Sunday, May 31, 2009



The Holy Spirit keeps gently but relentlessly brooding over His people generation after generation—renewing, bringing fresh fire, refreshing, anointing, empowering and transforming the Body of Christ toward maturity. He may want to blow differently in different cultures and levels of society and under different political and socio-economic circumstances. More than forty years ago the renewal winds first swept into the Catholic Church in a unique way in our generation. Let us welcome His possibly surprising new directions in this new millennium and follow Him in eager obedience without fear.

Pope John Paul II urged the Church to “bring to life that ‘culture of Pentecost’ that alone can make fruitful the civilization of love and friendly co-existence among peoples. With fervent insistence, never tire of praying ‘Come, Holy Spirit! Come! Come!’

Do we dare join John Paul the Great in his supplication, “Veni Sancte Spiritus” and accept the Spirit’s Fresh Fire? Will we open our hearts to make it personal?


Leona Choy

Come, Holy Spirit

descend on me with FRESH FIRE

flames of Pentecost, tongues of FIRE

fall upon and fill me

renew my stony heart to flesh

purify my soul

burn away the dross of self.

O Holy Spirit of God

Light Your Church AFIRE

transform us to burning bushes

yet not consumed, living sacrifices

touch our lips with glowing coals until

we are fully possessed by You

to speak holy words, think holy thoughts

We see reflected in Your holy FIRE

the brilliance of Your Manifest Presence

let the flames of Your searing love

blaze fiercely on the altars of our hearts

never quenched, never diminished

a perpetual sacrifice of praise

as fragrant incense rising to God’s throne.

O Spirit, impart to me a burning heart

as I walk with Christ on my Emmaus road

fan the embers of my passion

back to “first love” intensity.

O Spirit, endue Your Church with holy power

to spread Your FIRE abroad

and ignite the Final Harvest Fields ablaze

to rescue rebellious mankind

from the kingdom of darkness

to Your brilliant kingdom of light

by Your uncommon FIRE!


Excerpt from a chapter titled WIND POWER

in Leona's work-in-progress:


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who doesn’t like holidays?

If you do, then prepare for heaven where the party never ends!
Start enjoying the celebration now—Listen! Do you hear the music?

“In the house of God there is never-ending festival; the
angel choir makes eternal holiday; the presence of God's
face gives joy that never fails. And from that everlasting,
perpetual festivity there sounds in the ears of the heart
a strain, mysterious, melodious, sweet—provided the world
does not drown it out.”

St. Augustine
From Patrologia Latina


Leona Choy

Tune the ears of my heart
to hear the melodious strains
of everlasting divine festivity
in the presence of God
in the joyous face of God
in the house of God
mysterious, sweet, holy music
dulcet alleluias
that only my hushed spirit can hear.

Let not the vain world
the love of the world
the things of the world
the clamor of the world
with its enchanting allurements
and siren charms
bombard my delicate ear
to drown out the sacred song
of the angelic choir
that magnifies the majesty of God
and makes eternal holiday.

Copyright Leona Choy 2009
From her unpublished work,
LATTER RAIN: Wordsmithing late-in-the-season.


Friday, May 29, 2009



Leona Choy

I am a voice
only one voice
a transient messenger
for the One Who said
I AM The Word

I am not The Word
I simply process words
and flesh out thoughts.
The Eternal God is The Word
He is The Message
to be communicated faithfully.

A time will come
when my mortal voice is stilled
no longer audible to human ears
when I have put a period
after the last written sentence
in the concluding paragraph
of my final work-in-progress.

I pray that my silent words
written not on parchment
with an ancient quill
by candlelight
but typed on my P.C.
on eight and a half by eleven sheets
while burning the midnight oil
will continue to speak
to those who have ears to hear
and hearts to receive
my account of His faithfulness
Who is The Word made flesh.

Copyright Leona Choy 2009
From her unpublished work,
Wordsmithing late-in-the-season.


Habakkuk 3:17-19 For Writers Who are Christians

Leona Choy

Though my diligent writing doesn’t seem to be blossoming,

and there are no acceptance letters in my mailbox,

Though my queries and book proposals are failing to interest

publishers, and I’m beginning to doubt they were read,

And the income from my writing hasn’t been sufficient

to take my family to lunch at MacDonald’s;

Though the postage increase threatens to close down

my little self-employed business,

And I stupidly pushed the computer Delete key instead of Print

on my latest long-term writing project;

Though I unintentionally forgot to enclose S.A.S.E.s

in the entire stack of queries I mailed out to editors,

Though my family responsibilities are increasing to the point

that my writing time is virtually squeezed out,

And my writer’s block is reaching depression proportions,

And I have no impressive magazine article tear sheets

in my stall to pad my resumes,

Yet. . . .

