When ordinary citizens don’t have the moral courage to do the right thing
Or even to examine what is the right thing
How easy it is to fall into the wrong thing
Incited by those wicked wolves in sheep’s clothing

I witnessed this early on in childhood’s playground
When peers were too scared to stand up to bullies
And allowed malicious crimes of taunting, beating, insulting, stealing, ostracizing
The deceptively charismatic and the imposingly strong finding unanimous, uncontested favor

As we grow older, the offenses become more hidden—
Is it still wrong if you don’t caught, if it’s the majority opinion?
The stakes are certainly higher, with corporations poisoning our every means of sustenance
While we continue to buy stocks in those profitable yet destructive giants

Sex, which is supposed to be a natural good, becomes divorced from its original intent
Marriages fall apart, young adults no longer care to get married or have kids
Unfortunately, it’s the children who suffer quietly, their worlds unstable, unpredictable by the inconstancy of it all
To fix things, we say we need to redefine marriage, the family, gender, and sexuality—our parents got it wrong, so now we gotta do things different

For all its education, its digitized information network, Ivy League professors, and TED Talk experts,
The world doesn’t seem to be getting wiser or more at peace
We’re lacking in basic empathy, for each other and for God
These technological, scientific advances are creating an emotional, spiritual divide

I must admit, the stories of victims are also hard to trust these days
When people become addicted to numb their pain, we’re so desperate just to get a fix
That we forget that God is watching out; in sadness, He’s giving us a second, a third, a fourth chance
But there’s a point where the things we want are so harmful—each cut is an expression of a perpetual self-hatred

So the pop psychologists are right, you must love yourself
But they’re also wrong when they try to turn you away from God
Who loved you first and always, and better than anybody can
Who made you for a purpose, for eternal happiness, with Him, not without

Dearest Jesus,

I’m about to meet with You in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
And I can’t wait to receive You entirely—
Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity
Even though I’m so very unworthy

As I come to You, I’m burdened by many problems and pains
Endless intentions for my loved ones, especially for their souls
A wide array of issues which are beyond my human ability and frailty
I also come to You with the sins I’ve committed this week and throughout my life
I’m heartily sorry—please help, heal, and forgive me and mine

The Catholic Mass is an offering and thanksgiving
It’s the New Passover, the New Covenant, the Supper of the Lamb
You are perpetually made present
Turning the ordinary into the awe-inspiring divine

What will happen to me after our communion?
Oh, prepare me by Your grace
I need You so terribly, Lord
Bless me as I enter this sacred place
Transform me into a new creation
That I may rightfully give You praise

On paper, it may seem like we’ve got completely contrasting ideas and beliefs
But I can still consider you my neighbor and potential friend
Would I take a bullet for you? I would hope so…
And pray for you as well

When I meet with you, I don’t really care about appearance or success
Are you leading a virtuous life? Are you seeking truth?
What gifts has God given you?
What can I praise and thank Him for, on your behalf?

Sometimes conflict causes the good to become better, the bad to become worse
That would be my main concern…
We can argue, but may it be in a spirit of mutual peace and respect
We don’t want to sacrifice human decency, we don’t want to throw anyone under the bus

At the root of atheism, it’s been said there’s an underlying emotional reason
Because logic makes sense, and without a Creator, how can anything be explained?
You don’t believe it can ever be certified that a deity exists
But I’m certain that you exist precisely because of Him—the wonders of each cell in your body, your intellect capable of free will

Then why aren’t my prayers being answered?
Why is there so much suffering in the world?
Why, if God is so good and powerful, would He allow war, rape, cancer, starvation, child abuse?
If He’s always watching us and knows all things, why do bad people get away with murder?

I sympathize with all these questions and have pondered them myself
Ultimately, I looked at Jesus and learned how God suffers with and for us
More intensely, more sensitively, than we could possibly know or empathize
And in the parable of the prodigal, the Good Father is still searching, waiting with a broken heart

Maybe you don’t trust feelings, and faith is based too much on them
But being human means that we have both reason and emotion
Have you ever wondered if they are compatible?
If the height of reason, the summit of emotion, is a life ordered towards the greatest good, Who is God?

Why are we moved by beauty, by babies born and sacrificial love?
It’s not useless sentiment, for we’re inspired to shine like the stars
Now, if you look at humanity, I challenge you to find anyone as beautiful, honorable, wise, and good as Jesus
In all of objective and carefully scrutinized history, has there been anyone that can even hold a candle to Him?

He brings out the best in us
Because God is active and real and alive
From twelve apostles, He’s been transforming all the ends of the earth
Do you really think this is a fluke, a fiction that’s become a mass hysteria?

Would the situation change if you experienced a miracle?
Never mind the testimonies of those “crazy Christians”
You want to know it for yourself, to put your fingers inside His wounds
To have one prayer answered, that only He could know and do

Well, pray—the shortest distance to God is this direct line
Pray, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain
Humble yourself, purify your heart, before the possibility of an Almighty and All-Loving God
Let Him surprise you, and give you a reason for your faith

We seem to want a comfortable and convenient, feel-good religion
Eliminating the God of justice in the Old Testament
Who brought the Great Flood during the time of Noah,
And sent the ten plagues against hard-hearted Pharoah in the land of Egypt

Dare I say it—we prefer that God take the consequences of human sin upon Himself
That He should suffer, while we get away scot-free?
And even still, that He should give us spacious mansions in His Father’s house
Believing that we go straight to heaven without a minute of purgatory

While on earth, we pick and choose which parts of the Bible we accept or reject
No need for church, we go maybe once or twice a year, if anything
And pray to God only when there’s something we desperately need
I don’t know, does this all sound familiar or accurate to you?

