Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

This class is boring. This class is boring. Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

This class is boring. Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

Questions from a Harry Potter Fan (Harry Potter flows in my blood–Facebook page)

This class is boring. Can we learn about astronomy, charms, dark arts, defense against the dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions and transfiguration?

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit

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Anti RH Law rally before the Supreme Court organized by Filipinos for Life: Chronology of Events

Anna Cosio and Mike Mapa of Filipinos for Life

Anna Cosio and Mike Mapa of Filipinos for Life led the recitation of the rosary during the Anti RH Law rally with the theme “RH Supilin, Buhay Mahalin” last July 9, 2013, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Last July 9, 2013, 9:00-11:00 a.m., the Filipinos for Life organized an Anti RH Law rally before the gates of the Supreme Court.  As a member of the Filipinos for Life, I was given the task of a marshal.  So I took lots of pictures.  The participants, mostly young students of nearby Catholic schools, lined up along Padre Faura stretching up to the road before the Robinson’s Place Manila.  Anthony Perez, President of Filipinos for Life estimated the crowd to be about 800-1,000.  Meanwhile on the other part of Padre Faura also before the gates of Supreme Court are about 30 pro RH Law advocates in the same purple shirts, same purple umbrellas, and even same purple poster designs.  Someone even posed himself as a cartoon bishop in white and gold.  The sameness of their gears shows that someone bought in bulk and distributed it to the participants.  In contrast, the Anti RH Law crowd came from different groups with different uniforms and different posters–mostly handmade, and practically no umbrellas.  The morning crowd did not get much of the news.  What you see in TV are the Anti RH crowd in Green and the pro RH crowd in purple with roughly the same crowd size.  They are the afternoon crowd; the morning crowd was not covered by mainstream media.  But here are the  links to the pictures in the RH Supilin, Buhay Mahalin (Stop RH, Love Life) albums and see for yourself what you don’t see in the TV and newspaper news reports: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4).

I took some notes of the proceedings of the Anti RH Law rally using my phone, typing as fast as my two thumbs can press the letters while I listen to the talks.  Here’s the chronology of the events:

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up before going to the Supreme Court

Lining up for going to the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up before going to the Supreme Court

Lining up in front of Robinsons Place Manila before going to the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists of St. Paul University-Manila lining up at Robinson’s Place Manila

Walking towards the Supreme Court

Anti-RH Law rallyists  of St. Paul University-Manila walking towards the Supreme Court

Students carrying Anti RH Law posters

Students carrying hand-drawn Anti RH Law posters

For comparison: the pro-RH Law rallyists with their purple umbrellas.  Double the size of this crowd and you get the total pro-RH La crowd in Padre Faura.

For comparison: the pro-RH Law rallyists with their purple umbrellas. Double the size of this crowd and you get the total pro-RH Law crowd in Padre Faura.

9:12 a.m.

St. Paul students occupy the pedestrian walk opposite the Supreme Court facade, extending up to the road before Robinson’s Place Manila.

9:18 a.m.

The crowd is now from the Department of Justice to the Supreme Court.  The Pro-Life Philippines Foundation displayed its green banner.  On the desk hangs the flag of the Filipinos for Life, a shield of blue and white.

9:26 a.m.

I see students from San Sebastian and St. Paul’s.  There is also one representative from the Rosary for Life holding a large flag containing the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There are also Don Bosco students with their gray uniforms.  I met Rolly de los Reyes of Courage Philippines.

9:32 a.m.

Mike Mapa and Anna Cosio of Filipinos for Life led the praying of the rosary.

9:41 a.m.

Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate Lito David arrived all in white.

9:49 a.m.  

The crowd began praying the the Joyful Mysteries.

10:00 a.m.

Now the Glorious Mysteries.

10:13 a.m.

Finished the rosary.  Anna and Mike began to lead the crowd in shouting: “Buhay Mahalin, RH Supilin!”  They named the groups who came: St. Paul University-Manila.  Most of the crowd are students from this University.  Don Bosco Mandaluyong.  University of Sto. Tomas. Soldiers of Christ. Rosaries for Life. CBCP FL. Daughters of St. Paul. DMI Circle from Paranaque. San Sebastian Recoletos. CMT is still in the church for the mass.

