Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ANG PANANAMPALATAYA NG MGA KATOLIKO: Ang Katesismo, ang pinakamahalagang kaalaman sa lahat, sa isang pahina


Sa madaling salita: Ano ang Magandang Balita na inihayag ni Jesus?

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Our_Holy_Mother_Of_Perpetual_Succour.jpg
Iniibig tayo ng Diyos. Nilikha niya tayo upang maisabuhay ang kanyang pag-ibig at lubos na kaligayahan. Ang Diyos Anak ay naging tao –si Jesus– at namatay upang iligtas tayong mga makasalanan. Muli siyang nabuhay upang maibahagi sa atin ang kanyang buhay, at sa gayon maging banal kaisa ni Jesus.

Basehan: Bakit ito pinaniniwalaang totoo ng mga Katoliko?

Ang Diyos ang tumutulong na maniwala tayo. Siya ang Katotohanan at Kabutihan na hindi maaaring manlinlang. Makatuwiran ang ating pananampalataya. Bahagi ng kasaysayan na si Jesus ay nabuhay at naghimala. Matapat niyang inihayag na siya ay Diyos. Matapos na patayin, siya ay nasaksihang buhay ng higit pa sa limangdaang katao; marami sa kanila ang naging martir para patotohanan si Jesus. Itinatag ni Jesus ang kanyang Simbahan; ang pundasyon nito ay si San Pedro, ang pinuno ng labindalawang Apostoles. Iginawad ni Jesus kay San Pedro ang kapangyarihan ng isang pinunong ministro at guro. Nananatili si Jesus sa kanyang Simbahan upang maibahagi nito ng buo ang kanyang inihayag sa Tradisyong oral at nakasulat, ang Biblia. Sabi ni Jesus: “Ako ang dinidinig ng nakikinig sa inyo.” (Lk 10:16).

KREDO: Naniniwala tayo sa pag-ibig ng Diyos

May isang Diyos Ama na nagmamahal at makapangyarihan sa lahat.  Nilikha niya ang lahat mula sa kawalan at pinanatili niya ito. Nilikha niya ang mga anghel –pawang espiritu– at ang sanlibutan. Nilikha niya ang mga tao na may espiritu at materya: may katawang espiritu. Sa labis niyang pagmamahal, ipinagkaloob ng Diyos sa atin ang “grasyang nakapagpapabanal”. Ito ay isang pakikibahagi sa buhay ng Diyos! Higit pa sa buong sanlibutan ang grasya na nasa isang tao. Ang Diyos ay pag-ibig na lubusang nagbibigay ng kanyang sarili. Nilikha niya tayo na kalarawan niya. Tayo ay mga persona na may isip at may malayang kalooban, at itinawag tayo na isabuhay ang pag-ibig ng Diyos.

Sina Adan at Eba, ang mga unang tao, ay natukso ng isang makasalanang anghel, ang diyablo. Sinuway nila ang Diyos.  Mula noon, nagkagulo at humina ang isip at kalooban ng lahat ng tao. Ang pinakamasama sa lahat ay nawala ang grasya sa atin. Ito ang tinatawag na kasalanang mana. Ang Diyos ay laging matapat sa pag-ibig at humuhugot ng kabutihan sa kasamaan. Yamang hindi natin kayang likhain ang grasya at ligtasin ang sarili, gumawa ang Diyos ng paraan upang muli tayong maging banal. Naging tao ang Diyos mismo upang ipakita ang kanyang pag-ibig sa atin. Sinimulan niya ang ugnayan ng kanyang pag-ibig sa atin.

Si Jesus ay Anak ng Diyos at ating Tagapagligtas. Ang kahulugan ng kanyang pangalan ay “Ang Diyos ay nagliligtas.” Ipinanganak siya ni Birheng Maria. Lumaki siya sa kanyang pamilya, nagtrabaho at “pinaiigi niya ang lahat.” (Mk 7:37) Sinunod niya ang Diyos at mga awtoridad. Tinanggihan niya ang mga tukso ng diyablo na maging sakim, palalo at makasarili. Nagsimula siyang mangaral: “Magsisi kayo sapagka’t nalalapit na ang Kaharian ng langit.” Niligtas tayo ni Kristo, ang Pinahiran, bilang ating Hari (Daan) na gumagabay sa ating kalooban sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga batas; bilang Propeta (Katotohanan) na naghuhubog sa ating isip na makilala ang Diyos at malaman ang kanyang plano; bilang Pari (Buhay) na nagdarasal at nagbibigay sa atin ng grasya.

