WWJD stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" ~ many Christians ask this question to guide them in their actions. I thought of HTPJ this morning, standing for "How To Please Jesus." This helps me look for ways to please him at any moment of the day. It might be "smile at someone," "refrain from uttering a harsh word," or "turn to Jesus and say 'I love you, Lord.'" Life is made up of many little things and we can make all of them count.
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Monday, September 30, 2013
Our desire for union with God comes from God because he desires union with all of us! God being the eternal love, this desire of his is so much stronger and more powerful than any such desire on our part. Knowing this, we can remain passive and confidently let the Lord draw us all the way into him and success is assured.
Jesus told Gabrielle Bossis that the Holy Trinity is in each one of us, more or less according to the room that we allow it. Yes, if we don't allow the Lord any room, we can receive him in the Holy Eucharist everyday and still remain the same old person. But if we give him all the room we have in our heart, we'll be transformed into new, holy creatures in union with Christ.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
If Jesus were like the perfectionists I mentioned in the last post, he would have chosen to ignore us. But it's precisely our imperfection that attracts him! While we're still imperfect, it's the perfect time for him to come to restore us.
Perfectionists in the world demand perfection of others, seek the most perfect material goods to own, and want things turn out perfectly for their own sake; but they easily overlook their own imperfection. The "perfect" perfectionist is one who is concerned about his own spiritual imperfection first and foremost.
Friday, September 27, 2013
On September 25, I posted about Garielle Bossis' book He and I. I am reading the newly translated and condensed version by Evelyn M. Brown. Let me add that the French author was a single woman and a nurse during World War I and in her later years became a playwright and touring artist. The book documented her "simple talks" with Jesus in her journals. I have only read the first 46 of the 307-page book and already consider it to be one of the most beautiful and uplifting books I've ever read. Every read page has many lines I've highlighted. After finishing reading the book, I definitely will go over the highlighted parts again ~ there is just so much of what Jesus had said to remember and savor. You'd be bowled over to learn how much God loves you. It is hard to imagine how happy we'll feel in heaven when we experience the full impact of his love!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Do I have any idea how I came into the world? No. Did I know earlier that I was going to end up where I am now? No. Do I know what might happen next in my life? No. Can I be sure that nothing bad will befall me? No. Will I always be able to help myself as I age? No. Am I really in control of my life? No. Do I want to continue to be unrealistic? No. Then the only sensible and logical way out is to put all my trust in Almighty God and not worry about a thing on my own.
Since I am not doing anything big or prominent in bringing others to Christ, I asked the Lord how I could do better. The clear answer I got back was that he only wanted me to do every little thing for him alone. This means doing what I normally do with love, patience, and even joy. Complaining, getting upset, procrastination... ~ all have no place in serving God. This is not really asking much from us, especially with his help available. I can't say that the Lord is demanding since he only wants the best for us. He is our loving Father!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The mouth can pray to God, but if the heart is not involved, its prayer will be in vain. The mind can unlock the secrets of the universe, but it cannot pray to God. With mind alone, no matter how brilliant it may be, you won't find or know God. Only the heart steers the soul and can pray and unlock the heart of God, making prayer truly heart-to-heart with God.
I have finished reading The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur and started on He and I by Gabrielle Bossis (1874-1950), also French. Their life spans overlapped 1874-1914. While Leseur wrote her own thoughts in the diary, Bossis recorded her interior conversations with Jesus in her journal. What Jesus said to Gabrielle was remarkably succinct and to the point and that suits me fine. One day when she was talking to the tabernacle on the altar in church, Jesus reminded her that he was in her heart. This morning I pray to God dwelling in my heart after Mass and experienced greater intimacy.
I just talked to one contractor who came out to look at some repair work that needs to be done on my house. He was a smooth talker, trying to impress me with his knowledge and experience ~ I knew that he was prepping me for receiving a high bid. As he started to turn me off, I sensed Jesus' love for him and instantly, I felt sorry for the man. I was saved from turning him off by the Lord! As most of us meet so many people in our lives, all the more we need to practice viewing others with compassion as Jesus does until it becomes our second nature.
