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

Monday, January 31, 2011

We Are Our Own Enemy!

        The greatest and first enemy we face in our spiritual battle are ourselves.  If we can conquer ourselves, then everything else becomes easy.  The recipe for conquering ourselves involves a surrendering ~ surrendering to God, that is.  To conquer ourselves, we need a power greater than us, otherwise it's six against half a dozen.  We are so fortunate as to have the loving God ready to join in the battle at our beck and call.  (The Christian life is definitely not dull.)    

Most Joyful Advice!

        Jesus has advised us to do many things.  He wants us to deny ourselves or sell all our possessions to follow him, to love our enemies and forgive others, to not be anxious about tomorrow, and many more.  These we must follow even though they can sound "harsh" to our ears.  Today during Eucharistic Prayers, as I heard the priest quoting what Jesus said at the Last Supper: "Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you" and a little later "Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me," it just hit me that these two pieces of advice had got to be the most joyful advice from the Lord!  And I also realized that by taking it, all the other advices can become joyful too.  

Do All in Christ

        Live in him, rest in him, suffer in him, and die in him.

Lessons Learned from Blogging

        So far I have posted 490 times to this blog and on this last day of January, 2010, I don't think I'll hit #500; but that's OK.  In the early days I sometimes wondered what I should post next, then I learned to rely upon the Lord and not be concerned about that.  If he wants to dry me up, that's fine too; after all, I am not doing it for myself ~ it has to be his thing.  Three hours ago, I didn't know what to post today; then during Mass the Holy Spirit triggered a bunch of thoughts in my mind.  So, here I am at the computer again.
        From blogging, I have learned to cast myself aside, trust in God only, and live one day at a time.  Praised be to him!      

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We Can Be Transcendent Too

        God is transcendent because he is not limited by time nor space.  We can also be transcendent is the sense that we can live in Christ and not be bound by things of this world.  To live in Christ is the beginning of living the eternal life.  It is the transcendent way of living.

On Confession

        Confession is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The risen Christ gave it to us when he conferred on his apostles his own divine power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20: 22-23).  The priest present at confession then becomes the instrument God uses to forgive our sins.  Of course, if our sins are venial, we can go directly to the Lord, repent, and ask for forgiveness.  What if the sin committed is most serious and you ask for forgiveness from God?  How can you be sure that you're forgiven?  Well, the Lord totally understands human nature.  After you hear the priest absolve you from your sin, you are now certain that you have been forgiven by God because he had given us his word.

To Be Holy Is to Be Happy

        I got the following message from the presiding priest at Mass this morning:  To be holy is to be happy, content, and fulfilled.  This should definitely expel the image in the minds of many who think that a holy person is glum, self-suppressing, and unfree.  In fact, anyone who is not happy, content, or fulfilled cannot possibly be holy.  To be holy is to live in God, who can only give joy, peace, and fulfillment to the human heart.  

On Humility

        I was thinking about humility this morning.  If we want to imitate Christ, this is the virtue that can help us go a long way toward holiness.  In fact, I see humility as being the foremost requisite for becoming Christlike.  
        This morning's readings at Mass reinforced my thoughts.  In Reading 1 from Zephaniah 2, we are urged to seek humility.  Reading 2 from 1 Corinthians 1 tells us how God chose the lowly and despised in the world to reduce to nothing those who are something.  Finally, the Gospel from Matthew 5 gives us the Beatitudes.  In one of them, Jesus declares "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land."  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jesus Is Always with Us

        In the last post, we learned that Jesus quieted the wind and stilled the sea.  This was done from a boat when his disciples with him thought that they were going to perish during the violent squall.  Father Matthew in today's homily likened our life to being in a boat.  When we face the storms of life, we can be shaken; but Jesus is always there in the boat with us.  Whenever we are in danger and need his help, he's going to quiet the wind and still the sea for us.  A great analogy that gives great consolation.

Jesus, the Lord of All

        In today's Gospel reading from Mark 4, Jesus rebuked the wind and quieted the sea during a squall and the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  His disciples were greatly awed by the fact that even wind and sea obey him.  What they learned was that Jesus is the Lord of all.  Subtly and sadly, today all weather conditions are attributed to Nature; our nation no longer believes that God speaks to us through hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.  Alas, we are no longer in awe of God. 

Beware of Ulterior Motives

        The Holy Spirit speaks in a gentle voice, but the Devil is also adept at whispering to your heart.  One trick he employs is using your ulterior motives to prompt you to action. These motives may be hard to detect because they often lie beneath or are embedded among your good intentions.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these motives to you and remove them from your heart. 

