Category Archives: Who am I?

Today is Ash Wednesday

There is so much to write about. First, today is Ash Wednesday. Lent has begun. I’m hoping that it’s going to be the most fruitful up til now. I’ve made some resolutions that have entrusted to Our Lady. The past few days were a kind of pre-Lenten preparation…

I have been reading a book about the words called the words today one of the postulates with my sister sent it to me through her. It’s very good – it reminds me a lot about different aspects of my experience. Right now Chapter 3 is about whole idea of a pilgrimage. That is what our lives about. We are programs making our way to our final destination.

On Friday I received knighthood—my third degree in the nights of Columbus! It was quite an experience. I learned something of what is it to be a knight and a chivalrous one at that.

Saturday was the Arise DC ’09 young adult event held at Catholic University campus.  The theme of the day was “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me”. It was pretty awesome. In a later post, I hope to share some of the things that I picked up at the event. For now, here’s something from Bishop Gonzalez, auxiliary bishop of Washington. He gave a great talk at the outset. And he’s pretty funny too—good stuff.  Very entertaining.

He told the story of the ‘holy man’ at the side of the river. A young student approaches him and expresses his desire to find God. The ‘holy man’ grabs him by the neck and submerges his head in the water while he gasps and kicks frantically. Finally the ‘holy man’ pulls his head back and tells him to come back when he desires God like he desired to take a breath of air.  The bishop said that that is how much we should desire God.

It was good pre-Lenten retreat and I’m glad to have been there. I really needed that. Here’s an article about the event from the Catholic Herald:

http://www.catholicherald.com/local_news/detail.html?sub_id=9496

I thought about the words from Galatians… I think I’m going to take that as my Lenten motto because it is all about becoming more and more Christ-like in letting him take over so much so that when people see us there are seeing us.  If I have been crucified with Christ then I should remain silent when I am being contradicted and should refrain from justifying myself when it is not absolutely required. Rather, I should try to think about Jesus on the cross and how all the scoffers ridiculed and told him to come down from the cross if he was who he said he was. Among other things, I will also try to devote more time to spiritual reading and reflection.

He Sympathizes With Us

God knows what we all go through.  He lived our life taking it up into himself.  That means that he even suffered, wept and died–in order to ultimately take “the sting” out of it, to destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. He sympathizes with us when we suffer.  Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Hebrews chapter 2)

We also know that God brings good out of all things, suffering included. But sometimes we wonder why he allows it when we don’t see how good could come out of it. It stunned me to learn, just yesterday, that someone from our prayer group, who once visited me when I was sick, died after giving birth to a premature baby. She leaves behind the baby and her husband of about two years. Hearing this tragic news a week after good friends lost their twins was truly devastating. What to think? How can we understand? At times like these Jesus responds, answering us with a question of his own: “Do you still love me? Do you still believe that I AM here, that i sympathize?”

Rest in Peace Fr. Neuhaus. Rest in Peace Sweeney twins.

Some exceedingly sad news today.

Last night I found out that Fr. Richard John Neuhaus was gravely ill.  This morning I found out that he passed away at 10 AM. I met him at a book signing. A very gracious person. He nearly died once and wrote reflections about it in First Things, the magazine which he started and was editor-in-chief of. Here is a link to an essay he wrote called Born Toward Dying.

We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well.

Later today I was shocked to learn that my closest friends lost their unborn twins due to umbilical cord strangulation. It’s so tragic…I can hardly believe it. Just the other day I saw how happy and excited they were, glowing with eager anticipation for the birth of their first babies. The 3d ultrasound picture of the face of one of the girls (I guessed that there were girls… just beautiful) I cannot forget. Please keep the family in your prayers. They have two more intercessors before the Throne.

For the dearly departed: Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord!

Holy New Year 2009!

The Church really knows how to bring in a new calendar year–by celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on the first day! In becoming the Mother of God, she also became our mother because Jesus—the God-Man—is our brother!

“You take it ’cause I don’t want to worry about it!”

New Year’s Day i did the smartest thing I could: i gave 2009 to Our Lady and through her hands to Our Lord that it might be a holy year pleasing to God.

<  to be continued >

Here He comes… with Mary we behold him.

< the following was written just a few minutes ago to help me prepare for Christmas... it is shorter than it looks >

Christmas is tomorrow. The long-awaited Messiah comes… for Catholic Christians it is an entering into the events of 2,000 years ago. “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

I’ve tried to prepare but it is quite clear to me— I have not done my best to do so.  Distractions from within and without have been picking away at me. But I won’t fret over that, not now… now I begin again though it be the 11th hour.  My failures show me my need for a Savior… my longing for the Savior becomes more real. I rejoice in my poverty… my lacking will be filled. He became poor to make us rich, weak to make a strong, human to make us partakers in his divinity!

I’m like the parched earth. We  celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe recently… and before that we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Even though I have not been conscious of it  at every momentthe mother of my Savior has been here with me… she gives me hope.

In 1531, Juan Diego, a poor Mesoamerican Indian, heard beautiful sounds of birds and sensed a heavenly atmosphere unlike anything he had ever known.  It was December and in a relatively arid area.  There he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. On one occasion there were beautiful roses growing there amidst cactus. The beautiful lady told him to pick them up and she arranged them in his cloak.  It would be a sign to the bishop that our Lady had appeared to him.

