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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year-End Prayer

        To experience Jesus, you must get inside of him. You may be a believer, but as long as you stand on the periphery, no matter how much you read the Scripture, how often you hear the gospel preached, or how many prayers you say, you are still an outsider and you'll feel it. To become an insider, you must open your heart wide and ask the Lord to come in. Yes, prepare him a good supper in advance for him. Don't hesitate to show your love for him and he won't be able to resist you because you are whom he loves. Once you get inside of him (rather he's inside of you), then everything will begin to change ~ all he has ever said will make sense to you, the pieces of the puzzle of your life will come together, and you'll begin to experience the freedom of the heart. 
        It's my prayer for all of you out there who read this blog that Christ our Lord will shower great blessings on you and your families, fulfill all your holy desires, and grant you his peace and joy all the days of your lives. 

Unsurpassable Joy

        At Mass this morning, I felt that Jesus is truly the ultimate. If I comb through the whole universe, I may find things that point to his glory, but I won't find him. Then I look within the deep interior of my heart and lo, he is there. What joy I felt when I found him! This is a joy that surpasses all understanding. 

Celebrating the New

        New Year is just around the corner. Why do we call the year new? In asking this question, I see that only God can make things truly new. The new year will become old again long before it's over, but when we become a new creature in Christ, we are in him forever ~ this is worth perpetual celebrating.      

True Progress

        I am thinking that if we can all wear a pair of glasses that enables us to see sins, we would see an ugly and filthy world with only God standing out, pure and beautiful. Since we don't have such a pair of glasses, we can only realize the miserable, sinful states we are in. To seek our way out, we must look upon God, for he alone has the power to deal with sins. Only he can free us by making us holy and pure. Now, this is what I call true progress.  

"Keep God Waiting"

        Some people have told me that they cannot embrace the holy life because they are still in this world dealing with real problems and being holy would put them at a disadvantage. Another somewhat different point of view is that those who are old and retired and those who live in monasteries and convents have it easy because they are no longer active in the real (what they mean is secular) world and so can afford to pray much and live spiritually.  Do these people have a point of view? Yes, but invalid. If you agree with them, then you are saying that God is not needed at all times, that he cannot help them with their problems, that he can get in their way, that he doesn't understand the real world, and that he is to wait for them and not the other way around. This thinking goes directly against the first commandment of the Lord about how we should love God. I believe that they are basically giving excuses for not wanting to believe in God yet, if not rejecting him. "Keep God waiting" seems to be the popular game to play.  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Transforming Power of the Eucharist

        After I received Holy Communion this morning, the consecrated host started melting slowly in my mouth and I knew that the Lord was again starting to transform me. To maintain your personal computer in top condition, you need to delete old files, run virus checks, update the browser, and so forth on a regular basis. Similarly, to maintain our spiritual well-being, we resort to frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.    

Great Stillness

        Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. Before Mass during prayer, I felt that the Lord was at the center of my soul and he was "collecting" my whole being ~ body, soul, and spirit ~ into him and a great stillness came over me. How beautiful it is to be still in the Lord! Later, the Gospel Acclamation from Colossians 3 echoed my feeling: "Let the peace of Christ control your hearts." This peace alone is reason enough to seek out the Lord. 

Beauty of the Christian Faith

        Is the prodigal son a bad boy or a good boy? He was really bad, then he became extremely good. All it took to bring about the transformation was his repentance, and the father took him right back with great joy. The example of the son is inspiring and the mercy of the father, comforting. 
        Here's the beauty of the Christian faith ~ our heavenly Father is always ready to take us back the moment we repent ~ truly the mark of a loving God. 

Best Loving Advice

        This morning while I was exercising on a bike machine, my nose started to itch. Since my hands were on the handle bar to keep the machine reading my heartbeats, I just hoped that the itch would go away soon. But it didn't and I had to let go of the handle bar and use one of my hands to rub my nose hard to stop the itch. And this thought popped into my mind. Since I couldn't even endure an itch for even a few seconds, I would never, never be able to stand eternal separation from God. Would you be able to stand it? Let me say emphatically: Make sure that you will never have to experience it! So, by all means do not let go of your loving God. If you want to be by his side later for all eternity, start loving him now. This is the most loving advice I could ever give you and you should take it.    

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ready to Go in Peace?

        Today's Gospel reading is from Luke 2 on the presentation of the child Jesus in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit had revealed to righteous and devout Simeon that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. After he saw the child Jesus at the temple, he's ready to go in peace. Now, any of us who has Christ dwelling in us should certainly be ready to go in peace too. We already have the Lord in us ~ what else in this world would you still need?      

How to Bring Others to God

        The best way to bring others to God is by your example. To be perfect should be your aim. Jesus is our example ~ look at him for inspiration and imitation. See Christ in everyone and let everyone see him in you. Then pray always and live in peace.

What I Love

        Since I love God, I love all that he has created, which is everything in the universe, including every inanimate objects and every living creature on earth. Since I love all things, there's no room for hatred in the heart anymore.

Back to God/Made for God

        These thoughts came to me while I was taking a shower this morning.
        I am somehow here at this point in this world, but I don't know how I got here. I know that I am a unique creature, possessing all the physical senses, and have learned from Scriptures that I was made in the image of God. And I've found God through Christ and am back to God the Father, who is now waiting for me in my future home. I remember that the science-fiction movie Back to the Future was exciting to watch when I first saw it a quarter of a century ago. Now the back-to-God feeling is simply heavenly! Yes, God has made us for himself.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Live Happily

        One will never be happy if he lives just for himself. The only way to be happy in this world is to live for God alone.

Be Ready to Obey

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 2, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." It's such a blessed state to be in to listen to the Lord's instructions, obey them, and wait for more. "Be ready to obey" at all times is what the Lord expects of us.

Light and Darkness

        Today is the Feast of Holy Innocents. As you know, Herod the king ordered the massacre of the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under in the hope of destroying the infant Jesus. How much more evil can you be? Yet today, way over a million babies are eliminated through abortion every year in the States alone. Evil is real! In Reading 1 from 1 John 1, the Apostle talks about light and darkness. Jesus is our only saving light. As long as we believe and remain in him, we are safe from all evil.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus Still with Us

        Today's Communion Song from John 1: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and from his fullness we have all received." Today, in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus still comes to us to dwell in us, and we still receive grace from him. He is always with us!
        After I received the Blessed Sacrament, realizing how "ugly" I was and how beautiful and perfect the Lord is, I just wanted to die in him (whatever that means).

Resurrection Is Life!

        Today's Gospel reading, the first eight verses from John 20, was so beautiful that it moved me to tears. Peter and John found the tomb empty. The priest at the morning Mass pointed out that the fact the cloth that covered the head of Jesus was rolled up nicely in its own place signified that the Master would return again. After all, how can the creator of all life possibly die himself? Looking back, we see that his resurrection was inevitable! Now Jesus has already given us the hope of eternal life to be lived with the Eternal Life himself. Shall we rejoice?  

God Gives Life

        Today is the Feast of St. John, Apostle and evangelist. I might add that John is my favorite Apostle. The Entrance Song reads: "This is John, who reclined on the Lord's breast at supper, the blessed Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed and who spread the words of life through all the world." Words of life are the words from the Lord, since he is the life. When I heard the song read, I sensed life in every word the Lord had spoken. Then when we hear his words, we are filled with life. And life calls for celebration! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

God's Great Sorrow

        I feel hurt if someone offends me, especially if that someone is a person I've always trusted and cared for. I know this because it had happened to me. The amount of sorrow felt has to be directly proportional to the amount of love you had for the offender. Now you can somewhat imagine how much sorrow the Lord must feel when so many of his most beloved children are offending him so much continuously.

The Way to Evangelize

        St. Stephen was stoned to death when he was spreading the gospel. He simply wanted to share the good news, not trying to shove it down others' throat. Contrast this with someone who pussyfoots around, so afraid of "offending" others' feelings ~ it's almost like being ashamed of God. The way to evangelize is to be filled with love for others, follow the Holy Spirit's lead and not let your own will get in the way. Then leave the outcome to God without any concern, not even for your own life.  

