Oct 10 (Lk 11:5-13)

Thud….thud………went the hammer… fifty seven hits over…

Thud…thud…again…

A small crack appears… a tiny opening observed…

And again bangs the hammer…one last time…the sixtieth time…..and…. finally…. its happened!

>> The rock has been finally split…into pieces!

The huge rock…

… had been cracked by the hammer.

The rock split into two at the 60th hit of the rock-cutter.

But, was it just the last bang of the hammer which cracked the rock?

>> Was is the last hit of the hammer which broke the rock into pieces?

No!

The hits that went before are also important!

Perseverance pays!

>> Determination delivers!

The Gospel of the Day presents before us the theme of Prayer with a special emphasis on perseverance and determination in prayer life.

Prayer is like hitting  a rock with a hammer!

If it is a really big rock ,we will hit is for quite some time to just get a small crack.

>> We have to keep hitting, for the crack to  become big enough to break the rock in pieces.

It we stop hitting, we may have stopped when the crack  is just about  to split open and break.

In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks of the aspect of persistence in prayer through a parable…

A parable of a friend who knocked at the door of his friend at an odd midnight hour…seeking for some help.

Prayer invariably points to the notion of Necessity and Dependence in our lives…

>> A necessity for various things…and a Dependence on God

>> A necessity of realising our limitations…and a Dependence on the power of God

>> A necessity of moving out of our capabilities…and a Dependence on the strength of God

>> A necessity of knowing all things not possible for me…and a Dependence on the grace of God

For a moment, let us get into the shoes of this friend who faced this need of an unexpected traveler in his house…and thus forced to seek for help…

This man received an unexpected guest…

>> Probably, it was the end of all the chores of his day..and as he was retiring to bed, this traveler came to his house.

His condition was so pitiable that he did not even some morsels of food to be given.

He had the good will…

… but did not have the resources to help.

>> He had the good intentions…

… but did not have the supplies to assist.

Very often, we ourselves land up into such situations…

Perhaps someone drops in for a coffee…and lays bare their problems…

> But we feel totally helpless how to help…

Perhaps we get a letter or a message…informing of some serious crisis…

> But we feel totally helpless how to help…

Perhaps our close ones undergo some pain…and life becomes hard…

> But we feel totally helpless how to help…

Perhaps we see many in absolute suffering…and our heart reaches out to them..

> But we feel totally helpless how to help…

We ask ourselves: “What can I do?”

There is a strange, sinking sensation… a sense of pressure, almost terror: “What shall I say?“

The best you can do is just hope for a quiet moment when you can rush to God, our Great Neighbour and cry out to him, “A friend has come, and I have nothing to set before him.“

This happens often, doesn’t it?

> It is out of such moments of deep necessity that true prayer is born.

> It is out of such moments of genuine dependence that true prayer is born.

But that does not mean, that God, our Great neighbour, is a sleeping fella who has to be awakened from his slumber or who has to forced to render us help. The point of the parable is that as a Person who is in necessity and who is dependent, ought to have a great level of patience &perseverance &determination.

>> In prayer, sometimes, we determine the way God should answer our requests.

>> In prayer, sometimes, we determine the time God should answer our requests.

>> In prayer, sometimes, we determine the limit God should answer our requests.

>> In prayer, sometimes, we determine the mode God should answer our requests.

But the Parable reminds us… We are only a person in necessity and dependant.

> The Great Neighbour, God…is also our loving Father.

> The Great Neighbour, God…is also the One who cares deeply for us.

> The Great Neighbour, God…is also Someone who wishes the best for us.

In Lk 11: 9, Jesus gives us the exciting verse, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

ASK…SEEK…KNOCK…all these three verbs indicate a continual process and a constant action.

“Keep on asking…keep on seeking…keep on knocking”.

The Lord is a Loving Father…

He does not demand perseverance because of some hard-heartedness..

>> Rather, He expects consistence and perseverance because of His deep and tender Love for us and wanting us to not get bogged down by mere material concerns…rather to SEEK HIM above all in prayer and to make HIM the greatest need of our lives!

