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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Hope in Christ

        Happy Easter to all my readers! May Jesus draw each one of you deep into him where you'll find peace and freedom. "Deep" is the word here. Pray deep too ~ pray with all your heart and you words will go deep into the heart of God. Take full advantage of the Lord's mercy and love! 
        I'd like to end with what Pope Francis said in his Easter message: "We ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, and war into peace." Amen.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Secret of Gaining Eternal Life

        Water tends to run downhill by itself. And it's always easier to tear something down than to build it up. Similarly, to lose eternal life is practically effortless and to gain it is not so. It's been said that the road to heaven is both narrow and steep. So how can we make it? Answer: We need to hook up with God first. Once he is with us, he will do all the work, making the impossible possible for us. It's both simple and logical. (Union with God hooks us up with God in the most secure way.) 

God Has Shown His Love

        If you truly love someone, you wouldn't mind dying for that person should the occasion compelling you to make such a choice arises. Of course, God lives forever and cannot die. Therefore, to show that he truly loves us, he sent his Son to become one of us so that he might experience death in this life. Naturally, Jesus had to rise from death, for he is eternal like the Father. This all makes perfect sense to me now.   

Pre-Easter Thoughts

        I've been doing Way of the Cross, using Pope Benedict XVI's meditations and prayers. I would like to borrow some of the his thoughts from the meditations he wrote for the Seventh and Ninth Stations, which are "Jesus falls for the second time" and "Jesus falls for the third time," respectively. 
        We have fallen too, fallen miserably short of loving the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind. People of today in general no longer believe in anything; they simply drift through life, having built a new kind of paganism. In attempting to do away with God, they have ended up with doing away with man. Christians have also fallen away from Christ into a godless secularism. Do we ever think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the Holy Sacrament of his Presence abused when he must enter empty and evil hearts! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many words! How much filth there is in the Church, even among those in priesthood who ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise up whenever we fall! Jesus is enduring his greatest suffering right now! Let's call to him from the depths of our hearts: Lord, save us.    

Friday, March 29, 2013

Changed Outlook

        Father M who gave the homily at today's Liturgy told that when he and a Jewish college friend attended a Catholic wedding of a mutual friend together (this was before he became a priest), his friend was "horrified" to see the ceremony held in the presence of the big crucifix in the church. Whereas we Catholics see in the crucifix the love of God for us, suffering made meaningful, the obedience of Christ, our liberation by him; and we adore the Lord on the cross! It just shows how God can completely change our outlook. 

Reason for Not Believing

        The love of Jesus is so great that the only reason some people do not believe in him has to be that they do not see the goodness of him yet.

"Good Friday" Thoughts

        At the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at noon today, I heard John 18:1 ~ 19:42 read. The long reading started with Jesus Arrested, followed by Peter's First Denial, The Inquiry before Annas, Peter Denied Jesus Again, The Trial before Pilate, The Crucifixion of Jesus, The Blood and Water, and ended with The Burial of Jesus. Against Jesus, the sinless one, the words spoken and actions taken by all the characters and the people involved clearly showed that they committed sins of various gravities. The Lord's Passion was a sad story to hear, but since I already knew why Jesus went through all that, I also felt the underlying joy. We have hope of eternal life all because of him! Calling this Friday "Good Friday" seems to make good sense to me today.

Ego and Trust

        These two are mutually exclusive. As long as I have some ego in me, I am still playing god against God, so this rules out placing my complete trust in God. Even with ego absent, I must still take the step to trust in God. Then I shall be liberated. Anyway, by seeking union with God, both ego and trust will be taken care of. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Perfect Way for Us

        I attended the 7 p.m. Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper. During Eucharistic Prayer, a string of names of various saints with whom we are in communion was read. When I heard it, I realized how each of the saints fittingly glorified God. The Lord made me see then that the perfect and only way for us to live is to also glorify him and that we are to follow in the footsteps of these saints.

