Tuesday, June 30, 2009


How can one pray for a past event? It is over and done. Or pray for a person no longer living? How can we PRAY BACKWARD?

Our supernatural God is Eternal. He is outside of time, so He already knew from all eternity the prayer that I would be praying right now. He can receive and apply my request to whatever period in time and history and future to which it is relevant. God hears all of our requests at the same time. His “switchboard” is never jammed or confused, and no one ever gets a wrong number.

It is rational and theological to ask for something to have happened in the past, as well as to ask for something to happen in the present or the future. I can pray a prayer that transcends time: “If it is Your will, Lord, may such-and-such-person have put his faith in Your Son before the person died.” With such a prayer I am asking for the Holy Spirit’s action toward someone’s interior saving faith at the time the person lived. It is as if I prayed it for him at that time, not at the present time. God operates in an eternal dimension.

If that is true, doesn’t it mean that I can pray for my family, my relatives, my ancestors, my friends, all of whom already lived and died, including people in history whose names I may know? If we can speak a name in prayer, it is a strong identifying factor, although God knows the intentions of our hearts. It doesn’t matter if the persons lived in a different era of time. It would seem that we can pray that transcending-time BACKWARD PRAYER for them.

However, my prayer would be irrational and not to be prayed, if I know it was not God’s will since I already know how an event turned out. I can’t pray against God’s will. I can’t change any person’s free will and force him or her to believe anything. I can’t pray to change exterior events that have actually happened already. I can’t believe on someone else’s behalf or in their place.

With the same rationale, doesn’t it mean that I can PRAY FORWARD a prayer that transcends time for persons in the future, even for those who have not yet been born? Can I pray for my descendants who will live in generations to come, if Christ delays His Second Coming? (As a personal example, both my late husband and I had paternal grandmothers who were known to have PRAYED FORWARD for their offspring through the generations to come that they might receive the Christian faith.) The several generations of our families that have come on the scene since then are reaping the harvest of their fervent prayers in accepting the Faith of our Fathers (and Mothers).

None of these transcending-time prayers are any different than praying for people who are living at this time on earth. Those who are in Christ are one Body forever — past, present and future in Heaven.

Prayer is beyond space and time and doesn’t diminish in power even after I leave this mortal life and cross over into Life Eternal. The prayers I have prayed while I was on earth remain in the heart and plan of God forever. They don’t vanish as a vapor. They rise like incense to His Throne. When I pray, I release my request into the heavenlies like a helium filled balloon; the difference is that my prayer is indestructible and instantly reaches its destination to God. I can PRAY FORWARD and affect future generations by my prayers for my heritage.

At the same time, I could be the recipient of the prayers of Christians in generations past whose prayers also have not diminished but remain strong and efficacious. Members of God’s family among my ancestors may have PRAYED FORWARD and their prayers have landed on me!

How awesome to think that prayers recorded in the Holy Scriptures, even the powerful prayers of the Apostle Paul for the Church in future generations, affect us all today—and I am a part of that Church at present! Paul PRAYED FORWARD! Most of all, the High Priestly prayer of Christ Himself: “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” (John 17:20) That’s me! I have believed through the words of the apostles and their anointed successors from that time to the present! It’s almost unbelievable—all that Jesus prayed in that prayer is meant for me too! Would His Heavenly Father refuse to answer the prayer of Jesus as He PRAYED FORWARD?

Are not our prayers perhaps too meager and lacking in boldness and imagination and faith as we approach our Almighty, Majestic, and Powerful God through the Name of Jesus, as His Son taught us? We take prayer too lightly, too casually. Didn’t Jesus invite us to ask, seek, knock and request anything with His sure promise that if it is His will, we will receive? What are we waiting for?



Monday, June 29, 2009


Leona Choy

Majestic God—Creator of Heaven and Earth:

Did you give a great cosmic shout

a resounding, echoing roar

that reverberated across the universe

shaking even the black holes

when You spoke:

“Let there be...” and there was?

Was that the BIG BANG?

Did energy spew everywhere

and assemble itself

according to divine pattern

into orderly creation?

