Communion experience. Here I am, a finite creature who is powerless to save himself, placing himself entirely in the hands of the infinite God, his creator and Savior. It is truly a momentous moment when the two become one or solidify their union. 😇😇😇
Friday, January 31, 2020
- Most of the world does not realize that we are so loved by God that he sent his only Son to die for us in order to save us from sin. If we are aware that we all are this precious to God, we would want to be less self-centered and treat everyone else with a lot more respect and love.
- We do not realize that God desires that we all become saints and that he can make this easily happen if we cooperate.
Because of these two nonrealizations, we have turned our world into a mess.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
If you and the Lord are not in each other yet and you wish to call on or pray to him, you just go or travel to him somewhere outside of you. And when you expect to hear from him, you expect to hear his voice coming to you externally in some way to reach your heart. But if you are in union with the Lord, you only need to turn to your own heart where he is dwelling to talk to him and hear him speak to you from your heart too. No traveling necessary, great intimacy and honor, and so very cool!
Today's Gospel reading came from Mark 4. I was impressed by verse 25 in which Jesus said to his disciples, "To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." This is a beautiful, simple but profound statement, and it is so true and very cool. The Lord has given the formula for success to us here. It's saying that the spiritually rich will eventually inherit everything, while the spiritually poor will eventually lose everything. It comes down to that if you have God, you have everything, and if you don't, you have nothing.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 4, we heard the parable of the sower. A large crowd gathered around Jesus and he taught them in parables. He said to them that a sower went out to sow, and only the seed that fell on rich soil produced fruit, yielding thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. Later he explained that the sower sows the word and those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold. The Lord made me see that the best way to become rich soil to bear fruit for him is to let him enter deep into us, allowing him to plant the seed right within our heart.
When you hear the word "servant," you conjure up someone lowly and without glamour. But it all depends upon the master you serve. If you serve the Devil, I suppose you might gain fame and become glamorous, but in the end you lose even your soul. Then you can serve science and technology, art or music, or money. Certainly we all more or less serve ourselves, as it's so easily done. But all these masters "aim" to enslave us. At the other extreme, you can serve the Lord God. If you remain faithful, he will treat you as a friend or his child, loving and taking care of you forever. So to be a servant is fine, as long as you choose the right master. And there is no better master to serve than your God, the God of Christ.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Suppose you drive and hit someone. The worst that could happen would be that the victim is maimed for life. Now suppose that you commit a sin which in turn causes others to fall away from God. This is a lot more serious, as other souls are affected. My point is that think twice before you sin, for you could cause others to fall away from the Lord, making your sin a lot graver than you might think.
There are more things that distract us from God than ever. Traveling in some countries abroad, whether you are riding in a subway car or on a street bus, you see most passengers playing a game, watching a show, or communicating with someone on their mobile phone. Back home, people eagerly check out new car models packed with tech features and speculate what the next generation of iPhones will be like. Who would have thought not too long ago that today you can order just about anything (even coffins) from Amazon online and get it delivered to your front door in one or two days? Science and technology have made this world more exciting, but all these material accomplishments have taken our attention away from God, turning God almost into an afterthought. The spiritual warfare continues on and the casualties will be high. To turn the tide, we need to wake up, join the Lord, and fight hard for him. For Christians, it's do-or-die time.
Today is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the Gospel reading from Mark 3, Jesus said to the people, "Whoever does the will of my God is my brother and sister and mother." It tells me that doing the will of God supersedes all earthly family relationships and makes us members of his heavenly family. I also see that in God's family, we all become equally God's children.
Before Mass began this morning, I felt great peace in the Lord—such a wonderful way to start the day. Peace is God's precious gift to us. Two others came to my mind—they are wisdom and understanding. Wisdom is knowing what is true and what is false, and understanding is knowing the Lord's will. Of course, there are many other beautiful gifts to us. Naturally, the greatest of all of them is the Lord himself. If we possess him, we possess all his gifts for us as well. All the more we need to seek to attain union with him!
Yesterday I blogged about the unforgivable sin. Jesus said all sins and all blasphemies that people utter would be forgiven them—this is pretty amazing that these sins will be forgiven if you repent of them. I see the Lord being forever patient: he is always there, waiting for us to turn to him to say "I am sorry for having offended you" and ready to forgive us and take us back. It's us paying the Lord hardly any attention most of the time vs. him waiting for us to acknowledge his existence all of the time.
Monday, January 27, 2020
In today's reading from Mark 3, Jesus also said to the scribes, "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And it a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him." Today we have the motto: "United we stand, divided we fall." My thoughts are if we unite ourselves with God by attaining union with him, then we'll gain maximum strength and be able to stand with the Lord forever!
