Claiming God’s grace

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XXIX, Year I in Ordinary Time, 19 October 2021
Romans 5:12, 15, 17-19, 20-21   ><)))*> + <*(((><   Luke 12:35-38
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com
Praise and glory to you,
our loving God and Father
in giving us so much hope today,
inspiring us to be better, to be free
to choose and follow you,
to love and serve you in one another.

Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21
Let us live in your Son
Jesus Christ, in the realm of grace
than live in Adam in the realm of sin
and death, enslaved to our passions
and selfish desires.
Let your Holy Spirit work within us,
dear Jesus, to allow us to live in a way
pleasing to God our Father.
Like the psalmist, enable us to proclaim,
"Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will."
Open our eyes to the reality,
O God, of the two kinds of humanity
pervading:  the sinful humanity and the
redeemed humanity in Christ;
how sad that so often, especially
in the news we read and follow,
it is always the humanity in solidarity
with Adam in sin that seems to prevail.
Let us claim your abounding grace,
"girding our loins and lighting our lamps"
to be focused more on our justification
found in your righteousness in Christ.
Amen.

Prayer to love the giver, not the gift

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XI, Year I in Ordinary Time, 16 June 2021
2 Corinthians 9:6-11   ><)))'> + <'(((><   Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
From Pinterest.com.

So many times, O God our Father, we have been acting so foolishly, forgetting the more essential in life as we waste precious time and our very selves with less important things and matter.

And most often, it is you whom we always forget, whom we disregard when you alone is the one whom we must always desire, whom we must always please for you alone who truly loves us above all.

Most of all, you alone is the Source of all good things in this life to whom we must always turn to.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform religious deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.”

Matthew 6:1

You do not need “advertisements” for your goodness and love for us for they are all self-evident.

Worst is how we fail to realize that every time we advertise our goodness and supposed to be holiness, the more we fool ourselves as we become most selfish and not holy at all!

Make us aware to remember the teaching of Thomas á Kempis that it is the love of the giver – YOU – that matters most than the gift itself.

A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover, as the love of the giver. He esteems the affection above the gift, and values every gift far below the Beloved. A noble lover is not content with a gift, but desires Myself above all gifts. 

Imitation of Christ, Book III, Part VI, “Of the proving of the true lover” by Thomas á Kempis (d. 1471)

It is because of this wrong focus on the gifts than on the Giver that we have failed in imitating your Son Jesus Christ in his loving service and generosity with others.

Help us realize, O Lord, that you alone are the source of every good gift in life, that you can never be outdone in generosity as you give us lavishly with all the gifts we need in this life.

Help us realize that we are all vessels and sharers of your grace:

“Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work…You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God”

2 Corinthians 9:8, 11

We pray, O Lord, for each of us to count the many blessings you have given us amid the hard times that have fallen upon us since the start of this pandemic so that we may see you more above all things. Amen.

Praying for humility and gratitude

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XXIX, Year II in Ordinary Time, 21 October 2020
Ephesians 3:2-12     >><)))*>  +  >><)))*>  +  >><)))*>     Luke 12:39-48     
Photo by author, Baguio City, 2018.

God our loving Father in heaven, teach us to accept that you love us, that you trust us, and that you believe in us so that we can finally be grateful and humble before you.

Yes, dear God – one reason we find it so hard to be grateful and humble before you is because we have hardly accepted nor appreciated your love and trust in us. Teach us to see ourselves as you see us, like St. Paul despite our sinfulness.

To me the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things.

Ephesians 3:8-9

What a wonderful attitude by St. Paul, expressing such gratitude to you God in calling him and entrusting him the “stewardship of your grace” (Eph.3:2) for others to experience you and your love!

Remind us, dear God, that everything we have is not simply a grace and blessing from you but a sign of your trust in us – whether as a husband or wife, mother or father, brother or sister, or, whatever profession and vocation we follow – they all mean you believe us, that we are responsible enough and most of all, we can all accomplish our mission in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

May we heed your Son’s warning in today’s parable that

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Luke 12:48

And to do so, let us humbly and gratefully accept your gifts always. Amen.

Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, Quezon, 2020.

Love is being present – and a present, too!

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of St. Cornelius (Pope) and St. Cyprian (Bishop), Martyrs, 
16 September 2020
1 Corinthian 12:31-13:13   ///   Luke 7:31-35
Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul Spirituality Center, La Trinidad, Benguet, January 2020.

Praise and glory to you, God our loving Father!

Thank you for the rains these past three days. Thank you for the feasts of the Exaltation of the Cross and of Our Lady of Sorrows, respectively these past two days.

Most of all, thank you for the present moment!

As I prayed on your words for today, I got fixed on St. Paul’s description of love as the greatest of all your gifts:

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:7-8

I just prayed on these verbs, Lord. I do not know if I make sense. But, through them I felt your love!

Love bears all things when you keep on carrying, having someone just because you love the person, you feel a link with the person like a brother or a sister, a friend, a parent. Like you, our Father. Or Jesus our brother.

Love believes all things when you give more room, more space for something to be realized and fulfilled in a person just because you love. Like when we feel unworthy with all our sins, you still welcome us back to you, you let us “shower” and clean up to begin anew in you and with our loved ones.

Love hopes all things when you know even if things get worst, you still love us, Lord. I know some things in me and my loved ones will not get any better. Some day we shall die and everything will end. But, you will always love us, dear God, because you are love.

Love endures all things because it bears all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things. That is why love never fails.

Photo by author, Petra, Jordan, May 2019.

In all of these, Lord, I found love is everything because it is the present, the here and the now – the meaning and reality of your name “I AM WHO AM”.

All these verbs describing love are all in the present tense, not in the past nor in the future.

And that is love, always present, also a present — a gift. A most wonderful gift leading to eternity!

That is why love is the greatest!

Teach me, Jesus, to be always present in you, to you, and with you through others around me as you implied in the gospel today. Amen.

St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian, pray for us!

New heart, new person in Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Memorial of St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church, 20 August 2020
Ezekiel 36:23-28 >><)))*> || + + + || <*(((><< Matthew 22:1-14
Photo by author, an oasis at the Dead Sea area, May 2017.

Thank you very much, dear God our Father in bringing us closer to you more than ever through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you for “taking away our stony hearts and giving us natural hearts” (Ez.36:26) as you have promised your prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament.

Thank you for inviting us always into your “wedding banquet”, revealing to us your wonderful plan of being with you in eternity.

Forgive us, too, O merciful Father when despite our new and natural heart in Christ, we refuse to follow your Spirit within us to totally change our ways, when we forget to realize that for every gift from you is our responsibility to nurture and make this bear fruits in our lives.

Like the man who came to the wedding banquet not dressed for the occasion in the parable by Jesus, we always miss the chance of being truly one with you in loving charity when we fail to seek knowledge to serve you in others.

May we keep in our hearts these beautiful teachings by St. Bernard whose memorial we celebrate today that like him, may we nurture your gifts through constant studies and prayers:

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity.

There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others: that is vanity.

There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve: that is LOVE.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Lord Jesus, please take away our stony hearts and give us natural hearts that beat with firm faith, fervent hope, and unceasing charity and love. Amen.

Giftedness of a gift

The Lord I My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Thursday, Easter Week VII, 28 May 2020

Acts of the Apostles 22:30; 23:6-11 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> John 17:20-26

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

John 17:24

Wow! What a tremendous blessing you have poured upon us today, Lord Jesus Christ! Yesterday, you proved yourself to be a great friend to us, and today, you give us the great honor of being a gift to you from the Father.

We are nothing before you, O Lord, and yet that is who we are to you – a gift from the Father.

What an honor for us all when in fact, we have nothing except your gift of self, your gift of life.

And that is where the giftedness of any gift lies – not in the gift itself but in the giver and the receiver of the gift. Any gift is worthless unless somebody gives it and somebody receives it too.

Between the giving and receiving, therein happens the giftedness of gift when it is opened and offered. A gift left unopened under a Christmas tree or in a drawer remains nothing unless opened and used and appreciated.

Photo by author, Subic, Zambales, 2018.

We are a gift given by God to everyone in Christ Jesus. It is only when we are able to open and offer our selves do we become truly a gift.

Give us that grace, Jesus, of offering and sharing our giftedness like St. Paul in the first reading.

The following night the Lord stood by him (St. Paul) and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Acts of the Apostles 23:11

There are many occasions, Lord, when we pray and ask you to spare us of all the sufferings and trials but now we have realized that it is only in being one with you in your passion when we truly become a gift to you from the Father.

It is in our becoming a gift to you that we become a gift to others and eventually realize our many gifts in ourselves too. Amen.

Obeying God than men

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Thursday, Easter Week-II, 23 April 2020

Acts of the Apostles 5:27-33 ><)))*> 0 + 0 <*(((>< John 3:31-36

Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul Spirituality Center, La Trinidad, Benguet, February 2020.

Yesterday Lord was so humid but it was a lovely sight while the sun was about to set, you sent some rains to quench the thirsty earth, to remind us you have never left us, that you are still with us in the midst of this lockdown due to corona pandemic.

Thank you, O Lord!

Give us the same fervor and attitude of Peter and companions after being arrested as they stood before the Sanhedrin in the first reading, so that like them we may boldly declare:

“We must obey God rather than men.”

Acts of the Apostles 5:29

How sad, O Lord, in this time of pandemic while so many are attesting and witnessing to your saving power, there are still some who refuse to recognize you, or even believe you.

On the other hand, there are those who ride on your goodness and kindness, taking upon themselves all your blessings, claiming everything in their name on the pretext of working for you, doing your work.

Lord Jesus Christ, please clear our minds and our hearts that the very reason why we should rather obey God than men is what you have told Nicodemus that night:

“For the one one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.”

John 3:34

Yes, dearest Jesus, you never ration your gift of the Spirit to us.

You always pour out unto us your many gifts that indeed, you have given us with so much and we have given so little.

And in spite of that, we still complain!

Please forgive us, Lord, when we feel so afraid, so unsure, even insecured to the point of being delusional that we might be forgotten that we choose to obey men than you. Amen.