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  Greetings to all our readers and patrons
         
Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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  COUNSELING
 
Back to infancy -- they n
 
  By Shaheen Chander  
  ENJOYING a relaxed weekend, I was checking updates on the Facebook page. I came across a b  
     
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  THOUGHT  
     
 
   
Abiding faith
  By Hannah Whitall Smith  
 
I ATTRIBUTE my discovery of my heavenly Father largely to what I had known of the goodness of my earthly parents. They never said much about religion, for the Quaker fear of meddling between a soul and its maker had created a habit of reserve that could not easily be broken through.

But they showed plainly that their lives were lived in a region of profound faith in an ever-present God. We could not but see that he was to them a reality beyond all other realities.

Of religious teaching we had but little, but of religious example and influence we had a never-failing supply. Not by talking, but by daily living, were impressions made on our childish hearts.
 
   
   
Have no fear
  By Henrietta Mears  
 
ONE day in the mountain region of Scotland, a gigantic eagle snatched a little boy out of his crib and flew away with him. The people of the village ran out after the big bird, but the eagle perched itself upon a nearby mountain crag.

Could the child be possibly rescued? A sailor tried to climb the ascent, but he was at last obliged to give up the attempt.

A robust Highlander, accustomed to climbing those mountains, tried next and even his strength failed.

At last a poor peasant woman came forward. She put her feet upon one shelf on the rock, then on the second, then on the third and in this manner she rose to the very top of the cliff.

While all below held their breath for sheer fright, she came down step by step until she stood at the bottom of the rock with the child safely in her arms.

Immediately shouts of praise arose from the crowd that had gathered.

Why did that woman succeed when the strong sailor and the experienced mountain climber had failed? Because that woman was the mother of the baby! Her love for her baby had given her the courage to do what the others had failed to do.

If the love of Christ is in your heart, you, too, will find that you will have the courage to do whatever he directs you to do.
 
   
   
JOY
  By Mother Teresa  
  JOY is prayer. Joy is strength. Joy is love. Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. One who gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen. This I tell my sisters. This I tell to you.
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Taken from "My Life for the Poor" by Mother Teresa
 
   
   
Spirituality, then and now
  By Mar Chrysostom  
  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven".

THERE are many who say that the church has been on the decline spiritually. There is some truth in the allegation. But before we jump to any conclusion, we should note that there are some changes in our understanding of the word 'spirituality'.

In the Christian context, spirituality was traditionally understood for 'church-centered' activities. Today it is defined differently.

Spirituality is now 'human-centered'. Christ has revealed to us what true humanity is.

Now there is a growing understanding that Christian discipleship involves activities that promote the true worth of humanity. Christian systems and organisations are necessary to make us more human. Thus working and fighting for the preservation of humanity is seen as a part of this new spirituality.

Justice, peace and growth in the perfection of humanity are all considered as part of this spirituality.

Church is the means through which God wants the establishment of His Kingdom. The church and the Kingdom of God are not mutually contradictory; they are mutually complementary.

We may go wrong if we measure the new value systems using the old standards. At the same time, it is dangerous to totally discard the old notions of spirituality. The need for personal relationship with God, the necessity of a life of worship, meditation and obeying of the Word of God, experience of the grace through sacraments, the joy of fellowship meetings, emphasis on the need for forgiveness of sins and earnestness for the eternal life are timeless truths.

Spirituality as we experience today can be assessed only after taking these facts into consideration.

Greater attention must be paid to the discipline of personal devotion, family prayer and the life of community worship. We must check in all honesty and find out the strength of our relationships, whether it is between husband and wife, parents and children, between neighbours and between clergy. We have to see whether they are growing on healthy lines or are suffering from disintegration.

When we realise the truth, we should make necessary amends. (Sabha Tharaka November 2003)

Translated from the original in Malayalam by Rev P.G. George, Principal, Dharma Jyoti Vidya Peeth


 
   
   
Unchanging God
  By Mar Chrysostom  
  Teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)


IT is usually said that there is "an unchanging God in a changing world!" Who said, there is an unchanging God in a changing world? Throughout the Bible there is always a "changing God in an unchanging world".

We may ask, "Is the God in the New Testament, the same God we find in the Old Testament?" It is said in the Old Testament "an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth" but in the New Testament we are told to show our left cheek to him who slaps us on the right cheek.

He showers curses on Hagar, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament he showers blessings on the women who were identified as adulterous.

Let us move on from taking the Old Testament and the New Testament in toto and take the individual books. Do we see the same God in the book of Exodus and in the book of Leviticus and in the book of Numbers? Is God unchanging? Leave aside the books and let's take individual chapters? Do you see an unchanging God? You will agree with me if you are honest, God changes in the unchanging world.

