Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lent Activities 2012

Lent is almost over. Tomorrow is already Palm Sunday. Holy Week is here. How fast time flies! Didn’t we have 40 days of Lent?

Let me share the simple activities we had this year for Lent through this post. I got these ideas from the blog of other homeschooling moms and I just modified them to fit our needs and preferences.

First, we had a Lent calendar and poster. We had one last year, too. We used a lamb calendar last Lent wherein Yanthy glued one cotton ball each day on a square in our lamb Lent calendar. This served as our Lent 40-day countdown. It also helped me teach him that Jesus was the lamb that was slain or offered as atonement for our sins.

This year, I asked him to stick a coin each day on our Lent calendar which also served as our Lent poster. It served as our Lent 40-day countdown this year using the coins that Yanthy put in it every day of Lent. I improvised and made a churchlike calendar where there are 40 squares to teach him that we need to set aside some money for alms giving. He will donate his coins tomorrow when we attend Palm Sunday Mass. I wanted to build up on the Lent lessons I taught him last year. I already taught him that there are 40 days in Lent and that Jesus was the Lamb of God offered for our sins. This year, I wanted to teach him what we Catholics focus on during Lent. Thus, I included the words PRAY, FAST and GIVE ALMS on our Lent calendar and poster this year. He traced the words using his crayons and he stuck them on the poster using masking tapes.

Second, we made an alleluia garland and hid or “buried” it inside a gift box wrapped in purple paper with a pink bow. We placed the gift box on our altar and we will open this gift on Easter Sunday to bring out the alleluia garland and hang it in our home. This symbolizes Jesus’ death and resurrection and gift of salvation to us.

Here’s how we did it.

1. Yanthy and I traced circles on a white cardboard.
2. I asked him to cut the circles.

3. I wrote one letter each of the word alleluia on the circles cut using broken lines/dots.
4. I asked Yanthy to trace the letters.
5. We punched holes on the circles.
6. I asked Yanthy to shoot a yarn on the holes of the circles so that all circles would be in one long ribbon, which we would use when we hang it on Easter Sunday.

With this simple activity, Yanthy was able to practice his fine motor skills through tracing, cutting, writing and shooting the ribbon on the holes just like when putting shoelace.

Third, I introduced my little boy to John 3:16 and helped him memorize his first Bible verse. We did an art project for this. You can click here to find out more. Yanthy also has a song that reminds him of the verse. He loves singing it!

Fourth, we served in the Ash Wednesday Mass as part of the Music Ministry just like last year. Actually, our family has been organizing the Masses in the community where live since last year. This has been a good way of teaching our little boy service by our example.

Fifth, my husband and I exposed our little boy to songs apt for Lent and which help tell the story of Christ’ Passion and gift of salvation to humanity. One of my son’s favorites is the worship song Above All. He was first introduced to this song last year during Lent also. He saw the video of the song with Christ undergoing His Passion and it had a big impact on him. This season of Lent, one of his favorite pretend plays is to pretend that he is crucified just like Christ. And he kept on asking why Jesus was crucified.

These are simple activities that I find helpful in imparting our faith to our little boy. Next year, I plan to teach him more things about the season of Lent through additional activities fit for his age.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Reporters and Stones

“Jeremiah knew what it meant to be despised by others. He has even given his name to the verb that ostracizes such a person. To be “jeremiahed” is to be excluded from the group. Let us spend a few moments thinking about the experience of Jeremiah so that we can see what it takes to be a prophet.” (Commentary on the first reading today taken from Companion.)

Jeremiah 20:10 says, “For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Perhaps he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.”

What does defaming mean? According to Barnes’ notes on the Bible (another commentary), the word defaming refers to people whispering in twos and threes separately. To defame, by dictionary definition, also means to slander, malign or issue false statements against a person. This was the case of Jeremiah. Familiars or those who pretended to be his friends were talking in small groups behind his back and talking about what faults they can use to charge him or report him to the authorities so that he would stop prophesying to them about the sins they are committing against God. These people were angry with him because of the message he preached. They could not stand to hear him remind them of their sins. That is why his enemies planned to bring him down.

“Jesus followed in the footsteps of Jeremiah in that He was rejected by many of the influential Jewish leaders of His day,” says the commentary on the Gospel today in the devotional Companion.

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus in our Gospel today. To which Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” (John 10:31-32)

Like Jeremiah, Jesus was just obeying God the Father and living out God’s will. Sadly, the influential people of their time didn’t like them to say the least. The influential people of their time planned for their downfall. They plotted against Jesus, waited for Jesus to commit mistakes so they can trap Him and accused Him. They did these so that He would stop preaching against them. Like the enemies of Jeremiah, the influential Jews in the Sanhedrin used their position and influence to bring charges against Jesus and arrest Him.

