Communion experience. The Lord infiltrated my entire soul.
Friday, November 30, 2012
It has been a grey, wet, windy day. The leaves on many deciduous trees got blown off their branches overnight. I went to Mass and rain water was leaking through the roof of the church. Nevertheless, I experienced warm joy in my heart. I already mentioned the joy of hearing the Lord calling, of following him, and of feeling the freedom of the heart in the last two posts. Today's Communion Song from John 1: Andrew told his brother Simon, "We have found the Messiah, the Christ," and he brought him to Jesus. Here is the joy of finding the Anointed and of bringing another to him. When we are willing to leave all to follow the Lord, it is a perfect act on our part, beautiful beyond words.
I did not post anything the previous two days not because I did not have time or was sick or anything like that ~ it was because the Holy Spirit did not trigger any thought suitable for posting in me. This blog will come to an end someday. When it first got going, I didn't know where it's heading until after what God had made me experience revealed it to me that the goal was to draw all to union with him through the Holy Eucharist. When there is nothing more to post, then he's ready for me to go onto the next thing which will be made clear to me again. This is how he leads us ~ we wait, he calls, we follow, and he makes it clear. Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and brother of Peter. When Jesus first called him, he left everything and followed. This is how ready we should be at all times. What an exalted honor to be called by the Lord! What a beautiful way of living ~ to anticipate his call and be ready to follow the moment we hear his voice!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
God's love is pure. Our love is something else. When God loves us, we don't mind that he loves all others. And when we love him, we are glad if others also love him. But when we love another one with our love, we tend to possess that person and do not welcome others to love the object of our affection. And it that person loves others, we get jealous. The world will have peace only if we love as God loves because only his love can set us free.
Today's Gospel Acclamation at Mass, Revelation 2.10c: "Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." This is a most beautiful promise for those who are faithful. There cannot be a better reward than the crown of life! Living faithfully is not even a price to pay ~ it is a joy to cherish!
Some Christians treat God as someone who happens to tag along or even like an afterthought. Whereas he should be No. 1 in our lives; the Lord and King to us; the one whom we live and die for; and the only one we praise, worship, and adore. Making him any less exalted is insulting. This may sound harsh, but can you think of any way getting around it?
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 21 at morning Mass, while some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, "All that you see here ~ the days will come when there will not left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down." Indeed, nothing on earth lasts forever. Even the galaxies are not stable as old stars disappear and new ones are born constantly. Moreover, our earth has only limited inhabitable space and thereby cannot accommodate an unlimited number of inhabitants ~ it should be clear that God did not mean the earth to be our permanent residence.
Since everything passes, our life can only be made meaningful by including God who is everlasting. Even if I perform the most memorable deeds so that the whole world will know me and praise me, one day I'll be totally forgotten. We admire and look up to a lot of heroes of the past, the souls of some of whom might not even be in heaven ~ this is even worse! The point is that if we live for the glory of God alone, then our lives will become meaningful, and my souls will get to live forever with the one who is everlasting as well.
There are things and feelings deep in my heart that no living person can fully understand even if I try my best to explain them. Then Jesus sees and understands everything perfectly ~ that's why I love him so much. Also, when I feel compassion for my own family and others, I know that God's love is the source and cause. And I love him even more. The Lord is my greatest consolation.
Monday, November 26, 2012
After watching Leah Darrow's coming home story as a revert on EWTN, these thoughts come up in my mind. We consider many serious things in life that affect our well-being. For example, what career should we choose, for whom we should vote to lead our country, etc. But the most serious of all, what really matters to us Catholics, is how seriously do we take Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Thinking that we are OK to receive Holy Communion when we are in mortal sin is most serious. Thinking that we are going to be let off easy while we do not live a pure life is serious. Not following all the teachings of the Church is serious. Living for ourselves and not for the glory of God is serious. To risk losing our eternal life is deadly serious. To all Catholics: God is to be taken most seriously; wake up before it's too late.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King. Jesus Christ is the king of kings, the ruler of the universe. He is not a king to some because they expect a king to rule and conquer by might on earth; whereas Jesus rules by mercy alone and his kingdom does not belong to this world. This world will pass away, but his kingdom lasts forever. Conclusion: We are completely at his mercy ~ how fortunate we are that his mercy is infinite.
