You hear the expression "I couldn't care less" said by people from time to time. Whether this attitude is good or not depends upon whom you care less about. If you couldn't care less about others, then you could be a very selfish, uncharitable person. But if you really couldn't care less about yourself, then you could be a very humble, enlightened Christian.
Friday, August 31, 2012
After receiving Holy Communion today, I knew that the bread of heaven is not a figure of speech ~ I actually received literally Jesus himself from Heaven! It was more that just a taste of heaven ~ it was more like attending a banquet in my honor in heaven.
Today at Mass we heard the Parable of the Ten Virgins from Matthew 25 read. The five wise virgins all got their lamps ready waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom, while the five foolish ones didn't even have enough oil for their lamps. When the bridegroom came unexpectedly late at midnight, those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him, while the other virgins who went off to buy oil came back late and found that the door to the feast already locked. When they knocked on the door, the Lord did not even recognize them. What a terrible thought ~ to be locked out and turned away by God! Jesus' lesson is that we need to stay awake and be ready in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. The superior way is to embrace God's love with all your heart now, then getting locked out or not needn't be a concern anymore.
This morning's first reading at Mass came from 1 Corinthians 1, in which Paul states that "the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." This profound statement can confound many. Because it is true, the self-centered world is having trouble understanding and obeying God. But to the truly wise, they see the way to approaching and knowing God. Since God's wisdom and strength are so much superior than ours, there is no better choice than submitting ourselves to him, follow him, and obey him ~ the smart way to go.
To Know God is to love God. It's impossible to know him if you don't love him. If you love him, then he will draw you close to him and make you love him even more. Our God is a personal God, Jesus. How blessed we are that he is not remote, aloof, or uncaring ~ he is a God in whom we can greatly rejoice!
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 24. Jesus told his disciples to stay awake and be prepared for the hour at which he will come. We hear that we should live as if it is the last day of our life ~ it makes equal sense. Jesus may not show up in our lifetime, but it doesn't matter ~ the wise would get ready anyway. Then I realize that Jesus is already present spiritually with me at all times and this awareness is sufficient to keep me on my toes. I shall talk or pray to him whether I am doing anything or not, getting him involved in all things at all times ~ an excellent way to prepare for his coming.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
After receiving Holy Communion, I experienced great freedom. This is the freedom that comes naturally from leaving all up to God as opposed to getting stressed out for having to take care of all things on your own. I also felt so happy and grateful that God knows my heart ~ since he sees exactly what is in it, he is free to purify and do whatever is needed to keep it pleasing to him. What a grace!
Today is the Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist. As we learn from Matthew 6, today's Gospel reading: King Herod married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip; Herodias, harboring a grudge against John the Baptist because of his disapproval of the marriage, wanted to kill him; when the king was delighted with the dance of his daughter, promised to grant her whatever she asked of him, she went to ask the mother and Herodias asked for the head of John the Baptist.
King Herod, his wife Herodias, and the daughter ~ all three did exactly what they wanted to do, with no concern for others. They are great examples for us because they show exactly what we should not be like. For us, there is only one thing we should want to do, God's will.
You must agree that we are all engaged in spiritual warfare, battling against Satan. But there is another view, with Satan just playing a side role in it. How can we count Satan as our enemy if we are not even entirely on God's side yet? Once we are totally with God (in union, for example), then there is no spiritual battle to fight anymore. Unknowingly or otherwise, we fight God as we rebel against him. Therefore, the battle to be fought should be against ourselves! Once we overcome ourselves (with God's help), the battle is over and God becomes truly Lord to us.
In John 6, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." And a little later, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Since the first promise has already proven to be true as I no longer hunger nor thirst, you can confidently count on the fulfillment of the second promise that we will live forever if we receive the Holy Eucharist, when we pass from this world.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Boldness and humility make an ideal coupling for any disciple of Christ. Be bold means never being afraid to speak out or act for the glory of God. Be humble means always forgetting about your own ego (if there's still any left) and concentrating on serving God alone.
I had a tooth that had cracked, so it was pulled out. It looked like it did not heal right and had started bleeding. At Mass this morning (memorial of St. Augustine), my mouth was full of blood when I received the Holy Eucharist. The mingling made me feel in a way that I was drawn even deeper into union with Christ. Also, it taught me to unite all my sufferings with his.
