"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Summary

        Believing in, following, and loving Jesus will lift your existence to a new level that's not of this world, for you belong to him now.  At that level you'll be in commune with God, enjoying the union, and no longer weighed down by things of the world.  Love reigns supreme and freedom captures the heart.  You know that Truth has chosen you, found you, and called you.  You are home and his forever.  There is no greater peace you can possibly possess on this earth. 

End-of-Year Reflection

        2010 is coming to its end.  With the exception of God alone, everything passes.  We are all journeying on toward God or the unknown, depending upon your personal convictions.  Right now, a friend of mine is waiting to die at any moment, but he's well prepared to meet the Lord.  Often I hear older folks say that they want to travel or do other things they enjoy while they still have good health and can move about.  That seems to be sensible thinking.  Then there are others who realize that life is so brief that they'd better use the remaining time they have left to devote themselves to serving God.  Another valid point of view, polar from the first but definitely wiser.  When we meet the Lord face to face after this life, he's going to ask us what we've done to glorify him.  The lowlier we serve God in this life, the higher he is going to raise us in heaven.  Jesus the Lord is our supreme example.
        What are 2011 and the future going to be like?  That would depend a great deal upon us.  Suppose that from now on, everyone in the world starts  rebelling against God, you can imagine the kind of world we are going to have.  Now if everyone starts believing in and loving God, what would the world be like??  It's clear that we have the power to move God and shape the world.  God is our only hope; Jesus, our only savior.  My hope for the New Year is that we will always hope in God.               

Thursday, December 30, 2010

God Helping Us

        I see God helping us who love him from two directions.  From the outside, he makes sure that whatever happens to us will be best for our soul.  From the inside, he transforms us interiorly so that we'll always do his will.  This is how he loves us.

Choose God over the World

        In today's Mass reading from the First Letter of St. John, the Apostle exhorts us not to love the world or the things of the world, for all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father.  To be fair, there are good things in the world too.  For Christians we must make the right choice always, so it seems that life is basically a big test ~ you either pass or fail.  I hope that St. John's exhortation will help us choose God always over the world. 

Our Limitations, a Grace

       During prayer before morning Mass, I felt my own limitations.  I even had trouble expressing some of my thoughts; the words were just not there.  This feeling of inadequacy to me was a grace.  God made me realize that I was truly nothing and should remain forever humble before him.      

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Go with God First

        If we get it spiritually right first, then we'll have a easier time in the world because we have God to keep us from being corrupted by the world.  On the other hand, it we start out in the world without God, we get corrupted first and it'd be a lot harder to get up to get it right with God. 

Cast All Cares upon God

        Let God take over your life and you will be free.  This is an exception to "If it sounds too good to be true, then it can't be true."
        First, God is love and he will never lord it over you.  Secondly, he is totally trustworthy, reliable, and only wants to help you.  Thirdly, you with a finite mind and a crooked nature, will never be able to free yourself.  Last, when you surrender to him, all your problems become his to solve.  
        Therefore, cast all your cares upon him.         

How to Love Others

        Let yourself be loved by God first.  (This has got to be my shortest post.)

We Are Prodigal Too

        I venture to say that we all know the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32).  We may not be as bad as he was, but we are all prodigal to some degree and the Father's great love applies to us as well.  God always loves us.  Now, rejoice.   

My Pleasure!

        I once checked into a hotel and one desk clerk was extra helpful.  Every time I asked her to do something, she always responded enthusiastically, "My pleasure!"  That really made me feel good.  I got to thinking that we should respond to the Lord the same way.  "My pleasure," "At your service," "At your disposal" ~ they all sound pretty good.  In other words, be glad to do his will always.     

Mutual Giving

        During the Liturgy of the Eucharist at morning Mass today, the priest consecrated the bread and wine and the Lord was ready to offer himself to us again as our bread of life and spiritual drink. I was wondering what I could give to him for exchange.  His answer was that I should give him my heart.

Are You Ready to Die?

        At this morning's Mass, the pastor asked us if we're ready to die right now.  Simeon was ready after seeing the child Jesus with his own eyes, but we have in a way already seen so much more than Simeon.  We have the Gospels, the testimonies from the saints, the teachings of the Church, and much more. 
        If your answer is "no," then is it because the faith is not there yet? there is still too much attachment to the world?  What is holding you back?  This question needs to be urgently addressed while we still have life (time).   

Let God's Plan Unfold

        Today's Gospel reading was from Luke 2 on the Presentation of the child Jesus in the temple.  You are probably familiar with the story of how the man Simeon was ready to die after seeing Jesus because the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.  What struck me was that this wasn't anything earthshaking.  It just seemed to be something that came along at the proper time in God's plan.  The entire life of Jesus on earth also seemed to proceed naturally, one event at a time.  He remained humble and meek, going about doing the Father's will quietly with dignity.  Our own life should be lived like that too with no intention to make our own waves or call attention to ourselves, but to seek and do God's will quietly in his time.

Are You in the Light?

        Today's first reading at Mass was from 1 John 2.  Verses 9 & 10 read: "Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.  Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall."  It's clear that if there is still someone you cannot forgive, then you are not in the light yet.  When you truly see Christ in everyone, then you are securely in the light.  A good test for us to take. 

God's Awesomeness

        Today I approached the Lord before Mass with great trepidation.  I didn't mean it in a bad way; I just felt God's awesomeness and my unworthiness.  Nevertheless, his love and mercy came through just the same, removing all fears and apprehension and drawing me ever closer to him. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In Complete Union with God

        At today's Mass, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Reading 1 is from 1 John.  The Apostle speaks of God as light.  The following beautiful picture came to my mind: 
        By virtue of God's light shining upon us, we are transformed into light, and the two lights merge together in complete union so that they are no longer distinguishable from each other.      

The Compassion of God

        In my last post, I pointed out how common, daily occurrences can affect us.  We get disturbed, upset or emotional, lose peace, and turn negative in thoughts, words, and/or deeds.  Then I thought of God.  When we sin against him, he does not react the way we do ~ he becomes even more compassionate and looks upon us with even greater pity, for his love and mercy knows of no bounds.   

Be Weighed Down or Lifted Up

        I've been observing others and examining my own past to see why we lack inner peace.  A lot of things out there in the world go wrong and they do bother some of us, the more conscientious ones; but overall, things that happen close to us generally affect us more.  
        Here are some examples showing how we can lose peace.  Someone is given a much better Christmas present than what you've received.  Someone who joined the company later than you gets promoted first.  someone puts some kind of extra burden on you either knowingly or not.  You suffer a financial loss in some way.  Someone who owes you a debt delays repaying you.  Your rich friend buys a lot of things you cannot afford.  Someone's behavior or speech annoys you.  You are misunderstood by others.  Someone cuts you off on a freeway.  Such examples are many and common.  The emotions involved are anger, envy, jealousy, self-pity, fear, frustration, distress, etc.  The causes are a big ego, selfishness, being judgmental, impatience, lack of humility, lack of trust in God, etc.  As a result, you get weighed down with a heavey heart.   
        Here's how all can change.  Let Christ take over your life and all the above-mentioned causes can be removed.  There is no other way to free yourself!  God does not weigh us down; instead, he lifts us up as high as we wish to go.  He is God and he is love.  So, there are many, many things in life that constantly weigh us down; but only one God who can lift us out of the pits and make us live in him in peace and freedom.  (This is absolutely true as the saints and many others have experienced it.)     

