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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Last Challenge

        As the year is ending, I am throwing out a challenge to all. Beginning with the new year, live completely as an unknown to the world. That is, live for God alone in secret and receive joy from him in secret. And never forget to spread the good news and hope of Christ every chance you get. May God bless and reward you all abundantly!      

*Be Einstein as Christians

        To me, Einstein is one greatest thinker who has ever existed. He believed in an ordered universe, thought above the ordinary human level and came up with the beautiful and profound general theory of relativity. I wonder if we Christians can possibly reach the height in the spiritual realm comparable to that Einstein had reached in the realm of physics. The answer came in today's Gospel reading from John 1. I'll just quote the first five verses: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." This knowledge is revelation from God to the Apostle John, and it is most beautiful and profound. We can also reach our height by achieving union with God. For in union, God's thoughts become ours and all things begin to make sense to us. We see that the Lord is in control and knows exactly what he is doing. And experiencing God at such an intimate level is definitely also beautiful and profound.

In Our Last Days

        In today's first reading at Mass from 1 John, the Apostle wrote: "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." On this last day of 2016, we can also be sure we are in the last days before the Second Coming of Christ. We do not know when it will happen, but we know that it is imminent. This will be the most joyful and saddest day of all time. The true believers do not think about it much because they leave all up to God. The unbelievers do not think about it because of their unbelief. Nevertheless, it's always wise to be ready for any of God's surprises.

*Rejoicing Together in Each Other

        John 3.16: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. In Luke 15, Jesus said that there would be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. We see that God's joy lies in loving us and in our acceptance of his love. Therefore, let our joy lie in letting him love us to his heart's content, showing that we love him too. In this way, we and the Lord rejoice together in each other!

Year-End Advice

        Some Catholics do not like to go to confession. There can only be two reasons: (1) They are quite holy and all their sins are minor or (2) they are afraid of facing God with their sins. The right thing to do after you sin is to go immediately to God, repent, and ask for his forgiveness. In this way you keep yourself pure and clean most of the time. If you avoid facing God with your sins, your are being extremely foolish, for your spiritual condition can only worsen. As the year ends, this is the perfect time to go to confession to start the new year with a clean slate.

Friday, December 30, 2016

*Best New Year's Resolution

        It's time for making New Year's resolutions. If this is what you traditionally do, may I suggest the best possible resolution for anyone: surrender yourself to Christ 100%. You will find out what God is really like (how beautiful he truly is) after you have fully surrendered to him.

*Only Thing That Matters

        Whether you believe in God or not, or believe in him a little or a lot, the only thing that matters is how much you have surrendered yourself to him. Rejecting God and living in union with him illustrate the two extremes.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Focus Is the Message

        Any message that focuses upon the listener to tell him to love God is necessarily weak and ineffective, for the listener is a finite being himself. To be powerful and effectual, the message must focus upon the power of the infinite God who can transform us and draws us all the way to union with him! In general, to live the spiritual life par excellence, you also always focus upon the Lord and not yourself, letting him transport and do the work for you.

We Rise or Fall

        Today we heard the presentation of the Jesus read from Luke 2. When Joseph and Mary took the child Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem, the righteous and devout Simeon saw them there. He in the Holy Spirit said to Mary, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Simeon's prophesy has come true, for those who do not welcome Christ in their hearts will fall and those who do will rise in the end. This is the division Jesus himself said he had come to establish on the earth. It has to be so because the world is in sin and needs salvation. This division exists as long as sin exists among us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If Only We Can See . . .

        Sins are blemishes on our soul. If only we can see them as God does, we would see how filthy and ugly we are and never want to judge others anymore.

Joy of Following the Lamb

        Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Communion verse based upon Revelation 14.4: Behold those redeemed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb, and who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. I love the words "follow the Lamb wherever he goes," for I sense its beauty. It means we shall always be with him, no more parting and no more sorrows.