It's common that after someone has died, some family member would be remorseful that he or she hasn't cared enough about the deceased. If I were dying now, I would certainly hope that I have already straightened out all my relationships with others. Therefore, when we are still alive, it's good to go over the list of people whom we have not forgiven, have not gotten along well with, have not loved enough. Then with God's help we can set all those relationships right, so that when the time comes, we may leave this earth in peace and with freedom. All for the glory of God.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Our soul is the most precious part of us. To safeguard it, we must give it to God because whatever belongs to him will be safe. If you do not belong to God, you probably have already sold part, if not all, of your soul to the devil. I do not mean to sound harsh, but God and the devil are really the only ones trying to capture your soul.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Sad news today: A twin-suicide bombing outside a church in Peshawar in Pakistan has killed at least 75 people, in one of the worst attacks on Christians in the country. Two bombers blew themselves up as worshipers were coming out of the city's historic All Saints church after attending Sunday Mass. Militants linked to Pakistani Taliban have said they carried out the bombing in retaliation to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal northwest.
We all worship the same God. Through Christ we know that God is love and he showed that by laying down his own life for all of us. Then how can believers in the same God do the exact opposite? The true victims in this tragedy are those who do not really know Christ yet. If you don't know him, you don't know what God is truly like. Lord, have mercy on all the victims. Christ, have mercy on all the victims.
When someone offends us, we easily get upset, feel angry, become hateful and unforgiving, and even want to retaliate. Then over seven billions of us offend God every day nonstop, so how does that make him feel? It dawned on me that since he is infinite love, he does not and cannot react the way we do: even though most grievously hurt, he remains pitying and compassionate toward us. How fortunate we have such a loving and merciful Father!
Saturday, September 21, 2013
It's easier to be aware that I have sinned in what I have done than in what I have failed to do. I am talking about the sin of omission. For example, I do not offend my guest, but I fail to treat him as a friend. What we should do is just as important as what we should not do. If we truly want to imitate Jesus, we must not omit the sin of omission.
Today is the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and evangelist. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 9, Jesus declared that he did not come to call the righteous but sinners. Since we are all sinners, he is for all of us. Therefore, we are all to respond to him. God and us are perfectly made for each other.
It's so easy to say anything that comes to our mind. Often what comes out of our mouth is sensitive to how others feel. We don't mean to hurt anyone, but we end up doing just that. Of course, sometimes we get misinterpreted too. This can happen easily at home with your own family. I see this as a form of self-indulgence. What can help is to see Christ in every person. Such an awareness keeps us from saying anything that might provoke or offend others.
As I was taking an early morning walk, I saw how small I was in this immense, perhaps even infinite, universe, yet God loves me and wants me to spend eternity with him after this brief life ~ how special we must be to him! It's impossible not to feel elated when you realize this truth.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Today I see Jesus as the key. We have all become my own slaves, trapped in the prison we've built for ourselves. Jesus, being true God, is the only one who can enter my hearts and unlock the door of our prison to free us. There is not another guru, master, teacher, or prophet who can possibly do this!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24131917 ~ go to this link to see some of the best astronomy images of the past year, then wonder why we think we are the center of the universe and why we still don't get along with each other.
Continuing reading Elisabeth Leseur's diary lead me to review how I should approach others who do not believe in God or whose faith is still weak. Here's what God had made me see.
Never assume a holier-than-thou attitude. Love and a desire to understand must always prevail. Approach all with humility (Mother Teresa of Calcutta comes to mind). You are dealing with God's other children, so trust in him to change their hearts.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 7, Jesus pointed out to the crowds that when John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine and they said that he was possessed by a demon; then the Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said that he was a glutton and a drunkard. It just shows that people were quick to criticize others ~ still true to this day. I am dismayed to read so many negative comments on many websites that are self-righteous, unkind, derisive, even cruel or vicious. Freedom of speech doesn't mean we are to disregard decency, courtesy, civility, and freely say things to hurt others. This lack of self-control among present-day politicians, the news media, and people in general exposes the big ego problem we have, for speaking out makes us feel important. St. James calls the tongue a restless evil full of deadly poison that needs to be tamed. We need to listen to God more and not to criticize so readily.
