Saturday, April 4, 2015

Christ has risen!

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

- 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Two thousand years ago, a group of people came out from Israel with a great message. Overcome with joy these people went to the streets and screamed at the top of their lungs - preaching - crying tears of joy because of the message they wish to share to every single man and woman that they come across.

So, what was the message? Well it's amazing.

Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter's son, prophet and spiritual teacher, was resurrected after three days of being dead. 

Now that's an amazing claim.

As absurd as it sounds a lot of seem to have believed it. They held it close. Very close to their heart and to their religious identity They were ready to die for that belief.

The resurrection is and has always been the central event that defined Christianity. St. Paul went to far as to preach its centrality when he wrote:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.…

- 1 Corinthians 15:13-14
The resurrection shows us that Jesus was truly God-incarnate. That God has indeed chosen to become historically present on Earth.The resurrection is quite an impossible claim to defend or to even share. I mean, explaining something that profound could not only stir your mind, it would also leave you with second thoughts if it truly happened.

And yet here we are: We are Christians who believe that this event had really happened even after 2000 years. The godforms of the past who were dying-and-rising: Osiris, Mithras, Dionysus  and Attis were mirrors prefiguring the great Triumph of Christ of the Cross and over Death. These mythical godforms entered historically into our consciousnesses when Jesus of Nazareth died and was raised from the dead.

As esoteric Christians, we believe that the symbol of the resurrection is indeed true for each and everyone of us. We have the capacity to become divine as the Master Jesus was divine. We are Christs who do not know it yet. We have to suffer and die to our own selves, carry our cross and die the death to the world in order for us to actualize that we have been called to resurrection. And once resurrected, we become one with the Supreme.

As Christ was victorious so too us. The resurrection of Christ is our hope for transcendence in a plane of existence full of suffering. Suffering can be the gateway to the knowledge of who we truly are as the Master Jesus showed us with his suffering on the cross and his resurrection.

Let us rejoice! Christ has risen! Christ-within-us has truly risen!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent as an Initiation for the Coming of Christ


Bro. Ted Tuvera

In Christian traditions, four Sundays before the actual celebration of Christmas – popularly (but not exactly) a remembrance of the incarnation of the ‘Word of God’ in flesh through Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ – a four-week preparation called ‘Advent’ is laid.

Advent, for the exoteric faithful, is the means of preparing for the coming of Christ. With this said, I will thus make an attempt of first discussing the two implications of the “(second) coming of Christ” which are:

  1. the actual reincarnation of Christ which is expected by the popular believers as an event where Jesus comes down from heaven in glory to give the “last judgment” as narrated by the Book of Revelation written by Apostle Saint John in the island of Patmos when he was in great ecstasy – but for the esoteric and Gnostic students of Universal traditions, this is rather the upcoming incarnation of a new world teacher comparable to the Lords Krishna, Buddha and Jesus which we might collectively subject to as the ‘Maitreya’ who hails from the Great Fraternity of Adepts (the order of the masters of Wisdom, who are mostly founders or saints of different sacred traditions) that will give new enlightenment to the current world as the Lords did during their respective generations – some postulate that the Maitreya’s incarnation takes place every 2,000 years, and;
  2. the re-birth of Christ in the minds and hearts of men, which challenges the believer to live in thoughts, in words and in deeds the teachings of the Master Jesus – which, again, for the theosophist may mean as the unveiling of the Higher Self that is but hindered by the individual’s vegetative, sentient and limitedly rational existence which blinds man from the “God within”.

Before dwelling towards the matter moreover, the season of Advent is made-up of intelligent symbolisms which are harmoniously allegorical to both the exoteric and esoteric values it serves. It must disclaimed earlier that some of these symbolisms might seem pagan to the conservative reader as it is really such rooted from pagan traditions that were “Christianized” as the religion emerged in Europe some one thousand years ago.