Learning to Love

        It is easy to rest in and enjoy the love of God, but it's not always easy to apply this love in engaging with others. Yes, God's love invigorates and purifies me; but what I still need is for the Holy Spirit to teach me how to love others, especially those closest to me within the family, with understanding and patience. Losing my cool shows that I haven't trusted in God all the way yet. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Know Jesus First

        Know Jesus first, then you'll know what to say and how to act, and you'll feel natural in any circumstances. 

On Living Our Life

        We must live an interior life with humility for God and never live an exterior life to impress others. Let this interior life take care of how we are going to live exteriorly. In short, live for God alone. 

Rejecting Sin

        After receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist at Mass this morning, I asked him to keep me safe by granting me a strong aversion to all sins.   

Pursuit Within Reach of All

        Athletes train hard to break records and win medals. Bodybuilders exercise hard to look good and win contests. Musicians practice hard to master their instruments and win competitions. Intellectuals study hard to earn advanced degrees and win honors. Scientists think hard to make new discoveries and achieve breakthroughs in their fields. All of us can love God "hard" to enjoy peace and freedom in this life and eternal bliss in the next.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Learning from God

        As one yearns for God, he is eager to learn from him. All knowledge learned from the world tends to puff one's ego, while knowledge the Lord imparts refreshes the soul.

Lost and Found Souls

        A lost soul does not know the truth, so he does not even know that he is lost, while a soul who has been found by God is a saved soul and the soul knows it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sign of Ego Presence

        Disliking yourself is being unhappy with the work of God who made you. It is not loving God enough yet. It shows you have not fully reconciled with the Lord, and it definitely shows the presence of ego (pride). 

No Fear in Love

        1 John 4.18: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." Accepting God's love fully dispels the fear of carrying any cross that might come our way, thus making us comfortable in any situation.

A Peace Plan

        As long as you feed your ego, you won't have peace. Therefore, starve it by living alone in Jesus to become "isolated" from all others. Remember what Jesus said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Transformation Slow but Sure

        In one's spiritual journey, there are moments of experiencing a sudden or relatively rapid transformation. For example, I call recall the moment of accepting Jesus into my life, entering the Church and receiving the Holy Eucharist for the first time, or asking the Holy Spirit to baptize me. Most of the time though, the desired change takes place gradually. It becomes palpable when you notice that you react more calmly in a certain test situation. You then feel gratitude and joy that God has fulfilled your desire. And an imperturbable interior peace follows.          

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jesus' Loveliness

        Communion experience. Jesus' loveliness was so compelling that it made me want to be more like him.

Loving God Naturally

        When you go to a tailor to get your garment altered and he does a good job, you are pleased and want to go back to him again because you now trust him. It's the same with letting God change you. You ask for it and he does just that. You are now deeply satisfied and you love him even more.    

Only One Truth

        Judeo-Christianity alone holds the belief that there is only one God from the very beginning. Then Jesus, the Son of God, came among us to reveal God's love for us, and the Church he established safeguards his revelations from the time of Peter, the first pope, to that of Francis, our current pope. Any additional "revelation" about God coming from any source outside the Church is not needed, and in fact, should be rejected. This is what I believe.  

Work of Ego

        Judging others in order to exalt yourself. 

Be Dead to Sin

        Didn't get to blog yesterday due to visiting guests. The Communion Antiphon yesterday was 1 Peter 2.24: "Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that, dead to sin, we might love for righteousness. By his wounds we have been healed. What caught my attention were the words "dead to sin." We ought to be dead to sin, but there are minor sins that can easily escape our notice because of the presence of ego. The loss of interior peace should indicate that we have slipped in some way. Then a quick examination of conscience is in order. The more you of aware of your sins, the more you'd appreciate God's perfection. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ego Theory

        Every time after I've had a thought or said something and lose peace, I sense or know that the cause is the presence of ego. Test it yourself to see if you feel the same. I say that there is a genuine you in you and the ego turns you into a phony you. Anytime you think or speak as the phony you, you lose your peace. If you don't have any ego, that means you no longer play god. Then you acknowledge that there is only one God and you can't help but trust in him. And trust leads to peace. In short, be the genuine you and you'll have perfect peace.

