October 1, 2020 – Feast of St Therese of Child Jesus – Little Flower

“Being inspired by St Therese of Child Jesus – Li’l Big Saint – to love the Big Big God of Love deeper and more passionately!”

(Based on the Feast of St Therese of Child Jesus – Little Flower)

“Yes, I have discovered my vocation! In the heart of the Church, I will be love”

  • From the “Story of a Soul” – the Autobiography of the Little Flower

These words of great joy and exhilaration exhibit the essence of a Grand Discovery.

A Young Person had discovered her grand vocation!

The Church had discovered a grand saint!

Grand was the life that was lived.

Grand still more were the graces that followed…

A grand saint enshrined in a quiet life, but adorned with much love and affection…

A saint who inspires many…
A saint who is loved by many…
A saint who induces much joy…
… St Therese of Child Jesus – popularly known as the Little Flower of Liseux.

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

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

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

There is a tendency that these “advanced” talks get jammed with only peripheral talks…
… and fail to translate into true action & deeds.

It is here, that our Little Saint of the Day invites us to find a new freshness and sparkle in Spirituality.

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

This Little Way of the Big Li’l Saint resonates with the Gospel of the Day (Lk 10:17-24) when Jesus invites and declares that…
….”I give You praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth… you have revealed them to the childlike” (Lk 10: 21a)’

For a child, everything is big!

The toys that one plays…
The food that one eats…
The houses that one sees…

Even the ones who take care…
… and especially, the ones closes to the child… parents in particular….are very big too!

They mean everything to the child.
They signify the ultimate for the Child.

This is the child-likeness to which ‘The Little Flower’ grew.

Her child-likeness had God as the Centre of her world…

God meant everything for this Little Saint.
God signified the ultimate for this Little Saint!

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

Her child-likeness does not promote childishness or immaturity or passivity.

Her child-likeness, instead encourages deeper trust and maturity and enthusiasm.

This spirituality of the Little Way sounds too simple….and too little..

But in fact and in practice, is a highly challenging one!

This is the spirituality of ‘child-likeness’: To have at the Centre and as the Ultimate, the One who can provide everything – God!

Is God the centre of my world…
… when I get drunk with a sinful and immoral life?
… when I get over dependent on my material riches?
… when I bank upon my own wisdom in my works?
… when I insist on doing my will, over the Will of God?

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

After a period of great inner trial and turmoil, she discovered her vocation to be love!

All her actions were laced with love.
All her words were filled with love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is much sentimentality, no doubt.

There is much simplicity, no doubt.

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

Love demands a fidelity in the countless mundane ‘little’ things of daily life

The Little Way doesn’t eliminate heroism, rather it’s brought within the reach of the poor.

The rains of love showers every aspect of ordinary everyday life.

The Little Flower dares to throw “petals” at the Loving Lord…

These petals are even considered “worthless petals” by the world – a little sacrifice, a gentle smile, a kind word, an appreciative action!

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

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

Let us join the Little Saint to tread the Little Way.

She promised to “shower roses” on the way to those who dare…

As a child, let us be inspired by this Li’l Big Saint to love the Big Big God of Love deeper and more passionately!

As we thank the Lord for the gift of all the blessings in the month of September, let us offer the new month of October into His Safe and Caring Hands…
… especially seeking the help of our Blessed Mother by praying the Rosary daily, in this Month of the Rosary – October!

Let us give heed to the words of the Little Flower – St Therese of Child Jesus:
“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”

May we always “live Love to give Love!”

May we always “live Jesus to give Jesus!”

Happy Feast of the Beautiful Little Flower!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The truly loving heart loves God’s good pleasure
not in consolations only…

… but also in afflictions!”

September 30, 2020 – 26th Week in Ordinary Time

“Understanding that ‘nothing can shake a missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified,’ and thus always crying out, ‘I want missions!’”

(Based on Job 9:1-12, 14-16 and Lk 9:57-62: Wednesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time – Feast of St Jerome)

The year 1821.
The Parish of Le Chatelard, in the Archdiocese of Chambery.

Two fervent and austere priests, spent a week in praying, preaching and inviting people for a Mission Service.

But the parishioners remained indifferent.
There was an air of unwelcome apathy.

The two priests had to make a choice: Of either continuing preaching or of “shaking off the dust!”

“When the world says, “Give up”, hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time!’”

