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In Deum 2012

CONTENTS [04]

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Holy Restlessness: A Passion for Mission

Reasons why they came: The case of the Augustinians in the Philippines

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[33]

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St. Augustine and the Augustinian concept of service in the Church

BEC Revival in Burgos, Siargao Island

The faith of the Leper

Psalm 97: All the Ends of theEarth

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Symbol Sudoku Augustine says

Editorial Staff

genesis labana, osa I editor-in-chief ric anthony reyes, osa I associate editor rodel magin, osa I associate editor genesis labana I lay-out artist robert lee lingo I cartoonist fr. emmanuel czar alvarez, osa I editorial consultant fr. andrew batayola, osa I moderator

San Agustin Center of Studies,

#1Fisheries St., VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines Tel. No. 924-5001 to 02 Fax No. 924-0158

Toward God we journey in this annual publication of the Simple Professed Friars of San Agustin Center of Studies, #1 Fisheries St., VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines. We aim to put into writing the different triumphs and travails we have exeperienced and continue to expereince as we tread the path of holiness. Any communications should be directed to the abovementioned address.


Friends in St. Augustine, Renewal is inevitable. Each of us is called everyday to set our mind and heart upon our own goal despite the many hindrances in the modern world that block us as we wish to attain what our soul yearns for. True enough, St Augustine advises us “let your present state always leave you dissatisfied if you want to become what you are not yet. For whenever you feel satisfaction, then you will stop. Say that ‘it is enough’ and you are lost. You must always look for more, look beyond, make progress” (Sermon 169). During our four years of serving SACS, we have been emphasizing the importance of the ‘process’ of renewal in the context of our formation, and for it to become a life-changing reality, we allow ourselves to experience the restlessness of Augustine beautifully expressed in his Confessions, “our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (Confessions 1.1.1). As we nurture this holy restlessness in us, we discern, we pray and we engage in activities that enable us to know our mission in today’s global society. Yes, MISSION – our thrust for this year’s formation program - is our expression of God’s unending love for humanity. Mission, therefore, is our own way of telling the story of God who came among us as He embraced our humanity, except sin. As Augustinians, we have been notably known as the very first missionaries in the Philippines who told this beautiful story of and about God to our ancestors. Even until today, Augustinians are engaged in the proclamation of this beautiful story about the Good News not only in the different parts of the country but also of the whole world. We see the importance of our presence as Augustinians in the world where we face unexpected “signs of the times that offer, on one hand, opportunities, and, on the other hand, challenges of the mission of the church” (OGC 2007, 1.3). With this reality, we discover that mission is not only telling the story of the Good News but also an integration of the message of that Good News into one’s life. Thus, mission signifies a two-way process wherein we, as missioners, become the embodiment and the instrument of the Good News. This is why as we “go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation” (Mark 16:15), we are being transformed to become a living witness of God’s Incarnate Word and to be reshaped by it. As I said, Formation Year 2011-2012 is a Year for Mission at SACS. We wish to experience and celebrate how the first Augustinian missionaries experienced “tornaviaje” as our personal response to the “only true and meaningful voyage that will lead us to Christ” (IGC 2010, p.51) whose story we will continue to share in the midst of the changing world. Thus, this year’s In Deum reflects the desires of our future missioners “how best to serve Christ, especially as a community of disciples, and as Augustinians we do that in and through our common life and apostolic works” (IGC 2010, p. 52).

As you read the “mission” experiences and reflections of our future Augustinian missionaries in the Church, may the words of Jesus be always inspires us to commit ourselves to our prophetic role to serve and to heed the words of Jesus, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21), and our only response must be a resounding Thanks be to God! Fr. Andrew P. Batayola, OSA

House Prior/ Master of Simple Professed Friars

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Dear beloved Readers, The thrust of this formation year focuses on mission and apostolic service. This ecclesial value, founded with new vitality in the mind of Vatican Council II, is appreciated in the local community of formation which we are in. Consequently, as it has been revisited by our local community of formands and formators, we tried to review our apostolic and mission endeavors of propagating the gospel and dialoguing with others. We chiefly asked ourselves, if how did we contribute, given the opportunities and limitations of formation set-up, to the universal call to mission. This question has opened the door to further strengthen and realign our efforts to the said universal call; we are thus, constantly invited to renew our commitment each time we do mission or service in the name of Christ. This renewal is basically consisted in our attitude towards mission. We ask ourselves if our attitude in carrying out our weekly apostolate have contributed to its fruition; or a negative response to the invitation to render service in the apostolate has been proven a stumbling block to lead others to Christ. Between these two ways of response lies our freedom in choosing the greater way to effectively further Christ throughout the world. Our mission is also affected by way we respond to the signs of times. The fact that the Church has stepped up for an aggiornamento (updating) is because the demands of the modern world grows beyond the primitive capacity of the Church in delivering the message of Christ. That is why, sometimes and sadly, many of us kept missing the point by dismissing that faith has no relevance at the “digital age”. We know, nevertheless, that faith is ever ancient and ever new like its very Object who has the same “antiquated newness” who is God Himself. Thus, we try to wrestle with the complexities of the modernity in order to deliver to its vein the ever-fresh message of Christ. Thus, we dare to take new ways, new methods, new means to stand upright face to face with the current trend. Because of this, we literally append the “dot-coms” (.coms) to catch phrases such as electronic bibles, the E-Word, iCathecize or iPray, the God’s Wordpad and the like. Creative, trending, appealing but it is the same Word of God: Jesus Christ himself. We enter the world-wide-web in order to evangelize the net with the mighty power of God’s Word; it is but a bold way to respond to the signs of times advancing towards technological climax. It is our wish that, at the last chapter of the four-year journey in discovering the richness of the Augustinian spirituality in mission, we can boldly take the risk of going deep and be fishers of men. Yet, mission is not only on the quantity of souls we can save for Christ; mission is how we can put Christ into the hearts of men and thus give these people Christ to hope for. EDITORIAL STAFF [03] IN DEUM 2012


Holy Restlessness:

A Passion for Mission

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h a t moves the spirit of man kindling his missionary spirit to embark on a journey of a thousand miles? What inspires man to leave his comfort zone and face the fears and challenges of an unknown territory? The answer lies within the most interior part of man, a restless heart called to holiness. Mission has always been an integral part of the Church. In fact, mission is linked to or synonymous with evangelization, the Church. Christ himself gave this mandate, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that l have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of age.” (Mat 28:19-20) But what makes missionary work possible is the restlessness of one’s heart, a heart that has been touched by the hand of God. Holy restlessness inspired the first Augustinian missionaries to arrive on Philippine shores and proclaim Christ and the Kingdom of God. A long time has passed since the first missionary venture to the Philippines and we are now a predominantly Catholic nation. Being the descendants of the first Augustinian missionaries to the Philippines, do we still carry the burning flame of holy restlessness in our hearts invigorating our passion for mission? Holy restlessness, the main element that awakens our passion for mission, is not an ordinary form of restlessness. It is a restlessness of the spirit. This restlessness is “spiritual” in origin, a yearning for God.

“Spiritual is what comes from the Spirit of God, and is led and directed by the same Spirit.” Holy restlessness is not restlessness borne from problems or confusion; rather it is the working of the Holy Spirit. Holy restlessness is a kind of spirituality. “Spirituality is life. Spirituality is living a life in the Spirit. It is our habitual way of responding affirmatively or surrendering to the promptings, guidance and direction of the Spirit.” This spirituality of holy restlessness excites our passion for mission. For it is not through our own efforts that we are able to be transformed but it is the Spirit that seeks and transforms our desire in

This spirituality of holy restlessness excites our passion for mission. For it is not through our own efforts that we are able to be transformed but it is the Spirit that seeks and transforms our desire in conformity with the will of God. IN DEUM 2012 [04]


conformity with the will of God. “We live by the Spirit and should follow the Spirit.” (Gal 5: 25) It is the Spirit that sanctifies our restlessness and impels us to heed the missionary call of the Church. “Evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization.” (1975, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75) It is the Holy Spirit working in us, through our holy restlessness that we are able to respond to the call for mission. Our passion for mission is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and it is also the same Spirit that ignites us to journey and face “the “signs of the times” that offer opportunities and challenges, for the mission of the Church.” (OGC 2007, 1.3.) “We are invited to take a few moment to reflect, to pray and to open ourselves to the Spirit, with the hope that we will be guided by the Spirit of Jesus. We are called as a community, to search continually for God, for the Spirit who dwells in our lives.” (OGC 2007, p. 40) Only a life lived in the Spirit can give meaning to our restlessness and empower us to follow Christ radically and bear authentic witness to the Gospel. robert lee lingo, OSA

Christian Life:

