Monday, February 28, 2011

Holy Spirit's Empowerment changed me to - live JESUS - Fr James M - personal testimony

I decided to live for Jesus alone and to spend my life in preaching His Kingdom - Fr James Manjakal M.S.F.S
At home from my childhood I have heard my mother praying to the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the evening family prayers which would last one to one and half hours. Later in the seminary at the beginning of the classes and important events there used to be a prayer or a hymn to the Holy Spirit. This is all I knew of the Holy Spirit in the past. There was not even a teaching or a thesis on the Holy Spirit in my theology course. Of course I knew from my catechism that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and that He gives grace in our lives. But I never had an experience of the Holy Spirit until I came to it through the powerful prayer of a young man. After my ordination to priesthood on the 23rd April 1973 I worked in the missions of Visakhapatnam for about an year and then I was appointed as a professor in S.F.S. Seminary Ettumanoor, Kerala. As I was a student in the seminary it was my earnest desire to be professor in a University or seminary, a comfortable and honourable position in priestly life. I could never imagine going about like a vagabond from place to place putting up with different situations, people, culture and food. In myself I was seeking material comforts and security of happy living. In 1975 I happened to read articles on healings and the gift of tongues from an American Magazine "New Covenant". I could not believe that on these days people are healed by faith and prayers. I scoffed the gift of tongues saying that it must be the hysteric mournings of women!. My mind was filled with the pride of my knowledge in Philosophy and Psychology. Then I heard about a Charismatic retreat in Poona in North India. Along with an old priest of my own congregation I attended the retreat preached by Fr. James D´Souza. He was a powerful preacher and a good singer. I liked his preaching and singing. I did not go for a healing prayer as I was not sick. I made a good confession and followed all the instructions of the preacher like raising and clapping hands. When he spoke of the gift of tongues and other Charisms I thought they were not for me but would be for the spiritually elite. On the day of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit I prepared myself well and sat on the chair along with other participants. I did not experience anything special during the laying on of the hands.

The preacher while praying over me said, "James one day you are going to be a charismatic preacher", hearing this I laughed loudly and said "never, never". Not only that I could not accept the peculiar ways of the Charismatics but I was always a timid person in front of others. In my school days and later in my seminary training I was unable to give a speech. Even after my ordination I was a total failure on pulpit. I still remember well what happened to me at my first sermon. After my ordination with much reluctance I agreed to celebrate the Mass and to preach on the following day which was a Sunday. At home I had prepared a few notes on the Gospel of the day and kept them on the side of my new Bible. I had no problem in saying the Mass because I would look at the Mass-book and recite the prayers and at other times I used to keep my eyes closed as I was scared of looking at the people. After the reading of the Gospel I fixed my both eyes on the main door at the back of the Church and began to search for the papers with notes kept on the side of the Bible. I became so nervous and fearful, I forgot whether I kept them on the right side or left. I was afraid to pluck the eyes from the door and look into the Bible for I thought by doing so I would see the people and with the stage-fear I would fall down even. Already I was shivering and sweating. Several times I attempted to address the audience saying "my dear, my dear...." I couldn't say an single sentence. A few minutes already passed, seeing my pathetic condition the parish priest whispered through the window "enough that you preached, now you can continue with the Mass." Like a balloon blown out, with shame and self-pity, I continued the Mass. I was sure that the people might have been laughing or sympathising with this timid young new priest!. After the Mass when I went to the Sacristy the priest commented "He is a missionary of St. Francis de Sales, what is he going to preach". That is the reason I laughed when the preacher told that I would be a preacher. But it was a prophesy!. For the last 32 years my life was spent only on preaching all around the world!.

