On Spirituality and Self Improvement. These articles have also been published online at Ezine Articles.com. This is a free ebook.


On Spirituality and Self Improvement – EBOOK draft, ROSEVOC2

For vocations

and

for the workers of the Lord …

1. Real Faith and False Religion

Faith is believing, what can’t be seen and what has to come. It is like a child believing a father’s promise to bring home food and like an adult waiting like a child, at the foot of Mother Maria, praying the rosary.
Those are unimportant however, in view of certain groups of people, religious or political, who observe strict laws and unbalanced attitude towards the problem of power.
Observe the Pharisees and how they deal with tax collectors, sinners, outcasts, strict Sabbath, gossip, and the less privileged. Their attitudes form a false religion, loneliness and tension between the self and the world. They glory in their own importance, doing nothing to advance life, but machine chips out of people.
In today’s language we compare the Pharisees to plastics or fakes. I could remember one Journalism teacher described to me about the picayune coin, which is of little importance.
While it is true that Matthew was the abhorred tax collector, inside the church he prayed earnestly. He would not even go in front, thinking he was blemished, yet he prayed humbly and asked for pardon from God. On the contrary, the fakes (the Pharisees) stayed in front, lifted their chins up, in thought of honor as they gossiped about Matthew.
Moreover, what can you say about the story of the prostitute, when Jesus said “Those without sin, cast the first stone.”
Karl Popper (Utopia and Violence) says, “Men are not gods, but remember that there is a divine spark in them.”
Real faith is considering other people as feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty. It is treating others with justice and giving light like stamping out unemployment and equalizing opportunities.
It is about the corporal works of mercy. It is the practice of charity, toward our neighbor like feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and those in prison, and burying the dead. (Martin K. Barrack, http://www.secondexodus.com )
“Fight for the elimination of poverty, generate more jobs, fight against epidemics and illiteracy as you fight criminality, among others, are concrete social reforms…” adds Popper.
Some may think those goals could be ideal; but then again, it is believing.
Therefore, false religion is without charity, while the other is, finding progress in the claims of men who suffer here and now.
Jesus calls out, “With God everything is possible. Come along with me…”
Let me share my small prayer of faith.
Lord Jesus, help us to believe you more each day and trust your promises.
Help us to move mountains and nurture the hope of your coming kingdom.
Help us not to doubt, but be steadfast in your love.
Help us to live with the light of the cross and to die faithful meeting your saints and angels.
Let your heart and hands be our/my refuge, our life, our salvation until we/I see you face to face.
Our Lord of the Resurrection, pray for us.
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2.Encounters With Nothingness

Everything and nothing is God. I am not a philosopher. I am neither into word play, let intrusion be pardoned. But then, truth and the freedom of choices and beliefs, if for all good and all love must reign. I refute those who themselves say “There is no God,” because there is God whether one likes it or not. There is God in everything. There is God in nothing. The proof is all around the marvelous creations of the Divine Omnipotent, death then salvation. See the world. Study history. Feel art. Breathe now.
Texts written, researches conducted, culture lived from time to time, and the modern life link with each other at certain points of evolution and growth. Here, in the 21st century, the Holy Spirit of God even touches closely in the advancement of technology.
Eliot’s “Hollow Man,” Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” and Sherwood Anderson’s “A Story-Teller’s Story,” among others, are expressions about life. These are schools of thought. These are opinions which can be true or false. These are sentiments. These are ideas. It is art.
In my expression, these are good ideas to mull over and act on to find benefits for the human race; benefits and charity for everybody.
The essay of Gordon E. Bigelow (noted Professor of American Literature) about “A Primer of Existentialism,” shows valid concepts for any contemporary writer. It also extends to the godly and ungodly human. He adds about Hemingway’s A Clean, Well Lighted Place: it goes without saying that much of the despair and pessimism in the other contemporary authors springs from a similar sense of the void in modern life.
The encounters with nothingness in some texts and the modern life are common. It only becomes different in the chariot of reason and faith. Even Mother Teresa of Calcutta has moments of emptiness, which she admitted. Even saints or Job in the Holy Bible has the same predicaments.
Everything is usually tangible. For anyone, an encounter with everything can easily be comfortable.
Nothingness is a void. For some, nothingness can be dangerous as in Nietzsche’s anguish. But who can judge him totally?
In another sense, it is total surrender. Sometimes it is humility. Sometimes it is totally being with a Divine like Jesus Christ’s last words on the cross “Father, why have you forsaken me?”
Moreover, “In the beginning God created the sky and the earth. The earth was empty and had no form. Darkness covered the ocean, and God’s Spirit was moving over the water (Genesis 1:1-2).
In my poem “Dead Fire” it states: Love comes so beautiful after wars, when everyone can drink freely, when there is peace, and I am nothing but dust and chipping coals begging the skies.”

3.The Secret Of A Thankful Heart
The secret of a thankful heart is humility.
No other word is a substitute for a “Thank you,” but knees down and heads down.
A genuine thank you shares light to those around. Received or not received, it opens quietly to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. It spreads charity, no matter who the Great Good God must be. It spreads joy in the crushing moments. It inspires life with meaning, that bullet of strength, wisdom, grace, and small miracles abounding.
The secret of a thankful heart is love beyond mortal hearts.
There are times words couldn’t be uttered, but acts of kindness show. Acts of kindness are unsolicitous. They are gifts from heaven that radiate to humanity. No matter how big or small everyone benefits from it in all ages of time. Some people may not know it, but in this way it becomes proven that no man is voluntarily bad. Kindness is a stable factor of progress and happiness in the world. Though there is unfairness of things, if kindness is shown, deep inside the heart is delight each passing day.
A Forgiving Heart
A forgiving heart pardons seventy times seven. Also, a forgiving heart forgives the self. Faith in God’s love, mercy, and grace lead to a transformation of a better life everyday. It paves a way to a road meeting goals in life face to face. There is enough and various work for all including birds, cheetah, those who till the soil, those who reap, and those who plant.
A Heart of Prayer
This comes when one wants a halo on the head, not because of oddness, but because it is just like a child gripping and never letting go of the Father of all. One admits the limits of humanity, yet believes in God’s omnipotence. Hence, one whispers a prayer to change the world in little ways and asks for the realization of everyone’s dreams. Hands holding each other and hearts singing together in prayer make a strong temple of embrace, that makes people happy. This unites the wishes of God’s kingdom be a reality for all.
The secret of a thankful heart is hard work.
When there is work, there is a duty. A responsibility of sharing talents, not because it can be quantified in money, but because it is done out of thanks for all of life is true service. Any work in all aspects of life is necessary for the progress of each human endeavor. Work gains profit for everyone.
A Small Thank You Prayer
Let us count thy blessings, God.
For now and always, we thank you.
For now and always, we hug you.
For now and always, we would try.
For now and always, be close by.
O Sacred Heart, be nigh our hearts.
Thank you, dear God, thank you.

4.Trusting GOD All Days of Life

When darkest hours fall and you don’t know what to do, you will find out who you really are. You will discover how frail your body needs warmth and how you would seek to see God, face to face. And beyond all your attempts, no one will satisfy your heart’s yearning but the Holy Spirit sustaining you strength and the Father’s care. God’s love, grace and mercy will fill your heart and you will rise again, steadfast as a rock.
Peter was entrusted, John was entrusted, Mary and Joseph, among others, pulled off responsibilities.
In the daily course of events, you are endowed with so many gifts and blessings from heaven and around. Even those trials and challenges are means to get you moving, creating, serving. So you are given a task, and here God himself supports your endeavours. Life is beautiful. It is adorned with mystery, risk, and success. The paths are many and the freedom to choose and decide, make you whole with a duty of a vocation like any good worker.
In my most difficult situations, as a testimony, I have never doubted him, not a minute, not a second. And though a sinner, I have always bowed for his pardon. He never rejected me and all those I carry in my heart. For every reason, I wanted everyone be blessed, forgiven and praying. Thank Jesus, I have never cursed enemies, but called on Him to be the light and truth for all. On my own, the open churches, shrines and chapels accompanied me in my journey. In most of my days, seldom did I speak of what I wanted and what I cried for, but to God. And so I trust him. And so he knows my heart. And so he takes care of me.
When you trust someone, you depend on him. He is your rock, your protection, your shield, your refuge. You will just let it be, or so be it. And so I depended solely on one Omnipotent Father, the Father of all. I felt his power, and he got me on the right roads. I carried his word while growing up, as I cleaned the house, during work, and as I tend my family and friends. I was consoled in his promises that all things will work out together for good for those who love God and obey his laws. There were many miracles that dawned on me. I talked to statues like Mother Mary, the guardian angels, and the Sacred Heart. Presently, the “Lord of the Resurrection” guards us.
A rosary, a scapular and prayer books are daily reminders that Jesus is just next to us, as our trust is in him.
Come O Holy Spirit, we need you. Truly, we believe in God, the Father Almighty.
Truly, most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in You.

