Friday, October 28, 2005


1. Pope Benedict XVI knew the problems of the Church as he had already verbalized them previously in the ”Ratzinger Report,” “Salt of the Earth,” and “God and the World.” He knew the problems of priests and nuns as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He knew the members of the Curia who introduced those Liturgical abuses.
Knowing the state of the Church, during the conclave, he prayed that he be spared from such a heavy burden. Now, look at him! He does not even look worried. “What me worry?” Clearly he is troubled by certain developments in the Catholic world but definitely not worried.

2. The ordinary mechanism that runs the Church is expressed in the Apostolic Commission, wherein Christ commanded His apostles: first, to preach the Good News (that the way back to Paradise is re-opened); secondly, to baptize (so that the recipient would have the power to walk back); thirdly, to know all the commands of Christ (which would be knowing the footsteps of Christ); and fourthly to know how to observe those commands(to walk and follow Christ.) If the men of the Church obeyed the Apostolic Commission, the Church would be all right. Note that the third and fourth elements put together is the definition of Love of God and love of neighbor “If you love Me keep my commandments.” If we do this, people can look at the Church and say "See how they love one another."

3. The Church was all right during the apostolic times and the era of the Fathers of the Church because they followed the Apostolic Commission. Then something went wrong even as early as the time of Arius. Some blamed the patrimony of Emperor Constantine who spoiled the Church. The Good News wasn’t as attractive. The world was more attractive. Baptism was received without the proper disposition. Ignorance of the commands of Christ was common. And as a consequence, obedience to the commands of Christ was rare. The Love of God had waxed cold.

The Church was in crisis because the men of the Church (the successors of the apostles and the Fathers of the Church) failed to proclaim the Good News, children were baptized but their Baptismal character did not develop to maturity; ignorance of the commands of Christ and how to obey them became the rule of the day even among the clergy. The Church in its early stage seems to have ceased to exist. Even St. Jerome woke up in a world that has turned Arian. Where was the Catholic Church?

4. The Church has an automatic self-renewing mechanism.
Yes, why worry? All the saints knew that the Church has an automatic self-renewing mechanism that turns on whenever she goes into a crisis. It works like an air-conditioning system. When the temperature within the room goes higher, the compressor automatically turns on and restores the coolness of the room. The self-renewing mechansm is automatic in that when the Catholic Church goes into a crisis, the self-reforming system goes on to prevent the disappearance of the Church from the face of the earth.

How does this work? Well, what the men of the Church were supposed to do, embodied in the Apostolic Commission, God, Himself does. For a moment God takes over. God chooses a few chosen souls, directly proclaims the Good News to them, grants them the initial graces of Baptism to enable them to obey the commands of Christ, teaches them the commands of Christ and how to observe them. When these souls obey the commands of Christ, then Charity dwells in their souls, and the Church, whose very soul is Love of God, begins to renew herself once more.

Examples of these souls were John Henry Newman and Gilbert K. Chesterton, both converts. They contributed much to the intellectual and spiritual life of the Catholic Church and sparked renewal and conversions for the Church.

5. This auto self-renewal mechanism does not work with non-Catholics. When the Protestants or Buddhists go into a crisis, there is no automatic self-reforming mechanism that goes
into action. This is why God, in His mercy, has given the command to preach to all nations, to give everyone a chance to be saved.

With God the Father watching over the Church, with Christ present in His Mystical Body (which could be very small) and the Holy Spirit working within the Church, though its human mechanism get crippled it could walk again because of its divine element.

Briefly again, the ordinary mechanism for Evangelization is for Church leaders to obey the Apostolic Commission. Crisis in the Church occur when the Church leaders fail to obey the Apostolic Commission. In which case God chooses an instrument (a Pope, a priest, a nun, a layman, laywoman or even a child) to initiate the Apostolic Commission going again. And when this is going on, He leaves it again to the men of the Church to keep it on going.

6. Man often forgets this theological reality and tends to take upon himself the reform of the church, like Martin Luther. God must initiate it and He chooses His instrument. No one volunteers. Luther was the classic example of one taking upon himself the role of God…by playing god. And the consequence is a bigger mess. Man tend to destroy what he is trying to reform.

7. True reform consists in reforming oneself. This is the message of the Gospel: that we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. He said nothing about denying others, giving the cross to others and pushing others to follow Christ. We must begin with ouselves and let our light encourage others to do likewise. When we reform ourselves, we do it within the context of the Church. And the “goodness” of reforming ouselves is that it benefits others whether we like it or not. Others are caught within the whirlpool of reform.

8. The monastic movement is the pulse of the Church. As the monastic movement goes, so goes the Church, and vice versa. Historians, who study Church history, try to chart the pace and direction of reformation through the monastic orders, like from the Black Benedictines to the Trappist. Or it could move through the monastic movement but through groups that might have another canonical name but are still strictly monastic, like the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Both orders are essentially monastic. The reform of the monastic orders coincide with the renewal of the Church. And when the monastic movement deteriorates, the Church goes into a crisis.

This self-reforming mechanism, however, is not a personal phenomenon…. in that every sinner goes into automatic self-reformation. It is automatic as a Church mechanism and as such is a pure act of God’s grace which He gives as he pleases.

9. Note the example of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She lived in France, a nation considered as the favorite daughter of the Church at a time that that daughter was a prostitute. The Church was practically non-existent in France. Therese could have heard the Good News from her parents and/or from the Benedictine nuns where she studied. She was definitely baptized. Where did she learn total self-denial and self-abandonment at the age of five? Her biography gives us no clue. Could it be that she learned everything directly from God (for the nuns of Carmel in Lisieux where not known for deep spirituality). The theology of the Autobiography of St. Therese by Hans Urs von Balthasar shows a theology that she could not have learned from Carmel. She lived in an era when the Church was undergoing self-renewal.

