Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Discovering God in Sharon !

Dear blogging family, thomachan is back ! looks like none are blogging much these days ...anyway let me wake up !

I was busy all these days mailing people so just couldnt find enough time blogging , but was greatly inspired by the sharing of joji chettan alias Jose IBM ( I wander what He thinks when people call Him so, He has a beautiful surname-Thomas).

I am here to share an experience that I had with my guardian angels (I believe that I have two so I use the plurals).Guardian angels as mysterious as they sound to be was just part of my catholic fantasy stories few months back.I never took their existence seriously not that I have seen them now to believe but rather I have experienced God through them.
I remember few years back Fr.Tom SDB asking me to give a name to my guardian angel.I never thought much on that but still gave a name -SHARON......(you have all rights to guess where the name has its inspiration from..)

Never did I realize that Sharon would take her name so seriously ! I have one more guardian angel called 'Kitty' named just few weeks back (sorry couldnt invite you all for the naming ceremony....lol)
let me share my experience where My dear guardian angels helped me !
After joining my work I have been meeting people from different walks of life , from different cultures..etc...Not all are so comfortable to be easily accustomed to.I was not in good terms with one particular colleague of mine not that we had any differences some how through many days we fell into an habit of not talking to each other even if we are standing face to face , we dont talk ! (feels strange ..somehow).This distancing of heart between each other led to an undercurrent of discomfort in the presence of each other.I never was able to build any sort of normal relationship with this person but on the other hand I was able to build some amazing rappo with other colleagues of mine , so hardly made any special attempt to change the scheme of things .
But one day it struck me that I was not called to have this kinda attitude I had to go and speak up .I decided to approach this person and on an opportune time went up and spoke but if I go strictly by the response it was not opportune enough I guess.Things had gone too far , maybe !
So I thought to myself 'I have done my bit to improve the situation ,what more can I do' !
Now let me talk about the hero rather heroine of this story 'Sharon'.Few days after the slack response while I was speaking to my Hindu friend of mine about some stuff..topic of guardian angels popped up .I told her that I have a guardian angel, even she has one , infact all have one no one realizes their presence.She couldnt actually digest this fact , I told her that they doe exist and are send by God to help us .I continued telling her that guardian angels help you in different ways ......at that instant of time it flashed me that I could take the help 'Sharon' to talk to my angry colleague ..My hindu friend was eager to know whether 'Sharon' can do it ...somehow i was convinced ,I told that next week you will see the difference.....I did inturn take it very seriously , I seeked the help from 'Sharon'.
Guess what...to the disbelief of my Hindu friend/colleague things worked out dramatically with my angry colleague ......this person who hardly responded to my morning wishes,replied back nicely the very next week itself ..........things have started to be smooth since then....some kinda normalcy has set in our relationship.......I donno still how seriously my Hindu friend takes it..but I know she was literally surprised to see how people who hardly spoke for months , started speaking !
I know that my dear guardian angels helped to build that Bridge of Love !
O guardian angel who is in the presence of the HOLY ONE......thank you for your dear prayers ..continue to pray for me..be my guide..protect me from all evil.....be my strength..help me experience the true Love of our Lord God Jesus !

Friday, November 9, 2007

Learning again about how to love my Lord from my 1 1/2 year old son - Part 1

Dear friends in Christ, I am writing again to this blog. This time I am writing to tell you how my one and a half year old son Joel taught me how to really be in love with the lord. This started one Sunday when I was going for the Sunday service.

The situation in my life had become a lot stressful. In my office new responsibilities were being added on to me. Work on our new house was nearing completion. So week days were spent at the office and after office hours of the night were spent in running around, calling up and arranging things for the house construction. Saturdays were spent in catching up with the house construction and speeding it up towards the house warming ceremony. Sundays were spent getting the kids to catechism classes, spending the blessed time with the lord in Sunday mass and if time permitted spending the whole morning in the renewal retreat center for the adoration and then again the afternoon on the house construction work.

And on that Sunday I had to meet the contractor and finalize on some things regarding the house. So I sent my two elder daughters with our neighbors to the catechism classes. Rani my wife was not well that day, So I was rushing out so that I could reach the Church in advance before the mass and spend some precious time alone with my Lord. As I got ready and was poised to make the run to the church. Rani interrupted me and my train of thoughts and actions. She asked me, are you not taking "Kunjunni" ? Our little one is fondly called by that name. I told her, "You are not coming, I cannot handle him alone in the church, if I take him I wont be able to participate in the mass at all, I will be after him all through the service". But Rani was aghast at the suggestion. She told me "Then Kunjunni will not be able to attend mass this Sunday" !!! I was stuck by her words .. I didn't think a 1.5 year old kunjunni was bound by obligation of attending the Sunday masses. But Rani considers catechism classes, Saturday mass, Sunday mass attendance, evening and morning prayers how ever late, by all our children sacrosanct. She is the one who keeps the spiritual vessel of our home steady and on course. I am the Jonah who occasionally jumps over board and has to be swallowed by whales and spat out before I clamber aboard once more and holds steady. Although a hundred and one reasons for not taking kunjunni to the mass with me from not being able to reach in time for the mass, to not being able to spend a devoted time during the mass and him crying out loud in the middle of the service asking to see his mummy etc, flashed through my mind. But I knew none of them was going to convince Rani.