On the last day of the retreat almost every participant gave testimonies of healing, experience of prophesy, vision, tongues, etc. But I had no testimony to give. Many had the experience of meeting Jesus and had heard Him speaking to them! I felt sad. I began to accuse myself of my pride in not co-operating fully with the retreat and not yielding to the action of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps at this point in the depth of my heart I began to desire and thirst for the Spirit. With much curiosity many of my friends asked me of what I had received in the retreat but I could not give a precise reply. It was one week after the retreat that I fell seriously ill for the first time in life. I was in two hospitals for more than four months. I became weak and pale. I could not eat food due to my pains in the stomach. I had severe back-pain. I would vomit out even the tablets given. Standing up I could not say Mass, I used to say Mass on my bed with the help of some other priests. Seeing my severe pain and my pathetic condition many thought that I would not survive even. At last my sickness was diagnosed to be Tuberculosis in the kidney along with kidney stones and infections. I was to have ninety injections and two year's tablets for the cure of T.B. The doctor suggested a surgery in the kidney after ninety days of injection.

On the seventh day since the treatment started, something great happened in my life which changed the whole of my life. In the afternoon after my usual siesta I was talking from my bed to two sisters who came to visit me. Suddenly a young man of twenty came towards me and asked "Father, shall I pray over you for healing". At that time the Charismatic renewal was not known and spread in Kerala, not even priests used to say prayer for healing. But the Pentecostals used to pray for healings. As a Catholic priest I would not like a Pentecostal laying hands over me, a priest. When I asked him of his identity he said that it was only eight months that he had met the Lord and received baptism and that he was endowed with many charisms of the Holy Spirit. I could not believe then that it was the Spirit who told him while travelling in the bus to come and pray over me in the hospital. Never we had known each other before! He did not wait for my permission to lay hands, ending the sharing of his testimony he laid his hands over my head and started praying. He prayed "Father in Heaven, send your Son Jesus now to this priest suffering from kidney T.B., kidney stones and infections and restore him complete health of body and soul". Then I thought in my mind that he might have seen the hospital chart where my sicknesses were reported!. I did not then know that he was praying with the gift of word and knowledge. Several times he was shouting out praises to God and sometimes praying in tongues too. I felt some kind of power flowing from his hands towards me. Then I began to know the power of praise and loud prayer. In the retreat I could not appreciate the noisy prayers with loud praises. Suddenly I thought of the prayer of the Blind Beggar Barthimaeus. He was praying loud "Son of David, have mercy on me". Although the disciples tried to keep him quiet, he kept calling out all the more. Then Jesus called him to his side and granted his request (Mk 10: 46-52). Expressions of the mouth are the expressions of the heart indeed!. A loud and intense words of the mouth is the sincere outpouring of the great desire and faith of the soul. "I cry aloud to God, aloud I cry to God that He may hear me" (Ps 77: 1). The apostles at the time of the first persecution raised their voices to God and prayed. Their prayer was so powerful as to shake the house where they gathered (Acts 4: 24-31). All my scepticism about noisy prayers was fully healed. I too began to pray with him with loud praises.

Then the boy began to pray with a different tone pointing towards my inner-self of the past life. He prayed "O Lord this priest is a good priest but he is unable to preach your Gospel for he is very shy and timid because of his inferiority complex which he developed in his early childhood. He lost his father when he was seven. He felt himself rejected and discriminated among the other five children with whom he grew. The young widowed mother had a lot of problems to bring up the children. As he was very fat and big in size his brothers and sisters were fooling him by calling "fatty". The school companions used to call him "blacky" because of his colour. Thus this child was very much wounded in his early childhood. He has a lot of resentment in his heart towards many. Lord, Holy Spirit take away his inner wounds and resentments and give him a new inner-self. Set him free from all his bondages and power of darkness. O, Holy Spirit fill his heart with your love...." I was astonished at this prayer. He was cutting my inner-self into pieces with the power of the word of God (Heb 4: 12). All what he said was true in my life. I knew that all what he said in prayer was not in the hospital chart! He was reading a chart from the Holy Spirit!. In tears I remembered the words of Jesus "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike" (Lk 10: 21). Again I shed tears over my pride, specially of my intellectual pride. I felt I was so mean in my worldly knowledge to measure and limit the immeasurable and unlimited wisdom and love of God. I realised that this young man, a new convert was born again in the Spirit while I, a traditional Catholic, an ordained priest, remained in the flesh. I began to understand that what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him, this God has revealed through the Spirit, for the Spirit scrutinises everything, even the depths of God (I Cor 2: 9-10). I felt the living water flowing through me and liberating me. I felt a kind of power flowing through. There was a feeling of warmth on my stomach and on the part of the kidney on the back. I believed that the Lord was healing me. I claimed the healing and praised Jesus.

