Catholics, are you the true disciples of Jesus Christ?

One time I had a  long conversation about religion and moral with a Christian friend. After our long conversation, he asked me: " What church do you belong to?" I answered: " I am a Catholic." My friend was very surprised: " You are a Catholic?!". I was irritated by his reaction: " What's wrong with being a Catholic?" Realizing that I had misunderstood him, he immediately explained: " No, no, nothing wrong. I am just surprised that you are a Catholic because Catholics don't talk about God like you." I thanked him for his compliment; however, I was saddened by it.

Are we Catholics today truly the disciples for Christ? Are we the militant Church, burned inwards with the zeal to serve the Lord and sinners? Are we willing to be ridiculed as "holier than Thou", "fanatic", "religious creep", " obsessed by sins", "obsessed by the Devil", "apostate", and so on when we speak the Truth and defend our Faith. Believe me, I was called with all those mentioned terms and more. Believe me, it did hurt especially when they came from the ones closest to you and the one you looked up to for spiritual guidance.

But the Lord never said that following Him would be easy. Being a true disciple, one will SUFFER, but one just has to ignore all criticisms and march on. Besides SUFFERING, what else can I offer my Suffering Lord? If I cannot speak up when I see something wrong with my church or Christian friends, if I cannot suffer a little discomfort to pray a little longer, if I cannot stay a little hungry for Christ, if I cannot stop shopping on Sunday, if I cannot admonish sinners, if I can't stand to be ridiculed or misunderstood, if I cannot speak against the evils of the modern world especially ABORTION, what good I am to be a Catholic? A timid and silent Catholic does not serve the Lord well, instead he can hinder the work of God just as a coward soldier can only harm his comrades during a fierce battle. Are you a Sunday-only Catholic? Are you a Catholic who prays a lot but withdraws himself and  consider the worldly affair none of his business? If you are Sunday-only Catholic, you only render the Lord lip-service for one hour a week. If you are a religious hermit, you will have a hard time to answer Him when the Eternal Judge ask ' Where were you when the kill the least of my brothers?'.

Now I like to tell you some of my experiences , not to boast about them , but just to illustrate my persuasion and to encourage you.

My father is not a Catholic. As a matter of fact, I am the only Catholic in my family. My father once disowned me, condemned me many times, but all those did not stop me from becoming Catholic and living  out the Gospel. I still visit him and we have a courteous rapport as long as we do not talk about God or religion. Don't get me wrong. I love my dad and I respect him as he is entitled of his own opinion but to love God, I have to offend man even that man just happens to be my dad. What a agony anytime I have to tell my parents that my wife is pregnant or she gave birth to one of our six children. You will not know how I feel when I meet my father face to face or talk to him through the phone. I suffered much for the love of God and for the love for my father. If he only knows ..., if he only knows the Lord ....

I was a Catholic CCD teacher for three or four years preparing the second graders to receive the Lord's Precious Body and Blood for the first time. I was asked to serve Him in that capacity right after I was confirmed as a Catholic. You cannot realize the anxiety and fear that I had when I accepted that challenge. Me? Teaching CCD ? I myself still need someone else to teach me about the Catholic Faith, not alone teaching anybody else! I contemplated on that offering for three weeks and finally I said yes to the Lord. If it does not hurt, it does not count much.

I always love the Lord in the Holy Eucharist even when I was a little boy. I was baptized when I was several days old without my father's knowledge, thanks to my grand-mother. My father resented the Catholic Church but he sent me to the Catholic elementary school as he had high regards for Catholic schools. And all the Catholic background I had came from my religious classes from first to fifth grade. I had never been a good student, always ranked among the last 25% of my class, but the only subject I excelled over all my classmates was Catechism. I loved to read about the Old Testament and everything about Jesus Christ. I used to watch my classmates receiving the Holy Communion  longing that some day I would be able to do the same without fully comprehending what the Sacrament meant.

Therefore, when I taught CCD, I taught the children about the Sacrifice of the Suffering Lord, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the precious Body and Blood of the Immolated One. I taught them with my heart. I was outspoken against the heretical textbook which confused our youngsters while referring the Sacred Species merely as holy bread and wine and when it introduced the Blessed Sacrament by using the illustration of eating peanut-and-butter sandwiches.  And for my effort, I was fired  in the middle of the program. Every body who knew me was shocked and wondered what had happened. My wife felt a disgrace for the whole family. I was much humiliated, distressed, and sorry for the children placed under my care. I felt like betraying them. I just prayed that they had a good teacher. And I believed they would never forget what I taught them even just for a short time. One father came to me to console me and told me that his daughter learnt more from me during few months than his other daughter learnt throughout her grade-school. One other father was confirmed as a Catholic and now brought his family up according to the true Teaching of the Church. Through the Divine Grace, prayers, and examples, one can change the world around him.

I have to tend to my family now. May the Lord grant you courage to walk the difficult walk, to run the strenuous race, and to fight the good fight. Remember, if it does not hurt, it does not count much, only lip-service to the Lord.

May God bless you and thank you.

The Life of an Apostolate of Christ
Dear Lord,
I will spend the remaining days of my life to serve You.
I once was a slave and You had paid a ransom for me to be the son of God.
What a price You had paid.
My life now becomes Yours,
I die so that You live in me.
My labor shall be Your labor. No task shall be too small or too large as I will only lend You a helping hand.
All praises shall be Yours and for Your Glory, all condemnations and disappointments shall be Your Will  for me to practice virtues.
But in all things, I shall live for You and You alone,
By caring for my wife,
By caring for my children,
By caring for others,
By being completely disinterested in myself.
Help me to be cheerful, O Lord, as Father of Opus Dei once said,
"You stop being Christian when you stop being cheerful."
And You Yourself had said:
"A smile is a rose which is the most beautiful when it blooms on the bruised lips."
Lord, help me to work hard so that our daily tasks can be a job well done,
worthy of offering to You.
You told us to be "the light of the world",
And You also revealed to your servant that to be able to change the world and to love others, first I have to love You with a greater intensity
so that Love will overflow from me to others.
And to love You with a greater intensity, I have to live a life of imitating Your Life on earth,
A life of prayers,
A life of sacrifices,
A life of longing for You,
A life of penances,
A life of service,
A life of self forgetfulness,
A life which will be radiant with Love.
O my dear Lord, O my sweet Mother,
Teach me to live that life,
Help me to live that life.
I pray that at the end of each day, I can lay down and rest my tired back and we can say to each other,
"This day is well spent."