Love Him Back

By Deacon Nemsy

Mother Angelica of EWTN once said: “God knew you, loved you, and chose you before there was an angel, before there was a universe or a star.” What a gift to all of us who believe. So God chose to cherish us and to love us. Why? Simply because He wants us to love Him back. After all, love begets love.


Oftentimes we are so busy that we neglect to love back our divine Brother Jesus, the Son of God. I say our divine Brother Jesus because we have the same Father, Our Father in Heaven. And Jesus purposely pointed to that reality by teaching us the keystone prayer of Christianity ... the Our Father.


Once a month I visit Manor Care Nursing Home in Winter Park, Florida. There I have a communion service with the elderly residents who are mostly in wheelchairs. I usually emphasize Jesus’ deep love for them by purposely making Himself available to them in Holy Communion. Why? So that Jesus can live in them and allow them to love Him back in return. How? In the same way Jesus loves them ... deeply and tenderly.


One day, Maryann, a resident told me a fascinating story. She told me that for months now, she has been loving Jesus back with tenderness and intensity. Each day she felt happier than before, and to her surprise, lately, she felt stronger and stronger each passing day. So she went to the rehab center requesting for service. They told her that she has been in a wheelchair for 10 years due to MS, and that it would be useless to try rehab or to exercise her legs now. As a result, they required her to get a rehab prescription form her doctor.


Well, the doctor was also hesitant to give her the prescription, but she insisted. At last she got it, and went to the rehab center. There she was lifted from her wheelchair and given a walker. She stood up, straightened her legs, clutched the walker and slowly took one step. Then another. Everyone was amazed. They all smiled and told her that they will do everything they can to help her walk again. Now you can envision the rest of the story.


Remember what I said in the past: “Love is life, if you miss love, you miss life.” Also learn from the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “The Lord goes in search of those who do love Him, so as to give more to them.”


Yes, Jesus, the Son of God, our divine brother is in search for you!


"Don't allow anything to interfere with your love for Jesus. You belong to Him. He will be your joy and your strength."  -  Mother Teresa

NEXT  ISSUE:   Nov. 30, 2017


 God's Foresight

By Deacon Nemsy

 

We are not aware. The good Lord has tremendous plans for us. As I mentioned before, in fact He is writing the story of our life; if we let Him. Also, if we understand the severity of sin; because sin subverts the holy will of God. Nonetheless, if we are obedient, He will bless us with a peaceful and happy ending.


In 1963, I arrived in the shores of San Francisco, California, all by myself. Sent by my parents to pursue my studies, I also hoped to start a new life in America. At that time, I left my fiancé, Perla, in the Philippines, basically to explore the possibility of relocating to America. In my first year, I struggled a lot; working and studying at the same time. But the bright side was the hope of bringing my future bride to join me. However, there was the complex nature of visas. Fortunately, with the help of my good-hearted uncle, Mel, he arranged everything for her coming.


Before her arrival I wrote her that I have rented a small place and that everything was prepared. Being a practical woman, she asked me if I have all the necessary pots and pans, utensils, ironing board, etc., ready. Of course I missed the part about the ironing board. So I wrote her back not to worry about anything because we could easily go to Woolworth’s Department Store to get all that she needed. Then I told her that after over a year, I could hardly wait to see her.

 

So what’s the point of this anecdote? Well, it’s about foresight and preparation. We seldom think of Jesus as really preparing for our “coming home” to the Father. But God has infinite foresight. That’s why Jesus said in John 14 (paraphrase):


“Do not be worried. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. And after I prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself so that you will be where I am. I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”


The first time I read this, I was blown away. Here I am, always busy about so many things. Just like the early disciples, they were so absorbed in the minutiae of things and events. That’s why at the last supper, Jesus gave them the big picture. “Not to worry. I have everything prepared for you in my Father’s house.” Why? Because love can take care of itself. It does not need any kind of security system. Love of God is in itself our security. As long as we are in love with the Son of God, all is well, and all will be well. This is a tremendous promise. Who else but the Son of God can make such an assurance? Who else but the Son of God can nail this promise on a cross? This gives me peace. This gives me great joy and happiness.

 

"Always waste time with the One you love, especially with the Son of God."  -  Nemsy


Next Issue:   November 15

Change

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan


Gerry was a middle age drug addict who was in and out of rehab. He really wanted to change his ways and get well, however, on his own will power he could not do it.


