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God is Love

This is so powerful that I need to share this to all young Filipinos especially to my students. We choose to love but be firm in the faith.

God is love

Photo credits to the owner.

Fatherly Message to the Youth and Children of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan

My dear children of God in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan:

Through social media, you have been sadly exposed to the cursing, threats and shaming by the President of our country. Choose to love him nevertheless, but stay in the truth of our faith. Be firm in faith.

He must have received so much rejection and hurts in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now. If he had been loved much, he would be giving so much of that love too. He could be a victim of his scarred past and his wounded background. Pray for him with compassion. We pray for his healing and for God’s forgiveness on him but we must rebuke his errors about our Christian faith. He is a person in authority and some of you might get confused when you hear him. To pray for him is not enough. We must serve you the truth as we pray for him.

I am writing this to defend you from the gross errors that you have been hearing. If I keep quiet you might be misled. God gave you to us, your priests in Lingayen Dagupan, as our children. It is our duty to teach you. Some of you might ignore me or even rebuke me; but that will not stop me from teaching those among you who sincerely ask for guidance. I cannot stop serving you the truth.

You have heard the President attack our Christian beliefs. The story of creation is being taunted repeatedly. You have been hearing him curse God. God has been called insulting names–words we always told you not to say or even write. You are even being challenged to leave this Church of your birth, the Church of your grandparents.

Here are some questions and the right answers from the YouCat (Young Catechism of the Catholic Church) and I encourage you to read it.

Why did God create us?

God created us out of love. God is love. God is mercy. Never forget or doubt that.

What is religion?

Religion is man’s natural longing for God. God has placed in our hearts a certain kind of restlessness that can only be cured if we rest in God.

What do we mean when we say “God created the world”?

It does not mean that God himself by His direct action created the world all at once, completed in six days, as if the Book of Genesis were an eye witness account. This error is called “creationism”. (YouCat 41)

Creationism naively interprets biblical data literally. This a wrong interpretation of the teaching “God created the world”.

The creation account is not a scientific model to explain how the world began. When we say God created the world, we mean God willed the world. It means the world is not a product of chance.

Each of us is a result of a thought of God, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. (Pope Benedict XVI).

Does God want us to suffer and die?

God does not want us to suffer and die. Listen to what the saints say.

We have lost paradise but have received heaven; the gain is greater than the loss (Saint John Chrysostom).

Human weakness cannot upset the plans of God. A divine master builder can work even with falling stones (Cardinal Michael Von Faulhaber).

O God, to turn away from you is to fall. To turn to you is to stand up. To remain in you is to have sure support (Saint Augustine)

Is that not beautiful and wise of God to do? Only a beautiful and wise God can turn sin into a great blessing. The devil is opposed to this kind of love. The devil cannot understand or refuses to accept what is so clear. The devil is blinded by pride so he cannot love like God.

What is original sin?

Although sin implies guilt for which one is responsible, original sin is not like that.

Pope Benedict XVI explained it this way. Human beings were born with a drop of poisonous thinking of “not trusting God”. Human beings look at God as a “rival” who curtails our freedom. Human beings harbor a “suspicion against God”. Human beings think that we can be fully human if God is cast aside. Human beings trust deceit rather than truth. Because of this tendency, human beings sink to emptiness and death. That is what original sin is. Jesus came to lift us out of that emptiness and death.

What does “Church” mean?

The Church is all of us called forth by God. The Church is not just bishops and priests, deacons and nuns. The Church is people, the people called by God together. God wants to redeem us, not individually, but together. The Church continues what Jesus started.

Is the Church a sinful institution?

Viewed from outside, the Church is only a historical institution perhaps with historical achievements but also faults. In its history, the Church had made mistakes and even crimes—a Church of sinners indeed.

But that view is quite shallow and incomplete.

Christ is so involved with us sinners that he never abandons his Church even if the Church betrays him every day.

The Church is an embroidery of sin and grace. In the Church, sinful humanity and holy godliness are one. The holiness of God never leaves the Church.

Is it time to stop believing in God?

Said Pope Benedict XVI, “When God disappears, men and women do not become greater. They lose their dignity and splendor and eventually end up abused and used”.

This is what our present national situation is showing us. When we cast God aside and curse his name, killing becomes easier. Stealing is normalized. Vulgarity becomes funny. Adultery is applauded. All because we want God to disappear in our lives.

