Jesus answered: ‘Will you lay down your life for me?’ - John 13:38

Support the Holy Father and pray with him!

"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!"

-Pope Benedict XVI

Pray for Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for this month. Find out more here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

If the Catholic Church was a programming language

For Cassie and our other computing Legionaries, from the Curt Jester:

I found this list via Slashdot and here is a sample.

C would be Judaism - it's old and restrictive, but most of the world is familiar with its laws and respects them. The catch is, you can't convert into it - you're either into it from the start, or you will think that it's insanity. Also, when things go wrong, many people are willing to blame the problems of the world on it.

Java would be Fundamentalist Christianity - it's theoretically based on C, but it voids so many of the old laws that it doesn't feel like the original at all. Instead, it adds its own set of rigid rules, which its followers believe to be far superior to the original. Not only are they certain that it's the best language in the world, but they're willing to burn those who disagree at the stake.

PHP would be Cafeteria Christianity - Fights with Java for the web market. It draws a few concepts from C and Java, but only those that it really likes. Maybe it's not as coherent as other languages, but at least it leaves you with much more freedom and ostensibly keeps the core idea of the whole thing. Also, the whole concept of "goto hell" was abandoned.

C++ would be Islam - It takes C and not only keeps all its laws, but adds a very complex new set of laws on top of it. It's so versatile that it can be used to be the foundation of anything, from great atrocities to beautiful works of art. Its followers are convinced that it is the ultimate universal language, and may be angered by those who disagree. Also, if you insult it or its founder, you'll probably be threatened with death by more radical followers.

C# would be Mormonism - At first glance, it's the same as Java, but at a closer look you realize that it's controlled by a single corporation (which many Java followers believe to be evil), and that many theological concepts are quite different. You suspect that it'd probably be nice, if only all the followers of Java wouldn't discriminate so much against you for following it.

Perl would be Voodoo - An incomprehensible series of arcane incantations that involve the blood of goats and permanently corrupt your soul. Often used when your boss requires you to do an urgent task at 21:00 on Friday night.

Fairly funny list, though Perl was written by a Christian and taken from a biblical reference to the "Pearl of great price" so Voodoo isn't quite fair.

Strangely though their was no language referenced for the Catholic Church. I guess it would be pretty hard to link the Church to one specific language. As someone who writes code for a living this question though is write up my alley. Besides the episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Holy C.

At first thought I would think Pascal could be it since it is named after French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal who was certainly a believing Catholic who wrote the great theological work the Pensées. Pacal has strong typing and I do like a dogmatically typed language where an object stays that type of object without explicit conversion. Begin and end keywords reminds me of the Alpha and Omega. Pascal just does not go far enough to resemble the Church.

Now a programming language that reflected the Catholic Church would be a cross between Basic and machine language. Basic gives it the James Joyce 'here comes everybody' aspect and machine language would give it the direct access to God that we have through the Eucharist. The Catholic Church can nourish anybody from the humblest peasant to the most brilliant theologian. Like most languages an interpreter is required for compiled code. In computing if you don't have a valid interpreter/compiler the code you write will end up either doing nothing or not what you intended. The teaching magisterium of the Church gives us that interpreter in real life. A good interpreter/compiler also has lots of error checking. On our own we are often prone to errors and so being informed of our errors is to our good to ensure that we write valid code. Often we think we are writing valid code only to find that when we go to build it something is not exactly right. You can't just tell the interpreter/compiler you are sorry for writing bad code, you have to repent of your coding error and fix it.

Now what would we call a programming language similar to the Catholic Church? How about C†† (pronounced C Cross Cross). Like St. Paul the Church teaches Christ crucified and the cross is never missing from our lives. The C of course stands for Catholic and the universal binary that the code produces. The universal binary is of course accessible by all operating systems. Though while we see the good that is common to many programming languages we hope that all will come to accept the fullness of C††. As programmers we don't want to be triumphalists, but to help to spread the good code to every nation.

The basics of the language C†† would be fixed. Though interfaces can be later added on that help to access the underlying language. The code structures would be based both on apostolic programming tradition and the reference book. The compiler also known as the magisterium would rely on the CDF (Coding for the Doctrine of the Flow) to ensure wayward code was corrected and brought back into fullness of the code specification. When bad code is detected the compiler would throw an anathema.

