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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Achieving Peace of Mind

        How to have peace of mind?  It obviously has to do with the mind.  As long as you have a lot of thoughts, good or bad, going through your mind, you will not experience peace.  "No thought" is the answer.  What I really mean is allow only necessary thoughts and not clutter the mind with any useless thoughts.  Naturally, the most necessary thought is the Lord.  Think of him first always before all other necessary thoughts and you'll have peace. 
        1 Corinthians 2.2: "I resolved that while I was with you I would think of nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified."              

Start with Union with God

        In today's first reading from Romans, Paul advises his listeners to do this, to do that, not to do this, not to do that ~ altogether twenty separate pieces of advice.  And there are so many other counsels we must remember as Christians.  Then I realize that the more we achieve union with the Lord, the more following these counsels becomes automatic.  When we achieve total union, doing all these things will be our second nature.  Aim for union with God and all will work out fine. 
        In case you haven't read my previous posts, union with God is achieved by asking the Lord to transform you, making you Christlike, through receiving the Holy Eucharist. 

Mind God's Business Alone

        As members of God's family, we must mind his business alone.  Our life must revolve around pleasing him.  Doing his will must be our sole goal.  The rewards are living a life with purpose; knowing that our eternal destiny is all set; freedom of the heart; and inner peace as promised by Christ.   

Learning from the Holy Spirit

        This morning before Mass started, I was filled with the desire to learn from the Holy Spirit.  I remember that in one period of my life, I discovered the beauty of mathematics and started taking correspondence study courses from two universities.  I finished seven courses in two years in my spare time ~ I was that hungry for math.  Now I don't need that kind of knowledge anymore ~ what I thirst for is the wisdom for me to live right and have life in the Lord, which the Holy Spirit provides.  Perhaps studying pure math was my way of getting close to God.  Now that I've known him intimately, what better and more satisfying way is there than going directly to the source for enlightenment?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jesus Is Joy

        Jesus is the cause of our joy.  He is with us and fills us with hope.  He is delightful.  He loves us and awaits us when life in this world ends.  Jesus is joy. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Death Is a Nonissue

        Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a holiday to commemorate all U.S. soldiers who died in wars.  For true Christians, death is no longer an issue.  By the promise of Christ, we shall live forever with him in heaven after death and by the power of Christ, we shall be resurrected one day.  If death is about the death of the old person, then we have already died and begun living a new life in Christ.  No matter how you look at it, death has been overcome and needs no longer be an issue.    

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We Are Truly Special

        We are the only creature (1) that was created in the image of God, (2) who can conceive God in our mind, (3) made to feel restless until we find God, (4) whose form God chose to let his Son take, (5) for whom the Son dies out of love, and (6) who is capable of understanding that God is love.
        Before God, we are nothing; yet we are also everything.  We are special!   

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Joy of the Holy Spirit

        The joy of the Holy Spirit is different from any other joy one experiences in the world.  Since the Holy Spirit dwells deep within the soul, his joy orininates from our inmost interior, welling up like water from a spring.  It intoxicates our whole being and is impossible to repress.  Like the wind, it comes and goes at the will of the Spirit.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Known by God

        Just saw a TV program on the old cemeteries in San Francisco.  Many of the buried were well known, distinguished personalities.  So I started thinking that it is a common desire for us to want to be known while we are alive and   remembered after we are gone.  Then obviously, to be known and remembered by the whole world for even a billion years is worth nothing when compared to being known and loved by God alone.  And God just happens to know every single one of us intimately and will never forget us.  Embrace him and his love now and cast away all your other cares.

Start Living in Heaven Now

        The goal is to achieve union with the Lord, and the Holy Eucharist makes it possible if you'll let it do the work.  Receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist with great reverence and all your love, and ask him to transform every part of you, every fiber and molecule of you, with his love.  Then think every thought, speak every word, and do every deed as one with the Lord.  You are now starting to live in heaven.  When you get there, there won't be much adjustment you'll need to make.              

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Being Christian Is Special

        I just caught the TV program Do Not Go Gently on PBS.  It shows the benefits of creativity among seniors.  Some of them continue to use their God-given talents to teach others or create more works for themselves.  I did catch one senior expressing his uncertainty that there's a God.  I felt sad that such a great talent did not know where his talent came from.  If you have immense creativity, keep busy, and enjoy tremendously what you are doing, but do not have Christ, then you are still earthbound and working in vain.  Being Christian is absolutely special because Christians have unchangeable vision and know exactly where they are heading.  They do not just work to keep going; they know that life is not transitory and is full of meaning.  Christ has made the difference. 

