Aug 1 (Mt 13:47-53)

One morning, the husband was at breakfast…

… his face hidden behind the morning paper.

The frightened maid tiptoed into the room and whispered something to the wife’s ears.

The wife – paled slightly – then squared her shoulders resolutely and said:

“Dear, for the last seventeen years, you have been eating oats porridge in the morning.

You will be very upset, isn’t it, if you don’t get it this morning?”

Expecting the worst reaction, the wife began to turn away.

The husband, hiding his naughty smile, however said: “Oh how sad!

Yes, I will miss my daily meal!

But hey! It’s also a nice chance to get something interesting to eat, without having to tell explicitly…

… how bored I am with my daily meal!”

The husband, without wanting to express that he wanted a change in his meal,

… hid behind a casual attitude of “saying yes” without really intending!

Well… such is the case with many of us as well, probably.

>> There are many things that we don’t really enjoy…

… yet, pretend that everything is fine.

>> There are many things not going on fine with us…

… but we still behave as if we are okay with everything.

We sometimes are people who affirm and consent…

… without really understanding or grasping the whole reality

>> There is a “lip” yes…

… but not a consent with the mind.

>> There is an external nodding…

… without a true affirmation from the heart.

The Gospel of the Day presents such a classic case in the context of the disciples of Jesus saying a “Yes” to having understood the teachings of Jesus…

… and invites us to examine our lives and check whether:

>> We say only a “lip” yes, without the consonance of the mind!

>> We give an external nodding, without the affirmation of the heart!

The first 50 verses of the 13th Chapter from St Matthew is a quick montage of several parables…

… Seven in all…

1. Parable of the Sower (vv. 1-9)

2. Parable of the Weeds among wheat (vv. 24-30)

3. Parable of the Mustard Seed (vv. 31-32)

4. Parable of the Yeast (v. 33)

5. Parable of the man finding the treasure (v. 44)

6. Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (v. 45)

7. Parable of the Net thrown in the sea (vv. 47-50)

These 7 parables teach several great truths and virtues….

1. Preparing our hearts to receive the Generous Word of God….

2. Accepting the reality of evil in the world and being firm to be good…

3. Realizing the Divine Grace that blossoms our littleness into a shelter for many…

4. Recognizing the transforming effect of a committed faith…

5. Experiencing the joy of discovering the Lord as the Treasure of our lives….

6. The Willingness to give up everything to prioritize the Lord as the Pearl of Great Prize….

7. Living a life with the awareness of the judgment of good and evil at the end of our lives!

At the end of this quick, power-packed narration of the 7 parables, Jesus puts forward a question to His Disciples:

“Do you understand all these things?”(Mt 13:51)

The Lord wished to know if His disciples were grasping these great truths of Christian Life…

>> He wanted to know from His chosen ones, the level of their understanding.

The Gospel says the Disciples “answered, ‘Yes'”(Mt 13:51b).

Well, we are not fully sure whether the Disciples really understood and grasped everything….

>> We really can’t say for certain whether their “Yes”…

… was only a “lip” yes or one with the consonance of the mind

… was an external nodding or one with the affirmation of the heart

There are many occasions in the Gospels…

… when we see the Disciples “said something” but did not actually follow it or live it

… Or they really did not fully understand and grasp the person of Jesus and His teachings

>> At the Transfiguration, when Peter said, “Let us make three tents”, the Gospel says, “he did not know what he was saying!”(Lk 9:33b)

>> After the multiplication of the loaves, the Gospel says “they had not understood the incident of the loaves”(Mk 6:52)

>> After the calming of the storm at the sea, they said to one another “Who then is this Whom even wind and sea obey?”(Mk 4:41)

>> They failed to recognize and see the Father in Jesus and so Jesus chided them, saying, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?” (Jn 14:10)

They asked Him Show us the Father.

We therefore do not really know the depth of the “Yes” of the Disciples…

… Was it only an instinctual reply?

… Was it just a spontaneous answer?

We cannot fully trace the intention of the Disciples.

But this incident is certainly a reminder and an invitation for us to examine…

… Do we seek to understand the Lord and His Teachings?

… Are we aware of the greatness and the worth of the many devout practices of our faith?

Let us examine…

>> Do we realize the Power of the Most Holy Mass and prepare ourselves accordingly for a worthy celebration…

… or has it become a regular routine of life, without the due preparation and a sense of reverence?

