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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Possess God

        Just surrender completely to God and he is yours!

The Shroud of Turin

This short Smithsonian video gives clues that link the Shroud of Turin directly to the time of Christ.

True Humility

        I had a dream early this morning. What I learned from the dream was that we should not be concerned about if we are appreciated by other fellow humans or not, but remain perfectly content with God's everlasting love for us. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

What's Said Is Done

        During the Eucharistic Prayer at morning Mass, the priest consecrated the bread, repeating what Jesus said at the Last Supper: Take it, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body which will be given up for you. Right then, I knew that whatever the Lord says, it's done. If the bread is his body, then it is. We must take every word he says to heart, for they are realities.

So Good to Have God...

because he is the only person in whom I can completely trust and to whom I can cry to when I am in trouble and beg for mercy after I have sinned. He is the Father!

Jesus the Coolest

        We humans typically behave like creatures that are finite, facing the vast unknown, and are constantly amazed, surprised, or shocked by what's happening. We learn about some scientific discovery and think that we can conquered the world. Hit by a tragedy and our life falls apart. Hurt by someone and we are upset and become unforgiving. In other words, we are pitiful! Now, read about Jesus in the Gospels. You'll see what he says and how he behaves fit perfectly one who is (1) all-knowing, not surprised or shocked by anything and knowing exactly what's coming to him, (2) the creator of all things, making miracles happen so naturally, his own Resurrection included, and (3) infinitely merciful, forgiving his enemies even from the Cross. As a human being, he has to be the coolest dude (no disrespect intended) there ever has been or will be. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Transformation to Effect Transformation

        Communion time thought. Jesus transformed the host into his own body so that we may receive him and be transformed by him.

Ego, the Conscience Killer

        We all have a conscience, but to keep it clear we must leave it alone. The common trouble is that we let the ego dictate our conscience. As a result, the conscience gets muddied or even entirely ignored as the heart hardens. Pope Francis came on scene as a breath of fresh air the world had sorely needed. 

Herod, Typical Sinner

        Today is the Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist. The Gospel reading from Mark 6 tells us that Herod the king married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, and John said to him that "it is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Herodias harbored a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. On the other hand, Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, so he just had him arrested and bound in prison. When Herod heard John speak, he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. [Here Herod knew that he had done something wrong, so he feared the righteous and holy John. He's perplexed about John, because it's difficult for a sinner to understand why someone wants to be holy. He still liked to listen to him because his conscience needed to be soothed.]
         Then at Herod's birthday banquet he gave, Herodias' daughter performed a dance that so delighted Herod and his guests that the king swore he would grant the girl whatever she asked of him. Herodias had her asking for the head of John the Baptist. The king was distressed, but not wishing to break his word before the guests, he gave in to the request. [Here, looking good before others overrode Herod's conscience.]
        Herod might be an evil person, but all the above comments bracketed could have described any average sinner.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

All I Could Ask For

        During Communion, I was at the supper of the Lamb. The Lord God was the host. What was served was the Lamb himself. As I ate, I was purified and promised eternal life. There's nothing more I could ask for.

Hypocrisy Brings Woe

        Today is the Memorial of St. Augustine. In these last three days, the Gospel reading has come from Matthew 23. Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees, who appeared righteous on the outside, but were filled with evildoing inside. Certainly, a hypocritical person does not experience inner peace. All we need to be concerned about is our inside because if the inside is clean, the outside will appear clean too. We are blessed to have Christ who can cleanse and purify us, removing all hypocrisy so that we may feel free being our genuine selves.         

From God or Not

        If you imagine yourself doing some great work for the glory of God, that is not from God. If you think about yourself being totally humble before God, that is not from him either. If you don't think about anything, but serving God faithfully ~ that is from him.  

Most Amazing Experience

        To me, this has to be the most amazing experience of the human life. A sinner, which could be anyone, knows that he's in trouble because he feels the weight of sin upon him. By the grace of God, he is lead to repenting and confessing his sins. The heavy weight is instantly lifted from his heart and he is a free new being. This experience is well known to many who have come to Christ. It was recounted on a recent EWTN Coming Home episode by Fr. George Turano who were baptized as a Catholic, left the faith for many years, and finally reverted. He described the tremendous relief and elation after making his confession. Only the true God as known through Christ can bring about such a fundamental transformation ~ not another god or man has the power to do anything with sins.