10:17 a.m.

Mike speaks: “We must celebrate life. In the family we learn values.  I am thankful to be alive.  My happiest moment was when I became a father.  And then I understood many things God has done.”

10:18 a.m.

Mike and Anna enumerated the other participating groups: Holy Family parish from Parang, Marikina.  Sienna College. Citizens Initiative for Alternative Medicine.  Ang Kapatiran Party.  Augustinian Seminary.  Mike continued: “Sometimes we feel in the media that we are alone. No, we are not alone.  This is the happiest day of my life: to find a cause worth dying for.  It is a reason to live, an advocacy.  My happiest moment was when I became a father.   I would like to thank my lovely wife, Cecil.  There are so many attacks against the family. ”

Praying before the Supreme Court

Praying before the Supreme Court

San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite

San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite

10:22 a.m.

Lisa Poblete, a dentist, spoke in Tagalog.  Here’s my translation: “I know Pedro Gil. I lived in Padre Faura.  In the Filipino language, when a person is pregnant, she is ‘nagdadalang-tao’ or ‘bearing a man’. The human being is the beginning.  All of us have navels.  If we have navels, then we came from our mother’s wombs.  Conception starts at fertilization. We have to give all Filipinos in the womb a chance to live.

Mike speaks: “The only persons without navels are Adam and Eve.  I am a Filipinos for Life member.  We would like to welcome the Rogationst seminarians of the Diocese of Paranaque.  Very Pro-Life.  Our next speaker is from Courage Philippines.  This is an organization who helps people with same-sex attraction and live life to the fullest.  Let us welcome Mr. Rolly de los Reyes.”

Rolly de los Reyes speaks: “I am a Bosconian.  Don Bosco through Mary.  In the feast day of Mary we offer flowers.  All of us.  Pregnancy or pagdadalang-tao is not sickness but a gift.  We must thank God for the gift that is our mothers.  There are mothers who died in pregnancy.  But this does not mean that pregnancy is a disease.  Mothers offered their lives for us.  Let us give them a round of applause. Let us also thank our Mother, Mary.  We must fight against pornography, such as FMH.  What we need is not a sex education but a chastity education.  We must teach society about the beauty of virginity.  True love waits. ”

10:31 a.m.

The next speaker is Lito David, senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

Lito David speaks in Filipino.  Here’s my translation of what I can catch:  “Praise the Lord!  Why are we here?  Because of our faith in God who loves life.  Let us pray that Supreme Court will not be bought.  We could have won in Congress. There were 116 who are Anti RH.  Afterwards, there were only 69?  They sold their stand?  For 70 million pesos?  Because of the pressure of PNoy?  Let us pray that the Supreme Court will not be bought.”

10:39 a.m.

Anna speaks: “In the Flames of Love, there is an actress together with Dina Bonevie.  She is already a grand mom.  She is known for giving chastity talks in public schools.  Please welcome, Ms. Rica Dayrit.”

Rica Dayrit speaks in Filipino.  Here is my translation: “The youth are here.  Anna said that I am beautiful, a pro-life mother. Why are we beautiful?  What is the will of God?  The priest said that you can be a good Christian if you get married.  We have children entrusted to us to be born.  What is the beauty of being a pro-life mother?  I go to checkups.  I fall in line.  Then I hear the doctor say to other women ahead of me.  ‘Are you taking pills? I see many diseases in your ovary.’  We must take care of life.  In this way there will be many beautiful Filipinos in our country.”

10:43 a.m.

Anna speaks: “Let us welcome the Claretian missionaries.   We would like to welcome the Filipinos for Life and their president, Mr. Anthony  Perez.”

Anthony speaks in Filipino and English: “Let us give each other a round of applause.  What time did you wake up?  The Soldiers for Christ have not yet slept.  But they are here.  We stand to celebrate life.  And we have visitors here.  What is your name?”