So I reluctantly agreed, got him ready in a jiffy and ran to the car with him. And there started my lesson in love.We reached the service a bit late, I had his bottle of "manjandy vellam" as kunjunni calls it (water with sugar added which is his substitute for milk)in my pocket. I took kunjunni in my arms so that he wont be running around the church and was trying to concentrate on the mass. Kunjunni was interested in the going on at the altar for a few minutes, then he lost interest and he got interested in "ME". First it was the season for a 100 loving kisses. He would hold my face in his two little hands and look at me lovingly for a few moments, then would plant a very loving and long kiss on the part of his face he liked for that instant. So for a long time I was treated to sweet little kisses starting from both my cheeks to the tip of the nose and on to my eyes and it went on. Then when he was sure that there was not an inch that he has not missed, he started to play with me, some times his attention was on my nose, some times it was on my mustache, then my ears .. Each of them got pulled, prodded. sweetly and gently bitten up on alternatively. But it was enjoyable, I was enjoying the showering of his love up on me. Then he got tiered of all these and just laid his head lovingly on my shoulder and was enjoying that. When he got tired of a position, he would snuggle up and shift to a different position. Al through this I was able to be attentive to the mass, but at the same time I was aware of kunjunni's love and enjoying it too.

Then I left him down I was getting tired holding him up. Then he started playing around me. He would hug my legs and give me kisses. He would suddenly pass through my legs, look up at me and smile at me. He would dance around me. All through this time I was his center of attention. Then he found a friend in a boy sitting in a pew near by. They both started making faces and gestures to each other and enjoying it. But all through this he never went beyond the distance of an arms length from me. Then they started playing hide and seek, he used me and my legs as a prop to hide and peep out from. I was participating in the mass fully and when ever I didn't feel his little hands holding my legs I just had to look around and there he was standing at an arms distance from me and smiling his sweet impish smile. The mass ended with him asleep contented on my shoulder and me filled with his love and my Lords love.

That was the most beautiful mass I had attended in a while and to think that I wanted to leave him behind so that I could participate in the mass and enjoy my Lords presence. How foolish was my thinking and here I was filled to the brim with Lords love and tears in my eyes.

And this was the theme of my reflection later. I will write about my reflections on this in a later posting.

With lots of love and prayers ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

discovering Jesus in priesthood...

years ago during a charismatic retreat, i encounterd jesus in a good confession. after the confession i felt like wistling, jumping and rolling on the floor... the happiness was indescribeable.

today as i came out after mass, some one came to me for confession. she was broken. after the confession, i saw miracle. i saw her walking out in tears of joy...

my memmories went back to my confession that liberated me. once again i felt like wistling, jumping and rolling on the floor... the only diffrence was this; years back i made my confession but today i was the confessor...

any one interested in becoming a confessor? God need more priests in today's world...

a vocation story...

a few days back i met a sister. she is old. she told me one of her experiences. one fine morning when she opened the gate of the convent she saw a little girl with shabby dress. he was sitting and munching some snacks. she had a little note pinned to her frock. the note was this, "dear sisters please take care of her, i cannot afford to bring her up". the sisters took her and she grew up with them. they educated her and got her married. she comes to holy ghost church with her husband, of course in thier own car... the story is not yet over, one of their sons is in the seminary preparing himself to become a priest... God can raise vocations out of a poor abandoned girl!

An encounter

My first encounter of discovering God was long back when I was in 10th. Though I lost faith in God later, until Jacob brought me back through JY, it was this encounter that let me live by Bible even without faith in God.

I had a small altercation with one of my friends regarding a cartoon that I had drawn. He took it from me and was not willing to give it back as I asked it for giving it to another friend who told him that his drawing is not as good as mine. Though we had no problems between us, all of a sudden he slapped me on my face. The first thing came to my mind was to thrash him as I felt offended as it was right in front of the class that it happened. Though we were standing on the dias no one noticed it as the class was almost empty since it was lunch hour.

Just as I was about to hit him back, like a lightning a thought struck me. It was what Jesus said, to show your other cheek to the one who slaps you. Well, I don't know how I did it, but I showed him the other cheek and asked him to slap. And it was then the most unbelievable thing happend. I saw tears in his eyes. And he touched my feet and asked me to forgive.

Later I stopped drawing and all such activities. I left my hometown. Once after a long time when we met he asked me a question which no one who knew me ever asked me till then: "Do you still draw cartoons." And when I said no, he asked me in a pleading voice to continue with it. Well, whenever I think of him what came to my mind was what would have happend if I had hit him back. We would have been one of the worst enemeys. But that very act made him a good friend of mine.

