It is said that World History is a victorious story written by the winners, through the lives of proud emperors, famous rulers, triumphant troops…
… but Salvation History is written by God, through the lives of humble saints, repentant sinners and passionate lovers of the Lord!
God is an amazing script writer!
>> His Divine Wisdom, beautifully pens lives.
But often, we fail to understand this script >> Failures, disappointments, tragedies…
… are mostly, considered by us, as the end of our lives….
Today, Holy Mother, the Church invites our attention to Two Persons – St Peter and St Paul…
… who faced failures, disappointments and tragedies
>> But remarkably, through the Divine Plan, their lives were scripted to a classic story….
St Peter was overwhelmed by the Great Fishermen of Hearts
>> All through the life of Jesus, we see St Peter, varying between many emotions: over-zealous, impatient, bold, courageous, simple, daring
St Paul was overpowered by the tremendous power of the Risen Lord
>> All through his life, we see St Paul zealous and passionate, fervent and ardent, bold and courageous.
God, the Great Script writer, knew exactly well, these two personalities…
… Their life is a paradox.
Both had their moments of rejecting, persecuting, betraying and doubting the Lord…
Both had their moments of a “turning point” – St Peter’s call to be a Fisher of People & the Lord once again accepting him, in love, after Resurrection… St Paul on his way to Damascus, being prevailed over by the Majestic Power of the Risen Lord!
Both had their moments of being misunderstood and facing tough moments from the people, especially, the close people, with whom, they lived with, and to whom they ministered.
Both had their moments of sharing in the Cross of Christ, in His Chalice of Suffering and in the Baptism of a Holy Death!
Today, both are honoured & venerated as Stalwarts of our Faith & the Pillars of the Church.
Peter who had been Simon; Paul who had been Saul.
Peter the fisherman, the small-town Galilean Jew; Paul the Pharisee, the scholar of the Law.
Peter always conscious of the Faith’s Old Testament roots; Paul who found in Christ, “all things new.”
Peter who had lived and walked with Jesus; Paul who encountered the Risen Jesus.
Peter crucified on an inverted Cross; Paul martyred by the Sword.
>> Two very different persons.
>> Two different temperaments.
But ONE in their Zeal, Passion, Love, Mission, Enthusiasm, Fervour…All for the Lord!
These saints have much to teach us…and much to be imitated…
Is the story of our life, suffering from a bad-script, at the moment?
>> There is Hope….in the Lord!
Are there areas in our life, where there is persecution?
>> There is Salvation…in the Lord!
Are there moments in our life when we feel betrayed or cheated?
>> There is Love…in the Lord!
Are there situations of rejection and loneliness in our life?
>> There is Acceptance…in the Lord!
Are there times of doubt or tears or pain in the depth of our heart?
>>There is Healing…in the Lord!
The Lord, the Mighty Rock..promised and declared St Peter to be the Rock!
>> The Lord, the Good News…promised and declared St Paul to be the Evangelizer!
Today He invites us to imitate & follow the example of these Humble yet Great Saints of the Church.
Let us grow in Obedience, in Love and in Dependence….like St Peter
>> Let us grow in Passion, in Courage and in Openness….like St Paul!
Today we also thank the Lord for the Heart of our Blessed Mother… the Immaculate Heart of Mary
… the Mother of the Most Perfect Child in the world
… the Mother, Who herself was Immaculate and Stainless!
The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, follows immediately after the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Love seeks unity…
… and Jesus and Mary – Son and Mother – were deeply united in love!
>> The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary…
… in their lives, they were One
… in their sorrow, they were One
… and in their love, they were One!
In celebrating the Immaculate (a word which means “unstained) Heart of Mother Mary, we focus our meditation on Her Single-heartedness.
In Mt 6:24, we read: “No one can serve two masters!”.
Sin divides our heart…we no longer remain immaculate….
>> But Mamma Mary, remained focused all through Her life, in doing God’s Will…and remained Immaculate!
The Immaculate Heart of Mary today invites us to have our minds and hearts, focused on God… “The One who has called you, is faithful”! (1 Thess 5:24)
Like our Immaculate Mother, let us also seek to proclaim:
“Fiat Lord- Let Thy will be done, Lord”…
…. in all moments and situations of our lives!
