Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Way of Seeing Everything: A Gift from God

By Peter Kreeft

This way of looking at things, as gifts and signs rather than simply as things in themselves, is not our usual way of seeing. Try this new way for just one hour and see the difference it makes. See the sunrise not as mindless, mechanical necessity bit as God’s smile. See a wave not just as tons of cold salt and water crashing down on the shore but as God’s playful action. See even death as not just a biological necessity but as God’s tucking us in our bedtime so that we can rise to new life in the morning

This is not a trick we play on ourselves or a fantasy. This is what the world really is. It is just as true to say that every snowflake is a gift of God as it is true to say that every cent is a father’s inheritance is a gift to his children. It is just true to say that every leaf on every tree is a work of art made by the Divine Artist with the intention that we see it, know it, love it, and rejoice in it, as it is true to say that every word in a lover’s letter to his beloved is meant to be seen, known, loved, and enjoyed. This is not fantasy. What is fantasy is the horrible habit the modern world has gotten itself into, the habit of thinking that what the world really is is only atoms and chance, only what the senses and science reveal and everything else is mere subjective fancy.

(Excerpt from “The God Who Loves You”)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Eucharist: Heaven Kisses Earth

What the Church and the Saints say about the Eucharist

Music by Matt Maher, "The End and the Beginning"

Created by Daxx Bondoc

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is God Just Your Spare Tire?

Do you treat God like a spare tire? Do you only remember and bring Him out when you get flat on your face or hit flat broke?

Sadly, most of us are guilty of it.

Maybe the world has no direction and is lost because we put the One Person Who should be in the driver’s seat locked up at the back of the trunk. And the blind have taken over and causing havoc all over the place. The world is full of blind drivers pretending to know where they are going and taking other blind people along the ride. No wonder the world is messed up.

The last thing you want to be driving your life is a blind sinner (that is us by the way).  Our sins and selfishness are like cataracts in our eyes. Sinners are short-sighted, the length of their vision is only as far as themselves. It is hard to know where you are going when you only see yourself all the time.

I guess that is why God permits us to get flat… on our face or broke.  When you are speeding yourself towards a cliff, a flat tire is a life saver. Maybe God permits crisis to save your life from falling into eternal damnation.

We sinners have a tendency to focus on getting what we want that we don’t see anything else other than the object of our desire. We don’t see the dangers along the way and most of all the dangers after gaining it. You have been running towards the top obsessively that you did not see that there are no more steps under your feet. You crash down and find yourself broken.

God sometimes sends obstacles along the way to stop us on our deadly track. He stops us so we can take a breath and think which way we are going. Are we going our way, or are we going The Way. The Way that is Jesus.
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." – CS Lewis
God knows that there is only “One Way” for us to have “The Life”. That Way and Life is Himself. He alone can drive us towards Himself. He alone can give joy to our lives, in this one and on the next.
"Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen
God is not your spare tire, He is the car that will carry you to Eternal Bliss. He is also the Driver to get you there. But He is also the Way and the map (Jesus’ life is our guide to salvation). We are all just willing passengers. We follow whatever He tells us.

God is not our spare tire, nor do we want to be spared of Him.

He alone knows where each and one of us is going.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Write Your Love On My Heart (Matt Maher)

"Write Your Love On My Heart"

I'm waiting for a miracle
I'm waiting for a star to fall
I'm bankrupt and worn out
I need to know You're here now

When I've got nothing left to say
And I don't know how to pray
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
When I struggle just to feel
And I wonder if You're real
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Take this condemnation
And all of my frustration
Lift me out of the mud
Come and fill an empty cup

When I've got nothing left to say
And I don't know how to pray
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
When I struggle just to feel
And I wonder if You're real
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Cause Your love opens eyes to see
Your love breaks through walls that surround me
Your love cries out from the deep to save me

When I've got nothing left to say
And I don't know how to pray
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
When I struggle just to feel
And I wonder if You're real
Would You
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart
Write Your love on my heart

Quotes: Peter Kreeft

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quotes: Bishop Fulton Sheen

Unless You are Born Again in Water and Spirit…

You seldom hear Catholics use the word “born again”. Maybe because the word “born again” is often linked to Protestants. But “born again” or “being born again” is a Catholic word.


