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Nourish Your Soul

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Nourish Your Soul

Catholic Articles to enrich your Spiritual Life

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Fulfilling the suffering of Christ

Chapter 2 In your weakness God will make your strong

Chapter 3 Compatible with Christ

Chapter 4 Disciple to an Apostle

Chapter 5 Faith Crisis

Chapter 6 Do you Recognise Jesus

Chapter 7 Forgiveness

Chapter 8 Wedding Feast of the Lamb

Chapter 9 Is your Light Shining?

Chapter 10 Women of God

Chapter 11 Call unto me and I will answer you

Chapter 12 Journey of Salvation

Chapter 1

Fulfilling the suffering of Christ for his bride the Church

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Colossians 1:24

Jesus Christ suffered once for all on the cross for the salvation of his creation. He died on Calvary more than 2000 years ago and poured out his blood for us. Although he died on the earth which is time bound, his sacrifice in heaven is not time bound and repeats every time we repent and ask for forgiveness. Hence he said “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19.

How do we fulfil this suffering of Jesus for his bride?

He not only invited us to commemorate the sacrifice but invited us to eat his body and drink his blood while thinking of the sacrifice he offered on the cross for us. “Take and eat; this is my body” Matthew 26:26

It is through eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking Jesus’ blood that Paul proclaimed “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” 2 Corinthians 4:10. Hence, in order for Jesus’ life to be revealed through us to the nations, we need to carry the death of Christ in our body and this is possible by receiving the body and blood of Christ through the sacrament of Eucharist and by making sure we examine ourselves before receiving the Eucharist.

Why would Jesus need you and me to fulfil his suffering?

It’s not because Jesus is not able to do it all by himself that Jesus invited us to carry his presence to this dying world but because he wants us to take part in his work of Salvation. We are invited to show Jesus to this world by being “the Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth” Matthew 5:13,14

When Jesus said on the cross “I Thirst”, he is calling us to go to the souls he is thirsting for and speak to them about Christ and invite them to come back to God. Paul understood it so well and expressed it when he said “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”” 2 Corinthians 5:20

Story portraying the love of Christ:

There was once a dove who loved a beautiful white rose. He starting coming to her presence each day, spending time with her and loving her. Soon, rose also was in love with this dove that cared for her so much.

One day dove came in the evening to spend time with this rose and saw her being sad and upset. When asked why, rose said “I don’t want to be white. I want to be a beautiful red rose. All my friends are teasing me that I am plain and not beautiful”. Dove assured rose that she was beautiful but failed to convince her. Dove finally assured Rose to rest for that night without thinking about it and wake up next morning and look at herself. Rose rested that night. Dove remained there while this beautiful rose went to sleep. Once she is fast asleep, dove started rubbing himself to the thorns on the rose bush and blood started dripping from his body and falling on this white rose. He continued doing that till the last drop of his blood fell on rose and the rose turned red. Next morning Rose woke up and looked at herself. She was completely surprised and happy that she looked beautiful and starting looking for dove to share her happiness. Only then she realised that dove is lying dead beside the rose bush. She understood what happened and tears started rolling from her eyes.

She lost the love of her life but she decided to live her life sharing with everyone the sacrifice of her love and how this dove made her look beautiful with this sacrifice hence carrying the life of dove in her.

Summary:

Please close your eyes and meditate on this story. This is exactly what Jesus did in our life. “We have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” Romans 3:23. Jesus came and restored the beauty of our soul by shedding his blood till the last drop and giving his flesh and blood as food for us. Through this sacrifice he restored the Glory of God in our lives, not to get on with our lives and be the usual us but to carry his death in us and proclaim life and salvation to this dying world.

Examples of ambassadors of Christ carrying his death:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Mother Theresa and her sisters taking care of thousands of suffering and dying souls

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thousands of intercessors who are kneeling in the presence of God to intercede for the world

What difference can you make?

Think of what you can do to show the light of Christ to the world. Start attending the holy Eucharist as often as you can. Carry the death of Christ and make a resolution on what you want to do to share this life with the world which is in the darkness and is dying in sin.

If you start carrying the death of Christ and giving life to the world, you will soon be able to claim what St Paul claimed:

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” Galatians 2:20

Chapter 2

In your weakness God will make you strong

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Your Calvary: Your weakest place or the place of your suffering is the most favourable area for God to work in your lives. Why? Simple, you know you can’t deal with it so you depend on God completely. Oh, how glorious can Jesus make your life the day you realise you can’t do anything without him in any area of your life.

Think of a place or a person which/who is a Calvary in your life. What do you do when you are in that place or situation? Do you escape? Do you lose faith? Or do you pray and surrender it to God? Reflect on the situation you faced and the reaction you had.

What’s Jesus’ approach to Calvary?

Jesus always knew he had to face a Calvary in his life and he prepared himself by prayer and fasting. His words tell us how painful his anticipation of Calvary was and we can only imagine how painful his actual Calvary is. “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” Matthew 26:38. But in all this pain, he only sought the will of God. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will” Matthew 26:39. Seeking the will of God is the key to experience Glory after Calvary. After all, without the sacrifice of Good Friday, there is no Easter joy. The above prayer of Jesus shows that he wanted to be out of Calvary if God is ok with it and I am sure we all feel the same. When there is a problem, we want to escape from that and run away.

Let’s look at men of biblical times who faced Calvary in their lives and how it all turned out to be for greater Glory.

Moses: Moses killed an Egyptian who was fighting against an Israelite and thought no one noticed it. But, when he realised that if was not a secret anymore, Egypt became his Calvary. Word of God says in Exodus 2:15 “When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh”. Moses escaped like we do from our Calvary. But, God is asking him to go back to Egypt now. “Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt” Exodus 3:10. Moses had a lot excuses not to go back as we do too but in the end he obeyed God. Oh, we all know what Glory followed!!!

