The Talent

By Nemsy Gubatan

Warren Buffet is regarded as the guru of investors. Today he has a net worth of about 62 billion dollars and is sought for by high ranking officials for his economic advice. Although an agnostic, his economic principles are in line with Gospel precepts. He is known for not carrying a cell phone or having a computer in his desk. He thinks independently and avoids being influenced by Wall Street or any popular financial trends. In short he has his own approach to investment.


Buffet first principle is: Don’t bury your money. Don’t hide it under a pillow. Instead invest it, trade it, or deposit it in a bank to gain interest. Don’t let it sit idle. Does this sound familiar?


In one of Jesus’ parables, the Master of the house severely scolded his servant who buried the one talent (one gold coin) he was given. However, the other servants who invested the talents entrusted to them were highly praised and rewarded by the Master. Why? Because the Master expected something in return. In the business world, we would call this ROI, or return on investment. The Master expected the servants to put to good use the talents given to them and grow it.

 

Most people today are born with natural gifts or God-given talents. Some are born with artistic abilities, good looks, or intelligence; like Buffet who was born with a knack for numbers and business. Others are born with deep faith, compassion, and charity. Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta who was a spiritual genius who saw Jesus in the poorest of the poor. What if Mother Teresa did not use her gift of compassion and deep faith? Then the poor, the lepers, the orphans of India would not have experienced God’s love and comfort in the person of Mother Teresa. Perhaps the greatest tragedy would be for someone to face the Master at the end of life and give an account of his God-given gifts or talents saying: “I did nothing with the talents you gave me; I did not put it to good use.”


Buffet’s second principle is: When you invest in something, look at its intrinsic value, not its market value. In other words, don’t invest in a company based on the stock market price. Instead research the true value of the company by knowing its product, its management, its workers, and its ethics. Know the company well in and out. Then make your investment decision. In the same way, Jesus’ teachings and parables boils down to knowing and assessing the intrinsic value of a person.


Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery; the crowd was ready to stone her because they saw no value in her because she was a sinner. But Jesus saw something in her which the crowd did not see. He saw her infinite worth. He saw the great potential of a redeemed and transformed sinner. In the end, Jesus would invest his entire life and his sacrifice on the cross for poor sinners. He would intentionally invest his whole life for you and for me.


Buffet’s third principle is: Be charitable and help others who are in need. His many charitable foundations is well known among philanthropist. In fact he was credited for having made the largest charitable donation in history in the amount of thirty billion dollars. An article about this described him as follows:


“Despite his wealth, Buffet does not measure success by dollars. In 2006, he pledged to give away almost his entire fortune to charities, primarily the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He’s adamant about not funding monuments to himself; no Warren Buffet buildings or halls. He says, ‘I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you, actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.”


For me, I would like to add my own simple investment principles.


First, invest in meaningful relationships. Why? Because it will sustain you in good times and in bad times. Foremost, invest in your relationship with God. Give it attention and significance. Avoid any kind of ho-hum, lukewarm, mediocre, and shallow relationship with Him. Instead invest in a sincere and intense relationship with God. With this kind of deep and meaningful relationship, then it would be easier to invest in your relationship with your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. When you do this, happiness is just around the corner.


Second, invest in good works and spiritual works of mercy. Have some kind of ministry to the poor, the sick, and the elderly. Also consider a ministry to bring young people to a knowledge and love of God. Doing this you will develop a sense of wholeness and peace.

Thirdly, invest in daily prayer and worship. Without prayers we are like nomads roaming in the desert without any sense of direction. Without prayers we are helpless and hopeless in facing the world of vanity, violence, and vitriol. But with prayers, we are animated by the spirit of goodness, beauty and truth. With prayers we are embraced in God’s love and presence. With prayers we can experience inner peace and joy.

 

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Know  Thyself

By Nemsy Gubatan

St. Teresa of Avila once said: “Without self-knowledge spiritual growth is not possible.” This is a gem of a spiritual advice. For those who try to attain spiritual awakening and radical change this is an eye opener. However, even our saintly and courageous souls sometime misjudge themselves.

Remember St. Peter, “the rock”, he thought he knew himself pretty well. In fact he was bragging to Jesus that he would be willing to die for him anytime and anywhere. Unfortunately, when Jesus was arrested and brought to trial, Peter lied about knowing Jesus when a lowly servant accused him of being a disciple of Jesus. You know the rest of the story, Peter betrayed Jesus three times. Later on, acknowledging his weakness, Peter wept, and sincerely repented of his sin profusely.                                   