Monday, August 27, 2012
God has made each one of us into a unique creature. We all have different personalities, traits, talents, etc. And God leads us to him along different paths too, but he has one individual plan for each of us ~ he wants to mold each one of us into the perfect person as he has envisioned. So give the Lord the green light and let it begin. Don't expect to experience the same thing as any saint has experienced, but the end result will be just as satisfactory to God (and you'll be extremely satisfied too).
It was a beautiful morning with the sun out in the blue sky and the temperature just perfect, yet I knew that this would pass. Daytime is already getting shorter; soon there'll be colder, rainy, windy days and some plants will freeze and die ~ this has happened every year. Our life is also passing and soon we'll come to the end. We all tend to enjoy the good times and not think far enough ahead. Jesus asks us to store up treasures in heaven ~ this means that we must be aware our future after this life is over. (This kind of vision may rightly be described as heavenly.) As long as we have this awareness, we can enjoy the ongoing good times and accumulate treasures in heaven at the same time.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The Lord impressed these thoughts upon me during morning Mass. Each one of us is a unique being created by God and given a distinct soul and his own free will. Each of us alone makes his choices in what he thinks, says, and does. We came into the world alone and will depart from it alone. When God speaks to us, he speaks to each one individually. When we face God later, each person will have to answer to him strictly on his own. So it's alone all the way. Ultimately speaking, no one or anything can come between God and us ~ we alone are responsible for ourselves.
But we can take advantage of the situation by reversing it! Let's seek union with God and become one with him now, then we shall never stand alone anymore. Nothing can come between God and us ~ you can say that again!
Saturday, August 25, 2012
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 23, Jesus pointed out the hypocrisies of the scribes and the Pharisees to the crowds and his disciples. He then told all that "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
This is absolutely true because when you remain humble in the Lord, he always delightfully surprises you from time to time. True delights only come to the humble, for the high and mighty have only one way to go ~ down. The greatest reserved "surprise" for the humble will come, of course, at the end of this life.
"Peace be with you" ~ that's how Jesus greets his disciples. God always wishes us peace. So if you have great peace, you know that you love him. If you don't have peace when you do something, then it could very well be that you are not doing his will.
The first work of St. Teresa of Avila I am now reading is The Book of Her Life. I found out that she was certain that everyone is called to the summit of the mountain where only the glory of God dwells, that God is keeping watch for the hour to give. One can put off the hour; yet if and when it arrives, early or late, God will not fail to act with generous mercy. For the hour to arrive, an unavoidable condition is required: total surrender to God. [If I may add, that hour should be the finest hour of our life.]
Friday, August 24, 2012
Many years ago, I read St. Teresa of Avila's classic Interior Castle. I am starting to read all her collected works. In the Introduction of the volume, I read: As for devils, she could say with complete freedom "I pay no more attention to them than to flies" and that the key element of her teaching about the devil is the utter uselessness of all fears concerning him. She also said, "I don't understand these fears, 'The devil! The devil!' when we can say 'God! God!' and make the devil tremble." It is gratifying to learn that she confirms what I have posted. That is, as long as we occupy ourselves with (or hide in) God, we may safely ignore the Devil.
You believe that man invented God and use him as a crutch. I want to tell you that you've got it all wrong. My God did not come out of man's imagination ~ for your information, he came into the world almost 2,000 years ago and revealed to us who he is. And I did not seek him because I needed a crutch ~ it was his amazing love that drew me to him. I never expected to choose him ~ it was he who chose me! Keep your minds open and you might just be called by him yet.
Atheists do not believe that God exists, so they don't know how they got here nor the meaning of life. To Christians, not a single word of Jesus can be ignored, but the atheists wipe out the entire Judea-Christian history and the Gospel records. The gate to heaven is narrow and the road to it steep and atheists choose to tread the easiest way. Unfortunately, they don't know that it's the wrong way. And they have no guides and are shaped by the world they happen to be in. They are basically self-centered, claiming that there is no God, but setting themselves up as gods ~ no different from being idolatrous. The test of faith is the giving up of oneself and obviously, they totally flunked it.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I am still thinking about my post The Falling Away from God which I put up yesterday. If you had read that BBC report and the readers comments, you might feel just as sad as I am. At Mass this morning, the picture of the suffering Lord floated into my mind ~ it's an image of how he looked on his way to Golgotha to be crucified. Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 22 was appropriate. In this parable of the wedding feast told by Jesus, the king invited many guests to this feast he gave for his son, but some ignored the invitation or refused to come. Others even mistreated and killed the servants dispatched to summon the guests. The king was enraged and destroyed them. Then he invited whomever his servants could find in the streets. One man came, was spotted not dressed in a wedding garment and also got punished. Jesus' last words were "Many are invited, but few are chosen." Today's situation is no different or perhaps even worse. The pressing question is: "How may we console the Lord?"
