A Catholic must completely let Jesus into his life ~ just believing in him is not enough. Only by being completely open to him as the Lord will he see that accepting all the teachings of the Church is inseparable from believing in Christ.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
It was Jesus who said, "The last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20.16.) How can this be fair? Though life truly seems unfair, eternal life and eternal condemnation will set everything straight in the end. The short span of our earthly life is nothing (zero) when compared to timeless eternity. In heaven, all sufferings we endured on earth will have been forgotten. In hell, all pleasures we enjoyed on earth will have meant nothing. Be wise and live for eternity, never for our earthly life.
Monday, July 27, 2015
The Apostles followed Jesus, saw the wonderful, miraculous works he did, and believed in him as the Messiah. Then they watched him being killed mercilessly ~ it must have come as a terrific blow. With their hopes all dashed, they must be completely at a loss. Then Resurrection took place and reversed everything. The Church was born.
Since I am on the road again, I won't be able to attend daily Mass regularly and posting on this blog will necessarily be sporadic too. Yesterday I attended Sunday Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in a little city where I spent the previous night. It was a beautiful church and I felt right at home. I sensed the overwhelming beauty of Christ and felt pity for those who are not aware of it. My first prayer was that the Lord would be worshiped, praised, treasured, and loved by all.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
The current big scandal is that Planned Parenthood has been caught selling aborted babies' body parts. The crowd in today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13 reminded me of those PP people. The disciples asked Jesus why he speaks to the crowd in parables, he answered, "This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand." This pretty much describes our generation and I am sure that we've all personally known people like that.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Today's Communion antiphon, 2 Corinthians 5.14, 15: The love of Christ impels us, so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised. Indeed, his love has impelled me to want to love him and die in him.
Today is the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene. In the Gospel reading from John 20, Jesus after his Resurrection appeared to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb and said to her, "Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Hearing this and what Mary Magdalen had said earlier in the reading, I was moved to tears. I knew then that Jesus, being always loving and gentle, could only give us joy.
Just last Wednesday, I posted about the TV show Doomsday Preppers on various survivalists preparing for the end of civilization. If we truly want to survive, we must go beyond driving a safer car, installing a burglar alarm system in the house, taking the flu shot before flu season starts, etc. We all are going to die, so the focus should shift to survival of the soul which is eternal. Since the world we live in is a sinner's paradise, we must be sure that we don't get defiled by all the sins that surround us. Therefore, the ultimate survivalist aims at safeguarding the soul, letting heaven, never this world, be his paradise.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
It's essential that we spend quiet time to commune with God regularly so that we may get to know him and have him reveal our true self to us. If we do not know ourselves, we won't know how to become holy. Self-knowledge is the key to letting God set us free.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 12, while Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Stretching out his hand toward his disciples to make the point, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." The Lord made it clear that the vocation for a disciple is to do his will, preceding any other vocation calls.
Monday, July 20, 2015
God wants us to be perfect, but because we are finite, we can never be as perfect as he who is infinite. But we can approach perfection the way a curve approaches an asymptote in mathematics as time passes. Our lifetime goal is to surrender, trust, and abandon ourselves to God to the best of our ability and leave the drawing to God. In theory and practice, perfect cooperation brings perfection.
Jesus teaches us not to judge others. He is right. Before God who alone is holy, we are all sinners, so we are no better or worse than others. The way of not judging others is to never compare others with ourselves. This should also rule out gossiping.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Death is a reality, but a lot of people do not want to think about it. They act as if they are going to live forever. We absolutely need to be ready for death as it could happen at any time. I am not talking about getting life insurance to take care of your family or picking out a cemetery plot ~ I want to make sure that I am going to heaven and not hell, unless you believe that there is no life after death or that everybody goes to heaven anyway. For the Catholic, it's important to go to confession as often as necessary to remain in the state of grace. It's a great feeling to know that your soul is safe. Only a fool would gamble when eternal life at stake.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
The best gift you can give to God is your heart. Giving it to him is to give all of yourself, showing that you truly love him. And he will shape, mold, purify, and condition it as he pleases and you'll receive exactly what you need to become whole and holy. After receiving the Holy Eucharist is the perfect time to make this offering.
