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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Soul More Important than Body

        I got the idea for this message from reading City of God by Mary of Agreda.  
        Body and soul ~ these are what each of us possesses.  The temporal goods are created by God for the sole purpose of sustaining life.  This need is easily satisfied, yet we devote so much time, so much care, so much physical exertion, and so much mental power to the life of the body, of which we know not the duration nor the end.  On the other hand, how much time do we spare on the poor soul?  For some, perhaps just  one hour near the end of life?  Such disproportion must be addressed and corrected for the sake of the soul, which is infinitely more important than the body.  

The Same True Church

        In Matthew 16, Jesus said to Peter, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."  Many Christian denominations and sects today claim that the Catholic Church had gone astray and no longer taught what Christ handed down, but none of them can pinpoint exactly when and how it happened.  Nevertheless, this claim basically says that the gates of the netherworld had prevailed against the Church, thus contradicting what Jesus had said.  In my view, this is a most serious offense committed against God.  I challenge all to read the early history of the Church and the writings of early church fathers to find out who had gone astray, the Church or those you're following who, interestingly enough, don't agree among themselves.  The fact that the Catholic Church alone has the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, preserved for over 2,000 years speaks for itself.     

Returning to God Is Homebound

        To believe in God, you must acknowledge that he is the one who did create you ~ in fact, in his image.  Then you will realize that he, being your creator, is truly the dearest person to you.  By obeying and following him through Christ, you will return to him in heaven ~ that's going home to your Father who loves you and is waiting for you.  Remember this all the days of your life on earth.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Learning in Sickness

        I've been quite sick, especially yesterday.  It could be a cold, allergy, or a virus, or mixed.  It started out with a sore throat, then followed by a running nose and a cough.  The last was the worst ~ a non-stopping cough can really hurt your entire chest.  I thought of how much a healthy person can do.  He can build a castle, a skyscraper, or even more; but a sick person is totally helpless in performing any physical work.  The only prayer I was able to say in this state was the holy name "Jesus."
        Good things that came out of sickness:  (1) I learned to be patient.  (2) I saw a chance to offer up my sufferings to God and be more united with Christ.  (3) Now that I know what suffering is like, I could mentally pray for the souls in purgatory.  It's my understanding that these souls depend totally upon our prayers as they have no power to alleviate their own sufferings in any way.  The saints in heaven cannot pray directly for them either, but they can intercede for us if we initiate such prayers.     

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sharing the Saints' Belief

        When Jesus asked Peter, "Who do he say that I am?"  Peter replied, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."  Today is the Memorial of St. Martha.  She also told Jesus, "I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  It gives me great joy to know that the saints and I share the same belief.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Against Organized Religion?

        Many who do not believe in the Church often give the reason that they do not like organized religions.  If that's the case, then do they have a one-to-one relationship with God?  Do they ever kneel and pray to God on their own?  I doubt it very much.  I believe that it's a pretext they use most of the time for not wanting to submit themselves ~ the pride again.  "Don't tell me what to do" ~ you hear that all the time.  Pro-abortion people are like that.  Nations are like that.  People want to be their own god and we end up with billions of gods and a chaotic world.  Disobedience (pride) is the root of all disorder.   

Lord, Make Us Holy

        The Entrance verse, Reading 1 and the Responsorial Psalm at today's Mass are all about "dwelling."  We dwell in a physical body, we dwell in our house... but no dwelling place in this life is permanent or safe for us.  The only permanent, safe place is the Lord himself.  How wonderful it is to dwell in him all the days of our life now and forever later.  Don't forget that for us who were baptized in the Lord and receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily, the Lord dwells in us too.  Our cry to him must be "Make us holy" so that the Lord and we shall be comfortable dwelling in each other.

Avoid Making Sin Attractive

        I'm now going through The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Vol. 2.  She talks about the many things of the world making sin attractive...  "Making sin attractive" ~ this description stopped me in reading.  It's obvious a sin to make sin attractive to others.  I am thinking that if you open a shop just selling luxurious clothing to appeal to rich women's vanity or to make them look sexy ~ that's making sin attractive.  I can also mention video games, shows on TV, etc.  In summary, anything you do that makes others less holy is, to put it mildly, not a good idea since we are to bring all closer to God, who is all holy.   