*Blessings

        People thank God for having given them good health, long lives, strong marriage bonds, etc., but poor health, short lives, family problems, etc, can be blessings too. In fact, God blesses us all in drawing us to him. If we let all the things we receive from the Lord draw us closer to him, then they all become blessings. 

Shortsighted Living

        People, young and old, talk excitedly about making money in this life, but they never mention the need for storing up treasures in heaven lest they be considered nuts. The older folks spend a great deal of time planning their retirement in this life, but rarely think about their inevitable permanent retirement from this life. This is a myopic world afraid of facing reality.

Powerful Prayer

        After Thomas saw the mark of the nails in the hands of the resurrected Jesus and the wound in his side, he believed and exclaimed: "My Lord and my God!" I find this to be a most powerful prayer. The combination of "Lord" and "God" acknowledges that Jesus is our God and how much we need him. When we say the prayer, we pledge our definitive allegiance to him.

How Big Your Ego?

        Ego and inner peace are mutually exclusive. An egocentric person disregards the will of God who alone can bestow inner peace. If you ever wish to grow spiritually, the first thing you should ask God to remove is your ego, for it is fundamentally the biggest obstacle in anyone's journey toward God. Your way to God is only as clear as how much you keep your ego out of the way. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Praise Be to the Holy Spirit

        The Lord Spirit can set your heart ablaze; you'll feel the warmth, but his flame does not scorch you in any way. When you completely let the Holy Spirit filtrate and ignite you, he shields you from all evil and guides you in all that you do. He is the most wonderful protector and counselor.

Condition for Worshipping God

        If we truly worship God, we would surrender or abandon ourselves completely to God. If we haven't done so yet, then we do not truly worship God yet.

Our "Martyrdom"

        Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr. Before Jesus breathes his last on the cross, he cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit," echoing what David wrote in Psalm 31. As Stephen was being stoned, he called out: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Most likely none of us is facing death at this moment, but if we wish to die to self and live in Christ, we can call out anytime to the Lord, as Jesus and St. Stephen did. You can do no better than entrusting your spirit to God.

No Time After Death

       Every day in the news we hear that some famous person has died and/or some tragedy has struck somewhere causing the death of many. The most recent examples are the death of UK pop superstar George Michael at 53 and the crash of a Russian military plane into the Black Sea with 92 on board. This has led me to see how important it is for us to prepare for meeting God when we are still alive. After death, there is absolutely nothing we can do anymore. In sum, reconcile yourself to God while there is still time. This is one wisest piece of advice I have for anyone.
       May I add that reconciling yourself to God eliminate many of the inner struggles you face in this life too.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

*Best Celebration!

        We celebrate Christmas for the coming of Christ into the world. But this celebration would be meaningless if we stop short of letting him come into our hearts. We should celebrate Christmas for his coming into the world so that he may enter us! If we let him in all the way, becoming one, then both we and God win and heaven rejoices.

Great Christian Joy

        Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday this year. I attended Christmas Eve Mass yesterday late at 10 pm to avoid the huge crowds normally attending earlier scheduled Masses or today's Christmas day Masses. My prime joy of attending Mass is to receive the same Lord again. At Christmas time, he is lovelier than ever! Being in love with love is a Christian's great joy.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

All for One

        Thoughts during consecration of the bread and wine. God's love for us remains constant. Whether there are 10 billion or one million or a hundred or just one of us, that love remains the same. He does not love each one of us more for the reason that there are more of us. It follows that God has suffered, died, and done all the good things just for my or your sake alone.

In Light or Darkness?

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1, we heard the canticle of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zachariah, fill with the Holy Spirit, prophesied that his son would go before the Lord to prepare his ways for him to come to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's row, to guide their feet into the path of peace. Now that Christ has already come, are you in his light or sitting in darkness and death's row? You may be living in a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood with friendly neighbors always smiling at you when they see you, and the day and season may happen to be beautiful too, but spiritually are you in Christ's light or in darkness? This is what matters to God and should matter to you! Seek Christ and remain in his light to stay away from death's row for good.