Anthony Perez, president of Filipinos for Life

Anthony Perez, president of Filipinos for Life

Angel Liwanag, young poet

Angel Liwanag, young poet

Little Boy: “Angel Liwanag. 5 years old . from Bonifacio.”

Anthony: “Let us give a round of applause to Angel!  Where is your daddy?  I am the speaker.  Story?”

Little Boy: “No.”

Anthony: “There is Philippine Alliance of Ex-Seminarians.  Are you going to become a priest?”

Little Boy: “Yes.”

Anthony: “Are you sure?  Daddy’s message says that you are going to give a poem.  These is the  list of poems.  To my fellow youth.  Heart of Stone. You are my Boss.”

10:48 a.m.

Little Boy reciting in Filipino:  “You are my boss.  That is the word that I spoke.  No counterflow. To help in the cross.  You are my boss. … aspirations.  Face my parents regarding their legacy of democracy.  We can say that we have reached far, the way of the future generations.  Thank you very much.”

10:50 a.m.

Anthony: “These are speeches that were made into poems.”

Meanwhile I walked around to the pro-RH side and checked their props, posters, and crowd size.  There are only a few of them.  Their many umbrellas and large streamers hide their small number.  Their posters say that “I am a Catholic from a family of 8 or 9.”  Then there is that guy posing as Bishop of Cartoon Diocese.  They focus their attacks on the Catholic Church, creating a parody church in the process.  Indeed, they lack imagination.  They cannot truly create but only mock.  As Frodo said of Orcs:

No, they eat and drink, Sam.  The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.  I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.  Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take, if they can get no better, but not poison.” (The Tower of Cirith Ungol, The Lord of the Rings)

Interesting.  When I walked to the other side,  I can’t hear what we in the Anti-RH side are saying.  And vice-versa.  I think this is what the current state of our dialogue on the RH Law right now.

10:54 a.m.

Anthony: “Sienna college is here.  Let us fight for life.  Our youth have talents; they just need the right guidance.  Let us celebrate life.  Thanks to all who came.  We can stay longer if we wish.  I know that many of you have classes.  Thank you very much for making a stand.  Let us think of our loved ones in our lives.  Let us think what if they were not born?  It is happier for men to love before they separate from each other.  So let us join hands and pray the “Our Father””

The crowd sang the Our Father.

Anthony: “Let us sing Happy Birthday To You!”

The crowd sang the song twice.

11:00 a.m.

The rally officially ended.  The Soldiers of Christ took over.  And they sang and prayed I think until 12:00 noon, which is the end of the rally permit.

Life is priceless

Life is priceless

Daughters of St. Paul and students

Daughters of St. Paul and students

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation

Pro-Life Philippines Foundation

God is Pro-Life

God is Pro-Life

JC de los Reyes and the Ignatian Tradition: Politics as a vocation

JC de los Reyes before the image of the Divine Mercy

JC de los Reyes before the image of the Divine Mercy

Meet John Carlos (JC) de los Reyes, senatorial candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party.

JC studied in Ateneo de Manila Grade School of the Jesuit Fathers and then in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School of the La Salle Brothers. In college, he took up AB in Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  In 1999 he finished his post-graduate studies in Public Administration in University of the Philippines and in 2005 he finished his Law Degree in St. Louis University in Baguio City.

In this article, I shall focus only on JC’s Ignatian roots and his view of politics as a vocation.  (Hopefully, in another article, I shall write on JC’s Lasallian roots and his view on empowerment through entrepreneurship).  I shall frame the article as a response to a series of questions.

Introduction: Jesuit System of Education

Jesuit-run schools are outgrowths of the need to train the next generation of Jesuits.  Since many parents also want their children to receive the same training as the Jesuits, the parents enrolled their children in Jesuit universities, and the Society of Jesus adapted to this new apostolate.  That is why Ateneans in their early years are grounded in the Catechism and the recitation of the Rosary.  Mary is the model and all Ateneans are slowly transformed into soldiers who shall offer their sword–their time, talents, and treasures–to our Lady, as St. Ignatius did at Montserrat in March 1522.  Indeed, the Ateneo’s Alma Mater song is none other but the Song for Mary: “Mary for you!  For your white and blue!  We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!  We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!”

