God is always calling us. He is calling you in everything, happy or sad, large or small, that happens to you. See every such thing as an opportunity to be drawn closer to the Lord. Learn from every experience so that you continue to grow holier. Then you'll live a happy, rich, and fulfilled life.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
The revelation "God is love" through Christ Jesus is the truth that has solved the mystery of human existence and provided us with the hope of living forever with God. Then with faith in Christ, we have everything. Conversely, without this faith, we have nothing.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
All messages you hear from the pulpit advise us to love God or grow holier, but having good intentions and achieving results are two separate things. One can hear these messages a thousand times and still remain pretty much the same old person, which can be frustrating. In the world, people can often achieve what they desire through the back door, but I propose that you go boldly through the front door. "Going through the front door" is going straight to God to seek union with him. The fundamental change takes place after you enter him. Now, it's he changing you, no longer you trying hard to change yourself ~ an absolutely amazing and rewarding experience! [This in fact is the central message of this blog ~ I am stating it again after seeing all the frustrations in people.]
At Mass today the Gospel reading was the parable of the talents from Matthew 25. It was clear that God expects us to make good use of what he has given us to be fruitful. There is just no place for lazy Christians in his kingdom. Believing in the Lord, then sitting back to play it safe does not please him. A Christian needs to remain alive, awake, alert, and adventurous. A timid Christian is only as good as a dead one.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Today, Matthew 25.40 came to my mind: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." Imagine ~ doing something for one of the least is the same as doing it for Christ the King! The Lord is truly selfless, marking his love for us as the greatest love. We have a revelation here!
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The big sad story in today's news is that a girl, nine, accidentally kills her shooting instructor while being shown how to use an Uzi submachine gun at a firing range in Arizona. It's a fact that so many citizens now own or carry guns for security reasons. It is my belief that if we trust in God foremost, he will not put us in situations where we'll need to use a gun. Without God for our protection, no weapon can keep us safe.
If you have not surrendered to God yet, you are basically a fugitive fleeing from being captured by God. Then one day you realize that God wants you, not to restrict your freedom, but to release you in his love. You stop running and surrender. You get that you're-home feeling because you experience such great relief and joy! And you know that your journey will end in heaven.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's Gospel readings at Mass are all drawn from Matthew 23, in which Jesus denunciated the scribes and Pharisees by calling out "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites" at least seven times. It's obvious that they offended God greatly. Hypocrisy is being phony. It is duplicity, deceiving God and treating him as if he is not all-knowing. Bad appearing to be good is even worse than bad being honestly bad. Ego is at the root of all this. At the same time, the wrath of Jesus shows that God is always honest, genuine, and selfless to us.
Today's Gospel acclamation at Mass, Hebrews 4.12: The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. Reflections and thoughts of the heart, not of the mind ~ interesting! You see, when God speaks to us, if we are not receptive, his word simply passes through the mind and never reaches the heart. Only when we are open can the word enter the heart to generate reflections and thoughts. Let the Lord speak to your heart always so that you may remain alert and vibrant spiritually.
Like St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Joseph Marello, we can also do everything with love for Jesus. For example, when you wash dishes or take garbage out at home, you do the best possible job you can with joy, not for yourself, but for Jesus. Be like this in everything you do, big or small, and you'll be free and happy, since you no longer center upon yourself. Fact: the less you "care about" yourself, the more God is going to take care of you. Life now becomes purposeful.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 16 at Mass, when Peter said to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus replied to him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." So, if you ever encounter a religion, denomination, or cult believing that Jesus is just a great teacher or prophet, but not the Son of God, stay away from it as you would from a plague!
(1) If you make God no. 1 in your life, he will reward you with the maximum amount of grace you need to become holy in this life and top honor in the next.
(2) If you do not honor God or make him last in your life, you may not even make it into his kingdom.
(3) If you judge others severely, God will judge you severely. (Matthew 7.1.)(4) If you forgive those who trespass against you, God will forgive your trespasses. (The Lord's Prayer.)
(5) The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. (Luke 6.38; Mark 4.24.)
