Category Archives: Daily One

Pillow Talk with God

I am not alone when I pray.  The Holy Spirit is there to guide me.  My friends, the saints whom I often turn to are there (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, St. Jose Maria Escriva).  Prayer is a solitary activity, but I’m not alone.

I learned this past year the importance of liturgy in my prayer life.  While personal prayer is like pillow talk between God and I, active participation in the liturgy is prayer at a higher level.  Praying through liturgy is transcendental.  I am part of something greater than myself.  It is the spiritual equivalent to the conjugal act between husband and wife — it’s happening between Christ and His Bride, the Church!

Communion at Mass is more profound than sex.  Christ enters every member of His Bride, and His Body and Blood is absorbed into each member of her body, the Church.  The very divinity of Our Lord seeks to enter each soul, to unite with each member of her body.  This transforming union takes place to the extent that each member is holy.

That’s why I pray.  That’s why I want to be holy.  to be united with my beloved through the Church.  I am nothing on my own, by I am everything when I am with God in the Church.  Great sex with our spouse is only a shadow of the ecstasy we will experience in the transforming union with God.

Reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “Fire Within” has been the spiritual direction I needed.  It’s not the same as having a real-life coach, but the book is a stop-gap until God connects me with one.  Discursive meditation should lead me to simple contemplation.  Increasing distraction should be normal.  Feeling like I’m failing at prayer is also normal — although, I admit, I haven’t really experienced that aridness, yet.  When I do feel dryness in prayer, I should persist.  God doesn’t ask for us to “feel it” during prayer.  He asks us to be faithful.  I don’t have to feel like going out on a date with my wife.  I just have to do it faithfully, regardless of my feeling at the moment.

When I finish “Fire Within,” I should refrain from jumping to the next book.  I should instead put more time towards contemplation.  I should use the Liturgy of the Hours as a springboard to lectio divina.  I suspect the Office of Readings will be particularly fruitful.

Dear Holy Spirit, I do not know how to pray as I ought.  I fear that I am not advancing in my prayer life.  I seek to be united with you in the Most Holy Trinity.  Show me, Most Holy Counselor, how to grow in contemplation.  Help calm me if I fret.  Remind me that the process takes time, that this kind of prayer is less about effort and more about fidelity.

Help me, dear Holy Spirit, to be more detached to the creations of this world.  Reveal to me my hidden faults.  Purify me.  Burn away my imperfections so that the windows of my soul can shine your light without filter.

I love you, my Lord.  Abide in me and help me abide in you.  Amen.

Vanity, All is Vanity

My Facebook Page now has over 1,000 followers.  I feel validated.  It’s certainly better than just 44 of my Catholic friends and family.  Then again, they’re not friends and family.  What’s the point of having a thousand followers on Facebook?  Does that help me get closer to God?  Does it help my Page followers?  How are we any holier because of it?

The honest answer is that my soul is in danger of being distracted from focusing on God.  The more followers I get, the greater the temptation towards vanity.  As I reach greater milestones, I will trick myself into believing that I’m engaging in the New Evangelization when in reality I’m sculpting an idol to worship with my own hands.  How do I fight pride when the Page has more than 5,000 followers? 10,000?  The temptation would be strong to commit more time and resources to support my vanity.  This will take away time from prayer, from my vocation as a husband, father and a U.S. diplomat.  Instead of being more active in my parish, I will exalt myself in my own virtual congregation.  Instead of helping U.S. companies, I will use my work time to maintain the Page.

So, what do I do?  Delete it?  That’s a possibility.  Can I somehow give glory to God?

My spiritual friend suggested I be a genuine voice in curating Catholic content.  How am I living out my Catholic faith?  How am I growing in prayer, growing within the Church?  There is tremendous value in faith-sharing within a spiritual friendship.  Can it be translated into a social media environment?  I do not know.  The authenticity of my soul combined with a personal reach to my fellow pilgrims would be a generous act, worthy of God because it requires sacrifice.  It’s a lot of work to reach out personally to each Page follower.

The goal now is not to get more followers, but to get to know each one as a son or daughter of God.  Each one has an immortal soul.  Seen that way, how awesome is that?  Each person deserves to be known for who they are and not just to be used as a number to boost my pride.