God’s Glory was manifested in a very powerful way – Red sea was parted to give way to Israelites and Egyptians sent them away with gifts of gold and silver. Moses led the people out of slavery and was called the friend of God: “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” Exodus 33:11

Elijah: Elijah was very zealous for God and challenged the prophets of Baal to prove who the true God is. Elijah proved to the world that the God almighty he believes is the Lord of the Universe and he had all the prophets of Baal slaughtered. 1 Kings 18:25-40. But after this glorious sign God performed through Elijah, he ran for life for fear that Jezebel would kill him. 1 Kings 19:3. A prophet who challenged 450 prophets of Baal and proved to them that Baal is not a living God is now facing his Calvary and escaping to safeguard his life. And see what God tells him to do now: “Go back the way you came” 1 Kings 19:15 and God asked him to anoint a new king and a prophet to succeed Elijah and also speaks to him about the death of Jezebel. Again Glory followed his Calvary.

Jonah: Jonah was commanded by God to go to Nineveh to proclaim the Word of God but Jonah 1:3 says he ran away from the Lord. Most of us know what followed. On his way to escape Jonah ended up in belly of a fish which was his Calvary. He was in dark 3 days and 3 nights and started praying to God to be saved from his situation. God saved him and commanded him in Jonah 3:2 to go to Nineveh which was another Calvary for Jonah. Although he went there and started preaching, he still was complaining of the Calvary he was in. But look at the result of him being there – more than 120000 people in Nineveh were saved.

What do you need to do? They are all great examples we can learn from. Now, think of who/where your Calvary is. Do not run away from it. After Jesus’ death and resurrection apostles were threatened and were helpless. They knew they would be killed if Jews knew they were followers of Jesus Christ. Jerusalem was their Calvary. It was then that Jesus said to them “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” Acts 1:4. Jerusalem also represents the presence of God. So, in the midst of your Calvary, sit in the presence of the Lord (if possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament) and cry out to him for power of the Holy Spirit and see the Calvary being transformed into the Glory of God.

Once you receive that power, you will be a great witness to God and your Faith will be strengthened by Jesus, “the pioneer and perfector of faith” Hebrews 12:2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

Are you compatible with Jesus?

 

“Who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16, 17

 

Jesus spoke about this parable when John’s disciples asked him on why his disciples don’t fast. Jesus answered that they have the bridegroom with them and that joy and they will fast when the bridegroom is taken away from them.

They didn’t have to fast but they had to be compatible with the new life Jesus is giving. Their life had been entirely different before meeting Jesus but when Jesus came into their life, they left their fishing nets, tax collection booth, families etc. and followed him. So when Jesus comes into your life, you need to be a new wineskin ready to hold Jesus in your heart and life. Your life need to be compatible with his.

 

Consider a bride (especially in Indian culture) who got married and is moving to her new home. She was a pet for her mum and dad and was pampered and lived as she wanted. But now she is moving into new home, new relationships, new family name, new habits etc. But she does it all because she loves her husband. It is same with us when we are saved by being baptised into Christ. We become new wineskins carrying our new wine the Christ in our hearts.

 

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

 

What do you need to leave behind in order to live a new life?

 

1) Your past: First thing we need to leave behind is our past. When we believe in Jesus and enter into our baptismal covenant with him, Jesus cleanses our past and remembers it no more. If Jesus doesn’t remember, we don’t need to either. As Jesus said in John 12:24 unless the grain of wheat is buried and died, it cannot bear fruit; until we die to the past we cannot live this new life and bear fruit for Christ. St Paul says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Satan tries to remind you of the past and how weak you were. He tried that with Jesus through when he said through Peter that Jesus should never suffer death. When Satan reminds you of your past respond as Jesus did “Get behind me Satan” Matthew 16:23 and don’t let him disturb your future with your bridegroom Christ.

When you feel the guilt of your past, read and meditate Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more”. Christ loves you, his bride and wipes away your sins.

 

2) Leave your old clothing: Leave the old behaviour or sinfulness you wore before coming into Christ. Surrender your past sinful inclinations and habits to Jesus and take on Christ as your new clothing as Paul said in his letter to Romans: “Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:13, 14

 

Yes put on Jesus Christ as your new clothing. Carry his presence where ever you go and he will carry you in all your needs.

 

3) Your own desires: Lets Jesus’ desires become your desires. In marriage, wife and husband united by God becomes one and live for each other and give themselves for each other. And all this without a bit of regret. The reason they are able to do this is because they do it out of love not enforcement. Same way, Christ is your bridegroom. Give all that is yours to him and he will give all that is his to you.

 

Desire him, desire his will, and desire what he wants for you.

Jesus spoke about this Apostleship in Luke 9:62 “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Do not look back. Believe me what he can give is much better than what you can imagine for yourself.

 

 

How to be compatible? So, how can we achieve this compatibility and unity to the will of God.

 

“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” Luke 13:24. Entering through the narrow gate is possible only by the grace of God. So make a prayer at the start of the day asking his Grace and Wisdom to understand his will for you that day. Ask his direction and humbly follow the shepherd and he will lead you to green pastures.

 

Those who go back to old ways: Word of God warns us in 2 Peter 2:20 that there are men who have been made free from the sins of the world by learning to know the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who saves. But if they do these sins again, and are not able to keep from doing them, they are worse than they were before. So, be careful to discern the voice of God by reading his word and understanding his will for you. Peter continuous to say “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”” 2 Peter 2:21, 22

 

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

 

Strive to be compatible with Jesus like new wineskins carrying new wine.

Chapter 4

Disciple to an Apostle

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Matthew 10:27

This is the instruction Jesus gave to his followers in their new journey of Faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 1 of this chapter says Jesus called his 12 disciples and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease and sickness and verse 2 says these are the names of the 12 apostles. The disciples of Jesus have now become the apostles and are sent forth with complete authority to drive out the evil spirits and heal the sicknesses. Let’s see how we can journey in our faith from being a disciple to an apostle.

Disciple: Disciple comes from a Latin word meaning “Learner”. We do not choose to be a disciple of Christ but Christ chooses and calls us to be his disciples John 15:16. In Gospels (Matthew 4) we can see Jesus calling his first disciples and they immediately start following Jesus. Responding to the call of Jesus and following him is our first step to discipleship.

