Psalm 69 for the flood victims of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces

For the leader; according to “Lilies.” Of David.

Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck. I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold. I have gone down to the watery depths; the flood overwhelms me. I am weary with crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes have failed, looking for my God.

More numerous than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause. Too many for my strength are my treacherous enemies. Must I now restore what I did not steal? God, you know my folly; my faults are not hidden from you. Let those who wait for you, LORD of hosts, not be shamed through me. Let those who seek you, God of Israel, not be disgraced through me.

For your sake I bear insult, shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my kin, a stranger to my mother’s children. Because zeal for your house consumes me, I am scorned by those who scorn you. I have wept and fasted, but this led only to scorn. I clothed myself in sackcloth; I became a byword for them. They who sit at the gate gossip about me; drunkards make me the butt of their songs.

But I pray to you, LORD, for the time of your favor. God, in your great kindness answer me with your constant help. Rescue me from the mire; do not let me sink. Rescue me from my enemies and from the watery depths. Do not let the floodwaters overwhelm me, nor the deep swallow me, nor the mouth of the pit close over me.

Answer me, LORD, in your generous love; in your great mercy turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant; in my distress hasten to answer me.
Come and ransom my life; because of my enemies redeem me. You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace; before you stand all my foes. Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak; I looked for compassion, but there was none, for comforters, but found none. Instead they put gall in my food; for my thirst they gave me vinegar.

Make their own table a snare for them, a trap for their friends. Make their eyes so dim they cannot see; keep their backs ever feeble. Pour out your wrath upon them; let the fury of your anger overtake them. Make their camp desolate, with none to dwell in their tents. For they pursued the one you struck, added to the pain of the one you wounded. Add that to their crimes; let them not attain to your reward. Strike them from the book of the living; do not count them among the just!

But I am afflicted and in pain; let your saving help protect me, God, That I may praise God’s name in song and glorify it with thanksgiving. My song will please the LORD more than oxen, more than bullocks with horns and hooves: “See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, take heart! For the LORD hears the poor, does not spurn those in bondage. Let the heavens and the earth sing praise, the seas and whatever moves in them!”

God will rescue Zion, rebuild the cities of Judah. God’s servants shall dwell in the land and possess it; it shall be the heritage of their descendants; those who love God’s name shall dwell there.

The Story of Sta. Mesa in Manila: Our Lady of the Flood

In Manila there is a district called Sta. Mesa. According to Wikipedia, the name was derived from “Santa Mesa de la Misericordia”, the owner of the land during the Spanish colonial period, which was an “obra pía”, meaning “pious work”, and provided social services. If my guess is right, Sta. Mesa is a friar land or a land owned by a religious order in the Spanish times. The produce of the land–fruits, vegetables, or fish, for example–are sold and the money obtained is used for running schools, hospitals, social relief, etc. During the Philippine Revolution, the friars and the friar lands became the object of resentment by the Filipino revolutionaries. (Read a more objective account of the contributions of the friars to the development of the Philippines in the paper, “The Friar Problem in the Philippines“, by Vicenter R. Pilapil, The Americas, vol. 18, no. 2, Oct 1961, pp. 127-148)

When I was in elementary, I read a story of how Sta. Mesa got its name.  The story told that rain fell for days and the town was submerged in the flood, as what happened in Metro Manila last Saturday.  The people climbed to their upper rooms.  When they looked at the window, they saw a miraculous sight:   A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, standing on top of a table (mesa in Spanish), was floating along the streets-turned-waterways.  The people knelt and prayed.  The flood subsided.  And since that time the place was called Sta. Mesa or Holy Table.  This is as far as I can remember.  But the full name “Sta. Mesa de la Misericordia” or Holy Table of Mercy fits the story.

The cities of Marikina, Pasig, and Cainta in Manila are still submerged in the flood.  To them let us offer a Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen):


Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus
exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Ora pro nobis sancta Dei Genetrix.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Priest: Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Our Lady of the Flood, pray for us. Our Lady of Sta. Mesa de la Misericordia, pray for us. (Mary is not yet officially known by these titles.)

Note: The new St. Michael the Archangel’s Chapel in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, offers a votive mass for Our Lady every Saturday at 6:30 a.m. At the end of each mass, the Salve Regina is sung and the priest prays the words after Oremus. During first Saturdays, at 5:00 a.m., a priest leads the procession around the army officer’s village. The rosary is prayed. The mass starts at 6:00 a.m. St. Michael the Archangel Chapel belongs to the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines. There are two St. Michael Chapels in Fort Bonifacio. The new and the old. The old is near Guadalupe. The new is beside Bayani Road leading to Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Ateneo Professional Schools: First Friday Mass, Holy Hour, and Rosary at the Chapel of St. Thomas More, Rockwell, Makati City

We invite everyone especially our APS worshipping community to join us
on October 2, 2009 for our First Friday Mass at 12:15pm/6:05pm and our
Holy Hour at 5:00pm at the Chapel of St. Thomas More.

