Pope Benedict's SPE SALVI etc.

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Spe Salvi, referencing the Latin phrase from Romans 8:24, Spe salvi facti sumus, is the second encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI promulgated on November 30, 2007, and is about the theological virtue of hope.- Wikipedia

In our Christian tradition, the period including the four Sundays prior to Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is called Advent.  Most of the families even light the advent wreath weekly and have readings around it everyday of the week.

At its best, it is a time of preparation, of readying ourselves, of opening ourselves, that we may take in the graces that are offered to us by our dear Lord God Almighty.

Advent, from the Latin advenire, meaning “to come to,” and adventus meaning “the coming or arrival, especially of something awaited or momentous.” In other words, LOOKING FORWARD TO SOMETHING... (Father Domie Guzman talked about this last year too)
Father Cecilio Magsino opened his first meditation for our December recollection with that. Then he dwelled on the Holy Father's 2nd encyclical entitled SPE SALVI  (Saved in Hope) based on “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24).

Just a short note before I continue. Father Cecilio Magsino was my brother Karl's buddy when we were in Italy last 1992. Karl had an accident along with his friends in the wee hours of the morning of Christmas last 1991 (because of confession and 150 Hail Mary's his life was spared after being declared dead on arrival). It was then that Arleen's love for him was signified and he was out of the hospital a couple of months later. He joined me during my pilgrimage to Italy and for the Beatification of St. Josemaria because he went to confession because my dad had a natural high after an Opus Dei ADVENT Recollection so he spread his joy...and Karl was one of those he spread his joy with. Ergo, it was a thanksgiving thing.  Since there were only a few men in the group, it was but natural that he became friends with Tito Nick Villaseñor and the two priests in the group, but mostly with Father Magsino.


It was very interesting that he talked about the encyclical and the topics of the encyclical released on the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30) at Vatican City.

One of the topics of the encyclical talked about St. Giuseppina Bakhita (Josephine Bakhita) who incidentally was beatified alongside St. Josemaria Escriva last May 1992. Josephine Bakhita was a slave all her life until she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian consul Callisto Legnani, who returned to Italy as the Mahdists advanced. Here, after the terrifying “masters” who had owned her up to that point, Bakhita came to know a totally different kind of “master”—in Venetian dialect, which she was now learning, she used the name “paron” for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ. Up to that time she had known only masters who despised and maltreated her, or at best considered her a useful slave. Now, however, she heard that there is a “paron” above all masters, the Lord of all lords, and that this Lord is good, goodness in person. She came to know that this Lord even knew her, that he had created her—that he actually loved her. She too was loved, and by none other than the supreme “Paron”, before whom all other masters are themselves no more than lowly servants. She was known and loved and she was awaited. What is more, this master had himself accepted the destiny of being flogged and now he was waiting for her “at the Father's right hand”. Now she had “hope” —no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.” Through the knowledge of this hope she was “redeemed”, no longer a slave, but a free child of God. She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world—without hope because without God. Hence, when she was about to be taken back to Sudan, Bakhita refused; she did not wish to be separated again from her “Paron”. On 9 January 1890, she was baptized and confirmed and received her first Holy Communion from the hands of the Patriarch of Venice. On 8 December 1896, in Verona, she took her vows in the Congregation of the Canossian Sisters and from that time onwards, besides her work in the sacristy and in the porter's lodge at the convent, she made several journeys round Italy in order to promote the missions: the liberation that she had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ, she felt she had to extend, it had to be handed on to others, to the greatest possible number of people. The hope born in her which had “redeemed” her she could not keep to herself; this hope had to reach many, to reach everybody. (Italics...exactly how it was written in the encyclical...)

SPE SALVI talks about different kinds of hope: Faith is hope; The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; Eternal life-what is it?; Is Christian hope individualistic?; the transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; the true shape of Christian hope; Prayer as the school of hope; Action and suffering as settings for learning hope (that no matter how bleak and bleary a situation may seem, THERE IS HOPE...God is the master of history...He just allows certain things to happen...God ALWAYS puts a limit for evil in this world); Judgment as a setting for learning and practicing hope; and last but not the least, MARY AS THE STAR OF HOPE.

It's a wonderful encyclical. I know I should have just written a review on it, but it's more personal this way.

Christian life is a life of Hope. Imagine, this is from one of Father Magsino's anecdotes, that one day your guardian angel finally shows himself to you, but he's the bearer of bad news: In a week's time, you'll die, but you'll not go to heaven, you'll go straight to hell!

All hope will be lost for you. What will be the reason for living? Nothing. You will no longer have the reason to sacrifice for others or to have order in your life. You will be wasted!

Hope is really, really very important.

