Seeking the face of the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr, 06 July 2022
Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Matthew 10:1-7
Photo by Mr. Jay Javier, January 2020.
Today's responsorial psalm 
perfectly says our prayer, O God,
which is to "Seek the face 
of the Lord".
But, what is your face,
O Lord that we must seek?
Do you have a face like ours,
now covered with masks due to
pandemic?  The author of Genesis
claims you created us, O God,
in your image and likeness but
how can that be if you are spirit? 
Indeed, the beloved disciple of
Jesus was right:  "nobody has ever
seen God.  Yet, if we love one another,
God remains in us, and his love is 
brought to perfection in us" (1John 4:12). 

To seek your face, O Lord, is to be one
in you, one with you.
To seek your face, O Lord, is to be
intimate with you.
To seek your face, O Lord, is to be 
like you, holy and loving.
To seek your face, O Lord, is to be
pure and chaste in thoughts and
in deeds like St. Mary Goretti who
chose death than sin.
Forgive us, merciful Father,
in choosing to love wealth and power,
in becoming to look like money -
so "mukhang pera" as we would say
in Filipino for our hearts have become
false as we turned away from you in sin.
Thank you that despite our sins,
you continue to call us in Jesus Christ
to be his apostles, being sent out to
seek those who are lost; help us to always
seek your face, Lord, for in every ministry,
it is your face of mercy and love that we
must share with everyone.  Amen.

The “ins and outs” to the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XVII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 28 July 2021
Exodus 34:29-35   ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]*>   Matthew 13:44-46
Photo by author, Church of Dominus Flevit overlooking Jerusalem, 2017.
How lovely are your words today,
God our loving Father
leading us the way closer to you
through your Son Jesus Christ!
So many times, you lead us to
many detours in life, to many 
coming and going in order to
savor your loving presence.
How can we not appreciate
and be awed like your people
in the wilderness who witnessed 
your immense majesty 
on the face of Moses you met
frequently inside your tent
putting on and off the veil
that eventually played a role in our faith.
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments
in his hands, he did not know that the skin
of his face had become radiant 
while he conversed with the Lord.
Whenever Moses entered 
the presence of the Lord to converse
with him, he removed the veil until 
he came out again.  On coming out,
he would tell the children of Israel all
that had been commanded.  Then the
children of Israel would see that the skin
of Moses' face was radiant; so he would
put again the veil over his face until
he went in to converse with the Lord.
(Exodus 34:29, 34-35)
In your eternal wisdom, dear Father,
you eventually removed that veil
in the coming of your Son Jesus Christ
so we can go nearer to you than ever
to be one with you in him
through him, and with him
 by going through the same process
of going in and going out.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven
is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds
and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells
all that he has and buys the field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven
is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has
and buys it."
(Matthew 13:44-46)
We pray, O Lord, we remain focused
in you alone, learning to adapt,
 willing to let go whatever we hold so that
 even if we do not see you face to face
like your beloved disciple in the empty tomb
 that Easter morn, we may still believe
 even if we only see the veil that covered your face,
wrapped neatly into one place. Amen.

The “gift” of face masks

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Tuesday, Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I, 09 February 2021
Genesis 1:20-2:4     >><)))*>   +   <*(((><<     Mark 7:1-13
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7-News, March 2020.

Praying over your words today, O Lord our God, made me rejoice and thank you in giving us the face masks that remind us of our being “created in your own image and likeness (Gen.1:26-27)”, helping us heal our broken relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you Lord for this face mask because we now look longer into the eyes of one another, trying to recognize everyone but most of all, trying to find you in every face we meet each day. Before the pandemic, we have taken everyone for granted. We would hardly even look into each one’s face and eyes but now, with masks covering our faces, we strive to recognize each one by looking into each other’s eyes, trying to listen to each one’s voice, trying hard to recall how we have met, trying to figure out how have we known each other.

Suddenly with the face masks, we have finally tried to look into each other’s face again to recognize each one as a friend, a brother and sister in you and to finally find you, too, sweet Jesus!

But there is still another blessing in disguise for us in the wearing of these face masks when we finally learned to become silent and appreciate silence too!

Before the pandemic without the face masks, we spoke too much, never looking into one another. We would rather speak and speak and speak without hearing nor listening nor feeling the other person, hardly looking into each other’s eyes, numbing our selves of our connectedness in the invisible ties that bind us as your children, almighty God our Father.

So true are your words today, Lord Jesus, especially before the pandemic when our mouths were exposed without masks that we have become a people more on lip service, “honoring you with our lips while our hearts are so far from you and from others that we nullify your words in favor of our traditions empty of meaning” (Mk.7:6, 13).