I will rejoice in the Lord who called me to communicate for Him

according to the opportunities He gives me!

I will rejoice in the God who reigns over my life and works!

The Lord God is my strength, who rewards faithfulness and doesn’t

count published credits as my salvation-ticket to Heaven.

The Lord God is my Supreme Editor as I co-labor with Him to make

His Kingdom known in my orbit of His ordained relationships.

He has kept my feet from slipping as I contemplate my few results

when compared to the sensational successes of others,

And encouraged me to plug away at improving my writing craft

to a professional level to honor Him and His Name.

Yea, I will study the markets more carefully, listen more closely

to the whispering of His Holy Spirit, and check my ideas with Him

before writing with full throttle.

So may I walk humbly before God, writing for His greater glory,

and fulfilling my high calling in Christ Jesus.

Hallelujah! Amen!

Copyright 2009 Leona Choy

ad majorem Dei gloriam

Monday, May 25, 2009



“…Thank you, God, for farmers and gardens and rain and sunshine and clouds and holidays and football and bless this food. And thank you for Memorial Day when we remember the soldiers who died fighting for our country. Amen.”

“Amen! I’m always proud of you, Jeffrey, when you pray before our meals for so many special things that you are thankful to God for. I’m sure God is listening and smiling on you. You must have learned about Memorial Day at school, right?”

“I did. After the Civil War in 1868 General John A. Logan made a proclamation that people should honor both the Union soldiers and the Confederate ones. They put little American flags on the graves of every soldier in Arlington Cemetery every year on May 30. After that the idea spread all over the country. Now, I guess, they moved the date to the last Monday in May so we can get a longer holiday weekend.”

“When I was about your age, Jeffrey, we called it ‘Decoration Day’ and the veterans from other wars put flags on the soldiers’ graves in the cemetery in Iowa where I lived too. It didn’t matter whether they were killed in battle or died later. And everyone brought fresh flowers, especially Peonies and Irises and Lilacs from their gardens, to put on the graves. They decorated not only the soldiers’ graves but those of other people in their families who died. ”

“Veterans are people who came back from the war, right? I read that most cities had parades on that day. Did they do that in your hometown, Grandma?”

“Every year without fail. Bands from the local high schools marched in the parade and all the living veterans from several wars marched in the parade wearing hats that showed what branch of the military they served in. Then they had music and speeches about brave heroes. Everyone in town bought red paper poppies from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to raise money to help families of the soldiers who died in the war. The poppies were usually made by disabled veterans.”

“How did the custom of the poppies start?”

“A soldier named John McCrae, who served in the American army in France in the World War I, wrote a poem about his fellow soldiers who died there. They were buried in a cemetery called Flanders. All of us had to memorize that poem in school.”

“Do you still remember the words, Grandma?”

“The first verse is,

‘In Flanders field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Love and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders field.’

I guess real poppy flowers were planted between the white crosses in the cemetery.”

“When we study history in school it seems like there are always wars going on somewhere. Why do people fight and kill each other, Grandma?”

“There is not a simple answer. The leaders of some countries, but usually not the ordinary people, selfishly want to conquer other nations and take away their freedoms and their land. In the United States, our armed forces volunteer to leave their homes and families to courageously fight to defend our freedom from enemies who want to control us. Our soldiers also help to defend other countries which are threatened by enemies who want to gain power over them and hurt their people.

“Did you know some of the soldiers who went to war when you were young?”

“A lot of my uncles and cousins and boys from our high school class joined the army and navy right after they graduated. Some of them whom I knew really well got killed. Families used to put a banner with a gold star in their window to honor the memory of their son or husband or brother who got killed in the war.”

“Were any of our own family in the wars?”

“Your Great-Grandfather, Frank, my Daddy, fought in France with the American army about the same time that soldier wrote the Flanders poem. I thank God that he didn’t get killed there. When the war was over and he got out of the army, he married my Mother and a little girl was born to them—me! When I was young I used to dress up in his uniform and play soldier with my friends. Daddy was with the 313th Ammunition Train Division which was in charge of shipping guns to the troops who were fighting on the front lines. I have a photo of him in France with a horse he rode alongside the trains to protect the shipments.”

“That’s so cool. I wish I could have met him. I’ll bet he would have some exciting stories to tell.”

