the elephant in the room

Sa ating pang araw-araw na pamumuhay, kalimitan ay mayroon tayong mga isyung ayaw na ayaw pag-usapan. Yung mga usaping talagang pilit nating ibinabaon kahit na mas malaki pa ito sa atin. Hindi natin maiaalis bilang tao na may mga isyu talagang napaka-sensitibo at komplikado na para bang “katapusan na ng lahat” kapag ito’y natalakay.

Sa aking kaso, matagal ko nang napapansing may malaking elepante talaga sa silid subalit ‘di ko ito nais hawakan. Sa panayam sa ibang tao sa loob ng kuwarto, alam kong alam at nakikita nila rin ito, pero ayaw nilang magsalita – tulad ko. May isa pa ngang tumatanggi na mayroong isyu pero alam kong alam niya sa sarili niya na mayroon. Marahil, tanging ang elepante lamang ang ‘di nakakaalam na may elepante sa silid. Siguro, akala niya, tao rin siya.

Now, giving life to this idiom, a narrative develops:

Kamakailan lamang, siguro’y noong nakaraang mga buwan, linggo o araw, nagkaroon ng malakas-lakas na pagyanig sa silid: kinakailangang magsi-ipuran ang mga nasa loob. Sa hindi sinasadyang pangyayari, biglang nahawakan ang elepante; hindi ito maaaring ikaila, meron talagang elepante; subalit umasa pa rin ang mga tao na makalalagpas sa pag-uusap sa existence nito.

Dahil sa pag yanig, naging unstable ang suporta ng silid. Ang ganap, hinati ang silid upang ang bawat miyembro sa loob ay maka suporta sa fragile at delicate na mga dingding. Apparently, may side na may elepante, may side na walang elepante.

Unfortunately, parang burden ang tingin ng iba sa elepanteng yaon sa silid. Although fate decided that they all belong to one side of the room, everyone from that side felt uncomfortable because of the presence of the elephant. Great was their desire to leave their responsibility that those on that side decided the unthinkable: and they all left the room for the other persons to hold.

The structure collapsed, crushing underneath it the elephant, and the other persons na nasa isang side.

This selfishness and brazen attitude caused casualties. Dahil sa pag tanggi sa nai-atang sa kanila, napinsala ang natira.

Kung may mapalad man sa kanilang lahat, siguro, yung elepante na yun. The elephant’s naiveté to what happened is indeed a gift. Magpasahanggang ngayon, hinhindi pa rin niya naiisip na kaya gumuho ang silid ay dahil ang mga sumusuporta dito’y umalis sapagkat ayaw siyang makasama. Kawawa ang naipit, kawawa ang naiwan dahil tinakbuhan ng iba ang kanilang responsibilidad.

Until now, no one wants to touch the elephant – and the elephant still doesn’t know what an elephant is.

🙈 🙉 🙊

I was reading a book lately and it was so good and thrilling that I somewhat imagined another similar scenario na may ethical dilemma.

Sooo, there was a piece of land in the middle of nowhere that falls under the custody of twelve officers; everyone agreed to have a common responsibility over this land dahil may sentimental value ito. Although useless na siya at barren, it is nevertheless a treasure in its own right. These twelve officers mutually took care of this land, although at times, this entails that they should give-up certain liberties dahil kailangan nilang bantayan at i-maintain ang lupain.

Basta, pangangalagaan daw ng lahat.

One day, napagkasunduan ng lahat na magsari-sarili, pero napagdesisyunan na may anim na mangangalaga pa rin sa lupain. Hindi puwedeng hindi, it’s a solemn vow they’ve made to the gods: hindi mapapabayaan ang property.

The first batch, given their new-found liberty decided to do stuff of their own – thinking that the vow would always be honoured dahil ang maiiwan naman ang talagang itinakda para bantayan ang banal na lupang pinangakuan nila. They’ve also promised unconditional support kahit lilisan sila. “Sa abot ng kaya, tutulong kami at tutulong.”

However, the other custodians decided to leave, too. They wanted to venture outside, too, pero nawala ang dedication sa pag-aalaga sa property. In fact, they are tired of looking after this infertile land. They planned to exit their committments. Kahit sila ang natapatan ng responsibilidad, tinanggihan nila ito. ‘Twas violent and bloody, atleast in one’s mind. Pababayaan nila ang lupang pinangakuan nila ng katapatan at pag-aalaga.

However, being as superstitious as they are, they decided not to “anger the gods” by “remembering” the promise they’ve made long before. They’ve decided to look for caretakers. Kaso, as it is barren land, no one wants to take care of it. Walang pag-asa talaga.

