Friday, 27 February 2009

Working myself...

There's so much and so many things that captivate my attention, now that I'm revamping the Province website. Keep thinking of new widgets, designs, colours, pictures, crazy ideas... but when it comes to practically getting them to appear and work I want them to.. ah! I realise there are several things that I cannot do, but my DB DIGITS staff is always collaborative and forthcoming with ideas and suggestions. I'm lucky that they share my passion and are willing to collaborate.

But as the small fellow once said, "There's only so much one can blame on the dog" I should say, I myself am too scattered. Naturally when I do not give them specific directions and instructions, it is difficult for them to 'satisfy' me. So now I'm battling it out with flash!

Doing things onself can be really very enriching, satisfactory but of course, time-consuming!

Kids in the Shrine!

There were plenty of kids today for the way of the cross and the mass, thereafter. Some were zealous to do the serving (Ajay and Vijay). Others were keen to sing, announce page numbers and read the commentary. Some were more than keen to hold the placards with the station number/pictures. I asked Chandana if she remembered which stations of the cross she was holding the placard. She remembered the number but not the title! But that was good enough - silent and devout girl that she is. Her younger brother was silent today - that's because he was sleeping all through.

Then there was Jeyaraj's son, Andrew with his only antiphon: 'When will the Mass get over?' It changed only when the Mass got over: "Mass is over now?" Then there was my friend Sushma - the terror! Her very presence spells confusion, destruction and chaos! Margo's son, Kenny is no better. Of late, there is another tsunami in the making. I'm yet to learn her name just as I am yet to see her walking - she's always running!

And what was I doing all this while - watching this whole drama unfold. Truly I did not pray much today but my resolve to spend time with the youngsters and kids was strengthened. I'm glad I spent some time talking to Edwin this evening. I could see many a people raising eyebrows watching me talk to him so freely on the drive, outside the house. But one thing I can say, whatever these youngsters are upto or into, they are youngsters. With me, he is at his best. So why not help him see the best he can be?

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Another day!

Multi-tasking is an art and so is idling about, when you have your hands full! Today has been an example of the latter! Well, not so bad after all, I did manage to do quite a few things but I somehow did not put them down on paper before I began doing those things. So at the end of the day, I still have the same feeling that I've 'wasted' the whole day. While in fact I've done quite a bit.

Now I'm beginning to wonder, if I've registered in my head that "I've lots of work to do!" Perhaps I need to break that myth! After all, if I can spend time sitting, watching TV then surely I can do better things than that.

Anyway, there's always tomorrow...!

Moses the marketing guru

I place before you life and death, prosperity and doom... choose life! What an invitation! I wonder which fool would need to be told what to choose. However, here is Moses making a passionate appeal to the Israelites of old... choose life.

Perhaps the significance of the appeal lies in its implications. That one would naturally choose life over death and gloom is understood but whether in doing so, we also choose to live by what entails by the word 'life' is also important! So here is Moses telling the people to choose life and thereby Yahweh and his commandments. Now that's the catch. I am sure not very many would go for that. But I suppose there is no other go.

That reminds me of the marketing technique of movie distributors. When producing DVDs containing three or more movies, they make sure that the compilation is not the best of all! The compiled DVD may at the most, contain just one good/hit/blockbuster. The rest are unknown or less popular ones. But people are forced to purchase all the three movies because they want that 'one'.

Looks like Moses is their marketing guru. No wonder, some say, in the Bible you'll get the answers for everything!!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Passion and desire...

Yesterday morning during his talk, Fr VM George said something interesting. Speaking about passion, he expressed his doubt about the man near the lake of Siloam, waiting for someone to lower him into the troubled waters for 38 years. Fr VM said that perhaps he did not have the strong will to really recover! If he was adamant, persistent and hell-bent on getting cured, he'd have done something or the other to get cured. Perhaps he lacked that resolve. Surely he must have wanted to get cured but lacked the really resolve. He was not really passionate about getting healed.

Most of us may also be in the same boat! Desirous, yes but not passionate!

Lent - beginning afresh!

Attending the Mass this evening had its own benefits! Was re-reminded about the beginning of Lent and the triple practices typical of this festive season: fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

So this season, I said to myself, I'll fast from sweets! I really am addicted to them. That would be a real penance for me. Even now as I type these few lines, my hands are itching to grab one sweet from my table drawer! As for prayer and almsgiving, I decide to get back to my regular personal prayer (something I've almost given up!) and 'give' time to people, especially on Sundays.