Learning to Trust

        There were days when I didn't have much to post and then a lot more to post the following day. I never try to think up something to post ~ the thoughts come spontaneously. I have finally stopped wondering if I'll have something to post the next day. I must believe that God will always provide what I need at all times.  After all, what I need is what he needs. In Matthew 6, Jesus told us not to worry about our life or tomorrow, and that God even takes care of the birds which do not sow or reap and the wild flowers which do not work or spin.   

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Freedom in God

        To enter God, we give up our will. Once in him, his will is our will, then we can do whatever we want. Hence, in God, we have complete freedom.

Entering Jesus

        Communion time thought. Jesus enters me when I receive Holy Communion. When I succeed in entering him, then we'll be in each other and have union.

Most Powerful Gift

        The Holy Eucharist is not just a nice gift given by the Lord for us to remember him by, it is in fact a most powerful gift that can change our lives and draw us into spiritual union with him. 

Essential Sacraments

        Without the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we cannot be sure that we have been fully forgiven by God. Without the Blessed Sacrament, we cannot be sure that we have attained full union with God. 

That Levitation Feeling

        Saints such as Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross have been known to levitate. When I am detached from all things of the world, I am no longer shackled to the world. And I feel so light, as if I have levitated. 

Union Is Perfect Match

        God already loves us. When we love him, we have a perfect match. And this is what union is about.

Blinding Love

        The Prodigal Son parable shows how much our heavenly Father loves us. He's forever waiting for us to turn or return to him. Picture him with welcoming arms stretched far apart, ready to embrace us and hold us tight against his bosom. The joy he feels must far exceeds what we experience when he receives us back, for his love for us is far greater than our love for him. This love is blinding because the Father is so overjoyed at our return that he doesn't see our sins anymore. At the same time, this overwhelming love also "blinds" us because it's so dazzling.   

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In Union with Each Other

        When you carry a burden for God, he carries that burden for you.

Stark Contrast

        Be humble and God will notice you and protect you.  
        Be egotistical and Satan will notice you and attack you.    
        Let God possess you and he will keep you free.
        Let Satan possess you and he will keep you enslaved.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why I Love God

        I love my God. Of course, we know that he is love and he loves us. Putting that aside, I love him for these additional reasons. He does not make everything too easy for us. If he did, I don't think I would particularly appreciate it. Instead, he challenges us, at the same time, always remaining gentle. He wants us to realize on our own that his ways are right and superior. He makes all his challenges possible for us to meet because he secretly assists us when we accept them. In meeting each challenge, we learn that his love is even greater than what we had imagined. Finally, we would gladly die in the burning flames of his love.    

The Dancing Heart

        Communion experience today. I don't know how to dance, but my heart danced with great joy in anticipation of receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One Right Move

        It is true that one mistake can cost one his whole life. Around three dozen inmates were present at today's prison Communion service. Not all of them were career criminals; some might have made just one wrong move and ended up getting locked up for life. But there's always one bright hope for all of us. By turning our hearts to the merciful God, we can still get to enjoy eternal life later. In sum, one right move can wipe out what all our mistakes cost us.   

Journey of Love

        Life is a mystery until you know Christ. Life is not fulfilled until you find love. Since Jesus turns out to be love, life is fulfilled once you find him. So you search for love, you find love, and you fall in love with love ~ your spiritual journey is now one of love.       

