Thursday, September 30, 2010

Word on Fire by Fr. Robert Barron

I want to invite everyone to visit the Word on Fire website. It is run by Fr. Robert Barron, Catholic priest/evangelist/speaker/theologian/award winning author from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Fr. Barron combats the crisis of faith in our culture by proclaiming the Word through the utilization of advanced and emerging technologies, internet, radio stations, cable TV, and DVDs. I love listening to his sermons because they are thought-provoking and very insightful. He seems to have this ability to dwell into the natural and elevate it to the supernatural. He does not limit himself to purely spiritual topics. He also has video commentaries on pop culture, current social events, famous personalities, etc.

Fr. Barron is currently working on a documentary entitled The Catholicism Project in which he "seeks to explore, through a global journey, the living culture of the Catholic Church. From the lands of the Bible, to the great shrines of Europe, to the shores and heartland of America, to the mysteries of Asia, to the rich landscapes of Latin America, to the beating heart of Africa - and beyond, witness the passion and glory of the faith that claims over a billion of the earth’s people as its own." (WOF website)

Be inspired by Fr. Barron and set your spiritual life ablaze by visiting

"I have come to light a fire on the earth." Luke 12:49

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homosexuality: A Special Call to the Love of God and Man

A very sensible article on homosexuality forwarded to me by my online accountability partner. Article is written by Dr. Jeffrey Mirus.

Most of us are forced by cultural circumstances to say far more about homosexuality than we would like. Because of the persistent moral challenge presented by gay advocacy, most of what we have to say is negative. This troubles me because it is just another burden for those with homosexual inclinations who are committed to living chastely in accordance with the teachings of Christ and His Church. So I’d like to take time out from the culture wars to look at things from the perspective of these courageous men and women, to whom I believe we owe a significant debt.

Sexuality is an important part of our identity as persons. By this I mean primarily the question of whether we are male or female, which is part of the core definition of who we are. I do not mean that our sexual inclinations are part of our self-definition in the same sense. Inclinations, however deep-seated, do not define us for the simple reason that we can master them. For example, I cannot change the fact that I am male no matter how much self-mastery I attain, but I can control to a considerable extent how my maleness expresses itself and I can even alter over time the degree to which I am subject to the temptations that typically afflict males. Yes, my inclinations are part of me. But they do not define me.

At the same time, sexual inclinations play a huge role in our lives because they are so closely linked to our core identities. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts this nicely in number 2332: “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.” The Catechism goes on to say that we should “acknowledge and accept” our sexual “identity”— that is, our maleness or femaleness:

Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out. (2333)

Trial and Cross

For the overwhelming majority of men and women, it is one of the more significant moral, spiritual and psychological projects of life to integrate, control and channel a broad set of sexual inclinations which essentially fit this natural model, this model of complementarity and mutual support between men and women. Some may voluntarily deny direct physical expression of this complementarity, adopting virginity for the sake of the Kingdom; others may do so because they do not have the opportunity for marriage and they wish to be chaste. Clearly, both situations can be challenging, and the acceptance of an involuntary single state can be a heavy cross.

But a person with homosexual inclinations faces an even greater challenge. He or she must not merely integrate, control and channel sexual inclinations, but must largely deny them altogether, not only in their physical expression, but also in a far broader range of affectivity which is conditioned even in small ways by sexual interplay: Heightened interest, a sense of romance, a special tenderness. It is true that a celibate priest must be very careful of what we might call sexually-tinged affectivity, on the altogether sound theory that one thing leads to another. But the person with persistent homosexual inclinations must suppress or redirect such inclinations to an even greater extent. This is an enormous challenge.

Now consider such a person in a culture which is pressing full tilt for the embrace, approval and even glorification of this same affectivity which he is called by Christ to suppress or redirect. And finally, consider him (or her) in a subculture of chastity in which he must constantly hear arguments against the positions of gays (i.e., those who advocate a specifically homosexual lifestyle), arguments which are sometimes clumsily expressed in ways which denigrate “homosexuals” generally and which, even if they are not clumsy, keep his conflicted sexual inclinations ever before his mind. In this subculture of chastity—hopefully a Christian subculture—others may find relief from their long, wearying preoccupation with their sexual defenses, but not he.

Which of us, in our wildest flights of sacrificial piety, would beg God for this particular cross?

Perception and Disorder

In a cultural vacuum, it ought to be relatively easy to understand intellectually that homosexual inclinations are disordered. It ought to be fairly clear that the sexual faculties are both naturally ordered to the propagation and preservation of the species and supernaturally ordered toward a kind of union among man, woman and child which mirrors the essential fecundity of Divine love. When one notices that one’s own sexual inclinations do not tend toward this sort of union and fecundity—or even this ability to reproduce—then one can perceive a very definite disorder in those inclinations. There may be something one can do to alter them; they may be a very confused set of inclinations which are bound up with past experiences or habits, and so amenable to change as one comes to terms with these experiences or habits. Or there may be no way to eliminate the inclinations at all. Nonetheless, that they are disordered can be intellectually grasped.

