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

Monday, February 28, 2011

To Achieve True Freedom

        Today's Entrance at Mass from Psalm 18: "The Lord has been my strength; he has led me into freedom..."  
        How to be truly free?  Anyone in slavery himself has no power to free himself.  It's like trying to lift yourself up by pulling on your own boot straps.  He needs someone greater than himself, a master, to free him.  And that master is God, with whom nothing is impossible.  It is in letting ourselves be captives of God that we become free ~ one of those paradoxes that are true.      

On Expecting to Be Rewarded

        If you expect to be rewarded for what you do, you'll surely have disappointments; but if you do not expect any reward for what you do, then you'll be free to enjoy whatever surprises coming your way. 
        A footnote.  Do everything for the glory of God and you'll always be rewarded. 

All in Your Hands

        I was inspired to pray "all in your hands" before Mass.  Believe it, desire it, and submit to it, and freedom begins.

Living by Faith

        I prefer living by faith in this life because the joy of seeing the Lord face-to-face later will be greater.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We're Living on Borrowed Time

        Photography used to be my hobby and I thought of the many hours I spent in the darkroom.  When I was deeply immersed in developing and printing pictures, I didn't think of anything else.  I was fortunate that I survived those hours ~ what I mean is that I didn't die or anything like that happened during those hours; for life is so unpredictable and fragile.  As if to confirm my belief, yesterday out of the blue an electric outage occurred in my neighborhood ~ the storm did it.  The power was not restored until 24 hours later.  I am now keenly aware that we are all living on borrowed time.  Only God knows the length of each individual borrowing period.  Not making good use of this time is like not reading a book we have borrowed from the library, and that's wasting time.  Jesus' advice on always staying awake and be alert is to be acted upon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yearning for God

        At the beginning, you yearn for something to fill the void in your heart, to make life meaningful ~ you're actually yearning for God without knowing it.  After you find him, you yearn for him still more because you have now beheld his beauty and tasted his sweet love.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jesus Can Make Us Whole

        Today at Communion time, when I heard the priest declare, "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," my thoughts ran like this ~ if Jesus can take away my sins, surely he can take away my imperfections and all the other little warts.  This gave me great confidence in asking for him to make me whole. 

Where Is Your True Home?

         This early morning as I drove on the road, I noticed an eerie beauty in the distant scene as I gazed ahead, for there were grey clouds and the sun was not fully up yet.  I  thought of the many other beautiful sights and things in the world and the question "Would you want to live forever in this world?" popped into my mind.  Let's say that you will not even age or get sick, what would your answer be? 
        I know I wouldn't want to remain in this world forever.  There are beauties and pleasures around, but there are also wars, natural disasters, accidents, and worst of all, evil.  As time marches on, I sense more and more that I am just journeying through this world.  Now that I have known Christ the Lord, my true home is definitely not here below anymore.    

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God Smoothes Our Way

        Today's Responsorial Psalm (119) starts out: "Those who love your law have great peace, and for them there is no stumbling block."  I couldn't agree with that more.  May I add that for those who love the Lord, it's smooth sailing all the way. 

Move Forward Always

        Today the Lord made me see that I should not lose peace over my imperfections as long as my intention is good.  We are imperfect and this is a fact.  To feel bad about it is being self-centered.  Let each slip be an opportunity to put even more faith in God, knowing that only he can make us perfect.  Therefore, move forward always, following our one and only bright, shining light.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rejecting Christ Is...

rejecting the greatest possible love that could be ours for the asking.       

Amazing Universe by Amazing God

        I saw the picture of the earth from the space on one TV presentation.  It's covered mostly with water and I could imagine it rotating and traveling through space around the sun consistently for perhaps billions of years already. This is truly quite amazing.  If you go back far enough in time, people would have a hard time believing in this, but today it's a known fact. 
        Like that is the revelation that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  This is also amazing and hard to believe, but true. 
        All I want to say is that we live in an amazing universe created by an amazing God.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

To Live Without Fear

        I see people living in all kinds of fear; but do you know that when you rest in Jesus, all fears vanish?  It works, not because it happens to work, but because Jesus is the truth!  He simply takes care of all who trust in him. 

