Friday, December 30, 2011

Indian Muslim Cleric becomes a Catholic preacher - Video Testimony

Testimony of former muslim Imam - Moulavi Sulaiman (You Tube)

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? 
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (St Paul to Romans 8:35) 


Watch divinely inspiring video testimony of Moulavi Sulaiman, an Indian ex-Muslim Scholar who found Jesus Christ - as the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is now, a baptized Catholic and an inspirational preacher.

Video subtitles in English





I encourage our precious Muslim brothers and sisters, to open their heart, mind and soul in a sincere but firm way to seek the Saviour of the entire mankind and accept Jesus as their personal Loving God. 

Jesus will touch, guide and fill YOU with His Holy Spirit of Love, where ever and in what ever situation you are at this very moment - NOW.


More testimonies of ex-muslims now into the Catholic Faith
http://christtotheworld.blogspot.com/2010/03/muslim-ahmed-encounters-jesus-and.html


Sunday, December 25, 2011

They shall see His face (Rev 22:4)

- By Fr James Manjackal (pronounced Man-ya-kal) M.S.F.S  





A photo of Fr. James (left) taken during his retreat of Catholic Renewal to the people of Koszalin, Poland from 4th November to 6th on the subject" This is Gods Will, your Sanctification"(1Thess 4:3).



TODAY I SEND MY SON TO GIVE YOU LOVE

Thus says the Lord, our God, “My children, when I look down on earth, I see a great famine of love. Because of an increase of sin, true and honest love has been lost from the hearts of many. Many people in their selfishness do know only sexual and erotic love and not the genuine love that I have taught through my Son Jesus. This is the reason that many marriages are ending up in separation and divorce. Because many people have no true love in their hearts, they fear to get married and they do not know to share love. Where there is fear there is no true love; real love takes away all fears. As a result the number of unmarried mothers is on increase!
 
Due to lack of love, the children of the divorcees and single mothers live broken lives in fear, depression, guilt, un-forgiveness, hatred, etc., and several of them are in compulsive bad habits like alcoholism, drugs, cigarettes and immorality. Not finding love in their hearts, being disappointed in life some commit suicide and other commit murder, even the worst murder of killing the helpless children in the mother’s womb by abortion. Because there is no love, war and terrorism are on increase. When there is no love, the society is sick and permissive.

Christmas is not merely a celebration of the past event of the birth of Jesus Christ, my Son; it should be a daily event in your lives my children. He emptied His equality with me in order to become a human being like anyone of you to express His love and solidarity to each one of you. If you are in sin, He comes now with His forgiving love to take away your sins and the consequences of them and to give you an absolute forgiveness and new life. If you are sick, He comes to you with His healing love to heal you from all your diseases and to restore you to health by His loving touch as He touched the blind, the deaf and the cripple and healed them. If you are under the bondage of Satan and darkness, His liberating love comes to set you free to lead you to the freedom of the children of God. Jesus my Son is alive today amidst you. When you pray and receive the sacraments in the Church He comes to you alive. He and I are one, and in Him you shall find my love.

It is my love for you, my children, that urges me to send my Son Jesus to you. He is love walking on earth, and He is thirsting for your love. Therefore, He is searching for you to find you, to forgive you, to heal you and to give you all what you need in your life. I know that you too have a thirst for His love, a love that a world cannot give. No human or worldly love can satisfy your thirst for love! If only you find Him and His love, your thirst for love would be quenched.

In your parents, life partner, children, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbours and all whom you meet in your lives you can see His thirst for your love; and when you love them with the love that goes beyond boundaries, a love that loves even your enemies and those who hate you, your life will be satisfied and enriched because then you are loving Jesus in them. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, love is not pompous, love is not inflated, love does not seek its own interest, love is not rude, love is not quick tempered, love does not brood over injury, love does not rejoice over wrong doing, love bears all things, love believes all things, love hopes all things, love endures all things and love never fails. Faith, hope and love remain, but of these three the greatest is love

When you have this love, true peace will abide in your souls and in the souls of all, and thus there shall be peace in the world. Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rest!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ARMOR OF GOD FOR SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES

- Fr Dr Paul Kariamadom V.C.

Eph 6:14-17 talks about the armor of God that the faithful have to put on against sin and the wiles of the devil. A Christian warrior sheathed in this armor will be able to resist the devil in the days of evil and stand firm in carrying out his responsibilities. Since the Apostle had lived in the Roman Empire, he knew about the armor the Roman soldiers put on during their fight against the enemies of the Empire.

The Apostle points out that a Christian warrior also needs similar armor in his spiritual struggle.

Here are the powerful words of exhortation:

Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet, put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph 6:14-17).

 
The Apostle speaks about the armor of the faithful in 1 Thess 5:8 also:
Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. Let us now briefly discuss the various components of the armor.


1. The first thing to be done in putting on the armor of the Christian warrior is fastening the belt of truth. 

One who has fastened his belt is ready for action. One who wears truth as his belt does not have to worry about anything because Jesus himself is the truth. He has said, I am the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). He was always the yes of the Heavenly Father (2 Cor 1:20).

Jesus came into this world to bear witness to truth (Jn 18:37-38).

He also declared that truth will make one free (Jn 8:32). 

But man feared the Truth and rejected it with sneering ridicule. The apostle makes it clear that the fruits of light appears in virtues, righteousness and truth (Eph 5:9).

When Jesus says, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Mt 5:8), he is referring to the people who have dedicated their lives to truth.

The satyagrahas of Mahatma Gandhi were in search of Truth (God). 

When I live an upright life, basing my words and deeds on Truth, I dont have to be worried about any enemy. 

When somebody fastens his belt, he should take a firm determination to say and do the truth.



