Here we go again… It turned out to be a long blog! Sorry…
“You” has nothing to do with you, the reader. Nothing! It has to do with my formation as an evangelizer. In this month of October with extraordinary dates honoring Our Lady and the Carmelite Order, I seemed to have found a way to “reform” myself, or better said, a way to be with the right disposition to be “reformed” by the Lord, as St. Teresa of Avila did for her Order. There is so much anger in the world, so much hatred, so much confusion, so much destruction of life, that I can see why God is calling some of us to a true URGENT renewal… and not just a retreat here and there; not just a few prayers here and there. In my case, it is as if my Father wants to turn me inside out in order to live at all cost a true Christian life … This month also commemorated the victory at Lepanto some ten centuries ago, and the beginning of the devotion to Our Lady of Victory as I found her parish in Lackawanna, NY (near Buffalo), when in the 1980’s I used to drive nearby in route to the Abbey of Genesee. I presume that He wants me to fight a victorious battle to refocus my attention into what has redemptive value for the world at large.
It was a great month in many ways. The new topic for this blog suddenly arrived like a thief in the night as you shall see. It all started on,
Monday, September 26.
I woke up with the symptoms of POTS being very evident, which is not every day, but often. I was suffering with depression or from oppression? More on it later. In the afternoon, my Mother gave me two readings to ponder on:
Isaiah 59: 1-4; 7a-8a; 14-16. Most of this chapter is full of meaning… and it describes our times. Read these excerpts:
“Lo, the hand of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. Rather, it is your crimes that separate you from your God. It is your sins that make Him hide His face, so that He will not hear you. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt; your lips speak falsehood, and your tongue utters deceit. No one brings suit justly, no one pleads truthfully; they trust in emptiness and tell lies; they conceive mischief and bring forth malice. Their feet run to evil; and they are quick to shed innocent blood (abortions?). The way of peace they know not, and there is nothing that is right in their paths.
“Right is repelled, and justice stands far off; for through stubbles in the public square, uprightness cannot enter. Honesty is lacking and the man who turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw this and was aggrieved that RIGHT DID NOT EXIST. He saw there was no one, and was appalled that there was none to intervene; so, His own arm brought about the victory, and His justice lent him support.
“’This is the covenant with them which I Myself have made,’ says the Lord: ‘My Spirit which is upon you and My words that I have put into your mouth shall never leave your mouth, nor the mouths of your children from now on and forever,’ says the Lord.”
These words are followed by the Prophet’s prophesying about the coming of the Redeemer in the following chapter.
1Sam 12: 22-24 – “For the sake of His own great name, the Lord will not abandon His people since the Lord Himself chose to make you His people. As for me, far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you and to teach you the good and right way.”
Late in the evening, I started understanding that our present times are photocopies of the past as described in Isaiah, and that Jesus was announced as the treatment for those days, and is the treatment for us. Suddenly, the oppression lifted…Satan’s action was suspected. More on it later… I also realized that since we have Jesus as the answer for our problems, it is my duty to follow Him closer and more radically than ever before. And right there I received the word “YO”, a way to remember to practice the Yes to God’s will and to Offer any suffering for the salvation of souls, as He did… And out of the blue I felt that “YO” would be the title of the blog… Days later, I understood that this title would be confusing since it means “I” in Spanish, and that it was probably more controversial as a title than YOU, Y for Yes and OU for Offering it Up…
As a child I was trained to offer up everything, although in those days I did not know that the offering had to be real, actual, and not just words… I did learn a lot with the teachings of this month which I will share with you. I have been practicing it all day long and they have brought extraordinary fruits! I am amazed and enthused…
Thursday, September 29.
On this day as I was preparing for a trip the following day to Birmingham, Alabama for a weekend family reunion, I was concerned about my health and the plane ride. POTS do not do well in a pressurized cabin as that of an airplane. Yet, the Lord was with me and I made it. And what I did not know was that I was going to spend a very special time in Alabama with my four sons. Of course, Satan was waiting to bug us because he hates to see families united as ours was in this occasion. As it turned out, my son Ernie had a minor traffic accident but it did not interfere with the plans for travel.
Friday, September 30.
I was able to do very well during the flights. My daughter-in-law from Omaha had looked into all the parishes near our hotel, and Our Lady of Sorrows was the closest (.9 miles away). Ahead of time I used the Internet to look for Mass times.
Saturday, October 1.
I was able to go to Mass on October 1, the feast of my Therese of Lissieux, another of my friends from my infancy. I liked this parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, which offers Perpetual Adoration. The hotel accommodations were delightful. My sons from Los Angeles and Omaha, NE arrived this day in the same flight, once they were by chance booked together from Atlanta to Birmingham. I was able to meet my third grandchild Antonio Martín María, by then almost 6 month old. What a beauty! My son Omar gave me a copy of the National Catholic Register ‘s edition for September 25-October 8th, which included his first article for this paper…titled “A Catholic Vision for Faith and Politics,” dealing with the voting issues for us Catholics. I loved it. Well, this meant that my son is also part of the EWTN family, since EWTN’s News, Inc. is the owner of this paper!!! It was also special that we were in EWTN’s territory coming from California and Nebraska, when I received this newspaper… God can be very funny!
Sunday, October 2nd.
That afternoon, the sons from Los Angeles and Omaha went back to their respective homes. We asked my oldest who had rented a car at the airport, to take us there as he returned his car. I had asked my son Ernie to rent a car to go and see the Eucharistic Jesus at His Shrine in Hanceville, where His infancy is also honored. Once at the airport, we walked quite a while to find the Hertz Co. since I have an AARP membership that deals with Hertz discounts, or so I thought… Yet, this took us almost 20 minutes since I had to walk slowly after a long day and my POTS illness was doing O.K. but not perfectly.
I was very surprised to learn that if we were to use my AARP card, we would pay about $215 versus $140 if we did not use the card…We had wasted our time since we could have rented an Avis car like my oldest son had. We made it to Hanceville, but exactly at the end of Benediction and the time lost made us miss it. We could only spend 15 minutes with Him and had to be out since the main gate of this property closes at 6 PM. Brother Leo was outside the Temple talking to some people.
I had been there in 2002, when I came from Mexico after visiting my Mother and asking her to give us a Republican pro life Senate so that we would stay away from mandating more damming pro-choice laws and also to confirm more pro-life Judges for the Supreme Court. I spent the election date of Tuesday Nov. 5, 2002 in Tepeyac. By the time I arrived in Houston on Nov.6, I learned that it had been so. So, when I visited the Divino Niño in Hanceville, I was able to thank Him and His Mom as well. Nine years later, I was back to see Him. This time, I asked for His blessings in order for me to offer sacrifice on a continuous basis, the sacrifice of my self-denial and a perfect yes to His will, and the sacrifice of any suffering in expiation for the sins of my brothers and sisters.
Monday, October 3rd.
During the entire weekend, my Lord was very quiet, and this is not unusual. The first thing I do in any hotel is to look for the Gideon’s Bible, and nothing was said until Monday morning before we were to go to the airport in route to Oakland. At 8:55 AM, I was given this Scripture in page 165 of the Gideon’s Bible.
Numbers 15. It describes the “laws on sacrifice” given by God to Moses. Although no moral guilt was incurred by an inadvertent violation of God’s commandments, the sanctity of the law would require some reparation even for such violations.
At 9:25 AM, I understood the great need I have to sacrifice in expiation for the sins of others, especially when the divine law that upholds the sanctity of life is broken so much. So, the constant offering of my suffering is very important and necessary for the good of others. Therefore, the first part is for me to be obedient to God at all cost (YES to His will), in order to earn the right to become a sacrifice for my brothers and sisters. At this point, the practice of “YOU” started to become a way of life. In the midst of so much love between our family members, it was apparent by this Monday morning that I had to turn around and be a servant to my brothers and sisters outside my family, and quietly but constantly expiate for sins.
The following days I chose to give Ernie my car so that he would not have to deal with the BART public transportation system to get to work. And so, I had time to digest the feast of love and unity of our little family while in Alabama of all places, and to think of St. Francis of Assissi and St. Faustina’s feast days.