Wanting to fully exit the scene and yet “preserve their word of honour” na aalagaan nila yung property, the other custodians proceeded to go on their ways and guilt-trip the other “free” custodians na sila na lamang ang mangalaga ng santuwaryo “or else, you risk incurring the wrath of the deities”.

They asked the former custodians to resume the care of the aforementioned property since they “promised to do so” before.

Apparently, ganito ang nangyari: fate decided that the first batch of guardians be freed from their responsibility and go about their lives, and the latter batch be the permanent caretakers, but these crafty custodians find it tiresome. Pagod na sila. Ayaw lamang nilang sabihin pero ayaw nila sa iniatang na responsibilidad sa kanila. So, they decided to leave their assigned posts and guilt-trip the former guardians to resume their responsibility.

Ang kinalabasan, the former custodians, na pinalaya na sa tanikala ng responsibilidad, ay muling ipinasok sa kulungan – which is that barren, infertile sanctuary, whilst yung napag-iwanan talaga ng task ay malaya’t masayang nagliliwaliw sa buhay nila.

Should the first custodians agree? Would it be unethical if they would refuse to fully take the load and burden of managing hectares upon hectares of infertile, barren, land? Ikagagalit ba talaga ng mga espiritu? Hindi ba may common responsibility din ang second party na pangalagaan yung land? Bakit lalabas na masama yung first party eh ang napa toka na magbantay don ay yung ikalawang party? Bakit magu-guilt trip yung unang party na “di sumunod sa usapan” eh same lang naman silang kumakawala sa responsibilidad? Ang mali la’ng eh sila ang talagang napag-iwanan pero tinanggihan nila kaya ang kinalabasan, ang lumaya na eh yun uli ang nakulong sa responsibilidad na mangalaga.

Would rigid laws be enforced against the first custodians kasi gusto nilang tumanggi? Bakit hindi parurusahan ang mga natokahan talaga pero umiwas, pero ang pinalalabas na masama ay yung wala namang kasalanan na at responsibilidad regarding that?

Bakit hindi pwedeng ibenta ang lupa sa developers kung di na kaya no’ng mga custodian na alagaan ang lupain? Bakit kailangan pa ring i-guilt-trip ang wala na namang responsibilidad doon para sila ang mag-alaga?

Pare-pareho lang namang masasahol; nangako na mangangalaga pero sa huli, self preservation ang ginawa. Naka-abala pa sa pag-inog ng kalawakan.

Sino ang may kaparatang mag desisyon? Who gives who the right to be the leader in this whole ordeal? Why is it that when one speaks his mind, instant cancelled agad, but when the other one speaks, kailangang masunod?

Appalling and infuriating for the custodians, but latently, hindi lamang agad nakikita, a challenge is formed.

Will the “now- custodians” be able to irrigate the barren sanctuary once more? o susukuan rin niya? (Na may karapatan naman talaga sila dahil hindi naman sila ang nabigyan ng mandato over that land).

The story awaits.

Scenarios like this always tickle my mind. Sino ang tama? Sino ang mali? Ano ang solusyon? ⚖️

My New Coat of Arms!

Philippine Armorial

Emblazonment by Derrick Richard Celso with elements from Wikimedia Commons.

Leo Angelo Mercado de Castro is a Bachelor of Secondary Education student at Cavite State University – Main Campus, completing a Major in Social Studies. He was born and lives in Alfonso, Cavite, and is the first-born son of Ramil and Leah de Castro.

Description and symbolism:

The first and fourth quarters features a blue fleur de lys set on a golden field as an allusion to the Armiger’s ardent devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of “La Nuestra Senora de las Flores”. The Armiger is currently the President of the Kapisanan ng Flores de Mayo in his parish.

The second and third quarters feature a lion rampant set on a blue field, holding a book to symbolize the Armiger’s chosen career: the teaching profession. The lion also holds a censer as a symbol of the…

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Ang Turnilyo

Tila isang ‘di nasusulat na Tradisyon na sa Kapisanan ng Flores de Mayo – Poblacion ang “pagpapasa ng turnilyo” sa mga lalaking presidente ng samahan.

Kung ang mga Hermana Mayores ay naglilipatan ng Vara Alta bilang sagisag ng paglilipat ng mga karapatan, kapangyarihan, at responsibilidad sa hahatdan o sa susunod na Hermana ng Flores, isang pagpapasa rin naman ang nagaganap sa mga presidente ng Flores de Mayo, bagama’t walang kaakibat na mga rituwal at seremonyas: ang pagpapasa ng apat na malalaking turnilyo ng Mahal na Birhen.

Ang apat na lumang turnilyong ito ang nagkakabit sa Mahal na Virgen de las Flores sa kanyang antigong carro sa tuwing isasakay siya rito. Ang katatagan ng mga bakal na ito ang nagsisigurado na ang imahen ng Mahal na Ina ay hindi mahuhulog sa carro kung siya’y ipuprusisyon.