5.Most Talked About Topic In The Bible

Topics in the Holy Bible vary and help us in so many ways. Truly, those inspiring words are the words of God, and in the present time, it is the word made flesh.
The Holy Spirit guides everyone to understand the Bible. We can pray to the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and understand God’s messages, through holy men and women like the apostles and the followers of Jesus. We must be happy in the message of Jesus Christ to us and the love he offers for salvation and complete happiness in our lives, from his grace, mercy, and love.
Love is the most talked about topic in the Bible. From the Ten Commandments, the first two are: love God above all, love thy neighbors as you love yourself. It says in Christianity and other religions that love for God and others is above all the laws of earth and men.
The basic rule of humanity, which is the golden rule, that says “Do not do unto others what you don’t like others to do to you.” Even pagans, love that which they cannot see. All understand each other from the heart and in charity. All approve, thank, and work together for love.
In love, there is forgiveness and transformation. In love, there is acceptance and caring. In love there is fairness (justice) and a firm rebuke. But then, even in the parables from the Bible: the Father glorifies when the prodigal son and sinners come back home.
Love is beyond each other’s color, religion, race, language, status, wealth, education, and work. Love is more than sin, gratitude, and faith. If you love someone, you will serve him/her them is work. It is beyond payment because service in love is offering of the self to God’s plan in our lives. All things work together for good in love. If you’ve done things in love, service, and have been aggrieved, worry not, for God sees your heart. All things shall come to pass, but the greatest is love. God is love. Service is love. Offering the self to God’s will for our lives is love.
“Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me,” (John 14:1).
“All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever,” (1Corinthians 13:8).
A blessed 2011 to everyone! I am one with you. I love you.

6.Poor In Geography
Philippines is an archipelago located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam, and north of Sabah and Borneo. It spans 1900 kilometers from north to south, 1110 from east to west. Here is my country, my native land.
During my high school, I was taught in my social studies class, to track down locations on the map and the globe. I tried to memorize locations piously so the next quiz given us, would not fail me just because I couldn’t locate significant points and places.
I grew up with my Dad teaching me about short cuts whenever we ride the taxi like going to school mornings, if car and bus weren’t available. The cab passes through a highway, along narrow streets, or going inside villages. Remembering those places were fun and exciting for me, those spaces where we journeyed; all still fresh in my memory.
“There’s a map, there’s a map, there’s a map,” says Dora. So I tell myself, “Even if I’m poor in geography I should only remember the address and popular landmarks. When I go to places, even if many times, I swear, I couldn’t fast track going back again. But now, there’s a GPS (global positioning system); I give an applause for the new inventions.
My first ride on a plane brought me to Japan. And so I got myself headed where the wind blew me. I left the Philippines February 17, for a possible work/workshop (with my sister and the kind Japanese school owner) in Japan. I knew I have to endure the pangs of loneliness away from my family. I knew I have to leave my classes in the seminary where I worked for many years. I knew I have to stop with my graduate studies at DLSU. Seeing what I can get gave me an assurance that my attempts would be easy. Money was gleaming at the counter of my thoughts, and it was like answering all my questions and conquering labyrinths. So I got myself the flight almost Valentine’s day.
I thought about the possibilities of what will happen. Of what might come. It was my dream come true riding an airplane. I told myself that my first plane ride will be very memorable. It would be news. It would be history. Indeed, it was real cool and exciting.
I adored Japan because I dreamt of cupping snow and wished for a freezing climate that would turn me rosy cheeks. But then again, as I am poor in geography I got lost for almost a day. I rode the train on and off to different prefectures; hence, came to visit several parks and libraries as they became very memorable and very meaningful because I was alone, with little money, and it was getting dark. In the end, I went to a police station and asked for help. Thanks to the Japanese who were kind and generous to give help, even to strangers, like me.
I couldn’t cry, but held the prayer leaf of St. Jude.

7.Church: Sacred Vessels
Wonders! I wondered when I was a child “What are those cup and saucers doing on the priests table during the mass? It gave me curiosity. Even the tabernacle, I always waited for the priest to open it widely to see what they’re keeping inside. I was always peeping. And sometimes, when I saw in the Tabernacle the monstrance, I wondered “Hey, what’s the significance of that one?”
When I got older, and now I’m close to becoming a century egg, I have discovered that the altar becomes sacred because of what we’re all doing. How we pray together with each other and the priests leading (as their vocation) make one powerful community of holy workers.
The vessels are souvenirs when Jesus Christ came down and made us to be one with the Father.
Check this:
The crucifix is a representation of Christ’s love for humanity. It is a significant emblem of Christianity.
Altar candles are candles used in the mass.
Vigil lamp is the light in the altar that is often left open, even after worship.
A Tabernacle is a high altar in which the vessels containing the Blessed Sacrament are kept.
The paten plate is of precious metal that holds the big host. It is where the altar bread is offered in the Holy sacrifice of the mass.
Cruets are two vessels containing the wine and water.
A chalice is the cup of consecrated metal that holds the consecrated wine. It should either be gold or silver.
The ciborium vessel contains the hosts for distribution to the faithful. As long as the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in it, the ciborium must be covered with a veil of precious material or white color.
A Monstrance is the vessel in which the consecrated host is exposed for the adoration.
The lectern is a holy reading desk near the altar. It is regularly used during masses.
Linen cloth is placed on the altar for the mass.
A sanctuary is a sacred place. Literally, it is where the priest stands/holds masses. The physical presence of God in the Eucharist makes the sanctuary a holy ground.
When the Bishops are around the church, the faithful come running to kiss their hand because of their ring. Of course, there is something sacred in their rings. But then, when we’re not able to kiss it, we should not worry because God is present with everyone. Wherever we can be in any place or time when the heart seeks for God, Jesus is present.
Give me a clean heart, O God, that my prayer could reach You and all that I love.

8.Death:Jesus, Save Souls

Death is one sure thing that will happen in our life.
It is the sunset that slowly disappears in the sky, hiding itself from the earth to peacefully follow the light. The thing is, there is no way to convince us of its blissful state because of uncertainty. For most of us death is dreadful.
For those who died ahead, may they rest in peace – and let their souls be remembered in their prayers. For the saints, may their example be our guiding light here on earth.
A.
Consider yourself already dead. What do you think would you have done in your lifetime? You’d probably do well to heed St. Bernard’s advice: “Consider the sins of manhood and weep over them; consider the sins of your present life, tremble and make haste to amend your life.” After all, everybody wants to go to heaven and while on this journey, each soul hopes not to be lost, but to see GOD.
Do souls really get lost? If they do, where do they go? A priest says a soul, when separated from the body, may go to heaven, purgatory, or hell.
However, God who created man in His desire to share happiness is not only just but also merciful, ready to welcome back repentant souls the way the prodigal son was welcomed by his father with a banquet. St. Augustine says, “You made us Lord for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
What may be considered lost souls therefore, are those who have been unfortunately condemned to hell because they have chosen another over the eternal good that is GOD Himself. Lost souls are those who refused to cooperate in GODs plan of salvation.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you, save soul
B.
Family and friends left behind, or those near death can ponder on these reflections:
1. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes)
2. Be happy, everything, too, shall pass.
3. Soon the sky would open up again and angels and saints would scatter and join us all. Angels will peep/come into this earth, once their home.
4. The churches and the faithful will pray unceasingly: candles will be lit, flowers scattered, peace and a blast of calm togetherness in cemeteries and altars would bind hearts.
5. Why do we celebrate these times and days of separation between life and death? Because the body is fleeting breath and time, but the soul is affirming infinity. Only with its Creator can it find peace and joy.
Only with its Creator can we all find wholeness.
“The is Lord my refuge… I shall not fear.”
Jesus, save souls.