Catherine of Sienna (1347), the 25th child, had no formal education but remained cloistered in her room at home. Living at an era of great turmoil in the Church, she intervened in huge disputes. She advised Popes. And she was only the daughter of a wool dyer of Sienna. Where did she get her knowledge so that she could advise Popes? Isn’t that from God? Why did God teach her directly and did not pass through His customary ordained preachers? Because there was no preacher who knew the commands of Christ and how to observe them. There was a crisis in the Church.

10. God had ordained that men must preach to men. When men fail to do so either because of ignorance or neglect, the Church undergoes a crisis. When the crisis reaches an alarming level, God directly interferes and Himself does what He had commission men to do. He teaches certain souls the commands of Christ and how to obey them; this is teaching men Charity. This is monasticism. Didn’t St. Thomas of Aquinas learn his ecstatic knowledge directly from the Liturgy of the Mass, first, as an oblate in a Benedictine monastery? When men learn the path to salvation not from the ordinary way through preachers, but directly from God, God is intervening. The Church is self-reforming. St. Thomas lived in an era when the Church was in crisis.

Pope Benedict XVI looked troubled but not worried. He knows he is a co-worker in the vineyard of the Lord. There is a main worker. The Pope will do his part in obeying the apostolic commission given by Christ through his Catechesis. He knows the main Worker, His Lord and Master, will do the rest. And he knows there is no other way to retrieve the modern world for Christ. With God………..why worry? (Painting by Giovanni di Paulo, "Saint Catherine before the Pope in Avignon, 1460.)

Saturday, October 22, 2005


There is a school in Rome to train exorcist. They enroll 60-80 at a time. It takes four months. And it is the only school known as such. Isn’t that a very small force to train to exorcise the myriads of people possessed by the devil? And you have to go Rome to train. Did something go wrong in God’s planning that this problem of possession had not been adequately addressed? A weekly news magazine scoffs at the Vatican's preservation of the rite of Exorcism, just recently revised by Pope Benedict.

Germany and some of its bishops do not believe in the after life. They have only a handful of trained exorcist. Italy have a growing population of Satanic worshippers.

I live in a country, though predominantly Catholic, is replete with superstitious practices. The devil loves superstition. And whenever I go and give retreat to nuns, they line up some townsfolks for exorcism after the lectures. The threatening looks of these persons, supposedly possessed, is reason enough for me to make a hasty retreat into my ride and rush back home. I don’t know how to exorcise. They look ready to bite. I don’t want to get bitten. Rabies, tetanus, ….you know.

A desire to go to Rome and study in the Exorcist school rose in me. Why didn’t God make better provision to counter this threat than just opening a small school in Rome? Didn’t He see that this problem would be world wide? God knew all of this. And in His wisdom and Providence He had made provisions.

The ordinary means to prevent possession and/or to exorcise is the Sacrament of Baptism. The putting into practice of the theology of Baptism, which consists in the initial rite of exorcism and growth in the perfection of the Sacrament by becoming perfect children of God…this is called monasticism. So the ordinary way of exorcism without the need of an exorcist from Rome is to live the fullness of monastic life…with emphasis on “fullness” because many monasteries today do not live the fullness of the life of Baptism. Since monastic life is nothing else than living the Gospel, the Evangelical Life is the ordinary means of exorcising a soul. I have mentioned this in the past posts.

In the life of St. Romuald, founder of the Benedictine Camaldolese, it is narrated that every time the devil would disturb the saint, an angel would club the daylight out of the devil. How is that for a body guard? Or soul guard?

Let us recall the knowledge of the desert Fathers in handling devils, a knowledge they had perfected.

The FIRST principle to keep in mind is this: neither devil nor any wicked man can harm anybody who does not want to be harmed. The devil can only harm him who wants to be harmed. People harm themselves; the devil cannot harm them who are zealous for their salvation.

St. John Chrysostom, on “The power of the Demons” posed this question. “Why are there persons in the monastery right now living lives of penance, while others are in the city indulging themselves in the pleasures of the flesh? Why are there those feeding on spiritual unguents while others eating of the devil’s garbage? Why are there people singing psalms in praise of God while others taking part in lascivious songs of the devil?

Who decoyed them? Who deceived them? We are all men alike bearing the same human nature. We have the same soul, the same desires. How come these two are not in the same place? THE "PURPOSE!" They do not have the same purpose. One is beyond deception; the other is under deception. One refused to be deceived, the other loved to be deceived. The devil has nothing to do with the choices. We, alone, are the author of our choices.

The devil is wicked but he is wicked for himself, not towards us if we are careful. For the nature of wickedness is that it is destructive to those alone who hold on to it. Virtue is the contrary: it is not only able to profit those who hold to it, but those nearest at hand too. Evil is evil in itself, but good is also good to others. “My son, if thou art become evil, thou shall bear thine evils alone, but if wise, for thyself and thy neighbor.”

The "purpose" is the master. When a man lives in wickedness and shows all kind of evil, he cannot blame God’s providence and blame fortune and fate and the tyranny of Demons... transferring all blame to others.

The reasoning is simple. He in the monastery is a servant and, likewise you in the world. He is a man and you are a man. Both of you live in the same world and are nourished by the same food and are under the same heaven. How come one lives in virtue and the other in wickedness? And they live together in this world. This is the greatest proof that the Catholic Church is the true Church, stated Ronald Knox. Because, as Christ, Himself, described His Church, she will have both the cockle and the wheat. What for?

For the good to appear more thoroughly approved when they are in the midst of those who try to hinder them from living rightly, and who entice them to evil, and yet keep hold to virtue. “For there must be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” The good bishops appear resplendent when side by side with the bad ones.

