Month: December 2018

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Today in all Cathedrals and parish Churches, the consecration of the Philippines to Mary Immaculate is to be prayed according to the approved formula.

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Act of Consecration to Mary Immaculate
[Click and download the PPT File ]

“We have recourse to your protection, O holy Mother of God.”
As we recite the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, we find ourselves today before you, our Mother, in this Year of Faith. We, who make up the Body of Christ present in our land, recite the words of this present Act of Consecration and Entrustment, in which we gather, first of all, the hopes and anxieties of our Filipino people, at this moment of our history.

Mother of our people, we rejoice in the name, “Pueblo amante de Maria, a people who love Mary, bayang sumisinta kay Maria.” You know all our sufferings and our hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the world today. Mother of our people, accept the cry which we, deeply moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your heart.

Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, our people and our land, which now we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are truly concerned for the earthly and eternal destiny of every individual among us and for all our people. “We have recourse to your protection, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities.”

II

Behold, as we gather before you, Mother of Christ, as we gather before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, the Church of the Lord in our land, joined in heart and mind with all our people, “isang bayang Pilipino,” to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, your Son made of himself to the Father:‘For their sake,’ he said, ‘I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in the truth.’ We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for the entire human race, which, in his divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.

The power of this consecration by your Son, Our Lord, lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. Thus also it embraces our people and our land. The power of this consecration overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the hearts of men and women in human history. How deeply we now feel the need for the consecration of our people, in union with Christ Jesus himself. For the redeeming work of our Redeemer must be shared in by the world, and by our own people, through the Church.

We turn to you, Mother of our Redeemer and our Mother: above all creatures may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call. Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son. Mother of the Church, enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope and love. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration offered by Jesus your Son for the entire human family, and for us, the Filipino people and for our beloved land.

III

In entrusting to you, O Mother, our people, your “Pueblo amante de Maria,” we entrust to you this very consecration itself, placing it in your motherly Heart. Immaculate Heart, help us to conquer the threat of evil, which so easily enters and takes root in the hearts of people today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our country, and seem to block the paths toward the future.

     –     From hatred, violence, and conflicts that divide and destroy our people, deliver us.

     –     From sins against human life, from its very beginning,  deliver us.

     –     From the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.

     –     From every kind of injustice in the life of society, deliver us.

     –     From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.

     –     From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.

     –     From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry, laden with the hopes and burdens, the sufferings of each one of us, and of all our people. Help us, with the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome and conquer all sin – individual sins and the sin of the world – sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed once more, in our own history as a people, the infinite power of the Redemption, the power of merciful love. May it destroy the power of sin and evil among us. May it transform consciences.

May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all, in our land and throughout the world, the light of hope! O Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, our life, our sweetness and our hope!

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Loved by the Father


Clipart from https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

Homily
December 1, 2018
Readings: Rev 22:1-7; Luke 21:34-36

Last July 7, I jump-started the series of the Journey of Faith sharing in our community for this school year. I begin this first day of the brand new month–and the very last day of the liturgical year–doing the same.

The readings of today’s liturgy speak of vigilance, but not that kind which alerts us to some dangers ahead–but that which fills our hearts with longing for, and anticipation of what is to come.

The first reading, derived from the Book of Revelation, paints a picture that is filled with hope, and closes with this solemn declaration, “Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.”

The New Testament scholar William Barclay differentiates “happiness” with “blessedness.”

For him, “human happiness is something which is dependent on the chances and the changes of life, something which life may give and which life may also destroy.”

On the other hand, he sees Christian blessedness “as completely untouchable and unassailable. It speaks of that joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy which sorrow and loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch, that joy which shines through tears, and which nothing in life or death can take away.”

This crisp description of Barclay on what Christian blessedness is, made me relish its concreteness on the love shown by the parents to their children in last week’s Salubong.

After each section of that grade level finishes its retreat, we invite the parents of these students to come to the school so that they could pick their boys–and alongside, a somehow impromptu program is held to provide a fitting conclusion to the retreat.

Somewhere along the program, a parent is tasked to deliver a welcome address in behalf of all the parents.

Last week, the father who delivered the speech, began it in this manner:

Even before you were born, until now, your mom and I are your biggest fans. We became paparazzi taking a lot of photos and videos even before you walked your first steps. We are your biggest supporters and fans. With every developmental milestone you reached, like your first tooth, your first word, your first whatever – we revel in joy and celebration.

This same dad ended his speech with these words:

Know that we love you and will always be there for you. No matter what, we’ve got your back. You are our son and always will be. We adore you, and there is nothing you could possibly do to change that.

We can sense here the longing of the father to be reunited once again with his child… It may be a human father who spoke these moving lines, but if it were to be attributed to God the Father, it continues to sound perfectly alright. It continues to hold its gripping effect.

He continues to call us back to Himself. He is thrilled to welcome us again. In the responsorial psalm, we responded: “Come, Lord Jesus!” But could it also be that Jesus exclaims: “Come, Fr. Ben…” “Come, Fr. Degz… “Come, Fr. Favie!?

The Gospel we heard points us to that kind of alertness “at all times.” This year, I mark my first decade as a Salesian of Don Bosco.

This ten-year journey is peppered with ups and downs, of peaks and valleys–which never fails to mark how God has been a real picture of a doting Father.

At all times” are three words that alert me

  • To the Providence of the Father–of the beauty and greatness of the mission God has entrusted to me–to us–as Salesians;
  • To the veritable home this community has become to me;
  • To the friends I made among the lay mission partners, and even the students themselves;
  • To the lessons I valued carefully wrapped in setbacks and failures and mistakes;
  • To never fail to hope again after some disappointing blows life gives me at times.

I pray that my next ten years as a Salesian will be as beautiful, and as relevant as these ten years were.

But even if they would not be so, I remind myself, and be consoled, to the realization that I am loved by the Father, and He will always be there for me. No matter what, He got my back. I am His son and always will be. That I am adored by Him, and there is nothing I could possibly do to change that.