Praying to be radical

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, 27 June 2022
Amos 2:6-10, 13-16   ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*>   Matthew 8:18-22
Photo by author, Subic, 2019.
God our just and merciful Father,
today I pray for the grace of being
radical - of going back to my roots or
"radix" in Latin; how sad that more
than 3000 years ago, the words of
your prophet Amos still sound so true
today.

Thus says the Lord: for three crimes of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke my word; because they sell the just man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals. They trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way. Son and father go to the same prostitute, profaning my holy name.

Amos 2:6-7
The situation then in Judah is
very much the same in our own time,
so distressing at how we have turned
away from you, O Lord, and from one
another, living so low without any 
respect and regard especially for
the weak and poor; may we heed 
the call of Jesus Christ to come and
follow him truthfully, radically by keeping
in mind and heart that there can be
no true love of God nor true religion
without a genuine practice of justice
and love among the weak.
Grant us the wisdom and courage of
St. Cyril of Alexandria to fight heresies
that now come as fads in many aspects,
from clothings to lifestyles that are so far
from the beauty of Christ's person as
exemplified by his own Mother, the 
Blessed Virgin Mary; make us firm in
holding on to your teachings on the values 
of life and of every person rooted in you
dear God our Lord and Creator.
Amen.

Praying for a holy attitude

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time, 16 June 2022
Sirach 48:1-14   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Matthew 6:7-15
Photo by author, October 2020.
God our loving Father,
today I pray for the grace of
having not just the right or 
positive attitude in life but 
most of all, an attitude
that is is holy and blessed.
It is not enough, Lord,
that we have a positive attitude
in life; that attitude or disposition
must always be holy and blessed,
inclined into your heart and will,
dear Father because so often,
the right attitudes of the world do
not agree with your ways, O Lord.
It is not enough we are happy and 
positive; there are times we have
to stand for what is right and true,
just and fair like Elija and Elisha.

Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace. How awesome are you, Elijah! Whose glory is equal to yours? You sent kings down to destruction, and nobles, from their beds of sickness. You heard threats at Sinai, at Horeb avenging judgments. You anointed kings who should inflict vengeance, and a prophet as your successor… O Elijah, enveloped in the whirlwind! Then Elisha, filled with a twofold portion of his spirit, wrought many marvels by his mere word. During his lifetime he feared no one, nor was any man able to intimidate his will. In life he performed wonders, after death, many marvelous deeds.

Sirach 48:1, 4, 6-8, 12, 14
What a blessed attitude you
have bestowed on Elijah and
Elisha you have bestowed upon us
too in Jesus Christ's coming
and sending of the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus Christ, we have
become your beloved children,
dear God our Father but too 
often, we lack the blessed attitude
we must have before you as shown
to us in the Our Father, our most
common prayer recited but taken
for granted.  Help us, dear Jesus, 
to acquire and imitate this holy
attitude you have taught us in how
to pray by always addressing God
"our Father", recognizing his holiness,
praying to make his kingdom come
by doing his will always and 
forgiving those who have sinned
against us.
Amen.

Faith + works = discipleship

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week VI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 18 February 2022
James 2:14-24, 26   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   Mark 8:34-9:1
Photo from inquirer.net, 2021.
Awaken us, O Lord,
from our mistake and
error of insisting 
that our pious and religious 
exercises are the "good works"
that express our faith in you;
let us realize that it is not 
enough that we simply 
celebrate Mass, recite the
Rosary, join processions and
pilgrimages and keep other 
devotions that make us good
practicing Catholics; these are
not the good works that St. James
is asking from us in the first reading:
faith is the true living out 
of our faith in you, Jesus Christ!

For just as a body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

James 2:26
True faith in you,
O Lord, is forgetting 
one's self to reach out
to those in need, fighting
for justice and peace,
being more loving and kind,
forgiving and understanding
of others just like you, dear Jesus.
True faith in you,
dear Jesus, is being 
your disciple which is  
a call to deny one's self,
to take up one's cross in life,
and to follow YOU always
(Mark 8:34).
Give me the grace
this day, Jesus, 
to sincerely look into
myself and examine 
how true is my
faith in you, 
how my very life
and actions reveal
the faith I have
or simply do not have
at all.  Amen.

A “Monday exam” prayer

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in Third Week of Easter, 19 April 2021
Acts 6:8-15   ><)))*>  +  <*(((><   John 6:22-29
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Spirituality Center, Novaliches, QC, 2015.

Your words in the first reading today sound like an exam, a personal quiz for each of us your follower and student, Lord Jesus.

Are we like "Stephen, filled with grace and power, 
working great wonders among the people?" (Acts 6:8)
Are we like Stephen who spoke with wisdom
and the Spirit? (Acts 6:10)
Are we like Stephen accused falsely
for echoing your teachings, Lord Jesus Christ? (Acts 6:13)

Forgive us Lord when lately we have been lacking in courage and vigor and enthusiasm in teaching and speaking what is true, what is just, what is good.

