Monday, January 29, 2007

Vocations from my country

Recently I have encountered a few stories of vocation from... where else but Indonesia! It is heartening to hear that although religious freedom is a little more than lip service in Indonesia, vocations abound and our people respond generously, in lands faraway from home!

Here are some I've heard:

- Denny Wahyudi: a seminarian of the Xaverian Missionary studying in Chicago, recently took his final profession and was ordained a deacon. He will be ordained into the priesthood sometime this year.

- This morning I heard from a priest at mass that two SSCC brothers (Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary) were getting ordained today in Bandung.

- This afternoon I learned from the Dominican Friars that one of the eight novices is Indonesian: Bro. Bernard Timothy

- The third largest group of students in the seminary school of Divine Word College is Indonesian!

Pray for them and for my country, that more will respond to His call generously!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Christian Techie: not extinct yet

This morning I was reading an interview with Larry Wall, creator of the Perl programming language (Perl rocks!), and was surprised to see one of the questions asked him was about his Christian belief. Not a very "apologetic" way to explain the existence of God, but interesting nevertheless.

This is for you out there who stumbled into my blog wondering how on earth a Linux-using techie could ever possibly believe in God...!!!!

This was the question:

I remember reading at some point that you are a Christian, and there have been suggestions that some of your early missionary impulses (a desire to do good, help others) are perhaps part of the zeal you have put into Perl over the years.

Preferring a scientific view, I am not religious, and have no desire to be. Perhaps there is a God, but if there is, I think he/she has no opposable thumbs; in other words, has no power to change anything; reality is just playing out according to the laws of physics (whatever those are).

Please tell us how in the world a scientific or at least technical mind can believe in God, and what role religion has played in your work on Perl.

This is part of his answer:

So let me try to clarify what I mean, and reduce it to as few information bits as possible.. So just how big is that, in information theory terms? I think it's just two bits big. Please allow me to qoute a couple "bits" from Hebrews, slightly paraphrased: You can't please God the way Enoch did without some faith, because those who come to God must (minimally) believe that:
A) God exists, and
B) God is good to people who really look for him.
Now, it appears that you're willing to admit the possibility of bit A being a 1.. Or maybe you're a quarter way there on average, if it's a qubit that's still flopping around like Shroedinger's Cat. You're the observer there, not me--unless of course you're dead. :-)

A lot of folks get hung up at point B for various reasons, some logical and some moral, but mostly because of Shroedinger again. People are almost afraid to observe the B qubit because they don't want the wave function to collapse either to a 0 or a 1, since both choices are deemed unpalatable. A lot of people who claim to be agnostics don't take the position so much because they don't know, but because they don't want to know, sometimes desperately so.
Once you see the universe from that point of view, many arguments fade into unimportance, such as Hawking's argument that the universe fuzzed into existence at the beginning, and therefore there was no creator. But it's also true that the Lord of the Rings fuzzed into existence, and that doesn't mean it doesn't have a creator. It just means that the creator doesn't create on the same schedule as the creature's.

The rest of the questions are no less entertaining, if you're a techie :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

History of "personhood"

The Catholic blogosphere (and elsewhere too, I'm sure) is abuzz with the March for Life held yesterday on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (legalization of abortion in the US). (More pictures here)

While most blogs have discussed and debated again what the Church's teachings are on abortion and beginning of life, it is interesting to learn that anti-children attitudes were not just maladies of the current age. Mike Aquilina wrote a short commentary on the infanticide of the past ages: a child during pre-Christian Rome is not a "person" until society accepts him; in this case, until his father accepted his patrimony. In short, recognition of the personhood of a child since its conception (in spite of its parents), was something brought about by Christianity.

He linked to more writings by the Church Fathers here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Te Deum...

At times of tribulation and uncertain changes, I'd like to just write a short post here marveling what great things He had done for us imperfect creatures.

I know the new year's just started, but it's time for me to say another Te Deum!

Te Deum laudámus:
te Dóminum confitémur.
Te ætérnum Patrem,
omnis terra venerátur.

And also I ask anyone reading this to please, please pray for me and my partner at work.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Choice weekend: pray for us!

As some of you already knew, I'm involved in this weekend-stay-in program called Choice. It's a program tailored for singles above 18 (it is often mistaken for a Catholic match-making program though!), and its aim is to serve as a "pit-stop" for young people—often busy and caught up in school or work or mired in quarterlife crisis—to rethink and rediscover what is important in their life.

It is a Catholic program—endorsed by the Archdiocese—but for some reason I'd rather not debate about here, tries not to appear too Catholic. Some of its proponents emphasize that they want to catch everyone: from the I'm-not-so-interested-in-church-stuff, to the I'm-searching-for-something-spiritual, and in particular, those who are in the mode I'm-lost-in-busyness-and-am-trying-to-find-my-bearings. Mass is celebrated daily throughout the stay-in program, but we have participants from all walks of life and it is not limited to Catholics to attend, although the publicity happens mainly through parishes and Catholic schools & publications.

Recruiting participants for Choice's (almost) monthly weekend has been difficult. Like any marketing team in the world, we have had lively debates concerning why it is difficult, and what kind of outreach campaign should we embark on: it depends on the target audience, of course... For me this has been my only bone of contention because different people in the committee had different "target segments" of the youth in mind! As mentioned before, Choice welcomes all single adults!