C†† would certainly be strongly typed. An object created yesterday or even a thousand years ago would remain exactly the same object today. Though this does not mean that we can not understand an object more deeply over time, only that an integer value will not become a string just because it is currently fashionable in the culture for this to be true. What is set to a state of true today remains true tomorrow. For example this is how you would set a true and a false value in C††.

boolean item = dogma;
boolean item2 = heresy;

Other keywords include Fashion (which can hold any value, but is not used for anything serious), Absolute (which holds one constant value that never changes), Discipline (value can change over time based on a prudential decision), Hierarchy (An ordered data structure).

Multiple coding styles known as rites can be used to write the code. These rites though will all compile to exactly the same code whether using an Eastern or Western style. Some traditional programmers prefer to only program in Latin, but you can choose a vernacular language as long as you don't use and edition approved by ICEL in the seventies which does not give the full nuances of the keywords.

The reference for C†† would be maintained by the Vaticode. The head programmer/maintainer at the Vaticode is called His Geekiness and he has final say on the language definition and its interpretation. The Vicar of Code is infallible only when speaking on code and compilers. The Nerds in union with His Geekiness are the authentic teachers of the language. New definitions can be added to the language that conform to the reference and apostolic programmers. Sometimes a movement among programmers (geekus fidelum) can lead to the Vaticode adding a new definition.

Here is a sample "Hello World" program in C††

print("Let there be light");

After all "Let there be light" was the original Hello World program by the Divine Programmer. Every C†† requires a "faith" method which is the main entry point to the program. Remember faith() without works() and your code is dead.

If only there was a programming language like the Catholic Church. Right now there are so many denominations of programming languages that keep splitting. Like C+ going into schism from C and then C++ going into schism from C+. I pray that there be but one language.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Choose Life (Sketch compilation)

This is a video compilation of the sketches I made during the past few months. I guess I might as well put this here. The song is called Air and is sung by Libera. The original piece is by J.S. Bach, and this arrangement is by Robert Prizeman.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What are the "O Antiphons"?


What are the "O Antiphons"?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. Let’s now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiah’s related prophecies :

O Sapientia: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (11:2-3), and “Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom.” (28:29).

O Adonai: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” (11:4-5); and “Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us.” (33:22).

O Radix Jesse: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

O Clavis David: “O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.” Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.” (22:22), and “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever.” (9:6).

O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” (9:1).

O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.” Isaiah had prophesied, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (9:5), and “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (2:4) .

O Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”

(7:14). Remember “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.”

According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.


Saunders, Rev. William. “What are the ‘O Antiphons’?” Arlington Catholic Herald.

Reprinted with permission of the Arlington Catholic Herald.


Father William Saunders is dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College and pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Sterling, Virginia. The above article is a "Straight Answers" column he wrote for the Arlington Catholic Herald. Father Saunders is also the author of Straight Answers, a book based on 100 of his columns and published by Cathedral Press in Baltimore.

Copyright © 2003 Arlington Catholic Herald

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!
Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary, rejoice!
Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote reddamus.
The time of grace has come
That we have desired;
Let us devoutly return
Joyful verses.
Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
God has become man,
And nature marvels;
The world has been renewed
By Christ who is King.
Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur,
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezechiel
Has been passed through;
Whence the light is born,
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our song
Now be sung in brightness
Let it give praise to the Lord:
Greeting to our King.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gaudete: reflecting on the Magnificat - Allocutio by Fr Marin

On the third Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday - the Church invites us to rejoice with Mother Mary, to share her joy and to live always cheerfully. There are various types of joys. The experiential kind, which arises when good things happen to us, is real but not long-lasting and deep and does not exclude the possibility of concurrent deep unhappiness: you can be rich and healthy and still be miserable. Then there's the joy of Mary: the joy of being with God, participating in the divine life. Mary was not freed from material problems; in fact her problems increased after the Annunciation. Her relationship with Joseph was in trouble, she was poor - and yet when she opened her mouth, we hear the joy in her heart.

Thus, Our Lady teaches us that we can always be happy with God. Material goods should not be the source of our joy. After all, we'll never have enough good things - we'll always want more. Mary tells us that it is enough to be with God. God did not promise to remove suffering. He came to us - that's the remedy.

Let us always be humble enough, like Mary was, to remember that we need God.

