In John 8:32, Jesus said, "The truth will set you free." Since Jesus is the truth, I have come to realize that when I am completely filled with Christ, I attain ultimate freedom.
Friday, May 31, 2013
"God loved us so much that he died for us so that we might have eternal life" ~ we've heard it so many times that we hardly pay any attention anymore. Indeed, familiarity breeds contempt. Today at Mass I paid attention to it and the Lord made me see that the saying reveals the ultimate expression of love, an act as momentous as the creation, a powerful display of God's perfection, and the greatest favor he could have bestowed upon us. It definitely was a wow awakening moment for me!
I've been posting about how God has made us. Here's one more observation. People are good at being in denial about their sinfulness and they lose inner peace. When you do something wrong, no matter how hard you try to deny it, you'll always get that uneasiness ~ this is how God has made us. I've said in the past that there's no better feeling than knowing you and God are on good terms. Today I am seeing it from a specific point of view: When your heart is clean, it's a most wonderful feeling because you know you have nothing to hide and you welcome the Lord to dwell within you. Once you've experienced this, you'll never want or need to be in denial about anything anymore.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
I was attending a special Mass tonight for the Feast of St. Joseph Marello. When I let the Lord know that I was going to trust in him, he let me know that he's going to trust in me. It's pretty awesome to hear that and it's something I'd better remember always.
This morning I heard this story about St. Joseph Marello. When his barber was no longer able to give good haircuts because of the loss of eyesight, the saint, already a bishop, continued to go to him just to support him ~ showing love is more important than looking good in a new haircut. Like St. Therese, St. Joseph Marello advised all to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Every day we have numerous ordinary opportunities to be charitable. Let's make them extraordinary before they vanish.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
I must describe my journey with God as an uplifting experience. Again, here's my simple view. God dwells high above us in all respects. We have no way of reaching him on our own. Since we know that he loves us (a great deal as a matter of fact), we ask for help and he readily complies. Actually, he is elated, for all this time he's been waiting for us to ask. He then lifts us up. Carrying us, he walks with us. With him, we can only go higher. Hence, the journey is an uplifting experience all the way.
One of the most rewarding, satisfying experiences in seeking union with God is his drawing of you close to him. The Holy Spirit does not shove or push; he gently lets you experience greater intimacy with the Lord and sense the peace that comes from knowing that your will and God's are in harmony.
Here's a riddle not that difficult to answer: What is mankind's ultimate fulfillment? The answer clear to me is love. If everyone loves as Jesus had commanded, there would be peace in the world. Since God is love, then God is our ultimate fulfillment. Perhaps one reason people hesitate to love is the realization that they could lose their lives if they practice it in this evil world ~ look at how Jesus lost his on earth. But we are going to die anyway, so it'd be far better to lose our lives on earth than to risk losing eternal life later.
This morning I became aware that I can see, hear, and smell; that I have all kinds of emotions and feelings; that I can sense beauty and ugliness; that I know good from evil; that I can conceive God; that I can blog with a purpose ~ that's because God has made me! He has precisely designed all of us this way. He has also given me the sense to realize that mankind couldn't have come into being by accident. If it were so, then it had to be a fantastic miracle and only God can produce miracles.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Earlier today I visited two old homebound folks who were terminally ill. They can no longer eat solid food, need oxygen support for breathing, and have hardly any physical strength left. Their conditions have deteriorated rapidly in just one week. The made me realize that we are all going to reach that helpless point. What we should do now is to help ourselves with God as much as possible ~ not unlike the bears fattening themselves before hibernation. Soak up the Lord, live him, immerse in him, grab hold of him tight, while we still can.
Here are some common examples of negative thinking: "I am unattractive"; "I am inferior"; "I don't like myself"; "Nobody likes me"; "God does not care about me"; "God cannot help me." First of all, these thoughts represent only one's own feeling at a time. Anyone who has truly known God would have felt just the opposite in each case. To think that God does not love or cannot help us is even sinful! The fact is that God loves us; he delights in us; we are precious and dear to him; and he can and will help us! ~ plenty of us can testify to that. Don't let your feeling dictate your thinking or form your opinion ~ find the truth from God always.
Monday, May 27, 2013
We see God granting special favors, supernatural or otherwise, to others ~`what do we think and how do we feel?
First of all, how God grants favors is none of our business.
