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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Inspired by the Dominican Sisters

         I thought I had done posting this month, today being September 30. Than I saw the film Beloved ~ The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia on EWTN TV featuring the sisters in Nashville, Tennessee. They showed so much joy in Christ that I had to cry a little bit. So now I have a few more thoughts to share, inspired by what I saw and heard in the film. 
        (1) Whatever we do, do it for God and doing becomes a joy. 
      (2) Life is short ~ there are just so many years, so much good health and energy and we are old and then die. So how are we going to spend our life?
        (3) One sister said, "Only truth can satisfy you" ~ absolutely true!
       (4) One of the greatest joys is to bring others to Christ. Bringing them to other good things of the world is just not the same, unless it's so directed by God.
      (5) There are millions of attractions in our world and the Most Beautiful One is Christ, so pick him out and let him alone draw you. Then he will make both you and your life beautiful!

Why Go to Mass?

      Jesus died for us out of love so that we may be free. We are deeply touched and moved by this great act of mercy. Then we rejoice in our freedom. Going to Mass is to celebrate that freedom!

Jesus, a Sinner's Paradise

        Before I received Holy Communion this morning, I knew that if I were to see all the glory in that elevated host, I would be blinded. I then felt the acute need for Christ, for I was such a great sinner before him.
       After I received Holy Communion, I sensed the breadth, height, and depth of the Lord, as immense as the universe. In this tremendous space, I have complete freedom!

Sinner's Routes

        The Gospel reading came from Mark 9. Read verses 42-48 and you'll see how horrible sin is to God. Jesus also made it clear that with sin we cannot enter the kingdom of God and that there is punishment for sinners.
        There are only two routes for us to take: (1) Repent, be forgiven, and enter the kingdom of God. (2) Remain unrepentant and receive due punishment. (One of these is unthinkable.)

The Foolish Rich

        Reading 2 at today's Sunday Mass was taken from James 5. In this epistle, James warned the unjust rich. The last sentence of verse 3 had a chilling effect on me when I heard it read: "You have stored up treasure for the last days." Storing up treasure sounds like a good idea, but if "the last days" are the last days of this life, then all efforts were just plain wasted. A very sad story, indeed. 

Sweetest Spot in Existence

        The core (or heart) of Christ is the sweetest spot in the whole universe and beyond. The deeper you enter it, the sweeter the taste you experience.

Desire for Change

        If you ask most people who already have some faith in God if they should become holier and love God more, I believe that they would answer yes and yes. Yet it's so difficult for them to spring into action to make the necessary changes in their lives. I believe that when we are comfortable, we tend to remain stagnant without any strong incentives to get us moving. It all comes down to how strong our faith is and how much we really know God. Do not forget that being lukewarm is nauseating to Christ (Revelation 3.16).

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Time Stood Still

        Today is the Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, archangels. After I received Holy Communion this morning, I knew that I was with the eternal God and time stood still in those few moments. 

Drawing Powers

        The drawing powers of the world attract us because they can give us pleasures or fulfill our desires. Why do we attend a pop concert, a ball game, a political rally...?  Note that these powers can hold us as slaves.
        The drawing power of God is attractive because God is sincere, genuine, unselfish, and pure love. He draws us to set us free!   

To Surrender to God Is...

to obey Love.

God the Life-Changer

        I have another name for our God ~ he is the life-changer. In fact, this is the purpose of his coming into the world, to change our wretched ways of life so that we may be saved. With our cooperation, he can turn our lives completely around ~ all the saints are living proofs. And his work is always lovingly performed with us reaping joy and satisfaction at the end. 

Keeping God's Love Pure

        When we show God's love for others, we must not contaminate this love with any of our impure intentions. This means being detached from those we love. This is not a contradiction ~ it just ensures that the love we feel and show is kept pure.  

Our Highest "Achievement"

        This has to be that we reach union with God. I placed quotes around the word "achievement" in the title because it's God's doing, not really our achievement. Union with the Lord is embracing all of him willingly! God became man in Jesus, now by his power we become like him. This is the achievement!        

Friday, September 28, 2012

Best World to Live In

        At Communion time, I felt that only Jesus could satisfy my soul and I do have him! In fact, I was ready to let his engulfing love annihilate me. After Communion, the noises (people talking, walking...) around the church didn't bother me, for I just wanted to be with the Lord alone. People live in different worlds ~ the worlds of politics, sports, entertainment, music, arts, etc.). How I wish that we all live in the world of Christ, the most enjoyable of all the worlds!

Best Way to Get Results

        There are tons of advices out there to help you become a better person. What should you do? My recommendation is to ignore them all and proceed to seek union with Christ. Let him alone advise you and make your journey easy and joyful. To get results, follow the best guide.

Jesus Our Supreme Guide

        Today's Gospel Acclamation (Mark 10.45): "The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Jesus is the supreme example! Without him, there is no reliable guide to follow. Among all the spiritual teachers and gurus, none can possibly compare with him. His great(est) love no one can possibly match. His authoritative teaching is simple, courageous, and challenging. He lived up to what he taught by example. And by the way, most of all he is God! 

God Is for Ever

        Today's Entrance Song at Mass: "I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord. Should they cry to me in any distress, I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever." What I love about our Lord is the "for ever" part ~ he lives and loves us for ever, his mercy endures for ever, he is with and waits for us for ever, and he forgives us, if we repent, for ever. This is the God we must spend our eternal life with for ever. 