The last recorded words of Mamma Mary in the Bible are…”Do whatever He tells You!” (Jn 2: 5)
>> Our loving Mother, steaches us the Gospel in these 5 words
Let us give heed to Her… just as she pondered His Word and lived a Perfect Christian Life
>> Let us also strive to be Immaculate and Holy.
Happy Feast of St Peter and St Paul, the Pillars of the Church to all of us, the Seekers of their Intercession and Zeal!
>> Feastday wishes of the Beautifully Immaculate Heart of our Precious Mamma, united to the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Child….
… and to all of us, Her Little Children and Followers of Her Son!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Most Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, I (full name), most unworthy though I am to be thy servant, yet touched by Thy motherly care for me and longing to serve thee, do, in the presence of my Guardian Angel and all the court of Heaven, choose thee this day to be my queen, my advocate, and my mother, and I firmly purpose to serve Thee evermore myself and to do what I can that all may render faithful service to Thee.
Therefore, most devoted Mother, through the Precious Blood thy Son poured out for me, I beg thee and beseech Thee, deign to take me among thy clients and receive me as Thy servant forever.
Aid me in my every action, and beg for me the grace never, by word or deed or thought, to be displeasing in thy sight and that of thy most holy Son!”
>> “The most beautiful heart in town” he proclaimed and attracted the crowds to admire it.
Then an aged man joined the big crowd.
“Why, my heart is beautiful too”, he said quietly.
All eyes turned to see his heart…
It was beating strongly, but had a number of scars, patches, deep gouges and several jagged edges.
The people stared at that heart!
>> How could he claim to have a “beautiful” heart, they wondered!
The young man remarked, “You must be joking. My heart is perfect, whereas yours is a mess of scars and patches!”
“Well”, said the old man, “The heart’s worth is measured by love!”
>> “In giving love, you tear out a piece of your heart – that leaves a gouge – which is patched when you receive love.
If you give more than you receive, then the gouges remain.
>> They can be painful – but that is the risk you take…”
The young man realized the worth of love.
Inspired by the true symbol of the heart, the young man, ripped of a piece of his heart, and offered it, with trembling hands to the old wise man.
>> Then he patched the gauged with the large piece that the old man gave him!
As the crowd watched in amazement, the two embraced each other!
Love, by its nature, gives away…
>> The heart, which is deep-rooted in love, thus bears wounds and patches.
Today on this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we contemplate in adoration and meditation on the Heart of our Blessed Lord – pierced and broken and shared – in love for each one of us.
In the year 1673, Our Blessed Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary and made her to rest her head upon His Heart; and during which He revealed to her the wonders of His love.
He revealed to her, His Sacred Heart…
… and requested her to establish the Feast of the Sacred Heart – the Friday after the Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ- in order to make reparation for sins which offend His Sacred Heart.
In her vision, she saw His wounded heart, on fire with love, saying, “Behold this Heart which has loved men so much and has received such little love in return.”
It was on June 11, 1899 Pope Leo XIII solemnly consecrated the whole humankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Gospel of the day presents the account of how the Heart of our Blessed Lord was pierced with a lance, on Mount Calvary.
“But one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (Jn 19: 34)
The Catholic tradition identifies the water as the symbol of Baptism and the Blood as the symbol of the Holy Eucharist.
· The Water symbolizes purification.
· The Blood symbolizes atonement.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is today one of the most recognizable symbols of the Christian faith.
· The picture consists of the Heart, with the wound of the lance in its side, a crown of thorns about it, a cross above it and flames surrounding it.
This Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not simply His physical heart but His love for all humankind.
This Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of the Lord teaches us many things…
a. It teaches us the immense love that the Lord possesses for each one of us, personally.
Have I experienced the tremendous love that the Lord has for me?
>> I may feel myself low.
>> I may consider myself to be not very good.
>> I may think that my life is just not worth living.
>> I may deem that my past has ruined my life very badly.
>> I may judge that situations around me can never be changed.
