Communion experience. The soul is my most precious possession. Recognizing that Christ was the only one who could safeguard it, I gladly gave it to him for safekeeping.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
On this Memorial of St. John Bosco, the Communion antiphon, Matthew 24.46-47, reads: Blessed is the servant whom the Lord finds watching when he comes. Amen, I say to you, he will put that servant in charge of all his property. Attributed to Gandhi: Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Now, more to the point: Live today as if the Lord were to come tomorrow.
Earthworms live in tunnels in the soil. Because they become paralyzed if exposed to light for too long, they remain hidden underground. Nevertheless, this habit of the worm should inspire us to remain hidden in the Lord, not physically, but spiritually, so that we may be in his holy presence always and never seek the limelight of the world. It is concentrated, but relaxed and joyous living.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 5, we heard the healing of a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched his cloak, believing that she should be cured by doing so. Immediately her flow of blood dried up. Jesus was aware at once that power had gone out from him. He turned around, saw her, and said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."
Here we learn that the woman had faith and when she needed help, Jesus knew it immediately, and that her faith saved her. Sometimes God tests our faith, but we must always trust in him. For me, the Resurrection of the Lord alone is enough for me to cast all my care upon him. We should worship, adore, and praise God, but our main business is to trust him.
Yesterday I conversed with a Catholic friend who voted for Hilary Clinton. One big reason I couldn't vote for her was her extreme pro-abortion stand, allowing aborting a baby anytime before its birth. My friend, a female, insinuated that I was a one-issue candidate, but I am honored to be one (even though I had other issues with Clinton) for following the will of God. Is it alright to follow nine of God's Ten Commandments and disagree with him on the one that says "You shall not kill"? I don't think so. With God, it must be all or nothing ~ either you obey him 100% or think that he is not worth obeying. Faith is nonnegotiable and must not be compromised at any cost.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Jesus said he had come not to establish peace on the earth, but rather division. From the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we learn that a great chasm exists between the place of comfort and that of torment, which prevents anyone from crossing from either side to the other. This is extreme separation. On the contrary, there is the greatest unity on the side of God where barriers do not exist among those who belong to the same Lord – all in perfect union with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Again, we are confronted with making a choice now.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Everything we do has consequences, affecting the universe and most of all, ourselves. Know that doing anything selfcenteredly moves us away from God, whereas doing something for God's sake brings us closer to him. These are the only two directions to go. Putting off making the choice is definitely being self-centered.
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 5, we heard the Sermon on the Mount delivered by Jesus, giving us the beautiful Beatitudes. They guide us in the way of Jesus. He will bless those who acknowledge their need for God, feel sorrow for others, are meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful and clean of heart, make peace, and are willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness and for him. Last, he asked all to rejoice and be glad, for their reward would be great in heaven. How can we possibly not rejoice over this good news? I say, get blessed all the way to heaven!
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Communion experience. I felt I was like some mud, dirty and full of germs before the Lord. Yet, in spite of my condition, he lovingly cleansed and sterilized me. The scene of the washing of the disciples' feet came to mind (John 13). God humbles himself so that we may be exalted.
Some people live a long life and others die early. It seems that there is no correlation between longevity and how ready we are to die, how saintly or unholy we are, whether we are rich or poor, if we are healthy or sick, or other. Of this much I am sure: God allows those who love him to live long enough to do maximum good in serving him. He retires you after he thinks it's time to reward you.
A newborn baby is pure and blameless. Unfortunately, it is born into an impure and sinful world and the child easily ends up as a full-blown adult sinner. I see Jesus as the only one who can make all the corrections to restore us to our initial pristine condition.
Today is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the first reading from Hebrews 11, Paul wrote how the descendants of Abraham in seeking a better homeland, a heavenly one, acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth. Now, all of us did appear on earth at one time or another, so we are in that sense strangers and aliens here too. Besides, we who follow Christ definitely know that life on earth is just a stopover on our way back to the Father. Happy journey to all strangers and aliens!