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Once again the Lord entered me as I received the Holy Eucharist at morning Mass. This was his invitation for union or strengthening our union. If you are courteous enough to respond to Christ positively each time after you receive him, you are on your way to becoming a saint.
There are many beautiful things to see in our world. You might find them in a fashion show, a Cirque du Soleil performance, a fine art exhibit, or in nature and the stars. But the most beautiful thing may only be seen by God ~ it is doing his will! For only anything done for the sake of God is truly beautiful. It pleases the Lord, adding to your treasure in heaven and making you more beautiful in the process.
Friday, August 22, 2014
"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you" ~ I have used this saying of St. Augustine a few times before on this blog. I found it to be true at Mass this morning as I experienced great peace resting in the Lord. Logically, St. Augustine is completely correct. From Scriptures also, we know that God provides us with rest.
To find rest in God, we must surrender to him first. This is simply the act we must make to free ourselves, the essential first step in seeking union with God. When you surrender, you break through the greatest barrier of your spiritual life. It opens wide the gate to let all the grace of God pour through, putting your spiritual progress on fast track with the Holy Spirit doing the work. If this sounds exciting, it's because it is. You will want to surrender unless you prefer to struggle with your sins all your life on your own.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I've witnessed people who are basically good people, not wicked or evil in any way, but are spoiled, impatient, hot-tempered, selfish, or inconsiderate. They don't clearly see this themselves because they are just being themselves, but what others see about them is definitely not pretty. If we look ugly to others, we look a lot worse in God's eyes, for God is holy. On the other hand, looking good to others does not necessarily translate into looking good to God, for God sees the heart. At any rate, to look truly good to all, seek holiness in God.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
We all change over our lifetime. We are certainly a different person every year. Think back if you are old enough and recall what you were like before. Now you are probably more mature, more poised, smoother, wiser... or perhaps more cynical, more self-centered, more impatient, more worldly.... The point is we are all subject to change, so why not let God change you in the right direction of becoming holier? This would absolutely be the best utilization of the rest of your lifetime. And an exciting adventure will it definitely be too.
Jesus taught us to forgive and love our enemies, but people say it's too hard...impossible, so they just don't take it seriously. What they do not see is that nothing is impossible for God, and, with his help, all his teachings are within our reach. Always seek God first and he will make you holy.
It is a sad day to read about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, resulting from the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by the police, and the beheading of the US journalist James Foley by the extreme Islamic group IS in Syria. We pray both Michael and James will find peace in the Lord and pray also for the salvation of all living souls in the world. The cause of all sinful acts is not knowing the true God. Therefore, instead of just focusing upon blaming those who have committed the sins, let's also examine ourselves to see if we know the Lord or not.
This is post no. 3876 since I started this blog with my conversion story in 2009. When the blog more or less took off in June of 2010, I was surprised and never thought that it would go on too long. Now it's clear that it's been the Holy Spirit all along, putting thoughts in my heart whenever he wishes, since I never have to think about what to post next. This is also confirmed by the fact that my interior life has been changing continuously. Anyway, it's absolutely marvelous and wonderful to have known God.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Communion experience. Jesus, most sweet to the soul, completely fulfilled me and filled me with his love. I was moved by the Holy Spirit to ask the following questions:
(1) How can you possibly not forgive anyone?
(2) How can you possibly want anyone to end up in hell?
(3) How can you possibly not love God?
(4) How can you possibly not want to go to heaven?
Two days ago I posted about being persistent and single-minded in petitioning God. Yesterday I actually had the opportunity to pray thus. I meant every word I uttered from my heart with sincerity and urgency and didn't stop praying for about an hour and a quarter. After I finished, I felt extra close to God and was able to trust in him in peace. What I asked for turned out fine later.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 19. A young man asked Jesus what good he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The young man said he observed all of them and asked what he still lacked. And Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." The young man heard it and went away sad, for he had many possessions. Here we have the ultimate test of freedom! It separates those who merely believe in the Lord from those who believe and follow him. You may not need to actually sell that you have ~ it's the willingness to be detached from all material things that matters. This detachment should also include detachment from your loved ones and yourself, for pure love has no room for attachment to anyone other than God.