Enjoying Now or Later

        I've been watching people I more or less know. Some are very much occupied with building a material empire of their own, you might say, and others want to take in as many worldly pleasures (yes, they are clean) as possible ~ we all need recreation, but it's easy to go overboard. How much beneficial it will be to our souls if we all devote just, say 10% of our waking hours to prayer and doing charitable work for God. This probably would reduce at least 10% of the time we'll be spending in purgatory. Anyhow, it's either "enjoy now and worry later" or "'worry' now and enjoy later." I prefer the latter simply because whatever we enjoy later will be a lot more enjoyable than anything we enjoy now.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grow the Easy Way

        Here is promoting the same message in a slightly different way. We are like helpless infants before God. We try to be good, to be more loving, to feel happy...on my own, but it is always a struggle with slow or no progress. The secret of success is let God do it for us. Then we must let him in first and put our trust in him and it will work like a miracle (I almost used the word "magic"). This is something God loves to do and it's right up his alley too. 

Vanity Is Illusory

        Today is the Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul. Reading 1 at Mass came from Ecclesiastes 1, which starts off with the familiar verse "Vanity of vanities! All things are vanities!" This got me thinking about our ego. If we are so concerned about ourselves that we want people to notice, praise, admire, or look up to us, does that actually make us a better person? Is humility not a virtue anymore? The good feeling we yearn to get, if you can call it good, is basically illusory, not true happiness, as deep down we all know. Only how we appear to God, definitely not vanity, matters. 

Sins Are Obvious

        St. Teresa also said that sins are not hidden because God is rightly aware of them since they take place squarely in the presence of the Majesty and we act so disrespectfully in front of him! 
        This is absolutely true and a great picture for us to keep in mind.

Where to Seek God

        I just finished reading St. Teresa's Life. For recollected persons, she learned from the Lord to consider him as very deep within the soul rather than thinking of him as outside oneself. She pointed out that St. Augustine also found God when he sought him within himself, so it is not necessary to go to heaven or further than our own selves. I already mentioned in past postings that when we are in union with the Lord, we become one with him and just know that he dwells within us. God cannot be any closer. 

Comparing Ourselves to God

        Being all sinners before God, we are not qualified to judge each other and there is no profit in comparing ourselves with others. The only one we should look up to is the Lord, who alone is perfect, sees our sins, knows what we lack spiritually, and can make us holy. Compare ourselves to him for great profit.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Desire for Union

        The Communion Song at today's Mass, Romans 8.38-39: "Neither death nor life nor any created thing will be able to separate us from the love of Christ." Believing that this is true, I received the Lord in Holy Communion, acknowledging and accepting his love and expressing my desire for union with him. I pictured two panes of wet glass stuck together, united as one and inseparable.

Receiving More than We Think

        St. Teresa also told that when she approached to receive Communion, the Lord let her behold the extraordinary majesty present in the Blessed Sacrament and her hair stood on end, the whole experience seeming to annihilate her. She marveled at God's wonderful wisdom to conceal such great majesty in something so small as the host. If he did not hide such grandeur, no one would have the courage and strength to approach this union. So let's realize that when we receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, we receive all of him, a lot, lot more than we think! 

Heaven Is Worth Awaiting

        St. Teresa in her Life described that the glory, delight, and consolation God gave her in a vision or rapture was go great that it seemed impossible that there could be anything more to desire here below. Imagine how we would feel in heaven! I have no doubt that anyone who can feel what heaven is like for just 5 seconds or less would want to be with God forever. So let's keep up the faith. Believe in Christ and you won't be disappointed ~ this is putting it very mildly.              

Clear-Cut Choices

       (1) Do you believe that Jesus actually lived in this world once or that he is just a fictitious character?
        (2) If he actually did live among us in the past, then do you believe that he is divine, the Son of God, our Savior as he claimed he was or that he was totally crazy or false, lying or trying to trick people (in other words, the Gospel stories were mostly likely all made up)?
       (3) If he is indeed our Savior, then do you think that we should totally, partially, or not at all believe in him?  
        It's clear that with God, it must be all or nothing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jesus Forever Beautiful

        I did not make Mass yesterday, so today I was most happy going back to receive the Lord. I felt that Christ was truly my refuge. After Communion, I was overwhelmed by his beauty and wanted to give him my heart once more. 

Banishing Anxiety

        Anxiety is always caused by our own will. Once we follow God's will in all things, anxiety vanishes. It is that simple.

Take God Seriously, Please

        Yesterday, I experienced some dizziness while driving; I pulled my car to the roadside, parked, and waited until I recovered. In just those few moments, I saw how life can easily slip away from us. This was a good experience for me ~ it's the kind of wake-up call we all need. Various saints and mystics have been shown hell by God and they are never the same again after that. On this blog, you can check out the account by Fr. Steven Scheier in the video A Judgment Experience. People are dying right and left everyday. For Catholics, please go to confession regularly and often. The first order of business is to take care of your soul. Take God's love and justice seriously!

Common Downfalls

        (1) Our health fails. (2) Our mind fails and we become forgetful, demential, or even insane. (3) Last, the most detrimental of all ~ we sin and stain our soul.
        The precariousness of life calls for the saving power of God.   