Secondly, know that whatever the Lord does is always for the good of all and for his own glory.
Secondly, know that whatever the Lord does is always for the good of all and for his own glory.
Last, remember the older son in the prodigal son parable? When he got jealous after seeing how the father favored the return of his younger brother, destitute but repentant, with a great celebration, the father said to him, "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours." So, if we don't seem to receive any special favors from the Lord, it could be that he has already given us everything!
Anyhow, our business is to concentrate on serving the Lord and rejoice in him.
The Gospel reading came from Mark 10. A man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus mentioned the commandments and the man said that he had observed them from his youth. Then Jesus said, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. The Lord could be testing the man. Nevertheless, he showed that detachment from all material possessions goes beyond obeying all the commandments; without it, you won't be able to follow the Lord freely.
Reading 1 at Mass was from Sirach 17. What I learned was that we must glorify and praise God in this life. If we don't, we'll end up in the nether world where no one can glorify and praise God. Our life is a very narrow window which can close at any time. Therefore, glorify and praise the Lord while you still can.
Yesterday the Lord showed me that humans, knowing that they are mortal, wish to be immortal. So they search for things that endure and ways of living a longer life. Only to avoid facing the problem, they immerse themselves in the world. Those who have found God are happy because God is everlasting and through Christ they'll inherit eternal life in heaven, so much better than living forever in this world. Again, God has so made us that we won't be satisfied until we find him.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Can you possibly imagine that God is finite in some way ~ not all-knowing, not being able to create something, only loving us to a certain degree? I can't. With God, it has to be all or nothing. Since he is not nothing, he must be infinite, perfect, and all everything.
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity ~ what a glorious day! At Mass I felt that God was in me, part of me, and all around me. During the singing of Gloria, I heard Jesus addressed as "Lamb of God" ~ what a beautiful, appropriate, unforgettable, endearing name! It speaks of the greatest love, mercy, sacrifice, and total obedience to the Father.
People admire anyone who seems to have a lot of friends. Should we count drinking buddies, fellow sports fans who watch games with you, and those you shoot the bull with as friends? To Jesus, whoever does the will of his heavenly Father is his brother, his sister, and his mother (Matthew 12:50) ~ may I just add "his friend" to the lineup? For the Christian, the Lord is all the friends you need, and all those who does his will are your true friends. So, admire God and the saints, not anyone popular with a lot of friends in the world.
If you let the Devil possess you, you are a goner. If you let the world possess you, you may get passing pleasures out of it, but you will never experience true freedom nor peace ~ most likely you've already figured this. What you may not know is that if you let the Lord God "possess" you, you'll experience complete freedom with deep inner peace. You see, it's impossible for God to be oppressive or enslaving, for he is Love. His sole wish is to save and free us so that we may be where he is after this life ~ Jesus has made it all clear. If you agree that this has to be the best possible new for us, you would rejoice right now! Turn away from Christ and you'll never experience the freedom, peace, and joy that are meant to be yours.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
(1) The Gospel convinced me that Jesus is God.
(2) The lives of the great saints testify to this truth.
(3) This last reason may be the most convincing of all. Through seeking union with the Lord, he let me know without a doubt that he is real, the truth.
In the news today: A Roman Catholic parish priest at an elite French ski resort has been stripped of his Church functions for refusing to renounce Freemasonry. The body of Christ must remain as one. Therefore, on the part of any Catholic, there must never be any disobedience that would fracture the body of Christ in any way. All other considerations cannot be from the Lord. Seeking union with Christ ensures our obedience.
Psalm 103 read at Mass reminds us that we are dust and that our days are like those of grass. We bloom like flowers of the field and the wind sweeps over us and we are gone, our place knowing us no more. These thoughts, like the realization of how vast our universe is, similarly humble me. I am mortal, and I depend entirely upon my God to make me immortal.
Life is like a balance and we have the power to tip the scales for God or the world. Without our free will, God could easily "outweigh" the world. But since we've been given free will so that faith may be made meaningful, we are now solely responsible for what we choose to do.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Again, let me repeat the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, as recalled by the priest during the Eucharistic prayer at Mass:
"Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body which will be given up for you."
"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."
What the Lord has said is astounding and earthshaking beyond words ~ I felt it during the consecration. He's offering himself to us! Bible Christians interpret the Bible literally, yet here they believe that Jesus only meant what he said symbolically. The Last Supper was too serious an occasion for the Lord to say anything he didn't really mean.
