Change of Address

I hit my lowest point last week — I got extremely sick with a stomach bug. It came on without warning and left me bedridden for over 48 hours. It came on so quickly, I had to resort to something I never imagined doing, I threw up on the side of the road. It was humiliating and dehumanizing. It was an immense reality check. I have been living in New York for almost a year now and I thought I was doing pretty well taking care of myself. I had figured out laundry, grocery shopping, working, and monthly bills, yet there I was completely unprepared. I had nothing in my apartment for a stomach bug and I was so weak I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get any of the stuff. All I can really remember is falling into my bed and falling asleep. I woke up around midnight and I think I threw up again. I knew I needed to get some food and liquid in me because I didn’t want to get dehydrated. The benefit of New York is that there are so many 24-hour grocery stores within blocks of your apartment. I was able to make my way out of my apartment and pick up ginger ale, some crackers, and jam for toast. The next 48 hours were truly a test of strength, endurance and faith in the Lord. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep anything down and I was on the verge of severe dehydration. Immense fear came over me in the realization that I was all alone and I could barely get out of bed. I couldn’t take care of myself.

The Lord truly answers His children’s call right at the moment of need. Mere seconds after I came to the realization that I might need to go to the hospital, the Lord relieved all my discomfort. Suddenly, I had an appetite again. I had survived my first real illness on my own but the only reason I survived was because of my Heavenly Father. He took care of me. It was a big wake up call for me and once again called me to re-evaluate: what was I doing here? I lost my humanity, I truly hated how low I went and I really did not like the feeling of knowing that there was no-one I could call on for help. I do have friends that I am sure would have come and helped, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking them to take care of me — that is not their responsibility. I needed family, which brought me to realize how much I miss my family and how much I rely on them. I do believe this is one of the reasons the Lord brought me to New York in the first place, to learn to rely on Him instead of my family.

Through this entire process I was once again reminded of how differently people live in New York. I felt dehumanized by throwing up on the street, yet I am constantly seeing people go to the bathroom on the streets all the time. One of my regular customers who I see often at work came to me the other day extremely excited because she was finally moving out of her parents’ house. This came as a great surprise to me because she always comes across as being so put together, she shops at a high end grocery store on the upper east side. I would have never guessed she was still reliant on her parents.

Are we all just faking it until we make it? I have often referred to New York as Wonderland and I fell down the rabbit hole. Everything is upside-down, inside-out and nothing is as it seems. While I might feel as though I am losing my humanity in this new reality, I might be becoming more human. To wrap up, here I am feeling degraded, angry and frustrated. I have no idea what I am doing or what I am supposed to do next and most of all I have no desire to stay in New York for another minute. So what do I do? I officially register for a change of address at the Post Office! What is even more crazy is that it actually felt right. God has a strange way of doing things. I place my trust in Him.

Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: PD-US

The Apostolic Priesthood

It is very critical that Jesus specially commissioned His Apostles to become shepherds to the people, instructing them to not only spread the good news, but to teach, heal and exorcise (c.f. Mk 6:7-8). What we’re seeing here is something wonderful: the birth of the Apostolic Priesthood (see Jer 23:4).

I once had a conversation with a good friend, where I remembered telling her that it is not the individual ‘priests’ that I adore, but the ‘priesthood’. It is the Sacred Office bestowed by Jesus that has survived through the ages which gives me the assurance that the Catholic Church is Apostolic and authentic. I do not go to Church just because a particular priest is charismatic, I go to Church because that’s the way God said we should worship Him; through listening to His Word (c.f. Jn 20:21-23, Mt 16:18-19) and by eating His flesh (c.f. Jn 6:53-58).

Priests can certainly fall into sin like any of us. Sadly, some priests in other parts of the world fall into very grave sins like sexual abuse.

But the Church has always condemned such actions. Sinners can’t escape God’s Justice, but judging is not our business. In fact, the Bible says that teachers of the Faith will be judged with greater strictness (Jas 3:1).

Even the Apostles fell. All of them apart from John, hid in fear during our Lord’s death. Peter denied Jesus and Paul was a murderer. Does that diminish their authority? No. A priest’s individual sins has nothing to do with the authority of their sacred office; that much is truly biblical, as seen from even David’s time; where he did not kill evil King Saul out of respect for God’s appointment of Saul’s kingship. Till now, I am sad that so many still do not understand this.