This means I will have to make myself vulnerable.  Scott Hahn showcases his life like a Catholic billboard; he can be a model.  I will have to use my personal account to “friend” these Facebook followers.  And I think AgoraPulse is just the right tool to help me determine who to reach out to first.

Glory be to God!  Dear Lord, may my activities only be pleasing to you.  Teach me if they displease you.  If my blog or Facebook Page or anything takes me away from you, correct me.  I’ll delete my blog and Page if that is your will.  My desire is to love you more and more is greater than these tools.  Save me, keep me from making these tools into idols.  I humbly ask this in Jesus name, together with you and the Holy Spirit, one God.  Amen.

Taking Up the Pen, Again

A friend of mine shared a blog article from “The Art of Manliness” that inspired me to take up writing in a journal, again.  Pen & paper, old-fashioned writing.  The article was about penmanship, and it was compelling.  Poor penmanship is common because schools no longer want to teach cursive.

While penmanship is a good reason to pick up journaling again with pen & paper, there was one particular section in the article that really was the impetus for me to start:

We’re big proponents of journaling around these parts. While I’ve experimented with digital journals, I keep coming back to my trusty paper journal. And I think it has to do with the meditative qualities handwriting has, particularly cursive writing. Synchronizing continuous hand movement with thought puts me in a state of flow that I can’t get with typing or even writing block letters. Whenever I’m typing, I have a tendency to second guess myself and hit “delete” when a sentence doesn’t come out right. Because there’s no delete button with cursive handwriting, I spend less time judging what I’m writing and more time just getting lost in the process. The result is a feeling of calmness and flow.

The quality of thought is higher when we write the old-fashioned way.  We can solve nagging problems and overcome writer’s block.  I don’t need to boot up a computer or deal with the cramped space on a mobile phone when writing with pen and paper.  I just pick up a pen and write.

I figured I could better fight what Stephen Pressfield calls “the Resistance” if I can keep a journal around me and find time to just write two-pages in it a day.  Whatever I write can be transcribed to my blog.  So, I’ll have regular content.  The added bonus is I get to practice my penmanship, again.

Dear Holy Spirit, bless the author of the article and my friend who shared it.  I pray that you will find my journaling an acceptable form of prayer.  If so, please give me the grace to persist in it.  Help me reflect, through journaling, on the Word of God and my conscience.  I ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.

Daily One – Deed and Truth

Today’s Readings – January 5, 2013

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18

What were my deeds of love yesterday?

  • I fed, played, bathed and put Maya to sleep last night when I would have rather worked on the many tasks piling up in queue.
  • After isolating Maya in her room for throwing a tantrum (which made her more hysterical), I was quick to show her love and affection after she calmed down.  Without the grace of God, I would have remained irritated and treated Maya with less love than what my Heavenly Father shows me after I misbehave.
  • Instead of being irritated with my wife for staying out late with her girlfriends, I gave her a nice long hug when she came home.  I kissed her profusely.  While she was away, I thought about the shortness of life and how easily I could lose her.  I started crying.
  • Instead of leaving the food and dishes out for my wife to clean up when she came home, I put everything away and washed all the dishes.  I would have rather not, but glory to God, I did.

How did I love truth?

  • I love going to daily Mass and I pray that I will have enough spiritual strength one day to go more often than on the First Friday of the month.
  • God was responsible for all the things that went well, today: getting my travel order, finding the passport photo I needed for Hana’s application, realizing that I could print out a copy of my name change decree at Staples instead of waiting until next Monday.  As a result, we will have Hana’s passport and Korean visa by next week.  All is well and we are on track to return to Seoul.
  • Being on earth is like exile and I should dream often of heaven.
  • Heaven is like my wedding day, except we are not limited by time or the size of our stomachs.  I would have time to talk to every one of my friends, catch up with them, share a plate of food with each one and drink many glasses of wine without getting drunk.  There would be music and dancing, and no one gets tired.  It is perpetually dusk, with all the beautiful russet, gold and scarlet colors splashed across the sky.