The month of October will be the month of the Holy Rosary, the month
of our Blessed Mother. During the Holy Hour, we will pray the Holy
Rosary and offer it for the coming 2010 Elections. Adoration of the
Blessed Sacrament will follow right after the praying of the rosary.

We hope you can join us.

Thank you, and God bless.

Ateneo Professional Schools
Rockwell, Makati City 1200
8997691 to 96, local 2120/2116

Note: Monk’s Hobbit hopes that we will also have a Holy Hour and Benediction at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

Defensores Fidei 2009 Apologetics Course at Greenhills (Every Saturday from 26 Sep to 19 Dec 2009)

Know The Truth Seminar

Here is the tentative schedule for Defensores Fidei 2009 Apologetics Course:

September 26 Church – Atty Marwil Llasos
October 3 Holy Bible – Chief de Vera
October 10 Papacy – Iboy Pinga
October 17 Sacraments 1 – Digoy Fernandez
October 24 Sacred Tradition/Magisterium – Dr. Dicky Boncan
October 31 Sacraments II – Fr. Abe Arganiosa, CRS (All Saints Day weekend!)
November 7 Church History – Chief de Vera
November 14 Mariology – Atty Marwil Llasos
November 21 Christology and Holy Trinity – Fr. Cayo Estrada
November 28 Sola Fidei/Sola Scriptura – Chief de Vera
December 5 Local Sects – Atty Marwil Llasos
December 12 ‘Bible Christians’ – Foreign Sects – Chief de Vera
December 19 Graduation and Christmas Party

Time: 9:00am – 12:00nn (Registration starts at 8:30am)


Training Room of Amici Greenhills
3rd Floor Missouri Square Bldg
Connecticut corner Missouri Streets
Northeast Greenhills
Please call Lerma at 723-4326 for updates

Note: Monk’s Hobbit will attend the course. It’s time to get a formal apologetics training.

The Liturgical Year and Inculturation: 13th Asian Liturgy Forum

13th A s I a n L i t u r g y F o r u m (ALF)
South-East Asian Region,
September 16-20, 2009
Bahay Pari, San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, Edsa, Makati City

We, the delegates to the 13th Asian Liturgy Forum of South-East Asia, met from September 16-19, 2009 to discuss the timely and urgent topic of Liturgical Year and Inculturation. The meeting was held in Bahay-Pari of San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, Makati City, Philippines, under the auspices of His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila to whom we express profound gratitude. The delegates to the meeting came from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. We are now pleased to share the result of our three-day meeting.

  1. The history of the liturgical year shows that the calendar of feasts has been constantly adjusting itself to political, cultural, and religious environment of local Churches. This should serve as a guiding principle in our work of inculturating the liturgical year.
  2. We note that inculturation normally takes place within the framework of approved liturgical books, whereby the substantial unity of the Roman Rite is preserved. Hence, the inculturation of the liturgical calendar does not result in a totally new calendar that is an alternative to the typical edition of the Roman Rite.
  3. However, we acknowledge that inculturation might not always be sufficient to address certain local needs. We would not preclude the creation of particular liturgical calendars while retaining the register of feasts of the Roman Rite.
  4. Roman traditional liturgical symbols may need to be adjusted in accord with the seasons of the year in the local Church. This would be applicable, for example, to liturgical feasts like Christmas and Easter whose original symbols do not correspond to existing seasons of the year in a particular Church.
  5. Inspired by liturgical history, we recognize the role of local cultural and social traditions in the institution of some liturgical feasts like the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, which originated in the ancestral feast of ancient Rome called parentalia. In accord with liturgical norms, local Churches could institute feasts derived from their traditional and other established practices.
  6. Likewise, the cycle of human work has shaped some liturgical celebrations like Rogation and Ember days. We believe that in the industrial world marked by the rhythm of work and rest, production and consumption, and strikes and negotiations, the Church should similarly establish pertinent liturgical feasts.
  7. In regions where popular pious exercises abound and continue to be meaningful to the faithful the liturgical calendar can be enriched by the integration of popular religious practices with the liturgical feasts.
  8. Sometimes political situations have left their mark on the liturgical calendar as witnessed by the institution of the feasts of Christ the King and St. Joseph the Worker. Local Churches may propose similar feasts to accompany the faithful across political systems.

In conclusion, given that time is relative, that situations are provisional, and that culture and traditions are in constant evolution, the Church should continue to revise, reinvent, and create liturgical feasts that meet the actual needs of the faithful.

That in all things God may be glorified.

Source: Archdiocese of Manila website

NoteMonk’s Hobbit is not happy with these liturgical developments.

Pro-Life Philippines will hold a youth congress on the demerits of the Reproductive Health Bill

MANILA, September 24, 2009—While the proponents of the Reproductive Health bill try to convince the House of Representatives to pass the much debated legislation, the advocacy group Pro-life Philippines will hold a similar session except that it will discuss the demerits of the proposed law in a congress attended not by lawmakers but by Catholic youth who were reared to value life and practice morality.

An afternoon learning about the pro-life way of life awaits the 500 participants of Pro-life’s youth congress, which will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. on October 24 at the Parks and Wildlife center in Quezon City.

