Since I won't be able to attend Mass tomorrow morning, I went to today's Vigil Mass. This was a thought I had during Mass, which is fitting on this last day of April: "There is nothing I can claim to be mine except Jesus. Once I have him, then I have everything as well."
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Had these thoughts this morning. If you're already in heaven and look back on your life on earth, I am positive that you will see that all the things to which you were attached on earth were burdens and will not ever want them again. So the time to be detached from them is now, on earth, just to lighten the baggage on your way to heaven.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
At Holy Communion time at Mass, I realized that it's all about love. God enters me because he loves me; I receive him because I love him. When you live for love and live in love, sin cannot exist. Where God shines, darkness cannot be. Bask in God's love and enjoy it to the fullest.
Since I am already a believer, all things about Jesus ~ the early prophecies, the coming of the Lord, his life, the fulfillment of the prophecies, how he transforms others... ~ fit together perfectly. If you are not a believer yet, I dare say that if you remain objective and open, you will find that Jesus is the true God. If you think that some of the things about him are incredible, that's because he is an incredible God! Would you rather look for an ordinary God?
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 24, Jesus showed up in the midst of his disciples after his Resurrection, showed them his hands and feet and pointed out that everything written about him in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled. He had pointed out earlier again and again that he came to fulfill what is written. While our mission may not be as specific as the Lord's, it is totally clear that we should do God's will always. Let us remember that this is what we are here to fulfill.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The word "surrender" can have unpleasant connotations. You think of surrendering to your enemy, loosing your freedom, etc. But this is being unfair to the word. Think of surrendering to God. Now you have reconciled to your maker, you are home, you experience true freedom, you have secured eternal life, and much more. Here, surrendering leads to all the good things.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
To be able to "see" or understand God, humility is absolutely necessary. It's like having the right password when you want to get on a website. Otherwise, you can have eyes but still do not see; a mind but still do not comprehend. That's why many who possess knowledge of the world and/or want to be masters on their own do not let themselves go; instead they keep doubting, questioning... and never get to know or come closer to God. They make it hard for themselves.
At Mass today, the thought that Jesus was going to enter me again overwhelmed me. He had already filled me to the brim and showered me with graces. His love had been crushing and I remained unworthy. It all seemed so lopsided. Nevertheless, how could I possibly turn him away? I had gone beyond the point of no-return, with great joy.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Watched part of a TV program on Bible study. The thought that came to me was that studying the Scriptures can help one understand and appreciate his faith, but if all that knowledge does not make him love Christ, then it's all wasted effort. As Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 13: "If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge... but don't have love, I am nothing." The bottom line is that loving the Lord must come before all else.
No, this has nothing to do with the cult Transcendental Meditation. The thought came to me after the last post, in which I pointed out that God is transcendental. That is, he is not limited by time nor space. God is "I AM," the Alpha and Omega. He is eternal, infinite, and the same forever. With such a view, then we should not see the coming of Christ into the world 2,000 years ago as just an event in the past, for he is just as present with us today. And we can follow him just as the Apostles did and enjoy the same intimacy and joys the saint had in their lives. Our experience with the Lord can be live! So, believe and live as if Jesus is right now with you in the world, because he is! This is what I mean by transcendental living ~ it is real living. The reward is great.
In today's Gospel from Matthew 28, after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were told by an angel at the tomb that Jesus had been raised from the dead, they were overjoyed. This is the joy of Resurrection! If we love Jesus as both Marys did, we should be overjoyed too. Since Jesus transcends both time and space, so do all his gifts. We can feel today exactly how his early followers felt. What a great blessing!
Today's Communion verse at Mass, Romans 6.9: "We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him." The fact is that nothing, nothing ever had or can have power over God, since he is the source of all power. This means that we'd better be aware of our own place before him. Some may think that they have a lot of power in this world, but the truth is that they have only temporary, limited power over those in the lower echelons, while their own destinies lie completely in God's hands.
