Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiness and Mission

Holiness is sharing in the communion which exists between Jesus and the Father.  The mission every Christian is called to do is the very mission of Christ. The mission of Christ was to enable people to share in the communion which exists between Him and the Father, in other words share in the holiness of God.

Christ entered into this world for the sake of establishing the Way, the one and only true Gate that leads to God the Father. Those of us who enter through this gate are granted a holy desire to share this gift of communion, because at the core of divine communion is love, characterised by service and total self giving.

When we grow in holiness we grow to be missionaries too. We become a servant of the mission of Christ and also a servant of those around us near and far. When we share the good news of salvation with our brothers and sisters, especially with those who have not known the "only way", we serve them. This service is a fitting response to the great mercy and love of God who saves us and grants us everlasting life.

There is an inseparable link between holiness and mission. Holiness does not exist without mission and mission does not exist without holiness. Only if we are united to Christ as the branches to the vine (John 15:5) can we produce good fruit. Mission is the good fruit we produce when we unite with Jesus the vine. Jesus warns, if the branch separates itself from the vine, it withers and dies.

The effectiveness of mission is determined by holiness. Holiness is the unwavering faith and reliance in the saving power of God. Holiness of a person is in proportion to the grace he has. Venial sin weakens the grace and mortal sin removes grace completely.

The life that God offers us is supernatural. So the means to this end is also supernatural. Sacraments offer us the supernatural grace to grow in holiness. No amount of human effort is sufficient to make ourselves holy or to obtain eternal life. Only the grace of Christ can make us holy and grant us eternal life. Grace is the free merit we receive from redeeming sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But Christ cannot grant us these things without our cooperation and effort. Our effort is to sincerely and consistently choose to serve Christ and Him alone. Our effort is to constantly fight the battle against the lust of the body, lures of the world and the tricks of the devil.

Our fallen nature draws us towards self seeking choices. We need the grace of God to make the right choices. Our choices must lead us to life. Sin leads us to death. Every time we compromise and give in to sin, thinking God is merciful and will forgive us, we run the risk loosing the grace and becoming more vulnerable to bigger and graver sins. Same happens even when we postpone our return. In order to remain in the state of grace one must humbly admit his frailty, drawing himself immediately to the sacraments, especially reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist, the means of supernatural grace Christ himself has established.

Mission is also letting the Holy Spirit in us to freely move and act according to its will. It is the Holy spirit that convict and turn people to the saving power of Christ.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The truth will set you free

Let the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to always see and know the “Truth” Jesus revealed through the word of God both written and spoken. We must at any point in our spiritual walk desire for an increase of the divine life within us and never be complacent. What stagnates our growth is the “I already know it all’ attitude. Such attitude will render us ignorant of the great distance one could journey seeking the fullness of truth and divine life despite our frailty.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor 4:7

It is only when we know the truth can we begin to pull ourselves to that peak of the mountain, raising the standards of our Christian life from ordinary to extra ordinary.

Come let us trek to the mountaintop. The rope is the scripture. The life’s problems are the recesses in the mountain on which we firmly set foot and climb aloft. Howsoever big the mountain of struggles, challenges are, God has already made it possible for us to conquer it – in Him. Holding on to rope and climbing with the sole desire to unite with Christ is the only effort that you and I need to put in. It is God who honors and rewards our humble effort and making us more like him. Backsliding when climbing mountains can be dangerous especially if we stop making progress. All it takes is simple faith in the redemptive power of Jesus and the realisation that we are incapable to do this on our own.  It is god's desire to make us like him.

Remember what we ought to do to advance in spiritual life is more of letting go than adding anything new. To let go we need to be freed first. Our freedom comes form knowing the truth.

Jesus said “You will know the truth and truth will set you free”. John 8:32.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Do not be Hopeless

Marriage is loosing it's sacredness and sacramentality. It is fast becoming a social event, a mere arrangement for better economical viability. Money rules lives and all life’s decisions. Families are loosing it's relevance. Children with diseases are quietly terminated in the womb, and out side the womb. People are hoping to custom design their kids! The letter "s" next the word "kid" will soon be considered violation of human rights. Money rules lives and all life’s decisions.

Our lives too are reeling under a strategic move by those who uphold the culture of death. We too have become helpless victims of consumerism. Quality of life today is determined by looking at what our neighbour has, that we don’t have. We are being trained to think that "our worth" is something that needs to be purchased at any cost. We are being deceived. We have become mere "toys" in the hands of few. Our precious lives are now considered as "products" for few to multiply their money. Our ignorance is paying a huge price. We have been trained to feel nothing wrong even when our basic freedom and justice is denied. This has been much like the frog and the hot water experiment.

