In my last post, I asked the Lord to work on my soul, heart, and mind. God always wishes us to have peace. Once he transforms us, we no longer experience the following: anger, impatience, worry, anxiety, nervousness, mental depression, fear, hatred, envy, jealousy, lust, greed in every form, obsessiveness of any kind, yearning for appreciation or recognition, and even insomnia. The love of Christ has now displaced all things negative. Thorough healing must begin in the interior and only God can reach our innermost. When we are in trouble, shouldn't we go see the One who created us?
Friday, June 29, 2012
Tomorrow will be the last day of June. I do not ever look back on the past. What's in store ahead for me? I don't think about that either. At Mass this morning, which happened to be the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, the great Apostles, I just ask the Lord to further (1) heal my soul, (2) condition my heart so that I'll be totally obedient to his will, and (3) purify my mind. Joy awaits me when he complies with my request.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
My last post is concern about whether God knows us. So what is knowing? I know a lot of people, but do I really know them? On the other hand, I have never seen Jesus or met any of the great saints, yet I feel that I know them intimately. To know is a relationship after all. To know well is to have an intimate relationship. In this case, it's the love for Christ that's the common bond, making this intimate knowing possible. It's a knowing not on the physical or mental level, but through the soul.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus said to his disciples, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not...do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'" Obviously, to call Jesus "Lord, Lord" to get his attention or pointing out that we did mighty deeds in his name won't do us any good. Jesus shows us that we must do the will of God in humility, then he will notice us.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Many jazz musicians and pop entertainers are known to be cool. Kids nowadays want to look cool. To be cool is to do one's thing well and looking totally unperturbed. Jesus was definitely cool. Here's how we can be cool.
(1) Never judge anyone.
(2) Trust in God fully so that we do not worry nor get anxious.
(3) Show compassion for all.
(4) Be optimistic and joyful always.
There is a vast amount of information on any subject available to us nowadays. The last two times I got really sick, based upon the symptoms my wife was able to search online and arrive at the right diagnosis each time before my doctors thought of it. YouTube is a popular site that shows just about anything you want to see or hear, but here's the problem of having too much information available to us. Let's just look at the many Catholic videos posted alone. A speaker would present a strong point of view with conviction, then another video will attack him by pointing out all his errors. Or a speaker sounding very Catholic starting out, then gradually he tells us that the Pope is wrong, EWTN has been deceived by Satan, etc. Overall, it's no longer two sides disagreeing; it's everyone thinking that only he knows the truth and everyone else is wrong. Of course, this can definitely cause mass confusion (guess who's happy about all this).
So, what are we to do? Simple ~ ignore all of them. Keep your eyes on Jesus alone and shut out all noises that are distracting and confusing. Be fully occupied with the Lord and let all else go.
As people grow older, they wish to do certain things before they die. One common desire is to travel while they are still physically able to. Recently, the fine Hollywood screenwriter Nora Ephron passed away and I caught the end of an old interview with her on PBS. She expressed exactly what I just said and she's all for it. She mentioned a friend who always wanted to taste a certain food item, then she got throat cancer and couldn't do it anymore. So we quite naturally conceive the desire to do more things as we age. However, it's basically self-centered. If we believe in the Lord seriously, in the limited time we have left we really should first ask what we must do to please him even more before meeting him? Who knows? ~ maybe the answer is to take that vacation we dreamed about.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Jesus died for us all so that we may be saved ~ this is old good news. You most likely have also heard said that Jesus would have died for you alone even if you were the only person around ~ this is true too. Think about it ~ how more personal can you possibly get? And how more important can you possibly get to be?
To me, only eternity is meaningful. I want to spend all eternity with my beloved Lord. If I live ten thousand or even a million years and don't make heaven at the end, all that living would be meaningless. If the problem with eternity is all resolved, then everything I go through now becomes meaningful. You could say that I live for eternity only.
I have posted in the past more than once that Jesus compels us to accept him as true God or reject him as a lunatic or a consistent liar ~ there's no middle ground here. We can rule him out as being a lunatic, since there's not the slightest sign of insanity shown in all the Gospels. It would be hard to find out where he lied in the Gospels either. Perhaps he's being delusional all his life? Then how could he have performed all those miracles? Besides, he was consistent and clear-minded from beginning to end. What impresses me the most was his meekness and humility. On his way to death, he never complained and even forgave all those who put him to death. My conclusion and belief: Jesus has to be the true God as he claimed to be.