To Be Absorbed by God

        After receiving Communion, I keenly sensed that only God is important and I am basically nothing, like a particle of dust. It's entirely fitting for me to become truly nothing before the Lord and be absorbed by him entirely.

Don't Miss Surrendering

        During Communion time, I saw another chance to surrender myself to the Lord. Now, suppose God appears before you and calls you by name, how would you respond? Under such circumstances, I should think that total surrender would be the only option. Therefore, I saw that it's entirely fitting for me to surrender once again before receiving Holy Communion. After we die, the chance for surrendering is gone too.
 

Showing Our Trust

        Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. As he was stoned, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  Jesus himself before he breathed his last cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit." It strikes me that it would be most suitable for us to commend our spirits into God's hands at any moment to show that we do trust in him with confidence.

Planning Ahead

        Since the Lord is all-knowing, every little thing you do for him will earn its reward. So, little by little, store up your treasures in heaven.  

The Christian Vocation

        Posted on YouTube is a video titled Reaching Beyond... It is about Irena Orlov, a pianist who came from Russia via Israel to the United States, teaching now at the Levine School of Music. She is an inspiring, admired, and loved music teacher to her students, their parents, and her colleagues. She has the gift of making all her students, both talented and not quite talented, open up to and fall in love with music. Even psychiatric patients responded to her intuitive approach using music. Hence she's also known as a music therapist. She is happy because she has found her vocation which benefits and helps others.
        I start to think about vocation for anyone who follows Christ. Normally, the choice between being a religious and being a lay person comes up. Then I realize that the vocation for every Christian should be loving the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength ~ nothing more. Blessed indeed is the one who should choose such an exalted, noble, yet humble vocation.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Second Lesson of Christmas

        At morning Mass, as the congregation was reciting the Lord's Prayer during Communion Rite and reached the line "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," the Lord made it very clear to me that this is not a general request, but should be a personal one for the one who's saying the prayer, in this case, me. In other words, I must always do God's will and not let others do it for me. This lesson echoed the first lesson.

First Lesson of Christmas

        The pastor at this morning's Mass gave a good teaching. He talked about when he was young, long before he became a priest, how his younger brother used to annoy him a lot and he just rather ignored him and let his mother deal with and take care of him. Then he realized one day that he must start loving his brother too and the relationship changed. This experience also helped him in answering God's call for him to enter priesthood later. It's true that we tend to avoid dealing with anyone in the family or others we know who has certain problems and forget that it is our duty to show our love and concern for anyone within our reach. There is not a time to stop loving the Lord.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Faith Made Precious

        I've been thinking about our faith in God. If it's too easy to believe, then we won't appreciate our faith much. Just as in the case of collecting unemployment insurance, if it's made too easy, we are likely to take it easy and not look for a job eagerly (I actually know of someone who use the break to take a vacation). Or if free education is available, the incentive to study hard is usually not there. God has given us the free will and he has revealed just enough to us so that when we choose to believe in him, the faith becomes precious. We get the perfect balance.

"The Boy Who Met Jesus"

        I believe that many of us have heard or read about Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of Rwanda's holocaust. When Mary appeared in Kibeho, Rwanda, in the early 80's, the holocaust was foretold as a warning. Our Lady of Kibeho had been approved by the Church in 2001 and Immaculee had already written a few books on  the Rawadan genocide as well as the apparitions of Kibeho. The book I want to mention is Immaculee's The Boy Who Met Jesus. It may be hard to get nowadays, but it's worth reading. The boy's name is Segatashya and the messages Jesus gave him are definitely important for us to know. They confirm our belief that God loves us.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Prayer God Cannot Refuse

        After receiving Holy Communion with the consecrated host still in my mouth, I asked the Lord to heal my mind, heart, and soul. This is a prayer he always honors.

The Lord Is Joy!

        God's love accompanies everything he bestows upon us. That's why when he gives you joy, you spontaneously want to share it with all others. (God always wants to make us less self-centered.) I have received so much joy from the Lord that at this Christmas time, I just want to get to the top of the highest mountain and yell at the top of my voice for all to hear: "The Lord is Joy!"

Great Contentment

        At church this morning before Mass started, I felt the great possible contentment in my heart. I was aware that I am in Christ, the Truth, and Truth is where I want to be, my dwelling place for all eternity.  

God's Perfect Justice

        Here on earth in court, a lawyers or yourself can defend you and a lot of talk may get you off the hook; but when you face the Lord, who already knew what's in your heart and mind, all talk will be useless. Since God is truth, all-knowing, and knows all about us, everyone will receive perfect justice at the end. For this, both saints or sinners can greatly rejoice.          

God Honors...

anyone who performs an act of love in his name.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No New Year's Resolutions

        Today is December 22 and some people are already thinking about what New Year's resolutions to make this time. For the devout Christian to whom every day is the beginning of a new year and a day to love the Lord to the fullest, New Year's resolutions would be superfluous. 

Linked to Christ

        During prayer after Mass, I looked at the altar and realized that Christ was present in the consecrated hosts inside the tabernacle and that I had just received him in Holy Communion a little earlier. I immediately became aware that I was already linked to him intimately like a branch on the vine. The feeling was a mixture of surprise, astonishment, and gratitude.  

Yearning of the Soul

        As the soul desires greater intimacy with the Lord, it yearns for more and more of him. To seek union, the soul is ready to receive as much as the Lord is willing to grant to quench its thirst. The soul will not be fully satisfied until it sees the Lord in heaven face to face.    

The Conscience Difference

        God gives each one of us a conscience. If we let the Holy Spirit take over, God will show us clearly what's good and what's evil, and we shall all think as God does. What happens sadly today is that because people follow their own wishes and desires, their conscience has become so muddy that they no longer can distinguish between the good and the evil. Take unmarried couples living together. I know for a fact that one couple is doing it because they can claim that one parent has low income so that the kids can get the government to pay for the college tuition. Generally, couples do it because lots of other couples are doing it. How about abortion? If you don't think about it, "to have the freedom of choice" just sounds good. So you believe that abortion is not really wrong, but deep down you know that it's not quite right either. If it's totally right, then why isn't there much joy and peace after an abortion? The conscience is "gone" because people are trapped in sin, because everybody is doing it, because it's easy to turn away from conscience, and because they don't bother to do any deep soul searching.
        On the other hand, when you let the light of Christ shine upon you, all sins are exposed and with repentance and God's forgiveness, the conscience is restored to its pristine state. The sharp conscience then keeps you living in a state of grace, with peace and joy.         

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Joy & Sorrow

        With Christmas approaching, receiving the Holy Eucharist at Mass brought me extra joy. Yet, I felt great sorrow too because there had been so many sins committed against the Lord by so many at all times. Overall, my joy outweighed my sorrow, for God always triumphs in the end.

Blessed Mary

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1 at Mass, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who, filled with the Holy Spirit, recognized her as the mother of her Lord. How endearing it is to address Mary as the mother of our Lord! She always listens to her Divine Son and leads us to him. To love her is to love Jesus even more. We are truly blessed to have her as our Blessed Mother.    

A Right Time for Everything

        In this life, my role is to believe and trust in God and not to question why. After we get to heaven, we can ask God all the questions we want.

We're Poor & Nothing

        That's how I feel before God today. What do we really have that can make us say that we, apart from God, are rich? One billion dollars may make me appear rich to others, but will mean nothing to God. Can we amount to something on our own? Again, whatever we accomplish just for our own sake will be transitory and effort wasted before the Lord. By acknowledging that we are poor and nothing by ourselves, we maintain our humility before God, learn to depend upon him in all things and not to judge others, and consequently, enjoy peace in our hearts. Doing the right thing always brings the right results.    

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be a Saint ~ Why Not?

        The highest calling for us is to be a saint. It's a great honor to be so called. Being a saint is a way of living the most satisfying personal life and giving God the most glory. If you think that it's too hard for you to be one, surely it's not God who can not turn you into one. (Note: A saint is just a very holy person, not perfect.) 