Please God Always

        The Saturday morning Mass I attend starts half an hour later than the weekday morning Masses.  This morning I somehow miscalculated; I thought I had time for breadfast before Mass and took a bite of a well-ripened banana before realizing that I would be taking Communion in less than an hour.  Since the present rule is to fast for at least an hour before receiving Communion, I skipped Communion at Mass.  It was a sacrifice as I longed to receive the Lord; then I realized that by offering it up to God, he'd be equally pleased.  I now see that whether we get what we want or not is not necessarily more important than how we deal with the situation.  We can please God under any circumstances.

Friday, January 28, 2011

On Praying for Spiritual Growth

        We normally ask for the many spiritual qualities, such as faith, perseverance, patience, etc., we think we need.  This approach is relatively self-centered ~ we focus upon what we think we lack ~ and involves more of a struggle on our part.
        I believe that a superior approach is to rest in God with abandonment. We lie open before him, letting him see what we need and fill us.  The focus is mainly on him and not us.  Again, save our energy and tap God's power, for he is infinitely greater and wiser.    

Learning from the Lord

        Last night I had a dream.  In it I noticed that a big wall-mounted light fixture was missing from the house (I say "the house" because it's supposed to be my house, but in the dream it didn't look like my home at all) ~ someone must have removed it without my knowledge or permission.  I was upset, so much so that I woke up.  And the Lord was right there and I heard him (in my mind) asking me if this had happened in real life, how I should react.  I knew right away what he wanted to hear, which is "I should not let anything like this upset me."  It's good to learn from the Lord at any moment he chooses to teach us.     

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Reminder

        If you wish to transform the world, start with transforming yourself first.

Most Tolerant Father

        In Ecclesiastes 3, we read "There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens."  I think of this verse because there are times when I feel a great urgency in praying to God and other times when I know that he has heard me and I do not need to ask anymore.  I let the Holy Spirit be my guide.  I could twist God's arm, cry, and beg from him, or just smile at him and whisper my wish and let go at that.  That's why I love the Father ~ as long as you love him, he is most tolerant with your behavior.   

God's Generous Giving

        Today's Gospel reading from Mark 4 contains the well known verse "To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  At first reading, you might think that God has favorites and is being unfair.  Then I saw that the one who has was the one who loved God and asked for good things from him, while the one who has not did not bother with God in the first place.  We must first want to receive from the God whose generosity in giving is limitless.   

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Plethora of God's Gifts

        If you believe, love, and trust in God with all your heart, you will receive at least the following ten gifts from him:  (1) joy, (2) peace, (3) freedom of the heart, (4) patience, (5) courage, (6) humility, (7) compassion for others, (8) discernment of God's will, (9) detachment from the world, and (10) purity of heart.
        In The Fulfillment of All Desire, Ralph Martin, the fruits of union with God include (1) freedom from self-concern and fear of what others will think, (2) a pure heart, (3) an immense fortitude in the service of love, (4) continual prayer, (5) finding joy in everything, (5) rediscovery of the creation in God ~ seeing it as it truly is, (6) heightened sense of seeing good and evil, (7) deep, solid, interior calm, (8) constant peace and joy, (9) the experience of the almost continual presence of God, (10) being dead to every selfish impulse, (11) enjoying habitual sweetness and tranquility, (12) inebriation in the Holy Spirit. 
        All the above and more can be yours, if you so desire.
       

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Great Feeling

        Knowing that God is using you to serve him in some manner.

Are You Really Following God?

        It's easy not to follow God when you are intent on serving him.  Here are just a few examples.
        (1) You start on a project without praying about it.
        (2) You want to be in control of the project.
        (3) You try to do the work all by yourself.
        (4) You feel good when others see or notice what you are doing.
        (5) You are excited about an idea and want to get started right away.
        (6) You are so anxious to serve God that you neglect your family duties.       

Jesus Is the One

        Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  I looked back in my last post.  If I look back even further to my conversion, I saw how I came upon Jesus, found him attractive, and accepted him as Lord and Saviour.  Over the many years, it was I who was reluctant to go all out to follow him.  He remains forever the same; so, basically, we ourselves determine how much benefit we receive from following him.  (We reap what we sow.)  
        Now that I have willed to go all the way and started tasting the sweet fruit of the spiritual life, I can tell you without a doubt that Jesus is exactly what he claimed to be ~ you needn't look for another.  He warned us that after him there would come many false prophets.  He had already revealed to us all the truths we need to know.  To look for any other who claims to have received new revelations from God amounts to rejecting God.           

