29th July 2017
My Experience in the Prison Ministry of India
“I was in prison and you visited me.” Mt 25:36
To do any good to the least of our brothers or sisters is equal to doing it to our Lord Jesus Himself (Mt 25:40). And prisoners are counted among the least and they are people without faces. They have no identities or dignities. Even their names are replaced with numbers. More often they are looked at with suspicion or hatred and viewed as mere criminals.
At times it looks justified to hate them and isolate them. But for a disciple of Jesus, His commandment rings clear and true: Love everyone, including your enemies and pray for all. It is also a worthy reminder that Jesus died for us even when we did not deserve it. He took upon himself all our sins and made atonement for us by his death on the cross. Being his disciples we are to portray him to our world. We need to learn to look at everyone as God does. Let us look at everyone, including the prisoners with merciful eyes. That is what I remind myself every time I visit the prison. The moment we begin to look at them without any preconceived prejudices they present to us a different picture. We begin to realize that they are human and that they suffer much in prison. The loneliness kills them. Guilt and shame eat up their very being. They feel they are lost and redemption is never a possibility. The suffering is complete in every sense. They suffer physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
There is still another group in prison who unjustly suffer the imprisonment. Their stories are all the more tragic. Some suffer for the lack of money to get the bail. In such cases, the Sanjeevani Foundation-Prison Ministry India offers help in many ways possible. In certain cases we help them with legal aid and in some cases we help them gain bail by assisting them with financial support. The visit itself is a great help for the prisoners. They get a chance to voice out their opinions even when they have limited freedom. They feel they are treated like fellow human beings and there is someone to care for them and for their families. To attest the point, let me state an example. We had a prisoner who was never visited by his family members. He was completely given up by his family. PMI took that as a challenge and visited his family. Our visits bore the desired result. They accepted the misfortune and saw the person for what he was. Now they visit him regularly. Reconciliation is achieved and PMI played a decisive part in it.
The three motives of the prison ministry can be summarised as ‘Three R’s. They are: Release,
Renewal/Reformation and Rehabilitation. These are not three consecutive stages. They can overlap into the other. PMI works towards the release of the prisoners. This is an integral release we are speaking about. The prisoner is to be released from his/her old self and old ways. The prisoner is to be released from his/her guilt and shame. His/her release is always aimed at proper resettlement. The prisoner should be able to lead a normal life free from all bondage. This is not an easy task. The reason is that this calls for the reformation. The prisoner is to reform himself/herself; reconcile with his/her past; the people around him/her should accommodate him/her. This calls for enormous efforts and is a herculean task. But with the Lord everything is possible. And so we rely on prayers and it has yielded good results. Once the reconciliation and reformation is done, the resettlement is relatively easy. In the process of resettlement sometimes we assist them with financial support.
Besides working towards release, reformation and rehabilitation the ministry also tries its best to assuage the sufferings of prisoners even when they remain within the darkness of prison walls. We make regular visits and make them feel cared for. This is done in a concrete manner by organizing medical camps, by conducting some competitions, by helping to build a library in the female section of the prison (Atharwadi), by helping them to pray, by visiting the families of prisoners when possible etc. “Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done it to me” (Mt 25:40). And following the commandment the modern day Saint Mother Theresa said that she saw Jesus in every dying and sick person. And that made it easy to tend the stinky and festering wounds of the suffering person. It is the same with us. The moment we see Jesus in the least of the brothers/sisters – the prisoners – the work among them is made easy and spiritually enriching. Let us all remember that our Lord Jesus was once a prisoner.
- Sr. Dhanam Mary, Kalyan Hospital
29th July 2017
Under His Wings
You relax in an aeroplane, though you do not know the pilot; You relax in a ship, though you do not know the captain; You relax in the train without knowing the motorman; You relax in the bus not knowing the driver;
Why don’t you relax in your life while you know that God is its controller?
Do we know Him intimately? Do we believe in His power? Who is God for us?
Is He your Most High God, All sufficient One, Master, Lord of Peace, the Lord who will Provide? Is He your Father? God knows us by our name; shouldn’t we know HIM by His name?
The Scripture reveals God through His Names. The meanings behind God’s names reveal the central personality and nature of the One who bears them. God has many names mentioned in the Bible. Each one has a particular meaning. What are some of the most powerful names of God and their associated meaning?
1. ELOHIM – God’s First Name Revealed
The first name that God revealed to us comes in the Book of Genesis. It is ELOHIM and in Genesis 1:1 it refers to the Trinity for ELHOIM is plural when God created mankind, He said “Let Us make man in Our own image, according to Our likeness” (Gen 1:26a). ELOHIM is God in Three Persons.
2. YHWH- I AM
This is the name revealed to Moses when Moses asked what name he should give to the Israelites if they asked what His name was. God told Moses to tell them, “I AM that I AM” or I am the Self-Existent, the Uncreated, meaning that “I have always been and will always be.”
3. ADONAI – The Lord is Master
The Hebrew name ADONAI in English means Lord or Master. It describes the Lordship of God over us as individuals. Adon in Hebrew means master, steward, overseer, or Lord.
4. JEHOVAH JIREH – The Lord Will Provide
Genesis 22; God provided a ram to be sacrificed after the Angel of the Lord stopped the knife in Abraham’s hand from killing Isaac. This was prophetic too because the Lord God would provide the Perfect and Supreme Sacrifice of the Lamb of God in Jesus Christ.
5. EL SHADDIA – The Almighty God
EL is part of God’s name and when you add SHADDIA you are literally saying God Almighty or the God of the Mountains. God is not only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but of the entire world…of all the nations. When Abraham and Sarah were past natural child-bearing age, God told Him that “I AM Almighty God [EL SHADDIA]” EL SHADDIA is sovereign over all the earth, over all the nations, over all things in fact.
6. JEHOVAH SHALOM – The Lord is Peace
Peace is good. Wrath is not. JEHOVAH SHALOM is used in Judges 6:24 where “Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace [JEHOVAH SHALOM]. The Lord is Peace for those who are His own; otherwise He is opposed to you (James 4:6).
7. JEHOVAH ROHI – The Lord is my Shepherd
This is the name given by David when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. If the Lord is your Shepherd [JEHOVAH ROHI], then He will make you to lie down in green pastures. His rod (for protection) and His staff (for keeping the sheep in the flock) will comfort you. He will lead you to calm waters and you can drink from the living water. His righteousness ,goodness and mercy will follow us as we walk in this path.
We may all have unique names of God which we prefer to address in our personal conversation with God. In our prayers, we pray to Him in the many names given to us which are the attributes of His Holiness, Omnipotence (all powerful), Omnipresence (present everywhere) and Omniscience (all knowing). Thus with an unbounded trust and filial confidence let’s trust Him and entrust ourselves unto HIM.
- Madurai Community
29th July 2017
Education is for life not only for living
“Sisters, you taught us how to lead a life as human being. Thank you.” was the message I received a few days ago from Jeyashri, my student, from RCM School, Chennai along with a picture of a class room situation. She was the topper in the school and now she is doing her graduation and occasionally she expresses her gratitude whenever we happened to meet.
Education somehow have become only for marks and money to the student and parents. The educational institutions cater to their needs because the school needs to keep going with all its well furnished infrastructures. The news papers today are filled with advertisement for admission to schools colleges and universities as there are no sufficient number of students.
The students who come out of such institutions get good jobs with a fat salary. Unfortunately he has lost the human aspect of love, care, respect, being helpful, making sacrifices, being generous and a leading a sound family life. There is a narrow flavor in his thinking and in his being. As a result of this we have an imbalanced society.