Or did You whisper, “Let there be...”?

Who heard You? The angelic hosts?

The powers of darkness?

Or did You simply think the command

with Your infinite mind

and will matter into existence

in the silence of the universe?

Is the universe silent

or does it sing?

Is there a music of the spheres

as planets and stars

spin and whirl and twirl and swing?

Was space empty before?

How could there be nothing

when You are everything?

Where were You standing

when You created the heavens?

What was the view like from There?

How could You begin to do something

since You are Alpha and Omega

without beginning or end

and You are eternal?

How could The Word be with You

in the beginning?

Was it He Who spoke for You?

Was it He Who created?

Did You give Him the Light to shine?

What was the appalling darkness like

before light? Since You are Light—

How could there be darkness?

How did Your Spirit brood

over the face of the deep?

How can there be deep

when there is no top or bottom

or upside down or right side up in space?

Oh, the questions my childish mind

wants to ask You as I probe

to understand the secrets of Your universe!

Will I know, just know the answers

when I finally see You face to face?

Or will You tell me the answers

to my infant questions during story time

when I come at last singing

into the presence of Your light

in the beatific vision?

Or perhaps you might surprise me

by rewinding history

to let me see it again on an IMAX screen?


Genesis 1:1-3; Job 26:7, 14; Ps. 8:3; John 1:1-5

Copyright 2009 Leona Choy

From an unpublished work,

LATTER RAIN: Wordsmithing late-in-life's-season



News anchors sadly reported that Ed McMahon died today. He had a long and shining series of careers on his own, was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the Marine Corps with a second tour of duty in the military. However, he was best known for two words he made famous when he introduced his boss on the late show each night: “HEEERE’S JOHNNY!” For 30 years he was Johnny Carson’s sidekick, the straight man for the comedian.

There are more supporting roles in life than there are lead positions; more people behind the camera in life than those in the spotlight; more people in the chorus line than the glamorous diva out front and more in the choir than have solo parts. All are essential for the entire performance of life as God, The Producer, has planned it. He chooses the leading roles and the understudies; He hands out the scripts, and directs the drama.

Who has a career goal to be an “extra”? Writers of scripts don’t get the same reviews as the actors whose names are emblazoned in glittering lights on marquees. The prominent of this world, the rich and famous, and those in the public arena are bigger than life; they are lauded and applauded and memorialized when they die.

Meanwhile ordinary men and women, century after century, are also chosen by God and loved by Him. They fulfill their appointed destinies and receive their reward in heaven with His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Moms and Dads, whose most important contribution in life is to “raise tiny mortals,” as one of my friends so aptly puts it, are changing the world by little pieces every day. We may call them unsung heroes.

When the names are scrolled at the end of a movie or performance, the list seems endless—names most of us will never remember, but without whom the production could not have been presented. Only a few names stand out in salvation history as recounted in the Old Testament, and they are known only by their first names. Millions of ordinary folk were in the category referred to as “the children of Israel.” We have every reason to believe God knew each of them by name and distinguishes one from the other, and loves each one because of what Jesus said about His Father knowing each sparrow that falls and the number of hairs on our heads.

John the Baptist did not aspire to the limelight; he knew who he was and who he was not. He is known, we may say, as Ed McMahon was, for introducing Jesus: “HEEERE’S THE LAMB OF GOD!” Of Jesus’ twelve disciples, only three are most prominent; the rest carried out their supporting roles just as faithfully as the leading three when they were sent out to evangelize the world. So did the unnamed 120 in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ place but we hear no more about his role. Barnabas, a disciple of Jesus before Paul was converted, became his sidekick, so to speak. Above all, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, with her willing “Fiat” gave herself to God in the prime supporting role in salvation history.

God chooses our role in life for us, whether a lead role or a supporting part. It is not about us. What greater honor could any of us have than to be remembered as one who introduced our Boss proclaiming, “HEEERE’S JESUS!”



