Friday, November 23, 2012



What a wonderful Filipino expression! This is usually uttered by someone who hopes to get what he wishes/prays for. "Hari" is King while "Nawa" is used as "hopefully". It can also mean "By His will...". So ingrained is Christ the King in the Filipino culture that even expressions like this have become second nature to us. We praise God and show our belief in Him even in the smallest and simplest acts of faith. "Harinawa, tayong lahat ay maging tunay na mangingibig ni Hesus."

Christ the King is an event that marks the end of the church calendar and the nearing 1st week of Advent, the beginning of the new year for Catholics. Christ the King is a celebration of the majesty of God's Infinite Love, the True Alpha and Omega. We commemorate this through Enthronement of our hearts and homes to the Sacred Heart. By doing so, we acknowledge that it is Christ who rules over our hearts, our homes, our work and our lives.

The idea of a servant-king in this day and age is one I've seen on a recent visit to Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Now based in Lipa, the Cardinal welcomed us cheerfully as we arrived in his home: "Hello Sacred Hearters!". The nickname was a pleasant surprise and instantly warmed up the moment. 

After many delightful exchanges, one story from him struck me (and amused me!). The Cardinal told us of how he spent a month and a half in Lourdes, France administering confessions to thousands of pilgrims. At one point, a Filipino pilgrim saw the nameplate outside his confessional box: FATHER GAUDENCIO ROSALES

Puzzled, the Filipino asked one of the coordinators: "Isn't he CARDINAL Rosales?". "That's the younger brother", the coordinator replies, adding: "and he's even better". The Cardinal's identity was kept under wraps! He so enjoyed the experience of living as a simple priest and going incognito "for fear of special treatment", that while he was telling the story I saw that glimmer of happiness in his eyes. 

He even let us in on a secret he discovered: "Lourdes is not only about the water; It is more importantly about the tears of conversion brought about by Confession." All he ever wanted was to impart God's message of love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation without any fancy treatments or unnecessary fanfare. And that he did.

During that visit to Lipa, it was known to us - the core group of representatives from different Sacred Heart organizations - that Cardinal Rosales is a great devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As such, we eagerly shared our "heart stories" to him and saw how excited he was to listen to them, especially those about the first National Conference on the Sacred Heart spirituality.

On the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque on October 16th 2012, about 120 leaders and representatives of the different Sacred Heart parishes, shrines, congregations and communities from all over the Philippines flocked to our parish for the FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE SACRED HEART SPIRITUALITY. 

It was a whole day affair filled with inspiring talks by renowned theologian Fr. Catalino Arevalo, sharing and planning among us devotees on how to propagate the Sacred Heart devotion/spirituality even more. It was such a success that everyone made a commitment to contribute in the devotion and work hard for more people to love the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I am so thankful to all who joined and participated in this milestone event at the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart.

Today, let us celebrate the feast of Christ the King with open hearts. With Christ as our example, let us live:

in humility despite our stature...

in simplicity even when surrounded with grandeur...

in kindness, patience and compassion when we are "too busy to care"...

in love in spite of every reason not to.


Happy Feast of Christ The King!

Rev. Fr. Vic Apacible