Today, Chennai city is facing an acute problem for water as there is no rain. The price of drinking water and the containers to carry water have gone up and people search for water with pots in their hands. The common municipality taps are crowded and often we find people having no patience to wait for their turn. Due to severe heat no one can be on the roads during the day.Now, the older and wiser people are thinking what to do and how long are we going to be in Chennai for our survival. Everyone is in need of rain today. We look at the clouds these days with great hope. But it goes away silently without thunder, lightning and an out pour.
God created all that there were before. Man created all that there is today. The face of earth is disfigured as we have thrown the acid of pollution, cut down the trees, over used the plastics and thrown on the face of our mother earth. Man, the crown of all creation has become a thorn to every creation. ‘Right Education’ is the only means to instill in the students to lead a value based life to live harmoniously with one another, take care of the universe and contribute something of his to the world to enhance the creation. The teachers needs to be a role models in their lives and in their teaching.
- Sr. M.Thaines Mary, Avadi
16th June 2017
SANJEEVANI FOUNDATION- LOURDES COMMUNITY CENTRE, KALYAN
Sanjeevani Foundation a social wing of Lourdes Community Centre in Kalyan city, is a premier institution that was established on 20th July 2005, to cater to the social needs of the Kalyan residents. Necessity is the mother of invention and innovation –So Sanjeevani foundation is a child of the unprecedented floods that swept away the entire Kalyan city – an apt name for the organisation. ‘Sanjeevani’ because it gave new life.
Sanjeevani’s vision is to establish a just and sustainable society where values of love, equality and peace are lived and nurtured. It’s mission is to restore human dignity of the poor and the marginalised through a process of empowerment and development.
Sanjeevani has always believed that “Service to humanity is service to the Lord”. Driven with this desire, Sanjeevani has undertaken several activities over these years. The activities undertaken at a glance:
1. Women Empowerment – Sanjeevani organises awareness programmes to create social awareness among the women in order to build up their self esteem and to provide them with skills to make them self reliant and confident so that they can lead their lives with respect and dignity.
2. Counselling: People dealing with matrimonial issues, parenting, family disputes etc. as well as domestic workers, students etc. are offered counselling at Sanjeevani.
3. Legal Aid cell: Sanjeevani also provides legal aid through its Advocate, to people having legal issues and helps the people to settle their disputes amicably. Legal awareness training sessions are organised for the para social workers and the women’s group in order to equip them with the basic legal knowledge about their rights and duties.
4. NIOS – Among the multi various activities taken by the institution, the apex one is the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). NIOS is an attempt to give social dropouts a chance to complete their studies and join the main stream. It also provides a golden opportunity for children who are facing learning disabilities, lack of attention and concentration; children with financial problems; children who are family discards and children who are facing stress, a chance to enable these children to feel confident as normal kids, provide them life skills so that they are not branded as abnormal children and enable them to earn a living. With this vision, Sanjeevani has set out in its mission of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of underprivileged and unfortunate children, by offering coaching for students of X and XII std.. Every year about 50-60 students enrol themselves for NIOS. This difficult and noble task is handled by our dedicated and committed teachers who are driven by a sense of service to the Society and not by any monetary consideration.
We are proud to say that many of our students have secured good jobs and are doing very well in their careers. We would like to cite here a few success stories of our NIOS students:
- Abhinath (name changed), a child who had lost his father at a very young age and who had severe financial problems at home, joined the first batch of NIOS in Sanjeevani. We are proud to say that Abhinath passed his exams with flying colours and is a Chartered Accountant today.
- Hilda (name changed) came from a very poor family background who was forced to discontinue her education at Std.VIII for lack of funds. After enrolling herself in NIOS, she completed her std. XII at Sanjeevani and went on further to complete her B.A. and is presently pursuing her M.S.W. and also working in an organisation.
- Veena (name changed), a domestic worker from the age of 7, approached Sanjeevani when she was 14 years of age. Through her dedication and hard work she acquired education from NIOS at Sanjeevani and today she is doing her Teachers Training course for a better and bright future.
The foundation is extremely proud of their success and is grateful to the teachers for their dedication, devotion and commitment.
5. Prison Ministry – “Renew a Prisoner Today, Better The World Tomorrow”. With this Motto in mind, Sanjeevani is deeply involved in the Prison Ministry at Kalyan. Prison Ministry India (PMI) is a national voluntary organisation working for the release, reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners started in the year 1986.
The main work of PMI volunteers at Kalyan, both inside and outside the prison are as follows:-
Inside the prisons:
- Personal Counselling and Moral instructions
- Letter writing for personal concern and healing the broken hearts
- Setting up of a good library for mental growth and recreation
- Job oriented training programmes inside the prison such tailoring and needle work for women
- Providing recreational facilities and vocational training machines
- Conducting literary, arts and sports competition such as drawing, singing, essay writing, and drama and the winners are given prizes.
- Preparing the prisoners to write university exams
- Conducting medical camps
- Providing free legal aid
- Arranging spiritual discourses
Outside the prisons:
Our work does not end inside the prison but also covers extensively the life of a prisoner including his family even after his release. As we know, a prisoner is branded as a criminal irrespective of his status of committing or not committing a crime, society and sometimes their own families are not ready to accept them. This further fuels their criminal components in their character. Here PMI intervenes in their lives giving them hope in life. The Sanjeevani staff often visit the families of the prisoners and in some cases it supports the education of the prisoner’s children. In the year of Mercy, 7 people were released from the prison due to the efforts of the Prison Ministry.
6. Work in the Tribal villages: The situation of the Kathkari tribals in the villages is very saddening. They live in very poor conditions and most of them do not have land or any sustainable income. The health condition of the people is very poor and the men and women in the village are addicted to liquor, chewing gutka and tobacco etc. . The children too are deprived of the basic need of education. Recognising this need of the tribals, Sanjeevani embarked on its mission to reach out to this underprivileged and deprived class of people. Presently, Sanjeevani is working in five villages of Kalyan Taluka. The activities carried out in these villages are as follows:
- Support Classes: Sanjeevani conducts support classes for the children of these villages in order to impart quality education to them. About 120 children attend these classes regularly.
- Women Empowerment: Sanjeevani also works towards women empowerment through the women Self Help Groups (SHG). Total 600 women are in the group (Kalyan urban and Rural). Direct beneficiaries are women and their families are indirect beneficiaries. The SHG member’s develop discipline, conduct regular meetings, savings and credit activities.
- Health: Health Training was given to 23 tribal women and 20 women in Kalyan by the Health Promotion Trust on the topic of preventive health care. Four medical camps were conducted in two villages. In Naugaon village, 5 people were identified with leprosy and they are now undergoing treatment for the same with the support of Sanjeevani. 17 children are malnourished in the villages, for these children Nutrition powder is provided regularly.
- Others: Sanjeevani also helps the villagers with essential needs such as opening of bank accounts (Three tribal villages 50 accounts), applying for Antoday Ration Card (Below Poverty Line specially for Katkari tribals)) cards, 20 PAN cards are made.
- Vocational training: In Waholi village, through our intervention at present 3 girls are doing home nursing 4 boys are doing ITI at Muund through the help of Crompton. Also we are Proud of Anita Waghe, a widow with three children who completed Xth together with her daughter. She had been awarded by many and her real life is covered by Chitralakha magazine.
7. Anti Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We work for the elimination of violence against women and children. So far we have rescued 9 girls and one boy. We have imparted awareness programmes to 13 schools for teachers as well as students, Women groups and Religious communities.
We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become even more, aggressive and threatens individuals. Since it is an organised crime we felt the need for net working so we work with International Justice Mission (IJM). We support them in their rescue mission. We also work with rescued girls in Ulhasnagar Shelter home. In 2016, on Human Rights Day, we had organised a Rally in Kalyan to create awareness on human trafficking. The participants were 5 school children, Women groups, Nursing students, Religious Sisters and others.