At the same time I had a fear within whether this man who was seeing me through and through, would speak out my hidden sins too specially in front of these two sisters. Then he prayed "Jesus it is you who called him to priesthood, but he is offering Masses with an unclean heart and unclean hands". The words of prophet Malachi came to my mind and began to convict me of my unholiness in priesthood. "O priests you are despising my name by offering polluted offerings on the Altar." (Mal 1: 6-7). He continued his prayer saying "this priest is having a lot of unforgiveness towards many, give him grace to forgive others and wash him in your precious blood and give him a heart whiter than snow" (Is 1: 18). By this time the Holy Spirit himself began to convict me of my sins (Jn 16: 8). I did not know that the boy had gone out of the room with the sisters to pray over for others. I saw a white sheet of paper in front of me in which all my sins were clearly written, sins that were confessed, and sometimes hidden in the confessions due to fear and shame. I saw clearly the people towards whom I had unforgiveness and with whom I had not reconciled in my heart. I saw my heart which was covered and darkened with the veil of bad habits and the web of insincerity. The word that the communion in an unholy heart brings condemnation (I Cor 11: 27) began to push me into a deep crisis in my inner conscience. I had a deep rooted bad habit from my teenage. Even my hands were stained with the stink of smoke. In tears I told "Lord, I can't get out of these bad habits. I am helpless. I can't continue as a holy priest". In tears I began to cry out to the Lord, perhaps first time in life praying with tears. I was in utter confusion whether I should leave my priesthood or continue. The Spirit in me was telling if I continued I should be a holy priest, a different person. I thought that the Masses offered in the past were not accepted by my Father in Heaven and none of my prayers were heard by the Lord. When I went to the Altar I should have forgiven and reconciled (Mt 5: 23). I should have forgiven others in order that my prayers would be effective (Mk 11: 25). I thought that I was a wretched being, totally lost! I was in total darkness, doubt and confusion. I thought I was defrauding God and others with my priesthood. I was praying in my helplessness "Lord save me a sinner".

My God Lord did not abandon me in my desperation. First time in my life I saw the Risen Lord walking towards me in full light. His face was glowing, His white garments were glittering. He was surrounded by many angels. I could hear the melodious music of the angels. He put His hands over my shoulder, I became very small before Him. He spoke to me very clearly "James, you are my priest forever. Even when I was conceived in my mother's womb (Mary's womb) you were there as a priest sharing my eternal priesthood. I forgive all your sins and make you completely new". It was a big revelation for me that I was in His body when He took the human form. Mary became my mother much before Jesus gave her up to mankind on the Cross saying "Behold your mother...". I really experienced the closeness of mother Mary, I felt I was consoled and healed in her lap although I did not see her. I have no words to express my experiences in this ecstasy which lasted for more than three and half hours. The Lord told me to make a good general confession of my past life. Also He instructed me to go and get reconciled with those with whom I had ill feelings. In my long time of seminary training or in the Noviciate I never had the experience of encountering Jesus in prayer or of hearing this sweet voice although my novice master and my spiritual directors tried to teach me to contemplate and to pray. Now I knew that prayer and contemplation was not something which I could achieve but which I could receive only as pure gift of the Spirit.

