God Reveals The Power And The Blessings Of The Gospels
A PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Apostle Paul’s Prayer
“I ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; the glorious Father…that your minds may be opened so that you will know….how very great is the power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world.” (Eph. 1: 18-20) And this is how God revealed the mighty power and the blessings of the Gospel to me.
As a child I don’t even recall seeing a family Bible. The only religious activity at this time was the daily family rosary and the Sunday worship. I used to help as an altar server. I hated it.
It is amazing to see how God calls each one. Moses thought that he was going to investigate a fire, a burning bush. It resulted in his calling to save the people. Parental discipline left my but burning and was looking for an opportunity to get out. And it came in the form a Carmelite Priest recruiting boys.
The early adolescent Period
In the minor seminary we were encouraged to read spiritual books, which mostly was of saints. I don’t remember emphasis on Bible. Practice of virtues, meditation, mass, thanksgiving after mass, study and play: these are all I remember.
Introduction to spiritual life
Introduction to serious spiritual life began with the Novitiate: Mental Prayer, study of Carmelite Mystics, methods of prayer, practice of virtues and presence of God, One was in charge to remind us of the presence of God by ringing a bell every fifteen minutes. How unlike the Gospel that says that the spirit will remind you of everything! A copy of the Bible was what we were asked to bring from home. But it was never the main concern of the
formation as a religious though the Rule said that one should meditate on the word of God daily.
As Gospel and the Word of God were alien to me, I was amused when professors quoted scriptures among other arguments to prove something. The Scripture professors were like the experts of the Law at the time of Jesus. When Magi came looking for Jesus, they told them where to find him but did not obey the word they knew. The Magi believed and obeyed the word and found Jesus.
The training to be a preacher
The training to be a preacher consisted mostly in the art of delivery, diction, eloquence and skills. I am today reminded of what the mighty Apostle Paul said about his preaching that he threw away all such skills and wisdom but went humbly relying upon the power of the Gospels. ( )
Called to be a Missionary
It was forced upon me, for whatever reason. But once in, I liked it. The main work was many things like raising funds, building, managing, administering, administering sacraments, travelling, meeting, the list goes on. But preaching the word and Gospel took the last place. The new language of the people was also a drawback. Moreover a missionary at that time had to take care of more twenty to thirty villages, many of them baptized.
The Lord slowly opened my eyes to see the power of the Word
The faithful in the mission had chapels in their own villages. But once the foreign money started to dwindle, they stopped coming to the church as well. I could see believers of other denominations walking miles with their Bibles to go for Sunday worship. The Lord reminded me of the words of the Apostle that faith comes through preaching the Word! That was the beginning. Then as a new pastor of big parish, I visited all the twenty above villages. I heard the same complain from the elders that the protestant pastors are stealing our sheep as they come and preach the Word. The Catechists were the ones to conduct Sunday worship in their respective
villages. They did not know to preach the Word. They knew to sing, read prayers, and teach catechism. No wonder the faithful were attracted by the power of the Word and went after whoever came. This was the second moment of realization when I decided not to do anything else except preach the Word/Gospel. I invited all the different pastors of the area to preach on a given subject to my catechists. It was to give them an exposure to what was going on. I would stand by the window and listen. I then, began to take my Bible and mark the words. I then would for two years, go as a team every day to preach the word. THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME I BEGAN TO FEEL THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT IN MY LIFE WHICH HAS NOT DIED SINCE. The secret: I not only believed in the power of the Word/Gospels, but was also living it or practicing it by taking to the people.
The key to the blessings and treasures of the Gospel: believe and obey
The farewell words of the Ascending Christ, was to make everyone his disciples and to ask them to obey all that he had taught. Apostle Paul reiterates it when he says, that the Gospel secret is out and is made known to all so that all may believe and obey. (Rom. 16: 24-26)
The greatest eye-opener
God sends angels to his servants. He sent me one in the form of Pastor Jeevaraj of Penugolanu, Andhra Pradesh. He was a poor pastor but rich in the Word of God. He visited me to say hi, as I was new to the area. We became friends that he came almost every day. I had a secret desire in my heart from my childhood to the United States. I never told anyone for embarrassment. Since I was a missionary in Andhra Pradesh, India, I thought I was going to live and die there. But one day I shared this secret desire with Jeevaraj and he at once quoted the scripture that if two of us unite in prayer God will grant our petition. He prayed every time he came by. In one month’s time my provincial visits and says that he was taking me for studies if I agreed. But I told him that I was doing masters degree in private. But in eight months time the provincial is reelected when I visit him to give the manuscripts of the books I wrote: A walk with Jesus feeding upon his word.
In two hours time the Provincial knocks at my door to say that I am selected to go to California to work in the diocese of Stockton. It was a miracle of God’s faithfulness to his promises. It happened because a humble pastor not only believed in the promises; he was living his daily life relying upon the promises of God: believe and obey!!!
I counted fourteen different blessings of the Word which I will share later. But the greatest of all is God/Lord ministering to you in your daily life!!!