Under God's Care

        Put yourself totally under God's care, then everything else you care about will come under his care as well.

Best Gift for Both God & You

        Today's Response to Psalm 24 at Mass is: "Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory." We are like a corked bottle, filled with all kinds of undesirable things we want to keep within us. To prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his paths before his coming does not mean that we go out to sweep the streets and decorate the houses ~ it means that we prepare ourselves on the inside, getting rid of all that which displeases and offends the Lord. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, Mary opened up to the Holy Spirit and Jesus was conceived in her. If we would just uncork the bottle to let all the things that contaminate and enslave us out so that the Lord may enter and dwell in us, great things will happen to us too, such as a genuine transformation of us into brand new creatures, beautiful before God. The best possible gift you can give to the Lord and that to yourself are the same ~ a new you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ending Prayers in Peace

        I often make urgent requests to the Lord. Of course, he may grant me what I asked for or make things turn out differently. I end my petitions with "Your will be done," letting him know that if he overrides my will, it's all right with me, and I feel peace. 

Serve Only God

        Obviously, no one can serve two masters, as Jesus has said. This is especially true when one of the masters is our Lord God. And don't forget that the other master could be yourself too. So we have "No one can serve himself and God." Just remember that there can be only one commander in chief.  Note: You don't have the problem when you are in union with God. 

God, Our Rock & Fortress

        In today's Responsorial Psalm, No. 71, the psalmist regards God as his rock and fortress. Now recall the line from Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." Take a walk sometime in the dark at night and recite this verse while walking, you'll sense its power. Indeed, God should be the rock and refuge for every one of us, for he is the only trustworthy one in the whole universe! By extension, we can trust Jesus in everything he has ever asked of us. And this he has said: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Now, our cross may not even figuratively be as bad as walking through the valley of the shadow of death. At any rate, with the Lord being our rock and fortress, we should be able to take up whatever cross we have cheerfully and follow him. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

God Has All the Credentials

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1, the angle Gabriel made it clear to Virgin Mary that nothing is impossible for God. Plus the fact that God loves us and is faithful forever, how can we not trust in him totally?  

A Little Bit More Waiting

        God will always be there, but we won't always be here. By making the right choices now, we can be with God later on for all eternity. We only need to wait a little bit longer. It's not a complicated thing.

Channel of Grace

        The Lord made me see this morning that the Holy Eucharist is the channel through which we receive supernatural graces from the Lord to make us holy, provided that we receive it with faith, reverence, and the desire to be holy. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Doing God's Will

        This morning I had the choice of going to morning Mass or attending a training session for volunteers at an institution. To me, going to Mass to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist is a feast, a treat, and always the highlight of the day; but attending the training session to ensure that I can continue serving the Lord is necessary too. The session, lasting almost four hours, turned out to be most instructive. On the way home, The Lord made me see that doing his will should be the foremost priority mission of our life. To do one little thing to please God is more important than winning a billion dollars or getting to preserve my own life. Doing God's will assures us of a place in heaven.    

Friday, December 16, 2011

God's "Silent" Way

       Sometimes we pray and do not seem to get a clear answer from God ~ not a sign nor a word ~ but we remain faithful. Then things slowly shape up and we begin to see a clearer picture emerging ~ God is finally responding. God wants us to be patient and trust in him (the Divine Mercy message), for he answer us in his time.       

The Christian Fairytale

        Once when I was young, I read some fairytales so enchanting that I was transported into a dream world. Now I'd say that following Christ is like living in a dream world. How so? Here's so. 
        Following the Lord faithfully in this world is not easy ~ we have to overcome evils and face hardships; we toil and suffer. Along the way we may witness some miracles and catch glimpses of God's wonders. Basically, we fight a battle all the way. When we persevere to the end, God then transports us to a truly "magical" world, namely, heaven, where we get to see Jesus, our leader and King, face to face.  And we continue to dwell with him in heaven blissfully ever after.
         

Jesus to Be Loved

        Once you know Jesus, you'll find that he is nothing but love. And his amazing and wonderful love is directed at us! Jesus is our Lord and our God ~ he should be our Beloved as well.

God's Presence Made Aware

        I have not specifically asked for this grace, but just by desiring union with God, I've been made aware of his holy presence both in and around me 24/7. This is most beneficial because it definitely helps me not to offend the Lord in any way, thus preserving my interior peace. If you specifically ask for this grace, God might even grant it to you sooner.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Abandonment Necessary

        Today I realize that if the transformation I have asked God to bring about in me has not happened as quickly or smoothly as I have anticipated, I am the one at fault, not the Lord. To let him have the full freedom to change me, I must abandon myself totally to him first. This applies also when it comes to surrendering to God, repenting my sins, and asking for favors from him. In each case, we must go all out, letting our guard down before God. It's all part of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Communion Excitement

        Just before receiving Holy Communion, I sensed that the finite was going to merge with the infinite and that the imperfect, to join the perfect ~ no trepidation, just excitement.      

Going with God Advised

        Jesus is God Incarnate ~ why did God want to become man? Left to ourselves, we could never have imagined that he would show his love for us in such an amazing way! It just shows that God's ways are not our ways. All the reason for us to follow him and not go off on our own. 

The Infinite God

        St. Augustine is known for his saying "Our hearts are restless until they rest in God" ~ that's how God had made us. This morning as I was driving to Mass, I marveled at the infinitude of God, who has always existed and is eternal. He is Alpha and Omega. He is what he said he is, "I am." I then realized that he had made us finite so that we might marvel at his infiniteness. Mathematically speaking, any finite quantity, no matter how huge, compared to infinity is no different from comparing zero to infinity. Realizing this should keep us humble. Anyone who thinks that he is a god in any way before the true God is out of his mind.      

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Proofs

        Jesus is the proof that God the Father loves us and the Holy Spirit, the proof that Jesus is with us. The martyrs prove that God is worth dying for and the saints prove that God can transform us. And all sinners prove that we need God's mercy.

We Need God

        I thought of "authority" today. The word itself is neutral, neither good nor bad, only necessary. Imagine a family in which the parents have no say over the children or a government with no control over its people. If the Church didn't have the Holy See, she would certainly have disintegrated into many fragments. Therefore, I am so happy that we have the Heavenly Father as our authority. Without him, we'd all be lost and in chaos. We absolutely need God.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Letting God Reign

        Thoughts received during Mass. (1) Only what God thinks of you matters. (2) Let God do whatever he wants with me. (These thoughts were inspired by the desire to seek complete union with the perfect Lord.)

Mind Your Thoughts

        Thoughts occupy our minds most of the time. We even think in my dreams. If you add up all the hours you're awake for an average lifetime, you get way over 300 thousand hours! So what kinds of thoughts occupy your mind? Do they offend God? Do they draw you closer to him? Are these thoughts angry, impatient, or prideful? Are they self-centered or humble? Are they loving or resentful? I am sure no one wants to waste all the waking hours thinking negative thoughts.
        In the past, I mentioned that the Lord can simplify our lives. To be more specific today, I want to say that he can declutter our soul. Once you let him take charge, he will clean out all the recesses of your heart and mind and fill you with his holy thoughts. Then your lose interest in all the things that can lead you to sin, keep you away from him, or simply waste your valuable time by thinking about them. Such is the power of God. It is the desire of the Lord that we each should keep our soul uncluttered and pure, beautiful for him to behold.              

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Humility, a Must

        During Mass, the Lord made it crystal clear to me again that to truly love anyone, one must be truly humble. Humility is at the foundation of love. Without it, one cannot truly love. Jesus' supreme model of humility and meekness is the big message for us.   

How to Pray

        I ask myself ~ if Jesus wants me to have faith in him, then should I just pray once and believe that he will answer my prayer? From the Scriptures, I also read that the Lord wants us to be persistent in asking for favors. The conclusion I come to is that we must pray, pray, pray, and at the same time trust, trust, trust.  That is, pray unceasingly, but remain in peace always. 