The priests – who were hopeful, zealous and committed – set out, in imitation of Jesus, their Master, to the foot of the mountains to pray for the conversion of people.

“They have gone to pray & fast for your conversion” was the reply the curious parishioners received on enquiry of their whereabouts.

Grace worked…

Intercession proved powerful!

The two saintly priests were called back by the people…
… and the mission in the Parish resumed with much deep fervour and enthusiasm!

One of the two missionaries was Fr Peter Marie Mermier
(the other was his missions companion, Fr Joseph Favre)

Fr Peter Marie Mermier is the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS)…
… known as the Fransalians!

This daring founder – a dynamic missionary – had many incidents in his life, which made him to experience the power and presence of the Spirit in the missions.

As it is said, “Problems love to haunt missionaries, but Providence lures them to depend on Him, for healing!”

When the early companions in the Congregation began to leave him – though in much agony – with an unshakeable hope and resolve, Fr Mermier declared: “…I will remain all alone. But my resolution is unshakeable as also my desires.

I want missions!”

Yes, nothing can shake a Missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified!

Today – on the Founder’s Day of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS) – the death anniversary of the Venerable Servant of God, Fr Peter Marie Mermier (Sep 30, 1862)…
… we are called by the Lord to follow Him more closely and to introspect our motivations and motives in being a Christian!

The Gospel passage (Lk 9:57-62) presents three people who seek to follow the Lord.

These three, present before us…
… three aspects of hurdles/barriers in following the Lord.

These are:

  1. Comforts
  2. Convenience
  3. Distractions
  4. A “comfortable style” of following the Lord

The first person comes up to Jesus and says: “I will follow you wherever you go” (Lk 9: 57)

But Jesus reminds him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest His Head” (Lk 9: 58a)

This man had probably heard or seen the Lord…
… as a mighty miracle-worker
… as a popular preacher
… as a laudable leader

These were “comforts” that would be assured in following Jesus

And so perhaps, the man chose this “comfortable style of following the Lord!”

But the Lord prohibits from seeking Him for the sake of comforts alone!

  1. A “convenient style” of following the Lord

The second person is asked by the Lord to “Follow” Him (Lk 9: 59b)

But he replies, “Let me first go and bury my father” (Lk 9: 59b)

“Bury my father” was a Jewish (Arabic) way of saying….
… one must stay in one’s house till the death of the father and settle the inheritance of the property.

The man was yielding into to conveniences in following the Lord…
… “when I am convenient in my family, I will follow You”
… “when I am convenient in my personal life, I will follow You”

  1. A “distractive style” of following the Lord

The third person said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my home” (Lk 9:61)

But Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what is left behind, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

This person had the goodwill to follow Jesus…
… but was distracted in his motivation.

We need to introspect our motivations and motives in being a Christian…

Is my following of the Lord of a “comfortable style”
… looking for only the comforts of prosperity and material riches…?
… being close to the Lord only in times of comfort…?

Is my following of the Lord of a “convenient style”
… seeking to be with the Lord only when I “feel like”
… adjusting my relationship with God as per my needs and conveniences

Is my following of the Lord of a “distractive style”
… easily straying away from the path with worldly attractions
… failing to do the Will of God owing to distractive habits and tendencies

The Lord longs to have us following Him…
… more sincerely and more passionately!

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

It is essential, therefore that we “burn” our comforts and personal wishes in the fire of God’s blazing fiery Love…
… so that we can be better imitators of Him, Who demands that we be zealous in our journey towards perfection!

Today we specially seek the intercession of St Jerome
(St Jerome who was very well-versed in Scripture, is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin – the translation that became known as the Vulgate – and his commentaries on the Scriptures.

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” are the famous words of exhortation of St Jerome, the doctor of the Church)

May his words, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best”
… be an inspiration for all of us

Like Fr Peter Marie Mermier, may we understand, that “nothing can shake a missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified” and always cry out, “I want missions!”

Happy Founder’s Day to all the Fransalians – The Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “There is nothing small in the service of God!

The world is a great stage…

… where God displays his many wonders!”

September 29, 2020 – Feast of St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael – Archangels

“Growing in love for our heavenly friends – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael – and orienting our lives more towards heaven!”

(Based on the Feast of St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael – Archangels)

An elderly parish priest was walking in the portico of the Church, when he came across a couple of young boys.

They were standing in front of the mighty statue of St Michael.