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 3, the scribes spoke of Jesus as being possessed by Beelzebul and believed that it's by the prince of demons that he drove out demons. Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin." Jesus said this, for the scribes had said that he had an unclean spirit. Not to believe in the Lord is one thing; but apparently, to accuse the Holy Lord of being in cahoots with the Evil One is going too far. This is something we should never ever allow to cross our mind.
From today's entrance antiphon taken from Psalm 96: In the presence of the LORD are majesty and splendor, strength and honor in his holy place. God's majesty, splendor, power, and grandeur absolutely surpass what we can possibly imagine. We'll have to wait until we see him face to face to get the full impact. Here is one more exciting reason for us to go to him: to see how he truly exceeds all our expectations.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
We can participate in all kinds of activities to get to know God, but if our heart is not in them, we simply go through the motion and fail to get any closer to God. Again, the fast track to go to the Lord directly to give him your heart. From then on, you'll be with God and only need to follow your heart that belongs to him.
I dreamed early this morning that I lost something very important and panicked. Since dreams reflect our life experiences, the fact that we all have nightmares is proof that our life experiences are not always that good. PersonalIy, I am looking forward to going to heaven to be with God forever. To not want to leave this world is pitiful. To leave with great sadness is not good enough either. If you know that your Father is waiting for you to return to him like the father in the parable of the lost son, then you would want to leave this world in great joy and triumphantly as you return to him!
Saturday, January 25, 2020
For the first time, a sitting president spoke at a pro-life rally and that was President Trump speaking at March for Life in DC yesterday. The crowds were bigger than ever and the presence of the younger generation was noticeable. (At my church, usually one bus was enough to take all members to the Walk for Life in San Francisco. Today, two full buses took off this morning.) The cheering and exuberance during Trump's speech were awesome. In case you missed the talk, catch the highlights in this eight-minute video provided by Life Site News.
Yesterday the March for Life took place in Washington D.C. Today it's the Walk for life on the West Coast in San Francisco. These are the world's two largest pro-life events. I'll always remember this quote I came across: "Everyone who supported slavery was free. Everyone who supports abortion was born. And that, my friends, is how oppression works." If God had made us so that aborting a child would also kill the mother, I am sure no one would talk about abortion anymore. Since the unborn are totally defenseless on their own, they become the targets of oppression.
Another thought. You can say that the pro-abortionists play God by taking the lives of the unborn into their hands. Of course, God would never do what they do. So more accurately, they play the Devil, for they do exactly his work.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 16, the Resurrected Lord appeared to the eleven and commissioned them to go into the world to proclaim the gospel to every creature. He said to them, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." I am struck by the severity of the second half of this saying. It it is true, the majority of us today will be condemned. Perhaps this is justified because God's mercy is so great. But as long as we do believe, we won't have an issue. This is good enough for me.
Today is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle. As you know, Paul started out as a leading persecutor of those who followed Jesus. And he was converted by tho Lord in a most dramatic way. What a blessing! Our conversions may not be so dramatic, but every conversion is a great blessing. How you are converted matters less; it's whether you are converted or not. Cradle Catholics need to experience an interior conversion too if they are to serve the Lord effectively. Our highest goal should be to attain union with God to complete the ultimate conversion.
Paul writes in Galatians 2.20, "I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me." We must all be aware that the Lord loves us and has given up his own life on earth for us! We are very special and must respond to him in some way if we are humane at all.
Friday, January 24, 2020
God has a plan for each one of us, whether you know it or not. To learn about his plan, we must be open to him, for we can do nothing without him (John 15.5). There is a role for us to play in life, and to play it right, we must let God direct us. Today's Communion antiphon, John 15.16: It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last. To let the Lord choose us to go and bear fruit, again, we need to open ourselves to him.
If we can relate to God perfectly, we'll be able to relate to everyone and everything in the world perfectly too. If not, we mess up our lives. It's that simple. Start with God first to get everything else right, for he who made us knows us best. Let him be your teacher or better yet, your soulmate, then you'll live the most rewarding life on earth.
The God of Christ is always open to us. If we do not feel his presence or hear his voice, that's because we are not not completely open to him! We are the ones to blame! If you are truly open to him, 100%, you will know him to be the Lord and the truth with absolute certainty, for he is the one revealing everything to you. Then you are set free forever!