The Lord speaks to me when he needs to shape me, or draw me ever closer to him. And this could happen any time. Having him teach you is such a joy. I especially marvel at his timing whenever I need his support. What I precisely need to hear would come spaced apart in stages so that the buildup is maximum when I need his help the most. Yes, our God knows and cares about us thoroughly.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
If you know you are heaven-bound, your whole attitude changes. You no longer care about a little suffering, a little inconvenience. So what, if your meals are not too tasty or your bed not that comfortable? You simply stop complaining, when you realize that love awaits you in heaven. What's a hundred bad years compared to everlasting happiness? God is to be praised!
Massenet's Meditation, written for the violin, has been a favorite of most well-known violinists. Listening to Nigel Kennedy playing it and looking at the beautiful image on the screen, I felt as if I'd been transported into heaven and sensed that the joy with God would be greater than anything I could possibly imagine. Of course, you may feel something different.
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus and pleaded with him to heal her daughter who was tormented by a demon. At first, Jesus did not respond to her. And his disciples wanted to send her away too. But the woman persisted. Then Jesus, to test her, gave reasons why he should not attend to her. She ignored all concerns and continued asking for help. Jesus finally gave in and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." The woman's daughter was healed from that hour. Fr. M in his homily made it clear that faith accompanied by persistence and single-mindedness gets God's attention. Note that worry does not play a part here. A good lesson for all.
There are many misguided people doing evil out there, but there are also those who deliberately do what they know is wrong to hurt us. Today God made me see that it's Satan who had manipulated the latter. Therefore, we need to ask the Lord (1) to shield us from Satan's attack first and (2) for mercy on the wrongdoers, and leave it at that.
With such a great and loving God we have, we should aim high. His infinite power and unlimited capabilities are always there; it's a matter of our recognizing and taking advantage of this fact. Do not be satisfied with you status quo, but ask him to empower you to become holy.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
You can resolve to become holy for as long as you live and the result will be a struggle all the way with no guarantee of success. But if you seek union with God first, then God enters and does all the work for you ~ this is the secret of becoming holy, simple and most beneficial. In other words, to reach God, you open yourself to let God in to reach you, and your goal is achieved.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After receiving Holy Communion, the word that came to me was "inseparable." Jesus and I are now one, and nothing except by my choice can possibly separate us. My soul is secure in the Lord ~ I am already home.
The Holy Spirit is that spirit. He refreshes us and renews us. He is most gentle, but powerful in his loving ways. He motivates us to love others. He's the one who makes us yearn for God and makes us hunger to hear God's words. At his discretion, he fills our hearts with great joy from time to time.
People are so occupied in the world that they don't know what solitude is. They always have to have someone with them, to talk to, or just have music turned on when they are alone. Basically, they are shutting God out. In solitude you are alone, but this is also an excellent time to get in touch with God. The Lord is always present and has no hearing or visual problems. In fact, he is waiting for you to give him some attention all along. Anyone with half a heart should feel sorry that he's been so much neglected, ignored, shoved aside, and even rejected outright after he has sacrificed himself on the cross to save us. In solitude, you can turn to him, talk to him, bare anything in your heart, or even console him, and he will understand, heal you, and let you know that he loves you. All this may sound sentimental or even mushy, but it's all true. This is how approachable God is, for he is our Father (and brother). Therefore, cherish and relish your solitude.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
On July 18, I posted about the yo-yo world champion Black. I thought that yo-yo was just a simple toy you let drop and try to reel back in. Then I saw Black's performance and my jaw dropped. Now, if you think that a ukulele is just a baby guitar you can't do much with, you should watch Jake Shimabukuro on YouTube. He has made the little instrument a virtuoso one, and his fantastic playing has earned him worldwide recognition. So here we have the yo-yo and the ukulele, both people didn't expect much from. Then a master or genius came along and totally changed our perspective. Since God is the greatest master of all and the creator of all geniuses, if we let him freely use us as his instruments, he will surely accomplish great, fantastic things through us. It's time to change our perspective of ourselves!
