Saturday, November 13, 2010

St. José Maria Escriva

"The Lord has sworn an oath and he will not retract; you are a priest forever, in the line of Melchisedech" (Psalm 110:4)

God chose St. José Maria Escriva as the instrument to found Opus Dei. Opus Dei is an enabling way of holiness in daily work and in the fulfillment of the ordinary duties of a Christian. José Maria taught that we can turn all the circumstances and events of our lives into opportunities to love and serve God and the Church. That is to say, we can come to trust divine providence in every circumstance of our life. We can do this because of who we are: children of God. A thorough understanding of what he called divine affiliation will change our entire perspective. His teachings inspire a life of joy and simplicity with faith and love. Many lay people all over the world follow this teaching enthusiastically today.

St. José Maria Escriva de Balaguer was born in Spain on 9 January 1902. He was ordained to the priesthood on 28 March 1925. He cherished the priesthood and like Melchisedech, he is a priest forever.

During his life, St. José Maria criss-crossed the world several times, giving many seminars and interviews. He wrote many books and speeches, all for the growth of Opus Dei. José Maria died in Rome on 26 June 1975. Pope John Paul II canonized him a saint on the 6th of October, 2002. José Maria is one of my patron saints

Friday, November 12, 2010

A good job

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. .... In vain you rise early and go late to rest, toiling for the bread you eat; he supplies the needs of those he loves.(Psalm 127: 1-2)

Finding, keeping and progressing in a good job constitute one of life's great blessings. A good job means many wonderful things in life. It means personal prosperity: a nice home, new cars and vacations. It allows you to give your children great opportunities in life. A good job signifies winning respect, leadership, being admired by people in your social life and business circles. With a good job, you enjoy maximum freedom: freedom from worries, fears, frustrations and failure. A good job means self-esteem. As you optimize your potentials, you discover more happiness and satisfaction from life. You are proud that you are able to do more for people who depend on you.

Everybody wants a good job. We all want the best that life can offer us. Getting that good job is like building a house. The Bible teaches us to build on rock so that the house can stand storms and tempests. God is the architect and the master builder of our jobs, our families and in fact of our lives.  He has the blue print.   Let us trust Him.   "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain(Psalm 127: 1)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Cross as a Magnet

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself" (John 12:32).

Christ promised to draw all men to Himself when he was lifted up. His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven completed the salvation of all mankind. The way is now open for Christ to lead all men to heaven.

Christ draws us to Himself. The attraction we have for Him and our love for Him are His gifts to us. When Christ was lifted up, He sent the Holy Spirit whose work is to draw all men to Christ. His graces are ever present, ever active in all of us. Our duty is to cooperate with Him. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ through the Word of God and through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

O Holy Spirit, we have heard your word. We thank you for it. We believe it. You are drawing us closer to Christ everyday. We believe in your loving presence in us. We love you. We surrender ourselves totally to you so that your grace may triumph in us. You can make us holy if you want or indeed whatever you want. We are all yours. Amen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Grain of Wheat

"Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest" (John 12:24).

Just as a wheat grain must die on the ground before it yields a rich harvest, so must we die to old selves before we can yield a rich harvest of good works. Dying to our old selves means abandoning totally our old world ideas on key areas of life: family, health, money, job, tools and food. When these old ideas are flushed out, we replace them with Christ's ideas. The Christ-centered new ideas will influence a new way of seeing things and a new way of behaving.

But the process of dying, any dying is very painful. Christ compared the dying process to a woman in child-birth. She groans and cries because her time of trial has come. But then, the test is for a short time and she experiences the joy of suckling a new baby. Anyone who loves his life so much to want to keep his old self intact with loose it. Hating one's life means hating one's Christ-less ideas. Christ's ideas renew us and make new persons of us.

Lord Jesus, show us how to die to ourselves every day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Precious Ointment

"You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me" (John 12:8.)

Jesus accepted an act of kindness from Mary. She did not count the cost of the ointment. It was very expensive. Mary thought that her Love and Master deserved it. Jesus showed His appreciation by praising her act.

We are called to a life of friendship and companionship with Jesus. How do we show our generosity to Jesus? The first thing in friendship is to provide enough time to nourish the relationship. Mary followed Jesus everywhere. In offering her twenty-four hours to Jesus, she offered her soul, heart, will and everything.

Our love for Jesus must be all-encompassing like Mary's. Often we allow our love for God to remain on the level of intentions. Good intentions on themselves are a good start but for the intentions to become reality, we need the grace of God. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and gives us a generous heart to fulfill our good intentions. Christ is passing by us every day. What we cannot do for Him here and now may be a lost opportunity.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Let him go free

"Unbind him, let him go free" (John 11:44)

The raising to life of Lazarus presents us with a number of lessons:

1. "This sickness will not end in death but in God's glory and through it the Son of God will be glorified" (John 11:4). Our adversities are opportunities for the glory of God. If we are patient to the end, our tests will become testimonies.

2. "I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies, he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:26). Christ in raising Lazarus from the dead, proves that He has the power over life and death. This miracle also teaches that Jesus can raise any person to spiritual life no matter the degree of our deadness to sin.

3. "Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40) Believe unleashes miracles. Jesus also promises that if we believe we can do greater things than He did.

"Unbind him, let him go free" (John 11:44). Ignorance, disease and death all represent forms of loss of freedom. The Truth that is Jesus unbinds us from spiritual death.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Belief in Jesus

"Do you believe in the Son of man?" (John 9:36)

When Jesus asked this question to the man who had been born blind, the blind man responded in the affirmative because he understood the question. If Jesus asks you: What does belief in the Son of man mean to you? Would your answers include: Jesus is my Lord and God, my Savior and Redeemer, my King and Boss, my Friend and Companion?

Jesus' intervention in the life of the blind man gave him back his sight and gave him faith as well. In a literal sense, he experienced Jesus as his savior and redeemer. Has Jesus made any interventions in your life that touched your faith?

Some years ago, while working in Paris, I had a work-related problem that needed a miracle. I prayed and prayed and was given this scripture: "Do not be afraid! Stand firm, and you will see what Yahweh will do to rescue you today: The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Yahweh will do the fighting for you; all you need to do is to keep calm" (Exodus 14: 13-14). I clung to this scripture as a drowning man clings to any object. God turned around my situation and produced a miracle that made many people praise Him. This event uplifted my faith enormously. Jesus rescued me from a certain career disaster. He was indeed my Savior and Redeemer.

The blind man's adversity has brought him something greater than physical vision. He now had a Lord and God who is his personal Savior and Redeemer. God intervenes in our life to save us from sin and evil in order to strengthen our faith.

"Do you believe in the Son of man?" (John 9:36) Yes, Lord. Strengthen my faith