Thursday, January 23, 2020
If Christ is real to you, then you should live as if he is present with you at all times. So if you are still not completely open to him, not willing to let him know everything about you, then you are still running away from him. This is fooling yourself, thinking that you can fool him. Again, seek union with the Lord first so that you'll be wise and not be foolish ever.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
When we first search for Christ, we need to use our head to learn as much as possible about him. Once we are intellectually convinced that he is the one worthy to be believed in, it's time to make the leap of faith and accept him as Lord and Savior. From this point on, we don't need to intellectualize anymore; we should just try to believe in him without question. Now, to make the most rapid spiritual progress, we need to switch from head to heart completely. It is the heart that can move the Lord's heart and capture him. Union with him would be impossible if you don't offer him your heart.
We may not hear a clock ticktocking or a drum beating in the background, but as sure as the sun will set, we are marching on our way to meet God, our maker and judge. Consider that to be an interview and it will be the most critical interview of your whole existence. Have you thought about the kind of questions you might be asked? What may you want to say to him? It's best to think about and prepare for all this as early as possible. If you put it off until the last minute, you may not have any time left at all. I am dead serious (while I am still alive).
I have always said that the fast track to making your life easy is to let God do all the work for you. Of course, I am not saying that you sit back and do nothing. What I mean is that you now submit yourself completely to God, trust him with everything, and let him guide you in all that you do. While resting in him, you'll find everything super easy to perform with no anxiety nor stress. It becomes God doing his work through you. By the way, this is how you become holy too.
Communion experience. Sometimes we cry out of joy or because we are sorrowful. We also tremble out of fear or when we feel overwhelmed and most grateful. Today after receiving Holy Communion, I trembled, feeling the latter way. So awesome that the perfect, infinite Lord should unite with the most imperfect, finite me. It's all real and miraculous!
Today I feel that pleading for mercy from God is most appropriate for us to approach him. It shows that we need him to save us from death and that we are completely at his mercy. Of course, we also know that he loves us and that he shall save us when we submit ourselves to him. All works out well.
The thought came to me during Mass. The Lord shed his own blood to save us! It is a monumental deal!
That's why for us, his blood is so precious. We even get to drink it during the liturgy of the Eucharist. You can't help feeling good that the Lord God should love us so much!
In today's first reading from 1 Samuel 17, we heard how David challenged Goliath. In those days, the Israelites went up against their enemies by fighting them physically with weapons. But Jesus had come and revealed himself to be love, demonstrating to us that we are to fight our enemies spiritually with love always. Love to be our weapon—a revolutionary idea, but ultimately the right solution. In the Gospel reading from Mark 1, Jesus cured a man with a withered hand on the sabbath. Again, he let love override the established rule and proceeded to do good by restoring the man's hand. Follow Jesus and you follow love.
Today is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. At Mass we all recited this prayer to end abortion by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. Please join us by saying this prayer or any of your own. God bless you.
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!
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
I appreciate the fact that God had given me the free will so that I got to choose to follow him. Of course, the free will also allows me to choose not to sin against God, and I appreciate that as well. Once we are completely with the Lord, we don't need to exercise our free will anymore. So we can either retire it or give it back to God and remain in peace.
Monday, January 20, 2020
If heaven and hell are real, what about purgatory? If your body is not completely clean, you need to get into a shower to be washed clean. Now, if your soul is not completely pure, you need to go to a place called purgatory to get purified before entering heaven. Here is an 8-minute video to tell you a few things about purgatory.
It would be illogical to say that no matter how we live our lives, we would end up in heaven, and hell doesn't exist, and vice versa. If both good and evil are real, then both heaven and hell must exist. Listen to Fr. Mark Goring on this. Please, let's all aim for heaven.
[A footnote: I want to let all know the reality of hell because it's such a horrible place that I do not wish anyone to go there, not even for a minute, let alone for ever. Then I realize that when we tell others about hell, they might think we're trying to scare or judge them. So we must be careful and do it with love.]
Sunday, January 19, 2020
The Church is in bad shape. Many decades ago when I was traveling through Europe, I already noticed the mostly empty pews and absence of young people at Sunday Mass. Today the German Church has gone against church tradition. Ireland no longer prohibits abortion. The American Church is more in sympathy with the leftists who support abortion. Many countries seem to embrace LGBTQ people more than they do Christians, who are increasingly being persecuted around the globe. The Church is fractured now due to internal corruption, scandals, and the lack of clear teaching and leadership from the Holy Father. Overall Church membership is declining fast in this country. Local churches are not more than lukewarm, not a good place to be. Just maintaining the status quo is not good enough. We must become more vigilant and militant and go on attack if we ever wish to turn the tide. I can see that evil has infiltrated all levels of our society in the last half century or so, while we remained complacent. To win the spiritual battle, the Lord wants us to become holy foremost so that we may fight evil with great fire and zeal.