To love someone, you must want to know the person. To love God, just going to Mass faithfully is not enough . . . you must want to know him as much as possible ~ his thoughts, his feelings, his ways ~ and to be like him. That's why seeking union with God is the way to go. A married couple can coexist peacefully, but to truly love each other, they must strive to become soulmates. To help someone in need is showing your love; but again, to truly love the person, you need to show that you are interested in knowing him or her more in detail as a person.
If God is judging you right this moment, would you still try to hold onto the things you are attached to in the world? The right thing to do is to get detached to everything now (to avoid embarrassment later, to say the least). I believe I had mentioned that I was very much attached to piano music in the past. I subscribed to four or more magazines, eagerly awaiting the arrival of each issue to tell me about various composers, their works, featured pianists, the latest piano competitions, reviews of new CDs, etc. I would try finish reading the issue before eating my lunch or dinner. I would visit music stores to find the new CDs I wanted to add to my collection (no online shopping those days). I ended up knowing more about the piano than my piano teacher and we would talk about rather than playing it.
Finally, I realized that it's time to get detached. The first things I did was to terminate those magazine subscriptions, but I still kept one because I had that magazine from issue one. Later I realized that the Lord wanted me to make a clean cut and I unsubscribed that one as well. In fact, the last issue that arrived four years ago is still in its sealed condition. Listening to music is no longer my priority; prayer life is. (And I feel so much more free now.) To be detached from the world also means forgetting about all your past achievements and past experiences, whether they were pleasant or bitter. It means letting go of all your memorabilia as well. The past is gone; you now live anew in the Lord. You still fully enjoy what's good for you in this world, but are no longer enslaved by any of it anymore. As Jesus said in John 8.32: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Friday, July 17, 2015
I saw part of an EWTN program on Iraq, a country rich in Christian history, where the Church now is being persecuted. I caught the faces of those, young and old, attending church. They looked beautiful and my heart went out to them. I realized how lovely we must all look to God, despite our sins, for God loves the sinner and hates only the sin. If you truly understand this, you can't help but fall in love with this lovely, merciful God of ours.
To pray the Our Father and say "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven," we must start with doing God's will ourselves. How can we call God Our Father if we are still rebellious? Therefore, our first priority as God's children is to obey him.
When you have Christ, one who is totally trustworthy, all-powerful, and all-loving, to believe in, how can you possibly not feel good? Isn't this what we all wish for? I see myself as one whom God has already adopted and will officially take into his home on the day I leave this earth ~ how can I possibly not feel even elated?!
A strong bond is usually formed between two people who go through some hardship together. Christ loves us so much that he suffers whenever we suffer. Therefore, every time you offer up your sufferings to Christ, he draws you ever closer to him ~ an opportunity you shouldn't want to miss.
"For You Are My God" written by Fr. John Foley, S.J., is the song I love to hear sung. My favorite version is the 1973 recording by The Word of God Music Ministry. The Word of God is an ecumenical, charismatic, Christian community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Yesterday I search for it on YouTube, but did not find it, so I chose the recording done by the St. Louis Jesuits of whom Fr. John Foley was a member. All I can say is that when I listened to it, the Lord just let me know without a doubt that Jesus and the Father are one.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Communion experience. Before giving out Holy Communion, as usual the priest raised the consecrated host and cup and proclaimed, "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." At that moment, I thought how anyone could possibly dismiss the Holy Eucharist, for to do so would be to refuse life. After receiving the sacrament, I was completely satisfied, for I knew that Jesus now knows that I love him.
Seeing how so many people in the world have not fared well, whether it's due to sheer bad luck or because they've done things plain wrong, makes me realize that any one of us could have been born any one of them. Were that the case, would I have done better? Since I'm not sure, I must not judge others.
