In today's Reading 1 at Mass from Romans 11, Paul writes: "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!" After I heard that, it struck me that God is truly awesome that to exalt ourselves before him would be sheer folly and the only sensible course for us to take is to remain humble and obedient, period!
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Today I saw hundreds of sea gulls circling in the sky with great ease and freedom. The sight made me wish that I could fly too. Ironically, it happened over a large prison facilities with all the inmates housed in massive concrete buildings with narrow windows that looked almost like slits. I asked myself if I preferred physical freedom over imprisonment. The answer: One choice is not necessarily better than the other if one doesn't have any interior freedom in the Lord. In fact, there are inmates who are grateful that imprisonment has brought them back to God. Being imprisoned with interior freedom is definitely better than being outside of prison without interior peace.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I am reading the Gospel from Matthew 23 for tomorrow's Sunday Mass in preparation for a service I'll be conducting. In it Jesus says, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Here is the formula for spiritual success. If I exalt myself, I may win some temporary admirers, but I'll never win any hearts. I'll never be content either, for discontent is the reason for self-exaltation. The very reason we follow and adore the Lord is because he is humble and meek and he serves others. The Lord knows how to win hearts, so let's listen to him.
Friday, October 28, 2011
It comes to my mind again today that we must accept God in toto. Truth is truth only because it's true as a whole. If we accept God in all, then we must likewise accept the Church he built upon Peter, our Catholic faith, and her teachings. Thus, to accept only certain teachings and reject others is to not believe that God is the whole truth.
Patrick Buchanan's new book is entitled Suicide of a Super Power: Will America survive to 2025? I have not read the book nor am I a follower of Buchanan ~ the title just caught my attention. I remember that in the 50's in Ohio, most people didn't even lock their front doors when they went out. Those who'd been divorced kept it quiet because it's not something to let everyone know about. Look at today how bad crimes are and how people go on TV to tell all the sordid details of their lives. We have come a long (wrong) way in a short time. Abortion is now legal. Couples living together is nothing to be ashamed of. The latest news ~ Catholic University of America is being sued by one individual over having crucifixes on classroom walls considered to be "offensive" to the Muslim students. What ridiculous charges next? The alarming fact is that one frivolous person can now make all the rest suffer. People are becoming gods ~ is this what freedom is all about? We are now absolutely in a moral crisis. You'd better believe that this nation is well on the road to suicide! God is our last and only hope, but it's hypocritical to ask God to bless us when we really don't have any true desire to repent and return to him. It's not too late to turn around, but the time is getting short.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
In today's first reading from Romans 8, Paul is convinced that nothing can possibly separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. He's very emphatic about this and I am willing to go along with him. Knowing that someone cares for you is always a consolation. Knowing that God loves you should bring great elation to the heart! The gift of the Holy Eucharist instituted by the Lord affirms his love for us, and I received it this morning with a special joy and appreciation. Would that the world were aware of the everlasting love of Christ for us!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
In the dark and quiet of the night when I am awake with nothing to distract or disturb me, I particularly sense the presence of the Lord. I can easily contemplate him, pray to him, tell him what's in my heart, or just ask him questions.
Now, in darkness imagine that all that is around you is gone ~ the bed, the whole house, the earth, and all the stars. What's left is just you in the empty space, which is nothing. In the absence of gravitational pulls, you become weightless. There are absolutely zero reference points around you, so the question whether you're stationary or moving is pointless. The only thing you're aware of is that you exist, as a point in nothingness. Since God transcends both time and space, it's also pointless to ask where he is at any time. He is the alpha and omega. He simply exists, so he is present everywhere at all times. Without God we are truly lost in space and exist for nothing. On the other hand, with God we can celebrate our existence, for we have God to exist for ~ our best reason for living.
