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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sins, Premeditated vs Spontaneous

        In the first part of today's Gospel reading from John 13, Judas' betrayal of Jesus is announced. At the Last Supper, when the disciples asked who the betrayer is, Jesus dipped and handed a morsel to Judas to indicate that he would be the one. In verse 27, we heard read, "After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him." Satan becomes a partner in crime when one premeditates committing a sin, and that sin will be serious.       
        In the last part of the Gospel, Peter's denial of Jesus is predicted. Jesus told Peter that the cock would not crow before he denied him three times. Peter's denial stemmed from fear and came out spontaneously, not premeditated as in Judas' case, and he repented right afterwards. This is the difference. The goal of union of God is that we don't even commit spontaneous sins.  

Stunning Truth

        Today's Communion antiphon based upon Romans 8.32: God did not spare his own son, but handed him over for us all. This incredible truth still amazes me today. Let it wipe out any negative thoughts or feelings you might have toward God.

Where Heaven Is

        Without God, we are on our own. If someone hits me, naturally I want to hit him back. Then we go after each other perpetually with attacks and counterattacks. This is our world today. With the God of Christ, we get clear guidance to follow. Love becomes our prime motive ~ the only way to break the vicious cycle we are in. Naturally, we must be prepared to suffer if necessary. This is made possible by our God-given faith and vision of everlasting life. Since heaven is where God dwells, there is no heaven on earth except in the hearts of those who are with Christ.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Whom to Pray For

        You know people who turn you off, make you angry, or are plain unattractive. They are the ones whom you want to avoid, love to hate, or feel are hopeless cases or losers. Prayers are called for. Pray first for yourself, then pray for God's blessing on every one of them from your heart. And Jesus in turn will bless you.

Final Judgment Imminent

        It's knowing that we'll be judged by God one day that matters, not when it'll happen. In truth, God already knows everything we've done so far; only the time of pronouncing our sentence has not arrived yet. 

Good and Evil in Contrast

        Holy Week has begun. In today's Gospel reading of John 12.1-11 at morning Mass, I saw the sharp contrast between good and evil. Six days before Passover, Jesus came to the house of Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with a liter of costly perfumed oil. Judas the Iscariot questioned why the oil was not sold and given to the poor. He said it because he held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. Jesus merely said, "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." What's good about Jesus was that he knew well that Judas was going to betray him, yet God's will must be done and he never reproached or tried to stop him. By contrast, the chief priests were so bad that they not only plotted to kill Jesus, but also Lazarus just because the fact that he was raised from the dead by Jesus had led many to turn away and believe in Jesus. The world is still the same today.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tragic Reality

          One may not believe that there is a personal, loving God, but everyone knows that he is a sinner and would need help to get out of that state. Many have found Christ to be the perfect solution for them. We only need to humble ourselves and be receptive to the gospel ~ the process can't be simpler. God has made it easy, yet we still remain closed, not willing to yield. It's taking the easy way out only to find out that it's no way out!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Linked to God

        Communion thoughts. It is still incredible to me that in receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, the finite and the infinite merge together physically and spiritually into one. This is made possible only through God's mercy and love. It's so very, very special!

Sinners Cast in the Same Mold

        I attended the Vigil Mass today for Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. The Gospel reading, Mark 14.1 through 15.47, covers The Conspiracy against Jesus, The anointing at Bethany, The Betrayal by Judas, Preparations for the Passover, The Betrayer, The Lord's Supper, Peter's Denial Foretold, The Agony in the Garden, The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus, Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Peter's Denial of Jesus, Jesus before Pilate, The Sentence of Death, Mockery by the Soldiers, The Way of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Death of Jesus, and The Burial of Jesus. The kind of sins people committed then were exactly the kind people today are committing. For example, plotting to kill someone out of envy; betraying someone good for money; losing faith and denying God; not vigilant enough to keep watch; resorting to physical violence; running away from God out of fear; giving false witness against others; falsely accusing someone of blasphemy; insulting, mocking, and bullying anyone under your power; denying the Lord in various ways; stirring up the mob to achieve your objective; sentencing the innocent to death; being cruel to those who appear weak to you; being sarcastic and abusive... The reading was long but most moving. Hearing it gave me great strength, thanks be to God!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Soul's Highest Attainment

        The Holy Eucharist makes it possible for us to establish the most intimate relationship with God, which is union with God. This is a nearly perfect relationship because God is perfect love and we are not yet perfect. Nevertheless, it is the highest attainment of the human soul. 

