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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crying for Joy & Sorrow

      During prayer after morning Mass, I wanted to cry for joy and for sorrow. For joy because Jesus loves me and has been so good to me. For sorrow because he is being rejected by so many. Rejecting someone who hates you is expected by that person, but rejecting someone who has died for you out of love amounts to putting him through death once more. You are killing your Lord and God!     

Jesus Is Our Answer

        What is a good life? What do you really want out of life? Only Christ Jesus provides clear-cut, completely satisfying answers. He not only gives us answers, he is the answer to all our questions! Read about him in the Gospels ~ his example speaks everything to us. Without him, you may find something to help you get by, but nothing can ever be as definitive and authentic as he is because he is God. One cannot exist without him whether you know it or not. Have him in your life and you'll never be lost again.   

Christians to Stand Out

        Today is the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In Reading 1 from Exodus 34, Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of commandments in his hands. The skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord. It made me see that an encounter with God must make us look different. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus likened the Kingdom of heaven to a treasure which a person finds, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has to buy. Do we feel that way when we find Christ? In any case, a Christian who has encountered the Lord and treasured the experience will definitely look radiant on the outside and feel joy on the inside. After all, we are to stand out as the light of the world.   

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Keeping Motivation Pure

        I hear people talk about how they eat right for good health a lot. While the motivation may be self-centered, it could be made pure by desiring good health in order to serve God better. As a matter of fact, our ultimate motivation for all things should be loving and serving God so that we may remain pure before the Lord.

Heeding Jesus' Words

        I missed Mass this morning and read the Gospel reading for today from Matthew 13. Jesus explained to the disciples the parable of the weeds in the field. He mentioned the world, the Evil One, the Devil, the end of the age, angels, the collection out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers ~ throwing them into the fiery furnace where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth, and the righteous shining like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. At the end, Jesus said, "Whoever has ears ought to hear."   
         Indeed, Jesus' words are life, the most important thing we'll ever hear. Listening to him or not can result in eternal life or eternal death. His words are especially acute with me now when I am constantly hearing about the deaths of many I personally knew and seeing so many other living friends who do not show any interest in knowing him or knowing him better.
        Note that Jesus separated those who cause others to sin from all evildoers ~ we must avoid causing others to sin like the plague.    

Monday, July 29, 2013

Proper Communion Response

        Today is the Memorial of St. Martha. John 11.27 was the communion antiphon: Martha said to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into this world." My desire after receiving the Holy Eucharist was to ask the Lord to make me holy for his sake.

Learning from Suffering

        When I am experiencing any physical or mental pain, I realize how horrible the pains the souls in hell must be suffering and I do not wish anyone to ever experience that. So I learn to not judge anyone but pray urgently for everyone.  

Benefiting from Suffering

        When we suffer, we think of how Christ suffered and realize how much he loves us. And we are drawn ever closer to God. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Unique Joy

        Just watched the Holy Father celebrating the Mass at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, concluding the World Youth Day festival, on EWTN. More than three million young people had gathered for the service and the joy was palpable. This joy is unique because it can only be experienced in Christ. I am just so joyful that I know this joy. It signifies that one has found the fulfilling truth. It is a joy that frees one from the clutches of the world. Alleluia! 

The Suffering Christ

        Communion experience. Since I still felt the pain resulting from the accident I mentioned, today after I received the body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the body I saw in my mind was the body of the suffering Christ on the cross. My own suffering didn't seem to matter that much anymore.

Swaying the Lord

        In today's Reading 1 at Mass from Genesis 18, Abraham intercedes for Sodom. He asks the Lord if he will sweep away the innocent with the guilty. The Lord agrees that if he finds fifty innocent people in Sodom, he will spare the whole place for their sake. Abraham keeps asking what if there are forty-five, forty, thirty,... innocent people. Finally, the Lord agrees that he will not destroy Sodom if there are at least ten innocent people.
        What I learn here is that holiness (being innocent) means a great deal to the Lord. Be holy and you can sway him from his plan.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jesus Alone Suffices

        Today's Communion experience. Because of the painful accident that happened to me, I experienced even greater joy by contrast. If you have Jesus, nothing else matters anymore.