Jesus Our Greatest Consolation

        We are always happy when we meet someone who shares the same interests or holds the same views as ours. With the right people, communication is a joy. On the other hand, two people who have suffered the same illness or gone through similar painful experiences find consolation when they find out that they are not alone. Kindred spirits, soul mates, whatever you want to call it, bond easily with each other. Well, Jesus can be all that to us! When we love him, he becomes our best friend and most intimate, constant companion. Our wills coincide and we see eye to eye on all things. In union with us, he becomes our greatest consolation and joy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Holding Up & Basking in God's Light

         In today's Gospel reading from Luke 6 for Mass, Jesus said to the crowd, "No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or set it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light." The whole purpose of the light is for all to be able to see. Jesus is our bright light and our role is to show him so that all may see him through us. Therefore, let every move be as the Lord wants us to make.
      Jesus continued, "For there is nothing that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light." This is true because he knows everything about us already. Face this truth and lay ourselves completely open before him so that he may enter to transform us into the most desirable creature to him.  

Muddy Thinking Is Dangerous

        The German Catholic Church is in the news. Catholics make up about  30% of the population, but the number of congregants leaving the church rose to over 180,000 in 2010, with the increase blamed on revelations of sexual abuse by German priests. The question Jesus asked the Twelve after all his other disciples were shocked by his bread of life discourse and left him comes to my mind: "Do you also want to leave?" (John 6.67). To leave the Church because of the imperfections of her members is muddy thinking ~ mixing the perfect Lord up with all the sinners. If imperfection is that important to one, then shouldn't he look at his own imperfections first? For one who has true faith in Jesus, that faith will not be shaken the slightest bit, in fact, will even increase, even if every other Catholic in the world, including the Pope, becomes evil! The Church is the Body of Christ. Leaving her is cutting your own lifeline to Christ! Seek union with Christ so that you may always have clear thinking.

True Humility

        Yesterday I saw that if one has true humility, then he must be willing to accept any suffering the Lord sends his way. Jesus' Passion makes this clear, a point I really never looked at this way before. In any case, to be truly humble is willingly accepting anything the Lord sends you. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Freedom of Speech

        Recently, an anti-Muslim film came out, causing worldwide protests and the loss of many lives. Is freedom of speech a good thing? It must not mean that you can say anything you want. For the average person, this freedom must be guided by good common sense. For disciples of Jesus, freedom of speech is a nonissue, for they follow the Holy Spirit in what they say; that is, they let love dictate what they say. (Read James 3 to learn how to tame our tongue.)  

Certainty About Jesus

         Early his morning the sky looked striking. It was filled with soft, fluffy, white clouds in hues of grey and pink, produced by the rays of the early sun. The sky was more cyan than blue. Anyhow, each color complemented the others perfectly ~ I knew that I was seeing a beautiful sight. If someone told me that what I saw was really ugly or that the scene was in black and white only or that it was really an illusion, I would instantly knew that he was wrong. 
        Then I thought of Jesus. I know that he is divine, he loves us, he is truly beautiful, and he is our Lord and God; but there are plenty people who do not believe in God or cast doubts upon him and discredit or even ridicule Jesus. We hear about the prehistoric man, our evolution from the monkeys, whether Jesus ever existed, the de Vinci code story, and just in the news the discovery announced by Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, that Jesus might be married, based upon what's written on a tiny scrap of papyrus she had (King is the author of The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, What is Gnosticism?, The Secret Revelation of John and other books on what's considered to be heretical literature). Just as I was certain about the beautiful sky I saw this morning, I am certain about what I believe in about Jesus. Therefore, anything else said about him becomes totally inconsequential.        

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Most Private Moment

        Today's Communion experience. After receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist, I felt that I was having the most private moment of my life. If I were all by myself, that would only be a most lonely moment, not a private one. But being totally with the Lord alone ~ that is private.

Impure Motivation & False Humility

        I've been advocating letting God enter us to take away our struggle in making spiritual progress. Of course, this does not mean that we don't do anything besides opening ourselves up to God. A couple of things I've recently sensed and would like to share: (1) Pure motivation is something we have to work on. It's easy to respond and say to others the way we normally do, but they are times I still detect that my response is motivated by some self-centeredness. (2) False humility is sometimes more difficult to discern. If God has a message for us to share, we should do it for his glory. If we are concerned that we might draw attention to ourselves, that could be false humility. Basically, we do what the Lord wants us to do and not be concerned about whether people are going to praise or criticize us.   

Thinking About Jesus Alone

        People think about the past, not because they enjoy doing it, but because unhappy events and experiences haunt them, keeping them unhappy. People also think about the future with worry or hope. Since the future is never certain, always an unknown, they feel unsettled. So what should we think about? Jesus, of course, for the Lord is an eternal joy! Dwell on or in him and we'll have interior peace.

Living for God Alone

        People do not know us as God knows us. If we are concerned about what people think of us, we can't help being dishonest or hypocritical at times. Therefore, we should be concerned about what God thinks of us only, he who knows everything about us already. By living for him alone, we remain honest and genuine at all times. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rejoicing in Being Called

        Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9 records how Jesus called Matthew to follow him. Of course, Matthew didn't know what's really in store for him yet, but we now know that when God calls us, it's because he loves us, the Father has chosen us, and he is ready to bestow upon us the greatest honor of our life. It is a time appropriate for great rejoicing ~ jumping up and down and shouting for joy are not out of place.