Darkness is the absence of light. Since God is our light, if we do not see him, we are in darkness. Those who see him but not clearly are in semi-darkness. Those who prefer to remain in mortal sin are the ones who refuse to see the light. Since the light of God will forever be present, we are left with the choice whether we want to remain in darkness forever or not.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
When scientists, astronomers, physicists, mathematicians, archaeologists... make a discovery, they get rightly exited. When I discover the solution to any problem, I feel happy too. The last problem, seemingly strange, I had at home was that rain water would drip from the kitchen exhaust hood onto the cooktop. The builder couldn't figure out why; but later I discovered the cause, fixed the problem, and felt good. But the joy of all these discoveries is only temporary. To me, the most satisfying discovery is the realization, not just knowledge, that Jesus Christ is truly God and he loves us, has died for us and can save us. Unlike other discoveries, this realization does not require reasoning on our part ~ it is a revelation given by God to the heart. And the joy of this discovery remains with us for all eternity.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Atheism is on the rise. One can believe that God exists or does not. By "clear" I do not mean that the right choice is necessarily clear to the atheists, I only mean that it is clear that these are the only two choices possible. If one believes that God exists, then the next two clear choices are whether you should believe in him all the way or not. The compelling, meaningful choice is to go all the way. This leaves us with just two logical choices: (1) To not believe in God at all and (2) to believe in God all the way. Anything in between is not a "clear" choice.
One reason, I believe, that people don't have peace is because when things do not turn out their way or to their liking, they are emotional upset. It gets worse when circumstances do not allow them to express how they feel and they keep all their emotions bottled up inside them. On the other hand, those who follow the Lord leave all to him. They may not like what they see, but they are able to maintain their inner peace.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
During Communion today, I sensed the awesome Holiness of the Lord. A sinner does not see how filthy his sins are in the presence of the Lord. Should he realize this fully, I don't think he would be able to survive! On the other hand, if a sinner repents, he is willing to let God's Holiness dissolve his sins and be made clean again.
I attended Thanksgiving Day Mass this morning and the Scripture reading was on Mary visiting Elizabeth who had conceived a son (the future John the Baptist). [The visit came after the angel Gabriel had announced to Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would conceive in her womb and bear a son to be named Jesus.] When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy."
The infant already knew that the Lord was near. At this point, the Lord made me see again how wrong abortion is.
TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading." You can hear many of these talks on YouTube. TED Quotes is a list of almost 2,000 notable sayings made by the various speakers over the years. Of course, they were not based upon the Scripture or Christian teachings. Nevertheless, they can be meaningful to the Christian. Here are two examples.
From Susan Cain: The power of introverts ~ "There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas." This is good to know because even though you may not be a good speaker, if you have a compelling message from the Lord to share, you need to share it. And speaking from your heart will make you a good speaker, if I may add.
From Nigel Harsh: How to make work-life balance work ~ "There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like." Isn't that the truth? From the Christian point of view, these people are not free.
Anytime a sinner turns to God and repents, he is back in God's good graces and the whole heaven rejoices. We often forget that repentance brings great joy to the sinner too. When I repent, I am forgiven. Relieved of the burden on my heart, I am home again in the Lord ~ one of the great joys of the Christian life. "Repentance" and "forgiven" are two equally joyful words.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
"One for all, all for one" is the motto of Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers and also the traditional motto of Switzerland. I brought this up because I thought of the phrase "God for all, all for God." Indeed, God is for all. He has created all of us; he loves all of us equally; he sustains our very existence; he provides what we need; and he wants to save us all. Realizing this helps us to love all our brothers and sisters. "All for God" to me means that all of me must be dedicated to loving and serving God; all I have is his and all that I do is to glorify him. This part is the proper response to his being for all of us.
After receiving Holy Communion this morning, I asked the Lord to continue to feed me, nurture me, teach me, and fulfill all my desires. Then I realized that this is really letting God do whatever he wants with me! This is also letting him love me to his heart's content!
Today is the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We heard the parable of the ten gold coins read from Luke 19. The lesson is that (1) to everyone who has, more will be given and (2) from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The first part greatly encouraged me to move onward in anticipation of receiving even more. If I am greedy, then it's a holy greed.