Monday, December 27, 2010

St. John the Apostle

        Today is the Feast of St. John, the beloved Apostle of Jesus.  At the last supper, he's the one who reclined close to Jesus.  He was an eye witness of the Lord all along.  With Peter he found out that the Lord had resurrected and later witnessed his ascension into heaven.  I do believe that John's proclamations and testimony as read at Mass from 1 John 1 are trustworthy and that I can accept his Lord as mine without reservations.  Now, my joy is also complete as John's was.      

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Much Is Jesus Worth to You?

        You go to Mass every Sunday.  You even serve in the many ministries of your church.  You enjoy putting up Christmas decorations at your home, giving a lot of presents to others, and enjoy listening to Handel's Messiah.  But the more important questions are as follows.
        How often do you think of Jesus?  How much do you pray to God?  Do you even remember to say grace before meals?  Do you go to him first when you are troubled?  Do you truly trust in him instead of worrying, fretting, or panicking on your own?  Are you aware of or at least seeking God's presence?  Are you thankful for all the things, good or bad, that happen to you?  Do you see Jesus in everyone?  Do you let others know that God is working in your life or prefer not to bring him up at all?  Are you ashamed of spreading his name among people?  In other words, how much is he worth to you???

Great Counsel to Follow

        Today we celebrated The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at Mass.  The reading that struck me personally the most was Colossians 3.17: "...whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  The counsel leads you directly to holiness.  A great one to keep in mind to follow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Prayer

        Attended Christmas Mass this morning.  The Lord made me see clearly after Communion that with him, every disorder can be squared away, every issue settled, and every problem solved in my life if I trust in him, consult him, and sincerely ask for his help.  This is true also with whole families, the nations, and the entire world. If God is not our answer, life is not worth living.  He is not free to solve our problems because we don't let him into our lives ~ we are our own obstacles.  May the light of the world open our ears, eyes, and hearts so that all may see this truth beginning this Christmas.        

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

        The Lord has everything, you should think, so what can we give him??  Relatively, we (his followers) have even more than he for we have him! ~ surely there can't be anything fuller or more fulfilling than that.  Meanwhile, he still lacks the love from many, so many, too many.  My suggestion for wishing him Happy Birthday is to do all we can to bring other souls into his fold.  His great love deserves to be realized, accepted, and appreciated by all.  To not know him is to not know love.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

On Selfish Gift-Giving

        Gift-giving sounds unselfish enough, but it could be otherwise.  I remember that once many years ago, I bought a number of unusual, not-to-cheap toys for a youngster just to impress him and his parents.  That was the wrong motive.  Any giving with the desire to want others to notice your generosity, wealth, or taste so that you may feel good is basically selfish.  Giving should have foremost the receiver's happiness and needs and, last not least, the Lord in mind.  Remember how Jesus advised all to always give in secret, keeping ourselves totally out of the picture?       

On Spiritual Greed

        Greed is bad in any form.  There are times you receive a particular favor from the Lord, such as a special feeling of joy or an inspired thought, and wish to have more of the same.  This to me is spiritual greed.  The danger is that you seek these favors rather than the Lord himself.  If you receive them, be grateful but don't get elated.  And if you don't receive anything special from the Lord, be equally content for you already have the Lord himself.              

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dining with the Lord

        I love today's Communion verse from Revelation 3: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me."  The Lord is ever so polite, gentle, patient, and loving.  How long are we going to keep him waiting outside the door??  I can't think of a better time than dining with the Lord.

A Proper Time for Everything

        In today's Gospel Reading from Luke 1, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was asked what he wished the newborn child to be called.  The moment he wrote "John is his name" on a tablet, his mouth was opened and his tongue freed (he was made mute earlier when he didn't believe that his wife, Elizabeth, advanced in years, would bear a son as the angel Gabriel had told him).       
        It just makes me realize that there is a proper time for everything and God knows exactly those times at which his wishes will be fulfilled.  There were times when I didn't know which way to move and I prayed hard about it.  Then something like a signal showed up and I was able to move.  Patience is required here (the perfect example is seen in our Lord waiting for us to turn to him).

Holy Spirit, the Great Teacher

        In Psalm 25, today's Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist asks the Lord to teach him his paths.  Teaching is the word here.  The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher there is, and spiritual growth is so much more important than gaining physical strength or  intellectual knowledge.  The Spirit teaches one by revealing "secrets" of God's love to the heart.  All schools and teachers in the world can make you more knowledgeable about things of the world, but only the Holy Spirit can make you holier and more pleasing to God.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Gift for God

        Again, it's Christmas gift-giving time.  In today's 1st Reading from 1 Samuel 1, Hannah the mother gave Samuel the child to the Lord. 
        What would be the best thing for us to give to God?  It's easy to give what we don't need or from our surplus without hurting ourselves the slightest bit.  I think the best gift we can give to God would be ourselves, for he deserves what's most precious to us.  A side-benefit: once we surrender ourselves to God, all subsequent giving becomes easy and painless.  

Keeping Jesus in Us

        As Christmas comes closer, we anticipate the coming of Jesus.  When we pray or sing "Come, Jesus," we express our yearning for him.  For us Catholics in the state of grace, the Lord is already dwelling within us.  We only need to pray that we'll be holy enough for him to continue his dwelling happily in us.  Receiving the Lord himself in the Holy Eucharist every time only serves to intensify and deepen this union with him.  (I consider this the greatest privilege we have in this life.)

Using Our Free Will

        As I drove to Mass this morning, I realized that God is capable of doing anything, except that in our case the free will he has given us can prevent him from doing what he wants to do with us.  We can use this free will to either keep him out or let him in ~ it's our choice.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wonder of Wonders

        Although I believe in God without any doubt, I still find it hard to get over how God can love us so much that he willingly died in our place.  Then I think about how we who believe get to know God intimately and become his adopted sons and daughters.  Wonder of wonders!

Curing "Stupidity"

        This morning I recalled many of the "stupid" things I did in my past.  Those were the days when I did not know the Holy Spirit well.  Now I know that God wants everything we do to be motivated by love.  The stupid things I did before were all motivated by me with no concern for God.  
        Since the voice of the Spirit is always gentle, we must learn to listen carefully with our hearts.  At any rate, the more we unite with the Lord (through receiving the Holy Eucharist and prayer), the more we become Christlike, and the clearer the promptings of the Holy Spirit will be to us.  In time, doing God's will becomes our second nature ("our only nature" would be even better).        

Monday, December 20, 2010

God with Us

        Isaiah prophesied: "...the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."  Emmanuel means "God with us."  So, as we commemorate the birth of Jesus at Christmastime, let's also remember that God actually decided to become a human being to live among us, and that he'd be with us always as he had promised.

Be Open to God

        Be open to God to let him enter to accomplish what he wants done in or through you, just as Mary opened up to the Holy Spirit for her to conceive and bear a child, our Lord.  Nothing is impossible with God! 

Think Before You Sin

        When you sin, it's like putting up an eviction notice asking the Lord to get out of you.  How do you think he would feel?  Can you bear not having him staying with you?  You'd better think twice before you sin. 

How to Pray

        Present your prayer to God as if it's a most beautiful gift you have found for him.

A Time of Giving

        Christmas is a time for giving ~ so let us give to God all we have and shouldn't have: our life, health, soul, talents; our family, material possessions; our sins, fears, worries, angers, pains, hang-ups, bad habits, plus any other thing you can think of ~ the more the merrier. 

No Sin, No Fear

        It came to me that we have fears because we sin.  Jesus committed no sin, so he never had any fear.  Agony yes, but never fear.  A sinful person does not trust in God and never feels secure, so fear easily sprouts from his heart.  A holy person feels secure in God and has no room for fear to take hold in him.  Where the Holy Spirit dwells, fear does not exist.    

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Exhortation

        Christ is the light of the world.  If you turn your back to hide from this light, you shall remain in darkness.  But if you turn to this light to let it shine upon you, you will feel its warmth and gentleness and also the love and mercy of God.  Reject this light in this life and you shall never see it again.  Accept this light now and you are on your way to living eternally with God.  It's that simple, so don't make it hard on yourself and on God.  

On Accepting Our Crosses

        If Jesus accepted his Cross and we are to follow him, how can we not take up our little crosses? 

Holy Communion Thought

        As I received the Lord today, I realized that I was a great sinner, yet he reached way, way, way down to offer himself to me ~ it's pretty hard to believe, and I felt great gratitude for his mercy.          

Thy Will Be Done

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 1, we also learn that Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him in a dream and took Mary into his home.  This is a good example for us.  If we feel uneasy when we say "thy will be done..." in praying the Lord's Prayer, then it's clear that we and God are not really in accord with each other yet ~ a sign showing that more submission is in order.  Remember that taking orders from God does not mean that you'll be given an unpleasant task to perform.  On the contrary, you'll always feel rewarded and peace after obeying him.  Pray that we'll develop a zeal to anticipate and be ready for God's call at any moment.         

Abortion Is Dead Wrong

        Today's Gospel reading is from Matthew 1.  It tells how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.  Through the Holy Spirit, God made it possible for the child to be conceived in Mary.  I am thinking that today, abortionists through their own will make it possible for the child to be killed in the mother ~ the opposite of God's doing.  Just intuitively, I see that abortion is dead wrong. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jesus' Agony

        Received while praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary after Mass:
        Since Jesus is all-knowing, he must have felt the agony a lot more acutely than any of us ordinary mortals would have felt going through the same experience. 

Be Like the Dough

        Be like the dough so that the Lord may knead you to his heart's content.  And the end product will be something absolutely beautiful.

Why Always Jesus?

        So far I have posted 374 times and the subject has pretty much been on just Jesus.  Why?  Am I crazy??  I can assure you that I have never been this sane in my whole life.  It's just that his love and mercy and riches and glory are inexhaustible; his perfection and beauty, overwhelming!  In his shining brightness, all else fade away and all other subjects under the sun become "boring" next to him.  That's why. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Truly Beautiful

        The media love to talk about the so-called beautiful people in our world.  They are usually the rich and the famous, making headlines and getting featured in the media.  Often, lists of the best dressed, the sexiest, or the most beautiful pop up.  And there are beauty contests held around the world (I think that to be totally fair, the contestants should not be allowed to use any makeup). 
        Now, let's talk about the truly beautiful people, beautiful before the Lord, that is.  They are simply those who love the Lord and reflect the beauty of his love.  No external glitz can possibly hold a candle to God's beauty.       

It's All God's Doing

        Thoughts received following Communion.
        (1) I am totally worthless before the Lord; I am absolutely nothing.
        (2) Then God makes me worthy and it's all his doing.
        (3) Therefore, I should let him do whatever he pleases with me.

What Did You Go Out to See?

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 7, Jesus asked the crowds about John the Baptist "what did you go out to see" three times.  This question made me remember that in the past I had gone to see many shows, attend concerts, and even check out Time Square on New Year's Eve.  I now realize that I should let Jesus alone be my drawing card and look for him in all my brothers and sisters.  Looking for all other things would simply be a waste of time.

Calling and Mission

        Thoughts received during prayer before Mass this morning. 
        (1) Calling (for all followers of the Lord): To become light of the world.
        (2) Mission: To bring others to Christ, the Truth.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Other God

        Today's first Mass reading from Isaiah 45 starts out: "I am the LORD, there is no other..."
        Recently, I recited the Apostles' Creed as if it was my very first time and I was amazed by the extraordinary things stated, especially those about Jesus Christ.  Reading about him in the Gospels, I see that he just came to us, meek and humble, loving others as himself to the very end of his earthly life.  It's as if he just followed a prescribed plan, not seeking for one moment his own glory.  Indeed, there is no other like him.
        Another thing I see.  In believing in him, we can become nothing and then be filled with all of God ~  a thorough spiritual transformation of the self.  I don't see this in any other faith in the world.

Our Only Role

        Another thought for today.  God is everything and we are nothing.  Therefore, our role, the only thing left for us to do, is to believe and obey.  Consequently, let's seize every opportunity to give God glory. 

Charity Starts at Home

        Often those who are closest to us we offend easily ~ that's because they are close to us and we take them for granted.  It's good to share our feelings and opinions openly with each other, but we can easily forget that the other person, most often the spouse, is a person with feelings too.  It's usually the way how things are said that's at fault.  We do much better with others not so close to us.  It's a big realization for me that I must let charity start at home before loving others outside of my home.   

Profit from Our Sins

        My first thought today is that once we realize that we have sinned, we should not feel depressed; instead we should turn immediately to God to repent and ask for forgiveness and healing.  See this as an opportunity to become holier and forge a closer relationship with God once more. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Follow God's Timetable

        God has his timetable for us and for all things.  Of course, we mess it up by not paying attention and sinning against him.  For us followers, we must be patient and alert at the same time.  Patient so that we don't rush ahead of the Holy Spirit, and alert so that we are ready to move when the Holy Spirit so directs.  Follow God's timetable for us and we'll be in step with the him at all times.   

Change Yourself by Yourself?

        Try to change yourself with determination by yourself and you will always experience a struggle, with the ego involved right there in the midst of your battle.  The easy way is to humbly call upon the Lord to do the work for you and you'll succeed brilliantly in peace and freedom.  

Boast in God Only

        Today's Entrance antiphon, Galatians 6.14: "...I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..."  To boast in God only is to never boast in ourselves.  The two are to be mutually exclusive if we love God.

Focus on God Alone

        Today is the Memorial of St. John of the Cross.  The Gospel reading from Matthew 21 shows that it's important to believe in the right person (John the Baptist in this case).  My own experiences have taught me to focus on Jesus alone and nothing else.  
        Once I saw a miracle, which made me believe that an event I witnessed earlier genuinely came from God.  With this belief, I was able to bring about a miraculous healing by using an object I obtained at the event.  Later, that event proved to be a hoax.  And I asked God what really happened ~ I was confused.  
        The lesson I've learned is that God wants us to put our faith in him alone and not in any seemingly miraculous events happening around us.  We must never let any miracles we witness draw our attention away from God.  As long as our faith is placed in God alone, miracles can happen with anything we use, whether genuine or false.  So I am now leaving all those happenings not yet approved officially by the Church alone for they can easily detract us from focusing on God.  I leave all miracles to God too ~ they are not for me to interpret or get curious about.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

        May Christ come and truly enter our hearts this Christmas.  

The Perfection of the Lord

        Imagine that you are in full union with God, who is Love.  I have no question that you'll actually feel that besides him, there is truly nothing you will want.
        As I was in prayer after Mass, alone in the chapel, I acutely sensed the perfection of Jesus the Lord.  The more I sensed it, the more I was drawn into him, and the more I was overwhelmed.  I was moved to tears when I sensed the depth of this perfection.  I now understand why contemplation of the Lord can lead one into ecstasy.  