I woke up from my graceful dream when a nurse called me my name. I saw her standing before me with the injections and tablets. With much joy in my heart I told her that I had a deep experience of the touch of Jesus and that I was healed. As she left the room I was praising God with a strange voice, I felt that my language and words were removed and the Holy Spirit gave another language and words the meaning of which were unintelligible to me. The very gift, the gift of tongues, which I did not want, was given to me by my Lord. I was really trying to comprehend with all the holy ones the breath and length and height and depth of the immeasurable love of God manifested through Jesus, His Son (Eph 3: 18). After a while the doctor who diagnosed my illness and prescribed the medicines came and scolded me for not taking the medicines. He said "Father you are a priest, I believe that you have some sense and knowledge, do you think that you are healed by the prayer of that newly converted boy. If you don't take medicine you will get a relapse." I said "sorry doctor, I shall take the medicine but I know I am healed by the prayer of the boy". I took the tablets and yielded to the injection in front of the doctor because I knew that doctors and medicines were in the plan of God and I promised that I would continue the medicine until he would tell otherwise (Sir 38: 1-2).

I was happy and joyful. I began to tell the bystanders and sisters about my healing. I could have a deep and sound sleep that night without a sleeping pill. That was the first physical healing I received. Ever since I got the kidney problem I could not sleep without a sedation. I got up at 4 a.m. as someone woke me up. Surely it was the Lord (from that day I do my personal prayer daily in the morning at 4 a.m.). I sat on my chair and prayed for one and half hours with the same experience of the previous day and even with much more. At this prayer the Lord put His wisdom into my mouth and gave power to preach His Kingdom and commanded me to resign my job as a seminary professor and to go out to preach. After the prayer I had a morning walk for an hour. Till the previous day I was unable to get up alone from the bed and to walk around in the room!. After a bath I went to the Chapel and celebrated the Mass amidst more than one hundred and fifty people. The reading of the Gospel was from Luke chapter nineteen, the story of Zecchaeus. Without any previous preparation, fully relying on the Holy Spirit I was able to preach for eighteen minutes and that too looking at the face of the people. I felt that I was completely set free from the burden and bondage of fear and inferiority complex. I felt a special intimacy with those who were in the Mass. I could look at them with freedom and love and I felt that each one was my brother or sister. After the Mass having noticed my change in my behaviour the doctor ordered for a repetition of all laboratory tests. Then he called me to his room and showed me the old and new results of the clinical tests and confirmed that my kidney was completely healed and that I could stop all medicines and get discharged from the hospital. I don't know how to explain the joy that I felt at that moment. I said, "praise the Lord" and embraced the doctor and left the hospital.

I went out of the hospital as a new man with new decisions and determinations. I decided to live for Jesus alone and to spend my life in preaching His Kingdom. I resigned my job as a professor and stepped out for preaching after spending forty days fasting and prayer. Ever since 17th. February 1976 when I preached my first charismatic retreat, probably the ever first charismatic retreat preached in Malayalam, in Kerala, till now I have spent my time in preaching His word only. My loving superiors then had offered several chances to go to Germany or to Rome to pursue doctorate but I refused because the Spirit told me, "I am sufficient for you". "No one who has set a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God" (Lk 9: 62). During my seminary training when I saw many of my companions being sent abroad for higher studies I had a great desire to go abroad for degrees. Thanks be to God, now the Lord has fulfilled my desire with my continuos preaching of the Kingdom abroad. How true it is that when we surrender any of our worldly desires for the sake of the Lord, He would return it hundred-fold!. It is true that Jesus made use of me to build a prayer house for Him, at Athirampuzha, Kerala, known as Charis Bhavan. In my preaching of retreats, conventions and healing services I had to meet with oppositions and persecutions even. But the Word of God, that every one who wants to live a holy life would be persecuted, consoled me and strengthened me (II Tim 3: 12). I know that all the gifts and powers given to me, a weak being, in an earthern vessel to behold the treasure of his power (II Cor 4: 7). With St. Paul I too will say that I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me (Phil 4: 13). His power was manifested in time of my kidnaps and my imprisonment, in the Muslim world of Arab countries, and in insults and in misunderstandings by my own superiors and friends. I conclude my testimony with the words of St. Peter, "Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed, you also may rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the Name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you" (I Pet 4: 12-14).od rests upon you" (I Pet 4: 12-14).