Even with all these things, am I convinced that “Jesus loves me”, still… and that He will take me through, by the power of His love?
b. It teaches us the pain and the agony that the Lord still undergoes as a result of our sin and the sins of the world
Do I realize that a sinful life brings tears to the Lord and causes more wounds to the Precious Heart of the Lord?
>> There is nothing which pains the Lord more than sin.
>> It was for our salvation that He shed even the last drop of His blood.
>> He not just wants but insists and demands and commands us to live in holiness.
Do I give heed to this “passionate and sincere” call of the Lord to live our lives in sanctity and in accordance to God’s Will in my life?
c. It teaches us the need to be part of the process of redemption that Christ has won for us and to be shareholders in His mission of bringing God’s love to all
Do I become aware that Christ is calling me to be part of His redemptive work of salvation?
Christ still suffers and undergoes pains.
>> From the Cross, He cried, “I thirst” (Jn 19: 28)
He desires that people who have known and experienced His love become effective agents of bringing His love to others.
>> By a life of sacrifices (tiny or great…little or huge), by simple acts of love, compassion and mercy and by greater participation in the Sacramental Life of the Church, the love of the Sacred Heart can be brought to many more people.
Am I willing to take up this responsibility that the Lord is handing on to us?
The Heart of the Lord is pierced, broken and shared for each one of us.
In the Holy Eucharist, we have the privilege to receive this greatest treasure.
>> In turn, we are to break our hearts and share it with others, to bring the love and compassion of the Lord to the world.
May this Solemnity of the Precious Symbol of True Love stir the flames of God’s Love in our hearts and inspire us to set ablaze the world on fire, with His Love and Compassion!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, may we ever remain close to You!
Happy Feast of the Most Blessed Heart of the Lord!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “May thy heart dwell always in our hearts!
>> May thy blood ever flow in the veins of our souls!
O sun of our hearts, thou givest life to all things by the rays of thy goodness!
I will not go until thy heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!
There was a school system in a large city that had a program, to help children keep up with their school assignments…
… during the time when the children were admitted for sicknesses.
One day a teacher who was assigned to this program, received a call asking her to visit a particular child.
She took the child’s name and room number and had a short talk with the child’s regular class teacher.
“We’re studying about words in his class now – nouns and adverbs,” the class teacher said, “and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”
The hospital-program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon.
The boy had met with a bad accident, been badly burnt and was in great pain.
Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.”
When she left after teaching, she felt she hadn’t accomplished much.
But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?”
The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize.
“No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, you met him, his whole attitude has changed.
He’s fighting back, responding to treatment…
>> It’s as though he’s decided to live!”
Two weeks later, the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived.
Everything changed when he came to a simple realization which he expressed it this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to teach about words, and work on ‘nouns and adverbs’ with a dying boy, would they?”
The gesture of teaching about “words” reinforced hope and courage to that dying boy!
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.
>> If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today!
The Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist comes with this great message of “hope”!
The Gospel presents the beautiful incident of the birth and naming of St John the Baptist.
The birth of John the Baptist is the pivot around which the history of our faith turns.
>> He was the last prophet of the Old Covenant – and the first of the New Covenant.
One of the highlighting aspects of the birth of John the Baptist is the message that “hope is not to be lost, even in the midst of extreme barrenness!”
The Gospel of St Luke says that “Elizabeth and Zechariah, both were advanced in years”, but they had no child; Elizabeth was barren” (Lk 1: 7)
Elizabeth’s barrenness was also symbolic of the barrenness of the land, of the world and of the entire humanity…
· Wickedness had caused creation to be incapable of nurturing and sustaining life
· Sin had rendered human beings infertile, to bear God’s grace and live in holiness
… is the God of hope
… the God of fulfilling every promise
… and the God of surprises!
>> From the barrenness of Elizabeth emerged the forerunner of the One who is Life!
>> From the barrenness of the world, God gave rise to the Fountain of hope and trust!