Can you relate with Jeremiah or Jesus today? Or can you relate with any of the other characters?

Jeremiah lamented at the beginning of the first reading but he expressed his trust and confidence in God towards the end.

“But the LORD
is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten. O LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.” (Jeremiah 20:11-13)

If you are currently experiencing what Jeremiah and Jesus experienced before, put your trust and confidence in God just like Jeremiah and Jesus. Remember that though their enemies plotted against them, God did not forsake them. He allowed painful and difficult things to happen to them which made their enemies think that they have prevailed over them. But in the end, God showed their enemies that He is on their side and He granted them victory.

So cry out to God just like Jeremiah and Jesus! Pour out your heart and cast your burdens and troubles upon His throne. Then wait on the Lord to renew your strength and deliver you from your enemies. Be not afraid to speak God’s message that burns in your heart!

If you can relate with the influential people during Jeremiah and Jesus’ time, think again as you contemplate on what charges to bring against the Jeremiah in your life right now. If you are holding a stone in your hand now, think again. Are you going to use that stone to build the Church or God’s kingdom or are you gathering stones so you can throw them against your neighbor? Ask God to search and probe your heart and mind and reveal to you your real motive for criticizing your neighbor and speaking against him/her behind his/her back. Are you attacking God’s messenger because you hear God’s voice through him/her as God reveals the condition of your soul?

God hears the cry of the poor, the needy. According to another
commentary on the first reading, the needy or the poor in this passage is used in a religious sense here. Therefore, the needy and poor here also refer to those ill-treated by others but are confident in God and who rely only on God for support or deliverance. Let me quote from the Sacred Space commentary: By Jeremiah’s time, the term ‘poor/needy’ had become virtually synonymous with ‘righteous’, someone whose total trust and dependence is on God.

So hold on to that stone in your hand. Don’t rush to hurl it on your neighbor’s face for you might be hurling it against God’s anointed. Acts 5:39 says, “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Will You Complain or Praise?

The Israelites complained against God and Moses in the first reading today. They said in Numbers 21:5, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

Let’s recall what happened before the Israelites got to this point.

First, they were slaves in Egypt. Then, God delivered them from slavery through His servant Moses. God performed miracles through Moses to convince the pharaoh to let them go. (Exodus 7-12) Second, when the Israelites marched out of Egypt and pharaoh decided to pursue them with his soldiers, God saved the Israelites again through Moses by parting the Red Sea so they can cross and walk on dry land while fleeing the Egyptians. (Exodus 14) Third, when they were in the desert of Shur and they complained about the bitter water, Moses prayed to God and God transformed the bitter water so it would be fit to drink. Fourth, when the Israelites were at the desert of Sin and they complained again to Moses and Aaron, God chose to be gracious to them and provided for them food to eat. They said, “We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted. But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death.” (Exodus 16:3) Even though they complained against God and His servants Moses and Aaron, the Lord still gave them manna and quails everyday for forty years until they reached the land of Canaan.

Do you think that the Israelites stopped complaining after all these miracles and provisions from God? NO. When they camped at Rephidim and they discovered there was no water for them to drink, they complained again to Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? To kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3) When Moses was at Mount Sinai talking to God, the Israelites felt that he was taking too long, so they asked Aaron to make them a gold bull-calf that they can worship as God. They even said that it was the god who led them out of Egypt! (Exodus 32) When twelve spies were sent to explore the land of Canaan or the Promised Land and ten of the spies spread fear to the Israelites, the Israelites complained again. They were so afraid that in their distress they complained to Moses and Aaron again. “It would have been better to die in Egypt or even here in the wilderness! Why is the Lord taking us to that land? We will be killed in battle, and our wives and children will be captured. Wouldn’t it be better to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2-3) What's more, they said to one another, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!” (Numbers 14:4)

So you see now that even after God has performed miracle after miracle to the Israelites and answered their many prayers, they kept on complaining to God whenever they encountered a challenge or problem and whenever following God through their leader Moses became inconvenient for them. Whenever they faced challenges or inconveniences, they easily forgot the blessings and miracles God gave them.

God already spoke His punishment to them after they have complained to Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb after the spies to Canaan came back. God told them that those who rejected Him by complaining and rejecting the leaders He has chosen will not enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 14) Do you think the people learned their lesson?

The first reading today will tell you.

Just before they got to Mount Hor, God enabled the Israelites to win over the Canaanite king of Arad in the southern part of Canaan. And yet, here they go again complaining against God and Moses.

