Holy Rosary in the time of corona

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 17 October 2020
Bishop Dennis Villarojo of the Diocese of Malolos leading the praying of the Rosary during the 11th Healing Rosary for the World last May 27, 2020 at the Malolos Cathedral. Photo from Sandigan.

It is the world’s most powerful weapon in any war, the most potent medicine for any ailment but has always been shunned upon by many especially in this age of sophisticated technology and modern science.

This is the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so loved by most saints in the past 800 years, encouraged by the Mother Church, and now rediscovered by many in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

How prophetic were the words of St. John Paul II in October 16, 2002 when he declared it as “Year of the Rosary” by adding the Luminous Mysteries prayed on Thursdays.

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary… still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn”.

St. John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Introduction

It is very interesting to know that the celebration of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was instituted following the victory by the Spanish Armada over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto Bay on October 07, 1571. That decisive naval victory attributed to the praying of the Rosary ended the push towards Europe by the powerful Moslem Ottomans. That would be repeated less than a hundred years later at Manila Bay in 1646 when the Protestant Dutch navy retreated unable to break the defenses of the combined Spanish and Filipino forces who placed themselves under the patronage of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Following their victory at the La Naval de Manila, the surviving soldiers walked barefoot to the Santo Domingo Church then in Intramuros.

There are so many other stories of how devotion to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary have led to many kinds of victories in various battles – not only in wars but also in plagues and diseases and other crises – waged by Christians both as a nation and as individuals not because the Blessed Virgin Mary is a “fighter” like a warrior but more of a woman of peace, a disciple par excellence of Jesus Christ.


The family that prays together,
stays together;
a world at prayer is a world at peace.
- Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton

Image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary whose feast we celebrate every third Saturday of October at Parokya ni San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Bagbaguin, Santa Maria, Bulacan.

What makes Our Lady of the Holy Rosary so unique in fighting all kinds of battle in life is the path she takes, the path of Jesus Christ which is the path of peace. Here we find how though the Rosary is Marian in character, it is in essence Christocentric.

…to rediscover the Rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who “is our peace”, since he made “the two of us one, and broke down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). 

St. John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, #6

Jesus had told us that the peace he gives us is not like the peace of the world but a peace that is won out of love, not of violence and power. Mary as Mother of Jesus offers us the most intimate and incomparable model in contemplating Christ the Prince of Peace, his very person, his words and teachings that leads into inner peace within each person first.

And that is what every mystery of the Rosary teaches us: we remember not just by going back to the past but by making present anew Jesus Christ in the many events of his life relevant with us today because they are very similar with our own experiences.

When we contemplate the Joyful Mysteries, we realize that real joy comes from welcoming and accepting, sharing and finding Jesus who comes to us in the most ordinary ways. In the Sorrowful Mysteries, we find in whatever suffering we find ourselves into, Jesus Christ went through it all first for us, assuring us he continues to be with us even in death that leads us to the Glorious Mysteries of Easter. In these mysteries that end with the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth, we are reminded and assured of our only “destiny” in life — to be back in the presence of God in heaven with Mary.

Mary in the Holy Rosary reveals to us that our fulfillment in life is found only in her Son Jesus Christ, the light of the world in whom everything must be seen and considered. All the rough edges, the dullness and darkness within us are dispelled when seen in the light of Jesus Christ. And that is why we find in the Luminous Mysteries the most “scriptural” part of the Rosary. According to St. John Paul II, though the gospels were silent about the presence of Mary in these Luminous Mysteries, it is most likely she was there present in silence, something so rare these days as we live our lives in the glitz and glamour of social media like Facebook and Instagram.


Photo by author, 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most unique battle man has ever fought, not only because the enemy is not seen and have made such visibly tremendous impact to our way of life in a global scale like World War II; it happened in the most unusual way that attacked and disturbed our inmost being as human persons desiring peace right in our hearts.

