2016 is just a few hours away. For me, every moment of this year has been good. I feel that the Lord is teaching me using less words, now that I am a better learner. Final thoughts: one can be a good person in every way, but without Christ his life is just not complete, for it is through Christ that we get to return to my eternal Father for good. A blessed and safe New Year to all!
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Thursday, December 31, 2015
It's New Year's Eve. Why should I bring up hell? It so happens that I have caught a bad cold despite the great precaution I took against catching any germs. I first felt it in the throat, then the nose, and finally started coughing. Feeling miserable, I thought about the misery of hell. What's worst is the longevity of suffering in hell, for it never ends. If there are good and evil, and God and Satan, then there has to be heaven and hell. Jesus himself mentioned the place of damnation about a dozen times in the Gospels. The awareness that horrible hell exists could help people turn to God. The world is in such a bad shape that applying a shock treatment may do much good. Besides, doing our best to save as many people as possible from ending up in hell makes a good resolution for the New Year.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
There is much beauty for us to see, hear, and enjoy in the world, but all such beauty pales next to the heavenly beauty of God. Then if we do sense the beauty of God, the beauty we sense in this world is enhanced because we see that it all came from God.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Sunday, December 27, 2015
I am now in a big city away from home. This morning I attended Mass at a local church on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. My heart almost reached the breaking point when I thought about the many families, my own included, that are divided. All family members should be close together, yet great separation exists because not all believe in Christ. This is heartbreaking for those who already believe in the Lord. God is now even more my refuge.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
There is the inner life and the outer life. Normally, the inner life is the secret one known to ourselves (and God) only and the outer life, the one we live for others to see. In other words, we lead a double life, hiding our inner life behind the outer one. But we can let God put our inner life in order, thus eliminating the need for presenting a false front. The result is living one honest, genuine life, not ashamed for all to witness.
What a beautiful way to live! We let the love of God be our love for him. Then we let this love motivate everything we do and we are connected with God and remain in profound peace. All this is nothing new, but the Holy Spirit made me see and feel this as if I was hearing it for the first time. This was my Christmas blessing.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Christmas deepens my joy. Jesus is our Savior, precisely what mankind needs, yet so many of us do not recognize his coming. Then I realize that indeed we are born with original sin, and that God is balancing it with his infinite mercy. The good news is that we can easily tip this balance by our free choice.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Communion time thoughts. We were born and we die. Life and death are unavoidable realities. Jesus says, "Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." He reveals to us what we need to know about life with no mention of physical death. It's enough to see that if we live for him, we shall always have life with him.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
When we pray for something, we are to have faith that God hears us and will answer us. We cannot strength our faith by forcing ourselves to believe harder. On the contrary, we should relax and put my trust in God, that is, we should abandon ourselves to God. In this way, trust builds up faith and is in turn manifested by faith. We all know the Divine Mercy message from Jesus: "Jesus, I trust in you." So it should be trust, trust, trust . . . through our whole life without one single worry.
Today's Communion antiphon, Revelation 3.20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. This post segues nicely from the previous one. The key phrase in the above verse is "open the door to me." If you are attentive, you'd hear the Lord speaking constantly to us. If we would only open the door after hearing each knock, our life would change completely. Again, humility and submission are required for it to happen.
There are people who know about God, yet they do not want to hear about him because any mention of God makes them feel uncomfortable. Sometimes they even react violently as if they were being attacked. What they fail to realize is that running away from God indicates their even greater need for God! It's the same old case of wanting to be your own god. Salvation will come only when we realize that there is only one Lord and God and that we must move aside and submit ourselves to him alone. Simple theory, but most difficult for some to put into practice.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Do not feel bad if others misunderstand you when you try to show them God's love, for no one except God is capable of understanding us completely. The Prayer of St. Francis teaches that it's better to seek to understand than to be understood. Everyone will be held accountable for his doings before God. Therefore, focus upon loving God and cast all other cares to the wind.
We are all loved by God the same, since you cannot measure an infinite love. Therefore, pray hard for the salvation of all souls. This means not being attached to anyone in particular. Rather, pray more for those who have most need of God's mercy.
Monday, December 21, 2015
God's mercy is so great that he would look for even the smallest redeeming feature in you to save you. That is, he wants to save you in every way possible. Rejecting this mercy and you become instantly the biggest possible fool. Accepting this mercy and you gain the greatest possible benefit.