Why do you think did they keep on complaining when God had been faithful in helping them? Could it be that they did not trust God or their leader whom God has chosen to lead them? Could it be that their faith was not big and deep enough to endure their inconveniences and problems? Why were they quick to forget God’s miracles and blessings to them? Could it be that they did not meditate and ponder these things in their hearts? Could it be that they did not they much time to celebrate and praise God for these things? Could it be that they did not talk about these miracles and blessings often in their assemblies? Could it be that they had different expectations on how God would deliver them from the Egyptians and bring them to the Promised Land?

What can we learn from the Israelites? What should we do so that we do not commit the same mistakes that they committed?

First, we need to spend ample time praising and thanking God for the blessings and miracles we received from Him. But we should not only do this whenever good things come our way. We should do this regularly and even when we face problems and challenges. When we do this, we will be focusing more on our blessings and the miracles God gave us instead of our problems. One mistake that the Israelites made was that after a miracle was performed for them by God, they chose to dwell on their inconveniences and problems instead of on the miracle that just happened. Since they focused on their inconveniences and problems, they got magnified. All of a sudden, they felt that their inconveniences and problems are so big and insolvable that they just want to go back being slaves.

Second, prayer and praise should be our first recourse instead of complaining. When we are faced with challenges, it is so tempting to complain first. But that will not help our situation. It will just magnify our problem. So, when faced with a problem, let’s kneel down before our God in prayer. Let’s choose to praise Him even when our circumstances do not support our decision to praise Him. Let us pray and praise God unceasingly, in good times and in bad. For though we have problems surrounding us, we still have a big reason to praise God. That one reason is that He is our God! When we remember who our God is and His qualities, our hearts will be filled with praise, thanksgiving, hope and peace. We would remember that our God is bigger than any of our problems and that He will provide for all our needs. We would remember that He loves us and that He doesn’t waste our tears. Our perception of our problems or challenges will change when we spend ample time in prayer. We will receive direction and wisdom from God when we spend time to listen to Him and ask Him what His will is. Let us focus our eyes on the cross and our Lord Jesus Christ and find strength and courage in Him. When we pray, we open ourselves to God’s graces. In prayer, we grow in faith and tap into God’s power.

Third, let us humble ourselves and trust not only God but also the leaders He has chosen to lead us. When the Israelites complained against Moses, they were actually complaining against God because Moses was just carrying out God’s instructions for His people. When they spoke angry words to Moses, they actually spoke angry words to God, for Moses was simply God’s spokesperson or representative to the Israelites.

So the next time you face inconveniences or challenges in following the Lord, will you complain or praise Him? Let us learn from the experience of the Israelites.

Friday, March 23, 2012

God’s Praise or Human Praise?

“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true… The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” (John 5: 31-32, 36)

Why did Jesus say these words? If we had been following the readings in the past weeks and days, we would know that Jesus said these words because there are people who do not believe that He has been sent by God. There are people in the places where He preached who reject His teachings and do not recognize the hand of God upon Him.

Did Jesus stop preaching? Did He stop curing the sick or healing people? Did He refuse to help those who had faith in Him and asked for His help? No. He kept on doing what the Father has sent Him to do.

Did Jesus seek to please the people who rejected Him and His teachings? No.

He encouraged them to look beyond their preconceived notions, biases and invited them to look at the fruits or the works that He has been doing in accordance to the will of God, who sent Him.

But did the people of His time recognize Him for who He is? Most of them did not. A few recognized Him as the Messiah. Some recognized Him to be a prophet performing miracles for them but they were not able to go beyond the miracles and see behind Jesus’ miracles or works. They were just happy to witness His miracles. Yet they were not willing to follow Him all the way. Even His disciples gave in to fear and failed to stand by Him when He was crucified. Still, there are many who failed to see Jesus for who He is.

Let me quote from Didache: “people didn’t believe that Jesus was sent by God. To them, Jesus didn’t fit into the image of the Savior they were waiting for. He didn’t meet their expectations. They remained unbelievers and refused Jesus’ offer of salvation.”

“I came in the name of the Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:43-44)

With whom can you relate in the Gospel today? Can you relate with the Jews or the Scribes and Pharisees? Can you relate with Jesus? Or can you relate with all of them?

If you can relate with the Jews and you find it hard to recognize God’s hand in your situation, pray to the Holy Spirit that God would reveal to you what hinders you from embracing God’s message to you right now. Pray that you would go past your own personal biases or preconceived notions of how God will answer your prayers. Pray that God would move you to humble your heart and accept what it is that God wants to happen in your situation for God knows best and He alone sees the real picture. He sees what is in the hearts of men.

