The TYC Choir

September 19, 2008

As I have mentioned in my “About” page, I am a member of the Tambo Youth Circle Chorale.  We serve the Sunday 6:00 PM mass.

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Work

September 19, 2008

Continuing on my series of Reflections.  Again from the Reflections of Fr. Andres Arboleda, as printed on thebook “PRESENCE; Prayers for Busy People”.

In here, Fr Arboleda speaks about how should our attitude should be about work, and not just to look at it on the financial gains it gives us.  Read on…….

WORK

 

People speak of work in terms of gain, salary or pay alone.  In short, in terms of money.  Of course, work is one of the ways man earns his keep; but there is much more in it than earning a living. There is something in work which makes man like God.  There must be something in it which is more than mere toil or sweat.

 

Work has not to be taken as something opposite to play because, truly, work without the creating and liberating element which play provides can only be unpleasant, boring and, at the same time, depersonalizing.  No human being will remain human if he is either treated no more than an element of production or the extension of the machine he uses..  And no human being would appreciate and enjoy work if his attitude towards it is reduced to what he gets from it.

 

When Adam and Eve were created, they were placed in a vast playground – the Garden of Eden.  It was only when they turned away from God that they had to work.  By the sweat of your face, God told Adam, shall you get bread to eat.  From the beginning, work was supposed to be liberating, creative activity through which man found joy in being God’s co-creator, like Adam before sinning, having the capacity to subdue the earth and exercise minion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on earth.

 

Perhaps the time would come when men would no longer be driven by greed and lust for possessions when they work, or when men would look for work as not just a manner of earning money but a manner of affirming their dignity as God’s co-creators.

Reflection on Giving

August 20, 2008

This is my third post on Reflections again taken from the Reflections of Fr. Andres Arboleda, SSP.  This time, he talks about Giving and how our Lord Jesus Christ manifested self-less love through giving His very life for us.  Read on…..

Giving

 

A giant tree in an uninhabited jungle, a saying goes, doesn’t make any noise when it falls.  The giant tree makes no noise because there is no one who hears it fall.

 

Yes, a man who lives by and for himself alone would be like that giant tree in the jungle.  When he dies who would miss him?  Who would remember him?  What would be his life’s worth?

 

Jesus spelled real human greatness when He said, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

 

There is one measure of greatness which is truly universal.  It is a measure that goes beyond race, color of skin, culture, age, sex, wealth and what have you.  Anyone can lay his life down for his friends.  All it takes is that greater love one puts into it, a love which is greater than one’s own self, a love which is capable of giving till it hurts.

 

In any state of life, the crucial point is really one’s ability to die to self, to lay down one’s life so that one’s friends, the person one loves, might have fuller and more meaningful lives.

 

It is sad that a good number of people end in marriage not really because they look at it as a real vocation wherein it is possible to live up to the measure of love Jesus proposed, but more out of desire to possess the person loved or, worse, because of convenience or because they have no choice any longer.

 

Yes, marriage is a genuine vocation to which young couples have to give considerable thought and period of preparation.  It is ever so easy to say, I love you, and I do, but it takes more than just human capacities to be able to translate these words into a lifetime commitment.

 

There are those who choose to forego marriage and commit themselves perhaps to the noble profession they exercise, or even just to the task of helping parents, brothers and sisters and trying to lift them up from a life of privation.  At times they go through extreme sacrifices only to feel as if shackled by the seemingly unending and growing demands from them.  At times they even feel they are doing a thankless job. These persons are like the seeds in the Gospel which have to die in order to give life to the plant.

 

And there are those who, feeling they are called to the religious or priestly life, take seriously the thought that their vocation is to singularly live Jesus’ ideal of love: to lay down their lives for their friends.  When one tries to live such an ideal, he will find very real obstacles from outside, like times when he comes to discover how precious really are the things he has renounced.  It takes some heroism to live such a life.

 

Jesus’ measure of real greatness isn’t that simple and easy.  Strangely though, within the folds of a life of giving there is so much joy.

Total Reproductive Health Bill

August 4, 2008

The author, third from left, during the Humanae Vitae Pro-Life Rally at the University of Santo Tomas, in Sampaloc Manila.  Our organization, the Knights of Columbus supported the call of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines in denouncing the infamous bill.

 The recent news has placed the Philippine Government, specifically, the House of Representatives as they file a bill in Congress aptly titled “Total Reproductive Health Bill”.  I came across the following opinion write-up of Atty Jose Sison in the Philippine Star.