Friday, January 27, 2017
I think that we all agree that running away from a problem does not solve it and that only by facing it can we hope to find the solution. The same goes for the problem of running away from God. It's only by facing God that you get to understand and correct it.
If you love Jesus and see that some of your most loved ones do not even believe in him, you suffer the agony the Lord experiences himself whenever he sees a chasm existing between him and any of his children. How painful it is to be rejected by your own for whose sins you have died! This is a unique cross that we who love the Lord must bear. Our choice is to remain in sorrow or place our faith and hope even more in the Lord. I chose the latter and was rewarded with joy outweighing sorrow.
There are so many things, unsettled, disturbing, that rattle the peace of our minds. At the start of Mass this morning, I knew I was coming to rest my whole body and soul in God, who alone can provide me with his peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4.7).
Right now, a friend of my son is in danger of losing his life at a medical center. One of my church friends just underwent surgery on his leg. I called a cousin of mine in New York and no one answered the phone. The last time it happened not long ago was when she was taken into a hospital for an emergency operation, so I hope that it's not the same thing again this time. Obviously, I am already an old person, but that's not the point. The point I want to make is "Believe in God now!" Put aside planning your dream vacation, buying a new house for your family, finding ways of investing your money to make more money, etc., and settle your eternal destiny first! Don't wait until the last moments of your life – do it when you are still young and healthy! Make the most important decision first before considering any other decisions. Closing pointer: Put God ahead of you to get ahead; put yourself ahead of God to get lost.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Communion thoughts. Receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist stands as a landmark in my daily journey. It was of great consolation to realize that since the Lord God created me, he surely can correct, reshape, and transform me into a new creature that's pleasing to him. It's the power of the creator at the disposal of his creature!
In this country, we have the left (liberals) and the right (conservatives) going against each other on so many issues. Both sides are guilty of distorting the truth and creating fake news. If the left plays God without believing in him much, the right plays God while claiming that they believe in him.
Recently, Pope Francis had an interview with a Spanish newspaper on the day of Trump's inauguration and was asked what he thought about Trump. He said that he wanted to wait to see how he acts, what he does, before forming an opinion. Toward the end of the interview, the Holy Father added that the rise of any populist figure could be a cause for concern, citing Hitler as an example. He is making a point, but the moment I read that, I was quite certain that the right would seize upon this "undiplomatic slip" and accuse him of comparing Trump with Hitler. Sure enough, one popular Christian (non-Catholic) network on the right in a YouTube video called for all Catholics to leave their church and find Christianity elsewhere. This saddened me and almost made me laugh at the same time, for so many Protestants are ignorant of the fact that Catholics do not leave the Church just because the Pope or a bishop or their pastor is someone they don't like or is a sinner – the faithful remain with the Church because it was established and given to them by Christ to be guardian of the whole truth. Unlike Protestants, Catholics do not shop around for a church or denomination until they find one that appeals to them. Also, Protestants in general are not required to belong to any church and can even start a church of their own. By the way, I read one page of the comments on that video – the vile words and foulmouthed expressions used by the commentators were shocking in condemning the Holy Father and the Catholic Church. I just hope that they are not representative of the majority of the people of this country. What that presenter of the video did and caused was exactly what the Pope was concerned about.
For all Christians who wish to spread any kind of message in public, remember these two sayings. (1) When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus and were ready to stone her, Jesus said, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (2) I say, "If you cause anyone to hate more and love less, that could not have been prompted by the Holy Spirit."