It exposed the sickness we have all been afflicted with, the lack of love, a love that is like the love of Jesus Christ willing to sacrifice, willing to forgive, willing to let go simply because of loving someone more than one’s self.

We have been in chaos within, longing for peace and love that have remained elusive because we have always been busy with everything except with God and our true selves. Long before we have adopted social distancing, we have long been distant from each other, even with those we live with in our homes – so cold and without love. Meals have become needs to feed one’s body, not as events to share one’s self with others as more and more people are getting used to eating by themselves, with cellphones beside them. Everybody is complaining about the face masks and face shields we have to wear without realizing when was the last time we really had a good look at each one’s face as a brother and a sister in Christ, an image and likeness of God, a person to be loved and cherished?

In praying the Rosary meditating in silence its mysteries, we not only discover the mystery of God but most of all our own mystery of being a part of his grand design and plan. That is why we feel anxious and fearful all of a sudden because death has become truer and closest to us in this time of the pandemic when “resting in peace” has become so common. And we know so well we have not loved enough!

“The Assumption of the Virgin” by Italian Renaissance painter Titian completed in 1518 for the main altar of Frari church in Venice. Photo from wikidata.org.

By praying the Rosary, its beads make us enter the rhythm of life once again, that it is not just temporal and material but also eternal and spiritual. With Mary, the Rosary enables us to be conformed to Christ which is the very essence of Christian spirituality.

In the spiritual journey of the Rosary, based on the constant contemplation – in Mary’s company – of the face of Christ, this demanding ideal of being conformed to him is pursued through an association which could be described in terms of friendship. We are thereby enabled to enter naturally into Christ’s life and as it were to share his deepest feelings.

The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary’s side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is “fully formed” in us (cf. Gal 4:19). Never as in the Rosary do the life of Jesus and that of Mary appear so deeply joined. Mary lives only in Christ and for Christ!

St. John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, #15

I have been wondering why despite our many prayers and Masses, why have we not conquered COVID-19 yet? How many rosaries do we have to pray before God answers our prayers for a cure to corona virus?

Perhaps, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is reminding us today that the problem with COVID-19 is not just medical but deeply spiritual, calling us to be conformed in the person of Jesus Christ that calls for many battles within us against our pride, selfishness, painful past and memories, vices and addictions, so many other negativities that please our senses but leave us empty and lost because they all lack love from which peace springs forth.

Take that Rosary again, learn from Mary that true blessedness is in believing that the words of God will be fulfilled (Lk.1:45) in us by welcoming Jesus, sharing Jesus, and becoming like Jesus in love like his Mother. Amen.

From Google.