The rock-cutter determinately and constantly knocks at the rock…and his efforts are rewarded.

Let us grow in this perseverance and determination in prayer.

“Provided that we don’t give up, the Lord will guide everything for our benefit…!

There is no other remedy for this evil of giving up prayer than to begin again!”

– St. Teresa of Avila.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We must unceasingly ask for perseverance…

… by making use of the means which God has taught us for obtaining it:

>> Prayer

>> Fasting

>> Almsgiving

>> Frequenting the sacraments

>> Association with good companions

>> And hearing and reading Holy Scripture.

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Oct 9 (Lk 11:1-4)

A certain person who was known to be a “person in hurry always”, was part of a prayer meeting.

One day, he was asked to make the prayer before the meeting.

Being known for being a “person in hurry always”, he made a short prayer – classic in brevity and beautiful in preciseness:

“Dear God, Let Your Will be done…

Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

Amen!”

Seeking to do the Will of God, at always times…

… and living according to It, is the key to our faithful Christian living.

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation towards this aspect through the prayer – The Our Father…

… with the key dimension of “forgiveness and pardon”.

The Eleventh Chapter of St Luke opens with a teaching on prayer.

This teaching begins with Jesus presenting the blueprint in praying- the beautiful prayer “The Our Father”.

The Lukan version of the Our Father has five petitions:

1. Hallowed be thy name

2. Thy Kingdom come

3. Give us today our daily bread

4. Forgive us our sins

5. Do not subject us to the final test

The fourth petition  – for forgiveness – is also accompanied with a clause – “…as we forgive”..

“…and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Lk 11: 4)

… forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us!

… forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us!

Well, does this mean God’s forgiveness is conditional?

It needs to be understood, that God , in His infinite mercy and goodness, has always the store of forgiveness, unconditionally opened for us!

But..

>> To receive this treasure of forgiveness, we need to first forgive others!

>> To receive this grace of pardon, we need to first pardon others!

It means that…

>> If we harbour a wrong against other…

>> If we continue to nurture hatred against other…

>> If we wilfully fail to extend absolution to the other…

>> If we adamantly keep having repulsion against the other…

                … then we are telling God to not forgive me either!

                …then we are telling God to not shower His blessing on me!

                …then we are telling God to withhold His unconditional mercy on me!

                ….then we are telling God to stop extending His unconditional compassion!

It is this aspect of “forgiveness” that becomes highly essential and conditional…

… in our desire to do the Will of the Father, at all times, and living a faithful Christian life.

The prayer – “Our Father” is indeed one of the most easily learnt and widely used prayers.

>> But this clause of the prayer, which is often overlooked, also makes this prayer dangerous!

>> This clause of the prayer, which is often not thought of, also makes this prayer challenging!

Let the prayer ‘Our Father’…

…  help us to make inroads into forgiving others!

…  make us to march forward into extending pardon to others!

With forgiveness and mercy in our hearts, may we seek to echo, at all times…

“Dear God, Let Your Will be done…

Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

Amen!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “True and solid devotion consists in the constant will, resolve, promptness and activeness…

… to execute what is pleasing to God!”

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Oct 8 (Lk 10:38-42)

Nine year old Bobby arrived late for the football match.

>> The game had already started.

The coach, obviously upset as Bobby was a key player, shouted at him: “Why are you so late?”

“I had to decide”, replied Bobby, ” Today is a Sunday. And I had to decide between going to Church and going for this football game”

“Then what did you do” asked the coach curiously

> > “I tossed a coin to decide” said Bobby.

“Tossed a coin?” asked the surprised coach, “But that shouldn’t have taken too long.”

“Hmmm…” continued Bobby, “Well… I had to toss the coin 35 times!”

(Little Bobby kept on tossing the coin…till he got what he wanted – i.e. to go for the football match!!)

How often are we too like Li’l Bobby, when it comes to making choices and priorities, especially in our spiritual life…

We get confused in choosing the correct choices

>> We get puzzled in preferring the proper priorities

We sometimes even seek to justify our choices and argue to validate our priorities

>> We insist on having our way… mould situations to suit our needs!