How about St. Paul? He wrote to his followers in Rome saying: “I cannot even understand my own actions. I do not do what I want to do, but I do what I hate. What happens is that I do, not the good I want to do, but the evil, which I do not intend to do.” Clearly, the honest St. Paul knows his weaknesses and his dilemma. Good for him, at least he understands his flaws and human nature.


In my younger days, when I was in college, I did not know myself too well either. I discovered that I did poorly in subjects that I thought I would excel in; and did well in subjects that I thought I would fail. These and many other discoveries simply pointed to my lack of knowledge about myself.

 So let’s briefly examine ourselves so that we can be the best person we can be in the eyes of God, at the same time asking Him for assistance.

 

1. Do I know my weaknesses and strengths? Take your time. Perhaps a close friend can help.

2. How do I handle criticism, failure, and success? Perhaps a close sibling can assist.

3. Am I aware of my obsessions, vanities, and hot buttons? Maybe a love one can help.

4. How big is my ego? Am I a habitual braggart? Because of this, do I try to control other people? Perhaps a close acquaintance and co-worker can lend a hand.

5. Do I cling to my past hurts? Have I forgiven those who were involved? Perhaps a self-examination asking the Holy Spirit for enlightenment can be a benefit.

6. Finally, how important is God in my life? Do I feel that I need Him? Do I have to be personally involved with Him? Perhaps an honest reflection is appropriate. Take more time in discerning this.

Without a doubt, self-examination is an important process. However, we must also accept our uniqueness. We are all different in the way we speak, think, and solve problems. Indeed, we have all been endowed with our own peculiar gifts and handicaps. Aware of this, we must be brave and not fear the challenges we face in trying to be the best person we can be for the honor and glory of God.

So here’s a metaphor to ponder upon.

There’s this mouse who was afraid of the cat. Fortunately, a magician took pity on the mouse and turned it into a cat.

 

But then the cat saw a dog and was afraid of it. Again in kindness, the magician turned the cat into a dog. However, later that day, the dog saw a tiger, and the dog was afraid of the tiger.

Fortunately, once again, the magician in pity, turned the dog into a tiger. Now feeling strong and confident, the tiger roamed the jungle but then saw the hunter. Instinctively, the tiger was afraid of the hunter, so once again the tiger sought the magician.

Now the magician, looking sadly at the pleading tiger, threw his hands up in the air, and with a wave of his hands turned the tiger back into a mouse. Then he said: “There is nothing else I can do for you my friend, because you have the heart of a mouse.”

How about you, do you have the heart of a mouse? Are you constantly afraid of facing the challenges of life? Are you afraid of a relationship with God, or even falling in love with God? Are you not aware that you were made in His image and likeness? Do you not know that you are a son or daughter of God? That you should not live your life as though you have the heart of a mouse. You are a child of God. You can face the future without fear. You can untangle the most complex oddities of life. You can live in total trust in God’s love and benevolence. When you believe this, and live in God’s Divine Providence, then you are free to live a life of peace, love, joy, and boldness. 


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Abba's  Delight

​​By Nem​sy Gubatan


Some theologians believe that the New Testament verse, John 3:16, is the center of the scriptures. It talks about the love and generosity of God the Father expressed in this way; “Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Here, the Father lovingly gives his only Son to the world for its redemption. Subsequently, the Son sacrifices his own life to accomplish this purpose. So the generous love of the Father and the Son made it possible for us to inherit the Kingdome of God, or heaven.

 

In my life, it was Jesus’ love that I first encountered. This was manifest through my conversion experience in San Francisco. It was the result of a powerful divine intervention when the good Lord saved me from being deported back to the Philippines. I have never seen such a powerful intervention by Jesus.


As I have previously narrated, the Lord Jesus hinted that it was now time for me to know the Father, Abba in a personal loving way; to call Him Abba or Dad. He reminded me that my earthly father who had passed away many years ago has neglected to show me a father’s love and attention. And Jesus was right. So it was time for me to experience the love of my heavenly Father, after all Jesus said in Matthew 11:27; “Everything has been given to me by my Father. No one knows the Son but the Father; and no one knows the Father but the Son; and anyone whom the Son wishes to reveal.”


