Saturday, April 14, 2018

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.

"Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.”  (Luke 24: 38 ).

I recently found this inspirational advice by Pope St John XXIII:
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do."   Very good advice for the fearful Apostles after the Resurrection.

My hopes and dreams are about the future.  They deal mostly with desires and intentions on enhancements of my human potentials.

But my experiences are in a different category.  They are historical certainties. Your   experience is about how God dealt with you in the past. Eg on health, family, money, job, tools, food and future.   Your experiences form the core of your own scripture.  Do you keep a diary? Through the lens of your experiences, you can observe how God has been faithful to you over the years. St Ignatius Loyola advices that when you are in hardship, consider how God treated you mercifully at a period of prosperity in the past.  I have found this advice very helpful in my life.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Do not be afraid. It is Me.

"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)

"I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28: 2).  Jesus is in every event in our life.  He is saying to you here:  ‘Do not be afraid.  I am present with you as I promised.’  How can I make this truth serve me every single day?  In the midst of the turbulent events of my life, how can I call to mind the sure presence of Jesus?  Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery in the 17th century taught the world how to immerse oneself in the Presence of the Lord while doing his humble duties.  [THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD]. One way is to cultivate the presence of Jesus through the Jesus prayer.  Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I believe you are present in my life through the Holy Spirit.  I thank you for the peace and tranquility that is your gift.  Sometimes I forget about your presence and become anxious and afraid.  I feel that I am in control of events and I feel so inadequate.  Lord teach me to live in your presence every moment of my life.
 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, in God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what power has human strength over me?”  (Psalm 56: 3-4)

Jesus says to us:  "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust."  (Luke 8: 50; Mark 5: 36)

In order to live constantly in the presence of Jesus, immerse yourself in the words of Jesus and say the Jesus prayer: Jesus!

“It is I.  Do not be afraid.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

If this Enterprise is from God, you can never destroy it.

"So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.  But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him."  (Acts 5: 38 - 39).

Every year after Easter, I look forward to this narrative from  Acts 5: 34 - 42.  It reinforces my faith.  I heard it at the beginning of my Journey of Faith and I relish to hear it again at this time in the Easter Season. You may call it the Gamaliel Principle text.  Gamaliel was a famous teacher in Israel at the time of the death of Jesus.  He was the teacher of St Paul and a member of the Sanhedrin.  He laid down a principle of discerning God's will in complex situations based on astute historical analysis. Divine action in history is predictable, he opined.

Members of the the Sanhedrin accepted Gamaliel's advice but went ahead to flog the Apostles in order to intimidate them.  You may call this state terrorism.  Read on to see if they succeeded.

"After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them." (Acts 5: 40).

"So they [Apostles] left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." (Acts 5: 41).

These men have tasted the Holy Spirit and were transformed by the experience.  Instead of quitting....

"All day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus."  (Acts 5: 42).

"What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"  (Acts 8: 31).

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]."  (Romans 8: 37 AMP).

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Experience the Holy Spirit. Experience abundant life and affluence.

"He [The Father] does not ration his gift of the Spirit. (John 3: 34).

What other promise of the Father is so lavish?  You cannot find any other as lavish as the promise of the Holy Spirit or Wisdom.  Exactly the same thing.  Consider a few examples:

#1.  Solomon asked for Wisdom instead of wealth, power and long life and God was very pleased. "I here and now give you what you asked for and more...." (1 Kings 3: 11; 2 Chronicles 1: 11).
#2.  "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  (Luke 11: 13).  If you ask for the Holy Spirit, you get Him here and now.

Who is the Holy Spirit? The Creed teaches that the Holy Spirit is Lord and Giver of life.  The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10: 10.

Deepak Chopra in his book, "CREATING AFFLUENCE" writes: "Affluence is the experience in which our needs are easily met and our desires spontaneously fulfilled. We feel joy, health, happiness, and vitality in every moment of our existence."

Our prayers are answered and we feel the pure joy of answered prayer . The Holy Spirit is Abundant Life and the Creator of Affluence in our lives. 
Desire the Holy Spirit above gold and silver and ask the Father for the Holy Spirit and He will give Him to you here and now.  Experience affluence. Experience abundant life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Yes I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life."  (John 3: 16).

So everyone who believes in Jesus has automatically eternal life? But what does it mean to believe in Jesus?

Every Sunday, the Church confesses its faith in Jesus Christ using the Apostles' or the Nicene Creed.  See below:

"I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead."

In the early Church and still true today, every person seeking membership of the Church must learn and memorize this formula.  The entire congregation repeats this formula when they renew the Baptismal vows and new members baptized at the Easter Vigil.  Why is this important or why does it matter? Because this Creed is the Light of Christ.  It is the mystery which was hidden for ages until Jesus Christ came to reveal these truths. "The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord's people." (Colossians 1: 26).

Now here is why Belief involves knowledge:
"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."  (1 John 5 : 4).  Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  (John 14: 6).  Amen!

Monday, April 09, 2018

The early Christians were of one heart and one mind.

"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common."  (Acts 4: 32).

The early Christian community had one heart and one mind in every question and situation.  Is it surprising then that they had everything in common? There were no communist or conservative factions amongst them.  Wait a minute. How did we get to where we are today?

Paul proclaimed to the Corinthians with confidence:  "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2: 16).

A modern compromise on the problem of disunity is put this way:" In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity."  This bogus quote was once attributed to St Augustine.  But no more.  The root of the radical relativism that undermines society, Church and family today is in my opinion the work of the Father of lies. Consider the following parable of Jesus:

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off."  (Matthew 13: 24 - 25).

Enable us Almighty Father to proclaim the power of our Risen Lord and invite Him to heal divisions amongst us. Amen.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Behold I was born to do your will.

"The Lord said, as he entered the world: Behold, I come to do your will, O God, alleuia."  (Hebrews 10: 5, 7).

Today April 9th is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, transferred from its usual date of March 25th because of Holy Week.

"Behold, I come to do your will, O God,."  (Hebrews 10: 7), which is a Scripture pointing to Christ but can fittingly be attributed to Mary.  Mary's one purpose in life is to do whatever God wants.

How about you? Still struggling to be master of your fortunes in all things? Kicking against the goad?

The Angel Gabriel coming to Mary said “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”  (Luke 1: 28).

You may wonder:  Mary is full of grace.  I am not.  How can I imitate her virtues? Hear this O Christian:
“The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you."  (Luke 1: 35).  Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do for you? (Genesis 18: 14).

"O God, who willed that your Word
should take on the reality of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect in the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord).