We are called to follow the footsteps of Christ – Fr. Tim Jusayan, O.Carm.

Fifteen brothers recently renewed their vows to the Order of Carmelites in a simple celebration on the feastday of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and protector of the Order.

In his homily, Carmelite prior provincial, the Most Reverend Fr. Artemio Jusayan, O.Carm., reminded the brothers that they are not merely making their public vow of the evangelical counsels of obedience, chastity, and poverty to the Order, but that they are making their vow to God.

He said that in professing the vows, the brothers demonstrated that they want to embrace God’s commandment for them and to purify our intentions everyday.

He said that as Carmelites, the goal is to follow the footsteps of Christ and to continue the work of Christ in changing the face of the world.

“Our constitution is clear about the values that we should imbibe so that we become genuine servants of God, to be true messengers of the Lord,” he said.

“We cannot embrace the vows that we have if we do not have an intimate relationship with God and being contemplatives we are able to understand God’s will for us,” he added.

“We are always challenged to surrender ourselves to him so that we would be able to embrace obedience, chastity, and poverty,” he said. “Everyday we are given the opportunity to deepen our vows, to continue to contemplate so that we would be able to truly embrace them and be able to follow the footsteps of Christ.”

“We are promising to God,” he concluded.

The brothers who renewed their vows are March Jozsef Lester G. Hallig, O.Carm., Oscar A. Robles, Jr., O.Carm., Eduardo O. Adolfo, Jr., O.Carm., Christopher F. Labrador, O.Carm., John Jeempy T. Sebuguero, O.Carm., Vincent V. Sumanting, O.Carm., Mechael C. Tating, Jr., O.Carm., Jade C. Gerona, O.Carm., Romualdo L. Delos Reyes, Jr., O.Carm., Marjune R. Caloring, O.Carm., Jaymar M. Falcasantos, O.Carm., Rolando F. Mamites, O.Carm., Kim Paul M. Escobal., O.Carm., Flor Vincent V. Taoc, O.Carm., and Rio Mar S. Sindac, O.Carm. (Text and photos by Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)

Newly Professed Brothers Told to Commit, to Let Go, and to Love

IMG_8689.JPG

Seven novices of the Order of Carmelites in the Philippines professed their vows of keeping the evangelical counsels before Prior Provincial Rev. Fr. Artemio Jusayan, O.Carm., on the feast of the province’s patron, Bld. Titus Brandsma, as members of the order.

In his homily, Fr. Edison Paul Medina, O.Carm., the first Filipino Carmelite friar who was formed in the Philippines, shared with the brothers that just like Titus Brandsma who, despite the challenges that he had to face, like a good soldier and a good servant, fulfilled his obligations that led to his arrest and eventually his death.

            “This is commitment,” he said.

            “You are committed if you are powerless, otherwise, when you are in control, it is not commitment,” he added.

IMG_8690.JPG

“Who is in control (of our lives)? No other than God. God controls, Jesus Christ controls, you have to have allegiance to the Lord and that is commitment,” he told the congregation.

He then added that in entering the Order the brothers are letting go of their comfort zones of economic security, of their desires, of having a romantic life because they are to “promise the vow of being poor.”

To love is also one of the challenges that Fr. Medina gave to the newly professed brothers.

“Our Lord said, ‘Love your enemies,’” he said. “It is easy to love another person, but to love yourself, your number one enemy, yourself, is very hard to love.”

He said that it is in loving that we are able to live a life of chastity.

The newly professed brothers are Br. Alexander Martinez of Bayambang, Pangasinan, Br. Mithy Layos of Bantayan, Cebu, Br. Michel San Juan of Tabaco City, Br. Adrian Ballares of Alaminos City, Br. Petronilo Flores of Hinobaan, Negros Occidental, Br. Dave Malinao of Ormoc City, and Br. Jaynor Gomez of Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental. (Text by Br. Ritche Salgado, O.Carm. Photos by Jeshrel Alimojaned).

Journeying with the young as Carmelites

Speaking before members of different Carmelite congregations and lay associations, Rev. Fr. Sheldon Tabile, O.Carm., raised five points that would help in journeying with young people as “witnesses to the resurrection.”

Fr. Tabile said that in order for the Carmelites to truly journey with young people, they should first live in the presence of God so that they could initiate the young into living in the presence of God.

Jude Liao, a youth leader at the Minor Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Quezon City, shared his experience as a teacher, saying that to journey with the young is not much about telling students what to do, but to actually and genuinely be available to them whenever they are in need of a guide.

“The memory of love is very important, the memory of love is living in the presence of God,” said Fr. Tabile saying that for one to be able to give love one must first overflow with the experience of the love from God and only then would they be able to share love to others.

This leads to the second point, where Fr. Tabile said that it is when the young are able to experience that they are loved that they would follow and do what they are told, otherwise they would not be able to understand what is being communicated to them.