In the previous posts, we showed how the devil entered into Judas and possessed him to the point of being able to command him what to do. Judas, by his avarice, left himself open to possession. The devil did not have to force himself in. The second evil that leaves a soul open to possession as early as childhood is the dictatorship of relativism, as mentioned in all monastic writings (St. Benedict writes that this dictatorship is the first evil that must be removed from one’s soul). The third, mentioned by John Chrysostom propagator of monasticism, is sloth.

Idleness is the workshop of the devil – we have often heard it said. But I have often interpreted idleness as those doing nothing. Well, no. The Slothful are very busy in almost everything, climbing mountains, crossing the seas, feeding the hungry, organizing pilgrimages, appearing on T.V. preaching BUT are lazy when it comes to their personal spiritual life….like finding out their sins and living a life of self-denial.

So, there you are….living your Baptism is the best home remedy for possession by the devil. It is both a curative and preventive medicine. I hope I didn’t get all those new Exorcist graduates unemployed. (Painting by Guercino, 17th century, St. Romuald with angel clubbing the devil.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Did I get it right that the Bishop’s Synod began with a Mass with some half naked dancers? I would want to see Pope Benedict’s face. I saw his face when he saw those female Magis at the WYD and those usual gimmicks at the recent cetechesis for First Communicants. Sort of saying “Ohhhh nooooooo! Not again.” Is it that same Master of Ceremonies behind him, again?

Now, why would a Pope whose theological knowledge on the Eucharist is outstanding would like to call a Synod on the Eucharist? And invite Bishops who are known to have less outstanding theological knowledge? Is it to ask them for advice or to tell them his advice? We are, definitely, in awe at the humility of Pope Benedict, though we are certain he would not like to hear that. But that is the reason, because he is humble.

The list of topics for discussion looks like the table of contents of one of his books. And the few among the 50 resolutions leaked out by bloggers sounds like an attempt to lessen his "Ohhhhh nooos." when celebrating mass.

Though the Holy Father had made up his theological mind with regards the Holy Eucharist, like all holy people he wanted to take counsel, “Do everything with counsel, and you will not repent when you have done it.” This is the advice of Scriptures quoted by St. Benedict in his Holy Rule. This is a chapter on how to find God’s will by calling a counsel. Pope Benedict XVI must be familiar, also, with the Book of Considerations - advises offered by St. Bernard of Clairvaux to a Pope. Saints think alike.

From the brief reports by bloggers on the on-goings in the synod, a few bishops, apparently were out to give the Pope a piece of their minds and congratulate themselves for being able to successfully inculturate liturgical abuses into their native liturgies. The ugly head of relativism is difficult to remove. It is like the head of the mythical Hydra, it multiplies as often as you behead it. Well, Pope Pius X used a similar figure to describe this evil; an octopus.

Religious men tend to forget that when they gather together for consultation it is primarily to find out God’s will. Most had forgotten this because of the onset of democracy where the goal is to find out the will of the majority. But the majority is always made up of the stupid humans. The intelligent makes up a minority. Was it Blaise Pascal who said that? Vox populi, vox Dei does not apply here. By populi is meant the faithful, good Catholics; it does not mean Democrats.

But when a meet is meant to find out God’s will, this elusive will is always revealed to the humble, not to the proud. So St. Benedict tells the participant to those kinds of meetings to concentrate on being humble in all things, in listening, in speaking, in giving advice, in receiving suggestions. If a little pride enters, there will be conflicts because they will impose their will on all and reject whatever is contrary to their will.

So following St. Benedict’s admonition, Pope Benedict XVI, on this important business, called together a representative of the Catholic community and stated the matter to be acted upon. He intends to listen to get confirmation to what he suspects already to be God’s will. He will turn the matter over in his own mind and compare it to what he already knows.

What he hears may confirm what he already knows. It may improve on what he already knows. His motive is clear. Through what is said during the Synod, he will try to find out God’s will. God’s Will will be expressed in either clear terms from the participants or it could be extracted from the heretical suggestions that are given. But he knows that God’s Will will come from his own judgment as Pope and not from the proceedings of the Synod.

And then, finding the presence of the Bishops as an opportunity, he will impose God’s will on them, as he should as Pope. And the Bishops should obey out of fear of God, for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, otherwise suffer the chastisement due to those who are insolent towards one chosen by Him.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


1. The devil showed that he possessed the world.
When Christ was tempted by the devil, He was shown the kingdoms of the world and their splendor and the devil said: “All these have been given to me.” What? The devil actually possess the world? That’s what St. Luke said. The world is possessed by the devil. God allowed the devil to use the world to test mankind as He allowed the devil to use a tree in Paradise to test Adam and Eve.

In the early Christian times, baptism was administered to adults. Adults, because they came from paganism and were possessed by the devil. Baptism was necessary to free them from the possession of the devil, that’s why the ritual has an exorcism…. a real genuine rite of exorcism. These were for adults. And then it was followed by the Sacrament proper by which we receive the power to seek God.

2. To maintain the effects of exorcism.
To maintain that freedom from possession by the devil and continue the pursuit of sanctity, the Christian soul found the necessity to live the fullness of the Gospel as exemplified in the monastic life. Monasticism is putting into practice the sacrament of baptism wherein the baptismal vow is fulfilled and freedom from possession from the devil maintained.

True monks were the terror of the devils. While the possessed were commanded by the devil the monks command the devil. St. Wolfgang, trained at the Benedictine monastery of Reichenau, propagator of monastic life, who settled at Regensburg (where Pope Benedict XVI was assigned for a while) was usually disturbed by the devil during his homily. During one of this disturbance, he ordered the devil to be his altar boy and hold the missal for him.