Two guys, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as "The Minimalists" are becoming increasingly popular. There is a documentary made about their Minimalism, which you can watch on YouTube. In it, they point out that the problem with society is compulsory consumption, which is acquiring things because that's what we are supposed to do. In their own words, they explain that Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life's excess in favor of focusing on what's important, so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
This message is catching on with the public. I am posting it because I want to share a superior way that cures the problem at the fundamental level. Naturally, God is involved. Submit yourself to God completely and become detached to all things except the Lord himself. Then even if you are surrounded by material things, you enjoy your freedom. Besides, doing it for God's sake and not your own adds purpose and joy to your existence.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Time is not something you can see passing, not a clock ticking away . . . it is an abstract concept not easy to grasp. All I can say is that things happen in a certain order in time. Anyway, here is an awareness that makes me forget all about time for the time being: it is the knowledge that I'll be with God in heaven for all eternity. It must be that in eternity, time becomes obsolete.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a God who is omnipotent so that nothing is impossible with him and also omniscient so that he personally knows about you and fully understands you? Wouldn't it be nice if he also loves you to death and wants to lead you to paradise to enjoy eternal life with him? To make that possible, with your consent he can and would even take away your sins. Such an extraordinary God turns out to be none other than the God of Christ, for he alone fits the bill. Now the good news – he is wide open to accepting new candidates to be heirs in his kingdom.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Today's Communion antiphon based upon what Jesus said in John 15.16: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. You bear fruit only when you do God's will. Know that the fruit you bear becomes the treasure you store up in heaven. Alas, most inhabitants of the world are fully occupied with doing only what they will to do. [I admit there are those who are intent on doing God's will, but are unfortunately misguided, for their work miss the true marks of doing his will, which are love and humility.] To not bear fruit is to waste your lifetime. If it dawns on you to repent in the last minutes of your life, you might still squeeze through the narrow gate to heaven, but taking such a chance is being foolish to the extreme. Of course, should you deliberately plan it that way, you'd be shut out for sure, for trying to fool God makes you the biggest fool of all time.
Think of God's will as a flowing river. Doing God's will is get in that water and float along smoothly and effortlessly with it. If you do not resist or panic, it will be easy and a joy. Again, God can make all you think is impossible possible. The secret is trust. Letting God do all the hard work for you is being truly smart (or wise if you prefer).
Today is the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales. In the Gospel reading from Mark 3, the mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they asked for him through the crowd gathered around him. He said to them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" Looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." Jesus made a big point as God speaking. All of us are equal before God as his children – and it's not how we relate to each other but how we relate to God that matters.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Communion experience. The Most Holy Lord entered me, but I was relative to him a filthy sinner. How was union with him possible? The Lord showed me that I only needed to be open and submit myself to him, and he would take care of the rest. Again, it is our intention that counts, since we can never be perfect as he is. It is always the Lord that makes the impossible possible!
On the 44th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, today is Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Here is the call by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life (www.priestsforlife.org) to pray for an end to abortion:
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself Never to be silent, Never to be passive, Never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice not just for some, but for all, through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Sunday, January 22, 2017
If you have Christ, you would never feel that you are at a disadvantage or less fortunate or inferior to anyone anymore. This is because the possession of such a treasure as the Lord God himself is the ultimate fulfillment of life, putting you beyond the influence of the world.
Communion experience. Once you have Jesus, your deepest desire is fulfilled and life is greatly simplified. Now desires for all other things lose their hold on you. In Buddhism, you learn to lose your greed to achieve peace. With Christ, not only you become detached to all things of the world, the void in your heart is entirely filled by the Lord God himself. It is this filling (union) that makes your life whole, enabling you to experience peace plus joy.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus attracted the crowd around him, making it impossible for him and his disciples even to eat. His relatives heard of this and thought that he was out of his mind. Once some unbeliever saw that I truly believed in Jesus and thought that I must have lost my mind (gone overboard). In fact, when I first read about Mother Teresa going to Calcutta to live a life of serving the poor and the dying, I thought she must be somewhat out of her mind. Today, if you are extra devout, you may be regarded as being too serious, over-religious, or one who lives in his own world. Of course, we must never set any limit to how much we devote our lives to Christ nor care about what others think of us. Let's live exactly accordingly to how the Lord draws us so that we may remain in his freedom.