The San Juan couple, Loreto and Elizabeth, agrees, saying that in raising their children they realized that parents should commit time to make their children feel that they are loved.

“It is not enough for them to know that they are loved, they have to be convinced and should feel that they are loved,” Loreto said.

“The message is sent and received because of the act of love,” Fr. Tabile said.

“And the Word became flesh,” said Fr. Tabile is the third point to remember in journeying with the young.

“The fullness of love of god is to do anything, even to become vulnerable,” he said.

“When we journey, we don’t journey with ideals. The start of the journey is to recognize that we are journeying with the flesh,” Fr. Tabile added.

With this, the audience were reminded that they should also be able to recognize the vulnerability, the pains, and the wounds of the young for them to be able to journey with them, and this, he said can only be done if they too would recognize their own vulnerability, pains, and wounds.

Fr. Tabile also said that the young should be enabled, citing as Biblical reference the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s Well (John 4:4-26). He said that the story is a story of empowerment because despite knowing the reputation of the woman, Jesus still asked water from her.

“You feel you are not worthy, yet someone asks help from you because they feel you can contribute something. That is enabling,” he said.

Lastly, Fr. Tabile shared that the image of Mary and the beloved disciple together with the other two Mary’s (John 19:25-27) is a very powerful imagery that evokes the love of God that they experienced through Jesus.

“In trying to stand with the young people, not with our love for them, because there is the overflowing and exploding love of god for them,” he said, adding. “It is not us who is the end of the accompanying, rather we are pointing them to an encounter with Jesus.”

“When we are loved, we don’t only follow but we also believe,” Fr. Tabile concluded.

Meanwhile, in his homily during the mass that concluded the gathering, Fr. Arnel S. Panique, OCD used the word “hope” as an acronym for the qualities that every Carmelite should have in order to be effective witnesses with and for the youth.

The letters of the word “hope” according to Fr. Panique, stands for humility, openness, positivity, and enthusiasm.

“Each one of us is called to be instruments of hope in the world,” he said.

Through the “power of prayer,” Fr. Panique said that our faith life would truly be alive.

 “The most visible fruit of prayer is love manifested in many virtues, including hope,” he said. “To deny hope is to deny God’s infinite goodness.”

Organized by the Carmelite Family Core Group, the Carmelite Family Day in the Philippines is a yearly gathering of representatives from different congregations and lay associations inspired by the Carmelite spirituality.

This year the event was anchored on the theme “Carmelite Family: Journeying with the Youth as witnesses to the Ressurection.” It was held at the St. Joseph Gymnasium of the Carmelite Missionaries-ran Mater Carmeli School-Novaliches last July 21, 2013 and gathered 230 Carmelites from both branches of the Order. (By Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)



Fight against today’s Baal – Fr. Tim Jusayan, O.Carm.

“We are in the school of prophets, we have to fight against the Baal in ourselves,” this was the message of Carmelite prior provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. Artemio Jusayan, O.Carm., in his homily during the Feast of Prophet Elijah, July 20, at the Titus Brandsma Center in Quezon City.

            Referring to Article 26 of the Carmelite Constitution, which talks about the role of Prophet Elijah in the Order, Fr. Jusayan said that as Carmelites we have to be people of the desert, not forgetting that God is with us.

            “The Baalism of today is when people have forgotten the image of God and to be with the poor. This is our challenge today,” he said.

            “God calls us to be instruments in our world today because God is a living God who is living with us,” he added.

            The mass concluded with the induction of the new set of officers of the Prophet Elijah Student Friary community, led by its new coordinator, Br. Mechael Tating, O.Carm. (By Br. Ritche Salgado, O.Carm.)

O. Carm. brothers raise attention to the true state of the nation

The Order of Carmelites in the Philippines recently participated in the United People’s State of the Nation Address (United People’s SONA), a protest organized to bring to the public arena the different issues that the current administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has not addressed.

The United People’s SONA gathers together ordinary people from all walk of life to highlight the true state of the country. These ordinary people from the different sectors, including the church, would share with the people the true situation of their sector, highlighting their call, their need, and their proposal for the president.

This is in contrast to the expected sugar-laden speech of the president that highlights the president’s priority for the year, courting both houses of Congress to enact his priority bills that would help realize his plans by the end of his term.

The brothers went with other church people through the Promotion of Church People’s Response. They braved the heavy rains, walking side by side with members of other religious congregations – sisters, brothers, clergy and lay – and with people of other faith to bring to the fore the united call to “seek to be faithful to God by participating in a collective effort to defend our seas, lands, and people.” That is to call the Duterte administration to be accountable for the widespread killings and human rights violations and the worsening economic conditions that affects our poorest citizens.