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our Soul, God's Concern

        I developed a sore throat today and prayed for healing.  Of course, the Lord does not always comply with our request of this sort right away.  Then I realize that it's only with healing of the body that it is so.  With healing of the soul, he never delays ~ that's because the soul exists forever and is so much more important than the body, which is here today and gone tomorrow.  We repent for our sins and we are forgiven instantly.  The Lord is most concerned about our souls ~ he wants us to be perfect, to be holy ~ starting right now; whereas the body can wait.    

Letting God Affect Us

        In today's Reading 1 from Exodus 34 at Mass, we learned that while Moses was conversing with God, the skin of his face became radiant.  The Lord can truly affect us in a radical way.  Surrender to him and he'll make you heart radiant!  

Why Surrender Feels Good

        To have surrendered to God is to have conquered oneself ~ that's why it's such a good feeling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rejoice in the Lord

        At Mass this morning at the seminary chapel, I thought of the new parish church that'd be completed in a few months and morning Mass would probably be said at the new church and not at the seminary anymore.  I've been attending daily Mass at this chapel for over three and a half years and have received so many graces that the thought of going to Mass somewhere else  saddened me a little.  Then I heard the Lord pipe up saying that I should be detached from any physical location and that as long as he is in me, I should always rejoice.  Of course, he was right.     

Monday, July 25, 2011

The One Thing Sufficient for Us

        Love of God.

Power of the Holy Eucharist

        After receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist today, I heard myself saying interiorly "I'll never be the same again."  (Someone with musical talent could write a song with that title.) 

Forgetting Ourselves in Serving God

        Today is the Feast of St. James, Apostle.  In Reading 1 from 2 Corinthians 4, Paul talks about how he is constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus in serving the Corinthians and others.  Therefore, in serving the Lord we should forget all about ourselves and see Jesus alone in the ones we serve.  In fact, in praising the Lord, in worshipping him, in adoring him, we should also forget about ourselves and see the Lord only. 

Care More and Less

        Care more about the things of God to deepen your union with him and care less about the things of the world to gain more freedom of the heart.  (The goal: Care only about the things of God and nothing about the things of the world.) 

Amazing Lord and Servant

        I've been thinking that Jesus is our Lord, yet he's our servant at the same time ~ what an amazing combination!  If you look at his life, he was meek and humble, willingly giving up his own life on the cross; yet you know that he's no ordinary man, as his teaching was authoritative and his deeds awe-inspiring.  You adore and fear him at the same time.  The greatest came and stooped low to serve us ~ only God can accomplish this.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jesus, the Judge of All Beauties

        Once you have discovered the beauty of Christ, all true beauties in the world are made even more beautiful and all false beauties are exposed and made ugly.  The beauty of the Lord judges all other beauties. 

The Holy Spirit Unveils Us

        Within each one of us, there is a conscience, but we can easily ignore or smother it and commit sins.  Once you let the indwelling Holy Spirit work on you, he unveils your conscience and makes you see clearly what's right and what's wrong. 

Where Is Your Treasure?

        St. Jerome used to spend much time reading profane works by the pagan writer Cicero and others.  During a sickness, he saw himself transported before the tribunal of God, who asked him who he was.  "I am a Christian," Jerrome replied.  "You lie," said the Judge.  "You are a Ciceronian; for where your treasure is, there also is your heart."  And the Judge ordered him to be scourged.    
        A good question to ask ourselves is: "Where is our treasure?"  Is it in reading trashy literature, in watching impure TV shows, in accumulating material possessions, or just indulging in worldly pleasures in general?   

What to Ask of the Lord?

        From today's Mass Reading 1, 1 Kings 3, we learn how in a dream the Lord asked Solomon to ask something of him and he would give it to him.  Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge the people and to distinguish right from wrong.  The Lord was pleased because Solomon did not ask for a long life, nor riches, nor for the life of his enemies, but for understanding so that he might know what's right.  A good question to think about: Should the Lord ask you the same question, what would you ask for?  

