Author: Donnie Duchin Duya, SDB

Fr. Donnie is a Salesian of Don Bosco from the Philippines. He is currently the Spiritual Moderator of Don Bosco Technical Institute--Makati. He writes essays and tinkers with his plants on his free time.

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.

manila-cathedral-philippines-immaculate-conception.jpg

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!

Advertisements

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.

Fixing, Mending, Restoring

Here is the homily I delivered this morning at the National Shrine of Mt. Carmel as we begin the first day of the novena in her honor.

Celebrating this Mass on the first day of the novena in honor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, in her national shrine, is such a great honor for us children of St. John Bosco.

And our being here is a testament to Don Bosco’s love of Mama Mary. I am certain that he is smiling at us from up above.

The theme of fixing, mending, restoring strings the three readings as one.

In the first reading, we heard about Prophet Amos’ announcement that God will rebuild the house of Israel.

Israel committed grave sin against God and this led to its destruction. Ang bunga ng kasalanan ay kapahamakan. At kung nakamamatay ang pagtawid sa EDSA, mas higit pa dito ang dulot ng kasalanan. Ang kaluluwa nating hindi namamatay ay pagbabagain sa apoy ng impyerno, magpasawalang hanggan.  

But despite its sins, Israel is called back to return to the Lord. This is also our experience.

How many times we have offended God when we hurt the people we love? Sinasaksak natin ang puso ng Diyos kapag sinasaktan natin ang ating kapwa. Pinaliliit natin ang Diyos sa buhay natin kapag ang sarili natin ang pinipili nating paglingkuran. At laging nariyan ang tuksong isipin lagi ang sarili, kahit na mapabayaan ang iba. Kapag minumura natin ang kapwa natin, hindi lang sila ang ibinababa natin ang dignidad, pati na rin ang Diyos na may likha sa kanila.  

But similar with the experience of Israel, God continues to call us to return to His embrace. Siya na nga ang nasaktan, Siya pa rin ang nagmamaka-awang bumalik tayo sa Kanyang piling.

Our being here, in this first Saturday of the month, a day we set aside to show our devotion to the Mother of our Lord, is a beautiful way of heeding the Lord’s call to return to Him. Nandito tayo, kasi, gusto rin nating sabihin sa Diyos na gusto nating ayusin ang relasyon natin sa kapwa natin. Na napapagod na tayong maging makasarili, at nais na nating bumalik sa Kanya.

At ang disposisyon naman ng Diyos, parang isang meme sa FB, nagsasabi sa ating, “Uwi ka na… Hindi na ako galit.”

At Peace

We can tell if we are really in the presence of God. There is peace, there is serenity. There are still problems that come. There are members of our families who are sick. There are problems at work. There may be reasons to feel sad, and yet, we are surprised because we are still in peace.  

We are in peace, because we know that we don’t have anything to be worried about. He is present in our lives. He is in command.  

In the Gospel, we heard that the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus. That time, their master must have been in prison. And perhaps, they wanted to see Jesus because they needed to be clarified something. Gusto nilang linawin kay Hesus kung bakit parang hindi nangingilin ang Kanyang mga disipulo.

Sa relihiyon kasi ng mga Hudyo, ang pangingilin ay bahagi ng kanilang buhay pananampalataya. Isa itong palatandaan na mabuting tao ang kaharap nila kapag alam nilang ito ay nangingilin.

And for them, the disciples of Jesus appear different. Maybe because they are always seen eating everywhere.

To this question, Jesus responded with three metaphors:

First, He used the imagery of a wedding feast, second, the metaphor not putting a piece of new cloth on an old garment, and finally, a new wine is not to be placed into old wineskins.

These three metaphors direct us to put some orders in our life. Ang buhay Kristiyano ay hindi isang buhay na bara bara, mema at walwalan 24/7.

Our Christian life ought to observe a sense of balance. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle puts it this way, a virtue is such because it stands in the middle. Hindi dapat sobra, hindi rin dapat kulang.

Mahalaga ang kaayusan sa ating buhay, kasi, ang Diyos mismo ang nagpakita ng halimbawang tulad nito.

Nang nilikha Niya ang sanlibutan, mayroon Siyang kaayusang sinundan. Nilikha Niya muna ang liwanag, tapos, ang titirhan ng tao, tapos nilikha din niya muna ang mga hayop na tutulong sa tao, at nang handa na ang lahat, nilikha Niya ang tao.

Kapag walang ayos ang buhay natin, magkakagulo. Ilang gabi lang ang nakalipas nang ang pinapanuod nating basketball ay nagmistulang wrestling na.

