1 Oct (Based on Feast of St Therese of Child Jesus)

Here is a creative invitation letter….

“Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and earth, Sovereign Ruler of the World…
… and the Most Glorious Virgin Mary, Queen and Princess of the heavenly Court…

… wish to invite you to the wedding of their Divine Son Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to Mademoiselle Thérèse Martin…

… now Lady and Princess of the kingdoms brought as dowry by her Divine Spouse, namely, the Childhood of Jesus and His Passion, of nobility being the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

Monsieur Louis Martin, proprietor and owner of the domains of suffering and humiliation…
… and Madame Martin, princess and lady of honour of the heavenly court…

… wish to invite you to the wedding of their daughter Thérèse to Jesus, the Word of God, second person of the Blessed Trinity…

… who, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, became man and was born of the Virgin Mary!

Being unable to invite you to assist at the nuptial blessing which was bestowed on them on the mountain of Carmel (the heavenly court being alone admitted there)…
… they beg you, nonetheless…

… to be present at the return from the wedding which will take place tomorrow, on the day of Eternity…

… to which Jesus, the Son of God, will come on the clouds of Heaven to judge the living and the dead.

(The hour being still uncertain, you are invited to hold yourselves in readiness and to watch.)”

This was the letter written by St Theresa of Child Jesus, in the days of preparation of her Final Commitment to Jesus, in the consecrated life.

A letter…
… highly simply, yet deeply concentrated in mysticism and spirituality
… highly childlike, yet reverberating with immense love and passion for the Lord

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of this Amazingly Passionate lover of the Lord – St Therese of Child Jesus (St Therese of Liseux)

She is a saint…
… little in structure and deeds, but gigantic in her love of the Lord!
… unnoticed and unseen, but tremendously revered and loved for her way of love!

We live in an age that relishes and appreciates insights related to growth, maturity, accountability and responsibility.

>> There is a love to hear “high” theology…
>> There is a craze to talk “systematic” thoughts…
>> There is an interest to discuss “complex” spiritualities..

Not that these are bad or not to be promoted…but these “mature” talks ought not to take one away from the basic aim of true spirituality: Love God and Loving Neighbour!

There is a tendency that these “advanced” talks get jammed with only peripheral talks & fails to translate into true action & deeds.
>> It is here, that our Little Saint of the Day invites us to find a new freshness and sparkle in Spirituality.

> She is the Little Saint who dared to love the Big God!
> She is the Big Saint who presents to us the Little Way!

This Little Way of the Big Li’l Saint resonates with the Gospel of the Day when Jesus invites and declares that unless one becomes like a little child, one cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

For a child, everything is big!
>> The toys that one plays..the food that one eats..the houses that one sees…
>> Even the ones who take care… And especially, the ones closes to the child..probably, the parents….are very big too!

… They mean everything for the Child.
… They signify the ultimate for the Child.

This is the child-likeness to which The Little Flower grew.
> Her child-likeness has God as the Centre of her world…

>> God means everything for this Little Saint.
>> God signifies the ultimate for this Little Saint!

She saw herself as ‘a child’ but energized by God who directed her journey in faith.

> Her child-likeness does not promote childishness or immaturity or passivity.
>> Her child-likeness encourages deeper trust and maturity and enthusiasm.

This spirituality of the Little Way sounds too simple….and too little..
> But in fact and in practise, is a highly challenging one…

… Is God the centre of my world, when I get drunk with a sinful and immoral life?

… Is God the centre of my world, when I get over dependant on my material riches?

… Is God the centre of my world, when I bank upon my own wisdom in my works?

… Is God the centre of my world, when I insist on doing my will, over the Will of God?

Little Therese of Child Jesus, the Little Saint is also the Big Saint of Love!

The Little lover of God invites us…
… to adorn all our words with love
… to embrace all our actions with love
… to beautify all our thoughts with love

>> It could be speaking with friends…interacting with fellow workers…discussing some business matters..enjoying with family members..

>> It could be doing household works…handling massive finances…studying various subjects…performing some spiritual activites…

>> It could be thinking some philosophical views…reflecting about some people…considering about some situations…imagining some circumstances…dreaming some visions….

… Whatever be our words..or actions…or thoughts….let them be embellished in LOVE!

The Little Way…  Sounds simple, but not so simple in practise, right?