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
In the Gospel reading taken from Matthew 20, Jesus mentioned "the last will be first, and the first will be last" in telling the parable of the workers in the vineyard. I think that the saying means that God can do whatever he wants and we have no right to question him. Even if my interpretation is wrong, what I have interpreted it to mean is still correct.
Today is the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Praying for our enemies is hard, so let's look to the Holy Mother as our example ~ she prays for everyone without exception and intercedes for all of us. Enemies need even more prayers than friends, so let's pray without being discriminational.
Atheism is on the rise (check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19262884) ~ people, including many lukewarm Christians, are rebelling against God. I feel sorry for them more than for the Lord. Like the ones who crucified Christ, they just don't know what they are doing! How sad that they do not know that union with God is the most beautiful state of existence and if everyone achieves that state, earth will become like heaven. Is there any hope for them? Definitely yes, only if they'd realize that God's mercy in infinite and that nothing is impossible with him.
This morning after I woke up, I sensed that it is the Holy Spirit who prompts all followers of Christ to do God's will. You could say that the Holy Spirit "is" God's will because to know the Holy Spirit is to know God's will. Let the Holy Spirit lead us in every little step we take.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
When we attain union with God, it is God who does all the work by his holy love. All we need to do is "be open to him." The degree of difficulty following the Lord is inversely proportional to how much we open up to him ~ which is saying that the more we open up, the less difficult it is for us to follow him.
Jesus entered the world to become one of us so that he could spread the good news of our salvation among us. And we have only one life to live in which to catch this critically important message of love, not before our birth or after our death. The period that's open for us is brief and unpredictable ~ I am speaking from the point of view of someone who has already found and accepted this truth. The Lord patiently awaits us ~ if we do not grab him soon enough, he'll be out of reach forever! This message is urgent indeed.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Today I realize that we should watch out for pride even when the Lord is giving us joy. We must not let any such good feeling or other rewards affect whatever residual ego that's still left in us. This is tricky business; but to be safe, it's essential to receive all good things with great humility.
The Gospel story from Matthew 19 at Mass tells about the young man who wanted to gain eternal life and asked Jesus what he must do. The Lord told him to keep the commandments. Since he had already observed them, he asked what he still lacked. Then Jesus told him that if he wished to be perfect, he should go sell what he had, give to the poor, and go follow him. St. Francis of Assisi did it ~ should we do the same if we wish to be perfect? For practical reasons, we may not be able to do it, but the bottom line (what Jesus really wants from us) is that we do not get attached to anything we possess so that we may be free to follow him.
Today is the Memorial of St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church. The Communion Song (John 15.9) reads: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you; remain in my love, says the Lord." "Remain in my love" ~ how tender and beautiful! Jesus has already shown us how great his love is. To remain in his love is to be in paradise, with our happiness now and forever ensured!
I look at Jesus to see how he spread the good news to others. He did it with great compassion, teaching and healing people along the way. He never did anything to promote himself, to show how good he was. He never forced others in any way to believe in him ~ he simply preached the gospel and let them decide whether to follow him or not. We must look to his example as we evangelize the world for his sake.
A friend of mine used to say that he was happy any day he woke up, checked the newspaper obituary column and didn't find his name listed there. Of course, he was not being serious. This morning I woke up and felt happy because I knew that God still loved me, and I am being serious. Knowing that God's love is always there for me is a great consolation and joy. Each of us must ultimately deal with it ~ to accept or reject this love.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Besides love, infinity is other word by which to remember God. It would take infinite creative power to create just a single blade of grass. But I am thinking about his mercy. I can be the most wretched sinner of all and if I just turn to him, repent, and seek salvation, then I instantly become his son. This is only possible if his mercy is infinite. It is fitting for us to show our appreciation by taking advantage of this mercy.