Success Story: The joy of Christmas was when we rescued a girl from Virar Komal (Name changed) from Chattisghard who was trafficked 10 years ago from home. After the whole days relentless effort, we rescued her at 9.30 p.m on 25th December 2015. Her parents and uncle came from Chattisghard and took her back home. The reunion was a remarkable one. Every those who witnessed the reunion had tears of joy in their eyes.
8. Mid – day meal Scheme: The foundation provides nutritional meals to the children of Our Lady of Lourdes School through the Mid-day meal programme. This has created small jobs for a few, poor and needy women who prepare the meals, thereby making them self sufficient and financially independent. The centre also distributes food grains to the poor and needy families.
9. Prayer Meeting: On every Thursday, a prayer service is conducted in the centre for the prisoners and the volunteers in order to gain spiritual strength to carry out their mission.
10. Inter religious prayers are conducted on different occasions. During Diwali and Id.
11. Net working: Sanjeevani networks with different NGOs and works with different cells in the parish such as the Women’s cell, Prison Ministry cell, Civil and political cell, Inter Religious cell, Senior citizen’s cell etc. Ration Kruti Samiti(RKS) Shramik Mukti Sanghatan, Panchyet Probodhani Trust, Andhashradha Nirmulan Sameeti, International Justice Mission (IJM), Holy Cross Hospital, Prison Ministry India(PMI), ASIAN MOVEMENT OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING (AMRAT), Justice and Peace Trust (JPC), Centre for Social Action (CSA), Finance Arch diocese of Bombay, Anugragha, Snehasadan, Ashraya, Navjeevan etc.
12. Human Touch: There are many needs in our society and there are many who are in GREAT NEED of love, care, affection and support. Sanjeevani which means ‘New Life’ has been involved in reaching out to and touching the lives of those in dire need.
One such human being who is in constant need of our care and support is Diana Fernandes, who is presently living in the Rehabilitation Centre at Bangalore Humanitarian Home. We would to like share the story of this unfortunate girl who came to Sanjeevani office one fine morning with a bleeding nose and injured body and endless tears in her eyes. Diana’s father was a drug addict while her mother deserted the family when Diana was of very young age. Her mother re-married and is presently living in another country. When Diana was 12, her dad hit her with a iron rod on her head, which affected her so badly that from that day onwards she has been suffering from fits. After that incident, another shocking incident took place. Diana’s uncle beat her up badly and threw her out of the house. Diana was never accepted by her own family and she was placed by her family in a remand home at Dongri. When she was 18 she was sent back to Kalyan. However, the family refused to accept her. She went on without food for many days at a time and slept on the roadside. She was abused by many people. Finally she approached Sanjeevania and we placed her in many homes in Mumbai including Mental hospital and Pune. However as she had lost her mental balance by that time, she would not stay at any one place for more than a few days. She would run away from any given institution after a few days. When Diana was in the Mental Hospital, she tried to climb up a tree and fell down and broke her hip and was admitted in the hospital. We were called by the hospital authorities and were asked to take her back. With much difficulty, we got her admitted in a hospital but a few days later she started creating problems there too and they refused to keep her. We finally pleaded the sisters of an institution in Mysore to admit her and take care of her. They agreed and we admitted her there. However after a few months, we received a call from the institution asking us to deposit Rs.10000/- every month or else to take her back. We were devastated as we did not have the funds to pay. Again we requested Bangalore Humanitarian home to accept this unfortunate girl. The institution agreed to admit the girl on the condition that we would have to pay an amount of Rs.5000/ every month. We decided to plead of people for the said amount rather than leave this poor girl on the road. Diana is 26 years old now and needs support to continue to live a decent life. Sanjeevani is making all efforts to raise the funds for this unfortunate girl.
Another such heart touching story is of a woman named Mercy, who was found at the gate of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Kalyan (West), curled up and sobbing with pain. She was very frail. Her body was festered with wounds and emitting a foul smell. We were shocked to see that her wounds were infested with worms. She was dying. We started looking out for help to save this woman. We faced rejection from several people as she was stinking and was an extremely unpleasant sight. Sadly, even some doctors blatantly refused to treat this helpless woman. At 7.30 pm in the evening, we finally managed to admit this woman in Sion Hospital where she was given immediate treatment. Mercy recovered after a few days and we placed her the home run by the sister of Charity.
We seek God’s blessings and the support of the community and well wishers to help us in our Mission of working for the underprivileged and needy so that we have a society where people can live in peace and dignity.
Lourdes Community Centre.
Kalyan – 421301
Mob: 9323338277Posted By:Sr. Dhanam
14th March 2017
Human Trafficking.... Save the girl child
Science and technology have made advances by leaps and bounds so also the human mind and emotions. More over there is a tendency in the youth for experimentation and exploration Some times this can affect the individual and his / her future adversely. Mass media provides plenty of examples of it every day like abnormal behaviors, rape molestation, brutal killing etc.
Timely guidance and leadership are necessary for the youth for the proper development of their potentials and energies. Hence awareness programmes are being conducted for various groups of the youth at schools/villages etc.
Dr. Sr. Roshni besides her routines schedules at Holy Cross Hospital, shares her knowledge with the youth of different categories at various places.
Following is one of the sessions in progress on Human Trafficking....Save The Girl Child. Abortion. Sex Education. Personal Hygiene, conducted for 175 Students of St. Therese H.School, Dombivali on 10. 02. 2017.
Posted By:Sr. Dr. Roshni
3rd March 2017
Success story of Anita
This is a real life story of a tribal woman named Anita whose success story is worth sharing with one and all. Anita was married off by her poor tribal parents at the age of 15. She had studied till IXth, however due to poor financial conditions at home, she was forced to quit school and get married. After marriage, Anita gave birth to 3 children- 2 girls and one boy. When Anita was expecting her third child, she lost her husband and her life was devastated. She was teaching in a balwadi run by a NGO, however, she was receiving no payment for the same. In the year 2011 Sanjeevani started its work with the tribals in Raitha village and for the first time came in touch with Anita. Sanjeevani also had initiated education work in the villages and recognising Anita’s talent and dedication, engaged her for running the classes for the tribal children. Sanjeevani further encouraged Anita to pursue her education and with our support and backing, Anita completed her Xth through NIOS (National Open Schooling). One of the amazing things worth mentioning here is that Anita’ daughter who was 14 years old, too passed her Xth std. Exams along with her mother. Recognising this achievement by adivasi woman, Anita was awarded by several organisations and she has also been written about in several newsletters. That indeed was a proud moment for Sanjeevani. However, Sanjeevani did not stop there. We further encouraged her to complete her higher secondary examinations through NIOS. Anita has taken up this challenge and has embarked on this journey of educating herself as well as the less fortunate and marginalised children of the Adivasi areas.
Anita receiving award by Savitri Utsav
Posted By:Sr. Dhanam
4th May 2016
Sanjeevani Foundation (Lourdes Community Centre, Kalyan) had been working with great dedication for the marginalised and weaker sections of the society, since the past 10 years in the city of Kalyan. On the occasion of Human Rights Day, which is celebrated the world over on 10th December, Sanjeevani Foundation had organised a rally in Kalyan city, on the issue of Human Trafficking in order to create awareness amongst the general public. Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that is fuelled by poverty and gender discrimination. It is a trade, where lives are bought and sold as commodities into prostitution and forced labour. Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Millions of men, women and children around the world are currently victims of human trafficking. Realising the need of the hour and the gravity of this social evil and in order to celebrate Human Rights Day in a very meaningful and significant manner, Sanjeevani Foundation decided to take up the issue of Human Trafficking on the occasion of Human Rights Day. With an aim to mobilise the public for participation in the rally, Sanjeevani Foundation with its team of dedicated staff, conducted several awareness programmes in schools, youth groups and women’s groups, a few days prior to the rally. On the day of the event, approximately 386 people attended the rally, which included a majority of school children and youth. The participants carried banners and posters and marched in silent procession around the city of Kalyan. After the procession, an awareness song was sung and a street play on Human Trafficking was staged by the students of the National Open School and Dance on the same theme Nursing Aide students of Holy Cross Hospital. At the end there was a Prayer with a lighted candle. The programme was a big success and the organisation believes that the event has succeeded in opening the eyes and the minds of the general public.