God Can Make Us Holy

        Continuing reading St. Teresa's Life has convinced me further that when God grants us a favor, it's impossible for us to resist. Without his help, we'd be struggling all our lives trying to be holy; but when God lends a hand, it's done for us! In today's first reading at Mass from Ephesians, Paul urged all to be humble and gentle with patience, to bear with one another through love, and to strive to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. His advice is good, but to be able to follow it is another matter. Of course, there has to be the faith in Christ to start out with. Then help from the Lord is absolutely necessary to guarantee success. Again, seeking union with God will satisfy all requirements.

Yearning for God

        Today is the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle. Before Mass started, I felt that the Lord was asking me, "What do you want of me?" (I felt like asking him the exact, same question?) What I want of God is all of him to satisfy my yearning for him. A little bit of him is just not enough because he is just too beautiful! If you call that greed, then it is a holy greed, a good greed. God is someone you can never get tired of having more and more of. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Serving God Big

        Most of us don't get the opportunity to do anything big for the Lord ~ that's OK. What we can do is to do every little thing perfectly with humility and joy for the love of God, then he would be greatly pleased. This is a sure way of building up our treasure in heaven. In fact, this is a sure way to sainthood for anyone (read about the little way of St. Therese, the Little Flower).  

Peter, the First Pope

        Paul referred to Peter as Cephas (see last post). Cephas is the name given to Peter by Jesus (John 1:42) ~ it is a Syriac name meaning "rock." Later, Jesus said to Peter, "I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." To me, it is clear that Peter was made the head of the Church by Jesus. 

Evidence for Resurrection

        Today's first reading at Mass came from 1 Corinthians 15. Paul told that Jesus, after he was raised, appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, and then to more than five hundred at once, most of whom still living at the time Paul wrote his letter. Next, Jesus appeared to James, then to all the Apostles again. Last, he appeared to Paul. All these appearances point irrefutably to the Resurrection of the Lord. 

God amid the Self-Destructive World

        Yesterday, I saw that judging or not forgiving others is destructive. We not only hurt our own health, but also go against the will of God. Today I see that the whole world is heading for self-destruction. Without knowing the love of Christ, it has gone mad or insane beyond mere foolishness. Scanning the news any day and you'll see how sad the state we are in. One bright item today on BBC News is worth a look because these astronomy photographs show how small we are and how stunning and great God is. They also tell us that our earth cannot last forever. Here is the link ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19637073

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Enjoying the Lord

        Today's Communion experience: I simply let my heart, spirit, and soul enjoy their union with the Lord through the Holy Eucharist.

Letting Jesus Raise Us

         In today's Gospel reading from Luke 7, outside the gate of the city Nain Jesus saw that a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, a widow. The Lord was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep." He then stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.  
       If Jesus can raise the dead like that, then we can also play dead, which means setting our own will aside, and let Jesus raise us to a new life. In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." So, to believe is to be raised, and we shall live.

Our Rightful Position Before God

        This morning before Mass, I knelt before the Lord and begged for his mercy on my soul. I felt so comfortable because I sensed that this was the most natural, rightful position for me as a creature to be in before my creator ~ we were just made that way! The most comfortable zone for us is to be submissive and obedient to God ~ in perfect harmony with his will.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jesus Is the Draw

        People do not want to go to hell after they realize what a horrible place it is. On the other hand, they will want to go to heaven if they realize what a blissful place it is. After receiving Holy Communion this morning, I experienced the beauty and loveliness of Jesus so much that it would be impossible for me to not want to be with him forever. I know that everyone else would feel the same when he or she gets to know him. There is absolutely no point in looking elsewhere.     

A Simple Relationship

        Before Mass started this morning, I realized that I cannot do anything without God. Even though the world is in a horrible mess, all he requires of me is to serve him faithfully, nothing more. So I'll do just that and ask for nothing more from him either. I do my little part and he takes care of the rest, including the world. What I love about God is how he keeps everything simple for us to understand and to perform. This simple relationship with him is based upon our trust, our obedience,  and his love, no more. The Lord is the easiest person to deal with.

Much Ado About Nothing

        I am using the title of Shakespeare's comedy to describe what the people of the world are doing much of the time. I caught a snippet of a TV documentary film on a past famous opera singer. Either her father or someone was remembered to have been painted as a character in a painting by a famous artist. Another person was remembered because his tomb was designed by another famous artist. My question is: what good is it to be remembered this way? Most people, especially those in more affluent societies, waste so much of their time doing things of no benefit to them spiritually whatsoever. Doing these things keeps them even further away from God. It is certainly a tragedy that people are not aware of their own spiritual status, resulting in much ado about nothing or worse. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Union with God Necessary

        Today's Gospel reading came from Mark 8. Jesus began to teach his disciples that he must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed... Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." So, how can we think as God does? The only way is to get to know him fully, and union with him provides the exact answer.
       Later Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." To deny oneself is one of the hardest thing to do, yet it is the way to freedom, to save one's own life. God cannot enter us if we are still in our way. Again, union with God provides the solution.

Letting God Fill Us Fully

        Since we are nothing, it is necessary and perfect for us to give all of ourselves ~ heart, life, and soul ~ to God in order to receive his love, grace, and mercy to the fullest. Then we shall be more like him.