Worth of the Kingdom of Heaven

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus taught his disciples thus: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."  An appropriate question: How much is the kingdom of heaven worth to you?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prayer Motivation

        I prayed for an "enemy" today, someone who's been against me.  It's clear that the Lord wanted me to pray for his salvation, but then I also detected in the background that I was hoping that he wouldn't turn against me anymore.  Aha, I caught myself again.  A reminder that when we pray, we should do it for the glory of God alone and not to have things turn out to suit us, unless what suits us is clearly also for the glory of God.

Prayer Coverage

        Today I recall some of the things I haven't been praying for because I more or less accepted the status quo or thought that they were less urgent, but the Holy Spirit showed me that I should not forget them and that to think nothing is going to change is to give up hope, limiting God's mercy.  Therefore, I should pray for everything that's deposited in my heart and not pick and choose "favorites." 

On God Being with Us

        Jesus told his disciples that he would be with them always, until the end of the age.  So we know that God is with us, but what does that really mean?  I believe it means a lot more than just seeing what we are up to.  The Lord created us, so he knows all about us.  He knew us before we were born and knew all our thoughts before we express them.  Our hearts are totally exposed to him.  He is personal and intimate.  Therefore, when he is with us, he watches over us every moment and supports us every step of our way.  This is one amazing aspect of God.   

Friday, July 22, 2011

God Has the Right

        Still at the chapel after Mass, I became aware that God created me at the beginning and he should have the right to mold me in any way he wishes.  Therefore, I should always remain pliant and never rebel.

Christ's Love Overwhelming

        During contemplation after Mass, the beauty and goodness of Christ moved me to tears.  Everything else couldn't be further from my mind during those moments.  I just wanted all of me to be dissolved by his love.

Jesus Will Always Be with Us!

        In the Gospel from John 20 today, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed.  She wept because she thought others had taken Jesus from the tomb and now she didn't know where they put him.  A most touching scene.  Then I thought of us.  We are just so fortunate that we know exactly where the Lord is now and that he'll always be with us and that we'll always have him ~ cause for great rejoicing!

Same Father and God for All

        Today is the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene.  Here's the Entrance verse from John 20:  "The Lord said to Mary Magdalene: Go and tell my brothers that I shall ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God."  It's just so good to hear that we and the Lord share the same Father and the same God ~ we are one big family all along.  Rejoice and rejoice.

Ego, the Obstacle

        Before morning Mass during prayer, I saw that the ego is like a weight inside us.  If we just drop it, then our soul will be free to soar upward to God. 

Choose God's Ways

        So far I've read 2/3 of The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Vol. 1, a book 600 pages long.  What inspires me most were her obedience, meekness, and humility.  This morning I wondered how the world would eye Christ, should he show up meek and humble in every way.  Probably not very well at all.  Then we have St. John the Baptist who, aware how mighty and exalted Christ was, deemed himself not even worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.  What a contrast!  God's ways are certainly not our ways ~ let's humbly choose God's ways always.   

Growing in Holiness

        Before you go face any problem in life, pray for God's help and that he'll make you holier.  This last part is important because you want to deal with the problem as the Lord would himself and he is most holy.  Treat every problem as an opportunity for you to grow in holiness.   

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Be at Peace

        Being at peace with yourself is only possible if you are already at peace with God. 

Invitation to Union

        Thoughts while receiving the Holy Eucharist.  How fortunate to receive the bread of heaven!  The Lord was ready for union ~ was I ready?  The desire was there, but I needed his help to make me worthy to accept his invitation. 

Is the Lord a Fair Giver?

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13, we hear the Lord say: "To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away."  Does this sound like "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer"?  Actually, it's totally fair here because the one who has is the one open to the Lord's giving and the one who has not is closed to it.  A small difference makes a big difference.    

Obedience Is Beautiful

        During prayer before Mass this morning, "obedience" struck me a a most beautiful word, because it can bring us into perfect harmony with God, leading us to perfect freedom. 

