Friday, December 9, 2011

Facts about Mary

Below are the top 10 facts about Mary

1. Apparitions (supernatural appearances) of Mary have been reported in every era in history and every country in the world.

2. Dante* said that Mary's face is the one that most closely resembles the face of Christ.

3. The early church fathers compared Eve to Mary. As Eve was the mother of humanity who fell into sin, Mary was the mother of a new humanity.

4. The Christian representation of Mary helped early converts from paganism connect with the Church.

5. Mary is regarded as a helper for those who grieve and to those who are in need of comfort. Grieving parents have taken comfort in her because she lost her own child in a tragic way.

6. Despite the widely secular nature of the twenty-first century, pilgrimages to Marian sites seem to be increasing in frequency.

7. Many of the earliest churches devoted to Mary were built on old pagan holy sites.

8. Despite Mary's significant place in the lives of the Christian faithful for centuries, she is mentioned less in the Bible than in the Koran.

9. Many scholars think that Mary may have only been thirteen or fourteen years old when she gave birth to Jesus.

10. Mary has garnered the praise of writers such as Dante, Jack Kerouac, Flannery O'Conner, and Sue Monk Kidd.

*Dante - The famous 14th century Italian poet and versatile writer. Certain people in power did not like his writings and therefore exiled him from the society at the age of 36. It was during his exile he wrote the epic poem 'Divine Comedy' - considered as one of the greatest classics in all western literature. In 'Divine Comedy', Dante describes his travel through hell, purgatory and heaven.


Walking with Mary - Day 9

Dear Mary,

Give us the strength to travel with you - we look at you to derive the strength and energy necessary to complete our journey. Even though you are filled with worries, you have tremendous faith in our Lord and you  take every single step towards completing our journey.

While walking with you, Mary, we can see the amount of struggles you have in your life. In our day-to-day lives, we recall and remember you only when we are undergoing tremendous sufferings.

When we go to church and see your picture - the one holding your Son, you appear to be so calm and relaxed. You do not show any sign of worries in that picture. Is it because you are solving other's problems more than your's? How do you do this? Were you like this from your childhood days? When I stand closer and look into those graceful eyes, I understand that our sorrows are so insignificant and I almost forget about my troubles - your face radiates that soothing, loving and caring look that I instantly forget all my troubles. There were several occasions I came running to see you, but forgot to read out my long list of troubles - well, you could read my mind, I guess. Being with you in your presence is such a secure feeling that I want to stay with you as long as I can.

Lead us the way and we will follow you - we have absolute faith and belief in you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beauty of the soul

Saint Augustine - A Christian theologian, saint, and philosopher, originally wrote this line in Latin,“Quia ipsa charitas est animae pulchritudo.” 

He was speaking of charity, the purest love of all.  

Come stay with us

Dear Mary,

We look at this family portrait of yours - where you are happily standing between your parents - Joachim and Anna.

Today, December 8th, we are celebrating the 'Immaculate Conception of Mary' to remember the day you were conceived in your mother Anna's womb. Since we celebrate your birthday on September 8th, we backdate it to 9 months and remember today as the actual day you were conceived - just like how we remember you conceiving Jesus on March 25th, nine months prior to Christmas.

Your mother Anna is considered as the patron saint of housewives, grandmothers, unmarried women etc, among others.

History tells us that in 1859 you appeared 18 times to a 14 year old peasant girl, Bernadette, in Lourdes, France - in the cave of Massabille. You told her to dig in the dirt of the grotto where you appeared.  When Bernadette dug in the dirt, water seeped up from the ground and you instructed her to drink that water. The water eventually became a small river from which many people drank. We've been told of many healings from those who drank or bathed in the water. Today, Lourdes is a famous shrine visited by over five million people every year.

Mary, we learn that you told Bernadette several times, "I am the immaculate conception."

File:Grotte Massabielle.jpg

Many times, I've seen the grotto of you appearing to Bernadette and have actually stopped by and spent few minutes in meditation near 'Our Lady or Lourdes.'

Mary, we acknowledge that we are sinners. Please hear us - if our hearts are worthy enough for you to come reside, please come stay with us in our hearts - just like how you took birth in your mother's womb today.

People use many measures to define a beautiful woman - but I do not find them attractive enough. Don't you already know - to me, you are THE MOST beautiful woman who ever walked this planet - filled with the Holy Spirit. Stay with us so that we may learn those wonderful qualities you possessed - those which enabled you to find grace and favor with God. Let us experience your presence like how Bernadette did.

Visit us and come stay with us - do not ever leave us; the doors to our hearts and minds are open for you forever!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Discovering Mary

Today, after working half day, I drove down to Atalanta to come attend a 'holiday bash' here - a 4 hr 30 minute drive. After the party, I am planning to return to Charlotte tonight itself. My plan is to return home on Thursday, as usual.  The return drive may make me tried - I will driving alone and get back to my hotel room during early morning hours and get ready for a morning meeting.

