Contentment  simplifies our life, reduces stress, relaxes our body, changes our outlook and soon we start enjoying life in the real sense.
We are not content with what we have, we continuously wish and aim for something futuristic.  Objects have replaced our desires to be a better person, or be fantastic in our lives.  Instead, we compare our achievements by the number of objects we possess.
If you truly believe that wearing the most expensive clothes or driving a Ferrari or having a big house will bring you peace of mind and contentment, you are mistaken.  Even after having acquired all these possessions, you might be just tossing and turning in your bed at night as you are not at peace within.


Content can be found even in a small home where you are surrounded by those who love you.  Contentment does not come from possessions which make you happy for a short while.  Soon you start searching for other objects to make you happy.  Having a desire to own expensive things is not wrong, but you have to understand their true worth.  Nothing should come at the cost of your peace of mind.  But, most of the time we realise this too late.
Do achieve things, but do not get possessed by them, remember what attracts you today may bore you tomorrow.
Contentment is in the now, it is a reflection of all the small and big blessings you have.  It is the courage that you had shown in difficult times, it is in the truthfulness you follow towards yourself and around.  When you start enjoying each moment of your life, when you feel you have good friends, when you start doing things selflessly, when you don’t focus on objects but something higher than that, when you understand you are much more than what people think you are, when you know what a beautiful soul you are, you will be content and satisfied  in life.  Start enjoying life in the true sense.  Freedom is the reward we get out of contentment, as we are free to love, accept and enjoy who we truly are.
——-Priyanka Vashishth.

It is more blessed to give

Ravi_Varma-Lady_Giving_Alms_at_the_TempleWe all grew up being told that it’s more blessed to give than to receive, so most of us elevate one act to a place of goodness and kindness while the other is degenerated.  While it’s true that this teaching safeguards us from becoming self-centred, we neglect to see that to want to be always the ‘giver’ has more than a touch of insecurity or arrogance, reflecting a sad lack of humility and graciousness. Receiving is an act of generosity too. 
A wise person once said that this balance of giving and receiving was “the true completion of the heart’s transaction.”  
Unless we are careful, most giving comes with a hook of sorts, while addiction to giving can leave people burnt-out and resentful.  Those whose energy is invested only in giving have probably experienced the consequences of taking on too much, being vulnerable to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion and illness.  There is something so tragic about someone who once insisted, “I give, but don’t expect anything in return,” later in life bitterly saying, “After all I’ve done ………”  
Many who are uncomfortable with receiving need to examine a driving and anxious need for control, or for thinking highly of oneself.  Perhaps they feel reciprocal —- giving has to be as large as if not greater than what was given to them, or, that giving, to be truly blessed, has to deprive them in some way.
So, rather than just the idea of giving and receiving, perhaps we need to look at “wise giving” and “gracious receiving.”  A story is told about Saint Martin.  As a young soldier, he arrived at the city walls after a long, difficult campaign with his army.  Exhausted, dirty and cold, all he could think of was a meal, a bath and warm bed and shelter for his horse.  Just before he entered the city gates, he noticed a beggar, naked and shivering.  The beggar called out to Martin, who stopped to help the poor man, but not having any food or money to give him, he drew out his sword and cut his large cape into two, giving half of it to the beggar.  
That same night as Martin slept safe and sound at the inn, he had a dream, where the same beggar appeared and honoured Martin for his good deed, proclaiming that what he did for the poor man, he did for God.  Other versions say that, in his dream, he saw Christ wearing half a cloak and telling his angels that Martin had given it to him.
Why did Martin give only half his cape ?  It seemed that if he really wanted to help the man, wasn’t it a little selfish to keep half of it for himself ?  
These days, it makes so much more sense : It is a powerful ‘metaphor’ about wise and caring giving and receiving, about caring for yourself and caring for others.  The Universe would have it no other way —— living with a rhythm of giving and receiving, keeping ourselves and others ‘balanced and whole.’  
There is no such thing as only giving or only receiving.  The cycle is, in a lovely phrase, just ‘LIFE RE-ARRANGING ITSELF CONSTANTLY. 
———————- Marguerite Theophil. 

Showers of blessing

What is thy season today ?  Is it a season of drought ?  Then, that is the season for showers.  Is it  a season of great heaviness and black clouds ?  Then, that is the season for showers.  “As thy day so shall thy strength be.”  “I will give thee ‘SHOWERS’ of blessing.”  The word is in the plural.  God will send all kinds of blessings.  All God’s blessings go together, LIKE LINKS IN A GOLD CHAIN.  Look up today, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for the Heavenly showers.  The fruitful life seeks showers as well as sunshine.
The landscape, brown and sere beneath the sun
Needs but the cloud to lift it into life
The dews may damp the leaves of tree and flower
But it requires the cloud-distilled shower
To bring rich verdure to the lifeless life.
Showers-of-BlessingAh, how like this, the landscape of a life
Dews of trial fall like incense, rich and sweet
But bearing little in the crystal tray
Like nymphs of night, dews lift at break of day
And transient impress leave, like lips that meet.
But clouds of trials, bearing burdens rare
Leave in the soul, a moisture settled deep
Life kindles like the magic law of God
And where before the thirsty camel trod
There richest beauties to life’s landscape leap.
Then read thou in each cloud that comes to thee
God’s words, in letters large and clear
So shall those clouds thy soul with blessing feed
And with a constant trust as thou dost read