>> Do we read the Living Word of God daily, and seek to live in accordance with His Teachings…

… or has the Bible merely become another “object” of the house, only to be kept in a place of seclusion, with an occasional glance?

>> Do our prayers and the reception of the other Sacraments become a God-experience and have a life-touching effect…

… or have they been rendered as casual or even compelled actions, with little effect on one’s life and activities?

Yes, as Christians, we are sometimes people who affirm and consent…

… without really understanding or grasping the whole reality.

Today, let us seek the intercession of Great Saintly Doctor of the Church – St Alphonsus Liguori – the Patron Saint of Theologians – on his feast day.

>> His life was lived in purpose and clarity, seeking the Will of God, in the midst of the many confusing and deviant ways of the world

>> His being was filled with determination, despite the many heresies and anti-faith philosophies that cropped up in his time.

As we thank the Lord for another month in our lives, let us offer this new month of August into the Providential Hands of our God…

… by giving heed to the Lord, who invited His followers to be like the “instructed scribe, who is like the house holder who brings from his storeroom, both the new and the old.” (Mt 13:52).

God bless! Live Jesus

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – There are many who say to the Lord, “I give myself wholly to Thee, without any reserve.

>> But there are few who embrace the practice of this abandonment, which consists in receiving with a certain indifference every sort of event, as it happens in conformity with Divine Providence…

… as well afflictions as consolations

… contempt and reproaches as honour and glory!”

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Jul 31 (Mt 13:44-46)

Jenny was a cheerful little seven-year old girl of a poor home.

Once, while out shopping with her mother, in the market…

… she came across a “fine white pearl” in a pink foil box.

Though it was an imitation pearl (not a real one), the girl was highly fascinated, and sought to buy it.

>> After a lot of pestering, the mother – giving up some of her precious savings, to satisfy her daughter’s desire – bought the imitation pearl to her.

As soon the girl reached home, her uncle – whom she loved much and had returned from foreign – was waiting to see her.

The excited girl ran to her loved uncle, and presented the imitation pearl, saying:

“Uncle, see how beautiful this pearl is! I am so excited to be possessing it!”

But the Uncle – who knew the child’s love for pearls – looked into her eyes and asked:

“Child, if you really love me, give the pearl to me!”

“Oh no Uncle! I can’t give this pearl to you!

I have got this bought from Mummy after a lot of insistence.

>> I will give you my favourite doll instead…but don’t ask me for this pearl… please!”

But Uncle went on insisting: “No, if you really love me, give me that pearl!”

The child, by now had tears in her eyes…

… little drops flowing down her tender cheeks, Jenny says:

“Uncle, I do love you very much.

Though it is extremely hard for me, but because I love you, I will give you this pearl!”

>> And so saying, she handed over the pearl to her uncle.

As soon as Uncle received that pearl – which was an imitation…

… he reached out his hand inside his bag, and took out a box.

Handing over the box to the crying child, he told her: “Check what I have for you, in return for what you gave me”.

Jenny opened the box.

>> To her great surprise and delight, it was a Necklace of Real Pearls!

Her eyes glistened, as she held the Priceless Necklace of Pearls, in her little hands.

And as she kept admiring, her Uncle told her:

“Remember my Child! So it is with life…

>> Unless you recognize and give up the fake things of life…

… you can never possess the real treasures of life!

Never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

What about us?

>> Are we ready to hand over the “imitation” pearls to our Loving God, in order to be handed over the real “Pearl of Great Price!”

The Gospel of the Day are the twin parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of God being compared to a “priceless fortune” being discovered.

>> A man finding a treasure in a field (Mt 13: 44-45)

>> A merchant finding a pearl of great price (Mt 13:46)

One of the common thought-pattern exhibited in both these parables is the following factor:

“The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

>> The man on finding the treasure in the field…

… takes the risk of selling everything, in order to buy the treasure, which was priceless

>> The merchant on finding the precious pearl…

… takes the risk of selling all that he had, in order to possess the pearl, which was priceless.

The pages of the Bible narrate this pattern: “The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”…

… St Joseph risks listening to the voice of the Angel, and taking Mary as his wife – in order to provide a home for the Son of God – a priceless responsibility!