9.How Much Do You Believe in the Proverbs
Proverbs are wise sayings of people from different ages, showing facts of life and real experiences focusing on truth and righteousness.
Here are proverbs of the Old Testament book from the Holy Bible. These were written by wise men of Israel and King Solomon, David’s son.
1. “How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord.” (Proverbs 1:7)
You cannot be wise if you depend in your own knowledge and in the power of man. No wisdom is greater than that of God. If you reverence and believe in a Creator, then you can become wise.
2. “Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.” (Proverbs 10:12)
If you have hate in your heart, it keeps on remembering old mistakes and petty quarrels. As adults, fighting must fade. A good conversation will fix things anew. If your hear is full of love, you will forget how you were cheated but forgive and reconcile.
3. “Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older he will remain upon it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Parents, guardians, and responsible adults have to teach the children tenderly to go the right path. You will admonish that which is wrong soon, so the mistake would be known.
If the child develops this good habit of knowing the truth and what is right; the child will reverence the Lord and love Him as he grows along with life.
4. “Hard work brings prosperity; playing around brings poverty.” (Proverbs 28:19)
The Lord delights if you work hard in your goals and is never idle. Dependence should stop in maturity and change into responsibility.
There’s a Philippine folktale about a lazy boy named “Juan.” Juan always slept under a tree and waited for its fruits to fall. He even disobeyed the bidding of his mother to buy crabs, and let the crabs walk alone going home. He denied responsibilities and was too lazy to fulfill tasks.
People are given talents to work, share, and serve each other. You have to be responsible of your work to fulfill a purpose in life. If you plant something, you will reap something.
Watch out for the thief in the night!
5. “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what is really like is shown by the kind of friend he chooses.” (Proverbs 27:19)
Our parents and teachers usually tell us “Choose your friends.”
“Why?”
“…Because your friends are the mirrors of you.” They influence you and most likely, you do things together.
No, it doesn’t criticize like the Pharisees, only it takes necessary precautions how to make life a straight path. However, your prayers and goodness must be for all, friend or enemies.

10. More Psalms To Sing
As you are, I am a witness to the Psalm Prayers. When my father died, the greatest comfort that sufficed me were the words of God in the Psalms (from the Bible). I felt the burden was heavy to carry, and I felt so insecure because I lost my father. You can imagine when a young girl loses a father; and seeing how incomplete you are without Daddy. I tried to get my own Daddy, and He was God himself. “My strength was in God alone,” hence, the prayer of David in Psalms.
1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalms 27:1)
Man has various anxieties in life, and there are times the body weakens. Defeat, worry, and threats of life’s battles, bring us fear; if this happens cry and pray to God and regain strength believing, no other man can harm you if you are of God, and that true light and salvation come from God alone. We should not fear, God is the mightiest of all!
2. “I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress. (Psalm 32:8)
The Psalm tells us of God’s guidance. Also, let us remember the gifts of the Holy Spirit and its fruits. The Lord is always instructing us from day to day, thus listen to His voice. If one is of God, he is familiar with God’s voice just like a family member or a close friend. The fear of doing bad things, is a sign that the Lord stays in our hearts all the time and will never let us fall.
3. “But O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God.” (Psalms 42:11)
A cry of the soul, a prayer pleading to God just like a father to come to our rescue. The assurance of God’s help manifests in the conviction that the Lord will help to get us in the most troubled times of our lives. “The Lord will never fail for he is our God!”
4. “For this great God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide until we die.” (Psalm 48:14)
God is forever. After life, there is a greater life in death. Whatever happens, if we trust in His divine will, obey His laws, and live in His incomparable love – we can brave death and go on living happily to fulfill the goals/missions of our lives now. God is our great teacher, and we would learn everyday. What more? He is our Father and will be with us till the last breath and forever.

11.Psalms: Man Speaking To GOD

Prayers sustain man’s growth. They are forms of expressing man’s heart and soul to God in words of praise and respect. Many books are written, but Psalms (from the Holy Bible) as it is read in the masses and prayed day and night prove to be alive. The words are vigorous, talking to God face to face. God in His endearment of man, listens to him, stays beside him, instructs him and lets man speak.
The dialogue of David and other prophets come after defeat and victory in life struggles (wars, personal needs, tribal rifts, conflict in the laws of man, oppression and other tribulations, etc.). Of course, it’s a monologue – but it can be a dialogue, too – like God can just be there and speaking through the words of the Holy Spirit in the Psalm prayers.
In prayers: “God listens, you speak or God speaks, you listen.” This can be attained in the pureness of heart and love for God and others.
Check the following examples:
A. “But I will call upon the Lord to save me and He will I will pray morning, noon and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer.”
(Psalms 55:16-17)
This is how kings and prophets pray. Good leaders must pray unceasingly for instructions. Morning, noon, and night pleading aloud to God will find answers. Just like a good father, He will answer our prayers in the proper time. We also pray morning, noon, and night to ask wisdom and strength from the Lord.
B. How can a young man stay pure? By reading your word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find You, don’t let me wander off from Your instructions. I have thought much about Your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.” (Psalms 119:9-11)
The intimacy (deep personal relationship) of David/prophet to God is shown here. He addresses God by “You,” meaning they have a secret pact. Closeness is evident in the treatment we have for one another. Also, words are not enough to explain everything, but God in our hearts would love us and guard us not to sin again – as we trust Him and obey Him faithfully.
Do you follow a night and day prayer despite a busy schedule? Some say, they’re too busy – but God wants us to rest and seek Him, if for moments. The value of life is more than the value of other concerns. Prayer gives nourishment to life (whether you like it or not). If one is full of prayer he will be strong as a bull, with a heart full of love and mercy, and the mind perfect to lead and follow others.
Only truth endures, God will show us the truth if we speak to Him and listen to the Holy Spirit. Also, check out the New Testament about Jesus Christ.

12.The Morning Prayers
Prayers in the morning aid our busy work day schedules. They provide us with power and faith to accomplish our goals everyday. Prayers give us love to understand the people around us: that we all have to work together and be happy.
Life can sometimes be difficult, but with everyone helping each other and trying piously life is successful. There are no big and small goals, yet there is that sense of accomplishment when we’ve worked so hard. No matter how little we accomplish in life as long as there are big efforts and good intentions – we always win.
Check out these morning prayers from different prayer books, the holy Bible, everyday regular prayers of the faithful, Rogationist prayers, and Holy mass morning prayers, among others:
1. Angel of God – Kids will love this prayer. And for adults, they’re very easy to avoid temptations.
Angel of God
My guardian dear
To whom God’s love
Commits me here
Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guide
To rule and guard
Amen.
2. One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be as an offering for your love of God and His everyday presence in your life.
3. The Holy Rosary ( the mysteries depend on the day)
4. The Morning Offering Prayer
O Jesus, through the immaculate heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day,
For all the intentions of the Sacred Heart,
In union with the Holy Sacrifice of the mass throughout the world.
I offer You my prayers –
In reparation for my sins, for the intentions of my relatives and friends,
And in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.
5. Greetings to the Most Holy Virgin
O Virgin all beautiful and immaculate, at the start of this new day
I raise my eyes to you, the beautiful dawn
And ask for your holy blessing.
Bless me, O Mother and save me, Amen.
6. Prayer Before Starting A Day’s Work
Direct, we beg you, O lord, our actions by your holy inspirations and carry them on by your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may begin always with you, and through you be happily ended, and may my good actions be an offering to obtain good workers for our church and society. Amen.
Mary, Mother of Vocations
Pray for us and obtain for us many and holy vocations.
Send O Lord,
Holy apostles into your Church!
Good morning!