Yet, there is much simplicity…cos God remains at the centre of every effort and attempt!

> There is much sentimentality, no doubt.
> There is much simplicity, no doubt.

But with or without all those feelings, the Little Way simply tells us to have God at the Centre of Everything…and do all in Love!

Love demands a fidelity in the countless mundane ‘little’ things of daily life
> The Little Way doesn’t eliminate Heroism, rather it’s brought within the reach of the poor.

The rains of love ought to shower every aspect of ordinary everyday life.

The Little Flower dares to throw “petals” at the Loving Lord…
> These petals even considered “worthless petals” by the world – a little sacrifice, a gentle smile, a kind word, an appreciative action!

Sometimes, these “worthless petals” are nothing more than a faithful effort.

But this fact of “having tried”, a good will “to do good”…. all these petals please the Lord!

Let us join the Little Saint to tread the Little Way.
>> She promised to “shower roses” on the way to those who dare…

As a child, let us hold the hands of this Li’l Big Saint to love deeper the Big Big God of Love!

Lets live Love to give Love!
>> Lets live Jesus to give Jesus!

Happy Feast of the Beautiful Little Flower!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

30 Sep (Based on Lk 9:56-62)

There is a non-fictional self-help book by Napoleon Hill named ‘Think and grow rich’.

There is a lovely story in this book, which goes thus….

A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield.

He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own.

He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to “burn the ships” that had carried them.

Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke!

That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win!

We now have no choice—we win, or we perish!”

History says that they won the battle!

Any person who wishes to find success in any undertaking much be willing to “burn his ships” and to cut off all sources of turning back…

Only thus, can one be sure of maintaining a “burning desire” to win!

The Gospel of the Day highlights on this aspect of making a complete commitment to the cause of the Kingdom of God and being prepared to face any challenges in being faithful to this dedication!

Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

Our Blessed Lord speaks of three areas of “giving-up” in our Christian life…

1. The “Giving-Up” of personal security

The Lord says, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” ( Lk 9: 58)

The life of Jesus was characterised by a lack of personal security.

>> It is to this life of “poverty” that our Blessed Lord invites each one of us too….
… in the sense of knowing that our Loving Father will provide for us, with our genuine co-operation
… in the sense of not being anxious or over-worried over the concerns of life
… in the sense of depending on the Lord for the necessities of life

2. The “Giving-Up” of personal gains

The Lord says, “Let the dead bury the dead” (Lk 9: 60)

This was in response to the man who said, “let me go first and bury my father”.

This statement was a common way of saying, “Let me wait until I receive my inheritance from my father!”

.
It was an excuse of “economics and finance” that the man was trying to furnish, to evade the Kingdom responsibility!

>> Jesus calls us to a life of “obedience” to his Will…
… in the sense of letting go of personal gains and profits for His sake
… in the sense of curbing our selfish wantings and cravings

3.  The “Giving-Up” of personal relationships

The Lord says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

This was in response to the man who said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my home”

>> Jesus calls us to a life of being “chaste” to His Divine Love…
… in the sense of prioritizing Him above all other relations
… in the sense of giving the Lord the first place in life

We ought to have a “burning desire” as the missionaries of the Kingdom, to spread God’s Word and make Him loved more!

Martin Luther King Jr. said:
“Consider that people are like tea bags.
They don’t know their own strength until they get into hot water”

It is essential, therefore that we “burn our ships” of comfort and personal wishes, so that we can be better imitators of Him, Who demands that we be zealous in our journey towards perfection.

May we seek the intercession of St Jerome, whose feast we celebrate today, who would say:
“Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

29 Sep (Based on Feast of the Archangels)

The Church professes and proclaims Her faith in God which is encapsulated in the Nicene Creed.

The Nicene Creed begins with the proclamation, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.”

>> The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith!

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael.

Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels. (cf. Eph 1:21, Col 1:16)
In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.

The Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael is an opportunity to learn more about them and to grow in deeper devotion and fondness for them.

St. Michael
>> The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, “Who is like unto God?”

St Michael is known as “the prince of the heavenly host.”
He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armour.

St Michael makes an appearance in the Bible on four occasions:
> In Dan 10:13 and in Dan 12:1, he appears as the special guardian of the people of Israel.
> In Jude 9, he appears in a dispute with the Devil.
> In Rev 12:7-9, he fights against Satan and his evil forces.