Now here's what strengthened my resolve to hold back from grabbing the sweet:
So resolve to fast more. Try giving up a meal once a week to start with. Fast on bread and water if you must eat. Then start to keep Fridays as a fast day. Not just the ‘fish on Friday’ thing, but really fasting for a whole day.

You’ll be amazed how it transforms your life. You’ll be back in control. If you can control your food intake you’ll soon have better control of the other appetites in your life that are running away with your soul.

And when you’ve done that, you're on the way to cooperating with God for the salvation of souls and victory over evil in ways you could never have imagined.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Net overload

Reading an old issue of the Reader's Digest, I came across this interesting article which seemed written just for guys like me. It contained eight tips to fight information overload.
  1. Spot the signs: Feel alone even as you communicate with people all day? Technology is dominating your life.
  2. Take baby steps: Try being inaccessible for short spurts. The world will not implode!
  3. Repeat four words: "I have a choice"
  4. Set limits: Rein in office e-mail and message traffic.
  5. Give clear indications
  6. Make a task list
  7. Stick to a schedule: Handle recreational web surfing and email at set times.
  8. Do a reality check: After 5 min. of unplanned surfing, ask yourself 'Should I be really doing this now?'.

Monday, 16 February 2009

"You're not smiling as before!"

Today I received a 'remark' from one of my staff members! Thanks to the cordial rapport we share can really talk to me. This evening as one of them walked into my office with her file, I asked 'what'. She looked very surprised. It was only then that I looked at the watch and it showed 5 O'clock - closing time! I couldn't believe it. She realised that I was lost in work and had completely lost track of time. She laughed and said, "Brother, we know you are getting busy and busy these days. That's what many are saying." I replied, "I can't help that, I guess." She was about to leave the office and then she turned back and said, "People say one more thing." I asked her what it was and she said, "That, you're not smiling as before."

Now that was 'a' remark! I know very well that the last few days have been a bit taxing given all the meetings and correction of papers and correspondence and administration. But I guess people are more observant about me and changes are quickly noticed. Even this morning Mallesh, our dhobi asked me something which left me wondering if all is OK with me! My worst fear, even when confident that I'm doing great, is that I'm losing touch with people. Time to review...

The rich kid called Jesus!

Listening to the long sermon of yesterday, I was struck by one idea of the Priest: that if Jesus were to be born again, he would probably not be born poor.

I found myself agreeing to that for the simple reason that if Jesus were to be born poor, he'd achieve nothing reach out to no one great. Given the influence of media and the place/portion of poor being represented in media, Jesus' message and ministry would be limited to some slum or village at the most.

Another stronger reason I found myself agreeing to this idea was that in today's era, it is perhaps the richer who need the Messiah much more than the poor. The poor already know to live life and make the most of it. It is the unfortunate rich who are at a loss, in spite of having all the comforts of life and living.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Human life

Visiting Mr Joseph in the hospital was very touching today. To see a man with whom you so relaxedly spoke just the other day and when you happen to be the last one he so cordially spoke to, it means a lot! Today in the hospital, he was totally shrunk, with tubes jutting from all sides and monitors showing a hundred and one signs and readings. His dear ones were inconsolable, all the more because the doctors have already given up hope. Their agony is understandable also given the fact that yesterday he showed considerable signs of recovery and health.

Anyway, God bless him ... and his dear ones too with strength to stand by him in his suffering, courageously.

Reason, formation and PT

I always took for granted that the 'reason' in Don Bosco's Preventive System was very much the same 'reason' of Philosophy. I never thought otherwise. That is till this evening while reading the spiritual reading - an article by good Fr Clive de Hurley. His explanation too states that there isn't a very big difference between the two but all the same in our Salesian context 'reason' has a slant. It means reasonableness, a quality of reasoning which includes practical judgement, prudence, understanding, naturalness, moderation, all that makes reasoning human!

Fr Clive adds, "Discipline is a means, and not an end in itself. He would reach the heart first and make of boys his allies. Leading children to do good with joy was his constant effort. ... leading them on to self-discipline for truly understood motives."