Personally I find the program has great aims and great intentions; and most of its team members have nothing but the desire to serve God and help young people. Now, while modern marketing approaches have helped somewhat to "hip-up" its image and help to promote it (we have Bravo porting our PPT to a video on Youtube!), I'd like to ask people who come to this blog and see this post, to pray for us! Pray for us that God may send us more participants to reach out to; for we believe that in every weekend, it is not us doing our job but He Himself who heals and reconciles our participants to what are important in their lives!

Choice has also precipitated one of the major turning points in my life. I'd recommend it for anyone who happens to be in Singapore; the next one is on January 26th-28th.

Sign up if you haven't attended Choice before. Please help spread the word, if you know of anyone whom you think should go. Choice's website is here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Unveiling iPhone

After a release of an iPhone by Cisco some months ago (which turns out to be an VoIP phone), the rumor of Apple's release of a mobile phone (also branded iPhone) is finally proven to be the real deal!

A cursory glance reveals that it has all the making of an Apple product: sleek, elegant, and (this is yet to be checked out) avant-garde technologically. Its camera is 2MP. I'm not sure how powerful is the chip it runs on (it's a PortalPlayer chip), but get this: it runs Mac OSX!

While I'm not crazy about Apple products (I don't even own an iPod and don't intend to), this one got me drooling! Mac OSX is almost as good as having linux on your phone! Time will tell how far we could tinker with this baby.

Read more about it here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Catholic Devotions Meme

Just for fun: lunchtime break in the blogosphere. Friends and lurkers: if you haven't done it and would like to do it out of POD-ness, please do :)

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus.
The Mass (does it count?)

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer.
The Rosary.

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal?
Brown Scapular and the Miraculous medal.

4. Do you have holy water in your home?

5. Do you "offer up" your sufferings?
I try.

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays?
First Fridays. Maybe I'll start First Saturdays :)

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How Frequently?
I try to go twice a week..

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or a Sunday morning Mass person?
Sunday morning.

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime?

10. Favorite saints:
St Joseph, St Thomas Aquinas, St John of the Cross, St Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, St John Vianney, St Anthony of Padua, St Thomas More. All the Saints, ora pro nobis!

11. Can you recite the Apostles' Creed by heart?

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day?
Yes, *I have to!* to survive the day :)

13. Bonus Question: When you pass by an automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved?
Yes. And the introit to the requiem when I pass by a funeral.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

A short plug on the Blessed Sacrament as First Friday is around the corner...

But just as He stood quietly among His apostles in the amazing beauty of His resurrection, and said, handle Me and see, so does He abide with us in the Blessed Sacrament, that we may get to know Him, to outlive our tremulous agitation, and the novelty of our surprise, and to grow familiar with Him, if we can, as our life-long Guest. There we can bring our sorrows and cares and necessities at all hours... We can choose our own time, and our visit can be as short or as long as duties permit or as love desires. There is an unction and a power in the mere silent companionship of the Blessed Sacrament which is beyond all words... The ways of visiting the Blessed Sacrament must be as various as the souls of men. Some love to go there to listen; some to speak; some to confess to Him as if He were their priest; some to examine their consciences, as before their judge; some to do homage as to their king; some to study Him as their Doctor and Prophet: some to find shelter as with their Creator. Some rejoice in His Divinity, others in His Sacred Humanity, others in the mysteries of the season. Some visit Him on different days by His different titles, as God, Father, Brother, Shepherd, Head of the Church, and the like. Some visit to adore, some to intercede, some to petition, some to return thanks, some to get consolation; but all visit Him to love and, to all who visit Him in love, He is a power of heavenly grace and a fountain of many goods, no single one of which the whole created universe could either merit or confer.

from The Blessed Sacrament
Fr. Frederick William Faber, D.D.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone who came to read this blog! Here's also a hymn, Te Deum, to express our endless thanks for the year that has passed:

Te Deum laudámus:
te Dóminum confitémur.
Te ætérnum Patrem,
omnis terra venerátur.

Tibi omnes ángeli,
tibi cæli
et univérsæ potestátes:
tibi chérubim et séraphim
incessábili voce proclámant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dóminus Deus Sábaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra
maiestátis glóriæ tuæ.

Te gloriósus
apostolòrum chorus,
te prophetárum
laudábilis númerus,
te mártyrum candidátus
laudat exércitus.

Te per orbem terrárum
sancta confitétur Ecclésia,
Patrem imménsæ maiestátis;
venerándum tuum verum
et únicum Fílium;
Sanctum quoque
Paráclitum Spíritum.

Tu rex glóriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempitérnus es Filius.
Tu, ad liberándum susceptúrus hóminem,
non horrúisti Virginis úterum.

Tu, devícto mortis acúleo,
aperuísti credéntibus regna cælórum.

Tu ad déxteram Dei sedes,
in glória Patris.

Iudex créderis esse ventúrus.

Te ergo quǽsumus,
tuis fámulis súbveni,
quos pretióso sánguine redemísti.

Ætérna fac cum sanctis tuis
in glória numerári.

Salvum fac pópulum tuum, Dómine,
et bénedic hereditáti tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extólle illos
usque in ætérnum.

Per síngulos dies benedícimus te;
et laudámus nomen tuum
in sǽculum, et in sǽculum sǽculi.

Dignáre, Dómine,
die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre.
Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri.

Fiat misericórdia tua,
Dómine, super nos,
quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
In te, Dómine, sperávi:
non confúndar in ætérnum

English translation here