Always the Best and Nothing Less

[Daniel Mitsui’s “Wedding at Cana” in the Traditional Japanese style.]

The Wedding at Cana has been special to me ever since my silent retreat experience with Mary in 2011. Only, I didn’t realize how special it was to me until the past year. More and more it appeared in my life. More and more… but here are a few treats from the wedding feast, just in time as America feasts this Thanksgiving week:

—–1) After telling her Son there is no wine left, Mary turns to the servants of the wedding feast and tells them, “Do whatever He tells you.” These are Mary’s last words in the Gospels. No more of her words are recorded, and so these have a weight to them. But, while I prayed the Rosary and contemplated on this mystery, I heard Our Lady say to me: “Do whatever He tells you… when He tells you.”

I immediately realized that just as important as the “what He tells you” is the “when He tells you”!

So often we think we know what we need to do, so we rush, we hurry and end up doing not as well as we could have. I can think of many examples where if I had only slowed down, prepared, planned and waited to the Holy Spirit to send me, I would have succeeded. Learning to follow Divine Timing has been difficult, but I have seen things happen that are nothing short of miraculous. Coincidence just can’t explain away enough these experiences (one of which I may share in more depth later).

CremeBrulee—–2) For the longest time I wondered how strange it was for Jesus to make/serve the best wine after wedding guests were already too drunk to know the difference and appreciate anything. Like, why would anyone give a thousand dollars to an intoxicated person? Or why give a crème brûlée to someone who has a miserable cold and can’t even taste anything? Or why serve the finest sashimi to guests who don’t know their shoes from their sushi?

Well, I asked Jesus this point blank, in front of a group of friends (His beloveds), while He was in the Blessed Sacrament. And I stared Him down. And He sent the Holy Spirit gushing into me. Once I asked, the answer just swelled up from out of nowhere, effortlessly:

Jesus saves the best for us, makes the best for us… always the best and never less… because He is God and because He loves us. Even when we are too drunk to see the greatness of the gifts He has given us, too wasted to understand and use the talents He gave us, too stupid to care for the loved ones He brought us to, too sinful to love Him, even despite all our inadequacy… He still gives us all of Himself and everything good for us.

And if we don’t see the goodness, the greatness, the loveliness and treasure… it’s because we need to get sober. Otherwise, we will miss out on all that Heavenly glory (as Bruce Lee used to say):

“Mary, I have no wine. Please ask your Son to turn my blood into love. Mary, tell Him, ask Him.”

-Evan Pham, as inspired by St. Francis de Sales

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The Key to Immortality

Hello readers of Holy Smack! Happy blessed Thanksgiving to all you Americans of the United States.

Mao

Because of my Chinese background, I was thinking the other day: who is the most widely well-known Chinese person in the history of mankind?

Could it be Mao Zedong? The infamous and notorious butcher of a chairman? Who was responsible for at least two failed class revolutions in China that resulted in at least 30 million deaths each.

Christ have mercy on him and their souls.

Emperor Qin

Could it be Qin Shi Huang Di? The infamous and notorious butcher of an emperor? The one who mandated that construction workers of his Great Wall improvise when they ran out of bricks. And so the bodies of workers and peasants were used instead. The Great Wall is the world’s longest mass-grave, visible from space they say.

Lord have mercy on them all.Great Wall of Death

… Or could it be Bruce Lee? The famous and celebrated martial artist of the body and the mind?

Yes, my friends — Bruce Lee read, studied and loved philosophy. And now that I’m in the philosophy program at seminary, I’m also discovering the intrigue and intensity of what our human minds can do. But before I am articulate enough to share that aspect, let me share this:

A lover of life!

A lover of life!

Bruce Lee and his son in 1966.

And what a life Mr. Lee lived! In 32 years, he went from awkward skinny kid stuck in Hong Kong and awkward Chinese immigrant stuck in San Francisco, to Amazing. Just Amazing. It makes me think if he had lived on, what else could he have done? What else? (Reminds me of Jesus Christ, who in 33 years went from unknown to UNIVERSAL SAVIOR… but we’ll talk more about Him another time, aka: Christmas?)

And then I realized that even though Bruce Lee died so early, that I doubt anyone would think his life was wasted. In fact, no matter how short a life is lived — if lived worthy of honorable memory — it is a life of immortal importance. Because we are all immortal. What we leave behind: our legacy, our children, our friends, our love and contribution is all forever. What we leave behind: our crimes, our orphans, our enemies, our selfishness and deprivation is all forever.

So we are all immortal, only the question is: in what way will we be immortal? Will you be immortal in Heaven? and leave tracks behind that help others aim for Heaven? Or will you be immortal in Hell? and leave snares behind you…

For your consideration, please have a look (satisfaction guaranteed):