Pray for Clear Spiritual Vision

        Today is also the Memorial of St. Lucy, patron saint to cure blindness and all other eye problems.  It is my prayer today that spiritually we'll always have the clear vision to see the beauty and love of God, our proper place and role in this life, what's good and what's bad for us, and that God alone is our bright hope for eternal life.   
        Aim for full union with God through the Holy Eucharist in this life, then you may bypass purgatory altogether.  It's perfectly all right to wish to skip purgatory if it's for the glory of God.  (On the other hand, we must be willing to go to purgatory to remain as long as God wishes.)

Looking Good Naked

        Some more thoughts follow the last posting.  No one who ever questioned or tried to trick Jesus had ever succeeded.  Being omnipotent, he has the advantage of knowing our minds and hearts in advance better than we know ourselves.  Being aware of this fact can sharpen our conscience and help us become holy.  As I remember, I said once before: we are completely naked before God and have absolutely no way of hiding ourselves in any way.  So take full advantage of this by making ourselves look good before him.  

Jesus Has Full Authority

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 21, the chief priests and the elders of the people questioned Jesus' authority.  (They were always trying to test or trap him.)  Of course, the Lord knew exactly how to foil such attempts by turning the table on them. 
        Jesus, being Lord of all things, has full authority to do whatever he wishes.  If we accept this, then we must accept all the teachings of his church, our Catholic Faith.  If we do not accept certain teaching(s), then we basically pit our own "authority" against that of Jesus.  To want to stand on the same side as the Lord, we have no choice but to obey all his teachings as taught through his church.      

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christ the Light of the World

        Jesus is the light of the world.  And sin is darkness.  Where there is light, darkness vanishes.  A sinner who's willing to let Christ shine upon him will be brought out of darkness into light, while anyone who turns away from him will remain in darkness.  As Christmas approaches, my prayer is that the whole world will turn to Christ to bathe in his divine light for all sins to vanish forever. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How Often Do You Think of the Lord?

        When I ask myself this question, I almost want to cry.  I used to not think of the Lord so much, even at Mass.  That was some time ago.  It's easy to spend time doing the many mundane, routine chores.  So many hours spent just to maintain the house, the yard, etc., and so much time wasted on watching meaningless TV shows.  Those were the hours squandered and lost forever.  God just wasn't that important.  On a 1-to-10 scale, where do you rate his importance to you?  Any number below 10 is doing him injustice.
        With his grace, God can draw us close to him and we gradually think of him more and more.  Then finally, we enjoy his presence so much that we cannot think of anything else but him.  This is fulfillment.                

Let God Lift Us Up

        People love to talk about something that happened and impressed them.  They often retell the story or experience over and over again to others.  The thing is that when we dwell on  one thing like that, our hearts get weighed down and become "leaden."  What we should do is to always lift our thoughts up to God ~ before, during, and after any event.  This is so to keep our hearts light and free.  Let the beauty of God's love replace all our heavy, non-beneficial thoughts.  This post echoes an earlier one titled "We Are What We Think."         

God Repays Us Justly

        Today's Communion antiphon reads: "I am coming quickly, says the Lord, and will repay each man according to his deeds."  It all seems clear and logical to me.  There are good and evil in this world.  And we have a just God who repays each person according to his deeds.  That is, we get exactly what we deserve ~ how can you object to that?  God's mercy rules.  This makes life meaningful.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Form of Judging

        Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11 shows that people at the time formed wrong opinions about both John the Baptist and Jesus.  John came neither eating nor drinking and they said that he's possessed by a demon.  Jesus came eating and drinking and they said that he's a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.  It shows how people had preconceived notions and formed subjective opinions without knowing all the facts.  This is still true and common today.  To me, it is a form of judging against which Jesus advised. 

Total Dependence upon God

        This was what I was made aware of as I drove to Mass this morning.  I saw that the road I was driving on, the car I am driving, the growing trees that line the road on both sides, the clouds above, etc. ~ everything around me and myself included ~ were all absolutely dependent upon God.  This awareness freed me, humbled me, and puts me in my right place before God.  As I drove to Mass, I knew that the Holy Eucharist I was to receive soon would again be what I was to depend upon spiritually for nourishment and support.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stopping Habitual Sinning

        One way to stop committing habitual venial sins is to picture that every time you commit such a sin, you prick the Lord with a sharp needle point.  It may not hurt too much, but it still hurts.  Imagine how much he suffers if you offend him this way day after day and year after year.  If you have any heart, you should avoid hurting him at all costs.  After all, he is your Savior!     

Live in God's Time

        Let's face it: we'll never be able to do all the things we'd like to do nor finish doing the many things we've started on in our lifetime.  Recognizing and accepting this fact will alleviate or eliminate our anxieties we normally feel.  We simply do our very best and leave the outcome to God ~ that's what he expects.  To go beyond that is being prideful.  Let all things be done in God's time.  Yes, patience is a sign of holiniss.    

Total Submission to God

        At Breaking of the Bread during Mass today, as usual all prayed "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us" twice, then "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace."  I just felt that that's the perfect moment to submit myself totally to God.  Without his mercy, I wouldn't be able to survive; and without God, I wouldn't be able to gain true peace. 

Our Living Faith

         Since Jesus actually came into this world ~ the Gospels clearly record his life and his teachings have been handed down from the Apostles through the centuries to us, unbroken ~ our faith in him is a concrete, living faith.  Life is the arena in which we practice this faith and also the crucible in which this faith gets tested and honed.  See every happening in our life as a chance to exercise and perfect this faith, a God-given gift more precious than any material thing we can own or even our own life, for life without faith is emptiness.     

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mary's Cooperation

        Another thought on this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
        Adam and Eve disobeyed God and went astray.  Through Mary, the new Eve, Christ came to us and we were brought back to God.  We who believe are no longer lost.  The circle is now complete.  How blessed we are!  Thanks be to God.  Thank you, Mother, for your cooperation. 

Our Special Role

        Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Our Holy Mother is obviously a specially-favored creature chosen by God to carry out his plan.  Let's not forget that each one of us is given a special role in God's plan too, not so prominent but just as important in God's eyes.  We must do our utmost to fulfill our assigned function or duty, which is revealed to us through God's love and our loving him back.       

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Love Must Rule

        1 Corinthians 13, 13: So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  Indeed, it is because God is love and there's nothing greater than God.  Anything done without love is ultimately empty.  It struck me today that even being pure is still being neutral.  To get into positive territory, we must actively love.                 

Prepare the Way of the Lord

        Today is the Memorial of St. Ambrose.  In Reading 1 from Isaiah 40, we hear "A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!  Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!"  This was before Jesus came into the world.  This same verse is still relevant because now he comes to us each time we receive him in the Holy Eucharist.  The desert and the wasteland are now us and we must prepare ourselves properly so that the Lord may find us easy and comfortable to enter.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Presence of the Lord

        The Lord is present everywhere in our universe.  Receiving the body and blood in the Holy Eucharist particularly makes me aware of his holy presence.  You'll have to have a heart made of stone not to be affected by it.  Once you experience his loving presence, you'll want to give your heart to him and you'll never be the same again.

God Always Helps

        Any time I have something troubling me, I go to the Lord ~ I know that he has a solution for me; in fact, for any problem you may have ~ no doubt about it!  But sometimes you do have to search your heart hard to get in touch with the Holy Spirit dwelling deep within you to find the solution.  This is "fun" because you know that you'll have peace when you receive the answer.  Often the situation doesn't change externally ~ the Holy Spirit simply helps you perceive the problem correctly and shows you how to deal with it.  God is always understanding and reasonable.  He loves to help us if only we'll trust him.  You can never lose with his help.    

