Monday, October 25, 2010

When We REMEMBER the dead

Rev. Dr. Joseph Thondiparambil V.C

It is usual that thoughts about death make people restless and uneasy. To the question what happens after death, philosophers and world religions give different answers. For the atheists this question has no relevance. Those who believe in God strongly hope in a life after death. Here I am trying to briefly explain some of the things that impinge on our practical life, in the light of the fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church regarding life after death. 

THE PHENOMENON OF DEATH 
Death is the end of physical life. With death, the soul departs from the body. As far as an individual is concerned, the possibility of receiving or rejecting Gods grace comes to an end with his death. If the person has been living a life basically pleasing to God, he will continue his life with God. On the contrary if his life had been one of recalcitrance and rejection of the divine laws, God, who gives man his choice through free-will, would allow him to have his way. The Word of God qualifies the first state as heaven and the second state as hell (Mt 25:46). 

NO QUALIFYING AFTER DEATH 
With death a person loses his opportunity to enter a life of faith and thereby qualify himself for eternal life. In other words the opportunity to choose how one should live with God or without God is available only during ones life time. The life of faith is not for the dead. With death one enters eternity. The life of faith and hope is only during the life on this earth. It is only love that lasts in eternity. 

Through phrases like Night is coming when no one can work (Jn 9 :4) and It is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement (Heb 2:27-28), the Holy Bible has been highlighting this truth. It is the height of folly for some religious quacks to say that they can recall the souls of the dead and lead them to salvation by preaching Gospel to them. It is obvious that people who propagate such fallacious notions do it by misinterpreting some quotations and reading between the lines. It is a classic example that the devil quoting the Bible to prove his point. 

PURIFICATION AFTER DEATH 
Only the most pure and immaculate can be in the presence of God. One may be fundamentally a lover of God and might be trying to live a life in consonance with the divine commandments. Still he is not perfectly purified. But his ability to gain graces for himself comes to an end with death. In this state, the Bible suggests certain ways for the purification process of the dead person. 

In the Old Testament itself we see the tradition of praying for the dead and offering sacrifices on their behalf. We read in 2 Maccabees 12:38-45 the incident in which Judas Maccabeus sending an amount of two thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem to provide for an offering for atonement on behalf of the soldiers killed in battle. 

The Bible adds this to the incident In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. In the New Testament, no instances of praying for the dead are specifically recorded. Still from the earliest times among the Christians, there has been the practice of remembering the dead, and doing some kind of festivities at the sepulchers. 

It was from some indications given in the New Testament that the Catholic Church began to teach the concept of a purgatory (Mt 5:26;12:32; 1 Cor 3:11-15). These Scriptural passages point to the possibility of some sins being forgiven in this world itself, whereas some to be forgiven only in the world to come. The main intention of the Letters in the New Testament was primarily to show how the people who believed in Christ and entered the heavenly bliss lived their life on this earth. 

The primary intent of the Gospels, on the other hand, was telling the world the good news of the salvific mission which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Therefore the Apostles did not deal at length with the purification process after death. Not only that, they had the faith that the second coming of Christ would not be a far-off day affair (Mk 9:1; Lk 9:27; Rev 22:20). It was in the light of the theological expansion that the teachings of the Church regarding purification were formulated. The Gospel by John asserts that with the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Church would be led to perfection of truth (Jn 14:26). 

PRAYER FOR THE DEAD 
One cannot qualify by himself for eternal life after his death. But the living people can help that person. The Catholic Church follows this principle that has been in existence from the earliest times of the Church. It is because the Bible testifies theologically that the Church teaches that prayers for the dead, especially the Holy Mass, giving alms, doing acts of sacrifice and so on will help the souls in the purgatory in their purification process.

The Church also teaches that this kind of help by the living can be done only to those who had lived a life basically carrying out the divine injunctions. Ones relations with the dead do not end with his death. For the Christians, a communion of saints is a big truth (1 Cor 12:12-13; Rom 12:5-8). In the body of the Church, the members are mutually joined. The teaching of the Catholic Church that we can help the dead through our prayers and almsgiving gives us joy, hope, guarantee and consolation on the face of death

Why Pray for the Dead?

Fr. Jacob Otherakunnel V.C

Praying for the dead is a custom and practice found in almost all the major religions. People pray for the dead and offer sacrifices for them. Hindus pray for their dead because of their faith in the rebirth and transmigration of souls. For Christians this practice has been in vogue since the beginning of Christianity. And its base can be traced to the faith of the Israelites. The fact that the Israelites used to pray for and offer sacrifices for their dead is mentioned in the second book of Maccabees. "....and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out"(2 Mac.12:39-45).This is a clear pointer to the faith of the Jews, to the fact that the sins of the dead can be blotted out through prayers and supplications.
 
In Jewish literature there are references to "Gehenna"- a place where sinners are punished. But there was also a belief that those who had numerous good deeds to their credit would stay there only for a short period. This belief took root only in the later history of Judaism.

