BELIEVE-LEARN-SERVE

If you can only believe, all things are possible for he who believes.


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The Ring

In the Indian Orthodox Church, the priest who conducts the Holy Matrimony puts the ring on the right index finger of the bride and bridegroom. The husband and wife will cherish throughout their lives the symbols of marriage; the rings, blessed crowns(in the form of gold chains), the minnu(heart shaped golden pendant with 9 golden beads arranged in the shape of a cross) and manthrakodi(the saree blessed and veiled over the bride). ring

It was a Saturday. I was making Ariyunda (a traditional Syrian Christian sweet, made from jaggery and rice flour) and before rolling the sweet into little spheres, I removed my wedding ring and kept it on my study table.

When I was halfway into the process, a guest came in. She was an intern in the hospital (where i am doing my residency) and her parents were known to us. She started chatting and meanwhile I was making the ariyunda listening to her talking. I finished making the dish and offered her some. She shifted uneasily as I turned towards her; somehow her face and tone of voice did not match. Five minutes later she got up to leave. That was when i happened to glance at the study table. My ring was missing.

Words cannot describe the anguish and sadness I felt at that moment. I started searching the table; then i just took the broom involuntarily and started sweeping under the table and chair. Then i realized suddenly how weird the girl might be feeling at my unannounced sweeping of floor when she was about to leave. I apologized to her and told her, ‘ you see, my wedding ring is missing’. She just replied, ‘ is it costly? you can always buy another one’. She did not seem to understand, so i continued to explain. ‘I understand that you are from an independent church and so did not understand why i am searching my ring so frantically. It cannot be replaced. That ring has been blessed by the 7 priests who conducted my wedding. It is a symbol of my marriage.’ She also then started searching with me, and even got under the cots with a torchlight. All the while i continued sweeping in vain. Suddenly she looked up and asked me ‘but why are you sweeping?’ By then I was in tears, unable to contain the anxiety. That was when I thought of telling her the parable Jesus told, about a woman who had lost a coin(one coin from the ten coins worn by the Jewish woman as a symbol of marriage.) Inadvertently in my panic, I had done just what the woman in the parable did. ten coins

Then I told her how precious a treasure my wedding ring is, and how the ring symbolizes the promise of God when He chose Renji and me, as husband and wife. As I spoke to her she started looking tensed. I asked if she was okay, to which she replied, ‘ I have to report for evening rounds now. I think my hands are sticky from the sweet. May I have a tissue.’ She wiped her hands and dropped the tissue in the dustbin, told me that she hoped I shall find the ring, and left.

I closed the door and sat on the bed with a sinking heart. I just did not know what to do. As i closed my eyes and prayed, the events in the past one hour unfolded in my mind like a powerpoint presentation, slide by slide. It ended at the vision of the girl dropping the tissue in the dustbin. As though in a haze I got up and took the tissue from the dustbin. My ring was lying underneath, sticky with jaggery.

Luke 15:8-10
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


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Strong and Weak

The book by Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath- underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants, gives insight into the victory of David and similar events.
The disadvantages, illnesses.or shortcomings that we see in ourselves might be blessings and advantages in disguise. Also the talents we possess, however slight they might seem, would be the ones required to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives.
The book states how the huge stature of Goliath could have been the result of pituitary macroadenoma, (some studies have shown that the condition was hereditary gigantism) hence acromegaly, visual disturbances( he sees sticks in David’s hand, while in fact David had just one rod with him), and a thinned out frontal bone; all facilitating the victory of David, so long as the weapon was a fast stone from a sling. And, God had prepared the shepherd boy for this encounter through his sojourns with the sheep, facing wolves and lions with his humble weapon.


However weak or small we might feel today, the creator has put even that disadvantage as his instrument.  Yet by His abundant justice and love, we are given the power of free will. We just have to choose the right path, holding the hands of our Father. And all we need in our ruck sack for this journey are the courage to face the giants, trust in the power of our maker and the wisdom to sharpen the talents bestowed in us.


“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 .

Tribute to HH Moran Mor Baselios Marthoma Didymos I

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The true monk , visionary, teacher, the heavenly voice of Malankara and above all the shepherd who kept vigils, fasted and prayed unceasingly for the flock , HH Moran Mor Baselios Marthoma Didymos I. Our Holy Father, depart in peace, and bless us with Thy intercessions from heaven.

DIAKONIA: My Tribute to the Late Lamented HG Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios of the Orthodox Church of the East

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HG Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios Metropolitan was known as the prophet of love and social justice.

The Sabharatnam of Malankara, as the title bestowed by the church implies, was the gem of the church, who believed in the universal love of the triune God. His grace was a scholar on varied topics on theology and had authored 59 books and penned over 50 poems. The poetry was set to music composed by Thirumeni himself, and many of these songs which focus on the need for the love of God to bring about social justice and the oneness of mankind, are used as devotional songs for worship, among the faithful.

His Grace was the member of Faith and Order Commission and of the World Mission and Evangelism and had served as the advisor of the assembly of WCC held at Nairobi in 1975. Thirumeni founded St Paul’s Ashram and Children Home, Mission Training Centre, Marriage Assistance Foundation, Sick Aid Foundation, Save A Heart Foundation, House Building Aid Fund, more than 40 other humanitarian institutions, movements and projects all over India for the poor, for patients with AIDS and their children, and for the patients with terminal illnesses, mission homes for those with Hansen’s disease and their children, homes for the orphans, as well as old age homes.