Ongoing Healing

        Let God be your attending physician. Be ready for him to check and heal you in body, mind, and spirit at all times.

Dealing with Accidents

        Yesterday I had an accident which caused me physical injury. I started thinking about accidents. They are something that happens to everyone no matter how careful you are ~ traffic accidents, for example. Unlike God, we do not foresee what might be ahead. Accidents always come as a surprise or shock. The normal reactions are sorrow, bitterness, self-pity, worrying about the worst to follow, loss of hope, etc. ~ all negative and unhelpful. I believe that the healthy, realistic attitude is to accept that accidents do happen and they happen for a reason. Some of the things we can realize are the following: (1) Whatever has happened will pass in time. (2) Here's an opportunity for learning to be patient. (3) By offering our suffering up to God, it becomes meritorious. (4) Experiencing suffering makes us realize how terribly Jesus suffered for us, thus uniting us to him even more. (5) If we love God, he will never allow us to suffer to the point we cannot bear. (6) We can accept suffering as being purified by God in this life. (7) First, I thought if I am temporarily handicapped, how can I serve God effectively? Then he showed me that accepting suffering is serving him. (8) We can still pray to God for physical healing and he may do just that. In conclusion, be thankful to God for all things.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Banqueting in Heaven

        Communion experience. Just before receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, I was content to bask in his light and enjoy my rest in him. After receiving him, I knew I had just attended a banquet in heaven. Seeing it this way, I am already a frequent guest at the dinner table of the Lord in heaven.

Chosen and Called!

        Today is the Feast of St. James, Apostle. The Entrance Antiphon from Matthew 4.18, 21 reads: "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother mending their nets and he called them." What a great honor and how good it is to be chosen and called by the Lord! If you don't feel he has chosen and called you, ask him to do so, for he calls us so that our life might be fulfilled and our joy complete.

Ideal State of Living

      To me, it is being in union with Christ, following every will of his. This way, you don't ever have to be concerned about what you should do and you know that he will always lead you to do what is right and pleasing to God. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

To Be the Best

        We all desire or at least dream to be the best in something. Once you know Jesus and fall in love with him, you will want to be his best possible disciple. You look at Christ, Mary, and all the other great saints in the Church and you get excited and will want to imitate and learn from them as much as possible.

Humility Opens Doors

        To find God, we need to remain humble first. To hear God speak, we need to have quiet and peace both within and without us, for a disturbed soul shuts out the voice of God. Again, humility is required to submit ourselves to get in tune with him. Only the humble will find and hear God.

Gift of the Holy Eucharist

        Poets, songwriters, artists ... have all used their imagination to create beautiful works. We can also imagine how beautiful God is, but the Holy Eucharist which I receive daily over time has revealed to me that God is absolutely real.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Test Questions

        Suppose you belong to a team that serves God in some way. After serving together, would you be happier if you are the only person praised for your work or the only person not being praised for the work? What answer is best to please the Lord?

Awesome Lessons

        Communion experience. I saw the changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ during consecration even greater and more astounding than the transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor. After I received Holy Communion, the Lord made me see that surrendering to him pleases him more than saying all the written prayers there are.  

Purgatory not Good Enough

        Settling for purgatory first after death is not good enough for us if we want to make God number one in our life. It is not good enough for him either because he deserves the very best from us.

Our World Portrayed

        The big news today is the birth of the royal baby from William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, overshadowing the story of the Pope's arrival in Brazil for the World Youth Day Festival. This is expected for a world that has pretty much gone secular. Interests in popular events far exceed spiritual concerns. The behavior of the five foolish virgins in Jesus' parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25) perfectly portrays our world today. What happened to them at the end will happen to our world too.

Seeing from the Right Perspective

        In the news today, NASA has released photos of the Earth and Moon taken by a spacecraft orbiting Saturn ~ nearly a billion miles away. You see one tiny bright spot and a "short" distance away an even tinier one in the vast dark space. First image that came to my mind was two human neighbors on that tiny spot fighting each other for they just couldn't get along. Lord, have pity on us.

Making God Number One

        If God is to be number one in our lives, then we must trust in him completely. This means we trust in his justice completely. Then after we pray for our loved ones, we no longer worry about how God is going to answer our prayers. And we don't worry about any other outcomes either. All this may sound cold, but it is doing our best the right way.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Love That Melts the Heart

        I just saw on EWTN the welcome ceremony at the airport for the arrival of the Holy Father in Brazil for World Youth Day. He was greeted by the president of Brazil and a children's choir, among many others. The joy all around was palpable. I couldn't help thinking how much joy the disciples of Jesus must have felt when they personally saw the Lord teaching, healing, and performing all the great works of mercy. My heart sensed that the sweet love of God can truly melt one's heart so that one feels nothing but joy. How I wish that we all experience this!  

Jesus Restores Peace

        Communion experience. I felt Jesus to be my center. After receiving him in the Holy Eucharist, inner peace was completely restored. 

Same Father, Same God

        Today is the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene. The Gospel reading was taken from John 20. The Resurrected Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb. Before he departed, his last words to her were: "Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and you God.'" How good it is to hear that Jesus' Father is our Father and his God is our God! This is what communion of the saints is all about ~ a Christian is never alone.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Perfect Feeling and Knowing

        Communion experience. Before receiving the Holy Eucharist, I felt that I was the luckiest person in the whole world. After receiving the Lord, I knew that he's the one worth dying for.

Being Perfect in Christ

        In Reading 2 from Colossians 1 at Mass, Paul proclaims Christ to them so that he may present everyone perfect in Christ. This echoes Jesus' command for us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Come to think of it, there is no way to become perfect except in Christ, for he alone is perfect and has the power to make us perfect.  

All in Light of Love

        In Matthew 9 and again 12, Jesus quoted Hosea 6.6: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I believe that the Lord wants us to love first and consider everything else in light of love. I also believe that we are to detach ourselves from all things of the world, but not necessarily to renounce them unless we are called to do so in light of love. I believe that we are to enjoy God foremost and all else in light of love. Last, we are to suffer for God in light of love. 

In the Name of the Lord

        Paul in Colossians 3.17 advises: Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord. To me, it means do everything for the glory of God or from a practical point of view, do everything to draw others to Christ. Nowadays we do so many things, individually or as a group, in public or private, without taking this into consideration due to the lack of faith in God. We end up doing what we think we should do and not bearing any fruit for the Lord. The change must start with each one of us in the name of the Lord.  

On Facing Death

        Death is imminent for all of us. We can shrink back, be afraid, and try to hold onto this life, but this is being weak in faith and unrealistic. The healthy, proper attitude is to welcome death and look forward to meeting our most beloved Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Luke 9.62: Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God. This saying applies here too. Death is not a dead end (pun not intended). Prepare yourself right and death becomes you gateway to freedom and eternal bliss. Following Jesus means willing to go through anything after him, and he did die. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

No More Knowing Each Other

        My elderly neighbor across the street has 26 grandchildren, so he has trouble keeping straight who's who. Our heavenly Father will have no such problem with us. I don't even need a name. He knows me and I know my sonship. As Jesus said in John 10, he knows his sheep and they know him. No words need to be exchanged. Then when you reach union with God, he and you become one and knowing becomes irrelevant.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Small Heaven

        Communion experience. Heaven is where God dwells. When the Lord entered me in the Holy Eucharist, I felt that he's going to transform his dwelling in me into a small heaven. So I have Jesus in heaven in me ~ I was overjoyed! 

For God Alone

        People are not always trustworthy. I have known some who completely change their personality or demeanor in test situations. Others who you think are friends can instantly become your enemies. Most people hide their true self behind a facade ~ I suppose this is due to the lack of mutual trust. The good thing is that we have God to trust in. The title For God Alone implies that we can not only trust in God alone, but also live in him, love him, listen to him, serve him, and do everything for him alone. It means that we only care about what he, not anybody else, thinks. This is how we gain freedom and peace. [Note: As only God can forgive sins, only he can give this kind of freedom and peace.]

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Do You Hear Jesus Calling?

        The 4th Luminous Mystery of the Rosary for today is The Proclamation of the Kingdom. Jesus called the Twelve to be his Apostles and they followed him immediately. Just the same Jesus is calling us today. Read the Gospels and you'll hear him calling you. If you don't hear it, then you won't hear it even if he appears today asking you in person. It's not how or when he calls you that matters, it's how you respond to his call.

"True" Sins

        God fully understands us. Many times we fail because we are spiritually weak, not because we deliberately want to hurt him. Peter's denials of Jesus are prime examples that should be encouraging to us. The "true" sins are committed when we look away from the Lord and choose to do what we want to do. 

On Loving Jesus

        Communion time reflection. Here's the humble and meek Jesus who loved and died for us. We care for our dogs and cats a lot, so how could we possibly love the Lord even less? After receiving the Holy Eucharist, I knew that we must love Jesus so much never to offend him again!

Our Wondrous God

        I thought about God before Mass began. His power and knowledge are without limit, and his holiness and perfection awe-inspiring ~ I tremble before him. Yet his beauty is so delightful and his love so tender that I want to run to him, yelling "Daddy." I do not see him, yet he watches over me. Even though he fills the whole universe, he enters me in the Holy Eucharist. Such are our wondrous God.  

Making Sense to an Unbeliever

        A friend of mine didn't wish to believe in Christ. His good friend was losing the battle with cancer, so I took the chance to reason with him like this. We are all sinners and if there is God, he has to be holy. As sinners, we cannot enter heaven where the holy dwell. He agreed with me so far. Many people like to clear their conscience before they die, but telling another human being about their sins is useless because the sins remain. To get our sins forgiven, we need to confess and repent to God and then we shall be saved. Therefore, we need to believe in Christ. It seemed that I made some sense to him. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grateful for God's Mercy

        Four days ago, I got up in the morning and saw a big black spot of irregular shape, roughly half an inch wide, through my right eye. It's fixed in space, unlike one of those tiny floaters I notice once in a while. About five minutes later, it's gone. So I went in to see my eye doctor today. He thought that what I had was most likely an ocular migraine, not something of major concern; but he did find the pressure in my right eye too high and see signs of glaucoma. I am now using an eyedrop to control the high pressure which can cause blindness if unchecked. I see that the Lord gave me the migraine sign to get me to see the doctor. Otherwise I might not go visit one for another few years. So I just want to thank the Lord for his ever present mercy, our greatest treasure. We only need to recognize it.    

The Greatest Good

        God who is love and all-knowing will always bring about the greatest good out of any situation you're in. And that greatest good can be the spiritual transformation of yourself. 

New Level of Freedom

        For most of us, life is all about getting ahead. We want our children to get into the best schools. We try to know people who can help us in matters. Who wouldn't take advantage of an opportunity that can make us money? This morning while driving to morning Mass, suddenly the Lord made me see that if I do all such things, but not in order to make gains for myself, I would feel free! In other words, selflessness leads to freedom. This was "revelatory" to me and I thanked him for uplifting me to this new level of freedom. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Soul Food

        Communion time thoughts. Food feeds and sustains the body, book feeds and cultivates the mind, and the Holy Eucharist feeds and heals the soul.         

Repentance Necessary

        Believing in God may not involve a change of the heart, but repentance does. Believing in God alone does not make you clean, but repentance does. Therefore, we need to repent after we have believed. 

