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

Friday, January 31, 2014

We Have Hope!

        On NPR this morning, I heard the sad story of Jeremiah, a 14 year old high school kid who took his own life because he couldn't take the bulling he received at his school anymore (http://www.npr.org/2014/01/31/268996343/when-jeremiah-couldnt-take-more-bullying-he-took-his-life). I've been pondering over the subject of suicide lately. If you take someone's life, you are still alive and have the chance to repent and confess to God and be forgiven. But if you take your own life, that chance is gone forever. In the case of Jeremiah, I don't believe he understood the seriousness of his act yet at his age. Besides, he might not even know Jesus. The Lord surely knew all the circumstances and could still easily forgive him.    
        How I wish I can let every single person in the world know that no one ever needs to feel hopeless, for Christ is our bright everlasting hope! This morning at Mass I saw that God is our only hope against evil. God is love, and without love we become defenseless. Sin takes over and we turn cruel against each other, heading toward eternal death. I am not being pessimistic, only truthful and realistic. Yes, even if your life is like living in hell, Jesus can change that hell into heaven as he is our only and true hope.   

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Christian Benefit

        A Christian follows the will of God. When what God wants him to do is clear, he does it. When unclear, he does not get anxious, but prays and waits in peace. In this sense, a Christian always knows what to do. He's never feels lost ~ that's right.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not Letting God Go

        Once we believe in God, we are safe and secure in his hands and need only rest in him and enjoy his presence. But sometimes I feel like holding onto him so tight as if I'm going to lose him. Then I realize that this is not due to any insecurity, but because I love and yearn for him so much. I call this "not letting go in God."          

Does Faith Need Works?

        Protestants believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, while Catholics quote from James 2 to claim that faith without works is dead. This is how I see it. If you truly believe in God and follow him, you will "automatically" be prompted by the Holy Spirit to do good works to serve and glorify God. Therefore, whether faith needs works or not becomes a nonissue. It also follows that if no good works come forth from someone who says that he has faith, then he is a liar.    

Reality Stories We Need to Hear

        Here are two Journey Home programs with terrific messages. The first is an interview with Kelly Nieto who was a new age atheist. What she has to say perfectly describes the state of our sick society today. 

        
        This second interview is with Leah Darrow. What she experienced was typical of what many of today's young men and women face. Every teenager would benefit from listening to her story. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Guessing The Unforgivable Sin

        In today's Gospel reading at morning Mass from Mark 3, Jesus said to the scribes, "Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin." I had wondered what this unforgivable sin could be. I venture to make a guess here. In the Gospel, the scribes said earlier of Jesus, "He is possessed by Beelzebul [an unclean spirit]," and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons." It seems that the unforgivable sin must be calling the Holy Spirit an unclean spirit, which is the same as calling the Holy God the devil ~ God forbid!

Taking Advantage of God

        The presence of Jesus I am aware of has become overwhelming to the point I could no longer not think about him even for a moment ~ he is more real to me than anything else! God is just so beautiful and lovely, that's all I can say. I took advantage of this intimacy and shared with him a couple of my urgent wishes and knew that he heard me and would grant them in time. Let the Lord do whatever he wishes with you and he'll fill you with great joy by coming to dwell within you.  

Being a Christian

        A Christian does only the will of God. If his action benefits others, he expects no reward or gratitude, for he receives his reward and joy from God alone. A Christian never compares himself with anyone who is more popular, more powerful, more talented, or richer, for he prefers to remain peaceful through humility. A Christian cares about God first, others second, and himself last.     

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Answering God's Call

        Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 4 ~ Jesus began preaching and called his first disciples. If you are not happy with your spiritual state and wish to progress, what should you do? Here's my obvious answer: Like Peter, Andrew, James, and John who left everything at once to follow Jesus after he called them in the Gospel reading, you too should leave for the Lord immediately, for he has called you. The sinful state is always a state of emergency, calling for immediate action.

How to Approach God

        I felt well enough to attend Sunday morning Mass, but remained quiet for fear that using my voice would trigger coughing. Before Mass started, I thought about how we should approach the Lord. The following immediately came to the mind: Be open completely; remain passive and at his disposal; leave all our cares at his feet; ask no questions, only trust; rest in his peace now in his holy presence. This is total abandonment in God. This is enjoying him. This is what "Thy will be done" is all about. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Becoming Beautiful Again

        In this life, we cannot get beatified, but we can be beautified by God. We were all born pure and innocent, but grow ugly as the sins engulfing the whole world start to stain and disfigure us. But God the Father wants his children to be beautiful always, for he dearly loves them. So, if you don't look very good to yourself and him, open yourself up and ask him to come to restore your beauty. No matter how ugly you are, he can transform you into the most beautiful person possible. In a way, the whole goal of the Christian is to let God make you beautiful. And what a beautiful feeling it is to know that you look beautiful to God.     