“I expect you will meet your Great Grandpa Frank someday in heaven. He had Jesus in his heart too. On your Mommy’s side of the family, her father is a very high-ranking soldier in the Thailand army. He is your Grandfather whom you call ‘Kun-ta’ who comes to visit you sometime with your Grandma whom you call ‘Kun-yai’. Your Grandfather was a famous career soldier and held an important position in the army. He has retired now with the official rank of General.”

“Kun-ta is not his name, Grandma. It means ‘grandfather’ in Thai. He told me he even served in the palace of the King of Thailand. When I was little and visited Thailand, he assigned some of his soldiers to help take care of me while I was playing. He was in charge of the Cavalry and is a really good horseman. We went to see where he had to live part of the time when he was on duty. I’m proud of my ‘Kun-ta’.”

“Your Grandpa Ted, your Daddy’s Dad, who was Grandma’s husband, served in the American Marine Corps during part of his college years. He was a Specialist Interpreter with the Intelligence and was sent to China with the First Marine Division. He’ll have plenty of adventures to tell you about when you meet him in heaven too. He died before you were born so he didn’t know about you—but he probably knows all about you now and even prays for you. He must be proud of how big you are growing and how well you are learning.”

“Wasn’t Uncle Rick, Daddy’s brother, in the army too?”

“Yes. He served with the Nike Hercules Missile Division of the U. S. Army that was in charge of defending Washington, D.C. in case of enemy attack during the Vietnam War. He volunteered for the army soon after he finished high school. He learned so much about guns and ammunition in the army and that may be why he likes to teach classes now to certify citizens in gun safety for the NRA.”

“Whew! Anyone else? This is exciting to know about.”

“Your Great-Great-Grandfather Jan, (John)—who was my grandfather in Europe in what is now called the Czech Republic—was forced to serve in the army of Austria-Hungary because that country occupied his homeland. That was sometime in the mid-1800s. I have only one photo of him, and he was in an army uniform. After he got home he married my grandmother, Frantiska, and they had six children, one of whom was my Daddy, Frank, whom I already told you about.”

“I have lots of names of real family members to think about on Memorial Day, won’t I?”

“People should display the American flag and on public buildings it flies at half mast. When President Clinton was in office in 2000, he made a proclamation for a National Moment of Remembrance that we should observe at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Memorial Day. We can either be silent and honor our military who have died, and veterans and all our friends who have died, or we can pray for them as we listen to a soldier play ‘Taps’ on a bugle or trumpet.”

“What is ‘Taps’, Grandma?”

“It is a short, slow, beautiful melody of only 24 notes which is played in military installations to signal ‘lights out’ at bedtime, or at the funerals of veterans, or at flag ceremonies. Our President goes to Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and ‘Taps’ are played. There are many versions of the words to that melody, but one of them is:
‘Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky;
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.’”

“I guess there’s a lot more to Memorial Day than having picnics and eating barbecue and having a fun holiday—and watching the Indianapolis 500.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009



“When Daddy and I drive up to Pennsylvania, we go to have fun at Dutch Wonderland or ride the old steam engine train from Strasburg. I like to see the horses and buggies the Amish people still drive or watch them plow with teams of horses in the fields. What did you do in Lancaster last week, Grandma?”

“I used to live there with your grandpa Ted who is in heaven, whom you never met. Your Daddy lived there with us when he was a teenager. Your uncles were already grown up and living somewhere else. When I go to Pennsylvania, I don’t usually go to see the things you do because they are sort of everyday common sights. I drove there this time to visit.”

“Did you visit people who were your friends when you lived there?”

“They are still my friends. But many of them are in Retirement Homes or Care Centers, or even in the hospital. Most of them are quite elderly now. They need people to take care of them. Jeffrey, I’ll tell you a secret. I really went to visit Jesus.

“Jesus is in heaven and in my heart. How could you visit Jesus in Pennsylvania?

“Let me read you something from the Bible that Jesus said when He was living on the earth:

“When I [Jesus] was hungry, you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did ….[we do that]?
Then the King [Jesus] will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

“Grandma, did you go to see people in prison?”

“There are many kinds of prisons, Jeffrey. Not all of them have bars and locks. A prison can be any situation people can’t get out of, or some place where they don’t want to be; some place where they have to be, not because they committed a crime but because they became sick or very old and needed to be where someone could take care of them."

“Like a Nursing Center? Once I visited my Daddy’s friend Charlie in Florida where he was in one after his surgery. He had a really little room. When he got better, he went back to live in his big house with his dog and cat.”

