Holy things; Blessed Objects; Sacramentals; etc. (1/31/99)
Holiness. Sacredness. Touched by God.
I have this strong notion that some people have lost their belief
that holiness still exists amongst us here on earth - on people
(through sacraments), on objects (sacramental blessings), on
places (consecration of the altar; the tabernacle), etc.
I'd like to analyze why this has happened but since I am currently
pressed for time, I won't expound to much on the "whys" of it
except I believe, it's very much due to lapsing away from the
Catholic Church practices - the Holy Mother Church who brings to us
"God's Kingdom" as our Lord's prayer professes:
"...Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, ON EARTH as it is in
Before I go further on "God's Kingdom here on earth via the
Church", let's look into the Testaments of before which prove
that holiness upon people, objects, places can indeed exist
here on earth and with the foundation that whatever God touches,
becomes holy indeed, here's the list of examples of God's
kingdom on earth as it is in heaven:
the 10 commandments tablets - wherever they may be, these
were directly touched by God, directly written upon by God
the Ark of the Old Covenant - with specific design
specifications by God to Moses, this object was built to
house the "Old Covenant", the 10 commandments of God and
everywhere the Ark went, across the River Jordan, etc.,
was blessed indeed, as specified by God Himself. The
Ark bears some semblance to the "Tabernacle" of today which
now houses the "New Covenant" (the Eucharistic Body, Blood
Soul and Divinity of Christ).
the Holy of Holies - ahhh...also with specific design
specifications by God to Moses, this place was built according
to God's will and God actually "physically" dwelt inside this
place and the people of Israel saw God's cloud hovered upon
this place and they knew when God was inside it as they saw
the place "glow" visibly.
relics (other things with direct contact with God):
* swaddling clothes of Baby Lord Jesus - I remember in some of
the "Mary's life" stories narrated to saints in some of her
apparitions to them, Mary told how she actually kept her
Baby's swaddling clothes which she used to wrapped Him at
* the tree/wood from the Holy Cross of Christ - some people
have a relic of a part of His Cross (1st, 2nd, or 3rd class
relic) and others who don't believe in holy objects would
mock them claiming if they put all the pieces that people
have as relic from the Cross, they can even build a big
ship. Well, that shows how they are not aware of the classes
of relics (1st: direct belonging of the Holy Person/saint;
2nd: touched by Holy Person/saint; 3rd: touched by 1st class,
etc.) and so the "kingdom of God" multiplies, just as how
faith spred across the world, Holiness also spred across
continents to many people, as they have these relics
* Shroud of Turin - allegedly the burial clothes worn by
Christ which was left in His Tomb when He rose from the dead.
* ritual of consecrating altars to God - ahh...similar to
what happened at the Holy of Holies, priests of the old
performed ceremonies, as prescribed by God to consecrate
Temple's altar to Him as this was were Holy Oblations
(offerings to God) were presented to Him.
Only in heaven is there holiness?
Christ walked this earth and as He promised to send the Holy
Spirit upon us "to remind us of what He told" the early Church,
holiness therefore continue on and on and on. Christ already
"ransomed" us from evil, remember? With Christ's Church here on
earth, this is that part of His Kingdom on earth, as it is in
The manifestation of such holiness happens through sacraments
and sacramentals and blessings by God through the Church.
Thus, we have Holy water (touched by God) and put upon people.
Thus, we make the Sign of the Holy Cross, which blesses ourselves
in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, we have Holy Oil, used to "seal" us with God's graces
through the sacrament.
Thus, even today, there are specific rituals that priests perform
to still consecrate our church's altar to God because the Most
Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, the Lamb of God,
Jesus Christ Himself physically
comes amidst us at the altar table in the Mass.
Thus, we also have blessed objects, icons, keepsakes, etc.
Thus, the more we receive the sacraments of the Church, the more
holiness is spred upon the people of God. The more we make the
sign of the Cross in God's Name and confirmation of our faith in
Him to make us holy, the more we get blessed over and over again.
So, even if holiness may be absent in some Churches as they
strayed and faltered away from God's Way and Will ever since
the beginning of specifying design, rituals and ceremonies
to "bring His Holiness and His Kingdom here on earth", that
has not happened in the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Mother
Church, which nurtures us holiness is continually spred to God's
people all over the world.
Next, I'll try to tackle the "whys" some have lame excuses of
"O you don't need to do this or that to be saved..."
I tell you, Christ came to earth not just about "saving" or
"ransoming" but MORE, MORE, MORE --- to bring God's kingdom on
earth as it is in heaven! To bring God's HOLINESS upon us.