As they stood admiring the majestic figure, the younger one said to his elder brother, “Hey look, what a might sword!

This is the sword, which Mummy told, with which this great saint would thrust into the devil isn’t it?”

The elder one nodded and exclaimed, “Yeah! And see how triumphantly he crushes the head of Satan! Wow!”

Seeing their excitement, the priest approached them and commended, “How wonderful to see these little boys who are well taught in the teachings of the Church! Blessed is this family!”

The story goes on to say that the priest took them in the Church and taught them the beautiful prayer to St Michael (which he asked them to recite after the Holy Mass):
“St. Michael the Archangel, Defend us in this day of battle!
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him we humbly pray,
And do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the Power of God, Cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits
Who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls, Amen!”

Today, the Feast of the Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael- is a reminder by the Church to learn more about our Catholic Faith and to grow in celebrating and living this faith, in our daily living.

Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels. (cf. Eph 1:21, Col 1:16)

In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.

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

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

St Michael is known as “the prince of the heavenly host.”

He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armour, crushing the head of Satan.
He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist”

St Michael makes an appearance in the Bible on four occasions:

In Dan 10:13 and in Dan 12:1, he appears as the special guardian of the people of Israel.
In Jude 9, he appears in a dispute with the Devil.
In Rev 12:7-9, he fights against Satan and his evil forces.

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

  1. St Gabriel
    The name of the archangel Gabriel means, in Hebrew, “God is my strength”

St Gabriel is known as a “messenger of God”

He is usually pictured announcing something and sometimes with a lily or a sceptre.
He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Baptism”

St Gabriel makes an appearance three times in the Bible:

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

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

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

St Raphael is known as “a wonderful helper and fellow traveller”

He is usually pictured walking with a young boy, sometimes carrying a staff.
He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Reconciliation”

St Raphael makes many appearance in the Book of Tobit in the Bible:

St Raphael appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of Tobias, the son of Tobit.

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

Modern trends often seek to downplay some of the traditional Catholic beliefs…
… the belief in the Angels, being one of them, perhaps!

But, this Feast is a great reminder for us to be reminded that the Catholic Teachings (like the teaching on Angels) are…
… Scripturally rooted
… Traditionally verified
… Logically reasonable
… and spiritually nourishing!

May this Feast of the three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael – help us to…
… grow in our love for our heavenly friends…

And orient our lives more towards heaven!

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

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

Happy Feast of the Heavenly Protectors!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Consider the beauty and perfection of the countless inhabitants of that blessed country – the millions and millions of angels, Cherubim and Seraphim; the glorious company of Apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and saints.

They rejoice with a perpetual joy, they share a bliss unspeakable, and unchangeable delights.

September 28, 2020 – 26th Week in Ordinary Time

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

(Based on Job 1:6-22 and Lk 9:46-50 – Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time)

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

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

This innocent gesture touched the father very much.

He had a profound realisation of his deep limitations and the child’s high expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The process usually is encountered by resistance…

Why should I depend on someone…
… I am mature enough to think for myself

Why should I become humble…
… I have my own desires to be satisfied to

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

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

St Paul tells in his letter to the Philippians, ” … though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, a thing to be grasped.

Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8)

A child-like faith also prompts to place one’s trust totally in the Lord, knowing that He is the Source and End of all…
… as beautifully displayed by Job, during his great ordeal, when he exclaimed: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return;

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

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

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do as little children do, who with one hand
cling to their father…

… and with the other gather blackberries along the hedges.”

September 27, 2020 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Discovering love for the Lord and being willing to go beyond difficulties, in order to strengthen our relationship with the Lord and obeying His Will always!”

(Based on Ezek 18: 25-28, Phil 2:1-11 and Mt 21: 28-32 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A man who was engaged, took his fiancé for dinner on her birthday.

When they sat down, he laid an elaborate box on the table – her birthday gift.

All the while they were eating dinner, she just kept thinking about this box – because it was a big box – and she wanted to know what was inside.

She could hardly eat.

The waiting to open the gift was disturbing her…
… but her boyfriend told her to open the gift, after dinner.

All she could think about was what was in the box. Finally, when dinner was over, she asked:
“Can I open the box now?”

“Yeah, you can!”

She opened the box…
… and pulled out a pillow.

“Oh, wow, I mean, this is a nice pillow…
… but it’s a pillow.”