At the time I was convinced that Jesus wanted to reveal the Father to me in a personal way. To this urging, I opened my heart, and savored the words of Jesus in John 16:27; “The Father already love you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I come from God.” For me, this was indeed a giveaway. Because I loved the Son of God, my heavenly Father delights in loving me; all I needed was to love Abba, Dad, back. To bring home my point, listen to this modern parable.


Little Johnnie loved his dad so much, and his dad loved him beyond his comprehension. Around 6 pm each day, Johnnie knew that his dad would be coming home from work. Therefore, as early as 5 pm, he would play and hang around the living room, so he would be the first one to greet his dad. Then at 6 pm when the door opens, little Johnnie runs as fast as he could to his father, screaming; “Daddy, daddy, daddy!" At that point, Johnnie would embrace his dad’s legs as tight as he could crying out; “Daddy take me home, take me home!”


Of course Johnnie was already home, but what was his intention? Well, what he really wanted was that his Dad would pick him up, carry him in his strong, loving arms, and take him inside the house.” Get it? Little Johnnie’s desire and longing is that his Dad would pick him up. Ah, to be carried in the arms of a loving Father, for Johnnie that was heavenly. That was unspeakable joy. But you know what? His Dad also delights in picking up little Johnnie. Why? Because it reinforces his fatherhood. He is happy to be a father, to be a loving Dad. So God the Father, Abba, our Dad, delights in picking us up when we run towards Him like a little child. 


St. Therese of Lisieux, the little flower, loves this image a lot; her running to Abba’s arms like a little child, and being picked up by Him. Abba, Dad, wants to display his tender fatherhood. During this encounter, there is perfect giving and receiving of pure love. Usually in this posture, all fear fades away. When this happens we find inner peace and perfect joy.


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From the Tomb He Rose

By Nemsy Gubatan


As Christians we know that Jesus rose from the dead, and we commemorate this holy event on Easter Sunday. Our scripture tells us that more than 500 people saw the risen Lord (1 Cor 15). After Jesus’ resurrection he did not go straight to heaven, instead he stayed awhile, for 50 days appearing many times to his friends and disciples. Why? To give them hope, inspire them, and motivate them to accomplish their mission.

 

Still, today, many do not believe in the resurrection. But here’s what Charles Colson who was involved with Nixon’s Watergate scandal says about the resurrection, and I paraphrase.


“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 11 of the apostles, testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they boldly proclaimed that truth for 40 long years, never once denying it. They were beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. They were willing to die for the truth of the resurrection.


However, Watergate embroiled 11 of the most powerful men in the world, and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. Their cover up did not work. So don’t tell me that 11 apostles could keep a lie for 40 long years? That’s impossible.”


So the reality of the resurrection is the most significant event in human history. It changes the face of death for all believers. Death is no longer a prison, but a doorway into heaven and into God’s presence. And when the risen Jesus appeared to the apostles in the Upper Room, he said to them, “Look at my wounds, it is I. Touch me, touch my wounds.” Jesus could not bear their loneliness, their waning faith, and their moving into a kind of lukewarm love. He was going to set their hearts on fire again. Why? To prepare them for their purpose in life which is to image Jesus in their lives and to teach them the truth of salvation. In this way, Jesus becomes alive in this world. As St. Paul said: “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.”


One time Mother Teresa was invited to speak to a big crowd in Washington, DC. Her message was simple but profound, that Jesus is the way, truth, life. However, when she told them, “Jesus loves you”, the people were deeply touched. Many became teary eyed. It was as if Jesus was speaking through her, they saw Jesus alive in her. Therefore, this is part of our mission, to reflect Jesus alive in us.


Remember, when we are dealing with awkward and difficult situation, silently pray: “Lord Jesus come to life in me, come to life in me now.” Doing this will bring us confidence, inner peace, and joy.


Next  Issue:   April  15


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Book  Knowledge

By  Nemsy  Gubatan


In the Old Testament we find the religious leaders in the time of Jesus were quite knowledgeable of the Torah or Jewish scriptures, yet they were so intent in killing Jesus. It appears that they read the holy book but did not assimilate its spiritual meaning or touched their hearts. Why? Because they were jealous of Jesus’ popularity and his healing powers. Obviously, despite their in-depth knowledge of religion, it did not guarantee their acting in a humane and spiritual way. That’s why Pope Benedict XVI once said:

“By itself studying theology doesn’t make a person better. It helps to make him better when he doesn’t pursue it just as a theory, but tries to get a better understanding of himself, and of man, and of the world as a whole, in what he reads and then tries to appropriate it as a form of life. But in itself, theology is primarily an intellectual occupation, above all when it is pursued with scholarly rigor and seriousness. It can have repercussions on one’s attitude as a human being, but it doesn’t necessarily make man better, as such.”

