In Defense of Mother Church

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THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING

There was a bird who lived in the desert; very sick, no feathers, nothing to eat and drink, no shelter to live and kept on cursing his life day and night.

One day, an Angel  of god was crossing from that desert. The bird stopped the Angel and inquired “where are you going?” Angel replied ” I am going to meet God”.

So bird asked angel ‘please ask God when my suffering will come to an end?’ Angel said ” sure, I will” and bid good bye to bird. The Angel reached God’s place and shared the message of the bird to Him.

Angel told Him how pathetic the condition of the bird is and inquired when the suffering of the bird will end. God replied “For the next seven life times, the bird has to suffer like this, no happiness till then”.

The Angel said when bird hears this, he will get disheartened. Could You suggest any solution for this?

God replied: Tell him to recite this mantra “Thank you God for everything”. Angel met the bird again and delivered the message of God to the bird.

After seven days, the Angel passed the same path again and saw that bird was so happy; feathers had grown on his body, a small plant grew up in the desert area, a small pond of water was also there, the bird was singing and dancing cheerfully. Angel was astonished as to how this happened, ‘God said for seven life times, there is no happiness for the bird’… with this question in mind, He went to visit God again.

The Angel asked his query then God replied: “Yes, it was written there will be no happiness for the bird for seven life times but because the bird was reciting the mantra “Thank you God for everything” the situation has changed”.

When bird fell down on the hot sand, it said “thank you God for everything”. When it could not fly, it said “thank you God for everything”. Similarly, whatever the situation, the bird kept on repeating “Thank you God for everything” and therefore the seven life times’ karma got dissolved in seven days”.

I adopted this mantra in my life. Whatever the situation I faced, I started reciting this mantra ‘THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING’. It helped me to shift my view from what I did not have to what I have in my life.

Give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:18)

desert bird

Once there was this very wealthy young man. He lived in a great, elaborate house with dozens of rooms. Each room was more comfortable and more beautiful than the one before it. One day he decided to invite the Lord to come and stay with him.
When the Lord arrived, this young man offered him the very best room in the house. The room was upstairs and at the end of the hall.
“This room is yours, Jesus!
Stay as long as you like and you can do whatever you want to in this room, remember Jesus, it’s all yours.” “Thank you” the Lord replied, and with that the man shut the door and went about his daily business.
That evening after he had retired for the night there came a loud knocking at the front door.
The young man pulled on his robe and made his way downstairs. When he opened the door he found that the devil had sent three of his demons to attack the man.
He quickly tried to close the door but one of the demons kept sticking his foot in. Sometime later, after a great struggle, he managed to slam the door shut and returned to his room totally exhausted.
“Can you believe that!” the man thought,
“Jesus is upstairs in my very best room sleeping while I am down here battling demons. Oh, well, maybe he just didn’t hear.”
He slept fitfully that night. The next day things went along as normal and, being as tired as he was, the young man retired early that evening.
Along about midnight, there came such a terrible ruckus at the front door that the young man was sure that whatever it was would tear the door down. He stumbled down the stairs once again and opened the door to find that there were dozens of demons now trying to get into his beautiful home.
For more than three hours he fought and struggled against the demons from hell and finally overpowered them enough to shut the door against their attack.
All energy seemed to fail him. “I really don’t understand this at all. Why won’t the Lord come to my rescue? Why does he allow me to fight all by myself? I feel so alone.”
Troubled he found his way to the sofa and fell exhausted into a restless sleep.
The next morning he decided to inquire of the Lord about the happenings of the last two evenings. Quietly he made his way to the elegant bedroom where he had left Jesus. “Jesus,” he called as he tapped at the door.
“Lord, I don’t understand what is happening. For the last two nights I have had to fight the demons away from my door while you laid up here sleeping. Don’t you care about me? Did I not give you the very best room in house?” He could see the tears building in Jesus’ eyes but continued on, “I just don’t understand. I really thought that once I invited you in to live with me that you would take care of me and I gave you the best room in my house and everything. What more can I do?”
“My precious child,” Jesus spoke so softly.
” I do love and care for you. I protect all that you have released into my care. But when you invited me to come here and stay, you brought me to this lovely room and you shut the door to the rest of your house. I am Lord of this room but I am not Master of this house. I have protected this room and no demon may enter here.”
“Oh, Lord, please forgive me. Take all of my house – it is yours – I am so sorry that I never offered you all to begin with. I want you to have control of everything.”
With this he flung open the bedroom door and knelt at Jesus’ feet. “Please forgive me Lord for being so selfish.”
Jesus smiled and told him that He had already forgiven him and that He would take care of things from now on. That night as the young man prepared for bed he thought to himself, ” I wonder if those demons will return. I am so tired of fighting them each and every night.”
But he knew that Jesus said that he would take care of things from now on.
Along about midnight the banging on the door was frightening. The young man slipped out of his room in time to see Jesus going down the stairs. He watched in awe as Jesus swung open the door, no need to be afraid. Satan stood at the door this time demanding to be let in. “What do you want, Satan?” the Lord asked.
The devil bowed low in the presence of the Lord, “So Sorry, I seem to have gotten the wrong address.” And with that, he and the demons all ran away.
There is a moral to this tale. Jesus wants all of you, not just a part. He will give you victory over all that you give Him. How much of your heart have you given to the Lord? Are you keeping a portion of it away from Him?
Perhaps the attacks are coming more and more each day. Why not let the Lord fight the battles for you? He is always victorious.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

