this blog into a photo weblog... Hehehe...
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