I know that God leads me, but normally I do not foresee where he is leading me to. Then I look back and the picture is clear. Every little thing that has happened plays its part in steering me in the right direction. Every one of my past failures contains a lesson. There are just no accidents. Therefore, I no longer ask the Lord why. I simply wait or move forward as he leads, feeling no anxiety whatsoever.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
It is clear that a big ego (lack of humility) and an unforgiving heart (not loving your enemies) are the two most difficult things for us to conquer. It feels like that they are virtually an intrinsic part of us. Then nothing is impossible with God when it comes to wanting to change ourselves for his sake. Again, ask him to make us humble and forgiving, then remain passive and he'll accomplish that with no sweat on our part. God always make it easy for us when we ask him to. It's ask, trust, rest, and receive.
Monday, November 19, 2012
I live in a rather rural area. As I drove to Mass this morning, the sky above and everything below looked just beautiful in the early sun light not long after the fresh rain had stopped. Having a photographic eye, I noticed the possibility of getting some good shots of the trees, houses, the field, etc. Even a blue, rental portable toilet on the side of the road looked appealing (once I saw a portable unit with the unforgettable name Wee Chateau on it). In my younger days, I would have turned the car around, rushed back home, grab my camera, and rush right back to start shooting; but today getting to Mass is of foremost importance to me, so I drove right on.
Later I thought about the whole thing. Getting good pictures is pure enjoyment ~ I'll have something nice to look at later, and someone may even praise my images. Is that all? It just seems to be self-centered and so trivial! There really isn't that much ultimate value to it, as it doesn't exactly build up my treasure in heaven. Seeing it this way, I am glad that I let it go and shall see things the same way in the future.
Years ago, it's the O. J. Simpson murder case that shocked people. Today BBC News reports that a Brazilian star football player has been accused of ordering the murder of a former lover. I am not getting into the cases ~ all I want to point out is that once an ego gets too big, you can easily lose control and become the victim of your own ego. This is the real danger. The antidote to ego is, of course, humility. Then humility is virtually impossible to acquire without God's help.
It occurred to me that we are still very much like little children no matter how old we get. We love security and feel good when someone cares about us. We look for food when we are hungry. We want things and get unhappy if we don't get them. In other words, the little kid is still in us, even though our appearance has changed. The only thing we do not retain is the childlike belief in things we do not see. Then we find God and he starts to transform us. Our basic desires and behaviors change from being self-centered to centering upon God and the childlike faith is restored. We are now a new creature in God.
Yesterday I ran into the website http://www.tumblr.com. The blogs you find on it are amazingly creative and often interesting, but the sad part is that when you check out some of the visual works or the sayings on some of the blogs, you sense or know that they came from souls who live without aim and/or lead a somewhat surrealistic existence. One particular post that saddens me is from a teen who tries to tell people that a mother who chooses abortion is happier and much better off ~ she just does not see the other side at all. We, including all you creative and talented ones, are lost until we seek and find God the truth.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Communion reflection. My soul was made by God and is not for sale. It belongs to him, so I gave it back to Christ right after I received him in the Holy Eucharist. Besides, God had already given himself completely to us, so that had to be the least I could do. By the power of the body and the blood of the Lord, my soul is now purified and protected from all evil.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Sin separates us from God. To close the gap, we must humble ourselves and beg for God's mercy, ask for his pity ~ there is no other way. The great news is that we can surrender to God and go all the way to become one with him through the Holy Eucharist and all sins will be forgotten. This is truly an incredible leap!
I see the world in fast motion as in a film ~ I just hit the Fast Forward button and soon we'll come to the Second Coming of Christ, the Day of Judgment. In fast motion I could make out people eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting, building (yesterday's Gospel reading from Luke 17), floods, hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes, fires, wars, killings, deaths, mass destruction, rebellion against God, sacrilegious acts, blasphemies, persecution of the Church ~ chaos all the way through, and then everything comes to a standstill and the Lord is here.
Today is the Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and this had been my Communion experience.
At the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord, took the child in his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation." When I received the Holy Eucharist, I had exactly the same feeling that I am ready to go in peace. I was most grateful that the Lord had made me see, changing my whole life. Outside, the wet cold wind howled, but I felt totally secure. This last sentence paints a good spiritual portrait of me.
Jesus has made it clear that we cannot serve two masters ~ we must choose to serve either God or mammon. In everything we do, whether we are aware or not, we make the choice to glory God or ignore him. The world competes with God for our attention. Do we put God ahead of us or it it the other way around? Dying for Christ or living for ourselves? Do we choose the challenging, uphill climb toward heaven over the easy, downhill slide toward hades? We don't think about it, but it's also choosing whether we want to be rewarded now or later. Basically, it is all about choosing life or death.
