Mirador Jesuit Villa and Retreat House, Baguio City, Philippines

If You Want To Be Alone, I Know A Place: Mirador

High above the mountains of Baguio City is my favorite place to pray. Mirador Hill occupies a special position in all the hills of Baguio. In 1876, Don Manuel Scheidnagel, Governor Politico-Militar of Benguet, gave this hill its name because one could see the South China Sea, Lingayen Gulf and the Ilocos coast on clear days. Today, Mirador is the perfect place to be if you think you are already lost in the trees that you need a ‘vantage point’ to see the whole forest.

And so, if you need to go on a retreat, may I invite you to come to Mirador? I have 10 reasons why you should be there.

  1. A vantage point.

If you need to see things through in your life, or sort things out before making tough decisions, Mirador Jesuit Villa and Retreat House is perfect. Take the cue from many of us, Jesuits who took our annual retreats and Province Congregations there; Or, from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) who once made Mirador as the venue to discuss matters pertaining to the Philippine Church; Or, from many individuals who went there for a retreat or a seminar. Sometimes it is good that even Mirador’s high elevation cooperates with what you exactly need.

  1. Individual spots for prayer.

Some of the photos here are my favorite nooks for my time with God. There are moments when you just want to get out of everyone’s reach, except God’s, whom you cannot be separated from. And you can bring your coffee.

  1. Literally, the whole hill.

Even up in the clouds on chilly mornings, or when the mountain fog covers the city in the afternoon, Mirador provides space for long reflective walks, whether paved or trailed.

The paved road takes you from below the hill to the summit. The incline is perfect for cardio-vascular exercise. When I was there, an athlete took the 252 steps for his exercise.

The trails, on the other hand, are great for nature lovers. What’s astonishing about the hills is that they are never boring.

In Mirador Hill, you can add one unique perk, not found in others: you can go closer to monitor the earth — yes, literally.

In the past, Mirador had been the relocation site of the Manila Observatory after World War II destroyed it in the capital city. Below are photos of the rooms of Wing C, now the Jesuit wing. They were once the offices of the Observatory.

When the Observatory relocated to the Ateneo de Manila campus in 1962, it reverted to the original meteorological and seismic station as it was in the 1900s. You can visit the seismic station today. But ask a staff — or discover it yourself — because it is almost hidden by clumps of wild birds-of-paradise.

The graph in the station hits you with a hard fact: the ground on which we stand is continually shaking. But another fact comes to the fore: Thanks to God’s grace, we are still standing straight and stable. Hallelujah!

(Find this scene. The seismic station is below it.)

  1. The fruits, flowers, and the iconic pine trees.

Come wind and rain, storm and sun, the plants of Mirador bloom and bear fruit like crazy. More often, God speaks through nature. After all, who else can make creation flourish than the Creator alone? You’ll see a number of guava, dalandan, calamansi, orange, persimmon and pomelo trees, and if your eyes are trained, you can check coffee and wild mulberries around. Of course, you can pick ripe fruits and eat them there. It’s part of the experience. However, leave the flowers alone.

In Mirador, all your senses are heightened. So, your experience becomes memorable. On cold mornings, pine trees and rosemary bushes perfume the air. And you know what? You can also take some rosemary sprigs if you intend to roast chicken once you get home celebrating a fruitful retreat.

  1. Places to gather for prayer.

I like the smell of pinewood in the Main Chapel where community prayers and masses are held.

If you are only a handful, I suggest the Vigil Chapel of St. Joseph, a small corner chapel overlooking the valley that directs your eyes further to Lingayen Gulf. The chapel is Asian: you sit on the floor or on low benches. The long cross on the wall is a stylized Stations of the Cross with a Benguet motif.

I use both of these venues for individual meditation and contemplation. The best time is late afternoons: the setting sun viewed from the windows of these sacred spaces is simply stunning!