Our pastor today gave a beautiful homily on Jesus as the bread of life. The Mass became a celebration for life. Receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord is entering him, his world, to be transformed into a new creature beautiful for him to behold. There is no greater joy in this life than letting God give us whatever he wants to give us! Jesus is joy ~ how can he not make us joyful? All in all, a beautiful day today!
In today's Gospel reading at Mass, John 6:51-58, Jesus made it absolutely clear in his discourse to the crowds that he is the living bread that came down from heaven and whoever eats this bread will live forever; and this bread is his flesh for the life of the world. The Jews who heard Jesus quarreled among themselves and questioned, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" It's obvious that they never doubted that Jesus was not speaking symbolically. Normally, when Jesus told a parable and if there was anything unclear to the listeners, he would explain its hidden meaning. Here, he's not using a parable and there's nothing to explain ~ he simply responded by repeating what he had said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life... For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood..." Even his disciples found the saying hard and difficult to accept; some of them left him. Now, did it strike you for a moment that Jesus didn't literally mean what he said?
The belief that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist had been held by all since the beginning of the Church. Those today who think that the Lord only offered the bread and wine as symbols are misinterpreting his words to fit their own erroneous belief. In doing so, they miss receiving the most holy of all the sacraments, making it impossible to achieve the most intimate union with him in this life. The Holy Eucharist, Christ himself, is the center of worship in the Catholic Church. Nothing, not even the Bible, can replace that.
Because God loves us (or if we love him), it is our duty to keep our soul safe. This means that we must avoid all external influences that can cause us to sin and remove all internal urges to sin. The best and only solution is total immersion in God, a.k.a. union with God.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
When a man and a woman are joined by God to become one and even though they might not get along all the time, they want to preserve this union at all costs, there is definitely something beautiful about it. By contrast, breakups such as divorce, the dissolution of a friendship, leaving the Church, abortion...all have something ugly about it. Remaining in union of God then has to be the most beautiful relationship of all.
At this morning's Mass, from Matthew 19 we heard Jesus say that "the kingdom of heaven belongs to the children." Earlier Jesus had already said that "unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." I believe that when we were children, we had all experienced the warmth, comfort, and security when we were held by or just leaned against someone such as our mother or anyone who took good care of us ~ it's a great feeling to know that you are in the close company of someone who loves you. Now that we are adults, let's be like little children again ~ only now we seek comfort and protection in the heavenly Father. This way we enter the kingdom of heaven, enjoying the warmth, comfort, and security in God.
Friday, August 17, 2012
If you think that union with God is not for you because only saints can achieve such union, then you are mistaken. You seek and achieve union with God first, then you become a saint ~ not the other way around ~ a saint is already in union with God.
We are supposed to be God's instruments, speaking for him and doing deeds for him; but sometimes we forget and start doing his will as our own will ~ this is where we can lose our inner balance. I must remember that I am to follow God, not charging ahead of him. Whoever said "patience is a sign of holiness" is correct.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
As I knelt and prayed in church this morning, I realized that this would be a terrible position for a hypocrite to be in ~ imagine approaching God when you are insincere, dishonest, unforgiving, resentful.... Then I saw that a contrite heart was all that's required to change everything.
This morning's Gospel reading at Mass was take from Matthew 18. Jesus wants us to forgive all our brothers and sisters from the heart if we want the heavenly Father to forgive us. This seems totally fair, but in practice, it can be very difficult for us as we all know. Ideally, to resolve the problem it would be best for us is to meet or contact the other party involved and show our desire for reconciliation, but this may not be possible for various reasons. The least we could do is to forgive from the heart so that when such an opportunity arises, we'll be ready. Of course, praying for the ones we have trouble forgiving is the very first move we should make.
I am thinking that it's through God's love that we are able to love others, then why can't we immerse ourselves in his ocean of mercy and "borrow" some of that mercy and use it to forgives others? Basically, we "make" God do everything through us.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
On this Feast day of the Blessed Mother, I would like to make some of our Catholic beliefs about her clear, especially to our Protestant brothers and sisters.
(1) I don't think I need to say this, but there are still many who do not know the truth yet. The truth is that we do not worship Mary, as she declared herself in her song to God (see my last post) that she was simply a lowly servant of God.