Nang iabot ito sa akin ni kuya Jerome noong nakaraang Mayo 31, tila hindi pa rin ako makapaniwalang nahirang akong isa sa mga pangulo ng Flores kasama si Ate Christine. Hindi pa talagang pumapasok sa akong kokote na agad itong mangyayari: sa gitna pa man din ng pandemia. Tiyak na sa kasaysayan ng Kapisanan ng Flores de Mayo sa Alfonso ay mamumukod-tangi ang mga taong ito sa mga kuwento kung papaano napanatiling buhay ang samahan sa gitna ng pandaigdigang salot.

Sa katunayan, may mga oras pa ring natatanong ko kung tunay ngang narito na ako sa kinalalagyan kong ito subalit narito ang mga turnilyong ito upang ipaalala na kailangan ng Samahan ang aming paninindigan at katatagan sa pagtataguyod ng debosyon sa Mahal na Birhen ng Flores sa bayan ng Alfonso.

Nagugunamgunam ko rin ang aking mga napakaraming pagkukulang sa pamumuno at ang tunay na napakalaking responsibilidad na naiatang sa amin ni Ate Tin nang tanggapin namin ang responsibilidad na ito ngunit sa tulong naman ng Mahal na Virgen ay nakakayanan at napaninindigan pa rin naming ganap ang mga tungkuling ito.

Dalangin ko na ang buong Kapisanan ay matulad nawa sa mga turnilyong ito: matibay at walang palya sa pagsuporta at pag-agapay sa debosyon kay Maria sa aming bayan. Kung papaano nila sinusuportahan ang Mahal na Ina, maging ganoon nawa kami katibay sa paglilingkod.

Apat na buwan na lamang ang natitira: tulungan nawa kaming lagi ng Inang mapagkalinga.

Ave Maria Purisima! 

FIVE CATHOLIC “MUST HAVES” : BOOK EDITION

“Just as the reading of spiritual books has led to the conversion of many sinners, so the reading of bad books is daily leading to the ruin of many young people.” 

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Indeed, many people have found the way of life and truth upon reading a good and holy book: one notable example would be that of Saint Augustine. It was said that he heard a child’s voice which said: “Tolle, lege” (take and read). He then took up the Scriptures, opened it, and a passage immediately caught his attention. It was Romans 13:13-14. He was immediately converted. In the Sacred Scriptures nontheless, we find another example in the person of an Etiophian eunuch, who happened to be reading the prophet Isaiah. He encountered the Apostle Philip who explained to him the meaning of the passage he was reading and its fulfillment in Christ. He then converted on the spot and asked to be baptized as soon as there was water.

In addition to this, I personally attest to this observation of the great S. Alphonsus: “bad books” may seem “harmless” at first, but over time, especially if the mind is unguarded and we let these literature influence us, it opens for the enemy a door into our minds and hearts. I have encountered an individual who mindlessly read heretical books and polemics against the Catholic faith, his reason being: “It is entertaining”. Soon, his mind began to accept the filth of the material and rejected the Faith of the Apostles for a new religion that is cultish in nature.

Anyway, this is the reason why we, as Christians, must always nourish ourselves with good and solid books: we must immerse ourselves with this Divine knowledge and let it cultivate in our hearts a seed that would grow and bear much fruit. Reading good books can build up a solid spiritual life, it forms a healthy habit of reading, it inflames our hearts with devotion and piety, it forms our faith and our response to the problems posed by the world.

Especially during these trying times, sometimes, all that we need is a good book – and a coffee (?).

Personally, I have five Catholic “must have” books which I would now recommend: the Sacred Scriptures, the Breviary, the Catechism,the Roman Missal, and the classic “The Imitation of Christ”

The Sacred Scriptures

The Sacred Scriptures is an indispensible book in a Christian bookself. It is the Word of God as revealed to us throughout the years. It is a story not of man’s search for God; to the contrary – the Bible is the story of God’s search for man whom he loved. Other Christian sects accuses us of “not reading the bible enough” but in reality, our entire faith derives its power and credibility from this Word of God.

The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and revealed Word of God. It simply cannot be dropped from a Christian s reading list. As a religion that worships Christ, the Logos, we could not simply remove the Sacred Scriptures from our lives. We do not really adore Him if we fail to see the value of the Scriptures. As Saint Jerome put it, “the ignorance of the Scriptures is an ignorance of Christ.”

