Simple Truths – Look over your shoulder, your soul mate awaits you.

Over the years I have had several young adults tell me that they wish to marry but just can’t seem to find the right person. So I ask them, “What they are looking for?” and the answer is either super vague, because they themselves are confused or it is super specific which makes it impossible to every find anyone who fits all the check boxes.

In a sense everyone seems to be chasing the ideal stereotype of what a future spouse should be. We seem to have some imaginary expectations or even worse, we have set our eyes on someone (who is usually already committed) and hope to God we get an exact match. Explained simply, it means that your probably chasing someone who in turn in chasing someone who in turn in chasing someone.

It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken and the only one who can break it is YOU. So here is the simple truth; if someone is chasing someone who is chasing someone, it means that someone is chasing you! All you got to do is look over your shoulder and figure out who that someone is.

And why can’t that someone chasing you be your best friend? You ruled them out because there is no passionate spark? But the reality is that they have everything else in them. They are loving, caring, loyal, always there for you and always thoughtful. You call him or her to cry on their shoulder, share a funny joke and gossip about everything under the sun. Yet they are not marriage material because sparks don’t fly?

The reality is that sparks rarely fly and true soul mates should always be best friends. But our minds have been messed up by the idiot box if not every industry that sells us wishes and dreams, defining what love and life should be. So you end up completely messed up chasing an illusionary world of love and lovers that do not exist.

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Simple Truths – Cut them off

There are people that you need to cut off from your life. This is a simple truth but one that is a hard pill for many to swallow. These people sap and drain your life with little concern for your well being while constantly using you to meet their emotional or physical needs. Cut them off.

Strangely a priest should be propagating forgiveness and love and yet the words from my blog come as an irony in a season filled with love. The truth is that this message IS a message of love; for you! Sometimes love is tough and love demands radical action on our part.

Forgiveness does not mean that we set ourselves up to be stabbed again. Forgiveness means we let go of hurts and pain that enslave us to another in order for us to move ahead and grow. I choose to forgive you but I don’t choose to run into your arms again, only to be hurt by you.  You need to grow up, I long have.

So cut them off in order that you may live. Dead branches on a tree of life can never bear flower or fruit and has no ornamental use either. They only end up making a beautiful tree look eerie. Dead branches need to be cut off so that the rest of the tree may flourish and live.

Some years ago, my friend Leon brought this to my attention. I have a habit of collecting dead branches, he said. That’s because I feel sorry for people; people who do little for themselves and like dead branches weigh me down. He saw these people in my life, clinging on to me because their emotional needs were met yet they rarely bothered to reciprocate when my heart was breaking. They take and they sap you always and yet charmingly making you feel guilty that you are not giving enough in the relationship when in reality it is they who give nothing.

How do you know you have dead branches in your life? How do you know you need to cut people off? The answer is YOU SIMPLY KNOW IT BUT WON’T ADMIT IT. Close your eyes and their faces fall before you. They are the ones who discourage you, demand your time, use your shoulders to cry on, always have an excuse for why they can’t be there for you,make you feel guilty that you don’t care for them but are always around when a good thing comes to you and never there when your heart is breaking. You call them on the phone, they never do. You text them they take their time to respond while you check your phone a million times for them to respond. You’re always jumping to make them happy they respond like a cucumber; till of course they need you!

Be warned, the minute you let them go they will say hurtful things to you. They will tell you this is all your fault, it’s you who have a problem and deviously curl their tongue like that of a forked snake to tell you that “you have changed”. Don’t fall for the guilt trip that they wish to set you up to. You have not changed, you have grown wise.

They will feel the loss of your presence, yet they won’t admit that you have raised them up all these years. So they try once more to get you down. They will send you ‘AN’ emotionally worthless message (you are worth many MANY more) but ironically you have been so starved for their love that even crumbs now seem like cake. Reject the crumbs, your better than that.

Don’t fall for the trap, walk away, block them on Facebook and Whatsap and make new friends who love you for who you are. You deserve this Christmas gift.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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Compassion not condemnation – Tuesday, second week of Advent – Is 40:1-11

While today’s reading begins with a double command to comfort, I find the season of Advent awfully un’comfort’able. It’s more like a mixed bag of comfort and discomfort. Deep down the feeling is wonderful but on the surface it almost seems to be too good to be true.