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A Missionary and a Sacrament

f there is truth to the claim of my professor in Ecclesiology that our present Pontiff added the missionary character as a true mark of our Church, then it is logically correct that we have now five marks of the true Church: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Missionary. Thinking of this claim, I find it more appropriate to say that we are a missionary Church for if we are true to the claim of Lumen Gentium’s ecclesiology which is “... the Church [that] has been seen as a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit then, we must reflect the Trinitarian life as missionary in its economic or outreaching life (the so called vita Trinitatis ad extra). As much as the love of the Father to the Son and of the Son to the Father (from which the Holy Spirit proceeds), is shared by the One God in his creative Word manifested by his hovering over the darkness of the desolation, the Church which He called even from the very foundation of this world is likewise called to show the love revealed to her in the course the History of Salvation and, by this very same love, reach out to her members and to all peoples of good will. We are missionaries for God called the Mother Church to a mission – that is, to continue the salvific work for which he sent His Son the work of redemption, He sent through His Son, His Spirit to continue guiding us in this missionary work of proclaiming the Good News. The wisdom of highlighting the missionary dimension of our life as Christians is contained not only in the theology presented above. The pilgrim Church shows in the course of history how she spends her earthly sojourn as a missionary. The beginnings of the Church can be traced back to the missionary mandate: “Go, therefore, and make disciples

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“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that l have commanded you. And behold, l am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20 NAB)


of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20 NAB). Because of this, the Apostles bore witness to the teachings of the Lord not only by preaching but also through good works and fearless offering of their lives in the name of the faith given them. In line to this, we remember Saint Paul, a missionary to the Gentiles and messenger of the Gospel through out his missionary journeys. We also turn our minds to the memory of Saint Peter, who founded the unity of the missionary Church concretely on a strong rock by being the leader of the Apostles and confirming his brothers in faith (cf. Lk 22:32). These figures in the Church are just among the many. Thousands of Christians continued to show their obedience to their mission. Even until this very moment there are other peoples incarnating the same goal by telling the world of the Good News of Jesus, expressing them in newer ways and with new vigor and enthusiasm. However, it is surprising that our reflection on our missionary character is contrasted by another reality. As much as mission is concerned, and the “economic” character of our Trinitarian God, we try to highlight the “outgoing”, (ad extra) expression of our life as Church. Yet, the surprise lies hidden in our being “sacraments of communion” in the world. Are the missionary

We are charged not only to be missionaries of Jesus’ Gospel; we are also called to be signs of his divine life...

character and the equally revered reality of our being “sacraments” synonymous? Or are we just superfluous in the use of euphonically pleasing to the ears? I do not think that it is just a question of superfluity. Mission and communion are related since our understanding of our character as Church is founded on and never separated from our understanding of our Head who is Lord Jesus Christ. If mission is founded on the Trinitarian life of God ad extra, communion is the principle of such life, the vita Trinitatis ad intra. This is termed by the Fathers of the Church as theologia, the life within the encompassing unity of the Trinity. Yet, we may never have known this if God had not revealed it in the fullness of his missionary, ad extra life: the incarnation of the Son in the person of Jesus Christ. The missioner who is Jesus Christ is at the same time the Ur—Sakrament of communion of the Trinitarian Persons! We remember our fundamental knowledge in Sacramentology stating that a “sacrament” is an outward sign, that points to itself as the real thing is signifies. Jesus as perfectus Deus et perfectus homo indeed is a sacrament in himself – his incarnation is an indication that “God with us”. He points to himself as the Word of the Father who calls us to unity; to conform or configure ourselves to God through Christ. This is communion in the divine life of God. We have seen that Christ is the missionary of the Father and, at the same time, the sacrament of the Father’s unfailing desire to communicate his love to His people. We are also entrusted with the same mission as much as we respond to the call of God to configure our lives with that of Christ. We are charged not only to be missionaries of Jesus’ Gospel; we are also called to be signs of his divine life — a sacrament of God’s divine life by witnessing to the content of our missionary message. We are missionaries in as much as we become the vessels of the Gospel. We are also sacraments in as much as we ourselves contain the message of the Gospel in our lives. We, Christians, are missionaries and sacraments of communion of the life of God in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit. Amen. ric anthony reyes, osa.


“Go forth and blog!”

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o forth and bIog.” This is the highlight of the encouraging message of Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the 44th World Communications Day in May of 2010 to all Christians. But a special calling is addressed to priests. Unlike the conventional phrase in the Sacred Scriptures that commands men and women to ‘go forth and multiply” (Gen 1:28), we now go for the expression “go forth and bIog.” Pope Benedict XVI challenges priests “to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated feature, blogs, and websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.” Pope Benedict XVI describes our world today as a world of digital communication. With the aid of new technologies, people can create deeper relationships despite distances. People from various races, countries, families and relatives connect and, at the same time, create a new form of friendship amidst differences. By means of new technologies, we partake in the mission of the Church to go beyond traditional means of proclaiming our faith in Christ. These will help us in fulfilling our mission to let the men and wom-

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en “sense the Lord’s presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human deveIopment.” This new calling of the Pope created a strong foundation for our participation in the missionary activity of the Church. After I read this message last 2010, I was inspired to create personal accounts on various popular social websites. To mention some, I have accounts in Youtube, Facebook, Friendster, Formspring, Tumblr. Blogspot, Mul-

Prudence, discipline and discretion are to be our companions in using modern technology and as the Rule of Augustine reminds us, caritas or “Christian Iove”, should guide us in our search for God and in our quest for holiness. tiply, Hi5, Deviantart, Yahoomail, Gmail, Twitter Forums, Netlog, Flickr, Tagged, Yelp and many more. Unfortunately, these numerous accounts are difficult to maintain. May be at least five of them I regularly update and maintain. In one of my blogs. I post my paper works and reflections. I also post pictures of various seminary activities, which I personally took. At first my purpose in creating those accounts was not spiritual. It was just for personal leisure. But as I deepen my understanding of my vocation my old purpose was transformed into a more noble aim. Can I be considered as going too far? My answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. There were instances when I went beyond certain limitations. In this way, I affirm the Pope’s reminder about the danger of new technologies. We become attached to them that tend to make us to forget their purpose. Prudence, discipline and discretion are to be our companions in using modern technology and as the Rule of Augustine reminds us, caritas or “Christian Iove”, should guide us in our search for God and in our quest for holiness. genesis labana, osa.


Media: its negative impact and its relevance in spreading God’s love to the People

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he Catholic Church projects a negative image to the people when its priests and bishops became involved in sexual scandals, irregulaties concerning money matters, and so on. One of the more recent examples is the “Pajero controversy”. Some of the bishops were accused of receiving money and asking Pajero vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). The news lasted for almost one month, until they were able to prove that what they did was not illegal. Similar cases would not become a big issue if there was no media publicity. Yes, we admit that the mass media play a significant role in the consciousness and lifestyle of the people, because most of the time, we get information from them about our day to day concerns. For instance, we want to be updated on calamities and catastrophes that might happen and also about showbiz controversies. Moreover, in spreading God’s word, the mass media are also very effective. For instance, many people have converted to Protestant Churches and other Christian cults that used media as a means of spreading God’s word. Many sects were able to persuade people that their religion was the true religion, one capable of offering Media indeed are a very salvation using scriptural passages memorized helpful tool in spreading and quoted by their preachers. Of course, if you are restless or God’s Word. have no knowledge about your religion, you will easily get attracted to their programs because you will believe that what they are saying is true even though it contains only half-truth and even lies in proclaiming God’s Word. Media indeed are a very helpful tool in spreading God’s Word. This is what I experienced when we gave a recollection to high school students in Cebu. We were just discussing with them and they get bored easily. But when we showed them a video presentation and a power point presentation on the passion and death of Jesus Christ, they easily absorbed the message and were able to relate to the message. Pope Benedict XVI, also in his message for the 44th World Communications Day, challenged priests and servants of God to proclaim the Gospel by utilizing blogs, images, videos and other digital communication technologies. The theme of the Pontiff’s message was “The priest and pastoral Ministry in a digital World: New Media at the Service of the World”. The Pope recognizes the fact that priests need to employ IN DEUM 2012 [08]


new communication technologies for a fruitful priestly ministry. Knowing that new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, the Pope asserts that priests “are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.” The Pope believes that the use of media in spreading God’s love is also one of the best ways of responding the modern age. I believe also that for a religious to become a more effective missionary outside the country, he must not only study the language or custom of the people. He also needs the internet, Youtube, Facebook and the likes. It is also very important for him to be aware of the situation of the people and of the country where he is going to. To conclude, media and communication technology are very effective and useful tools that can be used by the Church to evangelize the modern world. May we continue to pray to God that the influence of media in depicting the weaknesses of the Church will not bring havoc to the lives of the people, but rather will help them to strengthen their faith. May God guide us to become more effective evangelizers in spreading God’s love through media. peter john cardos, osa.

