SIMBANG GABI AND MISA DE GALLO

 

 

IN our modern times, the Simbang gabi (Evening Masses) were recently introduced to accommodate Catholics who prefer to attend the Mass in the evening, rather than in the early dawn (about 4:30 AM) as the Misa de gallo is traditionally held. Free from work and from other concerns like for security reason, many prefer to go to the Simbang gabi that is usually held around 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening. In this case, the Simbang gabi are antecipated Masses, meaning the Misa de gallo (Dec. 16-24) are celebrated the day before). That is why the Simbang gabi starts on December 15.

     The Misa de gallo, (literally Rooster’s Mass), was introduced by the Spanish and Mexican missionaries in the Philippines to encourage the Filipino farmers to go to Mass before they go to work in the fields. Farmers usually get up early to work in the fields when the rooster crows. That is why the Mass is called Misa de gallo (Rooster’s Mass).

 

      The Simbang gabi and Misa de gallo are nine consecutive Masses celebrated before Christmas with the principal intentions of honoring Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and of strengthening the Catholic faith of the Filipinos. Catholics honor and praise the Blessed Virgin Mary for having been chosen to be the Mother of Jesus, the long-awaited Redeemer. At the same time, through the Simbang gabi or Misa de gallo, Catholics are encouraged to intensify their faith and to religiously follow the teachings of the Redeemer, the Divine Master Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life of humankind.—(Romeo S. Hitosis).

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WHY DOES GOD ALLOW CALAMITIES?

That is the usual hard question when calamities come and hit people, good and bad alike. GOD is good, but why does he allow tsunamis, earthquakes, storm surges, landslides, typhoons to happen? Those who had traumatic experience of Yolanda, the super-typhoon that hit the Visayan islands (PHILIPPINES), might think that there is no God after all, for if there is One then why does He allow calamities to kill even the innocent ones?
If He is a vengeful God, why not just punish the evildoers? Such questions are hard to answer even for brilliant minds like St. Augustine. He believed evils, moral and natural, are results of man’s rebellion against God (Read “Genesis” and “Confessions of St. Augustine”) and even creation, formerly good, was corrupted by man’s rebellion. Even Christ implicitly said so: “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did” (Lk 13:2). Those killed were also sinners, though not worse than others. Sin is the root cause of death. St Paul wrote: “The wages of sin is death” (Rm 6:23).
But why are innocent children also victims of calamities, if sin is the cause of death? Since they are innocent, they should have been spared from calamities. Moses has the answer: “There are some things the Lord our God has kept secret, but there are some things he has let us know” (Dt 29:29). St. Paul also has this answer: “No one can explain the things God decides or understand his way. As the Scripture says, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been able to give him advice?’” (Rm 11:33-34).
Faced with the mystery of natural calamities and other evils, let us have faith that “All things work together for good” (Rm 8:28). Yes, something good can come out from disasters. Think of the good people helping those in need of help, giving them food, medicines, shelter and clothing. Think of those who even sacrifice their life just to save those about to drown? There are other acts of heroism done by good people.—(Romeo S. Hitosis).

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WHY DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE IN PURGATORY?

1. Why do non-catholics go to the cemetery?

     Do they go there to pray for their dead or just to reminisce the memory of their loved ones? If their dead are in heaven, these dead do not need prayer, for they are already eternally saved; if they are in hell, prayers cannot do anything for them. Hell is for those eternally condemned. So here comes the doctrine of “purgatory”, though the word “purgatory” is not found in the Scriptures. But certainly, also the word “bible” is not found in the Scriptures, if you read from Genesis to Revelation. Conclusion: Purgatory is a deduction from some verses of the Sacred Scriptures, just like the word “bible”, or the word “incarnation” which are not found in the Scriptures, but they are real!

2. In the 2Maccabees 12: 43-45, Judas collected 2000 drachmas to be sent toJerusalem for sin-offering, to have prayers said for the dead soldiers… To pray for the dead is “a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they may be delivered from their sin.” There is no mention of the word ‘purgatory’. But if the dead died in sin, they cannot be admitted in Heaven, for as the Book of Revelation says: “But nothing unclean will enter it…” (Rev. 21:27. So before entering Heaven, they have to be cleansed or “purged” (purgatory) of their varying degrees of uncleanness. However, if the dead have grievous sins unrepented, they are eternally condemned to the lake of fire or hell. (cf Luke 13:27-28; Rev. 19:20; 20:10; 20:14; Mk 16:16;Jn 5:29; 2Th1:9).