One day a humble and loving Christian Pastor visited him at the rehab center. Gerry was open to anything that could free him from his addiction. So he listened to what the Pastor had to say, and soon they became friends. At one point the Pastor suggested that they pray together, which they did. Subsequently, Gerry admitted that for the first time he felt the presence of God and His astonishing love. So that night before going to bed he opened his heart to God and prayed: “Jesus please help me.” He kept repeating these prayer until he fell asleep. When he woke up the next morning, he realized that he had no longer any craving for drugs. He was totally healed.


When the Pastor returned a couple of days later, Gerry with great elation related his miraculous recovery. Then he was asked:


“That was a big change. Do you expect any more changes in your life?” Thoughtfully the former addict replied: “Yes, I hope to have many good changes in my life. I believe that there is no limit to change. As long as I have this love for Jesus in my heart, I can change for the better. Like not looking back or blaming anyone. Like making amends with those I have hurt. Like being more kind and understanding. Like desiring to come closer to Jesus.”


Obviously love can impact and change a person’s perspective in life. It can also impact one’s thinking and actions. Why? Because no man remains quite the same when he encounters pure love. And to encounter pure love is to encounter radical change which bears good fruit. But is there a limit to this process? No! Why? Because there is no limit to love. And since God is love, his unlimited and boundless nature remains. Therefore we can say that there is no limit to positive change. There is no limit to grace. There is no limit to spiritual happiness. So,

what are you waiting for? Make yourself happy and make Jesus happy too. Change  for  the better.


"Anger is a kind of temporary insanity."     -     St. Basil the Great


Next Issue:  October 31, 2017


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Divine Providence

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan


St. Augustine once said: “For if the providence of God does not preside over human affairs, there is no point in busying oneself with religion.”


Some people do not buy into divine providence. They think that God has no say in the way we live our lives. They think that we are left alone to our own devises. However, God does surprisingly enter into our lives. He does this with purpose, either to straighten our lives, to call us to work in the vineyard, or to surprise us with a favor.


In the gospel story, where Jesus walks into the lives of Peter, James and John while they were busy getting ready to go fishing, the Lord simply calls them to follow Him. Jesus said to them: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”


They did not fully understand what He meant, but aided by grace, they dropped everything they were doing, and said: “Yes, we will follow you.” Why? Because they saw something exceptional and attractive in Jesus. It was His sincere and bubbling love for them. And once they said “Yes”, Jesus began to write the story of their lives in a new and exciting way. From the story of an ordinary fishermen, they would be transformed into fearless fishers of men, or ambassadors for Christ. They would become bold evangelizers motivated by His love.


The main point is: Divine Providence does preside over human affairs. Divine Providence does preside over your life. Why? Because you are precious in His eyes, and He loves you. He wants an exciting life for you with a happy ending. That’s why He wants to write the story of your life – if you let Him. However, if you are too busy writing your own story of acquiring power, prestige, and possessions, then the ending would be your own creation. So why not surrender your life to Jesus and be happy. Perhaps you can say: “Lord Jesus, please, from here on, write the story of my life. Take over my life. In my daily prayers tell me about your plans.  Also please, give me the grace to say a big “Yes.” 


" I will pick the roses. The sharper the thorns, the sweeter shall be my song."  -  Mother Teresa

   

Next Issue:  October 15,  2017

PREVIOUS  ISSUES

The Pattern of Grace

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan


Most of the greatest spiritual awakenings in life has the pattern of the parable of the prodigal son. It seem to convey the process of falling away from God, and then returning to God. The mystical and overwhelming force behind this is the mercy of God, or as we often refer to as God’s grace. To experience this free gift or unmerited favor of God is phenomenal. Most often it changes everything. A quick true story.


Paolo, an Italian businessman was a fallen away Catholic. On one occasion, he was scheduled to negotiate a business deal in Foggia. But his best friend, Eduardo, who cared about his soul, requested Paolo to make a side trip to San Giovanni Rotunda to deliver a letter to Padre Pio. This was really a set up so Paolo could meet the famous stigmatist and hopefully experience God’s grace.

After consenting to the request, Paolo went to San Giovanni Rotunda monastery to deliver the letter personally to Padre Pio. At the sacristy he was asked to wait for the priest. Upon his arrival, Padre Pio asked him: “Now, what do you want?”


Paolo explained about his friend’s letter.


“Ah, yes, the letter. But what about you? Don’t you want to go to confession? The monk asked.


Paolo, surprised, admitted he has not gone to mass for a long, long time. He tried to avoid the question, but Padre Pio looked at him intensely as if he saw all the serious sins in Paolo’s soul.