What do disciples do?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Live with Jesus: “Pointing to his disciples, Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers” “Matthew 12:49. When we start this discipleship we become the family of Jesus Christ. Family lives together and does things together. That’s what the first disciples did. They left everything they have and followed Jesus. They lived with him, ate with him and spent time with him.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Deny themselves: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” Matthew 16:24. Once we accept the invitation of Christ to be his disciple, we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ. His desire and will for us becomes our desire and we continue to carry that desire he has as our cross and follow him.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Learn the deep secrets from their master: “But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything” Mark 4:34. Jesus is willing to teach you everything. Ask him what you don’t understand and he will give you the Wisdom needed. “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” Matthew 7:11

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p<>{color:#000;}. Accept the correction of Jesus: There were times when disciples were not able to have complete faith in Jesus or they were not able to do what Jesus asked them to – when their boat was beaten by waves of the storm (Luke 8:23-25), when he asked them to stay awake and pray (Matthew 26:36) etc. but they came back to the Lord and accepted his correction. Be willing to be corrected. He might do that through someone else. Be humble to take it as coming from Jesus and change your ways and follow Jesus again with an undivided heart.

Reward for the discipleship:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Privilege of suffering for him: “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him” Philippines 1:29. Suffering for him is certainly a privilege associated with a promise Jesus gave in Matthew 5:11,12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Eternal Life: Jesus replied to Peter’s question of what the reward is by saying: “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life” Mark 10:29-30

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p<>{color:#000;}. Secrets of the Kingdom of God: Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables” Luke 8:10. It’s not because Jesus is partial to us but being with Jesus, we have now gained the Wisdom needed to understand the secrets and use them wisely.

Great is the reward of this discipleship. But the journey of your faith doesn’t stop here. Once you have been a disciple learning for our Lord Jesus the secrets of the kingdom of God; he invites you to be an Apostle for him.

Apostle: An Apostle is the one who is sent forth. He/she is sent forth representing Christ to proclaim Christ to the world that doesn’t know him.

As an apostle, you still need to spend time with Jesus and pray to him asking to increase our Faith as our early apostles did in Luke 17:5. We can only give what we receive so keep receiving from the Lord by spending time with him alone and give that to the world.

Responsibility of an apostle:

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p<>{color:#000;background:#fff;}. Give Jesus to the world: “You received without pay, give without pay” Matthew 10:8. Jesus gave all that you have learned being a disciple, free of cost and now it’s your turn to give it to the world free of cost. Share the love of Jesus and joy of being his disciple with the world. St Francis of Assisi once said “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words”. So let your actions speak for Jesus.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Acknowledge Jesus in front of men: “whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God” Luke 12:8. Do not be afraid to talk about Jesus and give life to the world.

This is the ultimate responsibility Jesus gave to his apostles:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Make Disciples of all nations: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19. This is the greatest command Jesus gave to the apostles.

Apostles did a great job in obeying this command and making disciples of nations and hence the spread of Christianity across the world and that is the reason we are here too. It’s not the religion they spread but the discipleship of Jesus and it’s our turn now to go make disciples of all nations by:

Speaking in the daylight what you heard in the dark and proclaiming from the rooftops what has been whispered in your ear. Matthew 10:27

Chapter 5

Crisis of faith

Think of the day you met Christ in your life, the day of your salvation. The abundant joy you had in your heart!! So abundant that you had to share it with everyone and it was not possible to hold it back. That first day, first week, first month, first year……

How long did that joy last? Are you still as joyful and zealous for God as you were on day 1? God spoke about those first days in his word when he said:

“I remember the devotion of your youth,
p.    how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
p.    through a land not sown” Jeremiah 2:2

Note that even then you has wilderness (barrenness) in your life and he said you followed him through the land not sown. What does that mean? Ready to follow in the land not sown means, you were not expecting in fruit in return to following God. You were his disciple selflessly. That was possible because of your love for him which was unwavering. That love was like love of a newly married bride towards her husband. She loves her husband and is joyful in spite of all the sacrifices she needs to make by leaving her parents, friends and what she loves doing some times. You were not looking at dryness in your life or the areas of your life which were not sown but at the son of God who gave his life for you to make you fruitful.

Think of your life now. Where is that joy? Where is that zeal that makes you want to share with others, what you have? And what are the reasons for your fall to this level?

Perhaps, the situation you are in is questioning your faith. You are not alone. Mighty men and women of God in scriptures faced this crisis and Jesus helped them with a way to come out of that and fall on love with Jesus all over again with that faithfulness we had at the start. Let’s look at some of them now:

John the Baptist: Great were the words Jesus spoke about John the Baptist. He said John was more than a prophet and he was the one who was to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming into the world. What a privilege!! John very clearly knew that Jesus was the Messiah as he declared in John 1:34. But this same John who baptised so many and prepared way for the coming of Christ and boldly challenged Herod about the wrong he has done is now going through a tough time being in prison and he is now facing crisis of faith. He sends his disciples to Jesus to ask: “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Matthew 11:3. Imagine the thoughts running in his mind. If Jesus is the Messiah, can he not get me out of this prison? Can he not just tell the Jews he is the one they are waiting for? Are you in a similar boat? Are you questioning? : If Jesus is the Messiah, can he not just give me the right partner I am waiting for, can he not give me the money I need, right job I have been waiting for, house I am wanting to buy etc.

Peter and the other apostles: Peter and the other apostles Jesus called left everything they had and followed him. They left their profession, their family and their desires and followed Jesus. They didn’t think of who would feed their family if they followed Jesus, they just trusted him to take care of things. The same apostles are now in a boat with Jesus and are struck by a storm (Matthew 8:24). Their faith is now disturbed. Jesus is right in front of them but they were worried they are drowning. They are facing crisis in their faith. What’s the storm in your life that’s disturbing you?