Life's Journey

        This is what life's journey is like. A person is born into this secular lost world. He encounters confusion from the outset. He starts to seek the meaning of life and he may or may not find it. He may find the wrong god or he may find the true God. But the mercy of the true God is great ~ he still saves those who are good people even though through no fault of their own, they do not know the true God. I know that some of you out there would disagree, believing that if you don't accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you cannot be saved. All I can say is that I believe my God is a lot more merciful. Anyway, the happiest and most blessed person is the one who searches, finds Jesus, and believes. Anyone who has not found Jesus to be the true God won't be able to tell you all the above.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Receiving Happiness

        Today's Communion experience. Jesus is the source of my happiness and I received him again. I became happy unto death. 

Dealing with Sin

        I attended vigil Mass today as I got called to conduct a Communion service at a nearby prison tomorrow morning. The Gospel reading was read from John 8, the story of the woman caught in adultery, which I referred to in my last post. At the end, no one dared to condemn her. Jesus told her that he did not condemn her either and asked her not to sin anymore. How good it was to hear the Lord say something like that. 
        The homily given by Father M. triggered the following thoughts. When I was a little boy, I did not have any concept of God. Yet every time I did something to hurt my younger sisters, I knew I was wrong and tried hard to hide the fact each time. It just shows that we all have a God-given conscience. As I grew older, I came to understand what sin was, and felt the shame each time after I sinned. As I got to know God even better, sinning started to cause greater interior turmoil. Since God is all-knowing and merciful, the only way out is to face reality by asking for his forgiveness and help. Blessed indeed is the one who's in union with God, for he is so absorbed in the Lord that sin loses all its attraction.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Considering Ourselves First

        Against judging others, Jesus wants us to perceive the wooden beam in our own eye before noticing the splinter in our brother's eye. Then we are to remove the beam from our own eye first so that we may see clearly to remove the splinter in our brother's eye. Jesus taught the same lesson when he said to those who thought that they should stone the woman caught in adultery, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." In other words, we are to become saints first if we want to find fault in others. Then if we were saints, we would stop judging others altogether. Here's a case of "giving ourselves first consideration."   

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Is the Person...

who uses all his talents to serve God faithfully and not envy anyone who has achieved great success in the world, for he knows that he is storing up treasures in heaven and the other person is merely building an impressive-looking sand castle on earth.

Warm Welcome to New Holy Father

        I am most happy that we have now Pope Francis to shepherd the flock. He is known to have been a humble person and humility showed when he asked the crowds to bless him before he blessed them. We may have another St. Francis of Assisi here. Humility is what the world sorely needs. In the United States and other relatively affluent countries where people are well-informed, it is easy to form strong opinions about everything. We think we know so much that we stop listening to others ~ you start seeing this in our teenagers. People often remind you that this is a free country and start saying whatever they want to say. The comments you read online on even noncontroversial subjects show how extreme the views can be. The public mentality today is "do not tell me what to do," yet these same people are quick to judge and criticize others. Every nation wants to be No. 1 in the world, but No. 1 to the world could be last place in God's eyes. Then we don't even mention God in public anymore, so who cares what God thinks, right? Humility is no longer evident in the world because the secular world perceives it as a weakness, not knowing that God exalts the humble. The new Holy Father may be the breath of fresh air and tonic we need at this time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A View on Abortion

        I was holding up signs outside an abortion clinic this morning. I got to talk to some fellow pro-life workers. One Barry points out that Satan's goal is to destroy the Church, so he starts off with eliminating the priests. No priests, no Holy Eucharist, then no Mass, and no more Church ~ this is the order of his plan. Fifty-five million abortions have been performed in this country since abortion was legalized 50 years ago. Perhaps 10,000, 5,000, or at the least 1,000 potential priests have been snuffed out? Whatever the number, abortions is definitely what Satan wants. This is a valid point of view and I agree with Barry. We must fight the evil of abortion. Please pray for life.     

God Must Be Our Lord

        God is to be lord over everything about us. Even the zeal for God placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit is to be regulated by him. Otherwise, we risk repelling others from God. When there is no more rebellion in us, we can finally enjoy our inner peace.

Let God Teach Us!