2. The second exhortation that the Christian warrior gets is to stand firm wearing the breastplate of righteousness.

This exhortation is a call to sanctity.

The most valuable treasure a person can have is a life of righteousness, of purity. 

Jesus came to this world to fulfill all righteousness (Mt 3:15). 

Pilate and his wife called him a just man (Mt 27: 19, 24).

They did not see any case against him (John 19:4, 6). 

Jesus could ask, Which of you convicts me of sin? (John 8:46). 

The life of Joseph is summed up by saying that he was a righteous man (Mt 1:19).

The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are persecuted for righteousness sake (Mt 5:10). The apostles take pride in the weapons of righteousness in their right hand and left hand (2 Cor 6:7). The lives of martyrs underline the fact that the righteous are not afraid even of death.

The life of a righteous person stands as a challenge to the sinners.

One who has worn the breastplate of righteousness does not have to fear any adversary. It will always safeguard him. When we put on clothes we should endeavour. to clothe ourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24).



3. Thirdly, the Christian warriors are asked to put on the shoes of readiness for proclaiming the gospel of peace.

Jesus is the Gospel, the Good News.

He is also Peace. Because of that he was able to unite the Jews and Gentiles and break down the dividing wall, the hostility, between them (Eph 2:14).

The ultimate aim of proclaiming the Gospel is to bring about peace among the people, societies, nations and the entire world. The one who has put on the shoes of readiness is the one who is ready to embark on the Gospel voyage. How beautiful are their feet! (Rom 10:15; Is 52:7).

The precious gift they give is peace (Lk 10:5). 

Wasnt the ultimate gift of Jesus also peace? (Jn 20:19). 

His peace is not like the peace given by the world (Jn 14:27).

Real peace comes only when there is tranquility in the different spheres of man external, inner and spiritual. 

Peace is the sum and substance of salvation.

Politicians, however astute they are reputed to be, cant bring about real peace and healing. That is why we see atheistic and agnostic outfits crack and crumble sooner or later. 

Even today the Christian mission is the establishment of peace by trampling over and trouncing the powers of evil through the proclamation of the Gospel. 

Let us wear our shoes of readiness by praying, Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!



4. Fourthly, we are asked to brandish the shield of faith to quench the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

In the ancient days, during wars, flaming arrows were shot at the enemy to prevent them from advancing and inflict injury.

In Psalm 7:13, we read about the arrows of God being made into fiery shafts. To face the flaming arrows, fiery shafts, combatants used huge shields. They were made of wood and were covered with hides and skins. They were 4 feet in height and 2 feet in breadth. 

The shield of a Christian is his faith. God is the shield of all those that seek refuge in him (Ps 18:30-35).

Faith is seeking refuge in the power of Jesus, the Lord and Saviour

In 1 Pet 5:9, we get the advice to resist Satan by being firm and steadfast in our faith.

In Rom 11:20 also we see the necessity to be steadfast in the faith.

By grace you have been saved through faith (Eph 2:8).

There is no doubt that somebody who is steadfast in his faith can resist any assault of the adversary.

In Heb 11 there are extensive and elaborate descriptions about the great persons that lived and died in glowing faith. The world was not even worthy enough to receive the great people of faith.

Faith, even the size of a mustard seed, has the power to move mountains, great abstacles (Mt 17:20). 

Even today many flaming arrows are shot at us. 

Only with the shield of deep faith can we quench the fiery shafts of impurity, lust, faithlessness, despair, atheism, fanaticism, lack of love and lack of the sense of sin.



5. The fifth exhortation a Christian gets is to don the helmet of salvation.

Salvation is reaching God after getting forgiveness for ones sins. One who has donned the helmet of salvation is secure and safe. Nobody can harm him.

There is no salvation in any one else except in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12).

One who is in Christ is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).

Jesus means Saviour (Mt 1:21).

It is to that person who receives Jesus joyfully in his house that salvation comes (Lk 19:9).

One who dons the helmet of salvation is the one who experiences this salvation after being forgiven his sins, in sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Getting salvation is the basic and ultimate aim of the life of faith.



6. The sixth item in the armor of the Christian warrior is the sword of the Spirit the Word.

We are very keen on, and enthusiastic about, our physical safety and security.

The weapons for spiritual security are truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word and these constitute the foundation for a spiritual life.

But, unfortunately, we often feel reluctant to carry them with us. One who has this armor on all the time can face any adversary without fear and can march forward joyfully.

Family life in the biblical perspective

- Fr Dr Joseph V.C

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correct-ion, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).

That is why the word of God is accepted by man as the lamp of his feet and a light to his path (Psalm 119:105).

The really lucky man is the one who takes delight in meditating on the law of the Lord (Psalm 1:2).

The Lord has compared a man who listens to his word and lives accordingly to the one who built his house on solid rock (Mt 7:24).

The person who lives his personal and social life according to the word of God will never have to feel sorry; his life will never be a failure (Psalm 22:5).

All these references from the Bible which talk about family life should be our guidelines.


IN THE BEGINNING OF CREATION

In the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis, there are two descriptions regarding creation (Gen 1:1-2,4; 2:5-25). They are complementary to each other. In these descriptions we can see the basic viewpoints about the relations between a man and a woman.

In the first description, man is given this distinction that he is created in God's own image and in his likeness (Gen 1:26). The image and likeness of God are similar in man and woman. God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Gen 1:27).

Then God commands them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. This is a command that he gives to the entire mankind men and women.

The Gospelist is presenting the nobility and elevated position of women, in a cultural background where women were considered subservient to men and mere objects of carnal pleasures.


EQUAL PARTNERS

In the second description regarding creation, we can see the man and woman are called upon to be complementary to each other. Man is incomplete by himself. Woman has been created as mans helper and partner (Gen 2:18).