Friday, November 16, 2012
I just found out that a book, which is valuable because it has something to do with my grandfather who was very close to me, was most likely lost forever due to someone's fault. Of course, I could stress about it. Then I looked within myself and saw that Jesus was still dwelling in me ~ he's not missing, and I was happy. As I believe, there are no accidents. The loss now seems to be more like a blessing. Some people have the right attitude ~ they see that the loss suffered wasn't worse. Think about the people who lost their entire homes recently in Hurricane Sandy. Nevertheless, when you have Christ, the everlasting loving truth, everything else is already "worse" relative to him. Paul could have said, "Once you know Christ, everything besides him is rubbish and not worth keeping."
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Here is the homily given by Fr. John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona, this past Sunday, Nov. 11. It is a sober message most appropriate for us to hear after our presidential election, beautifully preached.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, we hear Jesus say, "Behold, the kingdom of God is among you." The fact and truth is that Jesus has come and we have the message of salvation clearly revealed to us, yet we live among all the distractions of the world as if God does not even exist! I believe that we do not seek God diligently is not because the gate of entry is narrow or the road of ascent seems steep, but because all the worldly distractions have made us blind and deaf to the truth ~ we have fallen deeply into the devil's trap! Here is what Paul Harvey, the well-known radio broadcaster had "predicted" in 1965: stg.do/9LDc. He was remarkably perceptive.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Luke 17, the beautiful story how Jesus cleansed ten lepers. As Jesus traveled through Samaria and Galilee toward Jerusalem, he was entering a village and ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."
The obvious lesson is that we should not forget to thank God for being good to us, but what I want to focus upon is that last sentence "your faith has saved you." The faith as demonstrated by the grateful leper is simply believing in God and obeying his word. I recently posted that I felt helpless in increasing my own faith ~ I was right because I was barking up the wrong tree. Now it's clear to me that to increase my faith, I only need to believe and obey the Lord in all that he tells me to do ~ it is the quiet way. Yes, be like the leper.
I have mentioned in the past that knowing that we are on good terms with God in this life is a great feeling. But if we love and serve God as much as we possibly can, knowing that we'll hear him say "well done" when we see him later, we can make that great feeling now even greater!
People appreciate long lives. Most people want to live longer, admitting that they are not ready to meet the Lord yet. Someone I knew well passed away at 101 and right now I have quite a few friends whose parents are all in their 90s. Is longevity a blessing? Many martyrs and saints die young, then we have St John the Apostle living to a ripe, old age. When one lives long, it could be that God has more work for him to do. If the person has not come to God yet, it could be that out of his mercy, the Lord is keeping the door open a little bit longer. Then there are oldsters who suffered ill health in their old age ~ if the Lord is making that part of their purgatory, then it's something to rejoice about. What I am most concerned about are those nonbelievers who are basically not good persons and seem to have everything they need in this life. Recalling how Jesus taught to the disciples that hypocrites who perform good deeds in public to be seen and noticed have already received their reward, so it's possible that these nonbelievers are receiving all their reward in their long lives now.
At any rate, we shouldn't be concerned about how long we live ~ any length God decides on for us is right and good.
If you take the two quotes from 1 Corinthians at the end of my last post seriously, then they should be brought to the attention of all parishioners from time to time, since the casual reception of the Holy Eucharist seems to be widespread. If people don't realize the seriousness of receiving the Lord, then the fault lies more with the clergy. Looking at the flip side, we see that receiving this Most Holy Sacrament with great reverence, realizing fully that the Lord is physically present, will definitely bring great blessings upon the recipient.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Communion experience. First, I felt that the Lord had made us so that he and each one of us can fit together like a hand slipping into a perfectly fitting glove. Then I saw that the Holy Eucharist is such a great, wonderful, significant, and truly earthshaking gift from heaven Christ had given us. Through receiving this Most Holy Sacrament, the Lord's true body and blood, we are able to enter full union with him. [Let us be reminded by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. Anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."]
Today is the Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. At Mass, I felt that I still had not totally let the Lord do everything for me yet because I sensed some "struggling" on my part at times. I knew that he wants me to be still in him, in his love, to rest in peace starting now, not after I die. Complete trust is what he seeks from us. In today's Responsorial Psalm 37, we heard read: "Take your delight in the Lord, and he will grant you your heart's requests." I pray that he will grant me even more delight in him.
