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September 22nd, 2013

Receive The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

Receive The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

It was a day in November, in Chittoor retreat center. Under heavy sunshine I burned like a candle. People were participating in the services wholeheartedly. The voice of the priest is heard, ‘Fall on the feet of your spouse and ask pardon for all the sins committed in your life. And pray this kissing those feet.

Those who fell on the feet as well as others were crying louder… ‘Ask pardon from all those whom you caused pain in your life… from those whom you hate… write their names on a piece of paper. Mention the names of all those who caused you pain and write them too. Feel in your mind that you are in their feet… ask pardon from them…’ The strong voice of the priest is heard loud.

My God, this piece of paper would not be sufficient for me. Whom I have caused pain and those who caused me harm… Those who stripped some fruitful years from my life harshly… This life is a piece of paper marked with dots and strikes. Now the procedure is to burn this paper in the fire before the Altar. How beautifully symbolic an action? That heat and soaking of tears provide us with deep consolation unattainable through any confession.

‘There would not be anyone who has never thought of ending life at least once in life. Remember those moments you thought of committing suicide. The blood of Jesus pouring out from Calvary is cleansing you out of all sins…’ says the priest.

Yes, I too have thought of committing suicide once in my life. It was that night in November when I had lost everything. The angel of the Lord caught hold of my hands and made me walk from death to life.

A Friday in November, 2004. I thought of loosing all that I have earned in my life. Hard work of years… wealth… good name… nothing was safe except my life and those of others who live depending on me. All around the voice of calumny… murmur of the enemies… completely unacquainted city… I was all alone in the world.

“Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.” I found refuge in Psalms 22:11-12. These words were true in my life too.

What is life for… I just thought… a time when I find trouble in everything. I should get an answer today itself. If my God loves me, I should know it this day itself. The priest is filled with zeal on the Altar with the Blessed Sacrament. People pray like anything. Suddenly I felt something extra ordinary… a moment of unconsciousness… my eyes are filled with tears. It turned into a loud cry. I couldn’t see those who are around me looking fretfully at me.

I saw a vague figure on the Altar. Then slowly it became clearer… a man whom I knew very well; Jesus of Nazareth, with white dress and a red shawl. He is smiling at me. I have never seen such an innocent smile in my life to this day. He called me to His side. Now… a heart in his hands… a beating heart. He stretched it to me and told me to eat it. Suddenly I moved back. He stretched it again and smiled.

Swiftly I got into consciousness as it is just from a deep sleep. Now all around me was the sound of praises and calls of Hallelujah. Yes, my Lord. You love me; you have already touched me.

Jesus, from then on, I have never been unfaithful to you. I don’t claim that I have never sinned but I had never been far from you. To say, I love you, is not complete. My God, I enjoy you each moment… That day turned my life all upside down. We were in a new world coming back to UK. As we put our life into order with deep prayer, we could see solutions for all our troubles.

Slowly I started studying the Word of God. The Word led me from mere reading to deep insights. Prayer groups big and small started inviting me for reflections on the Word. Mini’s change was tremendous and it really surprised me. She had nothing other than her husband and children before. But renewal changed her life altogether. Now many sisters call her on telephone requesting prayers and advice.

“Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you.” (Is. 43:4-5).

– – – written by Santimon Jacob

July 18th, 2012

Are You Fake or Real?

Are You Fake or Real

After the church collection on Sunday, while counting them I came across a fake currency. I am not sure of its owner, but now it has been given to the Lord, knowingly or unknowingly. If it is knowingly, the person has done a great mistake. God will not accept fake currencies.

I had a thorough check with that fake one. It was the photo copy of the real one. Now everything is possible, still the person who made it was not able to give the real identification mark for that currency. It was missing. Simple people might be betrayed, but once it goes to bank, surely they will identify the fake and the real one. It also might cause one’s arrest.

That day evening I was having a few thoughts in my mind. I judged quickly when I am cheated. Often I act as a fake one in front of God. Seldom am I aware of this nature in me. I have a fake conscience, fake heart and a fake personality. My real personality could have been Jesus’. I am called to holiness. I am called to become another Christ in this world in my words, deeds and thoughts.