It was through him that I believe I discovered God for the first time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I love you Kitty !

Recently saw a program on history channel on the life of 'Anne Frank', a girl who is associated with the human side of the concentration camp atrocities.I was literally shocked when I saw that episode,shocked coz I never knew the degree of pain these people add to suffer under the nazi regime until I saw a glimpse of the pain & suffering all had to suffer.I believe that the life of Anne frank was nothing short of saintly.I was thinking what makes a saint and the root cause I found was the simple ability to Love God's creation,Human or otherwise.Anne showed a tremendous saintly nature ;She loved Kitty-her favourite dairy which speaks on her behalf even after her departure. Is it anything less saintly to say after all suffering :“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” I am so thrilled to see the courage of this young girl.I imagine if I were to remain in a dark room unknown to the world without making any sound , I would have died of speechlessness ( if thr's one) and afcouse forget about me writing a dairy.I know how much I stuggle to write a article in this blog ! To build a great relationship one needs the basic ingredient of love; if one has that you can even start loving a Diary! Knowing anne thrills me ,gives me confidence that I too can be so positive about life even when I am cornered in Life with my stuggles & sufferings. Anne said: “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” what more can I say?
I believe that we all are called to be saints ;saints who know only to love !
"Lord give me the strength to love you and all your creations just like anne loved 'Kitty'.Give me the strength to share my love with my fellow beings just as Anne was able to share her love with Kitty".

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

discover Jesus the story teller...

dear friends,
Jesus saw the same things many in Palestine saw during his time. but he could create wonderful stories out of day-today experiences. those were powerful stories, touching and transforming the lives of thousands of people even today...

i am posting a picture with some facts. could you make a story out of it? let me see how many of you have imbibed this charism of Jesus.... come' on, discover, 'Jesus the story teller'...

now the facts.... i met her in the shishu bhavan when i went there for mass. she is known as Rani. she was found abandoned on the road. she was very sick. some one admitted her in st. john's medical college. finally after a few days she reached the hands of mother Theresa sisters. she is scared of men...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Free We'll be

Freewill = God's wonderful way of saying, "Don't blame it on me ever"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

An unusual experience!

Yesterday I went to attend Dony’s sister’s engagement in Begur. After the reception, Sanjay and I were standing in front of the church and saw poor child, about 3 years, crying bitterly. He seemed as though he was crying for help. We went to him and inquired why he was crying. Another child from the neighborhood showed up and told us that he passed motion in his pants and his mother was not around. His pants were dirty from top to bottom. He seemed to have loose motion. The stench was strong.

Sanjay and I looked at each other and we knew we are going to clean him. We motioned him (His Name was Ravi) to come along and he held on to Sanjays hand. We then took him to the toilet behind the church. This toilet was locked some ten minutes back when we wanted to use it. And to our surprise now its was open. We went inside with the child and there was hardly any water in the tap. But soon water started coming in drops. I removed his pants and could not stand the smell but I was strengthened by the thought that it was Jesus whom I'm attending to and I used my hand to clean him thoroughly.

His face lit up and it was so heartening to see him very comfortable and contented. Then next task was to the clean his pants. Sanjay took up that part and I poured water for him. We rinsed the pant that was really dirty. We then took him near his house and put the pant for drying. Our hands smelled really bad and the toilet did not have sufficient water to wash. It was an experience of a life time and I thank Jesus for this exceptional one.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Discovering God in Nature

Dear Friends,

I have been silent for a long time. It was a long silence and I have my favorite excuse of being too busy ... But I decided to break my silence. I have been reading the posts and it has been an experience in itself.

So I felt if I don't give back after gaining so much that would not be right. So all you friends who inspired me through their posts in the blog, this is dedicated to your wonderful sharings.

First I will write about one of the experiences in the Discover program. This happened during the session discover God in Nature.

When we were asked to go out and discover God in nature, I felt very enthused. For me I feel closest to God when I see the beauty of His creation in nature. And the session was early in the morning and my intention at first was to sit some where in the garden and have a wonderful time of being with Him. But I never knew what our wonderful Lord had in store for me that beautiful morning. That is one thing that I have experienced, when we go looking for his footsteps, or in search of his love actively seeking, He gives us Glimpses of himself and experiences of His wonderful love in unexpected and profound ways.

But alas I am too busy to seek him out in the daily rigors of life :-(. Let me stop all my ranting and get into my experience now.

But when I decided to seek Him. The first thing that I saw when I got out was the "Chethy" flowers in full bloom.

Chethy flower
(Picture of a Chethy flower like the one I found that morning)

My first urge was to pass by and find a cozy spot in the middle of the garden where I could enjoy the nature around me and tell my lord in the silence of my heart how much I loved him that morning. But I was not able to pass by those flowers that morning. So I decided to sit by those flowers and find out if God wanted to tell me some thing. I sat on the cement ledge by the side of the Chethy plant and started looking at the flower. In no time He opened my eyes to look at the ordinary flower in a new way.