… St Peter risks giving up his boats and fishing nets – in order to follow Jesus – a priceless vocation!

… Zacheaus risks inviting Jesus into his home and doing away with his riches – in order to obtain salvation – a priceless reward!

… St Paul risks doing away with his former ways of persecuting Christianity and preaching to the Gentiles, instead – in order to win many souls- a priceless way of life!

“Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved playing it safe, and sticking to the familiarity of the known!”

Are we ready to take this risk…?

… risk doing away with our sinful ways, in order to live a new life in Christ?

… risk giving up some undue attachments, in order to allow the Lord to possess our hearts?

… risk removing some unwelcome addictions, in order to allow the Spirit of God to work in us?

Jesus, the Priceless Fortune deserves our best!

We, however, often cling on to the “imitation” pearls in our life.

… assuming that they can give us happiness – when in actuality, they are mere imitations!

Our Loving God constantly asks us: “Child, if you really love me, give the pearl to me!”

>> Our human weakness and tendency may tell “Oh no! I can’t give this pearl to you!

But let us not be afraid to “take the risk”…

… and tell the Lord:

“Lord, I do love you very much.

Though it is extremely hard for me, but because I love You, I will give You this pearl!”

Yes, this act of “taking a risk” will surely win for us “The Pearl of Great Price”!

Let us faith-life always remind us:

“Unless you recognize and give up the fake things of life…

… you can never possess the real treasures of life!”

Yes, let us “never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is Priceless!”

Today we celebrate the Feast of a Great Saint – St Ignatius of Loyola…

… the founder of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuit Fathers.

He was a man with a lot of worldly ambitions and gripped with seeking vain glory.

But an incident, wherein, he was bed-ridden, as a result of a leg injury, brought a transformation in his life.

>> Not finding any other books to read, he was handed over the “Life of Saints”, which made him to prompt himself to ask a question: “Why am I using my life just for myself? These people did so much good during their time on earth. Why can’t I?”

St Ignatius was at the “bored and unexcited” phase of his life…

… yet the Lord would use “that” situation, to bring a transformation in his life and helped him to discovered “the pearl of great price!”

Maybe, many of us are also going through a “bored and unexcited” phase of our life…

… feeling uncertain about the future

… experiencing worry about the past

… troubled by the anxieties of the present.

Yet, the Lord is with us…

… waiting to be discovered as the Greatest Treasure!

What is needed is our self-giving…

… little and small as we are: let us offer our lives to the Lord

… broken and disturbed as we are: let us give ourselves to the Lord

May his prayer echo in our hearts as well:

“O my God, teach me to be generous, teach me to serve you as I should…

… to give without counting the cost,

… to fight without fear of being wounded,

… to work without seeking rest,

…. to labour without expecting any reward,

… but the knowledge that I am doing your most holy will.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The beginning of good things is good, the progress is better…

… the end is the best!”

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Jul 30 (Mt 13:36-43)

An elderly man who was known to be extremely cheerful and hale hearted was once asked by a group of young boys in Church: “We have always seen you so happy and delighted! Don’t you ever feel sad or discouraged in life?”

The old man, with a gentle smile, looked at the youngsters and replied: “Well… I went through immense pain and tragedy from my childhood…starting with the loss of my parents… failure to get a good job in the initial years… tragic early death of my wife…

… but one day, as I passed by a Church, I came across a three-line poem, which became the strength for my life.”

The boys were curious for the poem and asked, “What is that poem?”

The man replied:

“I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine.

I believe in love, even when it is not given.

I believe in God, even when He is silent!”

The man could live a stronger life after being introduced by the poem, to the Power of God, silently working in life, even in the midst of tragedies!

We too so often ask these questions of mystery…

>> “Why does evil exist in a world that was created good?”

>> “Can evil have any meaning; rather, is it not spoiling our existence on earth?”

>> “How long are the good to suffer with the presence of evil all around?”

Today our Blessed Lord opens His mind on this crucial Reality of our lives, by the explanation of the Parable of the Weeds.

It’s noteworthy to know some interesting facts about this parable…

1. Sowing weeds in someone else’s field, was a way take revenge on the other and to express one’s hatred and anger!

Something similar to today, people…

… breaking the glass of the houses of those whom they don’t like

… disfiguring the walls of the house of the people whom they hate

2. The weeds that Jesus speaks of in the parable, were highly similar to the wheat that was sown.

>> It was almost impossible to distinguish the two, in their initial stages.