Jesus did not covertly or overtly nullify or speak against this faith of the Jews by which they held that there is a place of temporary bondage from which the souls of the dead get a final release. And so the infant Church also kept up the faith of later Judaism with regard to the dead. They called this place of transient punishment purgatory. There is no unanimous opinion as to the nature of purgatory, whether it is spacial, temporal or a life-situation. The process of purging the departed souls from minor impurities can be called purgatory. The souls of those who die in the state of grace but not absolute grace may not have direct access to the heavenly bliss. A large majority of those who die may not be completely free of the stains of all venial sins before their death. 

Therefore it is not possible for them to gain entrance to the portals of heaven before being purified of those stains. Sacred Scripture bears testimony to this: "But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev.21:27). To condemn those who die in venial sins to eternal perdition is against divine justice.Those who have made a "fundamental choice for Jesus " but fail on account of their frail human nature really intend to do the will of God. They cannot be eternally condemned even if at the time of death they are not in the full state of grace. So purgatory as a place of temporary punishment - midway between heaven and hell-becomes necessary. Therefore this faith is founded not only on Scripture but even human reason impels us to believe it.

Though the term "purgatory" as such does not occur in the Bible there are indications and subtle references to this in the Bible. While teaching about forgiveness of sins, Jesus said, "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come"(Mt.12:32). St. Augustine and St. Gregory teach that this reference to the "age to come" is a reference to purgatory. Mathew 16:27 says: "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done". Luke 12:47-48 says, "That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating". Where can this light beating be given ?. Here or hereafter ? St. John in his first letter says : "If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one- to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal"(5:16-17). St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians writes thus: "Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw- the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer a loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire" (1Cor.3:12-15). These references point to the fact that those who die in venial sins will be purified in purgatory.

Apostles are the ones who received the divine truths directly from Jesus and they handed down those truths to the Church; the teaching to pray for the dead was among them. In the infant Church prayers for the dead and requiem Masses for them were common. The Fathers of the Church bear testimony to the fact that this practice was handed down from the Apostles. The tombs of the martyrs and underground cemeteries had several inscriptions pointing to this faith. For instance: "Remember those who went before you in your prayers". Tertullian who lived between 160-240 wrote: Once in a year we pray for the dead and offer Masses for them. St. Monica(331-387), mother of St. Augustine had said to his son, "When I die bury me anywhere you like, don't bother about it. But I request you to remember and pray for me at the altar. " These prayers reflect the mind of the early Church with regard to the dead.

The above references show that the early Church had faith in the existence of purgatory and prayed for the dead and offered Holy Masses for them. The Church continued this practice till date.

The Catholic Church accepts tradition along with the Sacred Scripture as the source of revelation. Even before the New Testament books were collected and their canonicity declared in the Council of Hippo in 394, the practice of praying for the dead was common in the early Church. So the Church cannot neglect this practice of praying for the dead even if there is no direct reference in the Bible.

As the personality traits of a human being unfold as he advances in years, so it is with the Church. The mind of the Church was revealed through the mind of the Church Fathers who were in proximity with Jesus and the Apostles and thus the doctrines were spelt out in definite terms as the Church advanced in years. So the belief that the prayers of the living can help those in purgatory is based on Scripture, tradition and theology which form the basis of all other articles of faith of the Christians.

By the teaching of the Church in the communion of saints we believe that there is not only a social but also a spiritual relation existing between human beings. There is a strong spiritual relationship existing between the members of the Church- the suffering Church(those in purgatory), the militant Church(those saints living on the earth) and the triumphant Church (those in heaven). The members of the Church can mutually help one another. Therefore our prayers can help those in purgatory and those in heaven in turn can intercede for us on earth and in purgatory.This is a matter of great consolation for us. Therefore a binding duty has devolved on us to pray for the departed souls of our parents, relatives, friends, benefactors and even those who died without any relative still alive. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is not only the God of the living but also the God of the dead. For him the dead and the living are always before his eyes. So let's not forget our duties towards the dead (Sir.7:33).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hindu Sathya Sought the Lord of Truth and Found Christ

See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me?"(Jer 32:27)

Acts 16:31 says," Believe in Jesus, you and your family will be saved". Yes, God's words are true and effective. I stand as a witness to the truth of these words.  
My name is Mathew Sathya. I was born in a Hindu Brahmin family. My father was working in a bank. Things were going on well and I was very happy those days. Suddenly one day my father was placed under suspension. The matter was handed over to the police authorities and they referred it to the court. Since we could not establish our witness the case went against my father and he was sentenced to 3 years rigorous imprisonment. Immediately, we went on appeal to the High Court. So my father was on bail. During this time, because of financial constraints, I discontinued my studies and I went for a job in a private company. 