Wow! This proves the axiom that knowing about Jesus is different from knowing Jesus in a personal way. To encounter Jesus during moments of loneliness and insecurity, and being consoled and strengthened by him becomes an unforgettable experience. It becomes a personal encounter. Also, experiencing Jesus in a life or death situation and coming out on the other side alive and healed, makes him loveable and believable. This kind of knowing Jesus in an intimate way is forever etched in our hearts. It can be the beginning of a lifetime relationship. With this kind of close relationship with Jesus we can face life with inner peace and joy.

 


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Spiritual  Blindness


By Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan


Spiritual blindness is not often a big topic of discussion. Most often people with 20/20 vision would not relish discussing spiritual blindness. Why? Because they are happy with just having a good eyesight. However, we know that spiritual blindness is the worst kind of blindness, which is a kind of deep darkness in the soul and a pathetic ignorance of Jesus Christ.


When I was working at Kennedy Space Center, I use to buy potato chips from a blind man tending the small store. Since he could not see, I would simply hand him the money, which he politely took, and then if I needed some change, he would pull out a basket which was filled with coins. He was kind and courteous, and appeared to be content. I often wondered how it was like to be blind, or even to be deaf and blind like Helen Keller.


She was born in Alabama in 1880. When she was 2 years old, a serious illness caused her to lose her sight and hearing, which made her unruly. As she would later write, “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” Fortunately, when she was 7, she met her teacher, Anne Sullivan, a graduate of Perkins school for the blind, who taught her how to read and write in Braille. Pretty soon, Helen was able to connect words with objects. For example as she touched a flower, her teacher would spell this out in her hands.


Then at the age of 13 she was able to perfect her speech. She often said; “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” What a profound statement; truly a sign of maturation and spiritual insight coming from a blind and deaf person.


Then at 16 she entered Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904. In her writings she would point out, “Life is exciting business and most exciting when it is lived for others. Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” This faith she was referring to was her total abandonment to God’s holy will. Obviously, Helen although physically blind, had very sharp spiritual eyes.


As we said previously, spiritual blindness is the worst kind of blindness. Are there spiritually blind people today?


One day, as I was watching the news, I heard this influential women address the US Congress saying that abortion was a constitutional right, and that the government should pay for it.


Somewhat upset I said to myself, but intended for her; “Constitutional right, my foot! Why should I pay for the killing of a child for the convenience of the irresponsible mother? How blind can you be?” Of course I was referring to her spiritual blindness.


Then there was the study made about people who were addicted to digital screens; like cellphone screens, I-Pad screen, TV screens; where they become so engrossed in this digital world that they lose their spiritual insight and foresight. Consequently, if you ask them about Jesus, the Son of God, some would say that he is simply irrelevant and obsolete, like Moses.

 

Again, somewhat upset I would say to myself but intended for them; “Historical figure my foot! Did you not know that there are more than 2 billion Christians around the world who believe that Jesus is alive? That he animates, motivates, and guides them in their decisions to make this world a better place? That without Jesus, the world would have no vision, no purpose or meaning in life. How can people be so spiritually blind?


Then I remembered that in the days of Helen Keller, it was Christians who reached out to disabled and handicapped people providing them with trained dogs, help them find jobs, and educate them using the Braille method of reading. Obviously, without Christianity, how dark and blind this world would be. Indeed, how happy are we and those who are not spiritually blind. We know that Jesus Christ, is the way, the truth, and the life. And because of this we can shine and illuminate the darkness of the world to give sight to the blind saying to the Lord ... “All for love of you Jesus, all for love of you.”


Please check out Fulton Sheens beautiful prayer in the "Small Talk with God" website page.


Next Issue:  March 15


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Repent and Believe in the Gospel


By Dcn. Nemsy Gubatan


As we enter the season of Lent there is a sense of urgency for repentance. Why? Because the world seem to be cluttered with so much horrific killings and violence. Just today in Parkland, Florida, a former student of Marjory Douglas High School shot and killed 17 people. Clearly then, without repentance the spiral of violence will remain unabated.


That’s why when we receive ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, we hear the words; Repent and believe in the Gospel. But in order to repent we need focus, solitude, and some kind of slowing down.


