Advent journey

Advent Wreath
The beginning of the Advent season is here. As we journey together we are reminded of the three important spiritual things that we need to intensify:

  1. living religiously, piously and lovingly
  2. the act of Alms giving
  3. praying and doing charitable acts

The Advent season prepares us for the birth of Christ.  This is the same feeling of the people as narrated in the Old Testament when they were waiting for the Saviour to come.  And so today we are also in that moment of waiting for His coming: coming into our hearts and dwelling there permanently. The daily readings from the scriptures, both from the Old and New Testaments, are of great help and guide us to enter into the life of Mary and Joseph.

Our religious community has some spiritual initiatives during our journeying with Mary and Joseph that help us and give meaning to these four weeks of Advent. As a family or as individuals, you are challenged to make a plan so that your own spiritual journey is meaningful during this season of Advent.

Stay tuned to our upcoming posts as we will have pictures of our initiatives and explain what our community does.

In the meantime, happy journeying…

A meaningful life

Fr Gerald and youth
I am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest. Maybe some of you would like to ask the same question. Let me try, briefly, to reply. I must begin by saying it is impossible to explain it entirely. For it remains a mystery even to myself. How does one explain the ways of God? Yet, I know that at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he has said to thousands before me: “Come, follow me!” There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own. Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest.

And you can probably tell that I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood. Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy than to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God’s people in the Church. That has been true since the day of my ordination as a priest. Nothing has ever changed.

Words cannot describe the supreme gratitude, thanksgiving, praise, adoration and awe I feel towards God as I celebrate the 6th anniversary of my ordination to the Sacred Priesthood.

On the one hand I feel like I was ordained yesterday. It seems like I am still in the honeymoon period of being a priest, for every Mass, every confession, every session of spiritual direction feels as if it is being offered for the first time. On the other hand, because of the sheer density and wide spectrum of the emotional and psychological experience of a priest, I feel that I have been ordained for time immemorial. I do not remember what it was like to not be a priest, even though in human terms it was only 6 years ago that I was ordained.

This is who God has called me to be, for I was born to do this, to be a living offering, an oblation, a living sign that men and women may know that God is fully alive and that he loves them vigorously with great joy, and that he will continue to call men to the altar to lay down their lives in union with the Eucharistic Victim for the salvation of all mankind.

Even if I had a thousand lives to live, I would live every single one of them as a priest. How glorious is God, how vast and incomprehensible is his great love, that he would fashion on earth the sublime masterpiece of his Sacred Heart, the wonder of his presence, his Fatherhood, his love, alive in his priests!

Fr Gerald (left) with Fr Rene and Daughters of Divine Zeal, Australia

Left to right: Sr Cora fdz, Fr Gerald rcj, Sr Tina fdz, Sr Cielo fdz, Fr Rene rcj, Sr Felicitas fdz and Sr Floriana fdz

Has it been happy? That’s a tough question. After all, happiness is relative. But someone said about money – that money is relative – the more money, the more relatives. That’s my feeble attempt at wry humour, in case you missed it.

But on a more serious note, we can generally agree that happiness is indeed relative. Happiness is fleeting, and it is also dependent upon so many different factors in different people that it becomes problematic when we gauge anything by the value of happiness. Most apparent of all is the fact that happiness is a feeling. You can’t measure feelings. And if there’s one thing about feelings that we simply must understand, it is that love is not, and cannot, be about feelings. The moment we allow our feelings to direct when we love, how we love, and whom we love, we easily become self-centered and selfish people.

One author once said that what matters most in life is not happiness but meaning. If our lives have been meaningful, if they have contributed to the meaning of the lives of others, if they have added meaning to the world and to the hard tasks in life like suffering, discomfort and misadventure, then our lives would have mattered much more than if they simply made us happy. Happiness is something that can be bought. You can, for the price of an admission ticket, go to some theme park and experience the ‘happiest place on earth’, but the ‘most meaningful place on earth’ has yet to be used as a marketing ploy because that would be literally choosing the narrow gate that, to many, remains the least preferred choice.