Padre Pio said: “How long do you intend living in this disgusting kind of life?”

In a flash, Paolo saw the dark state of his soul. Somewhat trembling, he asked the holy priest to hear his confession. After being absolved of his sins, Paolo was so flooded with peace and joy that he decided to stay at San Giovanni Rotunda for the rest of the week. There he spent time in prayer and attending all of Padre Pio’s masses.


So Eduardo, Paolo’s friend, was the instrument used by Jesus to bring Paolo back to the church. The prodigal son came back. And this mystical process of transformation gives glory to God. Why? Because it means that Jesus’ death on the cross was not in vain. That’s why Jesus said to the Italian mystic Consolata Betrone:


“No one can snatch a soul from me. I did not create you for hell, but for heaven. Not as a companion of the devil, but to enjoy me in everlasting love.”


Obviously, God made you for himself. He made you for intimacy. He made you for heaven. With this assurance, you can smile and feel that joy and happiness intended for God's children.


"We were hardwired to find someone to love forever - God."



PREVIOUS ISSUES​


The Resolute Sacred Heart

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume  XIX     8.31.17


God’s love for us is resolute and unstoppable. It will not rest until He has exhausted all means of drawing us to His Sacred Heart.

One time the Lord used a simple nun, St. Margaret Mary of the Visitation sisters in France, to unfold his divine plan. So one night, in 1673, as the humble nun was praying before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, out of thin air, the Lord appeared to her and said:

“My divine heart is so passionately in love with my people that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its ardent charity. It must be poured out to them by your means, and manifest itself to them to enrich them with the precious treasures, which contain all the graces of which they have need to be saved from perdition. I have chosen you as an abyss of unworthiness to accomplish so great a design, so that all may be done by me.”

St. Margaret at the time, was not certain when and how the good Lord would accomplish this plan. Sooner had she finished her introspections when Jesus asked her a favor. She described it this way: 

“He demanded my heart, and I supplicated him to take it. He did so, and taking it from my chest He placed it into his own adorable and flaming heart. Then he allowed me to see my heart as a little atom, being consumed in that fiery furnace of love. Then drawing it out like a burning flame in the form of a heart, he placed it back into my chest saying: ‘Behold my beloved, a precious proof of my love. I enclose in your heart, a little spark of the most ardent flame of my love to serve you as a heart, and to consume you until your last moment. Until now you have taken only the name of my servant; henceforth you shall be called the well beloved disciple of my Sacred Heart.’”

Wow, what a precious gift! A heart inflamed with the love of God. How I wish we could all be set on fire with the love of the Sacred Heart. Subsequently, St. Margaret Mary became the instrument of the Sacred Heart to propagate the devotion throughout Europe and the rest of the world.


Note that most of the priest, nuns, lay leaders, and parishoners I know, have some kind of a devotion to the Sacred Heart. I must confess that my ministry started after I have completed my nine consecutive first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart. If you have not done this, I highly urge you to do it. Why? Because I assure you that there is a hidden secret in store for you, if and when you complete this devotion. The many surprising “miracles” I have experienced in practicing this devotion still mystify me. The end result is a deep and faithful love for the Son of God. Doing this will flood your heart and soul with tremendous joy. You will be happy!


"You  cannot love and be stingy with God."


Next Issue:   September 15, 2017

 

PREVIOUS  ISSUES​

The Author of My Life

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume XIII   8.15.17

From nothing God Created me into being. So was you. Why? Some say to be a doctor, a teacher, an engineer, a priest or a nun. But perhaps that’s just a profession or a vocation of your choice.


Lately I came to the conclusion that after over half a century of existence, and remembering the roller coaster ride of my life, that in the end, God is writing the story of my life.


I didn’t see or pick up on the author then, because I was so intense in living life. I thought I was writing my own charming story. But when I look back now, my days in Manila, later in San Francisco, and now in Winter Park, Florida; I can see the invisible pen of God chronicling my life story. And He does yours too. If you obey Him and let His divine plan or Holy Will be accomplished in your life. Yes, He will plan it and take care of the details; if you let Him.


However, we must learn decentralization, meaning to take our selfish egos and our paranoid desire to control, out of our ego-system, and let Jesus be the focus and center of our attention. This is really centering and giving our lives to God.

This is the secret of a happy life.


One time Mother Teresa of Calcutta was interviewed by a reporter who asked her how she copes with running her vast organization around the world. She smiled and said, “I pray.”