God chooses His priests, and God chooses sinners to build His church. Without our priests, we are nothing. We would have no Sacraments and no Magisterium to guide us. Let us thus be thankful for our priests!

 

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Skipping Daily Mass

Guest post by Br. Nicholas Lye.

“Let me ask you one question: was it because you practiced the Law that you received the Spirit, or because you believed what was preached to you? Are you foolish enough to end in outward observances what you began in the Spirit?” (Gal 3:2-3)

After years and years of my making Mass a daily habit, God recently challenged me to not attend daily Mass for a week. I was shocked by that invitation, and couldn’t fathom why He would make such a request.

He then asked me further what the essence of Mass is. I replied that it is to encounter His real Presence and receive Him in the flesh. He then probed further: how have I been living out the concluding words of the priest, sending us forth on mission to bring His real Presence out into the world and allowing people to experience Him in the flesh through me? Have I been living out the true spirit and essence of Mass, if I don’t continue the Mass in my daily life and bring it out into the world through my own words, actions and presence?

At that, I soon realized what God was getting me to do. By not focusing on spending that half hour ‘ticking a box’ as an “outward observance”, I was challenged to spend the rest of the day focusing on celebrating the Mass wherever I go and with whomever I meet, whether over a meal or over a casual conversation; to embody the spirit and essence of the Mass by sharing the Word of God through the sharing of my life as well as to bring the Eucharistic presence of Christ to the people with whom I interact, through remaining present and loving towards them.

Personally, it can be so easy to treat Mass or any other devotion or prayer ritual as an ‘external observance’ without living out the true spirit of it. So easy to carry out these observances out of obligation, guilt, fear, or even because ‘it’s good for me’, without fully approaching it in the right spirit of service to others and mission to the world. Perhaps this is a good reminder for us not to limit the Mass or any ritual to be observed within the Church, but more so to be lived out in the world, as led by the Spirit, even if it’s over a plate of spaghetti.

 

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Originally posted on Instagram.
Image: PD-US

Friends of the Good Shepherd

Guest post by Estella Young.

I was reflecting on the Gospel of the Found Sheep with my children, when my son asked, “What if the Shepherd lost 99 sheep and only had one left?”

I thought for a bit, and said, “Well, if it’s a big task, maybe he would ask his friends and neighbors to help. Remember how at the end of the story, he asks them to rejoice with him? Since his friends know how much he loves his sheep, they would come help him search for them.”

“Who are Jesus’ friends today?” I asked.

“We are,” my son replied.

So I said to my kids, “We live in a time when many sheep are lost. Since we are friends of Jesus, we should also be helping him look for the lost sheep to bring back to the flock. Let’s take a moment to think about how we can do this.”

Image: PD-US

Come and See

But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
—John 1:46

Carlo_Crivelli_055“Come and see.” For Nathanael (also known as the apostle St. Bartholomew), this was the moment when everything shifted, when the great adventure of his life began. These three simple words were an invitation to encounter the person of Jesus Christ, to enter into the all-consuming gaze of the Almighty. Just one interaction with Jesus was enough to change Nathanael’s doubt (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”) into confident belief (“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”).

We, like Nathanael, may have our doubts about Jesus at times. But often the best way to strengthen our faith is not to debate whether a prophet could come from Nazareth—or, say, whether God could be present within situations of corruption and despair—but to go and meet Jesus directly. This is not to say that we should ignore our intellectual questions about the faith, but rather that we should remember that understanding flows first and foremost from relationship. We can’t truly understand Jesus if we don’t get to know Him. If we bring Him our questions and lay them at His feet, seeking to just be present with Him and allow Him to look at us, we will come alive in His presence. Experiencing Jesus fundamentally changes us, causing a perspective shift that affects everything we do afterward.

Jusepe_de_Ribera,_The_Martyrdom_of_Saint_Bartholomew,_1634And just as Nathanael’s experience resulted from an invitation from his friend, Philip, we ought to remember that our own experience of Jesus is not meant to be kept to ourselves. Just those three simple words—come and see—can change someone’s life forever. If we have been changed by Jesus, others will see the joy He has given us. Our own lives, our works, and our personal stories are what open the eyes of others to see the love of God.


1. Carlo Crivelli, St. Bartholomew / PD-US
2. Jusepe de Ribera, The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew / PD-US

Originally published at Frassati Reflections.

Duc in Altum

I am getting tired of this never-ending job search. I am also getting tired of constantly feeling judged that I do not have a better job. Many people often think it should be easy for me to get a better job or even a career. I try not to let those judgements get to me but it is difficult when I am so eager to get one myself. My mother was kind enough to point out that people do not understand the entire situation and truly it is none of their business. The fact of the matter is I moved to New York almost a year ago not for a job or a career. I moved simply because God told me to with the promise that He would take care of me and He has kept His promise. More important than a career, He has revealed Himself to me and I have grown closer to Him then I ever thought possible. The Gospel today was all about Peter letting Jesus into his boat.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

Simon said in reply,

“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.” (Luke 5 1-11)

Peter had such faith in Jesus that he listened and obeyed whatever Jesus asked of him, and as a result he not only got a bounty of fish but he became a “fisher of men” and essentially the first Pope. After reading the Gospel, I am left with the question: will I cooperate with Jesus when He gets into my boat? Once Jesus gets into your boat, He will lead you into the depths. “Duc in altum,” as Saint John Paul II said. It will be dangerous but it will be exciting.

If I am honest with myself, my job has been a true “thorn in my side” but Jesus wants me there because it is a crucial part of my journey. It has nothing to do with the actual job; it has everything to do with the people I interact with and the influence we have on one another. Yesterday a regular customer came up to me and said to me, “I love seeing you here, your aura is always glowing. Did you know that?” I was taken off-guard by this comment, especially since I felt like my aura was close to extinguishing at that moment. She opened up to me about how she had been struggling with some health issues and over the past week she had been starting to decrease her medications. She was clearly in a better state of being, she had never talked to me this much before. She said it was a true miracle, she had been plagued by these side effects of all these medications for years and within only a week she is already seeing a difference. She admitted to me that she does not tell many people about her medical history but she felt comfortable with me and knew I would understand her situation. I felt truly honored and humbled that she opened up to me. Just through that one conversation it is clear why the Lord placed me there at that time. The impact that I had on that woman is more valuable than any career or job that I have been wishing that I could have during this time in New York.

While these interactions are wonderful and inspiring, I still leave my job longing for more. I do desire to be more financially independent and have more freedom. My life is dependent on that paycheck and I don’t like living like that. God always provides but sometimes I wish He would let me provide a little for myself. Of course, Jesus has a beautiful sense of humor and has a way of readjusting my perspective. One day while I was on my break at work, I was sitting in the break room and it was around the time all the mid-shift workers were going home. One coworker came down ranting about wanting to be rich. “When you are rich you can do whatever you want.” It is common knowledge that he has a difficult life, he is on the spectrum and the only reason he still has his job at the store is out of pity. I have had an up and down relationship with this coworker but recently I mostly just feel great sadness for him because there is so much he doesn’t understand. He truly believes that all the “great” people were rich. He ended his rant with, “No one who is is poor ever made anything of themselves.” There were some other coworkers also listening to him and all made the the general statement that this statement wasn’t true. I took it a step further and told him, “Jesus was poor and He changed the world.” There was an actual pause after that. I think I took everyone off-guard and I received a lot of quizzical looks. Finally, as if they were brought out of a trance they all agreed, “You’re right, that is the best example.” Too bad the coworker who was ranting was already halfway out the door and I don’t think he heard me. Regardless, it was not only a reality check for my coworkers but also for me. I have chosen to go into the depths with Jesus Christ; it is not meant to be comfortable and I don’t want it to be.

Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: PD-US

The Mass

Something greater than Jonah is here (Mt 12:41b). I remember when I first read John 6:53-58, I was so touched that tears welled in my eyes. The Word of God spoke out so strongly to me, I never knew why I hadn’t read this before:

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in him.” (Jn 6:54-56)

Indeed, this literal understanding of the passage had so much Truth it was difficult to believe! I remembered anxiously checking some historical and external sources because it was too unbelievable. Lo and behold, all of the early Christians from the time of the Apostles believed in this! I resolved there and then to come home to the Catholic Church. I desired strongly to confess my sins just so that I can receive Jesus again at Mass.

The Mass itself is so rich in reality that there are as many valid theological approaches to it as there are to the whole mystery of Christ himself. The Eucharist is part of the great living mountain which is Christ, a mountain that can be approached from all corners of the world at any Mass celebrated throughout the Catholic Church.