3. Seeking to pull up the weeds would definitely destroy the wheat plant

>> This was because, their roots would get inter-twined.

Any attempt to pull up the weeds, would also cause harm to the good plant.

It is in the light of these points, that our “doubt and perplexity” about the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds grows:

>> “Why does evil exist in a world that was created good?”

This is where the Lord challenges every Christian to understand…

… that some mysteries in life cannot be fully understood…

… but are to be boldly lived!

… that some struggles in life cannot be totally eliminated…

… but are to be bravely challenged!

…. that some problems in life cannot be completely solved…

but are to be fearlessly encountered!

As we take time to digest this fact, let us also spare a thought for the seed of wheat that was sown by the Sower.

For the Sower, the Seed of Wheat was priceless… special…!

He had sown it with a lot of love, care and affection.

>> And so, He would do everything in His power, to make sure, that He loses nothing of it, in the attempt to get rid of the weeds.

The Sower is God.

>> And the Bible, throughout, speaks about how the seed that is sown – the wheat – is precious to God…

… the lost sheep is passionately sought until it is found (Lk 15: 1-7)

… the lost coin is ardently searched till it is found (Lk 15: 8-10)

… the leftover pieces of loaves are devoutly gathered up (Mt 14:20)

… the rejected short man, hiding on the tree, is assigned a new chapter in life (Lk 19: 1-10)

… the nearly-stoned woman, caught in the act of adultery, is given new life (Jn 8: 1-11)

… the impulsive fisherman, called as the rock, and who denied three times, is accepted back (Jn 21: 15-19)

We are the precious Wheat.

Jesus opens our hearts and minds to have a “realistic understanding” of life.

>> We need to be patient with ourselves and with others…

… in dealing with sin and with evil tendencies

Of course, as humans, we do many times…

… bite our teeth in anger, glaring at the inhumanness in our society and the world

… lose our cool, in finding ourselves to be imperfect and sinful even after years of trying

… go mad, in encountering silly disputes and indifferences in our families & communities

… have our blood boiling, seeing the various scandals and shameful incidents in the Church

But the Lord says… “Hold On”….

Surely, we have our emotions and feelings when we come across unjust situations..

But the Lord says:

“Do your best…and leave the rest to Me!

>> Aim for perfection….but give not into despair because of devastations!”

This certainly is no excuse for us to deny our duty and responsibility…

… and even the obligation to seek to avoid wickedness and dissuade evil practices.

But we may never find ourselves in PERFECT elimination of evil and sinful behaviours…

…either in our personal life, or societal life or even in the life of the church.

The Lord, the Final and the Supreme Judge, will make sure, that “Good finally triumphs over the evil!”

>> “The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will collect out of His Kingdom, all who cause others to sin and evildoers…

… the Righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of Their Father!” (Mt 13: 41, 43).

As the national motto of India says: “Satyam eva jayate” (Truth alone triumphs!”)

Let us have recourse to the Awesome and Ultimate Power of God, and be strengthened in our lives…

… knowing and trusting that He will ultimately cause “Everything for our good” (Rom 8:28)

>> Yes let us express our faith:

“I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine.

I believe in love, even when it is not given.

I believe in God, even when He is silent!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us practice that holy resignation and pure love of our Lord that is never as perfect as it is amid suffering.

>> We must pray for that holy resignation so that God can shape our hearts into a fitting place for him to dwell and reign in eternity.

Seek help, but with the resignation that should His Divine Majesty wish the illness to conquer you, you will accept it…

… and if he wishes you to be healed, you will bless Him!”

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Jul 29 (Feast of St Martha)

Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I’ve no time to be

A saint by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee,

Or dreaming in the dawnlight, or storming heaven’s gates,

Make me a saint by getting meals, and washing up the plates.

**********

Although I must have Martha’s hands, I have a Mary mind;

And when I black the boots and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I find.

I think of how they trod the earth, what time I scrub the floor;

Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven’t time for more.

**********

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace;

Forgive me all my worrying, and make my grumbling cease.

Thou Who didst love to give men food, in room, or by the sea,

Accept this service that I do —- I do it unto Thee.