This is the sunset view from both the Main Chapel and the Vigil Chapel:

  1. The Lourdes Grotto and its 252 Steps.

The Lourdes Grotto, the famous pilgrimage site of Baguio, is just below you. Two white gates can access the grotto. Built in 1913, the Lourdes Grotto was a personal project of Fr. Jose Algue SJ. Ms. Isabel Tampingco, who also sculpted the San Ignacio in Intramuros, carved the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The 212 (original) steps of the grotto were built in 1918.

In addition, the new Chapel of Jesus and Mary beside the grotto is Fr. Rene Javellana SJ’s project. It is also a good place to pray if pilgrims who would often take selfies with the two huge statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary will not distract you.

But if you need a quiet time at the grotto, be there after seven in the evening. When the shrine closes, the whole site will all be yours. Yay!

  1. Food.

The food is simple, yet tasty. You can gorge on fresh fiber since Benguet is one of the main sources of the country’s vegetables. There is a garden a little far down the retreat house. It is beside one of the Ifugao huts where you can also read and ponder the Scriptures alone. One of my dinners is below: garlic and soy sayote tops with sliced pears.

  1. The retreat house.

Architect Gines Rivera, who designed Ateneo de Manila, also constructed the present retreat house in 1952. The look and feel of this villa is old Baguio.

The present house has been home to many who sought refuge or rejuvenation. When the Chinese communist regime expelled the Jesuits, Mirador became the China mission Theologate from 1952-67.

Earlier in its history, the decision to build the present retreat house came when Jesuits needed a place to recuperate and recreate. Superiors under the leadership of Fr. Leo Cullum SJ thought that they needed a house on the summit of Mirador Hill to replace the 1907 three-room house of pine board and cogon built at the level of Naguillan Road. World War II destroyed that original house. Fortunately, it was easy to construct a house because the road to the summit has already been built in 1908.

The rooms of the villa had been modest until today: with only a bed, cabinet, chair and table. The charm is in its simplicity. You only need the bare necessities in your solitude. St. Teresa of Avila said that only God suffices.

  1. The Labyrinth.

At the center of the rotunda is a prayer labyrinth. To use it correctly, you have to walk very slowly and meditatively. The labyrinth will naturally bring you to its center, as you journey inwards to your very core. The sound of a water feature and numerous white koi fishes in the pond nearby will add to the Zen ambience. The labyrinth is highly recommended if you need to slow down.

  1. Sacred Silence.

Ignatian retreats greatly value silence. Mirador is not a venue for charismatic retreats or any of the type that prefers loud sound than the rustling of leaves and the song of the birds.

And do not worry about the staff. Many of them have lived half of their lives in the retreat house. They are accustomed to the silence of Jesuits; they already expect that even if typhoons would rock the entire building, not a sound from us will be heard — unless, of course, the matter is between life and death.


a) To book Mirador Jesuit Villa and Retreat House, contact:

Mr. Sabas M. Mabulo or Mrs. Fatima A. Castillo

Mirador Hill, 2600 Baguio City

Tel. (074)300-4789 or (0906)5701634

Email: rmiradorjesuitvilla@yahoo.com

b) Mirador does not have a Jesuit community. Please also inquire about the availability of retreat guides. The Christian Life Community (CLC)  and the Center for Ignatian Spirituality (CIS) have excellent spiritual programs.

c) Historical facts from Fr. Francis X. Clark, SJ’s “History of Mirador: 1890-1964.”

Baguio City's Café by the Ruins

Unwind In These Three Baguio Cafés

I always feature community cuisine – and promote local restaurants. Patronizing them will give them a fighting chance over big businesses like malls and international food chains that are killing small Filipino entrepreneurs slowly. Dining in these oftentimes family-run eateries also leaves a minimal carbon footprint.


  1. Café by the Ruins.


At the end of my retreat, I visited my favorite place in Baguio: Café By the Ruins. It is my favorite because of my personal connection with it.

Since I entered the Jesuits, I had spent at least a week annually at Mirador Villa* with many of my brothers on vacation. Since 1991, we would enjoy the restaurant’s special Ernie’s Kamote Bread (highland sweet potato, milk, and molasses) with strawberry jam and butter, or the locally made thick bacon and Baguio’s bagnet with bagoong and tomato relish. We would down them with their delectable Ruins Iced Tea made from lemongrass and pandan leaves, and sweetened with honey.


