Be Aware, Be Mindful

Easter nTaj

The essence of divine wisdom is a universality that embraces all religions. ” If man were to come out of self-limiting  veil that covers his eyes,” wrote Ghalib, “what glorious revelations he will see in every faith” 

Here are 5 insightful stories that will inspire you and give you deep revelations from the profound minds of the much revered ages, seers and Sufi saints of the eastern religions, awakening us to the Divine.

1.) Your True Self- Image

Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.” -Genesis 2:26

“Master,” the disciple asked, “Who am I? Who am I?” “Ah!” exclaimed the Master. “That’s a question you alone must answer.”

“Help me,Master” the disciple pleaded.”You were born a noble Knight,” the Master replied. “You could either strive for the unreachable star or live and die the ignoble death of a despicable toad in some stagnant wayside pond.”

Not satisfied, the restless disciple anguished, “Master, who am I? who am I?”

The Master relented. “You were created in the image and likeness of God,” said the Master. “In all humility, awaken to your true self-image and live up to your dignity and purpose.”

“Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of the Lord….If you don’t, you will be exactly like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall to hold a dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.” -Jalaluddin Rumi

2.) Let Go….

After Lot had left, the Lord said to Abram, “….I am going to give you and your descendants all the land that you see, and it will be yours forever. I am going to give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all….” -Genesis 13:14-18

An old lady, bent low with the burden of her years, approached the venerable Rabbi and cried her eyes out: “Help me,” she groaned. “My lips are weary, my mind fatigued and my whole body throbs with pain. Yahweh doesn’t pay heed to my prayers.”

Observing closely her pursed lips and tightly clenched fist, he said, “Watch your dreams and desires lest they possess you as you tenaciously cling to them. Let go, let go of them like our Father Abraham who left his country, his land, his house, only believing in the promise made to him by Yahweh that he would be blessed with descendants as innumerable as the stars.”

“It is sheer stupidity to hold on to anything in life. The great mistake is to grasp tightly; in doing so one loses what one would have got. In claiming that ‘it is mine’ we lose what is ours already.” – Osho

3.) Respect Life

The Lord said, “……Do not kill.” -Deuteronomy 17

The pesky mosquito teasingly hovered round the disciple as he meditated in the sanctuary of the temple. His patience tested beyond limits, the irritated disciple raised his hand to swat it when his inner voice warned him: “It’s unlawful to kill on holy ground.”

Summoned to attention, the disciple withdrew his hand and gazed kindly at the mosquito. Raising his level of consciousness, the Master said: “Wherever you are, on holy ground or public space, life in all its forms is sacred. It is unlawful to kill.”

“One should not injure, subjugate, enslave, torture or kill any animal, living being, organism or sentient being….Just as suffering is painful to you, in the same way it is painful, disquieting and terrifying to all animals, living beings, organism and sentient beings.” – Acarangasutra 4:25-26

4.) The Law of Life

As I see it, those who plough evil or sow trouble reap the same. – Job 4:8

Disturbed by the injustices in the world, a man asked the Master, “Why is it that the wicked in our midst thrive while the honest and the upright suffer?”

“Recall the words of wisdom of the Buddha,” the Master said, “If a man speaks or acts with evil thoughts, pain surely follows him e’en as the wheel follows the ox that drags the cart along.”

“Be ever mindful of your thoughts, words and actions,” the Master cautioned. “It is the law of life: The good you do blesses you a hundredfold and more already in this life. The evil you do stays with you to haunt you, morning, noon and night, every moment of your life.”

“One day I met the Lord face to face, and bending my knees, I prayed, “Tell me,O king of Compassion, ‘Is it thou who punishest the sinner and givest rewards to the virtuous ones?’ ‘No,’ said He smiling, “the sinner earns his reward.” – Hazarat Inayat Khan

5.) Song of the Bird

Have you ever seen a guiltless man perish or an upright man done away with completely?  -Job 4:7

A prisoner of conscience who survived ten long years of solitary confienment was asked how he endured the ordeal.

He humbly testified: “Every morning I was visited by a tiny bird that perched itself on the branch of a tree just outside my cell window. Faithfully it sang its little heart out sending my drooping spirits soaring and reminding me that one day the Truth would prevail. Tenaciously I clung to the song of the bird as I survived the dark night of my soul.”

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark -Rabindranath Tagore 

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘The Word Through Eastern Eyes‘ by Cedric Rebello, SJ. For more information about this book: Click Here

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Venial Sin : No Small Matter

Sin

“All wrongdoing is sin,” says Saint John, “but there is sin which is not mortal” (1 Jn 5:17). Venial sin is the name we give to faults of lesser gravity. There’s no such thing as a sinless lie; but not all lies weigh as heavily as perjury under oath or false accusation. Thus, perjury is a mortal sin; but lying about your age, for vanity’s sake, might be venial.

Venial sin weakens our will. It wounds us in the spirit, though it does not kill us. Pope John Paul II wrote: “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”;0 We can get to heaven if we die with venial sins unconfessed, but they must lirst be cleansed from our soul; for “nothing unclean shall enter” God’s eternal life (Rev 21:27).

