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

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To Change or Not?

        Some people are not happy with the way they are, yet they refuse to change. One particular person always says that she can't change because God has made her that way.  Well, what can you say?  
        Clear thinking is required.  It's not how God has made you that's important (by the way, God does not make junk); it's what he wants you to turn into that matters. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

On Obeying God

        I remember that when my grandmother was upset for some reason, she wished that she'd die, and all the grandkids who loved her would say "no, no, no ~ please don't die!"   When Jesus revealed that he was going to be put to death, Peter reacted the same way like us and the Lord rebuked him for expressing what Satan wished.  Wow!  Even if it's God's will to do himself harm, we are not to stand in the way.  It just shows how we must absolutely obey God, once we recognize his will.  There are times we must go against our grain, common sense, or feelings; but if it's clearly doing God's will, we must ask no questions.              

Ego Cure

        As one grows spiritually, one must guard against spiritual pride.  This is the remnant ego surfacing.  I picture the ego as a hot-air balloon.  As soon as I see it rising, I ask the Holy Spirit to pop it with the tip of his cleansing and purifying sword right away.  This mental imaging helps.  Of course, to uproot the ego completely, I need to become totally humble.  Humility and meekness are more powerful than arrogance and haughtiness.

Be Greedy & Reckless

        In one of my earliest posts, I advised all at the time of receiving Holy Communion to ask for all the graces you need to make you whole and holy.  This is the time to be greedy and ask for the works (or the whole enchilada?).  God will be most pleased, I assure you.
        Now, when should you be reckless?  No, not when you are driving a fast car.  I talked about Letting Go a week back, which is abandoning yourself to God.  This is the time!  Reckless abandonment in God will make him happy and you carefree.

Don't Laugh If...

I tell you that you can become a saint.  I am being dead serious.  God can take a little pebble or even a flea and turn it into a saint and you are so much better material!  He can wipe out all your sins and make you whiter than snow, then you are ready for the transformation.  If there is no hope for you, then why would Jesus waste his time telling us to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect?  

The Holy Spirit Unifies

        Today at morning Mass, I became aware that it's the Holy Spirit that unites all the faithful to the Lord.  This union brings about the Communion of the Saints and all of us who believe.  We together form one body in the Lord.  All this could have been said in my post Why Be Lonely? the day before yesterday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Beautiful Picture

        Promoting my favorite saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, again.  She wrote: "My heart is filled to the brim with the will of Our Lord so that nothing else can find place there, but glides across like oil over tranquil waters."  What a beautiful picture! 

Life Is...

a battleground.  The warfare in which you engage is a spiritual one.  You fight by making the right choices.  If there's a decision to make, you may chose either to glorify or offend God.  Of course, sometimes the right choice is not clear and we need to pray about it.  If the decision is difficult to make, you'll know that you've made the right one if peace follows in your heart.  It helps also to know that you should never make any decision that you know will make you regret later, no matter how much gratification you can get out of it.    

In Sync with Jesus

Let the joys of Jesus be your joys, and the sorrows of Jesus be your sorrows. 

Mary's Humility

        Those outside the Church who do not venerate Mary often point out that there's not much in Scriptures, especially the Gospels, to justify the honors bestowed upon her by the Catholic Church and the great devotion many Catholics have developed for her.  Not long ago, I read The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics.  The book had been compiled entirely from the visions and private revelations of St. Elizabeth of Schoenau, St. Bridget of Sweden, Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus of Agreda, and Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich.  What is interesting is that from one of the stories I found out that Mary, being humble, did not wish anyone to write about her in order to let Jesus alone be in the spotlight.  What holy humility! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's the Lord!

        Yesterday I read John 21, The Fishermen.  Jesus appeared (the 3rd time after his resurrection) on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.  The disciples fished all night and caught nothing.  After daybreak, Jesus in the distance suggested to them to cast the net off to the starboard side and they made a big haul.  Then John cried to Peter, "It is the Lord!"  On hearing it, Peter threw on some clothes and jumped into the water.
        I love this excitement!  Receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist should give you the same feeling, because you could truly yell out "It is the Lord!" right after consecration.  Also, when you see God working every moment in your life, you can proclaim "It is the Lord!" continuously.  A great way to be aware that he is there at all times.

Why Be Lonely?

        The other day on TV, I heard the story of someone who at one time didn't feel that he fitted in with his peers in college, felt inferior to his more talented sister, got really depressed, and tried various escapes to overcome his loneliness.  This kind of feeling is pretty common among all of us, myself included in the old days.  We all want to feel liked or admired by others and be somebody ~ it's that ego in us. 
       Of course, when you do become that somebody, you may lose any old friends who really care about you and gain new ones not necessarily of the desirable kind.   The truth is that you can have a lot of friends and buddies and deep down still feel lonely.    
        But, once you get to know the Lord well, all things change (as happened later to that person I mentioned at the beginning).  When you have Jesus as your friend, the emptiness in life is gone!  Do you know that "lonely Christian" is an oxymoron?  The only time a disciple of Christ could feel "lonely" is when he or she no longer belongs to the world.  The Lord alone is more than sufficient for us.              

Monday, July 5, 2010

Saints Having Fun?