What does St Michael teach us?
… St Michael teaches us to depend on the power of God in our battle against the forces of Satan
… St Michael teaches us to guard ourselves against the disguises and snares of evil forces.
… St Michael teaches us to become a guard and protector of our fellow brothers and sisters.

St Gabriel
>> The name of the archangel Gabriel means, in Hebrew, “God is my strength”
St Gabriel is known as a “messenger of God”
He is usually pictured announcing something and sometimes with a lily or a sceptre.

St Gabriel makes an appearance three times in the Bible:

> In Dan 8:15–26 and  9:21–27, he appears to Daniel to explain his visions
> In Lk 1:11-38, he appears to Zechariah and Mary to deliver the good news from God

… St Gabriel invites us to listen to God’s voice and inspirations through various sources.
… St Gabriel invites us to find courage in situations of fear, by trusting in God’s Providence.
… St Gabriel invites us to be open to surprises and wonders the Lord works in our lives.

St Raphael
>> The name of the archangel Raphael means, in Hebrew, “God has healed?”

St Raphael is known as “a wonderful helper and fellow traveller”
He is usually pictured walking with a young boy, sometimes carrying a staff.

> St Raphael makes many appearance in the Book of Tobit in the Bible:
> St Raphael appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of Tobias, the son of Tobit.

… St Raphael inspires us to discover God as the healing balm in our afflictions and hardships.
… St Raphael inspires us to walk boldly with God in all the terrains and valleys and paths of life.
… St Raphael inspires us to trust in God in seemingly hopeless and impossible hurdles of life.

Let the celebration of this Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael help us to grow in our love for our heavenly friends.

>> The Lord wants us to grow in holiness.
>> The Lord wants us to be protected in His care.
>> The Lord wants to be fearless in being His beloved Child.

May the Archangels help us in this our journey of life.

Happy Feast of the Holy Archangels!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

28 Sep (Based on Lk 9:46-50)

A little boy once came to his Daddy, one night.
He confessed a mistake that he had done during the course of the day.

Then kneeling at Daddy’s feet, the child, with hands folded, prayed with tears:
“Dear God, make me a man – like Daddy – wise and strong.
I know You can!”

This innocent gesture touched the father very much.
 He had a profound realisation of his deep limitations and the child’s high expectations

Then when the child had slept, the father knelt beside his bed.

Confessing his sins, and praying with a low-bowed head, made this prayer:
“O God, make me a child – like my sweet child here – pure, guileless, trusting in You with a faith sincere.

I know You can!”

We all grow up in life – physically, socially, psychologically etc..

But sometimes this “growing up” fails to preserve the “growth” that is already witnessed in little children – openness, sincerity, trust and spontaneity.

Can we dare, as adults, to “grow” into being a Child?

The Gospel of the Day is an elegant presentation by Jesus on the “necessary attitude” that is required for a valid entry into the Kingdom of Heaven: a child-like nature.

Jesus says,  “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Lk 9: 47)

In the Gospel of Mathew, we read, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18: 3)

One of the grave dangers in the process of “growing- up” is the tendency to lose our “natural child-like” traits.

A child is someone who is born with many inherent qualities.

But in the process of “becoming an adult”, we abandon many of those.

This ‘abandonment’ could be because…
… of the upbringing in the society or the culture we live
… or the various experiences that we go through as we grow up

As a child, we would be free to express our emotions
… but as we grow up, we tend to hold them up all within (only to burst out one day!)

As a child, we would trust and depend easily on those who care for us
.. but as we grow up, we become fearful or disbelieving towards those same persons

As a child, we would be eased to live in the present moment, enjoying and relaxing
… but as we grow up, we fall into the trap of the past and cringed with the fear of the future.

The Lord invites us to have a “renewal of our minds” and to retrieve back the ‘lost’ child-like faith and trust.

It takes courage and dare to make efforts to let go of our “matured egoistic” tendencies in order to depend more on our Heavenly Father.

The process usually is encountered by resistance…
• Why should I depend on someone… I am mature enough to think for myself
• Why should I become humble… I have my own desires to be satisfied to

These could be some of the thought-patterns that one stumbles into, in giving heed to the call of the Lord to ” be like a child”.