“So what do you do when you run out of resources?”

“I go to Jesus,” Mother Teresa replied.

“What do you do if your nuns get sick?”

“I go to Jesus.”

“What do you do if the Bishop does not agree with your ideas?”

“I go to Jesus.”


Obviously, Mother Teresa is so spiritually centralized that she takes everything to Jesus. Jesus is the center of her vision and the center of her conscience. He is her hero, her champion, her Savior, her Beloved. That’s why Mother Teresa does not micromanage her life; she lets Jesus do that. In this way she can be free to love the poorest of the poor or any person in front of her. She knows that life is full of endless interruptions beyond her control, and it is best to let Jesus handle the details.


This too, is another secret of a happy life: Let Jesus micromanage your life.

So let Jesus write the story of your life. Surrender your free will and your tenacious control habits to someone who can assure you of a happy ending. After all, in the end, the bottom line is: Give Jesus your heart, your life, and your free will.


To love God you need three hearts in one - a heart of fire for Him, a heart of flesh for your neighbor, and a heart of bronze for yourself.  -  St. Benedict Labre


Next Issue:  Sept. 1, 2017 


I Miss God

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume XII     7.30.17


Usually after being temporarily separated from someone you love, either by time or space, there is a sense of lovesickness. And we all know that at this point, love becomes stronger and some kind of loneliness sets in.


Julian Barnes, a famous British author of the book, “Nothing to Be Afraid,” said: “I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.” Is this a contradiction; someone who doesn’t believe and even know God desiring his companionship? Is this a slip in consciousness, or is it the “hand of God?”


A so throughout his book, Barnes ponders how to make sense of life and death without a connection to a “life source.” He is challenged by the enigma of existence and its demanding priorities. He is hoping to find some kind of rest in a decent place.


But I believe in God! And you believe in God! Not that Barnes is ignorant, but because he has not been touched by love. I mean by a pure, authentic, unselfish, and compelling love. Why it happened to me, and why it happened to you, that we have been touched by God’s love is beyond my pay grade. And usually this experience of a personal loving God is pure gift, pure manna from heaven.


So we need to really be thankful and grateful for this divine gift of enjoyable love. And we must be excited to share this enjoyable love with others so they too can be freed from loneliness and emptiness. That’s why Pope Francis urges us to evangelize and to bring the Truth and the Love of Christ to many desolate and companionless souls. Why? So they may realize how truly they are missing God. This is charity. This is pure love. So let’s dig in, and walk the walk.

  

Next Issue:  August 15, 2017



A Truly Happy Heart

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume XI           7.15 .17


When Gab, my granddaughter was tiny and little, her greatest joy was to be cradled in her mother’s arms. It was like she was in heaven when she was loved by her mom and dad. So when placed in her crib, she would sob and cry. There was nothing compared to being cradled in love.


Then later in life, when she discovered toys, TV, and trinkets, her source of joy and happiness varied as the seasons of the year. Yes, she still wanted to be hugged and kissed by her parents, but not for a long time, she had other things to do.


One day I called her on the phone, she was now 10 years old. We had this conversation:


“Are you happy?”

“No!”

“Why?”

“Because I am going to another school, and I don’t like that school. Besides my friends are not going there.”

“Is it a Catholic school?”

“Yes.”


Silence followed.  Then somehow I saw her problem. So I told her:


“Gab, your school is not your happiness. God is your happiness. Your love for God and His love for you is your happiness. Remember when you were little, your joy was being loved by your mom and dad. It is the same, as long as you love God and God loves you, you should be happy. Jesus should be your happiness! Knowing that Jesus loves you is a tremendous source of joy.”


Guiles as she was, she simply said, “Ok.”


Today we see people with misplaced source of happiness. Some stake their happiness in material success, power, prestige, and possessions. If you take even a sliver of these things away from them, they become unhappy and miserable. So if the Dow goes down, they are unhappy; but if it goes up, they are jubilant. As we say, they are spiritually blind.


To be in solid ground regarding true happiness, consider the words of Jesus to the Italian mystic Consolata Betrone:


“Love me and you will be happy, the more you love me the happier you will be.”

This is a universal truth that will make us smile even at the last hour.


"Happiness is achieved only by making others happy."  -  Stuart Cloetre


Next Issue:  July 30


 

PREVIOUS   ISSUES

Wings of Rest

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume X      6.30.17


There was a time many years ago when I never felt so tired and weary. I saw my world collapsing, and in my mind, I was like going through the eye of a needle. Who can squeeze through this kind of dilemma?