Si Jesus ay tinutulan at ipinako sa Krus. Bilang Bagong Adan na palagiang sumusunod sa Diyos, inialay niya ang sariling kamatayan. Dahil sa kanyang wagas na pagmamahal sa kanyang Ama at sa bawa’t isa sa atin, iniligtas niya tayo sa ating mga kasalanan. “Wala nang pagmamahal na hihigit pa sa pag-aalay ng sariling buhay alang-alang sa kanyang mga kaibigan.” (Mt 15:13). Muling nabuhay si Jesus sa araw ng linggo at natamo natin ang grasya na maging mga anak ng Diyos.

Sa Pag-akyat ni Kristong Hari sa langit ipinadala niya sa atin ang Diyos Espiritu Santo, ang Pangatlong Persona ng Santatlong Diyos, na nagbibigay ng buhay sa Simbahan, ang Katawan ni Kristo. Siya rin ang nagbibigay ng lahat ng katotohanan at paraan upang maging banal ang tao. Ang lahat ng ito ay naibabahagi sa lahat ng miyembro ng pamilya ng Simbahan. Ang bawa’t tao ay mamamatay, at siya ay hahatulan ni Jesus ayon sa kanyang pag-ibig. Ang pumanaw na kaibigan ni Jesus at nananatili sa grasya ay makakapiling ng Diyos sa langit. Ang nangangailangan pa ng paglilinis ng kaluluwa ay magdaraan muna sa purgatoryo. Ang may kasalanang mortal sa Diyos ay magdurusa sa impiyernong walang-hanggan. Sa wakas ng panahon si Jesus ay babalik, bubuhayin ang mga namatay at hahatulan ang lahat ng tao sa lahat ng kanilang mga ginawa at lahat ng kahinatnan nito. Ang mga banal, kasama ni Jesus, ay maghahari sa kanyang kahariang walang-hanggan. Doon ang Diyos na siyang Pag-ibig ay lahat para sa lahat.

MGA SAKRAMENTO: Ipinagdiriwang at tinatanggap natin ang buhay ng pag-ibig ni Jesus

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Black_Nazarene.jpgAng pangunahing gawaing pagliligtas ni Jesus ay ang kanyang Pagpapakasakit, Kamatayan at Muling Pagkabuhay. Itong lubusang pag-ibig ni Jesus ay tinatawag na Misteryong Pampaskuwa. Sentro ito ng buhay ng Kristiyano. Isinasa-ngayon ito ni Jesus sa liturhiya o pagsamba ng Simbahan na umiinog sa pitong sakramento. Ang mga sakramento ay mabisang tanda ng grasya—buhay ni Kristo na ibinibigay sa atin. Sa Binyag, ang unang sakramento, si Jesus ang kumikilos sa kanyang pari. Ibinubuhos ang tubig na nag-aalis ng kasalanang mana at ibinibigay ang buhay  ni Jesus. Tayo ay nagiging isa pang Kristo, si Kristo mismo: “Si Kristo ay nabubuhay sa akin.” (Gal: 2:20)

Ang buhay ni Jesus, Anak ng Diyos, ay lumalago sa atin sa pamamagitan ng iba pang mga sakramento. Ang Kumpil (para lumakas tayo), Kasal (para gawing banal ang buhay pampamilya), Mga Banal na Orden (para maordenahan ang mga pari na siyang nagbibigay ng mga sakramento sa atin), Pagpahid ng Langis sa Maysakit (para gawing banal ang mga mamamatay). Kailangan natin ang Diyos. Kung wala siya ay wala rin tayo. Kaya nga’t dapat tayong magpakumbaba at madalas tumanggap ng awa sa Kumpisal. Ito ay nagbabalik ng nawalang grasya dahilan sa kasalanang mortal at nagpapagaling ng kaluluwa. Mabuti ring tanggapin nang madalas si Jesus sa Eukaristiya, ang taluktok ng gawaing pagliligtas ng Diyos at ng ating pagsamba.