There’s a worthy charity called “Wounded Warriors” which assists the families of wounded war veterans. As Christians in the battle of life on earth, we often become both wounded and weary with the constant skirmishes and clashes not only physically, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

It’s not a condition limited to the elderly, who are known to become bone tired and often exhausted with being in life’s combat zone. Young moms surrounded by the incessant needs of children and nearly overwhelmed with their family responsibilities fall in that category too. We include those who serve the Lord, not only in the context of official church ministry, but all of us who aspire to help others along the journey to God. We sometimes feel as if we’re running on empty. Who of us has not wanted the world to stop whirling long enough for us to get off? We long for a transfer to some deserted island in the tropics.

“Author Unknown,” a frequent contributor to many publications, (!) wrote a relevant fiction take on this subject. (Slightly "souped up" by Leona)


TO: Commander-in-Chief/Spiritual Armed Forces: Jesus Christ

Sir: I request a transfer to a quiet desk job. Herewith are my reasons: I began my military career as a private. Because of the intensity of the battle, You quickly moved me up in the ranks. You made me an officer, but I know I only have the skills of a private. You gave me a tremendous amount of responsibility for the many soldiers and recruits under my charge. I am constantly on call to dispense wisdom, make decisions, and find solutions to complex problems.

I know You promised to supply all my needs for battle, but Sir, the facts are that my equipment is wearing out. My uniform, once so crisp and new, is now stained with tears and blood of those I’ve tried to assist. The soles of my boots are worn from miles I’ve walked trying to enlist and encourage the troops. My weapons are tarnished and chipped from constant battle against the enemy. Even the Book of Regulations I was issued is torn and tattered from endless use.

You promised to be with me throughout, but when the noise of battle is so loud and the confusion is so great, I can neither see nor hear You. I feel so alone and tired and discouraged. I think I have battle fatigue. I would never ask You for a discharge. I love being in Your service. But I humbly request a demotion and transfer. I’ll file papers in an office or clean latrines, just get me out of battle, please, Sir.

Your faithful but tired warrior


TO: Faithful but tired Soldier, Spiritual Armed Forces

Location: The Battlefield. Subject: Transfer

Dear Soldier:

Your request for transfer has been denied. I herewith present My reasons: I need you in this battle. I have chosen you, and I will keep My Word to supply your need. You do not need a transfer and you do not deserve a demotion because you have been faithful. (You’d never cut it on latrine duty.) You need a period of “R & R” (Rest & Renewal). I am setting aside a place right on the front lines that is insulated from all noise of battle and fully protected from the enemy. I will meet you there regularly, and I will give you rest. I will replace your old equipment and “make all things new.”

A report from your superior indicates that you have also been wounded in battle and merit a Purple Heart. My soldier, your wounds are not visible, but you have received grave internal injuries. I will heal you. You have been weakened in the battle. I will be your strength. I will restore your confidence and ability. My Words will rekindle within you a renewed love and enthusiasm for your service.


Your Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ

The prophet Isaiah zeroes in on the young recruit as well as the veteran soldier in the promises of God in chapter 40. “Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not faint. [The Everlasting God] gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases strength.”

At times many of us qualify as wounded or weary warriors who feel like fainting or going A.W.O.L.from life’s daily battlefield, whether in the home or the workplace. Let's claim these great promises meant for all of us in whatever season of life we find ourselves.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009



“Grandma! Grandma! My friend Marcy’s grandfather just died—I mean, got killed—no, I mean he did it to himself! Grandma, what’s going to happen to him? I mean the forever part of his life?

“Jeffrey, I’m so sorry! I can imagine Marcy and her family are really upset. This is a terribly sad thing to happen to them and to their grandfather. Let’s have a really serious talk about that, shall we?”

“Yes, let’s. Can people decide they don’t want to live anymore and then just leave?”

“That is not something that God wants people to do. God gives each one of us life and we don’t own our life. So it isn’t ours to dispose of. God is the only one to decide when our life should be finished. Do you know what the 5th of the Ten Commandments is?”

“It’s ‘Don’t kill’. Does that include killing ourselves?”

“Yes, it does, Jeffrey. But sometimes a person isn’t thinking clearly or he is so disturbed or sick in his body or his mind that he doesn’t really know what he is doing.”