Our Safe Haven

        Never bow to evil ~ that is, never let evil cause you to sin. In today's reading of Psalm 18 at Mass, the psalmist calls upon the Lord in his distress, exclaiming "My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of may salvation, my stronghold!" If we remain in God, we are safe from our enemies and no evil can possibly touch us. 

Consequences of Consequence

(1) If you do not stop sinning, you risk hearing the Lord say, "I never knew you" after you die. 
(2) Make yourself god and you lose the only living God.  
(3) Have your way now and you won't have any say later.
(4) Choose to receive all your rewards in this life and there won't be any left for you in the next.
(5) Aim to gain the whole world now and risk losing your soul for ever.
(6) Reject Christ now and he'll reject you later.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Be Humble and Mighty

        After hearing the Gospel (John 8.51-59), read at morning Mass, I came to realize that our God is mighty because he is humble. Among humans too, the humble are mightier than the proud, for they have God as their rock and refuge while the proud have only themselves to rely upon. Besides, Jesus has said, "The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23.11-12.)

Faith Unlimited

        Jesus has come and revealed how much God loves us and wants to save us. Whether he came 2000 years ago or two million years ago, or is actually with us today is immaterial, for faith is timeless. A limited faith is no faith at all. It is this kind of unlimited faith that makes life worth living, for the reward will be great when you finally face the Lord.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

To Be Strong in God

        The Lord made me see today that being strong is not being puffed-up, feeling that you can conquer anything coming your way. Rather, being strong in God is to remain calm, not being upset by anything. You place your trust in God and focus upon him alone. It's only when you get bothered that you become weak.

Obedience of a True Servant

        Communion time thoughts. If we are with Christ, then we have no choice but to obey him in all things, for this marks being a true servant of the Lord. If you haven't always been obedient, let the Holy Eucharist be your game-changer.

The Cure the World Needs

        Today we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord at morning Mass. The readings advised us to do the will of God. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce her conception of Christ. Before the angel departed, Mary's final response was: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Disobedience to God is precisely what has made our world so disordered. Only obedience to him can restore our sanity (and lead us to sanctity).

Mutual Knowing

        In John 10.27, Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they know me." I feel that the Lord and I know each other so well that I only need to call out "Jesus" and he already knew what's on my mind and in my heart. This trust simplifies the relationship. What Jesus said in the next verse completely solidifies that relationship: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand." Imagine!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Viewing Life Right

        If you view your life as a journey of wandering off on your own, then admit it ~ your are lost. Life makes sense and becomes meaningful only if you see it as a journey to God.  

The Missing Puzzle Piece

        Communion experience. I saw Jesus as the perfect missing piece that completed the puzzle of my life.

Time to Ask for Help

        John 12.32 is today's Communion antiphon: When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself. If the Resurrection of Jesus does not draw you to him, then you urgently need to go to him directly for help.

Dying Right in Sinful State

        In today's Gospel reading from John 8, Jesus said to the Pharisees that they would die in their sins for belonging to the world and not believing in him. It is chilling to hear the words "dying in your sins." We must make sure that we shall die in our sins forgiven

Truth Summarized

        Today's Gospel acclamation at Mass: The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever.

No Seasons in Heaven

        Spring officially began four days ago. Trees and other plants have turned fresh green, the dreary winter-scape already fading from memory. And after a rainfall, the clear blue sky is always a welcome sight. We go through seasons and cycles in this life. Then I realize that there will be no seasonal changes or life cycles in heaven ~ we just enjoy bliss perpetually in God.

How We Need God!

        So many so often forget that they are finite and need God. The realization comes when their security, status quo, or life are threatened, and learn that they are not invincible and being your own little god is useless. This is a wake-up call. The bottom line is that we cannot escape from God and survive. It's either the Lord or eternal banishment.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Our Only Calling

        Communion experience. No matter what happens, we simply go deeper and deeper into the Lord ~ this is our only calling: to be one with him.