Be Pruned to Bear Fruit

        In today's Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus says that he is the true vine, his Father the vine grower, and his disciples the branches.  The Father prunes the branches so that they may bear fruit.  Whoever remains in the vine will bear much fruit and anyone who does not will be thrown out like a branch and wither.
        This is a beautiful depiction of discipleship.  If you haven't asked the Father to prune you yet, do so now.  Get all that are weak, diseased, and dead pruned away so that you may become true disciples of the Lord, bearing much fruit and glorifying the Father.
        A footnote.  The pruning process is like a good body massage.  You feel some pain when you are worked on, but you feel great afterwards.        

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Being Fed from Heaven

        I was getting a consecrated host this afternoon to take to a homebound person.  As I knelt before the tabernacle on the altar, I knew that I was going to get the bread that came directly from heaven.  Every time I receive the Holy Eucharist myself, I am being fed from heaven.  The journey toward heaven has already started on this earth.

The Sad State of the World

        There have been so many natural disasters happening around the world, almost continuously ~ earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, tornadoes, floods, mudslides, and at this moment a volcano still erupting.  The occurrences have been more violent than ever, resulting in losses and destruction on an unprecedented scale worldwide.  Does God have a message for us in all of this?
        First of all, nothing can happen without God's permission and God is always trying to speak to us one way or another.  Of course, the disasters have saddened the world, but what's even sadder is the fact that we are not aware or don't believe that God send us messages.  It's so easy to simply attribute all the happenings to nature.  Politically, mentioning God in public is no longer correct.  How often does God come into our minds?  How many Christians actually talk about how the Lord works in their lives?  Why is he always shoved into the background and ignored?  Are we ashamed of him?  Do we care more about what people think of us than what God thinks of us?  A lot more questions.  
        Yet the Father always has us in his mind, on his heart, and under his watchful eyes; but we dismiss him at will.  It's just so one-sided! Jesus, the cornerstone, was rejected by the builders; now the Lord, our creator and savior, gets ignored by his own creatures whom he loved with his own life.  What a sad state we are in!     

Three Spiritual Nourishments

        (1) Faith in God
        (2) Every word that comes forth from the mouth of God
        (3) Doing the will of God

Monday, May 23, 2011

Think Only What God Thinks

        If I have enough humility, not to receive any praise or recognition for any good I've done is not difficult to accept.  But if someone says something that's not true about me or makes me look bad, that's a lot more difficult to deal with.  After Mass during prayer, the Holy Spirit made me see that these two situations all had to do what people think of me and should be looked at the same way.  If I only care about what God, not anybody else, thinks of me, then I shouldn't have any problem.  Thank you, Lord Spirit. 

Real Presence Shows Great Mercy

        During Communion time, I was aware of the Real Presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.  Jesus could have given us just ordinary bread and wine to symbolize his true body and blood, yet he didn't ~ that's because his mercy is much, much greater!  He gave us the Real body and blood, so that we not only get to touch him, but also become one with him, achieving the most intimate union this side of heaven.   

Holy Spirit, the Great Teacher

        At this morning's Mass in John 14, Jesus said to his disciples, "The Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."  I had the strong desire to want the Holy Spirit to teach me, to illuminate my muddy mind, to make me see what's right and what's wrong, and to guide me always.  I shall now post what I did learn during and after the Mass.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jesus Is God

        Pretty much all this week in the Gospel readings this week at Mass, Jesus let it be known that he is in the Father and the Father is in him, that he and the Father are one, and that whoever has seen him has seen the Father.  In that case, Jesus is God.  In that case, we must believe in him 100%, not any less.  Once you have that rock solid faith in him, you will see wonders happen and be rewarded with deep satisfaction.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

God Makes the Difference

         Thoughts this morning.       
        Without God, I would be living a self-centered life, grabbing whatever I can for myself, wanting to do better than or at least keep up with the others, and enjoying the things of the world as much as possible.               
        With God, everything that's important before is no longer so.  Now I have him guiding and leading me ~ I do not have to struggle for myself anymore.  A new, free way of living with peace in the heart ~ it's God's way, which makes all the difference in this life, and the next too (I almost forgot).   

