Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year, Renewing Person

I’ve seen a bunch of blogs going around summing up the biggest lessons learned this year and the goals for the next, so I thought I should sit down and reflect on the things I learned and on the best of times and the worst of times.

Highlights of the year:

April 11, 2009: I was formally received into full communion with Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin, Texas the Vigil of the Great Easter. It was an amazing and hard journey that culminated in my decision to join the Catholic Church. One chapter has ended, the next has only begun! And it was real blessing to see friends, new and old, there. All ranging from Dr. Budziszewski, and Dr. Koons to Kody Cooper, (unofficial representative for the Witherspoon Fellowship), my roommates, old roommates, high school friends, new freshmen kids, and best friends there. So much grace has been poured upon me ever since. Little did I know, Christ actually means it when he said, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

May 22, 2009: Graduation Day! College was loads of fun! I’d do it all over again if I had the chance. In fact, I plan on doing it all over again, just for a JD or MA or PhD this time though. This day marked the point upon which I no longer belong to Austin, TX. It took me months more to realize that though. The day was amazing, from everyone (and I literally mean everyone) in the gymnasium applauding for me to good ole Rudy’s Barbeque with the family. This day also marked the future. As the immortal words were said in Gladiator, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” I made a fateful decision less than two years ago to change my major. It’s a big decision. And I’m gonna continue to pursue it.

September 26, 2009: The LSAT. Let me be clear about one thing for you before you finish reading this blog. I HATE THE FREAKING LSAT!! I have never faced so many feelings of inadequacy (which is really disheartening for men), of loneliness, of despair than this damnable test designed to mock the God-given intellectual powers given to man. On the flip side, I did way better than I expected. Looks like the practice exams were harder than the one I took.

November 6-7, 2009: My grandmother died. The John Jay Institute declined my application. And I got drunk for the first time in my life. Note to self: Don’t have any more than five servings of alcohol. Six is pushing it. And seven is the perfect number. Eight is an abundance and nine will get you drunk. Too bad it came without warning though.

And the various days in between: the nice days were the ones where friends came by to visit, either unintentionally or with intent, it’s always nice to welcome them to my humble abode. So if I got to see you in Austin or in Houston, it was great hanging out with you. The occasional surprise instant message from someone I rarely talk to or a friend long forgotten. AMS, KL, RCY, JAMM, WW and W, along with hanging out with MR and JJK and JN, y’all are in my prayers, always. The phone calls from various people around the country reminds me of Christ and his love. All the aforementioned are agents of Christ, they pass the love given to them and continually sanctify the world with it. I duly admire you and consider my life a better one because of your love for me. Fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.
I am yours always, God is my Judge.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ

Today, the twenty–fifth day of December,
unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth and then formed man and woman in his own image.

Several thousand years after the flood,
when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.

Twenty–one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;
thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;
one thousand years from the anointing of David as king;
in the sixty–fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.

In the one hundred and ninety–fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty–second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.

The forty–second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.

Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dream I Had: Life

The march of time has been wearing me out lately. Some days I go to work, get home and just fall on to bed and sleep till the next shift. Other days I think, when is this cycle of work gonna end? Life is hard, no kidding about that. What makes it worth living? How can we go on each day with new hardships and ones unresolved and still have hope?

Last night/this morning I had a really cool dream. Set: at home, in the future.

My wife and I were at home. We just got home from the hospital. We just got quadruplets! It's so great. She wanted to give the newborns a bath, and the only thing I ever remember of bathing infants was in the sink, and that's what I did. I went to the sink and turned on the hot water mixed with cool water. At this point, I really had no idea what I was doing. I was so nervous about the prospect of being a father and taking care of my kids and to the point I'm supposed to do so. So when I got the first one in the tub, (it's a boy, btw!! and i'm already thinking of names.. mm, how bout Thomas or Augustine? Ambrose or Athanasius would be nice too), I kept asking him, is the water warm enough? Are you ok? good?

