“Our God is a God of Hope” – Day 1

Today marks the beginning of Advent. Oh, how time flies! It is the last few weeks of the year and as I reflect on the things that occured this year, it makes me wonder… what happened?

We all look forward to the Christmas season. It’s a feel-good feeling. I love it because of the decorations, the chocolates, you can feel the joy in everyone. You can feel the hope. Hope in waiting.

In the Gospel today, Jesus asks us to “Be alert.” The time will come. Christopher West had mentioned that the bridgroom keeps her bride waiting to stretch her desire. This desire increases our hope, and without this desire or longing, there would be no hope.

There was or will always come a time when we have/will lose hope, and that’s okay. However, we always need to remember that at the end of the day “thy will be done”.

Fiat voluntàs tua.

A priest in his homily once said, all our prayers will be answered if we end our prayers in “thy will be done”. This means that we do not rely on ourselves anymore but God’s power. This is hope. This is trust. This is love.

May we be filled with joy this Advent season.

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God is the God of Miracles

“My child, I am the Lord Who gives strength in the day of trouble. Come to Me when all is not well with you. Your tardiness in turning to prayer is the greatest obstacle to heavenly consolation, for before you pray earnestly to Me you first seek many comforts and take pleasure in outward things. Thus, all things are of little profit to you until you realize that I am the one Who saves those who trust in Me, and that outside of Me there is no worth-while help, or any useful counsel or lasting remedy.”  (Thomas à Kempis)

The challenge is not found during the experience of faith–where you are side by side with people who choose to follow Christ with You. The challenge is not when you are at your best or when all your prayers have been answered. It is not when you are in deep realization of the power of God in your life nor when you recognize that living a holy life is the fastest way to Heaven. No, the challenge is the resistance within us. The resistance when we wake up in the morning, when we eat our lunch, when we go back to sleep at night. The resistance is within us; living through our words, thoughts, and actions.

Let faith arise, in spite of what I see Lord, I believe. But help my unbelief, I choose to trust You.

We are called militants for we are still fighting and our battle is not over. It’s easy to lose sight of this battle. If you don’t think that you’re in a battle, there is a slight possibility that resistance has already won over you. Can we profess ourselves as Holy Warriors of God and yet find ourselves lost in this journey called life? How can we live this life and also strive to be Holy Warriors? Help me to trust You more.

Listen with the ear of the heart.

We have so many voices in our lives that provide directions and instructions. The voices may confuse, motivate, inspire, or discourage us. The voices may come in the beauty that lies within our surroundings or come as loud and as terrifying like thunder and rain. It may come as a whispering smile, or a heaving sigh. It may come like a shock to your already beautiful life. It may come and disturb your perfectly planned goals and desires. Despite the voices that may come, we have to listen and respond to our deep longing to be united with God. Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

Jesus has now many lovers of the heavenly kingdom but few bearers of His cross.

Living our convictions and professing our faith is not easy. It’s not. No saint had ever said it was an easy journey. No saint had ever proclaimed that suffering is not part of the journey. But God is faithful, we have to believe and pursue God’s dream for us. God is done writing our stories! We need now to open the book and read it. We need to let the inklings of faith and the hunches of desire make us better versions of ourselves. We need to see God as He is, hear Him as He declares, feel and experience Him as He profess. We need to feel God’s glory through the little miracles He put in our lives. Our lives are full of little miracles. When we fall in love with Jesus, we are motivated to suffer and always encounter Him, to meet Him over and over!

Love takes to itself the life of the loved one. The greater the love, the greater the suffering of the soul. The fuller the love, the fuller the knowledge of God. The more ardent the love, the more fervent the prayer. The more perfect the love, the holier the life. (Staretz Silouan)

I pray that this fervour, this zeal, this desire will not depart from us. However,  if it does leave us, help us to always turn back and find You. I urge you brothers and sisters to fight the good fight of faith. Stand up for what you believe. We are the generation–the new generation that will bring troubled souls back to Him.

Pray for world. Pray for peace.

 

Desire

“What is your desire?” I asked myself. As I dug through my thoughts, I could not find the answer to my question. “What do you want to do?” Again I asked myself. Thoughts came rushing in my head, but no justifiable answer satisfied me. “What is making you happy?” It’s sad to think that after the third question, I still do not have a concrete answer that convinced me that what I’m even doing is worth it.

Today I came to a realization that feelings come to pass. I came to realize that the feelings that we have, will always resonate with the present and also will no longer matter in the future. We depend so much on what we feel or how we feel that we forget that these feelings come from our desire to share and create moments–create memories with the people around us. We focus our feelings about us so much that it molds us, it shapes us to be centered on our desire to always be happy.

“What is making you happy?” Again I asked myself. The answer to the question is unfortunately–the current state of my heart.

Lord, you know the desires of my heart. Let Your desires consume my weak, fragile (& slightly stubborn) heart. Amen.

