Fr. Brice’s Ordination on June 3, 2017

As I am still in the cloud enjoying my moment of glory before real life, let me share with you. what i think of my ordination.IMG_1510.jpg

The ordination was like my “Tabor Moment.” Jesus took three of the disciples and went up a high mountain; there, he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with him (cf. Mt 17:1-3). That was the closest experience they had of the beatific vision while on earth. Jesus allowed them to taste, though briefly, the contemplation of eternal joy so that when the cross happens, they might not falter in their faith (cf. Luke 12:32). Without a doubt, last weekend was not far from the experience of Tabor. It was a little foretaste of what it means to respond generously to God’s call. He allowed me to see the future joy that ministering well might bring, and the unceasing prayer, generous support, untold gratitude, and beautiful kindness we have in the Church community. Many laughed, cried, and savored the weekend with me to the brim; they have promised to pray for me; I blessed them; they congratulated me. Such a holy weekend is not easily forgotten. Such an experience propels me forward to serve selflessly, give myself willingly, and embrace my ministry wholeheartedly because I have the support of the people of God. So, in challenging times, tough days, this is a moment I will remember as I minister and spread the gospel of joy in every corner of the Diocese of Providence.

Furthermore, the people of God get it. I have been assigned to many parishes throughout our time in seminary. Consequently, I have met, befriended, and touched many. They have seen me grow, mature, and persevere year in year out. They know I will be their priests. They count on me to be their companion, guide, solace, minister of salvation, and dispenser of grace and blessing from the cradle to the grave. As soon as a person entered this world, they expect the priest to be available to impart on him/her supernatural life through baptism. The priest accompanies the dead to their resting place in the grave with rites and prayers of immortal hope. When they are suffering, they know the priest is there. When going gets tough in the journey, the priest strengthens them with the grace of the sacraments.

IMG_1455.jpgWhen they fall away from grace, they are reconciled with God in the sacrament of penance through the hands of the priest. Called to found a family, the priest is there to receive and bless this unitive and procreative love. The priest stands by them in the best and worst periods of their lives—new life, fears, doubts, concerns, sadness, troubles, or celebrations. He coaches them about how to win the race and fix their eyes fixed on Jesus, the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings (Gaudium Spes 45). Most importantly, behind the scene, in supplications, fasting, penances, study, hours on his knees, he prepares himself daily to live up to the lofty promises he made at ordination before God and his people. So, Out of gratitude and love the faithful come out in droves to celebrate and welcome the new priests as a way to tell them: “welcome them to our lives. We are glad you are here. Show us the way.” That’s what the ordination meant to me.



Why Spend Time Scripture Daily?

How do we discover who God is, what his plan is for us, and what he wants us to do? Why did the saints devour the word of God? Perhaps they found in them like Therese of Lisieux “a hidden, pure, and genuine manna.” Thus, it became part of their daily routine. It instructed their mind, shaped their desires, and informed their decisions. Mary pondered the word of God to the point it became enfleshed in her (cf. Luke 2:19). Here are a few basic reasons why we should be prayerful and reflect on the word of God daily.

Man Reading BibleDo you want to understand who you are? Do you want to know your own story even before you live it? Do you want to see the human race in his beauty and ugliness and foibles, at his best and worst, acting like an angel today and behaving like a beast tomorrow? Then read scripture. There you will meet David — a man to whom God gives everything — pleasure, power, honor and wealth, yet he took a poor man’s wife and murdered him (2 Sam. 11-12:1-14). There you will learn the story of the Israelites — taken out of Egypt by God’s strong arm. Yet during 40 days without Moses to remind them of the word of God, they turned to idols (Ex. 32-34). There you will see what happens when people abuse their God-given power in the story of Naboth, Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 21). There you can meditate on the consequences of associating with those who cultivate no fear of God (1 Kings 11), discover the towering power of an unwavering faith in Susanna (Dan. 13), and ponder the depths of God’s mercy in the story of the prodigal son and the woman caught in adultery (Luke 15: 11-32; John 8:1-11). Scripture is our personal story. In it, we find ourselves.

modern-philosophy-by-rpc-2-638Would you like a complete guide for the 3 fundamental relationships that form the basis of life — God, neighbor, and ourselves? Look no further than the Bible. It provides the wisest and most prudent way to act with the wealthy when you are poor, with the young when you are old, and with authorities when you are a subject. What should we look for in a spouse? What is the regiment for a blessed and fruitful marriage? We only have to read the Books of Sirach and Proverbs to find out. Who am I? What am I afraid of? What should one do to attain eternal bliss? Only scripture tells us. How does one win friends and influence people to the right course of actions? That’s in scripture too. It is no doubt that the Bible is a library. Everything is in there. Read it in family, and among friends; treasure it; memorize it. That’s the recipe for a happy life.

