Saturday, April 7, 2018

Old Man and the Scorpion

One morning, while passing a stream, an old man saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion washed closer to a tree, the old man  stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched into the river and reached out to rescue the drowning creature. But as soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man withdrew his hand in pain.

A moment later, he regained his balance, and again stretched out his hand to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly that his hand became swollen and bloody and began throbbing from the pain.

At that moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the root struggling with the scorpion and shouted: "Hey old man! What's wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?"

The old man turned his head.  Looking into the stranger's eyes he said calmly, "My friend, just because it is the scorpion's nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save."

Retold by Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Forgive and You will be Forgiven

A letter written to an inmate on death row.

You are probably surprised that I, of all people, am writing to you, but I ask you to read this letter and seriously consider this request.  As the father of the man you took part in murdering, I have something to say.

First of all I want you to know that I forgive you.  I know it might be hard to believe, but I really do forgive you.  At the trial, when you confessed and asked for forgiveness, I was able to forgave you from my heart. I hope you can believe it and believe that I have forgiven you.

But that's not all I want to say.  I think there's more to you.  So I want to make you an offer - would you consider being a part of my family.  This may not make sense right now, but I believe you are worth the offer.  And just so you know that I am serious, I want to legally adopt you and share what I have with you.  I arranged it so that if you accept my offer, not only will you be pardoned for your crime, but your death sentence will be dismissed, and you can walk out a free man."

The letter went on to say, "I realize it's a risky offer — I realize you might reject this offer completely - but it stands, no strings attached.

Also, I realize it seems far fetched and foolish to make this offer to someone who took my son's life, but for love to be true it has to forgive.  Forgiving sets us both free.

Maybe you're worried that once you accept this offer, down the road, I'll change my mind, especially if you mess up.  I know you're not perfect.  I'm not expecting you to be perfect, that's not part of the deal.  If I can forgive you for my son’s death, I can forgive anything. My hope is that if you accept my offer and I share what I have with you, you will realize that your life is worth it - that you are worth it.

Most people think this offer is foolish, but I would be honored if you would call me father.

The Father of Jesus

Based on

Friday, February 2, 2018

Prime the Pump by Angela Davis

A woman was lost in the desert.  After some time she saw an old abandoned, home in the distance. Searching for water, she found a rusty pump outside the house.  Desperately she pumped the handle, but after several attempts, nothing came out.  Leaning against the pump, she started to cry.  Suddenly she saw a small jug next to the pump.  She uncorked it, and to her astonishment, it was full of water.  She dropped to her knees and began to thank God over and over again.  Then she noticed there was a note attached to the handle of the jug.  It said, "You have to prime the pump first. When you’re finished, refill the jug for someone else.”

As the sun beat down on her, the woman thought about her options.  If she drank the water right now, it would save her life.  But should she do what the note said?  The note looked pretty old.  What if she followed the instructions, primed the pump, and nothing came out?  She would probably die.  Sweating profusely, she listened to her frightened pounding heart and…

What do you think she did?  What would you do?

We all want something, sometimes even need something.  We can drink and just take care of ourselves, or we can prime the pump, and help others who come after us. 

What kind of person do I want to be?  What kind of world do I want to live in?  A world where everyone looks out for themselves or a world where everyone looks out for each other. 

What do you think the woman did?

She poured the entire jug of water down the rusty pump and pumped that handle! After a little while fresh water came pouring out.  She was so grateful she cried tears of joy.  The person who left the jug and the note had saved her life.  After drinking all the water she needed, she filled the jug again, corked it and added these words to the note: “Just do it. It really, really works!”

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ephesians 4:29

A Pebble by James Foley

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing out into the sea.
There’s no way of telling where the end is gonna be.

Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there are little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,
And those little waves keep flowing till a great big wave has grown;
You can disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind careless word, in a minute it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you’ve started them to flow.

Drop an unkind careless word, in a minute you forget;
But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,
Perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you’ve stirred,
And disturbed a happy life when you dropped that unkind word.

