CATHOLIC WOMEN’S LEAGUE (CWL) ADVENT RECOLLECTION

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The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) held its yearly advent recollection with Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM as facilitator. Fr. Robert spoke on advent spirituality to the CWL members, and reminded them that the spirit of advent helps us to live a Christ-like life and to share with others the Christ we have received. Fr. Robert explained that the advent spirit is a contemplative spirit. Seeing God in all things and seeing all things in God.

Fr. Robert also said that advent is a sense of joy. Joy is never received directly, it is a by-product of a deep relationship with God. When we are most true to ourselves, when we are most loving, we then experience glimpses of joy.

The recollection ended on a note from The Joy of the Gospel: The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.

November 18, 2014
Theme: Advent Spirituality
Facilitated by Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM

• Advent is Adventus. This means Coming.
• The season of advent is 4 weeks. It is a time of expectant waiting. and preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
• Plarousia is at the end of time, all will be transformed by God.
• Advent is the waiting of Christians for Christ’s coming.
• Mother Mary is the model disciple.
• There are three types of the coming of Our Lord:
1. Historical coming of Jesus.
2. Second coming of Jesus at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.
3. Different comings of Jesus in between: Incarnation and parousia by the power of the Holy Spirit; in the sacraments, scriptures, prayer.
 In the events of ourlives, in the church, in society, in the person and lives of the poor.
• “God is at home, it’s me who has gone out for a walk.” (Meister Eckhart, Dominican mystic)
• “Advent means a heart that is ready and awake.” (Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ., priest, , outspoken critic of the Nazi regime who was martyred in a concentration camp in 1945.)
• The starting point – we are already intimately connected with God.
• The advent spirit is to celebrate Christmas more meaningfully so that we receive Christ more and more in our hearts, in our lives, in our families and in our society.
• The spirit of advent helps us to have a Christ-like life and to share with others the Christ we have received. (Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM homily, 1st Sunday of advent, Dec. 26, 2011)
• The advent spirit is about meeting Christ in the sacraments and in the scriptures and in the many other ways through which he comes to us.
• The advent spirit is a contemplative spirit. “Seeing God in all things” and “Seeing all things in God.”
• You can experience a great sense of joy even in the midst of much trouble if we know God is with us.
• The more we receive Christ, the light of the world, the more we become a light to the world.
• Only God can satisfy the vacuum in our hearts.
• Advent is a sense of joy.
• “A sad saint is a bad saint.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
• “A sense of joy is a hallmark of holiness.”
• You experience joy if you truly experience God in your lives.
• When we are most true to ourselves, when we are most loving, we experience glimpses of joy.
• Real joy is never received directly; it is a by-product of a deep relationship with God.
• Joy = Jesus – others – yourself.
• Fear, worry, anxiety – are all forms of atheism.
• Let Go, Let God.
• The mystic spirit/heart is a lived experiential awareness of God’s uniting and transforming presence, immediacy and intimacy.
• “Advent is a time of being deeply shaken, so that man will wake up to himself…The shaking is what sets up the secret blessedness of this Season and enkindles the inner light in our hears, so advent will be blessed with the promise of the Lord. The shaking, the awakening: with these, life merely begins to become capable of Advent…that the golden threads running during the season may reach us.” (Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ)
• Three advent figures: (1) John the Baptist – “The voice calling in the wilderness.” (2) Archangel Gabriel – “The angel of the Annunciation.” (3) The Blessed Mother – “A heart ready for the word to become flesh.”
• From acquiring advent spirit to becoming advent people – “Our hearts must be keenly alert for opportunities in our own little corners of daily life. May we stand in this world not as people in hiding, but as those who help prepare the way of the only-begotten Song of God.” (Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ)
• Advent wreath/candles: “Light the candles wherever you can, you who have them. They are a real symbol of what must happen in advent, what advent must be, if we want to live.” (Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ)
• “This is a peaceful, reticent, but constant shining. This is giving light at the cost of one’s own substance, so that one is consumed in the process. Anyone who wants to comprehend Christ’s message of light…must comprehend this one thing: the mission, the duty to shine, to draw others, to seek, to heal, to do good at the cost of one’s substance…(Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ. Feb. 2, 1941)
• From advent spirit to advent people to advent life: “All of life is advent” (Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ)
• “The entire life is a spiritual journey.”
• “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” St. Augustine
• Joy: St. Paul – To rejoice in the Lord always in the midst of tribulations. (Phil 4:4)
