ST. FRANCIS – The Humblest Man in Christendom

R A N D O M T H O U G H T S
by Peachy Maramba

When one thinks of HUMILITY (the state or quality of being humble – lowly, modest, unpretentious) one invariably thinks of our dear St. Francis of Assisi. This is because he is considered by many, if not the whole world, to be the humblest man in Christendom.

But this is not because like Jesus he was born in a humble stable. This just happened in 1182 when Donna Pica, the wife of a rich cloth merchant Peter Bernardone was about to give birth. A stranger came and said, “If you wish everything to be fine, ask Peter’s wife to go to the stable at once.” When this strange command was carried out the baby boy was born.

While the boy had black brilliant eyes full of mildness and modesty he grew to be a young man who was vain, exhibitionist, rather snobbish and a fastidious dresser. He was certainly far from being humble maybe due to his indulgent parents who never denied him anything.

Yet it was from this proud pretentious boy that God chose to teach the world about the meaning of true humility through a “steady process of giving up to God, little by little, every joy he found.”

It all began when Francis found God in an ancient chapel south of Assisi, Italy virtually in ruins dedicated to San Damiano. When the crucified Christ on a Byzantine wooden crucifix hanging down from the ceiling said to him, “Francis, you see that my house is falling down. Go and repair it for me.” Francis then and there became a totally poor and humble workman.

This happened because his father was upset with him for stealing his richest cloth in the shop and selling it in order to get funds for his repair job. Francis realized then that the only way he could fulfill his promise was to beg from his rich friends. This generous, high spirited and fashionable man became the butt of all jokes. Many laughed but many gave and many began to listen to him.

Francis became one with God in the only way he knew how: by humbly following in the footsteps of Jesus and humbly saying yes to everything the Lord asked of him.

Ever the leader Francis convinced his friends to join him in a renewed religion and he did it with the strength of his humility, a humility that derived from his love and imitation of Christ.

Since for Francis poverty and sister humility were the only way to witness to the love of Christ he called his Order the Humbler Brethren or Friars Minor which he founded in 1209. He desired that his brothers should really be below their fellows and seek only the last and lowly places. It was dedicated to absolute poverty, humility and the love of all created things. Seeing himself before God as the least of men he never aspired to be a priest – only a deacon.

While his order started out as a humble missionary order it grew and radiated through the Christian world and touched men and women of every generation up to this day and age.

On October 4 the Church prays, “O God, You enabled St. Francis to imitate Christ by his poverty and humility.”

The opening prayer of the mass states that God helped St. Francis to reflect the image of Christ through a life of poverty and humility.

St. Francis in his letter to the faithful said, “We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake.”

St. Francis said while dying: “My work is finished. May Christ teach you to carry out yours.”

As published in the March 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Where is Joseph?

The ABC’s of Catholic Doctrine
by Lianne Tiu

whereisjoseph

A famous painter once showed Blessed Pope Pius IX a picture of heaven. The pope greatly admired it. There were the Holy Trinity, Our Lady, the angels and the saints. But he noticed someone missing and asked, “Where is St. Joseph?” No one can blame the painter for forgetting the patriarch. For there was nothing special about Joseph to attract our attention. The Bible hardly mentioned about him. Not a single word was spoken by him in the Gospel. By world’s standard, he had no achievement which was worth recognizing.

God, however, chose Joseph to take care of two greatest treasures—Jesus and Mary. He chose this craftsman of Nazareth to be the husband of Mary and the legal father of Jesus. He was given one of the most difficult and responsible missions. It was not easy because of the exceptional qualities of Mary (who was daughter of God the Father, mother of God the Son, and spouse of God the Holy Spirit). Besides, the child whom he had to care for was the Creator of the universe. This meant that he was inferior to the persons subordinated to him. Yet he worked well and carried out his duties as a family man with love intending to please God. He was always obedient to His plans.

Joseph was not, after all, such an ordinary man as he seemed. He went completely unnoticed because of his humility. No wonder when the artist told Pope Pius IX that he would put St. Joseph almost hidden among the saints, the Holy Father pointed his finger close beside our Lord and said, “No, you will put him there, for that is his place in heaven.” In 1870, he declared St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church. Joseph is the greatest of the saints after Our Lady.

Reference: Joseph of Nazareth by Federico Suarez; A Vademecum of Stories by Rev Mauricio Rufino; “St. Joseph: The Greatest Male Saint Who Ever Lived” by St. Josemaria Institute; Catholic Treasury: http://www.catholic treasury.info/joseph.php

As published in the March 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

HUMILITY and CONTEMPLATION

A Taste of Silence
by Conchitina S. Bernardo

Mar 19 Taste of Silence

Psalm 131:

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed and quieted myself,
Like a child in its mother’s breast.

