St. Lawrence: the saint we need during this pandemic

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Memorial of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, 10 August 2021
2 Corinthians 9:6-10   ><}}}}'> + ><}}}}'> + ><}}}}'>   John 12:24-26
“Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, Deacon” by Hipolito de Rioja (16th c.) from commons.wikimedia.org
God our loving Father,
give us the grace in this time
of pandemic the zeal and fervor,
kindness and humor of Saint Lawrence,
deacon and martyr of the second century.
You must have loved him so much,
lavishing him with your grace to 
witness the gospel of Jesus Christ
for St. Paul said:  "God loves a 
cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
Saint Lawrence was so cheerful
in his dedication and fidelity to his
office as deacon, serving the Pope
and the people by distributing alms 
and other help to the poor and suffering.
In this time of the pandemic 
when so many people lack
food and money and other essentials,
give us the courage to trust in you
Lord to share whatever we have. 
Most especially, in this time of lockdowns
when so many of us are emotionally drained
with spirits sagging due to quarantine fatigue, 
gift us with the wit and humor of Saint Lawrence
who asked his executioners to turn his body
to make his roasting even on all sides!
Above all dear Father,
like Saint Lawrence may we realize
that to see your Son Jesus 
is not only with one's eyes but 
with one's total self, willing to lose 
one's life like a grain of wheat that dies 
and produces much fruit in Christ (Jn.12:24).
Amen.

Laugh and be holy

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, 26 May 2021
Philippians 4:4-9  ><}}}*> + ><}}}*> + ><}}}*>   Mark 10:32-45
Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2018.
Rejoice in the Lord always,
I shall say it again:  rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
(Philippians 4:4-5)

Thank you very much, dear God our loving Father for the gifts of joy and sense of humor. So many times we forget that we are most alive when we are laughing, when we are filled with joy in our hearts. Just like your amusing saint today, St. Philip Neri.

Give us the grace of wisdom and intelligence, simplicity and humor nurtured by a deep prayer life of St. Philip Neri who would always reserve the nights for his prayer periods especially at the catacombs of Rome where he experienced great joy that enlarged and expanded his heart that broke two of his ribs!

And always, give us some sprinklings of his sense of humor that he came to be the patron saint of joy and humor, saying that “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.”

He was so filled with life in his ministry that he spent serving everyone – from the poorest of the poor including prostitutes to the men and women of power and influence in royal courts and palaces, government offices and most of all, in the Vatican as well as local churches.

Because of his great love for you, St. Philip Neri became a great patron of arts, inspiring and supporting so many artists during his time when the Reformation period was bent on attacking the many paintings that adorn our churches.

It is really amazing how St. Philip Neri without any plans of reforming the Church actually gave the human touch in the realizations of the Counter Reformation efforts by St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Charles Borromeo, and other saints.

His Congregation of Oratory proved to be so essential in the life of the Church with his priests who were more concerned with prayers, spiritual reading, and administering the sacraments than emphasizing discipline and obedience.

Teach us to imitate St. Philip Neri to take into our hearts the essence and meaning of your Son Jesus Christ’s words today:

"whoever wishes to be first among you
will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man 
did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many."
(Mark 10:44-45)

We pray, O God, today for those feeling sad due to the many problems and difficulties this pandemic has caused to many of us. Give us a fresh and new perspective in life where we rely more on you than on our selves and the world, enabling us to see the light and beauty around us, especially among those the suffering we must lend our hands to.

Like St. Philip Neri, in sharing the joys and laughter of children we may become like children again. Amen.

From pinterest.com.

Advent is God making us laugh

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Second Week of Advent, 10 December 2020
Isaiah 41:13-20     <*(((><<   +++   >><)))*>     Matthew 11:11-15

Thank you dearest Father in making us all “risible” – the ability to laugh, the gift of having sense of humor for, if there is truly any sign of being alive, it must be when we laugh. And it must have only come from you, O God, for you are the fount of wit and wisdom.

