Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Finest Moment

The world considers that our finest moment is when we are rich, famous or powerful. We consider our life’s highlight is when we shall be on a thrown and wearing a crown. And not when we are hanging on cross with thorns around our head.

When we hear in the phrases, “This is my time. This is my moment. This is my hour.” we often think of something glorious… in a worldly way. Movies often picture this by some kind of a victory, a winning basketball shot on the buzzer, a long football pass that leads to a touchdown as the clock runs out, etc…

But Jesus’ “hour” was different. Throughout the Gospel, we hear about the “Hour” of Jesus. Unlike in the ads and the movies, Jesus’ moment, His “hour” was anything but glorious by worldly standards. His hour was when He was lifted up in the cross. And it did not look magnificent in the eyes of those who were there. They actually considered it as a defeat, even his disciples did. But it was Christ’s finest moment, for though His crucifixion He paid the price of our salvation. In his disfigured bloody body, He defeated sin and Satan. And there was nothing pretty about it.

A soldier's finest moment is not when he receives a medal of honor. But it is when he is in the battle field. Where he has to overcome his fears amidst flying bullets. He is at his best when he practices courage and self-sacrifice amidst life threatening situations. And one thing he is not at that moment, happy. Emotional happiness comes after he survives all of it. But until then, he just tries to be brave, hang in there and keep going. Only in the battlefield can a soldier know how much courage and self-sacrifice he really has. No soldier gets a medal of valor sitting around the camp.

Our finest moments maybe our worst moments. When everything is falling apart and we still choose to be faithful to God. When we are filled with pain and suffering and yet continue to choose to love others. Our finest moment might not actually feel emotionally good. It is in these “hours of darkness” that God gives us the opportunity to practice a deeper level of faith and love.

Stars shines in the darkness. We shall never know how much we shall shine until we are thrown in the dark. In the darkness, God gives us not only the opportunity to shine, but He gives us the light as well, Himself.

So in joy or sorrow, in sickness or in health, in wealth or poverty let us love God and our neighbor. And every moment will be our finest moment.

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Monday, November 21, 2011


I.Conformity to the Will of God.
For the attainment of perfect conformity to the will of God.

1st. At the beginning of each day, and of meditation, Mass, and Communion, declare to God that you desire to belong to Him entirely, and that you will devote yourself wholly to acquiring the spirit of prayer and of the interior life.

2nd. Make it your chief study to conform yourself to the will of God even in the smallest things, saying in the midst of the most annoying contradictions and with the most alarming prospects for the future: “My God, I desire with all my heart to do Your holy will, I submit in all things and absolutely to Your good pleasure for time and eternity; and I wish to do this, Oh my God, for two reasons; first: because You are my Sovereign Lord and it is but just that Your will should be accomplished; secondly: because I am convinced by faith, and by experience that Your will is in all things as good and beneficent as it is just and adorable, while my own desires are always blind and corrupt; blind, because I know not what I ought to desire or to avoid; corrupt, because I nearly always long for what would do me harm. Therefore, from henceforth, I renounce my own will to follow Yours in all things; dispose of me, Oh my God, according to Your good will and pleasure.”

3rd. This continual practice of submission will preserve that interior peace which is the foundation of the spiritual life, and will prevent you from worrying about your faults and failings. You will put up with them instead, with a humble and quiet submission which is more likely to cure them than an uneasy distress, only calculated to weaken and discourage you.

4th. Think no more about the past but only of the present and future. Do not trouble about your confessions, but accuse yourself simply of those faults you can remember after seven or eight minutes examen. It is a good thing to add to the accusation a more serious sin of your past life. This will cause you to make a more fervent act of contrition and dispose you to receive more abundantly the grace of the Sacrament. You should not make too many efforts to get rid of the obstacles which make frequent confession disagreeable to you.

5th. To escape the distress caused by regret for the past or fear about the future, this is the rule to follow: leave the past to the infinite mercy of God, the future to His good Providence, give the present wholly to His love by being faithful to His grace.

