My Daughters

My Daughters
my cute daughters

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Practice of the Presence of God

Yesterday in our meditative prayer session we were told about Brother Lawrence, one of the most prominent Carmelite saints. With this, we were told to pray like him.

Brother Lawrence is one of the most admired and imitated sons of the Catholic Church. He worked for a time as a soldier before entering the Discalced Carmelite Prior in Paris. Lawrence was uneducated, and so had to enter the monastery as a layman. He worked in the kitchens and as a cobbler there for the remainder of his life. Lawrence is known for his devotion and ability to bring God into every aspect of his life. His classic Christian work, PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, details how to gain that constant and comforting connection to God. Readers have treasured this short and easy book for centuries because of Lawrence’s honest advice and his obvious passion for spiritual matters. He rejoiced in everyday tasks, prayed constantly, and was known around the monastery for his kindness and willingness to help others.

PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD is a creative Christian work that is required reading according to many believers. Readers will come away with great peace and joy, and a better understanding of what it means to constantly be in God’s presence.

If I am not mistaken, there are Five Conversations by Brother Lawrence. Here are the excerpts from the Fourth Conversation: “Brother Lawrence spoke with great openness of heart concerning his manner of going to God whereof some part is related already. He told me that all consists in one hearty renunciation of everything which we are sensible does not lead to God. We might accustom ourselves to a continual conversation with Him with freedom and in simplicity. We need only to recognize God intimately present with us and address ourselves to Him every moment. We need to beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have completed them.

In our conversation with God we should also engage in praising, adoring, and loving Him incessantly for His infinite goodness and perfection. Without being discouraged on account of our sins, we should pray for His grace with a perfect confidence, as relying upon the infinite merits of our Lord. Brother Lawrence said that God”. Like him, I want to discover the greatest secret of living in the Kingdom of God here on earth.

PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD is one of the most beautiful and touching stories of Christian devotion ever written. It says that we must merely open our hearts to receive Him and His loving presence.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30

Between my last post on Monday, January 28, 2013, till today, a lot of positive developments have taken place. Ideally, I would have loved to write separate posts for each incident, but because of lack of time today, I am unable to do so. So I am writing down all the incidents one by one in the same post with separate headlines.

Pimkie Handbags

My fetish for handbags is not unknown to my Golu and so he got three big and beautiful Pimkie handbags for me from Spain. I have absolutely no idea how big or small this brand Pimkie is in Spain, but the very fact that all the three handbags are simply mind-blowing is what matters the most. I am glad that Golu could bring something which I love and also of my taste. The bags, along with lots and lots of chocolates, were given to me on Sunday, January 27.

Hindi Eucharistic Celebration

Then on Monday, January 28, we attended the very first Hindi Eucharistic celebration of our lives. This week Googaa had got serving for Monday 7o’clock mass which happened to be Hindi. Though some of the things went bumper for me and mainly for Googaa, I absolutely loved attending the Hindi mass. It has been a very exciting experience for me to have attended the same.

37 Million Diyas campaign: “Say Yes to Love, Say No to Violence”

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be a part of the newly-launched 37 Million Diyas campaign by the Archdiocese of Bombay to raise awareness and initiate change in the attitude toward and the treatment of women in India, conducted by our church. It was really heart-wrenching to know about the way the girls and women are treated in India and I really thank my stars for giving me a husband like my Golu who treats me as well as the daughters like a queen and princesses. The facts and figures shared in the church were simply horrifying and brought tears to my eyes.

But something exciting took place to sooth this feeling. This something can eventually materialize into something beautiful if I take it seriously. The vice president of our church has put in a proposal for me to be the youth animator for 6-7 communities. It will need a lot of dedication, commitment and 10-12 hours of interaction with the youth in a month. I am still wondering whether or not to take up this humongous responsibility because it will involve a lot of meetings with the youth which are obviously very time-consuming. I am still in the process of making up my mind about this proposal.

30 January, 2004

And the most important thing about today is that today is January 30. It was on this day in 2004 that we got the good news about Goldie. Oh my god, it’s already nine years. It will be clichéd to say how time flies but actually how time has flown by and my Goldie is going to be nine years old on September 30. She will be promoted to grade IV this year and in 2014 she will be receiving her First Holy Communion. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the doctor had confirmed the news to us?

Monday, January 28, 2013


Transformation means a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. Transformation may also mean Transfiguration. Just like the Transfiguration of Jesus, one of the important episodes in the New Testament narrative in which Jesus is transfigured (or metamorphosed) on Mount Sinai and becomes radiant, transformation may also refer to (according to Wikipedia), Transfiguration. This Transfiguration of Jesus, an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus underwent transfiguration, was the culminating point of Christ’s public life.

Much in the same way there has been a transformation or transfiguration in my life as well – right from my own Baptism (starting point) till its end (whenever it will be). After this transfiguration there has been a marked change in my form and appearance and my spiritual life has undergone a metamorphosis. Much like Jesus’ transfiguration, this transformation in my life has brought in a change that has glorified and exalted me, since the dictionary meaning of transformation also includes a marked change in character usually for the better.

Though “The Transfiguration” is the last painting by the Italian High Renaissance master Raphael, in my life 2012 was an amazing year for my Transfiguration. Just like every event in the life of Christ had a significance and nothing happened without a purpose, everything in my life also has been happening for a purpose – both at the macro (large-scale) and micro (level). I guess my baptism way back in April 2001 was the transformation on the macro level and my most recent transformation (in the micro level) was just recently in January 2012.

