Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two types of spirits

"We are from God; whoever recognizes God listens to us; anyone who is not from God refuses to listen to us. This is how we can distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood." (1 John 4: 6)

Jesus says: "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. " (John 10: 27)

There are two types of spirits – spirit of truth who dwells in the children of God and the spirit of falsehood who dwells in those who have rejected Jesus.

God stamped his DNA in every person created in His image and likeness. But only those who are born again are children of God. The children of God listen to the voice of their shepherd and recognize it. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Those who are not children of God do not have the spirit of truth living in them.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Test the spirits

"Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh be longs to God,

and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world." (1 John 4: 1-3)

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.

By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

So by their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7: 15-20)

"The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.

Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:

whoever claims to abide in him ought to live (just) as he lived." (1 John 2: 3-6)



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I love your law

"The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces."

"(Psalm 119: 72).

How do we know for certain that God's word is more precious than silver and gold? God's word transforms ordinary humans into extraordinary beings. There are abundant proofs from the lives of many people. Their heroic lives had been recognized and many of them canonized as saints. The proof also comes from the lives of dedicated Christians living among us. These individuals have the courage to test the life-changing principles in the Bible and confirm that they work. Their highly successful lives and achievements bear testimony to the power of God's word. God's word contains many promises each of which is may be worth more than silver and gold, depending on our needs.

To discover the gold and silver in the word of God, read it as a personal letter. Read the word in order to act on its principles and so obtain what it promises.

How Apply the Word of God to your Problem:

  • Define the problem.
  • . State two or more key words that are contained in your problem.
  • Get a Bible Concordance and list all the references to your keywords.
  • Take your Bible and write out all the references that bear directly on the problem.
  • Focus on a number of texts that apply directly to you.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to apply the scripture.

The last step is critical: Understand what the scripture is saying to your actual situation. If you are not satisfied with the answer that you are getting, keep working on it until you are enlightened.

Believe the Bible text that God has revealed as answer to your problem. Belief may not come automatically. Like Peter, you can say again and again: "Lord I believe; increase my faith."

When you get a clear idea on concrete steps to take to solve your problem, act without hesitation. If you are not sure, wait until you get this clear signal. This is the most important step. "Faith that is firm is also patient." (Isaiah 28:16)

  • I believe in prayer
  • I believe in the word of God
  • I believe in miracles
  • I leave the rest to God

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wisdom will bestow a graceful garland on your head

"The first principle of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; at the cost of all you have, acquire understanding! Hold her close, and she will make you great; embrace her, and she will be your pride; she will provide a graceful garland for your head, bestow a crown of honor on you." (Proverbs 4: 7-9)

My pursuit of wisdom took me to self-development literature, philosophy, theology and history. After many years of seeking wisdom from second-hand sources, I was pointed to the fountain of wisdom: the Bible.

Roger Crawford in his book, How High Can You Bounce? , writes: "Resilient people realize that it's impossible to see the full value of adversity until it is behind us. Understanding and wisdom come after an event, not before." Wisdom can come during an event if one feeds himself with a daily portion of the word of God.

Wisdom and the Cross

St Francis de Sales writes: "The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity, the cross He now presents to you from His innermost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it is not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, and taken one last glance at you and your courage - has sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all merciful love of God."

More Scriptures on Wisdom

  • "Blessed are those who have discovered wisdom, those who have acquired understanding! Gaining her is more rewarding than silver, her yield is more valuable than gold. She is beyond the price of pearls, nothing you could covet is her equal. In her right hand is length of days; in her left hand, riches and honor. Her ways are filled with delight, her paths all lead to contentment. She is a tree of life for those who hold her fast, those who cling to her live happy lives." (Proverbs 3: 13-18)
  • "Teach me wisdom and knowledge, for in your commands I trust. (Psalm 119:66)
  • "And now my children listen to me. Happy are those who keep my ways. Listen to instruction and become wise, do not reject it. Blessed, whoever listens to me, who day after day keep watch at my portals. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains the favor of Yahweh; but whoever misses me harms himself, all who hate me are in love with death." (Proverbs 9: 32-36)
  • "The blessing of Yahweh is what brings riches, to this, hard toil has nothing to add." (Proverbs 11: 22)
  • "For want of leadership a people perishes, safety lies in many advisers" (Proverbs 11: 14)
  • "A sudden fortune will dwindle away, accumulation little by little is the way to riches." (Proverbs 13: 11)
  • "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, desire fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)
  • "In the fear of Yahweh is powerful security; for his children he is a refuge." (Proverbs 14:26)
  • "Better to have a little and with it fear of Yahweh than immense wealth and with it anxiety." (Proverbs 15:16)
  • "Two things I beg of you, do not grudge me them before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of food, for fear that, surrounded by plenty, I should fall away and say, 'Yahweh - who is Yahweh?' or else, in destitution, take to stealing and profane the name of my God."(Proverbs 30: 7-9)
  • "For Yahweh himself is giver of wisdom, from his mouth issue knowledge and understanding. He reserves his advice for the honest, a shield to those whose ways are sound; he stands guard over the path of equity."(Proverbs 2: 6-8)
  • "Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception; acknowledge him in every course you take, and he will see that your paths are smooth."(Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • "My child do not scorn correction from Yahweh, do not resent his reproof; for Yahweh reproves those he love, as a father the child whom he loves."(Proverbs 3: 11-120

