Communion experience. I wished the Holy Spirit to set my heart ablaze to burn away all the impurities and soothe my soul. [Please note that I shall have to take a hiatus from blogging for a month or so, as I'll be somewhere unable to attend daily Mass nor blog. Check back on October 18 or 19 for new postings. While reading any spiritual writings can be beneficial, the superior way is to meditate upon the Gospels and go to the Lord directly – communicating with him one-on-one with an open heart. Think of the Apostles – they just followed him and learned firsthand from him. God bless you all!]
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 18 on the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Jesus wants us to forgive our brothers and sisters always. If God forgives us, we must forgive others, treating them as the Father treats us, or face severe consequences. By the way, when you forgive others, you gain freedom for yourself and find peace in your heart!
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Here are three examples: (1) Coyotes smuggle poor Latin American immigrants into US for a hefty fee (often borrowed money or their entire savings) and abandon them across the border. (2) Recently, thieves looted evacuated homes and stores in Florida during Hurricane Irma. (3) Now, Whole Woman's Health, a reproductive health care organization is offering free abortions to women affected by Hurricane Harvey. Is this compassion? Don't they realize that abortion can affect a women more catastrophically than a hurricane? Abortion also destroys a new life, period. Does it ever occur to these callous people that a hurricane could be God's warning for being anti-life? (In case you missed my post Abortion Horrendous of November 28 last year, you may read it here.)
In today's Communion antiphon, Luke 22.28-30: Jesus said to his disciples, "It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom." To stand by Christ in his trials is to know what causes him to suffer and do our best to alleviate his sufferings. This is following the Lord, requiring us to deny ourselves and take up our cross. To stand by him is the duty of and appointed task for all his followers.
(1) We keep ignoring Christ, time passes quickly and our life is over, over for good.
(2) We know that Christ will reward us for everything we do for his glory, no matter how minute. We remain faithful and keep building up our treasures in heaven. When life is over, we'll be where our treasures are.
Friday, September 15, 2017
These are the three great gifts (rewards) of union with God. I list freedom first because it is a distinctive feature. It is God, the Truth, setting you free. All other so-called freedoms are man-made, not God-given. Freedom in God is absolute freedom, the freedom to do whatever you want in God's infinite space, resulting from being attached to God alone. Peace follows freedom. This is a deep-seated peace grounded in deep faith with the knowledge that your soul is safe in him. Joy is the joy that surpasses all understanding. It comes and goes as the Lord pleases. When it comes, it is powerful and intoxicating, affecting the soul. To paint a picture of these three gifts, I see peace as a calm lake with hardly any ripples on the surface, freedom as the refreshing air and cool breezes that circulate freely around the lake, and joy as an occasional dazzling light that appears over the lake, brightening the entire landscape.
Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. At the presentation of the child Jesus at the temple, Simeon, a righteous and devout man awaiting the consolation of Israel, in the Holy Spirit prophesied to Mary that the child was destined for the ruin and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign of contradiction, and that a sword would piece Mary's own soul (Luke 2.35). Of course, later Mary did eyewitness the sufferings her own son underwent, all the way through his crucifixion. The great sorrow she experienced was a holy sorrow. I used the adjective "holy" to distinguish it from the sorrow of anyone who does not know God and has lost a loved one. In this case, the sorrow is not pure, for the person also feels sorry for himself, lamenting over his own loss. The Christian focuses upon the will of God and the departed. If the soul is heaven bound, sorrow would be lined with joy. If there is any uncertainty, he would share the sorrow with the Lord. Yes, every Christian sorrow no matter how great has a silver lining, provided by the joy of the Resurrection of Christ.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Communion experience. The Lord entered me not only to purify and heal my heart but also to give me the power to live a triumphant life in serving him. At the end of Mass, Fr. S. blessed each of us with a relic of the Holy Cross and I felt greatly fortified.
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In the Gospel reading from John 3, Jesus said to Nicodemus: "No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." John added: "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." The intention of God is clearly revealed here and we need to know it well.