God's Justice & Mercy

        God also made it clear to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich about his justice and mercy in this vision.
        She said, "Great is God's justice, but still more inconceivable is his mercy. He damns only those who are determined not to be converted; they who have a spark of good will are saved.  Those who grieve for their sins, confess them sincerely, and trust confidently in the merits of their Savior; they are saved and their sins will no longer be remembered.  It's true that they go to purgatory, but not to remain long.  On the other hand, many stay long in purgatory who, although not great sinners, have lived tepidly.  Through pride they would take no admonition or instruction from their confessor.  The time was when the thought of only one poor sinner's condemnation grieved me so that I could not get over it; but on the present occasion, though many were condemned, I was perfectly calm, for I saw that God's justice called for it." 
        (Those last lines really helped me.)

The Value of Prayer

        Anne  Catherine Emmerich had already been officially investigated by and declared Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich by the Church, but Catholics are in no obligation to believe in any private revelations.  Nevertheless, this following vision of hers is instructive to me.
        She was taken to a place to be shown how it is with our prayers before God.  They seemed to be inscribed on large white tablets which were divided into four classes: some were written in magnificent golden letters; others in shining silver; some in darker characters; and still others in black streaked lines.  The guide explained to her: "What's written in gold is the prayer of those who have united their good works to the merits of Jesus Christ and often renew this union; they aim at observing his precepts and imitating his example.
        "What's written in silver is the prayer of those who think not of union with the merits of Jesus Christ; but who are, notwithstanding, pious and pray in the simplicity of their hearts.
        "What's written in darker colors is the prayer of those who have no peace unless they frequently confess, communicate, and daily say certain prayers; but who are, however, tepid and perform their good works through habit.
        "Lastly, what's written in black streaked characters is the prayer of those who place all their confidence in vocal prayers and pretended good works, but who do not keep God's Commandments nor curb their evil desires.  Such prayer has no merit before God."
        (Again, you see that union with the Lord is best for us.)    

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Danger of Gratification

        I continue reading The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich.  Her charity, humility, obedience, and willingness to suffer are truly remarkable.  She was favored with visions in her ecstasies.  Here's a short one that's both meaningful and interesting.
        Her angel led her across a narrow bridge safely and she saw on the bank a mousetrap around which a little mouse kept running and running, and at last slipped in to get the bait.  Anne cried out, "You are sacrificing your liberty, your life for a mouthful!"  ~ "Are men more reasonable," asked her angel, "when for a momentary gratification they endanger their soul's salvation?" 

Recipe for Inner Peace

        Live to please God alone and not care about what others think of you.

Think of God First

        If you see someone sin against the Lord, think first how it must bring sorrow to him, then pray for that person. 

Denying Ourselves Includes...

        being willing to accept sufferings coming our way.

To Counteract Sins

        I have started reading The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a holy, German nun (1774-1824), who took sufferings upon herself to expiate the sins of the Church and her members.  This picture comes to my mind.  Visualize every sin as a filthy raindrop falling on the Lord.  We have billions of people in the world with each of us committing numerous sins each day ~ now imagine how the Lord is being bombarded every single moment by us!  This visualization should prompt us to perform as many acts of love as possible to shield some of the drops from hitting him, providing some comfort.  It's most urgent and our duty to fulfill.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Motivation Purified

        Yesterday I posted that I felt that I was ready to go to Christ.  Today, I started examining my motivation during morning prayer.  Yes, the yearning was there because I love the Lord, then I also detected that deep down there was the desire to escape from some of the things that were somewhat bothersome to me right now.  So I realized that my motivation wasn't that pure.  The yearning can continue, but Jesus wants me to deal with all problems head-on with his help and not to want to run away from any of them.         

We Need to Know God

        God already knew us thoroughly, having created us ~ the question is whether we know him.  If we do, then how well?  The more we know him, the more we understand ourselves and our place before him, and the more we are set free.  Jesus, brighter than all the shining stars, has pointed the way to knowing him, who is God.  To ignore him is to be lost in the universe. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mary, Our Mother

        Mary is God's great gift to us.  From the cross, Jesus gave her to us as our Mother.  This makes us brothers and sisters to Christ.  Since the Lord gave her to us, then of course, we can communicate with her.  That's why we talk to her, asking her in intercede for us before the Father. 
        I love Holy Mother for the following reasons:  (1) She suffered greatly for the Lord's Passion.  (2) She's a most special and dear gift given to us by God.  (3) She always brings us closer to Jesus.  (4) She's most holy, most beautiful, and most loving, a perfect model for us to imitate.   