Jeremiah: Jeremiah lived during one of the most critical periods of the Jewish history. He saw the destruction of Jerusalem. But the Lord God anointed him to prophecy to lead the Israelites and that happened at a very young age. A mighty prophet who fearlessly proclaimed the prophecies of God amidst the critical time of fall of Jerusalem!! That mighty man of God faced a crisis in his faith too and that can be felt clearly when he said: “You have persuaded me, O Yahweh, and I was persuaded.

You have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long.
Everyone is mocking me.^ ^For as often as I speak, I must cry out violence and destruction. I must shout, for the word of Yahweh has become for me a disgrace and derision all day long” Jeremiah 20:7-8. Do you have people in your life who is the cause of you losing faith?

See what Jesus is saying in answer of your crisis/questions you have in your Faith journey.

Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me. Matthew 11:6

This is Jesus’ answer to the entire crisis we are facing. Blessed are you when you stand strong in all these circumstances of your life. Jesus not only asks us to stay strong but shows us the way to stay strong. Let’s see the response of Jesus to the difficult situations these men faced:

To John: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: ^ ^the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them” Matthew 11:4-5

To the apostles: “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?” Matthew 16:8-10

Jesus through above statements is asking us to meditate on the wonders Jesus worked in our lives. Think of what crisis we faced previously and how Jesus miraculously addressed those areas of our life and provided for us amidst all the storms we faced. The very existence of ours and the breath we take is the gift from God. The very fact that we are thinking we are facing crisis in our faith means we once enjoyed the fullness of faith which we are not able to now. Thank God for that faith we enjoyed and what situations we saw helped us enjoy that faith. Start thanking God that through this crisis he is teaching us the most important lessons of our life – strengthening of our Faith.

By meditating and thanking God for his gifts in our life, we will like Jeremiah say:

His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9

You cannot but proclaim the goodness of Christ in your life and be a mighty testimony for Jesus. That is what we need in today’s world – Witnesses of Christ who bear his light to the world

Chapter 6

Do you recognise Jesus in your daily life?

Jesus, before he ascended into heaven made a great promise to all of us. “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” Matthew 28:20. Amazing promise indeed, what else do we need than carrying the presence of the Son of God with us throughout our life? But are we able to recognise Jesus in our daily life? We have instances in Bible where the disciples and apostles who were the closest to Jesus did not recognise him.

When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” Matthew 14:26

Jesus himself came near and went with them, ^ ^but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24:15, 16

What kept them from recognising Jesus?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Fear: Matthew 14:24 says that the boat was battered by waves and the wind was against them. They know all the circumstances are against them and now they see someone walking on that water and say it’s a ghost. They are only looking at the situation they are in and although they have seen the works of Jesus which were supernatural they are not able to recognise Jesus here as they were not expecting a miracle to happen to save them.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Sadness: Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus immediately outside the tomb until he called her by name John 20:14-16. She was only hoping to find the dead body of Jesus and is sad thinking of all that as happened. Same as disciples, she didn’t have any expectation of seeing Jesus alive and that sadness covered her eyes from recognizing Jesus till he called her by name.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Not discerning the God’s plan: We don’t see the work of Jesus in our life because we don’t fully understand his plan. Two disciples on their way to Emmaus were sad. They thought Jesus would redeem Israel but that same Jesus is now crucified and is no more. They did not understand the complete plan of God to redeem not only Israel but every single one who believes in Jesus. That is why they were able to recognize him once he explained to them the full plan from the Holy Scriptures and celebrated the sacrament of Eucharist.

Think of what in your life is keeping you from recognizing Jesus. Your suffering, temptations, brokenness in family, your financial situation? Word of God says that God sometimes allow suffering in our lives. “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret” 2 Corinthians 7:10. So even in your sadness, see where Jesus is present and start worshipping him in that situation and he will strengthen you to face any situation.

How to recognize Jesus?

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p<>{color:#000;}. Sacraments: We need grace to recognize Jesus in every situation of our life. As Jesus said “My Grace is sufficient for you” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Catholic Church teaches that the grace is imparted through the seven sacraments. While walking to Emmaus with disciples, Jesus first broke the word by explaining scriptures to them and then broke the bread in a way he established during the last supper as his body and blood. It is then that the disciples recognized Jesus. This is exactly what happens in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist. We break the word and the bread and receive the body and blood of Christ. Be part of the Holy Eucharistic celebration as often as possible and by receiving the body and blood of Christ, Jesus will give you the grace needed to recognize him in each and every situation you are facing.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Faith: Christian should never expect an ordinary life. Christ did not live an ordinary life and he doesn’t expect you to either. Same apostles who didn’t expect the presence of Christ on raging waters, believed Jesus gave them the power to heal others and commanded this beggar sitting at the temple: “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk” Acts of the Apostles 3:6. Peter later declares that this man was healed by Faith in Jesus Christ alone Acts of the Apostles 3:16. Have Faith that God can work wonders through you.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Anointing of the Holy Spirit: Word of God says that no one can recognize Jesus as son of God apart from the presence of the Holy Spirit in them. 1 Corinthians 12:3. As Jesus said in John 14:26 your advocate, the Holy Spirit will teach you everything. Holy Spirit will help us recognize the presence of Jesus. To receive this anointing, we need to sit at the feet of Jesus every day and ask for his mercy for the time we failed to recognize him and his anointing to be with us to enable us to recognize Jesus.

By receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and growing strong in Faith the same apostles who were not able to recognize Jesus in their situations are now able to not only recognize him but preach him in the midst of persecutions, prisons and trials they are facing and they are able to make disciples of all nations.