In today's Gospel reading from John 1, John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Earlier he spoke of Jesus as one who ranked ahead of him because he existed before him. This is interesting because we all know that John the Baptist was born some six months before Jesus. So if he knew that Jesus existed before him, it must be that Jesus had always existed before coming into the world.
While exercising on a treadmill at the gym early this morning, a Sunday preacher was giving a sermon on TV. He asked his audience to have perseverance. I started thinking that we were always told to do this, to do that, but never to surrender ourselves to God first. Surely we already know that we should believe in God more, love and forgive others, pray more often, persevere, etc., but where do we get the power? Now, if we can surrender ourselves to God first, then he will help me accomplish whatever we wish to accomplish via the power of the Holy Spirit. Without surrendering to God's will first, it's putting the cart before the horse. Think about it, or better yet, try it.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Communion experience. In my college days before I found Christ, I can remember that my heart was always restless. Today after I received the Holy Eucharist, my spirit experienced an absolute stillness, thanks to Jesus. This is the Lord who can get us into heaven!
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 2, some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinner and tax collectors and asked his disciples why he ate with them. Jesus heard this and said to them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Are we the righteous or sinners? Do we need Jesus? The fact is that we are all sinners and need him. It is interesting that those who believe that they are righteous and do not need Jesus are the ones who need to be saved the most, while the great saints always regard themselves to be the most wretched sinners before the Lord. Looking at our world realistically today, my assessment is that we need Jesus most desperately!
Let's get right to it: since our soul lives on forever, we cannot be happy until we get our eternity settled. Now, God is eternal, so if we can latch onto him, we should do fine. Fortunately, he loves us and desires that we spend all eternity with him. It all works out perfectly. Follow Christ the Savior and our issue is no more (for all eternity).
Friday, January 17, 2020
The center of Mass is of course Christ the Lord. Everything that happens at Mass should help us focus upon and not distract us away from him. I know that what I have to say will sound too strict or worse to many, and may even draw ire from some of you, but that's OK. It's to each his own.
- First, I'd like to see lectors prepare and practice their readings ahead of time. Too often the lector sounds robotic, enunciates poorly or speak not loud enough. What bugs me the most is that there is no pause between readings. When you are still reflecting on the first reading, the second reading starts already. A pause at least 15 seconds long would be nice.
- Personally, I don't find music that sounds more like pop music uplifting. It's difficult to say, but when you hear it, you know. Music can be nice, but not necessarily uplifting.
- There is a reason why in the older days the Church required that women cover their heads and not to bare shoulders, etc. You see, men are different from women. A man can easily be distracted (attracted) by a woman he sees. So, for all those who are servers at Mass, please dress appropriately in order not to distract anyone from the Lord. I'd like to mention that I personally feel uncomfortable when I see a female Eucharistic minister offering me the white consecrated host with fingers whose nails have all been painted a very dark or some deep red color, definitely a distraction.
- I don't need to hear the homilist telling jokes or making remarks just to amuse the people. They tend to take the focus off Jesus. Also, things extraneous such as singing Happy Birthday, etc. should be done outside Mass.
- Ideally, people should refrain from talking freely before and right after Mass. After Mass because after receiving the Lord, there might be those who'd like to remain in reverence for a while.
- Today when many Catholics don't even know or believe that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, it would be appropriate to announce the requirements for receiving the Holy Eucharist at Mass from time to time, especially at Easter and Christmas times when submarine Catholics surface.
Communion experience. I was not receiving any ordinary food; I was receiving the living bread, the Lord God himself. This is the food that unites me to God my creator. This is the food that heals my soul. It is the food that promises life eternal! I felt gratified and elated. God always uplifts us when we rest in him.
It is not good enough to go near Christ to be close to him; you want to enter him to become one with him! It's not good enough to know that he is the Lord, you want him to be your Lord! It's not good enough to obey him 99.99% of the time, you need to obey him 100% of the time! The greatest commandment God gave us is to love him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. Would God, thinking that we are not good enough, say to us, "Stop trying to love me more, you''ll never make it"? Of course not! Would God think that we are good enough and say, "Stop loving me, you are already good enough for me"? I think not. What he wants us to realize is that on our own we cannot possibly succeed, but if we let him do it for us, nothing would be impossible, especially when we wish to do only his will.
