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January 22nd, 2012

Nothing Is Impossible For God

Nothing Is Impossible For God

Faith is trust in a person that He will not leave us alone. Faith in God is the strong assurance one has at the bottom of his or her heart that all those things that are impossible for human being are possible for God.

Once I had an opportunity to interact with a couple and our discussion is still fresh in my mind. The Husband is around 48 years old and the wife is 46. They have no children yet. They prayed a lot but no answer was favored to them. With great enthusiasm I asked them a question, “Do you still pray for a child even today in this situation? Do you believe that God can work miracles even in this crisis?”

Their response was just a hum which was so interesting and thought-provoking. I believe that the answer cannot be Yes, as I noticed their grieving face, desperate eyes and in their eyes I could read the answer to my question “How can a child be conceived at this age? Even the uterus was also removed due to the illness” there is no scope for a different answer than this.

This made me to think more about the man’s faith in God. Most of our faith is not much different from those couple I interacted with. Since there is always a logic involved in our faith like that of the couple, our trust is more relying on our abilities than God’s power to do greater things in our lives.

1. Child who is brilliant and has the capabilities to study better will win in the Exams
2. Since the uterus is capable and the age is suitable, a child may be conceived..
3. Since the body is responding to medicine, healing may happen.

Our logical thought goes like this; If that is the case, the God who formed the heaven and earth even before you were formed in your mother’s womb and given you name is an omnipotent God and for Him everything which is impossible for man is possible.

Abraham and Sarai

Nothing different is the experience of Abraham the father of all believers and his beloved wife Sarai. Genesis 13:14-16 says that “The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him; Raise your eyes now and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward” For all the land that you see I will give to you and your ‘offspring’ forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and breadth of the land for I will give it to you. What a strange promise when one looks at this with his logic because Abram is Childless when God promised this and they must have longed for a child after Abram and Sarai become one.

Still Abram was sure that God will favor his prayers and God is faithful to his promises and that is the reason that Abram went towards the Promised land which is offered to his own descendents even when he was childless. Abraham experiences a delay to reach in to God’s promises and probably which could have caused his heart to go dim and to doubt than trusting in God’s promises.

Again the merciful and compassionate God speak to Abraham in a vision that we read in Genesis 15:1-6, “After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, your reward shall be very great. But Abram said, ‘O Lord God what will you give me, for I continue childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Demascus?’ And Abram said, you have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.’

But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir no one but your very own child shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said “look towards heaven and count the star, if you are able to count them”. Then he said to him “so shall your descendents be and he believed the Lord and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

However, after long-awaited interval Abraham still experience the withdrawing faith and he listened to Sarah’s words and obeyed Sarah’s advice to go to her slave girl and obtain children by her. It clearly tells us that even Abraham or Sarah could not believe what God promising many a times in their lives before.

However, we see the merciful and compassionate God again and again intervening in his life and promising the same thing even at his age of 99 in Genesis 17: 1-6 God tells him “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face, God said to him, as for me this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of Nations. No longer shall your name be Abram but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the multitude of nations; and I will make you exceedingly fruitful. “

Now it is Sarai’s turn because the logic is that a woman cannot conceive after certain age, and see in Genesis that God even making Abrams heart strong to believe that everything is possible for God we see in Genesis 17:15-19, God said to Abram, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her and she shall give rise to nations; King of people shall come from her. At this time when God spoke to him Abram fell on his face and laughed as his logic questioned him if a child can be born to such an old lady like Sarah who was 99 years old and Abraham who was 100 years old.

However, even the merciful and compassionate God comes down to meet Abraham again and again whose faith had grown down and could not believe in God’s providence and promises as he being completely a human being crammed with logics.

In Genesis 18:9-15, God appears to him and ask where is your wife Sarah, “There in the tent, then one said, I will surely return to you in due season and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” Sarah was also listening to this conversation at the tent entrance behind him, could not believe as to how can an old woman like her and her old husband have pleasure was her argument.

Still what had happened in their lives? Abraham and Sarah’s life is not different from those couples whom I had introduced you before. Genesis 21 ;1-2 gives us an answer to that question” The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.Here we clearly understand that one who waits for God’s own time will experience God’s greater miracle. The wonder here is that the Bible says that the 99-year-old lady nursed her son Issac with her own milk till he grew up instead of substituting it with any other food.

All these incidents in Abraham and Sarah’s life gives us ample evidence and proof that nothing is impossible for God Almighty and God works in one’s life in his own time. Therefore, it is good to believe in God’s power and ability than trusting in one’s own abilities and capabilities. God can work in your life in a mighty way even when there is no hope in your life and you feel you are left out with no scope for things according to your logic and ‘reasons. If you are willing to believe strongly inside your heart that God will do great things in your life, certainly it will be done for you.

The wax melts at a certain degree Celsius is a scientific proof and hence we believe it. However, faith means believing that God can work even where science has no scope. Each and every Christian has a call to grow in faith which goes above ones logic. If Christian life is not growing beyond rituals and if the rituals are not becoming an outward expression of an intimate and unbreakable relationship with Christ, One cannot experience the depth of the deep-rooted faith in God’s ability. It is difficult for a human being to have such strong faith in God when his logic rules him.

When we question about the place of God in Man’s life, the answer is correct that the place of God in Man’s life is extremely high. However, man’s reasoning limits him to think about God as a powerful person who is extremely high and above from man’s reach and slow in answering his prayers. However when we realize that our Lord is the God who is powerful, compassionate and merciful and that He came down from the heavens to the earth to live with us humans, we will flee from our sins and come out from the lack of faith in his abilities and will have a passionate desire to live with him and this will enable us to acquire a strong faith to believe that nothing is impossible for God.

Read Nothing is impossible for The Lord

When God becomes an intimate and loving family member who always stays with us, we stop wandering for materialistic pleasures and seeking reasons in everything else than God’s ability. May the Holy Spirit help us to experience him more closely so as to have a strong faith in his ability.

– – – written by Thomas Philip

November 28th, 2011

The Power of Faith And Prayer

The Power of Faith and Prayer

You will have enthusiasm to the extent that God is actually present in you.

It is a universally accepted fact that prayer supported by faith can work miracles in our lives. If you work hard praying with deep faith for the attainment of any purpose, God will help you for the realization of your attempt. When your faith in God is deep enough a door seems to open and through which mighty forces that will help you and guide you will flow.

One should never face a problem assuming that there is no solution. The first step to face a problem is to seek the help of God, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight” (Prov. 3:5). Practically for every problem there is a solution. Think and pray for the strength and wisdom for getting the solution. “Those of steadfast mind, you keep in peace- in peace because they trust in you” (Is. 26:3).

Adversity and crisis are natural in everyone’s life. Our attitude to those situations are more important than the crisis itself. The only limitation for any person is the limitation one sets up in his/her own mind. “You have great potential for success, but first you must know your own mind and have your own life,” Napolean Hill, the famous American writer said. All of us can have an immense strength by the flow of power through prayer from God Almighty.

The greatest power one possesses is the power of prayer. But there are many factors which block the power of prayer. They are negative thoughts, fear, jealousy, resentment, hatred, pride etc.We should never face a problem with negative thoughts. Never assume that nothing can be done about it. Always fill our mind with hope. It is this four letter word HOPE which motivates you towards your future achievement. It impels you to overcome your depression. It enables you to fight against your adversities. It makes you believe that sooner or later bad times will become better. It brings power to make your failures success, your weakness to strength.

Dr.Vincent M. Peale the famous spiritual preacher in his book, ‘The power of plus factor’ has advised as follows; “Build hope in your philosophy. Base your life upon it. Hope that difficulties will pass. Hope that storms will cease. Hope that pain will not endure. Hope that weakness will be overcome. Hope in God. Ultimately you will find yourself saying – praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

Believe that the things which are impossible with men are possible with God. As stated earlier the greatest of all forces is the power of prayer. But in order to be at the receiving end we have to humble ourselves and leave the results to God. This kind of prayer is called the prayer of self-effacement, and it unlocks the channel through which God’s power can reach the person who is praying. Until you humble yourself, give yourself and your problem to God, you will never get the answer you are seeking. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Ps. 55:22). Again the Word of God says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6).