Just like today. You are so Fatherly in telling us,

I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”

Isaiah 41:13

Then, suddenly like most human fathers, you tease us while declaring your love,

Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the Lord; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:14

You are so funny and witty, Lord! You assure us of your love and like kids, you called your chosen people worm and maggot?!

Thank you for making us laugh, dearest Father as you tease us full of affections, calling us “worm” and “maggot”.

Thank you for the gift of wit and humor that while teasing us for who we really are, so low and dirty due to sins, we feel deeply inside how much you love us. You are not mad nor exasperated with our sinfulness but simply telling us how we have truly behaved. And that is what most funny about — you still love us, you still call us, you still want to save us even if we are not worthy.

So true are the words of our responsorial psalm: “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.”

Indeed, we are so blessed that even if we are “the least in the Kingdom of heaven, we are greater than John the Baptist” who was the greatest of all people born of women during the time of Jesus because we have lived in your time of coming and salvation (Mt.11:11).

May we always be open and humble before you, O God, to be able to see the many joys of living tucked in our sense of humor that helps us recognize your Advent in the midst of many darkness. Amen.

*Photos above by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2018-2019.

Katatawanan, katuwaan sa buhay COVID-19

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-16 ng Oktubre 2020
Pitong buwan na nakakaraan
mula nang kumalat mula Wuhan
corona virus, tayo ay nag-lockdown
nang lumaon pinagaan quarantine
COVID-19 pasakit pa rin sa atin.
Nguni't huwag din namang masamain
maraming aral ipinamulat sa atin
itong COVID-19:  pananalangin 
at pananalig sa Diyos, 
pagpapahalaga sa pamilya at kapwa,
pangangalaga sa ating kalusugan.
Gayon din naman
maraming katatawanan
katuwaan ating naranasan
lumipas na mga buwan
kaya mga ito ating pagparoonan
kesa pabigatan ating mga isipan,
puso at kalooban.
Sa dami at tagal nang hirap ating naranasan
minsan marahil iyong inaasam-asam
makapagpahinga at magbakasyon
at saka sasagi sa isipan na hindi ba gayon
itong COVID-19 ngayon?
Bakasyon at pahinga
kaya nakapagtataka
kapag walang pasok sa eskuwela
at opisina dahil sa piyesta upisyal
gayong wala namang papasyalan
ni pupuntahan
lahat ng araw pare-pareho lang!
Nang magsimula ang lockdown
karamihan hindi naman nahirapan ni kinabahan
bagkus naging engrandeng bakasyunan
kantahan at inuman kung saan-saan
hanggang magkahawahan
nang mabatid katagay sa inuman
walang panlasa, walang pang-amoy
nang maglaon akala mo'y
aping-api, kinawawa at pinabayaan
pinag-aagawan lahat ng uri ng ayuda
pera at de lata
habang ang iba naman ay saganang-sagana.
Ang Pinoy nga naman
maski saan man
basta may kalamidad
hindi pababayaan kumalam kanyang tiyan;
aminin ang katotohanan
parusa nga ba at kahirapan ang lockdown
bakit tayo nagtabaan?
Hindi lamang iyan:
sa bawat tahanan
 mayroon isang tiyak natutuhan
bagong libangan at pagkakitaan
pagluluto at pagbe-bake.
Isang pangunahin kabutihan
nitong lockdown
luminis mga lansangan
umaliwalas kalangitan
kalikasan nabigyan
kapahingahang kailangang-kailangan;
magagandang tanawin
muling nasilayan mula kalayuan
habang sa mga tahanan
laganap na luntian ng mga halamang
 inaalagaan at pinagkakakitaan
ng mga tinaguriang plantitos at plantitas.
Mayroon pang ibang mga katatawan
nangyari sa gitna ng lockdown
at quarantine ng COVID-19
ngunit huwag nang pag-usapan
baka lamang pagmulan
labis na hapis at kalungkutan
mga kabalastugan sa pamunuan, 
sakim sa kapangyarihan
katanyagan at kayamanan
ngunit walang pakialam
sa bayang nahihirapan
nagsisikap lampasan mga pagdurusa
dinaraan sa katatawan
katuwaan upang mapanatili
katinuan ng isipan
kesa tularan mga baliw
at hunghang na payaso
sa gobyernong ito.