To Know God Well

        Have you ever been in awe of God?  If the answer is no, then your probably don't know him very well yet.
        What is the love of your life?  If it's not God, then you probably don't know God that well yet.       

All God Asks

        All God asks of us is that we let go in him so that he may freely mold us into new creatures pleasing to him.  Then our estranged relationship with him will be no more and we are welcomed back as sons and daughters of his family. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Enjoy God

        God is to be worshipped, adored, and loved; but he is also to be enjoyed at all times, especially when he teaches you a lesson or fills you with joy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Past No Longer Relevant

        I realize that if I don't know Christ today, I would be a pretty unhappy person.  That's because looking back, I see that my childhood wasn't exactly happy, I studied the wrong subjects in college, didn't work at any jobs that really suited me, and wished that I had done so many things differently.  I rather felt sorry for myself for having wasted most of my own life.  Do I regret my past?  Now that I have found Christ, the answer is a resounding "no."  It's this past that lead me to Christ.  The joy has wiped out all the sorrows!  What the past was like is no longer relevant because having Christ is all that matters.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sorrow to Gratitude to Joy

        It's Friday, the day to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  When I thought about the suffering Jesus underwent, I felt great sorrow.  Then after I realized that he did it so that we could be saved, gratitude followed.  Finally, when I saw that I had been saved and was to return to the bosom of the Father, gratitude turned into great joy.  A beautiful progression.  And the best is yet to come! 

Humility Is...

being nothing ourselves before God so that we become totally dependent upon him.       

Following God

        To show our trust in the Lord, let us not waste any time mulling over things that could happen but have not happened yet.  Seek to do God's will alone and not what we want for ourselves.  Follow, follow, and follow ~ let things happen the Lord's way. 

The Lord Uplifts Us

        After I received Holy Communion this morning, I felt that I was being lifted to a new level of existence.  Call it a closer union, a renewal in the Holy Spirit or whatever ~ a new freedom was experienced.

A Most Significant Question

        In today's Gospel reading from Mark 8:34-9:1, Jesus sayings deserve our utmost attention.  The most poignant question he asked: "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"  It's clear that our life continues on into eternity.  The question is serious, most significant, and one that we must consider in our spiritual journey.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

To Think as God Does

        In today's Gospel reading from Mark 8, Jesus rebukes Peter for thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.  Obviously, we need to have the mind of Christ to think right.  This again calls for union with God. 
        The tragedy of the world is that people do not see beyond their own immediate future or surroundings, and their thinking is basically self-centered .  To think as God does, one must first look beyond this life and keep the overall picture in mind.  The more we become united with Jesus, the more we'll be like him in every way. 

Essential Praying

        To prove that we truly love and/or forgive someone, we must follow up by praying for that person from the bottom of our heart.  And God will reward us with peace. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Purity of Faith

        God wants us to be pure in thoughts.  Today he let me see that it's important to be pure in our faith also.  A pure faith is like a child's belief, containing no trace of doubt.  There is a total abandonment here.  The absolute truth deserves absolute trust.      

Lessons Learned ~ a Summary

        This is kind of like a midterm review since the blog started in September, 2009.  I've learned a lot from the Lord.  Let me add that what a joy it has been to learn from the Holy Spirit.  Here is a teacher who is infinitely patient, gentle, and loving.  He never punishes you for being a slow learner; in fact, he encourages you by consoling you at the right moments.
        Here is a brief summary of the lessons learned.
        (1) Humility is absolutely necessary to approach God and ego is the biggest obstacle in our way.  (Sincerely ask God to root it out and he will do just that in time.)
        (2) The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament Jesus had instituted for us to attain union with God.  The grace that comes through receiving it is more than sufficient to transform us into a new creature in Christ.  (Tap God's great power instead of struggling on your own.)
        (3) All the Lord asks of us is to sin no more and rest in him, and he'll grant you freedom and peace.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Holy Eucharist Renews Us

        This morning as I received the Lord in Holy Communion, I saw the parallel between the act of receiving him and the creation of man by God at the beginning.  At creation, God blew into the nostrils of man made out of clay the breath of life and man became a living being.  At Holy Communion, God himself, the bread of life, enters us and we are renewed.  It's such a momentous moment.  The iconic image of the hand of God giving life to Adam as portrayed by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel ceiling comes to my mind.  When we receive the Holy Eucharist, God actually touches us and breathes a new life into us.  What an awe-inspiring moment!!!         

