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Archive for the ‘Closer to God’ Category


Today, 103 years ago, Our Lady appeared before three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal. Here’s a picture I took of the image of Our Lady of Fatima nine years ago in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite. Proud of this shot, just reduced its size to save on space.

Here’s another photo that one of our volunteers took  early this morning during the Marian procession at  our village, an image of our Blessed Lady.

Another image of Our Lady of Fatima

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Watched the live streaming of the Sunday mass at the Manila Cathedral at 8am today. Another inspiring homily delivered by Fr. Regie.  I get by trying to get in touch with my brothers, some relatives and friends through the internet. This is the time when having a wi-fi at home is a blessed bonus.

I  want to share this prayer for all of you out there.

Lord, you are the greatest Healer of all

Please protect our land from the disastrous effect of this pandemic.

Cover us with Your Holy Mantle and embrace us in Your loving arms.

Also praying for the repose of the souls of Nissa’s father-in-law who died three days ago and is still at the morgue of the funeral parlor ( waiting for scheduled cremation on the 29th) and for my friend’s father who died the other day when he hit his head at the pavement near our gate  and probably had blood clot in his brain.  May  You receive them in Your Kingdom to live with you forever. Amen.

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A friend sent this to me early this morning, a Biblical passage that we all need.

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Yes, 2020 is a leap year.

A leap year is a year in which an extra day is added to the Gregorian calendar, which is used by most of the world. While an ordinary year has 365 days, a leap year has 366 days. … A leap year comes once every four years. Because of this, a leap year can always be evenly divided by four.

Today we also celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is nothing like attending an early morning mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Light with our good friend Fr. Aly Barcinal presiding. And there is nothing like starting the year right with thanksgiving and prayers.

I am going back to sleep. I just want to post my very first blog this year. Last night was like a war zone in our place. I love the pyrotechnics though. Those makers certainly improve their craft every year. When it stays in the air for more than a minute, when you see different colors and designs in the night sky, it is really a lovely sight to behold. Some of my neighbors took videos on their cellphones. Compared to last year (2019), the display was short lived. And the firecrackers I think only took thirty minutes when 12 am was about to strike.

Again, a Blessed and Happy New Year to all my friends here on WordPress.  New hope, new dreams, new beginnings.

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Last night was the start of our yearly Simbang Gabi or Dawn mass.  Back in the days, it used to be called Rooster Mass because  4am or 5am were usually when the rooster in your neighborhood crows.  Simbang Gabi is a beautiful nine-day novena masses in Thanksgiving for all the blessing one received in the year. It’s traditional for us Filipino Catholics. I think it is only in the Philippines where you could find this. Times has changed, nowadays these Simbang Gabi are celebrated early, usually the night before the next day to give way for those who want to attend the novena after office.  They are also brought to some malls where they are celebrated at noon and most offices also hold these masses during lunch break.

I was overjoyed seeing the Pope opening the Simbang Gabi tradition. The mass readings were read in Tagalog  but there was a translator in English. Even the songs were sung in Tagalog  by the Filipino community. I’d like to think we are special because they have adapted one of the lovely traditions in our Catholic life.

Although our country is now in the brink of…..how do you put it….the ship is sinking fast because of these non-performing powers that be in our government, I still have high hopes that this will end eventually and we will rise up again. It may just take one brave soul to start it, right now though, we are at the mercy of one man who holds everything from the Supreme Court to the Legislative Branch to our National Police down to the barangay level. I need not elaborate, perhaps you also read them online.

I digress.

We were talking about Simbang Gabi, right? There are many churches now and several congregations too that televise the celebration of the nine-day novena masses. They end the day before Christmas day.

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It’s the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe today. When Nissa had her surgical operation last September, Obet’s boss gave this cloak (tilma) to Nissa and she brought it to the hospital. We had it placed on top of her bed when she was at the operating room. There was this lovely prayer pamphlet which she also gave with a very inspiring message to Nissa.

I found this lovely analysis of the tilma at the Catholic site of Our Lady of Guadalupe and I love it. The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph that was read and interpreted quickly by the Aztec Indians.

  • THE LADY STOOD IN FRONT OF THE SUN: She was greater than their dreaded sun-god “Huitzilopochtli”.
  • HER FOOT RESTED ON THE CRESCENT MOON: She had clearly vanquished their foremost deity, the feather serpent “Quetzalcoatl.”
  • THE STARS STREWN ACROSS THE MANTLE: She was greater than the stars of heaven that they worshipped.  She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head. She appeared on December 12, 1531 for the stars that she wore are the constellation of stars that appeared in the sky that day!
  • THE BLUE-GREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE: She was a Queen for she wears the color of royalty.
  • THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK: Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son.
  • THE BLACK BELT: She was with child for she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
  • THE FOUR-PETAL FLOWER OVER THE WOMB: She was the “Mother of God.” The flower was a special symbol of life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.
  • HER HANDS ARE JOINED IN PRAYER: She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
  • THE DESIGN ON HER ROSE COLORED GARMENT: She is the “Queen of the Earth” for she is wearing a map of Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.
And then there’s what Modern Science has to say about the tilma:
  • The image, to this date, cannot be explained by science.
  • The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years!  The tilma or cloak of Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!
  • There is no under sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the image.
  • Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.
  • The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown property of the surface and substance of which it is made.
  • According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a modern day photograph.  (Produced 300 years before the invention of photography.)
  • The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or camera.
  • Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is believed to be the  images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan Gonzales-the interpreter and others.
  • The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in the normal eye, which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.
  • The stars on Our Lady’s Mantle coincide with the constellation in the sky on December 12, 1531. All who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!

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Today is the Feast of Christ the King, conclusion of the liturgical year in the Catholic calendar.

“Feast of Christ the King, also called Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus ChristKing of the Universe, is a  festival celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church in honour of Jesus Christ as lord over all creation. Essentially a magnification of the Feast of the Ascension, it was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925″.

Next Sunday is the beginning of another liturgical year in which we start with the season of Advent.  It is a time we look forward to as preparation of Christmas, four weeks of Advent Sundays before Christmas.  The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival” or “coming” from the word advenire (ad- “to” venire “come”).

Advent 2019 begins on December 1 and ends on December 24. The themes that correspond to each week are the following:

Week 1: Hope (or promise)
Week 2: Preparation (or waiting or prophecy)
Week 3: Joy (or peace)
Week 4: Love (or adoration)

It was so nice to meet our good friend Fr. Aly again who is now the Parish Priest and Rector of the the Shrine of Our Lady of Light here in our town. For eight years, I’ve missed listening to his lovely and meaningful homilies. He was the one who officiated on Nissa’s wedding eight years ago. Meeting old friends, what a wonderful treasure.

By the way, Cristo Rey are Spanish words for Christ the King. Have a blessed  Sunday everyone.

 

 

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