When you have hope and the door seems to be locked we will remember to look for another door, or an open window. If there seems no other way, with His wisdom we can find solutions like looking for instruments to dig a hole or something. When we have hope, we can think of contingency measures.

The reason God doesn't tell us the future is because we cannot handle it. We can go crazy. Knowing the future can be more of a burden, than a gift (if you used to watch EARLY EDITION, you know what I mean...yes, you can fix things, but...)

Now, what will happen If HE tells you you're definitely going to heaven (versus the other story of going to hell)? I guess you'll be complacent and say, "I'm surely going to heaven, why should I sacrifice?" Something to that effect.


I had a good confession and spiritual direction. I can't say I'm super prepared for the things to come, but I'm prepared.
Forgiveness is bliss! I may have had ill feelings towards certain people the past couple of weeks, but the Christian way is to REALLY forgive them in my heart. After all, people forgive me too when I'm at fault.

I've been reading ROME SWEET HOME by Scott and Kimberly Hahn and it reminds me of the right decision I made going back to my original sheepfold.

I'm not judging anyone who chooses to stay out of the fold, because maybe for them, they are in the right sheepfold...where God wants them to be.
It just so happens that God wants me to be here.


 The talk on ORDINARY LIFE was an eye opener. It's something I've always known deep inside me, but I suddenly became ashamed of myself when I heard of the speaker's sister-in-law.

She has cancer and yet she thinks of others more than her pain. She is suffering, but the welfare of others go first. I know those two sentences are similar, but the impact of what her character did to me yesterday was strong.

Dwight L. Moody said. "...that when a man is full of the Holy Ghost He is the very last man to be complaining of other people." It also holds true for other things. If you're full of the Holy Spirit, nothing can shake you...not even the greatest form of suffering.

In THIS life we should choose to be exceptional...exceptional...NOT PERFECT...but exceptional. (Aiming for perfection is the goal to achieve for the after life)
We should choose that to inspire others.

Yet, while choosing to be exceptional, we shouldn't miss out on the little things.

It's great to have big goals in life, but if we miss out on the little things, we could miss out on the REAL JOY of the Lord.
We also have to know how to FOCUS and not spread ourselves too thin.

The speaker also talked about three things that should be important to us:
1. Spending quality time with our family
2. Support our family in any which way we can (and it doesn't have to be in the form of money)
3. Supplication (pray for them)

Loving is in an act of will. Whether we love someone in the romantic way, the agape way or whatever form, it shouldn't be based on mere emotions.

The speaker reminded the wives (well, only few of us were single there) that even though there are times they would be too irritated to serve their loved ones, they should also remember to allow themselves to "simmer". She also reminded them that no matter how important their children are (I only have "borrowed" children), the husband should never be neglected...he should go first.

Shucks. There were some things I wasn't able to write because I had to change pens, but I wrote something like: Every time I attend a recollection here at Woodrose, I appreciate my mom more. I do! I really love her more and more!

Oh, before I forget I wanna add that in one of my garbled scribbles it also said, "When people praise our children, they are giving honor to us."

 After the talk we had our examination of conscience then Father Magsino gave his second meditation.

The talk and the meditations are usually connected and the connection was clearer when Father Magsino started with, "The goals we set to attain in our life cannot happen overnight. It takes time."

We should begin, begin and begin again...to start anew.
We fail, we falter...we go to confession...we start anew...

Our spiritual life is like going up an inclined plane or going up a mountain. We should keep on moving.

When the storm comes, we shouldn't freeze. We still should keep on moving.

Then he went back to talk about Hope (by the way he asked for our continuous prayers because his goal is to become a saint). The qualities of hopeful people are: persevering, patient and constant.

He also quoted St. Paul in his letter to Timothy, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity but gave us a spirit of power, love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Haaaay! OK. I should wrap this up (like a Christmas gift? Hahahahahaha!).

Christmas is around the corner. It'll start on December 25 and end on the Feast of Epiphany.  There's a one week extension after that(The Baptism of Jesus), but we must never forget that Jesus is the real reason for the season.

Although shopping is one of the greatest forms of therapies, I must say I don't really have ample time and resources to do so. I have more than 50 godchildren and I have lots of people dear to my heart...

I guess I'll just greet most of my friends from the bottom of my heart.

Times are hard and commercialism has always pressured us, but what can I do?

I know my current state is only a temporary one, but the most important thing during this season in the preparation for His transformative birth.

Yes, Christmas may not be REALLY on December 25(age old debate), but what's important is, we remember that our RISEN SAVIOR was incarnated and born into this world as a little baby...that the King of Kings humbled Himself and had a "silent" arrival.

Christmas is humility...simplicity...

It would honestly be nice to have all the trimmings too, but...

(I'll be lying if I said I didn't want that)

There are many, many things to be thankful for and I should put that in mind.

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