Ready to Go to God?

        I've mentioned that sometimes I feel that I am ready to go to God.  Today after I received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I felt that way, then I heard the Lord asking me if I had already lived up to how I felt?  What he wanted to tell me was that if I still had things in this world to cling to, then I wasn't really ready yet.  A good question for me at this time to consider. 

To Be Free for God

        It came to my mind that we all have mementos, things of sentimental value, and, I should include, nostalgic memories.  The Lord has shown to me that all such things are to be detached from us, since knowing him alone is all that matters.  Again, his thoughts are not our thoughts and I know that he's right.  To be free for him, let nothing of the world hold us back.

The Love of Jesus

        At Communion time, I sensed the infinite love of Jesus for us.  This is the most beautiful thing in the world ever, yet the world ignores it ~ how blind, deaf, and heartless can you be! 

Accepting God's Ways

        God's thoughts and ways are different from ours.  For example, the Jewish people had expected a totally different kind of Messiah when Jesus came to us.  Since we don't know God's ways for sure (otherwise, we'd be all-knowing like him), we are to pray, trust, and wait.  A true disciple does not complain to God for any reason either because he knows that the Lord knows better.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clear & Direct from Christ

        After watching a program on Tibetan Buddhism on PBS, I came to appreciate my faith in Christ so much more because the message from Christ is totally clear with no ambiguity and we get to know God directly.  Clear and direct as revelations from God should be.  It's true that there are many mysteries about God that we don't understand yet, but what God has allowed us to know is sufficient for our salvation ~ this is all we need to know now.  All the rest will be clear when we see the Lord face to face.  All Christians are truly blessed.      

What's Life All About?

        This post is for those who are not yet believers in Christ or still in the early stages of their faith journey.  I remember myself in those early days.  Just like most others, my goal was to get ahead in life, preferably ahead of all those who knew me.  The way to do it was to learn from friends or books on the subject; believe me, most friends were eager to impart their "wisdom" on survival or dealing with others, and the books were many out there, each touting its effective approaches to reach your goal or achieve happiness in life.  Of course, almost none of these sources ever mentioned God ~ you were really on your own.  
        My question to you: if this is also your present thinking or goal, is this what life is all about?  There is really so much more to it, after I have come to know Christ well.  Concentrating on this life will never bring us true happiness ~ many nonbelievers have found out in time and believers know because they have tasted Christ, the source of true joy and peace.  Basically, God made us this way out of love.  Whether you believe what I've just said is true or not, believe in Christ to find out for yourself.         

Only True Joy for Us

        Christ the Lord, for now and ever.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

To the Spiritually Sick:

        When the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus, they tried to trap him by asking what he had to say about the case, knowing well that in the law Moses ordered such woman to be stoned.  Jesus paused and then said, "Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her." 
        People today push away or reject the Lord.  What came to my mind is the line: "Let any among you who are not spiritually sick be the first to push away the Lord." 

We Are the Rebels!

        This message and the next one I'm going to post are inspired by the letters of Elizabeth of Schonau I just read from the book of her works.
        Everything in heaven and on the earth serves God except us.  We have the free will and we rebel, disrupting the harmony of the universe.  This came to me as shocking truth.  Are you helping to restore this harmony before the day the Lord is forced to do it?    

God Most Satisfying

        It is our human nature to search for things that satisfy us better all the time.  For example, we look for better tools, upgrade our computers, find the latest gadgetry, build more comfortable houses, etc.  So, why not go straight to God first, who can provide the most satisfaction?  This is what Jesus talked about: "Drink the living water given by him and you'll never thirst again."  Start at the top end to get the most out of life.  Smart move. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jesus Is the Lord of All

        In today's Gospel from Matthew 12, Jesus proclaims to the Pharisees that he is the Lord of the sabbath.  Of course, Jesus is the Lord of everything!  Being meek and humble is his way too.  He has the final say in all things.  We think that we are free to do what we want to do, but we end up before him at the Final Judgment.  We are always at his mercy, as it should be. 

