Sunday, February 27, 2011

Set your Heart on the Kingdom

The Sunday Gospel [February 27, 2011]

Matthew 6:24-34

Set your Heart on the Kingdom

[Jesus said to his disciples:] 24“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? 27Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? 28Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. 29But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. 30If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ 32All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. 34Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”


“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” ~ Jesus in v. 33

Some questions I asked myself, many years ago, about the gospel today: Is God really No.1 in my life or not? How I use my money and possessions is an indication of where I put my trust. God is certainly worthy of being put first because he promises to care for me. I do not have to worry; worrying does not do me any good anyway. So, the problem to be solved is: How can I put God first and provide for my own needs at the same time? Turn the problem over to God. He will help you sort out your priorities. That's what I did. He has not only kept his promise, he has also showered me with blessing upon blessing. Praise the Lord!

“There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste; when I see people throwing away things we could use.” ~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Note: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Conversation of the Merciful God with a Soul Striving after Perfection

[Diary 1488]
Jesus: I am pleased with your efforts, O soul aspiring for perfection, but why do I see you so often sad and depressed? Tell Me, My child, what is the meaning of this sadness, and what is its cause? 

Soul: Lord, the reason for my sadness is that, in spite of my sincere resolutions, I fall again into the same faults. I make resolutions in the morning, but in the evening I see how much I have departed from them. 

Jesus: You see, My child, what you are of yourself. The cause of your falls is that you rely too much upon yourself and too little on Me. But let this not sadden you so much. You are dealing with the God of mercy, which your misery cannot exhaust. Remember, I did not allot only a certain number of pardons. 

Soul: Yes, I know all that, but great temptations assail me, and various doubts awaken within me and, moreover, everything irritates and discourages me. 

Jesus: My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self-love. You should not become discouraged, but strive to make My love reign in place of your self-love. Have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy. 

Soul: I understand what is the better thing to do, what pleases You more, but I encounter great obstacles in acting on this understanding. 

Jesus: My child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for My kingdom. But fear not, because you are not alone. I am always supporting you, so lean on Me as you struggle, fearing nothing. Take the vessel of trust and draw from the fountain of life-for yourself, but also for other souls, especially such as are distrustful of My goodness. 

Soul: O Lord, I feel my heart being filled with Your love and the rays of Your mercy and love piercing my soul. I go, Lord, at Your command. I go to conquer souls. Sustained by Your grace, I am ready to follow You, Lord, not only to Tabor, but also to Calvary. I desire to lead souls to the fount of Your mercy so that the splendor of Your mercy may be reflected in all souls, and the home of our Father be filled to overflowing. And when the enemy begins to attack me, I shall take refuge behind the shield of Your mercy.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Retaliation and love of Enemies

The Sunday Gospel [February 20, 2011]

Matthew 5:38-48

Retaliation and love of Enemies

[Jesus said to his disciples:] 38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. 40If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”


“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Jesus, vv. 44.48

The word perfect in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) means “completeness” or “wholeness – not lacking in what is essential.” In the Old Testament, a person is “perfect” when he is “upright or blameless” (Genesis 6:9; Job 1:1; Psalm 37:37). 

The perfect God we worship knows we cannot be perfect. But He wants us to strive for perfection. How? We can surrender our wills to the Holy Spirit. We can also do things which can bring us to perfection. For example, if we reflect on our own sins first, we might be able to forgive more easily. We might even discover that our sins are far worse than those who have hurt us. So, who are we if we cannot forgive others? Remember also that God knows what is going on. He also knows what is best for us. So let go and let God be God. If you are a Catholic go to confession. The priest will help you forgive and love the unlovable.

Before going to confession, pray for the people who have hurt you. Begin with yourself and the people close to you. Recall their sins and forgive them. If you can do this, expect miracles to come your way.

Note: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Idleness

[Diary 1127]
On one occasion, I saw Satan hurrying about and looking for someone among the sisters, but he could find no one. I felt an interior inspiration to command him in the Name of God to confess to me what he was looking for among the sisters. And he confessed, though unwillingly, "I am looking for idle souls [cf. Si. 33:28; Pr. 12:11]." When I commanded him again in the Name of God to tell me to which souls in religious life he has the easiest access, he said, again unwillingly, "To lazy and idle souls." I took note of the fact that, at present, there were no such souls in this house. Let the toiling and tired souls rejoice.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sermon on the Mount

The Sunday Gospel [February 13, 2011]

Matthew 5:17-37(or 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37)

The Sermon on the Mount

[Jesus said to his disciples:] 17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 20I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

21“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. 23Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, 24leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. 