The rest, as they say, is history.

A Disciple of Jesus

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

A disciple means a pupil or student. The disciples were the people who chose to follow Jesus Christ and to listen to His teaching. They called Him rabbi, or teacher. I guess I am also becoming a disciple of Jesus each passing day.

The word disciple literally means a LEARNER (just like me). According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, disciple denotes “one who follows another’s teaching” (the way I am trying to follow the teachings of Jesus). But a disciple can always not only be a learner, he also has to be an ADHERENT. For this reason disciples are also spoken of as IMITATORS of their teachers. Simply put, a disciple is a learner (like me), who’s primary teacher in life is Jesus.

All this is beautifully mentioned in the website:

So, the million dollar question here is how to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ?

According to, Jesus Christ has four hundred million disciples throughout the world today and hopefully YOU (me) are one of them. A disciple of Jesus is someone who follows, learns and is loyal to Jesus regardless of the cost. (Luke 14:27) “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple”.

It is true that Jesus wants everyone to be His disciples. (Matthew 11:28) – “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.

A disciple of Christ must experience salvation. It’s written in that “God the Father looked upon humanity and saw what Satan had done to mankind. From the time of Adam until then, about four thousand years, he Satan had targeted and attacked man in all areas of life. He had tormented man’s body with every conceivable type of sickness and contaminated man’s mind with thoughts of sin, violence, confusion and evil. He disturbed, disrupted, distorted and destroyed the equilibrium of man’s emotional state and men and women became children of wrath. Man’s will capitulated, became weak and became enslaved to the lusts of the flesh”.

So, deciding to be a disciple of Jesus is the most important, and the best decision I could have made in my life. By obeying His commandments and serving my fellowmen (as an animator, catechist and Eucharistic minister), I have become a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

The thumb rule of a true disciple is that he/she must put his Master above those nearest and dearest to Him. Jesus is calling everyone to be His disciple – being a disciple of Jesus Christ is costly (Luke 14:26) - “whoever comes to me cannot be my disciple unless he loves me more than he loves his family”.

I came across this beautiful thought from today’s “3-minute Retreat” by Loyola Press. Here are the excerpts:

Psalm 34:15

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

This verse includes four action verbs – turn, do, seek and pursue. The life of discipleship is active, dynamic and vigilant. A disciple is constantly in the process of personal conversion. This process creates a chain reaction that gathers momentum as it goes, leading others to experience the peace and freedom of the Kingdom of God.

So I pray to Jesus Christ and thank Him for calling me to conversion of life. I pray to Him to guide my feet on the path to peace. Amen!!!

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

More than anything

More than anything (2)
I love you Jesus more than anything
More than worldly wealth
More than life itself
I love you Jesus more than anything.

Nothing in this world can take your place
Nothing take your love away
Someday i will see you face to face
Look into your eyes and say

More than anything (2)
I love you Jesus more than anything
More than earthly friends
More than family
I love you Jesus more than anything.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Enrich Salon & Academy

For our 13th Wedding Anniversary on 28th December, 2012, my Golu had given me a gift voucher of Enrich Salon & Academy. He wanted me to straighten my hair there for that day but I went to my regular parlor to do that as I didn’t want to risk my looks on that day. But today after much contemplation, I went to redeem the voucher at Enrich’s Mira Road outlet. Though Enrich was established in 1997, with Mulund as its first location, they had opened the Mira Road outlet around the same time last year.

One little apprehension which I had with Enrich earlier was that they are a chain of unisex salon in Mumbai and so I had my inhibitions to get myself beautified over there. But now I know why they are considered to be one of the elite salons – they have separate male and female sections and that came as a welcome relief. I got a “rejuvenating facial” done for myself and quite enjoyed it – with the remaining money of the voucher, I got my eyebrows and upper lips also done. I am glad I didn’t have to shell out any money from my own pocket and my own parlor money for this month also got saved and now I can use this money to start off my 2013 birthday shopping.

So I liked the overall treatment I was given at Enrich and have no qualms on their achievement of a Super Brand status. Guess, they deserve it. I had a good experience; now I won’t think twice before getting any beauty treatment done from them.

On a more serious note, I am happy to write that I managed to attend Fr. Vincent Barboza’s Apologetics Talk on DO WE CATHOLICS WORSHIP SAINTS. I must say that it was just too informative for a person like me though I never have any inhibitions and doubts about anything the Church does. But it’s always good to have an in-depth knowledge of my new-found Christian religion as every small and big detail about Christianity will enable me to teach better and also defend my faith and conviction. I tried to jot down the notes as much and as fast as I could which I can always use as my reference.

I so much liked this talk that I couldn’t wait till tomorrow to post it in my blog. Moreover, on Saturdays I hardly get any time to blog so I thought since I don’t have anything else to do and also because am not feeling all that sleepy, I should finish writing my post. Monday would be too late.

Fr. Vincent Barboza confirmed that he will be back again in our parish for four days during the Lenten season with some very “interesting topics”. So, waiting with bated breath for Fr. Barboza to speak on some really interesting topics!

