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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saint Augustine

It has come about. Saint Augustine seems to have touched my life today. It’s been many days now that I am reading a book titled SAINT AUGUSTINE written by Rachael M. Philips. But it was only today, in the morning, while I was reading this book in the train that Saint Augustine’s life finally started having an impact on me. To be more precise, while reading about Saint Augustine, I came to know that he too was influenced by the writings of Saint Paul and used to devour his writings day in and night out – so much like me.

The book says that initially Saint Augustine was influenced by one of the early church fathers – Saint Ambrose – as his sermons moved Augustine to the core. The book says Augustine was “hypnotized” by Ambrose’s wide spectrum of philosophical knowledge. Here I would like to quote one of Saint Ambrose’s philosophical sayings which have set even me thinking – “Evil is not a living substance, but is a deviation of mind and soul away from the path of true virtue, a deviation which frequently steals upon the souls of the unaware. The greater danger is not, therefore, from what is external to us, but from our own selves. Our adversary is within us; within us is the author of error, locked, within our own selves. Look closely on your intentions; explore the disposition of your mind; set up guards to watch over the thoughts of your mind and the cupidities of your heart. You yourself are the cause of your wickedness; you yourself are the leader of your own crimes and the instigator of your misdeeds. Why do you summon an alien nature to furnish an excuse for your sins?” How true! How I wish I had known all this earlier. But there’s always a first time and am glad that at least I know it now. But better late than never! At least I have started realizing the philosophy of life (read evil) now than never.

Well, Saint Augustine’s own philosophy about sin is also quite influential. He says, “Human beings are divided by the law of sin. Human efforts are necessary to overcome this condition, but not sufficient. Only God’s revelation and grace can overcome this fallen state”.

And about evil, he says, “Evil resides in the human will and no human efforts can undue the consequences of this reality. Jesus Christ is the atonement for human depravity. Philippians 2:5 – 9: “Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ: Who being, in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross”.

Saint Augustine was so much charmed by Saint Ambrose that he moved away from simple literalism to a more nuanced allegorical approach to Scripture. Saint Ambrose is also credited with effecting Saint Augustine’s conversion and it is him who baptized Saint Augustine in 387. For my knowledge, Saint Ambrose was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He is counted as one of the four original doctors of the Church. The other three being Saint Augustine, Saint Gregory and Saint Jerome!

Another paragraph from this book which has touched me the most is – “when I first knew thee, thou didst lift me up, that I might see that there was something to be seen, though I was not yet fit to see it. I realized that I was far away from thee in the land of unlikeness, as if I heard thy voice from a high”. Here Saint Augustine is obviously talking about Jesus Christ who touched his heart and mind and soul in his mid-life crisis. So much like me!

Besides the CONFESSIONS, Saint Augustine’s most celebrated work is his DE CIVITATE DEI (ON THE CITY OF GOD), a study of the relationship between Christianity and secular society, which was inspired by the fall of Rome to the Visigoths in 410. Among his other works, many are polemical attacks on various heresies: AGAINST FAUSTUS, THE MANICHEAN; ON BAPTISM; AGAINST THE DONATISTS; and many attacks on Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. Other works include treatises ON THE TRINITY; ON FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE; ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE; and some early dialogues. I am getting this urge to read all these books but I don’t know whether our parish library will have all the editions. But surely there will be some books on Saint Augustine and I am raring to try out some.

As it is with me, I have been researching on Saint Augustine and found out that he went on to become a fourth century philosopher whose groundbreaking philosophy infused Christian doctrine with Neoplatonism (it means that all abstract categories and all mathematics are closer to the mind of God than anything else) made him one of the early heroes of Catholic church.

Saint Augustine lived in the Roman Empire from 354 to 430 A.D. In 386 he converted to Christianity from the pagan Machanean religion and this philosopher of Hippo became one of the most important figures in the history of Christianity. He became the most important Christian writer and since I feel like reading some of the books written by him, who knows, I might take up reading philosophy soon. But there’s one thing for sure – this Bishop of Hippo and “Doctor of the Church” is leaving a lasting impression on me as a voluminous writer on the subject of philosophy and its relation to religion. Nowadays I read only Christian spiritual and religious books and to be influenced by Saint Augustine is a big boost for my reading morale. He who is considered one of the most important church fathers of old orthodox Christianity is urging me to take up philosophy – who am I to say no to him then! I feel like reading some of his philosophical books though I know it will take me an eternity to understand his writings. But there’s no harm in giving these books a try provided I am able to find them in my parish library. Now, on any given day, I can read any books written on Saint Paul and Saint Augustine blindly. Just blindly. I have so much faith and conviction on their life and teachings about Jesus.