Communion experience. As I received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I felt as if all of God was descending upon me. The only sensible and appropriate response was to prostrate myself (spiritually, as I wasn't alone in church) before the Lord in complete submission to him.
Without Christ, we are self-centered, and all joys and sorrows directly affect us, often disquietly. With Christ, we become God-centered and our joys and sorrows are now the same as the Lord's. This is completely refreshing as we now experience these emotions accompanied by peace.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Communion experience and thoughts. Jesus is peace, for in him I have found true rest. Without him, my life would have been uneven and more dramatic, you might say, but ultimately, self-destructive. We have a choice to make. In Luke 12, Jesus said, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." I think he had this choice in mind.
Galatians 4.6: As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" If you are prompted to cry out to God the Father or pray to Jesus the Son, you know that God the Holy Spirit dwells in you, for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. Know that the Holy Spirit, being full of love, cannot possibly dwell in anyone who shows no mercy for others.
As Christmas approaches, you hear the song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" sung at Mass at lot. Emmanuel means "God is with us." Christmas celebrates the coming of Christ, for he did come to us through Mary, but it won't do us any good if we do not let him into our hearts. Therefore, "O Come" must also be an invitation to ask the Lord to enter our hearts. We rejoice not only because God comes, but also because he is going to renew us, readying us for heaven.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
In following the will of God, we must not let our own will get in the way. Careful discernment is required. The more we abandon ourselves in God, the less such effort is needed. In full union with God, our own will no longer interferes. No more wishful thinking. We leave everything up to the Lord and believe that nothing is impossible for him. And we remain in peace.
Union and division are opposites. Jesus said, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand." We see this in the breakup of many families divided and at present the destruction of countries in the Middle East. On the other hand, it goes without saying that the power of union is strength. It's clear that union with God is then the way for us to grow strong spiritually.
Do not just watch or admire God from the sidelines. You must actively jump into the game of going after him, grabbing ahold of him, and hanging onto him. The Lord is an ocean of love, dive into him to stay afloat. He is the ideal space in which to abandon ourselves. Lose yourself in God and you are found for all eternity!
Friday, December 18, 2015
Today Friday I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. If I hear about someone suffering for whatever reason as much as Jesus had, I would feel very sorry for the person. In Jesus' case, I not only feel the sorrow, but also gratitude and finally, joy ~ this is because Jesus underwent his sufferings to save me from my sins so that I might have everlasting life. The fact that Jesus resonates with me is proof that I have encountered the truth, revealing to me that I am a sinner and need salvation.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Think about yourself. Each one of us is truly a unique being. With the exception of born identical twins, no two of us look alike. You are distinctly you, aware of your self and identity. We instinctively sense good and evil and search for God for fulfillment. By intuition alone, I know that we are God's very special creation. Now it's time to think about God.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Recently, a relative visited me, but his mind had deteriorated since I last saw him a couple of years ago. Today he is much quieter and forgets what he has just heard. I had told him about Christ on various occasions in the past, since he was a nonbeliever. He listened politely, but always expressed doubts. He made me realize the critical importance of accepting Christ while the mind is still clear. In fact, the urgency of considering Jesus the Lord is ever present. It is urgent because our eternity is at stake and everything in life is passing.
You might think that by abandoning ourselves totally to God, we can become super strong in every way with his backing. The reality is that the more we enter God, the more we realize our smallness and finiteness and thus our need to depend upon him. It's humbling to see that we shouldn't ever attempt to play God, as we just don't measure up. Yes, we are stronger in facing the problems of life, but before the Lord God, we are as weak as ever. One best thing learned from abandonment to God is the realization that we absolutely need God in all things, including our very existence.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Today's Communion antiphon (Matthew 16.24): Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord. The three steps are (1) self-denial, (2) taking up the cross, and (3) following the Lord. The invitation does not sound inviting, but once you accept it, Christ will lead you to self-abandonment and spiritual freedom.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 21, the chief priests and the elders of the people questioned the authority of Jesus. Jesus countered by asking them a question. They did not know how to answer, so Jesus also did not respond to their question. What's clear is that if we want to learn from the Lord, we must be childlike, realizing that he is higher and greater than us. Then he will reveal what he knows to us freely.
Today is Memorial of St. John of the Cross. The saint says, "What does it profit you to give God one thing if he asks of you another? Consider what it is God wants, and then do it." The world is in disorder because we've learned to consider what we want and go for it, making us even more self-centered.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 3 at Mass, John the Baptist said to the crowds about the Christ who was coming, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." If you do not have much zeal for God, ask Christ to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire and he will invariably comply!
