The Blessed Virgin Mary and Elbereth Gilthoniel in Lord of the Rings

Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Joachim and St. Anne

Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Joachim and St. Anne

Today is the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And today I shall talk about a female figure in the Lord of the Rings that reminds us of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Elbereth Gilthoniel.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit.

Philippine Coat of Arms: a Catholic Interpretation

Icons of the Philippine Coat of Arms

Icons of the Philippine Coat of Arms

Wikipedia has an excellent entry on the Philippine coat of arms that describes its evolution from that of a colony of Spain, to that of the US, and finally to its independence as a sovereign nation. The historical interpretations of the the heraldric devices such as the sun, stars, eagle, and lion are well-known. What I shall propose here is a possible reinterpretation of the devices in the light of the Scriptures and the Catholic Faith.

The top icon is Crown of Spain who gave the gift of Christianity to the Philippines; it may also be interpreted as the billowing sails of Magellan’s Spanish galleon whose front hull is shaped like the bottom of the shield. The yellow and white are the colors of Vatican City, the seat of the Catholic Church. The three stars and the sun represent the doctrine of the Trinity–three Divine Persons in one God; they also represent the the wounds of Christ on his hands, head, and heart. The sun represents the radiating Sacred Heart of Jesus pierced by thorns or the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by swords. The blue and red represents the water and blood that flowed from the pierced Heart of Christ, as seen in the Icon of Divine Mercy.  This is reenacted during mass when the water (blue) is mixed with (wine), which becomes the Blood of Christ after consecration.  The sun on a white ellipse may also represent the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ hidden under the appearance of bread in the Sacred Host.

The Eagle icon is the Eagle of the United States of America. The Eagle also traditionally represents St. John the Evangelist because of his lofty description of the pre-existent divinity of Christ as the Logos or the Word of God (Jn 1:1). In the Book of Revelation, the wings of a great eagle was given to the woman pursued by the Red Dragon so that she can escape to the desert (Rev 12:14). The eagle is at the foot of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the man with the the eagle’s wings (angel) representing Juan Diego whose native name was Cuauhtlatoatzin or “The Talking Eagle.” Our Lady of Guadalupe is the second patroness of the Philippine Islands as defined by Pope Pius XI; the primary patroness of the Philippines is still Our Lady under the title of The Immaculate Conception whose colors are blue and white.

Lastly, the Lion icon is the Lion of Spain. The lion represents the Judah, the Lion’s whelp, from whose loins the Messiah, the Son of David, Jesus Christ, shall come:

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise –your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you.9Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.11 (Gen 49:8-11)

The present-day Jews are named after the Tribe of Judah, who survived the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians but was later sent to Babylonian exile.  The Lion of Judah is the municipal emblem of Jerusalem.  The lion also traditionally represents St. Mark the Evangelist because he begins his Gospel with St. John shouting in the desert where the wild beasts like lions live. St. Mark also described Jesus as living in the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the Satan, living with wild beasts, and ministered by angels (Mk 1: 1-13).  St. Peter describes the devil as the roaring lion:

Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. (1 Pet 5:8-9)

Thus, if the sun represents the human person, he would always have his guardian angel (eagle) and a demon (lion) by his side to influence his will whether to obey God or to go against His Holy will.

Jose Rizal’s statue of the Sacred Heart: Travel history and other notes

RIZAL’S TRAVELLING STATUETTE
by Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J.While a student at the Ateneo Municipal in Intramuros, Jose Rizal (14) made a small statue of the Sacred Heart, about nine inches in length.  He carved the statuette in baticuling wood with a penknife at the request of his professor Fr Jose Leonardo S.J.  Father intended to take it with him to Spain, but the domestic helper forgot to place it in his trunk.  It was left behind and was taken by Rizal’s fellow students.  It was placed on a shelf above the door of their study hall where it remained for twenty years.