Café by the Ruins was then a simple hangout place for artists. I still recall their poetry reading and the occasional display of the works of local artisans. In fact, on the menu is the famous Ole Nick’s Open Face Tuna sandwich prepared upon the instructions of Filipino writer, Nick Joaquin.


This café’s name comes from the concrete wall of a ruined old house. But to me, the name coaxes out a memory: it was in this place that my novitiate batch would patch-up our differences a year after my ordination in 2001. I was the last to be ordained, and my batch thought that it was high time for us to leave the past behind (yes, we had some of those too), and to start anew.


So we took the Young Priests and Brothers Meeting** as an opportunity to restore what had been “ruined”. That meeting and sharing was pivotal for us because we became closer after that. In fact, we celebrated our 25th year in the Society in Camiguin, a beautiful island off the coast of Misamis Oriental in 2014. My batch’s support had been my  reservoir of strength.

Today, Café By The Ruins has become a ‘sacred’ place for me in the City of Pines.


The next two coffee and teashops are very accessible. Governor Pack Road is a short walking distance downhill from SM Baguio. The landmarks are the bus terminal, Andok’s Lechon Manok and the Baden Powell Hotel.

  1. Under the Tree Book Café



I am quirky and I love unique cafés that will not bore a hole in my pocket. I have read about this new place from an Instagram post. What caught my interest is the idea that this place has a lot of books (mostly Korean!) with walls and ceilings of post-its and notes.




I have not been disappointed. Yes, Under the Tree Book Café has bookshelves; three walls and a ceiling of various notes; and a curiosity, a membership board!


If you love sitting on the floor with a low table for studying, they have a room for you! Remember to leave your footwear at the entrance door.

Most of all, a Php 100 will give you a drink and a pastry – ok, it depends on the price of the drink.

  1. 19fiftea Café


Beside Under the Tree Book Café is another novelty. Decorated with old artifacts like vinyl 45s, photos of actors of a bygone era and (my favorite) an old microscope, is 19fiftea Café.



The place is quaint and cozy. On the wall is an array of teas with a few meals. You will enjoy their Yumberry hot tea (I did!).


These cafés are worth visiting – and promoting. Please give them a space in your Instagram or other social networks. Our local stores promote our very own culture.

However, if you’re not the “me-time” café adventurer, please bring your friends. You do not want that a cup of hot tea or a cold beverage of green tea latte becomes a fare for the lonely if you’re without someone to talk to, or take a picture with.


*Mirador Jesuit Villa and Retreat House is at the summit of the famous Baguio pilgrimage site, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto that is accessible by a 252-step stairway.

** The Young Priests and Brothers Meeting is the formation period for the newly ordained priests and commissioned brothers of 5 years.


Kuwento: Ang Bulaklak sa Iskinita

Kape't PandasalNakatira si Charisse sa madilim na iskinita sa looban ng Balintawak. Ngunit nanalo siya sa isang paligsahan ng bulaklak. Nang itinanong sa kanya kung paano niya inalagaan ang kanyang mga bulaklak, samantalang madilim ang kanyang tinitirhan, ibinunyag niya ang kanyang sikreto.

Tugon ni Charisse, “Nakakapasok sa iskinita ang isang maliit na sinag ng araw. Pagdampi ng araw, inilalagay ko ang tanim sa daanan nito. Habang gumagalaw ito, sinusundan din ko ang araw habang inuusog ko ang tanim sa daanan nito.”

Sa araw ng Pasko, pinapaalala sa atin na ang pagdating ni Hesus sa ating buhay ay tulad ng sinag ng araw sa madilim na iskinita ng ating buhay. Kailangan nating saluhin at sundan ang pagdating nito upang laging maliwanagan ang buhay.

Samahan niyo po ako sa ating panalangin.