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ego, Still an Enemy

        I was telling a friend something.  That something was true and appropriate for the moment as it illustrated a point relevant to the topic we were on.  I realized that telling the story would reveal the fact that I was involved in a ministry that might make me look "holy" to the other person; but since that's not really my intention and the story was interesting, I went ahead and told it.  I did feel a little uncomfortable afterwards because it made me feel like a name-dropper. 
        I started thinking about this.  I feel that the buildup or formation of the self (ego) starts from the moment of our birth.  Over time through upbringing, learning, and experience, we become the center of  ourselves.  From this center, we think, speak, and do things our way.   You hear people say "That's the way I am" or "God has made me this way."  Of course, we can change; but after years of forming shields and protective layers around the ego, it becomes difficult.   Surrendering to God by displacing the ego with humility provides the solution.  Nothing is impossible with God. 

God's One-Way Giving

        After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, again I felt that the Lord had been giving me everything; that is, everything I needed and that's good for me had come from him.  Even myself he had made.  So the only logical thing left for me to do was to love him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength, as he had requested.    

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heaven, Only Sensible Choice

        I still remember when I first learned how to drive a car many years ago, I read that a head-on collision is something that I should avoid at all costs ~ it's the last thing you want on the list of accidents.  I have always remembered that.  May I say that in planning your future, eternal separation from God should be the last thing on your list of destinations.  In fact, it should be deleted from the list if you possess any good sense at all.  Therefore, aim for the only item left on the list, which is eternal union with God.  Choose it without reservation.

Between God and Us Always

        In the last two posts, I talked about the personal relationship between God and us.  This is what really matters.  When we face God alone after we die, no one can testify on our behalf anymore ~ it's between God and us all the way.  How good it would be to surrender to him now and hear the words "Well done, my good and faithful servant" and share the master's joy (Matthew 25.21) later in heaven.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Benefit of Surrender

        I must mention one great benefit of surrender to God ~ you get to "see" the great beauty of God, out of this world.  When it happens, the heart and soul are overwhelmed by delight.

Surrender Leads to Freedom

        You hear a lot about the importance of having a personal relationship with God.  But a personal relationship could be quite superficial, intimate, or anywhere in-between.  If you want to go all the way, then surrender to God.  When you do it, you will realize that this is something you should have done way at the beginning.  It marks the end of your rebellion and the beginning of true freedom of the heart.  Now you and God are on the same side. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three Joyful Things

        From today's first reading from Acts 11, I heard that certain early converts, before they were known as Christians, started proclaiming the Lord Jesus.  That brought joy to my heart.  To proclaim the Lord is one of the most joyful things to do.  The other two joyful things are hearing the voice of the Lord and following him.    

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Ideal Relationship to Be In

        I've been thinking about how we should relate to God.  In today's Gospel reading from John 10, Jesus says that he is the good shepherd who will lay down his life for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and they know him.  As one of his sheep, I am loved by him and am absolutely safe with him.  I hear his voice and he hears mine.  This is truly the ideal relationship for us to be in. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

God's Love, Our Only Hope

        Watching the news is depressing.  There is so much disregard of the human life, so many assaults on the human dignity.  Revenge is widespread and rampant.  People actually are happy when others suffer or die.  Many look after their own interests only and don't care about the rest of humanity. 
        Don't they know that God is love?   The love of God can take away our sins, purify the soul, and transform the human heart.  This love is our only hope for reversing the downslide of our world; but the people must believe in it, accept it, and ask for it first to gain salvation.  Ignoring this love is to bring condemnation on themselves.   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Christ Is Our Test

        Tests show what we are truly made of.  On a battlefield, one finds out whether he is brave or timid.  In court, some will lie and others won't.  And there are ones who can be bought with money if the offer is right.  I can easily think of a situation for each of the Ten Commandments in which one may fail to obey.  Christ is a test for us because he challenges us.  Basically, our response to him exposes whether he is more important than us or not.   

Live for Heaven

        Most people as they grow up begin to set goals for their lives.  The general goal is usually to make a lot of money as quickly as possible.  More specific goals might be to become lawyers, doctors, or engineers.  There are also poorer families whose only wish is to earn enough money to put their children through college so that they will have a better life.  But there is a lot more to live for than just this life.  To be truly farsighted and plan for eternal security, we should make heaven our primary goal.  That is, we should live for heaven.  This is what God wants us to do as he always wants the very best for us.         

Friday, May 13, 2011

Paul's Conversion Gives Evidence

        The 1st Reading at Mass from Acts 9 begins an account of Paul's dramatic conversion. Here was a powerful person who threatened and imprisoned the  Christians. I am sure that no one at the time could possibly have expected him to change sides, but by the grace and power of God, he did become a disciple after Christ called him. To me, this is strong, positive evidence that Christ is real and Christ is God. Again, nothing is impossible with God. 