Nakakatawa…pero nakakalungkot, hindi ba?

Kapag hindi natin iginagalang ang batas na gumagabay sa atin upang maging maayos ang lipunan, nagiging magulo ang bayan. Nagiging napakamura lang ng halaga ng buhay ng tao. At pati ang katotohanan ay nagmimistulang pana-panahon na lang. Pabago-bago.

Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, hindi tayo nawawalan ng pag-asa. Kasama natin ang ating Mahal na Ina ng Carmel. Kapag hindi na natin kaya ang ingay at gulo at problema sa buhay, mayroon tayong Nanay na laging naglalakbay kasama natin.

Mamaya, susuotan tayo ng mga iskapularyo ng Mahal na Ina, kalakip ang pangakong hinding hindi tayo maiiwang ulila.

Sa kabila ng kaguluhan ng mundo, ang iskapularyo ay mabisang tanda na may nakalaang plano ang Diyos upang iligtas tayo sa anumang panganib–at maging, sa apoy man ng impyerno.

Under maintenance

Homily
July 7, 2018
Readings: Amos 9:11-15;  Matthew 9:14-17

I thank Fr. Favie for giving me this privilege to jumpstart this Journey of Faith series in our community.

I anchored my sharing on the readings. And the readings of today’s liturgy speak of repairs.

This is quite obvious, particularly in the first reading. Despite the many big sins of Israel to God, God promised to rebuild it. He beckoned Israel to return to Him in His desire to patch up the broken relationship brought about by her past infidelities.

In the Matthean Gospel episode we just heard, we could infer into the purpose of the disciples of John the Baptist, as they went to Jesus to seek clarification about the reason why His disciples were not fasting. I see in this move an honest desire, not to nitpick, but to get into the bottom of things, to dialogue. To which, Jesus responded favorably, finding in this opportunity with the disciples of St. John a teachable moment, and a favorable time to forestall any perceived differences from his cousin’s end.

Allow me to share with you in this Journey of Faith some recent mending, fixing, and repairing God has been accomplishing in me.

SD Workshop

Last summer, I asked Fr. Favie if I could attend the workshop on spiritual direction. In my mind, this would be a good opportunity to learn the practice in keeping with this year’s strenna of Listening and Accompaniment.

The length of the Spiritual Direction workshop lasted for two weeks. But before the workshop proper on Spiritual Direction, we had one week of going through a module they call Ushering in Encounters with God, which exposed the participants to various prayer methods. This is anchored on the presupposition that Spiritual Direction capitalizes on a life of prayer.

Halfway through the module, the spiritual exercises helped me realize how I have been at the crest of experiencing  the proverbial dryness in the prayer life. How I gave priority to quantifiable outputs, and praying has been relegated to the peripheries.   

I see that my being there in that workshop is God’s way of calling me back to return to Him and experience once more His intimate way of caring for His own.

Serenity

In one of the prayer sessions, we were asked to go out of the hall and pray with nature. I sat before a pond. Marveling at the white lotus plants on its surface, I became aware of the ripples on the water caused by spider-looking insects that can suspend themselves on its surface. With the rhythm of the ripples on the water, I became mindful how this pond is like a mini universe pulsating with life, how it mirrors God’s work of creation that unfolds before my very eyes.

That realization brought deep consolation in me. God has been real before me with that first hand experience of His creation.    

In the prayer exercises we carried out in the prayer workshop, the sense of serenity secures me, confident that the quality of this remarkable gift can only originate from God. I note how peace has become a consistent fruit of my prayers during those days, which echoes our response to the  psalm today: The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

SD Session

The dynamics of the workshop on Spiritual Direction required us to have our own spiritual guide, whom we met once every week. I was assigned to a 70-something lady who had worked as administrator at the Ateneo, and has a Jesuit priest son.

Her demeanor speaks of the God she aimed to represent, and she is an epitome of how a spiritual guide ought to listen to and accompany another soul desiring to encounter God. She reminded me of Tita Wilma Militante in her eagerness to listen to my experience of God and her gentleness in prompting me to search for answers.  

In one of our sessions, she shared with me a book entitled Why Priests are Happy? written by Stephen Rosetti. One common answer of the priests interviewed was (1) They know who they are, and (2) they know whose they are, which refers to their primary central relationship.     

She proceeded in sharing with me how she witnessed the fall of talented and gifted religious because they did not give priority to their prayer life.    

After the workshop, I promised that my friendship with Jesus will be sustained by an intense, heart-to-heart prayer. A kind of prayer that has the power to radically change me.   

