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May 25th, 2014

Beware Of The Bad Results Of Repetition

Beware of the bad results of repetition

All of us do pray. We have many standard prayers like the Lord’s Prayer and the Rosary. Most of us also go to Church everyday or on Sundays to attend the Holy Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist. Have you ever thought that the repetitive nature of these have made us look at these or do these in a more casual way, without giving the utmost reverence to these which they rightfully deserve?. Consider the following 3 areas where we should never allow repetition to reduce their immense importance.

1. The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer, our central prayer, the prayer taught by Jesus Christ, the prayer which is said most number of times by any Christian in his life. There is no doubt that all of us know this prayer by heart. But I really doubt that each time we utter this prayer, are we focusing on the real meaning of the words said here? Or are we just doing vain repetitions with our mouth with ten other things in our mind?

Human mind is weak by itself and its restless. Even while praying, it can ponder away across many topics making the prayer just a vain repetition. But my friends, even that vain repetition has some value as you are repeating the words spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ. But just imagine how much more value, more meaning, you can add to your prayers if you really sink in to what your mouth is uttering?

When you say ‘our Father in Heaven’ do also remember that you are calling our God as your almighty father who reigns in Heaven. When you say ‘hallowed be your name’, please really wish for that. Please wish that HIS name will be honored all over the world. When you say ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.’, you are proclaiming that you are waiting for HIS kingdom and HIS will on earth, just as it’s in heaven.

‘Give us this day our daily bread’ is asking him just for today’s meal as you are not concerned what will happen tomorrow or day after. You are sure that the immense mercy and protection and love of our GOD will protect you and your family in the days to come too. ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ is a huge one. It should really make us think about those who had hurt us but to whom we are yet to forgive. Just like the parable, the master will forgive our sins according to the scale of our forgiveness level. ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ is a humble request to the LORD to keep us away from all those evil eyes and instances of sin and to protect our souls from darkness. We should ask LORD to wash each of our senses in HIS holy blood from the Cross so that no impurity enter us through them.

2. Rosary (Hail Mary)

This prayer also has great importance as its taken from the words of God’s messenger, the angel who visited Mary. We say this prayer 50 times in a normal rosary and I wonder how many among those really count! I have seen people saying this prayer thinking about the food in the oven. Most housewives do pray the Rosary everyday but are all the Hail Marys said with the utmost reverence and concentration? Or is it just for our mind’s satisfaction that I have done my Rosary today?

‘Hail Mary, full of grace’… stop there, remember our Heavenly Mother, she is now being called by the Angel as the one who is full of Grace. Yes, Mother Mary was so filled with Grace than anyone else at that time in this World. ‘Our Lord is with you’…yes, she never did anything against God’s will and He was there with her all through her life, sometimes as Her heavenly dad and sometimes as her earthly son. ‘Blessed are you among woman’… she was the most blessed one among all the woman in the World and you sure know that’s not an easy achievement. Her every action was God-driven and she was so pure in body and soul that she was chosen to give birth to our LORD here on Earth. ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus’ …stop there, imagine the baby Jesus twisting in her small womb, how blessed a mother she is to have our Lord as her son. And we can also see the greatest of the greatest, the king of Kings, who is humbling himself to just a human baby form inside Mary’s womb.

‘Holy Mary, Mother of God’ has a significance. I know many who still don’t accept the huge importance of Mother Mary in the savior’s plan. They are reluctant to admit that she is our God’s mom. My friends, if you accept Jesus as your God, never be shy in proclaiming this truth that Mary is the Mother of GOD. ‘Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death’ – this one needs some explanation. Ever wondered why we say this line, especially why we point towards the time of our death? Make no mistake friends, the devil will surely come near you in your last moments on Earth and make you remember each and every sin you had committed here on Earth. He will show all those in front of your eyes when your whole life flashes in front of you and seeing all those, you just feel you are never going to make it to heaven and hell is waiting for you.

