Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Enterprise

The Enterprise

“If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them.  Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God...”  (Acts 5: 38)  - New Jerusalem Bible.

“If what they have planned and done is of human origin, it will disappear, but if it comes from God, you cannot possibly defeat them.  You could find yourselves fighting against God.”  - Good News Bible.

“If this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be found fighting against God!” – New Revised Standard Version.

“For it what is being planned and done is human in origin, it will collapse; but if it is from God, you will never be able to stamp it out, and you risk finding yourselves at war with God.”  - Revised English Bible.

“For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.  But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them, you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” – New American Bible.

Acts 5: 38 is one of my key scriptures.  It is one of the scriptures found in my top ten scripture list.  I received the message of this scripture early in 1995.  The person, who gave it to me, gave me the message in a paraphrased form.  It was more than a year later that I found the actual reference.  Below is what I wrote in my journal entry that morning in 1996 when I discovered the actual chapter and verse of the message.

“This morning, I discovered what I believe is the scripture that Peter meant to give me last year.  He had said Acts 6:8 but after a year I did not see Acts 6: 8 as applying to my situation.  I was then in a cross road in my life as I am still today.  But what applies intimately and what I believe he meant to say is:  Acts 5: 38 which in New Jerusalem Bible says:
“If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them.  Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God...”  (Acts 5: 38)  

I had decided on a new direction for my life which I call the Enterprise.  Where is the origin of the idea of the Enterprise?  If the origin of the Enterprise is human, that is, Avila or myself, then I should forget it.  But if in fact it comes from God, rejoice for it is accomplished.  I had always believed that the origin is from God.  Although the initial idea of the Enterprise came from Avila in 0595, I had no doubt in my mind that Avila was inspired.  Later, when I used my mind and “counted 10 to win,” following  Robert Schuller’s formula, the Enterprise emerged as number one and the most practical solution in my situation.  

Over one year after I received Acts 5: 38, my belief that the Enterprise is from God is stronger today than ever.  My faith in its success is very strong.  If it is from God, it is accomplished.  

Thank you Jesus for Acts 5: 38.  You have strengthened my faith in the Enterprise through it.  I know for certain that you will bring to a successful conclusion what you initiated over a year ago.  Lord, grant me the patience that confirms my faith in you in this project.  I have taken a comprehensive insurance with you with regard to every detail of the project.  Dear Jesus, my Lord, my King and Boss, my best Friend, please take charge.”

Ten years later, today, 2006, where am I with the Enterprise?  My faith has not diminished that this project is from God.  I am working on it everyday.  There have been too many signs of grace to mention during this time.  I live one day at a time and place the future completely in the hands of God.

Friday, March 10, 2006

You have been with me

You have been with me

“When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.  And you too will be my witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.” (John 15: 26-27)

The Holy Spirit witnesses to the presence of Jesus in the world.  How?  Through the activities of the Church:  teaching, preaching, feeding and healing.  How does the Holy Spirit witness to the presence of Christ in the individual?  I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in me through peace and tranquility, joy and consolations, light and guidance, encouragement and patience.  The deep attraction to the word of God and facility in prayer are also signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells me in John 15: 26-27 that I too shall be his witness.  How?  I can witness to Christ today through my kind and considerate words, encouragement of others, selfless service, bearing my crosses patiently and cheerfully.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your words.  I know that today you will present me with many opportunities to witness to you.  Help me not to fail.  

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Commissioned to bear fruit

Commissioned to bear fruit

“You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.”  (John 15: 16)

In 1987 when I returned home from internationalization with Unilever in Paris, I was sent to work in a division where I had a great Dutchman as my boss.  I was conceited and often spoke of how much I loved the products and services the division provided its customers.   I implied I chose the division because of this.  One day, Mr. Han (not his real name) said to me:  “You did not choose me.  I chose you.”  It was a brutal,  appropriate and humbling reminder of the truth.

In my relationship with Jesus, I might from time to time forget this truth and believe that I chose Jesus.  Today Jesus is reminding me that it was he who chose me and not the other way.  He called me as he called Peter to a life of friendship, companionship and spiritual productivity.  

Lord Jesus, I know you have chosen me to be with you and work for you.  Have you commissioned me or is it something that will happen in the future?  I understand that we live our mission every moment of our life.  Our God given purpose is always there for us to work on.  