The great theologian, visionary, and true follower of Christ , and the shepherd who lived an exemplary life in service and love for mankind, entered into eternal rest in 2012, February 16th, and is entombed at Paul’s Mission Centre, Mavelikara, Kerala, India.

The lyrics and music of the song (in Malayalam) are by His Grace.

(All images are from public domain.)

TRANSLATION:

Sambathu srishticha thampurane( O THE LORD, WHO CREATED WEALTH)
Sambathu nalkalle dharidryam nalkalle (Prov: 30:8- GIVE US NOT WEALTH, GIVE US NOT POVERTY)
Anpode nalkuka annavum vasthravum (1Thim: 6:8: WITH THY MERCY GIVE US BREAD AND CLOTHING)
Empamai jeevippan sneham mathi ( ONE NEEDS JUST LOVE FOR A JOYFUL LIFE)

…Sambathu(CHORUS)

2. Solomon sambannanayashesham (ONCE SOLOMON BECAME RICH)
Baline snehichu, yahine kaivittu (1King: 11:3-8 – HE LOVED BAAL AND LEFT JEHOVAH)
Israel dharidhryam koodiyappol(AND AS POVERTY ROSE IN ISRAEL)
Misraymil pokuvanagrahichu (Exo: 16:3 – HE LONGED TO LIVE IN MISRAIM)

…Sambathu(CHORUS)

3. Ekanam thathente dhanamellam (THAT THE ONE GOD’S MANIFOLD BLESSINGS)
Lokam muzhuvanum labhyamayidunnu(MIGHT REACH THE WHOLE WORLD)
Nallorunale vanniduvanai(SO THAT THE FUTURE MIGHT BE SO BLESSED)
Kristuvin sneham bharichidenam(THE LOVE OF CHRIST SHOULD RULE)

…Sambathu(CHORUS)

4. Dhravyathin agraham nashathin karanam (1Thim: 6:10: THE DESIRE FOR WEALTH IS THE REASON FOR DESTRUCTION)
Daivathin rajyam bhakthanmarkagraham(WHILE THE FAITHFUL SHALL YEARN FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD)
Sarvvamathangalum sarvvajanangalum(MAY ALL RELIGIONS, ALL THE PEOPLE)
Divyamam snehathil onnaitheeranum(ABIDE IN THE LORD’S LOVE AND BE ONE)

…Sambathu(CHORUS)

 

Another beautiful song written and composed by Thirumeni.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcatholicasimhasanam%2Fvideos%2F816733395162860%2F&show_text=1&width=560

(performed by Snehasandesam Gospel music team, St Paul’s Mission Training centre,
Mavelikara, Kerala. Phone: 0479 2302473)

 


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Shlom-léK Mar-yam: The Orthodox Perspective on the Holy Theotokos.

Shlom-léK Mar-yam ,
mal-yat Tay-boo-to ,mo-ran a-méK
mba-raK-to at bné-shé 
wam-ba-ra-Koo fee-ro dkar-shéK mo-ran yé-shoo mshee-ho. 
Morth Mar-yam é-méh da-lo-ho 
ét-ka-shaf Hlo-fayn Hnan Ha-To-yé ho-sho wab-sho-to dmaw-tan A-meen.

 

This prayer forms one of the pillars of the Orthodox faith. It is our duty to give the due respect to the mother of God, the Theotokos, who was given to us as our mother by Her Son at the cross.
The Lord wanted to ensure that His Mother was protected and cared for by St John. Also the disciple, being the youngest , known as one of the ‘sons of thunder’ for his temperament, needed a mother who can protect, guide and care.
if one can qoute the Bible and say that every word Jesus spoke, refers to and is for,every person born in this earth, then why should anyone misquote all the words referring to the Mother of God?
At the cross the whole world was entrusted as Her children while the Mother was given to every person born, dead and yet to be born, as their Mother. He told us He is our brother, His father is our Father too, so His Mother is our Mother, and we are Her children.
The lady/woman as Jesus refers to His Mother, is the Woman whose son trampled and shattered the head of the snake. 
Who else has done the will of the Lord more than the humble Lady who said, ‘may it be done according to Thy will’ and gave all that she had for the will of God?
And the last words spoken by our Lord on the cross,  “Father, i entrust my Spirit into Thy hands” , was the simple prayer, which a poor Mother, like all Jewish mothers, had taught Her Son as the prayer before sleep. He chose these words to give the Spirit to His Father, before going into the slumber of death for three days.
When we pray, we say the prayer to the heavenly Father, the prayer our Lord Jesus Christ taught us, followed by the Biblical references to the Mother chosen by the Father in heaven.
As the prayer begins we say the salutation of the archangel Gabriel, followed by the greeting of Elizabeth, concluding with the acknowledgement of our sins and mortality and our need for the intercession of the Mother, who cared for and taught and guided our Lord while He was a child, the Mother whom the heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit had trusted His Son with.

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Holy Mother of God, full of grace, pray for us, never leave us, and always be our Mother, shield us in Thy love, guide us with the hands that held the Son, we need Thee.