Christmas through the eyes of a former atheist

Do take a look at this nice little piece of writing: What I loved about Christmas was Christ

Via the Curt Jester

To Whom Much is Given: Surviving the Massacre in Mumbai

Last Wednesday evening around 10pm, following a relaxing supper, my friend Eugene and I arrived at the check-out desk at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, as we have done together hundreds of times in our travels as New York investment bankers currently living in Hong Kong.

As I placed my bag on the table I heard a loud gunshot, which I recognized from my years living in South Africa to be the distinctive snap of an AK-47 assault rifle. Hearing another shot a second later, I looked at Eugene and said, “Run, that’s AK!”

We streaked away from the gunfire toward the nearest exit as the terrorists were entering the hotel lobby from various points. I smashed through the doors toward the pool area and ducked into some bushes as the gunfire grew in intensity. I realized Eugene did not make it out of the lobby.

Five or six people had arrived in the bushes before me, all now paralyzed in fear. From the sound of things I realized that a Columbine-like shooting spree was taking place inside, with gunmen walking around methodically executing people. Mind racing, I concluded that being bunched up in the bushes in the corner of the pool area was not safe.

Surveying the scene brought the dispiriting conclusion that we were trapped, surrounded by dozen foot-high walls on all sides. I scanned the walls and then scrambled for a finger or toehold, but found none. I did, however, spy an air conditioning duct about nine feet above me. I leaped and was able to knock a cover away. I jumped again and grabbed onto the unit, but as I tried to pull myself up, I fell, causing the folks in the bushes to hush me to be quiet.

A quick aspiration to the Holy Spirit — “Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the heart of thy faithful!” — and then another leap upward. This time I was able to grab on and pull myself up over the wall where I flipped onto a lean-to roof of the pool shed. I laid low and quiet, partially concealing myself with tree branches.

Continue reading >>

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Immaculate Conception and The Legion

Allocutio for the 986th Meeting of Regina Coeli Praesidium
The Immaculate Conception and the Legion

We are coming to one of Our Lady’s Feast day, the Immaculate Conception. This dogma was pronounced and defined in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus in 8 December 1854 by Pope Pius IX, only 4 years before our Lady revealed herself to St. Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858, calling Herself as “I am the Immaculate Conception”. This dogma says “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin”.

To my surprise, this particular dogma of our Lady has a strong relation with the Legion. About this in the chapter of “Devotional Outlook of the Legion”, our handbook says “A second aspect of Legion devotion is towards the Immaculate Conception”. This devotion clearly is reflected in its prayers which strongly rooted on a profound faith in God and the love he bears his children. At the very first Legion meeting, the members prayed and deliberated around the little altar of the Immaculate Conception identical with that which now forms the centre of every Legion meeting. So, even from the very first breath of the Legion, may be said to have drawn in an ejaculation in honour of this privilege of Our Lady which formed the preparation for all the dignities and all the privileges afterwards accorded to her.

Yes, this privilege is part of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and together with the privilege, prophecy is made of the heavenly sequel, the Divine Maternity, the crushing of the serpent’s head in Redemption, and Mary’s motherhood of men. Our Founder put this text from Genesis 2:15, as the best entrance to the spirit of the Legion “I will put enmities between you and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; She shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her hell”. Fr Bede McGregor, in his allocution to the Concilium in December 2007 commented on this, “If there had been even the slightest moral fault in Mary and even if it was only for a split second, then for that brief moment she would have not been at enmity with Satan but subject to him. Surely it would be unthinkable in the Mother of God. So, she was indeed created Mary Immaculate”. As Her Legionaries, we wish to turn these words, addressed to satan by Almighty God, together with our Lady’s total opposition to sin, as our source of confidence and strength in our daily warfare with sin, the only thing that destroys human person so profoundly. Yes, this struggle is never easy, but we need to remember there is pledge of victory in our Lady. (Also, as we are in Advent season so one more reason to struggle more :)

The Immaculate Conception is not only about freedom from the least of sin, but also about the fullness of grace in Mary. No one say that to be the Mother of God is easy. So, She is given all the grace she needs to be a worthy Mother of God and Mother of all of us, and her whole life is to be the instrument of all the graces merited by the passion and death of Our Lord. So do we as legionaries, like our Mother, we are not simply busy seeking out evil and condemning it, but we are called to be an instrument of grace in out world, to be the apostle of grace. Like what our Mother has shown, our lives too, are to proclaim the joy of spreading the Gospel, to spread the well founded hope in God through our Lady in the worst possible situation.