In buying or acquiring a Bible, ensure that it has an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat from competent ecclesiastical authorities. Protestant bibles lack certain books which could also nourish our spiritual life! The Enchiridon Indulgentiarum (80) grants partial indulgence for when we read the Scriptures with veneration due to it being God’s word. The Indulgence is plenary if the reading is done for at least one half hour.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Second in my reading list is the Catechism. A Catholic must make use of this great spiritual resource that was given to us by Pope John Paul II.

Unfortunately, as I have experienced and witnessed personally in our local Church, I have noticed a huge decline in the teaching of the sacred doctrine to the faithful. Mostly, catechisms are only done as pre-requisite for the reception of the Sacraments and are not often adequate. Most of the times, most of the faithful, unaware of how important this instruction is, neglect the real absorption of the instruction. This resulted, sadly, to a generation of Christians ignorant to their faith and is often easily baited away by crafty fundamentalists who comes to their door, knocking to lure away the people of God from the Bride, that is the Church.

Seeing the loss of faith, the overgrowing secularity in the world of today even in Christian states and localities, I think it is very urgent to exhort the Christian people to hold studies of the Sacred Scriptures as opened and exposed by the Catechism of the Church that they may see and examine the faith of Christ which always ends in one and only one goal: the knowledge of truth and the experience of Love Divine.

The Roman Catechism lovingly explained that the whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of Our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. (cf. Roman Catechism, Preface, cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8)

We need to study the faith in order to understand it, and upon understanding it, believe to it even more because faith seeks understanding. Saint Augustine said “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better o believe” (cf. Sermo 43,7,9).

A Catechism I would recommend would be the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of S. Pius X, and the Catechism of the Council of Trent are also excellent and inexhaustible sources of solid Christian doctrine. Be wary of Catechisms that questions the fundamentals of the faith (see the 1966 Dutch Catechism) instead of teaching it.

The Breviary / Divine Office / Liturgy of the Hours

Third in my “must haves” is the Roman Breviary.

Seven times a day I will praise thee, and I will rise at midnight, to sing thy glory. (cf. Ps. 118: 164, 62).

The singing of the Lord’s praises – the Psalms – is a worthy and laudable tradition that we have inherited from the prime worship of God in the temple of Jerusalem in the ancient times. Sacred tradition tells us that King David himself composed the Psalms and in it was his joys, visions, hopes, anguish, anger, and sorrow – fully capturing the emotions of the human heart that yearns for its Lord and Maker; and indeed the treasury of the praises of the Lord has ever been used from the time of antiquity and it has become mankind’s echo to the wonders of creation and the Creator.

Our Lord, during the course of his earthly ministry, has made extensive use of the Psalms to supplement his doctrine. It is therefore not surprising that at the ultimate offering of the oblation at the altar of the Cross, Our Lord himself as priest and victim, uttered a Psalm, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Upon the destruction of the Temple of the Old Covenant, this practice has not been lost to oblivion as did the ancient and void sacrifices offered in the Judaic religion. It has always continued in the New Jerusalem, the Church, under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Christ, the fulfilment of the Psalms, has pleased that His Bride, the Church, to adapt this practice of reciting and singing the divine praises and the Church has guarded this tradition from time immemorial as her very own. She has made sure that the Divine Office did not stop resonating from the naves of its glorious cathedrals, to its fertile monasteries and convents, up to the comfort of the lay faithful’s homes. At all moment in time, the Psalms have been always prayed and offered to God simultaneously in all parts of the world.

Praying the Psalms, according to the Second Vatican Council, is truly the voice of the bride [the Church] addressed to her bridegroom [Christ]; it is the very prayer which Christ Himself, together with His body, addresses to the Father. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 84)

I started praying the English Liturgy of the Hours way back in 2012. A year later, our parish priest gifted me his 1995 Tagalog Breviary for my elementary graduation so I switched to it. In 2018, I purchased an English Breviary from the Daughters of S Paul, and finally in 2019, I adapted to the Roman Breviary of 1962. Establishing a steady routine of prayers is a really good way to strengthen your faith since it will make daily living more stable and ordered. Whether you pray the pre-Conciliar breviary or the post-Conciliar LOTH, both can provide spiritual graces (although you would not get to recite the full 150 psalms in the New Breviary since the deformers went crazy over some “harsh” psalms and removed them entirely).

The Roman Missal

Fourth in the must have books would be the [hand] Roman Missal.

The Roman Missal is a book which contains all the prayers proper to the Sacrifice of the Mass. It is the primary liturgical book of the Altar, used by the priest as he, acting in persona Christi offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice to the Almighty Father. Hand Missals, on the other hand, contain everything: readings, prayers, and the rite of the Mass as a guide to the faithful when they assist at Holy Mass.Therefore, hand missals, represent in a way also the Missal placed on the altar, and as we ponder on the words theriein that the priest also prays on our behalf, we can unite more fully, actively, and consciously ourselves to the Sacrifice.