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking Back

        This is sort of a landmark post as I look back.  Before I started this blog, I already felt that I must let the Holy Eucharist occupy a prominent spot in my life.  I should not receive Holy Communion because I am a Catholic and go to Mass, instead I should go to Mass because I want to receive Christ in Holy Communion. I also came across and read The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin, a book I mentioned in an earlier post.  Union with God is the end of the journey to God; and if you read about it in that book, you'll want to reach that state of peace and joy.  Gradually, as I received the Lord at daily Mass, I knew that the Holy Eucharist has the power to bring one to full union with God.
        After I started my blog, I wasn't sure where I was going; I just let the Holy Spirit lead.  Now I see that the objective of this blog is to lead as many as possible to union with God through the Holy Eucharist.  What happens from here?  I don't know and am not concerned about it.  Like the Apostles we must get off our duff and follow the Master the moment he calls.  We may have questions, but we do not ask.  The missions of the Apostles were not made clear until after the Resurrection of the Lord.  It doesn't matter what comes next because we follow a most trustworthy guide.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sequel to Last Post

        In view of the understanding of our part in God's scheme, to know that we were created in God's image makes even more sense.  Like him, God made us know what love means.  Since God is love, we should be able to understand him.  Hopefully, we will all fall in love with him as is his will.

Why God Created Us

        Last night I was thinking about God's love, then the Holy Spirit made me see something new (and big for me). 
        If God had not created us, then nothing else he had created ~ animals, plants, rocks, stars... ~ would ever know about his love.  Therefore, God created us so that he could be made known to be love.  This means that we are so very special, being indispensable partners to him in his intention.  With this overwhelming realization, we should never see ourselves quite the same again.  The Church is absolutely right in teaching that God created us to know and love him.

Rejoice If God Calls You

        In today's Gospel from Matthew 4, Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow him to become fishers of men and they immediately obeyed.  If you know that God has called you too, then you have a great cause for rejoicing.  What a special gift it is that he has picked you out among the multitude and called you by your name to follow him personally!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

God Knows Our Heart

        I got called away this morning, so I wasn't able to go to Mass and there didn't seem to be any thoughts to share.  Then I caught part of the EWTN program Reasons for Our Hope, hosted by Rosalind Moss.  If you haven't read about Rosalind, you must find her conversion story and read it, as she is so full of love for Christ and inspiring.  She was a Jew, found Christ, became a evangelical first, and then finally a Catholic.  It must be extra sweet for her to realize that Christ, one of her own, was actually the Messiah her people had been waiting for.  So she became a fulfilled Jew, not a convert like the Gentiles. 
        On this show I caught her saying "God knows our heart" (when she's talking about how the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son and Zechariah disbelieved).   That is an extra sweet statement to me.  We all like to be understood.  Here the Lord, almighty and loving, knows everything that's going on in our heart, mind, and soul ~ how good and comforting it is!  One more thing to rejoice about. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let the Holy Eucharist Seal...

your love for, trust in, obedience to, and inseparableness from God.

On Living Secretly

        The last post dealt with two opposites, one bad and one good.  Here are two more:
        (1) You live secretly in yourself, not letting God or anyone else know about it.
        (2) You live secretly in God, not letting yourself or anyone else know about it. 

On Escaping from God

        This morning the word "escape" came into my mind after I got up.  I saw that so many of us in this world try to escape from God by ignoring his presence or pretending that he's not there.  At Mass today, the Memorial of St. Agnes, the Entrance we read was "Here is a wise and faithful virgin who went with lighted lamp to meet her Lord."  This is just the opposite of escaping from God.  The antonym of "wise" is, of course, "foolish."  Those who live as if God does not exist are indeed fools.     

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Martyrdom

      Today St. Fabian and St. Sebastian share the same Memorial (optional) day; both suffered martyrdom.  We may not suffer physical death because of our faith, but we can be martyrs too in many other ways.  St. Therese of Lisieux is a perfect example.  Her "little way" calls for doing everything faithfully for the glory of God.  To put your own will to death is then a form of martyrdom, not less valued by God.  Anyway, the important thing is to do God's will and not be concerned about what form martyrdom takes.  