Wed., October 5th.
Feast of St. Faustina. On this day I received from the Lord a call to check entry number 1276 of St. Faustina’s Diary.
“September 16, 1937. I wanted very much to make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament today, but God’s will was otherwise. At 8 PM I was seized with such violent pain for three hours; that is, until 11 PM. No medicine had any effect on me, and whatever I swallowed I threw up. At times, the pains caused me to lose consciousness. Jesus had me realize that in this way I took part in His Agony in the Garden, and the He Himself allowed these sufferings in order to offer reparation to God for the souls murdered in the wombs of wicked mothers. I have gone through these suffering three times now. They always start at 8 PM and last until 11 PM. No medicine can lessen these sufferings. When 11 PM comes, they cease by themselves, and I fall asleep at that moment.”
This was the greatest gift I could have received on this her feast day. There it was… It explained my maladies and the importance of offering them up as I take part in His Agony in the Garden, and all predetermined by Him in order for me to offer reparation for other souls… Wow! The practice of “YOU” made all the sense of the world… This particular feast also reminds me of the mother of my previous Bishop who was born on this date, was of Polish ancestry and her name was Helen as well. She died on the Feast of Divine Mercy! Hmm.
Thursday, October, 6.
World Congress on the Sacred Heart started today-
I could not go to Mass in my parish because I needed to give my car to my son until he would buy a new one. So, since I did not have to get up early, I decided to be up at 12:30 AM to see the re-run of the Benediction in Hanceville that I had missed. I got up from this computer at the local time of 5 AM, to be present for the Live Mass from EWTN. I also remembered that I had translated into Spanish the format for the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in Dioceses, and those documents were going to be passed around during this Congress. At 7 AM I had a strange meditation and I found myself thinking this:
In our Church, we have been totally wired to:
1. Discuss the Truth in a group setting.
2. Preach about it and about the Real Presence
3. Read about it over and over in the Bible and in theology books.
4. Proclaim the need to understand what the Sacrifice of the Mass is all about
5. Show special reverence for the Tabernacle because we know Jesus’ Real Presence is there, etc., etc.,
To do all of the above is simply excellent and it is very good and necessary, although in my estimation which lacks a hefty theology background, it offers a major drawback if we stay there – just in appreciation of the Real Presence and learning about the Truth, without living in our lives what we know. We have 2000 years of Christianity… We are different that all other religions because the founder of our Church was God Himself. We have had extraordinary Saints in all centuries that have taught us with their witness and preached to us using all kind of communications, and yet, the brutal last 100+ years with its extraordinary technology have beaten us… We still have millions of people who have not heard about Jesus or are atheists, and within our own, 2/3 of Catholics do not attend Sunday Mass on a regular basis.
But why is this? I suddenly understood (rightly or wrongly and God only knows) that we have organized ourselves, at least in the United States, with all kinds of ministries (and I have written about it before), and some decades ago I participated in many of them, but we do not change enough to change others… And this change is discussed all over the Word of God… So, in retreats and conferences and TV programs, we spend much time identifying what is wrong, what we are expected to do about it, but at the end, we are not radical in our own private lives. Yes, we need homilies to remind us what to do; we need to read the books of the Saints to get inspired by their heroic lives; we need to read the Scriptures on a daily basis; we need to be close to the Sacramental life to keep our souls cleaned enough to do whatever He tells us, but we end up with lip service and not clear lives of holiness. Converts come and at times are more active in doing what they have learned, but we insiders remain doing the same.
Last month, I was reminded that I have to attend the school of evangelization; so, many things were given to me in order to seek holiness of life. This month, I felt tired and “sick” of living out of the mind only and listening over and over to the problems we live, and not a life of the heart, of the spirit, when I must take action on this matter or else.
For example, once I know the doctrine and teaching of the Real Presence, if I do not “live” this Truth in my heart (not in my head), I am a joke. I may look clean in the outside by doing all that is required of me, but in the inside, I am crippled, an obstacle for others to believe in the Real Presence. Asking for the grace to live such a life of inner change and profound love for Jesus in the Eucharist is part of the grace to receive it. Last month, I wrote many ideas about how to pursue an ongoing inner Pentecost. This month, I became more determined to do so.
The Mass readings for this day were precious.
Malachi 3: 13-20b. “You have defied Me in word, says the Lord, yet you ask, ‘What have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is in vain to serve God, and what do we profit by keeping His command, and going about in penitential dress in awe (fear) of the Lord of Hosts? Rather, must we call the proud blessed; for indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity.’ Then, they who fear the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively; and a record book was written before Him of those who fear the Lord and trust in His Name. ‘And they shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of Hosts, ‘my own special possession, on the day I take action. And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked; between the one who serves God, and the one who does not serve Him. For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘But for you who fear My Name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays’.”
Psalm 1- Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night. He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does prospers…
Gospel – Luke 11: 5-13.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
My reflection: these are the times when I know that God is everywhere… If you wake up and start thinking about our Church, and shortly after, you hear a tremendous reassurance of what God can do if we just ask because He has promised it to us forever and ever, YOUR FAITH goes up like a beer poured in a glass… It was also very evident that if the just man sought God day and night, meditated in His Law (Word), did not follow the way of the wicked (the way of the world), that is, he obeyed it, then, he was heard by God attentively and whatever he did prospered. There was no doubt in my mind that at this point in the history of the world, where evil is accepted as good for the sake of the freedom to commit it, we must change our modus operandi…
I cannot tell others what to do… It will not work. It may resonate in souls but in a short while, they may become dissipated in their faith and lose their tenacity to fight the war against Satan. But what I can do, is to do my best to follow the Word of God, do all that He asks of me, love my brothers and sisters no matter what, and pray day and night with great persistence asking to receive every moment of my life the power of His Holy Spirit in a new way, plus for the tenacity to say the best possible “yes” to His will especially in moments of despair, of disillusion, offering up my battles for the sake of my brothers and sisters.
On this day, much was discussed in the media about Steve Jobs and his death. They played his talk at the June 12, 2005 commencement at Stanford U. These were some of the things he said, “If you live each day as it were your last, one day you will be right. — No one wants to die; even those who want to go to heaven do not want to be there early. (Unfortunately, that is not true for many of us.) Do not be hyped by dogma – or living what others have lived. – Know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Do what you believe is great work. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
His words were acclaimed as an INSPIRING MESSAGE. I realized that some people as intelligent as Steve Jobs, have come and have left and never knew what they missed… It was at the end of this lecture that I wondered, precisely on this day when many people were attending this Congress in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, His loving Heart, if we had here a combination of a new phone (4S – For Steve) and a possible (and I repeat possible) planned death by euthanasia!
Later, I found the results of his death certificate that read: “Cause of death: respiratory arrest because of pancreatic cancer.” In my experience, death by cancer is a progressive event. The patient is very ill for days and weeks, and finally, they enter a comatose state and die because all organs fail. However, if you are connected to a drip of morphine ( supposedly for pain reasons…!), morphine decreases the respiratory rate until the arrest occurs. All death involves the stopping of breathing, but the cause of death is usually the primary illness with a general organ failure, and not precisely due to cessation of lung function. I mention this because it meant a lot to me who met face to face euthanasia in a patient of mine …It is interesting that next week, Dr. Oz’ show will discuss what is our right to end our lives!
I asked myself, “Am I responsible for the death of my brother without him knowing Jesus?” In fact, he was not an atheist. As you know, he had a horrible beginning and was given in adoption. But he admitted to believe in God about 50% of the time… In his later years when confronted with death, he believed in God a little more… And the answer to my question is, yes, I am partially responsible. Had I paid attention to this beautiful soul who lived next to me in Palo Alto and had I thanked God for him, for creating him to produce so many gadgets of great value in our lives, there is no way that my prayer would not have been listened to… But at the end of this blog, you will learn about my whole experience of this month: that if I keep myself doing what I am supposed to do, God will place in my heart the needs of others. If He finds me as a good disciple, He uses me to help others.