Friday, December 24, 2010

We destroy false arguments

"The weapons we use in our fight are not the world's weapons but God's powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strong-holds. We destroy false arguments; we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10: 4-5)New Jerusalem Bible.

God gave us in His word a powerful weapon. With this weapon, we can destroy strong-holds, false arguments and pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God. How do we use God's word as a weapon in spiritual warfare? Jesus told us to make His word our home if we want to be His disciples. Only trained disciples can participate in the war. When the word is in our hearts and on our lips, the Holy Spirit will inspire us when and what to use. Jesus Christ must reign on the internet. Below are links to some Christian sites on the web. Write, publish and blog.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

St. Vincent de Paul

"Come you whom my Father has blessed....For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me" (Matthew 25: 34-36)

St Vincent de Paul was born in 1580. As a priest, he devoted his life to the care of the poor and the sick in Paris. Vincent founded the Congregation of the Missions, the Sisters of Charity. He found also orphanages, and hospitals. The Lord opened the hearts of wealthy women to support his work. A charity bearing his name, St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in his name in Paris in 1833 and this society is active in most countries of the world today. St Vincent de Paul died in 1660 and his feast day is September 27. St Vincent de Paul is the patron saint of charitable societies and hospital workers.

What I love about this saint is his absolute trust in God's providence. He learned this secret after many years in the ministry.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What is in 10?

What is in 10?

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Once there were ten girls who took their oil lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and the other five were wise "(Matthew 25: 1-2).

"Or suppose a woman who had ten silver coins loses one of them - what does she do?" (Luke 15:8)

"As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. He was going into a village when he was met by ten men suffering from a dreaded skin disease " (Luke 17: 11-120.

The number Ten has always fascinated me. There are ten fingers and ten toes. There are Ten Commandments. Robert Schuller's , in his book, TOUGH TIMES DO NOT LAST BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO teaches how to count to ten and win. My dream is to write a Blog on each of the ideas below:

My top 10 Scriptures
My top 10 Saints
My top 10 Spiritual books
My top 10 Bible characters
My top 10 reasons for hope

My top 10 tricks of the Devil
My top 10 journeys
My top 10 inspirational writers
My top 10 holidays
My top 10 historical events


Monday, December 20, 2010

St. Therese

"The Lord nurtured and taught her; he guarded her as the apple of his eye. As the eagle spreads its wings to carry its young, he bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader"(Deut 32: 10-12)

St Therese of the Child Jesus was born in Alencon, France in 1873. As a young girl, she entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux, where she developed rapidly into a spiritual adult. She burned these words of Jesus into her heart: "Unless you change and become like little children, says the Lord, you shall not enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 18:3) St Therese of the Child Jesus modeled her life to that of the little child of Matthew 18:3. This explains her popularity and immense appeal to countless devotees all over the world. She died on September 30, 1897. Her feast day is the 1st of October.

Quotes from St Theresa

"The Doctor of doctors teaches us without the sound of words. I have never heard Him speak, and yet I know He is within my soul. Every moment He is guiding and inspiring me, and, just at the moment I need them, `lights' till then unseen are granted me. Most often it is not at prayer that they come but while I go about my daily duties" ("The Story of a Soul", Chapter 8).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Found in the Temple

"My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you."(Luke 2: 48).NJB

Jesus had remained behind in Jerusalem to listen to the teachers of the Law. The incidence teaches us a number of lessons about Mary and Jesus. Mary was not omniscient. She did not know that Jesus was in the temple. Mary also felt acutely the pain of a mother who had lost a son. We admire Mary's patience and perseverance. Jesus already shows a singleness of purpose with regard to His mission even at the age of twelve.

