The Virgin Mary

The Virgin Mary

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When I asked a Catholic friend about the so many titles bestowed upon the Virgin Mary, she told me that they are based on the location of her appearance, such as Guadalupe in Mexico, hence, “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. I believed her, then. However, when I heard the “Tower of David” (Tore in David) in the litanies being read by a group of religious women who offer prayers at the wake of a dead person asking intercession for mercy, I began to question the seriousness in the practice of “naming” the Virgin Mary. Wow!…even the tower of David can intercede?…for me it is sheer stupidity!

 

On her title, “Our Lady of Fatima”….who is the Catholic Church referring to as the “lady”? Fatima is mentioned in the Koran as the Virgin Mary… it is a Moslem name, not Christian, so indeed, who is  the lady?…is she another woman who acts as a maid of Fatima or Virgin Mary, as in “lady-in-waiting” of queens in their royal court?

 

On the title, “Our Lady of Medjugorie”, if the basis is the “place” of manifestation or appearance, the signs such as the “dancing sun” and the “appearance” of the image of a woman to the children took place in the sky and not on the ground. The children had to stare at the sky to supposedly “see” her. Why not then call the woman who appeared to the children and manifested her appearance with the “dancing sun”, as “Our Lady of the Sky” or “Our Lady of the Dancing Sun” to give it a universal touch and not a selfish ownership limited to where the children live?

 

Every time I go home to my hometown, I would pass by a small barangay that claims a certain “Nuestra Seἧora de la Regla” as its patroness as shown by a signboard with such title above the door of their small chapel. What I know of “regla” is the “monthly visit” of fertile women, or scientifically referred to as menstruation. Is the title then, got to do with the appeal of fertile women to the Virgin Mary’s intercession for them to have a comfortable monthly discharge of menstrual blood?. Why go to that extent when such occurrence is normal, if indeed, it is true? Is that not asking too much?

 

There are claims of people about “appearances” of the Virgin Mary on doors, leaves, petals, floor tiles, etc. How sure are these people that it is the “Virgin Mary”? Do they have her photo? It should be noted that the images of saints, Virgin Mary and even Jesus, that the Catholics adore are “interpretations” of painters based on what they “imagined” per instruction given them. They even use models, as in the case of San Pedro Calungsod whose face is based on that of a popular Filipino basketball player. The images even differ according to the various cultures of Catholics all over the world. For Chinese Catholics, their Virgin Mary sometimes looks very Chinese. For Filipinos, some of the images look very Filipina, even brown in color. The Mediterranean Catholics have their own flat version of the face. And, the Japanese Catholics have their own “Japanese Madonna”. I consider this as a deception to the highest degree.

 

In the case of San Pedro Calungsod, I have no qualms in the use of a model, but they should have used a living relative of the saint. There are plenty of them in Cebu….why use a popular PBA basketball player?….dahil pogi?….now, that is a big shitty question to the seriousness on the part of the Catholic church in propagating Catholicisim. The guy or priest or whoever should be made responsible for this stupidity. If he is a priest, he should be booted out of the Catholic church, for what he has done has brought enormous shame to the said Christian congregation.

 

If something is wrong somewhere, the concerned authority should rectify it for the sake of their followers, so that the latter will not come out as victims of a foolery or deception. The bad eggs in the Catholic Church including those who gained age but still maintain their stubbornness in supporting evil instead of what is good should be defrocked!

Just Like a Twinkling Star (Tribute to St. Teresa of Calcutta)

A reblogged poem for St. Teresa of Calcutta on the occasion of her canonization today…

 

Just Like a Twinkling Star

(Tribute to Mother Teresa)

 

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

Like a tranquil smoothly flowing stream

that ripples at the gentle touch of a falling leaf

and nudge of a rock down its path

your silence so unpredictable

and fragile like a thin sheet of ice

cracks even at the feather’s touch.

 

But just like a twinkling star

your light constantly guides

the wayward souls that roam the earth,

they who need a helping hand to be there –

a place they have been longing for

but just hindered by unseen hands.

 

You untiringly

and unselfishly extend a hand

so that those who have fallen

may again stand.

 

 

Religious are Meant to Ispire not to be Adored

Religious Images are meant to Inspire
Not to be adored
By Apolinario Villalobos

The images of Christian saints, Virgin Mary, and Jesus are supposed to give inspiration. They are not intended to be adored. Something must have gotten wrong during the early stage of conversion that made the practice of image adoration prevalent and deeply-rooted among Filipinos. God has no image, and He is the only One who, mankind should worship. Today, however, the “new” Christians have practically done away with the display of images, while the Catholics have maintained the practice of filling altars with them.

While most Catholics understand the purpose of the images, there are still some who boast their idolatrous adoration of the images, especially, during the fiestas in honor of patron saints. Some even offer foods to them on the altar.

Those whose fervent prayers to the saints are said to have been answered, more than double their devotion, making them their “personal saviors”. Devotees wear scapulars and medallions with images of saints, keep their small photos with short prayers in their wallet, and the more enterprising even come up with prayers and novenas for them to be sold in the sidewalks outside the Catholic churches.

With all those, the Catholic church just look the other way, although, some priests have become vocal in calling the attention of the devotees about their idolatrous practices, just like what they did during the fiesta of the Black Nazarene.

But, can the devotees be blamed for their action after they have exhausted all means for the alleviation of their lives? The only one thing that they forgot is to call on God…although, some did, but in so doing, blame Him for their misfortune, instead of thanking Him for the received blessings!

St. Catherine of Siena

(Just like Pope Francis who persistently calls for changes in the Church in favor of the less privileged, St. Catherine during her time, questioned the wrong practices of the Church, but through her letters.)

St. Catherine of Siena

By Apolinario Villalobos

She could have been
Just another pretty face in the village,
But the call of the Lord
Came loud, strong and intense
That nothing could block the path
She chose that led to Him
Whose Heart bursts with blinding grace
And warmth that’s just so overwhelming.

Dedicating her life to the Lord
She lived with simplicity,
And despite the affluence of her family
She led a life filled with frugality;
She spent her time with the unfortunates
Who could barely make both ends meet
Making sacrifice stand for what it’s meant
As that was her cherished dream ever since.

Writing her way to prominence
She tried her best to be heard
For the sake of her countrymen;
Though the goings were tough
For favorable consequence,
She was not deterred
For instead, her courage
Was prodded on by insistence.

As the Lord’s intellectual instrument
She did her best with the pen’s power
Patching up the rift that beleaguered the Church –
This she did while helping the destitute;
She lighted up gloomy nights with her radiance
For without even a single complaint
She made lost souls find their way
Back to the Lord – just like any other saint.

The world is lucky for her legacies –
Courage toughened by perseverance
Patience intensified by wisdom
Humility bolstered by endurance
Simplicity anchored on diligence;
Nobody has ever thought
Intercession of such a dainty girl –
Much later, by others, be sought.

St. Catherine …
She is all that women should emulate –
Pretty, yet modest and humble to the highest
Ever submissive to the Lord’s will
Never asking why she must suffer for others
Taking to heart every thing she did
In the hope that someday –
The Church would, at last, be united!