The Mass is no religious service. Prayers, rosaries, or singing songs — those are services. These are something that we do for God, similar to the public praise of any religious denomination. But the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist is not precisely in essence done by man at all.

The Mass is heaven on earth. The earthly Masses we celebrate here are mere prefigurements… a foretaste of the heavenly Mass; that which is the Lamb’s Supper. In Heaven, we celebrate the Eternal Union of the Marriage between Christ the Bridegroom and us, his Church and Bride.

However limited our spiritual insights might be as participants, when we are at Mass, Christ will be there. And we believe this through Faith in Jesus’s Words.

 

October Synthesis

The month of October opens with the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who is known for having preached “the Little Way”. By reminding us of the biblical teaching on spiritual childhood, St. Thérèse of Lisieux taught us that we should not be afraid of God nor of aspiring to be saints despite our weaknesses, because it is precisely our littleness that attracts God’s mercy and compassion.

The following day, October 2, is the feast of the Guardian Angels – our guides and allies in our quest for sanctity.

Devotees of St. Josemaria Escriva know that it was on the feast of the Guardian Angels that he founded Opus Dei – another reminder of the universal call to sanctity and of the truth that sanctity is an accessible, albeit challenging, goal.

The month ends with the eve of All Saints’ Day, more popularly known as Halloween.

The appropriateness of Catholics celebrating Halloween in the popular manner of doing it is hotly debated. It is hard to give a blanket condemnation or approval of it, however, because people do it in different ways. On one side of the spectrum are those who dabble in the occult on the occasion; on the other side are those who hold saint-themed costume parties. In between are those for whom Halloween is just an occasion for good clean fun, playing dress-up, and perhaps a little bit of spookiness.

My own take is that barring downright sinful activities, the celebration of Halloween is a matter for every Catholic’s prudential judgment. Furthermore, while dabbling in the occult is definitely a no-no, neither are saint-themed costume parties obligatory (though they definitely can be a good catechetical tool), nor should a reasonable degree of spookiness be forbidden.

In fact, just as a morbid fascination for the occult is dangerous, it is equally harmful to ignore the reality of evil as if the saints were born with halos and never had to contend with the dark side of life. It is healthy to remind ourselves that spiritual warfare is a reality. And scattered throughout the month of October are feasts to remind us of what are our weapons in spiritual warfare.

October 1 reminds us of the need for childlike trust in God that St. Thérèse of Lisieux reminded us. October 2 reminds us of the help of the Guardian Angels. The feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4 reminds us of the need to practice poverty and detachment. October 7 reminds us of the power of the Rosary. The feast of St. Teresa of Ávila on Oct. 15 reminds us of the need to develop a life of prayer. The feast of St. Luke the Evangelist on Oct. 18 reminds us to “use the force” of the Gospel. The feast of the apostles Sts. Simon and Jude on Oct. 28 reminds us that all of us are called to be apostles too; apostolate, after all, is also a form of spiritual warfare.

After the last day of October is All Saints’ Day. We have been reminded the whole month of what our goal is in life and how we are to attain it. So we begin a new month reminding us of the reward for our efforts, and renew our resolve to continue working and to fight once more.

Jesus on the Street

Guest post by Catherine Santos.

It’s strange not having anything to do on a Monday, but at the same time I’m so grateful for it because it allows me to have some solid down-time with Jesus!

Today’s thought was inspired by the feast day of one of my favourite Saints, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who said:

“What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.”

This prompted me to ask myself: “Do my actions match with my heart?”

Mine don’t — not completely and not always. I love helping my family, friends, colleagues and in church. And this is all good and well, but Jesus calls us to love deeper — to go beyond our comfort zone.

I made a quick (and frantic) run to a store last week for last-minute items for a conference starting later that afternoon. Along the way, I noticed this rugged man standing on the street. To be honest, I’ve noticed him for a while but never had the courage to step up and say something. We made eye contact and I gave a smile. “That’s enough right, Jesus?” No. The man says “Hello,” and so I greeted him back. This simple smile and hello lead to an exchange of names and understanding why he stands on the street. This gentleman stands on the street selling magazines as a mode of income, in hope that it will help him build his skills and work experience.

In just 5 minutes, I’ve encountered Jesus: His heart, His hurt and His desire to be loved.

This broke me. I began to tear up at the thought of missed opportunities of making Jesus known to others and my failure to love Him deeper.

This message isn’t anything new, I’m sure many of us know this deep inside. But it can be easy to forget in the world we live.