"Touch and Be Healed"

        In today's Gospel reading from Mark 3, those from the crowd who had diseases pressed upon Jesus to touch him, since he had cured many.  "Touch (with faith) and be healed" is what I hear.  Receiving the Blessed Sacrament is more than just touching him, so don't pass up this golden opportunity to ask the Lord to heal whatever needs to be healed in you.   

Avoid Being Self-Centered

        The other day I had a chance to share some of my spiritual thoughts with a group of people and it went over fine.  Then I thought of more thoughts and shared them too.  You see, that was the moment I took my eyes off the Lord and became self-centered.  The result was that overall it looked like I was wandering from one topic to another.  To be blunt about it, I messed up.  
        The lesson is that as long as we stay with the Lord, we should do fine; but if we decide to do our own thing, self-centeredness begins.  It's that simple.  I might add that the difference is between glorifying God and serving ourselves.  Learn to distinguish the two from each other.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Move On with God

        This is what the Holy Spirit taught me today during prayer after Mass.
        Never look back.  Never let the past snare you, hang on to you, or slow you down.  Never ever start thinking "I should have..."  The past is gone, so move on.  Start every moment with a clean slate.  Know that the Lord God is ever with you and around you.  In fact, he dwells within you (the Holy Trinity all present).  And God is our Bright Hope, shining and leading us on, so focus upon him alone and follow. 
        Do not follow your own whims or desires, even though it may appear harmless.  Seek God's approval first always.  Also, God does not send gloom into our hearts, only peace and joy; so, open your heart to only what comes from the Lord. 
        Note: The above was not made up to make you feel good; it was heartfelt and  truthful sharing.     

Jesus Is Our Test

        Jesus has come, revealed himself, demonstrated his love, and has done his part. He never showed himself off nor threatened us; he merely presented himself as the truth.  Whether we accept or reject him is all up to us.  We can never accuse him of coercing us in any way.  Therefore, he is a completely fair test for us.  We alone are responsible for our choice.             

The Proud Will Not See God

        The Gospel reading today is from Mark 3.  The Pharisees were so intent on finding a way to accuse Jesus and their hearts so hardened that even after witnessing the instant healing of a man's withered hand, they went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians to put him to death.  They had already made up their mind and closed their eyes.  We still have plenty of people like that today.  It only shows that the proud will never find God.     

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christians' Blessings

        In today's reading from Mark 2, Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.  It's a great consolation to know that we are made for God.  As Christians, we also know why we are here and where we are going.  What great blessings!  

Another "Revelation"

        A disclaimer first.  When I use the word "revelation," it does not mean that I hear or receive something directly from God ~ I simply realize something clearly in my mind, although I do believe that it's the Holy Spirit continuing teaching me.  This can happen to anyone receptive to the Spirit. 
        As I was trying to fall asleep last night, this was what I suddenly realized.  We should believe in God, trust in him, be open to him, etc. ~ I already knew all that. Then if I become one with him, I no longer have to be concerned about these requirements anymore because they will be automatically met!!!  Therefore, aiming for union with God is the way to go. 
        As I have mentioned before, the greatest (and indispensable) help in this process is the Holy Eucharist.  Jesus instituted this Sacrament not just to remind us of him, but to give us the means to achieve true union with him.  It is the bread from heaven, the Lord himself.  Anyone who receives it lightly is a fool and anyone who does not believe in it blasphemes.  Being the source of all grace, it is the way to total union with God.

Love the Lord with Passion

        I saw the TV program Growing Bolder on PBS yesterday.  It showed how a number of older people worked hard with a passion to pursue a business, project, or something less consequential and succeeded, despite their advancing age.  These are pretty inspiring stories.  But for those of us who love Christ, it would be wiser to love and serve the Lord with more passion as we age.  Our success will then be assured in the next life.   

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jesus Makes Me Whole

        Earlier this month (Jan. 3), I felt that Jesus completes my life.  Today I feel that he makes me whole ~ it is really saying the same thing in a different way.  I feel that I was fractured and had many missing pieces in life and he came and restored me to a state of grace, making me whole before God.       

Giving Your Heart to God

        The heart is the key to entering the Lord's heart.  If we can give our heart totally to God, then becoming detached to our own family and all things of the world and giving our possesions away when we are called to do will no longer be any problem.  The heart is the most precious thing to us.  If God can have it, then surely he can have everything else.  
        Once God has your heart, he'll put whatever pleases him in it and you'll be transormed into a beautiful, new creature before him.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Teacher-Disciple Relationship

        What I sensed today after receiving Holy Communion was the beauty and sweetness of the teacher-disciple relationship between the Lord and us.  Receiving him sealed that relationship.


