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Importance of Second Wednesday of Great Lent # Day 10

February 29, 2012 Comments off

Dear Servant in Jesus Christ,

Fasting is a beautiful period to do good deeds by helping the poor, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and taking care of the needs of others. The person who fasts by not yielding to the needs of the flesh, will feel the needs of others and his heart will be moved to serve them. The asceticism of fasting teaches us to care for the heavenly and not be concerned with the earthly. Thus it becomes easy to forsake our material possessions and offer them to the needy.

Lent is training for simple life. Fasting and vegetarianism during the Lent are invitation to overcome the enslaving power of consumerist culture which is based on greed. In the midst of prosperity and over consumption we are trained to enjoy the beauty of a simple life based on need. Lent gives us a wonderful experience of simple life. This freedom from the grip of over luxurious life and enslaving consumerist culture make us sensitive to the basic needs of the poor and the suffering and share with them our resources.

Fasting is more than not eating food. It is more important to fast from sin. Besides controlling what goes into our mouths, we must control what comes out of our mouths as well. Are our words pleasing to God, or do we curse God or our brother? The other members of the body also need to fast: our eyes from seeing evil, our ears from hearing evil, our limbs from participating in anything that is not of God. Most important of all, we need to control our thoughts, for thoughts are the source of our actions, whether good or evil. Let the words of GOD overcome all our five senses on this lent days.

Bible reading for Second Wednesday of Great Lent : # Day 10

  • Evening
  • Morning
    • Exodus34: 1-17
    • Proverbs7: 1-11
    • Zechariah8: 1-8
    • III John 1: 1-15
    • I Corinthians 8: 1-13
    • St. Luke11: 1-13
With Love & Prayers

Lino Abraham

My Heart is Heavy.. I Can’t Do This…

February 28, 2012 Comments off

My Heart is Heavy.. I Can’t Do This…

One day a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods.

As he thought about his life that day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.
His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him.
He remembered family that had passed on.
His mind turned to the illness he had, that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.

Standing there that day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there.
And with tears in his eyes, he prayed:

‘Lord – You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot, I don’t know how. It is not fair Lord, I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive.
As perfect as your way is, Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep, Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray you teach me to do the one thing I cannot do: Teach me to forgive .’

As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder.
He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground…
He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.

He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross.
He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man’s tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.

‘Have you ever told a lie?’ He asked?

The man answered – ‘Yes, Lord.’

‘Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?’

The man answered – ‘Yes. Lord.’ And the man sobbed more and more.

‘Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours?’ Jesus asked?

And the man answered, ‘Yes, Lord.’

‘Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?’

The man, crying now, answered – ‘Yes, Lord.’

As Jesus asked many more times, ‘Have you ever…’? The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer – ‘Yes, Lord’.

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.

Jesus said, ‘I didn’t deserve this either, but I forgive you.’

It may be hard to see how you’re going to get through something, but when you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is.

Read the following first line slowly and let it sink in.

If God brings you to it – He will bring you through it.
When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!

Your Servant In Lord
Lino Varghese Abraham

Preface for Meditation

February 27, 2012 Comments off

Dear All in Jesus Christ,

Fasting is the advocate of repentance. Adam and Eve disobeyed God; they refused to fast from the forbidden fruit. They became slaves of their own desires. But now through fasting, through obedience to the rules of the Church regarding the use of spiritual and material goods, we may return to the life in Paradise, a life of communion with God. Thus, fasting is a means of salvation, this salvation being a life we live in accordance with the Divine will, in communion with God. Because of the liberating effect of fasting, both material and spiritual, the Church has connected fasting with the celebration of the major feasts of our tradition.

Easter is the “feast of feasts.” It is the feast of our liberation from the bondage of sin, from corrupted nature, from death. For on that day, through His Resurrection from the dead, Christ has raised us “from death to life, and from earth to heaven”, Christ, “our new Passover,” has taken us away from the land of slavery, sin and death, to the promised land of freedom, bliss and glory; from our sinful condition to resurrected life.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8: 5-6) We need to live in accordance with our spirit and not our natural desires if we want to overcome temptation. Also God gave us His Holy Spirit. With His power we can overcome the devil.

– Lino Varghese Abraham

Something you like about MGOCSM

February 26, 2012 Comments off

Continued …

LESLIE ALEX: UNITY, DEDICATION

Thomas: It makes me grow spiritually

Pramod Georgekutty: Its Awesome…..

to be continued …….

Categories: YOU

“Time Will Not Dim His Glory” – A Tribute to St Dionysius on the days of his feast

February 24, 2012 Comments off

“Time Will Not Dim His Glory”. This is the line inscribed by HH Geevarghese II Catholicose in the tomb of St Dionysius Vattaseril.  These are apt words considering that the Church still benefits from the strong stand taken by Vattaseril Thirumeni on many issues. While everyone gives due credit to Vattaseril Thirumeni for upholding the Independence of the Church till his last breath, we often forget his other contributions to the church.