A Catholic girl gives The Bible to Sathya
There a Catholic girl gave me a copy of the Bible and for 3 years I read the Bible regularly. The following verses touched me deeply: "But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"(Mt 6:33), "For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom 14:17); "God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work"(2 Cor 9:8). God's word changed my life completely and I received Baptism and became a Roman Catholic.
 
After my Baptism, my life took a new turn; I got a good job. So did my brother. I also got married. My sister's wedding, which was long overdue, was fixed up miraculously and she too was settled. All these things happened within 2 years in a wonderful manner.
 
My father's case which was pending for appeal in the High Court came up for hearing and again the judgement was against my father and the sentence was reduced to one year's rigorous imprisonment. After this judgement was passed by the High Court, I heard about Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor and went to Divine for a week's retreat. On the second day Fr Mathew Naickomparambil, while celebrating the Holy Mass, announced that a person was praying for his father. The Lord was answering his prayer and his father would be saved miraculously from the court case.
 
After this retreat I came back home happily. Since the judgement of the High Court was against my father, he was sent to the Central Prison to serve one year's rigorous imprisonment. But the Remission rules of the Prison Manual were favourable to my father and on the very same day he was released.
 
Yes, my dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I believed in Jesus, my brother as well as I got a good job, my sister's marriage was settled, my father was saved from prison miraculously.
 
So the words, from Acts 16:31, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you and your family will be saved", became a reality in my life. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! 

 
a personal testimony by,
Mathew Sathya, 9 A P.N.Street,  Chennai - 59, India


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do Angels Exist?



There are some people who doubt the existence of angels. What does the holy Scriptures say about angels? Is it true, as some say, that the stories about them are fictitious ? Several people have asked this question. During this month of October, dedicated to angels, such questions are quite relevant.
 
In the Holy Bible there are more than three hundred references to angels. Titles like sons of God, saints, armies and messengers are used in the Bible to refer to angels. The word angel comes from the Greek "angelos" which means messenger. This name denotes only their mission. These superhuman beings are often described in an anthropomorphic manner in the Bible.
 


Angels in the Old Testament

In the life of the chief personalities of Israel and in the most important events of their life, the presence and the help of angels are very evident. Here they often stand in the place of God himself. These messenger appear to men in a visible manner. 

It is the angel of the Lord who finds Hagar and comes to her aid (Gen 16:7-16)

When God calls Moses, the angel of the Lord appears to him in the burning bush (Ex 3:2) . In the passage from Judges it is the Lord's angel who gives directions to the people. 

He speaks to Jacob in his sleep (Gen 31:11) and saves him from every harm (48:16). We can also see Jacob wrestling with the angel in Gen 32:24. 

It is the angel of the Lord who leads Israel through the Red Sea and the desert (Ex 14:19; 23:20;33:2; Num 20:16). 

Again, the angel prevents Balaam from going to Balak (Num 22:22 ff) and Abraham from sacrificing his only son (Gen 22:11 ff). 

The Old Testament usage, the angel of the Lord, is also seen in passages like Mattthew 1:20,24; 2:13;19). Through the angels the link between heaven and earth is established (Gen 28:12).


In course of time the Old Testament began picturing angels as beings distinct from God. The people of the Middle East depicted God as an emperor enthroned in great majesty (1 Kings 22:19;Is 6:1). 

The members of his court were his servants (Job 4:18). They were angels, called saints and sons of God(Deut 32:3; Ps 29:1-2;89:7). 

Among the angels are Cherubs who bear the throne of God and move the wheels of his chariot (Ps 80:2;99:1; Ez 10:1). These angels guard the gates of paradise (Gen 3:24). 

The Seraphs (fiery beings) sing his praises (Is 6:3); one of them touches the prophet's lips and cleanses him (Is 6:7). The heavenly armies sing the glory of God (1 Kings 22:19;Ps 148:2; Neh 9:6). 

God uses his angels to rule the world and to put into effect his directions (Ps 103:20). Cherubs are also seen to protect and guard the ark of the covenant with their wings (1 Kings 6:23-29; Ex 25:18 ff).

The nature of angels was not delineated clearly during the pre-exilic period. It is possible to see angels of good and angels of evil (for example Job 1:12;Ex 12:23;23:20; Ps 75:49). 

In the post-exilic period only the good angels are referred to. These keep battling against Satan and his powers (Num 3:1 ff). 

In the book of Tobit there is reference to the seven angels (12:15). The same idea can also be seen in Rev 8:2. 

The picture of angels deciding the future of the nations is presented in the book of Daniel (10:13-21). 

The angels protect individuals (Tob 3:17; Ps 91:11; Dan 3:49 ff) and take their prayers up to the presence of God (Tob 12:12). 

They also interpret the visions of the prophets (Ez 40:3; Num 1:8 ff). 

The angels have names appropriate to their mission. 
The angel Raphael's name means "God heals" (Tob. 3:17;12:15). 
Gabriel means "Hero of God"(Dan 8:16; 9:21). 
The name Michael denotes "Who is like God?" The entire Jewish nation is dedicated to this angel (Dan 10:13, 21;12:1). Michael is the head of the whole army of angels.    