On the feast of Assumption, August 15, 1995, I became aware of a second call to follow Jesus.  Jonah was reluctant the first time he heard the call to go to Nineveh.  So was I.  But the second time the call came, I was ready.  The Lord had prepared me for this moment through suffering.  He had also prepared me for it through elevation.  Having given me an unmerited opportunity to climb high in the corporate ladder, I have seen and observed life from the upper floors.  In August, 1995, I had decided that there was nothing there that deserved my losing my life to gain.  

When Mary was commissioned at the Annunciation, the Word started to bear fruit in her womb right away.  I am commissioned by Christ to go out and bear fruit that will last.  I do so today by faithfulness in little things.  Help me Jesus.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Keep My Commandments

Keep My Commandments

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (John 15: 10)

The words of Christ are living words. Jesus is addressing these words to me right here, right now.  These words are not like dead words of literature and history.

Today Jesus is saying to me:  Just as the Father loves me, so do I love you.  Incredible words!  But remember who is speaking.  He is the truth.  Jesus loves me as I am.  He loves me with all my assets and all my liabilities.  He wants me to remain in this love.  He does not want me to do anything that might separate me from this love.  The way to remain in his love is to observe his commandments.  His love is greater than silver and gold.

Thank you Jesus for your love for me.  May nothing ever separate me from this love.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bearing much fruit2

Bearing much fruit

“It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.”  (John 15:8)

What an incredibly astonishing statement!  Jesus is saying to me here that the Father will be glorified by my success in life, which is “bearing much fruit.”  Sometimes we act as if God is hostile to our desires, plans and ambitions.  But I am learning here that my success will glorify God.  If my success will glorify God and if God is the first cause of everything, shouldn’t I align myself with God as my partner?  

When we align our thoughts and actions with God’s will for our life, everything cooperates to the accomplishment of our purpose in life.  God cannot oppose the mission he has given.  If we seek his help, he will provide it.

What is the lesson for me in John 15:8?  My purpose in life is to learn and communicate Jesus.  Everyday I ask God for the grace to do it well through whatever means may present themselves to me.  I remember that he who is faithful in little things will be faithful in big ones.  I have solid faith that with God’s grace I will succeed and that the project will glorify God.

Monday, March 06, 2006

"Remain in me"

“Remain in me”

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers.” (John 15: 5-6)

What is Jesus saying to me this morning? He is the vine and I am the branch. I am linked to Jesus and I am one with him. The way to bear fruit is to continue to be in Jesus.

What fruits? Spiritual fruits, fulfillment of one’s life purpose, the abundant life that Jesus promises to his followers. This is a remarkable promise. It teaches me that Jesus is an indispensable help to me in life and not a constraint. The deeper I am in him, the more fruitful I become.

How do I remain in Jesus? Jesus himself indicates two means:
  1. “Dwell in my words.”

  2. “Eat my flesh.”
This is the only way to bear fruit in plenty.

Lord, I thank you for your message and your promise this morning. I desire to remain in you and with you in me. Grant me the grace to do this everyday so that I may bear abundant fruit. Amen.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bearing much fruit

Bearing much fruit

“I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty.”  (John 15:5)

Jesus is the big tree trunk.  I am the healthy branch at his side, sapping life and vitality from the juicy tree.  This is the sap I need for life and fruitfulness.  Christ’s grace is always there for me.  It is inexhaustible.  

How do I get the sap of life from Christ?  I can think of two ways suggested by Jesus himself:
  1. “Make my word your home.”

  2. “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.”

His word is always there, available, open and inviting.   His flesh is also readily available.  If we truly desire it, we can always partake of it everyday through the Eucharist.

When we eat his body and dwell in his word day after day, we cannot help but remain in him and thus bear much fruit as he promised.  What does bearing much fruit mean?  I think immediately of the parable of the seed.  The good seed and falls on good soil bears abundant harvest. God created each of us with a mission, talent and purpose.  

My purpose in life is to learn and communicate.  I am a student of life and the truth, which is Jesus Christ.  When I learn my subject well, I communicate the knowledge to people through writing and publishing.  Christ is saying to me today that if I want to bear much fruit in learning and communicating him, I must do first things first.  And the most basic and first thing is to learn to remain in Christ as a branch remains in the trunk and saps life from it.  This means that we cannot find fulfillment in our vocation without Christ.  

The lesson for me today is this:  I desire greatly to succeed in life.  I want to fulfill God’s purpose for my life.  First thing:  I make the word of Christ my home.  I receive him frequently in the Eucharist.  Then I accept in faith that in due season, I will bear much fruit.  I walk in faith and not by sight and do not evaluate my success through sense evidence.  I accept the word of Jesus as true that because I am in him, I am bearing fruit.