It was tragic that eight elderly residents at a Florida nursing just died from excessive heat and high humidity after Hurricane Irma knocked out the air conditioning system. People die tragically everyday around the world. All of us are going to die, tragically or not. What matters more than the death of the physical body is where the soul goes after death. There is absolutely nothing more tragic than the soul getting separated from God for all eternity!
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
To sin is easy, no effort required on your part. To become holy, you would need God's help, for only he can take away your sins. You may remain living with your sins; but if you wish to become holy and have the best possible future, make the effort to turn to God for help and he will take over and help you accomplish what you wish for. This effort you need to make is just that initial decision, for the rest is taken care by God. Both ways are easy, so choose wisely.
To want to be holy, to please God, to get into heaven . . . all these things must be taken seriously. For Catholics, humility and obedience are absolutely necessary. Humility means that we are willing to submit ourselves to God, and obedience means obeying all of the teachings of Jesus and his Holy Church. We may not succeed in reality, but the intention must be in us. Seeking union with God so that he may help us succeed is definitely the way to go.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
God has already shown his love for us to respond to him. God has already clear the way for us to return to him. God is already merciful for us to repent our sins to him. God is ready to lead us to eternal happiness for us to follow. God is ready to be one with us for us to invite him in. God is ready to teach us for us to open up our hearts. God is already most beautiful for us to discover and enjoy.
I know Christians who choose not to follow certain counsels of Christ. For example, they would not forgive someone they dislike, they just can't. Yes, forgiving your enemy can be most difficult, but deciding not to forgive is going directly against the will of God – certainly the wrong attitude. The smart, right attitude is to tell God it's hard for you to follow his will, but admit that he is right and you need his help. This change of heart exhibiting humility is absolutely crucial to your ultimate salvation.
If you help someone and the person does not show any appreciation, and you get annoyed or upset, then you only helped to please yourself. But if you help anyone for love of God, then, appreciation or no appreciation, you remain in peace, for you only expect to receive your reward in heaven. Anyhow, it's best not to think about your reward now at all and let God surprise you later.
To change ourselves for the better as a person has to be one of the most difficult things for us to do. Even though we know our faults and sins and wish to change, it's no easy task. Otherwise, the world, the nations, our societies, and all families would be in much better shape. It is the ego, the pride, that grips us. I believe that in general, men are more wont to be their own master than women. The Lord God is the only one who can fundamentally change us – after all he is our creator. But we still need to yield our heart to him first. Again, humility is a must to get the ball rolling.
Monday, September 11, 2017
God remains beautiful as always. Naturally, those who do not wish to look his way do not get to see any of his beauty, but for those who love the Lord, the more they get to know him, the more beautiful he appears to them. Thus, in a way you can say that God can be as beautiful as we make him to be.
Today we commemorate 9/11. Now 16 years later, violent attacks continue around the globe. Jesus has never condoned violence. Godlessness pervades our world today. We run away from God by avoiding looking at our own sins. How tragic it is that we forget that our death is inevitable and our judgment inescapable, while squandering away each day until time suddenly runs out!
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Communion experience. Through the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, we achieve the greatest intimacy with God, our union with Love. The antiphon from Psalm 42: Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God. The Body and Blood of the Lord quenched my thirst.
From today's 1st reading from Ezekiel 33, the Lord said to the prophet, "If I tell the wicked, 'O wicked one, you shall surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death." It seems that we should mind our business only when it comes to judging others, but not when it comes to warning others with the intention of saving them. In either case, the motivation must be love. It goes back to the second greatest commandment given by Jesus: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," something we easily forget or ignore.
Saturday, September 9, 2017
I see people suffering, experiencing pains and sorrows. Is telling them "Trust in God" an easy way of offering help? This advice like "God bless you" does sound perfunctory. Besides, most people in suffering are too numb and weak to turn to God fully, plus that the advice could be perceived as being too simplistic for dealing with their complex problems. The reality is that God can truly help when you put your faith in him. The advice is right-on. How Can God help if you are not completely open to him? The Gospels show that God did not perform miracles where there was no faith. If God is all-knowing, powerful, and loving, then you need to put this advice into practice. Of course, time heals, but without faith it could take a long, long time.