67219534_443011429888541_5807855013321506816_n.jpg

Participating in the United People’s SONA is but one of the prophetic expressions of the brothers in their journey of realizing an encounter with the living God.

Vowed to seek the face of the living God in the midst of the oppressed people of God, the brothers continue to engage with the oppressed sectors, to be in solidarity with them especially in their struggles, in their pains, in their anxieties, and in their grief. (By Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)

 

Photo: Carmelite brothers flanking Caloocan Bishop emeritus, Most Reverend Deogracias S. Iniguez, Jr., D.D. Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News/Michael Delizo and Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR)

O.Carm. Philippines celebrates the solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Philippine Province of Bl. Titus Brandsma of the Order of Carmelites celebrated the solemnity of its principal patron, the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel with a triduum, culminating in a feast day mass on the feast day itself.

The first day of the triduum was sponsored by St. John of the Cross Community together with lay partners from Sagrada Familia Parish and was presided by Fr. Arnel Glodobe, O.Carm, parish priest of Sagrada Familia Parish, with Fr. Gilbert Billena, O.Carm as homilist and Fr. Salvic Pajarillo, O.Carm of Papua New Guinea community concelebrating. The theme for the celebration was Mary, Mother of the Apostles.

The second day of the triduum was sponsored by the St. Elijah Student Friars Community and carried the theme Mary, Mother of the Poor. Presiding in the mass was Fr. Jess Alesna, O.Carm. with Fr. Alain Balasabas, O.Carm. concelebrating.

The last day of the triduum was sponsored by the Spring of Carmel Novitiate Community, carrying the theme Mary, Mother of the Missionaries. Celebrating in the mass was Fr. Melvin Loronio, O.Carm. with novice master Fr. Aries Escobal, O.Carm. as homilist.

On the feast day itself, a sportsfest was held gathering together the friars and co-workers in games of solidarity and harmony. A mass followed in the evening, sponsored by the communities of Teresa of Avila. Presiding in the mass was Fr. Alain Balasabas, O.Carm. with Fr. Rico Ponce as homilist. Concelebrating were Fr. Deng Lopez, O.Carm. and Fr. Jess Alesna, O.Carm.

A small salo-salo and short program followed after the mass.

(By Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)

Prayers to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

(Perpetual Novena, Nine Days Novena and Triduum)

©Lay Carmelites of the Philippines, 2013

©Lay Carmelites of the Philippines, 2013

Perpetual Novena

(Preferably on Wednesdays)

b.jpg

Special day of devotion to "La Bruna" the original image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Wednesday of each week, with a liturgy, devotions, and the commitment to show Christian love towards those who are in most need. The Wednesday devotion started in Rome at the Carmelite Church of Transpontina in Rome. This is much earlier than the Perpetual Help Wednesday devotion.

OPENING PRAYER

O most holy Mother of Mount Carmel,/ thou who,/  when  asked by  a saint to grant privileges  to a few,/ didst grant an assurance of salvation to the entire world,/ behold us, thy children,/ kneeling at thy feet.

We glory, dearest Mother,/ in wearing thy holy habit,/ that  habit which makes us members of thy family on earth,/ that habit through  which/ by  honoring thee,/ we shall have  thine all-powerful protection in life,/  at death,/ and  even after death.

Look  down  pityingly,  O  Virgin  of  a  Happy  Death,/  on  all  those  now in  their  agony!/  Look  down  graciously,  O Virgin of Wonders,/ on all those in need of succour!/ Look down mercifully, O sweetest of Mothers,/ on all those who have not the security/ of being  numbered amongst  thy children!/ Look  down tenderly, O  Queen  of Purgatory,/ on  the poor souls!

PRAYER OF PETITION

(The prayer used by St. Simon Stock when he received the Scapular from the Queen of Heaven.)

O  beautiful  Flower of Carmel,/  most  fruitful  vine,/  splendour  of  heaven,/  holy  and  singular,/who  brought  forth  the  Son of God,  still  ever remaining  a pure  virgin,/ assist  us  in our  necessity./  O  Star  of the  Sea, help and protect us!/ Show us that thou art our Mother!” (Here pause and privately name your special intentions.)

O Mary, conceived without sin!

Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Mother, Glory of Carmel! Pray for us.

PRAYER OF SCAPULAR DEVOTEES

O  most  blessed  and  immaculate  Virgin,/  Ornament  and  Splendour  of  Carmel/,  thou  who regardest  with  an  eye  of special  kindness/  those who  wear  thy blessed habit,/  look  down  also  benignly  upon  us/  and cover  us with the  mantle of  thy special protection./  Strengthen  our  weakness with thy  power,/ enlighten  the darkness of our minds with thy wisdom;/ increase in us faith, hope, and charity./ Adorn our souls with such graces and virtues/ as  will  ever  be  pleasing  to  thy  divine  Son  and  to  thee./  Assist  us  in  life,/  and  console  us  in  death,/  with  thy  most amiable  presence,/  and  present  us  to  the  most  august  Trinity/  as  thy  devoted  servants  and  children;/  that  we  may eternally bless and praise thee in paradise. Amen.