What is the second Commandment?

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

What does the second Commandment require?

It is a terrible offense to blaspheme God, to curse using God’s name. Places, things, names and people who have been touched by God are “holy”. Sensitivity to what is holy is called “reverence”.

“Reverence is the pole on which the world turns,” said Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe. We lose reverence for the sacred and we ruin the world.

What duties do citizens have toward the State?

A Christian must love his homeland. We must defend our nation in time of need, serve the institutions, pay taxes, vote and even run for office if needed. Every Christian has a right to offer constructive criticism of the State and its organs. The State is there for the people, not the individual for the State (YouCat 376)

When must we refuse to obey the State?

If a State should establish laws and procedures that are racist, sexist or destructive of human life, a Christian is obliged in conscience to refuse to obey, to refrain from participation and offer resistance. (YouCat 377).

Admonition

My dear children in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan, please pray the rosary, go to confession and receive Holy Communion frequently. We are in a spiritual warfare against error and sin. Shield yourselves from error and guide your fellow youth in godliness. Read more about the faith. Study the true teaching of the Church.

Harbor no grudge but be critical and discerning. Be respectful of your parents and those in authority and choose good manners all the time even if you hear and see the opposite. Do not bash back at those who bash you in social media. Fill social media with kindness and truth. Take courage but be loving all the time. Be firm in the faith. Bawal ang duwag pero huwag makipag-away. Conquer evil with good (Romans 12:21)

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, June 25, 2018 Memorial of Santo Domingo Henares, a missionary who served in Pangasinan and died a martyr in Vietnam.

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Up

There was no way but up.

It was a tough ride for the past years.

Time to bounce back, to regain strength, to love and to serve more.

I know it was diffucult to start again from the bottom of the pit but I was humbled by the experience.

Up

The heart of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST) are the students or learners. A new door opened for me. A lot of discoveries and many meangful memories!

I learned a lot and I met new people.

I’ve just started.

A bigger purpose was slowly unravelling right before my eyes.

Thank you God for surprising me everyday.

I cling on Your unfailing love.

Let Your will be done.

I can’t do this alone. You are my rock and my shield.

Protect me everyday and use me according to Your holy plan.

I surrender everything to You.

Be my guide.

Let Your heart be seen in me.

May I bring more people closer to You.

In Jesus name, amen.

Empty

Life is short, let us not make it shorter.

My travel to Iloilo reminded me on what really matters in life.

Love and support from friends and family, a lot of food, great laughter and tons of fun memories to remember.

Emptiness

“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this”. – Don Quixote, de la Mancha

When the news broke that a successful businesswoman committed suicide due to depression, I felt numb.

You may have all the money and fame in this world but emptiness creeps in everyday.

A ‘big’ battle not seen by everyone.

Are you thinking, “I feel empty and alone?” Remember that other people are going through the similar emotions that you are struggling with right now.

Here are some tips from BetterHelp.com to keep you on the right track:

How To Set Life Goals That Establish Meaning

An important part of getting your life moving again and finding meaning is setting goals. A lot of the time we flounder and feel lost because we haven’t set goals for what is important to us. Without a plan, we could do nothing. Here are some steps that will move you toward finding your own meaningful goals and accomplishing them.

Feel Your Feelings

Many people who are suffering from emptiness are trying to avoid or disconnect from their feelings. They started feeling nothing because they reached a point at one time where their emotions became overwhelming and caused them anxiety. The first thing you will need to do after acknowledging your emptiness is to start reconnecting with your emotions; allow yourself to feel again. Your feelings may come out inappropriately at first, such as sadness being expressed through anger, and that’s okay. No feelings are wrong or bad, as long as you continue making an effort to recognize them and grow.

Start thinking about how you might feel about your life if it did not feel empty; it’s not a trick. Logically look at your life, since you cannot emotionally respond to it. Do you have an excellent job? Have you spent enough time with your family or friends? Did something happen that you want to forget about? It’s time to look at the various aspects of your life and whether they are related to positive or negative feelings.

Do The Things You Used To Enjoy

Right now, you may not feel like doing your usual hobbies or rituals but do them anyway. This is a part of taking care of yourself. Pay attention to how you feel when you are doing these things. You may be able to connect with some of the joy or peace you used to feel, or you may find that it is time to replace this activity with something else. Either way, doing things that are just for you establish the self-love you need to escape emptiness and find meaning.