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itting alone and silent, I come to realize what mission is not in this Old Testament passage; Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother? “ And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother ’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9) This passage from the book of Genesis reminds me of the new and greatest commandment of Jesus Christ that totally contradicts Cain’s words, “that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Jn 13:34). This new commandment indicates an imperative; “to love one another.” Take note that this imperative is a direct opposite of what Cain has done by completely denying his brother in front of God. The imperative of Jesus is dynamic and alive because it is not an empty word and not out of context. Jesus says, “love one another”, then he continues, “even as I have loved you”. An outright command, “love one another”, is followed by an immediate example, “even as I have loved you”. The context of loving one another is that of following the love of Christ. He commands, yet he provides a personal and concrete example so that we could remain in his love. Clearly, we are called and invited by Jesus to love as he loved us and we are all called to imitate him so that we would remain in his love and His joy might be in us so that our joy might be complete (cf. Jn 15: 9-11). To love as Christ loved us is to remain in Christ. To remain in Christ is to be a friend of Christ. Jesus says, “I no longer call you slaves because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends. . .” [09] IN DEUM 2012


(Jn 15:15) And the greatest manifestation of love is this, to lay down one ’s life for one ’s friends (Jn 15:13). Christ fulfilled his words as he lay down his life for his friends on the cross. So then, when Christ speaks of loving one another, it means loving to the extent of laying down one’s life, as the best way of following him when he says, as “I have loved you.” Love is the be-all and endall of mission. To speak of loving one another is a call to mission an act of going out from our own very selves and laying down our lives for our friends. Going back to the words of Cain as he denied his brother Abel, that very act of denying is tantamount to enmity and rupture of relationship that totally implies the absence of love. In that aspect, there was no act of mission. “Am I my brother ’s keeper?” is a return statement of insult to the love of God which is given him and that is supposed to be shared. Cain is a representation of individuals who do not possess any sense of mission. Christ, on the other, by commanding us to love one another as He loved us, is the total embodiment of a true mission. This total embodiment is even strengthened by his words, instead of proscribing the obstinate and

sinners, he says; “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44). It is so hard to speak of mission if it is not hinged on to its very foundation, which is love. I, on my part, will speak of my own mission in accord with my calling as an Augustinian religious, as a simple professed, and as a servant to my brothers in the community. But, first and foremost, I should begin by understanding that mission is an act of love. As St. Paul says, “I may speak in human and angelic tongues but if I do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And I may have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all the mysteries and knowledge; I may have all faith so as to move mountains but if I do not have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I own, and hand my body over so that I may boast, but if I do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:1-3). Thus, my words and actions are empty without love. Here in the seminary, my first mission is to lay down my life for my brothers, for you, my

brothers, are my friends. This is my calling, this is my vocation now. However, it is my greatest fault if sometimes I utter or even show in action what Cain said, “I do not know. Am I my brothers’ keeper?” I manifest in such circumstances the death and absence of love. I cause division. I am your murderer. But in my times of weariness, I also need you, my brothers to stand as my brother and friend. Sometimes, I also get tired, wearied and wasted. Notwithstanding human weaknesses, love, as I said, should always prevail. It is my greatest desire to serve in love. Let it not be hindered by any personal motives and egoistic attitudes that may threaten the very essence of love that animates our life in the community. jasper valmores, osa.

It is so hard to speak of mission if it is not hinged to its very foundation which is love.

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o be a missionary entails a lot of work to do. Why? Precisely because a missionary’s primary job is to spread or proclaim God’s Kingdom on earth. And this is such a rigorous task to carry out. Though people, those brave ones, are expected to row the boat, nonetheless, mission is entrusted to all of us by virtue of our baptism. For over months now we have been hearing many things about mission in line with our seminary thrust this year. One great thing I see in all these is that awareness concerning mission has been rapidly increasing among the seminarians. This is quite worth telling due to the fact that we, in the Cebu Province, lack people who have the desire to go on mission. This sad reality confronted me when I was searching for people to invite to share with us their missionary experiences for this year’s 4th Augustinian Seminarians’ Spirituality Congress. Thus, I saw the need to inform more the young people in formation how lovely it is to be a missionary and the joy one may have by going on a mission. But definitely, just like in any aspect of our lives, trials will be there to produce stronger and better persons. Now the question is: What is the ideal missionary profile? It seems to me that the term “profile” in this case would refer to a person’s qualities. How can we say that an individual is fit to go on a mission? I must admit this is a question hard to answer, perhaps because only God can give an exact answer to it. However we can speculate about it but not hit it bull’s eye. I consider one important qualification for a missionary his attitude. Mission is a vocation. It needs to be done with love and out of love. However, in the Church’s missiology today viewing mission has undergone much change, yet its cornerstone remains the same. From conversio animarum and plantatio ecclesiae to “dialogue of cultures,” the Church envisions to spread the Reign of God without disregarding the fact that we are living in a pluralistic society where globalization is a phenomenon. This is the main reason why I said attitude is essential. Open mindedness will help a

“We must point out that only God can say what a profile of a good missionary really is. He calls each of us in a unique way.”

future missionary to get into the culture of the people to whom he would be sent. Another important thing to consider would be a person’s ability to adapt the new culture he is to encounter. This must be dealt with very carefully. Culture has a crucial role to play in every mission. Respect for others’ way of living finds its root in the heart of a real missionary without losing his own Christian identity. An individual equipped with enough knowledge he needs to have is likely to stay longer in mission. Why? Simply because “baong kaalaman” is also needed to be able to share with others what we have. It is not just the missionary who would be learning in mission but also the people he evangelizes to. The above discussed qualities, I think are important in gauging for mission. Aside from physicaI— heaIth considerations, a future missionary’s psychospiritual qualities are equally to be looked into. It will help a lot if one has a balance of these two. This only shows that it is not easy to be a missionary whether inside or outside the country. However, we must point out that only God can say what a profile of a good missionary really is. He calls each of us in a unique way. There are those called to missions. Yet we all have one goal in life...to be instruments of and to channel the love of God to others. Let us try to be prophets, kings and priests of today’s generation and to lead those who are astray back to the ultimate Prophet, King and Priest. To be in a mission will never be easy, but surviving will also not be impossible. Let us pray and discern that God’s will be done. aimark asor, osa. IN DEUM 2012 [12]


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From Maintenance to Mission

y article’s title is the theme of our monthly recollection for September 2011. The theme came from the message of our Prior General during the Intermediate General Chapter 2010 in his homily during the Opening Mass. The Prior General, Rev. Fr. Robert Prevost, OSA drew a distinction between “maintenance” and “mission”. He emphasized the importance of reaching out to others by taking the risk of mission. Allow me to share my reflection about this topic. I am not presenting here the literal meaning of the word; rather I want to go beyond it. Maintenance is not merely concerned with the preservation of something; rather it concerns the laying of the foundation. For me, this is a basic factor and, thus, it is very important that we must do this first, then, once we are sure that the foundation is already strong, it is time to build the rest and to extend. It is like building a house since no carpenter would attempt to build first a roof without having laid the foundation first. This is what our Province did. The Augustinians first built the foundation of the Province before the other parts. What I mean here is that our Province, few years after its creation, was initially not yet capable of sending friars to missionary work or accepting mission areas from other places. Its foundation then was not yet stable. Thus, if the Province had forced itself to accept missionary works at that time, for sure it would have stood long because it did not have a strong foundation. Through the years past, the Province slowly created and strengthened its foundation. Indeed, last year the Province celebrated the 25th year anniversary of its creation as the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu. The Province is growing in terms of number of friars and now has enough foundation to accept some missionary works and other mission areas. As a proof of this, the Province has mission areas in Socorro — Burgos Community and Gubat Community. The Province is also able to send some friars to collaborate with other circumscriptions abroad for missionary work. However, the Province should continue to maintain its foundation while embarking on different missionary works. Thus, maintenance and mission will go hand in hand in order to reach the Province’s goal. The two should not be separated from each other. Personally, I am happy with the commitment of the Province responding to the challenge of having a mission either locally or internationally. This improvement increases my desire to become a missionary s o m e - As a missionary, we have to build day. But before that, it is b e t t e r first the foundation. What is this for me to know the profile of an Augustinian missionary first. foundation? This foundation is our What a missionary should be’? As a missionary, we have to faith. build first the foundation. What is this foundation? This foundation is our faith. Let us make sure first that, before going out on missionary work or sending others to a mission, our faith must be strongly founded in Christ; for it is only in Christ that we can have a strong foundation. Then, proper orientation and training are also necessary. Language is the most difficult problem in mission. Since communication is very important, we have to prepare our missionaries to the language of the place. Orientation to the culture is also important in order to assimilate the way people live and, thus, facilitate our relationship with them and way of bringing Christ to them closer through the way we live. Aside from having a strong faith and proper training, a missionary should have the virtue of dedication to and passion for missionary work. mark anthony tampos, osa.