“Panginoon, huwag mo sana kaming pahintulutang manatili sa dilim, kundi kusa naming sinusundan ang Liwanag ni Hesus, upang lalung mamukadkad sa aming buhay ang saya at kapayapaan na aming hinahangad. Amen.”

Information and a meeting place at the Guiwanon Spring Park, Siquijor. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Kuwento: Ang Haring Gustong Makita ang Diyos

Kape't PandasalMay isang hari ang gustung-gusto makita ang Diyos. Pinilit niya ang mga pari at dalubhasa ng kanyang kaharian na ipakita sa kanya ang Panginoon, ngunit wala sa kanila ang nakapagpakita sa kanyang matinding hangarin. Isang araw, inanyayahan siya ng isang magsasaka na sumama sa kanyang bukid. Sumama naman ang hari at tanghali na sila nakarating.

Kasagsagan na ng araw at pinagpapawisan na ang hari. At sa tamang panahon, sinabi ng magsasaka,

“Titigan niyo po ang araw!” “Paano ko matitingnan ang araw?” tugon ng hari, “Gusto mo ba akong mabulag?”

Wika ng magsasaka, “Isa lamang iyan sa nilikha ng Diyos at hindi mo siya matitigan? Naaaninag sa bawat likha, ang mukha ng Diyos!”

Karamihan sa atin ang gustong gusto makita ang Diyos, nguni’t nahihirapan makita ang mukha niya sa sangnilikha. Mas mainam na sanayin muna natin ang ating mga mata sa pag-aaninag sa Diyos.

Mga kapamilya, manalangin tayo:

“Panginoon, pahintulutan Niyo po ang kahilingang maging sentro at hari Ka ng aming buhay, upang sa lahat ng bagay, makikita namin ang iyong liwanag. Amen.”

We took this banca to Agutayan Island since we were just 3 passengers. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Kuwento: Ang Mangingisda at Ang Turista

Kape't PandasalMay kwento ako: Isang araw, naglalakad sa tabing-dagat ang isang napakayaman na turista. Nakita niya ang isang mangingisdang namamahinga sa ilalim ng punong niyog katabi ang kanyang bangka. Anya, “Bakit wala ka sa laot? Hindi ba’t dapat kang nangingisda?”

“Sapat na po ang aking nahuli,” tugon ng mangingisda. “Bakit hindi mo damihan ang iyong hinuhuli?” tanong ng turista.

“Para saan?” sagot ng mangingisda. “Para yumaman ka. Maaari mo itong pagkakakitaan,” sabi ng turista. “Kung yumaman ako, aanhin ko ang yaman?” tugon ng mangingisda. “Para makabili ka ng maraming bangka o malaking barko, para mas lalo kang yumaman,” sabi ng turista. “Kung mayaman na mayaman na ako, para saan ang yaman ko?” tugon ng mangingisda.

“Para sa natitira mong buhay, mapupuntahan mo ang magagandang tanawin at makakapagpahinga ka,” sabi ng turista. Sumagot naman ang mangingisda, “Yan na po ang ginagawa ko.”

Hindi totoong makakapahinga ka lamang kung mayroon kang higit na kayamanan. Tulad ng mangingisda, may mga bagay na sapat na, at kapag kuntento tayo sa sapat, may mga makukuha tayong patingi-tinging panahon sa pagpapahinga.

Manalangin tayo:

“Panginoon, tulad ni Santa Teresa na nagsabing Ikaw ay sapat na sa amin, biyayaan mo nawa kami ng pangangailangan namin sa araw-araw, kasama nito ang panahon ng pagpapahinga. Amen.”

Retreat Candles

Kuwento: Ang Ilaw ng Isang Maliit na Kandila

Kape't PandasalIpinagdiriwang ngayong araw ang kauna-unahang Cathedral, ang San Juan Laterano na ipinagkaloob ni Emperador Constantino sa Kristiyanismo at nagsilbing sagisag ng pagiging opisyal na relihiyon ng buong kaharian ng Roma. Dahil dito, lumaganap ang pananampalataya sa buong daigdig. Dahil dito, pinagninilayan natin ang sinulat ni San Pablo ukol sa ating katawan bilang Templo ng Espiritu Santo.