So, for the present, I shall settle with ‘meaning’. Being a priest has not only added meaning to my life.  I do hope that it has also brought meaning to the lives of the many whom I have encountered, touched and, hopefully, healed and motivated in these last 6 years of active ministry. Happiness just doesn’t cut it, because not even Jesus was happy all the time in his ministry. I’m willing to wager that hanging on the cross hoisted above Calvary on that first Good Friday could not have been a very happy moment in Jesus’ life. In fact, his use of the Greek ‘makarios’ in Matthew’s Beatitudes, translated into “happy are the …”, has us standing on our heads to see how Jesus defines happiness.

No, it has not been happy all the time for me either as a priest these 6 years past, but having said that, I don’t think that any one of my friends, parishioners, former classmates and schoolmates can ever say that their choice of vocation in life has been one that has been happy at every single moment of their lives. If so, then the tapestry of their lives would be more like a flat sheet made up of one single shade.

But if our lives are indeed a picturesque tapestry on which not just we, but God the master weaver as well adjusts the warps and wefts of the loom of life, then the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, successes and failures, the times of sickness and health, plenty and poverty, all add to the depth of meaning and beauty beyond adequate description.

Fr Gerald with Daughters of Divine Zeal, Australia
Some of my brother priests are 16, 17, 67 years into their priesthood. In the shadow of their long years of their ministry, my 6 years looks more like a kidney stone. I salute their commitment and courage, and their quest for holiness. But perhaps 6 years is a good beginning to look at things anew, and where possible, add more meaning to my priestly life. And today I will renew my commitment in serving the Lord and his faithful.

My dear friends, please pray for me, for although I am a clay vessel, a poor and humble instrument of his grace, he has entrusted me with dispensing his mysteries and graces to his people. May God pardon me for my sins and failings, excesses and defects, imperfections and faults, and may Mary, Mother of Priests, and our beloved Fr Founder, St Annibale Maria Di Francia, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen!

Fr Gerald Binegas RCJ

Fr Gerald is serving as the Assistant Priest at the partnered parishes of Christ the King, Braybrook and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Maidstone.  He and the Parish Priest, Fr Rene Ramirez RCJ, are the first Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus to serve God and neighbour in Australia.  We thank God and pray for them in this new mission.

The heart of our life

FDZ Emblem

The Daughters of Divine Zeal wear a heart emblem inscribed with the words of Jesus in latin. These divine words in English say:

“The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into His harvest.”

This is the identity, the charism, spirituality and the missionary life of the Daughters of Divine Zeal. The zeal of Jesus’ heart is the zeal for the “Rogate” or prayer for holy vocations in the Church. The burning zeal of the love Christ for saving lost souls – our lost humanity. This zeal of love in His heart causes Him to feel compassion upon seeing the vast crowd who are helpless and dejected.  They are like the sheep without the shepherd.  Therefore, He first uttered these words:

“Pray to the Lord of the Harvest for holy labourers.”

Jesus’ immediate response is prayer. His compassion moved him to respond to the needs of the people. His prayer comes from His heart.  This is also the prayer for each Daughter of Divine Zeal and all of those who belong to the Rogationist family. The burning zeal of the heart of Jesus moved Him to guide us in asking the Lord of the Harvest. This is His divine command.  Prayer is the key for the salvation of souls, to obtain holy vocations in the Church and for the reign of the Kingdom of God.

Let us join together and pray to the Master of the Harvest that He will never fail to send holy vocations into the Church.  All the nations shall will be holy too.

“Send O Lord Holy Apostles into Your Church.”

This prayer, the legacy of St Annibale Maria Di Francia, is handed unto his spiritual sons and daughters, and the zeal for this prayer continues to spread around the world.

I will sing forever of Your love, Lord

Being in love with the Lord is highly powered and so charged with energy that you cannot keep it or hide it. It comes out so spontaneously and visibly that others notice it. Your heart is always singing, beating to the rhythm of love, and your feet are always dancing with the beloved.


Your happiness cannot be contained within your self alone. What is inside radiates throughout and the aura can be felt. Being in love with the Lord makes your day joyous and it gives you strength.

Singing His love is living His love too. Being attuned to God’s love is love in itself. Each day God leads us to multiple choices. He gives us the freedom to choose the best. May the very best that you have chosen allow you to sing a joyful song of God’s love. A love that gives us life, a love that forgives, a love that keeps you going in the midst of life’s difficulties and challenges. Sometimes our choices are very human and self-centered but once we realize this, it is the moment that we have to be humble and rise up again.