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Ten Commandments - loving directions to attain the heavenly kingdom

Are they outdated?   

In the Gospel, Jesus says: If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15)

A great majority of people even Catholics, those who are by name only, think that the Ten Commandments are a thing of the past.

Some people think that the State should forbid to teach about the Ten Commandments. For many, the commandments are out of fashion because they are against our culture (the culture of death); while for others God’s commandments do not include all ten of them.

They take some of them out for their convenience in order to follow their own lifestyle. This is why many Catholics have left the Church to join other denominations, which do not talk about the commandments, sin, judgment or hell.

My dear people, the Ten Commandments are loving directions to attain the heavenly kingdom, where we can see God face to face, the Beatific vision. In the Gospel, Jesus says: If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14, 15). If we love God, we do our best to please Him.

 
These commandments tell us how to love God and our neighbors.

The first three commandments teach us
- how to love God,


The next seven teach us
- how to love our neighbors.


The Ten Commandments make it perfectly clear that we should not fall in love with:
  • idolatry, 
  • impiety, 
  • disobedience, 
  • sensuality, 
  • stealing, 
  • dishonesty, 
  • covetousness
So we need to follow the commandments to love God.

As our soon to be beattified Pope John Paul II has written:  
"the Ten Commandments save man from the destructive force of egoism, hatred and falsehood. They point out all false gods that draw him into slavery."


PRAYER 

We pray for love

Lord Jesus, You taught us on the cross that love is above everything and you made me the object of your LOVE. 

We pray that Your love and the love of family and friends surrounds us always. May we never lack love in our lives. 

Whenever we need a kind word, a thoughtful deed or an act of love, may it be available to us, even from strangers. 

Help us love as You loved, Lord. 

With no selfishness, deceit, halfheartedness or unforgiveness, but with every fibre of ourselves. 

Let evil be destroyed by love. Amen.

Amen


- homily by Father Jose Maniyangat

- prayer by Father Augustine Valloran V.C

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

St Faustina - Vision of Heaven

St Faustina - The Apostle of The Divine Mercy

"Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope:  Christ Jesus, I trust in you!" 

- Venerable Pope John Paul II




The Narrow Road versus the Broad Road....

"...I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings" (Diary 153)

Unconceivable beauty of Heaven
" November 27, 1936. Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its unconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death

I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God.

I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom. 

This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures. 

Now I understand Saint Paul, who said, “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, not has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him.” 

And God has given me to understand that there is but one thing that is of infinite value in His eyes, and that is love of God; love, love and once again, love; and nothing can compare with a single act of pure love of God

Oh, with what inconceivable favors God gifts a soul that loves Him sincerely! Oh, how happy is the soul who already here on earth enjoys His special favors! And of such are the little and humble souls. 

The sight of this great majesty of God, which I came to understand more profoundly and which is worshipped by the heavenly spirits according to their degree of grace and the hierarchies into which they are divided, did not cause my soul to be stricken with terror or fear; no, no, not at all! 

My soul was filled with peace and love, and the more I come to know the greatness of God, the more joyful I become that He is as He is. 

And I rejoice immensely in His greatness and am delighted that I am so little because, since I am little, He carries me in His arms and holds me close to His Heart. 

O my God, how I pity those people who do not believe in eternal life; how I pray for them that a ray of mercy would envelop them too, and that God would clasp them to His fatherly bosom... " (Diary 777).


