Praying for holiness in the world

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr, 14 August 2020
Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63 >><)))*> || + || <*(((><< Matthew 19:3-12

“The most resplendent manifestation of God’s glory is the salvation of souls, whom Christ redeemed by shedding his blood. To work for the salvation and sanctification of as many souls as possible, therefore, is the preeminent purpose of the apostolic life.”

From the Letters of Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Office of Readings

Praise and thanksgiving to you our loving Father for a holy saint in our modern time, St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe whose memorial we celebrate today. His offering of his life in place of another prisoner at Auschwitz in 1941 was a fitting cap for his life of dedication in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in words and in deeds.

Though there are no more gas chambers unlike during the time of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, the killing of so many people in various forms and methods continue to this day — right on our streets, in abortion clinics, in prisons, even in our homes and in social media where we spread toxins of lies that mislead and destroy many lives.

Inspire us like St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe to work for the sanctification of the world by sharing more of your love and kindness, mercy and forgiveness to everyone especially the weak and vulnerable to abuses and worldly influences.

Like this modern saint who lived during the harshest conditions of World War II, may we strive to make you present in the world where despite the ease and comforts of modern life, many of us are still lost and alone, feeling angry, empty, and confused.

Through our lives, may we fill the world with your presence and holiness by reminding people to return to your original plan of harmony and unity in your love as Jesus told the Pharisees in the gospel today:

Jesus said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

Matthew 19:8

Most of all, to make the world holy anew, grant us courage to stand for what is true and good, to remain standing at the side of your Son’s Cross for indeed, as St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe had taught us in one of his writings, “The deadliest poison of our time is indifference.” Amen.

Photo of Auschwitz from Google.

Isang tula para sa ating Kapamilya

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-11 ng Hulyo 2020
Kaya pala himpapawirin nagdilim
bandang alas-tres pa man din
oras ng kanilang patayin
doon sa Krus nakabitin
si Hesus na Panginoon natin
nang kanyang sabihin
katotohanang hindi maatim
ng mga tao na ang puso ay ubod ng itim.
Bandang hapon ko na rin napagtagni-tagni
pangyayari bago magtanghali
nasunog matandang simbahan
ng Sto. Niño sa Pandacan
kabila ng Malacañang:
hindi ba nabuwang Haring Herodes
nang marinig niya balitang sumilang
Banal na Sanggol kaya mga bata pinagpapaslang?
Hindi ko nga malaman
sino nga ba aking tatangisan ---
apatnaput-dalawang binawian ng buhay
nitong COVID-19 na tunay na kalaban
o mga Kapamilya na tinanggihan kanilang 
prangkisa ng mga hunghang 
na tuta at alepores ng bagong Herodes
na walang malay gawin kungdi lahat ay patayin.
Bayan kong ginigiliw
bakit nga ba kung minsan
ang hirap mong mahalin?
Hindi mo pansin panloloko
ng mga matsing?
Aking dalangin
sana ikaw ay magising
o mahimasmasan iyong pagkalasing!
Matatala sa ating kasaysayan
pangalawang Biyernes Santo sa taong ito
ang ika-sampu ng Hulyo, dalawang libo dalawampu;
pinagluluksa natin hindi lamang
pagpatay sa prangkisa ng ating Kapamilya
kungdi pati na rin pagyurak sa ating dangal bilang tao
maging sa mga sandigan ng ating sambayanan.
Umasa at mananalig tayo kay Kristo
sa pagsapit ng Pasko ng Pagkabuhay;
bagaman ito'y natatagalan, hindi kailanman 
natalo ng kadiliman ang liwanag,
o ng kasinungalingan ang katotohanan,
kung tayo ay lilingon sa slogan noon:
"Ako ang simula" ng pagbabago 
dahil kung tinalo nila tayo kahapon sa boto, 
bukas talo sila sa ating boto!

Friends always talk straight from their hearts

The Lord Is My Chef Quiet Storm, 01 March 2019

I have been dreaming of former classmates lately. Last Tuesday night I dreamt of a classmate in high school seminary now a priest but have not seen in months. Later that day I met another classmate, told him of my dream, and inquired about him. Unfortunately, he has not seen him too for so long though he presumed he must be doing well in the ministry.

Thursday morning upon waking up, I was thinking hard for the possible meaning of another dream I had the night before about my two seatmates in elementary school. Two dreams in a row about three good, old friends very much still alive but have not seen for so long. And how ironic that until now, I have not reached out to them personally or through the many social media platforms available except for a Facebook post that Thursday morning for a possible explanation about my two dreams!

That is the great irony – or, tragedy of our time when we have all modern means of communications that include extensive road networks and yet we could not even get in touch with those people dear to us. See the simplicity of Jesus Christ in calling us his friends: on the night he was betrayed during supper, he told his disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command you (i.e., love one another). I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn.15:14,15).

Jesus does not need to dial numbers, text SMS, compose emails, or send invitations in Facebook to become friends with us. Jesus simply reveals to us in the most personal manner everything the Father wants to tell us and right away, we are already friends! Of course, it would be difficult to enumerate everything that the Father had told Jesus to relay to us but the greatest of these is the fact that God loves us very, very much. Period.

That is the greatest thing Jesus had achieved in his coming to us by bringing God closest to us by speaking straight to us by himself of his love, his mercy, his forgiveness, and his plans for us. That is one of the great joys of friendship when we talk straight, speak our hearts out freely to our friends without any fears of being rejected or misunderstood. There is always that sense of respect for the other person as a subject to be loved and cherished, not an object to be possessed and used like tools and gadgets.

In our mass-mediated culture, expressing our true feelings to our friends have become more complicated as we become less personal in our relationships. How I hate it when some people would always invite me for breakfast or lunch in some expensive restaurants or hotels only to ask some special favors after the meal that I feel like throwing out the food I have ingested! It is not social grace to treat people to fine dining or gift them with expensive or special things only to ask for some favors in the end. That is corruption or bribery. Simply put, it is lack of respect especially if done by people we regard as friends.

Going back to that Last Supper scene with Jesus Christ when he called us his friends, notice the word “friend”: there is only one letter that makes the difference to make it mean exactly the opposite, “fiend”. It is the letter “r” that stands for respect, from two Latin terms that literally mean “to look again”. To respect is to look again at another human as a person with equal dignity as yourself. Respect is the starting point of love that cannot exist in any situation where there is inequality or feelings of superiority over another person.

Our words coming from our hearts are some of the most wonderful things that create true and lasting friendships. The rest are the actions expressed when these words run out.

“Hapag ng Pag-Asa” by the late Joey Velasco.  From Google.