Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Helpful Blogger Award

Earlier this month I was awarded this award by Brian, the old man at OldMan's Cantankerous Point of View. Brian's blogs is full of honest, funny, touching, and helpful stories. It's well worth a visit. Thank you Brian.

There are a few conditions for accepting this award. The rules are:

-Link to post where you received the award
-Nominate seven blogs that you feel are helpful to others
-Be sure to link to your nominees within your post
-Let them know they've received the award by commenting on their blog
-Share one thing that no one knows about you & quote a sentence from your favorite book

I don't have seven blogs to nominate, so I'll pass this award on to five. They are:

Totus Tuus Family & Catholic Homeschool by JMJ. I love the way she shares her faith with honesty and strength.

Life So Random by Kelly. She has not posted in a while but her blog has the wonderful vision of posting up stories that help and give hope.

Mirra Design. For the wonderful and beautiful Christian Design and Communication Materials shared.

The Self Love Project by Shraddha. A lovely blog with lots of different inspirational stories with a special focus on pre-mature babies.


Writing by Sarah. Her sharings for overcoming the damaging effects of child abuse and rape are so inspiring.

Now, the one thing that not many people know about me is I like elephants. I like collecting toys or ornaments of elephants whenever I can.

I don't really have a favourite book but I'll quote a sentence from one I really like...

This is taken from the book 'He and I' by Gabrielle Bossis. The book is about her conversations with God. And in one of those conversations God said:

"I created you in order to make you eternally happy. It was out of pure love that I made you - not for My own interest but yours - to give you infinite bliss"

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Unselfishness ♥ Charity. The difference.

I've just finished reading The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. A very interesting and eye-opening book. Since, I'm not a native English language speaker, I found myself having to look up the dictionary more than a few times, but it was worth it. I really recommend this book. It's a collection of letters from a senior devil to a junior devil about the many many possible ways to claim the human soul. From these letters I've learnt how I as a human am easily deceived and brought into sin.

Anyway, one of the points I read really struck home: The difference between Unselfishness and Charity.

Since young, we've often been thought that being selfish is bad. So most of us try to be unselfish...sometimes to the point where we make unselfishness the end itself.

For example: I may share half of my ice-cream with a younger sibling. I do this not because I really want   my little sister or brother to have the pleasure of eating the ice-cream but because I want to be unselfish.

So in reality unselfishness is a lie. I am really being selfish because I'm thinking about myself. I am thinking about how I will feel.

And when other people do not appreciate or show due gratitude to my unselfishness, I become bitter and start complaining. I'll have to admit I do this a lot, and this is really bad.

Charity on the other hand is all about the other person. Charity bears fruit to no grudges. It is free and it allows for freedom. Even if the other party is ignorant or unappreciative because the act was done with love. It doesn't matter whether the recipient said thank you. The act was done out of love and joy.

It's a struggle but I'll try to strive for Charity and remind myself why I'm doing certain sacrifices for friends or family or complete strangers everytime I find myself in the never-ending mantra of complaints.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hate ♥ Love. Can't have both.

And into the waters of life, the demons poured their poison of malice, hate, and revenge. Since then, every living creature that  sprung forth into being has been tainted by evil. The light came to save and deliver. A victory was won. But the choice was still theirs to make. The creatures had to decide. To choose the light, or to succumb to the darkness that never ceases to hunt and rob them of their souls....

The light is beautiful and delightful. I love my God and want more than ever to be eternally united with Him. But the stain of evil still has it's mark on me. In my heart there grows poisonous vines of bitterness and hate. The child of a venomous dagger that was plunged into it by another. I was hurt by someone. I am still being hurt by that someone. And the only thing that I can think about these days is how much I hate that someone. Perhaps I even take delight in it? And as the poison spreads the darkness surrounds.

I can barely see the light the far of distance. And prayers and praise I have forgotten. My dying heart whispers a name. Jesus. Jesus. Save me. Oh how I miss to be in His embrace. How I miss to be counted as friend.

But I find it so hard to forgive...So hard to let go of the hate. I wonder if it is too late. If I had let it grow into a monster that I'm to weak to now tame...