Friday, December 23, 2016

How God Nurtures Us

        As Christmas approaches and the year is coming to a close, we tend to look back and review our past. What comes to my mind is that God knows exactly how to nurture us. As we open up to him, depending upon the stage we are in, he teaches us, tests us, and strengthens us as he sees fit, knowing exactly how much we can bear and how fast we can grow. In other words, he will never do anything to turn us away – there is truly great loving sensitivity on his part. We should never fear when he is grooming us to become saints. Your joy in him can only increase when you trust in him with all your heart.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

On Distributing Communion at Christmas Mass

        Every Christmas many lapsed Catholics show up for Mass and the churches are packed to standing room only for any late arrivers. This is a yearly phenomena. Now, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states this teaching: "The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason." Therefore, deliberately skipping the Sunday Mass is a serious sin. I believe that all priests have the obligation to explain this before giving out Holy Communion at Christmas Masses. Those who are not in a state of grace can always go up to receive a blessing. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 wrote, "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drink judgment on himself." In view of the seriousness of receiving Holy Communion, we owe all receivers the explanation for their benefit. It is completely wrong to think that you should not offend any lapsed Catholics in hoping that they would return to the church. Our only concern should be to make sure that the Lord God is not offended!

Sin and Its Consequences

        In one way, we can say that life is all about fighting or conquering sin. We are being tempted all our lives. We sin basically to please or satisfy ourselves, to have things our way. Sin can send us to eternal death, unless you do not believe in God at all, but that would be like gambling when the stake is extremely high. The big consideration is whether sinning is worth it, for any pleasure you get out it is short-lived and any guilt associated with it can remain with and haunt you. Jesus asked, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Know that every sin you commit puts a filthy stain on your soul, putting you one step closer to forfeiting your life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The World in a Stupor

        Communion experience. The Holy Eucharist cleanses the heart and heals the soul, exactly the prescription our world needs. Alas, the world in darkness is completely unaware of this, unconscious that it not only cannot cleanse and heal itself, but also sorely needs to be cleansed and healed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

God and I

        Communion experience. It was just the Lord and I in each other as one; my eternity all settled. Truly, the Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack (Psalm 23).

*God's Salvation

        This morning's entrance antiphon came from Isaiah: A branch shall sprout from the root of Jesse, and the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and all flesh will see the salvation of God. Christianity is all about the salvation of God! If you recognize this, then the Lord has opened your eyes. If not, then you might as well dismiss it. I do believe that people have difficulty in dismissing Christ outright, so they choose to look sideways, basically out of fear that he could be God speaking the truth. To me, this actually confirms that he is the truth, for anything you can accept or reject with ease cannot possibly be significant.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Intimate Experience

        Communion experience. The Holy Eucharist is the powerful sacrament that leads you to spiritual union with God. The experience of receiving and consuming it is even more intimate than that of touching or embracing the Lord in person. 

Our Special Roles

        God made John the Baptist the herald of the Messiah, preparing the way of Christ and making straight his paths – an important role in fulfilling the Scriptures. But God has a role for each of us to assume too, perhaps not as "glamorous," but equally important. We must first be open to God and willing to serve. Then he will reveal his special, individual plan to each of us. Life becomes purposeful and fulfilling only after you know the role God wants you to play.

Most Important Reality

        Jesus is my most important reality. When the Lord communicates with your heart constantly, this just comes about naturally. There is no coercion from him whatsoever, for he is gentle and loving always. In his company, I am living my most meaningful life.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

*Time Well Spent

        If you do everything, big and little, for the sake of God, then you will not have wasted any time when you leave this world.

Astounding Truth

        Christianity is unique in that God personally died for our sins out of love. The unimaginable and incredible happened! It is awesome, amazing, and deeply and profoundly moving! How can anyone not rejoice?

Fruit of Union With God

        Inner peace due to absence of inner struggle against sin.

Resigning to God

        Communion experience. The Lord is too immense for me to comprehend, so I just resigned to resting in and savoring him.

