Sunday, June 2, 2013


Hunger and thirst are two very common human experiences all of us can relate to, and it is no wonder that Christ in instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist provided us with the way to satiate our ultimate thirst and hunger.  But it is those words on the cross that keep reverberating throughout history and that continue to echo in the hearts of all human beings "I THIRST."  Those two brief words have been the source of many inspirations and even spiritual paths within the Church, we cannot forget how those simple words inspired Mother Teresa to establish some of the pillars of her newly founded religious congregation, so much that even nowadays in every religious chapel of her congregation those words are inscribed in the wall right next to the crucifix to remind her nuns of the centrality of those simple words.  But what do they mean?  It is certainly not possible to fully describe their meaning, but my attempt here is to provide some glimpses into their meaning.  First of all, the most obvious meaning is that of a physical experience of thirst.  Jesus certainly experienced that on the cross, as he has lost so much blood, and as the words of the Psalm (22) remind us: "My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;  you lay me in the dust of death. "  This is the same thirst Jesus experienced when he met the Samaritan woman, "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)"  

But as we know the thirst of Jesus was beyond the physical thirst, it was a thirst for communion with us, a thirst born out of love for us, a love that we cannot even comprehend, a thirst for a well being and for our salvation, a thirst for union with us, a thirst to satisfy the yearning and thirsts of our restless heart, knowing very well like St. Augustine well expressed it once, "You have made us for yourself, Oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."  Jesus had a deep thirst for you and for me, a thirst for our happiness, a thirst to save us from our self-centeredness, a thirst to save us from our ignorance and lead us into the way of truth, a thirst for justice, a thirst to restore justice and peace,"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied,"  a thirst to satiate our deepest thirst, as he answered the Samaritan woman, "Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water,” and later on Jesus continues"whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  But what is this water that Jesus speaks about?  In John 7, Jesus says, "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."  Jesus thirst to share His Holy Spirit with us, the Spirit is the superabundant grace of God, like flowing rivers that no heart could ever exhaust, this is the living gift of God to all those who believe and welcome Him.  

And because Jesus thirsts to share His very self with us, he can also be said to be thirsting for our love as Mother Teresa would often say.  There is Jesus in the tabernacle, waiting for us so to speak, thirsting to be corresponded in a finite way to His infinite love, and for that reason Jesus would exclaim in his fourth apparition to Saint Margaret Mary,  "Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love; and in return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me, that treat Me thus." Jesus thirsts for your love and mine.

And yet there is at least another thirst in the heart of Jesus that is the "raison the etre" of the other thirsts, for is an existential thirst, a thirst for life, a thirst for love, a THIRST FOR THE FATHER, in His humanity Jesus had a thirst to worship the Father in all things, Jesus had a thirst to obey the Father and to love His will, His deeper thirst was to glorify the Father and love Him with His whole being, Psalm 42 expresses this experience " As the deer yearns for streams of water, so my soul yearns for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" 
And it is on the cross that Jesus expresses this thirst in its more substantial meaning.  Jesus' thirst for the Father, is expressed clearly at that moment, but this thirst for the Father does not stop there, Jesus also wants to share His thirst with us, He wants to unite us with Him in His thirst, to have the same desires and love for the Father, to have the same desires to worship Him in all things and through all things, and it is because of that reason that Jesus has left us the sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus wants to unite us with Him also in Calvary, and for that reason the priest at the end of the eucharistic prayer says raising the paten and the chalice "With Him, in Him and through Him....," at that moment we have the opportunity to join our sentiments to those of Christ, and by entering into communion with Him, we can also experience the same thirst that bursts from His Sacred Heart.   Jesus wants to transform our hearts into sacred hearts that thirst equally to glorify the Father, that not only look at the Father as the source of life, as the source of our existence in whom he move, operate, and have our being, but as the very reason and goal of our existence, that is, we have to thirst existentially to be in union with Him for all eternity, to enter into that Trinitarian life and share the love and and life of God forever.