But to be a true soldier of Mary and companion of Christ, an Atenean must be intellectually prepared for such a task.  He must study as St. Ignatius studied in University of Paris–Grammar (Latin), Literature, Philosophy, and Theology.  Thus, an Atenean must be able to write lucid prose, dissect a poem, read original philosophical and theological texts, and discuss a thesis statements in oral exams.  It’s the rigor of thought sharpened by years of training.  Jesuit education is a system of education born out of decades of Jesuit experimentation on educational theory–what works and what doesn’t in the actual classroom with data from all Jesuit schools around the world.  The results of this experiments were distilled into the Ratio Studiorum of 1599, also known in full as the Ratio atque Institutio Studiorum Societatis Iesu (“The Official Plan for Jesuit Education”).  It is a guide for how a Jesuit school is run and how teachers should teach different subjects.  It is a guide that remains in force today, albeit with some modifications, in all Jesuit schools, including the Ateneo de Manila University.

Question 1: Is JC de los Reyes a true Atenean?

He is.  His elementary education in Ateneo de Manila Grade School with the Jesuits suffices.  As the Jesuits would say: “Give me the child for seven years, and I will give you the man.”  So even if JC has not undergone college in Ateneo and trained by the Jesuits to read the classics from Aristotle to Aquinas to Kant, JC has studied the works of these authors more than the average Atenean: JC studied them when he took up his AB in Theology in the Franciscan University of Steubenville, one of the most Orthodox Catholic Universities in the US.  That’s Magis.  That’s more.

Question 2: What’s an Atenean like JC de los Reyes doing in a Franciscan University?

Oh, why is our Jesuit Pope named Francis? When St. Ignatius was recuperating after being hit by a cannonball, he read the “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis and the lives of the saints, which made him wish to imitate the heroic lives of saints such as St. Francis of Assisi.  When St. Ignatius reached the Holy Land, hoping to settle there and convert the Muslims, the Franciscans sent him back to Europe.  And from this setback arose the Jesuit mission of Counter-Reformation and the establishment of Jesuit Schools throughout Europe.  By 1739, there were 669 Jesuit schools throughout the world.  The bond between Jesuits and Franciscans is deep.

JC de los Reyes (right) with his uncle, Cardinal Chito Tagle (left)

JC de los Reyes (right) with his uncle, Cardinal Chito Tagle (left)

Question 3: There is no doubt that JC de los Reyes would be a good philosopher or theologian.  But politics is a different thing.  To be a man and woman for others, you need competence.  Is JC de los Reyes competent to be a senator?  

For Plato, the ideal ruler is the Philosopher-King as stated in his book, The Republic.  Thus, to be a philosopher suffices to be a senator.  As Socrates said in Plato’s Republic:

Inasmuch as philosophers only are able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and those who wander in the region of the many and variable are not philosophers, I must ask you which of the two classes should be the rulers of our State?

The Philosophers, of course.  And Socrates continued with his proposed definitions on what it is to be a philosopher:

 Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love knowledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and corruption….And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all true being; there is no part whether greater or less, or more or less honorable, which they are willing to renounce; as we said before of the lover and the man of ambition…. And if they are to be what we were describing, is there not another quality which they should also possess?… Truthfulness: they will never intentionally receive into their minds falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will love the truth….He whose desires are drawn toward knowledge in every form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and will hardly feel bodily pleasure–I mean, if he be a true philosopher and not a sham one….Such a one is sure to be temperate and the reverse of covetous; for the motives which make another man desirous of having and spending, have no place in his character….Another criterion of the philosophical nature has also to be considered….Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spontaneously toward the true being of everything…. Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, necessary to a soul, which is to have a full and perfect participation of being?…And must not that be a blameless study which he only can pursue who has the gift of a good memory, and is quick to learn–noble, gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage, temperance, who are his kindred?…And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and education, and to these only you will entrust the State.