It must also be noted that in the course of human evolution – in the rational sense – there are traditions that are clarified and further verified as a new enlightened master emerges: such is the case of Buddhism as an off-spring of Hinduism, and Christianity from Neo-Platonic, Ancient Egyptian and Jewish traditions. All the “modern traditions” that the vast public recognize evolved from different ancient traditions.

As the symbolisms are truly many, I shall enlist what is deemed to be obviously popular.

(The Advent Ring/Wreath) A green plant arranged in a circular pattern with three purple candles ought to be lit on the first, second and fourth Sundays along with a pink on the third, that is displayed on Christian Church altars.

The green color on the plant symbolizes the vegetative nature of our life. This encourages the faithful to grow in vitality in the preparation of the coming of Christ.

The circular pattern is a pretty obvious symbol that reminds the public of a cycle called life. To the students of Wisdom, this cycle goes beyond the current incarnation as it could even be considered as a pattern for our Oneness in the certainty of Life – through involution and evolution, thus, reincarnation.

The candles are more than just markers for Advent Sundays as the color purple is presented as the color of genuine preparation for initiation towards the coming of the Eternal – in Catholic funeral and Lent liturgies, as in Advent, it is the color of the vestments worn – as it represents repentance at the feet of the Holy of Holies. Whereas, the pink candle for the third Sunday of Advent represents the flock’s joy, excitement and purity in the presence of Christ’s twofold manifestation.

The liturgical hymn, “O’ Come Emmanuel” is quite telling as it narrates a nation’s pilgrimage in the hope that salvation and liberation is near.

Finally, Emmanuel – the title ought to be given to the babe who is to be born in the town of David – means “God with us”. At this point, it must be clear, that the season of Advent is truly an invitation for initiation – with the help of the basic semiotic expositions – for the coming of Christ, which we must define clearly as the unfolding of the “Emmanuel”, of the ‘God within’, of the Atmic Spirit in man as to, thus, fulfill man’s evolution towards perfection.

It must be clarified that I am not particularly referring ‘Christ’ conservatively and exclusively to Jesus of Nazareth. To articulate my thought, I shall invoke what Mme. Helena P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, has noted in the Theosophical Glossary:

“The terms Christ... (was) borrowed from the Temple vocabulary of the Pagans. Chrestos (the root word) meant in the vocabulary a disciple on probation, a candidate for hierophantship. When he had attained to this through initiation, long trials, and suffering, and had been "anointed" (i.e., "rubbed with oil", as were Initiates and even idols of the gods, as the last touch of ritualistic observance), his name was changed into Christos, the "purified", in esoteric or mystery language.”

Therefore, the “coming of Christ” in this piece means waiting for the coming of a revelation that shall thus manifest upon the individual’s initiation in the Holy of Holies – an invitation for us to discover our higher potentials: to awaken the so-called “Christ consciousness” in us, that we may become elected in the sacred, fraternal order of the adepts.

Now, the season of Advent is a period of recollection, meditation and preparation for us to embark on this spiritually evolutionary journey in our initiation – an occult initiation that is said to be dangerous to the neophyte who would carelessly enroll himself in such an order. As initiation, in the words of Geoffrey Hodson in his book, ‘Called to the Heights’:

“In order to be promoted from the Lesser to the Greater Mysteries… one has to undergo psychological and physical tests. At present, one has to undergo psychological and moral tests to show that one has self-mastery.

“The greatest and most difficult to develop of all the qualities of Initiates is total selflessness all throughout the spiritual path.”

Advent, dear friends, be it in our esoteric and exoteric understanding (of Christmas) is a season that prepares and invites us to the great spiritual election – that practically demands altruism and compassion towards our brothers and sisters in need. Yes, we students of the Divine Wisdom must practice the example taught to us by Jesus, the Christ, who is truly indeed, semantically comparable to Christmas, a Christ for the masses. We must not forget that total selflessness is not escaping the material world corrupted with war, poverty and oppression, but rather being the Light to the world, to the masses that we may lead them towards their own spiritual enlightenment – for if we deviate ourselves from the masses, we might merely be seen (with guilt) as false-prophets, or as weird and haughty preachers.