Jesus Is God-Man

        As the front-runners among the 2012 Republican presidential candidates come under increasingly close scrutiny, my mind turns to looking at Jesus in the Gospels. All I find is that he showed his love for others in all that he did; he was humble to the core; and he came to serve all ~ not a normal human being for sure, but a perfect one as our example. He deserves to be noticed by all.     

Saturday, December 10, 2011

God Speaks in Silence Too

        For a few rare souls, the Lord speaks to them aloud or clearly to their heart.  For the rest of us, the Holy Spirit often plants a thought in our mind. But the Lord speaks in silence too. Even though you do not hear anything, things develop in such a way that you know he has heard you. This is like the silent rests written into a piece of music. Even though you do not hear them, they are still played. Therefore, pray and trust.             

How to Be Free

        Love the Lord above everything else and your love for everything else will fall into its right place. Then you are free.

Why Celebrate Christmas?

        I see people busily shopping for Christmas gifts, decorating their houses both inside and outside, and getting ready for holding or attending parties. Is this the way God wants us to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior? I believe that God is more interested in how we feel in our hearts and not in seeing all the external glitter and worldly activities we participate in. It's a sin for a Christian to use Christmas as just an occasion to have a good time and not as a time to deepen their faith in the Lord. Christmas should remind us that Jesus did come to us two thousands years ago and he has been around ever since. And it's for this fact that we celebrate. The one who loves us the most deserves recognition.   

Jesus as Friend

        I am sure that most of us have had friends with whom we just got along great. I could still recall my best friends in both elementary and high schools from way back. It's always a joy to meet someone with whom you can easily hit it off. At the opposite end, there were some people with whom I had great difficulty even in starting a conversation. Then there is Jesus, most special. As a friend, he loves us, watches over us, listens to us, teaches us, consoles us and gives us hope when we are troubled, uplifts us when we are down, shields us from evil, replaces the void in our hearts with heavenly joy, always does what's best for us, and so much more. Once you get to know him, you know that he is a true friend and the only one you'll ever need. Furthermore, he laid down his life for us ~ there cannot be a better friend than that. Seeking union with such a friend should be our natural response.         

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Warning

         Watching the news on TV is extremely depressing. You see myriad sins being committed nonstop both at home and abroad, causing unbearable pains and sufferings to so many people worldwide. It's even sadder when you realize that all these sins are committed against our God who's filled with love for us. Then I remember that when Jesus was carrying his cross on his way to being crucified, he turned to the mourning and lamenting women who followed him and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.'" Indeed, this is also the time for us to weep for ourselves, for the worst is sure to come if we do not turn to God. 

To Die to Live

        To die in Christ is to live in him. If there's no death, there cannot be new life. To enter God, who is Life, one must die first.

Being Alive or Dead Defined

        One is not alive unless he is spiritually alive, and is indeed dead when he is spiritually dead.

Let the Unknown Be Unknown

        At morning Mass, the Lord showed me again that I must trust in him in all things. Even though I have no idea about what's going to happen next, to me and around the world, I should not let any unknown disturb me. All the worries won't do any good. God's will for us is to have peace, his peace, as Jesus had repeatedly wished his disciples. Our God is the God of peace. He only wants us to trust in him and not worry or be anxious about anything, for he is in charge.

The Joy of Going Home

        This morning before Mass started, I felt that in a way I was going home to the Father like the lost son in the parable. Even though I hadn't squandered my inheritance on a life of dissipation, I was still returning to the Father as a repentant sinner and there would be a celebration, albeit not a big one, at his house. Returning to God is always a joy for both the Father and us.

Let God Mean the Most

        We can make what means a lot to us mean a lot to God. For example, we give up a strong desire to possess some material thing for the sake of pleasing God. "No pain, no gain" applies here too. The gain is the freedom we gain after letting go of what we would've liked to have. The more we let go of our own cravings to please God, the more he grants us peace.  Let God mean the most to us.   

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beauty in Obedience

        Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. The Gospel reading comes from Luke 1. The angel Gabriel came to Mary to let her know that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son, to be named Jesus. After Mary fully understood the message, she responded, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." When I heard that read, I sensed the beauty in obedience to God. This is no slavery; on the contrary, it is the path to freedom. This is the way it should be ~ all of us creatures obeying our Creator.

God's Love the Greatest Gift

        I attended a Bible study session this morning on the subject of heaven and hell. It made perfect sense to me that since the love of God for us is so great, so amazing and incredible, those who reject this love will have to face serious consequences. It's basically spurning the greatest gift that's offered to you. 

I Need God

        Thoughts I had this morning before Mass started. God put me on this earth; he set the date and place for me to be here. I had nothing to do with it. I and everything I have now came from him. I am still breathing and alive because he's sustaining me. I owe him for everything ~ he completely owns me. Therefore, how dare I think that I am somebody, that I don't need him, that I can do all right on my own, and be not grateful, especially after what Jesus had gone through to show his infinite love for us?  How dare I not be humble before the Lord? Yes, I need God, I love him, I embrace him, and I'll praise him forever.     

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stages of a Spiritual Journey

  1. Life is empty.
  2. You search for God.
  3. You find Jesus.
  4. You want to know more about him.
  5. While he draws you in, you fall in love with him.
  6. You yearn for him so much that you want to become one with him.
  7. By his grace channeled through the Holy Eucharist, you achieve union. Now you totally belong to God.  

The Faith Difference

        Without faith in God, you have nothing. With faith in God, you have everything, for everything he has is now yours.

To Be Truly Healed

        If you ask God for healing, ask him to heal your soul first and the body second, for the soul lives on forever and the body doesn't. Anyone with a sick soul, not matter how perfect his health may be, cannot be considered a truly healed person.  

A Choice of Yokes

       In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 11, Jesus said to the crowds, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will fine rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and burden light." So, it's either we carry the yoke of sin on our own or take the yoke of love upon us and walk with the Lord. The yoke of sin is heavy and oppressive, while that of love is light and sweet. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Joy at Finding Each Other

        Today's Gospel from Matthew 18 is about rejoicing over finding the one sheep that has gone astray out of the hundred sheep. God rejoices over finding one lost human soul. In the same way, when we seek God, we rejoice over finding the true God, lovely and beautiful beyond all expectations.

Let God Have His Way

        God's ways are not our ways ~ I believe that we all know that. But do know that God's ways also include God way with each one of us! So, let God shape and transform each of us freely the way he likes.

Getting Along with Others

        There will never be another person you can get along perfectly in this world ~ we were all made differently. That's why Jesus taught us to be nonjudgmental, to be forgiving always ~ all part of loving others which he had commanded. In a way, it's much easier to get along with God because he can help us change ourselves. In fact, we should seek to get along with God first, then we'll be able to get along with all other fellow human beings as well. 

How to Live

        Live as if you are going to live forever, but not forever in this world.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus as Rock

        When you say "Jesus is my rock," it means that he is so solid that you can lean on him all you want. I see it in another way. I feel that he dwells within me like a rock, keeping me anchored and stable. This gives me a great secure feeling, knowing that I am safe with him from committing sins. 

Opening Up to the Lord

        God already knows what is in our heart and mind, but for our own benefit, we must keep communicating with him to show that we trust in him and that we want to stay close to him. Therefore, it's good to turn to the Lord to let him see exactly what's in our hearts, our spiritual state, desires, wishes, concerns, our burdens and problems and everything else.  The communication must be free, thorough, and heart-to-heart. Basically, you bare your soul to the Lord who loves you.  If you make this your daily practice, you'll definitely experience his peace.    

Praying Effectively

        (1) Pray "Thy will be done."  
        (2) Pledge obedience to God.
        (3) Place all your trust in God.

Jesus Challenges Us.

        In the same story of the paralytic, Jesus actually forgave the man's sins first.  Then, knowing what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking in their hearts, to show that he truly had the authority to forgive sins, he ordered the man to rise, pick up his stretcher, and go home as well. The crowd was astonished and struck with awe. Who wouldn't be?  Our Lord is authoritative, knows everything and exactly what he's doing.  He is absolutely unique among all the religious leaders in history.  If he is not truly God, then he must be the biggest liar who has ever lived.  Again, Jesus challenges us. 

