Persevering in Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Friday, Third Week in Ordinary Time, 29 January 2021
Hebrews 10:32-39   +++  >><)))*> + <*(((><<  +++   Mark 4:26-34
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, Batanes 2018.

Our loving Father in heaven, thank you very much for another weekend, for another day of rest approaching, for the grace of making it this far despite the many difficulties we have gone through: the chemotherapy and dialysis, surgery or physical therapy; death of a loved one, including a beloved pet for some; losing a job, giving up a business, calling it quits for a dream or endeavor.

So many trials, some we have hurdled, some we have overcome, some we have lost.

But here we are, Lord God, though wounded and bruised but still alive, still dreaming, still hoping, still fighting. All persevering in Jesus Christ our Eternal Priest and Master.

Your words today, O Lord, are so comforting for many of us. Help us to never give up, to persevere despite our sins and failures. Be patient with us, sweet Jesus. Most of all, let us be patient too in waiting for you, in your coming, in your comfort, in your solace, in bearing fruits. Help us realize that the more we are enlightened in you, the more we are purified, the more we are tested.

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised. We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Hebrews 10:32, 36, 39

Like the farmer who sows seeds in his farm, may we confidently wait, never giving up until they sprout into new plants, have blades, have flowers and bear fruits.

Like the mustard seed, may we persevere to find deep within our hearts your gift of faith that someday, we shall grow and be fruitful. Amen.

Photo by author, flower of a mustard seed at Ein-Karen, Israel, 2017.

Advent is “a very little while…”

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
First Friday, Advent Week-I, 04 December 2020
Isaiah 29:17-24     <*(((><<   +   >><)))*>     Matthew 9:27-31
Photo by author at Silang, Cavite, 20 September 2020.

Your words today, O God our Father are so reassuring and refreshing especially for many of us like the Babylonian exiles who are so tired and exhausted, almost about to give up for the many pains and sufferings, hardships and trials in life while awaiting your Advent, your coming.

Thus says the Lord God: But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 29:17-19

Yesterday I was crying out to you, pouring out my pains unto you, Lord, wondering and lamenting if Advent is truly your coming when sometimes I feel the opposite, that you have abandoned me; your words are so sweet but when I looked into my life, I felt so bitter as things are not turning out so well as you have promised.

And I paused, waiting for you.

Then, you said, “But a very little while…”

How long is your “a very little while”, Lord?

Soon enough I have learned yesterday too that it all depends on my faith in you!

Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte of sunrise at Atok, Benguet, 01 September 2019.

Yes, a very little while you can change everything from darkness into light, from gloom into joy, from sickness into health, from desolation into consolation, from problem into solution!

It all depends on how strong are we holding on to you, Lord.

Like those two blind men who followed Jesus. How they did it — I do not know though it is funny– at how people of great faith would always do extraordinary things because of you, Lord!

Teach us that in life, we need to come to you in faith, hope and love to experience your Advent, your coming because you have already come. That is why, a very little while, so many great things and miracles can happen because as Jesus had shown us in the gospel today, you are just waiting for us like those two blind men to come to you for healing and other needs.

Grant us, O Lord, the courage and perseverance to always seek you, hold on to you, and come to you no matter how dark it may be because you are always with us so that a very little while, your Advent is fulfilled. Amen.

From “cage” of sin to heavenly wedding

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XXXIV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 26 November 2020
Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9     >>>  +   <<<     Luke 21:20-28

Praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ for your words today that offer us with clear images about true freedom that leads to fullness of life. So often, many among us are greatly misled by the belief that true freedom is breaking free from sufferings and God and morals, of having absolute freedom to do everything.

That has always been one of the fundamental tenets of pagans of ancient Rome you have banished for being a “cage”, an imprisonment!

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”

Revelation 18:2, 21

True freedom is choosing what is true and good, trying to bear all pains and sufferings that purify us into better persons, that free us from impurities to enter into your heavenly banquet of eternal life.

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Revelation 19:9

Life continues to bear down upon us these days, Lord, especially the poor who are left with almost nothing in this life; worst, with nothing else but their dignity as persons, there are times they are being forced to give it up for a price.

Give us the grace of perseverance, to withstand all pressures by holding on to you, clinging to your merciful love that amid all the trials and sufferings going on, we may “stand erect and raise our heads because our redemption is at hand” (Lk.21:28).

Let us not be ashamed of being faithful to you, Jesus, for you alone can lead us to true freedom as a person. Amen.

Photo by Ms. Ria De Vera, Christ the King celebrations in the parish, 22 November 2020.

