"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.