“Caritas Christi urget nos”

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Saturday, Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 12 June 2021
2 Corithians 5:14-21   ><)))'>  +  <'(((><   Luke 2:41-51

Praise and glory to you, O God our loving Father for your immense love for us. Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus your Son who revealed to us the boundless love you have for us all as your beloved children.

But, such great is your love for us, God our Father, that today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of your Son Jesus Christ who gave her to us to be our Mother too!

All for your love for us!

What a wonderful twin celebrations of your love for us which must also be the main reason, the very essence of everything in our existence. St. Paul expressed it so well in today’s first reading, “The love of Christ urges us” (Caritas Christi urget nos, 2Cor.5:14).

Love is the very reason, the only reason why you have created us, why you have saved us, why you have given us your Son, why he had given himself for us.

Forgive us when we refuse to accept and recognize, and most of all, when we refuse to share your great love for us with others.

Teach us to be like the Blessed Virgin Mary whose heart is so inflamed with great love to you and her Son Jesus Christ.

Open our hearts to welcome you always, Lord.

Dwell in our hearts, reign in our hearts, dear Jesus, so that we may work for peace, for reconciliation in ourselves with the Father, with our family and friends, and with our countrymen. Help us to heed these beautiful words of St. Paul today:

So we are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake
 he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
(2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

Like Mary, along with Joseph, may we always find our way back to God our Father when they decided to go back to Jerusalem to look for the missing child Jesus. And once found, may we imitate Mary who “kept all these things in her heart” (Lk.2:51). Surely, you must have told her many other things, Lord, but most of all, it was YOU whom she must have kept and treasured in her heart!

And that is why on this most crucial part of our history as the only Christian nation for 500 years in this part of the world deeply caught in all kinds of crises especially moral decadence in governance despite our celebration of 123 years of Independence from foreign rule, help us to consecrate our nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of the Blessed Virgin Mary so that your love Jesus Christ may impel us to never waver in our efforts for true reconciliation, for real transformation to be truly a people dedicated to God our Father. Amen.

Praying to the Sacred Heart

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 11 June 2021
Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9  +  Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19  +  John 19:31-37
Let me begin my prayer to you, dear God,
with a confession from my heart that despite my 
many years of praying, I have not really known you;
when I pray the "Our Father" 
words simply pass my lips  
slipping, skipping depths of my being.
On this Solemnity of Your Son's
Most Sacred Heart, please grant me
intimacy you have long offered a reality
if only our eyes can see
by looking at him whom they have pierced
blood and water flowed, our source of peace.
In that natural heart of your Son
is found your revelation 
that outside of him
we find no salvation;
open our hearts, clear our doubts
to experience your love!  
How sad that we cannot love
because we feel not being loved
when our Father in heaven is truly a Dad
who has never been mad when we are bad
in his boundless love for us
gave us his Son, full of tenderness and compassion!

For our reflection, see https://lordmychef.com/2021/06/10/god-our-tender-loving-dad/

Photo by the author, Sacred Heart Center for Spirituality, Novaliches, QC, 2016.

God our tender, loving Dad

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 11 June 2021
Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9  ><)))'>  Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19  ><)))'>  John 19:31-37
Photo by author, Sacred Heart Spirituality Center, Novaliches, QC, 2018.

So many times in life, we think we have loved so much, that we are a good and loving person when it is all an illusion because in reality, we have actually failed in truly loving the people and institutions we profess to love so much.

It is always easy to say in so many words, even to brag to our very selves and others of how much we love our family and friends, our country, our Church, and our company. But, when a little discomfort happens that result from misunderstanding or miscommunications, or a few mistakes and shortcomings, we flare up in anger expressing it in harsh words and deeds, hurting the people we supposedly love.

Not only that. Long after an unloving incident, we later hold grudges that we cannot forgive and forget, hurting us most in the process when sanity returns and see how we have broken a beautiful relationship.

But, it is not all that bad.

We all have our low moments in not showing how much we truly love like Simon Peter denied knowing the Lord three times on Holy Thursday evening while being tried by members of the Sanhedrin after their last supper. And very much like him too at the shore of Lake Tiberias eight days after Easter, we profess to Jesus and our loved ones that “you know everything; you know I love you” (Jn.21:17).

Our imperfect human love in God’s perfect love

We celebrate today the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart to be reminded of God’s immense love for us despite our failures and fears in expressing that love he continues to pour upon us through his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is the third major feast of the Lord since we have resumed the Ordinary Time after Pentecost to instill in us God’s deep, personal love for us through Jesus Christ with whom we have become brothers and sisters, beloved children of the Father in heaven.

Thus says the Lord: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.

Hosea 11:1, 3-4

See how God had always loved us like a loving father to his son or daughter.

Try to feel God speaking through Hosea in the first reading reminding us of his great love for us, doing everything to free us from the bondage and slavery of every form of evil.

But, like our own experiences with our parents as we grow older, the more we distance ourselves away from them and from God who always come to get nearer and intimate with us: “A child I loved you, I called you my son; and the more I called you, the farther you went away from me” (cf. Hos.11:1-2).

What have happened to us as we matured?

We have become so cerebral, thinking more, and feeling less, always trying to assert our independence, our strength, and self-reliance when the sad truth is we are all weak inside who cannot accept and believe the fact that we are truly loved by God and by others!

Imagine this lovely scene of God reminding us of his great love for us just like our Dad: “I took you in my arms with hands of love; I fostered you like one who raises an infant to his cheeks yet though I stooped to feed my child, you did not know I was your healer” (cf. Hos.11:4).

Here lies the problem with all our praying and loving that are detached from God, something like an echo of the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son!

When our love for God is superficial, our love to our family and friends, to our institutions and other relationships become skin deep too. Our many love experiences are forgotten as we give more emphasis on others’ shortcomings and to our expectations from them.


We find it so hard and difficult 
to truly love God and those dearest to us 
not because we are bad and evil 
but primarily we ourselves are not convinced we are loved.  
Today's readings remind us 
that human love is imperfect, 
only God can love us perfectly. 

We find it difficult to truly love unconditionally because deep inside us is a festering anger or hatred for our parents or siblings or friends who have hurt us a long time ago but we are so afraid to bring out in the open or just simply cast away or transcend so we can move forward to deeper and matured love in Christ.

Of course, there is that love remaining in our hearts but inert because we cannot accept nor be convinced that we are truly loved by God and by others.

We find it so hard and difficult to truly love God and those dearest to us not because we are bad and evil but primarily we ourselves are not convinced we are loved. Today’s readings remind us that human love is imperfect, only God can love us perfectly.

Thus says the Lord: My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you. I will not let the flames consume you.

Hosea 11:8-9

Just keep on loving no matter how imperfect we may be for God perfectly knows us so well as humans with so many weaknesses and limitations.

God’s universal and personal love for us in Christ


We can never truly experience 
God's personal love for us in Jesus Christ 
unless we are first convinced of his great love for us 
despite our sinfulness and weaknesses.  
The more we doubt the love of Jesus, 
the more we hurt him, 
the more we hurt others, 
and the more we hurt our selves.

Photo by author, St. Joseph Parish, Baras, Rizal, January 2021.

This personal and fatherly love of God is what St. Paul had always shared and elaborated in his many writings and teachings. See how he humbly introduced himself in our second reading as “the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ” (Eph.3:8).

More sinful compared to Simon Peter, Saul as he was called before his conversion persecuted the first Christians, having a direct hand in the stoning to death of our first martyr St. Stephen (Acts 8:1). Yet, in God’s fatherly love and mercy, Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus that led to his conversion. He would later insist in his letters how he had experienced both the universal and personal love of God through Jesus Christ.

St. Paul was so good and effective as an apostle because he was so convinced that while Jesus had died and rose for all, he also died personally for him (St. Paul) as an individual! He was the first to elaborate the universality of God’s love through Jesus Christ’s dying on the Cross and the subjectivity of his death and love for each one of us.

From being a sinner to becoming a believer, from a persecutor to an apostle, St. Paul tells us in the second reading today how he had experienced this love of Christ in himself which we can all personally experience too, praying that we may “be strengthened with the Holy Spirit to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled all the fullness of God” (Eph.3:16, 18-19).

We can never truly experience God’s personal love for us in Jesus Christ unless we are first convinced of his great love for us despite our sinfulness and weaknesses. The more we doubt the love of Jesus, the more we hurt him, the more we hurt others, and the more we hurt our selves.

Thank goodness God knows us so well that despite our doubts in him, his mercy is always stirred, not allowing his anger to consume or destroy us. On the contrary, the more we hurt God, the more he loves us until we are convinced that we are truly loved by him!