 


Angels in the New Testament

The perspective on the angels in the Old Testament is continued in the New Testament. 

The role of the angels in the life of Christ is highly important. At the time of Christ's temptation, the heavenly messengers maintained a deep relationship with Jesus (Mt 4:11). 

It is clear from Mt 22:30 that they are heavenly beings and are above physical exigencies. They will help the Lord to conduct the last judgement (Mt 13:39,49;24:31). When sinners repent, they too partake of the joy of the Lord (Lk 15:10). At the Second Coming of the Lord, the angels will accompany him (Mt 25:31). 

Those who are condemned for eternal punishment will be expelled by them from the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:41 ff) and the chosen ones will be led by them to the happiness of heaven (Mt 24:31). 

The scene where the angels of God descend on the Son of man and ascend into heaven (Jn 1:15) is based on Gen 28:10. This scene highlights the divinity of Christ. 

During the passion of Christ, the angels stand ready to come to his aid (Mt 26:53; Lk 22:43).

The angels are below Jesus, the Son of God. They are obliged to adore him (Heb 1:6 ff; Ps 97:7). They are created in him, through him and for him (Col. 1:16). 

The angels accept his dominion and worship him (Rev 5:11 ff; 7:11 ff). On the last day they have to accompany him (2 Thes 1:7; Rev 14:14-16). 

References to the Archangels are seen only in 1 Thes 4:16 and Jude 9. Indications regarding the fall of the angels are given in 2 Pet 2:4, and Jude 6. That the angels are present at the common worship and adoration is clear from 1 Cor. 11:10.    

 


Man's salvation and angels

Angels are appointed to give divine revelations to the children of men. 

It is the angel Gabriel who gives the message of the annunciation to Zechariah and Mary(Lk 1:19,26). 

The Good News of Jesus' birth is given by the angels of heaven (Lk 2:9-14). 

They are also the messengers of the great mystery of Jesus' resurrection (Mt 28:5 ff). 

It is they who make the apostles understand the meaning of the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:10 ff). 

Heb 1:14 clearly states that the angels are heavenly messengers who help Lord Jesus in his salvific mission. 

The angels also have the duty to protect individuals from spiritual and physical dangers (Mt 18:10; Acts 10:4; 12:15;27:23). 

In the Psalms this idea is very prevalent (for example, Ps. 34:7;35:5-6;91:1,11-12 etc.). Angels take the prayers of the saints to God's presence (Acts 5:8;8:3). It is they who lead the souls of the dead to paradise (Lk 16:22). 

"May the angels lead you to paradise", is a prayer the Church says for the dead. In the fierce battle of the Church with Satan, the angels, along with their leader Michael, help and protect her (Rev 12:1-9).

The activities of the angels tell us that heaven and earth are indivisibly connected. The liturgical prayers of the Church are in consonance with the eternal adoration and worship of the angels in heaven (for example, Glory to God in the highest, Sanctus etc.). The heavenly dwelling of the angels is around us-this truth is revealed to us in the book of Revelation. 

The holy Scriptures offer to us the call to live in God's presence, before his messengers in holiness and reverence (for example, Dan 10:9; Tob 12:16). 

The teaching of the Bible is to honour and revere the angels. It is also clear that adoring them as beings equal to God is prohibited (Rev 22:8; Col. 2:18 ff). 

Excessive devotion to them is also not to be fostered. Devotion to one's guardian angel has been prevalent in the Church from the time of St Bernard.  

   


Conclusion
The lines a renowned artist wrote to Oscar Wilde are remarkable: "As science becomes more and more materialistic, the more numerous will be the angels that I draw. Their wings will remain as my witnesses of the eternal soul." 

Modern man who has become a slave to materialism and evil, needs to rediscover the teaching of the Bible regarding angels. The profound teaching in the Bible holds that angels guide, console and protect the people of God in suffering and persecution. Angels are not figments of the imagination. 

Through them God is ever ready to guard his people. He expresses his glory and power through them. As the presence of those spiritual beings is around us (Eph 6:12), we are not alone in marching forward in the spiritual battle. The truth is that there will be no one who has not experienced the touch of God's invisible angels in his soul and body at some time or another.

Rev. Dr. Paul Kariamadom V.C

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Muslim Iysha Beevi and whole family is baptized into catholic faith

Here is the testimony of Iysha Beevi, born and bred in the Islamic faith. When she received Jesus into her life as Lord and Saviour, her husband and three children were born again in the faith. It happened five years ago.


Illness and God's plan for Iysha Beevi
Twelve years ago, severe chest pain and ulcer in the intestines afflicted me badly. When the ulcer began festering, the pain became unbearable. Every possible type of treatment by medical experts did no good. Reduced to skin and bones, I was confined to the hospital bed. When I was found to be an incurable case I was discharged. Even my family members were tired of me and hated me.