Our No.1 goal in life should be to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. The list following clarifies our vision as we try to reach that goal.
Highest wish ~ to love God
Highest desire ~ to be with God forever
Highest revelation ~ "God is love"
Highest prayer ~ that all souls will be saved
Highest calling ~ to become a saint
Highest state ~ union with God
Highest satisfaction ~ knowing you're loved by God
Highest recognition ~ being son or daughter of the Father
Highest destination ~ heaven
Highest reward ~ eternal life in heaven
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
If God asks you this question and you answer no, it has to be either because (1) you don't believe you can be a saint, which is believing that God is not all-powerful or (2) you believe you are not worthy to be one ~ false modesty here. Either way, you cannot be justified.
What if you answer yes? Now you must be careful because (1) if you do it to feed your ego, you've started out on the wrong foot and (2) if it's for God's glory, then you are OK.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 18, Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." I thought of how I trusted in my parents and grandparents when I was a child, knowing that they supported my living and guided me in all things. I felt good when they held me. I didn't have anything big to worry about and was carefree. Now that I am an adult and know that God is my Father, certainly I should trust in him more than I did in my earth parents. It is time for all adults to become like children again ~ to seek union with the Father and become saints ~ so that we may enter the kingdom of heaven.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Without God in your life, you can have millions of followers on social media, all the material things to keep you comfortable and occupied, and be known all over the world, and still be lonely. With God in your life, you can be alone anywhere and know that he is with you and waiting for you for even greater intimacy in heaven.
We find it hard to surrender completely to God because you get a little bit of that jumping-off-a-cliff feeling. Let's look at it this way. God is all-knowing, all-loving, and wise. If you avoid him to live your own "secret" life, do you believe that God wouldn't know? Do you think you can always make things happen the way you want when you are in control? But who's really in charge? To not surrender to God is to reject God as your caretaker ~ a disobedient act. It is also a foolish act because you falsely believe you can take better care of you than God can. It is also risky because without God's total guidance, you may get lost.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Communion time thoughts. God is so approachable because he is ever ready to take us back, welcome us, embrace us, or unite with us through the Holy Eucharist. What holds us back are we, not God. We set up barriers whenever we do not want to approach him.
God looks down upon the world today and weeps, for he sees the violent fighting and killings going on in Gaza, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. All parties involved think that God is on their side and seek to destroy the other side in his name. Don't they all believe in the same God? There is only one true God, the one as revealed through Jesus Christ his Son. Whoever does not believe that our God loves all of us does not know him and is a false believer that has been mislead. What should we do who love God? Besides weeping along with him, let us seek union with him to counteract those who have made him cry.
I see God looking down on one of us. God's heart is filled with compassion, yet this creature has no idea. There is no joy or peace in him ~ he simply goes through the motion of living, performing trivial things aimlessly as if in a dream. The Father pities him even more. How he wish that this child of his would know that he is loved and be joyful! All he needs to do is turn to the Father and ask for mercy and help. Once he sees God to be the truth, everything becomes purposeful and real.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Only the true God can fundamentally change us on the inside because he's the one who created us. We can resolve to become a better person, but will not succeed well on our own. The change must be initiated at the spiritual level, affecting the soul. Without God, there would be no great saints. If you want to change the world, let him change you first. [Note: "True God" is the God who has revealed himself to be love.]
Friday, August 8, 2014
Today is the Memorial of St. Dominic. The Psalm response came from Deuteronomy 32.39: It is I who deals with death and give life. Indeed, we didn't plan our own birth and don't know when we'll die. Our life is only a brief interval between birth and death, so how can we say that we are in control of our life? God is and should be in charge all the way. In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 16, Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." This is precisely the counsel we need.
People claim they believe in God, but when it comes to forgiving someone, they often won't do it and would even take revenge. In other words, they stop following Christ if someone crosses a line they've drawn. This is disbelieving that God can change you. Limiting God's love, mercy, and ability to accomplish anything is being rebellious, showing the lack of faith and trust in him. No lines should ever be drawn between you and God.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
God wants to speak to us, but we must be ready and willing to listen for his voice. Today's busy and hectic life prevents us from hearing God's gentle and quiet voice. We need to turn inward to hear him, for he speaks to the heart. If you'll remain still and open, you will find messages placed in your heart. Patience is required as God follows his own timetables, but waiting only makes hearing from him all the more sweeter.