They are holding on to his promise to be with them till the end of the ages and proclaiming to the world as St Paul did –

I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. Philippines 4:13

Chapter 7

Forgiveness

Sr Rani Maria was part of Franciscan Clarist Convent in 1972. She was unique and exemplary in her prayer, studies, in the observance of the rules, and in fulfilling the responsibilities entrusted to her. She worked for the betterment of the poor while working in Udainagar and educated them and helped them understand the injustice they were facing. Thus, poor of Udainagar became active citizens and started to free themselves from the bondage to their heartless moneylenders. She is now an enemy to all those money lenders and they conspired against her. On 25th Feb 1995, she was killed by Samunder Singh who stabbed her 54 times. On 21st August 2002, rightly interpreting the mind of her elder sister, Sr. Selmy visited Samundhar Singh, the assassin of Rani Maria, in the Indore Central Jail and tied a Rakhi (Indian symbol of sister’s love towards brother) on his hand. Overwhelmed by this unexpected gesture, Samundar Singh asked forgiveness of Sr. Selmy and expressed his repentance. On the occasion of the eighth death anniversary of Sr.Rani Maria, 25th February 2003, her mother Eliswa visited the jail and kissed the hands of her daughter’s assassin.  No gesture of forgiveness could have been more eloquent. Samunder in response to the second Rakhi Sr. Selmy tied gave her a letter written in his own hand with ‘Jai Krist’ (Glory to Christ) inscribed at the top.  The letter expresses his experience of peace and joy after receiving her forgiveness. Today he is a Christian, expressing the love of Christ to the world. What this family faced is not an easy situation but they had courage to forgive him and love him and that love brought him to Christ. Oh, the power of forgiveness!!!

God’s love is unconditional but surprisingly Jesus lays a condition for father’s forgiveness. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14, 15. Jesus reiterated this in a parable where he spoke about a king who forgave a large debt of his servant who is unable to pay it back. When that same servant is now not able to forgive another fellow servant a small amount of debt, king changes his mind to forgive this person and puts him in prison. Word of God says we are created in God’s own image and hence we need to be able to forgive as God does.

Many in the world look at forgiveness in the way they want. They forgive the sin and forget the person who sinned or hurt them. That’s not called forgiveness but ignoring the person. Real forgiveness is when you forgive the person and forget the sin they have committed. We can see a lot of servants of God who showed forgiveness like this in situations where they faced death – Joseph, David, Stephen and many more. They were able to forgive not because they were stronger than us but only because they were filled by the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God. If we have that, we can too as Jesus said “My Grace is sufficient for you”. 2 Corinthians 12:9

If someone is hurting you, it would be either because they do not know they are hurting you or they themselves are hurt and in their brokenness they do it to others. So before judging them in anger, think of their situation and why they are behaving the way they are. Holding unforgiveness in your heart is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die so take that poison away from your heart. Start praying for the healing of yourself for the hurt you have received but more than that for the person who hurt you so they are healed and delivered from what they are going through. God places forgiveness even before offering at an alter in church and that is why he said, when you bring an offering to alter, if you realise you have something against your brother, reconcile with him and then come and give your offering to God. Matthew 5:24 and that is exactly what he meant when he said “I desire Mercy not sacrifice” Matthew 9:13

Result of forgiveness:

When you forgive people, you are not only showing the other person the light of Christ but you are doing a big favour to yourself.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Healing: Forgiveness brings healing. A lot of times when people came to Jesus for healing, Jesus said “Your sins are forgiven” rather than “you are healed”. And each time healing followed the forgiveness. So when you forgive, you are removing the bitterness from your heart and bring healing to yourself as well as the other person by showing them the love of Jesus Christ

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Peace: Holding on to the wrong someone did to you can steal your peace. You will think about it so much that you will not be able to enjoy any good that’s in your life. The minute you forgive though, you will start feeling God’s forgiveness in your life and peace follows

How can you forgive?

It’s not an easy task with your strength but as St Paul said “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” Philippines 4:13. Surrender your situation to Jesus, and ask him for strength to forgive. Think of the situations and people who hurt you in the presence of God and start giving each of those hurts and people to Jesus. Try doing this in front of the Blessed Sacrament and Jesus in the sacrament will take those hurts and grant you strength to forgive and healing for the hurts and wounds. Ask for God’s presence to be with you when you meet those people next time. Start seeing Jesus in them and have mercy on them like Jesus had mercy on you.

You will start seeing miracles in your life the minute you forgive everyone who hurt you – especially if you are looking for a physical healing.

Chapter 8

Marriage Supper of the Lamb

“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” Revelation 19:9

Are you invited for the Marriage Supper for the lamb?

Lamb of God is Jesus Christ and his bride is the Church and we are all invited to be part of the Wedding Supper of the lamb. In Jewish custom Bridegroom would pay the price before he takes his Bride home. Jesus paid the biggest price for his bride and that is his own self on Calvary – by his own body and blood. Stretching his arms on the cross, he invited all of us to be part of his Wedding Feast where he would give us his own body and blood as a life giving food and drink.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. John 6:51.

When Jesus said that, a lot of disciples left him as they did not understand the meaning of his words. Those who remained were there because they saw the works of Jesus and knew he had the words of Eternal life. But they realised the true meaning of this bread from heaven when Jesus spoke to them on the day of Passover the words of consecration and fulfilled it next day on the Cross in Calvary. Without the word of consecration on the Passover, Calvary would just be a mere brutal murder but Jesus through his words showed that he is willingly giving up his life, so we by receiving his resurrected Body and Blood through the Holy Eucharist might be filled with his life.

Jesus is “The Bridegroom of Blood” to the Church as Moses was to his wife Zipporah.

How and when are we invited?

First stage of the Jewish Marriage is where the parents of the Bride and the Groom decide on their Wedding and write up a marriage covenant. The groom then leaves the place and they have time to prepare for the Wedding and prepare place for the bride.

Our Baptism is the day of us getting into this marriage covenant with our groom Jesus Christ. He paid the bridal price for us and hence we enter into this covenant where we are signed in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. From that day our preparation to receive The Lord in the Holy Eucharist and also to the life eternal with him starts. As a groom, Jesus is preparing a room for us in heaven and he will come and take us to be with him. John 14:1, 2.

He is not only preparing a place for us, but he also has assigned the authorities of Church, our parent and our dear Councillor the Holy Spirit to prepare us to receive him in Holy Eucharist.

Before receiving the Holy Eucharist:

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:54. What a great promise from Jesus!!