That’s JC de los Reyes: the philosopher who aspires to be a senator.  But JC never contented himself with the study of Philosophy or Theology.  He wishes to be a competent public servant.  That is why he studied Bachelor of Laws in the University of the Philippines and did post-graduate studies in Public Administration at St. Louis University in Baguio City.  That’s Magis.  That’s more.

Question 4: Does JC de los Reyes subscribe to Liberation Theology?

Yes, but only within the bounds set by Vatican, as defined by the Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation” which was signed by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) when he was the head of the Congregation for Doctrine and Faith.  The Instruction concludes:

The words of Paul VI in his “Profession of Faith”, express with full clarity the faith of the Church, from which one cannot deviate without provoking, besides spiritual disaster, new miseries and new types of slavery. “We profess our faith that the Kingdom of God, begun here below in the Church of Christ, is not of this world, whose form is passing away, and that its own growth cannot be confused with the progress of civilization, of science, and of human technology, but that it consists in knowing ever more deeply the unfathomable riches of Christ, to hope ever more strongly in things eternal, to respond ever more ardently to the love of God, to spread ever more widely grace and holiness among men. But it is this very same love which makes the Church constantly concerned for the true temporal good of mankind as well. Never ceasing to recall to her children that they have no lasting dwelling here on earth, she urges them also to contribute, each according to his own vocation and means, to the welfare of their earthly city, to promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to lavish their assistance on their brothers, especially on the poor and the most dispirited. The intense concern of the Church, the bride of Christ, for the needs of mankind, their joys and their hopes, their pains and their struggles, is nothing other than the great desire to be present to them in order to enlighten them with the light of Christ, and join them all to Him, their only Savior. It can never mean that the Church is conforming to the things of this world, nor that she is lessening the earnestness with which she awaits her Lord and the eternal Kingdom.” (Emphasis mine.)

Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates.  From left to right: Marwil Llasos, JC de los Reyes, and Lito Yap David.

Ang Kapatiran Senatorial candidates. From left to right: Marwil Llasos, JC de los Reyes, and Lito Yap David.

Question 5.  Is this passage where Ang Kapatiran Party got its name?

Brotherhood among men.  That’s what the Ang Kapatiran Party is all about: the brotherhood who “lavish their assistance on their brothers, especially on the poor and the most dispirited.”  That’s why JC de los Reyes joined the Ang Kapatiran Party: in order to serve the poor, not within the framework of class struggle as espoused by the Marxist Left–many of whom are now occupying positions of power in Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s administration–but within the framework of Catholic Social Doctrine as expressed in papal documents such as “Mater et Magistra,” “Pacem in Terris,” “Populorum progressio,” “Evangelii nuntiandi,” “Octogesima adveniens”, “Redemptor hominis”, “Dives in misericordia”,  “Laborem exercens,” and Second Vatican Council’s “Gaudium et Spes.”

Whether Ang Kapatiran Party got its name from this passage of the Instruction is not known.  But the concept of brotherhood of men is as old as Christianity itself.  First, we are all brothers and sisters because our Faith teaches us that we all came from the same parents: Adam and Eve.  Second, all baptized Christians become adopted sons and daughters of God, so that we call Christ as our brother and God as “Abba” or Father.  That is why, during the Mass, we have the courage to pray the “Our Father”.

Question 6. There is a useful concept in Liberation Theology: structures of sin. What for JC de los Reyes and the Ang Kapatiran Party are the structures of sin in Philippine Politics?

As stated in Cardinal Ratzinger’s Instruction:

Structures, whether they are good or bad, are the result of man’s actions and so are consequences more than causes. The root of evil, then, lies in free and responsible persons who have to be converted by the grace of Jesus Christ in order to live and act as new creatures in the love of neighbor and in the effective search for justice, self-control, and the exercise of virtue.