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jesus Simplifies Life

        So many people live a complicated life, facing complicated problems and carrying on complicated relationships ~ that's why they feel unhappy or even downright miserable.  But Jesus has come, is here and ready to simplify our lives.  Read about him in the Gospels.  He never gets theoretical, is always practical and keeping things simple.  Put your faith in him and your burdens will be easy to carry or even vanish in time ~ this is how God blesses the faithful.    

Measuring True Success

        True Success is not measured by how things turn out for you from the world's point of view.  The relevant questions are: "Has God being glorified?" and "Have you grown spiritually closer to God?"  

About Receiving Holy Communion

        We must take receiving Holy Communion seriously.  I see the act as making a pact with the Lord.  You let the Lord enter to dwell within you to work on your transformation, so something should happen afterward.  Since God remains the same always, guess who's left to change.  To anyone who anticipates much, much will be given.  Don't miss the opportunity to ask the Lord to set your heart aflame for you to experience more peace, joy, and freedom.     

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Praying Seriously

        I was just reading an article on the most celebrated French jazz pianist Martial Solal.  When he talks about one solo disc he made, he says, "I liked the atmosphere while I was recording.  It was a very dark room with an excellent piano, a small studio and I played non-stop.  It was a very concentrated effort, and this is very important when you play: to have total concentration and not be disturbed by anything.  Then you can really get inside the music and play without preconceptions, allowing your mind to travel far away."  
        Praying to God is like that too.  It's best that we find a quiet place with nothing to disturb us and pray "seriously."  We concentrate on the Lord and pour our heart out.  We laugh, cry, talk, question, petition, praise, or just contemplate in silence as the Spirit leads.  There is no holding back, only love and trust.  This is true heart-to-heart communication with God.              

The Fantastic Love of God

        I have been thinking how beautiful the love of God is.  The best of all is that this sweet, gentle, yet most powerful love is free, yours for the asking.  For this Christmas, ask the Lord to give you this love fully.  Let this love surround you, embrace you, soak and permeate you.  Let this love fill your heart and mind.  Let this love purify you, renew you both internally and externally, transforming you into a creature lovely for the Lord to look at.  Let this love take over your life, guiding you through life without fear and worry, but always with courage and hope.  Last, ask this love to give you humility and help you surrender to the Lord without reservation.
        This request has to be the best possible present you can ever give to both God and yourself.     

Give Without Cost

        I was especially impressed by what the Lord said in today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9.  The last line is "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”  The Lord has freely given us everything (nothing is of ours) and we are to freely give others what we have received.  This is the way that leads to freedom of the heart and mind.  We are simply on our way, journeying toward our Father in heaven.  The lesser the baggage we carry with us, the more pleasant and carefree will our journey be.  Like the disciples Jesus sent out to proclaim the Gospel of his Kingdom, we are to travel light and give freely.  

A Special Privilege

        The reading from Isaiah 30 this morning made me see that we have a direct communication line to the heart of God.  As long as we speak from the bottom of our heart with total sincerity and honesty to God, he will instantly hear us.  There is no need to pick up a phone or turn on your computer to send an email ~ it just can't be any simpler.  This privilege provides the opportunity for us to develop a most intimate relationship with our loving Lord ~ a privilege to appreciate, treasure, and be thankful for.  

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Joy of Christ

        Unlike the pleasures of the world, the joy of Christ bypasses all the senses and goes directly to the heart.  While worldly pleasures enslaves the heart, the joy of Christ frees it instead.

We Are What We Think

        We are what we eat, and it's also true that we are what we think.  An unselfish, undefiled, and holy person is one who does not think selfish, impure, and evil thoughts. 

Purgatory Makes Sense

        On my recent trip away from home, I saw and met so many people who basically are good people, but they do not know the Lord and pretty much live for the material world.  If I were in their place, I probably wouldn't have fared better.  If they don't get to heaven, then probably most of the world's population won't get there either.  I do personally believe that God's mercy is so great that only those who deliberately reject him will not make it.  Hence, the existence of purgatory makes perfect sense.  
        Do understand that I am merely stating a personal belief, not seeking to argue with anyone who might hold a different view.

We Must Follow Jesus

        In today's world, the souls of so many are in jeopardy.  We have absolutely no power to save ourselves ~ we can't even grow one extra hair on our own.  To be saved, our sins need to be forgiven and only God has that power.  He has created us; surely he can save us.  Therefore, he alone is the one we're to hold onto.  We must let everything else that obstructs us go, no matter how much pain this may cause us.  Ultimately, it's what God wants that counts.  To go against his will would be sheer folly.  He is the gateway for the soul to freedom.           

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Heart over Head over Mouth

        During the trial, one spokesman of the other side really knew how to talk ~ he was obviously a talented speaker.  What came to my mind was that the three things  we all possess, appearing in the order of decreasing importance, are the heart, the head (mind), and the mouth.  If the heart is not in the right place, no matter how eloquent you are, what comes out will be unclean.  If the head does not have discernment, what comes out may show you as nothing but a hot-air balloon.  Therefore, be pure and wise (humble) first before you speak.    

God Delivers Us from Evil

        Where I was these last three weeks, I did have access to the Internet, but I was unable to do any posting because such sites as GoogleBlogger, Facebook, and YouTube were all banned.  At any rate, let me first thank the Lord and all of you who remembered me in prayer from the bottom of my heart for the outcome of my trial.  This "trial" was in reality a trial in court, at which I faced a sizable number of "enemies" telling rampant lies, fabricating stories, and making false accusations against me ~ a perfect example of bearing false witness against your neighbor.  By the grace of God, I was able to remain calm and even felt sorry for them.  At the very end, the Lord sprang a big surprise that neither I nor any of my opponents could possibly have expected and I was totally vindicated!  In a way, I was not surprised at all because when you put all your trust in God, he will invariably deliver you from all evil.  May he be praised forever.  

Build Your House on Rock

        I just returned home from my three-week break.  Resuming daily Mass attendance this morning felt like going back to heaven.  Not that Christ was not with me when I was away; the fact is that he is always with (within) me ~ how can you keep him away when he loves you so much???  Receiving him again simply fulfills the longing.
        Today's Gospel reading was from Matthew 7, in which Christ describes the person who listens to his words and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.  Imagine your house set solidly on rock and virtually became part of it.  That's the wonderful, secure feeling you get when you obey the Lord and place your entire trust on him.  That's what believing in him is all about.  
        As I continue my posting, I shall post the thoughts that came to me during my break along with my current thoughts.        

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Announcement

        A situation has come up that requires my attention and attendance away from home.  Most likely, I won't be able to do any posting from now on until after December 1.  Where I'll be, I may not have access to the Internet, and I am going to miss daily Mass too.  This will be a big test of my faith in the Lord.  It is my prayer that by trusting in him, I shall remain calm and loving throughout this trial.  I'll be grateful if you'll remember me in your prayer.  May God continue to bless you all abundantly.  

God Is Reasonable

        In today's Gospel reading, Luke 17: 1-7, Jesus, to stress the importance, again uses strong words to command us to not sin, to forgive, to believe, etc.  My thoughts are that even though the demands sound severe, they can be met or he wouldn't have given them to us, for he is always reasonable.  With God's help, all should be possible.  Looking at it from another angle: if we simply go along with doing what he wants us to do, how can he change his mind to make it impossible for us?  God just does not contradict himself.   