How the Lord Spoke to Me

        It came to me that I should pray hard for God's mercy on the whole world and myself. During this Lent, I have been persecuted by an enemy and began to feel a tiny fraction of what the Lord must have felt as he underwent his agonies prior to his Crucifixion. Everything I heard at today's Mass was most edifying. 
        First, the entrance antiphon, Psalm 56.2, read: Have mercy on me, O God, for people assail me; they fight me all day long and oppose me. 
        In the first reading that followed from Daniel 13, we heard how two wicked, old judges falsely testified against Susanna and sentenced her to death and Daniel was able to unearth the truth and convict the two of perjury and save Susanna. 
       Next, the response to Psalm 23 was familiar: Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side. 
        Now, the Gospel acclamation, based upon Ezekiel 33,11: I take not pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live. 
        Finally, the Gospel reading from John 8 was about the woman caught in adultery. When the scribes and the Pharisees, testing Jesus, asked him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" Jesus said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." In response, they went away one by one. Then Jesus asked the women, "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more." In fact, today's Communion antiphon was made up from these last two verses: Have no one condemned you, woman? No one, Lord. Neither shall I condemn you. From now on, sin no more. This is the powerful mercy of our God ~ beautiful beyond words! 
        After hearing all this, it's as if the Lord had spoken to me personally. I was right in knowing that I should pray for God's mercy in my case. 

Communion of Saints

        When I arrived at church for morning Mass a bit early today, only half a dozen or so parishioners were already present. Eventually, attendance grew to about 40. Among them, many had been humble and faithful servants of the Lord for a long time. I did not know all of them well, but it didn't matter. What I knew was that we were already one in Christ and one day we'd all be with the Lord in heaven. This is Communion of Saints. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Amazing Intimacy

        After being a Catholic for over half a century, I am still amazed at how intimately I can get to know God. This is the Lord who has saved and renewed me; feeds me himself daily at Mass and dwells within me. It's a relationship only he can produce via his Son Jesus. There is no other religion through which you can get this close to God. Personally, I do not even consider Catholicism a religion because it's simply the truth.    

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Worst & Best in Us

        In both today's Reading 1 and Responsorial Psalm at morning Mass, we heard about the wicked and the just. Two people can appear to be equally OK, then in a test, one shows his worst and the other, his best. The wicked one might attack others with malice, while the just one seeks strength to endure and forgive in God. Naturally, the Lord already knows the hearts, so it would be wise for the wicked one to change his heart before he dies. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On Seeking a Sign

        Sometimes I wish the Lord would make me feel something after I prayed to him. Then I remember he said (in Matthew) that only an evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign ~ so I know I should just remain faithful and not expect anything special from him. (Of course, should he decide to surprise me, that would be fine too.)

Complete Helplessness

        Today's Communion experience during the celebration I mentioned in the last post. I felt my complete helplessness without the Lord and total dependence upon him. 

Birth of Jesus Within Us

        Today I attended a special celebration of the Solemnity of St. Joseph at the local Mount St. Joseph Seminary. The Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 1 tells how the birth of Jesus came about. I saw our spiritual transformation as the birth of the Lord in us. When he is born in us, we are born again too. Our new creature goes with the new Lord. And we should take care of the Lord in us as if he were a new born baby.  

Why us?

        Jesus came down from heaven to become precisely one of us because we are God's favorites and need salvation.  

The Christian Outlook

        For the Christian, it's the final victory that counts. Knowing that the Father has chosen you to return to him to be with him forever completely changes your outlook on life. Setbacks, sufferings, persecutions . . . all these things no longer affect you seriously. As long as there is God, the Christian sees hope ahead.

Inspired by Pianists

        I watch talented classical pianists performing on YouTube. With no technical difficulties and thorough knowledge of the composition, they are able to concentrate fully upon expressing the music when they play. What you hear is very beautiful. They are good examples for us to follow as Christians. By surrendering to and remaining in union with God, we can fully express the love of our God beautifully for all to enjoy. 

Sins as Firecrackers

        I see sins as firecrackers. People carelessly and rampantly set them off for their own pleasure everywhere. They alarm, injure, maim, or even kill others. The only one who can defuse them for good is the Lord our God.   

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Life or Condemnation

        In today's Gospel reading, John 5.17-30, at Mass, Jesus makes it clear that we shall have either life or condemnation. This is such a critically important message that not listening to it could make the eternal difference! Because of it, we who believe in the Lord are obliged to spread the gospel to as many as possible.   