Photo 5We forget easily. Interestingly, one of the most common phrases in the book of Deuteronomy is, “Remember O Israel, do not forget.” The human mind is darkened as a result of Original sin; our ability to remember God’s word is a perpetual struggle, and our desire to submit to it is weakened (cf. Rom. 7: 18-19). The remedy against this is to turn it into a habit. Constantly going back to scripture, analyzing it, mediating on it and contemplating allows it to sink in and become part of the very fabric of our inner being. Once it becomes ingrained in us, it starts becoming part of our thoughts, words, actions, habits and character. Character is our destiny; our destiny is heaven. Scripture tells us how to get there and the Church empowers us through the sacraments to help us on our journey.


Kierkegaard, the Danish Philosopher, argues that Christianity as we know it today barely relates itself to the message that Jesus preached in the New Testament. Christians are not striving to come closer to the Christianity of the New Testament, he further maintains. I am no Christian apologetic, but I find it necessary to analyze the veracity of Kierkegaard’s claim.

imagesHe maintains that Luther had written 95 theses to show Christianity’s wretchedness, but today only one is necessary— honestly. When we juxtapose the way we are living the Christian life with the one preached in the New Testament, they almost have nothing in common. Official Christianity does not even dare to make clear the requirement of Jesus’ teachings in the new testament because that would bring to light how far removed the two are. We, Christians, live and love in the ordinary human way and so fail to live the extraordinary life that Christianity requires of us. Diognetus had written a letter to Christian in the third century. in it, he remarked that although are similar to other men by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, they are distinct by the way they lived. This is no longer true unfortunately. and the consequent is dire.

To illustrate his point, he gives an example. A Christian teacher is paid several thousand dollars as his wages. If we suppress the Christian criterion and assume the ordinary ‘human criterion’, which encourages that a person should have his wages for his work in order to live a respectable life with his family and maintain a perfect life’s standard, then that’s great. However, as soon as the idea of Christian poverty is asserted, several thousand is too high a salary. Christianity requires that when our most basic needs are met, the rest be given to the poor. One can live best the Christian requirement only in poverty (of spirit). It is dishonesty to call ourselves Christian when we so miserably fail to live the Christian requirement. We are dishonest about doing what Jesus requires. We give them our own interpretation according to our own expediency; nevertheless, the way we live is so far removed from the Sermon on the Mount’s requirements. “I will not participate… in what is called Christianity”, Kierkegaard says. even Pope Francis shockingly said that, “God would not be Christian if he comes back today”— loosely interpreted, christianity has become too pharisaical. We need to go back to the the beginning seriously. iStock_000031437424_Double

Now how right is Kierkegaard? I believe that the Christian life cannot be reduced to a few critiques. They are people who genuinely try to abide by the teaching of Jesus. Christianity However, it would make Christianity and Christians much more respectable in the world if we actually take very seriously Kierkegaard’s critic. Have you seen how lovable and respectable those who take the Christian faith very seriously are? Not only people respect their sacrifice, they are also attracted to their joy and peace. Religious freedom is being challenged everywhere in the world; perhaps if we take Christianity as Kierkegaard advocated it, no one would dare challenge it since our service would be in so much demands. I must admit as a group, we don’t stand out. We are just like everyone else. There is no way to differentiate Christians and the crowd. We go to their theaters, we watch whatever they want us to watch, we learn what they teach us, and we follow their rules even if they violate our conscience. How do you think the early Christians were able to conquer the world and spread the Word so quickly? It was because they accepted to set a standard tailored after the heart of Jesus— a standard that the ordinary world despised. Of course, that caused them to be imprisoned, mistreated, guillotined and killed, but it also put the world on the path to salvation. Due to our radical examples, the world fell to its knees and asked us for help. Our standards gave meaning to life, put life in right order, and helped put life in perspective.

early-massToday, that standard is lost because we’ve gotten too comfortable over the years. the world has re-conquered the low standard in which it was living before Christianity blossomed. They are winning big time and the powerful force that is Christianity is sleeping. Until we wake up, Kierkegaard’s voice will keep on echoing on our cathedrals, churches, chapels, seminaries, schools, and workplaces. Until then, his voice will continue to resound in our deepest conscience that this Christianity is too far removed from the one preached in the Bible.