I am surprised to read from such an opinion from a man whom we knew back in the 80’s as a television personality (I believe he still does have until today, with his son, another lawyer, Atty Joepet Sison) behind the show “Ipaglaban Mo”.

He wrote exactly the way I feel, thus, needless to say, I share with his opinion 100%.

You may wish to follow this link http://www.philstar.com/archives.php?aid=20080731110&type=2 or you might just wish to read it below.

Contraception and abortion
A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) By Jose C. Sison
Friday, August 1, 2008

The debate on the population control bills is getting uglier. The proponents of the measures and their supporters continue to wear blinders and refuse to see the real issues. Or they purposely go around them to show the alleged fallacy of the Catholic Church stand even to the extent of sowing dissension between the clergy and the laity.

There is no quarrel that the Reproductive Health Bill does not legalize abortion. The Church does not oppose the bill because it supposedly legalizes abortion. The Church opposes the bill because it makes available the use of any and all forms of artificial contraceptives.

In its common connotation, contraceptive is any device or substance that inhibits or prevents fertilization or the fusion of the sperm or male cell with the female ovum to form a new individual. In essence it controls birth artificially or it interferes with the natural process of bringing human life into this world after a sexual intercourse between man and a woman. This is where the first moral issue arises.

The moral issue here is whether a man and a woman should engage in sexual intercourse merely for sexual pleasure or mainly for procreation which is the means of cooperating with God in creating another human being. The Church stand from my little knowledge of Catechism is that sexual intercourse is a marital act that has two functions: the biological or procreative function and the spiritual or unitive function. These two aspects of the marital act cannot be separated. If one deliberately nullifies the life oriented process of the conjugal act, one destroys its essential power to signify union.

Thus the Catechism states that “Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes” (2351).  “Any act of contraception, be it by pills, condoms, withdrawal, or ligation is always wrong, and if this is done with full knowledge and full consent, it is always a mortal sin. Every marriage act must be open to the transmission of human life” (2366).

The more important moral issue which may even have legal implication is the connection between contraception and abortion. It has been repeatedly pointed out that the following contraceptives have already been medically proven to directly cause abortion: Depoprovera, RU 486, Intra-Uterine Device, Norplant and the Morning-After-Pill (Please see Project Abortifacients, Human Life International, June 1991). This is a claim that has never been denied or disproven by the proponents of the bill and their supporters. Yet the proposed bill will make them available to women. So it is quite clear that even if the bill still considers abortion as illegal and a punishable criminal act, it is nevertheless promoting abortion. In effect, the bill is promoting or abetting an act which it considers illegal. There is no free will or freedom of choice involved here. Such freedom definitely does extend to opting for something illegal.

The bigger truth is that this link between contraceptive and abortion is not limited to contraceptives that directly cause abortion but to all contraceptives, including condoms. If all kinds of contraceptives are easily available, men and women who still find a need to refrain from engaging in sexual intercourse for fear of having children is easily led to believe that there is no more such need since there are already adequate means that allow them to engage in the act without fear of having children. Hence when these contraceptives fail and the unwanted child comes, the only recourse is abortion.

This is not a theory or a mere assumption. It is happening in most countries that have legalized contraceptives. In Canada, the birth control pill was legalized in 1969. The following year, statistics reported 11,152 abortions. Today it is already 106,418 abortions: a tenfold increase in abortion since 1970 during a period of unprecedented contraceptive use (Natalie Hudson, The Contraception Misconception). In the US this reality is best described by its Supreme Court itself in the case of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey that upheld the ruling in Roe vs. Wade: “In some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception. For two decades of economic and social development, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance of the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail”.

In the same article, Contraception Misconception, the following observation has been made: “Contraception has historically been promoted as a means of women’s emancipation, yet ironically it has led to a much greater objectification of women.  Women’s bodies have become a testing ground for pharmaceutical companies to reap profits from the myth that the natural consequences of sex can be avoided; women are put out of touch with their bodies as their fertility cycles become chemically controlled; and contraception can also be used to hide the evidence of abuse that is sometimes perpetrated among young or marginalized women.”   

