St. Alphonsa – The passion flower of Kerala

St. AlphonsaSaint Alphonsa who lived as an unknown simple clarist nun within the four walls of the Franciscan Clarist convent at Bharananganam, in the state of Kerala, is now known all over the world. Her extraordinary power of intercession before her beloved Spouse Lord Jesus Christ, made her dear to everyone. Thousands of people from all walks of life irrespective of caste, creed, religion or country flow to the tomb of the saint to pray for their various needs and to pay homage and gratitude for the innumerable favours they received.

                                      Prayer of St. Alphonsa
O  Lord  Jesus, hide me in  the  wound of your sacred heart. Free me from my desire to be loved and esteemed. Guard me  from my evil attempts to win fame and honor. Make me humble till I become a small spark in the flame of love in your Sacred Heart. Grant me the grace  to forget myself and all  worldly things. Jesus,  sweet beyond words, convert all  worldly  consolations  into  bitterness for me. O my Jesus, Sun of Justice, enlighten my  intellect and mind with your sacred rays. Purify my heart, consume me with burning love for you, and make me one with you.

Life of St. Alphonsa

St. Alponsa was born on 19th August 1910 as the fourth child of Joseph and Mary Muttathupadath, in the parish of Kudamaloor in the state of Kerala. She was baptized on the 27th August. Her baptismal name was Anna and her pet name Annakutty. Her mother passed away three months after her birth.

Annakutty started her schooling at Arpookara and left for Muttuchira Govt. School for pursuing her studies from the fourth class onwards under the immediate supervision of her maternal aunt Annamma Muricken. The aunt brought her up extremely affectionately, but equally strictly also. Her one ambition was that the child should be brought up as a respectable housewife for a deserving bridegroom. Annakutty had a vision of St. Theresa of Liseux whose life in spired her to become a religious. She therefore did not yield to any marriage proposal. Finally when she was almost compelled to be betrothed at to the church, she extricated herself from it by voluntary burning her foot placing it an ash pit of burning husks. Against such determine resistance the aunt succumbed to her desire and permitted her to join a convent .

Annakutty joined Clarist convent at Bharananganam in 1927 on the feast of Pentecost. She recived the veil postulant on second August 1928 with the name Alphonsa. Her vestition was on 19th May 1930. Later she joined the St. Theresa’s School Changanacherry for higher studies, on completing which she engaged in teaching for a period of one year at Vakakkad. Sr. Alphonsa entered the novitiate on 12th August 1935. During this period, she had a sever attack of hemorrhage and it was feared that she would have to be sent back. But on the ninth day of novena held by her and the community seeking intercession of Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavera, she was miraculously cured her. She completed the novitiate and made the solemn profession of her religious vows on 12th August 1936.

Sr. Alphonsa continued to have her repeated spells of sickness and pain. She was on a bed of thrones torn and tortured by excruciating pain and prolonged agony. Here was an rejoiced in the lord and magnified Him. She was longing to suffer even more for her own sanctification and that of the world.

She constantly advised her companions and novices to accept suffering cheerfully citing the biblical references to the grain of wheat which has to fall down and decay for raising new sprouts; it has to be ground in order to be turned into hosts for transformation as the body of Our Lord. She also reminded them of the grapes which have to be crushed for yielding wine to become the blood of the Lord.
Her death(28th July 1946) was unnoticed by the public. The funeral was simple and thinly attended. But soon the school children , who loved her received favors through her intercession. Her tomb at Bharananganam turned into a great centre of pilgrimage attracting people from far and near.

How to reach:

Bharananganam town is located 5 kms east of Palai in Kottayam district on the Kottayam – Erattupett Road. Palai lies 30 k.m southwest of Kottayam.

Air : The nearest airport is at Kochi International Airport, Nedumbassery about 76 km km from Kottayam.  The routes are Nedumbassery – Aluva – Kalamassery – Thripunithra – Ettumanoor – Pala -Bharananganam or Nedumbassery – Kalady – Perumbavoor – Muvattupuzha – Thodupuzha – Palai -Bharananganam

Rail  : The nearest railhead is Ettumanoor which is 12 kms from Palai and the nearest railway station is at Kottayam (33 km) and is connected with major cities of South India.

Road : There are frequent buses from Kottayam and Palai to Bharananganam, and Kottayam is well connected by road to all important South Indian cities and towns.

Qualities of a Good Wife

Holy Bible

Married life is a gift from God. Every couple wish to be happy in married life. A good wife is a major part of the happy married life. Every married man wishes to have a good wife. After marriage many people advise the new bride to be a good wife to her husband. What are the qualities of a good or perfect wife? Most of these qualities of a good wife are already inbuilt in a woman and the rest can be developed.

Never be rude to husband, his family and friends. Be warm, kind, positive, understanding and friendly. Welcome husband with a smile when he comes home instead of a sour face. A good wife honors her hubby by keeping a pleasant tone in her voice, a happy smile on her face and a neat and clean appearance.

Always speak in a loving way and refrain from speaking in a harsh manner. Treat husband with respect in front of others and at home.

