Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Reflections

V. J. E

Beloved, we are God's children now; 
what we shall be has not yet been revealed. 
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

Beloved, we are God's children now; 

The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that since we are God's children now, we were not always His children. We were in need of adoption like animals at a pet store, waiting for someone to adopt us. And so, like a potential pet owner, walking around in a store, looking for an animal to rescue from its prison, God initiated the search for us. He bought us to set us free, and to bestow on us a dignity above all other things. And He's not limited to a certain number of pets that he can adopt. He is capable of claiming and wants to claim all of us as His own. He wants to love on us and give us a home with Him, even though we are but dust.... In His glorious display of God-power, he has animated our dust, has given us flesh and bones, has breathed into us His very self, and has transformed us into men, in His own image. This dust, He has graciously called His children. How crazy is that?!

what we shall be has not yet been revealed. 

Within the inscrutable mysteries of His love, He gave us His Son, Jesus, in marriage. Jesus not only marries us in the sense that Jesus is the Bridegroom and we collectively, as the Church, are His mystical bride. Jesus also marries us in His very self as fully man and fully divine! This is the ultimate fulfillment of "man shall leave his father and be joined to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh." We have been married/joined/grafted to Christ in the most intense of ways. We have literally become one with Him! And yet we shall not know the fullness of this reality until we are in heaven.

We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

How can John say that we will be like the Father, simply because we will see Him? How can a pet ever be like its master simply because it sees him? How does that make any sense? I have yet to hear any breaking news about a dog that turned into a man because it was looking at its owner. And as stated before, John says that we are God's children.  The pet is the owner's child? I know that there are lots of people who consider their pets their children, but, still; No matter how much we want to believe that our pets are "people too", they are not. So what's going on here?

He isn't saying that by looking at the Father we become like Him- We mustn't assume that we have taken initiative to look and thus by our own power have become. No, the true order of events is that God takes the initiative to transform us, then we become and then we are able to see. So John is saying when that moment finally comes when we are fully united to our Bridegroom, as a spotless Bride, with Him in heaven, then we will finally be like God, and thus we will able to see Him as He is.

And yet I do believe that there is something to looking at God and becoming like Him. It's no different from the experience of living with others. You start to imitate each other, you copy each others idiosyncrasies and manners. How much more is this reality made manifest in a relationship with the Almighty God?

So in light of the Gospel today, I am drowned in the mercy of God. That He would love me so much to the point of laying down His life for me. What a Good Shepherd I have?! He outdoes Himself in goodness.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Reflections

V. J. E

When I call, answer me, O God of justice;
from anguish you released me, have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false? 

It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom he loves;
the Lord hears me whenever I call him. 

Fear him; do not sin: ponder on your bed and be still.
Make justice your sacrifice, and trust in the Lord. 

"What can bring us happiness?" many say. 
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord. 

You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine. 

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once 
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4)

Why do we love what is futile and seek what is false? Why do we not rather, swoon over Him who grants favors to us because He loves us, the way we used to swoon over that one crush in grade school? Did such a childish infatuation bring about any fulfillment? Did it not rather leave a scar on our hearts, as most experiences of puppy love do? Even those who are blessed to be married to their grade school crush, know that their spouse cannot complete them. Why?  Because we are all made for an infinite love, and marriage vows are until death. Even the best things in this world are as nothing because they all will pass away. But we were made for One Who does not pass away and thus He is the fulfillment of all our desires.

So speaking of swooning, did you know that swoon means to lose consciousness because of lack of blood to the brain; it's synonym is to faint (which is a lack of oxygen to the brain). How interesting is that in light of this psalm?! Towards the end of the psalm, you came across the verse: I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once. And earlier in the psalm you read: ponder on your bed and be still. The psalmist is swooning over the Lord, and invites us to do the same!

Image result for swooning

This is no mere invitation to sigh at the thought of the Lord, and make googly eyes at Him like a little school girl. It's an invitation for us to give our very life blood out of love for God... very much in the same way that Jesus gave His life for us! Have you not heard that the Cross is your marriage bed? Do not hesitate to pour yourself out into Him, just as He poured and continues to pour Himself out for you. He is faithful, He is just, and He always gives answer. He does wonders for those who trust in Him; and those who trust in Him, do not hesitate to call upon Him. 