The relationship between man and woman is the most basic of human community. The dawn of a family happens there.
It is God who unites Adam and Eve. That is why traditional Christian theology says that woman-man relationship becomes perfect only when the three of them God, man and woman converge.

The invisible power of God is present in each Christian marriage. When people acknowledge this divine presence and proclaim it in their daily life, marital relations, conjugal harmony, gets built on a solid rock. Couples, then, receive the grace to live in harmony in joy and sorrow, in health and sickness, in riches and poverty.



HOW MARRIAGE AFFECTS OTHER RELATIONSHIPS

With marriage a new relationship is formed in the life of man and woman. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh (Gen 2:24). The formation of a new family brings changes in the other relationships of the married couples.

Parents should realize that their children are entering a new realm of relationship. In one sense it is a going away. This might be painful to the parents. Only when parents are willing to let the children go, and the children ready to go, a new family will come into being.

This going away is not abandoning.

Honouring ones parents is one of the most important of the commandments.

In the Book of Tobit this has been described very clearly.
Listen to the advice given by Tobit to his son Tobias: Honour your mother and do not abandon her all the days of her life. Do whatever pleases her and do not grieve her in anything. (Tobit 4:3).


 

THE INVIOLABILITY OF MARRIAGE

The man clings to his wife and they become one flesh this is what God had wanted when he created them. Divorce was not there in his scheme of things and this has been taught to us very clearly by the Lord.

In the Old Testament Moses allowed divorce because of the hard-heartedness of the people (Mt 19:8).

But from the beginning it was not so.

The Catholic Church does not allow divorces in the light of the teachings of Jesus (Mt 19:3-12).

St. Paul also stresses the same thing (1 Cor 7:8-16).


THE OBLIGATIONS OF PARENTS TO THEIR CHILDREN

Even as parents pamper their children and fulfill all their material needs, they must be taught to keep the commandments of the Lord and make them walk His paths (Deut 4:4-14, 25-31). Parents have the right to discipline and punish their children (Pro 13:24).

They have the obligation to make the children choose the right vocations and make circumstances conducive for the right choice (Gen 24:1-3).

Maternal love has been presented as the most ideal for love, care and compassion (Is 66:3). The Father watches over the people and forgives their iniquities (Ps 146:9).

Abraham and Sarah have been presented as models of exemplary couples. The parents of Tobit and Samuel are also excellent models for imitation (1 Pet 3:1-6).

The best example of husband-wife relations is the Holy Family of Nazareth where mutual cooperation, love and honour were the watchwords.

The model of the family life presented by Joseph and Mary in Nazareth is the ideal kind of man-woman relationship, beyond carnal cravings, envisaged when the new heaven and new earth become a tangible reality.


OBLIGATIONS OF CHILDREN TOWARDS PARENTS

Honouring ones parents is one of the ten commandments of the Lord. Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you (Exo 20:12).

The phrase Your days may be long in the land should be understood in the background of the promise God gave Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and the covenant he entered into with the Israelites in the Sinai Mountain (Exo 13:1-20; 15)

Insulting parents and paining them will bring ruin.

The Bible teaches us: The blessing of a father strengthens the houses of the children and a mothers curse uproots their foundations (Sir 3:9).


CONJUGAL RELATIONSHIP

In the New Testament, St. Paul compares the relations between a husband and wife with that of the Lord and the Church (Eph 5:22-23).

Here we get deep insights about family life.

Just like Christ loves the Church, the husband should love his wife.

The Lord had shed his precious blood to make the Church a reality and to nourish it and keep it going. As the Church is subject to the Lord, the wife has to be subject to her husband.

This is not the language of authority or servitude.

It is the language of love, love that ever gives, never demands. The life of Ruth is an excellent example of love between a mother-in-law and a daughter- in-law (Ruth 1:15-18).

Ruth is a Gentile hailing from Moab, but she has etched her name in the Genealogy of Lord Jesus (Mt 1:5) merely because of her loyalty to Naomi.

Even as the Bible gives us examples of exemplary models of family life for us to emulate, we are also shown how families are wrecked and ruined as they forget God and blatantly disobey his commandments (Sir 14:1-3; 16:1-18).



CONCLUSION

The Gospelist has not presented the teachings of the Bible regarding family life as some serially numbered precepts of dos and donts. What we see mostly is symbolic language, with deep meanings.

Symbols have an awesome capacity to present truths in the most penetrating way. Jesus himself taught most of his things by way of parables.

In the New Testament, the Lord elevated husband-wife relation and family life to the status of a sacrament. Sacraments are the means to grow in divine life. That is why the Lord has compared the bliss of heaven to the marriage feast (Rev 19:5-10).

In the Old Testament the people of Israel were symbolically treated as the darling of Jehovah (Hosea 2:1-23: Song 4:1-15). In the New Testament Christ and the Church are looked upon as the bridegroom and the bride.

The Gospelist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks in such loftily figurative ways, using metaphors and symbolism, to teach human beings how God perceives the relationship in family life.

It is the Biblical way of teaching us about the unity, integrity and inviolability of family life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Method of Prayer - St Teresa of Avila and St Ignatius of Loyola

A Way of Praying

St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), also known as St. Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish mystic, and a Carmelite nun, a Catholic Saint and a reformer of the Carmelite Order. She experienced a lifetime of visions and described the "interior voices" she heard in her major devotional writing, The Interior Castle. She described years of tumult. "By this time my soul was growing weary, and though it desired to rest, the miserable habits which now enslaved it would not allow it to do so." She became particularly drawn to a devotional image of Jesus in the house of her Order. She meditated on the scenes from the Life of Jesus, particularly his passion in the garden.
______________________________________________________

  “My method of prayer was this:
  
As I could not reason with my mind, I would try to make pictures of Christ inwardly; and I used to think I felt better when I dwelt on those parts of His life when He was most often alone.
 