I guess I was destined to reread this book on Saint Augustine, the patron saint of Christian theology, at this point of my life for me to fully understand and comprehend it. When I saw the date written on the book I was amazed; I bought it on 6th January, 2007, and I remember that I had started reading it soon after I bought it. I also remember that it didn’t have any impact on me at that time – I guess everything has its own time and so happens at the time it’s meant to be – I can even confess that the book did bore me and I didn’t understand anything.

Nevertheless, during my research on Saint Augustine, I came across a very beautiful PPT made by someone – I have downloaded it and kept for my future reference. Amazing PPT, I must say! In this PPT, I found that Saint Augustine established a philosophical retreat, but abandoned a life of leisure to take up the post of Bishop in Hippo where he battled external foe and internal heretic. I came to know that the incarnation of Jesus Christ is the turning point of history for Saint Augustine. This brings into my mind some scripture words which says anyone touched upon by Jesus Christ does not remain the same – he or she changes – gets transformed. Like Saint Paul and Saint Augustine and of course this lowly creature named Jubilee Cardozo! We all have been transformed by Christ’s unfathomable love for us!

Saint Augustine credits Plato with coming closest among the pagan philosophers to the Christian understanding of God. “If Plato, therefore, has declared that the wise man imitates, knows and loves this God and is blessed through fellowship with him, why should we have to examine other philosophers? No school has come closer to us than Plato.” I guess I will have to read some of Plato’s writings as well. PS: Some time back I did try reading Plato but somehow all his writings went off my head. Honestly, I will have to make an extra effort this time. Also try reading Aristotle and Cicero if they are available at any of the bookstores.

Much as Socrates and Plato laid the foundations for philosophy, Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas laid the foundations for Christianity. Saint Augustine is one of the four great fathers of the Latin Church – the other four are Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome and Saint Gregory the Great. These fathers were the early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. They are usually called the Apostolic Fathers since they were taught directly by the twelve.

Jesus Christ in Old Testament

The Old Testament (OT) prophecies about Jesus Christ and there are around sixty different prophecies, and numerous references to Jesus in OT Scriptures. The OT, written over a 1000 year period, contains over 300-350 references to the coming Messiah. Christians honor the OT as the Word of God, just as Jesus did. Matthew, who was a tax collector and wrote the gospel Mathew, quotes many OT references to Christ throughout his narrative. Throughout the OT, reference is made to the Messiah, and again to Jesus Christ literally as The Branch, Immanuel, and other titles like Savior.

There are many other references in the OT to a particular Angel of the Lord being the Lord Himself. There are references to Jesus especially in the Book of Isaiah and elsewhere. Jesus Christ and the various New Testament (NT) writers frequently quoted from the OT. Jesus said that all of the OT Scriptures “testify of me” (John 5:39). The deity of Jesus Christ is revealed through the fulfillment of the OT.

Jesus the messiah’s life was foretold many times by the OT writers. Some of the verses that foretell the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ include Psalm 2 containing the following reference to Jesus, "You are my son; today I have become your father." (Psalm 2: 7) A reference to Jesus’ resurrection is made in Psalm 16:10, “You protect me from the power of death. You will not abandon me to the world of the dead”.