Or are you like the disciples, in today's Gospel, whom Jesus had to ask why are you troubled and why do questions arise in your heart?  

Pray for an increase in faith. And pray with the image of Jesus in the arms of His mother, after He has been taken down from the Cross. If you feel as though you have been crucified with Christ, have faith that you will be resurrected with Him. But in the meanwhile, rest; be at peace; and be assured that you are in the arms of your Mother. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


We invite you to enter into the reflection by The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life entitled "Rejoice!" which is based on the teachings of our Holy Father Pope Francis. What we offer here is an abridged and paraphrased version for quicker reading.

Please pray for all consecrated men and women so we may allow ourselves to be convicted by the necessity of being joy-filled Christians!

1) Listening
Jesus Christ offers us joy. "Joy is the messianic gift par excellence, as Jesus himself promised: ...that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (Jn 15:11; 16:24; 17:13)" (no. 2). This promise of joy was foreshadowed as God led His people through the Old Covenant. The prophet Isaiah exemplifies the proclamation of this hope of joy. Jerusalem as mother is offered as a consoling image of God's loving care for us. "It is a gentle but true profile of a God who radiates maternal vibrations and deep, contagious emotions. A heartfelt joy (cf. Is 66:14) that comes from God - with maternal face and supportive arm - and radiates through a people who have been crippled" (no. 2).

2) Joy, the beauty of consecration
There is a joy to be found in giving one's life to God, in being totally dedicated to the self-giving service of God. Pope Francis warns us that we cannot become holy if we are sad. "In the world there is often a lack of joy. We are not called to accomplish epic feats or to proclaim high-sounding words, but to give witness to the joy that arises from the certainty of knowing we are loved, from the confidence that we are saved." (no. 3). We are called by God to bearers of joy. However, we must pray to be docile to God's consolations and first learn to experience this joy.

3) Your calling
We are each by name called by Jesus. This is a great joy that God has such a particular concern for each and every one of us. Jesus chooses us (see Jn 15:16). A calling is something always begins with God's initiative. We must continually step out of ourselves and into God. The Pope "invites us to remain for a long time, on an interior pilgrimage, before the dawn, when, in a warm environment of friendly relationships, the intellect is led to open itself to mystery, the decision is made that it is good to set out to follow the Master who alone has the words of eternal life (cf. Jn 6:68). He invites us to make our whole 'life a pilgrimage of loving transformation'" (no. 4). We must turn our restlessness into a longing for the God who calls us out of that restlessness into His rest.

4) Found, touched, transformed
Consecrated life is intended as a way to incarnate the Good News in one's life. In imitation of Jesus, "it is a call to take up his way of life, to adopt his interior attitude, to allow oneself to be invaded by his Spirit, to absorb his surprising logic and hsi scale of values, to share in his risks and his hopes" (no. 5). We must remain in Christ in order to continue to receive life from Christ. It is thus that we are made to be like Christ, alive in us. Jesus, then, gives the impulse to step outside of ourselves to share this life with others. This is "the resltessness of love" (no. 5).

5) Joy, a faithful 'yes'
"To persevere all the way to Golgotha, to experience the lacerations of doubts and denial, to rejoice in the marvel and wonder of the Paschal event, up to the manifestation of Pentecost and the evangelization of the peoples, these are milestones of joyful fidelity because they are about self-emptying, experienced throughout life, even in the sign of martyrdom, and also sharing in the life of the risen Christ" (no. 6). We must continue to resound our 'yes' by commitment to living the faith in every moment of every day, especially in how we make time for prayer and community. We must continually recommit ourselves to God, so that it is renewed with joy and passion. "Love is never finished and complete; throughout life it changes and matures, and thus remains faithful to itself" (no. 6).

For the full document, visit the Vatican website:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter

Photo courtesy of Mark LaBelle, 
Seminarian for Diocese of Orlando

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