Katatawanan, katuwaan sa buhay COVID-19

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-16 ng Oktubre 2020
Pitong buwan na nakakaraan
mula nang kumalat mula Wuhan
corona virus, tayo ay nag-lockdown
nang lumaon pinagaan quarantine
COVID-19 pasakit pa rin sa atin.
Nguni't huwag din namang masamain
maraming aral ipinamulat sa atin
itong COVID-19:  pananalangin 
at pananalig sa Diyos, 
pagpapahalaga sa pamilya at kapwa,
pangangalaga sa ating kalusugan.
Gayon din naman
maraming katatawanan
katuwaan ating naranasan
lumipas na mga buwan
kaya mga ito ating pagparoonan
kesa pabigatan ating mga isipan,
puso at kalooban.
Sa dami at tagal nang hirap ating naranasan
minsan marahil iyong inaasam-asam
makapagpahinga at magbakasyon
at saka sasagi sa isipan na hindi ba gayon
itong COVID-19 ngayon?
Bakasyon at pahinga
kaya nakapagtataka
kapag walang pasok sa eskuwela
at opisina dahil sa piyesta upisyal
gayong wala namang papasyalan
ni pupuntahan
lahat ng araw pare-pareho lang!
Nang magsimula ang lockdown
karamihan hindi naman nahirapan ni kinabahan
bagkus naging engrandeng bakasyunan
kantahan at inuman kung saan-saan
hanggang magkahawahan
nang mabatid katagay sa inuman
walang panlasa, walang pang-amoy
nang maglaon akala mo'y
aping-api, kinawawa at pinabayaan
pinag-aagawan lahat ng uri ng ayuda
pera at de lata
habang ang iba naman ay saganang-sagana.
Ang Pinoy nga naman
maski saan man
basta may kalamidad
hindi pababayaan kumalam kanyang tiyan;
aminin ang katotohanan
parusa nga ba at kahirapan ang lockdown
bakit tayo nagtabaan?
Hindi lamang iyan:
sa bawat tahanan
 mayroon isang tiyak natutuhan
bagong libangan at pagkakitaan
pagluluto at pagbe-bake.
Isang pangunahin kabutihan
nitong lockdown
luminis mga lansangan
umaliwalas kalangitan
kalikasan nabigyan
kapahingahang kailangang-kailangan;
magagandang tanawin
muling nasilayan mula kalayuan
habang sa mga tahanan
laganap na luntian ng mga halamang
 inaalagaan at pinagkakakitaan
ng mga tinaguriang plantitos at plantitas.
Mayroon pang ibang mga katatawan
nangyari sa gitna ng lockdown
at quarantine ng COVID-19
ngunit huwag nang pag-usapan
baka lamang pagmulan
labis na hapis at kalungkutan
mga kabalastugan sa pamunuan, 
sakim sa kapangyarihan
katanyagan at kayamanan
ngunit walang pakialam
sa bayang nahihirapan
nagsisikap lampasan mga pagdurusa
dinaraan sa katatawan
katuwaan upang mapanatili
katinuan ng isipan
kesa tularan mga baliw
at hunghang na payaso
sa gobyernong ito.

*Mga larawan sa itaas mga kuha ni G. Jay Javier, Mayo 2020; habang ang mga nasa ibaba ay kuha ng may-akda maliban sa ibong dilaw at puting bulaklak na kuha ni Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD.

Our dis-ease COVID-19

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 08 October 2020
Pope Francis delivering his “Urbi et Orbi” before an empty St. Peter’s Square in Rome, 27 March 2020 at the height of COVID-19 pandemic. Photo from Vatican Media/AFP via Getty Images.
In the beginning
we were counting
the days of quarantine
but when COVID-19
spread with so many dying
then we realized this is not just passing
but could be staying 
leaving the world in a standstill
shaking our very core and being
bringing us back to God
praying, surrendering everything
to him as our sole grounding.
Finding God 
during this quarantine
is indeed a blessing 
directing us to look within
to examine our being
where every healing must begin;
Any sickness is a dis-ease
a lack of order
when things are not pleasing
because of sin and wrong-doing
exactly what we are now seeing
with COVID-19.
Photo by Mr. Jay Javier, May 2020.
Consider the following:
Long before social distancing
we have always been so far away
even from those with whom we stay
foregoing all the loving,
replaced with twitting or texting;
When we were growing
we were taught to keep our hands clean
but we have pushed it to the extreme
refusing to dirty our hands
forgetting to work with honor and dignity
keeping them free from stains of dishonesty;
Of all the most disturbing
during this quarantine
is the mask that cover our face;
but, why be fazed, objections raised
when we have long erased
to see in every face
that tremendous grace
of God's trace?
In the midst of this calamity
when air became pollution-free
we rejoiced at Nature's beauty;
the remedy for every malady
is not found only in the pharmacy
but right in our hearts when we see
everything and everyone in harmony.
Oh how I long when that day shall be
when everyone is free with nothing to worry;
at ease shall we carry within the peace and serenity 
of one big family living cleanly in God's mercy.
Photo by Ms. Anne Ramos, March 2020.