Great Division and Distinction

          Jesus said to his disciples, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, rather division." This division is no ordinary minor division, for it could result in the eternal separation between those who follow Jesus and those who don't, with a chasm no one can cross. There is no greater distinction than that between those who have Christ and those who don't.

On Loving God

        Loving God is unique in the sense that you can never love God enough. He deserves all of our love, but being imperfect, we always fall short. Actually, loving God is best achieved by abandoning ourselves in him, so we can also say that we can never abandon ourselves to God enough. Fortunately, it is our intention that matters to the Lord.    

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Letting-Go Time

        Communion experience. Now that I have Christ, I can let everything else go, including grievances against anyone. All inappropriate desires and greed end. It's abandonment time, letting-go time, time to forgive, and time to go free. Yippee!

Unseen Miracles

        Communion time thoughts. Miracles can be unseen to be miracles. Christ the Lord himself is to me the biggest miracle, yet he is unseen to me today. During the liturgy of the Eucharist, I knew that a wonderful miracle was taking place when the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of the Lord. Then I was a witness of the unseen miracle. 

Train to Be Safe

        We as finite beings are only strong and safe in God. Without him, we are in the danger zone, vulnerable to attacks that can easily take down our souls. You can certainly experience this the moment you step away from God. Therefore, the only way to shield yourself from evil is to enter even deeper into God any time you sense any kind of temptation. Let this become your second nature to keep your soul safe at all times. 

Joy Killers

        The conversion of the soul usually takes time, for it's an awakening process that involves much learning by the heart. It shows how tenaciously an individual can isolate himself in the castle he's built around himself, so to speak, attempting to ward off any penetration into his interior. Unfortunately, he also makes himself impervious to God who only wants to illuminate him and save him from the true perils to his soul. Anytime a sinner wakes up, repents, and returns to God, the whole heaven rejoices. A soul who does not repent becomes not only a lost one, but also a great joy killer.  

Praying Unceasingly?

        Should we pray to God for something we need just once, believing with great faith that he will answer us? I think not. I believe that the only time you don't need to ask him repeatedly is when you abandon yourself to him and ash him to do whatever he wishes with you. Otherwise, for other things you feel compelled to pray for, such as the conversion of a loved one, you need to pray unceasingly. It's not that you lack trust in God. On the contrary, you want to show how much you need and rely upon him. Suppose you have two children. One comes to you and asks for something s/he needs just once and the other one asks you for what s/he needs day and night nonstop, which child to whom you are more likely to give in? I think the answer is clear. Since God is our loving Father, the more we ask him, the more endearing we are to him. Again, I am thinking common sense here. As a matter of fact, I feel closer to the Lord each time I go to him with the same petition. Another reason, since the world sorely needs our prayers, praying unceasingly to God every chance we get for the world can help fulfill that need. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

We Are Alone!

        As Christmas draws near, some of my relatives and friends will be coming to my home for a brief stay. This should be a happy occasion, for get-togethers as such do not happen on any regular basis. In a few days, it'll be over. I start to think that we are basically alone in our existence. Even if you have many loved ones living with you all your life, what they can do to help is limited as far as how you stand before God is concerned. Before the Lord, you are definitely alone, alone to account for what you've done, alone to face his judgment. If we prepare ourselves well now, that should be a joyous moment. Otherwise, it could be the most terrible moment of our existence. To prepare ourselves well, again it's something only we alone can do. Yes, mind your own business is right.

Be Children to God

        Communion time thoughts. When the adults are taking care everything, the children do not have to worry about a thing. Similarly, if we let God the Father take care of everything, we wouldn't need to worry about anything either. This points to submitting ourselves completely to God to achieve inner peace. It seems so common sense. 

*No Heart, no Fire

        God wants to have our heart, not our mind. If we speak about Christ with our mind only, then everything merely sounds rational. It's only in speaking with our heart that we can set other hearts on fire too. So keep your mind and give God your heart; the mind will follow. Remember that you can only set the heart on fire, not the mind. (When the mind is on fire, it means you have a big headache.)

