Saturday, October 08, 2005


"The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all"(1 Corinthians 12:7).

One of the ways of making Christ present in our life is to use our gifts for service of others in our community. This service is what is called Christian ministry. What are your gifts? Each person has a gift which he can employ to build up the body of Christ. To live happy and fulfilled lives, we must discover the talents that God has given to us and use them for the service of others. The Holy Spirit is our Master Teacher. He teaches us how to use God's gifts. When we start to use our gifts of time, talent and treasure for the service of our neighbor, we start to act like Christ and deepen our knowledge of Him.

The Documents of Vatican II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, says "For this the Church was founded: that by spreading the kingdom of Christ everywhere for the glory of God the Father, she might bring all men to share in Christ's saving redemption; and that through them the whole world might in actual fact be brought into relationship with Him. All activity of the Mystical Body directed to the attainment of this goal is called the Apostolate (ministry), and the Church carries it on in various ways through all members."

Different Ministries in the Church:
Eucharistic ministry
Ministry of the Word or Lectors
Pastoral Council
Hospitality ministry

Friday, October 07, 2005

Mother of Emmanuel

"Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Emmanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us"(Matthew 1:23)NJB

The prophecy of the birth of the Messiah in Isaiah 7:14 shows God's plan for Mary in the economy of salvation. The characteristics of God's plans are: they are long-term, trustworthy and excellent. Mary could see in her life the fulfillment of another prophecy in Isaiah 25:1 - "Yahweh, you are my God, I shall praise you to the heights, I shall praise your name; for you have accomplished marvels, plans long-conceived, faithfully, firmly"(NJB). God has indeed accomplished marvellous things for Mary. He has made her the mother of Emmanuel. In her Magnificat, Mary echoes the same sentiments.

In the Gospels, we see Mary's closeness to the life and work of Jesus. Mary was always present in key defining moments in the life of her Son.

St Pius X wrote in his Encyclical, Ad diem illum of February 2, 1904: "When one reflects that with her alone did Jesus spend thirty years in that family union of Son and Mother, surely there is no doubt that through Mary the surest way of knowing Christ is opened to us....Nobody ever knew Christ so profoundly as she did, and nobody could be more competent as a guide and teacher of the knowledge of Christ."

I hope that you will discover as I did, that Mary is not only the Mother of Christ, but she is also Mary, our Mother, our mentor and our friend.

Books on Mary

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Faith of the Magi

"They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him" (Matthew 2: 11).GNB

Mary presented the child Jesus to the three wise men and received the gifts on behalf of Jesus. The three wise men represent all those who seek for Jesus throughout the ages. Mary prefigures the Church, whose task is to present Jesus to the world. The 'gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh' represent the offerings of our time, talent and treasure to Jesus Christ.
According to The Documents of Vatican II, (Lumen Gentium), "The union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation was manifested from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death. It is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, was greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in thg promise of salvation, while the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother (cf Luke 1: 41 -45). This association was shown also at the birth of our Lord, who did not diminish His Mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it, when the Mother of God joyfully showed her first-born Son to the shepherds and Magi."

The three wise men saw an ordinary looking child and her ordinary mother in a very ordinary setting and believed that this was the Christ. All those who encountered the child Jesus, recognized Him in faith. Christ is present in the Eucharist as He promised. We are invited to recognize Him in faith as did the Magi.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Be Prepared

"You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house" (Luke 12:39).

How would you react if you know for certain that you will be robbed next Monday at 4 PM? Would you allow anyone to break into your house and rob you? One of the things that attracted me to the Boy Scouts as a young boy was their motto. I later learned of their reputation for courage. My expectations were not disappointed because as a Boy Scout, I learned one principle of courage that has remained with me till today. "BE PREPARED" is not just the motto of the Boy's Scout but may well be one of the most valuable principles of courage. I have always admired men of courage. As a kid growing up, I was deeply fascinated by the stories of Samson in the Bible. David's exploits with lions as a shepherd boy still captivate me. Jesus teaches that the way to be courageous is to be prepared and vigilant. (Luke 12:39).