Sanjeevani Foundation has taken its first and major step forward in the fight against this organised crime, which signifies the beginning of a revolution against this social evil. Sanjeevani shall not rest here, but shall carry forward its struggle against one of the greatest crimes against humanity.
Posted By:Sr. Dhanam
1st September 2014
This is an attempt to answer - to the extent possible - the frequently asked question of our contemporaries: "IF GOD IS LOVE AND ALL POWERFUL, WHY DOES HE ALLOW SO MUCH INJUSTICE, EVIL AND SUFFERING IN OUR WORLD?" The answer is based on what I have learned from Sacred Scripture, the tradition the Church and the ongoing revelation through the great Mystics and Saints of the Catholic Church as also my own life experience.
This article is all about the Divine origin of Jesus. It describes the intervention of Almighty God in his Incarnation and early Childhood, his deeds during his public life and his Passion, Death and Resurrection after three days. It tells us about the work of God's Holy Spirit, revealing the mystery of the Trinity, one God in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
During his three decades on Earth
Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem about 2000 years ago to the Virgin Mary. Nine months earlier, Angel Gabriel had asked her whether she was ready to become the mother of the Son of God. After Mary agreed, the Holy Spirit came upon her and the baby Jesus started growing in her womb. The Angel also told her that her elder cousin, Elizabeth, was six months pregnant. Mary hastened to the hill country, to the home of Elizabeth. On Mary's greeting, the baby in Elisabeth's womb leaped with joy. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months until the child, "John the Baptist," was born.
When Mary returned to Nazareth, Joseph, who had been engaged to her, doubted her and planned to forsake her privately. However, Angel Gabriel came to Joseph to tell him that the child in Mary's womb was from the Holy Spirit and that he must give him the name Jesus, "because he will save his people from their sins." Then Joseph took Mary to his house and hence became the foster father of the Son of God. In this way, the Eternal Word - the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity - the Son of God became 'the Son of Man.'
It was the will of God, the Father, that his Son should accept Human Nature so that he might redeem the human family from the power of Satan, from selfishness, sin and death. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of king David. During that first Christmas night, God sent an Angel to give this good news to the shepherds. Then the choirs of Angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on Earth, for today the Saviour is born to you."
God also revealed the birth of Jesus, the king of the Jews, through a star, to three Magi (Wise Men) from the East. They came from far to Jerusalem to search for him. They asked king Herod, where the future King of the Jews was born. Herod asked the scribes and they replied, "In Bethlehem, David's city." Herod decided to kill the child and told the wise men to inform him as soon as they found the child. The star led the Magi to the place where the child was, and they adored him and offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Angel told the Magi, not to return to Herod, but to go back home by another way. The Angel told Joseph to flee from Herod into Egypt. Therefore, Joseph immediately took the mother and the child Jesus to Egypt. After the death of Herod, Joseph was directed by the Angel to return to his homeland. The little family returned to Nazareth in order to live there.
Joseph was a carpenter by profession. Mary, who had been educated in the temple from the age of three, taught Jesus the Sacred Scriptures.
When Jesus was twelve years old, his parents took him along to Jerusalem for the prescribed temple visit. Afterwards Mary and Joseph started back towards Nazareth with other villagers, but in the evening they found that Jesus was not in the group. They searched for him for three days and finally found him teaching in the temple of Jerusalem, where he was discussing the Scriptures with the scribes. Mary said to Jesus, "Child, why have you done this to us? Your father and I searched for you in great sorrow." Jesus replied, "Why did you think you have to search for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" They did not understand him, but Mary kept his words in her heart. Jesus then returned with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them.
After Joseph's death, Jesus carried on the carpentry work in order to earn a living for himself and his mother Mary. Meanwhile, John the Baptist began to preach in the desert and baptized the people in the Jordan. Jesus was about thirty years old when he left Nazareth. He went to the Jordan river to be baptized by John. John recognized him and said, "It is I, who should be baptized by you." Before that meeting, John had already told his disciples that the one, whose way he was preparing, was so great that he was not even worthy to touch his sandals. Jesus insisted that it was the Father's will that he should allow himself to be baptized by John. John baptized Jesus and saw heaven opening itself and the Holy Spirit coming down on Jesus in the form of a dove. He heard the voice of the Heavenly Father, "This is my Beloved Son, listen to him."
Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert, where he fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights. Jesus was hungry. Satan tempted Jesus and told him to change stones into bread to satisfy his hunger, to throw himself down from the top of the temple, so that angels could save him and people would consider him as sent from heaven and would willingly accept him. Then he showed Jesus all the riches of the earth. These he would give him, if he knelt down to adore him. Jesus rebuked satan, quoting Sacred Scripture and satan left him.
Sometime later, John pointed out Jesus to two of his disciples, John and Andrew, and told them, "This is Jesus the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." At this, both disciples followed Jesus till he turned and asked them, what they wanted. They asked him, "Master, where do you live?" Jesus replied, "Come and see". They went with him and remained with him for the rest of the day. They, in turn went, full of enthusiasm, to their brothers and told them: "We have found the promised Messiah, for whom our nation has been waiting since so long". Jesus then chose both of them and ten others and invited them to remain with him. He taught them by word and example the values of the Kingdom of God.
When Mary and Jesus were invited to a wedding of one of their relatives, Jesus also took his disciples along for the marriage feast. Mary noticed that they were short of wine and told Jesus about it. She advised the servants to do whatever Jesus would tell them. Jesus directed them to fill six big stone jars with water. Then he changed the water into excellent wine and told the servants to bring some to the host and serve it to the wedding guests. This was the first miracle by which Jesus revealed his divine power to his disciples.
Jesus taught his disciples, and all who wanted to hear him, the secrets of the Kingdom of God. He worked many miracles in their presence. Because of this, the disciples accepted him as the promised Messiah. Jesus proved that he was the Lord of the Laws of Nature, not only through the miracle in Cana. He walked on the surface of the water and stilled the waves and the storm. He ordered the fish and the fig tree and they obeyed him instantly. By the multiplication of a few loaves of bread and some fish, he fed thousands, who had followed him into far off places, in order to hear his words and be healed by him. Jesus knew what was in the human heart. Of all the people who came to him, he knew what they really thought and felt. He healed all types of diseases. He had power over sin, satan and death. He raised from death to life a young man and gave him back to his widowed mother and also a dead girl to her sorrowing parents. He called his friend Lazarus out of his tomb, after he had been buried already for four days. Later, he would accept his own death freely, as foretold in the scriptures, and will rise again after three days. Through his life, teachings, and deeds, and by his suffering, death and resurrection, he saved mankind. He enabled all human beings everywhere until the end of time, to transform their own physical death into an eternal existence.
Many Jews believed in Jesus and recognized him as the long expected Messiah, but most of the religious leaders of the Israelites, Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and the high priest hated him. They constantly tried to accuse him of breaking the law and wanted to kill him. Jesus stood against those oppressors of the poor. Instead of helping the common people, they used man made rules and traditions to oppress them. Jesus healed and taught with divine love and power, especially those whom the powerful of his time despised, such as the tax collectors, the lepers, the sick, women, children and the poor.
He healed the sick on the weekly holiday -the Sabbath. He said the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. He proclaimed openly and plainly that he is the Son of God and therefore, one with his eternal Father. And we? We are adopted children of God in and through Jesus.
When the disciples asked Jesus, how they should pray, he taught them the prayer, "Our Father."