It seemed to me that His being alone and afflicted, like a person in need, made it possible for me to approach Him.
 
I had many simple thoughts of this kind.
 
I was particularly attached to the prayer in the Garden, where I would go to keep Him company.
 
I would think of the sweat and of the affliction He endured there.
 
I wished I could have wiped that grievous sweat from His face, but I remember that I never dared to resolve to do so, .... 

I used to remain with Him there for as long as my thoughts permitted it. ..............
 
This method of praying in which the mind makes no reflections means that the soul must either gain a great deal or lose itself --
 
I mean by its attention going astray. 

If it advances, it goes a long way, because it is moved by love.  

But those who arrive thus far will do so only at great cost to themselves, save when the Lord is pleased to call them very speedily to the Prayer of Quiet. Life, IX
 
15th October: St. Teresa of Avila


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IGNATIAN CONTEMPLATION

 
In contemplation, we enter into a life event or story passage of the Scriptures by way of the imagination. 

By this means we are able to recall and be present at the mysteries of Jesus'  life.

The spirit of Jesus, present within us through baptism, teaches us, just as Jesus taught the Apostles. 

The spirit recalls and enlivens the particular mystery into which we enter through prayer. 

Just as in the Eucharist the Risen Jesus makes present the paschal mystery, in contemplation He brings forward the particular event we are contemplating and presents Himself within that mystery.
 

Method
 

- In contemplation we enter the story as if we were present.
 
- Watch what happens; listen to what is being said.
 
- Become part of the mystery; assume the role of one of the persons.
 
 
- Look at each of the individuals: 
What does he or she experience? To whom does each one speak?
 
- Enter into dialogue with Jesus.
 
- Be there with Him and for Him.
 
- Listen to Him.
 
- Let Him be for you what He wants to be.
 
- Respond to Him.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

God has sent the Spirit of HIS Son into our hearts (St Paul to Galatians 4:6)

“Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like thy own.”
By Rev. Dr. Vincent Kundukulam

When I meditate on the Scared Heart of Jesus, a little prayer, so often repeated by me as a child, comes to my mind – “Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like thy own.” I do not think I fully grasped the implications of this beautiful little prayer as I recited it a number of times daily, especially during the fasting seasons and special feast days. Well, obviously, childhood is not a period when things are done after a proper and clear understanding.

This little prayer constituted a tiny little flower in the bouquet offered to Jesus, who came into the heart through the Holy Communion. Now, as the setting sun of my life begins its inexorable descent after its brightest noon and afternoon glitter, I very much like to look back nostalgically to the little pious acts of the yester-years and their inner, subtler, wider, implications and nuances. It is then that life truly becomes a pilgrimage.

I have always felt that although very short and simple, I used to recite this prayer which contains deep spiritual truths.

What are the significantly special features of the heart?

What does it mean when somebody says to make my heart like the heart of Jesus?

What are the qualities that accompany those that are dear to the Sacred Heart?

All these questions lead us to the inner beauty of this simple prayer. The Holy Scripture pictures the heart as the reservoir of emotions.

When Joseph was the ruler of Egypt, his brothers came to see him bringing Benjamin with them. When Joseph saw Benjamin, the Bible tells us, he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there (Gen 43:30).

Let us listen to the lament of the Proverb, Ones own folly leads to ruin, yet the heart rages against the Lord (Proverb 19:3).

During his speech on the day of the Pentecost, St. Peter said, my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced (Acts 2:26).

St. Paul openly admits, I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Rom 9:2).

Among the references to the heart, the heart of God also found mention.

Prophet Jeremiah makes it obvious that the dwelling place of mercy and compassion is the heart of God. Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he the child I delight in? As often as I speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore I am deeply moved for him; I will surely have mercy on him (Jeremiah 31:20).

Thus, whether in man or in God, the heart is portrayed as the seat of emotions. That being the case, what exactly is meant by the prayer of the devotee that his heart should be like the heart of Jesus?

There are many people who view emotions in a negative light with derogatory and pejorative connotations. It is so because the protagonists of this view consider all emotions to be blind and illogical. I think this is diametrically opposite to the truth. 

Aren’t emotions really the fountainhead of all the wisdom of man? 
In fact it is the emotions and not the intelligence of a person that influence him and persuade him with a sense of dedication. The wisdom, one has gained through experience is inscribed deep in him like a brand. When need arises, this deeply branded wisdom reawakens in him and makes him take appropriate steps. It is these emotions that often make people forget about their conveniences and pleasures and venture to do sacrifices for others. People without emotions will be lacking humanity.

There are many instances in the Bible where we see Jesus getting emotionally charged.

It is not only when he drove away the traders from the Jerusalem Temple (Mk 11:15-19) that we find him overcome with emotions, but there are numerous other instances too.

When he saw the great crowd assembled in the deserted place to listen to his words, he felt compassion for them (Mk 6:30-44). Then he multiplied the five loaves and two fish and fed five thousand people to their hearts content and plenty was left over.

John testifies that Jesus shed tears at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn 11:34).

We have the image of Jesus at Gethsemane sweating ruddy drops because of the excruciating mental pain he experienced (Lk 22:39-46) imprinted in our hearts.

To have a heart like that of Jesus means to have a compassionate heart like his own, to have a heart that throbs with humanitarian feelings and sensibilities. It is the capacity to acquire the depth of understanding everyone and the loftiness and energy to recognize everybody’s merit. Those with hearts similar to the Sacred Heart will be persons who are filled with love, peace and forgiveness - the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Heart is the symbol of our inner being. It is in the heart that the essence of man dwells and in fact the heart depicts ones personality. Remember what Jesus said, Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Lk 12:34). It means where there is no heart there is no person.

