Is the Vatican or the Catholic Church Super-rich?

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Is the Catholic Church or the Vatican wealthy enough to end the world’s poverty? Let’s check out first some facts about the Church’s or the Vatican’s wealth with these common misconceptions.

First Misconception: The Vatican Is the Catholic Church, and vice versa

I was guilty of this before and I thought Vatican is the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is the Vatican. But, no! The Vatican is not the Catholic Church and it does not own the Catholic Church. The Church or “ekklesia” in Greek means those who are called forth (YouCAT 121). Together we are the Church. It only happens that we, Catholics, our Church is headquartered in Vatican.

Second Misconception: The Catholic Church Is Super-rich

The truth is that there are many local churches that have enough funds but there are a lot more that can barely pay their monthly electricity bills. A diocese cannot have more than enough in a long term because richer dioceses are encouraged to assist the poorer ones (Cann. 1274).

The Catholic Church, as a whole, does not have one pool of wealth. So, saying that the Catholic Church is rich is simply false. In-country churches have their own income through collections, investments, donations, etc. The money it has is for the poor and for evangelization and nothing else. This is the reason why we do not see any clergy buying a Ferrari with the Church’s money. Surely there have been cases where a priest, bishop, or a cardinal used the Church’s money for personal use, but this kind of isolated cases of greed could happen in any organizations and not only inside the Church. The Code of the Canon Law 1273-1289 strictly stipulates the administration of goods the Church should follow.

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Third Misconception: The Vatican Gets a Part of the Collection Money from Each Catholic

This is simply false. When we give a money offering on Sunday masses, most of it stays for the parish, a percentage of it goes to the diocese or archdiocese, it never reaches the Vatican.

Fourth Misconception: The Vatican Is Super-rich

The Vatican City is a country, the smallest country in the world. And like all countries do, it has to have resources of its own to be able to support itself and its causes. But the Vatican is not super-rich. Although no concrete sources, it may have some wealth amounting $15,000,000,000 (15B). But this is only 0.0142% when compared to that of the United States of America. Even if the Vatican had 1 trillion dollars, it would still be less than 1% of the USA’s wealth. Putting it in table becomes clearer. 15 billion is extremely small when compared to these giants.

Individuals/Org/CountryLocationWealth
United States of AmericaUSA$105,990,000,000,000
Apple Inc.USA$1,300,000,000,000
PhilippinesPHL$764,000,000,000
Jeff BezosUSA$131,000,000,000
MyanmarMMR$116,000,000,000
SETADIRN$93,000,000,000
Mark ZuckerbergUSA$62,000,000,000
Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationUSA$46,000,000,000
Harvard UniversityUSA$37,000,000,000
Giovanni Ferrero (Chocolate)ITA$32,000,000,000
Vatican CityVAT$15,000,000,000

If you check the world’s comprehensive list of billionaires in Wikipedia and Forbes, you will surely conclude that the Vatican’s wealth is nothing. You may also compare the Vatican’s wealth to that of your country in this list of countries by total wealth.

From these points we learn that the Catholic Church (universally) has no money. Many would try to sum up the wealth of all individual local churches just to prove their point. Some would try to calculate the money the Vatican would make if everything it has is sold. Whatever they do, the end result would still remain a small percentage compared to that of other countries, individual billionaires, and wealthy organizations, if they were to do the same.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Catholics Wear Medals for a Reason, Find out Why

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Whenever we see someone wearing a religious medal or a crucifix, we immediately assume that he or she is Catholic. Surely a medal is one sign of that a wearer is a devout and practicing Catholic.

Even Our Lady of Guadalupe wears a medal of the holy cross when she appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531. She manifested her own consecration to Jesus Christ, her son and true God, which as we know was crucified in the cross for all the people. So, wearing medal a sacramental which is a form of popular piety.

According the the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. 1675 These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it. 

Is wearing a medal mandatory? If not, why Catholics wear them anyway?

Let’s start with this basic Catechism! Catholics believe that God is not a God of the dead (Mark 12:27, Luke 20:38) but of the living, for to him all are alive. Catholics understand that the living Church of God is composed of three states: the Church Militant (we who are striving to be holy), the Church Suffering (those who have died in friendship of God and their souls are being purified before entering heaven), and the Church Triumphant (those who are in heaven enjoying God’s company) (CCC 954, Revelation 7).

Catechism 947 states that all the faithful form one body and the good of each is communicated to others. The most important part of the body is Christ-the head of the church-who communicates these goods to all the members. And the saints in heaven, being more closely united to Christ, do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus (CCC 956, 1 Tim 2:5).

