Thursday, April 17, 2014

Do you love the Desert?

I think not...

I hate the loneliness, emptied out all that good and meaningful. I hate the sad melancholy of world that takes all but gives no solace. I hate the waiting...

I remember during my painful desert experience during Nov-Dec last year, how I rued my my prayer- try me, Lord and make me more like you. Give me a more giving heart like yours. Tear down the stone walls around my heart and teach me to love like you.

O boy, he did answer that prayer...

The thawing of a frozen heart requires the furnace of love. Tough love. The dross of doubt, fear and complacency all rise to the surface during this purification of the soul. It's excruciating and there is no respite.

When there is a cross, there follows also the joy of the resurrection. A new life.

The month following the breakthrough was a time of keeping low. A time of recovering and restoration. Our Father is a God of Love. He is a pursuant lover and he never gives up (1 Cor 13:7).

The breakthrough was a time where he taught me the meaning of faith without sight, hope without proof and even patience in the midst of clamour. It all rests on the bedrock of a single truth- God is Love.

40 years in the desert to learn one truth. God is faithful.

The desert, the cross, the sorrow- and then the revelation. My Almighty Father loves me. 

It's seems like a paradox but the Lord never forgets his own. The Songs proclaim- Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her Beloved?
courtesy: christinecouncil

It is I...

Monday, December 23, 2013

A X'mas Rhyme

THE HOUSE OF CHRISTMAS 
By G.K. Chesterton

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Pearl of Great Value

 Suffering...

That dreaded season. Why does the Lord keep bringing the same bitter cup to my lips, to be drunk to the very dregs?

There are a lot of analogies for suffering- gold being purified, clay being molded, vines being pruned... but though they made a lot of sense intellectually, to my spirit it brought no solace.

But the beauty of the Lord is this, He is Truth and Truth is manifested in so many ways, in so many forms and so in many of us. As much as we try to classify people, we still are so unique and varied. He likes that, I think. So he speaks to our spirits in ways that only we, as individuals can understand. And so he spoke to me...

Today, was one of those vicious days where nothing went right, no task was getting ticked as 'done', no comfort, so peace... and a sleep-deprived headache. Heaven was quiet and I knew I was nearing melting point.

I was walking to a nearby cafe to grab some lunch, when I had a 'moment of meeting' with the Lord. I was upset, tired, disgruntled and very unhappy but in spite of all that, I did not put the Lord to the test. I just humbled myself in my heart and said, 'Lord! LORD!' He didn't saying anything but his presence remained like a lingering fragrance. I had my lunch and that moment passed...

Then all of a sudden the Holy Spirit brought it to me, that it was the first time that I did not question (in doubt) the hand of the Lord in my present. I saw this vision of the good thief and the bad thief on either sides of the cross. Both were in need to help and liberation. One chose to challenge, the other chose to let go and let be lead, in faith. 


I understood... I had moved and in my suffering, made pure. My suffering took me to a higher ground; not to whinge and challenge but to trust and be made small.

And this is wisdom, when you understand divine truths in the light of who you are and how you are tuned. 

I understood, that sufferings is needed because it helps you find gold in the sludge. Mining gold is a dirty, backbreaking, messy process. If you watch any of the videos on youtube on gold mining, you'll understand what I mean.  Find that one piece of precious metal and it will suffice for all your labours.  

Suffering helps dredge virtue from the sludge. It scrapes away all your masks, washes off your self-pretense and disperses all forms of factitious spirituality, till you find that one virtue that your previously felt you had but never knew it's true worth. 

Suffering makes your treasures worthwhile. If it was as simple as breathing to mine gold and diamond, do you think we would treasure the metal and the rock so well? Similarly, suffering contributes great value to your virtue, even in God's eyes.

And when you know what they are truly worth because of the price you've paid in pain and tears, then your heart will be   even greatly captivated by the Lord who is the source and summit of all virtue and grace. And where your treasure lies , there will your heart lie... utterly. With God.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Remembrance

God in the Old Testament was one who constantly commiserated his people to Remember.

'Tell it to your children and do not forget how the Lord delivered you from the Egyptians...'

'Remember the Lord's commands that I entrust to you today...

'Remember when your fathers forgot me in the dessert...'

Remember... Remember... Remember...

When one goes through the Night of the Senses, memories of the Lord's faithfulness and mercy can give hope even in the darkest night.

'I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.'

It is the confidence of one who has tasted the Lord and found him true. 

Then there is another kind of reminiscence and it has nothing to do with one's memories or experience. It is a remembrance of the nature of God, who he is and how faithful he yet remains in the face of man's faithlessness. 

There is a brokenness that comes with this remembrance. Like Mary at the foot of the cross. A place of 'hoping against hope' in a God who remains silent. Nothing made sense during that dark night of her soul. There was no silver lining on Golgotha, no comfort in her loneliness. I doubt if she remembered the words of her Son about his death and resurrection; and even if she did, I wonder if it brought her any comfort while watching her firstborn torn on the cross.


And Christ, ripped from his Father's bosom, bereft of all imaginable hope and yet he said ...

'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit'

Faith shines through.

This faith is born of hope. 

'Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see'

Sometimes, I do believe it translates into- Faith is being sure of Who we hope in and certain of Him who we do not see. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Come away with me

What is intimacy?