Will Over Emotion

        True loving requires applying the will to override emotion.  An illustration of will vs. emotion.  Suppose you get the news that you have just won a million dollars and you jump up and down and start to scream with excitement, then this is raw emotion will no will involved.  But if you realize that the money belongs to God and you are going to put it to good use for God's glory and thus remain calm and collected, then you have overridden emotion with will.  In loving others, it's also not so much oohing and aahing at what you see, but showing your pity and compassion by doing what's required of you.    
        A note of caution.  Since you are now detached from people (and things of the world), you could seem to be cold or somewhat inhumane to others.  And if you show your love for your enemies, you may even be thought of as being stupid or weird. This should not deter you, for you aim is to please God and not others.
        (All the above I wrote for myself too, as there are many others I see around who are more loving than I am.)

Living Secretly in Christ

        This means staying hidden in Christ.  You no longer seek self-glory nor promote yourself in any way.  Self-importance is out.  Don't even let the right hand know what your left hand is doing.  You hide behind the Lord, following him every step of the way.  The objective is to let others see only Christ and not you.  And you'll be rewarded with his peace and joy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Getting to Know Jesus

        In the midst of watching a good movie on EWTN, I came to realize the following.
        "To really get to know Jesus, you must get inside him, possess him, and become one with him.  Then you will know that he is absolutely the truth and your fulfillment for all eternity.  Standing on the sideline and watching will not get you anywhere.  Capturing such a priceless treasure surely deserves giving all of yourself to him." 

The Need for God

        It's so easy to live our life as we please without thinking about God.  If you don't believe in him, that's one thing; but if you deliberately ignore him, that's quite another and far worse.  Of course, no one can possibly run away from God ~ sooner or later, we shall have to face him.  Perhaps many of us do finally turn our thoughts to him during the last moments of our like.  If that's the case, then death is a blessing.
        If you look around, the need for God is right now.  When natural disasters strike around the world, you need him.  When wars flare up among nations, you need him. When tradedy befalls someone (could be you), you need him.  In fact, anytime you are bothered by  anything that makes you unhappy, you need him.  The list is endless.  I am not even talkinig about the other half, the good things he can give you.  We need God more than anything else.                  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Humility, a Must-Have

        On my way home from Mass, Jesus' saying "The last will be first and the first will be last" surfaced in my mind.  This reminded me to never look down on anyone, no matter how sinful, repugnant, or obnoxious the person may be.  Again, humility is a must-have for following Christ.

The Holy Eucharist Is Holy

        I attended morning Mass at a different church today and it turned out that the priest had such a heavy foreign accent that I did not understand much of what he said.  No problem ~ I was drawn even more to focus on the Holy Eucharist, the center of  worship.  Being the true body and blood of the Lord, the Holy Eucharist is being viciously attacked by Satan more than ever nowadays.  Atheists and others ridicule us, mock us, laugh at us, or accuse us of being idolatrous.  They can do all they want and the truth remains the same.  I really feel sorry for them for not knowing what they're doing.  May God forgive them.       
        The Holy Eucharist is the bread of heaven, our spiritual food.  It is out of God's mercy that the bread and wine do not look like real flesh and blood.  Nevertheless, the effect is the same.  We must believe in the word of the Lord and not go by what we see or feel.  The Holy Eucharist sustains our very existence in God.  I now treasure it more than ever.     

God Is Transcendent!!!

        God is eternal; therefore, he transcends both time and space.  He is ever present everywhere.  Jesus came, to us a long time ago and in a distant land, but he is ever present everywhere too.  At Mass, it's just like being at the Last Supper.  You hear the Gospel read, it's just like hearing him actually speaking to us.  Time and space do not separate us from God at all.  Any separation we feel is an illusion!  He is here and we are in his holy presence at all times.  When we sin, we sin right before his eyes.  His light is always shining upon us.  If we don't see it, it is us who are blind or playing the ostrich.  So, wake up and shape up, for the Lord is present.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Easy to Be Holy?

