The Building of a Civilization of Love

The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. Dear young friends, cultivate your talents, not only to obtain a social position, but also to help others to “grow”. Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more “competitive” and “productive”, but to be “witnesses of charity”. In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world. May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the “civilisation of love”. The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!

- Pope Benedict XVI, WYD 2007 MESSAGE, Growing in love each day

3:12. Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect: but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend, wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus.
3:13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing I do: Forgetting the things that are behind and stretching forth myself to those that are before,
3:14. I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

-St. Paul to Philippians

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is God? What is Creation?

After watching the first Curiosity show on Discovery Channel last weekend, I was reminded on this question and how it is generally assumed that everyone share the same understanding of the answer to it.
Even Physicist Stephen Hawking does not provide a background to 'God' before dismissing Him as non-existant. I believe that, with his brilliant mind, if he would look into 'God' nearly as much as he looks into Physics, he would accomplish the promise of this quote:

Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. - John Paul II
In the first Curiosity documentary titled: Did God Create the Universe? Hawking does a good job of purifying religion from superstition. This is because the science he presents is reasonable. Without realizing it, he did a great favor to religion by comfirming the fact that God is not native of Time. Unfortunately, he does not seem to be aware that some religions are already aware of that. He clearly did not do even a little research of 'God' beyond what we may call the street understanding of 'God'.

Here is the last part of the presentation which includes how Hawking concludes that God does not exist.

Fortunately, I know people who probably think about God perhaps as much as Hawking thinks about Physics, so my faith was not shaken. It was not shaken because I have gone through those arguments before, but also seen video clips like this one:

I was actually glad about the arguments Hawking used because they do reject the common false notion of God and by doing so, they support the true notion of what God is. Somehow, I have a feeling that Hawking my be surprised by finding God since the truth always lead to God and as much as he sees and follow what is true, he get closer and closer to God. Of course this means farther and farther from the false notions of God which he is considering the notion of God...

To be more fair, I will also share Fr. Barron comment on Creation. It is not a particular response to Science, but can give hints about the attitude we should have in regard to God/Creation.

This will be all, even though I saw some other interesting youtube clips on Catholic view on Creation.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Truth on trial: First Station: Jesus is condemned to death

Adam was created in the image of God
His nature, the human nature is to magnify the truth.
Adam failed, we fail all the time to magnify the truth.
When scared to death, we rather betray the truth than die.
Jesus the perfect man, he rather die than betray the truth.

Real Life is in the truth not in the flesh
Adam separated from truth and become corruptible and died.
Jesus holds our nature in the truth and restores it into incorruptibility
His divine power is not about preserving us in the flesh, but in the truth
Man experience God's greatest powers when his sins are forgiven.

So much violence because we are trying to preserve our flesh like Adam
Yet our flesh does not hold us together or gives us peace.
Truth holds us together and harmonizes us
We should struggle to stay in the truth, to stay honest, to keep our integrity
We should struggle to magnify the Lord like Mary
Magnifying the Lord is the vacation of mankind.
Truth is the narrow way to paradise

It is so easy to drift away from the truth and loose our way to paradise
Sometimes under pressure, we even convince ourselves it can be okay to lie
Yes, the devil the liar and murder from the beginning knows how to scares us to death
The devil gives us two choices: lies or death
But there is an other choice: prayer, and wait for the Lord.
The devil can only offer lies and death, but God always offers life if we remains in the truth.
In truth, even if there is temporal death, there will be life again.
Jesus is set to prove this for he is the truth itself, and the way, and the life.
So at various occasions from the beginning in Gethsemane he showed the weakness of human nature
But he also showed the strength of his divinity by holding on to faith in the Father
At every turn, he strengthen humanity in the faith that there is no death in the truth.

Temporal life dwells in the flesh and in the world
But eternal life dwells in the truth
And we should aim for that which is eternal and not permit the evil one to deceive us.
When we want to save lives, we should ask ourselves what life we want to save:
Temporal life or eternal life?
Will saving temporal life save eternal life as well or will the contrary happen?
When we lie to save temporal life, we loose eternal life, so what is the point?
The devil deceives us that we have to lie if we love
He tells us that we can lie and save lives
But when we accept, we may save the temporal but the eternal is lost.
Like those who condemned Jesus, we choose man over God
But eternal life is in God not in man.
Now it is clear why Jesus would choose death
What point is he making?
Him who rose the dead back to life is accepting death and commending it
He tells us that if we want to be with him, we have to pick up our crosses
Adam refused the cross by avoiding confrontation with the serpent
He accepted to leave the path of truth choosing the lie of the devil
He believed that the creature cared more about him than the Creator
He observed the parade of the animals and went for life in the flesh forsaking life in the Spirit
He abandoned truth and became corruptible

