PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Sunday, October 26, 2008

 

The miracle of a brother's song


(Fwd mail)

THE MIRACLE OF A BROTHER'S SONG

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3 year old son Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his little sister in Mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her. The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatric specialist regretfully had to tell the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby-but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. "I want to sing to her," he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in the Intensive Care. Karen made up her mind, though. She would take Michael whether they liked it or not! If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive.

She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket, but the head Nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed "Get that kid out of here now! NO children are allowed!" The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!" Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live.

After a moment, he began to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old Michael sang: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray." Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. Her pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. "Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. "You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away."

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr. "Keep on singing, sweetheart!!" "The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my hands..." Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.

Prayer

"Come Lord, work upon us, set us on fire and clasp us close, be fragrant to us, draw us to your loveliness, let us love, let us run to you." (Prayer of St. Augustine)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

 

Choice


"No one falls in love by choice,
it is by CHANCE.
No one stays in love by chance,
it is by WORK.
And no one falls out of love by chance,
it is by CHOICE"


Sunday, October 12, 2008

 

Txt msgs


We have no way of remembering the circumstances that created these wounds but we do retain the feelings associated with them. "The emotions faithfully identify the value system that developed in early childhood to cope with unbearable situations. These emotional programs for happiness start out as needs, grow into demands, and can finally become ‘shoulds’." As we grow up in other ways, our emotional lives can remain infantile. - fr keating

Only God can truly see the start and the end of any situation. he is always in the process of preparing us for the enxt step. From where we are, it may look like the most illogical way to go, but once we take the step, it will become clearer why we are there.

There are many plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Let us leave the surface, and without leaving the world, plunge into God. - Teilhard de Chardin

The most difficult part of self-denial is not so much of the sacrifice for another but the act of 'de-selfing', gaining self-knowledge, overcoming the fals self so that the authentic inner self will emerge , paving the path to holiness, beoming more Jesus-like, answering the call to genuine disciipleship.

Broken and wounded that we are, what we seek is wholeness not perfection, freedom not control, acceptance not admiration, the capacity to love not to please.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. -Henri Nouwen


Thursday, October 09, 2008

 

Q&A


Q.: Do you feel like you need to prove yourself to God?

A.: I dunno. It's the reverse, in my case. I know I'll always fall short, so there's no need to prove myself worthy to God, worthy of eternal salvation. I feel like it's God who needs to prove his love for me despite me. That's my problem.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

 

What is holiness?


J. posits that holiness is the readiness to accept that one is incorrect if indeed he is.


Monday, October 06, 2008

 

Txt msgs


The heart of the Christian ascesis (self-denial) is the stuggle with our unconscious motivations. If we don't recognize and confront the hidden influences of the emotional programs for happiness, the false self will adjust to any new situation in a short time and nothing is really challenged. Thomas Keating.

Wholeness leads to holiness. It is relenetlessly pursuing the unique path prepared by the Lord for the individual. No track is exactly the same. Each must seek the truth about oneself faithfully. No room for limitation of the externals but deep devotion to seek God's will and trust in our ever faithful God.


Paradoxical nature of wholeness: The opposite of a true staetment is a false statement, but the opposiet of a profound truth can be another profound turth. Wholeness brings conetntment and harmony but not without conflict. People who are whole continue to struggle for growth. They pursue it seriously though they know it's a gift from God. They are open to self-transcendence.

Love to pray. Feel the need to pray often during the day. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of himself. Mother Teresa

Everything you've done will become someone else's memory.; the person might forget the exact words you said, exact things you did, but there's no way to make them forget the way you made them feel.

The greatest man is he who has not lost the heart of a child. - Mencius


Mature virtue is perfected in the spirit of childhood. -Lao Tsu

God has made life so good that even if we don't exactly get what we want, we ralize that what He has given us is actually the best for us.
The heart is a fertile place. Anything planted there will grow for suer. Whether love or hatred. You have the power to choose your seed everyday.


The key to happiness is not that you never egt angry, upset, irritated frustrated, or depressed. It's how fast you decide to get out of those feelings.

If we are not capable during our lifetime of falling ini love with God, we are lost. Carlo Carretto

Failure stretches our capacity to grow. In life, the worst thing that can happen isn't failing. It's never having tried. Smart people can never fail.