So a greater part of Lent is slowing down. Perhaps like a Toyota that accelerates to 80 MPH, we need to shift the gears to neutral, so although the engine is running, the gears are not engaged, and the car slows down by itself. Yes, we need to disengage from the busyness of this world and take time to examine ourselves and have a sense of what’s really going on in our lives. After all we might be heading the wrong direction and not even know it.


Like what happened to Joe Stack, a software engineer from Austin, Texas who was so miserable and angry at the IRS thinking he was treated unfairly. He was so angry and miserable that he burned his house down, then boarded his single engine airplane, and crashed it into the building where the IRS employees worked. This incident reminded people of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Obviously, Joe failed to slow down and examine his life and spiritual condition. He was always on the fast track. No wonder Plato said, “The unexamined life if not worth living.” Also, Joe was not aware of what most psychiatrist say; all mental illness proceeds from some form of chosen loneliness. Amazing, loneliness is a big factor of mental illness.


So Lent is a time for self-examination and self-knowledge. After all St. Teresa of Avila said, “Without self-knowledge spiritual growth is not possible.” We need to know our shades of loneliness, our miseries, our sins, and bring them all to our merciful God for healing. Hopefully, this will lead us to repentance. That is why Jesus said, “If you do not repent, you will perish.” Consequently then, repentance means healing, and healing means peace and inner joy.


Repent then, and believe in the Gospel. Approach our good Lord in confession, and obtain His mercy, forgiveness, and strength. Then you will find consolation, companionship, and happiness. 


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The Conversation


By Deacon Nemsy Gubatan


One time I was in the mood for solitude and reflection. So I decided to simply spend some time in the quiet of the early morning dawn alone in my room. First thing I did was to invoke the presence of God and simply speak to him. Of course this was not unusual for I have done this before. Getting to know God and to converse with him would always fill me with joy and inner peace. However, this particular morning I was a little bit more daring in my conversation and so I asked the good Lord in a childlike way for a personal favor and also inquire about his very nature and character.


The exchange was in the medium of mental prayer, reflection, and some intermittent vocal utterance on my part. There were no audible responses from God. It was all in the realm of a loving heart to heart exchange. In this mode, there was a sense of trust, transparency, and total acceptance of one another. When God spoke it was simply a flash of deep insight spoken in my heart. Without trying to be precise, but simply capturing the essence of the conversation that day, this is what came up in my conversation with Abba, God the Father.


Nemsy: “Abba, Dad, Jesus your only Son told me to call you Abba or Dad. I love it. And Jesus told me to get to know you better in a personal way to deepen my spirituality. So here I am, hoping to get to know more.”


Abba: Silence.


Nemsy: “You know that my earthly father died many years ago, so I would appreciate it if you can fill his place. I never really felt the love of my earthly father, although I have longed for it so much. So when Jesus told me that I can come to you as my father, I got excited. So here I am Dad, asking you to be my father. Will you be my father?”


Abba: “Yes, I would delight in it.”


Nemsy: “Wow! Thank you dad. I am so happy. I am happy that you sent your only Son to redeem me and then to point to you as my Father. No wonder he taught us the “Our Father” to introduce you to us as our father. Jesus also told us that you Father, and Jesus are one; that if I loved your only begotten Son, it would please you. Also, if I loved you Dad, Jesus would be delighted. Wow! I am surrounded by love. I am so happy.”


Abba: Silence


Nemsy: “I know Dad that you are love. And that you have no beginning and no end. Therefore love has no beginning and no end. But the concept of “no beginning and no end” is hard for me to understand. Can you help me?”


Abba: “You will not understand it because you are finite. When you pass from this world to the next then you will understand. But love is infinite, therefore focus on love and you will understand better the answer to your question. Love will also reveal the very nature and character of the Godhead.”


Nemsy: “Thank you Dad, I will try to focus on love.”


Abba: “Yes, focus on love and you will be happy.”


At the Last Supper Jesus said: “I am in the Father and you are in me, and I am in you.” Obviously, this statement invites us to a spiritual union with Jesus and the Father. Most of us are cognizant of Jesus, but not as much with the Father. So start bonding with the Father, and when asking for grace or favor remember what Jesus said: “Ask the Father in my name.” Along this line, perhaps start the prayer with: “Abba, Dad, in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus, please help me to come to know you in a personal way and to come closer to you each day.” Doing this simple prayer will bring you much joy and happiness. Not only that, new revelations of the Father will follow. I personally found this very exciting.