The first thing that attracted me was the redness of the flowers. Although I had looked at the chethy flower numerous times before, that morning the redness of the flowers evoked a new emotion with in me. Suddenly the redness of the chethy flower symbolized the love of my Lord.

For me the red colour represented the intense love of my Lord. It represented the love with which He poured out His blood for me on the calvary. Its the same love which prompted him to share His body and Blood in the institution of the Eucharist so that I could be one with him. The red represented His love which was passionate, intense, all consuming and self giving. It was new and fresh that morning like the bunch of that freshly bloomed flowers in the morning.His love manifested freshly in those flowers and in my life was there for me to relish and enjoy that morning.

Then I started looking at the flowers more closely. Those flowers each of them although were simple to behold, were individually beautiful and different in their own way. They seemed to me to represent the small and big instances of His love that I had experienced in my life. Each one was different in its own way and yet beautiful. And when all those instances of love combined together in my banquet of life, my life became beautiful and meaningful. Each day of my life, he was there with his bunch of fresh and intense love specially made for me. All through the day he drops a beautiful instance of his love into my day, so that at the end of the day, I am left with a bunch of his love to thank and praise him at the end of the day. I am left with a beautiful bunch which I can leave at his feet before going to sleep enfolded in His arms.

Then suddenly I started notice the gaps between the flowers. The voids which looked dark and empty. As I looked at the individual spaces, they seemed with out beauty, standing out dark and with out colours in between the beautiful red flowers. Suddenly they reminded me of those moments in my life where I could not find the love of my Lord. Moments where I needed the love of my Lord to comfort me, to uphold me, to soothe my pain. But I could not find His love, I could not feel His love. Those moments stared back at me like those voids, dark, ominous, evoking fear. Suddenly God made me take a step back and see the whole bunch of flowers again. Now those dark voids were the ones that gave definition to the individual flowers. Those dark voids added beauty to that bunch of flowers. With out those voids, those gaps, the whole bunch of flowers would have been a red sphere. Because of those voids, the beauty of those flowers were enhanced. They became more defined. It gave me a new insight into those moments of pain, rejection, sorrow, fear, etc. They enhanced the beauty of my moments enjoying the love of my Lord. They gave more meaning to those moments of love. With out those voids in my life, my reunion with the love of my Lord would not be so intense, so precious, so much to be cherished. So for a moment I bowed my head in thanks, my heart brimming with joy for the infinite love of my Lord and the beautiful life he has made much more beautiful for me tan that bunch of flowers.

With that let me finish and say to my Lord I love him and to you my friends you are the visible signs of His love, flowers in the bunch of my life He has given.

Love and Prayers ....

Do we need to set the time & place 4 God to act??

Well! I was just thinking of my experiences of Jesus and would like to share one which really struck me.

This was at the time when I was working in sales in Kerala some 3 yrs back. After a days, hard work, I was tired, drained out and had to travel from Cochin to Trivandrum. It was also a period when i was really struggling in my prayer life, in the sense I never felt like praying and was often away from the Lord.

hmmm.. Well! I got onto a train, took a sleeper coach, even though the distance was not that long and fell asleep instantly. Couple of hours later I got up and to my surprise, found that the train was still at Cochin! as there was some problem on the line. Strangely I did not feel sad. Actually I was feeling very happy. And an important thing happened, I started to experience a lot of joy and happiness suddenly. Now there was no reason for it, but my heart was so light and I started whistling and singing. Thankfully there were very few people in the coach, else they might have thought this fellow was nuts!

Now the reason for me feeling this was awesome is bcos, I had been feeling pretty low during that week, and I was thinking maybe it was time I went for a retreat so that i could experience God again like before. But God just surprised me by letting me experience His Love and Joy that evening in a half empty, coach of a very delayed train!

I guess i don't have to set the place and time to meet God, He does the setting part every moment of our lives. we just have to discover it!

experiencing God in our conflicts...

today's reading for the mass was a difficult one. it talks about jesus bringing division instead of peace! please read luke 12:49-53. how can it be? our idea about jesus is someone nice, not some one who brings conflicts... then why this passage in the gospel?

well, i know one family that became chaotic and lost their peace because of Jesus. their daughter who is pretty, intelligent, brilliant, passed from a reputed institution with reputed post-graduate degree, and employed in a reputed company fell in love with jesus and felt that she has a call to religious life. terrible conflict in the family... even her brother who is a jy could not accept it. even today the family is divided on this issue...

well, jesus became the reason for the greatest conflict among the jews. some wanted to follow him... some wanted to eliminate him. finally the conflict and division ended up in violence - in his crucifixion... even in the early church, there were conflicts. one example could be that between peter and paul, regarding the jewish and gentile christians...