Guard of honour given to St Dionysius by Christian soldiers in Kunnamkulam

Even before he was elected as Metropolitan by the Malankara Association, he was touted as the successor of Malankara Metropolitan Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius. Hence he had that status in the church. He was unarguably the greatest Church scholar in his time, if not of all time. His book on Orthodox Christian doctrines, “Madopadeshasarangal “, is as testimony of his great knowledge.  We have to remember that he wrote this when reference books where scarcely, if otherwise not at all, available. Vattasseril Malpan became a recognizable figure in the Church scene when he toppled Kovoor Achen*, a learned scholar, in a debate. If it wasn’t for the litigations in the church his status as a scholar and his scholarly works would have been equivalent to that of Adi Sankara, Chanakya and Swami Vivekananda.

Another of his great quality was that he was a leader with vision about the future. He had this skill of finding out young people from the community and providing them with the right kind of education to make them future leaders of the church. His first such protégé was Fr P T Geevarghese, later Mar Ivanios Vattasseril Thirumeni  turned Fr P T Geevarghese  into “MA Achen”**. Unfortunately for Vattasseril Thirumeni and the Church, Mar Ivanios shunned the Orthodox belief and embraced Romanism.  When Mar Ivanios’s intentions became more and more evident, Vattasseril Thirumeni found another MA holder to fill the vaccum. With this quick thinking and vision of Vattsseril Thirumeni, the son of Thekethalakal Thoma Kathanar became Puthenkavil Kochu Thirumeni (Geevarghese Mar Philexinos). He had a vision for all his protégés . That is why he instructed Mar Ivanios, who at the time was the abbot of Bethany Ashram, not to take Parett Mathews Achen*** into Bethany, even though achen was interested. Vattaseril Thirumeni explanantion for this was that everyone becoming monks will not be good as someone should be there for church administration. He also called on Mukhancheril Fr M P Peter to bishophood, but Achen rejected as his passion was missionary work. Vattasseril Thirumeni later wrote that if Fr M P Peter is willing, ordain him as Metropolitan****. Thoma Mar Dionysius (Pathanapuram Dayara), Kuriakose Mar Gregorios (Pampady Thirumeni) were also brought into the forefront of the Church by Vattaseril Thirumeni.

Illuminator of the Church - St Dionysius Vattasseril

The time period (1908-1934), during which Vattasseril Thirumeni led the Church saw the rise of spiritual organizations and ashrams. The Syrian Students Movement (the present MGOCSM) was formed with his  patronage. Many students who attended the annual conferences of this movement was inspired to actively take part in the Church. This was also a period wherein ashrams in church were established  for its spiritual upliftment . Vattaseril Thirumeni’s role in their establishment cannot be ignored. Tadagam Ashram, Bethany Ashram, Tabore Ashram came up during his tenure as Malankara Metropolitan. He was very concerned about their growth. Once, Mar Ivanios of Bethany and Parett Mathews Achen came to Thirumeni asking for some funds for Bethany. Thirumeni  said “I will not give anything to them (Bethany) . I have given them many times before. Those have gone. If you want I can give you (to Parett Achen).” This shows his disappointment when Bethany led by Ivanios was going in the wrong way.

Parumala Thirumeni and Pampady Thirumeni are known to people for their strong prayer life. But the prayer life of Vattaseril Thirumeni is often not mentioned. The prayer life of Vattasseril Thirumeni is at par with the prayer life of the other two Holy Fathers mentioned before. Kamaludeen, a goon who was hired to kill Thirumeni, on reaching Thirumeni’s room through a ladder found Thirumeni kneeling and praying in the midnight. This same person in his statement to the police after his arrest had said that he had tried to climb upto Thirumeni’s room on many occasions, but failed to do so because he felt some force pushing the ladder down.  Thirumeni hated hypocrisy and falsehood. Once during the Thooyobo of a Holy Qurbana, the celebrant achen was taking a longer time than required for the Thooyobo. Thirumeni who wasn’t the celebrant on that day was standing at the namaskaramesha. The believers where singing “Velivu Niranjoreesho” for the n th time. Finally Thirumeni directed his deacon to take his chair to the Madbaha. On entering the Madbaha, Thirumeni in a stern voice said to the Achen “Nirthado Kapada Bakthi”. Thirumeni rejected all kinds of shownism regarding faith. One other incident that comes to mind is one of his courtroom trials. The opponents in the case had argued that Thirumeni had become old and his hands shiver when he holds the Chalice and Paten (Kasa and Pelassa). Their advocate asked thirumeni that if he is given a plate and bowl could he hold it like a kasa and pelassa and demonstrate, so that the court can see whether his hands shiver or not. Thirumeni strongly said that he is in the court to give his statement and not to demonstrate the Holy Qurbana. It is said to recently see a Metropolitan holding up Kasa and Pelassa, just for a few clicks to try and establish a right he doesn’t have.

During his lifetime he had many opponents because of his strict functioning style and his no-nonsense approach when it comes to church affairs. His rivalry with his co trustees Konattu Mathen Malpan and Akkara C J Kurian has been well documented. But many fail to understand that both Malpan and C J Kurian had reconciled with Thirumeni before their death. Both the co trustees passed away before Thirumeni and Thirumeni had visited them while they were in their death bed. He was ready to forgo his personal pride, for the sake of peace in the church, in his lifetime itself. The journey to Mardin in his old age was for this. That journey would have been a success had Elias Mar Yulius not played the dirty games he did.