Longing for God

        Today I felt a deep longing for the Lord.  Once you've tasted the sweetness of the Lord, everything else becomes tasteless.  The world is only enjoyable to those deeply immersed in it, but tiresome to those who live in the Lord.  This is only normal in one's growth process and is a good sign.  I still remember from way back that after I switched to color TV, I didn't want to go back to watching shows on black-&-white sets anymore.  Same way with food, music, or the size of the house we live in.  We just move on to "better" things.  Then, once you get to Jesus, there's just nothing better or more satisfying. 
        Today's Response to the reading from Psalm 24 echoes my feeling: "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face."     

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Live Outside Your Cocoon

        Looking at the world, I see that each person lives in a space of his own; and in most cases, that space is just a small cocoon.  A person is shaped by his own experiences, how he was brought up, the society he lives in, and every thing or person he comes in contact with.  He may continue to change; but basically, he shapes himself the way he likes ~ he is still himself inside his cocoon.
        Once the person encounters God, then he's no longer confined to his limited space ~ he now enters the unlimited space outside to live, letting God shape him into a new creature, free and beautiful.    
        A simplified description, but true.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jesus the Only Sane One

        Watching one movie on TV triggered this thought.  Every thing is relative.  Compared to Christ, we are all "insane" in our own ways.  There must be millions of different personal beliefs, theories, habits, idiosyncrasies, and ways of life out there.  Practically speaking, no two persons think alike.  The fact is that so many people live wrongly.  I am so glad that we have the Lord as our standard and model.  To follow him is to be sane again in this world.  Jesus simplifies us by removing the complicated mess within us.  In other words, he sets us free as I have mentioned in the past.  Without him, we would be in total chaos.   

The Wealth of Christ

        I saw a TV program presenting the wealth in art.  Indeed, there are many beautiful things to see in the museums and elsewhere.  Then I remember Philippians 3:8.  Paul considered everything as a loss compared to the good of knowing Christ.  He had accepted the loss of all things and consider them all rubbish because Christ was now his wealth.
        Indeed, the wealth of the Lord is beyond the stratosphere compared to the wealth of this world.  If your heart has already been captured by Christ, you will feel exactly as Paul did and understand.

We Are Nothing!

        Today during Mass I became sharply aware that I am really nothing.  God created me and put me on this earth; I had nothing to do with it.  He provides for my existence and shapes my life in this world.  Everything belongs to and came from him.  Even my love came from him because he who loved us first has given me the inspiration to love him back.  Without him, I wouldn't be able to love.  This awareness made me realize that I, the whole of me, am totally dependent upon God, and I myself belong to him alone.  It has been a humbling, exhilarating, and liberating experience.             

Prudence Needed

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 16 at Mass, Jesus tells the parable of the dishonest steward who acted prudently and the Lord concludes by saying that the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.  To be prudent is to be careful in providing for the future.  The lesson here for me is that as children of light, we must stay wide-awake and manage our spiritual affairs wisely to ensure our future.
        The Alleluia verse, 1 John 2:5, provides extra guidance: "Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Unique Faith

        In the Catholic faith, the true faith, not only do we get to know God intimately, we also get to receive God into us in the Holy Eucharist!  This is unique because there's nothing like this in any non-Christian faith.

Know Your Role

        Today is the Memorial of St. Charles Borremeo.  Reading a little about him, I discovered that he and I share the same birthday.  He was a man for all seasons: a canonist, a diplomat, a reformer, an advocate for the poor, etc.  I was reminded to question what God has chosen for each of us to do, that is, what our role is as disciples.  To be holy and do his will is obviously the goal, but he may have more specific things for us to do.  Through prayer and with patience, they shall come to light as we follow him in our faith journey, a journey of discovering both God and ourselves afresh every day.   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No Freedom Without God

        If you live as if you are a god, in reality you are just a slave to yourself and you're not free.  On the other hand, if you surrender yourself to the true God, then he'll set you free and make you into a little god.  Remember: no one can free himself without God.

To Be Loving & Fearless

        After Mass I asked the Lord to break me down again.  All remnants of the old self must be cleaned out.  The goal is to live only in him and for him.  I like the combination of being loving and fearless at the same time.  If the old me can be cleaned out more, I should be able to get closer to achieving my goal.          

Discipleship Requirements

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 14, Jesus spelled out the requirements for anyone who wants to be his disciple.  They include "hating you own family members and even your own life," "carrying your own cross," and "renouncing all your own possessions."  If these requirements were asked on a test, will you pass or fail?  
        Should you think what the Lord asks for is too harsh or demanding, then you can always find another religion much less stringent in its teaching or a Christian denomination that makes sure that members won't be offended in any way.    
        You get what you pay for.     

Joy of the Risen Christ

        As I prayed the first Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary, which is the Resurrection, I tried to sense the joy that the disciples must have felt when they found out that their Lord had risen.  After the crucifixion, despair must have descended upon them.  Then the Resurrection turned everything around.  It must have been a tremendous uplifting experience!  Even though we did not live in those days, the effect on us should be the same.  Feeling the joy of the Risen Christ is not to be limited to Easter time only.  Let this joy outweigh any sorrow or pain that we may experience in this life.     

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Mercy

        Today is All Souls day.  God's mercy continues when the deceased souls get another chance to become holy as they are being purified in purgatory before uniting with God fully.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Journeying Back to God

        Today is the Solemnity of All Saints.  I felt that God had brought me into this world for me to find him so that he could have me back.  I have responded to his call and found my way back through Christ.  As today's reading from Revelation reveals, the servants of God were marked with the seal on their foreheads.  We who serve the Lord belong to that group.  The Father has chosen us for Christ.  Fully realizing this, we shouldn't let anything in life upset us anymore.  All trials and tribulations are part of the package we receive for journeying back to God.  It's only a matter of time before we join all the saints in heaven.  Rejoice!    

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Force of God

        It's a perfect morning today with perfect temperature, blue skies, and birds enjoying their time among the trees.  I happened to see a perfect acorn on the grass and picked it up.  I knew it would grow into a mighty oak if planted properly in good soil.  We've all seen roots of trees cracking concrete pathways, planters, or even uplifting house foundations.  This is the force of nature.  So I started thinking that the force of God, which is the Holy Spirit, can absolutely make each one of us grow into a spiritual giant, powerful enough to crush all obstacles in the way, so long as we plant ourselves properly and firmly in God.  May this thought give us hope and inspiration.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Heavy Responsibility

        Today when I received the Lord in Holy Communion, I felt the tremendous responsibility he placed upon me.  First of all, I am nothing and here the Lord of the universe, pure LOVE, entered me ~ how was I, unworthy as I am, to bear his holy presence in me??  I felt almost crushed and the heavy responsibility to do my utmost to please him by not sinning again.  Let's say you are carrying the Holy Eucharist in a pix on you, as Eucharistic Ministers do when they visit the homebound or imprisoned ~ I am sure that you would do your utmost to make sure that the Eucharist is well protected and reverenced.  You should feel the same after you have consumed the Eucharist within you.  With such heavy responsibility felt, I asked the Lord to carry me in his love instead rather than me having to "carry" him by myself.  