Friday, January 20, 2017
I watched the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States on TV today. Many speeches were given by various politicians. Stories about historical figures were told to inspire the audience. My personal feeling and experience is that while learning from other human beings can be beneficial, it can never fundamentally transform us with power, for we need someone greater than us above the human level to effect the change. And that someone is our God! Once he starts teaching you directly, you'll feel your heart burning and find that even the teachings of saints pale in comparison.
My thoughts turn to the human life today. As I see so many of my friends fall ill or pass away unexpectedly, I become acutely aware of how fragile our life is. Physically, we are only made of soft flesh and brittle bones. As regards our health, catching a few germs can send us straight to the emergency room. By comparison, life forms such as trees and wild animals are much tougher. Then there are accidents that can take our life by surprise. So the brief human life is both precarious and vulnerable. Under the circumstances, I see that the best we could do, which is also the least we should do, is to secure our eternal life. This is accomplished by letting Christ into our lives to be our anchor. Once we have settled our eternal destination, the fragility of our life on earth will no longer be an issue.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Communion experience. Every reception of the Lord in Holy Communion is a milestone in one's spiritual journey. I much prefer remaining lowly and letting the Lord uplift me to his level than climbing to the peak of Mt. Everest and feeling good about myself.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
God does not worry, get anxious, fuss . . . he may rightly be displeased or get angry with us for offending him, but he still loves us and would suffer any pain we cause him patiently. Nevertheless, deep in his heart, he has perfect peace. Therefore, if we lose our inner peace, we should realize that it's because we are not perfect and have sinned – this would be the perfect time to turn to the Lord to repent and ask for his forgiveness to restore our peace.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The love of God is real. God has shown his greatest love for us by giving us his own Son so that we might have eternal life. Without God, we may still feel love for others, but it'll never be compelling and selfless. It's only by knowing Christ that we can love others as he loved us. And this love of ours is completely motivated by his love working through us who have been transformed by his love. Furthermore, the love of God binds him and us together as one, with the soul experiencing the sweetest intoxicating joy.
If we are totally obedient to God, the will of God flows through us unhindered and we will have peace in both our hearts and the world. Because so many of us rebel against God, blocking the flow of his will through us, we have created disorder and chaos in both our hearts and the world. In this universe, we are the only creature capable of disrupting the will of God. Simply put, our life is all about choosing to be with God or not. [Note: I am speaking about the God as revealed through Jesus Christ, who is love.]
Monday, January 16, 2017
Only God can fundamentally change a person, but there is a catch – you must give him the go-ahead first. Since you are still the boss, the transfer of power must be initiated by you to take effect. While God can do his part effortlessly, relinquishing your power is not always easy. This is the sticky part of the process.
If you believe in God, do you live as if he is real and relevant? Can people tell? If you believe that nothing is impossible with God, does your faith make that clear to others? If you address God as Lord, how often do you obey him? If we are to love God with all our heart, how often do you think of him or talk to him? Last, how seriously do you follow Jesus' specific counsels and commandments and take his promises? These are some of the questions that can help you assess your spiritual condition.
Here's a way to get to know the Lord God intimately fast. Pour out everything in your heart before him. Share your deepest secrets and concerns, those you wouldn't even share with any other human or look into yourself, with him. Do not hold back your emotions either. Weep or laugh if you feel like it. Showing this kind of trust greatly pleases the Father, for it shows that you know that he knows everything about you. This will bring you great freedom and consolation, now that you have become one of his favored children.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
It is often not easy to start doing something for the first time, even though you know that you should. One good example is Christians having difficulty in opening themselves up to God. I believe that is because they still do not want to relinquish themselves yet. It comes down to the ego and lack of humility. All I can say is once you have opened up and tasted the new freedom, you will not ever want to go back to your old imprisonment again.
Loss of inner peace is caused by others or yourself. If you are the cause, it indicates that you have sinned, unless you are so far from God that your conscience is already muddy. The closer you are to God, the sharper your conscience is and the more your heart experiences pain or even torture, alerting you to reconcile with God, which is a blessing. Those who already have a muddy conscience risk straying away from God even further.