But we are fallen, and our intellects are dark, and the predominant ideas of our surrounding culture often darken them even more. It can be very difficult to see what ought to be obvious. In our own culture, sexuality is commonly viewed from the point of view of the immediate pleasure it can provide; its deeper meanings and longer-term consequences are typically ignored. Most people slip into a lifestyle based on this relatively superficial understanding of sexuality through the practice of contraception, which distorts the nature of sexuality and seems to permit a more casual definition. This is why, in treating the question of contraception within marriage, the Catechism quotes John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (On the Family):

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality…. The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle…involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. (Cat 2370; FC 32))

A culture which is built upon the premise that the meaning of sexuality is exhausted by its ability to be manipulated for immediate pleasure does not lend itself to informed intellectual judgments about what is or is not disordered. The question simply doesn’t arise. Our culture, therefore, is an enormous barrier to the self-understanding of all men and women, and it places particular obstacles in the paths of those who are trying to understand, alter or at least live at peace with their inclinations toward other persons of the same sex.

Affective Reach

Those of us whose human affectivity is not rendered fundamentally problematic by the disorder of homosexual inclinations may find it difficult to perceive just how deeply and in what a far-reaching way our affectivity colors our entire lives and all of our relationships. We all must learn to control our likes and dislikes, our emotional reactions, our tendencies to favor some persons and ignore others, the way we pay compliments, the amount of flirting that is acceptable, and the degree to which we permit attractions that are at least partially sexual to color our behavior. We also learn to shape the expression of our masculinity or femininity in various ways, smoothing rough edges, exercising restraint, suiting ourselves to the situation.

For those with a properly ordered heterosexual affectivity, there is a general subconscious delight in the interplay between male and female, a sense of difference and complementarity and joyful mystery. On those occasions when we act inappropriately, the consequences may be unpleasant, but both our affective range and our mistakes are generally understood. We may have to learn to behave differently—to guide and channel our affectivity more suitably and more productively—but we do not have to suspect, reject or alter its basic orientation. Though our sexuality colors and influences much or most of what we do in subtle ways, there is nothing about it that we must fundamentally call into question or doubt.

This is not the case for those whose affectivity is persistently imbued with homosexual inclinations. The attractions they find natural, mysterious or even exhilarating will be perceived by most people as inexplicable or even repulsive. If one seeks comfort and solace in the company of the small minority who share these attractions, the dangers are obvious. Yet not to do so can force one to question one’s affectivity at nearly every level. Why is so much of what I feel and how I interact with others imbued with a sexual pattern that others cannot understand and are likely to reject violently? Is my entire outlook, my entire attitude toward life and love fundamentally broken? Am I therefore incapable of love? Am I even unworthy of it?

Am I worthless? If our affectivity itself is suspect, how can this question fail to arise? I do not wish to exaggerate the issue. Even though every human difficulty can be assigned to some class, each difficulty remains above all personal. The depth and consistency of our feelings are very personal, and different people will surely experience the problem of homosexual inclinations in different ways, to different degrees, and with greater or lesser impact on larger concerns about their fundamental integrity and worth as human persons. In general, however, it seems fair to say that the question of self-worth must surface whenever the fundamental nature of one’s own affectivity is called into question. Therefore, with this particular cross, the question is very likely to come up.

Affirmation and Mission

Some wonderful supporters of have written to me about this, expressing something of their trials, their struggles, their hope and their faith. This has been inspirational for me, and I am even more convinced from such exchanges that whenever devastating questions arise in the mind and heart of anyone with persistent homosexual inclinations, these questions must be answered decisively—and without a moment’s hesitation—in a way which affirms the person as one who is so beloved by God as to have been entrusted with a special mission.

The Catholic tradition is rich in understanding of victim souls, those who seem to have been put on this earth primarily to suffer physically, perhaps being ill or even paralyzed their whole life long, yet embracing a mission of love for souls, and growing into an intense and fruitful union with God. All of us, of course, are victim souls in smaller ways in that we each have our own crosses, which are so many opportunities for spiritual growth and cooperation with Christ: “In my flesh,” says St. Paul, “I make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church” (Col 1:24). So must we all, if we are Christians, and we should rejoice in the opportunity. Nonetheless, it is clear that some souls are singled out for a particularly obvious mission of redemptive suffering.

All of us are afflicted by deficiencies, defects and disorders in our human nature as a result of the Fall, but no deficiency, defect or disorder comes to any one of us by chance. In every case, then, these things are crosses to be embraced for our own good and the good of others. And in some cases, the particular deficiency, defect or disorder provides a signal opportunity. It is an opportunity to bear the cross as a witness to a particular aspect of Christian life which needs strengthening if souls are to grow and prosper in the love of God.