This, especially the latter, struck me very much especially after my recent discussion and sharing with Mariadas. I realised during my practical training, I did do my best but failed in letting the brothers know that this mode of formation was meant for educators not children. Hearing about the way my students fare in the various houses, I fear, they have certainly imbibed my method and are in a way (unconsciously) trying to make every school boy or boarder a seminarian! Somewhere down the line I failed to make this slight shift in their thinking.

I hope I get time and opportunity to correct myself.

The Syro-Phoenician woman and her courage

This morning's Gospel was about another of my favourite Biblical figures: the Syro-Phoenician woman. What I like in her most is her perseverance or I could say doggednes! She was determined to obtain this favour from Jesus, come what may. Underlying this strong desire was her faith in Jesus and in herself too. She knew that she HAD to get this favour from him. There was no other go. That is what I like of this woman. That she had faith in Jesus is natural, after she had heard all the reports about him. But to have the guts to 'demand' of Jesus this miracle is something worth meditating and imitating.

Pictorally, I'm reminded of the e-mail that I received a couple of days ago... about a mother squirrel daring to fight a dog for the safety of her little one.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Waiting for V'day!

The challenge of Renuka Chowdhury's daughter to the Rama Sene guys is something to look out for. More than watching the fun, I wish the media gets involved, especially the English dailies. I say this for the simple reason, that media is quite powerful today. Anyone antagonising the media is sure to get is hard and strong back on his face. And finally I wish the self proclaimed 'moralists' of the country sting some media people!

That this whole drama is unfolding in Karnataka is another good angle to watch out for. What happened in Gujarat in 2002 was overlooked by many because it was not a 'forward' state. But here's one of the most literate and 'in-the-news' state for all its intellectual and academic achievements. What the government does or says will be closely watched by one and all. All involved have to take sides.

Let the real colour of everyone be revealed to the bare eyes - and ears - of the nation.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Vocation hunt

This evening's spiritual reading (a compilation of articles under the title Preventive System Spirituality) shed some interesting light on vocations - or lack of them. It is said that during Don Bosco's time, the Mother house used to annually see 50-70 boys go to Foglizzo for their novitiate. Well that's quite a number in comparison to the handful who opt for Salesian life today!

Besides the teaching and kind assistance, the superiors always kept the boys happy with wonderful games and lively recreation and were keenly interested in their well being. At the end of the year they could not leave such grant Salesians or separate themselves from the life and work which was so enticing. Surely this must have been the greatest of all motivations, over and above, direct divine intervention.

Before my mind took off on a investigating mode/mood to see why does this not take place today, I heard this sentence: On the contrary it would be difficult to get vocations from a mere sports club or a military barracks.

Now that speaks volumes. I wonder if some of our institutions are at least sports clubs or military barracks. No wonder the Rector Major keeps repeating ... 'return to Don Bosco'.

Mister God... hurling oneself at him

After long I picked up Mister God .... even though just for a while:

"Mister God ain't got no bum" wasn't a joke, she wasn't being naughty or just a silly child. It was just an eruption of her spirit. With these remarks she hurled herself at Mister God and he caught her. Anna knew that he could, knew that there was no risk involved. There was really no other way; it just had to be done. This was her way of being saved. (p. 130)

What a beautiful way of expressing devotion. It looks so silly and simple, yet it is perhaps the most profound way of living up to God's call... hurling oneself at God ... knowing well that there was no risk involved in dealing with him... it just had to be done!

We hunt for ways and means of expressing devotion, try new means and moan that God is not hearing. But here is Anna telling us 'just hurl oneself at God' ... he will do the rest.

Something to laugh...

I have a student of mine who is abroad doing his studies. A very simple guy, no malice at all. Not very talented but very earnest about doing things - though with little success. Anyway, I received a mail from him today. Every time I receive a mail from him, I end up laughing half a day. His english is such! I know I shouldn't be laughing at his mistakes but I cannot help. And this guy is a very nice guy whom I can trust. So he would also not mind - may be he may not eve realise it is about him.

Here are some samples of what I received today:
I was able to meat Fr. ---- and he is really doing well.

It was a great joy to meat all our confreres , ----,

Well, that's my friend. God bless him!

Monday, 9 February 2009

What I Am Preaching Today

Here's a nice anecdote that I came across today... something similar to the parable of the Good Samaritan...