Monday, October 24, 2011
These thoughts are a continuation of my post yesterday, Just Passing Through. I see the Father in heaven as the goal of my journey, my destination. The Holy Spirit is my GPS as I travel forward. The Mass I attend is a stop for rest along the way. At each stop, Jesus refuels and invigorates me. As long as I don't look back, it should be smooth sailing all the way.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Today I was standing in my home living room and realized that one day I wouldn't be seen in this room (or the entire house for that matter) anymore. I clearly saw that I was just passing through and I resolved to travel light, not to let any baggage weigh me down on my journey. I recalled that when Jesus sent out the seventy-two on their mission, he told them to carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals (Luke 10).
Saturday, October 22, 2011
In Reading 1 from Romans 8 at Mass today, Paul talks quite a bit about living according to the flesh and living according to the spirit. I went through all that myself, going from darkness to light. Now that I am so joyful living in the light of Christ, I have trouble believing that I was actually that "stupid" to be a slave of sin for so long. I was stupid all right, but it's through God's mercy that I was brought out of slavery into freedom. Just let God take over and your day will just keep getting better and brighter forever (because heaven awaits at the end).
This morning during pre-Mass prayer, I sensed the great beauty of Jesus radiating from his perfection. This beauty due to perfection is too profound for words. I just knew that he's all one could desire. The soul enjoys a moment like this more than reading through volumes of spiritual classics.
Friday, October 21, 2011
After receiving Communion this morning, this picture formed in my mind. Earlier at Mass, I saw that the Lord was my refuge. Now I see that he is a solid, protective wall encircling me with me safe and secure at the center of the circle. Any praises, compliments, flatteries... coming my way simply bounce off the wall and disappear. God loves us already. What pleases him the most is still our humility before him.
The solid feeling I had during prayer before Mass started this morning was that God is absolutely my rock and refuge. I am free to go to him to unload a thousand concerns in my heart and he would gladly listen to them all. Should I slip or stumble and fall, he'll be there to catch me. I lean on him as much as I want and the support will always be there.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Muammar Gaddafi was killed today and his demise was wildly celebrated by many Libyans shouting "God is great!" I started to wonder ~ if God loves everyone, would it be OK to rejoice when someone is killed and praise God at the same time? At any rate, the lesson here for us as followers of Christ is that we must learn to read the signs and have the humility to accept God's will, no matter how contrary it may be to our own.
In today's Gospel from Luke 12, Jesus told his disciples that he had come to establish division rather than peace on earth. The division is cause by the fact that not everyone will choose good over evil or put his or her faith in Jesus. This is proof that evil exists and Jesus came as a test to challenge us. Faith in the Lord is then made meaningful.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I've been thinking about the Holy Trinity. First, God the Father created all of us out of love. Then Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world to show us just how much God loves us. Finally, after Jesus left our world, God the Holy Spirit descended upon us as the Comforter, transforming us into temples of God. We're assured now that God is always with us.
Monday, October 17, 2011
On the way home driving earlier, I turned on the radio and Wagner was playing. The piece had plenty nice melodies ensuing one after another. Soon the music became rather predictable and tedium set in. Then I remembered God who stays forever the same, yet he is always refreshing and new.
God defines love since he is love. This love is noble, pure, and selfless. No matter what much we offend him, his compassion and pity remain constant, with sorrow but never resentment. This love touches the soul and can melt away all the impurities and dross in the heart. This love liberated the spirit, opening the door to freedom and eternal life. In fact, when with this love we can love him back, love all the saints and holy angels, and love all our neighbors, both good or bad in this world, then we know that God rules in our heart and we are in union with him.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Every evil you hear about is one more reason (opportunity) for you to go to God to pray for his mercy on us and the whole world. Today I read on BBC News is that every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the US. The latest government figures show an estimated 1,770 children killed as a result of maltreatment in 2009. A recent congressional report concludes that the real number could be nearer 2,500. As a result, America has the worst child abuse record in the industrialized world.
Please note that God, Love, will never put fear, hatred, jealousy, anger, impatience, despair, or any other negative feeling in you; he only wants you to have peace and joy. Therefore, if you have negative feelings, they must have originated from you. Ask the Lord to take them away and transform you in the process.