It struck me that the roses are symbolic of virtue… all the virtues in my soul are due to the grace of God planting and watering them.  Our Lady arranges them in my soul and makes me more presentable before God… that is what I ask her of her this very moment.

When she appeared to St. Juan Diego, she appeared as one of his people and subsequently left her image on his cloak as the Bishop witnessed the roses falling off of it.  The image of our Lady of Guadalupe gives me great hope and great joy. She is literally pregnant with life in it just as she appeared to St. Juan Diego.  For his people,  she announced the coming of Jesus Christ as the child in her womb.

The events remind me of Isaiah 35:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus
it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

This is Christmas. “He will come and save you”.  And he comes through the Blessed Virgin Mary. It makes sense to me to invite her into my heart that she herself might be my preparation. In my heart is where Bethlehem will be in a few minutes,  there Jesus will enter and and his mother will receive him!

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

1. Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

2. Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it,
the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
she bore to us a Savior,
when half spent was the night. Continue reading

Thanksgiving ’08

Life.

I think that is what I’m most thankful to God for… and least I’d like to be.  There was a quote that I recently read  in the CatholicCity e-mail message that really struck me:

“I’ll tell you what I’m grateful for: everything. Every breath, every bite, every thought, every pain, every friend, every act of love, every sublimely appropriate pleasure, every ocean sound or cornfield view, hungry or full, every stormy and sunny day, and every single thing that has every happened to me, good or bad, remembered or forgotten, in the faithfilled succor of belief, that God made me and has kept me alive to experience the certainties and mysteries of this amazing place, this awesome world, this sweet earth, seen and unseen, as a Catholic man.”

-Joseph S. Wood

I’m thankful for life because there were several times I almost lost it and didn’t… crossing a busy street as a little kid with no one around,  choking on my food a few times (lifesavers 2x, roast beef 1x), having my lungs give on me, and today when he house was being vacuumed (the sound was almost deafening) and my trach tube connector got disconnected… thanks be to God that mom felt the panicked shouting!

And because I have life right now on this earth… I am able, if I want to cooperate with God’s grace freely given to me, to attain life eternally.  I can live forever: i can see His face in a state of perpetual happiness and joy because i was given existence.

St. Monica and my mother

St. Monica reminds me a lot of my mom…

St. Monica was a strong holy woman who persisted in prayer until her two sons and her bad-tempered husband converted. And they did. We honor her son St. Augustine tomorrow.

She is a great example of a Christian mother, always looking out for her children’s well-being…especially their eternal well-being.

My mom planted seeds of faith in my sister and i… How evident it was today! My sister just left for the Holy Land and when she returns she is going to enter the Convent of the Sisters of Life!

I told mom today that St. Monica should be her Patron Saint.

St. Monica pray for us and all mothers!

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her

-Proverbs 31:28

Pope of Hope leaves US ablaze!

4/15-4/20 What an awesome week it’s been! Pope Benedict has effectively radiated Christ our Hope to the United States. I’d like to recount my experience of seeing him and share some of my thoughts.

Last Thursday, my whole family was at the Papal Mass at Nationals Park. My dad sung in the choir, my sister covered it for the Arlington paper, and my personal request for tickets got myself, my mother and my nurse in.

The three of us had to wait a while for the wheelchair accessible shuttle to take us from RFK Stadium to Nats Park. We arrived there at the last minute! Secret Service guys let us enter as the Holy Father processed into the Stadium–and we got to see him! The Holy Father with red vestments and golden cross right in my line of sight…it seemed as if i was dreaming. After showing a volunteer our tickets, he got us deeper into the right section–but perhaps not the exact row, which i think would have been even closer! But we were pretty close and could see him at the altar! I was looking at him with joy to overflowing. I kept switching views–up-close, on screen, up-close, on screen…

At the Recessional i wanted to meet him–but the aisle quickly walled up with onlookers standing on chairs. I saw part of his face! Then some dude on a chair was like “quick everybody to the other side!” Oh well. I was just happy to be there THAT close!

That day really was a pilgrimage!

The Pope was so well received from beginning to end. It seemed that all of America took note of him–with much respect! In his first speech and his last he pronounced “God bless America!” And what great speeches and homilies he gave throughout the visit! They can all be read here. Messages of hope.

Hope is what those 6 abuse victims came away with. It was hope that he left the 50 handicapped children and their caretakers. I saw (on TV) hope for the future at the event with 25,000 young people and seminarians. Hope and comfort received by the families of 9/11 victims. Pope Benedict brought hope at every step of his visit to our country, the USA–seemingly a hopeless case! Christ Our Hope was brought to us in the person of His Vicar!

What a blessing!

Felix dies natalis tibi!

That’s Happy Birthday to you in Latin.

The Pope turned 81 today.

At the Shrine this evening as Cardinal George listed the languages that the Catholic schoolchildren had sung Happy Birthday to the Pope in: German, English, Spanish, the Pope remarked “And Latin!”

It was great to watch the Holy Father’s reception at the White House and later at the National Shrine where he met with all the US Bishops. Tomorrow i will get to see him in person!

It was my sister who encouraged me to write a request to the Apostolic Nuncio who then forwarded it to Archbishop Wuerl which made it happen by God’s grace.

This will be one of best days of my life. Please pray that i’m grateful as i ought to be.