Eucharist, the Most Holy Sacrament

        Again in today's Gospel reading at Mass, John 6.52-59, Jesus spoke clearly: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you."  He emphasized this several times more in this passage.  Try adding the word "symbolically" after "Man" and Blood" and reread the whole sentence.  You'll see that the word "symbolically" is totally out of place. 
        Jesus fulfilled his promise by instituting the Holy Eucharist later at the Last Supper. 

In Harmony with God's Will

        Picture the will of God as a river flowing with sparkling, clean, refreshing water.  To do his will, you just get in and let the water keep you afloat and the flow carry you downstream without your having to expend much effort on your own.  When you are in harmony with the will of God, it will carry you, making the task easy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Holy Eucharist Is Real Flesh

        Today's Gospel reading was from John 8.  Jesus declared to the crowds: "I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”  It cannot be clearer that the Holy Eucharist Jesus instituted is the real body and blood of himself. 
        Just before receiving him at Mass this morning, I asked the Lord to crush (the old) me so that I might be entirely at his disposal.

Easy to Follow God

        Picture the will of God as a flowing river of sparkling, clean, refreshing water.  If you are in harmony with God's will, it's like getting in the river and flowing right along with the water.  God keeps you afloat and the water carries you forward without having to expend much of your own effort.  Following the Lord is easy if you let him lead you.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to Enjoy God

        Trust in God 100%.  Let his love take over so that you love everyone as yourself.  Focus upon him alone and keep out all non-essential, distracting thoughts.  Then nothing will bother you anymore ~ you can just "sit back" and enjoy the peace and freedom from God.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Living the Present Moment

        I talked about living the moment before.  By living the moment, I mean being content and doing your best to serve God.  If you don't live the moment, then it's lost and gone forever.  If you dwell upon your past, you are not living the moment.  If you are not content now and hope that the future will be better, you are not living the moment.  The present moment is the only moment you have.  To dwell upon the past and/or future is to not live at all. 

Pollution of the Soul

      Pollution of the environment is real and of big concern to the world today.  I mention pollution because as I look around, I see, hear, and read things that mostly pollute the soul.  If you don't watch out, they can easily sink you.  Therefore, a firm foundation grounded in the Lord and his word is imperative for safeguarding the soul.  

Peter Spoke the Truth

        If you have read through the Gospels, you've probably found out that the Apostle Peter was an honest, straightforward guy, never devious or deceptive in any way.  He did deny the Lord three times after his arrest, but that's because he got confused and afraid.  After the Resurrection, he was a changed man.  Hearing his bold proclamation as an eye witness in Acts 2:14, 22-23 during yesterday's Sunday Mass reading confirmed once again my belief that Jesus is the true God.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Mary

        Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I'd like to say something on behalf of our Holy Mother Mary.  I entered the Church as a Protestant and I did experience some difficulty in approaching Mary at the beginning.  (Read my conversion story which started this blog.)  I think it's because as a Protestant, I always prayed to God or Jesus.  Praying to Mary was unthinkable because it would make me feel that I am giving away part of my allegiance to Jesus. 
        Another problem is that Protestants and Catholics understand the word "pray" differently.  They both pray to God... which is fine.  When Catholics pray to Mary or an angel or any other saint, they just talk to them, much like talking to someone over the phone.  Somehow when that someone is already in heaven, the word "talk" gets substituted by the word "pray."  Also, in the Catholic view, all saints in heaven and on earth form one big family.  Asking Mary to pray for us is just like asking another brother or sister in Christ on earth to pray for us.  (God alone, not Mary or anyone else, we worship.)  
        Mother Mary always points out her Son to us, never drawing any attention to herself.  She prays unceasingly for all of us.  She is my partner in doing God's will.  The more I love her, the more I love Jesus.  Mary and Jesus are inseparable and we are inseparable from their love, God's love for us.  So, Happy Mother's Day, Dearest Mom.         

Celebrating Death

        I am talking about the death of one's old self.  This death is to be celebrated as it brings great joy to God. 

Asking God to Be Thorough

        Today at Communion time, I asked Jesus to take away not only my sins, but also my tendencies to sin.  I want God to be thorough with me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Indwelling Holy Trinity

        I don't see God, but I know that he fills the entire universe.
        I don't see Jesus, but I sense his love for all souls.
        I don't see the Holy Spirit, but I can tell that he is constantly teaching me.
        I know that the Holy Trinity dwells within me.