May the Holy Scapular which I wear in your honour ever remind me to be devout to You and may it serve me through life as a means of salvation, a shield against sin, and fruitful source of blessings. And in the hour of my death, may it protect me against the assaults of hell and assist me to arrive safely at the everlasting joys of Heaven. Amen.

V/ Queen Beauty of Carmel, pray for us.

R/ That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

O God who have honored the Order of Carmel with the special title of the Most Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, and your Mother mercifully grant that protected by her patronage we may deserve to arrive at everlasting joys, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.

c.jpg

Nine Days Novena

OPENING PRAYER FOR EVERYDAY

O Illustrious Queen of Carmel, Virgin Mother of God, I thank you for having been pleased by your Holy Scapular to receive me under your special protection. I promise that I will always be your dutiful child and that I will always honor you and endeavor to imitate you. And I beg you, dear Mother, to be my patroness and protectress amid all the dangers of life and obtain for me the special favor I now implore and the grace of final perseverance.

Day 1

O Lady of Carmel, Holy Mary, who was prefigured in that little cloud which Elias, the great prophet beheld rising from the sea with its copious raindrops signifying the fecundity with which thou gave to the world Jesus, thy beloved son, as the universal balm for our soul; I beseech thee shower upon me abundant graces from His Majesty that my soul may abound in virtue and good works and serving thee perfectly in this life I may merit to enjoy Him in eternity. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 2

O Virgin of Carmel, most Holy Mary, who has favored the Carmelites with thy intimate love and choicest conversation, guiding them with the light of thy precept and example; I implore you take me into your special care; beg of thy Divine Son the light to know His infinite goodness and to love Him, to realize my sins and to atone for them. Grant that I may serve Him perfectly with my deeds and conversations directed to His greater honor and glory and the edification of my neighbor. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 3

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most Holy, thou didst accept the filial offering of the Carmelites who among mortals were the first to erect a temple on Mount Carmel in which they gathered to honor and praise thee fervently. I beg of thee, dear Lady, to make my soul a living temple of the Majesty of God adorned with virtues. May it never be occupied by inordinate temporal and earthly affections so that His Majesty may ever be loved, adored and praised therein. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 4

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most Holy, in order to show thy special love for the Carmelites, thou didst honor them with the special title of thy sons and daughters. Animating them with the fond assurance to find in thee as in their loving mother, the remedy, the consolation, and the succor in all their afflictions and necessities, inspiring them meanwhile to imitate thy most excellent virtues. I implore thee, Our Lady; grant me the grace to be called thy child that my name be inscribed in the Book of Life. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 5

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most holy, who to defend thy children of Carmel when their work was in danger of destruction didst command his Holiness Honorius III to confirm their institution giving him as a sign that this was thy desire as well as thy Divine Son’s; the instantaneous death of two persons who specially opposed such institutions; I implore thee, our Lady, defend me against all enemies of soul and body so that in peace and tranquility I may live always in the holy service of God and thee. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 6

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most Holy, in order to show that the Carmelites are thy privileged children thou didst enrich them with the singular pledge of the sacred scapular endowing with special blessings those who wear it devoutly and who comply faithfully the attached obligations. I implore thee, Our Lady, grant me the grace to imitate more closely thy virtues, live as a true Christian and a faithful devotee of the Holy Scapular and thereby gain the fruits of this beautiful devotion. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 7

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most Holy, thou didst promise to be a shield to those who wear thy sacred scapular, to defend them against all dangers of the world and the snares of the devil demonstrating this truth with numerous and singular miracles. I implore thee our Lady be thou my powerful defender in this mortal life so that in tribulations and dangers I may be secure and in temptations I may emerge victorious ever trusting in thy assistance to obtain the final reward. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 8

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most Holy, who dost manifest thy special assistance at the hour of death to those who wear thy sacred scapular so that through sincere penance they may pass out of this llife in the grace of God and so be freed from the pains of hell. I implore thee, Our Lady, assist me at the hour of death; obtain for me a true and perfect contrition for my sins, an ardent love of God, and a fervent desire to see and possess Him so that my soul may neither perish nor be condemned but may soon enjoy the eternal happiness of heavenly glory. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

Day 9

O Virgin of Carmel, Mary most Holy, who as a compassionate mother of all who wear thy holy scapular dost extend thy love to the Carmelites even after death thou dost comfort their souls in purgatory and with thy prayers dost effect their quick release for them to enjoy sooner the eternal glory of God. I beg of thee, dear Lady, to obtain from the Divine Majesty, the grace that I may be ever faithful in fulfilling my Christian obligations and the particular devotions as a client of the holy scapular of Carmel so that my life may be consumed as a worthy offering to the Divine Majesty. Amen.

