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Saint Dominic de Guzman, Founder of the Dominicans

Posted on Aug 02 , 2015 in Articles

Saint Dominic de Guzman, Founder of the Dominicans
Every August 8, we celebrate the feast day of St. Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), founder of the Order of Preachers, now known as the Dominicans. Throughout his life of tireless service, Saint Dominic centered all things on the Lord, espousing and living the contemplative life that his order has come to be known for. For Saint Dominic, all things were from God, all things were God, and all things were for God. 
 
Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Spain, son to noble parents Felix Guzman and Blessed Joan of Aza. While only a boy, he demonstrated great piety, spending his days in contemplation and prayer, under the influence of his mother’s great love of the Lord. At Dominic’s baptism, Blessed Joan saw a star shining from his chest, which became another of his symbols in art, and led to his patronage of astronomy.
 
Educated by his uncle, a priest, Dominic soon traveled to Palencia, where he attended university, and was eventually ordained a priest. While at university, he demonstrated strict penances and rigorous study, but his teachers and classmates soon also noted the tenderest of hearts and the gentlest of spirits. Dominic demonstrated great care for those in need, practicing love and charity without judgment.
 
Following his ordination, Dominic was appointed the prior superior of his Augustinian Order, and strictly observed the Benedictine rule prescribed. Selected as canon to the Bishop of Osma, he accompanied Bishop Diego de Avezedo to Languedoc to join with the Cistercian Order in their fight against heresy. It was here that the idea of founding an order of preachers, committed to eradicating heresy, first occurred to Dominic.
 
It was not long thereafter that Dominic founded an institute for women at and attached several preaching friars to it. During a subsequent crusade against the Albigensian heresy, Dominic followed the papal armies and preached to all who would listen. He had little success, however, and returned home to a castle bequeathed to him, where he founded an order dedicated to the conversion of the Albigensians. The order was canonically approved by the bishop of Toulouse the following year and two years later received Pope Honorius III's approval. The Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, was founded. 
 
Saint Dominic spent the remaining years of his life organizing his new order, traveling throughout Europe preaching and attracting new members, and establishing new houses. The new order, under his direction, was astoundingly successful in conversion, based upon contemplative and intellectual approaches, coupled with the contemporary and popular needs of the people. His ideal, and that of his Order, was to link organically a life with God, study and prayer in all forms, with a ministry of salvation to people by the word of God. His ideal: contemplata tradere: “to pass on the fruits of contemplation” or “to speak only of God or with God."
 
At one point, Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission. To him, it seemed that no matter how much he worked, heresy remained. As he contemplated the future of his order, he received a vision from Our Blessed Mother, who showed him a wreath of roses, representing the Holy Rosary. Mary told him to say the Rosary daily, to teach it to all who would listen, and eventually the faith would defeat heresies. Saint Dominic is spread devotion to the Rosary, and used it to strengthen his own spiritual life.
 
Saint Dominic is also remembered for miracles (raising four people from the dead), and miraculous visions. On one occasion, he received a vision of a poor beggar, who he sought out the following day. Finding the beggar, Dominic embraced him and said, “You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.”  The beggar turned out to be Saint Francis of Assisi, and the two holy men became the closest of friends. 
 
Today, we pray that we might be more like Saint Dominic, to pass on the fruits of our contemplation, and to “Speak only of God or with God.”
 
Source : 365rosaries.blogspot.com
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“Catholic” Marriage in the Philippines

Posted on Apr 19 , 2015 in Articles

“Catholic” Marriage in the Philippines

The conversation on legalizing divorce in the Philippines continues unabated in my circles, and last night’s discussion led me to an AHA! moment.

It is common knowledge that the Philippines is “a Catholic country”. However, lately it’s become clearer that many Filipino Catholics have not internalized their faith. It is but natural, therefore, that the Catholic approach is too often seen as harsh, unfeeling, or out of touch, even by those whom we expect or hope would know better. We wrestle with finding an answer that would explain the unremitting tug-o-war between Church and state, and a solution that satisfies all. Where do Truth, Love and (perceived) Need intersect?

We assume that Filipino + Catholic + marriage = a predictable, positive result, but it’s high time we asked hard questions and faced painful facts:

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The Hardest Prayer: Why It’s Time To #prayforISIS

Posted on Nov 09 , 2014 in Articles

The Hardest Prayer: Why It’s Time To #prayforISIS
Our newspapers, TV screens and social media timelines are filled with horrific images of the Iraqi crisis. From Christian families shot through the head for their faith, to Yazidi parents being forced to leave their dead children on a mountainside, the sheer weight of evil has become overwhelming.
 