In our church history there would be no one who had suffered so much torture and pain like Vattasseril Thirumeni did. It is really sad when the priests (not everyone) of today not give him due importance or make any effort to encourage the congregations to study about him. The learned scholar of our church, Fr V C Samuel was not a great admirer of Vattasseril Thirumeni in the beginning. But Achen, after detailed study about Vattasseril Thirumeni, named his book about Thirumeni as “Truth Triumphs”. The more we study about St Dionysius, the more respect we have for him, the more he grows in stature in our minds.

THERE WAS NO ONE LIKE HIM, THERE IS NO ONE LIKE HIM, THERE WILL BE NO ONE LIKE HIM. THERE WILL ONLY BE ONE AND ONLY ONE SABHA BHASURAN ….ST DIONYSIUS….PRAY FOR US

In Christ

Kiran Raj
Hitec City, Hyderabad

*Kovoor Achen or Ipe Thoma Kathanar, along with Palakunnathu Athanasius led the reformist  movement and later on became the Vicar General of the Reformist Church ( Mar Thoma Church).

** Fr P T Geevarghese was better known as MA Achen, because there weren’t many priests at that time who had an MA.

*** Parett Mathews achen later became Parett Mathews Mar Ivanios of Kottayam Diocese.

**** As per the will of Vattaseril Thirumeni Fr M P Peter later became of Pathrose Mar Osthathios Metropolitan

Author’s note: I have not ventured into writing about St Dionysius’s contributions in upholding the freedom of the Church, because of the fact that it cannot be covered in one single article.

Categories: ARTICLES

Importance of Great Lent : # Day 4

February 23, 2012 Comments off

Dear All in Jesus Christ,

Preface for Meditation

Lenten season is a time whereby we may gain deeper insight into our deeper selves; it is a period whereby we cultivate the strength to know ourselves truly, to acquire honesty with ourselves, and to develop the courage to practice repentance as a means of constant transformation and purification of our innermost selves.

The purpose of fasting extends far beyond a superficial abstinence from certain foods; it is a discipline that has as its principle aim our overcoming of all worldly pursuits or material desires that divert our attention away from our spiritual communion with God. Its purpose is to strengthen our capacity to focus constantly and consciously upon God, to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (St. Matthew 6:33) before all else. By defining God as the chief priority in our lives, we restore to our minds a proper view of reality in which He is the One who ultimately sustains us with our every need.

In the very same way as Moses led his people, the Church leads Her children through the fifty-day sojourn of Great Lent. For it takes at least this long for many of the faithful to discard the vanity and the concerns of this world and to be transformed. In this transformation the faithful people of God become the newborn children from the secular wilderness who will be able to experience the joy of the Promised Land.

Increased prayer and fasting are encouraged by the Church during Great Lent as a means to purification and preparation. Both physical and spiritual purification are stressed so that the believer may feel prepared to experience a spectacular event, the event of the Lord’s return. His Bride, the Church is always in anticipation of the glorious return of Her Bridegroom. Fasting and prayer, therefore, during this time of the year is not simply because it is Great Lent but because the Church is awaiting the return of Her Bridegroom.

Bible Reading :First Thursday of Great Lent # Day4

Evening
St. Matthew 7: 1-12

Morning
Exodus 22:5-6
I Kings 18: 16 -24
II Kings 17: 7 – 23
Isaiah36: 1-7, 37: 1-7
St. James 2: 14 – 26
Romans2: 28 – 3: 8
St. Matthew 7: 13-27

Source :http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/SDOF/message/222

Importance of Great Lent : # Day 3

February 22, 2012 Comments off

Dear All in Jesus Christ,

Great Lent is a sacred place of the Church to serve the individual believer in participating as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. It provides each person an annual opportunity for self-examination and improving the standards of faith and morals in his Christian life. The deep intent of the believer during Great Lent is encapsulated in the words of Saint Paul “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).”

By keeping and remembering Christ’s cross at the center of our lives, our path will be enlightened and God’s plan for us will come to fruition. The act of remembering what Christ accomplished on the cross is simply not enough for our Christian calling. This remembrance must ultimately lead us to the reality of the cross. “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” This proclamation by Christ leads us to a spirit of action and positive change.

Christ tells us to deny ourselves and to focus solely on Him – for He is Lord – He is King. We are to deny ourselves from our strength, knowledge, capability, wisdom, wealth, passions, temptations, and anything that will deter us from being close to God. To leave behind our selfish ways and to empty ourselves, so that God’s will may abide in and work through us. As we state in the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy will be done”, it is God’s will that truly fulfills our lives.

First Wednesday of Great Lent

  • Evening
  • St. Matthew 6: 19-24
  • St. Luke16: 14-18
  • Morning
  • Genesis1: 14-18
  • Isaiah13: 6-13
  • St. James 2 : 1 – 13
  • Romans 2:7-24
  • St. Matthew 6: 25-34
Take this lent as the most rigorous one. Let he forgive us and bless us.

Your Servant In Lord

Lino Varghese Abraham
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