God almighty has given us the capacity to think our way through any problem. The hopeful thinker projects hope and faith in the darkest situation and light it up. If your belief includes the conviction that God is for you and will help you in any adverse situation enormous power is available to you. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

God has created each of us with immense potentialities. The chief function of faith and belief is to realize, reveal, and develop the potentialities in each of us. Many people who are qualified to do excellent works accomplish little because they attempt little. Thousands pass as they have no mission to accomplish in life. One reason for this is that they form a low estimate of themselves. God wishes each of us to be developed, refined, sanctified, ennobled, and used in advancing the interests of His kingdom.

We should get excited about a useful purpose in life. Excitement is contagious. It makes you enthusiastic. According to R.W. Emerson nothing great was ever achieved by any one with out enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm is derived from the Greek word ‘en’ and ‘thos’ which means ‘God within.’ Real enthusiasm that comes out from deep inner source is spiritual in nature. Therefore you will have enthusiasm to the extent that God is actually present in you. Hence get full of God and your enthusiasm will rise and you will experience vitality, energy, force and effectiveness.

Actually many people are paralyzed not in their limbs but in their minds and underestimate themselves. When we cast out negative thoughts and pessimism and cultivate an attitude of optimism and enthusiasm, astonishing results are obtained. When a person is full of faith in himself and trust in God, he/she can accomplish miracles in his/her life. Dr.Vincent M. Peale in his book ‘Stay alive all your life’ has narrated a thrilling real life story of a person who was crippled at infancy winning world record in high-jump.

Both legs of Walter Davis were paralyzed at infancy. His minister planted faith in his mind. He was even unable to walk. His mother urged him every day to walk. She succeeded. He became able to walk. Later he was able even to run with his weak legs. It was his great dream to become a high-jumper. Later he married. His wife also encouraged him. She advised, “Walter, you should have the power of faith in your mind.” Inspired by the words of his wife, he tried hard and hard. At last his attainment was beyond his dreams. He became a high-jump champion with world record.

Watch Videos on The Power of Prayer

Read Christian Prayer Quotes

The strength of belief is your key to self confidence. It will help you to meet and overcome any difficulty or obstacles in life.

– – – written by Dr. Philip Kudakkachira

November 6th, 2011

Mary’s Faith : A Model For The Church

Mary’s Faith : Model For The Church

God can work miracles only as strong and as big as our faith is!

Faith is a personal adherence of human being to God. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). By faith, one completely submits one’s intellect and will to God. With one’s whole being, one gives one’s assent to God. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God “the obedience of faith.” (Cf. Rom.1:5; 16:26). The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith.

Mary’s Faith

At the event of the Visitation, Elizabeth praised Mary for Her faith: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk. 1:45). Mary lived, acted, and moved always in the ambit of faith. From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary always assented with the same obedience of faith to all revelation, to all the designs of God. Every moment of her life was an invitation to act on her faith. God can work miracles only as strong and as big as our faith is and as a fruit of her obedience, she in turn, deepened her faith. That is why we can truly say that Mary had a pilgrimage of faith from the Annunciation to Her Assumption, and that this pilgrimage climaxed on Calvary.

At the moment of the Annunciation, Mary was presented with two different and amazing revelations: first, that she was full of grace, and second, that she was being chosen to receive the greatest invitation a creature had ever received – to become the virgin mother of the Messiah, the Son of God. This conception was to be accomplished by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, a miracle! It is something impossible for men, but not for God. It was precisely this human impossibility and this divine possibility that called Mary to open totally to the gift of faith – and she believed in her God, a God that could do that kind of miracle, a God that chose His lowliest servant for such a dignified and exalted vocation and mission.

St. Augustine said that “Mary first conceived in her heart by faith and then in her womb.” Mary’s response, “may it be done to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38), is a sign of her full assent to the will of God, to the revelation received, to her role in this redemptive mission. Only a heart full of faith like Mary’s can give that kind of assent to such a vocation and to all the unexpected events that would form that reality – a series of events that were far beyond human intelligence or human calculations.

Many times the external appearances of situations could have seemed enough to prove false her faith. It was precisely at these moments when Mary “kept all things in her heart” (Lk. 2:51), allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten, to strengthen and to deepen her faith. This reverent act of Mary of keeping all things in her heart, especially those she did not fully understand, was an honest search for the hidden sense of the events that she knew by faith must exist, since the Lord could have never abandoned or misled her.

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, ‘Lumen Gentium,’ presents Mary on a journey, on an itinerary of faith that was manifested in all the different stages she lived during her earthly life. In this document we read: “Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of Redemption … freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience” (No.56).

Mary’s faith did not only sustain her life, but it gave abundant fruit for our redemption since, as ‘Lumen Gentium’ describes, by her faith, Mary freely and fully cooperated in the work of human salvation. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she, being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith. (No. 56).

Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Standing by the foot of the Cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’ssister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother: ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to his disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn. 19:25).

St. John, in this passage, wants to exalt Mary’s faith by presenting two elements in reference to this event: First, Mary’s presence at the foot of the Cross. It is precisely at this place where the faith of the disciples and, logically, Mary’s faith, is put to the hardest test. Her presence manifests her fidelity, her constant abandonment to the designs of the Lord’s will, and a faith that is undiminished, unchanged and unaltered even in the darkest hours.

Second, in the words of Jesus, “Behold your son,” Mary is invited to expand the horizon of her faith and the understanding of her role, since her motherhood is now moving beyond her dying son; it has been extended to the reality of a spiritual maternity for all the children of God. This last will of Jesus on the Cross became, for Mary, a new annunciation of a conception and birth: The Church.

Dimensions of Mary’s Fidelity

One of the titles attributed to the Virgin Mary is that of Faithful Virgin. Mary’s faithfulness has different dimensions. The first dimension is called search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to seek the deep sense of God’s plan in her and for the world. She asked the Angel of the Annunciation: “How shall this be?” There will not be faithfulness if it is not rooted in this ardent, patient, and generous search; if there is not in man’s heart a question to which only God gives an answer, or rather, to which only God is the answer.

The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance. The ‘How shall this be?’ is changed, on Mary’s lips, to a ‘fiat’. Let it be done; I am ready; I accept. This is the crucial moment of faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never completely understand the “how”; that there are in God’s plan more areas of mystery than of clarity; that, however he may try, he will never succeed in understanding it completely. It is then that one accepts the mystery, gives it a place in one’s heart with the availability of one who opens up to be inhabited by something—by Someone!—greater than his own heart.

The third dimension of faithfulness is constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is difficult and important to be consistent for one’s whole life. It is easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm; it is difficult to be so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts throughout the whole of life can be called faithfulness. Mary’s faith was constant, not only present in the times of “apparent glory” when Her Son was performing miracles and had many disciples that believed in Him; it was just as strong when there was no “apparent glory,” when there were no supernatural manifestations or happenings to attract attention, and even when there were not that many disciples to believe – except one, the one that was with her at the foot of the Cross.

The same faith that Mary had at the birth of her Son was the one she had at the Cross. It required much faith to have in her arms that defenseless baby, and to put him in the manger and believe that He was the God-man. It also required much faith to see her Son totally disfigured and defenseless on the Cross, waiting for him to be placed in her arms, to then be put in the sepulcher. Her faith allowed her to continue to believe that, regardless of what appeared to be, He was the God-man.

Mary’s faith was a perfect one. Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus, her son, died on the cross, Mary’s faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God’s word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith. In Cana Jesus proclaimed that it was not his “hour,” and Mary’s faith and intercession, manifested in the form of a petition, achieved the first miracle, the miracle of the wine. At the Cross, when it was in fact Jesus’ Hour, Mary’s faith and intercession, now manifested in silence, also witnessed the outpouring of the new wine, the blood of Her Son being shed for our salvation, to quench our thirst for God and His divine life.

Mary’s faith is a model for the Church: just like Mary, the Church has her own itinerary and her own journey to travel. It is Mary’s faith that will teach the Church to be faithful, undivided, perseverant and trustful in times of glory and in times of suffering.

In these times, marked by a spirit of unbelief, secularization and materialism, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the same faith of Mary’s Heart, so as to be able to stand with her at the foot of the Cross infidelity to her Son and His teachings.

– – – written by Fr. Vincent Korandiarkunnel OSB

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