The Blessed Virgin was able to see everything that happened to her Son during His Passion.  She was able to cooperate with Him in His redeeming suffering for mankind.

As Jesus began to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, His mother was praying to the Father that she might be allowed to feel all the loving sacrifice which her Son was about to undergo. She also prayed for the Apostles as they fear of their lives.  In this dark hour of her Son’s arrest, when His closest followers abandoned Him, Mary united in her heart all the faith and holiness and worship of the Mystical Body of Christ.

When the soldiers arrested Jesus, Mary felt in her delicate body all the blows and kicks and falls which He suffered while being dragged like an animal in the streets of Jerusalem.

The Blessed Virgin endured it all in silence.  Then at a sharp turn in the street she saw her Son staggering along carrying the weight of a heavy cross, his body covered with bruises, blood, and sweat constantly being jerked forward by ropes which the merciless guards held.  Then they put a crown of thorns on His bleeding head.  For a second Mary was so shocked that she gasped:

“Is this my Son?  O Jesus, my Jesus!”  And when He passed close to her, with His bloody, deep-sunken eyes, He cast a look of intense compassion at His suffering Mother.  Then, utterly exhausted, He fell onto His hands and knees under the cross.

In her anguish, Mary threw herself onto her knees to reach out for her Son, but the soldiers shouted order, while John and the Holy Women tried to draw Mary back.

When the Savior reached Calvary, Mary half-fainted when she saw there all the instruments prepared for His death.  He was ordered to take off His robe and immediately did so.  He lay down on His back on the cross and stretched out His right arm.  Then His executioners attached it to the beam and drove the nail through His hand.  Then they pulled His other hand in the opposite direction and nailed it down the same way.  Next they nailed His right foot, and over it the left, so that all the nerves and veins were torn apart and broken.  Her anguish was so bitter that Mary could not look up again until Her Son was completely attached to the cross.  She tried to pull herself together and stood at the foot of the cross with John and the holy women.

While He was hanging there, bleeding and pierced with nails He had so much compassion for His Mother’s suffering as she stood near Him sobbing.  With His blood-filled eyes, He looked down at John and commended her to his care.  His eyes appeared half-dead, His cheeks sunken in, and His features grief sunken.  His mouth was open and His tongue was covered with blood.  His abdomen had fallen in toward His spine and seemed to have collapsed.  His whole body was pale and weaken from continuous loss of blood.

While He was hanging there so torn and livid, only His heart was still vigorous, for it was the best and strongest quality.  Then in the excessive anguish of His humanity He cried to His Father:
“Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit!”

And after He said it, a man came up and drove a spear so forcefully into His side.  When Mary saw that her Son had been stabbed through, she felt that her own heart was likewise pierced and it was a wonder that it did not break.

Then they brought Him down from the cross and laid Him out on clean linen, and with her mantel, Mary washed His wounds and His limbs, and with her finger she closed His eyes and His mouth, which were open when He died.  Then they placed Him in the tomb.

“Oh, how gladly would I have allowed them to entomb me alive with my Son,
if it had been His will!  I can truly say that when my Son was entombed, there
were two hearts in one sepulcher.  Is there not a saying:  Where your treasure
is, there is your heart?  Therefore, my thoughts and my heart were always in
the Tomb of my Son.

So you see, my sons and daughters, what my Son suffered for you.  And so it
will not be hard for you to give up the world.”


Sources:
•    Madonna of Nazareth  by Rev. Draugelis, S.J.
•    The Lowly Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother
by Rev. C. E. Schmoeger, CSR
•    Life and Passion of our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother
by St. Bridget of Sweden

My prayer group went on a Lenten retreat over the weekend.  The retreat master, a Carmelite priest told us: “Your work, my dear friends is to paint a portrait.  Your happiness now and forever depends on it.”

Whose portrait?

Christ’s.

How?

With your life.