On this date, my parish had started a Forty Hour Devotion, and I had my car back t go and do my Holy Hour from 8-9 PM. Driving at night poses a challenge with one bad eye… But, sacrifice was part of this Holy Hour, since it was offered for our Pastor and the making of major decisions for the parish regarding new buildings needed.
Friday, October 7.
The Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
I did two Holy Hours in late afternoon followed in the evening by the entire Congregation’s recitation of the Rosary and Benediction. My Mother was in the middle of these 40 Holy Hours, and I am sure that she will help my pastor who is a great Marian soul to begin with.
Saturday, October 8.
I did one Holy Hour before the Mass still as part of the 3 day Devotion and I understood about the power of Our Lady against Satan. Her yes was a “super yes,” complete, perfect, determined, ready to sacrifice for us in union with her Son until she died… We know that Jesus gave power to His disciples over demons and He even saw Satan fall!!!! (Luke 10). The practice of “YOU” is like that super yes… because the act of offering up the suffering around the present moment for which we are saying yes, is like re-affirming the yes in a super way; so, no matter what the suffering is, we say yes to it. When we say yes to the will of God but still complain or do it without liking what we are doing, this is a regular yes, and partially lip service. It is good but cannot fight Satan as much as when we say yes regardless of the suffering.
Satan cannot take our super yes. It is DISCIPLESHIP at its best or deny yourself (say yes to everything regardless of how you feel about it), embrace your cross (you do it by saying yes to it, and in doing so, you are able to offer it up for the good of others) and follow Him (you are doing exactly what Jesus did…!). In the mean time, it works against Satan… BUT AGAIN, I want to start repeating the same thing: if the practice of “YOU” is difficult or you forget, you ask Him for help… He will provide it ASAP…
Sunday, October 9th.
After Mass, my son and I always go to Whole Food Market (organic) and he buys his breakfast there. In the mean, this particular day I found Ebrahim Mohamed, an old homeless Egyptian man who happens to have a degree from a California college, and yet, he claims that his name is an impediment to find work. We became friends. I saw him again this past Sunday October 23, and he spoke to me in Spanish… Homeless people have a strange beauty in themselves. They are very attractive. Later in the month I met Denise Marie at the entrance of my parish, a 60 something homeless woman, Catholic and extremely sweet. They all remind me of my Mike Hagan, someone that I have written about before. I do not know how they do it… and spend their lives in the streets because we cannot accommodate their needs. I think at times of their need for bathroom facilities, and how hard it must be for them to plan their walking all over cities and find public bathrooms. Yet, I was never homeless and hardly thank God for it… Ouch
My son decided to use this day to buy a new car, after he had explored the Internet for what to buy. We ended up in Walnut Creek at Toyota; we found the most extraordinary car salesman ever… since I had to go with my son in my car in case he would find the car he needed and buy it and bring it home this same Sunday. I would have never guessed that there were honest car salesmen in California or any part of the U.S. But Mr. Chad N. Sebree was a gift from God and he and I discussed their reputation and he was emphatic about his desire to serve others without gimmicks. I had used the previous days to intercede for the new car and for the right salesman, and we found him. Wow! Prayer works!
Thursday, October 13.
What a day! As a Church we remembered the last apparition of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917 when the “miracle of the sun” occurred… I had my own miracle on this day.
It was early morning and Jesus asked me all about cooking a dish with Him but in meditation.
Jesus, “What do you want to cook? I will show you how to cook the dish of your salvation.”
I chose rice with beans. Actually, I gave Him the name in Spanish. We mix together rice and beans previously separately cooked and call it, “moro” in the Dominican Republic. In Costa Rica., we call it “gallo pinto.” None of the two words make any sense, although there must me some local history as to why the names…
I understood the following: I cannot cook the rice and beans in my head. I cannot eat rice and beans uncooked… Period! I need fire to cook the ingredients. So, in order to cook my salvation dish, I must truly trust in Jesus as I trust in the heat of my stove. So, how to apply this to my spiritual life?
1) I have to find the different recipes and choose the most attractive to me (my particular vocation).
2) I must get the ingredients together by going to whatever supermarket and get what I need (onions, garlic, salt, tomato paste, oil, cilantro plus rice and beans)
3) I must use one ingredient that I do not have to buy: water coming out of the sink (PRAYER)
4) I must place the black beans in water the night before. (Black beans are the delight of Cubans and Costa Ricans. Pinto beans are the delight for other countries like Dominican Republic and Panama…!)
5) I must plan to spend time cooking separately the rice and the beans first with two very different ways of doing it. Then, I can make the “moro” or “gallo pinto” by mixing them together.
Then, Jesus said, “When you are ready to cook the rice and beans, do you ever worry that the stove will not do its part?” I said, “Not at all. I never ever have worried or doubted that any stove I ever used would not do its part, even when a stove is old and could fail, except for a mechanical failure not encountered almost ever in our life time.”
Jesus, “Have you ever stop to think that without fire you will never be able to eat rice and beans? I answered, “I never did.” Jesus, “So, you trust the heat coming out of the stove so much that you never doubt it would make this meal for you?” I said, “It is so.” By now I was realizing that I had been so naïve for so many years… I had never paid attention to these facts, ever!
Jesus, “So it seems that you trust your stove more than you trust in the fire of My love for you! The recipe of your salvation needs special ingredients like you need for the dish you mentioned. Without those ingredients, there cannot be a “moro.” However, that is just part of the dish. In order to savor the meal you need the heat to cook them. Without Me you cannot do anything. However, you should trust in My love every day more. But I see you doubting that you have a specific call to accomplish. Why do you doubt my Words? Have I ever failed you in anything? Have I ever confused you, as you look back to your past years and look at the fruits? But even more importantly, your trust in the fire of My love that is constantly seeking ways for you to get to the Father’s house, should be so automatically present, that you should live saying “YES” to My will as a matter of fact. And because I came to this earth to give myself to be your “spiritual stove”, you should offer up any sufferings on behalf of those who are not convinced that I am part of the recipe that will render a delicious meal for the glory of God, for your salvation and that of others.”
In conclusion I came up with this thought: the ingredients for any recipe are varied, although ALL of them are crucial for the final taste of the dish. Within my vocation (different ones end up with different dishes), I must have prayer, study and prayerful reflection of the Word of God, service, use of my given talents and treasures and a determined determination to obey God’s mandates, especially those regarding love. These ingredients must be cooked with His Presence, with His Love as I seek Him day and night, in the Eucharist and in His images, my brothers and sisters. I must seek to relate to Him in a personal way, since without Him, all the ingredients may stay as such, good acts, great devotions, but not turned into hot meals to feed others as an evangelizer!!! I was amazed that I never had thought on those terms ever!
I went to noon Mass and early enough for my Holy Hour. In His Presence, I realized that this way of “YOU”, of saying yes to His will and offering up for the salvation of others, had rendered some fruits: 1) I noticed that I am loving people so much more… Stadiums full of people that enjoy seeing balls of all kinds move from place to place (soccer, American football, baseball), those humans beings bring me a great love and I find myself praying for God’s mercy for them like if I were a stove myself and wanted to cook them in His love. It is a very spontaneous unsolicited feeling that amazes me. 2) I am more attentive to my crosses. I enjoy kissing them, which means, accepting and LOVING them in word and inner feeling, as a sign of a “super yes” to His will as I offer them with great “gusto” for my brothers and sisters.