Also in relation with this is the indispensable sacramental of our Legion Apostolate, our devotion to the Miraculous Medal. This Medal has the richness of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. So when we distribute it, or when we ourselves wearing it, it is also good to go to the understanding the meaning of the Medal, which is to bring the immense hope and good news that with Mary they can overcome every obstacle to union with Our Lord and with each other in Him.

So, as we prepare ourselves in this Advent season, we can consider to the example that our Lady has given for us. Her whole life is a Magnificat of thanksgiving and of praising the mercy of God. That is why she loves to call herself the Immaculate Conception because it points to Jesus and his redemptive love, not only for her, but for all mankind. We too, as legionaries, together with our Lady, let’s become channels of God’s Mercy in union with Mary, our Lady, our Queen, and our Mother. Amen.

Friday, December 5, 2008

On Christianity and love

I'm reading a book by Henry Sienkiewicz called Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero. It's an excellent book - a very gripping tale indeed, especially since I enjoy reading about the ancients.

It revolves around a soldier and noble called Marcus Vincicus and his love for a Christian girl called Lygia.

Here's Vincicus speaking to Lygia about his change of heart regarding her faith.

"Paul has convinced me, has converted me; and could it be otherwise? How was I not to believe that Christ came into the world, since he, who was His disciple, says so, and Paul, to who He appeared? How was I not to believe that He was God, since He rose from the dead? Others saw Him in the city and on the lake and on the mountain; people saw Him whose lips have not known a lie. I began to believe this the first time I heard Peter in Ostrianum, for I said to myself even then: In the whole world any other man might lie rather than this one who says, 'I saw.' But I feared thy religion. It seemed to me that thy religion would take thee from me. I thought that there was neither wisdom nor beauty nor happiness in it. But to-day, when I know it, what kind of man should I be were I not to wish truth to rule the world instead of falsehood, love instead of hatred, virtue instead of crime, faithfulness instead of unfaithfulness, mercy instead of vengeance? What sort of man would he be who would not choose and wish the same? But your religion teaches this. Others desire justice also; but thy religion is the only one which makes man's heart just, and besides makes it pure, like thine and Pomponia's, makes it faithful, like thine and Pomponia's. I should be blind were I not to see this. But if in addition Christ God has promised eternal life, and promised happiness as immeasurable as the all-might of God can give, what more can one wish? Were I to ask Seneca why he enjoins virtue, if wickedness brings more happiness, he would not be able to say anything sensible. But I know now that I ought to be virtuous, because virtue and love flow from Christ, and because, when death closes my eyes, I shall find life and happiness, I shall find myself and thee. Why not love and accept a religion which both speaks the truth and destroys death? Who would not prefer good to evil? I tough thy religion opposed happiness; meanwhile Paul has convinced me that not only does it not take away, but that it gives. All this hardly finds a place in my head; but I feel that it is true, for I have never been so happy....O Lygia! Reason declares this religion divine, and the best; the heart feels it, and who can resist two such forces?"

...After a while he said with a lowered and quivering voice: "Thou wilt be the soul of my soul, and the dearest in the world to me. Our hearts will beat together, we shall have one prayer of and one gratitude to Christ. O my dear! To live together, to honour together the sweet God, and to know that when death comes our eyes will be open again, as after a pleasant sleep, to a new light, - what better could be imagined? I only marvel that I did not understand this at first. And knowest thou what occurs to me now? That no one can resist this religion. In two hundred or three hundred years the whole world will accept it. People will forget Jupiter, and there will be no God except Christ, and no temples but Christian. Who would not wish his own happiness?"

Very beautiful! There are many other such sublime bits of prose in the this book. Do read it! It's available in the Central Library.

After Legion Meeting

Thanks Ferninda for singing!

More videos and photos here

Thank you all for the very relaxing time and the wonderful company :)

(the video quality seems bad...anyone wanting the original can contact me :p)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


"Dogmas--someone has said--are not walls that prevent us from seeing. On the contrary, they are windows that open upon the infinite."
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The right kind of Catholic

The right kind of Catholic

Divisions within Catholicism have been a frequent subject here. In contemporary American Catholicism, ideology often trumps Christ, something Pope Benedict himself noted on his visit last spring:

I ask you, in the Lord Jesus, to set aside all division and to work with joy to prepare a way for him, in fidelity to his word and in constant conversion to his will. Above all, I urge you to continue to be a leaven of evangelical hope in American society, striving to bring the light and truth of the Gospel to the task of building an ever more just and free world for generations yet to come.