Righteous acts of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Red Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Revelation 15:1-4     >><)))*>  +++  <*(((><<     Luke 21:12-19
Photo by author, Red Wednesday 2020.

Once again, dear Jesus, we pray in the most special way this Red Wednesday for your persecuted Church including those severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic like the medical frontliners, the survivors and their families, and the poor who have sank deeper into poverty due to the prolonged lockdowns we have had.

We pray that we may find your good news behind every persecution we suffer and go through as a community of your believers and disciples because where there are sufferings, there are hearts and souls willing to comfort, willing to share, willing to sacrifice.

When there are sufferings, there is the color RED that means LOVE because that is when we have your Cross, Jesus Christ, and therefore share in your own destiny of glory!

It is in every shade of red like the blood poured out by Christ and the martyrs after him that the Father’s “righteous acts have been revealed” (Rev.15:4), that is, when we experience more of God’s protection and salvation in the face of grave dangers and even death.

Grant us the grace, Lord Jesus, to persevere in your words and ways so we may secure our lives in you. Amen.

Photo by author, Red Wednesday 2020.

Glorifying God in our love

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, 26 May 2020

Acts of the Apostles 20:17-27 <*(((>< >+< ><)))*> John 17:1-11

Dome of the Malolos Cathedral. Photo by author, December 2019.

The beautiful readings of this week after the Ascension of the Lord complement the crucial week ahead for us all in this time of the corona virus.

Your words, O Lord, continue to amaze us with its many meanings to guide and soothe and assure us of your loving presence.

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.”

John 17:1-2

After praying for us your disciples, now you tell us of your “hour” when you shall fulfill your mission which is to suffer and die on the Cross for our salvation. It is your hour of glory, Lord Jesus, because it is the outpouring of your and the Father’s immeasurable love for us all.

Yesterday you have taught us that before everything else in our lives, there has always been your love.

Today, you assure us especially in this time of the corona virus that before all these sufferings and pains we endure, you were there first to suffer and die for us still because of your love for us.

Teach us to be like St. Paul to be firm and persevering in our mission to love against all odds, to never “shrink” in our love and patience to our detractors and those who mean to discredit us.

Like St. Paul, may we never “shrink before all those who malign your holy name, those who find material things more essential than you our Lord and our God.

Let us never shrink in our love and understanding, patience and wisdom.

Likewise, fill our hearts with your joy and humor like St. Philip Neri who attracted many followers and believers to you with his infectious cheerfulness.

Despite our many limitations and sinfulness, may your Holy Spirit, dear Lord Jesus Christ help us to continue loving you among one another especially to those with special needs in this time of crisis.

And Lord, despite the continued abuse of those in power and authority in pushing and shoving us, shouting and cursing us for everyone to hear and see on national TV, let us never shrink in choosing to be peaceful and understanding. Amen.

St. Philip Neri, pray for us.

An Easter lamentation

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Wednesday in the Octave of Easter, 15 April 2020

Acts of the Apostles 3:1-10 <*(((>< +++ ><)))*> Luke 24:13-35

Dearest Jesus Christ:

It is the Easter Season but the way things are happening in our country today calls us to express our lamentations to you, O Lord.

Come to us, Lord Jesus in this darkest hours of our lives when we feel like joining the two disciples returning to Emmaus to leave everything and go back to our previous life.

Nobody seems to care at all: children are in the streets, adults in massive gatherings, everybody complaining, and worst of all, our leaders cramming at how to address this crisis without any definite plans as they have been lying to us since the beginning.

The only glimmer of hope we find these days are from our frontliners who strive to serve everyone despite the fact they have been taken for granted for so long.

Send us more new leaders – not recycled liars – who can be like Peter and John willing to be your instruments to raise us up again and set us free to stand again for what is true.

Open also our eyes, Lord, to see more of the possibilities available in the midst of the confusions around and within us.

Give us the Spirit of wisdom and encouragement for others losing hope and directions.

Help us to persevere more along with others who have seen and experienced you especially in the breaking of bread. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, March 2020. Used with permission.

The assurance of Advent

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Wednesday, Advent Week-II, 11 December 2019

Isaiah 40:25-31 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 11:28-30

Eagle, the symbol of our Patron Saint, John the Evangelist, Advent 2018.

What makes Advent so wonderful, Lord, is the fervent hope your words instill in us to persevere in believing and serving you.

Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

Teach us to trust you more, to always walk in firm faith in you because you always keep your promise.

Enlighten us, Lord, that you never promised to take away our cross; let us realize the great comfort you offer us in helping us carry our cross.