The Optimistic Christian

        A Christian knows that God wants to bestow eternal life upon him and also looks forward to the resurrection of the body when his lowly body will be changed to conform to the glorified body of Christ (Philippians 3.21). Hence, his faith remains lively with hope and joy. If you don't feel so optimistic as a Christian, then you probably have not looked far enough beyond this life yet. 

God Most Essential

        We all need God. Without him, we would cease to exist. Without his assistance, our hearts would instantly stop beating and our lungs stop breathing. And we are at the mercy of God, for without it, we would carry our sins to our grave with no hope of ever enjoying eternal life. God is to be appreciated and latched onto.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reason for Your Choice

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 7, Jesus gave his testimony to John the Baptist. All the people listened, including the tax collectors, who were baptized with the baptism of John and acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves. Today, we have the same situation: those who accept the plan of God for us as revealed through Christ and those who do not. Which camp do you belong to? Christians know exactly why they accept Christ. If you are a modern day Pharisee, you'd better know your reason for rejecting him for your own sake. [To dismiss Christ is to dismiss at the least what was recorded about him in the four Gospels, all the other books in the New Testament, and his 2000-year-old Church with all her great saints.] 

*Most Worthy Lord

        I worship the Lord God for the reason that he is eternal. I adore him, for he is just. I praise him, for he is holy. I thank him, for he is merciful. I admire him for his perfection. I enjoy him for his beauty. I appreciate him for teaching me wisdom. Last but not least, I love him because he loved me first.

Refreshing Transformation

        When God transforms us, he reconditions us. We still have the same heart, the same soul; he simply "overhauls" them. Now, with a clean heart and a spotless soul, we experience deep peace in the heart and great freedom of the soul. There is nothing else more refreshing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Another Challenge

        Obey God alone and never mind what everyone else is doing, what is popular out there, the latest fads, political correctness, what people say about you . . . .

Our Beautiful Challenge

        Today is the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. In the Gospel reading from Luke 7, John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" I am sure that John was aware that he was the one to prepare for the way of the coming Lord and make straight his paths (Isaiah 40.3), so I am a little surprised that at the time he was not sure that Jesus was the one yet. What I learn here is that when God assigns us to do something, we are never given the complete plan, the details, what awaits us next ... not even the reason – we are simply expected to cooperate with him. When Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son, she only needed to accept the assignment, not knowing what her future holds. So here's our challenge: When the Lord asks us to do something, we need to do it without questioning, knowing only that it would glorify him. I truly see the beauty in accepting such a challenge. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Quick Guide to Living

        To love like Christ is to be like God. Abandoning yourself in God will make you one with him. To remain humble is to let God exalt you. Be open to God and he will fill you with his grace. Trust in God and you'll have inner peace. Letting God be Lord will set you free. Be weak in God to become strong. Vanish in God and he will surely notice you. Make God the center of your life to make life meaningful. If you want to go to heaven, start following him now.

Monday, December 12, 2016

On My Journey Home

        Communion experience. Here I was receiving the Lord one more time. It had been another day of enjoying him and storing up treasures in heaven, and now, one more opportunity to strengthen my union with him and moving one day closer to meeting him in person. 

Key to Union With God

        Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, the angle Gabriel came to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus to her. After she understood what God wanted to do with her, she said to the angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Indeed, it is the key to achieving union with God when you can say "May it be done to me according to your word" each time to the Lord.

Views of Death in Contrast

        Without knowing God, death is not a pleasant thought. You realize that life is fragile and that being old and frail can be likened to a candle whose flickering flame can go out anytime. The worst feeling is not knowing what will happen after death. Those who follow Christ know that he has conquered death for them. As they age, they know that they are getting closer to being with him in bliss for all eternity and their longing for their beloved one will finally be fulfilled. There is no greater contrast than that between these two differing views.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Awesome God

        Today's Communion experience. I trembled but was filled with great joy at the same time. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Linked to Heaven

        Communion experience. It was Jesus calling me to his table at which I was served the living bread of life. Jesus was as immediate to me as he was to the Apostles at the Last Supper. I have tasted heaven and am now linked to it. 