What I Am Preaching Today

The story is told of the cold winter Sunday morning when the parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. Church members were whispering among themselves as they walked into the church, skirting around the man leaning up against the wall outside the church. He was almost lying down as if he was asleep. His long trench coat was almost in shreds and a hat concealed his face. He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small, and so holey that his toes stuck out. He was homeless, asleep, and ignored.

The congregation gathered in the parlor and fellowshipped for a few minutes including some gossip about the man lying outside. But, no one went out to ask him to come in from the cold let alone take him a cup of coffee.

As the prelude began the congregation herded to the sanctuary and waited for the processional. When the church doors opened, in shuffled the homeless man. A stunned gasp was loosed and faces made as he shambled up the aisle head down, making a bee-line for the pulpit. When he turned and took off his coat and hat, the hearts of the people sank as they recognized their pastor. No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and opened it saying, "Folks, I don't have to tell you what I am preaching about today." "If you choose you can make me clean."

Inspiring, enriching others

Today is the feast of Sr Eusebia Palomino FMA, someone about whom I just can't stop reading and admiring. The first thing that comes to my mind is her serenity and joy in spite of the misery she had to endure because of poverty. It is said that certain times of the year little Eusebia and her father had to go begging in nearby villages, but they did so with joy and singular faith.

Later in life the school girls always wanted to be near her, attracted by her spirituality. She began to work in the Oratory. Seminarians, adults and priests asked her advice, encouraged by her spirit of prayer and convinced and convincing faith. To reach that stage of sanctity was a really God-given gift. How else than can one explain a little 5 year old girl enjoy the begging trips with her father. It was not that she was not aware of the family situation and therefore she could 'enjoy' the 'outings' but she 'saw' greater things than the misery and poverty that surrounded her and her family. Now that 'seeing' is what I envy in her.

Lost in the drudgery of life and living, we fail to see the bright and joyful side of things. Living then becomes such a bore. But here is one person who made her living so joyful and spiritual that she was like a fragrant flower enriching the lives of those around her.

May her tribe increase!

Let wisdom... take time

During lunch Fr TV Thomas narrated a very amusing incident. One of the sisters who had come to visit him last week inquired as to what was the tree beside our refectory. On saying that it was a mulberry tree, she confidently replied, "No, it is a cherry tree!" And Fr TV Thomas, a man who has a knack to skirt controversies, coolly replied, "Ok, you want to call it that way, you may!"

So much for calling a spade, a spade. Most often we enter into such strange and at times, bizarre conversations and arguments that end up breaking our relationship. The root of the conversation or argument may be as silly as the question and answer above.

Being the Secretary, one without powers to speak or vote, I get to see such discussions quite often. Maintaining a distance keeps you sane. Perhaps if I too were as involved as those involved, then I would not have been able to 'see' the point - or the futility of it.

Such a style as of Fr TV Thomas is something worth trying. Rather than prove the right thing always to everyone, it is also good to let wisdom dawn at the right time... rather than doing it here and now!

Fighting myself...

These days I am increasingly torn between my own prejudices and convictions. As I become more and more aware of my own prejudices, I also become aware - or rather, remind myself - of the many reasons why I am right in those prejudices. But it is a tension. How is it that I can feel and think one way about one person and very very differently about another person, who is perhaps in the same boat as the former?

Caught in this dilemma I feel rather embarrassed when I have to encounter the person about whom, I am struggling with my prejudices. It is very agonising. At times I just wish to blurt out what is in my mind but hold back myself for I know that it is totally wrong and very harmful, for both and all of us. There is also no point in talking to him, for he does not see the point. Talking to others is nothing short of gossip and slander - no way constructive to help the other. That leaves me to do the thinking, talking and fighting with myself.

Luckily there is enough and more work to do and that keeps me occupied. But every time I come across the person, these feelings keep gnawing at me from within.

Something wrong everywhere!

The self-proclaimed guardians of culture and tradition and really making a nuisance! But I really appreciate the master brains behind these innocent youngsters who go to any extent to follow the dictates of those above - the 'enlightened'. With what great ability they are able to motivate and enthuse these groups of people to boldly go down the wrong path, with such vigour and certainty is worth analyzing.

Contrasting this with our formation for so many years, with such an amount of input and sweat and blood, the result is hardly anything worthwhile!! On the one side, there are such motivated - even though wrongly and for destructive purpose, but motivated they are - youngsters who are willing to do anything and for no personal gain and on the other hand, we have with us youngsters who would not feel anything if they have to sit and do nothing for days together!