On Advent this year, let us meditate on preparing ourselves for greater journeys – be it physical, emotional or spiritual that we may be ready and fit for its positive or negative consequences.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meditations on the Priesthood

It is through the hands of the priest that the Sacred meets and gets entangled with the Profane.

What makes the Liberal Catholic Tradition different from its sister Churches is its emphasis on the Science of the Sacraments. The science that I am referring here is not the typical idea of science that one might have. This is not physics, chemistry or biology. The science that I am referring here is the Knowledge of the Divine.

The Liberal Catholic Tradition does not look into the number of its worshipers. It does not seek to convert other people to a cause that it wants to impose. It rejoices in the very fact that the Christian remains Christian, that the Muslim remains Muslim and that the atheist remains atheist. We rejoice in the very fact that we are part of the human race and that we have been given the privilege of a lifetime to become who we are.

When the priest offers up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - whether alone in his oratory or in a large Cathedral with hundreds of people - he concentrates the energies of the Divine into the blessed place where this sacrifice has been said in memory of the Lord Christ.

The Liberal Catholic Priest therefore, performs the sacraments because it is simply his duty to minister the sacraments as he was called to do so. He does not need a large congregation or a big paycheck from his fellowman (it would be against his duty even, since he is called to be a renunciate!) or even the gaudy and fancy vestments.

The priests need only perfect his/her very self to perform the rites and rituals needed to aid in the elevation of the consciousness of the people of God - that they may undergo a kenosis (an emptying) - that they may become a vessel of the outpouring of sanctifying grace throughout the galaxy and the universe.

-Bro. Gino Paradela, OSFM

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Priests of Free Thinking and Free Spirituality: a Contemplation

It's funny to see people's reaction when they see me wearing my vestments.

Most of my friends have known me for being anti-religion. Most of them, not even in their 'wildest dreams', have thought that I would go into a seminary and hope to become a priest. I have always shown my distaste for Roman Catholicism and other mind controlling 'church organizations'.

I have always known that there is God, but not the ones described by our religious leaders.

I also also feel that there is an error with scriptures, and that they are not infallible as the Pope.

I also believe that there is NO HELL. If there is one, then it should be temporary only. A temporary Hell would also mean our earthly existence, since life is full of suffering.

Creating heaven, for me, is just a simple mental exercise. We either make our lives Joyful or full of Sorrow.

I am a Free-Thinker, and I practice Free-Spirituality. I have no rules, only the guiding principles that resonates deep within me.

I want to become a Priest who encourages Free Thinking and Free Spirituality to everyone. I wish not to make you believe on my beliefs, but rather to explore on your own Spirituality.

I have found my Path by creating my own. It seemed to be a coincidence, but the Universe conspires everything.

Having no doctrines or any man made dogma, just you and God- the Catholic Universalist Church headed by Bishop +George Kuhn have given me this once in a lifetime Chance to be the Change I wanted to be.

I really think that priesthood is all about facilitating God's grace towards the earth through the sacraments and the Eucharist.

But every man, ordained or not, is a Priest in his own right. God has always been, and will always be within us. We, ourselves can draw and tap God's divine grace within us. Remember that our body is the temple, and that the altar of sacrifice is our hearts.

One day, the world would need no ordained priests or big churches.

For man has already become his own Priest; his home will become the church; and that he becomes one with God in his earthly life.


- Bro. Joseph Albert Rholdee Lagumbay, OMFSJ

CUC Cagayan de Oro Grows!

Meet the Catholic Universlist Church (CUC) members in Cagayan de Oro!

There were some who did not manage to come earlier during our 1st official meet up at Mc Arthur Park, but they promised to join us at Kinawe this coming November 23-24.

The Order of the Missionary Fathers of St. Joseph (OMFSJ) headed by Bishop +Egay Dy of Philippine International Catholic Church (PICC) will conduct a two-day Diocesan Convention this upcoming November 23 & 24, 2014 at Kinawe, Libona, Bukidnon.