No Time to Lose

        I am feeling the urgency of serving God in this life.  The time of a life is short or in many cases, really short.  Whatever you sow in this life affects what you reap in the next.  The condition of the present world definitely adds to the urgency.  There are still things I do, such as reading certain magazines, that are not harmful spiritually; but nevertheless, use up time that might be better spent in prayer or serving the Lord.   
        I had a dream last night.  I had a kit of some sort of electronic parts to assemble.  The many parts were contained in a box of decent size.  I was anxious to build the assembly, so I walked into a room, started to take the parts out of the box to spread on a table.  Then soon many others came and started doing the same thing, each with his own kind of kit.  Before I realized, the parts from the other kits had joined mine on the table and some parts, in fact, had fallen off the table.  Right then, I knew that it wouldn't be possible to complete my assembly anymore because I didn't even know what parts were mine and whether some had already fallen off the table ~ I (and the others in the room) had all wasted time on our unprofitable undertakings.  This dream confirms my feeling of urgency.   

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Be Meek and Humble First

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus refers to himself as being meek and humble of heart.  Of course, his whole life bore witness to that.  So, if we are to imitate the Lord and become like him, we must learn to be meek and humble ~ it's absolutely required.  What's most necessary also happens to be most difficult to acquire.  Then again, the Holy Spirit can make it easy for us.  Where we fall short, God can achieve.  What an opportunity for us to place our trust in God here! 

The Lord Watches over Us

        I started reading the works of Elizabeth of Schonau, a German Benedictine nun of the 12th century.  She received many divine visions of heaven.  I am now increasingly aware that we here on earth can only see and feel to the extent what our physical senses reveal to us.  It's as if there is a one-way mirror around us ~ we cannot see what's on the other side, but God and all other creatures in heaven can clearly see us, blessing us, protecting us, or answering our prayers.  The Holy Spirit is always in action.  Our faith should include this awareness.  We are well watched over by our loving Lord.     

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Secret of Entering God

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus tells how the Father has revealed things hidden from the wise and the learned to the childlike.  I've always noticed that there are usually more women than men at Mass in churches all around the world ~ perhaps men are less likely to become childlike?  Anyway, before the Lord this is the attitude to assume.  You may already be wise and learned, but you can still be childlike.  Realize that when we go before the Lord, all our intelligence and knowledge don't count at all ~ we must start over by becoming empty and receptive like a child.  This is the secret of entering God.

Most Rewarding Job

        Jesus wants us to accumulate treasure in heaven, not on this earth.  Every will of the Lord is a treasure.  By doing it we are being obedient.  Every thought, every word, every intention, every move, every gesture... makes a difference because the Lord sees everything.  Loving and serving him at all times is the most rewarding job you can have in this life. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Greatness of God

        God is so loving, so merciful, so understanding, and so good.  At the same time, he is all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing... ~ indeed, nothing is impossible with him.  When I realize such infinite greatness, I can only throw up my hands and surrender, believe, worship, and follow with all my heart, all my mind, all my strength, and all my soul.  Asking any questions is totally out of place. 

The Lord Renews

        One thing I love about the Lord is that no matter what kind of condition I may be in, he can renew me.  When I let him, he constantly makes me into a new (better) person.  The hope is always there, so goodbye to despair and grief.  Every time I receive Holy Communion, the Holy Spirit transforms me into a person more like the Lord.   

Monday, July 11, 2011

All or Nothing with God

        I've been "accused" of being not easygoing because it's usually all or nothing with me.  There are Catholics who are not like that and believe in or accept only those teachings they think are true.  The problem is that if they are right, they would be believing in a Church that's not 100% correct.  Either way, they end up wrong.
        For an all-or-nothing person like me, I don't have this problem.  At least if I am right, then I am right. 

Jesus Restores Happiness

        I saw myself in a mirror this morning.  When you look at yourself, it's good to ask if you see a person that is truly happy.  If not, then you probably have been shaped too much by the world and need Jesus to lift you up.  As St. Bonaventure explains: "Happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good.  Since the highest good is above, no one can be made happy unless he rises above himself.  But we cannot rise above ourselves unless a higher power lifts us up.  Divine aid is needed, and is available to those who seek it from their hearts humbly and devoutly through prayer."   