Ano ba ang pagtingin natin sa ating katawan o sa sarili? May kuwento ako. Dala ni Mang Tonyo ang isang maliit na kandila. Tanong ng kandila: “Saan mo ako dadalhin?” Sabi ni Mang Tonyo: “Sa itaas: Iilawan natin ang malalaking barko upang hindi sila maligaw.”

“Ba’t ako ang dinadala mo? Tingnan mo naman ang aking katawan. Sa liit kong ito, hindi makikita ng mga mandaragat ang aking ilaw,” sagot ng kandila.

Sabi ni Mang Tonyo, “kung hindi kasing liwanag ang iyong ilaw kumpara sa iba, ipatuloy mo lang ang pagbibigay ng liwanag. Ako na ang bahala sa iyo.” Nang makarating sila sa tuktok, inilagay ang kandila sa isang malaking lampara. At biglang lumiwanag ang buong paligid dahil sa maraming kumikinang na salamin sa likod nito. Sa pinakamalayong dako ng dagat, nakikita ng mga marinero ang liwanag na mula sa maliit na kandila.

Manalangin tayo:

“Panginoon, nawa magsilbing tulad ng lampara ang aming katawan, upang ang liwanag ng Espiritu Santo ay magsilbing gabay sa iba. Amen.”

My family on Christmas

How I Learned to Focus On Who Mattered the Most

My mom and I after I took my first and perpetual vows in the Society of Jesus. May 31, 1991

My mom and I after I took my first and perpetual vows in the Society of Jesus. May 31, 1991

+ In loving memory of my mom, Mrs. Luz O. Marfil-Gonzales, who passed away on 8 November 2014, two days after my birthday.


Evenings at home ended with the rosary. My mother would gather all of us in front of the family’s altar. Occasionally, she would show her anger to any one who was too lazy to pray. She had five children, so she would assign one decade to each one of us because Dad would usually doze off somewhere between the 2nd and the 3rd mysteries. As the eldest, I would take the first mystery, so I could join Dad when he dreamed. She would begin with the introductory prayers, and after the fifth mystery, end the rosary with a litany of the saints and a prayer for all the faithful departed.

I have learned to love the rosary because it invoked a beautiful and pleasant memory of my family. With the struggle of keeping awake in my younger days, my family has taught me how to pray “as the Church” and how to persevere in prayer. Prayer, as we were taught in catechism, was “both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposed effort” (CCC 2725).

The rosary is a perfect companion on any journey. It was not an accident that years past my teenage years, I would learn to put a rosary in my pocket and/or in my backpack when I entered the Jesuits. I would use it while sitting meditatively during Holy Hours, walking prayerfully after dinner, or traveling on long mission trips to central Bukidnon. Whether stationary or mobile, the rosary allowed me to put all of my focus on the only one that mattered: Jesus.

At a young age, memorizing the mysteries of the life of Jesus was easy. Thanks to repetition, the timeline of Jesus’ life had been planted. Without reading the Gospels, I already knew the “epitome of the Gospels” (Pius VI’s Marialis Cultus 42; Sacrosanctum Concilium 103). By reciting all the mysteries of the rosary, I already knew the story of Jesus — from beginning to end. That is why in medieval times, the Western Church recommended the rosary as a substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours.

My first and perpetual vows at Sacred Heart Novitiate, 31 May 1991.

My first and perpetual vows at Sacred Heart Novitiate. I would take on the vow name, Ignacio Maria, to signify my devotion to both St. Ignatius of Loyola and Our Holy Mother. 31 May 1991.

And what more now that I do study, reflect and pray the Scriptures. With constant meditation on every single mystery, the habit has led me to “know Jesus more intimately, love Him more ardently, and follow Him more closely” (Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola). The mysteries have grown on me as I matured. Eventually, my relationship with Jesus has thrived and grown too, like best friends whose friendship would continue forever.

