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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Big Choice

        I posted the last message because the idea had been in my head for a few days.  Now this post is similar in that it also presents a choice, but in a way nullifies that post. 
        It happened at today's Mass, the memorial of St. Clare.  As I was going to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I saw that LOVE was going to enter me.  And this gentle, yet all-powerful love is stronger than fire because it's going to permeate the core and every pore of my innermost self, consuming all the dross and impurities in my soul and melting my heart to conform to his.  This purifying process is readying me for heaven.
        The alternative is to wait until I get to purgatory and let the fire there do the job.
        I can't imagine that anyone would rather choose the alternative.      

Believe Early

        The Lord is always trying to speak to us, but we sometimes don't or don't want to hear him.  It's easy to put him on Hold or the Ignore list.  Then pretty soon the only way for him to get your attention is to shock you in some way, as a last resort maybe.  One relative of mine did not return to Church until he had lost his job.  There are many others who came back to God only after some tragedy struck.  This is learning it the hard way!  
        It would be so much better to believe early to make it easy for the Lord, pleasing him at the same time.  And if shocks do come later, you'd be better prepared to deal with them too.        

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Taking a Break

        Time flies like an arrow.  ____ flies like bananas?  You fill in the blank.  (Hint: sA selpicsid fo eht droL, tahw era ew detcepxe ot raeb?)

Happy Is...

the one who hears God's voice and steps aside for God to work through him/her freely.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jesus, Thank You for...

        (1) showing us what our Father is like,
       (2) showing us that you are what we should be like,
        (3) sending us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, to guide and comfort us,
        (4) revealing the mystery of the Holy Trinity to us,
        (5) last but not least, revealing how great God's love for us is by laying down your own life for each one of us.     

Love Must Come First

        This morning someone at home required my attention, so I decided that I should skip morning Mass.  I really miss not receiving the Lord, but that's OK, because...  I remember the story of Juan Diego who had an appointment with Our Lady of Guadalupe that morning.  Then his uncle got sick and needed his attention, so Juan Diego just skipped his appointment with Mary and went to his uncle's house instead.  Obviously, that would be a difficult choice for some, but not to Juan Diego.  It turned out that Mary didn't mind at all when they met the next time.  Perhaps Juan Diego was being tested.  The lesson to me was that love must come first, even if it means missing a meeting with the Lord.
        My last thought is that we should be more like Juan Diego, a simple, honest, and humble person.  The trouble is that we live in a sophisticated, well-educated, and basically secular society; and we learned to advance and take care of ourselves first and make our decisions by weighing reward against cost to us.  We need to re-form ourselves.  I feel sorry for the children born into our world ~ it's going to be an uphill battle all the way for them.  The need to have God in our lives is more urgent than ever.        

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Joy of the Holy Spirit

        There are pleasures to be experienced in this world, so how are they different from the joy of the Holy Spirit?
        (1) EFFORT.  To experience the pleasures of the world, one must make the effort to seek them out; while the joy of the Holy Spirit is given to you by God.
        (2) SOURCE.  The worldly pleasures are experienced through external stimulants, while the joy of the Holy Spirit wells up like a spring from within the innermost recess of your soul.
        (3) EFFECT.  Here's probably the best part.  With worldly pleasures, you enjoy them less and less each time and can even become sick of them, while the joy of the Holy Spirit refreshes you each time you experience it and you can never tire of it.   

Life Is Continuous

        This morning the Lord let me see that the afterlife is a mere continuation of the present life and that I should not live them separately.  There are those who live only the present life without paying much attention to the afterlife.  And there are those who are tired of this life and wish to enter the next life soon.  Let me elaborate upon the latter case a bit.  If you feel miserable in this life, it's understandable that you hope to end this life sooner.  Then there are those who have somewhat tasted the joy of heaven and got weary of the world and yearn to go to the Lord.  Even though this seems natural, the Lord still wants us to live our life joyfully in him in this world.  In other words, there should not be any discontinuity separating the two lives.  We should start living our faith, loving our Lord, from this moment on in this life, and proceed smoothly into the next life to be with our God forever.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The All-Knowing Father

        If you feel inspired to want to become a saint for the glory of God, then that's terrific!  On the other hand, if you want to be a saint just so that you are a saint, then you'll never make it.  For our Father is all-knowing.  A tinge of pride or any trace of impure motivation he detects.  He knows us completely, more than we know ourselves. To me, this is cause for jubilation since we have an utterly reliable, faithful, caring, and understanding Father who can teach us everything and show us how to live our lives.  Such an awareness should bring great peace to our minds and hearts. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Facing Trials & Tribulations

        Let's face it.  Life cannot always be a bed of roses; there will always be trials and tribultions to face.  God sends them our way to test our faith.  Regard them as blessings.  If we pass, we come out stonger and a better person.  So let's take advantage of every trouble that comes our way; see it as an opportunity for us to trust in our God of love and strengthen our faith.  (Or would your rather complain to God "Why does this happen to me?" and feel sorry for yourself?)  Of course, sometimes we may not pass a severe test at the beginning, but it's the final victory that counts.  We also learn from Scripture that if you love God, he'll never give you tests that you can not pass.  So "welcome" your trouble with God right behind you.   