I pray that we may come to know His love for us more each day and that through it, we may never hesitate to help those in need. Lord, please give me eyes to see the needs and wounds of those hurting around me. Help me not to worry about what others may think and to do everything with a heart that only desires to bring you joy and glory. In times where I don’t know how to help, please give me the ears to hear Your guiding voice so that I can truly give the best care to the person You’ve entrusted to me.
Amen.

Lamentation

Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young;
I will set up an everlasting covenant with you,
that you may remember and be covered with confusion,
and that you may be utterly silenced for shame
when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord GOD.
—Ezekiel 16:60–63

Matthias_Grünewald_-_Lamentation_of_Christ_(detail)_-_WGA10787
Matthias Grünewald, Lamentation of Christ (detail) / PD-US

This reading from Ezekiel reminds me of a recent video from Fr. Robert Barron, which is definitely worth a watch: Bishop Barron on Ezekiel and the Sex Abuse Crisis. Ezekiel wrote of the corruption within the holy city of Jerusalem and its cleansing through avengers from the North. Today, the “holy city” of the Church has fallen into corruption, and it too needs to be cleansed, to endure the painful siege of repentance. God will not abandon His covenant with us. But if we are to be cleansed, we must allow Him to show us the weight of our sin; we must be willing to feel our shame and sorrow.

It has been sobering to read reports of the horrific abuse that has occurred within the Church and the deep corruption that kept it hidden for years. As American Catholics, we are mourning over these unthinkable crimes and trying to figure out how we can possibly move forward through this mess.

The Gospel reading prior to this spoke of forgiveness, which may seem untimely at the moment. The Gospel asks us to forgive, but often we don’t understand the meaning of true forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean making excuses for the person who wronged you or brushing it under the rug. That’s not forgiveness; it’s denial. True forgiveness must acknowledge the sin and yet refuse to feed it. A person who forgives renounces any claim toward revenge and resists the tendency to harbor resentment. It is a daily decision, and it is not an easy one. But it is the only way that we can stop the cycle of sin and open our hearts to mercy. A truly forgiving heart is not indifferent to injustice; it is all the more deeply hurt by it, since it refuses to dehumanize either the victim or the perpetrator. It sees the tragedy of an innocent life altered irrevocably; it sees those individuals who used their God-given will for evil. And it resolves to do better.

I am reminded of the story of St. Maria Goretti and her murderer/attempted rapist, Alessandro Serenelli. Now, this is not a typical story—we should not go around assuming that all murderers and rapists will be reformed by our prayers and can be later welcomed into our families. But it is in fact what happened in the case of Alessandro Serenelli, incredible though it may seem. Though Alessandro was bitterly unrepentant for the first few years after Maria’s death, he experienced a profound conversion of heart after experiencing a vision of Maria in which she forgave him. He was moved to weep for his sins for the first time, and he began the process of true repentance. Due to Maria’s miraculous intercession (again, possible only through the grace of God and not by human means), he was completely reformed and eventually became an adopted son of Maria’s mother.

While Alessandro clung to his pride and callously denied his guilt, the seeds of sin and evil continued to fester within him. Only when he realized the depth of his sin and entered into a living purgatory of shame and regret was his heart opened to receive God’s mercy. This step was crucial: acknowledgment of wrongdoing, grief over what has been tainted and destroyed, ownership of one’s sinfulness. Unless we confront the realities of our sins and face our deepest wounds, we will never be able to receive healing. And Alessandro’s revelation of guilt—and thus his pathway to forgiveness—was made possible because of Maria’s purity and steadfast prayer.

Alvar_Cawen_Pieta
Alvar Cawén, Pietà / PD-US

As faithful Catholics who are shocked, saddened, and heartbroken over the recent scandals within the heart of our Church, we are called to step up and be the solution, to challenge the Church to rise up to her sacred calling. Now is the time for prayer and fasting. We will expect from the Church a higher standard, and we will start by being saints. The purification of the Church will begin with the purification of our own souls, by a deep desire for holiness and purity throughout every aspect of our lives. Jesus and Mary weep alongside us at these crimes. I’ve been encouraged by the discussion among young, faithful Catholics of the many ways in which we can carry this out, and I’ve compiled a list of resources here.