Psalm 22 is a vivid picture of the crucifixion. “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” (v.1) Those were Jesus’ very words as He hung on the cross. The scene is foretold with these words, “All who see me make fun of me; they stick out their tongues and shake their heads”. Also, “You relied on the Lord” they say. “Why doesn’t he save you?” (v. 7 and 8) “They gamble for my clothes”. (v. 18)

It seems In Zechariah 1:12 the angel of the Lord (Jesus Christ) prays to the Lord that “Lord and Savior” in verses 1:11, 2:20 and 3:18 are in reference to Jesus only. In John 5:46, this verse is quoted in Hebrews 1 in reference to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is indeed the God of the OT. Many Christians also state that the OT predicts the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the NT and the OT prefigures the NT. Genesis 14:17-20 (Hebrews 5:6; 7:1-8) – Jesus is called Melchizedek, priest, man, Son of God. He blessed Abraham. Jesus Christ is the second member of the God family. He is the son. Jesus is not mentioned by name in the OT. Isaiah 7:14, which says that “the young woman shall have a child” and the young woman did indeed have a child several verses later. Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all the symbols and predictions of the OT. Somewhere it’s also mentioned that most of the references to the LIONS in the Scriptures are about Jesus’ powerful voice.

Thus, I conclude that some of the references are very subtle, and others are very obvious. Jesus Christ is the Lord (Jehovah/Yahweh) of the OT and the Lord Jesus Christ of the NT.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekend :(

Somehow I have started disliking weekends. Gradually, they are turning out to be just the ‘weak ends’ of my life. Earlier, I would have great plans for the weekend and on Fridays I would be in the best of my spirits. But nowadays Fridays bring in this dreadful feeling that weekend will soon be here. It’s quite sometime now since I have been feeling like this. I have tried every possible remedy to cheer me up but I end up feeling miserable on Friday afternoons. My spirit sags on all Friday afternoons. Right now I am at my lowest of spirits….just don’t know how to cheer myself up. Just don’t know what to do. I feel like crying and tearing my hair apart. Against all the clich├ęs of “Monday morning blues”, I guess I am at my best disposition on a Monday morning. I enjoy my “Monday to Thursday” life. I just don’t know what I should be doing to perk up my Fridays as well.

Unlike others, I don’t need a weekend to cheer me up. For me, it’s the week days that keep me cheerful. Like others I too go crazy on a weekend but in a totally different way – I go crazy because my weekends lack a proper schedule – nothing happens as per my liking during weekends. I feel laziest, loneliest and lousiest on Friday evenings. Somehow, I clam up in my shell. Something or the other invariably always goes wrong on a Friday afternoon that ruins my entire Saturday and Sunday. This has been happening since last so many months now. I guess somebody out there must have cursed my weekends. Somehow there’s no fun, laughter and happiness – all these crucial elements associated with a weekend is just missing in my life!

I fear to tell anyone in the family that there’s a dread attached to my weekends. I am sure they will not understand what I feel on a weekend. No matter how hard I try to not ruin their weekend, I end up fighting, screaming and howling more on weekends than on week days. I just don’t know why it happens to me. I don’t want to make anyone’s life miserable but it’s just that all Friday evenings haunt me. I want to get rid of this haunted feeling.

Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection

The five central phases in the life of Jesus Christ are His Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion and Resurrection.

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His resurrection are the two most important events in human history. These two happenings form the stronghold on which a new religion, Christianity, was based 2000 years ago. Jesus had Himself prophesied His own crucifixion, death and resurrection. The night He was betrayed, Jesus and His disciples had partaken of the Passover meal in the early evening. Jesus Christ and His crucifixion are the grand subjects of the Old Testament. Christians believe Jesus’ suffering was foretold in the Hebrew Bible, such as in Psalm 22. Even St. Paul finds the crucifixion of Jesus in Isaiah 53 and His resurrection on the third day in Jonah 1:17.

Jesus was stripped off His clothes, slapped, punched, kicked and spat upon. He was crucified on a Cross where His hands and feet were nailed to a wooden cross. Jesus Christ, after being slaughtered, finally entered the tomb at sunset.

But before this, on the cross, the Lord shed His precious blood to pay for all our sins and transgressions and made salvation possible for all of mankind. All the four Gospels are centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, His Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection. Matthew’s gospel mentions an earthquake and resurrected saints.

After Jesus was crucified, Joseph of Arimathea had Christ’s body placed in a tomb. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. This event is referred to in Christian terminology as the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Easter). They also believe that Jesus was their awaited Messiah, their expected Christ.

Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, the third day after Good Friday – the day He was raised from the dead! The resurrection of Jesus is what makes Christianity unique and radically different. The journey from the night of betrayal to His resurrection is also referred to as the “passion of Christ” – the sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion on mount Calvary.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

All the time!!!

When I closed my eyes I saw Him smiling at me,
When I opened my eyes I saw Him smiling at me.
Why do I wander in vain?
Seeking for earthly smiles
When I have my heavenly Lord smiling at me,
All the time!!!

When I looked to my right I saw Him seeing lovingly at me,
When I looked to my left I saw Him seeing lovingly at me.
Why do I look in vain?
Seeking for earthly eyes
When I have my heavenly Eyes seeing lovingly at me,
All the time!!!

When I cry I feel Him wiping my tears for me,
When I am in pain I feel Him in pain for me.
Why do I cry in vain?
Seeking for earthly companions to share my pain,
When I have my heavenly Lord crying and sharing my pain with me,
All the time!!!

When I opened my mouth to speak
I knew He had already heard me,
When I stretched my hand to ask,
I knew He had already given me.
Why do I search in vain?
Asking for earthly comforts,
When I have my heavenly Comforter hearing and giving me;
All the time!!!

When I staggered with my weight,
I looked for a stronghold.
When I hurt myself,
I looked for someone to solace me.
Why do I seek for earthly analgesics?
When I have my heavenly Lord soothing me
All the time!!!

My life’s “Damascus Road” experience

From St. Paul himself we know that he was born at Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts 21:39), of a father who was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:26-28; cf. 16:37), in a family of tentmakers. Paul is variously referred to as the Apostle Paul or Saint Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus. St. Paul was supposedly born AD 10 in Tarsus in Cilicia and died 67 in Rome. He is one of the early Christian missionary and theologian, who has been a lasting monument to the glory of God and a symbol of hope, resilience and strength – just like his namesake St. Paul’s Cathedral of London.

This post isn’t about St. Paul’s life – neither early nor after his conversion on the road to Damascus. This post is about me; after my conversion. It is my life’s “Damascus Road” experience.

Though like St. Paul I never persecuted any Christian at any point in my life, nevertheless, like him, my life took a major turn after my conversion. St. Paul, while walking on a road to Damascus was suddenly blinded by God’s light. In my case, I was tempted and blinded by Satan’s empty promises. Paul was converted from Judaism. I was converted from Hinduism. Like Paul, God never asked me, “Jubilee, why do you persecute me?” but while studying the chapter on “Paul the apostle” in my Bible study cell, I realized that God was telling me to give up my sinful life. Just as the above conversion of St. Paul is a major turning point of his life, similarly that brief “encounter” with Jesus during my Bible studies, is the exact point of conversion for me. Like Paul, from that one experience, nothing remained the same for me. I changed!!!!

I guess a lot of us have as dramatic a conversion experience as Paul had so many years ago. This one change in our lives can be just as dramatic as Paul’s.

Like St. Paul, my life too is a life grounded in faith and spirituality, NOW. But it wasn’t like this earlier. Like St. Paul who was once a Jewish Pharisee and later on became a great missionary of Christianity, I was a Hindu by birth and became a Christian after my marriage with a Roman Catholic. Like Paul (or Saul) who was a Jew of pure Hebrew descent, I was of so called “pure” Brahmin descent. My maiden surname was Mukherjee.

Though like St. Paul I am not one of the greatest contributors to Christianity and the most prominent personality of the New Testament, apart from Jesus, like him I have found my calling after my CONVERSION. Like St. Paul himself so beautifully put it: “Conversion is a change of mind and change of life, a turning towards God and a turning away from sin”. It’s my turn to change my mind and my life by turning towards God and turning away from sin.

As the Bible says that St. Paul’s conversion experience was an encounter with the resurrected Christ and it totally changed his whole life and thought; my recent encounter with Jesus is changing my whole life and thoughts. My “Damascus Road” experience is both my conversion and call. Coincidently, it happened on 25 January this year, the day Church celebrates the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

Thinking back about my own conversion almost 11 years back (the change of religion – my conversion to the Catholic faith) experience, I guess initially I was highly skeptical of Christianity. My real conversion (the event that resulted in the transformation) took more than ten years. This new ‘conversion’ to Christianity is one of the most decisive landmarks in my life. Unlike others, I can fully appreciate the greatness of St. Paul’s conversion that has inspired me – twelve years back, in the Jubilee Year 2000; I started undergoing my adult catechism after getting married to a Roman Catholic. Then on 15th April, 2001, (Easter) I finally became a Christian. From a Bengali Brahmin I became a Roman Catholic.