In August 1887, Rizal (26) returned to the Philippines and stayed till early 1888.   Now a liberal in matters political as well as religious, he visited his Jesuit friends at the Ateneo.  On his way out, the Jesuit porter showed him the statuette.  Rizal replied, “Other times, Brother, other times.  I no longer believe in such things.”*

In December 1896, after Rizal (35) was sentenced to death by the Military Tribunal which had tried him for treason, he asked for some Jesuit priests to visit him.  Fr Miguel Saderra Mata, S.J., Rector of the Ateneo Municipal, together with Fr. Luis Viza, S. J., went in haste to Fort Santiago to the cell where Rizal was imprisoned. They were greeted warmly by Rizal.

Rizal asked them if the statuette of the Sacred Heart which he had carved as a boy was still at the Ateneo.  Fr Viza, in reply, took the statuette out of the pocket of his soutane.  He had guessed rightly.  Rizal would remember it at the hour of his death.  Rizal took it and kissed it in his hands and placed it on the table where he would soon write the Ultimo Adios.

The statuette remained in the cell.  On the night before his execution, it was to Fr Jose Vilaclara, S.J., his former Physics teacher, that Rizal made his sacramental confession and be reconciled to the Church.

The following day, 30 December, before leaving his cell to go to Bagumbayan, Rizal held the statuette to his lips for the last time.  With two hands holding it close to his heart, he moved slowly to give it back to the Jesuits who were with him to the last day.

When the fire of 1932 engulfed the Ateneo, the principal concern of the Jesuits was the safety of the students.  No one got hurt.  Many valuable irreplaceable collections went up in smoke and presumably the statuette.  The Ateneo resumed operations in Padre Faura.  In 1945 the Ateneo was destroyed completely during the liberation of Manila.

Some time in 1952, when Ateneo was in the Loyola Campus, Q.C., the statue was returned, presumably by the student who saved it from the 1932 fire, and inadvertently from the 1945 fire as well.

Replicas made from ash from the bowels of the earth hurled into the sky by
Mt Pinatubo in 1991 were distributed to friends.

After some twenty three years in the Board of Trustees room, Fr. Bienvenido
Nebres, the President, turned it over to the Ateneo University Archives.  I
wish to thank Miss Carina Samaniego, Archivist, for sending me photos of the
statuette and of the plaques.

NotesRizal was condemned to death for the crime of treason.  He advocated not revolution but evolution.  He wished the Philippines to be independent when it was ready for it.  Up to the time of his death, he thought the time had not come.  For him, independence would happen like a fruit automatically falling from the tree when it was ripe.

He enrolled at the Ateneo in 1872, the year Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were garroted to death for treason.  They were innocent of this crime.  The event so moved Rizal that later he said, “I would have been a Jesuit, but I had vowed to do something about their death.”

Baticuling is a hard wood used in carving, which now is not easily available.  Without carving tools, Rizal carved an excellent statue using just a penknife.

When did Rizal carve this statue?  He enrolled at the Ateneo when he was eleven. He lived at the Ateneo as a boarder.  He got an AB degree at 16 in 1977.  That year, he enrolled at the Ateneo and UST, both in Intramuros and a few blocks from each other.  He left the Ateneo when he was 17, certified by the Ateneo as Agrimensor (Surveyor).  I guess he carved the image when he was about 14.  He still had to study anatomy.

Musings

Rizal carved the statue for Fr Leonardo.  Did Fr need one for himself, or did he want Rizal to develop his talent?  Why did he ask Rizal to carve an image of the Sacred Heart and not of someone else, like Our Lady?  Did he specify whose statue he wanted?  Rizal was the Prefect of the Sodality of Our Lady.

What thoughts passed through Rizal’s mind as he carved?  Did he have lectures of the Sacred Heart in mind? Did he research his subject? What did he know of the devotion to the Sacred Heart?  What did his devotion, if any, to the Sacred Heart consist of?  What does the actual statue say?  What was the state of the devotion at the Ateneo?  How did he think of carving a statue with a hole in the chest?

Fr Leonardo’s sorrow on failing to bring the statuette that he could not bring the statue with him resulted in the statuette staying in the Ateneo.