He looked at me. At some level, even though he didn't say anything, I understood him. "Dad, you asked me that like 10 times alreadyyy...!"

All the washing and caring for him, putting on baby powder on him and putting the diaper on. It was so fun. The wife, well, I guess she didn't think it was as amusing as I did. I hope I would love to wake and jump at the moment's notice at night when the kids cry for milk. It's a good life.

Dreams.. What are my dreams? What do I want? Who do I want to be? I want to have a wife and kids. I want to be a good father. I want to challenge, impact others for Christ and His Holy Church. I want to teach a whole generation of young minds to rise as the greatest generation again.

Although these things are good, and they are good of themselves, they can never truly satisfy my heart. Only with the Good can these things be really good. I may have lost you there. Without God, none of these things can be enjoyed. Without the Source of Good, what good is there?

What's on my wishlist this Christmas? Only Yourself, Lord. I don't want just love, or grace or peace. I want Love, Grace and Peace. I want the Prince of Peace to reside in my heart, my body, my life. I want to know You, for You to live in me, and I to live in You. I want my body to be a Temple for Your Body. I want to carry You and Your Light into the dark places of this world. My heart longs for You, the Desire of Nations. This Christmas, let's draw nearer to Christ. Let's take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.

What are your dreams? What are your hopes? What do YOU want to do? And what's on your wishlist for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O King of the Nations

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

Monday, December 21, 2009

O Rising Sun

O Rising Sun, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

O Key of David

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel
you open and no one shuts
you shut and no one opens
Come and lead forth from his prison the captive
sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Friday, December 18, 2009

O Adonai

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel,
you appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
come, and with an outstretched arm, redeem us.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

O Wisdom

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Questions burning inside of me.

What does the ideal father-son relationship look like? What makes a family a family? In what ways love is made known silently?

How does Jesus pour his grace into his followers? In what ways? Are there ways in which grace is more readily available?

Is there a way to worship God? Are there more than one way? Are all ways equally the same in value or are they different? If they are different, what is the best way to worship God?

What came first, the Gospel or the Bible? Do we get Gospel from the Bible or do we get the main points first, with scripture written to deal with particular specific problems? If the first one, who has the final say to interpret the Scriptures to give the final interpretation on the Gospel? And what does a person do if he disagrees with the given interpretation? If the latter, how is the rest of church doctrine passed down and where did that church doctrine come from? Are they traditions of men or were they too divinely inspired?

The first commandment says "Thou shalt not make a graven image." Does taking pictures count? How about video recording?

You don't have to agree with everything Luther said to be a Lutheran, nor agree with everything Thomas Aquinas said to be a Thomist, nor Calvin for Calvinists, nor Augustine for Augustinians, etc. Do you have agree with everything Christ says to be a Christian?

Do you pray? If so, do you pray for most of your friends? And when you're old, and most of your friends are dead, do you still pray for most of your friends?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For the Mother of my Mother.

Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shine upon me, and lift up my face. Illumine my mind and heart, that I may see the wonderful gifts you have given me. These dark days steal the joy which you have shown me. Teach me to number my days, that I may present to you a heart of wisdom. Show me O Lord, the way of thanksgiving and fasting, that I may humble myself before thy mighty hand.

Dear great mother,

Listen now to my words, I plead with you now. Though you are gone now, no voice here on earth can call you back, look thee forward to the voice that called me her son. O Mother of my mother, listen to the voice of Him who gave me His mother and made me His brother. Be not afraid, dear woman, the same woman didst proclaim, "His mercy is on them that fear him, throughout all generations."

You raised me since I came to this world. You bathed me when my mother was at work. You kept me in your watch and taught me hard work. Among which you taught me was how to sow a seed, water it, tend after it and care for it. You given me the gift of hard work. Though I slept not my naps when I was young, you taught me to wash the dishes and mop the house when I was three. Though the communists took your money, you gave me these gifts. You taught me how to vacuum the house, to look after the grandest father in his wheelchair.