13.Some Novena Prayers
The novena is a prayer devotion for nine days.
Usually, the faithful (and the Catholic Church) do this act of praying the novena to thank, ask, and worship God in special ways, and of course, praying with the Saints.
Try these famous nine-day prayers:
1. The Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
2. St Jude
3. St. Anthony
4. Novena Prayer for the Dead
5. Prayer to Our Lord of Pardon
6. To the Sacred Heart
The Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual help is praying with the aid of Mama Mary on nine consecutive Wednesdays. If possible attend the holy mass and pray in the church or in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
The litany comes in answer to petitions, “Loving Mother help us.”
The Saint Jude Novena is usually recited on Thursdays. Saint Jude is the “Patron Saint of Impossible Cases,” almost like that of Saint Therese.
“We entrust to you our present need. Pray that we never lose heart when the way seems dark and dreary. We await in your help and praise God for guiding us to seek your help in especially difficult situations. Amen.”
Saint Anthony comes to be a provider like Saint Joseph. He brings lost things back to us, and aids us in asking for material assistance.
“Saint Anthony, patron of so many homes in the Philippines, and all the world, obtain for us a share in those virtues that marked your life… Saint Anthony provider for God’s poor, pray for us.”
Novena Prayers for the Dead come in various forms from prayer books. What is constant is this phrase: “Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let Thy perpetual life shine upon their soul, may they rest in peace, amen.”
A prayer of Our Lord of Pardon, The Sto Nino, and Prayer for the Virgin Mary often come together in home visitations like the observance of the block Rosary and Sacred Heart home visits. Families and neighbors pray, sing and recite the three prayers together for 9 (nine) days or 2 weeks.
To The Sacred Heart Prayers
The prayer is prayed with litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is brought to different homes on a Friday to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some people pray the novena during Fridays, others as they complete everyday.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in You!
We have prayers to guide us in our lives everyday. Let us do it together!

14.Evening Prayers In Gold Corridors
When the evening comes after the sun has set, our hearts must seek rest and consolation in God. At the end of the day, and after some hard day’s work – we have to thank and tell Him to guard us while we rest in the night.
The day ends with the recitation of Vespers (evening prayers).
Communities, families, and individuals pray evening prayers together.
Communities
I had my precious time in Don Bosco Seminary praying with the brothers and priests for some months. It dared my life a challenge to lift up those who try to choose a vocation in serving God. If I can have those times again, I wouldn’t let go. Those were the times I progressed building my temples and praying heart to heart with God. The Vietnamese Brothers sweet melodies of prayers ring beautiful prayers. In fact, I could not forget their faces while they prayed, hence this poem.

Corridors of Gold (6.29.2010)
Time, the precious stone of sunlight
Was your gift to me
Your hymn, the rising and falling
Tide of the shore
Was the only voice
I could recognize
Gold lights in the corridors
Were the precious hours
We laughed aloud in the pantry
Reading,
And when the lights were off
You told me I was beautiful
I have kept your word
Your every promise of hope
All that made you
Inevitable
Gold was
The evening color
Gold in the calm
Corridors of the house
When your sturdy footsteps were
My pride
When faith in your eyes gleamed
Like agates
In the tint of golden rays
Coming from
The core of a pure heart
Gold
When, in the Blessed Sacrament of Gold,
Nested in the hours of longing
Breathed in me mercy
It was in the corridors
We sat together,
In the corridors, you held every bead
Tightly
Grasping for grace
My heart wanted you
Your language of adoration
In those corridors
You were most amiable,
In every breath of prayer. RoseVoc2
Families
Praying together bonds families. In the night, household members and/or visitors: parents, children, relatives, friends, and helpers, each and everyone, must join. Rituals must be done like lighting candles, maintaining silence and order while praying.
Sometimes, around provinces and villages in the city: Block Rosary, The Sacred Heart Novena, The Lord of Pardon prayers visit homes. This community habit makes each family in that area find responsibility to pray together with family and community intentions, etc.
Individuals
Each person has his/her own way of prayer. Whatever it is, the prayer links the person with God. We have to respect every prayer and pray that God helps us all and decides what is best for each person, each country, the whole world.
Here’s a set of some prayers from the Bible and common prayers of the faithful. Try to memorize these prayers in English if you’re a foreign student/professional. These are all easy to pray and know by heart.
Of course, other than these and more prayers individuals spontaneously offer what their heart desires and talk to God.
Check this:
1. One Our Father, Holy Mary and Glory Be.
Also for the dead: Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord
And let they perpetual life shine upon them
May he/she/they rest in peace
Amen.
2. Lord Jesus Christ,
You have given your followers
An example of gentleness and humility
A task that is easy, a burden that is light
Accept the prayers and work of this day.
Give us the rest that will strengthen us to
Render more faithful service to you who live
And reign forever and ever,
Amen.
3. The Holy Rosary (this will depend on the day for the mystery)
4. Three Hail Marys and for each Hail Mary the following is recited:
L: Through your immaculate conception, O May
A: Make my body pure and my soul holy.
Prayer to those who do good to us:
O Lord, grant to all those persons who do good to us
Good health of soul and body; so that they may love You
With all their hearts and do what is pleasing to Your will.
5. Three Glory Be to the Holy Spirit
and as always, the Angel of God

6. An Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you,
And I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains
Of hell. But most of all because I offended You
My God, who are good and deserving of all my love
I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins,
To do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
Note: For those who couldn’t sleep because of “insomia,” one way to beat this sickness is to pray the rosary. Pray as you can all the mysteries and then as you get to sleep, continue in your thoughts or till the next morning.
God will see you through.
Good night.

15.More Nine Day Prayers

The Lord manifests Himself to those who always remember Him. No doubt God is the forgiving Father (remember the prodigal son in the Bible), but then He also waits for us to speak to Him – all the time. Christ’s face will not leave you if your thoughts and your breath are of Him. He will be your good shepherd for all time.
Praying to Mother Mary, to the Saints, and Angels will aid us to enjoy other forms of prayers. We can also make our own prayers – the showcase of heaven is very large, our heart has to find other ways to express it in adoration of God. Aside from the small and big good services/work we offer others, prayers are food for us to share for the living and the dead.
Check out for these prayers:
1. Novena to the Guardian Angels
2. Novena to Saint Hannibal
3. Prayers to Saint John de La Salle
4. Prayers to Saint Expeditus
5. To Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
6. To Saint Jose Maria Escriva
The novena to the guardian angels is almost like praying the rosary but with different bead counts.
St. Michael, pray for us.
St. Hannibal novena is for the propagation of holy priests and holy workers for the Lord. If you are a mother, a student, an engineer, a public servant, a helper… in any way you fulfill your work is service to God. Saint Hannibal is the Patron Saint of vocations and Holy workers. This is prayed with a litany to St. Hannibal.
Saint Hannibal, pray for us.
Send O Lord, Holy Apostles into Your Church!
I came into the novena of St. John Baptist de la Salle when I went to the His school. God, through St. John gives us the sustenance to learn. While I was there, I was praying to St. John for more than four years everyday.
St. John, pray for us.
Prayers to Saint Expeditus truly expedites situations. In the second or third day of the novena, your prayers come answered. See the power of prayer of a “pure heart” and in God’s will.
The Novena to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage is a prayer of surrender to Mama Mary. This novena prayers come very helpful for overseas workers and those who are far from their homes. Mama Mary guides everywhere we go if we seek her and pray to her. We become good apostles of Jesus Christ in any place we live and work.
St. Jose Maria Escriva prayers are for the sanctification of work for others. St. Jose Maria will generate the right work for you and the fruits of work if you work hard and love your vocation.
Do not expect special prayers to gain results at your bidding. The prayers become solemn if they are prayed earnestly in offering to God and others. Prayers of any kind is appreciated by God, and makes us pure in front of Him.