When we repent properly, the Lord takes away our sins. The next step is to ask him to take away our tendencies to sin also ~ this is healing of the soul. Then we still have certain undesirable traits and weaknesses to overcome, such as being too self-conscious, the desire to overeat, etc. Union with God is the solution to taking care of all the above. In other words, God can forgive, heal, and perfect us.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Today a Mass was said for the deceased friend whom I mentioned most recently and burial took place afterwards. I thought about the security of life. Obviously, even if I have billions of dollars in my bank and the power to influence the world, it's still here today and gone tomorrow for me. I see life as insecure as the flame of a lit candle in the wind. The only security is in the living God, who promises eternal life for those who believe in him.
The world loves to enslave you and put your heart in turmoil, but Jesus wants you to experience freedom and have peace in him. Make the shift from either one to the other and you'll feel the difference right away. The two are mutually exclusive. It's a choice you must make in your lifetime.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
The first such moment is when you realize that you had nothing to do with how, when, and where you came into the world, that you brought nothing with you, that you are going to leave this world as you came taking nothing with you, that everything you find in your life was already here all along, that you cannot stay alive without God sustaining you, that whatever powers you think you have are given by God, and that you are truly nothing next to the infinite God ~ you owe everything to him. The next epiphanic moment is realizing that through Christ, despite your nothingness, you are actually greatly treasured by God. The best ending is that these revelations get you on the right track to returning to God forever. This makes life a great fulfilling journey!
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Human life on earth is no heaven. No matter who we are, where we live, and what we do, we face problems. Basically, we all fight for our own survival, but those who have little or no faith in God and those who believe in God have different objectives. The former is only concerned about surviving the present life and their help comes from what they've learned from the ways of the world. By contrast, the latter is more concerned about the survival of the human soul, for themselves and others too, and their help derives directly from their faith in God. In the end, those on their own will lose the battle and those with God, not.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Lesson of the day for me. Anytime I feel strongly about something, I should watch out! Is it from the Lord? Am I rushing ahead on my own? The voice of the Lord is always gentle, so a strong feeling may be more from me than from him. On the other hand, if I lag behind when he wants me to do something, I would lose peace too. It's walking in step with God that brings about the best results.
In an old post, I mentioned that "God is light" makes extra sense because Einstein showed that anything traveling at the speed of light would be all over the universe at the same time and God is just that! Then we have Jesus proclaiming that he is the light. Now I see even more analogies between light and God.
Light makes it possible to see our path as we walk; Jesus lights up our spiritual path as we walk with him. Light exposes the dark areas and shows the dirt; Jesus exposes what's hidden in the soul and reveals our sins. Darkness vanishes whenever there is light ~ true both physically and spiritually. Light is colorless; God is totally pure. Light itself is invisible and its presence is known by the objects it lights up; God is also invisible and his presence is made known by the beauty of nature, the love shown by his people, the holiness of the great saints, etc. Through light that reaches us, we see the source, for example, a star; through Jesus, we are lead to know God the Father. Light shows the true color of things we see; the Lord reveals the true color (the degree of purity) of each human heart.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Two days ago, I mentioned the passing away of a church friend. This morning a group of her friends gathered after morning Mass to recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for her. The reading of John 14:1-6, part of the Last Supper discourses, after the recitation of the third decade of the Chaplet was in particular fitting for the occasion. Here are these six verses beautiful at all times.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Old folks are just waiting for God to take them. It's a great comfort to know that God is waiting for us at the other end too, ready with our new dwelling places he has prepared for us.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
not bending our own will forcibly to do God's will. In fact, if you are reluctant, you won't even hear his voice. On the contrary, obedience to God is to go passive, to relax in him, to listen and be ready to go along with whatever he sends your way.