“Grandma, does someone who is confused like that go to Hell because he did what God didn’t want him to do? Could he ever get to Heaven?”

“The Catholic Church teaches that God is the only one to know someone’s heart and situation at the time he is dying. No one else can really know. If there are situations like I just told you where a person is really badly disturbed, God does not hold him totally responsible. God can provide some way that only He knows for him to repent and become holy enough to live with Him in heaven.”

“Does that mean that everyone will get to heaven anyway no matter what they do because they’re going to get a second chance?”

“No, that is not what it means. There are people who hate God and turn their backs on Him and fight against Him and don’t want anything to do with God or Jesus. They are already making their own decision to go to Hell. They don’t want to be where God is, and Hell is that kind of place. God is not sending them there.”

“Grandma, one of my friends at school said that Catholics believe there are three places to go after you die. Is that true?”

“The Church teaches what the Bible teaches: there are only two places, Heaven and Hell. Every person chooses for himself. God invites and welcomes everyone to come live with Him forever in Heaven. He doesn’t want anyone left out. After we decide to follow Jesus and to live like He teaches us, some people do it better than others. Those who do, may go directly to Heaven. Like those extraordinary people whom we honor and call saints. Or even people we know really well right now who are living to please Jesus.”

“How about those who have Jesus in their hearts but don’t do so good at living to please Jesus all the time?”

“God thought of everything! So He provided a temporary stopover or pause on the way to Heaven for them so they could get cleaned up before coming into the presence of The King of all the Universe where they will spend forever. Long, long ago the Church gave it an old-fashioned name that we are not so familiar with any more. They called it ‘Purgatory.’ It may not even be a place but a condition or state we go through.”

“We won’t have bodies anymore to clean up, so how does that work?”

“God hasn’t let us in on how it all works, so it is….”

“Got it! Another mystery!”

“For sure. You’re right that we will be in our spirits so it would be the ‘real person you are’ inside you right now, your soul, that goes through the clean up, or purifying, or becoming holy enough for heaven.”

“That’s a hard thing to get into my head, Grandma.”

“This is a really serious subject, but I think you are old enough to understand. How about I give you an illustration? When your Daddy or Mommy plan to go somewhere special in their car or van, where do they take it first?”

“To the automatic car wash.”

“Right. Let’s say my Chrysler is dirty, mud-splashed and grimy, which it usually is! I plan to drive to an important event to meet a special person, and I want it to be clean. Someone gave me a paid-in-full coupon, and I give it to the attendant at the car wash. What happens?”

“A couple of guys jump around your car to hand rub soap suds all over it. I really LOVE to go to the car wash!”

“One fellow motions me to drive slowly and to center the tires onto ramps that lead into a dark space ahead. I read the sign: ‘Put your car in neutral, roll up your windows, lower your antenna, and take your hands off the steering wheel.’ I do what it says, sit back and relax. Do I have to do anything?”

“Nope. You just let happen whatever is going to happen, Grandma. You are going to have a clean car.”

“I’m not scared how long I’m going to be in that place—I know it won’t go on forever—I see light at the other end of the building and I feel some kind of outside power pulling me through. Lights blink at different stages.”

“And there’s LOTS of noise! High pressure warm water squirts at your car from every direction. When I was little, I really got scared because monster-like, black, spongy tentacles slapped against Daddy’s car and seemed to be punishing the poor thing.”

“But that part doesn’t last long, does it? Then it gets quiet and clean, warm water squirts all over my car followed by bursts of hot air.”

“And out of the darkness we slowly roll, down the exit ramps, dripping clean. The bright sunshine always hurts my eyes.”

“My car is spotless, dirt free, and sparkling. I’m happy and ready to go to the wonderful event I’ve looked forward to for so long. Jeffrey, that’s sort of what God planned to help us prepare to meet Him. That’s Purgatory.”

“Isn’t it kind of like the pit stop for racing cars too? They get worked over, fixed up, checked, and they’re quickly on their way to the track again.”

