Sunday, April 8, 2012

Exsultet of Easter

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Letter to the silent God.

Matter of confession
In the darkness...
Lord, my God, who am I that you should forsake me? The child of your love–and now become as the most hated one–the one you have thrown away as unwanted–unloved. I call, I cling, I want–and there is no one to answer–no one to whom I can cling–no, no one.–Alone. The darkness is so dark–and I am alone.–Unwanted, forsaken.–The loneliness of the heart that wants love is unbearable.–Where is my faith?–Even deep down, right in, there is nothing but emptiness and darkness.–My God–how painful is this unknown pain. It pains without ceasing.–I have no faith.–I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart–and make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me–I am afraid to uncover them–because of the blasphemy. If there be no God, please forgive me.–Trust that all will end in heaven with Jesus.–When I tried to raise my thoughts to heaven–there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts returned like sharp knives and hurt my very soul.–Love–the word–it brings nothing.–I am told that God loves me–and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Before the work started–there is so much union–love–faith–trust–prayer–sacrifice.–Did I make the mistake of surrendering blindly to the call of the Sacred Heart? The work is not a doubt–because I am convinced that it is His not mine.–I don't feel–not even a single simple thought or temptation enters my heart to claim anything in the work.

            The whole time smiling.–Sisters and people pass such remarks.–They think my faith, trust and love are filling my very being and that the intimacy with God in union to his will must be absorbing my heart.–Could they but know–and how my cheerfulness is the cloak by which I could cover the emptiness in misery.
In spite of all–this darkness and emptiness is not as painful as the longing for God.—The contradiction I fear will unbalance me.—What are you doing my God to one so small? When You asked to imprint Your Passion on my heart—is this the answer?
If this brings you glory, if you get a drop of joy from this–if souls are brought to you–if my suffering satiates your thirst–here I am Lord, with joy I accept all to the end of life–and I will smile at your hidden face–always.

--Mother Teresa, undated.

Where are you?

The days are dark and the nights are cold.

I cannot sleep.
You know about that story with the guy walking with God on the beach and he sees two sets of footprints? During his rough times he only sees one set of footprints, and asks God, where was God in that time. And God responded that it was He who carried him.

I know God exists. I know He’s there.
I cannot sleep.
But there’s an ache in my heart that says
What if he’s not there?
I cannot sleep.
There’s a large chasm of loneliness here.
No one can know the shame I bear.
I cannot sleep.

I feel like I’m the one on the cross, and he’s the one jeering at my face.

This is going to be a long post.

But when I come home, sit down in my room, the shadows come. And the days grow dark, nights cold. Haunted am I by the oppression of loneliness. Paralyzed by fear, cursed by God.

This is going to be an honest post. I shan’t bother with correct and precise theological terms and definitions. I just want to cry and shout my plea. But to whom shall I cry, for if my cause is against the Judge of Heaven?

Lord, I feel so weak right now. Like I have to put up a face of grace that others might come to you. But while I’m rushing others through the door for you, I dare not approach your altar, for I feel like you’ve let me down.

Remind me again how much you love me because I forgotten the days when you held my hand. Whisper how much you miss me because I miss you so. I know I’m not perfect, nor am I deserving of your love. But I know how you love to love me. But if you do love me, then why did you let this happen to me?

Remember that night o Lord, when you woke me up, called me, and spent the night with me, embracing me with the light of your stars and the warmth of your moon. Remember when I knelt before you, and we just sat together, in silence, like best friends do. Remember when I offered my morning sacrifice of praises to you, and you graciously accepted them, O Lord.

Why then, did you leave me here? Why, then, am I led out to this weary desert? Why won’t you answer me?

Lord, is that really you who hang upon that tree? Or is it me who is suffocating here? And you, in the face of the Pharisee, mocking me?

All I ask, to see you again. All I want, to behold you in your glory again. All I need, you.

But here I am. Alone. Silence. Darkness. Mocking voices, telling me that I’ve let you, your church, down. Here I am. Not mercy, but sorrow following my every footstep. Here I am. Lost. Broken. Dead. You have not a will for me.

Please, please, Lord. Please rescue me. Please, Lord, I’m begging you. Salve me, Domine. Libera me, et eripe me, Domine Deus.

Though you should slay me, I will still hope in you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Please pray for me.

Kính mừng Ma-ri-a đầy ơn phước,
Đức Chúa Trời ở cùng Bà,
Bà có phước lạ hơn mọi người nữ,
và Giê-su con lòng Bà gồm phước lạ.
Thánh Ma-ri-a Đức Mẹ Chúa Trời,
cầu cho chúng con là kẻ có tội,
khi này và trong giờ lâm tử.


Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancte Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The bells are ringing! The bells are ringing!

A couple days ago, I was praying in the chapel, before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. As I was praying, the Lord lifted the veil from my eyes for just about a half a second, and showed me His glory.

When you have few experiences of certain things, you tend to remember each event quite clearly. When you have more experiences, then you remember each of them less and less. When I was discerning the Lord’s call for me to His holy Catholic Church, I remember the first several Masses quite clearly; now I can only picture a handful in my mind.