Daily One – The Holy Spirit Will Lead Me

Today’s Readings – January 2, 2013

Even after being baptized, it is possible for me to be deceived.  Today’s first reading says that I don’t need any person to teach me after my anointing (my Confirmation?), that I will know what is true and false if I remain in him.  It’s interesting… by remaining in him, St. John is referring to the teachings of Christ, the teachings “heard from the beginning.”  I may not need another person to teach me, but I need the Holy Spirit to guide me.  And the Holy Spirit can use others to lead me back to Christ, if I only empty myself to his gentle guidance.

Dear Holy Spirit, please lead me back to the Scriptures and let the Word of God teach me.  I lose myself in the words of other authors.  Help me, beloved Holy Spirit, by letting other words lead me back to His Word.

Daily One – Not a Slave, but a Son

Today’s Readings – January 1, 2013

As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God. (Gal 4:4-7)

There is so much joy in this, Lord!  Why don’t more people rejoice?  Here we are told, that you, Heavenly Father, have adopted us as sons and daughters, inheritors of a kingdom beyond our wildest imaginations.  And yet, we whine and complain.  We are like a stockbroker who still complains about a bad day’s trade even after finding out she owns all of Warren Buffet’s wealth.  We are like a man who is still insecure about his looks even after knowing he has the unconditional love of a beautiful woman.  We are still angry, still greedy, still hungry, still lonely, still needy… even though we are heirs.

It’s my pride, Jesus.  It’s my attachments, as De Mello says.  I’ve been programmed to want the wrong things.  The desire for infinite happiness was planted by you, God, and we will find no rest until we find an infinite source of happiness.  I know it’s you, but I need help to feel it, to desire it above all things.  To desire you.

Our Father…  Hail Mary…  Glory be…

Daily One – They Did Not Know Him

Today’s Readings – December 31, 2012

This part in today’s Gospel is so sad:

“He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.  He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.”

Isn’t this like my own soul and all the changes the Holy Spirit has done to me, but my family and friends cannot see?  But it’s prideful to equate the small changes to my soul to the greatness of God becoming one of us.

Dear Lord, I still don’t get how awesome that you became a newborn child.  I understand intellectually, but I don’t feel it in my gut – the way I feel and believe in my gut that you are my Savior.  You came to us, my dear Jesus, and you are with us now.  Dear Jesus… help me hold on to the grace the Holy Spirit has given me.

Dear Holy Spirit, help me be the husband and father that God means for me to be.  Help me lead my family closer to you.  We are destined to be in Heaven with you.

Daily One – Feast of the Holy Family

Today’s Readings: December 30, 2012

I love that today’s reading had the name Hannah in it.  My wife and I brought our own Hana to Mass this evening.  I didn’t look up today’s Scripture beforehand.  So, it was a lovely surprise; kind of like God saying, “Hey, thanks.  It’s good to see at least one of your children at Church, today.”  We had left Maya at home.

Even though our family was incomplete without our two-year old, it was nice to know that she has loving grandparents who are willing to watch after her.  My wife and I need time to ourselves, and Hana is pretty low maintenance at this stage in her life (she stayed asleep throughout Mass).

My wife reached out for my hand.  So, I guess she (temporarily) forgave me for our argument earlier this morning.

The one thing that stuck me from the readings today – my Daily One – was “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”

My family may be imperfect.  It may not be holy, yet.  But I’m part of the family of God.  God is holy; so, I’m holy by association.  I just need to work at deserving that holiness.  It’s like having a wealthy uncle makes me wealthy.  I just need to work at deserving a piece of his inheritance.

Daily One – Flower in the Field

Today’s Readings: Dec 11, 2012

Why can’t I be like the flower in the field? I would bloom for no one but the sun.  My scent to please nobody in particular, but everyone who passes by.

Instead, I’m like a flower that needs to be noticed, appreciated and admired.  I compete with other flowers for the best ground to grow.

I’ve found the one girl who plucked me from the field, and we will be together until I wilt and die.  But still… why can’t I just be like the flower in the field, with no worries – just live the life of a flower and then return to the dust?

Is it because my soul yearns for God?