can conflict be part of the kingdom? i believe that conflict is also part of the kingdom. why? because of the above reasons... when we start taking jesus seriously, when we start contributing to his kingdom, vested interests of others can get affected. it can result in conflict and division...

there is conflict and division in the world. there is conflict in the kingdom. then what is the difference?... i believe that the way it is resolved is the difference. the world resolves it through violence, by eliminating the enemy. the kingdom resolves it by forgiveness, dialogue and other values... when it comes to marriage, the world resolves it thru divorce... but we, thru reconciliation...

no disciple is greater than the master... so be ready for conflicts... do not be surprised... especilly when we work together as a team... working together with donny and jacob for the christ college retreat was a challange. we 3 are different. our ideas are different. our approaches are different. the way we function are different. above all we 3 are people with strong openions and ideas. in spite of all this, the retreat was great... but what i cherish most is the fact that we became thick friends thru this program... we can transform our differences and conflicts into God experiences...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

experiencing Jesus in our sinfullness...

dear friends, glad to see many more dicovering God in their daily lives and sharing it thru the blog. it is very enriching. in fact thomson's write up made me write about my experience with the auto driver, sarath. rahul's write up was also good. rahul, i want to affirm you that it is not only in happiness and success that we experience God. we also experience him in our unpleasent experiences.

let me share one of my thoughts in that line. well, there were hundreds of women in palastine during the time of Jesus. but i belieave that more than many of them the woman who caught in adultry had a deeper experience of jesus. probably a life changing experience.

all our sins ARE indeed an opportunity... a wonderful opportunity to experience HIM. there is only one condition, we need to look at him. that is important. why do i say that? i wonder whether that the man who committed adultry with her experience Jesus. why? he did not look at Jesus. probably he ran away or he too would have been there with the crowd to stone her to death... our sins and failures are an opportunity. provided we look at HIM... and praise him for it...

well i have two photos to be attached to my previous write ups. will somebody tell me how to do it?!
love, mathenachan...

Thank Him when u r down?

yesterday, i was feeling completely down and out. When i reached home from work, i was pretty miserable. I saw a book named " Power in Praise" and started reading one of the articles which said about thanking and Praising God for your sinfullness and thanking him for all things that you normally would not. do so.

As i had nothing to loose i decided to do that anyway. I thanked him for all my miserablness and self pity and sinfulness and after sometime it came to thanking about the positives, it seemed I didnt feel miserable anymore. Then i stopped and went for the evening mass. Later in the night i had an opportunity to sit and talk and pray with 2 sets of people, and I should say everything seemed so wonderful. Some of those people had real good experiences of the Lord. I felt so happy!

I never thought that 25 minutes of my heartless thanking (i should say just mere saying aloud thanks just for the sake of it) would turn out so beautiful.

If saying thanks for so dumb things could do wonders in the life of my friends imagine what is the effect of saying thanks with all your heart could do!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

blessed are the poor...

recently i called an auto. i was surprised to see a 2-3 year old kid sitting in the lap of the auto driver. both of them were dressed shably. while he was taking me to the destination, i got into a conversation with him. his name was sarath. the child was his son, surya. since it was a holidy, he could not be sent to school. his mother (sarath's wife) had gone for her usual domestic work. so the father is doing the baby sitting that day - mobile baby sitting.

in between he asked me permission to stop the auto and bought biscuts for his son. i was moved by the intimacy of the son and the father. i asked him, "are you happy?" he told, "yes". i asked, "you dont have a house of your own, you dont have decent clothes, you and your wife have to work hard to have two meals per day, then how can you be happy?" he said, "i have a loving wife and two loving children. we work hard to support each other. what else do we need?".

i have seen very afluent couples leaving their children with some woman (domestic worker) from a slum. why? because career is more important. money is the highest value... i felt so proud of sarath. here is a couple who takes care of their own children, even in the midst of their poverty. blessed are the poor, their's is the kingdom of God... remember, he is neither a christian nor a jesus youth!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Smile worth a 'Kachori'

Hi all Thomachan here ! Hehe ..just kidding ! I had a similar experience as mathachen was narrating,once but ya on a scale lower if you could say so.

The incident is as follows, as usual after my day's work at office I was walking with a colleague of mine to the place where my office bus/shuttle was waiting to pick us. Since we left office pretty early I told my friend on having some chats on the way. wow! thinking of chats ..mouth waters ! On the way we saw Hot-Chips (a famous chat/snacks out-let). I was all eager to hog some. I ordered for a 'Kachori' a favourite snack of mine from north India. As I was digging into it I saw suddenly a poor child standing in front of me stretching His hands. He might have been some 8-10 years old I guess,well I don't know whats special about Him stretching I have seen many doing that but something told me to help Him. Something pushed me to do something for that kid (what it is I can't say,have no previous behavioral history of sacrificing food).I went into the shop asked for another plate;took that plate gave to that kid standing outside the shop and broke my 'kochari' into two and gave Him one half. I wish I could have given Him the entire stuff but He was happy getting something to eat & frankly me too.I donno how much it can fill his hungry stomach but a lot to fill His & mine hungry Souls!

