I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Little Grain of Gold by: Rabindranath Tagore

I had gone begging from door to door in the village path, when a golden chariot appeared in the distance and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and  I thought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood. His glance fell on me and he came down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then all of a sudden he extended his right hand and said to me: What can you give me?’

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open his palm to a beggar like me. I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to the King of all Kings.

But how great my surprise when at the day's end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had the heart to give to him my all.

The Prayer of Saint Francis...

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”

From the Imitations of Christ...

Do not worry about who is and is not on your side: simply make sure that God is with you in all you do.

Have a clear conscience, and God will defend you. For if God chooses to help you, no malice can do you harm.

If you know how to suffer in silence, without doubt you will receive the help of the Lord. He knows when and how he will free you, so resign yourself into his care. It is for God to give help and give freedom from trouble.

For the sake of humility it is often good for others to know our weaknesses and tax us with them.

When a man holds himself humbly because of his weakness, it is easy for him to please others and calm those who are angry with him.

God protects and frees the humble, loves and consoles them. He leans down to the humble, he bestows great grace on them, he lifts them from their lowliness into glory.

God calls the humble gently to him, and to them he reveals his secrets.

If a humble man is humiliated, he is happy enough and at peace, because his support is God and not the world.

Do not count yourself as having made progress until you feel yourself inferior to everyone.

A peaceable man is of more use than a learned man.

If you are a slave to your feelings, you will see good actions as bad, and you will easily believe the worst; a good and peaceful man will see good in everything.

Whoever is truly at peace is not plagued by suspicion. Whoever is discontented and disturbed will be blown about by gusts of suspicion: he cannot rest and will not let others rest either.

He often says what he should not say, and fails to do what it would be best to do.

He knows what other people ought to do, but not what he should be doing himself.

Worry about your own behavior first; you can worry about other people later.

You are good at making excuses for your own behavior and showing it in the best light, but you do not want to accept the excuses of others. It would be fairer for you to accuse yourself and excuse your brother.

If you want other people to put up with you, put up with them first.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Fern and the Bamboo...

One day, a small business owner decided he’d had enough. Enough of the unremitting workload, enough of the lack of response, enough of the crushing loneliness.

He went into the woods to have one last talk to God. “God,” he said. “Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t quit?”

The answer took him by surprise. “Look around you,” it said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes,” the man replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo, I took very good care of them. I gave them both equal amounts of food and water. I gave them sunlight in spring and protected them from the storms in autumn. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant fronds soon covered the forest floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year, the fern grew even more splendidly than before but nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. Still I would not quit.”

“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But day by day the sprout grew. First a shoot, then a seedling, and finally a cane. Within six months, the bamboo cane had risen to a height of 100 feet. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have been growing? Growing the roots that you need to produce your fruit. I would not quit on the bamboo. I will not quit on you.”

“Don’t compare yourself to others. All of my creations have different purposes, different journeys, and different timescales. The bamboo had a different purpose from the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come. You will rise high.”

“How high should I rise?” the man asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” asked God in return.

“As high as it can?” the man questioned.

“Yes,” God replied. “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

The small business owner left the forest. And never went back.

If nothing seems like it is happening in your life, despite all the work you’re putting in, remember that you’re probably growing roots not fruit. Stick with it. One day not far from now, there’ll be a fantastic harvest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for December 13: third Sunday of Advent Luke 3:10-18

My Reflections for Sunday December 16, Third Sunday of Advent, Luke 3:10-18 (12-15-12)

The crowds asked John the Baptist, "What should we do?" He said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He answered them, "Stop collecting more than what is prescribed." Soldiers also asked him, "And what is it that we should do?" He told them, "Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages."

Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
                                                       + + + + + + +
(1) My Reflections
A boy was taught by his father that there was only one way to be happy and it was none other than to accumulate wealth. He imbibed his father’s teachings so he studied very hard and he eventually became one of the very rich in their town. On his quest to acquire worldly treasures he stepped on the toes of many people, he created many enemies on his way up and upon reaching the pinnacle of his ambition he became greedy and he subsequently discovered that it was very lonely at the top.  

He was on his quest once again to find the magic formula to happiness so he went to a wise old man in the mountain to seek his advice. The wise old man gave him only one advice: Learn to share whatever you have for it is in sharing that you will find happiness. He followed the wise advice and he felt happiness as he had never felt it before.

In our gospel the crowds asked John the Baptist, "What should we do?" (This was in response to John’s call for them to repent) John said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Perhaps the crowds were becoming self-centered already. They only cared for their own needs and never on the needs of their fellowmen.

The season of Christmas is not about what we will receive. It is about what we can freely share. The real essence of Christmas is in sharing not in receiving. Let us try to wholeheartedly share and we will feel the highest degree of happiness that we would not be able to feel when we accept gifts.

On this third Sunday of advent John the Baptist message is loud and clear it is about learning to share no matter how little so long as it comes from the bottom of our hearts. Let us share to the poor, to those who are badly in need, let us share to those who cannot pay back our generosity. There are many of them in poor communities and in places affected by disasters and calamities. Like our brothers and sisters who were badly affected by the devastating  typhoon named Bopha or Pablo in Mindanao.
Let us bring Jesus to them by generously sharing whatever we can give. 

My Gospel Reflections for December 12; Saturday: Matthew 17:9a 10-13

My Reflections:Why are there problems in our individual lives? Why are there problems in our family? Why are there problem in the world like wars, terrorism? Why are there problems in our church ministries?

The answers to these questions are actually very simple. There are problems for the simple reason that we refuse to listen to the message of Jesus. During John’s time the people then also refused to listen to John; same as during the time of Elijah.

If only we would care to learn and listen to Jesus, to John and to Elijah. …

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for December 6 Second Sunday of Advent: Luke 3:1-6

My Reflections:
In this Sunday’s gospel reading Saint Luke introduces us to two sets of situation. On the first one Luke named the Emperors and powerful men during that time. He named the following: Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate Herod, Philip, Lysanias, Annas and Caiaphas. All these men have one thing in common: They were all powerful and some of them have played a role in the passion and eventual crucifixion of Jesus.

Let us take for example Pontius Pilate. Pilate lead the trial of Jesus he gave the order for his passion and eventual crucifixion. Pilate found no fault with Jesus but ordered his execution to appease the crowd calling for Jesus’ death. Pilate knew in his heart that Jesus was sinless but he chose to appease the mob who was calling for the death of Jesus.

In the second situation we see John proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke also cited the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight’ John and the prophet Isaiah calls for repentance and this rings loudly to our ears. We must heed their call to repentance. We are taught by our catechism that the best form of repentance is when we humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation.

There are two seasons in the church where we are called to humbly submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession. The first one is during the Season of Lent and the second one is the season of Advent. We are called to the Sacrament of Confession on both seasons because Jesus died and will be subsequently resurrected. And we are all called to be worthy of His resurrection by way of humbly submitting ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession.

In the season of Advent we are called to Confession for us all to be worthy of Jesus Birth. That is why we are intensely called by the church to repent and submit ourselves to Confession. And this is what John and Isaiah is calling us: Go to Confession repent and be healed from your Sins!

If only we will heed their call, if only we will have the guts to humbly submit our selves to this healing Sacrament.