Now again, some persons may find that they can free themselves of homosexual inclinations through a change in lifestyle, through therapy, and through prayer. But it is nonetheless clear that as long as they are afflicted by this disorder, they are called to be chaste. Let us again consider the Catechism:

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teaches them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2359)

But note that something precious follows from this. Homosexual persons, by the very nature of their particular cross, must raise chastity to a special height, dealing not only with physical temptation but with the broad range of their own human affectivity. It follows that those who must suffer this disorder throughout their lives have been chosen by God to give a particular and exalted witness to the virtue of chastity. This is vocation as beautiful as it is arduous, and it is doubtful that its importance to our sex-saturated age can be overestimated.

One must be wary of using single terms to describe anyone, for such terms obscure more than they clarify even as they minimize the rich diversity of the human personality. But I will use the single term here for the first and only time in this essay: The homosexual is called to be a special and extraordinary witness to the triumph of love over feeling. There is in this, I think, an analogue to the dark night of the soul. It is Love Himself who calls the homosexual, perhaps in a special kind of darkness, and it is in Love alone—and not in feeling—that he will bring many souls to heaven in his wake.


Dr. Jeffrey A. Mirus, author and publisher, is the co-founder of Christendom college and founder of Trinity Communications — a non-profit corporation to advance the Catholic Faith through education and the media. Dr. Mirus is the father of six children. He and his wife Barbara currently reside in northern Virginia. Article courtesy of

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly News (Fourth Week of September)

1. US Bishops Warn Against Book on Sexuality

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 23, 2010 ( The U.S. bishops are cautioning about a book that claims to teach "Catholic anthropology" but in fact goes against Church doctrine on human sexuality. [Read More]

2. Sorsogon Bishop Backs CBCP Stand vs Illegal Gambling

MANILA, Sept. 24, 2010—Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD said he fully supports the campaign of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines against illegal gambling as he pledged to issue another pastoral statement for his diocese reiterating his commitment against the proliferation of the illegal numbers game. [Read More]

3. Mass to Commemorate 2009 Manila Floods

A memorial Mass for victims of Typhoon Ketsana marks the first anniversary of the Metro Manila tragedy on Sept. 26. [Read More]

4. Catholics for Equality Leader Calls for Activist Unity Against Bishops

San Francisco, Calif., Sep 24, 2010 / 09:04 am (CNA).- One board member of the dissenting homosexual advocacy group Catholics for Equality says it is “imperative” for activists to unite against “the anti-gay bishops,” whose opposition to same-sex marriage he calls “appalling.” [Read More]

5. Thank You, John McCain! Republicans Block Repeal of Military’s Homosexual Exclusion Law

America owes a debt of gratitude to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for leading the fight against the Democratic leadership’s destructive and reckless attempt to homosexualize the military by ending the ban on homosexual servicemen. [Read More]

6. QUOTE: Lady Gaga Wants to ‘Turn the World Gay[Read More]

7. CDC Report Accurate, But Ignores Truth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released some startling statistics on homosexuality and HIV. [Read More]

8. Despite Legal Threats, Mexican Cardinal Refuses to Retract Condemnation of Homosexuality

MEXICO CITY, September 24, 2010 ( - The Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City is refusing to retract his statements condemning homosexual behavior, despite a complaint filed against him with the federal government's National Council to Prevent Discrimination (Contrapred). [Read More]

9. Benedict Wows Britain

“Pope Benedict’s declarations over the past few days have been remarkable and, in modern Britain, virtually unprecedented,” writes English columnist Stephen Glover in today’s Daily Mail. [Read More]

10. 'True' Fish Tales

Scientists discovered in 2005 that birth control chemicals were deforming fish in the nation’s waterways — a phenomenon known by science today as “fish feminization.” [Read More]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Having No Sense of Innate Worthiness

This is a guest post of a blogger brother in the community on the root cause of his SSA - fatherlessness. Isn't this what is happening now in our society? Some fathers are physically absent in the home because of work. Others may be present physically but are absent or distant emotionally. In both cases, the effect is almost the same - a child searching for his/her place and identity in the world with no positive role models to look up to - a case of identity crisis.

Why am I so extremely upset whenever I think I am incorrectly judged to have evil motives for the good I do?

I have finally discovered the answer: Because I am afraid to be thought of as bad. Because I can't accept the fact that I could be a bad person, that there might be evil residing in me. Because that's how I fancy myself to be: a good boy. Because I am afraid I would be rejected if I was bad, that I would NOT have any self-worth left if I was bad, because it was never impressed upon me (by my father) that I have innate worth, that I deserved to be loved, even if I was not good, useful, or worth a hundred bucks.

I could have reacted differently: not get affected at all. (In Tagalog, dedma lang.) Then why am I so affected?

One distinguishing mark of a broken person, I have found in my own self, is being prone to hypocrisy, NOT because I was born bad but because I've been victimized and got stuck there, because I have conditioned myself to think this toxic 'should': I must be perfect, so I will feel loved. It's the form of self-protection I had resorted to as a child. (Other people's own defense might be different, e.g., extreme hate directed at their offender.)