During the drive, I was thinking about Mary and her richness in terms of the amount of 'grace' she has. Yes, Mary is one person who found favor with God and is filled with grace. To find grace from God, one must first discover Mary.

That's when it stuck me - Don't we say the prayer, "Hail Mary, full of grace" numerous times? But how much do we think about Mary's grace?

I am going to be thinking about 'Mary's Grace' on my return journey.

Right now, I am stuck here at home. My son has a concert and my wife has gone with him. Our next door neighbor's son, who's the age of my son got locked out of his house and is at our place waiting for his mom. His mom is not reachable by phone and must have got stuck in traffic. I came driving all the way just for this party and it begins at 7:00 PM.

I was ready since 6:00 PM, however the plight of my neighbor's son is not allowing me to leave him alone here. For a moment I thought, "What would Mary do, if she was in my situation" and got the answer right away. Waiting here with this child until him mom arrives is more appropriate, than going and having fun - regardless of the long drive.

Thinking about the drive back makes me sleepy already.


Walking with Mary - Day 6

File:Virgen de guadalupe1.jpg

Throughout the Bible, we see that God performed numerous miracles in those early days to jump-start people's faith.  Today, many ask, "Why doesn't God perform miracles anymore?"

The truth is that God is still performing miracles everyday.  However, He is neither parting the red sea on a daily basis - it's different every time. If we examine our lives closely, we can see numerous small miracles happening to ourselves - but we have to have the faith and acknowledge it's due to the work of the creator and certainly not because of our smartness, strength or intellect.

Mary has been encountered by many, throughout the centuries, all over the world. Here is one - ever heard about 'Our Lady of Guadalupe?'

In 1531, an Aztec Indian in Mexico named Juan Diego reported encountering a beautiful woman surrounded by a bright light who called herself "Mary, the Virgin." In presenting the information to the local bishop, a great miracle occurred.

The Virgin told Diego to ask the Bishop to build a church where she appeared. The bishop said he would consider the request if the Virgin could supply a sign to prove she was who she said she was. Though it was freezing weather, the Virgin Mary asked Diego to cut roses that were blooming from a bush on top of a hill. He found the roses, cut them, and placed them in his "tilma" (a cape made of cactus fiber). When Diego opened the tilma and presented the roses to the bishop, all saw an image of the Virgin on the tilma, exactly as Diego had described her. This image on a cape of cactus fiber still exists today. In 1977, it was examined with infrared photography and digital enhancement techniques but examiners were not able to determine how it was created, nor how it has been preserved after all these centuries.

Click here to read more on 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'.

Have faith and believe that God is still in the miracle business!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Preparing for Jesus' arrival

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  - Luke 11:13

Anybody observing the Advent Lent?  In other words, anybody preparing themselves for the arrival of Baby Jesus into your life this Christmas?

While there are so many guidelines on lent such as, "No eating meat, but fish is ok; No eating eggs, but milk is ok," etc., I don't treat it that way, and actually find it very funny. In this land, there are so many yummy foods around us that are even better than meat or eggs.

I have a simple equation to observe the lent - identify that "one thing you love doing the most" and do your best to stay away from it. It could be dining on that irresistible '12 oz Royale Ground Steak and lobster,' or drinking that 'Two pump Mocha Blended Cream Frappuccino.' Needless to say, I control my food intake as well. Here is what I am having for lunch these days - salad, soup and water.

Communication with the Lord - prayers during lent will help us accomplish our motive. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is Self Control and we can ask the Holy Spirit to provide that.

Finally, you are answerable to your own consciousness and not anybody else.

Welcoming Jesus into our lives simply means we are welcoming the Holy Spirit!!

Kannuneer Thaazhvarayil

Walking with Mary - Day 5

The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit came onto Mary. Certainly in that case, Mary had to possess those 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit: 


When we pray to receive the Holy Spirit, these are His divine attributes and qualities that will start to move into the core of our personality - like Mary. 

God wants us to share His divine nature by allowing His Holy Spirit to transmit and impart these nine divine qualities right up into our soul and personality - like Mary. 

Dear Mary,
Blessed be your purity,
May it be blessed forever,
For no less than God takes delight,
In such exalted beauty.
To you, heavenly Princess,
Holy Virgin Mary,
We offer on this day
Our whole heart, life and soul.
Look upon us with compassion,
And be with us.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Walking with Mary - Day 4

Dear Mary, 
We offer you our soul, our minds
Make of us God's instruments
Give us a penetrating mind to discover, 
Firm to judge,
Open to understand, 
Free to serve the truth; 
An honest mind in telling what it sees 
Rather than what it wants to see, 
A tolerant mind 
Which does not dictate to other people
But which explains what it sees clearly;
A mind infused by the light and truth
Of your son Jesus, 
Patient in faith, 
While waiting for the vision
Of Eternal life.