Picture
Praying is simply talking to God.  It seems so simple and easy to remember; and yet, most of the time, we forget. 

In his recollection message this evening, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales said prayer is telling God you want Him to be part of your day.  No more, no less.  And telling Him that you're having difficulty or you're having a bad day--that, too, is praying. 

In other words, it's having a personal relationship with Him.  But because as Catholics, we grew up reciting set prayers, we often find it difficult to break out from this lifelong habit.  We constantly need to be reminded what true prayer is.

Picture
Picture
Picture
Cardinal Rosales gave his packed audience a wonderful guide to prayer with the acronym, ALTAR, where A is for Adoration, L is for Love, T is for Thanksgiving, A is for Asking, and R is for Reparation.

I remember one sermon where the priest described how one parishioner prayed:  he devoted each weekday to fulfilling each step so that Monday is for Adoration, Tuesday for Love, and so on.  Not that each day is spent on his knees but that each step of prayer was incorporated into his daily thoughts and activities so that his day was one unceasing prayer. 

What better time to find that quiet space within us to reflect on the true meaning of prayer than this holy week.
Picture
 
 
Picture
Another year, another observance of Passion Week at the end of another Lenten season.  But it never gets old.  Not when eternity is on the line. 

But Filipinos today are not as solid and monolithic an entity as we were in the past when Catholicism dominated and our Catholic practices defined our Holy Week observances.  Today, although Catholicism is still the dominant religion, we now live in a more pluralistic society; and many--and I will not say 'the younger generation' because that would be inaccurate--have either changed religions or have become atheists or have simply become nominal Catholics.


Although we have changed, Jesus Christ has not;  "He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow" and in a world of constant changes--many of them life-threatening and life-as-we-know-it game-changing, either man-made wake-up calls like the Middle East upheavals to natural disasters like the never-ending Japan earthquakes--He remains the one constant that will never fail us.  And for believers, that is our hope and our portion.

It is a difficult time to be a Catholic today, what with the seemingly endless sordid revelations of sexual abuse by the clergy as in the latest clergy scandal in Belgium, which has severely and irretrievably tarnished the church.  But the clergy is not the whole church; neither do their actions represent our faith.  This is not to diminish their crimes; it is only to say that our faith should not depend upon what they have done or have not done, but it should rest on Christ alone.

For a dying man like Nick Charles, his faith tells him that he is about to embark on his greatest journey, one that will take him homeward bound to his true home.  It is the best story I have come across this Lent and sums up what this holy season is all about.

I have been documenting the Lenten observance of the Presentation of the Child Jesus Parish for the past three years now going on my fourth and I still look forward to the experience, which has deepened my faith and made me reflect on it even more.

Picture
Picture
Picture
Picture

Holy Monday:  The Quiet Space