...and know that all this beauty is nothing compared to what I have prepared for you in eternity
When I was at Kriekrz to replace one of the sisters for a short time, I went across the garden one afternoon and stopped on the shore of the lake; I stood there for a long time, contemplating my surroundings. Suddenly I saw the Lord near me, and He graciously said to me, All this I created for you.....and know that all this beauty is nothing compared to what I have prepared for you in eternity. .... Oh, how the infinitely good God pursues us with His goodness! It often happens that the Lord grants me the greatest graces when I do not at all expect them. (158)
 
..God..allows man to participate in such a high degree in His divine happiness!
After I had gone into the refectory, during the reading, my whole being found itself plunged in God. Interiorly, I saw God looking at us with great pleasure, I remained alone with the Heavenly Father. At that moment, I had a deeper knowledge of the Three Divine Persons, whom we shall contemplate for all eternity and, after millions of years, shall discover that we have just barely begun our contemplation. Oh, how great is the mercy of God, who allows man to participate in such a high degree in His divine happiness! At the same time, what great pain pierces my heart that so many souls have spurned this happiness. (1439)
 
It is from the face of God that this joy flows out upon all..
February, 1938. During meditation, the Lord gave me knowledge of the joy of heaven and of the saints on our arrival there; they love God as the sole object of their love, but they also have a tender and heartfelt love for us. It is from the face of God that this joy flows out upon all, because we see Him face to face. His face is so sweet that the soul falls anew into ecstasy. (1592)
 
I saw how the Angels and the Saints of the Lord give glory to God
When during adoration, I repeated the prayer, "Holy God" several times, a vivid presence of God suddenly swept over me, and I was caught up in spirit before the majesty of God. I saw how the Angels and the Saints of the Lord give glory to God. The glory of God is so great that I dare not try to describe it, because I would not be able to do so, and souls might think that what I have written is all there is. Saint Paul, I understand now why you did not want to describe heaven, but only said that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him...Now I have seen the way in which I adore God; oh how miserable it is! And what a tiny drop it is in comparison to that perfect heavenly glory. (1604)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Voice from the THRONE of GOD - speaks to - Fr Matthew Naickomparambil V.C

RENEWAL THROUGH HOLY SPIRIT

Fr Mathew Naickomparambil V.C. is the leader of evangelization movement of Divine Retreat Centre, India. He records his Divine Encounter with God in his own words below.


From the bondage of a life that seeks material pleasures and self glorification, it is the Holy Spirit of God that constantly leads us to a life of renewal, seeking the will and glory of God.

Fr Matthew's own experience
- Ask and you shall be given, you shall be given the Holy Spirit.

One solemn evening in July 1966, I heard this divine voice. I was praying in solitude. As I was kneeling down, with eyes closed and hands folded, I heard this voice.
 

Ask and you shall be given by the Holy Spirit. 

It took a period of three more years for this promise to be fulfilled in me.
 

I was having early morning mediation on a fine day in the month of September 1969.

When I closed my eyes in prayers between 5.30 and 6.00, I saw a vision in which a shining globe was descending into me. That divine light and bliss filled my mind and body.
  • I was overflowing with divine love.
  • I experienced the most perfect inner peace. All the inner wounds and fears that had been in me were obliterated.
  • I was filled with peace and joy.
  • All the bruises and lacerations rubbing in my memory were healed.
  • All my inferiority complex, my anxiety and worry that had been pestering me right from my early childhood were caressed, soothed and healed by the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit.


Voice from the Throne of God
Then I heard the distinct voice from the throne of God. See, I am making all things new.

To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life (Rev 21:5-7).

RENEWAL THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE WORD
Our Lord is the God of abund-ance, one who showers the love of God on us in measures aplenty. It is through the Holy Spirit that this love of God is bestowed upon us. When we listen to the Word, we will receive the gift of faith (Rom 10:17) and also the blessings showered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44).

HEALING THROUGH THE WORD
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction (Ps 107:20). God gives healing to the body, mind and soul. There takes place renewal in love in personal and family relations. He showers on us forgiving and compassionate love. 


BORN AGAIN 
We have to be born of water and Spirit (Jn 3:5). We have to wash with the water of the Word. We should transform after listening to the Word and we should be filled with the Holy Spirit the love of the Spirit.