Monday, November 12, 2012
"Be loving and humble" covers it all. This means that any holier-than-thou attitude is out. Feeling self-righteous is out. Look up to rather than down on the person you wish to convert. The great saints always consider themselves to be the worst sinners before God. Never think that you are doing some great work or will receive recognition from God; it's the Lord doing the work through you. You do it for the glory of God alone. Be patient to avoid rushing ahead of the Holy Spirit. Leave all outcome to the Lord ~ trust is requisite. And by the way, example is better than talk. Last but not least, pray hard from the heart for the other person (as well as for yourself). St. Monica prayed and fasted for 17 years before her son St. Augustine was converted.
Today's Gospel reading came from Luke 17. The Apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith and he replied, "If you have the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." Of course, Jesus spoke figuratively, but I always wondered how I could have this super strong faith. I can try very hard to increase my faith, but it just doesn't work. I see that it's a gift from God. Like overcoming sin and achieving union with the Lord, it has to be his doing. My part would be then to remain open, and when the Lord sees my desire, he will fulfill it.
Today is the Memorial of St. Josaphat. I am not too familiar with this saint, but from hearing the brief summary given by the priest at the beginning of Mass, the following thoughts came to my mind.
Saints are few worldwide. The history of any Christian church is filled with ugly pages. Therefore, the only clear conclusion I can draw is that every single one of us who truly wants to follow the Lord must aim for maximum holiness to make sure that the Body of Christ on earth will remain as pure as possible.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Life has its ups and downs; people succeed and fail. But once you possess Christ, you have everything. Ups and downs, success or failure ~ nothing counts anymore. This is what St. Paul meant when he wrote to the Philippians: "I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish..." In sum, relative to Jesus, everything else is rubbish.
Gospel reading from Mark 12 at Mass ~ Jesus observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciple to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood." This is a great example of loving God with all you've got, fulfilling the first commandment. It should inspire us to go all out every time we serve the Lord.
I already know all about Jesus. His greatness is overwhelming and his beauty most dazzling. My intense desire is to have him teach me his ways, for his teaching delights and perfects the soul. When you have him, you possess the truth, the secret of freedom, God dwelling within you on earth, complete fulfillment, and the pathway to eternal dwelling in heaven.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
In today's BBC News - Viewpoint: Hoping for change, and coming up short, Kayla Ruble, a young liberal journalist in New York City writes how she enthusiastically voted for Obama as our first black president and gradually became disappointed in what he had failed to do and now found herself no longer inspired by him. But she still ended up voting for him this time because she believed that voting for the more conservative Romney would turn back the clock on many issues.
BBC also posts a chart showing the voter turnout, as organized by age. Here are the (% for Obama)/(% for Romney) ratios. For age group 18-29, it is 60/37; age group 30-44, 52/45; age group 45-64, 47/52; age group 65 or over, 44/56. It's clear from these figures that as one ages, one becomes more conservative (wiser?). I mentioned that I was also somewhat liberal when I was young, so I understand Kayla. In time God made me see everything clearly. When you are young, you are full of hope and with good intentions; you want to change the world your way. Then after you grow older, you realize that you are not always right and only God can change things.
What I want to say to Kayla is that voting for a more conservative candidate may be turning back the clock on many issues, but voting for a liberal one is moving the clock forward and you may ultimately find yourself on the verge of falling off a cliff.
There are all kinds of indicators out there. For example, the health of the housing market and consumer confidence indicate the strength of an economic recovery. Increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and shrinkage of the total glacier volume are two indicators of global warming. Rejection of God in this country is also indicated by the following. Whom the people choose to be their president in an election indicates to a certain extent how much they reject God as a nation. How uncomfortable they feel when they hear God or some strong gospel message preached indicates how much they reject God as individuals.
Today the beautiful picture of walking with God hand in hand came into my mind. Then I realized that since God is not physically here in person, receiving him in the Holy Eucharist and having him dwelling in my heart is just as satisfying.
As we progress spiritually, we shift from self-reliance more and more to reliance upon God. When I wanted to bring someone to Christ back in the past, I expended my own considerable effort, but not always feeling relaxed. Now I let the Holy Spirit guide me and trust fully that the Lord will change the heart, thus retaining my peace. When it comes to overcoming my own sins, self-struggle has been replaced by full trust in the Lord and the results have been beyond my best possible expectations. Basically, reliance upon God makes everything easy.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Communion Experience. I just felt that the Holy Eucharist is both a life-giving and life-changing gift, and I yearned to be changed. I felt alone in God and that he had totally fulfilled me. My heart was completely still, remaining in deep peace.