Another good thing that happened today is that though I left home late for today’s evening Eucharistic celebration, by the grace of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, I could participate in the entire mass. I entered the church and the mass started because come what may, I had to attend this mass – after all it was the Feast of Conversion of St. Paul – how could providence not make me attend this celebration. So I didn’t only attend the full mass, but also loved all the hymns that were sung today, right from the entrance hymn which was “We’ll be blessed because we came”.

The other hymns were:
1) We offer you oh Lord divine
2) Jesus you are my salvation
3) Jesus what a wonder you are
4) Sadly, I can’t recall the recessionary hymn. But it was equally nice. I am so glad that I could attend the Eucharistic celebration of the Feast of Conversion of St. Paul (my role model).

PS: Remembered the hymn - it was "count your blessings, name them one by one"....

Conversion of St. Paul

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, the Apostle, is a feast celebrated during the liturgical year on January 25, recounting the Conversion. Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. During this remarkable moment, Paul comes face to face with Jesus and gets converted.

I guess there cannot be a more magnificent example of the love, grace and mercy of God than the conversion of St. Paul. Before his conversion, Paul had been a leading persecutor of Christians. While journeying to Damascus to persecute more Christians, Paul had his conversion. In memory of this day, every year January 25 is celebrated as the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul which concludes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

It is believed that Paul lived at the time of Jesus but as far as it is known they never met. Paul was first called Saul. He was a highly educated, devout Jew, who got converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus. He was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, and was born at Tarsus, the capitol of Cilicia.

Honestly, January 25 gives me a great occasion to reflect on my own faith journey which started approximately the same day in 2012. Since then I have been thriving hard to live a righteous life. It’s very difficult – I fumble and fall every day but because of the grace of my Lord upon me, I am able to get up and start anew every day.

In Acts 22:2-16, Paul describes his change from zealous persecutor of Christians to becoming a follower and missionary of the crucified and risen Lord. He has been my greatest inspiration in my faith journey and like St. Paul’s conversion to the Faith is a key event in the worldwide spread of the Church, my own conversion on that day last year is the key event of my own life.

Truly St. Paul is called the Father of Christianity because it was because of him that Christianity spread into every nook and corner of the world. It was Paul who proclaimed the truth of Christ to the entire world.

One of St. Paul’s beautiful quote is – “Of ourselves we can do nothing, but with God we can do everything”. With God’s help St. Paul, from being an opponent of Jesus Christ, became one of the foremost missionaries of Him. With God’s help I have become one of His faithful servants and working extremely hard to remain His ever faithful servant. Amen!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I am free…

I am free; I am free;
I am free to be the servant of the Lord.
I am free; I am free;
I am free to be the servant of the Lord.

He taught me how to praise him.
He taught me how to sing his songs.
He taught me how to love,

I am free to be the servant of the Lord.
I am free; I am free;
I am free to be the servant of the Lord.
I am free; I am free;
I am free to be the servant of the Lord.

He taught me how to praise him.
He taught me how to sing his songs.
He taught me how to love,
I am free to be the servant of the Lord.

Every time I listen to this song of praise, I become absolutely emotional. Isn’t this what I have always wanted to be? FREE… to go anywhere I want to, free to do anything I want to, and be with whom I want to and most importantly, at whatever TIME I want to. TIME enslaves us and keeps us bound; not allowing us to do what we want to.

Today I may be FREE, but there have been times in the past when I was enslaved by time. I had to work full time and keep my Googaa in the crèche where she was mistreated. I had to request my mother and mother in law to take care of her because I couldn’t cope with the timings of work and home. How unhappy were those times in my life when I couldn’t manage the pressure. I had to sacrifice so much of my motherly time for Googaa. This must be the reason I have become short-tempered. I had to do so much in so less time.

Then along came Goldie. I had to divide my time between Googaa, Goldie, work, and home. Again I failed on so many occasions. I couldn’t put in my wholehearted efforts anywhere. There used to be constant struggle every day, everywhere. And how to forget the couple of uncooperative bosses!

This made me work part-time and this definitely brought the much-needed respite. I could manage things a little bit better but I guess still something was lacking in my life which God wanted me to address. I guess Jesus Christ wanted me to draw as close to Him as possible. For this He provided me with the most wonderful work-from-home option. Trust me; this is the most blessed thing that has happened to me. Now I can do anything I want to in my own convenient time – without being its slave!

I cook, I do my household chores, I work, I blog, I pray, I sleep – I do everything possible on this earth – at my own free time. And above all, I have all the time in the world to be the servant of the Lord. I can go to the church as many times I want to, I can attend all seminars/events of the church, attend all important meetings – I am not bound by the demon of time – this is what the Lord wanted for me and I am so glad it has happened. Life is so very beautiful now…

Apologetics talk

On January 25, I am attending an apologetics talk by Fr. Vincent Barboza. To quote Wikipedia, apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists. So, Fr. Barboza happens to be an apologist who comes to our church once in a while to give his talks. This time he will be talking on DO WE WORSHIP SAINTS?

By these apologetic talks, the apologists like Fr. Barboza are able to remove any kind of intellectual impediments to Christian faith, thereby enhancing believers’ confidence. As apologetics is the branch of Christianity dealing with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith, it’s really very helpful for animators and catechists like me. This theological science is for the purpose of explanation and defense of the Christian religion. Apologetics is the theological discipline that defends the truth of the Christian message and a catechist should know the truth of the message before passing it on to her students.