Friday, January 24, 2014

Purity, Purity, Purity

        We don't need to be a religious to take formal vows. We can always take our own vows in private. I deem one vow absolutely necessary for the love of God: to remain pure in thoughts, words, and deeds. This is the least God deserves from us, and seeking union with him can definitely help us achieve that.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Close Is God to You?

        On National Public Radio this morning, I heard that Latinos in this country is now a driving force in the Charismatic movement of the Church. The Rev. Jim Sheehan, a Charismatic priest and chaplain at Bronx Community College, says traditional Catholicism just isn't connecting with the Latinos, especially recent immigrants who are struggling. "I think that many of us have a distant relationship with a God of the future," says Sheehan. "Charismatics, Latinos expect God to come today ~ hoy dia." By joining the Charismatic movement, Latinos can have intense spiritual experiences without cutting ties with the Catholic Church. 
        This is good news. I feel that all of us Catholics should ask the Holy Spirit to "zap" us so that we may know that he is truly present. We should desire God's constant touch and seek union with him. But if you'd rather keep your distance from the Lord, then "dull Catholic" is a suitable name for you.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Great Mystery

        I watched the movie Maria di Nazaret (www.maryfilm.com) on Netflix. It's on YouTube too. This film has many beautiful moving moments. John 3.16 comes to my mind: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. This is such a great mystery. The meaning is clear, but the truth is just shockingly beautiful beyond belief ~ only God could have come up with such a mystery. I feel so fortunate, so blessed that the Lord has revealed this truth to me, for it has the power to change our lives forever! This great mystery is also our greatest revelation.

Is Life Worth Living?

        My cough seems to have come back, so I am not out the woods yet. At a time like this, we think about life more. I know that when people are feeling miserable, they tend to think that life is not worth living. If this life is not worth living, then the next life is definitely worth living for as there's the possibility of living our eternal life with Jesus in heaven. Naturally, we must go through this life to get to the next; therefore, this life is worth living too no matter how miserable it might feel. In conclusion, life with Christ is always worth living ~ not only does he give us strength, hope, and joy in this life, he can absolutely make our next life blissful.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Letting Jesus Occupy Us

        At Mass today, I saw someone and thought of his known big ego. I didn't care for the music I heard too much either, somewhat distracting ~ not traditional enough. Then I realized that to maintain my inner peace I shouldn't have such negative thoughts. The sure and only way I know of to achieve this is to let Christ occupy me entirely, then his beauty and perfection will overshadow and obliterate all of my negative thoughts and concerns.

Making Jesus No. 1

        In today's Gospel reading from John 1, John the Baptist testified that Jesus is the the Son of God, ranking ahead of him for having existed before him. If Jesus is Lord and God to you also, how important or relevant is he to you? Do you put him first, second, tenth, or perhaps last in your life? How often do you think of him? How often do you talk to him? If you do attend Mass regularly, do you ever ask him to change you to become more like him? Here's how (the only way) to make him No. 1 in your life ~ let him know that this is your foremost desire and then abandon yourself completely to him. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hardened Hearts

        After receiving the Holy Eucharist, I thought: here's the Lord God who could solve all our problems and save us ~ yet how many of us had truly accepted him? How foolish and tragic it is to live and die with a hardened heart!

Doorway to Happiness

         Yesterday I thought I was well enough to attend morning Mass, but I started coughing again. Today I made it on the Memorial of St. Anthony. The Gospel reading from Mark 2 was about the paralytic being let down by his four friends through the roof they had opened up to get near Jesus. The Lord saw his faith, forgave his sins and healed him.
       Before Mass began, the Lord made me see that if we are not willing to accept suffering in this life, we can never be happy. Jesus has suffered so much for our sake, how can we refuse any suffering and still follow him? Being willing to suffer is the doorway to happiness. If suffering in this life is welcome, imagine how great our happiness will be in heaven! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Peace and Freedom Born

        Communion intimacy. How could I possibly receive the Lord's body and still remain unchanged? How can I return this greatest favor of his entering me? The least and most I can do is let him take over completely so that I may belong to him completely ~ inner peace is now born. Since the Lord has already entered, I am ready to let him take me to wherever he wants me to go ~ inner freedom is now born.