3. Why Baptism of infants was introduced.
The first Christians noticed that as civilization progressed with its incumbent life of luxury, the children, who before showed no visible signs of possession, begun to show signs of possession by the devil. The grown ups noticed this due to the discernment they acquired as they matured spiritually. So they found the necessity of introducing the Baptism of children so they could be exorcized earlier. And hope that the freedom from the devil’s possession is maintained through the proper Christian bringing up of the child. Through the neglect of proper upbringing of children, the devil is exorcized during Baptism but returns immediately with more devils to possess the soul. Did you notice that during exorcism, the person is usually possessed by several devils and not only one? A Vatican record narrates the exorcism of a lady with 10 devils. The last one, a powerful devil, left only after the intervention of Pope Pius XII.

What is it in children that opened them to possessions? That atmosphere wherewith they feel they can do anything they want. Where the only criterion for judgment is what I want. It is the eternal sin of doing what I want in complete disregard to what God wants. My will and not God’s will. It was the sin of Adam and Eve and inherited by all those who are born. The dictatorship of relativism – is an open invitation for possession.

4. Today, children show signs of possession due to the world’s return to paganism (the sign is absent in families where children are raised in a true Christian way.)
We are faced by the fact that the world, including its children are, to a certain extend, possessed by the devil. Of course, very few recognize the signs of possession. The signs that the devil is there are familiar when he is discovered, like the signs in “The Exorcism of Emily”
But when the devil does not want to be detected, which is usually the case , the person is the most charming person you will ever know. Possession in children is usually seen in their bratty behavior, on how they can make their parents fear them so they can get what they want, and in their deceitfulness.

5. Children are not open to diabolic possession. It is their bad un-Christian training that opens them to possession.

6. The possession of Judas.
Who are those easily possessed by the devil? Let us look at Judas who was easily possessed by the devil. And the soul that was cleansed but found without Christ, Scriptures say that seven more devils entered. These are two examples where the devil simply entered and possessed them. The Fathers, like St. John Chrysostom, mentioned a few more.

7. Satan did not force himself on Judas. The door was open.
“Satan entered into Judas” not by force, but finding the door open, says St. Thomas of Aquinas. Opening doors is a risky business. Pope John XXIII, in starting Vatican II opened the doors for the Holy Spirit to come in. I think some Cardinals opened the wrong door.

8. Difference between temptation and possession.
Judas forgot all that he had seen and heard from Christ and now turns his face to covetousness. Satan first tempts by throwing darts at the soul. When he sees that his darts had gained entrance, he follows and enters as a stranger, then later he enters as one who owns Judas who can be led to do whatsoever Satan willed. Judas was going to do things now for gain. He was going to do anything for money.

9. The desire for money.
The desire for money, which is the common mind of people today, makes men irreligious and compels them to lose all knowledge of God, though they have received a thousand benefits from Him. Judas sought opportunity to betray Him. Many shudder at the wickedness of Judas, yet do not guard against it. This was a sin not due to infirmity or ignorance but due to opportunism. Judas took liberty with the common purse of the apostles.

10. Satan could not enter as long as Judas was part of the community.
At first Satan did not enter Judas but only put it into his heart to betray his Master. Satan thrust his darts into the heart (temptations). If it enters, then he gains an entrance there himself. As long as he was one of the twelve, the devil did not dare to force an entrance unto him. But when he was expelled, then he easily leaped into him or entered into him that he might have more full possession. In that state Judas was capable of anything.

11. Obedient souls are tempted, disobedient souls are possessed.
The devil entered, not to tempt Judas but to possess him as his own because he received the sop (the bread offered by Christ), which was good, amiss. If it is wrong to receive Holy Communion not knowing what you are receiving, it is a greater wrong to approach the table feigning as a friend but coming as an enemy.

12. Under Satan’s influence you can commit wicked sins.
When Christ said: “Do whatever you will do,” He did not command the act of treason. He foretold it. Christ did not give a recommendation but a reproof. He did not give any hindrance to the betrayal. Christ even kept the identity of the traitor secret. Otherwise Peter would have killed him. John could not conceive how a disciple could fall into such wickedness, because he himself had no wickedness in him.

13. Stealing from the community.
Judas kept the bags for the oblation of the faithful to supply the wants of His followers, or the poor. Here is the first institution of ecclesiastical property. Our Lord shows that his commandment not to think of the morrow, does not mean that the saints should never save money; but that they should not neglect the service of God for it, or let the fear of want tempt them to avarice. Seek first the kingdom of God and do not let the earning of money detract from that activity.

14. Those who leave the community really leave Christ. They are the enemies that approach the table.
Judas left immediately, not the house, but Jesus Christ. Satan, after he had entered into Judas, could not bear to be in the same place with Jesus, for there is no comfort between Jesus and Satan. The devil entered Judas. While the apostles received the bread unto their salvation, Judas unto his condemnation. He went out to commit a sin for which he was never to be pardoned.

St. Benedict in his monastic rules stated that when a monk leaves the monastery he can come back; but he cannot return after his third departure. Thinking mathematically; if everytime you leave, satan returns with seven more devils, after leaving three times, that would make 21 devils now possessing your soul. The devils will never let that soul go back to God.
(Painting is “The Devil Holds the Missal for Saint Wolfgang,” by Michael Pacher, 1480.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

ALL OUT OF LOVE - Paradise Lost

In the early times, when men were trying to spell out what god to worship, they were always faced by a dichotomy - the perceived existence of good and evil. And so the error persisted in men’s mind that there could be two gods, one a good god and another an evil god. Hence the concept of Demiurge.