“Sort of like that. But many people have to live the rest of their lives in Nursing Homes or Retirement Homes. One of my friends is nearly 100 years old; others are in their nineties. They are away from their familiar surroundings and miss their own homes and all the things they enjoyed doing there for many years with their families. They aren’t going to get well again and return home. All of them are widows whose husbands have died.”

“Don’t people take good care of them in those places?

“Mostly they are treated well, but they are lonely for their friends and family. Sometimes their families live far away and can’t come to visit them very often. Sometimes they feel like their friends have forgotten all about them.”

“Are they really hungry and thirsty?”

“Not like for food and water, but hungry for someone to visit and give them a hug and spend time with them, pray with them, and maybe bring them a little gift.”

“You told me you brought some sugar-free chocolate to one friend and it melted in your hot car on the way. Did that make her sad?”

“No, it was a joke to her; she tasted some right away and had fun licking her fingers. She put it in her refrigerator to get it back in shape so she could share it with her friends in the Care Center. Some people, however, are hungry for real food and thirsty and homeless and need clothes and other things so that they don’t have to live on the streets.”

“So when we give them whatever they need, did Jesus mean that it was just as if we were doing it to HIM?”

“That’s exactly what He meant! And that is what I did when I went to Pennsylvania. I visited two people who are blind now. They feel like they are in a prison of darkness. Some of my other friends are in a ‘wheelchair prison’ and will never be able to walk again. One friend has been in a wheelchair for almost 50 years because of a sickness she got when she was young. Another friend’s body is slowly growing weaker all over; she is a prisoner to a fatal illness. Still another friend’s memory is nearly gone, and I’m not sure she knew who I was. We had been good friends long ago.”

“Did you hug her anyway, Grandma?”

“I sure did, and I spent time talking with her about things we used to do together whether she remembered or not. We held hands and laughed and I prayed for her; her tears wet my cheek when I hugged her. She cried because she felt happy. I asked a nurse to take a picture of us, and I sent it to her to remind her of our visit.”

“Did you really feel like it was Jesus whom you were visiting while you were with your friends?”

“I did, Jeffrey. But even if you don’t feel it, since Jesus said it was true, it is. And you don’t have to go far away to do such things. Jesus said that even when you give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ Name to someone, God notices it. The Bible says that God keeps a record of it when you do anything good even in your family or among your friends. That includes obeying your parents promptly.”

“Will doing good things get you to heaven, Grandma?”

“No, Jeffrey. Doing good things doesn’t get you to heaven; only believing in God and accepting Jesus into your heart and being baptized gets you to heaven. But doing good deeds shows that you really do have faith in Jesus, and you will have a reward when you get to heaven.”

“Maybe I could go with you sometime when you visit Jesus again.”

“To tell the truth, I visit Jesus every day by whatever I try to do for others. Like e-mailing to encourage people, phoning sick or lonely friends at least every week, helping those who have problems, praying for them, taking care of you and my family. And whenever we go to Mass or spend time quietly in the Adoration Chapel, Jesus is really there. Some of those things you can do too and you will be visiting Jesus!


Friday, May 22, 2009



“Grandma, now I have my very own SAINT MICHAEL statue! He’s my Patron Saint! It’s more than a foot tall! And you said it was imported from Italy? Wow! Thanks for my baptism birthday gift.”

“That’s a special homemade brass spear in Saint Michael’s hands. Your Uncle Rick made a new one for you because the one that came with the statue was kind of flimsy.”

“Yeah, that thin piece of wire that came with it couldn’t have done much harm to the devil under his feet. Why is the devil painted black and with horns? Is that really what the devil looks like?”

“Not at all! It’s just some artist’s imagination. And of course a statue is nothing but a reminder of something we can’t see. We never worship a statue.”

“I always stop by the stairwell at Sacred Heart Church after Mass to check on the big statue of Saint Michael mounted way up on the wall—it’s bigger than life.”

“Jeffrey, if you can imagine, Saint Michael the Archangel in real life could be bigger than the Statue of Liberty or the highest building in New York. But we can’t measure him because he is invisible; like all angels, he is altogether spirit without a body. God created us humans with both a body and a spirit so we can be seen and touched and measured. Angel spirits are persons, just as we are, but not people. They are not he or she or it.”

“That’s kind of hard to understand, Grandma. Who did God create first, people or angels?”

“He created angels first. They have a beginning but not an end, just like us. They are spirits and they will never die. Human beings can give birth to more human beings, but angels can’t give birth to more angels. The number of angels God created is still the same number as there were in the beginning. God Himself has no beginning and no end, so we say He is Eternal. He is the Creator of everything else.”

“Who is stronger, Grandma, us or the angels?”