This morning the first part of what Peter said to Jesus when he was asked by the Lord for the third time if he loved him came to my mind (John 21.17). Peter was slightly annoyed and responded, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Peter already knew that Jesus knows everything, and I believe that Peter truly knew. This is of great consolation to me, for it means that Jesus is God, that I can trust in him who's all-knowing, that finally I have someone (no other than God) who totally understands me, and that he certainly would know how to lead me.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
If you expect God to heal your soul, you must bare your soul before him and be completely honest with him. If it shows that you are in the wrong, you must accept it and do whatever is necessary to correct the situation. This is obedience and amounts to surrendering to God. Then you'll be rewarded with healing and freedom of the heart.
In union we become basically Christlike ~ we see and hear as he does; we think as he thinks; and we feel what he feels. Then sin automatically becomes repulsive to us as it is to him. In union, as we are intoxicated by the beauty, the purity, the loveliness, and the sweetness of the Lord more and more, sin becomes uglier, more intolerable, and distasteful to the point that even committing a slight sin would make us want to throw up, so to speak. Naturally, you don't even think about sinning anymore.
Yesterday I learned of the death of a church friend ~ she and I were born on the exact same day. I still remember attending her husband's funeral service just a coupled of years ago. Such is the brevity of life, so what should we live for? I know some music lovers who live only for music. I've seen dedicated artists who work daily in a studio, often with background music playing, doing what they are good at and enjoying it too ~ it's easy to envy such an occupation. And there are others who live for the day they'll be able to buy their dream car. All these things or goals can keep us going for a while in our brief lifetime, but they are not really worth living for. What's worth living for has to be something that's also worth dying for! And that leaves only God left. To live for God is to live a meaningful life now on earth and a blissful life later in heaven. To live for God is to live forever!
Monday, June 18, 2012
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5 at morning Mass, we heard the Lord's hard teaching on turning the other cheek. Can we really accept that? We can if we see it from God's point of view. First of all, God loves everyone. And he has shown his greatest love by dying for us sinners. Secondly, judging is God's role, not our business. Turning the other cheek is not to strike back, to retaliate or revenge. It offers the only hope to peace. The world still follows An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ~ look what kind of condition it's in now. If we trust in God and leave everything up to him, turning the other cheek becomes our only logical choice. Another way of looking at it ~ if everyone practices it, we'll have a peaceful world. (Admittedly, practicing this teaching before the world is perfect is risking sacrifice on our part, but we must see that it's the right thing to do, for God cannot tell us otherwise.)
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I watched the 1988 Italian film Cinema Paradiso. The story was interesting, but the characters like most of us dwelt a little too much on the past. The past, whether happy or sad, is gone forever. Dwelling upon it can really impede one's spiritual progress. When I am enjoying the joy of knowing Jesus, the past becomes irrelevant. Jesus said it right: "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." With Jesus, it's plowing ahead (following the Master) joyfully all the way. It's the healthiest outlook on life we can ever have.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Catholicism is being attacked more than any other religion in the world. (Does anyone dare to say anything negative about the other religions?) Our government, the media, the press, the liberals, the atheists, some Protestant churches, and even certain rebellious elements within are all unfriendly to the mother church. To me, this is the sign that the Catholic Church is the true church of Christ. This is the church that's practicing "love your enemies." It has survived two thousand years and will survive till the end of the world, as Christ had assured us. By contrast, no one attacks a church that does not hold onto any rigid standards, lets everybody in, and tries to keep all members happy by not looking deeply into any of the Christian truths that might stir up controversy.
God is the source of all good things. He first loved me and I accepted his love and was able to love him back. Then he entered me through the Holy Eucharist and made me feel his presence, and I in turn was able to enter him so that we are now in each other.
Today is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What comes to my mind first when I think of the Blessed Mother is her loveliness. She is lovely because she is pure (immaculate) and is obedient to the Lord. She is the perfect model for us to imitate.
Loving God is serious business. Take the people who play the stock market. They attend workshops, subscribe to newsletters, read the bulletin boards, keep up with market analyses, make sure that they have the latest technical tools, and watch the market like a hawk. West Coast players even get up extra early in the morning just to wait for the market to open. Isn't loving and serving God at the least just as important? Seriously, we really should love God as if our life is at stake. As a matter of fact, our eternal life does depend upon our effort! The stock traders or investors lose most of the time despite their diligence and acumen, but those who love God seriously is assured of great rewards in the end.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Today's Gospel reading comes from John 19. We learn that after the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Jews wanted the bodies of Jesus and the two who were crucified with him to be taken down before the sabbath day arrived. The Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the two crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side and immediately blood and water flowed out. All this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced. (Earlier, the soldiers took and divided Jesus' clothes among them. But since his tunic was woven in one piece, they cast lots for it. Again, all this happened to fulfill the Scripture passage: They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.) Of course, there are numerous other Scripture passages which Jesus had fulfilled. To me, this is solid basis for believing him to be the Messiah, our Savior, the Son of God.