MORALIDAD: Isinasabuhay natin ang lubusang pag-ibig ni Jesus

Ang Kristiyano ay nabubuhay sa dangal at kagalakan ng isang anak ng Diyos: tayo na galing sa kawalan ay tumatanggap ng kapagbigayang walang hanggan mula sa ating Ama, at sa gayon tayo ay mapagbigay sa Diyos at sa kapwa. Ang tunay na pag-ibig ay ang pagnanais ng kabutihan sa kapwa, lubos na pagaalay ng sarili at pakikipagisa sa kalooban ng Diyos. Ang ating kalayaan ay ang kapangyarihan na kumilos o hindi kumilos. Sa gayon tayo ay mapanagutan sa ating pagkilos. Inuulit natin ang mga mabubuting gawain na naaayon sa ating budhi at tinatanggap ang pag-ibig ni Jesus sa atin – sa kanyang batas at grasya. Sa ganitong paraan lumalaganap ang ating mabuting asal at kalayaan. Kung magkasala man tayo sa Diyos Ama ay lubha tayong nagsisisi. Pinagdiriwang niya ang ating pagbabalik-loob at pinupuspos ang ating kaligayahan.

Isinasabuhay natin ang mga pagpapahalaga ni Jesus, ang Mapapalad, at ang dalawang pinakamahalagang utos: Mahalin natin ang Diyos nang buo nating puso, pag-iisip, lakas at kaluluwa, at mahalin natin ang ating kapwa gaya ng ating sarili para sa Diyos. Umaasa, sumasamba at nagtitiwala tayo sa kanya. Kinikilala natin siya ng lubos. (ika-1 utos) Madalas nating sambitin ang kanyang pangalan (ika-2). Tuwing linggo nakakatagpo tayo ng ginhawa sa Diyos at sumisimba tayo (ika-3). Mahal natin ang ating pamilya (ika-4). Nirerespeto natin ang dangal ng bawa’t tao (ika-5). Ginagalang natin ang sekswalidad ayon sa isang malinis na pamumuhay (ika-6 at 9). Maging makatarungan (ika-7 at 10). Maging makatotohanan (ika-8). Tayo ay may pananagutan sa kapatiran, kabutihan at katarungang panlipunan ng tao.  Maawain tayo sa mga mahihirap, sa mga nangangailangan na kung kanino natin nakikita si Jesus.

MISYON: Isinasabuhay natin ang lubusang pag-ibig ni Jesus sa kanyang pagligtas sa lahat ng tao

Kaisa natin ni Jesus sa kanyang tanging misyon na iligtas ang lahat ng tao. Ito ay sa pamamagitan ng pagsunod natin sa Diyos at sa kanyang Simbahan sa ating pangaraw-araw na pamumuhay. Bilang Kristong hari, tayo ay kusang naglilingkod, nangunguna na pangasiwaan ang sekular na sanlibutan sang-ayon sa mga pinagpapahalagang bagay ni Jesus. Bilang propeta, pinapahayag natin ang ebanghelyo at ginagawang alagad ang lahat ng tao. Bilang pari, nagdarasal tayo: masigasig nating ginagawa ang ating mga tungkulin bilang alay na sakripisyo, kaisa ni Jesus sa Eukaristiya.

DASAL: Isinasabuhay natin ang lubusang pag-ibig ni Jesus sa pakikipag-usap sa Diyos

Ang isang Kristiyano ay tumutulad kay Jesus at sumusunod sa kanyang utos na “Dapat laging manalangin.” Dahil dito ay nabubuhay tayo na laging kapiling ang Diyos. Kinakausap natin ang ating kaibigan na si Jesus. Iniaalay natin ang lahat ng ating gawain para sa kaluwalhatian ng Diyos. Naglalaan tayo ng panahon araw-araw para makasama ang Diyos: para pagnilayan ang Salita ng Diyos at ang mga turo ng kanyang Simbahan, at para pagmasdan, tanggapin at purihin ang pag-big ni Jesus na siyang kahulugan at buod ng lahat ng bagay. Sinasabi natin sa kanya: “Iniibig kita. Salamat. Sorry. Tulungan mo pa kami.” Bilang mga anak ng Diyos dinadasal natin ang “Ama namin” at dumudulog tayo kay Birheng Maria, ating Ina. Ibinibigay niya si Jesus sa atin.