We exist only because God exists. We are holy only because God is holy. We are loving only because God is loving. We have hope only because God is our hope. We are willing to die for God only because he has died for us. We can have eternal life only because he loves us. This is certain: it would be better for us not to exist than to exist without him.
You can listen to a lot of sermons, read a lot of good books on spirituality, attend spiritual conferences, go on pilgrimages and retreats, watch DVDs, participate in prayer groups, etc., but if you want to be able to fill the void of your life completely, satisfy your spiritual hunger for God totally, to be inspired to the maximum, challenged to serve God with all your heart, the best way is to read the Gospels, take Holy Communion most seriously, and go directly to the Lord – that's going straight to the top, the head, the source of all power, your Father, your creator – to tell and share with him everything and keep your heart wide open for him to heal you, speak to you, and teach you.
Friday, September 8, 2017
When we apply for a job, we fill our resume with everything we've done that we can think of to impress our potential employer. God needs workers too. Now is just like back then when Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few." When you face the Lord on that day of appointment with him, he is going to ask you "What have you done for me?" – will you have a good list prepared to impress him?
I just heard on TV the orchestra version of the timeless aria "Sheep May Safely Graze" from Bach's Cantata No. 208. Beautiful music and things can draw us to God, but if you want to get inside him, there is only one way: seek union with him. Surrendering yourself to him will start you on this most satisfying, exciting journey.
Another picture I envision. We all live on the edge of a precipice. We know that we could fall off the precipice into the abyss below at anytime. It it happens, it's going to be oneway for ever. But many are sleeping, so they don't think about it. Then there are those who are not at all concerned, for they have always been awake and have tied themselves to Christ securely with his cord for now and ever.
If you see that God is our creator and Father and that we all came from the same ancestors, then in the overall picture, we are indeed all brothers and sisters in God's family. And this is the way God sees us. It should help us appreciate and value each other more.
Today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus came into the world humbly and quietly without any fanfare. By contrast, leaders, government heads, popular personalties of the world expect the red-carpet treatment, welcome ceremonies, banquets, etc., with much hoopla on their visits. If our God were egotistic and pompous like that, I don't believe he'll ever be able to win any hearts. Unfortunately, the world is full of people like that, and this is why we have so much chaos and unrest. How refreshing and fitting the way the Lord arrived in our world was. He has won my heart.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Without God's help, you struggle with your sins and are not free. When you and God become one in perfect harmony, all your struggles vanish and you become free. One greatest joy is being amazed by how God can make you so easily anew! Be open to let God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amaze you.
The very reason we struggle spiritually is that we rebel against God. Therefore, if you surrender yourself totally to God, with the help of receiving the Holy Eucharist, he wipes out all your struggles. This is the very message God wants me to spread, the purpose of this blog.
Today's Gospel reading from Luke 5 was on the call of Simon Peter the fisherman by Jesus. Astonishment seized Simon and his fishing partners at the catch of the great number of fish after Jesus told them where to drop the nets. This happened after they had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" after he realized that Christ is the Lord. This is a moment that we all need to have to be saved.
Today's entrance antiphon from Psalm 86: Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I cry to you all the day long. O Lord, you are good and forgiving, full of mercy to all who call to you. We need to cry to God and call on him. Tell him everything that bothers us, even the silly things and those that show our spiritual immaturity. Nothing shall be hidden from him, for he knows all our shortcomings. Sharing your heart with him this way will surely endear you to him, your heavenly Father.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
When something bad happens to us, we are likely to ask God why he allows it. We feel that God is not being fair to us. We must remember that we are all sinners who offend God continuously, so we don't have the right to feel that nothing bad should ever happen to us. The fact that heaven and hell exist takes care the fairness question. Once we are in heaven or hell, all the things that happened to us on earth, good or bad, become immaterial. This is how I see it. Instead of complaining to God, We should be aware of our sinful status, trust in God's mercy, and live aiming for heaven.