Let me tell you about the first time I went to St. Mary Cathedral in Austin.

This Mass was important to me in several ways.

This was the first Mass I went to in Austin.

This Mass was the first Mass I went to, with full knowledge that I wanted to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

This was the first Mass where I heard sacred Church music in the context of the Church.

This Mass, was just on an ordinary Sunday. No feast day, no solemnity. Yet, it was most profound to me. During the Consecration of the species to become the Body and Blood of Christ, there were these bells that were ringing. And I don’t mean just the bells the altar servers shake in the sanctuary. I mean the belfry, the bell tower roared to life! Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Over and over again, across downtown you can hear it! And I was there, as if I was taken up to the third heaven, in the presence of God and His holy Angels.

The bells, the smells, the sights and sounds. The prayers, the songs lifted up my human soul to the depths of God. Although, at the time I could not describe it, now I can adequately describe what happened that day.

Can you imagine it? The bells were there to announce the Kingdom of Heaven! They tell us, “Alleluia! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth! The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever!”

I wonder people outside must think we’re crazy. Why are they ringing the bells at 12:51pm? They must have their clocks off!

Such an image reminds me of a scene in the Lord of the Rings. When Aragorn King rode with his knights and men into Mordor, the trumpets sounded and the Lords announced, “The Lords of Gondor is come! Let all leave this land or yield them up!”

Yes, the Lord is come. Let sin leave this land. Let death and darkness leave this land. Let the Lord reign.

Sing, o city of Austin. Sing, all ye people living in the slavery of sin. The Lord is come, at last! The King comes to you! Lowly and humble, hidden in majesty!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Spirit. Amen.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Meeting the Mother of God V: How Mary showed me the Son

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and the hour of our death. Amen.

About a year ago, I was in Austin, TX for college graduations. It was a long day, but the night was longer still. I couldn’t fall asleep on the hard floor. To fall asleep, I starting praying the Rosary, hoping the rhythm would soothe and calm my soul. How mistaken I was to think that praying the Rosary would make me sleepy!

It only woke me up further. As it was a Friday for that morning, I meditated on the Sorrowful Mysteries. In the deep mystery of prayer, I came to understand the Lord’s Passion so intimately. As I contemplated Christ taking up His cross, I saw myself taking up a cross. I saw my back bent down, my eyes focused on my path. Then, like a spark of light, I remember the Lord saying, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

But to me, it wasn’t so much that I was carrying the cross. It was Christ himself, carrying the cross for me. I was only Simon of Cyrene. Christ was doing the heavy lifting. Tears fell from my face. Christ, who in His Holy Passion, suffered for me, is still lifting my cross and calling me closer to Him and his Sacred Heart.

I didn’t sleep that night. Such a revelation was too much for me to fall asleep after that. I looked at my cell phone. It read 5:03. I got up, got dressed, and left the apartment, and went downtown, where the Cathedral held daily Mass that morning.

This is why I love Mary, the Mother of God. Through her, I have come to know Christ in such a deeper and intimate level. Through her, I have come to know the Church, which is Christ’s body. Through her, I have come to know the Holy Trinity and the family of God.

Many Christians often ask why should they pray to Mary to intercede for them when they can go straight to Christ. For many well-intentioned Christians, to pray to Mary would mean to detract from the glory of Christ. For a time, I thought like that too. But now I have come to know, we come to know Christ better through the people He loves and the people who loves Him. And this is why I pray to Mary: because she leads me closer to Christ. “Do whatever He tells you.” The Blessed Virgin always point us to her Son.

Catholics pray that Mary would show them her Son. One of my friends, Peter, suggested that I pray that Christ would show me His Mother. I did that. And I have no regrets.

Take my hand, Mary, holy Mother. Take me, and draw me close to your Son. I want to be with you and your Son. Holy Mother of God, pray for me, a sinner, now and in the hour of my death. Amen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Came to My Rescue

Today, as I was driving home from a long day of work, I decided to stop by Prince of Peace Catholic Community to spend some time with the Lord. I wanted to thank Him of the many graces I have received.

I walked in, genuflected on both knees, and knelt down on the third pew from the front, of the right side of the nave. After spending about two minutes in prayer, I sat down and closed my eyes. Scarcely five seconds had pass, and behold, a great brightness came upon me. Bewildered, I open my eyes, half expecting the Angel of the Lord. But lo, it was only the sunlight from the window.

Amazed, I knelt again and asked God what did He want from me?

A sense of calm was poured into my heart. A sense of peace was waving into my soul. I felt as if Jesus, our Christ, told me, "I'm proud of you, Daniel."

God is continually captivating my heart, my soul, and my mind. Here I am, Lord. Send me. Can there be any love so amazing as this?
Falling on my knees in worship,
Giving all I am to seek Your Face,
Lord all I am is yours.

My whole life
I place in your hands.
God of Mercy,
Humbled, I bow down
In Your presence at Your Throne.

I called. You answered.
And You came to my rescue and I,
I want to be where You are.