3. Mt 12:32: “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come”. There is such a thing as “unpardonable sin”. No one goes to heaven with an “unpardonable sin”.  And sin can also be forgiven “in the age to come” or in the next life. If one is in heaven already, there is no more use of “forgiving”; so also if one is in hell already, there is no more use of forgiving. Souls in Heaven are already with God; souls in Hell are already with Satan. So there is a state or condition where souls can still be forgiven in the next life, and that is what we call “purgatory”, that state of souls being cleansed or “purged” of their stains of sins. Catholics believe that their prayers for the dead help in mitigating the pains that these holy souls in purgatory suffer, and that prayers may shorten their stay in such state of purgation.

4. The doctrine of purgatory is a consoling doctrine, for if there is no purgatory, all those who committed sins, even venial sins, will go to Hell, for no one in sin is allowed to enter the kingdom of Heaven. (Rev.21:27). So, believe there is such a state called “purgatory”, even if that word is not found in the Sacred Scriptures, just as words like “bible” and “incarnation” are not found in the Sacred Scriptures.—(Romeo Hitosis)

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“AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT”

There have been many inquiries for explanation regarding the new translation of the Roman Missal, particularly the change from “And also with you” to “And with your spirit” which is the response of the people after the priest has greeted them with “The LORD be with you”.

Why the change?
1) The Vatican issued in 2001 the instruction for a new translation entitled “Liturgicam authenticam” which says: “Certain expressions belonging to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church… are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response “Et cum spiritu tuo”.

2) Only in the English language the response “Et cum spiritu tuo” was formerly (1973) translated “And also with you”, which is not literal, but a free translation of the sense or as it is called “dynamic equivalence” or a paraphrase.

3) “Spirit”, certainly does not refer to the Holy Spirit here, because the Holy Spirit does not only belong to the priest but to all baptized persons. So “spirit” has another meaning. In the ancient idea of the composition of the human being there were three elements: body, soul and spirit. So what is “spirit”? Since the people are addressing the response to the priest, the spirit refers to the spirit of the ordained minister of God; it refers to the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit given to the priest at the time of his ordination (cf 1Tim 5:14; 2Tim 1:6) such as the spirit of leadership, spirit of wisdom, knowledge, faith, understanding, spirit of fortitude, spirit of zeal, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control (cf Gal 5:22) etc. so that the ordained minister can fulfill his function as God’s minister (cf. Eph 4:7-12) for the growth of the people of God (Church).

4) The word “spirit” was used by St. Paul in his Letters and in the Gospels:
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son…” (Rom 1:9).
“The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (2Tim 4:22).
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philemon 25).
“For they refreshed my spirit and yours” (1Cor 16:18).
“The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mt 26:41).
“Into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46).
“May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 5:23).
“And my spirit has rejoiced in God, my Savior” (Lk 1:47)

The word “spirit” can mean “soul”, or “the immaterial force within the human being that gives the body life, energy and power” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus, 2010). It means “the animating or vitalizing essence or force that motivates, invigorates or energizes someone” (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, 2007).

Conclusion: The response of the people to the priest: “And with your spirit”, means that the people want that the Lord Jesus Christ be with the spirit of the priest, that immaterial force in him, which is the spirit of leadership and presider, being the ordained minister of God, a spirit that includes the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit given for the growth of the people of God.—(romiahit763@yahoo.com).

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LAST DAY

The last day of the year ends with almost endless bangs and bursts of fireworks year after year. For many the fireworks are the only expression of year-ending happiness. And more often than not such superficial happiness leads to sorrow due to accidental loss of limbs or life…When will they ever learn?
Welcome the New Year with controlled merriment and you will harvest the blessings reserved by the Creator for you and for those who care for others.
May the year 2012 be a year filled with love, hope, and joy for all human beings of our Planet.
(romiahit).

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CHRISTMAS 2011

Will this Christmas be merry? Of course, for some, for those who have everything money can buy. There are those who say that their Christmas could not be complete without “ham”. That is true for those whose happiness depends on “eating and drinking”. What a stomach-deep happiness! Good enough, 70% of those who sent their texts to the TV network making the survey with the question: “Will your Christmas be complete without ham?”, do not believe that “ham” completes their Christmas. For many others, Christmas cannot be merry this year. They have lost their children, their parents, their grandparents in the terrible flash floods in Cagayan de Oro, in Iligan and other areas where typhoon Sendong passed through. Loss of loved ones can never be a merry event even at the time of Christmas!
However, Christmas, with or without Sendong, with or without “ham” should give us joy, for we are remembering and celebrating the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ. Merriment is skin-deep, but joy is deep in the heart of one who tries hard to be
a Christian, a true follower of Christ.
What is important is to make some effort to imitate His virtues of love, hope, faith, obedience. What gives us happiness is the fact that we are at peace with our Savior, at peace with our fellowmen. Peace, not ham, brings true joy in our heart.–(romiahit)

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THE SAD REMEMBRANCE OF 9/11

Ten years ago, Sept. 11, 2001, two hijacked planes in a suicidal attack were directed to crash through the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Thousands of people from different nations who were there in the Twin Towers were burned and pinned down by fallen debris, including those brave firemen who ran to rescue those in the Twin Towers.  It was a terrible tragedy that affected not just the Americans, but also those foreigners who found themselves in the Twin Towers.