Fr. Vincent Barboza has authored the hugely popular apologetics booklet, CATHOLIC ANSWERS TO CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTLISTS' QUESTIONS. Fr. Barboza has been zealously defending the teachings of the Church, especially against Christian (non-Catholic) fundamentalists who deliberately or ignorantly misquote and misinterpret the Bible in order to lead innocent and gullible Catholics away from the Church.

Earlier, on 28th October, 2012, I had attended his talk on DO CATHOLICS WORSHIP IDOLS and I must say it was extremely informative for me. I had thoroughly gained from his talk and that’s the reason, I will be attending his next talk as well. The details of his talk on worshipping the idols can be read on . It’s extremely informative and in my opinion, everyone should know the facts of Catholicism.

Fr. Barboza will be giving more apologetics talk in my church from February 17 to February 21 (5 days) during the Lenten season for an hour (7:30 to 8:30 pm). I don’t want to miss out on these talks so I will be scheduling myself in such a way that I am able to attend all the five talks’ everyday without fail. Just praying to our Lord God Jesus Christ that I am able to attend these talks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Salwar Kameez

I have decided to make salwar kameezes the distinct style of my dressing for 2013. Simply because this garment is so simple and yet so extraordinary! No wonder then, a salwar kameez will forever be an Indian woman’s comfort gown.

I will create a beautiful collection of party wear salwar kameez, casual wear salwar kameez and designer wear salwar kameez by some great brands like BIBA, COTTON COTTAGE and more at West Side.

Guess an elegant salwar kameez will add style to my already sophisticated look, what say?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


According to Wikipedia, perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality disposition characterized by an individual striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance. It’s also mentioned somewhere that it’s the enemy of creativity, productivity, and, well, sanity. Procrastination is a symptom of perfectionism. Perfectionists fear they won’t be able to complete the task perfectly, so they try to put it off as long as possible.

Well, though I don’t want to be a perfectionist, I will aim to perfect myself. In my previous post, I have jotted down the three things which will make me a “perfect” being this year. I will try to set standards for me that are achievable. I don’t want to be that kind of a perfectionist who has a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them because researchers say that the need for perfection comes in different flavors, each associated with its own set of problems.

I don’t want perfectionism that may be the ultimate self-defeating behavior for me. As happens sometimes, perfectionism turns people into slaves of success—but keeps them focused on failure, so I don’t want to fall into that category.

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a belief that perfection should be strived for. Perfectionism, however, is not a healthy pursuit of excellence.

So that it will not make me a slave, I want to believe in the perfectionism that the Bible has in store. It’s written in 2 Samuel 22:31 – “This God—His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him”.

1 Peter 2:1-25 – “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.

Philippians 3:12-14 – “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. writes that “even though the Bible states that man cannot be perfect, at the same time there are verses such as Matthew 5:48 which command, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect." Is this a contradiction? Is God on one hand telling us that we cannot be perfect but on the other hand commanding that we must be so? Not exactly. The Greek for the word “perfect” in this verse is telios, a word which does not imply sinless perfection, but instead implies full development and growth into maturity of godliness. The emphasis of the verse falls more upon the “committed and close relationship with God”. This verse is also in a context of love. The challenge is to love as the Father loves, not loving only those who love us, but loving even our enemies and those who persecute us.

Deuteronomy 5:32, 3 instruct the reader to “be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you…” Here the instruction is for the Christian to be focused in obeying the Lord. Matthew 5:6 says that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” are blessed and they will be filled. Likewise, in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Paul states that he has not yet achieved perfection but that he presses on toward the goal of becoming more like Christ. More than moral perfection, a right relationship with God is emphasized.

The website writes: Various models for becoming “perfect” in the Biblical sense are given throughout the Old and New Testaments. Such Biblical characters as Noah, Jacob, David, Asa, Job, Zacharias and Elizabeth, and Nathanael are ascribed as having moral completeness. Three of the models for becoming perfect include obeying the Lord’s commandments, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and pressing on or straining toward that to which the Lord has called us. These models all have one thing in common: we must desire and seek after a right relationship with the Lord and seek to be Christ-like. When we truly desire these things, then God will grant us our desire.



We are asked to be happy at all circumstances of our lives. According to Wikipedia, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. According to Merriam Webster, happiness is a state of well-being and contentment. The synonym for happiness is “joy” which is a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

But for me happiness is generic, and is applied to almost every kind of enjoyment. I am happy listening to spiritual music, reading the Bible or while teaching in my Confirmation class. Its written somewhere that happiness often sneaks in through a door we didn’t know we left open. Ayn Rand Lexicon says that neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims.

I really like what I found on it’s actually “7 Steps to Happiness” but I found only five and here they are:
1. Fear less, love more.
2. Frown less, smile more.
3. Talk less, listen more.
4. Judge less, accept more.
5. Complain less, appreciate more.


But here’s something really fantastic I found on happiness which I didn’t even know existed. “Track Your” is a new scientific research project that investigates what makes life worth living. The website says: “Using this site, you’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors – for you personally – are associated with greater happiness. You’ll also contribute to our scientific understanding of happiness”.

There’s another something beautiful that I found on poetry foundation – it says: “There’s just no accounting for happiness, / or the way it turns up like a prodigal / who comes back to the dust at your feet / having squandered a fortune far away”. Yeah I know it’s about the Prodigal Son and indeed so beautiful and thought-provoking.

