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February 8th, 2013

Give Me Childlike Simplicity And Purity Of Faith

Give Me Childlike Simplicity

Practicing virtue without humility is like carrying dust against wind.

In the Gospel according to St. Mathew 11:25-27, Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. Jesus’ prayer tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children.

Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us away from the love and knowledge of God. Pride is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one’s own learning and importance. Intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his kingdom. Pride is the root of all vice and the strongest influence propelling us to sin. It first vanquishes the heart, making it cold and indifferent towards God. It also closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives.

Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “little children” in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing — the “summum bonum” or “greatest good” who is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth.

St. Teresa of Avila tells us that she obtained her greatest graces whenever she humbled herself the most. Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6). Only the humble in heart can receive true wisdom and understanding of God and his ways. We can have no virtue without humility. Practising virtue without humility is like carrying dust against the wind. It will all blow away.

Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-collector

We see it in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector. The Pharisee did many good things: he fasted twice in a week; he gave one tenth of his income to the temple. But he ruined all these with his pride. The Tax-collector did many evil things. But he was forgiven for all these and made right with God because of his humble prayer.

In this prayer, Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make: He is the perfect revelation of God. One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally.

In Jesus we see the perfect love of God

The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us personally to know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.

In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly. Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven .. .. give us this day our daily bread. Do we pray to our Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for us?

Today, Jesus invites us to learn humility from him. He says: “Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart.” It is especially from his Passion that we learn humility. Scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, mocked, spat upon, and finally nailed to the cross, he died on that infamous gallows. It was to cure us of our pride. How can we look at Jesus crucified and still be proud?

Let us often look at the Crucifix and say: “Jesus meek and humble of heart, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.”

– – – written by Fr. Vincent Korandiarkunnel OSB

February 5th, 2013

Give Someone An Affectionate Word Today

Give Someone An Affectionate Word

Man is in search of love and identity, least for money. He is stuffed with unending passion and feelings. When his feelings are realized he feels satisfaction, when denied he becomes worst. When I appreciate my close guy he would say thanks or would at least giggle or grin at me. Gospel says, Love one another… what does that word really mean? It is beyond words. If the young ones are not given care and love they will search for love which would take them astray from real love and warmth.

We even trumpet of the love of God… but what really is that? Is it enough that we say, Love, love and Love… Everyone was meant to share god’s unending love and care. The difference between our love and God’s love is that; if we seek for human love that may sprout and cheer at us for sometimes, but gradually fades off… but the love of God is unending.

Human beings are equipped with full of emotions in the form of frustrations, love and concern. But what happens is, we are not able to identify them in proper mood or time.You wish to love a person; but why don’t you not feel that closeness to everyone… Just think of a business day; we meet n number of persons may be in our office or surroundings. The point is all those might have come for the same purpose. Out of many whom we see we remember only two or three… that is what is closeness of heart, may be their look, talk, behavior all these things had an influence on us.

Hug – The Symbol of Pure Love

Americans express their love by sharing a Hug – A symbol of pure love, the pure expression of concern and care for others. According to Indian tradition we receive each other by our open mind with a motto “Aditi Devo Bhava”. So in which ever tradition we look the expression of love, care and consideration can be found. If all these are a symbol of love and care I believe it is from God, almighty who asked us to love and console each other.

So, God made hugs, a special sign. And symbol of his love is Divine, A circle of open arms, to hold in love and keep out harm. One simple hug can do its part. To warm and cheer another’s heart. A hug is a bit of heaven above. That signifies HIS perfect love.

Social Scientist Virginia Satir says that, four hugs a day will help you survive the blues, but a dozen is better. Speaking to the annual meeting of Ortho psychiatric association she said more would make people happier. She said that four daily hugs were essential for survival, eight for good for maintenance and twelve for growth. Our pores and places for messages for love and being able to have physical contact is very important. Just imagine a desperate man feeling loneliness… When he feels that someone care me… It is enough for him to get out of his gloom. Just hold him and say do not worry dear, that word itself would work miracles.

A little affection can say so much

Affection feels so nice and has a wonderful way of lifting your spirit and brightening your day. It is so encouraging and uplifting. A little affection can say so much and go a long way. It communicates love – you can feel someone else love through the affection they share with you.