But there is something else. As Jesus became the foreground of my consciousness in praying the rosary, Mary would be at the background. With the foreground and the background, I had a complete picture. With the constant Hail Mary’s, like an Asian mantra, I became in communion with Mary, as she accompanied Jesus in His life. Today, I still consider the rosary as a pilgrimage, a deeper spiritual journey: I have been growing up with Mary and Jesus! This realization has been very striking. In both of my 30-Day Retreat in the novitiate (1989) and my tertianship (2011), my contemplation of the life of Jesus in the 2nd to the 4th week of the Spiritual Exercises has “placed me in prayer” like a brother to Jesus.

Left to right: My mom, I, Ms. May Flores of XUHS, and my two brothers, Jesse and Jayson.

Theology graduation, March 2001. Left to right: My mom, I, Ms. May Flores of XUHS, and my two brothers, Jesse and Jayson.

Being in communion with Mary is nothing new to our Catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:

“Because of Mary’s singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her and to entrust supplications and praises for her (CCC 2682).”

Eventually, praying the rosary has become a “communion” with Mary and my mom who has been my first teacher in the faith. And in a much deeper sense, the rosary is maternal to me: Both Mary and my mom have led me, not to their lives, but to Jesus. My favorite image of Mary, in any given title of hers, is the Madonna and Child. I always regard this image as two-fold: sometimes her fingers point to Jesus as she holds Him (many Marian icons are like this), and sometimes with her arms stretched toward me, she would hold Jesus like a mother giving her child to be kissed or even to be carried. In other words, the Madonna and Child images are invitations to be closer to Jesus! One of the graces St. Ignatius asks of each Jesuit is to “beg God the Father to place [you] with His Son.”

“Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with Him” (CCC 2708).

Mary For You

Many people would use the rosary as they come to Mary with their greatest needs. I am like them. And I have been accustomed to dedicate every decade to a petition. Not that I come only when I have needs, but I come because I also carry not just my needs, but other people’s prayers as well. And aren’t we all needy?

I received a note from Mr. Onofre Pagsanghan after launching with a mass, the Month of the Rosary. 7 October 2015

I received a note from Mr. Onofre Pagsanghan after launching with a mass, the Month of the Rosary. 7 October 2015

At the end of the rosary is the Hail, Holy Queen. I love that prayer because it affirms that everyone has unending needs: we “send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” And so, we petition her to “turn then [her] eyes of mercy towards us.” And we also ask her to “show to us the blessed fruit of [her] womb, Jesus.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church adds:

“The Church rightly honors the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God’, to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs” (CCC, 971).

Another prayer, the Memorare, illustrates this flight to her all the more:

“Remember, O Most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection was left unaided… Mother of the Most Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer us.”

In other words, by being orans (pray-ers) themselves, Mary and my mom have taught me to pray. Praying the rosary will never be devoid of my dual devotion to my two mothers, both have my deepest gratitude and love.

“Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends His Son to save all people. Like the beloved disciple, we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes (John 19:27), for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with her and to her” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2679).

So, put a rosary in your pocket. It continues to help me focus on Jesus alone.

The Christ Who Pardoned Sinners Photo: Fr. JBoy Gonzales SJ

Undas: Kapistahan ng mga Nakakatakot, o ng mga Nakakabigay ng Inspirasyon?

Kape't PandasalSa panahon ng social media, mabilis ang pagsanib ng kultura ng Halloween sa pagdiriwang ng Undas o sa pagdiriwang ng Kapistahan ng mga Banal. Mas higit na binibigyang halaga ang nakakatakot, kaysa nagbibigay ng inspirasyon. Ang salitang Halloween ay galing sa Lumang Ingles; pinagsama nila ang “Holy o Hallow” at “evening,” hanggang naging Halloween.

Ayon sa Wikipedia, ang tradisyon ng Halloween nakaugat sa Kristiyanismo, kung saan nakaugalian ng mga tao ang manalangin at magtirik ng kandila para sa mga yumao, kasama ang mga banal at martyr ng Simbahang Katolika. Ngunit sa paghahalo ng iba’t ibang impluwensiya ng komersyalismo at secularisasyon, nawala ang kahulugang may kinalaman sa pananampalataya.