At the beginning of Eucharistic Prayer, the priest asked us to life up our hearts and we responded with "We life them up to the Lord." And I thought that the most pleasing gift for us to offer to the Lord would be our heart, and the best gift we could possibly receive back from him would be the union of our heart and his Most Sacred Heart.
Before Mass began this morning, I was asking myself why I was attracted to Jesus. It had to be his beautiful, pure, selfless love which touched my heart. It is something so unique and special that God had to reveal it to us for us to fathom. And this attraction has the power to make us love others selflessly too.
Jesus knew his specific mission in advance and followed the will of God the Father every step of the way. Since we only more or less see God's plan for us unfold as we proceed, the logical and sensible approach for us is to trust in him fully every step of the way. When you look back later, everything will be clear.
When Pilate asked Jesus if he were the King of the Jews, Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here" (John 18:36). For those of us who were disappointed at or even upset by the election outcome this time, let's mind what the Lord had said here. We are fighting a spiritual warfare, not against our government. Do not expect our triumph to materialize in this world, for the kingdom we have entered belongs to God. Let's continue to do his will in this world with even greater fervor.
Candidates running for Presidency often ask people if they are better off now than four years ago. Of course, they mean economically. If you ask me if we are better off spiritually now than before, I would say that if not worse, we certainly have not improved since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, as economy gets better, people would pay even less attention to God. A country that's economically strong but morally bankrupt will in time fall, but one that's spiritually strong will always survive. In other words, if we leave God out of the picture, then for sure we are doomed. I believe that many will agree with me, but how many will pay serious attention?
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I believe that once you belong to the Lord, he pours grace on you continuously. You are connected to him, getting fed at all times. He knows what you need and what's best for you at any moment. He draws you closer and closer to him, strengthening the union. During prayer time after Mass, I now speak less words and think less thoughts. Instead I spend more time just remaining quietly in his holy presence. My mind is so peaceful that it no longer wanders. Sometimes I am so relaxed that I am not sure if I am still awake or asleep, yet somehow I know that the Lord still actively feeds me because I am a branch on his vine.
At Communion time, I realize that if the Lord is going to dwell within me, it is my duty and mission to make the dwelling place as clean, pleasant, comfortable, and beautiful as possible for him. It turns out that I only need so wish and he is going to accomplish all this for me. The Lord cleaning the house for me ~ what delightful mercy! He is to be adored forever.
Luke 15:1-10 was read at Mass this morning. Jesus taught that just as we have great joy in finding a lost sheep or lost coin of ours, there is great joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. Then I realized that we have equally great joy when we were lost and are found by God. We are now saved, safe, going home to the Father ~ it's joy meeting joy.
Today's early thoughts at Mass. The Lord can truly turn everything around or upside down. The best news for us is that he can fundamentally change or transform us no matter how poor a shape we're in, if we so desire. Therefore, he is our bright hope. Without him, we'll be in total darkness, so he is also our only hope.
Today being Thursday, I prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I love the second mystery, the Wedding at Cana. The wine ran out. The mother of Jesus told the servers to do whatever he tells them. It seems clear that Mary already knew the greatness of her Son. Jesus told the servers to fill six stone water jars with water, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. So we have a total of 120 to 180 gallons of water. The next thing was that what came out of the jars was wine which the headwaiter, not knowing where it came from, judged to be better than all the wine the guests had tasted so far. Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs and so revealed his glory.
As a miracle, this one is not particularly spectacular, but you don't have to be a scientist to know that water remains water and doesn't become something else without at the least adding something to it. Like all the miracles Jesus performed later on, this one is just as amazing. In my mind he had to be the creator of all things to easily accomplish a feat to us like that.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Today one of the two Communion Songs offered at Mass was John 6.57: "Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me, says the Lord." After receiving Holy Communion, I remained completely passive, letting the Lord feed me, and I knew that I have life because of him. This means that I'll forever be living in him ~ what unspeakable joy!
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 14, Jesus said, "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Later, "Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." In other words, to become his disciple, we must make him No. 1 in our lives. This is the only rule we need to live by. If everyone follows it, the world will become a paradise.