Tactile expression of love requires no extra time. It is easily bestowed while other activities are going on. As you walk through the house and family member, it does not take extra time to draw and affectionate hand across that person’s shoulder. There are many sweet ways to show what we mean to one another, without taking time to do so. Such small gestures carry large meanings.

So, finally let me ask you one thing, “Have you had an affection to someone today?” If not do it, It demands nothing from you, but it means a lot to one who receive the same. So stretch those arms without delay. And give someone an affectionate word today.

– – – written by Binu Adukkathil

February 1st, 2013

Why I Love Charismatic People

Why I Love Charismatic People

Samuel, the pastor was a known figure active in all seasons, whether hot sunshine or heavy rain. He had an arch handled umbrella and very old, worn out Jubbah. He would be carrying an old Bible always in his hands. He wouldn’t mind whether it is a boy, young man or old people; his method was to start preaching the Gospel right away.

Many would change their way in order not to confront the pastor. He would never leave anyone empty handed ones came up on his way. The real fact was that I couldn’t always reach school without facing Samuel. Our land was predominantly Syro Malabar rite; strong catholic belief was deep rooted in the blood of people who claimed to receive faith directly from St. Thomas the Apostle. Here, Samuel the pastor was a real ‘surplus’.

Reasons were two; he had been a member of the low caste; in the language of the government – a converted Christian. As such the pastor’s place was much the scapegoat against the rich heritage of the people of the land. The other reason was that he had nothing to speak pleasing the thoughts of the strong Catholics.

The boy of the fourth standard was amazed at the heavy flowing river in the village. There was no other way except to cross the river. I had been always slow in walking, then and now. It is the custom that the slow ones become last on their journey. That was the case on the day.

As I was trying to put my step into the water, catching hold of my bag… suddenly there was someone with powerful hands to catch me from behind. When I turned, it was Samuel, the pastor. Without saying a word, he took me on his shoulders and put his steps into the river. Yes, even he was finding it hard to cross the river which was flowing heavily. He followed me a while even after the river. Then too he was silent. It was the first time I see him not speaking a word.

It was the time when there was heavy rain and flood all over. I am sure that if I had stepped into water that day, I would never be on earth to pen these lines (I see your face in smile, had it happened? Isn’t it) Slowly Samuel was evading from our land. Sometimes it was because I couldn’t see him as I grew older and moved to higher classes.

Baiju made me remember Samuel, the pastor after almost thirty years. He is a friend of mine from Nottingham. I knew him ever since I reached Nottingham University for studies. Baiju telephoned me one of these evenings… ‘Praise the Lord, Brother Santimon…’ I replied, ‘Praise the Lord.’ ‘I heard that you became a pastor, is it true.’ He enquired. I got the point. A small prayer group in London had found me as a preacher, as they didn’t get anyone else. Coming back from prayer meeting I received his call.

For sure, I remembered Samuel, the pastor; His worn out old dress, Bible and heavy filled river. There was a period in my life that I claimed Charismatic men are to be stoned to death. A time when I believed that all those who work miracles in the “name of God” are hypocrites. Period when I philosophically analyzed that healings were mere psycho somatic relieves.

Don’t you remember that age old drama of revolution; ‘You made me a communist…’ I just make it new… ‘You made me a charismatic…’

I cannot forget a day in November, six years back; days when I had been carrying within me a cloud of sorrows. Many faces were of love and concern amidst the few ready to devour me. I came to know that with such so called reliability, gossips can be spread easily. Many of us write our own stories as we like, once we get a character in our play. No hunter sends the arrow after consulting the prey, does he? Most probable point would be the most unnoticed.

True. I had nothing to rely on except the Bible – that book which I put aside as a boring text for years. That was an English Bible. When I opened it, these words struck me first; “The mountains and hills may crumble, but my steadfast love for you will never end…” (Is. 54:10).

An experienced smith changes the shape of the weapon putting it under fire. Yes, this is less sharp, my dear friend. I would be more and more conscious that this weapon shouldn’t hurt anyone.

There are stars as well as black holes in Charismatic field. We are consoled that there are more stars than the black holes. It is this consolation that makes us believe more and more in the goodness of men.

– – – written by Santhimon Jacob

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