Everything about God is beautiful, most of all his love. He makes us all beautiful. He has so made us that we appreciate beauty. We sense the beauty of our faith in him. We discover greater beauty as we enter deeper into him. There can be no beauty without God!
The union of two souls in harmony is a beautiful thing, but there are just no perfect soul mates on earth as no two people are identical. Union with God is not only beautiful, but also perfect because one can surrender to God and there will be only one will, effecting perfect harmony. Next best would be the union of two souls both already in union with God, such as exists between two saints.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Continually reading the diary of Elisabeth Leseur, I am further impressed by her special love for those who needs God's love the most. She also writes that he who has ceased to love is not a Christian, is not a disciple of Christ, and that there is no exception to this rule. A strong statement, but she's right. If I do not serve the Lord with any zeal, I am not really a true Christian. We need to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then we'll die happy and ready to receive our reward in heaven.
We normally read what Jesus says in the Gospels as something said by someone in a remote land some two thousand years ago. But if you picture yourself at the scene, watching him and hearing his every word, you'll get the impact as his disciples did then. Now you easily see that he is speaking as our Lord and Savior.
Went to morning Mass. I started with complete emptiness because I wanted Jesus to fill all of me. When I received him in the Holy Eucharist, I was so filled and fulfilled that I had this "holy" feeling, a feeling the world cannot give and to which all other good feelings pale into insignificance in comparison. God is truly our enjoyment!
I have started reading The Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, subtitled The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest. Elisabeth (1861-1914), a holy, French woman, used her husband Felix's efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God. When she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever. Then he found her diary and was transformed after reading it. In 1915, he reconciled to the Catholic faith and became, later, a priest. I expect to be inspired by reading her beautiful writing myself. So far I've been impressed by her special love for those whose birth or religion or ideas separate them from her. We Christians must let love reign over all other considerations because God is love.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Today's Gospel reading, Luke 7.1-10, tells the story of the healing of the centurion's slave. Based upon what the centurion essentially said to Jesus, we now say at Mass before receiving Holy Communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I see the greatest and perfect relationship to be the ideal relationship between God and man: we no longer question God, and feeling unworthy, we trust in God and he takes care of us.
In both Matthew 9 and Mark 5, a woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind Jesus, saying to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured." She touched the tassel on his cloak and was immediately cured. We need to be open and desire to touch the Lord. Once that contact is made, we are on our way to healing and freedom.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The second reading came from Philippians 2. Excerpts: "Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God .... Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness ... he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ...." You see how God loves humility. We now know how to be exalted by God.
Anyone who does not know God knows of only one god, himself. The reason people do not easily accept or surrender to Jesus after learning about him is not that he is false, but that he is or could very well turn out to be the true God, thereby posing a threat to anyone who has all along considered himself to be the only god.
Friday, September 13, 2013
The "danger" of prayer is that we are tempted to take it as an easy way out, thinking that we've done our part. Jesus, to show that he has the authority to forgive the sins of the paralytic lying on a stretcher, healed the man by ordering him to rise, pick up the stretcher, and go home. To show that we mean what we pray for, we also need to back up our intention with action if possible. If I pray for the sick around me and have the time, but do not make an effort to visit any of them, then I am a hypocrite. If I say I am pro-life but do not try to participate in any activities, then again, I am being hypocritical. In Matthew 5.41, Jesus taught, "Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles." We need to go that extra mile beyond our prayer.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
We are the only creatures who are capable of conceiving God, visualizing his beauty, admiring his perfection, sensing his holiness, feeling his love, and being in awe of him. We are special in God's creation because we were made in his image to be loved by him.
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Luke 6. Jesus said to his disciples, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."
All this is not easy for us to follow. Then it struck me that the Lord would not teach us what he is not ~ so he really was telling us about himself. Therefore, to follow him is to imitate him.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
God could be just a powerful being, creating the universe and all sorts of inanimate things. Then he also created things that have life, plants and animals ~ this shows that he has another aspect. Since we were created in the image of God, we were able to relate to God to some extent until Jesus came and made it clear that God is pure love. Now we have the ideal God, a God who has unlimited power of creation and an infinite love for us, his creature. What a blessing!