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. 

31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’ 32But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 

33“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ 34But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”


“Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~ V. 20

What a burden! Or at least that’s how Jesus’ words here sound at first. After all, we all know how rigorous the scribes and Pharisees were at keeping the Law of Moses. Do we have to do even better than them if we want to get to heaven?

Well, yes and no. On the one hand, Jesus does have high expectations for us. He does want us to be holy as he is holy. But on the other hand, he has made it possible for us to attain this high calling – through his death and resurrection. He has given us his own body and blood in the Eucharist. He has given us the gift of reconciliation. And even more, he has given us his own Holy Spirit.

This is why the gospel is such good news. Yes, the standards are high, but so is the grace. It really is possible to live a life of righteousness and love. It really is possible to be heroes and heroines of Christ in the world!

Don’t be afraid to embrace your calling. The world is waiting for the witness that only you can give. It’s waiting for the people who are willing and able to rise above the temptations that beset all of us. It’s waiting for men and women who manifest the joy, the confidence, and the freedom of children of God. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to try your best to surrender to the Spirit. Jesus will take care of the rest.

Jesus is waiting, too. He is waiting to shower you with all the blessings and grace he has in store for you. He is eager to pour his Spirit into you and to watch the kind of effect you have on the world around you. You really can change the world!

“Jesus, I surrender my life to you. Come and fill me with your Spirit. Lord transform my heart so that I can live out your high and noble calling.”

Credits: The Word Among Us, February, 2011

Note: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul

[Diary 1485]
The mercy of God, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, the voice of the Lord who speaks to us from the throne of mercy: Come to Me, all of you.

Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul.

Jesus: Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me. Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you. How dear your soul is to Me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.

Soul: Lord, I hear your voice calling me to turn back from the path of sin, but I have neither the strength nor the courage to do so. 

Jesus: I am your strength, I will help you in the struggle. 

Soul: Lord, I recognize your holiness, and I fear You. 

Jesus: My child, do you fear the God of mercy? My holiness does not prevent Me from being merciful. Behold, for you I have established a throne of mercy on earth-the tabernacle-and from this throne I desire to enter into your heart. I am not surrounded by a retinue or guards. You can come to me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and desire to grant you grace. 

Soul: Lord, I doubt that You will pardon my numerous sins; my misery fills me with fright. 

Jesus: My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.

Soul: You have conquered, O Lord, my stony heart with Your goodness. In trust and humility I approach the tribunal of Your mercy, where You yourself absolve me by the hand of your representative. O Lord, I feel Your grace and Your peace filling my poor soul. I feel overwhelmed by Your mercy, O Lord. You forgive me, which is more than I dared to hope for or could imagine. Your goodness surpasses all my desires. And now, filled with gratitude for so many graces, I invite You to my heart. I wandered, like a prodigal child gone astray; but you did not cease to be my Father. Increase Your mercy toward me, for You see how weak I am. 

Jesus: Child, speak no more of your misery; it is already forgotten. Listen, My child, to what I desire to tell you. Come close to My wounds and draw from the Fountain of Life whatever your heart desires. Drink copiously from the Fountain of Life and you will not weary on your journey. Look at the splendors of My mercy and do not fear the enemies of your salvation. Glorify My mercy.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Similes of Salt and Light

The Sunday Gospel [Feb. 06, 2011]

Matthew 5: 13-16

The Similes of Salt and Light

[Jesus said to his disciples:] 13“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. 16Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”


[Jesus said,] “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid … In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” ~ vv. 14, 16

One Sunday morning after church services my neighbor’s little girl asked her mother to explain the pastor’s text for the day, “Let your light shine.”

“Why, it means to let your life shine by being good and obedient,” her mother replied. A bit later she heard a commotion in the children’s play area followed by her daughter’s shout, “Mother, I think I just blew out my light.” ~ Arthur Tonne, 1000 Stories you can use

How do we make our light shine before others? The first reading gives us a doable answer: Share your food with the hungry; clothe the naked; provide shelter for the homeless and be compassionate to those around you. Then our light will shine and our prayers will be answered.

“Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine.” ~ Dwight L. Moody

Note: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at

On Confession

[Diary 112]
+A few words about confession and confessors. I shall speak only of what I have experienced and gone through within my own soul. There are three things which hinder the soul from drawing profit from confession in these exceptional moments.