Through Isaiah God laments: These people adore me only through their lips. Their hearts are far removed from me. Heart is the inner being of a person. So those who wish to live just and righteous lives should ensure that they love their Lord with all their heart (Mk 12:30).

Today the number of those who abandon their hearts the finer emotions therein is on the increase. They indulge themselves limitlessly in the glory, glitter, glamour and glitz, chanting childishly the Epicurean philosophy of Eat, drink and be merry. They erroneously assume the weight of wealth as the weight of the soul. They are the pretenders who give money and think they have given their hearts. Through the facade of artificial and insincere smiles and shedding crocodile tears, they also hide what they really are. In this era of the consumerist culture our prayers should reflect our thirst to venture deep into the depths of humanity.

We should be people searching for the essence of life and not satisfied by scratching at the periphery. It is when we touch the divinity of man that our search becomes fruitful.

God has sent the Spirit of the Son into our hearts (Gal 4:6).

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Mt 5:8).

Let the Holy Spirit help us to grow into the finer emotions and spirituality so that our hearts become similar to the heart of Jesus. Even as we grow in the piety to the Sacred Heart, we must constantly make spiritual examinations to see how far we have imbibed the essence and attributes of the Sacred Heart.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hindu Orthodox Brahmin Priest - Aravindaksha Menon converts - becomes a Catholic

Testimony of Br. Aravindaksha Menon as given to Divine Retreat Center - Potta, Kerala, India


My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

Introduction - Early Life

My name is Aravindaksha Menon. As the very name suggests, I am hailing from a very orthodox semi Brahmin Hindu family. 

As my family was of a Brahmin culture, I was bound to study the Hindu scriptures, Ramayana, 
Mahabharatha, 
Bhagavat Gita 
from very early childhood. 

I was brought up in my family in a most religious way studying all these scriptures, chanting hymns and attending the pooja ceremonies in the temple every day. At the age of 18, after completing my normal education, I entered into central government service in an office under the ministry of commerce. Since then for a period of over 20 years I led a very happy and cheerful life. Having the effect of this spiritual training in abundance in my mind, I could love others, I could always think for others, I could always work for others and I could lead a life without any selfish motives. Thus everybody around me, my colleagues, became my friends. Through them I could become the leader of the service organisation of the establishment in which I was working. Through this politically motivated organization I could into contact with Indian Communist party. Within no time I became a staunch worker of the communist party. I could become a leader of the Communist party in my locality. Through this political work, being loved and respected by my natives, through this organizational work, being loved and respected by my colleagues and friends, I could lead a very happy and cheerful life for over 20 years.

Losing my Job 
After this very happy period of twenty years, one day most unexpectedly, I lost my job. Citing ever so many political reasons; my relationship with the Communist party, my work for the Communist party, an agitation, a big strike that occurred in my office, the leadership given by me to this strike; citing ever so much political reasons, my authorities dismissed me from the service. Always being engaged in these political and organizational work, financially I was not at all sound ever in my life. I need not explain what will happen to such a family, which is already financially unsound, when its income itself is unexpectedly stopped. Within a few days, the total life of my family and myself was put into so much financial hardships.

More Difficulties
When financial hardships come to us, we begin to think about God. It was easy for me to think about God, because my family is of such a great spiritual background. My family owns three temples. Three big temples in the family compound itself. The Gods incarnated in these temples are called Bharadevatas. I went to the temple of these Bharadevatas and began to pray with all my heart. Giving all sort of offerings to these temples, I spent days, weeks and months in the temple in fasting and prayers. But nothing happened to my life; nothing changed my life; nothing lessened the hardships in my life. Normally and naturally when God’s blessings are denied to us, we the Hindus go to an astrologer and consult him; to find out what is the trouble with our lives. I also went to a very famous astrologer in our state. Four times I went to him. All the four times he found out different reasons for my hardships. Curses of a God, curses of Goddesses, curses of birth stars and so on. All the four times he suggested very expensive avoidance’s (penance’s). I did not have any money with me. I borrowed every money I could get and attended to all these avoidance most promptly. Still nothing happened to my life. 


Lost total faith in GOD
 
Nothing lessened the distress in my life. I lost my faith in God; I became an atheist. I was so convinced, there is no such God. God is only a myth created by man, for the welfare of the priests, astrologers and temples. As you know, there is very eminent atheist in our state. They have got their own association, their own movement. The Rationalists Association of India. I happened to meet some of the leaders of the association at this time. After hearing my story they told me “You are a man of experience, nothing is to be taught to you now. It’s your social duty to go around and tell others that there is no God.” Most happily I took up this assignment and for the next three years I went around the state of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh; I went to almost all cities of India and preached ‘There is no God. God is only a myth created by man for the exploitation of man by man.’
Even though I was preaching against God for all these three years, this period of three years turned out to be a blessing in disguise as far as I am concerned. Because I could read a lot of books during this period; I could come into contact with so many intellectual giants, big writers during this period. And one of the friendships cultivated by me on those days, while I was preaching against God, changed my life totally.

Encounter with a Brahmin
One day, in a South Indian city, I was giving a lecture on atheism. After hearing my preaching a man came to meet me. He was a Hindu Brahmin by birth. Born to a very poor family. With his own efforts he studied and became an advocate. Then he became a Judge. A judge of the High Court. Finally he became the Chief Justice, then retired. He was a great scholar in English and Sanskrit. Such a great man, he was. 