It was a time when there was a big announcement during an “all hands meeting” in our assembly plant: Within 30 days our factory is closing, exit details will be formally mailed to each employee.


That was sad. But even sadder was the fact that I was diagnosed with a very serious ailment during my annual physical exam. To top it off, my doctor told me that I needed surgery within 15 days. Then it dawned on me, that without a job I have no health insurance, and without insurance I could easily go broke. I felt helpless; but not totally helpless. I knew there is a higher power.


So I opened my Bible. The words of Jesus got my attention: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” Rest? That’s what I need. Rest from these haunting worries and anxieties, and from “what if” scenarios. As I bowed down my head in prayer, I knew the good Lord would listen to someone who is heavily burdened; someone who is almost crushed. I only needed to cry out with steadfast faith. Then tears flowed freely.


When I finally surrendered everything to the Son of God, an amazing thing happened! The notice from my employer came. At the bottom of the letter there was a small note: “Your health insurance coverage is extended for 60 days without cost to you.” Sixty days! Yes! That’s all I needed.


So I had my surgery done right away, and pretty soon I was recovering within the 60 day time frame. All went well, and when I was able, I started looking for work. Amazing! Within 30 days I found a new job at Kennedy Space Center.


Finally some kind of rest, God’s “wings of rest” overshadowed me. I was myself again and I was happy. At the same time the words of Psalm 91 which I usually prayed daily  hit me:


“He will surely keep you safe from all hidden dangers, and from all deadly diseases. He will cover you with his wings, you will be safe under his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you.


God says, ‘I will save those who love me, and protect those who know me. When they call to me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble, I will be with them. I will rescue them and honor them. I will reward them with long life, and will surely save them.”   (Psalm 91:3-4; 14-16)


Footnote: Read Psalm 91. Pray it daily. You will experience the Lord’s strong arms of protection. For true stories, Google Psalm 91.


"God's love for you is unstoppable. It is indomitable."   -   Nemsy



Love is Life

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume IX    6.15.17


In the movie the Hunger Games, Katniss, a lovely lady, and Peeta, a resourceful young man, along with other young adults were forced by the Government to participate in the life and death, gladiator games. The games were televised by the authoritarian government for the entertainment of the people.


In the fierce combat among the participants, Katniss and Peeta became allies for the sake of survival. As they both struggled to defend themselves against the other combatants, they developed a close relationship. In the end, against all odds, they both survived and won the games.

 

During the awards ceremony, in front of a large crowd, the Master of Ceremonies asked Katniss: “When did you know you had an attraction to Peeta?” She replied: “It was when I realized I did not want to live my life without him."


So that was the criteria, an attraction that resulted in the mingling of two lives: “I did not want to live my life without him.” And yet this attraction and mingling of two lives was developed through companionship and facing adversity together.


The movie came in episodes, with Katniss and Peeta being separated because of the revolution; the people trying to oust a dictator. In the end, freedom was  achieved and the two lovers are re-united and marry.


I can see in the story that their love for each other gave them strength, courage and hope. As long as they were in love, they were unbeatable. As someone said: “Falling in love is like jumping off a tall building. Your mind tells you it is not a good idea, but your heart tells you; you can fly.” And for Katniss and Peeta, madly in love, they felt they could fly.


In the same way, Jesus gives us this sense of invulnerability because of his love. His pure love gives us wings to overcome the world. His mercy, like a strong wind, sustains our flight. Why? Because he loves us. As the Son of God, his sacrifice on the cross means so much to us. His promise to be with us even unto the end of this world is life giving. And for us who believe and love him, we know we cannot live without Him. His love is life.


"Trip over love and you can get up. But fall in love, and you fall forever." 

The Transparent Rose

Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan  

Volume VIII    5.31.17


She is the ambassador of Divine Mercy! Sister Faustina Kowalska was born in Lodz County, Poland, in 1905. At the age of 15 she humbly asked her parents to allow her to enter the convent. Thus began the breathtaking journey of a transparent soul, indeed a transparent rose for the garden of heaven. Mystical and interior consolations were showered upon her by the Son of God, and as always she would respond with sheer honesty, with no hidden agenda – spontaneously speaking from her heart.


Thus, I would say, the heavens salute her as the “Transparent Rose.”


In her Diary, she records a poignant and touching moment of humble conversation with the Son of God.


Jesus: “My daughter, if you wish, I will this instant create a new world, more beautiful than this one, and you will live there for the rest of your life.”