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Accepting or Rejecting the Truth

        Today's Alleluia verse is John 14.6:  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  This is a huge claim ~ any nonbeliever must deal with it.  Either Jesus spoke the truth or he's delusional.  I personally found that all the rest about Jesus supports this claim ~ the pieces just fit together.  And my own spiritual experience also bears witness to its truth.  
        In the Gospel from Mark 8, we learn that the Pharisees came to seek a sign from Jesus to test him ~ they did not see that the greatest sign from heaven was the Lord himself.  It just shows that if you reject something that happens to be the truth, you remain blind.  Accept it and you are illuminated.   

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All Is Up to Us

        The morning at Mass, the priest's basic message was that God has done his part, has given us the ten commandments and the good news.  Now, with our free will it's up to us to choose to follow him or not.  If we end up in eternal separation from God, we have only ourselves to blame because God has come not to condemned us, but to save us.  It's good to be reminded of the crucial role our free will plays.      

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Beauty of Surrendering to God

        When you have surrendered to God, you know that you have reconciled to him and are back in the right place, and the soul feels free and peaceful.  It's that home-sweet-home feeling intensified manyfold.         

The I-Don't-Care Attitude

        I'll explain what this means and you'll see that it is a good thing.  All I care about is doing God's will and not care about how it's going to affect me.  For example, if I feel that maintaining this blog is for God's glory, then I do not care how many readers are out there, who's reading it, how many of my friends know about it, what the readers think of the blog, etc.  In other words, anything that concerns the ego must be ignored because it disrupts following the the Lord single-mindedly, thus robbing me of peace.  

What to Do with God

        If you believe that God really exists, what do you think that we should do with him?  Just by cold logic, we know that we should worship him, listen to him, and obey him, for he is the greater.  Now that we know that God actually is our Father who loves us, all the more then we should adore, love, and serve him.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Obedience, the Key

        Today is Friday.  Since Monday the story of creation from Genesis has been read at Mass.  This morning Adam and Eve disobeyed God and tomorrow we'll learn that God banished them from the garden of Eden.  Now the good news for all of us is that we can get back to God again by obeying him through Christ, our Savior.  

How God Works in Us

        I've been reading on and off The Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross.  He writes that the work of God is passive and supernatural and that of man active and natural, and that this natural activity of man is what would extinguish the spirit.  The point is made again and again at various spots.  It's true that when we initiate actively many thoughts and ideas, we do not hear God speaking anymore ~ we are our own obstacles again.  It's through listening and waiting that God can teach us, lead us, and bring about the union with him.  This is the meaning of saying that the work of God is passive.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Most Satisfying Joy

        Knowing that Jesus is pleased.

God's Simple Demand

        After receiving Holy Communion today, I felt so content in the Lord that I could just rest in him and let everything else in the world go by.  To show my gratitude, I thought I should do something.  We normally thank a good human friend by taking him/er out to dinner or giving him/er a special gift ~ it's the same thinking I had here.  Then I heard the Lord say: "Just sin no more and come rest in me.  You don't need to do anything else to prove anything to me."  I was surprised that the Lord was that easy to please.  When I thought about it afterwards, it became clear that all he wants from us is our love and he's content when he receives that.  We run away from God because we create our own fictitious fear of him.          

You Must Ask to Receive

        Today's Gospel reading was taken from Mark 7.  Jesus drove the demon out of the daughter of a Greek women after she came begging him to do it.  And the Lord did just that because of her faith.  My thoughts go like this.  Obviously, Jesus can accomplish anything, but we need to ask him first.  Our world is in such a terrible mess and will remains so until it turns to the Lord to ask for help.  The solution is clear, but this generation just does not get it, at least not yet.   