We are not obligated to confess our venial sins. Indeed, they can be forgiven in other ways. For example, every time we receive Holy Communion, our venial sins are wiped away entirely. We can ask and obtain forgiveness for venial sins by reciting a simple, sincere Act of Contrition. The Bible tells us that venial sins can even be forgiven through the intercession of others: “If anyone sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal” (1 Jn 5:16).

Still, we do best if we discern these smaller sins and begin to conquer them now, by seeking forgiveness in the confessional. The sacrament will give us grace, then, to overcome them in the future; and the priest-confessor can give us very specific, practical advice on how best to correspond to that grace with action. The introduction to the rite of penance tells us that the confession of venial sins is not a mere “psychological exercise”. It is, rather, “a constant and renewed commitment to refine the grace of baptism so that, while we carry about in our bodies the dying of Christ Jesus, His life may be ever more revealed in us.” No sin — no matter how small — is compatible with the life of Christ, Who is forever sinless. If we want to grow in His life, if we want His life to grow in us, we must be firm in our resolve not to sin at all, or at least (for starters) to sin less frequently.

We need not be discouraged if we continue to fall into venial sin. But neither should we give up our resolve to put off such sins entirely. For we must not underestimate the damage venial sins can do. Again, some lies are less serious than others, but there’s no such thing as a lie that’s “little” or “white”. Pope John Paul II taught: “It must not be forgotten that venial sins can inflict dangerous wounds on the sinner.”3′ Venial sins, especially if they are habitual, make us ever weaker in our resistance to mortal sin. They are the thin edge of sin’s wedge in our lives.

Confessing these sins, however, provides a powerful counteractive force. Said Pope John Paul II: “The confession of these sins with a view to sacramental forgiveness, in fact, singularly helps us grow aware of our condition as sinners before God in order to make amends.”” Thus armed with grace and good advice, we can continue resolutely on the path to our perfection. “In this way the penitent tends toward ‘that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature’ [Eph 4:13]; besides, ‘professing the truth in love,’ he is spurred on to ‘grow to the full maturity of Christ the head’ [Eph 4:15].”

This Excerpt is taken from the book: ‘Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession’ by Scott Hahn. For more information about the book: Click Here!

The way to overcome Sadness is One Word!

one-word

“The wise man said: “Cast sadness far from thee,  because it has killed many, and is good for nothing.” There is hardly anything as apt to bring our hearts to a state of irksome disgust as sadness. Those who have made a psychological study of sadness tell us that one of its principal effects is to disturb our judgements, making us take a darker view of life than the facts justify. Thus, sadness leads to pessimism and the reverse effect is also true — all pessimists are necessarily sad: disaster, for them, is just around the corner.

A second effect of sadness is to make us rude to others and severe towards them, suspicious and ready to put the worst interpretation on the actions of everyone around us. There are different ways of trying to overcome the sense of sadness. Some people take recourse to alcohol to make them forget. Others fling themselves into carnal pleasures hoping that the intensity of a momentary thrill will compensate them for want of a goal and a purpose in life. But all sad people are alike in this: at some time they say — perhaps scarcely conscious that they are saying it — “I do not love myself.” This is not an “inferiority complex”. It is rather the higher part of the self looking down on the lower part and reprimanding it for its pitiable condition.

Animals cannot reflect on themselves as human beings do; hence they cannot feel the same kind of disgust. There is a remedy for sadness — the one suggested by the Scriptures. To some minds it may seem far-fetched, when it says: “If you are suffering, pray!” (Jm 5:13). Actually, these words touch on a profound psychological truth, for they imply that we must be reconciled to ourselves in order to be happy. So long as we are merely the battleground of a war between the lower self and the higher self within us, there can be no relaxation and no joy. But to resolve the conflict, to bring the battle to an end, we must see ourselves as we really are.

It does no good to blame the golf club if our game is at fault, or the pitcher because we spill the milk, the fault must be seen as our own in little mishaps of this kind, and for our states of mind as well. The discovery that we are to blame for being the way we are is greater than the discovery made by any explorer — such a discovery of our own fault is impossible unless there be a higher standard outside ourselves, from whose love we know that we have fallen.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘Way to Inner Peace’ by Fulton J. Sheen. For more information on the book: Click Me!

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.

Saint of the Day: St. Margaret Clitherow

MargaretClitherow

St. Margaret Clitherow, a woman of great beauty and zeal was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, to protestant parents. She married a well to do grazer John Clitherow, with whom she had 2 children. Her charming personality and cleaver mind led her to harbor fugitive priests. Due to this she was imprisoned by hostile authorities.

She was constantly tested and forced to denounce her faith however Margaret was relentless and stood firm in what she believed in. After multiple attempts to make her deny God, she was finally sentenced to death on March 25 1856. Her death sentence was to be carried out in a gruesome manner by getting her pressed top death.

The extent of her holiness and faith in God can be seen when she writes a letter to her friend saying “The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise.” Her feast day is celebrated on March 26th.

Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Enda

enda

Legend has him an Irishman noted for his military feats who was convinced by his sister St. Fanchea to renounce his warring activities and marry. When he found his fiancee dead, he decided to become a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome, where he was ordained.

He returned to Ireland, built churches at Drogheda, and then secured from his brother-in-law King Oengus of Munster the island of Aran, where he built the monastery of Killeaney, from which ten other foundations on the island developed.

With St. Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder on monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21
Source: catholic.org