In opposing these reproductive health bills the Church is therefore merely performing its duty of reminding the faithful about these doctrines of faith. Nobody is being deprived of their free will. Everybody is free to accept or reject these teachings. But those who reject them must also respect the moves of the Church and its clergy to safeguard the integrity of its tenets like taking a stand against these bills or issuing reminders on who may be denied the sacraments such as the Holy Eucharist or Matrimony.

 

Reflections on “Meaning”

July 23, 2008

This is my second post and again, I adopt on the reflections of Rev. Fr. Andres Arboleda as printed on the book “Presence, Prayers for Busy People”, copyright 1991 by St. Paul Publishing, Makati.

What differentiates man from animals is the ability to look forward to tomorrow and to look beyond the externals. While man can see beauty in a flower and think of either God or a loved person and even of love itself, a beast will stop short at seeing the flower as something good to eat or not.

What makes man worthy of the same name is his capacity to see beyond there here and now and perceive meanings.

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes his experiences at the Nazi concentration camp where he was detained during World War II. In the concentration camp the prisoners were stripped of everything that made them experience personal worth: name, respect, professionalism, family, knowledge, wealth, etc. He noted that some of the prisoners gave up surviving when everything that made them feel they were someone was taken away. Others got crazy and behaves even worse than beasts, capable of killing another man for a loaf of stale bread or rotting potato. And finally, he noted that those who had something or someone considered more precious than their own lives never lost their will to live even as they were not afraid to either suffer or die. From this experience, he believes that man’s life and even just his survival is determined by what meanings he perceives and chooses to live and die for.

We can push the statement further by saying that a person is worth what he chooses to live and die for. Heroes and saints, as well as villains and criminals, are a proof of this statement. If heroes and saints are great, it is because they have chosen to live and die for causes and meanings greater than themselves or things lower than themselves to live and die, like money or power.

How a man discovers what meaning to give his life is a story of both the environment he lives in and the choices he makes. What counts is what values in life he discovers and ultimately makes his own. “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.” (Mt 6:21)

One of the most trying things about being young is that of being in a stage where one has to choose what values to live and die for. Human society is full of models and examples of persons who have embraced their own values. If there are rock stars and actors and actresses making it to the limelight and to wealth, there are also those who, like Francis of Assisi of long time ago, leave behind them a life of ease and comfort to pursue ideals of nobility and service. And what is awful is that today’s young man or woman is left alone to choose.

To discover which model one has to choose, one need not look beyond or outside himself. Instead, one should look into his heart. If he does, he will surely discover passions and drives that are either constructive or destructive: his capacity to love or hate, to give or possess, to build or destroy, to forgive or avenge. When he chooses what is positive and shuns what is negative, he will naturally discover what model or example to embrace. And there he will discover the meaning in his life.

Reflection on “LIFE”

July 18, 2008

I came across this Reflection by Fr. Andres R. Arboleda, SSP, published in “Presence, Prayers for Busy People”  (St. Paul Publications, Makati copyright 1991).   I find it very meaningful especially to a person searching for the real meaning of life.  Read on.

Life is indeed, so short. And, oddly enough it is much shorter for those whose lives they find meaningful while it is too long for those whose lives they find meaningless.

Couldn’t it be that life is what meaning we put into it?

Now and then, I also ask what meaning has my life really. Often, I feel like I know but at other times, my thinking looks like a useless mental exercise. Life is just so vast, so full of mysteries that before I can put meaning to my life, part of it is gone and the meaning I try putting on it is already partly exhausted.

Life, so it seems, is like dry sand slipping through my fingers. When I try to hold on to it very tightly, as if squeezing it, it slips away faster. But when I try to cast it away, it sticks on my hands. Sometimes, I think, to appreciate life best, one has neither to hold on to it tightly nor to let it go so carelessly. The sand in the hourglass is life. It is better to let it flow freely, although not carelessly.

How we take life is often dictated by what priorities we have. And life, being so vast, offers everything which can be a priority to us. A student ever so eager to get out of poverty would say, “Life will be meaningless if I don’t finish my studies.” A terribly-in-love woman would say, “Should I lose him now, my life will be meaningless to me.” And an alcoholic, trembling with the urge to drink, would be ready to give anything he has, even his dignity, for a bottle of liquor. Then, there is this young ambitious businessman who desperately wants to make his first million before reaching forty. He easily forgets he has a wife, children and friends. Only the first million seems to matter.

But now, what are the things that last which could have real meaning in one’s life? St. Paul has spoken so eloquently about them:

If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecyand, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away … Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:1-3. 8-13)