More importantly, you taught me to honor my father and mother. You have given me much. Dearest of grandmothers, to whom shall I go now for thy sagely wisdom?
Who will give me sound advice, especially on how to love my dear wife? How will I walk like a man in this world, when you taught me to distinguish between good and evil men, especially in the the public's sphere? Where shall I go now? Where are you going, grandmother? Will you hear the voice of Christ? Look, he gave us everything, his love, his Father, his Mother, and most importantly, his life of love.

Dear Mother, the Mother of my Saviour calls for thee. Heed her voice, for she tells you only, "Do what he tells you." Oh Mother of my Mother, I weep for thee. Death has not touched me like you have touched my heart. Daily, I still pray for thee.

Thus it so, I submit thee to intercession of my Blessed Virgin Mother,

HAIL Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Pray for us sinners,
now and the hour of our death.

To us you are a noonday torch of charity, while down below, among those still in flesh, you are the living fountainhead of hope. Have charity on my grandmother, I pray thee to ask the Son of God for his merciful love.

O Virgin Mother, Daughter of Your Son, Highest creature of Heaven, intercede for my grandmother and me. You who felt the sword pierce your heart, yet tasted not death, pray for the dead. When you saw Your son pierced for our sins, you were given the grace to bring us closer to Him, and partake in his suffering, thus partake in His divinity. And since you are the Mother of the King, so shall I pray,

HAIL, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O Glorious Mother, take now my grandmother's place, and show me the path to the Son.

O my Jesus, forgive us of our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

IN Nomine Patris, Filio, Spiritui Sancto. Amen

Resquiat In Pacem, meus mater. 1924-2009.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jokes in Heaven

Many years soon-after, I saw myself before the presence of God. It has been a pretty long time since I came home from Earth. One day, as I was praying for the Church militant back down on earth, who has been asking for my prayers, I thought to myself. You know, when I was down there, I had both Protestant and Catholic friends. The Catholic friends still keep in touch with me. They still ask for my intercessions. But the Protestants treat me as if I'm... dead!

So I came before the Lamb who took away the sins of the world. "Lord," I prayed, "Will you please bring the Protestants here to Heaven sooner? They haven't been talking to me lately."

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

This past Sunday was the last Sunday in Ordinary time. Next week is Advent, where we wait for the first coming of our Lord, and celebrate Christmas soon-after.

I really liked the prayer before the Consecration today when we celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Allow me to share it with you.

Preface of Christ the King:
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.
You anointed Jesus Christ, your only Son, with the oil of gladness, as the eternal priest and universal king.
As priest he offered his life on the altar of the cross and redeemed the human race by this one perfect sacrifice of peace.
As king he claims dominion over all creation, that he may present to you, his almight Father, an eternal and universal kingdom:
a kingdom of truth and life,
a kingdom of holiness and grace,
a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we proclaim your glory and join them in their unending hymn of praise:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord. God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Job 3:1

I've been pretty depressed lately. Actually, I've never felt so bad in my life than right now. Please pray for me. I don't mind you checking up on me either by the way. *hint hint*

Where briars grow, unwary sheep,
Befogged by hungry need,
Entangle fleece in thickets where
We only thought to feed.
The Shepherd comes to set us free
From snares of piercing thorn.
Released, we are made whole, but look-
The Shepherd's hands are torn.

On every bare and rocky height,
His sheep in safety graze.
God shelters us from wind and rain
And from the sun's bright blaze.
The Shepherd pastures us in peace,
To living waters leads.
All hurts now healed, we are at rest-
But see, the Shepherd bleeds.

