What Defines Us?

After watching the TEDx video of Lizzie Velasquez, discuss and respond to the following questions:

  1. What thoughts came to your mind as you watched the video? What did you think of Lizzie Velasquez?
  2. Would there be anything in the video that bothers you? What is this and why?
  3. What can you imagine as possible consequences of defining a person based on their physical attributes, color, wealth?



Name, Name, Name, Name





Fr. Van der Lugt

Fr. Van der Lugt was a priest seized and killed in Syria because he chose to remain with the people he ministered to. Here is an account of how the Jesuits know him:


“By staying in the heart of besieged Homs, during a takeover by rebels who included militant Islamists and then during a government siege, he was offering succour [help] to all victims of the conflict­­–and a kind of reproach to all the belligerents. He knowingly risked his life by remaining in a place where some Islamist rebels were active; but he also bore witnesses to the cruel consequences of the siege by refusing to leave when it would have been so easy to do so, and nobody would have blamed him. From the perspective he offered, all civilian victims were worthy of compassion, and fighters on both sides bore a share of blame. That sounds like a truth worth dying for – and it goes a bit further than religious dialogue.” – Tony Homsy S.J. (quoting Erasmus blog of The Economist)


Source: https://thejesuitpost.org/2014/04/11881




To help mitigate the problem [of malnutrition], the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, then headed by Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales and 13 other bishops launched HAPAG-ASA Integrated Nutrition Program in July 2005 in partnership with Assisi Development Foundation and Feed the Children Philippines. HAPAG-ASA feeds 6 months to 12 years old undernourished children, underweight pregnant and lactating women in the community once a day, five days a week for 6 months. Each meal is enriched with nutrients through the provision of Food Supplements complete with vitamins and minerals. 


Apart from the supplemental feeding, education classes and livelihood and skills training for parents, aimed at sustaining the improved nutritional condition of the children are conducted simultaneously. The education classes cover topics on parenting, health and nutrition, responsible parenthood and values and livelihood. Livelihood and skills training are conducted with small capital lent to help them help themselves and their children, in partnership with government and non-government organizations.

The program is primarily implemented through the Church with more than 30 dioceses nationwide carrying out the program.

Source: http://hapagasafeeding.com/about-us

Canticle of the Sun

Canticle of the Sun (An Excerpt)

St. Francis of Assisi


Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, 
especially through my lord Brother Sun, 

who brings the day; and you give light through him. 

And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!

 Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.


Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,

in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, 
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather

through which You give sustenance to Your creatures.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, 

which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, 

through whom you light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.


Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth, 

who sustains us and governs us and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Why do we Pray?

Read this article: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-prayer-is-not-simply-saying-words-like-a-parrot/

With a pair, answer the questions:

  1. Based on the article, how should we pray?
  2. Based on the article, WHY should we pray?


Name, Name



Notes on Virtues

Extra Inputs on Virtues

As defined in the article, virtues are attitudes, dispositions, or traits that help us act and become the kind of people we were mean to be. In the context of the lessons, we are meant to be truly, authentically happy—the kind of happiness that persists even amidst suffering and death. In connection still, to be authentically happy is to do God’s will. There is no better way to do God’s will than to follow the example of Jesus Christ who applied a set of attitudes, disposition, and traits to help him do God the Father’s will as well. After all, because of the reality that Jesus is both human and divine and was God himself, his methods are what will bring us closest to God.

As mentioned in the article as well, virtues are habits. They are not something that you perform just like how a dancer executes a set of rehearsed movements on stage; rather, they are actions that express who you are. For instance, a generous man does not deliberately and purposefully think about acting generously to others because generosity is already his second nature; it is something he would normally do even if he wasn’t instructed to. In his case, generosity is as natural to him as breathing, blinking, seeing, hearing are to us. The good thing about virtues is that because they are habits, they can be practiced, they can be mastered.

The Church has developed a tradition where they have identified cardinal (or most important) virtues that are indispensable in leading a morally good life. These are:

Prudence: the sets of attitudes, dispositions and habits of seeking for what is truly good in every circumstance and choosing the right means of achieving it. Take for instance when and how will you admit to your parents that you did something wrong (failed an exam, made another family member angry, bullied a younger sibling)? Notice that prudence is knowing when to do the MORALLY RIGHT thing even if that means receiving its negative consequences. Prudence is not a way of escaping the inevitable.

Justice: the constant and firm will to give what is due to God and neighbor. Justice towards God is best expressed in another topic that talks about religion as a whole. However, justice towards men disposes you to respect the rights of the other in order to establish harmony that promotes equity regardless of how diverse the other is. In a sense, you would be as concerned and as angry towards companies who provide unjust wages and working conditions to their employees as you would to your yaya’s or househelp’s wage and working conditions because you understand that all have equal rights and dignity.

