Heaven is Real!

Many years ago, someone I know was of the belief that life ends here on earth. He’d tell me, “You don’t need to attend Mass because heaven is here and not after death”. I was very young then and so it was normal to entertain some doubts and confusion. Years after that, however; he complained of severe headaches and was found to have a tumor in the brain that has already swelled in size. The cancer had spread fast and he eventually died several months after. It was sad, but the good thing was that he actually repented and for the first time in his life proclaimed that he will spend the remaining days in contrition and prayer. He asked for supplications and joined the dawn Rosary every time it passes his home.

After his passing, I realized how he was loved by God such that he was allowed to experience pain and suffering that led to repentance and hope that strengthened his faith. With his family around to support till the end, it allowed him to see beyond this ordeal and suffering. It was a gift that saved his soul from eternal damnation.

In the Gospel (Lk. 20: 27-38), some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally, the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”

Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called outLord, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 

Presently there are still people who live as if it ends here and that there’s no eternity. They live a life that is inconsiderate to others. They do not fear God in that they commit crimes that make people suffer. They display arrogance and pride aside from showing off what earthly wealth they have, contrary to the Lord’s teachings of humility and meekness.

Today let us pray for strength to endure earthly sufferings and persevere in the faith. May we find inspiration from one of the brothers mentioned in the First Reading (2 Mc. 7: 1-2, 9-14) who said to his torturers at the point of death: “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.  It is for his laws that we are dying.”

Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the dead; to him be glory and power, forever and ever.” (Rv. 1: 5a, 6b)

Sharing One’s Wealth

The fruit of humility is when one’s heart possesses the ability to share one’s possessions with the poor without thinking about returns, coming from a deeper understanding of God’s love in its purest form.

This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk. 19: 1-10) tells of a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, who was seeking to see who Jesus was; but could not see him because of the crowd for he was short in stature. Despite physical limitation, Zacchaeus humbled himself by climbing a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received Jesus at his home with joy. Despite what he heard from others who grumbled about Jesus staying “at the house of a sinner”, it didn’t deter him from remaining firm and proclaimed to the Lord that he shall give to the poor “half of his possessions” and promised that if he has extorted anything from anyone he “shall repay it four times over.”

          
One of the difficulties in becoming a disciple of Christ is in sharing one’s wealth with others. It often becomes a “thorn in the neck”, and obstacle that hinders one from embracing Jesus fully.


Our Lord knew it so well such that Jesus’ reaction to him was expressed in a delightful manner,

Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost
.”

The Lord was so pleased with Zacchaeus’ action such that the ultimate reward of salvation was pronounced on him and his household. When one gives up one’s self in the form of giving up material wealth for others, one is exercising the virtue of charity and selflessness. In the case of Zacchaeus, his faith in Jesus was such that he embraced what the Lord was teaching throughout the days of His ministry, by obedience to the teaching of sharing one’s wealth with the least in Jewish society. It should be the of gaining the values of honesty, cautiousness, faith, gratitude, perseverance and humility. Arguably, sharing one’s wealth with the poor can make turn one’s obedience in the opposite way.

Today let us pray for wisdom and be warned of the danger of riches and how it can destroy our souls. May we be mindful of St. Paul’s exhortation in the Second Reading (2 Thes. 1:11 – 2:2), that we may be,

worthy of His calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Sharing what we have with others will hopefully make us worthy of being called God’s sons and daughters.

I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.” (Ps. 145: 1)

Humbling Yourself

As I was watching the basketball game on cable TV, the announcers were talking about the PBA’s five-time (and consecutive years) MVP, who they said, is still humble, despite his achievements. They said, “Up to now, he doesn’t brag, he is so humble and is always wishing the best for other players.” As a consequence, everybody looks up to him and is always a big vote-getter amongst his peers whenever the selection of the best in the conference or in the season is needed. 

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 18: 9-14), the Lord told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee was a portrait of self-righteousness and arrogance; imagine bragging to God about himself while praying in the temple. He was literally “counting off” the reasons why he is up above the rest of humanity. On the other hand, the tax collector was “very repentant, stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”

There are many who fell victim to this type of self-righteousness, some even serving in the various church communities. This is dangerous because imagine serving in ministry and yet losing to this infirmity of the spirit. When people aren’t grounded on their service and their faith, they can become like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. That’s why the Lord reminds us, 

“…whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus himself showed us the example of perfect humility: he suffered torture, shame and mockery, and eventually died on the Cross for our sins. Imagine the Son of God bearing that kind of suffering and death? That’s simply because he wants to redeem the world from our sins. Such great love for us, right?