Sr. Faustina:  “I don’t want any worlds. I want you Jesus. I want to love you. I want to love you with the same love that you have for me. I beg you for only one thing, to make my heart capable of loving you. I am very much surprise of your offer, my Jesus. What are those worlds to me? Even if you gave me a thousand of them, what are they to me? You know very well Jesus that my heart is dying of longing for you. Everything that is not you is nothing to me.”


Pure. Unadulterated. Simple. Totally transparent response of pure love from the saint. I know I could say those words too. But then it is not my words, and the offer of love was not to me.


But pure love has endless variety of expression. At times it is a flash of unrestrained certainty and joy. At times it is simply pure unfathomable beauty in the eyes of God. Nonetheless, the hidden fragrance is in its transparency.


 Transparent love is the joy and happiness we can relish, now, if we but give our hearts to the Son of God.


“When God loves, he wishes only to be loved in return.” - St. Bernard of Clairvaux


Obedient to Love

by Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume VII      5.15.17


Fr. John Shea once quipped, “Argue with everything but always be obedient to love.” Why is this statement so compelling? In most cases it is compelling to people who are truly in love. In the same way, it is also compelling to dedicated and loving parents caring for their little ones. Obviously, arguing is not the issue, it is the depth of one’s love and willingness to sacrifice that is the issue. It is the degree of total giving of oneself to the beloved.


During the French revolution government soldiers were rounding up people in a small village who were part of the resistance – they were referred to as rebels. The soldiers found a mother with her two children hiding under a big hedge. Immediately the soldiers noticed that they were starving – they have not eaten for days. Since the revolution was over, the soldiers gave the mother a few pieces of bread. Without hesitation, the mother divided the meager ration between her two children. She herself did not partake of the bread. Obviously, she was obedient to love, to the unselfish love of a mother for her children. The soldiers noticed that there was a grin in her face. She has found true happiness.


On another level we probably should note that love is an impulse. Mystics realize that this impulse to love really comes from God. It is a gift to witness the reality of God’s love in the world. And what’s wonderful, is that this impulse of pure love is a great source of happiness.


So the next time you feel like helping someone abandoned, helpless, or in great need – simply be obedient to love. And if you do it and extend a helping hand, you will feel a surge of inner joy. Unknowingly, you have tapped into the source of true happiness.


"We must be a visible, clear and radiant sign of hope for everyone."  -  Pope Francis


Check Nemsy's video:   Google "Nemsy Gubatan" and open link "Ascension Homily Deacon Nemsy Gubatan"


Love Has No Fear

by  Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume VI      4.30.17


In the annals of history the heroic, the bold, and the audacious is admired more than silver or gold. It is the pinnacle of greatness and magnanimity. Perhaps little is known of the interior force and the “ferocious fire within” that propels one to greatness linked with the ultimate sacrifice.

 

In the movie “Of God’s and Man”, eight Cistercian monks living in Algeria are intimidated by a group of Islamic fundamentalist. In fact, the whole village is terrorized by the group – their goal was to take over the village. The monks are bewildered about leaving the monastery or staying to continue their ministry to the poor villagers. With intense prayer and contemplation they decided to stay and continue to serve the poor. They have become fearless. Pure love of God became their shield.


One time one of the monks providing medical care to a family was asked by a young woman who was contemplating marriage: “How do you know when you are in love?” Reflecting, the monk replied: “There is something in you that comes to life. He is the one you think most of the time.” With sparkling eyes, the woman whispered: “I think I will marry my suitor, I think of him most of the time.”


So who do you think most of the time, or what do you think most of the time? Your answer will determine what consumes your life. If it is God you think most of the time because you love him, then he will come to life in you. The Son of God will come to life in you. He becomes your new paragon. You will have a new life, and what a difference that can be. You will be empowered, and happiness will just be around the corner.


Obviously then, when love strikes, things change a lot. Fear melts away, and dread is suspended. There is new freedom and new assurance. You can be bold, you can take risk for the love of God. You can then embrace the greatest risk. As a mystic once said:


“To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

But to risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.


The people who risk nothing do nothing, have nothing, are nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow. Chained by their attitudes and complacency, they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.


Only a person who risks is free. And the greatest risk is to fall in love with God, for therein lies the greatest freedom and the greatest joy.”

 

So be happy, take the risk of giving your heart and your life to God.