Enough to comfort us and assure us is your gentle mastery, Lord Jesus Christ.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Thank you, dear Jesus, for these kind words today, enough for us to forge on in life’s many trials.

We pray for those having some form of crisis in life today, enlighten their minds and their hearts in making the right choices in life. We pray for those who are very sick and those taking care of them in this most trying time of their life. We also pray especially those who lost a loved one, feeling guilty in the process. Please assure them Lord of your gentle presence, that they are cared for, and most of all, loved. Amen.

Advent 2019 in our Parish.

We Remember

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Red Wednesday in Memory of Persecuted Christians, 27 November 2019

Revelation 15:1-4 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 21:12-19

From Google.

Today, O dear Jesus, we gather as one nation to remember the 300 million Christians worldwide who are persecuted in various forms because of their faith in you: those who were denied of work, housing, liberty, and most especially, life.

We remember and pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who were unjustly tortured and murdered because of carrying a cross and confessing their love for you, Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to the crowd: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair of your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Luke 21:17-19

May those who have suffered and those still suffering be consoled with your love and peace, Lord.

Have mercy on their persecutors, let them realize that religion should bring us together and not apart.

Most especially, Lord Jesus, teach us to remember in carrying and embracing our crosses in the midst of these persecutions. Wash away our sins of indifference. Give us courage to follow promptings of your Holy Spirit in working for genuine peace and justice.

Empty ourselves of hatred and mistrust of one another to always remember we are all brothers and sisters in the Father. Amen.

Red Wednesday poster of Bacolod Diocese last year.

Prayer to keep our “fire burning” for God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Friday, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, 22 November 2019

1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59 ><)))*> <*(((>< Luke 19:45-48

Candles seen from our altar onto our church rear, 18 November 2019.

Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, please keep your fire burning within us, always aglow with your firm faith, fervent hope and unceasing charity and love.

On this memorial of your virgin and martyr, St. Cecilia who is also the patroness of sacred music, may we imitate her to keep on “singing the song of God in our hearts”, whether in good times or in bad.

Let us praise you both in words and in deeds without ceasing.

How sad that we are like the Jews after their victory over the Gentiles in the Maccabean revolt: very enthusiastic at first that eventually waned, becoming complacent that after a hundred years, the Romans easily conquered and subdued Jerusalem.

On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled the temple, on that very day it was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised heaven, who had given them success.

1 Maccabees 4:55-56

Forgive us, Lord, on the many occasions when we are so eager and full of zeal in praising you and doing your will after we have gained particular blessings and intentions from you that later on, we become complacent like your contemporaries.

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, my house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Luke 19:45-46
Candle in our sacristy, 19 November 2019.

Let us not be complacent, Lord.

Remind us that our work and mission from you will continue until we rest in you, O Lord.

Keep our lights and fire burning. Amen.

Prayer for those persecuted

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Friday, Memorial of St. Pope John XXIII, 11 October 2019

Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2 ><}}}*> <*{{{>< Luke 11:15-26

Photo by author, Holy Family Chapel, Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, 2016.

Dearest Lord Jesus Christ:

Today I thank you for consoling those persecuted when in the gospel episode after you have driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:

“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”

Luke 11:15

Very consoling, Lord, because despite your exercise of divine power, some people still maligned you, accusing you of working with the devil?!

How could we not feel consoled when we have done nothing that can be compared close to your exorcism and yet we are also falsely accused of so many things?

I really wonder, Lord Jesus, what evil had possessed so many among us that they can fabricate so many lies, insist on their myopic views of things and events, and totally disregard the truth without any qualms at all?

From cbcpnews.net

From the ordinary verbal rumours spread by backstabbers daily everywhere to cyberbullying by trolls to spurious whistleblowers and state officials silencing those standing for what is true and just, more and more people are persecuted like you.

It is very disheartening, Lord, and we have no one to turn to except you whom the psalmist describes as the one who “would judge the world with justice”.

“Gird our loins, Lord, as we weep” (Joel 1:13), trying to bear these persecutions in your name. Help us to persevere for we know “the day of the Lord is coming” (Joel 2:1).

Through the intercession of St. John XXIII who helped so many Jews persecuted during World War II and called for world peace (Pacem in Terris) when he became the Pope in 1958, we pray in the most special way for those persecuted in our country especially our Bishops and priests, as well as professionals like doctors and teachers silently serving your flock.

Keep them close to your heart, Jesus, because you told us

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.”

Matthew 5:10-11

St. Pope John XXIII, pray for us. Amen.

From Google.