Tuesday, 30 September 2008
An after thought: We were enough 'Christian' before to feel the pain of others?
I also need to rethink this whole reflection, replacing the 'we' with 'I'.
Today after many days - or months, I'd say - I made a deliberate choice to spend time with people chatting on the corridors and porticoes. Well, these fellows are no strangers, they are all my students and young Salesians themselves. It was great!!!
It was not that we talked something big or serious. Just silly stuff. But what I liked most was that they came and spent time with and around us all, very joyfully. I know that I've not been the most delicate or tender person with them in their early formation days. Yet, the fact that they still remember and are willing to see me as someone who is really interested in their growth was very heart-warming.
Perhaps, I need to rework my daily programme. Sitting at the computer I realise I have broken one of the first 'to-do things' that I'd listed for myself before I took charge: not get stuck to the office! Interacting with Brothers this morning and afternoon, I realised that this is exactly what has happened to me.
Monday, 29 September 2008
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Last night I made it a point to watch Remember the Titans. The film is based on true events and takes place in 1971, and is directed by Boaz Yakin. It stars Denzel Washington and Will Patton. I remember seeing bits and pieces of this movie earlier. Yesterday when I saw an ad about it on TV, I not only watched it but also recorded it. The movie is great inspiration on triumph of human spirit rising above all discriminations and man-made hurdles. The black and white members of the football team clash in racially-motivated conflicts at every moment. Denzel as the coach manages to achieve some unity when he takes the team out for a camp - pushing them to the limits. What is most remarkable is how the team - now united irrespective of their colour- stands up to the challenge of the college campus, the society at large. According to me that is the litmus test of the 'conversion', the decision to stand tall and true. The whole story about them defeating the other reputed teams, though joyful, does not dampen the feeling of goodness created when people with differences - all man-made - decide to be united and stand for each other.
It all depends on our mindset. The way we work things out. The way we decide to deal with ourselves that gets reflected on the way we deal with others - perhaps the other way around too.
'So for every story about a convert who switched religions for gain of some sort, there are several about persons who make use of the educational, healthcare and other services of faith-based organisations without changing their creed. And for every story about a family divided by religious conversion there are many about families who find their own amicable ways of dealing with religious difference.'
'Why then should citizens not seek refuge in whatever faith answers their particular needs, spiritual or otherwise, at particular times? What right does anyone else have to question their right to do so?'
Later in the articles comes this interesting statement: 'In the midst of all the mayhem we may be missing all kinds of opportunities to "cultivate hope," ... '
Now that's something I would whole-heartedly agree to. At the end of the debate, would it be worth it at all? Would the goal we arrive at with or without someone be worth it? If at the end we stand all alone and have no one to share our joy or at least see in the eyes of the other the jealousy...
Friday, 26 September 2008
After all the education attained, the degrees secured, the 'standard of life' we claim to attain, how can we be so fickle minded to overlook the most essential and be carried away by words, emotions and prejudices - none of which are mine, neither are most rational and least of all humane! Haven't we reached a level of critical consciousness capable of seeing through things and concentrating on the most essential? Each one fights for something or the other: religion, rights, freedom, secularism, party, name, fame, property... but ultimately I wonder if it strikes anyone, what if there is no human life at all? Would all these exist without life?
As I mull over these disturbing questions, i realise the thoughts on human life and dignity sound familiar. Then I remembered the Strenna!! There had to be Orissa, Karnataka, Delhi... all that for me to understand and be touched by the Strenna!
Thursday, 25 September 2008
I read the message of the Holy Father for Mission Sunday (Oct. 19, 2008). Frankly, not impressed!! I know not why! Anyway, was then thinking what is my understanding of 'mission'. I put these few lines - rather, WROTE these few lines.
My mission is to live my CATHOLIC SALESIAN life to its hilt. (I would not like to use the word 'proclaim'. It has a very limited connotation today). Therefore whatever it would take to LIVE as a CATHOLIC and a SALESIAN, I'd do it to the best of my ability. As for the question of conversion, as someone said, 'that's God's work'.
But I should confess, there are times when I have not made the choice of being a Catholic and a Salesian, explicit. Not for fear of any fundamentalist repulsion or danger, just fear of not living up to it.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
That triggers another question in my mind: Have we failed to give witness to a secular, humane and upright thinking/attitude that would govern the life of our students?