I read in the news that a British doctor and his wife has been convicted for having kept a Nigerian teenage boy as a slave in their house. The couple brought the 14 year old to England as a "house boy" in exchange for payment and schooling, but instead he was forced to do house and garden work up to 17 hours a day for 24 years! I myself have encountered people who change completely after they decide to take advantage of me. In today's world, many news reporters, business owners, government officials, and commercials are also dishonest. While deception is Satan's favorite tactics, I rejoice that we have the Lord God in whom we can place our full trust.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill in central Mexico in 1531, and because of Juan Diego's faithfulness, millions of native Aztecs were brought to the faith. My Communion experience: The beauty and perfection of God rendered me speechless; I simply longed for him, knowing that this desire will be fulfilled only after I get to heaven.
Friday, December 11, 2015
The sense of urgency to ready ourselves for the Second Coming is ever present, irrespective of when it will happen, because it shall happen. Whether this is something you anticipate, dismiss, or rather not think about, it would definitely be the most exciting and unforgettable event for all of us.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, what Jesus said about his generation is still true today. People in general are full of opinions about everything because they are already set in what they accept and reject. Essentially, they live in a closed, self-centered world, not paying attention to their own limitations. They easily laugh off any miracles reported and go so far as to say that God is a Christian invention. This is still a they-know-not-what-they-do generation.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Communion experience. While it was a great joy to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I also felt great sorrow for all those who do not know Christ yet. This calls for praying for all such souls until the Second Coming of the Lord. We can continue praying for them even after we get to heaven as the angels and saints are praying for us on earth now.
To sin is easy ~ it's like sliding downhill, practically effortless. To be holy is easy too, if you let God do all the work. But to make this happen, you must surrender yourself to God first, which may be the only sticky part here. Anyhow, you can have it easy either way.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
From Mark 4 and Matthew 8, we learned how Jesus calmed the storm and the sea. And all four Gospels recorded the Resurrection of Jesus. Just these two events of the numerous others are sufficient to show that Jesus has full control of both nature and life, leaving no doubt that he is the Lord and creator of all things.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
The blessing of heaven is no small thing. To want to get to heaven is to please God, for it is his wish that we'd be united with him for all eternity. Start seeking union with him now on earth to get a head start. There's no need to feel guilty about wanting to go to heaven if you desire it for God's sake. Surely, you want to go visit and stay with your Father.
It is the Lord who takes away my sins to make me clean. It is his love that made me love him. It is he who draws me close to him, preparing me for returning to him. Yes, I am completely dependent upon my God. I am his, just enjoying him now. Acknowledge your dependence upon him for a great life.
Today's entrance antiphon from Isaiah 61: I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.... God is our joy because he is holy, and holiness uplifts the heart. God is our joy also because he is love, and this love gladdens the soul. God is pure joy.
Today is Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blesses Virgin Mary, a holy day. At Mass, the Annunciation of the birth of Jesus from Luke 1 was read. Before the angel Gabriel departed, Mary said to him, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
The public image is very important to many politicians, pop stars, people who are famous in general. One the other hand, a faithful Christian couldn't care less about what other people think, as only what God thinks of him or her matters. But if you are really with God, single-mindedly following his every will like Mary above, you know you are OK and don't even need to be concerned about what God thinks of you.
Monday, December 7, 2015
In Matthew 6, Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and these things will be given you besides." Similarly, once in union with God, you don't need to "worry" about what to ask from God anymore, for he knows and will give you exactly what you need.
Jesus is God Incarnate, yet on earth he lived like the rest, not making anything easier for himself. His mother Mary did not receive any special treatment either ~ she still faced the hardships of her life. Then I thought of our spiritual life lived in Christ. It's not at all that all our problems vanish after we follow the Lord. On the contrary, we may face even greater challenges. The changes we experience are all internal ~ more courage, greater inner strength, peace, hope, spiritual joy and freedom, and naturally, greater compassion for all fellow humans. It seems redundant to say that life will become truly heavenly only after we get to heaven.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
I watched a movie on TV yesterday. The story was intriguing and the acting good. It did draw the audience's attention as the plot unfolded. Somehow, at the end I only felt that it was just an interesting story, for there's nothing that uplifted me in any way. So I got to thinking about the different "levels" of living. I could live (1) a life in which I fall away from God daily, (2) a life that's interesting but remains on the same level like that movie, or (3) a life that's inspired by God, making me want to advance toward him. Clearly, number 3 is the choice. Number 2 is only mediocre, not good enough for God. To not waste any time of our life, we should go after God, relentlessly if possible.