I have a fascination with liturgical books so it might seem biased but the Missal is also an indispensible resource that every Catholic must have to develop a closer relationship with our Lord. Equipped with the sanctified prayers and appointed Scripture readings by the Church, a Christian can always see the cycle of the mystery of Salvation in full view.

If a person cannot, for any valid reason, go to Mass on a Sunday, s/he could open the Missal and pray with devotion and contemplate on the readings of the Mass. It provides us a way to connect, even spiritually to the Sacrifice on the Altar.

I personally prefer the Traditional Mass and the Traditional liturgies of the Roman Church so I use more often the pre-Conciliar Missals, but there are also great resources found in the new Mass which I cherish such as the large variety of scriptural readings and the ferial readings for Mass, especially on the great seasons of Advent and Easter. The Missal is a great resource which helps us grow more and more in love with Christ and His Eucharistic Sacrifice; this is if we would let it permeate in our hearts.

The Imitation of Christ

Last but definitely not the list in a Catholic must have book is the spiritual classic, “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis. It is definitely a must to have if one would like to deepen your relationship with Christ the Lord.

This spiritual classic guides the reader towards the betterment of Christian life in its daily aspects: different perplexities and challenges of life, to various nuances that we may encounter; it addresses our common vices and negative attitudes, and encourages us to persevere in the Christian life. I personally read parts and passages from this book after Compline. It helps me to re-orient my life for tomorrow and evaluate the past day. It is a treasure trove hidden in plainsight. If only Christians would read it and really be serious on the imitation of Our Redeemer, the Church – and the world, would be in a much better place.

These are my five “must have” books for a Christian as we all strive to be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy. Books play a large part on our growth in the faith, and again, S. Alphonsus Liguori attested to this when he taught: If such a man or woman meditates on a secular work, will this draw them to Christ? What spiritual fervor can a Christian have who devotes himself to such books?. Saint Alphonsus is not saying we should not read books that are secular in nature, but that if we let them replace our faith or we treat them as the books of doctrines, then we replace God by a false one.

Indeed, we are what we read. We are shaped by what we allow to enter our minds and hearts. Let us therefore empty our shelves of heretical, immoral, and inappropriate literature and instead, fill our shelves with good Catholic books, and fill our souls with divine knowledge and faith that will lead us to life eternal.

BOOK REVIEW: The Missal in Latin and English

I received today a *1960* Hand Missal for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is published by Burns and Oates Ltd. It came with its original collapsible slip case.

Short story: I am currently in a “kpop merch ban” dahil nag-iipon na ako ng funds para sa mga paparating kong kpop merch but somehow, nakita ko agad ‘tong Missal na ‘to and I had to do what I had to do. 🤣 Nakapukaw agad sa akin yung typesetting niya at yung illustration ng Papal Coat of Arms. HAHAHA. (Sadly, walang ibang illustration but yung mga maliliit na art sa major heading and sa ibang malalaking spaces)

The cover is black bonded leather, and it sports a Greek cross at the center. It has five (5) ribbons to mark the parts of the Mass: red, green, gold, purple, and white.

The entire Missal is printed in red and black ink, in contrast to some missals which are purely black ink only, with the exeption of the Ordo Missae.

At the front, immediately after the Title Page, is attached the Alterations and Addition to the Missal that came in force in 1961; the sweeping changes are listed for easy reference.

The changes are as follows:

The supplement contains the new calendar with the new classification of feasts, the new Mass propers for new feasts added to the Universal Calendar, and the new additional prayer after Mass (Universal Prayer).

After the supplement follows the Missal proper. It is actually, and in essence, the Pian Missal untouched. In the Roman Canon is not yet added the most chaste Saint Joseph.

The Table of Contents

One thing I like about the typesetting of this Missal is that the Latin texts and its English translation are of the same font size. Other missals give the Latin texts in a smaller font. The entire Missal is also printed in black and red, unlike some of its contemporary Missals which are only bi-colored on the Ordo Missae.

The feast is still the old feast of the Circumcision which is also the Octave day of Christmas.

The Pian Black Saturday Vigil:

The Missal gives all the prayers in preparation for Mass as printed in the altar Missal; even the vesting prayers of the bishop and the priest are given:

The Asperges Rite: At the back of the Missal, it also gives the Blessing for Holy Water:

This hand missal is very different from the other Missals that I have because it distinguishes the rite for High and Low Mass (Missa Solemnis and Missa Lecta, respectively).

These sections stop at the Prefaces, and unifies at the Canon of the Mass:

After the Ordo Missae is printed the Leonine Prayers at the foot of the altar, and the Prayer for the Queen of the United Kingdom. The other prefaces and their respective Communicanted (and Hanc Igitur) are provided after the Thanksgiving after the Mass.