Do you realize that we are the only creatures in this world who have rebelled against God and gone astray? It has happened precisely because we've forgotten our proper place before God. We are the problem, not God. May this realization make us relinquish our "power" and submit ourselves to the all-powerful (but most loving) Father.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Why is it that people love to criticize or judge others? Why is it that they don't see any big faults of their own, yet notice the small imperfections in others? Why do they spend so much time reading or talking about other people? Why are they so interested in other people's businesses or personal affairs? Could it be because their minds are so occupied that they do not experience peace in their hearts anymore?
Be interested and get curious about God first is the remedy for this spiritual shortcoming.
What a beautiful Easter day! A perfect day for us to renew ourselves spiritually. By trusting in the Risen Lord, our eternal life is assured. The sun may or may not rise tomorrow morning, but God's word is absolutely certain. When Mary of Magdala, Peter, and John first discovered the empty tomb, they were not sure what had happened before they finally understood. If you today believe without a doubt that Jesus is risen, then you should realize that it's such a big blessing and rejoice extra about that.
It is clear that we live in a crazy, troubled world that's mostly secular, materialistic, and self-serving, with violence, misery, suffering everywhere around the globe. I dare say that sin is the biggest cause of this deplorable condition. Christians of weak faith sin much like nonbelievers. So what are true followers of Christ to do? To help fight the spiritual battle, God wants us to "hide humbly in Christ." This is because anyone who has pride becomes an easy target for the Evil One. By hiding in Christ, he gains even more humility. In this state, he is secure and the Evil One is powerless to touch him.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
I've seen too many cases of people who establish relationships with others, either out of loneliness or other needs, and end up unhappy. I believe that a good relationship with God must be established first, then we'll have a foundation upon which to base all other relationships. With God, there cannot be unhappy endings (and I am not even thinking of eternal life).
Friday, April 22, 2011
Yesterday morning I started feeling sick ~ it was like all the energy had been drained out of my body and I felt so tired. A mild fever developed later too. I had no choice but to go to bed. In this state, I became sharply aware of the fact that the physical life is totally at the mercy of our physical health. When the body goes, this life ends. But as long as my soul is secure in the Lord, this undeniable fact should not cause any major concern. Besides, I think some suffering during this Holy Week is appropriate and edifying, considering how much Christ underwent for us. I feel much better today. Easter offers new hope to all.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Today's Communion verse, Matthew 20.28: "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." I am thinking that if someone donates an organ for me to live, I would be most grateful. And if another actually saves my life from danger, we probably will be bonded for life. Here we have God giving his own life to rescue us, what is our response?
As I drove to Mass this morning, I could see that it's a gloomy day with grey clouds covering the entire sky. Then I thought of my heart in which Christ dwells ~ there just won't be any gloom. With his light shining, the heart won't ever get tarnished either.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit dwells, the Father and the Son are there too. To make sure that the Lord will reside comfortably within us, it is good to let the Holy Spirit be in charge of directing us in our thoughts, words, and deeds so as to keep the temple clean.
This is what I saw during prayer before Mass. If we abandon ourselves to God, then we do not need to struggle on our own anymore. We leave all to God. We are in his hands and he will take care of everything. We trust and do only what he calls us to do. Thus we trust the Father as Jesus did and we become like him ~ union is then attained.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Today during Mass, I felt that I really knew Jesus better than anybody else I ever knew in this life, even though I had never seen him. Of course, he already knows everything about me. When I see him face to face, my yearning will cease as our union reaches perfection.
There is really only one "correct" love, God's love. Not knowing God, the human love is self-centered and can become possessive and jealous. Strictly speaking, this is not even love. On the other hand, the love of God is liberating ~ it frees you because you are now motivated by the Holy Spirit to love for the sheer joy of loving God, not expecting any reward.
If one has a clean conscience and pure heart and loves the Lord, there is really nothing for him to fear. He is ready for the Lord to come at any time. Psalm 27, today's Responsorial Psalm at Mass, starts out: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?"