        Learning from God is always delightful and uplifting because he shapes the heart and enlightens the mind. If we yearn to know him, he will reveal his wisdom and ways to us, mystically. His teaching has the power of drawing us into his life and his world, and we are never the same again. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

From My Deathbed

        On August 12 last year, I posted "My Funeral Wishes." Now I am posting "From My Deathbed" (not from my deathbed, not yet). Am I being morbid? No, not at all. On the contrary, I celebrate my eventual death because it is my passage to eternal life with the beloved Father in heaven! I imagine I would probably say to my loved ones standing around my bed before my departure something like this: 
        "Dear ones, please be happy that I am leaving for paradise. My most ardent wish is that I shall see all of you again in heaven. Life is short, so choose your destiny early. God's mercy is infinite, but you must accept it. A lukewarm faith is not good enough. Love God with all your heart so that you may not suffer eternal separation from him. Let God's love come over you so that you may experience peace, freedom, and joy ~ to this I can testify. I say all these things because I love you and because the Father loves you; I only want the best for you. Please pray for me, for yourselves, and for the world."         

Monday, March 11, 2013

God Knows What's Best

        In this morning's Gospel reading from John 4 at Mass, a royal official asked Jesus to heal his son who was near death. Without going, Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said and left. Later he found out that his son began to recover just at the time Jesus said to him, "You son will live." We know that recovery does not always happen when we pray for someone who is ill. There is no question that only God knows and gives what is best for us. Naturally, the best for us has to be eternal life with him in heaven. Therefore, however God answers our prayer, we can be sure that he has this intention.    

On Evil Ego

        You hear said "Money is at the root of all evil," not "Money is evil." Yet I can say that "Ego is evil." Ego wants to make yourself god over God. You will not have inner peace as long as ego is present. Humility is the antidote to ego and seeking union with God is the solution to the problem. (By the way, egoists make Satan's best targets.)

Taking Care of Jesus

        Early this morning, I woke up after midnight and Jesus was present. I realized that he is my God and also my brother and friend ~ this combination made me love him so much that I wanted to "take care of" him. It means that I want to make sure the he is happy and loved by all. The least I could do is to love him myself with all my heart and hopefully inspire others to love him too. Loving Jesus should be our joy.    

Sunday, March 10, 2013

God's Certain Love for Us

        Today's Gospel reading at Mass is the well-known Parable of the Prodigal son from Luke 15. For me, this is the most beautiful, moving parable ever addressed by Jesus. The story has inspired numerous writers and artists. Perhaps the current best-known book is The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen, named after the renowned painting by Rembrandt. Pure love is made clear only through action. The greatest example we have is Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. In the parable, how the father welcomes the return of the lost son shows exactly how our heavenly Father loves all of us. You can be certain that this is true because it is firsthand information from Jesus who came from the Father and is God! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Amazing Union

        God is perfect, pure, and free, while we are imperfect, sinful, and enslaved. What is amazing is that when we enter union with God, we lose all we have and win God. 

Self-Justification Unjustified

        For Christians, self-justification has no place in their lives. They are what they are, and God sees all and is the one to judge them. Any self-justification done is simply effort wasted. 

The Humility Connection

       Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Luke 18. Jesus addressed a parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. In the story a Pharisee and a tax collector went up to the temple area to pray. The Pharisee took up his position and prayed, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity ~ greedy, dishonest, adulterous ~ or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income." But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus told that the latter went home justified, not the former. Then came the punch line: "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." 
       It is clear that being self-righteous amounts to self-glorification, succumbing to one's own pride, while remaining humble keeps you connected to God.

The Christian Concern

        Since God is love, if we love God, all we need to do is to imitate him, which is, to love as he loves. The only concern we have is whether we love enough. 

Duality of Being Christian

        A Christian is both timid and bold ~ timid because he realizes that he is finite before God; bold because God empowers him. A Christian is both humble and proud ~ humble because God is great to him; proud because he has God. A Christian is both invisible and visible ~ invisible because he hides himself in God; visible because God dwells in him. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Answering the Vocation of Loving God

        How can we love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength? Surely, if we strain with all our might, it's not going to work because it has to come from the heart. And we are blessed that the Lord is our heart specialist. All we need to do is to let him see this sincere desire in our hearts and he will happily fulfill our wish. It's that simple.