 

This beautiful psalm addresses our topic of HUMILITY as a means to contemplative prayer. One has to be truly humble in order to really pray. Not the self-denigrating kind of “humility” which is really laced with pride, but the true and basic, simple humility of self-forgetfulness while focusing on God. The beautiful little book on Contemplative Prayer by an anonymous monk, ‘The Cloud of Unknowing” says it clearly, as does this psalm: ” Everything you are thinking of is between you and God. And you are furthest from God when there is anything but God in your mind.” In other words uplifting thoughts and even theories no matter how sublime are really blocks to prayer. Only HUMILITY, in its most basic form can translate to prayer. “When you heart is not proud” as the psalm says, ” nor is it concerned with things too great for me, ” only then can you find your way to God. One prayer word and nothing else establishes your path. A “calm and quieted soul” becomes the venue to Contemplative Prayer. Then you rest in God, “like a child quieted in its mother’s breast.”

Verse 2 brings us to SILENCE .

Contemplation is all about silence, letting go of the clutter in the mind, internal dialogues, random insights. In Centering Prayer you simply rest in God, like a baby rests on its mother’s breasts. The silence brings about calm and peace, and eventually clarity of mind, helping you deal with daily life’s problems, leading to their resolution. It starts with the premise that God knows all your needs even before you ask for them. Just spend precious quiet time with Him.

Because this prayer is humble and down to earth, meaning uncluttered and simple, we begin to find God in everyday life events. The bible becomes a channel of conversation between you and God, and a relationship is initiated and eventually established and deepened.

Silence, Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina have become a pattern in the lives of the members of Contemplative Outreach Philippines (COP.) We are a community of people who meet weekly to pray together . We are true friends, bonded, and non-judgmental of one another . We are supportive and available. Our weekly COP group is a priceless gift.

Feb 19 COP Poster

We invite you to join us every Monday from 10 AM to 12 noon at St . Elizabeth room at the Convento of our Parish Church

Visit us at the Contemplative Outreach Philippines web site. Go to http://www.cophil.org.ph

As published in the March 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Humility in Career

Mar 19 Tintin San Juan

by Tintin San Juan, Faith In Action (FIA)

I haven’t been part of the Parish for a long time. I joined Single Young Adults (SYA) in March 2009 and Faith in Action upon its inception in 2016. I have teamed in SYA, joined the Hospital and Prison Ministries in their outreaches, and other activities that have peaked my interest.

I work five jobs. One of which doesn’t even pay me. That’s aside from being a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a sister in law, a ninang, a cousin, a friend, etc. I also volunteer in two organizations, SSAP being one of them and I am President of the other.

I work for the family businesses and I have a business with my friends from community. At one point in time the load of handling all these business wore me down heavily. My only other sibling has his own medical profession and I had to accept the fact that there was no one else but me. That’s when I had a change of perspective.

I looked at aspects of the business that aligned with my personal beliefs and went from there. I look at the business in these ways: first, I am helping the economy; second, I am helping people get out of poverty by providing jobs; third, I am helping the environment. One thing my parents give importance to is to treat our employees like family. Embracing this ethic has given me a new sense of stewardship beyond the business lines and because of this, we have maintained low employee turnover.

Being a daughter/employee has its pros and cons. I have a little more flexibility but I work at odd times. I am constantly aware that my parents are getting older, and that one day the employees’ livelihoods will depend on me. Knowing that has kept me grounded. Flexibility gives me time to work on giving back and to have a work-life balance. It gives me the ability to drop things when I am needed. It also gives me time to rest.

I pray for strength, wisdom and knowledge to keep my beliefs alive and that our businesses may prosper so that we may serve Him more. “You earn your living by working, you earn your life by giving.” – George L. Graziadio

As published in the March 19 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

From the Desk of the PPC President

 

Edmund Lim, KHS

As we celebrate the beginning of Lent, I want to express my deepest
gratitude to all the ministries and organizations who participated in our
Buling-Buling 2017. Once more, members of our ministries and mandated
organization rallied and took our yearly revelry to the next level. As the
pictures in today’s bulletin will attest, our members gave their best.

Another thank you to our Execom and Pastoral Team for organising our
annual event.

Truly, we are a Eucharistic Community of different families serving Our
Lord in Solidarity, Sharing our Time, Talent and Treasure.