We are too eager to accept whatever the world proposes. Their communication has become compelling and inescapable. Its everywhere! When they propose that children are a burden, it becomes the socially accepted truth. If you already have kids, they make our lives miserable by making basic accessories for education and education itself unaffordable. We have come to believe that happiness security and peace comes from what money can buy. We are encouraged to avail bank loans and credit cards. We will be made to spend our lives slaving to repay loans at the expense of our own lives and the members of our families. Aren't they catching fish in the muddy waters. Aren't they  opportunistically exploiting our plight to their advantage. This situation is much like that story in which the wolf makes the sheep fight and drinks the blood.

We are clueless and confused. But the struggles in life offer us tremendous insights into the secrets of joyful living. Christ never ceases to talk to us. He said "my sheep listen to my voice". If we fail to distinguish the tender voice of Jesus, it is because we have made our interiors too noisy, trying to listen to too many voices.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:11-14

Hurry! Get out of being in the centre of everything. Trade place with Jesus. Let Jesus be at the centre of everything, be it joy or problems. Come to the periphery and watch what is happening there. Do not try to own the problem as if it is yours. Seek to solve it along with Jesus. Think with Jesus, seek with Jesus and act with Jesus. Do the same with success too. Be firmly rooted in the person of Jesus and in the words of Jesus. He said. "but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved". Mathew 24:14

God is in control. Be hopeful! But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Romans 5:20

Eternal Life for All

Eternal Life is to share in the divine life of God. Whoever does the will of God have eternal life. Will of God is that we believe in the one God has sent into the world to save human race - Jesus Christ. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you will love Him. Those who love Him obey His commandments. In order to obey His commandments, we need God's Grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. Grace and the power of the Holy Spirit required to live a life according to the statutes of God is granted in Sacraments of the Church. Sacraments become effective when we receive them worthily. Sincere repentance makes us worthy. Sincere repentance is a combination of the knowledge of the gravity ones own sinfulness and true humility. Remember guilt comes from pride.

We seek to be justified by the good world we do. But our good works blinds us from the reality of our sinfulness and unworthiness. Good works we render is the "work of God". When we take owner ship of our good works, it causes the pride in us to swell up. Pride causes us to become self righteousness and to be insensitive to the presence of God in others. We shut down the channels of the grace of God. And without the Grace of God, we loose the sense of Sin. Our heart hardens. Mind becomes insensitive to the immeasurable mercy and grace freely available in Jesus Christ. We begin to hopelessly depend on our own merits to solve life's problem. We turn to world's wisdom and the solution world offers. We resort to believing in the empty promises of the World to find meaning in life. We become of the World. When God's presence leaves us, we become the breeding ground of evil. Greed, lust, jealousy, hatred takes root in us. We unconsciously consent to partake in the vicious plans satan has to ruin human lives.

But nothing can stop God from loving us and saving us. He is waiting. He is willing. He is ever more compassionate to us. He seldom stops knocking the doors of our heart. He shamelessly follows us. His love for us compels him not give up on us. His wants to grant us forgives and save us. He wants to make us participate in His divine life. This is eternal life. And it is for all.

All it takes is...the humility to return.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Drugs and the right to have Life

Drug abuse is the denial of my fundamental right to have life. And those who are involved in the business of providing drugs to people especially little children are either ignorant of the gravity of damage they are causing or they are simply blinded by false hope money gives.

We know that our body is sacred and the Triune God dwells there. Our body is not a prison or a useless shell from which we must escape from, as some believe. But instead it is a sacrament that makes visible the invisible mysteries of God. We see the true beauty of the human body on the cross, in mother Mary and in the lives of Saints. We believe in the glorious resurrection of our bodies just as Christ experienced it. Yes, it is in the same body we are going to spend eternity in union with God. Human body is sacred and priceless.

Man’s rejection of God (Original sin) has caused human lives to become treacherous and painful. But God out of mercy and love towards His own suffering children sent His only son and redeemed us. Jesus paid an incalculable price on the cross and purchased us. We are no longer in the clutches of sin or it’s consequences but victorious in Jesus Christ. If human beings still live in misery and pain it is because of the ignorance or willful rejection of the truth of salvation Christ offers.

Drug abuse is an act of destroying sacred our bodies. It is an act of stripping the body of its will, consciousness and sanity, leaving it half dead, hoping to escape the miseries of life. Resorting to substance abuse is similar to depriving a bird of its wings. It is left to die a slow death. A person who is tricked into drug abuse is a victim of the cruel deception of Satan in the hands of those who partner with Satan for earthly gains. Drug abuse thus becomes an act of rejecting/thwarting God’s perfect plan of salvation.

