Saturday, August 04, 2007

Patience is Power

"I waited, I waited for the Lord; who bent down and heard my cry"(Psalm 40: 1)

A few years ago, I learned how long it takes a tree to bear fruit. The occasion was when I helped my son plant a mango seed to commemorate his first communion. This young mango seedling faced many challenges to its survival in its early years. Storms, strong winds, too much rain, insects threatened its existence. But it survived. One beautiful day exactly 1350 days after it was planted, it yielded its fruit, a beautiful greenish yellow mango fruit.

St James recommends to us the patience of the farmer when he wrote: "Think of the farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too must be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord's coming will be soon" (James 5: 7-8). The farmer trusts the seed to yield fruit at the right time. Jesus compares the word of God to a seed. When a seed is planted in a fertile soil, it must bear fruit in due season.

A caption I saw somewhere proclaims: "To be a man is not a day's job." Human beings face much the same challenge as any seed in order to realize their full potentials. Patience is the key to success. The psalmist urges us: "Wait quietly for the Lord, be patient till he comes."(Psalm 37:7). Learning to wait is the most difficult lesson but it is also the most beneficial. He who can wait is powerful and can achieve his dreams. Therefore: "Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).

My favorite scripture on patience:

"Then the Lord answered me and said:

Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,

so that one can read it readily.

For the vision still has its time,

presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;

If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.

The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live. (Habakkuk 2: 2-4)

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Simple King

" Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.(Luke 2:11)NJB

The story of the birth of Jesus reveals the simple surroundings in which the King of glory was born. "Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger because there was no room for them in the living-space." (Luke 2: 6-7) When Mary and Joseph arrived at the small inn at Bethlehem to seek for a room, they were unable to obtain one. Why? Was it because the inn had no spare room or that the couple could not afford the tariff? Whatever the reason, Mary and Joseph proceeded to look for an alternative accommodation and could find one in a nearby stable. Mary must have pondered the unfathomable mind of God, who allowed His only begotten Son to be born in a stable. The handmaid of the Lord submitted herself to God's disposal of events. Jesus started His life in very simple surroundings and He grew up to love simplicity. From His birth to His death, He possessed very little. Jesus learned simplicity from His mother. The first people to visit Jesus in the stable were simple shepherds.

Leo Xlll wrote in his Encyclical, Fidentem Piumque of September 20, 1896: "No one can fail to be sweetly affected when considering who....presented to the shepherds, to the kings and to Simeon."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

St. Louis-Marie de Monfort

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

Louis de Monfort was born on the 31st of January 1673 in Monfort in France. Louis was educated in the Jesuit College at Rennes and was ordained a priest in 1700. His great contribution was in fostering devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the holy Rosary.

In 1715, he founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary. Among his books which are still in print are: TRUE DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN; SECRET OF THE ROSARY Louis de Monfort made the Rosary one of the most popular Catholic devotions throughout the world. Catholics everywhere are indebted to him for articulating the incredible powers of this simple devotion: The Holy Rosary. His feast is on the 28th of April.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Money Money

"Keep your lives free from love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never leave you, I will never abandon you'" (Hebrews 13:5).

Are you anxious about money? Most of us are since money seems to provide all our needs. In order that our needs do not control our lives, we must learn that God made plans for every aspect of our lives. He has plans for our family, job, health, food, money, etc. These plans were long-established before we were born; they are trustworthy and excellent. God has a detailed financial plan for every individual. If we understand and accept His plans for providing us with money, we shall have peace and enjoy whatever money we happen to have. The message of Hebrews 13:5 could provide the key for understanding God's plan for us. God is telling us in the text:

· Have no anxiety whatsoever about money.

· Whatever you have at any material time, be content with it. It could be large or a small, let that not worry you.

· God promises: I will always support you and be your sufficiency and you will never be embarrassed by money. You will always have what you need.

Because God has made the above promise and we know that He is faithful, we are bold and confident as we say: 'The Lord is our helper in all financial needs. Why should we be afraid? Nobody can threaten us or embarrass us about money.' The message is very clear: Do not worry about money. Trust in God at all times to supply. "The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need." (Psalm 23:1) Jesus is indeed our good Shepherd. At all times, he leads us beside restful waters and refreshes our soul. Even though we walk in the dark valley of financial uncertainty, we fear no evil because he promises to be at our side to encourage us.

In order to enjoy true and constant financial security, we must learn like St. Paul how to live in humble circumstances and how to live in abundance. Armed with this secret, we can say like Paul, “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” (Philippians 4: 13)

The key to appropriating God's promises about money is to understand and obey God's word to us about money. In one word, it is trust – making God’s love for us the foundation of our life. Each promise of God in the scriptures has individual application. God has a specific message for every person about money. Discover what God is saying to you about money.

Recommended book: The Richest Man in Babylon

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What are your gifts?

"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

Monday, July 30, 2007


"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.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

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 the 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.