Reconciliation in Order

        Reconcile with God your Father first, then you'll be able to reconcile with your neighbor and yourself. If you don't love your neighbor and/or yourself, you have not reconciled with your creator fully yet.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God Alone Is Sufficient

        Today is the Memorial of St. Monica. After I received Holy Communion today, I really felt that once I have Jesus, there is nothing else I want for myself anymore. If God is not sufficient for me, then nothing will. Of course, I do want everyone in the world to be saved, but that's something I want for God, not for myself. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Union Is like Playing the Piano

        When you learn to play the piano, the goal is to be able to forget completely about your fingers and put all your effort and concentration into expressing the music, making it sound beautiful. But due to human limitations, we can play a piece of music well enough, but never to the point of complete satisfaction. Similarly, in seeking union with God, the goal is to be become Christlike. The more we let go in the Lord, desiring to be changed, the more we progress. But since we are finite creatures, we can become more like him, but never reach his state of perfection. (Note that in both cases, letting go is the key.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Critically Important Message

        In Scriptures, we see that Jesus always had the answer to any question he's asked. No one had been able to trap or stump him. He showed that he's the all-knowing God. In today's Gospel reading at Mass, Luke 13:22-30, Jesus talked about the narrow gate through which we must strive to enter in order to be saved. Once the master of the house has arisen, the door will be locked and those who are outside will be cast out forever; and they will see all those inside reclining at table in the kingdom of God. Everyone should take this reading most seriously because our response to the message will determine our eternal placement.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Try to Be Faithful, not Successful

        I attended a Respect Life Leadership Gathering today. The task of changing the thinking of all to pro-life is daunting, but one presenter's quote from Mother Teresa was most encouraging: "God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try." To serve God is to not aim for success, but remain faithful. 

The Weakness Advantage

        We all know our own weaknesses in various areas, and being weak can be a disadvantage in life. Then the Lord makes me see that we can use this awareness to our advantage by letting it keep us humble before him.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Unsettled Life

        As long as you do not know Jesus yet, you cannot be certain where you'll end up after death; therefore, you live an unsettled life. Happy is the one who lives a life with eternity all settled!

Good Reason to Be Happy

        We feel good when someone appreciates us, likes us, or thinks highly of us. Now, we have God continually loving us more than anyone else possibly can at all times, how can we not feel happy? Believe and rejoice!

How to Know We Love God

        In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 22, Jesus answered one Pharisee asking him which commandment in the law is the greatest, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." 
      The second commandment is not easy to follow because your neighbor may be an extremely unpleasant person or even an enemy who hates you. Nevertheless, we can't say that we love God if we don't love our neighbor. So, the second commandment serves as a test to see if we fulfill the first commandment or not. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Obedience Sequence

        Seeking God's will, knowing his will, and doing his will ~ the delay usually occurs between seeking and knowing, and peace at the end always.     

Belonging to God

        Communion experience. After receiving the Holy Eucharist, I wanted the Lord to pulverize (vaporize is even better) any hard part or particle that's still in me so that I may be his completely. 

God's Serious Invitation

        Today is the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 22, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. Not only those invited should accept the invitation, but also attend the feast properly dressed. Those who did not take the invitation seriously were cast into darkness. Conclusion (also present day fact): "Many are invited, but few are chosen." It helps to see that God's invitation, his call, to us is for us to become his chosen ones. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Can't Do God's Will on Our Own

       In John.15 Jesus says: "I am the vine, you are the branches. ... without me you can do nothing." In John 5.19, Jesus says to the Jews, "Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also." Again, in John 5.32, he says, "I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me." I looked up these quotes after the Lord made me see that I cannot do his will without him doing it through me! I must first clearly know what his will is, otherwise he will not be with me in my doing. It was a big realization and I was uplifted.

Life Is like a Dream

        The older one gets, the more the past seems like a dream. Like all dreams, life comes to an end. One who lives just for himself is often concerned about leaving a legacy, or may enjoy living his life as in a meaningless dream. For one who seeks and knows God, he lives for the reality that comes after his "dream life." 