The Power of God's Word

        I was very impressed by the Alleluia verse read at today's Mass from James 1: "Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls."  The message is crystal clear.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Yearning for God

        In an earlier post, I mention that God will not be happy until he has all of us.  This is also true the other way around; that is, we won't be fully happy until we have all of God.  
        At the beginning, we discover God and our life becomes meaningful.  As we get to know God better, we yearn for a more intimate relationship.  Eventually, we seek complete union with him in this life.  But God is so beautiful that even at full union the yearning for more of him does not stop.  Indeed, we and God are made for each other.  We'll never be fully content until we get to heaven.  I consider this to be our tremendously good fortune.             

Dealing with Our Enemies

        Jesus wants us to love our enemies.  Here are the various degrees of dealing with the enemies.
        (1) We hate them, wishing them the worst.
        (2) We don't like them, trying to forget them.
        (3) We still don't like them; nevertheless, we pray for them knowing that it's the right thing to do.
        (4) We see that God loves them too and no longer dislike them.  In fact, we pity them and ask God to bless them and lead them to salvation.  And we are at peace because the Lord's will has been done.

Live for God First

        In today's Gospel reading from Mark 7, Jesus points out that it's what comes out from within the heart that defiles a person.  We care so much about how we look outwardly to others and neglect to check our interiors which God alone sees.  We condition the body and forget all about the soul.  What God thinks of us is so much more important than what other people think.  Let's redress this imbalance and start living for God first.       

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Believe in the Infinite God

        We either believe in something or we don't.  Half-believing can only mean that you are not sure yet.  The space between "true" and "false" is a vacuum.  Therefore, if I believe in God, I can go all the way for he is absolutely true.  We can deepen our faith infinitely in our infinite God.  Believe and live a miraculous life.   

We Can Be Perfect!

        I've been hearing the story of creation from Genesis told at morning Masses.  God's creative power is truly awesome.  This same God has created us, and he loves us as well and wants to make us perfect, then surely he can transform us beyond our highest expectations!  If we'll just cooperate with him, there is absolutely no limit as to what we can become.

How to Fight Temptation

        In the Lord's Prayer, we ask not to be led into temptation.  If we do face temptation, what shall we do?  I see temptation as a ploy of the Devil to lure us away from the Lord.  A deceiver always uses some kind of bait to distract you first.  Temptation by definition is something that's attractive; therefore, if you fight it head-on, you lose.  Remember how we learn to drive on an icy road?  When the car skids to one side, the right thing to do is to steer the car in the same direction, just opposite to how you normally would react.  The same applies here.  When you sense temptation, run away from it as if you're really scared, and you run toward the Lord who can deliver you from all evil.     

Monday, February 7, 2011

God's Most Marvelous Creation

        Attended a different church this morning for Mass and it happened that the Mass was said by the visiting priest who's giving a mission at that parish.  From his talk, I came away realizing that we human beings are the most marvelous of all that God has created.  Look at yourself ~ we can think, talk, reason, are intelligent, and possess so many other unique qualities when compared with other creatures.   We are the crown achievement in God's creation.  We should never ever degrade ourselves (or others).  Besides, we've even been made worthy to receive the Lord himself in the form of bread and wine.  All this calls for great rejoicing!  

Science Can Block Faith

        When people put their trust in science rather than God, they are in rebellion against God because they think that they know or can know everything.  Of course, even if they know a million times more than what they've discovered so far, compared to what God knows and can do, their knowledge amounts to zilch; they're only finding out what God already knew.  Also, don't forget: God creates; we just discover. 

A Great Secure Feeling

        During prayer before Mass started, I put myself totally in God's hands and felt great security ~ it's as if I were resting in the palm of a huge cupped hand holding me up and protecting me from all evil.  It's so good to be reassured this way. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday

        Today is Super Bowl Sunday, a big, exciting day for the multitude.  People plan all their activities around the game.  There are also other worldly events that captivate and thrill the masses.  But to those who have found God exciting, captivating, and thrilling, these events no longer impact them.  Having tasted God, nothing short of him can satisfy them anymore.  I do get the feeling that when one chooses not to follow God too closely, it could be that he really does not wish to lose the enjoyment of the things he's attached to.  It's most difficult to let go of them when they give him so much pleasure.  It takes determination, courage, and prayer to get detached from such shackles.

