September 25, 2017

Confirmation 2014 – Final Preparations

CONFIRMATION for Parents – Followup

CONFIRMATION WORKBOOK for Parents

Formation, a constant job

There is an urgent need for spreading the doctrine of Christ.
Store up your training, fill yourself with clear ideas, with the fullness of the Christian message, so that afterwards you can pass it on to others.
—Don’t expect God to illuminate you, for he has no reason to when you have definite human means available to you: study and work.
The Forge, 841

When I made you a present of that Life of Jesus, I wrote as an inscription. May you seek Christ: may you find Christ: may you love Christ.

Three perfectly clear stages. Have you tried, at least, to live the first? 
The Way, 382

As soon as we learn one thing, we discover other things hitherto unknown to us and they in turn stimulate us to continue working without ever giving up. 
Friends of God, 232

Our calling discloses to us the meaning of our existence. It means being convinced, through faith, of the reason for our life on earth. Our life, the present, past and future, acquires a new dimension, a depth we did not perceive before. All happenings and events now fall within their true perspective: we understand where God is leading us, and we feel ourselves borne along by this task entrusted to us.
Christ is passing by, 45

We cannot separate the seed of doctrine from the seed of piety.
The only way to inoculate your work of sowing doctrine against the germs of ineffectiveness is by being sincerely devout.
The Forge, 91

A spark of light
If the world has come from God, if he has created man in his image and likeness and given him a spark of divine light, the task of our intellect should be to uncover the divine meaning imbedded in all things by their nature, even if this can be attained only by dint of hard work. And with the light of faith, we also can perceive their supernatural purpose, resulting from the elevation of the natural order to the higher order of grace. We can never be afraid of developing human knowledge, because all intellectual effort, if it is serious, is aimed at truth. And Christ has said, "I am the truth”.
Christ is passing by, 10

A desire to work for the common good is not enough. The way to make this desire effective is to form competent men and women who can transmit to others the maturity which they themselves have achieved.
Conversations, n. 73

Faith teaches us that everything around and in us is impregnated with divine purpose, that all things echo the call beckoning us to the house of our Father.
This supernatural understanding of earthly existence does not oversimplify the complexity of human life. Rather, it assures us that this complexity can be shot through with the love of God, that beyond the disagreeable surface can be discovered the strong and indestructible link that binds our life on earth with our definitive life in heaven. 
Christ is passing by, 177

Following the Master’s wishes, you are to be salt and light while being fully immersed in this world we were made to live in, sharing in all human activities. Light which illuminates the hearts and minds of men. Salt which gives flavour and preserves from corruption.

That is why if you lack apostolic zeal you will become insipid and useless. You will be letting other people down and your life will be absurd.
The Forge, 22

Just live your ordinary life; work at your job, trying to fulfil the duties of your state in life, doing your job, your professional work properly, improving, getting better each day. Be loyal; be understanding with others and demanding on yourself. Be mortified and cheerful. This will be your apostolate. Then, though you won't see why, because you're very aware of your own wretchedness, you will find that people come to you. Then you can talk to them, quite simply and naturally — on your way home from work for instance, or in a family gathering, on a bus, walking down the street, anywhere. You will chat about the sort of longings that everyone feels deep down in his soul, even though some people may not want to pay attention to them: they will come to understand them better, when they begin to look for God in earnest.
Friends of God, 273

The love and integrity of God

The Love and Integrity of God by Fr. Roy Cimagala
Chaplain
Paref-Springdale School for Boys
Lahug, Cebu City
Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

I SUPPOSE all schools want to produce men and women of integrity. That’s the gem they want to extract from the ore that their students represent. This desire figures prominently in many of their mission-vision statements.

In one school manual, for example, we read: “By ‘men of integrity’ we mean persons who have acquired fundamental qualities that will enable them to live morally upright, happy, fulfilled and useful lives.

“We want to equip our students with the knowledge, skills, values, ideals and convictions that will make them truly human persons, able to use their freedom and their sense of responsibility to participate in the task of building the Filipino nation and to take their proper place and task in the world.”

Nice words, indeed! But before they dry up simply as nice, but anodyne if not dead words good only for sloganeering, it might be good to examine once again the substance and context of this concept that’s even touted by dirty and cheating politicians.

We have to realize that integrity has a long, complicated history. We need to know its drama so we would also know how to properly understand and handle it, and more importantly, how to achieve it.

Integrity evokes a sense of completeness and wholeness as well as order, harmony, consistency, honesty. For us, it is crucial because it is something to work and live out, protect, defend and even fight for. It does not come automatically with our DNA

We have to know its real essence, its firm basis and real source. We have to know the different elements involved in achieving it, as well as the techniques and skills to get the act together. Hopefully we can develop a clear and correct science about it, both in its theoretical and practical aspects

Offhand, we have to be clear that the ultimate foundation, source and goal of our integrity is God, our Creator and Father. Hence, we have to understand that the pursuit of integrity cannot be done outside of this original religious context. Any understanding of integrity outside of this would be compromised right from the start

Even if our concept of God and of how to relate to him is not yet clear, we have to hold it as a necessary prerequisite, at least theoretically, because it would be funny to look for the origin, meaning and purpose of integrity simply in ourselves or in the world.