The danger of self-righteousness bordering on arrogance and pride can indeed be lethal. It is something all of us have to be wary about. When our egos are touched, it is easy to fall into the ditch of self-righteousness. If one isn’t careful and prayerful, material wealth and position in society can cloud one’s judgment and make him a natural prey to pride and self-righteousness. Therefore, one needs regular prayer and self-reflection to keep him focused on the Lord. When one’s attention is on the Lord, one starts to lose paying so much attention to how he is looked up by society and starts serving others.

The themes of the past Sundays talk about honesty, cautiousness, faith, gratitude, and perseverance. This time, we are reminded to be and to remain humble in submission to God’s will for our lives. 

Let us keep the focus on Him as our Lord and Master who knows the best for us. When we are tired, tempted and challenged, let us be consoled by St. Paul (2 Tm. 4: 6-8, 16-18) who, when sensing that the “time of departure is at hand”, claims the crown of righteousness from the Lord, the “just” judge. St. Paul knew he has suffered, has finished the race, and have kept the faith. 

May we be able to say the same when our time comes, just like St. Paul. 

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of salvation.” (2 Cor. 5: 19)

AZS 10.27.2019

Pray without ceasing!

One of the unexplainable situations that I’ve experienced was when as a young engineer I was preparing on my first ever international business travel to Jakarta, Indonesia. To put things in perspective, in corporate practice, funds are usually released the day before the scheduled departure. Since I was to leave on a Sunday, the release of funds was scheduled to be released on a Friday afternoon. So on a Friday after doing that, I need to drop by the bank to do some transactions. However, it was located in San Juan which is actually nearby but with the horrendous traffic on Friday afternoons, there’s risk of not making it on the 4 o’clock bank closing time. And so, at a little past 3 I started driving towards Greenhills. It took me about 40 minutes to reach the area. Thus I have only a little less than 15 minutes left to get my transaction at the bank. The parking lot was full and so I have to say my prayers to Our Lady to help me find parking. It took only a few minutes of waiting when the car in the slot at my right hand side made a signal that he’s leaving already and so I could take his slot. Is it a “coincidence”? 

While already inside the bank, I saw the security guard guiding a person walking towards me. To my surprise, that person was actually bringing the car keys, which I didn’t notice falling out of my pocket as I took the available slot in the parking area. I couldn’t describe my feelings when it started sinking in. How can I drive the car home when the keys fell out of my possession? I was so grateful to the driver because losing the keys would be another unimaginable inconvenience. Especially that I’d be traveling that coming Sunday and will be gone for almost two months.

So after the expression of deep gratitude, I proceeded with my bank transaction, which, actually expired already after the bank closed at 4 to end the day. But the bank staff told me that they can extend receiving transactions and included me in the queue. What a relief! Another answered prayer!

After completing the transactions, I left the bank and was so thankful to the Heavens for aiding me in what I had to do. But it didn’t end there. As I was in the car and preparing to get out of the parking area, I noticed the bank staff who was handling my transactions waving and running towards where I’m located. What he was bringing to me is my Passport which I didn’t notice dropping out of my office bag. OMG, what is happening to me? Why am I getting very careless so as not to even notice something is missing in my bag? 

The “series of unfortunate events” happening one after the other in the last hour and the corresponding “miracles” defy explanation. But you know what, in each of those instances, I was always quick to call on the power of prayer for heavenly intercession. And the heavens didn’t fail to answer. And they have always rescued me each time. Every time!

In the Gospel (Lk. 18: 1-8), Jesus shared with us the importance of praying always without becoming weary. He talked about the judge, who neither feared God nor respected any human being, and the widow, who used to come to him and say, “Render a just decision for me against my adversary.” Because of the widow’s persistence, the judge did render a just decision for her, “lest she finally come and strike me.” 