One can believe that we evolved from monkeys (not my belief) or we might not be alone because there is likely life on other planets, but nothing should distract us from the fact that God loves us, here and now, and that nothing can ever separate us from his love in Christ (Romans 8). As long as God exists, we'll be loved since God is love.
Jesus said the following on discipleship: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16.24), "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14.26). Surrendering to Jesus is meeting these conditions and entering the narrow gate and embarking on the road that leads to life. It's a spiritual breakthrough, the beginning of living a new life in union with Christ.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Evil spirits do not respect your free will. When one of them invades a soul, it wants to take over and dominate that soul completely. While God calls us, teaches us, consoles us, he never forces himself upon us for love does not intrude. In other words, evil spirits are oppressive and God always liberative.
God is our greatest friend; in fact, the only friend we need. With him, you are never alone. As you do his will, he supports you all the way. Therefore, we should focus on him alone, not on anyone else or ourselves. Just you and God, together, forming the greatest partnership in the whole universe.
Monday, September 9, 2013
It turns out that my last post did not express my last thought of the day. I am thinking about what constitutes consolation. Suppose I am terminally ill or in some other distressful situation and my family and friends come to show their concern and sympathy, I would appreciate that, but whatever consolation I receive would only be momentary. I feel that true consolation is received only when God is also consoled. This means that his will is being followed. The Lord is the only one who can truly console us in this life and unquestionably the next.
Last thought today. The quick way to achieve peace both within and without us is to believe in Jesus and listen to him, but most people will have none of that. Eventually, some of them do learn the truth the hard way when they are down and out or in their last hour. This is why the world is so unhappy, being lost for not following the truth.
I'll always remember the time before I knew the Lord how spooky I felt every time I saw a dead body or thought about death. But God changed all that. The Crucifixion of Christ followed by his Resurrection is so glorious that it took away my fear of death. The faces of deceased saints now look just beautiful as when they were alive. The fact is that God banishes all fears, not just the fear of death. The only justified fear should be that of losing God (if you can call this concern a fear).
Communion time thoughts. God is an all kind of Being ~ he wants to give us all his love, he wants to possess all of us, and he wants to save us all! Union with us is his most ardent desire. This is why when we desire union, we experience the most beautiful transformation of our lives. Let us give the Lord our all.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
On YouTube, you get to watch many excellent music videos. On one video Andras Schiff talks about Beethoven's last piano sonata, Op. 111, which is abstract and spiritual to me and described as transcendental by Schiff. On another, he talks about Schubert, his favorite composer, and considers his songs transcendental too. Schubert indeed wrote some 600 beautiful songs. What I see is that we can be transcendental too by loving God, for performing a good deed for the Lord is as transcendental as creating a beautiful work, if not more so.
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/tags/pope-francis/: This is the site "Pope Francis ~ Latest News" listed under my Good Sites, Blogs, Web Pages.... I am very much impressed and inspired by what the Holy Father has said ~ so many gems of wisdom spoken simply from his heart directly to ours. Then I think of all the saints of the Church. They range from great intellectual minds, theologians, popes, mystics, high ranking officials at one end to the simple religious, hidden or in the world, and ordinary hardworking folks in the middle, and to uneducated peasants and youngsters at the other end. Their common denominator is the love of God. This shows that no matter who you are and what your background is, you can be a saint too if you love God enough.
I went to vigil Mass yesterday. After receiving Holy Communion, I saw that the more we are in spiritual union with God in this life, the better are we prepared for entering heaven. A perfect transition happens when you bypass purgatory altogether. This should be what we all aim for for the love of God.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 6, Jesus let the Pharisees know that he is the Lord of the sabbath. Of course, Jesus is the Lord of us all and everything else. In Matthew 7, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father in heaven." Therefore, to make Jesus truly our Lord, we need to surrender to him, achieving our goal of union with him.
I had the home-sweet-home feeling this morning at church for Mass. We all feel good at our home, but this feeling was even sweeter. Our home on earth provides only temporary, physical comfort with no permanent, absolute protection ~ this is the difference. What I felt this morning in church was that God is my home!