(2) We love her as we love all the saints and angels. We love her precisely because we love God. She never causes us to love Jesus less; in fact, she inspires us to love him even more! Many Catholics and converts have found Jesus through Mary. This humble mother Jesus gave us from the cross never wants to draw attention to herself, remaining hidden in her Son always. She is a great model for us to follow and imitate. She is such a beautiful saint that even if she's not related to the Lord, you would want to know her. She is magnificent! (Read about the woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 11, today's first reading at Mass.)
Today's is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Gospel reading from Luke 1 contains the Magnificat, the beautiful hymn of Mary (verses 46-55). In praising God, Mary regarded herself as his lowly servant. Our love for God should also spring from humility. Love that's not humble is not pure. Look at Jesus ~ he remained meek and humble throughout his life on earth, showing his greatest love for us. If God can be so humble, it would be unthinkable for us not to be.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Today is the Memorial of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr, who died in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. After receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist at morning Mass, I felt that Jesus is totally worth dying for ~ through this death, I gain the whole God!
The goal of this blog is to draw all to union with God through the Holy Eucharist. This seems to be the right time to give a little summary of what it's all about, especially for new readers of the blog.
In principle, we should seek union with God, as Jesus calls us to be perfect. When we are in union with him, we become Christlike and will want to do his will at all times. This then fulfills the command of Jesus that we must love God as much as we can.
In practice, we also gain great benefits. Without union but with the good intention to become holy, we struggle with sin pretty much on our own and can find making progress hard and slow. Of course, God wants to help, but we are in our own way and in his, for we have not yet totally surrendered to God to give him a free hand. Once we go past the point of self-surrender, God then can draw us to full union with him and our struggle with sin will be no more. And freedom and peace of the heart will be awaiting us.
The Holy Eucharist plays the role of the facilitator. When we receive this Most Holy Sacrament, we become in union with the Lord physically. In this most intimate moment we ask him to draw us to complete union with him and he will not refuse us.
Serving God is answering God's call. It means that God has chosen you out of love. It is both an honor and a privilege. Serving God gives life meaning, goal, and hope on earth and at the same time generates joy in heaven. It is the path to God, our home. Those who give lifelong service to God will live forever.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Anytime we lose inner peace, it is the right time to go before God to do some soul-searching. Total honesty is necessary and we must leave no part of our innermost part unexposed. Then whatever the Lord reveals, we must obey at all costs, even at the expense of all our pride. This "relentless" search for the truth in our heart will bring us close to God, with us receiving great comfort and peace afterwards.
Soon after Mass begins, we confess to God and all brothers and sisters present: "I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do..." ~ we see that sin is committed at the thought, word, and deed levels. (I met once someone who believed erroneously that thoughts are not sinful as long as you do not follow through with bad deeds.) Thoughts and speech are perhaps more difficult to control than deeds. If someone criticizes you, evenly mildly and for good reason, resentment can easily arise like a conditioned response. When a group of people gossip about others, it's easy to join in. Both reactions show the presence of ego, the cause of so many sins. (As I said before, to progress spiritually, the ego's gotta go.)
Sunday, August 12, 2012
As I received the Body and Blood of the Lord at Mass, I felt that I was given the passport to or the password for entering heaven...more than that, I was being directly connected to heaven...no, more that that, I was already in heaven since and Jesus and I were one now. I just didn't want to sin anymore ~ I simply lost all interest in sinning.
In today's Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus pointed out one of the prophecies he was fulfilling. Of course, he fulfilled all the numerous prophecies in the end ~ this shows that what he said would all the more be fulfilled. And here he said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day" ~ you can count on that. Then "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever" ~ you can count on that too.
In today's Reading 2 from Ephesians 4, Paul asked his brothers and sisters to forgive one another as God had forgiven them in Christ. To forgive is not always easy; but if we don't forgive others, we really don't have any good reason to ask God to forgive us who might have committed even worse sins. To not forgive is to not want to be like Christ, amounting to rejecting him. It is basically also being judgmental and you'll never have peace that way. Once you forgive (let go), you will feel the unburdening and experience new freedom and know that you had done the right thing. Think of forgiving others as the freeing of yourself.
We get affected very much by our immediate surroundings. When we are in the mountains, in the forests, or on the lake, the beauty of nature relaxes and inspires us. When we watch an entertaining show, the story or display can move or dazzle us. Therefore, let us surround ourselves with the glorious Holy Trinity and all the angels and saints and be relaxed, inspired, moved and dazzled by them.