In God We Forget

      Today is the Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope. The Gospel parable came from Matthew 20. Jesus told the disciples that the Kingdom of God is like a landowner who hired laborers for his vineyard all day long. Some started working early in the morning, some later in the morning, some at noon, some after noon, and some in the last hour. In the evening, all received the same pay. Naturally, the ones hired earlier grumbled and one of them questioned the landowner. And he replied, "My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my money? Are you envious because I am generous?"
          The lesson here is that I must not compare myself with others nor let anything about others bother me. I am to be happy with all what the Lord has given me ~ I already have him who awaits me in heaven! Yes, in God, I can forget everything else.

How Many Times a Fool?

        In the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12, the rich man stored up treasures for himself and God said to him, "You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things your have prepared, to whom will they belong?" Being called a fool by God is much worse than being called a fool called by another fellow human. I wonder how many times the Lord has so called me when I wasn't even paying attention. Probably innumerable times as one can be foolish in so many ways!

Vows for the Laity

        We the laity can too follow poverty, chastity, and obedience ~ the vows of the religious. For us, poverty is detachment from all material goods; chastity, keeping a pure heart and, for the married couples, also faithfulness; obedience, obeying the Holy Father on earth and the Heavenly Father in heaven.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

God's Love Ever Present

        Today is the Memorial of St. Bernard. Communion antiphon, John 15.9, reads: As the Father loves me, so I also love you; remain in my love, says the Lord. After receiving Holy Communion, I wanted to remain in Jesus' love. I felt that nothing could possibly prevent that ~ I could be sick, imprisoned, constrained in any other way, then I wanted to be in his love and there I was.

The Humble Way

         The home is a good testing ground for our humility. If I can remain humble enough so that I do not provoke anyone else in the household, I'm doing OK. For those who live alone, try not to provoke yourself and lose peace. Remaining humble is the way of Christ. It is the correct way because if everyone practices it, there'll be peace in the world.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Challenge from Jesus

        Jesus wants us to put him first in our lives and follow him alone. He challenges here again. He must be either the most selfish person there is, asking for the absurd, or he is God, asking for what he rightly deserves. We must decide.

Inspired by Pope Francis

        Pope Francis' humble acts have been refreshing and inspiring. To follow his example, we should also once in a while step out of our comfort zone and do something out of the ordinary for the glory of God. This should spice up our spiritual journey.

It's My Ego!

        I've said in the past that I don't think of myself as either a liberal or a conservative ~ I only care about if I am following Jesus or not. (Actually, Jesus was quite a radical in his time.) I must admit that before I knew Jesus, I was quite liberal in my views. I never seriously considered if abortion is right or wrong ~ the right for a woman to do whatever she wants with her body sounded fine to me. Divorce was OK too ~ if one can't get along with his or her spouse, why not try again with someone else? Reflecting back, I see that it was my own ego that lead me to form my "naive" views ~ I wanted to "liberate" everyone! Was I willing to carry any cross myself? No! It was after knowing God personally that I began to see how my ego had blinded me from knowing God and from ever considering seriously if my choice was right or wrong ~ definitely not good old days for me.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

To Be Completely Free

        Communion experience. The Lord made me see clearly that the ego imprisons us. And God cannot dwell in one who still wishes to remain in his own prison. When you leave the ego and let God completely fill you, you become completely free.   

Blazing for God's Glory

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus said at the beginning to his disciples, "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" To me, this is the fire that's going to purify us to make us fit for his kingdom. This is the fire the soul desperately needs to be renewed and transformed. The burning may be painful, but ultimately sweet. Lord, set us all ablaze for your great glory!

God, Everlasting & Our Answer

      Scientists have been trying hard to figure out how the universe got started. Here's my simple consideration of all the possibilities.
       (1) There was absolutely nothing, not even the space the universe exists in, then the universe came into being. Something coming into existence from nothingness ~ this is only possible if God had been there. (2) Space has always been in existence and the stuff the universe is made of came into being later. Mind you, even if space is all empty and invisible to us, it is something that is a reality. Again, it points to the existence of God, the creator. (3) The stuff the universe is made of has always existed. In that case, there wasn't a beginning to speak of. This would be totally beyond the understanding of man, but becomes completely logical if you believe that God has always existed. 
        When the Lord gave his name as I AM in the Scriptures, he revealed his everlasting existence. And he became the logical answer to all our questions.