Those who have hope must live different lives! (cf. Spe Salvi, 2). By your prayers, by the witness of your faith, by the fruitfulness of your charity, may you point the way towards that vast horizon of hope which God is even now opening up to his Church, and indeed to all humanity: the vision of a world reconciled and renewed in Christ Jesus, our Savior. To him be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

That is not a call to paper over differences, to pretend that is all is well as we join hands around the campfire. It is not a call to abandon mutual fraternal correction. It is simply, as a first step, to look to Christ and open ourselves to him, together. And to go from there, dependent on the Spirit to bind us together, to reveal the truth to us, and to empower us to bring the Gospel to a world that thirsts and hungers.

What is true is that this unity is indeed not uniformity, as St. Paul notes and as only one who is blind to history can deny. The diversity within the Body of Christ runs deep, and is complex - as complex as life itself.


As much as we hope to be salt and light ourselves, as much as we would hope to share God’s love with others, would we really want another person’s faith in Christ to depend on our witness?

Then it is not fair to make the lives and works of others, no matter how holy, idols in that way either.

Rome is a good place to run up against this complexity. Of course, if one is aware of history or even aware of what happens in one’s own parish, it is not news. But even if you have avoided the reality before, in Rome, you can’t. For in Rome you walk amid all kinds of Catholics, the right and wrong sort, and you are forced to take a stand.

Most vividly. In Rome, you might stand or kneel within a church built on the home of an ancient martyr. Perhaps the church contains that martyr’s remains and truly bears the martyr’s memory, which has strengthened the faithful in carrying their own crosses for centuries.

But there is a good chance that this same church was built by, expanded by or decorated by a wealthy Cardinal with a mistress or two and some sins for which to atone. The gorgeous art, resonant and powerful in its portrayal of Calvary, might have come from the hands of an artist with little or no faith to speak of, doing what he had to do for the commission. You are walking on paths that were stained by the blood of bishop martyrs and then paved by the edict of bishop rulers. St. Francis walked here in bare feet. Catholic aristocracy were carried above the muck, flattered by clergy as they handed out bread to the poor and paid the dowries of impoverished girls.

What, in that mess, do we reject? What do we accept? What is pure enough for us?

Layer upon layer. Nothing is simple. In this Body of Christ, paradox reigns, inherent at its root - the Body of the Christ, the Anointed of God, descended from eternity, yet broken, yet risen, yet still embodied here.

Ultimately, to sneer at the wrong sort of Catholic leads us to one place.

The mirror.

Do read the rest of this very nice reflection by Amy Welborn HERE

Why we should have more chant in the liturgy? :p

Haha...something as mundane as the weather forecast or the highway code actually sound important when chanted :p

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Prayer for the Immaculate Conception

I know, it's still too early, but Jeffry post this prayer to our yahoogroups and I cant wait not to post it.. so.... :)

Tota pulchra es, Mariaet macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria,et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.

You are completely pure, Mary,
and the stain of original sin is not within you.
Your clothing is white like snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are completely pure, Mary,and the stain of original sin is not within you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel,
you are the honoured of our people.
You are completely pure, Mary

to our Lady

Monday, December 1, 2008

Spotted in the Esplanade lift :) A timely reminder to remember God during the short pauses in daily life.

A creative form of evangelism? :) Should we try this in NUS?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

God bless, Ferninda!

28.11.08 - Ferninda takes the Promise

Legionaries are already full of the love of their Queen and Mother. If they join it to a definite devotion to the Holy Spirit, they will enter most fully into the Divine plan, which has required the union of the Holy Spirit and Mary in the work of regenerating the world. As a consequence, their legionary efforts cannot fail to be attended by a great addition of force and success.