On Knowing the Lord

        Today's Gospel Acclamation, based upon John 10.27: My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord. I know them, and they follow me. You don't need to experience anything supernatural to know Jesus. Seek union, oneness, and you'll know him. If you always follow him, then you already know him. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bread of Life

        Communion experience. Finally, I was well enough to attend Mass again. After I received the Holy Eucharist this morning, I knew that this was the bread that's transforming me now and would carry my soul into heaven later.

Going Infinite with God

        An infinite, omnipotent, all-knowing, loving God deserves placing our "infinite" confidence in him.

Jesus Is Lord

        We cannot feel comfortable if we choose to reject Jesus as the Lord. Even if we accept him as such, we won't feel completely comfortable with him until we have surrendered completely to him, for he truly is Lord. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Evolution of Faith

        I recall how my faith in God evolved since the early days. In the beginning when I searched for God, I had fleeting moments in which I sensed his existence. Later after I came to believe that Christ is Lord and Savior, I still needed to remind myself from time to time that I did have faith in him. Gradually, the faith grew more secure. When the Holy Spirit took over during my involvement in the charismatic renewal movement, my faith was greatly strengthened by the grace of God ~ it's all his doing. I can see that if I had let go in God a lot sooner, my spiritual growth would have progressed a lot faster. We notice faith only when doubts exist. After I sought union with God, faith became such a natural part of me that I no longer noticed its presence ~ again, it's all God's doing. Now I read about skeptics who do not even believe that Christ ever existed, I can only smile because they do not experience God's doing and will never be able to understand how I feel. What a joy to enjoy God with faith totally out of the picture!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Not Feeling Guilty Again

        I was finally well enough to attend Mass after a week of staying home. Today is Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It happens to be the hundredth birthday of a parishioner. She, looking remarkably young and fit, was at Mass and we all wished her Happy Birthday. She even received a framed citation from Pope Francis through our parish priest.
         Even though I missed Mass for the whole past week, I do not feel guilty in any way because God knew the reason. I've been thinking that if we trust in God and try always to follow him, we won't ever need to feel guilty again. Of course, we still sin, but as long as the failure is due to our human weakness and not intentional, God understands. Then when we cross the line and experience the struggle within us and the loss of inner peace, we know we are in guilt. What a joy it is not to ever feel guilty again!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We Are Special!

        Still being held hostage by the bug at home, I had the time to wonder what if God had not created us so that there would be only all the other animals and plants living on earth. Of course, the eternal God doesn't depend upon our existence for his own in any way; yet, somehow, I feel that he would miss us. Remember that he created us in his own image so that we alone among all the living things are capable of understanding him and loving him, and that he might have us to love! Intuitively, I also feel that the entire universe with everything in it, including our earth and everything on it, had been created for our enjoyment and needs ~ we are the culmination of his creation! Last, the fact that we can conceive that there is a God our creator only confirms that there is one, for no other can create a mind, especially one that can conceive its creator. In short, we are special, created to know God.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Presenting Mary

        I came across this YouTube video on the Mother of Christ. It's quite a beautiful presentation. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Test for Our Love for God

        I've been home sick since last Sunday. It's one of those bugs quite a number of us around here has been catching from the cold weather. I just looked at the readings for today's Mass on www.usccb.org/bible/. In Reading 1 from 1 John 4, the Apostle wrote: If anyone says, "I love God," but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. Therefore, if I still hold a grudge again someone, I can't claim that I love God yet. I could only say that I intend to love God, but I fall short of truly loving him. How much we love our brothers and sisters tests how much we love God.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life Is Simple in God

        After seeing so many people living a life with so many worldly concerns and complicated relationships with others both within and without their family, I come to see how simple and beautiful life becomes when you go deep into Christ. It's as if Jesus cleans out all the clutter, barnacles, cobwebs, and refuse in your life to set you free. By unburdening us, God simplifies our lives.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Great Oversight

        Jesus asked, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?" (Matthew 7.3). It's so easy to get upset over things or people because they turn out to be imperfect, and at the same time overlook our own imperfections (getting upset being one). If we are not perfect, how can we expect others to be perfect? It all comes down to "no sinner has the right to judge fellow sinners."