The first thing: when the confessor has little knowledge of extraordinary ways and shows surprise if a soul discloses to him the great mysteries worked in it by God. Such surprise frightens a sensitive soul, and it notices that the confessor hesitates to give his opinion; and if it does notice this, it will not be set at peace, but will have even more doubts after confession than before, because it will sense that the confessor is trying to set it at peace while he himself is uncertain. Or else, as has happened to me, a confessor, unable to penetrate some of the soul's mysteries, refuses to hear the confession, showing a certain fear when the soul approaches the confessional.

How can a soul in this state obtain peace in the confessional when it has become so oversensitive to every word of the priest? In my opinion, at times of such special trials sent by God to a soul, the priest, if he does not understand the soul, should direct it to some other experienced and well-instructed confessor. Or else he himself should seek light in order to give the soul what it needs, instead of downrightly denying it confession. For in this way he is exposing the soul to a great danger; and more than one soul may well leave the road along which God wanted it to journey. This is a matter of great importance, for I have experienced it myself. I myself began to waver; despite special gifts from God, and even though God himself reassured me, I have nevertheless always wanted to have the Church's seal as well. 

The second thing: the confessor does not allow the soul to express itself frankly, and shows impatience. The soul then falls silent and does not say everything [it has to say] and, by this, profits nothing. It profits even less when the confessor, without really knowing the soul, proceeds to put it to the test. Instead of helping the soul, he does it harm. The soul is aware that the confessor does not know it, because he did not allow it to lay itself open fully as regards both its graces and its misery. And so the test is ill-adapted. I have been submitted to some tests at which I have had to laugh.

I will express this better thus: The confessor is the doctor of the soul, but how can a doctor prescribe a suitable remedy if he does not know the nature of the sickness? Never will he be able to do so. For either the remedy will not produce the desired effect, or else it will be too strong and will aggravate the illness, and sometimes-God forbid-even bring about death. I am speaking from my own experience because, in certain instances, it was the Lord himself who directly sustained me.

The third thing: it also happens sometimes that the confessor makes light of little things. There is nothing little in the spiritual life. Sometimes a seemingly insignificant thing will disclose a matter of great consequence and will be for the confessor a beam of light which helps him to get to know the soul. Many spiritual undertones are concealed in little things.

A magnificent building will never rise if we reject the insignificant bricks. God demands great purity of certain souls, and so He gives them a deeper knowledge of their own misery. Illuminated by light from on high, the soul can better know what pleases God and what does not. Sin depends upon the degree of knowledge and light that exists within the soul. The same is true of imperfections. Although the soul knows that it is only sin in the strict sense of the term which pertains to the sacrament of penance, yet these petty things are of great importance to a soul which is tending to sanctity, and the confessor must not treat them lightly. The patience and kindness of the confessor open the way to the innermost secrets of the soul. The soul, unconsciously as it were, reveals its abysmal depth and feels stronger and more resistant; it fights with greater courage and tries to do things better because it knows it must give an account of them.

I will mention one more thing regarding the confessor. It is his duty to occasionally put to the test, to try, to exercise, to learn whether he is dealing with straw, with iron or with pure gold. Each of these three types of souls needs different kinds of training. The confessor must-and this is absolutely necessary-form a clear judgment of each soul in order to know how heavy a burden it can carry at certain times, in certain circumstances, or in particular situations. As for myself, it was only later on, after many [negative] experiences, that, when I saw that I was not understood, I no longer laid bare my soul or allowed my peace to be disturbed. But this happened only when all these graces had already been submitted to the judgement of a wise, well-instructed and experienced confessor. Now I know what to go by in certain cases.

[Diary 113]
And again, I would like to say three words to the soul that is determined to strive for sanctity and to derive fruit; that is to say, benefit from confession.

First word-complete sincerity and openness. Even the holiest and wisest confessor cannot forcibly pour into the soul what he desires if it is not sincere and open. An insincere, secretive soul risks great dangers in the spiritual life, and even the Lord Jesus Himself does not give Himself to such a soul on a higher level, because He knows it would derive no benefit from these special graces.

Second word-humility. A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble. Pride keeps it in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery. 

Third word-obedience. A disobedient soul will win no victory, even if the Lord Jesus himself, in person, were to hear its confession. The most experienced confessor will be of no help whatsoever to such a soul. The disobedient soul exposes itself to great misfortunes; it will make no progress toward perfection, nor will it succeed in the spiritual life. God lavishes His graces most generously upon the soul, but it must be an obedient soul.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".