>> As a result, we often end up….

… in complaining and cribbing

… in back biting and bickering

… in criticism and calumny

The Gospel of the Day is a lesson in making the proper priorities and the correct choices in life.

We have the familiar incident of Jesus as a guest in the house of Martha and Mary.

Jesus came to a village and was welcomed in the house of Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38)

Martha demonstrated great hospitality by welcoming Jesus into the home (Lk 10: 40)

>> She got busy with the tasks of serving their honoured Guest.

Mary, on the other side, displayed great devotion and love, by sitting at the feet of Jesus (Lk 10: 39)

>> She got immersed in spending time, with the revered Rabbi.

The character of Martha is vividly seen in this incident

Here is a lady…

… hospitable and welcoming

… engaging in works to make the stay of her Guest comfortable

… ready to struggle and do whatever she can, to bring happiness to the Other

Many of us could probably identify ourselves with Martha.

>> We are willing to let go of our self so that others may enjoy and feel contented

>> We engage ourselves into works so that the life of our loved ones are taken care

>> We are ready to struggle and do whatever we can, to bring joy and comfort to others

But despite doing all these hard works, like Martha, we often end up on the wrong side

When Martha complained to Jesus, ” Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?” (Lk 10: 40)

… she was expressing her feelings of being over burdened

… she was giving vent to her emotions of not being acknowledged

But Jesus calms her, and chides her mildly, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things…” (Lk 10: 41)

Something interesting is to be noted here…. “Martha, Martha!”

>> A double calling of the name!

The Scripture records only very few instances when such an occurrence took place – the name being called twice…

>> Abraham: (Gen 22:11): “But the angel of the Lord called to him out of heaven: ‘Abraham, Abraham.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.'”

>> Jacob (Gen 46:2): “In a vision at night God called to Israel, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.'”

>> Moses (Ex 3:4): “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to see, God called him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.'”

>> Samuel (1 Sam 3:10): “The Lord came and stood and spoke as at the other times: ‘Samuel, Samuel.’ and Samuel said, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.'”

>> Simon Peter (Lk 22:31) “Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail.

>> Saul (Acts 9:4) “Falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”

We also find another important instance: Jesus calling on God (Mt 27:46): “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani  – My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

What does the twice calling of the name in the Bible refer to?

1. Repeating a person’s name was a Hebrew expression of intimacy

2. In all the instances of the name being called twice, a major event/occasion/teaching was being referred to

Taking a cue from this…

…When Jesus calls “Martha, Martha” – the name being called twice:

>> Jesus is expressing a filial tenderness and love for Martha

>> Jesus is also referring to an important teaching:  “Giving importance to Jesus above all”

To each of us then, who find ourselves, struggling and complaining like Martha…

>> The Lord calls our name – “probably twice ” – and tells us:

“With much tenderness and love, I invite you my child, to give heed to an important teaching:

… Give priority to ME above all!”

Like Martha, maybe we are often distracted

Perhaps…

>>> We tell the Lord that we wish to follow Him wholeheartedly…

… but are sometimes unwilling to let go of our sinful behaviours

>> We promise God that we would spend more time in prayer…

… but often excuses like lack of time prevent us from fulfilling our promises

>> We resolve that we will let go our sinful habits and tendencies…

… but often we cling on to those pleasures and fail to be more determined in rooting them out

Today, let us give heed to this invitation of the Lord: “To give priority to HIM above all!”

Surely, all of us do have…

… our own works and responsibilities

… our own cares and concerns of life

… our own distractions and troubles

But in the midst of all this…. beyond all these aspects: Let us give priority to the Lord!

>> Let His presence reign…in our work and responsibilities

>> Let His Providence be trusted… in our cares and concerns of life

>> Let His Power prevail… in our distractions and troubles

Let the incident of Martha and Mary inspire us, to make personal resolutions…

… of daily spending time with the Lord in personal prayer

… of daily reading the Word of God and listening to His Voice

… of daily making an examination of conscience and amending our lives

The Lord loves us much….

