Thursday, November 17, 2016

Long Long Journey Away To Bethlehem

Long Long Journey Away To Bethlehem..

The gentle strains of this little known carol came wafting from the rear seat of my car this morning.
I was trying to nudge my way through the early morning traffic into the CT-15S freeway with my kindergartner in tow. My thoughts were swirling around the visceral chaos created by many recent events! And then my little worship-leader-in-training’s lilting yet authoritative voice said “Now lets’ pray The Hail Mary”. We prayed our Hail Mary in unison. And then it came again – the self-appointed solo..

Long Long Journey Away To Bethlehem
Mother Mary brave and mild
Joseph by her side

Bless you my child!

The election furor is not nearly over
Almost everybody I know (including myself) has an opinion that was worthy of a throne (or so we think)

View-point bashing and character defamation is being done – apparently for rights and liberty
Choice words are being used to disseminate political agendas

Hate videos in the guise of support for values are continually being posted on the social media forum
Unborn innocents are under assault and in danger of their skulls being crushed

Walls have to be built. That neighbor without clothes and food is to be shunned
Human dignity and respect is history – a thing of the past. An anachronism in our day.

Immorality and arrogance are to be graciously condoned in the role models of this new age.
Values – The only thing that is to remain of it is its spelling!

Friends and communities now have deep scars of differences and the effects of judgment.
Each one views the other with contempt, suspicion and scorn

The love and compassion so taught by our Lord has come to naught
A foundation has been shaken. A city is being divided.

The father of lies is beside himself with delight.
There is bedlam amongst God’s own.

The shepherds are headed in different directions – the sheep are scattered.
I am ready my child, weary but hopeful and sure of just one thing this morning – of The Savior and His Saving Power!!!

… and that is why I am on my way with you on that…
Long Long Journey Away To Bethlehem
Mother Mary brave and mild
Joseph by her side

Holy Mary Mother of God – Pray for us sinners. Now.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kerygma & Gifts

Now what exactly do those two have to do with each other at all?!
Yesterday’s first reading (1 Cor 12: 27-31 ) addresses the much debated aspect of spiritual gifts. Discussions in and around what 'gifts' really mean and are intended for always leave me wondering about how much we deprive the Kingdom of God when our gifts are undeveloped and not harnessed to the fullest.
But coming back to the topic - today my kindergartener brought the two together in that most special sweet way that only she can somehow manage :)
We were on that dreaded morning drive to school / work and traffic was chock-a-block on the Merritt Parkway at 6:30 AM!! We had an hour's commute before we could get to Stop #1.
I was teaching her the tune to the beautiful song "If you want your dreams to be..." from the movie Brother Sun Sister Moon (now she has some stake in that song - after all her patron saint St. Clare was also singing it with St. Francis as they built back a modest chapel with their bare hands).

Suddenly she asked me if she could "sing songs from her mind"
“Of course, munni, I said.
And that was it - the rest of the journey was my little composer putting together the cutest of tunes in her little cherubic voice. The part that got me was the words. They were not random thoughts or lyrics picked from the context of a five year old’s life.
The very first line of the first number went "God I love you so much because you dieeeeeeeeeed for me on the cross!! You save meeeeeeeeee from sin"!!!!
"Claire, little Claire!!" I exclaimed, "Do you realize that your sweet song has the most important message of the Bible in it!". She gushed a little and continued “I love yoooooou so much for you dieeeed for meeeeeeee!!!".
That - the saving message - Kerygma - was flowing so easily, unhindered and at first pass from the unassuming mouth of a kindergartener using her beautiful voice and her 'composership' (that is what we called it for just then ;)) was a wake up jolt for me.
How often do I use my gifts - whatever they may be - to bring the Kerygma message to those who are thirsting for it?!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Little Exorcist

I learnt about spiritual warfare when I was about 15 years of age. I really understood it when I was about 22.And now trending into my mid-thirties, I still grapple with recognizing the wiles of the evil one and in ‘putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11)’ to keep the devil at bay. And so it convicts me deeply that this teaching to recognize the adversary, ‘..the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5: 8) ‘comes easily to my almost 4 year old. How else is a quick calling out of a naughty preschooler tantrum quickly followed by 'I am not going to do it again mommy - I asked Jesus to help me and He helped me chased the devil away'? Or how is it that a song of ‘Jesus is the rock and He rolls my blues away’ modified by a quick thinking preschooler to 'Jesus is the rock and He rolls the devil away' and used triumphantly almost as a way of admonishing the way ward Lucifer?

And then I see my 10 month old watching - wide eyed as his sister goes through the motions. He will learn from her and hopefully from us and of course through everything that the Good Lord will put in his heart that 'Jesus is indeed the ROCK and He rolls the devil AWAY AWAY AWAY!!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Did I step on your toe?