“You imagine our Father in heaven has given you canvas, brushes, paints, a room to work in, a subject to reproduce.  The canvas is your life; the brushes are your thoughts, words, and deeds; the paints are the inspirations, temptations, trials, and joys you encounter; the room is your vocation in life; and Christ is the Subject.

Fashion your life so that when our Father looks on you He will see Christ’s image.  You may use your Bible to help you.”

Dear Lord, it’s not going to be easy, I said to myself.  That very moment I agonized in prayer for Jesus to help me on how to put on Him, so that I could feel He lives in me and me in Him, so that I may partake more fully of His nature.  To help me do this, He became a true, a whole man, from birth to death.  He has shown us how God wants man to live, and particularly how He wants me to live.

I strive to imitate those virtues of His that are most necessary for my state in life.  This is how I will put on Jesus.  This is how I will allow Him to live in me more fully.

I’ll learn all I can about Him.  Familiarize myself with His life.  I’ll try to see Him as He walked the roads and fields of Palestine twenty centuries ago.  He is truly man and truly God; therefore He can truly be my model.

His disciples loved Him, and He loved them.  They felt comfortable, “at home” with Him. They talked frankly.  Peter sometimes argued with Him, and Judas grumbled in His presence, His disciples brought their quarrels to him to be settled.

Sometimes He tested them to see how they would act, just as He tested me.  Once, crossing the Sea of Galilee, He slept in the rear of the boat while the storm raged about them.  They made their way back to Jesus, shook Him, and cried out somewhat reproach fully, “Rabbi!  We are going to drown!  Is that nothing to you?”  He calmed the winds and the waves.  And afterwards He said to them, “Why are you so timid?  Where is your faith?”  How often, when I have doubted or mistrusted Him has He had occasion to ask me, “Where is your faith?  Why were you afraid?”

Another time, when thousands of people had followed them into the wilderness and stayed until it grew late, His disciples said, “This is a lonely place, and it is already late…dismiss the people so that they  can reach the farms and villages round about to go away,” He said, “it is for you to give them something to eat.”  Philip answered, with his characteristic frankness, “Bread for two hundred dinarii is not enough for each of them to get even a little.”

He told His disciples to see what food was available and Andrew reported, “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that for so many?”  Jesus had them bring Him the loaves and the fish, and He had the people sit down.  They distributed the food, all were fed, and the fragments left over filled twelve baskets.

Jesus was testing their faith.  All the time He knew precisely what He would do.  Many times has He tested my faith just so, always knowing precisely what He would do.

Jesus indeed revealed to me that He is indeed a complete man, a whole man, a real man.  As I meditate upon it He wants me to see it.

See the poor man who has lain 38 years beside the pool and whom He revealed.  He has compassion for him.  He doesn’t even have to ask Him to cure him.

See the woman who has hemorrhaged for 12 years who touches His garments and is healed.

See the man who has been blind from birth, to whom He give sight.

See the widow outside the gates of  Naim and her dead son, whom He give back to her. 

See the 12 year old daughter of Jairus, whom He raise from death.

See Mary, Martha, and others standing before the tomb of Lazarus, His friend, whom He calls back from death.

See the centurion pleading for his son whom He cure; the man with withered hand, whom He healed; Peter’s mother-in-law, whose fever He check; the servant of the high priest, whose ear Peter cut off in Gethsemane and whom He makes whole.

See His mercy toward the soul of the afflicted; the adulteress, the paralytic, and Mary Magdalene.

See how He take note of the need of the body; feeding the multitudes and multiplying the wine at Cana.

See how He mingle with all social classes; banqueting with rich Pharisees, and supping with public sinners.

See His indignation at hypocrisy and injustice.

See how He pleads for His executioners as they nailed Him to the cross:  “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”

See how He promises the poor thief who is crucified with Him, “This very day you will be with me in paradise.”

See all this and strive to imitate His virtues: such normal everyday virtues as patience, mildness, mercy, forgiveness, love.