God Incredible

        It's overwhelming to think about how Jesus suffered so excruciatingly for us from the Last Supper to his Crucifixion. It's even more overwhelming to realize that God ever had the intention of sacrificing his only Son for our salvation! Our God is most incredible.  

Choices of Life

        Life comes down to two choices: (1) To be holy for God and (2) to seek happiness on your own in the world. 

Union with Perfection

       Yesterday's Communion experience. (I am posting it today because yesterday the modem broke down and I could not get online.) Receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist was receiving Perfection into me. 

Our Clear Role

         In Luke 5.1-11, Simon Peter and his fishing partners had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, he obeyed when Jesus asked him to put out into deep water and lower the nets. And they caught such a great number of fish that their nets started tearing. I particularly like what Simon Peter did after he saw this ~ he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" ~ for astonishment and fear had seized him and all those with him. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
          This reading brings me great consolation. It shows that the Lord knows us and everything that's going to happen to us. Our role is to trust and follow him faithfully.  

Back to the Basics

        In everything that happens to you in life, good or bad, see the opportunity to examine your personal relationship with God, improve it, and move on.

Mercy Requires Surrender

        In the first part of the Mass, we always ask God to have mercy on us in preparation for the Liturgy of the Word to begin. In praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we repeatedly recite "Have mercy on us." It seems that if we truly mean it, we must surrender ourselves to God, for how can we ask for mercy if we don't even wish to submit ourselves to him?  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Your Enemy Is Your Brother

         The Parable of the Lost (Prodigal) Son (Luke 15.11-32) is teaching me to see how we are to love our enemies. In case you are unfamiliar with the story, here's a quick going-over. A father has two sons. The younger one, the lost one, took all the money, left home and squandered it all. He is left with no hope but to return to his father to admit his wrongdoing and beg for mercy. The father was elated that his son has returned and celebrates the occasion with him. The older son finds out and is angry that he's been faithful to the father all along, but never been treated like this by him. The father says to him, "My son, you are with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found."
        Since we are all children of God, I see my enemy as my brother. Even if I do not like him, I must pray for his conversion to please God the Father. Wishing God to inflict harm on him is obviously out of the question. If I remain with God the Father, everything his is mine and that surely would include protection from all my enemies.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Great Consolation

        Communion experience. The Communion hymn was I Am the Bread of Life. The lyrics of the song are based upon Jesus' Bread-of-Life Discourse from John 6, with Jesus promising eternal life to whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood. The song is beautiful! Receiving the Holy Eucharist, the living bread from heaven, was indeed one great consolation

Draw Your Line

        All the sins are connected in the sense that they are all sins and committing small oness can lead to committing bigger ones. Therefore, we need to draw a clear demarcation line between living in sin and being holy and choose the side we want to be on. 

A Tall Oder

        Life should be cleaned up, and lived effectively and with purpose. Since our time on earth is limited, all the more we need to be watchful. Sinning is the worst way of squandering away time. Not only do we need to remain pure, but also be fruitful for God. It sounds like a tall order, but all is within reach when you become one with the Lord.   

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Heart-to-Heart with God

        God looks at the hearts. The centurion asked Jesus to say the word to heal his paralyzed servant and he was healed. The woman who touched the tassel on Jesus' cloak was cured of her hemorrhages. Jesus saw the faith in their hearts; what each of them did was merely an act through which they revealed their faith. When we pray to the Lord, the prayer is our act and he reads our messages from our heart just as clearly. Of course, the Sacred Heart of Jesus feels for us at all times. We read in the Gospels how often he was moved with pity for the crowds. He even wept at the death of Lazarus before raising him. How he deeply loves us is unquestionable. What I see is that to move the Lord's heart, we must communicate with him from the depths of our heart. This is truly heart-to-heart with God.

Easy Lesson We Don't Get

        In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 18, we heard the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Jesus concluded, "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." The truth is clear. To exalt oneself is play god, and there is only one God, so you are doomed to fail. On the other hand, to humble oneself is to submit yourself to God and he will honor you for it.  

Applying Simple Logic

        In mathematics, if A > B and B > C, then A > C. Simple logic makes this obvious. Then we can say that if you love God and God loves all his children, then you should love all your brothers and sisters. Again by simple logic, if you hate someone, you do not truly love God yet.

Dying Is of No Concern

        Some folks care about how they are going to die. My wish is that I shall go with a clear mind. Then I see that the much more important concern is how we live our present life. If we intend to do the will of God always, how we die, like everything else, becomes inconsequential.   