When we want to soar to God, we find that we can only do it in spirit, as our body is earthbound. It is like a chick who wants to fly but its wings are not quite ready yet. So, this would be a good time for us to prepare ourselves for soaring to God without delay the instant we shed our body. (By the way, I know that I am I, never I am my body. This to me is clear that I have a soul, besides my body.)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Without God, our own love can easily become self-centered. Only by letting God love us first and experiencing his pure love at first hand can we then transmit this love to others. Love is not LOVE unless it is perfect, and God is the source of perfect love.
I definitely don't want to sound mushy, but I must use the word "sweet" to describe the many things about the Lord. I feel this way about his teaching ~ every single word that comes out of his mouth is sweet to the ear. His mercy is absolutely most sweet to the soul. Then there is the unspeakable, sweet joy the Holy Spirit gives as he wishes. I must also include the sweet healing of the soul we receive from the Lord.
Friday, August 10, 2012
We reap what we sow ~ this is like a law of nature. In today's Gospel reading from John 12 at Mass (Feast of St. Lawrence), Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Here, the falling to the ground and dying is the sowing and the production of fruit, the reaping. The Lord is the master sower ~ he sows good seed in our hearts and reaps good fruit from us. Let every thought, word, and deed of ours sow something good so that he may harvest rich fruit from us. Laboring for God is always rewarded manyfold in both this life and the next.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Being humble is entirely different from feeling inferior. Being humble is a response to God's calling, while feeling inferior stems from not knowing God's love. Humility is a strength and any inferior feeling, a weakness. A humble person is "proud of" his humility, but anyone who feels inferior is afraid of being humiliated. In both states, the common feeling is inadequacy, yet in one case the spirit is lifted up high and in the other, insecurity and nervousness reign. The deciding factor here is played by the presence of the love of God in one's life.
Today's Communion verse, Wisdom 16.20, reads: "You have given us, O Lord, bread from heaven, endowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste." When I think of the Holy Eucharist, the first words that come to my mind are also "delight' and "sweetness."
Here's a lesson I just learned. Someone out of kindness advised me strongly to do something which was to me obviously unnecessary, so I felt annoyed ~ it's clearly a case of two people assessing the situation differently. Then I realized that the Christian way is to listen calmly, explain why I saw things differently, and thank the person for being caring, which I forgot. I know that God looks at our intention (from the heart) first and the act that follows second ~ this is what we should do too.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Today is the Memorial of St. Dominic. The Gospel came from Matthew 15 ~ Jesus at first tested a Canaanite woman by not paying attention to her begging for pity on her, for her daughter was tormented by a demon. Then her great faith and persistence finally won him over. How good it was for her to hear the Lord say, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." That last line is pure music to the ears. How good it is to know that faith can move the heart of God!
It happens often and we would pray for something and God doesn't seem to pay any attention, then we get discouraged and stop praying for other things ~ this is a big mistake! God can answer (1) right away, (2) later, (3) in an unexpected way, or (4) with a no because what we ask goes against his will. Since he always hears us and we do not know how he is going to answer us, we should never stop praying.
Jesus and the Father are easy to grasp because Jesus was born into our world and he told his disciples that whoever had seen him had seen the Father. As to the Holy Spirit, I had difficulty in relating to him in the early days of my spiritual journey. Finally, as I experienced him, I felt comfortable and fell in love with him. He is easier to feel than to describe ~ all I can say is that he conditions my heart and forms my conscience, and is the source of my spiritual joy. When you are in union with him, you know you are in union with God, the Holy Trinity.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
I had to be home early, so I went to an earlier morning Mass at the seminary. Again, I happened to be the only attendant; received an extra portion of the Eucharist and was elated. God touched and rescued our soul, preparing it further for entering heaven. What an excellent way to start the day!
Monday, August 6, 2012
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. During the supernatural change, Jesus' face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light ~ a glimpse of his divinity. To me, this is as glorious as his Resurrection. After receiving Communion, I prayed that his resplendent radiance would thoroughly cover and penetrate my heart and soul to forever change me.
(1) The cheapest coffin is good enough for the body. Wasting money on anyone, dead or alive, is wasting money.
(2) Eulogy is inappropriate; only God deserves praise.