My soul feels that the cry for mercy is so great in the world—
The cup of our transgressions must be overflowing
But if we don’t repent, if we don’t take up the cross,
How are we to follow in our Savior’s footsteps?

Jesus is our hope for heaven, but He needs to be engraved in our hearts
We need to know Him intimately so as to love Him truly
In a living, growing relationship—a courtship ending in marriage
This is our inheritance, so please, let us not remove ourselves from His family

How easily we lose light and sight
Forgetting that we are children of Almighty God
“Trust nobody” becomes our underlying philosophy
Because we’ve been hurt and blame it on the seeming absence of the Lord

But our Father is not a negligent parent
He’s not apathetic to our needs
Sometimes we wander off like prodigal sons
And other times, He draws us closer to imitate His Son

Jesus, our Brother,
You still suffer
If not in resurrected body,
Then surely in Your compassionate human-Divine Heart

You Will that we be creatures of heaven
It’s the letting go of our pride and worldly attachments that grieves us so
As we refuse the medicine of acceptance
And turn down the life-changing assistance, the sanctifying gifts of Your Holy Spirit

In darkness, we lie without wisdom or faith
In self-centered anguish, we cry without real hope or sacrificial love
We are anything but docile
If we reject that we need to be saved, to be changed, to be healed, taught, freed, made whole again in You

“Jesus said to them, ‘The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.’ ” (John 12:35-36)

We can’t have one foot in heaven and the other in hell
Or do you think that the foul stench of the devil will permeate into paradise?
If one aims for purgatory and misses, where do you think he would go?
In an honest examination of conscience, we need to assess the state of our souls
For Scripture says that God will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16)

I’ve been watching the world around me lose its faith
Taking Christ out of Christmas, and from the rest of the year too
Some people claiming to be filled with (or under the inspiration of) the Holy Spirit
But what’s displayed is something different, bearing little to no fruit
And my heart is grieved at the hedonism, the narcissism, the absolute relativism taking the place of true religion

“Oh, but God doesn’t mind; He loves the sinner”—so should you still live in the mud?
“Once saved, always saved” and a plethora of other fallacies
If you profess with your lips but not with your life, what use is it?
If you presume to be saved, are you setting yourself even above God,
Above the Sacred Scripture, which says that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling? (Philippians 2:12)

Sadly, so many people are denying that Jesus even founded a universal Church
Ignoring His promise to St. Peter (Matthew 16:18), and therefore, losing the solid ground, the fertile soil on which to build and plant their faith
If Jesus is just a prophet and not God, then go to Islam, to Buddhism, to the New Age
If He cannot transubstantiate bread and wine into His own Flesh and Blood, then join the protesting rebellion
As for me, I want to be obedient, I want to serve Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the (Bread of) Life

“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Because at His Name, every knee shall bend (Philippians 2:10)
Because I am not worthy even to untie His sandal strap (John 1:27)
Because He said, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood” (Mark 14:22, 24)
Because the Alpha and Omega wants to make His dwelling with the human race (Revelation 21:3, 6)
Because I wish to give thanks to Jesus, the Great High Priest, for healing my life (Luke 17:15-16)
Because I want to beg Him to have mercy on me, a sinner (Luke 18:13)
Because this day, this moment, He promises that I will be with Him, Who is our Paradise (Luke 23:43)
Because, like Mother Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant, my soul would proclaim the greatness of the Lord and rejoice in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47)

Just tried taking an online course about stress management
But the instructor’s presentation was only adding to my stress
So I had to stop and take a breather
Why can’t life be much simpler… why can’t I just turn to You?

Seems like there are gurus and PhD’s for everything these days
And people falsifying their résumés in order to get ahead
The whole Bitcoin / digital currency trend exemplifies what I think
Is the emperor’s new clothes—how hype tends to trump substance

I worry too much, Lord, and that’s why I can’t ask the mountains to move
I’m also too greedy, falling into the trap of Black Friday
A distortion of Your Good Friday when You freely offered us freedom
From sin and death, from pride and hell, from the addictions I keep coming back to

The journey can be an epic adventure like in The Lord of the Rings
You’ll be my companion because without Your grace, I’d be totally defenseless,
Without a true friend in the world, without any guidance to see through the dark and wind and rain
You alone calm the storms, so teach me, Lord, that I may wholly follow You

Feels like I’ve done nothing, Lord
Never saved any babies from getting aborted
Never brought any atheists to the faith
I’ve never married nor raised children for Your Kingdom
Never given the shirt off my back to someone who needed it more

I consume and enjoy
I play and I laugh
I make friends with those with make me feel good
And say no when the going gets tough

When I die, Lord, I’m afraid I’ll be coming to You with mostly empty hands
I was too fearful to embrace the cross as You asked
How can I rightfully call You my God
When I have so often worshipped
Everything lesser than You?

Turn this life around, Lord
The time is getting shorter
Give me a faithful heart of flesh (not stone), Lord
I believe that You can bring my life to order

Sometimes this life’s like a puzzle, a maze I can’t figure out
Lord, what’s happening to my mind?
I keep thinking that it shouldn’t be this way
My faith isn’t even the size of a mustard seed

Spiritual scrupulosity makes me agonize over every step
I fear to take action, as my life becomes a heavy cross
And the judgments I’ve pronounced on others in my heart
Are really reflections of the faults I see within myself

I have to turn to You solely at this time
And remember that I’m a beloved temple of the Holy Spirit
The evil one can assail my thoughts with innumerable distractions
Yet my prayer can remain unbroken, even if I struggle to hear Your voice

I’ve been the recipient of so any graces in the past
I must count those blessings, and praise and thank You in the midst of suffering
While I mourn my losses, I acknowledge that You are an infinite Giver
Who wills that we try our best, because You are ready to meet us with Your best, the fulfillment of all desire