Corruption is a worldwide moral perversion. In our own country, there are high government officials who put savoring their high power position ahead of serving the people, the rich who have insatiable greed for money, and the poor who will vote for any government who supports them financially, other important issues notwithstanding. And there are numerous other types of corruption such as cheating on income reporting practiced by many. All these things make you mourn. Then I see Jesus our Lord standing alone before all others when he was arrested, questioned, sentenced to death, and underwent his Passion, being completely obedient to the Father ~ my courage and hope now restored, the big boost I need.
The election is over. I see an increasing polarized nation with more infringement upon religious freedom coming. In a secular society, such persecution is expected or even welcomed by those who are faithful to the Lord. Is there a lesson here for us? Rather than pointing the blaming finger at the enemy, I feel that the Lord wants us to examine ourselves first. It's the teaching on noticing the wooden beam in our own eye first before attempting to remove the splinter in our brother's eye (Matthew 7, Luke 6). Atheists and nonbelievers do not hear God speak, so any lesson is for us.
We need to ask ourselves many questions. How strong is our faith? How much do we really love the Lord? How faithful are we in following the teachings of our Church? How united are all the Christians? How united are we as Catholics? Did we just vote for our sake or for the glory of God? How bold are we in proclaiming the gospel? How much do we pray? Do we always obey the Holy Spirit? Do we play politics within the Church? These are all important questions and I am not just asking the laity, but the clergy as well. As in our personal spiritual life, it is us who are our worst enemy. The war against drugs will continue as long as the demand for it is present; similarly, the war against evil will continue as long as we do not give ourselves completely to God. We must be willing to carry our cross and be prepared to become martyrs if necessary. Don't put your hope in man or any government; put it in the Lord God alone, for you won't find true freedom anywhere except in him!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
There is heaven and there is hell ~ Jesus made it clear and many saints and seers have been granted visions of one or the other or both. (It's worth watching the video A Judgment Experience listed on this blog.) For us, what we should "fear" are the things we don't see but are out there. Heaven and hell are the only two possible, very-near-future destinations for all of us. Time passes by quickly and the time left for each of us is unknown. Put your trust in Christ and start living a holy life right now and your future will have been secured.
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 14, Jesus tells the story of the man giving a great dinner. He invited many, but one by one they all began to excuse themselves. Each could not come, claiming that he had some business to attend to or something that tied him up. The master of the house in a rage ordered his servant to go out and bring in everyone else to fill his home and said to the servant, "I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner."
Clearly, the invitation was to dine in the Kingdom of God. I can't help thinking that Catholics who do not follow all the teachings of the Church are rather like those guests who found excuses not to accept the invitation. The danger here is that they could miss out on entering the Kingdom of God altogether.
Today is the big day of voting when the American people choose their next president. As a Catholic, I feel great sorrow because many Catholics vote in contradiction to the teachings of the Church. This is holy sorrow because it is a sorrow that the Lord feels. Ordinary sorrows are self-centered and can rob us of peace, but holy sorrows do not. Jesus suffered agony, scourging, insults, and excruciating physical pain, yet he remained peaceful and loving. Therefore, holy sorrows (and holy joys) are Jesus' sorrows (and joys).
Monday, November 5, 2012
It became clear to me during prayer after Mass that God had given us the heart for communicating with him. We don't need to say words and our brain can only think, not speak. With our heart, we link ourselves directly to the Lord's heart and prayer becomes heart-to-heart communication with him ~ it's now communion at the exalted level.
The Gospel reading from Luke 14 at Mass: On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The lesson is clear. Love but do not expect repayment and you will be repaid by God. Again, it's the selfless way of building up treasures in heaven. Basically, the more we empty ourselves, the more God replenishes us.
Today's first reading at Mass came from Philippians 2. The verse that stood out for me is 3a: "Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory." In other words, we must be selfless. Jesus is totally selfless and he is free. Hence the secret of becoming free is to abandon ourselves in God. We cannot fly in space like the birds, but we can soar in Christ with total freedom. What a contrast to living selfishly with all our heavy burdens!
I first read St. Teresa's Interior Castle some decades ago. Now I am about to reread it. The Introduction tells me that it took her only two months of writing time to complete the book, her last work. To quote from the Introduction: Interior Castle presents the saint's spiritual doctrine through the unifying outline of seven dwelling places among which there is a division into two sections. The first three groups of dwelling places speak of what is achievable through human efforts and the ordinary help of grace. The remaining four groups deal with the passive, or mystical, elements of the spiritual life.