On being kind and loving during COVID-19

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 02 October 2020
Photo by author, resthouse in Silang, Cavite, 22 September 2020.
Methinks the saddest thing of this pandemic
is not in the restrictions it had imposed on us
from social distancing to other methods of quarantine
but more on the restrictions we have within
when we can be more loving and kind with others
then still choose to be harsh and brash.
We wash our hands to be clean
but the virus of sin clings deeper than skin
when forgiving or apologizing
can wash away that sting
of any guilty feeling within.
Even if we have to maintain social distancing
it does not mean we have to be apart;
it would be wonderful and most amazing
to everyone's part if we can let our hearts
sing the feelings deep inside like
"I love you, I miss you, I care for you"
than wring all the aching 
and sufferings we are enduring.
Lastly, always put on your masks
for everyone's safety
but let us trust and bask
in the warmth of our humanity
to keep our sanity.
In this time of COVID-19
when death is no longer lurking
but closing into our very being, 
let us be more of feeling than of thinking,
loving and caring, affirming each other
enjoying life together.
Photo by author, antique door of a resthouse in Silang, Cavite, 22 September 2020.

Hiling at daing sa Mater Dolorosa

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Martes, Kapistahan ng Mater Dolorosa, 15 Setyembre 2020
1 Corinto 12:12-14, 27-31  || + ||  Juan 19:25-27
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Abril 2020.
O Birheng Maria, aming Ina!
Ngayong aming ipinagdiriwang
iyong kapistahan bilang Mater Dolorosa
kinabukasan pagkaraan ng kapistahan 
ng Pagtatampok ng Banal na Krus ni Hesus,
nabubuo ang napakagandang larawan
ng malalim at matalik ninyong ugnayan, 
 kaisahan bilang mag-ina sa liwanag ng Banal na Krus;
tunay nga ikaw Birheng Maria ang una at dakilang alagad Niya
sinamahan Siya hanggang pagdurusa at kamatayan
kaya naman ikaw ay naging Ina nitong Santa Iglesya
nang kami ay naging katawan Niya.
Aming dalangin sa gitna nitong COVID-19
paratingin aming mga daing at hinaing
masintahing Ina sa Panginoon natin:
patatagin aming pananampalataya
paalabin aming pagmamahal at paglilingkod
iwaksi kami sa sakit at iba pang kapahamakan
upang balang araw sa pagbubukang liwayway
mapawi rin aming mga dalamhati
katulad mo'y magningning ang ngiti sa aming mga labi
mula kay Kristong muling nabuhay
sa pandemya kami'y pinagtagumpay.
Amen.
Larawan ng “Mater Dolorosa” ng pintor na si Carlo Dolci mula sa Wikimedia Commons.

Love without borders

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Week XX, Cycle A in Ordinary Time, 16 August 2020
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 >><}}}*> Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 >><}}}*> Matthew 15:21-28
Twilight at our parish by Ms. Ria De Vera, 12 August 2020.

For the third Sunday in a row, Jesus reveals a very wonderful side of him who goes out of his way to meet us and comfort us in the most difficult situations and places we are into. It is something we need so much in these days of Moderate Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) seen right away in the opening of today’s gospel.

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.

Matthew 15:21-23

Jesus goes out of his way to meet everyone

Israel is a very small country but always leaves a big impact on everyone who goes on a pilgrimage there. There is that sense of awe in every sacred site that until now continues to “speak” and evoke among pilgrims the presence and holiness of God and his saints.

Like what we have mentioned last Sunday, the proxemics or the non verbal communication of the places Jesus have visited convey to us deeper meanings than just mere sites. And that is more true during the time of Christ like the setting of this Sunday’s gospel, the region of Tyre and Sidon.

Now part of Lebanon found south of its capital city Beirut that was devastated by powerful explosions two weeks ago, Tyre and Sidon were gentile or pagan cities during the time of Jesus with a considerable Jewish population.

His going there shows us his fidelity to his mission of “searching for the lost sheep of the house of Israel” that partly explains to us why he never bothered to give the slightest hint of recognition to the Canaanite woman who had sought his help for her daughter “tormented by a demon”.

Photo by author, the Holy Land, May 2019.