I don't classify myself as either a conservative or a liberal ~ I just follow the ways and teachings of Christ. Here are some of my thoughts on the current Wall Street protest movement.
There is nothing wrong with getting rich, but there is a lot wrong if the rich forget that what they have all came from God and that they have the obligation to aid the poor. Why do the CEOs of large corporations earn millions in salary and bonuses, even when the company is losing money in some cases? How much do you really need to live comfortably? Last time General Electric made a profit around 16 billion dollars and didn't have to pay a cent in income tax. It seems to me that they could have given away at least 1/16 of that amount to some good causes. Even the CEO of American Boy Scouts earns over a million in salary and compensation! The president of the non-profit American Red Cross is well paid too ~ over $650,000 a year in salary ~ this fact alone probably keeps many from wanting to donate to the organization.
As for the poor, if they are not holier than the rich, they will be just like the present rich once they become rich, and the situation is no better. Basically, if we do not believe in God and do not let God change us, nothing will fundamentally change. Mark my words.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Today is the Memorial of the great St. Teresa of Jesus, so the subject of self-surrender to God comes to my mind. Since God is the Lord and Creator of all things and we are merely his creatures, just by common sense we see that our only role is to surrender ourselves to him ~ I just don't see any other logical alternative for us. Many of us do believe in God, turn to him, pray to him, do works for his glory, and receive graces from him, but we still have not given ourselves over to him completely. As long as there is still that last barrier between God and us, it will be an obstacle to achieving full spiritual union with him.
Friday, October 14, 2011
I know that God loves me, but yesterday I felt good when I realized that God knows all about me. He knows my thoughts before I express them; he knows my heart, seeing everything in it; he totally understands me more than I could understand myself. With all this knowledge about me, surely he would know exactly how to guide me, and I'll never be lonely again.
This morning's Gospel reading from Luke 12 confirms my thoughts. Some excerpts: "There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows."
Thursday, October 13, 2011
During Eucharistic Prayer at Mass this morning, the memorial acclamation said was: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again." Of course, Christ will come again, but what struck me was that he has already come and we must dwell on that and not be so concerned about when he will come again. As far as I am concerned, he comes to me every time I receive Holy Communion.
God is our Father. God is love ~ he sacrificed his own Son in our place to save us. He is all mercy and only wants to give us the very best both in this life and the next. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, he enters us and becomes united with us ~ we're now in each other. Therefore, enjoy God as much as possible all the days of your life.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
As long as you still need to exercise your free will to choose the good or the bad, you are not free. When your will and God's will become one, then there's no need to exercise your free will anymore ~ both you and your free will are now free.
The Most Holy Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, is not held in high esteem by many. They'd rather sleep late, catch the game on TV, or go fishing than attending Sunday Mass to receive the bread of life from heaven. How sad that they really don't know the Lord! How foolish that they "ignore" the very God who made them out of love!
Know that the most intimate, personal moment you can ever have is the moment right after you receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist when you and God alone are united as one.
The news happening around the world is getting worse each day. What saddens me the most today is that child sacrifice is still a business in Uganda and the perpetrators are not even placed under police arrest. Elsewhere we hear assassinations, murders, protests, mutual accusations and threats among the nations... Back home, ambitious, egoistic, insincere, and unethical politicians place their own interests ahead those of the nation.
As long as we leave God out of the picture and do not repent and become humble, there will be no peace for us. All peace starts with peace in our heart ~ it's that simple.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Jesus stresses the importance of hearing his word and acting on it so that we may bear fruit. After you hear the word preached in the homily at Sunday Mass, do you act upon it at all? Or your conscience tells you that you should do something and you only go as far as agreeing with it? The Protestants claim that we are justified by faith alone, while we Catholics believe that works are necessary too. In reality, if you truly believe in God, good works automatically follow ~ you can't help it. At any rate, whether you act or not after hearing the word of God makes the big difference. It results in the difference between being a nominal Christian and being a true disciple of Christ.