It is gratifying to learn that what I've learned from the Lord is a simplified version of her synthesis. I have posted that the two parts of the spiritual journey are marked by the point of self-surrender. In the first part, we struggle on our own most of the way and in the second, we remain passive with God doing the work for us. The Lord simplifies things for me so that with a simple mind, I can understand. The Lord is always most considerate.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
If you live in a more affluent society today, you face the onslaught of temptations daily. One his own, no mortal being can remain secure and be unaffected. But there is Jesus, our Savior. In him, we are safe from all evil. In him, temptation cannot exist. In him, we find true peace.
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Mark 12, we heard Jesus giving the first of all the commandments: The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The Lord God has already given his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life ~ this is going all out to show his greatest love for us. The fitting thing for us to do is indeed to love him with all we've got ~ this is the exact direction and purpose we need for our life. Going all out for God assures that we are on the right path to dwelling in our heavenly home for all eternity.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
We must take the Lord seriously over all other worldly concerns. I see so many calling themselves Christians, yet remaining far away from him. Coming back to the Lord can be so easy, yet they make it so hard. One day it'll be too late for them to get back in, for the door will be shut. This has happened to many before ~ are we to follow in their footsteps? Not taking the Lord seriously is not caring for yourself.
Today's Gospel reading at Mass was taken from Luke 14. Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. Noticing how those who had been invited were choosing the places of honor at the table, he told them a parable that was a lesson on humility. He ended the story with this saying: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." I can easily see that anyone who is truly humble can love as Paul had specified. Humility is inseparable from love.
Once we are in Christ, we are no longer of the world. The challenge now is to remain connected with others who are still very much in the world and do not understand our position. We need to be anchored to the Christ within us and try to remain humble, patient, and tolerant. Then because we still reside in the world, there is also the challenge to remain closely connected with the Lord amid all the distractions. It's absolutely necessary to spend time in solitude frequently with him to maintain that connection.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Just read in the news: "When the US presidential election is over, estimates say it will end up costing $2.5 billion." Spending this much money just to get one man who is basically a politician and may not even be totally honest elected, it is insane if you see it this way. Why can't we dispense with all ads, including those dirty, attack TV ones, and just allow the two candidates to debate and/or give separate presentations over the media, talking about their respective visions, plans, and goals for the nation? They can travel around the country to campaign if they so choose. This way we get to see the candidates directly without being affected by the inaccurate and distorted depictions of them in ads, saving much money.
The talk of money got me thinking about our capitalistic society. The system means free enterprise, but it comes at a great cost. Under capitalism, the goal is to make money. For corporations and companies, it's profit, profit, profit. For the individuals, it's making money to own a house, buy cars and other material things for comfort, be able to put children through college, etc. ~ it is the American dream! Most high school students already start thinking about making a lot of money before they graduate. The love of money definitely keeps us away from thinking about God. Jesus made it clear that we cannot serve both God and mammon. This is the big drawback of capitalism.
In Acts 4, we read that the community of believers was of one heart and mind and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own ~ they had everything in common. There was no needy person among them, for money and wealth were distributed to each according to need. This seems to be an ideal society, but it will only work if all participants are of one heart and mind in the Lord. Anyway, though the system under which we live may be far from perfect, it's always right to be the most perfect Christian we can possibly be.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
During the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, I saw the moment of consecration of the bread and the wine as one at which Jesus declared his love for us. After receiving him, joy, peace, and contentment filled my entire heart. They all came from within, proving that God dwells in the heart. I actually felt both the "heat" and the "weight" of the joy, perhaps caused by the sheer amount I experienced.
Today is the Solemnity of All Saints. The readings at Mass were so beautiful that they gave me extra joy. Reading 1 came from Revelation 7. In St. John's vision one of the elders revealed to him that those wearing white robes present were the ones who had survived the time of great stress, and had washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. This is a powerful image. Consider it a miracle that red blood can actually wash the robes and make them white. If you know that you are wearing such a white robe, rejoice!
Reading 2 came from 1 John 3. St. John wrote: "Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Again, if you know that you are already one of God's children, rejoice!
The Gospel was the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5. The Beatitudes are beautiful in both words and content. When I heard them, I heard the powerful, loving voice of the Lord in my ears. After the last Beatitude, Jesus said, "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven." Anyway you look at it, you see reason for rejoicing.