But I know I must find a way. To let love triumph over the that I may gain my Lord, who is love itself. 

Hate and Love. I cannot have both...

Alas it is so difficult... 

Friday, 9 October 2009

Becoming a child again...

Who is more free? The adult or the child?

The child is more free.

A child can do, say, wear, act, whatever he/she wants without caring about what other people think or say. They can act silly, they can be honest, they can pull up their pants high, and go about their lives unaffected by what people think. They don't worry if there is chocolate smudged all over their face. Or if there's something in their hair (that should not be there).

This is real freedom. Freedom to be who they are. But as they grow up, most of them lose that freedom because we (adults) teach them that they should care what other people think. And they become caged like most us are.

How many of us will dare do a silly dance in public just for fun? We give up a lot of freedom for something called "respect".

Of course I am in no way suggesting that children should not be taught to respect and be considerate.

But they should not be robbed of their freedom.

It's going to be hard...but I'm going to try to become a child again.

To look at life from a bigger point of view. At the end of the day, would it matter if I cared about how people think I should dress or look or behave? How are their concerns going to benefit me? Will it bring me more joy?

I don't think so.

Matthew 18:1-4
At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?'
So he called a little child to him whom he set among them. Then he said, 'In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.

Friday, 25 September 2009

When Pride Stands in the Way of ♥

Dearly Beloved,

Just as everyday,
You never fail to bless,
Your wayward lover with daily bread.
So with every always,
Never I fail to transgress,
And cause you hurts, for that which I dread.

Can you forgive me...
These tears I've caused,
And sadness which could never pause?
I find myself lost in a far off place.
I won't let you reach me, I won't let you chase.
And yet I thirst for your sweet sweet presence.
How can I endure much longer?


And in the quite whispers I found....
Amidst the heartache that know no bounds...


Remember my love, my little one.
And how I long to share myself with you.
Could you think your falls would cause me to shun?
Alas if you only knew...

Throw your pride onto the ground.
No crime you commit could chase me away.
If you but ask, all is forgiven,
If you but seek, all is forgotten.
And you will find yourself in my arms once more,
My tender embrace to complete,
Is quicker than a speeding arrow aimed at the heart.

But my little one...know this.
I cannot go where you won't let me in.


And once again I was his...


The story:

I was appalled at how quickly I could shift from being Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. With one moment being deep in prayer and the next finding gossip on my lips. From being wrapped in the wonders of the sweet Rosary, to lapping up the contempt against some poor soul.

There are no words to describe my sorrow and shame.

But the Lord knows we are dust, and I trust in His Mercy. Amen.

For more on God's mercy see here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A Promise ♥ Forgotten

Dear Beloved,

Yesterday... before falling into the land of dreams,
Where nothing is ever what is seems,
I whispered into the cold dark night,
But also into your brilliant light,
That I should spend this very day...
Thinking of you in every way.

But last night's dreams came up in a whirl,
And dragged me down as its stories unfurled,
And when alas I finally awoke,
So far from memory was that which I spoke.
The silent promise I made to stay,
In your dear company...was miles away.
And so I busied myself with useless things,
I ignored my love, the King of kings.

And now when I dwell on your lovely presence,
I can only implore you accept my repentance,
So that once again may I on your face see,
Your sweet gentle smile while I sit close to thee.


Monday, 3 August 2009

Sorrow ♥ Ingratitude

Once again I was mulling over my discontent with life. The same old grumbles and complaints from ever since I could remember. And with my blood simmering, and my brow so furrowed, I clicked my tongue in disappointment and irritation.

In my heart I gave a long litany to God—not of praise, but of all the things I was upset about. And I bluntly told Him that I no longer desired to live.

I somehow wonder if God must have rolled his eyes and sighed, "Here we go again...". His little child was having another fit much like all the other 9,999,990 fits she had thrown in the last month.

He then showed me the sun— its rays pouring through my bedroom window... or at least directed my attention to it. And then I remembered His words to one of His children..."Have I loved you any less today?"

I knew the answer and was filled with remorse. He loved me the same if not more. And I had failed to thank Him for all the joys and blessings He had given me. Such ingratitude.