st faustinaSaint M. Faustina Kowalska

On October 5, 1938, a young religious by the name Sister Faustina (Helen Kowalska) died in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland. She came from a very poor family that had struggled hard on their little farm during the terrible years of WWI. Sister had had only three years of very simple education. Hers were the humblest of tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or the vegetable garden, or as a porter.

On February 22, 1931, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to this simple nun, bringing with Him a wonderful message of Mercy for all mankind. Saint Faustina tells us in her diary under this date:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord
Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing,
the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening
of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one
red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord;
my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After
a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern
you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’”

Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her:

“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous;
the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These
two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at
that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the
Cross....Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for
the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”

Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987 Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Why to save them?

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town.

One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak….

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging his bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.

“Take ‘em home and have fun with ‘em,” he answered. I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers to make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ‘em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister.

They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again.

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill.

He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot.

Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation.

Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ‘em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ‘em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you.

They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much? He asked again.  Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!”

Then He paid the price. The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.

So we have Easter

A little boy had to stay home from Church because he had a cold.  After the service, his older sister came home, waving her palm frond in the air.  “What’s that?”  asked the little boy.

She answered smugly, “We wave these in the air and then put them on the ground to welcome Jesus.”

The boy started wailing and fled the room.  When his mother held him and asked what was wrong, he said through his tears, “The one Sunday I don’t go to Church, Jesus showed up!”

 

Are you ready?  Will you be there?

 Today is the first day of the most exciting, harrowing, tragic, grief stricken and ultimately joyous week of our year.  Don’t miss it. Show up, take the Lord’s hand and begin the journey.  Palm Sunday image for website

The ‘most stupid’ boy in the world

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer. This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.” The barber puts a five rupee coin in one hand and two one rupee coins (1+1=2) in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the two one rupee coins and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!”

Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take two one rupee coins instead of five rupee coin?” The boy licked his cone and replied, “BECAUSE THE DAY I TAKE THE FIVE RUPEE COIN, THE GAME IS OVER.

holding ice cream conesBut I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Mathew 5: 22)

bird protecting young

God’s Wings

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage.  One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree.

Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies.

Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast….because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

He will cover you with His feathers,

and under His wings you will find refuge. (Psalm 91: 4)

special olympics for website

What matters is not winning,but helping others to win

A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100 yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy. They slowed down and looked back. They all turned around and went back. Every one of them. One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said,”This will make it better.” All nine linked arms and walked across the finish line together. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.

People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know one thing. What matters most in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What truly matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

There is no greater love than this, to give ones life for one’s friends.  (John 15:13)

You can live, I be your legs

Bob Butler lost his legs in a 1965 land mine explosion in Vietnam. He returned home a war hero. Twenty years later, he proved once again that heroism comes from the heart. Butler was working in his garage on a hot summer day; when he heard a woman’s screams coming from a nearby house. He began rolling his wheelchair toward the house but the dense shrubbery wouldn’t allow him access to the back door. So he got out of his chair and started to crawl through the dirt and bushes.

“I had to get there”, he says. “It didn’t matter how much it hurt”. When Butler arrived at the pool there was a three-year-old girl named Stephanie Hanes lying at the bottom. She had been born without arms and had fallen in the water and couldn’t swim. Her mother stood over her baby screaming frantically. Butler dove to the bottom of the pool and brought little Stephanie up to the deck. Her face was blue, she had no pulse and was not breathing.

Butler immediately went to work performing CPR to revive her while Stephanie’s mother telephoned the fire department. She was told the paramedics were already out on a call. Helplessly, she sobbed.

As Butler continued with his CPR, he calmly reassured her. Don’t worry, he said. “I was her arms to get out of the pool. It’ll be okay. I am now her lungs. Together we can make it”.

Seconds later the little girl coughed, regained consciousness, and began to cry. As they rejoiced together the mother asked Butler how he knew it would be okay. The truth is, “I didn’t know”, he told her. “But when my legs were blown off in the war, I was all alone in a field. No one was there to help except a little Vietnamese girl. As she struggled to drag me into her village, she whispered in broken English, ‘It okay. You can live. I be your legs. Together we make it.” Her kind words brought hope to my soul and I wanted to do the same for Stephanie.

There are simply those times when we cannot stand alone. There are those times when we need someone to be our legs, our arms, our friend.

What costs some knowledge?

A giant ship engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom. Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars. “What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!” So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.”

The man sent a bill that read:

Tapping with a hammer……  $ 2.00

Knowing where to tap……… $ 9,998.00

Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all the difference! Don’t give up!

True Lenten Discipline

Fast from judging others;

Feast on Christ dwelling in them.

Fast from emphasis on differences;

Feast on the unity of all life.

Fast from apparent darkness;

Feast on the reality of all light.

Fast from thoughts of illness;

Feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute;

Feast on phrases that purify.

Fast from discontent;

Feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger;

Feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism;

Feast on optimism.

Fast from worry;

Feast on God’s providence.

Fast from complaining;

Feast on appreciation.

Fast from negatives;

Feast on affirmatives.

Fast from unrelenting pressures;

Feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from hostility;

Feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness;

Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern;

Feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety;

Feast on eternal truth.

Fast from discouragement;

Feast on hope.

Fast from facts that depress;

Feast on verities that uplift.

Fast from lethargy;

Feast on enthusiasm.

Fast from suspicion;

Feast on truth.

Fast from thoughts that weaken;

Feast on promises that inspire.

Fast from shadows of sorrow;

Feast on the sunlight of serenity.

Fast from idle gossip;

Feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from problems that overwhelm;

Feast on prayer that sustains.

finish strong quote

andes woman carrying baby down mountain

Loves finds a means

There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them back up into the mountains.

The lowlanders didn’t know how to climb the mountain. They didn’t know any of the trails that the mountain people used, and they didn’t know where to find the mountain people or how to track them in the steep terrain. Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountain and bring the baby home.

The men tried first one method of climbing and then another. They tried one trail and then another. After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only several hundred feet. Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.

As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them. They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn’t figured out how to climb. And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back. How could that be?