Ego, Our Real Enemy

        Disasters are either caused by nature or man. I scan the news online today and can state without exception that all the man-caused turmoils, disorders, chaos, and tragedies can be traced to the presence of man's ego. Ego blocks out humility, endangering the soul. Jesus is characterized by the total lack of ego. One cannot love perfectly nor experience peace as long as his ego lives. In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 12, Jesus told his disciples that he had not come to establish peace, but rather division ~ division as a result of the existence of egos. Jesus got killed for that same reason. Since the existence of egos is a reality, we who follow the Lord can expect to face division and consequently bear many crosses. To make our journey easier, we must first get rid of our own egos.     

Saturday, August 17, 2013

God Seeking Union

        During Liturgy of the Eucharist at morning Mass, again the Lord transformed the bread and wine into his own body and blood. When I received the Holy Eucharist, I sensed the most intimate bond God was forming with me whom he loves ~ he is the one seeking union with me! Let's always say yes to him.

Union Unique & Supernatural

        In union with God, one becomes Christlike. It's impossible to achieve such union with another human being. Marriage unites a man and a woman, but the two are still basically different individuals. Only God can transform us to be like him. Therefore, union with God is unique and supernatural.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Everlasting Soul

        I might have caught something, so I haven't been feeling too energetic. Earlier today I lied in bed to rest a little bit. I looked out the window and saw the tall trees and the blue sky. I saw everything in the world passing ~ the trees, the blue sky, the clouds, etc. Passing to me means no more, and I saw that we are not really passing. We grow old and die, but our soul exists forever! In fact, I can't think of anything God has created for this world that has an everlasting soul. That being the case, our major concern should be to make sure that we end up with everlasting happiness.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Going Home to God

        Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. At Mass the Lord made me see simply that we all came from him and we would only have peace when we are with him. God has created us out of love and neither he nor us can be happy if we don't return to him. He has already shown us the way to home through Christ. Personally, I am looking forward to the happiest event of my life ~ my reunion with the Heavenly Father (and see the Blessed Mother in person).

Universal Emptiness

        The world looks bustling and busy, but I see emptiness in the hearts of people all around. Facebook has over a billion members. In today's news, a study has shown that many Facebook users are lonely people and they feel even worse each time after using it. People keep busy just to forget or cover up their emptiness; they drift through life. Not being concerned about not knowing where they are heading is sad. Not knowing that Christ can completely fill their emptiness and change their lives is tragic.

Our Only Vocation

        Normally, a Catholic is expected to discern if he or she is called to the religious vocation or the vocation of marriage. But there is really only one vocation ~ that of following Christ, the vocation of loving your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. All other vocations are merely subdivisions. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Be Grateful for Everything

         We go through life with many disappointments, unhappy about this or that, wishing things to be different. First of all, this world is not perfect; we are not meant to live in this sinful place forever. Secondly, God wants the best for us. If every single thing that happens to us is exactly what we've wanted, we would be so spoiled and not think about God anymore. What we experience is exactly what's needed for us to learn, to find God, and to grow spiritually ~ it cannot possibly get worse anymore. So let's be grateful for what God has given us.
       A footnote. Of course, you could ask about those who are truly in dire misery. I believe that if they know God, they would agree with my understanding. This is why we need to evangelize the world, starting with those close to us.

Of Jesus Forever

        On July 17, I mentioned that signs of glaucoma had been detected in my right eye. Today I had my eye pressure checked ~ it had come down into a safe range. Anyway, I ask myself: "What if I do go blind?" Answer: "I'll be OK, since I already have Jesus." It follows that I can lose my sight, hearing, touch, etc., and still be OK. Then, what if I lose my mind? Answer: "No Problem ~ Jesus will always have his clear mind." Conclusion: Once you have Jesus, you are securely his forever.     

Spiritual Progression in Christ

        Being aware of one's own sinful state > repenting before God > reconciling with God > experiencing his love > starting to fall in love with God > increasing yearning for him > surrendering fully to him > union achieved > enjoying God every moment in peace and freedom > (life in heaven)         
           Any progression that leads one away from God forever is unthinkable!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Perfect Moment

        If you acknowledge that you are a sinner, and desire to be transformed, this is the perfect moment to let God step in to fulfill your desire.

To See the Beauty of God

        Remain meek and humble and you'll discover the beauty of God.        

To Be like Christ

        Communion experience. After I received the Holy Eucharist, I heard myself asking myself, "How dare you not want to be like Christ the Lord?" Again, I saw to be meek and humble being the key to imitating him. Here, to want to be like Jesus is not prompted by pride, but by humility! 