I stay with the Church because her teachings proclaim the dignity of the human person, even as some of those who represent her have trampled upon human dignity through objectification and abuse. I pray that we allow the light of truth to overcome the darkness, so that everything hidden will be exposed to the light. The truth of our own dignity and worth—and indeed that of our children—must prevail against the shadows.

Originally published at Frassati Reflections.

Witness

Today I witnessed a true and undeniable miracle. A few blogs back I wrote about my experience while waiting to enter the baths in Lourdes, France. I was on a pilgrimage and was visiting the famous Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is well known for its healing water that visitors can bathe in. I chose to do it the hopes of receiving some of the healing properties the water possesses, but at the last minute I had a change of heart. A coworker of mine has been struggling with several demons centered around addiction. Before entering the baths I was overcome with the need and desire to pray for her and to enter the baths with the hope that the graces I received would be given to her.

When I returned back to New York the actions of my coworker were unchanged, or so I thought. I continued to lift her up in prayer, but sometimes the rawness of her language made me uncomfortable and I was beginning to wonder if she would ever be open to the healing Mary and the Holy Spirit wanted to give her, until today. Work was slow and I found myself with a lot of free time. Suddenly, this coworker asked if I had time to talk. She had never directly asked me to talk before, so of course I said yes. Evidently, she was dealing with a difficult break-up and she wondered if she had been taken advantage of by this guy she was seeing. After hearing the story it was pretty clear that she had, but that was not the end of the conversation. We talked off and on throughout the rest of the day and she opened up about how she wanted to change her life. She was no longer smoking weed nor seeking out one-night stands and meaningless hook-ups. She was being proactive, making the conscious effort to go to the gym everyday, and cutting ties with bad influences. I was completely awe-stricken. There was an obvious transformation within her.

I dared to go a little deeper and learned her mother is Catholic. Unfortunately, she had negative ties with the Catholic faith because of her mother’s influence. I know there are quite a few crosses that she is carrying and there is much healing that needs to be done. I asked if she knew anything about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; she didn’t. When I came back from France I brought back a keychain of a rose with Saint Thérèse on it and gave it to my coworker in hopes that it might help in the healing I had prayed for while in the baths at Lourdes. I asked her if she still had the keychain and she said she did. I gave her a little overview of who Saint Thérèse was, and why Saint Thérèse might be able to help her in her pursuit of a better life. I saw genuine hope spark in her eyes. It was a spark that I had never seen before, mainly because before she was severely under the influence of marijuana. She had been in the grip of Satan, allowing her addictions to rule over her, but now there was clarity and it was beautiful. Mary had found a way to touch my coworker’s spirit and transform it. I felt so honored to have the privilege of witnessing it. My coworker is proof of the healing power of Our Lady of Lourdes and that our faith and our prayers can inspire miracles in other’s lives. Bring your prayers and intentions to Mary and Jesus and be persistent, for their mercy will not be outdone.

Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: PD-US

Affliction

Yesterday, I was nursing a very bad migraine which got worse as the day went by. I got off work slightly earlier than usual and went before my Lord and King at the adoration room of St. Joseph’s Church since I was early for class.

In there, I pondered. A lot of things have happened over the past week. It has not been easy to zealously share the faith, listening to people struggling with life and dealing with people who are rejecting the Gospel.

I realized that Christianity is not a sport for weekend warriors. It demands a dedication and consistency that makes time for God and summons the energy to do his will even when difficult. In short, the model Disciple is eager to serve the Lord in season and out.

Christians facing abuse, verbal or otherwise, are not to react in kind, but to invoke the blessings of God on the offender (c.f. Rom 12:4). Humanly speaking, performing an act of kindness in exchange for a blistering insult is counter-intuitive, to say the least.

Yet, this is one of the revolutionary demands of Gospel morality that makes Christians stand out. It is most perfectly exemplified in Jesus Himself, who invoked the Father’s forgiveness on those who crucified Him (Lk 23:34).

I’ve begun to see that the most foundational discipline of a Christian Disciple is serious prayer. Christian solidarity. Prayer, specifically in affliction, emphasizes on the Holy Spirit’s role as intercessor, helper and Paraclete. A Christian must sustain lifelong dialogue with the Lord.

Paul presses believers to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess 5:17) and to make their requests known to God in everything (Phil 4:6). Ultimately, constancy in prayer is a teaching that goes back to Jesus himself (Lk 18:1-8). For me, perhaps now is a time to just take a back seat and indulge in prayer.

___

Originally posted on Instagram.

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