Saturday, January 5, 2008

Look for your ‘Star’

As the New Year starts, people are asking what year are we now in the Chinese calendar. A national paper was quick to put on its front page a photo of a rat and pointed out its predominant characteristic: its being clever.

A fable is told about how the rat won the race against other fast-running animals simply by riding on the fox’s shoulder and jumping ahead of it upon reaching the finish line.

According to a Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded. They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes.

They are gifted in many ways and have an easy going manner. They are active and pleasant, tactful and fantastic, and are able to grasp opportunities. They seem to have interests in everything and hope to participate in doing it and usually do it very well.

* * * * *

But who believes in zodiac signs and in what they tell us about ourselves?

Are we supposed to be guided by rats this year? Are we gullible enough to take these predictions and forecast as hard truths and let ourselves be guided blindly by what they say?

Zodiac signs and Chinese animal astrology seem to convince us that our behavior and personality are governed by outside forces and not by our own free will and personal decisions. They seem to tell us: “You are what the stars say you are” instead of “You are what you think and decide you are.”

I may be “clever and bright sociable and family-minded,” I may have “broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes” because I decide to be or to have them, not because the Rat – of which year I was born – so disposes!

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To believe in what the stars dispose is wanting of enough courage to believe in Who made the stars.

But there is also wisdom in being guided by the stars. It is the wisdom that made the Magi “wise men from the East”.

The “Three Wise Men” (if in case they were really only three) were also guided by the star in their journey in search for the “newborn King of Israel”. They were basically astrologers, that is, those who could read the signs and movements of stars and interpret them.

They are wise not because they could interpret the stars (like modern astrologers and authors of zodiac signs would want to be called). They are wise because they let their craft lead them to the discovery of the truth. And that Truth is Jesus Himself.

* * * * *

Let us also look for our own stars. But not the zodiac signs!

Let us look for stars that would truly guide us and lead us to the truth about ourselves, about the world and about God. The world today is offering and presenting to us oftentimes false stars (and most of them are falling stars, because they fail to guide us).

Instead of a sure guide to show us who and what we truly are as a human person with intelligence and will, the world today offers us zodiac signs, which are nothing but false stars telling us that we are not governed by intelligence and will of our own but of fate and chance.

Instead of telling us that the world is created and governed by Divine Providence, modern astrology tends to convince us that the world is governed and ruled by cycles of stars.

Instead of the stars pointing us to God, their Creator and to Whom they pay their homage (as the Psalmist sings “Stars of heaven, bless the Lord”), we tend to make them the object of our homage and in the process, ignoring God and His actions in our lives.

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As the New Year 2008 begins, the Church presents to us another star to follow: Mary, the Morning Star!

2008 is the Year of Mary, the Star of the Sea. People born in the Year of Mary are humble, obedient, chaste, charitable, other-oriented, orderly, peace-loving, wise, God-fearing, hopeful, faithful and an unending list of good qualities that we can find in Her.

And all these good qualities will become theirs not simply because they are born in the Year of Mary, but because they want and decide to imitate Her.

Mary is the Star par excellence because She points to us the Sun, Her Son Jesus, our Lord. To be led by this Star, let this following principle be our guide:

“I will not think what Mary would not think; I will not say what Mary would not say; I will not wear what Mary would not wear; I will not do what Mary would not do…”

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"Sacerdotes, 'consagrados en la Verdad'"

Estar inmersos en la Verdad, en Cristo, de este proceso forma parte
la oración, en la que nos ejercitamos en la amistad con Él y aprendemos a
conocerle: su forma de ser, de pensar, de actuar. Rezar es un caminar en
comunión personal con Cristo, exponiendo ante Él nuestra vida cotidiana,
nuestros logros y nuestros fracasos, nuestras fatigas y nuestras alegrías -es un
simple presentarnos a nosotros mismos ante Él. Pero para que esto no se
convierta en un autocontemplarse, es importante que aprendamos continuamente a
rezar rezando con la Iglesia.