Now, consider those in the world who are powerful, famous, wealthy, and influential. They appear to be fearless, but will they not cringe when they face the Lord? This is the true test.
If you want to be truly fearless, get the Lord on your side first.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
More thoughts on Palm Sunday. Jesus has come and brought us the good news. I say "shocking" because it's too good to be true and too good for those who believe. God loves us and through Jesus, we learn what our Father is like. Jesus has revealed the whole truth to us for our salvation. There is just no more news as good as the gospel.
This is Palm Sunday, the day the Lord rode triumphantly into Jerusalem atop an ass, only to be crucified on a cross. I would like to extol the love of God.
(1) The love of God is the most beautiful thing in this world.
(2) The love of God is the only thing that can transform us into beautiful sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father.
(3) The love of God is the only thing that can give us true peace of the mind and freedom of the heart.
(4) Only the love of God makes it possible for us to have eternal life.
The real good news is that you don't need to go search for this love; it is always there and is yours when you open your heart to Jesus.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Watched a documentary on a once world-famous painter. Here's an extremely talented, young artist, totally immersed in the world, creating amazing works, and became great in the eyes of the world. He continued to seek more respect and success in the art world. In the end unhappiness drove him to taking drugs and he died young and lonely. I am lead to think that how infinitely better it would be to immerse oneself in God, be content to remain unknown, and do works to please the Lord alone. This is true liberation.
In today's Gospel reading from John 10, some Jews were ready to stone Jesus. Since Jesus is the light of the world, those in darkness did not like him, hated him, and even killed him at the end. It is no different today. They now hide and run away from him, ignore him, mock him, or even attack outright his Church and followers. He brings division and discomfort to many in this sinful world, precisely because he is the truth, and truth matters.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I have posted before about the immense universe we live in and how amazing it is that God loves us on this earth not even the size of a dust particle in its surroundings. I had no say when I came into this world. All this and more made me feel small and helpless on my own ~ I just needed my creator, my God. Then Jesus came and made everything clear. My wish was fulfilled. I am grateful and have now the peace that the Lord has intended for me as his child.
God looks at the heart only ~ I have mentioned this at various times in the past. Today it got my attention again. My throat felt slightly sore last night and as I was to receive the Lord in Holy Communion at morning Mass, I knew that I must have a lot of bacteria on me and physically, I wasn't too clean either. I realized that the only thing that matters to the Lord is whether my heart is clean or not. If it is and is filled with the love of Christ, then it's ready for him. The spiritual life is really about purifying the heart so that we may approach God with freedom. When a soul with a pure heart embraces the Most Holy God, it is pure joy!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
In today's Gospel reading from John 8, Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I can personally testify that Jesus did set me free ~ my heart tells me so. Jesus cleanses and refreshes me by freeing me from the shackles of sin. Anytime a sinful thought surfaces, it's as if I feel the taste of something awful in my mouth and want to spit it right out. After tasting the sweetness and joy of the Lord, sin has become loathsome. Yes, Jesus is the truth!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
As I was getting ready this morning to visit some homebound folks, as soon as I got a little elated about sharing some of my good thoughts with them, I sensed that I was leading the Lord again. So I banished them right away and expected to lean upon him for total support and guidance. I have learned that it pleases him the most if we stay with him, neither rushing ahead nor lagging behind.
The idea for this post came from today's 1st reading, Numbers 21:4-9.
Take a good look at Jesus. If you believe, then you shall live. If you don't, then only you are the cause, for the Lord is ready at any time to welcome and embrace you. He has done his part: he came to us, preached the good news and worked miracles, died for us and rose again. Just what else do you expect to see? To reject the Lord is to reject love, eternal life, and yourself. Jesus is the life. Choose life and you shall have life. Take a good look at him again.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The love of Christ is beautiful, sweet, and purifying. It can burn, but never hurts the heart. In fact, it cleanses and soothes it. This love is what love is all about, because it touches the soul and the whole being. It renews us, transforms us, places us on a higher plane of existence, and draws us into union with him. When I received Christ in Holy Communion this morning, I encountered this love.