Honestly, I wasn’t all that happy that day as I am today. Today I jump with joy at the slightest opportunity of serving the Lord and rejoice for been so close to Him. But at that time I didn’t have the same feelings. May be the circumstances…we were just thrown out of our in-laws house and we had no place of our own. We were staying at a friend’s place for few days and we had gone for this big occasion – my baptism – on Holy Saturday not-so-happy. There was no joy in our hearts but there was Jemimah – the messenger of peace – (my elder daughter) in my womb.

The kind of love and feelings I have today for Jesus Christ has taken a long time to come. Though I had no compunctions to go to church and attend mass, I wasn’t all that faithful to Jesus. The right kind of feelings was missing. I am sure it has taken me ten and half years to get that feeling of faith. I would pray, I would attend rosaries, I would attend mass, and I even enrolled myself in Bible study classes and became an animator in my SCC; but that feeling, that faith, that oneness with Jesus was still missing. I just lacked the right faith.

That right faith came to me around September 2010 when I actually started ‘speaking’ with Jesus. One day in ‘deep pain’ I looked towards the statue of Jesus in our bedroom and cried out, “Lord help me, I cannot take this pain anymore”. Praise the lord for listening to me and it was THE moment for me. I was born again. That was my calling. Jesus heard me and lifted me and embraced me in his outstretched arms. He washed all my ‘wounds’ by his blood and since then has kept me hidden (safe and sound) in his own wounds. I feel protected and loved in His embrace. He has uplifted me and kept me going during my trying times.

I’ll be forever grateful to Him for what He did for me that day. But when I found myself faltering again, while studying Paul’s conversion in my Bible class, I underwent the real ‘conversion’ again! Like St. Paul, I was transformed. It happened in January this year and since then I have grown in spirituality and my love for Jesus. His love has been magnified. Jesus again showed me how much He loves me and proved over and over again just how much.

I am glad NOW that Jesus came into my life eleven years back…I wasn’t glad THEN………..I believe had to go through the “Damascus” experience to realize this. After my baptism, I had to suffer so that my good Lord could exalt me. Hallelujah!

Mary Magdalene – a great woman of the Bible

One weekend during the Lent we were watching the movie THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and one of the characters who impressed me the most was Mary Magdalene. Somehow the scene where she’s lying on the ground and, seeing Jesus approach her, stretches out her hand to seek His. This scene touched me the most. Coincidentally, the same scene appeared on the cover page of that week’s EXAMINER magazine with the headline “sin no more”. When I had seen the scene in the movie even I felt the same and knew Mary Magdalene giving her hand to Jesus had a lot of significance.

The whole story of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute (adulterous), who is fallen and redeemed, is a very powerful image of redemption. I guess it has a signal that no matter how low one has fallen, one can be redeemed. Mary Magdalene is the sinner who repented after Jesus saved her from being stoned by a mob. Somehow, she has left a lasting impression on me. If I am not wrong, I feel Mary Magdalene is fast becoming a role model for women who expect more important roles for themselves in their respective churches.

Sadly, the non-biblical image of Mary Magdalene as a repentant adulterous is an image that had been officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the sixth century. And it’s that image that has been perpetuated by dozens of Christian paintings and movies ever since.

The word “Mary” is found 54 times in the Bible. There are up to five different Marys in the Gospels and seven in the New Testament as a whole and I feel Mary Magdalene had such a privileged role in the Gospels. Among the women who are specifically named in the New Testament of the Bible, Mary Magdalene’s name is one of the most frequently found.

Though some believe that the woman that Jesus saved from being stoned by the crowd was Mary Magdalene; the Bible does not specify who the woman was, however. The Bible does not specifically mention what sin Mary Magdalene committed. However, Mary Magdalene was a friend and disciple of Jesus, and was present at the horrific crucifixion, and was the first witness of His resurrection.