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Gospel Acclamation read was Matthew 11.29ab: "Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord; and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart." Would you learn from someone who is meek and humble? The world is full of teachers who are impertinent and proud. They are good at teaching you the ways of the world. But if you're interested in the ways of God, then learn from teachers who are meek and humble.
Is union with God beyond reach for most of us? Is it for saints only? The basic question now boils down to whether we can become saints. The answer is definitely yes, since God can accomplish anything. Therefore, union with God is definitely within our reach. In fact, I believe that the Lord wants all of us to reach that state when he asked his disciples to be perfect, as the heavenly Father is perfect. When you are in perfect union with God, he does not ask for anything more because that's the most we could do for him. The fact that he's letting you receive the Holy Eucharist, his true body and blood, is already telling you that the road to full union is now open. My brothers and sisters, take advantage of this privilege so that you may speed fully ahead to enter the most beautiful state of human existence ~ to be Christlike and one with God!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Right now there is dissent within the Church. Not that long ago, the Church of Ireland made news; right now the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization of American nuns, is in the headlines. All I can say is that a true Catholic must always follow the teachings of the Church. Unfortunately, the religious are no different from the laity ~ they also have egos. If you have an ego, then Jesus can not truly be your Lord ~ it's that simple. Again, seek union with God and your ego will be replaced with humility.
For one period of my life, I enjoyed woodworking and built quite a few pieces of furniture. I would work out the design, purchase the materials, cut and shape them, and finally assemble all the parts together. Then I would paint or stain the piece. Since I made the whole thing, I knew all about each finished piece. Once I cut the material too short and the width of the intended storage cabinet had to be scaled back. Another time a cutting mistake caused the grains of two parts of a tabletop not to match up. In other words, the defects, covered-up or not of each piece, I knew.
Since God made each one of us, likewise he knows everything about us. In fact, since his mind is infinitely superior to ours, he knows us through and through, and sees all out defects, our sins. So, living as if God exists is not good enough ~ we must live, being aware that he knows everything about us.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I remember that once I sinned and after I overcame it, I became much stronger spiritually. At the time I thought erroneously that God must have permitted me to sin for the good to come out at the end. Now I see that God can draw good out of anything! He'd much prefer to see that I do not sin than to see me sin and have to rescue me.
Today's Reading 1 on the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua comes from 1 Kings 18. Although the people of Israel were required to worship exclusively the one Lord, they also got comfortable worshiping Baal, the god of rain and storm. Then Elijah showed them the true power of the Lord. Worship of many gods was virtually universal in the ancient world. Today, looking at all the major religions, I see that only the God of Israel, as revealed through Christ, comes across clear and precise and most of all, personal. That's why I am a Christian.
I don't dwell on the past anymore, but sometimes I still wonder about the future like how something is going to turn out. To me, this is also a sign of my lack of complete trust in God. I am looking at Jesus as my example. You might say that not to wonder about the future is inhuman, but I say that we must be superhuman to trust in God and not question him about anything.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I've been observing people. These are in general good, decent people, but they all live such "complicated" lives and feel weighed-down. I've come to the conclusion that it's because they are attached to the world, to the past, and are involved with others who lead equally complicated lives. On the other hand, those who know Christ well lead uncluttered, liberated lives because they are not attached to the world or the past and are involved with the Lord only. They love others, but in a detached way.
Yesterday I had the chance to talk to someone about the Catholic faith. As often happens, you can let enthusiasm get in the way. Afterwards, I realized that I should have said some of the things in a different way. Thinking about what had transpired, I learned another lesson.
When we try to convert someone, the best approach is to listen first. You must not be anxious to lay what we have to say on the other person. Of course, argument must never happen. In other words, we should remain calm and loving, and not get emotional. After all, it's God who does the converting, not us; so we should not speak for him! You could say that we must not meddle in God's business ~ we are merely instruments in his hands. In all things, let only the Spirit prompt us to say what he wants us to say.
