Friday, June 30, 2017

The Great Spirit Prayer

I was talking to a brother on the phone and we were just sharing at how amazing God answers our prayers. Then I remember this prayer that I am going to share with you. A very beautiful prayer that speaks so much about reverence of God, seeing Him in the beauty of nature and actually receiving answers from the ways of His creation. It was attributed to Yellow Hawk, a Sioux Chief. It is called The Great Spirit Prayer. Here it is:

“Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, whose breath gives life to all the world. Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.

Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others. Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me. I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - Myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes. So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.”

If I may add a little more, let me pray: May we learn the ways of nature O God, because they are footprints of Your great plans for us. Amen.

by aats

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

“Knowing Their Hypocrisy”

The gospel reading today taken from Mark 12:13-17, tells about how some priests and elders tried to set up Jesus by asking some tricky question. They asked, “Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, yes or no?” Jesus seeing through their hypocrisy said to them, “Why do you set this trap for me? Hand me a denarius and let me see it.” They handed him one and he said, “Whose head is this? Whose name?” “Caesar” they told him. Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.” This reply took them completely by surprise.

The first reading from Tobit 2:9-14, tells the story of a righteous man named Tobit, who became blind. One day he heard a kid bleat. He told his wife to return it for he said they have no right to eat stolen goods. His wife said that it was given to her but he did not believe. The wife then said, ““Where are your charities and your righteous deeds? You seem to know everything!”

It is easy to admire or judge a person because of spoken words, but ultimately real motives will be known. In the 1st reading, it was not Tobits righteous anger that made him mad at his wife, it was his situation, he was blind and probably in a stressful and depressing condition. As with the gospel, it was not really about righteous question that they ask Jesus but about setting him in a trap. What is our take home on this?

1.   We might consider holding back judgment of why this person is acting like that and consider first there background and situation because there might be some condition that made him/her react in that way.

2.   It pays to be discerning when confronted with tricky question and situation least we fall into the trap.

3.   God knows what is in our hearts. No amount of eloquence can hide the truth. No amount of righteous talks can hide the motives of the heart. No amount of articulation can save us from our lies.

Nothing hidden that will not be known. He knows everything including our hypocrisy.

by aats 

Monday, May 29, 2017

When The Time Comes

Everyday we do our routine in life. We wake up, work and earn a living, have some little vacation here and there, sleep and then do again the routine. Seldom do we actually venture beyond the known things we do. We let the world go by without even seeing the beauty around us. We are so concerned about the future that we forget to live today.

It is in this preoccupation of earning a living that we seldom see the God who has given us everything. It is important to acknowledge the God who made us and brought us to where we are today, or we might end up not maximizing the life he has given us. We have admired so many actors and actresses, successful businessmen and leaders only to find some of them gone into depression and some even took there own life. Why is that so? Why these men, successful in the eyes of men, almost have everything to live a happy life, took their own lives? They were busy with earning a living and fulfilling there own wants that they forgot to see God who has actually offering them beyond the things they thought can make them fulfilled.

As in the days of Noah and Jesus, so it is today, people go on life without living. When the end of life comes, unexpectedly, and we come face to face with God, it is too late already to appreciate the life He has given us.

Reflection question:

What are the ways I can do to see the fullness of life that God wants for me today?

by aats

Monday, May 22, 2017

Finding Faults

Matthew 11:16-19

John came without eating and drinking and they accused him of being possessed, and here comes Jesus, who eats and drinks and was accused a glutton, drunkard and friend of tax collectors.

The gospel reading from Matthew 11:16-19 echoes the same attitudes that sometimes still comes up in us, the tendency to look at only at what is wrong instead of looking what the other has done right. Just because we always see a certain person doing the same old bad habits, we already judge him to the point that when he does good things, we still find fault in what he has done.

It is not so much about brushing aside the wrongs, but more about acknowledging the good things the person has done.

The reading from Isaiah 48:17-19, if paraphrased today, says, “I am the God who had taught you for your own good and lead you to the place I have planned for you. If only you had listened to my instructions, you could have been fulfilling your dreams that I dreamed for you as well. If only you had just listened to me, but you choose to focus on others and what they are doing instead of focusing on me. You could have lived a full satisfying life, with a family that will keep your name long before you are gone.”

We might as well take note of this message before we ourselves will say “If only…” Before it’s too late, let us focus on what is good in others and encourage them to continue doing the same, instead of focusing on their faults and discouraging them. Let us build one another instead of tearing apart.  There are so many things to do than just faultfinding.

by aats