This was quoted from testimony of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen before
the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 22, 1996.
"My name is Gianna Jessen. I am 19 years of age. I am originally from
California, but now reside in Franklin, Tennessee. I am adopted. I have
cerebral palsy. My biological mother was 17 years old and seven and
one-half months pregnant when she made the decision to have a saline
abortion. I am the person she aborted. I lived instead of died.
Fortunately for me the abortionist was not in the clinic when I arrived
alive, instead of dead, at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of April 6, 1977. I was
early, my death was not expected to be seen until about 9 a.m., when he
would probably be arriving for his office hours. I am sure I would not be
here today if the abortionist would have been in the clinic as his job is
to take life, not sustain it. Some have said I am a "botched abortion." a
result of a job not well done.
There were many witnesses to my entry into this world. My biological
mother and other young girls in the clinic, who also awaited the death of
their babies, were the first to greet me. I am told this was a hysterical
moment. Next was a staff nurse who apparently called emergency medical
services and had me transferred to a hospital.
I remained in the hospital for almost three months. There was not much
hope for me in the beginning. I weighed only two pounds. Today, babies
smaller than I was have survived.
A doctor once said I had a great will to live and that I fought for my
life. I eventually was able to leave the hospital and be placed in foster
care. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of the abortion.
My foster mother was told that it was doubtful that I would ever crawl or
walk. I could not sit up independently. Through the prayers and dedication
of my foster mother, and later many other people, I eventually learned to
sit up, crawl, then stand. I walked with leg braces and a walker shortly
before I turned age four.
I was legally adopted by my foster mother's daughter, Diana De Paul, a
few months after I began to walk. The Department of Social Services would
not release me any earlier for adoption.
I have continued in physical therapy for my disability, and after a total
of four surgeries, I can now walk without assistance. It is not always
easy. Sometimes I fall, but I have learned how to fall gracefully after
falling 19 years.
I am happy to be alive. I almost died. Every day I thank God for life. I
do not consider myself a by-product of conception, a clump of tissue, or
any other of the titles given to a child in the womb. I do not consider any
person conceived to be any of those things.
I have met other survivors of abortion. They are all thankful for life.
Only a few months ago I met another saline abortion survivor. Her name is
Sarah. She is two years old. Sarah also has cerebral palsy, but her
diagnosis is not good. She is blind and has severe seizures. The
abortionist, besides injecting the mother with saline, also injects the
baby victims. Sarah was injected in the head. I saw the place on her head
where this was done. When I speak, I speak not only for myself, but for the
other survivors, like Sarah, and also for those who cannot yet speak...
Today, a baby is a baby when convenient. It is tissue or otherwise when
the time is not right. A baby is a baby when miscarriage takes place at
two, three, four months. A baby is called a tissue or clumps of cells when
an abortion takes place at two, three, four months. Why is that? I see no
difference. What are you seeing? Many close there eyes...
The best thing I can show you to defend life is my life. It has been a
great gift. Killing is not the answer to any question or situation. Show me
how it is the answer.
There is a quote which is etched into the high ceilings of one of our
state's capitol buildings. The quote says, "Whatever is morally wrong, is
not politically correct." Abortion is morally wrong. Our country is
shedding the blood of the innocent. America is killing its future.
All life is valuable. All life is a gift from our Creator. We must
receive and cherish the gifts we are given. We must honor the right to life."
In the Hebrew culture, the number 7 symbolizes "perfection,
infinity, extreme". Thus, when those writers of the Books
in the Bible were inspired by God to convey something to its
extreme or greatest degree of perfection, they label it
Take for example the passage on Mark 16:9 - "...He appeared
to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons."
St. Mark wanted to exactly convey that Mary Magdalene,
before she became Christ's follower, was the worst of all
worsts sinners by the label "7 demons were driven out
Now this is the more interesting truth from the Bible
that I realized and learned about Mary Magdalene, worst
sinner, then became follower of Jesus (I got this from 5-day
"Mission" given to us by my parish Church, "Accepting the
It's about the journey of this woman from being the worst
sinners to being resurrected to life without sin by Jesus
Dr. Norman Carroll, deacon and speaker in the Mission,
narrated that Mary Magdalene followed Jesus Christ for at
least 2 years after Jesus drove such "7 demons" from her.
She was faithful believer and follower even up to the very
end, when Jesus was put to death and even after death.