… let us love Him too

… let Him reign over our homes and our lives

… let us give Him full attention as The Guest of our hearts

Situations in life will often put to us dilemma in making a choice…in picking out our priorities

>> “Let us always give priority to the Lord”!

Are we going to toss a coin for this?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not think that you will be able to succeed in your affairs by your own efforts…

… but only by the assistance of God.

>> And on setting out, consign yourself to His care…

… believing that He will do that which will be best for you!”

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Oct 7 (Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary)

A museum is an institution that cares for and conserves a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance…

… and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary.

A museum…

… brings alive the past to the present and becomes a inspiration for the future!

… showcases the heritage and history and awakens many emotions and feelings!

A regular visit to a museum can be an enriching, informative and an encouraging experience.

>> A regular visit to a Christian Museum can be a still further enriching, nourishing and fulfilling experience for our material and our spiritual life!

Most of us have a very ready access to one of the best Christian Museums…

Most of us have a very regular opportunity to visit one of the finest Christian Museums…

Most of us have a very repeated chance to frequent one of the premium Christian Museums…

What is the Christian museum we are talking about?

>> It is the ROSARY.

The Rosary is the Christian museum…

… which  brings alive the past of the salvation history, to the present and becomes a inspiration for the future!

… which showcases the heritage and history of our faith and awakens many emotions and feelings!

Today Holy Mother the Church celebrates the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

This Feast of our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in the year 1570.

>> It was a sign of thanksgiving for a great naval victory over the Turks at the battle of Lepanto, obtained primarily by the recitation of the Rosary.

The Feast reminds us that that the Rosary is a Powerful Weapon.

The Rosary is a Powerful Weapon of victory and conquest.

>> In our struggle with the forces of sin and evil tendencies…

… the Rosary is the weapon of devotion.

>> In our battle with the forces of discouragements in life…

… the Rosary is the weapon of hope and courage.

>> In our war with the terrors of temptations to purity…

… the Rosary is the weapon of holiness and sanctity.

The Rosary is a beautiful presentation of the Life of Jesus, through the eyes of our Blessed Mother.

>> It is a wonderful way of learning the lessons of our faith and recollecting the beauty of our salvation.

The celebration of this Feast day and the whole month of October as the Rosary Month induces in us some aspects for our personal reflection and thought…

The mysteries contained and celebrated in the Rosary refer to the mysteries in the lives of Jesus and Mary.

>> Have I discovered the beauty and the joy of contemplating with Mother Mary on the life of Jesus through the Rosary?

The Rosary is a repetitive vocal prayer and involves one’s movements of the hands, lips and heart in its exercise.

>> What care and preparation do I take to allow the Rosary to be recited with a greater involvement and a deeper participation?

The Rosary is very often considered by many as a sleep-inducer or even a boring practice

>> Do I deliberately make efforts to check what is the time and the state of mind when I am praying the Rosary?

There are times, perhaps, when we fail to be interested in praying the Rosary.

>> Am I knowingly and unknowingly falling into the trap of making the Rosary as a mere routine or a ritual?

The Feast today invites us to re-awaken or re-start or re-invigorate our interest and commitment to Praying the Holy Rosary…

… daily!

The word Rosary means a “Crown of Roses”.

Our Lady has revealed to several people that each time one says a Hail Mary, one is giving her a beautiful rose and that completion of each Rosary, makes her a beautiful crown of roses.

>> The rose is the queen of flowers, and so the Rosary is the rose of all devotions.

Like the exhibits in a museum, each mystery of the Rosary reveals much…

>> Each Mystery that we meditate upon, is a miniature theology of the mysteries of the life of

Jesus and the life of Mary, offered with a view to feeding the minds and the heart.

The awesome story of our salvation is encapsulated in the Holy Rosary.

>> The Rosary is the nutshell of our salvation history.

Let us truly pray the Rosary and live the mysteries of the Rosary in our everyday life.