Our Lord Himself is the greatest model and example in learning to have a “child-like” faith…

St Paul tells in his letter to the Philippians, ” ..though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, a thing to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave…. becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8)

May we be privileged to be graced with the gift of being “like children” and thus be able to firmly trust and relax in the arms of our Caring and Loving Heavenly Father and live a life of humility and trust!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

27 Sep (Based on Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48)

There is an extremely deceptive way, in which Eskimos in the North Pole kills an animal..especially a wolf…

The Eskimo coats a very-sharp knife with animal blood & allows it to freeze.

>> Then he adds another layer of blood & another & another – until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood.

Next, the hunter fixes this blood-coated knife in the ground with the enticing sharp edge of the blade upwards.

When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent, he begins to lick it, tasting the fresh, frozen blood.
>> Then he licks faster, more & more voraciously, lapping the blood until the knife edge is almost bare.

So great becomes his craving for blood that…
… the wolf is mysteriously unaware of the naked blade on his own tongue
… nor does he recognize the instant at which his thirst is being satisfied by its OWN warm blood.

Unknowingly, his life leaks away…as his craving for the tempting blood increases….!

The Result?
>> A Dead wolf!!
All from the suicidal blade -…..caused by the great and cunning technique of Deception!

Is not the effect of sin in our lives following a similar style?

>> Like the bear, we are attracted to Sin – something which “looks” pleasurable, which “appears” good and which “seems” nice

But the danger that lurks behind these “deceptive” looks are not taken into consideration.

We continue to take pleasure in the “blood” of sinful pleasures and tempting enticements.

But we fail to realise that “slowly getting used to sin and sinful ways”, our life is being drained out and we are inching towards our death.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus making a strong exhortation on the dangers posed by Sin and the intense need to overcome anything that comes on the way of holiness.

Jesus says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…
If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off…
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it off..” (Mk 9: 43-47)

These are very strong and powerful words of our Blessed Lord.

Our Lord came to the World as a Saviour – to redeem the world from sin.

>> It is sin that causes seperation of human beings from God.

Therefore the Lord clearly asks to us make choices and radical decisions to let go of anything that can cause us to sin or move away from His Holy Will.

We need to examine our lives and check…
… My hands:
> Do I engage in activities which are uncharitable and which causes pains and hurts to others?
> Do I fail to extend my hand to those in need and those whose lives can be bettered by my helping hand?

… My feet:
> Do I stray away into paths of immorality, injustice and indifference?
> Do I fail to direct my ways on the path of righteous living, holy conduct and true worship?

… My eyes:
> Do I direct my eyes into things which are unbecoming of my way of life and with an intention to fulfil my sinful inner cravings? > Do I move way from seeing the suffering and miseries in the world and become closed to discover the spark of Divinity in the other?

Jesus wishes that our Christian lives, not become a scandal or a stumbling block to the other…
… Rather, He desires that we be honest to our calling as a Christian..
… and walk firmly and with courage, in the path of perfection with Him and towards Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

26 Sep (Based on Lk 9:43-45)

“Julius Caesar” is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.

It is one of several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history.

The life of Julius Caesar engrossingly proceeds with he placing a great trust in his best friend Brutus.

Brutus, though his closest and most trusted friend, was albeit a misled man.

Therefore, among the conspirators who finally assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 was Brutus as well.

Caesar had not only trusted him, but also favoured Brutus as his own son.

The Roman history tells that Caesar had first resisted the onslaught of his assassins.
But when he saw his beloved Brutus among them, with his dagger draw, the Roman Emperor ceased to struggle and withdraw every attempt of resistance.

He pulled the top part of his robe over the face and asked the infamous question, “Et tu, Brute?”

>> “You too, Brutus?”

… A question which cuts across the marrows of the bones and the pierces the depths of the heart.. to express disgust and contempt of the deadly human vice of betrayal!
… A question which cuts across civilizations and generations.. to show forth the abhorrence and the detestation of the wicked trait of disloyalty!

The Gospel of the Day presents a mighty warning by Jesus on the danger of we becoming betrayers to Him and His Love!

Jesus tells His disciples, ““Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” (Lk 9: 44)

Jesus gives a forewarning to His disciples on the sword of betrayal that would be his painful lot.

This betrayal had to be faced on different levels..
… an act of betrayal through a kiss by Judas Iscariot
… acts of denial by Peter, His close disciple
… acts of abandonment by His other disciples
… acts of rejection by the chief priests and elders
… acts of passivity by the people for whom He had served

Today our Lord poses the same question…. Am I betraying Him in my acts and deeds?

Will the Lord have to, calling us by name, ask us, ” Et tu, ……..?”… “You too, ……..?”

>> Do I betray the Lord by failing to avoid occasions of sin and constantly moving away from doing His Will?

>> Do I betray the Lord with my words of unpleasantness, judgemental nature and destructively critical?

>> Do I betray the Lord by being unkind, unforgiving and harbouring grudge by my actions?

>> Do I betray the Lord by causing harm to others and being insincere in my works?

May we ask the grace to remain ever faithful to the Lord and be loyal to His Love and His Kingdom.

Like St Philip Neri, may we too pray:
“Watch me, O Lord, this day; for, abandoned to myself, I shall surely betray thee.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

25 Sep (Based on Lk 9:18-22)

There is an interesting incident that is reported from the land of Africa.

When the early Africans converted to Christianity, they were extremely earnest and regular, especially in their personal devotions.

Each one of them, would choose a separate spot in the midst of a thicket.
>> In that personal spot, the person would pour out one’s heart to God.
>> It was a moment of deepening one’s relationship with the Lord
>> It was a place of personally strengthening one’s bond with the Saviour

As time passed by, these spots would become well-worn out.
>> The paths had been smoothed

As a result, if any of the converts failed to be regular in personal prayer, it was easily noticeable and clearly evident to the others!

Therefore, they would gently remind the one who was negligent, “Brother/Sister, the grass is growing on your path!!”

“The grass is growing on your path” – became a reminder for the one who was slipping down the path of devotion and prayer, to revive one’s spiritual fervour and zeal.

“Is there grass growing on our paths?”
… is a question that we need to constantly ask ourselves and execute the necessary steps in order to reinforce or to strengthen our personal prayer lives!

The Gospel of the Day present a wonderful depiction of our Blessed Lord – Jesus praying in solitude.

St Luke paints am inspiring image of our Lord when he says, “And it came to pass, as Jesus was praying alone…” (Lk 9: 18)

During His earthly ministry, Jesus had a very strong priority and choice: Finding time to be alone with His Beloved Father, in prayer.

This was especially pointed out by St Luke whose Gospel is called as the “Gospel of Prayer”

>> At the Baptism: “After all people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized, and was praying…” (Lk 3: 21)

>> After many healings: ” .. He would withdraw to deserted places to pray” (Lk 5:16)

>> Before choosing the Twelve: “In those days, He departed to the mountains to pray…” (Lk 6: 12)

>> At Transfiguration: “… Jesus took Peter, John and James and went up the mountain to pray…” (Lk 9: 28)

Many are such occasions that St Luke points to drive home the message that Jesus cherished, loved and made time for Personal Prayer.

Is my life rooted in Prayer?
>> This is a fundamental question that we need to constantly pose to ourselves and be moved by the answers that we get to it.

We complain very often that we don’t find time for prayer..
.. being busy with a number of assignments, duty demands, work schedules!

We tend to say that prayer doesn’t interest us…
… unable to enjoy sometime alone and to be quiet and recollected in the Awesome and Still Presence of the Lord!

We find ample number of excuses to cancel out “prayer” from our timetable of life…
… giving a reason that “God will anyway wait for us” whereas our moments of enjoyment and fun may not come too often!

But our Blessed Lord today invites to seek and cherish “prayer” in our lives.
>> We are called to have a “taste for prayer”!

Spending time with a person whom one loves is certainly not a painful task or an unnecessary task or deed required an extra effort.

>> One loves to be with the person who is loved…
….. to spend quiet moments
….. to speak out one’s heart
….. to expose one’s inner emotions

And this “being with” Our Blessed Lord is “Prayer”!

Let us make efforts to reserve and preserve, at least a few minutes, in personal prayer, to grow in our union with the Lord.

It is only these precious moments of prayer…
… that will help us to deepen our conviction to say that Jesus is the “Messiah of God” (Lk 9: 20)
… that will take us through, with our Crucified Lord (Lk 9: 22), in our moments of struggles and hardships.

“Is there grass growing on our paths…?”
>> the grass of laziness and lethargy
>> the grass of disinterest and indifference
>> the grass of meaninglessness and hopelessness

.. then we need to make smooth these paths  by reviving and reinvigorating our prayer lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!