“God made the angels way more intelligent than us and with gigantic strength and also free will.”

“What is ‘free will’ again?

“It means we can choose to do right or wrong. Like Adam and Eve. But they chose to disobey God and all of us born from that time ever after are messed up because of their choice. That’s why we need Jesus to save us.”

“Are all the angels good angels?”

“They were good when God created them. But because God let them choose whether they would love and serve Him; some of them chose not to, and there was a big fight in heaven among them.”

“Was there a leader-angel like an army commander of the bad spirits?”

“Yes, he was the most beautiful, powerful one called Lucifer. Later he would be called Satan or the devil. He wanted to be like God and refused to serve Him. He led a third of the angels to rebel against God. Every angel got only one chance to make his choice; he could never change his mind.”

“You mean the evil angels got stuck in that bad warp or force field forever? That’s scary! I’m glad that God figured it out another way for people to can say they are sorry and God will forgive them if they really mean it, because Jesus gave His life for their sins, right?”

“That’s right, Jeffrey.”

“Wow! Then what happened?”

“God told Michael the Archangel, who was the leader of the rest of the good angels and even more powerful than Lucifer, to throw the devil and his follower angels out of heaven to the earth. They are no longer in God’s presence. Those are the evil spirits on earth that make trouble for us and try to make us do wrong things."

“Why did God make angels in the first place? Couldn’t He just snap His fingers and everything would get done everywhere right away?”

“Sure He could. But God decided He wanted to do it through the angels He created. The Bible tells us that He made angels to serve us as messengers and guides and protectors to watch over us and take care of His entire business of running the universe for Him.”

“That would sure take a lot of angels! How can we know how many angels there are if we can’t see them?”

“The Bible tells us that there were ‘multitudes of the heavenly host’ who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. Also when Jesus comes again there will be hosts of angels coming with Him to carry out what He wants done. We have no idea how many gazillions that might be.”

“Do all the angels have the same jobs, and do they all look alike? Oops—I guess we don’t know what they look like if they are invisible.”

“I don’t think angels look like the little chubby baby figures with stubby wings we see in pictures. Remember, people don’t become angels when they die. Angels are special creations. It seems that when it’s necessary, angels can take human form to carry out the job God sent them to do for Him. The Bible tells about many such events; other times it describes how awesome and huge and powerful they looked. I guess they frightened people because every time they appeared the angel would have to say, “Don’t be afraid!”

“Do the angels stick around after they take human form?”

“I guess they can appear and disappear like Jesus did after His resurrection. Apparently there are different choirs of angels; some have counted nine divisions from what it says in the Bible about them.”

“Choirs—like singing groups?”

“No, when the word is used about angels it means a group or a sacred order or a division; like a rank or an organized way they are arranged according to the jobs God equipped them to do. The word angel isn’t really the name of the spirit being, but describes their job. It means ‘messenger,’ like what they do.”

“What are some of the ranks?”

“Besides ordinary angels, if there is such a rank, and Archangels, who are the highest, there are Seraphim, Cherubim, Dominions, Authorities, Thrones, Powers, and Principalities. They are named according to their assignments.”

“Where are the angels, Grandma?”

“They are everywhere, all around us, all over the earth, and because they are spirits, they can be in heaven and on earth at the same time. That’s what Jesus said about our Guardian angels—that while they are on earth watching over us, they are also looking at the face of God in heaven and getting their orders from Him and worshiping Him. We join with them in worshiping and praising God.”

“But can we talk to them?”

“Sure, but we have to be careful to talk to the good ones. We can ask their help against the evil angels because they know more than we do and are stronger than we are.”

“Can my Guardian Angel send invisible text messages to my mind if I ask him to guide me to do something I should do?”

“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”

“What’s my Guardian Angel’s assignment?”

“It seems that God has assigned one to each of us for our lifetimes to care for us and see that we get to heaven.”

“I’ve named my Guardian Angel ‘Joseph’. Do you think God recycles angels after they get you safely to heaven and gives them to another baby to be born on earth?”

“Jeffrey, I’ve named mine ‘Val’ and he’s been with me for almost 84 years. And he doesn’t grow old with me because a spirit can’t age! I don’t think we can prove it, but apparently we each have our own brand new Guardian Angel. There should be enough angels waiting around God to give them a new assignment so He doesn’t have to recycle them.”

“Well, Grandma, there sure is a lot to learn about angels. My patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel, is not the same as my Guardian Angel, is he?”