16.Jesus Reminds Us
The life of Jesus shows certain points in history people have to remember. The life experiences of the “Son of God become-man” are patterns Jesus left to us to let us remember there is an omnipotent God. Here Jesus Christ points out that he was one of us and there is life after death (The Resurrection). He says “He will never leave us,” and then affirms us that God is with us forever.
A. The Stations of the Cross
The life of Jesus on earth from the time he ate with His disciples to the time he rose on the third day (after His death on the cross). The Stations of the Cross can be prayed any time of the day to remind us that we are not alone in our sufferings. Jesus knows how we are pained and He would always stay with us, till the day we die, and during the resurrection – God through Jesus Christ will redeem us, His children.
1. Jesus eats the last supper with his disciples.
2. Jesus prays in the garden of Getsemane.
3. Jesus is tried before the Sanhedrin.
4. Jesus is brought before Pilate.
5. Jesus is scourge and crowned with thorns.
6. Jesus embraces and carries his cross.
7. Jesus is helped by Simon Cyrene.
8. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.
9. Jesus is stripped and nailed to the cross.
10. Jesus speaks to the thief.
11. Jesus speaks to Mary and John.
12. Jesus dies on the cross.
13. Jesus is buried in the tomb.
14. Jesus rises on the third day.
B. The Seven Last Words
On the cross (the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to save mankind) the son of God gave His seven last words. The meaning of Jesus’ words should leave us reminders how much we are all loved by God. Forgiveness waits for our prayers and repentance, hope waits for our love and faith, redemption waits for us in the trust and obedience we have in our God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1. “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
(Luke 23:34)
2. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)
3. “Jesus said to his mother:”Woman, this is your son.”
Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.”
(John 19:26-27)
4. “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”
(Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
5. “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
6. When Jesus had received the wine, he said “It is finished.”
And he bowed his head and handed over the spirit. (John 19:30)
7. Jesus cried and in a loud voice “Father into Your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

17.On Fruits of the Holy Spirit
We are all endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit if we are always of God. With these gifts come the fruits. Check out what you have and seek to share and serve for all the world to see that they too, would love God and serve families, communities, and nations.
1. love
Love is the greatest of all. Nothing can defend against love. It forgives and can raise an army. It seeks the truth and never fails.
Corinthians:
2. joy
The joy that comes from the Lord is our strength, the Bible says. If you are joyful in God, you would also seek the good and joy of others. The joy radiates completely, if from Heaven as dawn spreads the daylight.
3. peace
Peace or tranquility in the face of trials, problems, defeat, victory, abundance or nothingness. Everything is of God, the heart will always find rest in God.
4. kindness
Compassion, forgiveness and generosity is kindness. Discipline must be observed, but then – when miracles come, it is like celebrating with the prodigal son. In decision making, good intentions in favor of the majority, and to those who need it. And lessons to learn are shared.
5. goodness
Being good is doing what is right and focusing on the truth. Being good is never wanting to hurt others, yet collaborating with others for a good cause. It is obeying, respecting, having manners and the right conduct /attitude; all that is good is beautiful.
6. long-suffering
Patience and solemnity is suffering. It is meekness in bodily pain and happiness in the success of others – family, relatives, friends and everyone. It is never boasting; only serving in work. Sorrow never waits for a reward, the reward is Gods presence in suffering. “All things work out together for good for those who love God and obey His laws.”
7. faithfulness
In work places, universities, communities we have what is called “the loyalty award.” This is faithfulness and a covenant of love, or a blood compact as in heroes and martyrs.
“I am with you even to the ends of the world,” Jesus Christ said.
“You will be with me in paradise,” Jesus to the repentant sinner.
I got this saying from my ancestors: The people you meet down are the same people you might meet up…the world is a wheel. If your heart is clean, you would treat everyone with love and respect despite differences.
Marriage is sacred, it must raise responsible children.
8. gentleness
Forgiveness and calmness in everything. Prudence in wordly desires; this applies to everyone (not only the religious). Being gentle, caring and loving as one family on earth.
9. self-control
Control in “wants.” This is close to self-discipline and prudence. Also, control in anger, among others. Moderation must be in the activities of man. The earth like man, has limits; abuse will not bear positive/helpful results.
Let us share the fruits of the Holy Spirit in us, God will help us in our endeavors. Be not afraid.

18.Time Out
Time out! Let us get something to feed our hearts and minds:
1. On Humility
The Japanese are noted for their love of work. In Japan I witness how professionals and workers value their jobs. One waiter even knelt down to serve the guests. I asked why, and he answered, “It is showing people how we love work.”
Loving one’s work is also a sign of humility. It is serving others not because of the money we get or are paid for, but sharing to others talents and opportunities they could benefit. It is imposing our responsibility in serving other people.
I thank the waiter. Aside from him, I saw how other workers cleaned toilet parks and were never ashamed of their jobs. Mopping fllors, sweeping corridors, doing chores in the house disposing of garbage properly in school or in work places are signs of also caring for our environment, as well as being humble to accept menial tasks.
2. Little acts of kindness
Children’s offering, little help, and their small acts of kindness are big things to God.
My niece Bea told me that she wants to be a doctor like her mother.
“Really? What about if your patient doesn’t have money to pay you?”
“O, I will just accept some vegetables and some eggs for payment if they don’t have money,” she answered.
The innocent mind of this 8-year old kid shows an act of kindness. Bea, in the early years of her life knows the value of sharing and even serving other people, even the deprived. If some of us can think of sharing to others, and this little kid can, can we not do the same? So be it in our little acts of kindness.

3. On Being Generous
Watashi is my 12-year old student. He is a tall handsome Japanese boy, One day we visited a park in Japan for a filed trip. It was so cold and I forgot my jacket.
While we were climbing the stairway to a small hill, he was removing his jacked. I told him he should be careful because the stairs are steep. He just smiled. I thought he was playing and getting impatient. I was wrong… after removing his jacket he offered it to me.
I was delighted and couldn’t believe the generosity of this young boy. He even thought of me. I thank God for this little boy.
“No thanks.” I told him. But thank you so much for being kind and generous.
In his heart, I pray he could understand, how all of us adored his gestures. Generosity is sharing to others with love in our hearts.

19.Religion – Love For God and Others

Facets of life need nourishment. Like food for the body and ideas for the mind, rituals are necessary for enhancing spiritual growth and love of others.
Religions are not barriers to worship God, they are ways and paths to being united in Him. Like the roads we trek going home, like the unique talents endowed upon each man; life offers different paths to explore and help each other. See you there!
Check out the different religions from various surveys:
1. Christianity – is a religion of those who follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Jesus preached a doctrine of universal love and brotherhood. His teachings and the story of his life are related in the New Testament. Despite the simplicity of Christ’s doctrines, the religions has been complicated by the many interpretations put upon them.
In 1504, after a long dispute with Rome, the centre of Christianity, Eastern Christians broke away to form the Eastern Orthodox Church. In 1500s the Reformation brought about the division of the Western Christians into Roman Catholics and Protestants.
2. Islam – Muslims are followers of Mohammed (A.D. 570 – 632), whom they regard as the last great prophet and messenger of Allah (God). The sacred book of Islam is the Koran. All good Muslims must observe the ‘five pillars’ of their faith. The first is confession of faith in one God and Mohammed. The second is prayer, five times a day. The third is alms-giving. The fourth is fasting. And the fifth is pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed.
3. Hinduism – Union with Brahma, the supreme, all-embracing spirit, is the goal of the Hindu. He can achieve this by practicing yoga and self discipline. If a man fails to achieve this union he is reborn, either to a higher or lower form of life, depending upon he is reborn, either to a higher or lower form of life.
4. Confucianism – Confucianism is not really a religion but a philosophy. Confucius was an ancient Chinese scholar. The basis of his teaching was the Golden Rule: Do not do unto others as you would not have others do unto you’. Although Confucius had few followers during his lifetime, after his death his philosophy spread.
5. Buddhism – Buddhists seek to attain the state of nirvana (enlightenment) in which there is no desire, no suffering, and no existence as we know it. According to Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha who founded the religion) the way to this state is by the noble eightfold path that include a code of conduct covering all aspects of a man’s life.
6. Judaism is based on the teachings of the Old Testament and the Talmud. Many of its beliefs concerning God and morals are shared by the Christians. Jews believe that they are God’s chosen people and that one day a Messiah will come to establish God’s kingdom on Earth.
20.7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Catholic religion tells us about the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Truly, we experience God in the Holy Trinity.
To read the Bible, though how intelligent we can be; we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand it. We will never be confused if the Holy Spirit guides us.
Father God gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit when we are infused with sanctifying grace and the life of God in us.
Check this out:
1. wisdom – this is more than a perfect IQ, or a doctorate degree. Wisdom comes from learned experiences and lessons in life. The wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives is God’s breath in our heart and mind.
2. understanding – This is the key to forgive others if they have wronged us. This is a bunch of kindness in all degrees and forms. Understanding comes with obedience and love seeing that God will take us in His arms.
3. counsel – is the cardinal virtue of prudence. Prudence is close to discipline and good actions. This can also be moderation and a balanced actions. Prudence free us from shame and immersion in any form of self-indulgence and selfishness.
4. fortitude – This is being “strong”; being “brave”; the courage of the martyrs
The Holy Spirit becomes the strength of the weak, the poor, the oppressed. Speaking up for the truth is courage.
5. knowledge – “Where did you learn that?”
” I don’t know.” Learning facts and having a clear mind about God’s will in our lives is knowledge. Sharing it to others, and knowing each of our purposes are gifts to us.
6. piety – “Rogate.” “Pray therefore.” Being pious is being obedient to God in prayer. Hence, the gift of prayer. The love that comes within us prods us to pray wherever we are, at any time and for everyone. We don’t choose who to pray for because we love the person next to us – far and near.
7. fear of the Lord – God never sleeps. He watches over us and sees any misdeed we do. Just like a father, we must fear the Lord because we love Him and there is this hope that arises from love.
Use your gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit abound in us if we remain in Christ and love everyone.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever
Amen.