Two Questions
 
After attending to my talk, he came to me and told me “My dear son, you have gone wrong twice. Once when your life was put into so much hardships, thinking that you are turning to God, you did not turn to the real God. But you did turn to idols and temples, it was wrong.” I was rather astonished because these comments came from a Brahmin. He is from such a race which makes a livelihood out of their worship of the idols in the temples and he tells me when I went to the temple and worshipped the idols, it was a mistake. 
“And secondly when you did not get benefited out of your worship of the idols in the temples, you turned to become an atheist; that is also wrong. You are a born Hindu. And should be proud of being a Hindu. To be proud of being a Hindu you have to go through the scriptures of Hinduism.”

Very proudly I told him 
“ I have not only gone through the scriptures, I have studied them by heart. Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Bhagavath Gita, I have studied by heart. Nothing is to be done in that respect.” 

Then he laughed at me. 

He called me a fool and told me 

“These books, Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavath Gita are not the religious scriptures. 

Those are only storybooks. 

  • Ramayana is the story of Sri Rama, the king of Ayodhya, historical man
  • Mahabharatha is the story of Sri Krishna, the prince of Madhura, another historical figure
  • Bhagavath Gita is compiled of eighteen chapters just selected from Mahabharatha

These are not the religious scriptures. 

The official religious books of Hinduism are the Vedas. 

The written four Vedas; 

the Rigveda, 
Yajurveda, 
Samaveda, 
and the Adharva Veda

You have to go through these Vedas. Then you will get light, you will find the truth, you can see the real God and the God will give you peace.” 

He advises me. Out of his advice, I did not get any faith in God. But there may be some point in this advice. To know that point, I went to a library, got a copy of the Rigveda, the first and foremost one of the four Vedas and began to read from the Veda.
After going through some passages, I got convinced of one thing. One thing he told was correct. I started getting the light. The very first light I could get from Rigveda, the religious book of Hinduism was that, to whomsoever Gods I went in the days of my hardships, gave offerings and prayed to, are not Gods. There are no such Gods. In the official religious book of Hinduism, the Rigveda, there is the mention about only one God. He is the creator of all creations in this universe. He is the creator of all creations in this universe. He is the creator of all mankind the world over; he is the heavenly father, the only God. This only God is omnipresent; He fills this universe. As the Lord almighty is Omnipresent and as he fills this universe, nobody can see him in a particular body or form. As the Lord Almighty is formless and bodiless, nobody can make an idol of God and worship an idol; it is worthless and it is useless. 

A fool who is worshipping an idol gains nothing but pain and he never attains salvation. I was convinced. As there are 73 books for the Holy Bible, there are 10 books for the Rigveda. Ten mandalams. From first to nine mandalams, in several places it is clearly said who is the real God, who is man and why should man worship the God and how should he worship him. In the tenth mandalam, besides this Lord Almighty, there is the mention about a man. 


Son of God

The first born and only born son of the God. His name is ‘Prajapathy’. Prajapathy, the son of the God comes to this world at the appropriate time. After coming to this world he travels around advising mankind, what is sin and what is not sin; what is to be done and what is not to be done; what is wrong and what is right. To those human beings, which accept his advises and obey his orders, he offers prosperity and peace in this worldly life and salvation at the time of their death. And being the completion of his venture to redeem mankind from sin, he gets sacrificed at the end his specified period on earth. 

In verse 7 chapter 90 of the 10th book of the Rigveda, the sacrifice of Prajapathy the Son of God, is well explained. ‘At the time of sacrifice, the son of God will be tightly tied to a wooden sacrificial post using iron nails by hands and legs, he will bleed to death and on the third day he will regain his life in a resurrection. Praise the Lord!
I was totally confused. Who is this Prajapathy, who is the Son of God? As per Hindu mythology, there are 10 incarnations of God. Ten times God comes to this world.
“Matsya, Koorma, Varahascha
Narasimhascha Vamana,
Ramo Ramascha Ramascha,
Krishna, Kalki.
These are ten incarnations. 

First I thought, the reference about Prajapathy, the son of God, will be about one among those incarnations. But it was not. Because each incarnation has got its own attributes. None of these attributes suit those attributes of Prajapathy as given in the Rigveda and as given in Sathapadha Brahmana, a supplement to Yajurveda. Then I went to some scholars in my neighbourhood and asked them, who is this Prajapathy, who is the son of God? 


Concept of Praja (Man) Pathy (Saviour)
 
One of them told me “Yes, there is a concept of Prajapathy. Praja means man. Pathy means saviour. 
There will be a man coming from God being the saviour of mankind; he has not yet come; we are still expecting him.” 

All this time Jesus was in my mind. But I being a staunch Hindu, I could not even think like that. But again I am not only a Hindu, I am an atheist, I am a rationalist. 

I asked him “Can this reference be about Jesus Christ?. That scholar asked me “No. It can’t be. Because it happened in some Western countries, in Jerusalem or so, not here. Again I told him “It need not be here. The mention is only earth, man and the God, so it can be anywhere.” Now this scholar scolded me. “You fool, don’t make such foolish arguments with me; this is a religious matter, a godly affair, get out!’ 

With all these confusions in my mind I went to that noble Brahmin who advised me to go through the Vedas and asked him “Who is this Prajapathy, who is this Son of God?” Then he asked me “It’s written in Malayalam, why don’t you understand? I told him “I could understand, but I have my own doubts.” 

My dear brothers and sisters, even though a scholar, a born Brahmin, even though a scholar, a born Hindu, he told me 
“My dear son, there is nothing to be doubted, the only one sent by God, came to this world, tried to redeem mankind form sin and got sacrificed at the end is nobody else, but Jesus Christ!” Praise the Lord!