Let me quote again from the reflection in Didache today: “Each time we reject God’s answer to our prayers because it doesn’t fit our expectations, we become like those unbelievers. When we do not open ourselves to God’s way, we deprive ourselves of a chance at life.”

When we choose to insist on our own way instead of do things God’s way, we might just end up hurting ourselves and fail to enjoy the best option that God has to offer.

If however you are someone who has been charged by God to speak a message on His behalf, then you could probably relate with Jesus. And if you feel that you are in the same situation where Jesus was in the Gospel today, choose to follow Jesus example. Do not stop doing what God has sent you to do simply because some people do not recognize the hand of God upon you. Let God testify for you and the works that God calls you to do. And when you choose to follow Jesus’ example and people still reject you or the message you preach, do not despair or be discouraged. Remember that Jesus experienced the same thing.

John 15:20 says, “Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

Do not seek human praise. Seek only God’s approval and praise. Do not seek to please people. Seek only to please God the Father and let God to the rest. Let God be God in your situation.

Bear in mind that even the Son of Man suffered in the hands of the stubborn people of His time. Do not be surprised if you find yourself in a similar predicament as you follow Him. Instead, focus on the Father’s will just like what Jesus did so that you will not waver in faith and will not give up doing good and obeying the Father’s will.

Meditate on Jesus’ passion and resurrection to help you endure your current situation. Remember that unless you embrace your cross, walk on the same path where Jesus’ walked, allow yourself to be mocked and crucified, and die to yourself, you cannot join Jesus in His resurrection.

Say with St. Paul, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11)

Mark 8:36 says, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35)

Servant of God, do not be afraid to lose the favor of men or what men can do to you. “Fear only God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

“Say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

“Blessed are you when people hate you, avoid you, insult you, and slander you because you are committed to the Son of Man.” (Matthew 5:11)

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Majority Rules

What is the rule of the majority? What does majority of us want? The majority rule is something that is relied upon most of the time in many groups and situations. But does the rule or vote of the majority always bring good results? Is the opinion of the majority always right? Many times, when we just let the majority rule without discernment, bad things happen.

Let me cite some examples.

When majority of the Israelites wanted to make an idol made of gold while they were in the desert and Aaron allowed himself to be overruled by the majority, the people sinned against God through idol worship. When majority of the Israelites complained against Moses and God and they blamed Moses for bringing them where they were at that time, which is the desert, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Moreover, their wrongdoing affected not only majority of them but all of them and many generations after them. When majority of the sons of Jacob, Joseph’s brothers plotted against him, they sold their very own brother and caused much anguish to their father, Jacob. When majority of the tenants of the vineyard in the parable that Jesus told, killed the chosen stewards of the vineyard owner and the son of the vineyard owner, the vineyard was taken away from their hands. Why do you think did the vineyard owner do that? Is it right for vineyard owner to do such thing? Is it right for the tenants to plan the murder of the stewards the owner put over them?

Why did Joseph’s brothers plot against him? Let’s look closely at the story in our first reading today. His brothers were jealous and angry with Joseph because he was favored by their father. They envied him especially when Jacob even gifted Joseph with a beautiful coat. They got angry with Joseph when they learned of the prophecy Joseph received through his dream. They hated what the fulfillment of that dream meant to them. They do not want to be in that position of bowing down to their younger brother to happen to them in the future so to prevent that from happening, they planned to kill him.

Let’s now look closely at the Gospel parable. Why did the tenants in the vineyard plan to murder the stewards of the vineyard owner? What was their motive? And why did they murder his son as well? They wanted to be the ones in charge of the vineyard instead of the stewards. They wanted to be the ones who will enjoy the fruits of the vineyard and not the owner or his son. But did the owner let them after they have murdered his son?

What happened to the story of Joseph in the end? What happened in the vineyard in the end?

I am reminded of Romans 8:28 as I recall how this story ended and how this parable ended.

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

With whom can you relate in the story of Joseph and his brothers? Are you part of the majority? Can you relate with how they felt? Or can you relate with how Joseph felt? How about in the parable in today’s Gospel? Can you relate with the tenants? Can you relate with the stewards? Can you relate with the son of the vineyard owner?