A Christmas meditation

If we but had the eyes to see God’s face in every cloud
If we but had the ears to hear His voice above the crowd
If we could feel His gentle touch in every stirring breeze
And find the haven in His arms beneath leafy sheltering trees
We would not need to ponder or ask to understand
——- Helen Steiner Rice.
The sum and substance of Christmas—— celebrating the greatest of God’s gifts : God’s presence as “PERSONAL PRESENT” in God’s Son, Jesus.  Sadly, with the money-making merriment that market forces peddle, the profoundest meaning of Christmas gets eclipsed.  Let’s rewrite the CHRISTMAS STORY.  Every Christmas reminds us that God has not finished with us.  He is still moulding and shaping us like clay, and when He gives the finishing touches, we will be like beautifully crafted pots, ready to hold all the love and beauty that He will pour into us.
Originally Christmas was a happy family feast, when people came home, from far and near, just to be with the family, sharing not just food but also so many memories and experiences.  Today, many people are lonely at Christmas, because they have no one to celebrate the feast with.  For most people, Christmas has become simply a ritual of going to Church in one’s best clothes and a few handshakes at the end of service.
There are no Christmas carol-singing groups bringing Christmas to our doorsteps.  Many traditions have developed around Christmas —– the mistletoe, the advent candles, the feeling of anticipation, of welcoming a great event —- the birth of Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with us.  I must be a part of the SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. —– Even on Christmas Day, there are some families who don’t have enough to eat, no clothes to wear, no shoes for their weary feet, while other families have it all —– Christmas cakes, pudding, roast chicken or turkey ——- sometimes most of which is wasted.  In the so-called Christian countries, in the West, there are homeless people shivering in the dark winter, while other splurge on every conceivable luxury around.
Lville Day of Caring
We have to rewrite the CHRISTMAS STORY.  A real Christmas is sharing from the plenty we have with those who don’t.  A celebration is real only when everybody is included and we are able to be compassionate towards those who are lonely, destitute and unhappy.  Surely, we will bring a smile to their lips and they too will sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.”  Thus , it will be truly be a VERY HAPPY & BLESSED CHRISTMAS.”
Inputs from Father Francis Gonsalves an Janina Gomes

Delayed blessings department

Delays are not denials.  In a charming little booklet “EXPECTATION CORNER”, Adam Slowman, was led to the Delayed Blessings Office, where God kept certain things, prayed for, until the wise time came to send them.  There are secrets of love and wisdom which are little dreamt of.  Men would pluck their mercies green, when God would have them ripe.  Never doubt God, He will let the dross be consumed, and then He will come to your help, and you will abundantly rewarded for the delay which has tried your faith.
O thou of little faith
God hath not failed thee yet
When all looks dark and gloomy
Thou dost so soon forget.
Forget that He has led thee
And gently cleared thy way
On clouds has poured His sunshine
And turned thy night to day.
And if He’s helped thee hitherto
He will not fail thee now
How it must wound His loving heart
To see thy anxious brow.
Oh, doubt not any longer
To Him commit they way
Whom in the past thou trusted
And is “just the same today”.

Blessed is he

Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me ——(Luke 7:23) . 
It is sometimes very difficult not to be offended in God.  The offences may be CIRCUMSTANTIAL.  I find myself in a narrow sphere, an un popular position, when I had hoped for wide opportunities.  But He knows what is best for me.  My environment is of His determining.  He allows it to intensify my faith, to draw me into nearer communion with Himself.
The offence may be MENTAL.  I am haunted by perplexities and questions which I cannot solve.  I had hoped that my sky would always be clear, but, often, it is overspread by mist and cloud.  Yet, by my intellectual conflicts, I am trained to be a tutor to other storm-driven men.
The offence may be SPIRITUAL.  I had fancied that I should never feel the biting winds of temptation, but it is best as it is.  His grace is magnified.  My own character is matured.  His will is welcome.
Blessed is he whose faith is not offended
When all around his way
The power of God is working out deliverance
For others day by day.
Though in some prison drear his own soul languish
Till life itself be spent
Yet still can trust His Father’s love and purpose
And rest therein content.
Blessed is he who through long years of suffering
Cut off from active toil
Still shares by prayer and praise the work of others
And thus “divides the spoils”.
Blessed art thou, o child of God who suffers
And canst not understand
The reason for thy pain, yet gladly leaves
Thy life in His blest Hand.
Yea, blessed art thou whose faith is “not offended”
By trials unexplained
By mysteries unsolved, past understanding
Until the goal is gained.
———– Freda Hanbury Allen.

Count your blessings

We should always thank God for everything that comes.  Our lives should be one of thanksgiving.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below.  I once saw a man draw some black dots.  I could make nothing of them.  Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and I saw that these black dots were musical notes.  There are many black dots in our lives, and we fail to understand WHY they are there.  If we let God into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots, in our lives, He will make a GLORIOUS HARMONY.
“Would we know that the major chords were sweet
If there were no minor key ?
Would the painter’s work be fair to our eyes
Without shade on land or sea ?
Would we know the meaning of happiness
Would we feel that the day was bright
If we’d never known what it was to grieve
Nor gazed on the dark of night ?
When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ, the music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones, but to get the capacity of the instrument HE MUST TOUCH THEM ALL.  So,
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will be surprise you what God has done”.