One of the things that will be discussed is the Youth Fellowship this coming December 2014. Bishop Dy want's the CUC to be part of this event, since he believes that the youth of today must join forces in order to create a better future for humanity.

The CUC and OMFSJ of PICC have joined forces in promoting Fellowship among Independent Catholic Churches in the Philippines.

Bro. Rholdee Lagumbay, OMFSJ

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reflections: Experiential Religion

For the members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Lord speaks to every individual in the silence of their hearts.

Religion, when taken as fact, misses its entire purpose. 

The ancient Greeks for example knew that their gods were not really "real" in a sense. Philosophers quoted freely from the mythological poems of Hesiod and Homer because they displayed profound abstract truths that natural philosophy (ancient science) and logos (reason) simply could not convey.

Take it in this manner: When someone defines a painting for you, it loses its effect. It ceases to have the power to evoke your feelings and sense of the Profound. Imagine a man telling you what makes a beautiful song or how a beautiful song should sound like - your idea of a beautiful song is just wrong for it does not follow his criteria on what makes a beautiful song. 

So when religion dictates upon you what is its version of authentic truth, you will know that truth has left it, for the Truth manifests itself into the inner light of Christ within your soul. 

Our Lord said: "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."(Gospel According to St. Thomas 77)

Be your own light. The sacraments give you the ritual forms to set your consciousness to higher and more spiritual things . Remember, however, that it is you who give its meaning and profoundness within you. Listen to the Christ within your soul. Let that transform you in Love and Wisdom.

The nature of every soul is that of God and it is simply right for us to proclaim that the All must come back to its original splendor. Our existence is a refinement to prepare us for the glory of our own apotheosis, our Godhood within the Oneness of God.

- Bro. Gino Paradela, OSFM

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christian Universalism 101

"I was lost, and now am found."

Christian Universalism may be a new word for you. 

We, in one way or another, have been taught by our parents or relatives about the state of our souls after death. The most common version to most of us is if one dies a sinner and is 'unsaved' (because one sins a lot or does not believe in Jesus), then one goes straight to hell. 

Other Christians would contend that a sinner's soul, upon death, would be destroyed by God right away.

These theological thoughts seem too morbid. The idea of God as a loving and just Father simply fades and is suddenly changed into the version of a cruel judge. As a child, I often lose myself in thought. Why would God punish me and my transgressions with an eternity of hell-fire or sudden damnation if I were to live only 75 years at most?

Would that be a little harsh?

However, there is one theological school that is somewhat different. There is a theological school since the beginning of our Christian faith that had always taught a different and somewhat radical message.

This school is called Christian Universalism.

Christian Universalism is a theological idea which believes in the salvation of all people through the unfailing love of God. Universalism is radical, wherein we believe that everything in this material universe - whether visible or invisible - would finally be reconcilled in the fullness of time to God's ultimate love.  No one, no matter the most pathetic sinner, would be left to be separated from God's love for all eternity.

Universalism preaches the authentic "Good News" of Christianity. In the words of St. Paul 
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22) - and this means every single one of us, no exceptions.

Universalism, unlike its opposite pole - fundamentalism, teaches that God’s essential nature is Love. Universalists believe that all religions contain both truth and error, that the only commandment that really matters is to love other people as oneself, and that all souls will eventually be saved and perfected as part of God’s unfailing plan.

Christian Universalism is distinct from the liberal religious system Unitarian Universalism, in that we teach the uniqueness of Christ Jesus as our liberator and teacher.

The Catholic Universalist Church is also distinct within the Christian Universalist Movement because we emphasize and keep the sacraments passed down to us from the earliest days of the church. Our worship rites echo that of the ancient rites, its validity legitimized through the sacrament of ordination - keeping us in spiritual communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

To know more, please visit the Christian Universalist Association and the Catholic Universalist Church by clicking on the links to their respective websites.