Once you are in union with Christ, carrying any cross for him is no longer a heavy burden. But if you commit a sin, you would feel like your heart is being tortured and the burden can become crushing. This is why in union, you want to remain holy. Sinning is out!
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Those who don't know God think that we who have faith in God are naive for easily believing in some God to make ourselves feel secure. On the contrary, I think nonbelievers are naive because they unknowingly look for God here and there, hoping that they would run into something to make them permanently happy.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
From us, God desires mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6.6; Matthew 9.13, 12.7). Let love motivate all that you say, think, and do, sacrifice included. Love is to be our power source, so that we can be like God. It's wonderful that God being love sets a kind of standard for the whole universe, making it clear that everything is to exist by love. I just can't think of a more perfect standard to uphold. Our God is just wonderful.
Communion experience. Wisdom 16.20, today's Communion antiphon: You have given us, O Lord, bread from heaven, endowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste. Indeed, the Lord was delightful and tasted most sweet, and I felt complete contentment.
Worrying is an ugly form of nosiness. It pessimistically projects things that have not happened yet. Therefore, when you worry, you're casting the Holy Spirit aside. Optimistic projection of things that have not happened, while not as bad as worrying, is nevertheless also being out of sync with the Holy Spirit. The one who's with the Spirit does not project into the future; he simply trusts in God every moment in peace.
Monday, August 4, 2014
After watching the documentary Space: Unraveling the Cosmos showing the vastness of space, it reinforced my feeling that God is infinite and that what we know is only what God has allowed us to know. If we could see the entire universe through God's eyes, we would realize what we know is practically zero. Let humility open our eyes to the grandeur of God and accept the good news Jesus has proclaimed, which happens to be God's most important revelation for us.
When I was a high schooler, I fainted once for whatever reason. As an old adult, there had been times when I felt dizzy and was on the verge of slipping into unconsciousness. We know that our life on earth is brief, but it's also just hanging by a thread. The only sensible thing left for us to do while we're still conscious is to put our faith in Jesus; then even if the thread snaps, we shall remain secure in God as he had promised.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
God is all holy and we with the original sin innate in us are inclined to sin. Once we see this, we can understand why without God's illumination, our thoughts are not his thoughts and our ways, not his ways. Then would you rather trust the thoughts and ways of a holy God or those of a sinner? The answer is clear. Logical action to take: abandon ourselves and follow God.
At Mass today during fraction of the bread, I was quite astounded to say and hear the familiar "you take away the sins of the world" following addressing the Lord as "Lamb of God." Taking away the sins of the world is no small matter! I must be aware of its power, scope, and effect on mankind, and understand its purpose, meaning, and what my proper response to it should be.
God, being all holy, can make us all holy! In fact, he wants us to be holy because he knows it's best for us. Being our loving Father, naturally he also wants us to be holy so that we may be like him. You might say that asking God to make us holy is right up his alley.
This question asked by Jesus came to me: What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? The correct answer is obvious, yet most people do not take it seriously. I think it's because they still think they have time and don't want to deal with such serious stuff yet. Here a wise question gets a whole bunch of foolish responses.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Friday, August 1, 2014
Today is the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori. A long time ago, I read something I never forgot, which I believe was said by this saint, although I cannot be totally sure. Anyway, a saint said that if we truly yearn for God, the soul may even skip purgatory and go directly to him after death. To me, God looks at our heart and takes our intention or desire into consideration. If I intend to glorify God in some way and fails, he still values my attempt because the intention was there. This is totally better than succeeding without any good intention.
Communion thoughts. I am proud of the Apostolic succession within the Catholic Church. Starting with my parish priest, I can trace all the way back to St. Peter and the Lord. When I received the Holy Eucharist today, the Lord directly connected with me. How good it is to have these two lines linked to God!