For He has other sheep than these,
Who have not heard His voice,
But when the last are gathered in-
The heavens will rejoice:
The saints who crowd the gates of God
Stand waiting to extol
The last sheep found, for then, ah! Look -
The Shepherd is made whole!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Take me into Your arms

So, I was listening to some High School Musical songs earlier today, and one of the songs I listened to was "Can I have this dance?" Well, wouldn't it be more amazing if I could dance with the Him who pursued me all my life? So I wrote this in response. St. Valentine's Day just can't get here any faster!

Take me into Your arms, O Lord, and swing me with the music of Your creation.

Pull me into Your holy dance, and drive me into the love of Your Spirit.

Touch me with Your tender mercy, and whisper with the winds of Your grace.

Draw me by the scent of the sweat upon which You bore the holy Cross so heavy,

And open my eyes to the majesty of the glory of Your Holy Trinity.

Enrapture my heart with the carpentry of the woodwork You hang upon,

And feed my body with the Bread and Wine which you so willingly given me.

I love You, Jesus. More and more each day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

True Beauty

“Yet in the enjoyment of all such things we commit sin if through immoderate inclination to them—for though they are good, they are of the lowest order of good—things higher and better are forgetten, even You, O Lord our God, and Your Truth and Your Law. These lower things have their delights but not such as my God has, for He made them all: and in Him doth the righteous delight, and He is the joy of the upright of heart.”
--St. Augustine

One of the most beautiful things about sin is that it’s just so good! I mean, who can say no to all the beer in the world? Who can refuse all the pleasures this world has to offer? What Satan says in Paradise Lost rings true for almost everyone, “Evil, be thou my Good.”

Augustine saw this quite well. There is a certain show of beauty in sin. “Thus pride wears the mask of loftiness of spirit, although You alone, O God, are high above all.

“Ambition seeks honor and glory, although You alone are to be honored before all and glorious forever.

“The caresses by which the lustful seduce are a seeking for love: but nothing is more caressing than Your charity, nor is anything more healthfully loved than Your supremely lovely, supremely luminous Truth.

“Curiosity may be regarded as a desire for knowledge, whereas You supremely know all things.

“Ignorance and sheer stupidity hid under the names of simplicity and innocence: yet no being has simplicity like to Yours: and none is more innocent than You, for it is their own deeds that harm the wicked.

“Sloth pretends that it wants quietude: but what sure rest is there save the Lord?

“Enviousness claims that it strives to excel: but what can excel before You?

“Anger clamors for just vengeance, but whose vengeance is so just as Yours?

“Fear is the recoil from a new and sudden threat to something one holds dear, and a cautious regard for one’s own safety: but nothing new or sudden can happen to You, nothing can threaten Your hold upon things loved, and where is safety secure save in You?

“Grief pines at the loss of things in which desire delighted: for it wills to be like You from whom nothing can be taken away.

“Thus the soul is guilty of fornication when she turns from You and seeks from any other source what she will nowhere find pure and without taint unless she returns to You. Thus even those who go from You and stand up against You are still perversely imitating You. But by the mere fact of their imitation, they declare that You are the creator of all that is, and that there is nowhere for them to go where You are not.”

True beauty lies within the source of Beauty. “Ad fontes,” cried the Renaissance man. “To the sources,” says the Born-again man. Look, therefore, not in gifts given, but the Giver who gives us Himself. That’s why in marriage, the most beautiful thing isn’t the wedding party. It’s not even the ring! No, it’s where the Bridegroom and Bride give up themselves for each other. The image of the marriage feast is perhaps the best one to describe the relationship between God and His People. That is True Beauty.

St. Augustine of Hippo, pray for us.

*Augustine, Aurelius. Confessions. Ed. F.J. Sheed. 2nd Ed. Book Two, ch. V-VI. pgs. 30-32. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006.

The End of this Blog

Although I am interested in theology, political philosophy, and law, let me make some things clear here: As a departure from my previous blogs, this is will not be a political blog. I’m quite sure you can find plenty good ones out there that cater to your tastes.