This has been a big help for me to renew my commitment to God as His priest. That before I go out and accompany other people fix their spiritual lives, God needed first to do some necessary repairs in me.

God is not done with His repairing me. Last month, my mama had a stroke. And the MRI result showed that there is a clog in her spine. She might need a surgery to remove it. Otherwise, she might fall into a paralysis.

I ask for your prayers that this repair in the life of our family may take place neatly and swiftly–according to His holy plan.  

Deja vu

Here’s my homily yesterday, 6 April 2018, Friday in the Octave of Easter, on the occasion of the Thanksgiving Mass for our Batch 2018 Completers.

“Deja vu” is a French expression which literally means “already seen.”

It is used to label that strange feeling you get, when you are in a situation that eerily reminds you of a similar scenario which you already saw before.

I have a couple of examples:

  • Our Bosconians’ fixing their hair and uniform every single day, just before they report for the line formation.
  • Studying and reading notes up until the last second before they receive the test questionnaire.
  • At kahit na bawal ang cellphone sa classroom, they will snap a class photo–and, at times, together with their teachers–just so they have something to post in FB or IG.

And we see these “deja vus” year after year after year.

The Gospel reading we heard earlier also gives us a deja vu: Our newly risen Christ shows Himself to Peter, by the Sea of Galilee.

This reminds us of their very first meeting in that same place, where Jesus called Peter to be a “fisher of men.”

It was the Lord who chose Peter to be the leader of His disciples.
Jesus would build His Church on this very rock.
He would be hailed to be the first ever Pope.

Make no mistake about it, Jesus chose Peter neither because the former was the most brilliant, nor the most eloquent, nor he had sterling qualifications.

We’re just fresh from celebrating the Holy Week. And we will remember that Peter betrayed Jesus, not just once, nor twice –but three times over!

In other words, it was not Peter’s qualification that got for him the job.

The answer lies in Jesus. It is because of Jesus. It is because of the Lord!

Dear completers, you’re moving up to the next level.

By a happy confidence, we mark this thanksgiving Mass on this first Friday after the Easter Sunday, we look on the heart of Jesus, which symbolizes His great love for us.

Here in Don Bosco, we instilled in you to frequently visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament once you arrived in the campus, during your break times, and even before you go home. Because we want you to develop a profound friendship with Jesus.

Dito sa Don Bosco, adik din tayo sa Misa. We are not just contented to celebrate Mass once a month, but we do it every week. And so is the sacrament of confessions.

This tells us how you have grown in your friendship with Jesus through these sacraments which are very dear to St. John Bosco.

During my priestly ordination, the bishop reminded me in his homily that the Lord has chosen me to be His priest, not because I am the most intelligent, nor the holiest in our batch–but because it was Jesus’s mercy.

And, in this homily, I wish to pass on to you that gentle reminder, “Pinasa lang kayo ng Diyos dahil sa awa Niya!”

May kasabihan tayong “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”

In the first reading, we heard how Peter was pushed back, harassed, and intimidated for having invoked the name of Jesus.

However, he stood firm. And this very effort, coupled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, resulted to the conversion of many.

Our dear Bosconians, we are challenged to follow his example of standing firm for Jesus, especially in these times when the truth appears to depend on popularity, or on the number of likes.

As you move up to the next level, you bring with you the light of Christ, ignited by your respective families, and guarded jealously by your family here in Don Bosco Makati.

Don Bosco, the saint, I am certain, looks forward to another deja vu. That is, for him to see each of us in heaven.

In a place he fondly calls the “Salesian Garden.”

And if that happens, we can say that, we have ultimately moved up.

My Gratitude Jar

*Removes layer upon layer of cobwebs*

Happy New Year of 2018! 

I know. 

It has been a while since I last put up something here. I really hope that with this brand new year ushered in, I’ll be able to find the time, inspiration, and more importantly, the conviction to regularly conjure more blog posts. 

Not that the regular followers of this blog, (Hi, Br. Jomar! Hi, Pao!) nag me to scribble a decent piece just like before, but because I am feeling the urge to write. 

And so, here it is, drum rolls please 🥁, my first entry for the year!

I’d like to begin this year something on gratitude

These pages of my 2018 giving journal (thank you, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) caught my fancy earlier and pushed me to come up with a personal project so that I could track my blessings, so that in return, I could become a blessing myself to others. 

But wait, here’s more…

In one of his weekly conferences, Fr Henry, my then rector in the theologate, emphasized how gratitude wonderfully leads us, not just to appreciate a person who has done us good, but more importantly, gratitude gives us the opportunity to be humble, upon realizing that we can still manage to receive, even if we may already have everything