And despite the lack of any explanation again by St. Matthew on the attitude by Jesus “snubbing” the pagan woman, we can safely assume that Christ surely knew that by going to Tyre and Sidon, gentiles would seek his healing as news of his fame had spread beyond Galilee at that time.

Here we find the great love and concern of Jesus for everyone, specially the rejected and marginalized in the society.

His “withdrawing to the region of Tyre and Sidon” was in itself a revelation of his universal love, a love without borders reaching out to those lost and feeling alone in life, those rejected, those discriminated for their color and beliefs, status and gender, sickness and diseases like AIDS and lately, COVID-19!

Inclusive Jesus, exclusive human

At the beginning of chapter 11 of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans from which our second reading is taken today, the great Apostle starts by asking “has God rejected his people?” St. Paul emphatically said “no”, explaining at length the plan of God in Jesus Christ to save all peoples not just the Jews, beautifully telling us,

For the gifts and the call of God are (permanent and) irrevocable.

Romans 11:29

St. Paul’s reflections on God being “inclusive” as against our being so “exclusive” in sending us Jesus Christ to bring us all together as one sheds us some light on that extraordinary incident in the region of Tyre and Sidon involving the Canaanite woman.

Again, I invite you my dear reader to reflect on the many layers of meaning found in this episode so special like the feeding of more than five thousand people the other Sunday and Jesus walking on water last week.

First, notice the silence of Jesus. Keep in mind when the Lord is silent, it does not mean he is out or does not care at all to our needs and pleas. When there is silence – specially a deafening one – the problem is never with God but with us people.

And, true enough! See how the disciples asked Jesus to “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us” (Mt.15:23) — exactly the way we deal sometimes with those begging our help and attention, seeing them as a nuisance to be sent away? What a shame!

From Google.

Now, we go to the climax of this episode with the woman coming to Jesus, “paying him homage” for the healing of her daughter tormented by a demon. It was a scene similar with St. John’s wedding at Cana where the Blessed Mother also approached Jesus with a request when wine ran out during the feast.

In both episodes we find Jesus being a snub – suplado, as we say.

Most of all, in both scenes we find the remarkable faith in Jesus by his Mother at Cana believing he can do something to spare the newly wed couple of embarrassment from running out of wine while this Canaanite woman felt so sure only Jesus can cure her daughter.

See how she addressed Jesus like his disciples with not just “Lord” but also with the title “Son of David” to indicate her faith in him as the Messiah.

And it did not stop there as she engaged Jesus into a dialogue — indicating intimacy and trust, depth and communion that we refer in Filipino as “matalik na ugnayan” or “matalik na usapan”.

Sometimes in life, Jesus seems to have that longing for some “lambing” from us that he tries to be “pakipot” or hard to get in order to be intimate with us. Please take these Filipino traits positively to get what I mean from this unique scene of Jesus and the Canaanite woman in Tyre and Sidon.

Jesus said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Matthew 15:26-28
Photo by author, Church of All Nations beside the Garden of Gethsemane in the Holy Land, May 2019.

Brothers and sisters all in one God as Father

St. Matthew recorded this episode not to scandalize and shock us with those words coming from the Lord, referring to the Canaanite woman as one of the “dogs” that was the term used to designate pagans at that time.

For St. Matthew who was writing for Christians of Jewish origins, the episode was a reminder that the people of Israel were indeed the “children” of God to whom the coming Messiah and salvation – like bread or food – were first promised. St. Paul spent a great deal of explaining of this in his letter specially to the Romans .

Rigthly then, theirs was the “food” not right to be thrown to the “dogs” but, that fact does not exclude the “dogs” from partaking later from the leftover food of the children, as if telling Jesus, today we satisfy ourselves with crumbs, tomorrow we shall have bread!

The Canaanite woman clearly knew where to place herself before the Lord, proving to him her deep faith and amazing knowledge of God’s goodness and plans for everyone. For that, she was highly praised by Jesus for her faith. The only other person also praised by Jesus in having a tremendous faith in him was the centurion – another pagan – who begged the Lord for the remote healing of his servant.