The saying goes true…”No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary”

Happy Feast of the Holy Rosary!

God Bless! Live Jesus! 

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The greatest method of praying…

… is to pray the Rosary!”

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Oct 6 (Lk 17:5-10)

It was the time of World War II.

There was an urgency for England to increase its coal production.

The Prime Minister, Winston Churchill exhorted the labour leaders to extend their support towards this requirement.

At the end of his exhortation, he asked them to visualize (picture in their mind)…

… a victory parade that would be held at the end of the war.

He said that, first in the parade would come…

>>The sailors…who had managed the tensions at sea, with great courage.

>> Next would come the soldiers… who had proven their mettle by their bravery.

>> Then would come the pilots… who had displayed immense aerial skills.

All of these would be welcomed and acknowledged with great cheer and applause.

Last of all, would come along, the long line of…

… sweat-soaked and soot-smeared men in their miner’s caps.

Seeing them, someone from the crowd would ask, “Hey! Where were all of you, during the tense days of our struggle?”

And from the hoarse ten thousands of throats would come the answer: “We were deep in the earth, with our faces to the coal!”

The sailors, the soldiers and the pilots had glamour and glory attached to their work…

… but the miners, working deep in the coal mines, were always hidden and away from the limelight.

>> But very often, it is the work of such people who have their “faces to the coal”…

… which become the foundation and support in accomplishments of mission!

As Christians, are we willing to be the people who have our “faces to the coal”…

… in accomplishing the mission of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel of the day, is this invitation to have our “faces to the coal”…

… by becoming “servants” in the service of the Kingdom!

Servanthood is an important dimension in being a follower of Jesus Christ.

The Lord narrates the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant.

In this parable, Jesus tells about a servant who works all day long out in the field, or out taking care of the flock.

>> And after he works all day long, he comes into the house…

Is he expected to sit down and rest and eat his own meal? No

>> Rather, he is required to serve his master by providing him the meal first.

And after doing all that work – all day long – there’s no word of thanks, no gratitude.

Jesus closes out this parable by saying that the servant was unprofitable because he only did what he was told to do.

Is it something practical?

>> Is it something easy?

Our modern-day psychology would speak of the concept of a “positive stroke” that is to be given to those working or those who undertake some labour.

It’s important that…

>> employers in a company

>> servants in a house

>> workers in a firm or factory

… are given a “positive stroke”…

>> by appreciating their good works

>> by encouraging with good words and a cheerful countenance

>> by acknowledging their worth and constantly boosting their confidence level

But the Gospel of the Day seems to be demanding much more from a Servant…

A servant…

… who works whole day long ploughing in the field or tending the sheep…

… who delays his needs and instead prepares and serves meals for his master…

… who after all his works, doesn’t expect words of gratitude…

The Parable is surely a tough one!

But, the One who preached this Parable is not a mere preacher, but is the One Who practised!

Jesus, the one who preached this Parable, practised perfectly, this life of being a servant.

>> He is the Servant, Who works in the field ploughing…

…sowing the seed of the Word of God, ploughing the Gospel in the hearts of people and toiling in the hot sun of oppositions and mockery

>> He is the Servant, Who tends the sheep in the field…

…providing pasture for His people, protecting them from the wolves of the evil and going after any of the sheep which are lost in the wilderness

>> He is the Servant, who prepares a meal and serves at table…

…nourishing those at table with His own body, strengthening them with His own blood and constantly reinforcing in the journey of life

How are we to be such a Servant of the Lord?

1. Having a mind of being a Servant of God:

The world of a servant centres not around himself, but around the Master.

>> Whatever pleases the Master, the servant does.

If we truly acknowledge God as our Master, then we too…

…will do the works which please Him

…will think and seek to do His Will

…will speak the words which are worthy of His grace

2. Being committed in this task of being His servant

The world of a servant centres around total availability and openness to the needs of the Master.

>> Whatever is the Will of the Master, the servant is docile and alert.