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Difficulties in Loving

        Sometimes out of love, I have certain things to say to someone I want to help, but I neglect to review in advance to see how that person might feel upon hearing my words.  Is my intention totally pure?  Does my tone sound condescending in any way?  Am I truly sensitive to that person's feelings?  Do I choose the right words?  All these considerations and more are good to think through before saying anything.  I still have much to learn in the art of loving.            

A Clean Heart

        Today's Gospel reading from Matthew is about Peter the Rock and First Prophecy of Passion and Resurrection.  Jesus was preparing to build his church on Peter.  When the Lord prophesied that he's going to suffer and be put to death, Peter began to remonstrate with him and he responded, "Get out of my sight, you satan!  You are trying to make me trip and fall.  You are not judging by God's standards but by man's."  Strong words.  We could see that Jesus was cleaning Peter's heart.    
        This made me think how necessary it is to have a clean heart.  We all like to live in a clean house or neighborhood, sleep on clean sheets in bed, eat on clean plates, etc.  To have a clean heart is to feel even better because we know now that the Holy Spirit is happy to dwell in it, readying us for doing God's work.  A perfect time to ask for a clean heart is when we lift up our hearts to the Lord during Eucharistic Prayer. 

Two Momentous Moments

        When God first created us, it's a momentous moment.  When we receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we are united with our creator again ~ this is another momentous moment.  The circle is now complete.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Playing with Fire (Pelosi)

        I am a apolitical person, but after seeing the picture of Nancy Pelosi being honored by Planned Parenthood on http://romancatholicblog.typepad.com/roman_catholic_blog/2010/07/where-are-niederauer-wuerl.html, I feel compelled to make some comments.
        If she's misguided, then she's been misguided to the nth degree.  How can you be a proclaimed Catholic but openly go against the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life?  This kind of  conscience is beyond me.  Honestly, I would have more respect for a non-Catholic bashing the Church.
        I am not here to judge her because only the Lord can do that.  I am here to express my sorrow because Jesus is being crucified by his own.  I feel sorry for the bishops who do not have the courage to defend the Lord.  Last, I feel sorry for Pelosi and all other Catholic politicians like her ~ they are playing with fire and need our urgent prayers.
        One thing I am grateful to her ~ she has made me want to love the Lord even more and pray harder, for Jesus is our only hope.        

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Poignant Question

        In John 6, we learned that after Jesus gave his long discourse, many of his disciples broke away and left.  Jesus then asked the twelve, "Do you want to leave me too?"  Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life..."  To me, this rhetorical question from Peter is poignant.  If the Lord asks you the same question, what would be your response?  If there's absolutely no one else to whom you'd go, then he has truly called you.  Rejoice that your name is written in the book of heaven.  Follow him all the way and you'll be amply rewarded. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our True Refuge

        During prayer before this morning's Mass, I felt that I could really trust Jesus.  I could go to him with anything, complaint or thanksgiving.  I could hug him, or just lean or rest on him.  
        Today's Gospel reading from Matthew is about the multiplication of the fish and loaves.  At the beginning, Jesus saw the vast crowd and was moved with pity for them.  Elsewhere in the Gospels, we learned that Jesus felt the sorrows of the people and was  moved with deep emotions.  This means that if you or I am in a miserable state, he knows and will take pity on us, we can be sure.  We can confidently put all our trust in him.
        Recently, a couple of my relatives were in deep misery because of what happened to their own children.  One is a Catholic who attends Mass regularly and the other is a Protestant fairly active in her church.  You talked to them to help, but the moment you suggested that they pray and trust in God for their burdens, they listened, then  continued right on with their sad stories ~ it's as if they wanted to remain in their state.  I guess they were so mired in their misery that they couldn't think of anything else, not even letting the Lord in to help.  What a pity! 
        We must learn to turn to the Lord at the first moment we feel distressed for whatever reason.  In fact, we should turn to him as often as possible, even when we are happy, so that the Lord indeed becomes our refuge.              

Immense Universe; Immense Love

        This link www.slideshare.net/Nubiagroup/english-astronomie-by-azartha takes you to a site that shows quite a number of space photos taken through the Hubble telescope in space.  There are nebulae and galaxies millions of light years away spotted.  Since light travels at a speed exceeding 186,000 miles a second, you can (cannot) imagine how far away these heavenly objects are.  Visualizing the immensity of the universe, we realize how "puny" we are; yet the Lord loves us to death.  Indeed, his love is even more amazing than his creations!  (Be sure to watch the images on full screen.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Growing in Two Directions

        I went to the vigil Mass yesterday (because I like the music played at that Mass more).  During prayer before Mass started, the Lord showed me that I must grow in two directions, outward and inward.  The former refers to loving others and the latter, to becoming more humble.
        It's easy to feel a lot of love for the Lord, but to translate that into the action of loving others, which involves the will and requires effort, is another thing.  It's somewhat like an engineer who knows all the theory but doesn't know how to fix anything.  So I must grow outward in that direction.
        As for growing in the other direction, I must concentrate inward to gain more humility.  I had already ask the Lord to ground out my ego like a stump grinder working on a stump, but there are still remnants left.  So the work must continue.
        Love and humility must go hand in hand because either one lacking the other cannot truly be genuine.