The Masses for other Places (Missae pro Aliquibus Locis) is also dispersed in the Temporal and Sanctoral Cycles instead of having the collection at the end of the Missal. These Mases are noted with “by special grant in certain places”.

Towards the end is again found an Ordo Missae, this time, for Requiem Masses, since the structure may be different from the regular Mass (i.e. omission of the Judica Me, omission of certain signs of the Cross, etc.):

Lastly, another Supplement is provided; the Masses proper to dioceses in England, Scotland, and Wales. This contains the local calendar of Great Britain and the proper Masses for local saints and other commemorations.

For the Scriptural readings, the publishers used the translation by Monsignor Ronald Knox, which ws hailed as “the finest translation of the 20th Century”. Msgr. Knox’s translation is described by Baronius Press as “spiritual and literary, graceful and lyrical, making it one of the most beautiful vernacular versions of the Holy Bible.”

Overall, I would describe this hand missal as a very fine piece that is part of our liturgical history: it is very handy and easy to use; perfect for attending the Mass in the extraordinary form.

Thanksgiving for an Answered Prayer

June 2018 entered with an unpleasant occurence: my grandmother was suddenly confined to the hospital due to some complications. With no apparent easy cure, I fervently asked the Blessed Virgin to aid my grandmother. I promised that if my petition for my lola was granted, I would commission a crown and dress for our family image of La Nuestra Senora de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Caysasay.

It was a hard time for us. At that time, lola and tita lived some three kilometers away from us since their house is being renovated, and we (Mama, Leara, and I) were the only family members that could supervise them; lola was eighty-three years old and my aunt is visually disabled.

As lola was in the hospital, we were tasked to do extra stuff like living temporarily in their apartment while tita and mama shifted hours at the hospital, taking care of my lola.

One night stood out the most during this whole ordeal. It was 10 June, and the rain was pouring hard. It was indeed the “rainy season” in the Philippines. We needed to oversee the apartment with our mother and aunt for a night, and inthe morning, it was their time to attend to my lola at the hospital. That night, I decided to bring with us the image of the Blessed Virgin, adorned with different “ex votos”. T’was also a dark night, with absence of street lights and other lights inside the compound and we were literally just using our senses to find our way to the apartments while carrying our stuff.

Needless to say, we, together with the image of Our Lady were soaked in rain. As soon as we entered the apartments, I set the Virgin on top of the table and pleaded with her: “Make my grandmother well again, make her well again.”

That night was spent in prayer and contemplation. A prayer I found comforting was the Memorare and the Sub tuum praesidium. The intercessory prayers of Our Lady as Gebirah (Great Lady, Queen Mother), is indeed powerful – and biblical. (see 1 Kings 2:19 & John 2:1ff) What she is to the early Christians back then when the Sub tuum praesidium was written, she is still to us, more than ever.

In a matter of few days, lola was discharged from the hospital. We came to fetch her and I brought with me a relic from the veil of Our Lady of Loreto (1700s). I thanked Our Lady profoundly for this grace.

Since Our Lady kept her promise, I, too, had to keep mine. With the little allowance that I recieve for school, I saved everything I can to commission a worthy crown and vestment for her in fulfillment of my promise.

After a year of saving every little penny I can, I am happy to finally fulfill my vow to the Blessed Virgin:

On July 2019, I commissioned from Soledad Vestment Maker a special pink dress studded with almost a hundred authentic fresh-water pearls from an antique family heirloom and a blue cape studded with beads, along with a gold crown from one of the well-known “Caysasay crown” artisan, kuya Jhunjhun Besana.

The crown and vestment arrived on the same day; when we were doing a project for Our Lady, on a Saturday. Very providential.

On 31 July 2019, we had a solemn family crowning of the image of Our Lady, vested in her new vestment and all her “ex votos”. The ceremony started with the recitation of the Holy Rosary, followed with the singing of Vespers from the Liturgia Horarum (Liturgy of the Hours). Following the coronation is sung a solemn Salve Regina.

The exact replica image of Our Lady of Caysasay occupies a special place of honour in our family. It was acqiuired way back December 2015, blessed by the Reverend Father Luisito Gatdula, then parish priest of Pooc, Silang on January 2016, and then by His Excellency, Gilbert Garcera, the Lord-Archbishop of Lipa, on September 2018. Currently, the image is enshrined in our family altar for veneration.

These two offerings: the dress and crown, are constant reminders of Our Lady’s maternal care and great intercessory powers. Aside from its sentimental value, it is priceless for it is but a token of thanksgiving for a fulfilled prayer.