If you know that you have sinned, the best therapy for your soul is to repent, confess to God, and ask to be forgiven. Then the Father will take away your sins and make you clean again. Know that repentance is a significant act of submitting yourself to God, definitely qualifying as a milestone in anyone's spiritual life. For that alone, God will exalt you.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Isaiah 55.8: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways ~ oracle of the Lord. In Matthew 16, when Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed and on the third day be raised, Peter rebuked him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Of course, it's easy to think as we do and follow our own ways, but we are prone to be self-centered and sin. Remedy: Seek and attain union with God and both our thoughts and ways will be his.
Today is the memorial of St. Bonaventure. In the Gospel acclamation, Matthew 11.25, Jesus exclaimed: "Blesses are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom." Again, to hear God, we need to be childlike, passive, and waiting. People do not find God because they want God to show himself to them. God being so much greater than us, we need to be little before him to stand a better chance of hearing from him.
Doomsday Preppers is a reality TV series that airs on the National Geographic Channel. The program features various survivalists preparing for the end of civilization that might be caused by economic collapse, societal collapse, or whatever. The preppers usually stock ups food, various other supplies, firearms, etc., and fortify their homes. For Christians, I see holiness to be our best, needed defense against evil. It is our weapon as well as shield. Any preparation made without enlisting the Lord's help is already doomed.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Today is the memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The entrance antiphon read: Let us rejoice and exult for joy, for the Lord of all has shown his love for a holy and glorious virgin. It hit me that God showing his love for one of us is a huge deal!
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus reproached the towns whose people had not repented, "Woe to you, Chorzin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!" It hit me that having Jesus say "Woe to you" is a huge deal too.
Last, today's Communion antiphon, Matthew 25.4, 6, read: The five wise virgins brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Then at midnight, the cry went up: Behold, the Bridegroom is coming; come out to meet Christ the Lord." It hit me that meeting the Lord is also a huge deal. As a matter of fact, every encounter with God is a huge deal. Let him impact you to make a huge difference in your life.
As I was about to park my car outside the church, I saw the familiar daily Mass attendees, my faithful brothers and sisters, already walking toward the entrance. I saw that these were the ones who would walk through the gate of heaven one day and their journeys had already begun. Will there be many others joining them?
It was a somewhat cloudy morning as I drove to church for Mass, but parts of the sky unblocked by the clouds still exhibited a beautiful blue. I thought of the beauty of God, of Jesus, of the Blessed Mother and all the other saints ~ they are beautiful because of they are holy. By contrast, the world is ugly because it's filthy with sinners. It should be clear that the most beautiful thing we can do is to be holy so that we may appear beautiful before God, our Father.
Monday, July 13, 2015
I had been facing a spiritual crisis which began two and a half months ago, caused by someone with evil intentions. Naturally I turned to my God, asking him for deliverance. Even though I was confident that he had heard me, being human I kept praying hard as if I might not come through unscathed. Yesterday, a last minute development indicated that indeed things could get worse. This morning everything got resolved and I was completely delivered from evil. The lesson learned ~ keep on trusting in the Lord, especially through the worst moments. The popular proverb "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" applies here. Just let the Lord make you tough.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus said to his Apostles, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." He was referring to what would happen after people hears what he had to say next: "Whoever loves father or mother than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." These challenges make up the sword that will separate us. The fact that God challenges us shows that he cares for us ~ he wants us to become worthy of him and be rewarded. By the way, if all of us meet these challenges, there will be peace.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
If we have one gate that opens to God and another that opens to Satan, we only need to be concerned about the first gate. For keeping the gate to God closed would automatically open the one to Satan, but keeping it open seals the other one for good. In other words, let God in and Satan will be shut out.
If you truly love someone who seems to be heading toward hell, then you should do your very best to make sure that he goes to heaven. If you truly love someone who is heading toward heaven, then you should make sure that you'll end up there too so that you can be together forever. Our duty is to make sure that everyone is a winner before God.