The entire life of St John – through the key events – is a spectacular reminder of this great virtue of “hope”…
a. The conception of John
Even when there is barrenness all around, we need to “hope” in God who is able to work miracles and give us life and joy!
b. The naming of John
Even when there are many worldly voices that seek to distract us from the ways that God wishes for us, we need to “hope” in God and follow whatever He wills, so as to find glory and joy in Him!
c. The life of John in the desert
Even when life takes us through the deserts of emptiness, dangers, hardships and misery, we need to “hope” in God who has a definite plan and purpose for our life!
d. The beheading of John
Even when we become victims of cruelty, exploitation, wickedness and inhumanness, we need to “hope” in God by living a life of truth, courage, convictions and valour!
The Church celebrates the Nativity of only three persons, in her liturgical calendar…
1. Jesus -“Hope” Himself
2. Mother Mary – the Mother of “Hope”
3. John the Baptist – the symbol of “Hope”
May our lives become truly rooted in “hope” and become beacons of spreading this “hope and trust” to others.
>> There are many who are sick in our world.
>> There are many who are burnt by the fires of afflictions and at the point of death
>> There are many who have lost all faith in life and give themselves up to despair and dejection.
Our gestures of teaching about “The Word – Jesus” can reinforce hope and courage to those dying – in sin, in affliction, in depression, in loneliness.
Wish you a Happy Feast of the Nativity of the “symbol of Hope” – St John the Baptist.
>> May Jesus our “Hope” and Blessed Mamma, our “Mother of Hope” strengthen us!
God bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in him and I am helped.
>> He is not only with me but in me, and I in Him.”
The initial years of the 20th Century saw communists seizing a Catholic parish and imprisoning the priest in his own rectory near the church.
After being locked up in his own house, the priest looked out the window and was horrified to see the anti-Catholic militants enter the church.
Once inside, they went into the sanctuary, broke open the tabernacle and in an act of desecration, threw down the Ciborium – scattering the Sacred Hosts on the floor.
>> The priest knew exactly how many Hosts had been in the ciborium: Thirty Two.
However, the communists either failed to notice or didn’t pay any attention, to a small girl who had praying in the back of the Church.
>> She saw everything.
That night the girl returned, and slipping past the guard at the rectory, entered the Church where she made a Holy Hour.
After her Holy Hour, she went into the sanctuary, and kneeling down, bent over and received Jesus in the Holy Communion with her tongue (Since at that time, it was not permissible lay-people to touch the Sacred Host with their hands)
Each night, the girl returned to the church to make her Holy Hour and received Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue, just as she did the first night.
On the thirty- second night, after having consumed the last Host, she accidentally made a noise that awoke the guard who was asleep at his post by the priest’s residence.
From his bedroom window, the priest could only watch in horror as the heartrending scene unfolded before his eyes:
>> The girl tried to run away…
…. But the guard chased her, grabbed her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle!
The little girl had a heroic martyrdom – all because of her tender and deep love for the Holy Eucharist!
It was this incident that would inspire Archbishop Fulton Sheen – one of the greatest 20th century proponents of the Catholic Church – to spend one hour each, daily, before the Holy Eucharist!
>> The daring action of that little girl, inspired the heart of another fervent soul, Fulton Sheen, who would go on to influence millions to love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!
Today is the great Solemnity of the Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The Catechism of the Church declares that “the mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique”
The Catechism teaches, “In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (#1374).
The Holy Mass is not another sacrifice nor a repetition of the sacrifice of Calvary.
• The Holy Mass is the same sacrifice of Jesus – the perpetual continuation and adoration of the sacrifice of Calvary.
The Priest at the Holy Mass is Jesus Himself, the High Priest and Victim of the Sacrifice.
The Holy Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus – is the greatest treasure that the Church offers to Her children…
>> Yet, the Holy Eucharist sometimes, also becomes the great barrier for people to misunderstand and misinterpret the Church.
The same was true even in the time of Jesus.
>> The mention of His Body and Blood caused great division, misunderstanding and led to the misinterpretation of Jesus.
After having provided physical nourishment for the crowd (Lk 9: 11-17), Jesus had declared Himself as “The Bread of Life” (Jn 6: 35).
The Greek word that is used for “bread” is “artos”.
>> This “artos”….
… refers to food composed of flour mixed with water, and baked.
… also refers to food of any kind or food in general.