Legion Handbook, Chapter 15

Pope Benedict on Triune Love

Andrei Rublev's Trinity

Triune Love

God is three, and God is one: he is not eternal solitude but the eternal love that is the basis of the relationships between the three Persons and the foundation of all being and life. The unity that this love creates—the Trinitarian unity—is a higher unity than the unity of the building blocks of matter that are indivisible on their lowest level. There is nothing rigid in the highest unity: it is love. The most beautiful picture of this mystery was given us by Andrei Rublev in the fifteenth century in his celebrated icon of the Trinity. It does not portray the eternal mystery of God in his own self, for who would dare do that? It shows this mystery mirrored in a historical event, the visit of three men to Abraham near the oaks of Mamre (Gen. 18:1-33). Abraham soon realizes that these are not ordinary men and that in them God himself is visiting him. Even in the Old Testament text, the number three forms a mysterious bridge into the oneness of God: there are three of them, in whom Abraham adores the One, and this enabled Christians to see this narrative as a mirror of the Trinity from an early date. Rublev’s icon makes the many dimension of this mysterious event wonderfully clear but preserves its mysterious character while doing so.

I should like to mention only one trait in this rich icon, namely, the surroundings of the event, which also help express the mystery of the Persons. First, we see the oaks of Mamre, which Rublev gathers into one single tree, which now portrays the tree of life—the tree of life that consists in nothing other than the triune love that created the world, sustains it and redeems it, and is the source of all life. Then we see the tent, Abraham’s house, which reminds us of John 1”14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt [set up his tent] among us…” The body of the incarnate God has itself become the tent, the house, in which God dwells and in which God becomes our dwelling, our resting place. Lastly, we see Abraham’s gift: the “calf, tender and good” of Genesis is replaced here by the chalice, the sign of the Eucharist, the sign of the gift in which God bestows himself: “Love, sacrifice, immolation precede the act of the creation of the world, and are the source of this act.” The tree—the tent—the chalice. They show us the mystery of God; they allow us as it were to look into his heart, into the triune love. It is this God that we celebrate. It is in this God that we rejoice. He is the true hope of our world. Amen.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

On Choice

Oh my! This is one powerful movie. Please watch it. Watch it!

Volition (n)- The act of making a choice. Sometimes the choice of inaction has consequences stronger than we could ever imagine. Throughout history, men have been faced with difficult choices in a world that makes it easy for them to conform. This film explores the hope that lies behind every decision made in the face of adversity; the hope that is buried in the heart of those that look beyond themselves and see something bigger worth fighting for.

Via the AmericanPapist

"I just hope the day comes when we can see this for what it really is"

I do!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Up Close and Personal with the Daughters of St. Paul

Here's an email I received from Sr. Jocelyn from Daughters of St. Paul:

Dear Carina,
I am Sr. Jocelyn from the Daughters of St. Paul, an international women religious called to proclaim the Gospel through the means of communications.  We are organizing an event for young women below the age of 30 and would like to invite your members to participate.  This is an informal gathering on 10 January, where we would like to share with young women our mission and spirituality. The aim is to give awareness to them of our presence here in Singapore and at the same time, we hope for future collaboration in any way.  I hope you will be able to collaborate with us by making this known to your legionaries.  Attached is a little ad for it.  please feel free to write to me if you have any enquiries.  Thank you very much.

God bless you and all you good works, 
Sr. Jocelyn Veritas Kwek, FSP
Daughters of St. Paul 
47 Jurong West  St 42  Singapore 649 368
Tel: 6560 8003 Mobile: 90396332

And here's the ad for the event:

Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession o{]:¬)

From Fr Z

We should…

1) ...examine our consciences regularly and thoroughly;
2) ...wait our turn in line patiently;
3) ...come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end;
4) ...speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard;
5) ...state our sins clearly and briefly without rambling;
6) ...confess all mortal sins in number and kind;
7) ...listen carefully to the advice the priest gives;
8) ...confess our own sins and not someone else’s;
9) ...carefully listen to and remember the penance and be sure to understand it;
10) ...use a regular formula for confession so that it is familiar and comfortable;
11) ...never be afraid to say something "embarrassing"... just say it;
12) ...never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) ...never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
14) ...never confess "tendencies" or "struggles"... just sins;
15) ...never leave the confessional before the priest has finished giving absolution;
16) ...memorize an Act of Contrition;
17) ...answer the priest’s questions briefly if he asks for a clarification;
18) ...ask questions if we can’t understand what he means when he tells us something;
19) ...keep in mind that sometimes priests can have bad days just like we do;
20) ...remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Sunday, November 23, 2008

O Dulcis, Virgo Maria

Madonna and Child, 1907-1908,
by Marianne Preindelsberger Stokes (1855-1927)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lessons in Progressive Politics by Michael Cook

Something unexpected happened when Uruguayan politicians tried to liberalise their country's archaic abortion laws. 