Doctors give up hope  
The situation became worse when I was again admitted in the hospital. A slight movement in the throat was the only sign of life. The doctors lost hope and discharged me. I made a sign to my husband to take me to Potta Ashram. He agreed. The moment I made the decision, I regained my suppleness of body and agility.  

Divine Retreat Centre 
I arrived at Potta. God gave me the grace to accept Jesus as Lord. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts16:31). These words touched me. If so, I shall accept you as my Lord and God, I told him. It was in an ambulance that I had been taken to Potta for I had all but collapsed. But now I knelt down with those who had come to hear the word of God and praised him. The doctors had feared that all my life I would have to be sustained only on glucose drips. I could retain nothing. But now here I was eating the four slices of bread given at Potta, with no difficulty whatsoever.  


Lord gives me the gift of reading  
In the ensuing weeks I went to Potta to participate in the one-day prayer. Before my eyes there appeared words as on a TV screen. To me, an illiterate, uneducated woman, the Lord gave the great gift of reading the Bible and other publications on spiritual matters.


Lord reveals her "You shall not have any other God but me" 
In 1994 I went to Assissi Retreat House at Bharananganam for a couples' retreat. Vomiting and other signs of my illness became worse. My mouth was festering. I was being prepared for the touch of the divine hands of my Lord. I heard Jesus whispering, "You shall not have any other God but me". This experience happened on the third day of the retreat. The Great Healer was working in me. He healed me completely and let me know I was fully in his providential care. At that retreat centre I began eating all kinds of food.   


Baptism into the Catholic faith
On June 26, 1997, my husband, three children and I received Jesus into our hearts, our lives and home forever by receiving baptism. Thus were we able to proclaim to all the world with all our heart and with all our life that there is no Saviour but Jesus Christ. 


Zeal now guided to "The Way, The Truth and The Life"
My husband, a cooly and my school-going children, are zealously living in the love of Jesus. The Lord gave me the grace to give witness to his love and power at Potta and Divine. 


Mission for Jesus
I am now fully involved in the activities of the choir and other church organisations at Chunangamvaley in Ernakulam district. To be an instrument in God's hands, guiding numerous people to retreat centres, has made my life rich and beautiful and happy. 

Praise you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! 


Lydia (Iysha Beevi P V)
Peedikaparambil, Keezhmadu,
Alwaye, Kerala, India



Also read this amazing testimony of Ahmed who became a catholic

Hindu Brahmin Rajashekar embraces the only Saviour Jesus Christ


"COME TO ME, ALL YOU THAT ARE WEARY AND ARE CARRYING HEAVY BURDENS, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST" (Mt 11:28).

JESUS, YOU ARE LORD!


I hail from a conservative Brahmin family. I had been worshipping idols, gods and goddesses all my life. Right from childhood, I was not a healthy person. 

At the age of 22 I contacted tuberculosis and became very ill. I could not move about normally, nor keep my balance. In the meantime, I lost all faith in God and stopped worshipping him.
At Nimhans Hospital, Bangalore, I was prescribed heavy doses of costly medicines for one year. I was depressed.

One day a friend of mine who had attended the retreat at Divine was narrating the miracles and the wonderful works of God. I just happened to overhear him. Suddenly I became curious and instantly I had a desire to visit the place. On the train to Chalakudy I heard a person saying that in Potta they brainwash people and convert them to Christianity. For a moment, I thought I should turn back. But having come so far I decided to continue my journey.

The retreat was the most wonderful experience in my life. For the first time I realised there is a God who loves me, who died for me. I found the true God Jesus Christ - the one and only Saviour for all mankind.

The gifts I received from him were realised only later. When I went for the regular check-up, the doctors told me to stop all my medicines. I was completely cured. I experienced tremendous peace of mind. Later on I sent my brother to Divine. 

I am praying that my whole family will come to Lord Jesus and experience his loving touch. Please pray for my family. Now I take every opportunity to tell people to stop worshipping idols and performing meaningless rituals to gods who do not exist and embrace the only Saviour Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!

"How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God" (Ps 84:1-2).


Testimony as given by 
Rajashekar,
 
High Land Computer Systems,Sri Sadguru Prasanna Nilaya,
1st floor D No. 149/2, Old Post,
Office Road, Hassan - 573 201



Also Read:

Testimony of a Hindu Witch Doctor into Catholicism
http://christtotheworld.blogspot.com/2009/12/witch-doctor-experiences-jesus.html 

Testimony of Muslim Munira to Catholicism
http://christtotheworld.blogspot.com/2010/02/muslim-girl-encounters-jesus-and.html 
 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

LEARN THE HOLY ROSARY SIGNS OF THE END OF TIMES


June 2, 1988 (FĂȘte Dieu)

(I prayed now the third day, the whole Rosary, and of course the three prayers the Lord wishes us to pray.)