So I did some more research on happiness and I am happy to come across so many Biblical quotes on happiness. I am listing down few of them but something I truly believe in is this: Psalm 22:10 – On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Since I am big time fan of Saint Paul, I will adhere to what he wrote in Philippians 2:12-13 – “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”.

And here’s what I will actually aspire for as written in 1 Corinthians 13:4 – “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”.

Because “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” – (John 13:17)

Last but not the least, Job 36:11 says: “If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment”.


New Year Resolutions

Yesterday I attended the first OCD meditative prayer of my life and I must write that this is something I had been looking out for since a long time. All I have always yearned for is to sit quietly for some time and meditate the name of Jesus Christ. It was really spiritually refreshing for me.

Since it was the first prayer gathering of the year and one after almost a month (that’s what it was told), the Brothers urged us to make some resolutions for the year and meditate on the resolutions for the rest of 2013. One of the Brothers read out a beautiful scripture passage from one of the letters of St. Paul wherein he is telling the recipient of the letter to be “happy” and “perfect” by invoking the grace of Lord Jesus Christ on them. It was such an extremely striking passage but I just can’t remember the exact words and, sadly, I didn’t ask the Brother from where it was taken. I tried to research on it but that passage isn’t showing up anywhere. So I have decided to write two separate posts on “happiness” and “perfectionism” which we have been told to strive on and meditate and live with for the entire year.

We were told that in the past also we must have made resolutions for the New Year which we might or might not have to able to fulfill. So, this time, we were asked to call upon the grace and help of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ so that He would help us in keeping up to our resolutions because without God nothing is possible. And with God everything is possible!!!

So, here are the three things which will make me HAPPY this year:

1. Read the Bible every day
2. Meditation and prayer
3. Read spiritual writings

And the three things which will make me PERFECT are:
1. Not lose my temper
2. Not being impatient
3. Not use harsh words

I pray with a sincere heart that Jesus Christ will help me to stick to all my resolutions for not only this year but for all the coming years of my life. Amen!!!

PS: This is something about my Reading that day. It was my Golu who first told me not to worry about it and yesterday two more people assured me that there wasn’t any problem in the way I went on with my reading. Firstly, it was one of the Brothers who praised me for my reading and said that though I had made a mistake, I carried on reading confidently. I didn’t allow the mistake to fluster me and that’s what makes him like my self-confidence.

Secondly, the one who had asked me to do the reading gave her feedback that I was loud and clear and though I did make mistake, it was alright.

So, praise the Lord for being good to me all the time. Is it time about to think of becoming a lector? Let’s see what God has planned for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yet again…

…I got an opportunity to distribute the Holy Eucharist along with Googaa yesterday. Like I had written earlier, though it was yet another beautiful experience, it wasn’t as beautiful as the first one. The overall setting was similar to the first one – our favorite priest celebrating the Eucharistic, I distributing the Communion and Googaa standing on my right with the paten – but something happened yesterday which somehow marred this fine-looking sight……….the unexpected chance given to me to read yesterday’s Reading!

Looks like the regular lectors didn’t turn out for yesterday’s (January 15) Eucharistic celebration. Since Googaa was to serve the mass, we reached church well ahead of time. While I was waiting for the mass to begin, someone I know approached me asking whether I could go ahead with the Reading. Since it’s not in me to say no for anything as far as the Lord is concerned, I said yes and started practicing. While practice reading, I guess, I did very well and was quite sure of myself. Following is what I read during the Celebration:

Reading 1 Heb 2:5-12

It was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,
of which we are speaking.
Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

What is man that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under his feet.

In “subjecting” all things to him,
he left nothing not “subject to him.”
Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,”
but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor”
because he suffered death,
he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates
and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers” saying:

I will proclaim your name to my brethren,
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 8:2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9

R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?

R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.

R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.

I read the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm quite confidently and kept adjusting the microphone so that I could be audible enough. But suddenly after these two readings I just went blank. Total blank….I didn’t know what I was reading. I didn’t know what to do. In my blankness, I forgot to say “please stand for the gospel”…somebody from the Choir rescued me here by saying this to the congregation. I guess this was fair enough but instead of waiting for the Choir to sing “alleluia alleluia” and then finishing my last line of the reading, I went on reading. When I realized I had goofed up somewhere, I looked at the Choir. Somebody signaled me to stop so that they could sing and then I could proceed with my reading. Luckily I understood her signal and did exactly that. But overall, it turned out to be a bit embarrassing on the altar, reading in front of the entire congregation. When I came back on my seat, I saw one of the Choir members laughing at me. I reddened and felt hurt.

And that’s why though I and Googaa were together during the Communion, I wasn’t feeling all that excited. On top of that, a small piece of Holy Communion had fallen on the floor which I picked up and kept on the paten in Googaa’s hand. So, even though yesterday I got an opportunity to Read and distribute Communion with Googaa, it didn’t turn out to be all that happy. Goldie overheard some of the altar girls discussing among themselves that they couldn’t understand whatever I was reading. This too has dampened my spirit though Googaa and Goldie assured that there was no problem in my reading except that goof up. I am waiting for my feedback from the person who had asked me to do all the reading. Let’s see what she has to say about the overall performance.