Good Communication helps to build trust and strengthen relationship. Communication is the key to a good and solid married life. Be a good listener when husband is talking. Don’t greet him with complaints and problems the moment he comes back from work.

Support your husband in all stages of his career and life. Do not belittle husband or hurt his ego. It is often heard saying that ‘a wife can make a man or break a man’. Be proud of him on his accomplishments and genuinely complement him.

Many wives think that the only way to get her husband to do things is by nagging. But the truth is that nagging can create unwanted rift or can make things worse between the two. Never do nagging

A good wife need to understand that her husband has a life other than her also. He has his family, friends and colleagues who too are part of his life. Don’t stop him if he wants to go out and hang out with his friends sometimes or engage in a hobby or sport that he likes.

Sexual intimacy is one of the most essential things in married life. Keep him happy.

Men likes praises and appreciation. Make the best of your time together. Express love and appreciation often to him.
Be honest, loyal and dedicated to him.

The Joy of a Good Wife

1 Happy is the husband of a good wife;
    the number of his days will be doubled.

A loyal wife brings joy to her husband,
    and he will complete his years in peace.

A good wife is a great blessing;
    she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.

Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
    and at all times his face is cheerful. (Sirach 26:1 to 4)

The Blessing of a Good Wife

13 A wife’s charm delights her husband,
    and her skill puts flesh on his bones.

14 A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,
    and nothing is so precious as her self-discipline.

15 A modest wife adds charm to charm,
    and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity.

16 Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
    so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.

17 Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand,
    so is a beautiful face on a stately figure.

18 Like golden pillars on silver bases,
    so are shapely legs and steadfast feet. (Sirach 26:13 to 18)

If  wife want her husband to treat her like a queen, he should treat him like a king. In this modern world where most wives also work the above mentioned may not be fully practical. But at least some efforts can be put to put these tips into practice and try to be a Joyful wife and a blessed wife.

The Evil of a Wicked Woman

Holy Bible

Some women get married and then don’t do their duties as a mother and a wife. While the husband is at work paying the bills, the wife gets into mischief. That wife is a dead weight in her husband’s life. She drags him down. The way of a wicked woman is to divorce the husband of her youth. The way of a wicked woman is to divorce and then shack-up, living in adultery after quitting her marriage.

16 I would rather live with a lion and a dragon
    than live with an evil woman.

17 A woman’s wickedness changes her appearance,
    and darkens her face like that of a bear.

18 Her husband sits among the neighbors,
    and he cannot help sighing bitterly.

19 Any iniquity is small compared to a woman’s iniquity;
    may a sinner’s lot befall her!

20 A sandy ascent for the feet of the aged—
    such is a garrulous wife to a quiet husband.

21 Do not be ensnared by a woman’s beauty,
    and do not desire a woman for her possessions.

22 There is wrath and impudence and great disgrace
    when a wife supports her husband.

23 Dejected mind, gloomy face,
    and wounded heart come from an evil wife.
Drooping hands and weak knees
    come from the wife who does not make her husband happy.

24 From a woman sin had its beginning,
    and because of her we all die.

25 Allow no outlet to water,
    and no boldness of speech to an evil wife.

26 If she does not go as you direct,
    separate her from yourself. (Sirach 25:16 to 26)

Please don’t follow the way of a wicked woman!

Discipline of the Tongue – Foul Language

Holy Bible

For the Christian, the use of the tongue must be a matter of careful forethought and discipline. The Bible warns that believers who do not bring restraint to their tongue and speech have been deceived — and without such control over their words, their religious acts are worthless and hypocritical.

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

The true test of a man’s spirituality is not his ability to speak, but rather his ability to bridle his tongue!

The tongue, though it is cursed by sin, is not inherently evil. It can be used to glorify God and build people up, or it can be used to curse God and tear people apart.

Discipline of the Tongue

  7 Listen, my children, to instruction concerning the mouth;
the one who observes it will never be caught.

8 Sinners are overtaken through their lips;
by them the reviler and the arrogant are tripped up.

9 Do not accustom your mouth to oaths,
nor habitually utter the name of the Holy One;

10 for as a servant who is constantly under scrutiny
will not lack bruises,
so also the person who always swears and utters the Name
will never be cleansed from sin.

11 The one who swears many oaths is full of iniquity,
and the scourge will not leave his house.
If he swears in error, his sin remains on him,
and if he disregards it, he sins doubly;
if he swears a false oath, he will not be justified,
for his house will be filled with calamities. (Sirach 23:7 to 11)

Foul Language

12 There is a manner of speaking comparable to death;
may it never be found in the inheritance of Jacob!
Such conduct will be far from the godly,
and they will not wallow in sins.

13 Do not accustom your mouth to coarse, foul language,
for it involves sinful speech.

14 Remember your father and mother
when you sit among the great,
or you may forget yourself in their presence,
and behave like a fool through bad habit;
then you will wish that you had never been born,
and you will curse the day of your birth.