Don’t Avoid People

You may not be ready to actively plan a time to hang out with friends or family. But if you get invited somewhere, go ahead and accept the invitation. Isolation will make your emptiness more. Your existing support system cannot support you if you alienate them. If you find yourself spending a majority of your time at home, go somewhere where other people gather. You don’t have to interact with anyone. Just put yourself amongst the crowd, whether that means going out to see a movie or making a trip to the coffee shop.

Make Lists

Start writing down potential goals and divide them into four categories: health, relationships, career, and personal growth. You can write down as many goals as you like. You aren’t going to focus on all of these at once. Some of them may be removed from the list later, but for now, you need to come up with ideas, so don’t be afraid to write down anything that comes to mind.

Once you have several goals under each category, divide those goals into short-term and long-term objectives. Some of the goals will be able to be completed within a few days or weeks; those are short-term goals. Other goals are larger achievements that may take a year or more to accomplish.

Ideally, your short-term goals are moving you closer toward the big long-term goals you have set. For instance, if one of your long-term goals is to become a personal trainer, a short-term goal may be to be able to complete twenty push-ups or to memorize the names of all the major muscles in the human body.

At the top of these lists, write down a simple one-sentence statement about where these goals are taking you. It is the reason why you are working toward them. The goals themselves are steps, but this statement of purpose is the real motivator behind them.

Prioritize

You can only complete so much at once, and having too many goals can overwhelm you to the point that you revert to an old habit of doing nothing about your feeling of emptiness. Now that you have a list of some short-term and long-term goals for the most important aspects of your life choose the top three from each category that is the most important to you right now. Looking at your statement of purpose can help you in narrowing down the top priorities.

Once you have these new shorter lists, you can rank each of the three sets of goals by order of importance. The top-most important goal in each list is your “gold” goal, the next is your “silver” goal, and the third is your “bronze” goal. You can work towards your gold goals pretty much every day, taking small steps toward these meaningful priorities in your life. When you have extra time, you can work towards your silver and bronze goals.

When you achieve a goal, move the others up in priority and add a new goal to the short list. The new goal doesn’t necessarily have to start at bronze level; it’s okay if you change your mind about what is most important at the current moment. Make sure you stick with any goals that have made it to your priority list. The worst thing you can do with goals is to get into a habit of dropping them when they get difficult.

Whenever your emptiness starts to rise and makes you feel like what you’re doing isn’t worthwhile, take out your list of goals. These are your reminders that your life does have a purpose and you do have a sense of direction. If you’re finding it difficult to take steps toward your goals, or you feel stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Presence

There were times that God spoke to me in various ways. It slapped me on my face.

A sticker signage reminded me that God is with me and I have nothing to fear. He also revealed His mighty presence during my travel to the city of love.

His loving presence

We touch, feel, perceive, sense, recognize, and notice God around and within us; God’s presence is something that is obvious, evident, and plain. I want a passionate faith where I deeply sense God’s presence in my life.

I just need to trust more and heed to His call.

One day at a time.

There is a deep spiritual hunger in all of our hearts that can only be satisfied by the presence of God himself.

God is holy. He is all-powerful. We cannot take his presence for granted.

Cindi McMenamin shared seven ways to focus on God and sense His presence in the midst of your struggle:

1. Come Clean with Him. Sometimes you can’t sense God’s presence because there’s something blocking the communication between the two of you. He hasn’t left, but your sensitivity to His presence might be affected by unconfessed sin in your life. When your fellowship with Him is restored, the communication can flow again. So get clean (through the forgiveness of Christ) and let it flow.

2. Read Scripture Aloud. When you audibly speak God’s inspired Word, you will sense its power and His presence. The Bible says God’s Word is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). That sharp sword will either make you aware of its weight or prick your heart through conviction, inspiration, or determination. A pricked heart is better than a dull heart any day, wouldn’t you agree?

3. Sing Him a Love Song. God inhabits the praises of His people. Ever wondered why you sometimes feel closer to God when you’re in a church service, singing hymns or praise songs? Could be because that’s where worship tends to take place. When you start praising Him, regardless of where you are, you’ll sense His presence, probably because you’re no longer focused on yourself, but on Him. When we open the door of our hearts to love Him, He will meet us there.