Something wrong everywhere!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Don Bosco and Childrens' Parliament

Here's my latest addition to the youtube:

Learning the hard way

Day before yesterday I started learning flash! Yeah, sitting and learning! That's something I haven't done since long and I realise how difficult it is - I haven't touched it again, neither yesterday nor today. Confreres, several of them, have been telling me that it is difficult to 'sit and study' after a certain age. Not that you grow disinterested but you get interested and absorbed into so many things. In the meantime that 'sitting' and 'studying' cannot be done together!

Another effect was there to see this morning when I began to pen a letter - yeah, pen and not type! My hand would not move. So used to typing that I had to do some finger and palm exercise to complete just a page of letter! I wonder how on earth will I write my MA exams - whenever I write them!

I remember enjoying sitting at my desk and pouring over books and reading material for hours. And now here I am, dreading to open the stack of dissertation papers of the Karunapuram Brothers.

But no easy way, I'm hell-bent on doing it the hard way. Luckily I have some time this month. I ought to force myself to 'sitting' AND 'studying'. Happy learning!

Bible and prisoners... why?

This morning I was very distracted by the first reading during the Mass. Somehow the Bible seems to have a soft corner for 'prisoners'. Every time there is a mention of the underprivileged and those in need, prisoners also are included. I basically understand the inclusion of widows, orphans, strangers and the poor. But why prisoners?

The former groups of people are at a mode of life not of their own making. It so happened that life is unfair to them and hence they are left to fend for themselves and make a survival. But people don't end up in the prison because of others doings - certainly not the majority! After all, they people are put in prison for some wrong doing. It is as a direct consequence of what they have done.... not what somebody has done for which they are the innocent sufferers.

Of course there are those unjustly accused and languishing in the prison. Their case I understand. But what of those who deserve to be in prison? Surely they cannot be equated to the poor, widowed, orphaned and sick?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

God and suffering

I was going through some of my old collection of readings and came across extracts from Harold Kushner's book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

The background to this book is well known. Reading the book ,then, I found it quite engaging. What kept me reading the book was that it was not offering some pious suggestions but presenting possible rational explanations and also a theological outlook. That was gripping. Or else I would have read it may be only for spiritual reading - I don't read books for spiritual reading, so I'd have never read the book itself!

Here's one of the foremost arguments by Kushner, in defence of God and as a possible rationale for suffering and evil - once again, a little pious but certainly not irrational!
At any given moment, life may seem unfair and innocent people may appear to be suffering. But if we wait long enough, we believe, we will see the righteousness of God’s plan emerge. If you plant grass seed and a palm tree seed on the same day, the grass will start to sprout sooner. At that point, a person who knew nothing about nature might predict that the grass would ultimately grow to be higher and stronger than the palm tree, since it was growing faster. But the experienced observer would know that eventually the grass would wither and the palm tree grow tall and straight and last for more than a generation. … in the long run they will see the wicked wither...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Getting out of the way...

This morning's meditation was on the self. Basically on something I read in Tony D'Mello's book The Prayer of the Frog (Vol. 1).

Said a world famous violinist about his success in playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto: "I have splendid music, a splendid violin and a splendid bow. All I need to do is bring them together and get out of the way."

I realised most of our problems and misunderstandings in dealing with people at work is basically this: we would like to be the centre of all that goes on. The whole enterprise is to be somebody! And for that we end up doing whatever it takes, even if it is making someone else into a nobody! That's the danger in the ambitious pathway of becoming somebody.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Learning to say 'no'

Saying 'no' is something I'm slowly learning. Yesterday I said a straight 'no' to a confrere who was already rejoicing as though the task at hand is over, all while still describing me his need. His shock when I said 'no' was evident in his voice. Believe me, he was here today to meet me in person!!

I stuck to my 'no' stand - I do have valid and genuine reasons to say so. Anyhow, I directed as to how best to do it himself or mentioned other people who could help him but resisted taking it upon myself. Somehow at the end, I could see the other person understanding my reasons - I didn't really explain them at all - for this 'no' of mine.

I remember Fr Lens saying to me long time ago when still an aspirant in Gunadala. There are two ways of helping people: you do it for them or you help them do it themselves. He concluded, the latter is better. Yesterday and today have been great lessons in the same. Let's see what awaits me tomorrow!

