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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year-End Prayer

        To experience Jesus, you must get inside of him. You may be a believer, but as long as you stand on the periphery, no matter how much you read the Scripture, how often you hear the gospel preached, or how many prayers you say, you are still an outsider and you'll feel it. To become an insider, you must open your heart wide and ask the Lord to come in. Yes, prepare him a good supper in advance for him. Don't hesitate to show your love for him and he won't be able to resist you because you are whom he loves. Once you get inside of him (rather he's inside of you), then everything will begin to change ~ all he has ever said will make sense to you, the pieces of the puzzle of your life will come together, and you'll begin to experience the freedom of the heart. 
        It's my prayer for all of you out there who read this blog that Christ our Lord will shower great blessings on you and your families, fulfill all your holy desires, and grant you his peace and joy all the days of your lives. 

Unsurpassable Joy

        At Mass this morning, I felt that Jesus is truly the ultimate. If I comb through the whole universe, I may find things that point to his glory, but I won't find him. Then I look within the deep interior of my heart and lo, he is there. What joy I felt when I found him! This is a joy that surpasses all understanding. 

Celebrating the New

        New Year is just around the corner. Why do we call the year new? In asking this question, I see that only God can make things truly new. The new year will become old again long before it's over, but when we become a new creature in Christ, we are in him forever ~ this is worth perpetual celebrating.      

True Progress

        I am thinking that if we can all wear a pair of glasses that enables us to see sins, we would see an ugly and filthy world with only God standing out, pure and beautiful. Since we don't have such a pair of glasses, we can only realize the miserable, sinful states we are in. To seek our way out, we must look upon God, for he alone has the power to deal with sins. Only he can free us by making us holy and pure. Now, this is what I call true progress.  

"Keep God Waiting"

        Some people have told me that they cannot embrace the holy life because they are still in this world dealing with real problems and being holy would put them at a disadvantage. Another somewhat different point of view is that those who are old and retired and those who live in monasteries and convents have it easy because they are no longer active in the real (what they mean is secular) world and so can afford to pray much and live spiritually.  Do these people have a point of view? Yes, but invalid. If you agree with them, then you are saying that God is not needed at all times, that he cannot help them with their problems, that he can get in their way, that he doesn't understand the real world, and that he is to wait for them and not the other way around. This thinking goes directly against the first commandment of the Lord about how we should love God. I believe that they are basically giving excuses for not wanting to believe in God yet, if not rejecting him. "Keep God waiting" seems to be the popular game to play.  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Transforming Power of the Eucharist

        After I received Holy Communion this morning, the consecrated host started melting slowly in my mouth and I knew that the Lord was again starting to transform me. To maintain your personal computer in top condition, you need to delete old files, run virus checks, update the browser, and so forth on a regular basis. Similarly, to maintain our spiritual well-being, we resort to frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.    

Great Stillness

        Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. Before Mass during prayer, I felt that the Lord was at the center of my soul and he was "collecting" my whole being ~ body, soul, and spirit ~ into him and a great stillness came over me. How beautiful it is to be still in the Lord! Later, the Gospel Acclamation from Colossians 3 echoed my feeling: "Let the peace of Christ control your hearts." This peace alone is reason enough to seek out the Lord. 

Beauty of the Christian Faith

        Is the prodigal son a bad boy or a good boy? He was really bad, then he became extremely good. All it took to bring about the transformation was his repentance, and the father took him right back with great joy. The example of the son is inspiring and the mercy of the father, comforting. 
        Here's the beauty of the Christian faith ~ our heavenly Father is always ready to take us back the moment we repent ~ truly the mark of a loving God. 

Best Loving Advice

        This morning while I was exercising on a bike machine, my nose started to itch. Since my hands were on the handle bar to keep the machine reading my heartbeats, I just hoped that the itch would go away soon. But it didn't and I had to let go of the handle bar and use one of my hands to rub my nose hard to stop the itch. And this thought popped into my mind. Since I couldn't even endure an itch for even a few seconds, I would never, never be able to stand eternal separation from God. Would you be able to stand it? Let me say emphatically: Make sure that you will never have to experience it! So, by all means do not let go of your loving God. If you want to be by his side later for all eternity, start loving him now. This is the most loving advice I could ever give you and you should take it.    

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ready to Go in Peace?

        Today's Gospel reading is from Luke 2 on the presentation of the child Jesus in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit had revealed to righteous and devout Simeon that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. After he saw the child Jesus at the temple, he's ready to go in peace. Now, any of us who has Christ dwelling in us should certainly be ready to go in peace too. We already have the Lord in us ~ what else in this world would you still need?      