Reading the Holy Bible - THE Word of God

Then he asked me “Now its time you go through the Bible. You’ll get further truth.” I came back to my house. I borrowed a Bible from the nearby Christian house and I began to read the Bible. When I read some passage from the very first book of Genesis itself, stronger wonders than I could find Jesus Christ in the Holy Scriptures of Hinduism began to appear before me in the Holy Bible. The same verses or the verses with the same meanings or verses being the answers to the questions, doubts and prayers in the Vedas, Upanishads and even in Bhagavath Gita. All connected verses.
I cannot go in detail about such verses now, but only give a few examples, just for your conviction and faith. The very first book in the Holy Bible, is the book of Genesis. 

Genesis is the history of creation. It’s said that the heavenly father created this universe in six days. 

The first day, Genesis 1:3 “ The God said let there be light and there was light.” In 16:1 God creates the sun, the moon and the stars, which were created on the fourth day only. Then which was the light, which emanated from God on the first day? 

Answer to this question we get from verses 1 to 14 of St. John chapter 1. In the beginning was the word. This word from God came to this world in the form of light. The word that came to this world as light became flesh and made his dwelling among us and that’s our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Now verse 1 of chapter 121 of the 10th book of Rigveda says: -
“Hiranyagarbha: samavarthaagre
Bhuuthasya jaatha: pathireka aaseeth
Sadaadhaara Prudhwivim dyaamuthemam
Kasmai devaaya havisha vidhemam.”
In the beginning, God and his supreme spirit alone existed. From the supreme Spirit of the God proceeded Hiranya Garbha, alias Prajapathy, the first born of the God in the form of light. As soon as born, he became the saviour of all the worlds.

(Rigveda X:90:2)
“Purusha evedam sarvam
Yadbhutham yachabhavyam
Uthaamruthathwasya esaana
Ya daannenathirohathi”
This man, the first born of the God is all that was, all that is and all that has to be. And he comes to this world to give recompense to everybody as per his deeds.
Revelation 1:8
Says the Lord God “Who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 22:12
“Behold, I am coming soon, I bring with me the recompence I will give to each according to his deeds.”
Rigveda X:90:7
“Tham yajnam barhishi proukshan
Purusham jaathamagratha
Thena deva ayajantha
Sadhya rushayaschaye”

This man, the first born of the God, was tied to a wooden sacrificial post and the gods and the Kings along the seers performed the sacrifice.

All the four Gospels say-

Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross by the Rulers (Jerod and Pilate) and the seers (Annas and Caiphas)
Yajurveda XXXI:18, Rigveda X:90:16.
“Thamevam Vidwanamrutha
iha bhavathy
Nanya pandha ayanaya vidyathe”

This (sacrifice) is the only way for redemption and liberation of mankind. Those meditate and attain this man, believe in heart and chant with the lips, get liberated in this world itself and there is no other way for salvation too.
Romans 10:9
“If you confess with your lips that Jesus is the Lord and believe in heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.”
When I could come across all these verses, I got confused once again. I went to that Brahmin Guru again and told him “It’s wonderful.” Again he told me “There’s nothing to be wonderstruck. Every ancient scripture was one and the same. Hindus, Christians and Islam were all categorized later, all man made. The word of God was one, because God is only one. He asked me “Do you believe that God is only one?” I told him “ Yes, I do believe God is only one” Again he asked me “If God only one how can the Son God be several? It is also one.”


27th June 1992
 
I came back to my house. That day became an unforgettable day in my life. 27th June, 1992. All the day time I was restless. There was a strong fight going on in my mind. The fight between the culture I was born and brought up in and the truth I found out now from the ancient scriptures of the very same culture. I became totally restless. In the night, on my bed, I thought about Jesus Christ. Of course I knew I knew him before; there was a picture of Jesus Christ in my mind too. Jesus the son of Joseph and Mariam, born in Bethlehem, brought up in Nazareth, studied the scriptures of Jew religion till the age of twenty nine and a half, who tried to hold a riot against the King and the priests with the help of poor fishermen, caught the soldiers of the King, faced trial and killed on the cross. This was the image of Jesus Christ in my mind. This was the communist line of thinking about him. 


Jesus - the Son of Living God

But on that night, for the first time in my life, I thought about Jesus in a different way; Jesus, the Son of God, who got sacrificed for the sins of the world. The result was wonderful. There were hymns in the Rigveda, the meanings of which I could not understand in spite of repeated readings. But when I could ascribe Jesus as the sacrificial victim and his crucifixion as the sacrifice, the meanings of those verses came so clear to me. Then I could understand what my Guru told me was correct. Jesus is the only Son of God.


Praying the Lord's Prayer 
I sat up on my bed. For the first time in my life, I, a staunch Hindu, prayed to Jesus Christ. I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t know the narration of prayers as given in the Bible. “Oh! Our father thou art in Heaven!” I didn’t know any such prayers. I just prayed oh! Jesus, come to me. I am in distress. Come to me, save me.

From Vedas to Christ

When I prayed to Jesus, of course I don’t hesitate to confess before you now I kept my prayers to myself. So secretly and silently I prayed so that no one should hear. Especially my wife, who is lying beside me, sleeping, should not hear. It was rather shameful for me to pray to Jesus Christ. But one thing is there. I have come to the faith of Jesus Christ studying the Hindu scriptures. Not inspired by the Bible, not inspired by any Christian priest or friend. So what if my wife knows, she should know. But I could not think so at that time. Not because my wife also belonged to a Hindu family. No, that was not the reason. 


My Wife Loved Jesus

On the day of our marriage, my wife had made a peculiar request tome. She also belonged to a Hindu family like mine. But all her neighbors were Christians. Very orthodox Roman Catholics. In each and every family there is one priest and two or three nuns. So many of her classmates and friends are now studying for priesthood or to become sisters. Due to her close acquaintance with these families, from early childhood, she believed in Jesus Christ. Every day she prayed to Jesus. Every Sunday she goes to the church and attends the mass. I, being a staunch Hindu, should not object her practice; that was her request to me. I told her “ I am a communist, an atheist. I don’t have such faith. I don’t go either to the church or to the temple. But in my practice, I never object or question the faith of others. So you can have your own faith. I don’t mind.” She continued to be in that faith. 