“No, God picked out your Guardian Angel especially for you before you were born, but you picked Saint Michael by yourself to be your helper and protector when you were baptized last year. That was an excellent choice! His title is ‘Prince of the Heavenly Host’ so he is a big shot. He is now praying to God for you all the time. That’s what a ‘patron saint’ does.”

“There’s a special prayer to Saint Michael, isn’t there, Grandma?”

“I hope you will memorize this, Jeffrey. It is powerful:



Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A Positive Perspective on “Getting RIPE”!

Among the phases of life is chronological maturity: aging, if you will. Even if we resist it, if we live long enough, we will slide, albeit reluctantly, into the final phase of this mortal life on Planet Earth. Some call that stage of life your “sunset years.” I prefer to call them “sunrise years”: since we are Christians, we don’t face growing darkness; instead we anticipate dawn and Eternal life with God. “The child is father of the man…The last of life for which the first was made,” a famous poet wrote.

May I substitute “season” for “phase” for the purpose of the following thoughts? I remember myself as a vacillating teenager always excited about something new or different, and my parents using the word "phase" in a disparaging way. “Oh, it’s just a phase that Leona is going through. She’ll get over it.” We don’t “get over” our life phases; we grow into them and go through them. We don’t have the luxury of tripping lightly through the tulips of each chronological stage from youth to maturity. Like it or not, they are defined by time, and human time is divided into seasons of life. Each provides its own opportunities, responsibilities, joys and challenges.

I’ve often used the term "seasoned saints” to refer to Christians who are maturing chronologically. The apostle Paul addressed all Christians as “saints” not because they wore halos, were sanctimonious above their fellow mortals, or had achieved perfection. The Bible simply uses the word to refer to believers in Christ living on earth or in heaven. Also, I don’t restrict the term to the departed who are canonized by the Catholic Church because of their heroic virtue or extraordinary holiness.

Let’s explore the treasures of that season of life that is finally approaching ripeness in wisdom, experience, and responsibility—and hopefully, holiness and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church which He established for our nurture.

Delving into the dictionary meaning of being seasoned is like digging into a rich gold mine! The word season is a derivative of the Middle English, sesoun, Old French, se(i)on, and Latin word sation meaning “a sowing time.” That root meaning in itself is significant to the chronologically mature period of our lives:

We are seasoned in the sense of experienced. We have done a lot of living which we can generously share with others for their benefit. (But only when we are asked!)

Another meaning of seasoned is to be toughened by conditions, like wood. “Hardened and rendered immune to shrinkage, warping, etc.” We are durable because we have lived long enough to learn to endure the adversities of life through trust in God.

Seasoned also means heightened or improved in flavor by the addition of herbs, spices and the like. Good cooks add just the right seasoning in the proper amount to enhance the taste. God is seasoning us all the time, adding this and that to increase His joy in us and our pleasure in Him and our usefulness for His Kingdom. As we age we shouldn’t become like salt that has lost its savor.

A season is, of course, a time of the year—four distinct seasons in certain parts of the globe. Human beings also experience four seasons of life although somewhat overlapping. God expects different things of us in different time periods of life. He intends that we should live fully in the present at whatever season we find ourselves. God has allowed some of us to see many seasons come and go; we have gained a perspective that as good stewards we should sow into our posterity.

In due season we shall reap if we faint not” the Scripture promises. Due season always seems to be off in the future somewhere, sometime other than right now. We spent a lifetime tilling, sowing, watering, and cultivating. In our latter season we are even more eager to reap because time does not seem to be on our side. But God’s timing is not the same as our timing. Just as there is a due date for the birth of a baby that requires a prescribed sequence of growth to take place in the womb, so God has a due season for the fullness of some things He wants to do in us and through us in the lives and circumstances of others. Let’s keep our eyes open for our due season.

“To everything there is a season” the writer of Ecclesiastes declares. He proceeds to detail many of the milestone events of life with contrasts: “…a time to…and also a time to….” In our advanced years we acknowledge God’s wisdom to bring us through many of those opposite seasons to balance our lives.

When a fruit is in season, it is ripe, mellow, and at the peak of its essence. We hope that can be said of us. We should not bemoan the fact that we are aging; instead we should revel in our opportunity to "bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit" according to Jesus’ desire and plan for the aging. The Psalmist compared the mature godly person with a palm tree that bears fruit into its hundredth year. “…They will flourish in the courts of our God; they will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green….” (Psalm 92:12-15)

Arriving at our “fullness of years” is no excuse to become slack in active witness for our Lord. The Scriptures exhort us to be available to speak up for Him anytime, anywhere, “in season and out of season.” despite increasing limitations perhaps of strength, health, or finances. To advance in age does not give us license to retreat because of age.