It was painful for the nameless Brother that Rizal refused to even look at his statue.  Would he have a statue if the houseboy had not forgotten? Would Rizal have thought of his statue in his cell if the Brother had not brought the statue as Rizal left?  Did the Brother on his own or had someone asked him to show it to Rizal?  How did Rizal feel when he gently rebuffed the gesture of the Brother?  Did he feel sad?  Was it like meeting a girl friend he had outgrown?

On leaving his death cell, Rizal held to his heart, the statue of Jesus holding his heart against his heart.

*When Rizal received the statuette, he kissed it and placed it on the table
where he would soon write the Ultimo Adios.  Sentiments expressed in the
poem are inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus.  Would that I had more
blood to shed, more lives to die.*

Beloved Filipinas.
Gladly now I give to thee this failed life’s best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blood,
Still would I give it, nor count the cost.
There was no rancor or anger.  Only the peace and joy of one who “had run
the course, fought the good fight and had kept the faith”

For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns o’er on high!  *
(From translation by Charles Derbyshire.)

At the incarnation, God emptied himself.  On the cross he emptied his body
of blood.  In the Heart of Jesus, he emptied his body of his heart.  In the
field of Bagong Bayan, Rizal emptied himself to enrich Filipinas.

On leaving his death cell, Rizal pressed the heart of the statuette against
his heart.  By this he expressed his acceptance of the heart of Jesus
graciously offered.  Would it be too much if the Fathers saw that the heart
in the statuette returned to them was gone?

But now, Rizal had no need for an image.  For he had with him the Risen
Jesus, walking with him and at the supreme moment carrying him over the
threshold into life.  Jesus would not desert one who so perfectly made dumb
wood proclaim eloquently the totality of his love by imaging him with an
Emptied Body.

Rizal’s request to be shot facing the firing squad was refused. But with a heroic effort, he turned his body after he was shot and he fell face forward.  To kiss Filipinas, his heart against the land.


Man hears our words.
God hears our thoughts.  Augustine
God bless you.  Victor

blog:  pedrocalungsod.blogspot.com
God bless you and all your efforts.  Victor Badillo SJ

Jose Rizal’s statue of the Sacred Heart: a theological interpretation

RIZAL’S STATUETTE – MEANING

by Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J.

Jose Rizal's statue of the Sacred Heart

Jose Rizal's statue of the Sacred Heart

Attached is a picture of a statuette.  Jose Rizal carved it when he was a
student at the Ateneo.  He carved it from a piece of batuling, a hard word,
with a penknife.  He was then 14 years old.  The year, 1875.  *

In 1896, he died for his country, shot in the heart by an execution squad. He is now the national hero.  He is a national here who never bore arms.  No national hero has more public statues in other countries than he.  2011 is 150th anniversary of Rizal’s birth.

The statuette is that of a man whose left hand is hanging by his side with palm facing away from him.  His right hand is bent at the elbow with his fist high against his left chest where his heart was.  Held in that fist is a heart.  The heart is surmounted by flames, and a crown of thorns encircles it.  In the middle of the chest is an ugly jagged hole.

Jesus is offering his heart which he has torn from his chest.  In offering his heart he tells us, in deeds and not in words, that he loves us to the extent of giving his life for us.  This is the message of the crucified Jesus.  This is the message of the Heart of Jesus.  On the cross, blood and water flowed out.  By this he died.  By giving us his heart, he dies.

He is offering his heart not to be put beside our hearts.  No.  He is offering his heart to replace our hearts.  “I will take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.”  I will take your human heart and replace it with the heart of God.  God work is not accomplished until he has replaced with his heart the hearts of every man.

He is not a giver until his gift is accepted.  Jesus did not redeem the world by his suffering and crucifixion until the Father accepted it, when he raised him from the dead.

He gives us his heart so that in turn we give our heart, his heart, to others.  To have his heart is to love as he does.  Greater love than this no man hath then that he lay down his life for his friend.  He loves us so that we become able to love him.  We cannot love him until we have his heart.