“You cannot love and be stingy with God.” -  Nemsy

 


Be Happy!!!

by Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume V     4.15.17


Consolata Betrone was a pious Italian mystic who became a Capuchin nun in 1930. The Lord has blessed her with many visitations and on one occasion, Jesus told her: “Love me and you will be happy; the more you love me the happier you will be.”


Please read these words over and over again, until it sinks deep into your consciousness. To love Jesus is to find happiness!!!


So herein lie the secret of true happiness. No need to go further! Yet this principle is so overlooked and even misunderstood. Why? Because to love God is a personal matter. Every person has his own way of expressing this love of God. Each person has his own ability to love God, and his own capacity to love God. As a result, we all have our own notion and understanding of happiness, but the firm impact is clear; I am happier when I love God, and when I am happy, I am filled with joy.


But let’s look at some other perceptions of happiness.


Anton Chekhov said:

said: “Men are made for happiness, and anyone who is completely happy has a right to say to himself – I am doing God’s will on earth.”


Benjamin Franklin said: “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”


St. Augustine said: “Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.”


Edward Young said: “For me, happiness came from prayer to a kindly God, faith in a kindly God, love for my fellow man, and doing the very best I could every day of my life. I looked for happiness in fast living, but it was not there. I tried to find it in money, but it was not there, either. But when I place myself in tune with what I believe, when I began to develop my limited ability, to rid my mind of all kinds of tangled thoughts and fill it with zeal and courage and love, when I gave myself a chance by treating myself decently and sensibly, I began to feel the stimulating, warm glow of happiness.”


So based on the above insights, there’s the combination of trust in God’s will, faith and love of God, and loving our fellow man – in our quest for happiness. These are solid principles. These are paths to true happiness. These are the truths of the Gospel. But let me give you a final quote from Jesus. He said to Consolata:


“My heart is divine, yes, but it is also human like yours; and it longs for your love, for your every thought. I shall take care of everything, even the most trivial matters, but you must think only of me.  That soul is dearest to me, who loves me the most.”


Wow! This is a win-win situation. We are most happy when we love the Lord, and He too is happy when we love him back.

 

Undoubtedly – He made us for himself, He made us for heaven, He made us for intimacy, and He made us to be happy.


"The Easter Message means that God can turn prostitutes like Magdalene into disciples ... and broken reeds like Simon Peter into rocks.” -   Fulton Sheen


Engaging Presence

by Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume IV    3.31.17

 

     A mystic once said that love is a never ending presence. If we think about this in a human level, this is unachievable. But in the level of the heart, in the level of consciousness, this is possible ... a never ending presence.


     Even if you are too busy with mundane things, but your heart is awake and your spiritual eyes are open, then presence to the One you love is alive. And who is this One you love? It is the Son of God.


     That’s why the famous monk, Brother Lawrence of France noted: “The practice of the presence of God is the shortest and easiest way to attain the Christian perfection. It is the form and life of virtue.”


     On a practical level what does he mean by this? Bro. Lawrence explained: “For me the time of activity does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several people are together calling for as many different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as when upon my knees at the blessed Sacrament.” Surely it appears that in the domain of relationship, “presence”, means possession of the One we love in our hearts.”


     Note that Bro. Lawrence does not live his life in compartments. It is a life of uninterrupted and engaging awareness of the presence of the beloved Son of God. It is the intensity of his love that makes the difference. That’s why he emphatically pointed out that the presence of God can be reached more readily by the heart rather than the intellect or understanding. In his words: “In the way of God, thoughts count for little, love is everything.”

That’s why the mystic and saint, Teresa of Avila said: “The important thing is not to think much, but to love much, and so to do whatever best awakens us to love.”


     So basically, Lent is to awaken us to the love of the Crucified One. The One who’s love is so intense, so great, and so redeeming, that he took upon himself our iniquities and transgressions. For indeed Jesus redeemed us for himself. He reconciled us for heaven. He loved us unto death.


     And for us, what is our response? Consider this. There is no remedy to love but to love even more. When we follow this impulse of love and perpetual presence, then happiness is just arounds the corner.


"Happiness ... is achieved only by making others happy."   - Stuart Cloetre


Endless Love

by Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan

Volume III  3.15.17


Lent is a time to discover love in a new way. That it is about sacrifice and commitment. That it is about knowing that you cannot love and be selfish. That you cannot be selfish and be happy. That you cannot love and be stingy. This is the domain of love, the domain of Lent.


So we fast, give alms, and abstain from meat. But in a deeper sense, Lent is really about abstaining from anything that hinders us from loving God deeply and intensely. Why?