I knew I was unworthy of Him, and told Him so. But how does one make someone who gives loves unconditionally stop loving him or her? God's love is a free gift.

That morning, He made sure I knew that.

I said I was sorry, and He smiled.
I felt comforted.

A few days later I proceeded to write this poem:

In my selfishness, in my solipsism,
I confined myself to a place called Sadness.
There I dwelt in tears, with hands balled into fists pounding on the earth with the question, "Why?"

I have not since found the answer to,
All the sorrow that pierced me through,
But in that sad sad miserable place,
I realized something I did misplace,
It was gratitude.

Gratitude for gifts such as these:

Eyes that see rainbow colors shimmering on soap bubbles smelling of vanilla ice-cream,
Ears that hear beautiful music playing over the radio or the gentle pattering of rain in spring,
Hands to pull close the ones I so love,
Feet to carry me through the meadows and over mountains above...

And with great remorse I fell to my knees,
To count the joys I had so often missed,
When my thoughts turned to sorrow instead of sweet bliss.

May we always be grateful for these blessings we have...

This poem has been posted in my other blog:

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Entrapped in Darkness ♥ A Call for Aid

It's been a month since I've posted anything on this blog. To be honest, I've been struggling in the darkness of my life, occasionally finding my way into God's light, only to pulled back into the dark. And in that darkness, full of sorrow and hurt, anger and confusion, a small voice in my heart calls out to God, to come and save me.

When one..."has become a foreigner in his own house. True communion is gone. Every relationship is pervaded by darkness. To be afraid or to show disdain, to suffer submission or to enforce control, to be an oppressor or to be a victim: these have become choices for one outside the light. Sins cannot be confessed, forgiveness cannot be received, the mutuality of love cannot exist. True communion has become impossible.

...Everything loses its spontaneity. Everything becomes suspect, self-conscious, calculated, and full of second-guessing. There is no longer any trust. Each little move calls for a countermove, each little remark begs for analysis; the smallest gesture has to be evaluated. This is the pathology of darkness.

Is there a way out? I don't think there is — at least not on my side. It often seems that the more I try to disentangle myself from the darkness, the darker it becomes. I need light, but that light has to conquer my darkness, and that I cannot bring about myself. I cannot forgive myself. I cannot make myself feel loved. By myself I cannot leave my land of anger. I cannot bring myself home nor can I create communion on my own. I can desire it, hope for it, wait for it, yes, pray for it. But my true freedom I cannot fabricate for myself. That must be given to me. I am lost. I must be found and brought home by the shepherd who goes out to me."

Ref: The Return of the Prodigal Son. A Story of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Monday, 15 June 2009

Let's not wait...

In the many times when I find it hard to serve God, because I am feeling tired, I am down with sickness, I am in a bad mood, I am busy with other things....

Let this passage be a reminder for me:

2 Cor 6:1-10

As his fellow-workers, we urge you not to let your acceptance of his grace come to nothing.
As he said, 'At the time of my favour I have answered you; on the day of salvation I have helped you'; well, now is the real time of favour, now the day of salvation is here.
We avoid putting obstacles in anyone's way, so that no blame may attach to our work of service; but in everything we prove ourselves authentic servants of God; by resolute perseverance in times of hardships, difficulties and distress; when we are flogged or sent to prison or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving; in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness; in the Holy Spirit, in a love free of affectation; in the word of truth and in the power of God; by using the weapons of uprightness for attack and for defence: in times of honour or disgrace, blame or praise; taken for impostors and yet we are genuine; unknown and yet we are acknowledged; dying, and yet here we are, alive; scourged but not executed; in pain yet always full of joy; poor and yet making many people rich; having nothing, and yet owning everything.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Friday, 22 May 2009

Indulgences ♥ Do we think of them?

I was going through a prayer booklet and came across indulgences promised for praying certain prayers. 300 days indulgence for this prayer, 500 days indulgence for another prayer. And I was just thinking to myself... how often do we go through life thinking about them? Myself? Barely... once a year at most (Divine Mercy Sunday).