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Preparing to Bear Fruit

        Today's Gospel reading is from Matthew 13, the parable of the sower, given by the Lord describing how various people receive or react to the word of the kingdom.  My own reaction is to open myself completely to him, to be receptive to his word, letting him sow or pluck whatever he wishes in my heart.  The soil must be properly prepared before it can bear fruit and yield manyfold.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How Not to Judge Others

        Jesus tells us not to judge others.  Can we form opinions about them?  Can we criticize them constructively?  Can we correct our brothers and sisters for their own good?  I believe that the answer is yes to all these questions if we do it without diminishing our love for them.  If someone bothers or disturbs us and we look down on or even feel less compassion for the person, then that's judging.  It follows that if we don't judge, we retain our inner peace.  This, I believe, is the way the Lord intends.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

All About Love

        After finishing reading Julian of Norwich Showings, I have become extra aware that Jesus came into the world to reveal to us that God is love.  That is, all of God is love.  This is the central message.  This is basically the definition of God.  He created everything out of love.  He loves us.  He loves us so much that he wants us to love him back, and he provides us with this love to do it.  Love leads us to eternal happiness.  Love is the answer to peace on this earth.  To love is to do God's will.  To love is to be free.  It's all so clear now!  Let's follow love, our God, to complete both his joy and ours.   

Ideal Hiding Place

        Hide in Jesus so that when others see you, they'll see the Lord.

Jesus, Our Joy

        This morning at Mass, I particularly felt that "Jesus is my joy."  We are both awaiting the day when we'll meet face to face.  

The Lord Deserves Our Best

        You may want to save money by not getting the best things for yourself or just do minimum to patch things up to get by, but when it comes to do something for the Lord, you must absolutely do your best to give him the very best  because he deserves it.  After all, all good things come from him.  Even when you do a little thing like washing some dishes for love of him, do it with total dedication and love and you'll be rewarded with peace and joy.    

On Doing God's Will

        If you picture God's will as water flowing downstream in a river, then not doing his will is like struggling in the water trying to go upstream ~ you'll either end up exhausted going nowhere or loose your footing and be swept helplessly downstream.  The one who does God's will flows downstream with the water effortlessly and even has time to enjoy the sceneries along the way.  Once you go along with the Lord, you'll be surprised to find that you are really a natural because he does it all for you.  Surrender to God and find out for yourself.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Consecration to the Sacred Heart

        To die in Christ in this life is to live with him in the next.  I saw this truth at morning Mass.  After the celebration was over, I did the Act of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque's version).  I now anticipate that the Lord is going to make my already-beautiful spiritual journey even more beautiful. 

On Desiring Eternal Life

        Is desiring eternal life being selfish?  It seems so, but God wants us to have eternal life!  Therefore, desiring it actually conforms to his will.  It is wrong only if you desire it more than you desire God.  The right approach is to desire (love) God alone, then you'll get eternal life at the end as well. 

God's Everlasting Love

        God loves us with a constant love that never changes.  When we sin, we just sadden him ~ his love remains the same.  When we do his will, we make him happy ~ his love still remains the same.  In other words, he cannot possibly love us any more or less.  Being aware of this should give us both consolation and confidence.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Union Leads to Strength

        Jesus said, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand."  In other words, unity produces strength.  And we all know that.  So if we are in union with the Lord, then we'll have maximum strength since the Lord stands forever.

God Is Fair and Just

        This morning as I was having some dry cereal for breakfast, I thought of all the plants that provided the ingredients and the labor involved in making the cereal.  And I saw that God provides everything we need to live in this world, but they don't just fall into our lap from the sky ~ we must hunt to get the meat, plant to get the veggies, and work for everything else.  This is all fair and just.  
        Now, when it comes to eternal life, there's nothing we could do on our own to get that.  God knows it and this time he provides everything.  All we need to do is to accept what he has provided us, his Son Jesus.  Again, fair and just.       