Is it a union of two souls or two minds? Could it be that moment when a man becomes one with his wife? Could it be when two friends bond in silence, or a mother suckling her child...

or maybe, it could be all of the above.

For Christ,I think it was a little more. For Christ, it was an immersive moment. Akin to a single drop of water becoming part of a great ocean. A realization that the Lord is GOD... and I am held in the midst of his existence. 

He is "my existence". 

He is Existence.

"I am, who am"

He revealed himself to all humanity and for all time, as an invitation to a greater knowing of God- face-to-face, man to   Creator. He leans down to us. Know me, he says. Know me...

The most important prerequisites of intimacy is trust and vulnerability. He did that when he spoke his name to Moses. He showed his most vulnerable side when he became man.

Friendship, motherhood, spousal love are all relationships that grow with intimacy.

But for God, it becomes a deeper engagement. Mortal man can never bond perfectly with an immortal eternal God. So, God gave man a soul. A spirit, eternal and immortal as God is. It an intimacy of two spirits that God seeks. It goes beyond feeling, above physical bodies and remains suspended like a single drop of consciousness in an ocean of silence. A stillness... A time of completeness, at rest and in Peace.

That is intimacy with an Almighty, Eternal God. 

He meets us in the physical as he does in the spiritual. He comes to us in the Holy Eucharist, becoming one with us, nourishing us, enveloping us, overshadowing us. 


He lets us touch him because our senses are so important to us.

He woos us with his songs because our passions move us.

He bends down to us seeking intimacy and friendship. 

'Come away with me to a lonely place'

'Come abide in me, rest awhile in me'

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blessed among Women

The Bible raises a few women to look upon as an example of 'Highly Favoured', 'Richly Blessed', 'Woman of Faith' and I find myself a bit skeptical. They had hard lives, all of them. 

In ancient Israel, women and children were relegated to the fringes of Jewish society. If that wasn't bad enough, being out of sync with the norms i.e. unmarried, widowed, childless were considered curse or punishment by God. 

It was a hard life for a woman...much less one who was considered despised and abandoned by God.

Sarah was seven times widowed when we first meet her in the Book of Tobit. Seven in Jewish lore is considered a full, complete number. Sarah had drunk deep of her cup of sorrow so much so that it came to be even her servant-girl did not scruple to abuse her. The ancient community would have have denounced her worse. She was ready to take her life when she remembered her beloved father, and then turned to God.

"Lord, I look to you for help."
                                           
                                             -Tobit 3:11-12


Beyond coincidence and chance, came Tobit and the sorrows of two families came to an end. 

Then there was Rachel, Sarah, Abraham's wife and Elizabeth, Mary's cousin. Bereaved in their childlessness; yet hoping when all cause for hope was over.

Judith the young widow faced with a despondent nation and Ruth, the foreigner who chose love and loyalty over home.

"Then God remembered..."
                                - Gen 30:22

But where there is Christ, there is always Hope and (this) Hope does not disappoint. 

God will fulfill the desires of your heart, because he himself put it there. He is glorified in your joy as he glorified in your patient obedience.

When all seems bleak and the promises seem late in flowering; remember...

"For nothing is impossible for God"
                                - Luke 1: 37 

Friday, April 26, 2013

She believed...

May is nearly here- the Month of Mary.

Mary was a natural contemplation mystic. Contemplation being a form of prayer where a person turn things over, not in his or her mind but in her heart. Heart being the seat where one finds God, not quite the fluffy, pansy, emotional-driven core but a place of truth and trust. Feelings do have a play but more than that it's a place of surrender and abandonment to God.


'Do unto me as thou hast said'


Those are not easy words if one truly understood the full implication of saying them. Mary weighed the words in her heart and spoke- Fiat. A complete consummation of consent. And the history of mankind changed forever.

This May, I thought of doing Mary's Way. To contemplate and to sit abide in God. The fruit of contemplation, is surrender. But before that happens, there is something else... belief. 

I often wondered what the difference was between faith and trust and belief. This is what I understood- 

Faith is a gift. To become aware of God and trust in who he is.
Trust is confidence in the credibility of God.
Belief. I think Belief becomes more personal and intimate. Belief is a 'knowing'. It is faith in action.

Paul received the gift of Faith at Damascus. Mary (the sister of Martha) trusted Jesus to have done something to save Lazarus.

But Mary believed... she knew. Old Simeon knew he held the Messiah in his arms. He didn't need a white dove hovering over. Abraham believed God. To believe is to translate faith into action.

One of the most beautiful proofs I have read on belief is from 'The Children of Hurin' by J.R.R.Tolkien. The story is one of tragedy surrounding the family of Hurin who challenged the might of Melkor. Melkor was a fallen Elect, an immortal. Not of flesh and blood but of pure spirit. He seek to subdue all the earth and creation but the elves and men of Middle-Earth challenged him. They failed and Hurin, the leader of men was captured.

Thus begins a dissertation between Melkor the immortal and Hurin the man. Melkor tries to destroy every belief that Hurin has held sacred since his youth. 

To break a man's beliefs is to subjugate him completely. 

Man needs to believe, in order to live. 

But in the end, Hurin pronounces his one true creed- I know this and I know it with all my heart, that you are not the Lord of men and you shall never be its master.

Mary believed...

God is Just. 
God is True. 
God is Love.
God is Good.

And the scripture resounds- 'Blessed is she who believed...'