I needed to delude myself of this for sheer survival, mistakenly believing that, if I was not perfect or good, I was nothing. I therefore frequently seesaw between extremes: utter holiness and sexual debauchery, awful rectitudinousness and guiltless lust. It's a life of constant highs and lows, high and lows.

Instead of being in touch with my dark shadow, it's a life-and-death situation for me to project holiness and perfection. I could NOT possibly accept the very idea that I could be bad, capable of great evil, because that's precisely where I had anchored my self-worth, my sense of validation: on my own alleged goodness and level of perfection and how others would see me. In other words, it's the same old tiring story of seeking my father's love, approval, affirmation (all of which I never got as a child).

For the longest time, I've been unable to grasp something a nonbroken person would find so easy to accept: that I could be bad, capable of evil, and yet still deserve the love and mercy of God (and others) because my innate dignity as a human being does not depend on how other creatures look at me but on God's unconditional love.

Effectively compartmentalized, I have therefore detached myself from my dark side, denying I had ever such a side. The illusion (or self-delusion) is thus preserved.

Because this also meant I have unknowingly projected my own self-hate on other people, I've grown to be very critical of other people's fault. I could easily spot in others what was wrong inside of me.

One danger of these realizations is self-condemnation leading to depression. What I've learned to do, thankfully, is to remind myself of the obvious (but not to me): That it's okay for me to be bad, just like any other people, because I am nonetheless loved despite it all. And I can always ask forgiveness and improve the next time. That I can be an adult and ask forgiveness (and forgive others) and improve. That it's okay to own up to my guilt, to admit I was wrong, that people make mistakes, but I can be responsible, repair the damage, and face whatever the consequences. Most of all, that it's okay to call on God most strongly, precisely at this point when I thought He has left me, when the truth is it's me who has turned my back on Him, mistakenly believing I just have lost the right to ask.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aftercall's New Website

Besides Courage Philippines, there are also other Catholic support groups for people with SSA. One of them is Aftercall, who also shares with us a common objective of providing an alternative way of life to the 'alternative' lifestyle. They, however, are not anonymous like us. They are the "front liners" in the battlefield who seek and reach out to those who are living the active gay lifestyle.

I just want to thank the Aftercall Community for linking us to their new website at They used to host their site at, but the new platform has a more clean-cut look.

More power to our Aftercall brothers and may you continue to spread your ministry everywhere! Let us continue to support each other in truth and in charity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly News (Third Week of September)

1. More Cheers Than Jeers for Pope's London Visit

Day 3 of UK Trip the Most Intense, Significant

LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010 ( Today was the most intense and historically significant of the Pope's state visit to Britain. [Read More]

2. Pope: Science Becomes 'Dangerously Narrow' When Religion, Ethics Ignored

London, England, Sep 17, 2010 / 08:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Benedict XVI stressed the need for open minds in science on Friday, adding that researchers must be ready to consider religious and ethical perspectives. His words came as the U.K. prepares to pass provisions protecting sex changes next month. [Read More]

3. Church Leaders Urged to Step Up Jueteng Fight

MANILA, Sept. 18, 2010—Bishops, priests, and the religious must give more for the fight against jueteng or risk jeopardizing the morals of the society, an anti-gambling prelate said. [Read More]

4. Obama’s New ‘Gay’ Army – Lt. Gen. Bostick Compares Soldiers who Oppose Homosexuals in Military to Racists [Read More]

5. Phoenix Bishop Excommunicates Pro-Gay Priest Over Woman’s Ordination

PHOENIX, Arizona, September 17, 2010 ( – The Catholic bishop of Phoenix has excommunicated a priest who had openly supported the homosexual agenda, but crossed a line by participating in the attempted ordination of a woman to the Catholic priesthood. [Read More]

6. Congressman Says Internet-Fueled Sex Trafficking Too Big for Government Alone

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2010 ( – Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) told a House subcommittee on Wednesday that stronger efforts need to be made to curb the scourge of child sex-trafficking, which has gained new fuel through the internet. Such an effort must involve stronger laws, but also needs the full and voluntary cooperation of foreign governments, businesses, and private citizens, he said. [Read More]

7. Perkins: 'We must Love People Enough' to Combat Homosexuality

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15, 2010 ( - Conservatives' principled opposition to same-sex "marriage" is based, not on "homophobia" or any animus against homosexual persons, but on a genuine love for homosexual individuals that propels leaders to teach the truth about homosexuality and the damage it causes, said Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins last week. [Read More]

8. Pope and Westminster Archbishop at Odds on ‘Gay Marriage’

ROME, September 14, 2010 ( – As Pope Benedict XVI prepares for his historic state visit to Britain later this week, his unequivocal message on the inviolability and sanctity of natural marriage is clashing sharply with the approach of the country’s top Catholic cleric to the issue of homosexuality. [Read More]

9. UN: Maternal Mortality Declines by One-Third Despite No Abortion Legalization

New York, NY ( -- UN agencies and pro-abortion groups have told women and governmental bodies across the world that the only way to reduce maternal mortality is by legalizing abortions. Even though abortion has not been made legal in a slew of new nations, the UN today reports maternal mortality has declined by one-third. [Read More]