The colleague of mine standing by said in Hindi: "bahut acchi baat hai...aise e karna chaayehai"(its good what you did,one should do it).

Actually I was wondering ,is that small act one of genuine generosity or did it slighlty involve an unconcsious attempt from my side to show off my generosity (to my colleague who was watching me). Would I have done the same thing if no one was watching me? I donno I am wondering ! But whether I was genuine or not I am not sure but what I am sure is that the hungry kid must have been happy for few minutes ! Puttin a smile on His face was worth it !

Imagine next time something similar happens, will I be able to give my entire food/snack ? Hopefully Yes !

silent evangelization...

greetings from mathenachan... recently i was travelling by brindavan express to chennai. i had reservation and 'my own seat'. when we reached katpadi, lot of people entered into the compartment. there was hostility in the air. their were angry comments of more people entering into 'my territory'. i too was irritated.

after a while i noticed an elderly couple, standing and leaning to my head rest. i felt a bit uncomfortable. something within me told me to get up and allow that elderly man to sit down. i had my own justifications not to get up. i had paid for that seat. it was 'my seat'. i ignored that inspiration, and pretended to be sleeping. but i could not go on for a long time. something form deep within me forced me on my feet and i offered him my seat. he was so greatful. but when he sat down, he shared his seat with his wife. what God had united how can man seperate.

standing beside them, i started experiencing a happiness that welled up from somewhere deep within me. that happiness was more powerful than the comfort of sitting down. then i saw people around, looking at me with admiration. "why is this man different from others?" probably that is what they where thinking. after sometime, i saw another man getting up and giving his seat for somebody else... after a while yet another man got up and gave his seat for another...

a few minutes ago what prevailed in that compartment was a culture of selfishness, a culture of fear, a culture of irritation... but within no time i started sensing a culture of concern, a culture of self-sacrifice, a culture of trust, filling the air. i felt the kingdom was breaking forth THEN AND THERE... the kingdom of love, the kingdom of joy...

evangelization comes from the greek word evangelium, which means good news. and The good news is that the kingdom of God is near, IS among us. that day i felt so proud of myself, for becoming an instrumet in the breaking forth of the kingdom... i felt proud of jesus, for persuading me go get up from 'my seat'...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

giving life for others

dear friends, greetings from mathenachan. let me break my long silence. a few days back i discovered a new way of saying homiliy. the reading of the day was about Jesus bringing the widow's son back to life. i was prepared to speak on 'giving life for others' and the mass was with the mother theresa sisters.

as i began the mass, glory a two year old girl stood there right in front of me and started smiling at me. whenever i looked at the congregation, we (glory and me) exchanged a smile(usualy we priests find it difficult to smile during mass). while the first reading was going on, an idea struck me. after the Gospel i took glory in my arms(imagine a priest taking a child in his arms, especilly during the mass with his vestments).

i asked the sisters, "what do you see in her". they said, "we see life in her". then i told them, "tell me her story". one of the sisters narrated her story. when she was one year old her mother died of cancer. her father too was sick and could not take care of her. when all the doors were closed, he left her in front of the devasthana, near christ college.

some people noticed glory crying and she was brought to the sisters. if those sisters were not there, will glory smile, will she experience life...? i felt so proud of those sisters... i felt so proud of the Church... i felt so proud of Jesus... so proud of being his disciple. i concluded my homily by appretiating the marvellous ways they give life for others...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

One prejudice conqured!

There was a time when I struggled to accept Muslims. Pakistan was considered an enemy country and Pakistanis being Muslims made it difficult even to think anything good about them.

In Dubai, I was exposed to Muslims from all corners of the Arab world. I met some extremely amicable and warm people there. I had many colleagues who eventually became great friends. There were 2 Pakistanis, an Iranian, an iraqi, a Lebanese, Sudanese and a Jordanian. All were Muslims expect the Lebanese girl who was a Maronite Catholic.

I have 2 experiences which changed my biased outlook towards Muslims and Pakistanis. Once I went to eat in a pakistani restaurant and sat on a table where there were few Pakistanis. They all looked at me and they knew that I was an Indian. I was a little embarrassed being the only Indian there. I ordered food and the man opposite in white beard smiled at me and I smirked back. After about a minute his food came on the table and with out a second thought he offered his plate of rotis and the gravy dish to me and said, you may please eat from this until your food comes. I was shocked. I did not know how to respond to this humbling act of hospitality. I felt so small.