May we learn to internalize in our hearts the words we are about to speak so that like you, may we share in the power of your words that create than destroy, enlighten than darken so that one day, sooner or later, may contribute to the end of this pandemic.

Help us realize, God our Father, during these trying times that a more lasting solution to this pandemic is to go back to you in paradise, to experience true sabbath of having you as our God at the center of our lives, always listening and trusting in your voice and words. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7-News, March 2020.

Our face mirrors our soul

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, 06 August 2020
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 >><}}}*> 2 Peter 1:16-19 >><}}}*> Matthew 17:1-9
Transfiguration of the Lord by Raphael (c.1520) from wikipedia

Thank you very much, Lord Jesus Christ for this wonderful feast of your Transfiguration happening today at more than half past this very difficult year of 2020.

Perfect at this time of the year in our Ordinary Time of the liturgy when everything seems too slow and laid-back as if nothing is happening or even changing in our lives.

Worst, with this pandemic, many of us are already tired, even losing enthusiasm with everything.

But, here you are, dear Jesus, giving us light and inspiration to keep on and be persistent disciples of yours, journeying with you and ascending with you every mountain of hardships and trials in life so that with you and in you, we may also be transformed from within.

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.

Matthew 17:1-2

In the midst of the darkness and gloom around us today, what a welcome break and relief are the visions of your prophet Daniel in the first reading of your eternal glory in heaven amid great display of lights and flames with your clothes “bright as snow” (Dn.7:9).

But, what I like best is how your “face shone like the sun” at your transfiguration, Lord.

I like that part because most of the time, the depths of the soul are reflected on the face.

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2019.

Dearest Lord, help us to remain faithful to you, patiently forgetting ourselves, carrying our crosses, and following you closely in this time of the corona virus.

Teach us to listen to your voice, to heed your words, always attentive to your presence even in the many darkness of our lives in this time of pandemic, reminding ourselves that “Lord, it is good we are here” (Mt.17:4) with you.

Every year, we hear this passage of your Transfiguration on the second week of Lent to remind us of your coming glory at Easter; but, even at this time, Lord, we already feel discouraged at how would Christmas 2020 be!

May this feast of your Transfiguration during Ordinary Time remind us to remain faithful in following you, be your persistent disciples rising above ourselves from the many challenges and trials during this pandemic.

Keep our face aglow with your light amid the many sufferings in this time of COVID-19.

Transform us within to change our countenance so that whenever those people crying in pain see us, they may see and experience you, Jesus, within us.

Keep us open to the workings of your Holy Spirit in these difficult weeks and months ahead so we may be cleansed and purified, and transformed within to become your presence and your joy among those with sagging spirits among us, hoping their face may also mirror you within them. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2018.

His wounds – not his face – make us recognize Jesus

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle, 03 July 2020
Ephesians 2:19-22 >><)))*> <*(((><< >><)))*> <*(((><< John 20:24-29

Thank you very much, dearest Jesus, in founding your church upon your Apostles who were all like us: full of flaws and weaknesses, faults and failures, sins and imperfections.

Every time we celebrate their feasts, you remind us of your call to be near you like the Apostles despite our sins and inadequacies, to be sorry and make amends to return to you to be built into a dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you are also being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22

Help us, Lord Jesus, to be like St. Thomas your Apostle who came but doubted, returned and saw you a week later and believed, declaring “My Lord and my God” upon seeing you.

But what did St. Thomas really see that he believed?

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and out it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

John 20:27

Through St. Thomas, you have blessed us and helped us, dear Jesus to believe in you not in seeing your face but more in seeing and feeling your wounds.

How wonderful, O Lord!

It is not your face but your wounds that enable us to recognize you and believe in you.

We will never see your face in this lifetime, Lord, but every day in our trials and sufferings, in our pains and hurts, in our wounds and woundedness, in our brokenness — there you are most present in us and among us.

Heighten our awareness of your presence, to accept pains and sufferings for your love and mercy so we may deepen our faith in you, following you always in your path of the Cross.

Like St. Thomas, may we follow you closely at your Cross, offering ourselves like you to be broken and shared so that in our wounds and woundedness, others may find healing, most especially you, sweet Jesus. Amen.

Looking up to heaven, looking down within us for God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Friday, Easter Week-II, 24 April 2020

Acts of the Apostles 5:34-42 ><)))*> + 0 + <*(((>< John 6:1-15

Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte, Atok, Benguet, September 2019.