Neither will this blog be on apologetics. I think there are plenty of great sites, and even greater books out there that make arguments better than I can ever dream of.

The purpose of this blog, isn’t clear to me yet. But let me sketch it along these lines to show you what my intentions are.

If this blog helps you come closer to God of the universe, then I have succeeded. But I don’t think that’s clear enough either. Anyone could read this and say they feel closer to “God.” For example, a Pantheist would agree with the statement “God exist” just as much as a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, etc. would agree. “Of course I believe Jesus is God. I’m God. And so are you. The keyboard upon which you type is God.” I’m sure you get what I mean.

No, if this blog helps you conform into the image of Jesus the Christ, the New Adam, the image of the invisible God, revealed to us by His Incarnation, and passed down on to us through the Holy Scripture and Sacred Traditions of the Apostles by the Church Universal, then I have succeeded beyond imagination. So that’s what this blog is about. It’s about getting a face, becoming real, taking off your mask.

So let’s dive into it shall we? Instead of playing around in the wading pool and talking about trivial stuff, let’s really jump in. Let’s be fools and rush in where angel fear to tread, shall we? And if nothing comes out of this search, at least we know we weren’t living a lie and actually did something to find out whether or not we are living in the Matrix.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Still alive, barely.

I got a job!!! I'm working part-time at Barnes and Noble Booksellers and trying to study full-time on the LSAT. Sir Thomas More, if you're reading this, please talk to the big man upstairs for me. ;)

This song causes tears to flow down my face every time I listen to it. It's a good summary of the Faith. After listening to it so many times, I pretty much memorized most of it in Latin by now.

Here's the text.

St. Thomas More, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Lord Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, pray for us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What is Church?

Ryan Yep poses an interesting question over at his site.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Praying in Tongues

When I was growing up, my family always had evening prayers together. My spiritual life grew up like this. So as my turn came around to pray, I would begin like this.

"Dear Lord,

"Thank you for keeping Mom and Dad safe today. Thank you for keeping me safe today. Please give us a good night sleep tonight. Please make Grandma believe in you. Please make me grow taller."

Sometimes, my mom would suggest out some lines. And they weren't just suggestions. You'd actually have to pray them.

"Please don't let me be lazy."

"Please make me love my sisters more."

"Please take away my angry attitude."

Growing up on that. I then started to perceive her suggestions more as criticisms. And I suppose this is how we converse with each other.

"Lord, please don't let so-and-so be such a jerk."

But as I grew in years, my prayers still remained the same. Full of petitions and nothing else. Perhaps a bit of confession of sins here and there. But they were only a general confession rather than ones of specific measure.

After every one was finished, we would pray the Lord's prayer, and sing Hallelujah, thine be the glory.

Except... all of this was in Vietnamese. Now, I never learned how to read or write properly in Vietnamese until last year. Nor were my everyday conversations in Vietnamese, (except my prayers were). English was the rule. And as my vocabulary increased in English, it decreased in Vietnamese.

It wasn't until after entering college when I started to pray in English. Two reasons: 1. I didn't have to pray in Vietnamese since I was living away from my parents. 2. I had to pray in English so that my friends could understand what I was saying when I prayed with them.

Guess what happened? My prayer life exploded! I was able to begin expressing stuff that I always wanted to say but never found the right words to in Vietnamese to say so. I could begin expressing theological truths, talking about the Cross, communicating my hurts and joys to God.

Only after I came back from college to home did I noticed the difference. Evening prayers continued in Vietnamese. What the heck am I supposed to say? Thank you for teaching me to pray in English?

But the vertical divide on prayer and language is one thing. I realized then I can't communicate to my parents what God has been doing in my life while I was away either. But that's another story. Perhaps another day.

St. Cyril and St. Methodius, pray for us.
St. Jerome, pray for us.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Walking with Her

15th of September 2008, Monday

After talking with the Professor about some questions regarding his schedule and when we could meet up, I mentioned to him, with a smile, "Oh yea, I met a girl last week on Friday."