One man greeted her and said, “We couldn’t climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn’t do it?”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It wasn’t your baby.”

pushing a boulder

Push Until Something Happens

One man had a great desire to please God. He prayed day and night and once he heard the voice from above saying: “I want you to go and push that large stone.”

The man woke up and was so inspired. He ran to find the stone and started pushing it. He pushed and pushed, but nothing happened. He kept pushing the rock all day long.

The next day he did the same, but the stone did not move at all. For three months the man kept pushing the huge boulder. Finally he got tired and stopped pushing.

That night he had another dream, and he heard the voice saying:

“Why did you stop pushing the stone?”

“Nothing happened and the boulder is still there,” – answered the man.

“Nothing happened? Look at you! You have become so much more focused and stronger. You built up your muscles. You are a changed man now! Pushing has transformed you! Besides, I did not tell you to move the stone. I just told you to push it. When the time comes, I’ll move it Myself!”

As you see, at times hardships in your life are there to make you stronger and to change you. They are not there for you to deal away with them. When the time comes, your deliverance will be from the Lord.

captain of carpathia with crew

The Unseen Hands For Those Who Are Ready To Help

There were three ships which were nearby when the Titanic sunk. One of them was known as the Sampson.

It was 7 miles away from the Titanic and they saw the white flares signaling danger, but because the crew had been hunting seals illegally and didn’t want to be caught, they turned and went the opposite direction away from the Titanic. This ship represents us and people like us if we are so busy looking inward at our own sin and lives that we can’t recognize when someone else is in need.

The next ship was the Californian. This ship was only 14 miles away from the Titanic, but they were surrounded by ice fields and the captain looked out and saw the white flares, but because the conditions weren’t favorable and it was dark, he decided to go back to bed and wait until morning. The crew tried to convince themselves that nothing was happening. This ship represents those of us who say I can’t do anything now. The conditions aren’t right for it and so we wait until conditions are perfect before going out.

The last ship was the Carpathia. This ship was actually headed in a southern direction 58 miles away from the Titanic when they heard the distress cries over the radio. The captain of this ship knelt down, prayed to God for direction and then turned the ship around and went full steam ahead through the ice fields. This was the ship that saved the 705 survivors of the Titanic.

When the captain looked back at the ice fields they had come through, he said Someone else’s hands must have been at the helm of this ship! This ship represents those who would pray to God for direction and then go without hesitation.

IF GOD IS WITH US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US (Rom 8: 31)

groceries

Generosity

“My boss drove a luxury car everyday and it was my duty to greet him and to open the gates for him, as I worked as a watchman in his villa. But he never responded back to my greetings.

One day he saw me opening the garbage bags outside the villa in search for any leftover food. But, as usual he never even looked at me, it was like as if he never saw anything!

The very next day I saw a paper bag at the same place, but it was clean and the food inside was covered well. It was fresh and good food like someone had just brought it from the supermarket. I didn’t bother as to where it came from, I just took the paper bag and I was so happy about it.

Every day I found this paper bag at the same place with fresh vegetables and all that we needed for home. This became my daily routine. I was eating and sharing this food with my wife and kids. I was wondering who this fool could be?! To forget his paper bag full of fresh food everyday.

One day there was a big problem in the villa and I was told that my boss has died. There were too many guests coming to the villa that day and I didn’t get any food that day, so I thought that one of the guests must have taken it. But the same thing happened the 2nd day, the 3rd day and the 4th day.

It went on like this for a few weeks and I found it difficult to provide food for my family, so I decided to ask the wife of my boss for a raise in my salary or else I would quit my job as a watchman.

After I told her, she was shocked, and asked me, how come you never complained about your salary for the last 2 years? And why is this salary not enough for you now? I gave her so many excuses but she was never convinced!