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Most of the leading Jews considered Jesus to be a blasphemer, because he made himself equal to God and he said that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Towards the end of the public life of Jesus, the leading Jews managed to win over Judas Iscariot, one of the apostles, so that he may betray Jesus on the Passover Night and help them to capture him.
Jesus knew what was in the heart of Judas Iscariot, yet he bore with him for three years without exposing him, but tried to win him for His Kingdom. During the Last Supper, which Jesus celebrated with his apostles, he washed their feet, including those of Judas. This way, he gave them an example of how they too must love, forgive and serve one another. Jesus celebrated the Pasha Meal as a thanksgiving and farewell meal.
Towards the end of the meal, he changed the Bread into his own Body and Wine into his own Blood. He directed them to eat and drink from it. By this ongoing miracle, he wanted to gift himself as spiritual nourishment to people of all lands, generations and times. The Eucharist became, in this way, the spiritual nourishment of his followers. By his Passion, Death and Resurrection and with the gift of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus fulfilled his promise: "I will be with you till the end of time."
After the Last Supper, Jesus went with his apostles to Mount Olives to pray to his Father for strength during his coming passion. He knew all that would happen to him and his agony was so great that he sweated blood. But he said to his Heavenly Father, "Not my will, but yours be done". Meanwhile Judas, the traitor, reached the place with the Roman soldiers and the temple guards sent by the high priests carrying weapons and lanterns. Judas kissed Jesus as a sign for his capture. Jesus asked, "Whom do you seek?"When they replied, "Jesus of Nazareth", he answered, "I am He." That moment, they moved back and all of them fell to the ground. Jesus continued that there was no need for them to come with weapons to capture him as though he was an outlaw. Since he had been teaching publicly in the temple daily, they could have imprisoned him then. Peter in defense cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, with a sword.
Jesus ordered him to put his sword away. He healed the wounded servant of the high priest and said to Peter that he was ready to drink the cup of suffering, which his Father was offering him. If he was in need of help, he could ask the Father and he would send 12 legions of Angels," but how could the scriptures be fulfilled?" At this, the disciples fled. Jesus allowed himself to be captured and ill-treated as they took him to the High Priest Caiaphas. Among the many, who accused Jesus, there were no two witnesses agreeing. Jesus was silent. Therefore, the high priest ordered him to state under oath, whether he is the Messiah, the Son of God. To this, Jesus answered with a clear "yes" and added that he would sit at the Right Hand of God. Caiaphas then decided that no further witnesses were needed since they had heard the blasphemy from his own mouth. They declared that he had to die and then started to hit Jesus and spat at him.
Since the death penalty could only be given by the Roman Governor, they took Jesus to Pilate early morning and demanded from him to have Jesus crucified. The accusation of blasphemy would be of no use there, so they presented Jesus to Pilate as a political rebel. They told him that Jesus had declared that he was the Messiah, which means 'the King of the Jews' and even 'the Son of God'. When Pilate questioned Jesus, he replied that he was indeed a King, but that his kingdom was not of this world. He added that he was born to give testimony to the truth and that those who love the truth, would listen to him. When Pilate declared Jesus innocent and tried to free him, they shouted back, "You are no friend of Caesar if you set this man free, for he had made himself a king." They added that they had no king but Caesar. Fearing a riot and the disfavour of Caesar, Pilate then, washed his hands and said it was not he, but they, who were guilty of the blood of this Innocent one and handed him over to them to be crucified.
Jesus, who had told Pilate during the trial, that he would have no power over him if it was not given to him by God, now endured in silence his condemnation to death, his terrible scourging, and the crowning of his head with thorns and the insult and mockery that followed. They put a red mande around him in mockery as the King of the Jews and hit him repeatedly. He accepted the cross, which he was made to carry up to Calvary on his wounded shoulders. On the way, he fell three times under the cross in sheer exhaustion. He met his sorrowing mother, who was united with him in his surrender to the Father's will for mankind's redemption. He responded to the service of Veronica and to the weeping women of Jerusalem and accepted the help of Simeon to carry his cross right up to the top of the hill. He was deprived of his garment and was nailed to the Cross. During three hours of indescribable death agony on the cross, he forgave his torturers, saying, "Father forgive them, for, they do not know what they are doing." He also promised Paradise to a repentant criminal, who had been crucified with him. Finally, he gifted to John and to all of us, his Mother, who was standing under the Cross. To his last words belongs his surrender: "Father into your hands I commend my spirit."
At the moment of his death, the heavy velvet curtain in front of the Sanctuary in the Temple was torn in the middle from top to bottom, the earth shook, and darkness covered the earth. The Roman captain pierced the side of Jesus with a lance, and the last drops of blood and water flowed from that wound. The captain confessed, "This was indeed the Son of God."
Joseph of Arimathea asked for the dead Body of Jesus from Pilate and together with Nicodemus took him down from the Cross and placed him in his mother's arms. Then they put him in a new tomb in the garden and rolled a big stone before the entrance.
The high priest demanded soldiers from Pilate to watch the tomb because Jesus has said several times that he would rise from the dead after three days.
After the Sabbath, early morning the next day, the women came to the tomb with costly ointments and herbs. This was the first Easter Sunday. They found the big stone rolled away from the entrance and the tomb open, but Jesus was not there. An Angel told them that Jesus had risen from the dead as he had promised. Then Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalena and made her the first messenger of the Resurrection to his disciples and the Risen Lord spoke the following words to her, "I GO TO MY FATHER AND TO YOUR FATHER, TO MY GOD AND TO YOUR GOD."
For forty days, Jesus appeared to his apostles and disciples at different times and in different places. He ate with them to convince them that it was Jesus Himself and not some ghost. With his glorified Body, he came and went through closed doors.
On the 40th day, Jesus made an appointment with his apostles and disciples, men and women, about 500 of them, on the mountain of his Ascension into Heaven. He ordered them to remain in Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit, whom he would soon send from the Father. Then he spoke the words of commission: "Go then to all people everywhere and make them my disciples; baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. I will be with you always to the end of the ages. "After He had blessed them, he parted from them and was taken up to Heaven. Then they were filled with great joy, as they returned to Jerusalem to pray in the Temple. Then they went with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to the Upper Room, where they had eaten the Passover meal with Jesus. They prayed, read the Sacred Scriptures and waited for the Holy Spirit. After nine days, on the first Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit came upon them in the form of fiery tongues, which settled upon each one of them and filled them with joy and power.
All fear had disappeared and they proclaimed Jesus as the only Redeemer of the World and the High Priest of the New and Eternal Covenant. Peter spoke to the people who had come together because of the mighty Pentecost storm. All heard him speak in their own mother tongue. On that day, 3000 Jews were baptized. The disciples began to teach with courage and conviction what they had heard and seen during the past three years. They had the authority to work miracles just as Jesus had done. They rejoiced when they were persecuted for the Name of Jesus and later on, they gladly died as Martyrs.
This is a very short story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth during the three decades of his life on earth, which is incomparably more important for
the people of all continents and generations, than the lives of all
saints and sages of the whole human history. Jesus has done all things well and has fulfilled every promise just as he will fulfill his promises to all of us. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. In the Sacred Scriptures, especially the New Testament, one can find the deeds and teachings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, including his founding of the Church on Peter. The present 266th successor of St. Peter is Pope Francis.
The New Testament also informs us of the history of the young Church, the conversion of Paul of Tarsis, the teachings and letters of the leading apostles, the love and communion among all the Christians, their persecution and dispersion and their zeal to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior, wherever they went. It has the teaching of Peter, the letters of Paul, and some other leading apostles, and the visions of the Apostle John in the Apocalips.
The Bible, especially the New Testament, is the most precious book ever written. Together with the Tradition of the Church and the Sacraments, it is the most sacred and priceless treasure for mankind, because human beings are not created for this earthly life only, but for an eternal existence, in order to share the Glory of God in the communion of saints in heaven forever and ever.