God High Above the World

        Once you have tasted the Lord, all things of the world become downright boring and all the world loves to talk about becomes gibberish. Hence, if you are still having a great time enjoying the world, it is an indication that you have not truly known the Lord yet. All the pleasures of the world pale into nothing compared to the joy of knowing God. May all glory and all honor go to him, for he alone is to be worshiped.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Getting Close to God

        Sometimes we think we are being a pretty good person and feel like giving ourselves a pat on the back, but we must realize that no matter how saintly we become, before God we are full of imperfections and sinfulness ~ we are much worse than what we think, for God's standards are indeed lofty. It just shows that we need God more than we think we need him. Then if we truly are humble and acknowledge our wretchedness before God, he lifts us up close to him as if we are already perfect. This is another beautiful paradox with God.  

Ready for Seeking Union with God?

        Inspired by what I read in St. Teresa's Life, these questions popped into my mind:
        (1) Do you believe that Jesus can change a soul completely?
        (2) Do you believe that Jesus can free a soul from the love of things?
        (3) Do you believe that Jesus can make a soul love him?
       If your answer to all three questions is yes, then you are ready for seeking union with God.

The Peace Formula

        The absence of peace in the world can be traced directly to the absence of peace in the human heart. Our self-importance has replaced God. The solution is clearly to humble ourselves so that we may surrender to God. The reward will be peace in our hearts and peace in the world. This is so obviously true, yet so hard to realize! (Simeon's prophecy at the Presentation of the child Jesus that the Lord would be a sign of contradiction comes to my mind.) 

Totally Yours, Lord

        After receiving Holy Communion this morning, I just knew that the secret of happiness is to be totally God's, then all things minor or major other than him no longer matter. I was ashamed that earlier I got a little emotionally perturbed over some trivial matter.

Being Crowned by the Lord

        Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. At the Presentation of the child Jesus in the temple, Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce Mary's soul. The Gospel Acclamation reads: "Blessed are you, O Virgin; without dying you won the Martyr's Crown beneath the Cross of the Lord." So one can be a martyr without undergoing actual physical death. Anytime we endure suffering for the sake of Christ, we are martyrs and the Lord crowns us ~ what a great honor!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Embracing All of Christ

        Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. My after-Communion thoughts were that I must embrace all of Christ, including his sufferings. But by my nature, I love to just focus upon the love of God and unreservedly place my trust in him ~ this is why St. Therese of Lisieux appeals to me so much, for her approach and ways are simple like that. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All Gifts Are from God

        By the way, today is the Memorial of St. John Chrysostom. After receiving Holy Communion, I wanted to love God even more, but felt utterly powerless to do so. So I had no choice but to ask him to help me because I realized that all gifts come from him.

What God Wants from Us

         Today's Gospel reading from Luke 6 at Mass was all about loving your enemies and not judging others ~ these teachings of Jesus distinguish Christianity from all other religions. What the Lord said was radical and stunning. Some excerpts: "...love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you... To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well... ...for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful... Stop judging... Stop condemning... Forgive..." 
       Here's another way of seeing it. We are to realize that every single person is someone God loves to death! And he teaches us this way because he wants us to be free! He wants us to be like him so that we may live with him for all eternity! If we wish to be good children in the Father's eyes, we might as well be good all the way, and we can do that with the aid of his transforming love. The Lord wants us to know only him, to know love, for he is love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Supernatural Gift

        Every time after I have received the Holy Eucharist, the Lord grants me some particular feelings. This morning I sensed that this Most Blessed Sacrament is indeed supernatural, a miracle, and my soul was being fed by it. The desire I had was to want to be totally his.

Knowing the Holy Spirit

        To experience the Holy Spirit, surrender to him first. Then you'll feel his gentle prompting and presence as he walks with you through all things. I did question his presence in the past and he revealed to me that he is always with us, as Jesus had promised to his disciples before his Ascension. So don't look for him, just surrender to him.

Wonderful God

        When I look at the stars and into the vast space, I am awed and humbled by the Lord God who created the universe and everything that it contains within. Compared to him, I am truly nothing. How extremely foolish or even sinful it would be for me think that I can accomplish anything on my own. Then I look at how the Lord God sent his only Son to die for me to have me saved, I instantly feel that I am the most important object to him in the entire universe. Being loved for being nothing ~ what a wonderful God!   

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interacting with the Lord

        I am a finite creature with very limited intelligence and knowledge, whereas the infinite Lord God has unlimited wisdom and knowing. It is his love that bonds us together. I most enjoy interacting with him because I learn and gain so much from him. It's impossible not to become a better and happier person under his influence. Eventually, he raises you to a new height of existence, your heart free of worldly attachments and filled with internal peace. 

9/11 Reflections

        Today is 9/11, a day we can't forget. It's a tragic day that lead to more tragedies worldwide and still continuing to happen. All I can say is that peoples have not truly known God. I doubt that there were many atheists involved in carrying out the terrorist attacks and our counter strikes ~ both sides invoked God and saw the other side as the enemy or evil, but no one really knew the true God as revealed to us through Jesus Christ correctly. They either believed in God falsely or just followed their own will, overriding the Lord's. It's been like that throughout history. Jesus was right when he said that he had come for division (Luke 12). Just be sure that you have the humility and meekness to truly follow God's will.    

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taking Care of the Soul

        The soul is the most important and the only imperishable part of us. If it does not live on forever, then all the talks about heaven, hell, and God break down and our whole life becomes totally meaningless. Anyway, I believe otherwise. Therefore, I want to place my soul in the best possible care. Therefore, I give my soul entirely over to the loving Lord who created it in the first place. As it turns out, he is the only one who takes care of souls. 