The Documents of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium comments: "When the Child Jesus was lost and they had sought Him sorrowing, His parents found Him in the temple, taken up with the things which were His Father's business. They did not understand the reply of the Son. But His Mother, to be sure, kept all these things to be pondered over in her heart (cf. Lk2: 41-51).

Friday, December 17, 2010


"Furthermore, my child, you must realize that writing books involves endless hard work, and that much study wearies the body." (Ecclesiastes 12: 12)NJB

The desire to write is one of my earliest ambitions. I started the habit of keeping journals towards in the end of my high school and discontinued this habit when I left college. . During my desert experience, I went back to serious journal keeping. There was no particular method to my journal writing. I tried to jot down something every day.

What are the contents of my journal? Reflections on scripture passages, insights from my desert experience. Events that I consider significant during the course of the day have always been an important component of my journal experience. When I have nothing to write, I write down the mundane activities of the day. Some years ago, I installed the LifeJournal software that has now become my main journaling tool. I still keep the book diary as a backup. The advantage of electronic journaling is immense. One can retrieve information quickly. The LifeJournal has many tools and resources which I have not gathered enough courage to explore. I plan to do it one day. One habit I would like to form is to review my journal entries on a systematic basis. Whenever I did this, I have derived some pleasure and sometimes insights from it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spiritual Guide

"How could I, unless I have someone to guide me? (Acts 8:31)

Do we need a human guide in our journey of faith? If the Holy Spirit leads and guides us, why should we need a spiritual director? 

While the Holy Spirit can lead and guide us directly, it would appear from ancient tradition of the Church that there is a place for the spiritual guide. It is the Holy Spirit who would lead you ultimately to a good spiritual guide.

A good spiritual guide in our journey of faith is better than no guide at all.  A good spiritual guide would act like a human guardian angel.  The guide points out the way to make progress in the spiritual life.  He encourages and when necessary reprimands.  In the secular world, they call the guide an accountability partner.  But a good spiritual guide is much more than an accountability partner.  While an accountability partner could help overcome the problems like alcohol or pornography, the spiritual guide helps in everything that touches the Way, the Truth and the Life.  In other words, he guides you to Jesus.

Your spiritual guide is your mentor and your friend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10 Impactful Books

"Dear Theophilus:

In my first book, I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work until the day he was taken up to heaven. (Acts 1:1-2)

God in His wisdom decided to put His words in a book. Throughout the centuries, God's book, the Bible has given birth to other scriptures or biblettes. Holy men and women who had fed and digested God's word had shared their personal reflections on this word with their fellow men. Some of these works have become classics. Below are 10 books in my reading list.

1. The Bible

2. Mary of Nazareth by F. Suarez

3. Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis

4. Francis De Sales : Introduction to the Devout Life

5. . The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

6. St Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul

7. St Josemaria Escriva: The Way

8. St Louis de Monfort: The Secret of the Rosary

9. Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence by Father J.P. de Caussade, S.J.

10. Mary, Mother of the Church by Fr. Francis Ripley


Monday, December 13, 2010


"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

We all labor and are heavily burdened with problems of money, health, family, job, cars, etc. Jesus knows us individually and is aware of our situation. He invites us to come to Him to find solution to our many problems. We come to Jesus in the Eucharist. We meet Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. When the Church gathers in prayer in His name, He is there. When we accept the word of God with faith, it changes our lives and our circumstances.

Prayer for genuine contentment

"My God, in your creation of this world you made all things to be very good. I thank you, Lord, for all the goods of this world, and especially all those who have provided for me and my loved ones.

But remind me, Lord, that only you are the true Good, and that all earthly goods are but shadows of you. And should I become very attached to any fleeting good, and let it obstruct my love for you, grant me the holy desire to have it taken from me. Through Christ Our Lord, the King of glory who has no pillow to lay his head. Amen."

Listen to Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness.

"Set your mind on God's kingdom
and His justice before everything else,
and all the rest will come to you as well.
So do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow
will look after itself. Each day has troubles
enough of its own."

