Losing to win, lesson of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, 07 October 2021
Acts 1:12-14   ><}}}*> + ><}}}*> + ><}}}*>   Luke 1:26-28
Photo from canningliturgicalarts.com.

This feast of the Holy Rosary has its origin in the victory of Christian forces against the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto Bay in 1571 that decisively stopped the Moslems from occupying Europe.  The first Dominican Pope, St. Pius V attributed that victory to the recitation of the Holy Rosary.  Popularity and devotion to the Rosary eventually grew and spread when subsequent other victories in various parts of the world, including the Philippines’ La Naval were attributed to our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. 

In our gospel today, we find the key behind every victory attributed to the praying of the Holy Rosary:  it is when we “lose” that we actually “win”!  After explaining to her the plan of God, Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Then the angel departed her (Lk.1:38).  In a sense, Mary was a loser— she “lost” herself to God and eventually became an instrument for our victory in the salvation through her Son Jesus Christ.  The Lord Himself was crucified, another “loser” in a sense but truly a victor because in dying on the cross, Jesus Christ resurrected on the third day and won over death and sin.

Sometimes it can happen we feel at a loss, when we have lost in some battles in life when later on, we find out we have actually won

Some may have been bullied while in school. Or, sometimes we fail an exam or flunk a semester but eventually we graduated, now have a career, a wonderful family.

In business, sometimes investors and entrepreneurs may go bankrupt before hitting gold.

That’s how it is with life. Win or lose, in the end, it is always a win. Especially when we in God.

When we choose to be like Mary, to submit ourselves to the will and plans of God, we must be ready to endure so many sufferings and hardships in life that sometimes we feel like we are at the losing end.  When we try to be patient, when we try to understand, when we forgive, when we bear all the pains because we love, that is when we win as we lose ourselves and begins to be filled with Christ Jesus like Mary in the gospel. 

True, a lot often we lose so many battles when we try to stand for what is true and good but in the end, we actually win the war against evil.  That is the greatest victory Christ had gifted us, first His Mother Mary:  salvation.  Hence, we find in Marian prayers and hymns the requests for the Blessed Mother’s prayer for us sinners to be saved from hell and be brought to her Son Jesus Christ in eternity.  That’s the final victory we all hope for in praying and living out the Holy Rosary with Mary. 

But first, lose yourself to Jesus.  

Praying for the coming of the Kingdom of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XI, Year I in Ordinary Time, 17 June 2021
2 Corinthians 11:1-11   ><)))*> + <*(((><   Matthew 6:7-15
Photo by author, Church of the Our Father outside Jerusalem, 2017.

Dear God: Every day we call on you as “Our Father” so many times without truly knowing the meaning of the supplication “your kingdom come” (Mt. 6:10) which is to submit and surrender ourselves to your reign or kingship in Christ Jesus.

More than being called the “Lord’s Prayer” being taught by your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, help us realize that the “Our Father” is also about our proper attitude in praying which is to submit ourselves to you our God and our Father.

What is the use of calling to you “Our Father” if we decide solely on our own without listening to your voice, to your will or if we choose only a few whom to respect and love, forgetting our being one family?

Help us, O God, to consciously pray and work with others to make this world more humane where we all strive despite our sins and weaknesses to establish peace and justice, love and truth, sharing and caring for one another especially the most needy.

Help us imitate St. Paul with his courage and determination as well as clarity of mind with a dash of some wit and humor in witnessing to the gospel we all preach. May our lives be a revelation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we share in him in witnessing his gospel to everyone.

Your kingdom will only come, dear God, when we remain “sincere and committed to Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3)” who is the center of our lives, our fulfillment, and our key to true happiness and joy not only in this life but hereafter. Amen.

Easter is letting God do his work in us

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Second Week of Easter, 16 April 2021
Acts 5:34-42   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   John 6:1-15
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, Rhode Island, 10 April 2021.

Lord Jesus Christ, help me stop rationalizing, reasoning out so often at how you do things, on how you will change us and the world. Let me just trust you and be open to your works in me and among other people, following the inspired wisdom of Gamaliel in the first reading.