Ego makes you feel both good and bad. When it gets puffed up, you feel good and you are happy with yourself. Then when it gets punctured, you are hurt and come to hate yourself. This shows that ego is basically destructive. God is the perfect replacement of your ego, for he makes you see how precious you are to him, enabling you to love not only him, but also yourself. (Everyone is now happy.)
If you are talented in some way, you could show it off before others and feel good when people praise and admire you. But the deep joy comes from knowing that God has given you this talent and you are grateful and enjoy using this talent to glorify him. Pleasing God is so much more satisfying than pleasing others who merely puff up your ego. The same goes for loving God. Love the Lord in secret and enjoy the secret joy he gives you.
Currently, Mexico's Colima volcano triggers evacuations amid fears of a major eruption, and a super-typhoon just hit Eastern China, forcing a million plus people to move away from their homes and leaving thousands stranded. Then just earlier, the record-breaking heat wave in Pakistan claimed 1250 lives. Such natural events have been happening unexpectedly and with increasing vehemence or intensity all around the world. To me, they are clear warning signs from God to this unbelieving generation that has gone astray. In both Matthew 8 and Mark 4, we read about the calming of the sea by Jesus. The disciples were awed that even the winds and the sea obeyed him. We must realize that all natural events are under God's total control. As far as we know, our earth is the only planet on which we can survive. Climate and/or geological changes can easily wipe out entire humanity. Acknowledging that we are at the mercy of God is necessarily the first step in getting back to God.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Today is the memorial of St. Benedict. In the Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus said to his Apostles, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." If we stick to Jesus and are aware of this, there is pretty much nothing left for us to fear. Jesus also said to them, "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." This we must remember and "fear," for the consequence of forgetting it can be grave.
Here are different ways of describing the same shift or change: (1) from self-centered living to God-centered living, (2) from being your own god to letting God be your God, (3) from holding onto everything to abandoning yourself completely to God, (4) from living on your own to becoming one with God. This shift is the shift to freedom ~ when it happens, you follow God's will at all times, give yourself totally to serving the Lord, no longer judge others, and have no more enemies. You are free because you now exist only in and for God, and nothing bothers you anymore as your old self has ceased to exist.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Today as I was helping fixing something at a house, I became sharply aware of the temporariness of life. Yes, "temporariness" is in the dictionary. I saw things being fixed and breaking down again, events coming and expiring, us anticipating the birth of a new baby and mourning the death of an old fellow being. Nothing is ever settled until we rest in God, our beginning and end, who has neither beginning nor end.
Jesus' dying on the cross to save us is truly total abandonment of himself in God the Father, a demonstration of God's incredible love for us. This should inspire us to totally abandon ourselves in him, which is the sure way of entering eternal life.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The Greek debt crisis is in the news. Naturally, many Greeks are worried about possibly losing their savings and livelihoods if it's not resolved soon. Personally, I see the biggest possible crisis we'll have to face at the time of our death, at which we may lose our soul. The good news is that this crisis is avoidable if we anticipate and prepare for it now.
I still remember the witty saying "Everything changes but the avant-garde" I came across a long time ago. I can now also say that "Everything changes but the love of God." Today's Gospel acclamation (Mark 1.15) at Mass reads: The kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the Gospel. Like the avant-garde, this call always remains fresh.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Jesus came into the world to die for all of us so that we might not perish and have eternal life, and he became our Savior. Today suicide bombers kill themselves in order to kill as many others as possible, and they are considered martyrs. Do we have the same God here? Obviously, there can only be one God, so it must be that one side did not get it right.
When one is in perfect union with Jesus, he becomes aware of the Lord's holy presence at all times and forgets his own. That is, when you are in the Lord completely, all you see is he. It is this absence of the self, its importance, that sets one free.