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Understanding these basic teachings of the Church will lead us away from the sin of superstition which is the belief that medals and other devotional items and practices have supernatural or magical powers in them. This is an insult to God and affects the worship we offer the one and true God (CCC 2111). Wearing a medal is not bad when we attribute all the favors and graces we received through them to God alone.

There are plenty of choices of medals nowadays but the most common ones that Catholics wear are: the St. Benedict medal, the Miraculous Medal, and the patron saints medals. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this practice dates back to 1200 when Pope Innocent III granted right to a group clergy the casting of lead medals impressed with an image of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Since then it has been widely embraced because of the good effects it does to the faithful.

Medals help us recall the mysteries of our Faith. They help us recall the times when God worked with the greatest saints on earth and how they offered their lives for God and for his Church. So, by wearing, touching, and looking at their medals, we are somehow inspired to imitate their lives which they lived in accordance to the person and mission of Christ.

In short, wearing medals of saints or any other medals is one of many ways for us to honor God in the wondrous works he did through his saints.

But take note of this fact: the Catholic Church does not oblige her members to own or wear a medal, neither she demands what medal to choose because wearing one is only a devotional act. We must remember that medals, although proven to be helpful to many, they do not guarantee salvation. Only Christ can assure us salvation. If we ask and let him, he can sanctify our souls through the sacraments of the Church he himself instituted.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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List of Sins for Our next Confession

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Examination of Conscience: List of Sins to recall for our next Confession
☐ I have performed my duties towards God reluctantly or grudgingly.
☐ I did not recite my daily prayers with faith and devotion.
☐ I received the Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin.
☐ I deliberately told a lie in confession or intentionally failed to mention a mortal sin during my previous confession.
☐ I seriously believed in superstition or engaged in superstitious practices.
☐ I seriously doubted the matters of faith.
☐ I did not make an effort to study my religion.
☐ I put my faith in danger by reading something contrary to Catholic faith and morals.
☐ I put my faith in danger by joining activities contrary to the Church (protestant services, non-Catholic prayer meetings, communist party, freemasonry, “weird cults”).
☐ I have used God’s name in vain.
☐ I have used the name of Mary or a saint in an irreverent manner.
☐ I have been angry with God.
☐ I have wished evil upon a person.
☐ I have insulted a sacred person.
☐ I have abused a sacred object.
☐ I have been a sponsor in baptism and ceremonies outside the Catholic Church.
☐ I broke a private or public vow (esp. for religious).
☐ I did not try to fulfill a promise and resolutions I made to God.
☐ I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of obligation.
☐ I did not make an effort to arrive early at Mass.
☐ I allowed myself to be distracted during Mass but not paying attention, thinking of something else, etc.
☐ I misbehaved during mass and distracted others by my attire or posture.
☐ I did not generously help the Church or the poor to the extent that I am able.
☐ I did not fast and abstain on days prescribed by the Church.
☐ I did or commanded service work on Sundays.
☐ I have broken the one-hour Eucharistic fast.
☐ I have neglected to teach my children their prayers (for parents).
☐ I have neglected to send my children to Church (for parents).
☐I have neglected to give my children Christian education (for parents).
☐ I have not given my family good religious example (for parents).
☐ I neglected to watch over my children: reading materials, movies, and their companions (for parents).
☐ I have not seen to it that my children receive the Sacraments especially Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion (for parents).
☐ I have been disrespectful towards my parents, elders, and superiors (for children).
☐ I have neglected my parents of their needs (for children).
☐ I felt hurt and reacted proudly when I was corrected by my parents (for children).
☐ I have not done well my duties at home, in school, in church (for children).
☐ I have not been cooperative with my family activities and prayers (for children).
☐ I have quarreled with my sibling/s (for children).
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☐ I got very angry and lost my temper that caused harm.
☐ I was envious or jealous of others.
☐ I harmed or took the life of someone.
☐ I was careless in my driving.
☐ I gave scandal to someone due to my dirty jokes, immodesty, etc. thereby leading them to sin of…
☐ I neglected my health by…
☐ I attempted to take my own life.
☐ I have had an abortion (for women) or encouraged someone to do it (men and women).
☐ I got drunk and harmed someone.
☐ I took prohibited drugs.
☐ I have kept anger in my heart and desired revenge.
☐ I did not ask pardon to someone I have offended.
☐ I caused harm to someone with my words and/or actions.
☐ I did not accept a sincere apology from someone.
☐ I have entertained indecent thoughts, feelings, or impure conversations.
☐ I have been guilty of impure acts with myself (masturbation) or with others (pre-marital and extra-marital acts).
☐ I have been guilty of homosexual acts.
☐ I consented to evil desires against the virtue of purity by an affinity with a married person or a consecrated person.
☐ I had a hand in contributing to the contraceptive atmosphere by my advice, jokes, attitudes, etc.
☐ I intentionally put myself in proximate occasions of sin though immoral movies or shows, concerts, comedies, dances, readings, bad company, staying in houses of ill-repute.
☐ I intentionally put myself in proximate occasions of sin by sharing a room with a person of opposite sex, or being alone with a person of opposite sex in dark places.
☐ I have friends who cause me habitual occasions of sin and I am not prepared to break off with them.
☐ I allow lust as a reason of courting instead of true love (for single lay men).
☐ I have not been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action (for married people).
☐ I have engaged in sexual activity outside marriage (for married people).
☐ I have used method/s of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage (for married people).
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☐ I stole an object or an amount of money that I have not returned or made restitution for what I have stolen.
☐ I caused damage to other’s property.
☐ I harmed someone by deception, scam, fraud, or coercion in transactions.
☐ I wasted time at work, school, or at home.
☐ I gave in to laziness or the love of comfort and luxuries.
☐ I did not work diligently and cheated on time.
☐ I gambled and denied my family of their needs.
☐ I did not pay my debts or did not returned what I borrowed promptly.
☐ I have been greedy, selfish and jealous of what others had.
☐ I told lies.
☐ I harmed the good name or reputation of someone by talking ill about them.
☐ I told secrets about myself and others without due cause.
☐ I have been critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others.
☐ I engaged myself in gossiping or back-bitting.
☐ I have unjustly accused others.
Source: 2011 Hand Book of Prayers compiled by The Sisters of Mary

