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October 23rd, 2014

The Crown Of Roses In The Thorns Of Life

Holy Rosary

Rajkumar was one of my close friends during college days. He was a joyful and charming youth. Kind of a “yo-yo” in today’s fashioned words!!! He often wanted to enjoy his life. Although born in a middle class family he never felt the need to grow up in his life and help his hard toiling parents because his parents just cared and loved him so much that he never felt any pain in his life.

Days and months passed. When I reached the third year of my college life, I came to know that Raj was addicted to alcohol and girls! I recollected the days in the first year of my college life, where he used to seek my help in studies just to get the pass mark. And I remember him saying that he was the school topper for the 10th grade in his school. All those memories once made me ask him what has pulled him to get addicted to all these things? And his reply was so simple – “Friend !!! We have only one life and we have to enjoy it to the fullest!!!”

Years passed. Four years later and just few days ago, while browsing through my Facebook feeds I saw one of his closest friend posting Raj’s photo with the tagline “R.I.P Raj”. I was really surprised. I never believed it but later I was compelled to digest the fact that Raj, a 25-year-old lad, passed away while travelling in a bus, in his sleep.

Thorns of Life

Now, what are these thorns of life? The moment we hear “thorns”, only problems of our life come into our mind. And in fact you are correct. But then I would like to classify these thorns into two, Visible and Invisible. All the problems, which we feel is a real problem, are these visible thorns and all those which we think are not really a problem as per today’s fast growing world are the invisible thorns.

Visible thorns are part of life and most of us have them a lot . And believe me, we are called to enjoy these visible thorns! Because they refine us to become as pure as gold. But invisible thorns are more serious. The life of Raj was ruined just because he was unable to detect these invisible thorns in his life. He thought he was enjoying his life and in reality he was ruining it.

Even today, we never think of things which are required to enter the house of the creator but we just enjoy our life by looking at the things which make us and our children comfortable. Beware of these invisible thorns because these are the most poisonous thorns that can pierce deep into our lives and destroy it completely.

Is life not to be enjoyed?

So does this mean that this life is not to enjoy ourselves? Never!!! This life is called only to enjoy and to enjoy it in its fullest with the creator. For the holy words are as follows: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”(Jn. 10:10). Most of us are really afraid about our death because we cling on just to the worldly enjoyments and relations we have here. But shift your focus and keep it straight towards Christ because the life which He gives never ends!

St. John The Apostle

Dear friends in Christ, shifting our focus to Christ in this worldly life is really tough. But the history quotes enormous number of people who focused their lives towards Christ. Here, I would like to quote a character from the Holy Bible, none other than the energetic apostle St. John. St. John was a similar youth as Rajkumar, a young lad clad with all kinds of thorns of life. But when Christ called him, he shifted his focus towards Christ, who alone can give life in abundance. His thirst for this abundant life drove him until the foot of the cross where our Lord was bearing the excruciating pains of our sins.

Imagine! What kind of feelings would have gone through the mind of St. John? The feeling of loneliness, the question that who is going to be with them when their savior is about to leave them, the urge to go to the cross and get crucified with Christ, the question that who is going to wipe away their thorns of life. And dear friends, even while going through such an agonizing pain, our Christ had only one thing to tell, pointing out to our Mother Mary, to John, “Here is your mother” (John 19:27) . Further the word of God says “And from that hour the disciple (John) took her into his own home”(John 19:27). John further lived his life until 94 years and became the only disciple who was never martyred.

Are you enjoying life in its abundance?

In this world, where people communicate with each other with just a swipe of their fingers, where people seldom think of reciting the rosary in their families but are ready to welcome their friends for a cocktail party at home, where praying has become a mere ritual and out fashioned, where helping others have turned into a prestige factor, where hearts doesn’t work but brains do , I simply have one simple question for you – Are you enjoying life in its abundance? If the answer is a big “NO”, then dear friends, in Christ God is calling us to give this life in abundance.

As St.John was thirsty to enjoy this life in abundance, we also can gear up to enjoy it, as he did. Lets gear up towards the feet of the cross with the pains of our Christ getting hammered in the Cross, with the pains that is hammering us even today at our work places and in our homes, let’s go to Christ. And looking at all our pains, he has only one thing to say to us pointing to our Mother Mary – “Here is your mother!!!”. And now its our turn to take her into our homes, to take her into our hearts, to take her wherever we go. Because only through her we can reach Christ.

What can we do now?

Lets take some strong decisions in our lives today. As the famous author Robin Sharma says, “Be strict not to others but to yourself. And that’s the way to success!!!”. No matter what we were till this day, lets shape up what we should be in the coming days. Just as we stick a paper, lets start sticking our hearts to Christ and the only strongest bond that makes us stick to Christ is Mother Mary.

Rosary, the strongest prayer the Catholic Church teaches us, is the most pleasing way to welcome our Mother to our homes and into our hearts. The word Rosary comes from the Latin word “Rosarium” which means the ‘crown of roses’. And that’s why Christ took the excruciating pain of the crown of thorns to his head and gave us this crown of roses, which is easily bearable for us. So let us start to recite his beautiful crown of roses, the Holy Rosary and give all our thorns of life to our Mother who will relentlessly give it to the one who is ready and happy to bear it for us! Amen.

– – – written by Charles Sunny

September 7th, 2014

Qualities of Mother Mary

Qualities of Mother Mary

Tomorrow, on September 8th, we celebrate the birthday of our beloved Mother Mary, the Mother of all mothers. On this special occasion when we remember the immaculate conception, we should seek her special intercession for all our prayers and needs.

Let us ponder on some of the most important qualities of Mother Mary.

1. Mary was highly favored. God was with her. She was chosen to be the mother of Jesus’ humanity. This tells us that Mary was a young woman of outstanding moral and spiritual character.

2. Mary was submissive to God. She counted the cost. So far as she knew: she would lose Joseph; she would be a social outcast; she had no idea how she would raise the Child. Yet she said without hesitation, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

3. With thoughts tumbling through her mind and emotions churning inside, Mary arose and raced the many miles from Nazareth to the hills of Judea. She had to see Elizabeth!

4. Mary was a woman of faith. Part of Elizabeth’s prophetic response to Mary’s greeting was “blessed is she who has believed” (Luke 1:45).

5. Mary was humble. She spoke of her “humble state” (Luke 1:48). She realized that she was a girl from Nazareth with no social status.

6. Mary was spiritual. She was a devout worshipper. We see this in the profound and powerful words of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).

7. Mary was thoughtful. She kept the words of the shepherds and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19). Twelve years later in Jerusalem Jesus made a pointed statement about His true Father that Mary kept also in her heart (Luke 2:51).

8. The most appropriate role model for women. As a motherly figure, Mary exemplifies strength of godliness, strength, and maternal instinct. Mary portrays traits of holiness, piety, and humbleness. As a teacher, Mary instructs women on the importance of trust and perseverance.

9. One of the most valuable strengths Mary possessed was her ability to persevere. She went through many trials in her life, but she never lost sight of the Lord. She used her complete trust in God and her strong will to overcome obstacles and setbacks.

10. The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary as “full of grace” or the one who enjoys “God’s favor”, which is enough to give us an idea of her magnificence! Yes, she who was to become the Mother of the divine Son, our Redeemer, chosen by God from all eternity, could only be endowed with all natural and supernatural perfection, and consequently with all the corresponding virtues.

Have a blessed and wonderful feast of the immaculate conception. Let our beloved mother intercede for even the smallest of our needs. We love you our dearest mom. God bless you all.

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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