Tabaré VázquezIt's a familiar  scenario: a tall, photogenic, charismatic left-leaning President who outsmarted traditional political forces to win office with 51.7 percent of the national vote. His platform is social justice, tax reform, human rights, better health coverage, and banning smoking in public. His party controls both houses of the legislature. Elected in the midst of an economic crisis, the pundits described his campaign of hope as "the most profound political rupture in recent history".

And despite diplomatic rows, environmental controversies and a bitter dispute over free trade, perhaps the most controversial decision of his term is a Congressional proposal to dramatically liberalise abortion.

So what did President Tabaré Vázquez, do about a bill to give Uruguay the most progressive abortion law in Latin America?He vetoed it.

Continue Reading >>

Here's an excerpt from his speech on why he vetoed the bill:

The true degree of civilisation of a nation is measured by how the neediest are protected. Therefore we must protect the weakest amongst us. Because the criterion is not the value of the subject with respect to how others respond to him, or his usefulness, but the value which exists due to his mere existence...

Continue Reading >>

Friday, November 21, 2008

Every door opens to the humble and respectful Legionary

The legionary promise

Regina Coeli allocutio for 989th meeting
by Sister Immaculata:

Legionary Promise

Talking about promising, what kind of Promise do we, Legionaries, made? What are the significances beyond the Promise each of us has made or are going to make?

When one is promising it means that one assures somebody that something will certainly be done or happen, a promise is a pledge. Usually it requires certain degree of loyalty and fortitude to fulfill the promise, especially when we promise to someone that we highly respected or love.

As Legionaries, The Promise that we make is the definite ceremony to mark our formal entry to the ranks of Mary’s Legion and it is especially pointed out that the Promise was addressed to the Third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit., not to our Lady. “Most Holy Spirit.. we say in the Promise…’

About this, our founder said, “Well, we’ve got to put first things first. You weren’t rejecting Our Blessed Lady in favour of something bigger. No! You were seeing more clearly into Mary and what emerged from it was tremendous awareness that the Holy Spirit was in her”.

After understanding to whom we addressed the Promise. Now, what are we promising? Fr. Joachim O’ Brien commented that the Promise is an expression of our personal wish to continue serve the Lord and his Mother as legionaries faithfully. But who are we, to so daringly render a faithful service to our Lord through His Blessed Mother? Precisely we acknowledge this unworthiness by humbly yet, very daring, we are telling the Holy Spirit in our Promise to come upon us and fill us with His power. In the promise, we – personally-, express our desire by promising, precisely not less than our very whole self, out strength, talents, including our weakness, and surely our whole love, to be turned into His instruments, on the service of our Lord faithfully in our Lady’s army.

Then, what are the significances of the Legionary promise for us? Cardinal Suenens in his commentary mentioned, “ The Legionary of Mary too, knows the joy and emotions in pledging his words. The Promise that he makes among his brethren, with the Vexilium in hands, is a contract linking him to his Mother and consecrating to her service whatever he is or he possesses. It is an alliance which places him wholly at her disposal (we said in the Promise: That it is by her, and to whom she pleases, when she pleases, and in the quantity and manner she pleases)”. Later on he continues on whom can live this Promise: they are those who are unafraid to live the love of God.

So, words can remain just words. But he who accepts the contracts of alliance and live it through the years will understand it from within. The Legionary then, must test the Promise by living and thus penetrate it even more deeply. The words of the Promise doesn’t stop when we finished pledging it, but we should re and re read it, not only for our personal devotion which is highly recommended, but also to keep the fire, which is the Holy Spirit in our heart, to whom we offer our soul as a torch, so that its flame may set other souls ablaze.

As keeping a promise and living it is never easy, let us ask our Blessed Mother who has called us to be in Her army, to help us keeping this pledge. In the same time, let us be grateful for the grace that we have received to be in Her army. Let us also pray for one another, especially for those who just took his promise and is going to take her promise, so that we can carry this promise faithfully. Through this fuller part in her army, may we grow in the spirit of the Legion which is Mary’s spirit, and inspired by this love and faith of Mary, her legion essays any and every work, and complains not of impossibility, because it conceives that it may and can do all things.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


"Have you seen the dead leaves fall in the sad autumn twilight? So fall souls each day into eternity. One day, the falling leaf will be you."
~ St Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 736

Autumn leaves falling by beesparkle.