Whether you are part of the majority or minority, ask God for the grace to accept His holy will. Ask him to help you deal with the challenges and questions you have in your mind and heart. If you are part of the majority, ask God for forgiveness for the evil things you are thinking against your “brother,” the “chosen stewards” and the “son.” If you are part of the minority, pray that God would help you see beyond your sufferings and pain. Ask Him to comfort you in your troubles. Ask Him to deliver you if it is His will. Ask him to sustain you and enable you to endure until the good that He has in store for you is brought to fulfillment. Ask God to give you strength and hope to hold on to the promise or prophecy He has given you. And last but not least, ask Him to give you grace to forgive all those who wronged you and caused you pain.

For though the majority rule wins in many occasions, in the end the vote of ONE always prevail. That ONE is capable of giving the best ending to your story.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

SSS: Service, Sacrifice and Suffering

“If we choose to be a disciple of Jesus, we should be prepared to come down on the difficult side of many issues. For sure there will be plenty of people who will try to pull us down and conspire against us in the battle for winning the hearts and minds of the men and women of the world. Men, both influential and irrelevant, plotted against Jeremiah. We had better be ready for the same if we want to be Jesus’ disciple.”

“Sacrifice and suffering are all part of the life of a disciple of Jesus. Jesus experienced this, so we can be pretty sure that we will have at least some experience of it, too. Jesus uses an image of drinking from a cup of suffering because it involves the notion that we are choosing such a path in life. Just as we choose to drink from a cup, a disciple of Jesus chooses to walk a path of suffering and challenges because he knows that this is the path of someone who lives and breathes the Gospel.”

These words were taken from the Catholic Scripture Diary, Companion. I can’t help but agree. Jeremiah experienced persecution as he served and followed God’s will. His words as a prophet were like burning arrows to those whom God wants him to bring His message to. He suffered because he chose to obey God and proclaim God’s message to the people of Judah. God’s word was like a fire in Jeremiah’s heart that he could not keep it to himself. But it caused him suffering as people got angry when they heard the unpleasant message that the prophet has to say.

Then, it was Jesus’ turn to suffer. He was a perfect example of a servant of God. He did not only accept the Father’s will; He actually embraced it and lived His life consumed by it. Like Jeremiah, His Words made the leaders of His time uncomfortable. His words challenged them. His words disturbed and haunted them. Thus, these people plotted to silence Him. But more than His words, His life itself spoke God’s message powerfully. His actions and the miracles that He performed all testified to the truth of His words and yet, some of those around Him did not see the hand of God upon Him. If they had seen it, they chose to ignore it for they were absorbed in their evil plans against Him. They could not bear to hear more of Him. They could not bear to watch Him live a life of complete obedience to the Father’s will. For this, He suffered greatly. He suffered greatly for living out perfectly the Father’s will.

What does this imply for us who follow Jesus?

If our Lord, Master and Teacher experienced these things, then we must not be surprised if as we serve Him, we would experience these same things. Instead, we must be ready when challenges and persecution come our way. The enemy will not take things sitting down. When we work to win hearts and souls for the kingdom, the enemy will do his best to hinder us and to harass us at all sides. If we are to follow Jesus’ footsteps, we must also embrace sacrifice and suffering as He did. Following Jesus’ example of obeying the Father’s will is not an easy path but it’s the only path for the true disciple of the Master.

But what must we do when the enemy comes after us?

We follow Jesus’ example once more. We pray more. We let the Lord fight for us. We put on the full armor of God and use God’s Word as sword against the enemy.

What does this mean for us who choose serve?

It means that we should not be surprised when trials and persecution come our way. If Jesus had enemies because of obeying the Father’s will, should we be surprised if we too gain enemies because we choose to serve and obey God? The Father did not spare His only Son from suffering when his Son obeyed Him. He will not spare us as well. But since we know that we are just obeying God’s will, like Jesus, let us turn to the Father for strength and courage in moments of trials and persecution. Let the Father fight our enemies for us. Let the Father enlighten those who want to silence us, mock us or crucify us. And let us find peace and joy amid our sufferings knowing that we are doing God’s holy and perfect will in our lives.

Are you a modern day Jeremiah? Is God asking you to drink from the same cup of suffering where He drank during His Passion? Are people conspiring against you? Are you suffering for living out your faith? Are you suffering for acting on God's words? Do not be afraid. Rejoice instead for these things that you experience allow you to be one with Christ in His Passion. Though sometimes you feel that God has abandoned you, remember that God the Father is going through all these sacrifices and sufferings with you. More importantly, He waits on the other side to grant you victory.

For the Suffering Servant did not stay inside the tomb forever. He rose victorious! So suffering servants of God, lift up your eyes to the Almighty with outstretched hands and cry out to him in your sufferings and pains. He hears you! He sees you! He loves you! He is pleased with you! The very people whom you serve may not know the depth and extent of your sacrifices but He knows. And He only has this to say: “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”