God the Father brought the Israelites out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, delivering them from their bondage. God the Son came into the world 2,000 years ago to suffer and die to redeem sinners so that they might have eternal life, revealing God's greatest love for his children. And God the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles on Pentecost 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus, sanctifying, enlightening, and strengthening the new Church. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, this is the God we have inherited!
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Communion experience. It feels good to be in complete harmony with God. I picture myself sitting next to the Lord in a green meadow, relaxing together and enjoy each other's company. By submitting yourself to him, your hear his voice intimately, for he dwells within your heart. Jesus fulfills our life to overflowing. It is ultimate living!
Reading 1 at Mass from Hebrews 4: The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Paul uttered these words in union with God. For it is in union with the Lord that you gladly let his word (and his love) penetrate your heart to help you discern your inner thoughts and learn his ways. Such intimacy brings great joy to the soul.
At this morning's Mass, I read all these sayings from the missal that gave me so much hope in the Lord. From the Entrance: Upon a lofty throne, I saw a man seated, whom a host of angels adore, singing in unison: Behind him, the name of whose empire is eternal. The Responsory from John 6.63: Your words, Lord, are spirit and life. The Communion antiphon, Psalm 36.10: With you, O Lord, is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light. An alternate, John 10.10: I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly. The God of Christ is our shining hope, our joy, and the cause of our optimism. Trust in him with all your heart to be uplifted by him.
Friday, January 13, 2017
If you believe in the Second Coming of Christ upon which he will judge all the living and the dead, the time of preparation is now when you are still alive. Whether the Coming happens in your lifetime or later, know that your preparation time expires at the same time you do.
Jesus is most valuable, most desirable, in fact, indispensable to us, for only he can forgive our sins as he is God. He is the way and the truth and the life. To be more specific, only he can save us from eternal damnation and lead us to heaven. He is the one we need to go after, embrace, and follow with all our heart and our might. If you reject him, I will only respect you if you can solidly prove to me that he is false in some way, that you actually know more than he, or that your are a better person than he. My belief is that those who reject him are in reality running away from him, afraid of confronting God. How foolish it is to try to avoid something that is imminent!
Yesterday in a post I mentioned that anyone in an emotional state may lose self-control. For example, an angry person may do harm to others or a person under stress may no longer consider the consequences of his action. We all make wrong decisions when we lose inner peace and clear thinking. Similarly, when we lose God's peace in our heart, we no longer hear him speak to us and start sinning. Union with God prevents all this. It is putting your house in order, a state for the soul to cherish and enjoy.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
"Freedom is not free" is a popular American idiom. We owe gratitude to our military for its sacrifices in defending our personal freedoms. By contrast, I think of the freedom God is ready to bestow upon each of us. It won't cost you anything and you won't have to fight for it either. All you need to do is to submit to God and humbly ask him to set you free.
To practice what you preach is usually harder than just preaching, for it is in practice that your theory is being tested. It is also a fact that anyone in an emotional state may lose his self-control. Therefore, if you are a spiritual person, it is all the more important not to lose your inner peace in order to practice what you preach as successfully as possible.
Jesus came into the world to spread the good news of God's love and our salvation, knowing well that not all would welcome or believe him. Nevertheless, he went ahead with God's plan. Similarly, we strive to be holy, knowing that we would never be perfect. Nevertheless, we should not give up and must continue on, following God's will. What we can actually achieve is up to the Lord.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
We pray to God in the name of his Son Jesus. We can do everything, big or little, in the name of Jesus too. It's especially helpful when we find it hard to forgive someone who has wronged us; we can simply forgive him in the name of Jesus. In this way, we let the Lord handle the case and we are off the hook. In the name of Jesus, we can be detached to all things and become holy. For his sake, we should be willing to do anything. This is letting God be God with us out of his way.
