From the Pastor's Pen
Pastor's Pen ~ February 28th
Lent is not a dull time; rather, it’s a time of intense action. Truly, it’s more of a time of excitement! There’s a lot going on— externally and internally. More than everything else, it is a time for listening to our hearts; and listening to the voice of God within us. Eventually, the listening would lead us to see and choose things that truly matter and to follow them seriously. We see unbelievable examples in the Scripture readings of this week: God speaking to Abraham, who listened to God and did exactly what God wanted of him. Then, the apostles on the mountain top, who hear God’s voice that Jesus is the “beloved son” and that they should “listen to him.” As doubts began to trouble the apostles, they needed a boost in their journey with Jesus. The transfiguration experience tells them not to have doubts on Jesus. Do we hear God’s voice speaking to us? Do we listen to God? The truth is— God Speaks! Listening has to be our best response! Is that the case with us?
In Lent, we do engage ourselves in several acts of mercy and love. There’s no easy way to gauge or quantify the outcome of the good deeds we do during this season. Families, at this time, strive to keep the spirit of Lent through practices of daily family prayer and good deeds; individuals find time to participate in devotions, like stations of the Cross, attending mass at least a day of the week, and following certain practices of mortification and acts of charity. There’s much fervor among school children, who as usual pursue projects that promote the spirit of self-sacrifice and mortification. In all of us, there’s is a deep desire to be part of this exciting time of renewal— the tuning our hearts to listen more to God’s voice rather than the voice of the world. Reflect whether we are on that track or not!
Have you noticed it? The Liturgy also shares in this excitement. You will be amazed to see how well the readings, music and prayers blend so beautifully; and how these lead us in this journey week after week. However, such an experience will be ours only if we are ready to take time as a family for the Sunday liturgy. Many individuals, I know, read the Sunday scripture ahead. Making that a family habit is what I would strongly recommend. It would be a good family habit to start with this Lent. Read the Sunday readings (1st & 2nd readings; the Responsorial Psalm; Gospel) before or after the evening meal. Every bulletin has the details of the scripture readings of the whole week. It would be great to read the passages from the family Bible. You can also get the daily scripture on the website: bible.usccb.org. We all know that if there’s a Will, there’s a Way! Don’t allow this Lent to come and go as before. Make it special for your family. I really mean it. Remember, God’s voice comes to us through the Scripture.
Since several months, I had been sending videos and music with the bulletin dispatch every week to all the registered Parishioners who have provided email addresses. If any parishioner is not getting the weekly bulletin from the Parish office through personal email, it is because your email address in our system may not be accurate. Please call the Parish Office to rectify the email address. Your cooperation will help us to serve you better. Some do write to me saying that the videos and music are helpful. I hope they are inspirational to many more.
You cannot miss noticing it: the trees are gone! The front area of the rectory looks bare now. We shall plant some good trees. If you have suggestions, please let me know. After a month-long stay here with us, Fr John Schultz has also gone back to his residence. It was a blessing to have him here in the rectory. Fr Amalraj has started his ministry at the hospitals. He is enjoying it and slowly getting settled. It is a joy to have him here at the rectory. I begin to see more people starting to come back to Church.
I long to see all!
Have a grace-filled Lenten season!
Deacon's Bench ~ March 7th
“The Litany of Humility”
I don’t quite remember how I came across the “Litany of Humility,” but praying it for the first time was like spooning down a bowlful of spicy chili: it clears the spiritual sinuses….
Attributed to Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X (1903-1914)—the Pope who is pictured in the stained glass window on the east sanctuary wall of our church—the “Litany of Humility” is an especially fitting prayer for Lent. It asks God’s help in ridding us of every desire for privilege, rank, status, approval, or reward in this life, and, by implication, to desire only the love of God. It is so radical, spiritually-speaking, that you may find lines that you can’t honestly pray. Yet.
If I may offer a suggestion: try praying the “Litany of Humility” every day for a week this Lent, before you head off to work, or to school, or to church, or to a committee meeting, or to the coffee shop. Meditate on its words. How often do we do things in this life not because they are good in themselves, nor because they are a blessing to others, but because they bring attention to ourselves? Because they bring us respect and status? Remember that when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, He may not ask us about our GPA, or how many letters we have after our name, or the numbers in our bank account, or how well-liked or respected we were. He may instead ask, Did you love Me? Did you love your neighbor?
The Litany of Humility
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
--Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val