I-download ang isang pahinang Katesismo dito. Ang PDF ay nandito.
Ito ay isinalin sa tulong ni Fr. Rolly Sia at Dr. Raul Nidoy. 
Para sa Bagong Ebanghelisasyon, kopyahin at ipamigay sa marami. Pwede ring ipagbili.  

Ang original ay nasa ingles: What Catholics Believe

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Working like the best in teaching Religion

When I started teaching Theology to freshmen students at the University of Asia and the Pacific in 2011, I was intent in learning how to be effective and to do the job as St. Josemaria taught: to work like best or better than the best. More so since the job I was doing is about giving the most important knowledge of all: the faith.


My students after their oral report
The following year, in my work at the Parents for Education Foundation (PAREF), we also started reviewing how to improve the teaching of Religion. So we researched on the best methods of teaching religion and to our pleasant surprise, we found a treasured document of the Catholic Church which was unknown to us: The General Directory for Catechesis. More and more documents and literature started coming in as that was also the time of the preparations for the Synod on the New Evangelization, then later came Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium.


In all these literature, the four things I found most important were: First of all, a clear statement of the problem, “Catholics are catechized but not evangelized”. Secondly, we have to focus on the one goal of all catechesis established by the Church: “intimacy and communion with Jesus Christ”. Thirdly, the key way expressed by the Synod:  The objective is “not only the intellectual adherence to Christian truth, but also the creation of a personal encounter.” Lastly, Pope Francis’s point: the kerygma is the oft-repeated central message.


Soon enough I saw how effective implementing all the guidelines was in bringing about changes in my students. I had a student, a Protestant, who was one of the rowdiest I have ever seen.  He always came to class uptight, with angst, talked loudly with people across aisle, and even when I asked him to stay in front, he would look back and talk with another person.  Inevitably, this student was failing his tests. One of the activities I organize to bring about a personal encounter is a 15-20 minute prayer in the chapel called Time Alone with Jesus. I explained how powerful it would be if they converse with him in a heart-to-heart way.


This boy decided to go to the very front of the chapel, bowed down for a full 20 minutes, and prayed intently. He was transformed. He passed my class at the end of the semester, and his other subjects too. Every time I would meet him in the university he was beaming, with deep gratitude for that class. He always looked relaxed, all the angst gone. Around two semesters after, he told me that his average was 1.9. Because of this result, and because of other things I learned through time, I have come to add the practice of holding two-minute pauses during class as an opportunity for everyone to discuss with God what they learned, and I would always stress what St. Josemaria taught: As you acquire doctrine, you can meditate, you can realize that God is looking at you, and that you are looking at him.


At the start of each semester, after clarifying the relational goals of the course, I usually do two things. First, explain the importance of truth, relativism as the greatest problem of our time, and the rational foundations of the truth of our faith. I love to say that Christianity, as Cardinal Ratzinger puts it, is the Religion of the Logos, the religion of Reason. Then I teach the students the synthesis of Christianity, the kerygma: God loves us, then a summary of the four parts of the Catechism which reveal this.


For the first, I ask the students to give an oral report on one of these topics: why God is real, why Jesus Christ is the real God and why the Catholic Church is the one Church of the real God.  To guide them, I give out a one-page leaflet titled A Most Intelligent Choice that contains the summary of the key reasons for these three points. The only criterion for grading their report is that their argumentation is convincing. I found out later that, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this is in fact a building block of any catechesis: to examine the reasons for belief. And good results came in every time.