At the time of baptism I was also given the light to become the light, by getting strength from the real light. I have been given the identification mark as the child of God, a faithful member in the Church. However I prefer to use the photocopy of this identity. I go for prayer and the sacraments without being aware of its importance in my life. The real identity is being tapped. Often I enjoy going and praying to God like that fake one, without knowing that God will not accept my fake nature.

My conscience is not clear. Although, I claim that I repent and go for the sacrament of reconciliation, in my conscience still remains the fake character which I hesitate to give up. Through that incident, God was teaching me a lesson that instead of judging the one who did it I have to judge my fake nature. I came to conscious about the unreal in me. If God wants to arrest me, embarrass me, surely He could have done it. However He forgives.

St. Paul calls the followers of Christ to imitate him to become a good disciple. God did not create anybody as Xerox copy of His image but created the human being as His own image. To live in that image is imitation. Here one loses the image, like that fake currency. Today there are fake medicines, fake doctors, fake professionals etc. Once they are caught by the civil law, their punishment will be greater. The fake physician might be generous person, but his identity itself shows the person is duplicate in heart, likewise the fake professionals. The fake medicines might be cheaper and easily accessible; but it will not be advisable.

The nature of these fake ones to under-estimate the value of the real one comes from a fake conscience. They might be smarter but not intelligent; they might be cheaper but not curable. As a follower of Christ one cannot be fake but real. We are called to imitate Jesus, but not to fake him through our actions.

There are people who got two ways of life. They follow the world and they try to be close to God. They also give to God, something which they receive from their nature. They can be double tongued, speak sweetly and convincingly. They are like the chameleon able to change their colours. In this scientific world, where the plastic surgery is possible, and few go for it, these people with a cool mind are able to change them.

Even they are ready to go to church. Their intention is not to follow Jesus, but to save their face which they change according to the situation. This is the fake nature in human being, which Jesus will not accept; although one might think that he is not aware of it.

To understand the real nature in one, what can be done? When we counted that money, we checked its colour, printing, the golden (Silver) lines etc. The same way one has to go through the proper test, a heart surgery. The best surgeon in the world is Jesus Christ. Allow Him to cut ones’ heart piece by piece. One might encounter the fakeness attached to one’s heart. Some times it is very hard to be removed, but He will be able to help one who is ready to cooperate with the real doctor.

Again be aware, that there are fake doctors, who might say that it is necessary in today’s world, otherwise one cannot live. But Jesus operates the heart; he will also help to heal it. He also might help you to have a proper test about your senses. One has to wait patiently to get the result, because the senses also can become the fake ones.

The fake currencies may be less, the fake medicines might be less, fake doctors and professionals might be less but fake, and duplicate personalities are much. Am I being counted one among them by Jesus? If so, now on take a decision to discover my true nature. Constant prayer and frequent receiving of sacraments, especially sacrament of reconciliation, can help one to be real.

– – – written by  Fr. Biju Maramkuzhackal SVD

April 8th, 2012

Hole In The Heart

Hole In The Heart

The tree was smack in the middle of downtown surrounded by a lot of concrete, stores, and cars, with roots going down into a tiny patch of dirt by the street.

Right in the middle of the trunk was a hole. The hole apparently was made by a branch growing back around grafting itself into the main tree trunk.

The tree seemed healthy. Its leaves were shiny with a vibrant deep green hue. It looked good. It functioned as a bit of shade-giver and was growing fine. Everything about seemed to be normal.

Except that it still had the hole in its center.

Sometimes we walk around with holes in our hearts. We look good, we carry on day-to-day, and the hole goes undetected by anyone. But sometimes we are aware that it is still there.

This Easter we remember how Jesus demonstrated the love of God towards us all. He came to restore us to our relationship with God, and He came to heal…including holes in our hearts.

His love will heal your heart when He touches you with His love. He not only can do that, but is more than willing to.

God is love. That is good news.

– – – written by Sally I. Kennedy

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