Last Sunday afternoon I read the story of how a nurse was driven out of her boarding house after she tested positive for COVID-19 virus. The poor lady had nowhere to go to spend the night after being denied of any assistance by barangay officials, even by her own family in Batangas! Good enough, somebody reported her to the Philippine National Red Cross that sent an ambulance to take care of the nurse who was found crying by herself at the gutter of a street in Pasay City.

What a very sad and tragic reality happening among us these days of the pandemic.

Where is our love and concern for everyone, especially the weak and the sick, those in our own versions of Tyre and Sidon where no one would dare to go except Jesus, perhaps like the dorms and residences of our medical frontliners who are so tired and sick physically, emotionally, and spiritually during this pandemic?

In these past three weeks we have reflected how Jesus lovingly joined us, staying with us in the wilderness, in the storms of the dark sea, even at the pagan territories where nobody would ever want to go.

This Sunday, Jesus is inviting us to break all barriers and borders between us that separate us from each other. Let us animate our community with Christ’s love and mercy for us all amid our many differences so that slowly we fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading that someday the house of the Lord shall be called “a house of prayer for all peoples” (Is.56:7). Amen.

A blessed and safe new week to you! And please do not forget to pray ten Hail Mary’s every 12-noon for national healing and end of the pandemic until September 15, 2020.

Aral ng COVID 19, VI: disiplina ang gamot sa sakit natin

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-11 ng Agosto 2020
Larawan kuha ni Bb. Anne Ramos, Abril 2020
Habang tumatagal itong quarantine 
lalong ipinakikita hindi COVID-19
ang kalaban natin kungdi ating sarili din;
matagal nang sakit na hindi kayang gamutin
nakaugat nang malalim sa katauhan natin
kawalan ng disiplina kay hirap sugpuin.
Sa gitna ng kawalan ng maaasahan
sa pamahalaang abala sa kapalaluan
ayaw pakinggan mga paraan ng nakakaalam
disiplina nating mga mamamayan
ang pinaka-mabisang sanggalang
laban sa virus na galing sa Wuhan.
Tingnan, pag-aralan, at tularan
pamamaraan ng mga bansa kung saan
paglaganap ng COVID-19 ay nalabanan
laging matatagpuan dalawang bagay magkasabay:
mahusay at magaling na pamahalaan
disiplinadong mga mamamayan.
Masunurin ang turing sa taong may disiplina
na nagmula sa wikang Griyego na discipulos,
taga-sunod o alagad; sa wikang Latin, 
dalawang kataga ang pinagsama
"ob audire" na ibig sabihin "makinig na maigi"
kaya sa Inggles "obedient" ang isang masunurin.

Ang taong may disiplina
 masunurin sa tuwina
laging nakikinig sa mga sasabihin
upang kanyang tuparin 
mga ipinagbibilin
 ano mang atas na kanyang gawain.
Kung ating lilimihin lalim
ng kahulugan ng disiplina
ito rin ang siyang dahilan
upang ating matutuhan
kahalagahan ng pagtitiyaga
at paghihintay na atin nang tinalikuran.
Pagkaraan ng mahigit limang buwan
lahat na lamang sa atin ay dinaraan 
sa paspasan, pag-aagawan, at pagdarayaan
kaya hanggang ngayon wala tayong patunguhan;
kung bawat mamamayan mayroong disiplina
baka sakali tinablan ng kahihiyan mga kinauukulan
wala na silang dahilan sa kanilang kapabayaan 
dahil sila unang nagkulang sa disiplinang kinakailangan
hindi nila tayo maaring sisihin 
nagkulang sa pagsugpo sa COVID-19.
Larawan kuha ni Bb. Anne Ramos, Marso 2020.

Praying for discipline

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Saturday, Memorial of St. Dominic De Guzman, Priest, 08 August 2020
Habakkuk 1:12-2:4 >><)))*> || + || >><)))*> || + || >><)))*> Matthew 17:14-20
Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte, Atok, Benguet, 2019.