6th. When God in His goodness sends you some disappointment, one of those trials that used to annoy you so much; before all thank Him for it as for a great favour all the more useful for the great work of your perfection in that it completely overturns the work of the moment.

7th. Try, in spite of interior dislike, to show a kind face to troublesome people, or to those who come to chatter about their troubles; leave at once prayer, reading, choir office, in fact anything, to go where Providence calls you; and do what is asked of you quietly, peacefully, without hurry, and without vexation.

8th. Should you fail in any of these points, make immediately an act of interior humility—not that sort of humility full of uneasiness and irritation against which St. Francis of Sales said so much, but a humility that is gentle, peaceful, and sweet. This is a matter essential for overcoming your self-will, and to prevent you becoming a slave to your exterior or interior devotion.

9th. We must understand that we can never acquire true conformity to the will of God until we are perfectly resolved to serve Him according to His will and pleasure and not to please ourselves. In everything look to God, and you will find Him everywhere, but more especially where you have most completely renounced yourself. When you are thoroughly convinced that of yourself you are
incapable of doing any good, you will give up making resolutions but will humbly confess to God: “My God, I acknowledge after many trials that all my resolutions are useless. Doubtless I have hitherto depended too much on myself, but You have abased me. You alone can do all things; make me then, do such and such a thing, and give me, when necessary, the recollection, energy and strength of will that I require. Without this, I know from my former sad experiences, I shall never
do anything.”

10th. To this humble prayer add the practice of begging pardon at once or as soon as possible of all those who witnessed any of your little impetuosities or outbursts of temper. It is most important for you to practise these counsels for two reasons: first, because God desires to do everything in you Himself; secondly, on account of a secret presumption, which, even in the midst of so many miseries, prevents you referring everything to God, until you have experienced a thousand times how absolutely incapable you are of performing any good. When you become thoroughly convinced of this truth you will exclaim almost without reflexion, when you act rightly, “Oh my God it is You who do this in me by your grace.” And when You do wrong: “This is just like me! I see myself as I am.” Then will God be glorified in all your actions, because He will be proved to be the sole author of all that is good. This is your path; all the misery and humiliation you must take on yourself, and render to God the glory and thanks that are His due. All the glory to Him, but all the profit to you. You would be very foolish not to accept with gratitude a share so just and so advantageous.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul (Free PDF)

A sequel and continuation of Ascent of Mount Carmel, the Dark Night of the Soul is a spiritually moving and mystical book. In it, St. John of the Cross continues his description of the soul's journey--the "dark night"--to the "divine union of the love of God." A poet at heart, St. John describes the journey and the union with beautifully rich and deeply symbolic language. However, St. John does not simply describe the journey; he seems at times to be offering encouragement and comfort directly to readers as they too struggle with the excruciating dark night. Offering hope to the downtrodden and discouraged, the Dark Night of the Soul is one of the most difficult books a person can read, but its difficulty is surpassed by its reward. One of the most profound works of Christian mysticism, this book is highly recommended for those seeking union with God.

Click here to download Dark Night of the Soul (Free PDF)

Practice of the Presence of God (Free PDF)

Brother Lawrence is one of the most admired and imitated sons of the Catholic church. He worked for a time as a soldier before entering the Discalced Carmelite Prior in Paris. Lawrence was uneducated, and so had to enter the monastery as a layman. He worked in the kitchens and as a cobbler there for the remainder of his life. Lawrence is known for his devotion and ability to bring God into every aspect of his life. His classic Christian work, Practice of the Presence of God, details how to gain that constant and comforting connection to God. Readers have treasured this short and easy book for centuries because of Lawrence's honest advice and his obvious passion for spiritual matters. He rejoiced in everyday tasks, prayed constantly, and was known around the monastery for his kindness and willingness to help others. Practice of the Presence of God is a creative Christian work that is required reading according to many believers. Readers will come away with great peace and joy, and a better understanding of what it means to constantly be in God's presence.