Pray and Trust

        I pray hard for a number of people I know and care about.  Sometimes I get discouraged because nothing seems to happen.  Again, reading Julian of Norwich, I learned that it is the Lord's who made us pray ~ he initiated our prayers and shall answer them in due time.  It's true that my prayers are all for his glory.  In other words, we should pray wholeheartedly and trust wholeheartedly too.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

God Shall Prevail

         The Lord runs the universe, sustaining all lives.  Nothing can happen without his permission.  Even sins provide the chance for us to become victorious over them.  Jesus has completed his work of salvation by dying on the cross for us.  He is still doing wonders today ~ converting us, healing us, warning us, giving us joy...  God shall always prevail and there is nothing you can do about it.  The fact that the world is in such a bad shape is because we mess it up sinning.  The wise should start believing and following the Lord right now.  To do otherwise is to ignore the inevitable reality. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ego vs. God

        Ego is something that's easy to live with because it makes you feel important, but at the same time it can make you lose peace or even feel miserable.  If you let ego be your guide, then it's a foregone conclusion that you won't ever find happiness in this world.  I think the person with the ego knows it, but breaking that sticky bond by human power alone is usually hopeless. 
        God, on the other hand, is seemingly not easy to live with and can make you feel uncomfortable too when ego gets in the way.  But once you get to know God, he becomes a pure joy and grants you peace and freedom of the heart.  You are no longer a slave to your ego, for God can purge it as much as you wish.  Again, this is true.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Abandonment to Love

        I am thinking about the tremendous love of Jesus for us, a love so great that we cannot possibly imagine.  This love practically swallows up all our troubles and problems ~ that is, nothing matters anymore under such love.  Let us abandon ourselves to this love. 

Finding Rest in Jesus

        Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11 was about the yoke of the Lord being easy and his burden light.  We who are disciples share the same sorrows and carry the same burdens as the Lord and find great consolation in that.  The sorrows turn sweet and the burdens are lightened.  In the case that a sorrow is caused by ourselves, the Lord even removes it completely.  He is our rest. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

All Can Love

        Recently, I met a devout Buddhist, a kind person who devotes herself to charity work, including hospice care.  She believes in karma ~ whatever she does in this life will bring upon results, good or bad, in this life or her next reincarnation.  Not to be uncharitable about it, I'd say that the motivation is basically self-centered.  Christians love others because they love God out of gratitude for his love ~ an entirely differently-directed motivation.
        There are lots of unloving people around, but I do see that everyone has the potential of becoming a great lover because God is love.  Anyone who is open to this love will be filled by this love and transformed into a loving (and happy) person.  The absolute truth.

Union Incomplete

        During morning Mass as I looked forward to receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I detected some self-interest in me.  I wanted the Lord because I'd experience more peace, more inner satisfaction about my life... ~ it's not bad motivation, but not the best.  The best would be to forget all about myself and think about loving and serving the Lord only.  The union is not complete until the Lord has replaced all of the self. 

Jesus, the Compelling Truth

        During Morning Mass today, I heard the Gospel read and recalled all what I'd read about the Lord in the Gospels.  Anyone with an open, objective mind can see that Jesus must be the truth because if not, then all those things he said and did must be all phony and that's just not possible ~ anyone with some common sense can see that.  From the Gospels you find that he was always consistent, knew exactly what he's doing, and loved all others as his children.  I am not even mentioning how he inspired and changed the lives of his disciples who were eyewitnesses.  Jesus is compelling because you are faced with either accepting him as true God or dismissing him as a phony.

Submission, Only Choice

        Yesterday was a First Friday of the month and also the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, so I attended the evening Eucharistic Adoration at a nearby seminary.  As I knelt before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, I saw Jesus as our Lord, our God, our Creator, our Savior, our Mercy, our Hope, our Source of Grace, our Refuge... ~ I had no choice but to submit myself unconditionally to him, trying to "match" his unconditional love for me. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

All Will Be Well

        Another message that the Lord gave to Julian of Norwich was that just as he created everything from nothing, so he will make well all things which are not well.  This is of great consolation to us who believe in the Lord, although I have no doubt that he will straighten out everything at the end.  Meanwhile there is still time for sinners to repent and believe.       

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

        Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I again offered my heart to the Lord, asking him to do whatever he wishes with it.  I have no doubt that his Most Sacred Heart will purify my unclean heart first.  Where the heart goes, the rest of me follows.  I just felt that I was being totally liberated.