The second incident happened in Abu dhabi. On arriving there that morning by bus, I walked into a chai shop where many Pakistanis stood relishing the morning tea. They were all cab drivers. I ordered tea and was waiting. The man next to me on receiving his cup of tea offered it to me and told me to take it and he will pick up mine when it comes. What admirable disposition displayed by people whom I once considered antagonistic and arrogant. I realized they too are Gods children, sometimes so much better individuals than myself.

I pray, God give me the grace to see all men alike and with out prejudice

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Discovering God in my sinfulness

I have been able to mature in a lot of areas in my life through these years. But I have terribly failed to make any progress in few others. A side that is exposed to me and God alone! The sins that I confess over and over. I hoped a day will come when I will victoriously overcome these weaknesses.

Years gone by and I still fail. I fought with myself, wrestled with my decisions and despised my wretched plight. Asked God why am I not made pure in all areas? Guilt haunted me and I stayed away from the presence of God like Adam hid after he sinned. Thankfully every time, confession brought me back to the Merciful, Unconditional Love

Just the other day, reflecting on this, God brought me a thought. Suppose my son is very fond of chocolates and I have warned him not to touch those chocolates in the fridge. One day when I was sleeping he took it and ate it and I knew it. I saw my son lying on the bed and not talking to anyone. He is not bubbly anymore. He is wrestling with himself, probably questioning himself why did he do it. He knows I love him a lot. He can't face me. When I see him struggle, I’m filled with compassion and I go to him and say son, come to me then he will break into tears and say appa... I .... I would say to him, I know you love chocolates. Appa also loved chocolates I hug him and he will say i will not do it again. He is healed and I'm made to feel so joyful!! I know, since he love chocolates, he might do it again.

I guess this is what happens when I sin. Instead of wrestling with myself, I must go to appa and hold his hands and before I even say sorry, He will say I know it son and I love you still!!

I learned, when I try to patch up things myself after committing sin I am being proud. I do not want to admit that I'm week. I do not want to go to appa because I fear He will scorn me and I will feel rejected and unaccepted. This would mean I do not know His immense love for me. But instead if I walk to him and hold his hands after every sin, I’m admitting my weakness and being humbled. and I promise him sincerely that I will never sin again.

Some points in the reflection:

  • My father knows me, my background and the reasons why commit certain repeated sins
  • He loves me not only when I’m sinless but with all my wretched frailty
  • My being able to go and hold his hands every time I sin depends on how much I know my father and His love for me.
  • If i'm being passive after sin and make no effort to reconcile, it's time I test my love for the Father and know that I’m heading to loneliness, rejection and seclusion and finally fatherless ness
  • Be gentle to myself. Treat my body as a gift. Know that it is mortal and accept its potency to sin
  • Do not give up on my constant desire to be pure in my body even at the face of repeated failures.
  • Finally, I remain a child to my father however tall I grow

Have I discovered God in my sinfulness...search continues...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Me and Jesus at work

Yesterday morning, I was really troubled with a particular problem at work. I wanted to solve that problem, was trying hard but somehow could not. Suddenly, I received a phone call from Erode. A Jesus Youth program is coming up there and they are planning to publish a booklet. They wanted my testimony for that. I told the person that I am stuck up with a problem in office and that it will be difficult for me to prepare my testimony within a short notice. He wanted it by afternoon. But he kept on pleading and finally, I agreed. But I had no idea how I could find time to do that. I just went back to my work and I prayed "Lord, I know that you want me to write my testimony. But I won't be able to write that peacefully until this issue is solved. So please help me to solve this problem." I knew that my Lord was hearing my prayer. The problem that I was struggling with since the previous day got solved the next moment!!! Praise the Lord!!! I couldn't believe it.. I ran around telling my friends about the Lord's miracle. Some did not believe me, but some really believed. I wrote my testimony and was able to send it to him. Alls well!! The Lord showed me once again that he is with me always....

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."(Matthew 6:33).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The pain in breaking oneself

In the year 2002, in dubai, when I realized I was leading a very easy and comfortable spiritual journey, I asked God to send me suffering. One morning when I walked into the restaurant to eat, i met a Hindu boy who traveled with me in the bus to office and i joined him at the table. Something prompted me to ask him how his family life was. He opened up and told me that he does not have a place to go back that night and his wife physically assaulted him and has told him not to stay with her anymore. I was staying alone in a room and I told him come and stay with me and he did.

Days passed by. I prayed with him and kept trying to help him to be able to forgive and accept her (as she is) and reconsider his decision to divorce. Despite of my continues efforts, he made no progress and continued to resent his ill fate and endlessly complained. He repeated the same complaints every time we sat down to speak. A month passed and my words did not make any difference to him at all.

I began to go though an ordeal. The thought that all my efforts are not yielding any result broke me completely. I was reduced to zero. I desired to escape from him. In that small room I completely lost my privacy. I told the lord i cant take it any more and He moved out to a new place on his own.

I painfully realized, there is no love with out sacrifice, pain and breaking oneself.