Click here to download Practice of the Presence of God (Free PDF)

Abandonment to Divine Providence (Free PDF).

The “Treatise” comprises two different aspects of Abandonment to Divine Providence; one as a virtue, common and necessary to all Christians, the other as a state, proper to souls who have made a special practice of abandonment to the holy will of God.

Click here to download Abandonment to Divine Providence (Free PDF).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Is God’s Justice All About Punishment?

God’s justice is a scary thing for many. When we think about Divine Justice, we typically think of punishment. But is there more to Divine Justice than “getting it”?

The word "justice" comes from the Latin word jus, which means "right". So we can say that justice is giving God and our neighbor their right, their due. Man is due to give God and his neighbor his love. And God has dued us to be with Him in heaven.

I also like to think that Divine Justice is God’s desire to set things right. To make us right, perfect and holy.

But man can accept justices in two ways.

Let us take a drug addict as an example. His addiction has ruined his life. The “just” thing to do, the right thing to do is get him rehabilitated. For an addict, he can take the rehabilitation as an aid or as a punishment. It is the same rehabilitation but how an addict sees it can differ.

If the addict loves his drugs more than himself, more than life itself, rehabilitation is a punishment because he will but cut off from his drugs. To him, the drugs is his life. To cut him from it, is to cut his life. So to him, rehabilitaion is painful. And chances are, he will reject it.

But if an addict really want to be well again, he welcomes the rehabilitation even if it would be a painful process. He knows that the rehabilitation will bring him back to a healthy and happy human being.

I believeDivine Justice is the same thing. Divine Justice wants to give us what is right by setting us right. Divine Justice wants to give us our due, which is Eternal Life.

Divine Justice may cause pain, like a misaligned bone being set right. The alignment process may be painful, but it is all done that we may be fully functioning. Sin has misaligned not only our bodies but our souls. And for God to leave us as we are is neither just nor merciful.

God’s justice and mercy cannot contradict each other for there is no contradiction in God. His Justice and Mercy are both faces of His Love. Both desire that we be with Him in all eternity.

We should never fear God’s Justice for it is good for us. Everything that comes from God is good and loving. Only those who loves evil find God’s goodness appalling, threathening and painful.

For those who love God, His Justices is merciful.

For those who loves evil, His Justice is punishment.

Whice are you?

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Monday, November 7, 2011

Realizing the Best Version of You

The seed of greatness is planted in our hearts. Everybody wants to be their best. The problem is that most of us have given up on it. We have accepted mediocrity.

Many have tried bringing out the best in them. They have tried putting letters after their name (Phd, C.E.O., etc…). Some tried power, fame and fashion. But all these superficialities have not brought out the best in them. They might be powerful, famous or rich, but they are not really the best model of humanity.

So how do we bring out the best in us?

Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2: 7-11)

When the water in the jars encountered Jesus, it became a new creation. The bland water (used for washing of feet) became the best of wine. Until Jesus came, the “good wine” was kept. Until Jesus came, everyone was satisfied with mediocrity.
When the Spirit of God hovered over the water, it blushed! It blushed so much that it turned red, red as wine. Every time we let the Spirit of God hover us miracles happen. Like when He overshadowed the Virgin Mary. Every time a new creation is made, the Spirit is there.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Gen 1:2)

Only in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit can we be a new creation. God’s best creation.

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Cor 5:17 )

Until you encountered Christ, the best of you is still kept. Until you let the Holy Spirit breathe life in you, you will be bland as the water in the jars.

So how do we encounter Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

You can encounter them in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together with the Father.

Let Jesus bring out the best of you.

He really wants to.

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What is God’s Will for Me?

Many wonder what is God’s Will to one’s life is. Some take it lightly, some take it seriously and others take it frustratingly. Discerning God’s specific Will for us is not as easy as we like it to be. It takes time and a lot of prayer. Often there is a preparation stage before we find it.

So what about for those who are still in search of it? What are we suppose to do now?