Although we have this wonderful promise, Jesus through the word of God also instructed us on how to receive his body and blood. ^ ^^“^So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. ^ ^Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Hence we need to examine ourselves, repent of any sin and prepare ourselves.

Where is your wedding garment?

In Matthew 22: 1-14 Jesus spoke about a King who invited everyone to come to his son’s wedding banquet. There was one among the guests who didn’t have his wedding garment on and when King asked him how he came in without the wedding garment, he didn’t have an answer. King ordered him to be thrown into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We need our wedding garment before we can receive the body and blood of Christ in Eucharist and that garment is the Grace of God. Jesus told Paul “My Grace is sufficient for you” 2 Corinthians 12:9. We can obtain the Grace of God through the sacraments of God. When we examine ourselves and have a sin that is displeasing to God, we have confession as a source of Grace to become pure and receive him in Eucharist. So, ensure your wedding garment is on before receiving the Eucharist.

Eucharist and Marriage:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.^ ^This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32

Profound mystery of Christ and Church becoming one flesh is possible only through the Eucharist – Christ’s flesh entering into our flesh and his blood into our blood and the result of this will be the transformation of our human nature into the nature of Christ.

Bearing Christ:

Now that we have received Jesus Christ through the Eucharist, we now need to be the bearers of Christ. As Jesus once spoke the consecration on Passover, went out and sacrificed himself on Calvary for us sinners, we in turn need to go out and sacrifice ourselves for our brothers and sisters to bring them to the love of Jesus.

As the king who gave a wedding banquet asked his servants to go out and bring everyone, Jesus is asking us to show the world the Light and the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ and bring them to the knowledge of salvation.

Hence, as John the Baptist guided his disciples not to himself but Jesus, let us guide the nations to Christ by saying:

Look, there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” John 1:29

Chapter 9

Is your light shining?

Our Reverend Bishop while celebrating Eucharist shared one of his experiences with us. Group of priests and bishops visited a remote place for a mission and are returning to an island close by. They were sailing back this big ocean and it was night. As they were sailing, most of them stood out to enjoy the bright sky and gentle breeze. They suddenly noticed a small light flashing at a distance. Captain of the ship realised that someone is in danger and have trouble sailing. They travelled towards them and saved the people in that boat and took them into their ship. After having them on board, Captain made a comment which Bishop shared and which came across as a great lesson to me – “We wouldn’t be able to see their light and save them if we were travelling by day”.

If you think you are in darkness in your life or you are journeying through the night (problems), that’s because God wants your light to shine for others and save them.

I have heard a lot of Christians say, the more we pray, the more problems we have. That might be correct in most cases but the purpose is not for us to suffer in vain but for us to bear the light of Christ to this dark world. That is why when Jesus prayed for us he said: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one” John 17:15. Jesus needs us in the world. He wants us to be his hands and feet, walking his path and doing his deeds and bearing witness to him. Many saints of Catholic Church have suffered voluntarily and offered that suffering up for the conversion of souls. That’s what Jesus did. He suffered for our sins and to be like him, it’s our turn to offer up our suffering for the conversion of sinners.

How can we do this?

In deed:

St Francis of Assisi says “Preach Gospel always, use words when necessary”. As Jesus said we should be the Salt of the Earth and that’s possible by making our life the 5th Gospel by so closely imitating the life of Christ and living like him. This starts small. We need to use every single opportunity God gives. This could be as simple as sharing your food with someone who don’t have, giving your time to listen to someone in pain and console them etc. The more you do it, the more familiar you become of your call and the ministry God is giving you. As Jesus said: “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much” Luke 16:10. Once you prove your faithfulness in small things, God will reveal his big opportunities for you to glorify him. But do it all with Love. Your love of God and love of Neighbour should be displayed in all your actions. That is why Jesus said: “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house” Matthew 5:15. Your love which is the light of Christ in you should be on the lampstand giving light to others.

Words:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” Ephesians 4:29. If we are able to control our tongue and give it to Jesus to speak only the words he gives us, we would be saints. As the Bible says, “life and death are in the power of our tongue” Proverbs 18:21. Be wise how you use it. We should use our words to bear witness to Christ and glorify his name.

We also need to be brave and confront the evil happening in front of us in a right way and right time. Jesus told his disciples “not to prepare in advance what to say but Holy Spirit will teach you what to say in the right time” Luke 12:12. In order for us to discern the Spirit talking through us, we need to pray and be in the presence of God and be tuned to the Holy Spirit always. There is so much evil in the world now to an extent of murdering infants through abortion and we who know Christ are keeping quiet about it. God will one day call us to account for all the opportunities we have missed to confront evil. God spoke about it and said: “When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.” Ezekiel 33:8. It is our responsibility to talk when God wants us to and warn this world out of sin. Let us ask God today to make us brave enough to talk when he wants us to.

[* Thoughts/Desires:*]

All our words and actions result from our thoughts and desires. As Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Luke 12:34. It’s important to examine what you consider as treasure and ensure you heart and focus is always there. There is a saint who used to look up to heaven before he does any of his tasks. When asked why he does that, he said “heaven is my goal and I am ensuring I look at that as I do my task so it leads me to the right destination”. We should offer our thoughts and desires to God every morning and ask him to guide them and again examine them before our sleep to ensure we didn’t sow any wrong seed of thought which might one day lead us to wrong word or action.

If we in thought, word and deed are tuned to the Holy Spirit and imitate Jesus, we will bear the light of our Father to this dying world and bring life to it. Jesus is present with us each day in Eucharist and he is giving life to us through his body and blood. If we are receiving the Eucharist to have that life in us only we are selfish. We need to share that life with others and be the light of the world.

From the Eucharist comes strength to live the Christian life and zeal to share that life with others” St John Paul II

Chapter 10

Women of God

When people talk about women in the Bible, I usually hear them talk about first women eve and her being the reason for entry of sin into world. While that’s true there are many great women of God who were strong and worked wonders in the name of God. It’s important for us to look at some of them and see how we can become a “Women of God”. Here are some of them who truly inspire us.