Saturday, December 5, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, Jesus sent out his Twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven at hand, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. His last instruction was "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give." It is true that everything we have received have come from God; we are just empty channels through which to pass on whatever we have received. Getting ourselves attached to anything along the way will surely bog down the giving part of the process. We are only free when we do not hold onto anything that passes through us.
Whenever there is a chance to spread the good news of salvation, I tell my non-Christian friends about Christ. Most of them are younger than I now, so I am in a good position to tell them at parting time again to believe and that I'll be waiting for them to show up in heaven. This is said with humor, but at the same time I am dead serious.
Friday, December 4, 2015
If you ask me how I know that God who is Christ is real, all I can say is that the Lord God himself lets me feel his unquestionable presence in my heart (the Holy Eucharist effect?). I know that this kind of answer will not satisfy anyone who has not experienced it him- or herself, but that's the best I can do. God cannot be explained; he is to be trusted and enjoyed. By the way, the Lord did not brainwash me.
President Obama lit the Christmas tree at the White House and wished everyone Happy Holidays. If you want to be politically correct, you do not say Merry Christmas anymore. Don't people see that it's the celebration of Christmas that first brought forth the holidays? At least a Christmas tree is still called a Christmas tree.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
I mentioned the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in a recent post, which are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and holy fear. When you are in union with God, you rarely need to ask for any specific gift because the Holy Spirit freely gives you everything you need to remain in union with him. Whatever you desire for God's glory, it's yours.
As you know, Southern California just had a mass shooting with 14 dead and 21 injured. Some Republican politicians offered prayers for the victims and their families, then the more liberal Democrats "shamed" them by criticizing the appropriateness of offering prayers and suggested that the "thoughts" should be about taking steps to stop such massacre. This is getting ridiculous. The critics do not see that it's because we have left God out that such tragedies occur. Exclude God and we are doomed.
Here's the quick way to attain union with God. Be completely open to God so that he doesn't even have to knock to enter you. Let him dwell in your heart and do as he pleases. You listen and do what he tells you. You have entered the most beautiful state of your existence.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Sometimes I misconceive someone based upon what I already knew about the person. Then I meet the person, get to know him or her more and realize that I had been wrong because the person's just fine. I believe that many people are not attracted to Jesus because they have also misconceived him. Objectively, I see all the goodness in Jesus and absolutely nothing about him that could harm anyone. Then why are there those who know all about him but still stay away? It's clear that there is still that last barrier ~ they prefer to play the role of god, not second fiddle to God. Touche?
After Jesus was nailed to the cross, he prayed, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." The people today still need that prayer. Jesus only wants to save us, for he loves us. He'd be pleased even if we just glance at him, but instead we "crucify" him again and again. How can we be so myopic, hardheaded, and hardhearted? Without Christ the Savior, what is there to live for? Remain a fool now and you'll be one for all eternity! To be saved, you only need to crack open the hard shell you have built around yourself, step forward, and prostrate humbly before the Lord to let him take a good look at you. Your total submission will remove all barriers between you and his mercy, and you are on your way to gaining eternal life. This is all good and true.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Communion time thoughts. We experience fear, anger, stress, anxieties, uneasiness, guilt . . . ~ all these things we feel both mentally and physically in this life. And they are all caused by our selfcenteredness. After we die, shed our physical body, and are with God, such negative emotions would be gone entirely. Then we'll be only sharing the sweet joys and sorrows of our loving Father.
Our top government leaders believe that by showing serious concern about climate change (global warming), we also show ISIS that we are not intimated by them. I admit that I have to think hard to make some kind of a connection. It might do some good if ISIS gets the message, but they are probably laughing hard at us right now. Recently, a mad person has killed three and wounded nine in a shooting rampage at the Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic that performs abortions, and the government is quick to compare the attack to the recent Paris terrorist attack. Of course, all such attacks are to be condemned, yet our government fails to see that the most gruesome terrorist attack of all is the killing of over a million innocent, defenseless, unborn children each year! It's this total disregard of the sanctity of human life that's at the the root of all violence.