Faith Must Shine

        Today's Gospel reading from Luke 5: A paralyzed man on a stretcher, not being able to get through the crowd to get to Jesus, was lowered through the tiles on the roof into the middle in front of the Lord. He made quite a dramatic entrance. Jesus healed him because he demonstrated his great faith. We too must let our faith shine in every way at every opportunity we get. 

The Beauty of Christ

        The beauty of Christ is not merely perceived through the senses, not even sensed by the heart; it is etched in the soul of one who's deeply in love with the Lord.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Way to Remain Humble

        Looking at our great Creator and realizing how small and imperfect we are is an effective way to keep us humble.

God's Love Frees Us

        God is real, not empty talk.  Christ had come and finished his work of salvation; God had demonstrated his unconditional love for us.  How can we not love God?  I believe it's because of our self-love.  We need to be loved and put ourselves in place of God to love ourselves.  What does that accomplish?  Nothing, because it's a dead end ~ it just shuts God's love out of our life.  It's by replacing this self-love with God's love that we can break out of our self-isolation and be set free, for God is greater than us.  By letting in God's love, we become greater too.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Most Importance Relationship

        For each of us, there is a whole list of things, such as our health, our house, etc., that  we want to maintain in good condition for as long as we live. What should be at the top of every list is "Our relationship with God." This should be of first importance to us, for a bad relationship with God invariably turns life into a shambles.

God Is Freedom

        Today is the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier.  At Mass, somehow St. Francis of Assisi entered my mind and I felt the great freedom he felt when he gave up all his worldly possessions to follow Christ. Indeed, letting go in God and freedom are synonymous.   

The Unavoidable Meeting

        As one past post mentioned, there are many who are greatly interested in Jesus' Second Coming.  Whether it's seeing the Lord then if we are still alive or facing him after we die, it's all about meeting with him ~ that unavoidable, critical moment of either great joy or great sorrow.   Let's get ready for that meeting while we still have time.      

Transforming Life into a Joy

        Life is full of ups and downs and it's the downs that usually get us.  Most recently, a married couple, our friends, is on the verge of breaking up, causing severe emotional stress to themselves and others.  We all experience pains, disappointment, suffer losses of various kinds, receive unfair treatments...  Peoples in many other countries face even more and greater disruptions and dangers of life.  It seems that life is good only temporarily in all those intervals between the "down" moments.  This is reality!  What can you expect when you throw billions of sinners together on a relatively small planet?  So it comes down to how we are to deal with life.  Personally, I believe that believing "Christ is the way" is the way to go.  By following him in this life, we are actually preparing ourselves to live the heavenly life with him for all eternity.  This is how we transform our present life into a joy.       

Blog Problems Solved

        On this blog, after pageviews and the list of good links disappeared and I was not able to get them back because the gadgets ceased working altogether, I finally figured out why.  After Google put out its own browser Chrome, certain features of its Blogger were made incompatible with my browser Internet Explorer.  After I made Chrome my default browser, everything worked.  So if you have some problems like mine, it could be for the same reason.  Also, just in case you had tried to join the list of followers and failed, give it another try now.
        I looked up about Chrome and did find that it was highly rated, ahead of IE and is gaining popularity.  I did not delete my IE because there are still sites out there that are geared to be opened through IE and not Chrome.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lessons for the Troubled Heart

        I've been praying and listening hard because of the burden I mentioned last time. And I have learned the following.
        (1) God does not want us to be affected by any false accusations we face. Don't ever let lies upset your composure. Only what God thinks of you matters.
        (2) If your heart is troubled, go deep into the Lord. Center on him alone and obey him in all things, then you are ready to face any unknown.  
        (3) Any time is the time to start following the will of God. It's never too late to put your trust in him. This is the way to get you out of any mess you're in in time.
        (5) No matter what, never harbor any hatred, bitterness, or resentment toward others.  The peace of God needs to be preserved in your heart for you to hear the Lord speak and for you to be able to think clearly.
        All the above may seem hard to accomplish, but our God is God of the impossible!
    

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Burden of December

        On this first day of December, I have a quite weighty matter on my heart, so I am praying deeply for directions from God. I know which way I would go if I were without faith. But now I must seek God's will no matter how difficult it may turn out to be.  One thing I want to be sure is that whatever action I take will draw those involved (who don't have much faith in God in this case) closer to him or at least not make them go further away from him. May the Lord provide me with discernment and strength.   

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reaping What I Didn't Sow

        When we get to go to school, especially college, we must appreciate the fact that all the knowledge and information that have been found and discovered during the prior thousands of years are there for us to acquire and absorb. In a relatively short time, we are able to reap what we really did not sow, in a way.   
        These thoughts made me think of the good news of salvation that had been revealed to us by Jesus Christ. I feel so blessed that when I was born, the good news was already here.  Everything I needed to know for living a good life and securing eternal life afterwards was laid open before me.  In this case, it's truly reaping everything I did not sow because God had done it all!

Called for a Reason

        Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, apostle. He was one of the first disciples called by Jesus to follow him. Jesus then called the others one by one. When the Lord saw Nathanael, he said, “Here is a true Israelite.  There is no duplicity in him.” Jesus knows each one of us inside out.  When he calls us to follow him, it is for a definite reason and we must respond immediately as the early apostles did.  Following Christ is the most exhilarating, fulfilling, and rewarding life you can possibly lead. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jesus Is Our Joy!

        Jesus is already the way, the truth, and the life for us.  In addition, he is the light of the world.  My heart was filled with great joy after receiving him in the Holy Eucharist this morning.  To me now, he is also the joy of the world, our joy.  In him, joy overcomes all sadness.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Road to Freedom

        No one can set himself free ~ only God can set us free.  Surrender to God to embark on the road to freedom. 

To Be Truly Classy

        There are many vain people in this world who go for name brands. They wear expensive name-brand watches, name-brand coats, and even name-brand underwear. (Speaking of underwear, I will never buy the Calvin Klein brand only because of the company's indecent, sexy ads featuring young, semi-nude men and women.) These wearers think that they are classy, even though others don't think so, let alone what God thinks.  To be truly classy in a class of its own, be pure and humble before the Lord. One is truly classy only when God thinks so. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sin Can Be a Curse

        Earlier today, I posted "Sin Is a Blessing." This is true only if you realize that sin is bad. Otherwise, it'd be more like a curse.  When I see someone committing a sin, even a small one, I feel sorrowful because nothing we do can escape God; later that person will have to account for that transgression. Today's Gospel message from Mark 13 is relevant: "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come."

My Greatest Blessing

        No doubt about it ~ it is that God had called me through his Divine Son Jesus.  It is the greatest because there's absolutely nothing else that could possibly benifit me more. It resolved the riddle of my life forever.  Jesus' saying "The truth will set you free" turned out to be true!  

Sin Is a Blessing

        To want to be holy, we must ask the Holy Spirit to sharpen our conscience.  In reality, as you become united with the Lord more and more, the process goes on automatically. With a sharp conscience, a small sin will hurt you a lot, making you lose your peace. This is necessary because a muddy conscience overlooks a lot of sins, making it impossible for you to become holier.  I see sin as a blessing ~ after you remove it through penance, you're holier than ever. The pain of sin spurs us on to new levels of sanctity. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Reason for Meeting People

        To see Christ in each person.

The Holiness of God Is...

the most refreshing thing in the whole universe!

The Mystery of God

        I got up early this morning to go to Mass. It was a beautiful day.  The sunlight was filtering through the mist hovering over the fields ~ it was a quite a mystical scene.  I thought of the mystery of God.  There's so much we don't know or understand about God, yet he has revealed enough for us to return to him in good grace through Christ.  This is sufficient for me now because I can always find out more about him later after I see him face-to-face. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thanksgiving

        Today is Thanksgiving Day. I owe everything to God's goodness. In the Parable of the Lost Son, I shall always remember what the father said to the older son who became jealous and angry, seeing how the father celebrated and rejoiced upon the return of his younger brother, the lost son: "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours." Indeed, everything I have came from the Father in heaven.  Thanks be to God! 