RENEWAL IN LOVE
Let us imbibe the love that is capable of forgiving our enemies and blessing them. Let us be compassionate towards the poor, the sorrowing and the rejected and the ostracized by others. Let us pray for them earnestly. Let us endeavor to send our help to the most needy. Today such charitable activities are on the increase in Kerala and also in the whole of India. Many take part in the charitable acts with glad and enthusiastic hearts.

RENEWAL IN PRAYERS
Constantly carry out divine praises, adoration and intercessory prayers. The thirst to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the Word is the most felt need of today. All these release many from the life of sin and evil. Many are keenly desirous of receiving the graces of the Holy Spirit. Intercessory prayers have become a speciality of the modern times.

RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT BY NON-CHRISTIANS
New lights of hope should be kindled. Even many non-Christians today are filled with the Holy Spirit and they give their testimony to that effect. The mercies of God flow into us through our faith in Jesus Christ and through the renewal in the Holy Spirit. The result is that tens of thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of people become zealous and they enthusiastically bear witness to Jesus Christ.

They become a new nation that constantly sing praises to the Lord and glorify him. The Holy Spirit makes everybody ready to continue with his missionary work with renewed zeal and enthusiasm. The graces of the Holy Spirit are made more distinctly obvious so that people who have eyes can see and those who have ears can hear. Proclamation of Word, Healing Services, the gift to foresee and foretell things, etc. help people to realize that God is right in their midst and bear witness to his hallowed presence. This is endowing joy, zeal and enthusiasm to many.


Fr Mathew Naickomparambil V.C. is the leader of evangelization movement of Divine Retreat Centre, India. He can be reached at following email  drcmindia@gmail.com

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Amazing Conversion Testimony of Khurshid Jilla - From Zoroastrianism to Jesus Christ


Friendship with Christ


Testimony as given by Khurshid Jilla  
Introduction
I was born in India but have been living in Australia for the past 12 years. I come from a practicing Zoroastrian family popularly known as Parsis. It is a very ancient religion and belongs to the dynasty of King Cyrus, King Daniel and the Three Wiseman.

Background of her faith
Zoroastrians believe in the teaching of Prophet Zarathustra who has revealed the supreme divine Authority Ahura Mazda –‘The Lord of Wisdom.’ The basic three principles that the religion revolves on are “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.” My mother came from a family of High Priests and from childhood I have been a prayerful person. I visited the Fire Temple every day before I went to University and thereafter working life. 

Life before meeting Jesus
Although, I believed in God, prayed regularly and visited the fire temple most days I always wanted to be of assistance to others especially the poor and needy I had this inner sense that these ‘norms’ were not enough. I was always curious about God and wanted to know more about God and raised questions about ancient rituals and wanted to know more. Years rolled by and felt I did not get the answers I was seeking to the mysteries. I wondered about after death and even had a dream at the age of seven where I passed in to after death and saw a light filled place with a throne, which made a deep impression on me, I just kept wondering looking for answers to this delightful dream.

Brokenness and God
As a child, teenager and young adult I had series of tragic experiences. I came from a broken family, soon my parents passed away.  I had a tough life and at the age of 34 ended up lonely and jobless in Australia. To put it mildly it was a difficult time for me. I used to sit and smoke and often looked up in the sky with questions such as “Why was I born? Where are you God?  Why am I in this situation? Are you alive? Can you hear me God? And so on. I just sat and thought about these things for hours on end.

Jesus Calls Khurshid to HIM
Then one day in 2002, I went for a walk intending to reach Malabar Beach in Sydney, not far from where I was living. I walked past St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and somehow felt that I should go in. I don’t know how to explain this, but I felt the church was calling me inside, It was a weekday evening and I thought the church might be closed. But to my amazement it was open. It was around the month of July. With some trepidation I went in and I truly felt something so real, a presence, the presence of God, But I could not understand it and I thought it was all too ‘abnormal’ and so after being in the church for a little while I ran away. 

