REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 17, 2021: Monday

“Not being discouraged by the problems of life; instead, considering them as golden opportunities to grow much deeper and stronger in the Love of the Lord, knowing that ‘strength of any kind grows only by exertion!’”

(Based on Acts 19:1-8 and Jn 16:29-33 – Monday of the 7th Week in Eastertide)

Space scientists in the 1960’s and 70’s made several efforts to help astronauts (cosmonauts) to have a safer and healthier stay in space.

The major hurdle to this was the fact that no matter how well prepared physically the cosmonauts or astronauts for the trip…
… even a short stay in space had a massive negative influence on their health.

Weightlessness (antigravity) and lack of movement (hypokinesia) caused immediate retardation of the whole body of the space traveller…
… muscles, bones, peripheral and central nervous systems degenerated within several hours to a large extent.

Upon return to Earth, the astronauts had to readjust to Earth’s gravity and experienced problems standing up, stabilizing their gaze, walking and turning.

They needed a long-term intensive rehabilitation to get back in shape.

To counteract this, a running suit laced with elastic bands was utilized.

The function of this elastic band, was to resist every move that the cosmonaut would make.

This resistance would force them to exert extra strength.

This worked!

When they had resistance, their muscles were stronger and it prepared them for recovery back into the earth’s atmosphere.

The greater pressure they exerted, the stronger was their physique and faster did it help them to get back to normalcy faster.

How true is this of our life as well!

The easier our life, the greater is the possibility of our spiritual fibre being weak…

The comfortable our living, the higher are the chances of being lax and lethargic…

Strength of any kind grows, only by exertion!

And therefore, the Gospel of the Day will present Jesus encouraging and motivating His disciples and we, His followers to be firm and strong, even in the midst of any sort of persecution or problems.

Jesus will tell, “In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16: 33)

The Lord in His final discourses to the Disciples constantly gives the message of Hope and Encouragement.

Jesus is a not a leader who shies away from presenting the truth.

Jesus is not a Master who hides the real facts of following Him.

He plainly tells them that His going away from the world will result in a number of persecutions.

He predicts that His chosen ones would desert Him in His time of agony and suffering: “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to His own home and you will leave me alone.” (Jn 16: 32)

Yet, He assures His followers, that He will still remain with them and strengthen them.
He is bold to tell them, “… Take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16: 33b)

Our life is also beset with many problems, afflictions and difficulties.

Sometimes, we do ask ourselves, “Why do I face so many problems?”
Sometimes, we do feel, “Why such immense pains in our life?”
Sometimes, we do question, “Why is life so unfair to me?”

But the Lord tells us, that we ought not to get discouraged or disheartened.

We need to realize, that such hardships and problems, keep us oriented towards seeking the help of God.

When difficulties creep in life, our face is set more towards the Lord.
… But when life goes on too smoothly, there are chances that tend to relax our relation with Him

When problems surface and surmount, our minds are attuned more towards seeking the Lord
… But when life is too cozy and comfortable, there are possibilities of being too casual in prayer life

When hardships bite us hard, our hearts long deeper for the presence and providence of God
… But when life goes on a smooth sailing, there are prospects that we tend to forget the important role of the Lord in life

Adversities in life act as elastic bands that cosmonauts or astronauts use…
…. They function in a way, to resist our every good action and aspiration…

But resistance ought to make us exert greater effort and have a stronger dependence on the Lord!

Greater the adversities, the stronger ought to be our dependence and trust in the Lord.

Strength of any kind grows only by exertion!

St Paul is a beautiful example of a person who never got discouraged by the troubles of life.

After having prayed for the gift of the Holy Spirit on the believers at Ephesus, who had never even heard about the Holy Spirit… (Acts 19:1-7)
… St Paul went on to preach and boldly proclaim about the Kingdom, in the synagogues: “And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8)

May we not get discouraged by the problems of life…
… instead, consider them as golden opportunities and graces to grow much deeper and stronger in the Love of the Lord!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
MAN’S FIRST SIN

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of.
All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good.
Created in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.”
Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image – that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.
The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.
Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay”.
Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will “return to the ground”, for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history!
After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man’s history:

What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creature (Cf. CCC # 397-401)

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