(3) The service should be a celebration for the beginning of a new life in paradise with the Holy Trinity, the fulfillment of my most ardent wish. Any tears shed should be tears of joy.
(4) Only prayer can help the deceased, so elaborate or fancy services satisfy only the living, not the deceased.
(5) A simple tombstone should say something that glorifies God.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Today I attended the 10:30 Sunday morning Mass. This Mass usually draws many families, but today I saw even more children wandering away from their parents and making noises. When I saw these beautiful young creatures, the horrible thought of abortion came to my mind ~ millions of other equally beautiful God-given lives had been snuffed out before they even had a chance to be born, in this country alone ~ it's the horror of horrors! How do we expect God to forgive us if we do not repent and turn around? How kind of future will this country have? I agree with Mother Teresa who said that the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. Do your part to end this crime against God and humanity.
In serving God, we do good not only to others, but also to ourselves because God shapes and teaches us in the process. I always learn something when the Lord shows me how I could have done the job better, and that means I should be a better person in some way. When God makes you a better person, you become a happier person too.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
This morning I attended the funeral service of the decease friend I mentioned a few posts back. He was a good man, volunteering for a lot of good causes, so the turnout at the service was quite impressive. Since he was not a religious person, God was never mentioned. And on top of that, the large room in which the service was held was rather dimly lit. As a result, I couldn't help feeling some gloom. In no way I was judging him, for God is perfectly fair and just and I had prayed for his soul to rest in peace; nevertheless, I couldn't help feeling that I was living totally in light, seeing my life and soul in great clarity. This is the difference knowing Jesus has made.
People who exercise with weights are advised to put 100% of their effort in lifting the weight and not waste any energy on exhibiting any strains in their face. Piano players are also advised against exaggerating their playing gestures. There is a point here which I can apply to praying. If there is something that weighs heavily upon our heart, the intense emotion we feel while we pray to God is best channeled 100% into putting our trust in God, thereby relieving the burden on us. It is, instead of trying hard to want to lighten the load by ourselves, concentrating upon letting God do it for us.
In Matthew 10, we learn that Jesus said to the twelve disciples before sending them out, "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." Fair enough. I should think that being too embarrassed to let others know that we have faith in him is basically denying him. Timidity is a sign that we have not given the Holy Spirit free rein yet. A timid Christian is an unfit one, for he cannot bear much fruit. Since the Lord always spoke the truth, we must take his words seriously. Not paying attention to the above-quoted sayings can bring about dire consequences.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Being human, sinful thoughts do pop up in our minds. If we discard them right away, no sin is committed. But if you feel the temptation to dwell upon them, know that this is when Satan has found you and you must turn to the Lord instantly to avoid being drawn into sin. If you are in union with the Lord, you are secure in him and these occurrences are merely little annoyances you can easily disregard.
Gospel reading at today's Mass came from Matthew 13. Jesus did not work any mighty miracles in his own native place because of the lack of faith of the people there. That is why the people who have no or little faith find their lives quite ordinary, while those who strongly believe in God experience great wonders and are always amazed at how the Lord works in their lives.
If you truly love the Lord, then ask him to make you perfect. You do it for his sake and not at all for your own. We owe everything to God, so let's not shortchange him. Not asking for this favor is not believing that he can make you perfect. Look at all the saints he has made and you know that he can make you one too. It's the perfect way to show your faith in him and love for him.
Presidential candidates and all other politicians running for offices make mistakes and commit bad judgments just like everybody else. Rather than dwelling on these faults, we must do our best to focus upon their intentions. If what they intend to do goes against your principles and beliefs, then don't vote for them. Like God, look at their hearts first and not so much at what they've done.
If one does not know God, then the future to him would be just the later years of his life. To plan for his future is merely to plan for better living as he ages. To him, this is very much long-range planning. Now, for someone who seriously believes in God, the future is the next life for which he plans now. He knows that his present life is extremely short and planning for it alone is planning for something that will soon vanish. It just shows that when you know God, he gives you vision and wisdom to keep you on the right path.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
A deacon friend just sent me Pope Benedict's reflection on the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the Carmel Reform movement. I would like to quote some sayings by the Holy Father and some by the Saint the Holy Father quoted. They are beautiful and inspiring (any emphasis is added by me.)
Pope Benedict: "Holy people are those who humbly let Christ penetrate their soul and act through them, who truly allow him to play the lead in all their actions and aspirations, inspiring every project and sustaining every silence."