At 11:10 AM, I was sent to a page of my little Bible from my purse, and it was Matthew 26. He had asked three times His 3 disciples to watch with Him, and the same number of times He came back and found them asleep. The call for me was the same: “Watch with Me. Suffer with Me. Console Me by not rejecting your crosses, and on the contrary, by offering them up for this generation.” Then I was sent to Proverbs 4: “Hear, O children, a father’s instruction, BE ATTENTIVE, that you may gain understanding! “
I further understood that meditating in the life of Jesus (Mysteries of the Rosary especially those of His Passion), sends a message to my Father, reminding Him of the love of His Son for us, and at the same time, it begs my Father for mercy based on the merits of Jesus’ Passion. I realized that I need to do it because at the bottom of the Wall Street Protesters, Satan is manipulating ways to keep us divided and confused. When protestation asking for justice becomes violent, it loses justice and gains fear and hatred…
I came home to find the recyclable trash truck in my house. The Hispanic driver has been my friend for these 3 plus years. He always brings up the empty trash can to the door of the garage, so that I do not have to go out right away because we are in a cul-de-sac, and it may be in the way of the next door neighbors/friends’ garage exit. He found out about the 2001 Civic dented car and my son will give it to him, who needs it. He is Catholic and I learned that he attends a parish in nearby Concord. I had bought this car for my then medical student and our host for the weekend in Alabama, but after he graduated and went to Massachusetts General Hospital for his residency, he did not need it and it was sent from Toledo to my son Ernie, driven by my now theologian. Now, it will pass to another friend… Wow…
Friday, October 14.
1:10 PM. I was home and experiencing a tendency to expect the end of the present circumstances (illnesses, poor vision to write these blogs, etc.) and raising questions, possibilities, pros and cons. I sensed very clearly that a “yes” to even these moments of uncertainty, but a true yes, one that truly wanted to stay with the unknown future as the will of God for me at that moment, was essential to:
1. UNDERSTAND God’s ways, or that His ways are not mine, and accept that.
2. To receive the fortitude to go ahead day by day and remain resolute in my yes, even when the questions remain, some of which scare me from time to time.
3. But the most important of all, it’s to offer up any distress with the most perfect yes I can muster each present moment, because it becomes the most powerful redemptive love for neighbor possible. It becomes not just wishful thinking or a nice thing to do, but actually a merciful act, necessary to bring God’s mercy over souls in the power of the Holy Ghost. Satan cannot deal with it… Period…
Saturday, October 15. Feast of St. Teresa of Avila
I did not feel well at all with hi blood pressures. However I received much help from heaven, and I am sure that my childhood saint (St. Teresa) was interceding for me because I made it to Mass, and later was able to follow the Rosary in San Francisco via the Catholic local radio…So, in spirit I was present with them. Little was mentioned in the local media or newspapers about this event… but I do not blame them… I blame us who pray but without reformed lives. If Father Payton was able to engage Hollywood (Wow) and also bring a million souls to San Francisco to pray the Rosary, this same date and 50 years before, it speaks volumes that his holiness was evident… It was surreal because at the end of the Rosary, the radio station aired one decade of the Rosary prayed by Fr. Payton with Mother Teresa of Calcutta!!! What a pair and both in their journey for canonization… They still move mountains…
In the evening, EWTN aired a chapter of the DVD life of St. Teresa of Avila, and one of scenes caught my attention – St Teresa had asked to see St. John of the Cross while in Toledo in one of her new foundations, as he was planning to move from the Carmelite Order into a Cartusian monastery.
A couple of their statements called my attention. He said, “How dark is outside, but there is a fire inside!” St. Teresa: “We have to live without living on this earth.”
So, she asked him to desist of his plans to become a Cartusian monk and to help her reform the male side of the Calced Order. He looked at her with funny eyes, and she answered, “No me mire así como a un bicho raro!” which means, “Do not look at me as if I were a weird bug!” St. John started asking where would be the new monastery and other details… St. Teresa said, “How do I know? Did I know that I had to be here working as a carpenter (to upgrade the depilated quarters of the house that became the foundation in Toledo)? But give me an answer now…” With a smile he confirmed his acceptance. Again, another pair of beautiful souls!
It is amazing to see the trust these two had in God. They understood that it was God’s work, not theirs. They were just servants doing what had to be done to serve the Master. They knew that everything would work out for God’s glory and according to His purposes, and that was enough for them. They trusted the heat of the “stove” that would cook their reform, and sure enough, despite horrible persecutions and her many illnesses, the work was cooked with the fire of God.
Sunday, October 16.
The news brought a theme that calls for my “YOU”, even with more force. It said, “Catholic colleges at odds with federal plan. New rule require employees to cover contraception.” What bothered me the most is that WE CATHOLICS have the ways and means and power over all evil… ALL evil, and yet, we care so little that we have allowed this to happen. We are asleep… It always reminds me of the words of Jesus when He asked if He would find faith upon His return? I guess the answer is: yes, a faith that we church goers have fashioned in our own image, and we believe what is convenient to keep us looking devoted and “good” in the eyes of others, but not real disciples of the Man Who came to die for us… I thought much of St. Margaret Mary in her feast day, another of my childhood friends when I was called to her grade school for first grade, in order to sleep near Him Who was exposed perpetually. I still remember that her feast day was Oct. 17.
Monday, October 17.
My health was poor with the usual: hi blood pressure coming from a overpowering sympathetic system, not in balance with the vagal side to keep blood pressures in check. I needed to visit two supermarkets and I offered up the sacrifice since I did not feel well. Most of this day we heard about the horrible crash in a car racing event. In the afternoon I started pondering why we invent sports that are so crazy, so dangerous and lacking civility. A talented 35 year old driver with a family was killed…Have we become mad? But we allow it because we need entertainment while much money is made in the process…
On my visit to Alabama, my third son lent me a DVD/video of the Baptism of Antonio, his little baby. I have never seen a Baptism ceremony as this one. In fact, I did not know it could be possible. The wonderful Archbishop of Omaha, NE, Most Rev. George Lucas, gave me the most extraordinary gift on this day and did not know it. The younger pastor of the parish that Omar and family attend was a dream as well, organizing every step of this glorious moment. It happened last April 30th, on the eve of the Feast of Divine Mercy…!!! Hmm. And also, hours before my JPII would be declared Blessed… The last part of the ceremony included the consecration of the family to Our Lady of Trust, and I have written about her in past months, plus the PERSONAL CONSECRATION of Antonio to her, as the Archbishop raised this 3 week old baby and offered him to my Mother. What a scene!
Watching this ceremony was very healing to me. Here we have all kinds of ugly stories about our ministerial Priesthood, and yet, I saw a faithful man who is an Archbishop who has survived quite well and who agreed to baptize this baby. I saw goodness; I saw spiritual beauty in this man who showed a constant smile as he conducted this 20 minutes ceremony. The Holiness of the Church showed up big time. I have been praying with my community Rosary/Chaplet of Mercy for him and the Archdiocese as a whole, ever since Omar came to work there, even before he arrived as the new Archbishop. I will continue to bring him up to my Mom with more love and eagerness than ever. I have watched it three times so far… and many times I have thanked Jesus for founding the Church and for this Apostle.
Tuesday, October 18.
I saw a delightful program in EWTN from 1988. A pair of women delighted me so much. Another pair of souls: Mother Angelica and Babsie Blisdale. The latter started by saying the she was doing what she could to be available to God… (Wow… perfect statement). Then she spoke about the three talents we all are gifted with: memory, understanding (that God loves us) and will (to say yes to His will.) If we use them properly, we can enter the fullness of life and much hope for the new spring time for the Church.
She also said that the Holy Spirit cannot enter crafty souls, divided, wishy-washy, full of sin. And so, we must deal with our memories because the soul is the domain of the Spirit, and memories can render us spiritually handicapped. Israel kept grumbling and God sent quail and then manna, but they kept grumbling. So, God ordered an ephod to be made and said to Moses, “All who looks at it will be healed.” It represented the love and power of a love that forgives. And so, the memory is important to remind us of all that God has done for us, as He did for the Israelites. And we should often ask the Spirit to clean our memories.
With the understanding we choose to believe that God is behind all things. Mother Angelica explained how when she fell and hurt her spine, she understood it was for the use of many. She emphasized how we should be happy with suffering and take it as a gift. This suffering also came with the realization that she was sharing in the sufferings of Christ, and paraphrased the Scriptures: “Son as He was, He learned obedience through suffering.”
Babsie said, “Let what happen, happens and listen to the will of God. We miss the joy of the mountain top because we are complaining about our suffering. At birth we are gifted with memory, intellect (understanding) and will. In Baptism we get faith, hope and love, which allow the shining of our talents at birth.”
