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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 22nd, 2014

Earth Day Christian Thoughts

Earth Day Christian Thoughts

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. – Job 12:10

Today is Earth Day. It is celebrated on April 22nd every year. On Earth Day, people in more than 192 countries demonstrate support for environmental protection. On the same day, many environmentalists might start the ever hot debate on how life originated on Earth, is it through Darwin’s Evolution Theory or created by a supreme creator. We are not planning to take part in that hot discussion but rather consider what message this Earth Day brings to all the Christians on this earth. Let us ponder on some Earth Day christian thoughts now.

Spirituality

Creation itself inspires us and calls us to care. Many people have had their most profound spiritual experience in nature. As we behold the power and love of God in a mountain range, a sunset, or in the timelessness of the ocean, we can’t help but be moved. But creation also includes humans – our families, communities, and created landscapes. God created all things of Heaven and Earth and God is our inspiration to care for both wild places and our own cities and backyards.

Stewardship

Psalm 24 states that “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” Humans simply hold the Earth in trust for God. We are tenants here, called to care for the creation on behalf of future generations and all species. The Bible calls us to “till and keep the garden” and names human beings as the trustees of creation. Because God created all the Earth and all of us, creation is beautiful and good and sacred. We are called by our devotion to God and our love for God’s works to protect it.

Sustainability

At the heart of sustainability is the goal of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In a world of finite resources, those among us who have more than enough must address patterns of consumption so that we can provide for all. Acquiring more “stuff” has a direct effect on the sustainability of the planet and on the quality of life for people around the globe. The good news is that more and more people are realizing that spiritual emptiness can’t be filled by consumption. What makes us happy is intimacy – intimacy with self, with others, and with God. In the end, sustainability means seeing ourselves and our neighbors as children of God, not as consumers or competitors for Earth’s resources.

Justice

Justice means that in addition to providing aid to our neighbors, we are called to change societal systems that cause poverty, injustice, and environmental damage in the first place. It goes beyond helping to meet physical needs to creating a society with laws and policies that allow the needs of all Earth’s inhabitants to be met. Care and responsibility for the “least of these among us” is a central tenant of Christianity and has a direct connection to environment issues. The impact of environmental degradation falls most heavily on the people around the world who are least able to mitigate these impacts — poor and vulnerable populations. It also disproportionately affects fragile plants, animals and ecosystems. Working for justice calls us to channel our faith into power, to call for social and environmental justice at the local, state and national level.

Thoughts for Christians on this Earth Day

If you have been accustomed to scoffing at Earth Day or merely passing it off as a humanist holiday, perhaps this year you could consider making it a time for asking if there might indeed be many ways in which followers of Christ could “integrate new insights and revise positions” about caring for the earth that we acknowledge “is the Lord’s” and not ours to do with as we please and regardless of the collective damage we may be doing to it. Could we indeed be “muddying water” and “trampling pastures” that others have as much right to as we? Its time to think and act!


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