10. Putting the Catholic (and Theology) in College

What’s the importance of a Catholic college education? It helps students and graduates weather the storms of today’s secular culture, say university educators from Catholic institutions featured in the Register’s Catholic Identity College Guide. [Read More]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Henri Nouwen on Forgiveness

Some Nouwenian quotes on forgiveness from the e-book Bread for the Journey. Thanks to a blogger friend who sent it to me. These posts are so timely for me. Today, we discovered that our water meter was cut off and stolen. Maybe the thief could sell it for a few hundred bucks. That means no water for us until the Maynilad repairmen install a new water meter. I know that times are hard, but it does not justify stealing your neighbor's property. This is where forgiving becomes challenging for me because I do not really know who to forgive in the first place! I just pray that the thief would later realize the wrong he has done and for heaven's sake OWN UP to his misdeed and repent.

Forgiveness, the Cement of Community Life

Community is not possible without the willingness to forgive one another “seventy-seven times” (see Matthew 18:22). Forgiveness is the cement of community life. Forgiveness holds us together through good and bad times, and it allows us to grow in mutual love.

But what is there to forgive or to ask forgiveness for? As people who have hearts that long for perfect love, we have to forgive one another for not being able to give or receive that perfect love in our everyday lives. Our many needs constantly interfere with our desire to be there for the other unconditionally. Our love is always limited by spoken or unspoken conditions. What needs to be forgiven? We need to forgive one another for not being God!


Receiving Forgiveness

There are two sides to forgiveness: giving and receiving. Although at first sight giving seems to be harder, it often appears that we are not able to offer forgiveness to others because we have not been able fully to receive it. Only as people who have accepted forgiveness can we find the inner freedom to give it. Why is receiving forgiveness so difficult? It is very hard to say, “Without your forgiveness I am still bound to what happened between us. Only you can set me free.” That requires not only a confession that we have hurt somebody but also the humility to acknowledge our dependency on others. Only when we can receive forgiveness can we give it.


Forgiveness, the Way to Freedom

To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.


Healing Our Hearts Through Forgiveness

How can we forgive those who do not want to be forgiven? Our deepest desire is that the forgiveness we offer will be received. This mutuality between giving and receiving is what creates peace and harmony. But if our condition for giving forgiveness is that it will be received, we seldom will forgive! Forgiving the other is first and foremost an inner movement.

It is an act that removes anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge from our hearts and helps us to reclaim our human dignity. We cannot force those we want to forgive into accepting our forgiveness. They might not be able or willing to do so. They may not even know or feel that they have wounded us. The only people we can really change are ourselves. Forgiving
others is first and foremost healing our own hearts.


Forgiving in the Name of God

We are all wounded people. Who wounds us? Often those whom we love and those who love us. When we feel rejected, abandoned, abused, manipulated, or violated, it is mostly by people very close to us: our parents, our friends, our spouses, our lovers, our children, our neighbors, our teachers, our pastors. Those who love us wound us too. That’s the tragedy of our lives. This is what makes forgiveness from the heart so difficult. It is precisely our hearts that are wounded.

We cry out, “You, who I expected to be there for me, you have abandoned me. How can I ever forgive you for that?” Forgiveness often seems impossible, but nothing is impossible for God. The God who lives within us will give us the grace to go beyond our wounded selves and say, “In the Name of God you are forgiven.” Let’s pray for that grace.


Healing Our Memories

Forgiving does not mean forgetting. When we forgive a person, the memory of the wound might stay with us for a long time, even throughout our lives. Sometimes we carry the memory in our bodies as a visible sign. But forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. When we forgive our parents for their divorce, our children for their lack of attention, our friends for their unfaithfulness in crisis, our doctors for their ill advice, we no longer have to experience ourselves as the victims of events we had no control over.

Forgiveness allows us to claim our own power and not let these events destroy us; it enables them to become events that deepen the wisdom of our hearts. Forgiveness indeed heals memories.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

12 Steps To Forgiveness

"What does it take to forgive?" is the question that Fr. John Monbourquette, best-selling author, priest, and psychologist, poses to each and every one of us. In life, you will surely meet individuals who will shake your spiritual foundation and values to the core (I have already reached my quota, believe me!) - those rude, pesky, annoying, despicable, and repulsive creatures who offend you big time and leave you seething in anger and revenge. How to deal with those rats?

Fr. Monbourquette suggests a 12 step-by-step guide in order for us to arrive at authentic forgiveness. In his book How To Forgive, A Step-By-Step Guide, he enumerates each of these 12 steps with a corresponding practical exercise at the end of each step. That is the second part of his book. The first part deals with the nature of forgiveness. I will enumerate the 12 steps here and some relevant quotes, but I urge you to grab a copy of this book at St. Paul's Bookstore. It will be of great help to you especially if you are struggling with unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment.