They noticed that there was definitely a good god who gave men the numerous good things in this world; the sun, rain, the fruit bearing trees, and the fishes. But the world is also replete with evils, authored presumably by the god of evil.

Of course, there is only one God. The Good God. But those who believed in dualism thought that between the two gods, the evil one, because he is the author of evil had to be pleased so we could be spared from evil; while there was no need to please the good god because he is good, anyway. I recently saw a travelogue commercial showing some tourists warding off the evil spirit so they can resume their tour in a devastated beach front. They should have pleased the good God, instead.

This pagan mentality is common in today’s world precisely because we have lost the sense of the good God and had degraded ourselves into the realm of paganism wherewith it is the evil gods that must be pleased that he may spare us from his mischief. While the good God is relegated to forgetfulness. We always fear the bad guys and take the good guys for granted.

The Catholic doctrine is: there is only one God. A Good God. He, alone, gives us the good things in life and the miseries. The miseries, to teach us more important lessons. These miseries could be directly from Him as in the case of, what we learned in Moral theology during our seminary days, the ACTS of GOD, i.e. earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, or serious illnesses. God could, also, allow the devil and his cohorts to tempt us or even destroy our bodies (not our souls) as he did in the case of Job. St. Paul called this “delivery to Satan.” In effect, this is a case in which God is chastising but giving the devil a little role in doing the dirty work.

If my Moral theology textbook is right, N. Orleans, Guatemala and S. Asia were pure acts of God. This should help those who are suffering from the Acts Of God. They should see the reason behind it….. and it is always a veiled expression of God’s love for them. This is evident in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.

The whole universe is completely under God’s providence. The devil has absolutely no control over the world. Though God allows him a few dirty works to accomplish His intentions. Keep this in mind, otherwise we would be displeased at the hardships of the just and will be offended at the prosperity of the wicked.

God placed Adam and Eve in Paradise. He expelled them. But, true to the nature of God, He gave them a greater gift than what He had taken away. He removed paradise but gave them a Savior, which the Easter Hymn could not suppressed in describing Adam’s sin as “felix culpa.” The sin was unpardonable. As in a ship the tempest was due entirely not to the force of the winds but to the carelessness of the sailor. God had compassion on man seeing the magnitude of the calamity. Our parents were shipwrecked in Paradise; the ship was wrecked in the harbor. The devil bore a small hole while the ship was in the harbor and it sank. But God made the gain greater than the lost of paradise. St. Paul cried: “He raised us up with Him, and made us to sit with him, on his right hand in the heavenly places that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness towards us”.

God gave Adam and Eve greater gifts than what they had lost… but not immediately. He delayed. That even if he had not given the things immediately after the fall, which were greater than those that were lost, but had only taken away what had been given to us, even this is enough of itself to show his tender care towards us. For not only to give, but also to take away what was given, is a mark of the greatest loving-kindness.

God gave Paradise out of His tender care. We were found unworthy of the gift. He took away the gift. For a greater good. What if Cain lashed into such great wickedness disobeying God, killing his own brother and hurting his parents…imagine such a juvenile delinquent in Paradise. Outside Paradise Cain could do less mischief.

Learn from Eve. See what good the expulsion had done. Before the expulsion she listened to the deceiving devil more than God. By the mere sight of the tree she trampled God’s command. But after the expulsion she grew wiser; seeing that her child was a gift from the Lord, not a result of her marriage, she depended on God and was grateful for the little child.

While deprived of Paradise, she was led to a knowledge of God she did not have in Paradise. She found a greater thing than she lost.

If God knew that Adam and Eve would fall and be expelled, why did He put them in Paradise in the first place? To show His goodness. And why did He expel them? To teach them a more important lesson: if they were not careless, had taken heed to themselves, had acknowledged the master and restrained themselves and kept within bounds they would have remained in Paradise. But they treated the gift with insolence. We were the cause of the chastisement and punishment, ejecting ourselves through our indifference to goods.

He gave Paradise to man. He cast him out when he appeared unworthy, in order that by his dwelling outside, and through his dishonor, he might become better and more self-restrained, and might appear worthy again of restoration. After those things he did become better. He brings him back again and says “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise."

The expulsion from Paradise was a token of the greatest tender care. If they were not expelled they would not have become worthy once more of Paradise. (Painting above is "The Body of Abel found by Adam and Eve" by William Blake, 1826)

Saturday, October 15, 2005


I was disturbed watching a news channel, wherewith two anchormen, who I felt were Catholics, were interviewing a US politician, who was evidently a non-catholic, about the recent tragedies in New Orleans, Guatemala, and South Asia. The Catholics got the Catholic doctrine all wrong while the non-Catholic politician got the Catholic doctrine right.

There were, evidently, many sufferings: elderly, the adults and the young including the babies…. the Catholics, the Protestants, and other religions. And we try to understand what is going on. In the Catholic religion, we should always know what is going on. God had acted like this before and we know the reasons. It is, most probably, for the same reason that He had acted today.

We must never think that our affairs are not governed by providence. We must perceive His providence in things incomprehensible and yield to the unsearchableness of His wisdom. For if it is not possible for one not conversant with art to understand man’s art, much rather is it impossible for the human understanding to comprehend the infinity of the providence of God.

Let us briefly describe the movement of beings. There are sentient beings that can move by themselves, like man and animals. And there are non-sentient beings that can also move but not by themselves; like the blooming of a flower, the rushing of a stream, the rolling down of lava or mud, the blowing of the wind, the turning of a tornado and the movements of the stars. If they are not sentient who moves them? We say the angels, under God’s command, make them move. So the breaking of the levy, the rushing in of water, the storm at Guatemala and earthquake and tsunamis in Asia were angel borne. Now why would God give such a command? Scriptures has all the answer.