According to Xavier Padilla, secretary of the board of trustees of the organization, Pro-life Philippines planned the congress in the light of certain anti-life issues that have been making news in the country.

“The past years have been eye-openers to the plight of people who love life. There have been constant attacks and obstacles to promoting life and family as important. There is a continuous barrage of media messages pushing contraception, pre- and extra- marital sex. There is a non-stop push for the legalization of abortion and other such methods of terminating life at its early stages; and there is also a global decline of those who care and fight for the sanctity of life—in all its forms,” he said.

Padilla was referring to the continuous heated debates on the Reproductive Health bill and other legislations pushing for legalization of contraception and abortion, adding that the youth congress will be a timely gathering where the youth can be guided in keeping their Catholic values and morality intact against the propaganda of pro-choice mentality.

“It is time to show our youth what it means to be pro-life. Teach them the values of keeping life precious. And empower them to bring this message and lifestyle to their own daily lives,” said Padilla, who is also from the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life.

Padilla invited the youth to join the congress, which will be attended by Environment and Natural ResJources Secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza, Jr., who is also the president of Pro-life Philippines.

In lieu of an admission fee, participants are encouraged to bring canned goods and other donations in kind that can be given to victims of recent calamities.

For more information, please contact the Pro Life Philippines office at or via fax at 734-9425. Interested attendees call the organization 733-7027 or 0919-2337783 and look for Ellen or Malou. (Kris Bayos)

Source: CBCP News

“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”: 2009 Theological Discussion Series by Fr. Manuel Francisco, S.J. of the Loyola House of Studies

Event: Doctrine: Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (2009 Theological Discussion Series)
With Fr. Manuel Francisco, SJ
Time: 8-10 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Venue: LST, Loyola Heights Campus
Remarks: Fees: Php 2,000.00/module; Php 7,200.00 for 4 modules
Contact Information: Grace Oconer at (63-2) 426-6430 to 35 local 3606, (0916) 535-0862 or

Source: Ateneo de Manila University website (sidebar announcement dated 23 Sep 2009)

My guess is that this talk will be about the book of the same name: “Will the Real Jesus please stand up?: A Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan,” edited by Paul Copan. Here’s an editorial review from Library Journal:

This book, which presents a recent debate between a former co-chair of the Jesus Seminar and an Evangelical scholar, as well as follow-up responses by four other New Testament scholars, brings the reader effectively and movingly into the heart of the contemporary fideist-evidentialist debate about the reality and meaning of Jesus’ life and teachings. Editor Copan (Who Was Jesus?, Word Pub., 1996) gives Craig’s conservatism the last word, but readers of many different convictions will find ample food for thought here.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Fideism and Evidentialism are defined as follows:

Fideism is a philosophical term meaning a system of philosophy or an attitude of mind, which, denying the power of unaided human reason to reach certitude, affirms that the fundamental act of human knowledge consists in an act of faith, and the supreme criterion of certitude is authority. (Sauvage, G. (1909). Fideism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 22, 2009 from New Advent:

Evidentialism is a theory of justification according to which whether a belief is justified depends solely on what a person’s evidence is. Technically, though belief is typically the primary object of concern, evidentialism can be applied to doxastic attitudes generally. Formulating evidentialism in terms of the doxastic attitude of belief its most-defended form comes from Conee and Feldman: Belief B toward proposition p is epistemically justified for S at t if and only if B fits the evidence S has at t. (Wikipedia)

The Catholic Church allows debate on theological ideas as long as the Church has not yet made a definite doctrinal statement.  Let me quote what G. K Chesterton said in his essay, “Why I am Catholic“:

Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. The Catholic Church has for one of her chief duties that of preventing people from making those old mistakes; from making them over and over again forever, as people always do if they are left to themselves. The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.  There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them.

On this map of the mind the errors are marked as exceptions. The greater part of it consists of playgrounds and happy hunting-fields, where the mind may have as much liberty as it likes; not to mention any number of intellectual battle-fields in which the battle is indefinitely open and undecided. But it does definitely take the responsibility of marking certain roads as leading nowhere or leading to destruction, to a blank wall, or a sheer precipice. By this means, it does prevent men from wasting their time or losing their lives upon paths that have been found futile or disastrous again and again in the past, but which might otherwise entrap travelers again and again in the future. The Church does make herself responsible for warning her people against these; and upon these the real issue of the case depends. She does dogmatically defend humanity from its worst foes, those hoary and horrible and devouring monsters of the old mistakes. Now all these false issues have a way of looking quite fresh, especially to a fresh generation.

In his encyclical, Lamentabili Sane, Pope Pius X clearly marked out ideas which, to use Chesterton’s language, are “roads leading nowhere or leading to destruction, to a blank wall, or sheer precipice.”  These ideas are the Modernist heresies which we must be on guard whenever we ask the question, “Will the Real Jesus please stand up?”:

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.

28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.

29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.

30 In all the evangelical texts the name “Son of God” is equivalent only to that of “Messias.” It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God.

31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus.

32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.

33 Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.

34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.

35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.

37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.

38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.