(Matthew 6: 33-34)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Perseverance and faith of saints

"Let anyone who can hear listen: Those for captivity to captivity; those for death by the sword to death by the sword. This is why the saints must have perseverance and faith" (Revelation 13:10)

Who are the saints? These are holy men and women who had patterned their lives after the life of Jesus. They practiced the teachings of Jesus Christ. They are saints above all because they have solid faith in Jesus Christ and persevered in following the Lamb wherever He goes. Their example is relevant for us today. They show us that in every age and culture, it is possible to imitate Jesus. We learn a great deal from the study of the lives of the saints.

These men and woman inspire us by their heroic lives. Their reward was rich in faith, love, hope, peace and tranquility during their lives and after death, they inherited everlasting life.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Put on Jesus Christ

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14).

We "put on" Jesus in baptism (Galatians 3:27). After we have been configured to Christ through baptism, frequent reception of the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of reconciliation molds us into the image of Christ.   St. José Maria Escriva writes: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ', says St Paul to the Romans. It is in the Sacrament of Penance that you and I put on Jesus Christ and his merits" (The Way, 310).

"So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first." (Matthew 5: 23-24)

"He is the Beginning, the first-born from the dead, so that he should be supreme in every way; because God wanted all fullness to be found in him and through him to reconcile all things to him" (Colossians 1:18)

"What is more, we are filled with exultant trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation."(Romans 5:11)


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Top 10 Reasons for Hope

"But you are the chosen race, the King's priests, the holy nation, God's own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2: 9).

1. God has given everything its place in the world and no one can make it otherwise. (Esther 13:9)

2. Jesus is the light of the world. He who follows Him will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

3. God's word is always there to give us hope and console us when we are downcast. (Psalm 119:49-50)

4. God is always good to those who hope in Him, to those who are searching for His love. (Lamentations 3:25)

5. The rich may suffer want and go hungry, but nothing is lacking to those who fear the Lord. (Psalm 33:11)

6. Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours, says the Lord. (Mark 11: 23-24)

7. God has reserved a depth of kindness to those who love Him. (Psalm 30:20)

8. Those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways shall enjoy the fruits of their labor, they will prosper and be happy. (Psalm 127: 1-2)

9. We did not choose Christ. He chose us to go and bear fruit that will last. (John15:16)

10. Jesus did not come to call the virtuous but sinners. (Matthew 9:13)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Born for one purpose

"I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth" (John 18: 37).

Jesus defined His purpose on earth as bearing testimony to the truth. The truth is the business of these pages.

Jesus promises:" I have opened a door in front of you which no one can close" (Revelation 3:8).  This promise is for all of us and the internet could be that door. The net provides us with a stupendous opportunity to spread and receive the healing truth of Jesus Christ.

This Blog shares personal reflections on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

"Go and preach to all nations: baptize them and teach them all I have commanded you"(Matthew 28: 19-20).

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Man of Sorrows and Woman of Sorrows

"..and a sword will pierce your soul too "

" Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed - and a sword will pierce your soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare.'"(Luke 2: 33-35)NJB

Mary heard explicitly the prophecy of the part she was to play in the life and death of the 'suffering servant of Yahweh.' The sword which would pierce the heart of Jesus would not spare that of Mary. Mary must have repeated her words at the annunciation: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word."

The Church expounds in The Documents of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium): "When Mary presented Jesus to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother's soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed" (cf Luke 2:34-35).

Man of Sorrow and Woman of Sorrow

"..and a sword will pierce your soul too "

" Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed - and a sword will pierce your soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare.'"(Luke 2: 33-35)NJB

Mary heard explicitly the prophecy of the part she was to play in the life and death of the 'suffering servant of Yahweh.' The sword which would pierce the heart of Jesus would not spare that of Mary. Mary must have repeated her words at the annunciation: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word."

The Church expounds in The Documents of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium): "When Mary presented Jesus to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother's soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed" (cf Luke 2:34-35).

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The power of prayer

God provided us with prayer as one of the tools to help us achieve our life's purpose. Jesus' teaching on prayer is precise. What are the lessons from Jesus' teaching on prayer?

* Prayers of petition show our dependence on God as supreme provider of all good things. It is a very important subject to Jesus.

* God answers prayers.

* Jesus committed Himself that prayers in His name will be answered.

What are the conditions for appropriating Christ's promises on prayer?