Sorry when we are no longer bothered by the many inconvenient truths prevailing these days, from the rampant disrespect for life and of the environment to our silence to injustices happening around us.

Fill us with your Holy Spirit, dear Jesus, to be bold enough like Stephen in following your life by witnessing your stance for what is right and true, just and holy. Enable us to perceive the deeper meaning of things happening in us and around us that are signs of your presence, indicating your will and mission for us.

May we work for “the food that endures for eternal life” (Jn.6:27) by first believing wholly in you as the Son of God to whom we must pledge our total and unconditional commitment.

More than receiving you as the Bread of Life in the Holy Communion, may we realize that to believe in you dear Jesus is to be like you – a bread who nourishes others with one’s total self giving in loving service founded on justice and respect for one another. Amen.

From Be Like Francis page at Facebook, 14 April 2021.

Imitating the priesthood of Jesus

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Wednesday, Second Week in Ordinary Time, 20 January 2021
Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17     >><)))*>   +++   <*(((><<     Mark 3:1-6

O God our Father, we praise and thank you in making us share in the priesthood of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and eternal Priest. So many times we forget – priests and lay people alike – the meaning of our priesthood which is to communicate your love to others, to become a bridge of men and women with God.

So many times we have become legalistic, paying more attention to the letters of the laws, to forms and to rituals forgetting the very essence of loving service for others. We always enter the church but never the community of believers.

Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on then sabbath that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent.

Mark 3:1-4

What a shame, dear God when such moments happen when we refuse to look at the persons with their sufferings and pains, choosing to look at things around us like rules and conventions. That more sad part is as we have turned blind to others around us, we have also chosen to be deaf to their cries as well.

Forgive us, Father, when we fail to enter into oneness with others made possible to us in the coming of Jesus Christ who has become our “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb.7:17).

Help us discard those old understanding of priesthood with emphasis on the mystery of being a priest, of the distinction and honor, forgetting the more important aspects of working for justice and righteousness, and most of all, for peace. Both can only be earned if we strive to be men and women of love and commitment to what is good. Amen.

Prayer to see more clearly

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 13 July 2020
Isaiah 1:10-17 <*(((><< >0< >><)))*> Matthew 10:34-11:1

Dearest Lord:

Today I pray to you so I may see more clearly your will, your plans for us amid this great darkness cast over us last Friday.

You have seen them all, Lord: they were all too much for me that I find so difficult to focus my sights this Monday as we embark for another week of work and studies, apostolates and ministries, prayers and reflections.

Until now, I am still overwhelmed by the fire that razed the historic Pandacan Church and that infamous death by 70 lawmakers to ABS-CBN’s bid to renew their franchise.

Though very painful and sad, I can take the Pandacan fire; in fact, it had strengthened my faith in you. The devotion and tears shed by responding firemen and supportive parishioners were so moving, positively giving me hope for the eventual rebuilding of the church.

But, totally different Lord was the ABS-CBN incident: it was so repulsive to have happened right before us on television’s daily news with men and women claiming to be “honorable” shamelessly handed a decision grossly unfair and unjust. Making things worst are those who rejoice at the victory of evil, unmindful and numb to the sufferings of more than 11,000 employees about to lose their jobs with the network’s going off the air.

I have been waiting for your inspiration, Lord, trying so hard to pray but my mind kept on wandering while my heart continues to cry because the issue here is more than the franchise of a broadcast network but our soul as a nation, as a community of your disciples.

Have you turned your back on us, Father?

When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Isaiah 1:15-17

Through your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, teach us O God our Father to look more inside ourselves, examine our priorities in life.

Let us look for you within us first before looking outside to see clearly those who need most our loving service in you — not just our family and loved ones or colleagues, or lords and masters in politics and business.

Let us look inside ourselves for you so we can truly find you in others. Amen.

When evil becomes life

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XIII, Year II in Ordinary Time, 01 July 2020
Amos 5:14-15, 21-24 <*(((><< <*(((><< >><)))*> >><)))*> Matthew 8:28-34
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7 News, Taal eruption, January 2020.

Praise and glory to you O God our loving Father for this brand new month of July! It is our hope this month will be kinder and more gentle with us than June. It is our hope that this July, we can all come closer to you doing what is good, what is right.

Seek good and not evil, that you may live. Then truly will the Lord, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim! I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the Lord, I take no pleasure in your solemnities… Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps. But if you would offer me burnt offerings, then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream.

Amos 5:14, 21, 23-24

Most of all, through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, it is our hope O merciful Father that beginning today we start to reject and shake off evil from our lives, from our very selves.

We have not only sinned, O sweet Jesus; worst part of our sinfulness is how we have accepted sin and evil as a way of life, as a part of life itself with our usual excuses and arguments “wala nang magagawa, nariyan na yan, hayaan na lang” (there’s nothing that can be done, just accept it).