My God is my God, but he is our God. I treasure and cherish him as if he is mine alone, yet I gladly wish all to possess him. This is the Lord who can transform us into selfless, generous beings. This is our magnanimous, all-embracing Lord, capable of uniting all of his children as one in him. This is the exact Lord we need to complete our existence. Submit to him with all your heart and soul.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 1 at morning Mass, Jesus cured the sick and drove demons out of those possessed. In fact, in his entire ministry he always helped those who were helpless. Yet when he was persecuted by his enemies, got sentenced and put to death . . . throughout the whole ordeal, he never tried to lessen his own suffering ~ this is the amazing part. Obviously, carrying out the will of the Father was his overriding mission. Any of us who does the will of God likewise will be with him and saved, as the Lord had promised.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
If we have perfect health and live in a completely stress-free environment, we probably wouldn't think about God at all. Therefore, see your physical problems and stressful encounters as blessings. It is easy to notice the gloomy side of things and forget to look at the much brighter side of them.
Today Tuesday is the day for praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Why should the Passion of Christ move me so much? I believe it is because deep within I know that I am a sinner and need God's salvation. Otherwise, it would be just one of the myriad sad stories of the past.
Salvation is free in the sense that God alone has made it possible, but we still need to cooperate with him to be saved. Otherwise, faith becomes unnecessary, Jesus didn't even have to come to us, and we can keep on sinning. God gave us the free will precisely for us to choose to believe in or to reject him. Note: Once you have chosen to follow Christ, your are free to retire your free will. (This post is prompted by a non-Christian friend who believes that he is going to heaven anyway.)
Monday, January 9, 2017
How happy and free we are in life depends upon how we handle ourselves. If you play God, you won't be happy because you are not him. Those who are happy let God be their Lord and follow his will and see all problems as his problems. Abandon yourself to God is the only way to freedom. When you taste this freedom, you'll know that you have the truth.
God is always there for us. It is when we stray away from him that we lose his companionship. Of course, you need to get to know him first. Anytime I miss my intimacy with him ever so slightly, I know that I have strayed away, usually in thoughts. This is good for me, for it makes me want to go right back to be in full union with him. It is this intimate companionship that makes life sweet, satisfying, and worth living.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
It is easy for us to hear others talk and then criticize them, but hard to be aware of exactly what and how we speak to others. It is hard because when we speak, the intention to listen to ourselves is not there. So if someone criticizes what we have said, that person may have a point. If we do not hear ourselves, mostly likely we are not as perfect as we think we are. In sum, be sensitive to what you say and know that other speakers do not hear themselves well either. This can help us avoid unnecessary arguments.
Communion thoughts. You can fully entrust your soul to Jesus, for he is the soul healer. Now, there are those who sell their soul to the devil for riches on earth. With Jesus, not only you gain eternal life, you also inherit all that the Father has in heaven.
Jesus said that he had come not to establish peace on earth, but rather division ~ you see that this has been happening to this very day. But let's not forget that he has also brought unity among all the faithful disciples, the communion of saints, and for many of us union with God. (Note that there is no unity on the other side.)
Saturday, January 7, 2017
What hurts me the most is to see so many of us continue to ignore God and go their own way, sinning as if there would be no consequences. To them I address the following questions and remarks.
Don't you know that you are hurting the very Lord, your creator and Father, deeply? What has he done to deserve all this? All he wants to do is to love you and give you eternal life! He has already died for you on the cross, so why do you continue to wound him mercilessly and unceasingly? Don't you realize that you are returning love with ingratitude, thus cutting off the only hope of your life? How cold and hard can your heart possibly get? Instead of offering it to the Father as you should, you have killed it. He is weeping for you, while you should be weeping for yourself. His mercy is infinite, but it's useless if you reject it all. Know that if you choose not to turn to him, you choose to be lost forever. Creating a tragedy with yourself being its protagonist is tragic indeed!
There are many human teachings out there advising you on how to think positively, to fulfill your personal goals, to live without stress, to make friends, etc., but without the involvement of God, they are basically self-centered and all efforts must still come from you alone – think of trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Only by doing whatever with God's help and for his sake will you have the best chance to succeed and have joy too.