Brooms and the cell phone

The way we have advanced is really astounding. The latest and the most phenomenal growth - or increase, one can call it - is in the number of cell phone users. Everyone, beginning from the Manager of the company to the sweeper, has one - if not two!!

I bought some soft brooms today for the house. And after making the payment to the fellow who had come home to sell the brooms, I wrote out a voucher for him to sign. First he told me he does not know to sign, by the time I wrote out the voucher, he was ready to sign! In the meantime I watched him fiddle with his cell phone from the corner of my eye. I said to myself, what days, even a broom seller who is totally illiterate has a cell phone. Soon he was beside me ready to 'sign'. I handed him the pen and he diligently set out to 'draw' his name, looking at his cell phone.

I was amazed at his ability to 'write'! He certainly was no literate - our conversation after this revealed it. Yet he knew to make the most of what he had in his hands - brooms and the cell phone! Later in the day I received a mail in Italian. This time I was illiterate! But I was prepared. I merely copied the text, pasted it in 'google translate' and clicked 'translate'. Bingo!! I had the English version - not perfect, but very much understandable!

Now that's what I call, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! Not necessary to have all the luxuries of the world to enjoy life. Just have the will to make the most of life and you'll have the necessary things!!

Faith and courage

The woman with the hemorrhage, in today's Gospel, is a character worth studying. She must surely have either been a very devout Jew or an atheist - that's until she met Jesus. But more than the person of Jesus, it is the woman's faith that intrigues me. To have such a faith - which subsequently leads her to touch Jesus' cloak - and then also have the courage (or fear) to acknowledge it before the crowd.... not knowing what the reaction of Jesus would be. What would the crowd say? How would they react? Her whole focus was to 'just touch His cloak'. She never would have imagined that Jesus would realise it. What a shock she must have received when Jesus turned around looking for the person who touched his cloak. But then when Jesus fails to identify the person, she throws herself before Him. Again she surrenders!Another strange idea that comes to my mind: A strong faith can 'extract' graces! Well, Jesus never granted her the grace of healing. She 'got' it from His abundance, on the strength of her faith. It is like the idea of the ancient Indians who performed the religious rituals, convinced that the result lay in the performance and had nothing much to do with the Divine one offering the grace.

Anyway, hats off to this simple but strong woman.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Decision making

Today was quite a day. Tempted severely to fall for the 'religious sanctity' of which I mentioned sometime ago (religious instead of liberating people, bind them to oneself), I gracefully and I should say, painfully held back myself.

Speaking about this with Fr TD John, he said something interesting. We prefer to carry the child Jesus - cute, small, chubby, cuddly! Not many are willing to carry the grown up Jesus, for with him comes the cross - and that's heavy!!

I could have solved today's issue by one simply decision of mine. But I chose to help the other, make the decision. It was easier said than done. But now, at the end of the day, I feel happy at that decision of mine to let the person concerned arrive at a conclusion and stand by it.

Growth comes not because I take decisions and make resolutions; growth happens when we stand by those decisions and resolutions. That is the real challenge: to live and grow through the decisions and conclusions we arrive at. If need be bear the insults, soak the glory, wade through misunderstandings and if wrong, be willing to make amends too. It's all part of the game called 'living'.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Inspiration, convictions... and family

Just reflecting on how best could we help the children and young people prepare for such auspicious and rich events like First Communion, I realise, the greatest possible 'instruction' ought to be our (especially of the seniors) joyful living out of the same gifts for which we prepare others. No doubt, the family (parents) retains the privilege of laying the foundation and the skeleton of the edifice. But there is also the extended 'family' - friends, mentors, teachers, models...The influence of this group too is great.

Looking back in my life I see the hand of so many people, besides my Papa and Mummy, who have in a way added, supported, modified, challenged and corrected my views, opinions, convictions and attitudes. After all, I am a sum of all these!

First Holy Communion

Attending Mass this morning and watching the eight brats who received the first communion today was interesting. It was hard to believe that these brats - real 'terror kids' - who even yesterday evening were 'at their best', were all dressed up in white, holding candles and in line to receive Communion!! The consolation was that they acted and behaved in their natural way - naughty to the core!!

Watching them and saying to myself, 'No change!', I questioned myself, as to how much of a real difference does the Eucharist make for me? I realise I am no better than them. At least in their innocence they are true...

Anyway, God bless them... and me too, to understand this great treasure we receive everyday!
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