It is believed that Mary Magdalene was healed by Jesus and followed Him as He taught and healed many. Mary Magdalene’s age is unknown; biblical texts say nothing about when she was born or died. Mary Magdalene was one of the earliest and most devoted followers of Jesus.
Also known as Miriam of Magdala, Mary Magdalene was a woman who had been possessed by seven demons. Mary Magdalene was there at the foot of the Cross, mourning for the dead Christ. She’s the one who visited the tomb of Christ first thing in the morning, as she was one of Jesus’ close companions. Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. What a privilege! The morning after Jesus had been placed in the tomb, Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb while it was still dark. On seeing the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene was so overcome with grief that when she saw the stone turned, she ran back to tell Peter and the rest of Jesus’ followers the good news. Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the risen Jesus. On the third day, a Sunday, Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”

Mary Magdalene, the name itself invokes images of the repentant adulterous, yet that isn’t the Mary Magdalene of the Bible. After the Lord Jesus cured Mary Magdalene of possession by seven demons, she became his faithful follower – so much like all of us!

In Christ….

While I was in the second year of my two-year Bible Study course, we were learning about all the letters of St. Paul. I believe for sure that I was “touched upon” by the life of St. Paul. So captivated was I by the writings of St. Paul on Jesus Christ that I borrowed a book from our parish library to read more about St. Paul. I can say with conviction that St. Paul changed my feelings for Christ forever!

St. Paul says that “conversion is a change of mind and change of life, a turning towards God and a turning away from sin”. I so much want to emulate St. Paul’s life unto mine. I strongly want to a better person in Christ Jesus and imbibe some of his valuable teachings in my day to day activities.

“The father’s pruning makes the fruitful branch even more fruitful” is a sentence which I came across in the book which I got from the library. I guess this one line fully describes my life right now and hopefully I can comprehend some of the present happenings in my life. I guess, Jesus wants me to be more faithful to Him. He wants more and more of me!!!

I also read – PAUL Guide to Christian Living – by Dr. George Kaitholil SSP. Like St. Paul (a man who was literally seized by Christ) even I feel as if I have been ‘seized’ by St. Paul. He so completely did give himself to Christ that everything in his life and teaching converges on Christ crucified. Though not so strongly, but I feel a miniscule percent of this ‘seizure’ working on my mind right now. When I awake every morning, I just “surrender” myself and my entire day to Christ Jesus and pray that He should take the centre stage in my life not only for that particular day but for all the days to come. I want Jesus to be the driver of my life so that my life doesn’t derail anymore.

In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. We are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead”.

In that same chapter he says “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins”. Though I never had any doubts in the resurrection of Jesus, today again I profess my faith in his death and resurrection and welcome Him once again to be the driving force of my life and come out of all the sins.

Just few words – Jesus, please be with me all the time!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jesus Christ

I started working on this post yesterday when I was feeling spiritually drained off and detached from my savior Jesus Christ. So I just started collecting facts about Him. Even after doing this, by evening I was miserable and night brought in fresh woes for me. Before there could be further spiritual and psychological damage, I read few passages from Luke’s gospel before going to sleep. When I awoke this morning and surrendered my day to the Lord, though I knew I was spiritually reattached to him, little did I know that He had something beautiful in store for me. To affirm my spiritual reconnection with Christ, I got this crucial second call from our St. Joseph Church’s catechesis informing me about the first teachers’ meeting which will be held on 10th June. This can only mean that I have been considered as a Sunday school teacher. Yippee! This calls for spiritual celebration and so I intend to finish this post about Jesus Christ with renewed spirit though this paragraph has actually no link with the rest of the matter. But it had to be included as a brief background portraying my frame of spiritual mind yesterday.

Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BC – c. 30 AD) is the Messiah and the Son of God and the central figure of Christianity.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made. Jesus Christ is our Savior and His life and teachings are the way to peace and happiness. It has always been for me because along with redeeming the entire human race, He has brought redemption for me. Alleluia!!!