In today's news, Yitang Zhang, a mathematician at the University of New Hampshire, has proved one of the great results in the history of number theory. The problem had remained unsolved for hundreds of years, so Zhang' proof is truly an astounding breakthrough. He had spent over twenty years thinking about the problem. By contrast, to achieve any spiritual breakthrough, you do exactly the opposite ~ you remain passive in the Lord and he break all the barriers for you.
This picture popped into my mind. We don't all live on the same level. There are a high level and a low level with various levels in between. Those who seek wealth, fame, power, and happiness in this world only for themselves and not caring about anyone else live on the lowest level. Those who love God and do everything for his glory live on the highest level. When they leave the world, they glide from their level smoothly into heaven. Then there are those who live between these two levels. With God's great mercy, they may still be saved in the end, but there's no certainty.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Mark 9.42 from today's Gospel reads, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." Sinning by ourselves is one thing; causing others to sin is a much greater sin (I had brought this up in the past). For example, visiting a porn website is sinful, but the one who developed the site bears much greater responsibility, for what he has done could cause tens of thousands of others to sin. Pause and think before you sin, for the consequence of sin can be horrible.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 9 at Mass, Jesus made it clear that we must resist temptations to sin or we could end up in Gehenna. To get the point across, he used strong language (read vv 42-48). God is self-giving and we, as sinners, are self-serving. We sin in order to gratify ourselves. And the gratification is only temporary, often momentary. So, is it worth giving in to temptations for some temporary gratification only to risk losing our eternal life? The question Jesus asked his disciples comes to my mind: What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
Quite some time ago, a fellow Catholic told me in person that he would send me some information about a retreat movement; I gave him all my contact information, but never heard from him again. It just shows that next to Christ, none of us is perfect. Don't forget that Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus' disciples. What is important is that we focus upon the Lord alone and let nothing distract or disturb us. Some people love to point out the sinful failings within the Church throughout history, forgetting that God remains forever holy and we are the ones who fail. Focusing upon the Lord is that remedy for our failings.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Still in the current news is the huge tornado that has ripped through the suburbs of Oklahoma City, causing horrific devastation of properties with scores killed. There have been all kinds of natural disasters happening almost continuously around the world, up to taking hundreds of thousands of human lives at a time. Yet people continue to fight each other, kill each other, persecute others ~ how blind, ignorant, and foolish can you be? Don't they realize that they are going to die themselves one day soon too? When are they going to wake up to know that we are all at the mercy of God? I suppose that if you don't know God, you just don't see.
Monday, May 20, 2013
At Communion time, it seemed that if Jesus was ready to enter me for full union with me, it'd only be fair that I surrender all of me ~ body, mind, and soul ~ to him. Only by remaining in each other with the Lord will I be able to bear fruit (John 15:4-5).
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Have you ever gotten down on your knees begging or crying out for God's mercy, even if you are not facing any crisis or in a jam? It is something most beneficial spiritually we should do as often as possible. Doing it shows that we are willing to submit to God, need his mercy, and want to be drawn close to him. This is imitating the humble tax collector who begged for God's mercy beating his breast and whom Jesus justified (Luke 18). Not ever having done so shows the lack of humility.
Why do so many people feel down and depressed? Never say God cannot change you until after you have surrendered to him. Nothing is impossible with God who specializes in transforming us with love. We are always our own obstacles, keeping us from being transformed by God ~ surrendering to him clears the way. Let Hope enter.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the great day of the Holy Spirit. We do not see the Spirit, but we know that he dwells in us whenever we are drawn to God. Knowing the Holy Spirit is knowing the gentle sweetness of God's love. At Communion time, I knew that the sanctifying Spirit was preparing me for heaven and would take me there when the times arrives.
Once I heard David Leatherby, a Sacramento businessman, telling his inspiring conversion story in person. (You can read his "These Graces Were No Accident" story on TheDivineMercy.org.) I've never met his son Jeremy, now a parish priest in Sacramento, but I watched some of his videos on YouTube and listened to his homilies which I subscribe to. What impressed and inspired me was his deep spirituality and his intense love for Jesus that came through. In yesterday's homily, he mentioned that to love God, we must allow God to love us ~ be passive more than active. Indeed, the secret of possessing God is "to be passive and open" ~ it's back to letting God do all the work.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Today we heard the last six verses of John read at Mass. When Peter asked Jesus about what's going to happen to John, Jesus said to him, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me." Here we're given the best concise guide to living, namely following the Lord and not being concerned about anything else.