21.Let Us Pray Together
Praying is communicating to an Almighty God. It is linking oneself inside the halos of holiness. It is opening the self and every heart beat in front of a Creator.
There are different ways of praying and many forms of rituals. Life must be filled by it to endure difficult times. Men are endowed with gifts from heaven, and one of them is the power of prayer. This will be a shield to fulfill one’s goal and find the meaning of his/her life.
People are God’s children. Though the different religions and races, there is a Divine Omnipotence, called God. God is one Father to His children. The children pray and live life on earth, to find joy yonder even after life.
History is composed of life and death. The memory of the dead becomes alive in the present time. Cultures are built by generations one after another in the hope of creating changes and progress. Many theories are formed of the sciences, and there’s the book we call the “Holy Bible” showing documents – how we all come to be one body in Christ. Truly, eyes see us and the big hands of God hold the world.
How do people pray?
When we can’t utter words, but find peace in our hearts – we are praying.
When tears fall, and nothing could describe it – we are praying.
When we call “My Father, my Lord, my God” – we are praying.
God is with us, any place we go, 24 hours a day. Sleeping and waking let our hearts be filled with him – that is praying.
When we do our work and serve others – we pray.
Try this prayer from the Bible:
Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus hear me
Within Your wound, hide me
Never permit me to be separated from you
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of death, call me
And bid me to come to you
That with your Saints
I may praise you forever.
Amen.
Send O Lord, Holy Apostles
Into Your church.
It is good to wake up with a prayer and sleep with a prayer. Also, give thanks before and after meals. There is also the midday prayer and the Angelus. Some religious and faithful pray/chant eight times a day, the others maybe three times or as their hearts desire; even every hour with work (?). The monks pray as early as 3am at dawn.
Don’t worry, God will not count and it’s not how many, BUT how you pray. Are you sincere? Do you love God so much and want others to be happy and be of God?
Let us always pray together. Let us not forget each other in prayer.

22. Mary, Mother of Jesus and Coredemptrix

Mary or “Maria” is the mother of Jesus Christ (The Holy Bible, Matthew 1:18-25). She was the chosen one of God to be the wife of Joseph. But when she was still a Virgin she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her deep faith, trust and obedience in God are the strength for people of all ages.
As our parents have borne us, Mary raised and nursed Jesus. She plays a pivotal role in the life of the churches as she is called/celebrated a Virgin, the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption into heaven. Her simple life is a model of virtues.
At Fatima in Portugal, she appeared to children, thus “Our Lady of Fatima.”
The Rosary (as adopted by Eastern Christian monks in the 3rd century), especially the Catholic rosary that is a set of meditative prayers using beads, shows the episodes in Christ’s life. It is composed of the four mysteries that include “the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries, and the Luminous Mysteries.” The “Hail Mary” is prayed in every set of small ten beads.
In the Gospels, Mary was with Jesus at the beginning and end of his life. The end was Mary in Jerusalem during the crucifixion; hence, Mary playing an active role in the redemption of mankind along with her Son.
Below is the “Canticle of Mary,” a pean of her obedience and great love of the Lord. The canticle is suitable to memorize like the Psalms as a form of rejoicing.
CANTICLE OF MARY
Luke 1:46-55
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior
For he has looked with favor on His lowly servant
From this day all generations will call me blessed
The Almighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His Name
He has mercy on those who fear Him
In every generation
He has shown the strength of His arm
He has scattered the proud in their conceit
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
And has lifted up the lowly
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty
He has come to the help of His servant Israel
For he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise He made to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his children forever
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Mother Mary, pray for us.

23.Learning To Confess Your Sins
“A confession can be too humiliating,” says one middle-aged executive. We have to understand that a confession is an act of expressing some problems to God, and that in this trial and grief, we ask for forgiveness and mercy.
God is one Father who loves us, even at times we disobey Him, He will have us and hug us tightly again. (Bible, The Prodigal Son)
Confession Tips:
1. Put in your heart at any time that we all sin and we have to ask for “a sorry.” It’s just like asking for forgiveness from our parent, friend, brother, or sister.
2. Put in your heart at any time that we aim for a change everyday – for the good.
3. Put in your heart that you will try not to sin again, even how little. But at times you fail – remember God’s word: “All things will work out together for good for those who love God and obey His laws.
4. Make little acts of kindness and little acts of sacrifice without boasting to anyone.
5. Have a secret pact with God. Remember He sees you all the time and He will not leave you till your last breath. You are not alone.
6. Don’t feel shy or nervous, consider a confession as a meeting with a good friend, the priest. This is free. The priest will pray for you.
7. Try to read or say a prayer before a confession. Ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
8. Read and / or say a prayer after confession. Thank Jesus and Mama Mary, and commit your life to serve God and others. Good works are forms of service and love.
Sins separate us from each other. When sins attack, one feels unkind, unforgiving, and selfish. When sins come, one is boastful of who and what he is, or one can lurk in immaturity.
However, we can be angry, but sin not. This is through admonishing with a good intention, being concerned for the majority of the oppressed ( in any situation), and sharing without malice. A good conscience is prodded and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Moreover, everyday and everywhere, at all times we can confess to our Father God.
We can do this in prayer. A deep humble prayer is a conversation with God. Truly, God sees our hearts and washes it as white as snow.
You may also pray this prayer before confession to a priest, or pray on you own everyday.
Act of Contrition
O my God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended you.
And I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.
But most of all, because I offended you, my God,
who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace
to confess my sins, to do penance,
and to amend my life, amen.
Jesus, please forgive me, God please forgive us all.

24.What Is Your Relationship With God?
I. What is my relationship with God? This topic was the highlight in one of a priest’s sermon during a Sunday mass. Fr. Rene Ramirez gave a significant thought, “What is my relationship with GOD?”
My belief: You and I have special moments with GOD, even sometimes when everyone has left and we are ready to let go – tears, sweat, and all, GOD stays to accept the weakest we are in front of Him.
I don’t know what I could call the relationship because I could not explain it. It can be all kinds of relationships, as in the Scriptures. It can also be a physical honest relationship of faithfulness to those around – neighbors, friends, and family.
Upon the death of my father, whom I loved so dearly, GOD never left. This made me believe that our happy and sad encounters are steps to meet with GOD in every aspect of our being.
A joyful relationship is having someone we call “my God, my creator, my Lord, my master, my teacher, my father, my friend (and the female counterparts), among others. It is some kind of – a very intimate and respectful relationship, where we give everything, surrendering what we own and just following His (God) will from day to day.
The movie “The Bucket List” shows an intimacy with God (It starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman). It tells about things we could have done and dare to do while we’re still alive and doing things with God happily, even risking something in terms of human thoughts, though how difficult life could be.
II. Movie Watch with Life’s Little Lessons
Here is a list of new movies showing about how on different occasions we run to God for wisdom; it includes “Forever Strong” (Sean Astin, Penn Badgley, Sean Paris), ” Edge of Darkness” (Mel Gibson), “Brothers,” “The Hurt Locker” (Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty), and “Invictus” (Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon).
The inspiring movies aid viewers make life bigger and make it known how in all the earth man survives trials in life with God beside. These movies are not exaggerated, but shows how man help one another in his quest for a better life believing that someone has big eyes for all.

