The Catholic Chic is a personal and faith-based blog on the life of a Catholic woman in the modern world.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Finding God in Pop songs


When I'm feeling down, I sometimes pop some random happy music on YouTube to get my mind off my worries. It's funny how sometimes I feel God is speaking to me through some lyrics in random songs.

Today I heard the song from Icona Pop entitled 'All Night' and somehow the words "Everything is alright" keeps repeating in my head.

I realized that maybe God is telling me to stop worrying and that He will take care of the things I'm worried about.

What about you? How does God talk to you through pop songs lately? I'll be glad to know what you think. 

Reading Thomas A Kempis


Earlier, I blogged about how Brandon Vogt inspired me to create a Catholic classics reading list. I have now started reading books from that list and I must say, this experience is starting to become a fascinating journey for me.

I have been reading the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis and it is by far one of the most authoritative Catholic books I've read since the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It contains a lot of wisdom and his words have inspired and sustained me to remain steadfast despite the many turmoils in my life.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants straight answers about the faith and how to live it. Thomas A Kempis does not exactly mince words so prepare your heart for a challenging yet fulfilling reading experience.  

Get a free e-book of this from iBooks or check out your local book stores for hardbound copies!

Journeying with you,
The Catholic Chic 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love Song for God



These words were taken from 'Strangers' by 7 Lions, Myon & Shane 54, and Tove Lo. I am unsure if they're Christian but I'm thankful and happy that the chorus of their song reminds me of God. That He is my everything and through Him I am sustained.

The Catholic Chic

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jim Caviezel's New Movie: 'When the Game Stands Tall'

  "I am not afraid of my faith." 
- Jim Caviezel


I learned from Raymond Arroyo on Twitter that 'When the Game Stands Tall' has hit screens in the US last August 22.

I have been waiting for this movie to be shown in Philippine cinemas this month but I suppose I'll have to wait until November to watch it.

I have loved Jim Caviezel's performance since The Count of Monte Cristo and The Passion of the Christ. I believe this new movie will be another inspiring breakthrough in Hollywood.


From Google images

Watch the Official Trailer here:



Exclusive Interview

Also, here is Raymond Arroyo's exclusive interview with Jim Caviezel on EWTN. Jim talked about his experience playing Coach Bob Ladouceur in the movie. Enjoy!


"We're not looking for you to play the perfect game, that's impossible. What we're asking of you and what you should be asking yourself is to give a perfect effort of every play from snap to whistle. That you can be depended on. And in life, champions are not made through a lack of adversity. Champions are made because of the adversity." 
- Bob Ladouceur as quoted by Jim Caviezel

Who is this movie for?

Jim Caviezel: "For all those boys who were like me, they didn't think they had a shot, maybe God is calling them to do something greater than they can ever imagine. Boys that want to become men someday, not guys, but they want to become real men."

---


I hope you enjoyed watching the interview as I did. After a whirlwind of CG-laden epic movies, there hasn't been an inspiring movie like this. I hope and pray you would support this movie. 

God bless you all!

The Catholic Chic

Fasting Fridays

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live 
on bread alone, 
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
- Matt 4:4

Many oppressive events fostering religious hate have been happening around the world. Reading about them bring me much grief as a Catholic. I have been praying specifically for all the victims of the terrorist group, ISIS/Islamic state/ISIL in Iraq and against the satanic black mass booked for September 21 in Oklahoma.

I shared my concerns with my husband and he encouraged me to fast in addition to praying about these events. 

Honestly, I have not fasted for quite a while now so I decided to give it a go. I understand that the Archbishop of Oklahoma has also encouraged Catholics around the world to go on a fast to counter the advances of satanists in Oklahoma.

My husband guided me in my fasting and he instructed me how he does his own fasting so I could follow suit. He usually fasts on the first Wednesday of the month and eats only bread. His personal commitment to go fasting was encouraged by a Christian movement called e5MEN (See website here). Members of the e5MEN fast as a sacrifice for the women in their lives. Guys, if you haven't heard of them, please check out their website. 

Image from greggs.co.uk


Like my husband, I decided to go on a bread and water fast. I chose to fast on a Friday and my husband was very supportive to fast with me.

"The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent." 
- Can. 1250, 1983 Code of Canon Law

I was surprised to learn that Catholics are called to fast every Friday as stated in the Canon Law of 1983. I am thinking of doing this fast again next Friday. I pray to God I can do it. Please pray for me. :)

My realizations after Fasting

1. The devil will come and do his best to ruin your fast.

If you're fasting to combat evil, chances are, he will come to make it harder for you.