This poem called as “Prayer Hymn” by Cecily R Hallack is found on the preface page of a book entitled “Devotions for Women at Home” by Martha Meister Kiely, 1959.

(This poem is also called as “Kitchen Prayer” attributed to Klara Carlotta Munkres)

The world is fast-paced.

>> Some of us are always on the move

>> Some of us are always on our feet

From very early dawn to very late dusk…

… we’re frenzied with activities & works & efforts & exertions.

Life gives us ample excuses to get busy, isn’t it?

Our cultures sometimes even measures our worth by how busy we are…

….determines our significance by how much we accomplish…

….assesses our importance by how well we meet the expectations of others!

We are often under the yoke of proving to be ‘Somebody’ by what “we do”…

…than by what “we are”!

In this busy dizzy frenzied life…

… the Church today celebrates the Feast of St Martha and teaches us beautiful life examples to grow in holiness.

The moment St Martha is mentioned, our minds immediately paint a picture of a working lady, in the kitchen…

>> Perhaps a little irritated and vexed, that she alone has to do the serving for Jesus, the Guest.

She is also considered, often, in low tones, in comparison to her sister, Mary.

But on this her feast, we shall try to look closer into the life of this Saint…

… who sadly often remains touted only as an irritated and perplexed kitchen-lady…

>> And instead learn some important lessons from this Lovely Saint, for our Spiritual Life:

1. The Hospitable Martha

The first images of Martha is of one who loved to serve and attend to the needs of the Lord.

>> Jesus found a home and a resting place in this house of Bethany (Lk 10:38)

2. The Worried Martha

This popular image of Martha is a reality in this down-to-earth Saint. She is naturally worried, that she is left alone in serving the Divine Lord.

She even tends to demand the Lord to ask her sister, Mary to help her (Lk 10:40)

3. The Loved Martha

The Apostle of Love, St John, describes Martha as “the one who was loved by the Lord” (Jn 11:5)

4. The Sorrowful Martha

At the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha expresses deep sorrow and grief.

>> Her simple humanness comes to the light once again. (Jn 11:19)

5. The Trustful Martha

Though her brother died, the coming of Jesus to her home, was a great occasion for Martha to express her trust and confidence that the Lord can work wonders and great signs. (Jn 11:22)

6. The Believing Martha

Martha rose to the occasion when Jesus demands an expression of faith…

>> Parallel to Peter’s Faith Confession (Mt 16:16), Martha articulates her belief & conviction (Jn 11:27)

7. The Bold Martha

An often overlooked fact is that Jesus was often under the ire of the Pharisees and the Elders of the Law – some of them even plotting to kill this “emerging Reformer and Restorer” of the Law.

Jesus was at a constant risk to His life.

>> And yet, the Bold Martha is courageous and daring to accept the Lord into her home and to render him a shelter and a safe haven.

St Martha serves an inspiration to us, involved in much work and yet seeking to find a home in the heart of the Lord…

St Martha becomes a model to us…

>> Having human frailties and weakness…

… and yet wanting to tread the path of Holiness.

St Martha proves to be an example to us who gets discouraged by worries and brokenness in life…

… and yet wanting to honour to the Lord with a life of faith and strong belief.

The key is … “To Pay Attention to the Lord”

St Martha perhaps..

… had one Missed Call from the Lord: ” Martha Martha, you are anxious about many things” (Lk 10:41)….

>> But the next time onwards…she was ready to answer…!

As St Paul says, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)…

…let us glorify the Lord by our lives!

Happy Feast of St Martha!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Those who are burdened with Martha’s busy

anxieties, would not fail to enjoy in the very midst of their hearts, the deep peace of Mary’s better part…

… provided they carry all their cares to God.

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Jul 28 (Lk 11:1-13)

One day, a lady was giving some lessons to her little nephew.

He was generally a good, attentive child.

>> But on this occasion he could not fix his mind on the lessons.

The child had actually lost one of his favourite marbles and was disturbed by it.

So after a little while of distraction, the little boy suddenly said: “Aunty, may I kneel down and ask God to help me find my marble?”

His aunt gave her consent.

>> The little boy knelt by his chair, closed his eyes, and prayed silently.

Then he rose and went on with his lessons contentedly.

Next day, with fear that the child had not found his toy, and so might lose his simple faith, the lady gently asked him: “Well, dear, have you found your marble?”