Pause for reflection and petition

CLOSING PRAYER FOR EVERYDAY

Holy Virgin of Carmel, I wish that all without thy exception, may seek refuge in the protecting shadow of thy sacred image that all may be united with thee, Mother of mine, by the loving bond of this thy beloved scapular, O Divine Beauty of Carmel. Look down upon us humbly prostrate before thee and graciously concede to us thy loving protection. I commend to thee the needs of our Holy Father, the Pope, those of the Catholic Church, our Mother, those of our country and of the whole world, my own needs and those of my relatives and friends. Have compassion on the miserable sinners, heretics, and schismatics and on the numberless unbelievers groaning in the darkness of paganism. May they all come to thy fold and love thee dearest Mother as I wish to love thee now and for all eternity. Amen.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO OUR LADY

O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to you, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through your hands.  Since you regard with an eye of special kindness those who wear your Scapular, I implore you to strengthen my weakness with your power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with your wisdom, to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity, that I may render, day by day, my debt of humble homage to you.  May your Scapular keep your eyes of mercy towards me and bring your special protection in the daily struggle to be faithful to your Divine Son and to you.  May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to behold you and clothe myself with your virtues.  From henceforth I shall strive to live in the sweet companionship of your spirit, to offer all to Jesus through you, and to make my life the mirror of your humility, charity, patience, meekness and prayerfulness.  O dearest Mother, support me by your never failing love that I, an unworthy sinner, may come one day to exchange your Scapular for the wedding garment of heaven and dwell with you and the Saints of Carmel in the kingdom of your Son.  Amen

Triduum in Preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

OPENING PRAYER

O most holy Mother of Mount Carmel,/ thou who,/  when  asked by  a saint to grant privileges  to a few,/ didst grant an assurance of salvation to the entire world,/ behold us, thy children,/ kneeling at thy feet.

We glory, dearest Mother,/ in wearing thy holy habit,/ that  habit which makes us members of thy family on earth,/ that habit through  which/ by  honoring thee,/ we shall have  thine all-powerful protection in life,/  at death,/ and  even after death.

Look  down  pityingly,  O  Virgin  of  a  Happy  Death,/  on  all  those  now in  their  agony!/  Look  down  graciously,  O Virgin of Wonders,/ on all those in need of succour!/ Look down mercifully, O sweetest of Mothers,/ on all those who have not the security/ of being  numbered amongst  thy children!/ Look  down tenderly, O  Queen  of Purgatory,/ on  the poor souls!

(July 13th) 1. Most glorious Virgin of Carmel who, by means of Your servant Saint Simon Stock, deigned to present to us the holy habit which distinguishes us as Your devotees: grant that we do not make ourselves unworthy of it by staining our hearts with sin, but wear it properly in such wise that our souls may be dressed in Your most beautiful virtues.

Hail Mary...

(July 14th) 2. Most glorious Virgin of Carmel who, in giving us your noble habit, was not satisfied to recognize us as Your servants but desired with tenderness of affection to call us Your children: help us always to serve and obey You as our Queen and always to love You as our dear Mother.

Hail Mary...

(July 15th) 3. Most glorious Virgin of Carmel, who deigned to promise to anyone wearing Your holy habit devoutly, a special protection from the perils of life and, especially, from eternal damnation: make us persevere to the end in devotion to You so that we may be able to obtain from You after our death prompt deliverance from the pains of Purgatory.

Hail Mary...

PRAYER ON THE DAY OF THE FEAST:

O Most Blessed Virgin Immaculate, honor and splendor of Carmel, You, who look with special kindness upon those who wear Your blessed habit, graciously look upon me also; and hide me in the mantle of Your maternal protection.

Strengthen my weakness with Your power; illumine the darkness of my mind with Your wisdom; increase in me faith, hope and charity.

Clothe my soul with such graces and virtues that it may always be pleasing to You and Your divine Son.

Assist me in life, console me at the moment of death with your most amiable presence; and present me before the most Holy Trinity as Your devoted servant and son, so that I may praise You and bless You for all eternity in Paradise. Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel from the Raccolta