15 Those who are accustomed to using abusive language
will never become disciplined as long as they live. (Sirach 23:12 to 15)

 

Against Loose Talk

Holy Bible

Wh0 is loose talker? A loose talker is someone who doesn’t think about what they are saying. So they may say inappropriate things, without meaning to cause trouble. But sometimes it cause trouble to others. Below are selected Bible verses that explain about loose talk. Read the verses carefully and if you find you are a loose talker, then make changes in your life.

4    One who trusts others too quickly has a shallow mind,
        and one who sins does wrong to himself.

5     One who rejoices in wickedness will be condemned,

      but one who hates gossip has less evil.

7      Never repeat a conversation,
        and you will lose nothing at all.

8      With friend or foe do not report it,
        and unless it would be a sin for you, do not reveal it;

9       for someone may have heard you and watched you,
        and in time will hate you.

10     Have you heard something? Let it die with you.
        Be brave, it will not make you burst!

11     Having heard something, the fool suffers birth pangs
        like a woman in labor with a child.

12     Like an arrow stuck in a person’s thigh,
        so is gossip inside a fool.

13    Question a friend; perhaps he did not do it;
        or if he did, so that he may not do it again.

14    Question a neighbor; perhaps he did not say it;
        or if he said it, so that he may not repeat it.

15    Question a friend, for often it is slander;
        so do not believe everything you hear.

16    A person may make a slip without intending it.
        Who has not sinned with his tongue?

17    Question your neighbor before you threaten him;
       and let the law of the Most High take its course. (Sirach 19:4-17)

Any of the verses strike your mind? You are welcome to make your comments.

Advice concerning Women

Holy Bible

The Bible contains uplifting and encouraging scriptures for any situation you may face in life, and will guide you in your walk with Christ. Below are selected Bible verses that will offer biblically based guidance about woman, how a man should deal with a woman.

1 Do not be jealous of the wife of your bosom,
or you will teach her an evil lesson to your own hurt.
2 Do not give yourself to a woman
and let her trample down your strength.
3 Do not go near a loose woman,
or you will fall into her snares.
4 Do not dally with a singing girl,
or you will be caught by her tricks.
5 Do not look intently at a virgin,
or you may stumble and incur penalties for her.
6 Do not give yourself to prostitutes,
or you may lose your inheritance.
7 Do not look around in the streets of a city,
or wander about in its deserted sections.
8 Turn away your eyes from a shapely woman,
and do not gaze at beauty belonging to another;
many have been seduced by a woman’s beauty,
and by it passion is kindled like a fire.
9 Never dine with another man’s wife,
or revel with her at wine;
or your heart may turn aside to her,
and in blood you may be plunged into destruction. (Sirach 9:1-9)

Think how many times you made mistakes? It is time to change control your mind, change the way in dealing with women.

Relations with Others

Holy Bible

By building positive relationships with others, we will be happier and more fulfilled and feel more supported, supportive, and connected. We need to understand that in order to have positive relationship with others, we must first work on our own self and heart. This is because in order to have good characteristics such as being nice and loving, you must first feel good about yourself. For you can not give what you do not have.

The Bible contains uplifting and encouraging scriptures for any situation you may face in life, and will guide you in your walk with Christ. Below are selected Bible verses that will offer biblically based guidance about good relationship with others. Read carefully, understand the meaning, and follow the same in your life.

18   Do not exchange a friend for money,
      or a real brother for the gold of Ophir.

19   Do not dismiss a wise and good wife,
      for her charm is worth more than gold.

20   Do not abuse slaves who work faithfully,
      or hired laborers who devote themselves to their task.

21   Let your soul love intelligent slaves;
      do not withhold from them their freedom.

22   Do you have cattle? Look after them;
      if they are profitable to you, keep them.

23   Do you have children? Discipline them,
     and make them obedient from their youth.

24   Do you have daughters? Be concerned for their chastity,
     and do not show yourself too indulgent with them.

25   Give a daughter in marriage, and you complete a great task;
     but give her to a sensible man.

26   Do you have a wife who pleases you? Do not divorce her;
     but do not trust yourself to one whom you detest.

27   With all your heart honor your father,
     and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother.

28   Remember that it was of your parents you were born;
     how can you repay what they have given to you?

29   With all your soul fear the Lord,
     and revere his priests.

30   With all your might love your Maker,
     and do not neglect his ministers.

31   Fear the Lord and honor the priest,
     and give him his portion, as you have been commanded:
     the first fruits, the guilt offering, the gift of the shoulders,
     the sacrifice of sanctification, and the first fruits of the holy things.

32   Stretch out your hand to the poor,
     so that your blessing may be complete.

33   Give graciously to all the living;
     do not withhold kindness even from the dead.

34   Do not avoid those who weep,
     but mourn with those who mourn.

35   Do not hesitate to visit the sick,
     because for such deeds you will be loved.

36   In all you do, remember the end of your life,
     and then you will never sin. (Sirach 7:18-36)

Remember you are going to live only once on this earth. So make it a goal to change your attitude and your habits by reprogramming your mind and getting rid of the negative thoughts and feelings.