Finally in the end, I decided to tell her the truth, I told her the entire story of the bag of groceries, and as to how it was my daily provision. She then asked me as to when this stopped? I told her after the death of her husband. And then I realized that I stopped seeing the paper bag immediately after the death of my boss. Why didn’t I ever think of this before? That it was my boss who was providing this for me? I guess it was because I never thought that a person who never replied to my greetings could ever be this generous!

His wife started to cry and I told her to please stop crying and that I’m really sorry that I asked for a raise, I didn’t know that it was your husband who was providing me with the meals, I’ll remain as a watchman and be happy to provide my service.

His wife told me, I’m crying because I’ve finally found the 7th person my husband was giving this bag full of food. I knew my husband was giving 7 people everyday, I had already found the 6 people, and all these days I was searching for the 7th person. And today I found out.

From that day onwards, I started to receive the bag full of food again, but this time his son was bringing it to my house and giving it to my hand. But whenever I thanked him, he never replied! Just like his dad!

One day, I told him THANK YOU in a very loud voice! He replied back to me to please not be offended when he doesn’t reply, because he has a hearing problem, just like his dad!”

Oh! We have been wrong so many times judging others without knowing the true story behind their actions. Be kind and courteous in dealing with others, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. Be careful, not everything is about you. Before you assume, there is this thing called ASKING.

Don’t just jump to conclusion, because that is truly not an exercise, it may cause you more harm at the end of the day. Many of our problems are caused by how we process what happens around us. Don’t judge a situation you have never been in. Be humble enough to learn. You do not know it all. Lets change the way we feel about ourselves and others.

There are two sides to a story: Don’t believe everything you hear. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

adoration of the magi peter paul reubens for website

Maria Valtorta, POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Chapter 34.

The Adoration of the Wise Men

   

   …Mary is sitting with the Child in Her lap and Joseph is standing near Her.  But She also gets up and bows when She sees the Magi entering.  She is all dressed in white.  She is so beautiful in Her plain white dress which covers Her from Her neck down to Her feet, from Her shoulders to Her slender wrists.  She is so beautiful with Her head crowned with Her blond plaits, Her face more rosy for the emotion, with Her eyes smiling so sweetly while Her mouth gives a greeting: "May God be with you", that the three Magi stop for a moment, completely astonished.  They then proceed and prostrate themselves at Her feet…

   

…The three Wise Men contemplate the Child, Who I think must be nine to twelve months old.  He is so lively and strong.  He is sitting on His Mother's lap and smiles and prattles with a shrill voice like a little bird.  He is all dressed in white like His Mother, with tiny sandals on His little feet.  His dress is a very simple one: a small tunic, from which His restless feet protrude, and His plump little hands which would like to get hold of everything, and above all, a most beautiful little face in which two dark blue eyes shine, and a pretty mouth with dimples at the sides shows its first tiny teeth when it smiles.  His pretty little curls are so bright and soft that they seem gold dust.

    

   The oldest of the Magi speaks on behalf of them all.  He explains to Mary that one night the previous December, they saw a new star of an unusual brightness appear in the sky.  The maps of the sky had never shown or mentioned such a star.  Its name was unknown because it had no name…

    

   They had seen it and had striven to understand its meaning.  They were happy to give up the little sleep they usually granted themselves and forgetting even their food, they devoted themselves entirely to studying the zodiac.  And the conjunctions of the stars, the time, the season, the calculation of the hours passed and of the astronomic combinations had told them the name and secret of the star.  Its name: "Messiah".  Its secret: "The Messiah had come to our world."  And they had set out to worship Him.  Each of them unknown to the others.  Over mountains, across deserts, along valleys and rivers, travelling by night they had come towards Palestine, because the star was moving in that direction.  Each of them unknown to the others.  For each of them, from three different points on earth, it was going in that direction.  And then they met beyond the Dead Sea.  God's will had gathered them there, and they then proceeded together, understanding one another, notwithstanding that each spoke his own language: by a miracle of the Eternal Father they were able to understand and speak the language of each country.