Youth and middle age have no monopoly on seeking new horizons. Let’s emulate seasoned Caleb in the Old Testament who, already well into his eighties, didn’t accept that he was “over the hill.” He asked God for another big hill (mountain) to possess. Let’s sprinkle seasoning on one another to encourage mountain climbing rather than slip back down our already attained hills. God has equipped us with spiritual wings to lift us over our valleys of circumstances and limitations when they try to drag us down. Our advancing years can be the most creative and productive of our lives. Let’s expect our due season right around the next corner. “The best is yet to come” can become a reality instead of a pious platitude.

If we try to turn back the clock or get stuck in the rut of yesterday, we will miss the joy of passing on to the next generation the legacy of life’s richness in Christ. Let’s join the apostle Paul in declaring, ”My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me—life on high in Christ Jesus. All of us who are spiritually mature must have this attitude….It is important that we continue on our course no matter what stage [phase, season] we have reached.” (Philippians 3:14-16)

After all, we’re in the SENIOR CLASS and we’re revving up toward “Commencement”!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The Scriptures challenge us:

“Thanks be to God, who unfailingly leads us on in Christ’s triumphal train, and employs us to diffuse [spread, make evident] the fragrance [aroma] of his knowledge everywhere! We are a sweet fragrance of Christ for God’s sake, both [discernable alike] among those who are being saved and those on the way to destruction [perishing]; to the latter an odor dealing death, [a fatal odor, the smell of doom] to the former a breath bringing life [from life to life, a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. For such a mission [ministry] as this, is anyone really qualified [fit, sufficient, able]?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Combined translations/versions)

“Follow the way of love, even as Christ loved you. He gave Himself for us as an offering to God, a gift of pleasing fragrance.” (Ephesians 5:1)

Christ’s sacrifice was foreshadowed by the sacrifices in the Old Testament and called “a sweet-smelling [fragrant] oblation [sacrifice]” (Exodus 29:18, 25)

The staff of the Christian radio station of which I am president has often presented me with a dozen and a half long-stemmed red roses for my birthday. The roses were always exquisitely beautiful, and their fragrance filled my home day and night while they were fresh. I wanted to preserve the petals by drying them, fully expecting them to remain fragrant.

I dried the petals successfully, but I was disappointed that they totally lost their fragrance! Friends reminded me that only fresh, living roses have a scent—not dead, dry ones. They told me to apply a few drops of special rose oil to them, close them snugly in a plastic bag and let the petals absorb the fragrance as if it were their own. Voila! They were fragrant again!

Let re-scented rose petals remind you that according to the above Scriptures we should bear the fragrance of Christ wherever we are, at all times, under all circumstances, in the uncertainties, adversities, and dark times of life as well as in the light.

We are to attract people to God and to His glory, not to ourselves. First of all, however, we are to be a fragrance unto God, to lavish our love on Jesus like the expensive perfume poured by Mary on Jesus’ feet as an expression of love and thankfulness for our sins forgiven.

Remember—only living roses can share their fragrance. Only living Christ-ones can offer a fragrance to God and to others around them.

You and I must snuggle close to Jesus, abide in Him, spend time in His presence and adore Him, not only in our quiet times but “without ceasing” throughout the day and night. Moment by moment we will be “anointed with fresh oil” of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 92:10) so we can absorb His fragrance.

Without our saying a word, others will know we have been close to Jesus and will be drawn to Him. As Saint Francis of Assisi taught, “Preach the gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.”


Leona Choy

A fragrance unto YOU?
You’ve said that I should be
a fragrance of Christ to God
delighting You—a thought
my mind can scarcely grasp—
You, the Supernatural, The Creator
imparting to me, the natural,
the fashioned clay, the mortal
the aroma of Your Manifest Presence!

I remember that You like incense
You even dictated its ingredients
for worship in Your earthly habitation
and when Your glory filled the Temple
Your fragrance was there.
You shared Your delight with us
by creating our senses
to give us the enjoyment of scents.

That You desire the sweet essence
of Your knowledge
a scent derived from walking close
leaning on Your bosom
to be wafted as perfume
a living and fresh aroma
in every place, at all times
by ME…?
The thought is too awesome for me!
Who is adequate for such a thing?

2 Corinthians 2:13-16; Ephesians 5:1; Exodus 29:18,25

Sunday, May 10, 2009



“Grandma, look what we brought you for Mother’s Day! You’re Daddy’s Mommy, right? But you’re my GRANDmother, so we’re doubling up on this gift.”