God Our Savior

        In praying the Our Father, we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses. Do you ever think about that? We all sin ~ should we just ignore it and let bygones be bygones? What about our troubled conscience? The fact that Jesus can take away our sins has to be a great piece of news! Here God provides us with a way out, a way to be made clean and free of guilt. His whole intent: to save us for all eternity.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Christian Living

       Jesus said to his disciples, "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.'" If God wants you to give up or do something, say yes. To think up all kinds of reasons or excuses to avoid following him is being untruthful. Christian living is rigorous, not wishy-washy.          

Getting Intimate with God

        In mathematics, if A is a subset of B, and B is a subset of A, then A = B. Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him (John 14.11), so the Son and the Father are one. Union with God is, to be more precise, being one with God. Now God is a space infinitely larger than mine, how can we fit within each other? Physically, that would be impossible; but spiritually, it's no problem. When I surrender to God, I become entirely his and I am in him. At the same time, he enters my heart and we become one. Receiving the Holy Eucharist seals the deal, you could say. By the way, the Holy Eucharist had been the greatest aid in bringing me to this state. True, God is everywhere around us, but to bring him into your heart you have to open the door, to invite him in. There is no other way of getting more intimate with God in this life!

Fear of God Analyzed

        We are afraid of God only because we have not been good children, so the fear stems from fear for ourselves. As long as we remain so, surrendering to the Father will not happen. Thorough repentance is in order. Once you realize that God is all love and embrace his love, all fears will vanish. 

In Most Fortunate Position

        How happy and grateful I am to know Christ the Lord. I have no more fear of death. I am in his secure hands and going home to God the Father who awaits me. I don't need to hope for anything, for I already have God. Time is passing fast, but nothing in the world can hold me back, for everything down here is passing too. Sure, I still suffer at times, but suffering for Christ's sake only draws me closer to him. So many things I still don't understand, but that's OK because God has all the answers with him. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Face the Truth

        Without God, whatever happiness you can find in this life is only temporary, never satisfying to the soul. You don't need God to realize this. With Christ, you will receive joy in the present life and infinitely more in the next for all eternity. 

Cause of Peace

        Communion experience. I treasured the deep rest I felt in Christ after receiving him. As human beings, we relate to both God and fellow humans. A bad relationship with the former invariably results in bad relationships with the latter. Even though we cannot solve all others' problems, a good relationship with God enables us to relate to them with love. My relationship with God was the cause of my Communion peace.

*Living by Faith

        Sometimes we think that if God were around and we see and hear them, it would be so much easier for us to listen to him and do what he tells us to do. Then I see that in Jesus' time, the twelve Apostles were the only ones with the Lord most of the time in his last years, and they still got into trouble and Judas didn't even listen to him. It is by faith that we are to live! It is being aware that God is present and knows everything about you and everything affecting you that counts, whether you actually see or hear him. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mankind's Greatest Achievement...

has to be success in surrendering himself to God, since it brings him into union with God. This can also be considered the greatest breakthrough because it's the breakthrough to spiritual freedom.

Easy Ascent to Heaven

        People can get unbelievably attached to their pets, guns, cars, hobbies, sport events, TV shows, pop idols . . . that they virtually become slaves. This is spiritually unhealthy, to say the least. The healthy way is to enjoy, but not be attached to them. If you ever pray the Our Father, focus upon the meaning of "Thy will be done." If there is something you can't possibly give up ever, then you'll have trouble when the time comes for you to leave the world. Just remember that the more earthly baggage you carry, the harder will it be for you to leave. A beautiful sight to the Lord is the ascent of a free, weightless spirit toward him. 

Easy Journey

        Communion experience. The Lord of heaven came to me in person. He came to take away my sins, dwell within me, and show me his love. I only needed to walk toward the altar to receive him.

Grateful for Purgatory

        I know a lot of Christian denominations do not believe in purgatory. They believe that once you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are saved forever. This is rather simplistic thinking. If it were true, there is no incentive for us to grow holy anymore. Then, as sinners how many of us are pure enough to get into heaven? Would a great sinner enter as easily as a saint? Remember that in Matthew 7.21, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven." I am not a theologian, but I see the existence of purgatory as a sign of God's great mercy. This is how heaven-bound sinners get purified. Naturally, the purification process depends upon your sinful state. Without purgatory, heaven would be a sparsely populated place; with it, many are saved. (Check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a full explanation.) 