We do God’s Will.

Many of us get fussed up or stuck finding the specific Will of God for our lives that we forget to do his general Will. The Will He revealed in the Scriptures and the Church. The will He revealed in Jesus. And that Will is to love God with all our being and our neighbor.

Before we get hung up finding God’s specific will in our lives, we must first strengthen our foundation. There is no use finding that God called you to be husband and a father when you are going to end up being a bad one. Before you become a good husband and father, you must first be a good Christian. Being a good Christian is the foundation of our vocation. Our relationship with God is the foundation for our relationship to others and to the world.

Until we are able to fulfill God’s general Will for us, finding our specific vocation will be very hard. In the heart of our vocation is the love of God and neighbor. The more we love the more we become like God, the more we think like Him. The more we think like Him, the more we shall understand what He wants of us.

We must put on the mind of Christ.

One of the famous quotes of St Augustine, which is also the most misinterpreted, is “Love and do what you will.” What St. Augustine is saying is that once we live in (Biblical) love, our will and God’s Will will be in harmony. And whatever we do would be part of His will since now we are sharing the same will.

So instead of getting frustrated of not knowing what God’s specific plan in your life, do the basics. His basic will. The “Will” you will find in the Bible and in the Church.

Repent. Pray. Go to Mass. Preach the Word of God. Feed the hungry. Comfort the afflicted.

Once we are good in the basics, we are now ready for the next stage.

Once our foundation is strong, then God can start building up our lives.

At the end of the day, no matter what your vocation is. It is always certain that God’s will is to

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And Love your neighbor as yourself.” - Matthew 22:38-39

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We Are More than Social Workers, We Are Catholics

“We are not social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of some people, but we must be contemplatives in the heart of the world.” This is what Mother Teresa keeps reminding the world who she and her sisters was.

Don’t get me wrong, social workers do a lot of good in the world. And God bless them. But as Catholics, we are called beyond social work. Salvation of souls comes first before “social justice” for us Christians. To reverse the priority is to fail to do both. What use is it to save the body when the soul is going to be damned in the end?

“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?” Mark 8:36

Sadly, there are a lot of Catholics that have set the Gospel aside and made “social justice” their new gospel. The more they divorce their “social justice” from the Gospel, the less and less it becomes social and just. In the end, the end justifies the means. They say that to be socially just, let us cut down the population of the world so there would “supposedly” be more resources for all (meaning them). If killing the unborn would meet that end, then that is the socially just thing to do. Another way is to pump contraception to the poor. It might be harmful for their health and mostly their soul, but who cares! It is for the good of society. It is just. Right?

When Catholics stop being Christians and just social workers, the world will be doomed and damned. Christ came to liberate us from sin first, liberation from poverty just a consequence of that. Poverty will never be remedied by some economic program… as long as sinners are running the program. Poverty will be eradicated when we start loving each other. And the will only happen when we convert our hearts to Christ.

Jesus Himself denied this temptation of to be just a social reformer.

The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" - (Mat 4:3-4)

From Bishop Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ

Our Lord was not denying that men must be fed, or that social justice much be preached; but He was asserting that these things are not first. He was, in effect, saying to Satan, “You tempt Me to a religion which would relieve want; You want me to be a baker, instead of a Savior; to be a social reformer, instead of a Redeemer. You are tempting Me away from My Cross, suggesting that I be a cheap leader of people, filling their bellies instead of their souls. You would have me begin with security instead of ending with it; you would have Me bring outer abundance instead of inner holiness. You and your materialist followers say, ‘Man lives by bread alone,’ but I say to you, “not by bread alone.’ Bread there must be, but remember even bread gets all its power to nourish mankind from Me. Bread without me can harm man; and there is no real security apart from the Word of God. If I give bread alone, then man is no more than an animal, and dogs might as well come first to My banquet. Those who believe in Me must hold to that faith, even when they are starved and weak; even when they are imprisoned and scourged.

Written by Daxx Bondoc