Our Overriding Vocation

        People consider whether they should become a religious or a married person, an engineer or a lawyer, to go to work or to stay home, etc. The Lord has made it clear to me that the overriding vocation for each one of us is to love God with all our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength. This is not a choice but our duty. It is the purpose of life. We can not be happy and free without fulfilling this duty. And this is absolutely true. 

Do What Truly Matters

        Now long ago, I saw the documentary on the birth of Silicon Valley in Northern California on PBS TV. It began not long after Fairchild Seimconductor in the late 1950s started revolutionizing the transistor industry and created the first silicon integrated circuit. Within a decade, the company dominated the IC market. Then internal troubles began to surface the company earnings dropped. One by one the original founders of the company left to form their own companies that grew to prominence in the 1970s. Intel was also born in that period. Other entrepreneurs swarmed to the region to start their own businesses and Silicon Valley was born. All this was very interesting and the achievements in the scientific field were impressive. Fortunes rose and fell. The documentary was very much like a movie. What truly matters is not how successful these pioneers were, how they are remembered, or how long there are going to be remembered. Where are they now? My personal aim has been shifted to building up treasures in heaven. In Mt 6:19, 20, Jesus said: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal." This kind of vision reaches infinitely beyond what any brilliant scientist, inventor, or entrepreneur can hope to accomplish because it came directly from God. Aim high to reach high. 

Perfect Letting-Go Moment

        This is right after I receive Holy Communion with the Lord still melting in my mouth. It is the perfect (easiest) time for me to cast away all my cares and put my entire trust in Jesus.

God, Logical to Love

        What one thing would you be willing to embrace, to hold onto, and to even die for? If I say Love, I believe that you would agree with me that it is the logical answer. Then God is Love. In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Mark 12, Jesus gave the two greatest commandments, the first of which is: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (The second: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Being Exalted by God

        When I receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, I am letting the Lord exalt me!

Most Satisfying "Job"

        This evening I attended a holy hour for vocations to the priesthood and religious life at a nearby chapel. The presiding priest mentioned that a survey showed that those who were most satisfied with their job turned out to be clergy and the religious, because their hearts are undivided. Then we who are lay persons can be equally satisfied with living our lives if we devote ourselves to loving God single-mindedly.   

Surrendering to God Is...

          (1) obeying God always. Each one of us is a prodigal son or daughter, so why delay our return to the love of the Father?
        (2) to give Jesus our heart. Where our heart is, there we'll be also. What an excellent way to go to him to be with him!

No Judging for Us

        Today's reading at Mass was taken from Luke 11. Jesus drove out a demon that was mute and some of the people thought that Jesus did it by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. This reminds me of how the press report about the election of a new Pope ~ all they see are politics and intrigue taking place behind the scene. 
        To judge others is always the easiest thing to do. In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus taught all not to judge others. He asked, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye." Therefore, we need to examine (not judge) ourselves first so that we may not judge others.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Blessed Sacrament Unifies

        In preparation for electing the next successor to St. Peter's chair, cardinals around the world are already in Rome attending the conclave. I was just watching on EWTN the College of Cardinals praying in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. After they finished praying the Holy Rosary, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharist) followed. When I watched all the cardinals kneeling before it, worshiping, the Lord made me see at that moment that it's the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that holds the Church together! Witness how Christians without the Blessed Sacrament split into innumerable denominations. 