So, it was important that God led me to turn the television on by pure grace as this program started, and it was important because it had to do with my practice of “YOU.” But also because that same day, I heard that the famous actress Susan Sarandon was referring to the Pope saying, “But not this Nazi they have now.” Ouch…!!! What a lie! I must now ask for the gift to love Susan, place her name in my community Rosary/Chaplet of Mercy and offer up my sufferings for this soul.
Wednesday, October 19.
EWTN showed another chapter of the life of St. Teresa of Avila, another great example of how to suffer in order to spiritually reform any part of society, and in her case, the Carmelite Order of the XVI C. Spain. The scenes showed how she was mistreated by other nuns as she left the Incarnation Monastery. This series always reminds me of our family trip to Spain because at the end of each chapter, it shows the 1983 copyright. In early 1984, we were traveling through Spain when this series was being shown in Spain for the first time, and in some hotels, you could see it. This was the trip when from city to city we could not find hotels, and my Mother gifted us with miracles: a hotel near a church for me not to miss daily Mass… Amazing grace…
St. Teresa speaks of the need for us to cultivate the garden of our soul…and pay attention to the flowers of virtue, living in solitude taking care of the soul. “God lives among the pots and pans of the kitchen,” she used to say, denoting that holiness is available everywhere. She also said, “Mary stayed at the feet of Jesus because she already had washed them with her repentance.” There is a scene when a barber was bleeding a nun due to a high fever. I thanked God so much for having lived in the XX-XI centuries. And I even gained more respect for this saint of my childhood, St. Teresa, since she believed in God in circumstances that were soo difficult. She used to say that “her only luggage was faith…” She spoke of those missionaries who have left FOR San Francisco, CA… She wanted to come to the “Indies” so much… And now I am here… They showed how she would walk carrying very heavy packages over her shoulders as a form of sacrifice. It made it obvious to me that we cannot grow in holiness until we learn to make friends with our crosses.
Thursday, October 20.
This is the feast of St. Paul of the Cross, my great friend for some years, as I have narrated before (I have a church size image of him in storage, and he did not want to be sold or be given away as I left Toledo…) Of course, he came into my life by chance (rather by God’s will) and just before the Passion of the Christ movie was shown in 2004 and 2005, and which I was sent to see 22 times. And St. Paul is the founder of the Passionist Order… All these facts seem to call for me to live my own passions as Jesus did His… and that saints like St. Paul preached so much about.
On this date, Muammar Ghadaffi died. And of course, he was instrumental for our family to be stuck in Yugoslavia in December of 1988. He had ordered the destruction a Panam airplane over Scotland, on December 28. We were returning from Medjugorje on December 30. Huge numbers of flights had been canceled all over the world, and passengers stayed in airports for many hours. Our original reservations were scratched for obvious reasons. We ended up coming to the U.S.A. via Germany after huge numbers of passengers in Belgrade “fought” to get first to the main desk to book another flight and there were very few… In Europe they do what we do in Latin America: we do not like to be in line in cases like this one.
But God had a finger in this affair. Passing over Montreal from Frankfurt in route to Chicago (we lived in South Bend, IN), a two year old child started convulsing and I was sitting very near him. He had a hi fever and I was around to give him oxygen by mask with assisted breathing because a convulsion interrupts the normal breathing pattern and as we cooled him off. The baby was a Muslim. We were able to land in this busy Chicago O’Hare airport without delays, in order to send the child to be checked further because the parents were in route to California. Since we were tired with the delays in Belgrade, we certainly enjoyed the fast landing in a very congested airways traffic confusion due to Mr. Ghadaffi…
But, even that God placed this dictator in my conscious mind, my intellect, I never prayed for him until some 5 years ago, when I placed his name in my community Rosary list. Yet, I never felt love for this man, and my prayer was probably ineffectual. Ouch! What about if I had paid attention to this image of God who was so confused? This can easily prove how slow one grows in the spiritual life. If Jesus had been delayed in Yugoslavia by Ghadaffi, I am super sure He would have prayed for him with so much love…! These are the things in the garden of my soul that have not been properly watered and fertilized…
On this day, I was cooking and felt very depressed, or shall I say, oppressed. I started here to figure out that these oppressions are actually provided by the evil one… AND I FOUND A TRICK… Many times I have mentioned that these oppressions suddenly disappear… but I did not know why… On this day, I knew that I had not eaten anything to produce a true depression with low levels of serotonin. All along I had suspected Satan around… Yet, I finally found the “differential diagnosis” which means, how to tell if it is from Satan. Well, if I follow the practice of “YOU” and say yes to the oppression, accept it, embrace it and turn around to offer it up for the salvation of souls, it disappears as if by magic…Just imagine the number of times that any of us feel frustrated, sad, questioning the present moment and even complaining about it under a cloud of sadness… Now I know that many times this is not part of my brain activity at all or due to any chemical imbalance, as I suffer when I eat products with carrageenan or aspartame. The spiritual oppression brought by Satan and allowed by God has a cure: obedience to God’s will united to the love of neighbor by offering it for their salvation. Satan runs like crazy and abandons his post… Please, NEVER forget this point. I suspect that this is his modus operandi that could even drive a non religious soul to commit suicide! I felt that this understanding coming on the feast of my Passionist friend, St. Paul of the Cross, was his gift of intercession for me. There is nothing like the “Communion of Saints”, our family who already made it and who looks after us. What a Church we have… It is very well designed.
Other examples of the practice of “YOU” applied to other areas of my life.
1) Every time that I pray for whatever I need for me or my boys and family, if I find myself praying with some anxiety, every time my Mother comes to remind me that I am wasting my time and disrespecting God by not trusting in His mercy. It is only required of me that I believe in His love, which I do by saying yes to His will for every moment, and participating in the salvation of souls as I offer whatever suffering that this will of His provides in that moment. This seals the deal. My family is automatically shielded with His mercy. He will turn all bad things into good for them and me. It is discipleship lived moment to moment that isolates me and them from the evil one, and what I lived in Birmingham, Alabama, will always be a reminder of this fact. We were one in love, respect and happiness for each other’s presence.
2) Also, when called to do whatever for the Kingdom, even when it looks strange, I cannot fret regarding if I am hearing well or if I am confused or lied to by my own flesh or the devil. My practice of “YOU” will suffice to keep me in the right track, and what it is not from God, will die in my heart and mind with no problem. Satan cannot enter my mind. My flesh will not confuse me. On this day, the Holy Spirit had given me a splendid gift of understanding and knowledge that I needed badly. Just imagine that this YES of Our Mother brought Jesus to this world. Our obedience to God, which is a show of great faith and hope in his love and mercy, has the power to protect our souls and opens them wide for the Holy Spirit to reign…!
I thought how I wished I could sneak in seminaries and pass this info to future priests. They would be able to build spiritual fortresses around them and not fall to the temptations of their flesh and the evil one when their priestly duties may tire them physically, and Satan uses the time to harass them with oppression…
3) Even further, there was something else I could do with the practice of “YOU.” I was talking to my Mother and asking her precisely how to penetrate the lives of all Priests and give them these tips. She replied, “You do not have to even know how to do it. Your yes to God’s will if followed with determination and love for the Priesthood, does it all! The more you climb the stair of self-denial and center your thoughts and will in Gods’ agenda and say Yes to everything He asks of you, that much more He opens the doors of souls, close doors of temptation, opens the windows of souls to rest in His mercy, etc. This yes is always redemptive. Also remember that this relationship of daughter/Father only grows in the cross of forgetting about yourself and your wants and needs and saying yes to all your Father wants of you.”
“Always expect persecution with a huge yes for it in your heart. Remember the past: many good people saw your witness and resented it because it reminded them of where they are not at. Expect always this challenges but understanding them, who are not truly saying yes to God’s will but do not know it, and offer up the pain they give you for their own good. In these cases, Satan flees very fast as well because you turned the tables on him. He does not want you to suffer their lack of love for you, so that you do not use it for their own good! Get used to the idea that you are always on this earth visiting souls by announcing the Good News through the Holy Spirit via your Yes to God’s will. The power of your Yes is immensurable and well depicted in the Scriptures.”
Friday, October 21.