How to Bring Others to God

        The best way to bring others to God is by your example. To be perfect should be your aim. Jesus is our example ~ look at him for inspiration and imitation. See Christ in everyone and let everyone see him in you. Then pray always and live in peace.

What I Love

        Since I love God, I love all that he has created, which is everything in the universe, including every inanimate objects and every living creature on earth. Since I love all things, there's no room for hatred in the heart anymore.

Back to God/Made for God

        These thoughts came to me while I was taking a shower this morning.
        I am somehow here at this point in this world, but I don't know how I got here. I know that I am a unique creature, possessing all the physical senses, and have learned from Scriptures that I was made in the image of God. And I've found God through Christ and am back to God the Father, who is now waiting for me in my future home. I remember that the science-fiction movie Back to the Future was exciting to watch when I first saw it a quarter of a century ago. Now the back-to-God feeling is simply heavenly! Yes, God has made us for himself.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Live Happily

        One will never be happy if he lives just for himself. The only way to be happy in this world is to live for God alone.

Be Ready to Obey

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 2, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." It's such a blessed state to be in to listen to the Lord's instructions, obey them, and wait for more. "Be ready to obey" at all times is what the Lord expects of us.

Light and Darkness

        Today is the Feast of Holy Innocents. As you know, Herod the king ordered the massacre of the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under in the hope of destroying the infant Jesus. How much more evil can you be? Yet today, way over a million babies are eliminated through abortion every year in the States alone. Evil is real! In Reading 1 from 1 John 1, the Apostle talks about light and darkness. Jesus is our only saving light. As long as we believe and remain in him, we are safe from all evil.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus Still with Us

        Today's Communion Song from John 1: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and from his fullness we have all received." Today, in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus still comes to us to dwell in us, and we still receive grace from him. He is always with us!
        After I received the Blessed Sacrament, realizing how "ugly" I was and how beautiful and perfect the Lord is, I just wanted to die in him (whatever that means).

Resurrection Is Life!

        Today's Gospel reading, the first eight verses from John 20, was so beautiful that it moved me to tears. Peter and John found the tomb empty. The priest at the morning Mass pointed out that the fact the cloth that covered the head of Jesus was rolled up nicely in its own place signified that the Master would return again. After all, how can the creator of all life possibly die himself? Looking back, we see that his resurrection was inevitable! Now Jesus has already given us the hope of eternal life to be lived with the Eternal Life himself. Shall we rejoice?  

God Gives Life

        Today is the Feast of St. John, Apostle and evangelist. I might add that John is my favorite Apostle. The Entrance Song reads: "This is John, who reclined on the Lord's breast at supper, the blessed Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed and who spread the words of life through all the world." Words of life are the words from the Lord, since he is the life. When I heard the song read, I sensed life in every word the Lord had spoken. Then when we hear his words, we are filled with life. And life calls for celebration! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

God's Great Sorrow

        I feel hurt if someone offends me, especially if that someone is a person I've always trusted and cared for. I know this because it had happened to me. The amount of sorrow felt has to be directly proportional to the amount of love you had for the offender. Now you can somewhat imagine how much sorrow the Lord must feel when so many of his most beloved children are offending him so much continuously.

The Way to Evangelize

        St. Stephen was stoned to death when he was spreading the gospel. He simply wanted to share the good news, not trying to shove it down others' throat. Contrast this with someone who pussyfoots around, so afraid of "offending" others' feelings ~ it's almost like being ashamed of God. The way to evangelize is to be filled with love for others, follow the Holy Spirit's lead and not let your own will get in the way. Then leave the outcome to God without any concern, not even for your own life.  

To Be Absorbed by God

        After receiving Communion, I keenly sensed that only God is important and I am basically nothing, like a particle of dust. It's entirely fitting for me to become truly nothing before the Lord and be absorbed by him entirely.

Don't Miss Surrendering

        During Communion time, I saw another chance to surrender myself to the Lord. Now, suppose God appears before you and calls you by name, how would you respond? Under such circumstances, I should think that total surrender would be the only option. Therefore, I saw that it's entirely fitting for me to surrender once again before receiving Holy Communion. After we die, the chance for surrendering is gone too.
 

Showing Our Trust

        Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. As he was stoned, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  Jesus himself before he breathed his last cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit." It strikes me that it would be most suitable for us to commend our spirits into God's hands at any moment to show that we do trust in him with confidence.

Planning Ahead

        Since the Lord is all-knowing, every little thing you do for him will earn its reward. So, little by little, store up your treasures in heaven.  