Athletes hoping to win an Olympic medal train long hours every day for years. I know musicians who live for music; if you take away their music, they'd rather die. Then there are high school students who set their minds on entering Harvard or Stanford, and business persons determined to make a fortune before they are 30 or 40. Such single-mindedness, such determination, such dedication! But to whom will the Olympic medal be awarded? When life is over, will your music still be around? Will Harvard or Stanford and making a fortune make you truly happy? If you want to do all these things without involving God, then I'd say that you are basically self-centered.
Jesus wants us to love our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength ~ here is the best assignment for us! Replace all your worldly goals with loving God and you'll never regret the outcome.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Surrendering to God lifts one to the highest, most wholesome, and realistic state of existence. At the opposite end, one lives in a transitory, "dream" world, lost and without real hope. Today's economic woes are our number one concern; but even if every single citizen makes a million dollars a year, as long as we exclude God and remain immoral, we will not be happier nor have peace in our hearts.
At Mass this morning, the Lord made me see that every moment we live without being aware of him is a moment lost forever. We should cling to God for dear life because our lives are truly in danger without him. The best solution is to seek union with him, then we'll be safe and secure in his hands now and forever.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I lost my link list and am unable to start another one using the gadget. I suspect (not believe) that it's because I have Internet Explorer 9 as my browser and Google is forcing us to switch to Chrome. Anyway, a website I'd like to recommend is Steve Ray's: http://whyiamcatholic.com/. I read Steve's book Crossing the Tiber a few years back and have enjoyed watching his presentations Footprints of God on EWTN. Yesterday I saw him on Marcus Grodi's Journey Home, also on EWTN ~ he was a joy to watch as he was articulate, fluent, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and filled with joy. So I went on his website Why I'm Catholic and found it to be full of beautiful conversion stories ~ a site as articulate and joyful as Steve himself.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 22, Jesus told the parable of The Wedding Banquet and pointed out at the end: "Many are invited, but few are chosen." It starts out beautifully, but ends on a rather sad note. Good questions to ask ourselves are: "Am I invited?" and "If so, am I chosen?" I want to be a chosen one in the hope of changing the statement to "Many are invited and many are chosen" so as to give more joy to the Lord.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
There is a beautiful, carved statue of the Blesses Mother in the chapel where I attend daily Mass. Noticing her beautifully carved hands this morning brought to my mind the wonderful design of the human hand with fingers of various sizes and lengths, working perfectly together. Then the hand is just one of zillions of other designs. In a flash, I was made aware of the existence of God. Furthermore, I realized that, besides being a marvelous creator of physical designs, God also has an abstract dimension to him ~ love. We, besides being physical, have an extra dimension too ~ we sense right from wrong, feel the beauty of nature, yearn for something greater than ourselves...
When you are one with the Lord, you and he think alike and you do exactly what he would do ~ that is, you follow him perfectly (in theory). There will be no leading nor falling behind him. God often takes his time ~ see how long it took Jesus to begin his ministry. By following him, we learn to be patient and calm. The world rushes ahead on its own, no wonder it's in such trouble. Follow God alone and not the world.
Friday, October 7, 2011
St. John the Baptist said that he's not even worthy to carry Jesus' sandals, yet Jesus asked him to baptize him. Jesus is the Lord of all, yet he washed the feet of his disciples. He is my God, yet I can talk to him as if he's my brother. He is all holy and mighty and I am a wretched sinner, yet he offers himself to me daily in the Holy Eucharist. The Most Worthy died for the unworthy to save them ~ it just gets more and more amazing.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 11, Jesus said, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house." A divided nation will not have peace and a family disunited falls apart. It's very clear that strength comes from unity. Therefore, unite with the very best and mightiest and you'll have both strength and stability. How about union with the Lord?