In today's Gospel from Matthew 9, when Jesus drove the demon out of a demoniac who could not speak, the mute man spoke. The Pharisees saw it and said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons." They formed this false opinion because they out of fear did not want to believe in Jesus. This is still true today ~ many do not want someone to "lord it" over them, so they just dismiss Jesus.
In the news today, a celebrity finally admitted in court that he did give women sedatives in order to have sex with them. If you seek only pleasures in this world to satisfy your desire, you are sure to lose your soul. Jesus asked, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Indeed! Every pleasure you derive from sin will weigh you down heavily at the time your soul leaves your body, unless you have already repented and been forgiven by the Lord.
Monday, July 6, 2015
The Holy Father Pope Francis is visiting Ecuador right now. I heard on NPR a reporter interviewing a Ecuadorian woman who is pushing to make abortion legal in her country. She was asked by the reporter if she considered herself still a Catholic. She said yes because she saw no problem in promoting what she believed in and still remaining in the Church. I know there are many, many more Catholics like her, the so-called cafeteria Catholics. I see Satan sowing the seed of confusion among the faithful. He wants them to believe that they can be right and the Church wrong. This has deceived those who have not yet surrendered to the Lord completely. Let's realize that the Church was built by Christ with the promise that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Therefore, like the Lord himself, its teachings are to be obeyed. God's one will is for us to be one with him through his one holy church.
Communion time thoughts. The finite needs the infinite; the imperfect, the perfect; the helpless, the mighty. Let's face it, we all need to be uplifted. Since we are incapable of doing it ourselves, we need to ask our creator to transform us. The Holy Spirit is always ready if you are willing.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." Whatever he had said and promised, we can absolutely depend upon. If we do not have that kind of faith, it's entirely due to our own weaknesses. Seek union with God to remove all our deficiencies.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Saturday, July 4, 2015
I personally find thoughts, which are really silent words, more expressive than spoken words when communicating with God. Reading prayers others have written doesn't work well for me because I feel I am just following someone else's thoughts. Communicating with God really doesn't require spoken words, for God reads the heart. Even if you have difficulty with silent thoughts, the Lord knows what you want to express already. Nevertheless, whether you pray silently, whisper your words to God, cry aloud to him, or do all of the above, let the Holy Spirit be your heart's guide. Communicating with the Lord should always be natural, intimate, and lined with love.
Friday, July 3, 2015
Realizing that I was a sinner and God is holy, I thought that if I touched the Lord, he would be contaminated by me. This morning at Mass, when Jesus was ready to enter me in the Holy Eucharist, I came to see that I had been wrong. You see, God is light and a sinner is one in darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light and has no power whatsoever over light. My sin offends God, but cannot contaminate him, for he remains holy forever! The presence of darkness precisely shows our need for light. Therefore, have no fear to let the light of God shine upon you. Fear only if you do not want to approach him.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
If you still keep doing what you want to do without consulting the Lord, then you are not with him yet. And you won't be until you want to do everything that pleases him. Note that if this is truly your goal, whatever you do to please God will definitely please you too.
For me, God is a known. Without God, we wouldn't be existing. Besides, Christ had come and made everything clear to us about the Father. If you do not believe in God, then you wonder about how the universe came to be, where you came from, where you are going, how you came to understand good and evil, etc. ~ you really have nothing to believe in or just have to believe in the unknown.
If people knew God, they would see that he loves every single one of us, for God the Son has died for us so that we might have life. So it's extremely sad and horrifying to see that people, innocent or guilty, are being brutally killed and slaughtered, randomly in the worst cases, all around the world every day, not to mention the termination of the unborn that's been carried on routinely, particularly in this country. Look, we are destroying what God treasures and loves! The killers, especially, should realize that God loves them too. May we all wake up, repent, and beg for God's mercy.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Not being able to surrender yourself completely to God shows that the world still has got a grip on you. To let God set you free, you must give him the go-ahead. This can get emotional, since in essence, you are repenting a sin ~ the sin of holding yourself back from him. Once the Lord has gotten the clearance from you, you are on your way to becoming one with him.