Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dressing For The Occasion

Recently, the archdiocese had released a guideline for proper dress attire in church. It emitted a lot of reactions from people. Different and opposing reactions. There are those who favor it and said that it is about time that we must implement discipline on how we dress for worship. There are those who claim it is discrimination and further reminded that God accepts you who you are and therefore, your manner of dressing is the least of God's worries.

Disciplinary measures are really very complicated and in some cases divisive. There will always be a good side and a controversial side. Accidents, compared to essences, are really disputable. But society or community has a sense for it. The communal sense and decision, not necessarily the majority, is a reflection of God's will if done in prayer, based on tradition, and facilitates action.

In the case of how one dresses for the occasion, particularly in church, it is not really a form of discrimination as to "exclude" those who can not meet the set standard. It is not also regarded as "necessary" for salvation though it is a reflection of ones attitude towards neighbor and God and therefore related in way, even small one, to salvation. It is not also for "showmanship" as to depict a congregation that is always ready for a "photo-op" or in case of possible "visitors", it will give the community a good and clean image.

Rather, it is a sign of deep respect for God and neighbor, readiness to worship, expression of the soul, and an inspiration rather than a distraction to co-worshippers. The standard is not necessarily in the quality, popularity, or value of the dress. It is in its proper to the occasion. Jesus had a parable using that situation. Of course, the stress was on salvation and the proper state of the soul before one can enter heaven. But the fact that he used it means that it is an accepted practice. If in our daily lives, we "dress for the occasion", like swimming gears for swimming, army uniform for soldiers, (expensive) gowns for evening parties, school uniforms, etc., then, is it not just proper that we should also dress for church worship? In fact, the more we have to be careful of how we present ourselves because it is God who we are meeting? Is it not true that we take extra care on how we present ourselves when we meet personalities in our lives? In fact, how we are dressed says a lot about who is that person to us.

In any case, while it is true that how our souls are "dressed" is the most important, in this world, how we dress our bodies, specially during worship, has its own importance.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Either You Trust Or You Don't!

By ourselves, we must admit, we are limited. There are things we can and not do. The time will come, in case we have not come to that point yet, when we would certainly realize it. When it comes, hopefully, we are prepared for it. Otherwise, we might not be able to cope with it.
But we are not that hopeless. Recognition of one's limitation is knowing that we have rooms for improvement. It gives us the best reason to ask, to be connected, and to accept more. If we accept it with humility, it will open many avenues for progress and growth, and transcendence! Of all the avenues that will be available, there is one that is the best. In fact, it is the only one necessary. It is God!

God is our Creator. Definitely, we can not be more than Him. We are way way way below Him. But for the same reason, He knows us best. Much more, He loves us very much. He did not give His only Son to die for us for nothing? Only because He loves us and wants the best for us. The limitations we have provides that opportunity. The opportunity for God to fill our needs. He is the perfect "filler", in a manner of speaking. A saint, in fact regards Him as our "enough". With God, we are full and perfect. Only Him can satisfy and fulfill our humanity. What is required of us is to trust Him. This is difficult because the challenges and offerings of life seem more attractive. However, the need of trust is trust. Either we trust or we do not trust. If we trust God, He will see us through. If we do not, we will never know what is at the end.
Who or what do we trust? Hopefully no one and nothing but God!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is It God? Or Is It You?

A lot of times I had been asked about the effectivity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A lot of times I would answer, "It is effective, of course!" It is God who forgives and therefore it is certain. Maybe those who doubt it refers to those people who receive it and yet had not changed.
Conversion, in the first place is a continuing process. After a turn around, we do not stop. We go on journeying towards God. Therefore, it entails constant obedience and following the will of God. If there are times when we go astray, we always have a way to go back.
God definitely forgives. When we recognize our sins and ask forgiveness, the task is just half done. We continue to sustain our contrition by doing everything to avoid sinning again and by actively doing good acts. If we are sincere in turning back from our life of sin, saying sorry should not be enough. We must have the will to do away the things that lead us to sin. We avoid places when we can sin. We refrain meeting people who will lead us to sin. Yes, it is true that one can not completely be away from all sins and temptations, but we know the causes of our sins and where we could be tempted. We need to help ourselves in order to not subject ourselves to temptations or unduly expose ourselves to sins. Our motivation will be the goodness of God. We must appreciate the goodness of God by forgiving us of our sins. We must respond with the resolve never to do it again. Why is it that when we had committed something against our loved one and received forgiveness, we promise to ourselves that we would never commit it again? In so many cases, we are able to hold on to our promise. How much more with God?
Therefore, it is not God who is wanting and at fault in the effectivity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is really our resolve, effort, and sincerity in avoiding sins. It is our responsibility of proving to God that we are worthy of His forgiveness. If we want perfect conversion, we can have it with the help of God and with our creative actions.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Everyone Owns Everything!

We Catholics believe in One God. This God had expressed Himself in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As to how that can be or why is it that way is not the more relevant question. More important is what it shows. Though all are God, they had their own role to play in the salvation of men. The Father led the creation. The Son led the salvation. And the Holy Spirit led the guidance of those whim Jesus had left. They cooperated with each other and shared fully their divinity for the sake of men. They showed us that though they are distinct and equal in dignity, they can work together.
The dogma of the Trinity seeks to challenge Catholics to imitate them. In Genesis, God created man in His image and likeness. It is our calling to reflect divine attributes. Foremost of this attribute is their being community. As the People of God, we must also strive to live as a community. We must be willing to share our talents, time and treasure. The early Christians were this kind of community. They see to it that they respond to the needs of others base on what they have. Because of this, no one was in need in the community. Resources were distributed according to their need. Everyone owns everything and everything is owned by everyone. It was an ideal made real by the early Christians. Thousand of years since, we became worse than better. We have to recover that condition. The world would be a better place if we go back to cooperation, sharing, and being community.