O blessed Virgin, full of grace, Queen of all Saints, how sweet it is for me to venerate thee under the title of our Lady of Mount Carmel. It takes me back to the days of the prophet Elias, when thou was prefigured on Mount Carmel under the form of the little cloud, from which, as it increased, there fell a kindly rain, symbolic of the sanctifying graces that come to us from thee. Even from the days of the Apostles, thou hast been honored under this mystic title; and today I am filled with joy at the thought that we are united with those first clients of thine, and in union with them we salute thee, saying: O beauty of Carmel, glory of Lebanon, thou purest of lilies, mystic rose in the flowering garden of the Church. Meanwhile, O Virgin of virgins, be mindful of me in my misery, and show thyself my Mother. Shed upon me ever more and more the living light of that faith which made thee blessed; inflame me with that Heavenly love wherewith thou didst love thy dear Son, Jesus Christ. I am filled with miseries both spiritual and temporal. I am straitened by many sorrows in body and soul, and I take refuge, like a child, in the shadow of thy motherly protection. Do thou, Mother of God, who hast such power and might, obtain for me from blessed Jesus, the Heavenly gifts of humility, chastity, and meekness, which were the fairest ornaments of thine Immaculate soul. Do thou grant me to be strong in the midst of the temptations and bitterness, which so often overwhelm my spirit. And when the days of my earthly pilgrimage are accomplished according to God's holy will, grant that my soul may obtain the glory of Paradise, through the merits of Christ and thine intercession. Amen.

d.jpg

He went on to Carmel

61858694_2052026005103945_7708479793871716352_n.jpg

The Beauty of Carmel, a compilation of lectures and essays written and delivered by Blessed Titus Brandsma in the United States of America, was introduced to me in 2018 by one of my brothers in initial formation. It may sound funny, but actually I was so fascinated to get hold of a copy of the book because it was the first time for me to encounter the thoughts and writings of Bl. Titus Brandsma himself. Previously, I only saw books and some essays written by other people about Bl. Titus but never had I encountered anything written by the man himself until that day when a brother advised me to read it. It is not a new published book, neither a voluminous work. In fact, it is pocket sized and it can actually be read in just one sitting.

I wanted to talk about this book because a particular statement in one of the articles significantly struck me after reading it. Bl. Titus was talking about the prophet Elijah in this article and he wrote that the prophet is a contemplative individual, however God called him many times from his contemplation to active life and his place in the history of Israel is as one of its most untiring laborers (TBC, 26). Moreover, Bl. Titus noted that the prophet Elijah, after doing an active work in the name of God, always returned to the solitude of the life of contemplation. Abiit autem inde in montem Carmeli (He went on to Mount Carmel). So, Bl. Titus reminds the Carmelites that they must be contemplatives like their spiritual father, Elijah, who, from their active life, always return to the contemplative as to the higher and better part of their vocation. (TBC, 26).

Reflecting on what Bl. Titus remarked made me assess the way I live my Carmelite vocation as a simple professed friar for more than four years now. Within my initial formation in Carmel, I live in a community who works and prays together, I went through sessions about Carmelite life and spirituality, I have read books about Carmelite saints and other holy men and women of the Order, I have my on-going studies in theology at the present, and I underwent series of immersions and pastoral works. Yet, the words of Bl. Titus Brandsma reminding us, Filipino Carmelites, to always return to the contemplative are like flaming arrows piercing my heart. His reminder is challenging me to always find the essence of what I have learned in the formation, the essence of my daily experiences, and the essence of my heart’s desire as I continue to aspire to become a Carmelite. But, it seems that what Bl. Titus is saying in his article made him guilty of compartmentalizing the active and contemplative life of the Carmelites.

We have been taught in initial formation that our active life in the midst of the people is contemplation. It means that we are already contemplating the face of God while doing service to the poor and marginalized, while living together in community, and while doing works for justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Moreover, solitude and silence can be experienced even in the midst of a noisy and chaotic environment because both are states of consciousness regardless of place and circumstance. Both can be attained as long as a person has inner peace and calmness due to resolved issues and a full acceptance of oneself. All of these are true, and in fact, Bl. Titus would likewise agree with all of these.

f50588.jpg

Bl. Titus, however, is not differentiating active life from the contemplative, rather he is only reminding us, Carmelites, that contemplation is the heart of our charism and our pursuit of seeking God in prayer, fraternity, and service must be the priority above all. There is no compartmentalization between work and contemplation --that is one can contemplate God either while working or in the fruits of his or her work. Bl. Titus is only reminding us that our work, albeit it is for the glory of the Lord, can also become a hindrance to contemplation themselves. Apostolates and ministries can become means for competition, avenues for self glorification, personal career, and even opportunities to escape from facing other pressing issues. There is danger when the active life dominates our contemplative life. We may lose the core of our Carmelite vocation.

Chapter ten of the Rule of St. Albert states: Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord’s law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty. Bl. Titus, in the same book, also pointed out the necessity of this chapter from our Rule in understanding about the emphasis of contemplation in our Carmelite vocation. The conjunction word “unless” in the condition unless attending to some other duty indicates that time and space is significantly needed in the practice of contemplation even if the Carmelites are called to work for the Kingdom of God. “Other duty” is referring not only to the works within the community but also includes the apostolates, ministries, other works of justice and peace for the poor and marginalized, and the care for the earth. Unless the Carmelites are in their active ministries, each one is to stay in his cell contemplating the Lord’s law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers.