Lord?

I am; My Vassula, by persevering, 1 the devil weakens; evil diminishes; learn the Holy Rosary, embellish My Church;

(The Lord means that the Orthodox and Protestants and other Churches who do not pray the Holy Rosary should learn it, thus enriching the Holy Church and banishing the devil, crushing him; heresy will diminish as well as apostasy in the Church which has infiltrated because of the unfaithfulness and disobedience.)

yes, Vassula, love will increase and evil will decrease; and for those who argue, saying that this was not said by Me, 2 I will show you how meaningless their arguments are; their zeal is misguided and they do not seem to see My Righteousness; they are declaring only their own ideas; they would be ready to disown Me; 34 "I have been found by those who did not seek Me and have revealed Myself to those who did not consult Me"; so I, the Lord, tell you: open your hearts, not your mind! surprised by the poor instrument I chose to manifest Myself, they will deny you as coming from Me; they have forgotten what Scripture says; Scripture says:

Vassula of My Sacred Heart, you have heard Me whisper in your ear, 5 I want to show you in Timothy I and II everything that has been predicted for the last days of your era; My creation has degenerated and has fallen lower than the Sodomites; Darkness came upon them as a deadly veil, sent by Satan; Satan has sent many false teachers, false prophets who appear today as philosophers, teaching dogmas which do not come from Me your Lord, and My children, blinded by their ignorance, fall into these traps set up by Satan; I wish that these parts of Timothy be read in public as a warning: 1 Timothy 4:1-16, and 6:20-21 and 2 Timothy 2:14-26; these prophecies were especially pronounced for your times; then in 2 Timothy 3:1-17 in this passage it foretells the state of your era, to be found now; for these are the last days before the end of Times;

solemnly, I request from you all to redouble your prayers for a 'come back'; My Sacred Heart is open for any soul who will repent and who wills to return to Me;

flower, seek always the Spirit of Truth and Discernment before you write with Me; Love loves you and will guide you; come, rest in My Sacred Heart; I will never forsake you; we, us?

Yes, Lord. Yes, Holy Mother.


1 Trying hard to please St. Mary and Jesus by praying the Holy Rosary, obeying Their will.

2 To learn the Rosary.

3 Declaring that these writings are not from God, because many things written by God in here do not suit them.

4 Is. 65:1.

5 Two nights ago Jesus whispered into my ear that I should read in the Holy Bible, 1 and 2 Timothy.
What does the Catholic Church say about TLIG Messages.
 

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Healing: Glorification and God's mercy

Fr. George Panackal V. C

The glorification of God is are peated theme in theGospel of St. Luke. The very purpose of healing is the glorification of God. This idea is made abundantly clear by Luke while describing the coming of Christ to the Mount of Olives..."as he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the followers began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen" (Lk 19:37).
 
It is recorded that the people praised and glorified God when Jesus healed the paralyzed man brought on a bed (Lk 5:24-26), when he raised from death the son of the widow of Nain (Lk 7:16), when He cured the stooping woman crippled by a spirit (Lk 13:13-17) and when he restored sight to the blind man (Lk 18:42,43).

Jesus had desired that all those who were healed must praise and glorify God. When only one out the of ten lepers He had cured had come back to express his gratitude, Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" (Lk. 17:17,18).

A primary aim of Jesus in raising Lazarus from death was the glorification of God. When he came to know about the illness of Lazrus, Jesus said, "This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God's glory, so that the son of God may be glorified through it" (Jn. 11:140) Lazarus's return to life points to another matter. Jesus is the resurrection and life. But the paramount purpose of the miracles was the glorification of God. In fact there is no contradiction between the two purposes. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus was proving that he is the resurrection and life, and through that brought about glory to God and the Son of God.

We can see that some objectives marked the miraculous healing acts performed by the apostles. After healing the lame man at the gate of the temple called Beautiful Gate, this is what Peter said, "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant" (Acts 4:21).

The reaction of the multitude that witnessed the miracles performed by Jesus was natural . They all praised and glorified the God of Israel. When Jesus wrought the miracle at Cana, changing water into wine, John records that "Jesus did this, the first of his signs", in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him. (Jn. 2:11). All these healing and miracles were performed not just to conform the authenticity of Jesus alone but to glorify God the Father and the son of God.

God's mercy is as important an aspect to be contemplated as His glorification. It was this mercy that caused Jesus to perform many of the healings and other miraculous deeds. In the New Testament, we read many instances of healings, and they happened because of the mercy and pity of God, for the suffering men and women. The pain and suffering which he witnessed while walking on the high ways of Palestine, touched his noble heart. He did not turn away from the lepers with hatred and contempt. He healed them by placing his hands on their open wounds. His heart pained when he saw the funeral procession of the only son of the hapless widow. When people brought to him the blind, the lame and the handicapped, he cured them of their afflictions . What he gave them was not lesson in morals and religions, but healing.