To Be Meek and Humble

        The word I received from the Lord for today is humility. The Gospel acclamation at Mass came from Matthew 11.29: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. If God remains meek and humble, how dare we to be immodest and prideful? To those who have not found God yet, may I suggest that you assume that he exists and loves you, and you remain meek and humble, then he will find you. To be meek and humble is to be like God!

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Not Me, But You"

        This expression floated into my mind earlier this morning. This is how it should be when we stand in the presence of God. We acknowledge that we can do nothing without him. We need to remain passive and let him take us to wherever he wants us to go. We vanish so that only he exists in us. This is what it's all about.         

Greatest Intimacy with God

        Communion time thought. Receiving the Holy Eucharist within the Church is receiving the true body and blood of the Lord. By no other means and nowhere else can you attain such intimacy with God! Indeed, blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. 

Again, There Are No Accidents

        Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 17. To find the money to pay the temple tax, Jesus asked Peter to go to the sea, drop in a hook, take the first fish that comes up, open its mouth, and find a coin worth twice the temple tax. If something like this happens to us, we would probably think that it's pure chance. The lesson here is that truly nothing can happen without God's knowledge or approval. Again, there are no accidents.

Suffering Treasured

        When I am suffering mentally or physically, I just fling myself into the arms of Jesus, calling out his Holy Name and begging for his mercy with all my heart. He is the one who died for me, loves me, knows me the most, and hears me. I treasure such opportunities suffering provides because I get to enjoy my greatest intimacy with the Lord. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Carrying out Good Intentions

        Just having good intentions is not good enough. I've learned that I should put all good intentions through the humility filter before carrying them out. Otherwise, my good intentions can easily be misunderstood. You cannot go wrong with humility. 

On Changing the Heart

        The human heart does not easily change. We usually do not do what we know to be the right thing to do. Only a fundamental change of heart can correct this. If you feel this way, then an encounter with God is needed to bring about a breakthrough. More surrendering is in order. Know that Christ is our only hope and that hope is always present for us. 

Beauty of the Church

        To see the true beauty of the Church, we should look at Jesus, how he built his church upon Peter, the apostolic succession and the teachings of Christ safeguarded to this day, and the transformation of so many souls into great saints. People err by noticing only the sins of her imperfect members, but this is a matter of human failure and does not in any way indicate that the Church is less beautiful.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

To Repent Is Divine

        Benjamin Franklin used an old quote "To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish." To repent is indeed divine, a beautiful act by the heart. It's beautiful because it cleanses your heart immediately, restoring your relationship with God. Really, what else could you ask for? What's sad is that people in sin do not see that it's the single, most important act they need to perform if they are to be saved. Let all know that repentance can change one into a resplendent soul before God. 

Jesus Alone Is Sufficient

        Communion experience. My life is complete, fulfilled. I feel totally secure in him. It's impossible to ever feel lonely when you have him living fully in you!

Why Jesus?

        At Mass, Father M before distributing Holy Communion raised the host and cup and said to all: 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. I realized then that Jesus is the only one who can take away my sins, not Moses, not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Confucius, or anyone else, because he is God. This is reason enough for me to believe and follow him.

As a Grain of Wheat

        Today is the Feast of St. Lawrence. The Gospel reading at Mass came from John 12. Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." We may not see our fruit in our lifetime. For example, the autobiography of St. Therese, The Story of a Soul, which has converted untold number of souls was not published until after her death. Our role is to die in Christ, serve the Lord, and let God produce whatever fruit he wishes. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dying Happy

        Communion experience. He who has Christ will die happy.

No Complaining

        The Gospel reading at Mass today came from Matthew 16. Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." To me, Jesus is saying that whoever wishes to follow him must do so without ever complaining. A complaining Christian has to be an oxymoron. As we follow the Lord faithfully, he will teach us to let nothing bother us. With no more complaints, we have inner peace. 

The Scientific Attitude

        Many scientists are atheists. They only believe in what they can see and figure out. Of course, what they cannot see or understand does not in any way prove that things do not exist ~ it only shows the limitation of science. No one has seen an electron, x-rays, light itself, or heard ultrasound; only their effects on other matters are known. Yet the effects God has on many of us are positive, life-changing, or even miraculous. To me, miracles scientists cannot explain only shows the existence of God. Scientists can never prove or disprove the existence of God using their methods. Believing that God exists will make all their searches and investigations so much more meaningful and rewarding. To think that science can explain or replace God is utter folly.       