Second thought today. Like Jesus, we are in the world, but not of the world. After Jesus was arrested and brought before Pilate to be tried, he said to Pilate, "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above." We can say the same about us. Since we are totally in God's hands, the world would have no power to touch us without his permission.
First thought today. I recall how the world celebrated the arrival of 2000 with much hoopla. Then hoopla has always been part of the world. I do see the emptiness of it all if God is left out of it. You can whip up a good time, but everything is meaningless without his involvement. Only God can fill our void.
Friday, May 17, 2013
These beautiful pictures show the raw power of the sun. The images are awesome. What comes to my mind is the miracle of the sun that took place at Fatima in 1917. Up to 100,000 witnessed the sun appearing as an opaque, spinning disc, casting multicolored lights, and finally careening towards the earth in a zigzag pattern. Naturally, that was mere child's play for God, the creator of our universe.
At morning Mass, I sensed this in his loving us. To save us, he let his own Son to be punished in our place. He gives us his own body and blood to eat and drink in the Holy Eucharist. Our life, another immense gift. It must be the nature of infinite love that drives him to go to extremes. Maximum gratitude from us is in order.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Our ego may be dying, but eradicating it may take some time because abandoning yourself to God takes time. Today I caught myself scheming something in my own interest. I had forgotten what it was, but at the time the momentary absence of peace I felt told me that I wasn't following the Lord. The absence of peace always indicates the absence of God.
John 17:20-26 was this morning's Gospel reading at Mass. Jesus prayed to the Father: "I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us. And I have given them the glory you gave me ... that they may be brought to perfection as one. Father, ... I wish that where I am they also may be with me." Here Jesus expresses with so much love that he wishes us to be in union with him! "To be where he is" should be our wish.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
To make us stand out as disciples of Christ, God could have given each of us some special power such as the gift of healing, yet he gave us only love. If you realize that God is love, then he had given himself to us, as Christ had amply made that clear. To conclude, we have already received the Lord himself to be our special power and we are to be recognized by his love in us.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Today is the Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle. The entrance antiphon is based upon John 15.16: It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last, alleluia. To all of you who are following the Lord: He has chosen you and you are to bear fruit. (Just a reminder.)
If the road to heaven is narrow and steep, I could also picture it as going through a keyhole. If you don't know what's on the other side of the hole, you wouldn't try going through it because you have no interest plus you know that's impossible. Then those who have peeped through the hole and see how beautiful the other side is would want go through that hole at any cost, and God surprises them by opening up the door wide to let them through.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I happened to see an old black-and-white film clip on an educational TV station. It showed athletes winning Olympic medals and glamorous movie stars receiving Oscars, etc., back in the 1960s ~ all big news. What flashed across my mind was that they received honors that fade quickly as time passes and from people who were also passing themselves. All those honors seem rather forgettable. I'd prefer receiving anything from the Lord God who lives forever. Receiving even the tiniest gift from him is a great honor that lasts forever.
Reading 1 at Mass came from Acts 19. For three months, Paul debated boldly with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God in the synagogue at Ephesus ~ so it wasn't always easy to convert others then. It's no different today. To come to God, one must first desire to seek him. In today's life, enticements and miseries easily get our first attention. Even if the desire is felt, to find God one must remain completely open and objective, and this is not easy for many who are so opinionated, judgmental, and full of pride. The password here is "humility." Once you log on, God is right there.
I saw online a picture of a conductor conducting an orchestra and thought of the many things we do ~ necessary housework, driving to work, shopping, watching TV, plain resting, etc. Then I saw prayer as an activity too. In fact, it is the most important activity of our life because it is communicating with our creator, our Father, the one without whom we cannot exist. Prayer brings blessings on us, produces fruit for God, can change our present life and decide our eternal destination. Prayer should come before all other activities in life.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. For me, the music at Mass wasn't quite uplifting, then I realized that we must focus upon Jesus who alone is holy and perfect and never let any experience at Mass or, for that matter, any imperfection in anything or anyone throw us off. Look for Jesus beyond what we encounter, keep our eyes on him, and we'll be secure and have peace.