“Lalong tumingkad ang liwanag ng araw nang ito’y sumapiling mo upang ikaw ay tanglawan; lalong kuminang ang liwaang ng buwan nan ito’y makahalik sa iyong talampakan; lalong nagningning ang mga bituin nang sila’y gawing pamutong sa mahal mong ulo. O Mairuging Ina, kung ang buwan, araw, at mga biruin ay para-parang nakinabang nang sila’y mapalapit sa iyo, kami namang dumudulog ngayon ay huwag mo sanang pabayaan alang-alang man lamang sa habilin ng iyong minamahal na Anak.” (Panalangin sa Ikasiyam na Araw, Pagsisiyam sa Inmaculada Concepcion)

Day6 The Book of Us: ENTROPY

Around 03 June 2020, a friend introduced Day6 to me. She employed a special “protocol” to “make me a MyDay”. Fortunately for her, it worked. 😂 In another post, I’ve somewhat discussed how I became a MyDay.

See post here: Day6, Add to Cart.

Weeks later, I found myself checking out my first signed album, ever. It was Day6’s third regular album, The Book of Us: Entropy. The album came from Pulp’s Royalty Package for the Day6 World Tour: Gravity in Manila last 23 November 2019. (Naol naka concert na, grrr)

Sabi nila, rare daw ‘to dahil “hindi inilabas sa MWave” ang Entropy Signed albums. Tru ba?

Anyway, the interesting story was that hindi naman talaga ako nagcocollect ng albums. Kahit pa sa BTS or Twice na first K-Pop groups ko. Pero one evening, I saw a Twitter posting for a “signed album”. I think it was also Entropy, or Shoot Me (?). When I checked if it was still available, miserable me found out that it was already sold merely two days ago. I proceeded to look for other signed albums hanggang sa umagahin na ako pero wala. 😣 Days passed and I finally found a listing na recently posted. I immediately messaged the seller and the rest is history. On 07 July 2020, I received this album.

Ga’no ka karupok?! 🤣

I said to myself I would never impulse buy again, but nine albums later, ‘di ko pala mapanindigan. HAHAHA.

So, what’s there to check? Anong meron sa album na ‘to na wala sa regular ones?

Ofcourse, it’s the autographs of the artists that make this piece valuable.

Especially for a sentimental and “historically inclined” person like me, these constitutes a very special connection with them and their music; this notion is not foreign to me because as a Christian that has a devotion to the relics of the Saints (bodily relics, objects owned or used by a saint, etc), I appreciate the relics’ spiritual and historical value. The same could be said for items like this. These signatures on the album are my favourite artists’ signature. They once held this album and signed it. In this little object, kahit papaano’y “konektado” ako sa kanila, kahit ‘di ko pa naman sila nakikita ng personal. HAHAHA.

Hirap iexplain in a secular way, pero tulad nga ng example, fans would understand what’s it like to attend a concert, or to own albums or merchandices of your favourite groups. Siguro naman, lahat tayo ay may hinahangaang artista o musikero. HAHAA

The album inclusions were a YoungK postcard, Jae photocard, DoPil (Dowoon and Wonpil) Unit photocard, and a Wonpil bookmark. TBOU: Entropy bookmarks are literally my favorite set of bookmarks; currently, I have Dowoon and Wonpil. (Sungjin, YoungK, Jae baka naman HAHA) They feature the lyrics of Sweet Chaos.

Anyway, TBOU: Entropy is my first favourite Day6 Album, especially yung Sweet Chaos. Iba talaga ang tama. Right through the heart. Other tracks include Deep in love, Sweet Chaos, EMERGENCY (y’all need to see the VCR), Rescue Me, 365247, About Now, OUCH (Ayaya), Not Fine, Stop Talking, Not Mine, and Like a flowing wind.

In the following days, I’ll think I will feature my other Day6 albums / merch to commemorate my one year as a MyDay. Keep posted!

BOOK REVIEW: 1944 Rituale Romanum

To further enlarge my collection on the liturgical books of the traditional rite, I’ve acquired last year a reprint of the 1944 Rituale Romanum from the monks of the Barroux Abbey. This edition precedes the last typical edition of the Rituale Romanum issued by Pope Pius XII on 1952.

The Rituale Romanum is a liturgical book that contains the rites of the Sacraments, Processions, Blessings, Exorcisms, Litanies, and other rites proper to a priest. (Bishops have their Pontificale). More than the Sacraments, the Rituale is well-known in secular circles due to the *mystical* rite of Exorcism popularized by films and series featuring the Rite. The Roman Ritual is also the primary book of blessings, where one can find blessings of all sorts (e.g. blessing of beer, blessing of butter, blessing of bacon, etc.). The Holy Mother Church had you covered.