She turned the pillow over, thinking that something was taped to the back.

There was nothing.

“Well, thank you!”

It was obvious she was disappointed that she got a pillow.

Her boyfriend, however, got up, took the pillow from her…
… and laid the pillow on the floor.

He got down on one knee, took her by the hand, and said, “Will you love me for life?”

The girl now totally gave up the pillow!

The pillow was no longer so important for her
Instead.. the one who gave her the pillow, now became much more important!

Love for a person trifles every peripheral need and discomforts!

When you discover love for a person, you begin to go beyond difficulties…
… and seek to strengthen your relationship with the person.

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful story of “willingness to make suitable changes, and giving importance to the person, in order to display one’s love…
… rather than being restricted with peripheral and external promises, without sincerity!”

The Gospel presents to us…
… the story of a son who – though initially seemed reluctant – but finally would overcome difficulties, and follow the words of his father
… and contrasted by his brother who fails to keep up his word!

The passage begins with the first son being asked by the father: “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” (Mt 21:28)

And the son replying initially in the negative; but later repenting: “And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went” (Mt 21:29)

This is contrasted by the other son – who was given the same order – and replied in the positive initially, but later would retract from his words

“And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.” (Mt 21:30)

These two sons could represent our own attitudes to the Divine Will:

  1. Failure to understand initially but later repenting and doing what God wants
  2. An initial fervour to do all what God wants, but failure to sustain in this pursuit

The first son may have had his own reasons to refuse the will of his father initially…

… he was lazy
… he had some other commitments
… he did not give much importance to his father’s words
… he was too proud and least bothered about what other’s wanted including his father

The reasons could be anything

But the parable tells, that he had a realization…
… and that would make him do what his father wanted!

The Gospel explains this with a phrase: “… but afterward, he repented.”

Maybe, we too need to have this “Repenting Experience” in our lives in order to follow the Will of our Heavenly Father

In instances, when we feel lazy in life…
… “to repent” and to push ourselves with the Graces offered by God

In times, when we have other commitments other than the Kingdom of God…
… “to repent” and to bring back our first priority to do what God wants in our life

In situations, when we don’t give much importance to the ways of God…
… “to repent” and to remain docile and open to the Power and Providence of God in life

In moments, when our pride overwhelms us, and we become too cosy and careless…
… “to repent” and to bow down before the Awesome and Majestic Presence of God

God reminds us through Prophet Ezekiel that all those who turn away from sin, will surely be blessed…
“Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life.

Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die!” (Ezek 18:27-28)

It is possible that sometimes we get so occupied with the trifles and peripherals of life…
… that we fail to understand that “growing in relationship with our Lord” is the most important task of our life!

We tend to get more attracted to the “big box that allures us” …
… than to spend time with the Lord…understand His Mind deeper and to love Him more!

The Lord today invites us through this parable of the two sons, to become people…
… who not only pledge our words but our life also to Him!
… who not only make an external profession but commit with an inner passion for the Kingdom!

Yes, let us understand that “Love for a person trifles every peripheral need and discomforts!”

When you discover love for a person, you begin to go beyond difficulties and seek to strengthen your relationship with the person.

When we love the Lord, we also ought to be willing to make suitable changes, and give importance to His Will…
… rather than being restricted with peripheral and external promises, without sincerity!

The Lord, Who loves all of us immensely, displayed His tremendous affection for us by lowering Himself and becoming a Man – like us – and giving His Life for love of us:
“… though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God, a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

And being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross!” (Phil 2:6-8)

The Lord, Who humbled Himself – as a boy kneeling on a pillow, desiring for love – asks us the question:
“Will you love me for life?”

What is our answer?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Those who wish to straighten a young tree,
not only to bring it to the direction in which they wish it to grow…

… but even bend it somewhat beyond, so that it will not return to its former direction!”

September 26, 2020 – 25th Week in Ordinary Time

“Asking the Grace to remain ever faithful to the Lord and to be loyal to His Love and His Kingdom!”

(Based on Eccles 11:9-12:8 and Lk 9:43-45 – Saturday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Roman history tells that Caesar had first resisted the onslaught of his assassins.

But when he saw his beloved Brutus among them, with his dagger draw, the Roman Emperor ceased to struggle and withdraw every attempt of resistance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is the Lord, calling us by name, asking us, “Et tu, ? “You too, _ ?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Cosmas and St Damien, the twin-saints.