Why We Should Believe in God

        I believed in God to fill the void in my heart, in my life.  Basically, we all look for joy and peace.  Now that I am living much closer to the Lord with a strong faith, I see things a little differently.  God created us out of love ~ no question about this.  Since the human race had gone astray, God then sent his Son Jesus to us to redeem us.  So God really wants us to be back in paradise, where we should be.  Therefore, believing in him complies with his very wish, putting us in a win-win situation.       

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Most Important Question

        Tonight while listening to a rerun of a Father Corapi talk on EWTN, this question he asked struck me as a most important question for us: "Are you ready to meet your maker?"  Don't ever live as if you are never going to die!

Be the Light of the World

        I went to Vigil Mass today.  In the Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus wanted his disciples to be the light of the world to shine before others for them to see.  Yesterday I was thinking about the various TV programs on Jesus I'd seen in the past.  He was mainly presented as a historical figure.  I hope that we disciples will be a lot more personal than that!  We must be proud of following the Master and never be ashamed of it.  I'll never forget the Olympic diver I saw on TV quite some years ago who took his time to make the sign of the cross before each dive.  I once talked to a building contractor who used the Lord's name in vain repeatedly in his speech.  I started responding to his each mention by saying "Blessed be the name of Jesus" to myself, just loud enough for him to hear ~ he got the message.  Of course, be the light for all to see doesn't imply that we become pushy or self-centered.  As the Lord instructed, we shine so that others may see our good deeds and glorify our heavenly Father. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Everything Is Healing

        God shapes us and corrects us.  He refines and purifies us.  Today I see that everything he does to us is healing, the process that makes us whole and perfect.

Serve God Now

        The best time to serve God is right now.  There is no excuse for not doing it because you think you faith is too weak or you are too busy or you don't have the talent.  God would appreciate your effort even more when you are still "little."  Your present condition is irrelevant.  Serving God is accumulating treasure in heaven, so don't pass it up. 

Follow Jesus like the Apostles

        This morning during Mass, I thought of the Apostles, who were called by the Lord and followed him all the way.  Times are different now, but it's the same Lord, the same calling.  So why not follow the Lord just like the Apostles?  This means spending time with him, listening to him, obeying him, and praying with him.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Uncluttering the Mind

        Human beings have the tendency to get curious or even nosy about what's going on about us.  In this information age, it's so easy to be drawn into watching shows on TV, reading the news (and gossips) online, or talking to friends on the phone.  We end up with so much information in the head that we hardly turn our thoughts to God anymore.  In reality, much of what we absorb may be useless if it does not draw us closer to God.  We can unclutter the mind by simply allowing ourselves to be interested in only those things that can help us glorify God, then we'll experience much tranquility in the heart. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Desire to Know Jesus

        At the Presentation of the Lord, when Simeon saw the child Jesus, he took Jesus into his arms, blessed God, and said, "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation..."  We should also desire that the Lord will not let us go in peace until we have come to know him.

God Alone Purifies Us

        From Malachi 3 at today's Mass, we read that the Lord refines and purifies his people.  There are all kinds of powers in the world, but only God has the power to cleanse the soul.  Let him do that unto us in this life to make us ready to face him in the next.   

Consecration to God

        Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  Joseph and Mary presented baby Jesus to the Lord according to the law: "Every first-born male shall be consecrated to the Lord."  We too should present ourselves (and our children) to the Lord at some point in our lifetime.  If the opportunity for making the consecration in public does not exist, we can always do it in the privacy of our own heart.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crucifixion for Us

        Today I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  As I got to the last one, the Crucifixion, I saw that Jesus was crucified on the cross because out of pure love he wanted to save us.  What can we do to express our gratitude?  We can crucify our old self and live anew in him to show that we love him.  Of course, we do not actually crucify ourselves physically, but we can certainly do that spiritually.  Then we'll be standing with the Lord on the same side, bonded by love.

Keeping Eyes Fixed on Jesus

        In Hebrews 12, today's first reading, Paul talks about keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.  I had the thought on the way to Mass that if I don't keep my eyes fixed on the Lord, I would be "wandering," the word that came to my mind.  Wandering is aimless, heading in the wrong direction most of the time, and we lose precious time.  By fixing our eyes on Jesus, we are assured that we are always going in the right direction.