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mong the very first missionaries who proclaimed the Good News to the world, the Virgin Mary stands out as the very first. Mary was the first one who heard the Good News when the Angel appeared to her and announced that she would conceive in her womb the Son of God. Her “fiat” in the event of the Annunciation marks the beginning of her missionary endeavor. The very mission of the Virgin Mary is no other than to bring Jesus into the world. Jesus, the only Son of the Most High, took upon himself our human nature and this was made possible through the cooperation of the Virgin Mary, from whom the humanity of Christ came. The mission of the Virgin Mary was first manifested in her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. Despite the hardships that she had to endure in the long journey towards the house of Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband, she went on hastily after knowing that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant for six months. Mary went there not only to take care of her cousin, which is a very beautiful example of a missionary spirit, but, first and foremost, to share the joy she received from God through the angel. This joy in her heart was no other than Jesus himself who was in her womb. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, the baby within Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy and Eliza-

Mary and the Mission of the Church beth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed that she was not worthy to be visited by her Lord’s mother. The two mothers greeted each other and the two babies in their wombs did the same. Like Mary, a missionary brings the Good News to the world and upon hearing the Good News, the Holy Spirit descends and fills all those who listen. At the birth of Jesus, she presented her Son to the shepherds who came in order to adore the new born child. She did likewise to the wise men, who followed the star and found the Christ child with his mother. Like her, we too are called to present Jesus to those who search for him in this world, especially to restless souls who search for God. ln the wedding at Cana in Galilee, we see Mary as a person who is sensitive to the needs of those around her. When she found out that there was no more wine, she never hesitated to approach Jesus and ask him to do something, because she firmly believed in her son. Through that event at Cana, Mary reminds us to do whatever the Lord wants us to do. She was the perfect example of obedience to the will of the Lord - an example to missionaries who are called to be obedient to God’s will. At the foot of the cross, Mary also participated in the agony of her son. What a painful experience for a mother to see her son die slowly! Mary was given to the beloved disciple, who took her under his care. At that moment, Mary was given another mission, - that of becoming the mother of all the children of God. The beloved disciple represents all men who took Mary welcome and make her their mother. We, too, as missionaries, must have recourse to her as our mother. At Pentecost, Mary was still present together with the apostles waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There she manifested her role as the mother of the Church at its birth and in need of a nurturing mother. Together with her, the first missionaries proclaimed into the world the Good News of Jesus Christ. Mary is considered as the Star of Evangelization. Her very mission is also the very mission of the Church. Like her, all of us who are in Christ are called to proclaim and bear witness in our lives to the Good News of Christ, the very same Good News that was evident in the life of Mary, our mother. cyril jeth tagalog, osa.

The mission of the Virgin Mary was first manifested in her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth.

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Performative Action to Address Obstacles to Christian Mission in Ecumenism

“D

oes ecumenism have a future?” Ecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. lt is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, History, and practice. In short, “ecumenism is applied to various activities aimed at bringing about the unity of all Christians.” This is the Christians` response Christ`s call, “that all may be one... so that the world may believe...” (Jn l7:2l). It is also the movement within Christianity that aims at “the recovery in thought, in action, and in organization, of the true unity between the Church’s mission to the world (its apostolate) and the Church’s obligation to be one.” Thus, ecumenism is the promotion of unity or cooperation between distinct religious groups or denominations of Christianity. But does it have a future? Christians cannot underestimate the burden of long—standing misgivings inherited from the past, and of mutual misunderstandings and prejudices. Complacency, indifference and insufficient knowledge of one another often make this situation worse. Consequently, the commitment to ecumenism must be based upon the conversion of hearts and prayer, which will also lead to the necessary purification of past memories. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s disciples, inspired by love, by the power of the truth and by a sincere desire for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, are called to re—examine together their painful past and [15] IN DEUM 2012

the hurt which that past regrettably continues to provoke even today. In ecumenical dialogue, Catholic theologians standing fast by the teaching of the Church and investigating the divine mysteries with the separated brethren must proceed with love for the truth, with charity, and with humility. When comparing doctrines with one another, they should remember that in Catholic doctrine there exists a “hierarchy” of truths, since they vary in their relation to the fundamental Christian faith. Thus, the way will be opened by which, through fraternal rivalry, all will be stirred to a deeper understanding and a clearer presentation of the unfathomable riches of Christ. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn I4:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? Even so, doctrine needs to be presented in a way that is understandable to those for whom God himself intends it. Ecumenism has a future. The visible unity of all Christians, the goal of ecumenism, is not far from reality. However, there a lot of considerations we should be mindful of. But we must not dwell too much on the things that divide us. There is a great need for us to learn how to transcend them and not let them encumber us towards the path of Christian unity. There is a future for ecumenism because Jesus Christ himself prays for the unity among those who believe him. Certainly, ecu-


menism is not in vain. Nevertheless, aside from the internal issues we need to deal with among Christian Churches, there are some global concerns that must be addressed too to achieve the unity we long for. We are always encouraged to take actions and help in realizing the goal of ecumenism. When the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on his Church from the beginning. We believe that this unity subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time. If every undertaking advocating ecumenism would be cautiously done, then the question, “Does ecumenism have a future’?” would be given a clear answer in reality. aimark asor, osa.

O

nce upon a time, in a far distant island, there lived a century old tree. His name was Casya. Casya had been very friendly to all animals that surrounded him. One was Sneeky (snake) who enjoyed crawling around Casya’s trunks day in and day out. Birdy (bird) built her own nest at Casya’s twig using his dried leaves. Leo (leopard), Liza (lizard) and Butty (butterfly) were accommodated well by Casya. One day, Suave (monkey) observed that Casya was so sad. So he asked all his playmates to gather around Casya. And when they were there, they started to empathize with him?° “My dear friend, Casya, We observe that you have been lonely for quite some time” started Suave. “Tweeett .... Tweeett...How can we help you?” Asked Birdy. Casya never responded. Instead, his eyes just looked straight to the ground as if one of his roots was injured. “Is there something wrong, my dear friend?” Liza asked. “We are here to help you.” Butty seconded. A little while, while the group of friends was trying to console Casya, they heard a noise from a nearby land. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ...... grrrrrrrrrr. . . ggrrrrrrrrrr. “Have you heard it?” At last Casya started to speak. “Oh, Yes! What is that, Casya’?” His friends asked in chorus. “That is the one that makes me sad.” He answered. “Uh..uhh...why?” Suave asked. “Well, I have been restless because I am thinking that in a little while, just like the other trees in the nearby land, people will cut me off into pieces.” “That should never happen.” Butty angrily butted in while moving her beautiful wings up and down. “Just like other trees, I will later on be made into furniture. This land I am standing will become a business site.” “We will not allow that to happen to us.” Suave said. “And you my dear friends... I will be losing you.” Casya continued with eyes full of tears. “Nooo ..... “ His friends shouted. What have been heard from Casya dismayed everyone. And so, they started to plan out what to do next. They wished to remain happy as they were, but if what has been done to the other side of the land would also be done to them, then, the friendship and joy they had had would become a memory — worst, they would all die.

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And there came a general assembly of all flying creatures, crawling creatures and all that love Casya, with an agendum — to convince harmful men to stop their selfish activities. Each creature brought his/her suggestion to the assembly. At the middle of their heated arguments of what should be done to stop the logging, a machine equipment started up to bulldoze the land within the vicinity where Casya and his friends lived. “My friends...” shouted Casya. “They are here!” The whole assembly panicked. They did not know what to do exactly. “Sssshhhhhhhhhhh .... Ssshhhhhhhhh .... ssshhhhhhh, relax dudes.” Convinced Sneeky. This is what we gonna do .... “ Everybody listened attentively to Sneeky. First, he advised Birdy. “You Birdy, with your beautiful voice, you may be able to convince those men not to continue their plan. For sure, they will be amazed by you when they see you and your birds family singing in chorus. Fly around them while singing them your favorite song so that you will soften their heart.” And so Birdy and all the birds followed as instructed. Sneeky turned to Suave. “You Suave, you form all the monkeys into a battalion and surround these selfish men. You, then dance before them on the beat of music you learned from Tarzan. I am sure these people will soften their hearts upon seeing you entertaining them with your moves and smiIes.” And so, all the monkeys did what had been instructed to them. Sneeky talked to Liza and Butty. “Liza and Butty, you have the talent to metamorphose. Astound these men with your different colors.” Turning to Liza, he said, “Liza, tell all the lizards to stay at Casya’s body. You will beautifully transform Casya into an enormous Christmas tree with you as his decors. Go now. We are running out of time.” And to Butty, Sneeky advised, “Tell all the butterflies to surround Casya. Fly around him just like Christmas lights that add beauty to Casya. For sure, the selfish men will be transformed.” Casya’s friends did it aII... the monkeys were dancing, birds serenading, lizards metamorphosing, butterflies flying around; the men who planned to wipe out them were moved to astonishment and joy. They were overjoyed upon seeing these creatures entertaining them. Casya, then began to speak... “Men of this world, you have already taken the other side of the land, would you still take from us the only treasure we inherited from Mother earth?” “Look at these birds,F§fé’fheir singing not enough to tell you that we too are important?” “Look at these lizards and butterflies. Is it not convincing to remind you how beautiful the world is when you start to appreciate our beauty’?” “Look at these monkeys dancing before you. Aren’t they a symbol of joy amidst your misery and poverty?” “And look at me.” Pointing to himself. “I am already a century old tree, and if you give me another century, many of you, humans, will I still save from any devastation.” Casya started to plea. “Please men of this earth, your plan had made us restless, but in the midst of this restlessness of ours, we were able to do our mission — to amaze you with our talents so that through them, you will soften your hearts for us.” Casya continued. “Please allow us to serve you and your generation.” Hearing this from a tree, one by one, the men of the earth left the jungle bringing with them their machineries. And they went home flabbergasted. And there was silence. Sneeky broke it when he made a suggestion. “This calls for a celebration!” “Yes, Sneeky. This really calls for a big big ceIebration.” Casya seconded. And so everyone celebrated their victory and they lived happily ever after. rodel magin, osa.