Process of Spiritual Awakening

        We first believe that Jesus does exist as a historical person; then we believe that he is God; next, we accept him as Lord and Savior; we come to know his love for us; we fall in love with him; we desire to be one with him; finally, we achieve union with him. This seems like a long process, but the speed of progress and the extent to which you can progress depend entirely upon you. In theory, the moment you abandon yourself completely to God, you are in union with him.

Changing Life's Goal

        We all basically strive to make enough money to survive in order to satisfy our physical and mental desires. In short, we have been enslaved by self-centered desires. Then Christ enters our life and makes us see that if we live for him for his glory by following his will, we would be free, and on top of that, have eternal life. If you think that this is too good to be true, you can always try it to find out.    

Friday, December 9, 2016

All About Life

        I see myself as someone traveling on my journey back to my creator and Father. On earth, I am just passing through, carrying no burdens. If you don't believe that there is a God, then you have no idea where you are going. In other words, you are lost (I am not saying that you are a lost soul because you wouldn't know if you have a soul or not.) In this case, you might as well live a completely self-centered life, enjoying life as much as you can and not caring about others, while you are on earth. The fact that atheists are not living like that 100% yet shows that they still have a God-given conscience. 

Eager to Receive More

        Communion experience. Jesus said, "To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich." With this in mind, I eagerly desire to receive more from the Lord who is infinitely rich.

Own Ways in the Way

        In the Gospel reading from Matthew 11 at morning Mass, Jesus told the crowds what their generation was like. Today's generation is not much different. People are full of biased opinions, readily judging others. Those who run for public offices and their supporters are prime examples. Then there are some people I know personally who are basically good people, but very strong in holding onto their own beliefs. In one case, a man does not want to bother anyone, even though clearly he needs help because of failing health. He turns down any help from others who are genuinely concerned about him. Perhaps it's his pride? a stubborn trait? The point I want to make is that you may have your own ways as long as you are not dealing with God. With the Lord, we must soften our hearts and give in if we expect to be saved, for no one other than the humble will be able to stand the Lord.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

*Beauty of Faith

       If you believe in the Lord with your whole heart, everything about him, about you, and about everything else will make perfect sense to you, for there is no contradiction in God.

*Looking Forward

        Communion experience. Jesus cleansed my whole interior and I was ready to go to him. Great Feeling. Nothing in the past is worth dwelling on, for the past is gone forever. Only God is worth looking forward to, for he will always be both my present and our future.

On Obeying Jesus

        At the wedding at Cana which Jesus and his mother attended, when the wine ran out, Mary asked the servers to do whatever Jesus tells them, and water turned into the finest wine. Obviously, Mary knew who her Son is. It is in obeying Christ that we come to witness his miraculous powers. And it is in obeying him that we become truly Christians and whole beings before God.

Mary Our Beloved Mother

        We all need a mother. Whether you are male or female, it is natural for us to call upon our mother when we are distressed. Mary is our mother in heaven. She intercedes for all of us who call upon her and leads them to her Son. It was through the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe (whose Feast is coming up on December 13) that Mexico was converted to Catholicism. My love for Christ can't help spilling over to loving his mother and now my mother.

"Impossible God"

        At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary that nothing would be impossible for God. Of course, that does not mean that we ask for anything and it is done for us, but it does give us hope always, knowing that we have a God who can do anything and happens to love us. 

How God Calls Us

       In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, through her. Mary didn't expect all this and naturally, was troubled and puzzled at first. This is how God calls us too. First, there is an element of surprise, then in time we understand what the Lord wants from us. Our role is to do what Mary said to the angel at the end, "May it be done to me according to your word." Know that God calls us when we have found favor with him.