1. Listen and understand what God's word is saying to your need.

2. Believe in God's promise.

3. Obey the word, i.e. act on the word.

Jesus on Prayer

"Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always find; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him." (Matthew 7: 7-9)

"Give us today our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11)

 "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:9)

"Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and his righteousness, and all other things will be given you as well."(Matthew 6:33)

 "And I tell you more:  whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven."  (Matthew 18: 19)

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for it." (Luke 11:13)

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they shall always pray and never be discouraged." (Luke 18: 1-8)

"And if you have faith, everything you ask for in prayer you will receive." (Matthew 21: 22)

"I tell you therefore: everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too. (Mark 11:24)

"Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back." (Luke 6:38)

"Whatever you ask for in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13)

"If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it." (John 14:14)

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it." (John 15: 7)

"The Father will give you anything you ask him in my name." (John 16:23)

"Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so your joy will be complete." (John 16:24)

"When that day comes, you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I come from God." (John 16: 26-27)

Friday, December 03, 2010

God’s Plan for us

"Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
 (Jeremiah 29:11)

What will you do if you know for certain that God has a plan for your life? I seek it till I find the plan. God's word tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that God's plan for our welfare is a reality and that the plan is good.

Our welfare is first and foremost our spiritual welfare, that is, the eternal life that Jesus gave His life to bring us. God has a plan on how we are to obtain and enjoy this life. Our welfare also concerns our physical welfare: family, health, job, money, food and all the things we need for our life. God has a plan for each of us concerning these things.

If you are going to build a home, you need good tools and material for a solid foundation. If you are going to build your future, you need the best tools and material. God provides for our welfare through His plans. These plans are like excellent tools.  We use the tools to find and achieve our purpose in life. Some of these tools are listed below. When we use these tools faithfully, God's plan of peace and prosperity for us will unfold.

        The Eucharist

        The Sacrament of Reconciliation


        The Word of God

        Ministry Service

        Examination of Conscience

        Spiritual Direction

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mary and Pentecost


" With one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.(Acts 1: 14)

Mary was over-shadowed by the Holy Spirit at the incarnation of the Son of God. She was present with the Disciples of Christ at Pentecost. With them, she was filled again with the Holy Spirit. With this gift, Mary was led to the fullness of the truth about her Son and his mission.

Leo XIII wrote in his Encyclical, Adiutricem Populi, of September 5, 1895,"With a generous heart Mary undertook and discharged the duties of her high but laborious office, the beginnings of which were consecrated in the Cenacle. With wonderful care she nurtured the first Christians by her holy example, her authoritative counsel, her sweet consolation, her fruitful prayers. She was, in very truth, the Mother of the Church, the teacher and queen of the Apostles, to whom, besides, she confided no small part of the divine mysteries which she kept in her heart."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Paul Set Apart Before Birth

"Go and preach to all nations: baptize them and teach them all I have commanded you"(Matthew 28: 19-20).

Paul pondered the meaning of these words for his life. He understood the specific demands of Christ in calling him to be an apostle of the gentiles and responded fully to its pressures.

Paul's autobiography in his letter to the Galatians reveals the depth of his commitment.

"But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood"(Galatians 1:15-16).

PAUL: The Man

Paul, a child of Jewish parents was born a Roman citizen in Tarsus. He became a tentmaker by profession and studied under Gamaliel. Paul opposed vehemently the young Christian movement and persecuted the Christians. On his way to Damascus to arrest Christians, he encountered Christ Jesus. This dramatic incident marked his conversion. After this event, Paul traveled to Jerusalem where he met the apostles. From there, he began his missionary journeys. He traveled to Europe and Asia Minor. He was the apostle of the gentiles and was responsible for the conversion of thousands of people. Paul wrote fourteen of the New Testament letters. Paul and Peter were arrested in Rome under the persecution of Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded while Peter was crucified upside down.

Sean Kelly & Rosemary Rogers in their book: SAINTS PRESERVE US! describes Paul humorously thus: "He was a convert and, like many converts, 'more Catholic than the pope.' In Paul's case, the pope was Saint Peter, with whom he frequently disagreed. Paul was God's own CEO, a motivator, an organizer, a hands-on manager, a tireless leader-by-example, a Take-Charge Guy with his eye on the Big Picture. He bought into a tiny Hebrew cult, and personally transformed it into a Multi-National, the biggest and richest in the world."