Old Testament Wisdom

        I went to Vigil Mass today, so the readings were the ones for Sunday tomorrow.  Reading 1 was taken from Wisdom ~ 11:22-12:2.  I must admit that I have never read or studied the entire Bible.  For me, the four Gospels are dearest to me, so I'd rather read them again than starting on another book.  Anyway, the reading from Wisdom basically states the following about God:
        (1) The whole universe is as a grain or a drop of morning dew before the Lord.
        (2) God has mercy on all because he can do all things.  He overlooks people's sins that they may repent. 
        (3) God loves all things and loathes nothing that he has made; for he would not have fashioned what he hated. 
        (4) Nothing could remain unless he willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by him. 
        (5) He spares all things because they are his.
        (6) He is lover of souls, for his imperishable spirit is in all things!
        (7) He rebukes offenders little by little, warns them and reminds them of their sins, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in him.
        I concur with all that's said here.  I shall read more books from the Old Testament.

God Is Humility

        Today's Gospel reading from Luke 14 at Mass contains the famous saying from Jesus: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."  This is another beautiful paradox, which speaks the truth.  Jesus himself has demonstrated with his own life this truth.  On the other hand, many prideful people in the world today have demonstrated the same truth too, the way it's stated in the first half.  We who follow Christ are to imitate him.  He has always spoken the truth and will never mislead us.  The truth shall set us free, and freedom awaits us.  
        God is love.  God is also humility.       

Friday, October 29, 2010

Faith Is...

knowing that God will always provide what we need, lead us in the right direction, and get us through any situation in life, and not being concerned about how he is going to do it. 

Jesus the Sensible One

        Today's Gospel reading from Lk 14:1-6 shows that Jesus was a sensible person, not legalistic like the Pharisees.  He taught with authority, but was never domineering.  He could be demanding, yet he remained humble.  Everything he did, he did out of love.   
        Like him, let love motivate us in all that we do, then we don't ever have to worry about whether we've done the right thing or not.        

Cause of Unhappiness

        This thought popped into my mind during Mass.  People are not happy because they have not straightened out their relationship with God, whether they are aware of it or not.  St. Augustine said that God has made us for himself so that our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him.  This is what it's all about.  God has made us so that we'll never be happy until we have set the relationship between God and us straight.
        Today's Alleluia verse from John 10: " My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  This is the perfect relationship.

On Submission to God

        This morning during prayer before Mass began, I felt like prostrating myself before God to become totally submissive to him.  Today "submissive" is not a welcome word to many.  The mind associates it with "being subservient or weak," "lowering your self-esteem," "losing face," or even "slavery."  Now, it all depends upon whom you submit yourself to.  If you are submissive to yourself, then that's being self-centered.  If you submit yourself to another human being, it could be humiliating or you may lose your freedom.  But I am talking about submitting yourself to the loving God who can set you free!  Therefore, "submission" can be a beautiful thing.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eternal Life Assured

        Follow Christ in every single thought, word, and act of yours and you'll have eternal life assured.

Double Renewal

        The old must die before the new can be born.  This is clear in nature.  We cannot be renewed in Christ without letting the old self go.  Repentance is the first step.  When we repent, God breaks down the old person and you are renewed.  The next step in line is total surrender.  When you surrender, God frees you and you are renewed once more. 

Power of a Truthful Heart

        Praying half-heartedly without much sincerity wastes both God's and your own time.  On the other hand, a truthful heart moves God's heart.  Praying with such a heart means praying with total honesty, nothing hidden, and everything meant.  Such prayer directly penetrates the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.         

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Obedience to the Word of God

        If we believe that the word of God is truth, then we have no choice but to obey ~ just simple logic.  And this obedience makes the soul beautiful.

A Big Wake-up Call

        In a post the day before yesterday, I mentioned that when Paul expected his followers to be good in so many ways, it was like a wake-up call.  In today's Gospel reading from Luke 13, we really get the big wake-up call from the Lord himself.  In verses 22-30, he answered the question "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" asked by someone.  He surely instilled some fear in those who heard him.  Those words are exactly what the world of today needs to hear.  Do you think that the Lord was just kidding?            

Jesus Our Life

        In the hymn we sang at morning Mass, one of the lines is "Jesus is our life."  This is fitting because life, whether physical or spiritual, is dearest to us and should mean everything to us.  When we are alive, the physical life is precious.  After we die, the spiritual life is even more important.  If you love Jesus, let him be your life.     

Give God Free Access

        During prayer before morning Mass, I tried to let go in the Lord.  We have our body and our soul.  I have learned to relax my body before by letting every part of it go limp to help me fall asleep.  We feel greatly relaxed when we are getting a body massage or soaking in hot spring water.  So I thought I must relax my soul and spirit in the Lord too by letting everything go in him.  As I mentioned in my last post, taking care of the soul is far more important than taking care of the body.  Letting go in God then is the perfect way to relax the soul and bolster our trust in the Lord.
        I had the experience of being slain in the Spirit several times in the past.  I personally prefer to use the word "kissed" in place of the word "slain."  The first time it happened, it was at a local cathedral where a visiting priest was blessing everyone going up to him with a piece of wood reportedly to be from the cross on which Christ was crucified.  People just all fell to the floor.  I neither sought the experience nor disbelieve in it ~ I just left it up to God and I did fall too.  It felt like the Holy Spirit had just kissed you.  If there had been no need to get up to allow room for others to fall, I definitely would have lain on the floor much longer because what I experienced were pure sweetness and peace.  By leaving all up to God, you give him free access to your soul.  How can he possibly give you anything but the very best??

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Concern for the Soul

        I did not receive too many thoughts from the Holy Spirit today.  During morning Mass, I was deeply moved when I heard the priest pronouncing: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world..." before giving out Communion.  Yes, taking away my sins so that my soul will be safe in God's keeping.  Many in the world take great care of their material possesions and neglect their own health.  Many do take good care of their health but forget all about the soul.  All material things will become scraps in time and our health, inevitably deteriorate or vanish as we age or die.  But the soul lives on forever ~ shouldn't then the condition of the soul be of our prime concern??

Monday, October 25, 2010

Live to Love

        Do we live to eat or eat to live?  A fun question to answer.  All we need to know is that God wants us to live to love.  He is love and wants us to be like him.  It's an invitation that we should accept wholeheartedly. 

How to Achieve Freedom

        Hold onto Jesus and let everything else go ~ that's it! 
        A footnote.  For every situation and problem, consult the Holy Spirit for there is an answer to be received or a solution to be worked out.  Submit yourself to God with great faith and you'll be rewarded.         

Jesus Our Model & Guide

        Today's First Reading is from Ephesians 4.  Paul continues to urge his followers to be kind to each other, compassionate, forgiving one another...  Altogether, he gave quite a number of exhortations.  This is like a wake-up call.  I am just happy that we have Jesus among us as our example, standard, and a reference point.  He is perfect for us to imitate.  We look to him to see where we stand and how we should change or grow.  He alone is the model and guide for us.  May the whole world hear his wake-up call.   

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Born-Again Process

        Protestants emphasize the born-again experience.  Once you accept Jesus as you Lord and Savior, you are saved forever.  It's that moment of acceptance that counts.  But for the Catholics, the born-again experience is an ongoing process.  Scripture makes it clear that a disciple of the Lord is to shed his old self and be transformed into a new creature that's Christ-like.  Since we'll never be able to reach the perfection of Christ, this renewal process must continue for our entire lifetime.  One just doesn't become holy overnight.        

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Meaning of Love

        God's love, agape, is the ultimate love.  He laid down his life for us.  Since he has first loved us, it's our turn to love him back.  When you say "I love you" to God, it should mean "I am willing to lay down my life for you."

Power of the Heart

        This posting could be considered a sequel to Heart of the Matter posted a week ago.  The heart in concert with the mind wields tremendous power.  For example, take someone who has committed serious mortal sins.  If the heart repents in a split second, the soul is saved.  If that's not done, the soul could be doomed.  This is why it's ever important to be prepared at all times. 