Note that in each of the lines, you need to add the number of times you have committed such sin if applicable. Some entries might need further description (example: I have been angry with God because…..).

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Why the Rosary Is Never a Prayer of Vain Repetition?

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Rosary is a Marian devotion, meaning a devotion in honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary, practiced mostly by Roman Catholics. The phrase “Ad Jesum Per Mariam” or “To Jesus through Mary” is popular among Catholics. we show devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to bring our prayers to her Son, Jesus Christ. Rosary was designed to work as meditation on the life of Jesus Christ. When we pray the rosary, our minds are fixed in the significant and joyful, sorrowful, and glorious events during Jesus’s ministry.

However, this practice is being condemned by many anti-Catholics mainly because of two misunderstanding: the prayer is not biblical and the prayer contradicts the scriptures because the 53 Hail Marys (or 203 in the full rosary) are vain repetitions. This post focuses on the second reason.

The Bible verse they would use for this claim against the Holy Rosary is Matthew 6:7. “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.” This was part of Jesus’s discourse concerning prayer in the Sermon of the Mount.

Defending the Rosary against “vain repetitions”

If you too love the Holy Rosary, here is how to defend the Holy Rosary (against false claim that it is vain repetition) without getting into a debate and without risking your friendship with the claimant. This list is developing so make sure you subscribe to this blog for updates.

  1. Matthew 6:7 – Let us use the same verse they use by understanding the context more. Actually, they have this as “In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking.” (KJV) The Bible versions does not matter to us Catholics because we know that this warning was for all prayers and not specific to the Holy Rosary. We must remember that Jesus was merely warning the people (Jews) around him in general against doing good in order to be seen. Also, pagans babbles with a long list of divine names hoping one of those gods would answer their prayers. Catholics are not pagans. We also do not repeat meaningless words because the words we say in the rosary are from the Bible. So this verse per se is not something that is against the recitation of the Holy Rosary.
  2. Matthew 15:7-9. Speaking of vain repetitions, Jesus spoke strongly against those people who honor God with their lips but with their hearts far from him thus worshiping him in vain. This is not the case when we pray the rosary because when we say it we meditate Jesus’s life (the second person of the Holy Trinity). Our minds and hearts are with him while we recite the same words of the angel Gabriel and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth.
  3. Matthew 5:3-11. The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the beatitudes by repeating the same first phrase “Blessed are the …. for…” nine times.
  4. Luke 18:1-8. The Parable of The Widow and the Unrighteous Judge. The widow kept coming to the judge (God) repeating the same words, “Vindicate me against my adversary!” The parable concludes that God will vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night.
  5. Luke 11:1-4. According to Jesus, when we pray, meaning every single time we pray, we should include and repeat The Lord’s Prayer. This is the reason in all our prayer, whether personal or communal, we include and repeat the Our Father. In the Holy Rosary, we say the Lord’s Prayer 6 times (or 21 times in the full rosary).
  6. Matthew 26:44. In Jesus agonizing prayer in the garden, he prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” If then the Lord can repeat, it is logical that we also can do the same.
  7. Revelation 4:8. The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”
  8. Psalm 136:1-26. This is a striking defense we have for the defense of the repetition of the words when praying the Holy Rosary. You may refer your friend directly to this part of the Holy Scripture. Psalms means “psalter” or “book of praises”. The psalmist in chapter 136 repeated “for his mercy endures forever” twenty-six times in 26 successive verses.
  9. Luke 6:12. Jesus went out to the hills to pray all night in preparation of his selection of the twelve apostles. This does not indicate that he prayed using repetitive words but we can speculate that he did. Who can pray without repeating any word or phrases in an eight-hour long night prayer?