All that God created was very good. Evil was not created by the all Holy God, but is the result of the permanent abuse of the free will, first by the fallen Angels and then by our first parents, Adam and Eve and by ourselves. Even God's hands are bound when people harm themselves by their own free will. God had compassion on humanity. He loved them so much that He gave his only Son for their redemption. Those who accept his Son as their Redeemer can gain divine life and peace in their souls while on earth and eternal communion with God after their physical death.
TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, WHY GOD ALLOWS EVIL, I can only think of two reasons: First, God, who is Love, as revealed in Creation and Redemption, wants to be loved in return by his creatures by their own free will. Secondly, God has the power and love to bring good out of evil for people of good will, who love God above all and who love their fellow human beings as they love themselves. The greatest example of this truth is the murder of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, which was permitted by God the Father. However, by Jesus' patient endurance of it all, in submission to His Father's will this terrible torture and death was turned by God the Father into the source of humanity's eternal redemption.
In order to inherit this eternal redemption, Jesus gave us the criteria on which we shall all be judged by him at the end of time. Read this criteria announced by Jesus Himself as recorded by the Evangelist Matthew (25:31-44).
God, the Father Almighty, has appointed His Beloved Son, the Risen Lord Jesus, King of Heaven and Earth and Judge of the whole human family at the end of time. Then Jesus will come again in Glory to judge the living and the dead. Through his incarnation, his deeds, passion, death and resurrection, Jesus has identified himself with all human beings. Therefore, he will consider everything done - or not done - to the least of his brethren as done - or not done - unto Him. Even if we shall never be able to love others as Jesus loved us, the Holy Spirit empowers us to love others as we love ourselves. Whenever we become aware that we have failed to do so, we can get the forgiveness of God for our sins of omission and commission by asking pardon of our Crucified and Risen Redeemer and try to make up for the neglect of the needy contemporaries.
Jesus died for sinners and he told us that heaven rejoices about every sinner who repents. With our God-given free will, the choice of asking and accepting the forgiveness of God before we leave this earthly life for eternity is ours.
Source: Jesus booklet by M. Johanna scsc, printed by Claretian Publications, ISBN: 978-81-89851-59-0 of 2014.Posted By:M.Johanna, scsc
13th June 2014
Senior Citizens are a treasure to our society. They have worked hard all the years for the development of the nation as well as for the community. They possess a vast experience in different walks of life. The youth of today need to learn from the experience of the senior citizens. At the evening of their life, they need to be taken care of and made to feel special.
It is considered by the population analysts that Kerala might have achieved zero population growth by now. Even if this status is not achieved looking at the downward trend of population growth by the next census Kerala would achieve zero population growth. According to population analysts those below 15 years and above 60 years are considered as dependents. At the first stage where the population is growing rapidly the majority of dependents will be the children, the elderly dependents will be less. Later when the birth and death rate decreased, life expectancy increased and as a result the number of elderly increased.
As against our expectations of tomorrow when more hands to work, we will have more hands to care for. The situation that Kerala will reach in a half century is , if yesterday we struggled to bring up a young generation, tomorrow we will struggle to care for the elderly. In place of play schools and pre-schools we will have to see the upcoming growth of old age homes and day care centers. It is at this juncture that the importance for the senior citizens’ home becomes the need of the day. Safety and security of the elderly, especially those living alone are a concern. Not only to themselves, to their families and to the community in general too.Posted By:Sr. Sudeepa Kappalumakel, Thrikkakara
13th June 2014
I was given the opportunity to present a paper from Fatima College Madurai, where I do my graduation on the topic “Social Engineering for Women Empowerment in India” at the state level in which I touched briefly upon the main elements of Social Engineering in favour of women in India. I would like to share with our readers the successful examples of a few women and women’s groups who have managed to bring about social change in women through social engineering in India.
Looking at the history of India both before and after Independence, we find many women who have influenced popular attitudes and social behaviors related to women issues on a large scale. Women have been actively involved in India’s freedom struggle and have held leadership positions.
Sixty years after Independence, it is true that the lives of millions of women in India have been transformed. Historically, India has been a male-dominated society. Yet, in the past two decades or so, social change has opened the possibility for women to attain leadership roles in political and economic India.
Amartya Sen, Indian author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, speaks about this transformation of Indian women in his book, The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. He points out that the social movement for Indian women had been—until recently—primarily focused on achieving better treatment of women and their well-being: “In the course of the evolution of women’s movement […] women are not passive recipients of welfare-enhancing help brought about by society, but are active promoters and facilitators of social transformations. Such transformations influence the lives and well-being of women, but also those of men and children—boys as well as girls. This is a momentous enrichment of the reach of women’s movement.”
Amartya Sen’s reflection on the recent change pace of women’s development in India leads us to discuss some concrete examples of individuals and organizations that have brought about revolutionary changes in Women’s empowerment in India.
The Community Media Trust (CMT)
The Community Media Trust (CMT), based in Pastapur, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh is an exemplary community of women farmers who have taken full charge of their lives and environment. “We don’t know how to read and write but we know how to make films. As we learned to tend our farms, we have now learnt to make videos. The camera is the new sickle in our hands.” These are the words of Chinna Narasamma, Humnapur Laxmamma, Musligari Kavita, Edakulapalli Narasamma and Begari Mollamma who are all active members of this group. Every year the group hosts a traveling biodiversity festival for a whole month during which they show one film every night for that whole month. The biggest impact of this festival at the national level is that it has influenced the National Biodiversity Action Plan. By their affirmative action, these women have become pioneers of social engineering in rural Andhra Pradesh.
The Lijjat Story
‘Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad’, popularly known as Lijjat, is an Indian women's organization involved in manufacturing various fast moving consumer goods. Lijjat was the brain child of seven semi-literate Gujarati housewives from Bombay. They wanted to start a venture to create a sustainable livelihood using the only skill they had i.e. cooking. The women borrowed Rs 80 from a social worker. On March 15, 1959, they gathered on the terrace of their building and started with the production of 4 packets of Papads.
The organization's main objective is empowerment of women by providing them employment opportunities. As an experiment, Lijjat has insulated its sister-members from joblessness. At the workplace they are self-respecting, hard-working and sisterly to one another. More importantly, besides the strength of womanhood, Lijjat is also an experiment in the restoration of the essence of womanhood. The Lijjat women offer an alternative to the highly competitive and stressful work environment defined and dominated by men in which a woman competes with a man more as a man than a woman.
Lijjat Papad does not turn its women into millionaires, but it is the realization of dignified self-employment that is its success. It is considered as one of the most remarkable entrepreneurial initiatives by women that are identified with female empowerment in India.
The concept of Self Help Groups is based on the idea of community participation, as sustainable community development requires the active participation of the entire community. The focus of self-help groups is to develop the capacity of the disadvantaged, particularly women, and to organize them, so that they can deal with socio-political and socio-economic issues that affect their lives.
SHGs represent an opportunity for effective social engineering and empowerment through women’s involvement in considering, addressing and participating in issues that affect their members and their communities, including issues that affect women in particular. The extent to which this is happening is perhaps less than hoped for – although a beginning is being made.
Social Engineering through the self-help group model is a potential pathway to alleviating poverty. The number of poor women and men who are enrolling in SHGs all over rural India has been increasing remarkably. They are not only active in thrift and credit management but are also taking up other activities, such as natural resource management and development work, literacy, knowledge management, nutritional security etc. Anyone looking to bring about a social engineering for the women of India needs to look at SHGs as a credible and proven tool of social transformation.