Dear Jesus, I want to love you more deeply, increase my thirst for you, increase my thirst to spend time with you and to receive as often as I can the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.  Jesus increase in me that thirst for the Father, increase in me that thirst to do His will and to love Him above all things, to seek only His glory and not my own, to trust in His ways and not my ways.  Jesus increase my thirst for the living waters of your Spirit, help me to be worthy of receiving that pure water in the vessel of my heart, and help me to never seek to satiate my thirst with anything that does not conform to your perfect will.  When I thirst let it be for You alone Lord. Amen.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

God's love in action, Fr. Damien

When Fr. Damien arrived in Molokai to assemble a prefabricated Church for the lepers, he spent the first few weeks sleeping out under the trees, because he was unable to cope with the stench in the hovels of the lepers.  He certainly wouldn't dare preach to them about God's love for them, because as they saw it, that would be offensive.  But slowly he opened his heart to the grace of God which enabled him to see the suffering Jesus in them.  In no time, he was washing them, bandaging them, and burying them.  He came to love them, and though him, they came to believe that God loved them.  He smoked a pipe to counteract the stench, but soon he was passing the pipe around for others to have a smoke.  He ate food with them from a common bowl, out of which they scopped the food with hands that had no fingers.  He caught the disease himself, and he was happy to be able to live and to die for them.  Thus, St. Damien followed Jesus' commandment of love given to us:  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The wounded heart


If only the heart was right
we could give so much more
But alas, the heart is often empty.
It is often cold and unwelcoming
It is often hard and unyielding.
It is often weighted down with worry.
It is often sad and lonely.
It is often in darkness.
It is often wounded,
and it is sometimes broken.
We have to heal the wounds of the heart
in order to be able to love.
Lord, touch our hearts and heal them,
so that we may be able to bear the fruits of love.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Novena to St. Joseph

As we know St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, workers, those who are suffering, those who are close to death, and of course patron saint of the Universal Church. St. Joseph is an outstanding example of faithfulness, loyalty, and above all of perfect conformity with God's will. I would love to share a beautiful Novena that I found on the EWTN site.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Mother

The most important person on earth is a mother.

She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral.

She need not.

“She has built something more

magnificent than any cathedral –

a dwelling for an immortal soul,

the tiny perfection of her baby’s body…

“The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.

They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to

bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can.

Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature;

God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation…

“What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?”

— Cardinal Mindszenty

Words of Wisdom

1 * Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're
the statue!

2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat

3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle
of it.

4 * Drive carefully... It's not only cars that can be recalled by their

5 * If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

6 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably
worth it.

7 * It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning
to others.

8 * Never buy a car you can't push.

9 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you
won't have a leg to stand on.

10 * Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

11 * Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12 * The second mouse gets the cheese.

13 * When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

14 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

16 * Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

17 * We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and
some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they
all have to live in the same box.

18 * A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

St. Jerome and the Lion

He was sitting—so runs the story—with some of his [28] monks in the cell of Bethlehem, when a lion entered the open door. The brethren all jumped up in a fright, and tumbled as fast as they could through the window, while Jerome stayed quietly in his chair and waited. The lion looked at him doubtfully for a moment, then limped towards him, holding up a paw. This Jerome took, and examined carefully. At first he could see nothing, the soft pad was so badly swollen; but at length he detected a thorn, near one of the nails, and managed to pull it out with a pair of pinchers. He next boiled some water, in which he soaked some dried herbs, and bathed the sore place till the swelling began to go down, when he tied a linen rag round it, so that the dirt might not get in and inflame the wound afresh. As soon as he had finished, and the look of pain had disappeared from the lion's eyes, Jerome expected him to depart, but instead the huge beast stretched himself out comfortably on the floor. Jerome pointed to the door; the lion wagged his tail happily, and took no notice. This happened several times, till at last Jerome gave up the struggle and went to bed, the lion on the floor sleeping beside him. Next morning Jerome said to this visitor: "You seem to intend to live for ever in my cell"—the lion wagged his tail again—"but learn that no one here spends his time in idleness. If you stay here, you must be ready to work"—the tail wagged a second time—"and you will therefore accompany my donkey daily to the forest to defend her from robbers and savage wolves, when she brings back the firewood needful for the monastery."