No human being cannot not repeat the words used from previous prayer.

No human being cannot not repeat the words used from previous prayer. That’s the truth. The words we use to express our petitions as human beings are limited and we are asked to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). Thus, there is no way a person cannot not repeat what was prayed in his/her lifetime.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Timeline: The Code of Canon Law 1983

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Per Pope Paul VI, Canon Law is of its very nature pastoral because it is the law of the Church and that its juridical aspect manifests and is of service to the divine life of the faithful especially in the matter of charity.

Catholic Encyclopedia‘s definition: Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made by or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members.

This is my own timeline version on how the Church came up with our current Code of Canon Law of 1983.

  • 1250 BC – The Ten Commandments

    In the Exodus event, when the people of God were escaping from Egypt to the promised land, God wrote ten laws in a stone plate and gave them to the people through Moses. Hundreds of Mosaic laws were derived from these commandments to their tiniest details. Jesus and Paul during their ministries criticized these derived laws that have little to no relevance to the original commandments.

  • AD 30-33 – Jesus’s New Commandments of Love

    Jesus reaffirmed these commandments in Mark 10:19 and Matthew 5. He gave the Church two new but same commandments of love – love of God (the first three commandments) and the love of neighbors (the other seven commandments). Reference verses: Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:28-34.

  • AD 33-98 – The Apostolic Times

    The apostles, including Paul, gave dispositions and ordinances as to how the Church has to be governed. Only few of these have been included in the New Testament. Paul said that the Law of Moses was a custodian or disciplinarian confined for the faith that was to be revealed in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). In 1 Timothy 3, Paul set the qualities that a bishop should possess and keep for the good of the Church. Other dispositions and ordinances that were not written in the New Testaments were the words of the apostles. The people considered their words law too and there was a need for these words to be put in writing.

  • AD 98-1100s – Pseudo-apostolic Collections

    After the death of the apostles, alternatives were made to the authority of the apostles in order to deal with heretics. The pseudo-apostolic writings contains not only Christian doctrines but also many moral, liturgical, and disciplinary norms. The Pesudo-apostolic collections include the Didache (2nd century), Didascalia Apostolorum (3rd century), Traditio Apostolica of Hippolytus (around 3rd century), The Apostolic Constitutions (4th century), and the Canones Apostolorum (5th-7th century).

  • AD 1140 – Gratian’s Decree

    Gratian was an Italian Camaldolese monk who taught practical theology (Canon Law) in monasteries at Bologna. In the year 1140, he published the “harmony of discordant laws” or Concordantia Discorantium Canonum. He put the entire mass of church legislation of the Latin Church in proper order. He also removed those canons that were no longer applicable in his times. Later on the book was called Gratian’s Decree. It dealt with many areas like the sources of law, elections, simony, law of procedure, ecclesiastical property, monks, schismatics, sacraments and sacramentals, etc.

  • AD 1234 – The Decretals of Gregory IX

    With the help of St. Raymond of Pennafort, new papal law were added to the Gratian’s Decree and this was called The Decretals of Gregory IX. It dealt with judges, trials, clergy, marriage, and crime. This was promulgated in the year 1234 and it became the first authentic collection of the Church.

  • AD 1298 – Liber Sixtus (The Book Six)

    A supplement to the Decretals of Gregory IX was promulgated by Pope Boniface VIII. Liber sixtus was the result of this supplement plus the five books of the the decretals.

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  • AD 1305-14 – Liber Septimus (The Constitutions of Clement)

    Pope Clement V added one book to the previous six books. This was promulgated by his successor Pope John XXII. It was called Seventh Book or Liber Septimus.

  • AD 1500s – Extravagantes

    These were two other decretals circulating outside the other compilations. John Chapuis was an expert canonist who edited these two collections containing the Extravagantes of John XXII and the Extravagantes Communes. The latter were the decretals issued by different Popes in the last half of the 15th century.

  • AD 1580s – Corpus Iuris Canonici (The Body of Canon Law)

    This was the official collection of canons for the Latin Church. The Body of Canon Law contains the previous six decretals or constitutions.

  • AD 1917 – The Code of Canon Law of 1917

    The purpose of the 1917 Code of Canon Law was to unify and purify the then existing laws of the Church. It was appropriate that a new codification of all the laws of the Church be done in order to have an official Code of Canon Law that would apply to the circumstances of those times in the Church. Before the 1917 Code of Canon Law there were set of decretals from many different sources and from time to time new canons would be added that need codifications. Pope Pius X, with same motive-to bring order out of the chaos-as his predecessor Pope IX, directed that all Church laws up to his time should be brought together into one clear and orderly whole. That those abrogated and antiquated laws no longer pertaining to present times were to be deleted. And that the rest of the laws should adjust to the circumstances of their times. It was a laborious task during his pontificate but with the help of an appointed commission of Cardinals, bishops, and Canon Law experts (Canonists), the Church was able to come up with an authentic, universal, one, exclusive, juridical, special, organic, well ordered, complete and harmonious Code of Canon Law of 1917.

  • AD 1983 – The Code of Canon Law of 1983

    Pope John XXIII in 1959 first intended to revise the 1917 Code and set up a commission of cardinals for the job in the year 1963. This was postponed because of the Second Vatican Council . The commission completed their work in 1971 and for seven years different drafts were given to bishops all over the world for consultation. In 1980, a compiled draft, in one volume with all the canons arranged in sequential order, was presented to the members of the commissions. It was then evaluated and another draft was again circulated to the bishops for world wide consultation. The evaluated draft was completed and submitted on July of 1981. The final draft was presented to the pope on October 29, 1981. The pope with a small group of canonists studied the final draft and made several changes. Finally, after 24 years, a new Code of Canon Law was promulgated on January 25, 1983 by Pope John Paul II.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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How to Not Misunderstand the Holy Bible?

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We’re Misunderstanding the Bible When…

1. We think we are the first ones to understand God’s message.

We think we are the first ones to understand God’s message and that there were no true Christians before us. No! The Bible has existed since the fourth century after Christ and it has been read by billions of people. Out of these, surely millions possessed higher intellect than we do and they humbly kept their faith in line with the Catholic Church. “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20). Paul said in Galatians 1:8 that even if an angel from heaven should preach to us a gospel other than the one that the apostles preached (including Sacred Traditions), let that one be accursed! So it is clear that private interpretation is prohibited and we should stick to what had been preached from the beginning of Christianity. Interpreting it on our own would be a way to found another strange sect.

2. We think that every word is an instant problem-solver today.

No! The Word of God is indeed life-giving but that does not mean whatever difficulties we have today will disappear by reading the Bible. In Biblical Hermeneutics, we encounter the word “exegesis” which means the process of finding the meaning or meanings a biblical text had for its own author and for its original readers. We have to ponder what their problems were and what God wanted them to understand. From there, we can then reflect the messages shed on the present time and circumstances.

3. We think that God taught everything from the beginning.

No! God taught his people for more than fifteen centuries from Abraham to the apostles but not everything. As per Paul, the teachings followed by the Jews were custodian laws until Christ came (Galatians 3:24-25). Other words for custodian are disciplinarian, tutor, or guide. As Christians, we have the full revelation in Christ – the Word of God. We should believe in Christ and observe all things whatsoever He had commanded us (Matthew 28:20).

4. We think that God did not have in mind the coming of his Son in the Old Testament.

No! From the very first message which God gave his people, he had in mind the coming of Jesus Christ and the mystery of his cross and resurrection. We need to read and understand the Old Testament in this light. References to Jesus, his person and mission, are mentioned in the Old Testament especially in the Book of Psalms and the Book of Prophet Isaiah.

5. We think that the most important is not clearly taught.

No! Although some parts of the Sacred Scriptures that actually have a little to teach and were written in a sophisticated way according to an old literary style, we should not cling to these strange sentences to the point of forsaking what is clear and fundamental. 2 Peter 3:16 reminds us that there are some things hard to understand (in Paul’s letter) that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.

6. We think that reading what we do not yet know is better than reading it continually.

No! We should read the bible continually as proof of our love and faithfulness to God. If we persevere, God will give us all the understanding we need.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

Reference: The Christian Community Bible: Catholic Pastoral Edition, page 7.

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St. Simeon Stylites, Atop a Pillar for 13,500 Days

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Have you ever thought of overcoming the pleasures of this world and live a life of penance and prayer? Have you actually ever started doing it but it did not really last that long? If so, you are not alone.

I live in a city where everything is easily accessible. I meant legal things like foods, entertainment, sports, etc. Nowadays we don’t need to walk or travel to satisfy our senses. Foods and drinks arrive at your doorstep, movies and games can be enjoyed at home.

Many times I resolved to reduce or detach myself from these temporal enjoyments to give way to a more meaningful life in Christ. But it is very difficult to be consistent especially in terms of food and drink intake. I could do a week or two and then after that I would lose track of it and would need to start from the beginning. So I turn to spiritual reading to gain encouragement from saintly people of the past. I read a chapter about the development of monasticism in a theology course I am taking and knew about this man who ‘lived outside the world’ for 37 years.

His name is Simeon and he was from Syria. He lived in the years 390-459. He was called ‘stylite’ (means pillar) because he lived for 37 years atop a narrow column raised around 60 feet above the desert floor. He lived a life of penance, prayer, and preaching. He survived the hot summers and cold winters in the desert for almost four decades.

I also watched a movie in YouTube about him. Luis Buñuel’s “Simón del desierto” 1965, is a 45-minutes Mexican film about his life. It highlights his battle against the devil who was trying to distract him to embrace the pleasures the world can offer. But Simeon was determined and, with God’s grace, he managed to stay up on his pillar.

People of different kinds and ages came to him for advice and prayer. One time he prayed over a man who lost both hands. God heard his prayers and the man’s hands reappeared. God does use holy people as intercessors.

Priesthood did not attract the saint. One time he asked for a blessing from a bishop, he was offered a blessing and an ordination to priesthood. Simeon humbly rejected the ordination and only asked for the blessing. He said he was a sinful man and was not worthy to receive that grace allotted for the priests of God.

Many Christians were inspired by him and became stylites themselves taking up the life of ascetics. They considered ascetical discipline as a preparation for a life of prayer and through renunciation of the world and ascetical practices they believe they would be more closer to God and gain eternal life.

I am reminded by Simeon’s life and virtues whenever I face challenges in my spiritual life. There is no other life better than living a life like Christ’s, life of no excess and life of no luxury. Simon is a great role model of this kind of life. We too can overcome the world with God’s help and the intercession of the saints.

Saint Simeon, please pray for us especially those of us enslaved by the sin of gluttony, lust, greed, or envy. Amen.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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A Necklace Tag Designed for Catholics

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After my conversion years ago, I have been wanting to wear something that is designed by myself, something of religious significance that is wearable in public. I also thought of having something unique that I could give as gift to my Catholic friends who are passionate about their faith. So I ended up with a simple dog tag design with features you see in the photos.

Thoughtfully designed for Catholics, this dog tag comes with a dose of apologetics and part of the creed we profess at Mass. So not only that I have important bible verses handy with me but I also can show the world the joy of being a member of this One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

The tag has the emblem of the papacy with the crossed keys that symbolizes the keys of Peter – our first pope. The three crowns in the emblem represent the power of the Pope as “father of kings”, “governor of the world” and “Vicar of Christ”. The gold cross on a globe surmounting the crown or tiara signifies the sovereignty of Jesus. You can read more about the emblem here.

These are the important Bible verses and Catechism paragraph numbers that are engraved in black at the back of the tag:

  • Matthew 16:18 – “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
  • Matthew 28:18-20 – “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
  • John 21:15 – When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
  • CCC 811-870 – The Catechism paragraphs that explain the Church in detail.

This dog tag is made of nickel plated stainless steel. The texts are engraved while the logo is printed directly on the tag. It comes with one stainless and one regular iron ball chains in its pouch.

You may message me if you like this design and you want to have one or if you want to give it to someone as a gift. It’s a perfect and a unique piece of gift you can give to anyone regardless of the occasion. Items are limited and are only available in few areas such as Singapore, Manila, and Lucena.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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