1. God punishes or chastises sinners here on earth. But more often He does not immediately punish or chastise sinners (those who disobey His commands). He keeps quiet until He has had it.

When God punishes a sinner, it is to remind him that he is doing wrong; a warning that if he died he would go to hell. The chastisement is to prevent him from sinning further; and if the sinner dies, it is God’s way of reducing his punishment in purgatory or hell. “So sin no more.” Stop! Less something worst happen to you – is the message of a chastisement.
A serious illness or calamity puts the sinful way of life into a dead stop. The person is incapacitated, everything could be lost, or many could be dead to reduce evil in the world.
A chastisement is a reminder, a warning, a preventive medicine (to restrain men from doing evil), or a reduction procedure (i.e. reducing one’s punishment in purgatory or hell). The evil is cut off by the punishment so the future punishment and the chastening become lighter in the next life because they have suffered here beforehand.

2. There are those who sin but God does not chastise or punish them. This is God’s way of inviting them to repentance (to sin no more)…and for others to rejoice that God does not always chastise or punish the sinner but often time relent. This is an encouragement for us to examine our consciences, look at our life, go over the sins which we have committed and see how better it is for God to relent to give us occasion to repent before God does something we don’t like.

When God chastises or punishes us, it is penalty for our sins; when God relents and postpones His chastisement or punishment, His patience invites us to repentance.
But beware. When God relents and we suffer no terrible affliction for our sins, it does not mean that He will postpone his chastisement indefinitely.
When God chastises others but not us, it does not mean that the others are more sinful then we are. As above, it could mean that we are even worst sinners but God, for reasons known to Him alone, had relented in our case.

Some wicked are chastened and some are not chasten; while some good He honors and some He does not honor. He does not chasten all in order that He may persuade them, that there is a Resurrection where a final judgment will be made, where sinners who were not chastened will now suffer eternal fire; while the good that had not been honored will now be honored for all eternity.

He chastens some so that on-lookers, who are careless, through fear of being punished, may become more earnest.
He honors and blesses the good in order that the good may lead on others by this honor to imitate his God-given virtues.

If we receive everything here, both chastisement and reward we might disbelieve the Resurrection (there will be no need of a further final judgment.)
If no one receives his chastisement or honor here the majority would become careless.

The tower fell: they were chastened. You not. You are also a sinner, yet you are not chastened. Why? To make the sinner grateful for being spared and to make the righteous better by the sight of the punishment of others.

Can’t both the sinner and righteous become better without the chastisement? If they could, God would not have chastised them.

Can sinners who are not chastened complain that God is not helping them learn through chastisements? Those not chastened are not unjustly treated, for it was possible for them, had they wished, to have used the patience of God, to accomplish a most excellent change, to have become ashamed at his exceeding forbearance, and one day to have gone over to virtue and gained their own salvation by watching the punishments of others.

3. Why are righteous man chastened, like JOB. For if any one be righteous, he will not be more righteous than Job, nor within a small distance of approaching him. And if he suffers countless ills, he has not yet suffered so much, as that man Job.

There are two kinds of good men; one is honored, the other is chastised (those who are patient, self-restraint, upright with good qualities but still chastened). It is not by way of deserting him that God let such a person suffer ill, but through desire to crown him and make him more distinguish.

We receive the occasion of crowning if, when we live in rectitude, and yet suffer ill. He does not honor all because there is another day for recompense in the life after.

4. If all evil are chastened and all good are honored a day of judgment is superfluous.

If he chastens no wicked man AND does not honor any of the good men then the wicked will become more wicked.

5. When certain evil men are chastened and certain good men are chastened, does this show no providence?
Remember the paralytic who passed thirty eight years on his bed. For that man was delivered over to that disease through sin. Hear Christ saying the condition for the removal of the chastisement. “Behold thou art made whole: sin no more lest a worse thing happen to thee.” St. Paul though holy was chastened with a sting in the flesh.

There are two kinds of evil men: one is chastened, while the other gets off. The paralytic is the first. Pontius Pilate got off for a while.

6. When God does NOT chasten God bears with sinners to give them an opportunity of coming out of their own senselessness, to become better from witnessing the punishment of others for the benefit of their own repentance.

If God chastens all sins, our race would have disappeared from the face of the earth. If God punished immediately those who call their brothers “Fool” hardly anybody would be left. Those who lust with the eyes, though a serious sin, God does not chastise right away.

When you see one rapacious, covetous and not chastened, unfold your own conscience, look at your own life, go over your sins, and learn from your own case that God does not chastened each for his sins but invites him to repentance. Look at yourself before you look at others; do not leave your faults to examine that of others.

7. And why do children die. Because God had seen their hearts and know there is goodness in them. He, also, through foreknowledge know that if they grow up they could lose their souls, so He gets them while they are young. The pain they undergo, being chastised, is a little purgatory or purification. And what happens to those children He saw have evil in their hearts? He makes them grow up in the hope they would repent.

CONCLUSION. We give thanks to Him for all that happens. For those who do not believe in God let us not answer the questions of madmen.

For if a small ship would be difficult to guide safely for one mile without the hand of a pilot how much more, such a world as ours, having so many persons in it, composed of complex elements, would not have continued so long a time, were there not a certain Divine Providence presiding over it. And if there is a God, it follows that he is just, for if He is not just neither is He God, and if He is just He rewards the good and punishes the bad according to their desert. But we do not see all the bad punished nor all the good rewarded here. Therefore it is necessary to hope for some other requital awaiting us, in order that by each one receiving according to his desert, the justice of God may be made manifest. This consideration does not only contribute to our wisdom about providence alone, but about the Resurrection. (Painting above is "Job in the Dunghill" by Jean Fouquet, 1450.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

ADAM AND EVE - The Dictators of Relativism

This was the sin of Adam and Eve. This was the sin of the chosen people of God. This is the sin of the people today. And this will be the sin of the world up to the end of time. . . the desire to be like God deciding what is good and evil (without paying the price of eating first of the tree of life,) and as a consequence, the rejection of God. And doing something about this is more hopeless today than 60 year ago. Because, today, people are not only desiring to be like gods, they are acting like gods.