The Islamic State (IS) is continuing its reign of terror across Iraq and Syria – tightening its grip on an ever fractured nation and our natural response is one of hatred. We rile at the hideous persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters along with other religious minorities, and rightly so. We must undoubtedly stand against the militants, fight for the rights of marginalised communities and condemn the atrocities so regularly committed against them.
 
And yet, if we do so out of hatred, are we not guilty of directly contradicting Jesus' command to love our enemies, and bless those who persecute us?
 
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount. But he later also added:
 
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven."
 
But how do we respond to Jesus' radical call to love our enemies in the midst of a broken world, during a time when our 'enemies' have never been quite as visible as they are now?
 
Is it even appropriate to ask people to pray for perpetrators of evil, when there are countless innocent people suffering under their oppression? Christian Today knows of at least one Christian agency in which prayers for the persecutors were omitted from a final draft of a prayer resource, because it was deemed too controversial. But why is this? 
 
"I think that the western evangelical mindset and understanding of how the world works predisposes us to a problem, in that we have somewhat of a discomfort about suffering as well as those who inflict it," says Steve Bell, national director of Interserve.
 
"We see it as 'more Christian' to be the Good Samaritan and pick up the pieces rather than praying for the people who attacked in the first place. Traditionally and historically, we're not equipped as the Church – we don't know what to do about the bad guys."
 
Bell believes that prayer in times of crisis has become "too messy for our theology" and we need a "deeper understanding of God's purpose in human history."
 
He argues that we should be actively praying for the repentance and "Damascus Road experience" of those committing evil acts, rather than abstractly condemning them. "We should be praying and going after the worst of them in prayer," he urges, explaining that we need to balance our response with "grace and truth".
 
"John 1 says that the law came by Moses, and grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Grace for the attitude, and truth for standing up for what's right.
 
"It's that change that has to happen before we can do anything – before we can listen to the news with a better balance, let alone pray. The first thing to cross is the attitudinal hurdle – a grace and truth response opens us up to a more balanced approach to praying about evil."
 
As for loving our enemy, Bell says it's important to separate the individual from the dark forces that provoke them to engage in the acts they are committing.
 
"I found a helpful definition recently which says loving another person is working for the very best for another, and being prepared to do the very best for the other. I think my reading of 'love your enemy' release them from the ideology that motivates them…and because you love them, hating with a perfect hatred the thing that motivates them and the things they do."
 
That being said, perhaps we should examine our own hearts, and look at the way we approach the Iraqi crisis in prayer. What could happen if we put loving our enemies into practice? If we saw lives being torn apart by evil and responded with love, rather than hate?
 
Here are three practical suggestions of how to pray for ISIS:
 
1. If you want to pray that they would all perish, instead try praying for justice.
 
It's so easy to wish that every militant would be killed, leaving the Iraqi people free to rebuild their lives. But rather than pray for their deaths, perhaps instead ask for God's will and justice to be done, trusting that his understanding is greater than ours.
 
2. If your instinct is to pray for military success, pray instead for peace.
 
Pope Francis himself has suggested that military action against IS could be justified, but rather than focusing our prayer on further violence, petition instead for peace, reconciliation and stability.
 
3. Rather than only praying for Christians to be saved, pray also that members of IS would turn to God.
 
How incredible it would be for radical Muslims to see the witness of the Iraqi Church, the testimony of persecuted Christians and encounter the living person of Jesus. Nothing is impossible.
 
Source: www.christiantoday.com
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Pray For The Holy Souls in Purgatory

Posted on Nov 02 , 2014 in Articles

Pray For The Holy Souls in Purgatory

Praying for the souls in Purgatory is not just some mystical exercise. It is a great form of charity for those deceased who have successfully avoided Hell but are not quite ready for Heaven. While they may have been forgiven their earthly sins in confession, their souls still need to undergo “cleansing” in Purgatory in atonement for them.

Many of the Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, considered prayers for souls in purgatory to be essential. The church has endorsed the doctrine of purgatory from the Councils of Florence and Trent in the 15th and 16th centuries right up through Vatican II in the 1960’s.

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How to Talk to an Atheist About Christianity

Posted on Sep 25 , 2014 in Articles

How to Talk to an Atheist About Christianity

Once upon a time, not so long ago, atheism was the belief system that dared not speak its name. Even the most ardent skeptic paid lip service to faith, or at least to the blessings that mankind derived from it.

But that's not the case anymore. Atheism is a strong and growing influence in our culture. You can see it everywhere from the bestseller table at your local bookstore to the Darwin-mutated Jesus fish on the car in traffic in front of you. Atheists are comfortable declaring themselves atheists, comfortable promoting atheism, and comfortable decrying religion, which, according to some of the more prominent atheists, resides on the list of mankind's blessings somewhere between diphtheria and Nazism.