Jesus undid this fall of Adam by accepting the cross
Jesus reopened the way to paradise that Adam closed after him.
The way to paradise is the way of the cross.
Paradise is protected by flaming swords of cherubim.
To cross that fire we have to be incorruptible for that fire will destroy every corruptible thing.
Or we have to cross that fire if we want all our corruption to be destroyed so that only the pure remains.
And the pure is the truth
The truth is Jesus,
Only he can pass through the fire and live
Only he can enter death and transform it
Only in him we can cross over to Paradise

[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. - John 1.
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. " - Jhn 14.6

1. link1
2. link 2
3. Short meditations and prayers

The Truth on trial

All problems in the world without exception are grounded in hostility against truth. So when people are trying to solve problem they talk about truth all the time. They say that people have lied, that truth has been suppressed or revealed or this and that. They say that the truth is this or the truth is that. The truth is always at the center of the issues. Last Friday when I was in Adoration, I was inspired to blog about this trial: the stations of the Cross.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lying for Jesus and Christian Identity 1

There is a controversy going on about how it may be okay to lie in some special cases for Jesus. The more I reflect on the arguments, the more I am realizing that we are talking about the very Christian identity here.

Now, it is clear to me that a Christian can be defined in few words like this:
A person who pledged absolute trust in the truth.

A Christian is a person who believe that truth is the very word/language of God. In truth, the Word, God created all things, and in it He hold all things together. The Word is God and the Word incarnated and became man:Jesus.

[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1

In Jesus, the truth, the divine language, is translated into human language. We can look at him, his life, from beginning to end, and understand the message of God to us.

Jesus said: "I am the way, and the truth and the life."

This means that for a Christian, true life, eternal life, is in the truth. This imply that true death is in lie(s). For these reasons, saints were never people who were afraid of physical death, they were afraid of spiritual death. They were afraid of lying and finding themselves in lies and falsehoods, embracing them and living by them.
In the same faith, for a saint to love is not to spare people so much from physical death as from spiritual death.

For a saint, it is not an absolute necessity to save physical lives (his or of his beloved people), but it is an absolute necessity to save them from spiritual death:lies and deceptions.

For a saint, walking in the truth is walking in the street that lead to Paradise. One must stay on this street and if necessary die on it. One must not leave it even to spare some physical lives of someone else. This street is Jesus himself. It is in Jesus that life is.

On the other hand, if one exit and walk away from this street by walking in falsehood, they are walking away from eternal life, and therefore they are dying as they walk away. The devil 'kills' us by setting up these falsehood and proposing that we walk in them. Jesus said that the devil is 'a liar and murderer' from the beginning. He lead us into death by the way of lies and deceits.

I find that the best tactic of the devil is to scare us to death.
The Bible tells us that the devil "holds the world in captivity through the fear of death." (Heb 2.15) We always feel a need to lie because we are scared to 'death' about something. It seems that the only alternatives are a lie or a 'death'. This is where we need faith. Faith is about trusting God always, trusting that he hold everything in his hands. Faith is about trust in the truth, because we know that nothing can hold without the truth, we know that the truth is the very Word of God. Faith is trust in the Word of God no matter what. And sometimes we are called to witness that this Word is powerful even in death and beyond death. Dying in truth is being sealed in eternal life. Again, life is not physical integrity, but spiritual integrity. Because with spiritual integrity, physical integrity can always be restored, in other words, the resurrection of the body. But when spiritual integrity is lost through falsehood, there is no hope of future physical integrity. We will rise to witness judgment which will be eternal disintegration, eternal incoherency, "the worm will never die"(Mrk 9.48)It is this sealing of loss of spiritual integrity which also affects physical integrity which is called Hell.

In consideration of all this, absolute trust in truth is necessary for salvation. This is the summary of the Christian Faith. So a Christian believes that there is no salvation without Jesus Christ.

When faced with classical questions like: "how to save Jew from Nazi?" without lying, we must remember to ask ourselves who is the greater enemy of the Jew, the nazi or the devil? Also, some them from what death? physical first or spiritual first? First, with God's grace, I would remind them to trust God, that God is on the other side as well, so nothing to fear than betraying God. Next, I will try my best to honor the truth without betraying it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church covers this:

2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. the good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. the duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.282

Therefore, when our Lord asks us to be always ready, it seems that one of the things to be ready for is to know how to use discreet language is grave situation to protect the sanctity of truth. Often we are caught by surprise and lie in the confusion of the moment, and later we comfort ourselves that God will understand, after all we had a good intention. But sin is still sin. Peter cut off the roman soldiers ear in a moment of confusion and protective instinct. Jesus did not approve of this. God is still perfect and our weakness can not make him lower his great standard which is really his identity: God does not change; Truth is who He is.

In great suffering, the great role model can be none other than the Blessed Mother.
Mary suffered for Jesus from the beginning to end. She risked a break up with Joseph, she became a refugee in Egypt, and more... all the way through the Passion and the Cross. She is never reported trying to spare him or his friends from suffering. On the contrary, she seems to be a great sign of comfort and hope in the love of God which never abandon us.