An indulgence (in case you need to refresh your memory like I did) is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. (Okay that was a bit gets simpler from here onwards)

All sins entail an unhealthy attachment to our souls which must be purified either here on earth or after death in a state called Purgatory. An indulgence can be either partial or plenary—it removes part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. 

While it is most important to gain the forgiveness of our sins, especially mortal sins, it is also worth paying attention to gaining indulgences—shortening our stay in Purgatory with the hope of avoiding it all together. 

So, we should all look out for these little "cheques" that the Church holds out for us to grab, and use them to pay off our time in Purgatory. We should especially look out for the big blank cheques (Plenary Indulgences) that pay off ALL the time we need to spend in purification before we meet God. So if we were to receive a plenary indulgence and die the next moment, we would go straight to heaven!

So here are a few quick "need to know"s in order to obtain these indulgences:
i) We must be in the state of sanctifying grace—no mortal sin
ii) We must have at least the general intention of wanting to gain the indulgences
- You can pray weekly, "Gracious God, I want to gain all the indulgences I can during this week and always"
iii) We carry out exactly, according to the time, place and manner prescribed, all the requirements the Church lays down for the gaining of any particular indulgence. 
- For partial indulgences, it can be as simple as reciting a certain prayer
- For plenary indulgences, there is the addition of these conditions
a) sacramental confession
b) eucharistic communion
c) prayer for the intentions of the Pope
d) attachment to sin, even venial, be absent 

A plenary indulgence may be gained, under the usual conditions for the recitation of the Rosary (5 decades are sufficient), in a church or public oratory or even in the family.

A plenary indulgence is also attached to The Way of the Cross.

It's amazing (yet so sad) how most of us go through our life missing all the "free goodies" the Church is handing out to us. Realizing this, go and tell your friends to seek to gain what is truly valuable. God Bless.

Ref: A Simple Prayer Book by the Catholic Truth Society
Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Monday, 18 May 2009

Sanctifying Grace ♥ Preserve, Recover, Grow

Sanctifying grace not only enables us to live in close union and communication with God in this life, it also prepares the soul for another gift which God will add after death. The gift of supernatural vision, the power to see God face to face, as he really is—the Light of Glory. Sanctifying grace is the prerequisite. 

If we go into eternity deprived of sanctifying grace, then we have lost God forever.

Therefore, after receiving sanctifying in Baptism, we need to:
1:  Preserve it permanently till the end
2: Recover it immediately (through the sacrament of Penance) if lost through mortal sin 
3: Seek to grow in it—the higher the degree of sanctifying grace the greater our happiness in heaven

And God has not left us without help. On our own, these 3 tasks would indeed be impossible. So God provides momentary spurts of spiritual energy with which God touches the soul, otherwise known as actual graces—interior supernatural gifts of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our own salvation. 

"(B)ut he has answered me, 'My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.' It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me; and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ's sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Sanctifying Grace ♥ Supernatural Gift

When Adam and Eve sinned, they (and their descendents a.k.a. ‘us’) became unworthy of anything beyond the ordinary natural gifts pertaining to human nature. But Jesus Christ, by his death on the cross, earned for us the grace, which Adam had so lightly tossed away. Jesus restored back to the human race the supernatural gift of sanctifying grace, which God so generously intended for humanity from the beginning. We each receive this gift sanctifying grace at Baptism.

What exactly is sanctifying grace?

It is that power that would make it possible for whoever possesses it to live in close (albeit invisible) union with God in this life. God imparted this power by the indwelling of himself in our souls. Isn’t that marvelous? This is what makes Christianity different from other religions—that God Almighty would ‘take up residence’ in our human souls.

When we are baptized, we received sanctifying grace for the first time. God (the Holy Spirit by ‘appropriation’) takes up his abode within us. By his presence he imparts to our souls that supernatural quality which makes it possible for God, in a grand and mysterious manner, to see himself in us and therefore love us. And because this supernatural gift was purchased for us by Christ, we are bound by it to Christ, we share it with Christ—and God consequently sees us as he sees his son—and we become, each of us, a child of God. 

