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!

May 27, 2020 – 7th Week of Easter

“Seeking to be pure and unsullied – in holiness and sanctity – and thus, reflecting the Light of Christ!”

(Based on Acts 20:28-38 and Jn 17:11-19)

The Question-Answer column of a particular youth magazine, once had a query as follows:
“I’m puzzled about life, and I wonder if you could help me?
Am I different from everyone else of my age?

Or do they wear false masks as I do?

I go to parties and dances and act as if I were enjoying myself like everyone else I know.

But I am not enjoying myself at all!

I always feel that there is something missing, and I don’t know what it is. . .
Behind the laughing and the fun, I think I look at life just a bit more seriously than most I know.

I see more in life than just having a good time.

Do you think this is wrong at the age of twenty?

In a few years will I see things differently?

Or should I take off the false face now, and act the way I feel?”

The expressions of this young man, faced with a dilemma in life, resonates with the thoughts of many people in the world…
… including perhaps, ours…

We get a feel that there is certainly “more” to life…
… than just the peripherals that I daily engross myself in…

We get an impression that there certainly is something “higher” in life…
… than just being limited to the external comforts of life…

An answer to this vital dilemma of our life is given expression by the Lord in today’s Gospel: We live in the world, but we do not belong to the world!

Jesus prays to the Father: “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them safe from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17: 16)

The call of a Christian is to live as a people “set apart” for Christ.

The Lord wishes, desires, wants and makes it a must that the one who follows Him, must seek to follow Him fully, wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

But the Lord was also very much aware that this His desire for a people “totally set apart” would face a lot of challenges and crisis from the Evil One.
He knew that His followers would struggle much in living a pure life in the midst of many impurity, uncleanness and contamination.
He knew that His followers would find it hard to preserve holiness in the hub of wicked temptations, ensnaring enticements and luring persuasions

St Paul warns the Church at Ephesus to be aware of the many dangers that may allure them in the world…
… and to remain focussed and alert

“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the church of the Lord which He obtained with His own Blood.
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be alert…” (Acts 20:28-31)

We often find ourselves lost in this strange maze of the world….

We immerse ourselves too much in worldly activities and works….
… But, somehow at the end of the day, when lying down on our beds, we, perhaps, feel ourselves lost and not having a true sense of satisfaction!

We plunge ourselves to enjoy a lot of worldly pleasures, comforts and luxuries…
… But, somehow, after having been sort of saturated with those externals, we, perhaps, find ourselves still unhappy or experiencing a void!

We engage ourselves in an excess use of the social media, networking sites, chatting applications and remain attached constantly to modern communication gadgets…
… But, somehow, though we are in contact with many people, we, perhaps, realize that there is a grave presence of loneliness and not having genuine relationships of love and true care!

And therefore, Jesus, the ever-practical, sensible and realistic Master…
… Firstly, prays for His followers for strength and courage: “I pray for them…. Holy Father, keep them in Your name… “(Jn 17: 9a, 11b)
… Secondly, reminds His followers on the need to set their hearts on Him because they belong not to the world: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17: 16)

This then ought to be our strength and hope, as we seek to live a Holy Christian Life in this world, often corrupted by sin and transgressions.

  1. Knowing that Jesus has prayed for us….

In His prayer, we can find hope and blessings
In His prayer, we can find encouragement and support

  1. Setting our heart entirely on the Lord and not being totally attached to the aspects of the world

In His Love, we find meaning in our relationships
In His Presence, we ought to engage all our activities

Light passes through pollution, but doesn’t get contaminated!

Every Christian, a reflection of the Light of Christ, ought to be such…
… focused on the Lord, seeking to be pure and unsullied, in holiness and sanctity.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God indeed loves those souls who are tossed about by the storms and waves of the world…
… provided they receive their travails from His Hand

And, like mighty warriors, endeavour to remain faithful amid the fray!”

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

REFLECT:
We recite in the Nicene Creed: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, THE GIVER OF LIFE…”

The Holy Spirit gives life – both natural and spiritual.

The “Spirit of God hovered over the waters” at beginning of creation (Gen 1:3)
The Spirit of God “overshadowed Mother Mary” to mark the beginning of the New Creation, in Christ (Lk 1: 35)
The Spirit of God mightily descended on the first disciples in the Upper Room (Acts 2) and was constantly the life-giver in all the endeavors of the Church’s mission

It is the Holy Spirit who “gives life”…
… He is the life-breath and is the agent of “renewal and regeneration” through the Sacrament of Baptism
… He is the One Who “gives life to the dead bones” (Ezek 37: 1ff) of our lost hopes, broken dreams and uncertain aspirations
… He is the One who initiates us constantly to “live a life in Christ” (Gal 2: 2) and become imitators of Christ in this world (1 Cor 11:1)

EXAMINE:
Can I learn to grow in my understanding of the Holy Spirit as “The Giver of Life”…?
…. Learn to acknowledge and give Him praise for the gift of life
… Learn to pray for a renewal of life, especially in our moments of weakness and in our times of despair, anxiety and uncertainty
… Learn to always be full of life and vibrancy in all our works, by being filled with the Holy Spirit

PRAYER:
Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, we pray that you give us the grace to understand and acknowledge Your Mighty Power in our life.

Empower us…

to depend on You completely, especially in our weaknesses and the fragile areas of our life
to come to You and find vigour, especially when life turns its harsh face towards us
to live a “life in Christ” and impart the love and mercy of God to all

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!

A Fervent Appeal for this Week

Can we try to Read the entire book of THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, this week…?
… as a Biblical Preparation for the Feast of the Pentecost?