These are few examples of courageous women who have been instruments of social transformation in their own way. The little spark that they lit has grown into brightly burning fires spreading far and wide across the country. In the process, the lives of thousands of women have been changed for the better; the voiceless have been given a voice and a dignified life. They challenge us the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross to become Catalysts of Social Change in our own situations which is the need of the time.Posted By:Sr. Sangeeta Almeida
13th June 2014
Spiritual Health is the foundation of positive health.
The idea of healing is often linked only with the physical dimension of our being. Many of us have lost the sight of the role of the church in healing. We fail to recognize that healing is also the mending of broken relationships, the recovery from chemical dependence, the acceptance of God’s gift of salvation, the control of physical and psychological symptoms of ill health through medication etc.
Wholeness involves the realization and continuous acceptance of the limitations of being a finite creature. Being whole means integrating pain, sickness and death into life’s meaning. Becoming healthy and whole is a difficult task, where good and evil, suffering and joy, sickness and being well are all intertwined. No matter what degree of health we might display, all of us are wounded in one way or other.
Traditionally, society has defined health, healing and wholeness in two ways. The technological model defines health, healing and wholeness functionally. Health is robust physical fitness, whereas disease is a breakdown, an invasion or corrosion of the physical system. Healing is a functional restoration, repair is the goal.
The Holistic model defines Health and Wholeness as the balance of body, mind and spirit. Disease is the disruption of that balance. Healing is the restoration of balance. An inordinate emphasis on the individual as the source and sustainer of his or her own life, weakens the holistic model.
Both the technological and holistic models are devoid of essential Christian elements. Thus, there is a great need for setting forth the Christian perspective of health, healing and wholeness.
A Christian model involves health, healing and wholeness and defines health as the state of a person in Christ, a new creature made whole by spiritual transformation. True healing is a process that may include repair and restoration of the balance and be based on transformation.
Wholeness is a dynamic process, incorporating repair, restoration of balance and transformation of perspective through the power of the Holy Spirit that leads creation close to God.
We believe there is an urgent need to live out a Christian model of health, healing and wholeness more fully, especially in the light of the current situation, in both the faith community and society.
Biblical or Theological Review
Our Judeo – Christian tradition has viewed health, healing and wholeness from a variety of perspectives. These perspectives are rooted in interpretations of the Old and New Testaments and in basic Christian doctrines.
Health in the Old Testament
The concept of health occurs throughout the Old Testament. In fact, health was viewed as the state of well – being, completeness, wholeness that resulted from being in a right relationship with God. This state of health was expressed in obedience to God’s law, which produced strength and long life.
When Moses did as God asked him at Marah and threw a piece of wood into the bitter water, it turned sweet. And God tested His people, saying, “If you do what is right in my eyes, I will not bring on you any of the diseases. I brought on the Egyptians, I am the Lord who heals you”. (Exodus 15:26) What this teaches us is that even when the situation is “bitter” and “traumatic”, we can rely upon and look to our Lord for healing.
God offers us healing which goes beyond the merely physical and personal, it is fundamentally spiritual and is offered to all who believe and seek His ways.
Health and Healing in the New Testament
The word health appears in N.T. (Acts 3:16).
The O.T. encompassing perspective on health continues in the N.T. concepts of abundant life, blessedness, holiness, maturity and especially healing.
Luke’s Gospel reflects this best, as it is to be expected from the pen of a physician.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me … (Lk. 4:18 – 19)
“The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them”. (Lk. 7:22).
As people of God, we experience God’s ongoing creation. This creative process is a journey toward wholeness. Our participation in it reflects our essential worth as human beings and brings with it the responsibility to promote all of God’s creation as worthy of our care.
We can only achieve wholeness when all of God’s creation lives in harmony.
Our ministry of healing is based on the values of Christ. We serve in the name of Jesus, that His name be glorified and exalted everywhere and always.Posted By:Sr. Dr. Roshni Neerakal ,Kalyan Hospital
13th June 2014
Here is a recipe for your favourite dish. This recipe will teach us some of the exotic dishes ever prepared in the world. This calls for ingredients that are readily available everywhere and anywhere. The flavour is so enjoyable that savouring them would be very delightful. This recipe is being collected from those who really enjoy life to the full.
Take complete 24 hours, sort them very carefully of all bitterness, hate and envy. Smear them with the oil of surrender and acceptance. Then add – patience – 2 table spoons, courage – 1 cup, enthusiasm – 2 spoons full, faith – 1 pinch, gentleness – 1 spoon and also a part of hope, kindness and sincerity accordingly. Add humour for taste. Stir gently and cook them well.
Put together one part of prayer and meditation with solitude and solidarity. Heat them with a good portion of happiness and a good measure of honour. Spread 2 spoons of good wish and optimism. Add a little anger if required. Mix everything in a vessel of love. Cook well on the fire of radiant joy and garnish them with a smile and serve bountifully.Posted By:Sr. Rosie J.
13th June 2014
Across the lakes do we travel
Across the land do we trade
Many the people we meet
And many the people we love.
For life goes on
Amidst the joys and sorrows
There is something that pushes us
A call from deep within.
At times we do not understand
The very meaning of our existence
For the forces around us are many
And the single soul does make the choice.
There are things around us
That leaves us captured
There are forces around and within us
That leaves us perplexed.
Yet the call from within
Is indeed worthy of attention
For it is this inner voice
That puts our paths right.
The source of this call varies
For great souls have gone before us
Great people have lived before us
And still do we find.
Oh! Rise above the daily trifles
For the chances await for
The one who searches
And the one who seeks earnestly.
There are no easy roads
To experience the fullness of life
We ought to have a focus
A goal clear in mind.
So pay attention to that inner voice
For that is the source of life.
For that is the source of happiness
And that is the source of inspiration.
The choice is yours and mine
To be inspired
And to inspire others
Through a right living!
13th June 2014
Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.
Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. "Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.
Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No, sir, I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.
Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
Jesus slept in the boat when the wind blew hard while the disciples kept trembling. At His word there was calm in the midst of turmoil and havoc.
Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, psychologically and physically, you have nothing to fear.
We need to secure against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the promising Word of God.
We don't need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the middle of storms.
So enjoy your days and sleep through your nights.Posted By:Sr. Sheeja Kolacherril
13th June 2014
Very often we suffer inner conflict because we do not understand God’s leadings and actions. We cry our in anguish, "Why is God silent”? And why doesn’t he intervene in my life etc. All these doubts prey on our minds and our spirit and soul suffer immeasurably.
What makes life meaningful is the filial trust that God intervenes, controls and allows things to happen in life, to open up new horizons. God does not put up bill board nor send booming voices from above rather whispers in silence and intervenes to bring out the best in us. All kinds of challenges are invitation for us to become more loving –vibrant, creative and free. Tremendous progress in every field of life is achieved because people responded creatively and optimistically to the challenging situations. In no situation does creativity, trust and surrender blossom as much as in suffering. Trust in the intervention of God is the foundation for happy and joyful living. This knowledge is divine and cannot be broken up or blown apart. Trouble and turmoil are inevitable part of being alive especially as human beings. When we are able to accept and celebrate pain, we experience the benefit of pain that is hope, the most essential component in killing neurosis. Carl Jung, the great psychologist, observes, “All neurosis is the result of the unwillingness to go through necessary legitimate pain.”
The comforting assurance is that my great, big and wonderful God is much bigger than all my problems put together. Our faith is tested not in the sunny days of our lives rather through hard trials, bitter experiences and unpleasant events. It is not to make us bitter rather to improve the quality of our lives and to gain valuable insights to look forward to the future. What makes difference in life is the kind of attitude we possess and the way we perceive the events. We can turn tragedies into triumph, obstacles in to opportunities, worst in to best, weakness into potentials, problems in to projects, frustrations into inspiration, bitterness into forgiveness if only we are persons of prayer, and have great vision and zest for life. Times of tragedies, frustration, loss, crisis, sickness, etc. are the moments God explicitly intervenes and makes this presence felt. This intervention of God is very mysterious and beyond the grasp of mortals. Courage and strength gained through difficulties enables us to deal with massive challenges. A gentle smile even at the heavy storm can work wonders because nothing happens to us that God doesn’t know about or out of his control.