Sin & God's Mercy Warnings

          (1) Sin, if ignored, can destroy the soul.
       (2) God's mercy, though infinite, must be claimed when you are still alive before Christ's Second Coming.   

The Spiritual Journey

        The first step of the spiritual journey is the conversion, letting Jesus into your life. The final step is entering heaven to meet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit plus all the angels and saints. The in-between part of the journey is seeking the beauty of God, celebrating his love, and enjoying union with him. If I may be so considered to be the publicity agent for this journey, then Jesus is your host, the Holy Spirit your guide, and the Father in heaven, both the trip sponsor and your insurance provider. Everyone is welcome to sign up for this once-in-a-lifetime, exciting, life-changing adventure.

Learning to Pray Appropriately

        I pray the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily. Often I said these prayers first thing in the morning as if I wanted to get them over with. Before morning Mass started today, I saw that it was really a form of anxiety and seriously speaking, I wasn't listening to the Holy Spirit. By listening to him, I knew that I should acknowledge the fact that I was coming before the Lord and should prepare my heart for Mass, not trying to finish the Rosary before Mass began. Even after Mass, I should thank the Lord first before presenting any petitions. In sum, I must pray appropriately at all times ~ another good lesson from the Holy Spirit.   

Let the Lord Do It!

        I am continuing reading Life by St. Teresa of Avila. She has made amply clear that it is the Lord who does everything. The gifts she received, union, ecstasy, levitation... all came from God. Even a lesser gift such as tears we cannot possibly induce by ourselves. When we progress spiritually, it is the Lord shaping us, drawing us to him. Here the secret of attaining rapid progress is revealed. Since we cannot do anything on our own, all we need to do is to remain open and passive and when the Lord sees our desires, he will do the work for us and our progress is assured.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ascension for Us

        As I was praying the second Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary, the Ascension of Jesus, this morning, he made me see that I should have my ascension too! Of course, I won't have the bodily ascension as the Lord's, but after I die, my soul will ascent to him by his power. Yes, wherever Jesus is, his sheep will be there too because his sheep always follow the master shepherd. Another exciting day for me! 

God Our Most Intimate Companion

        There are people whom I have lived with or known for all my life or all their lives, but I know that we'll never know each other 100%. With God, it's different. He already knows me thoroughly, for he is all-knowing and my creator! How do I know him? He is much easier to know than any other human creature because he is honest, trustworthy, straight forward, pure, and simple. Jesus has come and shown us what the Father is like! Once you know God, you know him all at the most personal level. 

Focusing upon the Lord Always

        Our focus should always be centered upon the Lord. Even when I sin, rather than feeling bad about myself for having offended him, it is much better to realize that the Lord has been hurt by me. In short, think more about God feeling bad and less about me feeling bad. In short, be God-centered and not self-centered. 

On Using Our Time

        A good question. There is so much to seek, explore, wonder, and enjoy in the infinite beauty and everlasting love of God, then why do we waste so much of our precious lifetime bothering with all the ugly, unedifying, even trifling things of the world?   

Peace God Grants

        I believe that one reason why anyone with little faith in God does not have peace in his heart is because he is affected by everything that happens to him. Whereas one who has been drawn close to God is occupied by thoughts of love for the Father, feels the Son in him like a anchor holding him securely in divine love, and has the Holy Spirit screening all incoming thoughts so that nothing disturbing can get through. A blessed state indeed!

Made to Belong to God

      We are not made by God to own anything he has created in this world, since we ourselves are his creatures. It follows that we are made by God to belong to (be owned by) him.  

Only a Two-Way Relationship

        There are really only three possible players in our lives ~ God, us, and all other humans beings. (As for Satan, as long as we are aware of his existence and know God, he may be safely ignored since he just becomes a distraction, a small annoyance at times. He is dangerous only to those who do not believe that he exists.) We must respond to God alone and ignore all other fellow human beings, no matter what they do to us. What I mean is that we still take action following God's will, but we won't let their wrong doings in any way affect our love for God. If someone offends you, it's no different from a tree branch falling accidentally on top of you car ~ he will have to answer to God on his own in the end. You may picture that we are all linked to God upward individually, with no horizontal links between any two fellow human beings ~ a clean and simple image to remember.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lost Souls Abound

        There are so many lost souls nowadays constituting a huge portion of the population of any big city in both the United States and other Western countries. Let's just say that he is male for convenience' sake and I'll provide a description. He does not know the meaning of life and has no one to guide him. He drifts from one day to the next. If he is working, he is not happy in his job. His family does not support or care much about him. Most likely he has financial as well as marriage or girl friend problems. He has no qualms about trying drugs or engaging in sex with others ~ to him it's no different from going to a bar to have a few drinks. And abortion does not bother him either. He thinks like his friends, not knowing that they are as lost as he is. The whole aim is to get out of or forget his own misery with no concern about morals. In a big cosmopolitan city, if there is any opportunity to have some quiet time appropriate for reflection, he mopes in gloom instead of thinking calmly to figure out how he could change and improve his life. Such souls are not inherently wicked ~ they simply are overcome by secular forces and become helpless. Since there are so many millions of them out there, we need to pray hard that they will discover the love of God one day. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Power of Mass

        Today during Mass, drawn by the love of Christ, I yearned to go deeper into him. The Holy Eucharist inspired great reverence ~ I knew that I touched the Most Holy and would not the same anymore!