In Proverbs 31, God describes a woman who truly is of God. She does simple things which most of us probably do – Is not idle, Works hard to make sure family has food on table each day, supervises all the family affairs, is not lazy etc. God says that the husband and children of such women will praise her and call her blessed. He ends it with a great appreciation “Many women have done excellently,   but you surpass them all” Proverbs 29:31. As I meditated on how working on things so simple we all do in our daily lives made her so special, God made me realise that it’s not the works she did but the attitude she displayed while she did all these works and we can learn some of these attributes and the attitude displayed from some of the strongest women in the Bible.

Abigail: Abigail is the wife of Nabal who roused the anger of King David in his foolishness (1 Samuel 25). King is on his way to kill Nabal along with his 400 men and that’s when Abigail takes an offering, goes to David and apologises for husband’s wrong doing and turns back the anger of the king. David after hearing her blesses her saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me.^ ^And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. 1 Samuel 25:32, 33.

Attributes to learn:

Courage: It takes a lot of courage to apologise for a mistake that is not hers. Knowing that David is coming to kill Nabal, it is probably easier for her to say that she advised her husband not to do that evil and hence she is innocent and can plead him not to kill her. On the contrary she apologised for her husband’s mistake.

Wisdom: Abigail not only had courage to apologise for her husband’s mistake, but she wisdom to advise David not to commit the bloodshed in his anger which might take him away from God. David blessed her advice as we already saw and withdrew from killing her husband and later when her husband dies, he married her because of the wisdom she displayed.

Hannah: Hannah was a woman who was loved by her husband dearly but she had no children. Love of her husband made husband’s other wife Penin’nah jealous of her and she started ridiculing her and being cruel to her. Hannah more than her ridicule, was hurt by her barrenness. She kept crying to God asking for a child. While she was praying with tears, priest Eli scolded her thinking she was drunk. But she continued praying and gave a vow that she will dedicate her first born to God. God answered her prayers and her son was one of the most respected prophets and the one who anointed the first two kings of Israel – Samuel.

Attributes to learn:

Perseverance: Suffering in our life is for a reason and in our perseverance we should continue to trust in God and not lose hope. Bible says their tradition of vising holy shrine in Shiloh went on for years and she continued praying for a child with a vow of dedicating him to God. Are we worried of our family’s salvation? Are we fed up of their wrong habits? We need to persevere. Not in telling them to stop because they can’t with their own strength but in praying for them and persevering in our patience in dealing with them.

Prayer: While persevering in patience, Hannah continued to have her regular prayer and relationship with God. She didn’t trust in herself being capable of bearing a child but she knew God can do it hence she prayed and prayed till that happened. St Monica prayer for her son for 17 years and then happened his conversion and God used his as the doctor of Church – St Augustine. As Bible says “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” Luke 11:13.

Mother Mary: Mother Mary is the blessed of all the women in the world. As through Eve sin entered into the world, through Mary, Jesus who is our salvation came into the world. She holds the greatest position as a channel of grace and salvation to the world yet never exalts herself above anyone else. She brought many nations to Jesus through her apparitions but is a humble women who always attributed the Glory to God alone. There is much to learn from her.

Attributes to learn:

Humility: Mary has been a humble servant of Jesus in spite of carrying him in her own womb. This humility echoes in her words “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” Luke 1:38. Elizabeth filled by the Spirit of God called her the mother of the Lord and blessed her but she served Elizabeth for three months. She saw being the mother of God as a responsibility not the Glory and rightly so, it needs to be the Glory of God not her.

Looking at things above: Mary, from the time of accepting the will of God faced a lot of problems in her life. Simeon (meaning the God receiver) received Jesus from Mary’s hands and prophesied that many swords will pierce her heart and they rightly did. All the opposition Jesus faced during his ministry was painful for her to handle. His cross and death were piercing her heart and she had to bury him with her own hands. All this while, in spite of the pain and the tears she looked up to God and his promises. She remembered the promise God gave through angel: Your son will save the world; all the nations will call you blessed etc. Her vision was on things above not on things below. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3. She died to self and loved for Christ and the promise given her was fulfilled in Christ. We need to remember: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:18.

These women are chosen by God in a special way. So are we. God is not partial. His word says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” John 15:16

So we have a great promise that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus, Father will give us. But in order for us to claim on that promise, we need to fulfil our calling that is to bear fruit. This needs to start with our families. Our husband, children, families etc. need to see the fruit we bear. Let’s take this as a challenge.

Chapter 11

Call unto me and I will answer you

“Call unto me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

What a great promise of God which we fail to claim or understand. Jesus here is not only telling us to call up on him in all our needs but is also challenging us to learn from him great and hidden things. What are these hidden things? They are the secrets of the kingdom of God. As he promised in Matthew 13:11 “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given”. Our thinking and desires are so low that we are seeking things of the world – good life, enough money, good job etc. But Jesus is waiting for us to start praying for bigger things – things related to his very own kingdom. He affirmed that by saying “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”. Luke 12:32. How ignorant we are to seek small things when the creator of heaven and earth is longing to give us his very own kingdom and make us sharers of all his treasures. Jesus here doesn’t say we don’t need these things but he assured us that “our heavenly Father knows that we need them all” Matthew 6:32 and also assured that when we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, all these things shall be ours” Matthew 6:33 and

What a great God we have!!! He knows our needs and assured he will provide us with what we need and wants to give much more than what we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Prayer is communication with God. It’s not all tell but a dialogue between us and God so be open to listen to God. Always take time to read the word of God as part of your prayer and meditate on what you read and God will speak straight to your heart and teach you the secrets of his kingdom.

So why are our prayers not answered??? What can we do to ensure our prayer is heard by God???