God uses obstacles, as opportunities to defeat depressions fear disappointments and bitterness and bring about greater spiritual gifts like transformation and child like trust. These gifts are not magical formulas but an interior experience of the divine within. Intervention of God in blessed virgin’s life made the eternal word become flesh, to dwell among people. Enabled Jesus to accept the father hood of God and finally drink the chalice of suffering for a greater cause. We are all God’s work man ship. He designs us with great potentials and uses different tools on us to make us perfectly fit in to his plan. Tools can be people –events, troubles, failures, sickness, and frustrations. These tools are to chip away the rough edges and to shape the lives in accordance with God’s plan. They are not to break us but to make us better persons.
No events in life go in vain rather open up new avenues for life. By the time God delivered His people from Pharaoh they were strong in every aspect and had developed their muscles through hard work. Jesus the Son of God won life for us by dying on the cross. These significant events reminds us that death on the cross or life in the desert was the not the end all of everything rather there is hope even in the midst of bitter afflictions.
In a string instrument there will be harmonious and sweet music when strings are stretched properly. If there is no tension in the string the instrument cannot produce the desired music. Likewise God uses the challenges as a megaphone to help us realize our inner truer selves devoid of masks and prejudices. Tears often clear our vision so also pain can make as the persons we are meant to be. It’s really exciting to know how God intervenes to produce sweet sounding and harmonious music to make the onward journey meaningful and worth living.Posted By:Sr. Reeja Joseph
13th June 2014
Woman was a name pronounced by God
A name, which holds the goodness of God
Woman is the one who carries within her the beauty
Accomplishes everything considering her duty
Woman works perfectly to prove her brilliance
Achieving all the success with excellence
Holding the mantra of self sacrifice
Vibrating everywhere life and peace
Woman is her name
Has no desire to seek fame
Her love knows no measure
Has no goal of self-pleasure
To the sick, she is a consoler
To the needy a provider
To the lonely a mother
To the destitute a sister
Her life attributes are other centered
Own personal benefits are cornered
Every dusk of life strides with courage
With a root of faith, conquers the strife
By giving birth, she gives the new image of God
Her generosity moves generations in the world
Highest place she owns in poetic imaginations
A pearl in the crown of God’s beauty
I, Harshal Sanjay Soble, Age 35, from Wylenagar, Kalyan, would like to testify regarding the treatment of holistic physiotherapy being taken at Holy Cross Hospital. I was suffering from severe pain in my right hand for the last 4 months. The pain was so horrible that often I used to take strong medicines but in vain. I was also being suggested to go for X-Ray as chances of spondylises perhaps might have an effect on my body. Along with medicines a little knowledge of Traction, light massage and acupressure were in my mind but never had I gone for it. In consultation with the medical doctor I was suggested to go for Holistic physiotherapy and I am undergoing this therapy for the last 10-12 days. This therapy has done wonders in me. I am happy to testify that I am completely healed from the pain in my right hand.
Case 2: A man of 26 years affected by paralytic attack was brought to us after seven days. He could neither speak nor move the left leg. There was absolutely no sensation. No blood circulation. First there days there was no difference. On the tenth day his speech returned and on the 14th day he started to move his fingers and legs. He was given a break of 20days. At his return another 7 days treatment was given where he experienced the healing. At present he resumed his work. His parents are happy. It is through our touch God brings healing to the patients who comes to us.
Both cases were given the treatment of Acupressure and Nano
People who come with pain and suffering return with joy and happiness. The healing touch of our sisters in the Holistic department brings hope in the lives of the people.Posted By:Sr. Dhanam Mary
13th June 2014
Holistic healing means taking a holistic approach when seeking treatment for imbalances and choosing to live a more balanced lifestyle. What primarily distinguishes holistic healing apart from alternative medicine, complementary medicine, and integrative medicine is that physical health is not necessarily the main focus. Even so, it is often the experience of physical discomfort that will first prompt a person's pursuit of holistic healing. Holistic healing is not an "alternative" to conventional medical care. Holistic or "wholistic" healing addresses all parts of the individual, not just the physical aspect of a person where manifested illnesses are most apparent.
Holistic healing is really a lifestyle approach. The holistic approach goes far beyond the Mind-Body connection of finding and maintaining wellness. Overall wellness and “wholeness" is highly valued. A person who embraces the desire to find wholeness within his own being soon learns the importance of tending to relationships, caring for the planet and our environments, compassion for humankind in general, accepts and tolerates differences among a diverse population of people.
Arnold-Taylor defines holistic massage as "a treatment related to the whole person - body, mind and spirit." By contrast, the Arnold-Taylor definition conveys the fact that holistic therapies are attempting to understand and treat the underlying causes of illnesses rather than just treat the symptoms. In many cases this is an admirable approach which results in significant cost and social benefits compared to traditional medicine.
Emotions are sometimes deeply buried in the mind and expressed as physical symptoms. The holistic approach addresses the underlying feelings and emotions as well as treating the physical symptoms. Holistic massage, in particular, uses trusted touch to create an environment in which the patient feels safe enough to allow the buried emotions to surface and to be resolved.
Firstly, holistic treatments are focused on self-healing. The patient is led to understand that given the right environment, they can heal themselves; the holistic treatment provides the necessary knowledge and conditions for this to happen.
Secondly, holistic therapy concentrates on treating the underlying root causes of the problem, not just the symptoms the patient reports. This requires that the therapist is adept at counseling the patient. Ultimately, in keeping with the first principle outline above, the patient must understand the cause of his/her illness and want to treat it.
Thirdly, the holistic approach treats the mind and body as tightly interconnected systems with each affecting the other. This is taken for granted in everyday life, but a practical consequence is that even if the patient has not recognized the underlying psychological causes i.e. stress, they can still benefit from the physical effects of massage. And in the hands of a competent therapist, the patient will come to understand the causes of the stress and be able to make the changes in his/her life to address them.
In conclusion, holistic practices represent empowerment for the patient. They allow those who want to take responsibility for their own well being the opportunity to do so. Holistic practitioners help people help themselves.
13th June 2014
The good you find in others is in you too. The faults you find in others are your faults as well. The possibilities you see in others are for you as well. The beauty you see around you is yours.
The world around you is a reflection. A mirror shows you your external appearance. A shadow invites you to look into the hidden parts. A shadow is the darker side of the self. It is the repressed and denied part of the self. The more you resist your shadow, the more it is after you. If you do not embrace your shadow, everyone else will experience it. The more you walk away from, the more it follows you. You may not see, but others may see.
St. Paul struggled with his shadow – “I cannot explain what is happening to me, because I do not do what I want, but on the contrary, the very things I hate I do.” Rom 7:15.
When others are gentle, violent, critical or loving towards you, it is because you made it happen to you. Others are your mirror. The way they react towards you is based on the way you react towards yourself unconsciously. If a certain person is very disagreeable and critical around you and you judge her as a disagreeable and critical person, it is because you are disagreeable and critical with yourself and this person, being your mirror, is only there to help you. If you accept this fact that you are this way, you will not be bothered by or attract disagreeable or critical people any more.
If you bring to your mind the so called enemies of you one by one and pin point the traits which you dislike in them, it gives you a clear picture of your shadow. Embrace the shadow; accept it as part of you. Bring to your mind the friends of you one by one and list the traits you like in them, it gives a reflection of you, the acceptable part of you, the part you call it as you. Be happy about the beauty you see in you, accept it and offer your whole self - You and Your shadow to God Almighty.Posted By:Sr. Salimma George