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” John 1:12

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Monday, 11 May 2009

God's Word Alone ♥ Not Scripture Alone

When I was younger, I've had someone dear tell me that I shouldn't believe in the Sacred Heart of Jesus because it was not mentioned in the Bible. She was (and still is) a Protestant, and I believe had good intentions to 'enlighten' me. I was perhaps too young or perhaps too ignorant to do anything but keep quiet and shrug. I didn't know the answer. But I remember running to my dad for the answer the moment I got home. He calmed my panic, by gently telling me that not all of God's teachings were contained in the Bible.

Some years later, I found a more detailed explanation that affirmed my faith as a Catholic. I wish to share it with you. 

As Catholics, we believe in God's Word Alone, not in the Bible or Scripture Alone. It would be rather strange to believe in the Bible alone because nowhere is it mentioned in the Bible that we should believe in just the Bible and nothing else. On the contrary, there are many passages in the Bible that indicate clearly that Scripture is not the only source of God's Word.

John 21: 25
There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

Matthew 16: 17-19
Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

Some of our Protestant brothers and sisters reject the supremacy of the pope because the pope they say, is just a man, and is more often than not is weak and subject to sin just like anybody else. However God can do the greatest with the least and this is seen when Jesus chooses Peter to build his church on. He chooses the very Peter who often speaks without thinking and even denies Jesus three times after shortly promising to follow Jesus to the death.

But Jesus says, ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church’. He said Church, not churches. There should only be one united universal Church – the Catholic Church.

John 14: 25–26
I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church and reminds the Church of all that Jesus has said and this is remembered in the form of oral tradition preached and passed down.

1 Timothy 3: 15
If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Notice that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. It didn’t say that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of the truth. This in no way means that what’s written in the Bible is not true; the Bible after all is God’s Word. However, not all of God’s word is contained in the Bible. The Bible is not the only source for God’s word.

2 Timothy 2: 2
You have heard everything that I teach in public; hand it on to reliable people so that they in turn will be able to teach others.

It says, ‘You have heard…’ not ‘You have read’.

Titus 1:5
The reason I left you behind in Crete was for you to get everything organized there and appoint elders in every town, in the way that I told you.

Titus is asked to appoint elders not to sit down and write scripture.

If we are asked by our protestant brothers and sisters to believe in the Bible alone, can they tell us what the early Christians believed in 300 years before the 27 books of the New Testament were compiled?

And why to they accept those 27 books and others, why do they accept the decision of Catholics made at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage, if they believe that Catholics are so flawed in our beliefs and doctrines?

Luke 10: 16
‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me, reject the one who sent me.’

Take note of the word, ‘listen’. Catholics believe in the Bible as well as in oral tradition remembered and practiced by the Church. This is because not all of God’s Word is found in the Bible alone, because not all of it is written down.

Acts 8: 31
‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side.

The eunuch doesn’t understand the passage of scripture he has been reading as asks Philip for guidance. The Church helps her members to interpret scripture guided by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 10: 17
So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ

2 Thessalonians 2: 15
Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

1 Peter 1: 25
But the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.


“Sky and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Ongoing Battle ♥ Despair Vs Trust, Pride Vs Humility

It was pride that caused the fall of humanitythe same sin belonging to the fallen angels.

And it is pride again that prevents us from seeking God’s Mercy. It falsely justifies our faults, and thus blocks the path of humbling oneself to acknowledge one’s weakness and seek the help and forgiveness of God. Or it may instead cause us to consider that our sins are greater than God’s mercy and despair. Oh what folly indeedto think that anything we do (or fail to do) could be greater than the infinite God.

When a soul no longer trusts in God’s mercy, when it no longer seeks the forgiveness of God (which it needs to be reunited with God)that is despair.

Jesus told Sister Benigna Consolata in Italy (1903): “The Devil causes the greatest harm to souls when, after he has plunged them into sin, he inspires them to mistrust Me. So long as a soul has confidence, the way is open; but if the wicked enemy succeeds in closing the heart against Me, oh, what effort it costs Me to win that soul again. It is certain that a hundred sins offend Me more than one; But IF THAT ONE SIN IS A SIN OF MISTRUST, IT WOUNDS MY HEART MORE THAN THE OTHER HUNDRED. Mistrust wounds My heart to the quick, for I love mankind so dearly!”