   …And they had come towards Bethlehem and as soon as they left the Holy City, the star had reappeared to them, and the night before their arrival in Bethlehem its brightness had increased;  the whole sky was ablaze.  Then the star had stopped over this house engulfing all the light of the other stars in its ray.  And they had understood that the Divine New-Born Baby was there.  And now they were worshipping Him, offering their gifts, and above all, their hearts, which never cease thanking God for the grace granted to them;  neither would they ever stop loving His Son Whose holy human body they had now seen.  Later they intened to go back to king Herod, because he also wanted to adore Him…

     

   …She lays Him in the arms of the oldest one, who kisses Him and receives His caress, and he then hands Him over to the other two…

     

   …The three Men go down the steps.  The caravan is already there waiting for them.  The horses' studs shine in the setting sun.  People have gathered in the little square watching the unusual sight.

     Jesus laughs clapping His hands.  His Mother has lifted Him up on the wide parapet of the landing and is holding Him against Her breast with Her arm so that He may not fall.  Joseph has gone down with the Magi and is holding the stirrup to each of them while they mount their horses and the camel.

     Servants and masters are now all on horseback.  The starting command is given.  The three Men bow down as low as the necks of their mounts in a final gesture of homage.  Joseph bows down.  Also Mary bows and then She guides Jesus' hand again in a gesture of goodbye and blessing…

geese in snow storm

The geese and the snow storm

There was once a man who did not believe in either the virgin birth of Christ or the spiritual meaning behind it, and was skeptical even about God. He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her belief and mocked her religious observances.

“It’s all nonsense -- why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It’s such a ridiculous story,” he said.

One snowy day, she and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had departed, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window... And, still another thump. He looked outside but could not see anything. So he ventured outside for a better view. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of geese. They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but they had been caught in the snowstorm. The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, the barn would be a great place for them to stay. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he opened the barn doors for them.

He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. Nevertheless, they did not notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear.

He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still did not catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter. Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, “Why don’t they follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just would not follow a human. He said to himself, “How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them. Then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety.”

At that moment, he stopped and considered what he had said. The words reverberated in his mind: If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them. Then, at last, he understood God’s heart towards mankind... and he fell on his knees in the snow.

the dream of great trees for website

Dreams of Three Great Trees

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”  Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”  Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”  

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When  he came to the first tree he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter” … and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.  

At the second tree a woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.  

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll take this one”, and he cut it down.”  

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.  The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.  

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.  

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.  

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.  

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

electric train christmas morning

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

Though money didn’t flow as freely as the rain that winter, my parents worked with joyful anticipation to give my brother and me a Christmas present we would never forget. They scrimped for months and then spent more than they could probably afford for a Marx electric train.

Then the day before Christmas, a cousin stationed at a nearby military base pulled into the driveway. Opening the trunk of his car he lifted out a large heavy box. My brother and I could hardly wait to see what it was. On Christmas morning we opened it first. Eagerly we unwrapped an expensive new electric train set. Wow! You had to pull us down off the ceiling. A Lionel train, too! Then we opened the presents from our parents–another electric train. Ho hum. And not nearly as extravagant as the one from our cousin. Guess whose we played with most?

Mom and Dad were hurt. The outlay for an unmarried Air Force lieutenant was nothing compared to the sacrifice my parents had made. But all we saw was the glamour of an expensive train. We counted our parents’ gift as merely a nice accessory...

Our heavenly Father spends many a disappointing Christmas. Amidst the glittering ornaments and flashing Christmas lights, the hurry and hustle of shopping and wrapping and family get-togethers, parties and presents, trees and turkeys–who really cares about His gift? What gets more attention from us: our Father’s gift of life in Jesus Christ or the quickly-wrapped department store gifts from our cousins?

Thank You, Father, for Jesus. Thank You for the abundant life that we, His disciples, can enjoy now. Thank You for sending us a most expensive gift–Your own life. Thank You!

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