As “bread” or “food” is essential for the physical life
… Jesus as “the bread of life” is required for the spiritual life!
Without bread, physical life would perish….
… Without Jesus, the bread, spiritual life would perish!
The Lord surprised His hearers by saying that “the bread that I give is my flesh for the world” (Jn 6:51b)
>> This saying had caused a dispute among the people, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (Jn 6:52)
The bold declaration of the Lord that He would give His Flesh and His Blood as food and drink, caused a huge scandal among His listeners and it caused deep divisions and disputes.
>> The same is so much true in our own world – when the Church declares the Holy Eucharist to be the True and Real Body and Blood of the Lord, there are so many disputes and divisions.
On this great Feast day, there are questions that arise before us…
1. What is my belief and understanding of this most Treasured Gift of the Holy Eucharist – “the source and summit of Christian Life”
… Do I believe with conviction that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Eucharist?
… Do I celebrate and participate in the Holy Mass with this Divine Fervour?
2. What is the effect that this Sacrament of Total Self-giving on me?
… Does the reception of Jesus – the Love Incarnate, make me in turn to be more loving towards others and do I make deliberate choices to extend love to all?
… Does the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist impel me also to make sacrifices – even tiny, insignificant, unnoticed – for the cause and good of others?
3. What is my contribution to spread the good news of the Holy Eucharist to others?
… Am I being a person who radiates the love of the Eucharist to others, by my conscious efforts to be respectful, reverent and devoted in the Chapel or Church and also become aware of the Lord’s Presence, when passing by Churches or handling Sacred objects?
… Do I tell to other people about this exciting, real presence of God in the Holy Eucharist – especially the sick, the suffering and those in distress, that they may experience the real healing presence of the Lord?
Jesus – the Bread of Life – in the Holy Eucharist…
… eagerly longs for our reception and our adoration
The tragedy in our life, however, is that very often, this “magnetic” Eucharistic presence remains abandoned and forsaken!
It’s a pity that the Living Lord is hardly visited in the Blessed Sacrament!
>> Chapels and Churches often remain empty and forlorn!
>> Hardly any say “Hello” to the Lord in the Eucharist!
We sometimes are reducing ourselves to a generation seeking only after mighty wonders,
fascinating miracles and attracted only to external sensations!
>> But the Holy Eucharist – the greatest miracle of the world often remains unnoticed!
We need to come to experience that…
>> There is nothing more sublime in this world than the Holy Eucharistic Presence!
>> There is nothing more beautiful than moments spent before the Eucharistic Lord!
>> The Lord waits for us…every moment…every day!
>> The Lord seeks for us…every second…every hour!
We may have different excuses to evade and avoid time before His presence…
>> Maybe too many works and occupations…
>> Maybe a feeling that it is too dry and boring to be with Him…
>> Maybe an attitude that social works suffice and go beyond all such pious devotions…
But no excuse and no theory can give justification to miss the Presence of the Lord!
>> The more we remain with Him, the more we become like Him!
In the midst of daily scuffles and struggles of life, the Holy Eucharist ought to be the strength and support of our lives.
The Holy Eucharist may not give us…
… perfect answers or solutions in the way we expect.
… us immediate responses and remedies in the manner we want.
But the Holy Eucharist will most certainly…
… strengthen us with grace and power to face the challenges with courage.
… infuse us with a deep and intense authority to defy any difficulties that we meet.
… empower us with immense joy and peace in order to withstand the storms of life.
May we grow in the love of the Holy Eucharist, for, as Bishop Fulton Sheen says, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host”!
>> And, in turn, may we become a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others!
… Seeking the Eucharist, to be a Eucharist to the other!
… Loving the Eucharist to break and share oneself to the other!
Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Eucharist!
>> May our Blessed Mamma of the Holy Eucharist, help & intercede for us, to love the Lord more!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Our Savior has instituted the most August Sacrament of the Eucharist, which contains His Flesh and His Blood in their reality…
… to the end that he who eats of it shall live forever.
>> Whoever, therefore, frequently eats with devotion this Food, so effectually confirms the health of his soul…
… that it is almost impossible that he should be poisoned by any kind of evil affection.