Spiritual Direction– The Soul’s Remedy

Seeking spiritual direction is a sign of spiritual maturity. It is a sign that one has passed the age of spiritual milk, and ready for solid food (1 Cor. 3:2). Anyone who wants to live their baptism responsibly should make spiritual direction an intrinsic part of their lives. It is the soul’s medicine, and the best way to grow in holiness.

Here are a few reasons to consider spiritual direction:

We need a coach for the race. We are familiar with Olympic champions. They take reaching the top so seriously that they would never consider attempting it without a coach. St. John Paul II related how Jan Tyranowski, a simple clerk and tailor, helped him developed his interior life and thus gave him the tools to find his purpose in life. when he became a University chaplain, John Paul II recalled  how he used to go camping with the students. Through what he learned from Jan, he was able to coach them to unleash the masterpiece they are and how best to comport themselves as a result. we can become the person God wants us to be on our own.


Anyone who is serious about holiness can relate to the words of St. Augustine in The Confessions: “I longed for the chance to devote myself wholly to you, but …my two wills are in conflict and they rob my soul of all concentration” (VIII, 5:10). This pilgrim journey is a tale of twisting and turning down the road to heaven. We lose momentum at times and need help nudging toward our destiny. Our best help lies in getting someone who knows the way well. As we labor in pain waiting for the fulfillment of our hope and the glorious coming of our savior (Rom. 8:22-23), the best way to ensure we are making progress is to have a spiritual guide to keep us fit.

We all have blind spots. We all have biases. Anyone who has tried to be truly honest with him- or herself knows how difficult that is. None of us sees ourselves as we truly are. Most often we think we are better than we actually are, although sometimes we sell ourselves short. There are times we even lie to ourselves. How do we discover ourselves as we truly are? Sunday homilies are helpful, but clearly insufficient when it comes to specifics. The confessional is not the place to deal with topics that takes great amount of time. Friends are often afraid to offend us. Spiritual directors can put the mirror before us and enable us to face reality. Seeing ourselves as we truly are opens the door to real spiritual growth.


We are all wounded. GK. Chesterton captures well the reality of our lives in this world this way: “we’re all in one boat, and we’re all seasick.” The reality is we are all cracked and bruised and in need of repair. There are things in our past that hurt so deeply, we don’t even want to talk about them yet those are precisely what we need to talk about. Some things, of which we might not be aware, restrain our interior peace. Unless we allow the soothing touch of Christ to reach into our brokenness, we remain wounded. Only through regular spiritual direction can we recognize these wounds and be to heal.

How do we locate a good spiritual director? The same way we locate a good physician – we ask others. You can start by asking your pastor for recommendations. Pray to the Holy Spirit to lead you to one that fits your needs. Religious houses like seminaries, convents, or priories usually have qualified directors. Try to get a trained spiritual director, if possible. A learned, experienced, and holy priest is the ideal director. Even the saints have complained how difficult it is to find a suitable one, so persevere! In the meantime, get someone.

The Ethic of Gratuity and MLK

The path of peace without violence is not an easy one. But when it is done well, it is a jewel to behold.

A striking passage in pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical– Charity in Truth (June 29, 2009)— made the following point: even if justice constitutes the basis of all society, it needs the “ethic of gratuity” in order to function well. Justice is to give another his due; charity compels us to give what’s ours to another. So charity goes beyond justice. Justice is “the minimum measure”. Charity demands justice. That means intrinsic to charity there is some form of justice. Here is the point– society is built according to law and justice, both commutative and distributive, but charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving. Society flourishes not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but fundamentally by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy, and communion (Caritas in Veritate, 6).


As we remember Martin Luther King today, it is worth pointing out how well he brought about this ethic of gratuity in the civil right movement in the 1960s. He commenced that movement in order to put a final end to slavery, oppression, discrimination, segregation, and injustice suffered by the black community. He chose the path of non-violence although in all justice, he would have been right to have recourse to revenge. Despite the many deaths, burning of churches, police brutality he and his people endured, he remained firm in the conviction that darkness couldn’t drive out darkness. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love and reconciliation can do that. Unlike his predecessors Malcom X and co., he preferred peace because he knows unarmed truth and unconditional love always have the final word in reality. After the movement, he could have asked for restitution and justice from the US for all the many years of violence and injustice the blacks have suffered, but he chose to move on. he was moved by Charity.

bby1dal-imgCharity ennobles the act of the human person. Because he was acting in charity, even those who had no particular interest in the movement joined him. Charity moves the heart of others. So, because of his choice and vision and the principle of gratuity from which he acted, his dream of seeing black and white forming one community was realized. Had he chosen to do otherwise would his dream ever become true? Where would America be today? Would America ever rule the world? While we will never know, what we do know is that he will remain a model to follow for generations.