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S

St. Augustine and the Augustinian concept of Service in the Church

ervice is inalienable to the Augustinian way of life. As what we say in our petition, “That we may be faithful to the apostolate as an integral part of our religious life.” The Augustinian way of life is founded on the tripod of interiority, community life and apostolate. Our Holy Father St. Augustine of Hippo emulates service as a part of religious life. It is visible in Augustine’s concept of religious life that service is given special importance. There was already the paradigm during his time of the “fuga mundi” (flight from the world) and “fuga saeculi” (flight from the worldliness). Augustine never denied our being in the world, i.e. being “grounded.” And so he conceived of a religious life that is a combination of the active and the contemplative dimensions. We cannot live separate from the world as hermits of old had practiced for we are in the world. But Augustine would teach us that being in the world does not necessarily mean that we are of the world. The Augustinian way of life emphasizes that we live our lives according to the Gospel values taught by Jesus Christ and not according to the ways and values of the world. Christ is our model servant for in, his humility, he came to serve and not to be served. Augustine is also our example of service for, in his ministry as priest and bishop, he never wavered from serving the people of God, especially the poor. Augustine helped people in every way he could while not jeopardizing community life with his brethren. “We are called to be “servants of the Church.” Augustine progressively discovered and generously accepted the commitment to pastoral service to the Church, “the service which I owe to my people” in his own words.” (OGC, 2007, 1.2.1) We are called to serve and we were formed primarily for the purpose of addressing the needs of the Church in the past and at present. Like Augustine, who was a staunch servant of the Church helping the poor and defending the faith against various heresies, we in our own time are called to service. Our times now may be different from Augustine’s, but the poor are always with us and the Church is always in need. For our part, we need to act in charity in order to be of service to the Church. “One’s own interest or simple personal tranquillity must never be placed above the needs of the Church, if no good servants are willing to assist her as she gives birth to new children, you would not have found a way to be born in Christ.” (OGC 2007, 1.2.1) During these challenging times, we have to ask We are called to serve ourselves if we are still faithful to our calling service. Our and we were formed to forebears were committed and dedicated to their mission primarily for the pur- in life? As the in life. How about us? What is our mission pose of addressing the grow proporworld develops, the needs of the Church also needs of the Church in that need our tionally. There are a lot of areas in human life the past and at present. people of toservice. How are we to bring Christ to the day? “The Gospel does not change but times and cultures certainly do; this is the challenge we face in a New Evangelization.” (OGC 2007, 1.3) As Augustinians we are tasked to bring Christ to the world and be a prophetic sign in these turbulent times. We are already venturing into new horizons, but let us not forget that the very foundation of a stable missionary venture is concrete community life, where people live with one mind and one heart intent upon God. We serve the Church not only through our apostolate (ad externa) but also through our own example (ad intra). Moreover, as Augustinians we are the perpetuators of Augustine’s ideal of serving in, through, for and with love. “We do everything in love not as slaves under the law but as men living in freedom under grace.” robert lee lingo, osa.

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Reflection on the Rule of St. Augustine Chapter 4, numbers 19-22

I

remember my Theology professor sharing in class his life in the ministry. One of the things he mentioned concerned chastity. I might be misquoting him but this was, more or less, what he said, “You know, I come to understand what chastity is all about only after 25 years of my ministry as a religious priest.” Whether his contention is an exaggeration or an understatement, I think my professor is dealing with chastity less of a notion but more of a lived experience. I don’t want to sound like I am from another world. If I can perfectly do these sorts of instructions like: “do not attract others in the way I dress but in the way I live;” “be with (a) companion(s) wherever I go”; “behave without offending and maintain holiness”; and “be pure, modest, and chaste if I happen to see an attractive member of the opposite sex…,” then I might be overqualified to be an Augustinian. By perfectly doing so, I may run the risk of losing my humanity (or my sanity). If I say that I have religiously done all these, the more this Rule becomes problematic. If I take this part of the Rule on the surface level, it would be easy for me to say that, “This Rule of St. Augustine is impossible!” Please don’t get me wrong here. I am not questioning our great Father Augustine on this. (I think Augustine knows quite well human inclinations. Through the Rule, he continues to give us a right direction concerning the purpose of community life and the kind of behavior consonant with one’s commitment to religious life.) Rather, I am trying to question myself as to my observance of the Rule. Again, the Rule is irrelevant and impractical if I take it as plain and as simple as it is.

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The Rule was written during the time when there were still no Penshoppe or Adidas or Rolex or Ipods; no skinny jeans or leggings or short shorts. Probably, there would be less worry to entice others when you don’t have the choice for branded clothes, accessories or gadgets which are taken nowadays as the social status symbols. Maybe, there is not much problem of getting attracted to people dressed up without any taste for fashion. This goes without saying that the preoccupations now differ from those long time ago. Personally, I find this part of the Rule (and so with the other parts) quite difficult to follow. I cannot merely supply its content and implications with words, no matter how rhetorical and intellectual my use of words may be. I also cannot simply sustain this undertaking with pious gestures like someone incapable of breaking a plate. The Rule involves a great task demanding for creativity in commitment; animation in faith; continuous redirecting, realigning, and reflecting on one’s motivations and innermost desires; keen research and devotion to study; and sound re-reading in the light of careful analysis of the present times. In other words, the message of the Rule challenges a response aiming for an improved, quality, and better living of religious life and thinking. Transcending my impressions of the medieval-sounding Rule and looking closely into its significance, I may say that this particular section of Chapter 4 demands: first, that I take the challenge of going beyond decency only in appearance and good external behaviors; next, that I discover self-confidence and self-worth from my quality of life; thirdly, that I develop in me the purity of mind and heart so that I can behave well in public affairs; fourthly, that I study well and study some more; and lastly, that I be concerned primarily with what pleases God. All these demands are to be done in view of the community. Without pretensions, I want to look good. However, I want to look good in both senses, physical and spiritual, so that I can truly relate with others, men and women. And Jesus Christ, the man from Nazareth and the Anointed One, is my model and ideal here. If God did not look good in the person of Jesus Christ, how could He truly relate with the people in the community!? I do not have any idea, whatsoever, as to the number of years it would take me to understand and experience completely what chapter 4 of Augustine;s Rule means and entails. But I am quite certain that this process of human and religious formation takes a bit of time and is, as expected, painful. I am left with no choice but to learn to struggle, and in learning so, this part of the Rule becomes possible by the grace of God. Only God knows! wendell allan marinay, osa.


THE AUGUSTINIAN MISSIONARY PRESENCE AROUND THE WORLD The Order of Saint Augustine is a worldwide Religious Institution with 56 circumscriptions in more than 50 countries in the 6 continents of the world. Since its juridical foundation in March, 1244, the Augustinians still continue its mission to serve the Lord through the Church bearing in mind and heart the charism of our spiritual founder, the great St. Augustine. Below is the list of Augustinian presence around the world. Asia-Pacific Australia (AUS) Province of Mother of Good Counsel Korea (KOR) Delegation of S. Nicholas of Tolentine Japan (JAP) Vicariate of the Blessed Martyrs of Japan Philippines (CAE)Province of the S. Niño of Cebu

Philippines (ORI) Vicariate of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Orient India (IND) Delegation of Our Lady of Grace Indonesia (PAP) Delegation of Papua AFRICA

Nigeria (NIG) Province of St. Augustine Dem. Rep. Congo (CON) Vicariate St. Possidius Congo Kenya (KEN) Delegation of Kenya

Tanzania (TAN) Delegation of Tanzania South Africa Augustinian Friary Durban Algeria Convent Saint Augustine Anaba EUROPE

Austria (VIE) Vicariate of Our Lady of Consolation of Vienna Belgium (BEL) Province of S. Juliana Cornelio UK (ANG) Province of S. John Stone of England and Scottland Germany (GER) Province of the Holy Guardian Angels Ireland (HIB) Province of Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel Netherlands (HOL)Province of Holland Spain (HIS) Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of Spain Spain (PHI) Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines

Spain (MAT) Province of the Most Holy Heart of Jesus of Madrid/El Escorial Spain (CAS) Province of S. Thomas of Villanova of Castilla Italy (ITA) Province of S. Nicola of Tolentine and S. Rita of Cascia Malta (MEL) Province of S. Marc Evangeliste Poland (POL) Province of Poland Czech Rep. (BOH)Province of Our Lady of Consolation Czech Rep. (ABR) Abbey of Brno Slovakia (ITA) Augustinians in Slovakia

NORTH AMERICA Canada (CAN) U.S.A. (CAL)

Province of S. Joseph of Canada Province of S. Augustine of California

U.S.A. (CHI) U.S.A. (VIL)

Province of Mother of Good Counsel of Chicago Province of S. Thomas of Villanova

SOUTH AMERICA Argentine & Uruguay (ARG)Vicariate of S. Alphonse de Orozco Bolivia (BOL) Vicariate of S. Thomas of Villanova Brazil (BRA) Vicariate of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Brazil (BRM) Vicariate of Our Lady of Consolation Chile (CHL) Province of Our Lady of Grace Columbia (COL) Province of Our Lady of Grace Ecuador (QUI) Province of S. Michael of Quito

Mexico (MEC) Province of S. Nicholas Mexico (MEX) Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Panamá (PAN) Vicariate of S. Thomas of Villanova Peru (PER) Province of Our Lady of Grace Peru (APU) Vicariate of S. Augustine of Apurimac Peru (CHU) Vicariate of S. John de Sahagún of Chulucanas Peru (IQU) Vicariate of Iquitos Venezuela (VEN) Vicariate of Venezuela

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A pastoral reflection of faith and experience of Summer 2011

T

he Augustinian missionary presence in Bur- ions, sparked the revival of the BEC’s in the barangays gos is embodied in the persons of Rev. Fr. Ben- for it was the first time that seminarians were assigned jamin Unabia, OSA (Parish Priest/Prior) and there for summer exposure. The experience was new Rev. Fr. Leonard Realiza, OSA (Asst. Parish to the people for, unlike the diocesan seminarians, Priest). These two friars cater to the various we stayed for longer periods in the barangays for our needs of the Catholic faithful. There’s a consciousness immersion. BEC was actively practiced before in the among the people of Burbarangays but, due to unagos that their faith is an voidable circumstances, the inseparable part of their activities stopped and were lives. The people love their never revived. A number of parish and recognize it as reasons contributed to the a community where they stagnation of the BEC’s: can nurture their faith. First is political unrest and On their own initiative, division. Politics is deeply they support the parish rooted in the lives of the and the Augustinian compeople. The previous elecmunity in whatever way tion created divisions and they can. Most notable in factions among the BEC the people is their genermembers and even among osity. Previous experience families. Second is internal with the diocesan clergy problems and division in has instilled in the people the BEC. Servant leaders Sta. Ana Sub-Parish, Burgos, the value of taking care of and members become cold, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte their parish. The people indifferent, not interested contribute food, provide financial assistance for par- and stop attending BEC activities. Sometimes finanish projects and offer voluntary labor during special cial matters destroy the BEC especially when the BEC celebrations. common fund is used without permission. Third is the priority of work and the advent of technology. Making Life in the BEC a living takes priority over any other activity and the There is full, conscious and active participation people spend a lot of time in the farm. In most cases, of the Catholic faithful. On the Basic Ecclesial Com- some members are too tired to attend BEC activities munity (BEC) level in the various barangays, a lot of is- and opt to have their rest instead. Attendees during sues and concerns have to be considered and resolved. BEC activities are mostly wives and their husbands can Our arrival in Burgos, together with my two compan- seldom be seen. Those who attend are usually the cat[23] IN DEUM 2012


echists and lay ministers of the parish. With the proliferation of satellite televisions, teleseryes compete with BEC schedule which is usually set in the evening. Our presence as Augustinians is a big help to the Church of Burgos because of the service we render to the people. We let the faithful feel that they are part of the Church, the Body of Christ. In serving the parish, the faithful recognize that they are not neglected but considered themselves part of the whole Christian family. Since the Augustinian presence in Burgos is an ad experimentum missionary venture for two years, the friars are still adjusting to the situation in the parish. The collaboration between the Catholic faithful and Augustinians is very noticeable and this healthy relationship promotes the growth and development of the parish as a whole.

Frays Ryan, Robert and Genesis together with newly found friends.

Christ. They need not go to far-flung barrios to spread the Word of God. They can start in their own localities. “Their baptismal consecration immerses them as Christ’s disciples in the world. It is in the world that they are called by God” (PCP II, 406). In Burgos, the BEC is a great help in promoting BEC in the Missionary perspective renewal and communion among families that reside Missionary work indeed is not an easy task. far from the parish and are only visited by the parAs we experience in Burgos, missionary works require ish priest a few times in a month. The activities that a lot of patience, preparation and dedication. Many the BEC’s promote, facilitate and favor the growth Catholics have the mind-set that mission is just for of the faith and Christian life of the families. “It is in priests and nuns or for a chosen few. But by virtue of the world that they are to grow in holiness. It is there our baptism and being Christ’s disciples we are called especially—in the family, work and recreation, in the to mission as Jesus said to his disciples, “Go, therefore, vast fields of economics, politics and culture—that and make disciples of all nations, baptizthey are to evangelize others.” (PCP II, ing them in the name of the Father, 406) “Missionary work and of the Son, and of the Holy Spir BEC also promotes the cultivait, teaching them to observe all that I indeed is not an tion of Christian life in the family. As have commanded you.” (Mat 28: 18- easy task. As we ex- the basic unit of the society, Christian 20, NAB) family is called as “Church in minia As baptized Christians, we perienced in Burgos, ture” (ecclesia domestica).” (Perfectae missionary works therefore have the responsibility to Caritatis, 49) The family that makes up spread the Good News of salvation require a lot of pa- the BEC is the material source of the to all. “The call to discipleship is a tience, preparation faithful in their sharing of faith experivocation to communion and misences. They reflect on the Word of God and dedication.” sion. All are called to a union of love and try to see its relevance in their famwith God and with one another. All ily life. “Called to reach out to its neighare also called to mission. In other bourhood and beyond, the family becomes words, all—without exception—are called to evan- a true foundation for Basic Ecclesial Communities.” gelize” (PCP II, 402). In Burgos, since the parish can- (PCP II, 421) Evangelization and growth in the faith not provide for all the spiritual needs of the Catholic and spiritual life happens in the BEC because the peofaithful due to some inevitable circumstances, the lay ple share their experiences with their other members faithful are empowered to heed the missionary call of IN DEUM 2012 [24]


FYI:

The presence of the Augustinians in Burgos, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte is an extension of the community in Socorro, Surigao del Norte. The residence community was accepted to respond to the pastoral needs of the Diocese of Surigao through a Memorandum of Agreement of Ad Experimentum of two years between the province of St. Niño de Cebu and Diocese of Surigao last 2010.

in the cluster or cell. This is a picture of community life marked with sharing of insights and inspirations. The very content of faith sharing in BEC’s is their daily life. “In the struggles and joys of their day to day living, in the realities and activities of the people, the laity provide the world with a variety of ways of living and sharing our faith. Through them and their situations, the Church finds and fulfills her mission in the world.” ing to the religious vows and our common life provide (Plenary Council of the Philippines II, 425) a striking example for others. “Our community life BEC: Building communities in the Augustinian Spirit should offer the world a real example of authentically Augustinians are missionaries, the servants human and sincere brotherhood, which mirrors the of the Church. We can never separate the idea of mis- love of God to all peoples, without distinction.” (Ratio sion from “being Augustinians.” In fact, Augustinians Institutionis 1993, 110) The fraternity we live out in were the first missionaries to the Philippines. “In the cooperation with one another serves as an inspiration evangelizing and liberating mission of the Church in to the community outside our own. Our life radiates the Philippines, consecrated men and women, more to others the charism we practice. “As Augustinians generally known as “Religious,” are playing an indis- we should always cultivate a sense of community and pensable role.” (PCP II, 448) As religious we are called teamwork in every pastoral effort” (RI 1993, 110a) to become witnesses and respond to the needs of the since missionary work is not possible if we are to act Church. Our presence in Burgos is a sign of our wit- on our own. We need the help of the various sectors nessing to the Gospel and response to the missionary of the Church in order to make our mission relevant. call of the Church. “Religious, for their part, find in With this, “we also need to open ourselves more to their consecrated life a privileged means of effective cooperation with the local church, seeing ourselves evangelization. They embody the Church in her desire as partners in mission with the laity.” (RI 1993, 111) to give herself completely to the radical demands of “We must listen to others, especially to the laity and the beatitudes. By their lives they are a sign of total experts, encouraging their cooperation and their apavailability to God, the Church and the brethren.” ostolic organizations, so that we may work together as friends and brothers for the building up of the Reign (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 46) Augustinians bring the message of commun- of God.” (RI 1993, 110c) The assistance provided by ion and promote community building. Our witness- the laity to our missionary ventures makes our work much more bearable. Their talents and capacities complement the skills that sometimes we religious lack. Thus, it is just to acknowledge the special role the laity plays in our mission. There are instances that the faithful have concerns about revised policies and regulations. The laity can help in letting the faithful understand and in implementing new programs that help in the growth of Christian communities. Moreover, flexibility and adaptation is important in missionary work. We must be able to adjust to the variety and differences in culture and perform our mission effectively. “It is indispensable that we respect the diversity of peoples wherever we work. This will make it more possible for us to appreciate their religious and cultural heritage and engage in dialogue with them.” (RI 1993, 112). robert lee lingo, osa.

