Come To Jesus

Nicodemus came to Jesus to figure out what is going on with him and his life. He made a conscious choice and it was not an accident. Meeting with Jesus gave him the courage to speak up for Jesus and for himself. He could find the truth about who he was. Why do I say that? Because later in the scriptures we will find a conversation between Nicodemus and Pharisees. John 7: 48. The Pharisees were trying to put blame on Jesus and Nicodemus asks them, “Does our law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?” John 7: 51.

Was he afraid to come to Jesus? Of course he was. He was a leader. But at some point he had to mug up enough courage to meet his fears and meet his Lord. He was searching and he found. But did not have the courage to execute his plan and so he comes in the middle of the night. He was not judged for the questions he asked, but Jesus treated him with respect for his fear and anxiety. He was not exposed but appreciated for his willingness to seek truth. He knew what he was looking for and he found what he sought.

Most of the leaders at the time of Jesus knew in their hearts who Jesus was. But not many came forward to acknowledge their faith in Jesus. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place and synagogues. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory. I am sure you can identify with that. We all do that. It is hard to open up about our faith in God and acknowledge our weaknesses. It is hard to be transparent before God. Remember Joseph of Arimathea he was not afraid to come out and ask for Christ’s body. He was not afraid to acknowledge his knowledge, appreciation and feelings for Jesus. Then came Nicodemus. Once he was open to be himself, he was not afraid. Once he was open to God, he was open to all. Nothing mattered to him. John 19: 39

Nicodemus knew his scriptures. “Listen now, you who know right from wrong, you who hold my teaching inside you: pay no attention to insults, and when mocked don’t let it get you down”. Isaiah 5: 7-8. Paul says to the Philemon once they acknowledged who Jesus was in their hearts, “they became far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah. Phi. 1: 14.

We all have fears of men of what they will think of us and what they will do to us. Abraham was afraid of taking his wife to the Egyptians. He thought to himself When the Egyptians see you they’re going to say, ‘”Aha! That’s his wife!’ and kill me. But they’ll let you live. Do me a favor: tell them you’re my sister. Because of you, they’ll welcome me and let me live.” Genesis 12: 11-12. The fruit did not fall too far from the tree. Isaac did the same. He was asked to keep moving in to new territories but could not because he was afraid of what people will do to his wife. He did the same thing what his father did. We are afraid of others for many reasons. Either they are stronger, weaker, cheaper, smaller, bigger and you name it. We have a reason to be scared of the other in this world specially if we don’t know them. Bible is full of examples of people scared of the other. That is why today’s scriptures is so important.

Come to the person you are afraid of and sit in silence and listen. Visit the person you are anxious about and see where they are. “Treat the little and the big alike; listen carefully to each. Don’t be impressed by big names. This is God’s judgment you’re dealing with”. Deuteronomy 1: 17.

Visiting with someone we are afraid of, or do not know anything about or wish not to be engaged in any way can be self destructive spiritually. We are letting go of the potential of meeting angels in the process when we are afraid to let ourselves be vulnerable in the process.

John 3: 1-17

Fr. Jos Tharakan(C) 2017

Centering Prayer: God is Love

For centuries people have practiced centering prayer. But it took a few very special people to bring out to the public in a way that is accessible and practical. They are Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. William Menninger. They gave us a practical and easy to follow practice of contemplation that was practiced by people like St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Theresa of Liseux. The list goes on and on. But now it is broken down for us in a way that makes it easy for us to practice it and pursue it everyday.

When we offer these programs at the House Of Blessings, we make sure the integrity of these original teachings are maintained and preserved. That is why this program given at the House Of Blessings is given by people like Dr. Catherine Crews and Dr. Nicholas Cole who are certified by the Contemplative Outreach.

What is Centering Prayer?

Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that helps open our hearts and minds to consent to God’s presence and action in our lives. In centering prayer we focus on the Word of God and we make them part of our daily life. We breath the Word of God in and we live that Word out and then we make it alive as integral, eternal and in union with Christ.

Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.

The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love. (Taken from the website: www.centeringprayer.com)

Many saints and mystics in the church have practiced this form of contemplative prayer in their lives. However they did not call it Centering Prayer. Because for a world that was not bombarded by consumerist mentality name recognition did not matter. But it does matter now. People know about things by the brand recognition and name prominence. What Fr. Keating did was to bring out an ancient and powerful method of prayer into a recognizable and easily adaptable form of prayer. He introduced steps, formulas, and methods into our prayer life so that we who are distracted by many things like Martha in the Bible, can focus better and practice easier.

Read more about Centering Prayer here.

Online Retreats and Courses

We live in a new world every single day. Because everything that we are used to and familiar with changes overnight. We are living a world of technology where everything is changed and there are new ways to adapt and new things to learn.

If you are interested in picking up some beautiful spiritual program right from the comfort of your home, here are some great courses that are free and paid. These courses are professionally produced with references, links, videos, audio, slides, powerpoint presentations and more so that your experience of learning will be real, competitive and enjoyable.

Each of these courses comes with Video classes, resources to help you learn more and faster. At the end of each course you will receive a certificate of completion. We wish you all the best.

If you would like to have a special class brought to you, please let us and we will gladly bring them to your finger tips. Click here to go the HOBs Institute

Mindfulness Retreat

Mindfulness is the Spiritual Art of living in the moment. It sounds silly to say it because that is what we do. Well, may be that is what we believe we do. Most of us live for tomorrow, or in the past. Most people live with hope and live with desperation. A lot of people are afraid of what they do not have rather than enjoying what they have.

Mindfulness is spiritual retreat that helps the participants with tips and tools to be reminded of the moment of joy, which is now and how to capture it and live now. This time of spiritual guidance will anyone living with worries, anxieties and fears to channel their energy to that is positive and constructive.

None of us needs to let go of our past, for they have formed us. None of need to give up hope, because we believe in a world that is eternal and beautiful. But getting there is living in the now and that is what this retreat is all about.

With stories and experiences, filled with spiritually vibrant moments this retreat can help you kick start a spiritual life that you always wanted. It is not complicated, or complex in any way.

Steps to guide you, mantras to center you and practices to neutralize our fears are the key that will open the doors to mindfulness. Retreat Schedule

Centering Prayer Retreat

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that helps open our hearts and minds to consent to God’s presence and action beyond words, thoughts, and emotions. Rooted in ancient Christian prayer practices, Centering Prayer prepares us to receive the gift of Contemplative Prayer, the awareness through faith of God within us, closer than consciousness itself.

Lectio Divina is a traditional way of listening to scripture as if we were in conversation with Christ. It supports an attitude of friendship, trust, and love in our unfolding relationship with God, ultimately leading us to “resting in God”.

These two prayer forms work together to help us listen, reflect, respond and rest in God’s word, and consent to God’s presence and action in our lives. They arise from our relationship with God, and are methods to foster that relationship. Lectio Divina deepens our relationship with God and strengthens our intention to rest with God in prayer; Centering Prayer helps us hear the word of God on a deeper level.

This retreat is for all who are interested in deepening their prayer practices with Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina. The retreat is based on the teaching of Thomas Keating and Contemplative Outreach. It will include sessions of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina in the group, spiritual teachings on DVD by Thomas Keating, and time for private rest, study, and prayer. We will keep silence during meals and evenings.

There will be an opportunity for instruction for those new to these prayer practices. Click here to see the dates of the retreats