Because Jesus it came from Jesus.
“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5

And Jesus is the founder of the Catholic Church.

All of us Catholics became “born again” Christians when we received the Sacrament of Baptism. In Baptism, the sons and daughters of Adam dies, and are born again in water and Spirit as the sons and daughters of the God the Father. Baptism radically changes us. “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. (1272 of the Catechism)”

Of Water and Spirit

At the dawn of creation, water with the Spirit was the Father’s instrument of creation. 
“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
The Church has seen in Noah's ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it "a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.

The waters of the great flood
you made a sign of the waters of Baptism,
that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness. (1219 of CCC)

But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism.

You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh,
bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea,
to be an image of the people set free in Baptism. (1221 of CCC)

Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham's descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.  (1222 of CCC)

Salvation is a Free Gift

Catholics believes that Salvation and the incorporation to the Family of God is a “free gift” and cannot be earned. That is the reason, Catholics baptize infants. Since we can never earn salvation, why delay it?

We baptized Catholics must constantly remind ourselves of who we are. We are a new creation. We are children of the Father. Our very being was “marked” by God. And that “indelible mark” says we belong to Him.
But like any gift, salvation can be rejected. We can ignore the “mark” that is in us. We can be children who abandon their Father.

So if you are a baptized Catholic Christian, act like one.
If someone asks you (a Catholic) if you are a “born again Christian”, say, “Yes! We Catholics are the original born again Christians.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

If You are Looking for a Savior, All You Have to Do is Turnaround

Most of us suffer some kind of addiction, some substance, some emotional, and others psychological. You might not be addicted to drugs, but you might be addicted in another person’s arms. You might not be addicted to people, but you might be addicted to their praise. And you might not be addicted to pleasing people, but you might be addicted in pleasing yourself and getting what you want. Even Christians have the tendency go get addicted to the work of the Lord and not the “Lord of the Work”.

We humans always have the tendency to elevate a lot of things above God. We turn our backs at Him and walk towards what is less, thinking less would bring us more joy. A faulty logic we often buy.

When we turn our back to God, we turn our back to the Light. And what lies before us then is a dark shadow.  A shadow of the real life.

Repentance means a sincere turning away, in both the mind and heart, from self to God.

In a biblical context, repentance is recognizing that our sin is offensive to God. Repentance can be shallow, such as the remorse we feel because of fear of punishment (like Cain) or it can be deep, such as realizing how much our sins cost Jesus Christ and how his saving grace washes us clean (like the conversion of Paul).

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." was Jesus’ first sermon. In order to receive God’s grace and salvation, we must first realize that we are in need of it. Before God can lift us up, we must first realize we have fallen. Before the Healer can heal us, we must first admit we are sick. Before the Savior can set us free, we must first see that we are captives (to sin).

Repentance is not just a onetime event. Repentance is a daily action. For everyday, we have a tendency to put other things before God, which directly goes against the Commandment Jesus gave, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”

If you feel that all you see is darkness before you. Or your life is just a shadow of what it can really be. Maybe you are going in the wrong direction… away from the light… away from the life.

If your addictions are not bringing you joy in life…

Maybe you need to turn around.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." Acts 3:19

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What You Freely Receive, Freely Give

One way to see how deep our relationship to God is the fruits of our lives. Only a healthy plant can produce good fruits. Only a soul filled with love and grace can be fruitful.

Our relationship with God must not get stagnant in a “Give Me” state. Even though God told us to pray for our daily bread, He also commands us to proclaim the Gospel for the salvation of souls, in short, we are all called to mission.

We cannot get stuck as receivers in our relationship with God. We cannot get stuck doing whatever we are doing for God so we can feel good, that tends to be more of a self-service than actual service, self-love than self-giving love.

Real love goes out and give. After it receives, it gives it away. Real love does not accumulate but disseminate.

So ask yourself a question. Is your relationship with God is based on making yourself feel good? Or is it out of concern for others and the desire to love of God?

Is your relationship with God just lip service?
“If we cannot love the person whom we see, who can we love God, whom we cannot see?” – Mother Teresa

If are truly love God, we want to share in His mission. It is a compulsion that comes from a heart that is in love.
“Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” -  1 Corinthians 9:16

The Father asks us to pray, but He also commands us to work in the vineyard. Both are required to have a full relationship with God. And you don’t have to go far away to be missionaries. You can work on your own vineyard, your family. You can pray and offer sacrifices for those people who has no one to pray for them. You can use the internet to evangelize, that is not that hard. You can preach the Gospel in your own little way. Going to mission only means going out of yourself, your self-absorption, your own ego, to serve others.