God's depth is unfathomable in his love, mercy, patience, wisdom, understanding, and more. Therefore, we can go as deep as we wish to discover more of his wonders, receive more of his riches, and be transformed more to be like Jesus. This adventure is all ours to embark on.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Yesterday I talked about the world appearing unreal to me because I had changed. Now I remember the first time I read about Mother Teresa in the newspaper decades ago. My first reaction was that it was unbelievable that someone would give up the pleasures of the world and go serve the poor and the dying in India ~ this was being extreme. The news in a way "shocked" my conscience and I eagerly shared it with others. I admit that deep down that I felt a great respect for her. Also, I used to think that monks who live in secluded monasteries were not being productive, as they did not do anything constructive to benefit the society. I now know better. Mother Teresa was doing the most noble thing ~ loving God by serving others as Jesus had commanded. And the monks prayed and strove to be holy ~ practicing their faith and doing what most pleased God. I am truly thankful that by the grace of God, I had come a long way.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I caught a show on TV showing how you can do all kinds of exercises at home to shape your body. While this is a good show, somehow it was unreal to me. Then I thought of all the normal activities most people engaged in ~ playing electronic games, watching entertaining TV shows, shopping for fun, etc. Now the whole world looked unreal ~ it's the real world looking unreal. I think it's because after you get to know Christ, you find out what truth is and what real living is all about. Anything you do that does not advance you spiritually seems to be more or less a waste of time. This is where that "unreal" feeling came from.
To love God, we must focus upon him alone and not get sidetracked by or become attached to anything along the way. As St. John of the Cross said, if a beautiful statue or image draws us to the Lord, we must never become attracted to it and lose sight of the Lord it represents. On a pilgrimage, even if I witness a miracle, I should not let it distract me from my concentration on the Lord. We are to zero in on him alone, the Lord of all.
Friday, April 8, 2011
When I was about to receive Holy Communion this morning, I felt that it was just too overwhelming to receive the Lord daily for a wretched sinner like me, then I also felt that he would not mind entering me again because of my love and yearning for him. He won out.
Today I see that the Communion of Saints we believe in is a beautiful thing. All members of the Church, living or dead, in heaven or in purgatory, are in spiritual union, forming part of the Mystical Body of Christ. When I pray, it is a comfort to know that the angels and saints can intercede for me. They are my family and my support. We've all heard stories of people who died and came back. After the soul left the body, they could see what took place around the dead body. This reinforced my belief that all angels and saints,through the power of God, can know everything about us. We are not alone; we belong to the big family of God.
Naturally, the first thing is that you desire to know him; that is, you are open to him. Then he will start drawing you. This is the beginning. The process is gradual, but may accelerate at some points depending upon your disposition. You may not feel much that he is drawing you, then one day you look back and will see that the Lord is a lot closer to you than before. You reach the point at which you are aware of his holy presence at every moment, day and night. This is a great blessing, as it helps you stay holy.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
When I received the Lord this morning in the Holy Eucharist, the bread of heaven entered me and I realized that Christ is now part of me. I, a little branch, am now totally grafted onto him, the vine. He feeds me to keep me living and I become part of him. This is union, fulfillment. I now lack nothing.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
This morning when I was feeling content and peaceful in the Lord after Mass, all the past unhappy, painful experiences of life seemed to have receded and faded away. This verse from Revelation came to my mind: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Thoughts this morning before Mass. To be safe from fall, humility is absolutely necessary. A humble soul is one that dwells securely in the Lord. To become humble, one must want to be like Jesus, our perfect model of humility. And this brings us right back to union with the Lord.