As we close this very dismal week of soaring number of COVID-19 patients and plunging economy now officially in recession, we pray to you God our Father for the grace of discipline, of being your follower in the truest sense of the word.

Give us discipline… and discipline us, O God, to set our lives and our country back in order.

We have no one to turn to at this stage: our leaders are blaming us, blaming everyone except themselves for all the mess our country is into.

Like your prophet Habakkuk in the first reading, we also wonder at your silence over all these people leading us in government who seem to be more like clowns in a circus.

Too poor are your eyes to look upon evil, and the sight of misery you cannot endure. Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked man devours one more just than himself? You have made man like the fish of the sea, like creeping things without ruler.

Habakkuk 1:13-14

Thank you, O God, in sending us saints who are models of discipline in prayer and virtues like St. Dominic De Guzman whose Memorial we celebrate today.

St. Dominic by Fra Angelico from Google.com.

Before he could be the “hound of the Lord” (Domini canes) bringing onto the world that torch of light plunged into darkness, St. Dominic first nurtured in himself that unique discipline of waiting for you in prayers.

And after founding the Order of Preachers, he was so well-disciplined in life centered only in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior:

Dominic possessed such great integrity and was so strongly motivated by divine love, that without a doubt he proved to be a bearer of honor and grace. He was a man of great equanimity, except when moved to compassion and mercy… Wherever he went he showed himself in word and deed to be a man of the Gospel. During the day no one was more community-minded or pleasant toward his brothers and associates. During the night hours no one was more persistent in every kind of vigil and supplication.

From the Office of Readings on the Memorial of St. Dominic

So often, we ask or – complain to you – Lord Jesus like your disciples in the gospel today why we cannot imitate and do your works? And you readily said, it is because of our “little faith” (Mt.17:20).

Very true, Lord, because after gifting us with faith, we have failed to deepen and nurture it in prayer achieved in a life of discipline that makes us patient in waiting for you.

Then the Lord answered me and said: For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live.

Habakkuk 2:3-4

Please Lord Jesus, help us discipline our selves in this most trying crisis we have ever faced in recent history, that instead of fighting, we may truly follow your ways. Amen.

St. Dominic De Guzman, pray for us! Amen.

Photo by author, Dominican Hills, Baguio City, January 2019.

