The Oxford English Dictionary defines spirituality as the quality or condition of being spiritual; attachment to or regard for things of the spirit as opposed to material or worldly interests. Continue reading
Religious Life is a form of consecrated life. There are many different Religious Orders and Congregations each of which contributes a particular gift to the life of the Church. Religious (men and women in these Institutes) make vows that help them to be free to follow Christ with an undivided heart. The three vows that most religious make are of life-long celibacy, poverty and obedience. These are also known as the ‘evangelical counsels’. Religious serve the Lord and the Church in their Institutes, by ministering in churches, schools, hospitals and clinics, counseling centres, orphanages, refugee and rehabilitation centres and anywhere else where there is a need for them to serve God in His people. Many male religious are priests but there is also a strong tradition of religious brothers in the Church. Religious usually live in a community, where they support each other, in prayer, in ministry and in providing for the daily needs of each one. Just like life in a family, community life has its struggles, but in seeking to live charitably with one another, people of different ages, backgrounds and temperaments witness to Christian communion and to the fact that the love of Christ is stronger than anything which may divide them.
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS
February 2 – The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Forty days after the birth of the Lord Jesus,Mary and Joseph brought Him to present Him to God in the Temple in fulfillment of the Law of Moses. The feast points back to Christmas and is also known as Candlemas day, since the blessing and procession of candles are included in the liturgy. The candles symbolize Christ, the Light of the world
World Day of Consecrated Life has been celebrated on February 2nd since 1997. The purpose of this Day is threefold: first of all to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; secondly to promote knowledge and appreciation of it among the whole people of God and lastly to invite all those who have dedicated their life totally to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels that the Lord has worked in them. Throughout this Year of Consecrated Life and especially on February 2nd let us remember to pray for those who have been called to serve God by dedicating their entire life to Him. May their lives always be a witness to God and may they constantly point everyone that they meet to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.
We believe that every family begins or ought to begin with love. Love attracts two adults to each other and impels them to vow to be with each other till death. In marriage the love between the man and the woman is fused into their offsprings. The offsprings grow up experiencing this love and sharing with one another. Despite this love the family members still experience strife. At times the love becomes sour and there is the need to restore its place in hearts of those affected. We may have experienced the severing of love between our loved ones, brothers, sisters, cousins, parents. There are many things that can lead to quarrels in the family, lack of communication, jealousy, pride (especially not being able to apologize for wrong done), obstinacy, unwilling to perform ones role in the family, etc. When these occur it does not mean that the perpetrator no longer loves the victim but it sure signifies that help is needed.
First of all we need to heal ourselves of the hurt done. Forgiveness becomes necessary here. Let us borrow the lessons from the lives of the sons of Jacob. There was strife in the family because Jacob favoured Joseph more than the rest of his children. Joseph made it worse by relating to them his dreams. The brothers of Joseph grew jealous and decided to do away with him. Even when he pleaded they refused to listen. In Chapter 42 of the book of Genesis they encountered Joseph who concealed his identity and made them pass through some tests. He did this in order to find out if they had changed. This is a sign that he had forgiven them even when he knew he was not sure they have repented from the evil they meted on him. If he had not forgiven them he would have dealt with them before asking questions. Forgiveness naturally brings reconciliation as its companion. Joseph later reconciled with the entire family and joy was restored in the family.
It is extremely hurtful when family members offend in some particulars ways that we never expected. For us to be healed of the pains we have suffered we must forgive. We all know it is more painful to treasure the hurt. Of what use it is to store pain? We must learn to ease ourselves of pain. The pain of the actual incident is hurtful enough. Why must we remind ourselves of it all the time? There are two ways to react to events in our life; revenge or forgive. And I think the latter is better. What benefit is there in revenge, except satisfying our ego. The Buddhists believe that a person who keeps anger in the heart is like one who drinks poison and expects the other person to die. Forgiveness goes a long way to heal both the perpetrator of the act and the victim.
Sometimes we see people who say, “I have forgiven you but stay on your own.” Is it possible to forgive and to stay away from the offender? From the Christian perspective it may not be possible. Forgiveness naturally demands reconciliation. If distance has kept both parties apart, that can be understood but if they as family members see themselves everyday and keep to themselves yet claim to have forgiven each other. Then we can conclude that it is only drama. There was no truth in their act of forgiveness.
Many people talk about “forgiving and forgetting.” It may not be possible for some people who have very active memories especially when you are seeing the offender everyday in the house. It may not totally be your fault when you remember evil acts done against you. God gave us memory as a gift. It’s like the computer. You cannot blame the harddisk for storing information. It can only store received data. However, as human beings and not computers we can distract ourselves from remembering these negative incidents in our lives. Whenever they come to mind let us remind ourselves often that we have forgiven and that God has taken control of it all.
While the victim tries to forgive, it is very necessary the offender apologizes and express it appropriately. An offense is sin and sin is a debt owed to God and to the victim. We cannot pay back the debt we owe due to some grievous offenses. Thus as much as we can we should show gratitude to the one who has the courage to forgive. Even when they suffer the difficulty to forgive, let us give some patience and if possible distance for some healing take time.
We pray the Lord to heal us of every pain we have suffered and grant us the grace and courage to forgive. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today the Church invites us to contemplate the Most Holy Trinity as Jesus introduced us to it. God’s love is ‘not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance.’ The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. (It is the mystery of God in Himself – a God who is “one but not solitary”). God is the Creator and merciful Father; He is the only begotten Son, who died and rose for us; He is the Holy Spirit who moves all things. Three persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love.
Each is wholly God. God does not live in splendid solitude but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is ceaselessly given and communicated. Profession of faith in the Trinity is what in the last analysis makes us Christians.The ‘name’ of the Blessed Trinity is, in a certain sense, imprinted upon all things because all that exists is in relation; in this way we catch a glimpse of God as relationship and ultimately, Creator Love. (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; CCC 234).