Honestly, when noon time came, I was becoming quite hungry and I was already craving for something to eat other than bread. Many food items were passed to my table such as biscuits and cake by my friends but I resisted. 

When I got home for dinner, the food on the table was Sinigang na Baka - my favorite Filipino beef stew dish. I was astounded that among all the days they decided to cook my favorite today! Again, I prayed and resisted.

I knew at that moment, something was trying to pull me down and stop my fast.

2. The devil can be defeated.

I asked myself, why of all days did they cook my fave today?! But then it seems like the devil was telling me, "Do you think I'll let you succeed that easily?" I realized, if evil wants to give me a fight, then I will fight. Thankfully, I was able to complete my fast through prayers. I won with Christ.

So basically, if you want to fast for something, be prepared for all the temptations coming your way. But always fight because the devil can be defeated.

3. Fasting is powerful.

In the gospel of Matthew, it was narrated that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. After fasting, His body was weak because He was hungry but His Spirit was stronger than ever which allowed Him to resist the three-time temptation of the devil. Even Christ, our God, fasted. So should we.

After fasting, I realized that I had more control over my desires, cravings, and emotions. I felt I was more spiritually focused and I had self-discipline. 

The next day, I felt God answer my prayers when I learned that the satanists who stole the blessed Host (to be used in their black mass) returned it to the Archbishop of Oklahoma. 

The words of St. John Chrysostom holds true:

"We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this good intercession." 
- St. John Chrysostom



Truly if you devote your fasting to God with prayer, you'll be able to come out from it maybe with a weaker body, but definitely a stronger spirit. This exercise of fasting was an epiphany for me that I am capable of suffering and self-control. I praise God for that!

I pray that in every fasting you'll undertake, the Holy Spirit will guide you through.

Yours in Christ,

The Catholic Chic

Monday, August 25, 2014

Missionaries of Manila: Steve


I met this inspiring little guy, Steve, in one of our parish masses.



There was a time when the choir for a mass did not show up and the mass organizers were looking for people who were willing to sing for the mass. Surprisingly, this young man of 4 popped up and volunteered to sing with the other choir volunteers. 



I realized that choosing to follow Christ and serving others is not bound by age. No matter what age you are or no matter how developed (or undeveloped) your talents may be, you can always say YES!

Missionaries of Manila is a series I started on my blog to have a glimpse of the lives of Christian missionaries among the lay and clergy. These are people who inspired me to do ordinary things extraordinarily.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My notes on "Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult" by Fr. Syquia

"It is the enemy who should fear us, and not we him."
- Saint Faustina

"If we are at war with the devil, we are at peace with God."
- St. John Chrysostom

---

The parishioners of the Sanctuario de San Jose, together with the Defensores Fidei Foundation (DFF), a Roman Catholic lay foundation, organized a talk entitled “Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult.” It was held last August 16 at the Sanctuario de San Jose Parish in Greenhills, San Juan. The speaker was Fr. Jose Francisco “Jocis” Syquia, the director of the Office of Exorcism of the Archdiocese of Manila. 

From CBCPNews.com

I learned about Father Jocis when I got a hold of his book Exorcism, Encounters with the paranormal and the occult way back when I was in college. It is one of my favorite Catholic books until now because I learned a lot about the workings of evil against Christians and how I could defend myself and others from oppression. 




















Father Jocis authors other bestselling books - Exorcist, a Spiritual journey and Exorcist vol. 2, Spiritual Battle Lines. I highly recommend these books to all Catholics who would like to learn more about combating evil in today's world.







The program started with some welcoming remarks from the founding head of Defensores Fidei, Henry Siy. It is then followed by a brief introduction of Fr. Jocis.


It was my first time to see Fr. Jocis Syquia in person and I was surprised that he looks quite young! Another thing I learned about him is that he has a licentiate in Spiritual Theology from Angelicum in Rome where he finished as a Magna Cum Laude. Awesome!

 
Anyway, here are some of my notes on the lecture of Fr. Jocis. I pray that you'll be guided by the Holy Spirit as you read on:



Fr. Jocis starting his lecture at the Sanctuario de San Jose.

Who is the source of your suffering?


Sufferings and trials are a part of life. I never really reflected about where my sufferings come from or who gives it to me. I just accept its existence and try to solve it as best as I could. Most of the time, people blame God for the sufferings they have in life.

According to Fr. Jocis, we should consider the fact that many of our sufferings come from the devil. He said: 

"Sufferings which come from the Lord should be life-giving. 
If it is not, it is caused by evil."