The portrait was done.  I see infinite Goodness – infinite Beauty – infinite Truth – infinite Love.  It helps me keep my perspective.  It is a reminder that I am right where God wants me, doing the very things He wants me to do.  There is something very encouraging as I contemplate on the portrait at the end of my day.

Webster Dictionary defines paradise as “a place of perfect happiness”.  Eden was the garden paradise that God personally hand-crafted as a place in which we would live with Him.  But represented by Adam and Eve, the human race rebelled against the Creator’s plan and consequently paradise was lost.

On several occasions during my prayer time, I have a vision of myself walking in a garden seeing the rushing mountains streams, the brilliantly colored leaves.  The carpets of wildflowers, the graceful gliding of a swan across the lake, the lilting notes of a bird’s song, the shimmer of the dew on the grass… This is the same Creator Who has prepared this beautiful place for us.

What have we done with the works of His hands?  The earth is getting frayed and worn out.  It is being polluted, gouged, stripped, burned, and poisoned and much damage has been willfully and selfishly inflicted by man.  We are found to be capable of destroying the world.  Today, the people who love and care for this world remain just a few.  Our world is really in bad state.  Everything will get worse unless each of us commit to be responsible for God’s creation.  Paradise can be restored even if only a handful of people carefully begin to work on it.  Let us send a strong message to the government to stop destroying our natural resources and instead implement protection programs to save human civilization, a stable economic and ecological restructuring is a tall order.

We yearn for a perfect place.  But, then again, is it a place we are looking for?  When I read of overcrowded slums, of unfair labor practices, of drive-by shootings, of drug additions, of terrorist attacks, of the tremors of earthquakes, of incurable diseases, of missile strikes, of violent robberies, of financial failures, of racial hatred, of social injustice and of national corruption… Will we be able to find happiness in this world?  But there is Someone who can bring us to a state of perfect peace and happiness.  His name is Jesus.  In His presence we experience fullness of joy.  If we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him.   And with Jesus in us, we are in Paradise. 

He has left the gate opened – for us!

Home for me will always be my parents’ house.  It was synonymous with love, acceptance, comfort, and security.  It was a place where my needs were met.  It was a place where I could take my burdens and lay them down.  It was a place not only where I could find answers but where my questions no longer seem to matter.  When I felt discouraged under the pressure of responsibilities, or overwhelmed by the problems of daily life, or disappointment of shattered dreams, my heart turned toward that cozy, happy home and those whom I love who lived there.  To go home was to be refreshed in my spirit and refocused in my thoughts and renewed my strength and restored my heart.  How I love home!

When my mother knew that we were coming home, she began to prepare for us.  She knew we loved barbecued spareribs on the grill, pochero, almondigas, torta, ensalada, and a lot more from our old family recipes.  She knew I love fresh flowers and she put them on my room.  She prepared those things for us, so that when we walked through the door of the house we would know we were expected and welcomed, because that was our home!

Preparations for our children were easy, because their grandma and grandpa knew when they burst through the door with their eyes sparkling, they’re just glad to be home to grandma and grandpa.  Anything or everything suited them.  But I knew their grandparents liked lots of time so they can sit with the kids and talk and talk and talk.  They spoiled them with junk food, soda, and comic books, and a lot more.  And so they had those things waiting for them so that they also will know they were expected and welcomed, because that was their home.

Those wonderful memories went with the fire when our house was burned down to the ground.

Considering how my parents prepared for us when they knew we were coming, I love to think of the preparations God is making for our homecoming one day.  He knows the things we love, the scenery we enjoy, the things that make us happy, all the personal details that will let us know when we walk into Our Father’s House.  It is a home built to last, not just for a lifetime, but forever!

Jesus promised, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:3)
…it’s a home of our dreams,
…it’s a home that is safe,
…it’s a home we can never lose,
…it’s a home of lasting value,
…it’s a home that’s been paid,
…it’s a home filled with family,
And best of all, it’s a home we are invited to claim as our own!  Heaven is the inheritance of God’s children.

Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

3:30pm - Filipino
5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
8:00pm - English

Download Parishworks

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.