        Is it easy or hard to be holy?  That depends upon how you approach it.  Let's say that you go on a long trip which you really don't want to do and you are all by yourself.  Being unhappy, you feel that the trip is just taking so long and wish that you have not started it in the first place.  Now, let's say that this time you take the same trip  and you have some friends to talk to along the way and you rather enjoy the conversation and company.  Before you know, the trip is almost over and you wish that it isn't yet.  These two examples just illustrate how one's view can directly affect the outcome.      
        When it comes to wanting to be holy, you could focus on you own sinful state and tell yourself that you'll never make it and give up, or concentrate upon God's mercy and power and ask for his help.  When you really mean it, he will reach down to make it easy for you to fulfill your wish.  (Always save your own energy and tap God's power.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do You Want the Lord?

        Do you want him in your life?  If your "yes" is based upon theory ~ in other words, you believe that you should want him ~ then the answer may not mean much.  But if you want him from the heart, then it means something or maybe even a lot more.
        (In theory, you should want the Lord in your life more than anything else.)

"Serving God" Is Beautiful

        I've been talking about the many beautiful things ~ "serving the Lord" belongs on that list too.  When you serve God, it's no longer self-serving ~ you glorify him.  This is more honorable and meritorious than doing anything for yourself.  Essentially, you gladden God's heart and accumulate treasure in heaven.           

How to Gain Peace

        I have come to see that the reason we don't have peace in the heart is because there is still so much we want to do on our own.  The I in me is still unstilled, making a lot of noise.  Check yourself to see how many of your thoughts start out with "I".  To gain peace, we need to silence (forget about) ourselves and listen for God's voice.        

God's Great Mercy

        Today at morning Mass, the Lord impressed upon my mind his great mercy.  I can be in any state of sin and if I just go to him with repentance and ask for forgiveness ~ in fact, even before I ask, he already knew ~ he's ready to make me pure and clean again. What great mercy!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Know God Directly

        Today's Alleluia verse from Mass reads: "Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God."  The more you listen to the word of God, the more you come to know God.  Of course, the direct way to know God is to go straight to Jesus.  Read about him in the Gospels and pray to him unceasingly.  Most and best of all, receive him reverently in the Holy Eucharist.  Once you achieve deep union with him, you will know that you know him.  You and God are now one. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

God Is...

infinite, everlasting, what he claims to be: "I am," and then some.  To complete the picture, we must not forget that he is also Love

Obedience Is Beautiful

        God is beautiful and it follows that following him is also beautiful.  The best way to carry this out is to be obedient to him. 
        In today's reading from Hebrew 1, Paul tells us that God spoke to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe.  This is a complete turnabout from his early days during which he persecuted Christians relentlessly.  Then Jesus called and he obeyed.  Again, in the Gospel reading from Mark 1, Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John to become fishers of men and they obey him by dropping everything right there and then to follow him.  
        Obedience to God leads to eternal life, while rebellion against him brings on eternal separation from him.  Learn to say yes the moment God calls and he'll fill your heart with joy and peace.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Self-Consciousness Is Self-Centeredness

        Earlier today I said something quite normal (nothing extraordinary) in the presence of others and was self-conscious about it; immediately afterwards, I realized that I was still self-centered because I cared about what others thought of me.  I should be solely concerned about what God alone thinks of me.  If doing his will causes others to misunderstand or even laugh at me, so be it.  The self must decrease to nothing before God. 
        Later, the homily at today's Mass (Feast of the Baptism of the Lord) confirmed this.  The priest emphasized that "we are not to fall into the trap of always thinking what I can do, but to concentrate on our relationship with God."  We must get our priorities right.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

God Fills "Nothing"

        An afterthought to the last post.  To be nothing before God makes us empty, and we are ready to let God wipe out our sins and fill us with his love and graces. 

"Nothing" Is Beautiful

        We are merely instruments in God's scheme and are nothing before him.  All glory should go to God alone.  Many in our world seek fame and fight for recognition; they love to bask in the honor and glory bestowed upon them by other worldlings.  By contrast, to be able to humble oneself to become "nothing" before God is downright refreshing and truly beautiful before him. 

An Ego Test

        If you feel hurt or get upset when someone misunderstands or blames you and you really haven't done anything wrong, then you still have some of that ego in you. Here's a chance to ask God to crush it for you to remain peaceful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Planned Parenthood Exposed

        At http://www.UnplannedWebcast.com, you can register to hear Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director, talk about her new book "Unplanned."  The webcast has been scheduled for next Monday, Jan. 10 at 9 PM Eastern (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific) and the book is coming out the following day.  She is going to reveal the shocking details of what she saw inside the abortion business...and why she resigned her job and joined the pro-life movement.  This should be a huge event.  Watch it if you can and tell others about the webcast and the book too.