Repentance for our sins: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear” Isaiah 59:1,2. When we spend time with our God, first thing we need to do is to examine our conscience and ask God about the areas of our life which are not pleasing and ask him to cut those off. It can be a painful process but the result is fruit bearing and worth the pain. We need to genuinely repent for hurting God in those areas and ask Jesus to cover us and wash us with his precious blood. Once that block is removed, our prayers will reach God. Our unforgiveness can be a biggest block in our prayer being heard which is why Jesus said “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23, 24. Jesus gave more importance to forgiveness and reconciliation than to the gift on alter. Let’s reconcile then and forgive anyone who has offended us before going any further into prayer so our prayers can reach God.

Worship God: Once you are cleaned of your sin by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, worship him. Thank him for all the blessings you already have in your life. Biggest blessing is our life which he has given to praise him and we need to live that purpose before we get into praying for intentions. Start counting your blessings and worship the giver of blessings by attributing it to him. If not for him, we wouldn’t have those blessings. Word of God says “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker for he is our God and we are people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand” Psalm 95:6,7. Worship is all that the saints do in heaven and by worshipping him we enter into the communion of saints and we belong to the family of Christ and now we have all the angels and saints praying along with us for our intentions.

Our motive: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” James 4:3. Motive behind our requests is very important. When we ask for something, we need to think if we need that or if we want that? If we want that, why do we want that? St Paul said, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31. What we seek should also be for the Glory of God. Surrender your prayer request and think of how if it’s granted will glorify God and not our selfish need.

God’s intentions: Start asking for God’s intentions first and then come to your intentions. First and biggest desire of Jesus Christ is the salvation of the world as the word says “God wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:4. Bible tells us various other intentions which Jesus wanted us to pray about: pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44), God to send more missionaries (Matthew 9:38), for authorities (1 Timothy 2:1-3) etc. Reading the word of God will tell you all about the intentions of God. So start by praying what God wanted us to pray about to take part in his work of salvation and then present your intention to God.

Persistence: We should persevere in prayer and not give up on God. God has not given up on us but gave us many chances to come back to him. Similarly we should not give up on God just because we do not see the answers straight away. World is moving towards instant results but God is not in a hurry as he knows what’s best for us and what the right time is. Trust in God timing. “God’s delays are not God’s denials.”

Thanksgiving: Start thanking God in advance for hearing your prayer. Bible says “Rejoice always, ^[* ]^pray constantly, ^[ *]^give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Believe God has heard your prayer and start thanking him for listening to you. His answer could be Yes, no or not the right time – trust that’s what is best for you. Do not lose faith. As Jesus said “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29. Even if you don’t see anything happening as a result of your prayer, believe and you will be blessed.

When in pain: There are times when we are in pain and we do not know how to pray. That’s the time we need to surrender ourselves entirely to the will of God and ask the Holy Spirit of God to pray for us and with us and he will as his word promises, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” Romans 8:26. You will experience this in darkest moments of your life if you practice regular communion with God like Jesus did. He ensured he always separated himself from the world to be with his and our Father in heaven. In Jesus’ darkest moment in garden of Gethsemane, Holy Spirit helped him pray for the will of God to happen instead of his own will.

What a great communion we will have with our Father in heaven if we take time to spend with Jesus each day and pray according to his will. He will not only teach us the great and hidden things but will fill us with his Holy Spirit and makes us his witnesses to proclaim his greatness to the nations as he said in his word:

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” Acts 1:8

Chapter 12

Journey of Salvation

Many think that the baptised Christians will regardless the path they take reach the destination of Eternal life and the Heavenly Kingdom of Christ Jesus. Is that what the Word of God says? Let’s see!!!

Firstly, it’s not a one-time decision or activity but it’s a process and the word of God affirms that in saying “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippines 1:6 and this prove that the work needs to be carried on until the day of Christ and hence it is a journey of life time.

What does this journey involve? This journey involves us becoming like Christ and what God intended Christ to be for us. We can find this in St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. Only when we find ourselves righteous, holy and redeemed in Christ, will our Salvation journey be complete. Let’s now see what these steps individually mean to us.

Righteousness: Our salvation journey starts by believing that Jesus Christ is our saviour and that will lead us into Jesus becoming out righteousness. As Jesus clearly mentioned in Matthew 6:33 – we are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. We cannot be righteous with own strength or actions which is why we need to seek God’s righteousness. We can learn how to do this from our father Abraham and scripture affirms this in so many different places. “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:22). How do we receive this Faith? Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17. We need to take time each day to read the word of God and spend time meditating and understanding his word which will produce the Faith in us and we like our Father Abraham will be counted as Righteous through this Faith.

Holiness: Jesus needs to become our Holiness. If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. Romans 11:16. Our root is Jesus Christ and he is Holy. If the root is holy then his branches are holy. So, for Jesus Christ to become our holiness, we need to remain as his branches. Jesus said “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:6. So being a branch of Christ by being baptized is not enough but we need to remain in him and that’s possible by receiving his Holy Spirit into our hearts. We need to be fed by his Holiness like branches are fed by the roots. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19. Jesus has already provided us with the food (Holy Spirit) that we need in order for him be our holiness.

Redemption: Price of our redemption was quite high. Its cost for God was his only begotten son, and for son his shameful death on the wood of cross in order to make us one with him. He has already paid the price for our redemption. Because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. Hebrews 9:17. Will or the covenant God made with us is in effect because of his death. We become eligible for that redemption only up on our death – death to our self, death to world and death to anything that doesn’t belong to Christ. Upon this is when we will be resurrected to Christ Jesus our Lord who will become our redemption.

In this way when we make Christ Jesus our Lord as our Righteousness, Holiness and Redemption we like Paul can say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7 and can reach our destination which is our Eternal Life with Christ Jesus.

Our Salvation Journey is summed up in this verse:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith (Righteousness) produces perseverance. Let perseverance (Holiness) finish its work so that you may be mature and complete (Redemption), not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

The reason our Lord Jesus allows trials in our lives is to complete this work of our Salvation. So let’s take joy and thank God for our sufferings and trials.


Nourish Your Soul

  • ISBN: 9781370134649
  • Author: Faithful Catholic
  • Published: 2016-12-21 23:50:12
  • Words: 12935
Nourish Your Soul Nourish Your Soul