Is Jesus Always Right?

        Jesus is always right.  If you disagree, then show me where he went wrong or why he is not true. When Jesus was brought before the high priest Annas to be interrogated, a temple guard did not like the way Jesus answered the high priest and struck him. And the Lord answered back, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” So, if you find Jesus wrong or false, just don't follow him. But if you can't, then you have no excuse for not accepting and believing in him.    

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Second Coming

        Recently, a Harold Camping predicted more than once that the end of the world was coming. The predicted day came and went right by. There are many others trying hard to figure out when Jesus will come again. You just can't get more foolish than that! Jesus himself told us that only the Father knows when that day will be.  To me, the Lord had already come and is here, for his last promise was that he would be with us always until the end of the age. Every time I receive the Holy Eucharist, he enters me. The right thing to do is to enjoy him and bear fruit while we are still here.  Wasting time predicting and waiting for his coming will not get you into heaven. 

Most Beautiful Journey

        To discover the great inner beauty and inexhaustible riches of God, one must enter deep into him. Staying on the periphery will get you nowhere. You must go deep enough to taste the Lord first. That's why union with God is the most beautiful journey you can possibly embark on.     

Christ Is Everything and All

        In morning before Mass started, I had the desire to be aware of Jesus alone and oblivious to everything else, saints included. Christ is really the only one you need to know and hold onto. He is everything and he is all. He is Lord God.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Miracles not Amazing

        Miracles are not amazing; it is God who makes the miracles happen that's amazing.

No Other Place I'd Rather Be

         This morning after Mass, I and another person were to visit some of the old, homebound folks. I had nine consecrated Hosts on me and was also holding six more for my partner because she temporarily had to leave to get something done. Imagine having fifteen consecrated Hosts in two pyxes hanging around your neck ~ the feeling was overwhelming! I felt that I was actually embracing the Lord and that there's no other place I'd rather be than being with him. He is where I belong!

Back to the Beginning

        At the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and a perfect relationship existed between them and God. Then they sinned and were exiled from paradise. Now, Jesus has come and redeemed us. This is the perfect time to restore that perfect relationship with God (unless you prefer to remain banished forever).

God the Amazing Creator

        I received these thoughts early during morning Mass. I was amazed that God has made us so that we can come up with the desire to look for him and that we can actually find him and even fall in love with him.  It's like playing hide-and-seek and God is the loser.  The Lord impressed me as a most amazing creator.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Be Ready for God Before...

(1) Jesus' second coming, (2) your life ends, (3) you lose your mind while still living.  Only God knows when these things will or might happen. If you are wise, you'll want to be ready for him at any moment for the unexpected in order not to be shocked later.

Appearance That Matters

        After Mass this morning, I looked at the decorated altar in darker colors, the flowers (artificial) in rather drab vases, etc., I felt that personally, I definitely would like to see fresh flowers and more cheerful colors all around to brighten up the interior. Then others may disagree. At  any rate, the Lord made me see that making the church look good is good, but what matters most is how we look on the inside to him.  I got the message. 

We Are Special!

        We are not just anything. On the contrary, we are special to God. First, we were created in the image of God. Then Jesus let it be known that anyone who keeps the word of God is his brother or sister.  Last, Jesus died for our sins so that we might become adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Low self-esteem has absolutely no place in us. Rather, we should rejoice daily for such favors!

God Is Infinite

        I realize that faith in God can range from very faint to strong and firm with total conviction. Between the two extremes, there must be infinite degrees of faith. If God's mercy were limited, probably not many will get into heaven.  The fact is that I can't think of any way in which God is limited.  For me, the definition of God might as well be infinity.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Loving the Least Ones

        Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King.  In the Gospel from Matthew 25, we read what the Lord said to his disciples, "Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.  What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me."  Jesus identified himself with those in need, the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the disadvantaged.  We must care for all those who have less.  How can we not love them who are loved by our King? 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jesus Can Calm Us

        On the way home from morning Mass, I experienced a great calm in my heart.  I recalled how Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves and a great calm followed (Matthew 8, Mark 4, Luke 8).  If he could do that, then surely he can calm the winds and waves in our hearts.  

Sin and Peace

        The world has no peace because it is in a sinful state. The same holds true for an individual. For someone in the Lord, the conscience could be sharpened to the point that any sin committed against God becomes so distasteful as to be unbearable. The great saints would rather die than sin against God.  This loss of internal peace is proof that sin and peace cannot coexist. Then, at the opposite end, there are those whose conscience has been dulled to the point that they can easily sweep their sins under the carpet. Even though they look away from their sins, the lack of peace remains in their heart. 

Safe in Christ

        Living our life is like climbing a cliff ~ we are always hanging on precariously because one slip and we can be lost forever.  For the faithful Christian, Jesus has already tethered a cord around him. A slip may slow down the ascent, but he is ultimately safe.

Friday, November 18, 2011

God Is Accessible

        During contemplation after morning Mass, I looked ahead and saw the lit sanctuary lamp signifying the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle behind it. This was the Blessed Sacrament I received just a short while ago. I then realized that our God is totally accessible and personal, not at all distant or aloof.  How can a God who is love be otherwise? Certainly something to rejoice about! 

Nothing Is Free?

        People who work hard to get where they want to be lament the fact that nothing is free.  I do know that the beautiful love of God is absolutely free, unless you consider opening your heart to this love is work too hard.  When you receive this love, you get all the other good things you need to help you live a life full of joy and freedom as well.  The best is already here!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jesus Is Ours

        Jesus is the way, the truth and the life ~ he is our way, our truth, and our life.  Jesus is the light of the world ~ he is our light in this world.

Our Real Enemies

        In today's Gospel from Luke 19, Jesus mentioned the enemies of Jerusalem that would destroy the city in the coming days.  I started thinking about enemies. There are people who  don't like us because we hold different political views. There are others who still owe us money they borrowed from us.  Some say nasty things about us.  Are they and similar other examples our enemies? I don't think so. In a way, they are blessings from God to test us to see how Christian we are. Of course, we must still love them.
        The real enemies are those who cause us to sin or lure us away from God, thus endangering our souls.  We should love them too, but must fight them at the same time.    

Keeping the Heart Pure

        When God looks at us, he sees the heart first. To delight the Lord, you must have a pure heart. The "secret" to keeping the heart pure is to have the Lord dwell in it.  Where God is, impurities cannot exist. 

Getting Back into Grace

        Adam and Eve fell from grace through pride and disobedience to God. Jesus the Savior had already come to invite us back. Let's seize this opportunity to get back into grace through humility and obedience to God.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Union Advantage

        In union with God, you are totally in the Lord.  Since you are with him, you no longer need to ask him to lead you anymore.  Where he is, you are.  When he wants you go in a certain direction, he will let you know.

An Honest Question

        Can you really manage on your own without God in your life?

Beauty of the Holy Spirit's Mind

        As I was driving to Mass this morning, I sensed the profound beauty and perfection of the mind of the Holy Spirit, which made me want to share it. 

God as Light

        It was a beautiful morning.  As a past photographer, I am very aware of the quality of light. There were a few times when the light was just perfect and made what I saw extraordinarily beautiful. Once I drove along a creek and saw the distant hills with trees on them and clouds overhead to one side of the road, bathed in the late afternoon sunlight after a rain, so beautiful that the image just etched in my mind's eye. I had driven along the same road many times before, but the scene never struck me like this.  So, the presence of the right kind of light is essential to the creation of a great image. All this makes me think of God as light, for the presence of God is absolutely necessary for transforming a human soul into a pure one. As physical light transforms an ordinary scene into one beautiful to the physical eye, God transforms an ordinary soul into one beautiful for him to behold.       

A Golden Thread

        I can recall many pleasant moments in life. For instance, someone was being extra nice to me or I happened upon the best apple strudel in the world. These were all isolated moments. Then there were moments in which the Lord drew me to him, step by step, at different times. Nevertheless, they form a continuous thread, leading to spiritual fulfillment.  If God had already thrown you a thread, hold onto it and let him draw you all the way to his bosom.          