St. Teresa: "A life of prayer consists in being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with him who, we know, loves us."
St. Teresa: "The friends of God should be strong, in order that they may support the weak."
Pope Benedict: "Following in the footsteps of Teresa of Jesus allow me to say to all who have their future before them: may you too, aspire to belong totally to Jesus. Do not be afraid to say to Our Lord, as she did, 'I am yours; I was born for you, what do you want to do with me?'"
There is nothing I can add.
Life as a whole is a big opportunity for us to practice trust in God. We are often unsure about what we are supposed to do, but these are the perfect moments to remain patient and wait for the Lord to speak to or lead us. We don't question, just follow. Later, when we look back, everything will be clear to us. What we are sure of is that following God faithfully is heading toward heaven.
I recognize again that ego is one of most difficult things for us to annihilate because it grows easily and can be deeply grounded in us already. Nevertheless, it has to go if we truly love God and want to become humble. Its removal would be a huge battle for us to fight alone; but with God's help, it can become relative easy. The amount of ego we have is inversely proportional to how much we submit ourselves to God.
Yesterday I saw a short 1948 British classic film clip on Classic Arts Showcase on TV. It reminded me of the old Alfred Hitchcock and many other movies. It's quite obvious that everything was staged for maximum dramatic effect. I thought of other shows in the entertainment business and the many artworks created by man ~ they all seem so contrived and artificial. The crop of contemporary classical music compositions is to me also more craft than art, cleverly written but sounding mechanical and sometimes repetitive after you listen to the musical greats, such as Beethoven and Brahms. I am not downgrading these man's creations because they are achievements, interesting and pleasing many ~ I am only stating what I feel. Then I turn to our God, who is totally natural, genuine, and pure ~ how refreshing, invigorating, and inspiring for a change.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
During the Eucharist Prayer at Mass, when the priest was repeating Jesus' words: "Take this, all of you, and eat of it: for this is my body which will be given up for you." I underlined "my" because when I heard it, it was so personal that I stopped right in my track and felt that such love and sacrifice absolutely deserved my complete surrender to him. Soon later, the priest repeated again Jesus' words: "Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me." These words were so endearing that my joy overflowed.
The Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 13. Jesus likened the Kingdom of heaven to a treasure or a pearl of great price. Once a person finds it, he is so joyful that he goes and sells all that he has and buys it! Do we feel it that way? Do you know that to God we are his treasures and precious pearls? God and we are really made to love each other! If this feeling is still not mutual, then we ought to work hard to redress any imbalance.
Today is the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori. The Gospel Acclamation John 15.15b reads: "I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me." What an astounding statement! We are definitely in! Through Jesus, we know what the Father is like! This knowledge should keep us happy and deeply satisfied!
Isaiah 55.8, 9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Then what we should do to learn God's thoughts and ways. Seek union with him and you will begin to know his thoughts and see his ways. This should be a journey full of exciting discoveries.
One who knows and has experienced the love of God cannot possibly be a pessimist. And he is not an optimist either because an optimist only expects a favorable outcome and is never certain about the future. So what is he? He is a realist, for he knows exactly what he is doing, where he is heading, and is certain about his future (with God).
The late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and the US Olympic swimmer Mark Phelps have been in the news. The statue of Paterno was removed from outside the football stadium for his involvement in the cover-up of sexual assaults by his one-time assistant Jerry Sandusky, while Phelps has just won his 19th gold medal at the London Olympics and people are already asking if he is the greatest all-time Olympic athlete ever. One was dishonored and the other honored. How important are honors and dishonors? They may be important to the living, but not necessarily to God. I am sure that some of those we honored as great human beings in the past might not have made heaven, while among those who were persecuted, calumniated, or stripped of honor are saints now with the Lord. In any case, let neither honor or dishonor you receive in this world affect you the slightest.
When people of the world are unhappy, they compensate by seeking happiness somewhere, hoping to get cheered up and forget their troubles. Going to drink at a bar or seeing a movie are just two examples. The problem is that what they seek are still things of the world, which provide only temporary escapes and have no healing effect. By contrast, the one who believes in the loving God turns to him when his heart is troubled. God alone can heal the soul and restore inner peace. It's a case of "To the one who has, more will be given" (Matthew 13, 25; Mark 4).