Research shows that Jesus Christ is the greatest person ever! Nobody else in history can compare with Him. More books have been written about Him than any other person. One of the mysteries of the Bible has always been where Jesus was during his twenties. There is a huge gap in the biography from puberty until He appeared for His baptism by John the Baptist. As far as I am concerned, whatever little I know about Him is enough to trust Him as my savior and redeemer and lord because He has loved me immensely and forgiven all my sins.

In one of the passages Jesus has said, “Come to me and I will give you rest My Yoke is easy. My burden is light”. How true! He has given me rest from my desperation and restlessness and healed all my physical, spiritual and psychological setbacks. He’s the one for me and I will forever love Him.

Jesus Christ is the person/Lord/Son of God who changed the world forever with His teachings of love and faith, using logical parables like the Prodigal Son. Jesus Christ was hailed by the people of Judaea as the Messiah and Savior. He’s the most shining personality of all history. Besides being the Son of God, He’s the King of kings. Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is the incarnate Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the only begotten Son of God, fully God and fully man. He’s Yeshua (Hebrew for “Jesus”), really the promised Messiah of Israel (Hebrew for “Christ”) of the Old Testament. He’s Iesous, the Greek form of Joshua or Jeshua, contracted from Jehoshua, meaning help of Jehovah, or Savior; Christos, anointed. The composite Jesus Christ character consists of God, man, king, carpenter, conqueror, peace-maker, dispenser of justice, and advocate of love….All in one……….!!!

Jesus lived 2000 years ago and was a great teacher who impacted the world from His time forward. Jesus is called “the firstborn of all creation,” for He was God’s first creation. Christian doctrine holds that His crucifixion and resurrection are the most important events in human history. On the cross, the Lord shed His precious blood to pay for our sins and transgressions. The blood of Jesus saves us from both the guilt AND the power of sin.

Feasting upon the words of Christ is one of the best ways for us to learn about Jesus Christ, to become more like Him, to draw near unto Him….Jesus Christ is the only answer to our sins. He is the only one who can bring us back to God. Through His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus made salvation possible for all of mankind. He died on the Cross and rose from the grave. For us….for you….for me………..!!!

PS: Something beautiful happened while I was proof-reading this post. Yet another sign that Jesus loves me a lot………

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I am exceedingly sentimental about just one thing from my ‘childhood’ days – the surname Mukherjee – and today whenever I hear it anywhere, I am overcome by an unexplainable emotional bout. Not just today, I guess even before marriage, I was quite proud of my surname Mukherjee (just the surname) and nowadays it never fails to bring a thrilling something in me – something happens to me whenever it is mentioned anywhere.

Though I have no qualms about Cardozo, I still feel like retaining Mukherjee in my name as I feel Mukherjee at any given day sounds more sexy, royal and classy. So sometimes I feel like calling myself Jubilee Mukherjee Cardozo. But in majority of the places I am known as Jubilee Cardozo and my initials JC matches everyone in the family and also with Jesus Christ – so I dare not change something that has so much similarity with the good Lord.

According to Wikipedia, Mukherjee, Mukharji, Mookerjee or Mukerji or Mukherji is sometimes also written as Mukhopadhyay. Actually, it is evolved from the purer Sanskrit Mukhopadhyay which means Mukhya (chief) and Upadhyay (teacher) – not necessarily a religious teacher though! I didn’t find anything more substantial than this in my research!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. This year it falls on May 13.

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore He made mothers” says Rudyard Kipling. I always used to wonder who that great person that said these golden words was. I didn’t know it was our very own Kipling, the English poet, short-story writer, and novelist; best known for his work of fiction, THE JUNGLE BOOK.

It seems that the origin of Mother’s Day goes back to the era of ancient Greek and Romans. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology. Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess.

But this year, I would like to dedicate Mother’s Day to my special mother – Mother Mary – the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of all who follow her Son (John 19:26-27). One of the roles that Mary fulfils is the MOTHER that we see in early Christianity!

Pope Pius XII dedicated the entire human race to Mary in 1944. The Church has long taught that Mary is truly the MOTHER of God. St. Paul too observed that “God sent His Son, born of a woman”, expressing the union of the human and the divine in Christ. My research shows that though she is not our MOTHER in the physical sense, she is called a spiritual MOTHER, as she conceives, gives birth and nurtures the spiritual lives of grace for each person.

