Kindly note

Wish you a Merry Christmas!

>> May the New-born King fill our hearts, with His Joy and Love!

Reflection Capsules will not be sent from Dec 25, 2019 to Jan 05, 2020 as I will be away to preach a retreat.

>> Request your prayers for me and the retreatants. I pray for you!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Dec 25 (Solemnity of Christmas)

An elderly person was asked what was the meaning of Christmas for him.

He replied:

“I look around and find so many things changing…

>> The dialer phone that itself was so rare and making a phone call was such a difficult thing…

… is today eased with the high-pace technology of mobile phones and even video calls!

>> The cyclostyle machine for printing and the stenography style of taking down notes…

… is shadowed today with 3D Printers and Speech-to-text softwares!

>> The long tapes of recorder cassettes and the oversized gramophone records that would play my favourite music as well as the news I heard on my old radio…

… are given a fresh face with internet music and satellite radio!

I see things changing all around me.

But one aspect that I can be completely convinced of is this: ‘Christmas – the Birth of Jesus, our Saviour – is an unchanging factor in this changing world’!”

Of course, we do have our arguments to say that the “celebration style” of Christmas has surely undergone drastic, dramatic (and in some cases, even dreadful!) changes.

But the fact remains that Christmas, which is primarily, the celebration of the Birth of Christ…

… is an unchanging factor in this changing world!

In this dramatically changing world, we are set to celebrate the Greatest Revolutions of all time – “Christmas”

This revolution started in the most unlikely places of all…

…In an ordinary stable – outside a forgotten village called Bethlehem.

It involved three simple persons on earth…

… Jesus, the Babe,

… Mary the Virgin Mother

… Joseph the Just Man

>> Hardly glamorous, significantly unnoticeable and glaringly simple people!

Yet…

… the revolution that began from this Stable has had the greatest effect on humanity.

His birth was to ring in…

… a Political Revolution – Jesus being the King of the World!

… a Social Revolution – Unifying all classes and castes and races!

… an Economic Revolution – Bringing Hope to the poor and the oppressed!

… a Moral Revolution – Emphasizing on intentions of the heart and the mind!

… a Spiritual Revolution – Forgiveness and Salvation for all ready to receive Him!

Let us reflect on some simple, yet significant aspects of this “unchanging factor in our changing world” …

1. The beauty and the greatness of God’s Wisdom is to delight in insignificant things…

God loves to take simplicity in life, and decorate it with His Divine touch!

>> He feasts on ordinary situations and transforms them into amazing moments of Divine Experience!

>> He enjoys to descend into li’l hearts and converts them to glorious dwellings of His Divine Presence!

2. Joseph and Mary, went about place to place, inn to inn, looking for a birth place. (Lk 2:7)

It’s a Divine Paradox that the Creator of the entire Universe sought for a place to be born!

>> Am I ready to make my the “stable of my heart” ready to receive the Lord?

3. The Lord was born in a manger.

Wood was to escort Jesus, all through His Life…

>> The wooden manger would give Him shelter when He was born…

>> Wooden tools would accompany Him as He grew up as a carpenter…

>> Wooden boats will be His pulpit for preaching His Word on the Kingdom…

>> The wooden cross would be His instrument of Salvation and Redemption of the world…

The wooden manger is be a reminder to us that Christmas is the Season, not just of joy, but also of hardships and responsibilities in life!

4. Christmas is Christ + Mas(s) = the Mass of Christ…. the Sacrifice of Christ!

When we wish Happy Christmas, let’s also remember that the Crib & Cross are two sides of the great sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth.

In the Crib, Jesus descended from heaven and became weak and vulnerable.

>> On the Cross, Jesus embraced sinfulness of the earth and became helpless and miserable.

The Caravan from the Crib to the Cross is Celebrated and Commemorated at Christmas!

5. Jesus, the Divine Babe came primarily as the Saviour of the world

>> “For today in the city of David, a Saviour has been born for you..” (Lk 2:11)

>> Jesus came to the world with a very specific mission: to save people from sin and grant eternal life to those who believe in Him (Jn 10:10)

>> He is the only person Who took birth to die! It was by His death, that He was to achieve the mission of granting life to all.