Fulton Sheen wrote in Treasure in Clay on the conversion of St Paul: "It is hard for you to kick against the goad.' In other words, 'It's no use trying to resist my grace. For a long time I have had great things in store for you. Try no longer to be a rebel. I have marked you out to be a great apostle. It is hard. I have struck you down as a rebel, but I will raise you up as a chosen vessel unto me." Paul is the patron saint of public relations and tentmakers and his feast day is June 29.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Spirit of St. Patrick

"He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob." (Psalm 24: 5-6)

Every 17th of March is remembered as St Patrick's Day in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and some other countries. Why is this saint who was born in 386 AD still remembered and honored today? St Patrick is remembered in history for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is the patron saint of Ireland, a small country with great influence in the world. For me, Ireland is best known for its missionary spirit. St Patrick survived many hardships and achieved his life's purpose because of a spirit of strong faith and tenacity.

Patrick was abducted from his home in Kilpatrick in England at the age of sixteen and enslaved in Ireland. He worked as a herdsman for six years before he got an opportunity to escape into Gaul, modern France. There he prepared for the priesthood and was ordained a priest. After his ordination, Patrick returned to Ireland and worked for the conversion of the Irish people.

St. Patrick died in 461. March 17 is the feast of St Patrick. March 17 is also my birthday. I was born on St. Patrick's Day in St. Patrick's parish at a time when the feast of St. Patrick was a school holiday in my country. But I was not baptized Patrick but Emmanuel. I had often wondered why. I never had the opportunity to ask my parents before they died. Most probably the reason may be that my parents chose the name Emmanuel before I was born.

Prayer of St Patrick

Christ is with me,

Christ is before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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 Manny plant a mango seed to celebrate 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. Waiting is preparation time. 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)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Simple King

" Today in the town of David a Savior 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 Was it because the inn had no spare room or the couple could not afford the tariff? Whatever the reason, Mary and Joseph found an alternative accommodation 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 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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love of 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.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making Christ Present to the World

"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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The 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 marvelous 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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Magi Recognized Jesus

"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 (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.


Monday, November 15, 2010

More precious than gold

"The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces." (Psalm 119: 72).

The word of God is life to our soul and body. It is more precious than all the gold and silver in the world, so says Sacred Scripture. How do we know for certain that God's word is more precious than silver and gold? We know because if God says so, then it is true. Human beings are more precious than silver and gold. We see every day the power of God's word to transform ordinary humans into extraordinary beings. There are abundant proofs from the lives of many people living around us. The heroic lives of those who had gone before us are recognized and many of them had been declared saints, i.e. our models and examples. The life-changing principles in the Bible invite us to test and prove to ourselves their vitality.

To discover the gold and silver in the word of God, read it as a personal letter. Read the word in order to act on its principles and so obtain what it promises.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

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 4.00pm? 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.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

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. José Maria died in Rome on 26 June 1975. Pope John Paul II canonized him a saint on the 6th of October, 2002. José Maria is one of my patron saints

Friday, November 12, 2010

A good job

"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)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Cross as a Magnet

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself" (John 12:32).

Christ promised to draw all men to Himself when he was lifted up. His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven completed the salvation of all mankind. The way is now open for Christ to lead all men to heaven.

Christ draws us to Himself. The attraction we have for Him and our love for Him are His gifts to us. When Christ was lifted up, He sent the Holy Spirit whose work is to draw all men to Christ. His graces are ever present, ever active in all of us. Our duty is to cooperate with Him. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ through the Word of God and through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

O Holy Spirit, we have heard your word. We thank you for it. We believe it. You are drawing us closer to Christ everyday. We believe in your loving presence in us. We love you. We surrender ourselves totally to you so that your grace may triumph in us. You can make us holy if you want or indeed whatever you want. We are all yours. Amen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Grain of Wheat

"Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest" (John 12:24).

Just as a wheat grain must die on the ground before it yields a rich harvest, so must we die to old selves before we can yield a rich harvest of good works. Dying to our old selves means abandoning totally our old world ideas on key areas of life: family, health, money, job, tools and food. When these old ideas are flushed out, we replace them with Christ's ideas. The Christ-centered new ideas will influence a new way of seeing things and a new way of behaving.

But the process of dying, any dying is very painful. Christ compared the dying process to a woman in child-birth. She groans and cries because her time of trial has come. But then, the test is for a short time and she experiences the joy of suckling a new baby. Anyone who loves his life so much to want to keep his old self intact with loose it. Hating one's life means hating one's Christ-less ideas. Christ's ideas renew us and make new persons of us.

Lord Jesus, show us how to die to ourselves every day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Precious Ointment

"You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me" (John 12:8.)

