Feb 29, 2012

Prayer: a call to become available, no matter what. 

There are perhaps, hundreds of ways to describe what prayer is. Yet here, I would like to look at prayer differently- not so much at what it is - but at what it is not.  Prayer is not so much a duty but a privilege one can ever have. It is not a problem that should be sorted out but a gift – one that should be received in gratitude. It’s not the result of our tireless efforts but a moment of grace to which we are invited to enter. Prayer is not what you do actively but it is being passive in the omnipresence of God, who is God of the living not of the dead. He is and we are what we are in His presence. 
At times you glimpse into the Inexhaustible Light and are dazzled by it, while other times it is like entering into an empty and deep well without any water. Prayer is not so much what happens in the specific time of the day you have set aside; every hour and every moment of yours is alive with the possibility of genuine prayer. 
Whenever you pray, it’s not just you alone who pray, but you unite yourself with the unceasing prayer of the Church on earth and in heaven. As the Church never sleeps; she continuously prays to God and praises His glory! When you pray as a community in a particular geographical place, you rejoice in the company of your brothers and sisters; your eyes lifted up to your Father in awe of his glorious deeds! 
Prayer is not so much our doing; it is what God does in us. The only thing that we need to do is to be available for God to act. This is the key for the door that opens up into the vastness of God Himself. This idea of prayer is to be available and let God act on us the way He wants, not the way we want it to be. 
In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul tells us that, “the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly (Indeed we do not know at all!), then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God” (8:26,27). 
Here St. Paul reveals a great truth: It is the Spirit that prays in me! When ‘I’ pray I can only pray what comes to ‘my’ mind but when I let the Spirit to pray in me He prays according to the mind of God! Thus, in prayer, the ‘mind of Christ’ is being formed in me, which alone can make me the child of God and allow me to have the joy of being in the Father’s house! 
This call to ‘be in the house of the Father’ and rejoice in the knowledge that I am the son/daughter of God is the essence of prayer. When the mind of Christ is being formed in me, my prayer will take the form of a heart-to-heart encounter - I’ll start to hear God speak to my heart (Hos. 2:16) – my personal prayer! And he continuously tells you that ‘you are my beloved in whom I am well pleased’. If you want to hear that again and again, set aside a substantial time and sit down close to the Father’s heart! Yet prayer  is not only what I have just told you, the only way to pray is to begin being  available  and experience the love of the Father. So become available NOW! 
Fr. Binu Palakapally,
Jesus Youth UK Pastor  

Feb 23, 2012

Lenten Calendar

Daily Lenten preparation sheet as a one page Lenten Calendar which we can take print outs and distribute to all and also use as desktop wallpaper for our daily reminder.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Go forth be blessed and become a blessing this season by trying our best to be Holy, by fasting & praying and following these small acts and helping others to do so.

Prepared by Jesus Youth National Team

Feb 21, 2012


Joe, a post-graduate student, participated excellently in the Bible study I animated at one college campus. He was smart, handsome and appreciated by everyone in the group. That day, after the two hours of Bible study, Joe wanted me to spend some time with him. Whilst sharing about his life with me, he cried bitterly. It was quite difficult for me to think of Joe the way he described himself. He felt very filthy and broken inside. The struggles within him were so much that he felt helpless and unable to deal with them. After a meaningful confession I saw in Joe an apparent difference. He looked confident and wholesome as he walked out of my sight. This is where I begin my reflection for the Lenten season. Joe felt disfigured, tarnished and stained. But it was the original image and likeness of God in him that was really disfigured. The awareness and decision to embrace the Sacrament of Reconciliation is what brought within him an experience of being cleansed; giving him the courage and strength to move ahead.

God created us in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). The very purpose of our human and Christian life is nothing but to perfect each day this image and likeness of God invested in us. So, Jesus opens the invitation to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt. 5:48). Similarly, St. Peter reminds us that just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1Pet. 1:15-16). No wonder St. Paul urged the Galatians in this manner: My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you (Gal. 4:9); for Christ is the perfect image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4). Again we see St. Paul exhorting the Ephesians to become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). Finally, when St. Paul himself reached this maturity in his life, he could confidently declare I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20). This is exactly what is expected from each one of us.

In making man in His own image and likeness, God “crowned him with glory and honour”, but through sin, man fell “short of the glory of God” (Ps. 8:6; Rom. 3:23). Just like how a drawn or carved image can get disfigured or stained, the image and likeness of God in us can get disfigured or stained by our sins. Sin disfigures our true self from being loving, generous, gentle, patient, etc. (the “me” made in the image of God) into one who is hard and coarse, self-centered, uncaring, etc.

I believe the season of Lent is a special and beautiful time in our spiritual journey to pause for a while and look at our current ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ so that we may be able to recognise and identify how it has been disfigured, tarnished or stained. It is a time to refresh and restore the God given ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ in us.

One of the best ways for every Jesus Youth to revamp the disfigured, tarnished or stained ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ of God in us is to refurbish our basics – the six constants/pillars. May this Season of Lent be for us, Jesus Youth, a clarion call to look into our lives and a time to examine our faithfulness in living these basics which help us to mature until Christ is formed in us.

Living the Constants: An Introspection

1. Personal Prayer: A personal time of being with Him to become like Him.
- What excuses do I usually make for not having this time?
- How shall I be faithful to it during this Lenten season?

2. Word of God: Reading and reflecting on the Word allows me to become flesh – to live the Word.
- Do I have a thirst to read/listen to the Word of God?
- Recall each day an instance of having allowed the Word to become flesh in my life.

3. Sacraments: A visible sign of the invisible grace allowing me to restore God’s image and likeness in me.
- How often do I frequent the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist?
- Can I recall a recent instance when I felt/experienced the ‘image’ of God being restored after the reception of a Sacrament?

4. Evangelisation: Preach the Good News but use words only if necessary.
- How does my life become the Good News each day in my family/ school/ college/ hostel/ work place, etc.?
- How can I live out a Gospel value (forgiveness, patience, humility…) today/this week in the particular context of my life?

5. Fellowship: I become responsible for my brother/sister.
- What do I most appreciate in my fellowship gathering/ group/ team, etc.?
- How does my fellowship in the prayer group/ cell group/ core team, etc. enable me to inspire, challenge, correct and assist another?

6. Option for the Poor: Enables me to see the image of Christ in the needy.
- When was the last occasion that I saw the image of Christ in a needy brother or sister and responded to it creatively?
- How shall I make this constant a part of my daily life this week?

We have seven weeks ahead of us till Easter. Each week, shall we concentrate on one constant/pillar and make a conscious effort to live it, with a desire to become like Christ or with a desire to restore the disfigured or stained ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ of God of which we have become aware? We could do it in a progressive manner, for example: Week 1 for Personal Prayer, Week 2 for the Word of God and the like so that in the seventh week, we are able to live/practice all of the above six constants.

Wishing you all a very fruitful and meaningful Season of Lent, I remain.

Fr. Bitaju Puthenpurackal, O.SS.T.
Jesus Youth International Pastor.

Feb 13, 2012

Feb 9, 2012


Whitefield Prayer Group cordially invites you all to 
Friday, 10th Feb 2012 (9pm - 5am) 
@ St Theresa's Novitiate near Forum Value Mall, Whitefield

Feb 6, 2012

Sunday Prayer Group 6th Anniversary Gathering

"We had planned out a simple event, but the good Lord blessed it and made it a wonderful one.

The regulars at the group came early and put up chairs and decorations, arranged the place and did a dry run of game planned. A surprise was our old timer Patrick from Coimbatore coming all the way just for this program. So while we decorated the place, Patrick who agreed to take up the Adoration, prepared for it.

We began adoration at 10:15, with one or two more joining us. It was a beautiful time thanking and worshiping the Lord. Father Vinoy arrived, and after the adoration, we had a small round of introductions and warm up in the hall. A wonderful Mass followed at 11:30 with Fr Vinoy’s Homily challenging us to keep the passion of Jesus always in focus and be a truly contended, worthy catholic. More people and some sisters had joined for Mass. Crispin made sure we followed the new missal at Mass, and prepared well for it.

After mass, we had a small celebration with a cake cutting, and then a scrumptious lunch. We played a fun game and listened to a small sharing from Piyush about how a prayer group has enriched, and is still enriching him in his walk with the Lord. We officially closed after celebrating Crispin’s birthday, but many stayed back for some more time to clear the place and close for the day."

- Candice Lobo

Feb 2, 2012

National Intercession Retreat

National Intercession Retreat was organised by Jesus Youth National Team at Satyodayam Retreat Centre, Secunderabad, from 27th to 29th January 2012. The 3 days were days of grace and Bro Thomas Paul so beautifully led the the Intercession retreat. These 3 days were days where people learnt and grew in the Wisdom and Knowledge about the Power of Intercession.

Click here to listen to the sessions by Br. Thomas Paul