That’s the time our Mother will come to our Bed with all the angels to help us drive Satan away. She will make sure that we wont be desperate in our last moments here and will pray for our souls to the almighty God so that we go through a calm silent peaceful death. You can make it out yourself if you see different people in their last moments, some are so noisy and frightened while other are so calm and full of joy as they can internally see Heaven waiting for them.

3. Holy Eucharist

Many receive Holy Eucharist everyday, but did that make you consider this as less important in any of those days? Here is one more instance when repetition can deceive you to lower your reverence towards the body of our GOD. What do you feel when the Holy Eucharist touches your tongue? You just receive it, go to your place, kneel there, say your standard prayer and sit back in your seat?

My friend, it’s the Creator of the Universe who is in your mouth now, no one else. The one who has created you and everything else in this world has agreed to come inside you in the form of bread and wine. When you glimpse at the Eucharist, imagine the beating heart of Jesus that you are going to receive. When Eucharist melts inside your mouth, imagine Christ moving all over your body, his flesh and blood combining with your flesh and blood and you are just becoming another Christ here and you sure know that is a huge responsibility. Keep the temple of God clean and away from sin as Jesus now lives inside you.

Conclusion

We cannot live our life without repetition of all the above. They are prayers and sacraments which definitely need to be done a lot many times repetitively. But we just have to be very careful that this repetition is not reducing the glory, the honor, the reverence and the involvement of our complete mind that these prayers and sacraments surely need from us. Don’t let that reduce even by 1%. Ask this blessing from Our God during your next prayer, I am sure the almighty God will give this wonderful blessing to each and every one of you and that will make this humanly impossible task, that I am urging you to do, possible. God bless you all. Amen.

- – - written by Georgy N Joseph


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April 28th, 2014

The Stolen Miracle

The Stolen Miracle

If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed (Mark 5:28). That’s what she told herself, this nameless, bleeding woman who’d traveled 30 miles, fueled by nothing but faith.

It was a daring plan. According to Mosaic Law, women who were ceremonially unclean weren’t allowed to touch anyone, let alone the Son of God. But desperate women do desperate things. For 12 long years blood had flowed from her body, making her physically sick and socially unacceptable.

Desperation and Determination

The physicians of her time were unable to relieve her suffering. She “spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26). Some of us have been there, dealing with a prolonged illness or stubborn medical condition. It’s frustrating, even embarrassing, to keep going to the doctor, only to return home with an expensive prescription, yet little hope.

The true miracle in this story is what remained healthy: her faith. Her willingness to believe she could be well again, despite all evidence to the contrary. When she heard about a man who’d “healed many who had various diseases” (Mark 1:34), she made a beeline for Capernaum.

After a 30-mile journey, I would have thrown myself in his path, begging him to help me. Instead our bleeding sister quietly “came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak” (Mark 5:27). By law, her touch would have made him unclean. By grace, just the opposite happened. “Immediately her bleeding stopped” (Mark 5:29). Without a word, a look, or a touch from Jesus, she was made whole simply by believing he could heal her—and daring to act on that belief.

A Stolen Miracle

When her faith was rewarded, she wasn’t the only one who noticed. “He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’” (Mark 5:30). How her heart must have pounded. She’d just stolen a miracle!

When the disciples pointed out that many in the crowded street were touching him, “Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it” (Mark 5:32). He wasn’t looking to accuse but to affirm.

The same faith that empowered her to stretch out her hand now gave her the strength to step forward. She “fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33). She risked everything—public humiliation, if not punishment—to make her confession of faith, explaining to the crowd “why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed” (Luke 8:47).

Restored

With a single word from Jesus, 12 years of pain and isolation were swept away: “Daughter…” (Mark 5:34). In no other gospel account does Jesus use this term of endearment and respect. Daughter. She was a member of the family now, restored to her community, setting an example for others who “begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed” (Mark 6:56).

This woman literally put feet to her faith: traveling to Capernaum, reaching out to touch Jesus’ garment, and walking forward at his invitation. By faith, we too can go first in our families, in our workplaces, and in our circles of influence, stepping forward to proclaim, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.”