Bl. Titus, basing from the spirituality of prophet Elijah and the Rule of St. Albert, remains to challenge me and all Filipino Carmelites today to never set aside having ample time and space for silence and solitude. Indeed, one can contemplate while working but others do not have the capacity to do so. It takes mastery and total self discipline to experience work as contemplation. Nevertheless, our Carmelite ancestors never failed to teach and remind the younger generation of Carmelites to always practice silence and solitude as means for contemplation. Indeed God is everywhere and He is within each one of us, yet human work can sometimes deviate us from seeking God within and outside. Many factors can hinder us from being faithful in our allegiance to Jesus Christ. Sometimes the active life of the Carmelites can also be that hindrance, therefore, there is always an invitation to go back to silence and solitude after a long day’s work, to climb our own Mount Carmel, and joyfully contemplate the loving presence of God in the silence of our souls.

Br. Joiezl Fern Piñon, O.Carm.

SAINT SIMON STOCK: THOUGHTS ON HIS FEAST DAY

Stock_16May.jpg

Simon Stock will be forever associated with the Scapular. His story will also always be under contention, with real and verified information about the saint seamlessly integrated into legends and myths. See, even his vision of the Virgin Mary and the Scapular has become a subject of heated debate and of inspired works of art. His is not a unique case. Many saints have stories that contain a continuous mix of reality and fiction, but it did not diminish their value as followers of Christ. At the end of day, we look at virtue, good example, and inspiration from the saint and not their extraordinary earthly experiences.

This is the same stance of the Church regarding mystics who are under consideration for sainthood. It is not about the levitations and the visions. It is about how the saint lived the life of the Gospel, no more no less. And so, for all the Simon Stock stories’ worth, we must be able to work through the foliage and see what is really growing underneath. We must be able to peel through the astonishing segments of the stories and see for ourselves what makes Simon Stock a good example of exemplary Christian life.

Written accounts of his life by various authors through the centuries portrayed Simon Stock as a Godly and God-fearing man, someone who made it his mission to be sensitive and responsive to the Lord’s teachings. It was said that Simon led a solitary and penitential life, able to have lived the life of a hermit. Well, he was probably more solitary and penitential within his heart, resolved in detaching himself from worldliness and earthly desires.

As he was largely responsible for the Carmelite Order in England around the 1200s, he made it his business to carry out God’s plan, spreading the Gospel and leading the people to live full Christian lives. His was an unenviable position back in the day. Despite the seemingly dazzling title of Superior General, Simon had his work cut out for him. His time had conquerors and other characters of ill-repute. It was an uphill battle for him in establishing the Order in England, but he persisted.

This spirit of persistence, and indeed perseverance, was strengthened by Simon’s devotion to the Blessed Mother. In her Simon found more than an ally: a mother, a friend, a confidante, a bridge between heaven and earth. In her Simon put his trust, and he was never disappointed. Every Carmelite should learn from this simple relationship, and it is not just the seemingly mother-son interaction between them.

We are looking into exactly the adjective used to describe that relationship: simple. Well, years into our religious life, some of us still make that relationship with the Blessed Virgin more complicated than it should. There would be bargaining agreements with Mary (usually one-way, and it’s just the petitioner’s), asking for this and that in exchange for something else, to the point that the person does silly devotional practices just to ensure the success of his petitions. Doubtless, it is this type of person that prompted Saint Teresa of Avila, possibly horrified at the very reality that confronted her, to exclaim: “May God deliver us from silly devotions!”

True enough, once we let go of this silliness, we should find ourselves standing with Mary leading us to Jesus. It is simple faith that we should hang on to. It is the kind of faith that does not think twice about soiling one’s feet when the bridegroom’s hands slip through the door. Simon obviously had his faith firmly secured, and, yes, one would have to admit that his was the fruit of contemplation and prayer. Perhaps these are the stories of his life—contemplation and prayer—which should always be remembered by and found inspiration in by generations of Carmelites to come. Now that’s a story angle in Simon’s life that could never be contested.

Celebrating 50 years in Carmel

The Carmelites in the Philippines recently celebrated the 50th year anniversary of Fr. Paul Edison Medina, O.Carm. as a Carmelite with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Carmelite-administered Sagrada Familia Parish in Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.

Considered as the first Filipino Carmelite to be formed in the Philippines, Fr. Paul was born on March 24, 1947 in Tigbao, Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

In his message to Fr. Paul, Fr. Bernard Roosendaal, O.Carm., one of the first Dutch Carmelite missionaries to come to the Philippines, recalled how Fr. Paul had to a walk long distances during school days just so he could attend the Carmelite-administered East Negros Academy.