Fr. Ben and Fr. Leonard


Zambales Exposure:

A Pre-taste of Missionary Life

T

he Catholic Church has always been more than consistent with her teachings on the dignity of the human person not simply in terms of humanitarian purposes but precisely on the basis of man’s being God’s image and likeness. The Church is greatly convinced that the poor in particular need special attention. The plight of the natives of Botolan, Zambales (mostly Aetas) whom l had the chance to visit to pastoral immersion was a significant reminder for me of the message of Ecclesia in Asia, 34; “In seeking to promote human dignity, the Church shows a preferential love of th e poor and the voiceless because the Lord has identified himself with them in a special way [...] Solidarity with the poor becomes more credible if Christians will live simply, following the example of Jesus [...]” It is in the love for the poor who are often victims of oppression that the Church keeps herself busy. My stay with the indigenous and the tribal people in Bontolan, notwithstanding its brevity, was a concrete sign of communion of life. Physically, the natives of Botolan are not as ‘beautiful’ as those the Body and Skin clinics promote. By education, they are far below the standard set by the colleges and universities. They also belong to the economically poor in terms of social status. There are still many reasons why the mainstream society gets disinterested in them. This goes without saying that the indigenous people like those in Bontolan are usually disregarded because of their supposedly “primitive” lifestyle. My brief sojourn with the natives of Bontolan has left a lasting mark on my way of looking at indigenous people in general. Being concerned for the minority of the populace of the world, like the indigenous groups, would at least mean knowing their world. The natives, no matter how the main-

stream society disregard them, share the same dignity that comes from God. When I saw them, I also realized how they are intrinsically linked to the created world. The natives value nature so much. They get the supply of their daily food from nature that surrounds them although they do not eat regularly as in three times a day. In the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil on February 14-23, 2006, the indigenous people made themselves known to be “the voice of the land, the voice of the water, the voice of the air [...] they are caretakers of the earth [...] and in any destruction to nature, they are the first to be effected.” The natives even convinced me of their belief in spirits that protect them and their environment. This may sound superstitious but it is how they show respect for the integrity of the world around them. But the truth of the matter is that their atIN DEUM 2012 [26]


titude shows a resemblance with the biblical view of nature, that is, “God has bound himself to a covenant with nature and humankind who is the steward of creation entrusted with the preservation and care of the planet [...] The human being is the moral agent whose task is to sustain and nurture all creation� (Colm McKeating, Theology of Creation). Added to this is the fact that the human being and the world are creatures made of God. As such, they are to be regarded with respect. The immersion expereince has deepened my regard for other people and for nature. It has raised my consciousness and sensitivity. I realize that these people are good (and as a matter of fact, people are good as God, the Creator, is good). From this experience, I understand all the more that goodness is not just all about the life in the seminary. The comfort my room in the seminary provides me is similar to the comfortable space the natives had offered me. This comfort was displayed when the family where I stayed offered their extra dining table to be converted into a bed with a mosquito net over it so that I could sleep well albeit in a small nipa hut. By such an act, I was treated more like someone special in that place. Likewise, the good food I enjoy eating in the seminary is as tasteful as theirs. I appreciated the way they prepared food for me. The extra seasoning and ingredients they put into my food, which they do not normally do for themselves, made me feel like eating in a fine restaurant. In a word, my criteria of goodness have been expanded by this experience with the natives. wendell allan marinay, osa.

FYI:

Last October 17 to 21, 2012 the entire professorium community together with their formators and two chinese seminarians lived for five days with the indigenous community of Botolan, Zambales. The exposure is part of the simple professed friars’ activity in their formation class with Rev. Fr. Andrew P. Batayola,

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I

HeKaSi Aeta...

was so much privileged when we went to live with the Aetas for a number of days because I stayed with the Chieftain of the tribe, Tatay Zaki. Every day we had different activities, but what I loved most was when he told me a lot of things about their culture. The experience was like a reinforcement of what we have learned way back in grade school in HeKaSi. The first and lasting feeling that I have felt was that of enthusiasm. HeKaSi (also known as Heyograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika) evolved from the subject Sibika at Kultura. In gradeschool we were taught in Sibika at Kultura that there were three waves of people that came here to the Philippines. The Aetas are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the Philippines and are considered as the earliest inhabitants of the Philippine Archipelago. They are nomadic and build only temporary shelters made of sticks driven to the ground and covered with palms of banana leaves, as what our elementary teachers taught us from the textbooks. What I have observed in Dojoc, Zambales was that the well-situated and more modernized Aetas have moved to villages and areas of cleared mountains. They live in houses made of bamboo and cogon grass. They have adjusted to the social, economic, cultural and political pressures by creating systems and structures within their culture to buffer the impact of change, as what we see in the Aeta community of Dojoc Zambales today. Their traditional clothing is very simple. Women wear wrap around skirts while men wear loin cloths known as “bahag�, a cloth strip which passes between the legs, and is attached to a string around the waist. Today most Aetas who have been in contact with lowlanders have adopted the T-shirts, pants and rubber sandals commonly used by the latter. Because of the Mount Pinatubo eruption, some of them moved to resettlement areas in Pampanga and Tarlac. What I have seen was that the government affords them no protection because this ethnic group has lived in relative isolation from lowlanders, preserving a way of life not far from its indigenous beginnings and retaining much of its traditional customs, practices, values, and social organization. Aetas are very resistant to changes. In addition, they have become extremely nomadic due to social and economic influence on their culture and way of life that had previously remained

unchanged for years. I realized this when we went to the market place. The Pinatubo Aetas believe in a most powerful spirit, Namalyadi, who rules over all other deities. Fondly called Apo Namalyari, he is believed to reside in Mt. Pinatubo. He is God, and sometimes seen in the image of St. Martin de Porres because of his dark complexion. The Aetas also believe in spirits residing in nature and on the evening of the day before we left Dojoc, their chieftain assembled the community to perform a ritual. The Aetas started the activity by offering gifts of food and others to an anito. This belief in environmental spirits is one reason the Aetas revere nature and are in close harmony with it. In the morning we were taught how to make fire without using matchsticks or lighter. We gathered bamboos for cooking. When it started to get dark, we were asked by Tatay Zaki to wear loincloths to show that we are one with them and also to start the ritual to appease the spirits for allowing outsiders to dwell among them. I have witnessed the way they prayed and I stood in awe when they called upon Apo Namalyari as Father of Jesus Christ. The Aetas know little about Christianity but surely they are a people who know God by heart. Their culture may be different from that of lowland dwellers and they may have experienced injustices and discrimination, but still they are our brothers and sisters in the one Lord of all, whom we call by different names. arvin salceda, osa. IN DEUM 2012 [28]


Reasons Why They Came:

The Case of the Augustinians in the Philippines

W

hat brought the Augustinians to the Philippines? This brief and simple article is an attempt to demonstrate the arrival and establish the reasons why the Augustinians came to the country. (This article largely contains excerpts from the History of the Order of St. Augustine written by David Gutierrez.)

The period between about 1500 and 1750 brought a dramatic change in the world history. During this time, Christianity became the first religion to spread around the world. Why did this happen? One reason was the energy unleashed by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. In particular, much Catholic missionary work grew out of the Counter-Reformation. Religious orders were dedicated to making converts to Catholicism. The second major reason for the spread of Christianity was the Age of Exploration. By the 1500s, Europeans were travelling the seas to almost every part of the globe. Missionaries followed the European conquerors, traders, and colonists. In the Order of St. Augustine, in the 16th century, it was the Augustinian Province of Castile that aggressively moved and participated in the missionary activity of the church.1 In the year 1527, when Juan Gallego was elected as provincial he took the initiative to promote missionary activity thus this man was also known as the creator of the missionary ideal in the Order. Though he was tasked to lead the first Augustinian missionary to Mexico, he was not able to carry out for he died in 1534.2 After sometimes of studies and application to obtain the necessary permission seven religious men (Augustinians) were appointed to initiate this new endeavour. Accordingly they were “all men of great intelligence and talent and almost all of recognized holiness.�3 They embarked at Seville on March 3, 1533 and arrived at Mexico on June 7 of the same year where they were guests of the Dominicans for something more than a month until they had their own house. Preceded by the Franciscans and the Dominicans in these missions, the Augustinians were not well treated by some in the beginning, and although defended by the first archbishop of Mexico and the Viceroy, they had to extend their efforts to the regions not occupied by their Spanish colaborers. Adding to their work of Christianizing, the missionaries extended themselves in an intense humanitarian and socio – cultural program from the beginning. Mexico served as a base of operations for missionaries in this century, and what have been mentioned about evangelizing, humanitarian and cultural work in Mexico has to be also understood of the Au-

