Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Below him, Brother Leo writes on his tablet, describing the miraculous event:
"All of a sudden there was a dazzling light. It was as though the heavens were exploding and splashing forth all their glory in millions of waterfalls of colours and stars. And in the centre of that bright whirlpool was a core of blinding light that flashed down from the depths of the sky with terrifying speed until suddenly it stopped, motionless and sacred, above a pointed rock in front of Francis. It was a fiery figure with wings, nailed to a cross of fire. Two flaming wings rose straight upward, two others opened out horizontally, and two more covered the figure. And the wounds in the hands and feet and heart were blazing rays of blood. The sparkling features of the Being wore an expression of supernatural beauty and grief. It was the face of Jesus, and Jesus spoke. Then suddenly streams of fire and blood shot from His wounds and pierced the hands and feet of Francis with nails and his heart with the stab of a lance. As Francis uttered a mighty shout of joy and pain, the fiery image impressed itself into his body, as into a mirrored reflection of itself, with all its love, its beauty, and its grief. And it vanished within him. Another cry pierced the air. Then, with nails and wounds through his body, and with his soul and spirit aflame, Francis sank down, unconscious, in his blood."
As this extraordinary vision unfolds, Life, it seems like, goes on as usual. A sheep continues to eat grass and a crane frolics near a brook.
Isn't this always the case? Miracles usually go unnoticed.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
The church of Santa Cruz was started to be built in 1608 for the community of Chinese converts who were living on the outskirts of Manila. On August 8th, 1625, the church was handed to the Jesuits who made it their professed house and provincial residence. The building wasn't fully completed until a century later in 1715.The old church building prior to the Second World War featured Classical-Revival traits, a style popular in late 18th and 19th century Philippines. The facade bore a series of ionic columns and a dominant pediment. Inside, the church housed a somewhat typical Neo-classical retables and pulpit. Featured in the center niche of theRetablo Mayor was the much venerated, ancient statue of Nuestra Senora del Pilar. The wooden icon of the Virgin of the Pillar was supposedly brought to the Philippines from Spain in 1643. However, the statue's ivory heads and its cladding of precious metal point to a more local provenance. Heavy-lidded eyes and the pairing of ivory with beaten and worked silver are hallmark traits of colonial Philippine Santo art. The miraculous Virgen del Pilar is a survivor of Liberation for Manila as the war destroyed much of the church and its surroundings. Today, the Virgin can be seen enshrined in the side retable of the present Santa Cruz Church.