“Purgatory is like the hallway or waiting room to Heaven. Everyone who gets to Purgatory knows he is headed for Heaven. Nobody gets turned back. It really doesn’t make sense to talk about ‘how long’ anyone needs to go through that clean-up job, because TIME doesn’t count anymore in Eternity. But some people’s souls will need more scrubbing than others, depending on how they lived on earth and what they did.”

“Is that where we get our sins forgiven?”

“No, our sins are already forgiven by Jesus while we are on earth. Everyone who gets to Purgatory doesn’t have sins anymore. God’s love and mercy took care of them once for all through Jesus. But the consequences of the wrong things we did need to be repaired in Purgatory too.”

“I don’t understand that, Grandma. If our sins are paid for by Jesus already, why do we still have to do anything about them?”

“Remember when you were playing on the street and you kicked your football really hard and it damaged someone’s pickup?”

“Oh yeah. I said I was sorry, and the owner said he forgave me. But Daddy still had to pay the bill to fix the man’s car.”

“How about you, Jeffrey?

“Ah—I still have to do a lot of stuff around the house to earn enough money to pay Daddy back for paying the bill.”

“Have you earned enough by now—even with the money I gave you to help toward your goal?”

“Nah. It’s going to take me a long time to earn that much.”

“That’s something like the repair work we have to do in Purgatory on the way to Heaven. Another good part about God’s plan is that His other family members on earth—us—can help those in Purgatory to pay their repair bills. The Church’s big word for that is ‘reparation.’”

“Really? How could we ever do that?”

“Through praying for them and doing good works on their behalf. We’ll talk more about that together some other time.”

“You mean if I pray for Marcy’s grandfather, since he might have to stop over in Purgatory for awhile on his way to Heaven, it would help him? I’ll do it!

“God really did think of everything, didn’t He, Jeffrey?”


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Silent Grace


Leona Choy

The cacophony of the TV-shaped world
distracts my soul, muffles important thoughts
threatens my spirit with perpetual commotion.

Buzzes, drones, babbles and jabber
of nine-to-five dins and distractions
keep me from hearing myself think.
The high decibel level of external racket
injures my sensitive inner spirit.

I long for the silent slots
between the roaring, rolling surf
and the cry of gliding gulls
away from blaring boom boxes
nerve-jangling clamor
and raucous background bedlam.
I yearn to bask in the selected silence
of my treasured space within
tune into its buoyant joy
revel in its simple serenity

I need a still-point at my center
to sense what is happening
in the inner chamber of my heart
a place where I can freely retreat
to be at home with my tender spirit
and in touch with the Spirit of God.

I come to learn from silence:
Silence is a patient teacher
nourishing me to become wise.
Silence is a welcoming harbor
beckoning me to anchor my soul.
In silence I feel quickened and alive
bathed in its tranquil quality
a strange and beautiful dimension.
In silence I am alert to the voice of God
unheard by ears near-deaf to peace.

The cosmic rhythm of God
alternates between sound and silence
majestic words and universal hush:
The Creator broke the interstellar silence
with His thundering, creative word
or was His whisper enough?
then rested in serene satisfaction
declaring—to whom? “It is good!”

The unfathomable silences of God
are mysterious and frustrating
consoling, yet withholding understanding
filled with hidden meaning
requiring my full trust and respect
even when I can’t hear God.

The One Who is called The Word
does not always speak aloud
and I do not always listen.
But if my ears are open to hear
His silence is as eloquent
as when Jesus stood before Pilate
quiet, answering not, but distinctly heard.

I protect my patches of silence
snatches between the press and stress
of the mandatory and obligatory
I guard them jealously
and run eagerly to my times of silence.
I find them in the ordinary—
when dawn breaks quietly
as I watch in hushed wonder—
when evening shadows steal in
and I lay tasks and burdens aside—
when I’m wrapped in the blanket of darkness.
I stand in awe and lift my mortal eyes
gazing beyond the starry skies.
It is then I hear in the pregnant stillness
the unmistakable voice of God.

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest....” Hebrews 4:11
“Be still and know that I am God” [cease striving] Psalm 46:10
[Jesus said to His disciples in the midst of busy ministry] “Come apart and rest awhile.”
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest....” Matthew 11:28
“You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one....” Luke 10:41, 42

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