Strictly observing the command of the Lord: “Freely have you received, freely in turn give” (Mt. 10: 8), they came to be known as “anargyroi” – the silverless
They practised medicine and surgery without a fee!
Their witness of selfless charity and generosity of spirit converted many to the Catholic Faith.

May we seek their intercession and be inspired by them, to constantly be on the watch…
… and be ever loyal to His Love and His Kingdom!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let your speech be gentle, frank, sincere, straightforward, candid…

… and faithful!”

September 25, 2020 – 25th Week in Ordinary Time

“Like the sunflower, that follows every movement of the sun, turning towards the Lord and walking, with joy, looking to Him, and radiating his Love!”

(Based on Eccles 3:1-11 and Lk 9:18-22 – Friday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

Nature teaches and inspires us!

One of the beautiful lessons we learn from nature is from one of the most amazing flowers – The Sunflower!

The Sunflowers literally ‘follows the sun’!
(Technically, it is called “heliotropism” i.e. ‘sun turning’)

They turn to the sun, following it all day…
… from its rising in the east to its setting in the west!

It is even found that on a cloudy day…
… if any glimpse of the sun appears, the sunflower finds and follows it!

The sunflower is a beautiful symbol of our spiritual journey…

Of how, we need to constantly ‘look to the Lord’, the Sun of our Life!
Of how, we need to always ‘follow the Lord’, the Sun of our existence!

This “looking to the Lord” and “following the Lord” finds its practical expression…
… in a life of prayer!

The Gospel of the Day presents before us with St Luke’s version of the familiar passage, of Jesus asking His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”…
… beginning with “Jesus praying in solitude…” (Lk 9:18)

The Gospel of Luke is also known as the Gospel of Prayer.

He highlights the aspect of Jesus spending time in prayer….

At the time of His Baptism, Jesus prays (Lk 3:21)
At the time after a ministry of healing, Jesus goes to pray (Lk 5:16)
At the choosing of the Twelve, Jesus spends the night in prayer (Lk 6:12)
At the time of the Transfiguration on the mountain, Jesus was praying (Lk 9:28)
At the request of His disciples, Jesus teaches them the ideal and the model prayer (Lk 11:1)
At the garden of Gethsemane, before being led to His passion and sufferings, Jesus prayed (Lk 22:41)
At the final breath, in the agony and pain of His imminent death on the Cross, Jesus makes a prayer (Lk 23:46)

The ‘Praying Master’ through the ‘Gospel of Prayer’ exhorts us to some crucial and practical aspects of our life:

Do I spend special time in prayer…
… before important and critical times and decisions of our life?

Do I enjoy spending time in prayer…
… and seeking to grow in my relationship with God, our Father?

Do I cling to God in intense and deep prayer…
… in our time of suffering and pains?

Do I make prayer a way of life and rhythmic…
… with every moment of my day?

It is only when we build a strong rock-solid foundation of prayer that we can be bold in witnessing our faith!

The world may have varied responses to the question, “Who do people say that I am?”

Many saw only the zeal and fiery exhortations on repentance…
… and identified Him with John the Baptist

Many saw only His mighty acts and deeds…
… and considered Him as Elijah

Many saw only His authoritative power in preaching…
… and considered Him a Prophet

But they failed to see Jesus truly as the One He really was – The SON OF GOD!

It is only when we are in prayer that we can know the Lord more…and deeper!

The understanding of the Real Jesus can be experienced only through our moments of prayer.

How is our life of prayer?
… Personal
… In the Family/Community

Personally, we must make it a point to spend at least sometime, daily, in prayer

As a family/community also, we must make a priority, daily, to come together in the presence of the Lord!

Personally, we will have a lot of activities and feelings to keep us away; but we must still be faithful to our time of prayer

As a family/community also, there would come many things to give us excuses; but we must still be insistent on having our time of prayer together!

The words of St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina inspire us:

“Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God.”
“Let us glance at the Divine Master who prayed in the Garden and we will discover the true ladder which unites the earth to Heaven…
… We will discover that humility, contrition and prayer make the distance between man and God disappear, and act in such a way that God descends to man, and man ascends to God, so that they end up understanding, loving and possessing one another.”

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us of the need to be aware that there is a “time for everything in life”…
… and invites all of us to find the beauty of life, by knowing the mind of the Lord deeper: “He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end!” (Eccles 3:11)

This discover of the beauty of life is augmented by a life of prayer!

Yes, the Lord encounters each one of us today personally and puts forward the same question,
“Who do YOU say that I am?”

May we, “like the sunflower, that follows every movement of the sun”, turn towards the Lord and walk, with joy, looking to Him, and radiating his Love!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Our Lord Himself is called the Sun, rising upon the earth…

… and our Lady the Day-star!”

September 24, 2020 – 25th Week in Ordinary Time

“Listening to our conscience and having the courage to unload every burden of guilt, by walking on the path of goodness!

(Based on Eccle 1:2-11 and Lk 9:7-9 – Thursday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

An incident is narrated of a man who brought a package of supplies from a trading shop.

On reaching home, to his surprise, he found a silver coin inside the package.

Something troubled him.

He came back the next morning to the trader and handed him back the silver coin.

The trader was amused and surprised and asked him: “That’s interesting to see that you have returned back the silver coin!”

The customer replied: “Well, I got a good man and a bad man in my heart!

The good man said, It is not yours'; the bad man said, 'Nobody will know'. The good man said, 'Take it back'; the bad man said,Never mind’.”

And so thinking, I went to bed…
… but the good man and the bad man talked the whole night and troubled me.

Next morning, I decided…
… to unload the burden of my guilt, by returning to the path of goodness!”

The conscience of the man caused him disturbance, because of the fault that he was supposedly in…
… and made him to yield to its goodness!

Each of us, at every moment, have our conscience speaking to us…

Do we listen and give heed?
Or do we silence the voice of the conscience and allow our guilt to rotten up our minds, and dirty our actions?

The Gospel of the Day presents the intense ordeal faced by King Herod who failed to give consideration to the voice of conscience…

And instead had his mind corrupted and his actions dirtied…
… by falling into the trap of guilt and shame.

King Herod had exercised his authority and sinfulness by beheading John the Baptist. (Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-27).

The demon of guilt and shame of that inhuman murder kept bothering him.

In this scattered state of mind, King Herod hears about the deeds and wonders of another man, Jesus.

His guilt-filled and confused mind is unable to grasp the identity of this new man who works marvels and so he asks: “I had John beheaded; WHO IS THIS MAN about whom I hear such wonders?”(Lk 9:9)

The king harassed by sin and shame failed to grapple the mystery of the Son of God, the King of kings!

Herod’s question is perhaps, one the most important question ever asked or answered:

Being confused about Who Jesus is, was not new trend, especially in the Gospel of St Luke.

In Lk 5:21, at the healing of the paralytic, the Scribes and Pharisees begin to ask, “WHO IS THIS who speaks blasphemy?”

In Lk 7:19, the disciples of John the Baptist question Him, “ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS TO COME, or should we look for another?”

In Lk 7:49, after the pardon of the sinful woman who washed His feet, the others, who were invited for the meal commented, “WHO IS THIS who even forgives sins?”

In Lk 8:25, after witnessed the calming of the sea and the storms, the disciples inquire, “WHO then IS THIS, who commands even the winds and the sea, and they obey Him?“

In Lk 9:20, Jesus Himself asks His disciples, “WHO do you say AM I?“

In Lk 20:2, the chief priests and scribes question Jesus, “By what AUTHORITY ARE YOU doing these things? Or who is the one WHO GAVE YOU AUTHORITY?“

In Lk 22:70, the council of elders and the chief priests and the scribes question Jesus, “ARE YOU then THE SON OF GOD?“

The persona of Jesus surpasses great minds and cannot be arrested by hardened hearts!

The character of Jesus baffles proud mentalities and cannot be captured by cynical spirits!

King Herod was greatly disturbed with a guilty conscience and a sinful heart.

He felt greatly challenged and threatened by Jesus, Who was being considered as a King.

The sinful and corrupt Kingdom of Herod was faced with an opposition from…
… the pure and holy Kingdom of God!

We need to examine our lives and conscience and check…

Am I, like King Herod, filled with fear and doubts because of my sinful conscience and guilty mind?

Am I eager, like King Herod to see some miracles of Jesus, just to satisfy my curiosity, but not for repentance?

Am I hesitant to encounter the Lord, because that could mean having a transformation and renewal of my life?

Yes, each of us, at every moment, have our conscience speaking to us…

Do we listen and give heed?
Or do we silence the voice of the conscience and allow our guilt to rotten up our minds and dirty our actions?