“No, Aunty,” was the reply, “but God has made me not want to!”

What a beautiful reply, isn’t it?

God does not always answer our prayers in the way we wish or expect!

But if we are sincere in our prayers to Him…

>> “He will take from us the desire for what is contrary to His Will…

… and give us faith and hope to leave all to His Holy Will!”

What is our understanding of Prayer?

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful invitation…

… To understand Prayer

… And to grow in being a Person of Prayer

The Gospel passage begins with Jesus “praying in a certain place” (Lk 11: 1a)…

… and His disciples asking Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11: 1b)

Here is an interesting notion that is observed even in our daily lives: EMULATION

EMULATION is a quality prevalent in many areas of our life…

>> A child emulates the styles and mannerisms of the parents

>> A student emulates the virtues of his/her teacher and forms an ideal

>> Lovers seek to emulate qualities in the other to be more and more like them

>> People emulate the style statements and lifestyles of their heroes (role models)

The disciples of every Jewish Rabbi also had a deep desire to emulate their Master.

>> This included how the Rabbi appeared, his eating styles, his Sabbath observational manners, what he liked and disliked, his mannerisms and his preferences.

>> The Rabbi would also teach and emphasize certain aspects of the prayers that he considered most important, depending on his outlook and approach to God.

Thus, we see the disciples of Jesus, the Rabbi also come to Him… to emulate Him

>> They had seen their Master often resorting to long hours of prayer

>> They had observed their Master interceding to the Father on important occasions

>> They had experienced their Master as One Who was in communion with the Father through prayer

And so, seeing their Master in prayer – wanting to emulate Him – they ask Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Lk 11: 1b)

Here is also an important lesson for us…

>> Do we want our children to pray?

… As parents, we must be rooted in prayer and children should see us praying

>> Do we want our parishes to be more vibrant and co-operative?

… The priests especially and the faithful should live as persons of prayer

>> Do we want our religious communities to be houses of peace and joy?

… The community members have a bounden duty to spend time in personal and community prayer

As Christians, we have a duty to be Persons of Prayer…

… being in communion with the Father

… seeking His Will at all times

… living joyfully, knowing that the Father cares for us

The relationship that Jesus emphasizes in prayer is that of God as a Father…

>> A Loving Father

… Who cares and loves us much!

>> A Merciful Father

… Who never abandons us and always wants us to be close to Him!

>> A Providential Father

… Who knows the needs of His children and provides the best for them, always!

>> A Concerned Father

… Who is more concerned of us than we ourselves and thus will always…always protect us!

What is therefore needed in prayer, “is a raising of one’s heart to the Father in love”

Jesus in the Gospel, further teaches on prayer, through a parable:

>> A friend who knocks at the door of his friend at an odd hour in the night, seeking for help (Lk 11: 5-8)

The man had an unforeseen guest, and so he went to his friend seeking for help

This man had the goodwill to serve his guest…

…but did not have the resources to help.

Very often, we ourselves land up into such situations, isn’t it?

We have “guests” coming in different forms….

>> People with problems and difficulties who approach us for help and assistance

>> Moments of uncertainty and insecurity that diverts our minds to it

>> Situations of sicknesses or crisis which seek our attention

In all those situations, we ask ourselves: “What can I do?”

But we need to realise and be convinced: “The best thing a Christian can do… is to pray!”

In all moments of hardships and difficulties…

… we need to rush to God, our Great Neighbour and cry out to Him, “A friend has come, and I have nothing to set before him.“

Such moments become occasions when we realise…

… Necessity for God and Dependence of God are two essential constituents of Prayer

We thus become Persons of Prayer…

… the more we sense the need for God in our life and the more we depend on Him

… the more we know that God is everything for us and the more we know He knows what’s best for us!

Of course, it does not mean that God, our Great neighbour, is sleeping and that He has to be awakened from his slumber…

… or that He has to be forced to render us help.

The point of the parable is that: When we realise we have a Friend Who is most needed for me and on Whom I can depend on…

… Whatever be the time of my life, I will go to Him

… Whatever be the situation I face in life, I present myself to Him

Thus prayer becomes…

… not simply an exercise or an obligation to be fulfilled

… not simply a remedial measure in our moments of struggle

But prayer becomes…

… a time of sharing and presenting ourselves, always, to the Lord seeking His Will

… a moment when we love the Lord more and perceive His plan for us in our life

… a time of self-introspection to weed away anything unbecoming of His Love

The Lord is a Loving Father, Who loves our prayer not because of hard-heartedness..