Hurricane Harvey has just swept through Texas and caused up to $180bn-worth of damage. Now on its heels is Hurricane Irma, even worse than Harvey and projected to hit Florida. Is God telling us something? To me, it is loud and clear that we must repent and return to him or face the worst in the end, worse than all the hurricanes and all the other natural disasters put together. Yet we don't even mention God in our daily conversations. Some possible reasons. You don't believe in God so much yourself. You are afraid that you might "offend" others. Religion is a personal thing, not to be shared in public. You are ashamed of your faith in God. God is of no urgent concern to you right now. All good people will be saved anyway. None of these reasons can back you up at judgment time. Let the fear of God bring you to God. Get to know him until your fear vanishes. Then you are all set for eternity.
In the Gospels, we read about Jesus delivering those who were possessed by demons. In today's Gospel reading from Luke 4, demons came out from many, shouting, "You are the Son of God." They knew that he was the Messiah. In yesterday's reading from Luke 4, a demon cried out in the loud voice, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!" While we live in the material world, demons live in the spiritual world, so they ought to know who Jesus is. Here we have them testifying that Jesus is the Lord and God and we can trust them for that.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 4, the spirit of an unclean demon in a man recognized Jesus. The man cried out in a loud voice, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!" With authority and power Jesus commanded the unclean spirits to come out of the man and the demoniac was cured. The spirits knew who Jesus was and obeyed him. If we know who Jesus is well, we would want to obey him too! How much you obey the Lord is proportional to how much you know him. The key to holiness is to know Christ as much as possible. As a matter of fact, everything about you is dependent upon your relationship with God. Surrender to him to let him reveal himself to you fully.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Even though we intend to follow God's will, there is the danger of taking our own good will as God's will. When Jesus showed to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, suffer, and be killed and raised, Peter, not wishing such things to happen to his Lord, rebuked him. Jesus then said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." (Matthew 16.23.) Wow, let us learn how to think as God does first!
You hear about all kinds of freedom . . . freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of choosing to keep or terminate the unborn, freedom of worship, etc. It seems that basically, people demand the freedom of being able to do whatever they wish to do, calling it their right. But all such freedoms are created by man and none of them can set you free. The only true freedom we ever need is the freedom given by God when we submit ourselves to him, for we are only free when we get to do God's will. Think about it.
It struck me that when Jesus asked his disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him, and spelled out other stringent demands to all, he did it out of love for our good and not in any way to lord it over us. Unlike the lords, gurus, teachers, leaders, kings, heads of state . . . of the world, he had no ego, no ulterior motive, and no self-glorification. He simply reveals what we need to know for us to be saved.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Today my heart sees and my soul knows clearly that if everyone would understand, believe in, and follow Christ, we will have the most beautiful world to live in. But, alas, it's no use dreaming about it, only something to pray for. All this makes me yearn for and seek solace in the Lord even more – how much he loves us and how much we need him!
We can see that St. Augustine is right in saying that God has made us for himself so that our hearts are restless until they rest in him. If you think about it, you'll see the many different ways God has made us. One came to me today: God has made us so that we feel uneasy when we avoid him. This becomes obvious when you talk to people about God.
In today's crazy, godless world, the spiritual warfare being waged against God is so fierce that we need to hold onto the Lord for dear life to be sure of survival. For Christians, this is not the time to lay back, remain neutral, or be just lukewarm. It's time to do as St. Paul advised in Ephesians 6: Put on the armor of God to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Stand fast for the gospel of peace. Hold faith as a shield to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. It's time to fight hell like hell!
Saturday, September 2, 2017
I believe that by the time you are aware that Jesus has arrived on Judgment Day, it is already too late to repent and ask for God's forgiveness, for faith would be absent. The time to believe is before you die or the Second Coming, whichever happens first.
At church this morning, the larger than normal attendance told me that parishioners were there for Saturday morning confession. I noticed that some people who usually sits elsewhere chose to sit in the last row closest to the confession room, hoping to get to confession first. What happened was that this made them almost last in going up to receive Communion. And by the time they came back, those who received Communion first had already lined up for confession. So it's a case of "the last will be last, and the first will be first" or perhaps "hoping to be first will be last, but planning to be first will be first."