Our Greatest Danger

        Matthew 5.17-19 was today's Gospel reading at morning Mass. What the Lord said was earthshaking. To me, Jesus as God always spoke the truth, and truth does not go away ~ it gets fulfilled. Since the people of the world is paying little attention to the messages of Christ the Lord, the greatest danger they face now is not possibly another world war or some horrendous natural disaster, but the loss of their souls for all eternity.   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Matters the Most...

is how much you love Christ the Lord. 

Most Beautiful Relationship

        Part of today's Entrance Antiphon at Mass from Psalm 17 read: Guard me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. I see the amazing relationship between God and any of us who belong to him. We are so small and limited, yet we are the apple of his eye, and he loves us. When we love him back, we have the union of the puny and finite with the holy, immortal, and mightiest. This is truly an incredibly beautiful thing!

On Forgiving Others Again

        In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 18, Jesus told Peter to forgive his brother who sinned against him not just seven times, but seventy-seven times. I used to wonder if I should forgive an enemy who's unremorseful. The answer now is clearly yes. This teaching of the Lord is consistent with his teaching about judging not and loving your enemies. Holding a grudge against someone is like keeping poison in your heart ~ guess who's being poisoned. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant that followed in the Gospel reading, Jesus made it clear that God would not forgive us if we did not forgive others for the same sin. If we want God to forgive us always, we have no choice but to forgive others always. After all, it's only what God, not any other human being, does to us that counts.    

Monday, March 9, 2015

Asking for God's Help

        If I believe that God is my only help, then of course he is going to help me whenever I need his help! This is exactly what Jesus had said, "Ask and it will be given to you" (Matthew 7.7). 

Union Coming into Focus

        Today's response to Psalms 42 and 43 at Mass reads: Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God? In reading the Psalms, I am amazed at how King David and the other psalmists were passionate about and intimate with the Lord they believed in so much ~ the longing, the begging, the praising. It seems that with our advantage of knowing Christ, we should truly be able to develop an even closer relationship with God. I see Union with God coming into focus.

Are We Any Better?

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 4 at morning Mass, Jesus, like the prophets before him, was not accepted in his own native place. The people in the synagogue were furious at what he said, drove him out of town and were ready to hurl him headlong over the brow of the hill on which their town had been built. I thought of the many of us who are not necessarily angry at the Lord, but nevertheless are lukewarm or just do not care much about him ~ are they any better than those in the synagogue in his native place? 

God Our Only...

        Jesus is the only one we can fully trust. He is our only hope. He alone is our true rock and refuge. He is the only one who fully understands our plight and can save me from eternal damnation. He is the only one who can bring peace to our world if only we follow him. He is the only one who is infinitely merciful. He is the only one with the greatest possible love for us. He is the only one worth our adoration and praise. He is the only one who can transform us into holy saints. He is the only God Incarnate. He is our greatest treasure and miracle!                 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Story of a Jewish Catholic

        I record The Journey Home programs hosted by Marcus Grodi on EWTN. This morning I enjoyed watching Dr. Robin Pierucci, a Jewish Convert, telling her interesting, beautiful story.

(You might also enjoy watching Rosalind Moss on The Journey Home I posted in 2013: http://journeyofimperfectsaint.blogspot.com/2013/08/mother-miriam.html.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Deep Journey

        Communion experience. It was a deep journey into the interior of the Lord in a short time.

Powerful Acts and Words

        I attended 5 p.m. Vigil Mass today. The Gospel reading from John 2 is powerful. Jesus drove those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers all out of the temple area. To those who sold doves he said, "Stop making my Father's house a marketplace." His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. Then the Jews asked him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this.

Welcoming Trial

        This morning in the church vestibule, for the first time I read this saying attributed to St. Augustine under the title "Trials and Suffering" taped on the CD and book rack. It reads: "Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial." I agree with everything here and the last sentence truly taught me. We can take advantage of trial by drawing ourselves closer to God. Through trial, we find out how strong our faith is and how much we trust in the Lord.