She brought up our children also in the very same faith. She was telling me also to have faith in Lord Jesus. But I didn’t care. When i lost my job and when my family was put in to so much of distress, then again my wife told me “Believe in Jesus Christ, our family will be saved.” I didn’t pay any attention to her words; instead I went to the temples and worshipped the idols. When I come back from these idols, most disappointed, then again my wife would tell me “Believe in Jesus Christ, our family will be saved.” Again I didn’t care; I went on being an atheist and I began to preach against God. Now on my own, studying the authoritative Hindu scriptures, I have come to the faith of Jesus Christ. What my wife has been telling me for the last eighteen years has become true, yes, but how can I admit it before her, because I am the husband and she is my wife. 


First Family Prayer to Jesus Christ

So I kept my prayers to Jesus to myself and secretly prayed to him. After praying for some time I retired to sleep. When I lay down to sleep, my wife who was supposed to be sleeping beside me stood me. She was not sleeping she was watching me. Silently she stood up and to the nearby room. There she had kept a small wooden cross for her prayers. She lit the candles, knelt down on the floor and tears running down her face she began to praise Jesus Christ. I got the meaning of that praise immediately. For the last 18 years this poor woman was praying for me and at the fulfillment of her prayers, why she is praising her Lord now, I need not go to any astrologer to find out. I could not lie don any more. I also went to my wife, knelt down beside her, and joining hands, we began to pray to Jesus. That happened to be the first family prayer in my house. Praise the Lord!

The result of this prayer, answer to this prayer was instantaneous. In the same night I received the answer to my prayers. You believe it or not, I am a man who spent sleepless nights for over six years. Since I lost my job, since my family was put into so much of hardships, I cold not sleep for even a single night. Whenever I close my eyes for sleeping, the images of my two daughters come to my eyes. Then I could not sleep. Like some psychological problem this phenomenon haunted me every night, and I could not sleep even a single night. But on that night, when I prayed to Jesus for the first time in my life, I could get a long deep uninterrupted sleep for over 14 hours. Praise the Lord! What is the big thing about it? To get sleep for a night. Is it a big boon or blessing? No. But that sleep I got that night has some relevance and importance in my life. Before that I went to ever so many temples, I went to ever so many gods, I gave thousands and thousands of rupee as offering to them and I prayed to them. But none of these gods heard any of my prayers and gave me an answer. But on that night, when I prayed to Jesus for the first time in my life, Jesus immediately answered; “Relax, I am going to bless you.” I relaxed I slept. That’s the special relevance and importance of that sleep I got in that night.
Since then, till now, what all blessings Jesus showered on me, I cannot explain everything in detail now. On 27th June,’92, in the last week of June I prayed to Jesus for the first time in my life. In the first week of July, next week, without my appeal, without any sort of follow up from me, even without my knowledge, the Govt. of India took a policy decision. All those who were dismissed from services by the former Govt. on political reasons, should be reinstated in service. I was reinstated in my old service, which I lost six years ago. My income was restored. The days of starvation in my life are over. Praise the Lord!


Family Saved by Jesus
Verse no. 31 chapter 16 of the Acts of Apostles tells us “You believe in Jesus Christ, you and your family will be saved.” I was convinced. I believed in Jesus Christ and I was saved, automatically my family will also be saved. Enough. God kept his promise, I was convinced. But within a few days, God convinced me one more thing. God keeps his promises letter by letter. If he has promised that you and your family will be saved , he means you and each member of your family will be saved. The second member of my family is my wife. As she was educationally much backward, she could not get a job. She was a simple housewife till the age of 36. As I lost my job, on somebody else’s advice and persuasion she took an agency of the L.I.C. Very well she knew she could not work because she was practically illiterate, and she expected me to work for her. But I did not attend to that work at all. It was against my prestige to go around and before others because everybody now knew I was jobless. My wife also could not work and we could not make any income out of it and we were living by selling out material possessions. Then everything was over, nothing was left behind for selling out. I told my wife “You start the work of L.I.C., I'll help you.” Jointly we began to work. But we began to work only after accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus was with us in each and every step of ours. Every bit of business we attempted to, turned out to be a success.
My dear brothers and sisters, this is the wonderful experience, that Lord Jesus gave me on my prayers to him, which I had to share with you. I pray to Lord Almighty to give you also that wonderful touch of the blessed hand of Jesus Christ during this retreat itself.
Thank you. Praise the Lord! And the Attainment.. God is one and absolute. The omnipresent and the omnipotent. The creator, Sustainer and Guardian of this universe. Everyone has concurred to this eternal truth, And then differ in vain? Why is it ‘Your God’ and ‘My God’? This dilemma of the novice, the wavering, Just at the threshold of faith, Remains sadly unsolved. And those who have taken possession of God As their exclusive right, Would dismiss you for a dullhead, Immature and ignorant. 


All to Jesus

Think not, contemplate not! Take shelter under unconditional belief. And trust!
In whom? “In what I say. In the path I usher you unto.” Here, confusion becomes worst confounded. It is this predicament that has instigated me to set out And seek my God on my own. Here, let me submit myself, mind, body and soul, to my Lord Almighty, who had revealed me His magnanimity and graciousness in all its splendour whenever I invoke Him.

Let me acknowledge the God’s grace showered on me. To be born in an orthodox Hindu family which facilitated me to learn the Vedas And Mythologies, Which in turn have guided me like a beacon towards this accomplishment of comparison.

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