The Christian Vocation

        Posted on YouTube is a video titled Reaching Beyond... It is about Irena Orlov, a pianist who came from Russia via Israel to the United States, teaching now at the Levine School of Music. She is an inspiring, admired, and loved music teacher to her students, their parents, and her colleagues. She has the gift of making all her students, both talented and not quite talented, open up to and fall in love with music. Even psychiatric patients responded to her intuitive approach using music. Hence she's also known as a music therapist. She is happy because she has found her vocation which benefits and helps others.
        I start to think about vocation for anyone who follows Christ. Normally, the choice between being a religious and being a lay person comes up. Then I realize that the vocation for every Christian should be loving the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength ~ nothing more. Blessed indeed is the one who should choose such an exalted, noble, yet humble vocation.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Second Lesson of Christmas

        At morning Mass, as the congregation was reciting the Lord's Prayer during Communion Rite and reached the line "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," the Lord made it very clear to me that this is not a general request, but should be a personal one for the one who's saying the prayer, in this case, me. In other words, I must always do God's will and not let others do it for me. This lesson echoed the first lesson.

First Lesson of Christmas

        The pastor at this morning's Mass gave a good teaching. He talked about when he was young, long before he became a priest, how his younger brother used to annoy him a lot and he just rather ignored him and let his mother deal with and take care of him. Then he realized one day that he must start loving his brother too and the relationship changed. This experience also helped him in answering God's call for him to enter priesthood later. It's true that we tend to avoid dealing with anyone in the family or others we know who has certain problems and forget that it is our duty to show our love and concern for anyone within our reach. There is not a time to stop loving the Lord.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Faith Made Precious

        I've been thinking about our faith in God. If it's too easy to believe, then we won't appreciate our faith much. Just as in the case of collecting unemployment insurance, if it's made too easy, we are likely to take it easy and not look for a job eagerly (I actually know of someone who use the break to take a vacation). Or if free education is available, the incentive to study hard is usually not there. God has given us the free will and he has revealed just enough to us so that when we choose to believe in him, the faith becomes precious. We get the perfect balance.

"The Boy Who Met Jesus"

        I believe that many of us have heard or read about Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of Rwanda's holocaust. When Mary appeared in Kibeho, Rwanda, in the early 80's, the holocaust was foretold as a warning. Our Lady of Kibeho had been approved by the Church in 2001 and Immaculee had already written a few books on  the Rawadan genocide as well as the apparitions of Kibeho. The book I want to mention is Immaculee's The Boy Who Met Jesus. It may be hard to get nowadays, but it's worth reading. The boy's name is Segatashya and the messages Jesus gave him are definitely important for us to know. They confirm our belief that God loves us.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Prayer God Cannot Refuse

        After receiving Holy Communion with the consecrated host still in my mouth, I asked the Lord to heal my mind, heart, and soul. This is a prayer he always honors.

The Lord Is Joy!

        God's love accompanies everything he bestows upon us. That's why when he gives you joy, you spontaneously want to share it with all others. (God always wants to make us less self-centered.) I have received so much joy from the Lord that at this Christmas time, I just want to get to the top of the highest mountain and yell at the top of my voice for all to hear: "The Lord is Joy!"

Great Contentment

        At church this morning before Mass started, I felt the great possible contentment in my heart. I was aware that I am in Christ, the Truth, and Truth is where I want to be, my dwelling place for all eternity.  

God's Perfect Justice

        Here on earth in court, a lawyers or yourself can defend you and a lot of talk may get you off the hook; but when you face the Lord, who already knew what's in your heart and mind, all talk will be useless. Since God is truth, all-knowing, and knows all about us, everyone will receive perfect justice at the end. For this, both saints or sinners can greatly rejoice.          

God Honors...

anyone who performs an act of love in his name.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No New Year's Resolutions

        Today is December 22 and some people are already thinking about what New Year's resolutions to make this time. For the devout Christian to whom every day is the beginning of a new year and a day to love the Lord to the fullest, New Year's resolutions would be superfluous. 

Linked to Christ

        During prayer after Mass, I looked at the altar and realized that Christ was present in the consecrated hosts inside the tabernacle and that I had just received him in Holy Communion a little earlier. I immediately became aware that I was already linked to him intimately like a branch on the vine. The feeling was a mixture of surprise, astonishment, and gratitude.  

Yearning of the Soul

        As the soul desires greater intimacy with the Lord, it yearns for more and more of him. To seek union, the soul is ready to receive as much as the Lord is willing to grant to quench its thirst. The soul will not be fully satisfied until it sees the Lord in heaven face to face.    