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

John 19:32-34

It was from this scene that we find the meaning of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was pierced after offering himself on the Cross as the sign and symbol of God’s unique love for us all. For the evangelist, that flowing of blood and water from the pierced side of Jesus was a special “sign” pointing to the work and mission of Christ which is our own salvation.

But aside from linking the blood and water that flowed out from the Lord’s pierced side with the two prominent sacraments known by then early Christians, namely, Baptism and Eucharist, St. John as a witness to the event showed us how two natural elements that are so personal to everyone as signs of God’s intimacy with us.

On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, God is reminding us of his immense love for us expressed most personally in the self-sacrifice of his Son our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we have all become the Father’s beloved children.

Despite our ingratitude to his Fatherly love for us, God cannot let himself be angry to chastise us as we deserve. Instead, he kept on forgiving us for our sins, sending us his Son Jesus Christ to redeem us.

Today Jesus is inviting us to go back to our Father – our Dad who watched and guided us through life without our knowing – to be convinced of his personal love for each of us. Outside of him, we can never find peace nor joy nor fulfillment. That is why the human heart of Jesus is always here with us as the revelation of the Father’s boundless love for us.

Let us experience anew his tenderness and forgiveness so that we may grow too in our love for God through one another despite our many sins and weaknesses.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like yours! Amen.

Panalangin para sa mga tinutuligsa

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 04 Setyembre 2020
Unang Biyernes ng Setyembre, Ika-XXII Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon
1 Corinto 3:18-23  ///  Lukas 5:33-39
Larawan kuha ni G. Angelo N. Carpio, Hunyo 2020.
O Kamahal-Mahalang Puso ni Hesus,
tulungan Mo kami na Ika'y matularan sa pakikinig sa kapwa.
Nawa aming mapalampas ano man ang hindi mabuting sinasabi
laban sa amin at sa halip ay aming pagyamanin aming karanasan
at palalimin aming katauhan.
Katulad ni San Pablo sa kanyang sulat sa mga taga-Corinto,
“Walang anuman sa akin ang ako’y hatulan ninyo 
o ng alinmang hukuman ng tao; 
ni ako ma’y di humahatol sa aking sarili.  
Walang bumabagabag sa aking budhi, 
ngunit hindi nangangahulugang ako’y walang kasalanan.  
Ang Panginoon ang humahatol sa akin." (1Cor.4:3-4)
Siya namang tunay, Panginoon!
Palaging mayroong masasabi makakating labi
laban sa amin palagi ano mang buti aming mga gawi.
Bakit nga po ba sa gitna nitong pandemya
laganap hindi lamang sakit kungdi galit at pagmamalupit
masasakit na pananalita ng ilan naming kapwa?
Tulungan mo kami, O Hesus
 na dalisayin aming puso at kalooban, 
maging bukas sa mga pagkakataon na magbago 
gaya ng Iyong turo sa Ebanghelyo:
“Walang pumipiraso sa bagong damit 
upang itagpi sa luma.  
Kapag ginawa ito, masisira ang bagong damit 
at ang tagping bago ay hindi babagay sa damit na luma." (Lk.5:36)
Lagi naming panghawakan 
na higit na mahalaga ang Iyong sinasabi Panginoon
kaysa sinasabi ng tao dahil Ikaw pa rin sa kahuli-hulihan
ang sa amin ay hahatol at papataw ng kapasyahan 
kaya nawa Ikaw ang aming pakinggan 
hindi pinagsasabi sa amin ay kumakalaban.
Amen.
 

Mahal na Puso ni Hesus para sa daigdig na wala nang puso

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-19 ng Hunyo 2020
Napakahirap isipin
masakit tanggapin
sinapit maraming 
kababayan natin
na hanggang ngayon
hindi pa rin nakakauwi
upang sariling pamilya'y
makapiling.
Pinakamasakit nilang
dinanas na sila'y ituring
kaiba sa atin; matagal na 
hindi pinansin
walang nakabatid
sa kanilang mga hinaing
hanggang sa bumantad na lamang
sila sa ating paningin sa TV screen.
Matay ko mang isipin
sa panahon ito ng COVID-19
marami pa rin sa atin
hindi lang sumpungin
pag-uugali'y karimarimarim
salita'y matatalim
nakakasakit ng damdamin
wala na bang buting angkin?
Sa panahong ito ng pandemya
na ang banta ng kamatayan ay tunay na tunay
kabiyak o kapatid, kaibigan o kasamahan
o sino pa man ay tila nalilimutang
kapwa ring nahihirapan, nabibigatan
sa halip na tulungan, iniiwanan;
sa halip na kalooban ay pagaanin
ito'y sinasaktan pati na rin katawan.
Kapistahan ng Kamahal-Mahalang Puso ni Hesus; larawan kuha ni G. Gelo Nicolas Carpio, 19 Hunyo 2020.
Kaya aking dalangin
sana'y tupdin ng Panginoong Hesus 
ating hiling gawin ang mga puso natin
katulad ng kanyang Puso, 
maamo at mahabagin
puno ng kanyang pag-ibig
bawat tibok ay tigib
ng kabutihan Niyang angkin.
Mabuti pa ang puno ng saging
madalas na biro natin: may puso kesa atin!
Sana'y alisin Mo, Hesus, pusong bato namin
palitan ng pusong laman sa Iyo nakalaan
huwag naming panghinayangang kabutihan Mo'y ipamigay
huwag rin kaming maghintay ng Iyong sukling ibibigay
bagkus ay magmahal nang magmahal
hanggang kami'y mamatay at sa Iyong piling mahimlay.

*Mga larawan sa “collage” sa itaas ay mula kay G. Raffy Tima ng GMA News; ang nasa gitna na larawang ng imaheng bato ni Hesus ay mula Google.

Prayer to become small

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 19 June 2020
Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ><)))*> 1 John 4:7-16 <*(((>< Matthew 11:25-30
Photo from Google.

O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like yours — make me small and little in standing, hidden and unknown among many, simple and humble in a world now measured in influence, popularity, and following.

On this Solemnity of your Most Sacred Heart, I thank you dear Jesus in choosing to be small and little, always hidden in the simplest things of life like soft voices of kindness and mercy, reason and wisdom, gratitude and love.

You have shown us that to be truly loving like you, we have to be small and little like children.

Most of all, free to be ourselves as beloved children of the Father!

Free from inhibitions and guilt to truly express the love and joy within.

Help us, Jesus, to cast all our worries to you, to take your yoke that is easy, burden that is light.

It is so difficult to love when we are burdened by many concerns and considerations, when we cannot be our true selves that we lack spontaneity, of being natural and easy.

In the same manner, it becomes hard for us too to love or even please someone who sees him or her self bigger than reality, when they see themselves as “big shots” and “heavyweights” who have to be pleased and “followed” or affirmed.

May we always keep in mind the words of Moses so applicable also to us today:

“It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations.”

Deuteronomy 7:7

O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, you have given us your heart that bleeds due to the thorns of our sins, yet aglow with the fire of your immense love and mercy.

May we come to you, today and always to find rest, to learn from your gentle and humble ways so needed in our heartless world. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2019.

What delights us is finding Jesus in our hearts


The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
First Friday, Week IX, Year II in Ordinary Time, 05 June 2020
2 Timothy 3:10-17 ><)))*> 000 + 000 <*(((>< Mark 12:35-37
Photo by author, Sleeping Sto. Niño, January 2020.

I wonder, dear Jesus, what delighted the people of your time when they heard you teach at the temple area, telling them:

“How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’ David himself calls him ‘lord;’ so how is he his son?”

Mark 12:35-37

What delights me these past few days still in quarantine, still by myself, still uncertain when our churches would be opened?

As I prayed, O Lord, I realized YOU are the only one who delights me in these past days and weeks, even months since the pandemic and this quarantine.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like thine!

Despite the loneliness, the fears of getting sick, the insecurities of where to get so many things, the lack of concern and care from some people I care for, when I think of you, when I feel you inside my heart, that is when I am delighted like those people you taught at the temple.

I am delighted, Lord, because no matter what happens to me, you are always here with me, loving me, caring for me, forgiving me, accepting me most especially when persecution comes as St. Paul warned us in the first reading.

How is the Lord called by David as lord is his son?

That’s the wonder of you, sweet Jesus! You have allowed yourself to be small, to be weak, to be human like us so you can be in us and be with us.

Dwell in my heart, sweet Jesus, now and forever. Amen.