Life as an Assignment

        When a religious, especially one who has pledged poverty, is assigned to  a post, he does his best to perform his tasks. When he is reassigned to a new post, he simply moves on, does the same again, not attaching himself to his or her previous accomplishments in any way. This is also the way to live for us lay folks. We see our roles as assignments from God. We do our best to please him. When we are done, we are happy and move on, not attaching ourselves to what we've done because it's just an assignment from God. This way we'll always feel free and peaceful.   

To Be a Christian...

        To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus is to follow him in all things and at all times is to be preoccupied entirely by Jesus is to live for him alone is to live in union with him is to live Jesus.

Model Prayer for Us in Suffering

         I caught a cold and started coughing. Naturally, I hoped that the Lord would heal me; but still, it must be his will. Jesus' prayer while suffering his agony in the garden before his betrayal and arrest came to my mind: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22.42). [Matthew's version, 26.42: "Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!"] This should be the model prayer for all of us in suffering.

A Matter of Life or Death

        Jesus is to be taken most seriously because it's a matter of critical importance. If you don't take him seriously, then you do not know him well enough yet. Who is he to you? Whom do you treat him as? If you acknowledge that your eternal destination depends upon him, then do you even trust in him with your present life? Is your living consistent with what you believe in? To become like Jesus should be our foremost aspiration because it is the highest aspiration for us.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

First Order of Business

        Today is the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. After I received the Holy Eucharist, I saw that this bread was not food for my body nor for my mind, it was food directly feeding and nourishing my soul, preparing me for life in heaven, my ultimate home. Healing of the soul must be our top concern for the glory of God! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Only Obstacle Between God and Us

        Today being a First Friday, I stayed for Eucharistic Adoration after Mass. The Lord made me see this: The only obstacle between him and us is us.

Purifying Our Love

        Communion time thoughts. After the Lord enters us, it's the perfect time to ask him to purify our love so that it will not be tainted with human attachment, self-love, selfishness, sentimentality, and sensuality. Then we can love as he loves.

Jesus Is Trustworthy

        He is so trustworthy that we can confidently let him do whatever he wants with us!

Most Under-Appreciated Person

        Yesterday I posted about God beyond our comprehension ~ God being so much greater than we can possibly imagine. This being the case, we can trust in him with full confidence. After all, we are supposed to love him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. Yet, looking at reality, Jesus could easily have been named Most Under-Appreciated Person of the Year for the last 2,000 or so years. What gives?

Fighting the Right Battle

        Life is a battle ~ we can all agree to that. But what do we fight for? Making enough money? Taking care of our family? Living a comfortable life? Job security? Maintaining good health? Fame, power, wealth? If so, then we are fighting the wrong battle because our primary aim should be to overcome our sins!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Only God Good Enough for Us

        As we get to know Christ more deeply, we begin to lose interest in all the worldly things and activities. Eventually, they become downright boring. This just proves that spiritual needs, not physical and intellectual ones, are our deepest needs. The world can only patch us up temporarily, covering up our deepest longing for God. God is then our true fulfiller.  

God Beyond Comprehension

        Since God is infinite and we are finite, it's impossible for us to comprehend him fully ~ his love, his mercy, his wisdom, his saving power ... are all so much greater than we can possibly imagine. Therefore, let's put this to rest and concentrate on believing, following, and trusting God. Where is he taking us? This also we cannot imagine, but it will definite exceed our best highest expectation.   

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lost in Christ

        Communion Experience. Such an intimate, private, endearing moment when the Lord entered you and said to you, "I am now all yours."

God Absolutely Indispensable

        Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Thoughts at Mass in the morning: Only in God can we get totally cleaned up; only in in God can we be put in order; only in God can our wholeness be restored; only in God can we become perfect. And he is ready to make it all happen. 

Looking at Ego Again

        Happy New Year to all and peace to people of good will on earth. A good prayer to start the year off would be to ask God to cut out (or at least down) our ego. To me, the ego wants to exalt myself before others. A gym trainer recently remarked to me that the major cause of injury for those who exercise is ego. I thought about that and realized that he was right. Most men, anyway, in their desire to impress themselves tend to use weights heavier than they should handle, thus resulting in injury. You can be the only one in the world and still be hurt by your own ego. So, ego concerns just you and God. It is for him that we want to annihilate it before it hurts or destroys us.