All About Life

        Communion Experience. When I saw the consecrated bread and wine held high by the priest while saying the doxology, I knew that I was looking at the Lord, the one with whom I am going to spend my eternal life, and all anxieties vanished. As I received the Lord, I knew that I was receiving life itself and felt eternally grateful. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Not Looking at Jesus

        Not looking at Jesus is both easy and hard. It is easy because you are doing OK on your own, you don't have time, you don't need someone to tell you what to do, and besides, he may make you feel uncomfortable. It is hard because you do want to know the meaning of life, you do wonder about life after death, sometimes you feel that you need direction and help you don't find in the world, and lastly, you find it hard to ignore him because maybe he is the true God he said he was. Make the right choice and everything will turn out right for you. 

Dying to Live

        I've started reading Pope Benedict XVI's Way of Cross, trying to do one station a day. The Holy Father quotes John 12:24 in the presentation at the beginning: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." This is beautiful truth, both simple and profound. Each one of us is a grain of wheat. First, we need Jesus. Then if we meet him, but do not die, we remain the same. If we die in him, we experience great joy because we are born again, being transformed into new, beautiful, creatures in full freedom. To die in Christ once is to live forever!

Learning to Forgive

        Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 18. Jesus taught Peter to forgive his brother who sins against him not just seven times, but seventy-seven times. Remember in the Lord's Prayer, we say: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"? Forgiving others can be most difficult, but forgive we must! Here's the solution. Just as realizing the immensity of the universe can humble us, discovering the greatness and beauty of God can makes us forget all our troubles. Therefore, seek union with God and he will make us as forgiving as he. When you experience the peace afterwards, you'll know that you've done God's will!

Man in Contrast to God

        In meditating upon the Sorrowful Mysteries early this morning while walking on a treadmill at the gym, I saw Jesus remaining calm, quiet, humble, and obedient to the will of the Father throughout his suffering from Agony in the Garden to his Crucifixion. Then I looked up and saw the commercial being played on the TV mounted directly ahead on the wall, showing a bunch of people dressed in all kinds of weird costumes, acting crazily like buffoons. Since there was no sound, I didn't know what product was being pushed, but what I saw couldn't have provided a greater contrast. 

Surrender and Be Transformed

        Again, Caryll Houselander wrote in her A Rocking Horse Catholic that ordinary people who are not saints rarely surrender themselves to God wholly. It's likely to be a more gradual process; it may be only after many Communions that they will even begin to know God as He really is, well enough to dare to abandon themselves to and for Him. [Based upon the experiences of the saints, we can confidently surrender to God with readiness.] She concluded that if we offer ourselves and let God transform us into Himself, we shall see the world with Christ's eyes, rejoice in it with His zest for life, and love it with His Heart. [This is what union with God is all about.]

Monday, March 4, 2013

God's Merciful Heart

        Communion experience. Again I heard the familiar words of Jesus during consecration of the bread and wine: "Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body which will be given up for you" and "Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me." These struck me as words from someone with a most selfless, tender, and merciful heart. 

Falling in Love with God

        In this world we view a couple in love as the luckiest two people ~ they are aware of only each other, ecstatic in each other, so happy that they love everyone else too. Exactly the same thing happens when you are in love with God, albeit the feelings are on the spiritual level. So, be open and let the immense ocean of God's love sweep you off your feet.

Letting God Transform Us

        Continuing reading Houselander's A Rocking Horse Catholic, I find that some of her experiences resonate with mine. We both experienced the healing power of the Blessed Sacrament. She was healed of her psychological suffering. We both agree that at the "touch of God," an unhappy person incapable of living fully can recover to live gloriously. Her description of surrendering to God for the saint was quite beautiful: "...a tremendous fling of the heart, comparable to a leap into the fire of eternal Love, to burn with its heat, to take the radiance of its light..." We also concur that once the soul (my word) is healed, we can begin to enjoy life and everything (I would say "enjoy God"). I like her pointing out that this change is as secret and as real as the Body and Blood of Christ; no one sees any change, but what happens is the work of God. Let union with God be his work in us.