Are our sufferings life-giving? Let's take time to reflect on the cause of our trials. For all we know, they may not have come from above. 

Remember that the devil wants to be hidden from our awareness, to deceive us that our sufferings come only from ourselves or from God.


 

The acts of fallen angels

Uncertainties in life and the Loss of Faith opens us humans to temptation, sins, and the occult. Fallen angels use these situations in our lives as a way of getting nearer to us.

Fallen angels cause oppression, obsessions, infestation, and ultimately, possession (Read more about it here). According to Fr. Jocis, more Christians have experienced forms of oppression. Some of us may not even be aware of it but we are already being oppressed by the enemy at this point in time.  

Specifically, demons can cause physical, emotional, and psychological problems.

I realized that I have experienced some forms of oppression previously enumerated by Fr. Jocis. Some of them include persistent nightmares, waking up at 3 am, and having gory and bloody dreams. These happened when I neglected my prayer time before going to bed. Only when my husband and I started to diligently pray before going to bed and adding the Prayer of Humility and Hail Mary in our prayers did I stop having consistent nightmares.

My dad had the same oppressions before. He sleeps in the room next to ours. When he started wearing blessed sacramentals, aside from praying before sleeping, did his nightmares stop.




The reality of hell and the battle for the soul.

In the apparition of the Lady of Fatima, she showed the children who saw her, the reality of hell. Hell was described as a sea of fire beneath the earth, a place where souls and devils are together for eternity. Father Jocis discussed further that the devils look like loathsome, animal-like creatures, pitch black in color, and transparent in form.

On earth, God protects both good and evil people from the snare of demons; but once a soul goes to hell, God is not there and satan can do with the soul whatever he wants.

According to Fr. Jocis, it is impossible for a Christian to be left untouched by satan. Therefore, we should be steadfast in this battle for the soul. The more we battle the evil one, the more God is glorified.

An important step in this battle is to first detect the opponent. Remember that he is very deceptive so always pray for discernment and strength from Christ.

We should also be sure that we are on the side of the Lord. Fr. Jocis reminds us that even good people can be used by the deception of satan. 

Exorcism 101

Exorcism is an act of reconciliation with God. This process removes satan who attaches to our soul, body, and in the environment.

In the time of Christ, He has used the Ministry of Liberation/ Exorcism out of charity. If you read your bible, you would find numerous accounts of Jesus freeing people possessed by demons. He also allowed his apostles to perform this charitable work to help others.
Fr. Jocis reminds us to see satan in the eyes of Christ. If we have the mind of Christ, we will not be afraid. He added, Jesus combated the devil as a human being too. This fact should empower us that we too, as long as we are united in Christ, can defeat the devil as He did. Only through Christ can we expel a fallen angel.

Sacramentals for exorcism: Benedictine cross, rosary, and the Benedictine medal.
 
Syncretism in Filipino Christianity

Syncretism in our country is evident among Filipinos who combine their  pagan past with the practice of Catholicism and Christianity. 

There is a certain split-level Christianity when we believe in Christ and yet we also believe in feng shui, lucky charms, other gods, new age beliefs, etc.

I was struck when Fr. Jocis said something like, Sunday Catholics are still pagan. Sunday Catholics are those who attend mass on Sundays but do not really practice their faith beyond mere attendance. 

I realized that we should challenge ourselves to practice our faith in our every day living and also become more active in parish activities and even in Catholic lay organizations. We are to act with the heart of the law, and not by simply going through the rule of the law without understanding what it means to be truly Catholic.


We are called to actively participate in activities of our parishes and lay Catholic organizations.


The Sacramentals

Sacramentals include Holy water, Holy oil, Exorcised salt, Blessed candles, St. Benedict's medal, Rosary, Scapular, Holy cards, and Statues of the Saints among others (Read about their effects on evil spirits here). These sacramentals should be blessed and prayers must be used with it to become more effective.



Be reminded that sacramentals must be blessed because spirits can attach themselves to the sacramentals too.

I also learned that when we bless the food we eat, these become sacramentals as well and is used by God to heal us of physical ailments and bless our bodies.

Sacramentals for blessing by Fr. Syquia.

The blessing of the sacramentals.

I am also not aware of the Saint Michael prayer. Thankfully, this was introduced in the lecture and it is effective in battling the advances of satan (Learn more prayers here). 