When the devil tempted Eve, it was easy. He tempted her to do her own will. Who can refuse that? The fruit was nice to both the eyes and taste. It was likable. "Go get it," was an easy trap. The devil's temptations are all like this. He presents something very likable. We chose to do it because we like it and for no other reason. And that is sin.

What is the Dictatorship of Relativism? Pope Benedict XVI had defined it so many times it is almost redundant to define it again. But here it is anyway. It is when we do whatever we want in complete disregard to what could be God's will.

When God created Adam and Eve, He showed them His will: to eat of the Tree of Life. And as a reward they may eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life first, and then the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Apparently there was nothing wrong with the forbidden tree. Except that its knowledge was to be a reward for their prior eating of the Tree of Life.

God's will was clear. And when the serpent was tempting Eve, she even re-called God's command showing she was conscious of His will. However, deceived by the devil to distrust God, and even to consider God as the liar, she disobeyed by following her own will. And convinced Adam to do likewise.

The knowledge of good and evil is given to saints, because they had eaten of the tree of life. It was a good tree. But it must be attained as a reward to being a saint first. Which means, as long as we are not holy we can never know for sure what is good and evil. That's why in the early times, the Christians consulted the hermits on what is right or wrong. The image, and even now shown in cartoons, of people consulting hermits is the s.o.p. that even Sesame characters consult Kermit the hermit. This practice is now only in cartoons. Nobody believes this anymore. People believe they can decide what is right and wrong just like God... wasn't this, precisely, the lie the serpent told Eve. And we still believe it.

Scriptures has it: "there are ways which to men seem right, but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell." The fruit looked pleasant to the eyes and taste but it led into the depths of hell. Fortunately Adam and Eve repented.

Doing our own will is "going after our concupiscence," and because it is nice it seems right but ends up leading us to serious sin.

The sin of the Chosen people was exactly the same: doing what they want. When they worshipped God in the desert of Sinai, they were, in fact, worshipping God. But in the way they wanted. They could not wait for God's instructions that was still being dictated to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

When Jesus Christ came, He summarized His mission on earth in a short phrase that showed both the sin and the cure: the cure, "I came not to do my will but the will of My Father in heaven." Obviously, the sin is doing our will. The cure is denying one's will to be able to do God's will. The way to go to heaven is to do God's will; God will reveal His will to those who deny their own will.

Both in the Old and New Testaments this battle is evident all over. In the case of King Saul, it was a choice between his own will of offering the captured gold as a sacrifice to God against God's will to destroy all captured gold. In the temptation of Jesus, the choice was between the natural desire of man to eat when he is hungry and the will of God to fast. The choice is obvious. It is between the natural desire of man and the Will of God. Between the natural desire to buy, buy buy and God's command to sell, sell, and sell.

When Christ came to earth, His first and emphatic command was to "deny oneself, take up your cross and follow Me." Many commit the mistake of trying to take up the cross without first denying themselves. If we all start with a life of self-denial there won't be any problems in seminaries and in the priesthood....and in some nunneries, for that matter.

Notice, therefore, that in the Holy Rules of holy founders the act of denying oneself, to deny one's own desires is paramount. St. Benedict puts it as the first degree of humility. Humility is the same as "poor in spirit," without which you cannot possess the kingdom of heaven. And self-denial is just the first degree of humility.

This is further proof that the Rules of Founders are just summarized and well planned presentations of the Evangelical life. Their essences are the same. St. Augustine gives this disturbing thought. He says that Christ taught us to pray without ceasing. So we must pray without ceasing because Christ commanded us. If one day, for some emotional reason, we prayed because we felt like doing it, and merely because we wanted to pray, we sin. We did not pray because it was the will of God but because it was our own will. It was doing our own will, like Eve, that is sin. It is doing God's will that is virtue. "If you love me, keep My commandments." He who does things because it is My Will, he it is who loves me. He who follows his own will loves himself and as a consequence rejects Me.

Pope Benedict has described our present age as one who have lost the sense of God. It started earlier, at the onset of the growth of unscientific science (true science makes us conscious of God). With God gone from our picture, who will bother to find out God's will or try to please God by doing His will? No one. Man, today, is concerned only in doing his own will. The faster the better. Even Bishops, priest and nuns are doing what they want on almost everything: on the liturgy, on seminary training, etc. This is virtual spiritual anarchy. This is relativism.

Imagine, from the time you wake up: you wake up the time you want, you wear the clothes you want, you eat the breakfast you want, you schedule your day the way you want. If God suddenly decides to test you and give you a choice between your own will and God's will, what chances will you have of choosing God's will when the whole day you are doing your own will?

Because of the hard-headedness of man, in the Old Testament, there was a time God regretted having created him and wanted to destroy him. Except He relented. But this time He might just go through with it.

See how St. Benedict gives a cure: He states that the two most important things monks should bring when they establish a new monastery are the Holy Rule and the weighing scale for food and drink. Like all the desert Fathers, he knew that if the intake of food could be controled so that the monk cannot eat what he wants and as much or as little as he wants, he will be alright. The men of the world usually eat what they want and as much or as little as the want. The monk is unable to do his will and prays "Your will be done." The man of the world does his own will every meal and prays "God, do what I want." And hurry up, O Mighty Slave.