From Rebellion to Obedience

        In Galatians 2, Paul wrote: "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me." This is union with God, making it possible to gladly obey God in all things. Man has rebelled from God. Obedience to God is going all the way home to him who loves us in the first place. Union with God is rightfully a heavenly state because it restores our place in heaven.    

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Real Enemy

        If you truly love Jesus, you will want everyone else to love him too, and this would include all your enemies. But if you do not forgive your enemies, how can you expect them and yourself to love the Lord? Therefore, "not loving your enemies" is the real enemy you want to defeat.

Two Spiritual Flaws

        To not want to be a saint is to not want to love God to the utmost. To not believe that you can be a saint is to not believe that all things are possible with God. Both are serious spiritual flaws.  

The Compelling Jesus

        Today is the Memorial of St. Bonaventure. In the Gospel reading Matthew 10:34 - 11:1, we heard some of the rather "shocking" statements from Jesus to his Apostles. He said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter again her mother.... Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
         Here Jesus really challenges us. He knew that he had brought the sword because people would be forced to accept or reject him. His statements force us to conclude either he is God or someone who doesn't know what he's talking about ~ there's no third choice possible. And you will not have peace if you choose to ignore him. With Jesus, it has to be all or nothing, take it or leave it. Come to think of it, no one other than the true God can possibly be so compelling.

On Serving God

        Serving God is a full-time occupation. We live for God alone; we are always ready to serve him and we do all things in order to serve him. How is this possible? Seek union with God and you'll know that it's not only possible, but also the natural thing to do. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Experiencing Freedom

        Today's Communion experience. When I received the Holy Eucharist, I knew I was receiving exactly what the Apostles had received at the Last Supper. I was so happy that I abandoned myself to the Lord and experienced great freedom.

Fruit of Listening to God

        A Christian who listens to God remains humble and does not judge others.

No Halfhearted Loving

        The Gospel reading at Mass came from Luke 10. Jesus used the Parable of the Good Samaritan to teach how we should love our neighbor. A man fell victim to robbers; they stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest and a Levite both passed by, saw him, and did nothing. But a Samaritan traveler came upon him and was moved with compassion at the sight. He poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, "Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back." It's clear that of the three, the Samaritan is the one being neighborly to the robbers' victim.
        Therefore, we are to give our all in loving ~ to do everything within our power and reach. So many times we have the chance to help someone, but we never really put our heart into it. Jesus' commandment You shall love your neighbor as yourself demands going all out because loving your neighbor is loving the Lord, our God.

I Know Jesus!

        In Reading 2 from Colossians 1 at Mass, Paul speaks of Christ Jesus as the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, and the one in whom all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, were created. Furthermore, he is before all things and in him all things hold together. He is also the beginning and the firstborn from the dead. All the fullness dwells in him and God reconciles all things through him, making peace by the blood of his cross. 
       I proudly "boast" that I know this Christ Jesus because he dwells within me and is the one who has made my life worth living, giving me the reason to rejoice. 

Enjoying God to the Utmost

        Rest in your heavenly Father to let him love you and transform you into a new creature worthy of this love. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Surrender to God Now

        The best time to surrender to God is NOW. As long as you are alive, it's never too late or too early to make this commitment. Why surrender? God truly needs us to help him find the lost sheep and bring them back to him! Saving the soul is so much more important than saving the physical life. To work for the Lord, we must be ready and fit, and surrendering to God is the best preparation for us. Without it, we won't be able to follow him every step of the way. 

Easy Judging

        Yesterday I heard about a young man in a Catholic family who didn't want to remain in the Church, one of his reasons being that the Vatican is so rich and wealthy with all its properties, art treasures, etc. I believe that this was his honest question and not an excuse. He had a point, but missed the real point ~ he should have looked at Jesus and not the sinners that are all of us.
        In teaching his disciples not to judge others, Jesus said, "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7.4-5). Judging is precisely the problem of the world. It's too easy to point your finger at someone else and not ever to examine yourself. The young man mentioned above was no exception. This is why families fall apart. This is why nations are at war with each other. If we all follow just this one counsel of the Lord, there would be instant peace. No humility, no peace, and I mean peace for the heart too.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Freedom in God Only

        Communion experience today. The Lord made me sense that true freedom for us exists in God only, and this freedom is indeed the greatest freedom we can possibly experience ~ nowhere outside God is there true freedom.