The Acts of the Apostles – is popularly also known as “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit”

It’s just 28 Chapters!

28 Chapters describing the journey of the Gospel moving out of Jerusalem to Rome – from the centre of the world to the end of the earth; from the start to the periphery!
28 Chapters of excitement, thrill and courage – all guided by the Mighty Power of the Holy Spirit!
28 Chapters recounting the impressive story of ordinary people being transformed by the Holy Spirit, to become bold and faithful Disciples of the Kingdom!
28 Chapters to inspire us to live a Life in the Holy Spirit – being sanctified, guided and strengthened by His Holy Presence!

You are invited specially this week – to thirst for the Powerful Movement of the Holy Spirit in your life!
… Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you
… Allow the Holy Spirit to be your guiding friend
… Allow the Holy Spirit to help you become a holy person

Shall we read The Acts of the Apostles, this week, and prepare more meaningfully for a renewed Pentecost in our life… ?

I pray for you. God bless!

May 26, 2020 – 7th Week of Easter

“Having close intimacy with our Father by growing in our life of prayer!”

(Based on Acts 20:17-27 and Jn 17:1-11)

The earthly life and ministry of Jesus is presented in the Bible mainly through the Four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.

Of these, Mathew, Mark and Luke are termed as the Synoptic Gospels (synoptic meaning ‘same view’) because they have a common view.

The Gospel of John reflects a Christian tradition that is different from that of the other Gospel.
It differs significantly from the synoptic gospels in theme, content, time duration, order of events, and style.

One important distinction that is seen between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John is that, while some events are very clearly and narratively described in the Synoptics, the elements of the same are found in the Gospel of John, either figuratively or in more detail.

One such event is the Temptations.

The temptations of Jesus find a clear mention in the three Synoptic Gospels as a one-time event.
But the Gospel of John would present the same temptations, not as a one-time affair, but spread through the life and ministry of Jesus.

Another event we see is the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

The narrative of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist finds a specific mention in all the three Synoptic Gospels, at the time of the Last Supper
The Gospel of John presents a very long teaching on the Holy Eucharist (Jn 6) and clearly presents the implications and consequences of being a Eucharist through the washing of the feet and His explicit commandment of love (Jn 12)

Another event or incident that finds a mention in two of the Synoptic Gospels is the Lord’s Prayer – the Our Father.

But it doesn’t appear as one-block of prayer in the Gospel of John.

However, the Gospel of John also presents a very extensive teaching and displays a method of prayer.

The Gospel of the Day is this beautiful expression of Jesus praying in the Gospel of John and presents to us elements which need to become part of our own prayer life.

The Seventeenth Chapter of the Gospel of John is traditionally called as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus.

The Gospel passage of the day (Jn 17: 1-11) presents a few basics and essentials of prayer:

  1. Jesus prays for the glory of the Divine

Every prayer ought to be an expression of praise, worship and exaltation of the Holy Name of God.

Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to Your Son, so that your Son may glorify You!” (Jn 17: 1)

The lips of the Lord moved in praise of His Father and seeking the glory that was due to Him.

Is my prayer an expression of my desire to ‘lift up the name of the Lord on high?”

Or does my prayer degenerate into merely asking for things and wanting to focus the attention on me, than the Divine?

  1. Jesus prays for the gift of eternal life for His people

Every prayer ought to have its intention aimed towards eternity!

Jesus prayed, “… just as You gave Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all You gave Him” (Jn 17: 2)

The purpose of the Lord was clearly focussed on eternal goodness and everlasting benefits.

Is my prayer an articulation of my longing for heaven and centred towards seeking the higher-things of life?

Or do I get limited in my prayer with merely earthly and transitory things of life; not that they are unimportant, but whether they snatch away our minds from the true needs and requirements of life?

  1. Jesus prays with an expression of His intimacy with God and His People

Every prayer ought to be a manifestation of my unity with the Lord and the people to whom I am connected.

Jesus prayed, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you and you gave them to me… ” (Jn 17: 6)

The prayer of the Lord showed that He was in intimacy with the Father and was in close union with the people in His life

Is my prayer a sign of my close friendship with the Lord as well my close binding with the many people in my life?

Or am I failing in my prayer due to a breakage of relation with the Lord due to sin, and suffering from disturbance of mind due to damaged and hateful links with the people in my life?

  1. Jesus prays for the unity of the people and safety from the evil

Every prayer ought to make me closer to the Lord and His people and cause to me stay further away from the evil.

Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one” (Jn 17: 11b)

The heart of the Lord moved to seek to protect the people He loved and also grow in greater intimacy

Is my prayer constantly drawing me to purge away sins from my life, so that I can remain in His name, and also make me assist His people in service?

Or does my prayer life make no effect on me to stay away from the evil and fail to be expressed in loving actions of charity and help?

The Lord desires that just as He prayed, in close intimacy with His Father, we too may grow in our life of prayer and union with the Heavenly Father.

It’s this intimacy that will make us to offer our lives in total service to the Lord – not counting costs, or losing one’s comforts – just like St Paul who testified at Ephesus:
“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, not knowing what shall befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God!” (Acts 20:22-24)

May we be inspired by the “Humorous Saint” St Philip Neri, whose feast we celebrate and be encouraged by his words, to follow the Lord more closely and deeply:

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.”

“Nulla dies sine linea: Do not let a day pass without doing some good during it.”

“Give me ten truly detached persons. and I will convert the world with them.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer every day, except when we are busy…

… then we need an hour!”