Sunday, August 3, 2014

Confession Survival Guide - SHARE - 6 Reasons to Go to Confession

CBCP Release: Fr. Francis Ongkingco
SURVIVAL kit pamphlets for almost anything in life are one of the hottest selling items in your nearest bookstore. There are such kits for board and bar exams, outdoor activities, corporate presentations and more. Despite the easy and fast service offered by ‘St. Google,’ we are still inclined to have something at hand to quickly consult for answers.
But a survival kit for confession? Doesn’t that sound strange? Aren’t kits for helping one hurdle some insurmountable test or challenging activity? How could there be such a kit for something as harmless as confession?
True, but I’m thinking more of an aid that could help people overcome their excuses, fear, and shame for NOT going to confession. Here’s a list –definitely not exhaustive– of the possible reasons that people may use to either not to confess or to delay it.
#1: A Direct line to God. We often hear the casual saying, ‘Surely, couldn’t I confess directly to God who truly knows my sinful heart?’
Reply: Every prayer to God in some way is a form of confession, but don’t we often want our prayers to be heard and above all answered? In the Old Testament, God already showed the need for intermediaries like the prophet Nathan who revealed to David his sin and this led him to repent before God.
#2: The sinner priest. As in #1, many would make the additional defensive remark, “Why should I confess to someone who is also a sinner?
Reply: As explained in #1, God chooses who His ‘grace-heralds’ are. Some are worthy and others—sadly—are not. But this only goes to show two important lessons: (1) God is still the source of forgiveness, and channels it through whomever He sees fit; (2) the quality of the instrument further demonstrates that God is really behind the person, and this fact even invites the penitent to greater faith in God and sorrow for his sins.
#3: Self medicating. A more stubborn stance can occur when one chooses
not to seek any help at all but one’s personal resources.
Reply: Spiritual self-medication has some advantages. For a spiritually healthy individual, choosing to outdo himself and seeking new ways to grow in his spiritual life is edifying. But in the case of the spiritually less-healthy, the maxim ‘if symptoms persist, consult your Doctor (God)’ applies. Any attempt for such individuals to ‘self-medicate’ would be tantamount to their lack of sincerity to find a real and effective cure to their defects and resulting vices.
#4: Till I’m ready! Others delay confession, stating they are not yet ready, that is, they still lack the adequate sorrow for sins they want to confess. A similar stance is expressed in saying, “I’ll go when I’m truly sorry.”
Reply: In reality, no one is really ready in the sense that readiness of a person’s conscience is not weighed by how he feels (the danger of falling into sentimentality) about his faults. Nothing else can give one spiritual readiness, since only God can forgive sins, other than Confession when the required sorrow is demonstrated by promptly turning to the sacrament, with due preparation, and the resolution to amend for one’s sins.
#5. When I don’t sin anymore or I may fall again. These sound like sincere expressions of one’s remorse and may indeed present good grounds to delay going to the sacrament.
Reply: They, however, reveal an unrealistic knowledge of our human condition: man’s nature is one wounded by sin. Thus, as long as we live we will be sinners. God is not one who wants us sinless, but sorrowful children and walking heaven-bound with their eyes set upon occasions of grace and an ever-growing trust in their Father’s mercy.
#6. Anyway, there’s confession… I’m going anyway… so I can sin now and more.
Reply: These reveal a distorted idea of confession and reduce it to a spiritual washing machine. Moreover, such a mentality belittles God’s mercy and maliciously contrives not to really cut oneself from his sinfulness.
One way to overcome this vicious obstacle to God’s forgiving grace is to sincerely pray to God for one’s sins, cut off the occasions of sin, carry out some penance, go to confession and sincerely express these devious ideas to the confessor. Such a sincere approach will gradually soften a callous conscience and make it more receptive to grace.
* * *
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt. 16)” (Shared from CBCP - Image source Google)

What is Ebola - Death toll 826 - 1st Infected in USA - 5 Answers about the #EbolaOutbreak

Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused by the Ebola virus. Symptoms typically start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pains, and headaches. Typically nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. A common symptom is uncontrolled bleeding. The disease may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected but it is not naturally transmitted through the air. (Edited from WHO)
1. On July 31 2014, WHO (World Health Organiazation) reported the death toll has reached 826 from 1440 cases. 

2. The 2014 Ebola Outbreak or deadly viral hemorrhagic major outbreak started in West Africa. The countries with infected include Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

3. An American doctor (pictured above) infected with Ebola flew from Liberia to Georgia on Saturday. He is the first patient with the deadly virus to be treated on U.S. soil. Dr. Kent Brantly was taken to Atlanta's Emory University Hospital.  Brantly, 33, and fellow missionary Nancy Writebol will be treated in an isolation unit.  They belong to the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse. Brantly's wife, Amber said,  "I spoke with him, and he is glad to be back in the U.S.," in statement. "I am thankful to God for his safe transport and for giving him the strength to walk into the hospital." Brantly's wife visited with him from behind a glass wall for about 45 minutes. Brantly became sick while caring for Ebola patients in Liberia. 
4. There is no FDA-approved treatment for Ebola." Care for the infected includes tracking a patient's symptoms, vital signs and organ function and taking measures, such as blood transfusions and dialysis, to keep patients stable. 