Saint Michael, the Archangel, 
defend us in our hour of battle.
Be our protection 
against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God restrain him, we humbly pray;
And you, O prince of the heavenly host by the power of God,
Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

---

I hope you enjoyed reading my notes. What I've written is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the topic of exorcism. If you want to learn more, I suggest you buy the books of Fr. Syquia in bookstores near you. I personally bought my copy from St. Paul's bookstore.

For online information, please visit the Office of Exorcism of the Archdiocese of Manila website at www.exorcismphilippines.org. 

Also, listen to Fr. Jocis' radio show at Radio Veritas. His show is entitled "Kristo, Liwanag sa Dilim" and it is aired every Saturdays from 6 - 7 pm.

Note: All pictures of the books of Fr. Jocis were taken from Google images and St. Paul bookstore website.

Yours in Christ,

The Catholic Chic

Blogged: It's here! Catholic Social Media Summit (CSMS) V3!!!


This coming September 13 - 14, YouthPinoy has organized the 3rd Catholic Social Media Summit (CSMS V3) and I am stoked to bits!!! 

It is actually the first CSMS I will be attending so please bear with me and my fan girl excitement. I just feel ecstatic every time Catholics come together to create something awesome for the glory of God!

This year's summit is themed "The Encounter", which will be advocating us, social media evangelists, to not only live online but to have true and meaningful social encounters offline as well. 

This year's theme was inspired by none other than the Pope himself:

”It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; 
connections need to grow into true encounters.” 
- Pope Francis


Where?

This, I believe, is the first time the CSMS will happen outside Metro Manila and it will be held at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center, Provincial Capitol in Lingayen, Pangasinan. 

Who are invited?

All interested to attend the event are invited! 

According to their website, young professionals, students, catechists, educators, and priests will be there. But I would like to give special mention to lay missionaries, Catholic organizations' full-time workers, and Catholic bloggers (ahem) and journalists to go.

 

Speakers 

 

  A list of the featured speakers should excite you. The speakers (with their respective topics) of the event are:

Michael Angelo Lobrin - Topic: Beyond Jesus Posts

Archbishop Socrates Villegas - Topic: The Online Samaritan and his Digital Neighbors

Bernard Canaberal - Topic: Encounters: Authentic Relationships

 



Here is the official program of the event,

September 12, 2014 (For Early Birds)

Whole Day:
  • Arrival of Delegates
  • Check-in at Narciso Sports Complex accommodations
10:00 am: Registration/Claiming of kits
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Pangasinan tour

September 13, 2014 (Day 1)

6:30 am: Registration  (For only those who have not registered and have not claimed their kits)
7:30 am: Holy Eucharist
8:30 am: Opening remarks
9:30 am: PLENARY  SESSION 1:  Beyond Jesus Posts
10:45 am: Open Forum
11:45 am: Lunch
1:00 pm: WORKSHOPS:  Social Media Skills
4:30 pm: Holy Hour:  Eucharistic Adoration
5:30 pm: Preparation for Fellowship Night
7:00 pm: Fellowship Night
9:00 pm: End of Day 1

September 14, 2014 (Day 2)

7:00 am: Arrival / Gathering
8:00 am: PLENARY  SESSION 2:  The Online Samaritan and his digital neighbors
9:00 am: WORKSHOPS:  Social Media Advocacy
12:00 nn: Lunch
1:30 pm: PLENARY  SESSION 3:  Encounters: Authentic relationships 
2:30 pm: Open Forum
3:15 pm: Break
3:30 pm: Preparation for Holy Mass
4:00 pm: Holy Eucharist (Feast of the Triumph of the Cross)
5:30 pm: Photo Ops

 

If you are interested to join us in this exciting event, please feel free to check out the official CSMS V3 website and their facebook page today!

 

See you there!

 

Note: All pictures in this post are from the CSMS V3 website and facebook pages.

 

Much love and prayers,

 

The Catholic Chic




Monday, August 18, 2014

Mercy Cafe: Purity in a Wild Wild World

I am the vine and you are the branches.
- John 15:5  


When I joined Youth for Christ (YFC) in 2007, we had a 100% Pure advocacy program which empowered me to live a life of chastity and to avoid drugs, smoking, and drinking (see the poster here). I understand that these ideas are contradictory to what is "in" or popular among young adults my age. Even before I joined YFC, I already felt there was something empty with how I lived my wild adolescent life. I wanted to live for something greater. I wanted a change in my life. And who best to challenge, change, and mold me but Christ?

It's been 7 years in my journey with Him in a Catholic community and he truly has changed things for me. He has changed my heart. He radically changed my life. 

