Give Priority to Love

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Studies have shown that those who lead happy and purposeful lives give priority to love.’ Jesus, too, stressed the importance of love: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). When we speak of love we have to make a distinction between the emotion of love and the choice of love. To lead a happy and meaningful life, we have to give priority to love as a choice. It is true that I have no power over whether others love me or not. But I have total control over whether I become a loving person. This comes out very clearly in the life story of Elsa who was born and brought up in Germany in the midst of World War II. Her father was an officer in the German army. He loved Elsa very much. Yet, when the war was over, he deserted the family by choosing not to return home.

Elsa’s mother was very angry and took her anger out on Elsa. Elsa had a difficult time as a child and as an adolescent because she felt that her mother did not love her, though she did not know why. But there was a moment when she came to an important realization. “At some point, I can’t say exactly when, I realized that if I could not get love I had to become love.’ It is hard to explain, but what I realized was that while I had very little control over whether others loved me, I realized that I had complete control over whether I became a loving person. Somehow I knew that if I became a loving person, people could not help but love me. Also, I realized that God loved me and that just by being a human being I was already completely worthy, and this was something no one could take away from me. Although I cannot fully explain it, there was a transformation when I decided to become love rather than seek love”

We give priority to love in three ways. First we choose to love our own selves. Then we choose to act with love to those who are very close to us – family and friends. And finally we choose to become love in all our interactions with people. First we choose to love our own selves. If we do not love ourselves we cannot love others. The love of self is fundamental to our emotional and spiritual health and well-being. That is why we are asked to love our neighbour as ourselves (See Lev 19:18). For some of us it is quite easy to love ourselves because we have been brought up in such a way that we have developed a deep sense of self-worth. For others love of self is quite difficult because of their past experience.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘Give More Than You Take: Reflections on the daily living of the Faith’ by Kurien Kunnumpuram, SJ. For more information on the book: Click Me!

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Idioms in Pictures

In the spoken and written English of today, idiom is an established, universal and essential element which, when used with care, ornaments and enriches language. Here are a few Idioms that have been compiled in the book English Composition: Idioms . Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I have added images to this post to better grasp the meaning of each Idiom mentioned.

1.) A1 – Excellent, best; of highest quality; first rate

Burns-excellent

2.) The Old Adam – the natural, primitive instincts

apes

3.) To do a room – to tidy it up as a housemaid does.

Cleaniness

4.) A babel – A confused noise

babel

5.) To send the cap round – to make a collection.

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We must confess our sins!

Confession

Scripture makes a distinction between two types of sin: mortal sin and venial sin (see 1 Jn 5:16-17). Mortal sin is, as its name implies, the more deadly of the two, for it chokes off God’s life in the soul. Mortal sin kills us spiritually. Mortal sin always involves “grave matter” — the most important things in life. Even nonbelievers will often recognize the gravity of these offences. Thus, for example, murder is a mortal sin, and it is universally recognized as a crime; the same goes for grand theft, perjury, and adultery. Other grave matter, however, can be seen only with the eyes of faith. Thus, for example, it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on a Sunday.

Every time we go to the sacrament of penance, we must confess any and all mortal sins committed since our last confession. We must clearly state the types of mortal sin we’ve committed and the number of times we’ve committed them. If we hold back any mortal sins, then we have not made a valid confession. Indeed, to deliberately withhold confessing a mortal sin is itself a mortal sin. Since a sacrament is an oath before God, such nondisclosure represents a sort of perjury.

We are not strictly required to confess our venial sins — the catechism calls them “everyday faults” — but the Church, the saints, and the mystics have always recommended this (see CCC, 1458).

It’s important to remember, in our confession, that we’re not telling God anything he doesn’t already know. He knows our sins better than we do. He knew Adam’s sin when he invited Adam to confess. He knew Cain’s when he invited Cain to confess. He wants us to confess not for his good, but for ours, because he knows that confession is a necessary step in our process of healing toward holiness.

Confession is necessary, but there are some very limited circumstances in which a priest may dispense with confession and grant absolution anyway. In times of dire emergency, when a number of people are in immediate danger of death — in the heat of battle, or if a plane is about to crash — a priest may pronounce a “general absolution”. Even this requires that penitents must be sorry for their sins, though it dispenses with their need to confess their sins. Even then, the penitent, if he should survive, must go as soon as possible to make an ordinary sacramental confession.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn. For more information, click me 🙂

WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?

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Some years ago a popular singer sang a song, “There’s no thing such as love”. Was she right? Some may be tempted to say so. There is so much unkindness, so much deception, cruelty even among those who claim to love each other , also among religious people who claim to love God. It all depends, doesn’t it, on your definition of love. It also depends a lot on your personal, subjective view of love.

Shirley Bassey or the person who composed this song had probably just then been drastically jilted. On the other Jim Reeves, most of whose songs are sad because of his unhappy separation from his wife, never forgot the true meaning of love. It shines through the words, even of his sad songs and especially of his religious songs.

But what is this thing called love? We might well begin by mentioning some of the things which seem like love and and  are often called love but are really not love. Friendship, infatuation and lust. In each of these there is an attraction between two people but though infatuation may lead to love and friendship, neither of these and certainly not lust can be identified with love. For love is essentially selfless and each of the above contains elements of selfishness…. Lust of course is entirely selfish. The friendship between a boy and a girl that normally leads to marriage implies a very strong mutual attraction.

Marriage is a complete and exclusive union of two whole persons—soul, mind, feelings,
affections, and body. Necessarily there will also be pleasure not only in the consummation of this union but even in everything that leads up to it. But if this pleasure on the part of either or both is selfish, in so far as it is selfish, it is not love. And the more selfish it is the less chance there is of the permanence of their union and the success of their marriage.

Love again must be distinguished from emotions. These, especially with young people are associated with love and often but incorrectly identified with it. But emotions are passing things; sometimes they pass very rapidly. I remember when I was going to England on board ship as a young lad,  there was another boy with me who seemed to find a `flame’ every night. When we got to Aden, he bought the largest box of chocolates he could find for his latest ‘flame’ but by evening when he was to present it, happily for us, other three in the group, he had lost interest in her and at night we bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate his freedom and enjoyed the box of chocolates.

I have said and will have to say it again that love is giving, but it is certainly not merely giving and certainly not just giving things. A gift given in an ungracious way is better not given at all. Love begins when we give something of ourselves.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘So you want to get married’ by R.H. Lesser. For more information: Click Me 🙂

From unceasing thinking to unceasing prayer

Bread for the Journey

Our minds are always active. We analyse, reflect, daydream or dream. There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking. You might say our thinking is “unceasing”. Sometimes we wish we could stop thinking for a while; that would save us from many worries, guilt feelings and fears.

Our ability to think is our greatest gift, but it is also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to become victims of our unceasing thoughts? No, we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with our God, who is the source of all love.

Let’s break our isolation and realize that Someone who dwells in the centre of our beings wants to listen with love to all that occupies and preoccupies our minds.

This excerpt is taken from the book ‘ Bread for the Journey’ by Henri J.M. Nouwen. For more information: Click Me 🙂

If We Know These Things, Why Do We Do Them?

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We have all kinds of rationalizations for what are ultimately unwise choices: “Calories don’t count on vacation”, or “My dad smoked for years and never got lung cancer.” These rationalizations show the level of denial we are capable of. First Corinthians 6:19-20 asks us: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” Glorifying God in our body means, among other things, keeping it as happy as possible.

Think about your last meal. What would Jesus say about it? Was it healthy, natural food that honored the Holy Spirit in you, or was it highly processed, that is, altered significantly from its natural state or even created in a laboratory? Did you even eat, or were you so busy that you grabbed a soda or another cup of coffee?

Mealtimes, complete with time to chew, reflection on your day so far, and time reorienting yourself to God through a short prayer, feed our souls as well as our bodies. Those times are gifts from God to use and we are invited to treat them as such.

This excerpt is taken from the book “The Life of the Body” by Valerie E. Hess & Lane M. Arnold. Click on the book to find out more

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Be Human Be Holy

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Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the alter and there remember that your brother has some thing against you, leave your gift there in front of the alter. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.                                                                    Mt. 5:23-24

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.                               -Mt. 6:12

Christ practiced what he preached all his life. So much so that we  can say that the special characteristic of Christ was to forgive unforgivable, as indeed of God. The culmination was in his forgiving those who crucified him (Lk. 23:34).

The Talmud has a touching story. An aged man whom Abraham hospitably received in his tent refused to join him in prayer. Learning that he was a fire worshiper, Abraham drove him from his door.

That night God appeared to Abraham and said, ” I have borne with that man for seventy years; could you have not patiently suffered him one night?”

Excerpt from the book “BE HUMAN BE HOLY”. For more Info: Click Me!

Bible Quiz fir Children – Old Testament

Bible Quiz For Children

All children like to know the answers to their questions.

This book, dealing with Old Testament, provides the answers to a great many queries likely to be asked by children aged seven and upwards.

This superb compilation of questions and answers covers the whole Old Testament which will enthrall any child.

This can be a text book for children to learn the bible in a new and exciting way.

For More Information : http://bit.ly/1WlaCqN
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Amoris Laetitia, the New Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis.

Amoris-Laetitia

Much of the “Amoris Laetitia” consists on the reflections of the Gospels and church teaching on love, the family and children.

It begins with an opening chapter inspired by the Scriptures, to set a proper tone. Thereafter, the Holy Father examines the actual situation of families, and recalls some essential aspects of the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family, thus paving the way for two central chapters dedicated to love.

Further on the Pope highlights some pastoral approaches that can guide us in building sound and fruitful homes in accordance with God’s plan, with a full chapter dedicated to raising of children.

Finally, he offers an invitation to mercy and pastoral discernment of those situations that fall short of what the Lord demands of us, and conclude with a brief discussion of family spirituality.

The copy of this book will be available 15th April. Send your orders to st.paulsmarketing@gmail.com or bybbangalore@gmail.com

 

Psalms of Mercy

The-Psalms-of-Mercy

The Psalms have a strong attraction – to believers and non believers alike – because they reflect our deepest experiences as human beings. They are full of the highs and lows of everyday life, the triumphs and losses, our strengths and weaknesses, the beautiful and the painful. They also point to our human search for a merciful and loving God.

Praying with these ten Psalms of Mercy will help us come more deeply into God’s presence and reveal God’s mercy and tenderness for each one of us.

The Psalms of Mercy is one of a series of eight books, the official catechetical resource for the Jubilee of Mercy created by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization at the request of Pope Francis.

As Pope Francis says, we are, as a Church, called to “echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love.” These books are a guiding light for individuals  and parishes to answer that call.