Monday, June 11, 2012
This is the moment when we leave this world. You may not think about it now, but it will surely arrive. It could be a painful moment because you must leave all your possessions and loved ones behind. You may have already resigned to the fact that you cannot take anything with you, but leaving the loved ones is harder to deal with. For those who have no faith in God, they are heading into the unknown and I believe that they would feel a mixture of fear and sorrow. How about those who had faith once? They may have even more fear now, but may turn back to God in the last moment. As for those who believe in the Lord with all their heart, the overwhelming joy of meeting their Savior will overwhelm any sorrow they might feel. They want to witness to others to the very end that God is love and that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
In the bodybuilding world, the idiom "No pain, no gain" is proven to be true. In the spiritual world, it applies also. If we live an easy, comfortable life with no money or health problems whatsoever and with everything going our way, I doubt that we'll ever make any progress spiritually. On the other hand, as is made clear in today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount: God blesses the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and those who are insulted and persecuted and against whom every kind of evil is uttered falsely because of Christ. Their reward will be great in heaven.
At the beginning of Mass this morning, a great calm came over me and the Lord made me see that everything he gives us is good. I accepted that with my whole heart. Matthew 6.26 comes to mind: "Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?"
Sunday, June 10, 2012
I joined the Walk for Religious Freedom today. It started with the Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament. How appropriate since tomorrow Sunday is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ. The celebrating priests, altar servers, musicians...all made the Mass so beautiful that I clearly saw that serving the Lord is indeed a beautiful thing.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Somehow I came into the world. I didn't know what life was all about. Then Christ called me ~ he turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. I found out that I was not even worthy to touch his sandal, yet he loves me. His love made me cry with joy. He promised me that the best is still to come. I am so happy that I came into this world.
Today's Gospel reading at Mass comes from Mark 12. First, Jesus pointed out how the scribes liked to go around in long robes, accepting greetings in the marketplaces and seats of honor at banquets, devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers ~ they would receive a very severe condemnation. We are not scribes, but in our own way we might have acted like them too ~ we'd better watch out.
In the second part of the reading, Jesus gave us an example in contrast to the scribes above. He observed that a poor widow, from her poverty, put two small coins worth a few cents into the temple treasury ~ she contributed all she had, her whole livelihood! Jesus pointed out that this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury, who had contributed from their surplus. It's true that the wealthier we are, the harder it is to let go. Such attachment to wealth prevents us from becoming selfless.
Now that I realize that seeking union with God is the best way for all Catholics to become holy, I am wondering why we didn't and don't hear much about it. Thinking back, I see that in my early days, I didn't even know what union exactly was. Later I read about saints in union with God and automatically assumed that it's a state only saints enter into. So I believe that we don't consider union as a goal because (1) not everyone aspires after holiness and (2) we assume that it's beyond our reach. Of course, the fact is that union is for everyone. Christ asks us to be perfect, and to be in union with God is to be as perfect as we can be, like the saints. Therefore, have courage and break out any box that might be confining you. Speed toward peace and freedom in God!
Friday, June 8, 2012
If we do not have any quiet time or if we cannot stay calm emotionally, it'd be difficult for us to hear God's voice. I feel very sorry to see that so many Catholics or other Christians let others affect them so much to the point that their own faith starts to weaken. Some actual examples are in order. One woman's best friend was a devout Catholic, but when that friend discovered that she had views leaning toward feminism, the friend dropped her. Of course, that greatly hurt the person and affected her faith. Another person was shocked when a priest came to her home for dinner on a Friday during the days when they're supposed to abstain from eating meat felt like eating meat and dispensed with the obligation. This shook her faith. Another one remembers that she had a most abusive nun as a teacher in school and when the parish priest came and told the whole class that they're lucky to have a most saintly teacher who's going to heaven, all the kids couldn't believe what they heard. Of course, it's possible that the priest really didn't know the truth and saw it that way; but nevertheless, the damage had been done. Most likely everyone has something to tell that has affected their faith. (I shouldn't deny that there are many who have had good experiences that strengthened their faith. My wife became a Catholic mainly because she had a nun who treated her most kindly.)