The 12 Steps to Forgiveness

Step I: Do Not Seek Revenge - Put an End to The Offending Actions.
"Violence never put an end to violence, only non-violence can."

Step II: Recognize Your Pain and Poverty
"No one who continues to deny that they have been hurt and that their inner poverty has been laid bare will be able to forgive."

Step III: Share Your Pain with Someone
"It gets complicated when offenders refuse to acknowledge what they have done or are absent, unreachable, unknown, or dead."

Step IV: Identify Your Loss Properly So You Can Grieve It
"If you do not grieve what you lost, you will not really know how to forgive."

Step V: Accept Anger and the Desire for Revenge
"To my mind, love is destroyed not by anger, but by indifference and the fear of opening up."

Step VI: Forgive Yourself
"Only by humbly forgiving ourselves will we be open to the possibility of forgiving someone else."

Step VII: Understand Your Offender
"Once we know a person's background and history, we can put ourselves in their place and understand their unusual behaviors more easily."

Step VIII: Make Sense of the Offence in Your Life
"I invite you to discover the positive meaning of the offence or give it some meaning in your life."

Step IX: Recognize That You're Worthy of Forgiveness - and Already Forgiven
"You are worthy of forgiveness; you have been forgiven many times in the past."

Step X: Stop Trying So Hard to Forgive
"Only when it comes from a heart that is free and forgiven can forgiveness spring forth."

Step XI: Open Up to The Grace of Forgiving
"While God takes the initiative in granting forgiveness, God cannot force anyone to accept it."

Step XII: Decide Whether to End or Renew the Relationship
"After a serious offence, it is impossible to resume the former relationship, for the simple reason that it no longer exists and cannot exist again."

I want to thank a community brother who gave this book to me. I am not yet finished reading the book as I must admit it is not an easy book to read. There are exercises at the end of each step and you might find yourself stuck in a particular step but that is okay. Move at your own pace and let Him guide you at each step. The book will not only guide you on how to forgive, but also on coming to terms with your personal issues, hence, a journey towards self-discovery.

How to Forgive is an honest and touching book which unlocks the liberating and transformative power of forgiveness.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekly News (Second Week of September)

1. Vatican Not Sweating UK Protests

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 10, 2010 ( The Vatican isn't worried about the possibility of protests during Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom next week, says a spokesman. [Read More]

2. CBCP Office Launches Education Program For Disabled and Street Children

MANILA, Sept. 8, 2010—The Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in collaboration with the Manila Chinatown Lions Club and the Malacca Lions Club has launched a one-year education sponsorship program. [Read More]

3. US Catholic Bishops Denounce 'Outright Bigotry' against Muslims

Washington D.C., Sep 9, 2010 / 05:54 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several U.S. bishops attended an interfaith dialogue earlier this week in Washington D.C. and voiced their opposition to recent events in the country that have displayed anti-Muslim sentiments. [Read More]

4. Legalization of Gay Unions Would Be Injustice to Common Good, State Bishops of Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica, Sep 10, 2010 / 06:03 pm (CNA).- The Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica has sent a message to the country’s lawmakers noting that it is an injustice to sacrifice the common good and the rights of the family in response to pressure from those who support making gay unions equal to marriage. [Read More]

5. Calif. Judge Oversteps Authority, Orders Stop to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy

A federal judge said she will issue an order to halt the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, after she declared the ban on openly homosexual service members unconstitutional. [Read More]

6. Paraguayan Legislator Seeks to Discourage Publicity for Homosexuality During Prime Time

ASUNCIÓN, September 8, 2010 ( - A Paraguayan city council member has drawn the wrath of the homosexualist organization Amnesty International by proposing that discussions of homosexuality be eliminated in the local media during prime time. [Read More]

7. NIH Expedites Grants for Human Embryo Destroying Research

BETHSADA, Maryland, September 10, 2010 ( – The National Institute of Health (NIH) is expediting the grant process for outside researchers in human embryonic stem-cell (hESC) research, after the D.C. Court of Appeals gave them an emergency stay until September 20 on a judge’s order halting their work. [Read More]

8. Parents Can Teach Chastity to Their Teens (Believe It or Not!)

Studies indicate that teen sexual activity dwindles in the summer and then increases in the fall as school reconvenes and teens spend more time together. [Read More]

9. Teens, Sexuality, and John Paul II's Teaching

DALLAS, SEPT. 9, 2010 ( Teenagers have a particular capacity to understand God's plan for human sexuality through John Paul II's teaching on the theology of the body, says Monica Ashour. [Read More]