In conclusion, suffering is terrible. Jesus told us that we must pick up our cross and follow him if we expect to be with him in Paradise. But he did not tell us to be stupid and expose ourselves to situation of temptations. On the contrary, he taught us to pray so that we are spared from temptations. Perhaps he wants us to be spared from terrible suffering. It is not easy to resist temptations in the face of great suffering and death. He suffered greatly in Gethsemane "…and his sweat became as drops of blood running down upon the ground." But "he prayed and an angel came to comfort him."(Luke 22) When we say that lying is okay sometimes, we are basically saying that Jesus never went pass Gethsemane. There he was terrified to death, and as usual the devil proposed a way out. The Lord Jesus showed us the terror on the flesh, and its desire that the cup of suffering be taken away, but by his prayer, he reminded us of the priority of the spiritual life over physical life. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, so he ask his Father, "not my will, but your will be done". Muslims believe, God took him up, and deceived people by showing an other person and getting them to believe that it is was Jesus they were torturing and crucifying. This explains why they believe that lying is okay sometimes, after all, God lied himself to save Jesus. However, we Christians believe that God is almighty, not only God is truth itself, but why would the all powerful one feel a need to lie? isn't truth powerful enough to defend itself? This is the Christian Faith, truth is all powerful and can conquer everything including death. And this is what Jesus went on to prove, because he is the truth incarnate. He went beyond Gethsemane to the cross and beyond, he conquered suffering and death, and went back to the Father to send us his power: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the power of true love. It empowers us to witness to the truth in all things. To prove that real life is in the truth not in the flesh. The Holy Spirit reveals to us that those who die in the truth are alive while those who are in the flesh but lives in falsehood are dead.

Eternal life is life in the truth. Lying for Jesus is like cutting the branch one is seating on. The effects may not show immediately but they will eventually show. Let's pray the Holy Spirit never to leave us but to empower us never to shy away from our crosses, but to pick them up and carry them to the end.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

--- This prayer was composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Look at birds and flowers...not worthier than you, yet better off!

This is it!

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Ivory Cost,..., Wisconsin, Greece, China,...
Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, Marxism, Jamahiriya, Democracy,...
None of these works, and none will ever work.

I don't feel like waiting for the Lord to speak louder than this.
We are not even meant to have borders! Let alone cities!

All these scheming started with a man in a distant past: Cain.
He was the first to build a city, and with Nimrod his son, more development;
More divisions: languages, nations, borders, kingdoms, wars, armies,....

Now, I am going to start pulling out slowly.
I am going to get out this world like Lot getting out Sodom
It is better to wonder like Abraham
Only I will try not to accumulate riches....
I will try to be more like birds and flowers. Like Jesus.
They are healthier than men, and better clothed!...Happier!

As I follow Jesus, I am sure I will be on the way (back) to Paradise.
If I pass through Gethsemane, I will know I have one more major stop.
If I pass through Golgotha, I will have made it.
Great adventure, but really worth it!
Otherwise, I may not even end up like the Good Thief.

We have been trying to build paradise on earth for ages, but we don't even need to.
It is here. In the heart.
And the only door to it is called: Golgotha: Dying to self!

Matthew 6:24-34:

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

Saturday, February 5, 2011

God is himself the Gift

I have been pondering on God's love with special focus on the subject of 'gift'.
Now I have some good news to share.

God, in the most basic terms, is internal exchange of self-gift.
This is because God is love. This love is so infinite that it is personal.
So God was revealed as the Blessed Trinity to those who are grown in love.
Here is a progressing way through which I discover this great wonder.
God is:
To Be ->infinitely -> - The Father - the lover
To Love ->infinite -> - The Holy Spirit - the love
To Be Loved ->infinite -> - The Son - the beloved

Note that God is those persons from all eternity, but men take on those at Creation.
When man is created, since all things are created in the Son, he becomes son right from nothingness (or from dust if you will).
Then he is loved, he learns about love as he grows in Holiness (or in the Holy Spirit). This largely depends on his mother as the process of being loved starts at his creation/conception.
Last when he wants to love, he becomes father at an other moment of creation, that is the creation of his child.
This tells me that all human persons are ministries. Our ministry is to image God. We become ministers of what God is always. We BECOME but God IS always.

All this to teach us love which is also an other way of saying 'to teach us God'.
All this we received as gifts.
God gave us gifts to introduce himself who is the final gift.

How can you be a gift to someone who does not even exist?
You create him as a person for only a person can understand what a gift is.
But even for a person to understand it, he must be used to receiving gifts.
So you send gifts before you.
God surrounds us with gifts and through them we slowly get ready for him.

So slowly we learn to receive what God himself is for all eternity.
At the end when we are fully tuned to the template, it will be Heaven.
God is himself Heaven.
When we are perfectly in him, it will be perfectly in Heaven.

God bless!

Hopefully Back

Hmm! I have been away for a long time. However, I have been feeling inspired these days, so perhaps I am coming back...
This remains to be seen!