We have got so used to immoralities and lies that we simply accept them as facts of life.

Like those people at Gadarenes where two demoniacs have terrorized them for some time that “no one could travel by that road” (Mt.8:28).

But when you came, Lord Jesus and drove the demons into entering the herd of swine that jumped and drowned into the sea, the whole town came out to meet you and begged you to leave their district!

Instead of being thankful, they begged you to leave, Lord, because you have disturbed their lives so used to the demons. They have failed to see how two people were finally healed and exorcised. Most of all, they have refused to accept the new order in their place.

What a silly turn of events that continues to happen day when people have grown so used to evil and sin, refusing changes and conversion.

How sad that whenever we make a stand for what is right and good, what is true and just, we are the ones made to suffer, even persecuted for bringing order because we have disturbed the evil that people have been used to.

We pray for those who continue to fight injustice and immoralities in our communities, in our church that they may always be guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

And we pray for those among us who have lost the sense of sinfulness, of living with sin and evil and yet continue to worship and praise you O God. Amen.

Photo by Gelo Nicolas Carpio, June 2020.

Scoundrels are we?

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 15 June 2020
1 Kings 21:1-16 ><)))*> ><)))*> <*(((>< <*(((>< Matthew 5:38-42
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, stranded people staying at the underpass near the NAIA after waiting for so long to catch their flights back to their provinces since March.

So many times in life, O God our Father, we hear so many stories of injustice, of how our neighbors are treated so badly that we feel so disgusted at how it could happen at all.

Like all these stories of people stranded in Metro Manila, of the lowly income earners who have to walk for hours just to get to work because there are not enough public transport system allowed to operate.

Of those made to suffer the strict quarantine rules when police officials and politicians were allowed to get off the hook or, the arrest and incarceration of a poor, elderly jeepney driver who had joined a protest rally while the former First Lady who was convicted of corruption charges two years ago was spared of any jail term because of her age.

So much inequalities happening shamelessly, with much impunity by those in power, O Lord!

Exactly like the evil Queen Jezebel who instructed her people to find two scoundrels to testify against Naboth so she could take his vineyard so desired by her husband King Ahab.

Two scoundrels came in and confronted him with the accusation, “Naboth has cursed God and king.” And they led him out of the city and stoned him to death. When Jezebel learned that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Go on, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you, because Naboth is nbot alive, but dead.” On hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

1 Kings 21:13-16

Such stories are so revulsive, O God, not only of their nature but more because partly to be blamed is us — when we have refused to do anything good in fighting evil. Indeed, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Yes, O God, we are ashamed because we have unconsciously sided with the scoundrels when we chose to “see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing” of their lies, their harsh words and vulgarities, and their systematic killing sprees to solve the problems of the society.

We have misread the words of your Son Jesus Christ by becoming passive in the face of evil.

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.”

Matthew 5:38-39, 41

Give us the wisdom and courage to turn our other cheek, to go the extra mile in asserting to evil doers that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ who must treat one another with respect and equal dignity as a person created in your image and likeness, God our Father.

Inspire us, O God, especially our leaders in the Church who have gone so timid and silent except for a very few on how we can be more prophetic in this time of crisis under an unfriendly government. Amen.

A view from Tagaytay by the author, October 2019.

Are we ready and empty?

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe, Holy Thursday, 09 April 2020

Our altar is ready
the tabernacle is empty
but are we also hungry
or thirsty for Thee?
O Lord have mercy
and please empty 
our hearts of pride, 
fill us with your humility,
justice and love
so we may say to Thee 
on this Holy Thursday
"Lord, I am not worthy 
to receive Thee but only
say the word and I shall 
be healed."

Praying for justice in time of corona

40 Shades of Lent, Monday, Week-V, 30 March 2020

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 ><)))*> + <*(((>< John 8:1-11

“Ecce Homo” by Murillo from fineartamerica.com.

Our loving Father, today I pray in a very special way for all people who have been maligned, especially for those whose reputation have been destroyed in public by false accusations, those put to shame in our family and community by harsh words.

Like those two women in our readings today, Susana in the Book of Daniel and the woman caught in adultery in John’s gospel, these people unjustly accused in public or “in their face” are surely suffering so much in the loneliness of their homes, of their room in this period of lockdown.

Most especially, Lord, I pray for those languishing in jail especially those for crimes they did not commit.

But Susan cried aloud: “O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be; you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” The Lord heard her prayer.

Daniel 13:42-44

Comfort, O God, those crying for justice.

Give them patience and perseverance, trust and confidence in Jesus Christ your Son who have come “to proclaim liberty to captives” (Lk.4:18b).

Grant them a healing of memories.

Most especially, I pray O God, that Jesus may touch them today with the same gentleness and love, mercy and forgiveness without any condemnation except to go and “sin no more” (Jn.8:11). Amen.