At the feeding of the multitude, he feeds them with his word and then feeds their bodies.  Later he tells them, “You come to eat bread.  Whoever chews my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever.”  In the feeding of the
multitude, he lets his disciples distribute the bread.  As they do, they tell the people, “This bread is the gift of Jesus.  At mass, the priest says, “This is the body of Jesus.”  At the Last Supper, Jesus takes, blesses, breaks and says, “Take this broken body and eat it.  Take this spilled blood and drink it.”

In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to the Jesuits’ Fr Gen
Kolvenbach, S.J. on devotion to the Heart of Jesus.  Never in his latter
does he use the phrase Sacred Heart.  It is always Heart of Jesus, Heart of
Christ, or Heart of the Savior.  From the very beginning of the devotion,
the Holy See has forbidden the representation of just a heart.

Rizal’s representation of the Heart of Jesus as Jesus with his heart in his fist and with an Emptied Chest is not only unique, but dynamic and effective. Conventional representations show a symbolic heart adorning his chest, almost passive.

The Society of Jesus has accepted the responsibility to spread the devotion to the Heart of Jesus as a munus suavissimum (most sweet mission orders).

blog:  pedrocalungsod.blogspot.com
God bless you and all your efforts.  Victor Badillo SJ

Ateneo Latin Mass Society: Mission and Vision

ATENEO LATIN MASS SOCIETY

Mission and Vision

Ateneo Latin Mass Society (ALMS) is an association in Ateneo de Manila University which seeks to give greater glory to God by making the most beautiful celebration of the Roman Rite in Latin in both ordinary and extraordinary forms available to all.

To accomplish this, the ALMS shall do the following:

  1. Foster the use of Latin in the Roman Rite as mandated by Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium

  2. Promote both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, but with a preferential option for the extraordinary form in the Ignatian tradition of magis and excellence

  3. Train choir groups who can perfectly sing all the chants in Liber Usualis, in obedience to the mandate of Vatican II’s Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy that the Gregorian Chant should be given pride of place in the Roman Liturgy

  4. Train sacristan groups who knows by heart the responses and rubrics of both the ordinary and extraordinary masses in all seasons of the year.

  5. Train Jesuit seminarians, deacons, and priests in the words, rubrics, and chants in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite

  6. Teach the congregation how to pray the rosary in Latin and how to chant the responses in missa cantata

  7. Provide the most exquisite vessels and vestments for any Jesuit priest who wishes to say the Latin Mass

  8. Promote Jesuit vocations, novenas to Jesuit saints, and prayers for the souls of living and dead Jesuits.

  9. Establish the Institute for Latin Studies for the study of the classical, medieval, and ecclessiastical Latin literature, especially those written by Jesuit saints and scholars.

  10. Promote the use of Gothic and Romanesque church architecture for the Roman Rite.

  11. Promote the Spirtual Exercises of St. Ignatius

  12. Promote St. Ignatius’s Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church.

  13. Establish Latin Mass Societies in all Ateneo schools and form a worldwide Latin Mass Society of Jesuit Schools

  14. Coordinate with the Jesuit hierarchy and Church hierarchy in promoting the use of the Latin and Gregorian chant in all Jesuit schools and in all parishes.

  15. Promote Jesuit spirituality through the Sodality of our Lady and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Benediction and First Friday Mass at the Church of the Gesu this April 1

The Ateneo community is invited to the:

FIRST FRIDAY EUCHARISTIC ADORATION
(Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction)
April 1, 2011
5:00 in the afternoon

FIRST FRIDAY ALUMNI MASS
April 1, 2011
6:00 in the evening

“May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised,
adored, and loved with grateful affection at every moment
in all tabernacles of the world, now and until the end of time.”
(Prayer of Reparation to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus)

Let us continue to pray and seek for God’s infinite mercy and grace
as we await for the Easter morning.