Today is the Memorial of St. Anthony. The Gospel reading from Mark 2 tells the healing of a paralytic by our Lord. Four men brought the paralytic to see Jesus. Unable to get near him because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him and let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Some of the scribes present asked themselves, "He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus immediately knew what they were thinking. To show that he has authority to forgive sins on earth, he said to the paralytic, "Rise, pickup your mat, and go home." He did as he was told in the sight of everyone.
I do not know the age of the paralytic. He could be older and not much younger than the Lord. Anyway, the fact that he called him "Child" strikes me that he was speaking to him as God. As always, Jesus knew what people were thinking or what they were going to do. I find great consolation in knowing that God knows all about me and all my thoughts. It would be terribly lonely to know that there is not a single soul out there who can fully understand you. Being aware that the Lord knows all about me guards me against losing my way. Furthermore, it keeps me on the path to becoming holy and more perfect.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Mark, a leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Yes, the Lord only needs to will and it is done! But wait a second, there is a problem. Do you realize that we have the power to prevent God from completing his will by exercising our free will? See how we ignore him, defy him, or betray him all the time. Look at the politicians who claim that they are Catholic, but openly support abortion without shame. I now see life also as a testing ground for the Lord to find out whether we deserve to be his children in heaven or not.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Communion experience. The Lord entered me—God could not possibly be a mystery to me anymore. In fact, he had come into the world, becoming one of us so that we might know him as one of us. And he revealed all we needed to know about the Father, the Spirit, and how we can have life for all eternity. In union with us, he becomes one we know more intimately than anyone else! It turns out that he is also more exciting to know than all the mysteries there are!
Christianity is all about Christ. Therefore, we should zero in on him. He is everything and all things to us. Going peripherally about him is a waste of time; you won't get to know him well. We need to live in him, breathe him, be wide open to him to be fed, nurtured, shaped, and molded by him, and become one with him. Then we'll be like him, fulfilling his loving desire and satisfying all our inner thirst and hunger.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Communion experience. Relationship with anything or anyone in the world, no matter how enjoyable or intimate, can wane, grow tiresome, or become burdensome over time. With God, the deeper you enter him, the more you witness his beauty and splendor, and the more you fall in love with him.
Jesus said in Matthew 7.21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." In other words, when we say "Lord, Lord," we must mean it, that he truly is our Lord and we obey him always. Otherwise, we are hypocrites.
If I want to enlarge my house, no problem. I could do the work myself or hire someone else. If I want to plant more trees in my yard, again no problem. If I want to grow more muscles, I can join a gym to work out. With most things, I can do something about it. As to my faith in God, it is different. I can try my hardest to force myself to believe in him more and that won't work. Only by the grace of God can my faith grow. In this sense, faith is a gift from God.
The above I blogged earlier. Then I thought about it. There is something we can do to increase our faith. Instead of trying hard, we simply relax ourselves and open up to God. With resistance out of the way, the Lord can increase our faith by drawing us close to him.
The above I blogged earlier. Then I thought about it. There is something we can do to increase our faith. Instead of trying hard, we simply relax ourselves and open up to God. With resistance out of the way, the Lord can increase our faith by drawing us close to him.
I hear too many prayers that begin with "May...." They sound timid, too polite, or even wishy-washy. I venture to say that the Lord would rather that we be bolder, more commanding, or more resolute, especially when we know we are following his will. I particularly remember Jesus' parable of the persistent widow from Luke 18, in which the dishonest judge eventually caved in to the demand of the widow who persistently pestered him. Remember that our Lord is our dearest Father.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 1, when a man with an unclean spirit saw Jesus, he cried out, "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!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out. I see the power of God's holiness at work here. When we become one with the Lord, this power makes us holy, and fearless, shielding us from all evil. Let's use this power in loving and evangelizing others too.
It is super easy to follow the flesh and not God. For example, I came across an interesting TV show with many episodes. After I watched the first episode, my flesh urged me to go on and watch the next one, while the Lord let me know that it's time for blogging. The voice of the Spirit is always gentle, so we must learn to discern and listen carefully. Our goal should be to obey the Lord in all things at all times; as John the Baptist, pointing to Jesus, said, "He must increase; I must decrease."