"So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men,
and let them go.  For if this  endeavor
or this activity is of human origin, 
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God,
you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
(Acts 5:38-39)

You always know what to do, Lord; so many times in our lives like in the wilderness when crowds followed you, you ask us on what to do just to test us like Philip (Jn.6:5-6).

Teach to always trust you, Jesus. Though we have to be realistic with every situation like Philip and Andrew when they saw the great crowd of people who have followed you, let us submit ourselves to you wholly, to do as you command us.

Take away our narrow-mindedness and self-righteousness that you work only with us and through us.

Take away our pride and arrogance, making us accept the reality that you can work with everyone everywhere just like with Gamaliel of the Sanhedrin and that boy Andrew never bothered to ask his name when he came to offer you his five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish to feed the crowds.

This Easter season, may we learn that it does not matter at all where we are or with whom we are with to do your works, dear Jesus; what really matters is wherever we may be and with whom we may be, we are always in YOU our Lord and God, sharing you Jesus, only Jesus, always Jesus. Amen.

Photo by author, November 2020.

God always above us

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor, 15 July 2020
Isaiah 10:5-7 >><)))*> >><)))*> >><)))*> Matthew 11:25-27
Photo by author, Pyramids of Egypt, May 2019.

Praise and glory to you, O Jesus Christ! With you we praise God our Father, Lord of heaven and earth, in revealing to the little ones your power and majesty, hiding these from the wise and learned of this world.

Thank you for the gift of faith and simplicity, dear Jesus, in making us find in our smallness and sinfulness your love and mercy, your presence and comfort especially in this time of the pandemic when so much pride and power trip are going on not only in our country but also abroad when almost everyone is claiming to be the best and the brightest, of knowing everything.

Just like during the time when Assyria was threatening Israel and Judah, lording it over smaller nations and kingdoms, forgetting there is a God above us all.

Remind anew the proud and arrogant among us today that they are not gods, that they are nothing, that you O God is always above for you are the Lord of heaven and earth.

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will send among his fat ones leanness, and instead of his glory there will be kindling like the kindling of fire.

Isaiah 10:15-16

Teach us, dear Jesus, to be like St. Bonaventure who showed us true wisdom and brilliance shine best in sharing in your pasch or passover by journeying with you in your pains and sufferings in order to see the Father.

Most of all, teach us to follow you more closely as your disciples, desiring only you so we may share you with others especially those suffering and those forgotten not only by their loved ones but even by the society. Amen.

Image from Pinterest.

Our attitudes before God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 18 June 2020
Sirach 48:1-14 ><)))*> ><)))*> ++0++ <*(((>< <*(((>< Matthew 6:7-15
Photo by author, Malolos Cathedral, 2019.

Your sage Ben Sirach today reminds us, O God, about the greatness of your two prophets, Elijah and Elisha who both worked wondrous deeds in your name before the mighty and powerful of their time.

They were so powerful in words and in deeds, both in life and in death.

In fact, Elijah never tasted death as you took him up to heaven on a fiery chariot while you granted Elisha’s wish to have twice the powers of his mentor.

How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Whose glory is equal to yours? You brought a dead man back to life from the nether world, by the will of the Lord. You sent kings down to destruction, and nobles, from their beds of sickness. You were taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses. 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. Nothing was beyond his power; beneath him flesh was brought back to into life. In life he performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds.

Sirach 48:4-6, 9, 12-14

Are there really people you have gifted with special powers and favors, Lord?

But, the more I prayed over Elijah and Elisha along with your other prophets and saints who have followed up to our own time, I have found one distinctive characteristic they all have: their attitudes of submission and of gratitude to you as Lord and Master.

You are the one who calls us, Lord, and always you are aware of our weaknesses and limitations, even our sins. Yet, what impresses you most is our attitude of submission and gratitude: the first is self-emptying to allow you to work in us, Lord, and the second is to always recognize you, never to claim anything on our own.

No wonder, the only prayer taught to us by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord is the “Our Father” which encapsulates those attitudes of submission and gratitude.

If only we could be more willing and more thankful to you, God our Father, maybe we could have changed the world with just the Lord’s Prayer. Amen.

The Church of te Our Father outside Jerusalem believed to be the site where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples. Photo by author, 2017.