There was a program in secular TV about a family of dwarfs or little people as they refer to themselves. Children with dwarfism are denied of educational opportunities. Sleep apnea is very common in them even that they are not overweight. They had six children and the mother said, “God does not make mistakes. He just makes some of us shorter and nothing that we could not handle.” They had shown how they have step stools all over the home, since they chose to live in a regular home where the kitchen cabinets are too hi, and even for cooking, she has to use a stool. She needs to use some tongues to retrieve the clothes from the washing machine and move them to the dryer. I felt deep pain. I have NEVER, ever thanked God for being 5 feet 4 inches tall… I just took it for granted…
Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial has been shown here and there. The use of Propofol is familiar to me. We stopped using sodium pentothal or so called, truth serum, about the early 90’s. In fact, were I to need a general anesthetic, I would have to choose a hospital where they could give me the least amount of anesthetic gases (because of the fluoride) and choose to drip propofol as the main anesthetic. It is an art to do so because it is very conducive to the patient to be “too light” or able to hear sounds around and unable to move or say anything. I became good with this technique because I used it for plastic surgeries that lasted 8-10 hours… We needed the patients to be wide awake at the end of so many hours and without coughing as we pulled the endotracheal tube out in order not to disrupt “tummy tucks” or a face lifting, and Propofol was the way. I would not trust just any anesthesiologist with this technique. It grows into your brain and you become good at it with time.
Propofol is a powerful anesthetic and I even used it for babies, may be an 8 month old who had problems with feeding, unable to keep the milk down. We would take them to the X-Ray department at the Toledo Hospital and I would paste my long stethoscope in their chests to check their breathing, plus have them well monitored with an EKG machine. I would give 5 and 10 milligrams at the time via an intravenous as the gastroenterologist would look into their esophagus and stomach. The baby would be asleep, yet very ready to be awakened, and I would be far away from their airway since the GI doc was using a gastroscope through their mouths and esophagus to peek into their tummies. It is an art, like cooking is; one has to give enough propofol for the GI doc to do his part, and yet, not much so that the baby would not stop breathing because I did not have access to their mouth and nose for assisted breathing. So, it gives me pain to see Dr. Murray fall into the use of an anesthetic for which he has not been trained. But it has been also a call for me to understand how we make mistakes, big mistakes in the spiritual life, and we can finish with the lives of many souls…by omission or commission.
Saturday, October 22.
Memorial feast of Blessed JPII. My Pastor made a great point for his homily about the story of the fig tree. It was a reflection on how serious we can take this Gospel message and think how much fruit we should render on each particular year of our lives.
Sunday, October 23.
After receiving Communion, I understood very clearly that my super YES, or yes to God’s will and acceptance of the crosses involved with that yes, will draw graces needed to evangelize many! In the afternoon, I was led to read John 12:27 where Jesus said, “I am troubled now. Yet, what should I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’BUT IT WAS FOR THIS PURPOSE that I came to this hour.” It became very clear that Jesus knew what the “yes” to the will of His Father would mean; however, the greater purpose of this yes was the salvation of the entire world…
It was also abundantly clear for me and more than ever… that the death of my wants and desires and my refusal to be troubled by what it is ahead, or my super yes to God’s will, does have a purpose for my life because it allows me to live the purpose assigned to me when I was created, and it will guarantee that His love and justice will bless me and all I do. Even more, God will take over with all the fury of His love for me and so many others.
Monday, October 24.
On this day, and early before noon Mass, prayer was at the center of my intellect with the Holy Spirit explaining many things to me. I understood that prayer can be compared to a bullet sent to the Heart of Jesus. But all bullets need to be sent via a gun… This gun or the power behind the bullet of my prayers is my dedication to Trust God in everything and for everything. But the question is, “How can I show Him that I trust Him?” With words? Nah! Lip service always needs something else… With actions? Yes! But what actions? Love is the only proof that I trust in God. Love for Him and love for my neighbor. And it is obvious that I must constantly show God this double love, and the practice of “YOU” is the answer at least for me. As much as I do it, that much I get purified, and my TRUST, becomes the gun that carries the bullet of my prayer to the HEART of JESUS, and His love and mercy flows day and night in so many ways. The rest is history. He takes care of every detail…
My recent trip to Alabama, where I went to feel the love of these four sons among each other, especially of the one who invited us there, my “baby” son, who paid for all the expenses of my theologian son and family because he earns less, is an example of how God acts in our lives, if we simply dedicate them to serve Him in every possible way. And one of the personal fruits is how my trust in Him (or faith without fear) has grown even in the last 3 weeks. I do not have to memorize how to get to God. No do’s and don’ts… Of course, I already spent many years going over them; yet, this knowledge without my will being subjected to His, at the end means little in terms of the fruits obtained. So, I am practicing “YOU” in many ways. Here are some examples:
1. When I present to Him a problem to be solved, I now have the certitude that He will answer it with the most perfect answer, no matter what the answer may be, if I but show Him love with my unconditional yes to whatever He wants and my offering of whatever suffering. This way, I will not obstruct his action in my life nor delay it.
2. I also have lost the tendency to offer my ideas to fix the problem. I have become certain that I need not to even think of how it will be fixed or when. I know that I know that it will be so in His most perfect time and for the salvation of all involved.
3. The more I see these radical changes in my soul, that much more I keep fixed in practicing a most perfect super YES and offering up all suffering related to the each moment for others. It helps me along the way!
4. As a consequence, it is obvious to me that I have learned a method of how to grow in my personal relationship with God the Son. There is an exchange of trust. He trusts me more in the work of evangelization. I trust Him so much more that even in the middle of crosses (my left eye, for example, making the writing of this blog a true cross…), I rejoice for them as means to know Him better and to grow in my love for Him, so that I can experience an ongoing Pentecost for the sake of the salvation of souls.
5. The practice of YOU is an act of mercy for my brothers and sisters, for it shoots my prayer to His Heart, through my Rosaries, chaplets of mercy, Holy Mass, etc., which in turn, taps His mercy for others. This gun of YOU is so powerful because it consists of love of God and love of neighbor and it can penetrate the hardest of hearts via the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is interesting that I had planned to go to Whole Food Store in Walnut Creek before the noon Mass. I left the store in route to church and got lost because I took a wrong turn. This led me to pass by a Planned Parenthood center… just TWO BLOCKS from my parish… I did not know it was so close…And it was then obvious that this happened so that I would keep this center in my prayers and I offered the Mass for the souls who service it, plus all the mothers that were to enter the place on this day. I have been praying for them ever since.
Wednesday, October 26.
We have heard of many earthquakes as of late. About 4 days ago I lived two of them while sitting in my room, a 4.0 and 3.9 in the Richter Scale. The following day, two smalls ones were felt. Turkey had a major one. Also on this day of Oct. 26, another one was felt in nearby Danville and around 9:30 PM, my room shook and moved somewhat!!! We are fools if we do not read the signs of the times. But am I ready for the coming of the Master who predicted all that is going on today?
I realized when I thought of the previous question that if I practice “YOU” as often as needed and all day long, any prayer I say finds me in steadfastness in my relationship with the God of life (or READY)…and carries the bullet of my prayer to His Merciful Heart, and I can just rest because the victory is mine. Satan cannot do anything. The World cannot contaminate me as much. My flesh will be sanctified to only do and say and think what gives glory to God! The Holy Spirit will reign in my inner temple because it finds it clean, in order, without using it to sell my ego to the world since this temple is a house of prayer…And I will be on evangelization mode… It will be a fairly neat conduit to bring Him to others and will not need to find “ways”, methods, ideas to bring the Gospel to my brothers and sisters. Nor I have to spend time trying to opinionate of the many maladies going on and the why of them. My “operational” loving mode status begs for His mercy and things happen.
Sometimes, some Catholics, especially our Priests, do not need to read more and learn more. They know it all. They only NEED to see holiness of life and by seeing more faith around, they will keep closer to the Crucified. Some of us need to remember that we need to become yeast to make the flour rise, become bread and feed many…And ALSO, I will be able to answer the call of Our Lady in her September message.