The mercy of Jesus shown towards the sick and suffering had many practical potentialities. Very often our incentive to pray for cures of maladies is simply our desire to witness a supernatural phenomenon taking place. But this is not the reason for the healings we read in the New Testament. It is simply the infinite mercy of Jesus. If we can experience the same sympathy that Jesus had for the afflicted, we too can become the instruments of healing. So to be participants in the healing process we should pray God to give us the same empathy that Jesus had for the sick and suffering.

We are like a baby lying in the womb. The baby in the womb gives a lot of pain and anxiety to its mother. We also give pain to God. We are those that took away the life of His only Son, even then our heavenly Father comforts us in our pains. He doesn't want to lose even "One of these little ones" (Mt. 18:6) Therefore God, in his infinite mercy, takes upon himself our pains and wishes to give us healings. That is why the Hebrites compared the mercy o God to that of the womb.

It is this mercy in Jesus that made Him heal the lepers (Mark 1:41,42), cast away the evil spirit from the boy (Mark 9:22), restored the sight of the blind man (Mt. 20:34) and raised the dead man (Lk. 7:11-17). When Jesus gave bread to four hundred people, as we read in the gospel of Mathew, he was not trying to prove that he is the living bread, but because of his pity for them (Mt 15:32). In the same way he gave sight to the blind man (Mt. 9:27-37,20:29-34), healed the one afflicted by demon (Mt. 15;22-28, 17:14-21), cured the leper (Lk 17:13,14) because he listened mercifully to their prayers for cure. The same infinite mercy of God is exemplified in the healing of the person possessed by demons (Mk. 5:19), as we read in the New Testament.

The New Testament records that faith has a big role to play in the healing process. God responds positively to prayers done with good faith. In this connection, three incidents, from the healings that Jesus performed, need special mention.

Once two blind men came to Jesus hoping to get their sights restored. Jesus asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (Mt. 9:28). This question of Christ not only reveals the necessity to have faith for healings to take place, but also about the faith itself. If one believes that God can heal, it means that he believes in the ability of God to give him bliss.

In the second instance, a leper came to Jesus and said, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean" (Mt. 8:2). He had complete faith in the ability of Jesus to make him clean. But, in spite of his faith, he had added, "if you choose" To effect the healing, God expects from us not only our psychological belief that he can do it, but also in His benevolence to effect such healings. It is a knowledge and understanding that God loves his children and he will give them the necessary healings when they are in need of them.

In chapter 9 of the Gospel of Mark, there is the story of epileptic boy who gets cured and this shows us another aspect of faith. The father of the afflicted boy took him to the disciples of Jesus. But they could not heal the boy. This must have adversely affected the faith of the father. However he went to Jesus and told him, "If you are able to do anything , have pity on us and help us. "This is what Jesus replied, "If you are able; All things can be done for the one who believes" (Mk 9:22,23) Jesus had always taught this principle. Jesus had not set a limit to what we can request from God. Why should there be a limit for God's powers?

So, in our faith, there are three things that we should note:
1. When we believe in the ability of Jesus to give us healings, we are also to believe that he can give us the bliss of joy and happiness.
 
2. We don't have to look at the ability of Jesus to heal, through strict psychological and scientific perspectives. Even in unexpected circumstances he can give healings.

3. For God, the degree of faith is immaterial when he works for his children "All things can be done for the one who believes". Thus we can see that the healings of God are rooted in the glorification of Himself and his Son, in the infinite mercy He feels for the suffering, and in our earnest and living faith. So our desire to heal and bless is an integral part of the nature of God.

The Holy Writs however, point out some other reasons as well for the healings. One of them is repentance and the readying of the path for the spreading of the Gospel. God removes the impediments and obstacles on the path of preaching the Gospel by healing. To know God and his kingdom from close quarters, He gives miraculous cures for diseases. They also indicate that God's kingdom is near at hand. He heals us, paying heed to our supplications He also heals for reasons only known and revealed to Him, in His infinite wisdom.

All these are part of the nature of God and His limitless objectives. Amongst the early chosen people, he had performed miraculous healings and even now they continue. Each of the facts related to healings recorded in the Holy writs is most valuable even today. If Jesus and his disciples performed healings among people of those days, even now this process is continuing. When we pray sincerely and earnestly for the sick and the suffering, we can still witness miraculous healings taking place in our midst through the mercy of our great Lord.

Hindu Hemraj accepts Jesus Christ and is baptized into the Catholic faith

Why Do I Believe in Jesus Christ?

I am a 2nd Year student of Carmel Teacher Training College, Pakyong, East Sikkim. Through this testimony I want to show the whole world that how Jesus has touched and transformed my life.

I was born into a Scheduled Caste Hindu family. Right from the beginning my religion was a big stigma to me as I had to suffer many indignities just because I belonged to a scheduled caste. I have been always wondering why a person should be stigmatised because of his religion, as he is born into it not because of his choice.