The Conscience Difference

        God gives each one of us a conscience. If we let the Holy Spirit take over, God will show us clearly what's good and what's evil, and we shall all think as God does. What happens sadly today is that because people follow their own wishes and desires, their conscience has become so muddy that they no longer can distinguish between the good and the evil. Take unmarried couples living together. I know for a fact that one couple is doing it because they can claim that one parent has low income so that the kids can get the government to pay for the college tuition. Generally, couples do it because lots of other couples are doing it. How about abortion? If you don't think about it, "to have the freedom of choice" just sounds good. So you believe that abortion is not really wrong, but deep down you know that it's not quite right either. If it's totally right, then why isn't there much joy and peace after an abortion? The conscience is "gone" because people are trapped in sin, because everybody is doing it, because it's easy to turn away from conscience, and because they don't bother to do any deep soul searching.
        On the other hand, when you let the light of Christ shine upon you, all sins are exposed and with repentance and God's forgiveness, the conscience is restored to its pristine state. The sharp conscience then keeps you living in a state of grace, with peace and joy.         

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Joy & Sorrow

        With Christmas approaching, receiving the Holy Eucharist at Mass brought me extra joy. Yet, I felt great sorrow too because there had been so many sins committed against the Lord by so many at all times. Overall, my joy outweighed my sorrow, for God always triumphs in the end.

Blessed Mary

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1 at Mass, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who, filled with the Holy Spirit, recognized her as the mother of her Lord. How endearing it is to address Mary as the mother of our Lord! She always listens to her Divine Son and leads us to him. To love her is to love Jesus even more. We are truly blessed to have her as our Blessed Mother.    

A Right Time for Everything

        In this life, my role is to believe and trust in God and not to question why. After we get to heaven, we can ask God all the questions we want.

We're Poor & Nothing

        That's how I feel before God today. What do we really have that can make us say that we, apart from God, are rich? One billion dollars may make me appear rich to others, but will mean nothing to God. Can we amount to something on our own? Again, whatever we accomplish just for our own sake will be transitory and effort wasted before the Lord. By acknowledging that we are poor and nothing by ourselves, we maintain our humility before God, learn to depend upon him in all things and not to judge others, and consequently, enjoy peace in our hearts. Doing the right thing always brings the right results.    

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be a Saint ~ Why Not?

        The highest calling for us is to be a saint. It's a great honor to be so called. Being a saint is a way of living the most satisfying personal life and giving God the most glory. If you think that it's too hard for you to be one, surely it's not God who can not turn you into one. (Note: A saint is just a very holy person, not perfect.) 

Under God's Care

        Put yourself totally under God's care, then everything else you care about will come under his care as well.

Best Gift for Both God & You

        Today's Response to Psalm 24 at Mass is: "Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory." We are like a corked bottle, filled with all kinds of undesirable things we want to keep within us. To prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his paths before his coming does not mean that we go out to sweep the streets and decorate the houses ~ it means that we prepare ourselves on the inside, getting rid of all that which displeases and offends the Lord. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, Mary opened up to the Holy Spirit and Jesus was conceived in her. If we would just uncork the bottle to let all the things that contaminate and enslave us out so that the Lord may enter and dwell in us, great things will happen to us too, such as a genuine transformation of us into brand new creatures, beautiful before God. The best possible gift you can give to the Lord and that to yourself are the same ~ a new you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ending Prayers in Peace

        I often make urgent requests to the Lord. Of course, he may grant me what I asked for or make things turn out differently. I end my petitions with "Your will be done," letting him know that if he overrides my will, it's all right with me, and I feel peace. 

Serve Only God

        Obviously, no one can serve two masters, as Jesus has said. This is especially true when one of the masters is our Lord God. And don't forget that the other master could be yourself too. So we have "No one can serve himself and God." Just remember that there can be only one commander in chief.  Note: You don't have the problem when you are in union with God. 

God, Our Rock & Fortress

        In today's Responsorial Psalm, No. 71, the psalmist regards God as his rock and fortress. Now recall the line from Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." Take a walk sometime in the dark at night and recite this verse while walking, you'll sense its power. Indeed, God should be the rock and refuge for every one of us, for he is the only trustworthy one in the whole universe! By extension, we can trust Jesus in everything he has ever asked of us. And this he has said: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Now, our cross may not even figuratively be as bad as walking through the valley of the shadow of death. At any rate, with the Lord being our rock and fortress, we should be able to take up whatever cross we have cheerfully and follow him. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

God Has All the Credentials

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1, the angle Gabriel made it clear to Virgin Mary that nothing is impossible for God. Plus the fact that God loves us and is faithful forever, how can we not trust in him totally?  

A Little Bit More Waiting

        God will always be there, but we won't always be here. By making the right choices now, we can be with God later on for all eternity. We only need to wait a little bit longer. It's not a complicated thing.