People look at someone who has become rich and famous and say that he has made it, but I don't necessarily agree. What if he won't make it to heaven? Besides, if the person others admire is not even holy, what does that say about them? Jesus came to give us life—not to make us rich and famous. Obviously, to have life is to have life for all eternity. Let's make it the right way, not according to the ways of the world.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Sometimes we sin and hurt ourselves only; at other times we sin and hurt others too. Then our sin can cause others to sin also or hurt them to the extent you can't possibly make amends, making you feel bad. Now, let's think fundamentally. Every time we sin, no matter what sin it is, what the cause was, and what its consequences are or will be, we hurt our Lord badly. Therefore, do not ever sin and you do not have to be concerned about all the implications of your sin.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Joy! Anyone filled with the Holy Spirit can't help being on fire with great zeal for the Lord God. Without the Holy Spirit, we would appear to be rather depressing or pitiable. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to submit yourself fully to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. Anyway, whether it be the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, it is total submission to God that sets you free. Anyone or anything other than God can only enslave us. This is the spiritual warfare we're involved in. Be filled with God and you are saved and safe. Otherwise, you are lost and lose.
Sunday, January 12, 2020
We are given a conscience by God, but that conscience gets muddy as we continue sinning, "trapped" in this secular world in which evil is real! To get our conscience cleansed and restored so that we can see clearly what's good and what's evil, we need to go to God from whom we received our conscience. A super sharp, clean conscience protects us from sinning, thus preserving our inner peace. The worst feeling is knowing that we have offended the One who loves us the most. Remain in union with the Lord is the best way to keep our conscience pristine.
Do you really love someone (yourself)? If you think only about getting a good education, finding a good job, having good health, making money, seeking material comfort . . . do you think you can make your loved one truly happy? I think you know the answer, but you still hope that you can, as you do not know anything better. This is the common situation I see. If you truly love someone, whether it be your father or mother, your brother or sister, your own son or daughter, your good friend or yourself, you would want that person to be truly happy forever! Eternity is real and earthly existence only transitory. To truly love someone is to make sure that the person (yourself) will be happy forever, not just to seek only pseudo happiness on this earth.
If Jesus bugs you in any way, it only shows that you are running away from him, that you need him, and that he is calling you. Solid proof: If you turn to him, go to him, become totally reconciled with him, you experience freedom, peace, and joy you never had before.
At Mass, after the Eucharist Prayer is said, the priest asks us to lift up our hearts, and we respond by saying "We lift them up to the Lord." It's easy to picture that I take my heart, place it in my hand, and offer it to God. Then I thought it'd be more "appropriate" to just let the Lord take my heart and do whatever he wishes with it. That is, our hearts belong to him now.
Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him. Of course, he is all holy and didn't need to be baptized at all, so it impresses me greatly that he should want to be treated as one of us all sinners. (Later, he also washed the feet of his disciples.) He humbles me, making me love him even more.
Let's all remember that our goal is know God, to "capture" him, you might say. That is why we study Scriptures, listen to inspiring talks, read about the saints, meditate upon spiritual things, make our churches beautiful, etc. The risk is that we can become habitual in doing all these things and forget that we can go to the Lord directly for best results. Seriously, you can achieve union with God by opening up yourself entirely to him and through receiving the Holy Eucharist. Once you possess him (or is possessed by him), all other things become secondary. Always know that the means are not your end.
Saturday, January 11, 2020
I came across this YouTube video on Afghanistan. The country has been at war for many decades, causing so much suffering to its people. Those who have survived are still doing their best to eke out a living. I saw that the people did not even recognize the American flag, which lead me to believe that they did not really understand what's going on in the outside world. Anyhow, I see the Afghans as a beautiful people and am moved with compassion for them. Surely the Lord God loves them even more. They might not know Christ, but he will surely judge them fairly. If you have some 20 minutes, the video is worth watching.
I am aware of God's presence at all times, for he dwells within me. Then I am aware of it most acutely when I am half awake and half asleep in the very early morning hours when it's still all dark outside. I am fortunate to live in an area that's very quiet at night. The half asleep state allows me to tune out any disturbance that can possibly come up and the half awake state still allows me to be aware of God's inner presence in me. In those moments, I could sense the Lord hearing every word I utter from the innermost of my heart—it's so satisfying! It is important that we always find time and place to communicate with our Lord and God in private undisturbed.
Friday, January 10, 2020
Abandonment yourself to God is not easy because you know and trust yourself the best and do not know God well or at all. But once you realize that God is your loving Father who loves you with the greatest possible love, you begin to trust in him more and more. Eventually, you come to know that he understands you more than you understand yourself and that he is totally trustworthy. Finally, you fall deeply in love with him and are able to open yourself up completely to him. Now you are spiritually free, experiencing peace and joy. It proves what Jesus said in John 8.32: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." To summarize, when you abandon yourself to God, you step aside to let God be your God. Now you understand both him and yourself perfectly, and you are free.
If you are drowning, you would want to grab onto something that does not sink. Yet, as sinners sinking toward hell, we do not readily grab onto Christ, the only one who can save us from sins. It would be tragic not to realize that our sins cause us to sink.