Doing God's Will

        This thought came to me today.  I could very well do only what I feel like doing, take control of my life and be just myself.  I may even achieve something in this world, making a name for myself and even benefiting others as a result.  I could really enjoy my own "freedom," even though I may have to fight many battles along the way on my own.  Well, I used to think and live that way.  Now I see clearly that if I were to go through all my life like that and do not change to become a holier person before God, then I shall have wasted all my time on earth.  In other words, I busy myself all life and end up being still the same old me (or possibly a lot worse).  
        Doing one small will of God is infinitely more meaningful and meritorious than doing one million wills of my own.  I am happy that by God's grace, I had come to realize this truth. 

The Depth of God

        I had sensed the great beauty and sheer perfection of God in the past.  Today at Mass I sensed the awesome depth of God.  I would like to remain deep in him, learn from him, and draw all I need from this depth.  I believe that if I continue searching and exploring in it, I'll discover even more treasures, wonders, and be amazed.  There is unlimited power in this depth for us to tap.  God is all we need, more than sufficient for us.  I could even say that God is too much of a good thing for us.  Thanks be to Jesus for revealing the Father to us. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Distributing God's Love

        This is kind of a sequel to the last post.  Since God loved us first, we can think of ourselves as empty vessels, continuously filled to the brim with God's love, as we distribute this love to others as needed.  This should help us remember that we are not the source of this love, but merely channels of it.

God First Loved Us

        St. John reminds us today that we love God because he first loved us (1 John 4.19).  It's easy to think that we do his will because we love him, whereas the right reason for doing his will is because he loves us.  It's his love that makes us love him back and love others. 

Connect or Reconnect to God

        We adults forget most of the things that happened to us in life when we were at a very young age, but certain things do stick in our mind.  I still remember vividly when I was perhaps around six, the time I went over to a person sitting in a chair in the kitchen at home ~ she's not even a member of the family, but she was very endearing to me.  I walked over to her, sat on the edge of the seat between her legs, and leaned back on her.  She  didn't even try to hold me, but I felt so good and secure just being with her, touching her ~ there was definitely a connection there.
        This was how I felt this morning during prayer before Mass.  Now I have God the Father holding me close to him, letting me know that I am his and I belong to him. This was such a rock-solid, good feeling that only God can provide.  What the world needs is love and the sense of belonging ~ there are so many lonely and lost souls out there. They need to connect or reconnect to God, so that they'll know where to go and to belong.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Do You Really Know Jesus?

        At the Last Supper, when Philip asked Jesus to show them (the disciples) the Father, Jesus responded, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"
        This makes me think that we could be a follower of Jesus for a long time, hear him preached every Sunday at church, read many books about him, participate in parish activities, and still do not know him or the Father.  To avoid this pitfall, seek total union with the Lord.

Small Pain, Big Gain

        Today's Communion verse, Matthew 19.29: "Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life."
        This greatly helps me in giving up certain things in life.

St. John on Love

        I love St. John, the Apostle.  His writings are simple, clear, and to the point.  In today's Mass reading from 1 John 4, he makes it clear that
        (1) we have not seen God, but if we love one another, God remains in us,
        (2) God has given us his Holy Spirit so that we know that we remain in him and he in us,
        (3) God is love and this love is brought to perfection among us who remain in him,
        (4) love and fear are mutually exclusive.  One who fears is not yet perfect in love. 
        St. John here gives us much food for thought.  To those who are still afraid of the physical death, let me say that nothing can match the power of God's love.  Let this love fill you to leave no room for any fear.

God Can Do It!

        First of all, nothing is impossible with God; and if God is love, he must be reasonable always.  I think we can all agree to that, unless you are an atheist. 
        It's clear that Jesus wants us to be holy, humble, the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and as loving as he is ~ this has to be totally possible or he would not have asked (demanded) of us.  If you say "I cannot do it," you are right; but God can do it!  With this all settled in your mind, steam full speed ahead with your spiritual growth.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Shall Live Forever!

        The Communion verse at today's Mass is John 6.51: "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."  What's stated is crystal clear (unless you don't listen or just try to figure out what you think it should mean).  I know I am going to live forever, not because I am extra holy or arrogant in any way, but because I trust in what Jesus had said plainly.  I believe that the bread he had given us in the Holy Eucharist is his flesh and I do eat this bread at Mass every time.  Therefore, I shall live forever as he had promised.   

We Have a Shepherd!