Most Beautiful Father

        Today's Gospel reading at Mass contained the Parable of the Lost Son, Luke 15.11-32. Like the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, this parable is also on my must-read list because it tells of the love of our Father for us so beautifully. You have to be insane or idiotic not to embrace such a loving Father! (Pardon my honest expression.)

Take Your Shower

        To be steeped in sin is like wallowing in mud. You may feel the pleasure, but you know that you are filthy. To have God forgive you and take away your sins is like getting washed in a nice, hot shower ~ you feel clean and invigorated afterwards. Know when to take your shower.

Making Yourself Happy

        There are two ways to make yourself happy, one true and one false. The true way is to make others happy, and you'll feel good about it. The false way is to ignore others' feelings to get your way, and you'll never taste inner peace.

*God's Judgment

        The Lord's judgment will always be just and remain the same. If you commit a more serious sin, it doesn't mean that he'll judge you more harshly. One thing that really works on our side: God's mercy ~ if we repent, our sins are forgiven. In conclusion, it's up to us to set the judgment we are going to receive at the end.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What's Good Will Be Well

        Sometimes I wondered what's going to happen to the good people who do not know Christ and those who do not seem to get a fair shake in life, whom the world might brand as losers. After rereading Jesus' Beatitudes (Matthew 5.3-12) today, I knew that God would bless and take care of them.

Banishing Fear of Death

        Once you see that life is continuous and living the right life in God enables you to glide smoothly from this life into the next, all fear of death is gone. 

Connecting with God

        Today being the first Friday of the month, there was Eucharistic Adoration at the church after Mass. I adored the Lord who entered me earlier and realized that the only way to connect with him already within me was to surrender myself to him.  

No Turning Back

        Today's Communion experience. My life is complete, fulfilled. Now I can go to the Father in peace, leaving everything behind to collect my treasures in heaven.

More Appropriate Question

        When something bad happens to you, it's easy to question God why it should happen, especially if you believe that you've been a pretty good person. I can understand that. But the more appropriate question to ask is one for ourselves, not God: "Why do we offend the Lord who is holy?" That is: "Why do we make bad things happen to him?" After all, it is sin that causes almost all of our problems. 

Beauty of Christianity

        It strikes me today that Christianity is beautiful because it allows God who is love to envelop you so that you vanish in him for him to dwell in you. 

Pressing Time

        As you scan the shocking news headlines everyday, you can't help sensing that there is no time more pressing than now to choose God. Among all the bad news, Christ alone brings the good news, hope, and promise for a certainty. If you don't feel the urgency, you are living in a dream world.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Getting Things Done

        Communion time thoughts. The priest offered the congregation the Lamb of God and we all responded by saying "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I believe that when the Lord says the word or just wills, it's done. Be good, obedient, and faithful children and we can get the Father to say the right word to get a lot of things done.

Being Fair in Praying

        The drug problem will persist if you only go after the dealers and not change the habits of the addicts. If you desire peace in the world, go beyond praying for those you love and pray for your enemies and all the evildoers too. This is applying offense and defense at the same time. Besides, we must be fair to all whom our Father loves.

Precious Conscience

        If you possess a clear conscience, consider yourself most fortunate and blessed, for it is more precious than all the riches of the world.

Love and Life

        If you have Love for God, then you have Life. These two L's are inextricably linked together.

Are You Listening?

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 8.19-31, we heard the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This parable should be on everyone's must-read list, as the crystal-clear messages it carries are of paramount importance. Here's what Abraham said to the rich man suffering in the netherworld and asking for some relief from his torment, "My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours." The Jews had Moses and the prophets, but those who did not listen to them ended up in the place of torment. Now we have Jesus, the Son of God, shall we not listen to him either?

Judging as an Indicator

        Jesus teaches us not to judge others. You can easily see those who judge and criticize others harshly are the ones who do not know the Lord well, whereas humility, obedience, and forgiveness mark the great saints of the Church.

The Gospel Test

        Read the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, assuming that Jesus was not God. I don't think you would be able to finish reading them, for it make no sense for an ordinary human to say and do what Jesus did as recorded. Read the books again, this time believing that he was the the Son of God, or God, then everything comes together and no puzzle is to left to solve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

See It Right

        First, realize that you cannot find true happiness in this life messed up by sin ~ this should preempt all your disappointments. Next, know that this life is not only imperfect, but also quickly passing. These realizations should help you see the need for a loving and dependable God. By living for him, you live for eternal happiness, not just for your rather brief, ordinary-to-miserable sojourn on earth. 