That way of pursuing integrity would make it a mere human invention, and given the way we are, we could help but be subjective and therefore prone to have different versions of integrity.

But all the elements that we so far know go into the making of integrity all cry out for the need of God. That we are persons, that we need to have the right values, that we form convictions, etc.—all these have God, not us, as their basis.

Our integrity has to reflect the integrity of God because we have been created in the image and likeness of God. God’s essence and life are therefore to be known by us by necessity. 

More than that, we are supposed to participate in the very life of God, which is Trinitarian in nature—one God but never alone nor idle, because there are three persons eternally and consubstantially relating themselves with each other in the perpetual act of knowing and loving within God.

We should not be afraid to enter into this mystery. We are asked to let ourselves be led by our faith, more than our reason, and much less by our senses and feelings. It’s faith, which requires humility on our part, that will bring us to an understanding and living with God that defy our power to describe.

With our Christian faith, we know that the original integrity we had at our creation in Adam and Eve was lost because of sin, that of our first parents which we inherit, and that of our own.

We have to understand then that the building of integrity would always involve effort, sacrifice, penance and atonement. We need to continually rectify our intention and go to the sacrament of confession to regain what we lost through sin.

Another pertinent view would be that since we have been created in the image and likeness of God, we have to reflect the integrity of God also through our own efforts, but always with God’s grace. We can never do it simply on our own. But, yes, we have to do our part also.

May we know how to use all occasions to build our integrity!

Forming character

ONE of the important goals of education is to form the character of children. It is that part of a person that provides stability and direction in his life and everything in it, starting with the way one thinks, his attitudes and his reactions to things in general.

A person, of course, is a very dynamic being, but he needs to have a sense of permanence and confidence. He needs to be rooted and moored in some sound foundations and oriented to some clear and good goals. He just cannot be drifting aimlessly, twisting in the wind.

A person needs to have an over-all view of life. He has to have a good idea of where he comes from and where he is supposed to go. He has to find meaning and purpose in everything. In fact, he has to know what man is really all about. In this, he cannot and should not be left in the dark for long.

Thus, we have to feel the need to be clear about who and what we are. This involves our core beliefs and faith. Let’s try to be professional and serious about this, avoiding being amateurish and sophomoric. And so we have to understand that we have to be committed to a global view of man and life.

For this, our Christian faith gives us the whole thing—from man’s creation to his eternal destiny. We have to be wary of some attractive ideologies that offer partial truths that often get distorted and exploited for some ulterior motives.

In short, we have to be committed to our Christian faith, for it contains the whole truth and mystery of man, and goes much further than any man-made ideology can offer. Commitment to our Christian faith should not remain on the intellectual level only. It has to involve our whole life with all our powers and faculties.

So everyone has to work to form the right character for oneself and for others. With respect to the children,  the task is a long, tedious process that has to go in several stages, typically slow, even meandering, in accordance to the rhythm of life itself, but it should be abiding and relentless.

Good knowledge on shifting gears is definitely a necessity here, since we are going to meet all kinds of terrains, challenges, circumstances and other factors and conditionings.

Since children are not aware of the need to form their own character, their parents and teachers have to gradually make them aware of it. In the end, it is the children themselves who are the primary agents in forming their own character.

The responsibility of the parents and teachers is undoubtedly big and indispensable, but at best secondary. To the children, parents are the primary educators. Teachers just help. Both need to coordinate very closely with each other.

For sure, they need to make time for this all-important duty. This cannot be treated as a sideline only. They need time to be with the children, and time for their planning and meetings.

For this reason, parents and teachers should be clear about what is involved in forming the character of the children. They have to know what education is really all about.

Then, of course, they have to know the many, endless details of the techniques and methods involved, when to be strict, when to be lenient, etc. They have to realize then that they need formation themselves and that their formation as educators also has to go on. It should be an endless affair.

For sure, education just cannot be understood as imparting some knowledge and skills to the children. It covers a whole lot more. Many considerations have to be made—the temperament and psychology of the children, the close monitoring of their behavior, etc.

As educators, parents and teachers have to be knowledgeable not only about the subjects involved in education, but also about the appropriate ways to educate children. They need to combine a wide range of qualities—patience, cheerfulness, toughness, optimism, naturalness, openness and flexibility, etc.

They have to be good at motivating, since children respond so favorably to this that we can say that their growth and development would depend largely on the motivation they receive especially from parents and children.

They have to feel appreciated and loved, needed and important. Even when they have to be corrected, they should realize by the way we do the correction that they are in fact loved and needed, never rejected.