*Mga larawan sa itaas mga kuha ni G. Jay Javier, Mayo 2020; habang ang mga nasa ibaba ay kuha ng may-akda maliban sa ibong dilaw at puting bulaklak na kuha ni Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD.

Generous and cheerful

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Memorial of St. Lawrence, Martyr and Deacon, 10 August 2020
2 Corinthians 9:6-10 >><}}}*> // + \\ <*{{{><< John 12:24-26
Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2019.

Dearest Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous and cheerful too, because sometimes our generosity is filled with sadness or bitterness as it is comes from having excess of anything that we have. Worst, it is only when we are forced to become generous by others or due to circumstances.

True generosity is always borne out of joy when our only reason in giving and sharing is due to our faith in you — that no matter what happens to us, you will never abandon us, Lord, providing whatever we need in this life.

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.

2 Corinthians 9:8

Most of all, generosity with cheerfulness is always a choice, a decision freely made in imitation of you, Jesus Christ like St. Lawrence your deacon. Those who give or share anything with a heavy heart, if given the choice, would rather keep whatever they have to remain like a grain of wheat without dying.

Like St. Lawrence, teach us generosity that is naturally human and divine, that like him while being roasted alive, he had the sense of humor to ask his persecutors to turn him so that his grilling may be perfect and even. Amen.

“Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, Deacon” by Hipolito de Rioja (16th c.); from commons.wikimedia.org

Laugh and be holy!

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Saturday, Feast of St. Lawrence Deacon and Martyr, 10 August 2019
2 Corinthians 9:6-10 >< }}}*> <*{{{ >< John 12:24-26
“Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, with Two Benedictine Nuns” by Jacobello del Fiero (1425) who introduced “International Gothic” painting style in Venice using elegant and bright colors. The two Benedictine “witnesses” are nuns believed to belonged to the San Lorenzo convent in Venice who commissioned del Fiero to paint the scene. Photo from Rijksmuseum via useum.org.

Praise and glory to you, God our loving Father for the gift of humor.

Yes, Lord, thank you in giving us funny bones, for enabling us to laugh – and be holy!

Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Keep us cheerful always, Lord, like St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, patron saint of chefs and comedians.

It was pure grace of love for Jesus Christ and his Church that St. Lawrence suffered so much with a lot of sense of humor and joy.

When Emperor Valerian asked your deacon St. Lawrence to bring him all the treasures of the Church of Rome he was tasked to safeguard, he asked permission to leave jail to gather them.

And he was so witty and courageous that when he returned, he came with the poor as “treasures of the Church” that made the emperor so furious and ordered St. Lawrence be roasted to death on a giant gridiron.

Again, in the midst of intense pain while being roasted alive, St. Lawrence never lost that spark of wit and humor when he told his tormentors to “turn me over, I am done on this side…have a bite.”

As a deacon, teach us, O Lord, to serve like St. Lawrence with a deep sense of dedication and passion plus a lot of smiles and joy!

Everybody is so stressed out these days, Lord, for so many reasons like traffic and lousy services everywhere, including in our parishes.

Thanks be to you, O God, we do not have to suffer so much like St. Lawrence.

Give us the grace of wearing always a warm smile and cheerful face to serve those in pain and suffering.

Let us laugh a lot, Lord, to share with others the real fruits of our work in you. Amen.

Deacon’s dalmatic and stole. Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, 12 June 2019, Malolos City.