In John 8.21, Jesus warned the unbelievers, "I am going away. You will look for me but you will die in your sins." It struck horror in me to hear the part "you will die in your sins." It means dying with sins still unforgiven ~ a state I never want to be caught in! Jesus is here to forgive our sins ~ not taking advantage of this is to commit suicide (pardon my language, but it's the truth). Repentance easily takes care of our sins, unless you think you are just too almighty to bow to the Lord.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
When someone causes a problem for us, it's easy to pray about it without including the "enemy" in our prayer, but that person's "welfare" is essential to the resolution of the problem. The highest form of prayer is to leave everything in God's hands, letting him do whatever he pleases.
We all face problems of life. Sometimes they appear right out of the blue. I believe that God gives us problems to test us. How we deal with them forms a permanent record he will look at when he judges us. Pray for divine help, be patient and trust in him fully, and offer all our burdens up to him ~ this is the way to go.
(1) To hold onto power, politicians would lie to cover up any scandal. They are so slick that they can answer any questions put to them, appearing as if they can do no wrong.
(2) People would vote for the same politicians as long as they keep receiving benefits from the same government, regardless of all other issues.
(3) In a criminal case, millions of taxpayer money could be spent prosecuting and defending one suspect and you still end up not sure about the truth. People, ignoring the all-knowing God, have become experts at concealing evil deeds.
Such a sad state we're in!
Such a sad state we're in!
By ignoring God, we can easily become like wild predatory animals, seeking to devour others to satisfy our own selfish desires. And we may end up losing our own lives in the process. We need Jesus to tame us by letting him into my lives to transform us into good sheep. Then we'll be safe and content. It's all up to us.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Since the human body is transitory and only our soul is eternal, spiritual warfare is all about winning souls. And God is the only one who can save souls. If you do not let God help you, Satan will win (and you lose). But if you seek God's help, then the victory will be his and yours. God and Satan fight over you for different reasons ~ God wants to win because he loves you, while Satan because he hates God and therefore you too.
If you know all about God, you don't need faith anymore. Having faith in God is believing in him before you know all the answers to your questions. It is being passive so that he may enter your life to transform you. Believe me; he shall reveal all you want to know once you put your faith in him.
We get maximum help from God when we have complete trust in him. Any worrying or uneasiness on our part won't make things the slightest better. We pray and trust and let God "worry about" the outcome. It is getting out of the way to let the Lord be in full charge. This is doing his will!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Communion experience. I came to see that we are not to live for bread, for fame, wealth, or any other success in this world for our own sake ~ we are to live for Jesus alone. Then God and man are reconciled, together, united ~ our eternal destiny sealed.
In today's Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus told his disciples that a little while and they would no longer see him, and again a little while later and they would see him, hinting at his coming death and Resurrection, but he promised them that their initial grief would turn to joy. To me, the J in "Jesus" stands for "joy." He is love, but he's also the source of our joy. I watched Journey Home on EWTN this past Monday. The featured guest was David Currie, who wrote the popular book Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. (You can watch the entire May 6, 2013, interview on YouTube.) One of the two reasons he gave for coming into the Church was the Holy Eucharist. After studying John 6 and the history of the early Church, he came to believe that the Holy Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. He mentioned this belief twice. Each time I heard it, the Holy Spirit filled my heart and soul with such "crushing" joy as to confirm that I had just heard the truth.
There are times when we are physically or mentally incapable of performing certain tasks, but it is our will (intention, desire) that counts before God. You can have the best health and the highest IQ, but if you have no will to serve God, what you have is worth nothing. On the other hand, you can be wheelchair-bound and illiterate, but if you will to serve God, you shall be blessed.
We must reject sin by all means because it is our ticket to eternal death. The only one who can rescue us is Christ. In our lifetime, we have the option to remain in sin and head toward eternal death or let Jesus keep us away from sin and lead us to eternal life. It's that simple.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
When there is nothing more to post about, there's always the love of God. I have always believed that God loves us, but it "wasn't real" until I started seeking him. Therefore, if we do not desire to know him, we remain intellectually convinced only. Seeking union with him definitely opened up the flood gate. Now I don't just believe, I know God loves me, for he has overwhelmed me with his presence.