[29] IN DEUM 2012


gustinian missions in Latin America and the Philippines. The first attempt was on November 1, 1542, the Augustinians travelled from Mexico to the Philippine Islands. They stayed for a short time and did not establish any missions at that time.4 On September 24, 1559, Philip wrote a letter to Andres de Urdaneta, a former captain in his father’s service and later an Augustinian friar, asking him to take part in the expedition which was to sail from Mexico “to discover the islands of the setting of the sun.” King Philip added, “according to the great knowledge which you say you have about the things of that land, and understanding as you do about navigation, and being a good cosmographer, it would be of great importance that you should set out in those aforesaid ships, to see what you may discover for your expedition and for the service of our Lord.” With this letter, the king sent another to the provincial of the Augustinians in Mexico informing him of the content of the letter to Urdaneta. The king also expressed his wish that the provincial send other Augustinians along with Urdaneta, that they might make a beginning of Christianizing the islands that they might discover.5 Thus the famous first five Augustinians joined the expedition and set sail for the orient.6 They all arrived at the island of Cebu on April 27, 1565. On May 5, they began the construction of the first foundation which the missionaries dedicated to the child Jesus, in honor of the Statue of our saviour which Pigaffeta, the historian of Magellan’s expedition, had given tot eh ruler of Cebu and his wife in 1521, and which the Augustinians found on their arrival. As to date, the Augustinians have been in the Philippines for 470 years. Jürgen Moltmann once said: “Historical awareness differentiates between the present past and the past present, and puts us in the position to discover the future in the past, to pick up past possibilities again to link them with the present future.”7 fr. ericson borre, osa. END NOTES:

__________________ 1 Rano, Balbino. The Order of St. Augustine.1975.p. 2 Gutierrez, David. History of the Order of St. Augustine. Vol. II. Pennsylvania: Augustinian Historical Institute, 1979. p. 207. 3 Kavanagh, Denis. The Augustinian Order. Pennsylvania: Villanova Press, 1965.p. 59. 4 It was not until twenty years later that the Augustinians established themselves in the Philippines. Rano, p. 96. 5 Gutierrez, p.221. 6 The goal was not the archipelago named after Philip II, but rather China which the missionaries of Mexico were gazing in 1543.

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The faith of the leper A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”

Fr. Michael Alvin Sequio, OSA

Mark 1:40-45

The Gospel tells us another miracle story (Mk 1:40-45). It talks about a leper who was cured by Jesus. The scenario narrated in the story is a little different from our first reading. Leprosy was not an ordinary disease for the Jews. It was impure and contagious. A person who manifested symptoms of it was physically and emotionally disengaged from his/her community and from community worship. Leprosy was considered a punishment of God, one that is comparable to death (cf. 2Re 5:7). The first reading (Lv 13:1-2,45-46) illustrates how contracting such disease was tantamount to social death. Lepers were outcast. They had to live separately from the rest. If healthy people happened to pass by, lepers were required by law to warn these by crying out: ‘unclean’! The encounter between Jesus and the leper was not normal. The leper violated what was otherwise proscribed by law. He ignored the law and instead approached and begged Jesus to cure him from his leprosy. It was his faith, more than anything else, which has brought him before Jesus. If leprosy was a punishment of God, only God, then, could take it away. The encounter for the leper was not easy. Although the Gospel is silent about the other surrounding circumstances in the story, we would expect the leper had to deal with a lot of obstacles before he could even approach Jesus. First there was the crowd. People would have noticed him immediately and would have prevented him to come close. The leper would have to find a way to approach Jesus without being caught. Then there was the humiliation of having leprosy. The leper came from hiding. It was not easy to come out in the open again and to let other people mock him of his miserable state. The story of the leper, however, reminds us that an open wound is healed easier than a closed or hidden wound. The leper may have been the most unfortunate of people forced to live a life as if he were already dead; yet he had great courage to bring himself before the Divine Healer for medication. That courage stems from his deep love and faith in God. At some point in our life, we too get sick and ask God for healing. But not all experience isolation and humiliation as IN DEUM 2012 [33]


the leper did. People whose experience can compare with the leper may not be lepers themselves. They can be murderers, thieves, prostitutes, sexually abused, paedophiles, homosexuals etc. They are not physically sick, but their hearts are wounded in ways we cannot even imagine. If Jesus is indeed alive today, he would be moved to compassion and say “I do will it, be healed”. The Church is always full of lepers-like in need of healing and purification. God made it so to remind us that we must become ourselves instruments of healing for others or vice versa. Let us, as Paul says in the second reading (1Cor 10:3111:1), be imitators of Christ.

The Haemorrhage woman and Jairus’ Daugther Fr. Emmanuel Czar Alvarez, OSA

Mark 5:21-43

Saint Mark narrates two accounts of a miraculous healing performed by Jesus — first, the cure of a woman suffering from haemorrhage for twelve years and, second, the raising back to life of the daughter of a synagogue official named Jairus. In both episodes the evangelist demonstrates how faith heals man from any infirmity, even from death itself Faith can be manifested either by the person himself or herself asking for healing (as in the case of the woman suffering from haemorrhage) or by people related to a person in need of healing (as in the case of the daughter of Jairus). What is striking in Saint Mark’s account is Jesus’ initial reaction to the situation, which did not escape the attention of the crowd. In the cure of the woman suffering from haemorrhage, the Gospel passage points out that the “crowd was pressing round Jesus” (v.3l), and yet Jesus asks, “Who touched my clothes?” (v.30) In the second case, when Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house, he knew the reason why he found “people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly” (v.38), and yet he asks: “Why all this commotion and crying?” (v.39) In both instances, to say the least, there is something weird in the way Jesus reacted to the situation, because he could very well find the answers to his own questions: “Who touched my clothes?” and “Why all this commotion and crying?” Perhaps the questions raised by Jesus were intended to be purely rhetorical in nature — that is, they really do not call for an answer. They rather serve IN DEUM 2012 [34]


to call people’s attention to something the Lord was about to do. By calling the crowd’s attention, the message of his action could be better understood. It is hoped that the on-lookers (readers or listeners) would better understand who Jesus was, what his messianic mission was all about, and what his message dealt with. The message behind Jesus’ healing ministry can be summarized as follows: he was the Messiah sent by the Father and he had the power to defeat the forces of evil in all its manifestations, which could be various forms of illnesses or ailments and even death itself In fact, in his Letter to the Romans Saint Paul informs us that death is a consequence of sin, which in tum is the work of the evil one. Thus we read: “sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death” (Rom 5:12), while 1Jn 3:8 says that whoever leads a sinful life belongs to the devil “since the devil was a sinner from the beginning.” The coming of the Messiah into the world signalled the beginning of the defeat of the devil. Christ is calling those who believe in him to wage a constant battle against the evil one, and in order to do this faith in him is necessary. Faith alone in Jesus can bring about healing and eternal life. In .Mk 5:21-43, it was faith that cured the woman suffering from haemorrhage. It was the same faith of Jairus in the Lord that brought his twelve-year old daughter back to life. However, healing and raising people back to life are not the ultimate purpose behind God’s sending His only begotten Son into the world. Jn 3: 17 reads: “God sent his Son into the world so that through him the world might be saved.” Clearly, to save man is the real reason why the Son of God was incarnated. Miracles, healing, and raising dead people back to life were supposed to be signs that were to accompany the mission of the Messiah. They serve to convince both the Jews and the non—Jews that Jesus, indeed, was the Christ. For some, they also serve to lead them into faith in him. The challenge for Christians today would be that of deepening their faith in Jesus and taking part in his mission to defeat the forces of evil in the world. The presence of evil even among believers (particularly within a religious community) can manifest itself in many ordinary ways (like in selfish attitudes, in envy, in pride, in putting one’s own interest before that of the community, in lack of serious commitment in fulfilling one’s duties and responsibilities, in telling lies, in entertaining thoughts and desires contrary to God’s will, in acts of disobedience to local superiors, in living a lifestyle contrary to the religious vows, in not following the house rules, and so forth). The big question is: What do we do to overcome them’?

IN DEUM 2012 [35]


Psalm 97: All the Ends of the Earth Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of Sto. Nino de Cebu

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Composed by Fray Ric Anthony A. Reyes, OSA January 18, 2009

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© San Agustin Center of Studies Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Hall - Professorium Community #1 Fisheries St., Brgy. VASRA, 1100 Quezon City

IN DEUM 2012 [36]


[37] IN DEUM 2012


Augustinian Comic...

IN DEUM 2012 [38]


In Deum 2012  

In Deum is the Official Journal of journey publication of the San Agustin Center of Studies.

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