Though I say so, you are correct, when you say, "An unchanging God in a changing world." God's view of humans has never changed. It is human's views of God that have transformed from one to another and from the other to yet another.

Who is God? Here is something from an eminent scholar and philosopher, Guru Nitya Chaithanya Yethi in his book, God: An Illusion or Reality. He says, God is the bread to the hungry, the divine power that gives relief to the sick from unbearable pain.

To the thief God is the power that keeps him safe him from being caught while stealing. To the man who exclaims 'O God!' as he watches a beautiful sunrise, God is the power that worked behind that spectacle."

God seems to change as we move from one person to another, just as we find it in the story of the four blind men who went to see an elephant. When we take their descriptions individually, the elephant is no longer an elephant but when we put them all together, the elephant becomes an elephant.

When I say, "God is changing in an unchanging world", I am like the one among the four blind men who went to see an elephant. So there is an unchanging God in a changing world.

For a true vision of God, we need a 'referent, a reference and a frame of reference'. We see God in the blending of all these three factors. Then we will be able to see the unchanging in the changing world. Realise that you are just one among the blind. There is something that is beyond your wisdom that is a power. Trust that power implicitly and commit yourself unto it. We can follow him. He doesn't change in the changing world.

What's our place in this changing world? Will you be able to remain unchanged in this changing world? Humans keep changing in this changing world. If you try to remain unchanged behind certain traditions and try to be like the unchanging God, watch out! Terrible would be your fall. It will be as terrible as a fall like that from the top of Everest to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Let's live triumphantly as 'changing people' in a changing world, always looking to the unchanging God in a changing world. God will surely bless us. (Mar Chrysostom Chirikkunnu (Mar Chrysostom laughs) Pages 251-255)


Translated from the original in Malayalam by Rev P.G. George, Principal, Dharma Jyoti Vidya Peeth.




 
   
   
The New Covenant
  By Bishop Mar Chrysostom  
 

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)


IN accordance with the Jewish tradition, Joseph and Mary took their newborn baby on the eighth day to the Jerusalem Temple to be circumcised. There he was christened 'Jesus'.

The name 'Jesus' means "the one who saves people from their sins". The angel of God had instructed Joseph, before the birth of the child, to name him so. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

What does it mean when we say 'salvation from sins'? Here salvation is understood as the emancipation of people from the systems and the social structures that lead them to sin.

During His public ministry, Jesus devised plans based on love and morality by which the present social structures that neglected the human needs and the religious systems that alienated humans from humans could be transformed.

The circumcision of Jesus on the eighth day was a realization of this new covenant. We have to fulfill the vision of God through Jesus Christ as we receive God at the centre of the church community which assures acceptance and liberation for one and all. Then our life becomes more meaningful appropriating the vision of this new covenant. (Sabha Tharaka, November 1999)

Translated from the original in Malayalam by Rev P.G. George, Principal, Dharma Jyoti Vidya Peeth.




 
   
   
Live Today in the light of eternity
  By Bishop Mar Chrysostom  
  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)

TODAY is a new day! It is not a repetition of yesterday. It's a continuation of yesterday and not a 'carbon copy' of yesterday. If we continue to do things today as we did yesterday, there is no need for today. If today has no connection with yesterday, there is no history.

History is formed when today and yesterday are brought together. History becomes meaningful when yesterdays lead the way to today. It is independence in inter-dependence and continuity in discontinuity. It is not just preserving the past, but transforming it. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old is gone and it is new."

How do we live in a fast changing world? The lifestyle and practices formed in the earlier historical circumstances, ideological climate and life experiences would be sidelined if they are not adapted to the new cultural realities. It cannot be a cosmetic change.

There should be a deliberate and judicious effort to keep the ethos of the old while giving content to the emerging socio-cultural realities. People may use shortcuts! They may choose to leave aside the spiritual moorings and abandon the values revealed through Jesus Christ. This may give some quick results but it will not be successful in the long run. It may even be tantamount to courting the dangerous.

The history of the world and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus teaches us this eternal truth.

We should see our today in the light of eternity. We should understand the new truths in the light of the eternal truths. It is an ardent experience to understand fully God who is the eternal truth. This is salvation history.

What God has accomplished in history and the salvation that surpasses history is the person of Jesus Christ. He is not the monopoly of any religion or groups or ideology, but he is the creator and sustainer of all things. God loves all people alike. We should remember that the distance between me and my mind is directly proportional to the distance between Jesus Christ and other human beings. (Sabha Tharaka, January 2001)

Translated from the original in Malayalam by Rev P.G. George, Principal, Dharma Jyoti Vidya Peeth.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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