10. Homosexual Protesters as Bullies and Crybabies

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spiritual Warfare Prayer

Spiritual warfare prayer courtesy of Robert Canton Ministries

Lord Jesus, You are my Savior and my Deliverer. I thank You for dying for me on the Cross, because through Your death and resurrection, You have set me free. I renounce right now any and all allegiance that I have ever given to Satan and his host of evil spirits. I resist them and I refuse to be intimidated or be used by them in any way whatsoever. I rebuke all their attacks upon my body, my emotion, my mind and spirit in the mighty name and by the power of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Jesus' name, I break the transmission of any and all satanic vows, spiritual bonds, pacts, soul ties and demonic works. I dissolve any and all curses, hexes, spells, traps, snares, obstacles, deceptions, lies, evil desires, evil wishes, hereditary seals, and every disease, infirmity and affliction from any source including my mistakes and sins by the blood of Jesus. In Jesus' name, I break and dissolve any and all evil effects or ties associated with astrologers, clairvoyants, channelers, charters, crystals and crystal healers, mediums, fortune tellers, occult seers, palm, tea leaf or tarot card readers, psychics, satanic cults, santeros, quack doctors, spirit guides, witches, witch doctors, superstitious beliefs and practices, and the new age movement. By the precious blood of Jesus, I break and dissolve all effects of participation in seances and divination, ouija boards, horoscopes, occult games, and any form of worship that does not offer true honor and recognition of the Holy Trinity and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

I stand secure upon the promises in the power of the Cross of Calvary whereby Satan and all his cohorts became defeated foes through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I stand upon and claim all the promises of God's Word. In humble faith, I do here and now put the whole armor of God that protects and enables me to do battle and to stand firm against the schemes and tactics of the evil one. I take the authority given to me by the Lord Jesus Christ through my baptism to tread on the serpents and scorpions and on all the powers of the evil one. In faith, I cover myself, my loved ones and all our possessions with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus. I give You praise and honor and glory. You are the Victor over all evil and all glory belongs to You.

Fill me now with Your Holy Spirit and help me to become more like You. Mother Mary, I entreat you to place your mantle of protection upon me for you have crushed the head of the ancient serpent. I also ask for the protection of the Angels in heaven, the Angels of powers and virtues and healings, the Angels of love and joy and peace, the Angels of safety and protection, Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael and all the legions of angels to surround me and to minister to me and my loved ones all the days of our lives. I ask this in Jesus' Name and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Men Pursuing Purity

Is God calling you to abandon the gay lifestyle? This is a personal testimony of Bro. Rollie's journey from the gay lifestyle towards the path of purity. I hope that this post will help to inspire you to say 'yes' to God's call and begin your personal journey towards healing and holiness.

Loving Well by Rolando C. Delos Reyes II

Growing up, I thought love means that "kilig" feeling you have when you see someone – I equated love to attraction. However, as a young boy I was disturbed because I have "kilig" feelings not towards girls but towards boys and men. I tried to stop these feelings by burying myself in studies and prayer, but it won't go away. Then through suggestive romantic stories I got the idea that when people are in love, they do stuff with one another's bodies – I then equated love to sex. At 14 years old I had my first homosexual experience with my schoolmate who happens to be my neighbour. My father caught us one time during the act, and even though I was trembling with fear, deep inside many questions were left unanswered – "Why am I doing this?", "Am I gay?", "Is this love?".

I hid myself in my innermost shell, turned to religion, and decided to enter the seminary after high school. With high spirits, I thought I had finally escaped that dark part of my childhood. After a year, we had a subject on counselling – little did I know my Pandora's box will be opened – my dark spirit came back with a vengeance. My hunger for love, which I equated with sex, grew out of proportions, and two of my fellow seminarians became victims of that hunger. I was advised to leave the seminary – my dream of becoming a priest was shattered, and I felt my life in shambles. I came home shattered – I equated love as evil. I pronounced an inner vow that I must be careful about loving someone.

I came to UP Diliman and was shocked by the liberal thinking that pervade the learning halls. With a spirit of rebellion, I embraced this new way of thinking and began exploring the homosexual lifestyle. After graduation, I came to teach in a school were most of the teachers are practicing homosexuals. They introduced me to the gay world – going to movie houses, gay clubs, bath houses – and began involving myself in indiscreet casual anonymous sexual encounters with other men. I was like a vampire looking for men to devour to satisfy my insatiable hunger, from my waking hours to my wildest dreams. My friends taught me not to get seriously involved because men will just hurt us. I then equated love to a game, a game of seduction and control. And I did exactly that. However, each night I return from my escapades feeling empty within. One night I ask one of my friends the most profound question: "Ganito na lang ba tayo?". My friend responded "Masaya naman di ba?". But I know I wasn't happy.

To balance my sinful life, I also joined a choir at our parish. Every Sunday, I served in the choir to pay back the week of sinful acts. I know it wasn't good enough, but I felt better. A choir member invited us to a Christian Life Program of Singles for Christ. I relented thinking this might earn me more good points before God. I finished the program and began attending some activities. Our care group of men showed me kindness, but I did not receive it. I thought to myself – I do not deserve this kind of love. I left SFC and isolated myself once more. I came back to my sinful ways.