After WWII, Germany was in dire need of the principle of gratuity. The world chose and rightly so not to punish the German nation despite the many atrocities they had caused and so allowed them to build itself up and embrace its dignity again. The world works so hard to unite West and East Germany after the war, and in 1989, it became a reality. Had the world applied strict justice on the Germans, where would they be today? Because of this gratuity, there are no grudges between Germany and world today. I would say it is this principle that drives the ‘welfare system’ in America. So, clearly many don’t deserve food, housing, social security benefit, free Medicare etc., but is it justice to let them wallow in their misery? If it is, is it charitable to do so? So while justice must always be preferred to injustice, we need to leaven of charity to give savor to the common good. otherwise, the society cannot function well.

The Little Way is Lived in Hidenness (Part 3)

The Little Way is not about self-praise, but a school of small acts done with great love for God’s glory. Humility, self-effacement, obedience, hiddenness, unfaltering charity and all the discipline they require are what define St. Therese’s Little Way. For her, God does not demand great deeds, recitation of long prayers, or ascetical practices, but only gratitude and self-surrender. “Offer to God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” (Ps. 50:14).“God has need of our love; He has no need of our works”.[1] Small acts done with love exceed great deeds done for personal glory, gratification or simply out of obedience. So, to perfect ourselves, we ought to love God above all things and humble ourselves below all things. The aim is to perform small acts of love without reckoning, or being noticed. God who sees in secret will notice. “In reality, I am only what God thinks of me. I expect the praise I deserve only from God”.[2] My joy is to “Appear before God empty-handed, and spend your treasures as you gain them”.[3] Hiddenness and self-forgetfulness are two of the most important themes in Therese’s life and teachings. After all, did not Christ himself live a hidden life for 30 years?unknown

She became devoted to the suffering ‘Holy Face’ of Christ in order to enwrap herself in hiddenness. According to Von Balthazar, “her whole life in Christ is concentrated into her devotion to the Holy Face”.[4] In fact, the whole Monastery had a devotion to the suffering Holy Face of Jesus that was reflected on the veil of Veronica. This included an outdoor shrine in the cloister garden. Therese was constantly looking to see the hidden Holy Face of Jesus in everyone and everything. Her devotion to the ‘Holy Face’ even exceeds her devotion to the Child Jesus. This devotion became the centerpiece of her spirituality. Behind the Holy Face, she disappeared so that Christ may appear for all to see. Here lies the depth of her humility.

unknown-1Hiding behind the Holy face of Christ was a mean to console those through whom Christ is suffering. First, through the Holy Face, she associates the suffering of her father, who was mentally ill, by extension all sufferings, to the passion of Christ. She thus received permission to add to her religious name ‘of the Holy face’. Thus, her complete name became “St. Therese of Lisieux of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face”. It was the mirror through which she conceived Christ.[5] Secondly, her devotion to the Holy Face was a way to reawaken the indifferent and the complacent. As someone puts it, “This is a commentary on our callousness, our myopia, our devaluation of what is precious, our blindness to the poor, and our lack of awareness in our relationship to God”.[6] She believes ”to live from love is to dry Christ’s face”[7] in the needy. Thirdly, her attraction to the Holy face was her own way to hide herself so that her acts may glorify God instead of herself. Thus, she made the words of the suffering servant entirely hers: “…There was no beauty or majesty in him. There was nothing special about… him. People looked down on him. They didn’t accept him. He knew all about pain and suffering… (Cf. Is 53: 2-3). Therese thus wished to be hidden from all view, go unnoticed, and be forgotten by all in order to find her beloved. “Christ is a hidden treasure. To find a hidden thing, we must be hidden ourselves”.[8] So, our life like the divine face, hidden with Christ in God, is revealed in the same measure as it is hidden in the divine mysteries. In this ambiance, the soul is no longer set before the veil that hides Christ’s face, but behind it.[9] Consequently, Christ’s face will be revealed in her, and so one cannot look at her without seeing the face of Christ.[10] This veiled face becomes the medium through which Christ is consoled and wretched souls are saved.

[1]Story of a soul, 113

[2] Stertenbrink, 126

[3] story of a soul, Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, 277

[4] Von Balthazar, 157

[5] Von Balthazar, 157

[6] unknown author, Key Elements in Therese’s spirituality, p2

[7] ibid, from her last conversation,

[8] von Balthazar, 158

[9] von Balthazar, 158

[10] von Balthazar, therese, 159