- – - written by Liz Curtis Higgs


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April 16th, 2014

The Week That Changed The World

The Week That Changed The World

As we all prepare for the Holy Week, the week that changed the world, the following reflections are for you to use and to share with others.

Palm Sunday

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38)

On Palm Sunday we commemorate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. On this joyful day He was surrounded by throngs of people singing His praises and marveling at all the miracles He had performed. Here, at the beginning of Holy Week, let us take some time to focus on the things we wanted to accomplish during Lent. Have we made improvements in our prayer life? Have we offered sacrifices to God? Have we given alms or service to those in need?

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially the Lord’s Passion and Death, let us renew our commitment to a deeper relationship with our Savior.

Monday Of Holy Week

“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Monday of Holy Week is a day of waiting. Just as in the Christmas carol we sing, “Let every heart prepare Him room”, we must also prepare our hearts for the sorrows of the Triduum. Even though Monday can be the most hectic day of the week, don’t forget to carve out some quiet time for yourself today. Get up a little earlier to do the readings for the day. Find a quiet place to sit at lunch and read your favorite spiritual book. Gather your family to pray at the end of the day. These are all excellent examples for integrating the spirit of Holy Week into your day.

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially when Our Lord raises Lazarus from the dead, let us ask Jesus to raise us above any obstacles that prevent us from drawing nearer to Him.

Tuesday Of Holy Week

“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

Today we continue our waiting and preparation as we approach Good Friday. Just as you did yesterday reserve some time to “Be still and know that (He) is God” (Psalm 46:10). If possible, make a Holy Hour today and visit with Our Lord in Adoration. During His agony in the garden on Holy Thursday Jesus asks His disciples to pray with Him. If you don’t have a lot of time, or if you find an hour is too long to stay focused, try going for 15-20 minutes. You will be amazed to find that even this brief break in your day can refresh your soul!

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, let us search our own lives to identify weaknesses or temptations that may cause us to betray Our Lord if we are not careful.

Wednesday Of Holy Week

“See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive!” (Psalm 69:33)

As we reach the middle of our Holy Week our waiting turns to anticipation. Spending a little time in prayer each day has helped us to identify some of our weakness and times we need to turn quickly to Christ for help. Spend some of your daily prayer time doing an examination of conscience.

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially Isaiah’s words foretelling Our Lord’s suffering, let us seek forgiveness for times we have caused others to suffer.

Thursday Of Holy Week

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the “source and summit” of our Faith – The Holy Eucharist.

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples: “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially Paul’s remembrance of the Last Supper, let us ask for the Graces we need to truly believe in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and to approach the altar with reverence and awe.

Good Friday

“But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)”

One of the most beautiful traditions of this day is the Veneration of the Cross. “While we bend down in body before the cross we bend down in spirit before God.”

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially John’s recount of Christ’s Passion, let us try to keep an awareness of Our Lord’s suffering in our hearts throughout the day.

Holy Saturday – The Easter Vigil

“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6: 4)

On Holy Saturday our sorrow and emptiness begin to be replaced with a growing joy and anticipation.

As we reflect on all of the readings and responsorial psalms, let us rejoice and give thanks to God for our wondrous Salvation History.

Easter Sunday – The Resurrection Of The Lord

“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matthew 28: 5-6)

Alleluia! He is risen! This is the most joyous feast of the year. Christ’s death and resurrection is the foundation of the Christian Faith. The church is now filled with the spirit of Jesus and with His Light. It is no longer silent as we join our songs of praise with the choirs in heaven. We are reminded of Christ’s promise “I will give you a joy which no one will take from you.” (John 16:22). Easter is the beginning of our new life with Christ. Although our Lenten Journey is complete, don’t forget to create times of prayer in your daily lives where you can spend time with our Risen Lord.

As we reflect on today’s readings, especially the Gospel, let us ask the Risen Christ for courage and strength we need to take His Light into the world.


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