Just imagine how we would feel, if we found out that a person whom we greatly loved believed in the lie that we didn’t love him/her. How hurt we would feel…

It (the pain) would be so much more amplified for Jesus who once told Sister Josepha Menendez (Died 1923), “I want to forgive. I am Love and Mercy. For love of souls, I instituted the Sacrament of Penance that I might forgive them, not once or twice, but as often as they need to recover grace. There I wait for them, longing to wash away their sins, not in water, but in My Blood.”

And on another occasion, “I love those who after the first fall, come to Me for pardon. I love them still more when they beg for pardon for their second sin, And should this happen again, I do not say a million times, BUT A MILLION MILLION TIMES I STILL LOVE THEM AND PARDON THEM, and I will wash in My Blood their last as fully as their first sin.”

Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger and rich in faithful love… As tenderly as a father treats his children, so Yahweh treats those who fear him; he knows of what we are made, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalms 103: 8;13-14

It is not enough to believe in God. We must believe in God’s love and rely on God’s Inexhaustible Mercy. He is not just our God, but he is also our loving Father.

To learn about the Divine Mercy Devotion Click Here 

Ref: 'I Will Forgive A Million Million Times If Necessary' by Stephen Oraze, R.I.P.

I Forget ♥ But He Remembers

One of my constant and regrettable faults is that every time I fall into sin, I turn my mind away from God, consciously avoiding all thoughts about him… just like the child who avoids looking into his or her parents’ eyes after having done something wrongafraid to see the angry look upon their faces. If I only knew/remembered at that moment after the fall, that what I would have seen (if I didn’t turn my face away) were not the angry judgmental eyes of a punishing God but the sad gentle loving eyes of the merciful God.  But since I was looking the other way, I didn’t, and so left his presence. I didn’t open my heart to his gentle call to come back. And so I delved deeper into darkness. Feeling sad, miserable, and rotten all around, I made everyone else around me suffer, sinking deeper and deeper and deeper…

The farther and farther away one is from God, the harder and harder it gets to go back to him. The senses become confused and muddled, and it’s ever so easy to get lost. I get lost a lot. But God has blessed me with friends and family who keep praying for me.  And so God comes to me in those dark nights, as gentle as the soft breeze blowing, and offers me his hand. Then I see the soft eyes that I should have seen earlier. All I have to do is say sorry, and he will forgive me. I do, and he does. If only I had remembered his mercy…I would have been saved from so much misery. This life is filled with too many “If only-s”. Thankfully though, God’s in charge.

“As a shepherd looks after his flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so shall I look after my sheep. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered on the day of clouds and darkness… I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the injured and make the sick strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.” Ezekial 34: 12; 16

God is a God of Mercy.  More on this subject soon. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Our Fall ♥ His Mercy

The gifts of intelligence and the freedom of will, to accompany the marvelously designed human body, these were the things to which human beings were entitled to, by their very nature. But that was not enough for God. He wanted to give more. He also bestowed on Adam and Eve the preternatural (beyond normal) gifts of freedom from suffering and death, great wisdom, and perfect self-control. But the most precious gift was the supernatural gift of sanctifying grace, the bond of intimate union with God.  

These gifts were to be passed on by Adam to his descendants...

But the one thing that was required of Adam in order to secure these gifts was that he must freely out of his own will, give his love irrevocably to God. This was the purpose of man's creation: to give glory to God by their love for him, and in that love find eternal happiness

But Adam and Eve rejected God. And so the preternatural and supernatural gifts were lost. All that remained were the gifts that man were entitled to by their human nature. The sin committed was not Adam's alone. Because all of us were present, potentially, in our common father Adam, all of us were affected when he sinned. 'Because our human nature fell from grace in its very origin, we say that we are born 'in the state of original sin'.'  The stain of original sin is not something 'on' or 'in' the soul. Original sin like sin is a no-thing. And so it is something that is absent from the soul. A state where we are depraved from sanctifying grace...the ability to be in union with God. 

People often ask, "Why must I suffer for something that I didn't do? It was Adam's sin, not mine. I wasn't even there!" And then they might further add, "God's not fair!"