It is the duty of the Church to convert each man to Christ.  For its part, it is the duty of political parties such as the Ang Kapatiran Party to work for the establishment of good structures in government by crafting sound laws and ensure their implementation.  The Ang Kapatiran Party believes that there are many sinful structures that needs to be eradicated: pork barrel system, political dynasties, nontransparency and nonaccountability in governance, proliferation of loose firearms, and the RH law.  Please visit the Ang Kapatiran Party website for more detailed discussions of these issues.

7.  Is not Politics dirty?  How can Politics be a Vocation?

Politics has been perennially associated with the word “dirty,” because it is in politics that one meets  political butterflies, balimbings, rumor-mongers, character assassins, vote-buyers, boot-lickers, mud-slingers, and plastic men.  It is in politics that one crosses paths with druglords, warlords, and church groups crying, “Praise the Lord!”  Politics, indeed, is a dirty world–but a dirty world in need of redemption.  As JC de los Reyes wrote:

Please don’t be too mesmerized with track record and political experience. In Philippine politics, decades in power and experience means political survival, immoral compromise and corruption (jueteng payola). Track record often times is financed by the infamous pork barrel fund. Then they say, “I did this, I did that…” The big question is, what did you do and what will you do to contribute to PRINCIPLED POLITICS, a term that has been gagged side-lined and waylaid by trapos and demagogues.

For JC de los Reyes, politics can be a vocation, a path to holiness, for it is in politics that one can practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy on the scale of the barangay, the city, the province, and the country.  Most of the corporal works of mercy–feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, harbour the harbourless, visit the sick, ransom the captive, bury the dead–are handled by government and institutions such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).  On the other hand, most of the spiritual works of mercy–instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead–are primarily the duties of the Catholic Church; the instruction of the ignorant is primarily addressed by Catholic Schools and it was only after the Americans took over the Philippine colony that the State intervened in education through the Public School System and the establishment of state universities such as the University of the Philippines.

JC de los Reyes with a supporter

JC de los Reyes with a supporter

8. What is the end or the ultimate goal of Politics?

The ultimate goal of politics is the salvation of man, because as St. Irenaeus said, “the great glory of God is man fully alive.” And this is not only in the here and now with the Millenium Development Goals and Happiness Index, but also in the life hereafter–heaven.  St. Ignatius tells us in his Spiritual Exercises to always begin with the end in mind.  And for a Catholic politician like JC de los Reyes, the end is the Last Judgment.  This would be terrifying thought for a politician who has not exercised his duties to his neighbors during their lives on earth:

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ (Mt 25:41-45)

With this end in mind, a Catholic politician like JC de los Reyes then performs his duties as demanded by his office, and prays the Prayer for Generosity of St. Ignatius:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen

As JC de los Reyes wrote:

The most profound victory not only for the Philippines but for humanity is if Ang Kapatiran Party can produce politicians or more aptly, political missionaries who have the purest of hearts and intentions, who do things not for votes but intensely out of love and compassion. Those who will ‘decrease, so He might increase,’ those who will ‘not let their right hand know what their left hand is doing,’ those who are ‘not lukewarm but cold or hot,’ those ‘who let their yes mean yes, and no mean no,’ and perhaps, those who will assume a faith journey whose victory is ‘now but not yet.’

That is why for JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran Party, politics is a vocation.

(Full disclosure: The author, Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University.  He finished his BS Physics (1997), MS Physics (1999), and Ph.D. in Physics (2010)  in Ateneo de Manila University.  Though he is not an official member of the Ang Kapatiran Party, Dr. Sugon campaigns online for the Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidates JC de los Reyes, Lito Yap David, and Marwil Llasos.)

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)

Liberal education vs liberal Faith: What is the true essence of Ateneo education?

There is a distinction between liberal education and liberal Faith. Liberal education of Ateneo simply means that students become well rounded individuals: they study languages, humanities, arts, and sciences, regardless of their chosen course. The core curriculum is the essence of Ateneo’s liberal education.