Because love is not love if it has no intensity.

Love is not love without a flame. Love is not love without a commitment.

In fact, love is so miraculous that it shines even in the darkness.

And love is so generous that it never counts the cost of loving intensely.

  

Robert was an idealistic seven year old boy raised in a Christian family. At a young age he learned to practice the adage that there is nothing small in the service of God, and that there is nothing so kingly as kindness.


So one day he went house to house to sell pencils so he could send the money to the poor children dying of hunger in Africa. And he did this with great enthusiasm and love of God.


One homeowner asked him, “How much money do you intend to raise? With a smile, Robert replied, “A thousand dollars sir.”


“And you plan to do this alone?” the homeowner inquired. With confidence Robert said, “No sir, I have my little cousin helping me out.”


“Good luck!” the man exclaimed. After a short pause, Robert replied, “Sir, I have good luck, I just need your contribution.”


Wow! What a big and confident heart we have in Robert. Without knowing it he proved that indeed “love is a miracle”, because it is always willing to do the impossible.


Lent is a challenge to experience the “miracle of love”. To patch up a relationship that had gone sour for years by making the first move. To help someone you know who need material assistance. To be helpful at home, in the office, or in the Parish. To volunteer to teach catechism in a nearby Christian school. To help a child or someone to read. To give a homebound person a ride to a clinic. To simply be open, to give a helping hand and a caring heart, to our family, friends, and neighbor ... all for the glory of God.


But there is a catch. We must understand, that to love, is to be vulnerable. Meaning, to be totally open, abandoned, and surrendered to the One we love ... Jesus, the Son of God. If we try too hard to love, then we are not vulnerable because we want to be in control. And love is not love if it wants to control. Why? Because true love always wants to love and give freely. It will not count the cost, nor will it count the reward. All it desires is the joy of loving and serving the One we love ... the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. To live this way is to find the fountain of happiness.


" You don't get to choose how you are going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you are going to live."    - Joan Baez


 Love is just such a game changer for sure and it will pervade the universe in due time. It is such a positive force beyond the boundaries of the whole universe. So how do you then try to utilize this powerful force of the universe to change the conditions of our world?

Simply by the grace of God try to know the nature of this force,later to discover that the nature of this for is ... BEYOND MEASURE.  

Heavenly Admonitions

by Agnes Kioskli

"Behave like Jesus. Always answer with love and the power of truth."   Pope Francis


Powerful admonition by a humble and spiritual Pope. Truly  a man of God, a man in love with God.

To be like Jesus, and to live love and truth is an honorable calling. A vocation. Knowing this truth should make us happy.



 


 Next Issue:  March 1 or  every 1st and 15th of each month.



"Love is unselfishly choosing for another's highest good."   C.S. Lewis


Looking after our brothers and sisters in need  and  their spiritual well being  are fundamental to our inner  joy  and   happiness.


Nonetheless, we must always begin with  our family and love ones. From there we can reach out to others. This attitude of charity can bring us peace and happiness.


My Lenten Journey

By Agnes M. Kioskli


It seems to me that we just celebrated Christmas yesterday!

And now  I am  walking with Jesus in the desert.


I was taught that during Lenten Season,  we offer sacrifices, prayers , alms giving etc. to God to accompany His Son Jesus during these forty days.


I started my Lenten Journey, by going to confession.  I go to the doctor when I am sick! Likewise, I also need my spiritual healing so I can restore my relationship with God, by going to confession. After my spiritual cleansing, then I am ready to  walk with Jesus and perform special acts of offering , starting with little things.


Yes, and I would do these things with joyful heart filled with joy and love.

My favorite St. Therese of the Little Flower started with little offerings with so much love for God; and because of her little ways, God has showered her with abundant blessings and love. Therefore:

By attending daily mass, and the reception of the sacred Body and Blood of Christ,  is the highest form of prayer I can offer to God, because it is during this time when I can really feel the presence of God in my life.


Loving my neighbors as I love myself,  though it is hard to do, is something that I can practice each day and offer it to God. Or even just offering a prayer to those I do not like much!


You and I can also follow Christ in our own ways by offering even the littlest things that we do each day for God. A smile, a comforting word,  can make a difference in someone's life most especially to God whose love for us is beyond measure. Whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do it unto Him!


May we all have a blessed Lenten Journey and grace-filled heart full of of joy and love.



Note: Be sure to open "Seal it With a Smile" as shown above and Prayer of Petition