This, I think, is how they form their character and acquire both human and Christian maturity.

“There Be Dragons”

When you step inside a movie theater, you never know what’s going to happen… there in the dark, for an hour or two. A movie is a powerful thing, and There Be Dragons has already demonstrated the power to change the lives not only of viewers but also of actors. 

St Josemaria's life, like everyone else's, was made up of light and shadows. Through the whole of it his overwhelming desire was to be faithful to where God was taking him. This makes him a brilliant guide for others in the dark moments of their lives.

Charlie Cox himself, who plays St. Josemaría in the movie, told reporters: “My relationship with the Catholic Church and with God has certainly been profoundly affected for the better throughout this process.”

People have been writing personal testimonies to the website of St Josemaria Institute, describing the impact that the film had on their lives. Here are a few:

“I've been trying to forgive my mother all my life (…). On May 6 the topic of my therapy session was finding a way to forgive her, and that night I saw There Be Dragons. I chose to ask for St. Josemaria's intercessions, and since then, I have had nothing but good memories of her. I AM FREE of my dragon!!!” Cynthia

I leave wanting to be a better person
"Thank you, Roland Joffé. You have managed that a person, at the end of the film, is left with desires to be a better person and with the clear idea that it is not worth letting yourself be carried away by your passions. To behave in a decent, human way will at times lead to suffering, and acting badly perhaps has some advantages and saves you some blows in life . . . but it is not worth it. Thank you for this beautiful film.-José Ignacio

“Gentlemen: I am writing to thank you for having made this film. A few weeks ago I called a friend of mine to tell him that my wife and I had decided to divorce. We have a daughter. This friend told me: "Before you do that, you have to watch There Be Dragons." I went to see the movie with my wife, accompanied by this friend. We left the theater crying and unable to speak. We spent all that night talking about it, because we realized that the problem was not in our relationship as husband and wife, but that we had not been able to identify and overcome our own inner dragons. The real problems were in each one of us. So we have decided to focus our struggles on that, to overcome our dragons, and not to talk about divorce any more. We have also decided to try to have a new child.” Enrique Lorenzo

For more messages from viewers here

“Totus Tuus!”

John Paul II entrusted his life to Mary with these words: "Totus tuus ego sum!" (I am all yours). In this month dedicated to our Lady, we offer some words from the new Blessed on God's Mother.

May 04, 2011

“When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, AbbaFather!” (Gal 4:4-6).

With these words of the Apostle Paul, which the Second Vatican Council takes up at the beginning of its treatment of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I too wish to begin my reflection on the role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and on her active and exemplary presence in the life of the Church. For they are words which celebrate together the love of the Father, the mission of the Son, the gift of the Spirit, the role of the woman from whom the Redeemer was born, and our own divine filiation, in the mystery of the “fullness of time” (Redemptoris Mater, 1).

The figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God, in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman. It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement (Redemptoris Mater, 46).

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 1).

The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort. Twenty-four years ago, on 29 October 1978, scarcely two weeks after my election to the See of Peter, I frankly admitted: “The Rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2).

Christ is the supreme Teacher, the revealer and the one revealed. It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of “learning him.” In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ (cf. Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 14).

Hence Mary attains a union with God that exceeds all the expectations of the human spirit. It even exceeds the expectations of all Israel, in particular the daughters of this Chosen People, who, on the basis of the promise, could hope that one of their number would one day become the mother of the Messiah. Who among them, however, could have imagined that the promised Messiah would be “the Son of the Most High”? On the basis of the Old Testaments monotheistic faith such a thing was difficult to imagine. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, who “overshadowed” her, was Mary able to accept what is “impossible with men, but not with God” (cf. Mk 10: 27) (Mulieris Dignitatem, 3).The history of the Rosary shows how this prayer was used in particular by the Dominicans at a difficult time for the Church due to the spread of heresy. Today we are facing new challenges. Why should we not once more have recourse to the Rosary, with the same faith as those who have gone before us? (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 17).

Mary is the full revelation of all that is included in the biblical word “woman”: a revelation commensurate with the mystery of the Redemption. Marymeans, in a sense, a going beyond the limit spoken of in the Book of Genesis (3:16) and a return to that “beginning” in which one finds the “woman” as she was intended to be in creation, and therefore in the eternal mind of God: in the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity. Mary is “the new beginning” of the dignity and vocation of women, of each and every woman. 

A particular key for understanding this can be found in the words which the Evangelist puts on Mary’s lips after the Annunciation, during her visit to Elizabeth: “He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49).These words certainly refer to the conception of her Son, who is the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:32), the “holy one” of God; but they can also signify the discovery of her own feminine humanity. He “has done great things for me”: this is the discovery of all the richness and personal resources of femininity,all the eternal originality of the “woman,” just as God wanted her to be, a person for her own sake, who discovers herself “by means of a sincere gift of self” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 11).

Source: http://www.opusdei.us/art.php?p=43736