THE weekend after Black Friday, post Thanksgiving Day, I was still alone in a big house, one of the rare times that I am, as my wife with several friends are in a Holy Land tour while my daughter and her family are vacationing in Denver, Colorado. It was good that my son EJ, who is also by himself in his place in Arcadia, came home and treated me to a very nice Cuban cuisine in Irvine.
Although the weather was almost summer-like with very pleasant ocean breeze, it made me quite pensive and lazy. It is times like these that I am truly free, to clear toxins from my body as well the weariness of my soul, and do nothing, if I wanted to. It is the best time to be true to myself, doing what my spirit and my mind want, a powerful force that the body just obligingly follows.
And that is exactly what I am doing now: gardening, cooking, eating and now pounding the keyboard to express what my spirit wants me to communicate. Indeed, with social media and Asian Journal, I am able to communicate with thousands of you out there, wherever the internet is accessible. In so many ways, there is also some “fruits” of being alone, by simply doing some mental or spiritual work, when many are on temporary hibernation except those who are working in hospitals, jails or shopping centers.
Thanksgiving can and should be practiced everyday. When we wake up and open our eyes in the morning, what you hear and see and what you smell are enough BIG reasons to be grateful. When we are reasonably healthy, inside our own bodies are the most magnificent creations of an awesome God. When we have the natural appetite and there is enough food to eat is another simple reason to be grateful, as billions of people do not enjoy every day.
On a day with about 80 degrees in Huntington Beach, I decided to mostly spend it acting like a tourist by taking some pictures at the foot of the. It was an interesting afternoon as I enjoyed conversing with some vendors and even got a good prospect for my financial services business! The longer I live, the more I am convinced that the aspirations of most people are the same: health, happiness and peace of mind for them and their families. Despite toxic news from TV and newspapers, at the end of the day, what matters most is how you spend your day, happiness and how it affected other people, or if you added your share of “bad news” to the world.
I am reminded of a great retreat master, who told us that to be truly happy is to have JOY (JesusOthersYourself, in that order) in our hearts and live it out daily. Reversing that order will never bring real joy, he admonished. I never forgotten that advice and do my best to follow it as much as I can.
Along the way, true happiness and joy emanate from a grateful heart, and thanking HIM for what we a have, and never comparing ourselves to others who may have more in possessions.
To end my weekend, I passed by Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church (the only Franciscan managed church in the Diocese of Orange). The Saturday evening mass was just about to start, so I completed my Sunday mass obligation 20 hours earlier! The homily delivered by the charismatic Franciscan friar was perfect to conclude my leisurely and happy day, as he reaffirmed that indeed there is only one KING worthy of admiration and worth emulating. The only king that gives us true JOY is Jesus, the King of Kings!
What a great day, the less than a gallon of gas plus 10 quarters in the parking meter and under $10 hamburger lunch was worth a hundred times. Plus the inner happiness that I felt pretending that I was a tourist enjoying. Every weekend this part of Huntington Beach is always full of people especially during summer months! Come, visit this place and if you FB message me in advance, I can even meet you there and buy you a Starbucks or lunch, as your incentive for spending some gallons of your ga$!
In just a week is December and the beginning of Advent, in preparation for the birthday of JESUS. As we prepare for these joyful holidays, it is my hope that we do not follow what the secular world wants us to do, to be “politically correct,” by removing Christ from Christmas.
More and more people say HAPPY HOLIDAYS, rather than MERRY CHRISTMAS as it used to be. If we are afraid to manifest our beliefs and faith to others, then we are to be blamed for the decline of our rich Christian faith that our many martyrs and saints gallantly died for. If we are scared to even utter MERRY CHRISTMAS, then we are not worthy to be called Christians, or followers of Christ! As a practicing Catholic, I challenge all my brothers and sisters NOT to ever remove CHRIST in our Celebration of HIS birthday and to make HIM the centerpiece in our homes with HIS Holy Family. Christ is the reason for this Christmas season. Either we are with HIM or we are against Him!
Merry Christmas to all! May you enjoy what Christmas brings to all of us who believe in its true meaning. Peace to all men of goodwill.
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