Again, I watched some of the videos on Steve Jobs online. One is titled "Death is life's best invention" (according to Jobs). His view was that since death is unavoidable, the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. This view worked well for him, but will not satisfy a true Christian because it does not offer hope, is somewhat vague and self-centered, and sounds more like a temporary fix. I might subscribe to his view if I didn't know of a loving God. Now I know that there is life after death and true satisfaction comes only from serving God selflessly.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
After sensing that Jesus is the life (read my last post), I realize that he can also forgive your sins, make you pure, heal all your interior wounds, help you kick all your bad habits, replace your worries and anxieties with freedom and peace ~ basically, transforming you into a brand new creature. If you still do not accept him, yet cannot say that he is all false, then you owe it to yourself to search your soul hard to find out why.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life." Today as I received the Lord in Holy Communion, I particularly sensed him as the life. He's not only sustaining my present life, but also breathing new life into me, preparing me for the eternal life. The Lord creates, rejuvenates and resurrects life.
I still recall the time when I lived just for myself and had some great times. Now I see that one instant of joy received from the Lord is better than a whole lifetime of good times enjoyed without him. In a nutshell: Life without God is ultimately empty.
Yesterday Steve Jobs of Apple died at the age of 56 and as expected, it was big news. Jobs was a gifted man with vision, one of the greats in the eyes of the world. His creative and innovative ideas had resulted in material products that benefit the world in many ways.
I started to ask God what is great in his eyes and how he measures successes. The answer I received was quite simple. We are great to God when we are humble and he measures our successes by how much we love him and others.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
As I watched the news on TV this morning a little bit, I saw continuous reports on shooting, murder, court trial, government cover-up and scandals, Wall Street greed... All this should serve as a big wake-up call for us, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6.23).
That God is love and we are the objects of his love. How big is this love? John 3.16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." The answer is both incredible and shocking. Let's respond to this revelation appropriately.
At morning Mass, the priest started the Eucharistic Prayer with "In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup." I was instantly hit by the two adjectives, "life-giving" and "saving." Indeed, the Holy Eucharist, if properly understood and believed in, has the saving power and can give us the real life. This is not our present life in the world, but life everlasting with God in heaven.
The first verse from today's Entrance Antiphon from Esther: "O Lord, you have given everything its place in the world, and no one can make it otherwise." In the Gospel from Luke 11, Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer ~ this is the prayer that precisely defines our place before the Lord. It's sad that mankind in general today is ignorant of its God-given place and asserts its own independence apart from God, resulting in sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.
Monday, October 3, 2011
The Communion verse at Mass, Lamentation 3.25: "The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who are searching for his love."
Looking for God is really a journey in search for love. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. At the end, you'll find love waiting for you. The reward is so great that you forget all the hardships and difficulties of your trip.
Just before Mass started this morning, this picture appeared in my mind. God is light and this light fills the whole universe. But those who do not know the Lord do not see the light because they are all blindfolded. They bump into each other and into walls as they move about and try vainly to lead others also blindfolded. In sum, they don't know what they are doing! Then those who know the Lord, basking in his glorious light, know exactly what they are doing as they go about doing God's will.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 21, Jesus tells the Parable of the Tenants to the chief priests and the elders of the people. At the end he says to them, "The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." This is a warning to all who do not take the Lord seriously. It's so easy to go to bed and expect to wake up the next morning for another day, not at all thinking about God or your eternal destination; but there's always the probability that you may not see tomorrow. It's true that God's mercy is unlimited, but our lifetime is not. Heed the warning while we still can!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Today is the Memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She is my beloved saint. I first read her The Story of a Soul and was deeply moved by her simple love and trust in Jesus. There's great joy in her childlike faith. Her Little Way shows that we can all be saints ~ this was eye-opening for me. I truly admire her.
At today's Mass, the Alleluia verse from Matthew 11: "Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom." And the Communion verse from Matthew 18: "Unless we change and become like little children, says the Lord, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."
I am thinking of the ambitious, the well-educated, the sophisticated, the self-centered, the self-reliant, and the proud of today. How hard it would be for them to turn and become like little children! Then, of course, nothing is impossible for God.