• Joy – more than a feeling state or a mere heightened sense of pleasure. In Christian life it refers to a basic disposition and a fundamental attunement to the self-giving of God in Jesus Christ.
• To rejoice in the midst of suffering puts a strain on our ordinary conception of joy and enjoyment.
• The peculiar object of joy in scripture and church tradition – the revelation of God in Jesus.
• Joy is the ingredient in the very pattern of life constituted by trust in God, in, with, and through Jesus Christ. Every activity and relationship in the service of God and neighbors shares in a joyful quality.
• Serving the neighbor becomes an “enjoyment,” one of the chief ends of human existence.
• Joy is not contingent upon fortune, good or bad, but is grounded in faith that God is creator and redeemer of the world.
• In sum, joy occupies a central place among the Christian affections, yet is also characteristic of all activities begun and completed in faith.
• While ecstatic states of joy may be sought after and experienced from time to time, the principal aim of the Christian life is to serve God and neighbor joyfully. In the spiritual life, God is the supreme joy and the greatest delight.
• Third Sunday of Advent has been traditionally called Gaudete Sunday because the first word of the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass is Gaudete, the Latin word for “Rejoice.”
• The opening prayer asks us to “experience the joy of salvation.”
• The alternative opening prayer asks God to “remove the sadness that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope which Christ’s presence bestows.”
• Third Sunday of Advent, it would be a good thing to reflect on what “hinders us from feeling joy and hope.”
• Many specialists of the human heart tell us that the enemies of joy are fear, worry and anxiety.
• Ann Landers, a well-known newspaper editor with a decade old advice column in the Washington Post received an average of ten thousand letters every month. She said that in those letters, the predominant problem were fear, worry and anxiety.
• Charles Swindoll (Laugh Again): “Of all the joy stealers that can plague our lives, none is more nagging, more agitating, or more prevalent than worry.”
• Swindoll: “ We get our English word worry from the German wurgen, which means ‘to strangle, to choke.” Our Lord mentioned that very word on one occasion, ‘The sower sows the seed and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.’ (Mk. 4:1 4-19)
• In a nutshell, when worry strangles our thinking, choking out the truth, we become unfruitful and unproductive. Along with becoming harassed mentally and paralyzed emotionally, we find ourselves throttled spiritually. Worry cuts off our motivaton, inspiration and sense of joy.
• John O’Brian (The Art of Courageous Living): “Worry is debilitating. Fear paralyzes the springs of action. The need for a remedy that will release soul and body from the grip of these twin evils is the paramount need of our day.”
• Luke 12:22-34 (Do Not Worry) 22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no store room or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin, yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one o these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.
• 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you
the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
• The First Reading tells us that we can rejoice heartily when “the spirit of the Lord is upon us” (Is 61:1) because God is the joy of our souls.
• In the Gospel, we have a glimpse of joy in the life and example of John the Baptist. John the Baptist is the one who knows his identity and mission before God; he knows he is not the Messiah; neither is he Elijah. He is the voice crying out for the coming of the Messiah. When we know who we are before God, when we know our identity and place in the world, when we know and do what God wants us to do with our lives, then we find real joy ad happiness.
• True joy is a by-product of having a deep relationship with God and Jesus. It is a by-product of making Jesus the center of who we are, of what we do, of what we have, and of all our relationships, endeavors, and plans. Joy is found in living a holy and loving life. It is found in love, simplicity, innocence, trust, service of God and of others. It is found in losing ourselves in Christ and others.
• Did not Jesus Christ say that the person who loses his life, because of the love he has for Christ, will find it? (cf. Mt 16:25; Lk 17:33) Joy and its increase in our hearts come directly from Jesus Christ, working through the Holy Spirit, His first gift to those who believe in Him. On the night before He offered His life for us, He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (Jn 15:11) Joy is a by-product and not something that we pursue directly. It is a God-given gift.
• “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great…Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.” (Pope Benedict XVI, April 24, 2005)
• “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept His offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew. “ (The Joy of the Gospel)

CWL Inducts New Members

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The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) inducted 4 new members: Mary Ann Cedo, Carla Lesaca, Beryl Lim and Jehan Rodriguez. Leading the ceremonies were CWL National President Amparo Lim and CWL-SSAP President J’net B. Zulueta together with the other members of the league. Fr. Baltazar ‘Tasang’ Obico, OFM presided over the induction ceremony.