Jesus accepted an act of kindness from Mary. She did not count the cost of the ointment. It was very expensive. Mary thought that her Love and Master deserved it. Jesus showed His appreciation by praising her act.

We are called to a life of friendship and companionship with Jesus. How do we show our generosity to Jesus? The first thing in friendship is to provide enough time to nourish the relationship. Mary followed Jesus everywhere. In offering her twenty-four hours to Jesus, she offered her soul, heart, will and everything.

Our love for Jesus must be all-encompassing like Mary's. Often we allow our love for God to remain on the level of intentions. Good intentions on themselves are a good start but for the intentions to become reality, we need the grace of God. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and gives us a generous heart to fulfill our good intentions. Christ is passing by us every day. What we cannot do for Him here and now may be a lost opportunity.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Let him go free

"Unbind him, let him go free" (John 11:44)

The raising to life of Lazarus presents us with a number of lessons:

1. "This sickness will not end in death but in God's glory and through it the Son of God will be glorified" (John 11:4). Our adversities are opportunities for the glory of God. If we are patient to the end, our tests will become testimonies.

2. "I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies, he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:26). Christ in raising Lazarus from the dead, proves that He has the power over life and death. This miracle also teaches that Jesus can raise any person to spiritual life no matter the degree of our deadness to sin.

3. "Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40) Believe unleashes miracles. Jesus also promises that if we believe we can do greater things than He did.

"Unbind him, let him go free" (John 11:44). Ignorance, disease and death all represent forms of loss of freedom. The Truth that is Jesus unbinds us from spiritual death.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Belief in Jesus

"Do you believe in the Son of man?" (John 9:36)

When Jesus asked this question to the man who had been born blind, the blind man responded in the affirmative because he understood the question. If Jesus asks you: What does belief in the Son of man mean to you? Would your answers include: Jesus is my Lord and God, my Savior and Redeemer, my King and Boss, my Friend and Companion?

Jesus' intervention in the life of the blind man gave him back his sight and gave him faith as well. In a literal sense, he experienced Jesus as his savior and redeemer. Has Jesus made any interventions in your life that touched your faith?

Some years ago, while working in Paris, I had a work-related problem that needed a miracle. I prayed and prayed and was given this scripture: "Do not be afraid! Stand firm, and you will see what Yahweh will do to rescue you today: The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Yahweh will do the fighting for you; all you need to do is to keep calm" (Exodus 14: 13-14). I clung to this scripture as a drowning man clings to any object. God turned around my situation and produced a miracle that made many people praise Him. This event uplifted my faith enormously. Jesus rescued me from a certain career disaster. He was indeed my Savior and Redeemer.

The blind man's adversity has brought him something greater than physical vision. He now had a Lord and God who is his personal Savior and Redeemer. God intervenes in our life to save us from sin and evil in order to strengthen our faith.

"Do you believe in the Son of man?" (John 9:36) Yes, Lord. Strengthen my faith

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Sin and Slavery

"I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave....So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:34, 36)

Sin is slavery to passion: food, drink, sex, money, etc. The law of compulsion is at work whenever sin is committed. Compulsion or impulsiveness is the opposite of freedom. If the sin is alcohol, it acts like this: 'Look, I am here. Come and drink your fill.' Or if it is money,: 'I am here. Use me now to fulfill yourself.' The person concerned cannot say no because of lack of freedom.

Jesus came to set us free from this compulsion and impulsion to act sinfully. When sin as alcohol says to us: 'Come and drink me.' We can respond: 'Christ said: 'Man does not live by drink alone. There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God." For every temptation, Jesus has given us a script for it. As good actors, we should be aware of these scripts and use them appropriately. Jesus gives us genuine freedom through His word. His word exposes the lies and errors of temptations such as alcohol, food, sex or money. When we are tempted to turn "these stones into bread", we know how to respond.

Lord Jesus, make us truly free.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Word makes disciples

"If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31)

One of the most popular sayings from the Bible is: "The truth shall make you free." I knew of this quotation before I came to read it in the Bible. We all love freedom. Today more than ever, there are so many things that enslave us: Money, sex, television, alcohol, drugs, food, tobacco, pornography, cars, gadgets and so on. A number of businesses have grown rich on promises to liberate us from our dependencies, addictions and distractions.