Abandonment to Freedom

       In today's first reading from 1 Corinthians 4 at morning Mass, St. Paul said that when the Lord comes, he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God. 
         Anyone who truly trusts in God is not concerned about what is going to happen to him because he has left all in his hands. He is willing to accept whatever God sends his way ~ no questions, no complaints; only total acceptance. He welcomes God to expose all that's hidden in darkness and manifest the motives of his heart, for he knows that whatever he receives will be for the glory of God. When one abandons himself to God, all fears and worries are tossed out as well.

Jesus Is with Us!

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, the scribes and Pharisees noticed that the disciples of Jesus did not fast or offer prayers like those of John the Baptist and theirs, but ate and drank. Jesus responded by saying, "Can you make the wedding quests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the day will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days." 
        Today, I see that the Lord has completed his work of salvation, left us with the great gift of himself, the Holy Eucharist, which can lead us to union with him, and he has sent the Holy Spirit to us, to be with us always; the gospel is still being spread around us. Yes, the bridegroom is with us, more intimately than ever! As his disciple, I too feel upbeat and joyful. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Surrendering to Love

       After receiving Holy Communion this morning, I felt that I was surrendering to the most beautiful love ~ there was nothing more I could ask. 

How the Lord Wins Us Over

         In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, before Jesus taught his disciples to catch men, he showed them how to catch fish. Jesus told Peter to put the boat out into deep water and pay out the nets for a catch. Peter and his companions had worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but they obeyed. They netted an unbelievably huge number of fish and were completely overwhelmed by the catch. Peter fell at the knees of Jesus saying, "Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man." 
       This is how the Lord teaches and draws us ~ he lets us have a personal experience and we are overwhelmed. Then we know that he is Lord and we are won over. As Peter showed, the winning-over itself is a sweet experience. 

Easy to Possess God

        To build up our body, we need to exercise hard. To earn a higher degree, we need to study hard. To make money, we need to work hard. It is general knowledge that nothing is free and all gains must be earned. Then I started thinking about possessing God ~ it's the easiest of all! In fact, you don't even need to work hard ~ all you have to do is to remain open and passive to the Lord for him to enter so that he may fulfill your desire ~ it is absolutely true!    

Sticking with God

        Before I share today's thoughts, I want to say that I've revised my post Ridiculous Faith of September 4. Since I caught Hannity's interview in the middle, I missed the fact that the Democrats did not mention God in this year's party platform, not in their speeches as I thought. I just read that because of all the criticisms, they've hurriedly added God back to the platform. As far as I am concerned, this is still bowing to the people and not to God. They acted like a bunch of kids not knowing what to do without the guidance of their parents.
       Since God is forever constant, present, patient, and loving, let us trust in him always whether we ride on his wings or go through the dark nights, whether the day is beautiful or gloomy, whether we are healthy or sick, for better or for worse, so that we and God will always be with each other through thick and thin.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Short Step Away from Paradise

        Since I have a simple mind, the Lord out of his mercy always simplifies things for me to understand. At Mass this morning, I saw that God had made everything beautiful in our universe and we are the only ones who mess things up because we disobey and rebel against God. To correct this wrong, we only need to turn to him, repent, and start loving him ~ that is it! All that's involved is a change of heart and we are given the free will to make it happen. Imagine...eternal happiness just one short step away! Why are we making it so hard for ourselves?    

Learning from St. Teresa

       I am a little over a third of the way through reading St. Teresa of Avila's Life. Here are some virtues she spoke of and one tip on praying she gave:
      (1) Not speaking evil of anyone, no matter how slight; avoiding all fault-finding (not desiring to say of another person what I would not want him to say of me); no talking behind another's back (ch. 6).
        (2) Pray not with the noise of words but with longing that God hears (ch. 15).      

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ridiculous Faith

        I just happened to turn on the news and saw Hannity on Fox News talking to a Democratic governor (I wasn't 100% sure that he was a governor) at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina. Hannity pointed out that in 2004, God was mentioned seven times in the Democrats' party platform. At the last 2008 convention, God was mentioned just once. This year there is no mention of God in the platform at all. The Democrat responded, without mentioning God, that the party is one of faith. This answer was pretty ridiculous.
        First of all, faith could mean faith in themselves, not God. Secondly, even if the faith was faith in God, it had to be a timid one. Being ashamed of God is to invite God to be ashamed of you (as Jesus had made it amply clear). It seemed to be a case of being more afraid of the people (atheists included) than of God. Thirdly, it also showed the hypocrisy which the Lord could not tolerate ("Woe to you...").  
        Yes, woe to us who treat God this way! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Lord Is Too Much!

        This was how I felt after receiving Holy Communion this morning. Every time Jesus enters me, he removes all my discontent, refreshes me, and gives me enough peace and joy to sustain me for a long time until I see him in paradise. Receiving him daily is being filled to overflowing. What a great joy to let his love overwhelm us!

A Beautiful Way to Live

        Today is the Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the church. The Entrance Song at Mass reads: "Blessed Gregory, raise upon the throne of Peter, sought always the beauty of the Lord and lived in celebration of that love." What a beautiful way to live! This should be the aim of all disciples of the Lord: seeking the beauty of the Lord and living in celebration of that love

Two Big Words from God

        Again, with 1 Corinthian 1:25 in mind, which says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than the human strength," I can say that hearing the Lord say "Well done" is worth more than receiving all the accolades and honors of the entire world.      

