Keeping Faith Alive (4)


Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……

Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

I pray for you and I pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May God bless you and keep you safe in the center of His Love!

I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!

Our last meditation was on being forgiven and graced. We contemplated the joy of being forgiven!

Forgiveness offers new beginnings, a renewal of life and relationship and new possibilities for growing in faith and keeping our faith alive.

Take care not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment gratefully and joyfully. It is great to celebrate forgiveness and Grace, but it is a challenge to make new beginnings. It is definitely not enough to feel forgiven. We must make new beginnings, renew our relationships and let our faith grow.

It is not enough to remove evil from your heart. You must fill it with the spirit. Jesus gave us the following parable in Luke 11:15-26.  “When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country for a place to rest. If it can’t find one, it says to itself, `I will go back to my house’. So it goes back and finds the house clean and tidy. Then it goes out and brings seven other spirits even worse than itself, and they come and live there. So when it is all over, that person is in a worse state than he was at the beginning.”

The resident of the house has gotten rid of his unwelcome tenant. He has undergone some kind of moral reform, a renewal of life and a spiritual transformation. He has turned over a new leaf;
quit some old habits; perhaps gone through rehab; gotten the drugs or liquor or whatever out of his system; joined a self-help program; ended some bad relationships, etc. He is free! But only for a short time because his life now is empty!

Recidivism refers to the relapse of prisoners who serve their time and are released from jail into the world, but who are soon back behind bars. Recidivism refers to patients who are weaned off a bad drug or alcohol habit and who return to the old life. Emptiness is the culprit. It is not enough to kick old habits, to get rid of old, selfish and sinful ways. Reform, restructuring and renewal of life must happen, new ways and habits have to be initiated and developed.

A glass or jar is washed clean so that good things may be put into it. An empty jar or glass invites the dust and the dirt that has been washed. Experiences of confession of guilt and reconciliation with God and others may give us a feeling of being clean and pure and empty of the dirt that was there or of the evil that was present. This experience may be short lived if we do not embrace the new life and nurture the good and the true and the wholesome.

Most of us have experienced or may experience moments of “dryness” and “emptiness” one time or another. It is just part of the human condition. This may be due to daily routines without change or variety, lack of excitement about life and activities, restlessness, discouraging experiences, lasting struggles, problems at work that don’t seem to end, demands of family, nagging children, death and dying experiences…….many such slings and arrows can create feelings of “emptiness” and bring us into the valley of darkness and lifelessness. We may become self-absorbed, self-centered……feel like “run-out-of-gas”….a kind of lifelessness and emptiness inside…..and real absence of peace!

Such feelings of “emptiness” invite disaster.
Never leave your mind and heart empty. Fill your mind and heart with all that is good and wholesome, all that is of God and from God….never leave them empty.

See in the emptiness opportunity – possibilities of being filled again. Feelings of emptiness maybe offering us opportunities for healing, integrity and wholeness; maybe calling us to pay attention to the reality that we may have been ignoring; maybe giving us a signal that we are once again caught up in a routine life or in a compulsive pattern of living which keeps us from being whole; maybe it is God’s call to surrender ourselves to him, to let go off our intense desire for control, to allow God to guide us and lead us; maybe it is a call to return to our center of peace and harmony!

Remember, the Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of “Dry-bones”, which we have meditated on. In his vision, Ezekiel speaks in God’s name: “Dry bones, I will bring spirit into you that you may come to life……….I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you……put spirit in you so that you may come to life……

Ezekiel saw breath entered them….they came to life and stood up on their feet…..What a vision!!!

The breath of God, the very essence of God is the symbol of the life God shares with us. Scriptures describe God to us as breathing His life into us, sustaining us, enlivening us, empowering us……..

Remember this gift….dwell on this gift… moments of “emptiness”……God breathing His life and strength into us…..keep breathing in all that is of God and from God…..

God helps us to create new life……we do not have to stay in old patterns of living, thinking, feelings, behaving….new life is open to us…. Remember God loving us….holding us tenderly and breathing life into us…….

As you go through the day, be attentive to your breathing patterns……..this can connect us to God, our breath of life and fill our minds and hearts……….

Slowly breath in and out. Become aware of the life-giving flow of “Breath”. Breath in all that is “of God” and breath out all that is not “of God”. Now breath in and breath out all that is “of God” and be filled with God’s abundance…….peacefulness will follow.

It is not always easy to believe that our emptiness can be filled…..It takes humble efforts to move toward life and to believe that emptiness can be filled again, new life can happen, peacefulness can happen……………..

Be patient with yourselves. Go beyond your own discomforts, pains, loneliness and emptiness. Try to be a life-giver to others….reach out… won’t hurt you….it just might take away the hurt and bring you peacefulness of heart. Enter your emptiness with patience….with hope of being filled again from the abundance of God.

Thou didst call and cry out and burst in upon my deafness;
Thou didst shine forth and glow and drive away my blindness;
Thou didst send forth Thy fragrance,
and I drew in my breath and now I pant for thee;
I have tasted and now I hunger and thirst;
Thou didst touch me and I was inflamed with desire for thee. (St. Augustine)

Don’t fill your empty moments with worry – fix what you can and leave the rest to the Lord.
Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. Do your best and let it rest.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength. Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Do not leave your mind and heart empty. Be filled with goodness and truth and justice and love and all God’s gifts! The best way to avoid evil is to do good. Let your faith grow.

Never leave your mind and heart empty, vacant. Empty your mind and heart of all toxic thoughts and feelings only to be filled again with all that is good and wholesome, all that is of God and from God….never leave them empty. An empty mind invites distractions and empty heart invites disaster.

There is an old saying: “An empty mind is the devil’s workshop”. All unhealthy, selfish and sinful actions begin in the empty mind. Keep your mind occupied in something positive, something worthwhile and meaningful. Do something that holds your interest. You must decide what you value more: fame or money or accomplishments or career or success or peace of mind.

All your interests such a hobby, a charitable, social or religious activity, may not always earn you more money, but you will have a sense of fulfillment and achievement.

Take a few moments and pray the following (Psalm 103). Let your whole being, your “soul” bless, praise and thank God for all that has been and all that will be……

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, O my soul and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.


Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs

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