———-
Gesu Liturgical Committee

Skyline movie review: Christian rapture and the war for human brains

My father and I watched the movie Skyline few Sundays ago. We came about 15 minutes late, but we made it to the Day One of the Alien Invasion. The film ran for about an hour and a half. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 14% rating, i.e. bad movie. But I disagree.

First, there are no movie stars like Tom Cruise. I think this is a positive aspect of the movie. The characters are plain and boring–just like you and me. They represent many of people we know who spend the night away in parties and orgies. A casual sex made a girl pregnant and the man is not ready to be a father. The setting is a condominium and there is no family to speak of. An old man lives alone with a dog.

And second, the story was not well told because it has a hanging ending. When the movie ended and the cast of characters went up, the people still remained in their seats, wondering if the movie has really ended. I felt cheated that the movie did not end properly unlike Independence Day–a virus was delivered and the spaceships were destroyed. Or in Transformers: the Autobots defeated the Decepticons. A glorious morning shines after a terrible storm. But this is not how it ended in Skyline: in the face of an alien invasion, the humans–with all their jet fighters and nuclear missiles–are powerless. And the thought of powerlessness lingered long hours or days for me after watching the film.

Let us turn to some theological elements in the film:

1. Captivating Light and Beatific Vision

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, as quoted by Wikipedia, beatific vision is defined as follows:

The immediate knowledge of God which the angelic spirits and the souls of the just enjoy in Heaven. It is called “vision” to distinguish it from the mediate knowledge of God which the human mind may attain in the present life. And since in beholding God face to face the created intelligence finds perfect happiness, the vision is termed “beatific.”

The light seen by the human characters in the movie may also be called beatific in the superficial sense, because they find it wonderful to see.  Such a wonderful light pulls them towards the heavens, similar to what St. Paul described during the coming of Christ:

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thes 4:17)

But in the movie there was no heaven to speak of, but a deep pit of dark slime where humans are piled on top of each other.  This is Sheol, the abode of the dead.

Such an alien light reminds me of the shining darkness of sin (e.g. pornography): it captivates your vision, drawing you closer to read or see more, until your soul is plunged in the darkness of sin.  Not to look is difficult for the will, unless another person immediately pulls you out from the captivating light.  This reminds me of the palantir of Orthanc that Pippin looked into and the Dark Lord Sauron caught hold of his mind; Pippin only recovered when he confessed his sin to Gandalf.

2.  War for the human brain

The alien creatures may be classified as octopi and behemoths.  Octopi creatures capable of flight.  No, they do not scan for electromagnetic radiation like that in the Matrix and zoom in for the kill.  Instead, they seek human and draws them out either by lure or by force.  Behemoths, on the other, have nothing else to do but to crush everything in its path.  

These alien creatures remind me of the modern-day headhunters: multinationals, governments, and non-government organizations.  They get the best minds to join them and the persons they get became imbued with the organization’s culture and values.  I am thinking countries like China, companies like Planned Parenthood, and the many organizations which promote the homosexual lobby.  What the movie’s ending may be saying is that it is possible to be part of these organizations while keeping your own mind.  Tyranny is terrified by the human free will and tyrants will try to keep human mind in control either by brainwashing the adults in universities or by sucking the brains of infants in partial birth abortion.

The movie ends with utter hopelessness: no US nuke missiles can destroy the alien ships. The US tried all their military hardware and software against Vietnam; US lost the war.  The US also tried their military might against Iraq; the US is now recalling back its forces.  The US has not learned its lesson well: a war of the mind cannot be fought with guns and nukes.  The religion of peace called Islam can only be converted by the peace of Christ, the Lion from the Tribe of Judah.  The Great Red Dragon that is communist Russia and China can only be defeated by the Woman Clothed With the Sun, Our Lady of Fatima.  And the multi-tentacled behemoth that is Planned Parenthood can only be destroyed by She Who Crushed the Head of the Serpent, Tequaxalupeaux, Our Lady of Guadalupe whose feast we now celebrate.  In the end, this is what we can be sure: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary shall triumph.