An inspiring reflection I got from all these is that
Mary's "journey to and in faith to Jesus" is almost the
most basic foundation of how each one of us came to be
Christian as how we are now. We start off as being a
sinner. Then we were baptized and our original sin
removed from us yet we continue to sin further as we
grow old. However, we still keep coming back to following
Jesus Christ anyway. And so, just like Mary Magdalene,
who started off to the very lowest level (7 demons,
remember?), then she followed Jesus Christ in His
ministry and as His disciple and faithful servant.
Then, to this "sinner", turned faithful follower, the
ultimate reward was conveyed by all 4 Gospels of the
Bible mentioning how when Jesus Christ resurrected
from the dead, Mary Magdalene was there to receive Him.
Quite magnificent, I personally say, how such a story
is impactfully the most basic "life story" of all of
us because we all will be rewarded indeed "to see"
Jesus Christ in full glory for as long as we continue
to follow and be faithful to Him, just as how Mary
was, who witness one of the greatest part of the
"Paschal (passover) Mystery/Event" which was Christ's
Resurrection from the dead.
Now therefore, on a slightly different note as related
to "Jesus Christ first appearing to a _woman_" at His
Resurrection from death, which has been miscontrued
and misinterpreted by others who insists on women
ordination (when all over Scripture, God has never
ordained women to become priests). Therefore, this
story of Mary Magdalene, worst of all worst sinners,
who turned as follower to Christ and was faithfully
there, is far, far, far fetched from "allowing women to
be priest" issue because the truth of the matter is,
this story accounted how we, as sinners (even the
worst of them all) can be rewarded eternal life,
"see Jesus Christ" for as long as we follow Him, His
Way and Will in obedience to His Father in heaven.
Besides, "Mary Magdalene" did not have to be "female".
The writers of the Gospels could have used a "male"
example to convey the story about a sinner who became
Christ's follower. But it so happen, there was this
more appropriate story about a woman (or man) with 7
demon driven out of her and later after faithfully
following Jesus, she (or he) was justly reward
of "seeing Jesus" first!
So I hope that those who insists on "distorting"
(and misusing) the Mary Magdalene great story of
sinner-turned-Jesus-follower to have anything to
do with "women ordination to priesthood", please
realize that in reading Scripture we must take the
full context of the whole story as well
as the "culture" and background as how the writers use
words to build up the "moral lesson" as a whole for all
of us to grasp to deepen our Christian understanding
of what God wanted us to learn from His Word.
We should not simply misuse the Word of God to promote
any radical ulterior motives that go against His Will
and Way from the beginning which the Church follows
through as Christ Himself taught, He did not come to
abolish to law but to fulfill it. Thus, the Church
will continue to follow as God has done, Old Testament,
New Testament, and still going regarding the sacrament
It goes to show how as Mary Magdalene followed Christ,
and was rewarded by seeing Him first at Resurrection,
so has the Church continue to follow Christ's Way and
part of Christ's Way, just like His Father, is only
choosing "male" to the priesthood. Then, now and
forever. "Perfect" follower.
Afterall, to go back to the title of this writeup,
"Seven", Jesus Christ said, "you must strive to be
perfect, just as the Father in heaven is perfect."
(Taken from "The Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals" by Ann Ball)
We celebrate the Christmas Season: The Twelve Days of
Can you imagine not being permitted to freely say "Merry Christmas?"
Can you imagine having to conceal your beliefs by describing them in
seemingly unrelated words, like singing an apparently happy, almost
nonsensical song, when it is really about your beliefs?
Those conditions did occur in England, as well as, other places
between 1558 and 1829.
In fact, the Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a
result of people needing to conceal their beliefs in this way.
The carol, written in England as a catechism song for young Roman
Catholics, the Twelve Days of Christmas contains hidden meanings
intended to help children remember lessons of faith. Instead of
referring to an earthly suitor, the "true love" mentioned in the
song really refers to God. The "me" who receives the present is
symbolic of every baptized person.
The meaning of the other symbols follow:
The "partridge in a pear tree" is Jesus Christ. In the song, Christ
is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to
decoy predators from helpless young, by hiding them in the tree.
"Two turtle doves": the Old and New Testaments, the basis for our
"Three French Hens": for Faith, Hope and Charity.
"Four Calling Birds": the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
"Five Gold Rings": the first five books of the Old Testament,
the Pentateuch, which are the basis for the law of God.
"Six Geeze A-Laying": for the six days of creation.
"Seven Swans A-Swimming": the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, received
after the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist
"Eight Maids-a-Milking": for the eight Beatitudes.
"Nine Ladies Dancing": the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
"Ten Lords A-Leaping": for the Ten Commandments.
"Eleven Pipers Piping": the eleven faithful disciples.
"Twelve Drummers Drumming": for the twelve points of belief in the