Medjugorje, Message of September 25, 2011
“Dear children! I call you, for this time to be for all of you, a time of witnessing. You, who live in the love of God and have experienced His gifts, witness them with your words and life that they may be for the joy and encouragement to others in faith. I am with you and incessantly intercede before God for all of you that your faith may always be alive and joyful, and in the love of God. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Thursday, October 27.
I have been very behind in writing this blog. In fact, I asked a cleric friend of mine to help me with his intercession for this particular blog. My left eye does not bother me much when I am writing because I use large lettering to avoid straining much. It is the reading of notes I have made in my journal or of Bible passages that makes the vision of my right eye get blurred by the left eye’s problems. So, I tend to close the bad one and my left side of the face gets tired of the effort. I even tried taping the left eye shut, but it felt strange, uncomfortable. All along, I keep remembering the words of King David when he decided to buy a piece of land to dedicate it to the Lord, and the owner wanted to give it to him, to which he said, “No, I must pay for it. It must cost me something.” Anyway, the writing of this blog is costing me some… for His glory, and my bad eye gets me behind because I must stop here and there just to rest the good eye. But all bad things, God turns them into good for those who love Him… A few things happened today, in these last hours of finishing the blog, and they are very interesting.
1. AOL had this today in their news:
Atheists make embarrassing mistake: A billboard in Costa Mesa, Calif., is getting some attention, but it’s certainly not the kind its sponsors were hoping for. (I know Costa Mesa quite well because it was very near Manhattan Beach, near Los Angeles, where I came as an exchange student a ton of years ago!)
The sign, paid for by atheist group Backyard Skeptics, includes a quote about Christianity attributed to Thomas Jefferson. But further research reveals there’s no solid evidence that Jefferson ever uttered or wrote the words. The bill board includes a picture of Jefferson with the quote: "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology."
Experts at the Jefferson Library Collection at Monticello are constantly asked about the quote. Some say the former president wrote the words in a letter to a Dr. Wood, but officials cannot find trace of any correspondence to a person by that name.
Bruce Gleason, a member of the group, told the Orange County Register that he should have done a bit more research before putting the words on the sign. The billboard was unveiled on Wednesday, the newspaper reports. Gleason explained that purpose of this sign and others around the city was to “expunge the myth that this is a Christian nation,” as well as to “share the idea that you can be good and do good without a religion or a god.” End of quote from AOL.
Well, what they do not know is that they are missing tons of fun. When I went to Mass this mid day, I was tired. I had worked on this blog from 12:30 AM until 5 AM, when I stopped to watch the EWTN LIVE Mass. Yet, I knew my God wanted me in my own parish. My Mother always says to me, “Going or not to Mass is not negotiable. Only when you are very sick, you should miss this moment of grace of being one with my Son for some minutes of your existence.” She is always reminding me of it. So, I went, got there by 11:10 AM, we chatted for a while and I said the family Rosary. Because I was tired… I kept saying: “Yes, it is pleasure to do Your will and be here even when I would love to be home resting. And this tiredness I offer it up for all my brothers and sisters, and most especially for Priests.” The more I kept saying it, that much more I had a joy that I did not know what to do with it…
This is exactly what these atheists are missing, but we are super responsible for them not knowing of this love of this God… This joy, as I experienced it today, you cannot manufacture, imagine, make up, or think you have it… It is supernatural, which means that God is!!!
2. Then, when I came out of church, a lady who is a known person to me for almost 2 years, said, “You look so beautiful… What have you done to yourself?” I told her that it must be my life as a vegetarian for two months, and by the way, vegetarianism (or may be God Himself) has totally taken away my desire for any meat. I cannot even stand to think about it. This in turn is a problem because for Lent, I will not suffer to abstain from meat of Friday’s. Suddenly, as I left this friend, I thought, “Could it be that this joy of today was even “transfiguring” my external looks?”
3. Also on this day and by pure chance, I found a program in Fox Cable News where they were talking about how the Moslem Community in D.C. is complaining that the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., a private Catholic university, is not accommodating the Moslems for their prayer time. They need their own space. It cannot be in empty classrooms because a picture of Jesus and a Crucifix are in the walls of all classrooms. The Moslem representative could not substantiate their needs with what the U.S. Constitution stands for, and yet, he was complaining about it. It was a call for a private Catholic institution to take away all signs of Catholicity in order serve the Moslem faith… The point was made that if any Moslem attending was uncomfortable, to choose a different university, and yet, it was like speaking Chinese.
THIS PROGRAM was vital for me to see… We are getting into arguments that seem stupid and unfair, and yet, ultimately, we can do so much through the power of God, but we keep forgetting that we must be reformed first, so that God can act as He did in the times of Israel and the Arabs of those days. It is the same old song… This stance against Catholic University is simply a temptation from Satan to the Moslems… and yet the victory is ours if we so choose…
4. Here is another piece of news and it is good news versus the previous three points… and it is proof that the Holy Spirit is very active as we speak. While in Toledo, I met a girl from South America who at the time was getting her degree in Architecture from the University of Toledo, and if you watch any American football, you see how ESPN places Toledo among the contenders. They have a fabulous college football team for a relative small city. This girl was and is a dream of a soul. In those days she was 22 or 23, and I would find her often in the Blessed Sacrament chapel in this parish that I attended. She found the spirituality of Fr. Gobi when she was about 12, if I remember correctly, and also my Mother is one of her stars as she was for Fr. Gobi. She also likes to sing and from Toledo she moved to Los Angeles to pursuit a singing career, yet always very religious. Her family is super rich and her father can give her many things.
Our Toledo common friends are always asking me for her. So, she and I finally got together via emails and she wrote that she has been in her native country for a year; she is not married nor want to be until she finishes her dream of releasing a CD. She stills keeps her apartment in Los Angeles, and here are a few of the messages received today from her that will tell you that the Church and her peccadilloes will not throw some of us away… and no matter what. This is another answer to the atheists, where you will find out what a holy beautiful woman can do because of God’s grace!…And if so, God exists, period… Here are some excerpts received today:
Spanish for the sake of those who read this and are not truly bilingual: Sí se han presentado trabas en el camino, ha sido un año bastante duro espiritualmente, no porque no ame a Dios, sino porque he tenido la oportunidad de que se me quitase una venda de los ojos, y de salir de mi burbuja. Si hay gente mala en este mundo y que hace daño a propósito, pero gracias a Dios también he visto y conocido gente BUENA, de buena voluntad, Católicos o no igual me han ayudado a que no se me endurezca el corazón, a poder ver el bien que Dios ha puesto en cada uno de nosotros, a amar en todo el sentido de la palabra.
Translation: I have experienced some obstacles in the road, and spiritually it has been a hard year, not because I do no love God, but because I have had the opportunity to lose the bandage I had on my eyes, and to come out of a bubble. Yes, there are bad people in this world and who do damage on purpose, but thanks be to God that I have seen and known GOOD people, of good will, Catholics or not who equally have helped me not to harden my heart, to be able to see the good that God has placed in each one of us, to love in the broad sense of the word.
Spanish: La codicia degenera el alma, no el dinero porque uno puede tener dinero sin tener codicia… y si he conocido a una que otra persona en este medio que tiene esa aberración, ese pecado capital tatuado en el alma. Hay que rezar, y sobre todo, hay que hablar con la vida.
Translation: Greed perverts the soul, not the money because one can have money without being greedy… and yes, I have met a few persons in this media who suffer this aberration, this capital sin that has been tattooed in the soul.
Spanish: Mi sobrinita tiene 6 años, y la semana pasada me hablaba de como "el mundo es el corazón de Dios". Eh ahí un gran ser en un cuerpito de 6 años, ella es infinita, me hablaba su alma.
Translation: My little niece is 6 years old, and last week she said to me that “the world is the heart of God!” There we have a great being in a small body; she is infinite, and her soul was talking to me.