Jesus has taught us to stay awake, for we do not know the day on which the Lord will come. We also do not know when we shall meet the Lord. I serve on the team of visiting the elderly at their homes or care facilities in our parish. One person I visited for the first time a week ago unexpectedly passed away yesterday. Life fleets! Everyone, especially the young in busily pursuing their worldly careers, need to be awakened to this fact. And we must help all by bringing the good news of Christ to them. Life is slippery and precarious until we have settled safely in the hands of the loving God.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
At fraction of the Bread at Mass, before receiving Communion, we asked Jesus to have mercy on us and grant us peace. God is the source of inexhaustible mercy. We sin a thousand times and he forgives a thousand times if we repent. He does not condemn us; only wants to save us. How blessed we are to have such a merciful God! He wishes peace to be with us. This peace is ours if we believe in him and ask for it. How fortunate we are to be so favored! Salvation is ours for the taking. If you are aware that you're a sinner, how can you not embrace the love of God? How can you?
On April 18, I posted about Rachmaninov's Prelude in D, Op. 23, No. 4. Now, here's the one in E flat, Op. 23, No. 6. This beautiful piece expresses for me the love our Blessed Mother has for her Son and for all of us. Sergio Fiorentino plays faster than most other pianists, but his playing "sings" the sweet melody best.
Monday, May 6, 2013
There are other religions whose followers wish to wipe out the Christians, but we must not be like that. Jesus wants us to love our enemies and pray for those who have most need of his mercy. I am disappointed that during Prayer of the Faithful at Mass, petitions on behalf of our enemies and those who suffer the most in the world are not heard. For example, shouldn't we pray for all those contemplating suicide bombing, the innocent victims of all bombing attacks, and even the recent surviving Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Praying for them is not being unpatriotic; on the contrary, not praying for them is ignoring the compassion of our God for all.
In Matthew 16:26, Jesus asked his disciples, "What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" St. Faustina was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. She saw these kinds of tortures: (1) loss of God, (2) perpetual remorse of conscience, (3) constancy's of one's condition, (4) terrible suffering caused by a spiritual fire penetrating the soul without destroying it, (5) continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, (6) the constant company of Satan, (7) horrible despair and hatred of God. There are other more special tortures too. (For a complete description, read her Diary, 741.) To me, the worst part is suffering not for a finite period of time, but for all eternity! Those who believe in God need not worry about hell, for they will end up in his company; but those who don' believe that hell exists had better be concerned about God, for they could easily end up in hell.
The need for loving God is urgent because everything is passing! Every living moment provides opportunities for us to serve the Lord; do not let time pass by without showing his love for us to others. Save as many souls as possible by seeking union with God or whatever means he provides you. Do not delay loving him, for time is fleeting! God will ultimately ask each one of us how good and faithful a servant we have been. Live a life to glorify God and he will glorify you later ~ this is his promise you can count on.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
On earth you may experience peace when you relax on a beautiful beach, sipping your favorite drink and listening to your favorite music, with the surrounding temperature and cool breeze being just about perfect and you temporarily forgetting all your troubles in life. The peace of God is different. It seats deep in your heart and tastes sweet to the soul, unaffected by anything external. In Philippians 4, Paul tells us that the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is so because it is placed in our hearts by God.
Following Christ is both peaceful and exciting. But if you don't let God be the most important person in your life, you will not experience peace. Anytime you see someone upset, that would be the cause. The proper order of our priorities: God, our family, ourselves.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Even after I have made a good confession, I still came away going over in my mind what I had said, wondering whether I looked good or bad before the priest. This is still pride and should not exist. Make my honest confession, hiding nothing, get forgiven, thank God, walk out, feel good, never look back, and resume serving the Lord ~ this is how it should be.
Do you wish you can touch God like holding his hand? Or hear him speak to you? Do you know that we are spiritually connected to him even more intimately than any physical or mental contact? The Lord has chosen us and nothing can take us out of his hands; we are God's adopted children and Jesus is our brother; and we will inherit his kingdom and live with him forever ~ these are all God's promises! Yes, we are indeed connected to God, alleluia.
In the early days of Christianity, the gospel was new. People either accept or reject it, and the persecutions of Christians were severe. Today 20 centuries later, the gospel is no longer news, so people have become indifferent. They need to go back into those early days to snap out of their tepidity. Know that truth remains forever the same and the gospel always fresh.