Canonical Visit

Mother Elna's Canonical Visit

Clockwise from bottom left: Sr Cielo, Sr Floriana, Mo Elna, Sr Felicitas, Sr Cora

Today is the beginning of the Canonical Visit of Mother Elna, the Superior of the Our Lady of Divine Zeal Province.  She will be in Australia until 18 November 2015.

You can view photos of our opening liturgy, held this morning in our Chapel, in our Facebook Album.

God bless and welcome back to Australia, Mother Elna!

Thank you to one of our student house residents for taking the photos.

Love flows from Christ

Heart of flowers
One of the homilies of a priest that I heard two months ago inspired me a lot.  It’s all about meditating on the love of Christ.  From that day on, I promised to meditate on the love of Christ at least for  fifteen minutes everyday.  Meditating on God’s love each day becomes a part of my life.

Once, I experienced an event after rising from my bed early in the morning.  My eyes gazed straight ahead to the crucifix hanging on the wall.  I looked at Jesus Christ intently and He seemed to be saying to me:

“I died for you on the cross because I love you.”

At that moment I felt so happy and whispered to myself, “Lord, thank you.”

There are many ways the Lord manifests His love to us:  through people around us, people who show mercy and care, through the tiny smile of a child or a senior citizen.  The Sacred Scripture is a means for us to listen to His words and to the homily of a priest. God converses with us.  The crucifix, through which I tremendously experienced the love of Christ flowing from His heart on that morning, is one of those many ways too.

It is a great blessing, indeed, if a man and woman can recognize Christ’s love for them.  It gives such strength and joy in their journey each day towards holiness.  God Himself manifests His love and He longs for us to receive His love wholeheartedly.  This can be a challenge for all of us – including me, as a Consecrated person.  I am aware that I have offered my life for the service of God with all my strengths and limitations.  God loves me as I am and I have to share this love, without reserve, with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let us continue to live with a strong faith in God and, with a joyful heart, let us proclaim and witness God’s love.  May God bless us all!

Image sources:



FDZ and RCJ: Our identity

The Daughters of Divine Zeal (FDZ) and the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus (RCJ) are religious congregations whose charism is “the understanding and the zeal of the Lord’s words:

“Messis quidem multa, operarii autem pauci. Rogate ergo dominum messis ut mittat operarios in messem suam.”

[The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest.]

(Mt 9:37-38; Lk 10:2)

Rogate - Pray
We are the spiritual daughters and sons of St Annibale Maria Di Francia. He was inspired by and lived the words of Jesus. These words completely transformed his life.  He became committed to living a way of life that would respond to the problems of society and to the lack of good workers in the Church. This is the charism, the spirituality, and mission of the two institutes he founded.

Our congregations are uniquely identified as followers of the Christ of the Rogate (prayer) to the Master of the Harvest. It is the Rogate that is the solution of so many problems in our society today and for the lack of Holy ministers in the Church. Prayer is the source of the sanctity of a person’s life. Praying for vocations, particularly for holy priests and religious, is most in need to gain a holy people and holy nations.

“The obedience to this divine command, that contains ‘a secret of salvation’ for humanity, is a gift that characterizes us in the Church as Daughters of Divine Zeal and demands of us a fervent spirit of prayer and Rogationist action.” (FDZ contitutions)

The charism of the Rogate commits us to:

  • pray daily so that the Lord will raise up Gospel workers
  • spread far and wide this spirit of prayer and promote vocations in the Church
  • be “good workers” of the Kingdom

This is an advocacy.  Let us start to commit praying for the sanctity of all the priests in the parishes, all the cloistered religious, bishops, lay ministers, and church leaders because they are the shield against evil in these world. We raise this short prayer to God during any activities, gatherings and prayer meetings:

“Send, O Lord, Holy Apostles into Your Church!”

Spread this prayer throughout your homes, offices, and schools so that the Lord of the Harvest will hear our pleas and petitions wherever we are. He will not fail to send Holy New Apostles in His Vineyard as this is an urgent need for a holy Nation with a holy people. Oh how wonderful it would be to live in a world where we can start to live in paradise here on earth. Rogate!


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