(Talking about marriage she said,) Estoy a punto de lanzar mi primer sencillo musical, con mucha fé, oración y entrega espero que se haga antes de fin de año. Ese es el sueño por cumplir de este momento, ya formaré una familia en el futuro cuando Dios disponga. Eso es todo de mi parte
Translation: I am ready to release my first single, with great faith, prayer and dedication. I hope it will happen at the end of this year. This is the dream to be completed for this moment; in time in the future, I will form a family when God so desires it. This concludes my personal news.
Spanish: A ratos entiendo a las personas que se decepcionan de la Iglesia, aunque ahí la culpable no es la Iglesia sino algunas personas que se involucran en ella… como alguien que acá conozco que predica amor, que predica humildad, pero que lleva su fé hasta un punto casi supersticioso y aconseja a las personas que si siguen sus sueños y se dedican a algo con mucha vehemencia se van a alejar de Dios… pero María, en mi caso, Dios me dió el sueño de cantar, Dios me dió la gracia de cantar, y finalmente, Dios me ha proporcionado de muchas maneras los medios… pero claro, yo no me alejo de la iglesia porque haya alguien que hable así, o me hable así indirectamente, PERO, por eso le digo, es una pena que a veces personas así causen que otros se alejen. Hay que rezar por ellos, por los alejados y por los que HACEN que otros se alejen… y por aquellos que buscan excusas para dejar de escuchar en su corazón al Señor.
Translation: At times I understand the people that get disappointed with the Church, although in this case the Church is not culpable, but some persons that form part of it… like someone here that I know who preaches love, humility, but who takes the faith to a point of superstition and counsels people that if they follow their dreams and if they dedicate themselves to something with vehemence, they are going to leave God… But Maria, in my case, God gave me the dream to sing, God gave me the grace to sing, and finally, God has provided in many ways the possibilities… but of course, I do not stay away from the Church just because of the person who says those things, or who speaks to me indirectly, BUT, that is why I tell you, it is a shame that some people be responsible for having others leave the Church. We have to pray for them, for the ones who have left the Church, for those who MAKE others leave.., and for those who look for excuses to stop listening to the Lord in their heart.
In her bilingual website, www.susanabarbery.com, it says that “She composed her first song at age 14, which it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.” Physically, she is a beautiful woman and a holy woman. I have given you much detail with this story because I suspect that your faith will grow when you see what God is doing in this difficult world of ours with beautiful women like this one and most especially with several recent scandals in the Church. In fact, today’s communication has given me much hope. It is possible that she is referring to the counsel from a priest, but even on this personal message, she abstains from identifying the person…
In summary, my daily life consists of this:
1.When I want to know what is next for these blogs, since writing them puts too much strain in my good eye, I “YOU” (made up a new verb). I say yes not to know and offer up my health issues for other souls, especially for the ministerial Priesthood.
2. When I want to know how is He going to resolve my health issues, I “YOU.” I say yes to my illnesses and offer up the suffering involved and refuse to think about it anymore.
3. When I desire to just hide in church in front of His Presence, I “YOU.” I say yes to keep doing whatever He tells me, and to do even major things in the future regarding the Kingdom.
4. When I need to attend early 6:30 AM Mass and I have to deal with a very dark outside ride in a very congested, aggressive traffic expressway, where one thinks at times it is a Nascar car race, I accept the challenge, say yes to that present moment and offer up the suffering involved in not seeing perfectly which gets much worse with a partially blind left eye in the darkness of the road. Even in the recent past, I would offer some resistance to accept this reality, and would think of the injustice of being forced to drive to a distant parish, when I could have found another one and much closer…! Not anymore.
5. When I hear of more scandals in our Church and as it has happened in recent weeks, I now say yes to the disillusion and pain and actual nausea, and turn around and offer it up for those involved in this problem.
It is fascinating to have learned that the more I deny myself and embrace what is at every moment, that much I feel free… peaceful, tranquil and fulfilled. I am sure that the practice of “YOU” will shortcut my memorizing of what to do to cooperate in the work of the Kingdom. I could spend my entire life reading books forever without realizing that at some point, I have to emulate what it is written in the life of every saint. INSTEAD, I am now choosing to keep myself at Calvary, next to Him, doing what He did, saying yes to the will of the Father and suffering for the redemption of all of us. This will deepen my personal intimacy with the Crucified, and when I am doing other ordinary things that are part of daily life, I can be with Him at the foot of His Cross being part of His Passion. I will preach the Gospel without words, but in His time, with His love and to bring His mercy to others.
One more point: I am now fairly convinced that Satan has many magic plans to confuse us and to DECEIVE us with lies. For us very religious people, we know we are trying hard and we know we are in a strong spiritual position, but of course, we are comparing ourselves with the rest of the Church goers. We hardly compare ourselves on a routine basis with the Saints in heaven, and we get contented with just reading their lives. The truth of what we are (respectable religious people) places us in a comfortable state of mind and forget that we need to be undergoing a spiritual reform every hour on the hour, without becoming obsessive about it. We forget that may be God wants us to make some noise with our lives, not as much for the ones who live dissipated lives, but for those who are running the race like we are. These times are very special… We are killing more human beings than in any other period of our existence since Adam and Eve. The disobedience to God’s laws has become the norm of the entire world. The ministerial Priesthood has seen the worse plague of horrible crimes committed against children… The sense of sin as described by a previous Pope has lost its meaning. Sin has been redefined as rights and choices.
A few of us, whether in the consecrated life or laity have been spared from the most part of such extreme blind state. So, because much has been given to us, much should be required of us. When Vatican II Council wrote about the call to holiness for everyone, this was not just something good in the agenda of those Fathers of the Church that decided to do so. This was a prophetic message for these times from the Holy Ghost. We need saints NOW and living among us. We cannot make ourselves saints but God can if we allow Him to do so. We should be having retreat after retreat as to how to direct our lives into this daily life that foments openness to holiness today. We do not need tons of sinful people to seek holiness as our bodies seek oxygen to survive. It could suffice with a few of us who still try to keep the commandments and show up in church at least every Sunday; BUT in our case we have to get going.
We must start witnessing the action in our lives of this God of love Who is into everything; His funniness, His glory among us which translates into joy and peace and hope in the midst of this mess. We must take seriously the call to live our daily sufferings with the same ardor He had to walk to Calvary and die on a Cross, and do it FOR THE SAKE OF THE OTHER GROUP, those who deny Him, ignore Him or have adapted His teaching to their liking. WE CANNOT be cold or warm about this… The times demand of us a furious reform of our lives, and when living this way, it demands that we pray constantly for the sake of all souls. He will listen… He said it in Isaiah 59 that He found no one doing anything about it. So, God sent His only Son and can send us today on His behalf.
Now, we, Baptized and Confirmed in the POWER of His own Spirit, we can do it; YES WE CAN… but talking through the witness of our reformed lives, being conformed to Him Who came to show us the way, the Truth and the life. Personally, I feel like an idiot because yes, I have been running this race, but because of much grace, and not really because I was doing it with a determined determination to SERVE God with my life for the sake of others.
Now, if you read this last statement, I hold you responsible to take serious action and reform yourself into even a better disciple, compared to last month. And when you get to your personal judgment at the end of your earthly life, you have no excuses in His Presence that you did not understand this matter. This is a subpoena to render Cesar what is Cesar’s and to God what is God’s… When you are stuck in what to do and how, ask for help. PRAY in season and out season for His mercy and He will run to pour it over you… We cannot invent either new programs of holiness. Holiness is how we live each present moment, in His Presence, saying the Yes of Our Lady, suffering as He did and offering it up for the rest of the world. Then, Jesus runs with our “sacrifice” and presents it to the Father Who will shower us with more personal holiness and will win spiritual battles in those who deny God and who worship other gods.
Thank you to those who have prayed for my health. At times I think that may be God has to produce a secretary/assistant to write the actual blog, because besides my eye, my bilateral carpal tunnel syndromes, or fibrosis (hardening) around the median nerve at the level of each wrist, have taken a turn for the worse, and it does not agree with my typing… My right hand becomes slightly numbed and painful… At times I think that it may very well be that these blogs are coming to an end, although the site is paid until Oct. of 2012. It may also be that He does not need me my services any longer… We shall see! In any case, have a very blessed Thanksgiving celebration.