A Freedom Test

      If we do not die, we can never get to heaven. So if God calls you to go to him, what would be the point of delaying your departure from this world (unless you aren't sure of your final destination yet)? If you can answer "Here I come" without hesitation anytime he calls, then you are indeed free.

Staying Close to God

        It's good to share every little thing with and tell every little thing to Jesus. For doing things that are normal and routine, it's sufficient to be aware that he is aware of what you're doing. For doing anything you're not sure of, just tell him. Then if it's not his will, he'll let you know. For facing something unknown, you definitely need to pray to him for protection and guidance. The whole point is to show that you want to be intimate with the Lord and aware of his holy presence at all times. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Remaining New in the Lord

        The Holy Spirit is my sensor because he lets me know right away when my thought or feeling is inappropriate, showing lack of love. For example, yesterday someone phoned me and I knew that talking to that person would be unpleasant ~ the Holy Spirit calmed me down and I was able to listen and talk nicely. Again, this morning at church before Mass started, quite a few of us were praying, but two people in the back started talking in a low voice, making it impossible to concentrate on praying. The Holy Spirit again calmed me down and the talking stopped after several minutes. So the Holy Spirit senses my reaction, checks me, and renews me. Let the Lord renew us every single moment that we may remain new at all times. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Solidifying the Union

       Communion experience today. The Lord showed me that to solidify the union, all I needed to do was to be more passive, more letting go, and it would lead me to greater peace.

Beware of Ego

        It saddens me to see someone who has a good paying job, drives an expansive car, lives in a nice house, but still unhappy because he doesn't think he has enough. If the intention is to impress others, then there will always be others wealthier than you, so you remain unhappy. One has to be practically brain-dead not to know that billions of the world's population are living at the poverty level. It just shows that without God sharpening your conscience, the ego easily enslaves you. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Life-Changing Belief

        I needed some consecrated hosts this morning to conduct a Eucharistic service at a senior retirement lodge. As I was kneeling before the opened tabernacle praying, the Lord made me see that once you truly believe that the Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of him, everything about you changes. "Truly believe" is believing to the point you know and feel it. This was eye-opening to me that a deep belief in this truth can transform a person.

The Ultimate Thing to Do

        Today's Communion experience. When I went up to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it was more than going up to touch his cloak, shake his hand, or hug him ~it was going up to let him enter me to become one with me! I saw this as the ultimate thing we can possibly do in this life and in this world. If you are humble, you'll also see this as receiving the greatest possible reward in this life, in this world.

Listening Is Important

          Go on YouTube and you'll find all kinds of talks... the hateful, the self-righteous, the accusatory, the irreverent,.... In general, people like to talk and not listen. If we don't listen to those we say we love, then we really don't love them that much. To listen to someone is to respect that person. You cannot love someone if you don't respect that person. The one we need to listen to the most is the Lord our God. If you listen to him, you will automatically love all others. If you can listen more than you talk, you are on the road to perfection. 

Heaven & Hell, Beyond Imagination

        There is a retail store, which I shall not name, in my area that sells things a lot of people like, but I am not one of them. It is filled with old-styled, mostly dark-colored, home-decorating items. There are also artificial and dead flowers galore. When I am in that store, I feel the gloom and even sense death. So if you were to sentenced me to live in that place, I would feel miserable. Then there is music equally hard to take, the kind that's loud, vulgar, animalistic, often with a lot of screaming. Should I be forced to listen to that day and night, I might go insane. And I thought of hell. The punishment you experience there would probably be unbearable beyond imagination. I can walk out a store or away from the source of any music, but what you experience in hell is forever! In driving, I learned to avoid head-on collisions at all costs. Common sense should tell us to avoid going to hell at all costs. On the other hand, with my finite mind I cannot possibly imagine how happy I'll be in heaven. But I know for certain that whatever I experience up there will exceed my wildest imagination.