And so the intercession of Mother Mary is very powerful as Jesus cannot neglect His mother’s commands. This can be proved by the first miracle Jesus did at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). Mother Mary told Jesus “They have no more wine” and Jesus turned water into wine!

Therefore, the confidence that each person should have in Mother Mary was expressed by Pope Pius IX in the encyclical Ubipriinum: “The foundation of all our confidence is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary”.

PS: But Catholic teachings make clear that Mary is not considered divine and prayers to her are not answered by her, they are answered by God.

So here’s wishing the Mother of all generations a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Somebody great has said that exploring Goa is equivalent to exploring a whole new world and honestly speaking, we felt the same. Goa is full of surprises, colorful events and great moments. We really spent some wonderfully great and memorable days there.

If I am not mistaken, Goa was once called the “Pearl of the Orient” and this little drop of pearl (read heaven) on India’s western coast does the phrase every bit of justice. We stayed at Mira Hotel which is situated just ten minutes walking distance from Calangute Beach, North Goa. Though the hotel is small it’s extremely friendly – we became friends with two four-legged companions Pappu and Salma – and loved their company. We had a rejuvenating time amidst beautiful plants and flowers which created a perfectly tranquil setting for us. Though we can’t swim, we spent some peaceful moments in the swimming pool every evening!

Goa is incomplete if one does not indulge in shopping and Goa shopping was an integral part of my itinerary. Shopping in Goa was an absolutely pleasant and beguiling experience for us. I guess the best way to treasure some of our Goan dream and exciting spirit of Goa was by shopping there. It was the ultimate activity that attached us instantly – our first vacation in Goa could not be considered complete without shopping! Goa without doubt can be considered a shopper’s pleasure. Well, it was for me!

But honestly, it was the eating out in Goa which delighted us the most. Goan cuisine reflects the combination of Arabian, Portuguese and native cultures, which is a unique blend of richness and simplicity. We tried the famous Goa sausages; rock fish and prawn curry rice and other typical Goan cuisine. According to me, Tony’s Shack on Sinquerim Beach and Typsy Shack on Calangute Beach are the two most happening hangout zones in Goa. These beach shacks become more exciting at night when they start to play loud music on the beach, almost everywhere in the beach shacks of Goa. These shacks serve up a great ambiance, food (candle-lit) and view of the sea. They serve a wide variety of drinks and fresh sea food grilled or barbequed to perfection.

What we enjoyed the most was visiting the famous tourist attractions, enjoying the Christian – architecture of the ancient Churches, sun kissed beaches and shopping – it’s splendidly beautiful. Some historical forts like Aguada have kept the legacy of Portuguese alive.

Though there are beaches in Mumbai also nothing can compare to the beaches in Goa – they are awesome. Goa is predominantly famous for its breathtaking beaches and one outdoes the other. Each and every beach in Goa is unique in its own way. Goa has hundreds of beaches big as well as small that dot the Goan coastline (150 km of seashore stretch). Some of the important beaches in North Goa are Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Sinquerim, Anjuna and Vagator. Goa beaches are considered to be some of the most stunning and sensuous beaches in the world and I fully agree with it.

A tiny fishing village at one time, Calangute beach, with its refreshing sunshine, is also known as the Queen of Beaches but my personal favorite is Sinquerim. This beach is somewhat smaller in size but is definitely cleaner and more relaxed and recluse than the other beaches in Goa. Baga Beach too is a popular beach and my second favorite in North Goa, located a few kilometers from the crowded Calangute beach. All the sun-kissed beaches in Goa are shaped like the new moon and fringed by swaying palm and coconut trees – an ideal holiday destination!

One thing I loved the most was the adventure water sports. Speedboat Rides is one of the famous water sports in Goa, and it lured me the most. The speed and the wind blowing against my face gave me a spine chilling experience. So sensational are these high-powered boat rides that I couldn't resist getting into it thrice!

I have heard that Goa is at its best during Christmas season but May wasn’t bad enough. With the sun, the sand, the sea and most importantly seafood on the menu and of course shopping, it was a pleasure to have visited Goa.