Many times in my life I’ve been confronted with challenging and difficult situations. Whether it be career, work-related, family, or just any situation needing speedy solutions, the power of prayer has always been unbeatable. The more important challenges though are those that threaten our souls and thus needing more incessant prayers. The enemy can use our comfort zones to tempt us to be lazy and complacent, sometimes even without us realizing the consequences of the situations we are confronted with. That’s why we need the power of prayer to ensure a Spirit-guided earthly pilgrimage. A currently comfortable situation can turn into something difficult but with God’s grace and help, your soul can be at peace and happy despite the challenge. It is what the saints experience when making the difficult situation a joyful experience.

May we always be prayerful so that we gain access to His peace. May we pray without ceasing so that we will have the capability to defend against temptations. May we follow the inspiration of St. Paul in the Second Reading (2 Tim. 3: 14-4: 2), to be 

“…persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.”

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121: 2)

Be Grateful!

During the past week another successful review at work was conducted and our team is extremely grateful that we got it with flying colors. In the rundown to the 4-day event, we have to work on our template which was developed over so many months in preparation for a different but related review which happened a month before. Pressure was mounting as the reviews drew near as we wanted to prepare well. Extra work was done, relaxation was reduced, and sacrifices were made. As in any other review, the team wanted to prepare thoroughly and properly. The hallmark of the leadership team was to impress on everyone that we have to be ready for it. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in the desire to give a good account of the plant’s high ratings in quality and productivity indices. We want to be consistent in visual review and inspection.

When time for preparation was almost done, I told the team that “we’ve done everything we can, now it’s time to pray for God to bless all our efforts.” With God’s grace, the team was able to get high marks and exceed expectations. We thanked the Lord for His graciousness and mercy for guiding us through the preparations, ensuring we didn’t miss anything. He was with us during those pressure-packed moments and strengthened us with good health and patience. When the review team leader revealed the results, the first words we uttered were “Thank you Lord for the help!” No one should claim credit for the results as it was a product of team effort, unity of purpose, and hard work. Everyone cooperated and contributed their share, despite the ongoing operations. Everyone was grateful and thankful for the achievement, giving the glory to God rather than ourselves. It was successful because everyone shared what they could and God blessed our efforts. Without God’s blessings, we know we couldn’t have delivered exemplary ratings.

In the Gospel (Lk. 17: 11-19), only one of the ten lepers healed by Jesus returned to “glorify God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him.” The leper was being grateful and thankful for the healing that happened. Other than being full of gratitude, he was able to look down and humble himself such that “he fell at the foot of Jesus…”

When one is grateful, one is also most likely a humble person. He knows that what good things that happen isn’t only his own, but are blessings from God. The more we make great achievements, the more we should be humble to accept that what we have are blessings from God and are results of help from others, who have been touched by the Spirit to follow His leading.

When you are blessed, you should also look forward to the future, to share your blessings so that many will be touched and healed. Regardless of how others see it, a person with humility will most likely say it is a miracle. Out of the humility of your spirit you always give the credit to God: “Ad majorem Dei gloriam”, to God be the glory!  

May we always be grateful and thankful to Him for all that we are and all that we have. May the Lord continue to grant us His favors, that in so doing, we become bearers of His good news of salvation to others.

In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5: 18)

Have Faith!

The other day, a friend revealed a story about a young man who was so depressed such that he took his own life. The young man felt everyone was against him for taking an unpopular stand. He was cyber-bullied and was shamed in school. He felt lost and betrayed by everyone, so much so that he must have felt so down and so alone which eventually led to that fateful decision.

There are times that you feel so burdened with challenges that you feel the Lord is so far and is so quiet: “There are injustices committed,Corruption is still prevalent”, “The children are having problems in school”, “Debts are piling up”, “Health is failing”, “I’m so alone, no one is with me”, etc. etc. You feel that He is indifferent to your needs and prayers. You ask, “Why do bad things happen to me?”, or “Is God sleeping”. It can even take the worse, sometimes questioning your faith, “God, are you real?”

In the First Reading (Hab. 1: 2-3; 2:2-4), the prophet cried out,

How long, O LORD?  I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.”

And yet the Lord responded,

Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

God is telling us to be patient, as things will turn for the better in due time, in His time. It “will not disappoint, if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late”. He is the God of the Universe and so it’s His call when to intervene. All things are allowed for a reason: it is to toughen us, to build our faith, to test our patience. Only He knows what the future holds, so we just have to trust Him and hang on. We are still endowed with free will so it’s really up to us if we want to survive these challenges and persevere in our faith.