        Today's Gospel is from Mark on the feeding of the five thousand.  At the beginning, when Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.  We who know the Lord are so fortuante because we have a shepherd, a most trustworthy one at that.  He is absolutely reliable, our greatest teacher, and most powerful advocate.  He is everything that's good for us.  Yes, our guide, our rock, and our savior.  His sheep know his voice ~ a great gift from the Father.  We know why we are here and where we are going, for the Lord has come, swept away all confusion, and made the way to him straight for us.  Alleluia!

God's Love

        At today's Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John talks about love in his first Epistle.  I don't mean to rehash the subject one more time, but you just can't get around the fact that God is love and love is the solution to all of our problems.  Jesus demonstrated this love by laying down his own life for us.  Let's go to the extreme case to show that love is the way we should live.  If every single person in the world is willing to die for others, imagine what a beautiful, peaceful world we would have!  It is the way commanded and demonstrated by God and the way to gaining true freedom and eternal life.  There is not another better way, period.   
        
                   

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jesus Completes Me

        What I felt during prayer today after Mass was that "I am not complete until I have Jesus."  Without him, I would be lost, incomplete for sure.  Jesus was the missing piece in my life.  Now he completes me and I am full and fulfilled. 

Imitate Jesus Alone

        We talk about role models a lot.  If a sports hero gets caught doing something shameful, he is dropped by sponsors of his commercials.  Parents want their children to look up to someone famous, wealthy. or talented.  So many in the higher classes are followed and "worshipped" by so many in the populace.  This is sad as no one is worth following except Christ alone.  Following any mortal can easily lead one astray.  Only Jesus can lead you to eternal happiness.  Imitating him may be a lot harder, but it's only proper and necessary.

Giving Ourselves to God

        This post modifies the last one somewhat.  One-way giving is true in the sense that we can never match what God can give us.  Yet, we can give God ourselves ~ this is really all we have and the best we can do.  He made us in the first place out of love, so we are most precious to him.  All the more we should take care of our own body and soul. It follows that there is nothing better than giving ourselves, the most precious to both him and us. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

God's One-Way Giving

        The thought came to me after Communion at Vigil Mass (Epiphany of the Lord). 
        God really does not expect us to give him anything.  First of all, we really have nothing to give as all (including ourselves) came from him in the first place.  We are poor and he has all the riches.  All he wants is that we open our hearts to him and he is going to pour his love into them and pile graces on us ~ it's pretty much one-way giving after we give him permission.  Such good fortune for us!   

Achieving Union with God

        Surrendering to God is difficult, but once you get started, it becomes easier and easier.  That's because when you open up to God, the Holy Spirit is able to start working on you.  (It's back to "Say OK to God and he'll take care of the rest.")  As time goes on, you sense more of God's beauty, taste more of his sweetness, and you open up even more.  Eventually, you will want all of God, desiring full union with him.  (The Holy Eucharist, God's greatest gift of himself and the treasure of the Church, is absolutely necessary to achieve full union.) 
        Basically, don't struggle on your own; just be open and passive. Remember that God is love and he is mighty. 

Ultimate Surprises

        Did you ever wonder why God wanted to take the human form?  The human life is miserable relative to what it's like in heaven, yet Jesus became one of us.  This is the ultimate surprise!  Why?  Here's the second ultimate surprise: He did it because he loves us. 

Everything We Do Matters

        When Mary said yes to God, Jesus came to us through her.  When the president of our previous regime decided to enter Iraq, lives of millions of people were affected, for better or worse.  We may not think that each of us ordinary souls can produce any big effect, but remember that every single thought, word, or deed of ours affects God and that's all it matters.  This is the compelling reason for us to become holy.            
     

One Chance Before Facing God

        2010 came and is gone.  It'll be the same with us on earth, then we meet the Lord in person.  How we love him in this life determines our eternal destiny.  The encounter with him after this life will be strictly one-on-one with no other souls around being able to help or defend you in any way.  Therefore, don't blow your chance.
        (This may be a message on the grim side for a new year, but I think that it's a lot more meaningful than saying Happy New Year.)   

Blessed Is Mary Our Mother

        Today fittingly on this first day of the year of our Lord 2011, it's the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, that's celebrated.  I joyfully went to Mass. If anyone has trouble approaching God directly, just ask Mary our Mother to pray for you first and you'll find your trouble going away.  She always leads everyone to her divine Son ~ you can count on that.  She's our greatest ally in heaven.  I love her because Jesus loves her and she helps me love Jesus.