God Shapes His Children

        As God's beloved children, we receive the benefit of being shaped by him. This is our training to be made fit to serve him. We become soldiers in his army and our weapon is love. Our goal is to glorify God in every way we can. When he shapes us, our existence changes into the most perfect state.

Knowing God Makes the Difference

        Since I see so many people I know not living a joyful (not even happy) life, I'd like to draw the contrast between those who know God (Jesus) and those who do not. Those who have no faith seem to drift from day to day. They don't think about God (even though I believe that deep down they know that they should). They feel uncomfortable anytime God is mentioned (an indication that they really need him). Life is not fulfilling, at best OK. They worry about and plan for this life, avoiding thinking about life after death (out of fear?). They may seem cheerful on the outside, but they feel empty on the inside. Basically, they live a life of running away from life. Then those who have faith live exactly the opposite.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shocking Lessons from God

        God may teach us by shocking us if we don't pay attention to earlier warnings. I don't know if I have mentioned this incident in the past (after over 2,000 posts, it's no longer easy to remember). I used to be somewhat obsessive about collecting music recordings, vinyl long-playing records and later, compact discs. In the old days, there were no online stores, so the only way was to actually visit the stores to find any interesting releases. I knew in the back of my mind that I was spending too much time doing this, but it's easy to go on anyhow. One day when I was driving home right after spending an excessive amount of time at Tower Records (which had folded six years ago), a bird flew out of a row of trees along the freeway and collided with the car's windshield. The impact was so great that it sounded like an explosion and the whole windshield, being tempered, broke into myriad small pieces covering my entire upper body. I really thanked the Lord that nothing went into my eyes. This was a lesson loud and clear to show me that I was wrong in being so obsessed about acquiring recordings.
        The other hobby of mine was collecting postcards of airplanes, ships, trains, and cars. To every new city I traveled to, I headed for the postcard stands first. It was exactly when I was doing this that my unwatched camera bags containing all the equipment and rolls and rolls of film shot were stolen. This shock stopped my collecting folly cold.
        Early this morning I had a bad dream. In it I put my camera bag on the rear seat of my parked car on the street of a busy city and left to go somewhere. After walking quite a while, I remembered that I forgot to lock the car and got panicky. So I started rushing back to the car, but lost my way and just didn't know where the car was parked. I was so alarmed and woke up. Is there a lesson I could learn here? Yes, the Lord showed me how attaching to anything in this world can cause great pain and it's just not worth it. Thank God for the shocks.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Holy Communion Benefits

        When I attend a banquet on earth, I simply enjoy the eating and any festivities present, then leave and go home afterwards ~ it's a one-time thing. Today after I received the Holy Eucharist, I felt that I was attending a banquet that feeds, cleanses, and permanently heals the soul ~ its effect is for all eternity. 

The Lord's Prayer Facilitates Union

        During the Lord's Prayer at Mass this morning, when I came to saying "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," I realized that if I say it with all sincerity, I am really making my surrender to God. Now I see that when Jesus taught us this prayer, he desired union with him from us.

"Please Choose Me"

        Jesus told his disciples, "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you" (John 15). It struck me that a great prayer would be to ask the Lord to choose you, whether you are a believer or not. If you are already a believer, then ask him to choose you to serve him, to spread the gospel, to make you holy... there are just so many favors you can ask. When the Lord chooses you, it is a great honor and assures that you'll live a blessed life now and forever. 

Attachment Is Not Love

        Why do people feel sad when someone (or even some pet) close to them leaves or dies? Of course, you miss the person (or your dog or cat). But still why? I dare say that it's because of attachment, not necessarily all love. I know some readers may see it differently ~ that's all right. Here's my take. Attachment to anything in the world is basically self-centered. If someone departs from this world and you miss that person, it's most likely because you feel your loss ~ you no longer have the joy of that person's company, you no longer have that person to give you comfort or help when you needed it, etc. If you truly love that person, you would think for his (or her) sake. If you know his soul is going on to God, you rejoice for him. Otherwise, you feel sad for him, not for yourself. Love is only pure when there is no attachment mixed with it. And the heart is free only when it is free from all worldly attachments.

We Know Enough About God

         A couple of days ago, I read on BBC News online about the discovery of millions of supermassive black holes and blisteringly hot, "extreme" galaxies. Black holes are called such because they are regions of space where gravity is so powerful that not even light can escape. The hot galaxies are labeled as "extreme" because they can outshine our sun by a factor of one hundred trillion! It all sounds like science fiction. I have talked about how I was awed by the universe in the past ~ billions of galaxies with each galaxy consisting of billions of stars. Another interesting fact is that what we see now is already ancient history ~ looking at a star a billion light years away is looking at that star when it was a billion years younger. To see where it is today, we'll have to wait another billion years! If the universe is infinite, then what we've seen is quite nothing. I feel the same way about God our infinite creator. We learned about him through the Old Testament and a lot more from the Lord himself, but there must be so much about him that we still don't know yet. 
      Three points I want to make here. (1) We are finite creatures and obviously, it is impossible for a finite creature to understand his infinite creator fully. What we can know is limited by how God made us or what much he allows us to know. To try to figure out all about God would be utter folly. (2) What God has revealed to us through Jesus is all sufficient for our salvation ~ knowing any more would be superfluous. Therefore, be content with what we already know and start believing. (3) Most importantly, it is knowing God, not knowing about him, that's central. Once you know him, you'll be loving instead of questioning. Then one day your beloved will reveal everything about him to you.