III. A Japanese Student’s Experience
My ESL student (a bank employee), told me she has no religion, but when she met a car accident, she shouted “God! My God!” After the accident that was the last statement she remembered. From there, she discovered what God meant.
How about you, what is your relationship with God?

25.The Blue Cross
It was the first Saturday of the month. It was my most awaited day to get the cross. It was like collecting a trophy or a child’s wish for a ribbon. God must have laughed at me for being senseless, sometimes. I was counting months, days, hours, for this acceptance. I made sure there would be no hassle so I could meet the special occasion.
And so it came, my admission to the Union of Prayer for Vocations (UPV). In this situation, the conviction of a more profound thought scrapped my funny monologue “I can die in peace any time now.” I meant die in peace because I was holding on to Jesus and Mama Mary. Saint Hannibal found me in my naïve ways. Sincerely, I wanted to embrace everyone in prayer – on my knees, in my nothingness. I thought this was one of the humblest ways to thank GOD, when no one else was looking, and no one could see the gentle tears of earnest intentions for others, but only God. Just God. I could not let go off the bliss. I felt I was receiving a grace spilling down from heaven: praying for vocations.
Like St. Hannibal Mary di Francia who dedicated his life for vocations, I/we might be called for the same spot. The deep longing of this need for a plentiful harvest of good workers for the Lord. was a sacred belief of Saint Hannibal. When all else fails, nothing can defend against the power of prayer. Prayer can move mountains, it can defect guns, it can create miracles. The faith of praying to Jesus is a manifestation of the Father’s presence in our midst. We survive from day to day not only because of the food we eat, but of the nourishment of our souls.
A blue cross was given. The cross was nothing grand, only a simple Catholic emblem. It would not hook eyes like a 24-carat solid gold cross pendant, nor a grandiose imported cross from Italy. It was a plain blue metal cross pendant. Blue means loyalty. It is clear that having the blue cross would be witnessing for Christ. In its truest sense, it was also a definition of a community that serves God and people praying selflessly on knees.

“Rogate!” I have learned this word, too. It means “Pray therefore the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into His harvest.” My wishes of St. Hannibals adoption came true. St. Hannibal is the founder of the Rogationists. He is the patron saint for vocations and holy workers.
“St. Hannibal, pray for us. Send O Lord, holy apostles into Your church.”

26.The Sacred Heart
The heart is a vital organ of the body that pumps blood. Some say it is the soul. Some say it the feeling of affection, the bosom of breath, the courage of life.
How far have we thought about our roots? Our beginning, before science was discovered by men? After many theories, what is left real for us?
Let me share about the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, the heart for us all. Not a myth. Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection was a mark of history. The Holy Bible and the texts which were handed down from generation to generation proved that, this man, was one of us. His great love, now lives in the breath we share to each other. The air, we breathe from the sky is a composition of oxygen from one earth crust.
Since it is the love month, which is February, may the inspiration of the Sacred Heart remind us that in life struggles (which is a part of life), we should be joyful with the hope of God’s promises to humanity.
The following are the promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, among others:
I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life. I will establish peace in their homes. I will comfort them in all their afflictions. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings. Sinners shall find in my heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy. Tepid souls shall become fervent. Fervent soul shall quickly mount to high perfection. I will bless every place where an image my heart shall be exposed and honored. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most of hardened hearts. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my heart, never to be effaced. I promise in the excessive mercy of my heart that my all-powerful love shall be their safe refuge in the last moment. (Apostleship of Prayer)
Truly, there are many beliefs about the heart, but as ordinary beings, the experiences we have are small miracles we give to each other. Sometimes, we even say it is “karma” or “dejavu” or sheer luck. We all have questions. We have different answers, and sometimes we cannot figure out. Hence, we shouldn’t be into any divisions. In this time only one heart would unite us all: a Creators heart, a sacred heart that we could all trust.
“Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in You.”
Happy Heart’s Day always!

27.When Its Time To Say Goodbye

When it is time to say goodbye what would you leave behind? Wealth? Or an experience of sense and well-being toward relationships? Were the moments shared enriching? Did you at least contribute an honor for your country, or created a chain reaction to make this a better world with happier people?
Everything is passing. In our enjoyment of temporary pursuits we should be content with bunched experiences. We have labored to preserve happy memories and leave traces behind. Our sons and daughters carry our name, untarnished and respected. Perhaps no big material wealth to leave but they knew how our lives struggled and worked hard. Our hopes of building a little egg nest provided them a reality of magic in wonderland.
I could remember when my father died. Although he never had enough time to make money because of an early death, I experienced to live in abundance. He bequeathed me with values. He taught me how to love the poor and be humble in spite of glory. He left me a basket of morality, a closet of good deeds and a home full of joy because of sharing and faith in God. He left me with the good memories I could never forget.
Death is sometimes a dreadful moment of truth. It may pain us deeply, as we rekindle our past intimacies. The more we love a person and enjoy his company, the greater our grief for his loss. We should understand that the past is past, and whatever happens everyday is a new day. The memory that happened between points in time is the treasure of the heart and soul. The passing away should leave us with a consciousness of ourselves and of the world. Sometimes we should learn to let go and accept to suffer for our pleasures. The good memories will strengthen the character.
Our souls need the tranquil emotions of piety more than the lively impressions of material wealth. Everyday is a day of preparation. Each today can be the last day to live a gracious exit. At least, we should have molded any child to become a good adult tomorrow. What we share today is our gift to the world.

28.What Is A Prayer

“Father into Your hands I commend my spirit,” this was the utterance of Jesus Christ in the seven last words before his death on the cross.
Maybe, this would also be our last words when we are near death.
One day I asked a friend about whom they would call in a close encounter with death. Mayumi, a Japanese student told me time she met a car accident, that she called on God.
“I knew my body ached all over, and I don’t know how to pray, but I repeatedly shouted, God! God! God! I don’t know God’s name because I don’t have a religion, yet my longing for God was there all the time.”
“I think calling God is a prayer.”
My cousin Rolly who suffered from a trauma, near death was holding the figurine of the Infant Jesus. “It’s okay cousin,” he told me.
“Please ask forgiveness for your sins,” I prodded him.
I loved my cousin so much, and I pitied him because he lived feeling alone. Before he died, we were together, and I was so sorry for not being able to save him from his sadness.
Before he passed away, he whispered and smiled to me, “I already prayed to God, as you told me.” Hearing his words, I felt relieved.
Everyone seems to know how to pray near dying, when scared, when asking for something, when pleading for something, when thanking God, when praying for an enemy, or having the best intentions even when angered.
The soul has to be clean when praying. It has to be free from guilt and hatred. It has to wish for the salvation of souls embracing each one in love.
On these occasions, the meaning of prayer to me becomes clear. “To you we give our lives God.”

29.Prayer in Humility
Prayer is at its best in humility and sacrifice. Prayer comes with God’s will. “All things work our together for good for those who love God and obey Him.”
Impossible things like moving mountains is a miracle that becomes granted. This may sound crazy, but who could ever contest God’s love and mercy in prayer? I couldn’t, you couldn’t, not one couldn’t contest God.
“If God is our shepherd? We shall not want.”
The “Our Father” is one of the best prayers on earth. I could see how my writing teachers repeated the fact that “The Holy Bible” is one of the best books ever written for the preservation of mankind.” This is not studying religion and being too strict on rules, but asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand when reading the Bible, then praying its chants.
Reading the Psalms and the Proverbs can ignite ideas for us in the belief that God is right in front of us face to face.
Religion teachers give us the formula of ACTS – A for adoration, C for contrition, T for thanksgiving, and S for supplication. This means adoring and thanking God first, then asking for forgiveness, then thanking Him for all the graces, then asking for favor and other things from our Father God.
Of course, praying is the solitude within us, the whispers of our heart, the longing of our soul. God knows the things we want before we even say it, only that petitions would be given their answers at the right time and when it’s best. We could not figure out the whys and ways of God because His thoughts are high as the heavens. What matters is the faith we have trusting in His eternal love for us all.