Purified by the Sacraments…
… strengthened by God’s Word…
… empowered in prayer…

May we become persons who have our conscience always pure and always give heed to the voice of the Lord, “Be Holy, as I am Holy!”

Let us always listen to our conscience…
… and have the courage to unload every burden of guilt, by walking on the path of goodness!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Those who look well after their own consciences…

… rarely fall into the sin of judging others!”

September 23, 2020 – 25th Week in Ordinary Time

“Seeking the intercession of St Padre Pio, to follow God’s Will closely in our lives, and finding meaning even in failures, to be able to cast off minor disappointments and setbacks!”

(Based on Prov 30:5-9 and Lk 9:1-6 – Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time – Feast of St Padre Pio)

Thomas Edison, the famous scientist, once worked for months to find a filament that would burn for more than a few seconds, for his incandescent light bulb.

He tried over 700 filaments and each one was a failure.

One reporter interviewed Edison and said, “It must be frustrating to work so hard and see no results.”
Edison replied, “Oh, I have lots of results. I now know 700 things that won’t work!”

The person of true research and genuine interest finds meaning even in failures and is able to cast off minor disappointments and setbacks.

The Gospel of the Day enshrines a similar message in its verses…
“And where ever they don’t welcome you, shake off the dust from your feet..” (Lk 9:5)

Dust was symbolic…

Dust was used to denote the grave (Job 7:21)
To sit in dust denoted extreme affliction (Isaiah 47:1).
To lick the dust was a sign of abject submission (Psalms 72:9)
To sprinkle dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Joshua 7:6)
To throw dust at someone was a sign of abhorrence (2 Samuel 16:13; Acts 22:23)

To shake off the dust indicated that those who had rejected the Gospel were making themselves closer to face the just judgment of God.

The context of this phrase is when Jesus summoned His twelve apostles and sent them on a mission, giving them various instructions,..

Jesus warned the twelve, that in their mission, they would encounter denial and not receive a proper welcome and reception in all the places.

This is a reality with the Kingdom of God and the Message of the Gospel…

Not all take in the teaching of the Kingdom and the Gospel…
Not all understand and accept the Kingdom and the Gospel…
Not all give a good response to the Kingdom and the Gospel…

The action of shaking off the dust also meant much for the messenger or the one who had preached the Gospel.

One of the greatest realities of our life is facing rejections, refusals and failures

This aspect creeps into our spiritual lives, our ministries and in our witnessing of Christ in the society…

We may face rejection when we try extend the peace of Christ to all those, with whom we are not in good terms.

We may face refusal when we take a bold decision to not partake in some unhealthy affairs of the world.

We may face failures when we stick on to the principles of honesty and integrity and truthfulness.
We may face let-downs when we refuse to be a partaker of sinful activities and evil practices and thoughts.

Jesus told the disciples that if they were not accepted, to “shake the dust off their feet…”

The “shaking off the dust” was a symbolic way of saying, “I don’t want anything of the city to remain on me.

“I don’t want their bitterness, their rejection, and their lack of faith to remain part of me.”

Jesus didn’t want their feeling of failure to bog his disciples down.

Instead, He told them to just shake it off and move on to the next village.

This was a mighty invitation by the Master to His disciples to not “get fixated to the fleeting pleasures and satisfactions that this world may offer…
… rather to have the Lord as the Greatest Consolation, Treasure and Joy of Life!”

The whole world may leave or reject you…
… but the Lord promises, “if you totally depend on Me, you have no need to fear or be anxious!”

Some of us, however, continue to carry the dust of our past failures and disappointments…

We fail to shake off the dust of our guilt and shame of the past sins we have committed…
We fail to shake off the dust of our hurts and pains in some of the broken and strained relationships…
We fail to shake off the dust of our collapses and catastrophes in our works or businesses or projects or plans…

Yes, we have been rejected. We have failed. We have been crushed. We have collapsed.

But the Lord, says, “Get up, shake off the dust, and go on.”

The Book of Proverbs reminds us: “Every word of God proves true;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him!” (Prov 30:5)

Every saint has faced a rejected and a failure….The Lord, Himself, on the way of the Cross, fell…

But They never gave up…They never called it quits!

St Paul beautifully says, “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” (Phil 3:13)

Let us not spend our life sitting in the dust of devastation, crying over what went wrong.