In the Gospel (Lk. 17: 5-10), the apostles were asking the Lord to “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied,


If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,and it would obey you.”

Faith can move mountains, as they say. The Lord wants to assure us that He is in control. Regardless of what happens, we must be joyful for having Him behind our back. He is “our strength, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our shield, our stronghold!” (Ps. 18: 2-3).

May we take to heart St. Paul’s message in the Second Reading (2 Tim. 1: 6-8, 13-14),

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. 
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God
.”

May we be always faithful to Him, to be on guard yet secure, to be watchful yet confident and to persevere in the faith.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps. 95: 8)

Be On Guard

Enzo (not his real name) is a friend I met way back in the Church community. He has a beautiful family, a stable job, and was active in the ministry for so many years. Some years back, I started missing him in the Friday worship and meetings. It was a few years after that I heard there was a falling out with his spouse and they had chosen to live apart. It was sad because it was like a family made perfectly.

The journey to Heaven isn’t easy to complete especially in a world made materialistic, mad and passive. It takes a lot of focus, hard work and prayers (tons of them) to survive this spiritual battle as there’s a lot of distractions, challenges, and temptations. Our human weakness coupled with loss of commitment to fight the good fight of faith bring in the danger of falling out of the road. It is a threat so real that when you aren’t prepared and ready to do battle against complacency and earthly ambitions, you will surely fall on the wayside.

In the First Reading (Am. 6:1a, 4-7), the Lord warned the complacent in Zion, how they lie upon “beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!” The Lord declared that “they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”

The Gospel (Lk. 16: 19-31) tells about the rich man and Lazarus, who lived contrasting lifestyles while living on earth. The rich man was “dressed in purple garments and fine linen,
dined sumptuously each day
”. On the other hand, Lazarus was a poor man, “covered with sores, and who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.” To most of us, we already know the rest of the parable, ending with the rich man begging Abraham, “to send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, that they have Moses and the prophets, and for the five brothers to listen to them. The rich man insisted but Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

The rich man’s reaction is common for most of us. We want hard evidence to believe in Eternal Life even though we’ve been taught about it in school, in Church and in the family as well. While you may start well in your community, you may find yourself midway in your life journey and then the doubts start to creep in. You start to compare yourself with others and ask questions about why you aren’t this and why you aren’t that. The devil sees the opportunity and so you find yourself getting comfortable with your “new” lifestyle away from Church and then from the Lord. You forgot what you’ve learned in your life journey that like any competition, it is not how you start but it is how you finish.

Let us pray to listen and accept the challenge of St. Paul in today’s Second Reading (1 Tm. 6: 11-16),

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 
Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
.”

May we be always faithful to Him, to be on guard, and to persevere.

Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8: 9)

Hope for Honesty

In today’s world, many people commit dishonesty in order to advance themselves in their careers, jobs and businesses. They live as if the world is the end of it all, maybe they’re not sure whether this one is a temporary journey, but maybe also blinded by the present’s BDOs (“bright, dazzling objects”). They’re supported by the prevailing culture of greed, covetousness and avarice. We praise the rich and stay away from the poor. We notice wealth but disregard simplicity. We applaud the loud and ignore the meek and the silent. In all, we encourage the display of wealth as the be-all and end-all in this world.

In this Sunday’s Gospel proclamation (Lk. 16: 1-13), Jesus tells about a rich man’s steward, who was squandering his property. The rich man summoned the hand to prepare a full account of his stewardship. The steward thought of doing something so that when he is removed from the stewardship, “they may welcome me into their homes”. He called in his master’s debtors one by one and lessened what the debtors owe to the master; for example, from one hundred measures of olive oil to fifty, from one hundred kors (an ancient Hebrew and Phoenician measure of capacity) of wheat, to eighty. While the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently, he didn’t approve of his dishonesty.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. This is one principle that should be taught beginning at home and even before one goes to school. Once this value is taken in by a child, coupled with reminders and discussions by parents, most probably this will be carried on into adulthood. Sadly, this is not one of those consistently practiced, in fact this is one of the reasons for many of the world’s problems today.