This month's edition (August) of Mercy Cafe was a refresher for me as the topic is about Purity in a Wild Wild World, something which has been advocated to me since my younger days in the community.  


The event started with some welcoming remarks from Sky Ortigas of CBCP and an opening prayer by brother Jhonsen of Singles for Christ.
Opening remarks by Sky

Opening prayer led by Jhonsen

The first activity was a game wherein we were to enumerate organizations founded by Fr. George Willmann, SJ. Surprisingly, I was able to answer and win a CD and a shirt!


Participants enjoying the game.

And the winner gets a shirt.

Here's what I won.

For the talk, the speaker was Mr. Edwin Lopez, the International Manager of EWTN Asia Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand. 


Tito Edwin discussed the topic of Purity in a different and unique perspective. He zeroed in on the term Self-knowledge. He proposed that if a person has Self-knowledge and knows his or her worth, then the decision to live a life of purity would come naturally for the person because Chastity is a by-product of self-knowledge.




Edwin Lopez of EWTN.

Lord help me know myself

As St. Augustine wrote, "Lord Jesus, let me know thyself and know thee" (see complete prayer here). Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, sino ba ako? Who am I? What is my truest identity?

I personally define Self-knowledge simply as knowing my truest identity. And how do I know my truest identity? By seeing myself as Christ sees me.

Tito Edwin shared a passage from John 15:5 in which Jesus said "I am the vine and you are the branches." This means we are a part of Christ and apart from him, we cannot know who we really are. 


Obtaining Self-knowledge needs our cooperation too because it comes from both His grace and our decision to work with Him.

Tito Edwin with the participants.


You are worth more than that

Jesus is said that it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to merit heaven (Matthew 19:24). Well, Tito Edwin said it is not really bad to be rich. Even King David, the beloved of God, owned vasts lands and riches. But what sets him apart was that he was not defined by his wealth. Even if he was rich, he did not let it get to him but he used it to further the mission God gave him. He was charitable with his wealth.  


Tito Edwin reminded us that our worth is more than our physical appearance, fame, reputation, money, and possessions. It is a pity that many people still have their lives defined by these worldly things. If we too are hinged on these things, it will be hard for us to know our truest self. 

Unless you know what defines you, it's hard to be chaste.


It is only through love that we know our deepest selves and fulfill our mission. In the end of this earthly journey, He will only ask "How much did you love?"

"In the end of this earthly journey, He will only ask 'How much did you love?'


Attain Self-knowledge through CARE

Tito Edwin discussed an acronym that could help us attain full self-knowledge. CARE means...

C - onfession

A - doration

R - osary

E - ucharist

He said that a daily devotion to Adoration, Rosary, and the Eucharist and a weekly devotion to Confession can help us know who we truly are.




He challenged us to constantly practice these four activities because practice makes permanent. Also, he insisted that virtue lies outside one's comfort zone. I believe this statement is true. We have to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones to develop firm virtues rooted in Christ.

Lastly, he said "Let others see you change." Sometimes, when we want to be our best selves, our peers may jeer at us but he challenged us to just let them see you. Maybe in their witness of the change in your life, they would want to know themselves better too.

"Let others see you change"


I am my cross

Tito Edwin gave a special advice to us married couples to remind ourselves "I am my cross." 

Sometimes when I fight with my husband, I tend to think that he is the problem or he is my cross. However, Tito Edwin challenged us to change this way of thinking. My husband is not my cross. I am my cross and I can choose to change how I react to the situation. The problem could be resolved not by attacking the other but by improving how I respond to my spouse. 

At the end of the talk, the organizers gave Tito Edwin a Mercy Cafe shirt for his awesome sharing and lecture. His American friend from EWTN also gave a little sharing about how awesome his life is as a father of 10 children in the United States. 

Sky thanking Edwin Lopez.

Edwin Lopez posing with his new shirt.

Our visitor from EWTN shared about his experience as a parent of 10 kids in the US.

Here is a sneak peek at the merienda they gave us. They served pasta, sandwiches, and iced tea. We also enjoyed their choco almond cheesecake, that was teeming with almonds. Yum!

Our snacks.

Being pure in a wild, wild world is not a piece of cheesecake.

Contemplating on purity in a wild, wild world over sweets and coffee.

I hope you enjoyed reading my notes. And I sure do hope we see each other on September 20, 2014 for the 8th Mercy Cafe session, again at Grills N Sizzles, Examiner Street, Quezon City! If you are interested to join, please check out the Mercy Cafe Facebook page  today!


Freebies!

Love, 

The Catholic Chic