Compelling Ave Maria

        In my list of Good Sites, Blogs, Web Pages..., you'll find 4 Ave Maria music videos. The music is beautiful in each of them, but the one that moves me to tears every time I watch it is the one by Lorenc. I thought I would point this out. Loving God can be so beautiful!

Our Mission

        Jesus is the light. Without him, there'll be only darkness. If we follow him, we must let his light shine as brightly as possible. This is our duty, our responsibility, our life goal, our mission. It's do-or-die. Why? Because it's liberating and a great joy! 

*We Are Human

        Anytime I experience mental agony, I tend to think that my trust in God must be weak. Today I realized that when Jesus underwent his Agony in the garden of Gethsemane, he certainly did not lack trust in the Father ~ he suffered simply because he was human. This came as a great consolation to me. 

God's Purpose for Us

        Communion experience. I felt so fortunate that I was present at the consecration of the bread and wine when these elements were transformed into the body and blood of the Lord ~ he transformed himself so that we might be transformed to be like him. This was clearly his intention when he created us in his image. 

Jesus Has Few Friends

        There's this story about St. Teresa of Avila. Once, when she was traveling to one of her convents, her carriage tipped in crossing a torrential stream and she fell into the muddy water, injuring her leg. Soaked and hurt, she cried to God, "Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!" Humor aside, the Lord still has few friends today. In our present secular societies, people look up to pop stars, rock musicians, sports heroes, those who have glamour, wealth, and/or power. Mother Teresa was inspiring, but how many of us wanted to be like her? The humble, meek, and self-giving image of Christ just does not appeal to the world anymore. Timid Christians ashamed of him are legion. What is certain is that if we ignore the Lord, he will ignore us in the end too. The worst thing you can possibly hear said to us is "I do not know you" from the one who loved us the most (Matthew 25.12, Luke 13.27).

Changing Perspective

        Sometimes I wonder what I have done for Christ. It seems that I haven't succeeded in bringing many people to him or done anything extraordinary for his glory. Then it dawns on me that I am again seeing things from my perspective, while the Lord only wants me to be holy so that I might be saved, and not be so concerned about what I have accomplished in his name.    

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cause of Uneasiness

        The more one feels uneasy upon hearing the name of Jesus, the more that person needs to surrender himself to the Lord for mercy.

Going Beyond the Heart

        Today's Communion experience. I felt joy in my soul.

Fundamental Truth

        Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." The last part I italicized is a truth in itself. Since Jesus is the truth, knowing him solves the puzzle of life. I now know where I came from, why I am here, and what my final destination is going to be. Through Jesus, I now belong to God, my creator and Father. In other words, I am now free!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reading God's Mind

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 6 at morning Mass, the first thing Jesus said to his disciples was: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. All the teachings Jesus gave us told us what he, God, is like. His desire was for us to be like him. The reason could only be love.  

Be a Contrarian

        An investor in stocks is called a contrarian if he buys when everyone else is selling and sells when everyone else is buying. Often he ends up making more money than many regular investors. Here's how to be a contrarian Christian.
        The more things go against you, the more you put your trust in God. The more your enemies attack you, the more you seek refuge in God and pray for their conversion. The more you undergo suffering, the deeper you enter God for strength and consolation. The more you run into problems, the more you welcome the challenge. Moreover, be determined not ever to let evil defeat you, not ever to let any sin of yours be the cause of your death ~ die only for the glory and love of God.

Breaking Free of the Maddening World

        The world seems to have locked itself in a perpetual vicious cycle with almost every nation and everyone wanting to do things its or his way, resulting in waging all forms of wars against each other ad infinitum. The only way to break free of this madness is to let Jesus (not any god who's not all love) save us. Here, saving us means making us not of the world, thereby getting us ready for heaven after this life. There is no other way, for there is only one true God.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Concentrated Living

        To learn to play a piano piece, you learn faster if you take on a small number of measures each time. Trying to swallow the whole piece at once always results in longer overall learning time. It works the same way in living the spiritual life. The truth is that we can only live in the present moment because the past is gone and the future is not here yet. Therefore, focus upon serving God, overcoming sufferings, putting your trust in God, and so on, every present moment you live. Projecting into the future can only weaken your present concentration. If you see or rest in God, you are seeing or resting in him now.