Discovering God in oneself

Have you ever discovered God in yourself? It's high time we stop searching Him outside and discover Him within ourselves. As Christians we often forget our duties not knowing that He lives in us and thereby not giving others an opportunity to discover God.

I'd like to narrate a simple incident when I discovered God in myself. Once, while attending a program, during the tea break, as uaual I was moving around to find lonely souls and met a guy who was sitting all alone sipping his cup of tea. I went to him and started speaking to him. He was so happy, so happy that I can't explain the joy I saw in him. He told me that he was praying to God that someone talked to him. In such a big group of prayerful people he was feeling so lonely. There were so many people around, but all were busy in their own groups. It's a common phenomena that we can see everywhere. We ought to break the barriers and start caring those in need. It need not be a beggar on street, but a rich friend of yours who feels lonely. And you'll discover God in yourself and will see the reflection in their eyes.

Before setting off to do great things in search of God, let's start with small things in our daily lives, and thereby experience Him. Let's start doing what we can before trying to do what we can't.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Discovery

Discover was an awesome experience for me, especially the sharing of Fr. Xavier, his experience in slum area, the story of “little Vasanthi and her family”. Richness of their heart...amazing!

Throughout the programme, I got my own space for everything. Nothing was imposed on anybody and I really enjoyed the fellowship. Discovering God in nature and fellowship was a beautiful experience. Through this programme I renewed my commitment and Discovered the real mission of mine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Poor GOD !

Discover means to obtain knowledge or awareness of something not known before, as through observation or study.(To make visible; bring to view).

Thats exactly what I experienced from this program. I was always aware that we could discover God in the poor,in my friends,in my family/others but actually made no effort to discover God in them. But after coming here, I have been challenged to put my foot forward and actually make an effort to find my God in others.

I have an experience with regard to this :

Everytime I walk on the road in front of Yuva Vikas on my way to college/ office, I see an old poor man, strecthing His hands. Everytime I look at him I have a stong urge to help Him, an urge I have never experienced before or with others.

Whenever I see Him the words of our Lord echoes across my mind , "when i was hungry,u never fed me........when i was thirsty........"; I have been seeing Him on that street for past so many years, but have not been able to do anything concrete to help Him, although I want to. I sometimes say an hail mary as I pass in front of Him. I wished I could live out my faith in a more practical manner. As the WORD says "FAITH without Works is Dead ". I know that i have Faith but also know that my works fail to justify the same.
After hearing Dr.Joe's incident with the poor sick chap He saw when He accidently met Him on the street was touching. I was able to relate to it very much.I know thats easier said than done in my case, but what this program has given me is living examples who have 'working faith'. I always wonder what is it that drives people like Naveen lobo, Sr.Prabha...and others to sacrifice their life, to make themselves all time available to the poor and thereby to 'God'. Well I have been challenged to Discover the answer on a personal front.

I have always ignored the sixth JY constant-option for the poor (rather never thought much about it). We must start Looking at it more than a constant ;It must be our way of living or simply a prominent JY lifestyle. I HOPE !!


"Remember an Archer is known by His Aim not by His arrows" !

Discovering God in others

Fr. Mathan was telling me during one of the planning sessions about an incident that happend in Dr. Joe's Family. Once Joanna broke a very expensive vase and she was about to cry (as she knew this was a vase they cherished), Dr Joe (her father)ran upto her and cuddled her to his chest and said "you are more precious than this vase". Can I be such a father to my children and be able to respond like this with out loosing temper.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A road to discovery

Well, for me, when I was aked to attend the program, I didn't know what the program was all about. I didn't know the name either. I set off and found out that the way to Discover ain't that easy, yet really enjoyed the roller-coaster ride like how life is supposed to be. Anyway, though I didn't try to discover what it's all about, and though I didn't try to discover anything, I realized that lot of things were unveiling before me through the days.

And one fine day I discovered that 'Discover' is the name of the program when one of our friends tried to discover what the name stood for. And in the meantime, unknowingly, I 'Discovered' many things through fellowships, through sharings, through music, through friends, through nature etc. I felt that the most appealing was the sharing of our married friends, maybe because I was in the thought process of marriage these days.

And more than anything I discovered new roots for the option for poor. Overall it was quite a different experience. And I wish and hope that it wasn't all the end of it. I realy look forward for programs like these in future, not too far, so that we can strive more and more to make the Kingdom of God a reality.

Really wonderful

For me, it truly was wonderful. Discovering God in fellowship with others and learning from real living testimonies was just beautiful. Hearing experiences of people who found God in the poor was really touching. I got to know the reason why the option for the poor became the sixth pillar for JY.

what an experience !

Discover has been an overwhelming experience. Just what i wished for. I had so many new things to carry home. Never thought that I could discover GOD in so many unconventional ways.

your Experiences

This blog is for you to share personal experiences discovering God in unconventional ways. Be it in the poor, others, suffering, family, nature, movies, theatre, music or art. Share it so that we begin to nourish others through our own little experiences.