The gifts lost to us were not the ones that we were entitled to by reason of our human nature. Those were the 'extras' that would have been ours if Adam had obeyed God. It wouldn't be right to blame God. 

If, long before, lets say a man named Bob, was born, some wealthy man had offered Bob's dad a huge huge sum of money for a small job, and Bob's dad turned it down. Bob can't blame the wealthy man because he is poor. It was his father's fault. Not the rich man's. 

But even though we lost all the preternatural gifts, God in his infinite mercy did restore to mankind the most important gift-sanctifying grace. Jesus Christ's death on the cross has restored that gift to us which we receive through baptism. And we should all be thankful for that. I know I am. 

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Help ♥ Who Better Than a Mother

Hail Mary
Full of Grace
The Lord is with you
Blessed are you amongst women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus

Holy Mary
Mother of God
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death

For each Hail Mary that is prayed, a beautiful rose, a shining jewel, is offered up to Mary. Not only is she the Mother of God, but our mother. Our Mother who loves us more than our own earthly mothers. And when in times of sorrow and difficulty, who better to seek help from; to seek comfort from, than the one whom Jesus would not deny anything. So close is her heart to the heart of her son Jesus. And when we lay beautiful roses and precious jewels that never fade at her feet, how much more her heart will open up to the cries of her little children. 

I praise and thank the Lord Jesus Christ, for giving me his very own mother. My comfort, and my help along the journey of life.

Discovering God ♥ All-Powerful All-Wise

God has infinite power. He can do or make anything. He is almighty.

If someone asks, "Can he draw a square circle?" The answer is no because a square circle is not a something, it is a no-thing. It is a contradiction in terms. 

"Can God sin?" No. Like the square circle, sin is also a no-thing—a failure to obey God. God can do anything, but he does not do no-things. 

And just as he is Almighty, God is all-wise. Wisdom itself.  

He made all things, and planned everything out from the beginning. So who am I to question why he does the things he does, or allows the things he does?

And since God can do anything, and is wise enough to use that power, I can trust him. Something I need to keep reminding myself over and over again. 

I'll end this post with the lyrics of one of my favorite songs:

Better Than I
(from Joseph King of Dreams)

I thought I did what's right
I thought I had the answers
I thought I chose the surest road
But that road brought me here
So I put up a fight
And told you how to help me
Now just when I have given up
The truth is coming clear

Chorus 1:
You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For You know better than I

If this has been a test
I cannot see the reason
But maybe knowing
I don't know is part of getting through
I tried to do what's best
But faith has made it easy
To see the best thing i can do
Is to put my trust in You.

Chorus 2
For, You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For You know better than I

I saw one cloud and thought it was a sky
I saw a bird and thought that I could follow
But it was You who taught that bird to fly
If I let You reach me
Will You teach me.
(Repeat Chorus )

For, You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
I'll take what answers you supply
You know better than I

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Discovering God ♥ Goodness Itself

Everything has its beginnings in God. All that is wise comes from God, all that is good comes from God. And so, for the sake of accuracy, we should not say, 'God is wise', but rather, 'God is Wisdom. Not 'God is Good', but 'God is Goodness'.

And because God is infinite, meaning limitless, there is no end to his perfections.

Some people might ask, "If God is so good, why does he allow so much sadness, so much suffering, and so much evil in the world?"

But one must remember that evil entered the world as a consequence of man's sin. It entered when Adam and Eve chose to know evil, by eating from the tree of knowledge. It was a choice, made possible by the gift of free will. And having given humanity this, 'God does not keep constantly stepping in to snatch back his gift of freedom'. 

And because of poor choices made by some, the innocent and good have to suffer. Even Jesus, the dearly beloved son of God, the sinless one, had to suffer and die. He who is more innocent than any of us... 

Although suffering is painful, it should not always be a thing to be scorned. Our sufferings offered up become beautiful and sweet smelling gifts that atone for the wrongs of our brothers and sisters while comforting the wounded hearts of Jesus and his Mother. It also brings us closer to God. So even bad things, can be turned to good if the heart is willing. Goodness himself allows it. 

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Discovering God ♥ A Beautiful Picture

If eternal happiness is to be in a perfect union with God—to be at one with him, it is only logical to want to know more about this person that we will forever united with in eternity. And who else has planted in our hearts the desire to know God, than the Lord himself.

How often do we think of the Lord as a romantic?

And yet he is the lover who lovingly leads his beloved on a journey of discovery where he reveals himself to her slowly but surely. And with every new insight he leaves behind, she will only fall more and more in love with him because she has found one more piece of the magnificent and beautiful picture of God. And while that 'picture' will be only truly be made whole in heaven, the more pieces she discovers, the clearer her vision of her lover will become. And she will yearn for him. 

It is that desire and love that will blossom into full realization when she is finally united with her lover in eternity. Hence, eternal happiness. 

God could of course reveal himself to us in one instant, and save us the trouble of trying to learn about him, along with the great risk that we never do... but that would take away all the anticipation, excitement and romance. 

And God is infinitely romantic.

"Let us love, then, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Monday, 4 May 2009

More Love ♥ More Happiness

A reason to know, love, and serve God more... with the help of his grace of course.

The more we do for God here, the greater will our happiness be in heaven. Now while everyone will be perfectly happy in heaven, some will have a greater capacity for happiness than others.

A quart bottle and a pint bottle may both be full, but the quart bottle will hold more water than the other. Two people may gaze upon Raphael's 'Marriage of the Virgin' and both be delighted at the artwork. However, the one who knows more about paintings would be able to appreciate it more. 

∴ More love, more happiness...

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

The Basics ♥ Reaching Eternal Happiness

If you agree that man and woman were created by God, and are not just some biological accident occurring in the process of purposeless evolution, the next question to ask is why did God create humans?

God created man and woman out of love so that he could make them eternally happy. It then follows to ask the question: What is eternal happiness?

Eternal happiness is the possession of the greatest Love that exists, and to be possessed by it; to be in union with it. And that Love is nothing but the infinitely perfect God, our creator. Eternal happiness is not reached here on earth but only in heaven. 

So what am I doing here on earth?

Earth is where I begin my journey of life; a life that continues on into eternity. It's where I grow, learn, and discover things. And it is here on this earth that the necessary foundation for the happiness of heaven is laid. The foundation is laid by learning all I can about God (for I can't love what I don't know), loving him, and proving my love for him

This foundation is a must if eternal happiness is to be achieved. Because if there is no beginning of love in my heart for God here on earth, then there can be no realization of that love in eternity. If after a long time away, I'd be going home to someone I love dearly, then finally home and united with that loved one, I'd be so happy. But if I went home and met someone I did not know or did not love, what happiness would there be? 

The happiness of heaven is the final and complete possession of the God we have desired and loved weakly at a distance. And if it is to be our destiny—to be eternally united with God in love—then it follows that we must begin to love God here in this life

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese

Love Story ♥ Short and Sweet

Once upon a time...

God decided to show forth his goodness. And so he created man and woman so that he could share his everlasting happiness with them; to give them infinite bliss. 

Amongst the other gifts he bestowed on them, he gave them free will. He wanted them to love him on their own accord... for true love is never forced. This love was to be proved by their obedience... but they rejected God by disobeying him; they made an insult onto the infinite God. Thus eternal happiness was forever denied to them, they would forever be separated from Love, which is God himself.  

God in his infinite love and mercy could not bear that it be so. But the only way man and woman could be saved from their fate was if adequate reparation was made to his justice. 

The problem was that since God is infinite, that made the insult given by humanity infinite, and hence the reparation that needed to be made had to be infinite in order to be adequate. Justice also required that the debt to be repaid was made by man. But man, by his nature is finite and thus incapable of making infinite reparation. 

And so God the Father, sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, who is infinite, to become man, and as man, offer infinite reparation to God by dying on the cross. And so Jesus did. All this, so that humanity would once again be united in friendship with God.  

But that's not the end of the story...

The gift of free will still remains. It is the gift of choice. It is the gift that allows us, if we so choose, to love God and prove our love by obedience. 

Ref: The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese