Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Unexpected Grace: Pope Francis Visits the Philippines

Okay, regardless of your religion, if you have access to the internet, tv, radio or newspapers, you should know that Pope Francis visited the Philippines last week!


It is a busy, jam-packed January for me. 4 weddings, a travel to Boracay (soon!), "fight" with one of the bride's modista who is a semi-scammer... This month is filled with surprises. Nothing beats Pope Francis' visit though; this seriously tops the list of my January unforgettables, it is all over the news, social media and friendly neighborhood chika.

I'm sharing some fast facts about Pope Francis which I found very fascinating:

source: http://www.onlinechristiancolleges.com/pope-francis/

What Pope Francis Gets Right

He wants church doctrine to draw people towards God instead of casting them away in shame.

• He wants to open up Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics.
◦ “I think this is the moment for mercy.”

• He approves of baptizing babies born out of wedlock.
◦ “This is not good pastoral zeal, it distances people from the Lord and does not open doors. So when we take this path…we are not doing good to people, the People of God.” (May 25, 2013)

He cares about the physical needs of the financially poor.

• He invited 3 homeless men into the Vatican to share a birthday breakfast with him. (December 17, 2013)

He’s not afraid to tackle economic policies that he thinks perpetuate injustice.
• He denounced inequality of trickle-down economic theories of capitalism. (November 26, 2013)
• He warns that the “idolatry of money” can lead to a “new tyranny.”
◦ He wrote, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” (November 26, 2013)

His heart breaks for the downtrodden.
• He not only acknowledge but also embraced and kissed a deformed man who suffers from neurofibromatosis. (November 6, 2013)
• He washed the feet of 12 criminal offenders including two women and one Serbian Muslim. (March 28, 2013)

He doesn’t take himself too seriously.
• During a Pontifical Council he allowed a child who wandered on the stage to sit in his chair. ( October 26, 2013)
• He caused a commotion when people saw him carrying his black bag as he walked toward his flight in Brazil. (July 22, 2013)

He emphasizes people over hot-button issues.
• He thinks it’s unnecessary for the church to always focus on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. (September 19, 2013)
◦ “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” (July 29, 2013)
• When asked if he approved of homosexuality, he replied with another question: “`Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.”

He strives for a simple life.
• When possible, he chooses modest cars like a Ford Focus over the Papal fortified Mercedes.
• He chose to live in a building reserved for visiting clergy and lay people instead of the plush papal quarters.
◦ “I’m visible to people and lead a normal life. All of this is good for me and prevents me from being isolated.”
• Prefers to wear more humble attire. Francis is keeping his black shoes, foregoing the red cape popes usually wear, and chooses to wear his regular black pants under the robe. He’s also keeping the iron-plated pectoral cross he used as archbishop, and his papal fisherman’s ring isn’t gold but gold-plated silver.
He takes risks to care for the poor.
• Sometimes he dresses up like an average priest and sneaks out to give money to the poor living on the streets of Rome.
• He visited the violent slums of Rio de Janeiro and gave an inspiring speech.
◦ “No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world! No amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself.” (July 25, 2013)

He humbly admits that he does not have all of the answers.
• When asked to describe himself he said, “I am a sinner.”
• “The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt,” he said. “You must leave room for the Lord.”

He wants to redistribute the power of the church.
• On January 12, 2014 He chose his first group of Cardinals to reflect his belief that the church must pay more attention to the poor. The 19 men are from Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did! Viva Santo Papa!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy 2015!

I hope it's not too late to greet everyone here a "Happy New Year"!

January 1, 2015 saw my family and I attend mass at St. Pio Centre, Libis Quezon City. We have been continuing this tradition for three consecutive years now ( and I do pray that we can keep on doing every January 1st forever)! As usual, the church is packed with people!

I'm beyond thankful that we got through 2014, but am praying for our friends and relatives who underwent (or are still undergoing) difficult times.

Being a lawyer has taught me to look past the casual smiles and friendly "kumustahans" of friends and acquaintances. When people post enviable pictures on facebook or Instagram, our (my, actually haha) initial reaction is usually to say, "Wow, this person is very lucky! I don't mind switching places with him/her! Does he/she even wake up with something as trivial as bad hair day?" But now, I realize that everyone is going through something at some point-- believe me, there are oceans of problems drowning your neighbors, officemates, facebook friends and even the security guard manning the store near where you live. Some of their problems are quite unimaginable! I've been privy to some confidential info (which could be the topic of hot gossip if passed on the wrong hands) because people just need help. They want to talk to someone who will tell them what to do. However, more often than not, I learn that their problems are not LEGAL controversies-- meaning there's no law involved. I'm just sad when I cannot do anything, no advice, no whatsoever for them since many of them come up to me with the expectation that I can say or teach them something to whisk their problems away. When this happens, I just tell them: PRAY. Some are disappointed, "So, ganon na lang yun?" Some are persistent, "Pero sabi ni xxx pwede ako..." Some are less than appreciative of the time you allotted to meet up and listen, "Thank you nalang, pero.."

Guys, ito lang, it is not an easy world but we can make it a more livable place for us.

I wish that wars, scams, poverty, corruption, sickness, quarrels, lying.. all these would stop, then maybe the hurt a lot of people are experiencing would dissipate (my work could be a lot easier too). Let us pray more, that we could have the peace we are all longing for. This 2015, let's start and make it a habit to whisper our prayer every now and then; call on God more, involve Him in our daily and mundane activities and let Him work His ways in our lives.