What We Need in Life

        Wouldn't you like to have someone who can protect and shield you from all evil and is totally trustworthy?
        Wouldn't you like to have a great friend who will always listen to what's on your mind and in your heart with patience and understanding and then help you?  
        Wouldn't you like to have a most wise teacher who can advise you, guide you, and teach you how to live happily in freedom?
        If you answer yes all three times, then look no further.  Our God in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is exactly what you need.

Jesus Takes Away Sins

        Just before receiving Holy Communion this morning, I really felt that Jesus was going to take away all my sins and I was ready to go to him.  Great mercy from him and great freedom for me.

God Is Always Ahead

        In today's Gospel reading from John 6, we read that a large crowd was coming to Jesus.  And he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" to test him, knowing well what he was going to do.  The multiplication of five barley loaves and two fish followed and there was more than enough to feed the five thousand. 
        A good lesson for us here.  The Lord does test us from time to time, but we can handle that knowing that he already knows what he is going to do with us.  This is just too good to be true.  Our part is to trust and wait.     

Suffering for the Sake of Jesus

        From Reading 1 from Acts 5 at Mass: "The Apostles rejoiced that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name of Jesus."  If we are not willing to suffer a little bit for the sake of Jesus, who willingly gave up his own life for our sake, then what are we?  To suffer for Jesus is an honor and should bring great joy. 

Real Presence Is Real!

        Today's Entrance verses from Revelation 5: "By your blood, O Lord, you have redeemed us from every tribe and tongue, from every nation and people..."  This made me think that Jesus had let his real body be nailed to a cross and his real blood flow to redeem us, but instituted Holy Communion at the Last Supper using bread and wine as mere symbolic representations of his body and blood with no real presence... no way!  Jesus broke the bread and actually said, "This is my body" and took the cup of wine and said, "This is the cup of my blood" to his disciples.  Protestants, you don't know what you are missing!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Be Detached to Others

        The following thought just surfaced in my mind.  Someone close to me will be moving away from me soon and I felt a tinge of sadness.  Then I realized that if that person (or anyone for that matter) is moving away from Jesus, I would feel even sadder.  I'd rather have everyone stay close to him than me.  Again, I must be attached to the Lord alone and detached to all others. 

How to Shine in the World

        To be a shining light in this dark world as Christ had commanded, let everything you do be motivated by the love of Christ.  (If you are already in love with him, then you must already be doing it.) 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Love with God

        When you are in love with God, you become attached to him alone; you think of him constantly; and you care foremost what makes him happy or sad.  This is an elevated state of living.

To Be Open and Honest to God

        Today's Gospel reading from John 3 again reminds us that Jesus is the light that came into the world.  Whoever lives the truth goes toward the light so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.  Having not done wicked things, he can confidently lay his heart open before the light, making a full disclosure.  This is the basis for forming a good, honest relationship with God ~ nothing hidden and everything shared.    

Seeking Refuge in God

        In general, people turn to God when they face crises.  But it would be so much better to do it every time your interior peace is disturbed.  This would provide plenty of opportunities for us to show our trust and to get close to him.  This is truly seeking refuge in the Lord.   

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Be Wanted or Not

        Bin Laden was finally killed.  A lot of people are joyful and many consider this to be a great victory for this country.  I am not going to comment on this.  I am only concerned about if the Lord is happy about this or not.  I remember the ten commandments he gave us, and how he loves all of us.  I know how the whole heaven rejoices when one sinner returns to the Father and saddens if one single soul is lost. 
        Bin Laden had been the most wanted man.  No one would want to be in that position.  Then I think of the unborn unwanted by so many ~ they are in an even worse position.  Perhaps the best position to be in is to remain unnoticed in this world.  Well, we are all most wanted by God ~ let's not forget.  This puts us in the luckiest position. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lord, What Do You Want to Do with Me?

        This is the key question that matters.  I believe that the Lord wants us to please him alone.  Despite our inadequacies, born deficiencies, and any other disadvantages, let the Lord prune our imperfections, spiritual flaws, and all that's not desirable to him from us.  Let his will be done to us.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Inadequacy Is OK

        Today my own inadequacy in a certain situation showed up.  I realized that only God is perfect and there were no doubt many others who could have done a much job better than I in the same situation.  I am glad that pride was not able to intrude upon me.