Channel of Grace

        The Lord made me see this morning that the Holy Eucharist is the channel through which we receive supernatural graces from the Lord to make us holy, provided that we receive it with faith, reverence, and the desire to be holy. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Doing God's Will

        This morning I had the choice of going to morning Mass or attending a training session for volunteers at an institution. To me, going to Mass to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist is a feast, a treat, and always the highlight of the day; but attending the training session to ensure that I can continue serving the Lord is necessary too. The session, lasting almost four hours, turned out to be most instructive. On the way home, The Lord made me see that doing his will should be the foremost priority mission of our life. To do one little thing to please God is more important than winning a billion dollars or getting to preserve my own life. Doing God's will assures us of a place in heaven.    

Friday, December 16, 2011

God's "Silent" Way

       Sometimes we pray and do not seem to get a clear answer from God ~ not a sign nor a word ~ but we remain faithful. Then things slowly shape up and we begin to see a clearer picture emerging ~ God is finally responding. God wants us to be patient and trust in him (the Divine Mercy message), for he answer us in his time.       

The Christian Fairytale

        Once when I was young, I read some fairytales so enchanting that I was transported into a dream world. Now I'd say that following Christ is like living in a dream world. How so? Here's so. 
        Following the Lord faithfully in this world is not easy ~ we have to overcome evils and face hardships; we toil and suffer. Along the way we may witness some miracles and catch glimpses of God's wonders. Basically, we fight a battle all the way. When we persevere to the end, God then transports us to a truly "magical" world, namely, heaven, where we get to see Jesus, our leader and King, face to face.  And we continue to dwell with him in heaven blissfully ever after.
         

Jesus to Be Loved

        Once you know Jesus, you'll find that he is nothing but love. And his amazing and wonderful love is directed at us! Jesus is our Lord and our God ~ he should be our Beloved as well.

God's Presence Made Aware

        I have not specifically asked for this grace, but just by desiring union with God, I've been made aware of his holy presence both in and around me 24/7. This is most beneficial because it definitely helps me not to offend the Lord in any way, thus preserving my interior peace. If you specifically ask for this grace, God might even grant it to you sooner.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Abandonment Necessary

        Today I realize that if the transformation I have asked God to bring about in me has not happened as quickly or smoothly as I have anticipated, I am the one at fault, not the Lord. To let him have the full freedom to change me, I must abandon myself totally to him first. This applies also when it comes to surrendering to God, repenting my sins, and asking for favors from him. In each case, we must go all out, letting our guard down before God. It's all part of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Communion Excitement

        Just before receiving Holy Communion, I sensed that the finite was going to merge with the infinite and that the imperfect, to join the perfect ~ no trepidation, just excitement.      

Going with God Advised

        Jesus is God Incarnate ~ why did God want to become man? Left to ourselves, we could never have imagined that he would show his love for us in such an amazing way! It just shows that God's ways are not our ways. All the reason for us to follow him and not go off on our own. 

The Infinite God

        St. Augustine is known for his saying "Our hearts are restless until they rest in God" ~ that's how God had made us. This morning as I was driving to Mass, I marveled at the infinitude of God, who has always existed and is eternal. He is Alpha and Omega. He is what he said he is, "I am." I then realized that he had made us finite so that we might marvel at his infiniteness. Mathematically speaking, any finite quantity, no matter how huge, compared to infinity is no different from comparing zero to infinity. Realizing this should keep us humble. Anyone who thinks that he is a god in any way before the true God is out of his mind.      

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Proofs

        Jesus is the proof that God the Father loves us and the Holy Spirit, the proof that Jesus is with us. The martyrs prove that God is worth dying for and the saints prove that God can transform us. And all sinners prove that we need God's mercy.

We Need God

        I thought of "authority" today. The word itself is neutral, neither good nor bad, only necessary. Imagine a family in which the parents have no say over the children or a government with no control over its people. If the Church didn't have the Holy See, she would certainly have disintegrated into many fragments. Therefore, I am so happy that we have the Heavenly Father as our authority. Without him, we'd all be lost and in chaos. We absolutely need God.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Letting God Reign

        Thoughts received during Mass. (1) Only what God thinks of you matters. (2) Let God do whatever he wants with me. (These thoughts were inspired by the desire to seek complete union with the perfect Lord.)

