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In Bethlehem, where Jesus was born: of unspeakable peace

(Last of two parts) In November 2019, I joined a pilgrimage organized by Sr. Nimfa Eborra, a Bible scholar and a licensed spiritual guide in Israel. With me also as pilgrims were my sister and her husband, my brother, and our niece.  It was actually my fifth trip to the Holy Land. My first was...

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Our Lady is our mother for always

Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, is a special nonworking holiday nationwide by virtue of Republic Act. No. 10966. The law calls Our Lady “the principal patroness of the Philippines,” but more than that, she is the “mother” of millions of Filipinos who look to her as the fount of love...

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‘Undas’ and life after life (not death)

What’s the meaning or derivation of the local word “Undas,” referred to in English as All Souls’ Day? In Mexico, “Dia de los Muertos” means “Day of the Dead,” which in Tagalog is “Araw ng mga Patay o Namayapa.” In Spain, “honra” means “honor” or “respect”—hence, “to respect or honor the dead.” In the Philippine...

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The nomological argument for God’s existence

Since the 1960s, despite the heyday of logical positivism, there has been a resurgence of the traditional metaphysical arguments to prove the existence of God. We’ve heard of the “big three” arguments: ontological, cosmological, and teleological. The ontological or “a priori” argument tries to establish the necessity of God’s existence by explaining the concept of...

Prayer is not asking or ‘controlling’ but ‘being’ with God
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Prayer is not asking or ‘controlling’ but ‘being’ with God

Back in my seminary days, I remember a phrase that captivated my imagination: “wasting time with God.” It was some kind of parody or radical criticism of the modern productivity-crazed world’s disavowal of the godly, spiritual or prayerful life as a waste of time. Hence, back then, we indubitably “enjoyed” wasting time with God in...

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Tagle as papal contender? Here are the pros and cons

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the former archbishop of Manila, may be the strongest papal contender if Pope Francis resigns, like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did. But certain factors may affect his chances of getting elected in the next conclave. One factor is Tagle’s perceived closeness to Pope Francis, who appointed him in 2019 to head...