>> Therefore, the celebration of Christmas has to be primarily a celebration made in “repentance and renewal”

If the heart doesn’t repent, then Christmas can never be celebrated truly!

Christmas is the story of a God passionately in love with us, and deeply desiring that we belong to Him, and Him alone!

6. Jesus, the Divine Babe deserves a wonderful gift on His Birthday

Birthdays become occasions to gift the one who is celebrating.

>> Jesus, the Birthday Baby surely deserves the best gift.

But what can we give Him?

>> All what we have and all what we are, comes from God anyways!

So is there anything, that I can call of my own?

>> Yes!

Probably the only thing which belongs to me, is my sin!

This Christmas, beyond all other gifts and preparations, we could gift our “sinful life” to Him.

>> It might feel bad for us to give all that ugly part of our life.

But our Blessed Lord invites us to give of our self to Him entirely – broken, weak, dirty, impure, lost- as we are, to Him, so that He can renew us and make us a new person (Rev 21:5 – “Behold, I make all things new”)

As Bishop Fulton J Sheen says:

“You give me your humanity, I will give you my divinity.

>> You give me your time, I will give you my eternity.

>> You give me your slavery, I will give you my freedom.

>> You give me your death, I will give you my life.

>> You give me your nothingness, I will give you my all.”

7. Carols will be sung in great festivity on this special day.

There were two types of Carols sung on Christmas Day when Jesus was born.

>> The Carols of Joy when the Angels sang in deep acclamation and mirth – “Glory to God”!

>> The Carols of Pain when the mothers cried in deep pain for their li’l babes who were executed!

There are two types of Carols song even today in our world…

>> The Carols of Joy – people uniting for social justice; hearts turning to the Lord in true contrition; people expressing care & love etc

>> The Carols of Pain – the number of terrorizing acts around the world; families, societies and even churches divided because of money, language, race, caste; increased sense of hopelessness and meaninglessness in life…etc.

Carols ought to remind us of these two aspects… Joy and Pain in life!

When carols of Joy and Pain in life, are sung with Confidence in the Lord, we will be blessed to sing the Carol of Celebration on the Day of Salvation!

8. Christmas is a great time of celebration – but let us never forget Christ

The celebration of the Birth of Baby Jesus demands space in our hearts!

Let us take utmost care that during this Christmas, Jesus, the Tiny and Tender Babe does not get…

… drowned in the avalanche of cakes and sweets

… buried in the frenzy of shopping and decorations

… drunk in the dirt of revelry and partying

… lost in the celebrations with Santa Claus and exchanging of gifts

Rather, let us make sure that Jesus, the precious and beautiful infant…

… is held close to the heart and given a pledge of our life and love

… is lavished with kisses of our true promises and renewed consecration

… is showered with true smiles of our Love for Him, His Word, His Eucharist & His Church

Yes, Jesus is…and He alone is…and ought to be… the Reason for this Season!

>> May He be born, not just in the crib in houses or church, but in our Hearts and Lives!

Happy Birthday to our Dearest and Beloved Baby Jesus!

>> Congratulations to our Blessed Mamma for Her “Yes” and to Blessed Joseph for his care!

A Blessed and a Holy Christmas to all of us!

God Bless! Live Jesus….always!

Dec 24 (Lk 1:67-79)

Music has been a popular part of the celebration of our Lord’s birth for a long time!

The Bible records that many characters in the Christmas story almost instantly responded to the events surrounding the birth of our Saviour with songs.

In our own days, we take immense delight to sing Christmas carols.

>> We also get a special feeling in lifting our voices in joy and thrill…

Today we have on the stage of the Gospel a beautiful Hymn being sung.

The title of the hymn is “Benedictus” and it is sung by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist!

The setting of this song is during a very gloomy period in the life of the nation of Israel.

Israel had been chosen by God from among all nations to be a priestly nation to the rest of the world.

>> But this nation that was to lead all other nations to God, was being led by a pagan empire.

Israel was under the domination of the Roman Empire.

