It has been very long since I have posted on here…many things have changed since the last time I logged on…
But anyways-I had a blessed and fruitful day today! I took care of 2 of my classes for catechism in the morning/afternoon and invited my friend Samuel Nguyen to teach the lesson….the lesson I chose was on the story of God calling the young prophet Samuel in the temple when he was sleeping, and with the spiritual directions of his teacher Eli, he became aware of God’s voice calling him, and with conviction he answered “Lord, speak for your servant is listening” Then Sam went on to analyze the passage and discussed about the many different types of vocations: marriage, priesthood/religious life and…….”loner-hood, aka single life” LOL :P Great discussion.
Later on during the day it became a coincidence that this weekend’s Gospel from the Gospel of John chapter 10 also resonates the same theme…it was about Jesus saying “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me…” The thing that struck out and felt like a “touch down” moment in my heart was the words “HEAR My voice…and they FOLLOW Me” It’s like reminding us that God is calling out to each one of us everyday-calling us to serve and love Him in many distinctive paths of life and of course, many different types of vocations. This also reminded me of the story of Jeremiah when God called him when he was very young to which Jeremiah responding something like he was too young, he doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t know what to say or act…but God replied to him saying that God has already knew him before God formed him in his mother’s womb, before he was born and has already dedicated him as a prophet for the nations. As with the theme of the Gospel today in his heart, Jeremiah, along with others such as Paul, Moses, Isaiah, Matthew, Peter, John, etc…he HEARD the voice of God and he FOLLOWED God.
This also pertains to each and every one of us…God knew each of us individually in a special way before we were formed in our mother’s wombs, before we were born and has chose us to follow Him. But of course we have free will..it is up to us if we are willing to be open…to open up our hearts and minds, to be open to hear God’s voices in our hearts…and to follow Him.
Recommended by my Redemptorist Vocation Director Fr.Tat Hoang, C.Ss.R….I listened to the song “Xin cho con” sung by the Vietnamese Dominican Nuns and…it felt like another “touch down” in my heart, and also at the same time as a motivation.
I would like to share with you parts of the lyrics:
“Xin cho con dám hiến tế cuộc đời,
dám đi vào một cuộc phiêu lưu.
Dám xin vâng, dám lên đường, dám trả lời: Lạy Chúa con đây!
Xin cho con dám dấn bước theo Ngài,
dẫu trên đường còn nhiều chông gai.
Dám hy sinh, dám quên mình,
dám sẳn sàng thực thi ý Ngài!”
The word “Dám” appears in here many times…roughly translating, it means “to DARE”
I would like to roughly translate as follows:
“Lord, allow me to DARE to offer up my life as a sacrifice to You,
DARE to enter into the unknown mystery before me,
DARE to say Yes (like Mary), DARE to take the first step on the journey, DARE to reply to you “Lord, Here I am!”
Lord, allow me to DARE to follow You,
even if the path has many struggles.
DARE to sacrifice, DARE to die to myself, becoming a selfless person to fulfill Your Holy Will!”
I believe that in the end, it all boils down to each of us in our conscience-that if we DARE to or not, if we DARE to trust in God with His plans in our Life.
Lord Jesus, with my unknown future, I trust in You.
for my family, friends, those who are suffering from cancer and other sickness, I trust in You.
For the victims and their families in Boston and Texas, I trust in You.