If Lent is all about us turning to God, it almost seems like the readings in Advent is all about God bending backward to make us happy. This makes me feel awfully uncomfortable for it should be the other way round. The feeling of being uncomfortable really gets to you when it dawns on you that such love is not merited but freely given.  

The reading of today, sung through the season of advent in our Churches, is taken from the second book of Isaiah (chapters 40-55) this section is generally attributed to an anonymous poet who prophesied toward the end of the Babylonian exile.  

In 587 BCE Jerusalem was conquered and destroyed by the Babylonian Empire. In fairness this was a well-deserved punishment from God to a people who had made idols their gods and refused to trust in Yahweh. The first book of Isaiah ends with chapter 39 and the unspoken (in this case unwritten) exile to Babylon. While the narrative is recounted in 2Kings 20:12-19, chapter 39 which precedes this text simply finds it hard to even acknowledge this painful historical reality.

Yet Chapter 40 which begins around the year 540 BCE seems to pop out of a dark tunnel of shame like as If nothing happened. It’s as if with one stroke (seventy years in reality) God has had a change of heart for his wayward people. To a people undeserving of such comfort, God insists, if not commands that His people be comforted. There is compassion not condemnation for the exiles and it almost seems like God is repentant of His decision rather than His people of their actions.

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Simple Truths – When rainy days never come

I was taught to save things for a rainy day. So all my life I did exactly that. There was a reason why this was drummed into my head, why this ‘value’ was planted deep within us. We came from a middle class family and there were times when life was hard and every last paisa had to be stretched till the end of the month.

I was not the only one, for there was a whole generation like me that was taught to save every paisa. We reused and recycled much before it became the borrowed mantra of the western world in their effort to save the planet, ironically after exploiting it. Sheer necessity forced us to recycle everything. Cycle tyres became our playthings, milk bags became reusable containers, whisky bottles were used to store drinking water and left over food found ten creative ways to make reappearance at dinner time.  

Inadvertently I grew up in a culture of fear. What if we don’t have enough for tomorrow? It is true that our generation grew up on the sacrifices of our parents but with those sacrifices and struggles we also inherited their fears. At the back of my mind the panic of the possibility of those hard days looms over every minute decision I make. I am worried to throw caution to the winds and gamble away good sense while inviting troubled times again. And so I pull back and tighten everything and every decision, from wallets to waist lines.

My generation spent little on ourselves, always with the conviction that we did not need this ‘little luxury’. Should a nice gift be presented to us it would be kept for that ‘rainy day’ or tucked in the furthest corner of old mother’s cupboard. Holidays were rare, candy and ice cream were non-existent, public transport was the order of the day, toys were a waste of money and a rare meal at a restaurant ended more with an apology that we could have eaten better food at home for half the money spent.

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Paradise regained – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary- Gn 3:9-15, 20

So it’s back to the beginning if we want to understand this feast and that’s exactly where the Church’s liturgy takes us; to the book of Genesis. The narrative we are told is a familiar one. It is a narrative of disobedience and disbelief in God. Adam and Eve brought into the world original sin by their disobedience and disbelief in their creator. As a consequence of this original sin all humans are born in sin; save one, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Often times, we are made to think that the sin of our first parents was merely one of disobedience. In reality it was that and more for in one swift move the devil in three statements, planted doubts and fear and corrupted faith in God. To undo this we needed a Saviour.

Let’s look at the narratives of lies and doubt sowed by the devil. The devil told Eve she would not die, which she would not, had she not sinned; sin brought death. He then told her that her eyes would be opened and she would be “like” God when in reality she “was” made in God’s image and likeness. Finally she was convinced by the devil that when she ate of the fruit she would know good and evil when in reality she was already introduced to God who is good and did not need an introduction to the devil who is evil.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God confronted them as He does with our sin. Like Adam, we too feel a sense of shame and nakedness and try to run away from God. The reality is that we can run away from God but can never hide for God found Adam and He will finds us.

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