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Close Are You to Union?

        Do you tell the Father everything that's in your heart?  Are you open to anything he may want to reveal to you? Is there free flow or still some kind of barrier between you and God when it comes to communication?  
        You may specifically want to see him, touch him, to be healed by him, to hear his voice, or to dine with him; but the important goal is to achieve intimate union with him in spirit.   

How Good to House the Lord in Us!

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 19, Jesus chose to go stay at the house of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.  Zacchaeus was overjoyed and promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and not to extort anything from anyone.  I got to thinking that I too should be overjoyed because the Lord had called me, come to me, and is now dwelling in me.  I must promise to give all of myself to him and not to sin against him.   

To Stop Offending God

          The best way to prevent us from offending God is to be filled with his love, letting this love be our sole motivator. Secondly, develop an utter distaste for sins as a line of defense. The more we unite with the Lord, the more nauseating sins become.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Total Immersion in Christ

        The one thought I've been having in these last two days in total immersion in Christ. Like the total immersion in water at baptism, we now immerse totally in Christ (and his love).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jesus, More Real than Ever

        I feel especially close to St. John the Apostle. I just got Stephen Ray's St. John's Gospel, A Bible Study Guide and Commentary. In the introduction, he talks about the Apostle John.  I am just going to put down the instances in which John was a witness according to how Stephen Ray lists them.
        (1) While John was mending nets with his brother James and their father Zebedee in a boat, Jesus called the two brothers and they immediately left their boat and their father and followed him (Mt 4:21-22). 
        (2) He (John) was at the table when Jesus instituted the Eucharist and in fact, was the one who reclined upon the Lord's chest during the meal (Jn 13:23-25).
        (3) He received the Holy Spirit as Jesus breathed on him (Jn 20:21-23).  
       (4) His feet were washed by the Lord himself (Jn 13:5). 
        (5) As one of Jesus' favorite disciples, he was referred to as "the one Jesus loved" (Jn 13:23; 20:2; 21:20).
        (6) Jesus nicknamed him and his brother, James, Boanerges ~ sons of thunder (Mk 3:17).
        (7) He fell asleep as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14:32-42).
        (8) He was there when Judas betrayed the Lord, and then followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest (Jn 18:15).
        (9) He's the only disciple who stayed at the foot of the Cross, while the others had fled earlier (Mk 14:50; Jn 19:26).
        (10) Jesus entrusted his Mother to John's care and John to his Mother's care (Jn 19:26-27).
        (11) He was a witness to the Resurrection (Jn 20:1-10).
        (12) For 40 days he saw the proofs of the Lord's Resurrection and received further instructions on waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, etc. (Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-10)
        (13) While fishing at dawn, he was the first to recognize the Lord standing on the shore of the sea of Tiberias (Jn 21:7).
        (14) He saw the Lord being taken up into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).    
       (15) He also saw the Blessed Virgin crowned in glory in a heavenly vision (Rev 12).
        John testified to the truth of all that he had written down (Jn 21:24).
        Jesus was already real to me, now after reading St. John's personal witnessing, he is more real to me than ever! 

Everything We Do Matters

        Everything we do affects the whole world (or universe).  Sometimes the effect may be minuscule or barely detectable, but it's there. On the contrary, everything we do, no matter how small, has a great impact on our soul! Every move is known to God and contributes to determining our eternal destination.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our Sole Intention Should Be...

to give God glory. All of what we think, speak, and do should be so guided. 

Following the Lord with Trust

        When we follow the Lord, we simply follow and do not know how he is going to lead us and/or how things we prayed about are going to turn out; but we know that he always leads us in the right direction for our best. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Prayer for the Heart

        Today something that could trouble the heart came up and I prayed "Thy will be done" and peace reigned. In the final analysis, this is the best prayer for the heart.  Saying it means that we are obedient to God and we trust in his mercy.

Serving God Today

        Jesus said that we could not serve God and mammon at the time.  It's sad that today, no matter what government system you live under, whether we are in good economic times or bad, money and material wealth are what the world is after. Look at the troubles of the world ~ it's safe to guess that the majority of them are mammon-caused. To chase after God is to be like a sheep among all the wolves, then we have an invincible shepherd guarding and guiding us. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Being "In"

        Thoughts this morning during Mass.  I know that God is everywhere around me.  Then when I receive the Holy Eucharist, he fills me as well.  So I become totally immersed in him and he in me.  The two merge into one and are in each other.  God and I belong together.  No matter how you look at it, it's a great, satisfied feeling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Union Advantage

        Normally, when we try to be more Christlike, we do our best to become holier; but sometimes old sins just don't go away easily, so we continue to struggle.  Without genuine repentance, determination, and persistent prayer, progress can be slow. It could even go on like this the rest of our lives.
        The quick and effective way is to aim for union with God. I remember once my insurance company unfairly increased my premium for an accident not due to my fault. I wrote to the chairman of the board and got the action reversed.  To solve the problem, go to the top. For spiritual progress, aim for union with God. Once you surrender to God, your struggle is gone as he takes over. God now is free to transform you.
        By comparison, the first approach is hard work and not always effective, while the second way is quick and certain for both you and God. This is the union advantage.   

Father Knows Best

        This was the title of a TV series starring Robert Young back in the 50's.  Here "Father" in my title refers to the Heavenly Father.  Many things happen in our lives.   At one time of another, I think we all have imagined living a happy life with all our fond wishes and dreams coming true.  Life never turns out this way and you wonder why God doesn't help.  You look back and see that many things could have turned out differently to keep you happy.  Now I see that God is in control and always knows what's best for you spiritually.  If things had always gone my way, I might even be a lost soul today. We must trust in the Father. Eternal life with him, not self-centered happiness in this world, must be our goal.  Wisdom, obedience, and perseverance will pay off in the end.             

As Temples of God

        Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.  In Reading 2 from 1 Corinthians 3, Paul wrote, " Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"  We need to remember this.  As temples of God, we are consecrated. We must make sure that the temple stays clean on the inside for God's holy presence and that he is to have full reign in his place. Then we shall be in full union with him.   

Holy Eucharist Most Awesome

        Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper.  When he said, "This is my body" and "This is the chalice of my blood," he meant exactly that ~ "is" means "is" and we are to believe and not try to figure out how it possibly could be.  This is a mystery as all the other mysteries about God.  The Holy Eucharist is the bread from heaven, in which the Lord is truly present.  What you receive at Mass is exactly what the Apostles received at the Last Supper.  In receiving this sacrament, you welcome God into you, acknowledging yourself as his child, and the love between you and him is sealed, so to speak.  Appreciating this physical union will take you all the way to full spiritual union with the Lord. No wonder this great gift is the center of worship in his Church from the very beginning.  Loving the Holy Eucharist is loving Christ and his Church.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God's Final Mercy

        The aging process comes to my mind.  I see it as mercy from the the Lord.  As we age, we get weaker and develop various physical problems and ailments.  It's as if the Lord is preparing us to face our final days.  We have to accept reality now and see death more as relief than something terrible.  The shock is gone.  Of course, to those with strong faith in the Lord all along, they already see the mercy of God in all things.  

How to Be Born Again

        Protestants believe that once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are born again.  It sounds so easy.  To me, this is only the beginning.  To be truly born again, you must die to sin first and then relive in Christ ~ there can be no new life without death first.

Jesus Is like a Cave

        When you stand at the entrance of a deep cave, you first notice the darkness and are not sure what might be hidden inside, but it does arouse your curiosity. You decide to explore it, with uneasiness at first. As you penetrate deeper and deeper, you discover more and more beauty ~ the colorful rock formation, a clear stream and crystal pools... At the end you find the most magnificent chamber with brilliant sunlight flooding in overhead.