Friday, January 6, 2017
This morning at Mass when I heard announced that the opening hymn would be #110 in the song book, Beethoven's great Op. 110 piano sonata popped into my mind, as it was one of my favorite piano compositions. So I wondered what we would quickly associated with the name "Jesus" when we hear it. I dare guess that many would say "love" or "forgiveness of sins." But there is one more perhaps less abstract thing we should always remember to associate with Jesus, and that is "eternal life." Jesus came into the world precisely so that everyone who believes in him might not perish and have eternal life! (John 3.16.)
Is the spiritual life a tranquil life? An exciting life? I would say both. Tranquil, because you enjoy the peace of God. Exciting, because God speaks to your heart, teaching and guiding you. What spices up the spiritual life are the surprises the Lord springs upon you at various times, showing that he is with you and capable of doing wondrous deeds. This adds extra joy to the spiritual life.
As we age and our physical health deteriorates, we can see that life overall is not as happy a thing as we thought it could be when we were young. But those who have Christ would see that he is the bright light in their lives and knowing him far outweighs all the other sad parts of life. In addition, they know that their yearning for the Lord will soon be fulfilled ~ a joy that no sadness on earth can touch.
There is no question that only God can take away our sins. It follows that only God can make us totally forgive someone we find it most difficult to forgive on our own. Since God's mercy knows no bounds, let that mercy infiltrate our hearts first so that we may be merciful to all others, friends and enemies.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
I remember in my youth, I rode with a friend in his British racing green MGB sports car. What impressed me more than the car was the manner in which he drove it. I had expected any sports car driver to push the vehicle hard, test its road-hugging capability, and enjoy the swift rush through the open air. But somehow my friend went the opposite way: he was polite at every turn, never revved the engine for speed, and made my ride silky smooth. He actually became a perfect English gentleman! This effect of the car on him has remained with me to this day. It gets me thinking that if we are clothed with Christ, we should also let the Lord transform us into his perfect disciples, showing love, humility, and more. If we are willing, certainly the power of the Lord can be greater than that of any car.
Matthew 19.29 is today's Communion antiphon: Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life, says the Lord. This saying would've been astounding if it had come from a human. But as it had been uttered by God, it completely makes sense.
In this morning's first reading at Mass from 1 John, St. John the Apostle urges us to always love and never hate others. Jesus laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. These are strong words. God has shown us the power of love and that only love can save us and the world. Saying all this sounds hackneyed, but it is the truth. Here we have the secret of peace and our salvation – there is no other way out. Since God is love, we must let love rule our hearts.
When you wake up every morning, what is your mood? Are you grumpy? Do you have anything to look forward to or would you rather go back to sleep some more? During one past period of my life, I did not look forward much to waking up each morning to face the day, for I hadn't let God completely take over my life yet. But now I am always joyful in getting up as early as possible with only doing what the Lord wants me to do, while leaving everything in his hands, on my agenda. I am acutely aware that for our happiness, we were created to love God alone. This has expelled all anxieties from and brought great peace to my heart – I thank the Lord for that.
We should live with a clear vision of the overall scheme of things – how we got here, what our existence means, what life is all about, where we'll go after death ... – never live from one little thing to another, not knowing where we are headed.
First, realize that you are just passing through the world and will never be able to solve all the problems of your lifetime. Next, know that heaven is definitely where you want to be after you leave this earth. Then it should be clear that you should be content to live an unknown life devoted to serving and loving God only.
When we first believe in Jesus, our faith is weak. Then as we come to know him better, we come to believe in him more. Finally, when we attain union with him, all doubts vanish and we are more sure than ever that he is the Lord and God. So, if your faith is still not that strong yet, do not give up, for you are on the right path. By the way, anyone who tells you that Christ is not divine is being deceived by Satan ~ have nothing to do with them.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Today is the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. John 6.51 was the Communion antiphon. Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." There is no doubt that the Holy Eucharist I receive at Mass each time is truly (not symbolically as many Protestants believe) the real flesh of the Lord. (If not, then the Apostles, the early fathers of the Church, the great saints throughout history, and all Catholics to this day have committed the sin of idolatry for worshipping a piece of bread!)