Once in a while it occurs in my mind that I should also become a lector to gain confidence and improve my reading in front of the parishioners. Till date, I have read only four times – I read for the very first time in May 2010 when it was our Community’s turn to read the liturgy for that Sunday. I had done the Second Reading and it was a total flop show. The person who had read before me wasn’t of my height – she had happened to be shorter than me and so the microphone was well beyond my mouth – and while reading I went on reading in the same height without realizing that I should adjust the microphone according to my height. I wasn’t audible at all. I had felt extremely bad and was also given a negative feedback. I hadn’t got any more chances to read after that.

Then I got my second chance to read after a gap of two long years – I guess on 1st July, 2012 (not too sure of the date). Whatever, this time, as a Confirmation Catechist, I had to read the INTRODUCTION during the Rite of Acceptance of the Confirmation Candidates. This is what I read: “Today, we have the Rite of Acceptance for our Confirmation candidates who have gathered here. They are starting their spiritual journey for the preparation of being confirmed in the Faith. Let us as a Community extend our prayers to them during this celebration and in our daily lives, let us offer our support and understanding to them and make the presence of Christ visible to these young people”. It went on perfectly fine without any hiccups. I was told in advance to read it and so I had done my preparations.

Then I got my third chance to read on 30th November, 2012, during our St. Andrew Community feast. I had said the PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL. This too went on fine and there was absolutely no problem here. These two readings had given me the confidence to say yes yesterday. I had started off confidently and the rest is history. I await my feedback. If it’s positive, I will try to become a lector otherwise I will never ever try reading again in my life. That’s for sure.

But after listening to yesterday’s incident, Golu encouraged me by saying that I shouldn’t feel let down. He said that at least I had the courage to say yes when none of the regular lectors were present and so I shouldn’t feel discouraged. Anyone else in my place would have said no when told to read at the last moment. He also said that I have been doing so many things in faith, so Jesus will bless me instead of chastising me. But it’s not in Jesus to chastise anyone. And so Golu has asked me to take heart. And he also said that if in the future, I find anymore smiling slyly at me for yesterday’s goof up, I shouldn’t feel bad and in fact, should forgive them all. So in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I forgive the Choir members who were laughing at me yesterday. I forgive everyone…!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

English OCD

Yesterday yet another beautiful thing happened – I was asked by one of the eucharist Ministers to join English OCD group in our church which happens on every Wednesday. Since I can never ever say NO to the Lord, I immediately agreed and gave my YES without knowing what this English OCD group is all about. Now upon my research on OCD, I came to know that it’s actually the full form for Discalced Carmelites, or the Discalced Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. They are the members of Catholic religious order that follow on from the tradition of the Old Testament prophets and the early Christian hermits. The name of the Order is taken from the biblical Mount Carmel in Palestine, where the first brothers established themselves during the time of the crusades so as to live a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. They took their inspiration from the Old Testament prophet Elijah and the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, to whom their first church, and later the whole Carmelite Order, was dedicated. The Order was founded in 1593.

Another Eucharistic Minister, who is a part of the English OCD, told me that there will be some meditative prayers and sanctifying hours to be observed like the priests and nuns and we will have to put time and energy into it. In fact, this is what makes Carmelite prayer distinctive. It’s not the prayer itself – there is no ‘method’ for Carmelite prayer. It is all about the time and energy that is actually put into prayer. Obviously, I am much too excited as meditative prayers are what I had been wanting since last year.

Pope Benedict has said: “Carmel teaches the Church how to pray”. That’s what Carmel has always been about: prayer. And that’s what being a Carmelite – whether friar, nun, or Lay Carmelite – is all about: prayer. It’s not method; it’s emphasis. All our parish priests and brothers are Carmelites and believe a lot in prayers.

The charism (or spiritual focus) of the Carmelite Order is contemplative prayer. Till this research, I had absolutely no clue what it was all about but like I wrote earlier, I was extremely excited the moment I was told to join as I felt that the Lord was calling and drawing me unto Him in yet another way. Right now, everything is vague but I am sure, once I participate in the initial few prayer meetings, the clarity will automatically don upon me. So, waiting for Wednesday, 16th January, 2013!

I am so happy that at last I will get Carmelite spirituality in me and be able to practice mental prayers. All along last year I had been seeking to hear God in the quiet of my heart through contemplation and meditative prayer. And now I also truly understand the meaning of the parable of the mustard seed which Jesus Christ told His disciples. He had said that if you have faith as small as the mustard seed, it will grow into a big mustard tree – can anything be truer than this – when I had started in 2010, I had the faith of a mustard seed – now it has grown into a big tree because I have continuously walked with Jesus in my faith journey and He has been working upon my faith unceasingly.

Unforgettable 9th January

Yesterday, an extremely unforgettable spiritual incident happened in the church. As an altar girl, Googaa had to serve the 7pm holy mass. Since she was serving, I also carried my sash with me thinking if need be, I too will distribute the Holy Communion. Since there was already the adequate number of Eucharist ministers, I thought that I will not be able to distribute and I was totally fine about it. But Providence had something very beautiful in store – and what happened during the Communion is something I had not thought of in my wildest dreams – at least for yesterday.