Notes On A Recollection

Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM talked about SPIRITUALITY AND THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE PASCHAL MYSTERY in a recollection given to the Catholic Women’s League (CWL). Below are edited notes that he discussed during the retreat.

“The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” – Leon Bloy

The Filipino Catholic laity are called to be saints. They are sent forth as heroes.This is the Pastoral Exhortation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for the 2014 Year of the Laity.

“And finally, we ask you to stand up for Jesus not only in religious activities but in your private and public life. Speak up for Jesus and his Church in public discussions. Do not be afraid to be identified as Catholic Christians. You have been called to be saints; you are sent forth as heroes. Take courage. Choose to be brave!”(Filipino Catholic Laity)

Karl Rahner: Holiness – “…participation in the intimate union between Father and Son, led by the Spirit.”

Cardinal William Baum: “The danger… is to know about Jesus without knowing Him, to talk about Jesus but not to Him, to listen to experts speak of Him without letting Him speak about Himself. A deep, personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of holiness.”

HOLINESS is sharing in the life of God who alone is holy. It is having or receiving a deep, personal, intimate and transformative relationship with God and living the consequences, implications and challenges of the same in one’s life and circumstances in the Church and in the world.

ChristifidelisLaici 16: HOLINESS
“Life according to the Spirit, whose fruit is holiness (cf. Rom 6:22; Gal 5:22), stirs up every baptized person and requires each to follow and imitate Jesus Christ, in embracing the Beatitudes, in listening and meditating on the Word of God, in conscious and active participation in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, in personal prayer, in family or in community, in the hunger and thirst for justice, in the practice of the commandment of love in all circumstances of life and service to the brethren, especially the least, the poor and the suffering.”

“The Year of Faith…is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to theLord, the one Saviour of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31) (PortaFidei)) (PortaFidei).

The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with Godand offering entry into his Church.It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimedand the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journeythat lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). {PortaFidei}

“The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.” (PortaFidei)

After the promises, we say: “This is our Faith, this is the faith of the Church…”

Faith not a list of dogma check-off points, but a passage, a relationship with a PERSON (GOD/JESUS), with three DIVINE PERSONS. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We echo the challenge of Pope Francis: “We want to challenge “the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of Baptism,” who lack a meaningful relationship to the Church and no longer experience the consolation born of faith. The Church, in her maternal concern, tries to help them experience a conversion which will restore the joy of faith to their hearts and inspire a commitment to the Gospel.” (EvangeliiGaudium, 15) (Filipino Catholic Laity: Called to be Saints…)

We turn to God. Not just turning/returning to a right and holy life or path but turning/returning to God and having or renewing a personal, deep and intimate loving relationship with the Lord.
“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.” – The Joy of the Gospel

“Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.” How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders.”

No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness, which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!

The paschal Mystery is the mystery of how we, after undergoing some kind of death, receive new life and new spirit. Jesus, in both his teaching and in his life showed us a clear paradigm for how this should happen.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it
remains a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24)

There are TWO KINDS OF DEATH: (1) Terminal death – a death that ends life and ends all possibilities. (2) Paschal death – a death, while ending one kind of life, opens the person undergoing it to receive a deeper and richer form of life.

Opposite that, there are TWO KINDS OF LIFE:
(1) Resuscitated life – when one is restored to one’s former life and health, as in the case with someone who has been clinically dead and is brought back to life.
(2) Resurrected life – not a restoration of one’s old life but the reception of a radically new life.

At the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples are given the new life of Christ, but only some time after, at Pentecost, are they given the spirit for the new life they are already living. We live by both life and spirit and our peace of soul depends upon having a happy synthesis between the two.

The Paschal mystery is a process of transformation within which we are given both new life and new spirit. It begins with suffering and death, moves on to the reception of new life, spends some time grieving the old and adjusting to the new, and finally, only after the old life has been truly let go of, is new spirit given for the life we are already living.

In simple terms:
(1) “Name your deaths.”
(2) “Claim your births.”
(3) “Grieve what you have lost and adjust to the new reality.”
(4) “Do not cling to the old, let it ascend and give you its blessing.”
(5) “Accept the spirit of the life that you are in fact living.”