I had often wondered whether I will ever be a man of courage like Samson, David and Winston Churchill. For a great part of my life, I had believed that courageous men are born and not made. One mid-September night, faced with a life and death situation, I discovered the power of Joshua 1:9 and similar scriptures to imbue us with courage when we need it most. “I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.” Then I learned that the word of God makes us strong and courageous. To be prepared is to be ready with an appropriate word of God as answer to the event that demands courage. An example is what St Paul wrote to Timothy: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control”. (2 Timothy 1:7)

As Jesus Christ taught, we must be constantly vigilant with the word of God so that no situation can take us by surprise.

See: Some Books on Courage

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Some Sayings of St. José Maria

"The Lord has sworn an oath and he will not retract; you are a priest forever, in the line of Melchisedech" (Psalm 110:4)

"Do you see? One strand of wire entwined with another, many woven tightly together, form that cable strong enough to lift huge weights. "You and your brothers, with wills united to carry out God's will, can overcome all obstacles" (St. José Maria, "The Way", 480).

"Conversion is something momentary; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. The divine seed of charity, which God has sown in our souls, wants to grow, to express itself in action, to yield results which continually corresponds with what God wants. Therefore, we must be ready to begin again, to find again -- in new situations--the light and the stimulus of our first conversion" (Christ is Passing By, 58).

"If we want to achieve holiness--in spite of personal shortcomings and miseries which will last as long as we live--we must make an effort, with God's grace, to practice charity, which is the fullness of the law and the bond of perfection. Charity is not something abstract; it entails a real, complete, self-giving to the service of God and all men in the hubbub of the world and those people whose existence is interwoven with our own. By living charity--love--we live all the human and supernatural virtues required of a Christian" (Conversations, 62).

"I assure you, my children, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you repeatedly, and hammered away once and again on the idea, that the Christian vocation consists in making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives" (Conversations, 116).

"A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile; he is not merely formal and well-mannered: he is completely sincere and trusting. God is not shocked by what we do. Our infidelities do not wear him out. Our Father in heaven pardons any offense when his child returns to him, when he repents and asks for pardon. The Lord is such a good father that he anticipates our desire to be pardoned and comes forward to us, opening his arms laden with grace" (Christ is Passing By, 64).

Opus Dei


Monday, October 03, 2005

St. José Maria Escriva

"The Lord has sworn an oath and he will not retract; you are a priest forever, in the line of Melchisedech" (Psalm 110:4)

God chose St. José Maria Escriva as the instrument to found Opus Dei. Opus Dei is an enabling way of holiness in daily work and in the fulfillment of the ordinary duties of a Christian. José Maria taught that we can turn all the circumstances and events of our lives into opportunities to love and serve God and the Church. That is to say, we can come to trust divine providence in every circumstance of our life. We can do this because of who we are: children of God. A thorough understanding of what he called divine affiliation will change our entire perspective. His teachings inspire a life of joy and simplicity with faith and love. Many lay people all over the world follow this teaching enthusiastically today.

St. José Maria Escriva de Balaguer was born in Spain on 9 January 1902. He was ordained to the priesthood on 28 March 1925. He cherished the priesthood and like Melchisedech, he is a priest forever.

During his life, St. José Maria criss-crossed the world several times, giving many seminars and interviews. He wrote many books and speeches, all for the growth of Opus Dei and today the body has about 85,000 members in 80 countries. José Maria died in Rome on 26 June 1975. Pope John Paul II canonized him a saint on the 6th of October, 2002.
Opus Dei


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Unless the Lord builds....

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. .... In vain you rise early and go late to rest, toiling for the bread you eat; he supplies the needs of those he loves.(Psalm 127: 1-2)

Finding, keeping and progressing in a good job constitute one of life's great blessings. A good job means many wonderful things in life. It means personal prosperity: a nice home, new cars and vacations. It allows you to give your children great opportunities in life. A good job signifies winning respect, leadership, being admired by people in your social life and business circles. With a good job, you enjoy maximum freedom: freedom from worries, fears, frustrations and failure. A good job means self-esteem. As you optimize your potentials, you discover more happiness and satisfaction from life. You are proud that you are able to do more for people who depend on you.

Everybody wants a good job. We all want the best that life can offer us. Getting that good job is like building a house. The Bible teaches us to build on rock so that the house can stand storms and tempests. God is the architect and the master builder of our jobs, our families and in fact of our lives. He has the blue print. Let us trust Him. "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain(Psalm 127: 1)

Read:The Richest Man in Babylon