I not only got an opportunity to distribute the Eucharist, but Googaa instead of following the priest with her paten (the plate used to hold the bread during the Eucharist) followed me!!! Just imagine – here I was distributing the Communion and on my right was Googaa, holding the paten in her right hand and her left hand was over her breast. What a beautiful sight to behold…a mother distributing the Communion and daughter holding the paten for her…the Lord gave us such a beautiful opportunity together. But unfortunately, this beautiful moment couldn’t be photographed. Nevertheless, it will forever be etched in my mind’s camera and the date 9th January, 2013 will forever be remembered by me.

The Lord might repeat this beautiful act again sometime in the future, but the first-time experience and feeling of yesterday’s spiritual moment together will always be cherished by both of us.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Full Night Vigil

I will be attending my first Full Night Vigil on 12th January commencing from 9 pm till 5 o’clock in the morning. A vigil means the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes. According to Wikipedia, the “All-night” or Full Night vigil is a service of the Eastern Orthodox Church (and Eastern Catholic Church) consisting of an aggregation of the three canonical hours of Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour. The vigil is celebrated on the eves of Sundays and of major liturgical feasts.

It had always been my desire to attend a full night vigil and experience the feeling of praying on the still silence of the night. I have attended few half night vigils at my parish which are conducted on the third Saturdays of every month wherein we offer all our prayers before the Blessed Sacrament. But since the time I have become a catechist I haven’t been able to participate in these half night vigils.

I can’t really describe with words the beauty of these full night vigils as I haven’t yet been a part of them. But I am sure this “without sleeping” prayer and worship, first of its kind for me, will definitely be another feather in my spiritual cap. I have heard that these All-night Vigils transport the faithful into a different realm and a totally different world of spirituality and believers have full faith in these services associated with the earliest Christians. I am so glad that soon I too will experience it.

Since I have never attended an all night vigil before, for me there is something almost mystical about these all-night vigils. I am in awe of them. I am sure these midnight prayers are very powerful and invoke God’s choicest blessings on the devotees. I pray that I come out a spiritually renewed being.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chain Fasting

To prepare ourselves for the Inner Healing retreats, the Ministry has felt the need to start off a Chain Fasting process, beginning 4th January. Everyday two people have been forgoing their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today I have to forego my lunch along with one more person. And trust me, I am feeling mighty blessed and holy because it’s important and by participating in this Chain Fasting, I am feeling like one big family. I pray that I do not break this chain.

In Matthew 6:17-34, Jesus Christ has said: “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”. Keeping this in mind, I have oiled and nicely combed my hair, washed my face with Clean & Clear “morning energy” face wash which has purifying apple extracts in it :). I am, in fact, super excited about this entire Chain Fasting because it will actually be a humongous task in self-control for a person like me who cannot bear hunger pangs. Including today, I have to fast four times – my next fasting is on 14th January wherein I will have to again forego my lunch and then on 19th January and 25th January. I will be foregoing my breakfast on these two days.

As Isaiah tells us, fasting encourages humility, loosens the chains of injustice, unties the chords of the yoke, frees the oppressed, and feeds the hungry. Therefore these are some of the reasons why it is a blessing to be Chain Fasting. I want to strengthen myself because fasting and praying brings about miracles.

What does the Bible say about fasting?

Fasting means self-denial by going without food for a period of time. Fasting may be total or partial – avoiding certain foods or eating smaller than normal quantities. The origin of fasting as a religious practice is unclear, but both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible mention a number of instances of fasting for various reasons:

Distress and Grief. Loss of appetite is a natural reaction in times of distress, grief and mourning, and fasting was considered appropriate at these times. David fasted as a sign of grief when Abner was murdered (2 Samuel 3:35). There was a seven-day fast at the death of Saul (1 Samuel 31:13).

Spiritual Preparation. Fasting is a self-sacrifice that makes one humble and more accepting of God's will. Moses fasted for forty days in preparation for receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). Daniel fasted for three weeks before receiving his vision (Daniel 10:2-6). Elijah fasted forty days before speaking with God (1 Kings 19:8). Jesus fasted for forty days in preparation for His temptation by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13).

Repentance and Atonement. When Jonah predicted the downfall of Nineveh, The Ninevites fasted as a sign of repentance in hopes God would spare their city (Jonah 3:3-9). The Day of Atonement was an annual obligatory day of rest and fasting for the Israelites (Numbers 29:7). When the Israelites had sinned, they often humbled themselves and fasted in hopes of regaining God's favor (Judges 20:26, 1 Samuel 7:6).

In both the Old and New Testaments, fasting is seen as useful for humbling oneself as a sign of commitment or repentance and for increasing faith, especially when accompanied by prayer. Fasting allowed one to be devoted to spiritual matters without distraction from earthly things. However, fasting was not to be considered an end in itself, nor a substitute for obedience to God and doing good deeds (Isaiah 58:3-10).

Jesus said that fasting, like prayer, should be done in private and not for show (Matthew 6:16-18, cf., Matthew 6:5-7). John the Baptist's disciples routinely fasted according to Jewish custom, but Jesus and His disciples did not. However, Jesus said His disciples would mourn and fast after He had left them (Matthew 9:14-15; Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:33-35). The early Christians practiced fasting at least occasionally (Acts 13:3, 14:23, 2 Corinthians 6:5, 11:27).

Despite the tradition of fasting in the Bible, and Jesus' references to it, the New Testament teachings do not require fasting, and neither Jesus nor His disciples made fasting obligatory. However, a tradition of partial fasting on Wednesdays, and especially on Fridays dates back to the early days of Christianity.