… but because He thirsts that we spend more time with Him, in His presence!

God’s Love for us… is and ought to become the greatest reason for us to pray!

And so Jesus says, “Ask, Seek and Knock” (Lk 11: 9)

>> Ask… to come to know that we depend on God for everything

>> Seek… to continually declare that we wish His Will to be done in our lives

>> Knock… to surrender ourselves to Him knowing that He is always available for us!

Prayer, is thus, always influential and transformative…

… making us to bend our wills to His Will

… causing us to amend our ways, to have our lives resonant with His Will

Yes, if we are sincere in our prayers to Him…

>> “He will take from us the desire for what is contrary to His Will…

… and give us Faith and Hope, to leave all to His Holy Will!”

Let us give to the words of St Teresa of Avila:

“Provided that we don’t give up, the Lord will guide everything for our benefit…!

There is no other remedy for this evil of giving up prayer than to begin again!”

May the Lord help us to grow in our understanding of prayer and to always be Persons of Prayer!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others…

… and talk to God!”

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Jul 27 (Mt 13:24-30)

One of the most baffling and mysterious aspect in our world…

… is the active & dynamic presence of evil in this world.

Today the Lord Jesus ventures into opening His mind on this crucial Reality of our lives….

A couple of days back, we were with the Generous Sower, who was madly liberal in sowing on different types of soil and which had their corresponding results (Mt 13: 1-9).

Today, we are back to the field….

>> But our deliberation is not on the Sower or the Seeds…

… but on the presence of Weeds among the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30)

Let the botany in us, focus today on The Weeds…. the Irritable Weeds!

Botanically named “Lolium temulentum”, the weeds are also called Darnel or Tares.

>> These weeds have a characteristic of making one feel poisoned with drunkenness, when consumed.

They also have the deceptive characteristic of bearing a close resemblance to Wheat.

>> In fact, these weeds are also called as False Wheat!

So the enemy in the parable…is a Learned Deceiver!

He sows this deceptive and misleading weed among the innocent and harmless wheat!

But the Lord, the Ultimate Judge gives out a strong, yet strange command:

“Let the weeds not be pulled up, lest the wheat be uprooted with them; let them just grow together until harvest!” (Mt 13:29-30)

>> Some mysteries in life cannot  be fully understood…

… but is to be boldly lived!

>> Some struggles in life cannot be totally eliminated…

… but is to be bravely challenged!

>> Some problems in life cannot be completely solved…

… but is to be fearlessly encountered!

Here is another hard reality to be digested: “God uses the very wickedness and injustices of evildoers to perfect his Elect.”

The triumph and prosperity of the wicked are short-lived…

…whereas the reward of the Christian who suffers from their wickedness is everlasting.

That’s a hard and unpopular and even impractical statement, right?

>> But facts remain facts –  we consent or not!

This leads us to a vital aspect of our Practical Christian Living: To be Patient with ourselves and with others…

… in dealing with sin

… with evil tendencies

… with horrifying obsessions

… with unacceptable practices

… with unalterable addictions

… and with abominable disgraces.

Often…

… we bite our teeth in anger glaring at the inhumanness in our society and the world

… we lose our cool in finding ourselves to be imperfect and sinful even after years of trying

… we go mad in encountering silly disputes and indifferences in our families & communities

… we have our blood boiling seeing the various scandals and shameful  incidents in the Church

But the Lord says.. “Hold On”….

Surely, we have our emotions and feelings when we come across unjust situations..

But the Lord says:

“Do your best…and leave the rest to Me!

Aim for perfection….but give not into despair because of devastations!”

This certainly is no excuse for us to deny our duty and responsibility…

… and even the obligation to seek to avoid wickedness and dissuade evil practices.

But we may never find ourselves in PERFECT elimination of evil and sinful behaviours…

…either in our personal life, or societal life or even in the life of the Church.

The Ultimate Eliminator is the Lord Himself…

>> The Perfect Vanquisher is the Lord Himself!

>> The Supreme Conqueror is the Lord Himself!