Monday, July 8, 2013

On Serving God 2

        As Jesus has indicated, we should mind our own business. From Mother Teresa's prayer "Do It Anyway": In the final analysis, it is between you and God. Therefore, we should single-mindedly serve God, letting nothing distract or for that matter, disturb us. As Paul said, "Whatever you do, in words or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17). This is not as hard as it sounds ~ it's a matter of awareness and practice. You can start out with chores at home, doing such things as taking the garbage out and washing the dishes to please the Lord. When you watch some TV for recreation, do it for Jesus too ~ it'll keep you from watching anything unwholesome and from watching too much TV. Before I pick up the telephone, I am used to saying a quick prayer to make sure that I'll say the right thing over the phone. This really helps when you have a confrontational situation. I trust in God, never predicting the outcome, and things always work out. Bottom advice: Let God completely into your life.

On Serving God

        In serving God, I admire others who are visibly doing great work. But the Lord made me see that we are all made differently and I must not "imitate" anyone outwardly ~ it is pride that drives one to "compare performances." We are to bear fruit only as directed by the Holy Spirit and not even be concerned about seeing the fruit. The fruits are to be completely at God's disposal ~ no instant gratification for us here.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Good Question

        Ultimately and soon, each of us will end up in heaven or outside of it ~ so why do we still worry about trivial stuff, bicker, get impatient or angry, hold onto material things and the past ... while the clock is ticking away?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

No Longer Earthbound

        Communion experience. After receiving the Holy Eucharist, I feel that although my body is still here, my spirit is already attached to the Lord, no longer earthbound.

Great Feelings

        It's a great feeling to know that you are clean and on good terms with God. But don't stop here ~ the next even greater feeling is to be in union with God, you and the Lord now completely dwelling in each other.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Transcendental Union

         Today's Communion experience. Just before distribution of the Holy Eucharist, the priest held up the consecrated bread and the consecrated wine and said: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. And we all responded: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. 
       I saw reception of the Lord in the sacrament transcending physical union. It's a calling for me to be healed spiritually so that we may be one. He showed his love through and through. What a beautiful "sight"!  

Call for Spiritual Growth

        When something bad happens to you, listen for God's call. You can choose to get upset, feel sorry for yourself, wish it never happened, want to go back to the way things were, be vengeful if someone else was the cause, or you can move forward and choose to trust and serve God more from now on. Believe me, the latter choice will give you healing and joy. It's letting God bring the good out of the bad.  

God's Mercy Reexamined

        In John 8, we read that Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery; he just asked her not to sin any more. Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus taught how we should always forgive others and love even our enemies. God's mercy is indeed infinite. I see that the Lord does not condemn us either because he continues to wait for us to repent so that he may forgive us. If we do not repent to the end, we simply get ourselves condemned. Seeing such great mercy, we must not mistreat anyone again. Taking revenge is even more out of the question. 

We Matter to God

        We are not nobodies; we are treasured by God! When we repent our sins and beg for God's mercy, the whole heaven rejoices. On the other hand, when we sin and die unrepentant, the whole heaven mourns. We can shake up heaven all right.

Why Obey God?

        If you do believe that God created us (that life just didn't pop into existence by accident or chance), these thoughts follow logically. Being creatures, we are not infinite as God is. We are given physical abilities and intelligence, but whatever we possess is finite, limited. What we know and can figure out are nothing compared to what God knows. Unequivocally, we can state that God is infinitely greater and superior than we are. Therefore, we should humbly obey him in all things. The good news on top of it all is that our God loves us.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Sorrow

        Today is Independence Day, the 4th of July. We sang "America the Beautiful" at the end of Mass. But when I came to the line "God shed his grace on thee," I felt great sorrow. God has shed much grace on this nation, but the nation as a whole no longer welcomes him ~ he's been banished from the center to the periphery. Materialism has taken over and now religious freedom is at risk. The nation stands polarized. Will we ever be ready for Judgment Day?