Fortitude: the virtue of remaining firm in difficulties and constantly pursuing the good. It is about habitually overpowering temptations and other obstacles in the moral life. It allows us to confront our fears (even fear of death) and face trials and persecution. Fortitude is being brave because you know you are doing God’s will. It is about reporting a cheating incident wherein your batchmates had gotten a copy of a subject’s test questionnaire and leaked the questions and answers to the rest of batch, even if the one reported will also need to write an incident report and receive an F as a consequence of cheating.

Temperance: the virtue of moderating (keeping in balance) the attraction of pleasures that ensures self-mastery over instincts in order to keep desires within the limits of what is honorable. Self-control for the sake of goodness, in simplistic terms. It is being sober in thoughts. For instance, it is knowing when to extend courtesy (gentlemanly behavior) towards those who are not being courteous to you at the moment. Should you really just walk out of the room when your mother continuously nags at you for not doing what she expected you to, or should you sit down and understand where is she coming from, why was she particularly upset at what I did not do? Shouldn’t your love for your mother outweigh her human limitations?

These are not the only virtues available because there are many more that take fall under each of them. This list was made only because the Church, through centuries of reflections and discussion, have arrived at a common understanding that this is what best helps us love God more.

Just like any athlete, one needs the proper venue and conditions to properly and effectively practice his skills. Fortunately, the virtues are best practiced and nourished through the Sacraments of the Church, most especially in the Eucharist, where we are reminded to be humble (when we are reminded of our sins), and when we are invited to be more gentle and kind whenever we offer our signs of peace to one another. Celebrating these sacraments, then, offers us a chance to practice the sets of attitudes, dispositions, and acts that will mold us into the persons we were meant to be: God’s beloved.

Lastly, as we will see in the upcoming lessons, these virtu Continue reading

Ethics and Virtue


Ethics and Virtue

Developed by Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J., and Michael J. Meyer

For many of us, the fundamental question of ethics is, “What should I do?” or “How should I act?” Ethics is supposed to provide us with “moral principles” or universal rules that tell us what to do. Many people, for example, read passionate adherents of the moral principle of utilitarianism: “Everyone is obligated to do whatever will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number.” Others are just as devoted to the basic principle of Immanuel Kant: “Everyone is obligated to act only in ways that respect the human dignity and moral rights of all persons.” Continue reading

The CBCP’s Letter

An excerpt from the CBCP’s letter of the Year of the Laity:

“When you were united to Christ by the Spirit at baptism, you were also incorporated into the body of Christ, which is the Church, and you became members of the people of God. Your membership in the Church is a full membership. You belong to the Church as much as any pope, bishop, priest, or religious does. You are not second class members of the people of God. When you live the life of grace, you are full citizens of God’s kingdom on earth. In fact, the Church teaches that “the greatest in the kingdom of God are not the ministers but the saints”…

… Yet, your own specific task, and the special responsibility given to you by the Lord is to find your own sanctification in the world, and to sanctify the world and transform it so that this world becomes more and more God’s world, God’s kingdom, where his will is done as sit is in heaven. You are called by Jesus to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The Lord Jesus told his disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to make all nations his disciples. This command to the whole Church falls especially on you, who are in the world…”

Reflection Question:

Take a moment to look into yourself and ask, “In what areas of my life (among family members, friends, or the Xavier Community) am I being called to make a difference so that God’s light could be more visible? What can I do today to start making the difference for God?”‘


The Church and Laity

Step 1: Read and understand this article (http://www.ignatius.com/promotions/cfe/documents/Disciples%20web%20pages.pdf) and answer the following discussion questions below on a separate sheet of paper or on your notebooks. 

  1. Based on the Article, who are the Laity and what is their role in the Church? Answer in at least 3 complete sentences.
  2. Based on the article, are the Priests (Religious Authorities) more important than the Laity? Why or Why not? Justify your answer by providing at least 2 arguments based on the article.
  3. Based on the article, what does it mean to be a disciple? How do we become a better disciple? Provide 2 main arguments that would support your claim based on the article provided.
  4. Based on what you have discussed so far, who is the Church? What does it mean to be part of the Church? Answer in at least 2 complete sentences.

G9J – Post your answers as a group by leaving a reply.

G9H – Scribe emails group’s answers to Mr. Mallari and Mr. Mercado (geoffreylmercado@xs.edu.ph)



Name, Name, Name, Name