How Jesus Draws Us

        Suppose that you go to a school, take a course, and find it interesting.  Your teacher also happens to be good and you earn a top grade in the course at the end.  You are happy about your success and want to continue taking more courses. 
        This is how we feel good about Jesus too.  Let me use an example. Assume that you have the problem of losing patience easily and you pray sincerely to Jesus to correct this problem.  Before you know, you realize that you have become a more patient person. You are then amazed and excited  that Jesus can actually change you in a fundamental way and look forward to being transformed more by the Lord.  This is how Jesus draws us.             

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just You and God

        I've posted more than once that in the final analysis, it's always between you and God.  Today the Lord showed me something more.  Normally, we all struggle to solve our own problems and those others toss at us.  I've found that when I maintain the best possible relationship with God, he just takes away all my struggles by handling the problems.  Satan is still out there, but God takes care of him too.  As long as you stay in union with God, you are safe to ignore Satan.  It's just between you and God, with Satan kept out.  As the saying goes, two's company and three's a crowd. 

Seek and You Will Find

        We heard about Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on planet earth.  You may not have seen it, but it's there in Nepal.  You will see it if you travel there.  The same with God.  The fact that you don't see him does not mean that he does not exist.  In fact, the existence of God is more certain than that of Mt. Everest.  Without God, there wouldn't be Everest.  The reason people don't believe is because they have not gone looking for God. By learning about Jesus, studying the Scriptures, praying for guidance and enlightenment...they will begin to find him.  And then they'll see that he has been there all along.    

Best Hiding Place

        As I was consuming the Holy Eucharist during Communion, I asked the Lord to consume me for me to become totally dissolved in him.  Let's look at it from a practical point of view ~ God is everywhere and there is absolutely no place to hide from him.  In other words, there is no place to go except the Lord himself.  Besides, in him you'll find maximum security, love and kindness, consolation and comfort... everything your heart desires. There's no better hiding place!

God Is for Forgiving

        In today's Gospel reading, Jesus also asked his disciples to forgive their brothers.  To always forgive others (or love your enemies) is the hallmark and a unique feature of Christianity (to me the mark of truth).  God forbid that any Christian will ever contemplate launching terror attacks on others in His name!

Don't Cause Sin!

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur.  It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin."  Sin indeed has no place before God.  Sinning on your own is one thing; causing others to sin is so much worse!  Let's ask the Lord to help us be pure and holy.    

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Living in God's Love

        God's love is like a torrent, ready to engulf us; our heart is the gate and our mind the key that controls the gate. Once we decide to open the gate, the tremendous flow of this love will sweep us off our feet, lifting us to a new high. We now live in his love.

Great Feelings at Mass

        I attended the early Sunday morning Mass and received the following.
        (1) The Mass opened with an Amy Grant song: "The Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path..."  What I felt was the absolute clarity of the Lord's message.  Jesus had shown me the clear path to follow to salvation in him.
      (2) Reading 2 was taken from 1 Thessalonians 4.  I felt the bright hope in life which is the Lord and this had made all the difference to me.  Living with hope leads to eternal life, whereas living without, to eternal separation from God.
        (3) During Communion, I felt that the giving from the Lord and the receiving on my part was 100% one-way.  I truly owe gratitude to him.  I survive by his mercy alone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sin Offends God!

        After I heard on the radio the story of Steve Rossi of Schenectady, someone who would do all he could to hold onto power and control others, I became extra aware of how terrible it is to be selfish and have no regard for others.  We all know in conscience that hurting others is bad, but do we also realize that all sins offend the loving, blameless, holy God?  Now, this is serious!  Since God equates loving our neighbors to loving him; so, to not love others is to not love God.

No Fooling the Lord

        In the Gospel reading from Luke 16 for today's Mass, these sayings of Jesus stand out. 
        To his disciples:
        (1) "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones."  [It's wrong to justify cheating a little bit in small matters by saying that I'll be honest in more important, big matters.  Not being 100% honest is being dishonest.  With the Lord, we must be good all the way through.]
        (2) "No servant can serve two masters.  You cannot serve God and mammon."  [Again, honesty matters.]
        To the Pharisees:
        (3) "You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God."  [Pretty strong language.  The Lord loves humility.]  

To Be in Christ

        I did not get to attend today's morning Mass, so I just read the readings online (http://www.usccb.org/bible/).  The first reading is taken from Romans 16.  Paul uses the expressions "in Christ" and "obedience of faith."  They generated these thoughts in me.  Can you say that you are in Christ?  Just knowing about him is certainly not in him.  Even knowing him may not quite be in him yet.  To be truly in Christ is to have total obedience of faith.  To be truly in Christ is to be willingly transformed by him.  To be ultimately in Christ is to be in union with him.

Friday, November 4, 2011

True Joy from Within

        During Communion, the Lord gave me these thoughts.  True good feelings and happiness do not come from without; they come from within.  I may feel momentarily pleased when someone compliments me or be exhilarated by driving a fast car; but true, lasting joy comes only from the Holy Spirit dwelling within. 

God Wants the Best for Us

        Today's Entrance Song, 1 Samuel 2.35: "I will raise up for myself a faithful priest; he will do what is in my heart and in my mind, says the Lord."  [How beautiful to be of one heart and one mind with the Lord!]  
        Gospel Acclamation, 1 John 2.5: "Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him."  [The pathway to perfection!] 
        Communion Song, John 10.10: "I came that men may have life, and have it to the full, says the Lord."  [God wants to give us life to the full ~ truly overwhelming!]
        All my comments in brackets end with an exclamation mark, because God loves us so much that he only wants to give us the very best. 
               

How Good to Be Penitent!

         Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.  I felt particularly good when we were doing the Penitential Rite, confessing to God that "I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do..." ~ it just seemed so fitting for us to confess to the Lord.  He has the power and is ever ready to free us by making us pure.  It's as if we have a safety net ready to catch us at any moment.  Let us be prodigal sons or daughters returning to the Father.  We can only go wrong if we stay away from him.    

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Proof of Truth

        The more you believe in Jesus, the more you find him beautiful.  To me, this is the proof of truth.

How to Live Today

        From today's Reading 1 from Romans 14 at Mass: "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God . . . each of us shall give an account of himself to God."  Like death, this is unavoidable and is as it should be. You've heard that we should live as if today is the last day of our life ~ it's equally valid or even more immediate to say that we should live as if today is the day of our judgment before God.

Sin Has No Place

        As a Eucharistic minister, I sometimes have to get consecrated hosts from the tabernacle to visit those who are not able to attend Mass at church.  When kneeling before the open tabernacle, I really feel the presence of the Lord.  If I am sitting in the very back of the church, far away from the tabernacle, I just do not get that same intense feeling.  This morning at Mass, the Lord made me see that this was merely psychological and that it's erroneous to think that his Holy Presence is only limited to the tabernacle area or the interior of the church; in fact, he is present everywhere, transcending space.  Therefore, sin has no place anywhere.      

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clear-Cut Message

        Today is All Soul's Day.  In the Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus spoke to the crowds, "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."  The message just can't get any more clear-cut!

An Exclusive Relationship

        When we pray to God, don't expect things to change, but expect God to change them.  Trust God alone, not people.  Do God's will only and not follow anyone else.  Praise only God.  Do everything through him, for he is our agent.
Live and die for God.  Remember that it's always between you and him.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Most Beautiful

        This is the first day of September, appropriately the Solemnity of All Saints.  The readings of the Mass were extraordinarily beautiful:
        (1) Reading 1 from Revelation 7.  
        A great multitude from every nation, race, people, and tongue stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.  They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb."  [We need salvation, yes, and God provides just that!]
        One of the elders spoke up, "These wearing white robes are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."  [The precious Blood of Jesus has made our robes snow white!]
        (2) Reading 2 from 1 John 3.
        Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.  [Pure souls in all white robes!]
        (3) Gospel reading from Matthew 5.
        On the mountain the Lord taught the Beatitudes.  [What beautiful teaching!  Let's live these sayings and we'll be amply blessed.]
        Last, the pastor reminded us that we are eternal!  We don't just die and become nothing.  Do we want to live afterward eternally with God or not?  This is to be settled while there's still earthly life in us.