Mind Your Thoughts

        Thoughts occupy our minds most of the time. We even think in my dreams. If you add up all the hours you're awake for an average lifetime, you get way over 300 thousand hours! So what kinds of thoughts occupy your mind? Do they offend God? Do they draw you closer to him? Are these thoughts angry, impatient, or prideful? Are they self-centered or humble? Are they loving or resentful? I am sure no one wants to waste all the waking hours thinking negative thoughts.
        In the past, I mentioned that the Lord can simplify our lives. To be more specific today, I want to say that he can declutter our soul. Once you let him take charge, he will clean out all the recesses of your heart and mind and fill you with his holy thoughts. Then your lose interest in all the things that can lead you to sin, keep you away from him, or simply waste your valuable time by thinking about them. Such is the power of God. It is the desire of the Lord that we each should keep our soul uncluttered and pure, beautiful for him to behold.              

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Humility, a Must

        During Mass, the Lord made it crystal clear to me again that to truly love anyone, one must be truly humble. Humility is at the foundation of love. Without it, one cannot truly love. Jesus' supreme model of humility and meekness is the big message for us.   

How to Pray

        I ask myself ~ if Jesus wants me to have faith in him, then should I just pray once and believe that he will answer my prayer? From the Scriptures, I also read that the Lord wants us to be persistent in asking for favors. The conclusion I come to is that we must pray, pray, pray, and at the same time trust, trust, trust.  That is, pray unceasingly, but remain in peace always. 

Jesus Is God-Man

        As the front-runners among the 2012 Republican presidential candidates come under increasingly close scrutiny, my mind turns to looking at Jesus in the Gospels. All I find is that he showed his love for others in all that he did; he was humble to the core; and he came to serve all ~ not a normal human being for sure, but a perfect one as our example. He deserves to be noticed by all.     

Saturday, December 10, 2011

God Speaks in Silence Too

        For a few rare souls, the Lord speaks to them aloud or clearly to their heart.  For the rest of us, the Holy Spirit often plants a thought in our mind. But the Lord speaks in silence too. Even though you do not hear anything, things develop in such a way that you know he has heard you. This is like the silent rests written into a piece of music. Even though you do not hear them, they are still played. Therefore, pray and trust.             

How to Be Free

        Love the Lord above everything else and your love for everything else will fall into its right place. Then you are free.

Why Celebrate Christmas?

        I see people busily shopping for Christmas gifts, decorating their houses both inside and outside, and getting ready for holding or attending parties. Is this the way God wants us to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior? I believe that God is more interested in how we feel in our hearts and not in seeing all the external glitter and worldly activities we participate in. It's a sin for a Christian to use Christmas as just an occasion to have a good time and not as a time to deepen their faith in the Lord. Christmas should remind us that Jesus did come to us two thousands years ago and he has been around ever since. And it's for this fact that we celebrate. The one who loves us the most deserves recognition.   

Jesus as Friend

        I am sure that most of us have had friends with whom we just got along great. I could still recall my best friends in both elementary and high schools from way back. It's always a joy to meet someone with whom you can easily hit it off. At the opposite end, there were some people with whom I had great difficulty even in starting a conversation. Then there is Jesus, most special. As a friend, he loves us, watches over us, listens to us, teaches us, consoles us and gives us hope when we are troubled, uplifts us when we are down, shields us from evil, replaces the void in our hearts with heavenly joy, always does what's best for us, and so much more. Once you get to know him, you know that he is a true friend and the only one you'll ever need. Furthermore, he laid down his life for us ~ there cannot be a better friend than that. Seeking union with such a friend should be our natural response.         

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Warning

         Watching the news on TV is extremely depressing. You see myriad sins being committed nonstop both at home and abroad, causing unbearable pains and sufferings to so many people worldwide. It's even sadder when you realize that all these sins are committed against our God who's filled with love for us. Then I remember that when Jesus was carrying his cross on his way to being crucified, he turned to the mourning and lamenting women who followed him and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.'" Indeed, this is also the time for us to weep for ourselves, for the worst is sure to come if we do not turn to God. 

To Die to Live

        To die in Christ is to live in him. If there's no death, there cannot be new life. To enter God, who is Life, one must die first.

Being Alive or Dead Defined

        One is not alive unless he is spiritually alive, and is indeed dead when he is spiritually dead.

Let the Unknown Be Unknown

        At morning Mass, the Lord showed me again that I must trust in him in all things. Even though I have no idea about what's going to happen next, to me and around the world, I should not let any unknown disturb me. All the worries won't do any good. God's will for us is to have peace, his peace, as Jesus had repeatedly wished his disciples. Our God is the God of peace. He only wants us to trust in him and not worry or be anxious about anything, for he is in charge.

The Joy of Going Home

        This morning before Mass started, I felt that in a way I was going home to the Father like the lost son in the parable. Even though I hadn't squandered my inheritance on a life of dissipation, I was still returning to the Father as a repentant sinner and there would be a celebration, albeit not a big one, at his house. Returning to God is always a joy for both the Father and us.