He looked at me, "Well, I can see that this is someone special, otherwise you wouldn't have tell me of the news."

Professor Budziszewski and I had a pretty close relationship. It was the beginning of the fourth year since I've met him in my freshman year. This year, I was preparing to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, and he was my sponsor.

Taking his response as a cue to go on with my story, I told him of my reflections after meeting her. KC is a cute girl in my Vietnamese class. She got my attention the first day of class. It was her hair, mind you. Beautiful, long, soft and light tendrils that flowed from her face of glory. The instructor had us go around introducing ourselves. When it got to her turn, she introduced herself by her Vietnamese name, KC. Since then, everyone else knows her by her English name.

So I told the Professor, "After class ended, I left and walked down the sidewalk on Speedway and towards Inner Campus Drive where my class was. Sensing her behind me, I turned around and saw her. She smiled and I said hi. My heart leapt!

I asked her if her name was KC.

She replied, "You remember?! I never use that name." She goes by Lindsay in class and only introduced herself by that name on the first day of class.

I tried playing it off by saying, "Oh. I just know a girl who looks like you with that name in Houston."

She said, "You're from Houston then?"

"Yea," I replied.

"What year are you then? Freshman?" she quizzed me, "Sophomore?"

I raised four fingers, "Senior."

Surprised, she exclaimed, "But you look so young!"

I tried a half-hearted defense, "Well, I'm Vietnamese" with an apologetic smile.

"What's your major?" she asked. This was starting to feel like 20 Questions, but I was loving every moment of it.

"Government," I replied, "Well, I gotta go this way now. It was nice meeting you!" And with that she waved and smiled good-bye.

"Her smile is probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," I told the Professor, "Something that hits me inside and makes me lose my sanity and rational will, but at the same time, can't help but put a smile on my face because I know for one second that smile of joy on her face was mine, and it brings me joy knowing I was the cause of it."

I added, "I suppose that's how it works with God too. When you do His will, it brings a smile to His Face, and it's the most beautiful thing you'll ever see, and it will bring you joy, knowing that you've brought Him joy."

The Professor smiled. He asked, "Does she has a boyfriend?"

I hung my head, "Yea. She does."

"You may just luck out then," he laughed, "Have you read Dante's Divine Comedy? He talks about his beloved Beatrice. A lot of times when people fall in love, they see a glow around their beloved. Yes, it's true that there is a glow that the lovers are lost in, but for Dante, the glow he sees in Beatrice is because it is the light of God reflecting on her."

I was speechless. I just sat there, only nodding because it rang true for me. Her smile. Her hair. Her voice. I could die that moment already a happy man because in the most limited way, I saw God that day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Point Exactly!

Why Facebook is evil!

Dream I Had: The Gospel of Beer

Note: Names have been changed to protect identity.

I just had this dream, literally. It was scary enough to wake me up and make me write this at once, lest I forget it.

On the eve of Peter's birthday, a couple of my drinking buddies and I were out by the Drag. We had a couple beers with us. Before you think that I was leading a life of debauchery, I was actually praying the Rosary in the background, silently meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries of Christ. It was a Friday. I remembered I forgot a book to carry with me. So I went back to the apartment in West Campus to get Purgatorio by Dante, the second book in the Divine Comedy.

After I came back, I took out my beer to toast and cheer. My friend Peter looked at me. He smiled. I nudged him, come on man, where's your beer? He took out his bottle. It was empty. At that point, a snake rose in me. I wanted to strike him. He still held his beer out to cheer; I just sank to the ground on my knees, and the beer in my hand emptied itself into the storm drain.

The point of drinking beer isn't just to drink. The point of drinking is because you have someone else to drink it with. As we taste the bitterness of the cup, we share each others' sorrows. As we drink to our health, we shoulder each others' burdens. What a sad world this would be if there was no one to drink with. One of loneliness and despair.