4. Say His Name. People around you may be using God’s name right and left (as a swear word in anger, or as a thoughtless expression). But Scripture says there is power in the name of Jesus because “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Say His name aloud — as the Answer to all you seek, as the Source to calm your soul, as the One whose presence you long for and you will sense the power of His presence and His peace.

5. Say a Breath Prayer. There are times we need Him but we just don’t know what to say or where to start. Start by saying His name and then speak your heart’s cry. For me, often times it’s just “Jesus, I need You” or “Jesus, give me a heart for You.” I believe the simplest of cries are the ones that penetrate His heart — and ours — the quickest.

6. Take a Walk. Exercise brings your body, mind and heart to life. Feel spiritually dead? Get outside, move around, confess to Him what’s on your heart and let Him waken you up, spiritually. My best times with God are when I’m walking while I pour out my heart to Him.

7. Breathe Deeply. Sometimes we can’t sense God’s presence because there’s too much of everything else going on. Too much noise. Too much traffic. Too much confusion. Too many thoughts running rampant in our minds. Too much anxiety. Center your mind on Him and start to breathe deeply. Try it. Exhale the distracting thoughts. Inhale a desire to sense His presence. Exhale your pre-occupation with self. Inhale a desire to know Him more completely. Exhale the worries of the moment. Inhale His peace. Now, don’t you feel better already? Can you begin to sense that you’re in His arms? There’s a reason His Word says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).

Wealth

During our gospel reflection today in the Diocese of Imus servant’s training, I reflected on this message, is it hard for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God?

The rich young man was an upright Jew who obeyed the commandments of the Lord all his life. Yet was attached to his wealth and could not follow Jesus as a disciple.

Wealth

Saint Paul tells us that nothing can outweigh the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But in this man’s case in the gospel, he had allowed something else to outweigh Christ. Comfort, security and material things beat the invitation of Christ to be perfect. Attachments lead to sadness; there is no room for God in a heart that is already full of the things of this world. Only detachment leads to true joy. God gives himself to the one who seeks him without any strings attached.

Wealth, if earned through honest means, is not intrinsically evil.

In fact, wealth can be used to do much good for others. Jesus does not demand that we give up all our wealth before we can become his disciples.

Jesus cautions us against attachment to our riches which limits our freedom to go where the Lord bids and do what the Lord asks of us.

I was inspired by the story of Sis. Siony, she was 84 years old, a retired public school teacher and chose to serve God more together with the senior catechist of the diocese.

They opted to serve God more than anything else and share the catechesis with children.

The Bible readings remind us that as Christians, we are called to go beyond just keeping the ten commandments to the point of being willing to surrender all that we have as we face trials and tribulations in order to follow the Lord Jesus.

We, too, are asked to do what is humanly impossible, but with GOD’s help is possible – to surrender our lives for the GOoD of others.

Let us be faithful to our calling to be disciples of Christ as we face the trials we face as His followers.

Let us also be willing to let go of our possessions so we can both follow the Lord Jesus more and also share with those who have less than us.

For us, it is impossible to love at all times, but not for God. All things are possible with God. If we ask the Father for forgiveness and lean on Jesus and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we become more loving. We become more heavenly.

Midnight Sun

What if you have a rare genetic condition, a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight since childhood?

Does life ends?

Are you going to surrender?

My wife adores the movie, “A Walk to Remember” and she will surely loves this as well.

Pabebe teen mode on.

“Midnight Sun” is a romantic tearjerker about 17-year-old Katie Price (Bella Thorne). One night, her dreams come true when she’s noticed and asked out by her longtime crush Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger), whom she’s secretly watched from her bedroom window for years.

Midnight Sun

A 17-year-old girl suffers from a condition that prevents her from being out in the sunlight.

Ready your Kleenex and your feels, as we give you all the reasons why ‘Midnight Sun’ will be your next favorite romantic film:

1. The 2018 film is based on a timeless love story of a 2006 Japanese film ‘Song to the Sun’ (Taiyo no Uta).
In the Japanese film, the lead character is also a teenage girl who loves to sing but has a rare skin condition that makes exposure to sunlight life-threatening. The teen romantic film was such a moving experience that it has also been adapted into a Japanese television drama in 2006, and also became a manga (Japanese comics).