Jesus promises that knowing His word will lead to knowledge of the truth. Truth comes into the mind as light to chase away error or darkness that causes sin, ignorance and death. Truth frees us from fear: Fears of ill-health, lack of money, opinion of people; fears of no job and its consequences. These subtle fears drive us to addictions.

How many people are genuinely free today? "Those who rush to other gods bring many troubles on themselves" (Psalm 16:4). These tin gods: money, alcohol, sex, food, etc exploit our weaknesses, enslave us and bring so much unhappiness to our lives. How can we be free? Feeding the mind with the words of Jesus Christ will make us free. "If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Right Time

"The right time for me has not come yet, but any time is the right time for you." (John 7:6)

When the brothers of Jesus urged Him to manifest Himself openly in Judaea, Jesus told them that the time is not right for such a show. Have you ever been under pressure to act? Subtle pressures to act 'now'; 'to show yourself to the world' have troubled me in the past.

When you need to make a critical move in your life, success depends on timing. How do we recognize the right time? The Master is teaching us in John 7:6 that there is time for everything. To succeed, we must align ourselves to God's will and time-table. But how do we find out God's time on any issue?

Christ never took any major step in His life without prayer. He spent the night in prayer before He chose His the twelve apostles. Seeking God's will implies readiness to wait for it. "Faith that is firm is also patient." (Isaiah 28:16). When we wait for God's light and guidance after prayer, He never fails to manifest it. He does this through various means. Once we receive this guidance, then, "Do whatever he tells you." We can then act in confidence, certain that this is God's right time for us.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Spirit gives life

"It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer" (John 6:63)

To experience joy, peace, happiness and contentment is to be alive in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit who is in us makes this condition possible. After we have received the Holy Spirit through baptism, the Spirit maintains His life in us through His word and through the sacraments especially the Eucharist. These are two most important means for building up the body of Christ.

The Holy Spirit transforms the ordinary bread and wine we bring to the altar during the Eucharist into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ for the life of the soul. The word of God gives spiritual life to man. So does the Bread of life. To have real life, the life that endures, man must partake of the Word of God and the Bread of life.

"It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer" To connect to the Spirit, make your home in the word of God and eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ often.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bread of life

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst" (John 6:35).

There are few sources of pleasure in life that could rival food. One saying has it that love enters through the stomach. Food was a major cause of conflict between God and His people during their forty years of journey through the desert to the Promised Land. We are familiar with food riots in homes, schools, prisons and even in societies. Happiness, fulfillment, eternal life have been presented frequently through the images of food, drink and banquet in the Bible. When Jesus said: "I am the bread of life", He chose a very powerful symbol in which to reach man. Jesus indeed is the bread of life. Under the appearance of bread and wine, He gives us Himself in the Eucharist.  How do we know that this is true?  This is the very word of Jesus.  This is an explicit promise.  The original people who heard this knew that Jesus was not being metaphorical.  Their reaction showed what their understanding was.  Secondly, the Church had believed this from the very beginning.  The Church believes it today.  The Church will believe this till the end of time.

When we come to Jesus in Holy Communion, what do we seek? Christ promises us two things explicitly in the Eucharist. If we come to Him, we will never be hungry and we will never know thirst. "Man does not live by bread alone, there is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God."  The natural man has great hunger and thirst for material things. The genuine bread, 'the bread of life' will gradually free man from excessive appetite for material food and drink.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Do not be afraid

"They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat. This frightened them, but he said, 'It is I. Do not be afraid" (John 6: 19-20)

Jesus is in every event in our life. In these verses, He is saying to us: 'Do not be afraid. I am present.' How can we make this truth serve us? In the midst of the stormy events of life, how do we call to mind the sure presence of Jesus? One way is to cultivate the presence of Jesus through the Jesus prayer. Form the habit of using the name of Jesus as affirmation. Whenever you mention that name, sense His presence.

Jesus is present in us through the Holy Spirit. How can we be sure of this? Because of the peace and tranquility we enjoy. When trial comes to us and we forget the presence of Jesus with us, we become afraid. We feel that we are in control of events and we feel so inadequate. Jesus wants us to know: "I am here. Do not be afraid."

How can we be constantly aware of the presence of Jesus? The words of Jesus bring peace and comfort in troubles. When we immerse ourselves in these words during calm weather, we could recall them easily during storms. Using the name of Jesus, which is Jesus prayer is the simplest but the most powerful type of prayer. It brings calm.

Jesus! "Yes, I am here. Do not be afraid."