When I received Holy Communion this morning, I saw again that I could not just regard this reception as taking any kind of food. This reception must effect a deep union with the Lord, ultimately if not instantly. This is what the Lord desires and how the soul finds perfect rest.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In today's Gospel reading from John 5, Jesus saw a man lying by a pool and knew that he had been ill for a long time. He said to him, "Do you want to be well?" And because of his helplessness, Jesus cured him.
I can't help sensing that at times Jesus asks us this same question too. If you hear his voice, don't pass up the opportunity to answer yes. Better yet, ask him to make you well before you hear him ask.
The last line in the poem Do It Anyway attributable to Mother Teresa reads, "In the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and other people anyway" (see post of 8/27/10). All of us must deal with God in the end. If someone mistreats you, he or she will have to face God. About how we react to that person, we'll have to face God too. Realizing this fact, we can learn to remain cool in dealing with others in all things.
Before Mass I was thinking how beautiful my Catholic faith was. (I don't even consider Catholicism a religion because to me it's simply the truth.)
(1) The message is crystal clear. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.
(2) God's relationship to us is made absolutely clear. He is our loving Father and Jesus not only our God, but also our brother and our servant.
(3) God is Love and Mercy. You cannot find another god like that.
Monday, April 4, 2011
I am thinking that the Apostles had Jesus with them all the time, following him around, absorbing all his teachings, and watching him perform all the miracles. We don't have the Lord physically with us, but we can also follow him like the Apostles. We know that the Lord is with us as he had promised. He'd given us the Holy Spirit, our Paraclete. Especially when we receive him in the Holy Eucharist, we reaffirm our oneness with him. In a way, we are more intimate than following him around in person. As far as his teachings are concerned, the Church has it all. He is still doing miracles today among all of us. Yes, we are absolutely close to him.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
This morning's Gospel reading at Mass was taken from John 9. The story about Jesus opening the eyes of the man blind from birth is just beautiful. Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world and then made the blind man see. We can ask the Lord to shine his light on our hearts too to remove any blind spots he sees.
As Jesus made it clear to the Pharisees later on, true seeing is not seeing with our eyes ~ it's seeing with the heart. We can have perfect vision and still be blind to the truth. O Lord, shine your light upon us so that we may be cleansed of our sins.
As Jesus made it clear to the Pharisees later on, true seeing is not seeing with our eyes ~ it's seeing with the heart. We can have perfect vision and still be blind to the truth. O Lord, shine your light upon us so that we may be cleansed of our sins.
Today's First Reading is taken from 1 Samuel 16. God lets Samuel know that man sees the appearance but he looks into the heart. Time and again, I have assessed a person based upon his appearance and even his speech and I turn out to be wrong. Only God knows what is hidden in the heart. Our hearts are for God alone to see and examine in secret. You could say that to become holy is basically a process of preparing and purifying the heart so that it becomes presentable to the Lord.
The current horrible news is that violence has spread in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of innocent lives and more hatred against the United States and the West ~ all triggered by the people's anger over the burning of the Quran by a Florida pastor. My thoughts are that a Christian should always act out of love for others and never, never do anything that will turn nonbelievers away from Christ. That particular pastor obviously doesn't know Christ well and has done something foolish. Anyone without true humility becomes an easy target for Satan to deceive.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
In yesterday's Gospel reading from Mark 12, Jesus taught that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. When I thought about this, it is really the only logical, sensible way for us to respond or relate to God, for he is our infinite creator, so much greater than us finite creatures. In addition, he had shown that he loved us so much that he gave his only Son so that we might be saved. To not love him as we are called to would make us both rebellious and ungrateful.
Friday, April 1, 2011
The process of spiritual growth may be depicted in various ways, depending upon what yardstick you use for measurement. Here's a not-so-precise depiction:
(1) You search for God to fill the void in your life.
(2) You find Christ, believe in him, and life becomes meaningful. You still learn more and more about him.
(3) You finally know the Lord so well that there is no more questioning, doubting. You fully embrace him and he is no longer mysterious to you. You happily follow him everywhere at all times.