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What Not to Live by Alone

        Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and afterwards was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread. Jesus (quoting from Deuteronomy) said in reply, "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4.1-4). As I was watching TV this morning, it came to me that one does not live by watching TV alone. Then I saw that one does not live by anything other than what comes forth from the mouth of the Lord alone. This reminder can definitely help me live a balanced life. 

Monumental Question

        The Gospel reading at Mass comes from Matthew 16. Jesus started out asking his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" After they replied, he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" The answer can only be Peter's "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" or the denial of it. We are not obligated to answer any questions except for this one, for it is monumental, won't go away, and our eternal destiny hinges upon the answer we give.

Hardened Hearts

        Today is the Memorial of St. Dominic. At Mass, the response to Responsorial Psalm 95 reads: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Hardened hearts are precisely the world's problem. Everyone has so much to say; who's willing to listen to anyone? Unless we want to get our hardened hearts cracked by God and beg for his mercy, we are doomed.    

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Becoming Spiritually Free

        Our physical body is always a burden to us ~ it seeks comfort and lets us know instantly when it experiences discomfort. But this burden we must live with in this life. Our spirit, the nonphysical part of us, can also be a burden to our conscience, resulting in mental discomfort. The good news is that we can be rid of our spiritual burdens. Since God is spirit, we can let the Holy Spirit fill us entirely, displacing our own spirit so that the self no longer exists. Union with God is the same thing ~ we have only God dwelling in us. We are now spiritually free. In other words, we are free when we no longer exist in ourselves. (Note: When we leave this world, we become physically free too.) 

Invitation from God

        Communion time reflection. Receiving the Holy Eucharist is no ordinary obligation or act. This Most Holy Sacrament is an invitation for us to become one with God. To want to receive it, we must be willing to answer yes to this invitation.

To Know God...

you must realize, feel, or sense his holiness.

On Seeking Sympathy

         Before Mass started this morning, the Lord made me see that seeking sympathy or pity for yourself is still an ego thing. This is wanting yourself to be noticed, wanting others to feel sorry for you. It is not unlike wanting others to notice that you pray hard or fast. Of course, it's all right to share about yourself with others if your motivation is pure.
      Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 15. A Canaanite woman came to Jesus, crying out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." After testing her, Jesus found her faith great and said to her in reply, "O women, great is your faith! Let it be done as you wish." Obviously, seeking sympathy or pity from the Lord is perfectly fine because the motivation is pure and he is the only one who can truly help us.   

Jesus Still Leading Us

        The early Apostles had Jesus in person to follow; they could follow him wherever he went and do whatever he told them to do. Today Jesus is not visibly with us, but we do have the Holy Eucharist he had instituted for our sake. By receiving him in this sacrament with the same zeal and devotion the Apostles had for him, we will also know how to follow him and what his will is.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Calling for Union

        Communion experience. Receiving the Holy Eucharist is receiving God's calling for union with him. Once you recognize this, you will want to seek this union.

Peter Is Trustworthy

        Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Reading 2 came from 2 Peter 1. Peter stated that he was an eyewitness of the majestic glory of Jesus. While he was with him on the holy mountain, he heard the voice from heaven declaring, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased." I too believe in the glory of Christ. Who am I to distrust the first Apostle of the Lord?

Asking and Answering the Lord

          Praying for the conversion of a loved one can be a big burden on the heart. When I asked the Lord about it this morning while I was driving to church for Mass, he simply asked me if I loved him the most? I answered him and knew that he had answered my question.

Approaching God the Right Way

        To find God, we must be humble first and remain open. If we expect God to speak or reveal himself to us before we would believe in him, we may have a long wait ahead of us. By an act of will or faith, we must submit ourselves to him first. It was by an act of will that I first accepted Jesus into my life. It's by an act of will that I confess my sins and ask for his forgiveness. It's by an act of will that I asked the Holy Spirit to baptize me. It's by an act of will that I surrendered myself to God. In each case, the Lord makes or made himself known after my move. Don't forget that God is so much greater than us. Let us beg from him, not the other way around.