Few days ago while watching the Olympics with my relatives up here in Oregon…one of the competitors left me with a great and profound impression. That was Meseret Defar from Ethiopia. I noticed that when other competitors win a medal…they would drop down on their knees, cover their face and drop tears of happiness.. But for for Meseret Defar-it was different. As she immediately crossed the finished line for 1st in the 5000m run…she immediately reached from inside her shirt a picture and showed it with great love and honor. What was that picture she pulled out? A picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
She held it close to her face and kissed it in tears…and thanked God and Mother Mary…and she shined it out as the cameras zoomed into her…as an act of honoring Our Mother of Perpetual Help. She wore on herself a cross…did the sign of the cross and prayed before she ran…
To me, Meseret Defar is one of a kind-a person that we all should look up to. In front of thousands of ppls present, hundreds of cameras pointing at her and billions of ppls watching over TV-yet, she was not afraid to profess her faith. She held her faith high and was not afraid to show it. By wearing the cross, she is sending the message that she herself is a Christian-a proud believer and follower of Christ. By doing the sign of the Cross and spending few moments in prayer-she made it clear that praying is very important-for without God, nothing is possible. We also need to be like her…to always be a prayerful person-to connect with God when we are in need of His assistance. Lastly…by shining and adoring the picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at the end of her race…it is a reminder to ourselves that we not just pray and connect with God when we are only in need-but also in thanksgiving as well. She was not afraid to show her firm belief in God…even to the billions of people watching and countless cameras.
At times in our lives…especially when we are with our peers…most often we find ourselves in a very awkward position when the topic of God and religion comes up…we are afraid to profess and share our faith to others…in fear that others might mock and distant themselves away from us. But-we must not be afraid-not be afraid to profess our faith and beliefs to others.
As Christians, we have 2 main callings. One is a call to Holiness-able to connect and be in a deep relationship with Christ through prayer. Prayer here doesn’t limit through words…but through our thoughts and actions as well. St.Faustina, the disciple of Divine Mercy have wrote in her Diary…”O God, let every beat of my heart be a new hymn of thanksgiving to You. Let every drop of my blood circulate for You, Lord. My soul is one hymn in adoration of Your mercy. I love You, God, for Yourself alone” (Diary 1794)…to make everything for God, about God, in God, with God, through God…theocentric…a sense of Christ Centrality. Our 2nd calling is Evangelization-to spread the Word of God to one another. We can spread the Word of God through our words and sharings…but it shouldn’t end there…let us allow others to see and read the Word of God within our lifestyle and actions as well…to “live the Gospel-the Good News.” An ultimate example of this is the saint which we celebrate today, Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr. During the holocaust…one of the prisoners escaped-so 10 others must die in the place of the escaper. Out of 10 person that were chosen, one of them cried out for mercy because he has a wife and children at home.. Father Kolbe seeing this, he went up to the soldier and offered himself to replace that man-so that the man be able to live…
By these, we fufill our 3 callings of baptism: Priest (offer praises, connect with God), Prophet (speak/spread the Good News) and King (servant king, living the Gospel in our life by loving one another).
Again…looking back at the picture of Mother Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help that Meseret Defar held up…I feel this sense of hope and reassurance within me striking… Her eyes always looking at us..her fingers pointing at Christ…as we need a GPS to get to a destination when we travel, I pray that she may be our “Divine GPS” on our journey towards our ultimate life destination: Her Son-Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Feast of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe O.F.M., Priest and Martyr
Vigil of Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2012
The Beautiful Hands of a Priest
One of my friends reminded me about the hands of a priest. They are an integral part of a priests ministry daily, I thought I’d share this with you. Enjoy!
The Beautiful Hands of a Priest.
We need them in life’s early morning,
… We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek it while tasting life’s woes.
When we come to this world we are sinful,
The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness
Their dignity stands alone.
For there in the stillness of morning
Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers
Of the beautiful hands of a priest.
When we are tempted and wander
To pathways of shame and sin
‘Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
Not once but again and again.
And when we are taking life’s partner
Other hands may prepare us a feast
But the hands that will bless and unite us,
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress,
What can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him who chose them to bless
When the death dews on our lids are falling,
May our courage and strength be increased
By seeing raised o’er us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.
Trailer for “40”, a new documentary on abortion from Spirit Juice studios.