Drug abuse causes a person to:

· Become a slave
· Become financially bankrupt
· Be haunted by Guilt
· Be utilized by the greedy and the wicked
· Be misunderstood by parents, family and society
· Suffer mental disorder
· Loose the ability to return to normal life
· Be isolated in the society
· Kill himself unwillingly
· Lose Eternal life
· Waste away ones precious human life

We must pray and stand up to help those who are victims and are proponents of this heinous humanitarian crime. Jesus desires to save them all irrespective of the nature of their sin.

Lets us be that hand and the voice that Jesus can use today. Let the unconditional love of God compel us to merciful as Jesus is Merciful.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Does God Punish?

Often we think, God was punishing Adam and Eve when He sent them out of the garden of Eden. We also think, God was cursing them when He said to man "you will live by the sweat of your brow," and to the women "you will suffer the pain of labour".

God did not cast them out of the Garden. They distanced themselves from God when they sinned. This distancing is the natural result of sin. Nobody can come into the presence of God without holiness. We see how Adam and Eve hide themselves behind the bushes. We see them trying to cover themselves with leaves. Thats what sin does to us. It distances us from the presence of God.

Sin is not an act but a condition. The condition where man looses his capacity to know, love and serve God, and also his neighbour -if not fully. The acts we commit are the fruit of this condition.

Are we not then, confessing only the fruits and not the condition itself!

We also see how God covers Adam and Eve with animal skin. We can assume that, an innocent animal had to give up its life to cover them. In the act, God also covers them with the blood of the animal. This is probably how Cain learned the kind of sacrifice that would make him righteous before God.

God did not intent man to labour or suffer pain. Labour in the field and labour in child birth are also the direct effects of the original sin.

God the father sent His only son to save us from sin and the suffering it brought us. Through baptism God removes the effects of the original sin, and sets us free. The liberation nevertheless is experienced only when the grace received is applied in real life in faith. This means we are set free only when we live according to the word of God/Spirit.

We should not blame God but ourselves for the cruelty, suffering and disasters we see in the world. But God in His mercy turns even these suffering for our good. The innocent sufferings of our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world causes God's grace to fall abundantly. It is because their sufferings is joined with the suffering of Christ just as it is mentioned in Paul's letter to the colossians "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" [1:24]

That is why it is said "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. [Rom 5:20]".

The suffering will cease and peace will be established when all of humanity believes in Jesus Christ and orders their lives according to God's word. Or at the end when the Lord gathers the wheat and leaves the weeds to be burned in eternal fire!.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Growing out of sin

Even though a man sincerely chooses to follow Christ, the sinful nature in him remains. He is able to follow Christ not because he is already free from his sin but because God loved him first.

When we repent and turn to Christ, the grace that God weaves around us is much like a cocoon. Grace is the loving, living presence of God. This unconditional love and the faithful presence of God provide us the right condition to grow and emerge into a beatiful butterfly. When we begin to live in the grace of God, we live no longer by the law of flesh but by the law of the Holy Spirit. We experience freedom.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. [Rom 8:2]

This cocoon around us is weakened when we commit venial sins and it is completely destroyed when we are in mortal sin. As we know little sin draws us to little more sin. It is so because sin weakens our ability to experience the loving presence of God. [Ref CCC 1863] When we prolong in sin, the external world enters through the pores in the cocoon and awakens the deep-rooted yet dormant sinful habits within us.

It is our responsibility to reject sin and be faithful to Christ by remaining in the state of grace [presence of God] despite the pull of concupiscence. It is our constant communion with God that redeems us from sin. The rate at which the redemption takes place in us is proportional to our cooperation with the grace already made available. When we get accustomed to superior good, we begin to value earthly good as worthless and futile. This experience of the superior good deepens and shapes our thoughts and deeds. It creates new habits. It instills in us new virtues. It influences our thinking, It changes our perceptive, It grants us wisdom. It gives us the grace to remain steadfast.

Do not despair when you sin. Waist no time! Realize God still loves you unconditionally. Announce this Truth loudly to all the voices that accuses you. Return to the loving father. Let his love redeem you. Ask God to give you the strength to press towards the confessional just as the prodigal son arose and made the first step. The cocoon will soon be restored. The robe and the ring awaits. The table is set, the feast is ready. Let us rejoice!

We shall surely fly into eternity, fluttering our beautiful wings.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [Thes 5:16-18]