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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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!

Amoris Laetitia, the New Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis.

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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