On the miraculous survival of Virgin Mary’s picture amidst the destruction of Bohol’s churches: A reply to Filipino Freethinkers

Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary amidst the destruction of a Bohol Church (photo from Megan Young's Facebook page, dated Oct. 15, 2013)

Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary amidst the destruction of a Bohol Church (photo from Megan Young’s Facebook page, dated Oct. 15, 2013)

The Filipino Freethinkers made a video questioning the sudden focus on the miraculous survival of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake the destroyed Bohol’s ancient churches.  Because I am afraid of misquoting them, I tried my best to transcribe (though not perfectly) their thoughts based on their video entitled, “FF Podcast 018: Iglesia ni Cristo’s Medical Mission and the Bohol Earthquake“….(transcript)… I shall only focus on their five main comments…

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit: On the miraculous survival of Virgin Mary’s picture amidst the destruction of Bohol’s churches: A reply to Filipino Freethinkers

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Why does God allow good people to suffer under the power of demons?

"Job mocked by his wife" by Georges de la Tour

“Job mocked by his wife” by Georges de la Tour

Question:

Post help me my doter has long been suffering wid evil disturbance her facial looks sometimes very innocent then turn to very mabagsik wid fiercing eyes please help us

me and my husband are both in the government service we have 3 children my eldest a registered medtech n nurse working at d hospital n my 2nd doter s  took up nursing but was not able to finish coz of dis unknown ilness. My doter fr s very religious n very prayerful she can memorize all d mysterys including d litany she’s very mabait n very generous to friends n never into any drugs but how come nangyari eto sa kanya. Me n my husband are members in d family apostolate n I was also member recently in d brotherhood of businessmen n professional n initiated ko d praying of d 3′clock prayer in our ofis going d mass everyday novena

Response:

Were you able to contact the office of Fr. Syquia using the contact info I posted in my reply?

If you read the Book of Job in the Bible, you will see that God allows good people to suffer. You may like to meditate on the conversation between Satan and God:

FIRST TRIAL: The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.”9The satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? 10 Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land.11e But now put forth your hand and touch all that he has, and surely he will curse you to your face.”12The LORD said to the satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.” So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:8-12)

SECOND TRIAL: The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.b He still holds fast to his innocence although you incited me against him to ruin him for nothing.”4 The satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin!* All that a man has he will give for his life.5c But put forth your hand and touch his bone and his flesh. Then surely he will curse you to your face.”6And the LORD said to the satan, “He is in your power; only spare his life.” So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with severe boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.(Job 2:3-7)

Suffering is a mystery that can only be answered by gazing at Christ, the Son of God, crucified on the Cross. Christ shows us the way to suffering–to accept suffering and offer it to God, turning suffering into a path to holiness, in the same way as Christ turned the cross, the symbol of suffering and death, into the symbol of our salvation. Your family is not anymore just praying the Sorrowful Mystery and the Three O’Clock Habit. God allowed you to suffer with Christ on the Cross, so that you may also share in His glory–the Glorious Mysteries.

Here is Job’s prayer:

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,f
and naked shall I go back there.*
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)

Again, I strongly recommend that you contact the office of Fr. Syquia.

Continue praying the rosary, the 3 o’clock habit, and the mass, but more fervently than before. Read the parable of the persistent widow (Mt 18:1-8). As Christ said:

“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”” (Lk 18:7-8)

The Sign of the Cross: A Biblical Iconography

Let us look at three signs: the cross itself, the vertical bar, and the horizontal bar.

1. The Cross: the Sign of Salvation.

The sign of the cross (the letter Thau) marks the persons that will be spared when God destroys the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a sword:

And the glory of the Lord of Israel went up from the cherub, upon which he was, to the threshold of the house: and he called to the man that was clothed with linen, and had a writer’s inkhorn at his loins. 4 And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem: and mark Thau upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and mourn for all the abominations that are committed in the midst thereof. 5 And to the others he said in my hearing: Go ye after him through the city, and strike: let not your eyes spare, nor be ye moved with pity.

Utterly destroy old and young, maidens, children and women: but upon whomsoever you shall see Thau, kill him not, and begin ye at my sanctuary.  (Ez 9:3-6)

According to a footnote in the Douay-Rheims Bible,

“Mark Thau”… Thau, or Tau, is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and signifies a sign, or a mark; which is the reason why some translators render this place set a mark, or mark a mark without specifying what this mark was. But St. Jerome, and other interpreters, conclude it was the form of the letter Thau, which in the ancient Hebrew character, was the form of a cross.

2.  The Vertical Bar: Immanuel, Eliakim, and Stump of Jesse.

The vertical bar is the sign for up and down:

Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (Immanuel).

Or a peg fixed on a sure spot:

On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family; On him shall hang all the glory of his family: descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs. (Is 22:20-24)

Or the stump of Jesse:

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. (Is 11:1-5)

3.  The Horizontal Bar: Wood of Holocaust, Yoke of Jeremiah, and East to West

The horizontal bar is the wood of Holocaust brought by Isaac:

And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, 7 Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust? 8 And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together. 9 And they came to the place which God had shown him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it: and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood. 10 And he put forth his hand and took the sword, to sacrifice his son. (Gen 22:6-10)

Or the yoke of Jeremiah:

Thereupon the prophet Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, broke it, and said in the presence of all the people: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even so, within two years I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, from off the neck of all the nations.'” At that, the prophet Jeremiah went away. Some time after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: Go tell Hananiah this: Thus says the LORD: By breaking a wooden yoke, you forge an iron yoke! For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: A yoke of iron I will place on the necks of all these nations serving Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and they shall serve him; even the beasts of the field I give him. (Jer 28:10-14)

Or East to West:

As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us. (Ps 103:12)