Praise and glory to you, O God our loving Father in heaven!

I have been taught since childhood that you dwell up in the sky and that is why like all the others, I always point up to you whenever we refer to your dwelling place, O God.

And I am certain, too, that you are indeed up there that every time we wake up, every time we feel happy or troubled, we always glance upwards like praying to you, calling to you, and looking for you.

Indeed, Gamaliel was absolutely correct when he cautioned his fellow Pharisees in the first reading to remind us too of this certainty:

“Fellow children of Israel, be careful what you are about to do to these men… But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

Acts 5:35, 39

Give us the gift of discernment of your Holy Will, Father, that we may always know what to do, that we may always decide according to your plan.

As we look up to you in the sky where believe heaven is, the more we also look down inside ourselves and everyone to find you among us in your Son Jesus Christ.

Yes, loving Father, you have sent us Jesus so that as we look up to you in the heavens, the more we shall search and probe our hearts, our lives, our situations, and our brothers and sisters to find you dwelling among us in Christ like there in the wilderness when he fed more than 5000 people.

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowds was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them?” He said this to test him because he himself knew what he was going to do.

John 6:1-6

What a lovely scene repeated to us daily, especially in this time of the quarantine!

Jesus raising his eyes, seeing a large crowd hungry, sick, afraid… and then talking to us where to find bread in order to test us — because he always knows what he is going to do….

If we could all be like that little boy who looked into himself, into what he had, no matter how little they may be like the five barley loaves of bread and two pieces of fish….

O Lord, keep us looking for you first within us, into whatever we have, and unto others so we may let you do your work in us to feed and heal the people locked in this quarantine.

Give us the grace, Lord, to always search and find you and follow you not only up in the heavens most especially down deep in our hearts, in the face of the people we meet, in our situation in this time of the corona virus.

It is in finding you in our hearts, on the face of one another, and in the situation we are into when we truly dwell in your house, O Lord. Amen.

Sunrise at the Sea of Galilee, Israel. Photo by author, May 2017.

Ang ating kamukha

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-28 ng Oktubre 2019

Mula sa Google.
Todos los Santos na naman
at kay laking kabaligtaran
naka-ugalian ng karamihan
ipagdiwang mga aswang at katatakutan
sa halip na mga banal at kanilang kabutihan.
Dati-rati nama'y hindi laganap
sa ating kapuluan banyagang kaugalian
pagdiriwang ng Halloween na nasira
tunay na kahulugan sa kaisipan ng mga
makamundong taga-kanluran.
Halloween ang taguring na nagmula sa 
pinagsamang "hallowed evening"
na kahuluga'y "gabi ng mga banal"
ngunit pilit binabalikan ng mga hangal
maling paniniwala noon pa napasinungalingan.
Akala ng mga paganong Druids 
ng Scotland at Wales sa Bretanya noong unang-una
lumilitaw sa lupa tuwing katapuasan ng Oktubre
mga impakto at masasamang espiritu
upang makabihag ng mga tao.
Nagdaramit sila at nag-aayos na nakakatakot
parang multo, kamukha ng mga lamang lupa
sa paniniwalang malilito mga impakto na sila'y kasamahan
kampon ng kadiliman at kasamaan
kaya sila iniiwan at hindi sinasaktan.
Photo by Pixabay on
Maraming Kristiyano hindi ito nalalaman ni nauunawaan
nakalimutan pangunahing katotohanan ating pinananaligan
nang pumarito si Hesu Kristo, kanya nang tinalo
kapangyarihan ng demonyo
nang pumaroon siya sa dako ng mga yumao.
Nang mabuhay mag-uli ang Panginoong Hesu Kristo
napanibago niya buong sangnilikha
higit sa lahat, muli nating nakamukha
Diyos Ama sa ati'y lumikha,
tiniyak ating tahahanan sa piling niya sa kalangitan.
Bakit nga ba ikaw, Kristiyano
ang siya pa ngayong lito at sadyong lilo
mas ibig pag makamukha mga impakto at demonyo
nakukuha pa ninyong matuwa at ikagalak
mga anak ninyong mukhang tiyanak?!
Akala ba ninyo demonyo ang mga nalilito 
sa inyong pagbibihis at pag-aanyong multo?
Hindi ba ninyo batid kayo ang nalilinlang
sa pagdaramit at pag-aayos ng hunghang
at magtataka pa kayo asal ng inyong anak parang animal?
Madalas kay hirap unawain mga gawi natin 
na katakutan kabutihan at katuwaan ang kasamaan;
sadya nga bang atin nakalimutan
dakilang karangalang tayo'y nilalang
katulad at kawangis ng mabuting Maykapal?
Diyos ang kamukha natin
kanyang liwanag sana'y mabanaagan din sa atin
upang maghatid ng kagalakang bumubukal
sa malinis at magandang kalooban
lipos ng kabanguhan ng kabutihan at kadalisayan.