God is speaking. Be silent.

Have you ever had that moment when you realize that God is trying to speak to you? Or was there ever a random moment that urged you to do something out of the ordinary and at the end of the day it all made sense to you? Am I even making sense? I have been feeling the need to express myself, but could not find the words. However, right now words seem to flow out of my mouth or rather hands, because I am… typing.

Let me begin. I have been rather mentally and physically exhausted. The emotional stress that I have been dealing with everyday rapidly drains every part of my being. I am not the type to show this side of me as I am a very private person–to most, this will come off as a surprise. But that’s just it. There is a constant need for me to hide my true self, however long I try… God seems to be pointing me towards something different.

Today, I heard him. Not the way you would think… not in some sort of a burning bush, or even through an angel (which would’ve been cool…er), instead He poked me at my weakest.

You see today, He pulled me to go to mass. I heard Him through the priest’s homily, “…God shows mercy not by the way he showers His blessings, but by the way He leads you to act in mercy.” I heard Him through the song on the radio (Shine FM), “What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise” -Blessings, Laura Story. I heard Him again, “Are you not the closest when it’s hardest to stand?” -Here I Am, Downhere. So what was His point? I’ve prayed and prayed for Him to reveal Himself to me, when all I had to do was be silent, because He is there. He is listening. Now be silent and listen with your heart.

 

Life is too short.

As I stood on the station platform waiting to be dismissed by firefighters/police officers, I can’t help but feel emotionally distressed. Today… I saw, felt, and heard someone get killed–ran over by the ctrain I was in.

Life is too short.

It was weird, because earlier in the day I was reading today’s Gospel from Luke 12, “…You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” It got me thinking… if God took me today, will I be ready? Will you be ready?

I hope so… I pray so.

“Heavenly Father, I pray for the man who passed away due to the unfortunate incident today. May You grant him mercy and pardon him for all his sins. May You be with his loved ones during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.”

Why I’m Still Catholic –a response

Recently, I have read a post from Patheos asking all Catholic bloggers, authors, priests, speakers, etc… on “Why do you remain a Catholic?” This is my response.

It took me a while to form my thoughts on this certain topic, because honestly, most of what I wanted to say was already touched on by amazing writers of our diverse Catholic community. However, as I was reading posts from Catholics all over the world, it gave me a reason to write, because despite living in a world where believing is seeing, and ignorance of faith has been rapidly increasing; there are still quite a number of people who believe in what I believe in.

Born and raised Catholic, I grew up with a strict ideology of why going to church was a necessary tool for growth in our faith–although I never really understood how until I fell in love with the church itself. The purpose of this post, however, is not to tell you how I came to love the church, but to simply give you my reason why I’m still and will continue to stand by the church.

I only have one reason to give–apart from hundreds of wonderful testimonies, countless logic and reasoning–I have, but one. And that is, it simply gives me hope. Frankly, I can’t imagine living my life without it. It gives me the reason why I continue to do the things I do. It gives me joy. It gives me my purpose–I know that my purpose is not just to live, but to simply live for Him. I know that beyond this life, there is a God who continues loving; beyond this world that continues hurting, there is a heaven that is life-giving. I’ve always kept Mother Teresa’s quote at the back of my head because she is the epitome of love and she gave the perfect representation of a true Christian witness, “…You see, in the final analysis (of life) it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.” 

You ask me why I’m still Catholic, I’m Catholic because that’s what I’m meant to be and as Matthew Kelly would say, “Be the best version of yourself.” Being a Catholic, I become just that.

“Actions speak louder than words…”

…whether you like it or not, whether you mean to or not, and whether they judge you or not. It’s true and it will always be true. It’s unfortunate, but that is just the way how most people work. You cannot be one thing and claim to be another. A dog cannot be a cat all at once, the way I can’t be a girl and a boy simultaneously. Now, before you start to scroll down and look for the comment section and voice out your opinion how I’m being so insensitive and how I’m being such a hater of the LGBT community… Hear me out.

You are entitled to have your own identity. You are entitled to be you. I am not stopping you to be yourself. Go ahead and be yourself… but did you ever stop and ask yourself, “Who am I really?” We always seem to have our focus on other peoples’ identities that we neglect to reflect on our own identity.

“Who are you really?” 

Take away all generic representation of ourselves regarding name, gender, race, etc. How would you address the question?

Simply put, you are a child of God.

I want you to realize it, because it’s true. Behind our identity lies our biggest blessing. We can only be true to ourselves when we acknowledge ourselves to be children of God. You are entitled to be a child of God, because you are a child of God; but just like a child who obtained their parents’ last name, our identity should reflect the being of Our Father. The culture says, “actions speak louder than words.” We can’t just claim to be God’s children, we have to act on it, and we have to be proud of it. Come face to face with yourself and see that within the silence of our always aching heart, there is a voice. Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to act? Are you willing to swim against the current? Because believe it or not… I can’t do it alone.