Let God Mean the Most

        We can make what means a lot to us mean a lot to God. For example, we give up a strong desire to possess some material thing for the sake of pleasing God. "No pain, no gain" applies here too. The gain is the freedom we gain after letting go of what we would've liked to have. The more we let go of our own cravings to please God, the more he grants us peace.  Let God mean the most to us.   

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beauty in Obedience

        Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. The Gospel reading comes from Luke 1. The angel Gabriel came to Mary to let her know that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son, to be named Jesus. After Mary fully understood the message, she responded, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." When I heard that read, I sensed the beauty in obedience to God. This is no slavery; on the contrary, it is the path to freedom. This is the way it should be ~ all of us creatures obeying our Creator.

God's Love the Greatest Gift

        I attended a Bible study session this morning on the subject of heaven and hell. It made perfect sense to me that since the love of God for us is so great, so amazing and incredible, those who reject this love will have to face serious consequences. It's basically spurning the greatest gift that's offered to you. 

I Need God

        Thoughts I had this morning before Mass started. God put me on this earth; he set the date and place for me to be here. I had nothing to do with it. I and everything I have now came from him. I am still breathing and alive because he's sustaining me. I owe him for everything ~ he completely owns me. Therefore, how dare I think that I am somebody, that I don't need him, that I can do all right on my own, and be not grateful, especially after what Jesus had gone through to show his infinite love for us?  How dare I not be humble before the Lord? Yes, I need God, I love him, I embrace him, and I'll praise him forever.     

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stages of a Spiritual Journey

  1. Life is empty.
  2. You search for God.
  3. You find Jesus.
  4. You want to know more about him.
  5. While he draws you in, you fall in love with him.
  6. You yearn for him so much that you want to become one with him.
  7. By his grace channeled through the Holy Eucharist, you achieve union. Now you totally belong to God.  

The Faith Difference

        Without faith in God, you have nothing. With faith in God, you have everything, for everything he has is now yours.

To Be Truly Healed

        If you ask God for healing, ask him to heal your soul first and the body second, for the soul lives on forever and the body doesn't. Anyone with a sick soul, not matter how perfect his health may be, cannot be considered a truly healed person.  

A Choice of Yokes

       In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 11, Jesus said to the crowds, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will fine rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and burden light." So, it's either we carry the yoke of sin on our own or take the yoke of love upon us and walk with the Lord. The yoke of sin is heavy and oppressive, while that of love is light and sweet. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Joy at Finding Each Other

        Today's Gospel from Matthew 18 is about rejoicing over finding the one sheep that has gone astray out of the hundred sheep. God rejoices over finding one lost human soul. In the same way, when we seek God, we rejoice over finding the true God, lovely and beautiful beyond all expectations.

Let God Have His Way

        God's ways are not our ways ~ I believe that we all know that. But do know that God's ways also include God way with each one of us! So, let God shape and transform each of us freely the way he likes.

Getting Along with Others

        There will never be another person you can get along perfectly in this world ~ we were all made differently. That's why Jesus taught us to be nonjudgmental, to be forgiving always ~ all part of loving others which he had commanded. In a way, it's much easier to get along with God because he can help us change ourselves. In fact, we should seek to get along with God first, then we'll be able to get along with all other fellow human beings as well. 

How to Live

        Live as if you are going to live forever, but not forever in this world.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus as Rock

        When you say "Jesus is my rock," it means that he is so solid that you can lean on him all you want. I see it in another way. I feel that he dwells within me like a rock, keeping me anchored and stable. This gives me a great secure feeling, knowing that I am safe with him from committing sins. 

Opening Up to the Lord

        God already knows what is in our heart and mind, but for our own benefit, we must keep communicating with him to show that we trust in him and that we want to stay close to him. Therefore, it's good to turn to the Lord to let him see exactly what's in our hearts, our spiritual state, desires, wishes, concerns, our burdens and problems and everything else.  The communication must be free, thorough, and heart-to-heart. Basically, you bare your soul to the Lord who loves you.  If you make this your daily practice, you'll definitely experience his peace.    

Praying Effectively

        (1) Pray "Thy will be done."  
        (2) Pledge obedience to God.
        (3) Place all your trust in God.

Jesus Challenges Us.

        In the same story of the paralytic, Jesus actually forgave the man's sins first.  Then, knowing what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking in their hearts, to show that he truly had the authority to forgive sins, he ordered the man to rise, pick up his stretcher, and go home as well. The crowd was astonished and struck with awe. Who wouldn't be?  Our Lord is authoritative, knows everything and exactly what he's doing.  He is absolutely unique among all the religious leaders in history.  If he is not truly God, then he must be the biggest liar who has ever lived.  Again, Jesus challenges us. 