On the other hand, to have a liberal Faith is antithesis of being Catholic. To be liberal in Faith is to choose only the doctrines and teachings that you feel like obeying and discard the rest. Pope Benedict XVI calls this the Cafeteria Catholicism. The words of Dr. Clamor are only partly true. There are things in Catholicism that if one does not believe them, you do not cease to be Catholic. An example would be some Marian apparitions and other private revelations to the saints. But there are things called dogmas that are non-negotiables: if you don’t believe them, you cease to be Catholic. You become a heretic. An example would be the Dogma of the Trinity.

Membership in the Church is not a subjective feeling or being conscious about it. If you are baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, you become the member of the Catholic Church. Outside the Church there is no salvation. If you are cut off from the Church, you wither and die, because the Church is the Body of Christ (c.f parable of the vine and branches).

One cannot support the Reproductive Health Bill in good conscience, because a good conscience is formed by obedience to the teachings of the Church. Support for the Reproductive Health Bill can only be a result of malformed conscience. Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae has explicitly condemned the use of contraceptives in married life as instrinsically wrong. Your Th 121 can have his/her opinions on what should the Catholic Church do regarding homosexual couples, but he does not have the Magisterium (Teaching Authority) of Bishops and Popes. Your teacher can say his opinions and we can debate forever. But when the Pope speaks ex Cathedra as successor of Peter, the case is closed.

In the time of Jose Rizal, to be an Atenean is to have a liberal education. Jose Rizal studied Latin and Greek and learned the arts and sciences. A true Atenean is a devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jose Rizal carved the Statue of the Sacred Heart in wood with a penknife. A true Atenean is a devotee of Our Lady. Jose Rizal prays the rosary. This is the reason why the Ateneo Basketball Team was once known as the Hail Mary Squad because they always pray the rosary before each game. And this is also why we sing our Alma Mater Song:

“Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!”

As an agnostic, you have to be careful when you sing this song. Mama Mary can convert even the most hardened sinners. The Campus Ministry in Ateneo never cease to give the Miraculous Medal every year. It is not called Miraculous Medal for nothing. If you receive that medal and pray a Hail Mary a day devoutly for a month, you will be converted. If you are incredulous, try it.

When Rizal gone astray into masonry, did his Jesuit teachers approve of his views? No. This led to the series of letters between Rizal and Fr. Pastells, SJ. Rizal’s physics teacher, Fr. Federico Faura, SJ, the man who first forcasted Philippine storms, rebuked Rizal for his insolence. But when Rizal was shown the statue of the Sacred Heart that He carved in his youth, Rizal converted. Fr. Faura heard his confession and he died in Luneta as a true Atenean and Catholic.

Stations of the Cross at Ateneo de Manila University: Some observations and suggestions

I was able to attend the Ateneo de Manila University’s Stations of the Cross last Friday.  I attend this same procession two years ago and I feel it is not a good way to start the Lenten Season.

I   shall begin first with what I like about the Stations of the Cross.

  1. I get to see Jesuit priests and seminarians wear their black and white cassocks.  Instinctively, I would imagine a sword dangling on their belts as in Samurai X; but since Ignatius offered his sword to our Lady, then we should not expect Jesuits to wield swords.
  2. High school students carrying the statue of Mater Dolorosa, the statue of Our Lady wrapped in the darkness of sorrow.  Two years ago they sang the Latin version of “By her cross her vigil’s keeping stands the mournful mother weeping”.  Now we don’t hear it anymore, but at least they still sing the “Dakilang Pag-ibig” of Fr. Hontiveros, S.J.  I now its Ilonggo version by heart because we always sing it during our Lenten processions in the Parish of Villamonte, Bacolod City since I was a boy.   Dakilang Pag-ibig is in spirit of the Gregorian chant tradition.
  3. The readings are all scriptural.  Some of them are from Isaiah’s Songs of the Suffering Servant.