“Oh, thank you Jeffrey, and thank you Daddy, too. This is the most beautiful and biggest plant I ever received! How could you even carry it? It is so heavy and stands almost as high as my chest. It has 12 huge trumpet-like white flowers and sooooooo many buds.”

“Its name is ‘Sun Parasol White Mandevilla’—it says so on the little plastic sign stuck into the pot. It’s going to bloom and bloom and bloom. And it likes to climb. That’s why it comes with a wooden trellis. And it likes the sunshine. I’ll water it for you whenever I come to visit, but you have to water it too—but not too much, Daddy says.”

“I’ll take care of it very well, and I’ll think of you and Daddy when I enjoy it. Mother’s Day was always a fun day for me when your Daddy and his three brothers, your uncles, were growing up in our house. The children always figured out some surprise for me. Sometimes they brought me breakfast in bed and made Mother’s Day cards in school to give me. Sometimes they planted flower seeds in a milk carton and gave me the little plants for a gift.”

“Do you suppose Jesus celebrated Mother’s Day when he was a boy?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. His mother Mary and foster father Joseph were Jewish, and so was Jesus, of course. They faithfully followed the Ten Commandments in their daily life and one of them was, ‘Honor your father and mother.’ Maybe they didn’t have a special day set for Mother’s Day back then, but Jesus would have been careful to honor his mother Mary all the time. We don’t know how old Jesus was when Joseph died, maybe already grown up, but we could imagine that Jesus took over his Dad’s carpentry and building business and took good care of his Mom just as she took care of him when he was little.”

“What does ‘honor’ mean?”

“To respect and admire and think highly of someone, or praise them for their good qualities. Or to treat someone in a special way. To be proud of someone. To esteem, have a good opinion of, brag about, appreciate someone.”

“I think I understand. Sort of like when you do something right or get a good grade in school you get an honor. People notice you or point you out and say you did a good job.”

“Well, that’s part of it. You honor your Mom and me too when you give me gifts or do things to please us, or spend time with us. Or tell us how much you love us. Or even when you ask us to do something for you. Mothers and grandmothers too like to do things for those we love.”

“Grandma, I noticed some pictures and statues of Jesus’ mother Mary at Church. I don’t think cameras were invented way back when Jesus lived, so how do they know what Mary looked like, or what Jesus looked like?”

“Those likenesses are just guesses, Jeffrey. They are paintings and sculptures from someone’s imagination, and they are simply to remind us of the real person. Christians honor Jesus’ mother Mary in the ways I explained to you because she was the one woman in the entire world especially chosen by God to be the mother of His Son Jesus. That was the biggest honor possible! God was Jesus’ father, not Joseph. God chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus to take good care of both of them while Jesus was growing up. It is written in the Bible that all generations will call Mary blessed because she is Jesus’ mother. Blessed means honored too.”

“So do we worship Mary like we worship God and Jesus?”

“You need to understand that we don’t worship Mary. She is a human being like you and me, not like God. She gave Jesus a human body through giving him birth. But He was still God—both God and human. I know that’s hard for you to understand, and really nobody understands it perfectly. We honor Mary. She is in Heaven with Jesus now and has a special honored place as His Mother. We can ask Mary to pray for us, to ask her son Jesus to hear our prayers.”

“Just like when Christians go to Heaven we can ask them to pray to Jesus for us? And when you go to Heaven I can ask you to pray to Jesus for me?”

“Well, yes, but Blessed Mary, the Mother of Jesus is in a special, much higher category than all the rest of the people in Heaven just because she was Jesus’ Mom.”

“How did Mary get to Heaven? Was she killed like they killed Jesus and then resurrected?”

“No, as far as we know, she lived a long, natural life after Jesus died and rose again and went to Heaven. When her time came to die, in some special way God took her to Heaven. The Church doesn’t call it a resurrection. They call it an assumption.”

“So I guess we’ll have to wait until we get to Heaven to find out how God did that, right? There are sure a lot of things I want to ask Jesus when I get there. I wonder if he will have DVDs of all the things that happened in history that I’m going to ask Him about.”

“Meanwhile, Jeffrey, remember that it is good to honor Jesus’ Mother Mary, and we can and should freely ask her to pray for us. She is like our Mother too, because she cares about each one of us. When Jesus was dying on the cross, the last thing He said was to tell His follower John to take care of His Mother just as if she was his own mother, and that’s the way we should think about Mary too. That’s one of our ways to honor her. Oh, I forgot to tell you. Our Catholic Church sets aside the entire month of May every year to honor Mary.”