Knowing My Destiny

        Communion thoughts. Since the Lord forgives sins, my destiny lies entirely in his hands. I felt good.  

Jesus Is God (Quick Proof)

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, people brought to Jesus a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." Since only God can forgive sins, some of the scribes present thought that Jesus had blasphemed. Jesus knew what they're thinking. To show that he has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." He rose and went home. Here Jesus backed up his words with deeds, showing that he is God indeed.

Let Love Rule

        As I was praying before Mass began this morning, The Lord made me see that it is his love that "rules," governs, or "manages" the whole universe. And this love is infinite. If not, who among us sinners can possibly make it to heaven? Each one of us is given an unlimited number of chances to repent and believe in Jesus. I was also made to see that we should let love manage our lives. Think of ourselves as channels of God's love. With this love, we can manage our worries, anxieties, fears, attachment to material things, egos, enemies, you name it, and do good in the world. Love is the solution!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No More Unfinished Business

        Communion experience today. After receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, I feel so attached to the Lord that I no longer see any unfinished business in the world for me to finish. This is becoming detached from all the unfinished businesses that are and will always be present in one's life.

On Believing in Jesus

        Today is the Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle. The Gospel reading at Mass comes from John 20. Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him that they had seen the Lord, but Thomas said, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." A week later Thomas was with the disciples and Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
         Many of us today are very much like Thomas ~ we would not believe unless we see hard evidence. John simply recorded what he had witnessed ~ Thomas' about-face should turn us into believers too. Jesus last saying above, Blesses are those who have not seen and have believed, should further encourage us to believe that Jesus is our Lord and our God.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

To Know Jesus Is To Know God

        Jesus made it clear to his disciples that whoever has seen him has seen the Father and that he is in the Father and the Father in him. There is only on true God, so he must be the one as revealed through Jesus the Son. Any additional revelations about God through any man that came after Jesus may be safely ignored.  

Never the Same Again

        I have a crape myrtle tree in my yard. The whole tree was blooming beautiful lavender flowers, when a storm arrived. Afterwards the symmetric shape of the tree was gone, now with many branches drooping and many flowers damaged. The tree was just not the same anymore. I thought of my encounter with Christ. After he touched me, I too was no longer the same. But in my case, I embraced the change and don't ever want to revert to my former state. Unlike the storm, God changes us with love, making us even more beautiful.   

Monday, July 1, 2013

Zeroing In on God

        Quite some years ago, I saw an icon at a supposedly monastery. The image seemingly had teardrops streaming from the eyes of Virgin Mary holding Infant Jesus. I left the place with a cotton ball soaked with the tear. On my way out, I, along with two other visitors, all saw the blazing afternoon sun looking like a large moon with no glare at all ~ a miracle! A couple of years later, my son suffered a virus attack and his heart almost stopped beating. The doctor diagnosed that he would need a heart transplant if he did survive. I went to him in ICU, blessed him with the cotton ball I still had, and asked God to heal him. Four days later he was sent home ~ another miracle! Then much later, I learned on the internet that the crying icon was a hoax and the perpetrator was jailed and committed suicide. For quite a while, I was confused: how could miracles follow if the tear was not genuine? Here's what I have finally learned.
        It is our faith that makes God work miracles. Look at the woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years in the Gospels. She came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched his cloak, saying to herself, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured," and she was cured. The cotton ball just happened to be what I used to convey my faith. The Lord looks at our faith and not at the means by which we express that faith. The sun miracle teaches a separate but similar lesson: Put our faith in God and not in miracles. God makes miracles happen to increase our faith in him and not the miracle. St. John of the Cross, who had many supernatural experiences, made it very clear that in our journey to union with God, paying too much attention to any supernatural experience along the way would definitely impede our progress. Conclusion: Put all your faith in the Lord alone and let nothing along the way distract you.