Faith Must Shine

        Today's Gospel reading from Luke 5: A paralyzed man on a stretcher, not being able to get through the crowd to get to Jesus, was lowered through the tiles on the roof into the middle in front of the Lord. He made quite a dramatic entrance. Jesus healed him because he demonstrated his great faith. We too must let our faith shine in every way at every opportunity we get. 

The Beauty of Christ

        The beauty of Christ is not merely perceived through the senses, not even sensed by the heart; it is etched in the soul of one who's deeply in love with the Lord.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Way to Remain Humble

        Looking at our great Creator and realizing how small and imperfect we are is an effective way to keep us humble.

God's Love Frees Us

        God is real, not empty talk.  Christ had come and finished his work of salvation; God had demonstrated his unconditional love for us.  How can we not love God?  I believe it's because of our self-love.  We need to be loved and put ourselves in place of God to love ourselves.  What does that accomplish?  Nothing, because it's a dead end ~ it just shuts God's love out of our life.  It's by replacing this self-love with God's love that we can break out of our self-isolation and be set free, for God is greater than us.  By letting in God's love, we become greater too.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Most Importance Relationship

        For each of us, there is a whole list of things, such as our health, our house, etc., that  we want to maintain in good condition for as long as we live. What should be at the top of every list is "Our relationship with God." This should be of first importance to us, for a bad relationship with God invariably turns life into a shambles.

God Is Freedom

        Today is the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier.  At Mass, somehow St. Francis of Assisi entered my mind and I felt the great freedom he felt when he gave up all his worldly possessions to follow Christ. Indeed, letting go in God and freedom are synonymous.   

The Unavoidable Meeting

        As one past post mentioned, there are many who are greatly interested in Jesus' Second Coming.  Whether it's seeing the Lord then if we are still alive or facing him after we die, it's all about meeting with him ~ that unavoidable, critical moment of either great joy or great sorrow.   Let's get ready for that meeting while we still have time.      

Transforming Life into a Joy

        Life is full of ups and downs and it's the downs that usually get us.  Most recently, a married couple, our friends, is on the verge of breaking up, causing severe emotional stress to themselves and others.  We all experience pains, disappointment, suffer losses of various kinds, receive unfair treatments...  Peoples in many other countries face even more and greater disruptions and dangers of life.  It seems that life is good only temporarily in all those intervals between the "down" moments.  This is reality!  What can you expect when you throw billions of sinners together on a relatively small planet?  So it comes down to how we are to deal with life.  Personally, I believe that believing "Christ is the way" is the way to go.  By following him in this life, we are actually preparing ourselves to live the heavenly life with him for all eternity.  This is how we transform our present life into a joy.       

Blog Problems Solved

        On this blog, after pageviews and the list of good links disappeared and I was not able to get them back because the gadgets ceased working altogether, I finally figured out why.  After Google put out its own browser Chrome, certain features of its Blogger were made incompatible with my browser Internet Explorer.  After I made Chrome my default browser, everything worked.  So if you have some problems like mine, it could be for the same reason.  Also, just in case you had tried to join the list of followers and failed, give it another try now.
        I looked up about Chrome and did find that it was highly rated, ahead of IE and is gaining popularity.  I did not delete my IE because there are still sites out there that are geared to be opened through IE and not Chrome.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lessons for the Troubled Heart

        I've been praying and listening hard because of the burden I mentioned last time. And I have learned the following.
        (1) God does not want us to be affected by any false accusations we face. Don't ever let lies upset your composure. Only what God thinks of you matters.
        (2) If your heart is troubled, go deep into the Lord. Center on him alone and obey him in all things, then you are ready to face any unknown.  
        (3) Any time is the time to start following the will of God. It's never too late to put your trust in him. This is the way to get you out of any mess you're in in time.
        (5) No matter what, never harbor any hatred, bitterness, or resentment toward others.  The peace of God needs to be preserved in your heart for you to hear the Lord speak and for you to be able to think clearly.
        All the above may seem hard to accomplish, but our God is God of the impossible!
    

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Burden of December

        On this first day of December, I have a quite weighty matter on my heart, so I am praying deeply for directions from God. I know which way I would go if I were without faith. But now I must seek God's will no matter how difficult it may turn out to be.  One thing I want to be sure is that whatever action I take will draw those involved (who don't have much faith in God in this case) closer to him or at least not make them go further away from him. May the Lord provide me with discernment and strength.