Let's realize that we are all sinners, religious or lay. See how perfect Jesus our Lord is because he is God, then we shouldn't be shocked by what all the sinners do any more because they are not God. Therefore, we need to focus upon the Lord alone and not let anyone else affect our faith! If you want to look at sinners, look at ourselves first. Do we also shock others by our behavior? How do we affect the others' faith? In conclusion, let only God affect you.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
At church before Mass started, I saw how amazing God was ~ his creations, his love manifested in so many ways, the example of Jesus... Then I saw that any negative thought or emotion such as anxiety originated with us, not God. The only way to have interior peace is to let God transform us so that we'll be in harmony with his will. And to let him transform us begins with surrendering to him. We may not have what we've wanted before, but we'll have peace. What's amazing is that once we have God, we'll want the same thing he wants for us.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Had the chance to watch the 2002 film The Pianist on TV. It shows how the polish pianist Wladyslaw Szilman struggled to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II. The Jewish population were rounded up and treated horribly. In one scene, one family member of the pianist asked in great apprehension if there was a God. It's totally understandable that we question God's existence when things go bad and bleak. My thoughts as a Christian are that if I already know the Lord well, then under no circumstances would I doubt his existence, but I might wonder what the purpose was behind all that had happened.
I did not want to tell others about my blog because it's the message that's important, not the one who posts. But lately, I no longer feel uncomfortable in telling others when there is the opportunity to do so because the Lord has placed a new urgency in me to spread the message (that he wants to draw all to union with him through the Holy Eucharist). What I have learned is that God has a timing for everything and he'll let your heart (not head) know when the right time has arrived. (This simply eliminates all anxieties.)
When you surrender yourself to God, he looks down upon you and sees that there are no more obstacles in the way to keep him from shaping and transforming you freely, and he is filled with joy. He works on you until you are fully in union with him and you are filled with joy.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Communion time thoughts this morning. If you were a house and remain meek and humble like our Lord, then you would be like a house that's built solidly upon a rock, which is the Lord himself, strong enough to withstand any assaults from without. Meekness and humbleness are the noblest strengths, not weaknesses.
We who love God all want to be holy. Striving to become holy is analogous to climbing a high mountain. When we reach the top, we are holy. Normally, we climb one step at a time. This requires discipline and involves a certain amount of struggle. Often we even fall back after some advance has been made. The whole process is slow and arduous and we may not even reach the top in our lifetime.
The alternative is to seek union with God first. You could say that there is a helicopter available to fly you directly to the top in a short time. The problem is that you've never flown like that before ~ you are afraid of the unknown and wonder if the flight will be safe at all. Also, even though you know that the view at the top must be fantastic, you look around and see that where you are, the scenery doesn't look that bad. So you decide that the quick ascent is not worth the risk involved, and you continue to struggle.
The truth is that once you put the fear of flying aside, the helicopter will take you quickly and safely to the top of the mountain and you'll have the most magnificent view. Now, you look down and see that you have eliminated all that arduous climbing.
The helicopter lift is God's arm lifting you up to him. You could say that the Holy Eucharist is already the ticket in your possession for you to board that flight. When you reach the top, you are in union with God. From there, what you see is what God sees.
Vice President Joe Biden is known to be a Catholic, yet you can never tell by his consistent pro-choice stand. Recently, on "Meet the Press" he expressed that he's absolutely comfortable with granting same-sex couples the same privileges enjoyed by traditional families before President Obama came out later with his public endorsement of gay marriage. Biden credited the TV sitcom "Will and Grace" for changing his view of marriage. So we have a supposedly Catholic who lets secular TV shows shape his views and ignores the clear teachings of the Church. If this is not a joke, then what is it?
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Earlier today I posted Know Our Place Before God. I could have added this thought to it: "Never try to play God. In fact, we should do our utmost to stay out of the way so that he may accomplish what he wills." (Food for thought: Are we the only obstacles in God's way in this world?)
Jesus is the champion of freedom. In Jesus, you gain courage to do his will, whatever it might be, even at the risk of losing your life ~ that is true freedom! I still recall that over 30 years ago, I happened to visit a Communist country and could feel the oppression in the air ~ no one dared to express his or her true feelings to me, and vice versa. The moment I left the country, I really felt that the air became free again. Freedom is to be treasured. But the spiritual freedom Jesus grants is the best and most satisfying freedom of all! Besides, no one can ever take that away from you.