Forgotten Commandments

        This morning one BBC news story on lethal weapons was titled "Robot warriors: Lethal machines coming of age." The era of fighting wars with killer robots is approaching. This made me realize how far we had forgotten about the Commandment "You shall not kill." I looked at the list of all Ten Commandments and it came somewhat as a shock to see that the other nine were equally ignored by most of the world. 

Understanding God's Mercy

         The great mercy of God was made amply clear by Jesus in the parable of the lost (prodigal) son. In the true story of the woman caught in adultery, the infinite mercy of God was again clear. When the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus to test him by asking what he says to Moses' commandment  that such woman be stoned according to the law, Jesus said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." In response, one by one they went away. Jesus, left alone with the women, asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, from now on do not sin any more." 
        We see that no matter how sinful we may be, Jesus is not ready to condemn us yet until we've had every chance for repentance and reform. (This is one reason why we should not judge anyone, period.) Since we don't know how long we are going to live nor how we are going to die, it would be wise for us to repent and reform right after sinning each time. Repentance is the key to avoiding final condemnation.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Honesty of the Evangelists

        Caryll Houselander was a prolific, popular, Catholic, English writer the first half of the last century. I am reading her A Rocking Horse Catholic, an account of her early life. When she was still a little girl, an adult lawyer friend of hers named Smoky tried to convince her mother that if Jesus Christ was really God and if he did found a Church, that Church had to be the Roman Catholic Church. One  piece of evidence he presented was the integrity of the witnesses, the four Evangelists. He said that only absolutely honest witnesses determined to give the facts would have recorded the words of Christ on the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" ~ words which could easily have cast doubt on the divinity of Christ. I think he made a good point here.

Most Fitting Name

        In today's first reading from Exodus 3 at Mass, the Lord revealed to Moses that his name was "I AM." To me, this had to be God speaking, proving that he is eternal, for no one else can fit that name. 

Death Our Wake-Up Call

        Most recently, a friend passed away because of failing health; one church member died unexpectedly of a heart attack; and another person I knew died under more tragic circumstances. After hearing the news each time, the generally feeling was that "there's nothing we can do about it." But, we can do a lot before we are gone! Jesus has already shown us the way to eternal life; so for ourselves, we can take full advantage of that. For others, we can help by spreading the good news and living a holy life. Then whenever death sneaks up on us, we are prepared and ready.

Satisfied with God

        If God is still a mystery to me, that's because I am a finite creature. But God, being infinite, already knows everything about me ~ this is good enough for me.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Real God

        Early this morning, I saw the grayish sky filled with somewhat hideous-looking black clouds. The dramatic view probably would have inspired a poet to write a poem or a artist to do a painting. Then I knew that no matter how talented the poet or painter may be, the work produced can never match the vivid, original scene imprinted on my mind. Similarly, man-made colors can never match the colors of real flowers. I thought of the real God and knew that no matter how great our imagination, we can never grasp the beauty and glory of the real God (for the time being anyway).      

Friday, March 1, 2013

Continued Alienation from God

        The Apostle John already talked about the many antichrists that had appeared in his first Epistle. He regarded anyone who denies the Father and the Son to be the antichrist. Polycarp, the early Apostolic Father, called anyone who preached false doctrine an antichrist. If that's the understanding, then today our world is certainly overwhelmingly populated by antichrists. 
       President Obama came out again today voicing his support for gay marriage in California. By the way, in 2004 he opposed same-sex marriage based on his religious faith. So where is that faith now? If he'd changed his view because he saw the trend changing, then he is an opportunist. According to BBC, there is a Clinton-era piece of US federal legislation called the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as solely being between a man and a woman. The Obama administration has already stopped enforcing the law nor defending the legislation in court. I naively thought that only criminals ignore the law! 
        God created a man and a woman, not two men or two women, at the beginning. Yes, whatever we do, even under the guise of love, God's intention and design must never be violated. There cannot be true compassion in legalizing abortion because it ultimately hurts the mother (not to mention the unborn child). In the same way, legalizing same-sex marriage further cuts us off from God. Without the love of God, we won't know how to love.