In 2001, after working 3 years in a corporation, an officemate told me they are opening SFC in the office, and they wanted to invite me to be part of it. Full of pride, I asked to have a talk with the chapter head, and I told him that I was gay and he needs to accept me as such. He just smiled, shook my hands and embraced me. I didn't know how to react, but I said to myself "Lets give this another try". I attended the meetings and quickly became friends with most of the people. At this time, I also got acquainted with the support group Courage, who helps persons with homosexual attractions. For the first time, I felt I was not alone in this struggle with sin.

In SFC I met two heterosexual men who asked me to be part of their accountability circle. At first I hesitated – how can I relate with you, and how can you relate with me, we live two different lives? But eventually I yielded. As we shared one another's struggles and problems, we found out we were no different from each other. Benj and Biboy became my best friends. However, in time they got married, and though in my mind I know that's ok, in my heart I felt I lost a big part of myself. I held an agreement – love will eventually leave you alone. At the same time I had a Courage brother who has resentments towards me and spreads ill accusations against me. I held another agreement – love will eventually betray you.

That's when I met Living Waters. It is here that I learned that our need for love is so much greater than our capacity to love. I surrendered to be the victim of the Father's unfailing love, and it was then that I began to gain knowledge of my true self in God's eyes – that I was Forgiven, that I am God's son whom He is well pleased, that I am not just a man but God's knight whom He calls to serve in front of His army. In every program I let God take full control and He flooded me with torrents of love – and I discovered that it is only when I am full of God's love that I can truly love others well.

I am incapable of love outside of God's love. Without God, I can easily treat others with envious lust or rash judgment. Without God, I tend to isolate myself and go back to my false self. As God fills me with His love, I am able to love another out of the abundance of the love He gives me. God's love enables me to be secure in my identity as His son. As I am secured in His love, no unlovable act of others affects me. Sin becomes meaningless in the face of perfect love. As I continue to recognize God's presence in me, a positive sobriety begins. And I begin to understand the meaning of Jesus' command "Love one another as I have loved you" – we are able to love another only in the degree that we experience God's unfailing love and mercy towards us. As we grow in our love relationship with Jesus, we slowly become united with him, and it is then that we become another Jesus to others.

"If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts" - Hebrews 3:15

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weekend News (First Week of September)

1. Pope Recalls Being "Hemmed in" by Nazi Dictatorship

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2010 ( Referring to his own experience as a young man, Benedict XVI is encouraging youth to foster their desires for "something beyond everyday life," since that longing is a sign of God's "imprint." [Read More]

2. Archdiocese Promotes NFP Using Book

MANILA, Sept. 1, 2010— It has been said that the road to knowledge begins with the turn of the page. And for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, one way to effectively promote natural family planning (NFP) methods is through books. [Read More]

3. Filipinos Snub Caritas Flood Aid Appeal

A week after appealing for aid for Pakistan flood victims, Caritas Filipinas is yet to receive donations from Philippine dioceses, says a Caritas official. [Read More]

4. Why Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality Isn’t Bigoted [Read More]

5. Behind the Mexican Court Decision on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

Most Mexicans Oppose Controversial Approval

Mexico City — Although Mexico is a traditionally Catholic country with strong family values, recent legislative and court decisions have given a strong boost to the homosexual-rights agenda. [Read More]

6. Same-Sex Divorce' Revoked

A Texas court has reversed a judge's decision to grant a divorce in a case that involves two men. [Read More]

7. Texas Court Upholds Ban on Gay ‘Marriage’

DALLAS, Texas, September 3, 2010 ( - A Texas appeals court has struck down a trial court’s ruling Tuesday that the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage” violated the rights of a homosexual couple seeking a divorce. The court declared that “the natural ability to procreate” constituted the rational basis to restrict marriage to a man and a woman. [Read More]

8. USAID Pushes Social Marketing of Contraceptives in Philippines

MANILA, September 2, 2010 ( - The Philippine government is implementing a new marketing scheme developed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to push contraceptives on the largely Catholic population of the country. [Read More]

9. Mother Teresa left no future plans for her order, recalls Mother Mary Prema

Vatican City, Aug 23, 2010 / 05:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa, has no set plan for the future, revealed the current Mother Superior. In an interview released on Monday by Fides news agency, she said that Mother Teresa left them only with her constant advice: to become ever more holy. [Read More]

10. Fr. Robert Barron Comments on Mother Teresa and Her Sisters

Today, Sept. 5, is the feast day of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Farewell, Bro. Joe

Brother Jose "Joe" Garcia, former president of Courage Philippines and founder of Ichthus Community passed away yesterday, August 31, 2010, at around 7:15 p.m. after eight months of battling stage IV lung cancer with metastases to the bones. His remains will be brought to his hometown Malabon and transferred to Baclaran and UST Chapel for viewing of community friends, students, and colleagues. He will be cremated on September 7.

Bro. Joe's unique calling to the SSA ministry led him to proclaim the truth about homosexuality to the secular world at large and offered hope to people struggling with SSA that change is possible. He is a loss to our cause. I enjoin you to offer prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. Bro. Joe Garcia was my first mentor in this healing journey.

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in your peace. Amen."