May we all have a meaningful Lenten celebration. Please join us in all of our
Liturgucal activities leading to the Paschal Triduum this April.

Buling Buling Organizers

As published in the March 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.

Buling-Buling 2017: A Festival of Songs and Dances

by Letty Jacinto-Lopez

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It was the last day of February. Kulang-kulang, as many were wont to describe it, but in SSAP, no day could have been more perfect to mark Buling-Buling, our version of a village fête. Eyes sparkled with anticipation as we moved past the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, into the brightly lit gardens, through to the hallways and up to the social hall, agog with a festive crowd hurrying through their burgers, shawarma, chips, sodas and snacks.

CWL ladies kicked off this round-the-world musical journey with a tribute to INDIA. They wore belly “bedlah” costumes in flowing chiffon, picking up the soft shades of Spring. Their heads and hips were accentuated with beads, sequins, crystals, coins, beaded fringes and embroidery, enough to drive the crowd pleasingly woozy. When they moved in motion with the famous landmarks in India that were projected on a screen, as well as injecting a bit of Bollywood in their frisky steps, the room broke into cheers, whistles and applause. They were zesty and fragrant like India’s exotic spices cayenne, cumin, capers, cardamon and more.

The OFS, the Marian Cenacle and Contemplative Ministry focused on GREECE. Ah! The center of early civilization. Remember Greek mythology with its gods, goddesses and muses – who came to life and walked the floor – King Zeus and his family of deities, not to forget the poets, the Greek plays, chorus and tragedies? Garbed in different costumes of the Greek Isles, the ladies delighted the audience with their version of the Greek hasapiko, danced to native music as well as from the soundtrack of Abba’s music in Mama Mia. They certainly succeeded in re-educating and captivating the crowd.

HEALTH CARE wowed the crowd in their black raffled skirts with embroidered manton tied to their waist and cabbage roses on their hair as the señoritas and hermosa damas from ESPAñA. With a handsome toreador in the corrida de toros as the background, the ladies moved with grace and precision turning on their magnetism with every flick of their Spanish fans. Red was the color of passion. Olé!

Like a gentle wave from the sea, the CORO de San Antonio made their entrance not to dance but to sing with an Arabian Nights theme. Garbed in silk robes and onion-shaped turbans, the Coro sang stirring memories of love, gallant and true. Who wouldn’t dance to “Dawn’s promising skies, petals on a pool drifting; imagine these in one pair of eyes and this is my beloved”? From the Broadway musical Kismet. The crowd’s applause was deafening. Encore!

The SCHOLARS of the Parish showcased the PHILIPPINES, with a rolling background imagery of all the famous attractions of our islands. What was more engaging was to watch young, promising and enthusiastic faces moving and dancing with hip and nimble steps that didn’t miss a beat. It was synonymous with being young. This night, we all were.

No one spoke Portuguese but the moment the first sound of Brazilian music filled the hall, in timing with the video of the incredible sights in BRASIL, the crowd reacted with a heightened sense of excitement. And LECOM didn’t disappoint. Rhythmic salsa with exuberant hand movements kept the tempo high and the carnival atmosphere alive. The rainbow, polychromatic colors of their costumes and headdresses were authentically Bem vida de Brazil!

They called it K-Pops and my guess was it meant Korean Pops? The YOUTH OF SAN ANTONIO were eye-popping all right – sleek, robust, and a foot-stomping assembly of adrenalized energy who never lost steam. Keeping pace with a medley of Korean MTVs, the dancers suddenly parted like the Red Sea to point our attention to a sole dancer wearing shades and a shiny dark suit. The crowd simultaneously gasped and roared approvingly to recognize Father Adame. The Youth pulled an ace with their overnight star.

Sean Cannon of LeCom and EMHC, couldn’t help but reminisce. “The a cappella song staged by the MUSIC MINISTRY tugged at my heartstrings because for 40 years, I’ve listened to this passionate sound. It’s the emotional resonance of AFRICA. I could almost smell the veldt, (the grassland of South Africa), of home. Ngiyabonga, ngiyabonga kakhulu!” In keeping with this poignant image, the singers wore black, accented by a uniform geometric fabric print in black and white. For makeup, white bold dots outlined the brows and faces that heightened the overall appearance and the drama of this presentation.

It took an effort to switch from a fiesta mode to a more subdued tone after such a fully charged evening. Father Reu simply took the lead and went down to the gardens to begin the ceremony of the burning of the palms. With a grateful heart, we bowed our heads to give thanks to all and for all.

As published in the March 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.