But drop a word of cheer and kindness, just a flash and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you won’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness, in a minute you forget;
But there’s gladness still a-swelling, and joy still circling yet,
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ignite The Fire Of God's Love

An old man who used to scrape by on the streets was about to die. He said to his son, "I have nothing to give you except a cotton bag and an old bowl that I found in the trash years ago." After his father's death, the boy continued to use the bowl to ask for change. One day a jeweler dropped a coin in the bowl and was surprised to hear a familiar sound. "Let me check your bowl," he said. To his great surprise, he discovered that the bowl was made of pure gold. "My dear young man," he said, "You are a rich man. That bowl of yours is worth at least thirty thousand dollars." Often we don’t realize the infinite worth of the Holy Spirit living within each of us, sharing His gifts with us. We are earthen vessels, but the Holy Spirit is more precious than heaps of purest gold. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, "Even though we are God's chosen people, we often behave more like God's frozen people--frozen in our prayer life, frozen in the way we relate with one another, frozen in the way we celebrate our faith." We need to be Spirit-filled people with hearts on fire and in love with the Lord. People who ask for strength, anointing and guidance from the Holy Spirit every morning, ask for His forgiveness every evening and then pass on that forgiveness to those who hurt us. Spirit-filled people always trying to grow in our Faith, and seeking out every opportunity to discover Christ and what it means to be children of God. Spirit-filled people who read the Bible daily.
Spirit-filled people who speak words that heal, restore and build up instead of tearing down. Spirit-filled people who pass on the love of God to the people around them by their acts of kindness, mercy and charity. So we pray for a spirit of love instead of hate, a spirit of helpfulness instead of non-cooperation, a spirit of generosity instead of greed and a spirit of gentleness instead of violence. "Come Holy Spirit, Make our ears to hear Make our eyes to see Make our mouths to speak Make our hearts to seek Make our hands to reach out And touch the world with your love. Amen

Edited from -

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Cup of Coffee

James 4:2-3 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.

A Cup of Coffee

Some graduates, established in their careers, visited one of their old university professors. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.  The professor thought for a moment and then asked if anyone wanted coffee.  He returned with a large pot and an assortment of cups – porcelain cups, plastic cups, glass, crystal, some plain, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all of them had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it’s normal to want only the best for yourselves, that is what’s causing your problems and stress.

The cup itself doesn’t add quality to the coffee it’s just more expensive. What you wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then began eyeing each other’s cups.

Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have doesn’t define, or change the quality of life we live.  Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups!

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.  -- Source Unknown

MT 6:19-21 - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

God's Mercy

Two scholars were debating about the love and mercy of God.  The first scholar said, "Anyone who disobeys God deserves His wrath and punishment.  Here let my story explain:

A king had a slave who was foolish and disobedient.  One day the king lost his temper and had the slave thrown into the dungeon.  The king was so angry that he commanded that no one was to give that slave any food or drink.  But another prisoner took pity on the slave and gave him some of his own food or water.

Now, when the king hears of this what do you think he will do to that prisoner?  Don't you think he would be angry at him for disobeying his orders?  God shows mercy to those who obey Him."

The second scholar thought for a moment and then said, "Well, let me tell you a story.

A king got angry at his child.  So angry that he locked him away in the dungeon, and commanded that no one was to give him any food or drink.  But another prisoner took pity on the child and gave him some of his own food and water.

Now when the king hears of this, what will he do to that prisoner?  I tell you the king will reward that prisoner for being kind to his child, even to the point of forgiving his crimes.  God is merciful towards those who show mercy.  God is merciful to us as a father to his child."

I Corinthians 6:18 says, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters."

James 2:12-13 says "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

What is the law that gives freedom?  Love God with all your heart.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice."

Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."

based on a story: Talmud, Bava Batra 10a

Friday, November 18, 2016

Space Between the Rocks

Excerpt of a letter from our Minister General.

"I read recently a powerful story in a book by Cardinal Sarah, “God or nothing”. He writes of a teacher filling a bucket to the brim with large rocks and asks his students if the bucket is full. They reply, “yes”. Then he adds pebbles to the bucket and they fill in the spaces. Again he asks the question, “Is it full?” and the response is, “yes”. Then he adds sand and that goes in and then water. Each time the response is “yes”. Then he asks, “Could I do it the other way around, beginning with the water, then the sand and so on?” Of course not, that is impossible. So Cardinal Sarah continues that that is how our life is. If we fill it with trivial and unimportant things first, then there is no room or place for God. Yet if we place God as our first priority and fill our life with Him, then all else will follow and fit in."