We undergo the various deaths of our lives:
(1) The Death of our Youth.
(2) The Death of our Wholeness.
(3) The Death of our Dreams.
(4) The Death of our Honeymoons.
(5) The Death of a certain Idea of God and Church

We face many deaths within our lives and the choice is ours as to whether those deaths will be terminal (snuffing out life and spirit) or whether they will be paschal (opening us new life and new spirit). Grieving is the key to the latter. Good grieving, however, consists not just in letting the old go but also in letting it bless us.

CWL INDUCTION OF OFFICERS AND NEW MEMBERS

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The newly elected officers and Board members of the Catholic Women’s League of SSAP were recently inducted into office by Blessie Flores, the Vicariate Supervisor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish of which SSAP is a member. Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy OFM, CWL spiritual director, officiated.

The Officers Inducted are:
President: J’net B. Zulueta
1st Vice President: Myrna Jurilla
2nd Vice President: Judy So
Secretary: Marilou Consing
Assistant Secretary: Karen Limpe
Treasurer: Joy Concepcion
Assistant Treasurer: Menchu Concepcion
Auditor: Chit Montoya

Board Members Inducted are:
Mercy Cedo, Wilma Huang, Tessie Kabigting, Rose Galvez, Zari Poe, Clare Quesada, Nena Mewshaw

CWL Scholar Talks about his Experience

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Gelo Aberilla has been a Catholic Women’s League scholar since 2008 when he was in 2nd year HS. He is currently in college, and lives at Cadena de Amor St., Pembo, Makati. He talks a bit about himself and of his learnings in the scholarship program.

I am Anthony Angelo A. Aberilla, 18 years old and I’m in my senior year at University of Makati taking up Bachelor in Integrated Arts Major in Broadcast Arts. The major that I am taking is basically Broadcasting but it also has performing arts in it that’s why I’ve performed in the campus before. My course also requires putting up productions that makes us capable of organizing different events.

After finishing the course, I would like to be heard by people by being a Radio Jock and an events host. Just like other teenagers, my interests are spending my free time reading a book or watching movies. And I believe I’m a friendly person that’s why I can easily mesh with people around me.

I was introduced into this scholarship by my cousin, Fatima Bañares and I’ve been in the organization for almost 8 years now. And I can honestly say that the “Anthony” that entered here years ago is a different “Anthony” who’s in front of you now.

Like what all the graduates are saying when leaving this organization, CWL mothers didn’t just help them financially but also spiritually. And yes, this is actually true.

But for me there’s more, aside from assisting us with necessities and making our faith stronger, they are also helping us sharpen our talents and skills.

Every meeting, our CWL mothers make sure that we are improved in different ways and are much better than before. They do it by giving us lessons and tips on how to cope and stand out in life.

Aside from that, we always have our sharing that I think is very important because we get to learn from other scholar’s experience. This kind of activity helps us in opening our eyes and having a different perspective in life.

Truly, we are blessed in being part of this organization and I am still looking forward for more lessons and learning that will help me in becoming a better individual and son of God.

CWL Will Always Remember You, Fr. Joel! by C. Quesada

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Last April 5th the Catholic Women’s League gave Fr. Joel Sulse a despedida luncheon. He will soon leave for Rome for further studies.

We find it hard to say good bye to someone like Fr. Joel because we have grown very fond of him. He always has a smile for those he meets. You will never see him angry. He is approachable and makes time for you

Our CWL scholars simply love him. They love his teachings because somehow Fr. Joel touches their lives. One scholar shared how abandoned he felt when his father left the family. Fr. Joel told him that he knows how he feels because the father of his nephews also left the family and he took the role of the father.

The scholars honored Fr. Joel with songs, dances, poems and cards, Truly Fr. Joel will always be remembered.7

Diane C. Pangilinan, a college scholar of Catholic Women’s League Santuario de San Antonio Parish, drew the image of Fr. Joel Sulse in behalf of all the CWL Scholars, as a tribute for Father Joel as he leaves the parish.

Diane says, “We believe that it is not enough to show how much Father Joel has shared himself among us. We are all very blessed to experience his love and compassion as our spiritual father.”

Well done, Diane!