“Paul was making that journey for four years. No wonder that the spirit of journeying had been very much part of Paul’s fifty years being a Carmelite,” said Fr. Bernard.

“As director I had to officiate the first graduation ceremony under the administration of the Carmelites. One of the graduates was Paul Medina and I was privileged to hand-over to Paul his  ENA high school diploma,” he recalled.

The celebration started with a Eucharistic celebration officiated by Fr. Paul with several of his closest priest friends concelebrating, including the Very Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel, CP, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila. It was then followed by dinner and a short program that highlights the contribution of Fr. Paul to the Order and the Church, as well as expressions of gratitude from his Carmelite brothers and friends.

Fr. Paul first professed his vows to the Order on May 10, 1969 and was ordained a priest on May 5, 1974. It wasn’t until almost 20 years after that another Filipino professed his vows to the Order. Fr. Paul is part of the Manila Formation Community and is based at the Spring of Carmel Novitiate House in Tandang Sora, Quezon City where he assists Frs. Aries Escobal and Melvin Loronio in the spiritual formation of the novices. (By Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)

Renewal of vows and installation to the Acolytate and Lectorate ministries

60325720_1270266886473417_807020399253520384_n.jpg

Five brothers renewed their vows to the Order of Carmelites last May 10, 2019 before the Philippine prior provincial, the Very Rev. Artemio Jusayan, O.Carm., at Titus Brandsma Center.

In his message to the brothers, Fr. Marlon Beredo, prior of the Manila Formation Community, reminded them that in formation the struggle is real, but at the same time, he said that Christ is real, alluding to the help that Christ would offer to the brothers in their journey in Carmel.

Renewed were Br. Ritche Salgado, O.Carm. of Negros Oriental, Br. Vinson Luayon O.Carm. of Davao City, Br. Joiezl Fern Pinon, O.Carm. of Leyte, Br. Paul Pakao Kaptain of Papua New Guinea, and Br. Leo Nebril of Iloilo.

In the same activity, five brothers together with three seminarians from the Diocese of Sorsogon were installed to the Acolytate Ministry. They are Br. Lester Hallig, O.Carm., Br. Oscar Robles, Jr., O.Carm., Br. Eduardo Adolfo, Jr., O.Carm., Br. John Jeempy Sebuguero, O.Carm., Br. Johnie Rebosquillo, O.Carm., Sem. Eli Dingalan, Sem. Michael John Federoso, and Sem. Cavin Lumberio.

Ten brothers were also installed to the Lectorate Ministry, namely: Br. Rolando Mamites, O.Carm., Br. Rio Mar Sindac, O.Carm., Br. Vincent Sumanting, O.Carm., Br. Flor Vincent Taoc, O.Carm., Br. Kim Paul Escobal, O.Carm., Br. Marjune Caloring, O.Carm., Br. Mechael Tating, O.Carm., Br. Romualdo de los Reyes, Jr., O.Carm., Br. Jade Gerona, O.Carm., and Br. Jaymar Falcasantos, O.Carm.  (Text and photo by Br. Ritche Salgado, O.Carm.)

Revitalized CarmelitesPh.Com launched

The Order of Carmelites in the Philippines, Province of Bld. Titus Brandsma, is relaunching a reformatted and revitalized website that aims to inform and to give visitors an experience of Carmelite spirituality through relevant and engaging content.

Managed by the Carmelite Center for Socio-Pastoral Communication, the reformatted CarmelitesPh.com will feature news on the activities of the Prior Provincial, Very Rev. Artemio Jusayan, O.Carm., of the different Carmelite communities in the Philippines including the community of nuns, affiliated institutes, lay groups, and the institutes and foundations of the Order, as well as the ministries and apostolate of the Order including the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission and the Spirituality Commission.

Stories on Carmelite saints as well as of local Carmelites whose life are worthy of emulation are also highlighted in the site, as well as reflections on lived Carmelite spirituality written by Carmelite friars, nuns, and lay.

“This site is our platform to inform the world of our activities here in the Philippines,” said Fr. Perfecto Ll. Adeva, O.Carm., first councilor of the Order in the Philippines.

“As a ministry, this will serve as a way of evangelizing and in sharing the spirit of Carmel to the rest of the world, especially among the Filipinos with our localized contents,” he added.

The stories are collected from different Carmelite communities in the Philippines, from the communities of the nuns, from the different Carmelite institutes and other affiliated organizations and lay groups. Contributions on Carmelite topics are also welcome.

The CCSPC team is composed of Fr. Adeva, O.Carm., Fr.  Sireneo Jaranilla, O.Carm., Fr. Sheldon Tabile, O.Carm., Br. Lester Hallig, O.Carm., Br. Ritche Salgado, O.Carm., and Jeshrel Alimojaned.

For more information, the team can be reached through email at CarmelNewsPh@gmail.com. (By Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm.)