Monday, 22 September 2008
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Helping out at the national consultation on Juvenile Justice was an experience in itself. Reminds me of the phrase Fr Maliekal sometimes uses: 'method in madness'. Though I must admit that I am yet to find the method - because I still see more madness than method in the whole programme - I would say there's always something to learn from everything. Positive elements: so many people - zealous and self-sacrificing, nice interaction with a variety of people, informative, inspiring sessions and arguments, time to catch up with some good friends, being with Fr Koshy!
I don't mention the negative elements for they may exceed well beyond the available space - may be I need to take a 'historical distance' from the whole event to comment negatively on it. Anyway, the best I liked about the whole experience was observing people as to how they go about their work. Like the quote I read somewhere a few days ago (something like this): Some turn up with their noses in the air, some turn up with their head held high, some turn up with their faces downcast and some don't turn up at all!
Friday, 19 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Another interesting observation the author, Fr PO Jose makes is the distinction he draws between prayer and prayerfulness. While prayer is the conscious effort we make to be aware of God's presence, prayerfulness is the constant awareness of God's presence in our lives - it is being rooted in God.
Karl Rahner adds: Allow the basic ultimate human experiences to come first. Don't go talking about them, making up theories, but simply endure these basic experiences... silence, fear, the ineffable longing for truth, for love, for fellowship, for God, loneliness...
The Salesian Project of Life too invites us to make of our existence an attitude of faith...
Monday, 15 September 2008
Here are a few things that I came across on the web today, things said by Brothers from around the world:
Being a brother, also called “lay brother” or “coadjutor brother” is a lot more about who you are and a lot less about what you do.
Another interesting thing I discovered is the video on the Salesian Brothers. (Got to see Br Emile Dube too!) What struck me most was the statement of one of the Brothers: "If I wasn't one, I'd become one!" Check out the video: http://www.outsidedabox.com/videos-single.php?video_ref=110
Every trip to the airport reveals something interesting and amusing. So did my last trip last night. Normally the speed at which the vehicles fly past clearly indicates whether the passengers are taking off or going in to pick up someone. Those intending to pick up someone from the domestic side, and are known move not faster than the third gear! Then they have to stop a couple of times to clear the front glass. If there is no patrol van or officer, they stay put along the road side - only to move/drag on and halt a little ahead. But once their mobile phone rings, zoom they fly. Those on the other hand who have someone to board the flight, they just fly past - at times even over the speed breakers. Earlier there were a vast majority who would come to just see the airport! One could see large groups of families just flopping on to the pavement of the ramp to have their meal!!! It was just another picnic spot.
Then there is the whole kilometre long runway, even for vehicles going up the ramp to pick up someone! (The drive into the airport itself is 7 kms!) And to get on the ramp you have to pay - additional if you park. Most of the drivers, like me, do as much as possible to evade the parking fee - even if it means parking the vehicle along the highway outside the airport for hours at end.
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Last night as I was scratching my head for a quote to display on the welcome board for the meeting beginning tomorrow, I came upon this one: Most of us wait for the perfect path to begin our journey, without realising that paths are made by walking, not waiting. Perhaps I need to learn from that. Friends are made - and kept - not by waiting for the ideal time to talk, catch up with them, but by a casual call, a mail and a thought now and then. Just to say hello and say you're remembered.
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Friday, 12 September 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
We prevent much good from being done because we lack the faith that it can be done. So much so we not only make the least of efforts ourselves but also prevent anyone from taking a step in that direction. The net result, we remain where we are. Well, even if we fail, we've at least tried it in good faith. I'd prefer to try, risk and fail than not try at all.
Well, that confirms that silence in times of injustice and oppression is a greater killer than the perpetrators of the injustice. Most of us in religious life are good people... it is only that we consciously prevent ourselves from becoming better people when we remain silent in the face of vices being done in our presence, right under our nose. The justification: 'I'm not doing it." But by not condemning it and helping the other go downhill, we are not doing anything saintly! At times it is essential not just to realise the 'us' vs 'them' debate but also to make it explicitly known, especially to our own people.