Today, we heard the parable of the talents from Matthew 25 at morning Mass. The lesson I learned from it was that, as Christians, we must be bold, forward-thinking, and diligent in bearing fruit for the Lord. And the best way to achieve that is by abandoning ourselves in God to get all the guidance, strength, and power we need. It seems that whatever we want to accomplish, this should be the way. Then why not make abandonment in God our first and primary goal and let all things flow thereupon?
Do you dare to say that Christ had come and died for nothing? To say so is to deny that God loves you and proclaim that Christ is not the Son of God! If you don't dare, then you should submit yourself to him right this moment to acknowledge that God so loves you that he gave his only Son, so that if you believe in him, you might not perish but might have eternal life.
Many of us after toiling and struggling to find security and happiness in this world will eventually realize that life is empty without God. Even though they have sinned much for many years, this awakening can bring them right back to reconciliation with God. Therefore, many will be saved in the end. Without such grace, not too many of us can make heaven. Better late than never for sure; but still, it's much better early than late, for you would live a happier life now and have a smoother transition to the next life later.
Friday, September 1, 2017
Those who are afraid of God are precisely the ones who need him to remove the cause of all their fears. Once removed, they will be extremely happy with themselves and God. Fear of God can be both proper and improper. It is proper if it makes you realize that you are a sinner and need God to save you. It becomes improper if you avoid facing it and end up not thinking about that you can lose your soul forever. Just know that God does not set up barriers between you and him; it is you who do not believe that he loves you.
Communion experience. Christ most holy, make me holy. Christ more perfect, make me perfect. Christ most pure, make me pure. Christ most loving, make me loving. Christ most merciful, make me merciful. Christ most humble, make me humble. Christ most beautiful, make me beautiful. Christ my most beloved, make me be like you.
Another advantage of being in union with God. You face a problem and feel depressed. If you are in union with the Lord, your problem becomes his problem as well. In fact, you can even see it as entirely his problem. Then you are freed and your depression can even turn into joy. It's the Lord doing everything for you! Praise him.
The biggest problem with this generation is running away from God. Non-Christians may have a better excuse than Christians for doing so. We profess to follow Christ, but do not go all the way. The Lord leads, but sometimes we even go the opposite way. It's the rebel in us that should be subdued and banished, or we won't ever be free and have peace. All the more we need to surrender to God and become inseparably one with him. Then after experiencing the joy of union with him, you don't ever want to run away from him again.
Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25 was on the parable of the ten virgins. The kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five of them wise. The wise ones prepared their lamps with enough oil, but the foolish ones fell asleep while waiting. At midnight, the bridegroom was coming and the wise virgins went out with their lamps to meet him, but the foolish ones had to go buy more oil for their lamps to make it. When they got back, the door to the wedding feast was already locked – they were shut out for not staying awake.
For each of us, there is a door to enter, and that door will be locked the moment we die. It would be extremely wise to enter that door now while we still can.
Today's majority leftist news media no longer report news honestly; they manufacture or process news. They are good at ignoring what's positive and important and blow up what's negative and insignificant with the political goal of bringing down anyone they don't like. This is being both deceptive and unpatriotic. What I see reminds of what Jesus asked in Matthew 7: Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye. But it's even worse – the new media make up the splinter they purport to see in another's eye! And what about the commandment Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor? Seeing how Jesus denunciated the scribes and Pharisees, it's clear that the assured way to incur the wrath of God is to be a hypocrite. When you pray for our country, don't forget those news media.
Looking back on how I found my God, I see the process more clearly and can advise those who are still seeking him. Once you have learned of Christ, you want to study him carefully to see if he is believable. When you are convinced intellectually that he might well be the true God and Savior, you need to let your heart take over and accept him as what he claimed himself to be, for God is to be studied and then tasted. You've done your homework and it's time to apply and test the knowledge you've acquired. Without the participation of the heart, you'd still remain an outsider.