Many Catholics observe partial fasting traditions during Lent (the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter).

Monday, January 7, 2013

You are called…

Yesterday, while we were been trained for Spiritual Counseling, the Minister kept telling us that “you all are here, because you have been CALLED BY GOD”. He insisted that it’s not by chance that we are being trained as Spiritual Counselors, but since God knows that we can do this honestly and truthfully, that’s why God Has chosen us to be part of this counseling. He kept quoting passages from the Bible which indicate how different people from different generations have been called by God to minister in His name. He quoted Phi 2:13-15, Phi 4:13 and Rom 11:29 wherein it has been specifically mentioned how God calls us according to our capabilities and talents.

He said we are here because God finds us “worthy” for this ministry and “once God calls you, He will never ask you to go back”. It’s not with God to send back any person, but it’s the human beings who go back from God. I felt so good to know all this.

So, here are some quotes from the Bible while I was researching on YOU ARE CALLED.
• For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered…
• If you are a believer in Christ deep inside of you is a voice calling you to glorify God through good works…
• Dearest Lord, You've called us here, And opened up Your heart. O the joy to hear Your call. And enter in the Ark. Saving us from day to day…
• [I Timothy 3:1, NASB] Likewise, it is a high honor to be called of God into the ministry of the Church…

And here’s what David, my favorite Biblical character, has to say:
“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Ps 16:5-6)

Spiritual Counseling

The New Year couldn’t have started in a better way – the exordium of 2013 has been immensely good – I am been trained to be a member of my parish Spiritual Counseling team for the forthcoming inner healing retreats on 19th January and 9th February. I feel humbled, honored and loved – loved by Jesus Christ because He trusts my abilities and has called me for this ministry. I will learn counseling from a spiritual perspective which covers not only standard counseling work but also holistic healing.

Spiritual Counseling takes the Soul, rather than the Mind, as its starting point of balance. Spiritual Counseling takes the view that there are two possible views of ourselves: the Primal Lie and the Primal Truth, helping an individual to determine and set their personal spiritual goals. This effective Counseling addresses the body, mind, and spirit. The field of counseling has been slow in recognizing the need to address spiritual and religious aspects.

By been a part of this Spiritual Counseling team, I am feeling a sense of involvement and experiencing deeper sense of meaning and purpose of my life and faith in Jesus Christ. I guess this Spiritual Counseling and awareness is beneficial for me as well as everyone in my family and to whomever I will be counseling. As a Spiritual Counselor I will have to listen deeply to the whole of someone’s being and provide a safe answer – this will enable me to listen to my own family also and handle them in an apt manner. In essence, Spiritual Counseling will enable me as a human being to be in complete acceptance and non-judgmental, listening deeply to what is being said and maintain utter secrecy.

Since last night, spiritual approach to healing life’s deepest problems and counseling philosophy for spiritual healing seems to be my soul’s life purpose. I had been dying to write this post and express myself because I love the basic concept of Spiritual Counseling. It works on the simple basis that in essence we are all already whole, i.e. there is nothing wrong with anyone. Isn’t this just beautiful? Can anything be as lovely as this? Without any major blame game, it’s a safe and gentle holistic healing method that one can use to help bring peace and wellbeing to their body and mind.

Another thing which I like most about Spiritual Counseling is that the primary purpose for the counselor system is to foster trust among people. By undergoing this training, I can not only help others, but also share inspiring and delightful activities, and enjoy the special bond of soul friendship of a mother and daughters with my cute daughters. And also why not with my husband!!!

Hopefully, while undergoing this training, I will be able to spiritually Counsel my own self and able to go to the root of my own problems, something that has been bothering me. Honestly, by this Spiritual Counseling, I am looking forward to rediscover my own self. Spiritual Counseling is an experiential approach to disarming the ego which protects the self from change and challenge.

So I shake off all the skepticism I had about 2013. I had been wondering what vocation should I take up this year to keep myself spiritually motivated and Jesus Himself provided this wonderful vocation for me. Whoever has said that God has all the answers is so very right. I only hope and pray that I am able to live up to the worthiness that Jesus has bestowed on me at the beginning of this New Year.

My second home

In school, I was taught that a school is our second home. Nowadays I have started considering my parish, St. Joseph Church, my second home. I feel so peaceful and happy the moment I enter its gate. There’s this feeling in my heart always that it’s the most safest place on earth and nothing bad will happen to me or any one of us when we are over there. I feel so proud of my St. Joseph church that I keep trying to highlight it as much as possible on Facebook.

Well, let’s start by defining the word “Church”. It comes from the old English and German word pronounced “kirche” which means a building set apart for Christian worship. The Greek word translated church in the New Testament is “ekklesia”. It’s also defined as a group of Christians and is a Biblical word for “assembly”.

But the true Biblical meaning of Church means body of Christ. The Church is neither a denomination nor a building. It is not the people but it is the sum total of all the ministries (Christ in us), the Bride of Christ. So we have to be respectful towards our church as it is the body of Christ and Christ Himself is the head.

I feel proud that I am a part of this body as an animator, catechist and Eucharistic minister. I need to dress up modestly whenever I am at the church as it’s actually Christ’s body that I am worshipping. I always need to be careful with myself.