Rather, let us shake off the dust, and walk clean, with our Lord and Master!

We celebrate today the Feast of a modern saint…
… an exemplary and prayerful priest: St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

He inspires us today to closely follow to Lord…
through the paths of prayer, penitence and penance.
… even if it means suffering and undergoing pain for Jesus’ sake…
… even when we find ourselves rejected and misunderstood

He would say, “In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.

Adore and bless it, especially in the things which are the hardest for you.
The more you are afflicted, the more you ought to rejoice…
… because in the fire of tribulation the soul will become pure gold, worthy to be placed and to shine in the heavenly palace.”

And also, “Even if the world were to capsize…
… if everything were to become dark, hazy, tumultuous…
…God would still be with us!

Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God!”

Let us seek the intercession of St Padre Pio, to follow God’s Will deeply and closely in our lives…
… and thus finds meaning even in failures and be able to cast off minor disappointments and setbacks!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let the world turn upside down, let everything be in darkness, in smoke, in uproar…

… God is with us!”

September 22, 2020 – 25th Week in Ordinary Time

“Making a choice, not simply for worldly desires; instead choosing the ‘Good Book’ of God’s Word and live it in our lives!”

(Based on Prov 21:1-6, 10-13 and Lk 8:19-21 – Tuesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

There was a wealthy old man, who on one of his birthdays invited his servants to his house, to receive gifts.

“Which will you have” he asked, addressing the security guard, “the Bible or the two thousand-rupee note?”

“I would have taken the Bible, but I cannot read, so I think the money will do me more good” came the reply.

“And you?”, he asked the gardener.

“My poor wife is so ill that I sadly need the money,” responded the gardener.

“You can surely read”, said the old man to the cook, “Will you have the Bible?”

“I can read, Sir” she replied, “but I never get the time. Moreover, the money will fetch me a fine dress”

Finally to the table-boy, the master said, “My boy, will you take this money and replace your old clothes with a new pair of fine dress?”

“Thank you Sir” said the young boy, “but my mother used to read to me the Bible when I was small, at home. I still have good memories of that, and therefore would like to have that Good Book, please.. “

“God bless you, my boy!” said the old man, “and may your wise choice bring you more riches and blessings”

As the boy received the Bible, and unclasped its covers, a bright gold piece rolled to the floor.

Quickly turning its pages, he found them thickly interleaved with bank notes!

The other servants, discovering the mistake of their worldly desires, hastily departed, in sadness!

The one who makes a choice to live by the Word of God, receives blessings galore – spiritual and material.
… Spiritually, with gifts and graces to love the Lord more and live a life in deeper union with Him
.. Materially, with a grace to be satisfied with the needs of life and trusting on the Providence of God

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus exhorting to make a choice for God’s Word in one’s life…
… and to tune one’s conduct in accord with the Will of God, in order to be graced and blessed by Him.

One of the primary focus of Jesus, in His teachings as well in His life, was to shift the focus from the mere peripherals of life…

Often times, we are deeply prejudiced, limited, caught-up, with the external factors of life.

We are unable to transcend just material dimensions…

This applies to any of the aspects in life…

We get stuck with our own customs, cultures, languages, races, castes etc, and fail to move beyond them…
… and see the possibilities of cherishing and nurturing these differences

We remain fixated in our own mentalities, conditioned set-ups and set patterns of lifestyles…
… and fail to recognize that life can be greatly celebrated by valuing others opinions and adopting a lifestyle in tune with God’s Will

This principle Jesus also applies to his own material and physical relationships.

He defines a new understanding of familial relationship and bonding: A relationship based on those who “hear God’s Word and do It” (Lk 8: 21)

What a wonderful invitation this is, isn’t it?

Jesus says, that we can be part of His family.. be His own…

This is a lovely invitation extended to each of us…

Shall we not welcome this invitation with glad hearts and follow the exhortation of the Lord – to Hear His Word and to Live It?”

The book of Proverbs reminds us: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice!” (Prov 21:2-3)

May we be graced to move beyond the peripherals of life and focus our attention and live our lives towards the higher and important demands of life.

The Lord’s assurance is with us, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6: 33)

May we make a choice, not simply for worldly desires…
… instead choose the “Good Book” of God’s Word and live it in our lives.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “While we are busy and anxious to find

out what is the better, we unprofitably let slip the time for doing many good things!”