>> The Roman Kingdom was the last in a long line of pagan nations that had ruled Israel.

The ruler in Zechariah’s day was King Herod.

Herod was not a man of God.

>> In fact he was just the opposite – a very degenerate man.

>> He had introduced Roman temples into the land and had built idols to the Roman gods.

Under his leadership Israel became a land filled with immorality.

>> The spiritual life of the Jews lost its vitality.

In the midst of these dark and cloudy moments, Zechariah sings the “Benedictus” – a Song of Blessing!

A child had been born…

…signaling the Coming of the Messiah.

>> John the Baptist ushered in a period of singing praises and glory to the Lord.

> Like a drop of fresh water in the deserted land…

> Like a gleam of light in the midst of thick darkness…

> Like a faint melodious tune in the thick of deep silence…

The life of Zechariah and Elizabeth was favoured with reasons to sing blessings to God!

It’s interesting to analyse the names of this simple yet wonderful family – Zechariah, Elizabeth and John.

>> Zechariah means ” God (Yahweh) remembers”

>> Elizabeth means “the promise of God”

>>>> John means ” God (Yahweh) is gracious”

The union of Zechariah (“God remembers”) and Elizabeth (“the promise of God”) gave birth to John (“God is gracious”)

Zechariah + Elizabeth = John

>> God remembers + the promise = God is gracious!

Yes, God remembers His promise, and thus shows that He is gracious!

Our lives may often be in darkness or undergoing a night of dryness…

> Our lives may seem to be devoid of true peace and happiness…

> Our lives may be rendered meaningless or hopeless…

Yet, Zechariah, Elizabeth and John invite us today, to sing a song of Blessing to God!

>> When we live in God’s love, we can sing the chorus of service!

>> When we trust in God’s providence, we can sing the chorus of joy!

>> When we hope in God’s mercies, we can sing the chorus of faithfulness!

With the armour of faith, the shield of hope and the sword of love, let us join Zechariah and Family to sing our Hymn of Blessing to God Yahweh!

>> Blessed be the Lord, for He is challenging in His gentle inspirations!

>> Blessed be the Lord, for He is merciful in His Divine Compassion!

>> Blessed be the Lord, for He is generous in the Blessed Eucharist!

>> Blessed be the Lord, for He is majestic in His Holy Sacraments!

>> Blessed be the Lord, for He is faithful in His gracious promises!

>> Blessed be the Lord, for He is vibrant in His Holy Church!

On this eve of Christmas, let us fervently prepare our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to prepare a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord, Who comes as a Babe…

… in our hearts

… in our lives

… and in our homes!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight.

>> It enables us to see God in all things…

… as well as all things in God!”

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Dec 23 (Lk 1:57-66)

Ssshhhhhhh…………………..Silence!!

For some people, Silence causes an awkward feeling in this our noisy world.

>> For some people, Silence creates an uncomfortable feeling.

For some, not so much.

> For others, definitely yes.

>> For many of us, silence is rare. 

And when silence is rare, silence can be uncomfortable.

>> A moment of silence when we listen to our favourite song causes a little irritation.

>> A pause of silence by an eloquent preacher causes people to focus back the attention.

Silence sometimes is much more louder than any noise or sound

…Right?

The Gospel of the day takes us through a fascinating journey of Silence.

>> A God who breaks His silence by blessing His People with a Prophet.

>> A father whose silence is broken by his faithful response to an amazing Divine intervention.

>> A Child who sets free the silence of a Mother who had been shamed in society.

The Birth of John the Baptist is a beautiful drama through the medium of Silence.

1. A God who breaks His silence

The Bible is a witness to many people feeling God taking a moment of silence.

>> In 1 Sam 3.1: “Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli.  And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.”

>> In 1 Sam 28: “And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or Urim, or by prophets.”

>> In Amos 8.11: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.'”

The silence of the Lord was very much profound…

And then after Prophet Malachi, there was again a great silence…

>> For nearly 400 hundred years, there was no prophetic writing.

These are called “The Silent Years”…

But with John the Baptist, the silence of the Lord was broken…

This speaking of the Lord could be compared to a lover eagerly waiting for her partner to talk to her after a long time…

The silence was very long

… the silence was a bit painful too..

>> But once the silence is broken, there is great thrill and happiness…

God, the Lover, renews His soothing and comforting talks with His People and ushers in the time to invite them to His love and affection

2. A father whose silence is broken

The birth of John the Baptist also lead to the breaking of the silence of his father, Zechariah.

When the angel Gabriel had appeared to Zechariah, he did not believe the message of the Angel of God and as a result, was rendered speechless (Lk 1: 20)

The silence of Zechariah could also be symbolic of the silence of God….

Just as John the Baptist signalled the breaking of God’s silence, Zechariah, his father too had “his tongue loosened and spoke, blessing God” (Lk 1: 64)

>> The silence was broken with a shower of praises and glorification of God.

>> The silence was banished with a shout of genuine worship and honour of God

3. A Child who sets free the silence of a Mother

The Birth of John the Baptist also led to people praising his mother, Elizabeth, who for long had been barren and had been in disgrace. (Lk 1: 25, 58)

>> She had suffered much disgrace in silence.

>> She had underwent much agony in silence.

>> She had gone through much humiliation in silence.

But now there was every reason to break the silence and rejoice with gladness!

Is my life going through a period of Silence with God?

>> Is my life in a silent mode because of many disturbing factors and crippling issues?

>> Is my life passing through a desert of silence as a result of storms of troubles and nights of calamities?

We are invited to look into the incident of the Birth of John the Baptist and find hope!

> We are invited to meditate on the Birth of John the Baptist and discover optimism!

The Lord speaks to us in the Silence of our Life.

>> There is much treasure hidden in the silent moments of our living.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jn 1:1)

Through the breaking of His silence through John the Baptist, God is preparing us to receive His personal Word, His Son. 

At times God seems silent…

But He is never distant.

> He is near.

>> He is close.

>>> He is personal. 

And He speaks through His Word made flesh –  “Jesus”!

Ssshhhhhhh…………………..Silence!!

>> Listen to Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “A judicious silence is always better than truth spoken without charity!”

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Dec 22 (Mt 1:18-24)

A child standing in front of the Christmas Crib was looking for quite sometime at the statue of St Joseph.

The mother, tapped his shoulder and asked: “Why is it that you looking so long at St Joseph?”

The boy with an innocent smile replied:

“Mamma…St Joseph was such a great person, isn’t it!

>> He had the honour to be so close with the two holiest persons of this world – Jesus, the Son of God and Mary, the Immaculate Mother!

I  wish that we would talk and pray to St Joseph more..

… than just think of him, only during Christmas season!”

The boy was recounting the greatness of St Joseph…

…who often remains hidden in the backdrop, amid the great galaxy of Biblical Stars!

The Gospel of the day is a beautiful glimpse to understand the person of St Joseph.

Let’s learn a few of his important virtues.

1. St Joseph was ever attentive and obedient to the voice of God

>> One of the standout qualities that we observe in St Joseph is his prompt obedience to the voice of God

He listened to the Angel, in moments of dilemma, and obediently took Mary as his wife (Mt 1:20-24)

He listened to the Angel, in moments of danger, and obediently took the Mother and Child to Egypt (Mt 1:13-15)

He listened to the Angel, in moments of doubt, and obediently settled the Holy Family in Nazareth (Mt 1: 20, 22b)

>> St Joseph was able to let go of his personal choices and his desired comforts and give top priority to do what God wanted him to do.

Holiness consists in doing what God wants – when and where He wants

2. St Joseph teaches us the love for Jesus and Mary

>> Ever since he recognised the plan of God in his life, St Joseph displayed a tremendous commitment and love to Jesus and Mary

>>  He had many occasions of choices to let go of them…

… to leave Mary when she was found with Child, even before the marriage

… to leave his pregnant Wife when they found no place in the inn

… to abandon the Child and Mother when a life-danger against them was sensed

But, nothing could deter St Joseph from leaving or abandoning them.

>> He knew that in God’s plan, They belonged to him, and he would safeguard Them – treasuring Them close to his heart.

Our faith has blessed us with love for Jesus and Mother Mary.

>> Can we also imitate St Joseph, in holding Them close to our hearts?

3. Humility is a virtue radiated by St Joseph

St Joseph had to face many moments of humiliation, disappointment and uncertainty.

>> But in his humility, he remained true to God in all those moments

Life sometimes drags us into situations of sadness and even shame.

>> Many times we let go of God’s Hands, saying that “He is not fair” or “He doesn’t understand me”!

St Joseph teaches us that there is much value in humbling oneself, before the mighty power of the Almighty

4. St Joseph was content to be the “silent worker” in the awesome work of Salvation

>> St Joseph, was honoured to be sharing the most intimate physical presence with the two holiest persons of this world – Jesus, the Son of God and Mary, the Immaculate Mother.

>> And yet, he contented himself to be the “silent hard-worker”.

He is a mighty challenge to our world, where seeking for honour, position, fame and reputation become cheap motives, in doing works of charity or even, sadly to say, in ministries of the Church.

5. St Joseph is the model of chastity

>> Mary is the New Ark of Covenant, bearing Divinity in Her.

St Jerome, says that St Joseph, the son of David, shared his royal ancestor’s fear of coming into overly close contact with the Tabernacle of the Lord: “Who am I,” asked King David, “that the Ark of the Lord should come to me?” (2 Sam. 6:9)

Chastity is the virtue that moderates the desire for sexual pleasure according to the principles of faith and right reason.

>> In married people, chastity moderates the desire in conformity with their state of life

>> In unmarried people who wish to marry, the desire is moderated by abstention or unless they get married

>> In those who resolve not to marry, the desire is sacrificed entirely.

St Joseph is often depicted with a White Lily in his hand, to depict purity and holiness

6. St Joseph was prefigured in Joseph of the Old Testament

>> In the Old Testament, we read Joseph, the son of Jacob, had stored up, in Egypt, grain to provide bread for the preservation of the People of Israel (Gen 42)

In the New Testament, St Joseph, safeguarded, in Egypt, the Bread of Life, for the salvation of the People of God. (Mt 1: 14)

7. St Joseph is a model leader

>> True to being a Father, St Joseph displayed many leadership qualities, which needs to be imitated by us, in our practical life

>> Defender of the community/team members: St Joseph preserved Mother Mary from idle talks of gossip and malicious speculation

>> Protection of those in care: St Joseph did not give up in the face of hostile situations, when it was time for the Birth of the Child

>> Needful and prompt action: St Joseph acted quickly and promptly, in response to situations of danger and of need

St Joseph invites us to grow in obedience to the Will of God – with promptness and joy

>> Let us pray that we will be able to nurture a deeper and tender affection for Jesus and Mother Mary and be close to Them, to lead a pure and holy life.

May the greatness of St Joseph inspire us.

>> And may we talk and pray to St Joseph more..

… than just think of him, only during Christmas season!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Glorious St Joseph, spouse of Mary, grant us thy paternal protection, we beseech thee by the Heart of Jesus Christ!

>> O thou, whose power extends to all our necessities and can render possible for us the most impossible things, open thy fatherly eyes to the needs of thy children!”

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Dec 21 (Lk 1:39-45)

A story is said of a man in a mission land, who was extremely critical of religion and religious practices.

Once, this man went to a missionary who had been in the place for some years.

He told the missionary, “I want to hear about your religion”

The missionary was pleasantly surprised, and asked him:

“Oh that’s great!

But how is it that you would like to hear of my religion. I have heard of your dislike and aversion to religious practices”

To that, the man answered:

“Well, its very true, that I don’t cherish religion.

But ever since the day you came to our place, I have been observing you.

You are always cheerful and happy.

I have also heard a lot of laughter in your house and in the houses of my village people, who have embraced your faith”

The man continued, “And if you have anything that makes people so joyous, I too want it!”

Joy was the nectar that attracted the man to experience the sweetness of Christ and Christianity.

>> Am I a person who radiates happiness?

>> Am I a Christian whose life exudes with joy?

The Gospel of the Day is the delightful description of the joyful encounter between Elizabeth and Mother Mary and the “joyful leap” of John the Baptist, in his first meet with Jesus, the God of Joy!

The Gospel is the beautiful meeting of Two to-be-Mothers, with Two Special Children in their wombs…

… Elizabeth, with John who would be called as the Baptist

… Mary, with Jesus, who would be called as the Messiah

This wonderful encounter begins on a Divinely joyful note:

“when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb” (Lk 1: 41)

This is an interesting word – “leaped”

The Greek word for “leaped” is “skirtao”

We find the usage of this word “skirtao” in different places in the Bible…

>> In Gen 25:22: Rebeccah’s twin children – Jacob and Esau – “struggled (skirtao)” within the her

>> In Ps 114: 4, 6: The mountains “skipped (skirtao)” like rams in the presence of the Lord

>> In Mal 3:20: Those who fear the Lord’s name will “skip (skirtao)” like calves.

>> In Lk 6:23: The chosen ones should rejoice and “leap (skirtao)” for joy

When the mother, Elizabeth, heard the greeting of the Messiah’s Mother, the babe John, “leaped for joy”

Later in his ministry, John would testify to this fact, when he would say: “… the best man, who stands and listens for Him, rejoices greatly at the Bridegroom’s Voice” (Jn 3:29b)

There is great rejoicing, in Divine Presence is a powerful message that we receive.

>> The presence of the Mother of Jesus, delighted Her cousin, Elizabeth

>> The presence of Jesus, delighted His cousin, John.

As we gear up ourselves for the Season of Christmas, this ought to be a reflective question that we need to ponder and make amends, if lacking…

… Is our Christian life, one that “leaps for joy”?

Things around us may seem confusing and uncertain…

… just as it was for Mary who conceived of the Holy Spirit and Elizabeth in her old age

>> Yet, they were able to rejoice..

… because, their trust was in the Power of the Lord Who had blessed them

People may sometimes reject us, misunderstand us or even humiliate or be indifferent to us…

… just as it was for Mary who would face misunderstandings and Elizabeth who had undergone a lot of shame.

>> Yet, they were able to rejoice…

… because, their strength was in the favourable Love of the Lord, Who, they knew, had accepted and chosen them, for His cause

Life may sometimes make a fool of us by taking us through roads which are illogical, unreasonable and irrational…

… just as it was for Mary who had to tread unknown paths and Elizabeth who had to take on new responsibilities as a mother at an odd age

Yet, they were able to rejoice…

… because, their hope was in the faithful grace of God, in which they trusted and to Whom they had pledged their life in fidelity and loyalty.

Joy is to be the hallmark of every Christian.

As St Francis de Sales says, “A sad saint is a sorry saint!”

>> Our lives ought to be a “Gospel of Joy”!

As we get closer to the celebration of the Birth of the “Cause of our Joy”, we need to look into this dimension of Christian holiness: the aspect of Joy.

It is not simply a joy that is manifested..

… by some “plastic smile”

… or with some artificial activism

… or with any created humorous traits

Christian Joy is…

… a result of trusting deeply in the Providence of God

… a felt experience that manifests, effortlessly, in every aspect of life

… an honest expression of the inner peace and serenity – a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, Joy is to be the nectar that attracts others to experience the sweetness of Christ and Christianity.

May we always “leap for joy” with the Power of the Holy Spirit…

… and may our joyful and happy lives, attract and enthuse many people to embrace Jesus, the Lord of all Joy!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We shall never experience total joy so long as we are in this mortal life.

… this grace is reserved to the blessed Spirits in heaven

>> Nevertheless, try to attain it in the greatest possible degree!”

——————————–

Dec 20 (Lk 1:26-38)

A little six-year-old boy had often heard his Catholic companions reciting the prayer “Hail Mary.”

>> He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it and would recite it every day.

“Look, Mommy, what a beautiful prayer,” he said to his mother one day.

“Never again say it,” answered the mother who was against Catholic practices. “It is a superstitious prayer of Catholics who think Mary as a goddess. After all, she is a woman like any other. ”

From that day on the little boy discontinued his daily “Hail Mary” and gave himself more time to reading the Bible instead.

One day, while reading the Gospel, he came across the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady.

Full of joy, the little boy ran to his mother and said: “Mommy, I have found the ‘Hail Mary’ in the Bible which says: ‘Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women.

‘ Why do you call it a superstitious prayer?”

On another occasion he found that beautiful Salutation of St. Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary which said, “Blessed are You among women and blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb”

This little boy, as he grew up…

…. made a serious study of both Protestantism and Catholicism.

>> He found the latter to be the only true religion and embraced it and became one of its most ardent apostles…

… going on to become a Priest!

Mother Mary is indeed the beautiful instrument chosen by God, to lead many more to His Love.

The Gospel of the Day presents the miraculous incident of the Annunciation of the Good News to Mother Mary.

Mother Mary, at the Annunciation teaches us many things…

1. Mother Mary teaches the supreme goodness of obedience

>> Heaven had chosen a simple girl, Mary to be the Mother of Jesus, the Saviour.

>> When Angel Gabriel was sent to seek Her consent, Mary, after the initial moments of fear, bowed Herself in obedience: “Behold, I am the Handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to Me, according to Your Word” (Lk 1: 38)

>> This obedience to God’s Will would turn out to be Her fortress and strength – in moments of uncertainty, loneliness, dread and agony.

2. “Faithfulness, thy true Daughter is Mary!”

>> One of the most outstanding qualities to be admired and imitated from our Blessed Mother is “to be faithful”

>> In Mother Mary, we have a person, who remained faithful at all times…

… even when there were dark clouds of unwarranted humiliation looming over her

… even when unforeseen difficulties encountered Her during the birth of Jesus

… even when she encountered many situations which were not understood by Her

… even when life surrounded her with agonising moments and heartbreaking instances

The “Fiat” at the Annunciation would be lived all through Her life

>> This act of being “faithful forever” was a result of the constant choices that She made to listen and obey to God’s Will always.

3. Mary was ready to be moulded and shaped by God

When Mary was entrusted with the greatness of the task, She gave Herself readily to the power of God

>> She didn’t hold back anything; She was complete in Her surrender

It is when we offer ourselves wholly and be ready to be moulded and shaped by the Lord, that He can perform wonders through us.

4. Mary held on to Jesus as the Greatest Treasure of Her life

The greatness and the eminence of Mother Mary came as result of Her single-minded focus and love: Everything for Jesus and in Jesus.

>> When in womb…

… Her sole attention was on Jesus

>> While in the manger…

… Her whole care was for Jesus

>> While in His ministry…

… Her thoughts were centred on Him

>> While on the Cross…

… Her entire self rested on Him 

It is when Jesus becomes the Treasure of our life, that our lives gets enshrined in Grace and Holiness

5. Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, bearing Jesus.

The Scriptures easily point to the fact that Mother Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant

The ark in the OT travelled to the land of Judah and remained for 3 months (2 Sam: 6:1-11)

>> The Ark in the NT, Mary travels to Judah, to meet Her cousin Elizabeth and remained for 3 months (Lk 1:39, 56)

David danced and leaped, and shouted before the ark in the OT (2 Sam 6:14)

>> In the NT, John, the babe, leaped and Elizabeth exclaimed with a loud cry before Mary (Lk 1: 41, 43)

Inside the ark of the Old Covenant was the manna – the miraculous bread from heaven, the staff of Aaron, the Priest and the tablets of the covenant (Heb 9:4)

>> The NT Ark, Mother Mary had within Her Jesus, the Bread of Life, Jesus, the Eternal Priest and Jesus, the Law-giving Word!

As the New Ark of the Covenant, Mother Mary deserves our highest veneration and honour, which will lead us to a greater closeness and intimacy with the One…

… She derives all Her praise – Jesus, Her Son and our Brother!

May we embrace Mary, the beautiful instrument chosen by God…

…  and be led to love the Lord more!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children…

… cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence!”

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