Saturday, November 4, 2017


From a sermon given during the last synod he attended, by Saint Charles, bishop

Practice what you preach

I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily. One priest may wish to lead a good, holy life, as he knows he should. He may wish to be chaste and to reflect heavenly virtues in the way he lives. Yet he does not resolve to use suitable means, such as penance, prayer, the avoidance of evil discussions and harmful and dangerous friendships. Another priest complains that as soon as he comes into church to pray the office or to celebrate Mass, a thousand thoughts fill his mind and distract him from God. But what was he doing in the sacristy before he came out for the office or for Mass? How did he prepare? What means did he use to collect his thoughts and to remain recollected?

Would you like me to teach you how to grow from virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer, you can be even more attentive next time, and so give God more pleasing worship? Listen, and I will tell you. If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out. Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold. In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can. Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter.

If teaching and preaching is your job, then study diligently and apply yourself to whatever is necessary for doing the job well. Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.

Are you in charge of a parish? If so, do not neglect the parish of your own soul, do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself. You have to be mindful of your people without becoming forgetful of yourself.

My brothers, you must realize that for us churchmen nothing is more necessary than meditation. We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: I will pray, and then I will understand. When you administer the sacraments, meditate on what you are doing. When you celebrate Mass, reflect on the sacrifice you are offering. When you pray the office, think about the words you are saying and the Lord to whom you are speaking. When you take care of your people, meditate on the Lord’s blood that has washed them clean. In this way, all that you do becomes a work of love.

This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work: in meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in other men.


  1. Amen, St. Charles. Our Clergy here in Guam need to read this. Ultimately, they must be true to their vocation and should be models for others to emulate in praying, and living a life of purity and joy with God at the center. This is so important for harmony and stability within one's life; family; parish community; and our Church. What has happened to members of our Clergy? It seems that some of these men in our Clergy jointed the priesthood to forward a life of abusing children; or continue to live a decadent homosexual life, even if they do not have the calling. Some of these clergy members should be laicized and removed from the ministry. When it comes to these types of abuses and lifestyle, there should be no second chances. They should be removed immediately from the priesthood and sent to live a life of prayer. They must also be put on a permanent watch after attending counseling. They should NEVER be sent to another parish or diocese! No more hiding behind the cloth; no more cover-ups.

  2. May our Clergy take the CHALLENGE! This challenge is not the one you fill up a bucket with water and ice then have someone pour it over one's head. The CHALLENGE is to take heed to St. Charles' sermon and put it into practice. Boy do we need this now. Praise be our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Amen, yan Si Yuús Maáse,St. Charles!

  3. I love yesterday's gospel. It is so true of the duplicity that the NCW operates under. "They have taken the seat of Moses so listen to them...but do not do what they do. For they preach but they do not practice"
    No truer words can describe the corrupted Church Apuron built up. Abp Byrnes has a lot of work to do to restore this body to the glory we want it to be. He needs to speak strong, true, and direct. He doesn't have to be spiteful, but he cannot whitewash the matters either. I have seen moments of this in him, and at other times he is too concerned with hurting the guilty party feelings. Sorry, but if the truth hurts, then so be it. But please Archbishop, speak the truth and you will find a whole lot of followers!

  4. While in Berlin this last summer, I attended Mass at a church dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo (Heiliger Karl Borromäus Kirche). This saint was a cardinal at the age of 22, and a bishop at the age of 25. Wow. He is known for being a reform-minded bishop. This interest in reform comes out strongly in the sermon pasted above.

    1. Sorry if I did not participate as much lately, but some unforeseen issues sidelined me. So It is with pleasure that I should reenter the fray, following a comment from our dear and learned participant Mr Guile.
      As someone reminded me yesterday, it is a small world after all, specially when you move within Catholic circles.
      The mention of St Charles Borromeo Church in Berlin, brought back some long lost memories, of a couple of deployment in the early seventies.
      While the Grunewald area was split between the British and American sectors, we occasionally drove by this place. But for the most part we stayed closed to the Tegel airport in the French sector.
      Thank you for the memories.
      St Charles Borromeo had an early successful career, and he was one of these odd cases we read in books only, since he was made a Cardinal before he became a priest and/or a Bishop.
      At the early age of 23 he was Cardinal Deacon of Rome, and in charge of the administration of the Papal states, as well as supervising the Knights of Malta, the Franciscan and the Carmelites.
      Born to the Count of Arona and a Mother of the famed Medici familly did not hurt, specially when your uncle becomes Pope Pius IV.
      He was known as a shrewd administrator, and the preferred advisor of his uncle.
      He was made Cardinal of Milan, then upon his uncle death considered joining the priesthood. He became a priest then a Bishop the following year.
      More known for his constant fight against corruption in the Church, he embarked in a clean up of what was then the largest Archdiocese of Italy, made many enemies.
      His anti corruption campaign is being credited for stopping the spread of the reformist movement of Martin Luther in Northern Italy. He died at the age of 46, and was made a Saint not long after by Pope Paul V.
      While he dedicated most of his life to education, and anti-corruption, in Milan he was particularly remembered for his charitable work during the plague, where he used his own fortune to feed more than 60 thousands poor every day.
      More than reform, he fought for the integrity of the Church on a daily basis.

  5. Rest in Peace, Fr. Manny Ombao! We never spoke but decades ago when I was in agony at St. Anthony's parish, Fr. Manny once looked at me with profound concern and compassion on his face. When Tim Rohr sent me a copy of the letter threatening to send Fr. Manny away from the archdiocese unless he started being a presbyter to NCW groups, I realized what a scam the NCW seminary was and stopped donating. Fr. Manny was a real priest of God.

  6. This morning, I heard Fr. Manny's name at "animas." I wasn't quite paying attention, but my mind jumped at his name and I was fairly sure it was "animas." I remembered him as a tough confessor. He forced me to NOT be kind to myself. I appreciated that.

    1. Yes, Fr. Manny passed away in the Philippines. Rest in Peace, Father Manny.