Search for God begins
The next day I came back again around the same time and again the church was open, It was dark and cold. But felt a sudden rush of warmth as if someone embracing me and I found myself crying. I could not stop crying and continuously kept asking myself “Why am I crying”? I continued to visit the church and started attending the mass. I could not understand the rituals and catholic practices and I could not find answers from other Catholics either. In my search for the truth I started visiting other Christian churches and prayer meetings. I found other Christians had passion and fire about their faith in Christ and knew more about the Bible. Around this time my thirst to know God was ever increasing and I found that the questions I asked God in the night were answered in the Bible. 

A new life in Jesus
Once, I was asked by a friend “What is important? Faith or Wisdom?” And I fell asleep pondering this question and agonising about it. I prayed to God and said to him please answer my question. And when I woke up the thought came in my mind ‘You have to have faith. When you have faith you also get God’s wisdom’. This lead to another thought that I want to walk with my newly found companion and friend Jesus. I started welcoming him in my every day life. He walk with me, lead me, spoke in many mysterious ways, unfolded mysteries to me and I began to keep my mind focused and open to him. My hardened and discouraged heart started having hope. I found a comforter in Jesus. I started experiencing healing of my mind, body and spirit. I got a job, I quit smoking. I was able to pay off all debts and I soon realized that I could manage my life much better when I walked with Jesus.

Jesus is ALIVE
Now I know this might sound strange too but in June 2006, even though I was praying Catholic prayers and the rosary, I use to repeatedly get the prompt from Lord to convert so I kept denying as I felt a sense of loyalty towards Zoroastrianism. It was very confusing as it is not just a matter of culture or habit. It is much deeper than that. You live in this belief and are expected to die in it. I felt it was difficult to let go the traditional faith of my ancestors. I was interested in Christianity, as it showed me ‘a way of life’. I loved walking with Jesus and the sense that God is ‘Alive’. I loved the prayers. I had such extraordinary experiences since I know Jesus personally but when the actual moment came to ‘letting go’ of the past, there was a struggle. I somehow thought I could continue with all the various Christian groups and religious searching without facing the ultimate question of conversion. 

Dream and her Baptism into the Catholic Faith
About this time I had a dream. I remember seeing an enormous light and I heard someone leading me in the rainforest. I heard a voice saying “Why are you so stubborn? Why don’t you get baptized? In the dream I answered. “I am a Zoroastrian.” Then I sensed that the voice was of Jesus and the next thing I saw a big water fall at a distance. On nearing the water fall, I saw huge drops of white light falling all around me and Jesus baptizing me himself. I woke up frightened and said in my dream “don’t baptize me and I heard the Lord saying “You are now one of us.” I woke up with a start and said “Thank goodness it was a dream”.  However, the thought prompted by the dream continued. When I was awake I asked Jesus “but why do you want me to be baptized” and the answer came to me ‘Because I want you to do my work’. And I found myself saying something like ‘Ok I want to do your work.” 

Her decision to be baptized
In December 2006 I had the idea that I would go to a Mass and go to Holy Communion. At that time when I was thinking I closed my eyes in prayer and I was prompted to think of the Crucifixion and Our Lady standing beside the Cross. I was made to realize that Jesus on the Cross and Mary was pointing me to think of the Eucharist in a different way. I heard a voice say “Look at me this is what the Eucharist is, it is not just a piece of bread – this is why you have to be baptized.” I found myself kneeling and weeping when my eyes opened and felt it was all so real and happening in front of me. This was a very important realization for me and I felt as if I had reached a turning point. I had realized the true meaning of Eucharist and why was it so important for me to baptized? 

I knew then that God wanted me to be baptized. I was baptized on St. Christopher’s church on 7th April 2007 on Easter day. I was on fire with love of Jesus in the Eucharist and in prayers. My life has changed 180 degrees since then. I have found a living true God. I have found a true friend – JESUS. And I believe I still have more to know about God, life and to lead a righteous life. I am still a work in PROGRESS!


Testimony as given by Khurshid Jilla

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