The moment of change came with my acquaintance with Sr. Irene Pariara, a sister of Apostolic Carmel of TTC. She told me about Jesus and his infinite love. My heart slowly began to fill with love of Christ. I began to pray earnestly and gradually I changed and I felt joy and satisfaction. 

I became a Christian. I am thankful to sister lrene for making me see the right Path. Today I live in dignity and I am filled with the peace of Christ. Many transformations have taken place in my life and I thank the Good Lord for them.

A personal testimony of Hemant as published by Vachanolsavam - a popular mission magazine in India, 
 
Hemraj Mothey,  
C.T.T.I, Pakyong, Sikkim



Religious Conversion an Act of Gratitude by the Poor
Kushvanth Singh

"I studied at St. Stephen's College. My two brothers and my wife also studied there. Before he went to Cambridge, my son studied at St. Columbus School and in St. Stephen's College. My daughter, too, studied at Jesus and Mary Convent School in Mussorie, before she left for Cambridge. My aged mother was operated on in the Holy Family Hospital. Not only the operation was comparatively cheaper, but she also received excellent post-operative care. 

The Shourie Family I know also sent its children to Christian Institutions. Mr. Arun Shoutie, who is against missionaries, studied at St. Stephen's in Delhi. His father Mr. H.D. Shourie was educated at the Christian college in Lahore.
There would be no exaggeration if I assert that amongst the modern people of India there would hardly be anybody who has not studied and who, otherwise, has not sought some service from Christian Institutions. 

In the villages and in the places where Adivasis live, there will definitely be some Christian presence especially in the educational and health care fields. If we put all the educational and health institutions established by the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs together, the number will not equal to the number of such institutions established by Christians alone. And it should be remembered that Christians form less than 3 percent of the Indian population. When these are the facts, why so much of hue and cry was made in connection with the visit of the Pope?

The Poor have been neglected from centuries and there is no wonder if they feel close to those who take note of them and help them in various ways. There is not any use of force, but is simply an act of gratefulness. Not only the poor, but many Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and even some rich people that I know have become Christians. All these conversions were voluntary. There was no threat or force behind them. I don't know if there were threats or use of force in the ancient times. But these days it is not due to force by missionaries, but it is due to voluntary desire that conversions take place."
   
(From the column by Kushwanth Singh, in the 'Hindustan Times" of 10-11-1999)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

St Joseph Copertino vs the devil

ST. JOSEPH OF COPERTINO (1603-1663)


[The following is from the book Saint Joseph of Copertino, by Fr. Angelo Pastrovicchi, O.M.C., published by TAN Books and Publishers.]


Another Saint who saw the demons was St. Joseph of Copertino, a Franciscan Priest. He was born in a stable and was so poor in school that he passed his exam for the priesthood only because the bishop asked the one question he was prepared for. Nonetheless, he developed great wisdom and knowledge of holy things. He performed severe penances, such as wearing a heavy chain around his waist and fasting seven times a year for forty days each! But he was most famous for his ecstatic flights or levitations, of which seventy are recorded in the acts of his beatification. 


He levitated almost daily at Mass-sometimes for two hours. People flocked to him because of his kindness, and so many attended his Masses that the church could not contain them. St. Joseph worked numerous miracles and, like St. Francis of Assisi, even spoke with animals. On one occasion he raised to life a flock of sheep that had been killed by enormous hailstones. Although he could smell the stench of sin in wrongdoers, he himself exuded a lovely bodily perfume. He performed exorcisms by reciting the Litany of Loreto. And the devil even said of him: "Friar Joseph is the worst foe we have."

The following is an account of his confrontation with the devil: 
"The infernal spirits treated Joseph as their enemy. One night the servant of God was standing before the altar of St. Francis, in the Basilica at Assisi, when he heard the door opened violently and saw a man enter, who advanced so noisily that his feet seemed cased in iron. The saint regarded him closely and saw that, as he approached, the lamps went out, one by one, till finally all were extinguished and the intruder stood at his side in utter darkness. Thereupon the devil, for he it was, furiously attacked Joseph, threw him on the floor, and attempted to strangle him. Joseph, however, invoked St. Francis, and saw him come forth from his tomb and relight with a small candle all the lamps, at the gleam of which the fiend suddenly vanished. By reason of this occurrence Joseph gave St. Francis the name "Lamplighter of the Church."

The devil made other attempts on the life of Joseph, by throwing him into a rapid stream in order to drown him, by taking hold of him to tear him to pieces, and by endeavoring to run him through with a sword, but all to no purpose. Though the evil one did succeed in striking him so terribly that his fellow-religious were horrified by the noise of the many blows and the rattling of chains, he did not succeed in tiring the patience of the saint. When asked by his fellow-religious as to the cause of the strange noises in his cell at night, Joseph laughingly replied, "It was only fun."




All the devil accomplished by his implacable hatred was to give unmistakable proof of Joseph's sanctity."

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