How on earth could men be like wolves to their fellowmen?  Only one explanation: the diabolical hatred in the heart of people dominated by Satanic forces. Intense hatred blinds people and hardens their hearts as not to be able to distinguish anymore what is right and what is wrong.

Suicide killers who target innocent people have no sense of morality.  They have lost it due to the influence of Satanic forces.

We mourn the death of those innocent persons and we pray that God welcome them into His heavenly kingdom.  We denounce the evil works perpetrated by Satanic forces.  Would that evil men see the light and stop their evil deeds, otherwise they must pay for their crimes either here or hereafter.

The memorial ceremonies at the Ground Zero in New York and well as in Pentagon were quite touching.  The reading of the names of those who died, the soulful hymns, and the interviews of some survivors could easily make one’s eyes tearful.

God bless America.  God bless our world. –(Rhitosis)

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THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF ROME

JUNE 30 is the day when Catholics commemorate the first Christian martyrs of Rome. Under Emperor Nero the Christians were falsely accused as the ones who started the burning of the city of Rome. So the emperor ordered the arrest of the Christians and put them in the arena to be the food of wild beasts. Some of them were crucified; others were beheaded. Two of the well-known martyrs of Rome are Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Peter was crucified up side down on Vatican hill in the year 67. St. Paul was beheaded in the place now called “Tre Fontane” (Three Fountains) also in the year 67.
The first martyrs of Rome who preferred to die rather than renounce their Christian faith gave a shining example to many pagans who decided to be converted to Christianity. As Tertulian, a Carthaginian author of the Latin Church, wrote: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity.” (romiahit763@yahoo.com)

(Beheading of St. Paul, painting of Enrique Simonet, in 1887)

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BEATIFICATION OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI started the Mass for the beatification of Pope John Paul II at 4:15 PM (Philippine time) before a million or more people at St. Peter’s Square and Via Conciliazione and surrounding area.
At the start of the Mass Card. Agostino Vallini read in Latin the petition to Pope Benedict XVI to declare “blessed” Pope John Paul II for his virtues of faith, hope and love that he practiced heroically as to be radically conformed to the teachings of Christ and of His mother Mary.
Born in Wadowice, Poland, on May 18, 1920 and baptized as Karol Wojtyla, he entered the seminary, ordained a priest, became an archbishop and then elected pope in October 1978.
As Shepherd of the universal church Pope John Paul II made pastoral visits to many nations in the five continents to spread the teachings of Christ, the Divine Teacher. He came to the Philippines in 1981 and in 1995 for the World Youth Day.
On May 13, 1981 he was shot at St. Peter’s Square by a “terrorist”, but miraculously he survived. Many believed that he was the pope alluded to in the third Secret of Fatima. Like Christ, he forgave the one who shot him, for “he did not know what he was doing”.
After listening to the petition and biography of Pope John Paul II, the Pope declared the late Pope John Paul II “blessed”, only six years after his death! (He died on April 2, 2005.) This is the first time the Pope beatified his predecessor. The people waved their kerchiefs and flags in jubilation. Thereafter, the Mass continued starting with the beautifully sung “Gloria”. The whole ceremony lasted about three hours, but the people remained prayerful and recollected. Many were in tears, tears of joy! Blessed John Paul is one to whom people can turn to for intercession and for model of Christian virtues. His feast is on October 22 every year.

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JESUS’ SEVEN LAST WORDS

1.  FATHER, FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DO (Lk 23:34)

2.  TRULY I SAY TO YOU, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE (Lk 23:43)

3.  WOMAN, THIS IS YOUR SON… SON, THIS IS YOUR MOTHER (Jn 19:26-27)

4.  MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME? (Mt 27:46)

5.  I  THIRST! (Jn 19:28)

6.  IT IS FINISHED! (Jn 19:30)

7.  FATHER, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT (Lk 23:46)

The words of dying person are words of wisdom that should be engraved in the heart of a good follower of such dying man in order to be always reminded of what is to be done to live a life worthy of a human being and deserving to be one day citizen in the kingdom of Heaven.

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