God Beyond Understanding

        Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the second reading from Ephesians 1, Paul writes: Blesses be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. Wow! This is the way God the Father has blessed and chosen us! It's so much more than what we could have expected. Rejoice that we have a God who surpasses all understanding.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Making Our Life Meaningful

        Communion experience. Today is the Memorial of St. Ambrose. (Bishop Ambrose was the one who influenced Augustine and baptized him into the Church before Augustine became a saint.) The Lord showed me that continuing letting the Holy Spirit make us as perfect as he is until the day we die is what makes our life meaningful, for this is properly responding to his love for us. 😊

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Responding to God's Love

        Communion experience. 1 John 4.19: "We love because God first loved us.It follows that God also first chose me, found me, and called me. Now I must respond to his love with joy.

Bonding With God

        People create strong bonds among them when they go through some adventure or harrowing experience together, even though they might not have known each other well at the beginning. Therefore, always ask the Lord to go through all the trials and tribulations of life with you for him to become your best and most intimate companion.

Most Understanding Lord

        Since Jesus totally understands our hearts, he is the only one qualified to judge us. He does not judge us based upon what we do, but upon our motivation, our intention. Once our wife meant to stop at a traffic stop sign, but since there's an obstacle blocking her view on the right, before she came to a complete stop, she decided to coast forward a little bit to get a clear view and then stop. It so happened that a cop parked across the street saw all this. He construed that she did not intend to stop the first time and stopped only after she saw him, so he ticketed her with a traffic fine. Here is a case of not understanding the intention and rushing to the wrong conclusion. Once I actually forgot about the time of Sunday Mass and missed it. This was not good, but I also knew that the Lord completely understood that I did not do it on purpose and so would not judge against me. More recently, in drinking the chalice at Mass with others waiting behind me, I did not take the time to handle the deep cup with enough care so that as a result, some consecrated wine dripped to the floor. I felt so terrible that I asked the Lord to punish me in whatever way he wished. Then I realized that he knew that I would never do such a thing intentionally and that he respected my conscience and would forgive my involuntary carelessness. So what seemed horrible was in a way the very opposite of hypocrisy, which is choosing to look good deliberately before others. I rejoice that we have such an understanding Lord. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Joy From God

        Sorrow pierced the heart of the Blessed Mother repeatedly in her earthly life, but do you know that God can also pierce our hearts with his love, giving us great joy? This is the same love that can bring peace to our world and save us from hell. Seek union with God to receive such joy.

Faith in Action

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, some men brought on a stretcher a paralytic in an attempt to see Jesus. Not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. Jesus saw their faith and not only forgave their sins, but also healed the paralytic. It shows that we need to put our trust in the Lord, be determined, and put in the effort to seek what we want, that is, really go after the Lord, and we will be richly rewarded. God will not help those who sit around with weak faith and no action.

Picture of a Sinner

      A person steeped in sin is like a pig wallowing in the mud.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

To Be Ready for Death

        I just came across the short YouTube video entitled In Memory of Zoltan Kocsis – RIP and realized that he had passed away. He was a Hungarian piano virtuoso some of whose recorded CDs I own. A quick check on Wikipedia revealed that he died last month at the age of 64. I knew he was younger than I and had not expected that he would be gone so soon before me. This got me thinking that we are all marching toward death. It is healthy to be aware of this reality always so that we might plan living our brief lives properly. Of course, any planning for a noneternal period would be inadequate. Jesus has asked us to stay alert and ready for his Second Coming and this information must absolutely be taken into account in our planning so that we can truly be ready for death and everything else.

To Be Free From Possessions

        I see people as they age finally realize that their attachment to material possessions has turned into a burden, so they start to dispossess them one by one. This is moving in the right direction, but getting rid of your things and still feeling attached to them won't entirely free you. It's more important that you feel detached to them even if you still have them ~ this is enjoying everything in the proper free manner. If you can live completely satisfied without your material possessions, then you are truly free in this world. (Letting God replace all your possessions is the secret here, for only he can truly satisfy us.)