Ibabalik po natin ito. Higit nating alalahanin ang mga taong nagbigay inspirasyon at buhay sa atin, kapamilya man o kapatid natin sa pananampalataya. Tatanawin natin ngayon ang ating utang na loob sa kanila. Samahan niyo po ako manalangin:

“Panginoon, bigyan niyo po ang aming mga yumao ng kapayapaan magpakailan man. Sa pag-alala namin sa kanila, nawa ang kanilang halimbawa ang magsilbing gabay sa aming buhay ngayon at kung kami’y mamamatay, Amen.”

Photo by Bok Pioquid, CSIP, Ateneo HIgh School.

Sino ang Mas Mabuti: Yung nasa kuwarto at walang nasasaktan, o yung tumutulong nguni’t nagkakamali?

Kape't PandasalSapat na ba sa ating mga Kristiyano ang sundin ang Sampung Utos na ibinigay ng Panginoon kay Moises sa Bundok ng Sinai?

Ikinuwento ni San Marcos ang isang binatang tumakbo kay Hesus at paluhod na nagtanong, “Mabuting Guro, ano ang dapat kong gawin upang matamo ang buhay na walang hanggan?” Inisa-isang binanggit ni Hesus ang Sampung Utos sa binata na tumugon, “Guro, ang lahat ng iyan ay tinupad ko mula sa aking pagkabata.”

“Isang bagay na lamang ang kulang pa sa iyo,” tugon ni Hesus, “ipagbili at ipamigay mo sa mga dukha ang iyong pag-aari at sumunod ka sa akin.” Ibig sabihin, hindi sapat ang umiwas sa ipinagbabawal. Ang pagiging Kristiyano ay nasa higit na paggawa at paglilingkod.

Katulad ito ng isang tanong sa pilosopiya, “Sino ang mas mabuting-tao: yung nasa kuwarto lamang at walang nasasaktan, o yung taong labis ang pagmamahal sa Diyos kaya ibinigay ang sarili sa paglilingkod sa mahihirap, ngunit paminsan-minsan ay nagkakamali?”

Tunay na marangal ang hindi kumukurakot ng ari-arian ng iba, ngunit mas maka-Kristiyano ang nagbibigay sa iba. Hindi sa pag-iwas, kundi sa mapaglikha at higit na paggawa ng kabutihan. Mga kapamilya, ipagdasal natin ang pagkakaroon ng pusong kayang maglingkod nang higit pa sa ating buhay.

Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ. Children from Montalban, Rizal.

Kuwento: Ang Singsing ng Kabutihan

Kape't PandasalNoong unang mga panahon, isang hari ang tumulong sa isang wizard o salamangkero na nagkubling isang pulubi. Sinubukan ng salamangkero ang puso ng bagong kahihirang na hari. At dahil naipamalas ng hari ang kanyang tunay na pagkatao, binigyan siya ng salamangkero ng isang singsing na may kapangyarihang pa-igtingin ang kabutihan ng sumusuot nito.

At totoong ngang minahal ang hari ng lahat ng kanyang mga sakop, kasama na rin ang mga hindi kabilang sa kanyang kaharian.

Nagdaan ang mga taon at ipinasa ang singsing sa mga anak ng mga hari, hanggang humantong ito sa isang haring may tatlong anak, na pawang mabubuti at may malasakit sa kapwa. Kaya nagpagawa ang hari ng dalawa pang singsing na magkasing-tulad sa orihinal. Nang namatay ang hari, nagtalo ang tatlong anak kung sino sa kanila ang may-ari ng tunay na singsing.

Nang sumangguni sila sa salamangkero ng kaharian, ito ang kanyang tugon: “malalaman lang po sa epekto ninyo sa mga tao.”

Mga kapamilya, hindi nakasalalay sa ating mga pinanggalingan o mga titulo sa buhay, ang ating karangalan. Ipagdasal natin na ang katunayan ng ating pagiging Kristiyano ay nakikita sa ating mga gawaing maka-tao at maka-Diyos.