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Author Archive: Cristina Montes

Cristina Montes, from the Philippines, is a lawyer, writer, amateur astronomer, a gardening enthusiast, a voracious reader, a karate brown belter, an avid traveler, and a lover of birds, fish, rabbits, and horses. She is a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan who reads the entire trilogy once a year. She is the eldest daughter in a large, happy Catholic family.

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Romantic Thoughts for Ash Wednesday

January 31, AD 2018 1 Comment
Romantic Thoughts for Ash Wednesday

“Terminate torment Of love unsatisfied The greater torment Of love satisfied.” — T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday Can Catholics celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, considering that Ash Wednesday this year falls on the same date? Is the feast of love compatible with the beginning of Lent? When the obligation to do penance conflicts with the convention […]

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On St. Paul, Sports, and Sanctity

January 17, AD 2018 0 Comments
On St. Paul, Sports, and Sanctity

My high school batch at St. Paul College of Pasig, a Catholic school for girls here in the Philippines run by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, just celebrated its homecoming.  We prepared for it for a year, a year that was spent reminiscing about high school memories and organizing a grand celebration dinner. […]

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St. James and Our Lady of Del Pilar

January 2, AD 2018 0 Comments
St. James and Our Lady of Del Pilar

Today, January 2, is the 1,978th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. James the Greater at the pillar in Zaragoza, Spain in the year A.D. 40. I never have been particularly devoted to St. James the Greater, but for some reason, he seems to be devoted to me. I heard […]

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I’m Dreaming of a Contemplative Christmas

December 13, AD 2017 1 Comment
I’m Dreaming of a Contemplative Christmas

Together with “exciting” and “joyful”, “stressful” is a word that is associated with the days leading up to Christmas and with the Christmas season itself. Increased rush hour traffic, shopping lists and parties to squeeze into tight budgets and schedules, tasks lists in the preparation of the Christmas dinner, caroling rehearsals, and year-end work to […]

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Spiritual Allies

November 24, AD 2017 1 Comment
Spiritual Allies

For the past three months, the liturgical calendar has been reminding us of our spiritual allies. Towards the end of September, we commemorated the feast of the Archangels. On October 2, we celebrated the feast of the Guardian Angels.  On October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we reminded ourselves of the […]

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A Vicarious Grief Observed

August 13, AD 2017 0 Comments
A Vicarious Grief Observed

On the recent Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, my priest-uncle-spiritual-director, Father Jim, suddenly lost his brother Allan. Father Jim was abroad teaching a short course in Canon Law when Uncle Allan had a massive myocardiac infarction. I have never met Uncle Allan, since he lived far from Metro Manila. But Father Jim said […]

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Single but Full of Love

June 3, AD 2017 3 Comments
Single but Full of Love

Judging by the varying reactions to us women who remain single by choice or by necessity, we are a misunderstood lot. On the one hand, many people cannot believe a normal woman would be happy neither marrying nor dating — hence, the insensitive questions we endure during family reunions; or the well-meaning reassurances that if we just […]

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My Chrism Mass Experience

April 14, AD 2017 2 Comments
My Chrism Mass Experience

After having been curious for so many years about how it is to experience a Chrism Mass, I finally got a chance to attend one. From all that I heard about it, I expected that it would be an awesome experience:  the spine-tingling sight of a multitude of priests simultaneously consecrating the bread and wine, […]

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Learning About the Sacraments

March 1, AD 2017 0 Comments
Learning About the Sacraments

One good plan for Lent is to spend some minutes a day studying the faith more, or at least one aspect of it, like the sacraments. In fact, it is recommended that Catholics continuously study and review the faith throughout their lifetime, in order to acquire what St. Josemaria Escriva calls “the piety of children […]

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A Plan for Studying the Bible

January 27, AD 2017 1 Comment
A Plan for Studying the Bible

The chaplain of the pilgrimage I joined to the Holy Land repeatedly told our group that after the pilgrimage, we will never read the Gospels the same way again. I did not realize how true this was until I received an e-mail from the alumni mailing list of the Universidad de Navarra announcing, among others, […]

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Running to Bethlehem

December 16, AD 2016 0 Comments
Running to Bethlehem

One of the sites included in the itinerary of the Holy Land pilgrimage I joined was the Chapel of the Angels, a Catholic church located in the shepherd’s field where, according to tradition, an angel appeared to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds. Internet research reveals that the Chapel of the Angels is […]

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Not Alone: At the House of Mary Near Ephesus

November 30, AD 2016 2 Comments
Not Alone: At the House of Mary Near Ephesus

I was a solo traveler in the pilgrimage I joined to the Holy Land and Turkey. Most of the others in the pilgrimage were traveling with their spouses, their friends, or their relatives. Those who were not seemed to have known each other previously. Although everyone else was very nice, fun even, at times I […]

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