Can you imagine that you can play any game with God and win? No way—you'd be so foolish if you even think of trying. Yet this is exactly what many people are doing to God whether they realize it or not. They do not bother to believe in him, and at the same time they do not tell him why they do not believe in him either—they just ignore him as if he does not exist, adding insult to injury.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
The Gospel reading came from Mark 6. About the fourth watch of the night, the disciples of Jesus far out on the sea saw the Lord walking on the water toward them in the boat. They first thought it was a ghost and were terrified. But Jesus said to them, "Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!" These consoling, encouraging words we must always remember. If we believe that he is always with us, then we should never have to afraid of anything. If we are still afraid, then we are not perfect in love yet, as John the Apostle wrote in his 1st epistle (see my last post). The only fear we need to have is that we are not in the Lord.
I was struck most by the last verse of today's first reading from 1 John 4. That's verse 18: There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. It's so common sense. To be in love is to be in God, and of course you don't fear anything anymore when you are in God. Now, to be in God perfectly makes him to be one with you, so it is unthinkable that he would want to punish anyone in union with him. Anyway, you can be sure that in God you can achieve anything you want when your aim is to be perfect.
I see Jesus as our light. This light exposes us as we are. More importantly, it makes us see what is right and what is wrong, what is holy and what is evil, that God is love and that we need salvation and he is our savior. This is the light that illuminates the whole truth to our heart, mind, and soul. We now see the path clearly and are no longer lost.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Communion experience. The Lord made me see that true wisdom is not knowing how to make a lot of money or figure out some amazing, ingenious design. True wisdom is simply knowing that God has already done the work of saving us from death and we only need to believe and follow Christ to have life eternal.
Today's Gospel reading from Mark 6 tells the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand hungry people. After they ate and were satisfied, they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Here I see a clear case of God creating something out of thin air, truly awesome!
In today's first reading from 1 John 4, the Apostle talks about God's love. We Christians already know that God is love. As for us, we are capable of loving others, but our love is more limited compared to the Lord's unconditional love. If loving others is going to cost us in some way, we become hesitant. To truly love others, we'll need to exercise our free will to accomplish it. Again, I am not a theologian, but I believe it's because we were born with original sin. If we were sinless, we should be able to love as God loves. So what we should do is to offer our free will to the Lord, letting his will replace ours. Then we'll be able to love more perfectly.
Monday, January 6, 2020
Today my second son just had his second child, a boy. These thoughts came to me. We were all created by God the Father, so we truly are his children and belong to him. It's clear that we are meant to remain with him. To stray away from him is to be lost, for we live in a dangerous world. Every child born should be offered to the Father for his protection and blessing. Each new life is most precious and important to him. Read what Jesus said in Luke 17.2: "It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin." Therefore, no one should sin and no one should be lost to the Father!
Let's face it, sin is the biggest problem of our life, for it affects our eternal existence. We should take it most seriously, but at the same time not let it bother us the slightest. How so? The Devil is real and wants you to sin as much as possible, while the Lord God wishes to save us from sin. So, if you go with the Lord, there won't a thing to worry about—he can remove all your sins and even keep you from sinning again. Be one with God and the Devil won't be able to touch you with a mile-long pole.
Sunday, January 5, 2020
The consequences of sin can be irreparable. For example, I criticize my friend Tom before other friends and as a result made them think less of Tom. To restore my friendship with Tom, I could always apologize to him and ask for his forgiveness, but it would be difficult for me to restore the trust the other friends originally had in Tom. An obvious extreme example would be to kill someone and the damage caused now is clearly irreparable. So our best policy is to not sin. And here is where we need God's help to make us holy.
When you get to know Jesus well, the Holy Spirit sharpens your conscience to the point that you become acutely aware of every minute sin you commit. This is the Lord's way of keeping you holy. The loss of inner peace can be painful, for you know you have hurt your relationship with the Lord, now causing him pain. If the sin is minor, you can make amends by reciting the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner or just Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. This prayer can be said with each breath you take. Fr. Mark Goring recently talked about it on his YouTube video. As soon as we have sinned, we need to restore our relationship with the Lord. Of course, if the sin committed is grave, you need to go to confession to take care of it. The worst thing is to let your sins pile up until they are sky-high. Now, in this weakened condition, it becomes increasingly difficult for you to want to get rid of them.