30.The Promise Of An Angel

Let me share this prayer for children and everyone:
“Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guide
To rule and guard…”
We’ve learn about this growing up Christians.
We are empowered by this prayer, too.
I have met one person who saw angels. She was so kind to me and shared this information. She is an angelologist.
An angelologist is a person who studies angels. That person should have a theological, experiential, and theoretical background. The late Cecille Gutierrez, a former nun and was a spirit-filled Christian had taken some psychology coursed in Newton College, Massachusetts, USA. After her studies, she became a missionary and had a training in Biblical Counseling in Germany, USA, and the Philippines.
According to Guttierrez, “It is true that angels are messengers from GOD. They are one order of spiritual beings that are attendants to the Almighty. They are ageless and they have no childhood. They have experienced neither death or birth because they are eternal. They have youthfulness and strength. Untiringly, they serve God and man.”
Angels align people to God. They even disguise themselves into human form. So we should be careful in our actions, especially in entertaining strangers for they may be angels in disguise (Hebrews, New Testament). Whatever is the subject, Gutierrez never fails to fill her imagination with angels, its appearances in nature, and its occurrences in life. As a result she turned into a visionary artist.
Our Relationship with Angels
According to Psalm 91, angels are sent by God to guard us in all our ways. They guide, assist, and protect mankind. Angels do this work but don’t interfere with our lives or our freewill.
If we take the initiative, angels are always willing to recue or help humans when in trouble even if people are not aware about them. “Usually from such experiences and angel relationship develops,” Gutierrez points out.
“Part of my mission is to help facilitate angel awareness.” But they should never be adored nor worshiped.
Angel Touch/ Angel Rescue
At 18, Gutierrez experienced an angel rescue. There was a big fire near their house. Her family got nearly trapped. But after getting help, she was amazed to see that the fire had stopped and their house was saved. Then she had a stroke. Her right hand felt paralyzed. She prayed and asked for an angel touch. She scribbled and scribbled repeatedly until she was able to draw 100 angels.
The Angel Promise
People next to us can be angels in disguise. It is sort of being compassionate to everyone and non-judgmental. Accepting and admonishing each other are signs of love. The angels help us to do our tasks, especially when we seek their help just like a real earthly friend. I couldn’t write exactly how they manifest, but only the thought of God and accomplishing things with all the earth, sun, and rain bowing to God’s will are signs that angels are always around guiding us. The blessings that are received everyday show some angels.
Almost every encounter or relationship with an angel brings about transformation in our lives for the good of our soul and for the glory of God. It is sad to know that some people bring misery and suffering on themselves. Sometimes, they abandon that free condition in which angels guided them. To those who want peace, joy, and love; angels share the fruit of the spirit. Anyone can hold on that promise. And far beyond our earthly dreams, you will be consoled by the thought that you can reach your goals because you are not alone. Listen to your angel!

31.Learning With Saint Hannibal
One nursery student asked me, ” Teacher, who is St. Hannival?”
“St. Hannibal,” I told him, “is a saint for vocations.”
“Oh.” Nathan smiled as if he understood all that I said. ” Does he love Jesus so much?” he curiously asked me.
“Of course, St. Hannibal loves Jesus so much, that is why he became a saint.”
From then on, Nathan knew St. Hannibal, and he always bowed at the altar with his two brothers when they’re in the house kissing his relic.
And then, we went on with our lessons, reading AEIOU and talking about Spiderman.
Also, on one occasion, MM, my smart niece at the young age of 5, asked me while I introduced St. Hannibal to her… “What does St. Hannibal do?”
I was surprised of her question, her big eyes searching me, intelligent answers.
“He prays and prays to Jesus and Mama Mary for young boys and girls like you.”
And then she smiled showing me the face of St Hannibal in the calendar.
I gave her a St. Hannibal bookmark and she kissed it, too.
“Thanks to Saint Hannibal,” MM said.
Times I was left alone after prayers, I keep asking myself, who is this Saint that children love so much, as if they’re so familiar with each other. Why am I introducing this saint to the children?
Grace of GOD? Perhaps. Like St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Hannibal wants to testify with us from day to day in this new millennium.
In a Language Center where I taught, my cubicle is adorned with nothing, but a cup of pencils, a bookmark showing St. Hannibals face, and the vocation prayer with our Lords picture. The students kept asking me questions about my only display. “Is he your father? Is he the Pope? Is he a priest? Who is he teacher? Tell me his name.”
Our subjects end discussing about him and work. It’s supernatural!
I could see their faces glowing while asking about vocation, their jobs, their studies, their dreams, their ambitions, and the kindness in them that they want to share.
I could see their zeal making things find its meaning, us, learning together with St. Hannibal.
Send O Lord, Holy Apostles into His church.

32.What Do Saints Tell Us
GOD expresses His love in many ways. Many of us hang on with saints and angels. It’s a bit strange, but my encounters with the saints seem the best times in my life. Maybe, because I am often alone and curious.
Truly, we all pray, and get these novena’s and recite them in the temple, home, or just anywhere, especially when we think, we want something and beg for something. Aside from reading the Bible and whispering the rosary to Mama Mary, and singing praises; we keep tight reading the special prayers for nine days. And miracles happen.
Miracles couldn’t be explained by any dogma, neither science. On earth, miracles are visually impossible and nonexistent. However, faith tells us to believe what we couldn’t grasp. Just look at Gods creations, and the beauty of our planet, the conception of babies.
The saints share to us how God seeks happiness and fulfillment in our daily encounters with life. They tell us the truth in the Bible and Jesus’ words.
St. Therese promised to rain down a shower of roses, and manifested small miracles. I had her picture once in my bag and then when a robber tried to slash my bag, he slashed the picture of St Therese in the corner of my bag. My belongings were saved. But St Therese’ head wasn’t even broken, only her neck.
– St. Michael and the angels guards the house.
– St. Jude makes things possible for people.
– St. Anthony provides financial help.
– St. Jose Maria Escriva gives jobs.
– St. Expeditus expedites requests.
– St. Joseph watches the home.
– St. Benedict drives evil Spirits.
– St. Hannibal suffices the needs of the religious and the holy workers.
And many more saints… just like you. I believe that when someone has a pure heart and a longing to share, s/he becomes a bit of a saint. Other people will be inspired by such good examples.
Of course, we all come to that dark part of ourselves. Yet, the way we beg God raises us higher than this earthly life. True peace and humility in our hearts when in prayer, give us the power to move situations pulling each other, for good, and in the will of God in our lives.
I couldn’t be better than anyone except that St Hannibal taught me the power of prayer. And as God says, “Pray without ceasing.”
Pray therefore.
Saint Hannibal is the patron saint for priests, brothers, nuns, church workers, workers, children, and those who are devoted to work: vocation.

33.Old Age Insecurity Syndrome
Can I not anymore behold the light of the sun and the stars, meditate on the noblest truths? Am I a stranger robbed of fortune and without friends? I am afraid of changes, I am uneasy with the passing of time… I am getting old.
Man is forced to know all the inward resources of his nature, passing or permanent. Enjoyment of life is enhanced and concentrated by the desire to obtain the greatest satisfaction from a possibly brief period of power and influence. The impulse of the highest individual development is combined with a powerful and varied nature which has mastered all the elements of culture and maturity.
Something has to be passed on to the younger generation before one retires.
At any time, one is driven by an inseparable impulse of worry and anxiety. The imaginations that someday one will be alone and will be losing youth creates fear and results to negative behavior. Sons and daughters will be leaving the house. It is evident that there would be big changes. Indeed, this is the time to pass on secrets of success and lessons to the next generation – and feel confident and respected.
Beat the old age insecurity syndrome. Dont judge severely the lifestyle of the present. Accept the fact that everybody is getting old and will be passing. Never feel insecure and remind and show someone an act of kindness and generosity. This can be a form of encouragement and light shared to suffice feelings of emptiness. The common things of life shouldn’t be forgotten.
Men should dare to live a significant zealous spirit all the time. To share knowledge is achieving immortality and closeness to the Divine.
All are alike and age is only physical. Every person bears a universal life no matter the time. And while one gets old… be strong for those who would come. Share the gifts of life.
Ebook draft. rosevoc2 in June 2012. Copyright Rosalinda Flores – Martinez and/or RoseVoc2.

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36 thoughts on “On Spirituality and Self Improvement. These articles have also been published online at Ezine Articles.com. This is a free ebook.

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