The latest one was revealed to me two weeks ago. One of the students introduced himself at the beginning of the semester as a Born Again Christian. All the rest in the family are Catholics, but he converted because he loved the atmosphere he found in Born Again meetings. After two to three months of classes, he told me about his doubts, and we went through, in more detail, a one-page handout entitled Ten Reasons the Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus, and I referred him to the website Catholic Answers for his other questions. And so two weeks ago, he came to see me after class and he told me: Sir, I went to Confession and I am so happy. I feel like a new born baby! I saw him in the hallway a few minutes after that, and he told me he likes praying to God when rides the bus and is thinking of becoming a priest, and that he has been talking to a friend to come and see me so we can talk about the Catholic faith. 


Another student who turned around was probably the most brilliant student I have ever had.  Her essays were perfectly structured. Her two-minute report finished at 1 minute, 59 seconds. She said at the beginning that she was an atheist, and I would see her seated in class, face down, writing notes without joy. Two weeks after the beginning, she gave her report. She said that two things struck her on the first day of class. First, that no one threw Holy Water at her when she said that she was an atheist. And secondly, the question written in the very first power-point slide: Why is God important? Her report was a beautiful exposition on how meaningless life is without God. Through the weeks, she would, little by little, look up, becoming more interested in class, and interact with her classmates. Two-thirds through the semester, she went over to my desk right after class, with an excited smile on her face: Sir, I have decided to go to Confession today.


A third result was that of a Catholic boy who was never taught anything about the faith until my class. He was deeply in love with a girl who belonged to one of the Christian sects in the Philippines. And her father told him he could not continue the relationship unless he converts to their sect. Heartbroken and psychologically shaken, he went to see one of the Chaplains telling him that he needed help since he was convinced from class that the Catholic Church is the one true Church but he had this dilemma. He went to Confession for the first time, broke off with his girlfriend, and became a strong advocate of Confession. He would later explain in class that Confession is much better than going to a psychiatrist. It not only gives clarity of mind. It gives us back God's life and is free of charge.

The idea of ensuring that the students have a personal encounter with God pushed me to keep on looking for other ways to make this encounter happen. So I introduced the visit to the poor and sick. I announced this as a field trip, getting the students to rejoice at the thought. The most striking effect happened after I was accosted by four of my girl students one day. One of them was crying, distraught due to family issues and problems with her grades. She said she wanted to commit suicide. I tried to help her the best I could, gave her advice, and asked her three friends to support her. By sheer providence, we had our “field trip” scheduled the following week.  On the first class after our visit to the hospital, I asked for feedback. Immediately, the girl who earlier wanted to end her life raised her hand. There was a light shining on her face. She said, Sir, I was touched by grace! I thought that my problems were so big, but I realized that they were nothing compared to the sorrows the patients suffered.


After seeing such results, I shared my experiences of implementing the Church’s guidelines with other religion teachers. On the occasion of the Year of the Family in the Opus Dei and the Year of the Poor in the Philippines in 2015, we encouraged family visits to the poor in all the PAREF schools. To help push this, I wrote another one-page leaflet, Loving the Poor, containing the teachings of the Popes, St. Josemaria, and Blessed Alvaro. The reactions of the parents and the kids were beautiful. One parent of a Grade Three student said, echoing the sentiments of many parents: This is something we plan to do regularly. Another parent said: This activity was an eye-opener for both children and adults. One remarked: It makes us feel good and better persons knowing that a short time spent with the children creates happiness and an unforgettable experience.


The adventure of teaching religion in the key of the new evangelization –the only way it can be best taught—is only beginning. And what a great horizon there is ahead. As I write this, news about the one-page evangelization leaflets which can be mass produced has just arrived from Vancouver where a parish is using them for its parishioners. But this is another story for another day.

Written February 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The hypocrisy of Catholics is a very strong argument for the infallibility of the Church - Peter Kreeft


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This is the conclusion of a Calvinist thinker who turned Catholic after a wide search for one mistake that would prove the Catholic Church false. Peter Kreeft knew about G.K. Chesterton's witty reply when asked about the strongest argument against Christianity: Christians. 

A Jew who visited the corrupt Vatican 

So when his Calvinist friends found out that he was reading about Catholics, they recommended that he read the books of anti-clericals. The book he read contained a story that led him to the Catholic faith. There was a Jewish businessman who was thinking of becoming Catholic, but had to go to Rome to do business with the Vatican during the time of some of the most corrupt Popes in history, the Borgias. The bishop that the Jew was talking with tried to dissuade him to go, for fear he will change his mind. But the businessman, a practical Jew, said that for him business was first, and the pleasure of converting was second. 