Saturday, January 4, 2020
Nowadays, we do not hear many strong, clear, inspiring messages coming from within the Church. Well, there are always big name speakers yon can hear at various conferences and gatherings, but this is more like getting a onetime spiritual booster shot. What we need to receive constantly is spiritual nourishment. Reading about the great saints is a good way to go, but the best way surprisingly overlooked is going straight to the Lord. After all, Christ is whom we need to know the most, the source of inexhaustible enrichment, and the one who can satisfy all our wants. Therefore, read the four Gospels and open yourself up to him as your most intimate confidant, then you will hear his sweet voice in your heart fulfilling all your spiritual hunger and then some. If you want to know someone, it would be a waste of time to ask others who might not know him that well to tell you about him. Instead, you go straight to the one you want to know. In this case, that one is our Lord, who is ever ready to receive you.
In today's Gospel reading from John 1, Andrew was the first one who followed Jesus. He then told his brother Simon Peter that he had found the Messiah, meaning Christ. The Jewish people had been expecting the Messiah to come for a long time. Even if we do not know anything about any Messiah, we all still have that empty feeling in us, yearning to be fulfilled. But Christ has come, and for all of us who recognize him to be our Messiah, he has fulfilled that void in us and delivered us from sin into freedom. He turns out to the Messiah of all.
Today is the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. In the first reading from 1 John 3, the Apostle wrote "Whoever sins belongs to the Devil" and talked about the children of God and the children of the Devil. Here is a "new" perspective. I can see that every time we sin, we join the Devil's forces, and every time we do good, we go on God's side. So we belong to the Devil sometimes and to God other times. Again, I advocate seeking union with God, which will provide you with the best chance of belonging to God at all times.
Friday, January 3, 2020
It was disobedience that got us banished from God. Since he loves us, it is obedience that will get us reconciled to him again. So what God our Father wishes to hear from us the most is "Father, do whatever you wish with me." If you cannot say it, then you are not perfectly obedient to him yet, putting it mildly.
Communion antiphon, 1 John 4.9: By this the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his Only Begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. We can be living, but not really living since we do not really have life. To have life is to have Christ, who is the life (John 14.6), so that we know we are going to live forever with God. It makes all the difference!
In today's Gospel reading from John 1, John the Baptist continued to testify to Jesus, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him [Jesus]. The one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God." I am not a theologian, but I can testify that one way to have your spiritual life vitalized or set afire is to ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. It's simply asking the Lord to help you open up fully to the Holy Spirit so that the Spirit may work freely through you.
From today's first reading from 1 John 2: You know that Jesus Christ was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. We have all inherited original sin. And it is sin that robs us of inner peace. We sin when our weak human nature gives in to temptation. If you don't like your sins, then have Christ take them away from you. And he will keep you from sinning again if you remain in him. This problem of sin we must face and resolve before we leave this world.
Today's entrance antiphon, Psalms 112.4: A light has risen in the darkness for the upright of heart; the Lord is generous, merciful, and just. Christ is the Light! He shows us how to live so that we might have life forever and all his teachings are based upon love, for he is love. There is no one else like him. Without him, the world will be in complete chaos and disorder. I see him clearly as our only hope.
Thursday, January 2, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from John 1, John the Baptist gave his own testimony. Speaking about Jesus, he said, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." Indeed, our Lord is so holy and high above us that we are not worthy to untie his sandal strap, yet he ardently desires to enter us to be one with us. It is mind-blowing, most moving, and exhilarating to know. He is so far, yet so close; he is almighty, yet most humble. He is our loving Lord.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
I lived in Central California, close to the state capitol of Sacramento. The state is under the control of Democrats and lately, Californians have been moving out of the state in droves. Besides high taxes, deteriorating living conditions in larger cities, etc., I could really feel the oppression of religious freedom in particular. Very clearly, evil forces are at work. This story came out a month ago just before Thanksgiving, but I missed it until yesterday, and I was shocked by it. To find out what it's all about, go on https://www.childrenoftheimmaculateheart.org/, then click on CIH in the News at the top and watch one of the two OAN videos and/or read one of the top two articles. The state government actually considers the Catholic faith "offensive." It's a pity that they don't realize that they are offending the Lord God right now!
So it is now 2020. Today, January 1, is as usual the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Of course, we all hope that the new year will be a better one. Again, those who have Christ always see bright hope ahead, as the spiritual battle between good and evil rages on.
My first realization of this year is that we are all governed by our emotions. When they are negative, we lose our inner peace. We get angry, worry, sadden...all because we feel that way. So if we can let God take over our emotions, then we should experience peace. To attain union is the way to give all of yourself to God, your emotions included. When you have the Lord totally, you become stabilized. Now you enjoy deep peace and order.