This morning I am thinking about how Jesus, the king of the universe, with whom nothing is impossible, came to us simply preaching the truth and performing great miracles with no hoopla or hype whatsoever, never bragging once about himself and remaining meek and humble through his death on the cross – this alone should inspire us to follow him. To be like him is to be like God and to be with God – there is no higher goal for us. Reach for him to help you succeed!
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
The ego is most stealthy; sometimes you have to be like a detective to find it. For instance, I am happy blogging because I hear the Lord speaking to my heart, which brings me great intimacy with him. But if I am not watchful, the ego can fool me into thinking that I am the one doing a great job of spreading the message. As a matter of fact, I should leave the life of the blog entirely in God's hands, not ever wanting to keep it going in order to make me feel good. Being ego-free is being truly free indeed.
In John 15.5, Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing." This is absolutely correct. Without Christ who is God, whatever we do can not get us any closer to God. It is through bearing the right fruit with him that we can get to heaven.
Many of Christ's counsels are difficult to follow, depending upon how much we have surrendered to him. Nevertheless, we must be willing to do our best to follow, even though we may not succeed. It is this willingness that counts. If you say outright that you can't do it, then you are being outright rebellious. Only admitting that God can help you can help you.
While the Lord gives his thoughts to those in union with him, all thoughts expressed through each recipient still bear the imprint of that person, for each of us is a unique creature of God. We do not become God's puppets; we just become parts of him.
Early this morning in bed, when I was still not quite awake, I sensed myself amid a huge crowd of the very rich, the famous, and the most learned. The Lord made me see that I should never feel inferior, for he looks only at our hearts. I already knew this, but the mental scene further impressed me. Anyone with a pure and clean heart can stand tall and be grateful before the Lord.
Monday, January 2, 2017
How to gain freedom from enslavement? You can run away, but this does not eradicate what enslaves you. Also, if you are enslaved by yourself, it becomes even harder. Conquering what enslaves you may even be less feasible with you in your enslaved condition. That leaves the best and only way out: run to God and seek refuge in him (or surrender to him). This way you are shielded by him from all evil and become absolutely free.
You may wish to read my post "Be Einstein as Christians" of Dec. 31 again, for a key thought slipped my mind when I posted it. It has now been revised.
When I was actively involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in the 1970s, I underwent baptism by the Holy Spirit in my prayer group and it changed my life. The presence and power of the Spirit became palpable. I now recall that in all three synoptic Gospels, John the Baptist when he was preaching, proclaimed to the people, "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." So if you want the Holy Spirit to set your heart ablaze, why not ask Jesus directly to baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire? Ask straight from your heart and wait for beautiful things to happen! (It would be wonderful to hear your personal experiences. Feel free to share them as comments.)
Sunday, January 1, 2017
I see God our Father at the center and billions of us his children around him. The relationship between God and each one of us is what matters the most, for it determines our eternal destiny. This relationship is tested by how well we follow his commandment to love our neighbors. Ultimately, it comes down to how well each one of us obeys the Father. Therefore, think of just you and God, with you alone to maintain a good relationship with him as best as you can through obedience. Nothing else matters.
We have a new year, 2017 in the year of the Lord. The world just celebrated with fireworks and partying. Why do we welcome anything new? I believe that we are not satisfied with the old and hope that the new will bring us better things. That is why we buy new cars, move into new houses, get married again, look for new jobs, etc., hoping that things would improve to make us happier. In reality, it never works out this way. The truth is that we are imperfect and will never be satisfied until we are perfect ourselves. Here is where God comes in, for he alone is holy and perfect and is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13.8), thereby remaining forever new and refreshing. When we become his obedient children and return to him, we'll be perfect and new like him. Only then will we be completely happy and satisfied with ourselves.