        In my early Christian years, a saint to my mind was someone rather old, who  likes solitude, prays a lot, and lives a disciplined life, thus missing all the fun in the world.  Being a saint certainly wasn't attractive to me.  Now that I have advanced more spiritually, I know that a saint forgoes the pleasures of the world  because he or she has experienced a much greater and more delightful joy, and it's God who draws him or her into deep prayer.  In fact, it's the unbeliever or weak believer who sooner or later finds emptiness in all the fun in the world, missing out on inner peace and joy.  Our mental images or impressions do not always reflect the truth. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Treat for the Devil

        This is a humorous, true story.  Way back, when  I felt the need to pass gas while I was praying, I always felt awkward, slightly guilty, and apologetic, hoping that the Lord would understand.  Then one day I heard a Father D (I've forgotten to spell his last name correctly) of San Francisco talk exactly about this situation (I didn't bring up the subject).  He said that when that happens, all you do is stop praying momentarily, turn to the Devil, say "this is for you", do it and resume.  This has worked beautifully for me.  God does have a good solution to any of our problems, big or small.         

Ignoring the Devil

        Question: Should you pay attention to the Devil? 
        If you focus all your attention on the Lord and remain humble by acknowledging your total helplessness without him, then you may safely ignore the Devil, for the Evil One wouldn't dare touch any humble souls with a hundred-foot pole. 

Not See But Believe

        This morning while driving to Mass, I got the feeling as if I was going to meet Jesus face-to-face.  It turned out that today was the Feast of St. Thomas, who didn't believe that Jesus had risen until he saw and touched the wounds in him.  And the Lord said to Thomas, "You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe."  I did not see the Lord at Mass, but I felt blessed extra. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Letting Go (in God)

        July 4th is only two days away.  And I am going to start off with a big bang by talking about "letting go".  If you really trust in God, then this is the way to go.
        Yesterday my car got dented.  A car is basically an inanimate object made for my convenience.  There is no point in getting attached to it.  Enjoy using it while you have it, but let it go if it you can't use it anymore for whatever reason.  Sadly, there are people today who "worship" cars more than they care about God.  They spend so much of their time babying their cars.  Wouldn't it be infinitely more profitable to spend some of those hours in prayer?   
        If you lose money, maybe a lot of it, let it go.  All things belong to God and you are only his temporary steward on earth.  Our duty is to use his money wisely for his glory.  If the loss is due to your own negligence or self-centeredness, learn the lesson and move on.  
        What if you lose a loved one?  This could be hard on you emotionally, but think of all of us as belonging to God alone.  (In heaven, we'll all be God's children and our earthly relationships will no longer exist.)  If you're sure that the loved one has gone to the Lord, then you should rejoice instead.  If you're not sure, just pray for the soul and take comfort in that God is always just.  Don't let the joy of knowing that Christ has risen ever be superseded by your sorrow.  In all things, we should just pray our very best and leave the outcome entirely to God.
        The same applies to praying for members of our own family who have strayed away from the faith.  Again, they belong to God and not to us.  Be detached to them so you could be attached to the Lord even more.  He knows exactly what to do.  See this as an opportunity to deepen your own faith.  Pray the Novena to St. Monica for extra help.  
        What if someone wrongs you?  Get things straightened out if you can.  If you can't, then let it go.  After all, it's only God's understanding that counts in the end.  Don't forget that here is a great chance to pray for the wrongdoer.
        Should you forgive someone who has hurt you?  If you've read the Gospels, you would already know the answer from Jesus.  Know that the Lord loves the other person as much as he loves you.  To want to revenge or get even is to go against God's will, let alone the fact it's going to affect your own health, leading to another sin.  To make another person feel bad so that you can feel good ~ what's the point?  Isn't this basically being selfish?  Is this really what "feeling good" is all about?  It would appear even more foolish later if the person upon whom you have inflicted injury doesn't seem to care. Therefore, let go and pray for the person and the situation, giving God a chance to turn things around or work a miracle.
        If something happens and crushes you ego, then rejoice, for God can now occupy more of your heart.  Thank the Lord for teaching you to be more humble.  What others think of you doesn't count one iota in the end.  Your faith should be such that even if everyone else in the whole world ignores you, you still rejoice in the fact that God has died for you.  What can be more uplifting than that?  
        When you are ill, use the opportunity to turn to God even more.  Letting go here means not dwelling on your own illness, not feeling any self-pity, believing that you are in good hands, and focusing your mind on the Lord.  Sometimes you can be so ill that saying prayers is no longer easy.  Just praying the Holy Name "Jesus" or expressing your love for him with your heart is good enough to please him.  When we fall ill, we realize that life is temporary and fragile, and God is our true home and father to return to.
        In any case, let go in God under all circumstances and you'll experience freedom and peace.  We are so limited in every way that not to let go in order to rely upon God is indeed being foolish and sinful too.  Since we have God's love, we can afford to let everything else go.  
        Happy Independence Day!  May this country appreciate God's blessings.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dealing with Car Accident

        This morning my parked car was accidentally hit by another car, creating a big dent.  The years-ago I would have felt distressed because of my attachment to a car that had been preserved in good shape for almost 14 years.  But today the initial distress felt came from thinking that I now must deal with filing an insurance claim, finding a repair shop, facing the inconvenience of not having the car, etc. ~ not exactly fun.  I have learned to offer up all my sufferings to God and realize that what I now have to go through is really a form of suffering.  And of course, there are no accidents ~ everything that God allows to happen has a purpose behind it.  Yes, I am repeating again that everything is a grace as St. Therese said.  The distress is all gone and I feel grateful that the Lord always lovingly shows the way.
        Speaking of offering up my sufferings, if they are caused by things totally out of my control, I don't find it hard to perform the act ~ I guess I just become resigned to the inevitable outcome.  Then once I caused suffering to myself entirely due to my own fault, I found it hard to let go.  I think it's because I blamed myself and thought that I deserved to suffer.  In the end, God showed me clearly that it doesn't matter who or what caused the suffering ~ any suffering offered up to him is meritorious and pleasing to him.