Remaining Cool

        We live in this imperfect, sinful world, encountering frustrations, setbacks, unexpected turn of events ... constantly, and it's easy to get stressed out. The realistic outlook is to realize that such happenings will not go away and it's how we deal with them that matters. To me, to remain cool is to not let anything bother you, for life is dealing with a whole series of unfinished businesses until the day you die. How to remain cool? Know that all things that happen to you are allowed by God for a purpose, so there are no accidents. See it this way and you'll see the good that comes out of the experience each time. Let the Lord take up your burden; you are simply following his will, being detached yourself. This is what total abandonment is all about ~ letting God be in charge of all things, for nothing can happen without his knowledge.     

*Taking Communion Seriously

        Communion experience. When I received Christ in the Holy Eucharist, he entered me to claim me as one of the sheep the Father had chosen to give him, and he was to reside in me. What an honor, blessing, and joy! This is serious business. Sadly, I have seen Catholics no sooner receive the Blessed Sacrament than they walk out the church. One should never receive the Holy Eucharist out of sheer obligation. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11.27: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord." Catholics beware. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Thanks to the World

        Because of the chaotic and disordered condition of the secular world I live in, I was driven to seek refuge in God more and more, culminating in seeking union with him. 

Harvesting for God

        Today is the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier. In today's Gospel from Matthew 9, at the sight of the crowds, Jesus' heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." How can we help with harvesting? First, to make your task easy, get to know the Lord like the disciples of his time who followed him everywhere. Then spread the good news every chance you get. It could be just making a phone call or performing some small chore to show the love of God for us. The task doesn't need to be taxing; only diligence is required. You'll fine laboring for the Lord to be a great joy.

Ego Involvement

        If you feel inclined to do something that shows off your ego, that prompting can only have come from the evil one and not the Holy Spirit. Let only God bestow any glory on you. All glories that affect you ego are false ones, for they are bestowed on you by Satan. Do not contradict the Lord and you'll have peace. Safeguard the sanctity of your soul and dismiss your ego entirely.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Happy Progression

        I am artistic in nature and have found myself to be able to express myself through taking photographs. The images I capture identify me as the photographer well; as a matter of fact, you could say that they are me. So I feel good about that and am satisfied with my work. There is somewhat a parallel in following Christ. Abandon yourself in the Holy Spirit and you come to know and understand yourself well. As you become one with God, what you do is exactly what God wants you to do. And you are joyful and happy that you fulfill the will of God always.

*Greatest Gift Offer Ever!

        Do you know that through Christ, God wants to bestow eternal life on us? How foolish would it be for us to ignore this offer! Let us prepare ourselves for receiving this fantastic, most precious and desirable, and once-in-a-lifetime offer in the remaining time of our fleeting life. Better late than never. In this case, better would be infinitely better and never would be infinitely worse.

Refill Time

        Arriving at church for Mass this morning, I wanted to empty myself completely for the Holy Spirit to fill me again. Then all in me would be from God, with God, and for God. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Resting in God

        Communion experience. I was in complete harmony with my beloved Lord and my heart felt a great stillness. St. Augustine's saying came to my mind again: "Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee."

*Secret of Spiritual Growth

        The speakers you hear in church, on TV, at conferences, during retreats, and contemporary writers on spirituality advise, encourage, or inspire you to grow holier, to love God more, but none exactly tells you how to do it. Good intention, but ineffective messaging. The secret is to let God do the work for you. This means that you open up to God to let him in first. Then you ask him directly to transform you. In short, the formula for success: Surrender to God, attain union with him, and all you desire is yours. 

Fidel Castro's Death

        The Cuban leader passed away recently and Cuban Americans continue to celebrate his death. It is understandable that they are happy that the one who had oppressed them is now gone. But we also need to realize that God hates only the sin, never the sinner. If we acknowledge that God is the judge of all, we must also mourn the death of anyone sinful whoever he might be. After all, praying for the salvation of all souls, living or deceased, is the duty of all Christians.

Pure Love

        When we say we love someone or something in the world, that love is not selfless, as it always involves our receiving some form of gratification. Whereas the love of God for us is pure because it is unconditional ~ the Lord just wants to help and save us. Our love for God can be pure too, for when we truly love him, we happily let him do whatever he wants with us.