Following the Second Vatican Council, the Rituale along with all the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, was revised. The current book of blessings, today now called the “de Benedictionibus”, represents the very worst tendencies of post-Conciliar liturgical ideology and innovation, as Fr. Zuhlsdorf puts it.

He continues, “In the foreword ofthe book, explaining its theory, it shows the will of the compilers to destroy the distinction between invocative and constitutive blessings. The former calls God’s blessing down on a person and the latter constitutes things, places, etc, as blessed. Those blessings remove things from the temporal sphere and places them in the realm of the sacred. The new Rituale, in eliminating that distinction, eliminates the constitutive blessing. If you read the prayers of the Book of Blessings, as the English edition is called, you will find that the prayers don’t really bless anything. They basically suggest that God might bless some who looks at the statue, the bell, the medal, without actually constituting the object as a blessed thing. 

Going back to the subject, the Rituale Romanum before the post-Conciliar reforms “reigns supreme” alongside the Missale and Breviarium in the olden days. It is a “must-have” for every priest celebrating the old rite today. However, a priest may notice that the lay-out of the 1944 Rituale is different with the *still pre-Conciliar* 1952 Rituale, and much more with the Conciliar (1964) Rituale. The Chapters are re-arranged, and the blessings were re-ordered.

Sporting a hard cardboard cover, the 602-paged Rituale Romanum measures 11 cm by 16.5 cm, and weighs 380 grams. The cover is bare-without any ornamentations or art. Inside, the same is true- there are also no woodcuts or illustrations anywhere. It is a pretty compact and convenient volume to carry around.

The spine is also pretty compact and sturdy; it could withstand frequent use and the wear and tear it entails:

The paper used is book paper, and not the usual bible onion skin type of paper which I think is not suitable for a “field book” such as the Rituale. The pages do not lay that flat when opened as with other books, but as the rituale is mostly a “hand book”, it is not much of a problem

Below is the decree of approval from the Sacred Congregation of Rites:

As with Missals, the Papal bull promulgating the Rituale Romanum (Apostolicae Sedi of Paul V) is also printed.

The whole Office of the Dead is also given, with notations for chants and responsories.

The “famed” Rite of Exorcism. In 1999, the Holy See authorized a new Order of Exorcism, the De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam, although this old rite was still allowed as an option. In 1985, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal J. Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) decreed: Canon 1172 of the Code of Canon Law states that no one can legitimately perform exorcisms over the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local Ordinary (§ 1), and states that this permission should be granted by the local Ordinary only to priests who are endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life (§ 2). Bishops are therefore strongly advised to stipulate that these norms be observed.

There is a curious decree during the time of Pius XII, which dispensed the priest from the use of saliva for reasons of hygiene, especially when there is fear of contracting or communicating disease but the ceremony itself is not omitted. In this particular Rituale, it is printed twice, at the first pages of the book, and at the end pages, too.

The 1944 Ritual contains the following:

Index Ritualis

  • Titulus I: General Instructions for the Administration of the Sacraments
  • Titulus II: The Sacrament of Baptism
  • Titulus III: The Sacrament of Penance
  • Titulus IV: The Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist
  • Titulus V: The Sacrament of Extreme Unction
  • Titulus VI: Burial
  • Titulus VII: The Sacrament of Matrimony
  • Titulus VIII: Blessings
  • Titulus IX: Processions
  • Titulus X: Approved Litanies
  • Titulus XII: Exorcism
  • Titulus XII: Record Books of the Parish

Index Appendicis

  • On Baptism
  • On Confirmation
  • On the Most Blessed Sacrament
  • On Matimony
  • On the Consecration of Altar
  • De Benedictionibus (On Blessings)
    • non reservatae (not reserved)
    • reservatae (reserved to the local Ordinary or to delegates)
    • propriae (for proper orders)
    • approbatae pro aliquibus locis (approved for certain places)

The Rituale also has a page insert of the newer additions to the Rituale: the Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord approved on 03 March 1960, and the Blessing of Couples celebrating 25 or 50 years of Marriage approved also around that time.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, gave permission to “use the older ritual in administering the Sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick,” (Article 9, §1). The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED) clarified in 2011 that the Rituale can be used in its entirety (cf. Universae Ecclesiae).

With the resurgence of the traditional practices of the Church, we see the faithful and younger generations of priests engage with this living tradition of the Church with regards to the Sacraments and Sacramentals. Whilst this review focused only on the physical aspect of the book, more can be said about the blessings in the revised version that followed the Second Vatican Council. As noted by Fr. Z above, a lot of “blessings” do not actually bless. This is a topic for another day.

One could buy this particular Rituale Romanum over at the Monks of Barroux Abbey or at Angelus Press. (As of the moment, Angelus Press’ stock has still been not updated). Fraternity Publications run by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) have removed the item from their online shop.