Our Bishop has requested that all parishioners take action to overturn the Health and Human Services mandate and I am going to do whatever I can to defend our religious liberty. It's horrifying that the government should intrude upon our conscience. This is a dark time in the history of this nation. If you're with me, please pray that God will unite all religious peoples to defeat this mandate and all other oppressive measures.
I forgot to mention in my last post that today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. At Mass the Responsorial Psalm was Psalm 33 and our Response was 12b: "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own." The word "chosen" gave me that great "chosen" feeling, that I was so blessed to have been chosen by God to be his own.
At Sunday Mass this morning, I heard the priest say "Let God sanctify you" during one part of the Mass (can't remember exactly when) and it immediately struck me ~ how beautiful it is to let God do that to us, to make us holy, to purify and free us! Only God has that power and we can be the recipient of the benefits that power can bestow if we let God sanctify us.
Submit ourselves to God more and more so that we fight less and less on our own. And rest in him more and more so that we struggle less and less on our own. (When we have totally surrendered to God and are able to relax completely in him, we shall have ceased fighting and struggling on our own.)
Early morning I got up and it was a beautiful day. The temperature hadn't heated up yet, the gentle breeze felt good, and I heard birds singing among the trees. I thought of the people who lived thousands of years ago ~ they must have experienced and enjoyed days like this. Then I realized that in those days, people must not live that long, for they didn't have the medical knowledge, technology, doctors and hospitals which we enjoy today. Wikipedia shows that even today, the current life expectancy at birth for people in some of the African nations is only in the range of 30-40 years and the current world average of life expectancy at birth is estimated to be around 67.
It's easy for us to get carried away when we believe that science and technology can solve all our problems and that we don't need God anymore. Then look, after thousands of years we've only managed to extend our life expectancy by a few decades ~ we still die at the end ~ is this big enough progress for us to claim that we can replace God who created the whole universe? Aren't we being extremely foolish to think that way? The truth is that we are nothing before God. Our proper role is to remain humble always before him and beg for his mercy before we ever think, speak, or do anything.
Since Christ is my closest, most intimate companion, who dwells within me, I feel his presence at all times. He enters my mind the moment I wake up in the morning and I enjoy thinking about him when I go to sleep. During the day, I cling to him because everything about me depends upon him. In return, the Lord guides me along a straight path, shielding me from all evil.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
I just had some viruses or malware removed from my computer. I was told by one technician that if I didn't do anything, the computer most likely would head toward a crash. The sounds very much like a sinner and what could happen to him. Sins are like viruses and a sinner is infected with them. For him, the loss of eternal life is that big crash.
I did go see the movie For Greater Glory yesterday with some friends. To be objective about it ~ let's say that I am not even a Catholic ~ I'd say that the film was well made, quite dramatic, and has some very moving moments. Above all, it tells the story objectively, showing violence committed by both sides, and did get the point across. Out of 5 stars, I would rate it 3.5 to 4 stars. Don't pay too much attention to the less favorable reviews that have appeared in a number big city newspapers ~ those critics tend to nitpick from the point of view of a film school instructor, but the many imperfections are not likely to bother the average audience. When our group watched it, we were kept awake for the entire 147 minutes and got quite emotionally exhausted. Overall, it tells a memorable story.
God is the only standard against which all of us are to be measured. On our own, any standards we set up will only be temporary, relative, and possibly unreliable or even misguided. If you believe that we should have only one standard, then we have no choice but to follow God. The world is in chaos and disorder because the Lord is not held up as its standard. Without God's example as revealed through Christ, we'll never know what the greatest love and true humility are.
Friday, June 1, 2012
I have been thinking about what Jesus said to his disciples in Mark 4.25 (also in Matthew): "To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." The first part is true. Anyone who has received much from the Lord will want more from him because what he has received is good. The Lord then generously gives him even more...it goes on continuously like that. The second part is the flip side of the first, but there is hope for the have-nots too, for the Lord also said that the last would be first and the first would be last. All the one who has not has to do is to start asking the Lord to become one who has.