Christ said, "Deny yourself," dont do what you want. St. Benedict describes the first degree of humility thus: we are forbidden to do our own will by Scriptures, which says to us, "Turn away from your own will". And we love to declare in the Our Father "Your will be done". Can I do that, if nobody else is doing it; and everybody doing what they want? When the world's version of the Our Father is "my will be done?" To deny oneself would be martyrdom. Adam and Eve were the first dictators of relativism. Jesus and Mary are the anti-thesis; "I came not to do My will.....Fiat mihi." (Painting is "Adam and Eve" by Nicolas Poussin.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


1. The Catholic Religion is God-made. Other knowledge in the world is man-made. And as such can easily be learned and understood by men. And the history of man shows that he is consistently good in making the wrong choice of gods and religions. The human race is noted in choosing the easiest and the simplest religion…. which is commonly made by ordinary minds. Between a religion that consist of human rituals and a religion that requires logical thinking, he will choose the former.

Herein lays the great disadvantage of the Catholic Religion. It is not man-made. It was instituted by God and only God can teach it. Man can neither teach nor learn it by himself. Man cannot understand it by himself. He cannot learn it through studies.

2. How do you learn it? Through infusion; through a direct act of God granting this grace of knowledge and wisdom. What is the price? Christ’s words: “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Learn how to be humble as Christ, be humble like Christ and as a reward He will infuse this knowledge into your soul. You don’t need a book, nor pencil or paper. This is the first lesson of the Gospel.

St. John the Baptist lived in the desert for an extended length of time. He did not spend his time learning the web-making habits of the spider. He learned the Way and how to make one’s path straight towards the Way. That’s theology! Mary knew something all the women of Israel did not know… that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin and not of a married woman. How did she know that? And the apostles were mere fishermen. How did they become the font of Divine Revelation? St. Therese knew the very essence of Christian Love with few books and a host of
error preaching priests.

Let me put it simply. There are 8 Beatitudes that summarizes the Evangelical life. The first is “poor in spirit” – which is equivalent to Humility. Work first on being humble and the second to the eight Beatitude shall be given you depending on the degree of your humility. If you have a small degree humility, you will receive one or two Beatitudes. If you have perfect humility then you receive the rest of the eight Beatitudes….putting it mathematically.

God will infuse the knowledge of the Catholic Religion in a soul depending on the degree of his humility, like Mary, John the Baptist and the first Apostles. This is the reason the great founders, like St. Benedict, St. Ignatius and St. Bernard decreed the degrees of humility as essential foundations of Christian spirituality.

3. How do you attain humility? The Spiritual writers knew only one way: Obedience. Not any kind of obedience. Military obedience does not lead to humility. Imitation of Christ’s obedience leads to humility. And as one grows in obedience, one grows in humility; and as one grows in humility, he grows in the knowledge of the Catholic Religion.

There are many details involved but I shall set them aside for a while so the whole diagram may be clearly seen.

4. The act of obedience that leads to humility does not exist in a vacuum. It may be likened to a seed that is nurtured around the liturgy. Here we have a way of life geared to the observance of humility (or the degrees of humility) through obedience to Rules instituted by Saints, like Benedict, Francis of Assisi or Ignatius of Loyola. If and when this way of life (of obedience) is nurtured by the Liturgy, the result is a man with an angelic knowledge, like St. Thomas of Aquinas. He, clearly, obtained his infused knowledge while attending the Liturgy (Divine Office and Sacrifice of the Mass) at the Benedictine Monastery of MonteCassino. And he received the near perfection of this wisdom during mass. Faced with ecstatic dumbness the experience brought him to the threshold of the Beatific Vision. St. Thomas ceased writing. He had seen the truth without the meanderings of the logical mind.

5. Mary, the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Therese of Lisieux learned their theology this way; without teachers, without books. This is the only way to learn Catholicism.

6. St. Benedict, monasticism (with the Divine Office as the work of God from which nothing is to be preferred), obedience, humility and silence and knowledge of the Catholic Religion go hand in hand. The best Bishops were monks recruited to the service of the Church. The monks knew the secret on how to obtain this infused knowledge. This is how St. Thomas Aquinas, referred to as the most learned of the saints and the holiest of the learned, became such a great mind. He obtained it in the Benedictine Monastery and spread it as a Dominican. The way is clearly detailed in his Summa.

How do you study the deep truths of the Catholic Religion? Have a school house with the humility of Christ as the walls. Then attend your lectures from the Liturgy where the Holy Spirit is the teacher in the Divine Office and Jesus Christ in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

They do it wrong in most seminaries? Yes, the kind of knowledge learned in seminaries, theological school and catechetical centers are usually the ones that “puffs up.” The content and the methodology are wrong.

7. While the teachings of Christ are spread out throughout the different books of the New Testament, the same teachings are packed in the Psalms in a superior manner, in that it is presented, already, in the form of prayer (and made by the Holy Spirit at that.) And so the Work of God, the Divine Office, recited within an atmosphere of a way of Life of humility (i.e. obedience) is the school of Catholicism. St. Benedict calls it the school of the Lord’s service or the service to the Church. Did you notice how Pope Benedict XVI uses the psalms as beginnings of many of his addresses because of its deep theological contents to theme up his talks?

8. Pope Benedict XVI, conscious of the fact that ignorance is the state of the Catholic Church today, just as in the days of Martin Luther, knows only one way to acquire that knowledge. He is putting his Petrine office under the patronage of St. Benedict. He wants the Catholic Church to re-learn Catholicism the right way, through the way of St. Benedict’s monasticism, which is, by the way an imitation of the Hidden life of the Holy Family. (Painting above is St. Benedict admitting candidates to the monastery.)