Luke 9.62: "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." Jesus was referring to how we should follow him. Looking back upon our past, no matter how pleasant our memories, stops us right in our track from following him. For us, the best is yet to come, so there's no point in going back into the past. The good disciple doesn't wonder about the future either because he is already with Jesus, his future. Staying with him every step of the way is being secured for all eternity.
I read John 7 last night. When his brothers asked Jesus to go to Judea to do the works for his disciples there to see, for the feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus said to them, "My time is not yet here, but the time is always right for you." Later, Jesus did go up to the feast, went to the temple area and began to teach. The Jews tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him because his hour had not yet come (John 7:30). This shows that there is a time (hour) for everything we do and everything that happens to us. Doing whatever we feel like doing or rushing ahead of the Holy Spirit is easy, so is wasting time. Following the Lord with discipline, patience, and calm puts our time to its best use.
Friday, May 3, 2013
As a photographer in the past, I often saw images that had form with no substance. One well-known photographer exhibited superb craftsmanship, topnotch print quality, but the image was always "dead" making no emotional connection with me. Perhaps this is analogous to any Christian who is outwardly pious but is devoid of Christ in his interior.
We sin to escape God, but this attempt is doomed from the start. If we cannot escape God, we might as well learn to face him. What I want to say is that we really should live for God alone. This is made easy if we are aware of his holy presence at all times. Therefore, pray that he'll grant you this favor after receiving him in the Holy Eucharist each time. While you're at it, ask for the gift of tears too.
At morning Mass, I simply wanted to be in Jesus, to become like him. I believe God has placed in us the desire to be perfect even though we'll never be perfect. To sin is to be imperfect. Since we do not ever find peace in sinning, the quest for our own perfection begins. This is how searching for God begins. This is also what seeking union with God is all about.
Today is the Feast of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles. At morning Mass I saw the perfection of God's love. Jesus has demonstrated this love to us with his own life and death ~ it just cannot possibly get any greater! I turned to the world to see if there is anything that can be regarded as perfect ~ I failed to find any. It looks like perfection belongs to God alone.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Many wish to live long ~ they admire and marvel at old folks still in good health. If you wish so too, what is your purpose? Think before you respond, for the answer generally reflects how much you love the Lord. What do you think the best answer should be?
Before receiving Holy Communion today, I knew I had been invited to the supper of the Lamb. If I were invited to go to heaven to dine with God the Most Holy One, I would be so overwhelmed that I would want to become holy for his sake. Receiving the Holy Eucharist on earth is no different. In fact, what is being served is even more special, the Lord's own body and blood! When he enters me, his light will dispel all darkness in me ~ this is true fulfillment!
In today's Gospel reading from John 15 at Mass, Jesus asked his disciples to remain in his love as he remains in his Father's love. Today roughly half of the marriages in America end in divorce ~ where is love? To be married to someone for life is definitely a beautiful thing. To remain in God's love for all eternity has to be the most beautiful of all.
In Reading 1 from Acts 15 at Mass this morning, we heard that Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them. Paul and Barnabas were eyewitnesses. Then we have the numerous signs and wonders Jesus performed and his Transfiguration, Resurrection, and Ascension, all recorded in the Gospels. To reject Jesus is to reject all these signs and wonders only God could have worked! Jesus must be taken seriously, not dismissed lightly.
BBC shows this video online today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22368598. It was beautifully done, but sad. It shows how the war against the drug cartels in Mexico has destroyed many small villages. The villagers got shot; their houses destroyed, burned, and abandoned. One picture shows a small church with only a Divine Mercy image of Jesus hanging on the wall intact ~ this is what sin has brought. Then I realize that we are guilty too. Our government has not done enough to educate and warn the people of the danger (evil) of drugs. The drug addicts do not realize that they are the cause of these tragedies. And we bystanders do not live a life holy enough to bring others to Christ. Evil cannot be stopped if we are not holy ~ we sinners are all in it together.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
God's love is meant for us. We are the only creatures who need to be saved, so this love is directed at us alone. Consequently, we are the only earth creatures who can discover this love and come to understand it. If you understand it, then it's only fitting that you should accept this unique gift.
The Lord never forces his love on anyone; he simply shows his love for us and the rest is up to us. I have never forced myself to love him either ~ it is his love alone that draws me to him. Once you taste this love, you'll know it's what you need. To reject this love is to reject yourself.