Six months later, the Jew returns asking for baptism into the Church, even after seeing the hypocrisy of the Pope and the cardinals. "I am a practical Jewish businessman. One thing I know for sure: no earthly business that stupid and corrupt could possibly survive 14 weeks. Yours has lasted 14 centuries. It is a miracle.”

Kreeft explains: The hypocrisy of Catholics is a very strong argument for the infallibility of the Church. When Popes were assassinating each other, they never added a doctrine that said now you can assassinate the Pope. When they had 13 mistresses they never said that it is okay for Popes to have mistresses. The doctrine remained absolutely pure even though the practice was never very good and sometimes was horrible. That was very impressive.  

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told the same story and he quotes the Jewish businessman as saying: "It is because of all these that I have become a Catholic. For if the Church continues to exist in spite of it all, then truly there must be someone upholding her." 

Napoleon wanted to destroy the Church

Ratzinger continues: "And there is another story, to the effect that Napoleon once declared that he would destroy the Church. Immediately, one of the cardinals replied, 'Not even we have managed that!'

I believe that we see something important in these paradoxical tales. There have in fact always been plenty of human monstrosities in the Catholic Church. That she still holds together, even if she groans and creaks, that she is still in existence, that she produces great martyrs and great believers, people who put their whole lives at her service, as missionaries, as nurses, as teachers, that really does show that there is someone there upholding her."

Napoleon died in prison, while the Pope he persecuted and imprisoned, returned to Rome and took care of his family. While Napoleon was in prison, this same Pope requested the British jailers of the exiled emperor to be kind to him. Despite many attempts of powerful rulers and influential theological rebels to destroy it, the Catholic Church is presently acknowledged even by secular science as the largest non-governmental provider of education and medical care in the world. And serious secular historians have discovered that Catholic priests and laity have been at the foundation of humanly beneficial things such as modern science, university education, economics, hospitals, international law, human rights and Western art. These works reflect, in the eyes of theologians, the identity of the Catholic God: Logos (Reason), Truth, Love, Justice, and Beauty. 

Misplacing the blame

When people say they don't believe the Church because of the hypocrisy of pedophile priests and bad Popes, they are "misplacing the blame," says Catholic Answers. "If a preacher, religious, or layman fails to live up to the standards he is preaching, the blame lies with him and not with the message he preaches. His actions say much about himself but not about the teachings of Christ. ... By way of analogy, if it were proven tomorrow that Albert Einstein was a child molester, that would not disprove the theory of relativity." In fact, the Catholic Church does not have more child abuse cases than other institution, such as the family, Boy Scouts, Protestant groups, public school teachers, and the Church has done more than any other institution to address this problem of today's society.

Despite the sins of its children, the Church is called holy because Jesus has decided to forever unite himself to it as his body, giving it his powers of sanctifying. Jesus gave his Church the power to forgive sins in Confession (Jn 20:23) and to celebrate his saving sacrifice (Mk 14; 1 Cor 5). It is individual Christians who back away from Christ's sanctifying power and cause scandal that make it difficult for people to see Christ in the Church. But Christ is there, because when he was on earth he loved to be with sinners, and he continues to be with us precisely because we need him.

Download the one-page leaflet version of this article here
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24 hours after posting, this article was viewed 54,274 times. After another 24 hours, it reached around 122K views

A must read: Ten Reasons the Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus or A Most Intelligent ChoiceBrief but strong arguments for the truth of God, Christ and the Catholic Church.

Important for change of life and tranquility of mind: Confession: Simple Reasons, Simple Steps


Note: These free one-page leaflets have started going viral around the world. Leaflets were posted in the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London ("The Mother Church of England") and  in the Corpus Christi Parish in Canada, in Kenya and in Macau. To get the full collection, please see this:  One Page Leaflets for New Evangelization Starting to Go Viral! The leaflets are easily multipliable for mass distribution in schools, communities, etc. They can also be sold with or without profit.