Via Fr. Shane Johnson
Without the Eucharist, the Church would not exist. The holy Eucharist was the central point of our life. I remember once a priest I met. He never talked at great length about the sufferings, persecutions and tortures, but he mentioned that even in prison, all the priests would celebrate the liturgy. We were amazed; how could this be possible? Where did you get a Chalice and a Paten? He took off his glasses and said: “This is what we used; one lens served as the chalice with a drop of wine and on the other a piece of bread was placed, which served as the paten.” This is how they celebrated the liturgy in the prison or around the premises of the concentration camps.
—Major-Archbishop Swiatoslav Schevchuk,
Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Once again, congratulations on your Confirmation few weeks ago!
This weekend the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Pentecost-we remember that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and transformed them-prepared them for the mission to preach the Good News. As we read in the Holy Gospel this weekend, John 20:19-23…while all the apostles were gathered within a closed room because they were afraid of the Jewish after Jesus died…Jesus appeared to them and said “Peace be with you!” and few moments after that “Receive the Holy Spirit” and the Holy Spirit descended on each of them in a form of tongues of fire…
All of you, my dear students, have received the Holy Spirit or “Tongue of Fire” at your Baptism and your Confirmation Mass few weeks ago…That FIRE…that LIGHT…as we observed up on the altar this Easter season…we see the Pascal Candle, lit with a flame on top…that flame represents Christ, the Risen Lord-the Light of the World…the ONE that has led the Israelite out of slavery, the ONE that have redeemed us and died for all of us on the Cross…as we remember on Easter Vigil…the whole church was in darkness…one flame started from the Easter/Pascal candle…and one by one of us, that Light spread throughout everybody-lighting up the darkness of the Church…Our Mission in Life is also similar to that…to share and spread that “Light”, that “Fire” to those around us…to share Christ-to make Him known to everyone. I sincerely pray that all of you will spread this FIRE to others through our actions…
But first of all, before we make Christ known and let others know Him…we must get to know Him first of all…to have Him within us, especially when we act in the Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Courage, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord…by bringing these gifts into our words, our actions…we spread Christ to those around us…that those around us may encounter Christ in our actions and our love for one another…as Jesus commands us in the Gospel this weekend “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
My dear students, as St.Ignatius Loyola have said “Go forth and set the world on FIRE!”
May Christ The Most Holy Redeemer and Mother Mary bless all of you always,
Through the Holy Spirit-3rd Person in Most Holy Trinity-The Sanctifier,
I know that all of you have wished yr mothers a Happy Mother’s Day…
…but don’t forget one more person to say it to…that is Mother Mary!
Be sure to show a special devotion to Mother Mary, especially on this day and hopefully everyday throughout our life.
She is the one that brought Jesus-Our Redeemer and Savior to us. She is the “walking tabernacle” whom stored Our Lord for 9 months in her womb.
She is the one that said YES to Our Lord to carry our His Holy Will in His plan of Redemption.
All of us in our journey of life…we are traveling…traveling towards a goal/destination…as Catholics-our goal and destination is Christ-to be Christ-like and to follow his path, meeting Christ. As we travel…we need direction…we need maps…we need a GPS… Well my brothers and sisters…one person have walked that path and have met the destination…that is Mother Mary. She is our “Divine GPS” that leads us to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Please take a few moments and reflect upon Mother Mary…in the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Patroness of the Redemptorists…as She lovingly holds Jesus in her hands…there is that open space in her hands…that “open space” is for us, for us to reach out and place our hands into her hands…to consecrate our life to Her, to guide us in the path that Her Son intends for us to walk.
Please pray for more vocations to the priesthood, especially for the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer-the Redemptorists.
In Mother Mary,
Anonymous asked: I just wanted to say that you've inspired me so much! Thanks to you and all the other people at the retreat, I've grown in my faith more than I ever thought I would. Although I don't think I could ever show as strong a devotion as you, I'm definitely a lot more comfortable talking to Him and reaching out to Him. Thank you for all your inspiration! ^^ Also...hi!
All thanks be to God! hehe It’s a blessing for me-I enjoy what I do!
Please pray for more vocations to the priesthood & religious life-especially The Redemptorists! Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer :)