Jun 1, 2020 – Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church

“May Mary, the Mother of the Church – our Beloved Mother and the Perfect Disciple – Who followed Her Son wholly, in obedience to the Will of the Father, intercede and inspire us, to use our freedom with responsibility!”

(Based on the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church – 2 Pet 1:2-7 and Mk 12:1-12 – Monday of the 1st Week)

A lady once remarked to her spiritual guide, “I am very afraid to pray, ‘Thy Will be done'”
“And why is that so?”, asked the guide.

“I am afraid…” continued the lady, “… that God will bring some calamity to my only child or send me a heavy trial in life”

The spiritual guide, having patiently listened to her, replied:
“Suppose if your beloved child comes to you and says, ‘Mummy, here after, I want to always do whatever you say and live as you will…’

Would you say to yourself… Ah! Here is my chance!

I will make my child to do all the harsh things.
I will make use of his willingness to obey me, by cutting off all his pleasures
I will make sure he has a tough time because anyway he will do whatever I say”

“Oh no!” answered back the mother, ” I will give him the best possible things that I can.

I will make sure that he is protected from every danger.
I will do anything to ensure him true happiness!”

“And do you think…,” continued the spiritual guide, “Do you think that God is less loving than you?”

The will of every human parent is to ensure the best for their children, isn’t it?

How much more loving and caring is the Will of the Father!

“God’s Will” is best understood in the set-up of a family…
In a human family…
… Every member wishes that the other is taken care
… Every member seeks for the good of the other

How much more is the love and concern in the Family of God…
… to all those who seek to do the Will of the Father!

The Church is this Communion of those who “bind upon themselves to do the Will of the Father”

Today we celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church.

Mother Mary is the model for all in the Church to “always say YES to God’s Will!”

This feast which has been promulgated in the Year 2018…
… is celebrated every year on the Monday after Pentecost.

We have concluded a journey of fourteen weeks (nearly hundred days) of walking intimately with the Lord in His Passion, Death, Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit…
… starting with the Ash Wednesday in the season of Lent
… through the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday
… the Ascension and the Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost.

This liturgical journey, this year in particular will be remembered, as most of us remained in lockdown…
… and had these celebrations without being able to “physically go to a common place of worship”

As we resume the Ordinary times of the Liturgical year, we are presented today…
… with the beautiful example of Mary, the Mother of the Church, Who is the role model for all of us to “use freedom with responsibility”
… and with a message to make an examination of the “quality of our life of faith”, through the Parable of the Tenants.

One of the primary reasons for the celebration of the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church is “to foster Marian piety and the Maternal sense of the Church.”

Pope Francis says that, “this celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored…
… to the Mystery of the Cross
… to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet
… and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed!”

The Marian title of “Mother of the Church,” was given to the Blessed Mother by Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council.

Jesus said, “Whoever does the Will of My Father in Heaven, is my…. Mother!” (Mt 12: 50)

When we scan through the pages of the New Testament, we find, that perhaps no other person fulfilled the Will of the Father as perfectly as Mary

Mary, the Mother of the Church, always said “YES to God’s Will”

Mary was Blessed not just because she gave a physical birth to Jesus…
… but also because She listened and lived the Will of the Father!

She is blessed…
… because She listened to God’s Word and accepted it wholeheartedly.
… because She chose to put Her faith in God, though the path ahead was dim
… because She was obedient to God’s Will, though She did not understand many things”

As St. Irenaeus says: “Being obedient, She became the cause of salvation for Herself and for the whole human race.”

The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience

What Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by Her faith”

Mary used the freedom bestowed on her, with a great sense of responsibility.

We are reminded that it is “freedom with responsibility” that ensures valid enjoyment and proper satisfaction.

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful reminder by Jesus, through the Parable of the Tenants…
… that we are to be caretakers of the many duties entrusted to us, by the Almighty

The tenants were entrusted with the vineyard by the Master, and were expected to provide the produce in due time.

However, the tenants, who were trusted immensely probably lost their focus and diminished in their commitment to their Master

Their personal interests gained greater prominence over their entrusted duties.

This led to them to a total denial of all the emissaries and servants of the Master, who were sent to collect the produce.

This denial was extended even to the Master’s own Son!

This denial of the Son led to the letting loose of the anger and fury of the Just Master!

A squandering away of the responsible freedom, led to the downfall of the tenants!
A denial and rejection of the Master’s own Son, with a cruel intent, caused their destruction!

Are we also, as Christians, as tenants of the Heavenly Master failing in our responsibilities and duties?

The Lord has entrusted us with many responsibilities…

To promote and grow in our faith…
… by a faithful prayer-life, co-operation with the graces of God, keeping away from a life of sin etc.

To be faithful to the vocation and works we are called to do…
… by constantly renewing our resolve in the works we do, remaining focussed on our calling etc.

To encourage others to increase in faith and in love of life…
… by being interested in their well-being, supporting them, teaching them etc.

St Peter beautifully reminds us: “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue…
… and virtue with knowledge
… and knowledge with self-control
… and self-control with steadfastness
… and steadfastness with godliness
… and godliness with brotherly affection
… and brotherly affection with love!” (2 Pet 1:5-7)

Mother Mary is the model for all of us to discharge all our duties with a great sense of responsibility.

She is the first Evangelizer and the first Disciple of Her own Son and Lord, Jesus the Christ!
She is not just the biological Mother of Jesus…
… but, by doing the Will of the Father perfectly, She is also His Spiritual Mother!
Thus Mary is the Mother of the Church!
As St Maximilian Kolbe says, “If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his Mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother!”

Yes, doing the Will of the Father and using our freedom with responsibility…
… is the DNA that joins all the members of the Family of God

We may perhaps, have our fears in doing His Will….
But let us realize, that the Will of Father is wrapped with much love and affection…
… there is a tenderness in His Will, that ensures each of us, His children are protected!

Jesus is our Supreme Model and Leader in listening and living the Will of the Father

Mother Mary is our Beloved Mother and Perfect Disciple, Who followed Her Son wholly, in obedience to the Will of the Father!

Many saints and holy people also show us, by their sanctified lives that it is worth, meaningful and salvific to do the Will of the Father!
All of them beckon us:
“Come be part of the Family of God…
Listen always to what God wants of you in your life
Ask Him, at all times, what you should be doing in life
Put your trust in His Power and Providence, when you do His Will!”

Are we willing to be members of this Family of God?
… Then we need to be ready to do the Will of the Father!

As we begin the new month of June, let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of the Church to intercede and pray for all of us…
… to be faithful and witnessing members of the Church.

Happy Feast Day of Mary, the Mother of the Church…
… to all Her Little Children of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


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.”

POWER PULSE – Preparation for the Great Feast of the Pentecost DAY SEVEN: HOLY SPIRIT – THE GIVER OF GIFTS

REFLECT

The Holy Spirit is the giver of Gifts.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord

A spiritual gift is an ability granted by God, which helps the person to grow in holiness and effectively serve the people of God.

We need to pray constantly to receive these gifts of the Holy Spirit…
WISDOM: It is the perfection of faith. Through wisdom, one comes to value those things properly, which we believe through faith

Wisdom detaches us from the world and makes us relish and love the things of heaven!

UNDERSTANDING: Understanding is the ability to grasp and understand, in a limited way, the essence of Divine Truths.

While Wisdom is the ‘desire’ to contemplate heavenly things, Understanding helps us to penetrate to the core of revealed truths (of course, in a limited way!)

COUNSEL: Counsel is the gift of supernatural prudence.

Counsel allows us to understand the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to judge rightly, what we should do in a particular circumstance.

FORTITUDE: Fortitude gives us the strength and the courage to be strong in the face of difficulties

Fortitude is the virtue that makes us to overcome fear and to remain firm in our will, even in the midst of obstacles

KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge enables us to ascertain God’s purpose in our lives and His reason for placing us in our particular circumstances.

Knowledge is the gift to discern effectively between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations of grace.

PIETY: It is the virtue by which a person is disposed to render worship and service to God, in the way He deserves.

Piety is an instinctive affection for God that makes us desire to honour and worship Him

FEAR OF THE LORD: This is virtue that desires not to offend God, even in the slightest of ways possible

Fear of the Lord comes, not because of the Lord’s punishment, but arises from an immense love for Him – wanting to respect the Lord and live a life pleasing to the Lord always

EXAMINE:
Can I pray to the Holy Spirit to bless me with His Gifts…?
… to help me to grow in holiness of life and live a Christ-like life
… to help me to use these gifts to lead others to sanctity in Christ

PRAYER:
Holy Spirit, the Giver of Gifts, fill me with your seven-fold gifts.

May Your Gifts…

help me to understand the Divine mysteries and live them faithfully in my life
cause me to trust in Your Providence, and to bring many more to the Love of God

Fill me with your gifts… enable me to walk with You… inspire me to lead others to You, Amen!

Come Holy Spirit…Come into our hearts… and renew us, in your mighty love and fire!

May God Bless us!

May 31, 2020 – Solemnity of the Pentecost

“Opening our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit and to become aware of the greatness of our vocation as Christians!”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Pentecost)

An old beggar-man lay on his deathbed.

As he was departing from this world, his last words to his only son who had been a constant companion during his begging trips were:

“Dear son,” he said, “I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and a dirty bronze bowl which I got in my younger days from the junkyard of a rich lady.”

After the death of his father, the boy continued begging, using the bowl his father had given him.

One day, a gold merchant dropped a coin in this boy’s bowl.

The merchant was, however, surprised to hear a familiar clinking sound.

“Let me check your bowl,” the merchant said.

To his great surprise, he found that the beggar boy’s bowl was made of pure gold.

“My dear young man,” he said, “why do you waste your time begging?
That bowl of yours is made of gold!

It is worth a huge amount of money!

Realize that you are a rich man.

Be aware of the worth of the treasure that is with you, and live a life worthy of it!”

How often is our Christian life also lived in such ignorance of the treasure that we possess!

We fail to realize that as Christians, we have been blessed with immense spiritual riches.

Today, on this Great Day of Pentecost, we are invited to open our hearts to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and to become aware of the greatness of our vocation as Christians.

Pentecost, El Greco, 1600, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

On the day of Pentecost, in the Upper Room, as the disciples were gathered in prayer, along with Blessed Mother Mary, “the Holy Spirit filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2:2)

It is to be noted that the word used to describe the coming of the Holy Spirit is the Greek word “aphno” which means “suddenly”
“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind…” (Acts 2: 2)

The coming of the Holy Spirit was “sudden”.

This energetic entry of the Holy Spirit is a glimpse to one important characteristic of the person of the Holy Spirit: Vitality!

The Holy Spirit is a spirit of life
… of energy
… of vivacity
… of animation
… of dynamism!

Where the Holy Spirit is, there is the great movement of the will, the mind and the heart!

It was this “sudden” coming of the Holy Spirit, that transformed the small group of Jesus’ disciples into mighty warriors of the Kingdom of God.

Fear was transformed into power…

Timidity was changed into boldness…

Uncertainty was converted into conviction…

Our own lives need an encounter of this “life-transforming” experience.

Is my Christian life, dull and slow – merely laced with routine actions of prayers and sacraments?
Is my life of faith, lethargic and tepid – simply being pulled on, without any particular awareness or lived without any enthusiasm?
… then, we need the mighty movement of the Holy Spirit to impress life and vitality to our life and our faith!

The Holy Spirit – the shy Person of the Blessed Trinity – is often neglected in our prayers or devotion

The study and awareness of the Holy Spirit is certainly, in general, given lesser priority and importance in comparison to the other Persons of the Trinity
The Feast of the Pentecost is very often not accorded the “solemn” tone in comparison to other feasts like Christmas or Easter

But let us realize, that in the Holy Spirit and in the celebration of this Feast, we have a great treasure to cherish and enjoy.

Each Christian ought to build an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Each Christian must become more aware of the role of the Holy Spirit in daily living

Let us inculcate a few practical resolutions to grow in our intimacy and union with this Powerful and Dynamic Personality of the Blessed Trinity:
a. Begin the day by offering our lives to the Holy Spirit

b. Praying, “Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and minds” as we begin a particular activity or work

c. Making a short examination of conscience at the end of the day…
… introspecting our lives with respect to sin
… being grateful for His guidance through the day
… seeking for help to do better the following day

d. Asking for enlightenment in moments of taking decisions and offering to the Holy Spirit – even simply and ordinary ones

e. Purposely creating a few seconds of silence in the schedule of our works or through the course of the day, and talking to the Holy Spirit, as a friend, in the cave of our heart

f. Listening to the still, gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in the depths of our being
… asking Him to help us to be more active to read God’s Word in the Bible
… and to partake of the Sacraments more frequently especially Confession and Holy Eucharist.

The Lord has blessed our lives with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

He longs to empower our lives…

He earnestly wants to be in total control of our lives…

But for this, He needs our permission…
A permission in the form of…
… longing for Him
… making sincere efforts to live away sin

Let us realize that by the Grace and Power of the Holy Spirit, we are all rich!

May we be aware of the worth of the treasure that is with us, and live a life worthy of it!

On this last day of the month of May, we seek the special intercession of Mother Mary – Our Lady of the Rosary – and pray for the deeper infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost!

Happy Birthday to our Mother Church!

May we receive the sweetness of the Holy Eucharist more worthily and enthusiastically!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “May it please the Divine Majesty to grant us…

  1. The gift of Fear: to we may serve Him filially
  2. The gift of Piety: to revere Him as our most loving Father
  3. The gift of Knowledge: to know the good we ought to do and the evil we ought to avoid
  4. The gift of Fortitude: to overcome courageously all difficulties in the practice of virtue
  5. The gift of Counsel: to discern and to choose the true way of perfection
  6. The gift of Understanding: to realize the beauty and benefit of the mysteries of faith and of the truths of the Gospel
  7. The gift of Wisdom: to taste how good God is, to savour and experience the sweetness of His incomprehensible benignity.

Oh! How happy shall we be, if we receive these priceless gifts, for doubtless, they will lead us to the summit of this mystical ladder…

… where we shall be received by our Divine Savior who awaits us there with open arms, to make us participants of His glory and felicity!”

POWER PULSE – Preparation for the Great Feast of the Pentecost DAY SIX: HOLY SPIRIT – THE ONE WHO UNITES

REFLECT
One of the great tragedies that we encounter in our modern world is that of “division”

Communities “split”…

Societies get “divided”…

Hearts get “separated”…
… on the basis of caste, colour, creed, language etc

The evil spirit of “divisiveness” is rampant everywhere!

It is the Holy Spirit Who alone can unite us and help us to cast away this negative force.

St Paul speaks of “strive to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3)

How does the Holy Spirit unite us?

He unites us to Christ and to be persons oriented to do the Will of God ( Eph 4:1ff)
He unites us to one another by helping to know each other as “members of the One Body” ( 1 Cor 12:13)

EXAMINE:
Can I seek the assistance of “Holy Spirit – The Unifier”…?
… to help me to be more united to the Will and Ways of the Lord
… to help me to accept other persons as “members of Christ’s body” and to go beyond peripheral dimensions of life, to live in peace and unity

PRAYER:
Holy Spirit, the One Who unites us to Christ and to all people, cast away the forces of evil that cause division in our lives.

Unite us…

with the Will of the Father, so that, like Jesus, we too may always work for the growth of the Kingdom and the glory of God
to see beyond aspects of “division” and instead to build relationships on commonalities and thus move from being “advocates of division” to be “agents of unity”

Unite us in Your love… bring us together to enjoy peace and harmony… join our hearts in loving fellowship, Amen!

Come Holy Spirit…Come into our hearts… and renew us, in your mighty love and fire!

May God Bless us!

May 30, 2020 – 7th Week of Easter

“Being animated by the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit, so that we too may be Christ’s faithful and dynamic witnesses… and like St Peter and St John – and St Paul – become “special students” of our Great Teacher, Jesus!”

(Based on Acts 28:16-20, 30-31 and Jn 21:20-25)

The experience of teachers in a school with the students is pretty interesting.

Each student is unique in their character and nature.

The relationship with each student is also unique

Undoubtedly…
… some students tend to be more in the limelight… due to their high vibrancy and level of enthusiasm
… some students remain in the shadows… due to their soft and timid nature

But the teacher shares a unique relationship with all..
… with some more close, with some just normal, with some just casual

Sometimes the most naughty one, or the mischievous one gets special attention
Sometimes, the most silent one gets a special favour of affection and care

The Greatest Teacher, Jesus also had his class of students… his chosen twelve.. the Apostles.

He shared a unique relationship with all of them, undoubtedly.

Yet, among the twelve, there were some with whom Jesus had a special bonding

One among them was very vocal, emotional and actively in the limelight…

The other was more silent, affectionate and passively in the backgrounds…

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the teacher in conversation with these two of His students, with whom He had a special bonding – Peter and John.

Peter was the one, very vocal, emotional and being active in the limelight…
John was the more silent, affectionate and remained passively in the backgrounds…

We are the end of the Gospel of St John.

Jesus had engaged Peter in a one-to-one conversation reviving His commitment to Him and the Kingdom by asking him, three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was also entrusted to be the Shepherd of His Church on the earth

However, Peter was also curious what would be the future of the other disciple.

His curiosity is a common human trait: a keen desire to know the future and the prospects of other people.

Sometimes this trait can also degenerate into jealousy…
Sometimes this trait can also be reduced to envy…

  1. In the parable of the workers in the vineyard… those who came at the end received the same one denarii as the first.

The complaint of those who toiled the whole day was not just that they received a less pay; but more so, that why did the last ones…
… get a higher pay!

The generosity towards the others, made them to feel envious

  1. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the prodigal son was given a grand reception on his arrival back.

The complaint of the elder son was not just that he never had enjoyed a luxurious time with his friends; but more so, that the younger sin who had committed many sins…
… was given a special welcome.

The generosity towards the younger son, made him to feel jealous.

Realizing the possibility of this common human trait, Jesus chides Peter who was over-curious to know of the future of John; instead He re-focusses Peter’s attention on what is most important: Following Him.

Therefore Jesus tells to Peter: “What concern is it of yours? You follow me” (Jn 21: 22)

The same advice is rendered to us also…

We sometimes tend to be too anxious about the life of the other…
… but fail to have a proper control in our personal lives!
We sometimes tend to be over-curious about the future of others…
… but fail to live our lives worthily!

The Lord advises us the same too, “You follow me!”

The two special students of Jesus, the teacher – Peter and John – is also a reminder of two ways or levels of Christian holiness…

The Life of Peter… lived in witness to Christ by a life of martyrdom
The Life of John… lived in witness to Christ by a life of loving sacrifices in life

Each one of us are to…
… live in holiness, filled with love, like St John
… live in commitment, willing to give up even our lives, like St Peter

The first reading of the Liturgy also points us to the Life of St Paul…
… a zealous and valiant missionary, who offered his life in total commitment to the Kingdom

St Paul dwells in Rome – considered from St Luke’s perspective as the end of the earth (signifying that the Gospel has moved from Jerusalem, the centre to Rome, the end of the earth!)
“And Paul lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered!”

On the eve of the Great Feast of the Pentecost, let us prepare our hearts to receive the fire of the Holy Spirit.

We seek the special intercession of our Blessed Mother – the Queen of the Apostles – on her Feast Day…
… that She Who interceded with the Apostles, may intercede for us also, for the Mighty Gift of the Holy Spirit!

May we be animated and constantly live in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, so that we too may be Christ’s faithful and dynamic witnesses…
… and like St Peter and St John – and St Paul – become “special students” of our Great Teacher, Jesus!

Happy Feast of Mary, Queen of the Apostles!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Be what you are…

… and be at its best!”

POWER PULSE – Preparation for the Great Feast of the Pentecost DAY FIVE: HOLY SPIRIT – THE COMFORTER AND THE ONE WHO EMPOWERS US

REFLECT:
Life is very often a roller-coaster – of emotions, of circumstances, in relationships

There are days when things seem to be so good and fine
But there are also many days when life seems so bitter, harsh and even unfair

Life is also a long journey…
… with many twists and turns
… many deserts and storms encountered.

There are many moments…
… when we feel fearful and afraid to move on ahead in life
… when we feel drained off all energy and collapsing with spiritual exhaustion

This is more so, when one tries to live an honest and a genuine Christian Life – following the teachings and commands of the Lord.

Therefore the Lord promised to send “Holy Spirit, the Comforter” (Jn 16:7) to strengthen us and keep us reassured and consoled.

We need a Booster… an Energizer…

It is the Holy Spirit Who is the Mighty Spirit “to empower us”!

The word “Comforter” would mean…
… the One Who runs to our side and picks us up
… in legal terms, the One Who would aid or counsel for the defense

The Holy Spirit is our sure assurance of Comfort…
… strengthening us in our moments of crisis, confusions, calamities and uncertainties
… lifting our dropping spirits, raising our falling hearts and energizing our tiring minds

In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “You will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you”

The Holy Spirit is POWER – DUNAMIS
… like the dynamite, can cause a a mighty upheaval to make one to listen and do God’s Will
… like the dynamite, can cause a blast of our sinful ways and make us walk in His paths

EXAMINE:
Can I truly invite The Holy Spirit to “be the Comforter of my life”…?
… banking on His power in my weaknesses, failures and helplessness
… drawing courage when everything seems lost and I experience a lot of pain in life

Can I draw power and strength from “The Holy Spirit – the One Who empowers us”…?
… allowing Him to work mightily in our weakness and areas of fear and anxiety
… trusting in Him to supply with energy and vigour to keep us vibrant followers of Christ

PRAYER:
Holy Spirit, the Mighty Comforter and the One Who Empowers, help me to depend on You, in my moments of struggle and sadness. May your powerful anointing fill my life

Comfort me …

with new vigour and hope – when it gets difficult to continue with the tasks entrusted to me, with
with enthusiasm and energy – when I fail to be understood by people and when situations turn hostile to me

Empower me …

with courage, when things around me fall apart and infill me with the dynamism of Your vitality
with hope, when traces of meaninglessness and worthlessness creeps into my mind

Console me with Your gentleness… empower me with Your peace… cheer me up with Your love!

Endow me with Your strength… saturate me with Your holiness… imbue me with endurance, Amen!

Come Holy Spirit…Come into our hearts… and renew us, in your mighty love and fire!

May God Bless us!

May 29, 2020 – 7th Week of Easter

“Acknowledging our sinfulness and failures and realizing our weaknesses and shortcomings, let us, tell the Lord, ‘Yes, Lord, I love you!’”

(Based on Acts 25: 13-21 and Jn 21:15-19)

A little boy one day approached his father who he knew, was well versed with the terms used in the Bible, with a doubt.

“Daddy,” asked the boy, “what is the meaning of Cherubim and Seraphim. We hear it so often in the Bible.”

The father, appreciating the Biblical curiosity of his child, after some thoughtful moments answered:
“Cherubim is a word which means “knowledge”

The word Seraphim stands for “flame”

It is commonly understood that Cherubims are angels that excel in knowledge of God…
… and the Seraphims are those who excel in Love for God.

“Ah,” answered the boy, “In that case, I wish and hope, that when I die, I will be a Seraphim!

I would prefer more to love God, than to know everything!”

Of course, Cherubims and the Seraphims have their own importance in the order of Angels.

But what the child innocently expressed was his desire to love the Lord more!

How about us?
Do we also desire to Love God…?
… more?

The Gospel of the Day is the encounter of Jesus with His chosen Disciple Peter…
… who “knew Jesus” a lot
… but was yet to “love Jesus completely!”

The incident presents St Peter grappling with his weaknesses in expressing his love for his Master…
… and Jesus, knowing very well the frailties of his chosen one, entrusting great responsibilities on him.

Jesus in His post-resurrection appearances to the Apostles, engages in a special one-to-one conversation with the Peter, the leader of the chosen ones…

It’s interesting to see the choice of the Lord for Peter as the leader of His chosen ones.

Peter was a fisherman by profession…

Like the waves, his faith and trust in the Lord would also often waver…
Like the winds blowing heavily, his zeal for the Lord would also often vacillate…

Yet, the Lord chooses him to be a “fisher of man” for His Kingdom…. expecting him…
… to be like the fish – finding life and vibrancy only by being in the waters of grace and mercy
… to be like the net – gathering up the children of God and keeping them together
… to be like the boat – not being stuck on the shores, but ready to launch into the deep waters of evangelization

Peter had undoubtedly a lot of interest and zeal in the Lord… and in His Mission.

Yet by nature, he tended to be more emotional… indecisive…fluttering

And this caused him to deny the Lord three times, during the passion of the Lord..

But the Lord, in His infinite mercy, restores the brokenness in the relationship, with His healing love.

Our lives too, so often, resembles that of Peter.

We fluctuate in our commitments to the Lord…
We easily break many of the resolutions made to the Lord…
We very often go astray, despite having experienced much love from the Lord…

Yet, Jesus does not abandon us.

Like the Shepherd, who comes after His lost sheep…
Like a Potter, who re-moulds His work when dis-shaped…
Like a Physician, who attends with patience for His ailing patient…

The Lord comes to us…

And with much hope puts forward the same question, that He asked Peter:
“Do You love Me?”

The Lord awaits an answer…

It will be easy to jump in and say “Yes, Lord, I do love you”.
But…

Let our answer, not just be triggered by emotional feelings…
Let our answer, not be simply impelled by a ritualistic custom…

Rather, from the depth of our inner-being…
… acknowledging our sinfulness and failures…
… realizing our weaknesses and shortcomings…

And yet….
… trusting in the goodness of the Lord…
… hopeful in the mercy of the Lord…

Let us, tell the Lord…
… “Yes, Lord, I love you!!”

Let the courageous example of St Paul also be an inspiration

His life of bold witness to Jesus and His Resurrection, made him to become a point of discussion even among the high Roman ruling circle (Acts 25:13-21)

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The measure of love is to love without measure!”

POWER PULSE – Preparation for the Great Feast of the Pentecost DAY FOUR: HOLY SPIRIT – INTERCEDES AND PRAYS FOR US

REFLECT:
Prayer is an act of intimacy with God.

It is being with the Lord – a relationship

St Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, “the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness, for we do not know we how to pray as we ought to ” (Rom 8:26)

There are many moments when we find it difficult to pray…
… there is often dryness or a sense of emptiness
… there is often an urge to not pray or just “not feel” like praying
… there is sometimes a lot of distraction, dissatisfaction or disillusionment in prayer

But the Holy Spirit comes to our aid…
… praying for us
… interceding for us

It is the Holy Spirit who “helps us to pray and intercedes for us”…
… He strengthens our prayer-moments when we find it hard to pray ( Lk 22:43)
… He helps us to pray according to the Will of God (Rom 8:29)

EXAMINE:
Can I allow The Holy Spirit to “help me to pray” …?
… Allow Him to intercede and pray for me, even if I am going through dryness in prayer
… Allow Him to teach me the different ways of praying and being in His presence

PRAYER:
Holy Spirit, the One Who helps me to pray and intercedes for me, strengthen me to grow in my love for the Lord

Help me …

to know that prayer is “being in the Presence of the Lord” and goes beyond words and feelings
to let go of my pride, prejudices and sinful tendencies, to grow deeper in my prayer life

Mould me in Your presence… inspire me to grow in love for the Lord… purify me in love, Amen!

Come Holy Spirit…Come into our hearts… and renew us, in your mighty love and fire!

May God Bless us!

May 28, 2020 – 7th Week of Easter

“Growing in our conviction of the deep love that the Father has towards us and thus to orient our lives in a way that is worthy of our call as witnesses of the Kingdom!”

(Based on Acts 22:30; 23:6-11 and Jn 17:20-26)

A cute story of a little boy, who loved fruits.

This little fellow was once, tempted to pluck some cherries from a tree, which his father had strictly forbidden him to touch.

“You need not be afraid,” said his notorious companion, “for if your father should find out that you have taken them, he is too kind to hurt you.”

“Ah,” said the brave little fellow, “that is the very reason why I would not touch them;
For I know that my father would not hurt me. So I should not hurt him by my disobedience!”

The little boy knew the love of his Father towards him
… and so he dared not hurt his Father.

He was not afraid of the punishment of the Father.
He was instead afraid of the hurt that would cause pain to the Father.

True love causes a holy and pious concern of not wanting to cause any offence to the one who is loved.

True Love casts away all fear!

True Love drives away every anxiety!

It is this True Love of the Father that was made known by Jesus to all of us.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus shedding greater light on His intimate relation with the Father and revealing deeper, the love of the Father for each one of us.

Jesus prays, “… so that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and You in Me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17: 22b, 23)

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in the Seventeenth Chapter of St John, is another insight into the intimate relation that Jesus had with His Father.

All His life, He sought to do only the Father’s Will

All His life, He sought to reveal the love of the Father to the world.

This was driven by the fact that Jesus was in intimate union with the Father.

To His disciples, Jesus wishes to leave this same legacy – the legacy of loving the Father intimately.

Jesus wishes to tell us that we have a Father who is deeply interested and caring for us.

Jesus wishes to convince us that our lives are secure in the Providential care of the Father.

However, our lives sometimes fail to display this trust and confidence in the providential care of the Father

Some of us may have a wrong notion of God being interested only in finding my wrongdoings and punishing me for the same…

Some of us may have the wrong notion of God being too holy and majestic that makes Him unapproachable, unavailable and inaccessible!

But Jesus seeks to drive away all such false impressions.

He tells us that the Father…
… is surely the keeper of justice, and may take us through a time of trials and difficulties.

But those are not to be seen as cruel punishments, but loving acts for improvements towards a holier life!

He tells us that the Father…
…. is surely the Lord and Master of the Universe, and is totally aware of even the calamities or hardships that befall our lives!

In all those hard moments, the loving Father keeps us safely in the palm of His hand, not allowing us, His beloved children to get hurt or harmed!

We have the beautiful assurance of the Lord to St Paul, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles:
“The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome!” (Acts 23:11)

The Lord “always stands by us”…
… and this should be our motivation and strength to “always stand for the Lord!”

When we are convinced of the deep love that the Father has towards us, we would be able to orient our lives in a way that is worthy of our call as witnesses of the Kingdom.

Jesus by His unity with the Father, enjoyed perfect freedom.

He invites us to also deepen our union with the Father and enjoy greater freedom of happiness and joy.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do everything by love…

… and nothing by force!”

POWER PULSE – Preparation for the Great Feast of the Pentecost DAY THREE: HOLY SPIRIT – THE GUIDE AND THE ONE WHO HELPS TO UNDERSTAND DIVINE MYSTERIES

REFLECT:
The Gospel of St John 16: 13 says, “When the Spirit of God comes, He will GUIDE you into all truth”

It is our ordinary human need to have a friend or a guide or a person who can inspire us, challenge us, correct us and be with us.

This is much more in the spiritual realm

Jesus assures that the Holy Spirit is to be the “greatest Guide” for a Christian.

The Bible is a mighty testament to the many instances of the Spirit of God “guiding” people…

Moses and the people of Israelites were led through the wilderness (Is 63: 11-14)
The Spirit of God came upon David, when he was anointed (1 Sam 16:13)
Jesus, after His Baptism was led by the Holy Spirit ( Lk 4:1)
The Apostles were constantly led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2)

It is the Holy Spirit who “guides us”…
… He helps to take decisions in moments of crisis, uncertainties, and doubts (Acts 15)
… He inspires in times of feeling low, feeling rejected and feeling lost (Acts 13: 52)
… He inspires in giving witness to the Lord and His Gospel (Acts 8:29)

Jesus, also prayed: “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to mere babes” (Mt 11: 25)

The mysteries of God are too lofty to be grasped and understood

But the Lord assures that the Holy Spirit, in the right moments, will reveal to us the mysteries of the Divine – as much needed for us to know.

There are innumerable occasions when we don’t understand the ways of God…
… times when the promises of God seem to be far from being fulfilled
… times when blessings of God seem to be evading us, even though we seem to be doing all right
… times when the Scripture goes beyond our grasp

But the Holy Spirit blesses us with understanding…
… revealing the meanings of the mysteries of life and of Divinity
… opening our eyes to understand God’s Word in the Holy Bible

EXAMINE:
Do I accept The Holy Spirit as “The Guide” of my life…?
… Accepting His guidance to be a witness to the Lord in my day-to-day activities
… Accepting His inspirations and listening to His voice to take decisions

Do I pray to The Holy Spirit to “understand Divine Mysteries ” …?
… to get greater insights of the Word of God and live It faithfully in my life
… to understand the Divine mysteries and to live my Christian life with greater conviction

PRAYER:
Holy Spirit, the mighty Guide and the One Who blesses with the understanding into the Divine mysteries… I pray that you help me realise the need to depend on You, in this hard journey of life.

Guide and Help me …
… to constantly listen to Your voice speaking me, through the Word of God, the various situations of my life and through many people
… to have a greater desire to understand deeper, the mysteries of God and to live them with certainty in my life
… to grow in my love for the Word of God and to believe and practise it, with sincerity and passion

Constantly guide me… fill me with your understanding… help me to know You better… make me Love and Live in You more… Amen!

Come Holy Spirit…Come into our hearts… and renew us, in your mighty love and fire!

Fill us with your life… make us anew… permeate us with Your power, Amen!

May God Bless us!