 

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Purity

By Deacon Nemsy


Still a brand New Year. Still a good time to hone our spiritual awareness, and a deeper concept of pure love. Yes, a love that is pure.


At the Last Supper, Jesus opened the eyes of the apostles to a deeper concept of love. He said to them: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Here, Jesus points to the unified, pure, and mystical love between him and the Father. This love between the Father and Jesus makes them one. It is not about knowledge, intelligence, or power that makes them one – it is their pure, intense, and infinite love for one another that unites them. And so it is with us, we too are invited to enter into this divine, pure love.


Note the word pure. In heaven only pure love resides therein. So if we are impure, we cannot enter heaven. If we die with an impure mind, heart or soul, then we will have a stopover – Purgatory. And we know that in purgatory there will be cleansing and purgation. This purgation is not a picnic. It is miserable, painful, and difficult. That’s why we need to pray for purity and strive for purity. We must carefully choose what we see, what we hear, and what we do. Likewise we must be careful of what we say, and what we think. At all times we must aspire for a pure mind, a pure heart, and a pure soul.


Television can be a challenge, so is lewd entertainment and the sullied secular media. Even shady books and magazines can disturb a person’s spiritual equilibrium. Office chatter can likewise be a trap for impure conversations. Immodest dress or attire, especially among women, and some men, can ignite impurity in the minds of others. Impurity is around us initiated and scattered by the Evil One. Satan is invisible, so we do not see his invisible hand manipulating the minds of people. We need to be spiritually awake. So listen to the words of some wise and saintly men who extol purity.


“Purity is a precious jewel, and the owner of a precious stone would never dream of making a display of his riches in the presence of thieves.” - St. John Bosco


“It might be said that society speaks through the clothing it wears. Through its clothing it reveals its secret aspirations and uses it, at least in part, to build or destroy its future. We have to prefer the spiritual welfare of any neighbor to our bodily comforts. If a certain kind of dress constitutes a grave and proximate occasion of sin, and endangers the salvation of your soul and others, it is your duty to give it up.” - Pope Pius XII


“We must practice modesty not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment, and particularly in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions.” - St. Alphonsus Liguori


If we live a simple, modest, and chaste life, we can live happier lives.

 




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The Unexamined Life

 ​​​By Deacon Nemsy

Happy New Year!!! This time of the year usually connotes new opportunities for new beginnings and new spiritual blossoming. It is also a good time to let go of the stigma of the past year and start with a fresh examination of the direction of our life. Why? Because Plato said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” But for us Christians this examine is centered in our true and deep relationship with God. Everything that happens in our life flows from this relationship


Relationship with God is either shallow or deep, mediocre or outstanding, ho-hum or profound, personal or superficial. And you have heard me quote before from the book of Revelation God’s warning to the church of Laodicea:


“I know your deeds; I know you are neither hot nor cold. How I wish you were one or the other – hot or cold. But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. You keep saying, “I am so rich and secure that I want for nothing.” Little do you realize how wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked!” (Rev. 3:16)


So the culprit, the demise, the downfall ... is lukewarmness. God hates lukewarmness. That’s why He says: “I will spit you out of my mouth.” Just like if you ask someone you love so profoundly and so dearly, “Do you love me?” And he/she says, “I don’t know. I am so busy, I really don’t care.”


Wow!!! What a slap in the face. What a spit on the face.


Case in point. Someone came to me asking for prayer for a successful neck surgery. She said the surgery was somewhat complicated. So we talked a little bit more. Without my asking her, she confided to me that one of my sermons on love changed her outlook in life. She said:


“I used to be very casual and lukewarm about Jesus. The mass, the Eucharist did not mean much to me. I had a humdrum and shallow relationship with God. Interiorly, I was not happy and secure. I had that sickening fear of the future, and I was restless. Now I am no longer lukewarm with God, thanks to your admonition. Now I am seriously attached in a loving way to Jesus. I affectionately think of Him most of the time. So this coming surgery, I have lovingly surrendered to Him. I am at peace, but I still need prayers.” Before we parted, I prayed over her and gave her a blessing.


So this coming year let us examine our connection and bonding with the Lord. Let us focus on deepening our unique loving partnership with the God of the universe. No more lukewarm love of the Lord. After all, He made us for Himself, He made us for intimacy, He made us for heaven. Pursuing this goal will bring us much joy and happiness.


 

 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