Today Pope Francis leads the world in fasting and praying for peace in Syria. War and violence will not bring us peace as long as the human heart does not have love. And this love must be unlimited or it cannot be love. Jesus has revealed to us that the love of our heavenly Father is truly infinite ~ he is the only one who commands us to love our enemies and love our neighbor as ourselves. The bombings, killings, and fighting going on daily around the world only show how so far the world is from knowing the true God. Pray hard for peace and conversion.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Quoting Leon Bloy again: "The only tragedy of life is not to become a saint." Sometimes I feel that I have not done enough for the Lord. Then the Lord makes me see that my sole concern should be to follow him faithfully every step of the way ~ the rest is all up to him. Again, it's how we do it, not how much we do (back to St. Therese's Little Way).
Pope Francis during his inaugural address to the cardinal electors said, "When one does not confess Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the expression of Leon Bloy: 'He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.' When one does not confess Jesus Christ, one confesses the worldliness of the devil." [Leon Bloy (1846-1917) was a French novelist, critic, polemicist who became a fervent Roman Catholic convert.] In the same address Pope Francis also said, "When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross, and when we confess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord."
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Today's Gospel reading was Luke 5:1-11. After Jesus had finished teaching the crowds from a boat that belonged to Simon (Peter), he asked Simon to put the boat out into deep water and lower his nets for a catch. Simon and his partners had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, he lower the nets at Jesus' command. They caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to the partners in a second boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, including James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
First they were astonished by Jesus, then they realized their own sinfulness. Finally, they left everything and followed him. What a glorious awakening, a glorious breakthrough! We all need such an occasion in our lives.
In last Sunday's Gospel reading from Luke 14 at Mass, Jesus tells a parable to teach people humility. He says that when you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, "My friend, move up to a higher position." Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. Jesus is right because if everyone in the world humbles himself, we'll have peace in the world. This teaching is in line with his teachings on not judging others, forgiving your brothers, loving your enemies, turning the other cheek. In life, things continuously do not turn out the way we have expected due to unforeseen circumstances, unreliable people, etc. Our choice is to accept our "lowest place at the table" so that things may get better or continuously fight for "the place of honor at the table" and remain in turmoil. To be humble is hard but the right thing to do. And with the Lord's example and help, it's definitely possible.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
As we said the Lord's Prayer in preparation for receiving Holy Communion at Mass this morning, I realized that saying this prayer is acknowledging our total dependence upon the Lord and I was filled with peace. After receiving Holy Communion, I saw living in the house of the Lord forever after this life and my peace deepened. Jesus truly gives us peace and joy when we live for him as he had promised.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Some people say that all religions are the same ~ they all lead you to God. This is one of the most irresponsible and misguided statements I've ever heard. There can be but one truth about the true God. So we have the truth, which we shouldn't consider a religion, and the various religions. If all religions are the same, does this mean following any of the numerous religious belief systems out there is OK? Of course not, because they even contradict each other. Mind you, a religion that teaches even one single error can no longer be the truth. Saying that all religions lead one to God is also nonsensical. I do agree that any good person due to no fault of their own can be saved even if they don't know the truth ~ but why take the chance? To me, the Catholic faith is the absolute truth for the many reasons I've mentioned on this blog. I must add that to be sure of being saved, one must be a faithful Catholic, not just one in name only.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Today's Communion experience. When I received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it was the meeting of heaven and earth, creator and creature, the infinite and the finite, the holy and the sinful ~ I had no choice but to let every particle of me surrender to the Lord.
Recently after I got hurt physically, friends, well-wishers, called to express their concern. That was nice, but there's nothing they could do about it. I know that some of them did pray for me, then any help I'd received still came from God. What I am trying to say is that everything is in God's hands and our only sensible choice is to put our trust in him. This is the acknowledgement we must first make if we want to save the world. It would be the beginning of showing our humility before God. Without it, the world is doomed.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
In today's Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus also advises that when we hold a banquet, we should invite those who do not have the ability to repay us, then we shall be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. This is storing up treasures in heaven and we expect receiving our repayment in heaven too! The faithful Christian does not live for this life, for his heart is already with the Lord in heaven and he expects all his expectations to be met later too.
Today's Gospel came from Luke 14. The main lesson from the parable Jesus told is "every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." You may find his teaching and counsels throughout the Gospels hard to accept and follow, but if everyone obeys them, we'll have peace in the world! This is how we know that he is right.