5. An  experimental serum was given to Nancy Writebol (pictured) this week. There's no vaccine, though one is in experimental stage. There's no standard treatment for the disease; doctors try to support organ functions and keep up bodily fluids such as blood and water long enough for the body to fight off the infection. 

History - There have been 27 Outbreaks in different parts of Africa and a few in labs in Russia and the UK. The 1st outbreak occurred in Sudan. The 2014 Outbreak is the largest on record. The percentage of deaths associated with the infected is 90%. 

Breaking News - Earthquake in China Kills 367 and Destroys 12000 Homes - Please PRAY

An earthquake hit China's Yunnan province on Sunday August 3, killing at least 367 people and injuring over 1,800. Nearly 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian. The magnitude of the earthquake was 6.1 with a  depth of 10 kilometres. The epicenter was in Longtoushan township.  Rescuers are still trying to reach victims in more remote towns. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave "his condolences to the Chinese Government and the families of those killed." The UN statement said they are ready to "lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs" and "to mobilize any international support needed." (Image source : Google / wn)

Pope Francis “This is no magic trick, but a ‘sign’ – a sign that invites us to have faith in God...." Angelu

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered beneath a dreary, drizzly early August sky in St. Peter’s Square this Sunday, the eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, on which the account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes from the Gospel according to St. Matthew (14:13-21) is proclaimed. It was on the Lord Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand that the Holy Father focused his remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion at midday. Pope Francis chose three specific lessons from the episode: compassion; sharing; thanksgiving – a foreshadowing of the great Sacrament of Thanksgiving, the Eucharist. “Christ” said Pope Francis, “does not react with irritation to the crowd that followed him [to the place hard by the Sea of Galilee, to which he had repaired with the disciples], and would not – so to speak - ‘leave Him in peace’. Rather, He feels compassion, because He knows that they do not seek Him out of [mere] curiosity, but out of need.” Pope Francis went on to say that the many healings Christ performed were the sign of His compassion. “Jesus,” said the Holy Father, “teaches us to put the needs of the poor ahead of our own. Our needs, even if legitimate, will never be so urgent as those of the poor, who lack the necessities of life.” Turning to the lesson of sharing, Pope Francis contrasted the reaction of the disciples when faced with the needy multitude, with that of Jesus. The disciples would have sent the people away hungry, while Christ tells them to feed the gathered crowd. “Two different reactions,” said Pope Francis, “which reflect two opposing logics: the disciples are thinking according to the world, for which everyone has to take care of himself; Jesus thinks according to the logic of God, which is that of sharing,” and so the people were fed, and fed abundantly. The Holy Father went on to say, “This is no magic trick, but a ‘sign’ – a sign that invites us to have faith in God, the provident Father, who will not force us to go without ‘our daily bread’, if we know how to share it as brothers and sisters.” The third and final message, regarding the Eucharist, can be seen in Jesus’ recitation of the blessing before breaking the bread and distributing it to the crowd. “It is,” he said, “the same act that Jesus will make at the Last Supper, when He will establish the perpetual memorial of His redeeming sacrifice,” a memorial that is not mere earthly bread, but the bread of eternal life, Christ’s gift of His very self, as He offers Himself to the Father out of love for us. Pope Francis concluded with an invocation of Our Lady, Mother of Divine Providence, that she might accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage and assist us as we strive to meet the needs of those we encounter along the way in a spirit of fraternity.

Saint August 3 : St. Gamaliel : Teacher of St. Paul

St GamalielUCATHOLIC REPORT: The name designates in the New Testament a Pharisee and celebrated doctor of the Law. Gamaliel is represented in Acts 5:34 as advising his fellow-members of the Sanhedrin not to put to death St. Peter and the Apostles, who, notwithstanding the prohibition of the Jewish authorities, had continued to preach to the people. His advice, however unwelcome, was acted upon, so great was his authority with his contemporaries.
We learn from Acts 22:3, that he was the teacher of St. Paul; but we are not told either the nature or the extent of the influence which he exercised upon the future apostle of the Gentiles. Gamaliel is rightly identified with an illustrious Jewish doctor of the Law, who bore the same name and died eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Talmud, this Gamaliel bears, like his grandfather Hillel, the surname of “the Elder”, and is the first to whom the title “Rabban”, “our master”, was given.
He appears therein, as in the book of the Acts, as a prominent member of the highest tribunal of the Jews. He is also treated as the originator of many legal ordinances; as the father of a son, whom he called Simeon, after his father’s name, and of a daughter who married the priest Simon ben Nathanael. The Jewish accounts make him die a Pharisee, and state that: “When he died, the honour of the Torah (the law) ceased, and purity and piety became extinct.”
At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.