Life of Jesus Examined

        The life of Jesus from the human point of view seems rather unappealing. Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but he had nowhere to rest his head (Matthew 8, Luke 9); he was not honored in his native place and in his own house (Matthew 13, Mark 6); toward the end, the chief priests, the Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin constantly plotted to kill him; his own disciple betrayed him; then in the end, he went through indescribable suffering. Now let's look at the life of Jesus from God's point of view. He triumphantly succeeded in accomplishing the will of the Father. Being obedient, he never complained. Throughout his ordeal, he remained loving and forgiving, maintaining his deep inner peace. Through him, God the Father revealed his infinite love for us. The Father must feel great satisfaction that he carried out his plan of salvation for us whom he loves. The life of Christ shows that we too can have the same peace and be set free by being obedient to God the Father.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

What Conversion Is

        If darkness is the absence of light, then holiness is the absence of sin. Conversion is letting the love of God overcome our sins so that we may be holy.  

Communion Joy

        As I went up to receive Holy Communion this morning, I felt as if I was walking in a procession leading to God for his blessing. On my way back to the pew, I was in full enjoyment of being a child of God the Father. 

Nourishment for the Soul

        In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 14, Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed crowds totaling about five thousand men, not counting women and children. They all ate and were satisfied. This reminds me of our spiritual hunger ~ the soul needs to be nourished too. And the Lord has given us the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist just to satisfy this deepest longing of ours.

Jesus' Unique Challenge

        Jesus is unique among all leaders, religious or secular. He is the only one who challenges you to follow him, but leaves the decision entirely up to you. And this challenge is such that you must accept or dismiss with no middle ground possible ~ ignoring it is no different from dismissing it. And your decision will bring enormous consequences. Jesus himself proclaimed to be a cause of division: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the world. I have come to bring not peace but the sword" (Matthew 10.34). This further bolsters the authenticity of his challenge.

Not Just Joy Alone

        Knowing Jesus is a great joy; but at the same time, the more you know him, the more you experience his suffering and pain the world inflicts upon him, which is great. This in turn enhances your joy because you know now that you are ever closer in union with the Lord.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

We Need Jesus!

        In these two last two days, the Lord hasn't given any particular thoughts. The only thing he made me see was why we need him. Without him, we are constantly being self-centered, thinking, saying, and doing things with not much genuine concern for others. I could say that we live disordered lives. With Jesus, we have a supreme model showing us how to put all things in order and one who can truly transform us into perfect beings. Love, hope, freedom, salvation are all presented to us ~ he is indeed the good news for us!         

Friday, August 2, 2013

That Heavenly Feeling

        Communion experience. In a way, I am already in heaven because of Jesus.

The Light of Christ

        During the Liturgy of the Eucharist at today's Mass, I thought of the light of Christ. This is the light that illuminates the truth, exposes all darkness, and heals the soul. This is the light in which I am content to live and die. 

Dealing with Suffering

        It is undeniable that as long as we sin, there will be suffering. Therefore, accept suffering as a reality ~ it's how we deal with it that matters. This is where God can support and guide us and we can learn to be patient and to trust in him.

The Greatest Love

        In John 15.13, Jesus said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." It must also be true that it is the greatest love to be utterly concerned about the souls of others. When we ourselves are drawn into Christ, we must do our utmost to draw others to him too. It is in loving others that we are assured of our own salvation.  

Why Is Hell So Unpopular?

This is a sober video that all Catholics should watch for their own good.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On Entering Jesus

        As you go deeper and deeper into Jesus, you discover more and more of his beauty. Staying on the outside, you'll never "see" his true beauty. He is indeed the infinite God.

Mother Miriam

Rosalind Moss is now Sister Rosalind Moss, Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God. Her journey of becoming a fulfilled Jew was one of the most beautiful stories I'd ever heard. Here is a more recent short interview of her by Marcus Grodi on EWTN.   

Most Beautiful Dwelling

        The Responsorial Psalm response at morning Mass read: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God! After I received Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, instead of feeling that he had entered to dwell in me, I felt that he was drawing me into him. I could claim that there is no place more beautiful to dwell in than the interior of the Lord! 

Foretold Judgment

        Today is the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguouri. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus said to the disciples, "The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angles will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace...." Since Jesus foretold his Resurrection after death and it became true, we'd better believe that the judgment at the end of the age he foretold will come true too.

Marvelous Relationship

        This morning I appreciated very much the fact that God had made himself known specifically to us in the person of Jesus, who is divine. Through Jesus the Son, we know God the Father and become his adopted children. And the Holy Spirit ensures that we are all one with God. It is marvelous indeed.