It was just like any other weekday evening - I got back from work ,quickly changed and snuggled in with little Noah who knows no calm until he has had his good stuff. But there was a flutter of excitement in the next room. Papa Tony and big sister Claire were getting ready to do some window gardening. The pots and the dirt had been bought. The bulbs and the seeds were ready - they all just needed to be planted. So while Papa Tony spread out sheets and lined up the pots and filled them with soil, little Claire scurried around being as helpful as she possibly could. And then came the exchange that wafted through the doors and my daughter’s thin stoic voice that tugged at my heart strings...

Papa Tony (in his big daddy voice): Claire - get on this side and put some mud here.
Claire: ok Papa... papa, I think I stepped on your toe..
Papa Tony: Claire - this side , get on this side.
Claire: Papa - did I step on your toe?
Papa Tony: Claire, Claire ... hurry up, this side. We need mud this side.
Claire: Papa - did I step on your toe?
Papa Tony: See , not this way , come over this side. I need you this side.
Claire: Papa - did I step on your toe?
Papa Tony: It's ok... don't worry about my toe.. I need you to listen to me..
Claire: Papa - did I step on your toe?
Papa Tony (in his giving up voice!): No munni - you did not step on my toe. I am just fine..ok ? Now would you please come this side and help me with this pot?
Claire: ok Papa.

What was that Jesus trying to tell us about being persistent in Luke 11:5 -13? How come the little ones always get it right? Isn’t it us - the ‘wise mature ' adults who are supposed to be the ones who 'know it all' and 'get it right'? No wonder we are asked to be like little children to enter the Kingdom of God.

But what came to me that day was about how persistent my Heavenly Father's voice must be - trying to find a free available spot in my busyness...
Priya: I am busy today God, be with me today.
God: Priya - are you in communion with me today?
Priya: I have loads of deliverables at work to get out of the way
God: Priya - are you in communion with me today?
Priya: I have no time for anything , let alone read my Bible or catch up on my prayer time
God: Priya - are you in communion with me today?
Priya: The house is a mess and so is my to-do list. I can't seem to catch up.
God: Priya - are you in communion with me today?

If I am honest, I know I knock God right off the highest place in my heart and crowd it with everything else - with everything else other than His awesome presence. But today - maybe I'll take a cue from Papa Tony and let a thin stoic voice (finally!) penetrate right through and allow it to make all the difference.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Deep things...and then a sandwich

Joan - the deli lady in my office cafeteria , was making my sandwich last week and I was regaling her with a story of how my little Noah was pulling off his socks right in the middle of the noon day Ascension Feast Mass and how the priest saw the whole thing from the pulpit and caught up with us after to tell us about it. It sparked off an almost immediate spontaneous confession from her about how she was 'actually Catholic' but never really went for Mass. Finding a lovely opportunity to plant a seed - yet again - I probed her gently and her first reason was that 'the priest who she admired and loved when she was a little girl' was now retired and she stopped going ever since he stopped being their parish priest. Hmmm!!! .... And then came the next almost matter of fact reason that a cousin was abused by a priest and that's why....I quickly lifted a prayer - I had to tread carefully and it is no wonder at all that the Holy Spirit quickly put words in my mouth - the words that ONLY God knew would move Joan. Referring to the first reason, the words that tumbled out of my mouth were that if Fr.X only knew he would be a stumbling block in a relationship between Joan and Jesus - he would probably do differently. If he knew his flock disappeared with his retiring, he would be deeply saddened because then it would mean he failed in his life's mission. Joan's face changed colors with that revelation. I knew it struck a cord within her. She gave me a tight squeeze and whispered 'Thank you for telling me that...I'll try and go for Mass again...' and ran into the pantry to wipe tears. I doubly blessed my sandwich as I ate it that day.

"The spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God."—1 COR. 2:10.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Woman in his life..

My little Noah is going to be one who is least interested in food. I can see it already!! Exactly the opposite of his sister who has had a great appetite and ate with flourish( well!! at least until recently).We will need to come up with creative ways to feed him. But for now,he is taking in all the action. He likes new faces - will wake up from his sleep to respond to a totally new face peering down at him. He has pretty much started his morning baby personal prayer time - pretty much just like my Claire started early...And as our loving Mother peers down at him from the altar , I pray that she may be his constant intercessor and guide. And may be she the most important woman in his life...I hope that as he grows, I can teach him that 'Real men pray the Rosary' and that it is the most powerful weapon anyone will ever need.

It is OK if you kill me!

Reading to Claire is such a relaxing activity...but at times she does startle me with her perfect interpretations. Reading from a book of Children's Bible stories, we came across Jesus's passion and crucifixion. She says "Jesus is so good. He said it is ok if you kill me..". Such a statement can surely elicit shocked reactions. But I knew where my little munchkin was coming from. She seemed to have gotten the crux of the salvation story better than any one else I know. She knows that there was no way out of Satan's grasp than the redeeming death of Jesus. She knows so well that our dear Lord would not have backed out of that one - knowing that He was taking us from death to life by his humble willingness to suffer and die on the cross.... Out of the mouth of babes flows the deep transforming truth... nothing but the truth...