Aral ng COVID-19, V: ang dapat dasalin, pagbabago natin

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-06 ng Agosto 2020
Larawan kuha ni Ezra Acayan ng Getty Images, Marso 2020.
Sa ating pananalangin,
turo ng Panginoong Hesus sa atin,
bago pa man kayo humiling,
batid na ito ng Diyos nating mahabagin;
at kung kayo ay mananalangin, wika Niya,
inyong sabihin:  Ama namin...
Gayong batid pala ng Diyos kailangan natin,
tanong ng iba, bakit tayo mananalangin pa sa Kanya?
At ito ang hindi nalalaman ng karamihan
mahalagang katotohanang dapat tandaan:
sa pananalangin ang pinakamahalaga ay
mabatid natin ibig ng Diyos mula sa atin!
Kaya naman sa tagal nitong COVID-19
sa dami ng ating panalangin, tiyak noon pa man din
alam na ng Diyos kailangan upang wakasan
pandemyang malagim na bumabalot sa atin
kumitil at nagpatigil sa takbo ng buhay natin
dulot sa lahat ay hirap maging sa iba ay hilahil.
Marahil kailangan na nating baguhin
ating panalangin sa panahong ito ng COVID-19
sapagkat wala sa gamot at medisina
sa mga botelya at siringgilya ang sa atin magpapagaling
kungdi sa pagpapanibago nitong puso at kalooban natin
na siyang laging ibig naman ng Diyos mula sa atin.
Sa gitna nitong quarantine nabuking
masasamang pag-uugali maging mga gawi natin
na sa gitna ng kagipitan at kahirapan
marami pa rin ang nagsamantala
naging sakim at makasarili
ibig ang lahat ay kamkamin, kabigin at angkinin.
Pandaraya at panggugulang, hindi patas sa mga patakaran
marami sa pamahalaan at katungkulan naghari-harian
mga inaakalang kalaban hinigpitan
malayang pamamahayag pinigilan
mga karapatan at dangal ng mamamayan
niyurakan at tinapakan, lalo na mga walang pinanghahawakan.
Larawan kuha ni Bb. Anne Ramos, Marso 2020.
Kaya aking bayan 
ating pag-isipan at pagnilayan
batid ng Diyos ating pangangailangan
ngunit hindi Niya ito kaagad pagbibigyan
dahil tanging paraan sa pagsugpo sa salot na ito
naroroon sa ating mga puso, wala sa nguso.
Harapin natin hindi ang COVID-19
kungdi ating sarili at pag-uugali na dapat gamutin
sa mga sakit na naglalayo sa Diyos at kapwa natin;
karunungang kinakailangan ibinigay na ng Diyos
noon pa man upang solusyunan virus mula Wuhan
tangi Niyang kahilingan mamuhay tayo sa kabutihan at katuwiran.
Mahigit limang buwan na tayong nagdarasal
ugali at asal nati'y makapal pa rin sa kasamaan
kaya marahil lalo pang magtatagal 
pagdurusa sa pandemyang ito na nag-ugat 
 buhat sa puso ng tao na kung di magbabago
uulit at uulit sa iba't ibang anyo.

Plan of God, our plan

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of the Dedication of St. Mary Major in Rome, 05 August 2020
Jeremiah 31:1-7 <*(((><< | + | >><)))*> Matthew 15:21-28
Photo by Arch. Philip Santiago, St. Mary Major in Rome, 2018.

O God our almighty Father, in all eternity you have planned what is best for each of us and we thank you so much for that for your great wisdom matched with your immense love for us.

Unfortunately, we always run away from you, discarding your plans for our own personal plans that most often do not work because these are based on what we want, what we like and not of what is really best for us.

Help us to seek your plans for us, Lord, by remaining in you, trusting you because you know what is best for us being our Maker.

Open our selves to you to redeem us from our disgrace and infirmities by seeking your plans in rebuilding our lives like your so-called “remnants of Israel” in the first reading – the few who have remained faithful to you despite the turning away from you of majority of Israelites who chose to worship false gods in the time of Jeremiah.

And ironically, to be like that Canaanite woman at the region of Tyre and Sidon – though a pagan – who remained faithful to you waiting for the Christ to come by holding on to your plans, hoping in your plans, and finally realizing your plans of healing and salvation in Jesus!

Grant us the perseverance and love to seek, believe in your plans for us like the Blessed Virgin Mary as we celebrate today the Memorial of the Dedication of St. Mary Major in Rome, one of our four Major Churches and first Marian shrine in the whole Christendom.

How lovely it is, O God, that you literally laid out your plans for this Basilica when the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to a faithful Christian couple as well as Pope Liberius in the year 358 to build a church in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5.

And you did make snow to fall on that night, forcing Pope Liberius to trace the outlines of the church on the snow where the first basilica was built!

But, it was only the beginning of the unfolding of your plans: the Basilica of St. Mary Major was completed a century later after the Council of Ephesus in 431 where Mary was declared the Mother of God, thus clarifying all doubts on the divinity of your Son Jesus Christ who had come to save us.

May we pause for some moments of silence today to pray and seek your plans for us specially in this time of the pandemic. We pray harder for our leaders in government for humility and honesty in seeking you, O God, to draw a specific plan that is clear and workable to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

This we ask in Jesus Christ’s name, in the power of the Holy Spirit with Mary our Mother. Amen.

Photo by author of a pilgrim writing a petition to the Blessed Mother in a Marian shrine in Madaba, Jordan, 2019.