Plan of God, our plan

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of the Dedication of St. Mary Major in Rome, 05 August 2020
Jeremiah 31:1-7 <*(((><< | + | >><)))*> Matthew 15:21-28
Photo by Arch. Philip Santiago, St. Mary Major in Rome, 2018.

O God our almighty Father, in all eternity you have planned what is best for each of us and we thank you so much for that for your great wisdom matched with your immense love for us.

Unfortunately, we always run away from you, discarding your plans for our own personal plans that most often do not work because these are based on what we want, what we like and not of what is really best for us.

Help us to seek your plans for us, Lord, by remaining in you, trusting you because you know what is best for us being our Maker.

Open our selves to you to redeem us from our disgrace and infirmities by seeking your plans in rebuilding our lives like your so-called “remnants of Israel” in the first reading – the few who have remained faithful to you despite the turning away from you of majority of Israelites who chose to worship false gods in the time of Jeremiah.

And ironically, to be like that Canaanite woman at the region of Tyre and Sidon – though a pagan – who remained faithful to you waiting for the Christ to come by holding on to your plans, hoping in your plans, and finally realizing your plans of healing and salvation in Jesus!

Grant us the perseverance and love to seek, believe in your plans for us like the Blessed Virgin Mary as we celebrate today the Memorial of the Dedication of St. Mary Major in Rome, one of our four Major Churches and first Marian shrine in the whole Christendom.

How lovely it is, O God, that you literally laid out your plans for this Basilica when the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to a faithful Christian couple as well as Pope Liberius in the year 358 to build a church in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5.

And you did make snow to fall on that night, forcing Pope Liberius to trace the outlines of the church on the snow where the first basilica was built!

But, it was only the beginning of the unfolding of your plans: the Basilica of St. Mary Major was completed a century later after the Council of Ephesus in 431 where Mary was declared the Mother of God, thus clarifying all doubts on the divinity of your Son Jesus Christ who had come to save us.

May we pause for some moments of silence today to pray and seek your plans for us specially in this time of the pandemic. We pray harder for our leaders in government for humility and honesty in seeking you, O God, to draw a specific plan that is clear and workable to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

This we ask in Jesus Christ’s name, in the power of the Holy Spirit with Mary our Mother. Amen.

Photo by author of a pilgrim writing a petition to the Blessed Mother in a Marian shrine in Madaba, Jordan, 2019.

The temple in our hearts

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest, 31 July 2020
Jeremiah 26:1-9 >>><)))*> >><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 13:54-58
Photo by author, Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, May 2019.

Praise and glory to you, O God our Father for another week and month about to close before us. And still here we are, alive and safe, making through the many trials and difficulties as we all continue to bear the sufferings of this COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for sending us your Son our Lord Jesus Christ who have made our hearts your indwelling.

Unfortunately, like his neighbors, so many times we fail or even refuse to recognize his coming to us.

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son?” And they took offense at him.

Matthew 13:54-55, 57

So many times, many things run in our minds and in our hearts that we always fail to see and recognize you, sweet Jesus.

Teach us through St. Ignatius your faithful servant who gave us your wonderful gift of discerning the spirits.

Teach us to lay bare ourselves before you, to be true to our thoughts and feelings so that we may sift through all of these to find your holy will, Lord.

Teach us to “omit nothing” as you commanded Jeremiah in the first reading from your words so that we may be able to discern properly what you want from us.

Make our hearts your temple, O Lord, dwell inside and reign over us so that we may understand fully the meaning of “positive indifference” taught us by St. Ignatius:

“We should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. . . . Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.”

Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius

Let our thoughts and actions always begin and happily end in your greater glory, Lord.

Amen.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!

All in God’s hands

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XII, Year II in Ordinary Time, 26 June 2020
2 Kings 25:1-12 >>)))*> >>)))*> >>)))*> Matthew 8:1-4
Photo by author, Assumption Sabbath, Baguio City, 2019.

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately.

Matthew 8:1-3

Nothing happens in this life without you fully knowing all about it, Lord God almighty. From the air that we breathe, to the rising and the setting of the sun, to everything —- you fully know them all, Lord and you choose to let them work in our favor despite our turning away from you in sins.

Praise and glory to you, God, and we thank you for your goodness to continue to will what is best for us despite our sinfulness.

May we keep this always in our minds and hearts that nothing escapes you; that sometimes, you just let us go on with our lives so we can finally have a taste of what we choose in this life.

And we seem to never ever learn as we continue to be proud before you, refusing to be humble that until the end, we are forced by our wrong and sinful decisions to eat us up, to shame us like Jerusalem that was almost annihilated by the Babylonians after her fall.

You never punish your people; you only will what is good for us — to be healed, to be cleansed, to be saved in Jesus Christ your Son!

May we always come to you, Lord, asking your will and plans for us, as we readily submit to you. Amen.

Lobby of the Assumption Sabbath in Baguio City, 2019.

God calls, we respond… not the other way around.

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Wednesday, Week XXX, Year I, 30 October 2019

Romans 8:26-30 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 13:22-30

Photo by Dra. Mai Dela Pena, Chapel of St. John of God Hospital in Barcelona, Spain (August 2019).

Every day, every night, O Lord, we come to you to pray.

But so often, we forget we merely respond to your call when we pray.

How sad that when we pray, we come to you demanding you, asking you for so many things without us realizing that we pray primarily to ask you what you want us to do for you!

We are not the masters telling you, O God, what you must do or give us; we are your “unworthy” servants who must ask what you want from us.

May we allow always the Holy Spirit to direct our prayers the way you would want it to be because…

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Instead of being so concerned with how many or how few would be saved, may we focus more on how to “strive to enter through the narrow gate” of salvation.

Direct us, O Lord, to your holy will in the way you would want us to fulfill it. Amen.