2. It depicts a real and difficult journey of a rare disease and its heartbreaking consequences, but it’s also a story of love and compassion.
In Midnight Sun, Katie suffers from a rare genetic condition called xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), an illness with no known cure. Exposure to sunlight is potentially fatal, so she lives her life indoors during the day, only getting to live the world outside when it is safe after sundown. Life in isolation especially as a teen is nothing you would wish on anyone, and the film depicts its harsh realities. Actress Bella Thorne has expressed that one of the reasons she wanted to take the role of Katie is to make more people aware of this rare disease and hopefully it leads to more research for a cure.

3. It’s a story about one’s first love and heartbreak.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love? There’s nothing quite like it, and the story of young love will always be relatable no matter how old you are. Katie has had a crush on Charlie since she was a little girl, pining away from her tinted windows since she is not allowed to go outside. But one night, she decides to play her guitar and sing at a train station, and as fate would have it, Charlie is there and they finally meet. This isn’t all rainbows and butterflies — the film strips away cute when needed and gives you the pains of high school heartbreak, when a sudden summer romance is now also about coping with illness.

4. You’ll root for this new love team — they are just adorable.
In Midnight Sun, the teen pair is portrayed by 20 year old Bella Thorne and 24 year old Patrick Schwarzenegger. As Katie and Charlie, the two meet one evening and begin their adventures and romance during the moonlight, and then facing the inevitable question — can Katie can life a normal life? While Thorne is no stranger to the limelight, having many film and television series under her belt, this film is Schwarzenegger’s (yup, Arnold’s son) very first leading role in the big screen. And basing on countless tweets about how these two have melted hearts and left audiences all cried out — the pair definitely make the perfect on-screen couple, and it won’t be a surprise if they’ll have more film together in the future.

5. You’ll fall in love with the original music.
What’s a great teen romance without an equally kilig soundtrack to set all the feels right? ‘Midnight Sun’ also revolves around Katie’s love for music — her guitar and singing — and for the film, Bella Thorne lends her voice for five songs. The soundtrack is now available to stream online. ‘Burn So Bright’ is a bright upbeat song that shows off the actress’ pop-like pipes, while ‘Reaching’ is a slow, melancholy track with nothing but a guitar and Thorne’s sweet voice. Hold on to your hearts and listen to the soundtrack below.

Source: ClickTheCity.com

Silang

Are you in a long-distance relationship (LDR)?

I am.

It was never easy.

So every opportunity that my wife and I are together, we spent the most out of it.

One thing that we enjoy doing together are palengke tours.

Palengke Silang

“Falling in love in a Christian way is to say, ‘I am excited about your future and I want to be part of getting you there. I’m signing up for the journey with you. Would you sign up for the journey to my true self with me? It’s going to be hard but I want to get there.” – Tim Keller

During her last vacation, the public market of Silang was our go-to palengke for the best deals in upland Cavite.

Abundance of seafoods, farm-fresh produced, childhood knick knacks and mouth-watering Pinoy delicacies right at your finger tips.

This is just one of the many activities that we enjoy together.

What are your couple goals?

If your marriage is good, these six things can help you grow closer according to iMom.com. If your marriage is so-so or even worse, they could help you give it a push in the right direction towards bonding time with your spouse. This is for the ilaw ng tahanan special note series.

1. Are courteous and kind to each other.
A little kindness goes a long way. Try to treat your husband like he’s a good friend. If you’re rude and snippy to your husband, why will he want to be nice to you?

2. Talk about issues before they get out of hand.
In marriage, you have to choose your battles but, if you sense that an irritation is becoming a major annoyance, you need to talk about it with your husband.

3. Believe in each other.
If you think your husband is a loser, you’re going to treat him that way. Even if he has a track record of business failures or poor decisions, keep your opinion of those outcomes separate from who he is as a person.

4. Assume the best about each other.
Look for the good things about your husband and assume the best in his actions and words. Instead of assuming that he has bad intentions, give him the benefit of the doubt before you jump to conclusions.

5. Live in a “we” world.
Couples who are close use words that show they are set apart. Try to say, “Our bedroom, our house, our children, etc.” Think of you and your husband as a team.

6. Touch.
It sounds corny, but hugs are healthy. So hug your husband when he comes home, instead of just giving him a quick peck on the cheek or lips. Touch his shoulder while he’s driving; hold hands while you pray at church or offer to rub his back.

These are just few tips for the wife but coming from a husband, don’t forget to pray for each other always.

Have a blessed relationship!