If we have truly experienced God’s love, then we want to share it. It is that simple.
"The term 'laity' is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World." (#897 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prayer: It’s Not About Changing God’s Mind, But Ours

Praying to God is not like going to the ATM machine. Punch in the right numbers and “Caching!” Cash out!

Asking things from God in “Jesus Name” do not make what you are asking for magically appears. If you think that just dropping the Name Jesus you will get what you want, regardless if it is good for you or not, you are not praying, you are wishing on a genie. The Name of Jesus is not a magic spell you can use because you cannot use God.

If your daily prayers are filled with self affirmations how great you are to the point you are even telling God who great you are, that is not a prayer… that is a monologue.

Prayer is a conversation between 2 persons in a relationship. A relationship between the Almighty and the creature. The one Who knows more do the talking and the one who knows less do the listening. The One Who knows better lead and the other follows. A child does not tell his Father what to do. The child obeys his Father.

Prayer can be summarize in this simple sentence, “Not my will, but Your (God’s) will be done.”

And what is that “will?”

Love God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself.

Our prayer must come from an unselfish heart. Our petitions must be first for others and even those for ourselves must give glory to God. Why do we pray for daily bread? So we can be alive and give glory to God. Our prayer should always boomerang back to God.

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy
"Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."
But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart?
He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer,
Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer.
"Man is a beggar before God."
(#2558-255 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Pruning of Pride

Today, society views pride as a virtue and not as what it really is… sin. Pride has become a sign of a person’s confidence and not of a soul’s weakness.

The Catholic Church has always and continues to teach that pride is one of the “seven capital sins.” Pride is the mother of all sin. It is the sin of sins. It was Lucifer’s pride that said to God, “Non serviam” (I will not serve). It was the pride of Adam and Eve of wanting to be gods themselves that (original) sin came to this world. Pride is hell’s favorite sin, for it was the pride of the fallen angels that created it.

In His love for us, the Father prunes our pride. For pride is a block to His grace. And the more we block His  grace, the less we become alive. Sooner or later, our soul will dry up.

A healthy plant is watered plant. A healthy soul is a soul filled with grace.

So the Father permits trials, crisis and pain to prune our pride. When our arrogant self-reliance is broken and we find ourselves eating dirt, we come to realize how weak we really are, and in desperate need of God’s help. Until we are helpless, we shall not cry out for help. Until we are brought down to our knees, we shall not bend them.

It is when we hit rock bottom that we open ourselves to the heavens. Out of the depths we cry for help. And in that place of humility, grace flows. When we stop relying on ourselves and solely on God, His power is made manifest in us.

“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

And we shall be fruitful.

“Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Jn 15:1-2

(#2094 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
One can sin against God's love in various ways:
- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is Faith More Than Believing?

Having faith in God does not just believe that He exists. The demons and Satan himself knows God exist, and we can’t actually call them faithful to God.

Having faith in God not just mean believing in Him and His words, but realizing them. Making them real! It has no use in believing in God and setting Him aside in your life like everything else. There is no use hearing His words if we do not listen to it. Having faith in God is to accept that HE IS GOD! That means He owns you and you have to submit yourself to Him.

Having faith is to rearrange one’s life in accordance to God and His designs. Faith does not only happen in our intellect, but in our very being. To have faith is to obey!

Why is Abraham called the "father of all who believe"? Because he obeyed God even though God was asking something improbable.  At the ripe age of 99, God asked Abraham to move out of the city into the desert and make him the “father of all nations.” At pass 100 years old, God promised that we would bear a son. And Abraham believed.

The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment of faith. Why? Because God asked something impossible of her, virgin birth. And she believed and said “Fiat” (Be done to me according to your word).

Faith calls us to submit. Faith calls us to obey.  That is what real faith is.

If your faith is just something that happens in your head or in your mouth, chances are, it is not real.

For faith to be real, it has to be seen in our lives and our being. It cannot be “put under a basket”.

To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment. (#144 Catechism of the Catholic Church)