Are all these too abstract, theoretical & impractical talks?

… NO!

St Paul gives an assurance in Romans 8:26-27:

“The Spirit comes to our aid in our weaknesses. He Himself will intercede for us, when we co-operate with Him.”

God, who is all-powerful shares His Omnipotence with us…

… in the Holy Sacraments, in Prayer, in the Bible and in the Church.

Let us have recourse to this power of God, and be strengthened in our lives!

Let us try to do our utmost…

… but let us also permit to encounter disappointments…!

Let us strive for the finest…

… but let us fret not too much over failures and frustrations…!

The Lord knows all

>> HE sees all

>> HE has the perfect solution to all.

St Faustina says: “Our sins and weaknesses and miseries are like little sticks, before the burning furnace of the Love of God”.

Let us throw our little sticks into this burning furnace…

>> Let God be God in our Lives – the Ultimate Judge and Defeater of all Evil!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Be very quick to turn away from whatever leads or allures to lewd conduct…

… for this evil, works, without our knowing it and from small beginnings moves on to great difficulties.

>> Such things are always easier to avoid than to cure!”

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Jul 26 (Mt 13:18-23 and Feast of St Ann and Joachim)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step….

>> The construction of a magnificent building is initiated by the laying of a single brick or a stone…

>> The art of composing a lovely song starts with gathering of the first strains of melody & lyrics…

>> The discipline of writing a spectacular novel commences with penning down the first few words…

There is power in the first step.

>> There is magic in the first act.

And…

… there is much potential in the Sowing of a Little Seed!

We are once again encountering the familiar Parable of the Sower…

.. today with its explanation in the Gospel Reading.

The Master Sower is in the Field, broadcasting the Seeds

>> The Seed is the Word of God.

The Seed is little.

>> It is tiny.

>> It is small.

But it can become big.

>> It can become powerful.

>> It can become very influential.

The Word of God is powerful…

… but it is in the form of a Seed.

>> It however, contains within it, all the potentials of a new life and fruitfulness!

The Seed has a tremendous potential….

… the potential to be the Living Bread (Jn 6:51) – to sustain life, and to strengthen the weak and fragile.

… the potential to be a Bubbling Fountain (Prov 13:14) –  issuing forth pure water that refreshes, cleanses and purifies the dirt of sinfulness.

… the potential to be a Powerful Hammer (Jer 23:29) – building and reconstructing broken and shattered lives.

… the potential to be a Thick Golden Honey (Ps 19:11) –  sweet to the taste and satisfying the spirit in moments of distress and pain.

… the potential to be a Bright, Shining Lamp (Ps 119:105) –  exposing the darkness and releasing the light of His purity, holiness and righteousness upon humanity.

… the potential to be a Sharp Two-edged Sword (Heb 4:12) – helping to discern between the good & bad, the holy & the profane and the pure & polluted!

… the potential to be a Mirror ( Jam 1:23)  – challenging us to look into our interior and also reflecting the attributes of the Most High God in whose image we are created!

Yes, the Seed has a tremendous potential!

The Divine Sower, today, invites us to share in His Divine Work of broadcasting the Seed…

… and helping it realize its full potentials.

Today we gaze at the Family Photo of our Beloved Saviour…

… and specially recall and cherish the Blessings of God, bestowed on the privileged Grandparents of Jesus & the Parents of Blessed Mother Mary – St Anne and St Joachim…

… on their Feast Day.

Hardly anything is known about Saint Ann and Saint Joachim.

>> But one thing, we know with certainty:  The legacy of their daughter, Mary – the Woman entrusted by God the Father to become the Mother of God.

It was their teaching, upbringing and example that helped Mamma Mary…

… to say Her Fiat – Yes, to God.

… to stand firm in the midst of unforeseen events.

… to be strong in the face of immense pain and sufferings!

Yes, God chose two simple individuals – Anne & Joachim –  to help in His Plan for the Salvation of the world.

>> The little, the tiny and the small become mighty in the Hands of God!

A harvest of manifold blessings, begins with the little, the tiny and the small…

… even as simple as a single Seed!

Let us not be afraid to Sow the Seed in our own situations &  circumstances.

Happy Feast of Mamma’s parents to all.

>> May their Li’l Divine Prince bless us! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Bloom where you are planted!”

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