Prayer is grand poverty. John Casian

Strong walls will shake but never collapse. Whatever life gives you even if it hurts, you just be strong and act like the way you always do.

A person's most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, an ear open to listen and a hand with a willingness to help.

Life is pretty simple. If you ask for apples and you get lemons, make lemonade. If you are on your way out and it stars to rain, at least you don't have to water the plants. It is a matter of seeing things in perspective. The benefits may not be immediate or obvious, but we have to know that there are probllems and struggles. Have faith. Enjoy life. Take it easy. If today you are picking the grapes, tomorrow you will be drinking the wine.


We evangelize with our lives before we do with our words... Jesus came to bring fire not the catechism to the earth (?). - Carlo Carretto

The struggle to know oneself involves courage to walk the unknown path and face old fears. We discover that God is much greater than our old familiar comfort zones.

A wonderful birthday greeting from R.O.: Like birds, let's leave behind what we don't need to carry: grudges, sadness, pain, fear, and regrets. Fly light. Life is beautiful. Happy New Year.


Some thoughts to consider: 1. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 2. What other people think of you is one of your business. 3. Time heals almost everything. Give it time. 4. No one is incharge of your happiness except you. 5. Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 6. Stop thinking too much. It's alright not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.

The Christian religion is primarily about a transformation of consciousness. This takes spiritual practice and the cultivation of wisdom. In another time this was called cultivating the supernatural organism, what Paul called “a new creation.” So the main thing is to be transformed into God, what the early church called deification, theosis, divinization. — Thomas Keating, OCSO

[Centering prayer] is . . . a journey into the unknown. It is a call to follow Jesus out of all the structures, security blankets, and even spiritual practices that serve as props. They are all left behind insofar as they are part of the false self system . . . The false self is an illusion. Humility is the forgetfulness of self . . .- Fr. Keating


Friday, October 03, 2008

 

Fwdd email

-DO YOU KNOW HOW THE APOSTLES DIED ?

Matthew Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

Mark Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

Luke- was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos . He wro! te his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

Peter was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he
felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James, Just The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. * This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

James the Great , son of Zebedee, wa s a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader
of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem . The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia . He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey . Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece . After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was l! ed toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these
words: "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

Jude, Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ..

Matthias The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Barnabas One of the group of seventy disciples, wrote the Epistle of Barnabas. He preached throughout Italy and Cyprus . Barnabas was stoned to death at Salonica.
!
Paul Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire . These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake

But he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22

 

Five lessons to make you think about the way we treat people

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read
the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant.
They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."
I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next
car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 60s.. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came
along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others." Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice
cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had
to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who
had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away". Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

 

Four big gifts


by Bo Sanchez

Here are the big 4 gifts you receive from difficult people.(Note: Check out especially Gift #2, because that’s what many
people don’t do…)
Gift #1:

Difficult people can teach you how to love, preparing you for Heaven! You learn to become more patient, more understanding, more
persevering.

You have pity for them because you realize that “Hurt people hurt people."

You learn to see the good qualities even among difficult people. You learn how to be compassionate as God is compassionate.

You learn how to forgive, to remove bitterness from your heart.

Gift #2:

Difficult people can teach you to protect yourself and learn to say “No” to abuse.

You learn to love yourself, respect yourself, by no longer allowing abuse.

You learn to be courageous and stand up against bullies.

You learn to give tough love—refusing his abuse
again. It may be the most loving thing you can do for a difficult person.

You wizen up, learn tact, and learn how to distance
yourself from harmful people.

Gift #3:

Difficult people can help you get to know your weaknesses.

Difficult people remind you that you too could be difficult to others.

Difficult people teach you many important lessons in life. By seeing
the tragic results of their actions, you’re inspired to do the very
opposite of what they do.

Gift #4:

Difficult people can bring you closer to God.

Difficult people force you to pray a lot. (“Lord, help! I can’t take it anymore!”)

Difficult people force you to trust in God. (“Lord, I give up! I’ve done everything but she’s still a monster…”)

Praying for difficult people may not change them, but YOU will.

“Your cross (difficult person) is your key to heaven…”

You realize that YOU are God’s difficult person — yet you’re still
loved by God!

God allows difficult people into your life to give you these 4 gifts.

Don’t miss receiving them!

Pass on the gift.


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