Jesus said, “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealthIf you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?” 

Being a person of integrity requires internal strength and mindfulness. It is one that is fortified by continued practice, self-reminder and thoughtfulness. It involves fear “that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our Heavenly Father”. Committing dishonesty therefore is dreaded, knowing that God knows our every thought and deed, and so we give Him our priority in difficult situations, fearful that doing something else could separate us from God.

In the First Reading (Am. 8: 4-7), the prophet Amos lamented on the sins against the poor including cheating and dishonesty. As it was in those times, it still is in these present times. But there’s hope, if we live and model simplicity, hard work and giving quiet service to God and His people.

Let us pray to the Spirit for guidance, strength and perseverance in our earthly journey. We pray for sobriety, simplicity and serious-mindedness in our faith. We also pray for peace, healing, and protection.

Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8: 9)

Our God: Loving, Merciful and Compassionate

We hear in this Gospel proclamation (Lk. 15: 1-32) that the Pharisees and scribes were complaining when tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus. They said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So the Lord addressed them with three parables, the Parable of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son. These stories show how God, represented by the shepherd, the woman, and the father, respectively; looks for the insignificant sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. In earthly language, it may not be worth it but for God, every soul is important. God loves you immensely that He will take great lengths to reach out and to wait for you. He will be patiently waiting despite your constant wavering and fickle-mindedness. This calls to mind Isaiah 49: 15, which says,

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”

He just loves you so much, even more than a mother loves her infant.

In the First Reading (Ex. 32: 7-11, 13-14),

After Yahweh said,

I see how stiff-necked this people is, ” continued the LORD to Moses. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, “Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand?” 

Moses was able to convince God, who, in His great mercy and compassion for His chosen people, relented in the punishment He had threatened to inflict on them. Similarly, what is also clear in the Parable of the Prodigal Son is that the son repented and asked for forgiveness,


Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’

Thus, before God can rescue you from sin and its effects, you have to in all humility ask pardon and forgiveness for your transgressions, so that the well of mercy and compassion will flow into you. When you do that, there is great rejoicing in Heaven! Note that in those times, a typical father wouldn’t do what the father in the parable did, that is, to run to his son, embrace him and kiss him. No, that isn’t how fathers in Jesus’ time behaved. And yet, to symbolize God’s deeply loving nature, Jesus illustrated Him that way in this parable.

This Sunday, let us pray that we’ll have the audacity to acknowledge our faults and failures before the Lord and with humility ask forgiveness from Him, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of Fear of the Lord, that we be filled with a sovereign respect for God, and make us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.” (Ps. 51: 3)

God Above All

In this chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus speaks in parables, emphasizing the right way to become a follower and enter into the Kingdom of God. There was the question on the curing on the Sabbath, occupying places in the dinner table, which gave lessons on humility; and on answering the invitation to the Great Feast, to liken the invitation to dine in the Kingdom of God.

Following the Lord is a difficult and challenging path to follow such that many reject the invitation.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Lk. 14: 25-33), the Lord explains that when you’ve chosen to follow Him, nothing can get in the way. While Jesus mentioned about “hating” one’s loved ones, He actually refers to “loving them more” than God. It shouldn’t be, it is God above everything. One can’t be a disciple if he doesn’t carry his own cross and follow the Lord. When you’re making a decision to follow Him, you have to figure out what does it take to complete the journey. Finally, He says,

In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Making the decision to follow God involves a conscious choice and labor. It can’t be just a whim or a fad or a spur of the moment resolution. It involves a thorough and deliberate planning because it is something that involves a lifelong and conscious effort to overcome the difficulties along the way. It requires one to see beyond the worldly and into the prize at the end of the sorrows and challenges.

I think it is undoable to overcome these obstacles without the strength, fortitude and courage, among others. It is impossible especially without the Gift of Wisdom. According to the Novena to the Holy Spirit,

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is writtenall good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

It is refreshing to know that it is indeed Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Unless we are prepared to put God above all else, following the Lord is really very difficult, or even impossible to do.

This Sunday, let us pray that we may strive to submit to His will in all we do. May He grant us the discernment to prioritize Him above all else. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to grant us this most perfect of all gifts: The Gift of Wisdom.

In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.” (Ps. 90: 1)

Six Secrets To Living A Life With No Regrets