Beauty Everywhere

        When you are aware of God's presence, you see beauty everywhere.  I am thinking more of the beauty that you sense spiritually.  Naturally, the beauty of our Lord is ever present no matter what situation you happen to be in.  You see the beauty of each human soul because you see Christ in it.  There is beauty in the fidelity of a married couple and in every human act done for love.  This morning's Mass was particularly beautiful with a group of seminarians and some sisters joining the rest in singing.  The faith shone through.  The priest's homily and the devoutness with which he conducted the Mass made it even more beautiful.  To follow God is to follow beauty.     

The Joy of Letting Go

        There is joy in being able or allowed to go all out to do something.  For example, you get the chance to do all the enjoyable things over a weekend or play a sport with all your heart and strength.  Or it could be that you have the opportunity to express yourself fully in some way or even eat your favorite foods to your heart's content.  In the same way, if you can let go entirely in God, you will feel great joy in your soul.  This joy comes from feeling free and knowing that you have pleased God and made spiritual progress yourself.        

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trust Removes Guilt

        Sometimes I make a mistake despite my good intentions and start feeling that I have hurt the Lord.  Then I realize that he knows that we are imperfect and to be too harsh on ourselves is not trusting in his mercy.  This again becomes a chance to learn how to let go and deepen our trust in him.

Jesus the Shortcut

        In today's first reading from Ephesians 4, Paul asks us to be humble, gentle, patient, ... Elsewhere throughout the New Testament, we are called upon to be good in so many other ways.  I had mentioned before that to seek salvation, Jesus is the shortcut, in the sense that you don't need to search all over the world anymore ~ you just go to him to find it ~ simple and direct.  Now, to do all those things as a Christian is expected to, Jesus again becomes the shortcut.  We Catholics are so fortunate to have the Holy Eucharist available to us, the bread of heaven, to nourish us and unite us to the Lord.  It is through this union that we become holy and automatically, we'll be living right; there's no need to keep a check list to see if we're good in the various ways.   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

God Is Infinite

        Today's First Reading at Mass from Ephesians 3 talks about the immensity of God's love, a love that surpasses knowledge.  Can you ever imagine that God is limited in some ways?  If there is a single thing that's not possible with him, then he cannot be God and I don't want to worship such a "God" either.
        If he is not finite, then he must be infinite.  Thus, his love is infinite; his mercy, boundless; his knowledge, unlimited... ~ I could go on and on, but the list is infinite too.  We creatures cannot comprehend infinity, but we are not supposed to ~ we are called upon only to believe and trust.        

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Important Is Jesus to You?

        Here is perhaps a way to find out how important Jesus is to you.  Imagine that Jesus is taken away from you, so you are absolutely cut off from him.  He's now totally out of your life and there is no hope of ever getting in touch with him again.  How would you feel?  Would you feel merely sad or devastated?  Would you feel that you could still live on or life has lost its meaning?  If you feel devastated, is there any point in not wanting to live anymore if Jesus is out of the picture?  There are many other questions you can think of. 
        Cheer up, because he will always be here with you. 

How to Live Right

        To abandon yourself to God is the only way to live right.  If God wants you to go to him right this moment, you response should be an instant "yes," with no reservation whatsoever.  If he wants you to live another hundred years, you respond exactly the same way.  In the meantime, we keep praying to God to show us the way in everything so that we may discern and do his will. 

How to Be Bold & Fearless

        If you put your full trust in God and since he is all love and all-knowing, you should never need to worry, be anxious, or afraid anymore.  This is the theory that sounds totally logical and I can't find any flaw in it either.  Therefore, put it into practice and become confident, bold, and fearless.
        A footnote.  This is not to say that you'll no longer experience any agony or have sufferings or crosses to bear.  The difference is that now you will have the strength and inner peace to deal with anything that comes your way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Matter of Occupancy

        One good way to picture our relationship with God goes like this. Imagine that God gives each of us one of his rooms to live in. Now he wants to move in to stay with us. Here are the various possible reactions. (1) Ignore him; close the windows and lock the door to keep him outside. (2) Look through the windows to peek at him once in a while. (3) Wave to him at the window or maybe even open the door enough to talk to him. (4) Permit him to move in, but change your mind afterwards. (5) Actually let him move in, but you are still in control. (6) He is in with you, but you still fight him over many things. (7) You begin to like him after getting to know him more. (8) You are pretty happy that he's staying with you. (9) You begin to get attached to and love him. (10) You come to love him with all my heart and finally surrender to him. He is now truly your Lord and can do whatever he pleases with you or the room.
        It's a matter of your decreasing to nothing and God increasing to occupy all of you.

Wise Up Now

        Today's Gospel reading is from Luke 12 about being prepared for the master's return. How much time do we have? The answer for each one of us is clearly at most the time each of us has left to live, unless Jesus comes again in our lifetime. Since no one knows how long he's going to live and when Jesus will come, the question "how much time do we have?" becomes irrelevant. The wise ones would wise up right now.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hard to Please

        Please do not try to impress me with your meetings with celebrities; the cars you drive; the brand name of your watch; the designers clothes you wear; the vintage of the wine you serve; your exquisite collection of art or other rare objects; your vast knowledge of world affairs, science, or economics; and all your other successes and accomplishments in this world.  
        The only thing that will engage my interest is the fruit you bear out of love for God.

Guess Whom I Know

       People in general enjoy telling others whom they saw, talked to, or know, especially if it involves someone famous or well-known. It could be that they sighted some celebrity eating at the same restaurant, standing in the same line at the airport, or even got to talk to one at some show. These were considered special occasions and people love to let others know about them because they feel somewhat special about themselves.
        Please don't be disappointed if I tell you that the person I know, most intimately, is the greatest of them all ~ in fact, he is the creator of the universe and all of us: he is Jesus, the Savior. I shall tell you about him only out of love, and I do feel special about myself, but in a different way.

All Things Lead to Jesus

        When I see the beautiful blue sky and smell the fresh air, I think of Jesus.  In the middle of a dark night, I feel him even closer.  In every person, I see the Lord.  Great music leads me to the source, which is Jesus who made it all possible.  The music doesn't even have to be sacred or a hymn; it there is something there that stirs up some beautiful emotion, I thank him too.  Whenever I catch some bad news on TV, I see the need for the world to know Jesus.  Even when I watch some pretty bad, worldly shows ~ not that I enjoy watching them ~ I find out how awful it is to speak and behave without knowing Jesus.  A few days ago, I posted about the desecrators ~ what they did really hurts, but it also directed me right away to Jesus to pray for mercy on their souls.  As the Psalms make it clear, the Lord is everywhere you look.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Infectious Joy in Jesus (video)

Sr. Mary Samuele

        I came across this website 
http://www.salvationisfromthejews.com/samuele.html  about Sister Mary Samuele.  After it was discovered that she had cancer spreading through her body, she was hospitalized.  Her novice directress writes, "The last four months of Sr. M. Samuele's life were nothing more than the breaking loose, in all its tenderness and fury, of God's love for her..."  Sister herself said, "He has broken me down completely. He can do whatever he wants with me."
        It's so beautiful to have God break loose his love to break someone down.  It would be the experience of a lifetime, the new birth of a soul, the ultimate fulfillment of one's desire, the lifting up to the bosom of the Father, the union of the Almighty and a poor sinner, and the end of one's arduous journey. 
        Sr. Mary Samuele, pray for us.