Now, what I don’t like are the following:

  1. The leading crucifix is an abstract figure of crowns and sticks.  Christianity is not an abstraction or an idea in Greek Philosophy.  God became man and made his dwelling with us.  His suffering and death is real.  Thus, we must draw Christ as he is, as real as possible, complete with gaping wounds and blood flows.
  2. What is the use of violet flags with white crosses hastily painted?  They look like the banners of leftist groups who hide their numbers by waving large flags.  I think the violet flags are meant to represent each station of the cross.  Maybe it is better to buy a float with statues depicting each station of the cross.  We can also put large pictures in tarpaulin per station.
  3. High school boys wear black shirts and they act out certain plays.  Sometimes they are silent while dancing, if dance it was, sometimes they shout–naming the calamities that beset our country.  They remind me of the ritual dance and shouts of the boys in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies after they killed the pig: “Kill the beast, cut his throat, spill his blood.”  This is jarring to the ears and I do my best not to look at them.  The stations of the cross became like a political rally.  I think it is better to make the boys make a separate play outside of the procession, which depicts the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.  This is an ancient Filipino tradition and there are old scripts on this.  It is called, the “Pasyon”.
  4. One person gives a reflection on the reading and I am one of them.  I think the reflection should be one paragraph long not four.  Also, the reflections tend to become too secular that we lose the sufferings of  Christ in the picture.  I prefer that we stick with age-old reflections on the stations of the cross for two reasons.  First, there is an imprimatur of the bishop on it, so you can be assured that the reflections have nothing contrary to faith and morals.  Second, everybody–in all time and space– can relate to the reflection and not just a few people.
  5. There is no prolonged kneeling at the Station, “Jesus Dies on the Cross.”  God is dead.  Are words enough?  This is the cross of Christ.  On it hung the savior of the world, as in the prayer for the Easter Vigil.
  6. There is no rosary.  What is a better way to meditate on the Passion of Christ than to pray the rosary?  St. Louis de Montfort says that group rosary is better than individual rosary, because demons cannot break the prayer of a group, since it is easier to break a single stick than a bundle of sticks.  Also in group prayer, each member benefits from the prayers of the whole group.  If an individual joins a group of 100 praying one Hail Mary, this is equivalent to individually praying 100 Hail Mary’s.

I really look forward to a more traditional Stations of the Cross at the Ateneo de Manila University.  You don’t have to improve on it to make it relevant by modern standards, which surprisingly turns off lots of youth.  If there are 7000 persons in the Ateneo de Manila University and only 100 showed up for the procession, that says something.  We have been doing these University Stations of the Cross for years and the turnout is still dismal.  After several years of failure, I think it is time to go back to the time-tested traditional Stations of the Cross.  If somebody likes to bet with me, I  shall bet 10: 1 that  the turnout will be ten times more.

Schedule of Traditional Latin Mass at Jaleville Subdivision in Paranaque City

Starting the 31st of January 2010, Septuagesima Sunday, the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite shall be offered in the Jaleville Chapel {please see attached location map} at 10 o’clock in the morning on the following dates:
Last Sunday of each month {January to December 2010}

23rd of May 2010 {Solemnity of Pentecost}

13th of June 2010 {External Solemnity of the Sacred Heart}

15th of August 2010 {Solemnity of the Assumption}

3rd of October 2010 {External Solmenity of the Most Holy Rosary}

So far, these are the fixed dates for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form. Other dates may be added to this list, specially during the solemn seasons of Lent {with Passiontide} and Advent.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned at +639162290128.
Ad Jesum per Mariam,
Miguel Ramirez y Madarang
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas

JALEVILLE SUBDIVISION LOCATION MAP
• Jaleville Subdivision is on the same avenue {Quirino Avenue} as ST. PAUL’s COLLEGE of PARAÑAQUE, ST. ANDREW’s SCHOOL, ANDREW’s CATHEDRAL, and BAMBOO ORGAN CHURCH.

• Coming from the NORTH, it’s on the RIGHT. Coming from the SOUTH, it’s on the LEFT

• The subdivision has TWO BIG BLACK GATES with a big stone marker in the middle with the words “JALEVILLE” vertically placed on it.

Source: Traditional Roman Catholic Philippines