A prayer to be grateful

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Wednesday, Week XXII, Year I, 04 September 2019

Colossians 1:1-8 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 4:38-44

Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte, Atok, Benguet, 01 September 2019.

Heavenly Father, I always thank you in my prayers. Early in life, I have been told to always say “thank you” and I have diligently kept that, always thanking people especially you for your goodness to me.

But, now I wonder if I have been “thanking” so much without being truly grateful?

There are “thank you’s” that come from lips and there are “thank you’s” that come from the heart which is what gratitude is all about. So often, I say “thank you” out of habit without really looking into the heart, the goodness of the one doing or giving me a favor. Too often, I thank for the thing or favor, not the person.

“We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jess and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.”

Colossians 1:3-5

How lovely it is to dwell on St. Paul’s expression of his gratitude, his thanksgiving that is clearly directed to persons – including you, O God!

Like the people of Capernaum where you have healed Simon’s mother-in-law and others, they saw your person to thank that they begged you to stay in their town.

Remind me always, Lord, that whenever I say “thank you”, I may first try to feel the heart and experience the goodness of the person doing me good for a grateful heart always sees the loving face. Amen.

Coming together in the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Wednesday,Week XIV, Year I, 10 July 2019
Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7, 17-24 >< )))*> Matthew 10:1-7
Pyramids of Egypt. Photo by author, 09 May 2019.

Thank you very much, our loving Father, for making us all come together as family and friends, colleagues and acquaintances on many occasions you have planned in all eternity in your infinite wisdom.

Like the sons of Israel who have come to Egypt to buy food during a famine and the 12 Apostles summoned by your Son Jesus, our coming together for various reasons in different seasons were all caused by your divine will.

The sons of Israel did not know how their coming into Egypt would reunite them with their lost brother Joseph they have maltreated and sold a long time ago. The 12 Apostles never had an inkling at that time how they would be betrayed by one of their very own that they welcomed each other as disciples of Jesus.

In your time, God, you perfectly know when and where and how we would meet the many people we now have in our lives.

Give us the grace to always seek your holy will, your grand design and plan with the people who come to our lives. Let us take care of them as precious gifts of family and friends you give us, let us shower them with your love and attention while still around us. May we never take them for granted, value them always as they value us too as gifts coming from you.

Let us not take them into someone not meant to be in our lives.

We pray also for people without friends and family around them, for those in far and distant lands working away from their loved ones, for those languishing in jails especially the innocent one that they may soon be reunited with their family.

Most of all, our loving Father, may we always see your face on every person we shall meet this day. Amen.

With our fellow pilgrims at the Sphinx in Egypt, 09 May, 2019.

Man is what he looks at

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe, Thursday, Wk. X, Yr. I, 13 June 2019
2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6 >< )))*> >< )))*> Matthew 5:20-26
Man “losing his head in prayer”. Photo by JJ Jimeno of GMA News, 27 May 2019.

Today we are celebrating, O Lord Jesus Christ, the feast of one of your most loved Saints, Anthony of Padua, the patron of those searching for any thing that is lost.

Most of the time, it is you Jesus whom we could not find. We always lose you not because you abandon us or hide from us but because we turn away from you. And that is why, in our pursuit of so many things of the world, we eventually end up more lost in life.

Help us to find our way back to you, Jesus. Transform us into your image by making us “gaze with unveiled face on your glory Lord” (2Cor.3:18) in prayerful meditation of the Sacred Scriptures and of the Blessed Sacrament like St. Anthony of Padua.

When the Israelites who were bitten by the snakes in the desert gazed at the bronze serpent Moses hanged on the cross, they were healed of their illness.

When Peter denied you thrice on Holy Thursday, your loving gaze on him made him sorrowful with his sin.

When St. John Vianney was asked by a farmer why he always spent a Holy Hour before you in the Blessed Sacrament, the holy priest said he simply looked at you as you looked at him too.

Lord Jesus Christ, the more we look at you, the more you look intently on us full of love. And the more we look at you, according to the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the more we look like you!

Give us the grace to keep looking at you so that the more you look intently to us full of love and mercy, we experience your healing and comfort, wisdom and counsel, peace and joy. Amen.

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
From Google.