Thankfully, there is One who has drank this cup, and He offers it to us. Let us take hold the cup of salvation. Let us share in the cup He gives us. He asks each and every one of us, "Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" Our salvation consists of nothing less of dying to ourselves and being raised to walk in new life: the life of Christ. One might say it means being born again. For this is the way of the world: to share in the cup of suffering and to carry His Cross. I suppose the dream wasn't so bad if it led me to this new insight.

For Christ and His Church

E-mail to an Old Friend

August 17, 2009

Dear Sir,

I hope you're doing well! For the past two weeks and a half I was in Austin moving out of my apartment. I am now at home in Houston with my parents. While I was in Austin, I attended daily Mass everyday. It was amazing. I tried to go everyday while I was in Austin during the school year, but during the summer when I was home in Houston, I haven't been able to since I don't have a car.

I remember talking to you on the phone and you mentioned something about the Mass being central to one's life, the sine qua non. Well, last Saturday was the first time since I came back to Austin that I wasn't able to attend the Holy Mass. By the end of the day, I wasn't feeling that great. There seemed to be something missing. I then figured it out. I can't live apart from God. Not even one day!

Besides this discovery, last Wednesday, something really cool happened! Before daily Mass, as I was praying, I started to pray in Latin! It wasn't something alien to me, nor did it feel any different. As I was in prayer, Psalm 51, Miserere Mei, started to flow from my lips. I started to memorize this psalm since I heard the Latin chant during Lent. At that point, I knew that these were the very exact words I wanted to express to God. The sanctified words of the Holy Spirit given to me to offer back up to God the Father. It wasn't a charismatic gift or an outpouring the Holy Spirit upon me, but at the same time, I knew that the Holy Spirit was at work. I suppose in that sense, praying the psalms versus praying in tongues aren't so different.

This journey is so amazing! It rocks! I can't believe I've been missing out on the sacramental life for so long!

Peace be with you!

Daniel Bui

Dear Daniel,

God is so good. Amazing in the way we thirst for Him alone even when we don't feel thirsty. To have received the grace of the importance of the Mass is wonderful and much to be thanked for ... now learn the Te Deum! (in Latin!) if you have time and inclination.

Penetrate the Mass -- more and more --- forever. You cannot go wrong and it is the Way to the Father.

Now when you get the chance do your prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament ... and in front of the Blessed Sacrment exposed is a truly wonderful gift. Pray for a car! Then whole worlds open up for you! St Nicholas is the patron of gifts ! And this one is for Our Lord's sake! (Or a motor bike!).

Cheers and blessings.
And thanks for the news,
And asking for your prayers.


Worship Wars

Chuck Colson, a commentator on various topics, talked about good and bad worship music the other day. I think his arguments are pretty much in line with mine as well.

What makes worship music good or bad? I’ll tell you this—it’s more than simply a matter of taste. Find out why.

Pray without ceasing

This is a poem I wrote when I came back to Austin to move out of my apartment. Couldn't sleep that morning. So these words came out. After writing them, (it was about 5:30 in the morning) I went to the Mass at 6:30am at St. Mary's Cathedral.

Before the sun rises and it is dawn,
Before the moon sets and it is gone,
I will seek thee before thy mighty throne
and worship thy face, even if alone.

As the morning bird calls and lark answers,
And as the flowers bloom with morning dew,
So my soul rise to thee, lose its cancer.
Then shall I assume, I no longer doomed.

Rejoicing God thus, fly to heav'n shall we.
At the noon's day call, Satan's kingdom fall.
The Dragon defeat'd and justice meted.
Praising we him still, for this is most real!

Eternal rest, at day's end, do we pray.
Eternal Guest, come Jesus, we still say.
Be our Light, Lord and Master, move the wheels
of our hearts, with thy love, and lead us still.