So for many months the lion and the donkey might have been seen setting off side by side every morning to the forest, and the lion lay down and watched while an old man heaped up the donkey's panniers from the stack of wood which he had gathered in readiness. The work took some time, but when the panniers could hold [31] no more the donkey gave itself a shake, and the lion jumped up, waiting till she began to move. The journey back to the monastery was much slower than the one to the forest, as the donkey had to be very careful not to make a false step. If she had stumbled and fallen, she would have found it very difficult, with her loaded panniers, to get on her feet again, and even the lion could not have helped her.

But one morning a terrible thing happened. The sun was very hot, and when the lion lay down as usual he fell sound asleep, and never heard two men creep up behind the old man and the donkey and tie a cloth over the mouths of both man and beast, so that they could not utter a sound. Then the robbers drove them away, wood and all, to the caravan which was waiting at a little distance.

At last the lion awoke, and gave a great yawn, and stretched himself. He lay still for a few minutes, till suddenly he noticed that the shafts of light that fell through the trees, struck the ground in a different way from usual.

"It must be later than I thought," he said; "they never look like that till the sun is going to set. Has the donkey been waiting for me all this time? Poor thing, how tired she must be! But why didn't she wake me?" and he rose to his feet and turned towards the old man's hut, but no donkey was there.

"She must have gone home," he said to himself again; "but then—where is the old man?" and bending his head, he examined the soil carefully.

"These are human footprints, I am sure they are," he exclaimed in his own language; "more than one man has been here. And here are the donkey's. She was stolen while I was asleep, and I, who was set to guard her, have been unfaithful to my trust! How shall I face the holy father who cured my wound?"

[32] However, there was no use waiting or trying to track the lost donkey; the thieves had got too long a start, and with bent head and heavy heart the lion followed the road home, and entered, as he had done once before, the cell of his master.

"Wherefore are you here, and where is the donkey?" asked Jerome sternly. In answer, the lion bowed himself to the earth, with his tail between his legs, awaiting his sentence.

"I had faith in you, and you have put me to shame," continued Jerome, "and as it is quite plain that you have eaten the donkey, you must take her place, and for the future the panniers will be put upon your back, and it is you who will fetch the wood from the forest."

And the lion, when he heard, wagged his tail in relief, for he had been very much afraid that his master would send him away altogether.

Now it was at the end of the summer that the donkey had been stolen, and as soon as the spring came round the caravan went past again, the camels laden with swords and silks from Damascus for the cities of Egypt. The lion was standing behind a group of trees, while another old man was piling up the panniers with wood, when the crackling of twigs caused him to turn round, and a little way off he beheld the long train of ugly, swaying creatures, with the donkey walking at their head. At the sight of his friend he gave a bound forward, which knocked over the old man, and sent the wood flying in all directions, and so frightened the camel-drivers that they ran away to hide themselves. As to the rest of the caravan he drove them before him into the monastery, keeping his eye carefully on the riders; and if anyone's hand so much as moved towards his side where his short sword was buckled, the lion had only to growl and to show his teeth for the hand quickly to move away again.

[33] In this manner they proceeded till the monastery was reached, and Jerome who was seated in his cell, unfolding the copy of a new book, beheld their arrival with astonishment. What were all these people doing here, and why was the lion with them? And surely that was—yes, he was certain of it—his old donkey, which he imagined was dead months ago. So he hastened out of his cell to the court-yard, where the merchants, who by this time had dismounted from their camels, fell on their knees before him.

"O holy father, if you are the lord of this lion, bid him spare our lives, and we will confess our sin," they cried. "It was we who stole the donkey, while her guardian, the lion, was sleeping; and behold, gladly will we restore her to you, if we may go our way."

"It is well, go in peace," said Jerome, and the merchants needed no second bidding.

Joyful indeed was the donkey to be at home again; and the next day she got up early and trotted off to the forest by the side of the lion, throwing up her head and sniffing the air as she went, from very delight at being freed from captivity. And the heart of Jerome rejoiced likewise that, after all, his trust in the lion had not been in vain.

That is the story of the lion of St. Jerome.