If we truly accept God as our Master, then we too…

…will give ourselves to Him totally at all times

…will place His priorities over ours

…will avoid anything that blocks my complete service of Him

The Call is to be a Servant…who is dedicated and selfless.

>> Jesus is our model and example in being a Servant.

It’s a demand placed on us.

In working for the Kingdom of God, there are different roles which have glamour and glory attached to their work…

… but we always need to be willing to be like the ‘miners’ – working deep in the mines – hidden and away from the limelight.

It is the work of such people who have their “faces to the coal”…

… which become the foundation and support in accomplishments of mission!

As Christians, let us be willing to be the people who have our “faces to the coal”…

… in accomplishing the mission of the Kingdom of God.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The King of Glory doesn’t reward His servants according to the dignity of their office…

…. but according to the humility and love with which they have exercised it!”

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Oct 5 ( Lk 10:17-24)

It was a one-day convention on inner-healing.

The people who were participating were given helium-filled balloons, and told to release them, at some point during the prayer service, when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts.   

>> Through the day, there were some balloons that ascended.

But by the end of the day, it was found that more than forty percent of the balloons were unreleased.

The reason: Those people were unable to let go off their inner bitterness and sorrows.

What about us…

… Are we in a position to let go of our balloons, in order to witness our joy in the Lord?

The Gospel of the Day invites us to reflect on the theme of “Joy in the Lord”…

… with two instances of rejoicing:

>> The Disciples rejoicing after their successful mission experience

>> Jesus rejoicing in the Holy Spirit and thanking His Father for His Infinite Wisdom

One of the essential hallmarks of a Christian is a ‘Life of Joy’.

This was the experience of the Disciples, when they returned back from the mission.

>> They had enjoyed success in their ministry…

>> They had a sense of satisfaction in the works that they had done…

They realized that it was the Power of the Lord that enabled them to taste success and relish triumph.

So they rejoiced greatly, saying: “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of Your Name” (Lk 10: 17)

Do we also rejoice, by seeing the hand of the Lord in the success and achievements of our lives….?

… knowing that whatever we achieve, is ultimately not just due to our hard-work and efforts; rather, was the result of our co-operation to the grace of God!

… recognizing that all our talents and opportunities are gifted by God to exhibit His Glory and Honour!

Our Blessed Lord, however also tells the Disciples to go beyond the peripheral joys and happiness in life; instead to rejoice in the Spirit.

St Luke would testify this in the words: “At that very moment, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…'” (Lk 10: 21)

This then is what we too are expected to imitate from the Lord: Rejoicing in the Spirit.

St Paul would beautifully explicate this, when he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4: 4)

Our life is to be an inspiring exhibition of the Joy in the Lord and Rejoicing in the Spirit.

Do we radiate joy…

… in our encounter with one another, and spread the cheer of life?

… even in the midst of hardships, knowing that we have a God who is deeply caring for us?

… thanking the Lord for His blessing, above all, for the gift of Himself in the Word and the Sacraments?

There is, without doubt, many reasons for us to be grumpy, to complain and to feel resentment in life.

But can we allow the Power of the Lord to enamour us, and realise that beyond all these, we have a reason to celebrate and to rejoice…

… knowing that ‘God is with us’, to ensure success in our journey of life, with our wholehearted co-operation

… knowing that God is the greatest reason to be happy and the treasure of life Who deserves every glory.

Can we let go our ‘balloons of sorrow and worry’ in order to display Christian joy and happiness in life?

Today let us seek the special intercession of St Maria Faustina- the Great Saint of Mercy – on her Feast Day.

Let us give heed to the words of our Blessed and Merciful Lord, as mentioned in her Diary:

>> “God never violates our free will.

>> It is up to us whether we want to receive God’s grace or not.

>> It is up to us whether we will co-operate with it or waste it”

May we always make the proper and responsible use of our freedom, and thus experience the Joy promised by the Lord in the diary of St Faustina…

>> “… when you are obedient I take away your weakness and replace it with My strength.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “If fear takes hold of you, cry out strongly, ‘O Lord, save me!’

>> He will hold out a hand to you.

>> Hold on tight…

… and go forward with joy!”

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Oct 4 (Lk 10:13-16)

God is the Great Gift Giver!

>> He loves to lavish gifts on his creation…and especially on Human Beings, the Crown of His Creation!

Among the gifts that He has showered, one of the greatest gifts is..the Gift of Freedom!

God has bestowed this precious treasure of Freedom to each and every human being.

>> God regards the worth and value of this gift.

>> God respects our yes or no, to this gift!

The Gospel of the day presents to us a classic example of Freedom being lavished, but sadly being squandered away.

>> The towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were given the freedom and the choice to become part of the Kingdom of God…

… but they chose to reject and refused the Saving Message.

The Gift of Freedom is a double-edge entity:

The gift of freedom can be used….to obtain life!

>> The gift of freedom can be misused…to obtain death!

The gift of freedom can be abused well…to receive curses!

>> The gift of freedom can be utilized well…to receive blessings!

The gift of freedom can be exploited destructively…to acquire sadness!

>> The gift of freedom can be employed constructively…to acquire happiness!

The triple cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum failed to use, utilize and employ constructively their freedom…

… rather, they misused, abused and exploited destructively their opportunity to find peace and salvation.

And Jesus has harsh words reserved for such kind of an attitude – “WOE TO YOU!“

The word “woe” in Greek is “oh-hoo-aai” or “ouvai”!

The figure of speech is onomatopoeia – it means what it sounds like.

>> It is a word of pain!

>> It is the sound someone makes when they are hurt or are grieved.

When the Lord proclaims a WOE over these cities, there’s a great deal of anguish amplified with a sense of pain.

>> The Lord was pained that these cities received wonderful opportunity to hear God’s saving message…

… but failed to turn to God in repentance.

>> The Lord was pained that these cities received great chances to see God’s miraculous deeds and wonders…

… but failed to turn to God in penance.

>> The Lord was pained that these cities received exclusive occasions to receive God’s salvific graces…

… but failed to turn to God in humility.

The Lord today challenges us to make an examination of our lives:

God lavishes many graces on me through regular chances to hear God’s word through the Bible, retreats, recollections, talks, spiritual magazines etc…

>> Am I using these chances to grow in my spiritual life?

… or am I wasting away many of such chances?

Is freedom used?

>> Or misused?

God showers many opportunities for me to avoid sin…

…. by giving me inspiring and holy thoughts

… by a constant urging to be good through my parents, superiors, family and community members and other people in my life…

>> Am I using these opportunities to foster my holiness?

… or am I frittering away much of such opportunities?

Is freedom used…?

… or misused?      

God bestows many occasions to become a powerful witness to His love and His Gospel through different means like…

… preaching the Word

… celebrating or participating in the Eucharist and in the other Sacraments

… helping others in their needs and difficulties, praying for various people

… living a integral life in the society based on the Gospel values etc.

>> Am I using these occasions to strengthen my Christian life?

… or am I throwing away many of such occasions?

Is freedom used…?

… or Misused?

The example of the three cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum is before us and the condemnation of Jesus, because of their lackluster response is also before us.

>> Freedom is the great gift of God…

… and God totally respects the use or the misuse of this precious gift.

Are we going to use this Gift to gain life, blessings and happiness…?

… or are we going to misuse this Gift to receive death, curses and sadness?

Today we celebrate the Feast day of a peaceful and powerful saint – St Francis of Assisi…

… who is a beautiful example of a person who fruitfully and faithfully used the freedom that was bestowed on him!

St Francis of Assisi probably is one of the most popular saints in the entire world.

>> The name of this saint invokes so many pictures and words to our minds –  nature, animals, poverty, renunciation, cross, stigmata, surrender, trust, another Christ, etc.

On this First Friday of the month, let us seek the Intercession of this Wonderful Saint in being an instrument of joy and peace, praying:

“Make me, Lord, a channel of your peace…”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We have freedom to do good or evil; yet to make choice of evil, is not to use…

… but to abuse our freedom!”

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